From: "John Buttrick - SUPCRTX" firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2005 08:29:40 -0700
Subject: RE: [lpaz-discuss] kevin copped a plea to avoid 21+ years in jail if convicted in a trial
If the sentencing is set for August 8, as stated below, the letters referred to should be sent to arrive at the lawyer's office well before then. Letters arriving at the lawyer's office on 8/8 or 8/7 stand little or no chance of being on the judge's desk on 8/7, the most likely date he would review them at length.
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of **** *****
Sent: Sunday, July 17, 2005 3:02 PM
To: lp az discuss
Subject: [lpaz-discuss] kevin copped a plea to avoid 21+ years in jail if convicted in a trial
kevin copped a plea to avoid what i think could have been 21+ years in jail for three counts of threatening a cop with a gun. kevin will do 6 months to a year more time in jail in addition to the year he has already spent in jail.
this is the result of the secret service who after kevin said he wished the president were dead, who probably because they didnt have the problem cause to arrest him for threatening the president had the phoenix police arrest him for "being crazy", and then got the maricopa county court system to declare him crazy.
the criminal charges would probably not have happened execpt when he was arrested he tried to pull his gun and kill him self.
my copwatching friend laro nicol also copped a plea and is doing 2 years in the federal prison in tucson. laro says he isnt guilty of any crime, but if he had been convicted in federal court he would have pretty much spent the rest of his life in prison.
personally i think the plea bargining systems has caused gross injustices in both cases. both kevin and laro both had the choice of going to trial for crimes they claimed to be innocent of and risking being jailed for the rest of their lives if convicted. And both chose to accept 2 year plea bargins to aviod the posiblity of going to jail for the rest of their lives if convicted.
here is kevins letter
14 July 2005
I did not go on trial. I chose to accept a plea bargain. I plead guilty to one count of aggravated assault for causing a knee injury to officer Redmon and to one count of disorderly conduct for recklessly handling a weapon. For the aggravated assault I will get probation (one to five years). For the disorderly conduct I will get 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 years in prison.
That means I will be locked up for another six months to one year, though I'm not sure where I will be kept.
My lawyer is asking my friends to send her letters to be addressed to Judge Gregory Martin on why I deserve a light sentence. Please send the letters to:
11 W. Jefferson STE 5
Phoenix, Az 85003
Sentencing will be 8 August, so the letter must have reached her before then.
Magazine articles are considered unauthorized material(1), unless the magazine is sent directly from the publisher. It doesn't matter what the subject matter is. I don't recall having received other pink slips for letters you wrote(2), at least not recently anyway.
(1) This refers to a article from the New Times titled "Thunder Road" about Luciano Arriaga Jr. who was screwed over by the Phoenix Police in many ways that Kevin was screwed over. I grabbed the letter off the web, printed it and mailed to Kevin. The people who search Kevin's mail returned it claiming it contained contra-band.
(2) I have sent two letters to Kevin that we're returned because they contained contra-band. The first letter was a very insulting letter which said Sheriff Joe's jail was a gulag which was known internationally for its inhumane conditions. The guards who search Kevin's mail blacked out the insulting parts with a magic marker and returned the letter to me. They didn't bother to tell Kevin that his mail had been returned. I filed a claim with the Maricopa County government claiming I had been damaged and that my civil rights had been violated and asked for the ridiculous claim of $1 million in damages. I suspect when they had returned prior letters they had not been following some jail policy that requires them to notify inmates when they return their mail. My filing a claim probably caused them to fill out a pink slip and give it to Kevin telling him his mail had been returned when they returned the letter to me which had the New Times article "Thunder Road" in it.
cop a plea and admit your guilty and the government will drop everything execpt branding you a criminal for life. stand up for your rights and say your innocent and the government may jail you for 5 years.
2 feel law backward on aiding migrants
Jul. 18, 2005 12:00 AM
Daniel Strauss and Shanti Sellz were a half-hour away from their preliminary hearing on federal smuggling charges, when their attorneys told them the government was dangling a deal. If the pair admitted guilt and agreed to behave themselves, prosecutors would drop the case. It was a sweet deal, save for one detail: the 23-year-olds don't think they did anything wrong by giving three severely dehydrated border crossers a ride to a doctor.
"I will in no way admit guilt. I do not, in no way, think what we're doing is wrong," Sellz said, standing outside the Evo A. DeConcini Courthouse in Tucson. It was immediately following the hearing, and after forcefully stating her defiance, she started looking around for her attorney. "I don't know whether I was supposed to say that."
Strauss and Sellz plan to announce their decision today in Tucson, their lawyers said. Accepting the deal means avoiding federal felony charges of transporting undocumented immigrants and obstructing justice, convictions that can come with five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Fighting means finding out whether the actions they deem right in their hearts are right under the law.
Sellz and Strauss work with No More Deaths, a Tucson-based organization that asks volunteers to spend the summer camped out in the infernal Sonoran Desert. They hike along popular illegal immigration routes looking for people in distress. They give out water and food. Sometimes they'll tend to blistered feet. Anyone in medical need gets driven to a hospital or the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, where they are tended to by a doctor friendly to the cause.
It's sort of like an answer to the Minutemen, the armed group that also hunts for migrants in the desert. Both groups believe the government's border policy has failed and that private citizens must take action. Except instead of guns, the No More Deaths volunteers carry water bottles and cans of tuna. And while the Minutemen patrolled Arizona's desert for a month in the spring, No More Deaths is camped out throughout the summer.
At around noon on July 9, a group of migrants stumbled into the group's camp. Six only needed water and food. But three of them had drunk water from a cattle tank and were nauseated, said Helen Lundgren, a nurse who works with No More Deaths. One was vomiting and couldn't hold down water, Lundgren said. She and two doctors were called by the volunteers who described the men's symptoms to them.
Strauss and Sellz put the three men in their car, which had a magnetic No More Deaths sign on the door, and drove north toward Tucson. Twenty miles away from the city, they were pulled over by a Border Patrol agent. He determined the three border crossers, who by now had received water, food and air-conditioning, didn't need emergency care. And the two do-gooders seemed more like amateur smugglers.
The agent arrested everyone and took the group to the Tucson station for processing.
Strauss grew up in New York City. His interest in border issues was piqued by a class at Colorado College, a private liberal-arts college in Colorado Springs, Colo. The class, Globalization and Immigration on the U.S. Mexican Border, included a 10-day trip to Tucson, where students met with Border Patrol agents and migrants waiting to cross. They also surveyed popular crossing routes.
"We were so moved by the situation and just so shocked and outraged at what was going on," Strauss said. Eight members of the class volunteered at No More Deaths last summer. Strauss returned this year.
Sellz was born in Iowa and spent a lot of time studying and living in Latin America. She thought taking a nanny job in the border town of Bisbee would give her that cross-cultural vibe she craved. When she arrived in January 2004, she didn't expect to see migrants dashing through town clutching water bottles, or arroyos filled with trash. "I started putting the pieces together," she said, and started volunteering for organizations that aided the crossers.
Last summer, that meant sitting in a No More Deaths camp. "You don't even comprehend it until you're here," she said of the summertime conditions out in the desert. Her most vivid memory from that first summer was coming across a mother and father and their 3-year-old girl.
"Her parents were giving her all the food and water they had, but she was in real bad shape," Sellz said. "She was barely conscious, laying on her father's shoulder.
"Those images," Sellz said. "To me, they're images of a war."
The Border Patrol, in response to the growing number of deaths in the Arizona desert, has run humanitarian patrols for the past several years. They've rescued thousands and say anyone coming across a migrant in distress should call them. The federal law against transporting an "alien within the United States . . . in furtherance of such violation of law" makes no mention of medical emergencies.
But Strauss feels it should be illegal to not help someone in need of water. "I'm now more sure than ever that this cause is a just cause," he said, "and until no more migrants are innocently dying in the desert, then the work needs to continue."
His feelings were bolstered by what he felt was inhumane treatment while he was in Border Patrol custody. At the initial processing center, the two said they were not offered anything to eat other than cheese crackers for at least six hours. After being moved to a holding facility, they said they shivered under dirty blankets in tiny, cold cells. "This is the place where our border patrol brings people?" Strauss said. "What kind of treatment is this for people? That's insane." Sellz said women she was with had been held for days, with no shower and no hygiene products. "Women were scrubbing their teeth with toilet paper," Sellz said.
Gustavo Soto, a spokesman for the Tucson sector of the Border Patrol, said records indicated Strauss and Sellz refused food at the processing center. Of their complaints about general conditions, he said, "It's jail."
Two days after their arrest, the two had their initial appearance in federal court. Their names stuck out on a docket alongside names like Garcia-Miranda and Sandoval-Hernandez. At that first hearing, government attorneys argued the two should be held in jail and laid out some of the details of the case. The magistrate decided the pair could be released until their preliminary hearing.
Strauss was led out of court and into a holding cell with his fellow male prisoners. He knew he was probably the only one in the group of 30 who would be released that day. "In a way I felt bad because they didn't have the same legal support I had," he said.
He was pulled out of line and a guard took the shackles off him. As he was freed, the other men broke into a round of applause. "You know, pats on the back and 'way to go' " Strauss said, his lips quivering and voice cracking as he recalled the story. "That kind of support was just amazing."
The two both say they want to be back out in the desert, looking for migrants to save. Even if they take a plea deal that includes a promise not to re-offend. They didn't expect the threat of prison when they signed on with No More Deaths, but their bigger fear is that the government could be halting the work of rescue groups in the brutal desert.
"If we were to be convicted of this and they were to shut down humanitarian efforts, such as this one, the only outcome would be that more people would die," Strauss said. "Is that what is trying to be accomplished by this?"
Reach Ruelas at (602) 444-8473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Device will help cops fight auto theft
By Mike Branom, Tribune
July 18, 2005
In one of the nation’s worst metropolitan areas for auto theft, authorities will soon have an all-seeing set of eyes on their side.
The Mesa Police Department will be the state’s first agency to deploy a vehicle-mounted license plate scanner. It’s capable of reading upward of 1,000 plates an hour while checking them against national and state databases of stolen cars.
When the system gets a hit, it immediately flags the plate, time and location of the vehicle — all determined through the Global Positioning System.
"The parking lot at Fiesta Mall, we did that in 15, 20 minutes," said detective Dennis Thomas of the department’s auto theft unit.
As part of a three-year grant from the Arizona Auto Theft Authority, the department will keep track of how many plates are read, stolen vehicles recovered and arrests made thanks to the Mobile Plate Hunter 900. Testing was done in April, and the device will hit the streets early next month.
Valley police agencies will share the scanner, Thomas said.
To be sure, there will be plenty of opportunities for the scanner to prove itself. The Valley ranks second nationally in vehicle theft rates, behind only Modesto, Calif.
Currently, finding a stolen car can be difficult. An officer has to choose a vehicle out of all those on the road and manually type in the plate number.
With the scanner — three small mounted cameras feeding data into a laptop computer — a search of hundreds of cars can be made in the time it takes to drive past them. It works while the officer’s car is moving.
The system, made by Remington Elsag Law Enforcement Systems of North Carolina, costs less than $30,000. Grants will pay for all but $2,500 of that, Thomas said.
Experts’ reviews of the scanner were mixed. Chris McGoey, a Los Angeles-based security consultant, said it would be a fine tool for Valley police.
"And you need it, because right now you’re losing the war," said McGoey, who runs the Web site www.crimedoctor.com.
But auto theft expert Rob Painter wondered whether the scanner could live up to the hype.
"Are you familiar with LoJack?" asked Painter, referring to the system that allows the tracking of a stolen car via radio transmissions. "I call it LoJunk."
Although Thomas said the grant restricts Mesa’s scanner’s use to finding stolen vehicles, he acknowledged its capability expands with every database into which it is plugged. For instance, motor vehicle records can be used to find expired registration and vehicles could be traced to parents delinquent on child support.
"But the only thing we’ll be looking for is stolen cars," Thomas said.
Contact Mike Branom by email, or phone (480) 898-6536
the trial is a joke! im sure it will be a kangaroo court and that saddam will be convicted and executed. but this makes it more of a joke
Jul 18, 3:15 PM EDT
Lawyer: Saddam Trial Should Be Relocated
By THOMAS WAGNER
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) -- A lawyer for Saddam Hussein said Monday that Iraq's insurgency has made Baghdad far too dangerous a venue for the former leader's trial, and that the proceedings should be moved to another country.
Giovanni di Stefano said Saddam's defense team has contacted the Swedish government about the possibility of holding a trial there. But Swedish Justice Ministry spokesman Alexander Valentin said Monday that he was not aware of any official request.
"Do you fancy spending a year or more in Baghdad, going to court five days a week? Would you feel safe there?" di Stefano said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"Baghdad couldn't even prevent the recent kidnapping and killing of the Egyptian ambassador. There are also many Iraqis who want to see Saddam executed and many others who want to see him freed. That means the defense and prosecution would both be in danger there," di Stefano said.
Di Stefano criticized Iraq's handling of Saddam, saying the fact that he has been held in custody for 548 days without being formally charged is a violation of international law.
"The whole point of the Iraq war was replace Saddam and everything he stood for. But there is a total disregard of the law there now," he said.
On Sunday, the Iraqi Special Tribunal filed its first criminal case against Saddam for a 1982 massacre of Shiites and said a trial date would be set within days.
The tribunal said the investigation into the July 8, 1982, massacre of an estimated 150 Shiites in Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad, has been completed, and the case was referred to the courts for trial. Saddam is accused of involvement in the massacre as retaliation for a failed assassination attempt as he drove through the city.
The date for the trial of Saddam and three others was expected to be determined in "the coming days," said Raid Juhi, chief judge of the tribunal. If convicted, Saddam could face the death penalty.
Some U.S. officials have quietly urged the Iraqis to proceed carefully in prosecuting Saddam as the Shiite-led government seeks to draw Sunnis away from the insurgency.
Di Stefano said each country has its own laws and procedures regarding trials, but that Saddam's criminal case should have been announced in Iraq by a prosecutor, not the judges who hear the case.
The lawyer said the defense team believes that Iraq's government now has 7,000 witness statements and 2 million documents related to the prosecution of Saddam, none of which have been shared with the defense.
"We haven't seen one sheet of paper," Di Stefano said.
He said the defense team has corresponded with Saddam and that it received his last letter several weeks ago.
The lawyer said Saddam obviously can't discuss legal matters, so the missives focus instead on the former leader's interest in books, women, horse racing and soccer, and the fact that he is writing poems and a memoir.
Di Stefano also said Saddam may eventually decide to represent himself, if he is ever formally charged and put on trial.
"Well, he is a lawyer. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic did the same thing. He took it upon himself," Di Stefano said.
San Diego's acting mayor convicted in strip club scandal
Jul. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
SAN DIEGO - A federal jury Monday convicted San Diego's new acting mayor and a city councilman of taking payoffs from a strip club owner to help repeal a "no-touching" law at nude clubs, the latest blow to a city awash in scandal.
Michael Zucchet, who became interim mayor over the weekend, was found guilty of conspiracy, extortion and fraud on his first business day in office. He was immediately suspended from the position, his attorney said.
Councilman Ralph Inzunza, who was convicted of the same charges, also was suspended.
The jury also returned guilty verdicts against former Clark County, Nev., Commissioner Lance Malone, who worked for strip club owner Michael Galardi to repeal San Diego's ban preventing nude dancers and patrons from touching each other. The repeal effort failed.
It is unclear who will succeed Zucchet, whose conviction leaves the city rudderless at one of the most troubled points in its history. Mayor Dick Murphy resigned and left office Friday, seven months into a second term cut short by mounting problems at City Hall.
At a subdued meeting Monday afternoon, the six remaining City Council members put Councilwoman Toni Atkins temporarily in charge of the body. The chairs where Murphy, Inzunza and Zucchet once sat were empty.
Next week, the council will elect a mayor pro tem. Murphy's permanent replacement will be chosen in an election July 26 or a possible November runoff of the top two finishers.
The verdicts were reached on the fourth day of deliberations. Zucchet sat staring straight ahead, occasionally glancing up at the ceiling, as the verdicts were read.
Each defendant could face three to four years in prison. Outside court, their attorneys vowed to appeal and maintained the men had done nothing wrong.
Inzunza contended that his actions were part of the normal political process. "I will be back," he said.
Zucchet left without talking to reporters. His attorney, Jerry Coughlan, said his client had no immediate plans to resign, pending an appeal, and maintained that Zucchet, too, was only doing his job.
"There isn't a single public official in this country that hasn't done the same thing," Coughlan said.
Zucchet and Inzunza, both 35, were accused of taking $34,500 in cash bribes and campaign contributions from Galardi. Malone allegedly delivered the wads of cash.
Juror Niki Coates, 59, said she believed Inzunza and Zucchet were motivated by greed.
"I really believe the councilmen knew the plan would never work, that they thought it was a really stupid plan, but they wanted the money," she said.
The R-rated trial began in May and featured hours of wiretapped conversations, lunches and locker room meetings and a 310-pound bodybuilder turned FBI informant.
The prosecution's key witness was Galardi, the owner of Cheetahs strip club in San Diego and three other nude bars in Las Vegas. Galardi testified that he hatched the bribery plan because San Diego's "no-touch" law was hurting business at Cheetahs.
Galardi pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. He also has pleaded guilty in a parallel corruption probe in Las Vegas.
Group: 25,000 Civilian Deaths in Iraq By MICHAEL McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writer
LONDON - A British research group said Tuesday that about 25,000 civilians died in violence in Iraq in the two years after the start of the U.S.-led invasion.
Iraq Body Count compiled its figures of killings that occurred between March 20, 2003 and March 19, 2005 from reports by the major news agencies, including The Associated Press and British and American newspapers.
The results could not be independently confirmed. U.S. and coalition authorities say they have not kept a count of such deaths and Iraqi accounting has proven to be haphazard.
"There are no wholly reliable figures for civilian deaths," Britain's Foreign Office said. "It is recognized by everybody that statistics are very hard to collect under these circumstances."
The new estimate was much lower than the figure of 98,000 civilian deaths that appeared in a study in medical journal The Lancet in October 2004.
