Prosecutor: No charges in deadly road rage shooting near Sparta   
Prosecutors say they cannot prove without a reasonable doubt that Robert Chipman Jr. was not acting in self-defense.
          Prosecutors: Execs of sham Philadelphia-based investment firm stole $1.5M   
Two financial investment advisers are facing federal charges for allegedly scheming others out of at least $1.5 million that was spent on hotels, restaurants, jewelry stores and other personal purchases. On Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced the fraud charges filed against 42-year-old Carl Frederic Sealey and 44-year-old Eric Enge, who courted private investors through their businesses, Global Standard Industries and SEK Industries. Both Sealey…

          Operator of Illegal Bitcoin Exchange Sentenced to Prison   

Anthony Murgio, 33, of Tampa, Florida, has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for running a Bitcoin exchange connected to hackers. The exchange was used to launder more than $10 million worth of funds, authorities reported.

Both Murgio and Yuri Lebedev, 39, of St. John’s, Florida, operated through a fraudulent company called “Collectables Club.” According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the illegal Bitcoin exchange used the firm’s misleading name to open financial accounts at banks pretending to be a “members-only association of individuals who discussed, bought, and sold collectible items and memorabilia.” Murgio and Lebedev, along with other co-conspirators, violated bank and credit card company rules and regulations by “deliberately misidentifying and miscoding customers’ credit and debit card transactions.”

“Lies conceived and deployed by Murgio permeated every aspect of’s operation, including its use of front companies, like Collectables Club and Currency Enthusiasts, to try to conceal the illicit nature of the operation,” the Department of Justice stated in its sentencing submission.

On January 9, Murgio pled guilty to three counts regarding operating, which processed over $10 million worth of illegal Bitcoin transactions. Murgio ran the Bitcoin exchange between October 2013 and July 2015 for Gery Shalon, 33, an Israeli citizen who was responsible for hacking at least nine companies, including JPMorgan Chase, E-Trade Financial Corporation and Dow Jones. sold bitcoins that came from illegal online transactions, such as victim payments to ransomware attackers who sought to launder the cryptocurrencies clean.

“I screwed up badly and made serious mistakes and misjudgments,” Murgio said, showing remorse, to U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan at his sentencing.

Shalon, along with Ziv Orenstein, 42, compromised data on approximately 76 million household customers and 7 million businesses by hacking the nine companies. U.S. officials described their operation as a “diversified criminal conglomerate” responsible for the largest theft of valuable information from a U.S. bank. The compromised data included the names of customers, along with email addresses and phone numbers. Authorities collected evidence stating that Murgio exchanged cash for the bitcoins of Shalon’s criminal gang. Israeli police arrested Shalon and Orenstein in July 2015, and they were extradited to the United States in June 2016. Both are facing serious charges, including aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and money laundering.

“Mr. Murgio led an effort based on ambition and greed,” and constructed on a “pyramid of lies,” Judge Nathan said during the sentencing hearing at the Manhattan federal court.

On March 17, a Manhattan jury found Lebedev and his co-conspirator Trevon Gross, 52, of New Jersey, guilty of charges connected to a bribery scheme in an attempt to hide the illegal activities of from financial institutes and regulators. Both of the defendants are facing a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Judge Nathan scheduled the sentencing hearing of Lebedev and Gross for July 20, 2017.

Murgio’s father, Michael Murgio, 66, was also involved in the case. In October, the father plead guilty to “making a false statement to the National Credit Union Administration on behalf of his son.” By making a plea deal, Michael Murgio managed to avoid additional charges in the case, including “conspiracy to make corrupt payments with intent to influence an officer of a financial institution and making corrupt payments.” Judge Nathan sentenced the elder Murgio to one year of probation along with a $12,000 fine.

The FBI arrested both Lebedev and Murgio on July 23, 2015, for “running an unlicensed bitcoin exchange with the goal of helping individuals launder money.”

Despite the prosecution’s request for 10 to 12 years and seven months behind bars, the Manhattan federal court sentenced Murgio to five and a half years in prison. According to Reuters, Judge Nathan considered Murgio’s “generosity to friends and support to his family” and imposed a prison sentence half as long as the prosecutor recommended.

Judge Nathan has scheduled a hearing on September 1 to decide on the amount of fines, forfeiture and restitution Murgio has to pay to the state. The operator of the illegal Bitcoin exchange remains free on bail.

The post Operator of Illegal Bitcoin Exchange Sentenced to Prison appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

          Cosby Juror Thought Star Was 'Caught Red-Handed' by Own Words   
Bill Cosby's first trial ended with a hung jury, but prosecutors plan to try him again.
          TS251: Grocery Woes, Gay Bachelor, Rape Loopholes, Guest Randi Driscoll   
This week Bryan and Erin debut their new horror film "Night Shopper," a tale of a fresh faced yogi cruelly forced to consume dusty cotton candy grapes in front of an audience of pissedWhole Foods patrons. In other news, Logo's new show "Finding Prince Charming" (a bachelor-esque show for gay men) is starting a conversation about the expectations of a gay couple; and California is closing a loophole that has allowed rapists to elude prosecution...progress! Also singer Randi Driscoll is here to talk about her times playing shows on a keg, being inspired by Matthew Shepherd, and the wonders of San Diego.
          French politician Marine Le Pen under formal investigation for misuse of EU funds   
Prosecutors have placed French far-right leader Marine Le Pen under formal investigation as part of a probe into the alleged misuse of European Union funds to pay parliamentary assistants.
          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."...
          If something comes up again I’ll act: PM   

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday defended his re-appointment of Marlene McDonald to his Cabinet. In fact, he said her return as Public Utilities Minister came at an opportune time.

However, Rowley assured that reassigning Fitzgerald Hinds as Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs was not a demotion.

At the post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Rowley spoke about the impromptu Cabinet reshuffle—his second since assuming office in September 2015.

Asked if McDonald’s return was a way of expressing confidence in her, given the fact there were a series of allegations made against her which were investigated by the Integrity Commission, Rowley said it was a matter that needed to be looked at.

Having been elected as Port-of-Spain South MP in 2015, Rowley said McDonald was appointed to the Cabinet after serving as Opposition Chief Whip. In early 2015, he said “certain persons were making some very disturbing allegations against Miss McDonald.”

Last March, Mc Donald was fired from the Cabinet following media revelations that she had employed her common-law husband Michael Carew in her Port-of-Spain South constituency office. A report from Fixin T&T head Kirk Waithe stated he received information from Parliament which showed Carew and a director of the Calabar Foundation were employed at McDonald’s constituency office for five years, while Carew’s brother Lennox Carew still worked at the MP’s office.

McDonald’s common-law husband, who worked at the office from June 1, 2010 to September 7, 2015, had earned a salary of $13,400 for the full parliamentary term while Lennox began working in the office on March 1, 2011 and had been in receipt of $14,000.

But Rowley said it was the allegation of how McDonald conducted herself in the Ministry of Housing which forced him to ask her to remove herself as a minister so the Integrity Commission investigate. When the allegation surfaced, he said there was information “which persons were prosecuting to the point of persecuting about how she conducted herself in the Ministry of Housing. It was alleged that she was buying houses in the Ministry of Housing in other people’s names and they identified the names and individuals… and she had a relationship with and so on. That, was an area I found required the removal of Miss McDonald so to allow the investigation to take place.”

To the best of his knowledge, Rowley said investigations had taken place and the commission had indicated to Mc Donald that “they had found no basis to conclude that she had breached the Integrity in Public Life Act on this package of investigations and probably others. On that basis, I as Prime Minister have no difficulty in reappointing Miss McDonald in the Cabinet. Of course, that would displease some people who believe what pleases them should happen.”

Rowley said in the future if something else surfaces against McDonald he would deal with it.

Asked if Hinds’ shifting was a demotion, Rowley said he was “very versatile and is a tremendous asset to the Cabinet and Government.” This was Hinds’ second realignment by Rowley. He was first removed from the Ministry of Works and Transport and put to manage the Ministry of Public Utilities, which McDonald is now in charge of.

But the PM said Hinds has expertise in Constitutional and criminal law and as a former policeman, he was ideally suited to work in the AG’s office. He said, however, that Stuart Young will continue to hold the position as Minister in the Ministry of the AG and Legal Affairs as well.

Rowley said Government intended to have a very robust legislative programme in which Hinds will play an integral role.

          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."...
           U.S. says ex-consultant set up meetings over Iran's nuclear program    
By Brendan PiersonNEW YORK, June 30 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday that a former consultant to Iran's mission to the United...
           Neglect charges filed after Indianapolis boy fatally shot    
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Prosecutors have filed two neglect charges against a 27-year-old Indianapolis man whose 5-year-old son fatally shot a 9-year-old...
           NY subway fraudsters get free ticket to ride    
Jumping turnstiles on the Manhattan subway will no longer be an offense punishable by arrest and imprisonment, a New York prosecutor said Friday, a move...
           Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence    
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as...
           The Latest: Feds prosecuting most Chicago gun cases in years    
CHICAGO (AP) - The Latest on a local and federal initiative to curb gun violence in Chicago (all times local):3:20 p.m.Authorities say a growing partnership...
           Prosecutors charge man with 9 Phoenix serial killings    
PHOENIX (AP) - A former city bus driver accused in a string of deadly nighttime shootings of people outside their homes or sitting in cars that kept...
           Venezuela's defiant chief prosecutor requests protection    
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's chief prosecutor asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for protection Friday, days after the Supreme...
           Louisiana prosecutor's report details 2016 ambush of police    
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The gunman who killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge last summer had searched online for the home addresses of two...
          Chicago Police, Feds Team Up On New Effort To Curb Violence   

Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors are launching a new initiative Friday to stem the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at “epidemic proportions.” Trump’s remark on Twitter came ahead of an announcement by Chicago police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the formation of the Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office acknowledged that an additional 20 ATF agents have been sent to Chicago. State police, intelligence analysts and state and federal prosecutors will target illegal guns and repeat gun offenders, Chicago police said. Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement Thursday night that “we are foundationally changing the way we fight crime in Chicago.” Trump tweeted Friday morning that “Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help.” In January, he warned Chicago about its high number of homicides, saying on Twitter that he is ready to “send in the Feds.” Adam Collins, spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the city wants federal help. “Six months ago we made it clear that we would welcome additional federal support, and six months later we appreciate the 20 new ATF agents that are now arriving,” Collins said in an email. But as the police department released figures that show the number of homicides, shooting incidents and shooting victims has dropped, Collins said “the progress CPD has made this year has happened without any of the new resources from the federal government we requested.” In fact, earlier this week, officials announced that the ATF had loaned the city a van outfitted with ballistic testing equipment to help police more quickly solve gun crimes. Trump’s latest tweet said there have been 1,714 shootings in Chicago this year. According to the police department, there have been 1,703 shooting victims. There were 1,935 shooting victims in the city during the same period last year. Also, there have been 1,360 shooting incidents so far this year — 224 less than were reported during the same period in 2016. So far this year, there have been 320 homicides compared to 322 by this time last year, according to the police department. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking Friday on the Fox News Channel’s morning show, “Fox & Friends,” said the Justice Department is “sending in additional gun investigators” to Chicago and that he has urged the U.S. attorney’s office to prosecute gun cases aggressively. “The police have been demoralized in many ways,” he said. “In many ways, the policies in Chicago have not been working. Murders are way, way too high. It is critical for the people of Chicago’s public safety that we begin to work together here and deport violent criminals that have been convicted. They need to not be a sanctuary city, they need to be protecting the people of Chicago from violent criminals.” Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement late Thursday that federal and Cook County prosecutors plan to develop new strategies to prosecute gun crimes and offenders. Sessions last week pledged federal assistance to 12 cities to help them develop individualized, long-term strategies to fight violence. But Chicago was not among them. The Justice Department said that’s because Chicago was already […]

The post Chicago Police, Feds Team Up On New Effort To Curb Violence appeared first on Yeshiva World News.

          Jury Finds That NYC Skyscraper Owner Violated Iran Sanctions   

The U.S. government said it’s ready to seize a Manhattan skyscraper from an Iranian-American charity after a jury found Thursday that the charity’s majority ownership was derived from financial dealings that violated sanctions against Iran. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said the owners of the office tower near Rockefeller Center “gave the Iranian government a critical foothold in the very heart of Manhattan through which Iran successfully circumvented U.S. economic sanctions.” “For over a decade, hiding in plain sight, this 36-story Manhattan office tower secretly served as a front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of U.S. sanctions laws,” Kim said in a statement. “In this trial, 650 Fifth Avenue’s secret was laid bare for all to see, and today’s jury verdict affirms what we have been alleging since 2008.” The verdict in the civil case was sure to be appealed. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier ordered the case to go to trial after U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled in favor of the United States. Over the last month, lawyers for the Alavi Foundation argued that the charity was unaware if Iran was secretly benefiting from a partner who owned 40 percent of the building. The Alavi Foundation owns 60 percent. Kim said the building was worth at least a half billion dollars, though some estimates put its worth closer to a billion dollars. Kim said the sale of the building, combined with several other properties around the country, would represent the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in U.S. history. The prosecutor said the verdict “allows for substantial recovery for victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism.” The government is seeking to turn over proceeds of a sale to holders of over $5 billion in terrorism-related judgments against the government of Iran, including claims brought by the estates of victims killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Defense lawyers didn’t immediately comment. It was unclear what effect the verdict will have on the Alavi Foundation, which supports a Queens school among other charity works. The verdict seemed to spare a Catharpin, Virginia, property after jurors concluded its funds did not violate sanctions and were not used in money laundering activities. The government said the verdict should allow it to seize properties in Houston; Carmichael, California; and Rockville, Maryland. The Fifth Avenue building was erected in the 1970s on property acquired by the not-for-profit corporation. It was valued at $83 million in 1989 and has steadily risen in value. Government lawyers said Iran has secretly controlled the building for years as millions of dollars in rent payments are funneled to it from a partnership made up of Alavi and a shell company fronting for a secret interest held by the state-owned bank of Iran, Bank Melli. (AP)

The post Jury Finds That NYC Skyscraper Owner Violated Iran Sanctions appeared first on Yeshiva World News.

           Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed    
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The military judge overseeing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's case says prosecutors can try the soldier on a rare charge alleging he...
          Searchers' wounds will be considered at Army sergeant Bergdahl's sentencing   

Serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy Seal who searched for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial, a judge ruled Friday, giving prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier. The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ruled that...

          French far-right leader Le Pen accused of misusing EU funds   

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen was charged Friday with allegedly misusing European Parliament funds to pay two parliamentary aides who also work at her National Front headquarters. Her lawyer said she will fight the charges. The prosecutor's office said Le Pen was summoned and handed preliminary...

          Investor: 'Pharma Bro' reported too-good-to-be-true returns   

An investor who put $300,000 into one of "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli's health care industry hedge fund testified Thursday that he reported eye-popping returns before abruptly shutting down the fund and ducking her demands to get her money back.

Prosecutors say the account shows Sarah Hassan was...

          Former Custer City Official Pleads To Child Sex Charges   
CUSTER, S.D. (AP) – A former Custer city official has pleaded guilty to child sex charges under a deal with prosecutors. The Rapid City Journal reports that former planning administrator Scott Simianer was accused of inappropriately touching a pre-teenage girl and taking pornographic photos of her in 2015. He entered an Alford plea on Thursday, not admitting guilt but acknowledging...
          U.S. CFTC reaches first non-prosecution deal with ex-Citigroup traders   
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission struck its first-ever non-prosecution deal with three former traders from a unit of Citigroup on Thursday, in what could signal part of a broader new enforcement strategy to win cooperation from Wall Street. The country's top derivatives regulator said three former traders, Jeremy Lao and Shlomo Salant of New York and Daniel Liao of Japan, had all cooperated with the CFTC into its investigation of illegal "spoofing" - a manipulative trading tactic in which traders create the false appearance of market interest by placing orders and then immediately cancel them. The CFTC had previously fined Citigroup $25 million in the case, which involved spoofing of U.S. Treasury futures. That was the first time a bank had been charged with spoofing since the CFTC won broad new powers in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law to go after the practice. In March, the CFTC also filed civil charges against two other traders in connection with the case, ordering them
          Ex-State Street executive pleads guilty in U.S. fraud case   
A former State Street Corp executive pleaded guilty on Wednesday in connection with what U.S. prosecutors said was a scheme to defraud six clients through secret commissions on billions of dollars worth of trades. Edward Pennings, a former senior managing director in State Street's London office, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, prosecutors said. Pennings is one of three former State Street executives to face U.S. charges in connection with the probe. The Boston-based bank in January to agree to pay $64.6 million to resolve related U.S. criminal and civil investigations. A lawyer for Pennings, who lives in Britain, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A second former executive, Richard Boomgaardt, who lives in Britain and was head of State Street's transition management desk for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is expected to plead guilty on July 12, according to court records. The
          Former Olathe South teacher, coach arrested and accused of having sex with student   
OLATHE, Kan. — A former teacher and coach faces felony charges, accused of having sex with a 16-year old girl. FOX 4 has been tracking this investigation for nearly two months, and on Friday afternoon, prosecutors charged Michael Jasiczek with unlawful sexual relations. Jascizek was a beloved teacher and weights coach for more than a decade at Olathe South High School. The students called him “Coach Jazz,” but prosecutors believe he crossed the line with a 16-year-old student. In early […]
          Wyandotte Co. prosecutor praises sheriff for investigating one of their own accused of ‘great dishonor’   
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Wyandotte County district attorney and Wyandotte County sheriff held a news conference Friday morning to explain the case against a now-former deputy. Prosecutor Mark A. Dupree and Sheriff Don Ash believe Jay Pennington is guilty of official misconduct, making false information, forgery and theft and filed four felony charges against Pennington on Thursday. Pennington, 38, was a deputy with Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office and a team leader for the Offender Registration Unit when he allegedly committed […]
          Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed   

The military judge overseeing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's case has ruled that prosecutors can move forward with a rare charge alleging he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan.

The post Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed appeared first on

          Comment on CCT Dismisses Charges Against Bukola Saraki by I Am Extremely Shocked By Saraki’s Acquittal By CCT – Sagay – Concise News   
[…] two-man panel of the CCT led by Danladi Umar unanimously upheld Saraki’s no-case submission, holding that the evidence by the prosecution was discredited under […]
          Eric Holder Sends Out Ominous Midnight Tweet to ‘Career FBI/DOJ Employees’. Note from Orly: time for a special prosecutor to investigate Eric Holder, Mueller, Comey, Lynch and Rosenstein for the cover up of Obama’s use of a stolen CT SSN and fabricated IDs   
Eric Holder Sends Out Ominous Midnight Tweet to ‘Career FBI/DOJ Employees’
          Comment on EFCC Indictment Over Paris Club Refunds False – Saraki by Falana Calls On EFCC To Prosecute Those Indicted In Paris Club Refund Saga   
[…] Senate president has since denounced the allegation, calling it ”mudslinging” and […]
          Comment on Sen. Bukola Saraki Deposited N77m Into His Account – CCB by Falana Calls On EFCC To Prosecute Those Indicted In Paris Club Refund Saga   
[…] to the alleged EFCC leaked report, about N3.5 billion had been traced to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his close […]
          Charges dropped against juveniles accused of setting Gatlinburg wildfires   
Gatlinburg business owner: We still want your businessProsecutors said Friday that they have dropped the charges against two juveniles who were accused of starting the Gatlinburg wildfires that left a trail of destruction through multiple states, including part of North Carolina.
          Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed   
BergdahlThe military judge overseeing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's case says prosecutors can try the soldier on a rare charge alleging he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
          Cunningham: UNC football player eligible for reinstatement after sex charges dropped   
Allen ArtisProsecutors on Thursday dismissed charges filed against a UNC-Chapel Hill football player by another student who alleged he sexually assaulted her last year.
          Conservationists take aim at poachers   

As the rate of animal poaching continues to rise, conservationists have begun calling for stronger laws and deterrents to wildlife crimes.

African governments and non-governmental organizations are starting to take wildlife crimes as seriously as other transnational crimes such as drug smuggling and human trafficking. In recent years countries have strengthened anti-poaching laws and stepped up prosecutions.

          Chronicle AM: SD Sued Over Forced Catheterization of Toddler for Drug Test, More... (6/30/17)   

The ACLU sues South Dakota over the forced drug testing of a toddler, Detroit residents again sue the dope squad for killing dogs in pot raids, Pennsylvania's governor signs an asset forfeiture reform bill, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

EPA Rejects California's Request to Recognize Allowable Marijuana Pesticides. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt last week rejected the state's request to recognize acceptable pesticides for pot crops. Pruitt used the fact of marijuana's continuing illegality under federal law to justify the decision: "Under federal law, cultivation (along with sale and use) of cannabis is generally unlawful as a schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The EPA finds that the general illegality of cannabis cultivation makes pesticide use on cannabis a fundamentally different use pattern."

Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Health Department Issues Dispensary Permits. The Health Department announced Thursday it had granted 27 medical marijuana dispensary permits. Each permit holder can open up to three dispensaries. They will be permitted to begin selling medical marijuana in six months. Click on the link for a list of permit recipients.

Asset Forfeiture

Pennsylvania Governor Signs Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed into law Senate Bill 8 on Thursday. The bill does not end civil asset forfeiture, but does impose a higher burden of proof on law enforcement before forfeitures can take place, mandate a hearing before any seized real property is forfeited, and add protections for third-party property owners.

Drug Testing

South Dakota Sued Over Forced Catherization of 3-Year-Old for Drug Test. The ACLU of South Dakota has filed a pair of lawsuits over the forced use of a catheter to take a urine sample from a three-year-boy to test for drugs as part of a child welfare investigation. The suit comes in the case of a Pierre woman whose boyfriend violated probation by testing positive for illegal drugs. Child protective workers then told the women her children would be taken away if she did not submit them to a drug test. The federal lawsuit names as defendants the state of South Dakota and the hospital whose employees actually performed the procedure.

Law Enforcement

Detroit's Dog Killing Drug Cops Sued for Third Time. A Detroit couple has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Detroit Police alleging officers needlessly and maliciously killed their three dogs during a July 2016 marijuana raid after officers refused to let them retrieve the animals from the back yard. That brings to three the number of active lawsuits filed against Detroit cops for killing dogs during pot raids. The culprit is the department's Major Violators Unit, which conducts hundreds of raids a year in the city, and which has left a trail of dead dogs in its wake. One officer alone has killed 69 dogs.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules County DAs Can't Form Their Own Dope Squads. The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday the county prosecutors cannot form their own policing units to conduct drug interdiction efforts, including traffic stops. The ruling came in a case involving the State Attorney's Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Unit created by the LaSalle County district attorney. The unit operated for five years, mainly stopping cars on their way to and from Chicago. Previously, state appeals courts had ruled that the units were an overreach of prosecutorial authority, and now the state's highest court has backed them up.

          US says ex-consultant set up meetings with US-based atomic scientist over Iran’s nuclear program   
U.S. prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday that a former consultant to Iran’s mission to the United Nations recruited a United States-based atomic scientist to meet with Iranian officials about Iran’s nuclear program. The filing regarding the former consultant, Ahmad Sheikhzadeh, ...
          'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli blasts prosecutors as 'junior varsity'   
"They blame me for everything," Shkreli griped before his lawyer cut the meeting short.
(US 11th Circuit) - No. 16-17359

          Two self-defense bills scheduled for further hearings, possible amendments & vote in House committee   

Chairwoman Kristina Roegner (R-37) has announced that the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee will be hearing testimony on two self-defense bills on Wednesday, July 5 at 1:00p.m. in Room 115.

The committee will be hearing testimony on HB 142 (Repeal LEO notification). House Bill 142 seeks to repeal requirements that, when detained for a law-enforcement purpose, a concealed carry licensee must "promptly inform" an approaching law enforcement officer that the licensee is a licensee and is carrying a concealed handgun. In 2015, a study by revealed that Ohio was in a vast minority of states that makes such a requirement of concealed handgun license-holders. This will be the fourth hearing for this important legislation, and the chair has indicated that possible amendments may be offered before a possible vote.

The committee will also be considering proponent testimony on HB 233 (DEFEND Act), a bill which seeks to decriminalize so-called “no-guns" victim zones for concealed handgun license (CHL) holders. This will be the third hearing for this important legislation, and given that opponents will be given the chance to testify, committee members are no-doubt in store for yet another round of "sky-is-falling" predictions that will never come to pass. The chair has indicated that possible amendments may also be offered on this bill before a possible vote.

In the DEFEND Hearing's second hearing on June 20, bill sponsor John Becker submitted an amendment to his original bill which he said accepts suggestions from prosecutors but preserves the spirit of the bill.

The changes, he said, add the word "knowingly" in terms of intent and change a proposed penalty of disorderly conduct to trespassing. The new version also changes the term firearm to deadly weapon.

Buckeye Firearms Association's Jim Irvine testified in support of the bill, saying no need has ever been shown for many of the restrictions on firearms. He informed the committee the bill overall reduces penalties and minimizes the potential that a person would face a crime for taking a gun to a location where they are prohibited.

Please contact your State Representative TODAY and politely urge him or her to support this pro-gun legislation.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.


Following is Jim Irvine's proponent testimony on HB 233, delivered to the House committee on June 20:

Good afternoon Chairwomen Roegner, Vice Chairman Lipps, ranking member Leland and members of the House Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations. I testify today in support of Sub H.B. 233.

We all enjoy many constitutionally protected rights. And we understand that the State may put restrictions on those rights. To properly do so, they must show a justifiable need for that restriction. You can’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded movie theater.

No need has ever been shown to restrict the constitutionally protected, individual right to bear arms in most of the places that Ohio law restricts people from having a firearm available to defend their life.There is serious criminal activity in Ohio. We are suffering through a drug epidemic. Serious crimes deserve serious (felony) punishment. It is a waste of law-enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial resources to criminalize an otherwise law-abiding citizen with a similar degree of crime for status offenses.

There is a huge difference between the crimes of rape, murder, arson, and a CHL holder walking into a church or library which happens to be a government building. The law should reflect that stark difference.

Sub. H.B. 233 makes the punishment fit the crime.

We have endorsed it and recommend its passage.

          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
CHICAGO – Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors are launching a new initiative Friday to stem the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."

Trump's remark on Twitter came ahead of an announcement by Chicago police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the formation of the Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office acknowledged that an additional 20 ATF agents have been sent to Chicago.

State police, intelligence analysts and state and federal prosecutors will target illegal guns and repeat gun offenders, Chicago police said. Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement Thursday night that "we are foundationally changing the way we fight crime in Chicago."

Trump tweeted Friday morning that "Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help." In January, he warned Chicago about its high number of homicides, saying on Twitter that he is ready to "send in the Feds."

Adam Collins, spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the city wants federal help.

"Six months ago we made it clear that we would welcome additional federal support, and six months later we appreciate the 20 new ATF agents that are now arriving," Collins said in an email. But as the police department released figures that show the number of homicides, shooting incidents and shooting victims has dropped, Collins said "the progress CPD has made this year has happened without any of the new resources from the federal government we requested."

In fact, earlier this week, officials announced that the ATF had loaned the city a van outfitted with ballistic testing equipment to help police more quickly solve gun crimes.

Trump's latest tweet said there have been 1,714 shootings in Chicago this year. According to the police department, there have been 1,703 shooting victims. There were 1,935 shooting victims in the city during the same period last year. Also, there have been 1,360 shooting incidents so far this year — 224 less than were reported during the same period in 2016. So far this year, there have been 320 homicides compared to 322 by this time last year, according to the police department.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking Friday on the Fox News Channel's morning show, "Fox & Friends," said the Justice Department is "sending in additional gun investigators" to Chicago and that he has urged the U.S. attorney's office to prosecute gun cases aggressively.

"The police have been demoralized in many ways," he said. "In many ways, the policies in Chicago have not been working. Murders are way, way too high. It is critical for the people of Chicago's public safety that we begin to work together here and deport violent criminals that have been convicted. They need to not be a sanctuary city, they need to be protecting the people of Chicago from violent criminals."

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement late Thursday that federal and Cook County prosecutors plan to develop new strategies to prosecute gun crimes and offenders.

On Friday, Sessions said the Justice Department will send more federal prosecutors to "prioritize prosecutions to reduce gun violence."

Sessions last week pledged federal assistance to 12 cities to help them develop individualized, long-term strategies to fight violence. But Chicago was not among them.

The Justice Department said that's because Chicago was already part of a similar Justice Department program called the Violence Reduction Network, which began in 2014. Under that initiative, federal agents teamed up with their local counterparts to share resources and intelligence.

The Justice Department spokesman said the department will keep working with cities including Chicago under the new crime-fighting program, called the Public Safety Partnership. And he noted that dozens of additional ATF agents had "surged" into Chicago so far this year.

          Harvard man found guilty of drug charges   
HARVARD – A Harvard man was found guilty of unlawful possession with the intent to deliver both cocaine and heroin, according to the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office.

About 12:15 a.m. Nov. 23, Harvard police made a traffic stop in which 33-year-old Gregorio Pena of Harvard was a passenger. Pena was arrested on an active arrest warrant.

According to a news release from the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office, Pena was seen reaching down the right side of his seat before being arrested. During an inventory search of the vehicle, Harvard Police found a plastic container that contained multiple bags of cocaine and heroin where Pena was reaching, according to the state's attorney's office.

The street level value of the cocaine and heroin was about $1,000, according to the news release.

“We are losing about one person a week to drug overdoses in this community,” McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said. “Holding the dealers that peddle this filth accountable and seeking extended prison terms is one part of how we are going to turn the tide.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorneys Alexander J. Geocaris and Kyle R. Bruett.

Pena will be sentenced Aug. 9. The Harvard resident faces between four to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to the news release.

          Report: "Violence and Terror: Findings on Clandestine Graves in Mexico”   
 Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from La Jornada 

        More Than 1000 Clandestine Graves Found in Mexico, 
                Report Confirms and NGO's Denounce

BY: Fernando Camacho Silva
June 22, 2012

Extra Material from TeleSurTV

Mexico City. Throughout the country there are more than a thousand clandestine graves, in which 2,114 human skulls have been found, according to the report Violence and Terror: Findings on Clandestine Graves in Mexico , carried out jointly by various academic and human rights organizations.
During the presentation of the study, Jorge Ruiz and Mónica Meltis, two of the authors of the paper, explained that the methodology of the analysis consisted of gathering hemerographic notes on the subject and data sent by the prosecutors of several states of the Republic , via transparency requests.
Ruiz said that only 12 state procuratorial offices provided information on the clandestine graves found in their territories (Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Sinaloa, Coahuila, Durango, Sonora, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Campeche and Quintana Roo), meanwhile the others stated that they had no data on them or were not obliged to provide them.

Another point that draws attention is that prosecutors of some of the entities with the highest levels of violence in the country, such as Guerrero, Jalisco and Chihuahua, are among those who denied having information on the matter.

Likewise, the vast majority of state prosecutors did not give figures on how many bodies were identified, while federal agencies such as the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of National Defense provided incomplete numbers.
According to the study, the states with the largest number of clandestine graves are Guerrero (59), Jalisco (53), Chihuahua (47), Coahuila (45), Tamaulipas (40), Nuevo Leon (33) and Michoacán .
Also, the municipalities that concentrated the largest percentage of graves were Durango, Durango (21 percent); San Fernando, Tamaulipas (12 percent); Acapulco, Guerrero (6 percent); La Barca, Jalisco (5 percent); Juárez, Nuevo Leon (5 percent), and Taxco, Guerrero (4 percent).

The country’s decades-long, military-led crackdown on drug cartels has resulted in hundreds of “disappeared” people, with many that are missing or who have been murdered, having no known links to criminal gangs. 

Over 250 human skulls were discovered at the Colinas de Santa Fe area, near the Veracruz harbor. Earliest traces of the mass grave were found in August by the Colectivo Solecito, a grassroots organization of relatives of Mexico’s disappeared.

Ortiz, who is in charge of investigating the discovery, believes the skulls belong to victims of drug cartels. He is currently waiting for US $1.8 million dollars promised by the Mexican government to buy sample materials to identify the remains.

In March, Veracruz Attorney General Jorge Winckler Ortiz accused the Mexican Government of knowing about the mass grave of at least 242 bodies that were discovered in his state earlier that month.

“It is impossible for anyone to have realized what happened here, with the vehicles that were coming in and out, if not with the complicity of government authority,” Ortiz said and added: "I do not understand  how else." HispanTV reports.

Despite having to depend on federal authorities who are believed to be “complicit” in the case, Ortiz continues to work independently with families to find answers.

"They give us just the bones but at least I have them. I can keep (them) somewhere ... I can put a flower on (them)," Colectivo Solecito member Martha Gonzalez told CNN en Español. "And I can know that they are really there and resting."

Veracruz, one of Mexico’s most violent states, is home to armed conflict between drug cartels Los Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion. Within the last year, over 120 graves of suspected drug war victims have been discovered, Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior .

Many believe Mexico’s federal government is involved in both recruiting members for these cartels and hiding the bodies of victims.

One day for example, policemen in Culiacan were filmed arresting eight young men before handing them over to what was believed to be an organized crime group. The incident echoed the circumstances that led to the disappearance of 43 students at the Ayotzinapa teachers' college, which sparked international outcry more than two years ago.

In 2016, more than 20,000 homicides were reported across Mexico, the highest level registered since Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in 2012.

                               Disappearances Still Rising in Mexico 2 Years After Ayotzinapa

“Despite this alarming estimate, Mexico has still not realized how serious was the situation of disappearances,” said CNDH state official Ismael Eslava, adding that over 80 percent of the cases were concentrated in 11 out of the 31 states in the country: Guerrero, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, Zacatecas, Coahuila, Colima, San Luis Potosi, Durango, Jalisco and Sonora.

Most of them are related to confrontations between rival drug cartels, sometimes with the support of authorities, said the report, which based its conclusions on over 500 requests before state and federal courts to find their relatives.

Relatives welcomed the report as an improvement on the usual work of the CNDH, often criticized for reluctantly investigating the cases of disappearances or human rights abuses, especially when they involve local or federal authorities.

The relatives of the victims complained that they have to carry out the search themselves for their loved ones, as the state fails to guarantee justice. However, running such investigations usually exposes them to death threats and other risks.

Between 2007 and September 2016, a total of 855 illegal mass graves were found across Mexico according to the official estimate, while a staggering 30,000 people were reported disappeared, according to a report by the National Commission of Human Rights. 

          Prosecutor urges strong message with sentence of 18 months in child-bride case   

          New York Post: ‘Pharma Bro’ compares prosecutors to ‘junior varsity’   
Pharma Bro just cant keep his mouth shut. Martin Shkreli slammed Brooklyn prosecutors as a junior varsity team that’s blaming him for capitalism in a nearly 10-minute rant to reporters 
          Former Napier councillor to be retried for murder   
The second trial of murder-accused former Napier City councillor Peter Beckett will go ahead after the failure of a Canadian court defence application to stay the prosecution.The trial will start in the British Columbia Supreme...
          Former Penn State AD Tim Curley Seeks House Arrest After Cancer Diagnosis   

Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley wants his prison sentence changed to house arrest and work release after a medical review showed he has lung cancer and liver damage.

On Wednesday, Lori Falce of the Centre Daily Times reported Curley, who received seven to 23 months of incarceration for failing to report the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault scandal, filed a court motion to change the punishment due to his health problems.

The filing noted the diagnosis "makes him susceptible to infection and illness." Chief deputy attorney general Laura Ditka said she would "respectfully defer to the discretion of the court" after prosecutors didn't oppose the request.

Teresa Bonner of Penn Live reported Curley was originally sentenced to serve three months in jail and four months under house arrest during a June 2 hearing. He also had to pay $5,000 in fines and complete 200 hours of community service.

He was one of three former Penn State officials, joining President Graham Spanier and Vice President Gary Schultz, sentenced for failing to come forward with information about Sandusky's actions.

In 2012, Sandusky, the longtime Nittany Lions assistant coach, was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys.

Read more NCAA news on

          Feds: Woman in arson case admitted she “microwaved a kitten”   
  A woman accused of lying to a grand jury about a Schenectady fire that killed her ex-lover and his three children has a history of witness intimidation and violence that includes an admission that she once “microwaved a kitten,” a federal prosecutor said Wednesday. A judge denied bail to Jennica Duell, 26, of Schenectady,
          Charges dropped for co-defendant in Ocean Gate rent scam probe   
The estranged wife of an admitted rent scammer from Ocean Gate is relieved of income tax evasion charges that were leveled against both by Ocean County prosecutors this past March. Continue reading…
          Lawyer of NJ teacher accused of groping says girl may have lied for revenge   
A Superior Court judge said there was a "striking lack of information" in the prosecution's evidence. Continue reading…
          Opinion: Brazil’s Other “Criminal Masterminds”   
Opinion by Michael Royster RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last September, a federal prosecutor accused former President Lula of being the mastermind and supreme leader of the Mensalão and Petrolão schemes. Nevertheless, there are still people in Brazil who truly believe Lula is an innocent victim of a plot by Brazil’s entrenched elite to tarnish […]
          Burma: Drop Charges Against 3 Journalists   

A reporter looks at an article about the three detained journalists in the Democratic Voice of Burma newsroom in Rangoon, Burma, June 29, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters

(Bangkok) – Burmese authorities should immediately drop charges against three journalists for news gathering at a public event organized by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State, Human Rights Watch said today.

On June 26, 2017, the Burmese military detained Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Naing from the Democratic Voice of Burma and Thein Zaw, also known as Lawi Weng, from The Irrawaddy after stopping their car as they returned from a TNLA drug-burning ceremony marking the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. On June 28, the reporters were charged under section 17(1) of Burma’s colonial-era Unlawful Associations Act of 1908, local media reported. All three have been detained at Hsipaw prison in Shan State and are next scheduled to appear in court on July 11.

It’s appalling that the Burmese authorities are charging journalists for simply doing their job.

Phil Robertson

Deputy Asia Director

“It’s appalling that the Burmese authorities are charging journalists for simply doing their job,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Burma’s government, which consists of many former political prisoners held on similarly dubious grounds, should drop these charges immediately and ensure the three are released.”

During the nearly three days the military held the journalists without charge, their location was unknown. Four other people were reportedly also arrested and detained.

Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act carries a sentence of up to three years in prison for anyone who “is a member of an unlawful association, or takes part in meetings of any such association, or contributes or receives or solicits any contribution for the purpose of any such association, or in any way assists the operations of any such association.” This broadly worded provision has been routinely used for decades to punish people suspected of having any contact with an opposition armed group.

Ta’ang National Liberation Army soldiers burn an opium field in northern Shan State, January 16, 2014.

© 2014 Reuters

The TNLA is among more than a dozen ethnic minority armed groups that for decades have been fighting Burma’s central government, and has been designated an “unlawful armed group” by the Burmese authorities. While the TNLA is not a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement signed in October 2015, representatives of the armed group attended the second round of the Panglong Peace Conference held by the Burmese government in the capital, Naypyidaw, in May 2017.

Arresting journalists who are gathering news about an armed group is a serious blow to media freedom in Burma. While the government may place restrictions on the media for national security reasons, these restrictions must be strictly necessary for a legitimate purpose and not be overbroad. They may not be used to suppress or withhold information of legitimate public interest not harmful to national security, or to prosecute journalists for reporting such information.

For the government to fulfill this responsibility, journalists must be able to speak and meet with a variety of people without fear of arrest or harassment – including those who are in conflict with the government or military.

The arrest of the three journalists appears to conflict with Burma’s News Media Law. Section 7(a) of the law, in force since June 2015, states that a journalist “shall be exempt from being detained by a certain security related authority, or his/her equipment being confiscated or destroyed,” while gathering news in areas “where wars break out, and where conflicts or riots and demonstrations take place.”

“The Burmese military is using the Unlawful Associations Act to attack the country’s news providers,” Robertson said. “All charges under section 17(1) should be dropped and the provision rescinded so that journalists can accurately cover the country’s ethnic conflicts.”

          Iraq: New Abuse, Execution Reports of Men Fleeing Mosul   

A member of Iraqi security forces stands on the turret of an armoured vehicle along a highway near west of Mosul, Iraq, June 22, 2017. 

© 2017 Reuters
(Beirut) – Allegations are emerging of Iraqi forces beating and unlawfully killing men and boys fleeing Mosul in the final phase of the battle against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today.

Four witnesses told Human Rights Watch that they saw Iraqi forces beat unarmed men and boys fleeing the fighting within the last seven days, and said they also obtained information about Iraqi forces executing unarmed men during this time period.

