Saturday, October 9, 2021

Harry Dunn Case Update: The Settlement Becomes Unsettled (Money for Lawyers)

















The laborer is worthy of his hire, it says in the Good Book. That even applies to highly political Washington law firms. 

Yesterday, Friday October 8, 2021, the first firm of attorneys to represent the Dunn family in its suit against the American driver filed a sealed motion for attorney's fees in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as a sealed memo and eight sealed exhibits in support of the motion. 

The legal firm of Cohen Milstein first met with the Dunn family way back in December 2019, filed the suit in September 2020, and worked for them up until May 2021. That's a lot of billable hours for three partners at about $1,000 each per hour, plus one lesser-paid associate. 

In May, there was a mysterious falling out between Cohen Milstein and their clients which caused the firm to withdraw from the case. A second law firm took over and got the case to settlement - reportedly - one month ago. 

I say reportedly, because I notice that the Dunn family's spokesman / Svengali has referred to it only as a "resolution" whenever he has done media work, which he does a lot of for someone who insists he is 'not allowed to discuss the case.' 

Surely the Dunn family understood they would have to pay their lawyers, even the ones who had separated themselves from the case. The insurance company (and presumably it was the insurance company who covered her and not the driver personally who paid) agreed to a payout a month ago, the amount of which is undisclosed. Now, it seems the matter of how to divvy up the insurance company's payout between the Dunn family and the many lawyers who have represented them is not quite settled. Otherwise, why would Cohen Milstein see a need to file a claim for its fees?  

As best I understand the rules of these things, attorney fees are paid before client claims for damages, and the fees will be determined according to the agreement which the firm and its clients reached back when they signed a contract. Maybe they work on a contingency basis and get a percentage of the settlement payment, usually a third. 

So the old lawyers will get a slice of the settlement, the new lawyers get another one, and the family gets what's left over. I don't know how UK tax laws work, but usually money from damages is not taxed as income, so let's assume the taxman doesn't take yet another bite. 

The millions of dollars that their blowhard advisor promised the family from a U.S. lawsuit McDonalds-coffee-spill-style are melting away. There probably wasn't much of a settlement in the first place, although we don't know that since those details are confidential and have not yet been spilled.

Visions of Ibiza and Marbella may have to give way to more sensibly priced UK holiday destinations.   

Friday, October 8, 2021

Hillary Co-Wrote a Novel, Sort Of


Her first foray into fiction. 

Why does she lead with her chin like that? After 60 years in politics has she really never developed better instincts?


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Unaware Biden
















You have probably seen clips of this interview by now. 

The phrase "Joe Biden was unaware" is just about exactly the worst soundbite that could be stuck to him at this point, as he flails about trying to recoup something from the budget bill fiasco while his approval / disapproval numbers head underwater.

C'mon Man!©, stop this malarkey before the midterm elections stop it for you. 

That said, John Kerry does quite the Gallic shrug, n'est-cafe


Monday, September 27, 2021

Sad Outcome For a Former OBO Employee

It has happened before, but one does not get used to seeing the news that a colleague you've known for many years, even one you haven't worked with regularly, has pled guilty to a crime.

See the details behind the guilty plea at Diplopundit's post, here. The bottom line is that $60,000, which DOJ's press release described as "lucrative kickbacks," went from an OBO construction contractor to an OBO employee in exchange for insider information that gave the contractor an advantage in winning contract awards.

The guilty party in this case is someone I like and have high regard for. Her motive was financial desperation, apparently. Considered on a scale of culpability, her offense ought to be seen as somewhat less than that of the contractor who purposefully cultivated her as his inside source.

Now, as for the real villain in the piece, OBO's construction contractor Montage Inc and its CEO, I have always had as low an opinion as one could have, right from the start of its engagement with OBO and many other government clients. There was just an auru of sleeze around whatever I saw of the company.

Good riddence to that guy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Settlement Reached in Harry Dunn Civil Suit





















While there is surely a non-disclosure agreement as to the amount involved, Sky News is reporting today:
The details of the agreement have not been disclosed, but Mr Seiger said a resolution in the civil claim means Harry's parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, will now turn their focus to the pending criminal case.
So then, it appears that the family is able to put some things ahead of the emotional catharsis of a face-to-face meeting with the American driver, contrary to their U.S. attorney's representation last month to the judge hearing the case.

Well, it's just as easy to focus on a pending criminal case from Ibiza as from home, innit?

Is this the end of the matter, or will there be more to come? 

Oh, there will be lots more, at least if you credit the family's spokesman/advisor/lawyer/and all-around hustler, there certainly will be. But you shouldn't take him seriously, because he's obviously a grandiose malignant narcissist. 

Specifically, there are now three things on the agenda. First, a criminal trial of the driver, then an inquest, and then a parlimentary inquiry into all the ways the UK government has outraged the spokesman.
"The family feel they can now turn their attention to the criminal case and the long-awaited inquest into Harry's death which will follow the criminal case ... There will also need to be a parliamentary inquiry into this scandal in due course."
The UK High Court has already ruled out a trial. A coroner's inquest following a trial seems out of sequence to me. But I'm all for a parlimentrary inquiry. All those UK officials who have for two years played to public sentiment and refused to talk hard truths to the family deserve to be hoist by their own petard now. Or rather, "in due course."

