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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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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Cathedral City police officer fired after skinny dipping on duty

While in the pool, the officer allegedly inappropriately touched one of the women, according to Michael Jeandron of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

A Cathedral City Police Department officer, who is accused of stripping off his uniform and jumping into a pool with two women while on duty, has been fired from the department, a police lieutenant confirmed today.

John Fox Jr. has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of assault under the color of authority and attempted digital penetration, as well as a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure and sexual battery.

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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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Calilfornia marijuana Legalization debate gets interesting

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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2010 National Drug Control Strategy

President Obama’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy uses a multifaceted approach to combat drug abuse and drug use in America’s communities.

This Strategy “provides a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system, and international partnerships to disrupt drug trafficking organizations. Because nearly all Americans are impacted by the consequences of drug use, the Strategy is designed to be relevant at the local level. Whether you are a parent looking for information, a community member interested in treatment resources, a police officer or local elected official searching for new approaches to drug-related crimes, or someone who wants to know more about the Administration’s drug policy, the National Drug Control Strategy will serve as a useful resource.”

Fallujah birth defects investigated

An investigation of a rise in birth defects in Fallujah is underway, which is being attributed to the use of chemical weapons by British and American soldiers.

Public Interest Lawyers, representing Iraqi families, has requested that the Ministry of Defence release information regarding whether any British soldiers were involved in the fighting or helped to supply the use of prohibited weapons during the seize on Fullujah in 2004, and any legal advice given to Tony Blair at the time. During the attack, coalition forces are alleged to have used white phosphorus, a modern form of napalm, and depleted uranium against the population. Iraqi families accuse the UK government to breaching international law, war crimes and failing to intervene to prevent a war crime.
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Trial opens in backyard drowning of ex-San Bernardino police officer’s wife

A former San Bernardino Police Department detective charged with drowning his wife in their backyard Jacuzzi didn’t expect a startled witness — peering through an opening in a block wall — to thwart his cover-up, prosecutors told jurors Thursday.

Blair Christopher Hall, 51, faces a single count of murder in the June 7, 2007, death of Cristi Lynne Hall behind their Calimesa home.

Free on $1 million bail, he sat inside a Riverside courtroom wearing a polo shirt and slacks, listening to Deputy District Attorney Burke English Strunsky during opening statements call the case one of “violent betrayal.” Later, his lawyer phrased it as a tragic accident.

Cristi Hall and her husband of nearly 30 years had gone out to the backyard hot tub that weekday morning just after 6 a.m., intending to bathe as their shower was being remodeled, Strunsky said. Their 22-year-old daughter slept upstairs.

According to Strunsky, the couple was in the tub together when the defendant forcibly pushed Cristi Hall’s head under the water and held it.

“She thrashes about, she struggles,” he told jurors. “She desperately struggles to get a final breath.”

Injuries to Cristi Hall included “massive bruising” and head lacerations, the prosecutor said. She also had some of her husband’s DNA under her fingernails, which Strunsky said pointed to her fighting back.

Blair Hall eventually got out of the tub, toweled off and went inside to wake his daughter. He then returned outside and wailed at the discovery of his lifeless wife, according to the prosecutor.

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Another soldier pig kills wife, self

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk police said a former naval officer killed his wife and then himself two days before the final hearing on the couple’s divorce.

Police found the bodies of 63-year-old Robert Klosterman and his 57-year-old wife Rebecca Klosterman inside the couple’s home Sunday. Police said Monday that Klosterman shot his wife and then himself.

According to court records, a final hearing on the couple’s divorce had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Robert Klosterman was the first commander of the nuclear carrier USS John C. Stennis, commissioned in 1995.

Former CG officer gets life for rape, murder

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A former Coast Guard officer has been sentenced to life in prison for raping and killing a Jupiter woman.

As part of a plea deal, 27-year-old Chi Ng received a life sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to first-degree murder. He could have faced the death penalty.

Authorities say 33-year-old Nongkran Stoll, who lived near Ng’s father, had been hired to walk the father’s dog. In November 2007, Ng attacked Stoll in his father’s townhouse. He beat her, raped her and eventually strangled her by crushing her throat under his foot.

