April 19

Katherin Andrade, 24
Jennifer Andrade, 19
Aldrick Bennett, 35
Susan Benta, 31
Mary Jean Borst, 49
Pablo Cohen, 38

Yvette Fagan, 34
Doris Fagan, 60

Lisa Marie Farris, 26
Ray Friesen, 76
Dayland Gent, 3

Diana Henry, 28
Paulina Henry, 24
Phillip Henry, 22
Stephen Henry, 26
Vanessa Henry, 19
Zilla Henry, 55

Novellette Hipsman, 36
Floyd Houtman, 61

Cyrus Howell, 8
Rachel Howell, 23
Star Howell, 6

Sherri Lynn Jewell, 43

David Michael Jones, 38
Michelle Jones, 18
Serenity Sea Jones, 4

Bobbie Lane Koresh, 16 months
David Koresh, 33

Jeffery Little, 31
Nicole Elizabeth Gent Little, 24

Livingston Malcolm, 26

Douglas Wayne Martin, 42
Lisa Martin, 13
Sheila Martin, 15

Abigail Martinez, 11
Audrey Martinez, 13
Juliete Santoyo Martinez, 30
Crystal Martinez, 3
Isiah Martinez, 4
Joseph Martinez, 30

Jillane Matthews
Alison Bernadette Monbelly, 31

Melissa Morrison, 6
Rosemary Morrison, 29

Sonia Murray, 29
Theresa Noberega, 48
James Riddle, 32
Rebecca Saipaia, 24

Judy Schneider, 41
Mayanah Schneider, 2
Steve Schneider, 48

Laraine B. Silva, 40

Floracita Sonobe, 34
Scott Kojiro Sonobe, 35

Aisha Gyarfas Summers, 17
Gregory Allen Summers, 28
Startle Summers, 1

Hollywood Sylvia
Lorraine Sylvia, 40
Rachel Sylvia, 13

Doris Vaega
Margarida Joanna Vaega, 47
Neal Vaega, 37

Martin Wayne, 20
Mark H. Wendell

A CIA Contractor’s Christmas

Day One. Partridge in a pear tree:

During the night-shift at the NSA, Booz Allen contractors suddenly have their online Christmas shopping interrupted when Booz Allen proprietary counterterrorist data-mining algorithms note an unusual spike in internet chatter of “persons of interest” using the term “partridge in a pear tree.”  Their NSA Contracting Officer’s Technical Rep is alerted.

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Medical Marijuana Business Attracts Hedge Funds, Venture Capitalists

Marijuana has been a cash crop for many years in this country. The only problem is that most of that crop had been grown illegally. Now, that medical marijuana is legal in 15 states and the District of Columbia, legalized marijuana has quickly become so popular it is attracting attention from hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, not to mention a whole new batch of entrepreneurs.

Doctors still can’t prescribe marijuana because it is categorized as a schedule one drug like LSD. But they can recommend it and that’s all anyone needs to get a medical marijuana license that allows them to buy marijuana legally in those 15 states, with three more states about join them.

Each license sells for around $130 and some clinics selling the licenses have brought in more than a million dollars in just their first year. The once illegal joint is selling like hot cakes throughout middle America to consumers who no longer have to worry about getting arrested for possession, at least by local or state authorities.

The federal government still outlaws marijuana possession but it’s unlikely someone with a medical marijuana license will be busted by an FBI or DEA agent if caught smoking in his or her own home. In fact, just last year U.S. enforcers promised to leave medical marijuana operations alone if they complied with state law.

That prompted a significant increase in interest among entrepreneurs. Today, there are an estimated 2,400 medical marijuana dispensaries from California to Maine. In Colorado, they outnumber Starbucks two to one.

 

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Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship

Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

“People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”

The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.

Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.

WikiLeaks’s payment processor, the Icelandic company DataCell ehf, said it would take immediate legal action against the companies to make donations possible again.

“DataCell who facilitates those payments towards Wikileaks has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again,” DataCell CEO Andreas Fink said last week. “We can not believe WikiLeaks would even create scratch at the brand name of Visa.”

“It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards WikiLeaks than to have them occur,” Fink added.

 

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Four Queens men sue NYPD after being held for 30 hours, busted for laughing at cops

Four Queens men claim they were locked up for more than 30 hours by cops seeking revenge on a crowd of men who laughed at an officer who couldn’t catch a fleeing drug suspect.

The men insist they didn’t even laugh, says their lawyer Gabriel P. Harvis, who filed suit against the NYPD and 10 unidentified officers in Brooklyn Federal Court. They believe they were arrested because cops wanted to take their frustration out on them, he said.

