On November 18 the US government formally protested an attack on US embassy employees by a gang of president Mugabes war veterans. One employee, a Zimbabwean citizen, was severely beaten. A second US employee and two other people traveling with the US workers were with the victim when the gang showed up, attacked, and took them hostage. The attack took place in Melfort district (north of Harare). A subsequent report suggested the four employees were investigating the conditions of displaced farm workers. On November 20 the US accused Zimbabwe of violating diplomatic conventions, specifically, the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic protocol. Apparently a US diplomat was illegally detained, prior to the assault on the workers. On November 21 the Mugabe government accused the US of violating diplomatic regulations. The Mugabe government said US diplomatic staff has left Harare without permission. As weve noted before, this is one way a dictatorship attempts to intimidate foreign critics. Well watch how this plays out.