“As Iraqi forces are poised to retake the entire city of Mosul, allegations of unlawful killings and beatings significantly raise concerns for the civilians there who have been living under ISIS control,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Iraqi forces are promising liberation, but they need to find out what’s happening now and stop any abuse.”

One witness said that three Emergency Response Division and Iraqi Security Force (ISF) members on a key route for civilians fleeing the city boasted to him that they were executing captured unarmed men who were thought to be ISIS-affiliated instead of detaining them. The Emergency Response Division and ISF fighters, stationed three kilometers from the heaviest fighting in the Old City, said they made an exception for elderly men, the witness said.

Two other witnesses said they saw Iraqi uniformed soldiers pick at least six men and boys out of crowds of fleeing civilians at a checkpoint, beat them, and drive them away. They said they saw soldiers pick out another man, beat him, and then move him into a building they were using as a base. One of the witnesses said that soldiers later said they had killed him.

“I have heard of countless abuses and executions in this battle,” one witness said. “But what’s changed is that in this final phase fighters are no longer hiding what they are doing and are comfortable allowing us to witness the abuses first-hand.”

The same witness said that earlier this week, he heard three screams coming from a building being used by the elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), after which fighters from the unit ushered him away. That afternoon in another neighborhood of west Mosul, the witness saw two CTS fighters take down the corpse of an alleged ISIS fighter that had been strung up to an electrical pole, and stone the body before taking a few photos of each other posing with it.

That night, he said, a CTS fighter also showed him a video of a severely beaten man who the fighter said was an ISIS prisoner. In the video the CTS fighter shoots and kills the unarmed detainee, he said.

In the days before, the man said he saw five Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint pick out at least 10 men over a period of an hour, beat them, and drag them toward a building the soldiers were using as a base. He said that one of the men the soldiers were beating was wounded and that he had arrived with his family from a front-line field hospital. The witness said that as he was leaving the area he saw the soldiers single out more and more men, beat them and take them away, but lost count of how many.

An article published in a Swedish outlet on June 28, 2017, by a Swedish journalist who was on the front-line says that a Federal Police officer boasted about decapitating at least 50 men with knives and beating others, with fellow officers watching, cheering, and sometimes filming. The article said the Federal Police backed up these claims with photos and videos.

Throughout the operation to retake Mosul, Human Rights Watch has documented Iraqi forces detaining and holding thousands of men and boys in inhumane conditions without charge, and in some cases torturing and executing them, under the guise of a screening them for ISIS-affiliation. In May 2016, Iraqi forces retook the city of Fallujah from ISIS, but in the operation committed horrific abuses, including executions, torture, and the disappearance of over 600 men whose bodies have yet to be found.

Human Rights Watch has raised concerns regarding allegations of ill-treatment, torture, and executions numerous times in meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad as well as with representatives from US-led coalition member countries. Human Rights Watch does not know of a single transparent investigation into abuses by Iraqi armed forces, any instances of commanders being held accountable for abuse, or any victims of abuse receiving compensation.

Iraqi criminal justice authorities should investigate all alleged crimes, including unlawful killings and mutilation of corpses, committed by any party in the conflict in a prompt, transparent, and effective manner, up to the highest levels of responsibility. Those found criminally responsible should be appropriately prosecuted. Extrajudicial executions and torture during an armed conflict are war crimes. Despoiling dead bodies and other outrages on personal dignity are violations of the laws of armed conflict and may amount to war crimes.

“Reports of unlawful executions and beatings by Iraqi soldiers should be enough to raise concern among the highest ranks in Baghdad and among members of the international coalition combatting ISIS,” Fakih said. “Iraqi officials should translate that concern into accountability for war crimes.”

          DVLA Chief Deflects Charges   
The Chief Executive Officer of the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) Kwesi Agyeman Busia has repelled suggestions that corruption has taken place during his 90-day tenure at the helm of the establishment. Speaking to the DAILY GUIDE yesterday, he explained how he had to borrow money to prosecute projects of the Authorit ...
          Prosecution wants jail time in child-bride case   
Gail Blackmore, right, leaves court during a lunch break in her sentencing hearing, she was convicted of taking a 13-year-old girl into the United States to marry the now-imprisoned leader of a religious sect that practices plural marriage, in Cranbrook, Alta., Friday, June 30, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Sentencing arguments for former husband and wife in B.C. polygamy case

          Random Thursday Morning Thoughts   

  • Breaking: Within the hour, Trump once again showed he is mentally unstable by insulting the married co-hosts of a daytime morning talk show.  Yes, this comes from the President of the United States of America. This is not normal. This is stuff that a mean, spoiled 14 year old with no filter would say: 

  • If you want to know what "He just set the Internet on fire" means, go to any social media site right now.  (And it's good to see Melania's anti cyber-bullying initiative is going very well.)
  • Edit: Even Fox News called the comments "shocking":
  • Every website of every Texas appellate court has been down for over 24 hours. The official word is a "power outage." It should be noted there was an epidemic of world wide hacking incidents this week via ransomware. Hmmmm. 
  • A young couple decides to shoot a youtube video in hopes of it going viral. The plan: Have her fire a gun at him while he is holding a heavy book which will stop the bullet. The result: The bullet goes through the book and he dies. The gal, 19 and pregnant, tweeted this before the incident: 
  • This was floating around yesterday: Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and Sen. Ted Cruz finally posed for a picture together. That's freaky. 
  • Stay with me here. I guy in Texas gets thrown in the Brownsville PD jail. A detention officer then says he was assaulted in the jail by the guy. Guy gets charged with Assault on a Public Servant.  Guy says he didn't do it but agrees to plead guilty to get probation. The guy then screws up the probation by not going to drug rehab and is sentenced to prison. Four years into his sentence it is discovered that the "incident" was videotaped by police, the video was not turned over when the case was pending, and the video shows the guy did not commit any assault. The police had lied and suppressed evidence.  He is released. He then actually gets Texas' highest criminal court to declare him "actually innocent" -- something which is next to impossible to do. He then files a civil rights lawsuit against Brownsville and wins $2.3 million. This week, the ridiculous Fifth Circuit overturned the verdict. Why? Since the guy originally pled guilty that kills his claim. If you are confused, welcome to the club. 
  •  Who was the judge who authored the opinion? The guy below who is semi-retired. Before being appointed as judge, he was in private practice for almost thirty years working on "estates, trusts, and taxation." Yes, this is the guy who can make decisions that concern the complicated and often corrupt world that is the criminal justice system.
  • Newspaper lede: "Waller County district Judge Albert McCraig on Wednesday dismissed a perjury charge filed against Trooper Brian Encinia in connection with the death of Sandra Bland." Actually, the prosecutor asked the charges be dismissed. I don't know why. 
  • Yesterday it was announced that there were no drugs or alcohol at the party or in the system of Jordan Edwards -- the teenager who was murdered by a Balch Springs officer as the kid was a passenger in a car that was driving away. Question: What difference does it make? 
  • Shoutout to the WBAP crew for having the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy on this morning and then, once he was off the phone, joking that the paper only had one reader. Specifically, it was Brian Estridge.
  • And Another (Michigan). It might just be a court update. 
  • This is amazing. The White House gives a daily list of the news they think you should read. Thank you, comrade.
  • I haven't read the story, but what must your musical accomplishments be in order to officially be referred to as a "rapper"?: 

          Split Verdict in Michigan Twitter Hate-Stalking Case   

A Michigan man who used Twitter to threaten to kill school children and Jews was acquitted Wednesday, June 28, of two felonies, including aggravated stalking of the Maryland man who turned him in to the FBI in 2015.

While a jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, determined there wasn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict David Joseph Lenio of aggravated stalking and use of a computer to commit a crime, the panel did convict him of malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor.

Lenio, 30, who has been in jail since late February in Grand Rapids, was released on his own recognizance, but the judge banned him from using a phone or the Internet until sentencing in August.

Lenio did not testify in his own defense during the three-day trial.

He was accused of stalking and using a computer to threaten and engage in willful “repeated or continuous harassment” of Jonathan Hutson, a Maryland anti-gun violence advocate whose Twitter-sleuthing led to Lenio’s arrest when Lenio was briefly living in Kalispell, Montana, in 2015.

At that time, Flathead County, Montana prosecutors charged Lenio with two felony charges of intimidation and malicious intimidation for making online threats of violence. A search of his apartment in Kalispell turned up a handgun and two rifles – a bolt action and a semi-automatic.

Lenio, a former high school cross-country athlete, used his Twitter account to say he wanted to execute 30 or more grade school children -- to exceed the number killed at Sandy Hook in December 2012.

He also posted tweets about shooting up a synagogue, boasting that he wanted to put two bullets “in the head” of a rabbi or Jewish leader. He additionally posted comments about going on a killing rampage until “cops take me out.”

David Joseph Lenio was convicted of one misdemeanor and found not guilty of two felonies related to online threats made against children and Jews. (AP Images/Flathead Beacon, Greg Lindstrom)

But the Montana prosecutors suddenly dropped the twin felony charges just days before the 2015 trial under a “deferred prosecution” deal that the charges against Lenio would be dropped in 2018 if he broke no laws, including contact with Hutson.

However, after returning to his hometown in Michigan, Lenio early this year again used Twitter – this time to “terrorize, frighten, intimidate and harass” Hutson in violation of the Montana court order.

During the Michigan trial that ended Wednesday, there was a “point of confusion” between the prosecution and defense whether Lenio violated the Montana delayed prosecution agreement, according to the news site Michigan Live.

Hutson told Hatewatch he hopes, as a crime victim, that he will be able to address the court at Lenio’s sentencing hearing.

“My primary concern remains that David Lenio should receive the mental healthcare he needs and deserves” at his own expense, Hutson said.

He also said he will urge the court to place Lenio on probation for two years, during which time he would be banned from social media, not contact any witnesses, and not own or possess guns.

“I hope he will turn his life around,” Hutson said. “He needs intervention and support to do that.”

          Detectives Arrest Man for Extortion Following Months-Long Investigation   
Following a months-long investigation involving the Seattle Police Department, the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, and other local police agencies, detectives arrested a 46-year-old  man Thursday for a corporate extortion scheme.  The investigation lead officers across the country searching for the evidence of the crime. The victim in this case is a tax software […]
          Prosecutors: Execs of sham Philadelphia-based investment firm stole $1.5M   
Two financial investment advisers are facing federal charges for allegedly scheming others out of at least $1.5 million that was spent on hotels, restaurants, jewelry stores and other personal purchases. On Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced the fraud charges filed against 42-year-old Carl Frederic Sealey and 44-year-old Eric Enge, who courted private investors through their businesses, Global Standard Industries and SEK Industries. Both Sealey…

          6/30/2017: MONEY: MONEYLINE   
EX- PHARMA CEO’S FRAUD TRIAL BEGINS Legal arguments in Martin Shkreli’s fraud trial began Wednesday with a prosecutor calling the so- called “Pharma Bro” a liar who scammed more than $ 10 million from financial investors and a defense lawyer calling...
          Prosecutors Will Resubmit Voluntary Manslaughter Charge Against CMPD Officer   
State Attorney General Roy Cooper says his office will resubmit a voluntary manslaughter charge against suspended CMPD officer Randall Kerrick on Monday. Meanwhile, CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe Wednesday addressed the grand jury's decision not to indict Kerrick who shot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell ten times in mid-September. Monroe made the decision to charge Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter less than 24 hours after the shooting. “I respect the civil process. I respect the criminal process. We’re still in that criminal process so I have to allow it to work itself out," Monroe says. "I believe that we were correct as we initially charged, but we’re going to allow that criminal process to play itself through and that we’re going to accept and support whatever decision comes out of that process.” The grand jury did not clear Kerrick of wrongdoing but requested prosecutors submit a smaller charge. The attorney general's office says voluntary manslaughter is "the most appropriate charge
          Searchers' wounds will be considered at Bergdahl sentencing   
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) " Serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy SEAL who searched for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial, a judge ruled Friday, giving prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier.The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ruled that the service members wouldn't have wound up in the firefights that left them wounded if they hadn't been searching for Bergdahl, so their injuries would be relevant to his [...]
          Ex-nurse faces 3rd, 4th murder charges in children’s deaths   
Prosecutors believe the former nurse could be responsible in the deaths of up to 60 Texas children.
          The Law Enforcement Shooting the Media Didn't Care About   

The rule of thumb is that the media cares a great deal about police shootings but shrugs at FBI shootings. That's because, from their perspective, the police are more likely to shoot the wrong people, e.g drug dealers blessed with black skin privilege, and the FBI is more likely to shoot the right people, militia members.

Even while the media wept buckets of tears over every thug shot while attacking a police officer, the LaVoy Finicum case received thumbs up from the media. Government protesters, unlike drug dealers, deserved to be shot. And so the media was, very predictably, caught flatfooted by the latest development.

An FBI agent has been indicted on federal accusations that he lied about firing at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum last year as police arrested the leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation.

The agent will face allegations of making a false statement with intent to obstruct justice, according to sources familiar with the case.

Investigators said a member of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team fired at Finicum as his 2015 Dodge pickup truck crashed into a snow bank at a roadblock on U.S. 395. Finicum had just sped away from a surprise traffic stop on the rural highway as the occupation leaders traveled off the refuge to a community meeting Jan. 26, 2016.

The agent's bullets didn't hit Finicum, 54, an Arizona rancher who was the spokesman for the armed takeover of the federal sanctuary near Burns in Harney County. Moments later, state police troopers shot Finicum three times after he emerged from his white truck and reached for his inner jacket pocket, where police said he had a loaded 9mm handgun. One bullet pierced his heart, an autopsy found.

Note the similarity to some of the left's favorite BLM shootings and the media's utter lack of interest. 

The issue here is that the FBI agent lied about the shooting. This is, in theory, a cover-up rather than a crime, prosecution. But you have to ask the question, if shooting at Finicum was justified, why lie about it? And if the original shot fired was lied about, how much can we trust any part of the story. Was he really reaching for a gun? Or was that a convenient way to get rid of a political nuisance? 

The whole Bundy crackdown was an outrageous abuse of power. But here's the opening lines of the NBC coverage of the shooting death.

A cowboy-hat-wearing Mormon rancher who died during the arrests of his fellow Oregon occupiers on Tuesday night had vowed weeks ago never to be taken alive by authorities.

LaVoy Finicum, one of the protesters' de facto spokesmen, died after shots were fired when police stopped the group on Highway 395 as they headed to a public meeting. Five of his cohorts were arrested at the scene, officials said.

I don't have to tell you that this is dramatically different than the way NBC and the rest of the media cover the latest drug dealer shot by police story. They certainly don't shove a misleading implied justification for it right in the first sentence.

          RSF calls for end to prosecutions of Kyrgyz media and journalists   
Publisher: Reporters Without Borders - Document type: Country News
          For Manhattan Fare Beaters, One-Way Ticket to Court May Be Over   
The Manhattan district attorney says his office will no longer prosecute turnstile jumpers criminally, opting instead for community service programs.
          Serna resigns from Delta board / Trustee pleads no contest to charges she took double reimbursements   

By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
December 09, 2008 6:00 AM

STOCKTON - Longtime San Joaquin Delta College Trustee Maria Elena Serna resigned from the board Monday moments before pleading no contest to a charge that she claimed reimbursement twice for several business trips dating back to 2005.

Serna's letter of resignation, which her attorney handed to board President Janet Rivera in the hallway at San Joaquin County Superior Court, cited Serna's health.

"On the advice of my physician, I can no longer fulfill my obligations with the college, and due to personal reasons, I will be having this resignation effective immediately," the 67-year-old Serna wrote. She declined further comment.

Past problems

Police reports say former San Joaquin Delta College Trustee Maria Elena Serna had past problems with travel expenses and reimbursements:
• An administrative assistant at Delta said Serna asked to be reimbursed for meals that President Raul Rodriguez had already paid for on a college credit card.
• The same assistant said Serna once became "belligerent" when she learned she would not be receiving a full travel allowance for a conference in San Jose, even after she was told the conference would be providing meals.
• When Rodriguez and Serna took a business trip to Washington, D.C., in February 2007, Rodriguez paid for a cab ride and a meal at a Brazilian restaurant; Rodriguez learned later that Serna tried to claim reimbursement on both.

Serna, a Delta trustee since 1990, was accused of claiming nearly $1,650 from both Delta College and the Community College League of California, which held conferences attended by Serna in San Francisco and Sacramento. The money has been paid back, prosecutors said.

"It's not the amount of the money. It's the audacity of the conduct," said Deputy District Attorney Stephen E. Taylor. "When people do that in public service, they have to leave."

Delta administrators noticed inconsistencies in Serna's reimbursement records and contacted prosecutors, who sent the case to Stockton police. A criminal complaint was filed Friday following a two-month investigation.

The case was set to go before a grand jury today before the last-second plea deal was arranged, attorneys said.

The single felony charge levied on Serna could have resulted in up to three years in state prison.

But Judge Richard J. Guiliani said the court viewed the case as a misdemeanor and sentenced Serna to three years' informal probation, requiring that she obey all laws.

Delta President Raul Rodriguez, who sat in the first row at Monday's arraignment, said the college has long struggled to help Serna understand how reimbursement works.

"It's a shame we've come to this," he said. "But a trustee should know better."

One example: According to an internal Delta College memo, Serna attended a meeting of the nonprofit college league June 20-21 in Sacramento. Delta College used a $179 credit card payment to reserve her room at the Hyatt Regency hotel; Serna wrote up her own reimbursement for the same amount and filed it with the league.

So she was paid by the league for an expense the college had already covered, the memo said.

Overall, the league reimbursed Serna $1,642 for expenses already covered by the college dating back to 2005, the report said. Serna signed reimbursement forms stating that no more money would come from any other source.

Serna's attorney, Albert Ellis, called this a "technical" violation of the law and said Serna's intent was not to defraud anyone.

"This is a horrible thing for someone to have to go through after so many years of distinguished service," he said. "This is the type of woman they're normally talking about naming schools after."

Serna, a retired Bear Creek High School social science teacher, had represented the Lodi area on the Delta board since 1990; she was the first Latino woman elected in San Joaquin County, according to a Delta College news release earlier this year.

She is also the sister of Joe Serna, who served as mayor of Sacramento from 1992 until his death in 1999.

Maria Serna was part of the board majority that favored building a south-county campus in Mountain House, a decision derided by new board members. She recently had back surgery and was not present for some key decisions about how trustees should divvy up a dwindling pool of bond money.

Her resignation means just two of the seven previous Delta trustees will be returning to the dais. Two others did not seek re-election in November, and the last two were ousted by challengers. Only Rivera and Ted Simas will remain on the board.

State law says Delta must either order an election or appoint someone to fill the vacancy. The organization of the new board will be discussed at a special meeting Wednesday night.

Prosecutor Taylor accused Serna of "felony conduct" and said the case was treated very seriously because Serna held public office.

Ellis, her attorney, questioned whether the case would have been filed at all had she been an ordinary citizen.

In a memo to the campus community Monday, Rodriguez said Serna's resignation and other recent negative news - such as allegations of overspending by student government - are "not random or accidental events" but are part of an ongoing effort to "correct longstanding problems, to ensure that we are abiding by laws and regulations, and to bring about necessary and positive change."

Said board President Rivera, after court: "We're cleaning house."
          Delta College flea market under investigation   
Ex-student activity chief also focus of criminal allegations
By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
November 22, 2008 6:00 AM

STOCKTON - San Joaquin Delta College police are investigating allegations of fraud, embezzlement and sexual harassment in connection with the college's weekend flea market, a fundraising staple for student government and clubs.

Delta's former supervisor of student activities is one, but not the only, subject of the ongoing investigation, according to a police memo obtained by The Record.

The memo says the supervisor - who is not named in the document - knowingly hired flea market employees with criminal records, ranging from property crime to murder. Some were students, a college spokesman said.

The supervisor allegedly spent $600,000 in personal funds over five years for the student government and was reimbursed by the college, allowing large sums of money to be spent without prior approval. The report also says that cash receipts and documents were shredded, as noted by an outside auditor hired by the college to investigate.

The supervisor "failed to provide positive leadership to the students in regard to spending," the report says. Travel expenses for student government exceeded college policy, and an "inordinate" amount of money was spent on clothing, luggage, scholarships, expensive meals and hotel suites, the report says.

Delta College officials released the document to the Associated Student Body Government earlier this week after students criticized new and stricter policies governing spending.

Students and club advisers have for weeks paraded before the college's Board of Trustees protesting the new policies, which require pre-approval of minor purchases among other safeguards. This is not always practical, students and some advisers argue.

Delta spokesman Greg Greenwood said the report about the ongoing investigation was released to explain these new policies.

"We want to make sure the (student government) understands why we're placing all of these controls on them," Greenwood said.

The college plans to implement 14 new procedures to ensure accountability, he said.

The state Education Code says community college boards already "must provide for the supervision of all funds raised by any student body ... using the name of the college."

Greenwood said the flea market, which brings in about $500,000 a year, has been scrutinized at times for more than a decade. The new investigation suggests a "much more severe" situation, he said.

The money in question does not belong to the college. In a 2003 interview with The Collegian, Delta College's student newspaper, President Raul Rodriguez questioned student-body government expenditures for admission to Disneyland as well as a $546 meal at Le Bistro.

These may not be illegal purchases, Rodriguez said at the time, "but it's a matter of appearances and ethics."

Student Body President Valerie Novak acknowledged Friday that the flea market needs management. "We recognize there is a problem and that it needs to be addressed," she said.

But, she added, the current student government inherited the problem.

"It's not us," Novak said. "The problem was not the students. It was the adviser."

She defended current student government spending. Yearly trips to a Washington, D.C., community college convention are valuable networking opportunities, she said. Some students need help with dress or luggage to be able to make such a trip.

Novak said delays in clearance from the administration have forced students to book pricier hotel rooms.

She said the student government would get professional help to audit its own books, but she continued to argue that pre-approval of all expenses for many clubs is not practical.

As for the criminal investigation, Greenwood said the case would be forwarded to county prosecutors if the evidence confirms the allegations.

The five-page report contained no specific details on the allegation of sexual harassment.


Feel Good About the Markets? Maybe You Shouldn’t Read This


Traders outside the New York Stock Exchange. Investors have seemed oblivious to claims of Russian interference in the election, the firing of the F.B.I. director and other political turmoil. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times        

Throughout the turbulence of his first months in office, President Trump has been able to point to one bastion of support: the stock market. Earlier this month he tweeted the “great economic news” he thinks the mainstream media has been ignoring: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 16 percent and the Nasdaq up 19.5 percent since his election. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross maintained that the Trump administration had bestowed $4 trillion in gains on investors.
Investors have seemingly been oblivious to claims of Russian interference in the election, the firing of a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the appointment of a special prosecutor. As the second quarter ends this week, 2017 has so far been a banner year, with major indexes hitting records.
But as the bull market rolls on, some see storm clouds on the horizon. “Valuations are high and it’s one of the longest and largest bull markets in history,” said James Stack, president of InvesTech Research. “Bull markets don’t last forever. So the question is, when will the music stop?”
Investors “are on a knife’s edge,” said Michael J. Kelly, global head of asset allocation for PineBridge Investments. With many still scarred by the financial crisis, “they see a potential disaster around every corner.”

This month the so-called Faang stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, which have led the market’s rally — faced a sudden downdraft, which many market watchers called a warning of turbulent times to come.
On June 14, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the second time this year, a move that was widely expected and barely caused a market ripple. But more ominously for stock investors, the Fed also said it would reduce its $4.2 trillion balance sheet and taper its purchases of longer-term government bonds (though it didn’t say how fast), bringing to an end the quantitative easing it undertook after the financial crisis.
And then there’s Mr. Trump himself, whose unpredictability and erratic behavior still have the potential to rattle markets.
So I asked some prominent investors and market analysts whether they were pulling back from stocks, and how they viewed these latest developments.
A Crack in the Faang Stocks
After some of the Faang stocks plunged over 3 percent on June 9, Goldman Sachs compared them to the leading stocks of the tech bubble. But by the end of the month they’d recovered and were again approaching all-time highs.
There’s no question that these market darlings, which together have accounted for a disproportionate percentage of the market’s gains, are expensive, and getting more so. Price-to-earnings ratios range from 39 (Facebook) to 187 (Amazon). Their market caps are so huge they dominate the indexes.
They show up not only in so-called growth funds, but also in value and low-volatility funds. Should they embark on a sustained plunge, a bear market could quickly follow.
The tremor in June was “a warning shot across the bow,” said Bill Smead, the founder of Smead Capital Management in Seattle. The Faang stocks “are showing all the classic signs of being overcooked,” he added. “What magazine hasn’t had Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg on the cover?
There’s no question this can end very badly. But the market can stay irrational for a very long time.
My sense is that there’s one big blowout rally left in these stocks.”

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this month as Janet Yellen announced the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images       
Mr. Stack noted that the Faang stocks had brief sell-offs last June and October, only to rebound. Still, he said, “the Faang stocks will be among the hardest hit in the next bear market due to the amount of money that flowed into them and the high expectations that have driven them higher.”
But like Mr. Smead, he doesn’t expect that to be imminent. “We’re not buying them, but we’re not necessarily saying sell,” Mr. Stack said. He urged investors to rebalance portfolios that have become too heavily weighted in these stocks.
A Tightening Federal Reserve
Everyone I interviewed agreed that the Fed is the most likely catalyst for the next bear market, but that may still be years away.

“Historically it’s difficult to find a bear market that wasn’t triggered to some extent by the Fed,” Mr. Smead said. “But I don’t think unwinding the long bond position as gradually as they’re going to will have a significant impact. What would have an impact is if the Fed is forced to raise rates faster than everyone anticipates. The Fed has prepared investors for one more rate hike this year. That’s where the potential surprise could come. If we see two or three by year’s end, we’re going to see definite headwinds and maybe a market top of some significance.”
Mr. Kelly said the Fed had plenty of room to maneuver before stocks start to be affected. “We just had a once-in-70-year crisis that left very long scars. Businesses basically didn’t invest for eight years. In tightening, the Fed is acknowledging that a monetary policy built on a very fragile economic backdrop is no longer appropriate. But we’re just getting to the point now where people are crawling out of their shells and we’re seeing more normal economic activity.”
Mr. Kelly said bull markets typically last another three to four years after such a point in the economic cycle, and can even go another eight or nine. “Bull markets die from excess, not old age,” he said.
Mr. Smead agreed. “There’s no question we’re getting closer to normal rates,” he said. “That will be difficult for the stock market when it happens. People will be less willing to be adventurous. But that’s still years away.”
Over at InvesTech Research, “we’re still quite bullish,” Mr. Stack said. “We’re not increasing cash reserves. We are rebalancing towards more defensive and out-of-favor sectors, like consumer staples and health care.”
‘I Wouldn’t Call It a Trump Rally’
“The risks don’t lie with potential charges of obstruction of justice or even impeachment,” Mr. Stack said. “For political mayhem to upset the economic apple cart, it has to irreparably damage confidence at the consumer and business level. So far we don’t see that happening. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment measures are at 16-year highs, and C.E.O. confidence in April was the highest since 2004.”
Nor have investors given up hope that a Republican Congress will still deliver business-friendly corporate tax reform and a pro-growth overhaul of the tax code, despite the president’s troubles.
At the same time, “Trump shouldn’t be looking to the market for vindication,” Mr. Smead said. “I wouldn’t call it a Trump rally. He’s basically riding on the Obama years. “
His bottom line: “We don’t pay much attention to politics, and that’s been a good thing.”

          Mexican activist slain in revenge for 'disappeared' search   
Prosecutors in northern Mexico said yesterday that criminals apparently killed a mother to punish her for the years she spent years searching for her missing daughter, a hunt that led to the arrest and jailing of suspects. Miriam...
          Audio and video released of attack on Louisiana law enforcement officers   
Prosecutors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, released audio and video Friday of the attack on law enforcement officers last July that left three dead and three others wounded. The alleged shooter was a man angry over the police killing of Alton Sterling, who had been killed two weeks earlier. Anthony Mason has more.

          Deputy County Counsel II/III/IV - Merced County, CA - Merced, CA   
Prosecutes legal action on behalf of, and defends actions against, the County and its subdivisions before courts of origin, appellate courts, and various... $35.63 - $61.32 an hour
From Merced County, CA - Fri, 30 Jun 2017 05:00:37 GMT - View all Merced, CA jobs
          Somalia: Public Statement by Chair of Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict   
Source: UN Security Council
Country: Somalia


30 JUNE 2017

At its 63rd meeting, on 18 April, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, in connection with the examination of the fourth report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Somalia (document S/2016/1098), agreed to address the following messages through a public statement issued by the Chair of the Working Group.

To all the parties to the armed conflict in Somalia, including the Somali National Army, Somali regional security forces, clan militias and, in particular, the armed groups operating in Somalia, including Al‑Shabaab and Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamaʽa:

(a) Strongly condemning all violations and abuses committed against children in Somalia and their increase since 2015 and urging all parties to the conflict to immediately end and prevent all violations of applicable international law involving the recruitment and use of children, abduction, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian access and to comply with their obligations under international law;

(b) Calling upon the parties to further implement all previous conclusions of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in Somalia (documents S/AC.51/2007/14, S/AC.51/2008/14 and S/AC.51/2011/2);

(c) Welcoming the efforts made by the Federal Government of Somalia since the previous conclusions of the Working Group and calling upon the Government to swiftly and fully implement the two action plans signed in 2012, including by releasing immediately and without preconditions all children from their ranks and through the criminalization of the recruitment and use of children, the issuance of command orders prohibiting and sanctioning the recruitment and use of children and other violations and abuses against children in armed conflict, the establishment of age assessment mechanisms in their recruitment process and the screening of troops;

(d) Also welcoming the ratification by the Federal Government of Somalia of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, strongly encouraging the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict and urging federal and regional authorities to swiftly align federal or regional legislation with the international obligations of Somalia under the Convention;

(e) Strongly urging all armed groups, in particular Al-Shabaab, to immediately and without preconditions release all children associated with them and end and prevent further recruitment and use of children, including re-recruitment of children who have been released;

(f) Expressing deep concern about the high number of children killed or maimed, as a direct or indirect result of hostilities between parties to the armed conflict and of incidents of indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population, including those involving aerial bombardment, and calling upon all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality enshrined therein;

(g) Expressing grave concern about the high number of cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated against children and urging all parties to the armed conflict to take immediate and specific measures to put an end to and prevent the perpetration of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children by members of their respective groups;

(h) Calling upon all parties to the armed conflict to comply with applicable international law and to respect the civilian character of schools and hospitals, including their personnel, and to end and prevent attacks or threats of attacks against those institutions and their personnel, as well as the military use of schools and hospitals, in violation of applicable international law;

(i) Urging armed groups, in particular Al-Shabaab, to cease the abduction of children and all violations and abuses committed against abducted children and to immediately release without preconditions all abducted children in their captivity to relevant civilian child protection actors;

(j) Calling upon all parties to the armed conflict to allow and facilitate full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to children, respect the exclusively humanitarian nature and impartiality of humanitarian aid and respect the work of all United Nations humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors, without distinction;

(k) Expressing grave concern about the detention of children on national security charges in violation of applicable international law, as well as about the use of detained children as spies in intelligence operations and counter-terrorism activities, and urging the Federal Government of Somalia to comply with its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular that the deprivation of liberty of children should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period and be guided by the best interests of the child;

(l) Welcoming the willingness of the Federal Government of Somalia to address these issues and urging it to fulfil its commitments under the Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (Paris Principles), which it has endorsed, and the standard operating procedures for the reception and handover of children separated from armed groups signed by the Federal Government of Somalia, including by treating children associated with armed groups primarily as victims;

(m) Encouraging the Federal Government of Somalia to focus on sustainable reintegration opportunities for children affected by armed conflict, including the sensitization of communities to avoid the stigmatization of these children, while taking into account the specific needs of boys and girls, as well as of children with disabilities, orphans and unaccompanied children;

(n) Welcoming the fact that, on 5 October 2016, 26 of 64 children detained since March 2016 for their alleged association with Al-Shabaab were released by the Puntland authorities and handed over to the United Nations, while condemning the sentencing to death and heavy prison sentences of children for their alleged association with Al-Shabaab, in violation of their obligations under international law;

(o) Urging the Puntland authorities to review the heavy prison sentences against the children remaining in detention for their alleged association with Al‑Shabaab in accordance with applicable international law and to continue to work with the United Nations to support swift reintegration and reunification with their families in their regions of origin and rehabilitation;

(p) Calling upon all non-State armed groups to publicly express their commitment and take active steps to end and prevent all violations and abuses committed against children and to enter into dialogue with the United Nations to prepare, adopt and implement without delay action plans to end and prevent violations and abuses against children in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011) and 2225 (2015);

(q) Expressing deep concern over the lack of accountability for violations and abuses committed against children and calling for an end to impunity by ensuring that all perpetrators of violations and abuses are swiftly brought to justice and held accountable, including through timely and systematic investigation and prosecution;

(r) Welcoming the commitments made by the African Union and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to peace and security in Somalia and to the protection of children affected by armed conflict in Somalia and urging the African Union and troop-contributing countries to take all necessary measures to end and prevent violations and abuses against children, including fully implementing the Force Commander’s directive on the protection of children’s rights and complying with the standing operating procedures on the handover of children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups signed by the Federal Government of Somalia, and to ensure accountability for perpetrators by undertaking prompt, thorough and transparent independent investigations of any allegations of violations and abuses committed by their troops;

(s) Recalling that the Security Council, in its resolution 2317 (2016), recalled the financial and travel measures imposed by resolution 2002 (2011), which apply to individuals and entities designated by the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea in accordance with paragraph 43 of resolution 2093 (2013), for actions that threaten the peace, stability or security of Somalia, such as:

(i) Recruitment or use of children in armed conflict in Somalia by political or military leaders in violation of applicable international law;

(ii) Violation of applicable international law in Somalia involving the targeting of civilians, including children and women in situations of armed conflict, including killing and maiming, sexual and gender-based violence, attacks on schools and hospitals, and abduction and forced displacement;

(iii) Obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Somalia or access to or the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Somalia;

(t) Expressing the readiness of the Working Group to communicate to the Security Council and to the Committee pertinent information with a view to assisting them in the imposition of targeted measures on perpetrators.

To community and religious leaders:

(a) Emphasizing their important role in enhancing the protection of children in armed conflict;

(b) Urging them to publicly condemn and continue to advocate ending and preventing violations and abuses against children, in particular those involving the recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, abductions, attacks and threats of attacks against schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.

          How can this judge deliver justice for the victims of Grenfell Tower? | Ishmahil Blagrove   
The limited nature of the inquiry and Moore-Bick’s history raise doubts over whether decision-makers involved will be held accountable – and they must be

• Ishmahil Blagrove is a coordinator for Justice 4 Grenfell

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, following the initial emergency services effort accompanied by many impromptu volunteer relief efforts to assist the survivors of the lethal inferno, the public and victims are demanding information and legal action against those responsible. There is a clear case to investigate and prosecute. High-rise fires of this scale and lethality are not supposed to be possible. And very little assistance or information has been forthcoming from the authorities.

Even the most basic information is still absent. Nobody knows how many survived, how many were injured, or how many died. A more accurate number is officially expected in six months’ time.

Financial interests have increasingly set the agenda of public bodies in the UK

Continue reading...
          The Asa's Health Care Pitch Edition   

Governor Hutchinson’s
critique of the Senate health care bill, the erection and destruction of the 10 Commandments monument, the U.S. Supreme Court and birth certificates for same-sex married couples and the appointment of Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland to U.S. Attorney — all covered on this week's podcast.

Subscribe via iTunes.


          Trump nominates Cody Hiland to be U.S. attorney for eastern district   
As expected, Donald Trump has nominated Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland of Conway to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He must be confirmed by the Senate.

Hiland's name was among nine U.S. attorney nominees put forward by Trump today, a second wave of appointments. He was known to be under consideration after FBI background checks began and meetings with U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, both Republicans. Most of the 93 U.S. attorneys were fired or resigned after Trump took office. Career prosecutors are serving as interim leaders in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, where former Democratic Rep. Chris Thyer and Conner Eldridge had served respectively in the Obama administration.

Prosecutors run now as non-partisans, but Hiland, who lost a judicial race last year, is a Republican regular. His prosecutor position covers Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy counties.

He's been a lawyer in private practice, a staff attorney at the Public Service Commission and former program director for the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board. He was a staff aide to Gov. Mike Huckabee and is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas the UALR Law School.

          'Mental health concerns' cited at arraignment of monument destruction suspect   
Michael Reed of Van Buren, charged with destroying the new Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol early Wednesday, was arraigned today by County District Judge Wayne Gruber.

According to an account by Emma Pettit of Arkansas Online, he interrupted his public defender and the judge on several occasions. The defender, Peggy Egan, reportedly said there might be "mental health concerns" to consider.

Reed was arrested in 2014 for destroying a similar monument in Oklahoma and later released from hospitalization on condition he continue to receive treatment for mental issues. The prosecuting attorney reportedly told the judge Reed had a record including drug possession and DWI.

The defender asked for a $10,000 bond. The prosecutor asked for $100,000. KATV said the bond was set at $100,000. He's charged with trespass, criminal mischief and defacing an object of public respect. The mischief charge is the only felony, class C, for damage between $5,000 and $25,000.

Reed wanted to represent himself and interjected "My Lord" and "My God" during the proceedings, KATV said.

          St. Louis Circuit Attorney seeks Supreme Court review in prosecution of murder case   
The appeals court in St. Louis upheld a judge's decision to disqualify the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office from the murder case of Tyrell Davidson.
          State Lawmaker Is Eligible For District Attorney Job, Court Rules   
The Oklahoma Supreme Court says Republican state Rep. Fred Jordan of Jenks is eligible to become Tulsa County's district attorney, even though a raise for prosecutors was approved during his term in the Legislature. In a 5-1 ruling on Friday, the state's highest court ruled that a provision of the constitution did not apply to Jordan, since he wouldn't become district attorney until after his legislative term ends. Jordan's candidacy had been challenged by his opponent in the Aug. 26 Republican primary runoff, Steve Kunzweiler, who is the chief of the Tulsa County district attorney's criminal division. Kunzweiler argued Jordan isn't eligible to serve as DA because of a pay increase that was approved by the Legislature earlier this year. Jordan abstained from voting on the bill. ------------------------------------------ KGOU produces journalism in the public interest, essential to an informed electorate. Help support informative, in-depth journalism with a donation online , or contact
          Why Arkansas plans to kill eight men in 11 days   
Under the guise of 'synthetic civility.'

If Arkansas goes through with its plan to kill eight men, two a day, over 11 days in April, it will make history. No state has killed so many death row inmates so quickly since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The men to be killed — Bruce Ward, Kenneth Williams, Jack Harold Jones, Jason McGehee, Stacey Johnson, Don Williamson Davis, Marcel Williams and Ledell Lee — were all sentenced before 2000. The reason for the rush now has nothing to do with the horrific details of their cases. It is because of the method Arkansas will use to kill them.

The supply of one of the pharmaceuticals used in Arkansas's three-drug lethal injection protocol is set to expire at the end of the month. Governor Hutchinson wants to kill the inmates before the drug itself dies. Never mind that prison staff will be charged with taking two lives, back to back, four times in under two weeks. Never mind that the drug itself may well be ineffective at anesthetizing a person against the otherwise excruciating pain of the fatal injection.


The execution chamber at the Arkansas Department of Correction's Cummins Unit is a small room with a gurney and white walls. On April 17, 20, 24 and 27, the executions will begin at 7 p.m. There will be two each night.

Executioners in Arkansas are called the "IV Team" in the few documents the state makes public concerning executions. They are supposed to be a cadre of volunteers, each of whom must have a license or certification as an EMT, nurse, physician or physician's assistant and at least two years of experience in their field. This is the state's protocol, despite the American Medical Association's guidelines that a physician should not participate in executions. However, we cannot ask members of the IV Team why they would volunteer to kill someone, because Arkansas law ensures the executioners' identities are not public information.

Before the execution, the IV Team will check the contents of the "Injection Drug Box" to guarantee that everything is prepared. The condemned inmate will be waiting to die in a spartan Cummins holding cell, after traveling about a half-mile from death row at the Varner SuperMax, passing over the sprawling farmland on which prisoners work.