"The ever-mounting Iraqi death toll is the forgotten cost of the decision to go to war in Iraq," said John Sloboda, a psychology professor at Keele University in central England and co-founder of the group.
Iraq Body Count found:
• U.S.-led coalition forces were responsible for 37.3 percent of the total. About three-quarters of those fatalities occurred during the invasion phase up to May 1, 2003.
• "Predominantly criminal killings" linked to the huge crime wave that struck Iraq after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's government accounted for 35.6 percent.
• Insurgency, or anti-occupation, forces were responsible for 9.5 percent.
• Deaths caused by suicide bombs and other attacks that lacked a clearly identifiable military objective amounted to 11 percent. Iraq Body Count said there would likely be some overlap between this category and the "anti-occupation forces" one.
• U.S.-led troops and anti-occupation forces were involved in a further 2.5 percent.
• Civilian deaths blamed on what the Iraqi Ministry of Health described as "military actions" and "terrorist attacks" amounted to 3.8 percent. It wasn't immediately clear how Iraq Body Count separated these deaths from those it attributed to coalition or anti-occupation forces. A spokesman for the research project wasn't immediately available for comment.
On the Net:
Iraq Body Count: http://www.iraqbodycount.org
Is this Bush's version of freedom in Iraq? A theorocy where women are second class citizens.
Iraqi Constitution Draft Includes Curbs to Women's Rights
By EDWARD WONG
Published: July 20, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 19 - A working draft of Iraq's new constitution would cede a strong role to Islamic law and could sharply curb women's rights, particularly in personal matters like divorce and family inheritance.
Forum: The Transition in Iraq
The document's writers are also debating whether to drop or phase out a measure enshrined in the interim constitution, co-written last year by the Americans, requiring that women make up at least a quarter of the parliament.
The draft of a chapter of the new constitution obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday guarantees equal rights for women as long as those rights do not "violate Shariah," or Koranic law.
The Americans and secular Iraqis banished such explicit references to religious law from the interim constitution adopted early last year.
The draft chapter, circulated discreetly in recent days, has ignited outrage among women's groups, which held a protest on Tuesday morning in downtown Baghdad at the square where a statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by American marines in April 2003.
One of the critical passages is in Article 14 of the chapter, a sweeping measure that would require court cases dealing with matters like marriage, divorce and inheritance to be judged according to the law practiced by the family's sect or religion.
Under that measure, Shiite women in Iraq, no matter what their age, generally could not marry without their families' permission. Under some interpretations of Shariah, men could attain a divorce simply by stating their intention three times in their wives' presence.
Article 14 would replace a body of Iraqi law that has for decades been considered one of the most progressive in the Middle East in protecting the rights of women, giving them the freedom to choose a husband and requiring divorce cases to be decided by a judge.
If adopted, the shift away from the more secular and egalitarian provisions of the interim constitution would be a major victory for Shiite clerics and religious politicians, who chafed at the Americans' insistence that Islam be designated in the interim constitution as just "a source" of legislation. Several writers of the new constitution say they intend, at the very least, to designate Islam as "a main source" of legislation.
By rough count, nearly 200 women and men showed up in the fiery heat to hand out fliers and wave white banners in a throng of traffic. "We want to be equal to everybody - we want human rights for everybody," read one slogan. The demonstration came hours before two Sunni Arabs involved in writing the constitution were fatally shot near a Baghdad restaurant, threatening to throw the drafting process into turmoil.
"We want a guarantee of women's rights in the new constitution," said Hannah Edwar, an organizer of the protest. "We're going to meet with the constitutional committee and make our thoughts known."
A dozen women, some sheathed in full-length black robes, showed up to denounce Ms. Edwar's protest. They said they were followers of Moktada al-Sadr, the fundamentalist Shiite cleric who has led two rebellions against the Americans.
American and Iraqi officials say that several draft chapters of the constitution are floating around Baghdad and that no final language has been agreed on. Changes can still be made before Aug. 15, the deadline for the National Assembly to approve a draft. Protests by women and relatively secular blocs on the constitutional committee, like the Kurds, may force Shiite members to tone down the religious language.
"Some of the points regarding women's rights in this chapter are still to be reviewed," said Mariam Arayess, a religious Shiite on the committee.
Ms. Arayess said she believed that the draft was the most recent working version, and that it had fairly generous provisions for equal rights. She is one of fewer than 10 women on the 71-member drafting committee.
The chapter has 27 articles, most of which have relatively liberal provisions aimed at ensuring various civil rights. The first says that "all Iraqis are equal before the law" and that "equal opportunities are guaranteed for all citizens according to the law." The final article forbids censorship of the press.
References to Islam and Shariah appear in a few places. One clause says Iraqis will enjoy all rights stated in "international treaties and conventions as long as they do not contradict Islam." Such language is accepted by many Iraqis, including moderates, who say Islam is a vital foundation for the country.
Forum: The Transition in Iraq
But women's groups are incensed by Article 14, which would repeal a relatively liberal personal status law enacted in 1959 after the British-backed monarchy was overthrown by secular military officers. That law remained in effect through the decades of Mr. Hussein's rule.
The law used Shariah to adjudicate personal and family matters, but did it in as secular a manner as possible, pulling together the most liberal interpretations of Koranic law from the main Shiite and Sunni sects and stitching them together into one code.
Critics of the draft proposal say that in addition to restricting women's rights, it could also deepen the sectarian divide between Sunnis and Shiites. The draft also does not make clear what would happen in cases where the husband is from one sect and the wife from another.
Religious Shiite politicians tried once before, in December 2003, to abolish the 1959 law. As is happening now, women's groups and secular female politicians took to the streets.
Faced with the mini-rebellion, L. Paul Bremer III, then the effective American proconsul of Iraq, rebuffed the move, to the anger and dismay of many religious Shiites.
"We don't want to use separate Sunni or Shiite laws," said Dohar Rouhi, president of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs. "We want a law that can be applied to everyone. We want justice for women."
A Westerner familiar with the writing of the constitution said that when he saw a draft of the civil rights section less than a week ago, it did not contain the sweeping language on personal status law. In that version, he said, most measures - even those citing Shariah - were not as severe as they could have been.
"Compared to what some of the conservative Shiites were pushing, the glass is half full," said the Westerner, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, because he did not want to appear to be interfering in a sovereign Iraqi process.
He said there was some cause for alarm, though, pointing to a proposal to phase out a measure in the interim constitution requiring that a quarter of parliamentary seats go to women.
Ms. Arayess, the Shiite drafter, said some of the writers were considering keeping the quota for the next two terms of the parliament before allowing it to lapse. After that, she said, women should be able to stand on their own.
Why scan the hands that feed you?
Published on: 07/20/05
If Mickey Mouse tried to visit Walt Disney World today, even if he purchased a full-price ticket, he'd almost certainly be refused entry. You see, in order to gain access into the Magic Kingdom, everyone has to submit to a high-tech, digitized laser scan of their finger tips; and Mickey, bless his heart, always wears gloves. He never takes them off — not to sleep, not to eat, not to bathe, and certainly not to go through a turnstile. This example is one in a lengthening list of instances in which the United States and many of its allies are using modern technology in ridiculous ways just because it's there.
Pretty soon, you won't be able to go to a public lavatory without submitting to a finger or retinal scan. Rats! The government hadn't thought of that one yet, and now they almost certainly will.
Of course, consistent with modern man's constant search for benign words to describe invasive procedures, Disney does not call the system of checking fingerprints "finger scans"; that would not appear Disney-like. Instead, company wordsmiths describe the process to which all visitors to the amusement park must now submit as "Ticket Tag," as if the customers were being invited to play some childlike game. Other amusement parks are getting in on the ground floor of this brave, new world of biometric data collection as a prerequisite to a day of fun. Some exhibit an even keener sense of disguising what they're doing than Disney.
Busch Gardens near Williamsburg, Va., for example, has developed quite an explanation for its high-tech, anti-fraud system. Recognizing that most 21st century consumers value convenience above all else, including privacy, Busch's vice president of operations, Doug Stagner, explains that his company, in requiring visitors to submit to a scan of their entire hand, not just the fingertips, is simply helping the visitor. It's to "streamline" the process, he says. There's no pesky "privacy issue," he added in a reported interview, because "it's not fingerprinting."
There you have it — the consummate bureaucrat's perfect explanation for taking private information to provide a service for which there is no real, justifiable reason for collecting such data. The name of this process? Why, "HandEScan," of course. What could be more user-friendly and non-threatening than a grammatically tortured, made-up word emphasizing the "handiness" of it all. This also helps deflect concern over what Busch Gardens' visitors seeking season passes are put through — a device that measures "the top of a person's hand, takes in finger height, knuckle shape and distance between the hand's joint," in "two separate images and then combines the photos to create a 3-D image." Whew, all that to have some fun at an amusement park.
But hey, how can you put a price on having fun? And just think how your fun would be ruined if Johnny's sister were to try and use his ticket to Disney World because he was sick that day. Ticket Tag puts an end to such sneaky and perverted endeavors, thank goodness. Thanks, Disney, for protecting us — and you — against such a calamity.
What's wrong with a company collecting all that identifying data anyway? They promise not to do anything with it. And you've done nothing wrong, so you have nothing to hide, right?
Yeah, right. And the fact that big businesses and government data accumulators both have rotten track records for the accuracy of the data they collect and use won't apply, will it?
Amusement parks are not the only institutions finding it appropriate to spend millions for the latest in identification technology in order to protect against a host of undesirable events — ticket thieves, terrorists and, of course, waiting in line. (But what about the lines inside the park? Oh well, the amusement park brainiacs will think of a way to tackle that problem soon enough.)
Even grade schools are climbing on the biometric bandwagon. Places of learning such as Beatrice Gilmore School in West Patterson, N.J., are requiring students and teachers alike to wear badges impregnated with biometric information, so they can be tracked, monitored and, oh yes, protected.
Where is this absurd obsession with biometric identification leading us? The future's a bit murky on that score, but a refresher read of George Orwell's "1984," or the latest listing of law-abiding citizens erroneously placed on some "no fly list" might shed some light.
— Former congressman and U.S. attorney Bob Barr practices law in Atlanta.
Podrian ser deportatados cuatro alumnos
Julio 18, 2005
La permanencia en Estados Unidos de cuatro destacados estudiantes mexicanos indocumentados está en grave riesgo, por una orden de deportación con fecha de 21 de julio que, si nada extraordinario ocurre, deberán cumplir.
Judy Flanagan, abogada de Luis Nava, Yuliana Huicochea, Oscar Corona y Jaime Damián, informó que sus clientes enfrentan una orden de deportación y a menos de que un juez les autorice permanecer en el territorio estadunidense, deberán abandonarlo.
Ello, a pesar del proyecto de ley que presentó el diputado federal por Arizona, Ed Pastor, para evitar que los cuatro estudiantes, con destacado récord escolar, sean deportados.
Flanagan señaló que los recursos legales para que el permiso de permanencia en el país para los cuatro jóvenes, de entre 20 y 21 años de edad, sea extendido están prácticamente agotados.
Asimismo resulta incierto si una iniciativa de ley, presentada esta semana por Pastor, de filiación demócrata, ante el Congreso estadunidense para evitar la deportación de los cuatro estudiantes sea adoptada por ese órgano legislativo.
La oficina de Pastor declinó comentar sobre las probabilidades de aprobación con que cuenta dicha iniciativa antes de la fecha fijada para la deportación de los mexicanos, así como el número de congresistas que han manifestado, hasta el momento, su apoyo.
La iniciativa denominada HR 3261 IH abroga la orden de deportación existente contra Nava, Huicochea, Corona y Damián, y prohíbe que sean deportados.
Los cuatro estudiantes, quienes han sobresalido en sus estudios académicos, fueron traídos por sus padres a Estados Unidos sin documentos cuando tenían entre dos y ocho años de edad.
La orden de deportación contra los jóvenes inmigrantes fue expedida por autoridades migratorias federales, después de que fueron detectados en 2002.
De acuerdo con la defensa de los inmigrantes, los cuatro estudiantes fueron seleccionados para viajar a Nueva York y Canadá en 2002 para participar en una competencia escolar.
En Nueva Cork, antes de ingresar a Canadá, uno de los profesores del grupo preguntó a un agente de migración si los estudiantes podrían regresar a Estados Unidos mostrando sólo su credencial escolar, lo que provocó la sospecha del oficial.
Agentes migratorios cuestionaron a los cuatro alumnos sobre su situación migratoria y tras interrogarlos durante nueve horas, en las que los mantuvieron aisaldos y sin comer o beber, les ordenaron presentarse ante un juez migratorio.
Flanagan añadió que los agentes nunca tuvieron motivos para suponer que sus representados estaban en el país de manera ilegal. "Los seleccionaron porque eran latinos, se trató simple y llanamente de un acto racista", agregó.
Recordó que sus representados, quienes obtuvieron becas para estudiar en universidades de Arizona, han hecho su vida en Estados Unidos y sería un golpe terrible que los separaran de sus familias al deportarlos a un país con el que ni siquiera están familiarizados ya.
En la actualidad existe un proyecto de ley en el Congreso estadunidense que busca autorizar la permanencia en el país a estudiantes indocumentados con varios años de residencia y buenas costumbres morales pero se desconoce cuándo o si será adoptado.
Taser faces class-action lawsuit
Police department claims stun gun inadequately tested
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Taser International, alleging that the company misled police departments across the country about the safety of its stun guns and left them with weapons that are too dangerous to use on the street.
The suit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleges the weapon has not been adequately tested and was sold to police through faulty marketing information.
The suit is filed on behalf of Dolton, Ill., a Chicago suburb with a population of 35,000.
The plaintiff's lawyer, Paul Geller, claims that police departments in four states have retained his firm for the lawsuit but would drop the suit if Taser would take back the guns.
"That's what we want. Take back your product and give back our money," Geller said in an interview from his office in Boca Raton, Fla.
This is the first known lawsuit by a city or police department challenging Taser's statements about the science and safety of the stun guns. It comes amid a growing number of deaths after Taser shocks that have left cities across the country rethinking stun-gun purchases.
Taser did not respond to specific questions about the lawsuit. Taser vice president and general counsel Doug Klint issued a statement via e-mail denouncing the suit and saying the company stands by the safety of its stun gun.
"The claims made in the lawsuit are based on inaccurate and incomplete news clippings rather than independent review and scientific fact," Klint said. "To date there have been dozens of independent studies conducted by leading medical and law-enforcement experts, the U.S. Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Home Office and other countries each of which support Taser technology's safety and effectiveness relative to other use-of-force alternatives."
More than 7,000 law-enforcement agencies in the United States have armed their officers with Tasers. Police departments, including Phoenix, have praised the stun gun, saying it has reduced injuries to officers and suspects and has led to fewer police shootings.
But Dolton Mayor William Shaw said his police department should not have purchased Tasers.
"Sometimes you make a mistake, and this was a mistake," said Shaw, who is a former Illinois state senator. "The basic problem is they need far more testing than what is out there."
Shaw said he and Police Chief Ronald Burge suspended Taser use in May, a few months after paying $8,572 for the weapons. He said they became concerned after deaths in other cities. Shaw pointed to cases in Chicago and Birmingham, Ala., whereofficials halted distribution of the guns to officers or pulled them off the street.
He said that $8,572 is a significant amount of money for a city the size of Dolton but far less than the financial risk of a wrongful-death suit.
"One person losing their life could be much, much more expensive," Shaw said.
Taser maintains that its stun guns have never caused a death or serious injury.
An ongoing investigation by The Arizona Republic has identified 140 deaths in the United States and Canada after police Taser shocks since 1999. Of those, medical examiners have cited the Taser in 17 deaths, saying it was a cause of death in three cases and a contributing factor in 10 others. In four cases, medical examiners said the stun gun could not be ruled out as a cause of death.
"My view is that the police want to know what are the safety parameters," Geller said. "We view our lawsuit to be very, very supportive of police."
Heil Hitler in Oregon!!!! Will they make me get a prescription to eat chicken soup when I have a cold next????
Oregon House passes bill that requires prescriptions for cold medicine
Jul. 21, 2005 07:25 AM
SALEM, Ore. - The state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would make Oregon the first state to require a prescription for certain cold medicines, the latest attempt to curb methamphetamine production.
Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in popular over-the counter medicines such as Sudafed and Sinutab, is used to make meth, an illegal and powerfully addictive drug.
The bill was sent to the Senate on a 55-4 vote. Advocates said they expect the measure to pass in the Senate, and it has the support of Gov. Ted Kulongoski.
Opponents of the bill complained that it was too radical and that the public will not support the additional restrictions.
"I don't know that I'm willing to punish the many for the sins of the few," said Republican Rep. Tom Butler.
Oregon, like several other states, already restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine tablets to pharmacies and requires that the medications be kept behind the counter. Customers must also show identification.
But state Rep. Greg Macpherson, a Democrat, said he joined three other legislators Monday to shop for cold medicines and easily bought enough in an hour to make drugs that would supply four meth users for several weeks.
"A plague has spread across America," Macpherson said. "This is what we must do in this state to get this problem under control."
Drug maker Schering-Plough, which manufactures the allergy remedy Claritin-D, is running radio ads in the Portland market opposing the measure.
If the bill becomes law, "the days of just going to the store for these trusted and effective products is over. You would have to go to your doctor first," the ad says.
Some drug companies have begun reformulating cold medicines with substitutes for pseudoephedrine that cannot be used in meth labs.
Pfizer Inc., which makes the decongestant Sudafed and other leading pseudoephedrine products, is marketing a pseudoephedrine-free version of the drug and plans by January to reformulate up to half of the products with a substitute known as phenylephrine.
In New Security Move, New York Police to Search Commuters' Bags
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and SEWELL CHAN
Published: July 21, 2005
New York City will begin making random checks of bags and backpacks at subway stations, commuter railways and on buses, officials announced today in the wake of a second wave of bombings on the London transit system. The checks will begin on Friday morning.
New York City will begin tomorrow morning randomly checking bags at subway stations, commuter railways and on buses, officials announced today.
The announcement by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly represents a significant ratcheting up of antiterrorism security in the city. Previous efforts have been limited in order to avoid causing delays in a city known for the hustle and impatience of its denizens.