Her body was later found in a trash can.

Stoll’s husband went to the home looking for his wife, and Ng told him she had left. But when the husband saw Stoll’s shoes and a broken table inside and that Ng’s hand was bleeding, he called police.

Former CIA Official Arrested in Virginia for Rape

A former Central Intelligence Agency official, who is accused of raping two women, was arrested Monday at a motel in Virginia. A warrant was issued for 42-year-old Andrew M. Warren after he failed to show up for a hearing last week.

Warren was the CIA’s Station Chief in Algeria. According to court papers, two Algerian women claim Warren drugged them, then raped them when they were unconscious. A grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted Warren last year on one count of sexual deviance. The charge carries the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

Warren was arrested without incident at the motel in Norfolk. Police say he had a handgun, which was recovered and turned over to federal authorities. It was unclear why Warren skipped the hearing and why he was staying at the motel in his hometown.

“We look forward to the opportunity to speak with Andrew, and we’re just glad he’s safe,” said Billy Martin, one of Warren’s attorneys.

The CIA ordered Warren home in October 2008, a month after the women made their claims.

Military police officer suspected of killing wife, baby

A 21-year-old military police officer who returned form Afghanistan two months ago likely fatally shot his wife and 8-month-old baby, police said Tuesday.

The bodies of Racquell Lynch, 19, and Kyirsta Lynch were found Monday by an apartment manager who opened up their Anchorage unit at the request of military police.

Authorities were looking for Spc. Kip Lynch, who had not shown up for duties at Fort Richardson Army Post. He was found severely wounded in another room.

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Sarkozy proposes total ban on the burqa in France

F

At the April 21 meeting of the French cabinet, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that a bill banning the wearing of the burqa or niqab full-face veil in public would be put before the cabinet in May. The bill is a blatant attack on democratic rights, moving France towards extra-legal rule.

Prime Minister François Fillon stated that the government would fast-track this legislation, even though such a law could be ruled unconstitutional and contrary to the European Convention of Human Rights. “We are ready to take legal risks because we think that the stakes are worth it”, he said, adding. “We cannot encumber ourselves with prudence in relation to legislation that is unsuited to today’s society…. If we have to shift the jurisprudence of the [French] Constitutional Council and that of the European Court of Human Rights, we think that it is our public duty to do so”.

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$750K bail for Lewis GI accused of killing wife

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A 28-year-old Army sergeant accused of killing his wife during an argument and hiding her body in a storage crate has been ordered held on $750,000 bail.

Sheldon Plummer appeared before a judge Monday in Olympia via video feed. He is being held in the Thurston County jail for investigation of second-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Winter Plummer.

According to court documents, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord sergeant walked into a sheriff’s office Friday and confessed to killing his wife. The documents say Plummer told a detective that he strangled his wife after she attacked him with a knife during an argument in mid-February. In court, prosecutors said that Plummer sent text messages from his wife’s cell phone so her relatives would believe she was still alive.

The couple has a 2-year-old daughter.

Related reading

Lewis-McChord soldier says he killed wife

Memo to America: Stop murdering my people

Almost every day, the NATO occupation of our country continues to kill innocent people. Each time, it seems, military officials try to claim that only insurgents are killed, or they completely deny and cover up their crimes. The work of a few courageous journalists is the only thing that brings some of these atrocities to light.

For instance, it was only after the reporting of Jerome Starkey of the Times of London that officials admitted to the brutal Feb. 12 murder of two pregnant women, a teenage girl, and several young men in a night raid at a home where a family was celebrating the birth of a child.


Night raids, air raid “mistakes,” firing on civilian buses and cars at checkpoints — the occupation finds many ways of killing the people of Afghanistan. The excuses and lies for these deaths are like salt in our wounds, and it is no wonder that protests against the U.S. military are growing. The Afghan people have had enough.


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Child rape charge rocks TSA

A Transportation Security Administration worker who pats down members of the flying public was charged with multiple child sex crimes targeting an underage girl yesterday.