Sunday, September 5, 2021

You Shake My Nerves And You Rattle My Brain, Things Like This Drive the Voters Insane


AP has reported the disconcerting news that "U.S. officials at intake centers in the United Arab Emirates and in Wisconsin have identified numerous incidents in which Afghan girls have been presented to authorities as the 'wives' of much older men" (see reports of child brides among Afghan refugees).

That will not come as news to those of you with access to official situation reports on the evacuation and resettlement of Afghans, but it does to your fellow citizens in places like Wisconsin. And they do not like it.

Even in 1957, the American public did not like it the least little bit when the very popular Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year-old third cousin, and the backlash sunk his career for at least a decade. 

Joe Biden doesn't have a decade to wait out the public's anger and the political hit that his administration will take over this outrage, and rightly so. That's an irresistible story for all points on the spectrum. Everyone can hate it that the administration did not screen out the perpetrators of child marriage, whether their interest is from a legal, moral, cultural, religious, nationalist, feminist, government-hating, left-wing, or right-wing basis. 

Just last week I thought the images of government contractor working dogs left behind in Kabul would become one of those ineradicable social media disasters for Biden, but now that seems to have dropped out of the news in favor of the child 'brides' story.

C'mon Man!© Stop the child sexual abuse and visa fraud malarkey before you lose both houses in the mid-term elections.

   

Friday, August 20, 2021

"Tho' All the World Betrays Thee"

















Thinking of the ignominious end of our doomed national effort in Afghanistan, with all its enormous humanitarian costs, I've been listening to the mournful Joe Strummer version of The Minstrel Boy:




Harry Dunn Case Update: Depositions Postponed, Possible Signal of a Settlement?

Somewhat interesting news dropped yesterday when the Dunn family's loquacious spokesman/advisor advised the UK news media that, by mutual consent of the parties, the depositions of the American driver and her husband, which had been heavily promoted in UK media for the 'Mum faces son's killer' drama, are now postponed without explaination:
Issuing a short statement about the postponement, the Dunn family's spokesman Radd Seiger told the PA news agency: 'By mutual agreement, the depositions of Mr and Mrs Sacoolas scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday have been postponed.

'The family accordingly are now remaining in the UK and in the meantime they are once again focusing their attention on securing justice in the criminal case.

'We are unable to go into any further detail at this time.'
Notice that he is unable to go into any further detail except, that is, for the further detail he had already gone into, which was that rather odd statement about how the family is now focusing on the nonexistent UK criminal case. I say nonexistent because there is no prospect of any prosecution so long as the USG continues to refuse to waive the driver's diplomatic immunity.

So, what's up with the civil suit? We know the presiding judge has remarked that the case should have been settled long ago, and we also know the plaintiff's lawyer responded to that remark by, essentially, pleading that the family's highest priority is the emotional satisfaction they would derive by going through the civil process. Would you deny the mother her long-sought opportunity to be face to face with the driver in a small room?

I would think that the last moment before the two principal characters go face to face might also be a great moment for the defendants to offer a settlement. Did the insurance company make an offer, and did the family's lawyers - meaning the real ones on this side of the Atlantic, and not that retired ambulance chaser and neighbor who the family is in thrall to - strongly advise accepting it? 

Stopping the civil process short of its emotional climax would surely go against the family's wishes, but recall that the family is now on its second set of American lawyers after a mysterious blow-up with the first set, and perhaps they decided they can't afford to reject legal advice a second time. Maybe they need to take stock of what they really want here.

Taking a payout and then turning their full time and attention to the futile pursuit of a criminal trial might be their best course.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

"All Americans Out ... Local Nationals Left Behind"


Contrast that with SecState Blinken's performance on ABC News' This Week, less than one hour ago:
  
'This Week' Transcript 8-15-21: Sec. Antony Blinken
KARL: Respectfully, not much about what we're seeing seems too orderly or standard operating procedure. I just -- just last month, President Biden said that under no circumstance, and that was his word -- those were his words, under no circumstance would the U.S. personnel, embassy personnel be airlifted out of Kabul in a replay of the scenes that we saw in Saigon in 1975.

So, isn't that exactly what we're seeing now? I mean, even the images are evocative of what happened in Vietnam.

BLINKEN: Let's take a step back. This is manifestly not Saigon.
Not to dispute SecState Blinken, but it is manifestly the case that in the evacuation of Saigon we did not leave (most) of the local nationals behind. 
 

My Vote For Most Iconic Photo of Evacuation From Kabul



















The Taliban are still outside the city and talking about a transitional government, so no one is forcing that guy at gunpoint to paint over female images, but everyone knows what will be expected of them and they are already complying. 

My vote for most iconic image of the U.S. Embassy's hasty departure is the one below. Forget all the photos of choppers over the embassy, here's the final act of our evacuation: dropping helmets and body armor just before boarding the flight out.