When all is set, the inmate will enter the execution chamber, where the gurney will be positioned so the IV Team can see his face and his "infusion sites." He will be strapped down, and the IV Team will begin its work. They will use the materials in the Injection Drug Box to puncture his arms. Two IV bags will be set up. The tubing will be cleared of air and made ready for use. They will initiate flow of the IV, then double-check to make sure that the rate of flow is uninterrupted. They will wait for the signal from the warden.

Once that signal is given, the IV Team will begin to kill the inmate.

To do this, they will administer two syringes of 250 milligrams of midazolam to sedate the prisoner and wait five minutes. A supervisor (either a Department of Correction deputy director or a designee) will check that the inmate is unconscious. We do not know how he will determine consciousness. In other states, this has meant pinching the prisoner or checking their eyelids.

It will be crucial, though, that the man is actually insensate. If he is not, what happens next would be grisly.

The IV Team will administer the second drug, vecuronium bromide, two syringes of 50 milligrams each, to paralyze the man. If not properly sedated by the midazolam, the inmate will feel as if he is being painfully suffocated — but because the paralytic agent has stopped his movements, he will remain outwardly unresponsive, giving the illusion of peaceful repose. Then comes the third drug, two syringes of 120 milliequivalents of potassium chloride. The final drug, if the inmate was not sedated by the midazolam, will feel like a hot poker crawling through the veins toward the heart before it causes cardiac arrest and death.

Midazolam has not always worked: The possibility of a protracted death while conscious is very real. Prisoners gasped for breath for extended periods when midazolam was used in certain executions in Alabama, Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma. Midazolam is an anti-anxiety drug, not an anesthetic. States have only turned to midazolam within the past five years, as drug manufacturers refused to sell them pharmaceuticals for the purpose of killing inmates. With more effective sedatives such as sodium thiopental effectively unavailable, midazolam has now been used in 20 U.S. executions since 2013.

One of those times was in Arizona in 2014, when a death row inmate named Joe Wood writhed in pain for two hours as he died under ineffective sedation.

"His mouth closed and it opened wide again. His head lurched back and his mouth closed. It opened again and again and then it was Joe Wood constantly gasping and gulping and struggling to breathe for almost two hours," Dale Baich, a defense attorney for Wood, said. "It was unforgettable." This led to a ban on midazolam in lethal injections in Arizona. Florida and Kentucky have moved away from the drug, too.

The Arkansas dates are scheduled when they are because the state's midazolam supply expires at the end of this month. This is the paradoxical logic of Governor Hutchinson's decision to set the executions so closely together: We need to hurry up to use an ineffective drug before we cannot use it at all.

Hutchinson has taken a conciliatory tone, as if his hand had been forced, telling state media, "I would love to have those extended over a period of multiple months and years, but that's not the circumstances that I find myself in." This is baffling, Robert Dunham, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said, because Hutchinson can extend the period over multiple months and years — he has that power. The only thing stopping him, it seems, is that the state would not be able to use its current supply of midazolam. Instead, it would have to go through the difficult task of finding another sedative in killing these men. Hutchinson, and his office, declined to comment for this story.

"Under the law, there doesn't seem to be any reason why you would carry out eight executions in [11] days," Dunham said. "The only justification is that they're going to run out of the drugs." Even worse, Dunham said, Hutchinson's schedule is "an intentional decision to create a significant risk."

The hasty schedule could increase the risk that the midazolam will be ineffective, especially considering the Department of Correction staff could be ill prepared. The state's last execution was 12 years ago, in 2005. Wendy Kelley, the department's director, has never presided over an execution. Those with experience in executions say that even with training, and under perfect circumstances, it would be hard to prepare for such a grueling string of lethal injections.

"I don't think people understand there's a lot more to it [for Department of Correction staff] than just giving people a shot and then they go to sleep," said Deb Sallings, a longtime capital defense attorney in Arkansas. "It's hugely stressful, even for one execution."

This is why 25 former correction officials urged Hutchinson to reconsider his execution dates in a March 28 letter. "We are gravely concerned that by rushing to complete these executions in April, the state of Arkansas is needlessly exacerbating the strain and stress placed on these officers," the letter said.

Among the signatories is Frank Thompson. Thompson was an employee of Arkansas's Department of Correction for 10 years before moving to Oregon. During his interview to work for Oregon's department, he was asked if he supported the death penalty. Thompson said yes, and on his arrival, the department put him to the test. Oregon had just passed a law changing its method of execution, and the protocols needed to be written for the state's first execution in over three decades and its first ever by lethal injection. Thompson was tasked with developing all the details of how Oregon would kill.

"Well, that exposed me to the whole question of capital punishment at a level that was intensely personal," he said. If not for this experience, Thompson noted, he would have likely continued supporting the death penalty. The specifics changed his opinion. He now advocates against the death penalty, emphasizing the harm it can cause prison staff.

"It is almost impossible to take the life of another human being without the people who are doing so losing some of their humanity," he said. "It is also impossible to ask people to take the life of a human being without one person being started on the road to post-traumatic stress disorder at some level. And the more repetitive that task is, the more cumulative that stress becomes."

"There's no clean way [with lethal injection]," said Jerry Givens, another signatory of the letter and a former correctional officer in Virginia who performed 62 executions. "There's a syringe, and you're dealing with blood."

This is even more troubling because both Thompson and Givens have serious doubts that those on the IV Team are actually volunteering. "When the boss asks you to do something, you're going to do it," Thompson said.

Thompson also noted that just being a correction officer is already extremely stressful. "And then, out of that environment, you ask a group of people to do a dauntingly stressful task," he said. Arkansas is asking this team, he continued, "to do it serially, eight times, in the shortest period of time in recent history in the country, under a circumstance where a drug is still being tried out and has recently been a part of botched execution[s]."

"It creates a scenario that is unimaginable in its stress potential," Thompson said. "Doing it that frequently, under that amount of stress, raises the likelihood that something may not go right, having nothing to do with whether or not the team of professionals are as well-trained as any other team."

Givens prognosticated in a more blunt fashion: "You'll probably have eight mistakes."


Midazolam has never been successfully used as a sedative for a double execution, let alone the four Arkansas will conduct between April 17 and April 27. When Oklahoma attempted a double execution in 2014 using the drug, the first of the two men to be executed, Clayton Lockett, died horrifically.

From the beginning, executioners struggled to find a vein for the IV. Eventually, they located one in Lockett's groin. They then administered midazolam and determined Lockett unconscious, but at some point, the IV became dislodged. This meant that a portion of the dose of the sedative, as well as the next two drugs in the protocol, went into the inmate's tissue instead of his bloodstream. Lockett woke up. He said "the drugs aren't working" and struggled through a slow death. The other execution, of Charles Warner, was postponed.

Lockett's death provides a harrowing case study in the many ways that something could go wrong here in Arkansas. Although the IV was not administered properly, an autopsy determined that the amount of midazolam that entered his bloodstream should have rendered him unconscious nonetheless, which implies the drug may not effectively stop the pain of the subsequent injections. A consciousness check was performed, implying that these checks do not always actually determine whether an inmate is fully sedated. Worst of all, a report released by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety after the execution found that the hastiness of officials in attempting to perform a double execution played a part in the misadministration of the IV. It recommended that "executions ... not be scheduled within seven calendar days of each other."

There's also a chance that such a traumatic death could occur and we just would not see it. It was only because of the poor placement of the IV that Lockett's agony was clear. If properly administered, the second drug in the three-drug protocol — the paralytic — would have hidden much of Lockett's pain from an outside observer.

"Once that paralytic has been administered — once it's on board — everything's going to look fine; no matter what the reality is," Berkeley's McCracken said.

This paralytic element, defense attorney Baich said, has caused many to not question lethal injection. "In the '80s and '90s, reporters would write, 'Prisoner made his last statement, the process began, he closed his eyes and went to sleep.' And what we know is that's not what was going on. What was happening was a very brutal act," Baich said.


It was John Williams' second day as a federal public defender in September 2015 when Governor Hutchinson originally set execution dates for most of these prisoners. (Williams is a former reporter for the Arkansas Times.) At that time, they were scheduled to be spaced out over a longer period but still organized as double executions. But a circuit judge stayed the executions and the state appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Williams and other attorneys knew midazolam's spotty history and argued that the midazolam procedure — with its possibility of resulting in extreme pain — constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

"Even though the death penalty may be legal, you can't carry it out in a way that tortures someone. Certain methods are unacceptable," Williams said.

Whether midazolam was unacceptable was addressed by a U.S. Supreme Court decision from earlier in 2015, Glossip v. Gross. In the Glossip decision, the court affirmed, 5-4, a lower court ruling that prisoners were unable to prove that the use of midazolam constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment.

In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that "because some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution," the logic of "holding that the Eighth Amendment demands the elimination of essentially all risk of pain [during executions] would effectively outlaw the death penalty altogether." The relevant language from Glossip going forward was that the method of execution can cause no "unnecessary pain or suffering," Dunham said, and prisoners — at least by the majority's standards — had not proved the three-drug midazolam protocol caused this. This is why Arkansas promises, in all caps, on the one document describing the lethal injection procedure it makes public, "EVERY EFFORT WILL BE EXTENDED TO THE CONDEMNED INMATE TO ENSURE THAT NO UNNECESSARY PAIN OR SUFFERING IS INFLICTED BY THE IV PROCEDURE."

This did not mean Glossip approved midazolam for executions; it simply said there was not yet enough evidence to rule out its use. Williams and other defense lawyers, in a post-Glossip argument, attempted to prove that the facts had changed and that midazolam was now provable as causing "unnecessary pain or suffering" in Arkansas.


Glossip follows a long history of challenges to the death penalty concerning whether a particular method of execution violates the Eighth Amendment. In the late 1960s and early '70s, a number of court challenges to the death penalty culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia, which said that Georgia's death penalty statute violated the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" because it gave juries complete sentencing discretion, which led to arbitrary outcomes for the convicted. Because other states had similar execution schemes that could lead to arbitrary outcomes, the ruling led to a de facto moratorium on the death penalty in the U.S. It was short-lived. States adapted their statutes, creating guidelines for juries and judges in capital cases. In 1976, the court's Gregg v. Georgia decision reinstated the death penalty in Florida, Georgia and Texas, and said the death penalty itself did not violate the Eighth Amendment.

After this intense battle, proponents of capital punishment needed a "method that would look humane, and here comes lethal injection," said Deborah Denno, a professor at New York's Fordham University Law School who studies the history of the death penalty. The idea was that lethal injection would showcase a medicinal version of killing. "With lethal injection somebody would look like they're going to sleep," she said. "People didn't realize what the drugs were doing."

When the use of lethal injection began, there was talk of broadcasting the executions on television as an act of transparency. The procedure, it was thought, would allow proponents to show that capital punishment was not gruesome.

This was all in the wake of killing prisoners with an electric chair.

"The problem is [that] electrocution is such a hideous way of killing someone that lethal injection seemed much more civil," said Jeff Rosenzweig, a defense attorney for multiple Arkansas death row inmates. "But, as it turns out, the paralytics and stuff were just masking the agony."

There is no reason to use a paralytic during an execution, other than to stop viewers from seeing a dying inmate's movements. It does not contribute medically to the ending of life. It is allowed, the states argue, because it helps the process and the prisoner keep their dignity.

"It was all about looks," Denno said.


The solution presented by Justice Alito was that prisoners, if they can prove the current method of execution is torturous, must choose a better way to be killed. "Under Glossip, they said if you don't like what the state has chosen, you have to pick another one," said Rosenzweig. "We had to plead something that would likely cause a death and is commercially available. "So we did: firing squad."

But Arkansas law does not allow firing squads as a method of execution. In 2016, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the defense attorneys' idea of a firing squad and other methods and lifted the stay on the executions. A majority of the state's justices held that the prisoners failed to prove that "the current method of execution presents a risk that is sure or very likely to cause serious illness and needless suffering" and that "there are known, feasible, readily implemented, and available alternatives that significantly reduce a substantial risk of severe pain." The decision did not say whether midazolam was torturous. It simply said other methods were not available. It did not meet the second prong. The reason: Arkansas's statute only allows one method of execution by law — lethal injection (with a backup of electrocution if lethal injection is not available).

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor summed this up well in a dissent when the court decided to not hear a similar case in which an Alabama prisoner had asked to be killed by firing squad and was denied. She wrote, "Under this view [in Glossip], even if a prisoner can prove that the State plans to kill him in an intolerably cruel manner, and even if he can prove that there is a feasible alternative, all a State has to do to execute him through an unconstitutional method is to pass a statute declining to authorize any alternative method."

In deciding whether a method of killing an inmate is torturous, it seems that appearances matter more than the inmate's actual experience. What legislators approve as methods of execution largely has to do with what the public can stomach, Dunham said. Lethal injection fits the bill. "The American public thinks all the other methods of execution are cruel and unusual punishment. And that's whether it is firing squad, electric chair, lethal gas, hanging or beheading," he said.

"The use of lethal injection has a kind of synthetic civility to it," Dunham said. "It has the appearance of a peaceful passing, and that gives the public comfort."

"Other [methods of execution] would be better [for prisoners]. Firing squad would be better," Williams, the defense attorney, said. "And people are shocked when you propose that as an alternative. And [defense] attorneys wouldn't do that if Glossip didn't make them do it." But the optics have overridden actual suffering in the case of administering the death penalty. "If the death penalty is something that our society wants to be carrying out, we should acknowledge its brutality," he said.


State laws purposefully help keep many of the details of how the Department of Correction administers and prepares for lethal injection hidden from the public — especially the history of the drugs it is using.

In April 2015, the Arkansas legislature passed a law that created a Freedom of Information Act exemption for information about where death penalty drugs come from, their manufacturers or how the state buys them. This was after, in 2013, the Department of Correction had promised the prisoners "the packaging slips, package inserts, and box labels received from the supplier." Attorneys included this contradiction in their challenge to the executions in 2015.

But the Arkansas Supreme Court said that this was not a legitimate complaint because those specific items — packages and labels — could be made public, just "so long as the identification of the seller, supplier, or testing laboratory is redacted and maintained as confidential." In other words, the information prisoners wanted.

The state wants to keep the sellers secret because if it were known where the drugs were coming from, manufacturers — who don't want their products used for lethal injections — could stop supplying them to middleman suppliers. Denno said in her research into the death penalty that this decision by manufacturers is both practical and moral. Drug companies just do not want to be "intertwined in this dirty mess that is the death penalty," she said.

Arkansas's secrecy law therefore facilitates a loophole in which a middleman supplier can buy a drug from a manufacturer — perhaps promising not to sell to a state to be used in executions — but then sell to Arkansas nonetheless. In doing so, the supplier may well have disobeyed its contract with the manufacturer, but no one else knows.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Merritt admitted as much at a hearing before Judge Wendell Griffen on Oct. 27, 2015, concerning the law. She said, "the supplier has a contract with the manufacturer of the FDA-approved drug that is currently in the ADC's possession whereby the supplier is contractually not supposed to be selling drugs to state departments of correction for use at execution. This supplier did anyway in an effort to aid the State." By keeping the supplier secret, the state is able to buy drugs for its executions that the manufacturer did not want used to kill.


The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has been fighting capital punishment in the state since 1977. Furonda Brasfield, the coalition's executive director, said the compressed execution schedule has shocked the public into action.

"I think that outrage has caused individuals to be more active than maybe they were in the past," Brasfield said.

Sometimes people can forget about the death penalty, said Rev. Steve Copley, board chair of Faith Voices Arkansas and the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

"Humans, we do daily life. Life goes by on a day-to-day basis. Arkansas has not had an execution since 2005. So, you know we're nearly 12 years. And, even though folks are opposed to the death penalty, you know, life continues to happen," he said. "I think any execution being scheduled right now would have caused a reaction, but eight of those in 10 days, after 12 years without an execution, I think just really pushed people's sensitivities."

It means, Deb Sallings, said, "You can't ignore what we're fixing to do, whether you believe in it or not. It's reopening the debate, because we're now faced with it. We didn't have to think about it for 12 years in Arkansas."

The result has been packed town hall meetings, a vigil in front of the Governor's Mansion and national media attention.


There is still a possibility that Arkansas could stop some of these executions.

Five of the eight men who are headed to the execution chamber have asked for the governor to grant them clemency. During the last two weeks of March, prisoners or their attorneys made their cases before the Arkansas Parole Board, a panel of gubernatorial appointees, at the Varner SuperMax facility. In a small room — the inmate and his lawyer sitting at a folding table that faces the parole board's folding table, about two feet away — prisoners expounded on the ways they have changed, who they are as people, and why they should be granted mercy. They drew on large files created by their lawyers.

Stacey Johnson insisted on his innocence and questions DNA evidence used against him at trial. James McGehee was young, only 20, when he committed his crime; his request for clemency argued that "science now understands that a twenty-year-old is more like a juvenile than an adult." Kenneth Williams passionately told the board he found God in prison. He became a minister, he said, and has written often about his harrowing journey to faith.

"Darkness surrounded me; it invaded and stained my soul," Williams wrote in a statement included in his clemency packet. He said he knows he is in prison, not among the "preferred, but among society's waste places. Four concrete walls surround me; a steal [sic] door keeps me confined to an 8 X 10 casket."

Yet, there in that box, he found change. "Inside of me, within the darkness, a small flicker of light sprung forth. Perhaps, I believe it was triggered from a dormant seed of hope, long placed inside of me by someone who cared enough about me. Perhaps they saw something in me worth saving, something I couldn't yet see myself."

Williams wrote a letter of apology to the community that he mailed to the Pine Bluff Commercial. In it, he admitted to other killings he had committed and not been convicted of. He asked forgiveness from the community. He wrote, "Once we determine that we have made a grave mistake, we always say, 'If I could go back in time, I would make this different.' The thing is, we can't go back, what is done, is done."

Each morning of the clemency hearings, after each prisoner made his case, the parole board headed back to Little Rock. In the afternoons, at the offices of the Arkansas Parole Board, prosecutors and victims' families made their cases. And theirs were filled with details, too, that they say have been forgotten in these death penalty cases.

Ledell Lee hit Debra Reese 36 times with a wooden tire tool that her husband had given her for protection and then he strangled her to death. Bruce Ward killed and raped a woman working behind the counter in a convenience store. Jason McGehee led a group that kidnapped, tortured and murdered a 15-year-old boy with special needs. Kenneth Williams — at that point already given life without parole for a capital murder — escaped prison by hiding in a hog-slop tank that he gained access to on a religious call. Once out of prison, he killed a former warden of Cummins who lived near the prison and then another man in Missouri.

Stacey Johnson killed and raped Carol Heath as her 6-year-old daughter, Ashley, watched from the closet. In a letter presented to the clemency board on March 24, Ashley wrote, "Stacey Johnson brutally beat, raped, and slit my mother's throat with both of her young children in the home. There was blood everywhere."

At the hearing, Carol Heath's sister and son spoke passionately about the need for execution, to allow closure for their family. Yet Ashley admitted she felt conflicted about the execution of Johnson. Her letter said, "I cannot agree with the choice of you being executed, but I also cannot agree with your having life in prison."

Heath's comments cut to the heart of how clemency works: The board has to make a decision on life in prison or death. On the morning of March 31, they heard that Jason McGehee has had only one citation for misbehavior (covering a light bulb) during 19 years on death row and that he helped other inmates as a mentor. In the afternoon, though, they heard about the devastation he wrought on the family of John Melbourne Jr., whose picture was set on the lectern facing the board. Melbourne's family desperately wants to see McGehee's death after years of waiting.

"I'm just asking y'all to let this course go through," said John Melbourne Sr., the victim's father. "He hasn't changed. He knew very much what he was doing."

However, the board only makes recommendations; the final decision regarding clemency is up to the governor. It is not expected that Hutchinson will commute any of the eight men's sentences, despite the reputation he has acquired for moderation within his party. Inevitably, that presents a comparison with Arkansas's most famous Republican moderate — Winthrop Rockefeller — who in 1970 commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates then on death row before leaving office. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, came back to Arkansas in 1992 during his run for president to execute Ricky Ray Rector, who had brain damage. Clinton wanted to look tough on crime.

Beyond Hutchinson, the last chance may be a flurry of legal challenges, both state and federal.

One, by Bruce Ward's lawyers, cites his mental incompetence, claiming he "is a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his death sentence and impending execution." Another challenges the clemency hearings, which were carried out fewer than 30 days before the execution, evidently in violation of the state's own regulations.

Others repeat claims that the state's schedule puts extra stress on Department of Correction employees, that the schedule only increases the likelihood of midazolam failing to fully sedate an inmate, and that when Arkansas kills these men it will be cruel and unusual.

The only other question left is who will watch. The state requires that "no fewer than 6 and no more than 12 respectable citizens" view the executions. As of now, it is unclear if the Arkansas Department of Correction has recruited enough citizens. This is probably because it is easier to view the death penalty from afar.

Up close, it can be gruesome.

          Instant justice   

Yesterday three members of my cycling group, experienced riders, were subjected to a close pass and cut up by a driver in the New Forest on the Burley to Holmesley tea rooms road, which can be a bit hairy, with ponies, donkeys, and HGVs; it even bisects a golf course.  A police car then overtook them, stopped the car driver and waved them down to take details. Result- they were phoned to say the driver will be prosecuted and likely to get points. Here's hoping- the Forest can be a heart in mouth ride.

          Prosecutors Face Challenges Convicting Police Officers Involved In Shootings   
Several high-profile prosecutions of law enforcement officers have ended in acquittal or hung juries. A big reason: a Supreme Court ruling called Graham v. Connor, and the instructions juries get as a result.
          Upcoming Gold Cup to have decidedly MLS feel on rosters   

The upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup will have a decidedly MLS feel.

Such is the case when the tournament falls in a year with World Cup qualifying the priority for many of the teams in the region and some of the bigger names make way for younger players looking for an opportunity on the international stage.

Forty-eight MLS players were on the final 23-man rosters announced Thursday for the tournament that begins next week. The United States leads the way with sixteen from MLS. That includes the likes of Seattle's Cristian Roldan, Sporting Kansas City's Dom Dwyer and New England's Kelyn Rowe, all of whom could make their national team debuts during the tournament.

The decision to go with a heavy MLS-based roster was by design for U.S. coach Bruce Arena. The notable newcomers are joined by a handful of national team veterans, including Graham Zusi, Brad Guzan, Matt Besler and Alejandro Bedoya.

It's also a chance for those whose opportunities with the U.S. in the past year have been limited — Gyasi Zardes, Dax McCarty, Jordan Morris, to name a few — to flash in a more prominent role.

The U.S. opens the group stage of the Gold Cup against Panama on July 8 in Nashville.

"We have a large number of domestic players because our European-based players need a break. They had long seasons plus the June World Cup qualifiers, so they needed a break and then they need to start their preseasons in July."

Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez was on the preliminary 40-man roster for the U.S. and his request for change in association was approved by FIFA on Thursday. Gonzalez had represented Mexico at the U-20 level.

Canada's roster includes nine MLS players, headlined by 16-year-old Vancouver product Alphonso Davies, who could become the youngest Canadian to play in a Gold Cup match. Jamaica features seven MLS players and Costa Rica has six.


THE OTHER CUP: The quarterfinals for the U.S. Open Cup will include one of the best stories in American soccer.

USL club FC Cincinnati continued its impressive run in the tournament by knocking off Chicago on penalty kicks in the round of 16 before a crowd of more than 32,000. Goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt made three saves in the penalty shootout to send Cincinnati to the final eight against fellow USL side Miami FC. Cincinnati beat Columbus in the round of 32 before knocking out the Fire.

After failing to have a lower division squad reach the quarterfinals in 2016, the tournament is assured of having at least one lower division team reach the semifinal round.

In other action, FC Dallas beat Colorado 3-1 and advanced to face Sporting Kansas City after its 2-0 win over Houston. New York Red Bulls ousted Philadelphia on penalty kicks and will face New England after its 2-1 win over D.C. United. And San Jose ousted Seattle 2-1 and will face Los Angeles in the quarterfinals.

The quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup are scheduled for the second week of July.

In another non-MLS competition, Toronto beat Montreal 3-2 on aggregate in the Canadian Championship thanks to Sebastian Giovinco's goal in the closing seconds of the match.


ROAD RIVALS: Last week's handful of rivalry showdowns went in the favor of the road teams.

The one victory by a road team went to New York City FC and its impressive 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls. NYCFC got goals from Jack Harrison and Ben Sweat to earn the club's first points ever against their Hudson River rivals at Red Bull Arena.

The two draws for road teams came in decidedly different ways. FC Dallas got a goal early in the second half from Maxi Urruti for a 1-1 draw in the Texas Derby with Houston. Seattle's 2-2 draw at Portland in a Cascadia showdown was even more dramatic thanks to Clint Dempsey's header in second-half stoppage time to pull the 10-man Sounders even. The draw dropped Portland to 2-3-5 in its past 10 MLS matches after starting the season with five wins out of the first eight.

There is one more rivalry showdown this week: the California Classico where more than 50,000 are expected for San Jose's match against Los Angeles at Stanford Stadium.


CLEARED TO RETURN: Orlando City star Cyle Larin has been cleared to rejoin his club following his arrest for drunken driving. Larin was given an assessment by the league's Substance Abuse and Behavior Program doctors and deemed eligible to resume team activities while continuing to participate in the program locally.

Larin was arrested on June 15 after driving the wrong way on an Orlando street. He was entered into the league's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program and was ineligible to play for Orlando City until this week.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Chicago forward David Accam was voted the league's player of the week after scoring a hat trick in the Fire's 4-0 win over Orlando. Accam also assisted on Chicago's other goal as the Fire are unbeaten in nine straight league matches.



Blog Posts


Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) holds up the trophy as the team celebrates a win over the Montreal Impact in the Canadian championship soccer final, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)


Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact during the second half of the second leg of the Canadian championship soccer final, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)


FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead, right, challenges Colorado Rapids defender Dennis Castillo during the first half of an MLS soccer game, Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

          "Only 914 people pay between N10m and N20m tax every year in Nigeria and 912 of them reside in Lagos" - Osinbajo says    

While speaking at the launch of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme in Abuja yesterday June 29th, acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, said statistics from the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, shows that out of the active population of 70 million people in Nigeria, only 14 million of them are taxpayers.

According to Osinbajo, 914 Nigerians pay between N10m and N20m tax yearly and that of the 914 persons, 912 of them are residents of Lagos state while the remaining two reside in Ogun State. The
vice president said that this is considerably low considering the fact that Nigeria boast of very wealthy persons with choice properties within and outside the country.

According to him, it is only those who work in very formal offices that mostly pay their tax.
“Those who earn salaries that are known in a formal setting are those we know that pay taxes. Outside of that group of people, there are many high net worth individuals, self-employed persons and some companies that are able to evade full tax payment due to the limited knowledge of the tax authorities to assess their true income. According to the FIRS, the total number of taxpayers in Nigeria is just 14 million; of this number, 96 per cent of them have their taxes deducted at source from their salaries under the Pay-As-You-Earn system, while just four per cent are under direct assessment. So, the vast majority of Nigerians do not pay taxes.
This is at variance with our economy where almost 70 million Nigerians are economically active. The statistic of those paying taxes are quite alarming. Despite having some of Africa’s wealthy people, whose lifestyles are the subject of global admiration, only 214 Nigerian pay taxes of N20m or more each year. A personal tax of N20m implies that the person is earning personal income of N80m a year. That group of 214 excludes many names who can pay well over N20m"he said
Osinbajo announced the grace of the next nine months for tax evaders to go and regularize their payments with the appropriate authorities, failure to do so could earn them criminal prosecution. He added that the Federal government is currently carrying out a secret investigation into the earnings of some highly placed Nigerians and the tax they pay to government.
          Monster Who Dismembered Girl Aged 6 Alive & Made Her Parents Watch In Drug Deal Is Jailed For Life    

A Mexican cartel leader who dismembered a six-year-old girl with an axe then burned her limbs as he made her parents watch has been sentenced to multiple life sentences in an American prison.

Marciano Millan Vasquez, 34, was jailed for his involvement in the deaths of 29 people which he carried out for Zetas, a drug gang which operates in northern Mexico, between 2009 and 2015.

Among them was the six-year-old girl who he butchered on the patio of her home in front of her
parents to ensure they would 'remember' him.

The killings were all carried out in Mexico but because Millan was working living in San Antonio, Texas, and was arrested there, he was prosecuted in US court and will serve his sentence there.

A 39-year-old witness told of the girl's sickening death, which he said he was forced to watch after being held responsible for a missing shipment of marijuana.

The witness, a convicted trafficker who was not named for his own protection, told the court he was forced to witness 18 killings in a single night as punishment for losing the drugs, and as a warning to cover the loss, My San Antonio reports.

At one property was a husband, wife and little girl tied up and blindfolded on the patio, he recalled, with a fire burning in a barrel nearby.

He was forced to kneel and the group had their blindfolds removed so they could watch as Millan dismembered the child while she was still alive.

Through tears, the man described the girl's screams as her arm and leg were cut off before being burned in the flaming barrel.

Laughing, Millan told the watching parents: '[This is] so you’ll remember me.'
          And Then They Came For Me - Lasantha Wickrematunge's last editorial before being assassinated   
Lasantha Wickrematunge was the Editor of Sri Lanka's The Sunday Leader. He was assassinated a few days ago.

This is an Editorial he wrote before he was gunned down,
And Then They Came For Me
Lasantha Wickrematunge
Editorial, The Sunday Leader
Published 11 Jan 2009

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

I have been in the business of journalism a good long time. Indeed, 2009 will be The Sunday Leader's 15th year. Many things have changed in Sri Lanka during that time, and it does not need me to tell you that the greater part of that change has been for the worse. We find ourselves in the midst of a civil war ruthlessly prosecuted by protagonists whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Terror, whether perpetrated by terrorists or the state, has become the order of the day. Indeed, murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalists, tomorrow it will be the judges. For neither group have the risks ever been higher or the stakes lower.

Why then do we do it? I often wonder that. After all, I too am a husband, and the father of three wonderful children. I too have responsibilities and obligations that transcend my profession, be it the law or journalism. Is it worth the risk? Many people tell me it is not. Friends tell me to revert to the bar, and goodness knows it offers a better and safer livelihood. Others, including political leaders on both sides, have at various times sought to induce me to take to politics, going so far as to offer me ministries of my choice. Diplomats, recognising the risk journalists face in Sri Lanka, have offered me safe passage and the right of residence in their countries. Whatever else I may have been stuck for, I have not been stuck for choice.

But there is a calling that is yet above high office, fame, lucre and security. It is the call of conscience.

The Sunday Leader has been a controversial newspaper because we say it like we see it: whether it be a spade, a thief or a murderer, we call it by that name. We do not hide behind euphemism. The investigative articles we print are supported by documentary evidence thanks to the public-spiritedness of citizens who at great risk to themselves pass on this material to us. We have exposed scandal after scandal, and never once in these 15 years has anyone proved us wrong or successfully prosecuted us.

The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it.

Every newspaper has its angle, and we do not hide the fact that we have ours. Our commitment is to see Sri Lanka as a transparent, secular, liberal democracy. Think about those words, for they each has profound meaning. Transparent because government must be openly accountable to the people and never abuse their trust. Secular because in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as ours, secularism offers the only common ground by which we might all be united. Liberal because we recognise that all human beings are created different, and we need to accept others for what they are and not what we would like them to be. And democratic... well, if you need me to explain why that is important, you'd best stop buying this paper.

The Sunday Leader has never sought safety by unquestioningly articulating the majority view. Let's face it, that is the way to sell newspapers. On the contrary, as our opinion pieces over the years amply demonstrate, we often voice ideas that many people find distasteful. For example, we have consistently espoused the view that while separatist terrorism must be eradicated, it is more important to address the root causes of terrorism, and urged government to view Sri Lanka's ethnic strife in the context of history and not through the telescope of terrorism. We have also agitated against state terrorism in the so-called war against terror, and made no secret of our horror that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world routinely to bomb its own citizens. For these views we have been labelled traitors, and if this be treachery, we wear that label proudly.

Many people suspect that The Sunday Leader has a political agenda: it does not. If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition it is only because we believe that - pray excuse cricketing argot - there is no point in bowling to the fielding side. Remember that for the few years of our existence in which the UNP was in office, we proved to be the biggest thorn in its flesh, exposing excess and corruption wherever it occurred. Indeed, the steady stream of embarrassing expos‚s we published may well have served to precipitate the downfall of that government.

Neither should our distaste for the war be interpreted to mean that we support the Tigers. The LTTE are among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty organisations ever to have infested the planet. There is no gainsaying that it must be eradicated. But to do so by violating the rights of Tamil citizens, bombing and shooting them mercilessly, is not only wrong but shames the Sinhalese, whose claim to be custodians of the dhamma is forever called into question by this savagery, much of which is unknown to the public because of censorship.

What is more, a military occupation of the country's north and east will require the Tamil people of those regions to live eternally as second-class citizens, deprived of all self respect. Do not imagine that you can placate them by showering "development" and "reconstruction" on them in the post-war era. The wounds of war will scar them forever, and you will also have an even more bitter and hateful Diaspora to contend with. A problem amenable to a political solution will thus become a festering wound that will yield strife for all eternity. If I seem angry and frustrated, it is only because most of my countrymen - and all of the government - cannot see this writing so plainly on the wall.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government's sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended. In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

The irony in this is that, unknown to most of the public, Mahinda and I have been friends for more than a quarter century. Indeed, I suspect that I am one of the few people remaining who routinely addresses him by his first name and uses the familiar Sinhala address oya when talking to him. Although I do not attend the meetings he periodically holds for newspaper editors, hardly a month passes when we do not meet, privately or with a few close friends present, late at night at President's House. There we swap yarns, discuss politics and joke about the good old days. A few remarks to him would therefore be in order here.

Mahinda, when you finally fought your way to the SLFP presidential nomination in 2005, nowhere were you welcomed more warmly than in this column. Indeed, we broke with a decade of tradition by referring to you throughout by your first name. So well known were your commitments to human rights and liberal values that we ushered you in like a breath of fresh air. Then, through an act of folly, you got yourself involved in the Helping Hambantota scandal. It was after a lot of soul-searching that we broke the story, at the same time urging you to return the money. By the time you did so several weeks later, a great blow had been struck to your reputation. It is one you are still trying to live down.

You have told me yourself that you were not greedy for the presidency. You did not have to hanker after it: it fell into your lap. You have told me that your sons are your greatest joy, and that you love spending time with them, leaving your brothers to operate the machinery of state. Now, it is clear to all who will see that that machinery has operated so well that my sons and daughter do not themselves have a father.

In the wake of my death I know you will make all the usual sanctimonious noises and call upon the police to hold a swift and thorough inquiry. But like all the inquiries you have ordered in the past, nothing will come of this one, too. For truth be told, we both know who will be behind my death, but dare not call his name. Not just my life, but yours too, depends on it.

Sadly, for all the dreams you had for our country in your younger days, in just three years you have reduced it to rubble. In the name of patriotism you have trampled on human rights, nurtured unbridled corruption and squandered public money like no other President before you. Indeed, your conduct has been like a small child suddenly let loose in a toyshop. That analogy is perhaps inapt because no child could have caused so much blood to be spilled on this land as you have, or trampled on the rights of its citizens as you do. Although you are now so drunk with power that you cannot see it, you will come to regret your sons having so rich an inheritance of blood. It can only bring tragedy. As for me, it is with a clear conscience that I go to meet my Maker. I wish, when your time finally comes, you could do the same. I wish.

As for me, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I walked tall and bowed to no man. And I have not travelled this journey alone. Fellow journalists in other branches of the media walked with me: most of them are now dead, imprisoned without trial or exiled in far-off lands. Others walk in the shadow of death that your Presidency has cast on the freedoms for which you once fought so hard. You will never be allowed to forget that my death took place under your watch. As anguished as I know you will be, I also know that you will have no choice but to protect my killers: you will see to it that the guilty one is never convicted. You have no choice. I feel sorry for you, and Shiranthi will have a long time to spend on her knees when next she goes for Confession for it is not just her owns sins which she must confess, but those of her extended family that keeps you in office.

As for the readers of The Sunday Leader, what can I say but Thank You for supporting our mission. We have espoused unpopular causes, stood up for those too feeble to stand up for themselves, locked horns with the high and mighty so swollen with power that they have forgotten their roots, exposed corruption and the waste of your hard-earned tax rupees, and made sure that whatever the propaganda of the day, you were allowed to hear a contrary view. For this I - and my family - have now paid the price that I have long known I will one day have to pay. I am - and have always been - ready for that. I have done nothing to prevent this outcome: no security, no precautions. I want my murderer to know that I am not a coward like he is, hiding behind human shields while condemning thousands of innocents to death. What am I among so many? It has long been written that my life would be taken, and by whom. All that remains to be written is when.

That The Sunday Leader will continue fighting the good fight, too, is written. For I did not fight this fight alone. Many more of us have to be - and will be - killed before The Leader is laid to rest. I hope my assassination will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration for those who survive to step up their efforts. Indeed, I hope that it will help galvanise forces that will usher in a new era of human liberty in our beloved motherland. I also hope it will open the eyes of your President to the fact that however many are slaughtered in the name of patriotism, the human spirit will endure and flourish. Not all the Rajapakses combined can kill that.

People often ask me why I take such risks and tell me it is a matter of time before I am bumped off. Of course I know that: it is inevitable. But if we do not speak out now, there will be no one left to speak for those who cannot, whether they be ethnic minorities, the disadvantaged or the persecuted. An example that has inspired me throughout my career in journalism has been that of the German theologian, Martin Niem”ller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany, however, he saw Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niem”ller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem”ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Leader is there for you, be you Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, low-caste, homosexual, dissident or disabled. Its staff will fight on, unbowed and unafraid, with the courage to which you have become accustomed. Do not take that commitment for granted. Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you. Whether you deserve their sacrifice is another matter. As for me, God knows I tried.

          After winning 13 year court battle, Malaysian human rights activist plans to run for parliament   
When it comes to persecuting activists, the Singapore government is no different from their Malaysian counterparts. Just to mention some very recent examples, see my posts here, here and here.

Rights Champion Seeks Political Career
By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 (IPS) - After winning a gruelling 13-year court battle to avoid being jailed on charges of maliciously publishing false news, Malaysia's best-known human rights champion seeks a political career to continue defending migrant workers and other vulnerable sections of society.

"I refused to yield, I was focused and relentless and in the end won," said Irene Fernandez, executive director of Tenaganita, a leading human rights non-government organisation (NGO) that has a reputation for defending migrant workers against ill treatment and exploitation.

"It is also a major victory for human rights activism," she told IPS in an interview. "The authorities now know that we will fight and fight good and hard and will not be cowed."

Fernandez now plans to run for parliament. "It’s important that I have the opportunity to be a member of parliament, to be a voice for the communities that I have been working with," she said.

It was widely believed by diplomats, the political opposition and human rights organisations that Fernandez was targeted by the authorities for her persistent efforts to protect and champion legions of Asian migrant workers from mistreatment and exploitation by employers, a vigilante force called ‘RELA’ and other enforcement agencies.

Her ordeal began in 1996 when she was charged under Section 8A (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, with publishing "false news" -- a serious crime in Malaysia punishable with a mandatory one year in prison.

That year she had circulated a memorandum to the media, foreign missions and international human rights organisations in which she drew attention to deplorable conditions in overcrowded detention centres and the shoddy treatment meted out to migrant workers.

She alleged, in the memorandum, that migrant workers were mistreated, poorly fed, abused and regularly beaten.

The memorandum, based on research conducted by her staff and other experts, sparked an international outcry that severely embarrassed the government, but brought immediate relief to depressed migrant workers.

The government took steps to improve camp conditions, provide more nutritious food and medicine and assure the international community but charged Fernandez in court.

After a long and harrowing trial and despite international objections, she was found guilty in 2003 and sentenced to the mandatory one year in jail.

She appealed the sentence immediately but for five years she was dragged from one court to another as her appeal suffered numerous delays and postponements.

On Nov. 24, eight years after she filed her appeal, the Attorney General finally made the decision to withdraw the charge on the grounds that the appeal record was incomprehensible.

At one point in the appeal the court was informed that notes of evidence of important prosecution witnesses were missing. Later the notes were miraculously found but not legible. Further delays occurred after a computer virus wiped out notes required for the trial.

"The trial and sentence were hanging over me like a sword for 13 years," Fernandez said. "I suffered hugely but remained unbowed."

"The 13-year long trial was a heavy burden. I could not travel, stand for elections, raise funds or even speak at some forums," Fernandez,62, recalled. "This is a case of political persecution designed to force me to give up on my campaigns and retire."