The bust outraged privacy and passenger advocates who say it justifies their fears about Logan International Airport’s full-body scanner.

“It’s a huge, huge issue,” said Kate Hinni of FlyersrRights.org. “The TSA needs a complete overhaul . . . If you have a pedophile looking at those naked pictures, they’ve got all your information, it’s a gross violation of their authority. . . . They should make sure none of them is corrupted in any deviant sexual manner.”

Sean Shanahan, 44, of Winthrop was held on $50,000 bail after he was charged with two counts of statutory rape, two counts of enticing a minor and one count of indecent assault and battery. He was arrested yesterday at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he had checked himself in after a suicide threat, prosecutors said.

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Trial for 1985 triple slayings begins

WILMINGTON, N.C. — A soldier acquitted of killing a mother and two of her young daughters in North Carolina about 25 years ago is now going on trial in military court after prosecutors say new DNA tests link him to the crimes.

Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis, 51, is charged with premeditated murder in the May 1985 stabbing deaths of Kathryn Eastburn and two of her daughters — 5-year-old Kara Sue Eastburn and 3-year-old Erin Nicole Eastburn. Opening statements in the court-martial are set for Wednesday and the death penalty trial could last up to two months, featuring 100 or more witnesses.

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Paul Schrader: Transparency- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

The questions asked at most of my events and from people all over the county is, what are they hiding, and why is the sheriff and his command staff not open and available to the public.

As part of my fresh start approach to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, it will be my duty to see that the Department is above reproach in order to restore and retain the respect and trust of the public. My first objective is to make all areas of the Department transparent, especially the jails. There will be an open dialogue maintained with the community and community activists who have questions regarding the Department, including the jails.

In order to bring justice to those wronged and closure to those who have done right, I will have all internal investigations expedited. The community will know the truth, and Deputies will be treated fairly and in accordance with “The Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights”.

This is the right thing to do.  Check out my website at www.sheriffpaul.net and let’s work together for a TRANSPARENT Department.

Paul Schrader: Community Responsibility- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

My name is Paul Schrader, and I am running for the position of Sheriff-Coroner of San Bernardino County. My campaign is based on what we call the Fresh Start Initiative. My goal is to bring a Fresh Start to San Bernardino County that the citizens can be proud of, participate in, and see concrete, forward-looking solutions to the problems we face.

Community Responsibility- A Sheriff’s Department that accepts its responsibility to the community, and works with the community to improve
conditions for all.

The other day I was in Chino Hills. I was talking with a guy by the name of John. He said he would like to see the Department executives reaching out to the community, finding out what needs and concerns they have.  He said when he has tried to reach anyone of any rank, he is directed to a patrol deputy.  He is frustrated.

While in Victor Valley I talked to Helen. She had a few of her friends with her. She said she wanted a group to help bring the Department and community together. She said the Department said she could volunteer. She tried to call the Sheriff’s Office and was redirected to a patrol deputy. She does not want to be a volunteer, she would love to be part of a community group that could partner with the Department. She is frustrated.

I hear this throughout the county. Deputies are being utilized to answer questions that should go through Department executives. Our deputies are trying to provide law enforcement services and need tools to do the job even better.

I will have community groups in every area of the county. We will meet and work together, ensuring they are getting service needed in their area. I will be available to citizens. This is being done in Departments all over the State.

Dennis L. “Pinky” Stout got the message

Today I am announcing my decision not to seek the Office of District Attorney of San Bernardino County.

From a very early age all I dreamed about was being a public prosecutor.  After 17 years as a Deputy District Attorney, I realized my ultimate dream in 1994 when I was elected District Attorney.  I ran unopposed in 1998 and was reelected to a second term. During those eight years we accomplished a complete rebuild of the office from the ground up. We implemented over 50 new programs.

We positioned the office so that it could become the best prosecutorial agency in the state.

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CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

We Need To Stop Circumcision

In the weeks ahead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are likely to publish a recommendation that all infant boys undergo circumcision. This is a huge mistake. Circumcision is an unnecessary procedure that is painful and can lead to complications, including death. No organization in the world currently recommends this. Why should we routinely remove normal, functioning tissue from the genitals of little boys within days of their birth?