The equivalent in Saigon '75 was the evacuees dropping their small arms into the embassy pool before getting on the chopper.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Harry Dunn Case Update: Judge Approves Protective Order Requested by USG





















In the matter of Charles et al v. Sacoolas et al, the civil suit against the American driver in the Harry Dunn fatal road crash, the judge hearing the case has granted the protective order that was requested by the U.S. government.
ORDERED that the United States' motion 62 is GRANTED. Signed by District Judge T. S. Ellis, III on 08/13/2021.
The USG requested the protective order due to concern that depositions of the defendants could go into areas that would implicate national security interests. Yesterday, after hearing from both sides, the judge approved the order. 

For a little context, see this entry in PacerMonitor:
Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge T. S. Ellis, III: Motion Hearing held on 8/13/2021 re62 MOTION for Leave to File Motion for Protective Order and Supporting Ex Parte, In Camera Submission filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Daren Firestone and Jay Nanavati appeared on behalf of the plaintiff. Nicholas Lawrence appeared on behalf of the defendant. Dennis Barghaan, Jr., James Powers and Anthony Coppolino appeared as Interested Party on behalf of the USA. Matter argued. Parties advised the Court depositions are set to take place on August 24, 2021 and August 25, 2021. If any disputes arise from the depositions, a Hearing is set for 8/27/2021 at 01:00 PM in Alexandria Courtroom 900 before District Judge T. S. Ellis III
The plaintiffs and their cheering circles haven't yet taken to social media to denounce this decision, which is a lapse that I attribute to the late Friday afternoon posting of the decision and the time difference between Alexandria, Virginia, and the UK. It might be Monday before they wake up to this latest adverse decision in the case.

The next scheduled actions in the case are depositions of the defendants on August 24 and 25.

Friday, August 13, 2021

An Infrequent Wind is Blowing


We're not quite to that point yet, but somebody in Kabul is probably keying up White Christmas about now.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Roofs, Choppers, and Memes












There's the photo that every lazy news media intern will pull up this week to run with stories about the evacuation of U.S. Embassy Kabul.

That building wasn't the embassy in Saigon. The photo was misidentified way back then, and, even though at least some people know better, they find that image more satisfactory than the truth. In the popular mind it is the embassy in Saigon, and that's all that matters today. So, by extension, it's every other embassy as well.  

Fans of non-fiction about the evacuation of U.S. Embassy Saigon can see this.


Getting Worked Up For No Good Reason at the Press Briefing

Yesterday's Department Press Briefing for August 11, 2021, featuring Department Spokesperson Ned Price, started with AP's Matt Lee getting worked up over Mr. Price's refusal to give him a simple answer.

Matt Lee is one of Hillary Clinton’s old "AP friendlies" so I hate to see him get frustrated or overwrought.

There is video at the link, but here's the transcript:
With that, Matt.

QUESTION: Thanks. Just before we get to what I’m sure will be Afghanistan, I just want to – on the administration’s commitment to democracy, human rights, which I think includes freedom of the press and your support for that, I just wanted to ask you really quickly about the situation with Julian Assange in London, the court hearing that was held today.

- snip -

MR PRICE: This is a matter before the Department of Justice. It’s a matter the Department of Justice is pursuing.

QUESTION: It’s not a matter before the Department of Justice. It’s a matter before the British court. But I just want to know if your position, the State Department’s position, that you represent to the Department of Justice who then represents you has changed at all.

MR. PRICE: Matt, the Department of Justice is pursuing this. I will leave it to them to pursue and to characterize the United States Government’s position on this.

QUESTION: Okay, so the State Department’s position hasn’t changed, correct?

MR. PRICE: Matt, the Department of Justice is speaking for the United States —

QUESTION: Oh, my god.

MR. PRICE: — in a law enforcement matter.

QUESTION: Why can’t you give straight answers? Yes or no, has it changed or not over the course of the last eight years?

MR. PRICE: The Department of Justice in this matter —

QUESTION: I am fully aware, Ned.

MR. PRICE: Matt, you don’t need to be combative, okay? You don’t need to be combative.

QUESTION: I – I —

MR. PRICE: I know you like to get worked up, but please, this is —

QUESTION: I’m not trying to get worked up. I just want a straight answer. Did —

MR. PRICE: It’s a simple matter that’s before the Department of Justice.
Since Matt is upset over the legal troubles of Assange, allow me to link to my favorite WikiLeaks product, its 2016 publication of emails from Hillary’s campaign chairman, American Oligarch John Podesta, brother of lobbyist Tony Podesta.

From that story:
“And then there’s the overly docile press, who were so eager to help Clinton get elected. In one email chain discussing the upcoming release of exchanges between Clinton and writer Sidney Blumenthal, insiders noted that the Associated Press appeared to be willing to allow the Clinton campaign to plant favorable stories. “[T]hey are considering placing a story with a friendly at the AP (Matt Lee or Bradley Klapper), that would lay this out before the majority on the committee has a chance to realize what they have and distort it,” wrote Nick Merrill, the Clinton campaign’s traveling press secretary.”
Their AP friendlies obliged.

When did Matt Lee turn so unfriendly? Hey, maybe if he offered to do the Biden team some favors, Price would give Lee that straight answer he wants.


Friday, August 6, 2021

Former SecState Pompeo: Diet Coke Yes, Japanese Whiskey No

The news media is running with another Pompeo ethics scandal, or would-be scandal, not unlike the ones it ran over the non-scandal of his renting a house on Ft. Belvior as an offical residence when he was Secretary of State.

