State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter said in a briefing with reporters that the graffiti, which is synonymous with the antisemitism of Hitler’s Germany and the genocide carried out against six million Jews during the country's Nazi regime, was discovered late Monday evening.“Unfortunately, late yesterday a swastika was found carved in an elevator in our building here, at the State Department,” Porter said.“This graffiti has been removed and the incident will be investigated," she added.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Last Friday, lawyers for the U.S. government filed a motion in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria where the Dunn family filed a lawsuit in 2020, arguing that the details of Sacoolas' employment should not be released in the interests of "national security."-- snip --In their motion, U.S. Justice Department lawyers argued that the details of who Sacoolas was working for in the U.K. should play no part in the civil case because "information concerning the United States Government has little to no relevance to an adjudication of any remaining issues in this case.""Specifically, although the United States takes no position on the ultimate disposition of this private lawsuit, it has a substantial interest in certain limited information at risk of disclosure in further proceedings in this litigation because of the effect disclosure of such information may reasonably be anticipated to have on the national security of the United States," the Justice Department said.Lawyers for the Dunn family, in a filing with the court on Monday, argued that the Justice Department's proposed protective order "contains imprecise, broad language that could be used to exclude information that is both relevant to Plaintiffs' case and does not implicate the Government's interests.""Contrary to the Government brief, this is not a case where Ms. Sacoolas has fully accepted responsibility simply by admitting that she was on the wrong side of the road," the Dunn family lawyers wrote.
"The only war that can be fought against a superpower is a war of movement. I brought Tariq Aziz all the writings of Che Guevara and Mao Tse Tung on the arts of revolutionary war and he had them translated into Arabic. Fight a war of movement, take the uniforms off, swim among the Iraqi people and whatever their views on the regime, they will undoubtedly provide deep aquifers of support for a patriotic resistance.”Inexplicably, Saddam didn’t take that advice, so, in all fairness, Galloway cannot be held responsible for Iraq’s subsequent defeat.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Sunday, July 11, 2021
"D.C. Jail Inmate Joel Caston Wins ANC 7F07 Race" - Washington Informer
Joel Caston, an inmate at the D.C. Jail, made history Tuesday as the first from that correctional institution to be elected to a public office in the District ... Caston will serve as the advisory neighborhood commissioner (ANC) for single-member district 7F07 in Ward 7. In addition to the roughly 1,500 residents of the D.C. jail, the district includes the Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter and residents of Park Kennedy, an apartment complex across the street from the jail ...Caston is believed to be the only incarcerated person to have been elected to a political office in the country at this time.
Friday, June 25, 2021
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
|A circular path makes no progress|
"The path is clear for the legal authorities in the UK to approach Anne Sacoolas's lawyers - without any problem from the US government - to see whether some kind of virtual trial or process could allow some accountability and some solace and some justice for the Dunn family … I would like to see some accountability. I think the family deserve no less."Let's do a little close reading of that statement, the one that launched a thousand misguided headlines, and see how it holds up to a non-poetic analysis. I have many questions.
Mr Dunn's mother told LBC: 'It means that there are no hurdles to get over now.'
'We're so grateful to the politicians for clearing the path so we'll just leave it all to the CPS now and wait to hear from them as to what the next steps will be.'That wait will be quite a while, I think. Reality will set in some day, but that day will not be anytime soon.
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Emilie Konig, 36, was pictured in her new westernised garb at the al-Roj camp in northern Syria in recent days - the same camp where Begum is being held - as she tries to convince people she is no longer radicalized so she can return to France.Just "a soft tactic." But, I'm telling you, it's a tactic that is likely to work.Gone was the heavy black niqab, gloves and abaya robe that she previously wore - even while living in France - and in its place she wore a hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses, faux leather leggings, white hi-top trainers and a shoulder bag.Her head was covered with a Yankees baseball cap, with her hair hanging down her shoulder in a plait.The look mirrors that of Begum, who first appeared in interviews from Syria dressed in a black hijab and abaya robe - but recently swapped them for a baseball cap, sunglasses, hoodie, white blouse, black jeans and white Converse-style trainers.Begum, like Konig, adopted the look while trying to convince people she no longer poses a danger so she can return to Britain, which has stripped her of her citizenship because of her membership in ISIS.Eilish O’Gara, a counter-terrorism analyst with the Henry Jackson Society, previously theorised that the outfit is 'a soft tactic' devised by Begum's lawyers designed to 'win back the hearts and minds of the British public'.