The vast majority of the world’s men, including most Europeans and Scandinavians, are uncircumcised. And before 1900, circumcision was virtually nonexistent in the United States as well–except for Jewish and Muslim people, who’ve been performing circumcisions for thousands of years for religious reasons. Believe it or not, circumcision was introduced in English-speaking countries in the late 1800s to control or prevent masturbation, similar to the way that female circumcision–the removal of the clitoris and labia–was promoted and continues to be advocated in some Muslim and African countries to control women’s sexuality. [1]

Routine female circumcision, which has been practiced in some cultures, is completely unacceptable. Few people would argue otherwise. In fact, the United Nations has issued a decree against it. Circumcision is a form of sexual abuse whether it’s done to girls or boys. We justify male infant circumcision by pretending that the babies don’t feel it because they’re too young and it will have no consequences when they are older. This is not true. Women who experience memories of abuse in childhood know how deeply and painfully early experiences leave their marks in the body. Why wouldn’t the same thing apply to boys?

In medical school, I was taught that babies couldn’t feel when they were born and therefore wouldn’t feel their circumcision. Why was it, then, that when I strapped their little arms and legs down on the board (called a “circumstraint”), they were often perfectly calm; then when I started cutting their foreskin, they screamed loudly, with cries that broke my heart? For years, in some hospitals, surgery on infants has been carried out without anesthesia because of this misconception!

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San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department buys gear from company targeted by sweatshop investigators

The Safariland website is a virtual big box retailer of tactical equipment, chemical weapons and forensics for police departments, military and private security contractors. The Premium Wallbanger System is used for SWAT team entry operations and can create a shooting port through a wall. It can use an explosive charge to breach metal doors and provides OVC spray coverage. The Protech brand makes a rifle threat plate that can withstand multiple rounds from an AK-47. The DeltaNu Reporter is a handheld illicit drug identification system. The Monadnock Autolock defender baton is expandable and comes with a guard for hand protection.

In the early days Safariland kept it simple. The Ontario-based multinational corporation birthed in a ’60s suburban Los Angeles garage was known for custom holsters. The manufacturer claims that 70 percent of peace officers in North America currently use Safariland duty gear. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department purchases duty gear from the manufacturer.

Decades of growth and a series of mergers and acquisitions has left Safariland the flagship of 19 companies under control of the British defense contractor BAE Systems. The free trade business model of the ’90s put Safariland in a factory in Mexico well before the consolidation with BAE systems took place. The North America Free Trade Agreement fueled the growth of maquiladoras. The border factories import materials into Mexico for assembly and then re-export them to the U.S. to enter the global marketplace.

The treaty made conditions ripe for economic and environmental exploitation. The effect of the duty-free and tax-free provisions of NAFTA that leave little or in most circumstances zero development in the communities the workers live.

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Let Dr. Aafia go home, Mr. President

Reading all those legal thrillers by John Grisham and watching Hollywood blockbusters that portray innocent individuals framed and ensnared by a powerful system, one always thought: Of course, these things do not happen in real life.

I am not so sure anymore though. The abduction, persecution and now conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated neuroscientist, by the U.S. authorities reads like a regulation Grisham thriller written for Hollywood.

Aafia disappeared with her three children on her way to Jinnah International Airport airport for Islamabad way back in 2003. Five years later, she was presented in a New York court in March 2008 as “a top al-Qaeda terrorist” and the “most dangerous woman on earth,” as United States Attorney General John Ashcroft put it.

The U.S. authorities claimed then that Aafia was captured near Ghazni governor’s office in Afghanistan with a bag that carried instructions on making explosives and a list of U.S. landmarks.

But more damningly, the U.S. authorities claimed that the frail mother of three attacked a team of eight U.S. soldiers, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Afghan officials in Ghazni with a highly sophisticated, heavy M-4 gun in Ghazni when they went to question her. Surprisingly though, it’s Aafia who ended up with two gunshot wounds, inflicted point blank. None of the officials she allegedly attacked sustained any injuries or wounds.