Officials said the city has never before attempted to regulate the possessions of passengers in its sprawling, complex transit system. The city's subway system alone has 468 stations and carries some 4.5 million passengers on an average weekday. Some of the larger stations have at least half a dozen entrances and exits. In New York City, relatively few people own cars, and the majority of those who commute via subway carry a bag of some sort filled with items needed for the entire day, including computers, business documents, gym clothes and makeup. Many people carry two bags. It is unclear how invasive the searches will be.
"We live in a world where sadly these types of security measures are necessary," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Are they intrusive? Yes, a little bit. But we're trying to find the right balance."
Mr. Kelly said most searches will occur in subway stations, but that the Police Department "will reserve the right" to check the bags of passengers on buses and ferries as well. While the policy is still being worked out, officials said passengers will be checked before they enter a station's turnstiles, though some people inside stations may also be searched.
People who do not submit to a search will be allowed to leave, but will not be permitted into the subway station. The police commissioner said officers would take pains to avoid singling people out for searches based on race or ethnicity.
"No racial profiling will be allowed," Mr. Kelly said. "It's against our policies. But it will be a systematized approach."
He added, "We'll give some very specific and detailed instructions to our officers on how to do it in accordance with our laws and the Constitution."
Despite the police commissioner's assurances, the new policy raised concerns about the prospect of unreasonable searches.
"The police can and should be aggressively investigating anyone they suspect is trying to bring explosives into the subway," said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. "However, random police searches of people without any suspicion of wrongdoing are contrary to our most basic constitutional values. This is a very troubling announcement."
Whether the random searches in New York City will become an accepted part of modern life, like inspection of carry-on luggage at airports, is unclear.
Exactly when a search violates a person's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure has been argued often before the Supreme Court. Sometimes the question is the very definition of "search."
In 1983, for instance the Supreme Court ruled that the police may expose a traveler's luggage to a drug-sniffing dog, but that the luggage may be held for only a brief period. A "canine sniff" is not in itself a "search," the court said, adding that other circumstances might also justify the brief detention of luggage.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court in 2000 overturned the drug conviction of a bus traveler, reasoning that the law-enforcement agents' decision to "feel his bag in an exploratory manner" was a violation of his privacy. But legal analysts said at the time that the decision was unlikely to extend to air travel, since it was unreasonable to expect privacy regarding items carried onto planes.
Boston transit authorities conducted random baggage checks at major rail stations during the Democratic National Convention in July 2004, following the terrorist bombings of 10 commuter trains in Madrid four months earlier. The city, which has about one million daily subway riders, was the first in the nation to enact such a policy.
Civil liberties groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee challenged the policy in court, but eventually withdrew their case, said John Martino, deputy transit police chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Subway stations were selected at random and riders' baggage was checked before they boarded trains, Mr. Martino said. Passengers were selected "based solely on random numbers" and using a clicker-count of riders.
"When we did it," Mr. Martino said, "we actually had people asking to be screened. It makes them more comfortable knowing that it was being done. It only takes 10 seconds per person, it's totally unobtrusive."
Boston's policy is permanent, but the practice was stopped after the convention, Mr. Martino said. The city is considering reimposing the searches because of the London bombings.
In New York City, the terrorist threat level has been orange, the second highest, since the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, but police officers have not previously searched the bags of mass transit passengers - even after a firebombing on a subway station in Lower Manhattan in 1994, a deadly sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995 and a foiled plot to bomb the subway in Brooklyn in 1997.
Bags are occasionally checked during large events, like the annual New Year's Eve celebration at Times Square. All large bags have also been regularly checked since the World Trade Center attacks at many large office buildings, museums, and at professional sporting events.
Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said today that internal discussions about random checks had been going on for several weeks - before the bombings of subway trains and buses in London on July 7 and again today. There were no casualties in today's attacks in London, but the first series of bombings in that city killed 56 people and wounded 700 others.
"It was something that had been discussed for several weeks," an M.T.A. spokesman, Tom Kelly, said in a telephone interview.
The chief police spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said that in a meeting at Police Headquarters this morning, police officials had decided to start the random checks, which police officials have discussed periodically for the past three years.
"In light of what appeared to be the continuing nature of the attacks in London, the decision was made to move to this next step," Mr. Browne said. Officials said the searches will require no more officers than are presently assigned to subway stations. M.T.A. officers will carry out checks on the Long Island Railway and Metro North commuter rail lines.
A spokesman for New Jersey Transit, Dan Stessel, said in an e-mail message: "We have no plans for random checks. However, N.J. Transit Police continue to operate on high alert, with double the number of officers on patrol and triple the number of K9 units deployed on the system."
He added, "We are working with homeland security officials to come up with the best policy."
Since Sept. 11, New York police have intermittently stopped trucks and vans as vehicles enter the city's bridges and tunnels. Security has also been heightened around power plants and other potential terrorist targets, and National Guard soldiers have been patrolling Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, which are the city's largest transit hubs.
Mr. Kelly, the transit spokesman, acknowledged that the searches were without precedent, but said he hoped riders would not consider the actions an inconvenience.
"We're going to alert our passengers on the subways as well as the commuter rail lines that their packages are subject to inspection," he said. "It's a safety issue. People don't consider any measures that you take for safety to be an inconvenience. This is New York City."
This afternoon, about 12 hours before the searches were to begin, riders offered a range of reactions. "It's an inconvenience, for sure," said Ricardo Ortiz, 19, who was holding a black duffel bag as he waited for his girlfriend. Mr. Ortiz, who is Puerto Rican, said he was worried that minorities might be unfairly and disproportionately targeted.
Pete Friedes, 63, a retired computer executive who recently moved to Manhattan from Chicago, said he was willing to tolerate the searches. "If it's a policeman, you have to put up with it," he said. "In general, people will accept it. The government has the right to try and protect us."
Eileen Chua, 49, a nurse who is visiting from Singapore, said she would not be bothered by having her packages searched. Asked if police searches would make her feel safer, she replied: "It does. It definitely does."
House OKs extending most of Patriot Act
Key Senate panel clears own version of anti-terror bill
Jul. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House passed a bill Thursday night that would make permanent several controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act, a sweeping anti-terrorism and anti-crime law that Congress passed in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The House, which approved the measure 257-171, began debate shortly after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved its own version of the bill.
In Arizona's delegation, Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ed Pastor voted against the measure. Republican Reps. Jeff Flake, Trent Franks, J.D. Hayworth, Jim Kolbe, Rick Renzi and John Shadegg voted for it.
The chamber voted just hours after televisions in the Capitol beamed images of a second terror attack in London.
Both bills would make permanent 14 of 16 Patriot Act provisions set to expire Dec. 31. Both would also extend "sunsets," or expiration dates, for two other provisions - one dealing with wiretaps and the other with seizures of library and medical records.
Unlike the House bill, the Senate committee wants more proof of a suspect's terrorism connections before federal agents could obtain personal information. The committee also wants to eliminate a gag order provision that prohibits any business from speaking about an FBI request for information.
Once the Senate passes its version of the bill, a committee will be formed with the House to work out the differences between the two versions.
Passed in October 2001, the USA Patriot Act is a cornerstone of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, and the president has insisted that Congress make permanent all of the act's provisions.
The act contains hundreds of changes to existing laws that federal investigators had sought for years dealing with terrorism, espionage and general crime. Its most significant change allowed the FBI's criminal and intelligence agents to share evidence with each other, and with the CIA.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., a former FBI agent, dismissed the worries about civil liberties as "ridiculous" because "we are at war."
Rep. Bill William Delahunt, D-Mass., said maintaining sunsets for such broad law enforcement powers ensures Congressional oversight and "encourages good behavior" by federal agents.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said additional sunsets aren't necessary. "The record shows that there's no evidence whatsoever that the Patriot Act has been abused to violate Americans' civil liberties."
Republicans and Democrats offered nearly 20 amendments to the House bill that would place more restrictions on federal agents' surveillance powers. One of the approved amendments would require the FBI director to personally sign off on agents' requests to a secret court order for library or bookstore records.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said she favors most of the act but powers need to be tailored "so the government doesn't have a license to engage in fishing expeditions."
to bad all innocent people dont do this. i think it is great that they are demanding a trial instead of copping a plea to a crime they didnt commit. if EVERYBODY did this we wouldnt have people in jail for crimes they didnt do like laro and kevin.
Volunteers to reject plea deal over aid to immigrants
Feds allege the pair transported migrants
Republic Tucson Bureau
Jul. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
TUCSON - Two volunteers with a border humanitarian group accused of transporting undocumented immigrants plan to reject a plea agreement offered by the federal government, saying they did nothing wrong.
Daniel Strauss and Shanti Sellz, both 23, are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court today on charges of aiding and abetting and transporting undocumented immigrants, crimes that carry a maximum penalty of up to 5 1/2 years in prison.
The two members of No More Deaths were offered a plea deal July 13 that would have dropped the charges in exchange for an admission of guilt, participation in a diversion program and a year's probation, according to their attorneys.
Sandy Raynor, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, declined Thursday to comment on the case.
"Shanti and I are not accepting this plea," Strauss said at a news conference in the airy sanctuary of Tucson's Southside Presbyterian Church, reading from a prepared statement, "because we have committed no crime."
Strauss and Sellz were volunteering for No More Deaths, a group that offers food, water and medical aid to undocumented immigrants in the Arizona desert, when they were stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents July 9 with three undocumented immigrants in their vehicle.
Lawyers for the volunteers said the three immigrants were rescued in the desert near Arivaca suffering from severe dehydration and were being transported to Tucson only for medical care. But Border Patrol officials said the undocumented immigrants didn't need medical treatment and refused hospitalization.
Border Patrol officials in Tucson declined Thursday to comment on the case.
Bill Walker, Sellz's attorney, said the volunteers' actions, including turning down the plea agreement, were "very courageous."
"We don't believe that any jury of Pima County citizens or citizens anywhere in the United States will convict them once the true facts are known," Walker said.
i didnt know you could bitch if the trains blocked the tracks for more then 10 minutes.
Wait at railroad crossing leads to complaint
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
You've been there.
It's hot. You're in a hurry. You hear the dreaded clanging of bells. Then red lights flash, and the barricade drops.
You're halted at a railroad crossing, idling in your car for what seems like an eternity as a train clacks by.
It's happened to Kenneth Jones of Litchfield Park, too. On May 23, he was riding a Phoenix bus at 6:10 p.m. when a passing BNSF Railway train halted traffic on McDowell Road just west of Grand Avenue.
Then the train stopped and sat. And sat. And sat . . . for more than half an hour, according to Jones.
Three days later, Jones did a rare thing: He filed a formal complaint with the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates public railroad crossings in Arizona.
Jones argues that BNSF violated state rules prohibiting trains from blocking road crossings for more than 10 continuous minutes.
There's a safety reason for the law: If trains routinely took too long to clear intersections, motorists would increasingly try to beat trains through the crossings.
There are exceptions to the 10-minute rule, however, and BNSF has invoked one of them - mechanical problems - in response to Jones' complaint.
The unusual complaint comes in response to what the railroads acknowledge is a notable increase in Valley rail traffic. With Valley growth in full bloom, commercial freight is increasingly coming and going by rail. With that comes more waiting at key road crossings, particularly along Grand Avenue.
Ten BNSF trains a day deliver cargo to sidings and rail yards along a route that parallels Grand from the far northwest Valley into the heart of Phoenix.
As local train traffic continues to increase, commission spokeswoman Heather Murphy said, "it's possible we may see more of these complaints."
"Ultimately," Murphy added, "we want the trains to keep moving. Otherwise, it encourages risky behavior."
Yet complaints like Jones' have been so rare in the past that it raised eyebrows in the commission's railroad-safety office. Jones said a staffer with whom he discussed his complaint "has worked for the department for 22 years, and I'm the first person he could remember who's filed a formal complaint."
"It is very unusual," agreed BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent.
Nobody is sure how far it will go. BNSF attorneys already have asked the commission to dismiss the complaint. Kent said they are satisfied that the incident that triggered the complaint was unusual and "falls within the law."
Arizona's 10-minute rule exempts "wrecks, derailments, acts of nature, mechanical failure or other emergency conditions." A train moving continuously for more than 10 minutes - a long freighter, for example - also is exempt.
David Devault, superintendent of BNSF's Phoenix operations, said in an affidavit that the blockage in question "lasted approximately 30 minutes, while BNSF personnel worked to repair a mechanical problem associated with the order switch that would not allow the locomotive or train to move in either direction along the track."
He said "moving the locomotive and train at that time would likely result in a derailment, thus causing even further delay."
That still doesn't cool Jones' ire.
"They may well have had a mechanical problem with that train . . . but how long does it take to unhook an engine and move the cars out?" he said.
He added that he wouldn't have taken action had it not been the umpteenth time he'd been stuck at the same intersection in a city bus.
Jones, who regularly uses transit between his home and the east side, said it's often seemed that the crossing was blocked for long periods two or three times a week, probably because a BNSF switchyard is located just south of the intersection.
Regardless of the complaint's outcome, Jones said his intent is to "change their mentality."
"I would like BNSF to be aware of how much their trains inconvenience commuters . . . and for them to make a greater effort to clear the blockages as quickly as possible."
Reach the reporter at pat .email@example.com or (602) 444-8629.
wow! the feds say 21,000 pot plants are worth $63 million. thats means the feds claim that each pot plant is worth $3,000
21,000 marijuana plants found thriving in state park
Jul. 22, 2005 08:15 AM
GUERNEVILLE, Calif. - There's pot o'plenty in a Northern California state park.
Officers of the Sonoma County Narcotics Task Force have found about 21,000 marijuana plants growing in a remote area of Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.
Agents mounted an aerial raid against the pot farm, with some officers carried into the area by helicopter.
Other officers spent about an hour hiking to the spot. Authorities estimate all that illegal weed would have been worth about $63 million. No arrests were made.
Police say the pot growers probably ran when they heard the chopper coming. But agents found campsites and supplies including tents, sleeping bags and food.
dont you feel a lot safer??? the TSA goons seized 834 bic lighters at sky harbor airport yesterday along with 90 pounds of other advanced high tech terrorist weapons such as spray starch, toy guns, shovels, and a makita drill. or are you like me and think this is a huge wast of money and just a jobs program for government thugs that doesnt protect us from sh*t and flushes the bill of rights down the toilet?
Travel reminder: Lighters, knives won't fly at airport
Ginger D. Richardson
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
PHOENIX - Transportation Security Administration officials are reminding passengers not to bring lighters, pocketknives and other banned items onboard aircraft, now that the nation's summer travel season has hit its peak.
Nico Melendez, a field communications director for the TSA, said Thursday that agency screeners are confiscating more than 1 million prohibited items each month from passengers trying to make their way through security checkpoints at the nation's airports.
Some of the items are newly banned paraphernalia, but others have been on the "not allowed" list since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"The lighters, I can understand," Melendez said, gesturing to a table filled with confiscated items, including shovels, knives, spray starch, personal mace, toy guns and other objects. "They are new. But the scissors, they haven't been allowed for three-and-a-half years."
The TSA held its news conference at the new security Checkpoint D in Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor International Airport. The terminal is the airport's busiest.
Melendez said that on Wednesday, security personnel confiscated more than 834 lighters at the airport. And on the morning of the news conference, a passenger was stopped because he tried to bring a loaded handgun through security.
In total, screeners seize about 90 pounds of items every day at the airport, Melendez said.
"People really need to think about what they are carrying with them," Melendez said.
The news conference provided an opportunity for TSA officials to showcase what is going right at Sky Harbor, an airport that has been in the news recently for a series of bizarre police chases, shootings and security breaches.
The most serious occurred June 30 when a suspect in a stolen vehicle plowed through a perimeter fence at the airport and drove onto a taxiway. More than 50 flights were delayed.
The incident prompted Sky Harbor officials to launch a review of its security procedures and fence-line areas. The results of that inquiry could be made public early next week, said Deborah Ostreicher, a Sky Harbor spokeswoman
Jul 22, 11:24 AM EDT
Group fighting trespassing charges after Army recruitment protest
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- They call themselves the "Tucson Raging Grannies" and range in age from 65 to 81. And despite being decades older than the maximum age for recruits, they're upset because they can't enlist in the Army.
Five members of the group are fighting trespassing charges after they were cited at a protest here last week at the military recruitment center.
The group has protested on Wednesdays for the last three years outside the recruitment center.
But on July 13, five grannies went inside to try to enlist and were cited.
"We went in asking to be sent to Iraq so our kids and grandchildren can be sent home, but rather than listening to us, they called the police," said 74-year-old Betty Schroeder. "It was their place to tell us the qualifications, but they wouldn't even speak to us. They should've said, `You're too old.'"
Schroeder said her group may approach the Pentagon to see if they could be sent to Iraq.
Nancy Hutchinson, spokeswoman at the Army recruiting headquarters in Phoenix which oversees Tucson's recruiters, said people who disagree with the war should be contacting their legislators instead of bothering recruiters.
"They need to direct their frustrations at people who have the power to change things," Hutchinson said. "Recruiters don't make policy and they can't change policy. They have a job to do and they are following orders."
Schroeder said she hopes the trespassing charges will be dropped and an apology given to the group from the Tucson Police Department and from the recruiters.
"This was not a performance, a joke or civil disobedience," she said. "This was an enlistment attempt."
Jul. 17, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: Punitive IRS prosecution fails
The "federal government's campaign against income tax protesters suffered a major setback yesterday when a federal jury in Sacramento acquitted a former Internal Revenue Service investigator on charges of helping to prepare false tax returns," reported David Cay Johnston and Carolyn Marshall in The New York Times of June 24.
"The former investigator, Joseph R. Banister, 42, of San Jose, Calif., has become a hero to the tax protest movement, even though two of his clients are serving long prison sentences after following his advice," the Times continued, carefully adding their formulaic second-graph "don't try this at home" disclaimer.
"Mr. Banister was acquitted on charges of conspiracy and helping to prepare three false tax returns for a small California manufacturer," The Times reported, in a story headlined "Protesters Win a Case Over I.R.S."
