DeLay Convicted of Money Laundering Charges
(chron.com) – After almost 19 hours of deliberations, a Travis County jury today convicted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on felony charges of political money laundering.
DeLay faces two to 20 years in prison on a conspiracy charge and five to 99 years or life on a money laundering charge. DeLay remains free on bail, with sentencing tentatively set for Dec. 20.
DeLay and his family did not react when the verdict was read. But after the court was dismissed, DeLay received a hug and a kiss from his wife. Then, his adult daughter, Dani, buried her face into DeLay’s shoulder and began sobbing. DeLay’s face turned red as he fought back tears.
DeLay’s defense lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, who has claimed no money laundering actually occurred, decried the verdict.
“This is a terrible miscarriage of justice,” DeGuerin said. “We will appeal. I’m very, very disappointed. This will never stand up on appeal.”
DeLay, as he has from the beginning, said the case was all politics, but said his religious faith is getting him through.
“I’m not going to blame anyone,” he said. “This is an abuse of power. It’s a miscarriage of justice. And I still maintain that I am innocent. The criminalization of politics undermines our system.”
Lead prosecutor Gary Cobb said the jury acted without a political agenda and made a decision based on the facts.
“We thought the citizens of Travis County would see this case for what it was, a corrupt politician who was caught violating the laws of the state,” Cobb said.
The case against DeLay originally was brought in 2005 by then-District Attorney Ronnie Earle. DeLay claimed Earle was conducting a Democratic political vendetta.
Earle’s successor, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, noted that as the DeLay case began, her office won a corruption conviction of state Rep. Kino Flores, D-Palmview. She said the cases together show there is nothing partisan about her investigators and prosecutors.
“This case is a message from the citizens of the state of Texas that the public officials they elect to represent them must do so honestly, ethically or else they will be held accountable,” Lehmberg said.
The six-man, six-woman jury promised each other that they would not talk to the media afterward. Visiting Judge Pat Priest assured them he would not immediately release their names.
“It has been conveyed to me by the bailiff that you do not wish to become instant celebrities,” Priest said.
One juror agreed to speak briefly to reporters so long as neither the gender nor any identifying features be given away. The juror said the decision was based on the weight of the evidence in the case.
“It was just everything,” the juror said.
DeLay and two political aides were accused of arranging to trade $190,000 in corporate money with the Republican National Committee in 2002 in exchange a like amount of money raised from individual donations that the RNC gave to seven specified Texas candidates. Texas law bars the use of corporate contributions in candidate elections.
Erdogan: We won’t be silent if Israel attacks Lebanon, Gaza
In Beirut, Turkish PM says Israel cannot “enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children”; Armenians clash with troops in protest of visit.
“Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?” Erdogan asked on the final day of a two-day visit to Lebanon.
“Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us,” he added.
On Thursday in Beirut, hundreds of Lebanese of Armenian descent clashed with army troops during a protest over the Turkish prime minister’s visit.
He was inaugurating a hospital in the southern port city of Sidon as hundreds of protesters gathered in the capital’s Martyrs’ Square.
When demonstrators tore up a large poster of Erdogan and pelted troops with rocks, security responded by beating up a number of them.
There were no reports of major injuries.
Lebanon has 150,000 Armenians, or nearly 4 percent of its population, which harbors deep animosity toward Turks over the 1915 killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians.
Erdogan, during a speech in northern Lebanon, said that if Hizbullah were found guilty of the Hariri assassination, it would impact the entire region.
He suggested that the tribunal delay releasing its findings for another year.
Arab League: Referendum law proves Israel’s aggressive nature
Deputy Arab League chief accuses Israel of placing ‘one obstacle after another’ to halt efforts to renew Mideast peace process.
The Arab League on Wednesday condemned Israel’s new law requiring a referendum on land concession as “illustrating the aggressive character” of the Israeli government and its “disregard for international law.”
Israel “continues to place obstacle after obstacle to harm efforts to renew the peace process,” Deputy Arab League chief Ahmed Hali said.
|Arab foreign ministers and delegations attending a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on July 29, 2010.|
|Photo by: AP|
Every step Israel takes in that direction amplifies the tension and instability in the Middle East, added Hali. He called on the global community to intervene and force Israel to abide by international law.
The Arab League issued its response to the new law a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that the move “puts obstacles in the way of the political process.”