By persecuting her the authorities had wanted NGOs to do charity work and leave advocacy and political activism alone, Fernandez said.

"They wanted to cow human rights activists by making an example out of me," she said. "They wanted to show the people that rights activism is dangerous and dirty work and anti-national."

She has vowed to step up her work helping migrant workers, women and HIV/AIDS campaigns.

"The struggle is far from over...there is a significant rise in the number of cases of sexual and physical abuse, torture of migrant workers," she said. "Conditions at detention centres and prisons remain deplorable."

"In fact the struggle has just started with the world economy in turmoil and millions of migrant workers on the front line of unemployment," she said adding that nearly four million -- legal and undocumented-- Asian migrant workers in Malaysia might end up being jobless if the turmoil persist.

In 2005 Fernandez won the Right Livelihood Award -- the alternative Nobel Prize -- in recognition of her wide-ranging human rights activism. "Migrants are human beings. They have the same rights as all of us.’’

"It is bad that Fernandez had to suffer for 13 years before justice was finally granted,’’ said Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan. "The ordeal is over for her but for the Malaysian judiciary the journey ahead is long to regain its lustre as an equal and capable branch of a democratic government."

"If Malaysia had respected rights, freedom, democracy and an independent judiciary the system would have never charged her in the first place," said Brad Adams, Asia director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"It is a trial where freedom of expression was challenged, where human rights defender is criminalised and where there is absolute disregard for the rights of detainees and minorities like migrant workers and refugees," he said.
          28 year old Burmese blogger, Nay Phone Latt, sentenced to 20 years in prison   
Two reports about Nay Phone Latt,

Young Burmese Blogger Sentenced to more than 20 Years in Jail
By SAW YAN NAING, The Irrawaddy, Monday, November 10, 2008

A young Burmese blogger who was a major source of information for the outside world on the brutal regime crackdown on the September 2007 uprising was sentenced to 20 years and six months imprisonment on Monday.

Nay Phone Latt, 28, was sentenced by a court in Rangoon’s Insein Prison, according to his mother, Aye Than. He was convicted of contravening Public Offense Act 505 B by posting a cartoon depicting junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe on his blog site.

Nay Phone Latt’s colleague Thin July Kyaw was sentenced to two years imprisonment, Aye Than reported.

Another dissident who ridiculed the regime, Saw Wai, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for publishing a poem mocking Than Shwe in the weekly Love Journal, according to Rangoon sources. The first words of each line of the Burmese language poem spelled out the message “Senior General Than Shwe is foolish with power.”

Nay Phone Latt’s blogs during the September 2007 uprising provided invaluable information about events within the locked-down country.

Two Rangoon journalists, Htun Htun Thein and Khin Maung Aye, of the privately-owned weekly News Watch, were arrested on November 5 and are being detained in Insein Prison. The media rights organizations Reporters without Borders and Burma Media Association have demanded their immediate release.

The current regime crackdown is also aimed at silencing legal attempts to ensure fair trials for dissidents now appearing before judges in closed court sessions.

Two weeks ago, three defense lawyers, Nyi Nyi Htwe, Aung Thein and Khin Maung Shein were imprisoned for between four and six months for contempt of court after complaining of unfair treatment.

Four other defense lawyers, Kyaw Hoe, Maung Maung Latt, Myint Thaung and Khin Htay Kyew have been barred from representing their clients since November 5, according to Kyaw Hoe. The lawyers are representing several dissidents, including members of the 88 Generation Students group.

“I asked a prison authority why I was not allowed to appear in court,” said Kyaw Hoe. “He said there was no reason and that the order had come from higher officials.”

Members of the 88 Generation Students group were now appearing daily in court without their defense lawyers, Kyaw Hoe said.

Two lawyers, Myint Thaung and Khin Htay Kyi, who represent the prominent labor activist Su Su Nway, withdrew from court proceedings at the weekend, citing unfair treatment, according to the accused’s sister, Htay Htay Kyi.

Htay Htay Kyi said Su Su Nway would be sentenced on Tuesday. The winner of the 2006 John Humphrey Freedom Award was originally charged with “threatening the stability of the government,” under articles 124, 130 and 505 of the penal code, but new charges have now been added.

In a statement in Washington, the US State Department criticized the imprisonment of the four defense lawyers and urged the Burmese regime to drop all charges and release them.

Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood called on the junta to stop harassing and arresting citizens for peacefully practicing their internationally recognized human rights, to release all political prisoners, and to start a genuine dialogue with democratic forces and ethnic minority groups for democratic reform in Burma.

Court sentenced blogger for over 20 years, poet for two years
by Than Htike Oo, Mizzima News, Monday, 10 November 2008

Chiang Mai – A court in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison on Monday has sentenced a popular Blogger Nay Phone Latt to over 20 years in prison.

Nay Phone Latt, who was arrested on 29 January, on Monday was sentenced by the Insein prison court on three counts including charges under section 505 (b) of the Penal Code - crime against public tranquillity.

The Blogger's mother Aye Aye Than, told Mizzima that her son was sentenced to two years under section 505(b) of the Penal Code, three and half years under sections 32(b)/36 of the Video Law and 15 years under section 33(a)/38 of the Electronic Law.

"We were waiting outside during the court proceedings and after the court session we asked the judge about the quantum of punishment. The judge and prosecutor informed us regarding the judgement," she said.

The 28-years-old, Nay Phone Latt, a famous blogger, is also a youth member of Burma's main opposition party - National League for Democracy. He runs internet cafés in several townships in Rangoon including "The Explorer" in Pabedan Township, and "Heaven" in Thingangyun Township.

His mother Aye Aye Than said that she had no idea why they had sentenced her son to such a long term in prison.

"He is the first ever blogger to be arrested in Burma. I have no idea why they punished my son with such a harsh judgement. Blogging is perhaps a very serious crime in the opinion of the authorities," his mother said.

Meanwhile, Nay Phone Latt's defense counsel, Aung Thein, was also sentenced to four months prison-term in absentia on November 7, for a charge of contempt of the court.

Similarly, poet Saw Wei was also sentenced to two years in prison on Monday with charges of 'inducing crime against public tranquillity'.

He was arrested in February, after his poem entitled 'February 14' was published in the Weekly 'Ah Chit' (love) Journal. In his Burmese poem, putting together of the first words of all the lines spells out 'Power Crazy Snr. Gen.Than Shwe', which provokes the authorities and he was immediately arrested.

"I am worried about his health. I want to arrange proper medical treatment outside the prison for him, where X-ray facility would be available in order to diagnose his back and waist pain. Currently, he cannot get these treatments inside the prison. He has to cover his body with a towel all the time. This morning too at the court, he could not sit for a long time and had to stand up frequently to ease his pain when speaking," Saw Wai's wife told Mizzima.

Soe Maung, the defense counsel of Saw Wai said, despite of the court's verdict, he will continue filing appeals for revision, as he thinks the trial were not free and fair enough.

"We will file an appeal against this judgment at all levels of the courts including an appeal for a revision case. We intend to do as much as the law and judicial proceedings permit us to, within the legal framework, until we reach the last stage. I am preparing for an appeal on my client's instruction," Soe Maung said.

Meanwhile, media watchdogs the Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) and Burma Media Association (BMA) has slam the junta for its unfair trials on the two writers – Nay Phone Latt and Saw Wai – and the verdict to sentenced them.

The two organisations said, they are appalled by the combined sentence of 20 years and six months in prison that a special court in Insein prison passed on Nay Phone Latt and two years to poet Saw Wai.

"This shocking sentence is meant to terrify those who go online in an attempt to elude the dictatorship's ubiquitous control of news and information, and we call for his immediate release. Saw Wai, for his part, is being made to pay for his impertinence and courage as a committed poet," the two organisations said in a press statement.

The two media watchdogs also call on all bloggers and poets around the world to show their solidarity towards Nay Phone Latt and Saw Wai.

"There is an urgent need now for bloggers all over the world to demonstrate their solidarity with Nay Phone Latt by posing his photo on their blogs and by writing to Burmese embassies worldwide to request his release. Similarly, we call on poets to defend their fellow-poet, Saw Wai, who has been jailed just because of one poem," said the two organisations.
          More Than 90 Indicted In Macedonia Over Wiretap Scandal   
A special prosecutor in Macedonia has charged more than 90 people, including former senior officials, in connection with a 2-year-old wiretap scandal that brought down the previous government.
          An attack on one is an attack on all   


Lars Schmidt (IMS photojournalism trainer)
Photo courtesy of International Media Support
29 June 2017

On 29 June, UNESCO is releasing its new publication An attack on one is an attack on all, on the occasion of the Multi-Stakeholder Consultation meeting on Strengthening the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, to take place in Geneva.

Authored by Larry Kilman, this publication looks at the innovative, successful ways in which media companies, individual journalists and civil society organizations are coming together to improve journalist safety and end impunity – and working successfully with governments in some cases.

While states have primary responsibility to protect journalists and prosecute those who attack them, there is a lot that media and civil society can and are doing as well.

The report is a rich selection of the kinds of work that is being done in this domain. “It is not full of statistics and data. It is, instead, a collection of stories, told in the words of the motivated people who are dedicated to protecting courageous journalists with pro-active measures to make them safer”, says Kilman. “It is written in the hope of inspiring others to support these efforts, perhaps duplicate them, and to raise awareness of the importance of this work”, he adds.

Published by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), this work will contribute to promoting the safety of journalists, one of IPDC's current priorities for project support. The IPDC Programme operates a unique UN-mandated system to monitor killings of media professionals and impunity levels.

More than 120 journalists and other media workers were killed worldwide in 2016 in relation to their work and more than 800 journalists have been killed in the past decade”, says Guy Berger, Director of UNESCO’s Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development.  Very few of the cases have ever been resolved. Many more journalists undergo harassment, physical attacks, jail and censorship. The culture of impunity is intimidating many others into exile or silence.

Keeping journalists safe can be an expensive proposition. Unfortunately, these threats are coming at a time when news media, particularly newspapers, are undergoing extreme disruption to their business models, reducing revenues at a time when even greater resources are needed.

To deal with these circumstances, new alliances and cooperative efforts are emerging. Media actors and civil society organizations are contributing more and more to safety work. And new ideas are coming from those who have suffered loss of colleagues and from those motivated by the need to protect journalism as a societal good. 

This report recounts 22 good practices. It compiles the stories of local people and organizations who are fighting to protect the safety of journalists at the local level.

          Midnight Sun S01 SUBBED 720p BluRay x264-GHOULS   
Midnight Sun S01 SUBBED 720p BluRay x264-GHOULS |Video Bitrate| : 5761 kb/s |Video Resolution| : 1280x720 |Video Frame-rate| : 25.00 fps(r) |Audio Info| : dts, 48000 Hz, 5:1 (swe) Name: Midnight Sun Summary: Kahina Zadi, 32, a French police officer travels to Kiruna in Sweden to investigate the bestial murder of a French citizen. Together with Anders, a Swedish prosecutor of Sami origin, she begins an investigation. Soon new killings start to happen and the first victim turns out to be the tip of a very dark iceberg. The victims seemingly have nothing in common more than that they are all being killed in a well-planned and vicious manner. In their hunt for the truth, both Kahina and Anders are forced to deal with their own past that they have repressed. A personal journey through a painful past becomes the key to succeed in preventing the violent killings that affects the small mining community of Kiruna.
          THE POWER OF PROSECUTORS: My Dentist’s Murder Trial….   
THE POWER OF PROSECUTORS: My Dentist’s Murder Trial.
          Profiling The 13 Army Generals Standing Trial For N102b FRAUD Under Buhari   
By New Telegraph

The 13 Army Generals On Trial For N102b FRAUD Under Buhari
About 13 former service chiefs and senior military officers are presently facing corruption charges to the tune of N102 billion before various courts in Abuja and Lagos.

Already, one of the former service chiefs has forfeited N1.82 billion to the Federal Government.

Top among the Generals being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged corruption are the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd); ex-Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh; ex-Chiefs of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin and Admiral Dele Ezeoba; former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Marshal Dikko Umar and Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.

Others on trial are the Chief of Administration, AVM A.M Mamu; a former Director of Procurement, Defence Headquarters, AVM O.T Oguntoyinbo; Air Officer Tactical Command, Makurdi, AVM R.A Ojuawo and former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting in NAF, AVM J.B Adigun.

Also on trial is a former chairman, Presidential Implementation on Committee on Maritime Safety (PICOMMS), AVM Saliu Atawodi and a former Director of Armament with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), AVM John Adeniyi Kayode-Beckley and a former aide to Dasuki, Col. Nicholas Ashinze.

Sambo Dasuki
Dasuki is standing trial before three different courts. The first charge was filed before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja where Dasuki was charged with diverting $2.1 billion.

Second, the EFCC preferred another 19-count charge against Dasuki and four others before an Abuja High Court for alleged diversion of another N32 billion meant for arms procurement.

Dasuki’s co-accused persons are a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa.

The third charge was filed before another Abuja High Court, wherein the anti-graft agency slammed another 22-count charge bothering on alleged diversion of N13 billion meant for arms procurement.

The former NSA had, since, been arraigned before the three courts. The Abuja High Court later consolidated the two charges against Dasuki.
Badeh in the dock

Badeh, who was a former Chief of Defence Staff, is standing trial on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.97 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Badeh pleaded not guilty to the charge and was consequently admitted to bail, first under stringent condition. The condition for bail was later reviewed due to his inability to meet it.

Trial had since started as the prosecution, the EFCC, has called witnesses. The witnesses had, in turn, explained to the trial judge, Justice Abang Okon, how Badeh collected the said money and expended it on the purchase of property in highbrow area of Abuja.

Badeh was said to have used dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4 billion from the NAF accounts to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.

Umar Dikko
Another Air Chief standing trial over corruption related charges is a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Umar Dikko, who was accused of diverting about N4.86 billion belonging to NAF to purchase property for himself.

Diko, who was arraigned before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, however, pleaded not guilty when the seven-count charge bothering on diversion of funds slammed on him by EFCC was read to him.

In the charge, Dikko was alleged to have, while being the Chief of Air Staff between September 2010 and 2012, converted the United States dollar equivalent of the aggregate sum of N4,864,630,000 removed from the account of NAF.

Dikko was also alleged to have used N700 million removed from NAF account to purchase a property at No 14, Vistula Close, off Panama Street, Maitama; accused of using another N860 million removed from NAF account to buy a property at Plot No. 1853, Deng Xiao Ping Street, off Mahathir Mohammed Street, Asokoro Extension, Abuja; accused of taking N500 million from the account of NAF to purchase a four-bedroom duplex with boys’ quarters at Road 3b, Street 2, Mabushi Ministers Hill, Abuja; accused of removing N250 million from NAF account to buy a property at No 14, Audu Bako Way, GRA, Kano.

Amosu, Adigun and Olugbenga
The anti-graft agency is prosecuting a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Olugbenga and eight companies before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos over an alleged N22.8 billion fraud.

The companies involved are: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil and Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd, Timsegg Investment Ltd and Solomon Health Care Ltd.

They were arraigned by the EFCC before the court on June 29, 2016 on a 26-count charge of stealing and concealing of proceeds of crime.

Upon their arraignment, the accused persons were granted bail by the court in the sum of N500 million with two sureties in like sum.

Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to June 28.

Also in the dock is a former commander of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, Major General Emmanuel Atewe and three others.

Atewe was, on June 3, 2016, arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu of a Federal High Court in Lagos on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, stealing and fraudulent conversion of N19.7 billion to personal use.

Atewe was arraigned alongside the immediate past Director General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga.

The anti-graft agency, in the charge marked, FHC/L/C/217C/16, alleged that the former JTF Commander and other accused persons had, between 2014 and 2015, in Lagos, used six companies to commit the alleged acts.

Further hearing in the trial has been fixed for September 20.

Ex-Naval Chiefs
Former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, is also being prosecuted at the FCT High Court over alleged N600 million fraud.

Jibrin is facing trial alongside Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia(rtd), Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (rtd) and Habor Bay International Limited on a four-count charge of criminal conspiracy.

The naval chiefs, whilst in office, allegedly bought a house worth N600 million from the account of Naval Engineering Services without budgetary provision.

A former Naval Chief, Dele Ezeoba, is another ranking security chief standing corruption trial before the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The trial judge, Justice Muslim Sule Hassan had, however, on April 6, 2017, ordered the permanent forfeiture of the said sum of N1.82 billion.

In the league of Generals in the dock is a former Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety (PICOMMS), Air Vice Marshal Saliu Atawodi (rtd).

Atawodi was arraigned by the EFCC on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.

Atawodi allegedly defrauded the government to the tune of over N600 million through suspicious contracts to procure military boats.
The trial is ongoing.

Also in the dock is a former Air Officer in charge of Tactical Air Command, Makurdi, Air Vice Marshal Rufus Ojuawo.

Ojuawo was arraigned before an Abuja High Court on a two-count charge of allegedly receiving a gift of N40 million and a car valued at N29.2 million from a contractor with NAF, Mr. Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux Nig. Ltd.

Until his arrest by the EFCC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, AVM Ojuawo, was Air Officer Commanding, the Tactical Air Command, NAF, Makurdi.

Kayode-Beckly, Mamu
Air Vice Marshal John Adeniyi Kayode-Beckly is being tried over a one-count charge of bribery.
Beckley, who is the Director of Armament with NAF, allegedly collected the sum of N10 million as gratification from a contractor, one Mr. Hima Abubakar, of Societe D’Equipments Internationaux Nig. Ltd.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and prayed the court to admit him to bail.
Also in the dock is a former Air Officer Training Command and a member of the Committee for Procurement, Ministry of Defence, Air Vice Marshal Alkali Mohammed Mamu.

The Federal Government is prosecuting Mamu on a three-count charge bordering on bribery to the tune of N5.9 million.

Mamu, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and consequently prayed the court to admit him to bail.

AVM Mamu allegedly collected a cash gift in the sum of N5.9 million for the purchase of a Range Rover Evoque, $300,000 and two vehicles (Ford Expedition SUV and Jaguar XF Saloon) valued at N15 million and N12 million respectively from Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux Nigeria Limited, a contractor with the Nigerian Air Force.

AVM Oguntoyinbo
Air Vice Marshall Olutayo Tade Oguntoyinbo is another ranking officer facing corruption charge before an Abuja High Court on one-count charge of bribery to the tune of N166 million.

Oguntoyinbo, while being the Chief of Training and Operations of the Nigerian Air Force, allegedly collected the said sum as gratification from a contractor with the NAF.

Col. Nicholas Ashinze was an aide to Dasuki.

The Federal Government has arraigned Ashinze, alongside three others, before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 13-count charge of corruption and money laundering to the tune of N3.1 billion.

Ashinze and his co-accused were arraigned alongside five companies accused of allegedly diverting huge sums from the office of the former NSA.

          I Financed BIAFRA Agitation - Evans Opens Up Again, Reveals Nnamdi Kanu's IPOB, Radio Got Millions As Aid From Him   
An unconfirmed report by online news blog, has claimed that the notorious billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a.k.a. Evans had confessed to the police how he sent millions of naira to Nnamdi Kanu’s Radio Biafra.

The online Newspaper quoted a reliable police source who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press as saying that Evans confessed he has allegedly donated heavily in promoting radio Biafra and the Nnamdi Kanu led Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB].

The Kidnap kingpin was also quoted to have made a shocking revelation that he has donated over 10 million Naira to the group since 2014.

According to, Evans was quoted to have said his last donation to the group was allegedly $5,000 in June 2015 and that he was allegedly in touch with IPOB leaders until he was arrested.

According to the insider, Investigations are ongoing and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring those who benefited from Evan’s magnanimity are arrested and every penny recovered.

The IGP has also promised that Evans will soon be arraigned and prosecuted once investigations are completed.

Meanwhile Evans, on Wednesday filed a fundamental rights enforcement action before the Lagos Federal High Court in Lagos, urging the court to order the police to charge him to court or release him immediately.

Joined as respondents in the said suit marked FHC/L/CS/1012/2017 are the Nigeria Police Force, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Police Command.

In the suit filed on his behalf by a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, the suspected kidnapper is seeking a court order directing the respondents to immediately charge him to court if they had any case against him in accordance with sections 35 (1) (c) (3) (4) (5) (a) (b) and 36 of the Constitution.

He is on the alternative seeking for an order compelling the respondents to immediately release him unconditionally in the absence of any offence that will warrant his being charged to court.

Evans is contending that his continued detention by the respondents since June 10, 2017, without being charged to court or released on bail was an infringement on his fundamental human rights.

The suspected kidnap kingpin who had evaded arrest for a long time, was eventually arrested at his Magodo Estate home in Lagos on Saturday, June 10, 2017 after an intense gun battle between his gang and special detachments of the Nigeria Police Force.

The 36-year-old kingpin has also revealed his involvement in drug trafficking and robberies.

Source Elombah

          Cardinal George Pell: I'm Innocent - Catholic 3rd Most Senior Priest Denies Sex Abuse Charge   
By Dansu Peter

Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal George Pell
Photo Source: BBC News
Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer accused of sex offences in his native Australia has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, descrbing the charge against him as "character assassination", BBC News reports.

The cleric also said the claims against him are "false".

According to BBC News, Pell said the Pope had granted him a leave of absence to fight the charges.

The charges relate to alleged "historical" incidents, police in the state of Victoria said.

The allegations were made by a number of people, said Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton.

Cardinal Pell, 76, who is based in the Vatican, is considered the third-ranking official in the Holy See.

He told a news conference at the Holy See: "I'm looking forward finally to having my day in court.

"I am innocent of these charges, they are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me."

The Catholic Church worldwide has in recent years faced a damaging series of allegations relating to sex abuse by priests, and claims that these cases were covered up.

The BBC's James Reynolds says the charges leave the Church - and the Pope - in an uncomfortable position.

After his election in 2013, Pope Francis created a commission to deal with allegations of sexual abuse by clerics. Now he finds that one of his closest advisers faces charges of his own.

The Vatican's child abuse response
What are the charges?

Victoria Police said they had made the decision to charge Cardinal Pell after receiving advice from prosecutors last month.

"Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges and there are multiple complainants," Deputy Commissioner Patton said.

Details of the allegations were not revealed.

Deputy Commissioner Patton said police "process and procedures" had been no different from any other investigation.

"Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation," he said.

The charges were served on Cardinal Pell's legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday.

The cardinal would be required to face the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 18 July, Deputy Commissioner Patton said.

A magistrate will decide next week whether to release the details and the nature of the charges ahead of the cardinal's court appearance.

Culled from BBC

          Mombasa court dismisses billboard case against Hezron Awiti   
Mombasa,KENYA:A court in Mombasa has dismissed a case against Mombasa gubernatorial candidate on a Vibrant democratic party ticket Hezron Awiti where he was supposed to be charged over unlawful erection of billboards and attempting to erect a billboard without a legal permit. Mombasa principal Magistrate Charles Ndegwa  heeded to a plea by the Director of Public prosecutions Alexander Muteti to dismiss the case over lack of grounds to charge Awiti. Muteti also said that the accused had not been given an opportunity to record a statement over the charges. Earlier in the week the court had summoned Awiti to answer to charges of Unlawful erection of billboards and  attempting to erect a billboard without a permit. This was after his supporters who were attempting to erect his billboard at the Buxton roundabout clashed with county inspectorate officers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Several aspirants in Mombasa county had earlier accused the county government of sabotaging their billboards in the county and threatening advertising companies with sanctions should they accept business from them allegations that the county government denied. Addressing journalists outside the court after the case was dismissed , Awiti who had been accompanied to court by his supporters who include Nyali legislative aspirant on a VDP Party ticket Millicent Adhiambo urged the court to allow him place his billboards in the county.
          The Mask is OFF! Mueller’s Credibility Just Took a MASSIVE Hit – Dems and Media FOILED Again   

  Tainted hands washing tainted hands seems to be the liberal way of doing things. They cannot be upfront or come clean about anything they seek to accomplish. Take for example special prosecutor Robert Mueller having lose ties with former FBI Director James Comey. Mueller was appointed to investigate supposed Russian involvement in affecting the […]

The post The Mask is OFF! Mueller’s Credibility Just Took a MASSIVE Hit – Dems and Media FOILED Again appeared first on .

          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."...
          $6.45M Bail Set for Surgeon Charged in Child Rape Scheme   
A judge set bail at $6.45 million on Wednesday for a Northern California brain surgeon charged with sexually abusing children, the AP reports. Prosecutors had opposed bail for Dr. James Kohut, saying the neurologist is a public danger who recruits women to help find child victims. The Santa Cruz...
          Bossetti life term airtight - prosecutor   
Appeal against conviction for killing schoolgirl
          Social Links: SCOTUS strikes down law banning sex offenders from...   

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a North Carolina law that the state has used to prosecute more than 1,000 sex offenders for posting on social media is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment . The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in what has become known as the "dancing baby" case - a lawsuit brought by a woman who sued Universal Music Group for directing YouTube to take down a video of her toddler-age son dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy."

          For future reference: if someone's a two-strike homeless felon with a history of mental illness and robbing people at knife-point, you might want to mention that at their bail hearing, prosecutor [Fail]   
Fail [link] [34 comments]

          The Asa's Health Care Pitch Edition   

Governor Hutchinson’s
critique of the Senate health care bill, the erection and destruction of the 10 Commandments monument, the U.S. Supreme Court and birth certificates for same-sex married couples and the appointment of Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland to U.S. Attorney — all covered on this week's podcast.

Subscribe via iTunes.


          Trump nominates Cody Hiland to be U.S. attorney for eastern district   
As expected, Donald Trump has nominated Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland of Conway to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He must be confirmed by the Senate.

Hiland's name was among nine U.S. attorney nominees put forward by Trump today, a second wave of appointments. He was known to be under consideration after FBI background checks began and meetings with U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, both Republicans. Most of the 93 U.S. attorneys were fired or resigned after Trump took office. Career prosecutors are serving as interim leaders in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, where former Democratic Rep. Chris Thyer and Conner Eldridge had served respectively in the Obama administration.

Prosecutors run now as non-partisans, but Hiland, who lost a judicial race last year, is a Republican regular. His prosecutor position covers Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy counties.

He's been a lawyer in private practice, a staff attorney at the Public Service Commission and former program director for the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board. He was a staff aide to Gov. Mike Huckabee and is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas the UALR Law School.

          'Mental health concerns' cited at arraignment of monument destruction suspect   
Michael Reed of Van Buren, charged with destroying the new Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol early Wednesday, was arraigned today by County District Judge Wayne Gruber.

According to an account by Emma Pettit of Arkansas Online, he interrupted his public defender and the judge on several occasions. The defender, Peggy Egan, reportedly said there might be "mental health concerns" to consider.

Reed was arrested in 2014 for destroying a similar monument in Oklahoma and later released from hospitalization on condition he continue to receive treatment for mental issues. The prosecuting attorney reportedly told the judge Reed had a record including drug possession and DWI.

The defender asked for a $10,000 bond. The prosecutor asked for $100,000. KATV said the bond was set at $100,000. He's charged with trespass, criminal mischief and defacing an object of public respect. The mischief charge is the only felony, class C, for damage between $5,000 and $25,000.

Reed wanted to represent himself and interjected "My Lord" and "My God" during the proceedings, KATV said.

          Urgent: Accountability of thugs   

Everyone: urge the Chicago City Council to eliminate from the contract with the thug union the provisions that protect them from prosecution when they kill or brutalize people.

          Former Asbury Park Police Officer on the run captured in North Carolina   
Former Asbury Park Police Office Keith German is captured and brought into federal custody on Wednesday in North Carolina, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office. Continue reading…
          Re: Another day, another opinion piece overselling breastfeeding   

Not just threatening, apparently names and details were given. That's contempt of court so hopefully we see some prosecutions.

          سلطة الجزائر تطارد أتباع الأحمدية.. من هم الأحمديون؟   

أصدرت محكمة جزائرية أمس أحكامًا بالحبس بحق 6 من أفراد الطائفة الأحمدية بتهمة "ممارسة نشاط غير قانوني"، من خلال "الجمع غير القانوني للأموال والنشاط في جمعية غير مرخصة وتوزيع منشورات تمس بالمصلحة الوطنية"، حسب اتهامات المحكمة، وحكم على خمسة منهم بالسجن سنة نافذة وستة أشهر غير نافذة، بينما حكم على السادس بستة أشهر غير نافذة، وسبق أن حكمت محكمة ابتدائية عليهم بالسجن بين سنتين وأربع سنوات لكل منهم، في آذار/مارس الماضي.

تنظر السلطات الجزائرية إلى الطائفة الأحمدية كـ"خطر يهدّد الأمن الديني والسلم الاجتماعي للبلاد"  

وأعادت الواقعة جدل شرعية حضور الطائفة الأحمدية في الجزائر من عدمها، القضية التي باتت تستقطب اهتمامًا إعلاميًا محليًا ودوليًا متزايدًا في الشهور الأخيرة، وتفتح نقاشًا سياسيًا ودينيًا ساخنًا داخل المجتمع الجزائري.

اقرأ/ي أيضًا: عيد الرضوان.. أقدس أعياد البهائية

كيف تتعامل الجزائر مع الأحمدية؟

لم تكن هي المرة الأولى التي تصدر فيها أحكام سجن ضد أحمديين في الجزائر، إذ منذ بداية 2016 بدأت سلطات قصر المرداية في شن عمليات اعتقال ومداهمة متوالية ضد أتباع الطائفة الأحمدية المتواجدين بعدد من المدن الجزائرية، وأسفرت هذه العمليات عن إيقاف العشرات من الأحمديين، بينهم زعيم الطائفة محمد فالي، الذي أعلن عن نفسه في شباط/ فبراير الماضي، عندما وجّه رسالة إلى الرئيس عبد العزيز بوتفليقة، يشكو له فيها "التهجم غير المبرر" على أتباع الطائفة، ويطالب بالسماح لهم بالعمل بشكل قانوني.

وتنظر السلطات الجزائرية إلى الطائفة الأحمدية كـ"خطر  يهدّد الأمن الديني والسلم الاجتماعي للبلاد"، كما يقول وزير الشؤون الدينية والأوقاف الجزائري محمد عيسى، الذي يؤكد على أن ملف الطائفة الأحمدية هو "قضية أمنية بحتة"، في إحالة منه على تخوف السلطات من ارتباط هذه الطائفة بجهات سياسية أجنبية، أو محاولتها اختراق العقيدة السنية المالكية لمعظم الشعب الجزائري.

الاتهامات التي ينفيها الأحمديون بالجزائر، ويطالبون الدولة الجزائرية من جانبهم بالامتثال لحرية العقيدة والتدين كما هي مسطرة دوليًا، ووقف الإساءة التي يتعرضون إليها، كما يصرون على حقهم في العمل بشكل قانوني، حيث سبق للسلطة الجزائرية أن رفضت طلبهم بإنشاء جمعية مدنية تابعة للطائفة الأحمدية وافتتاح مسجد.

وبحسب تقرير منظمة العفو الدولية الصادر حديثًا بخصوص الجزائر، فإن عدد الأحمديين المستقرين بالجزائر يقدر بحوالي 2000 فرد، وتم القبض على أكثر من 280 شخصًا منهم منذ بداية 2016، حكم على ثلثهم بالسجن لمدة تصل إلى أربعة أعوام، وبغرامات تصل مبالغها إلى 300,000 دينار جزائري (أي نحو 2,750 دولارًا). فيما الباقي منهم لا يزال يحاكم في حالة سراح.

وقالت في هذا الصدد، هبة مرايف، مديرة البحوث لشمال أفريقيا في منظمة العفو الدولية: إن "قمع الأحمديين على مدى العام الماضي يبعث على القلق، فهذه الحملة التي شملت توقيف الأحمديين وملاحقتهم قضائيًا هي إشارة واضحة على أن السلطات تعمل على تصعيد القيود المفروضة على الحرية الدينية في البلاد"، مطالبة بالإفراج عن الموقوفين وإتاحة لهم ممارساتهم السلمية لشعائرهم الدينية.

بحسب تقرير منظمة العفو الدولية، فإن عدد الأحمديين المستقرين بالجزائر يقدر بحوالي 2000 فردًا، وتم القبض على أكثر من 280 شخصًا منهم

اقرأ/ي أيضًا: حرب المائة عام بين السنة والشيعة

من هم الأحمديون؟

ظهرت الحركة الأحمدية في أواخر القرن التاسع عشر، في قاديان، إحدى قرى إقليم البنجاب في الهند، على يد مؤسسها ميرزا غلام أحمد (1835-1908)، وعقب انشقاق باكستان عن الهند، انتقل أنصار الحركة سنة 1947 من الأخيرة إلى باكستان ذات الأغلبية المسلمة، اعتقادًا منهم أنها الأقرب دينيًا، إلا أنهم ما لبثوا قليلًا حتى بدؤوا يتعرضون لهجمات وحشية من القتل والتخريب من طرف الإسلاميين الأصوليين، ما اضطرهم في الأخير بنهاية القرن العشرين إلى نقل نشاطهم الدعوي إلى لندن، حيث اتخذتها الحركة مركزًا دينيًا لها إلى اليوم.

خريطة انتشار أتباع الأحمدية حوال العالم

لا ترى الطائفة الأحمدية نفسها خارجة عن الإسلام، بقدر ما تعتبر ذاتها "حركة إسلامية تجديدية متسامحة"

يؤمن الأحمديون بالقرآن والسنة الحديث، مثلما يعتقدون بأركان الإسلام الخمسة كباقي المسلمين، لكنهم يختلفون في كونهم يعتقدون بأن زعيم الطائفة الأحمدية، ميرزا غلام أحمد، هو الإمام المهدي والمسيح الموعود الذي يجمع الناس من كافة الأديان على الخير، كما يحصرون شريعة "الجهاد" في الدفاع عن النفس فقط، ويؤمنون بالحرية الدينية التامة لكل الناس.

وهذه من المسائل التي يرفضها عامة المسلمين وجميع المؤسسات الإسلامية، التي تنظر إلى هذه الطائفة من الإسلام كفئة "مارقة من الدين"، وكانت "رابطة العالم الإسلامي" قد عقدت مؤتمرًا في 1974 بجدة السعودية، خصيصًا لإعلان قرار يعتبر الطائفة الأحمدية "حركة تخريبية ضد الإسلام والعالم الإسلامي"، ولذلك تحظر البلدان الإسلامية أنشطة هذا التيار الديني.

غير أن الطائفة الأحمدية لا ترى نفسها خارجة عن الإسلام، بقدر ما تعتبر ذاتها "حركة إسلامية تجديدية متسامحة"، تسعى إلى "جعل الدين الإسلامي طريقة عالمية للحياة بتسامح ومحبة مع مختلف الناس من أجل خدمة الإنسانية"، كما يقول موقعها الرسمي على شبكة الانترنت، وتؤكد على سلمية أنشطتها وعدم تدخلها في عمل الحكومات.

لا توجد أرقام دقيقة لعدد منتسبي الأحمدية في العالم، إلا أن الطائفة تقول بأن عددهم يصل لـ 200 مليون، فيما تحصرهم تقارير في 10 ملايين أحمدي، ينتشرون بقوة في أمريكا وبريطانيا وباكستان والهند وأندونيسيا، ويهتم الأحمديون كثيرًا بالعمل الدعوي، حيث ينتشر مرشدو الطائفة بإفريقيا وأوروبا وآسيا لنشر الأحمدية، وقاموا بترجمة آيات مختارة من القرآن إلى أكثر من 52 لغة، علاوة على أنهم ينشطون على الانترنت ويملكون قناة تلفزية تُبث من لندن.

تتميز الطائفة الأحمدية أيضًا بنظام الزعامة الشبيه بالطائفة الاثني عشرية من الشيعة، حيث يقود الحركة كبير حكماء، فبعد وفاة مؤسس الحركة ميرزا غلام أحمد سنة 1908، اختير نور الدين خليفة للأحمدية، ثم ميرزا ناصر أحمد، وبعده ميرزا طاهر أحمد، ليتقلد ميرزا مسرور أحمد إلى اليوم منصب الخليفة الخامس للأحمدية.


اقرأ/ي أيضًا:

"تحت الأرض".. عودة أسرار عبدة الشيطان في مصر

النقاش عن الطائفية: اتهام الدين لتبرئة السلطة

سلطة الجزائر تطارد أتباع الأحمدية.. من هم الأحمديون؟
تنظر السلطات الجزائرية إلى الطائفة الأحمدية كـ"خطر يهدّد الأمن الديني والسلم الاجتماعي للبلاد"، كما يقول وزير الشؤون الدينية والأوقاف الجزائري محمد عيسى، الذي يؤكد على أن ملف الطائفة الأحمدية هو "قضية أمنية بحتة"، ما خلفيات ذلك؟
خالد بن الشريف
الجزائر, الطائفة الأحمدية, الأحمديون, محمد فالي, الدين الإسلامي
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مسجد الطائفة الأحمدية في برلين (أ.ف.ب)

          U.S. Attorneys named for Mississippi    
Senator Thad Cochran issued the following statement.

President Trump Nominates Mike Hurst of Madison & Chad Lamar of Oxford to Top Prosecutorial Positions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today welcomed the White House announcement that President Trump intends to nominate D. Michael Hurst of Madison and William Chadwick (Chad) Lamar of Oxford to serve as U.S. Attorneys for Mississippi.

A White House statement issued Thursday announced the President's choice of Hurst to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi and Lamar to be the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi.  Cochran and Wicker recommended Hurst and Lamar, both of whom have served as Assistant U.S. Attorneys in their respective districts.

"I am pleased that Mike Hurst and Chad Lamar have been chosen for these important positions of public trust.  Both are talented attorneys who are well-qualified to serve the nation and Mississippi well," Cochran said.  "I will do all I can to support the timely consideration of their nominations."

"President Trump made the right call by nominating Hurst and Lamar to lead the U.S. Attorneys' offices in Mississippi," Wicker said.  "These experienced men are up to the task at hand and have wide support across the state.  I am hopeful that the Senate will take up their confirmation without delay."

In their earlier recommendation to the President, Cochran and Wicker said, "Mike and Chad are exceptionally well-qualified to take on the important and challenging role of U.S. Attorney.  We are confident they would serve our state and our nation with integrity and enthusiasm."

            The Hurst and Lamar nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.  Within their districts, U.S. Attorneys are responsible for being the chief prosecutors for the United States in criminal and civil law cases.

Hurst is currently director of the Mississippi Justice Institute, a division of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.  He served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Jackson from 2006 to 2015, working the criminal division.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney's office, Hurst was legislative director and counsel to U.S. Representative Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), as well as counsel to the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.  Hurst is a graduate of Millsaps College and the George Washington University Law School.

Lamar has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District since 1991, serving in both the Criminal and Civil Divisions.  He is currently the chief of the Criminal Division, and has extensive management experience within the Office of the U.S. Attorney.  Lamar has degrees from Millsaps College, the University of Mississippi Lamar School of Law, and the Boston University School of Law.

Sent from my BlackBerry Priv

          Prosecutor: Shkreli Built Hedge Fund Empire on 'Lies Upon Lies'   
In opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO, a federal prosecutor has told jurors that Martin Shkreli built a bogus hedge fund empire on "lies upon lies"
          Survival Research Labs Changes Bush Street to Obama Street   
TweetElements of the Survival Research Laboratories, a “performance art group” active in San Francisco, just got their prank on last night by changing a substantial portion of the street signs on Bush Street to “OBAMA,” in honor of the inauguration of our 44th President.   Will the SFPD “prosecute?” (Really, is that what the cops do – “prosecute”? Oh well.) But if that […]
          Blog Post: CFTC Inks 1st Nonprosecution Deals With 3 Citi Cooperators   
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Thursday that it has reached its first-ever nonprosecution agreements with three Citigroup employees who supplied information about the bank's spoofing practices that helped secure a $25 million penalty against the financial firm.
          Family of Tony Bland 'hugely disappointed' that his case cannot be included in Hillsborough manslaughter charges   
THE family of the last of the 96 Hillsborough victims have said they are "hugely disappointed" his case will not form part of the manslaughter charges bought by the Crown Prosecution Service.
          Portland attorney Frank nominated as top federal prosecutor in Maine   
PORTLAND — Longtime prosecuting attorney Halsey Frank has been nominated to be Maine’s top federal prosecutor. The nomination by President Donald Trump of Frank to become U.S. attorney for the District of Maine was announced June 29 by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “Halsey is an intelligent, highly competent, experienced law enforcement professional, and I am delighted that […]
          Statement on DOJ Hate Crime Summit    


For immediate release: June 29, 2017

Contact: / 202-429-9210 


AAI Statement on DOJ Hate Crime Summit 

Today, the Arab American Institute joined dozens of civil rights, religious, education and professional organizations to participate in the Department of Justice’s Hate Crime Summit entitled, "Identifying, Prosecuting, and Preventing Hate Crimes: What Works?” Upon conclusion of the event, AAI Executive Director Maya Berry issued the following statement: 

“We attended today’s summit because the prevention and prosecution of hate crimes is a priority. We were pleased to be there with fellow civil rights advocates and Department of Justice career professionals who have worked for years to successfully prosecute hate crimes. During our day-long discussions, we, along with our allies, reiterated our concern that the Trump Administration must do more to stem the rising tide of hatred we are witnessing in our nation. Beyond the horrific attacks on individuals, hate crimes target communities. The investigation and prosecution of crimes is an absolute necessity, but prevention requires that we do more, especially when Administration rhetoric and policy single out and target vulnerable communities. The data shows that impacted communities, including Muslims, Arabs and South Asians, are paying a high price due to the increase in bigotry we are witnessing. 