"Everything I have done in my entire career at the I.R.S. and after, I've done with integrity and honesty," Mr. Banister said after the verdict. "My clients wanted some answers to questions about what was required."
"Mr. Banister resigned from the I.R.S. criminal investigation division in 1999 after he wrote a lengthy report asserting that no law requires the payment of taxes and that Americans were being tricked into paying them," The Times reported.
I have read that report, available at www.freedomabovefortune.com. Basically, when Joe Banister told his superiors at the IRS that he could not continue arresting people at gunpoint for supposed failure to follow the law unless his superiors would answer his questions about what the law really says, they fired him.
Many on the Internet are asserting the Banister jury "ruled that no one has to pay the income tax." I wasn't there to cover the trial, but it appears from press reports his jury found Mr. Banister acted in good faith after his former employers declined to answer his questions, and that -- again in Sacramento last month -- the government failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Joe Banister is wrong. That doesn't mean they won't still come take your car and paycheck if you make them unhappy.
Nor does the government generally accept jury verdicts, really. They'll likely try to find other ways to ruin Mr. Banister's career through regulatory channels, where no citizen sentinels stand guard.
"Mr. Banister's lawyer, Robert Bernhoft, said the verdict was a sign that other taxpayers need not be afraid of confronting the government. ... Mr. Bernhoft said that 'American citizens have the right to ask the government questions and the government has a duty to answer in good faith,' " The Times reported.
"He added that 'to proceed against Joe Banister with an indictment rather than simply answering his questions is un-American.' "
"This is going to encourage thousands more people who were on the fence, who were paying taxes only because they were afraid they would be criminally prosecuted," J.J. MacNab, a Maryland insurance analyst who is writing a book about people who deny the legitimacy of the tax laws and attended the trial, told The Times.
"If too many people do this, the tax system will collapse because it is based on people voluntarily complying" with the law as it has been represented to them."
j"Hi Vin, I thought my case might interest you," writes Steve Murphy of Elko.
"I was arrested for making 'annoying phone calls' while trying to collect a civil debt via the telephone, (a) misdemeanor. ... The trial is set for July 19. ... I am defending myself after I learned I had to pay the public defender to defend me. ...
"At my first hearing on June 2, Judge Nethery of Elko Justice Court responded when I asked for a jury trial, 'No jury trials are allowed in Nevada for misdemeanors.' ...
"I filed a Demand For Jury Trial on June 14 based on NRS 175.011. ..."
I take no position on Mr. Murphy's character or his alleged offense, about which I know nothing. But the statute he cites is interesting.
While Section 1 of that statute directs that the default setting in District Court is that "cases required to be tried by jury must be so tried unless the defendant waives a jury trial in writing ..." Section 2 of that statute reads: "In a justice's court, a case must be tried by jury only if the defendant so demands in writing not less than 30 days before trial. ..."
The courts do indeed tend to place their own convenience above the constitutional guarantee of a right to jury trial "in all criminal matters" -- additionally discouraging trials by threatening harsher punishments for those who go to trial. If holding a jury trial for every offense charged meant that the courts would bog down and collapse, so much the better -- police and prosecutors would be forced to pick and choose which laws were truly worth enforcing.
We've got about 20 times too many laws, anyway -- time to tell our hyperactive legislatures to take the rest of their enactments and stuff them.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of "Send in the Waco Killers" and the new novel "The Black Arrow."
Drug tunnel sealed on Canadian border
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LYNDEN, Wash. - Federal agents have shut down an elaborate, 360-foot drug-smuggling tunnel dug underneath the U.S.-Canadian border - the first such passageway discovered along the nation's northern edge, officials said Thursday.
Five people were arrested on marijuana trafficking charges, U.S. Attorney John McKay said in this border town about 90 miles north of Seattle.
The tunnel ran from a quonset hut on the Canadian side and ended under the living room of a home on the U.S. side, 300 feet from the border. Built with lumber, concrete and metal reinforcing bars, it was equipped with lights and ventilation, and ran underneath a highway.
The passageway was 3 1/2 to 4 feet high and wide, and ran anywhere from 3 to 10 feet below ground, authorities said.
"They were smart enough to build a sophisticated tunnel. They weren't smart enough to not get caught," McKay said.
U.S. officials were trying to locate the owner of the house on the American side.
Authorities had been monitoring construction of the tunnel for six months and had allowed its operators to make at least a few trips - all under surveillance - before sealing the passage Wednesday, McKay said.
Although numerous smuggling tunnels have been found on the U.S.-Mexican border, this was the first discovered along the border with Canada, he said.
Canadian authorities learned of the tunnel in February and alerted U.S. officials.
Pat Fogarty, a law-enforcement official in British Columbia, said Canadian border guards "saw dirt going out and construction materials going in. They thought it was something we should check out."
U.S. officials began monitoring the tunnel. On July 2, agents entered the home on the American side to examine the passageway. They later installed cameras and listening devices in the home.
Insurgent attacks likely to continue
Los Angeles Times
Jul. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
BAGHDAD - Insurgents in Iraq probably will sustain the current rate of bloody attacks for at least six months, through the next elections, and expect the United States to give up on Iraq within five years, senior defense officials in Baghdad said Friday.
Increasingly violent suicide and roadside bombings are expected to continue at a rate of 65 daily, nearly 500 a week, as insurgents hold enough popular support to carry them out, the officials said, outlining the coalition's latest intelligence assessment of security here.
Hoping that support for the government wanes, rebel forces are banking on a coalition withdrawal that allows them to overtake a weakened Iraqi government in the end, the officials said.
"We have to make certain assumptions for planning. Because the number of incidents and indicators have been relatively stable, we must assume that will hold true for the next several months, absent a diplomatic and a political breakthrough (with insurgents)," Lt. Gen. John Vines, the commander in charge of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, said in an interview.
Vines and three other senior officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because their comments reflected ongoing military and intelligence operations, outlined an updated picture of an insurgency increasingly driven by a small minority of foreign fighters carrying out bolder and deadlier bombings under the leadership of Jordanian al-Qaida figure Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
That picture belied some Bush administration estimates that the insurgency was, in the words of Vice President Dick Cheney, "in its last throes," and hewed closer to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's estimate that it could last as long as a dozen years.
A lengthier insurgency would leave the Iraqi army and other security forces to take over defending against the guerrilla movement as the United States proceeded with a goal of withdrawing troops gradually, one province at a time, the defense officials said.
this guy wants to slap a 25% tax on internet porn and give it to cops and also use it for that famous phrase "to protect the children"
Net porn federal tax of 25% proposed
Jul. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - A Democratic lawmaker is planning to propose a new 25 percent federal tax on Internet pornography and new requirements for adult Web sites to help prevent children from looking at them.
The bill, expected to be introduced next week by Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., would impose the excise tax on transactions with for-profit adult Web sites, which typically sell monthly subscriptions to Internet users to look at pornographic photographs or videos.
Money collected from the tax would be used for law enforcement and for protecting children from Internet-related crimes.
Lincoln's spokesman, Drew Goesl, declined Friday to discuss the provisions.
"We prefer to wait until the bill is introduced to discuss it," Goesl said.
A draft of the legislation circulated this week among pornography and free-speech groups. Companion legislation was also expected to be introduced in the House.
Called the Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005, the bill also proposes new rules for Web sites to verify they do business only with adults.
It would compel sites to use specialized software to verify a customer's age, subject to enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.
An FTC spokeswoman said the commission was not aware of the proposed bills.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if American cops didn't carry guns like the British cops?
Police shooting stuns British, raises anxiety
New York Times
Jul. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
LONDON - It was around 10 a.m. on a sunny, summery Friday morning when London crossed a once-unthinkable line in its unfolding war on terror.
In a city where most policemen do not carry guns, the shock from the shooting death of a man in a subway car was palpable. It raised questions about police firearms practices, kindled uncertainty among Muslims and deepened the anxiety of a city that looks, these days, under siege.
The police said they had trailed a man, described as South Asian in appearance, from a house in Stockwell that they had under surveillance. He was clad in bulky clothes on a warm summer's day, witnesses said. He vaulted over a turnstile and dashed onto a train, with plainclothes police officers right behind him. The police said the man did not obey orders to stop, so the officers shouted at the passengers to get down and take cover.
The man stumbled onto a train, and a passenger, Mark Whitby, told the BBC: "I looked at his face. He looked sort of left and right, but he basically looked like a cornered rabbit, a cornered fox. He looked absolutely petrified, and then he sort of tripped, but they were hotly pursuing him."
The officers "couldn't have been any more than 2 or 3 feet behind him at this time," Whitby said, "and he half tripped and was half pushed to the floor, and the policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand."
The officer with the gun "held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him," Whitby said.
The gunshots reverberated much further than the grimy confines of Stockwell station in a hardscrabble neighborhood of south London. It was the first such shooting in memory. Between 1997 and September 2004, police opened fire on 20 occasions, killing seven people and wounding 11, according to the Metropolitan Police. The statistics do not specify where the shootings took place.
Although most London police officers are unarmed, since 9/11 Londoners have grown used to seeing special armed units, who have been given anti-terrorism training. Police rules require officers to give warning if they intend to open fire and to "ensure that their responses are proportionate and appropriate in the circumstances and consistent with the legitimate objective to be achieved." Police officers are supposed to aim for immobilizing body shots, but TV reports said Friday that shoot-to-kill shots had been authorized to prevent suicide bombings.
Even as Londoners absorbed the news of the shooting, a debate unfolded whether it was justified.
Although no information was available about the man's identity or ethnicity, many Muslims feared that Britons were blaming them. "The police may have a good reason to shoot this man dead, but they have to explain why," said Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain.
People milled through the streets and pubs of Stockwell on Friday night, trying to sort through confused, sometimes contradictory, emotions.
"I think it's disgusting that they had to shoot him," said Carol Marriner, a 41-year-old homemaker. "He could just have been late going to work."
But then, said Lois Cowley, a 17-year-old student: "One of my friends was on that tube, and, to be honest, I'd rather this guy got shot than him blow up my friends. Death is too good for him. The police did what they had to."
Fourth Amendment R.I.P.
by Jim Lesczynski
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
-Amendment IV to the U.S. Constitution
Well, it was a good idea while it lasted. The War on Drugs put the Fourth Amendment in intensive care, and the War on Terror finally killed it. Maybe it had been dead for awhile, but it left such a good-looking corpse we just didn't notice. But there's no denying it any longer. The random bag searches in the NYC mass transit system started yesterday and will continue into the foreseeable future. No probable cause is required. You draw breath, you're a suspect.
The random searches aren't without precedent, of course. In Boston, they randomly searched people entering the subways during the Democratic national convention last year, following the Madrid subway bombings. In New York, we had random searches of vehicles entering the city by bridge and tunnel. Ever since the authorities discovered five-year-old surveillance of Citigroup Center by suspected terrorists, most large office buildings now x-ray bags at the entrance. Now the London bombings have made subway security the flavor of the month, so it's down with the 4th Amendment on trains and buses. The terrorists must amuse themselves watching our protectors flit from trend to trend in order to make uus feel safer.
It's a wonder the terrorists don't leak plans to hide high-powered explosives in their rectal cavities, just to watch the sheeple willingly submit to random anal probes. I guarantee you one such incident of a Mad Butt Bomber, and you would see cops with a rubber glove on one hand and a tube of K-Y in the other on every street corner.
Yes, the threat of another terrorist attack is real. When you build an empire that puts military bases in 170 countries around the world and routinely invade sovereign nations and kill the locals by the thousands, you tend to make a few enemies. (oh, he's blaming America." No, I'm blaming our stupid-ass government.) While the likelihood of any one of us being in the next exploding subway car is remote even here in NYC any loss of innocent life is deplorable, and we should seek to prevent it. But it's important to keep in mind that these searches do _nothing_ but comfort the stupid. Approximately 4.7 million people ride the subways each day, entering 468 different subway stations, many of which have up to six entry points. There are about 40,000 cops. Do the math.
LPNY Vice Chair Blay Tarnoff puts it into even better perspective: Iraq is under military rule. Anybody's bag, clothing, or body cavities can be searched at any time for any reason or no reason at all. Terrorist-style bombs are nevertheless going off every day, killing all sorts of people, including the most heavily armed and technologically advanced and highly trained soldiers in the world... Given all that, how intrusive will searches have to be to be effective in New York City?
Take your time.
What I find hilarious is that whenever the news reports do get around to mentioning civil liberties concerns in the 7th or 8th paragraph, it's always some ACLU talking head or other liberal weenie fretting that the searches could lead to racial profiling. Yes, god forbid they focus on people who look like they might actually be terrorists. Nobody _ever_ gets down to the fundamental 4th Amendment issue of unreasonable searches or the presumption of innocence. The standard now is that civil liberties violations are fine as long as they are done consistently and "fairly".
demons??? she is probably schizophrenic if she is hearing voices. the lithium carbonate works much better at curing schizophrenic then exorcisms.
A woman possessed?
By Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
July 23, 2005
Shirley Wallace believes as many as 10 demons have possessed her in the past 23 years. "A lot of evil spirits have left," says the devout lifelong Phoenix Catholic, but she thinks two demons still rampage inside her.
They have distinctly different voices, she explains.
"It’s like there’s a monster inside you from hell," says the 43-year-old mother of four. "It’s a type of suffering I can’t put into words, but it’s like a natural suffering — something hellish." She believes she was first cursed by a witch from Mesa in 1982 in connection with both of them dating the same man.
"Nothing ever happened to me before that — nothing strange," she says.
Since 1991, four parish priests have performed "minor exorcisms," also called the prayer of liberation, to give her some relief. Wallace estimates she has had about 30 of those sacred procedures performed, with friends and family members on hand to give her prayer support and to hold her down as she writhes, screams and curses at her demons.
But Wallace sorely desired the official Rite of Exorcism (Ritus Exorcisimi Maioris), formalized in 1614 but revised by Pope John Paul II in 1998.
After years of asking the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix for that rite and being denied, Wallace finally found a change of heart with the departure of Bishop Thomas O’Brien in 2003 and arrival of Archbishop Michael Sheehan as interim diocesan head, then the permanent replacement, Bishop Thomas Olmsted.
In January, Olmsted authorized an exorcist from North Dakota to meet with Wallace for what what she expected would be an exorcism. Monsignor John Esseff traveled to Phoenix and met her April 19 in the sacristy at St. Catherine of Siena Church in south Phoenix. Ceremonies themselves lasted scarcely 15 minutes, without a "hail Mary" said or holy water sprinkled, Wallace laments.
The whole encounter with Esseff and a woman assistant took less than 90 minutes, she says. She says it turned out to be little more than a casual conversation with the exorcist talking from a three-ring binder and conferring a few blessings, then asking her, "Well, how do you feel?" when it was over.
"Nothing happened! Was that the exorcism?" Wallace pressed him.
Esseff met the next day with Olmsted and told him that Wallace did not need his help. "In his judgment, you do not have need of an exorcism because you are not suffering from demonic possession," Olmsted wrote Wallace on April 29. "He does, however, recommend regular spiritual direction from a seasoned spiritual director and regular reception of the Sacrament of Penance from a discerning confessor who can assist you in uncovering whatever might keep you from freely knowing and doing God’s will."
"Absurd," says Mary Langlois, a close friend and Catholic who was on hand that day as she has been for all of Wallace’s minor exorcisms dating back to 1991. "It was absolutely ridiculous. It was pure psychobabble." At one point the assistant closed her eyes for 30 seconds, then announced that Wallace was beset by six generations of sexual violence.
When the exorcist asked Langlois why she was there, she told him that she helped restrain Wallace when she became violent during minor exorcisms.
"We’ll have none of that — no exhibitionism," the monsignor responded.
Langlois says she first accompanied Wallace to Bullhead City 14 years ago for the first minor exorcism with the late Rev. Dominic Candappa, who later was assigned to Sun City and then held sessions with her more often.
A pattern of behavior can be witnessed during the minor exorcisms, Langlois says. "She will start with a twisting of her hand, as if she has a rosary or something," she says.
Wallace will groan, then partway through a series of prayers, her entire body trembles and shakes and her arms and legs flail. "It takes three or four of us to restrain her. She kicks, she bites, she cries, she attacks the priest, she will break the crucifix," says Langlois.
"The last one we did was surprising because she will usually do the writhing or that trembling first, but this time, she went into full outbursts. We have even knocked portable pews over," says Langlois, who explains she has come to recognize when the "evil spirits" back off and "when she is back to herself."
Wallace says she has been treated for depression and has submitted herself to psychiatric evaluations at the request of the diocese in preparation for an exorcism.
She offered a 2001 letter to the diocese from clinical psychologist Bente Tingulstad of Tempe, who had nine sessions with Wallace over six months that year. She says Wallace’s marital, social and family lives showed no problems, her children were well-behaved and she got along well with extended family. Tingulstad says Wallace believed she was possessed by evil spirits that manifested themselves especially when she was near a church or other holy places, such as at San Xavier Mission near Tucson when she was "standing near the old burial site of two Catholic priests in a side chapel." He recommended an exorcism and concluded that "ordinary psychological and psychiatric treatment is clearly not sufficient to help her."
The Rev. Michael Diskin, assistant chancellor of the diocese, says Esseff’s decision to not perform an exorcism must be accepted because he "has much more expertise in this area than anyone in the diocese. It was his conclusion that Ms. Wallace is not suffering from demonic possession."
"We are talking about a very sensitive subject when we are dealing with the possibility of possession," Diskin says. He says he is concerned that others with psychiatric and emotional conditions might see Wallace’s story and falsely attribute their problems to an outside agency like the devil. For that reason, he says, granting formal exorcisms must be "guarded."
Diskin says non-Catholics could also misunderstand what exorcisms are, and rather than turn to their own pastors for spiritual help, they might go to a priest "for a magical cure" for matters that require professional help. Besides, he says, because they are not Catholic, they could not get the regular benefits of the Catholic Church.
While in her 20s, Wallace says she explored medical avenues and took antibiotics for infections believed to be a cause but found little relief. "I would see white, spiritlike things flying around the ceiling of my room at night," she says. "I would see shadows moving. I really had a strong feeling that there was something inside me, really evil, and I was losing weight."