“The Israelis want to tell the whole world that they will not withdraw from Jerusalem or the Golan,” Abbas told reporters on Tuesday at the opening of the new headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah.
The Knesset on Monday approved that law, which stipulates a two-thirds parliamentary majority to cede land in east Jerusalem to the Palestinians or in the Golan Heights to Syria. Failing that, either withdrawal would become subject to a referendum.
While noting that he did not object to Israel putting the final peace deal to a referendum, Abbas said a referendum “on this part or that” meant “obstructions on the way to peace.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told a news conference that the Israeli parliament vote “is a violation of international law,” which considers Jerusalem and the Golan Heights occupied territories.
The two Arab leaders were not the only ones to criticize the bill; Defense Minister Ehud Barak said it would likely be used by Israel’s enemies as proof that it is averse to advancing the Middle East peace process.
“A Palestinian state is in Israel’s clear interest,” Barak said. “This [law] won’t do anybody any good. We must get pass the obstacle of settlement freeze, because is a weak point for Israel that cannot be explained to the world.”
Syria also condemned the bill, saying it was further proof that the Israeli government was not interested in peace.
A Syrian Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday the bill makes a mockery of international laws and UN Security Council resolutions.
Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and wants it all back as the price for peace.
Israel denies any role in death of German politician
Berlin paper blames Mossad for assassinating Uwe Barschel in 1987 because of his supposed knowledge of Israeli-Iranian arms deals.
Under this scenario, Barschel was killed because of his knowledge of illegal Israeli-Iranian arms trading, according to a lengthy article on Sunday in the Berlin-based Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
The paper’s headline read “New lead in the case of Barschel. Trace leads to Mossad” and drew parallels between the contentions of the former Mossad agent, Victor Ostrovsky, and the report issued by forensic specialist Brandenberger.
The 89-year-old toxicologist said “the chemical findings indicate a murder…. Because of the complexity of the murder it must be assumed that a professional hit team, and not an individual, was at work.”
Ostrovsky wrote in his 1994 book The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad’s Secret Agenda that Uwe Barschel was killed by a five-man Israeli assassination team.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor issued a statement to the German news service DPA on Monday, saying “There’s no basis on which one could connect Israel to this case.”
In terms of a new German investigation, Palmor said, “It’s not up to us to tell the German authorities what they should do or not do.”
Palmor dismissed Ostrovsky’s contentions, saying “Half of what he says is lies, and the other half is invented.”
Uwe Barschel was a member of the Christian Democratic Union and was governor of Schleswig- Holstein from 1982-1987. Engulfed in a political scandal because of his involvement in a mudslinging campaign against his opponent, Barschel resigned in 1987. Though Barschel denied participation in discrediting his Social Democratic opponent, it was revealed that he played a role in the campaign attacks.
Brandenberger argues in his pathology report that the killers gave Barschel powerful sedatives and then a lethal cocktail of drugs. According to Brandenberger, his report is based on an analysis of tissue and organs detailing the trajectory and timing of the several drugs.
Germany’s media and legal system have pursued leads over the years to determine if Barschel’s death was a suicide or the result of foul play. The case has become something of an obsession over the years among German media and authorities. Brandenberger’s report is now fueling wild conspiracy theories about Israel in the blogosphere.
The public prosecutor’s office in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, announced on Monday that it plans to reopen the Barschel case. According to a 1998 Lübeck prosecutor’s investigation, there were “discrepancies” in Ostrovsky’s account that did not provide credibility for his theory that the Mossad was responsible for Barschel’s death.
‘Congresswoman halts Israel-Cuba diplomatic opening’
Politico: Incoming Rep. Ros-Lehtinen let Israel know she was displeased with the possible rapprochement, leading to apology from Netanyahu.
Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the incoming chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, let Israel know she was displeased with the possible rapprochement, Politico reported. The congresswoman is a Cuban exile and violently opposed to Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
In an interview with The Atlantic reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, Castro defended Israel and Jews and criticized Iran, leading to praise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a friendly letter from President Shimon Peres.
Ros-Lehtinen complained to Israel about the warm reception to Castro’s words, leading to an apologetic call from Netanyahu, Politico reported.
“I just said look, this guy has been an enemy of Israel, just because he said something that a normal person would say — after 50 years of anti-Israel incitement, it’s one phrase from an old guy who doesn’t even know where he’s standing,” Ros-Lehtinen told Politico.