"Florida man acting as own attorney screams at jurors in opening of his death penalty case" - WFLA.com, Hillsborough County
In addition to his courtroom demeanor, this amateur lawyer really needs to work on his cross-examination skills before he takes on any more cases:
The state’s last witness was Thomas Dirks, the case detective. During cross-examination, Oneal asked Dirks if he could say for certain if Oneal committed murder.
“Yes, that’s why I arrested you,” Dirks said.
Friday, June 11, 2021
One topic that came up between the leaders of the US and UK yesterday was the ongoing issues surrounding the death of Harry Dunn.The WaPo noticed the BBC report (here) but added nothing new.Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he and President Biden are "working together" to end the row over whether Anne Sacoolas should face trial over the death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn.Sacoolas, an American citizen, claimed diplomatic immunity after the teenager died in a collision with her car almost two years ago.Speaking at the G7, Johnson said the president was "extremely sympathetic" and "actively engaged" in the case.The confirmation of talks comes after Biden's predecessor Donald Trump refused to intervene.Crucially, it will raise hopes for the Dunn family that Ms Sacoolas could still be stripped of diplomatic immunity in order to face a British court over the death.The prime minister says his counterpart has his “own personal reasons for feeling very deeply about the issue”.Biden lost his first wife, Neilia Hunter, and their one-year-old daughter Naomi in a car crash in 1972.
Joe Biden's brother Frank owes dead man's family $1 MILLION for 80 mph car crash.Frank Biden was found partially legally responsible for the death of Michael Albano in August 1999 but has never acknowledged his liability or paid any compensation - not even turning up for a single court hearing, meaning the case was a default judgment
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The administration hopes to transfer a handful of the remaining terrorism suspects to foreign countries, the people familiar with the discussions said, and then persuade Congress to permit the transfer of the rest — including 9/11 suspects — to detention on the U.S. mainland. Biden hopes to close the facility by the end of his first term, the people familiar with the discussions said.Obama made a very unquiet attempt to close GITMO, and do you remember what happened with that?
Congress, however, resisted the [Obama plan to] transfer of detainees to the U.S. The House and the Senate rejected funding for the move and also blocked the transfers, with many Democrats voting against the Obama administration's plans.You can say that again, NBC News. Congress couldn't shut that down fast enough. Even Bernie Sanders voted to keep GITMO in Cuba.
At a minimum, people familiar with administration discussions said, the Biden White House hopes to show some progress on closing Guantánamo by the 20th anniversary of 9/11 ... "People are starting to focus on it more," a person familiar with the discussions said.Oh, so he just wants to show progress on closing GITMO, not to be confused with making progress on closing GITMO. That makes sense.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
"You Can't Throw a Baby!" - ClickOrlando
Records show stop sticks were used to puncture James’ tires and shortly thereafter he pulled into an apartment complex and bailed out of the Nissan while holding a small child ... He’s accused of running through the complex with the baby then throwing the 2-month-old boy at a deputy, who managed to catch the child.
“You can’t throw a baby at us and expect us to treat you with kid gloves,” Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said.
Friday, June 4, 2021
|Remember 15 days to slow the spread?|
Sunday, May 30, 2021
You can get a good sense of him from the image he used on his blog: a Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets sword above and a Scottish Claymore below, with U.S. Army insignia and decorations in between, on a field of desert camouflage. An active Reservist, he was called up for Desert Storm and served in many subsequent military assignments at the same time that he carried on his Consular career, deriving a great deal of satisfaction from both types of service.