“The cops knew my clients had done nothing wrong, but they didn’t care,” said Harvis, who represents Abdul Kabba, Isaiah Barnes, Hasan Allen and Ishmial Deas. Police “were embarrassed, so they abused their power by locking them up anyway.”

The four were held for 27 hours in the 103rd Precinct stationhouse before the Queens district attorney’s office dropped the charges.

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Move over, Big Pharma and Big Oil, Big Marijuana is here

Legalization ‘looking inevitable,’ spokesman says

If there’s one group of people who get their way in Washington, it’s lobbyists.

Now, advocates of marijuana legalization may have a reason to cheer that political reality: They’re getting their own marijuana lobby group.

And just Big Pharma and Big Oil lobby for greater leeway for their businesses, so too will Big Marijuana push for their industry to be given the freedom to succeed.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the newly formed National Cannabis Industry Association, says that marijuana legalization is “looking inevitable.”

Smith told McClatchy news service: “It’s pretty clear that the medical marijuana industry is becoming recognized more and more by the mainstream as a fully legitimate part of the economy.”

Legalization “didn’t happen in 2010, but it’s likely to happen in 2012,” he added. “It’s going to be relatively soon we’re going to see states move from medical marijuana into broader legal markets. And the federal government needs to catch up. Frequently the American people are ahead of the Congress.”

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Report: Growing mental health problems in military

Mental problems send more men in the U.S. military to the hospital than any other cause, according to a new Pentagon report.

And they are the second highest reason for hospitalization of women military personnel, behind conditions related to pregnancy.

The Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance report from November examines “a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members.”

The 31-page report says mental disorders are a problem for the entire U.S. population, but that sharp increases for active duty military reflect the psychological toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Marine suspected of murdering toddler now in civilian hands

A New River Marine accused of killing a toddler last month in California has been transferred from base to the Onslow County Jail.

Joshua Kruzik, 21, is awaiting extradition on charges of murder and injury to a child resulting in death. He is accused of killing 18-month-old Audrey Allen, the daughter of Marines he was staying with while training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“Pursuant to an arrest warrant issued in San Bernardino County, Calif., and in accordance with Marine Corps policy, we transferred custody of Cpl. Kruzik to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department,” New River spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton said. “There, he will be processed for extradition to California where he will face criminal charges brought by local authorities.”

While Kruzik is “in the hands of civilian authorities,” he has not been discharged from the Marine Corps, Dalton said, clearing up an erroneous report from California authorities that Kruzik had been dishonorably discharged.

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Ex-soldier found guilty of Barstow woman’s murder

VICTORVILLE • A jury found a former Fort Irwin soldier guilty of the murder and robbery of a fellow ex-soldier from Barstow.

Melvin Lee Satcher, 24, was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, and a special firearms allegation in the killing of Sandi Duncan, 29, who was also a former Fort Irwin soldier. The jury returned the verdict after deliberating for five hours.

Ex-Fort Irwin soldier Phillip Ryan Franke, 27, of Las Vegas, is also charged with Duncan’s murder and robbery. Judge John M. Tomberlin separated their trials before jury selection. Franke’s trial is expected to begin in January.

Duncan’s body was found in a remote desert area in Apple Valley on Sept. 21, 2009. Authorities determined that Duncan was strangled — and likely unconscious — before she was shot twice.

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Rep. Lewis passed over for powerful chairmanship

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

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Religion as a Tool of Repression

Freedom of speech and dissent are always curtailed in times of war. Whenever soldiers occupy foreign nations, rational thinking is proscribed in favor of nationalistic hubris. Minority opinions, although grounded in ethics and reason, are repressed, often brutally. The majority becomes intolerant of dissenting views. Thoughtful dialog is suspended and irrational ideology gains ascendancy. Civil discourse breaks down, and the social order disintegrates into anti-intellectual emotionalism and chaos.

During World War I and World War II, it was dangerous for anyone to oppose war or to speak truth to power. When Eugene Victor Debs delivered his Canton anti-war speech in 1918, he went to prison. In An Enemy of the People, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen demonstrated that the majority of the people are easily deceived, their emotions manipulated by profiteers and special interests. It requires serious conviction to take a principled stand in the midst of nationalistic fervor in which men and women so easily turn upon one another. During war, nationalism and repression are conducted with the fervor of a religious crusade.

In this era of permanent war we see bumper stickers that attempt to meld religion with nationalism. They carry jingoistic slogans like “God bless America” or “God bless our troops.” Significantly, God even appears on our currency. But why would a just God, if God exists at all, bless a nation that kills with impunity? Why would God bless a nation with a history of repression and genocide?  Why would God bless a nation that institutionalized chattel slavery and the repression of its working class?

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In memory of Gary Grossich

InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County retaliates against blogger Sharon Gilbert

San Bernardino County executives have come down hard on one of their own employees who also operates a local political blog.