Additionally, it is important to note that this hate crimes summit was convened as part of the Department of Justice's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. That task force was announced to "combat illegal immigration and violent crime.” That immigrant criminalization frame is false, takes a draconian approach to immigration enforcement, and spreads fear and despair in the process. It does not build community trust, a necessary component for hate crime reporting. 

Further, while work on hate crimes is critical, it cannot be separated from: the administration’s deep cuts to civil rights budgets, efforts to defend the discriminatory Muslim and refugee ban, the backing off police and mass incarceration reforms, mass deportations, rolling back protections for transgender students and much more. Combatting hate crimes cannot be a fig leaf to cover misdeeds—it requires a megaphone of justice to make it real.

We will continue to rely on DOJ career civil servants for the successful prosecution of hate crimes and protection of rights. We will continue to oppose government policies that undermine our aspirational values and wrongly target impacted communities. We will continue to demand that Trump Administration officials, including the President, use their bully pulpit to advance justice and the constitutional values of equality. Should they do so, we will gladly echo their call. When they do not, we will continue to oppose them."



Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent.  AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit

          Comment on Church Attorney: +Bruno is a “rogue bishop” by David Allen   
I would hope that folks would remember that Jerry Coughlin, "The Church Attorney," is just an attorney like any other and this is his legal opinion, an opinion which does not carry any more weight than the legal opinion of any other attorney. The title of "The Church Attorney" is misleading and appears to give great weight or respect for what he has to say or to his understanding of TEC Canon Law but it doesn't. In this Title IV action against Bishop Bruno, Mr Coughlin serves as the prosecuting attorney. As the prosecuting attorney, it is his job to argue against just about anything that Bishop Bruno, and in this situation, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles, might do. In this argument against Bishop Bruno's appeal against the Hearing Panel's temporary sanction, he does a bang-up job of representing his side well, complete with inflammatory language and the requisite name calling. It is also Mr Coughlin's responsibility to try to undercut the argument presented by opposing counsel which is presented in the bishop's appeal. It would be more convenient if we had Bishop Bruno's actual appeal to the Hearing Panel to better determine the accuracy represented in Mr Coughlin's arguments to Bishop Bruno's appeal. I think that the headline to the story also betrays a bias against Bishop Bruno.
          Midday open thread: Germany legalizes marriage equality; Calif. gun advocates gain temporary win   

Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is The Institute for Empathetic Studies

Cartoon by Mark Fiore - The institute of empathetic studies

• What’s coming up on Sunday Kos …

  • Instead of wearing safety pins in solidarity, try Safety Pin Box—a subscription kit for white allies, by Kelly Macias
  • Will conservatives learn anything about deregulation from the London fire that killed dozens, by Ian Reifowitz
  • When you control all three branches of government, you’re responsible for government, by David Akadjian
  • Democrats: Use Trumpcare chaos to push single-payer Medicare for all, by Egberto Willies
  • How to improve Obamacare: If Republicans were smart, they'd listen, by Sher Watts Spooner
  • Oil shock and our energy future, by DarkSyde
  • Unprecedented spite: The American carnage of the GOP health care bill, by Jon Perr
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964: what was done back then—and where we are now, by Denise Oliver Velez
  • Free speech is only for conservatives, by Mark E Andersen


•  Germany finally gets into step with most of Europe on legalizing marriage equality:

“It’s a joyous turning-point,” said Volker Beck, who has campaigned for gay rights for decades, as a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany before he entered Parliament as a member of the Green Party. “Equality and civil rights have been achieved.”

For some, the surprise was only how long it took, in a country often seen as a progressive model for the region. Notable, also, was how quickly the matter moved forward once it was brought up this week.

Journalist-turned-artist teaches journalists how to draw to improve their journalism.



•  New report says global temperature since 1998 is rising 140% faster than previously calculated:

Researchers from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), based in California, have released a substantially revised version of their lower tropospheric temperature record.

After correcting for problems caused by the decaying orbit of satellites, as well as other factors, they have produced a new record showing 36 percent faster warming since 1979 and nearly 140 percent faster (e.g. 2.4 times faster) warming since 1998. 

States move on paid sick leave:

While inaction on paid sick days at the national level continues to erode families’ economic security, cities and states are stepping up for working people and serving as models for jurisdictions throughout the country. Rhode Island is the latest example—legislators there have been working to pass legislation to guarantee a minimum amount of paid time for eligible workers to care for themselves or their family when they are sick or need medical care. [...] If the governor signs a bill, it will be a big win for working people and their families in Rhode Island, as the state will join Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont in guaranteeing that working people have the ability to earn paid sick time.

Gun rights advocates win at least for now as judge blocks California ban on large-capacity magazines: U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez issued a temporary injunction Thursday against the section of California’s Proposition 63 that requires lawful owners of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to voluntarily surrender them or face criminal prosecution. “Plaintiffs’ entitlement to enjoy Second Amendment rights and just compensation are not eliminated simply because they possess ‘unpopular’ magazines holding more than 10 rounds,” Benitez wrote. Magazines holding more than 10 rounds have been illegal to sell in the state since 2000. But existing owners were grandfathered in under that law. The new law requires that they destroy these magazines or give them up to authorities or licensed dealers who could sell them in other states. Californians probably have millions of large-capacity magazines in their possession.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: We checked the Trumpmeter & he’s still nuts. Just in time for WSJ’s bombshell on Russian collusion, too. Kobach’s Krazy Kommission kicks-off. Still smouldering over NC-GOV loss, Rs seek to impeach Dem Sec. of State over the menace of… DACA notaries public.

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          The Counties: Siaya men face jail for chewing squirrels   
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has warned the hunters to pack their spears or face prosecution.
          Searchers' wounds will be considered at Bergdahl sentencing   
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) " Serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy SEAL who searched for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial, a judge ruled Friday, giving prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier.The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ruled that the service members wouldn't have wound up in the firefights that left them wounded if they hadn't been searching for Bergdahl, so their injuries would be relevant to his [...]
          Uncertainty Reigns After Williams Resignation   
Shock and relief may have been the emotions immediately experienced by prosecutors and members of the defense bar June 29 after former District Attorney Seth Williams abruptly pleaded guilty midway through his corruption trial and resigned, but now attorneys in Philadelphia's criminal justice system are left wondering what comes next.

          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."...
          Intellectual Property Specialist - Canadian Nuclear Laboratories - Chalk River, ON   
Patent agent or willingness to pursue patent agent status would be a strong bonus. Work with outside legal counsel to prepare and prosecute patent applications,...
From Canadian Nuclear Laboratories - Mon, 01 May 2017 21:08:25 GMT - View all Chalk River, ON jobs
          Côte d’Ivoire: UN Peacekeeping Mission Ends    

A convoy of United Nation peacekeepers are seen outside Bouake during an army mutiny in which disgruntled Ivorian soldiers seized control of the city. January 6, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters
(Abidjan) – As the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) comes to an end on June 30, 2017, the Ivorian government should redouble its efforts to address the serious rights issues at the root of past political violence, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH) and the Ivorian League for Human Rights (LIDHO) said today.

Côte d’Ivoire has enjoyed more than six years of relative peace and security since a devastating post-election crisis in 2010-2011. But the government’s inadequate progress in addressing a longstanding culture of impunity, reforming the security forces, and strengthening rule of law institutions threaten the country’s long-term prospects for peace and development.

“Côte d’Ivoire has distanced itself from the violence and conflict that blighted so many lives and tore communities apart, but it’s too early to say whether the recovery is sustainable,” said Drissa Traore, Vice-President of FIDH. “The peace dividends that the United Nations has contributed to could be reversed unless the Ivorian government addresses pervasive immunity and the army’s lack of discipline.”

Beginning with the deadly clashes that followed the 2000 presidential election and later the 2002-2003 armed conflict, international and Ivorian human rights groups have documented abuses committed during the political and inter-ethnic violence that haunted Côte d’Ivoire until the conclusion of the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. A decade of conflict and instability was punctuated by horrendous human rights violations, including widespread extrajudicial killings, torture, and targeted sexual violence by government forces, government-linked militia, student groups, and rebel forces alike.

The UN mission was established in April 2004 to monitor a cease-fire agreement after the 2002-2003 armed conflict, with peacekeepers monitoring a “zone of confidence” that separated the government-controlled south from the rebel-held north. This stalemate continued until the 2007 Ouagadougou peace accords, which set the stage for presidential elections in 2010 and, in the aftermath, the 2010-2011 post-election crisis.

Aïchatou Mindaoudou, the UN secretary-general’s special representative and head of the peacekeeping mission, said in June that “demonstrable progress has been made on all fronts.” The UN rightly cites peaceful 2015 presidential elections and 2016 legislative elections as evidence of improved security. And a 2016 constitutional referendum removed a divisive nationality clause that had fueled decades of ethnic and political tensions, although the vote was criticized for its lack of transparency.

Despite this progress, the government of President Alassane Ouattara has not fully addressed key human rights issues that have contributed to past political violence and conflict.

During the decade of unrest that culminated in the 2010-2011 post-election crisis, the culture of impunity that allowed those responsible for atrocities to escape justice was a key factor in perpetuating abuses. Former President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, a former militia leader, are on trial before the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity. And yet, the vast majority of the commanders and leaders implicated in a decade of serious human rights violations – on both sides of the military-political divide – have not been held to account.

The Ivorian government has made some progress in strengthening the justice system following years of neglect. But the deeply flawed trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes of former first lady Simone Gbagbo raises doubts about the Ivorian justice system’s ability to fairly and effectively try serious human rights cases. And the promotion in January of several army commanders suspected of involvement in abuses during the post-election crisis raises concerns about potential political interference in investigations.

The lack of accountability for human rights abuses is indicative of a wider failure to address a longstanding culture of impunity within the army. Mutinies in January and May, in which soldiers seized control of the country’s second largest city and neighborhoods in several other towns, reflect a wider perception that the army is “above the law.”

The peacekeeping mission has conducted extensive training for the security forces, including on compliance with human rights, and the army has reduced human rights abuses by soldiers against civilians. But the government has repeatedly failed to hold soldiers accountable for criminality, from the atrocities of the post-election crisis, to the illicit exploitation of natural resources by army commanders, to checkpoint extortion by rank-and-file soldiers. A March 2016 United Nations Group of Experts report found that former rebel commanders “who occupy key roles in the Ivorian security apparatus, continue to have access to private assets, financial resources and weapons.”

“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Yacouba Doumbia, President of MIDH. “The government’s failure to reduce soldiers’ illicit economic activities, and their commanders’ access to private wealth and weapons, makes it more difficult to hold them accountable for other abuses.”

The discovery by mutinying soldiers in May of an arms cache in Bouake underscored the failure of Côte d’Ivoire’s disarmament process to secure weapons hidden in private arsenals. The government has opened a judicial investigation and said it will seek to locate arms hidden in other locations.

Many of the underlying tensions that drove past ethnic violence also remain unresolved, notably an incomplete national reconciliation process and continued competition over land. Although land conflicts may have gradually become less prevalent, they remain a key driver of local violence, as illustrated by intercommunal clashes in March 2016 in Bouna that killed dozens of people and displaced thousands more. At the same time, as it moves forward with implementation of a 1998 land law, the government should strengthen local government capacity to find fair and durable rights-based solutions to tensions over land.

The peacekeepers’ departure, and the recent mutinies, underscore the need to intensify efforts to address longstanding impunity and professionalize the security forces. This should include a strengthened military justice system and improved internal military disciplinary mechanisms.

The authorities should also follow through on the promise to prosecute individuals – including members of the security forces – implicated in atrocities during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. This requires the government to provide the judiciary with adequate support to complete their investigations, as well as to finish the exhumation of victims in western Côte d’Ivoire. Holding accountable high-level perpetrators, including those who fought for Ouattara during the crisis, would send the message that those who resort to violence and human rights abuses in moments of political tension will face the consequences.

“With the UN peacekeeping mission’s departure, Côte d’Ivoire’s government now bears the sole responsibility for addressing the human rights challenges that threaten long-term stability,” said Jim Wormington, West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This means tackling impunity and addressing the root causes of political and ethnic tensions.”

          Azerbaijan Should Free Abducted Journalist    

Afgan Mukhtarli.

© Meydan TV

A month ago, Azerbaijani journalist and political activist Afgan Mukhtarli vanished from the center of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, a few blocks from his family’s apartment. Mukhtarli had been living in exile – several hundred kilometers from Azerbaijan – since 2015. That evening he had met a friend, picked up some bread on the way home, and called his wife, who is also a journalist. He never made it home.

Less than 24 hours later, he resurfaced in Azerbaijani border police custody, facing fabricated charges of illegal border crossing, smuggling, and violently resisting authorities. An Azerbaijani court promptly returned him to custody for three months, pending investigation.

Mukhtarli, his wife, Leyla Mustafayeva, and their 3-year-old daughter, moved to Georgia to escape Azerbaijan’s vicious crackdown against critics of the government. Mukhtarli’s reporting exposed corruption in Azerbaijan’s defense ministry. He also reported on the extensive business networks owned by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his affiliates in neighboring Georgia. Such reporting doesn’t go unpunished in Azerbaijan.

While in Azerbaijani custody, Mukhtarli told his lawyer that unidentified men, some wearing Georgian police uniforms and speaking Georgian, stopped him near his house, put a bag over his head, pushed him into a car, and beat him while they drove away. Mukhtarli also said his captors changed vehicles twice, and that the assailants in the second vehicle spoke Azeri and brought him to an Azerbaijani border checkpoint, where someone planted and “discovered” €10,000 on him. This became basis for the smuggling charges.

Although Georgian authorities promptly launched an investigation into the abduction, they have made little progress. The Tbilisi City Court refused to recognize Mukhtarli as a crime victim, which would allow closer scrutiny of the investigation. High-level officials deny the Georgian government’s involvement in the incident, but the lack of detailed findings after a month of investigation make these assurances ring hollow.

On June 15, the European Parliament adopted an urgent resolution strongly condemning Mukhtarli’s prosecution in Azerbaijan, calling for his release, and urging Georgia to investigate and “bring the perpetrators to justice.” The European Court of Human Rights is also reviewing Mukhtarli’s case as a priority and has already communicated questions to the authorities.

The governments of Azerbaijan and Georgia share responsibility for Mukhtarli’s fate. Azerbaijan should immediately release him and allow his reunification with his family in Georgia. And Georgia should ensure a prompt and credible investigation, and appropriately prosecute all those responsible, regardless of nationality or official position.

          UK’s U-Turn On Abortion for Northern Ireland’s Women    

Women gather in Parliament Square for a protest in support of legal abortion in Northern Ireland, Britain, June 24, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters

The UK government just took an important step in announcing – following a campaign and under pressure from parliament – that the National Health Service (NHS) will carry out abortions at no cost to pregnant women and girls from Northern Ireland who travel to England for the procedure. The decision follows a recent UK Supreme Court judgment that, under devolved health services, women living in Northern Ireland aren’t entitled to free abortions on the NHS in England.

But while the government announcement is positive, it is also a partial and unsatisfactory solution to a problem that should not exist. Women and girls should be able to access safe abortion in Northern Ireland, and the UK government has failed in its obligations to fulfil this right there for too long.

Abortion has been legal in most of the UK since 1967, but the law explicitly excluded Northern Ireland, where it remains criminalized except when the health or life of the woman is at grave risk – denying thousands of women their reproductive rights.

Cases deemed exceptions are rare indeed. Just 16 women were allowed abortions in Northern Ireland last year, while others are forced to carry to full term pregnancies they may never have intended, do not want, or cannot afford or resort to risky abortions or, alternatively, travel to elsewhere in the UK or Europe at great cost for private procedures. That the individual seeking an abortion is a child victim of rape is no protection either; the mother of a 15-year-old girl pregnant following an abusive relationship is currently fighting prosecution after being charged with procuring an abortion for her daughter.

Today's announcement will not entirely allay concerns about the potential impact on women’s rights arising from the deal between the Conservative minority government and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP is staunchly anti-choice.

The UK government is obliged to protect the right of women and girls throughout all of the UK to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. As a party to the UN treaty on women’s rights, the UK should remove punitive measures for women who undergo abortion. The UN has specifically criticized Northern Ireland’s restrictions on abortion, and it is high time that the UK government insists Northern Ireland decriminalize abortion.

           Hillsborough explained: The decades-long fight for justice    
96 people were crushed and killed during an FA Cup football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough stadium on 15 April, 1989, when the crowd surged forward with no means of escape. 28 years and many inquests and investigations later, the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service have decided to charge some of those involved.
          Intl experts to be involved in Kerch bridge construction eco-case   
National and foreign specialists will be involved in the investigation into violation of environment rules during construction of the Kerch bridge, Prosecutor General's Office of Crimea has reported
          Prosecution, defense rest their cases in Joe Arpaio's criminal contempt trial   
Both sides of the criminal contempt trial against former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio rested their cases on Thursday afternoon.

          US OH: Cases Proceeding Against Marijuana Petition Circulators   
Columbus Dispatch, 23 Jun 2017 - Criminal charges filed against petition circulators accused of falsifying signatures on petitions for the marijuana-legalization ballot issue in 2015 show that people must be careful, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien said. "It serves as a cautionary note that people circulating petitions need to be very careful and follow the law when they are gathering signatures," O'Brien said. "People need to be careful to only sign their own names."
          Statistics NZ backs down over prosecution threat   
Statistics NZ has apologised to a Waikato family threatened with legal action over a government survey.
          Now 815 Steps In: +Bruno Has Gone Too Far   
The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, has now interposed his pastoral authority in the Title IV disciplinary proceedings against Bishop J. Jon Bruno, diocesan of Los Angeles, about which I wrote most recently here.

He has issued, effective immediately today, the following "Partial Restriction" on the ministry of Bishop Bruno:
Partial Restriction on the Ministry of a Bishop

In recent days, I have learned of actions that, in my view, may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church. I have learned that, earlier this year, the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, entered into a contract for sale of property (the “St. James property”) that is central to a disciplinary matter now pending under Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, in which Bishop Bruno is the Respondent. According to Bishop Bruno’s submissions in that disciplinary matter, the contract for sale of the St. James property sets the closing date as July 3, 2017.

Bishop Bruno’s actions and intentions regarding an earlier attempted sale of the St. James property are currently under review in the pending disciplinary matter. I am deeply concerned that his act of entering into a new contract for sale of the same property, while his approach to the earlier sale is still under review, has the potential to undermine the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process. The secrecy with which the recent sales contract was undertaken adds to the potential for undermining the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process.

Accordingly, in order to protect the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process and, thereby, the good order and welfare of the Church, and pursuant to Canons IV.7(3), (4), and IV.17(2), I hereby place the following partial restriction on the exercise of his ministry until the pending Title IV matter has been finally resolved:
During the period of the restriction, the Bishop, acting individually, or as Bishop Diocesan, or as Corporate Sole, or in any other capacity, is forbidden from closing on the sale of the St. James property, or otherwise selling or conveying the property or contracting to sell the property, or, in any way assisting in the sale or conveyance of the property.
This restriction is effective immediately. Nothing in this restriction is intended to express any opinion about the merits of the pending Title IV proceeding.

This document shall be served upon Bishop Bruno today and shall inform him of his right to have any objections to this restriction heard pursuant to Canon IV.7.

(The Most Rev.) Michael Bruce Curry

XXVII Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
It would appear that this restriction moots +Bruno's rather cheeky appeal of the Hearing Panel's sanctions order of June 17 (see the update to this earlier post), because now it does not matter whether his appeal is upheld or denied by the full Disciplinary Board: +Bruno cannot close escrow on the St. James the Great property in Newport Beach without subjecting himself to new disciplinary proceedings and sanctions instituted by the Presiding Bishop.

At the same time, knowing +Bruno's stubbornness and refusals to yield to authority (he was a former policeman), I would not be surprised if he goes ahead and closes escrow anyway (assuming the buyer does not back out in light of these developments). His corporation sole is in law the record owner of the property (thanks to the fecklessness of the diocesan Board and Standing Committee). Therefore in the eyes of California civil law, +Bruno is on paper, at least, capable of conveying good title to the property, whether his doing so violates an ecclesiastical order or not.

Caveat: While he may be able to sign a deed conveying title, the holding of the California Court of Appeals in the first Bishop Schofield case may give ECUSA the right to sue for the return of the property, since by now the proposed developer in Newport Beach is fully aware of the proceedings against +Bruno, and could not be treated as an innocent, bona fide purchaser without notice. That is why any sensible title attorney knowing that case would urge extreme caution on the buyer's part.

Bishop Bruno also has, reportedly, a further $25 million or so of property in escrow which is not affected by either the sanctions order or the Partial Restriction. (See the earlier post linked above for details.) There is no telling at this point just what he may stand to realize personally if one or more of these escrows closes, because he has refused to disclose (in violation of his duties as a fiduciary to his Diocese and its governing bodies) any particulars of any pending deal.

Which is why ECUSA's attorney leading the prosecution of disciplinary charges against +Bruno, Jerry Coughlan, has called for a "forensic audit" of +Bruno's corporation sole in his 16-page response to +Bruno's appeal of the sanctions order (link downloads a .pdf). The response makes for very colorful and interesting reading. It outlines the same primary case for protecting ECUSA's disciplinary jurisdiction over +Bruno that the Partial Restriction does, and in the process characterizes +Bruno as a "rogue bishop", the role of which he certainly has acted until now.

[UPDATE 06/29/2017: Church Attorney Coughlan has now filed an amendment to his earlier response in which he calls for the Panel to apply its extreme sanction, and depose +Bruno from his see outright. If the Panel were to do so, it should probably exercise its prerogative to make the deposition effective retroactively, as of the date it noticed the public hearing on the complaint against +Bruno, since it was after that date that +Bruno entered into his secretive contract for sale. Removing +Bruno from his office as of that date would cancel and render invalid any contract he entered into subsequently.]

So, as foreseen long ago on this blog, we may be coming to the ultimate showdown -- a contest of authority between an ostensibly autonomous diocesan bishop and the national body's presiding bishop, who in 2009 was given pastoral authority for the first time ever over other ECUSA bishops by the changes adopted in that year to Title IV at General Convention. (Those changes to the disciplinary rules were one of the reasons Bishop Mark Lawrence and his Diocese of South Carolina cited for their decision to withdraw from ECUSA.)

It is too early to say how this matter will play itself out, because there are now very strong forces gathering on both sides. I will update further as I believe appropriate.

IN 2006, MR Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Lee Kuan Yew sued the SDP for defamation over an article we published in our party's newspaper, The New Democrat, about the National Kidney Foundation and governance in Singapore.

The PM's lawyer Davinder Singh said then that the words in the piece, in their ordinary meaning and innuendo, alleged that Mr Lee was dishonest and unfit for office.

Specifically, Mr Lee said that the article had accused him of being “guilty of corruption, nepotism, criminal conduct, dishonesty, and had advanced the interests of [his] family”.

The suit relied on “innuendo” because nowhere in the article had we mentioned him (or anyone else for that matter) by name. Mr Lee read it to be that he was the one referenced and, thereby, had to sue to protect the government's reputation.

He said: “We have to act because they are alleging corruption. If we do not act, and the lies and defamation are repeated throughout and in election rallies and spread around, I think the government's reputation goes down.” (emphasis added)

This utterance 11 years ago has now come back to haunt Mr Lee in his current dispute with his siblings. Both Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang have not resorted to innuendo – the accusations they level at their brother are direct and plain. The words employed are, or at least should be by PM Lee's own assessment, defamatory of him and the present government.

That the PM seems unenthusiastic on the legal front is telling. Dr and Mr Lee's allegations, if made by anyone else would have been met by a writ of defamation and the legal process well under way by now.

His defenders argue that Mr Lee is in an untenable position; one doesn't sue one's siblings. Such a quarrel is disingenuous. His reputation as prime minister and – in his own words – the reputation of the government is at stake. State affairs cannot be subordinate to familial relations.

Seen another way: If this was a criminal matter, the government would have to prefer charges against the wrong-doers and prosecute them in a court of law regardless of whether the perpetrators are the PM's siblings or not.

After all, Mr Lee did, upon his swearing in as PM, take the Oath of Office to discharge his duties “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.

To this end, the gold standard of defamation for the government was sealed by former PM Goh Chok Tong in 1999: “...if a minister is defamed and he does not sue, he must leave cabinet...if he does not dare go before the court to be interrogated by the counsel for the other side, there must be some truth in it. If there is no evidence, well, why are you not suing?”

PM Lee is staring at his predecessor's damning indictment in the face as he ponders his next move. (At the minimum, he must convene a public inquiry where his accusers have representation.) Absolving himself in Parliament does not quite meet Mr Goh's clear edict.

Which brings us to the bigger issue of character.

When politicians step down from all the jousting and verbal combat and, more consequentially, bow out of the stage of life, what do they leave behind? Do they impart values that uplift humanity? Do they inspire decency and compassion amongst the people? Do they embolden citizens to speak truth to power even if – and especially when – they are the ones wielding that power?

Or are they more interested in strengthening their political purchase by silencing dissent and crushing their opponents?

The former speaks to character while the latter to reputation. This is what I meant when I said in a rally during the general elections in 2015: “Reputation is temporary, but character is permanent”.

At that time, Mr Lee riposte was: “I agree. Of all people, Dr Chee should know character is permanent, doesn’t change.”

With the current mess that he finds himself and the predicament he has placed the nation, let us hope that the Prime Minister, going forward, treats the matter of character less glibly.


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          Searchers' wounds will be considered at Bergdahl sentencing   
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy SEAL who searched for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial, a judge ruled Friday, giving prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier. The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, ruled that the service members wouldn't have wound up in the firefights that left them wounded if they hadn't been searching for Bergdahl, so their injuries would be relevant to his sentencing if he's convicted of misbehavior before the enemy at trial in October. The charge, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, alleges that Bergdahl endangered fellow service members by walking off his remote post and triggering search missions across Afghanistan. The former Navy SEAL, Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch, suffered a career-ending leg wound when he was sprayed with AK-47 fire while chasing enemy fighters on a July 2009 search mission. Defense attorneys wanted the misbehavior charge thrown out, arguing that the underlying actions weren't independently criminal and that the sentence could be overly harsh.
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          Paralegal / Legal Assistant III Supporting the USAO   
CO-Denver, FSA, a government contractor delivering highly qualified personnel in support of the government's mission, has an immediate vacancy for a Paralegal III to support the Asset Forfeiture Program at the U.S. Attorney's Office District of CO. The USAO is responsible for the prosecution of both criminal and civil actions against property used or acquired during illegal activity. A Paralegal/Legal Assist

And, of course, the American people, the European peoples, and the US and European governments are being conditioned by the “Russia did it” storyline to distrust Russia and to accept whatever dangerous and irresponsible policy toward Russia that Washington comes up with next.

Is the anti-Russian propaganda driven by ratings as Bonifield is reported to claim, or are ratings the neoconservatives and military/security complex’s cover for media disinformation that increases tensions between the superpowers and prepares the ground for nuclear war?

RT acknowledges that the entire story could be just another piece of false news, which is all that the Western media is known for.

Nevertheless, what we do know is that the fake news reporting pertains to Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential election. Allegedly, Trump was elected by Putin’s interference in the election. This claim is absurd, but if you are Megyn Kelly you lack the IQ to see that. Instead, presstitutes turn a nonsense story into a real story despite the absence of any evidence.

Who actually interfered in the US presidential election, Putin or the presstitutes themselves? The answer is clear and obvious. It was the presstitutes, who were out to get Trump from day one of the presidential campaign. It is CIA director John Brennan, who did everything in his power to brand Trump some sort of Russian agent. It is FBI director Comey who did likewise by continuing to “investigate” what he knew was a non-event. We now have a former FBI director playing the role of special prosecutor investigating Trump for “obstruction of justice” when there is no evidence of a crime to be obstructed! What we are witnessing is the ongoing interference in the presidential election, an interference that not only makes a mockery of democracy but also of the rule of law.

The presstitutes not only interfered in the presidential election; they are now interfering with democracy itself. They are seeking to overturn the people’s choice by discrediting the President of the United States and those who elected him.

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          Venezuela chief prosecutor seeks protection amid conflict with Maduro   

Luisa Ortega Díaz seeks help of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights after supreme court barred her from leaving country and froze her bank accounts

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor has asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for protection, days after the supreme court barred her from leaving the country and ordered her bank accounts frozen.

Tensions between Luisa Ortega Díaz and President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist administration have been steadily escalating since she contested a supreme court decision in late March that dissolved the opposition-controlled National Assembly and sparked a deadly wave of unrest.

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          Does McAuliffe Investigation Show Feds are Getting More Aggressive?    
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          Prosecutor Drops Perjury Charge Against Ex-Trooper In Sandra Bland Case   
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          Comment on Fireworks, Music and a Parade: Where to celebrate the 4th of July on the Eastside by Androg   
"When you live on the Eastside, there’s usually no need to head out to attend a formal 4th of July fireworks show — there’s usually someone nearby lighting up the night sky with colorful skyrockets, bombs and other fiery displays." I'm very disappointed that the Eastsider is blowing off the fact that neighborhood fireworks are Illegal and can be dangerous to those setting them off and to trees and homes. The neighborhood fireworks have grown to such an extent that Echo Park sounds like a battle field on the 4th, and a big portion of the fireworks are simply noise, such as the M-80s. The Eastsider published photos of one of the "displays" last New Years: Trees blazing away next to an apartment building that the LAFD thankfully prevented from going up in flames. So many complaints have been filed about illegal fireworks both prior to, and on, July 4, that this year it appears LAPD will attempt to address the issue: "Starting Friday, our Los Angeles City Attorney's Office Neighborhood Prosecutor, Gabrielle Taylor, has committed to providing enforcement tips to our officers in roll call and we will be enforcing the illegal use of fireworks with citations and seizures of the items (fireworks). We will be training our officers and hope to influence them in taking proactive efforts in stopping the use of fireworks, which, as you know, are illegal to possess or use in the City of Los Angeles." Phillip A. Smith, Captain Commanding Officer Northeast Patrol Division (323) 561-3231 (Office) (323) 340-3979 (Fax)
          Legal Staff Technical Specialist (Patent Agent) in Dallas, TX   
Biotech Patent Agent
The candidate will draft and prosecute domestic and foreign patent applications in the fields of biotechnology and life sciences. Will contribute to a broad range of intellectual property matters including patent prosecution. Support the practice by performing general research
          Lennon blast for DPP   
FORMER Tasmanian premier Paul Lennon launched a savage attack on the Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis yesterday.
          Charges dropped against 2 youths in Tennessee wildfires   

Charges dropped against 2 youths in Tennessee wildfiresNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped arson charges against two juveniles in connection with the Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people and tore through thousands of homes and businesses in November, a law enforcement official said Friday.

          Venezuela prosecutor charging ex-national guard chief   

Venezuela prosecutor charging ex-national guard chiefCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's renegade chief prosecutor charged the former head of the country's national guard Thursday with systemically violating human rights during three months of anti-government protests that have left nearly 80 people dead.

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          Prosecutor: Shkreli Built Hedge Fund Empire on 'Lies Upon Lies'   
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          U.S. says ex-consultant set up meetings over Iran's nuclear program   
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          How Will Jeff Sessions Go After Hate Crimes?   
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          9th Circuit upholds SF ordinance targeting false advertising by pregnancy centers   
First Resort, Inc. v. Herrera, 2017 WL 2766094, -- F.3d –, No. 15-15434 (9th Cir. Jun. 27, 2017)

First Resort, a nonprofit providing free pregnancy-related services, challenged San Francisco’s Pregnancy Information Disclosure and Protection Ordinance, which targeted false or misleading advertising by limited services pregnancy centers (LSPCs). The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling that the Ordinance was constitutional and not preempted by state law.

First Resort’s target clients are “women who are unsure how to proceed with unplanned pregnancies, including women considering abortion.” It bought keywords such as “abortion” and “emergency contraception”; its advertising competes with abortion providers for viewers’ attention.  Online, it advertised itself “as an unbiased and neutral organization that provided ‘abortion information, resources, and compassionate support for women’ with ‘unintended pregnancies’ who are ‘considering abortion,’” promised to “equip [women] with the resources [they] need to make a well-informed decision about [their] options,” and offered information about abortion procedures and costs. “Notably, the website and advertising materials did not mention First Resort’s anti-abortion stance or that it did not provide referrals for abortions.”

Further background: false and misleading advertising by pregnancy clinics is a well-documented problem.  Some such clinics “frequently fail to provide medically accurate information” and “the vast majority of pregnancy centers” contacted during a federal investigation misrepresented the medical consequences of abortion.  San Francisco’s City Attorney sent First Resort a letter in 201 expressing his “serious concerns” about First Resort’s misleading advertisements and asking First Resort to “correct” its advertising “to clarify that the clinic does not offer or make referrals for abortion services.”

The city’s ordinance defined a “[p]regnancy services center” as “a facility, licenced or otherwise ... the primary purpose of which is to provide services to women who are or may be pregnant, that either (1) offers obstetric ultrasounds, obstetric sonograms or prenatal care to pregnant women, or (2) has the appearance of a medical facility.” A limited services pregnancy center (LSPC) is a pregnancy services center that doesn’t directly provide or provide referrals to clients for abortions or emergency contraception.”

Under the ordinance,

(a) It is unlawful for any [LSPC], with intent directly or indirectly to perform pregnancy-related services (professional or otherwise), to make or disseminate or cause to be made or disseminated before the public …, in any newspaper or other publication, or any advertising device or in any other manner or means whatever, … any statement, concerning those services, professional or otherwise, or concerning any circumstance or matter of fact connected with the proposed performance or disposition thereof, which is untrue or misleading, whether by statement or omission, that the [LSPC] knows or which by the exercise of reasonable care should know to be untrue or misleading.
(b) It is unlawful for any [LSPC], with intent directly or indirectly to perform pregnancy-related services (professional or otherwise), to make or disseminate or cause to be so made or disseminated any such statement identified in subsection (a) as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to perform the services expressly or impliedly offered, as advertised.

Before filing an action, the City Attorney must provide the LSPC with written notice of the violation and indicate that the LSPC has ten days to cure the violation.  If it doesn’t, the City Attorney can sue, with penalties from $50-500 per violation.

First, the court of appeals found that the ordinance was facially valid; it had a constitutional application and it was not unconstitutionally overbroad or vague, but regulated only unprotected false or misleading commercial speech.  (I might have gone with “apparent professional speech” to bolster the commercial speech analysis; whether or not the centers provide medical services in the ordinary sense, they seem to be offering medical advice—at least in the limited way targeted by the ordinance.  The professional speech consideration is at least implicit in the discussion of the services and marketplace at issue.)

First Resort argued that the Ordinance regulated all advertising, not only false or misleading advertising, and also that it regulated only noncommercial speech. First, the Ordinance clearly limited itself to false or misleading speech.  As for commercial speech, “[w]here the facts present a close question, ‘strong support’ that the speech should be characterized as commercial speech is found where the speech is an advertisement, the speech refers to a particular product, and the speaker has an economic motivation.” These factors are not individually necessary, however.  In American Academy of Pain Management v. Joseph, 353 F.3d 1099 (9th Cir. 2004), the court of appeals held that advertisements for paid medical services constituted commercial speech, as to a California state law prohibiting doctors from advertising they were “board certified” in certain circumstances.  The advertising at issue related to a specific product, medical services, and the advertiser had an economic motive: to solicit a patient base.

Here, the ordinance’s purpose was similarly to regulate advertising related to medical services, and the LSPCs had  “at least one similar economic motive for engaging in false advertising: to solicit a patient base.”  However, in American Academy, the patients were paying clients, and here they were not. The court of appeals declined to limit American Academy to “circumstances where clients pay for services.”  In this case, soliciting patients “directly relates to an LSPC’s ability to fundraise and, in turn, to buy more advertisements.” The joint statement of undisputed facts included: “First Resort’s employees are encouraged to share client stories because they are useful in fundraising,” and “[a] majority of First Resort’s fundraising communications reference the benefit of its services to clients and often include client stories.” Furthermore, successful advertising directly affects First Resort’s employees’ compensation, as “[m]embers of First Resort’s senior management team are eligible to receive bonuses based on criteria which may include ... the number of new clients.” Thus, LSPCs had an economic motivation for advertising their services.

Moreover, an economic motive for speech is not absolutely required to make the speech commercial. The court of appeals pointed to Fargo Women’s Health Org., Inc. v. Larson, 381 N.W.2d 176 (N.D. 1986), which upheld a preliminary injunction preventing a “pro-life” pregnancy clinic from engaging in “false and deceptive advertising and related activity [that] misleads persons into believing that abortions are conducted at the clinic with the intent of deceptively luring those persons to the clinic to unwittingly receive anti-abortion propaganda.” Even though clients didn’t pay for services, the court explained that, “[m]ore importantly, the Help Clinic’s advertisements are placed in a commercial context and are directed at the providing of services rather than toward an exchange of ideas.”  

So too here: the ordinance is limited to “the pregnancy-related services an LSPC offers in a marketplace for those services.” Indeed, the record indicated that First Resort viewed itself as “advertising and participating in a competitive marketplace for commercially valuable services.” The undisputed facts included First Resort’s admission that it “views its online advertising as competing with that of abortion providers for the attention of online viewers,” and that “[t]he medical services offered by First Resort, such as pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and nursing consultations have monetary value.”

Nor was the Ordinance void for vagueness.  (If it had been, how could general prohibitions on false or misleading ads have survived?)  The Ordinance specified that its purpose was to prevent false or misleading ads about the nature of the counseling and services provided by LSPCs. A person of ordinary intelligence could understand what’s prohibited.

For basically the same reasons, the Ordinance was valid as applied to First Resort.  First Resort’s regulated speech wasn’t inextricably intertwined with its fully protected speech. First Resort’s commercial speech about the limited medical services it provides can easily be separated from its fully protected speech, that containing truthful information about pregnancy, on its website.  As the City Attorney’s letter explained, the clinic’s website included “detailed information about abortion procedures offered at outpatient medical clinics” and “implie[d] on its ‘Abortion Procedures’ page that First Resort perform[ed] pregnancy tests and ultrasounds as a prelude to offering abortion as an outpatient procedure, or referring clients to a provider who performs abortions.” The Ordinance regulated only misleading aspects of the website, which could easily be separated from other portions of the website, such as: “If you have missed at least one period, you may be pregnant .... The only sure way to know is by having a pregnancy test or pelvic exam.”

Nor did the Ordinance discriminate based on viewpoint. Whether the Ordinance applies depends on the services offered, not on the particular views espoused or held by a clinic. Even if an LSPC chooses not to offer abortions or abortion referrals for reasons that have nothing to do with their views on abortion, such as financial or logistical reasons, it’s covered.  Further, the Ordinance regulates LSPCs “because they engage in false or misleading speech, irrespective of their viewpoints.”  Applying only to the service providers that presented this “grave threat to women’s health” wasn’t viewpoint-based and didn’t restrict them from expressing their views.  The motivationfor LSPCs’ false or misleading advertising might be anti-abortion views, but the Ordinance didn’t target the motivation, only the threat to women’s health.  Similarly, there was no equal protection problem based on the Ordinance’s use of a classification based on the speaker’s identity; rational basis review applied and was satisfied.