The State Department is looking into the whereabouts of a $5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey that was gifted to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to State Department filings in the federal register.

The government of Japan gifted the whiskey to Pompeo in 2019, the document says. But it is unclear if Pompeo himself received the whiskey or if a staffer accepted it.

Pompeo said Thursday that he never received the bottle of whiskey and that he had "no idea" it was missing, nor what happened to the gift.

"I assume it wasn't ever touched. It never got to me. I have no idea how the State Department lost this thing, although I saw enormous incompetence at the State Department during my time there," the former secretary of state said during an appearance on Fox News. "Had it been a case of Diet Coke, I'd have been all over it."

- snip -

American officials are prohibited from accepting personal gifts from foreign governments. But "non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government," the State Department says in the filing, so the gifts are turned over to government archives.
This latest exercise in self-pleasuring by the news media was brought on by the report of the Office of the Chief of Protocol; Gifts to Federal Employees from Foreign Government Sources Reported to Employing Agencies in Calendar Year 2019.

I love to browse that annual gift report just to see the amazing stuff that foreign magnificos think to give our traveling USG dignitaries. Like all the jewelry. I mean, how many pairs of pearl earrings can any one FLOTUS wear?

And the ridiculously expensive wristwatches! Among many examples, see page 42 wherein a CIA employee(s) was given men's and women's Rolexes valued at $8,000 apiece by a foreign government whose identity is redacted. Their disposition is recorded only as "disposed," with no hint of how that was accomplished. Another CIA employee was given a woman's Rolex valued at a much more reasonable $2,000, which he or she chose to purchase rather than turn over.

BTW, purchase is always an option with foreign gifts, although one that is rarely taken. Our Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya once purchased a ring given to her by Gaddafi.

Agency people aren't the only ones getting super high-end watches. DOD bigshots get them too, and even more ridiculously expensive ones! General Joseph M. Votel, Commanding General USCENTCOM, received a Rolex valued at a whopping $14,995 from the state of Qatar, plus a few more of somewhat lesser value from Bahrain and Afghanistan, and even a couple from foreign officials whom he couldn't recall later. 

Hey, General, every PX sells perfectly good G-Shocks starting at around 50 bucks that are plenty macho and tactical. Try sporting one of those when you meet your foreign counterparts and maybe then they wouldn't take pity on you and insist that you accept a Rolex or two.

I hope someday we find out the National Archives have been running an underground chop shop to turn all that expensive foreign jewelry into salable commodities. General Votel could maintain his effort in Afghanistan forever with the proceeds of that operation.

And then, there are always gifts of guns and knives. President Trump was gifted with a sweet CZ-75 pistol from the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and an "Ottoman Empire rifle" - not further identified - from the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. I already own a quite wonderful CZ pistol, but the thought of an Ottoman Empire rifle has my imagination working overtime.

Finally, on page 21 of 92, we come to the smoking gun: a bottle of Japanese whisky from His Excellency Suga Yoshihide, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, received 5/10/2019, with an estimated value $8,374 and its disposition reported only as "pending" and a footnote disclaiming that the information about disposition "is valid as of the date of receipt from the reporting agency to the Office of the Chief of Protocol."

What? Disposition of that contraband hooch has been pending ever since 2019? Cue the dramatic music, cause that's Pompeo's ass, right there. Oh, wait, that particular bottle was given to The Honorable Matthew Pottinger, Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs. Forget it.

The bottle of Japanese whiskey that went to Pompeo is recorded on page 30, and that one was received on 6/24/2019, had an estimated value of $5,800, and its disposition is recorded as "unknown" with a footnote stating that "the Department is looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry."

From all this I have learned that the Japanese make some super-expensive whiskey, the very best bottles of which are given to assistants to the POTUS, with Cabinet Secretaries getting a lesser product which, to quote a good movie, I'm sure is quaffable but far from transcendent.

Now, I had always been under the impression that gifts of consumables are not turned over to the Archives or GSA, but rather are disposed of pretty quickly and directly and probably by the security details that accompany our traveling dignitaries. Is that no longer true? Or should the Department direct its ongoing inquiry to the security detail that accompanied Secretary Pompeo to Japan?

Consider the delicious matter of Senator Romney's Wagyu meat, a gift of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with an estimated value of $500. On page 88 of the report the disposition of that gift is listed as simply "Disposition - Disposed of." No details are given, but is it hard to guess what that means? 

Surely Romney's party didn't pack the meat in a cooler and try to deposit it in the National Archives after they got back to Washington. Moreover, so far as is reported, he didn't purchase that gift either, despite its $500 value somewhat exceeding the $390 threshold at which government ethics rules about gifts kick in.

Did you pony up for that BBQ, Senator?

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week




Man, 76, Cops Plea For Home Castration; Floridian also once performed surgery in room at La Quinta Inn - The Smoking Gun
"An elderly Florida Man today copped a plea to felony charges in connection with his bloody, botched castration of a man he met on a eunuch website, a crime for which he will be sentenced to three years in prison, according to court records ... The man’s testicles -- removed during a procedure that took several hours -- were in a pink container atop a bedside table in the makeshift operating room."