A blog popular with readers, but not county leaders.

Sharon Gilbert, an almost thirty-year county employee, has taken on county government with great success through her website www.iePolitics.com. A widely-read blog in Southern California’s Inland Empire, which consists primarily of San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

Ms. Gilbert has a network of sources that aid her in routing out issues with local governments and exposing problems. A resource that has contributed to the blogs success.

However, Gilbert has paid a steep price for her crusading.

More than a year ago, at the direction of ousted county administrative officer Mark Uffer, county human resources officers overrode a physicians off-work order and pulled the plug on Gilbert’s disability benefits coverage.

An off-work order, which had the concurrence of a county-approved physician.

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Banned marijuana dispensary reopens in Wildomar

A medical marijuana collective engaged in a legal battle against Wildomar re-opened its storefront location Monday in defiance of a citywide ban on dispensaries.

The move by the Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group comes a week after the collective filed a legal petition seeking to block the city from enforcing its ban.

General Manager William Sump said the group believes Wildomar’s ban violates state law, which allows medical marijuana patients access to medication.

“I will only operate until a judge tells us not to,” Sump said.

Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo said the city would likely seek a court order forcing the dispensary to shut down.

“We’re going to enforce the city’s ordinance,” Oviedo said. “There is no other option. We can’t ignore our own laws.”

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Ayala High sex abuse suit can proceed

CHINO – A judge has ruled that a sex abuse lawsuit brought against the Chino Valley Unified School District can proceed to trial.

The plaintiff, given the pseudonym “John Roe 79,” filed a law suit in August against the district for damages based on negligence, negligent hiring, sexual battery and sexual harassment as well as other issues.

Attorneys for the school district argued that the complaint should be tossed out because it was not presented within six months after the alleged abuse, as required by law.

The alleged incidents from 2000 to 2002 involved a former Ruben S. Ayala High School student and a former color guard instructor at the school.

The plaintiff is seeking $20 mil lion in damages.

Judge David A. Williams over ruled the timely claim-filing requirements this week in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.

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Anti-US governor wins Okinawa poll

The Japanese on the southern Island of Okinawa have re-elected incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who wants an end to the American military presence.

Nakaima, who wants the US base off Okinawa altogether, beat his opponent who agreed to relocate the base to a less crowded area on the island.

In May, Tokyo and Washington agreed to implement a 2006 plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less crowded area in Okinawa.

The move infuriated local residents, who view the base as a source of noise, pollution and serious crime –including rape.
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‘Firm sold Israel torture instruments’

A Danish-British security company has sold torture instruments to the Israeli prisons, holding Palestinians inmates, a Danish newspaper has written.

The firm, named G4s, sells the devices to the detention facilities in the occupied West Bank, which provide the necessary means for torture of the Palestinian prisoners, Berlingske Tidende reported on Nov. 23.
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Startups Backed By The CIA

The spy agency has a venture capital arm that is funding an array of companies developing bleeding-edge technologies.

Tiny cameras. Hearing devices for the teeth. Wi-fi for refrigerators. These are some of the products made by companies that have caught the eye of In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Cuban Rum Steps Up in World Markets

Havana, Nov 26 (ACN-RHC) The worldwide prestige of Cuban rum is reaffirmed by the growing demand of Ron Legendario, whose sales show an annual 10 percent increase.

The trademark’s deputy director of marketing, Carlos Sanchez, stated that Ron Legendario is currently available in more than 15 European countries.

Ron Legendario is produced in six factories across the country, three of them located in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Villa Clara and one in Havana, Sanchez said. Legendario is distributed in Europe by the Valencian Legendario SL company, which is currently seeking entry into other markets.

The trademark’s leading product is the Legendario Elixir de Cuba 7-year-aged rum, which is the richest, smoothest, sweetest and most delicate rum produced in the island.

Other Legendario spirits commercialized by the Spanish company are
Dorado, Añejo, Añejo Blanco, Carta Blanca Superior and Gran Reserva 15 Years.

 

Protest at White House: No New Korean War!

Washington, November 27 (RHC)– Protesters gathered Saturday in front of the White House in Washington to call for an end to the provocations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The emergency anti-war rally was called in response to the latest escalation of hostilities in the Korean Peninsula.

Organizers of the anti-war protest said the provocations could lead to a new Korean War — “one that could expand to wider regional, and potentially nuclear, conflict.”

In a statement released just before Saturday’s protest rally began, organizers said that the biggest provocation in the region is the massive presence of U.S. military bases, troop, nuclear and conventional weapons. “In 2010, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are scores of U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in the Republic of Korea, Okinawa, and all across Japan. This vast deployment of military power halfway around the world far exceeds that of any other country.”

