FOI ref: 0995-14 explains that diplomatic immunity has been claimed on a small number of occasions and if the details were to be released it could lead to the individuals concerned being identified. It has therefore been withheld under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act"Personal information," right. You wouldn't want any personal information, or even identities, getting out or else the UK press might stalk and harass your people.
Thursday, December 29, 2022
In 2021, Cobb’s superior court clerk raked in more than $220K, while Fulton’s pocketed $360K in passport processing fees, on top of their salaries.Impressive! Government is not a philanthropic activity, after all. And, mind you, the clerks earned that money the hard way - $35 at a time.
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
President Joe Biden was so disturbed by the Secret Service’s handling of text messages sought by the House January 6 select committee that he stopped speaking candidly in the presence of special agents assigned to his protection detail, a new book on the Biden White House has revealed.
In The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House, author Chris Whipple writes that Mr Biden’s discomfort with the post-Trump era agency began early on in his presidency, when it became clear that “some of” the agents charged with protecting him from assassination were strong supporters of the man he defeated in the 2020 election, former president Donald Trump.
-- snip --
He added that Mr Biden’s trust in his protection detail was further shaken by a March 2021 incident involving a Secret Service agent and his then-three-year-old German Shepherd, Major.
Major, who Mr Biden adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018, was the first rescue dog to serve as First Canine. He allegedly bit a Secret Service agent in the private residence portion of the White House on 8 March 2021, and was temporarily relocated to Delaware for training in the wake of that incident, though he later bit a National Park Service worker just after returning to the White House at the end of that month.
According to Whipple, Mr Biden was quite sceptical about the details of the first alleged biting incident. He writes that although no one disputed that an incident had taken place, the president “wasn’t buying the details,” particularly the alleged location of the biting.
Whipple reveals that Mr Biden expressed his concerns to a friend while he was giving a tour of the White House family quarters. The president reportedly pointed to the alleged location of the biting — on the second floor of the executive mansion — and told the friend: “Look, the Secret Service are never up here. It didn’t happen”. He added that Mr Biden thought “somebody was lying ... about the way the incident had gone down”.C’mon, man, stop the malarkey. First the poor old guy has to keep quiet around Secret Service agents who he thinks might be spying on him. Then, those agents spread all kind of lies about his dog.
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
"Four sources pointed to particular resource challenges associated with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's continued protection. This challenge is exacerbated by sustained threats against Pompeo." https://t.co/gKOvIWS9Xh— TSB (@TweetingTSB) December 21, 2022
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
The violence at China’s consulate in Manchester was unacceptable.— James Cleverly🇬🇧 (@JamesCleverly) December 14, 2022
6 Chinese consulate officials, including the Consul General, are being removed from the UK following the disgraceful incident in October. pic.twitter.com/nxyqtJ1627
"De Sousa categorically denies having any involvement in the alleged kidnapping of Abu Omar. She also rejects the allegation that she was a principal planner of the alleged operation. Even if the allegations were true, though, her actions clearly fell within the scope of her official duties and thereby entitle her to diplomatic/consular immunity."I believe lawyers call that kind of thing 'arguing in the alternative,' as in, “my client the Consular Officer didn’t do it, but, even if she did do it, that crime would have been part of her job and therefore covered by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.” The Chinese CG might have tried that defense.
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Anne Sacoolas has finally been sentenced in a British court.
Since Harry’s death in August 2019 we have been clear that Ms Sacoolas should return to the UK to face British justice.
Since she chose not to, virtual hearings were arranged as the most viable way to bring the case to Court and give justice to Harry’s family.
I want to pay tribute to the incredible resolve of Harry’s family and I hope that the judgment provides some closure.
We have learnt important lessons from this tragic incident, including improvements to the process around exemptions from diplomatic immunity and ensuring the US takes steps to improve road safety around RAF Croughton.
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Right from the start, which was three years and three months ago, the tragic death of Harry Dunn presented a political problem for the UK authorities. It's bad optics when a person with diplomatic immunity causes a road traffic fatality, because every government knows the protected party will be allowed to depart the host country and not be prosecuted. Persons with such status are immune to the criminal jurisdiction of the host country under international law.
In President Obama's words - when referring to an incident in Pakistan several years ago - diplomatic immunity is a principle that all nations of the world have adopted in their mutual interest. Yes, it is. We do it, the British do it, and everybody else does it, too.
In the Dunn case we have the rare situation of a host government which got so much internal political pressure that it transgressed that principle by charging an immune person with a crime and requesting that the sending state extradite its protected citizen back to the host country for prosecution. Social media was probably the critical factor in bringing that much pressure via a riled-up public.