Sarah Palin: ‘We’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies’
A slip of the tongue by Sarah Palin mixing up North and South Korea is a reminder of the credibility hurdles she faces
(guardian.co.uk.com) Sarah Palin never claimed she could see Russia from her house – that was Tina Fey – but she went one better on Glenn Beck’s radio show in discussing the tensions in the Korean Peninsula and saying: “We’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies”.
A transcript of the radio show reads:
Interviewer: How would you handle a situation like the one that just developed in North Korea?
Palin: Well, North Korea, this is stemming from a greater problem, when we’re all sitting around asking, ‘Oh no, what are we going to do,’ and we’re not having a lot of faith that the White House is going to come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea is going to do. So this speaks to a bigger picture that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy. But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies – we’re bound to by treaty….
Interviewer: South Korean.
Palin: Yes, and we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.
Although it was obvious from her preceding remarks that this really was just a slip of the tongue, it’s exactly the kind of slip that Palin can’t afford to make if she wants to be a credible presidential candidate in 2012.
It wasn’t long before Twitter wags got on the case:
Like the brave Sarah Palin, I, too, support our allies in North Dakota
A book on the 2008 presidential election campaign, Game Change, had some revealing if unsourced claims about Palin’s lack of knowledge, presumably coming from one of John McCain’s advisors. Page 397 of the paperback edition described events from September 2008:
[M]embers of her traveling party met Palin at the Rtitz-Carlton near Reagan airport, in Pentagon City, Virginia – and found that, although she’d made some progress with her memorization and studies, her grasp of rudimentary facts and concepts was minimal. Palin couldn’t explain why North and South Korea were separate nations. She didn’t know what the Fed did. Asked who attacked America on 9/11, she suggested several times that it was Saddam Hussain. And asked to identify the enemy that her son would be fighting in Iraq, she drew a blank.
A slip of the tongue is the bane of any politician’s life: ask Barack Obama, who in the presidential campaign said he’d visited 57 states and has rarely been allowed to forget it. So if Palin is a serious candidate for the Republican nomination it’s better that she mix up South and North Korea than North and South Carolina, where a crucial early presidential primary takes place.
Aside from the North Korea mistake, Palin’s full response to the question was foreign policy boilerplate: stand by South Korea and try to put pressure on China. Hardly maverick stuff – and almost certainly what the White House is already doing.
Poll: Americans Oppose Going to War Over Korea
Voters Wary as Officials Pledge Unquestioning Support for South
Obama Administration officials made a big show of pledging to commit American soldiers to a potential resumption of the Korean War, and the head of the US Air Force even offered to “pitch in” if South Korea started launching bombing raids against the North. But a new Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll showed a large majority of Americans are averse to getting involved in a new Korean War.
Indeed, 56 percent of Americans opposed unilateral military action in the extremely unlikely event that North Korea launched an all-out invasion on the South. The poll also showed massive opposition to the US taking it upon themselves to “punish” North Korea for affronts against the South.
Of course, while tensions are on the rise on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of this week’s brief artillery clash, a ground invasion by the struggling North seems remarkably unlikely. In fact, even official war games held in and around the peninsula universally assume an invasion of the North in an attempt to stabilize the nation or enforce a regime change, not the other way around.
The poll was not confined to Korean matters, though this was clearly the topic of most immediate import this week. The poll also showed growing opposition among voters to the planned “permanent” bases in Afghanistan and the possibility of such bases in Iraq, suggesting the era of knee-jerk support for America’s ever-growing collection of overseas bases is coming to an end.
Who Voted for More War?
by Philip Giraldi, antiwar.com
Something strange has occurred in the aftermath of the November 2nd midterm election. Even though the United States is fighting two major wars and is involved as well in a number of lesser military conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, foreign and security policy was not on the ballot anywhere. Apart from a couple of candidates in Illinois trying to outdo each other in terms of affirmation of loyalty to Israel, not a word was heard about America’s international engagements and their consequences. Yet, we find ourselves only three weeks later learning that the election and its Republican Party triumph is an affirmation of the foreign policy of the Bush Administration and a sign that the American people want a more assertive role for the United States internationally. More torture by all means but let’s call it something else, keep Guantanamo open, and don’t forget that pat down at the airport. As the great George Orwell put it, freedom is slavery and war is peace. Ain’t it hell?