The anti-war protesters said that the real purpose of this military machine “is to secure and further the interests of the U.S. corporate power and strategic domination in Asia and around the world. It is the enemy of the people of Korea, China, Japan and the people of the United States.”

Retired airman accused of soliciting minor

An outstanding warrant remains in effect for an Air Force officer accused of soliciting sex from a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl in an Internet chat room.

Maj. Reinaldo Canton was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of meeting a girl he met online at a mall in Layton, Utah. The “girl” was actually an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent working for an Internet sex crimes unit.

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Former airman convicted of killing 3-year-old

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A 22-year-old Great Falls man was convicted Monday of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

A Cascade County jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Jerimie Hicks guilty of deliberate homicide and solicitation to tamper with evidence in the death of Kaelyn Bray. Hicks, who was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base at the time of the girl’s death, will remain in custody without bail until he is sentenced in six weeks.

County Attorney John W. Parker said he would seek a life sentence without parole.

Prosecutors said the former airman severely beat Kaelyn on Feb. 26, leading to her death from brain injuries three days later. But Hicks, who was the only one with the girl when she was injured, said she suffered minor injuries when he shoved her into the wall out of frustration. He told police she fell down the stairs later after tripping on their puppy.

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Bioethics Commission to Investigate Guatemala Experiments and Current U.S. Human Research

President Barack Obama has asked his bioethics council to look into the recent disclosure that in the mid-1940s, a United States Public Health Service scientist deliberately infected patients in Guatemala with syphilis. In a letter sent Wednesday to University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, chair of the 13-member Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Obama writes: “The research was clearly unethical. In light of this revelation, I want to be assured that current rules for research participants protect people from harm or unethical treatment, domestically as well as internationally.” The letter asks for a “thorough review” of U.S. rules protecting human subjects and a “thorough fact-finding investigation” of the Guatemala experiments. The commission, which is finishing up a report on synthetic biology, is to start its work in January and complete a report within 9 months.

Ignoring You is Not a Cognitive Defect

So a bunch of high school teachers are upset that their students are bored with them. Well, that’s not how they say it. Instead, the New York Times has the backs of boring, stupid teachers everywhere: “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” If kids didn’t have iPhones, they would pay attention in school.

Really?

What’s the last book you’ve read. How often do you – a big, bad, enlightened adult – sit down without the television or radio on? How often do you seek the lengthy solitude of reflection and reading? Can you even sit in silence for an hour?

Adults rarely read, and that’s fine. Adults spend most of our time in a distraction from our impending death. Or is there another justification for TV?

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US contacts allies about WikiLeaks move

The United States has briefed its key allies, including Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia ahead of the mass release of classified documents by WikiLeaks.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks plans to release around three million leaked documents, including cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.

The website had previously posted online secret details of US military operations in war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

United States Department of State Spokesman Philip Crowley says the United States is “gearing up for the worst-case scenario.”

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Britain illegally harvests organs for test

An inquiry has found that organs and bones from the bodies of dead British nuclear industry workers at Sellafield were illegally harvested without their consent over a period of 30 years.

The inquiry’s findings revealed that the relatives of 64 staff discovered their loved ones had been stripped of livers, tongues and even legs decades after they were buried, the daily Belfast Telegraph reported.
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Cops & Firemen

Thank a Vet?

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers: “My son is in the Air Force,” “If You Can Read This in English, Thank a Marine,” “Proud Vietnam Veteran,” “Fly Navy,” and of course, “Thank a Vet.”

Why should we?

Why should we call them heroes, give them military discounts, grant them veterans preference, express our support for them with ribbons on our cars, honor them with a holiday, hold military appreciation church services for them, and thank them for their “service”?

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day to commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. It had nothing to do with honoring current and former members of the military like Veterans Day is celebrated today. And if the sole purpose of Armistice Day was to honor World War I veterans, it should never have been celebrated since no American soldier did anything honorable by intervening in a European foreign war. And it doesn’t matter if he was drafted or not.

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Calilfornia marijuana Legalization debate gets interesting

Two Norfolk teachers put on leave over material about police

Two Norview High School teachers were placed on paid administrative leave this week after a parent complained that they distributed classroom materials that gave advice on how to deal with police if stopped.

The materials – a one-page handout and a video distributed and aired in a 12th-grade government class – are sponsored by two organizations, one a nonprofit that supports legalization of marijuana and one that calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The last paragraph of the flier, titled “When Dealing with Police” states, “Remember You have legal rights, but many police will not respect your rights. Be careful – Be Street Smart.”

Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said division leaders are investigating the incident over concerns that the materials were unauthorized.

The parent, who asked not to be named out of fear that her daughter could be ostracized or get a lower class grade, told The Pilot that she contacted the division and police after her daughter described the leaflet and video.

