Thursday, September 29, 2022

Harry Dunn Case Finally Has a Criminal Court Hearing, But Defendant Stays Out of the Jurisdiction



















It was all of six minutes long and entirely administrative, with the only result being that the American defendant was ordered to appear at another court on October 27 where she will be charged. Exactly with what remains to be determined. The prosecutors want to charge her with dangerous driving - which carries a 14 year maximum - and the defendant's side wants to plead guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving.

Of course, the basic reality is that the defendant is agreeing to participate in this trial purely out of concern for the overall diplomatic relationship between our two countries, I assume. The UK High Court has already affirmed that she had immunity to the criminal jurisdiction of the UK, and that is an ironclad defense against even so much as having to give testimony, much less to ever returning to the UK.   

Far and away the best reporting on today's hearing was in this Daily Mail UK article. With all that dialog it seems like a practically verbatim transcript. 
Her lawyers indicated she would plead guilty to the lesser charge of death by careless driving, which carries the maximum of five years imprisonment, the court heard.

Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US government following the collision outside RAF Croughton, and was able to leave the UK 19 days after the incident.

Wearing a blue suit jacket and a spotted scarf, she appeared next to her lawyer Amy Jeffress via video-link from the United States for the six-minute hearing.

Harry's parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, alongside Harry's twin brother Niall, arrived wearing either a green tie or a green scarf in memory of the teenager.

Sacoolas looked straight ahead throughout the hearing.

Asked to confirm her name she said: 'Hi, I'm Anne Elizabeth Sacoolas.'

She went on to confirm her date of birth as August 28, 1977.

Her barrister, Ben Cooper, KC, said: 'I just wish to confirm for the record there is no indication of plea in relation to the charge of death by dangerous driving.

'There will in due course be a guilty plea to the charge of death by careless driving.'

Prosecutors will have to decide whether that plea is acceptable to them or not, the court heard.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson, KC, said: 'She is charged with causing death by dangerous driving which is an indictable only offence and we therefore invite her case to be sent to the Crown Court.'

The offence of causing death by dangerous driving carries the maximum of 14 years.

Sending the case to the Old Bailey, chief magistrate Paul Goldspring told the defendant: 'I hope you followed most of that.

'The first thing I have to do is send your case to the crown court.

'I'm going to grant you unconditional bail in this case - that means there are no restrictions from the court on you.'

The chief magistrate told Sacoolas she would be required to appear in person at the Old Bailey.

He said: 'That may change because there will be a joint application to allow you to attend by video-link as you have today.

'Do you understand?'

Sacoolas replied: 'Yes.'

The Dunn family told the PA news agency they would not be commenting on the case until the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

Sacoolas, whose address was not provided to the court as the chief magistrate was content with her lawyer's address being provided instead, was granted unconditional bail to appear at the Old Bailey on October 27.
Note that the defendant has local British representation, and from a "formidable defence advocate" no less.
A "formidable defence advocate" who "is tireless in representing defendants." He is particularly experienced at handling US extradition requests and also highly capable of conducting extradition cases relating to complex human rights issues." One of the best senior juniors in extradition. He completely immerses himself in the case." "His dedication to the cause is impressive. He is very well known for high-profile American cases, which he does very well due to his extensive experience." - Chambers and Partners 2019
That phrase he's “one of the best senior juniors” has a little Monty Python-ish feel, doesn't it? Well, senior / junior or what have you, the Barrister will get even more well known for handling high-profile American cases after this one.

Lastly, there are the parents and family of the victim. They have shown an impressive message discipline the last several months, avoiding public events and media opportunities. They didn't even show up for the lame motorcycle protest at U.S. Embassy London on the third anniversary of their son's death. Their horrendous advisor has done all the media work lately, and that has amounted to little more than a few re-tweets. 

I can only read between the lines, but it seems that the family's demands for maximum criminal punishment have tied the hands of the Crown Prosecution Service until now, just as they seem to have screwed the pooch by rejecting an initial settlement offer and driving their first set of U.S. lawyers away in the civil suit that was finally settled one year ago this month. 

Now that the defendant has offered a guilty plea to the lesser offense of careless driving probably followed by some court-ordered community service in the USA, will the prosecutors allow the family's demand for emotional satisfaction to override their judgment as to what's achievable when you have a defendant who has diplomatic immunity and doesn't actually have to play along with any Crown court?