Not being able to vote on major issues because one is not offered the choice by the two dominant parties is nothing new in the United States. Searching for the antiwar vote is somewhat akin to the curious case of the dog that didn’t bark. The inside the beltway consensus on foreign policy, that the US is a force for good and should be involved everywhere and at all times, is deeply ingrained in the system even if the voters often don’t quite get it. Even when Americans do think they are voting for change they are invariably disappointed. One need only recall the Barack Obama electoral victory, obtained through an antiwar vote that was subsequently discounted when the Democratic version of the Great Decider ascended to the throne in the Emerald City. Today, under Obama, we have more war, more citations of state secrets, and a justice system that has been so perverted that a recent federal jury trial of terrorist suspect Ahmed Ghailani is being roundly condemned on both sides of the political aisle because it failed to convict on all counts. Congress will no doubt soon move to dispense with trials altogether, opting instead to declare verdicts in advance, avoiding all the expense of defense attorneys and summoning juries. The money saved can be used to reconstruct Afghanistan or to build more prisons here at home to accommodate the surge in convictions.
But absence of evidence that Americans want more war is not necessarily evidence of absence, as the sagacious Donald Rumsfeld once put it. The subliminal desire to kill more ragheads could well have been there, quite possibly expressed through oblique references to mosques defiling the sacred soil of ground zero or rumors of Sharia law emerging full blown in Oklahoma. Sensing the possible mood swing, we now have a number of leading Republicans and at least one independent charging full speed ahead, sounding as if they had just emerged victorious from a national referendum calling on congress to declare war on those parts of the world that are not already under assault by US forces. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain discern a new will to go toe to toe with Islamofascism while Sarah Palin, from her bully pulpit, is calling for victory in both Iraq and Afghanistan and using force to support America’s “friends” all around the world. Joe Lieberman is talking openly of a possible congressional resolution that would endorse war against Iran. Barack Obama has responded to the challenge characteristically by surrendering on all fronts, announcing that the US will be in Afghanistan until 2014, not leaving in 2011 as he had previously pledged. The date is providential as it promises eventual departure to the delusional who still believe that the president is a man of his word while offering an end strategy where nothing actually has to happen before the next presidential election in 2012. He will also be giving Israel a whole lot of new warplanes in exchange for absolutely nothing, making it more likely that Joe Lieberman’s dream of an Iran reduced to a bubbling puddle by Zionist nukes might come about.
Just as Bristol Palin’s lead footed performance on television’s Dancing with the Stars proves that you don’t actually have to know how to dance to enter the finals of a dance competition in the United States, so too has it proven unnecessary to know anything at all to wind up in congress or to aspire to even higher office. The dittoheads from both parties have taken control of Washington. Being voted into office by a largely ignorant electorate that has been led by the nose for years appears to have become something close to sanctification, turning a used car salesman into a latter day Palmerston. Both voters and those they elect confuse the ability to bomb the crap out of half of the world with sound judgment and statesmanship. What goes through the brain of someone who casts a vote for a Lindsey Graham or a John McCain or a Joe Lieberman? Or, God help us all, a Sarah Palin? Is it a form of mental illness or some kind of Armageddonite impulse that is seeking a war that will terminate the world as we know it? Well, with the new Republican majority and a cipher in the White House they just might get their chance to end everything.
But as it is Thanksgiving, it is perhaps appropriate to ditch the gloom for just one day and look on the bright side. There has been no war against Iran in spite of the best efforts of Graham, McCain, Lieberman, Palin, the Israel Lobby, and the mainstream media. That is largely due to the intelligence community’s having developed a backbone in its 2007 Iran NIE, but it is also the product of alternative media sites like Antiwar.com that make sure that the downside of yet another military adventure is made clear to an increasingly well informed and vocal public. Antiwar has a stable of staff and contributors who put in long hours to produce unique content for the site, reflecting a wide range of viewpoints even if neocons are not generally welcome, thank you very much. On Thanksgiving I personally want to thank the many contributors whom I read and listen to every week: Justin Raimondo, Kelley Vlahos, Scott Horton, Ivan Eland, Chuck Pena, Jeff Huber, Jim Lobe, Gareth Porter, Paul Craig Roberts, and so many others. And I particularly will drink a toast later today to my fellow former spooks who have done so much to rip the veil of secrecy that surrounds the National Security State and its bankrupt policies: Ray McGovern, Michael Scheuer, and the Christisons. Floreat in aeternum!
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