“She came home recently and said, ‘You won’t believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs,’ ” the parent recounted.

Last week, an Oakwood Elementary School employee was placed on leave with pay in connection with the distribution of plastic fetus models to children, which division leaders also considered unauthorized material. Oakwood’s principal was also put on leave in connection with the incident, and an investigation is continuing.

Mather said it is uncommon to have to put staff on leave for using inappropriate materials. The division typically gets no more than two parent complaints a year about the suitability of textbooks or library materials, she said.

The leaflet handed out at Norview describes the rights citizens have if they are stopped or arrested by police or witness police activity. It is posted on the Web here.

A credit on the leaflet reads, “Assembled by the Crimethinc Police Unwelcoming Committee.” On its website, Crimethinc.com calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The video, “Busted: Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters,” is posted online here.  It opens with a portrayal of young adults stopped by a traffic officer who searches their car and arrests them for marijuana possession. Other scenes depict police questioning a young man at a bus stop and patrol officers who visit a home where loud partiers are smoking marijuana.

A commentator on the video states, “Whether or not you break the law, this video is designed to explain what the law is and how you can legally and properly assert your constitutional rights through even the most stressful police encounters.”

For each scene, the commentator explains how legal rights apply to police searches of vehicles, homes or individuals and how people can cite those rights during encounters with police.

The video was created by Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit that advocates educating the public about how constitutional protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. The production has gotten 2.3 million viewings on YouTube since November 2006.

The video’s end credits cite funding from the MPP Foundation, which is part of the Marijuana Policy Project. On the Web, the group advocates legal regulation for marijuana and noncoercive treatment for problem marijuana users.

Pilot writers Hattie Brown Garrow, Lauren Roth and Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer contributed to this report.

Steven G. Vegh, (757) 446-2417, steven.vegh@pilotonline.com

The “flotilla video”: Israeli troops storm boat with aid supplies bound for Gaza Strip

Source

In the news today, worldwide controversy around an Israeli commando attack on a “Free Gaza Movement” flotilla carrying aid supplies to the blockaded Gaza strip. NYT story here. Varying reports on how many were killed: 10 according to Israel, and 19 or more according to the activists and some news organizations. Some 600 people were aboard the flotilla including a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor. The attacked ship was some 100km (70 miles) off the coast, in international waters. Above, video of the event.

Analysis and reactions around the web: The Wikinews article is interesting, in part for the clash of perceptions from those who condemn and those who support the actions of Israel’s military. This Jerusalem Post article touches on the resulting PR and media offensive out of Israel, and the government’s rationalization for what it maintains was a justified and defensive event (and pointed to ties with Turkey and alleged “Islamist” groups). More reading: “Why the Gaza boat deaths are a huge deal,” Blake Hounshell in Foreign Policy. Condemnation from South African Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. “A Lesson in Information Operations,” Center for a New American Security. Ha’aretz: “Israel Lost at Sea.” Top Israeli official when Gaza blockade was imposed several years ago: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet.”

California passes bill to counteract ‘disturbing’ Texas curriculum

Measure ensures Texas standards don’t ‘creep into our textbooks,’ senator tells Raw Story

The California Senate on Friday approved legislation that sends a clear message to Texas and textbook publishers: don’t mess with our kids’ minds.

“My bill begins the process of ensuring that California students will not end up being taught with Texas standards,” State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored and sponsored the legislation, said in an interview. Texas standards had better not “creep into our textbooks,” he said.

The S.B. 1451 measure – approved on a bipartisan vote of 25-5 – requires the California State Board of Education to examine and report any discrepancies between the new Texas standards and California’s standards. “At that point,” Yee told Raw Story, “we will make it very, very clear that we won’t accept textbooks that minimize the contributions of minorities and propagate the close connection between church and state.”

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US base row puts Japan coalition at risk

Japan‘s Social Democratic Party (SDP) is threatening to leave the ruling coalition over the controversial US military base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Senior SDP official Seiji Mataichi said Saturday that it was natural for the party to leave the coalition.

The development comes after the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed the SDP chief from his cabinet for opposing his decision to keep the American base on Okinawa.

Hatoyama has abandoned his campaign promise to move the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma off the southern Japanese island, resulting in a dramatic drop in his approval rating to nearly 20 percent.

The airbase has been under US command since after World War II. More than half of some 47,000 US troops in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.

Islanders have for long been opposed to the presence of US military personnel, who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents, on Okinawa.

Study: Occupied Baghdad is least livable city on planet

The Iraq war is still being touted by Washington and the Pentagon as a war for progress and stability in the region. A study released May 26, however, reveals a radically different reality.

The Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Baghdad last in a list of “most livable cities.” The study took into account political, economic, ecological, social and cultural factors.