To honor his heritage, what could be better than a poem by Robert Burns?
Epitaph on my own Friend
An honest man here lies at restAs e'er God with his image blest.
The friend of man, the friend of truth;The friend of Age, and guide of Youth:
Few hearts like his with virtue warm'd,
Few heads with knowledge so inform'd:If there's another world, he lives in bliss;If there is none, he made the best of this.
Requiescat in pace.
Saturday, May 29, 2021
“ISIS bride” Hoda Muthana — who fled Alabama to join ISIS in 2014 and is now barred from returning to the US — said she will regret the decision “for the rest of my life,” according to a report on Wednesday.The most American thing about her is the way she blames her overly strict parents and her poor relationship with her mother for her decision to go to Syria.Muthana, 26, tried to explain what led her to become part of the terror group in the new documentary “The Return: Life After ISIS” by Spanish filmmaker Alba Sotorra Clua, People reported.“When you are brainwashed, you don’t realize it until you snap out of it,” Muthana said. “I took everything too fast, and too deep.”What she experienced was “this horrible way of life that I really regret for the rest of my life and that I wish I could just erase,” she says in the film, according to People.
“I grew up as an American, born and raised in America, and all I had waiting for me in the future was an arranged marriage — the exact way my parents wanted it to be,” Muthana continued. “So I had no time to dream about anything.”Disappointment set in at once, she now says:
In Syria, Muthana insisted that she expected to find “a happy place with Muslims, helping in hospitals, helping in schools, helping a community out and just being good decent Muslims to each other.”But then, why did she propagandize for ISIS for quite some time before the califate collapsed? As the story notes:Instead, “It was a big mess. It was hell on earth. Really,” she said.
She continued to post online, celebrating burning her US passport and calling for attacks on Americans.That is a puzzle.
A group of U.S. diplomats and other government staffers suffering from symptoms consistent with "Havana Syndrome" are voicing frustration with the Biden administration's early response, and warning that injured workers are still being denied proper care.The letter included this digression into the signers' failed expectations: "After four years of challenges [Biden arrived, but] ... Unfortunately, our experience thus far has fallen short of our renewed expectations."
The staffers are also urging the administration to increase diagnostic and treatment options for children affected by Havana Syndrome, ensure long-term monitoring of injured workers for 10 to 20 years, and conduct baseline testing on diplomats before they're sent abroad — something Canada's government is now doing in the wake of the unexplained incidents.
It sounds like the Canadian government is taking the lead on this matter. What exactly is the problem on the 7th Floor?
Monday, May 17, 2021
Cathy Milhoan, director of communications for the Secret Service, praised the agency in a statement. “The U.S. Secret Service is aware of an upcoming book which re-hashes past challenges the agency overcame and evolved from,” she wrote. “Now and throughout its 156 year history, the agency’s skilled workforce is dedicated to the successful execution of its critical protective and investigative missions.”
Saturday, May 15, 2021
"Fungus full of psychedelic drugs could cause Indiana Brood X cicadas' butts to fall off" - South Bend Tribune
Friday, May 14, 2021
With a U.S. criminal trial out of question since the accident occurred in Britain, the family is pursuing a civil case, Seiger said, adding that it would seek “significant” damages.The McDonald's lawsuit? That guy is so consistently wrong that I marvel how he keeps his con going. FYI, here's a debunking of the spilled coffee canard.“In the U.S. you can sue for millions of dollars if someone spills some hot coffee on your hand at McDonalds,” he said.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Consul General Ken Roy held a topping out ceremony today to celebrate the structural completion of the new @USConsuladoHer @BLHarbert @PageThink #consulate #construction #architecture #design #diplomacy #sustainability #Hermosillo #Mexico #StateOBO pic.twitter.com/V3WpTQzPlC— Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (@State_OBO) May 4, 2021
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
"Toronto Police Service Guns Seized" - Twitter Site
I love following Toronto Police Service Guns Seized for the antique pieces they take #offthestreets with some frequency. Usually it's something like an old Iver Johnson break-top .32, or a British military Webley or Short Magazine Lee-Enfield. But this week's seizure takes it to a new level. This pistol was 'on the streets' practically before there were streets.