I give it only 50-50 odds that the CPS will accept that offer. 
    

Sunday, September 18, 2022

POTUS In London: You Die, We Fly


He and his retinue, almost alone among heads of state attending the funeral, will not queue up to ride in electric buses for the ceremony. No, POTUS will have his customary G-ride which will be surrounded by seemingly dozens of the most heavily armored support vehicles on earth, and none of them green. 

On a totally unrelated matter, isn't that British term "queue" rather poetic? The first letter says it all, and is followed by four more letters that wait silently in line.  


Friday, September 16, 2022

I've Seen 4 and I've Seen 8 (percent inflation), I've Seen Sunny Days and Higher Market Rates

 

I didn't know until today that old song is about suicide, heroin addiction, and a mental hospital. It's true. Here's an old NPR story about it, Fire and Rain:
Taylor wrote "Fire and Rain" in 1968. The song has three verses. One is about a friend who committed suicide, another is about Taylor's addiction to heroin, the third refers to a mental hospital and a band Taylor started called The Flying Machine.
Those are weirdly appropriate references if Taylor wants to be the troubadore for Biden's upbeat publicity event about consumer price inflation, which is currently eating away at the value of all your money at an annual rate of over eight percent. It's insane to deny that reality, but our government is addicted to spending, and we'll need to put the economy in treatment for a long time before it begins to recover. 

Biden, by the way, keeps declaring victory over inflation even as objective reality (and the NYT) tells us the Consumer Price Index has hit new highs and the stock market new lows.

Inflation was bad in 1968, too, at over 4 percent, but not half as bad as it is today, when we are seeing the largest increase in forty years (9.1 percent for the year that ended in June, 2022). 

Call me crazy, but when I watch the new-ish White House spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre (pronounced Cringe John P Air, I think), dismiss the realities of the latest inflation report, I have never missed Marie Harf more. 

Marie, if you're out there, please take a job at the White House and save these people from themselves.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

HRC Had Exactly 193 More Than Zero Emails That Were Classified


"The fact is that I had zero emails that were classified." 

Oh, really? The FBI and the DOJ Inspector General have shown otherwise. So did the IGs at DOS and the Intelligence Community as long ago as 2014. In fairness, there was some back-and-forth over details at first – such as whether the emails were classifiable at the time they were drafted or only became classifiable later – and there was quibbling, such as Senator Feinstein’s excuse that Hillary didn’t send any of the classified emails that she received on her personal server, but all that dust had settled by 2018 when the DOJ Inspector General issued a 500-page report that is the last word on the matter of Hillary’s emails. 

Specifically, that last word was: “193 individual emails that were classified from the CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET levels at the time the emails were drafted on UNCLASSIFIED systems and sent to or from Clinton’s personal server … Seven of the 81 email chains contained information associated with a Special Access Program (“SAP”).” 

The OIG report even quotes former FBI official Peter Strzok, whose utter hated of Trump is beyond question, as noting that the FBI’s belated discovery of emails which had classification markings on them disproves Hillary’s flat denial that she had ever received material that was marked classified. 

Here’s the key passage from that DOJ report, on pages 74 and 75: 

None of the emails, including those that were found to contain classified information, included a header or footer with classification markings. As we discuss further in Chapter Seven, this absence of clear classification markings played a significant role in the decision by the Midyear prosecutors to recommend to Attorney General Lynch in July 2016 that the investigation should be closed without prosecution. According to the LHM [the FBI’s closing Letterhead Memorandum (LHM) summarizing the Clinton email server investigation], the FBI, with the assistance of other USIC [U.S. Intelligence Community] agencies, identified “81 email chains containing approximately 193 individual emails that were classified from the CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET levels at the time the emails were drafted on UNCLASSIFIED systems and sent to or from Clinton’s personal server.” In other words, the USIC agencies determined that these 81 email chains, although not marked classified, contained information classified at the time the emails were sent and should have been so marked. Twelve of the 81 classified email chains were not among the 30,490 that Clinton’s lawyers had produced to the State Department, and these were all classified at the Secret or Confidential levels. Seven of the 81 email chains contained information associated with a Special Access Program (“SAP”), which witnesses told us is considered particularly sensitive. The emails containing Top Secret and SAP information were included in the 30,490 provided to the State Department. 