"During the raid, investigators took possession of a wide array of medical tools, many of which were covered in blood. Along with scalpels, clamps, hypodermic needles, and forceps, cops confiscated a surgical stapler, rubber tourniquets, a soldering iron, and “an assortment of skinning and filet knives.”"
TSB Note: How was it a "botched" castration when the patient's testicles were, in fact, removed? A castration with complications, it seems, but hardly a botched one. And, what's with the soldering iron???!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Anti-Semitic Incident at Main State

As you must know by now, yesterday the State Department announced that a crude swastika was found scratched into the wall of an elevator at Main State. 
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.

The first report by Axios included a few more details plus a photo, and some speculation - for whose accuracy I cannot vouch - that the particular elevator was chosen because it is "near the office of its special envoy to monitor and combat anti-semitism."

Vandalism with anti-Semitic elements is not so rare, although it is unusual to find it inside a DC federal building, especially a prominent one.

It may be quite some time before we know who did it, or even have a plausible suspect, so it would be prudent to check our tendency to jump to conclusions about the offender's motive. Hate crime statistics from the Justice Department are broken down by the race and ethnicity of known offenders, and perusing them suggests to me that the odds are not overwhelming that the offender was wearing a MAGA hat.

Yesterday's incident is reminiscent of another one from last March when a Capitol Hill Police Officer was suspended after he was observed reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, of all things, while at work at an entry control point on the South Capitol Street entrance to the Longworth Building.

(FYI, the U.S. Holocaust Museum has a good background paper on that "most notorious and widely distributed anti-Semitic publication of modern times.")

That incident happened back in mid-March. At the time, the acting Chief of the Capitol Hill Police announced that she had immediately ordered the officer to be suspended until the Office of Professional Responsibility can thoroughly investigate. So, it's now late July, and you may be wondering what was done about the officer. I don't know, because the incident dropped completely out of the news. The Office of Professional Responsibility may be investigating still. Or, possibly the officer's motive may have been of a nature that does not lend itself to easy political exploitation, and the whole thing has been dropped down the memory hole.

Antisemitism is not peculiar to any particular race, politics, or national/ethnic/religious slant. Fanatics of the left, the right, and the just plain crazy might scratch a swastika into a State Department elevator for who-knows-what reason. See Black or White, It’s the Same Old Anti-Semitic Pathology for a number of examples.

Personally, I will wait and see. And I consider it even money that we will never find out exactly who did it, just as happened with the Capitol Hill offender.

Harry Dunn Case Update: Government Files For Protective Order in Civil Suit















This week the U.S. Government entered the civil case as a party that takes no position on the issues but has interests of its own that it wishes to protect.

A small Northern Virginia news outlet had the most details I've seen so far on the wording of the protective order, and the immediate rebuttal by lawyers for the Dunn family (here):
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.

That last paragraph is curious, since it seems to suggest there could have been some cause or reason for the road traffic accident other than the driver mistakenly driving on the wrong side of the road. Does that seem likely? And why exactly would the plaintiff's lawyers be in any position to say what information does or does not implicate the government's interests?

Those questions will be answered by the judge hearing the case, T.S. Ellis, who is a Reagan appointee with a long record of handling terrorism and espionage cases. He has been given the information that the government wishes to protect. Who knows what any judge will decide, however, if I were a betting man, I'd bet on the plaintiffs being disappointed.

Meanwhile, the protective order has excited the Dunn family's disastrous advisor / spokesman into a new surge of twitter activity and media interviews. You just know that the real lawyers over here who are doing all the work in the case have got to regard him as a loose cannon, especially at this delicate stage when he could just possibly provoke Judge Ellis into sanctioning the plaintiffs or even dismissing the case when he spills the beans on whatever information it is the USG wants to protect.

Not to mention the even bigger liability that he or the family could conceivably commit a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Judge Ellis is the kind of judge who would take a very dim view of anyone violating the IIPA.

I expect that the family's new team of U.S. lawyers are now learning why the original team dropped out of the case.

And you just know that loose cannon will spill anything he knows, or suspects, or wishes were true, or can pretend he has learned, about those USG interests. He is undoubtedly champing at the bit to feed insider tidbits to his favorite media figure, George Galloway, on the later's talk show on Radio Sputnik (yes, really, Radio Sputnik).

By the way, Radio Sputnik is the radio and website counterpart of RT (Russia Today) TV. RT is a subsidiary of TV-Novosti, an organization founded by the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti in April 2005. Its division directed at the United States, RT America, was forced to register with the United States Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

As for Galloway, he was a long-time Member of Parliament until he was expelled from the Labour Party back in 2003, so being a Russian internet shill is for him a late-life occupation.

Galloway is less well known for his brief career as a military strategist and advisor to Saddam Hussein’s regime. By his own account in I'm Not the Only One, Galloway advised Saddam Hussein's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on the best way to handle a potential American invasion:
"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.

Galloway also had other, much more lucrative, conversations with the Iraqi regime, and those came back to bite him when the U.S. Senate looked into the matter of Iraqi oil allocations and under-the-table money sent his way while he was still an MP. See the United States Senate report concerning the testimony of George Galloway (here) for the details.