The result is not surprising considering the devastation brought on by the U.S.-led invasion. Sewage treatment plants, factories, schools, hospitals, and museums have been destroyed. As a result, Iraqi citizens now have scarce access to water and electricity.

The demolition of infrastructure is an important tactic in imperialist war and helps explain why the study found that, “A lack of security and stability continue to have a negative impact on Baghdad’s quality of living.”

The only benefactors from the occupation have been big corporations like BP, who got access to the giant Rumaila oil field. The citizens of Iraq continue to pay with their lives.

Marine Corps Major accused of taking reconstruction funds

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – A Marine Corps fighter pilot accused of stealing $440,000 in Iraq reconstruction funds turned himself in on Monday, federal officials said.

Maj. Mark R. Fuller, 42, of Yuma, Ariz., is facing 22 counts under an indictment issued by a federal grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. An arrest warrant was issued for Fuller, who appeared before a federal judge Monday and “was released on his own recognizance,” said Special Agent James McCormick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal prosecutors charge that Fuller took cash earmarked for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, or CERP, and made 91 cash deposits totaling more than $440,000 into bank accounts with Navy Federal Credit Union, Bank of America and Chase Bank from October 2005 to April 2006. Each deposit was less than $10,000, the threshold at which federal law requires banks to report cash deposits.

While he was in Iraq in 2005, Fuller was assigned as a project purchasing officer with 5th Civil Affairs Group, officials said.

Fuller is an F-5 pilot assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 401, the Corps’ aggressor squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, said Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon, an air station spokesman.

The case stems from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction, officials said.

USMC Recruiter arrested on child porn charges

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A Marine Corps recruiter for the Grand Junction area faces charges alleging more than 200 files of child pornography had been downloaded to his computer.

Craig Thomas Walker surrendered Monday on a warrant alleging sexual exploitation of a child.

An arrest warrant affidavit says authorities tracking IP addresses of computer systems that were sharing pornography files were led to the 25-year-old’s computer.

Walker’s attorney, Edward Nugent, told a judge Tuesday that Walker cooperated with investigators. He says Walker has served active duty with the Marine Corps for eight years, is a combat veteran, and has worked the past three years as a local recruiter.

Walker’s bond was set at $60,000.

Wainwright GI told to remove Facebook video

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska-based soldier is under investigation for a video on his Facebook page that taunts smiling Iraqi children by asking if they’re gay, if they engage in certain sex acts and if they would grow up to be terrorists.

The two young boys did not appear to understand the questions, which were in English, but smiled at the camera and at times flashed “thumbs up” gestures during the 30-second clip.

Spc. Robert A. Rodriguez, who is based at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, was ordered to remove the video from his site, Army spokesman Maj. Bill Coppernoll said Monday.

“The incident is currently under investigation, and the Army will take appropriate action based on the findings of the investigation,” he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Rodriguez shot the video or just posted it, and discovering that will be part of the Army’s investigation, Coppernoll said.

The video is “disgraceful and clearly inconsistent” with standards expected of every soldier, he said.

Raleigh, N.C., television station WRAL first reported the video after another soldier stationed at Fort Wainwright shared it with friends in North Carolina, who took their concerns to the station.

WRAL aired part of the video and quoted from Rodriquez’s Facebook page before the site was made private.

Above the Facebook video posting — which was titled, “future gay terrorist!” — is written, “i got bored in iraq … so I kept myself entertained!”

The boys are shown on a dirt road, facing a camera.

A voice is heard asking the boys, “Are you going to grow up to be a terrorist?”

When the boys show two thumbs up, the voice on the video says, “Yeah. All right. Cool. Yeah, terrorist.”

There was no phone listing for Rodriguez in the Fairbanks area. Coppernoll said he did not know the soldier’s hometown, but the video of the Facebook page shown on WRAL indicated Rodriguez listed Miami.

“For anybody to be so cruel and disrespectful to children of any country but especially a country that we are occupying is really disgraceful and repugnant,” said Tim Stallard, a spokesman for Alaskans Together for Equality.

Captain pleads guilty to online enticement

An officer from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., pleaded guilty in federal court May 17 to a charge of online enticement after traveling to Tennessee to have sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Capt. Felix Tran, assigned to Air Mobility Command, will be sentenced Sept. 23 in Chattanooga, Tenn. He faces a minimum sentence of 10 years, said Bryan Hoss, Tran’s defense lawyer.

The 32-year-old officer met the girl five years ago while playing the online fantasy game Everquest II, according to court documents. The two developed a relationship via online chat, e-mail, MySpace, text messages and phone calls. The girl’s mother discovered the relationship after Tran mailed the teenager a sex toy, and an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation began working with the family in November.