Wallace tells stories about amorphous shapes floating in her room, an inability to move from her bed in the morning, times when she felt a creature was on her back or something putting arms around her middle and squeezing. "I do hear the evil spirits’ voices from time to time," she says. "I feel their presence still over me. There is physical pain and illness during the Mass. It is very hard to pray.
"I am not pointing at the bishop," Wallace says, "but I don’t think he understands what I go through."
Contact Lawn Griffiths by email, or phone (480) 898-6522
Looks like the London police screwed up badly and killed this guy because they thought he was a terrorists with a bomb. Opps!!!! he didn't have a bomb and wasnt a terrorist.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BRITAIN_UNDERGROUND?SITE=AZMES&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULTJul 23, 2:15 PM EDT
UK Police: Man Killed Unrelated to Probe
By JILL LAWLESS
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) -- The man shot and killed on a subway car by London police in front of horrified commuters had nothing to do with this month's bombings on the city's transit system, police said Saturday in expressing their regrets.
A day earlier, the police commissioner said the man was "directly linked" to Thursday's attacks, in which bombs on three subway trains and a bus failed to detonate properly. No one was injured.
"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets," a police spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.
The man, whose identity has not been released, was shot Friday at a subway station in the south London neighborhood of Stockwell. Witnesses said the man appeared to be South Asian and was wearing a heavy padded coat when police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him in the head and torso.
A police spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity that the man was unconnected to Thursday's incidents, in which bombs placed on three subway cars and a double-decker bus failed to detonate properly.
Later, a Metropolitan Police official said on condition of anonymity that the man was "not believed to be connected in any way to any of the London bombings." The official requested anonymity because no official announcement had been made concerning a link to the July 7 attacks that killed 56 people, including four attackers.
Hours after the man was killed, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said the shooting was "directly linked" to the investigations.
"The man who was shot was under police observation because he had emerged from a house that was itself under observation because it was linked to the investigation of yesterday's incidents," police said Friday.
"He was then followed by surveillance officers to the station. His clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions."
Police investigating Thursday's attacks also said Saturday they had arrested a second man in the same south London neighborhood where the shooting occurred and another person was detained.
Thousands of officers fanned out in a huge manhunt amid hopes the publication of images of four suspected attackers would lead to their capture.
Security alerts kept the city of about 8 million on edge. Police briefly evacuated east London's Mile End subway station in one such incident and one witness reported the smell of something burning. Service was suspended on parts of two subway lines, but police said later the incident "turned out to be nothing."
The mourning continued, with hundreds packing Westminster Cathedral for the funeral Mass of Anthony Fatayi-Williams, a 26-year-old who was among the 52 people killed by four suicide bombers in the first wave of attacks on July 7.
"These present atrocities and Anthony's death have raised great emotions in us," Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster Alan Hopes told mourners. "We are angry, we are appalled and we are grieving. But as Christians we cannot yield to bitterness, we cannot yield to thoughts of revenge."
The Metropolitan Police said the second arrest late Friday was "in connection with our inquiries" into Thursday's attacks. The first suspect, whose identity also has not been released, was being questioned at a high-security London police station.
Police would not say whether the men arrested were among the four suspected of carrying bombs onto three subway trains and a bus Thursday. The bombs failed to detonate properly and no one was injured in the attacks, which echoed the much deadlier blasts two weeks earlier.
Police said they had a good response to Friday's release of the photos, taken from the British capital's ubiquitous closed-circuit surveillance cameras, which have proved a boon for investigators.
The closed-circuit TV images of the suspects stared from the front pages of British newspapers Saturday.
"Faces of the four bombers," said the Daily Telegraph.
"The Fugitives" said The Times.
The Daily Mail labeled them "Human Bombs."
One image shows a stocky man in a "New York" sweatshirt running through a station. Another depicts a man in a white baseball cap and a T-shirt adorned with palm trees. Two others are in dark clothes, slightly obscured by a poor camera angle.
A statement posted Friday on an Islamic Web site in the name of an al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks.
Authorities, however, were skeptical. The group, Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades, has also claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings - as it did for the 2003 New York City blackout and many other events.
These have been days of high tension, disruption and fear on the London Underground. The union for subway and bus drivers said workers would be justified in staying away from work if the government fails to take more precautions to make the operators safe.
"I think they're going to strike again," commuter Warren West, 27, said of the bombers. "I think they're doing to London what's happening in Iraq."
Heavily armed officers patrolled with clear instructions to stop suicide bombers - if necessary, with a shot to the head.
"If you are dealing with someone who might be a suicide bomber, if they remain conscious, they could trigger plastic explosives or whatever device is on them," Mayor Ken Livingstone. "Therefore, overwhelmingly in these circumstances, it is going to be a shoot-to-kill policy."
Another Larry Naman clone??? But it looks like he did intent to kill Bush!
Jul 23, 10:43 AM EDT
Suspect Explains Attempt to Attack Bush
By MISHA DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI
Associated Press Writer
TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- A man who confessed to throwing a live grenade toward President Bush during a rally in Georgia intended its shrapnel to hit the area where the president and others were standing, the suspect said video footage broadcast Saturday.
"I threw the grenade, not directly at where there was bulletproof glass, but toward the heads ... so that the shrapnel would fly behind the bulletproof glass, you understand?" Vladimir Arutyunian said.
Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were on a podium protected with bulletproof glass at a massive rally in Tbilisi in May when the grenade was thrown and landed about 100 feet away. It did not explode and investigators later said its activation device apparently had malfunctioned.
The footage showing Arutyunian, who was arrested Wednesday after a shootout that left one policeman dead, was broadcast by Georgia's Rustavi-2 television. The station said it had been provided by the Interior Ministry.
Arutyunian, 27, has been charged with murder in the policeman's death, but no charges have been filed in connection with the May grenade incident, to which he previously confessed.
Arutyunian was wounded during the shootout and has been in a hospital since his arrest.
Investigators were still searching for a motive in the case.
The Interior Ministry said Friday that Arutyunian was believed to have been a member of the Agordzineba party, which supported the leader of a region largely outside central government control.
Aslan Abashidze, leader of the Adzharia region, fled to Russia last year amid rising street protests against his authoritarian rule.
The unrest erupted after Abashidze destroyed bridges linking Adzharia with the rest of Georgia and claimed that Saakashvili was preparing a military invasion.
still sounds like pork to me!!
Jul 23, 12:28 AM EDT
Marine Corps excited about future of the Osprey
By ESTES THOMPSON
Associated Press Writer
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (AP) -- Before the power really kicks in, before the funky-looking aircraft with the comically huge propellers heads off to deliver its cargo of battle-ready Marines, it pops off the ground like any other helicopter.
But then the engines start to turn forward, and what just looked like a helicopter is suddenly flying like an airplane - further and faster and with more on board than the chopper it's designed to replace.
"This airplane will totally change the way we do business," said Lt. Gen. Mike Hough, the Corps' chief of aviation.
By the end of 2000, it appeared the MV-22 Osprey - a unique tilt-rotor aircraft - might not get the chance. The program was suspended for 17 months following a pair of crashes that killed 23 Marines.
But the Osprey, once a target of Pentagon budget cutters and critics concerned about its safety, has emerged from exhaustive testing as an aircraft that Marine Corps officials excitedly endorse as safe to fly and eager to fight.
The next step is getting Congress to sign off on a $50.5 billion program the Corps hopes will have the Osprey carrying troops into battle as soon as 2007.
Hough acknowledges it might also take some time to gain confidence among "the grunts" - the Marine infantry troops the Osprey will carry into battle. They're used to the helicopter the Osprey is designed to replace, the Vietnam-era CH-46 Sea Knight.
"It's something new to them," 1st Lt. Paul Tremblay, 27, a platoon commander at nearby Camp Lejeune. But he added there are reasons to embrace the new ride. "It has less vibration. When it transitions to airplane mode, it is incredibly smooth."
There are also sure to be lingering questions among the rank and file about the aircraft's history. After an April 2000 crash in Arizona that killed all 19 Marines aboard, both the victim's families and some in Congress wondered openly if the aircraft was safe.
A second Osprey crashed later that year near Camp Lejeune, killing four Marines, including the Corps' most experienced Osprey pilot. The second tragedy caused the Pentagon to ground the Osprey and delay a decision on whether to begin full-scale production.
An investigation found several Marine officers aided a plan to exaggerate the readiness of the aircraft by doctoring maintenance records. However, the Pentagon concluded that played no role in the two fatal crashes.
The Marine Corps turned evaluation of the aircraft over to a special squadron based in North Carolina that reported to a Navy admiral. Its job, Hough said, was to "to prove to the public that their sons and daughters are safe flying this airplane."
"It was the right thing to do," Hough said. "Stop everything. Step back (and) prove to people who are legitimate critics that this is the right airplane. This has proven to be an exquisite machine."
Loren Thompson, a military analyst with the Lexington Institute, a think tank in Arlington, Va., said the Marine Corps has done so much testing that the Osprey is now the "most thoroughly tested new aircraft in Marine Corps history ... tests show it is actually safer than a conventional helicopter."
The Corps hopes to replace its current fleet of Sea Knights with Ospreys, which now cost $71 million each.
First introduced in 1964, the Sea Knight has a one-way range of less than 100 miles and can't take off with a full load, according to Marine officials. By comparison, the Osprey can fly 350 to 400 miles between refueling, at higher speeds and with a bigger payload than the Sea Knight.
That, Hough said, will win friends among the troops.
"Speed is life," he said. "Response time is key to anything when you're in dire straits."
Col. Glenn Walters, commander of the Marine's Osprey test squadron, said the aircraft's range is as much a weapon as the armed troops it carries.
"If you have the capability to move troops great distances, you pose a problem to the enemy that will have to defend great distances," he said. "That waters down their defense."
The aircraft is quieter than the helicopter it aims to replace, and makes for a harder target because its engines are 50 feet apart at the ends of its wings - the twin-rotor Sea Knight's engines are located together, making them easier to attack, Walters said.
There are other advantages, Marine officials argue. The Osprey can taxi on board amphibious ships that haul Marines from port to port; helicopters have to be moved, Walters said. During testing in desert conditions, the Osprey had few of the problems faced by helicopter pilots in the thick dust clouds they've encountered in Iraq. It takes much less time to maintain an Osprey than a Sea Knight.
Osprey pilots have also figured out the flight condition that led to the second crash in 2000. Called "vortex ring state," it causes the Osprey to lost lift; though it cannot be fixed, pilots can be trained to avoid it, said defense analyst John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org.
"The proof in the pudding is they haven't crashed recently," Pike said.
At top production, contractors Boeing Co. and Bell Helicopter Textron can build about 48 Ospreys a year, and officials expect the cost to then drop to $48 million each. Congress has yet to approve building the 360 Ospreys requested by the Corps or the 50 sought by the Air Force for its special operations forces. However, the Marines are already training pilots and ground crews.
"The confidence is very high," Hough said. "We've got fixed-wing pilots who are volunteering to fly this thing."
On the Net:
Marine Corps Air Station New River: http://www.newriver.usmc.mil/
london cops shot the man in the head because they thought he was a sucide bomber with a bomb on his chest. they now admit opps we killed the wrong guy. but they defend the shoot to kill policy.
The man shot Friday ... Witnesses said he
was wearing a heavy, padded coat when
plainclothes police chased him into a
subway car, pinned him to the ground and
shot him five times in the head and torso
in front of horrified passengers.
Blair initially said Menezes was
"directly linked" to the investigation
of Thursday's attacks, but police then
said Saturday he had no connection to
the bomb attempts.
"This is a tragedy," Blair said Sunday
of the shooting. "The Metropolitan
Police accepts full responsibility for
this. To the family I can only express
my deep regrets."
He also defended the shoot-to-kill
policy, ... "The only way to deal with
this is to shoot to the head," Blair
said. "There is no point in shooting at
someone's chest because that is where the
bomb is likely to be."
"It's only a shoot-to-kill-in-order-to-
protect policy." [ask the guy the cops
shot in head an killed if he felt protected]
Jul 24, 2:41 PM EDT
Police arrest third London blasts suspect
By MICHAEL McDONOUGH
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) -- London's police commissioner expressed regret Sunday for the slaying of a Brazilian electrician by officers who mistook him for a suspect in the recent terror bombings, but he defended a police shoot-to-kill policy as "the only way" to stop would-be suicide bombers. Police arrested a third man in the same south London area where two men previously were detained and in the same neighborhood where the man killed by police had lived.
The man was arrested late Saturday "on suspicion of the commission, investigation or preparation of acts of terrorism," a police spokeswoman said on customary condition of anonymity. The man was taken to a central London police station for further questioning, the spokeswoman said.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said earlier there were similarities between the explosives used in Thursday's failed bomb attacks and those detonated July 7. But he said investigators still had no proof the two strikes were linked.
"The equipment in the bombs had all the elements that it should have but it didn't work," Blair told Sky News TV, referring to the explosives that failed to detonate properly Thursday on three subway cars and a double-decker bus.
"It had some similarities" to the devices used in the July 7 bombings on three subway trains and a double-decker bus, killing 56 people, including four suicide attackers.
When asked if Thursday's attacks were connected to those of July 7, Blair replied, "We have no proof that they are linked but clearly there is a pattern here."
Two of the suspected July 7 bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer, went whitewater rafting in Wales three days before the attacks, according to the National Whitewater Centre.
Police refused to comment on a British Broadcasting Corp. report, attributed to unidentified officials, that said authorities were examining whether those involved in Thursday's attacks were on the same trip.
London Police Chief Defends Deadly Force
Police have made two arrests after Thursday's botched attacks. Officers have not released the identities of those detained.
But Blair added that officers were "still anxious for any sighting of the four individuals" who carried out Thursday's strikes. Closed-circuit TV stills of the suspects were made public last week.
Police carried out several controlled explosions to dispose of a suspect package found in northwest London, which they said may have been linked to devices used in the botched July 21 attacks. They refused to elaborate.
The man shot Friday at the Stockwell subway station was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him five times in the head and torso in front of horrified passengers.
Blair initially said Menezes was "directly linked" to the investigation of Thursday's attacks, but police then said Saturday he had no connection to the bomb attempts.
"This is a tragedy," Blair said Sunday of the shooting. "The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets."
He also defended the shoot-to-kill policy, saying such action only applied when lives were believed to be at risk.
"I am very aware that minority communities are talking about a shoot-to-kill policy," he said. "It's only a shoot-to-kill-in-order-to-protect policy."
Blair said British police have drawn from the experiences of other countries, including Sri Lanka, that have dealt with suicide attackers.
"The only way to deal with this is to shoot to the head," Blair said. "There is no point in shooting at someone's chest because that is where the bomb is likely to be."
Blair spoke of the problem his officers faced.
"What we have got to recognize is that people are taking incredibly difficult fast-time decisions in life-threatening situations," he said. "What's most important to recognize is that it's still happening out there. There are still officers out there having to make those calls as we speak."
Police said Menezes attracted police attention because he left a building that was under surveillance after Thursday's attacks. They said he was then followed by surveillance officers to the station, and his clothing and behavior at the station added to their suspicions. Menezes was wearing a heavy coat while temperatures were in the 70s.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, who was visiting London, said his government and people were "shocked" by the killing, and he demanded a thorough investigation.
"We cannot recover the life of the Brazilian citizen who died but it is very important to know all the details," Amorim said after meeting with a British official.
He said Foreign Secretary Jack Straw expressed his deepest regrets in a telephone conversation.
Amorim told Straw that Brazil was in total solidarity with Britain in the fight against terrorism, "but of course even in the fight against terrorism we should also be cautious to avoid the loss of innocent life."
Menezes was originally from the small city of Gonzaga, some 500 miles northeast of Sao Paulo. Local authorities said he was Catholic.
Menezes was an electrician who had worked in Britain for three years, said his cousin, Alex Pereira, who also lives in London.
"He was a 100 percent good guy who never did anything wrong and had no reason to run," Pereira said. "I don't think he ran from police. I don't think he would do that. They can't show anything that shows that he had."
The shooting was an indication of the anxiety in the city of about 8 million people. A police watchdog organization, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said it would investigate the shooting but make sure not to hinder the bombings probe.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, said such an investigation was critical for reassuring the public.
"It's incredibly important that society remains united at such a tense time, it's very important that young Asian men don't feel that there is some kind of trigger-happy culture out there," Chakrabarti said.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said, "It's absolutely vital that the utmost care is taken to ensure that innocent people are not killed due to overzealousness."
even illegal aliens or fugitives with out any stinking id can buy homes. it is as easy as 1, 2, 3
Banks help undocumented migrants buy homes
Companies tap into new market
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
Undocumented immigrants now have a legal way of getting a home mortgage to buy into the American dream.
All they need is an individual taxpayer identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service, a steady income for at least two years and a good credit rating.
Dozens of Valley immigrants already have been approved for these loans, often for up to $150,000. Their biggest challenge isn't proving a steady income, but rather finding an affordable existing home in the Valley, where the median value is teetering on $250,000.
At least two out-of-state banks are offering these mortgages in Phoenix's market. Others are likely to follow as they try to tap into an estimated $44 billion potential market, according to a recent report by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
The availability of these mortgages illustrates the growing interest by companies to tap into the immigrant market, including the estimated 11 million who are undocumented, to grow sales, said Derene Allen, a senior vice president at Santiago Solutions Group's office in San Francisco. Despite the furor over illegal immigration, companies can't ignore the potential of growing loyal, lifelong customers, she said.
That's why grocery stores, clothing and furniture retailers, auto dealers and cellphone providers are making pitches in Spanish and hiring bilingual employees. But they also are stocking shelves with familiar food items from home, promoting in-store credit to folks who can't get traditional credit, translating menus and signs and opening accounts by accepting matricula consular cards, which are identification cards issued by the Mexican Consulate.
Banco Popular North America, based in New York, began offering the home loans about three months ago through a few mortgage brokers. Earlier this month, Alabama-based New South Federal Savings Bank's office in Mesa rolled out a similar program named La Ventana de Prosperida, the window of opportunity.
"It's a market that has wrongfully been ignored for a long time," said Chan Peterson, executive vice president and head of community banking for Banco Popular in Chicago. "There is a huge untapped reservoir of opportunity (with the immigrant market) here."