Last week, after months of courtroom drama and charade of a trial, Aafia was convicted of attempted murder and attacking U.S. soldiers and FBI officials with a deadly weapon.

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Kentucky jury recommends death for former soldier who killed 3 children

SMITHLAND, Ky. — A western Kentucky jury has recommended a death sentence for a former soldier who admitted killing three children.

The recommendation to send Kevin Wayne Dunlap to death row came Wednesday after nearly three hours of deliberation in Livingston County Circuit Court.

Dunlap pleaded guilty Feb. 9 to the slayings along with an attack on the children’s mother at their home in rural Trigg County in 2008. Dunlap also pleaded guilty to rape, kidnapping, arson and tampering with evidence.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Glycon Lee Ovey showed photos of the three slain children — ages 17, 14 and 5 — during his closing statements.

“Three living human beings on Oct. 15, 2008 — lives worth living,” Ovey said before pointing to Dunlap in the courtroom. “But the evidence shows that this killer took that away.”

Ovey pleaded with the jury to sentence Dunlap to death.

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Canadian military chief charged with murder

A Canadian military base commander has been charged with the murder of two women and sexually assaulting two other women, according to police.

Colonel Russell Williams was arrested in Ottawa Sunday on suspicion of murder of 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd and 38-year-old corporal Marie Comeau.

The 46-year-old Williams also was charged on two counts of breaking and entering the homes of two other women, who were sexually assaulted last September.

“Due to similarities in those incidents, the police investigative team linked (last month’s murder) to other crimes,” Ontario Provincial Police said in a statement.

Williams, a 23-year military veteran, was appointed as the base commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Trenton, Ontario last July.

Trenton is the busiest Canadian Air Force base and is providing logistical support for Canada’s missions in Haiti and Afghanistan as well as support for the Vancouver Winter Games.

The colonel was held in custody and will appear in court via video on February 18.

ACLU sues USAID for FOIA violations over abstinence-only programs

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for failing to provide documents regarding its overseas religiously-influenced abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. In July and September 2009, the ACLU sent USAID requests for the programs funded through HIV/AIDs grants, including requests for proposals, contracts with USAID, curricula used by grantees, communications between USAID and the White House, and communications between USAID and its grantees about religious instruction in the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

A recent Inspector General’s report says the programs unconstitutionally promote religiously infused materials and messages.

For more information, click here.

Arpaio Tactics Causing Fear And Loathing In Maricopa County

Sheriff Joe Arpaio‘s crusade against Maricopa County officials has created a “year-long emotional roller-coaster” for some county employees, they tell the Arizona Republic.

Arpaio, whose controversial immigration enforcement tactics have made him a nationally known figure, is reportedly being probed by a federal grand jury. The investigation is considering whether the sheriff abused his power by going after political opponents and others who crossed him, including several county supervisors and judges.

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Marine scum Cesar Laurean: murder trial to move

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A former North Carolina-based Marine accused of killing a pregnant colleague has been granted a change of venue for his murder trial.

Onslow County Superior Court Judge Charles Henry issued an order Monday, saying the trial of Cesar Laurean should be moved because pretrial publicity surrounding the case might influence jurors. Laurean’s attorney had requested a different venue, and prosecutors did not object.

Laurean is charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio. He fled to Mexico shortly before her charred remains were found buried in his backyard in Jacksonville in January 2008. He was arrested in April 2008 and extradited to North Carolina last year.

A judge has scheduled the trial to begin June 28.

Efforts to silence Aafia Siddiqui continue

Efforts to silence Pakistani citizen Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of US military and Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel, are continuing during her trial.

In a letter to the New York Federal judge presiding over her trial, Siddiqui’s defense team said that she is not mentally fit to testify.

In the letter, the lawyers said that they believe she suffers from “diminished capacity,” the NY Daily News reported on Tuesday.

“We feel it is our duty under relevant ethical rules to take protective action to safeguard her interests,” the letter read.

Siddiqui’s trial started on January 19, 2010.

