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Friday, November 02, 2007

Rice to face subpoena in espionage case

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and more than a dozen other current and former intelligence officials must testify about their conversations with pro-Israel lobbyists, a federal judge ruled Friday in an espionage case.

Lawyers for two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists facing charges have subpoenaed Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams and several others to testify at their trial next year. Prosecutors had challenged the subpoenas in federal court.

Lobbyists Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman maintain the Israeli interest group played an unofficial but sanctioned role in crafting foreign policy and that Rice and others can confirm it.

If they ultimately testify in court, the trial in federal court in suburban Alexandria, Va. could offer a behind-the-scenes look at the way U.S. foreign policy is crafted.

The lobbyists are accused of receiving classified information from a now-convicted Pentagon official and relaying it to an Israeli official and the press. The information included details about the al-Qaida terror network, U.S. policy in Iran and the bombing of the Khobar Towers dormitory in Saudi Arabia, federal prosecutors said.

But defense attorneys argued that top U.S. officials regularly used the lobbyists as a go-between as they crafted Middle East policy. If so, attorneys say, how are Rosen and Weissman supposed to know the same behavior that's expected of them on one day is criminal the next?

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said the lobbyists have a right to argue that "they believed the meetings charged in the indictment were simply further examples of the government's use of AIPAC as a diplomatic back channel."

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell cheered the ruling.

"For over two years, we have been explaining that our clients' conduct was lawful and completely consistent with how the U.S. government dealt with AIPAC and other foreign policy groups," Lowell said on behalf of both defendants. "We look forward to the trial."

Ellis left open the possibility that the Bush administration may challenge the subpoenas on the grounds they would reveal privileged information. But the judge said his ruling Friday "may trump a valid governmental privilege."

If so, that could force the government to decide whether to allow the testimony or drop the case.

Neither the State Department nor the Justice Department had an immediate comment.

Among those subpoenaed in the case were: former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; and Marc Grossman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Theory on why "Conservatism" = Corruption in Alaska

All of the convicted, indicted, and confessed political criminals are political conservatives. Is that an accident? Hardly. And here is why.

In Alaska "Conservative" has become tantamount to to being anti-Government, anti-Regulation, and, basically, anti-Enforcement of rules of conduct with respect to Government. Ironically, these same "Conservatives" pound their hollow chests about Law & Order but that is usually enforcing laws against the most eggregious kind, crimes against person and property. Conservatives who do not believe in Government, however, do not see "white collar" crime the same way.

"Conservatives" in Alaska think Government is the enemy. I like to say, Conservatives don't believe government works and get themselves elected to prove that they are right.

"Free Enterprise" on the other hand is sacrosanct to Alaskan Conservatives--or what passes North of 60 as Free Enterprise. The so-called Private Sector is supposed to be Private and free from the interference of the much-hated "Government".

Conservatives in Alaska have been taught that the "Sharp Operator" is King and if you can "bend the rules" and beat the competition and make money that...well...hell, that's the American Way, right?

Conservatives in Alaska believe in Family Values as endorsed by the 50 or so most influential Pastors in Alaska--who also happen to be Republicans: tax breaks, anti-abortion, faith-based grants and the like. So if the Alaskan Conservative takes care of those items, it really doesn't matter to the "faithful" what that elected official does or what rules are violated.

Conservatives in Alaska have learned to deliver the Pork to their constituents and keep the good ol' boyz happy, be it artificial turf for their kids to play football on or funding State Troopers to patrol the Hillside Neighborhood in Anchorage.

So...if the Pastors are happy and the biggest mouths of their constituency are warm with contentment from the Sow's Milk of public pork, the most important thing for the Alaskans Conservative to do is to beat-up "Government" and figure out a way to make money and connections.

Alaskan Liberals are certainly subject to temptation, but not as much as Alaskan Conservatives. Why? Because "Liberals" understand secular ethics; they don't believe that their judgement is reserved to the Lord--they accept personal responsibility for their behavior in the Here and Now. It turns out that the thing that Alaskan Conservatives ridicule Liberals about is the quality we most need in elected officials: a believe in and respect for the operation of Government.

People who believe government can work are more likely to make it work. People who have a strong secular ethical code of behavior are less likely to be corrupt than those who believe that everything will be sorted out in the Afterlife and what is God's is God's and what is Ceaser's is Ceaser's.

Let's hear it for those Liberal Secular Humanists in Alaska!