The girl invited Tran to visit her in Chattanooga, where Tran was arrested shortly after he arrived Dec 18. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent, Tran knew the victim’s age and worried he was being set up by police.

He was taken into custody following his guilty plea, and Hoss said his client will be discharged from the Air Force soon.

“He was keeping his unit aware of what was going on,” Hoss said. “They knew this day was coming.”

Gun Running, Drugs and Flamenco: US Army Human Terrain System Has It All

See also:  Nature: Shut Down Army’s Human Terrain Program

A member of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command management team in Afghanistan, according to sources, is a “gun runner.” That individual is allegedly listed in an “Federal Bureau of Investigation database” and has “ties to Ahmad Wali Khan Karzai and the drug business.”

Another Human Terrain System leader has apparently been accused by “local nationals…of being a pedophile—touching young Afghan children while out in the field and making disturbing comments about them.” Members of a US Army Stryker group in Afghanistan have made the same comments.

These comments appear outrageous but, then again, this is the US Army Human Terrain System. It’s a head-shaker that the US Army (TRADOC) and Lieutenant General William James Lennox Jr. heap praise upon it even as the US Congress, House Armed Services Committee, has said the program needs a good scrub, as reported by the authorities on HTS at Wired the Washington Independent.

HASC is to be applauded for this action. And it could not come at a better time.

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Britain to change arrest rule

Britain’s new Foreign Secretary William Hague promises to “act speedily” to change the way arrests are ordered under international law in Britain.

“The current situation is as unsatisfactory as it is indefensible. We cannot have a position where Israeli politicians feel they cannot visit this country… and indeed this would apply to many other nations as well,” said Hague on Thursday.

Currently in Britain under the Geneva Convention Act 1957, Judges can issue arrest warrants for war crimes suspects around the world without consulting public prosecutors.

It was because of this law that Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, reportedly cancelled her trip to Britain in December.

Following an application by Palestinian activists, a court had issued a warrant for her arrest over her involvement in Israel’s 22-day war against Gaza Strip.

“We find it completely unacceptable that someone such as Mrs. Livni feels she cannot visit the United Kingdom,” Hague said, adding: “Be in no doubt that we will take action on it,” AFP reported.

He stated that the new coalition government would consider different options for changing the rule including the one that Labor government had proposed while in power.

Japan minister fired over US airbase

The Japanese premier fires a minister for rejecting Tokyo’s recent compromise with Washington on a controversial US airbase on Okinawa Island.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed consumer affairs minister, Mizuho Fukushima, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Tokyo and Washington have issued a statement, saying that Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the southern island of Okinawa would be relocated to a new site on the same island.

Fukushima told a press conference that she “could not betray the people of Okinawa,” Press TV’s Michael Penn reported. The former minister added that she “could not accept the plan to create a new US airbase on the island which would increase the burden for Okinawan people.”

Fukushima said that politics demanded trust and that if she betrayed her campaign promises to the people, she would be breaking that trust.

Hatoyama had run for premier on a campaign to materialize a “more equal” relationship with Washington. He had also promised to move the base off the island which houses three-quarters of the thousands-strong Japan-based US military.

Locals there have for long protested the presence of the military personnel who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents.

Fukushima had stood up to Hatoyama’s and other Cabinet ministers’ plea for her to endorse the agreement.

Her party, the Social Democratic Party of Japan, could, meanwhile, leave Hatoyama’s coalition, jeopardizing his chances in the Upper House elections set to be held in July.

Marine confesses threatening, robbing cabbie last August

A 19-year-old Marine has pleaded guilty to injuring a taxi driver with a knife last year, and then robbing him, during the first ever lay judge trial involving a U.S. serviceman.

The Marine, who the court declined to identify, was accused of stealing ¥21,000 and $100 cash from the driver at knifepoint on August 1, 2009. The lay judges were chosen from the public at the Naha District Court for the trial.

The next trial sessions will be next Tuesday and Wednesday, with the judge handing down a verdict on Thursday.

The Gun is Civilization

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

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VicPD Officer Ordered to Stay Quiet

Snails on speed

Biologists turned snails into tweakers to learn more about how crystal meth seems to improve memory in humans. According to the Washington State University and University of Calgary researchers, memories formed while on methamphetamine may be more durable. (They ran another snail study in 2006 using cocaine instead of meth.) Their work could someday provide a deeper understanding of addiction.

…The team wondered whether meth could improve the snails’ memories. First they immersed the snails in meth-laced pond water, then they moved them into regular de-oxygented pond water and gave them a training session that the snails should only recall for a few hours. In theory the snails should have forgotten their training 24 hours later, but would the meth improve the snails’ memories so they remembered to keep their pneomostomes closed a day later? It did. A dose of meth prior to training had improved the snails’ memories, allowing them to recall a lesson that they should have already forgotten. And when the team tested whether they could mask the meth memory with another memory, they found that the meth memory was much stronger and harder to mask.