Assuming it's not a modern reproduction - and that looks very unlikely - what the Toronto Police Service have seized is a muzzle-loading caplock percussion pistol complete with ramrod, probably of 14-bore caliber, and seemingly of the French 1822 pattern. It may even be a caplock conversion of a flintlock [!] pistol. Whatever it is, there must be an amazing bit of military history in the story of how it turned up in Toronto in the year 2021.
If that one ends up being destroyed instead of sent to a museum, I'll be shaking my head for a long time.
Monday, April 19, 2021
In the latest development in the US #Justice4Harry case, the two hearings due next week have been cancelled. The next scheduled hearing is 28 October. It is appears partly due to agreement between #AnneSacoolas and #HarryDunn’s family. The issue of a jury trial is unresolved.— Vivion McMahon (@vmcmahon) April 16, 2021
"It seems there has been no interest [on the part of the family] in moving forward short of her [the American driver] return to the United Kingdom."
Friday, April 16, 2021
"Incident involving stripper at job site 'entirely unacceptable'" - Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News, dateline Toronto
CBC News also obtained graphic video of the incident showing at least four men watching and two men touching the woman while she dances. Nobody in the video is wearing a mask or physically distancing, despite government rules for job sites.
There it is: the stripper was not wearing a mask, and no one was physically distancing. You can bet the stripper wasn't wearing ear and eye protection either, much less steel toe stilletos. Write that contractor up for health and safety violations.
For the love of Dr. Fauci and everything holy, I just hope this sort of misconduct does not spread to those job sites run by my good friends in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations. I hold them to a higher standard.
Saturday, April 10, 2021
|(CG Guadalajara, according to an OBO design contractor)|
EMBASSY SECURITY, CONSTRUCTION, AND MAINTENANCE - The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), funded through the Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance (ESCM) appropriation, is responsible for providing U.S. diplomatic and consular missions overseas with secure, safe, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. Government to the host nation and support the Department’s staff in their work to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities represent the best of American planning, design, engineering, construction, and facility management.
The FY 2021 Request is $1.7 billion. The work supported by this request is vital, as more than 93,000 U.S. Government employees from more than 30 agencies at over 291 locations depend on the infrastructure OBO provides and maintains. The FY 2021 Request includes the Department of State’s share of the $2.2 billion Capital Security and Maintenance Cost Sharing Programs to construct and maintain, new, secure facilities, and $100 million to address deferred maintenance for State’s non-cost shared facilitiesWhich lucky posts will get the next round of safe, secure, and functional new facilities? That is a carefully risk-managed decision, as is explained in this publicly available source of information:
OBO will continue to construct diplomatic facilities based on the Department's list of the most vulnerable facilities and to address other security concerns overseas consistent with available resources. This Vulnerability List, published each year by DS, ranks posts according to their vulnerability across different security threats. The process for identifying and prioritizing projects begins with a review of the Vulnerability List mandated by SECCA. The Vulnerability List is then used to establish the Top 80 list that helps OBO to prioritize facilities that need to reduce security vulnerability. In addition to new construction projects, OBO must also design and construct security upgrades to existing facilities.That sounds like a tricky business, but I assume whoever it is in DS who ranks overseas posts according to their vulnerability to security threats must know what he or she is doing.