Only scattered opposition has been directed to some of these lenders, primarily from illegal-immigration critics. No federal or Arizona laws prohibit such mortgages.
But state Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said he plans to introduce legislation to stop these mortgages.
"You've got to stop these rewards for people coming to this country illegally," he said.
The availability of loans is helping immigrants such as Emma and Sergio Zarate, who arrived in Arizona five years ago, build financial wealth.
The Zarates just began looking for a home after learning they could get a mortgage so long as they had an individual taxpayer identification number, which they received years ago to pay taxes.
"In renting, you can't save. You just pay,"' Emma said. "You don't receive anything."
Right now, they rent a one-bedroom apartment for $550 a month with Sergio's restaurant salary, but they hope to find a home for $140,000 to $170,000 that is big enough for their two young children to play, she said.
Jose Balderas, a chef who came to the Valley from Mexico eight years ago, also feels blessed that he can build a future.
"I came here with a plan to earn money to send back to (family in) Mexico," he said. "I never thought I would stay and buy a house. I just thought I'd save money to live a bit better."
But his family joined him, so it made sense to buy a home. He and his son combined their incomes to purchase a $170,000 home last month.
Big banks weigh risks
Larger banks are still on the sidelines. Wells Fargo, which has gone after business with new immigrants, is still examining the financial risks of making such loans. Others, such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, are waiting to see if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will step up and buy these loans on the secondary market.
Another issue: finding mortgage insurance companies willing to write policies. That means buyers have to come up with 20 percent down or a bank assumes the additional risk of a lower down payment.
Wisconsin-based MGIC Investment Corp., a leading national mortgage insurance issuer, is thought to be the first company offering mortgage insurance on these loans. Michael Zimmerman, vice president of investor relations for MGIC, said the company began insuring these mortgages on a pilot basis about a year ago in response to demand. Still, these policies make up just $25 million of the $62 billion on the books for the 12-month period ending March 31.
Banks have no obligation to check immigration status, said David Barr, spokesman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in Washington, D.C.
"Why assume this person is not here legally?" he said.
But under the Patriot Act, consumers must have acceptable forms of identification to open an account. Allowable identification includes matricula cards.
Banco Popular's Peterson is unsure how many of the ITIN loans are to undocumented workers and how many are to immigrants with work visas who also don't have Social Security numbers.
He said his bank's product is aimed at immigrants who don't have a Social Security number.
IRS Commissioner Mark Everson told a House Ways and Means subcommittee last year that he is concerned the ITIN had become an acceptable form of identification similar to a Social Security number. However, he pointed out that the IRS has no authority to prevent others from using ITINs for non-tax purposes, nor does it enforce immigration laws.
Companies marketing in Spanish to reach predominantly Spanish speakers don't bother Rusty Childress, owner of Childress Auto Mall and a co-author of the anti-illegal-immigration Proposition 200. The voter-approved measure is designed to combat voting fraud, particularly among undocumented immigrants, and save the state millions annually by denying benefits to people in the country illegally.
Although he advertises in Spanish, he thinks taking another step to go after business with undocumented workers in essence supports illegal immigration.
"The laws on the books say it's illegal to violate our federal immigration laws, (but) on the other hand both business and government look the other way once (immigrants) cross (the border)," Childress said.
Financial institutions started to tap into the undocumented-immigrant market a few years ago by opening checking and savings accounts using matricula cards and offering money-wiring services. A few community banks have gone a step further in offering loans and mortgages.
Chicanos Por La Causa Federal Credit Union in Phoenix, for example, offers signature and car loans with an ITIN rather than a Social Security number. Because there is no Social Security number for a credit check, the credit union looks at rent and utility payment histories.
The credit union is looking to offer a home-equity line using ITINs in the fall, said Miguel Avila, chief executive officer of CPLC credit union. He expects more financial institutions to follow with similar loans.
"They see the kind of money they can make," said Avila, who estimates about 25 to 30 percent of the credit union's loan portfolio used ITINs.
Step toward acculturation
Peterson said Banco Popular has been making the mortgage loans to immigrants in Texas for about seven years with no hitches. Most are loans of $80,000 to $130,000. He estimates the Arizona portfolio is valued at $2 million to $3 million.
"They perform as well as other loans," he said. "To this particular borrower, a house is a huge accomplishment in acculturation. . . . They hold the home pretty dear."
New South Federal's Arizona office referred calls about its program to the Alabama office, which did not return calls.
The bank, whose program initially was called Casa Mia, told BusinessWeek that it had received negative calls and e-mail about its 20-year mortgage product aimed at immigrants.
Jim McGuire, president of AmeriCasa Mortgage, is concerned about similar negatives. His company has brokered about 10 ITIN loans through Banco Popular.
"We might be putting ourselves in the bull's eye of the anti-immigration folks, but AmeriCasa is committed to helping this underserved market," he said. "By bringing new immigrants into the credit system, we could create a huge economic boom for Arizona."
The loans aimed at immigrants generally don't include mortgage insurance costs and tend to charge a slightly higher interest rate than market because of the added risk involved, said Rogelio Inzunza, manager of CPLC Mortgage, which has brokered about 30 of these ITIN home loans through Banco Popular. But that isn't a deal killer because the rate can be as low as 7.25 percent, he said. These loans also call for at least a 5 percent down payment and closing costs. But that's usually not a problem, either.
"Everyone has their mattress money," Inzunza said. "Finding a home is the problem."
Most applicants are qualifying for homes under $150,000. But the median price for a resale home in the Valley is now just shy of $250,000.
Instability a worry
Immigration attorney Marshall Whitehead sees these loans as helping credit-worthy immigrants. But he also worries about the potential for problems.
"If you were in the lending business, would you feel fairly secure about lending to people whose future in this country is unstable?" Whitehead asked. One possibility is defaults on loans. Another is unscrupulous lenders coming in, seeking a hot real estate market and hoping undocumented buyers can't make the payments so that the lenders then can flip the homes for a nice profit, he said. Whitehead said if lenders really wanted to make a go of this market, they would be vocally supporting a guest-worker program. With permits for work in the United States, that would lessen the risk of the worker losing the home because he or she was deported and defaulted on the payments.
"We're talking about a huge segment of the market that has previously been untapped," he said.
But the ability to buy a home is nothing new for undocumented immigrants, nor has been the possibility of getting ripped off, said Edmundo Hidalgo, chief operating officer of Chicanos Por La Causa.
For years, immigrants have bought homes via contracts to purchase, which also are known as contracts for deed or carrybacks. In essence, the seller is willing to finance the home and doesn't generally give title to the buyer before the loan is paid off.
The option, however, has long been a gamble for the buyer, who risks not getting the title once it is paid off.
"At times the seller is not on the up and up," Hidalgo said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-4842.
Accused priest battles extradition
By Gary Grado, Tribune
July 24, 2005
Arizona doesn’t meet Ireland’s standards of justice, say lawyers fighting the extradition of a former Scottsdale priest who stands accused of molesting an altar boy.
They contend that if Patrick Colleary is returned to Maricopa County, then he would be subject to no bail, defending himself in an antiquated case and harsh jail conditions, all of which are unfair in Ireland, states an April 16 written submission to Ireland’s High Court.
Ireland cannot force its citizens to stand trial in a country whose laws wouldn’t be tolerated under the Irish Constitution, the document states.
A judge is scheduled to issue a ruling Wednesday, said Robert Eagar, one of Colleary’s Dublin lawyers.
Colleary, former associate pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, moved to his native country in 2003 before a grand jury returned an indictment alleging he sexually abused a boy in 1978 at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tempe.
Colleary is one of three priests living abroad who were indicted after a yearlong investigation into sexual misconduct at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.
His extradition made international headlines in May after it was stalled because Irish authorities expressed their concerns to the U.S. government about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio marching 700 inmates in only their pink underwear during a transfer from an old jail to a new one.
Arpaio said Friday that inmates were marched in their underwear as a security precaution and he plans to do the same in future transfers.
Colleary’s attorneys said they believe Arpaio simply wants to degrade the inmates.
"The sexual connotations of dressing charged or convicted male sex offenders in pink underwear are too obvious to need stating," said the Irish court document, obtained from Eagar.
Arpaio pointed out that all inmates, including women, wear pink.
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas promised Irish authorities that he would try to have Colleary incarcerated in a federal prison rather than county jail pending trial.
Lawyers argue that Colleary could never get a fair trial because the case is so old.
Colleary’s representatives also are taking issue with Arizona’s law that allows for judges to hold a person without bail in certain cases, including sex offenses, if the "proof is evident or the presumption great" that the person is guilty.
"It is submitted that this is an unprecedented breach of the rights of an accused person and that it would be a breach of the applicant’s constitutional rights to return him to face such a regime," the document states.
Colleary was jailed without bail for five weeks after his Dec. 4, 2002, arrest on charges of child molestation, which stemmed from a different altar boy, but also allegedly committed in 1978 at Holy Spirit.
Those charges were dropped because of the statute of limitations. The case was originally turned down for prosecution in 1978 because Colleary’s actions were "insufficient to show intent in an assault or other crime," according the sheriff’s report at that time.
The statute of limitations has not run out on the current case because the alleged incident was not reported until 2002. The statute of limitations clock begins ticking when an alleged incident is reported, not when it occurs.
The county attorney’s office has filed several affidavits in the extradition case to counter Colleary’s arguments, but those documents weren’t immediately available.
Contact Gary Grado by email, or phone (602) 258-1746
i talked to susan sackett at the hsgp meeting. she apparently subscribes to the azsecularhumanists listserver. she told me from what she has read on it in the posts about you that she thinks you are reallying having your civil rights violated by the secret service and phoenix police. she really feels bad about how they are treating you and agrees that you are being framed.
July 24, 2005
Police shot wrong man
Jonathan Calvert and David Leppard
Suspect was innocent Brazilian electrician
SCOTLAND YARD was forced to admit last night that a man shot five times from close range by police officers was not connected to Thursday’s London terror attacks.
In a short statement the Metropolitan police described the man’s death as a tragedy and expressed “regret”. He was named as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old electrician from Brazil who had been working legally in Britain for three years. It is believed he lived with relatives in Brixton, south London.
The killing of an apparently innocent man will be a serious setback in what is already a difficult inquiry. As well as pursuing the attempted bombers, police and intelligence services disclosed yesterday that they were hunting up to 30 people thought to have assisted the two terror attacks in London in recent weeks.
It has also been disclosed that MI5 has warned Tony Blair that the threat from Al-Qaeda, with the possibility of more suicide attacks, is likely to continue for at least five years.
Witnesses to the killing of Menezes described how he was chased into Stockwell Tube station on Friday morning by armed plainclothes officers and killed with shots to the head while lying on the floor of a train.
The officers are thought to have feared that Menezes, who was wearing a quilted jacket on a summer’s day, might have been concealing a bomb. No explosives were found on him.
Within hours of the shooting, however, senior officers were saying they were “very confident” the man had been one of the four bombers who attempted to set off explosives in London on Thursday.
Then, as it emerged that the Brazilian was not one of the four, officers suggested he was still linked to the bombings.
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, said on Friday the shooting was “directly linked” to anti-terror operations. Even yesterday, hours before Menezes’s identity was confirmed, security sources said he had been known to police from a recent counter-terrorist investigation.
It now appears to be a case of mistaken identity. The body of the electrician, originally from a town north of Rio de Janeiro, was identified by his cousin in Britain, Alex Alves Pereira.
Last night Pereira said: “What can the police say? They will try to justify this but there’s no way. My cousin’s body had his head blown apart with bullets in the back of the head.”
He added: “Jean came from a tight-knit family. We are all absolutely devastated.”
Last night police confirmed Menezes’s identity. A statement earlier in the day had said: “ We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday, July 21, 2005. For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan police service regrets.”
The Brazilian government said it was “shocked and perplexed” at the killing and expected a full explanation.
Menezes was followed by officers on Friday morning after leaving a block of flats that had been under surveillance in Tulse Hill, south London. The officers were under the control of Gold Command, Scotland Yard’s major incident centre.
Originally, police had said the man walked from a property in Stockwell to the local Tube station. But later the statement was changed to say he had been under surveillance during a three-mile bus journey from his home to the station.
“They picked him up hoping that he would take them to other people. But as soon as he was seen going towards the Tube they had to take action,” a police source said.
The armed officers intervened as Menezes entered Stockwell station. Witnesses there say he bolted, leaping over the ticket barrier and running down the escalator, pursued by the plainclothes officers.
Mark Whitby, who was on the train, said: “As the man
got on the train I looked at his face. He looked like a cornered rabbit. He looked absolutely petrified.”
Whitby said Menezes tripped or was pushed to the floor. “One of the police officers was holding a black automatic pistol in his left hand. They held it down to him and unloaded five shots into him.”
It is not clear why Menezes, who was described as light-skinned, ran from the officers. Gesio de Avila, a friend, last night told how Menezes had been planning to buy a motorbike because of all the disruption to public transport. He added that he did not believe understanding police instructions would have been a problem for Menezes.
“He had good English, better than mine,” said Avila. “The police stopped him sometimes, because he used the Underground every day, and asked him some things, and every time they would tell him ‘thank you’, and ‘sorry for stopping you’.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed it will launch an investigation into the death. The police said an inquest would be opened and adjourned.
The shooting of an apparently innocent man will cause major disquiet both in the Muslim community and in SO19, the elite firearms unit involved in hunting the suicide bombers.
Two firearms officers are facing a murder investigation after being accused over the shooting of Harry Stanley in 1999. Stanley was shot by SO19 after he was seen carrying what officers judged to be a weapon but was in fact a table leg.
The case has sparked anger among the officers’ colleagues who believe they have been made scapegoats.
Friday’s shooting had inflamed tensions in the Islamic community because it was at first thought the victim was Asian. Baroness Uddin, a Labour Asian peer, said: “There is so much scepticism out there because I think while people like myself might have known about the shoot to kill policy, is it not known out there?”
The Met issued new guidance to firearms officers after 9/11, directing them to shoot a suspected suicide bomber in the head to prevent him detonating any explosive.
Writing in today’s News of the World, Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police commissioner, defended what he described as the “shoot to kill to protect” policy to save innocent lives in a “time of unique evil”. He added: “I have no doubt that now, more than ever, the principle is right despite the chance, tragically, of error.”
However, Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “We have had many phone calls today from anxious Muslims. It now appears we have have a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ policy.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister has said all along he supports all the efforts of police and law enforcement agencies.”
Police established Menezes’s identity after armed officers raided a flat in a block in Scotia Road, Tulse Hill. It is believed the flat is in the same block from which Menezes set off on his final journey. Officers fired gas canisters before storming the three-storey building. More than 15 shots were heard.
Police were still hunting yesterday for at least three bombers. A police source said two men held at London’s high-security Paddington Green police station after being arrested in Stockwell on Friday were “very specifically” linked to the investigation. Downing Street sources said one of the two men was among the bombers.
Police believe privately that it is likely Thursday’s botched attacks were linked to the July 7 suicide London bombings that killed 56 people and injured 700.
One line of inquiry is the possibility that two of the men from last week’s attempt went on an adventure holiday in north Wales with two of the suicide bombers from Beeston, Leeds.
Police are convinced last week’s failed attacks on stations at Shepherd’s Bush, the Oval and Warren Street, and a No 26 bus in Hackney Road, Shoreditch, could not simply have been an attempt to copy the earlier atrocities. Detectives say acquiring components and expertise would have taken longer than two weeks to organise.
They are hunting between 20 and 30 people believed to have acted as associates to the two sets of attacks. “Some of these people will be based here in Britain, some of them will be placed elsewhere, such as Pakistan,” sources said.
Forensic scientists are still examining the “home-made” bombs used in both attacks. A police source said the explosives from Thursday’s attacks were “very similar to the stuff found in Leeds”.
isnt that amazing! in the UK cops can be held accountable for unjustly killing someone. too bad that policy isn't on this side of the alantic
The Sunday Times - Britain
July 24, 2005
Mistake puts gun policy in doubt
WHEN an alert flashed to the control room of Operation Kratos at Scotland Yard last week that a suspected suicide bomber was entering an Underground station, a senior officer was asked to make a snap decision.
His judgment that the London public were again under threat led to advice to officers at the scene that the man should be “neutralised”.
Seconds later three officers jumped on a man on a Northern line train and one pumped five bullets from an automatic pistol into his head.
The action was hailed as a success, ruthless but necessary. Scotland Yard indicated it was confident that a bomber had been shot dead.
Yesterday, 18 hours later, the Yard admitted that it had made a mistake and shot a man unconnected to the bombings.
Last night the officer who fired the bullets was facing investigation and possible criminal charges. So, too, is the “gold commander” — a deputy assistant commissioner or above, according to police sources — who gave him the instruction to open fire if he felt it was necessary.
Last week even Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, admitted that police had to have a shoot-to-kill policy to counter the terrorist threat in London. But today, in the cold light of a tragic mistake, the whole policy is under review.
Police sources said the officer who fired the shots would almost certainly be relieved from firearms duties during the inquiry but would not be suspended from a specialist counter-terrorist section of the Metropolitan police SO19 firearms wing which is trained by the SAS.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will tomorrow begin an official inquiry into the Stockwell shooting.
Scotland Yard insisted at first yesterday that it was not a case of mistaken identity because the dead man had been seen leaving an address in south London where police had been carrying out surveillance.
A Yard spokesman said yesterday morning: “The man who was shot was under police observation. He had emerged from a house that itself was under observation in connection to the bombing incidents.
“He was followed by surveillance officers to the station. His clothing and his behaviour at the station added to their suspicions.
“The investigation into the circumstances of the death is being pursued and is subject to scrutiny through the IPCC.”
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, was all smiles when he met a television camera crew. “The Met is playing out of its socks. I am very pleased with what is happening,” he said.
By late afternoon the awful truth had dawned. Not only was the dead man not a bomber; he was believed to be a Brazilian.
Whether by coincidence or to provide a smokescreen, newspapers were tipped off about an impending raid on a house in Scotia Road, Tulse Hill, south London. Police fired teargas into the house and moved dozens of people from the area in a show of force.
An hour later, just before 5pm, Scotland Yard released a statement saying the dead man had no connection with the terrorist investigation.
