Plame's Lawsuit Dismissed

A federal judge dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's lawsuit against members of the Bush administration Thursday, eliminating one of the last courtroom remnants of the leak scandal.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Plame's attorneys had said the lawsuit would be an uphill battle. Public officials are normally immune from such lawsuits filed in connection with their jobs.

"This just dragged on the character assassination that had gone on for years," said Alex Bourelly, one of Libby's lawyers. "To have the case dismissed is a big relief."

Plame's attorneys said they were reading the opinion and had no immediate comment.

While Bates did not address the constitutional questions, he seemed to side with administration officials who said they were acting within their job duties. Plame had argued that what they did was illegal and outside the scope of their government jobs.

"The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory, " Bates wrote. "But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."


Talk Show America 7/20/2007

Haditha Witness's Surpressed Testimony: AK 47s at White Taxi

A former Marine from Kilo Company wounded at Haditha, Iraq on the day of the alleged massacre told Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators he saw Kalashnikov assault rifles propped against a white taxicab next to the bodies of five Iraqi men killed when the fighting started. His report contradicts prosecution contentions that the Iraqis were innocent civilians.

Joshua Cash Karlen, 23, from Westminster, Colorado, said Monday that he is positive he saw the weapons while he was being evacuated from the battlefield. The following spring Karlen says he reported his observations to NCIS investigators while being interrogated by two special agents.

"They grilled me over why I was there, why I was driving through the cordon and what I saw," Karlen said. "I was in there for about four hours."

Karlen says he repeatedly told the two agents what he witnessed at the ambush site.

"The area was cordoned off when we drove by," Karlen said in a telephone interview from his home. "I was hit by a grenade and had a severe concussion so I had to be evacuated out. I was on the south side of Chestnut (code name for the road running on the south side of the ambush site) being driven through the cordon. We were going real slow so I could see a white car, a pile of bodies, and weapons piled against the car. There were three or four AKs stacked leaning against a white car and some Marines were standing around."


Despite a lengthy interview Karlen's statement was never included in the evidence obtained by the defense, according to defense attorney Brian Rooney. The former Marine Corps Staff Judge Advocate represents Lt. Col Jeffrey Chessani. Chessani is the former commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. Chessani is currently waiting to discover if he will stand general courts-martial over his role in Kilo's alleged murder rampage.

"This is the first I have ever heard of this!"
Rooney exclaimed.

Rooney said the NCIS failure to provide Karlen's eyewitness account to Marine Corps prosecutors was a "very serious omission" that undoubtedly harmed his client's case.

Karlen's testimony is absolutely essential to the defense, Rooney added. The outspoken defense attorney is at a loss to understand why Karlen's statement was never introduced into evidence, he said.

"We could never put any weapons with the Iraqis who were killed by the cab," Rooney explained Monday night. "This evidence is crucial to prove the men in the cab were armed insurgents. Early on there were reports they had weapons, but the weapons were never found."


Hat Tip: Conservative Thoughts

Talk Show America 7/20/2007

Troops See Progress, Grow Weary of Negative Reports on War

Troops on the ground in Iraq are not as much tired of the war as they are of those who are not in the fight saying that no progress has been made, a top commander in the region said today.

The troops there see progress every day, said British Army Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb, deputy commander of Multinational Force Iraq and senior British representative in Iraq, speaking to Pentagon reporters via satellite.

"They see the water going to people who didn't have it before. They see electricity coming on line. They see stability to the networks. They see all the stuff that no one really portrays," Lamb said. "While it's so clear to them that we're making progress, it's not reflected by those who are not in the fight, but [who] are sitting back and making judgment."


Overall, Lamb called the day-to-day work there by coalition forces "hard pounding," and said that extraordinary things are being accomplished by ordinary people.

"You should be enormously proud of what I see your Marines, your Air Force, your Navy, your Army and the civilians who are in the fight out here, as to what they do, and gladly,"
Lamb said.

The British general has served in Iraq since August 2006. This is his second tour to the region. He said, that in the first month of the surge there has been
"good progress, steady momentum, hard fighting, [and coalition forces] going places where they haven't been before. I see -- unequivocally -- that this surge is making a difference."

Lamb compared the complexities of the mission there to playing three-dimensional chess in a dark room - while being shot at.

But, he said, Iraqi forces are making ground in their training and several units own their own battlespace. This is key as coalition forces begin clearing and holding new sections of the capital city.

Only a few years ago, after coalition soldiers would leave cleared areas, insurgents would return and again take control. Under the new strategy, coalition forces now hold sections of the city allowing for local governments to be formed, construction of key infrastructure, training of security forces and the rebuilding of the economy and workforce.

Now, when coalition forces leave, Lamb said, the "vacuum" is not filled with insurgents, but a trained security force and a growing economy.