Skipping ahead two years, the UK prosecutors (Crown Prosecution Service) evidently entered into extended negotiations with the defendant's lawyers and, most likely, U.S. government parties, to come to a compromise in which the CPS would go through the motions of a trial while the immune party would stay out of the UK's jurisdiction, making any sentence a judge might impose an empty gesture. In fact, "empty gesture" were exactly the words used by the judge at today's sentencing hearing to describe any arrest warrant she might issue.
But, a sufficiently stern empty gesture maybe would placate the victim's family, or so I imagine they thought.
After seeing today's sentencing hearing and the statements made by the family afterward, it's clear that strategy was a big mistake. It would have been far better for the USG to simply refuse to waive immunity and otherwise stand silent. At most, we should have repeated Obama's statement and then said nothing more.
If you have any interest in the case you probably watched the judge's presentation in court today and know the bottom line: a suspended sentence of eight months incarceration and disqualification from driving for one year. The judge arrived there by finding, first of all, that the defendant's offense of careless (vice dangerous) driving was "not far short" of dangerous, thereby justifying incarceration for a period of 15 months. Then, she acknowledged some mitigating circumstances which reduced the sentence to only eight months. All just hypothetical, really, since the judge several times made it clear that she would have no practical way to enforce either a custodial or non-custodial sentence on someone not in her jurisdiction.
The most interesting of the mitigations was a statement the USG provided the court to the effect that it advised the defendant not to return to the UK for the sentencing hearing, despite the judge's order that she return, since doing so would place significant U.S. interests at risk.
And that was that. If the family had been in the least placated by those results, then maybe it wouldn't have been a massively bad idea to strike a compromise between immunity and punishment. But, once the hearing was over, the family and its 'spokesman' took to the Sky News cameras outside the courthouse and made it clear that, far from being satisfied, they are only getting started on public incitement and verbal abuse of the defendant.
Naturally the first to speak was the blowhard spokesman who said, among other things, that "our real enemy here is the U.S. government." The UK government is in his sights, too, since he promised an extensive coroner's inquest "hopefully sometime next year" plus a parliamentary inquiry and "extensive discussions with the Foreign Office." He ended by repeating his declaration of war on the USG: "if they want a war, they've got a war."
Next up was not the Dunn family but instead the spokesman's son, whose name I didn't quite catch but I think it was "Fredo." He joined in his old man's feckless declaration of war against the dastardly Americans, and even added "me and my team will focus on exposing them." He has a team? How cute.
Finally the mother got a word in, calling the sentence "pretty much what we expected" and making some bitter remarks about the defendant, the saddest and most revealing of which was that it's "unfair how she's getting on with her life."
The mother also replayed her emotional victim statement for Sky News, since it was not streamed on the court video.
The interview ended with the added attraction of some live Sky News video from Washington DC in which an obnoxious reporter ambushed the defendant leaving her lawyer's office. The Mum and her spokesman did some color commentary on the attempted ambush interview, and made some more insulting remarks about the defendant.
All in all, it ought to be clear that there is no middle ground when a government maintains diplomatic immunity. Insist on it, point to Obama's excellent statement about it, and then say no more.
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Harry Dunn: Anne Sacoolas to attend sentencing hearing by video link https://t.co/TT7MeFds6G— BBC Look East (@BBCLookEast) December 6, 2022
Roses are red, violets are blue, here's a new analytical note for you.
You might be attacked this holiday season or maybe not, who can tell? (there's no reason).Our warnings we can't substantiate, and against them there's no way to mitigate.
But take it from us and start to panic, one day you'll go down just like the Titanic.We've been wrong in the past, but that's OK, al Qaeda will strike again one of these days.
Maybe not now but someday, and soon, we'll be right if we keep predicting your doom.Read us and worry, you never can tell, it will do you no good, but then, what the hell?
It keeps us employed and no one minds, So believe all our notes and our portents and signs!
Friday, December 2, 2022
What's the real meaning of a declaration by America's most senior officials that the US "continues to seek" a fugitive who has evaded them for nearly 6 years despite living at an address known to all the relevant officials and in a kingdom that's massively funded by US taxpayers? pic.twitter.com/rJV5E88Z68— This Ongoing War (@ThisOngoingWar) December 2, 2022
Rendition is the practice of detaining a terrorist operative in a foreign country and transferring him or her to the United States or to another foreign country. It has proved to be an effective way to take terrorists off the street and collect, on occasion, some valuable information.Biden then qualified his praise of rendition by positing that "our commitments to the rule of law and civil liberties" are vital to maintaining "foreign coalitions that are significantly more consequential long term and essential to our efforts to combat international terrorism" and therefore a rendition program should be governed by law.