The IPCC said its inquiry into the death would be carried out by its own force of 80 investigators and not by an outside police force, the normal process in high-profile cases.
The inquiry team is likely to submit a report to the Crown Prosecution Service which can decide if any charges are to be brought. If not, a coroner will hold an inquest into the death which could return a verdict of unlawful killing.
Most of the guidelines on police use of firearms have been in force since 1983 after Stephen Waldorf, a film editor, was shot five times in an ambush in Kensington, west London, when he was mistaken for a fugitive gunman. He survived and was awarded £150,000 compensation.
The guidelines allow for a police commander to direct that shots may be fired in incidents such as those involving suicide bombers but do not exempt either the senior officer or the man firing the gun from responsibility.
“To sum up,” say the guidelines, “a police officer should not decide to open fire unless that officer is satisfied that nothing short of opening fire could protect the officer or another person from imminent danger to life or serious injury.”
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said any officer who used such force, including any commander who authorised such force, “must be able to justify their actions to any subsequent inquiry”.
However, Acpo’s terrorism committee in the past two years has developed new “operational tactics to help police respond swiftly and effectively to such threats” as suicide bombers.
The Acpo spokesman said; “We can say that they do include specialised tactics for both response to the sudden appearance of such a suspect and for surveillance of suspects identified through intelligence. They are designed for use in relation to suspects on foot, in buildings and in vehicles.”
This has led to suggestions that a shoot-to-kill policy, similar to the one that sparked controversy in Northern Ireland is in existence.
In the past, shooting at someone’s body was considered the most effective way of disabling them. However, this could detonate explosives strapped to the body, so officers have now been advised to shoot to the head.
Lord Stevens, Blair’s predecessor as Metropolitan commissioner, said last night that he had introduced a “shoot-to-kill-to-protect” policy.
He said: “We are living in unique times of unique evil, at war with an enemy of unspeakable brutality, and I have no doubt that now, more than ever, the principle is right despite the chance, tragically of error.”
But Imran Khan, a solicitor who has just won a judicial review in another case in which Derek Bennett was shot dead by police in Brixton, south London in 2001 while running from officers and brandishing a gun-shaped cigarette lighter, said: “If the police were mistaken it was clearly bad evidence or a bad assessment of the situation.
“Everybody has been in a state of high alert. One may have an itchy trigger finger but the fact is you have to assess a situation as it is on the ground.
“It is really going to need a full-scale inquiry. That is not a fashionable thing to say but it is necessary because the fear in the community is that it could happen again.”
In 2003 Blair, then deputy commissioner, attempted to dismiss a report by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), the IPCC’s predecessor, which accused officers of being too quick to start shooting. The PCA examined a rise in police shootings and found that the London force was twice as likely as others to open fire on a suspect. Blair, then deputy commissioner, described the PCA’s findings as “inappropriate and ill-advised”.
The PCA looked at 24 police shootings, including 11 fatalities, between 1998 and 2001 and concluded that many of those shot were mentally ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The report noted that 55 shots had been fired by police and no suspects fired back.
The Sunday Times - Britain
July 24, 2005
Shoot to kill error echoes Irish dirty war
When the stakes are high, police have no choice but to use controversial tactics, say Liam Clarke and Tony Geraghty
The five shots with which a policeman killed a terrorist suspect in London last week echoed round the world. From America to Australia and Asia, the killing made headlines and marked the crossing of a boundary.
Though the days when all British bobbies were thought to be unarmed have long passed, the clinical and close-quarter nature of the shooting was unprecedented in Britain. Police have previously shot men believed to be dangerous, but they have not stood over a prostrate figure and unloaded five rounds into him from point-blank range. To compound matters the police admitted yesterday he had nothing to do with the terror attacks.
However, London has never before faced suicide bombers. The stakes have become much higher, forcing new rules of engagement.
Friday’s killing was a direct result of aggressive new guidelines from Scotland Yard based on the experience of Israel and Sri Lanka in dealing with suicide bombers. British officers are now under instructions to shoot suspects in the head if they are believed to be suicide bombers posing an imminent danger.
A policy of “shoot-to-kill” echoes the darkest days of the Northern Irish troubles. And it raises worrying questions when applied in the much larger and more mixed communities of mainland Britain, and when the suspected terrorists are much more elusive and shadowy.
Today’s Muslim leaders, although supportive of law and order, are worried and demanding explanations. “There may well be reasons why the police felt it necessary to unload five shots into the man and shoot him dead, but they need to make those reasons clear,” said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain.
Prophetically, a former senior Special Branch officer from Northern Ireland said: “I suspect that the authorities in England will make all the same mistakes as we did.”
Those errors include an operation in Gibraltar in 1988 when the SAS killed three IRA members in the belief that they were about to detonate a radio-controlled bomb. In reality the explosives were miles away and the three suspects were carrying no radio equipment.
Although the Gibraltar coroner’s court ruled that the killings had been lawful, the European Court of Human Rights later criticised the “lack of degree of caution in the use of firearms” by the SAS.
Specialist security forces, such as the recently formed Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), which has been drafted in to combat the present terror threat, are generally protected by law if they shoot first and ask questions later, provided they believe the suspect was a threat to the lives of others.
This proved to be the case when Diarmuid O’Neill, an unarmed IRA man, was shot dead in his Hammersmith flat in 1996. The officer who pulled the trigger told a coroner’s court: “His body language was aggressive, he leaned towards me.” The jury returned a verdict of lawful killing.
But the new policy to cope with suicide attacks is a step further. With suicide bombers there is no question of trying to stop suspects by wounding them: only immediate execution will do.
The threat and risks run far wider than London. Specialist firearms officers are being deployed on secondment to MI5, which is opening eight offices in cities including Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham. The aim is to increase the surveillance of terrorist suspects and to penetrate radical networks with informants.
The highly secretive SRR draws on members of the 14th Intelligence Company, and the Force Research Unit (FRU), which handled all military intelligence informers in Northern Ireland.
If the pattern of Northern Ireland is repeated, Asian servicemen will be encouraged to volunteer for covert duties. Some may “resign” from the army to return to their communities as undercover agents.
The past two weeks have given Britons a test of what is potentially in store in the weeks, months, even years ahead. It is a dangerous balance for everyone.
“You can’t be afraid to act if life is at stake,” said a former Northern Ireland Special Branch officer. “But if you alienate people you can hand the terrorists a long-term support base from which to operate.”
Less than a minute later Mr Menezes was pinned to the floor of the subway car by two policemen while a third officer fired five shots into the base of his skull.
July 25, 2005
Final minutes of the innocent man mistaken for a terrorist
By Daniel McGrory
IT TOOK 26 minutes for Jean Charles de Menezes to get from his flat in Tulse Hill to the entrance of Stockwell Tube station.
In that time the 27-year-old electrician did not appear to realise that a team of 30 Scotland Yard officers were following his every move.
Police were already staking out the redbricked block of flats in Scotia Road after the address had been found in documents left in one of the abandoned rucksacks from the abortive attacks last Thursday.
There was also partially destroyed evidence that the crop-haired bomber in the sweatshirt with a New York logo on the front, seen in CCTV pictures fleeing Oval station, had recently stayed at the Scotia Road property.
There are eight separate flats in the block. When Mr Menezes emerged from the communal front door just after 9.30am, the police must have realised from the photographs they carried that he was not one of the four bombers. Even so they decided that he was “a likely candidate” to follow because of his demeanour and colour, so one group set off on foot after him.
As he waited at a nearby bus stop the reconnaissance team sought urgent instructions on whether to challenge him right away or let him board a bus. They were worried about the dark, bulky, padded jacket he had zipped up on such a muggy morning.
The decision was taken to let him go, in the hope that he might lead his shadows to at least one of the bombers.
The bus journey was slow, as on any other Friday morning, but Mr Menezes seemed to be in no hurry. He was heading to Willesden Green to fix an alarm system. When it was obvious that he was getting off at the stop nearest Stockwell Tube station, the team on the bus alerted a three-man team of marksmen to move in.
As Mr Menezes waited to cross the busy main road, the decision was taken at Scotland Yard that he must not be allowed to get to the platform.
The marksmen were told: if you think he has explosives under his coat and he fails to heed shouted warnings, then you must shoot to kill.
As the three plain-clothes officers closed in on Mr Menezes, they say that they screamed their first warning that they were armed police. Their version is that he turned, ran into the station concourse, vaulted the ticket barriers and reached a waiting train before they could catch him. They shot him five times in the head when they believed that he was trying to trigger a bomb.
His cousin, Alex Alves, claims in one account that Mr de Menezes was “playing around with a friend in a game of chase outside the station”.
The police insist that he was alone during the entire journey.
Another family member said that he had recently been attacked and robbed in that area by a gang of young white men and thought the plain-clothes officers were muggers.
By far the most controversial claim comes from a number of witnesses who have cast doubt on police statements that they shouted a warning or identified themselves to the suspect before opening fire.
Lee Ruston, 32, who was on the platform, said that he did not hear any of the three shout “police” or anything like it. Mr Ruston, a construction company director, said that he saw two of the officers put on their blue baseball caps marked “police” but that the frightened electrician could not have seen that happen because he had his back to the officers and was running with his head down.
Mr Ruston remembers one of the Scotland Yard team screaming into a radio as they were running. Mr Ruston thought the man that they were chasing “looked Asian” as he tumbled on to a waiting Northern Line train.
Less than a minute later Mr Menezes was pinned to the floor of the carriage by two men while a third officer fired five shots into the base of his skull.
Again, Mr Ruston says that no verbal warning was given.
We dont want this police murder to work even if he works for free.
Fired officer applies for unpaid reserve position with sheriff
Jul. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
Dan Lovelace, who was fired from the Chandler Police Department in 2002 after he shot and killed a woman suspected of trying to use a forged prescription at a Walgreen's drive-through, has applied to be a reserve deputy with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla confirmed that Lovelace has filed an application to become a reserve deputy. The position is unpaid but would allow Lovelace to return to law enforcement.
In July 2004, Lovelace was acquitted of murder charges stemming from the case. He then appealed his firing to Chandler's Merit Board, which voted 5-0 in April to recommend against rehiring. The city manager made that decision final last month.
This spring the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board voted to not revoke Lovelace's certification, which means he can still legally work for another agency.
- Jim Walsh
2 officers botched hundreds of cases
Police records detail failures
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
An Arizona Republic review of police records has found that two Glendale police officers destroyed evidence in sexual-assault cases and failed to investigate hundreds of domestic-violence cases.
As a result, the acting police chief said, prosecutions never took place in 191 cases, some involving reported sexual assaults against children and disabled people.
"Some of the cases languished for over a year with no activity or investigation completed," an internal police document says. "This is unconscionable, as victims of domestic violence rely on the police to protect them. Failing to take investigative action subjects victims to further victimization."
The cases date as far back as 1998, but police officials never disclosed the actions of then-Detectives Jeff Horsley and Kristian Grube to the victims or outside law enforcement agencies. Investigations of the officers' misconduct were handled internally.
Both police officers were reassigned and suspended, but they are still working for the Glendale Police Department. Both declined requests for interviews.
In a similar situation, another detective, Brad Moore, was fired in April for botching 158 domestic-violence cases.
"I can't explain what happened back then," acting Police Chief Preston Becker said. "But we're talking about three employees over seven years. All the others do their jobs with dedication and follow-through as they should."
Becker also said more layers of oversight have been added to prevent future cases from falling by the wayside. Supervisors will now monitor cases more closely.
"This is a concern," he said. "Not only for me, but for my staff and for the city. I've assured them we will do everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen again."
City officials say other detectives and their cases have been audited and that nothing similar has been found.
Victim advocates, however, said that even a single such failure sends a disturbing message to those suffering abuse.
Glendale police records reveal that neither Grube's nor Horsley's supervisors at the time were aware that the detectives were allowing cases to fall through the cracks. They also signed off on the incomplete reports, the records say. Only Grube's supervisors were disciplined.
Ironically, according to investigative records, Moore was assigned to help Grube when police officials finally discovered all the reports Grube had failed to investigate.
Horsley, an 11-year police veteran, worked in the sex-crimes division from December 1999 to July 2002 but did not properly investigate at least 59 sexual-assault cases, destroyed at least 30 videotapes that were evidence in those cases and closed out incomplete cases without explanations, according to an internal investigation.
Grube, a 12-year veteran, was a domestic-violence detective but did not do any work on at least 174 cases assigned to him between July 1998 and April 2000. Records show that he also "misrepresented his progress on a case to the father of a child (molestation) victim."
Grube was suspended without pay for eight days and Horsley for 20 days. Investigative reports indicate that the detectives were overwhelmed by their caseloads. Grube asked for help, but Horsley didn't.
In a notice of suspension to Grube, then-Chief David Dobrotka wrote that the detective "had always demonstrated a very strong work ethic" and that his failure to pursue cases "was not due to laziness" but "because you were somewhat disorganized" and "because you cared too much, i.e. you worked so hard on some cases that others were neglected."
In a note to his superiors, Horsley expressed his regret, saying, "I apologize not only for my actions but for the time that this administration has put into this investigation because of my reckless behavior."
Horsley's and Grube's failings came to light when questions arose about cases that had been assigned to the detectives. When some records couldn't be found, police officials launched audits of their caseloads. An internal investigation of Grube took place in 2000, while that of Horsley began in December 2002.
Experts who work with survivors of sexual assault say that these failures to investigate send a horrible message to the community.
"If even one person doesn't have their case investigated, that's one person too many," said Michael Mandel, a spokesman for the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault. "We know that a lot of sexual assaults aren't reported, especially sexual assaults committed against people with disabilities.
"The fact that someone came forward . . . is significant because very often, a care provider will turn the other cheek and not report their suspicions. So failure to investigate just sends a horrible and pretty damaging message."
He said many people also believe that even if the crime against them is reported, nothing will happen or that they will go through an investigation, answering difficult questions and reliving the trauma, yet there will be no follow-up.
Becker took over the chief's duties in April after Andrew Kirkland resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of city resources. Becker said he ordered a deeper look at the cases Grube and Horsley should have worked, because he "wanted to make sure we've done all we could."
The audit found that 38 of the 59 cases assigned to Horsley didn't go anywhere. Horsley destroyed evidence in some of those cases or waited as much as a year before following up on a reported crime, records say.
In one case, the audit found, Horsley logged clothes and a sexual-assault kit as evidence. Just six days after the complaint, he authorized the release of the clothes to the victim and the destruction of the rape kit. The case remained open, but Horsley didn't pick up on it for another two years. He eventually submitted the case for prosecution without any evidence or documented interviews. Prosecutors turned down the case.
It's unclear whether the outcome would have been different in those 38 cases had Horsley not dumped evidence in the trash at his home or if he had worked and properly documented the cases. Other detectives picked up the remaining 21 cases.
As for Grube, police officials say that because of a computer glitch at that time, they couldn't prove that he knew of all 174 domestic-violence cases assigned to him. They can prove only that he was aware of his responsibility for investigating 43 of the cases. None of those was worked either.
That glitch, however, did not affect the work of any other detectives, according to police officials.
The one-year statute of limitation expired on 153 of Grube's cases, which were misdemeanors. Those could not be reworked, but 21 remaining cases were worked by other detectives.
At $95,000 the governor is paid very well! How the hell the Arizona Republic can claim she is underpaid is beyond me!
Napolitano nixing raise could pay dividends
Low salary may scare off '06 GOP hopefuls
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
When Gov. Janet Napolitano holds a Cabinet meeting, she's the lowest-paid person in the room.
And she apparently wants to keep it that way, turning down a $65,000 pay raise last year in what could be one of the shrewdest political moves she ever made.
Political insiders say Napolitano's decision to reject the hefty salary increase already has had an impact on the 2006 political scene. Republicans are having trouble recruiting a gubernatorial candidate, and some say the salary and the lack of a governor's mansion are part of the problem.
"I think it clearly has kept some Republicans from running," GOP strategist Nathan Sproul said. "No question about it. We exclude an entire population of people who would make excellent governors, simply because the salary is too low."
Napolitano makes $95,000 a year, a little over half of what California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is paid (but gives back to the state) and seven times less than Arizona State University football coach Dirk Koetter and University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson. She is not even one of the state's 100 highest-paid employees.
In August 2004, Napolitano told The Republic: "I am very happy with the salary I make, and I do not intend to ask the Legislature or the people for a raise."
Many thought Napolitano's top challenger in 2006 would be Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., who makes about $160,000 a year. By keeping the governor's salary at $95,000, insiders say she helped keep Hayworth and others in their current jobs.
Former Gov. Fife Symington, U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi and former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley all contemplated the 2006 contest but decided in recent months not to run for various reasons. None of those potential gubernatorial candidates mentioned money as a deciding factor, but GOP insiders say the $95,000-a-year salary played a part in Hayworth's decision.
In reality, the salary issue isn't a winner in politics. A politician complaining about a $95,000 paycheck usually isn't appreciated by the hard-working electorate of Arizona.
Only one Republican, former state Senate President John Greene, has officially entered the race.
Blaming the paycheck is pure poppycock, said Bob Grossfeld, a Democratic strategist and pollster. He said the partisan whining about the governor's salary underscores the GOP's desperation to find a candidate.
"This is about being a governor for the state, not a prince or a king or a queen," Grossfeld said. "We should want people who believe in it. People in Arizona see a salary that for a vast majority of Arizonans would be a doubling of their salaries."
Most people in the political world call the $95,000 salary woefully low for a person who manages an $8.3 billion budget, oversees 62,000 state employees and reports to more than 5.7 million shareholders: Arizona citizens. Arizona is one of just five states without a governor's mansion. And unlike Arizona State University President Michael Crow, the governor does not get a $50,000 annual housing allowance or money for a pension plan.
Most local business owners think the governor's post needs a pay raise.
"Given all the things she has to deal with and managing a huge budget, the position deserves a few bucks more," said Marty Alvarez, who owns Sun Eagle Corp., a Chandler-based construction firm. "Absolutely. We need to pay the politicians more money, quite frankly. At some point in time, someone is going to run who will have to live on the salary."