Separately, the Ordinance wasn’t preempted by California’s FAL (a matter that one of the judges, concurring, would have certified to the California Supreme Court).  “[A]bsent a clear indication of preemptive intent from the Legislature,” California courts presume that a local law in an area of traditional local concern “is not preempted by state statute.” However, preemption applies “if the local law ‘duplicates, contradicts, or enters an area fully occupied by general law, either expressly or by legislative implication.’ ” “Local legislation is ‘duplicative’ of general law when it is coextensive therewith.”  But California courts have mostly confined duplication preemption to penal ordinances, because when local and state offenses are duplicative, “a conviction under the [local] ordinance will operate to bar prosecution under state law for the same offense.”

The Ordinance here was civil and created no double-jeopardy bar to a state criminal prosecution for the same false advertising, and First Resort failed to show that the Ordinance would interfere with the enforcement of state law.  At least, the lack of a penal component weighed against finding preemption.  Also, the laws didn’t bar “precisely the same acts.” The Ordinance, which only applies to LSPCs and to statements about pregnancy-related services, was narrower in scope than the FAL in both covered parties and topics.  But First Resort didn’t show that the FAL covered all acts barred by the Ordinance—the Ordinance barred untrue or misleading statements whether through affirmative statements or by omission, while the FAL’s text didn’t mention omissions.  The Ordinance also regulated services “expressly or impliedly offered,” while the FAL didn’t mention implied offers. In addition, the Ordinance barred LSPCs from makng untrue or misleading statements about pregnancy-related services with the “intent not to perform” those services “as advertised.” By contrast, the FAL barred untrue or misleading statements about property or services with “the intent not to sell” them as advertised. Thus, the Ordinance covered false advertising concerning the performance of services, regardless of whether those services were  offered for sale.  The enforcement schemes were also entirely different, with the Ordinance lacking a criminal component that the FAL has.

Judge Tashima’s concurrence pointed out that many of the things the majority opinion said about the FAL weren’t really true—for example, the FAL covers omissions where affirmative statements become misleading because of the omission, which is pretty obviously the situation targeted by the Ordinance.

          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."...
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The White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump has nominated Cody Hiland to serve as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Arkansas. Hiland is currently the prosecuting attorney for the state's 20th judicial district, which includes Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy counties.
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          Man convicted of manslaughter in tot's death, records show   
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          Shkreli vents at prosecutors, media in midst of fraud trial   

During a lunch break in his criminal fraud trial Friday, Martin Shkreli walked into a sixth-floor courtroom set up for reporters to watch his trial on closed-circuit television and lambasted the media and the prosecutors.
          U. S. Senator William E. Borah, the “Lion of Idaho” [otd 06/29]   
W. E. Borah, ca. 1898.
Illustrated History.
Senator William Edgar Borah, celebrated "Lion of Idaho," was born June 29, 1865 in Wayne County, Illinois. Tuberculosis cut short his formal education, so he read law for a Kansas firm and passed the bar there in 1888. During those times, steady railroad promotion fueled considerable growth in Kansas, yet the young lawyer soon headed further West.

With his cash running low, Borah heeded advice heard on the train and settled in Boise City. Even then an excellent orator, and good looking, as early as 1891 Borah ran for public office – Boise City Attorney. He only lost by three votes.

Borah's legal practice flourished, covering many important cases. He served as a Special Prosecutor in the 1907 trial of “Big Bill” Haywood, accused of conspiring to assassinate ex-Governor Frank Steunenberg. Although the state lost the case, it gained national attention for Borah. He carefully and successfully nurtured that notoriety.

As a Silver Republican, his Congressional bids in 1896 and 1903 failed. Then Borah returned to his original Republican roots, and used his new-found celebrity status. In 1907, he won election to the Senate. He would hold that seat for the rest of his life.

In the Senate, his oratorical skills regularly attracted crowded galleries when people heard he was about to speak. Even those who disagreed with him conceded his powerful eloquence and strong convictions, which earned him the "Lion of Idaho" sobriquet.

His forceful persuasion earned him much credit, or blame depending upon a person's views, for keeping the U. S. out of the League of Nations. Borah was often labeled an isolationist because of that stance, yet many of his positions contradict that image. He mostly opposed "entangling alliances" and what he considered impositions upon America's sovereignty.

Borah and wife, ca 1895. Kansas State Historical Society.
In fact, Borah's views often seemed wildly contradictory, even to those in his own party. Although he distrusted "big government," he was generally ready to use Federal power to curb monopolistic trusts. Suspicious of social programs that cast government as what we might call "big brother," he nonetheless helped establish the Department of Labor with better child labor oversight.

News media of the times turned a blind eye to Borah's one consistent failing: his tangled affairs with women. Regional historians now generally concede that he probably left Kansas because he had "gotten a young woman in trouble" and was "asked" to leave. In Boise, contemporaries attested that he almost obsessively frequented the city's "ladies of the evening."

Questions have been raised even about his marriage to Mary McConnell, daughter of Idaho Governor William J. McConnell. Despite Borah’s strong sex drive, the couple never had any children. Rumors, never actively denied, circulated that Borah had gotten Mary pregnant while they were courting, and that a poorly-done abortion left her unable to have children. Yet recently-available letters and diaries confirm that Borah fathered a child by another man's wife.

In 1936, Borah ran a vigorous national campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination. When that failed, he returned to Idaho and was easily re-elected to his Senate seat. He died in office in January 1940.
References: [Hawley], [Illust-State]
“William Edgar Borah, June 29, 1865 – January 19, 1940,” Reference Series No. 538, Idaho State Historical Society (1971).
Waldo W. Braden, “William E. Borah’s Years in Kansas in the 1880’s,” Kansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 4 (November, 1947).
Stacy A. Cordery, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, From White House Princess to Washington Power Broker, Viking Press, New York (2007).
Douglas O. Linder, “Biographies: William E. Borah,” Famous American Trials: Bill Haywood Trial, University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Law (2011).

          Cleared Of Murder Charges, Big-Dicked Gay Porn Star Josh Logan Appearing In Florida This Weekend   
He spent over three years behind bars after being accused of murdering a wealthy Florida man, but as previously reported, a Broward Circuit Court Judge dismissed the murder charges against big-dicked gay porn star Josh Logan, and prosecutors did not attempt to retry the case. Now that he’s a free man, Josh Logan is giving […]
          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
Chicago_Violence_75625Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."
          Why Does it Matter That America Is Now a Villain?   
by Neil H. Buchanan

The annual Independence Day holiday festivities provide an opportunity to reflect on the unique place that the United States holds in world affairs, for better and for worse.  How much worse has it become because of Donald Trump?  And does it matter?

Back in 2008, as the Bush era was ending and we were attempting to assess the disturbing legacy of the Bush/Cheney Administration -- the falsified case for the Iraq invasion, the horrors at Abu Ghraib prison that had been perpetrated by U.S. Army and CIA personnel, the ongoing human rights disaster that was (and still is) the Guantanamo Bay prison, and on and on -- it had become obvious that the reputation of the United States as a beacon of hope had taken a huge hit in the eyes of the world.

In December of that year, I wrote a short essay, "Our Reputation Matters," expanding on an editorial in The New York Times that had argued for closing Guantanamo as a matter of both moral imperative and national self-interest.  The key argument in that editorial was that the world would not continue to follow the leadership of the U.S. if we were to continue -- especially, I would emphasize, under our new and idealistic president-elect -- to violate all standards of justice and decency by keeping the prison open.

We now know that Republicans and many Democrats prevented President Obama from delivering on that campaign promise.  Even so, U.S. standing and leadership in the world generally improved during the Obama years.  And now we have Trump.

In my 2008 essay, I used a 1945 movie (Roberto Rossellini's "Rome: Open City") about the Nazi occupation of Rome during the latter part of World War II as a vehicle to consider how the rest of the world thinks about a country.  In that great film, a Nazi officer is depicted as the essence of pure evil, cruel and amused by the pain and death that he could impose on vulnerable people.

This was, indeed, the general theme of the world's collective memory of that war.  The Allies were the Good Guys and the Axis Powers were the Bad Guys.  And although it is true that history would not be told in that way if the other side had won, the essential point is that Americans were able to say with considerable justification that we had ridden to the rescue of the world when it was faced with unimaginable evil.

In other words, it was not just that we won.  We had a more than defensible argument that it was good that we won.

I do not want to overstate the case, of course, because there are certainly plausible arguments that we took too long to act, that the use of the atomic bomb (twice) stains our legacy, and so on.  Without taking a position on any of those issues, however, the point is that the U.S. has since WWII been able to say that we have at least tried to be on the side of human advancement.

Americans are sure that, unlike that Nazi officer in Rossellini's film, we are not cruel people who inflict pain on other, weaker people for our own gratification.  That is what bad guys do.

And even those of us who refuse to forget the state-sponsored evils of the Jim Crow era, or the history of the Vietnam War, have always been able to say, "Well, we have never lived up to our highest ideals, but the world still looks to us with hope."  The only question has been how to do a better job of living up to that reputation as we move forward.

Finding out that "we" tortured people during the Bush era was bad enough.  What was much worse was that the people who ordered the torture never admitted that what they did was a blatant violation of international law, that they were never prosecuted, and that they found champions throughout the American political system -- most obviously among Republicans who thought that the TV show "24" was a how-to manual.

And then, through an eye-of-the-needle win made possible by one of the many racist and elitist features of our Constitution (the Electoral College), we improbably elected a president who thinks that the world's apparent esteem for the United States is nothing but a cover for laughing at us behind our backs.

Trump was in fact merely mainstreaming an idea that has been rumbling around in U.S. culture for decades.  In movies and television shows, sometimes seriously and sometimes as a joke, it is hardly uncommon to hear an American say to a Brit, a Frenchman, or anyone else: "You'd be speaking German right now if it wasn't for us, you ingrate!"

That a reunited (and politically reformed) Germany is the country that is stepping forward to lead where the U.S. has retreated is of some irony.  But the larger point is that even people who have long criticized the U.S. (and again, there are plenty of valid criticisms of U.S. actions over the decades, even as our overall track record has been defensible) have nonetheless had reason to think that we would take the lead to make good things happen.

For example, sometime in the mid-2000's, I recall watching a TV show that examined how the child abuse scandal that had rocked the Roman Catholic Church was playing out in Ireland.  During a tearful interview with a U.S. news outlet, an Irish activist said words to the effect that "I know the U.S. will do something to make the Irish government do the right thing, if only we can let them know what's happening."

That an idealistic non-American would be saying this about the U.S., even in the middle of the Bush era, was in some ways astounding, but in other ways it was completely unsurprising and even normal.  We were the superpower that at least had some reputation for doing good for the sake of doing good.  Of course we would do the right thing!

And now?  Last week, the Pew Research Center published the results of global polls showing that the Trump presidency has delivered a severe blow to the reputation of the U.S. around the world.  The Washington Post quoted Frank Wisner, a former U.S. diplomat:
"America’s image has taken hits in recent years, from the decision to invade Iraq to the events of 2007 and 2008, when the American financial model took a huge hit.  But the most consequential is the ascent of Mr. Trump to the Oval Office."
How bad is it?  At the end of the Obama Administration, 64% of the respondents in 37 countries had "confidence" in the U.S. president, as opposed to 22% now.  Showing that the world is still holding on to a historic sense that the U.S. is more than its current president, almost half of respondents still have a "favorable view of the U.S.," but that is down by 15% in 2017 polls compared to 2014-16.

Those numbers, moreover, are propped up by responses from Russia, where positive views of Trump (53%) show marked improvement from Russians' views of Obama (11% positive), and Israel (where the rise has been much smaller, 49% to 56%).  So other than in two very unique situations (at least one of which does not reflect especially well on Trump), Trump has dealt a huge blow to the reputation of the U.S. around the world.

The Post's Aaron Blake followed up on the release of the Pew polls with an analysis highlighting four devastating points:

(1) The world distrusts Trump more than even Vladimir Putin,

(2) In each of allied countries, 9 out of 10 view Trump as "arrogant," 7 in 10 as "dangerous,"

(3) Even nationalists don't love Trump, and

(4) Trump's reputation is already worse than George W. Bush's -- at the depths of his presidency.

But maybe none of this matters.  It is not as if the U.S. has any right to believe that it will be the most respected nation in the world.  Conservatives argue that America is exceptional for specific reasons, but they usually use those reasons to argue that we should be more politically conservative rather than as a call to take our global leadership seriously.

Maybe the U.S.'s leadership position in the world was merely a historical accident, and the next stages of history will see our country becoming ever less influential and isolated.  Other commentators have noted that Trump's version of America First is more accurately described as America Alone, so Trump and his followers might even welcome the idea that the world no longer thinks of us as the good guys.

There is, however, something about the founding documents of the United States that pushes irresistibly against this pessimistic view of the future.

As noted above, it is not as if those documents (even after amendments that erased the Three-Fifths Compromise and allowed women to vote, among other corrections) are not situated in a history of exploitation and white supremacy.  Consider, for example, that the Declaration of Independence includes this complaint about King George III:
"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."
Wide-eyed innocence is unwise, of course, but the fact is that even given the complicated historical context, the Declaration and the Constitution are uniquely optimistic statements of human capacity for doing good.  For example, the Declaration of Independence, far from being the anti-tax screed that many Republicans think it is, is actually a call for the rule of law and truly representative government (and taxation with representation).

The Trump presidency and everything it represents twist and mock the highest ideals of our founding documents.  Worse, Trump represents a catastrophic departure even from this country's highly imperfect and inconsistent efforts to live up to some of those ideals.

Trump has shown again and again that he sees no reason for the U.S. to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing, because then the world is supposedly "laughing at us."  (As opposed to what is happening now?)  Indeed, it seems unlikely that he knows the difference between right and wrong.

Everything is supposedly about getting a good "deal," but even there, Trump still does not understand that bargains are supposed to be win-win.  If the other side gets something good out of a deal, then Trump hates it (unless, of course, the other party is an authoritarian government).  Winning means nothing less than total domination.

This is the mindset of old-style corrupt political bosses and organized criminals.  Government and power more generally are useful for the purposes of enriching oneself and one's (currently useful, but completely expendable) associates.  It appears that Trump thinks we can only be great if we act like wise guys.

The rest of the world disagrees, of course, as well they should.  Unfortunately, it does not end there.  In the view of Trump and many of his Republican enablers, only some Americans are real Americans.  Trump and the vast majority of his party would happily take away health care from tens of millions of people, because those people evidently do not truly count as the Americans who should benefit from our supposed return to greatness.

The U.S. government, as it is constituted under Donald Trump, is now making us villains abroad and gratuitously cruel at home.  No matter what one thinks about whether we Americans should be able to think of our country as a unique force for good in the sweep of human history, we are doing real damage to real people everywhere.

Is it too much to ask, as we celebrate our nation's birth, that we at least stop moving in the wrong direction?
          De Blasio, in Reversal, Says New York Will Pay $2 Million for His Lawyers   
Mayor de Blasio, who was not charged, said he would raise $300,000 for legal fees related to “nongovernmental work” examined by federal and state prosecutors.
          Judge: Drug-tainted cases mishandled   

MISCONDUCT AFTER ALL? A review ordered by Attorney General Maura Healey, above, found no prosecutorial misconduct in cases with evidence handled by former state chemist Sonja Farak. Staff Photo by Matt West.

          Prosecutor takes Florida governor to court   

She wouldn't seek the death penalty in a high-profile case of a suspected cop killer. Nor would she pursue the death penalty in other cases in the 9th Judicial Circuit which covers Orange and Osceola counties in central Florida.


Millions of visitors a year come to Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the most visited national park in the western United States. However, on extremely rare days when cold air is trapped in the canyon and topped by a layer of warm air, which in combination with moisture and condensation, form the phenomenon referred to as the full cloud inversion. In what resembles something between ocean waves and fast clouds, Grand Canyon is completely obscured by fog, making the visitors feel as if they are walking on clouds.

This video was filmed as part of SKYGLOW (, an ongoing crowdfunded quest to explore the effects and dangers of urban light pollution in contrast with some of the most incredible dark sky areas in North America. This project is being produced in collaboration with International Dark-Sky Association (, a non-profit fighting for the preservation of night skies around the globe.

The film was shot on Canon 5DSR & 5DIII cameras & lenses sponsored by Canon USA, aided by Alpine Labs' Michron & Pulse, powered by Paul C. Buff Vagabond Mini. LRTimelapse was used to process some of the shots.

Original video premiered on BBC Earth:

High resolution stills can be found here:

Producer/Editor/Shooter: Harun Mehmedinovic, Music: Pete Davis & James Banbury

Special Thanks:
Gavin Heffernan and Aida Bogunic, Semezdin & Sanja Mehmedinovic, Matt Walker & Pierangelo Pirak, Aaron McNally & Canon USA, Kevin Noble & Paul C. Buff Inc., Greg Horvath & Alpine Labs, International Dark-Sky Association, Northern Arizona University, State of Arizona & National Park Service

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona


We appreciate all your shares, comments and likes, thanks for checking out this video! For more videos please visit:

This video is COPYRIGHT 2017 Harun Mehmedinovic / SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM. Any use beyond embedding this video in it's unaltered form and properly credited to SKYGLOW PROJECT/SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM on another website requires permission from the creator. Any use of the entirety or portion(s) of this video to drive advertising traffic, sales or any other profit-driven venture on a third party website without express permission from the content creator will result in prosecution to the full extent of the law.


Timelapse artists and filmmakers Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović are proud to introduce WWW.SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM, a 192-page hardcover photobook and timelapse video series exploring North America’s remaining magnificent night skies and the increasing impact of light pollution on our highly fragile environment.

A blend of images, stories, essays, and anecdotal captions, SKYGLOW explores the history and mythology of celestial observation and the proliferation of electrical outdoor lighting that spurred the rise of the phenomena known as “light pollution,” a grave threat not only to our incredible starscapes but also to the very ecosystem itself.

After a highly publicized Kickstarter campaign that ended as the fourth-most earning Photobook campaign ever, Harun and Gavin traveled over 150,000 miles and logged more than 3,000,000 photos on their grueling three-year quest. From incredible locations like the active Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii to Alberta’s majestic Northern Lights, SKYGLOW takes viewers on a visual journey through time, exploring our civilization’s evolving relationship with light and the night sky through the ages.

See how the ancient Puebloan archaeoastronomy sites of our native elders have now been replaced with the blinding “artificial day” of over-lit modern metropolises, and learn about the “Dark Sky Movement” fighting to reclaim the pristine darkness the Earth had enjoyed for billions of years. The importance of America’s threatened National Parks is also highlighted in a section of stunning landscapes from numerous parks, including Shenandoah, Yosemite, Acadia, Death Valley, Yellowstone and many more.

Completed in collaboration with the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), SKYGLOW also explores the numerous towns and sites that IDA has identified as official “Dark-Sky” Communities, Cities, Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries.

Cast: Harun Mehmedinovic, Canon Pro and Alpine Labs

Tags: grand canyon, arizona, national park, cloud inversion, dark sky, stars, milky way, fog, clouds, timelapse, astrophotography and astro

          Gresham Man Accused of Pointing Handgun At Hispanic Couple, Yelling "You Damn Mexicans"   
by Doug Brown

Kevin Meehan, 59, waiting for his arraignment at the Multnomah County Justice Center
Kevin Meehan, 59, waiting for his arraignment at the Multnomah County Justice Center Doug Brown

A white Gresham man is accused of pulling out his loaded handgun and pointing it towards a Hispanic couple after he yelled "you damn Mexicans" at them.

Kevin Meehan, 59, was arraigned Wednesday at the Multnomah County Justice Center for one count of unlawful use of a weapon—a felony—and pleaded not guilty. He was out of jail after posting bail. He was booked Tuesday by the Gresham Police Department with additional menacing and second degree intimidation charges, but the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office is not prosecuting him on those.

The alleged "road rage" incident happened on March 12 around the in the area of SE 181st and Yamhill. The Hispanic couple was in their car, stopped at a red light when Meehan, driving a black Hyundai, pulled up next to them and "starting yelling racial slurs at them, including 'You damn Mexicans,'" the probable cause affidavit for Meehan's arrest states.

The passenger of the car yelled back at Meehan. That's when Meehan allegedly pulled out his gun, police say. The couple got a picture of Meehan's car and license plate, drove away, and immediately called police.

Gresham police tracked the car to Meehan's house and talked to him there. Meehan told the cops he was angry about being cut off in traffic, so he "caught up with them and yelled at them."

"MEEHAN admitted that he did use racial slurs," the affidavit states, and that he did have his 9mm Beretta with him, which he admitted he keeps loaded, but he originally denied pointing it at the couple. After some more questioning Meehan allegedly said "Maybe I accidentally showed it."

Court records indicate Meehan has three "violent misdemeanor convictions," with the most recent coming in 1992.

Court records also show Gresham police originally booked Meehan for this case with one count of misdemeanor menacing in early April, a few weeks after it happened. The district attorney's office declined to prosecute then. About a month later, he was booked for menacing and intimidation—both misdemeanors—for this incident and again prosecutors issued a "no complaint." He was booked for a third time with those two charges and the felony unlawful use of a weapon charge, and the district attorney's office is now just going after him on the felony. He'll be out on bail through the conclusion of the case.

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          Rocket docket to help drug addicts   
Logan County Attorney Joe Ross informed Fiscal Court this week that his office, in conjunction with the office of Todd County Attorney Mack Johns, has received a grant that will pay for a part-time prosecutor to help move people arrested for drug offenders through the judicial system quicker. The program is referred to as the […]
          Ross files motion to join Amish trials   
County Attorney Joe Ross has recently filed a motion with the Logan District Court regarding eight Amish men who have several violations each pertaining to the same animal ordinance held in the City of Auburn. Ross, who is acting prosecutor in the cases, wants to combine the violations into one trial per person instead of […]
          Kosovo War Crimes Tribunal Set To Start Proceedings   
Kosovo’s Constitutional Court on June 28 cleared the way for a war crimes tribunal to prosecute former senior ethnic Albanian commanders from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK), RFE/RL reports. Known officially as the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution, the court was established with European Union funds at The Hague, Netherlands, to prosecute crimes committed during […]

          St. Louis Asks: What’s in a Transit Officer’s Job Description?   

(Photo by Brian Holsclaw)

As cities across the country wrestle with police reform, St. Louis officials are diving into the murky regulations surrounding local transit officers.

MetroLink, the area’s light rail system, doesn’t have any turnstiles. Fares are supposedly enforced when inspectors randomly ask passengers to show their tickets. But officers’ ability to issue citations is currently in question — as is the prospect that those citations will be enforced by the courts.

This week, St. Louis police said that MetroLink officers — who are employed by the entity that runs MetroLink (Bi-State Development Agency) and not the city or county police force — could begin writing tickets inside city limits, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. After that, County Executive Steve Stenger’s administration said that the same was true in the county.

MetroLink officers need the official go-ahead of city and county forces because they lack a federal identifier, which is a nine-digit number that gets printed on tickets. That number is used by the federal government to collect statistics and hold agencies accountable. In 2015, the police chiefs of St. Louis and St. Louis County sent Bi-State a letter “raising complaints about the agency’s police officers” and instructing the agency to “apply for its own number, rather than using the county’s,” according to the Post-Dispatch. Bi-State’s application for its own number was denied this year, and MetroLink officers stopped issuing citations when they ran out of forms. Bi-State officials have said that their officers are essentially powerless now, and pointed to a recent increase in crime on MetroLink as the result, the Post-Dispatch reports.

Public proclamations by the city and county that officers can, in fact, ticket riders could help to clear that up, but the Post-Dispatch points out that their OKs may lack sufficient teeth. Just last month, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch told the paper that he had stopped prosecuting fare violations a year ago because MetroLink operated on an honor system.

“A citation has no power if it is not accompanied by the prospect of prosecution,” the Post-Dispatch reports.

The city of Pittsburgh has wrestled with similar questions regarding how much authority officers inside the city’s light rail system should have.

In May, as part of the Port Authority’s effort to switch to a cashless fare system, it was announced that police would use machines to check riders’ vouchers. Those who hadn’t paid would get a first-time warning, then face a fine of up to $300. But critics of the new policy worried that bringing riders face-to-face with police over transit ticketing could lead to residents being detained by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, possibly leading to deportations. One group advocated for civilian checkers to enforce the payments, rather than law enforcement.

          Prosecutors: DNA Links Teen To 2015 Crash That Killed 1, Injured 12   
Car Crash Graphic, generic sized imageAlmost two years after a horrific Englewood neighborhood crash that left a woman dead and 12 people injured, a teenager from the Far South Side has been charged as an adult with reckless homicide.
          Olathe South High teacher charged with unlawful sexual relations with student   
Johnson County prosecutors on Friday charged an Olathe South High School teacher with three felony counts of unlawful sexual relations with a student. Michael Jasiczek, 42, was booked into jail … Click to Continue »
          Staff Sgt. Bales Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering 16 Afghan Cilvilians   

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MARGARET WARNER: We turn to two Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole today for murdering 16 civilians in a solo nighttime rampage in Afghanistan last March. Most of his victims were women and children.

Today’s sentence was the toughest the six-member military jury could impose. The 40-year-old staff sergeant pleaded guilty in June, which spared him the death penalty.

Adam Ashton has been covering this trial for The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, and joins us now.

Adam Ashton, welcome.

What was this jury weighing in trying to decide what sentence to impose? Well, first of all, what were their options?

ADAM ASHTON, The News Tribune: They only had two options.

Murder has a mandatory minimum life sentence under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, so Bales only had a choice — option today of life with parole or life without parole. In the morning, we had closing arguments, and the prosecution hit him very hard, saying he was ruthless and cold-blooded and had no remorse.

They showed graphic pictures of his victims, especially children, and they played a video showing Robert Bales leaving the second village he attacked and walking slowly through the fields. While they played that video, the prosecutor said, these are not the movements of someone who doesn’t know what he was doing. They said he was clear-eyed and wanted to murder Afghans that night and that he had no remorse for it when he came back to his base and spoke to soldiers about the massacre.

That was followed by defense arguments that painted Robert Bales as remorseful for the killings. They said he took responsibility for it in signing this plea agreement. And they pointed to an audience full of soldiers and family and friends who have stood by Robert Bales. And they said this was a person who was a good soldier and a good person before his fourth deployment, and he snapped under the pressure of the wars.

MARGARET WARNER: Now, the prosecution took the unusual step — it happens rarely in these cases — of actually flying in Afghan civilians who were either victims, but survived, or close witnesses.

What sort of portrait did they paint of what happened that night?

ADAM ASHTON: That was really remarkable to see Afghan villagers in an American military courtroom describing the attack that night. They painted a horrible scene, describing Sergeant Bales as entering their homes and corralling women and children in a room and shooting women and children in that room.

They described themselves as devastated by the loss of their families. They were able to speak pretty candidly about their feelings today in court. They said they were — after the hearing, rather, they said they were disappointed that he didn’t get the death penalty.

MARGARET WARNER: And then what portrait did the defense try to put forward? What kind of testimony, including from Bales himself, did they paint to try to change that or amend that portrait?

ADAM ASHTON: So, Bales gave his first apology in court yesterday. He spoke for about 40 minutes.

And, to me, he seemed very sincere, that he lost control of himself as he tried to cope with anger that he had been experiencing since his second Iraq tour. He never sought consistent help for that anger, and he just snapped, he said. He couldn’t explain the killings. He said he was remorseful for them and he couldn’t apologize enough.

That picture was complemented by testimony from his brother and a childhood friend, who cast him as a social person growing up who took care of other people, including a disabled child.

Then three soldiers testified and described that they thought highly of Bales. And these were very well-respected soldiers who had gone on to great careers in the Army. They had said that Bales performed well in combat and was a good soldier to have in their units.

MARGARET WARNER: Did they offer any testimony that he had really suffered post-traumatic stress disorder or some kind of real psychological problem as a result of — I think this was his fourth combat deployment?

ADAM ASHTON: In the press, we absolutely were expecting that to come up, but it didn’t come up in court this week.

The defense chose not to pursue a mental health defense. The Army had a number of doctors ready to testify that would have countered any diagnosis that the defense presented about traumatic brain injuries or PTSD, so the defense chose just to let Bales speak for himself.

Certainly, the behavior that Bales described would suggest PTSD. He said he was furious doing the dishes and sitting in traffic and he was ashamed to ask for help.

MARGARET WARNER: Adam Ashton of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, thank you.

ADAM ASHTON: Thanks for having me.


The post Staff Sgt. Bales Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering 16 Afghan Cilvilians appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

          Bad condo boards beware: Legislature passes new laws unanimously [5-4-17]Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald By Brenda Medina Published May 4, 2017 The Florida Senate on Monday gave unanimous and final approval to a bill that imposes criminal penalties on condominium violations such as electoral fraud, theft of funds and conflicts of interests — all significant problems in Miami-Dade County. The 37-0 vote on the bill, already endorsed by the House last week in another unanimous vote   

Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald By Brenda Medina Published May 4, 2017 The Florida Senate on Monday gave unanimous and final approval to a bill that imposes criminal penalties on condominium violations such as electoral fraud, theft of funds …

The post Bad condo boards beware: Legislature passes new laws unanimously [5-4-17]Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald By Brenda Medina Published May 4, 2017 The Florida Senate on Monday gave unanimous and final approval to a bill that imposes criminal penalties on condominium violations such as electoral fraud, theft of funds and conflicts of interests — all significant problems in Miami-Dade County. The 37-0 vote on the bill, already endorsed by the House last week in another unanimous vote, now goes to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature. “This is very important for Miami-Dade because it’s something that condo owners have been waiting for for nearly a decade,” said Hialeah Republican Sen. René Garca, who co-sponsored the bill with Miami Democrat José Javier Rodríguez. “But the reforms will help all Florida residents with similar problems.” García declared from the Senate floor that the problem of fraud and other abuses in Miami-Dade condo associations was out of control and that some homeowners’ associations had turned into “mini dictatorships” or “totalitarian regimes. The bill was approved one year after El Nuevo Herald and Univision 23 published the results of a joint investigation into condo scandals. The series, “Condo Nightmares,” highlighted cases of electoral fraud, fake signatures on ballots, conflicts of interests, misappropriation of funds and rigged bids. Condominium owners from Miami-Dade County pose in the Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday, May 1, 2017. “This is very important for Miami-Dade because it’s something that condo owners have been waiting for for nearly a decade.” Hialeah Republican Sen. René García A report by a Miami-Dade grand jury in February echoed the reports and recommended significant changes to Chapter 718 of state statutes, which regulates condos, as well as the state agency that is supposed to monitor and punish violations, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). García and Rodríguez were co-sponsors of SB 1682. The House version was sponsored by Miami Republican Rep. José Félix Díaz. The Miami-Dade legislators also pushed to assign state funds for a new DBPR office in the county that will deal exclusively with condo complaints. After the Senate vote, García and Rodríguez hugged on the Senate floor and raised their arms in victory as they pointed to a dozen Miami-Dade condo owners who had traveled to Tallahassee to support the bill. “This is a first and very important step in the fight to correct all the problems we have,” said Isidora Rodríguez, the owner of a condo in Hialeah and one of the people who traveled to Tallahassee. “We are here to make our voices heard,” said Maritza Escobar, who like other members of the group wore an orange T-shirt with the words, “We are all condos.” The first version of the bill was opposed by associations of lawyers who represent condo homeowners associations and the Florida Bar Association, arguing that it needlessly created new crimes. The South Florida lawmakers made several amendments to the bill, which now makes withholding condo information a felony if it’s proven that the documents were denied in order to commit or cover up a crime. The bill now “clarifies that various criminal components of [Florida state law] do apply to condominium cases,” said Rodriguez. Under the new law, fraud in the election of condo association directors, the falsification of signatures on ballots, the manipulation of condo records and the theft or disappearance of ballots will be considered serious violations that could be punished with prison terms. Police and prosecutors have largely declined to investigate complaints of electoral fraud in condos, arguing that there’s no mention of criminal punishments in Chapter 718. The bill becomes law July 1, if Scott signs it, and also establishes the following requirements: Condo associations with 150 or more units will publish financial reports on a web page, accessible with passwords. If it’s proven that documents were denied to owners in order to hide fraud, those responsible could face felony charges under a clause that takes effect in July 2018. Directors will be limited to eight years on the board of homeowners associations. But they will be able to continue in office if they win a super-majority of the votes from owners in subsequent elections. Directors are forbidden from receiving payments from the association or hiring their relatives. Currently, directors can be paid for services such as cleaning, painting and repairs as long as all other directors are informed of the arrangement. “This is a first stage in changing the situation for condo owners, who until now had nowhere to go and seek protection from so many abuses,” said Rodríguez. appeared first on Bakalar and Associates, P.A..

          Jonathan Williams Won't Face NFL Discipline After Being Found Not Guilty of DWI   

Buffalo Bills running back Jonathan Williams won't be punished by the NFL after being found not guilty in a recent DWI case. 

Ian Rapoport‏ of the NFL Network reported Thursday the league informed Williams he isn't going to face discipline under the substance-abuse policy.

The 23-year-old University of Arkansas product was found not guilty in early June after being arrested in July 2016 on suspicion of drunk driving, per TMZ Sports. His attorney, Shane Wilkinson, said the running back was ready to move on from the incident.

"The prosecution simply didn't have enough evidence to prove he was intoxicated," he said. "Jonathan is a good person and he is glad this is behind him so he can concentrate on his family and football."

Williams is expected to take on a much larger role in the Buffalo backfield in 2017. He'll have an opportunity to take over as the chief reserve to starter LeSean McCoy with a strong performance during training camp and the preseason after the departure of Mike Gillislee.

Chris Brown of the Bills' official website passed along comments the rusher made about his potentially new role back in April.

"I've always just tried to make the best of what I get. Each carry I get I'm going to go 100 percent," Williams said. "I'm behind a guy that's probably a future Hall of Famer. He's still somebody I can learn a lot from. I'm in just my second year and I'm young. I have goals to be a starting running back and be that go to guy, but right now I'm still learning. I'm following the process. I'm working as hard as I can every day to increase my role and hopefully it will happen."

He'll face competition for playing time from the likes of Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard and Cedric O'Neal once camp gets underway next month. Williams is the clear favorite for the backup role, though.

Read more Buffalo Bills news on

          Socialist Power Couple Under Investigation   

Feeling the prospective sting of accountability that socialist grifters rarely experience in their natural lives, Sen. Bernie Sanders is lashing out at those accusing his wife of an alleged financial fraud that caused Burlington College to collapse last year.

Media reports also indicate prosecutors could be investigating the Independent U.S. senator from Vermont for allegedly attempting to muscle the bank into approving the loan.

The leftist power couple lawyered up, reportedly hiring big-name defense attorneys. Rich Cassidy of Burlington, Vt., is representing Bernie, while Beltway insider Larry Robbins, who advised Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is acting for Jane.

Sanders, who used to be mayor of Burlington, said it was “fairly pathetic” that his family was being attacked and seemed to hint that the allegations of fraud and undue influence materialized out of thin air. He described his wife as “about the most honest person I know."

As the small college’s president from 2004 to 2011, Jane O’Meara Sanders apparently bankrupted the nontraditional institution of higher learning founded in 1972 through reckless spending – just as her husband promised to do to America if elected president of the United States. When it went under, the college sent out a press release blaming the “crushing weight of debt” Mrs. Sanders incurred for its demise.

The FBI is reportedly investigating Jane Sanders for allegedly misrepresenting donations to the college in a $10 million loan application to People's United Bank in 2010. The money was to acquire 33 acres of land from a cash-strapped church to expand the college. The property was on the shores of Lake Champlain.

As a media outlet reported last year,

The purchase was huge—especially for a school whose annual budget didn’t crack $4 million. Jane Sanders plan was to bet big. To finance the deal, Burlington issued tax-free bonds, took a $3.5 million loan from the diocese, and received a $500,000 bridge loan from Tony Pomerleau, a wealthy local real-estate developer and close friend of the Sanderses.

Enrollment at the college and donations to it did go up but not enough to service the added levels of debt. After sowing the seeds of the school’s destruction, Mrs. Sanders grabbed her golden parachute and moved on.

Sanders left her post in 2011, for reasons undisclosed. Her successor Christine Plunkett tried to bring more financial stability but failed, and in 2014, its accreditor placed it on probation. Plunkett resigned. In November 2014, interim President Mike Smith sold 25 of the original 33 acres to a local developer for $7.5 million. Of that, $4 million went to the diocese to pay for the land—Burlington College hadn’t paid for all of it yet—and the rest went to the school’s bank.

Naturally, the senator reacted to the allegations made against the Sanderses by becoming haughty and indignant.

"My wife is about the most honest person I know," the celebrated millionaire Marxist said Tuesday on CNN. "All that I will tell you now is it's a sad state of affairs in America when not only we have politicians being destroyed ... but when you go after people's wives. That's pretty pathetic."

Instead of letting the process play out, Sanders suggested somebody somewhere somehow was out to get him and the missus.

"That's all I'm going to say. I think it's fairly pathetic that when people are involved in public life not only do they get attacked, but their wives and their families get attacked," he said.

Why Sanders would believe the probe into his wife’s activities, which got underway during the Obama administration, was politically motivated is unclear.

If the septuagenarian Sanders is pointing an accusing finger at Donald Trump, he may want to conserve his energy for his next futile presidential bid.

At this point, President Trump barely has control over the law enforcement and investigative functions of the federal government. Trump is surrounded by enemies virtually everywhere in what, after all, is supposed to be his administration. The Department of Justice and the IRS, for example, are jam-packed with the kind of employees who admire Sanders, including left-wingers, Democrats, and Obama holdovers.

Besides, there is some evidence of possible wrongdoing.

Mrs. Sanders reportedly told the bank in 2010 that the college had $2.6 million in pledged donations but the college indicated it took in just $676,000 in donations from 2010 through 2014.

And philanthropist Corinne Bove Maietta is accusing Mrs. Sanders of misrepresenting her financial support for Burlington College. Maietta has said a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) investigator interviewed her about her giving to the college.

Maietta claims she agreed to donate an unspecified sum upon her death but documents reportedly indicate Mrs. Sanders recorded the unenforceable promise as a series of cash payments, treating the pledge as collateral for the real estate loan, according to

The Vermont-based website reports:

The 2010 loan agreement says “CBM” pledged $1 million to the school over five years in increments of $150,000, with a final payment of $100,000 in year six.

In an interview, Maietta was incredulous that Burlington College would try to use her bequest to secure a bank loan. “You can’t borrow money on the future,” she said. “That doesn’t exist.”

When she heard how her pledge was listed in the loan document, she was surprised. “They had me in increments? No, never,” Maietta said.

Maietta said in the end she donated less than $100,000 to the college. She “was adamant that she never signed anything with the college, despite Sanders personally asking her to do so,” according to

So it’s smoke and mirrors. Accounting tricks. Nothing new for left-wingers. They’ve been getting away with conning people for well over a century in the U.S.

The Sanderses probably won’t be losing much sleep over the investigation.

The former presidential candidate is “going to get a big benefit of the doubt, particularly with his supporters," Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said.

Ditto with the legions of federal employees, including investigators and prosecutors, who to this day are still feeling the Bern.

          In Syria, Trump's Red Line May Be Holding   

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis claimed Wednesday that the Syrian regime has drawn back from plans to conduct another chemical attack, following a warning by the Trump administration of serious consequences if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces followed through with their plans. 

U.S. intelligence detected “active preparations for chemical weapons use” at the same air base from which the regime allegedly had launched its prior chemical attack last April that caused mass casualties. President Trump had responded to the April chemical attack with a barrage of cruise missiles targeting that air base. The White House issued its public warning to the Assad regime on Monday in unambiguous terms, declaring that Assad and his military would pay a "heavy price" if his regime conducted another chemical attack.

"It appears that they took the warning seriously. They didn’t do it,” Mattis told reporters.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, went even further in crediting the Trump administration for stopping Assad at least for now. “I can tell you that due to the President's actions, we did not see an incident," Ambassador Haley claimed at a House of Representatives foreign affairs committee hearing. "I would like to think that the President saved many innocent men, women and children."

It is difficult to prove what may have actually motivated Assad. In any case, whether Assad holds back for good remains to be seen. But we do know the Trump administration is watching constantly for any moves by the Assad regime that could signal an imminent chemical attack and has military assets in place to swiftly respond to such an attack, if not prevent one in the first place.

President Trump not only demonstrated last April that he would follow through on his threats if certain red lines of his were crossed, unlike our previous president. In addition to its warning, the Trump administration may have sent some concrete signals to the Assad regime that it means business this time as well. According to Debkafile, “Signs were gathering in Washington and the Middle East Tuesday, June 26 that the Trump administration was preparing a substantial military operation against the Syrian army and Bashar Assad’s allies, such as the foreign pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah. Some US military sources suggested that an American preemptive strike was in store in the coming hours to prevent Assad’s army from again resorting to chemical warfare against his people.”