He said it is a concerted effort on the parts of coalition forces, the local community, Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government. "The sum of the parts is so much greater than where we were before, and the difference should not be underestimated," Lamb said.

Already, several Iraqi units are holding their own north in Diyala and Salahuddin and south in Babil and Basra.

Still, most units require U.S. help with logistics, command and control and intelligence, he said.

Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government are busy weeding out those who are aligned with the insurgency and sectarian violence, especially within the police force, he said. U.S. forces are arresting, and turning over to the Iraqis, any of their security force who are guilty of using their positions to promote sectarian violence, Lamb said.

"We'll take the individuals, arrest them and put them through the Iraqi criminal justice system,"
he said.

Already, 11,000 members of the police force have been removed and 4,000 are in the criminal justice system under review.

"I've seen over my time here people ... looking to improve and deliver a force that is Iraqi rather than sectarian,"
he said.

Talk Show America 7/20/2007

EnviroMental Nut Jobs Suggest Extinguishing Humans to Save Planet

From Newsweek:

The Second Coming may be the most widely anticipated apocalypse ever, but
Environmentalists have their own eschatology-a vision of a world not consumed by holy fire but returned to ecological balance by the removal of the most disruptive species in history. That, of course, would be us. There's even a group trying to bring it about, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, whose Web site calls on people to stop having children altogether.
And now the journalist Alan Weisman has produced "The World Without Us," which conjures up a future something like ... well, like the area around Chernobyl-just forests that have begun reclaiming fields and towns, home to birds, deer, wild boar and moose.

Weisman's intriguing thought experiment is to ask what would happen if the rest of the Earth was similarly evacuated-not by a nuclear holocaust or natural disaster, but by whisking people off in spaceships, or killing them with a virus that spares the rest of the biosphere.
In a matter of days or weeks, nuclear power plants around the world would boil off their water and melt into vast radioactive lumps. Electrical power would fail, and with it the pumps keeping New York City's subways from flooding; in a few years Lexington Avenue would collapse and eventually turn into a river. Lightning-caused fires would blow out the windows in skyscrapers.

Sound appealing? Well, it did to Weisman, too, when he began work on the book four years ago. And "four out of five" of the people he's told about it, he estimates, thought the idea sounded wonderful.


Talk Show America 7/16/2007

North Korea Shuts Down Nuke Reactor

According to Reuters:

North Korea has told the United States it has shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday.

"We welcome this development and look forward to the verification and monitoring of this shutdown by the International Atomic Energy Agency team that has arrived in North Korea,"
said spokesman Sean McCormack.

UPDATE:IAEA Confirms North Korea Has Shut Reactor

U.N. inspectors have verified that North Korea shut down its nuclear reactor, the watchdog agency's chief said Monday, the first on-the-ground achievement toward scaling back Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions since the international standoff began in late 2002.

The main U.S. envoy on the issue, meanwhile, said that the United States is looking to build on momentum and will start deliberations on removing North Korea from a list of terrorism-sponsoring states.

North Korea pledged in an international accord in February to shut the reactor at Yongbyon and dismantle its nuclear programs in return for 1 million tons of oil and political concessions. However, it stalled for several months because of a separate, but now-resolved dispute with the U.S. over frozen bank funds.

The shutdown over the weekend was confirmed by a 10-member team of IAEA inspectors, said Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The process has been going quite well and we have had good cooperation from North Korea. It's a good step in the right direction,"
ElBaradei said, speaking in Bangkok ahead of an event sponsored by Thailand's Science Ministry.

The Yongbyon reactor, about 60 miles north of the capital, generates plutonium for atomic bombs; North Korea conducted its first nuclear test explosion in October.

Talk Show America 7/16/2007

Bush/Cheney Favor Military Action on Iran ?

According to Iran Focus, The Guardian is reporting that:

The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo."

The White House claims that Iran, whose influence in the Middle East has increased significantly over the last six years, is intent on building a nuclear weapon and is arming insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The vice-president, Dick Cheney, has long favoured upping the threat of military action against Iran. He is being resisted by the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates.

Last year Mr Bush came down in favour of Ms Rice, who along with Britain, France and Germany has been putting a diplomatic squeeze on Iran. But at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him. "The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern," the source said this week.

Nick Burns, the undersecretary of state responsible for Iran and a career diplomat who is one of the main advocates of negotiation, told the meeting it was likely that diplomatic manoeuvring would still be continuing in January 2009. That assessment went down badly with Mr Cheney and Mr Bush.

"Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on this one issue, he could still have an impact,"
said Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.

"The red line is not in Iran. The red line is in Israel. If Israel is adamant it will attack, the US will have to take decisive action," Mr Cronin said. "The choices are: tell Israel no, let Israel do the job, or do the job yourself."

No decision on military action is expected until next year. In the meantime, the state department will continue to pursue the diplomatic route.

Talk Show America 7/16/2007