In June 2016, near the end of the investigation, investigators found three email chains, consisting of eight individual emails, that “contained at least one paragraph marked ‘(C),’ a marking ostensibly indicating the presence of information classified at the CONFIDENTIAL level.” According to a June 13, 2016 text message exchange between Strzok and Page, the emails containing the “(C)” portion markings were part of the 30,490 that Clinton’s attorneys had provided to the State Department in 2014 but the FBI did not notice them until June 2016 after the IC IG discovered them. By that point in time, as discussed in Chapter Six below, Comey had been drafting his statement announcing the closing of the investigation. Strzok wrote to Page that “DoJ was Very Concerned about this .... Because they’re worried, holy cow, if the fbi missed this, what else was missed?” Strzok further wrote, “No one noticed. And while minor, it cuts against ‘I never send or received anything marked classified.’” According to the prosecutors, Mills, Abedin, and Jake Sullivan were each parties to at least one email in the chains with the (C) markings. However, none of them were ever asked about the emails, because the FBI had not discovered the markings before their interviews and did not seek to reinterview them.

Oh yes, the little "(C)" marking. Bill Clinton, in a rare wingman role, once tried to explain that away.

Here's a link to the report, "A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election" dated June 2018.

So she did have emails on her private server that were classified, all the way up to the TS and SAP levels. That is a fact, and by now it's old news. 

How does Hillary expect to get away with denying that reality today, you might wonder? Well, the same way she has always gotten away with it in the past. Deny, deny, deny, and wait for your embarrassed voters and supporters to drop the subject. 

There must be a reason why hardly anyone names their daughter Hillary anymore. See this WaPo story for a chart that shows the popularity of the name taking a drastic nosedive in 1992. That was the same year Bill Clinton first ran for President and the American public were introduced to the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock. The Ozark Evita. 

Possibly the name suffers from the moral exhaustion that comes from ignoring Hillary’s endless lies and prevarications. Don’t take my word for it; even her supporters can only shake their heads sadly when her lies run up against an IG report, as they have done before.

   

How does she keep getting away with it? I suppose, like Bill Clinton, her superpower is the ability to make other people lower their standards. 

It’s never really politically convenient to hold either of them to account, so Official Washington and its news media establishment will only shake their heads yet again and move on.


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Battling Chinese Encroachment Into Our Arctic Interests
















The Department is looking for a Chief of Mission who can handle cold temps and long, dark, winters. 

Establishing an Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region
The Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region will advance U.S. policy in the Arctic, engage with counterparts in Arctic and non-Arctic nations as well as Indigenous groups, and work closely with domestic stakeholders, including state, local, and Tribal governments, businesses, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, other federal government agencies and Congress. The United States remains committed to constructive cooperation in the Arctic, foremost through the Arctic Council, and the Ambassador-at-Large will work in close partnership with the U.S. Senior Arctic Official, the federal Arctic science community, and the Arctic Executive Steering Committee. 
We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the Congress to swiftly confirm the Ambassador-at-Large, once a nomination is sent to the Senate.
For once, wealthy Donor-Ambassadors will not elbow their way to the front of the line. 

I'd get in line for that job myself, since I've always wanted to go to the artic. I already have a good down jacket, and I think that my old magnetic compass will work above the artic circle.

At a minimum I could TDY-it to that new mission. If they need a frozen Fortress Embassy there I'll be right on it.

On Third Anniversary, Harry Dunn Supporters Continue to Search For Unspecified Justice


The GB News story was typical of UK media this weekend, that is, lots of calls for "justice" but no details about what that would mean, exactly. 

Oddly, the family did not show up in any news media interview or public event. Their spokesman was reduced to retweeting news articles on the anniversary observance and inviting supporters to light cyber candles. 

The only concrete action was taken by a small group of bikers - hardly more than a dozen, judging from photos - who parked their bikes in a pedestrian garden in the vicinity of U.S. Embassy London and ran their engines and horns for one minute.

   
 
So, take that, Uncle Sam! (Assuming, of course, that whoever was present in the embassy on a Saturday morning could hear anything through the blast-resistant windows of the building.) Know that those protestors promise to be back for another minute next year, and every year, and be properly chastised.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

If You Can't Get Hungover in Moscow, Where Can You?

See the purported video from Embassy Moscow: here

Okay, he doesn't look like he would be in shape to drive. But give him a break, it was 5:18 in the AM!