See also:

Case against Aafia Siddiqui begins to unravel

My children were tortured, this trial is a sham: Aafia

‘US torturing females in Afghan prisons’

Rights groups seek Siddiqui extradition

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Prisons too expensive

The Extravagance of Imprisonment Revisited

How much could the government save by cutting prison costs?

According to a new report issued by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, billions of dollars could be saved through reforming the United States prison system. California alone could save an estimated $1.4 billion.

As of 2006, the United States has imprisoned over 1.6 million people. The United States also has the highest incarceration rates in the world. This rate is predicted to rise as “get tough on crime” laws continue to be issued.

This report “analyzes prison and jail populations in the United States as a whole and in four key states–California, Florida, New York, and Texas–to determine 1) how many prisoners are non-serious offenders and what it costs to lock them up, 2) what proven effective alternatives are in use and what they cost, and 3) what savings could be realized if a portion of the non-serious offenders were sentenced to alternatives instead of prison and jail.”

The Universal Soldier

He’s five foot-two, and he’s six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He’s all of thirty-one, and he’s only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He’a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn’t kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he’s fighting for Canada,
He’s fighting for France,
He’s fighting for the USA,
And he’s fighting for the Russians,
And he’s fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

And he’s fighting for Democracy,
He’s fighting for the Reds,
He says it’s for the peace of all.
He’s the one who must decide,
Who’s to live and who’s to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He’s the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can’t go on.

He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can’t you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Chords:- F,G7,C,Am Dm,Em

DC Cops Can Arrest You for Carrying More Than Two Condoms

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia can arrest a woman  in any area they’ve declared prostitution free zone. And in a backasswards move to curb prostitution, carrying more than two condoms is considered proof of intention to prostitute.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been lucky enough to date 3+ condom types. And even with one shot wonders, the fact is condoms break and you may need spares. A smart dater brings his or her own just to be safe. And to make sure you have the brand you like.

But all of that aside, “you’re a whore for carrying condoms” issue puts prostitutes and their clients (not to mention their clients’ other sex partners) at risk for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Washington DC has an HIV/AIDS infection rate of 3%, the highest in the United States.

Dr. Ray Martins, Chief Medical Officer at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the largest provider of HIV care in the nation’s capital said

If we know that three percent are currently diagnosed, the underlying number is probably five and six, or closer to five percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization consider a one percent infection rate as the threshold for a severe epidemic.

Mexican Who Tried to Stop Cop from Fondling Woman May Be Deported

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – An undocumented Mexican immigrant is facing possible deportation after he was arrested for trying to defend his girlfriend from a Charlotte police officer accused of sexual assault on three women, two of them Hispanic.

Police in North Carolina’s largest city revealed on Wednesday that a third victim, a 37-year-old Mexican woman who was not identified, filed a complaint against Marcus Jackson, 25, because he had sexually assaulted her.

Jackson has been under arrest since Dec. 30 in the Mecklenburg County jail, with bail set at almost $500,000, for two previous accusations by a Latina and an African-American woman of kidnapping, extortion, assault, sexual abuse and indecent exposure.

The third victim, who is undocumented, said that on Dec. 29, when she was going home at night, Jackson stopped her in the parking lot of the apartment complex where she lives.

She also said that eight weeks earlier the same officer had fondled her breasts.

In the Dec. 29 incident, police say, the boyfriend of the victim tried to stop the abuse by calling 911 but Jackson seized his telephone and arrested him for resisting a police officer.

The Mexican man spent six days in the Charlotte jail and was subjected to the 287g program, which determined that he entered the country without the proper papers.

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“… the murder of pregnant 23-year-old Megan Touma does not warrant capital punishment”

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Prosecutors say an Army sergeant accused of killing a pregnant soldier will not face the death penalty if convicted.

The Fayetteville Observer reported Thursday that prosecutors determined the murder of 23-year-old Spc. Megan Touma of Cold Spring, Ky., did not warrant capital punishment.

Sgt. Edgar Patino of Hope Mills is charged with first-degree murder. He was arrested in July 2008, a month after Touma was found dead in a bathtub in a Fayetteville motel. She was seven months pregnant and had been at Fort Bragg for less than two weeks.