Well, one good grifter deserves another, and those two are as perfect a paring as I could want.

One last thought: could this civil suit have been avoided if the UK had only done the same thing the State Department did back in 1989 and required the diplomats it hosts to obtain large amounts of motor vehicle insurance and then be issued license plates exclusively through the Foreign Office? Maybe there's a lesson to be learned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

SFRC Hearings for State Department Nominees In Progress Now

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding hearings for State Department nominations today, one of which is for Gentry Smith, the nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.


If confirmed - which is a given - he will be only the third former DS Agent to ever hold the post.


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week




"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

Fortress Embassy Niamey Has a Weird Facade


















My good friends in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) just cut the ribbon on yet another new Fortress Embassy, this one in Niamey, which, I can tell you, really, really, needed one. See the details here: Dedicates the New U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger.

I have one question about the design. That rust-colored thing that covers all of the exterior windows and extends a bit above the roof, what is that? Probably a sun screen, I'm guessing, which makes sense for that climate.  

But doesn't it look exactly like the new southern border fence? 

The first section of completed new border fence 
















Not that I mind an artistic reference to the border fence, you understand. However, I'm surprised that feature passed through so many architectural hands, from OBO itself to its construction contractor and their design firm, without someone objecting. 

   

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Harry Dunn Update: No Sign Yet of Progress Down That Cleared Path

A circular path makes no progress


















It's a good news / bad news situation for the Harry Dunn case, as we get ten days out from Joe Biden's visit to the UK.

The good news is "the path is clear" for something legal to happen, or at least that's what Foreign Secretary Raab told the British press ten days ago, seconded by Boris Johnson after his meeting with Biden.

The bad news is Raab's path is evidently circular, because it's been a little while and I see no evidence of any legal action progressing. Or maybe the path is a cul-de-sac, because it seems to lead nowhere.

Most of the time when politicians speak to us they're just playing chin music. We shouldn't pay much attention to the words they use, which are really lyrics and intended only to express emotion. They are poetry and not to be taken literally.

What exactly were the lyrics that Raab sang ten days ago on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme?
"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.

First, “the path is clear” - Who cleared it? Was an obstacle removed? If so, what was that obstacle? Do the legal authorities in the UK agree with Raab? Who speaks for them, and what does that spokesperson say? Will any UK news organization please ask the Crown Prosecution Service exactly what action it is that they will now take?

Next, “without any problems from the U.S. government” – Doesn’t the fact the USG refused a UK request to extradite the American driver constitute a major problem for any UK legal authority that wishes to prosecute her? Doesn’t the fact that the driver was immune to the criminal jurisdiction of the UK, as has been affirmed by the UK High Court, present another major problem for any UK legal authority that wishes to prosecute her? Doesn’t the fact that diplomatic immunity includes immunity against having to give testimony in court present yet another problem to any UK legal authority that wishes to prosecute her, either in absentia or virtually or in any other way?

Then, “some kind of virtual trial or process” – Is there any kind of trial or process that could be conducted given the defendant’s acknowledged immunity to criminal jurisdiction? Has the CPS now reversed its opposition to trial in absentia ("CPS has written to Anne Sacoolas' lawyers explaining the trial over a video conference idea was not possible over concerns she would not surrender to the court or accept its powers")?

Next, “some solace and some justice for the Dunn family” – Has the Dunn family ever so much as hinted that they would receive solace or justice from any outcome other than the American driver being denied diplomatic immunity and extradited to the UK for trial? If so, please show me where and when they said that.

Lastly and most importantly, “I think the family deserve no less” – Does the family deserve to be misled about the absence of real prospects for a trial? Does the family deserve to be played by weasel-worded official statements that slyly imply what they will not say outright? Rather, doesn't the family instead deserve no less than to be treated as adults and told the unwanted, even tragic, truth?

That refusal by politicians and bureaucrats to speak truth to those who don't want to hear it is where the harm is done, because the Dunn family will grasp at any straw and they take Raab's lyrics literally:
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

ISIS Brides Do Their Little Turn On the Catwalk

























Yes! I thought so. The ISIS Brides are definitely going for public acceptance via new clothes and - oddly, I think - ball caps. 

Here's a story about a newly westernized French ISIS Bride:
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.

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'.
Just "a soft tactic." But, I'm telling you, it's a tactic that is likely to work.

ISIS Bride Makeovers - the Latest Tactic to Gain Sympathy?


This one might work, whereas the old tactic of minimizing their complicity with the caliphate fell flat.

Check out the remarkable before and after photos of Shamima Begum, the ISIS bride who lost her British citizenship (she also had and still has Bangladeshi citizenship) and is now stranded in a camp in Syria while she pleads for the Brits to take her back.

Gone is the shapeless hijab, and on is the nicely-fitting tee shirt and jeans. Now she looks like any young woman you might see in the West right down to the lipstick and bright red nail polish. The Nike ball cap is a nice accessory, too.

Shallow and silly as it may be, this approach will make her more relatable to the British public, or I miss my guess.


Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week




"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

BoJo Talks Harry Dunn Case With Biden



















Again, and as always with the Harry Dunn case, we see the personal confused with the political.