Friday, April 2, 2021
"Chinese zoo embarrassed after attempting to pass off golden retriever dog as an African lion" - South China Morning Post
Washington (CNN) - More than two months into his term, President Joe Biden has yet to name a single ambassador to send overseas, putting him behind the pace set by his most recent predecessors and leading to early frustrations among some career State Department officials and big-time Democratic donors.Though Biden has been presented with the names of top contenders for ambassadorships to the European Union, NATO and other high-level posts, including China and Russia, and is expected to make a decision on at least some of those positions in April, people familiar with the matter say that on the vast majority of ambassador posts, the president is still weeks away from deciding on the broader makeup of his diplomatic corps.The slow-moving process has however been the subject of rising frustration among some top-level donors, who have been eyeing key ambassador posts since Biden won the election. The whispers have largely remained in the background, however, as top Biden advisers have made clear that campaigning for an ambassadorship is highly frowned upon.A key gatekeeper is Katie Petrelius, who served as national finance director for the Biden campaign, and is now the special assistant to Biden for presidential personnel. She is tasked with fielding inquiries from donors, lawmakers and others who are interested in ambassador posts."Under President Biden, ambassadorships will be remarkably hard to come by," a top Biden donor who is familiar with the process told CNN. "That has been made perfectly clear."The State Department has identified a number of career officials who could take on ambassador roles, said a State Department official. Without White House decisions on which political appointees will get certain posts, the department is stuck waiting.Several prominent names are already topping the lists for some posts: former Ambassador Nick Burns for China; former Biden national security adviser Julie Smith for NATO; former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for Japan.Biden is also keeping in mind longtime friends and allies from the Senate who were helpful to his campaign. In addition to Cindy McCain, who is seen as on track for a European post, Biden is also believed to be considering former Missouri Sen. Claire Mckaskill, former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar for posts, along with Vicki Kennedy, whose late husband Edward Kennedy served along Biden for decades.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Mrs Sacoolas, and her husband Jonathan, have now been told they will be "deposed" by 23 July - meaning they will give their account of events under oath in front of Mr Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, and father, Tim Dunn.
The deposition will form part of the "discovery" process in the Dunn family's civil claim, in which correspondence and documentation relevant to the case will be handed over ahead of a trial at the end of the year.Indeed, the mother seems to not understand that a civil suit cannot force the driver to return to the UK for a criminal trial, which even today she insists is "the only resolution."
But Mrs Charles told Sky News: "She needs to come back to the UK and go through the justice system. It's not up to us, or them, to decide what penalty, if anything should be handed down."
"She wants to find resolution; the only resolution is to face the UK justice system."
"She needs to move on with her life, we need to rebuild ours, but without her going through the UK justice system that can't be done."
Nevertheless, officials in both the UK and the U.S. have made it abundantly clear that the driver will not face the UK justice system, from whose criminal jurisdiction she had immunity from the day she arrived in the UK to the day she departed, as a matter of international law. A civil suit for damages cannot change that.
And so the stage is set for a great reckoning in a little room, sometime before July 23rd.
Friday, March 12, 2021
Sunday, March 7, 2021
"Satan Tries to Get a Date on Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Train" - NBC 10 Boston
That approach is more personable then looking for dates on Tinder, I suppose. But frankly, I find it implausible that Satan would ride public transportation in Boston, or anywhere.