Lawyers plan to meet Friday to discuss Patino’s bond. He is being held in the Cumberland County jail.

Authorities say Patino and Touma had been stationed together in Germany. He has admitted being the father of her unborn baby.

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Police treating pregnant GI death as homicide

More than 12% of youths in juvenile prisons are sexually abused while in custody

More than 12% of youths in juvenile prisons are sexually abused while in custody there, according to a Justice Department study out Thursday, and the vast majority of cases involve female staff and boys under their supervision.

In the worst facilities surveyed — in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas — more than 30% of youths reported they had been sexually victimized. The study, the first of its kind, shows a rate of sexual assault more than seven times higher than that indicated by a 2008 Justice Department report that collected sexual abuse claims to juvenile facility administrators. It is also higher than a similar study of adult prisons because of the “very high rate of staff sexual misconduct,” said Allen Beck, who directed the survey for the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The survey of 9,198 youths ages 13 to 21 — all in custody by order of a juvenile court — included methods to eliminate interviews considered unreliable. The survey covered 195 facilities, at least one in each state. Approximately 26,550 juveniles — 91% of them boys — are held in more than 500 such facilities around the country.

Woman files $1.5 million claim against San Bernardino County DA

A Redlands woman whose sexual harassment complaint against San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos triggered an investigation is seeking $1.5 million in a claim filed Wednesday.

Cheryl Ristow, an investigative technician with the district attorney’s office, states that she was involved in a 17-month intimate relationship with Ramos that ended in 2005. She claims that she was retaliated against starting in May when it appeared that the affair would be publicly revealed, and has been on stress leave since July as a result.

Ramos issued a brief statement Thursday denying the allegations.

“I continue to vigorously deny these false and politically-motivated accusations and look forward to the truth coming out in a court of law,” he said.

In a phone interview Thursday, Ristow said, “I stand behind my story 100 percent.”

The county began an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation in August when an employee in the office came forward with a complaint against Ramos. Ristow’s claim identifies herself as the person who came forward with the complaint.

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Here comes “Pinky” for his final disgrace

[ Before making a big mistake, insist that "Pinky" Stout debate Mike Ramos in public and make a recording available on the Internet.  This jerk can hardly tie his shoes.  He was put into office by the military/prison-industrial complex mafia bosses, in an era of secrecy and censorship.  He was chosen for his ignorant obedience.  Let's see how he looks when we can really see him. By the way, MID/PID scum:  You don't run this county any more. ]

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SAN BERNARDINO – Former district attorney Dennis Stout says he’s ‘committed’ to winning back his old job.

Stout is determined to root out government corruption…

“During eight years that I was district attorney, we prosecuted over fifty major corruption cases. By the time I completed my second term, corruption in San Bernardino County was pretty much under control. But, during the last seven years, it has reared its ugly head again.”

Stout did not seek re-election in 2002 and was replaced by Mike Ramos.

Stout expects to make a formal campaign announcement within two weeks. (INT)

Story Date: January 6, 2010

Iraqis outraged as Blackwater case thrown out

In this Oct. 2007 image, Mohammed Hafiz holds
a picture of his 10-year-old son, Ali Mohammed,
who was killed when guards employed by
Blackwater allegedly opened fire at Nisoor
Square in Baghdad. Iraqis responded with
bitterness and outrage Jan. 1 at aU.S. judge’s
decision to throw out a case against Blackwater
guards accused in the killings.

BAGHDAD — Iraqis seeking justice for 17 people shot dead at a Baghdad intersection responded with bitterness and outrage Friday at a U.S. judge’s decision to throw out a case against a Blackwater security team accused in the killings.

The Iraqi government vowed to pursue the case, which became a source of contention between the U.S. and the Iraqi government. Many Iraqis also held up the judge’s decision as proof of what they’d long believed: U.S. security contractors were above the law.

“There is no justice,” said Bura Sadoun Ismael, who was wounded by two bullets and shrapnel during the shooting. “I expected the American court would side with the Blackwater security guards who committed a massacre in Nisoor Square.”