President Biden met with Boris Johnson yesterday, and the later told the BBC that he found Biden 'sympathetic' over Harry Dunn case. We haven't heard anything like that from Biden, I notice.

It is wishful thinking to suppose, due to the coincidence that President Biden has himself experienced personal tragedy in a fatal traffic accident, that it will affect his decision-making on the matter of diplomatic immunity. Suggesting that it will is just tabloid bait.

The matter of diplomatic immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of host nations is a principle of international law that all nations of the world have adopted in their own interests. It will not be waived by the U.S. government in this, or any other, case, not unless President Biden and SecState Blinken suddenly decide they want to undermine our national interests, which I do not see happening.

Of course, the mother of Harry Dunn primed the British media yesterday, saying she would welcome a meeting with Biden. We haven't heard from Joe or his White House spokesperson yet on her offer, but I'm sure he'll clear his schedule for that meeting.

Here's the BBC story from this morning:
One topic that came up between the leaders of the US and UK yesterday was the ongoing issues surrounding the death of Harry Dunn.

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.
The WaPo noticed the BBC report (here) but added nothing new.

"Crucially, it will raise hopes for the Dunn family." Yes, but is that a good thing? Is it better to have false hopes than none at all?

"Working together to end the row" is an ambiguous phrase that could mean merely that Johnson wants the problem, or at least the public's interest in the problem, to go away. But you can read into it whatever other meaning you want. Henry Kissenger called that kind of thing 'constructive ambiguity.'

Regarding that tragic 1972 traffic accident, the driver of the truck involved was also named Dunn (here), oddly enough.

What's more, Biden has a close personal connection to another fatal traffic event, one that involved his younger brother and which resulted in a one million dollar damage award that his brother has never paid. I haven't seen that reported by the U.S. news media, but the UK Daily Mail is all over it:
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

So, if you're one of the many who want to believe that everything is personal and emotional, you can view Biden's interest in the Harry Dunn case in two differennt ways: does he feel more for the survivors of fatal traffic accidents, or more for the perpetrators of them?

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Joe Biden Hopes to "Show Some Progress" on Closing GITMO


















According to NBC News today, Biden quietly moves to start closing Guantánamo ahead of 20th anniversary of 9/11:
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. 

Finally, in the last two paras, NBC gets down to the real story.
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.

Obama's problem was that he and his advisors evidently really believed there was some kind of consensus around closing GITMO, and he ran straight into a wall of opposition in Congress and with the public. 

Kudos to Joe for having a better grasp on that political reality.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week




"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

Whom the Gods of the Beltway Would Destroy, They First Approve FOIA Searches On

Remember 15 days to slow the spread?















Although it’s often incorrectly attributed to Euripides, that 'whom the Gods would destroy' phrase does indeed go back to antiquity, because it has ever been thus when the powerful feel the need for a fall guy. 

And I don't mean just ancient Greeks. U.S. Presidents have been equally ruthless when they wished to separate themselves from an appointee or ally who began to draw more heat than they were worth. See, for instance, the origin of the famous Washington phrase "twisting slowly, slowly in the wind." 

Dr. Fauci is the administration official twisting in the wind today, ever since his emails escaped from the laboratory of the NIH Public Portal and were released into the wild

Are the emails all that damning? Objectively speaking, no. But the public is not in the mood for dispassionate analysis. In the same week that a second year of graduating High School students are being given lawn signs to make up for the senior year that was stolen from them, the public mood is ugly. 

Even if they are looked at objectively, there are one or two things in those emails that could make a fair-minded person want to know more. 

Such as the April 2020 message to Fauci from the Director of the National Institute of Health, Francis Collins, with the subject line "conspiracy gains momentum" and Fauci's response completely redacted. That is way too tantalizing for it to not be taken up by any of the Congressmen whom Fauci has made enemies of. 

Plus the May 2021 message in which Fauci said he is "not convinced" the virus originated naturally and expressed support for an investigation. Oh? Has Congress asked him whether he agrees with the content of this Fact Sheet: Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology which is still up on the State Department's website? 

Those seem to be legitimate questions, even for someone who is not particularly looking for a villain to blame. 

Fauci has defended himself, of course. He has said the whole email thing is "nonsense" and his message traffic is "ripe to be taken out of context," and I would agree. 

But that doesn’t matter. Merely contrasting Fauci’s private messages to his prolix public statements and Congressional testimony is more than enough to do political damage to him. Really, just the words “I do not recommend that you wear a mask” in Fauci’s email to an acquittance work just fine all by themselves as a smoking gun. 

Once public opinion is inflamed, no one has any use for nuance or context. Next will come the bumper stickers. How about Fauci lied, the economy died? 

When Vanity Fair, of all things, is publishing long articles about Chinese lab leaks and how "those who dared to push for transparency say toxic politics and hidden agendas kept us in the dark," the writing is on the wall for the man who has been the Administration's Number 1 public figure for anything COVID. 

After all, why shouldn't Fauci be forced out of his position? At age 80 he’s the highest paid employee of the Federal government ($417,608.00 as of 2019) and has been Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He's stayed too long already, if you ask me. 