Now, my idea of a real Satan is someone who sounds Mick Jagger/Keith Richards-ish and lives in Las Vegas, where he buys and sells James Brown's soul and makes winner-take-all bets about dragging the Vegas Strip at dawn.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Speaker 9: (01:02:05)And if I could, Anne Sacoolas is still wanted in the UK on charges of causing death by dangerous driving. Now, the original rationale for her leaving the country with diplomatic immunity was that she was the spouse of somebody who was working at RAF Croughton, which under the terms of the agreement there meant she would have diplomatic immunity. It since seems to have emerged, from her lawyer in court here, that she was actually employed by the State Department or the US intelligence services. I wonder if you can clarify whether she was working in UK for the United States government and whether she does actually, as far as you’re concerned, have diplomatic immunity?Jen Psaki: (01:02:41)I would point you to the State Department. They, of course, engage in any questions about diplomacy, diplomatic immunity. Of course, the status of somebody who served during the prior administration, I don’t have anything more for you from it on it from here. Go ahead in the back. She does like to circle back, doesn't she?Now, the question of whether the diplomat's wife had diplomatic immunity has been repeatedly answered in the affirmative by, among others, the UK's own Foreign Minister and its High Court, as well as by the USG at every level from the former Ambassador to the UK to the former SecState, and the USG's position has been reaffirmed by the State Department spokesman for the current administration. That matter really isn't up for grabs. The jury is in, so to speak.But I find it amusing that Psaki reflexively tosses the ball back to the Trump years, as if "somebody who served during the prior administration" is qualitatively different from the professional staff and their family members who are serving today. She separates herself from that bunch, and doesn't have any more on that/them from here.In other news, the civil case against the diplomat's wife will take another step forward tomorrow when the court resumes. Psaki aside, there may be more on that matter then.
Saturday, February 27, 2021The RAND Corporation published an interesting little report last week that has quite a bit of relevance to the physical security of U.S. diplomatic missions. Read it here: Seizures of Western Diplomatic Facilities, Historical Timelines, 1979–2019.It addresses these research questions:What were the durations of attacks on Western diplomatic facilities since 1979, and how much advance warning was there of each attack? And,What implications do historical timelines of duration and advance warning of attacks on diplomatic facilities have for efforts to respond to such attacks?The report found there have been "33 successful seizures of Western diplomatic facilities since 1979 ... The majority of attacks culminated in two hours or less, and over 90 percent culminated in six hours or less ... the median attack duration was four hours, and the average was 4.8 hours."Mind you, those incidents were not only at U.S. diplomatic missions. My general sense of the history of these things is that you'd see a longer average duration if only U.S. missions were considered.RAND supposes that "the lengthening of this [attack] duration could offer wider windows of opportunity to intervene," such as, intervention by U.S. military forces. Hum. Does that sound likely?RAND is the Defense Department's think tank, so far be it from me to question whatever they say about the chances of U.S. military intervention to an attack underway at a U.S. diplomatic mission. But, I can legitimately point out that the last time there was such an intervention was in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion in China. Can you think of another? I can't.There was an attempted intervention in Iran in 1979 - operation Eagle Claw - but it failed. There has not been another one since, and for what should be an obvious reason. The U.S. military is not a police force, and a U.S. embassy cannot just call 911 and expect an immediate response from the SWAT team.The closest thing to a military SWAT team is the Crisis Response Force (formerly known as the Commander's In-Extremis Force) and those, as we learned form the Benghazi Accountability Review Board report, are prepared to respond to a crisis within six hours. On the night of the Benghazi attack, the closest In-Extremis Force was training in Zagreb, Croatia, and the attack was long over before they could have arrived.The realities of time and space make it completely unrealistic to expect a timely intervention from the U.S. military to an attack underway at any of the 270+ U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. The Select Committee on Benghazi heard testimony from both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to that effect. Does anyone doubt it? If so, then I think you read too much Tom Clancy and play too many video games.All that said, please do read about The China Relief Expedition Joint Coalition Warfare in China Summer 1900, which is even better than the Charlton Heston movie version.
"Rooster fitted with knife for cockfighting kills its owner by slashing his groin as it tries to escape" - Daily Mail
The fighting cock had a blade strapped to its leg ready to take on an opponent when it tried to flee the vicious blood sport ... His owner was cut and rushed to hospital in rural Telangana state but died of blood loss before he arrived ... The killer rooster was briefly held at the local police station earlier this week before it was sent to a poultry farm.
I love how the Daily Mail ascribes a motive to the rooster - "it tried to flee" - which makes it all sounds deliberate. The rooster had a definite consciousness of guilt all right, and I just hope it's prepared to pay the price for its rash act. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, even if it's hard time on a poultry farm.