What happened on Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007, raised Iraqi concerns about their sovereignty because Iraqi officials were powerless to do anything to the Blackwater employees who had immunity from local prosecution. The shootings also highlighted the degree to which the U.S. relied on private contractors during the Iraq conflict.

Blackwater had been hired by the Department of State to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The guards said they were ambushed at a busy intersection in western Baghdad, but U.S. prosecutors and many Iraqis said the Blackwater guards let loose an unprovoked attack on civilians using machine guns and grenades.

“Investigations conducted by specialized Iraqi authorities confirmed unequivocally that the guards of Blackwater committed the crime of murder and broke the rules by using arms without the existence of any threat obliging them to use force,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement Friday.

He did not elaborate on what steps the government planned to take to pursue the case.

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At Least 708 Women Killed in 2009 in Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY – Some 708 women were killed in Guatemala in 2009, based on Interior Ministry figures released on Saturday.

According to official figures, murders of women last year were less than in 2008, when 773 women died violent deaths in this Central American country.

Most crimes against women have gone unpunished despite the existence, since April 2008, of a specific law against femicide.

According to activist Norma Cruz, who heads the Survivors Foundation that provides help for abused women, in Guatemala no plans exist to guarantee women’s safety.

In a statement to reporters, Cruz said that more security agents are needed in areas considered extremely dangerous for women.

The activist regretted that even though police and prosecutors nab the aggressors, the courts tend to free them with such substitute measures as letting them out on bail.

Guatemala is second in the world in murders of women after Russia, which posts more than 10,000 crimes against women, according to the Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office.

Why Won’t Congress Shine Light on Rape-Murder of Pvt. LaVena Johnson?

Villagers may recall that Army Pvt. LaVena L. Johnson is the 19-year-old Missouri woman who died in Iraq after being raped, beaten, shot and set on fire. The Army has ruled Johnson’s death a suicide from a self-inflicted rifle shot. The case is profiled in the forthcoming documentary, “LaVena Johnson — The Silent Truth,” due for release in 2010. It examines whether there is an army coverup of the rape and murder of women soldiers. (WARNING: Video contains graphic images of the crime scene)

War Veteran’s Speech

War zone pregnancy punishments being dropped

Raymond T. Odierno

A controversial policy that put pregnant soldiers in war zones at risk of discipline will be rescinded under an order from the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno has drafted a broad new policy for the U.S. forces in Iraq that will take effect Jan. 1, and that order will not include a pregnancy provision that one of his subordinate commanders enacted last month, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.

Odierno’s order comes about a week after the pregnancy policy issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony (Tony) Cucolo triggered a storm of criticism. Cucolo had issued a policy that would permit the punishment of soldiers who become pregnant and their sexual partners.

The order listed a variety of offenses, and the punishments for them could range from minor discipline to a court-martial. But in a conference call with reporters earlier this week, Cucolo said he would never actually seek to jail someone over the pregnancy provision.

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Senate Vote Will Hold Military Contractors Accountable, Protect Employees Who Are Victims of Sexual Assault

In a move that will give employees of defense contractors rights they should have had all along, Senate lawmakers today voted to deny contracts to companies that force arbitration on employees who are sexually assaulted at work. Under a provision sponsored by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) that was placed in the defense appropriations bill approved today, the federal government will not hire defense contractors that impose forced arbitration on their employees for Title VII violations and sexual assault tort claims. Thanks to Senator Franken’s hard work and grassroots pressure from activists, this important provision – which now has cleared both the House of Representatives and the Senate – will soon be signed into law.

At least 40 women working for civilian military contractors have come forward to report sexual abuse, assault and discrimination in the mostly male barracks overseas. These women suffered a second time by being forced by their employers into a secretive, biased system of arbitration.

Senator Franken’s amendment will restore for these employees the opportunity to seek justice in public court when they suffer workplace discrimination or sexual assault carried out or permitted by the employer. Thanks to Senator Franken, U.S. military contractors will no longer be above the law.

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Moms say marijuana is SAFER than alcohol

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