Fauci started working for the USG way back in 1968. That's 19 and 68. A bad year for America, although a good one for pop culture. The Beetles released the White Album that year, the Big Mac was introduced (at 49 cents), and theaters were showing The Graduate, Planet of the Apes, and Rosemary's Baby. 

Unfair though it may be, the public needs a villain to blame for the great personal damage that's been done to them for the past year, and the Biden Administration does not need this grief. 


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day

Epitaph On My Own Friend



















On this Memorial Day we should remember the pseudonymous FSO blogger Consul-at-Arms who, back in the day when FSO blogs were first becoming popular but were then cracked down upon by the Department and largely disappeared, was for a while the sole FSO blogger remaining.

He soldiered on until this month when, tragically, he passed away, far too soon. His friends and co-workers are mourning him, but I expect that some of his online readers might have known him only as Consul-at-Arms.

CAA was my oldest friend in the Department. We began as contractors both working in the same office for a few years, then later were both hired as Civil Service employees at the same time and again worked in the same office, with CAA ultimately becoming a Consular Officer and serving at several posts. Sharing an Army background and having similar interests, we stayed in touch on line and sometimes crossed paths at FSI over the many years. 

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 rest

As 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

"Alabama Woman" Regrets Becoming an ISIS Bride

















Hoda Multana, the woman born in New Jersey and raised in Alabama who at age 20 traveled to Syria where she did social media for ISIS, is featured in a film about the women, like her, who are now stranded in Syria after the collapse of the ISIS califate. The film is The Return: Life After ISIS, which is a title altogether too optimistic for Multhana's particular situation, given that she had her U.S. citizenship revoked due to her father's status as a Yemini diplomat at the time of her birth, making her return impossible.

From this week's New York Post story about her:
“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.

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.
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.
“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.”

Instead, “It was a big mess. It was hell on earth. Really,” she said.
But then, why did she propagandize for ISIS for quite some time before the califate collapsed? As the story notes:
She continued to post online, celebrating burning her US passport and calling for attacks on Americans.
That is a puzzle.

Havana Syndrome Strangely Neglected by State Leadership

















Wasn't there an Accountability Review Board convened back in 2018 to look into unexplained medical injuries that occurred in Havana? 

There was, but evidently it failed to resolve much and there has been a lack of continuing attention to the problem. 

This past week several State Department employees sent a letter to Department leaders to say that "Havana Syndrome" sufferers are not getting proper care. You can read the letter here courtesy of NBC News.
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." 

I understand that to say: 'we spent the whole last administration expressing our distain and obstructing its policies as best we could, and this is the thanks we get? We're still waiting in line outside the 7th Floor and so far leadership has refused to hear directly from us. C'mon Man!© Stop the malarkey and do something.' 

The letter writers named several practical measures that the Department could, indeed, take to help its injured personnel, even if the exact cause of their injuries remains unknown.
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

Secret Service Scandals Revisited in New Book

























With such entertaining material to work with, especially the sex scandals, it's no surprise that a WaPo reporter has written a book about the rash of Secret Service failures we've seen in recent years. Of course, the Secret Service spokesperson has pushed back:
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.”
All those many "challenges," ranging from the Columbian prostitutes to the demented intruders who had the run of the White House and grounds, are now in the past? Okay, if you say so.

Personally, I still think the Service is running a clever media campaign to attract mid-20s male slackers to government employment.

Still Biden His Time on Ambassadorial Nominees















According to the Current Ambassador Tracker from our friends at AFSA, as of mid-May the Biden administration has nominated only ten persons to fill 189 total positions.

C'mon, man!© You know how long it'll take to get people through Senate confirmation hearings. If you want anybody in those positions this year, then stop the malarkey and appoint somebody, already.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Harry Dunn Case Update: New Team of Lawyers Appointed (at the Request of the Old Team of Lawyers)



My favorite lawyer, hands-down, is Saul Goodman. But he isn't available for the civil suit that I've been following, the one launched by the parents of Harry Dunn in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

This week it was out with the old, in with the new, as the old team of lawyers requested that the judge in the case allow them to separate themselves from the plaintiffs. This is the second time the Dunn family has changed lawyers in mid-course, the first time being after they lost their case before the UK High Court. Of course, this time the reason for separation might be a little different than mere disappointment over a failed argument. Because the old team took the initiative to separate themselves from the Dunn family, it would seem there was a serious disagreement between the parties.

What could that disagreement have been about? Since a civil suit can really only be about monetary damages, some might assume the old team became frustrated by the family's refusal to settle, maybe because the family is above all else obsessed with the pipe dream of forcing the defendant to return to the UK for trial despite her diplomatic immunity.

Possibly the disagreement was over something else, but I don't completely dismiss the monetary motive. There won't be much monetary damages awarded in the case of an unemployed 19 year-old with no dependents, however, that cold reality is in contrast to the warm and fuzzy million dollar payday which the family's carnival barker was talking up last year.
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.

In the U.S. you can sue for millions of dollars if someone spills some hot coffee on your hand at McDonalds,” he said.
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.

And so the civil suit goes on, just with another delay, presumably, as the new team gets acquainted with the client it has taken on. Can they persuade the family to settle for something that is in the general vicinity of reality? Probably not.