Assad may still decide to launch another chemical attack, figuring that his key allies, particularly Russia, will continue to back him. No doubt, he took note of Russia’s stern response to the U.S.’s downing of a Syrian warplane earlier this month, including a warning from the Russian Defense Ministry that “All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the international coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets." The Syrian regime had also already taken some precautions by moving most of its operational aircraft to a Russian airbase in Syria after the April missile strike. The Russian airbase is protected by fairly advanced air defense systems. An American missile strike on Syrian aircraft located at a Russian air base would in all likelihood be seen as a major escalation of the war by the Russian government, risking a direct military confrontation between U.S. and Russia that the Trump administration may be loath to risk. As if to thumb his nose at the Trump administration’s latest threats by demonstrating the strength of his military alliance with Russia, Assad was seen strutting around a Russian air baseinspecting its aircraft and defense systems. He was even photographed sitting in the cockpit of a Russian fighter jet.

Indeed, Russia appears ready to raise the stakes to bolster the Syrian dictator’s regime. Debkafile reports that Russia is “building a new base in southeastern Syria,” which would “provide Russia with a lever of control over the volatile Syrian southeast and its borders, where US-backed and Iranian-backed forces are fighting for dominance.”

As Russia raises the stakes, the U.S. must be clearer than ever as to its strategic objectives in Syria, which it is willing to back up with military force even in the face of Russian threats.  We must do all we can to prevent getting sucked into Syria’s civil war, including by undertaking any military efforts at regime change. That said, we must repel any military action by the Syrian regime or its allies that would prevent us from prosecuting the war against ISIS, which remains our number one objective until the ISIS sanctuaries, infrastructure and leadership are for all intents and purposes destroyed.  

However, we also cannot ignore the threat that Assad’s chemical weapons program continues to pose. The Obama administration had thought that it had largely eliminated the threat “diplomatically,” when it reached a phony deal with Russia to oversee the removal and destruction of the Syrian regime’s declared chemical weapons. The opportunity for cheating was all too plain to see, except by Obama and his clueless Secretary of State John Kerry. We are now seeing the consequences. According to Secretary of Defense Mattis, Syria’s chemical program remains intact.

It is not only what Assad has been doing in unleashing his ghastly chemical weapons on his own people, causing horrible suffering in their wake, which demands our attention. After all, Assad has been causing such suffering with conventional weapons as well, including his use of barrel bombs, which we have repeatedly condemned but have not taken specific military action to stop. To do so would almost inevitably draw us into a wider war. What makes chemical and other weapons of mass destruction different is their potential proliferation to the very Islamic terrorists we are trying to defeat. The transfer of chemical or biological weapons to terrorist hands would represent the most dangerous outcome of the Syrian conflict to the rest of the world, including to the United States. That is why we must monitor where we believe Assad’s remaining chemical weapons and production facilities are located, prevent them from being used or even moved from known locations, do all that we can to keep them out of the hands of the terrorists and destroy the chemical weapons and production facilities when the opportunity presents itself.

          Kepler Trial Now Underway   
The jury has been selected in the 1st Degree Murder re-trial of Shannon Kepler. The former Tulsa Police Officer is accused in the 2014 murder of his daughter's boyfriend, Jeremy Lake. The first two trials ended in mistrial when the juries could not reach a verdict. Opening arguments are planned today followed by testimony from the prosecution. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
          Once Reserved For Spies, Espionage Act Now Used Against Suspected Leakers   
A hundred years ago this month, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act to deal with spying against the U.S. in World War I. Historically, the most notorious U.S. spy cases have been tried under the act, like the one against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted in 1951 of giving nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union and executed two years later. But prosecutions have been relatively rare and limited almost entirely to spies — until recently. The Obama administration used the Espionage Act to prosecute suspected national security leakers and now the Trump administration is doing the same. The act is sweeping and bars any disclosure of secrets that could harm the country's defense. "It applies to what would be the conventional [spies], who are spying for an enemy, but it also includes individuals who leak classified information," said Mark Zaid , a Washington attorney who specializes in national security cases. During the Obama administration, eight people were charged
          Chicago police, feds team up on new effort to curb violence   
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police, federal agents and prosecutors launched an initiative Friday aimed at stemming the flow of illegal firearms in the city as part of efforts to curb rampant gun violence that President Donald Trump says is at "epidemic proportions."...
          Man Who Spread False Rumors About Moon Chae Won For Years Has Been Arrested   

The man who had been claiming to be actress Moon Chae Won’s boyfriend has been arrested, and will be prosecuted under detention. The Department of Justice decided that the man should be under detention for the duration of prosecution, given that he has shown no signs of remorse for his actions, which include years of posting false […]

The post Man Who Spread False Rumors About Moon Chae Won For Years Has Been Arrested appeared first on Soompi.

          Daytime mall slashing occurred at behest of 16-year-old gang leader, prosecutors say   
Conviction on assault points to youthfulness of MS-13 leadership, officials contend
          Guilty Plea Is Expected In Virus Case   
A New Jersey computer programmer will plead guilty today to having unleashed a computer virus in March that disabled thousands of corporate e-mail systems, several people close to federal and state prosecutors said yesterday. The programmer, Da...
          Man Is Said to Admit He Created Melissa Virus   
The man charged with creating the Melissa virus that slowed E-mail systems around the world in March has admitted creating the bug, then destroying the computers he used to launch it, prosecutors said. David L. Smith, 30, waived his legal right...
          Prosecution, defense rest their cases in Joe Arpaio's criminal contempt trial   
Both sides of the criminal contempt trial against former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio rested their cases on Thursday afternoon.

          Blog Post: REIT Ex-CFO 'Jacked Up' Key Metric, Feds Say In Summation   
After three weeks of sometimes complicated financial testimony, prosecutors in closing arguments on Thursday in the New York federal fraud trial of American Realty’s ex-CFO Brian Block boiled the evidence down to a simple math problem, telling jurors that Block jacked up a key earnings metric by increasing one number and decreasing the number it’s divided by.
          Suge Knight Hit and Run Video Released   
Music producer and professional subject of controversy Suge Knight is back in hot water after being accused of a deadly hit and run in California. As so often is the case in a criminal trial, video of an alleged incident can be a crucial piece of evidence for the prosecution, defense, or both. In the […]
          Retaliatory Arrests and the First Amendment: The Chilling Effects of Hartman v. Moore on the Freedom of Speech in the Age of Civilian Vigilance   

In the age of civilian vigilance, smartphone technology and social media have enabled individuals to record and share videos of police interactions with citizens at an unprecedented rate, sometimes providing indisputable evidence of police misconduct for the world to see instantly. The probative value and public shock factor of some of these videos have also opened the door to retaliatory arrests. In the 2006 case Hartman v. Moore, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff must show the absence of probable cause to establish a retaliatory prosecution claim. The Court did not hold whether this heightened pleading standard applied to retaliatory arrests, leaving open a circuit split on the issue. I argue that extending the Hartman standard to retaliatory arrest claims would create a chilling effect on free speech, particularly in the context of speech opposing or challenging police action. Specifically, extending Hartman's heightened pleading standard to retaliatory arrest claims would chill speech in two ways: (1) it would increase the likelihood of arrests of those who speak out, and (2) it would discourage others from speaking out upon seeing those arrests. These are unacceptable consequences because the freedom of individuals to speak out without the fear of arrest is core to the principles of a free nation.

The post Retaliatory Arrests and the First Amendment: The Chilling Effects of Hartman v. Moore on the Freedom of Speech in the Age of Civilian Vigilance appeared first on UCLA Law Review.

          ‘I Was Wrong’: Judge Admits Jailing People for Pot ‘Haunts’ Him After Cannabis Saved His Life   
cannabisAfter being diagnosed with a terminal disease, a judge who "hated marijuana" now regrets all those prosecutions as cannabis saved his life.
          Not guilty three times, so why is street preacher being prosecuted a fourth time?   
A STREET preacher who has won three legal cases against him is back in court for a fourth time next week.
          Prosecutors: Huntsville terrorism suspect discussed planting explosives, had materials for bomb   
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Prosecutors said today the Huntsville man charged in a terrorism case on June 15, has admitted to planning and discussing planting explosives in public buildings. A court filing says his apartment had “all of the necessary materials and chemicals necessary to craft an explosive device.” The filing in the case of Aziz Sayyed, 22, follows claims by Sayyed’s attorney that he is being held illegally, because he’s been held without bond since his arrest. But Thursday’s filing […]
          On the internet and    
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          Hillsborough Soccer Stadium Disaster: After 28 Years, 6 Former Officials Face Charges Six former officials who oversaw the notorious Hillsborough Stadium disaster of 1989 — when nearly 100 fans were crushed to death — and its aftermath will face charges that range from manslaughter to official misconduct and obstructing justice, British prosecutors said Wednesday. "Following our careful review of the evidence," said Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's special crime unit. "I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences." From the soccer official who was in charge of ensuring that the stadium was safe for the large crowd to the solicitor who handled the first inquests into what went wrong, the accused reflect the wide scope of a report that Hemming cited in announcing the charges. Ninety-six people died and 766 fans were injured in the worst sports disaster in Britain's history. Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who was the Hillsborough match
          Will antitrust become a geopolitical matter?, by Alberto Mingardi   

Google-Shopping.jpg The EU Commission has fined Google 2.4 billion euros for abusing its dominant position when it comes to its Google Shopping service. This is just one of the Google competition cases going on in Europe right now. In the very same press release that announces the verdict, the Commission soberly mentions that it has "already come to the preliminary conclusion that Google has abused a dominant position in two other cases, which are still being investigated," one concerning AdSense and one concerning the Android operating system. Stating that the Commission has already reached a conclusion and at the same time that the cases are still being investigated is a bit bizarre. It sounds like: we think you're guilty, but we're still searching for evidence. This reminded me of a paper by my colleague Serena Sileoni, who scrutininzed antitrust legal proceedings in the European Union.

Still, it is perhaps not inconsistent with the mindset of a prosecutor, who is after all trying to demonstrate her own proposition.

The EU decision sparkled lots of comments. ITIF, a Democrat-leaning think tank, seems to agree with TechFreedom, an organisation led by Berin Szoka and that has a rather critical take of antitrust enforcement.

In his comments on the matter, Berin makes plenty of sense to me, outlining the apparently negligible regard for the consumers' perspective in the EU's own press release; the arbitrary nature of market definition, particularly in an area as ebullient as e-commerce; and the fact that subjective intent, internal memos and "investigative" works are apparently more relevant for the decision than economic analysis.

Deirdre McCloskey has an upcoming paper on "Unmeasured Imperfections: The Declining Significance of 'Monopoly' Since 1800" (not yet available here). The Google Shopping case makes me think precisely of an argument I think Professor McCloskey will explore in this paper. That is, today regulators and the public seem to be overly concerned with bigness: we fear big companies, for they may influence consumer behaviour in a substantial way. I always find it a bit curious that those who fear semi-coercive strategies by big business do not care about the full stop coercive practices of big government, but that's another matter. But if we think about the effect of monopoly in a consumer's life, this doesn't necessarily correlate with the impact of the "size" of the businesses she is dealing with. When I was a kid, in my neighbourhood we had just a couple of groceries, one right down the street from my grandparents' house. Though it was obviously convenient for us, I remember distinctively the place for three reasons: (a) supplies were low quality and old-ish; (b) prices were very high; and (c) we always suspected the owner was cheating us, making us pay for more prosciutto than we got.

Because my parents were working in another town, on their way back they frequently stopped in a larger store, getting better and cheaper stuff. When this wasn't possible, we were forced to patronize the more convenient, but inferior, family shop next door, so we ended up going there far more often than we wished.

What a liberation it was when a department store opened a block away! We got cheaper stuff, more variety, and, quite frankly, better things than in the small shop that was virtually monopolising a neighbourhood.

My sense is that something similar is happening with e-commerce. I understand people who are concerned with big G and others messing around with data (though I'm more preoccupied with governments messing around with data). But when it comes to online shopping, I have difficulty not agreeing with Berin, who thinks the Commission has taken sides with competitors rather than taking the viewpoint of consumers.

Another item, however, worries me more than the case itself (whose minutiae we'll learn when more documents are made available). It is the fact that European antitrust disputes are easily turned into geopolitical problems when they involve US companies. It has always been so, starting with GE/Honeywell back in 2001. But I think this is all the more likely when antitrust bodies move in rather uncharted waters, like in high-tech sectors. The lack of precedents, the fact that often scholars and analysts have legitimate disagreements themselves, makes it easier for the press to read the different cases as struggles between sovereign powers. This happened even in times when the US-EU relationships were more serene than now.

Part of it is just journalistic speculation, but part of it is due to the fact that for quite a few European commentators antitrust is but another means to pursue a kind of industrial policy. Read, for example, Professor Höppner of Technical University Wildau, who argues that the decision is actually going to foster an environment for investment and innovation and maintains that since "even the smallest publishers, broadcasters, telecoms providers and radio channels are subject to media-specific regulations" and "there are no such requirements for search or other web services", the EU commission had better take an active role.

Many well-meaning people think that by thwarting US tech giants, the EU Commission is helping the rise of European ones. But is attempting to create entrepreneurial success by antitrust means really a good idea? Would that benefit consumers? If so, at what cost?

          Criminal prosecutions finally brought 28 years after 96 Liverpool fans killed at Hillsborough stadium   
While these long overdue prosecutions are welcome, it has been so long since the terrible crime was committed that many of the guilty figures are either dead or nearing the end of life.
          JUST IN! Senator Leila De Lima Was Issued Another Arrest Warrant For Drug Trafficking!   

On Staurday, June 24, 2017, GMA News reported that Sen. Leila De Lima, vocal critic of President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, was once again issued an arrest warrant that alleges she was involved in “the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison during her term as Justice secretary.”
According to Sen. De Lima’s legal counsel, Alexandra Padilla, the arrest warrant was issued on June 21, 2017 by Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz of the Muntinlupa RTC. The warrant also includes Jose Adrian Dera a.k.a. Jad De Vera.
De Lima’s legal counsel is pushing for the arrest warrant to be dropped, seeing it as the weakest among the 3 drug cases that De Lima currently faces from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Senator De Lima is still currently under the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in their custodial center located within Camp Crame. She was arrested and detained on February 23, 2017, also for drug charges. Judge Juanita Guerrero ordered her arrest.
The DOJ accused De Lima and Dera of conspiring to extort money from Peter Co, an inmate in Bilibid. Co claims in an affidavit that Dera blackmailed him by detaining and threatening his niece, Sally. Co claims Dera received 2 out of the 5 million pesos that he extorted from the inmate. Dera also allegedly took 4 of Co’s vehicles and used them during Sen. De Lima’s 2016 campaign. Co adds that Dera received 3 million pesos from Co’s niece, which he used to finance Sen. De Lima’s campaign.
In an interview with GMA, Padilla said:
“Dera denied knowing Senator Leila and there’s clearly no trail of the supposed vehicles and the alleged campaign donation that would have any link to Senator Leila. It’s the weakest case for the prosecution.”GMA News wrote:
“The high court had submitted the petition for decision last April after the parties submitted their respective memoranda following oral arguments held in March.”
What do you think of this recent development? Share your opinion in the comments section.

          Suspect in Custody for 2011 Sex Crimes Indicted for May 2017 Sexual Assault (Photo)   
On Thursday June 29, 2017, a Multnomah County Grand Jury indicted 63-year-old Curtis Clinton Williams on charges of Rape in the First Degree, Sodomy in the First Degree, Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, and Coercion in connection with a May 2017 investigation where he sexually assaulted a 24-year-old woman.

Williams has been in custody at the Multnomah County Jail since June 8, 2017, on other, unrelated sex crimes.

On May 18, 2017, the victim met the suspect Williams in Downtown Portland. The victim was homeless and Williams offered her a motel room for the night, which the victim accepted. They went to a Southeast Portland motel, where Williams rented a room for the night.

Soon after they entered the motel room, Williams sexually assaulted the victim. Williams kept the victim in the motel room against her will for several hours, but she was eventually able to escape. The victim ran to a nearby restaurant, where she asked an employee to call the police.

On June 8, 2017, Portland Police Bureau Sex Crimes Unit detectives arrested Williams in connection with a 2011 sexual assault investigation. Williams was booked into jail on charges of Rape in the First Degree, Sodomy in the First Degree (two counts), Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the First Degree (two counts), and Sex Abuse in the First Degree (three counts). Williams is also being held on a charge of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.

The arrest stems from an investigation that started in September 2011. A sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kit connected to the case was recently submitted for testing as part of the Police Bureau's effort to test all kits that were previously not submitted for testing. The results of the test linked Williams to the 2011 case.

As this remains an open investigation and prosecution of a sensitive nature, the Bureau cannot offer additional details regarding this case.

Williams' arrest stems from the Portland Police Bureau's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) work group that focuses solely on SAFE kits that were previously untested. In the course of the next few years, there will be new investigations initiated as SAFE kit DNA test results are returned. The work group in place will continue best practices of victim notification and is dedicated to vigorously investigating cases where justice has been delayed. The work group, as well as the Sex Crimes Unit, provide advocacy and a victim centered approach.

As part of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant that the Portland Police was awarded in 2015, as well as the New York District Attorney's (DANY) grant awarded to the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, the Portland Police Bureau has been in the process of testing, contacting survivors, and investigating cases stemming from the 1,754 untested SAFE kits in the possession of the Portland Police Bureau.

In April 2016, the first shipment of untested SAFE kits were sent to a private laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. All Portland Police Bureau SAFE kits have been submitted for testing and the Police Bureau now has a "full submission" policy removing any discretion on the submission of SAFE kits.

The Portland Police Bureau has additional information about its Sex Crimes Unit at Click on the "The Rose Project" for more information about its untested sexual assault kit project as well as resources for survivors.

The Portland Police Bureau encourages survivors of sexual assault that had a SAFE kit performed to contact the Portland Police Bureau's Sex Crime Unit at or 503-823-0125. Due to the very personal and confidential nature of these crimes, information about a previously untested sexual assault kit can only be released to the survivor.


          6/30/2017: After 16 months, former PM Olmert granted early release, to go free on Sunday   
The parole board decided on Thursday to cut former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s prison sentence by a third, for good behavior, despite opposition from state prosecutors, and despite a new probe into alleged leaking of classified documents by Olmert....
          Sheriff's Office: Alleged killer Randy Washington attacks his lawyer during Trenton murder trial   

TRENTON >> Alleged killer Randy K. Washington showed his violent side on Thursday when he allegedly attacked his public defender during his murder trial.

After the prosecution and defense delivered closing arguments and the jury dismissed for deliberations about 3:50 p.m. Thursday, "Washington suddenly and violently struck his attorney in the face with a closed fist," the Mercer County Sheriff's Office said.

          Ding Ding Final Round !   

I was doing my best to try and forget about the Jury that didn’t find the guy guilty of attacking me, I was telling the truth throughout and anyone with any common sense would be able to see that it couldn’t have happened any other way. As Scotty from Star Trek would say “It’s beyond the laws of physics Jim” There is no way I could have dragged an 18 stone guy over my desk by the wrist, there was no way I could even reach him over my computer monitor to do so, his version of events was a lie from start to finish, but then it had to be otherwise he would get sent to prison. I was disgusted with the Tactics of his defence Barrister, The Police Investigation, the Farce that was 3 trials, the laughable Prosecution Barrister,  but most of all I was disgusted with myself for not conveying what happened to the Jury in a way that would and should have left them “beyond all reasonable doubt”

In order to make sense of this Blog, you need to read this one first

As my front door opened and I struggled in carrying my shopping, I could see a business card on the floor in the Hall, I had seen enough Police officers business cards to know that this was one too, on it was a message “Please ring me” Crikey I thought, what have I done now?
The Officer told me that they had confiscated the firearms off the Guy who had attacked me, when he was arrested, and he’d recently had the cheek to ask for them back, even though he had been found “Not Guilty” the cops had refused his request so that speaks volumes in itself! He wouldn’t take no for an answer and he had re-hired the same Barrister who had defended him previously, and he was taking them to a court of appeal, if the Police lost he would get his licence back, and his shotguns back, and the cops would be responsible for his costs too, they wanted me to appear as a witness again, but this time on their behalf.  
I resented the jury’s verdict more than even I realised, and I launched into an epic rant, which started off  “ As much as I like being made to stand up in court and get called a liar after every sentence by some bitch who knows full well that her client was guilty, I’m afraid I will have to decline your offer” “I would rather stick pins in my eyes, than go through all that again” I carried on for about another hour giving him all the reasons why I felt the Police, British Justice, the Crown prosecution service, and the people who make halfwits do Jury service had let me down, at the end of my rant the Police Officer said something like “so that’s a no then is it?”
I ended my call by putting a deal to him, I knew my attacker had a relative who was a high ranking Police Officer, so I said that if the Cops could arrange a meeting, and after listening to my story the high ranking Officer thought that he was really innocent and deserved to get his guns back, I would appear in court as a witness, if not then the High ranking Police Officer could save every bodies time and trouble by convincing my attacker that he was lucky not to be in jail and he should forget about ever being able to own a firearm again. I left that option with him, but the meeting never happened.
A few months later I was contacted by another Police Officer, he asked if he could come and see me, it wasn’t really a question, so reluctantly I agreed. He explained that this time it would not be in front of a Jury, but a Judge and 2 Justice of the Peace, I would have to go through exactly the same procedure, his Barrister would cross examine me again, it would be no picnic, I wouldn’t get the Justice I deserved, the previous verdict would not be overturned, there wouldnt be a retrial, this was just to prevent him getting his guns and his licence back.
I agreed, but on the condition that I would not be stuck in the waiting room for days on end like I was last time, I would turn up for 1 day, and 1 day only, I would give my evidence, take an earbashing and be called a liar off Cruella, then I would go home and I never wanted to hear the guys name again, we shook hands, It was a deal.

I am probably prevented by some Liberal do gooder law, and couldn’t begin to tell you anyway just how harrowing it is sitting in the witness room. There are several cases going on at once, prosecution Barristers are in and out, and the stories you hear being related are horryfying. I could hear a witness sat next to me, being intimidated on the phone by the defendant she was testifying against, It makes you wonder how this can be allowed to happen and what kind of society we are living in.
So I had been sat there from 9.00 am till 1.00 am, our agreement was out of the window, the Judge had started reading another case first, and we would be next. So I made my way to the Courts Canteen. I was again reminded of the incredibly stupid works of the British Court system. There are separate rooms for Defendants’ and Witnesses, you can only get in the Witnesses room by an assistant punching in a key code. To get into the court, you have to go through a metal detector and be patted down, they had confiscated a small torch that I always carry, because “it could be used as an offensive weapon! My sarcasm was lost on the guy that frisked me when I said “sure that’s what I was going to use it for, I was going to shine the guy who attacked me to death”
 I was now sat in the canteen, there were knives, forks, glasses, hot water any amount of things that could be used as weapons, and in walked the guy who had attacked me, he positioned himself diagonally opposite me, and sat there sneering, the whole system is just a joke. My ears were burning and the people he was with kept turning around to look at me, there were plenty of witnesses this time, I sat there trying to look like butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth, but I was seething I really wanted him to start something, this time I was ready, and I would finish it. I wanted the chance for closure, but he didn’t.
At approximately 3.30pm I was told the case had been adjourned and that I could go home, another wasted day!
The new date came through a few months later and the timing would guarantee that my Christmas and New Year would be spoiled if this verdict went against me. I had decided that I wasn’t going to be polite or conduct myself as a Gentleman this time, I would say what I thought and no amount of people telling me to be quiet was going to stop me. if being heard meant that I would get done for contempt of court, then so be it, but no one was going to shut me up or talk over me when they didn’t like my answer!
I was called to the Witness Box, and asked questions by the Prosecution Barrister, this guy was good. I told my story and was then asked to explain what the photographs were of, and which injuries they depicted, and how I had received them. Now it was Cruella’s turn and the familiar “You’re a liar Mr Crampton” filled the court room. When she told me her clients version of events, I laughed, it was just too ridiculous for words. She wasn’t ready for my answer “Wow you’ve changed your version of events yet again,  it’s your client that’s the liar, and you know he is too, otherwise you wouldn’t have had to change your story 4 times to fit the answers I gave you in the first 3 trials! And how can you say that he was trying to calm me down and subdue me when there were punch and kick marks on the back of my shirt, what do you think I was trying to do, hit his fist with my kidneys?
She bit! her answer surprised me and gave me a chance to score some early points, she said that I never gave evidence in the first trial, and that if I knew anything about the law I would know that she was allowed to change her story, my reply hurt her “That’s the thing, I’ve told the same story 4 times, but I’m telling the truth” and using a line i borrowed from the film The Highlander, I said “So there can be only one!” version. She was clearly rattled and came back at me immediately, saying that I was a liar, and she had never heard my evidence in the first trial. I told her that she was at best mistaken, but my implication was that she was lying, I invited her to look back through the records, she just ignored me and asked me another question but I continued with my answer to her first question. She began to try to talk over me, and ask me the another question time after time. It reminded me of a pop record called La La La by Naughty Boy that was in the charts at the time
I engaged my selective Noise Cancelling Hearing (covered in a seperate blog and ignored her question I continued to remind her of the first trial. She kept demanding that I answer her new question, which I did when she eventually gave up allowed me to answer the first question she had originally asked me. I testified that I had been stamped on, that I had footprints on my shirt and one on my head in blood, my shirt had been lost for several months in Police evidence, the previous Barrister had opened the evidence bag when i distinctly told him not to, it was only sent to forensics 18 months after the incident. The defence Barrister made a big play that they could not identify a footprint, and I said Im not surprised that a dusty foot print had worn off after 18 months of being manhandled and messed with, but I had taken a photograph of it within a few hours of the incident. The prints that were available in the court were just very poor photocopies of my photos and I complained to the Judge that they were pathetic and there was no excuse as I had supplied them with 8MP pictures on a DVD, and they should have made better copies in order to show the detail and extent of my injuries.

Referring to the photographs, the Defence Barrister said that the pictures were the ones that scenes of crime had taken and supplied. I took my opportunity to point out that she was wrong again and I replied that I had taken the photos she was looking at, again she snapped "you’re a liar!" She wasn’t on her A game today at all, I asked if I could get my Ipad out to prove it, I could also show them the footprint on my shirt and all the timed and dated pictures in sequence I had taken as the bruising came out. At this point she objected and said to the Judge “If Mr Crampton wants to introduce new evidence he should have done it before this hearing”, I didn’t want to introduce anything, they all ready had all my pictures they were just very badly printed, they were already looking at my evidence and I just wanted to prove that she was wrong yet again. The Judge ruled that I wasn’t allowed to produce my Ipad.

I took my opportunity and turned to the Judge and told him that I had taken the pictures minutes after I had been attacked, I asked them to pay close attention to the footprint in blood on my head as it was vitally important that they understand the significance of it, the print was a different shape than the cut that was left underneath when I washed the blood off, this proved “transference” it proved beyond all doubt that I couldn’t have got my injuries when “I went mad and he tried to calm me down and subdue me” It proved that he had stamped on my head at least twice, and he could have only have done that when I was on the floor, as he wouldn’t have been able to lift his leg 6 feet off the ground to kick me in the head, and If he could I cerytainly wouldn’t have stood in the same place and let him.
I also pointed to the bruising on my lower leg, which showed a perfectly shaped shoes sized and shaped bruise, again to inflict this injury on me, I would have had to be on the floor and him stood over me,  otherwise the only injury I could have gotten was off his toes, and not his full flat foot.
Satisfied that I had made my point, and explained it thoroughly enough that even the last jury would have realised that it was the truth. I turned back to Cruella ready for her next question and I recognised the look she was giving me, I used to see in my last Girlfriends eye when I had done something really unforgivable, like useing the wrong fork in a restaurant, or tweeting a picture of a registration number that looked like it said something naughty, usually with my Girlfriend I had done it completely accidently and just by being me, but in this courtroom it was accidently on purpose. I had gotten right on her nerves, and I could see she was fuming! Cruella went straight for my Jugular, and tried to ridicule me,  I set her up with the ammunition. So Mr Crampton where did you get your extensive knowledge of forensics then? "I never miss and episode of CSI Miami" I replied, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. She couldn't believe her luck, "You got your knowledge from a  TV program?" Before she finished off he theatrical laughter that was for the benefit of the Judge, I said “It doesn’t matter where I got it from does it, we both know I'm right!” she stopped laughing.
It was a good job I had won that point because her next move had me very confused, she produced an AA report which pulled the car I had sold to pieces, she took great delight in asking me to read each line of it out loud to the Judge, the report was very damming. If I had have sold a car as bad as that I would have expected and also deserved a slapping. I countered the report by saying that the things they said were wrong with it, could not possibly have been wrong otherwise the oil warning light, brake fluid warning light, disk pad warning light, and low coolant warning light would have been illuminated and they weren’t! She smiled and I knew that was a bad sign, it was, and she got me.
Wouldn’t that also be the case if the warning lights were faulty Mr Crampton? “Yes it would, but they were working fine”. Turn to the last page of the report Mr Crampton, and read the last paragraph! I read ahead a couple of lines and although I knew that this was complete lies, basically I was f#### I started reading it out, a lot quieter than my cocky replies to her previous question had been “The warning lights on the vehicle were faulty and inoperative. I started thinking out loud, while my brain processed the information, I said “That’s not the report you showed me at the first 3 trials, the report you had was off some oily rag at Kwik Fit who was trying to sell them a car of his own, and if you’d have had a report off the AA you would have used it! I was speed reading through the report, I really couldn’t believe it, there was only one explanation it had been fabricated. I made a fool of myself and said that report has been made up, it hadn’t, and I didn’t mean that she had made it up, I meant that her Client had, She turned to the Judge and again made a big point of doing her hysterical laughter routine at my preposterous statement she said “Well, I have been called a liar, and now I’ve been accused of fabricating evidence”
I hadn’t done myself any favours, things were looking bad, and even I was starting to think that I had indeed sold a defective car, but then I saw the date on the report it was the 31st of May, 28 days after the incident. The AA had picked up all the faults that the Oily Rag from Kwik Fit had picked up, plus the one about the warning lights, and then it all fell into place and I knew what had happened! I turned to the Judge and said that even if this report hadn’t been fabricated it was dated almost a month after the incident, and he couldn’t have confronted me with it, it wasn’t the report that had been fabricated it was the faults on the car, all the faults were low fluids, easily done by draining the fluids out, the car had been sabotaged, there were no mechanical faults. I knew that they’d had 28 days to tamper with the car and create these faults before the AA guy got to inspect it, I had the Judges attention.
I demanded to see the original report, I was convinced that I had been Kwik Fitted Up,  Cruella said that was it and I again told her that she was mistaken, and added "Again!" I described the report that I had seen in detail to her, the original was burned into my memory and I  demanded to see it, I asked the Prosecution Barrister to search through his previous notes for it, this time it was her that was flustered and as she shuffled through her paper work, I continued to bend the Judges ear with my conspiracy theory, but I knew I was right.
Cruella snapped, she demanded that the Judge removed me from the court as “ I wouldn’t shut up” he didn’t, but he continued to listen to me and then asked me “if the car had been faulty, as it said in the report, what would I have done?”, my answer was that I would have fixed it, or given him his money back, and if the Customer hadn’t wanted it to bring it to me he could have taken it to any VAT registered garage as per the conditions of the written warranty that I had supplied with all the cars  I sold. But then I added that his question was purely hypothetical because it wasn’t faulty when it went out. She eventually got the original report from the Kwik Fit guy which was a joke, and I ridiculed it again. I did a bit of my own hysterical laughter when I came to the bit that said "Water pipes touching the Engine" Touching, not only do they touch the engine, theyre attached between the engine and the radiator, LOL LOL LOL, right then, she couldnt have hated me more if she'd been married to me.
She moved on, then she pulled a photograph out of her briefcase that wasn’t in any of the bundles, she passed it to the Judge and the Justices of the peace,  then she asked me to look at it, and confirm that it was my Cabin, it was, and I did. But  it occurred to me that she had just introduced evidence, so why couldn’t I. Again I turned to the Judge and said, am I right in thinking that picture has just been introduced without permission, and if she can produce evidence whenever she feels like it, why can’t I produce my Ipad?. A wry smile crossed the Judges face and I could tell he was thinking along the lines of “ Smart Arse, why did I bother going to Law School for 10 years when I could have just watched the DVD Box Set of CSI Miami", then he said  “Thats a good question Mr Crampton, does the council for the prosecution want to add anything?", he did, he wanted to add that my Imy Ipad should be introduced as evidence, this time there was no objection from the Defence, just a deep sigh.
The reason she wanted the Judge to see  a picture of my cabin was to show that it was raised off the ground. My 2 witnesses at the trial had testified that they had seen a commotion and had run across to my Cabin, one had pulled the guy off me, and the other had pulled the woman off who was apparently kicking me. The CCTV showed them running across, but then she stopped it and accused me of lying, and also one of my witnesses, this was the first time she had used this and I was baffled, the reflection in a cars bodywork appeared to show the legs of one of the witnesses as if he stayed outside my cabin, at the time I couldn’t offer a reasonable explanation, she was right it did appear to show this, all I could say was he did come in, I saw him! Then the “You’re a liar, your witnesses are liars blah, blah, blah started again.
On the spot in the Witness Box, being confronted with this evidence for the first time and under intense pressure from her, I couldn’t for the life of me explain it, and She won the round, it did look like I had lied, and if I had lied about that I am sure that could have put enough doubt in a Juries mind to get him off with the reasonable doubt thing. I have since studied the tape on a 65 “ Screen in great detail and in step by step motion, they both came in the office but the guy who pulled the woman off stood in the doorway, the reflection of his legs could be seen because the car door was convex shape and the reflection was from in the office and not on the floor, it wasn’t a 90 degree reflection from your view point as would be shown in a mirror, it was reflecting a view from inside my office,  she used the element of surprise to throw me off, I couldn’t explain it but perhaps her tactics didn’t work as I stuck to the story that I knew was true no matter how implausible it seemed at the time, and perhaps the Judge had sussed it when I hadn’t.

The next thing she tried to ridicule was my explanation that he had come across my desk, and again it had been something that I had struggled to answer, I had my head turned away when he hit me and jumped over, he came over so fast that I was convinced his punch had dazed me and time had stood still, while he dragged his lard arse across my desk, the thing that troubled me was that I do remember him landing on me with an incredible force, so much so that it bent the steel l shaped panel which attached the back rest of my chair.
 Now often when I am faced with a problem, I wake up with the answer, my subconscious works on it till I get the answer. I used to keep a pen and paper by my bed so that if I woke up I could write the answer down, and not go back to sleep and forget it. Now I have an Iphone, so I just type the solution into notes and then doze off immediately.
I could remember being alerted by the sound of a chair moving, but he seemed to punch me and get across the desk in one movement, I couldn’t figure out how he had got the drop on me and I hadn’t managed to stand up, and go toe to toe with him. Time and time again I relived the attack in my thoughts, dreams, and nightmares, but I always woke up in the same place, my subconscious was trying its best to solve the problem for me but it wasn’t working, until one night shortly before the this appeal, too late for the 3 trials but just before his firearms appeal I woke up reached for my iphone and typed in, “Launched himself off her chair” this time my dream had continued past the point where I hear his chair move, he punches me and I wake up, this time I heard another noise, it was her chair moving, and it moved not because she was getting up to join in as I had thought, but because with his right leg he had stood on her chair and launched himself across the desk on to me, like he was a human cannonball, problem solved.

She had asked me the same question in the 3 previous trials and I never had a satisfactory answer, but this time I answered with conviction, and it was so obvious, I don’t know why I had never figured it out before. I am pretty good at reading body language, and hers said FFS!
I’m sure at this point she still hoped that she had done enough to win the case for her client, she had already planted the seed that I was a lying dodgy car dealer, now all she had to do was make me look like an interfering busy body and I was only here because I held a grudge against her client. Cruella asked “Do you know what this hearing is about, Mr Crampton? I replied “Yes, it’s a firearms licence appeal” and what’s that got to do with you may I ask? “Well, your Client threatened to kill me, so the last thing I want is to have him running around Preston with a couple of shotguns!”
I could tell that wasn’t one of any of the possible answers that she had rehearsed in her head, or indeed hoped for. She set off with an incredible rant, a whole tirade of insults, punctuated every so often with you’re a liar Mr Crampton. But that was my part in the trial over, the prosecution Barrister took my Ipad back into court, he showed them crystal clear photographs of the footprints on my shirt, head, all the bruises, and I made sure there was a couple of pictures of the car that I sold which looked a million dollars, I wasn’t allowed back in, but my Ipad must have done the trick.

Long story short, he didn’t get his license back.

          You work on commission right? Big Mistake, Big, Huge!"   

The Salesman had been watching me through his office window for at least 10 minutes, he was on the phone and I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt him, however when he put the receiver down he was unbelievably rude to me, I had expected him to come out to greet me when he finished his call, he should have met me with a warm smile, introduced himself, shook my hand, try to put me at ease in his domain, done his best to make a good first impression (remember you only get one chance to create a good first impression) however he seemed to be doing his best to make sure that my first impression of him was that he was a W#####.

I took an instant dislike to him, and I was somewhat surprised to see him turn his back on me and start sifting through his paperwork and totally ignoring me, maybe he thought I was a tyre kicker and not worth bothering with, but the first thing they teach you in sales is don’t pre judge customers, if he thought I couldn’t afford a New Isuzu Trooper he was spot on, however my Boss could, and he wanted one for his wife, I turned and walked out, that guys ignorance was to cost him and his Dealership a lot of money.

I’ve shopped on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and was treated courteously and with respect by every shop assistant without exception, perhaps they learned their lesson after watching the film Pretty Woman, I think it would be good if Julia Roberts made a film about buying a car I am sure it would do my industry the world of good and bring them out of the dark ages.

I was there to buy the Trooper in 1988, 2 years before the Pretty Woman was released, but after I saw the film I wanted to go back to the garage find the salesman and say “You work on commission right? Big Mistake, Big, Huge!" Course Julia Roberts left the shop assistant speechless, but this salesman probably wouldn’t remember me, or would have just told me to F### Off, even worse if he hadn't seen Pretty Woman himself he would have just thought I was a nutter.

After that incident we went further afield to buy the car, we got a great deal, and when the Trooper arrived and was parked on our forecourt it created a fantastic amount of interest, before long we were buying more and picking up a lot of business, word soon got round that customers had a choice where to buy from, and they didn’t have to put up with poor customer service or being treated like an inconvenience from the other dealer, we were selling as many cars as we could get, soon we were having to import them ourselves to keep up with demand.

We were Vauxhall Dealers at the time and we used to get all the figures every month for new cars registered in our area, we could see how many new Isuzu’s were being registered and we could also see that we were selling a lot of them and giving the local dealer a run for their money, the salesman hadn’t made a Big Mistake, it wasn’t huge either, it was of Galactic proportions!

That was the case for the prosecution, now I’m going to hand over to the defence. I turned up not in a new car, but one that was selected purely and simply because it had come in part exchange with lots of fuel in it and I was using it to do errands, It was my day off and I was wearing jeans, It probably looked to him like I couldn’t afford one, but he could have discovered that it would be a company purchase, that there would be no part exchange, It would be a cash sale, and that he wouldn’t have to prop another dreamer with no deposit and who expected a fortune in PX for his swapper, and I wasn't gooing to add to the part of his closing ratio statistics (the amount of people you have to see before you sell a car) that his Sales Manager would use at the end of the month to beat him over the head with, and tell him how bad his performence had been. Just by qualifying me (asking a few well chosen questions) he could have found all that out and got a sale, but he didn’t, he ignored me and left me to walk out of the showroom to tell all my friends and people who read my blog never to go there to buy a car, hmm poor defence so far.

But ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I put it to you that he didn’t bother qualifying me because he was probably fed up of having to be nice to people he suspected of being messers, having spent hours dealing with them, going through specifications, options, colours, accessories, taking them out for test drives, only for them to shake his hand and say “I’ll be back on Monday if my numbers come up at weekend!” in other words, they couldnt afford their taste in Motor Vehicles but they didn't mind indulging their fantasies and wasting the sa;lesmans time, however you have to be nice because as the saying goes you should never judge a book by its cover, later in my sales career a customer came in and bought an Mercedes SL and a Mercedes C Class for his wife, he was wearing jeans and he looked pretty much like I did when I went to buy the Trooper, however fortunately for him, his numbers “had” come up at weekend and he’d won £6 Million on the lottery, we didn’t know that, for all we knew he too could have been a messer/tyre kicker/test pilot, call them what you will, but before he left he told us that he decided to buy the cars from us, as he had been in every Mercedes Dealer from Manchester to Blackpool, and we were the only ones that had not looked down our noses at him, we had treated him with respect and as a serious buyer.