“Snails on methamphetamine”

Scientists Join Protests Against Award in Honor of African Dictator

Scientists, including two Nobel Laureates, and public health groups have joined protests against a new, highly controversial UNESCO award sponsored by and named after Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea. In a letter sent yesterday to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Director-General Irina Georgieva Bokova, a group of organizations and individuals in the field of public and global health asks that UNESCO “reconsider … and abolish” the prize.

The charge against the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences—which may be announced this week and is slated to be awarded next month—has been led by human-rights organizations. But yesterday’s letter, coordinated by the Open Society Institute Public Health Program, points out that human-rights violations and corruption aren’t the only problems in Equatorial Guinea. Despite massive oil revenues, “health indicators reflect shockingly poor governance and widespread suffering,” it says. The letter notes that the life expectancy in Equatorial Guinea stands at 49.9 years, only 43% of the population has clean drinking water, and one in five children does not survive until their 5th birthday.

A source close to the Paris-based U.N. agency tells ScienceInsider that frantic, closed-door talks about the award are still going on and that there’s still a chance that the prize could be postponed pending a review.

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San Jose union begins organizing pot workers

A major California labor union is organizing medical cannabis workers in Oakland, a move that analysts say will help efforts to legalize marijuana and open the door for the union to organize thousands more workers if state voters pass a measure in November to allow recreational marijuana use by adults.

The 26,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in San Jose is believed to be the first union in the country to organize workers in a marijuana-related business. It is considering new job classifications including “bud tender” – a sommelier of sorts who helps medical marijuana users choose the right strain for their ailment.

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San Bernardino County Sheriff Candidates to Participate in June 1 Forum in Big Bear

The California Statewide Direct Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, June 8, and those voters who plan to request a vote-by-mail ballot have until June 1 to do so. In addition to five statewide measures on the June 8 ballot, San Bernardino County voters will have opportunity to vote for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (currently Dr. Gary Thomas) and County Sheriff.

Current Sheriff for the County Rod Hoops, who in February 2009 assumed the role of outgoing Sheriff Gary Penrod, will be in Big Bear on June 1st to participate alongside Sheriff candidates and Deputy Sheriffs Paul Schrader and Mark Averbeck in a forum hosted by the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce and the Democratic Club of Big Bear Valley.

The Tuesday, June 1st candidates forum, to be held at the Municipal Water District offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive at 6:30pm, is also scheduled to include candidate for Tax Collector Ensen Mason, running against incumbent Larry Walker, and both candidates for County Assessor, current Assessor appointee Dennis Draeger and Alfred Castorena Palazzo. The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters office can be reached at 387-8300 or via sbcrov.com.

Local opposition to Arizona law sought

At Tuesday’s Beaumont Unified School District board meeting, trustee Mark Orozco called on his fellow board members to consider a resolution opposing Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law, which he pointed out gives police in that state the right to detain anyone who is suspected of being in this country illegally, or for failing to provide proper documentation of citizenship.

“Under the new law, Arizona police now are required to stop and question anyone they reasonably suspect of being undocumented,” said Orozco, who is a history teacher at Marshall School in Pomona. “I am deeply troubled, and as an educator, I am disturbed by the lessons this law teaches our children about democracy, inclusion and nondiscrimination.”

Orozco called Arizona’s law an attack on civil rights of Arizona’s Latino population, and likened the situation to the way Jews were treated in Germany prior to World War II, when they were required to carry documentation with them at all times.

“The right of undocumented immigrant children to a K-12 public education has long been protected,” Orozco said. “This legislation may be the start of a very slippery slope. What’s next? Will lawmakers require teachers, education-support professionals and school employees to act as immigration agents?”

Orozco said that he feared the impact that potentially oppressive measures could “impede on the mission of teaching and learning.”

“I understand that my peers and some members of the community will probably criticize me … but it needs to be said,” Orozco said during board comments at the end of the meeting. “I am speaking not just as a board member or public official, but also as a leader of our community and a concerned American citizen who cannot sit by and be silent.”

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Former DA investigator sentenced to probation

A former investigator in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office was sentenced to probation Thursday for accessing criminal rap sheets in a law enforcement database for his personal benefit and that of his friends and colleagues.

Christopher Cardoza, 46, was sentenced to three years probation and 420 hours of community service by Judge Kyle Brodie in San Bernardino Superior Court. He is also responsible for $7,762 in restitution.

Defense lawyer James Vincent Reiss said the case brought against Cardoza had political overtones and that prosecutors sought to make an example out of his client.

“I think it’s an appropriate resolution for a case that in our mind is being brought out of spite,” Reiss said.

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