So back to 1988, our new Trooper was parked on the forecourt, the Bosses wife was here to do the accounts and as instructed she had parked the New Trooper on the end of our display and hung the price board from the sun visor, a couple who had been walking past and looked like they couldn’t afford to rub two halfpennies together wondered into the showroom, my Salesmans sixth sense flashed red and and my inbuilt “Messers” alarm sounded in my ears, never the less I approached them to see if I could help, the guy asked me if the price in the windscreen was the best I could do, I replied that I could possibly knock a couple of hundred quid off, if he was a cash buyer and didn’t have a part exchange.

I was a little dumbfounded when he said, “Ive got a Thousand pounds cash, take it or leave it!” my eyes and face said “Are you some kind of F##### Numbskull, but my voice said, Thanks for your generous offer but I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave it” The couple shuffled round and made their way out of the showroom never to be seen again, I followed them out and watched them catch the bus further down the road, as I walked back past the New Isuzu Trooper, I noticed that the Bosses wife had accidently knocked a 5 off the price board, instead of reading £15995 it said £1599 but even that wasn’t cheap enough for the previous customers and they wanted me to sell it for a grand!

Lessons learned :-

1)    some people are idiots,

2)    some people are timewasters

3)    always check the price board before agreeing a deal

if you make a mistake with the advertised price a customer can actually force you to sell him it at that price, and advertising your stock on the internet, these days at the stroke of a key it is very easy to make a mistake, for your sake I hope it’s not a “Big, Huge one whether it be a price, or pre-judging a customer.

          Beachwood man charged with child pornography possession   

The following is a release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office: Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the arrest yesterday (6/28) of Gerald J. Moors, 20, of Beachwood on the charge of third degree possession of child pornography. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s High Tech Crime Unit (HTCU), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations […]

The post Beachwood man charged with child pornography possession appeared first on Jersey Shore Hurricane News.

          Brazil’s president is charged with bribery   

EVER since an audio recording emerged in May of Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, seeming to discuss paying hush money and backhanders, the country’s zealous prosecutors have been expected to pounce. Even so, the decision by Rodrigo Janot, the chief prosecutor, on June 26th to charge Mr Temer with bribe-taking was momentous. It is the first such charge against a sitting president.

Mr Janot bases his accusations on the tape and testimony of Joesley Batista, the billionaire businessman who secretly recorded it. These resulted in a sting operation in which Rodrigo Loures, a former aide to Mr Temer, was filmed receiving 500,000 reais ($159,000) from Mr Batista’s envoy, allegedly for interceding with the antitrust agency on his firm’s behalf. Mr Janot suspects that the cash, plus another 38m reais promised by Mr Batista, was in fact meant for Mr Temer. The president protests his innocence and points out that his relationship with Mr Loures is all that links him to the payoff...

          SKETCHES OF COURT: First witness in Shkreli trial reported too-good-to-be-true returns   

An investor in "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli's hedge fund says he wowed her by reporting eye-popping returns that prosecutors say were a lie.

          Former Custer city official pleads to child sex charges   
A former Custer city official has pleaded guilty to child sex charges under a deal with prosecutors.

          Good Cop, Bad Cops   

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)

(Disclaimer: The proprietor of this blog and Mr. Wilson have an ongoing years-long friendship, in which the former has benefited on several occasions by the generosity of the latter. However, that in no way, shape or form has influenced the blog owner’s decision to post an article about his case nor the content of what is written below.)

We need police. That’s the long and the short of it.
     Whatever your view of the very real problems our society faces in bad cops who shoot unarmed African Americans or the mentally disabled when sent to the scene of a medical emergency, the simple fact is that those cops take a lot of oxygen from the honest, dedicated law enforcement professionals whose good to society far outweighs the bad we incessantly hear about on the news and social media.
     The need for some law enforcement was understood in the days of the Roman Empire and in AD 6 answered in the form of the vigiles urbani. And 1823 years later, Sit Robert Peel well understood the need for a professional police force and that’s how Scotland Yard was created, with the passage of the Metropolitan Police Act, in 1829.
     So obviously, there will always be the need for “the thin blue line” because where there are laws, there will always be criminals. And latter day human society is always in desperate need of good cops to make up part of that vital buffer between civilians and lawlessness and disorder. But what happens when cops forget whatever high-minded ideals that led them to apply to the Academy when they turn on their own, when pensions and reputations are at stake?
     We all remember what had happened to Serpico. And Serpico was an exception that gradually became more of a norm than an exception. And today, I will write at length about the bizarre case of Antone Raneo Wilson, a good cop who got railroaded by his own. Not only his own, but lazy, collusive, avaricious attorneys (including three who were suspended), a famously corrupt Boston political power structure and virtually every principal involved. It’s a case that is so intensely radioactive that no mainstream media journalist or attorney will touch it with the proverbial 10 foot pole. (Most recently a reporter with the Boston Globe looked into it then, like Homer Simpson or Sean Spicer, slowly melted into the bushes). That was when I was contacted by former Mass State Trooper Antone Wilson.

The Beginning
It began on a miserable, wet rainy day in December of 2000 in Franklin, MA. It wasn’t even a routine traffic stop. Franklin, in Norfolk County in southern Massachusetts, is generally a friendly city, one of just 14 granted a charter to run a city government. It’s the kind of place where, when you hear a car backfire, you assume it’s a car back-firing and Honor Roll high school graduates bound for college make the front page of the local paper.
     However on this day, off duty State Trooper Antone Wilson was driving through Franklin and ran into a detail manned by three officers from the Franklin Police Department. He stopped long enough to ask for directions and one of the young officers, perhaps resenting his posting on a foul day, was immediately surly. The situation quickly escalated and when Trooper Wilson was asked for ID, he produced his State Police creds.
     Rather than de-escalating what was already a needless confrontation, the Franklin Police essentially detained Trooper Wilson as they wouldn’t hand him back his badge and ID for upwards of 20 minutes. At one point, one of the young officers even deliberately nudged Trooper Wilson’s shoulder with his own in order to manufacture an escalation. Trooper Wilson was by this time already 39 years-old and didn’t bite on the bait.
     It ought to be mentioned that despite Franklin’s lowkey reputation and outward gentility, at this exact same time the Franklin Police Department was already under federal investigation from the Chief on down for corruption. Even 16½ years ago, the allegations went back three decades.
     Ironically, even though Trooper Wilson was the one being wronged, it was the Franklin Police Department who’d fired the first salvo in the form of a complaint against Trooper Wilson for assault and verbal abuse. They almost surely did this to cover their own asses as a pre-emptive counter suit to protect itself from what they expected to be Trooper Wilson’s own complaint. However, Trooper Wilson never filed that complaint.

Can We Spell Conflict of Interest, Boys and Girls?

     As if tempting the Fates into bringing about a self-fulfilling prophecy, the Franklin PD had filed a complaint that had brought about an investigation into Trooper Wilson for misconduct, specifically regarding physical assault and verbal abuse. As if that wasn’t enough, the Massachusetts State Police had saddled him with an attorney who was jurisprudence’s answer to a canvasback club fighter on the take.
     Without immediately making full disclosure to his client, this attorney represented not only the MA State Police union but also the Franklin PD’s union. Almost immediately, as if trying to sweep it under the rug, Mr. Wilson’s representation was, in his own words, “increasingly strident” about getting his client to admit to some guilt in the interests of speedy resolution. Attorney/client privilege is intended to protect the client from prying outside parties, not the attorney from his own client.
     Deeply suspicious of his own lawyer’s intentions and motivations, Mr. Wilson then asked him, repeatedly, if he also represented the Franklin PD’s union and his concerns about collusion were dismissed. Eventually, as the investigation gained traction, Trooper Wilson was in the absurd and very unenviable position of watching growing evidence proving his innocence rebuffed by his own attorney. Yes, Antone Wilson’s own attorney was working in concert with investigators to ensure some responsibility for misconduct would be proved or admitted to. Finally, after confronting his lawyer by asking him if he was indeed working for the Franklin PD’s union, he answered in the affirmative, albeit vaguely. As much as honest individuals hate to use the word, Trooper Wilson realized his concerns about a conspiracy were well-founded. Putting a cherry to this revelation was Wilson’s ominous caveat: “(Y)ou’d better not be telling state secrets.”
    Several days before Trooper Wilson’s disciplinary hearing, two senior officers who’d been assigned to the board were replaced. This was particularly suspicious because Wilson had expressed to his original attorney his satisfaction with the two officers that were subsequently removed. This action was unnerving because it implied that Wilson's attorney had shared confidential information with the State Police (remember the quaint notion of attorney/client privilege?). The move, Wilson suspected, was a final attempt to force a negotiated settlement in an attempt to forestall a disciplinary hearing. It was clear that the "prosecution" didn't want a hearing that would compel the sworn testimony of the Franklin PD "witnesses" and generate a permanent, transcribed record. Trooper Wilson was convinced his own attorney was abusing his trust by sharing confidential, privileged information with the same party (the Mass State Police) that was attempting to get nonexistent dirt to stick on him. He was, nevertheless, determined to force the hearing.
     As the rescheduled hearing approached Trooper Wilson's plainly useless attorney had recused himself from the case and the replacement attorney-appointed without Wilson's prior consent- would be presenting the case. "I understood," Wilson later stated, " that there were only two real scenarios: The hearing would be 'on-the level' or it wouldn't" What Wilson didn't understand was that this was the beginning of an ordeal that would endure for over 17 years...
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          6/30/2017: Slain victim’s mom: ’My life as I knew it has ended’   
The murder of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette has left her mother devastated, her killer’s sentencing hearing was told Thursday. In her victim impact to the court, read in by Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou, Cheyenne Dunbar said she cries daily over the...
          The War on Drugs Places 'Black Joy' in the Line of Fire   
Black youth never get the privileges of innocence and 'youthful indiscretions' extended to their white peers.

*Editor's note: In this monthly blog series, the Drug Policy Alliance will examine the nexus between the War on Drugs and law enforcement practices that result in the mass criminalization, incarceration and dehumanization of communities of color.  These pieces will reflect on the ways in which the institutions of policing and prosecution- both driven by calls for “law and order” in the wake of the War on Drugs-  continue to function as instruments of reinforcement for the overarching structural racism on which the drug war was founded.

Over the past several weeks, the details surrounding the tragic killing of Jordan Edwards have been revealed under the intensely watchful eye of a public that continues to face a seemingly never-ending flood of stories recounting instances of police brutality and the pervasive lack of justice for black victims on the receiving end of police misconduct.

Outside of a media sphere permeated by meticulously crafted, state-serving narratives marked by the use of coded language as a form of fear mongering that encourages brutalization in carrying out the war on drugs and cultivates public apathy towards the victims of such violence, a situation in which a police officer responding to a neighbor’s call about possible underage drinking that ends with the use of lethal force on a car full of frightened kids could not be dressed as anything other than a senseless act of violence. This murder reinforces the message that the protections associated with the assumption of innocence and positive police discretion towards instances of youthful indiscretion are not privileges extended to black youth

Further, a failure to also identify this situation as one where the duty to protect and serve was superseded by aninstitutional obsession with policing and restricting the autonomy of black people would require willful ignorance of the history of enslavement and subjugation of black people in this country.

Jordan’s story is not anomalous. The explosion in exposure of police brutality across the nation and subsequent reflection on my own experiences with law enforcement while growing up in Dallas quickly led me to the sobering realization that any of the nights I enjoyed not long ago, when I was Jordan’s age, could have ended in tragedy. The price of this realization has been an existence marred by constant feelings of fear and anxiety about what could happen and how my personal relationship with drugs might be used in an attempt to strip me of my humanity posthumously.

As a result, I often find myself preemptively policing my actions, my speech, expressions of my emotions, my movements, and even my writing, but none of these things have proven adequate in protecting me from potentially volatile interactions with law enforcement or figures that have been endowed with authority to use force by whatever institution employs them.

Knowing that I am not alone is deeply saddening.

What is much more devastating, however, is reading in the Dallas Morning News that kids who occupy some of the same spaces I once did experienced such a degree of psychological trauma from Jordan’s death and similar situations that they feel they have no choice but to forfeit simple joys of youth like playing basketball and partying with friends.

Living with the psychological burden imposed by the constant threat of state violence is not freedom. We cannot begin to chip away at the hyper-criminalization of black and Latino youth until we end the war on drugs. If not, the reality most of America is privileged enough to enjoy - the assumption that an interaction with law enforcement will not end in their demise - will remain an aspiration at best.

When I was in elementary school, a large part of the school’s efforts to convince us to “just say no” to drugs involved encouraging us to “dare to be different.” As an adult, I am imploring the powers that be and those who have been complicit in cultivating this drug war climate to put the same amount of time and resources into daring police to allow all youth the space to enjoy their lives without fear of those entrusted with the responsibility of protecting them.

This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance Blog



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Some things should not happen, but they do. 

In 69, Tiberius Julius Alexander ordered his Roman legions in Alexandria to swear allegiance to Vespasian as Emperor. 552, Battle of TaginaeByzantine forces under Narses defeated the Ostrogoths in Italy. During the fightings king Totila was mortally wounded. 1097, Battle of DorylaeumCrusaders led by prince Bohemond of Taranto defeated a Seljuk army led by sultan Kilij Arslan I. 1431, the Battle of La Higueruela took place in Granada, leading to a modest advance of the Kingdom of Castile during the Reconquista.

In 1523, Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes became the first Lutheran martyrs, burned at the stake by Roman Catholic authorities in Brussels. They were Augustinian monks. Others from their monastery had recanted. These refused.  1569, Union of Lublin: The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania confirmed a real union; the united country is called the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth or the Republic of Both Nations. 1643, first meeting of the Westminster Assembly, a council of theologians ("divines") and members of the Parliament of England appointed to restructure the Church of England, at Westminster Abbey in London. 1690, Glorious RevolutionBattle of the Boyne in Ireland (as reckoned under the Julian calendar). 1766, Jean-François de la Barre, a young French nobleman, was tortured and beheaded before his body was burnt on a pyre along with a copy of Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique nailed to his torso for the crime of not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession in AbbevilleFrance. It sounds excessive, but he was a protestant. 1770, Lexell's Comet passed closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history, approaching to a distance of 0.0146 a.u. 1782, Raid on Lunenburg: American privateers attacked the British settlement of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

In 1837, a system of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was established in England and Wales. 1855, signing of the Quinault Treaty: The Quinault and the Quileute ceded their land to the United States. 1858, joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace's papers on evolution to the Linnean Society in London. 1862, The Russian State Library was founded as The Library of the Moscow Public Museum. Also 1862, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, second daughter of Queen Victoria, married Prince Louis of Hesse, the future Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse. Also 1862, American Civil War: The Battle of Malvern Hill took place. It is the final battle in the Seven Days Campaign, part of George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign. 1863, Keti Koti (Emancipation Day) in Suriname, marked the abolition of slavery by the Netherlands. Also, American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg began. 1867, the British North America Act of 1867 took effect as the Constitution of Canada, creating the Canadian Confederation and the federal dominion of Canada; Sir John A. Macdonald was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of Canada. This date was commemorated annually in Canada as Canada Day, a national holiday.

In 1870, the United States Department of Justice formally came into existence. 1873, Prince Edward Island joined the Canadian Confederation. 1874, the Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful typewriter, went on sale. 1878, Canada joined the Universal Postal Union. 1879, Charles Taze Russell published the first edition of the religious magazine The Watchtower. 1881, the world's first international telephone call was made between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine, United States. Also 1881, General Order 70, the culmination of the Cardwell and Childers reforms of the British Army, came into effect. 1885, the United States terminated reciprocity and fishery agreement with Canada. 1890, Canada and Bermuda were linked by telegraph cable. 1898, Spanish–American War: The Battle of San Juan Hill was fought in Santiago de Cuba.

In 1903, start of first Tour de France bicycle race. 1908, SOS was adopted as the international distress signal. 1911, Germany despatched the gunship Panther to Morocco, sparking the Agadir Crisis. 1915, Leutnant Kurt Wintgens of the then-named German Fliegertruppe air service achieved the first known aerial victory with a synchronized machine-gun armed fighter plane, the Fokker M.5K/MG Eindecker. 1916, World War IFirst day on the Somme: On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 19,000 soldiers of the British Army were killed and 40,000 wounded. 1921, the Communist Party of China was founded. 1922, the Great Railroad Strike of 1922 began in the United States. 1923, the Canadian Parliament suspended all Chinese immigration. 1931, United Airlines began service (as Boeing Air Transport). 1932, Australia's national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was formed. 1935, Regina, Saskatchewan police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police ambushed strikers participating in the On-to-Ottawa Trek.

In 1942, World War IIFirst Battle of El Alamein. Also 1942, the Australian Federal Government became the sole collector of income tax in Australia as State Income Tax was abolished. 1943, Tokyo City merged with Tokyo Prefecture and was dissolved. Since this date, no city in Japan has the name "Tokyo" (present-day Tokyo is not officially a city). 1947, the Philippine Air Force was established. 1948, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Quaid-i-Azam) inaugurated Pakistan's central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan. 1949, the merger of two princely states of India, Cochin and Travancore, into the state of Thiru-Kochi (later re-organized as Kerala) in the Indian Union ended more than 1,000 years of princely rule by the Cochin Royal Family. 1957, the International Geophysical Year began. 1958, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation linked television broadcasting across Canada via microwave. Also 1958, flooding of Canada's St. Lawrence Seaway began. 1959, the Party of the African Federation held its constitutive conference. Also 1959, specific values for the international yardavoirdupois pound and derived units (e.g. inch, mile and ounce) were adopted after agreement between the U.S.A., the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.

In 1960, independence of Somalia. Also 1960, Ghana became a Republic and Kwame Nkrumah became its first President as Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be its Head of state. 1962, independence of Rwanda. Also 1962, independence of Burundi. 1963, ZIP codes were introduced for United States mail. Also 1963, the British Government admitted that former diplomat Kim Philby had worked as a Soviet agent. 1966, the first color television transmission in Canada took place from Toronto. 1967, the European Community was formally created out of a merger with the Common Market, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Commission. Also 1967, Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of the British North America Act, 1867, which officially made Canada its own federal dominion. 1968, the United States Central Intelligence Agency's Phoenix Program was officially established. Also 1968, the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., London and Moscow by sixty-two countries. Also 1968, formal separation of the United Auto Workers from the AFL–CIO in the United States. 1970, President General Yahya Khan abolished One-Unit of West Pakistan restoring the provinces. 1972, the first Gay Pride march in England took place. 1976, Portugal granted autonomy to Madeira. 1978, the Northern Territory in Australia was granted Self-Government. 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman.

In 1980, "O Canada" officially became the national anthem of Canada. 1981, the Wonderland murders occurred in the early morning hours in Los Angeles, allegedly masterminded by businessman and drug dealer Eddie Nash. 1983, a North Korean Ilyushin Il-62M jet en route to Conakry Airport in Guinea crashed into the Fouta Djallon mountains in Guinea-Bissau, killing all 23 people on board. 1984, the PG-13 rating was introduced by the MPAA. 1987, the American radio station WFAN in New York, New York was launched as the world's first all-sports radio station. 1990, German reunificationEast Germany accepted the Deutsche Mark as its currency, thus uniting the economies of East and West Germany. 1991, the Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague. 1997, China resumed sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule. 1999, the Scottish Parliament was officially opened by Elizabeth II on the day that legislative powers were officially transferred from the old Scottish Office in London to the new devolved Scottish Executive in Edinburgh.

In 2002, the International Criminal Court was established to prosecute individuals for genocidecrimes against humanitywar crimes, and the crime of aggression. Also 2002, Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 and a DHL (German cargo) Boeing 757 collided in mid-air over Überlingen, southern Germany, killing all 71 on board. 2003, over 500,000 people protested against efforts to pass anti-sedition legislation in Hong Kong. 2004, Saturn orbit insertion of Cassini–Huygens began at 01:12 UTC and ends at 02:48 UTC. 2006, the first operation of Qinghai–Tibet Railway in China. 2007, the Concert for Diana was held at the new Wembley Stadium in London and broadcast in 140 countries. Also 2007, smoking in England was banned in all public indoor spaces. 2008, Rioting erupted in Mongolia in response to allegations of fraud surrounding the 2008 legislative elections. 2013, Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union. Also 2013, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) began its operative peacekeeping mandate in Mali. Also 2013, Neptune's moon S/2004 N 1 was discovered.

I am very good and don't deserve the abuse given me. I created a video raising awareness of anti police feeling among western communities. I chose the senseless killing of Nicola Cotton, a Louisiana policewoman who joined post Katrina, to highlight the issue. I did this in order to get an income after having been illegally blacklisted from work in NSW for being a whistleblower. I have not done anything wrong. Local council appointees refused to endorse my work, so I did it for free. Youtube's Adsence refused to allow me to profit from their marketing it. Meanwhile, I am hostage to abysmal political leadership and hopeless journalists. My shopfront has opened on Facebook.

Here is a video I made Waltzing Matilda

I was asked to do a Banjo Patterson Poem. I thought I had done this, but I hadn't. This was made so as to tell the story, rather than sing the song.
"Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's most widely known bush ballad. A country folk song, the song has been referred to as "the unofficial national anthem of Australia"

Oh there once was a swagman camped in the billabongs,
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree;
And he sang as he looked at the old billy boiling
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.

Up came the jumbuck to drink at the waterhole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee;
And he sang as he put him away in his tucker-bag,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.

Up came the squatter a-riding his thoroughbred;
Up came the policeman - one, two, and three.
"Whose is the jumbuck you've got in the tucker-bag?
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with we."

Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.

Up sprang the swagman and jumped into the waterhole,
Drowning himself by the Coolibah tree;
And his voice can be heard as it sings in the billabongs,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.
Written 1895, first published as sheet music 1903.

=== from 2016 ===
 The political despatch of Boris Johnson, who had led the successful Brexit campaign, was as surprising as the success of the campaign. The Notting Hill set have eaten their own. David Cameron finally fell, having never managed to appear strongly conservative. But his stable mate of Gove had sided with Johnson as the face of Brexit, and then ripped support away from Johnson and denounced Johnson as being too identifiably the face of Brexit, and unable to unite the conservative party. In fairness, Gove could not unite the party either. Gove has ambition and ability, as does Theresa May. There are echoes of the Metherell affair in NSW when two friends, Terry Metherell and Nick Greiner ran afoul of political perfection and Greiner was subsequently unfairly forced to resign as Premier of NSW. One incompetent independent of the time who unfairly attacked Greiner was Tony Windsor. Windsor is still trying to hurt good conservative candidates. 

For some, at the moment, the Sex Party has more credibility.  
=== from 2015 ===
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation came into being on this day in 1932. It is a bureaucratic mess. But it isn't the worst mess on this day. In 1766, a young French nobleman, Jean-François de la Barre who was tortured and beheaded before his body was burned on a pyre. Also burned, pinned to his body, was a work of Voltaire. The crime the twenty year old man committed was said to be failing to bow to a religious procession, but the unpleasant truth is that he was a protestant in a catholic land. The ABC was created in the hope that the left leaning press in Australia would be balanced by state body which reported facts, not bias. The reality is that the ABC has never been balanced. 

Greece has defaulted on her IMF loan. Soon she will vote to approve or deny the imposition of austerity. But she has already done so, and her government ran on the lie that Greece didn't need austerity. Now the EU has a choice, but it isn't really a choice. Greece needs to be booted from the EU as a lesson in humility. It should never be the case that a nation employs people without paying them. The civilised world abhors slavery. 
From 2014
Today is an extraordinary day. The birthday of Semmelweis (1818) whose work as a physician gave rise to the legal term "Clean Hands". Or Dorothea Mackellar (1885) who beautifully described Australia in poetry. But for all the amazing wonderful things about today that I could point to, my mind is drawn to the infamous act of cowardice and butchery in which the three bodies of children of Israel were unearthed following their abduction. There is a cowardly dismissal of Middle East events involving Israel by those who do not know or care, that there is blood on both sides. But that is not the case. There is no analog for what Israel does that excuses this murder. It is inexcusable, and those who are responsible need to be brought to justice, and those who excuse should be discredited. 

Three boys went to a religious function and were on their way home when they were abducted. They were not warriors. Targeting them was an act of terror. One boy had been able to use his phone to let people know he had been abducted. That call was the last anyone heard him alive. It is not too hard to follow the mindset of the terrorists, but remarkably, one mother of one suspect has claimed she is proud of her son for doing it. I want religious authorities of the perpetrators to denounce the activity. If that mum has excused the activity, I want her discredited. Saddam Hussein had paid money to family of suicide bombers. If her people are serious about wanting peace, perhaps they will meet similar justice as was applied to Saddam. 

One imagines the terrorists alerted to the phone call told the boys that they would have to die and not merely be hostages because of it. They probably did their best to torture the boys, and blame them, before killing them. But the boys had done nothing wrong. Earlier this year, Obama had forced Israel to release terrorists who had killed, from jail for peace. No peace has been forthcoming from those terrorist supporters. One of the boys was a US citizen .. someone Obama has sworn an oath to protect and serve. But instead, the US President has paid US money to support a terrorist administration. Maybe Hamas will deny the activity, they have not yet, instead accusing Israel of overstating the crime. The UN cannot endorse this crime, and if they fail to act on it, they need to be dismantled. 

Three boys kidnapped, tortured and murdered by terrorists. Who dares support that? 

The incident is not isolated in Middle East terrorist history. The second intifada, which began after Bill Clinton embarrassed Arafat over a Monica Special cigar transformed a lynching of two Israeli security detail who had been illegally lured and detained by so called Palestinian authorities. This incident is on a par. A crime against humanity linked by successive Democrat party US Presidents. 
Historical perspective on this day
In 69, Tiberius Julius Alexander ordered his Roman legions in Alexandria to swear allegianceto Vespasian as Emperor. 552, Battle of TaginaeByzantine forces under Narses defeated the Ostrogoths in Italy. During the fightings king Totila was mortally wounded. 1097, Battle of DorylaeumCrusaders led by prince Bohemond of Taranto defeated a Seljuk army led by sultan Kilij Arslan I. 1431, the Battle of La Higueruela took place in Granada, leading to a modest advance of the Kingdom of Castile during the Reconquista.

In 1523, Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes became the first Lutheran martyrs, burned at the stake by Roman Catholic authorities in Brussels. 1569, Union of Lublin: The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania confirmed a real union; the united country is called the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth or the Republic of Both Nations. 1643, first meeting of the Westminster Assembly, a council of theologians ("divines") and members of the Parliament of England appointed to restructure the Church of England, at Westminster Abbeyin London. 1690, Glorious RevolutionBattle of the Boyne in Ireland (as reckoned under the Julian calendar). 1766, Jean-François de la Barre, a young French nobleman, was torturedand beheaded before his body was burnt on a pyre along with a copy of Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique nailed to his torso for the crime of not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession in AbbevilleFrance. 1770, Lexell's Comet passed closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history, approaching to a distance of 0.0146 a.u. 1782, Raid on Lunenburg: American privateers attacked the British settlement of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

In 1837, a system of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was established in England and Wales. 1855, signing of the Quinault Treaty: The Quinault and the Quileute ceded their land to the United States. 1858, joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace's papers on evolution to the Linnean Society in London. 1862, The Russian State Library was founded as The Library of the Moscow Public Museum. Also 1862, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, second daughter of Queen Victoria, married Prince Louis of Hesse, the future Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse. Also 1862, American Civil War: The Battle of Malvern Hill took place. It is the final battle in the Seven Days Campaign, part of George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign. 1863, Keti Koti (Emancipation Day) in Suriname, marked the abolition of slavery by the Netherlands. Also, American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburgbegan. 1867, the British North America Act of 1867 took effect as the Constitution of Canada, creating the Canadian Confederation and the federal dominion of Canada; Sir John A. Macdonald was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of Canada. This date was commemorated annually in Canada as Canada Day, a national holiday.

In 1870, the United States Department of Justice formally came into existence. 1873, Prince Edward Island joined the Canadian Confederation. 1874, the Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful typewriter, went on sale. 1878, Canada joined the Universal Postal Union. 1879, Charles Taze Russell published the first edition of the religious magazine The Watchtower. 1881, the world's first international telephone call was made between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine, United States. Also 1881, General Order 70, the culmination of the Cardwell and Childers reforms of the British Army, came into effect. 1885, the United States terminated reciprocity and fishery agreement with Canada. 1890, Canada and Bermuda were linked by telegraph cable. 1898, Spanish–American War: The Battle of San Juan Hill was fought in Santiago de Cuba.

In 1903, start of first Tour de France bicycle race. 1908, SOS was adopted as the international distress signal. 1911, Germany despatched the gunship Panther to Morocco, sparking the Agadir Crisis. 1915, Leutnant Kurt Wintgens of the then-named German Fliegertruppe air service achieved the first known aerial victory with a synchronized machine-gun armed fighter plane, the Fokker M.5K/MG Eindecker. 1916, World War IFirst day on the Somme: On the first day of the Ba
           Venezuela's defiant chief prosecutor requests protection   
Venezuela's chief prosecutor has asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for protection, days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court barred her from leaving the country and ordered her bank accounts frozen
          $660,000 Stolen Gets Woman 2 Years In Prison   
A 46 year old former Woodruff-area woman has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to repay nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in restitution and fines. She had entered guilty pleas to embezzling the money over several years from the family business where she worked. Lisa Saykally admitted to stealing $660,000 from Aqualand Manufacturing in Woodruff over 8 years. With tax-related fines added in, the amount for repayment is $727,000. Prosecutor Jodie Bednar-Clemens said Saykally destroyed the family trust by using the money for a lavish lifestyle. Saykally's sister-in-law, Nadine Kuehneman said the family didn't suspect Saykally would be stealing from them....   " could anyone steal money from a business and do it month after month year after year for more than a seven year period of time, totalling more than $650,000 without someone figuring it out..." Kuehneman said the business nearly went under, several people lost jobs and income because the money was
          Who Killed Emmett Till? Author Answers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)   
Whenever I speak about Emmett Till and other Mississippi murders, I get interesting questions from audience members. Here are several ...

Q. Is the Emmett Till story still important? Do people still care?

A. Emmett Till's murder took place over 54 years ago, back in 1955, and yet we are just beginning to learn the details of the crime. Till was a young man known only by his family and friends, but the truth of his lynching remains an important key to understanding American history. Further, the truth about young Till's murder and the truth about the murders of so many others — including President John F. Kennedy, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy — is crucial to maintaining our democracy, because in a free government ... truth matters.

In each of these murders, there have been numerous threats to the uncovering and exposure of the truth. These threats have often come from within our own government, through such programs as COINTELPRO, a secretive series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), officially from1956 to 1971.

While the FBI's COINTELPRO was aimed at "investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations" around the entire country, Mississippi had its own such secret spy agency, the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission. This Commission spied and disrupted, with the help of the Ku Klux Klan, those people who aided in black voter registration and racial integration.

The Sovereignty Commission was formed only one year after Emmett Till's death, the same year as COINTELPRO, because of the pressure the state was receiving from the federal government. Former FBI and military intelligence agents were hired by Mississippi and used as Commission investigators. Ironically, the very federal government that was applying pressure on Mississippi to change, was also using the FBI and COINTELPRO to disrupt many people and organizations trying to bring positive change to the state, often tagging these people as Communists or simply dangerous.

Thanks to people who care about historical truth, their research on Emmett Till, COINTELPRO and the assassinations of our country's peace-seeking leaders continues to bring out new evidence. And as this truth becomes apparent, it serves to keep us free.

Yes, Emmett Till's story still matters. And as the 83,000 "Emmett Till" entries listed on Google as of 11:34 p.m. September 26, 2009, attest, the Emmett Till story continues to hold an important place in history. The story of 14-year-old Emmett Till remains important and people still care. Thank God.

Q.What kind of a boy was Emmett Till?

“I would say that to me, Emmett was very ordinary. But as I look at today’s youth, I realize that Emmett was very extraordinary,” his mother once told historian Devery Anderson who interviewed Mrs. Till Mobley in 1996. She described her son as responsible and industrious, a youngster who helped her clean, cook and do laundry, recognizing the importance of his help as a single mother. Anderson’s site is at

In her book, Emmett’s mother gives a further glimpse of her son, however. “Emmet was always so confident about his ability to talk his way through things that you could forget that he still had a problem talking. After he had recovered from polio as quickly as he had done, at such an early age, the doctors figured he could lick this problem [stuttering], too And we did everything we were supposed to do. The speech therapy classes had helped some, but the stutter was still apparent at eleven and then at twelve, in normal conversation, but especially when he got excited.” Later, she also terms her son as “meticulous” and “independent.”

Young Emmett had just finished the seventh grade at the all-black McCosh Elementary School on Chicago's South Side when he went to Mississippi. He was between five-foot- four and five-foot-five and weighed 160 pounds, was physically stocky and muscular. Various authors write he was self-assured despite a speech defect--a stutter that resulted from a bout with nonparalytic polio at the age of three. Emmett was a smart dresser with a reputation as a prankster and a risk taker.

Q. What happened to Emmett Till’s father?

Louis Till, drafted in World War II, was convicted of raping two women and killing a third. He was executed by the U.S. Army, which originally told Till's wife, Mamie, only that he had been killed due to "willful misconduct.

One Chicago woman, J. Marie Green, a military retiree who studied black history and is an independent civil rights researcher, remembers Till’s murder and has spent years investigating what happened to his father. She wrote this comment on my blog,

“Emmett Till’s murder is something one never forgets. I was born and raised in Chicago, and was about five years old when he was killed and remember when it happened and saw the Jet magazine photos, and I was scared to death, shocked really and questioned my mother who was from Greenwood, Mississippi, asking her why would two grown men would kill a child and what is a "wolf whistle", and are these men coming after us? “She assured me that these men where not coming to get us, explained what a "wolf whistle" was and meant in relations to that, and as a side bar note, told me that I ask too many questions. (smile). But every child in our area was afraid for a long time. Over the years I have never forgotten him, and have read just about everything I have come across about him every time his name is mentioned somewhere. Just recently his name came up again, with the incident at Burr Oak Cemetery. Somehow I feel his death is not resolved.

“…Mrs. Till’s husband's story is another whole story all by itself. Pvt. Louis Till was part of the 177th Port Company, 397th Battalion — an all-"negro" battalion — which left from a NY port and arrived in France during 1944. He was hanged by execution by the U.S. Army on July 2, 1945. by orders of General Eisenhower. Allegedly for the murder of Anna Zanchi, and the rape of Benni Lucretzia and Frieda Muri who lived in Civitavecchia, Italy, these crime supposedly occurred on June 27, 1944, shortly after he arrived, mind you!

“According to records found at The American Battle Monuments Commission, Pvt. Louis Till is buried in an unmarked, prohibited, isolated area of Oise-Aisne Cemetery in Fere-en-Tardenois, France. The military marked his personnel file and the courts-martial records "secret," hushed it up, sent Mrs. Till a telegram, stating that her husband had died because of "misconduct," and she never knew what happened to him until her son's trial, when the Senators pulled some strings and contacted the military and some Staff Judge Advocate General, crossed out the word "secret" and released the information to them.

“Even after the trial of Emmett, she could never get any answers to what happened to her husband and why he was killed, this is clearly a military "railroad job," and has been hushed up all these years for a reason, but if you would check military history during this period you will see that a lot of black men were mysteriously hung for rape of French women. "They" took racism right on with them and convinced the French that "Negroes" had a problem, too.”

Q. Why do people sometimes refer to the University of Mississippi as Ole Miss?

The University got its nickname "Ole Miss" via a contest in 1897. That same year, the student yearbook was being published for the first time. As a way to find a name for the book, a contest was held to solicit suggestions from the student body. Elma Meek, a student at the time, submitted the winning entry of Ole Miss. This name was chosen not only for the yearbook, but also became the name by which the University is now known.

Ole Miss, as used by the University, is not a substitute for "Old Mississippi." Rather, this endearing term stands for the wife of the "Ole Massah" on a plantation (the man who enslaved and mistreated Africans).

U of Miss. publicity agents claim the name is thought of in an affectionate manner, today. To check this out, I walked around the campus one day and asked some of the black students what they thought about this nickname and its history. Most were well aware of the story and several said they were disgusted. “It’s just embarrassing,” one student said. “I wish the school would change it.”

Q. Who is your favorite Mississippi hero?

Reading The Fire Ever Burning by Constance Curry and Aaron Henry helped get me started on this journey. Henry was a true hero and someone I would have wanted to know.

Henry was a fierce champion of civil rights, a leader of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP and a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives. He is still one of the most revered civil rights leaders in Mississippi, at least by many older civil rights advocates who know their state’s history.

Henry grew up near Clarksdale, Mississippi, and later earned a degree in political science at Xavier University in New Orleans. During World War II, he served as a staff sergeant with the U.S. Army in the Pacific. After the war, Henry attended pharmacy school, and eventually returned to Clarksdale to open a corner drug store where any important civil rights and government leaders met to unite Mississippi blacks in fighting white supremacy. Sadly, the pharmacy no longer stands in Clarksdale. His home was also demolished in a fire.

There were many personal tragedies in Henry’s life as well as successes. In 1961, Henry led a highly successful boycott of stores in the Clarksdale, Mississippi, area that refused to hire black workers and discriminated against black customers. He and six others were arrested for “conspiring to withhold trade.”

These charges were eventually reversed on appeal but another charge, of sexual harassment, against Henry, soon followed came soon after. While he was fighting this case, which he eventually won, his pharmacy was firebombed and his wife, Nicole, was fired from her job as a public school teacher. Several years later, Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963 after taking Henry to the airport.

For Henry, there was no such thing as a small victory and because each victory usually led to an even greater success. "I think," Henry once said, "that every time a man stands for an ideal or speaks out against injustice, he sends out a tiny ripple of hope."

After the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the number of black voters grew rapidly and as African Americans began to be elected winning elections to various local, county and statewide offices. Henry was elected to serve in the State House of Representatives in 1982, a post he held until 1996 where he continued to fight against racial injustice.

Henry introduced legislation to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state flag and continued to call for the reopening of the murder case for his old friend, Medgar Evers. Aaron Henry suffered a stroke in 1996, and died on May 19, 1997 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, just two months and five days after the murder of his friend, Cleve McDowell.

Q. Can I see a movie about Emmett Till

Yes, thanks to Keith Beauchamp, a young man who saw the photograph of Emmett Till's brutally beaten face that ran on the cover Jet magazine and became a civil rights activist in 2004. Beauchamp directed The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till that is available on DVD. Till's murder has yet to be solved and Beauchamp said he is committing his energy to solving this and other civil rights cold cases. We owe him our extreme thanks and appreciation for his tenacity, perseverance and dedication to the cause of civil rights.

Q. What’s happening these days in Mississippi?

Many activities are going on — some good and some disgusting. Friends of Justice is a nonprofit organization working to uphold due process for all Americans with the goal of building a public consensus behind equal access to justice and respect for human dignity in our criminal justice system, according to Executive Director, Dr. Alan Bean.

Friends of Justice formed in response to the infamous Tulia drug sting of 1999 in which 47 people, 39 of them African Americans, were rounded up based on the false testimony of an undercover agent, he explains.

The unique group emerged as a coalition of defendant’s defendants' families and other concerned citizens who believed the defendants were being prosecuted on faulty evidence. "Because of the work of Friends of Justice, the Texas Legislature passed the Tulia Corroboration Bill, which has led to the exoneration of dozens of innocent people by raising the evidentiary standards for undercover testimony."

Learning from their experience in Tulia, Friends of Justice started organizing across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

"We launch narrative-based campaigns around unfolding cases where due process has broken down, and empower affected communities to hold public officials accountable for equal justice. For more on our work, check their blog at

A wrongful conviction in a murder trial recently actually brought FOJ to Mississippi. In July 1996, four people were killed execution style at a Montgomery County furniture store: owner Bertha Tardy, bookkeeper Carmen Rigby, and two hired men, Bobo Stewart and Robert Golden. Golden was black, the other three victims were white. Six months later, Curtis Flowers, a young black Winona resident - who had worked three days for