Top CEOs at Arizona-based companies earned a median $679,000 in 2004, according to an analysis of 58 proxy reports done by The Arizona Republic this year. That was an 8 percent increase from 2003. The average annual wage for Arizonans is less than $35,000, and people on the street didn't have much sympathy for boosting the governor's paycheck.
"I'd take that salary in a heartbeat," said Scott Shuler, a cellphone salesman sipping a coffee at a Tempe cafe. "We got bigger problems in Arizona than raising a politician's paycheck."
Lobbyist Jaime Molera, who once served as Arizona's superintendent of public schools, was blunt about his party's struggle to find a candidate.
"The real reason people are not running is Napolitano's high approval numbers," he said. "I don't buy that money is keeping people out of the race."
Still Arizona's gubernatorial salary ranks 35th in the nation, and it hasn't changed in six years. It's the lowest salary for states with a similar population. Even governors in states with much smaller populations, such as Idaho ($98,500) and Wyoming ($130,000), make more. Governors in other Western states have received generous pay raises in recent years. Since 1999, the California governor's salary jumped about 54 percent, to $175,000 from $114,000. The New Mexico governor makes $110,000, up from $90,000 in 1999.
Kurt Davis helped recruit gubernatorial candidates in 1990 when he was executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. He said Republicans have to focus on candidates with a passion for politics, not a cushy paycheck.
"It's a major job, and I don't think anybody can say it's overpaid," Davis said. "But I don't think anyone should be crying in their milk about this. People can decide if they want to run or not. When you run for governor, you have to really want it or you will not be successful."
Posted on Fri, Jul. 22, 2005
Police board backs two firings in taser use
KC officers jolted handcuffed man
By CHRISTINE VENDEL
The Kansas City Star
The firings of two police officers who used a Taser on a man five times, four while he was handcuffed, were upheld Thursday by the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.
The decision was not unanimous. Three board members said termination was “just and proper,” but board member Karl Zobrist dissented, saying he favored a substantial suspension and mandatory training.
Police Chief Jim Corwin recommended firing Officers David Easley and Matthew Howell because of an Aug. 10, 2004, incident at 19th Street and Chelsea Avenue.
A patrol car camera recorded the entire incident.
It began with Howell questioning a suspected car thief. The 24-year-old suspect tried to run away, and Howell fired a Taser to his back. Howell fired four more times while the man was handcuffed. Three of those times the man was on the ground.
The fifth jolt came while the man was standing, after Easley said, “Hit him again.” Easley who had been holding the man, let go of him before the final jolt, allowing him to fall to the ground.
Corwin said that the first Taser use was justified, but that the next three were “questionable.” The fifth use violated policy and prompted the firings, Corwin said.
“When someone is handcuffed, they’re in our care,” Corwin said. “We can never, ever abuse anyone in our care, or stiff discipline will apply. … I’m not going to tolerate it.”
The officers appealed the firings at a July 13 board hearing. Board members then met for 70 minutes Tuesday, when they decided to uphold the dismissals. The decision was announced Thursday afternoon.
Larry Rebman, who represented Easley, 34, a seven-year veteran, and Howell, 39, who has been on the force about two years, said the punishment was too severe. He also said Easley planned to appeal the board’s ruling in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Zobrist also thought firing was too stiff, based on the officers “commendable records.”
“I felt like a policy violation occurred, but I was willing to impose a substantial amount of suspension time,” he said. “These officers had virtually no disciplinary history.”
Zobrist said the deputy chief who reviewed the case also recommended suspensions: five days without pay for Easley and 15 days without pay for Howell.
“No one else came near termination,” he said of other commanders’ recommendations.
Board President Angela Wasson-Hunt said using a Taser on a handcuffed man was simply too much.
“You just do not Tase an individual once they’re in handcuffs,” she said. “And it wasn’t just once. It was four times.”
When asked whether a suspension with mandatory training would have been adequate punishment, Wasson-Hunt said: “We did train them. And they clearly violated our policy.”
Corwin said the decision to fire the officers was difficult.
“I’m concerned about these officers and their families, but I’ve got to think about the rest of the community,” he said. “I’ve got to think about what I can do with regard to discipline to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Corwin said the officers jeopardized the availability of the Taser for all officers because their bad decisions reflected negatively on the department. The investigation into the incident began when the suspected car thief’s attorney requested the patrol car’s videotape of the arrest. Corwin said police officials reviewed the tape before releasing it and immediately started an investigation.
The tape showed Howell and his partner, who was not facing discipline, wrestling the suspected car thief to the ground after the first Taser use. The partner then checked to see whether the car was stolen.
The man is heard yelling and cursing several times as Howell tries to get him on his feet. At one point, he tries to pull an electrode from his back, and Howell fires the Taser again. Another time, the man appears to roll away from Howell as the officer searches him, finding a knife. That leads to another jolt.
Easley arrived on the scene driving a patrol wagon and is seen standing near the man. The officers tell the man to be quiet, and one of them is heard telling the suspect he would “get it again.”
Moments later, Easley tells Howell to “hit him again,” and the man falls backward onto the pavement. Easley was on the scene 34 seconds before he made the statement to Howell, Corwin said.
Rebman said Thursday that the punishment was out of line for the offenses of which the officers were accused.
“Essentially, these guys had a miscommunication,” Rebman said of the officers. Easley had argued that his call for the suspect to be Tased again was a bluff to bring him into compliance. Howell, who had struggled with the suspect, said he thought the man still was resisting.
Rebman argued during the board hearing that the incident occurred just two months after the department changed its policy on Tasers. Before the change, officers could use the device on someone passively resisting, including not following directions.
In addition, Rebman said, the board disregarded its own policy in firing Easley, who is no relation to former Police Chief Rick Easley. Department guidelines state that deputy chiefs, not the chief, have the final say in disciplining officers if the suggested penalty is five or fewer days of suspension.
Corwin said Easley was two days away from being promoted to sergeant when the incident came to light. Corwin, as chief, is the only one who could pull Easley from the promotion list. Corwin said the promotion decision opened up the entire incident to his review.
Staff writer John Shultz contributed to this report. To reach Christine Vendel, call (816) 234-4438 or send e-mail to email@example.com.
hmmmm.... the space shuttle had a probablity of 1 in 100 of blowing up when it was launched this morning. that probablity was caculated by NASA.
The actual rate of catastrophic failure is 1 in 57 based on the two space shuttles that blew up.
and prior to the blowing up of the Challenger in 1986, agency officials regularly put the odds of disaster at 1 in 100,000. i suspect that was a lie to tell us how great they were doing their jobs and to get the public to support giving NASA more money.
if you ask me the space shuttle is a billion dollar bucket of bolts. and if you ask nasa they will tell you the billion dollar bucket of bolts has a probablity of 1 in a 100 of blowing up on any mission.
Shuttle risk factor grows with disaster findings
William J. Broad
New York Times
Jul. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
With new realism born of disaster, NASA says the risk of catastrophic failure during the Discovery's mission is about 1 in 100, more than twice as great as an upbeat estimate issued before the loss of the Columbia in 2003.
Although the agency is still working on an official estimate, spokesman Allard Beutel said, it has devised a rough one that will be refined by insights from the investigation of the Columbia disaster, in which seven astronauts died as the ship re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.
The rise in estimated danger, Beutel said, came about "because we have a better understanding" of the craft's workings and limitations. He emphasized, however, that "it's a statistical probability, as opposed to what is going to happen." (The actual rate of catastrophic failure, as opposed to the calculated risk, is two flights in 113, or 1 in 57.)
The estimate, known formally as the shuttle's Probabilistic Risk Assessment, combines the findings of flight experience, computer simulations and expert judgment to judge how the shuttle's millions of parts will work or fail under various scenarios. The most dangerous times are seen as the shuttle's ascent, when its powerful engines fire, and the descent, when it plunges through the atmosphere.
The risk estimate has swung wildly over the years.
Before the explosion of the Challenger in 1986, agency officials regularly put the odds of disaster at one flight in 100,000, much closer to that of commercial jets. The Air Transport Association has estimated the chance of an airline disaster at one flight in 2 million.
After the Challenger, the space agency was widely faulted for lack of candor. "NASA exaggerates the reliability of its product to the point of fantasy," Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, wrote in a report on the Challenger disaster.
When shuttle missions resumed in 1988, NASA officials estimated the risk at one flight in 50. But over the years, the agency slowly decreased its estimates for the odds of catastrophe: 1 in 145, 1 in 161, then, in 1998, 1 in 254. Early this decade, a wave of more realistic assessments brought the figure back down to 1 in 123. The Columbia disaster threw all those estimates to the wind.
The Police State Act: A Report
by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
Congress passed legislation last week that reauthorizes the Patriot Act for another 10 years, although the bill faced far more opposition than the original Act four years ago. I’m heartened that more members of Congress are listening to their constituents, who remain deeply skeptical about the Patriot Act and expansions of federal police power in general. They rightfully wonder why Congress is so focused on American citizens, while bin Laden and other terrorist leaders still have not been captured.
The tired arguments we’re hearing today are that same ones we heard in 2001 when the Patriot Act was passed in the emotional aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. If the Patriot Act is constitutional and badly needed, as its proponents swear, why were sunset provisions included at all? If it’s unconstitutional and pernicious, why not abolish it immediately? All of this nonsense about sunsets and reauthorizations merely distracts us from the real issue, which is personal liberty. America was not founded on a promise of security, it was founded on a promise of personal liberty to pursue happiness.
One prominent Democratic opined on national television that “most of the 170-page Patriot Act is fine,” but that it needs some fine-tuning. He then stated that he opposed the ten-year reauthorization bill on the grounds that Americans should not have their constitutional rights put on hold for a decade. His party’s proposal, however, was to reauthorize the Patriot Act for only four years, as though a shorter moratorium on constitutional rights would be acceptable! So much for the opposition party and its claim to stand for civil liberties.
Unfortunately, some of my congressional colleagues referenced the recent London bombings during the debate, insinuating that opponents of the Patriot Act somehow would be responsible for a similar act here at home. I won’t even dignify that slur with the response it deserves. Let’s remember that London is the most heavily monitored city in the world, with surveillance cameras recording virtually all public activity in the city center. British police officials are not hampered by our 4th amendment nor our numerous due process requirements. In other words, they can act without any constitutional restrictions, just as supporters of the Patriot Act want our own police to act. Despite this they were not able to prevent the bombings, proving that even a wholesale surveillance society cannot be made completely safe against determined terrorists. Congress misses the irony entirely. The London bombings don’t prove the need for the Patriot Act, they prove the folly of it.
The Patriot Act, like every political issue, boils down to a simple choice: Should we expand government power, or reduce it? This is the fundamental political question of our day, but it’s quickly forgotten by politicians who once promised to stand for smaller government. Most governments, including our own, tend to do what they can get away with rather than what the law allows them to do. All governments seek to increase their power over the people they govern, whether we want to recognize it or not. The Patriot Act is a vivid example of this. Constitutions and laws don’t keep government power in check; only a vigilant populace can do that.
July 26, 2005
Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.
Blair says Iraq policy not cause of blasts
Jul. 27, 2005 12:00 AM
LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair dismissed as "nonsense" Tuesday the notion that his Iraq policy prompted London's terror bombings, as police confirmed the latest two suspects named in the attacks are legal East African immigrants, one of them a naturalized citizen.
In an often testy news conference, Blair said he would not "give one inch" on Britain's deployment of troops in Iraq, despite a new poll in The Times of London finding nearly two-thirds of Britons believe that policy puts them at greater risk of attacks by terrorists.
"Let us expose the obscenity of these people saying it is concern for Iraq that drives them to terrorism. If it is concern for Iraq, then why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them?" Blair asked.
Blair also said that to blame British and American forces for the mounting civilian casualties in Iraq is to "turn the world on its head."
As Blair spoke, police found possible explosive materials while searching a North London garage and an apartment used by two alleged bombers in Thursday's mass-transit attacks. The suspects - one of whom lived in that apartment and the other of whom stayed there often - are Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, from the former British colony of Somalia, and Muktar Said Ibrahim, also known as Muktar Mohammed Said, 27, of Eritrea, who became a naturalized British citizen last year, authorities said. Neighbors described them as devout Muslims.
Force pays for officer involved in Brazilian's death to have a holiday
ONE of the police officers involved in the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes has been given a free holiday by his force.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair authorised the break for the officer and his family.
He was one of the three undercover officers involved in the shooting of Mr de Menezes, 27, at Stockwell Underground station last Friday. The electrician had fled when the officers asked him to stop and they believed he could be a suicide bomber.
The Brazilian, who had no connection to terrorism, was hit with a total of eight bullets, seven of them in the head.
The three police officers have not been suspended but have been moved to non-firearm duties while the Independent Police Complaints Commission carries out an investigation, expected to take months.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "An officer has had a break paid for by the Metropolitan Police, authorised by the Commissioner, to allow him to take his wife and family away from the family home."
Another of the officers is already on a family holiday.
Mr de Menezes' family have consulted lawyers about suing the police.
Senior officers have described Mr de Menezes' death as a "tragedy" but say they have no option but to continue with the policy.
Eight bullets demands a heavy burden of proof
By Jimmy Burns
Published: July 26 2005 03:00 | Last updated: July 26 2005 03:00
The man shot dead by police on Friday received seven bullets in the head and one in the shoulder, it has emerged.
Earlier witness reports had suggested five shots were fired, but Monday's confirmed details are likely to put fresh pressure on the police.
They emerged at an inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian electrician, which opened at Southwark coroner's court.
Senior police officers at the weekend confirmed that de Menezes had been killed in line with shoot-to-kill guidelines for officers when facing a terrorist they suspect is about to detonate a bomb.
However, police insiders accept there are serious questions over exactly how the guidelines were applied in this case.
One police source said those trained in the new guidelines knew that one bullet in the back of the head was sufficient to disable a suspect bomber.
But a report from the scene suggests de Menezes was shot first after entering a Tube carriage and then shot several times more while being pinned on the floor. According to one police source, the victim was shot so many times he was beyond recognition.
A least one police officer is thought to have shot de Menezes with a Glock 17 pistol, which holds 17 rounds and has a maximum effective range of 15 metres.
The officer or officers who fired at de Menezes are thought to have been taken off firearms duties although not formally suspended pending the outcome of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Speaking on Monday as the investigation got under way, Nick Hardwick, chairman of the IPCC, promised a thorough inquiry and said he was confident he would be given access to all the information he needed. Despite tensions between the police and independent bodies that question their professionalism, Mr Hardwick said he felt reassured by a "commitment of support" from Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner.
"We enter this with open minds, as we search for the truth, and we have accepted the full co-operation of the Metropolitan police service, which they have pledged," Mr Hardwick said.
One of the questions the IPCC will attempt to answer is the nature of the intelligence that led a surveillance team to follow de Menezes, who had no known terrorist links and who was not among the photographs identifying suspects in the London bombings.
Police have yet to explain why, if they suspected he was a suicide bomber, they allowed de Menezes to walk, take a bus, then get off and walk to an Underground station before deciding to shoot him.
Officers took the decision after de Menezes was seen breaking into a run, although it remains unclear whether the plain clothes police identified themselves and challenged him first.
The investigation is also looking at the chain of decision-making that was involved in the handover from the surveillance team to the armed unit. Under the shoot-to-kill guidelines, the officers were supposed to get authorisation from a senior commander who is linked to them electronically and can order a "go" in seconds.
According to human rights lawyers, the police force face a "heavy burden" in proving that the killing of a man mistakenly was legal.
Helen Shaw, co-director of campaign group Inquest, yesterday called for a thorough and transparent investigation. "Serious questions need to be answered about the intelligence and operational processes that ultimately led to his [de Menezes's] death," she said.
Britain: media defend state killing, police chief warns more to come
By Julie Hyland
27 July 2005
Jean Charles de Menezes, the 27-year-old Brazilian slain by police last week in a London subway carriage, was shot eight times at point blank range—seven times in the head and once in the neck.
This information was revealed at a coroners’ inquiry into de Menezes’ death, which opened and adjourned on Monday. The Financial Times reported one police source as stating de Menezes “was shot so many times he was beyond recognition.”
That the young electrician was the victim of an officially-sanctioned policy of state execution is beyond doubt. It is now known that two years ago, under the guise of the war against terror, police secretly adopted the shoot-to-kill policy carried out to such deadly effect in the capital last week.
Lord Stevens, who was the Metropolitan Police Commissioner at the time, said the policy was in line with the practices of security forces in Israel and Sri Lanka. Experience in these countries showed, Stevens said, “There is only one sure way to stop a suicide bomber determined to fulfill his mission: destroy his brain instantly, utterly.”
But de Menezes was not a suicide bomber, and police had no grounds to conclude that he was. When he left for work last Friday morning, the young man had no way of knowing plain clothes police were staking out the communal entrance to the block of flats where he lived. Nor could he know that during his half-hour journey to the Stockwell subway station he was being covertly followed by an armed police unit, dressed in civilian garb, because his clothing had aroused their “suspicions.”
De Menezes would only have become aware his life was threatened when, as he entered the subway, a group of heavily armed males suddenly began shouting and chasing him. Eyewitnesses to his shooting have said that the men did not identify themselves as police. Small wonder that the young worker looked like a “cornered rabbit” as he sought refuge in a train carriage. As he was wrestled to the ground and pinned down by at least two men, whilst another placed a gun to his temple, one can only imagine his final terrified thoughts.
De Menezes’ padded jacket, considered “inappropriate” for this time of year, was apparently all it took for police to “destroy his brain instantly.”
All the more chilling is Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair’s warning that more innocent people could be gunned down. “Somebody else could be shot,” he said, “but everything is done to make it right.”
Prime Minister Tony Blair defended the shooting, insisting that the “police are doing their job in very, very difficult circumstances, and I think it is important that we give them every support.”
De Menezes’ cold-blooded slaying has shocked millions who rightly sense that it marks the beginning of a dark and disturbing chapter in British history—one in which armed death squads can operate with impunity across the UK.
Their concerns find no echo in the British media, however, which has rushed to defend the new “realities” of modern-day policing.
Writing in Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper, night editor David Dinsmore opined that whilst sympathy for de Menezes’ family was understandable, “I feel sorry for the cop who pulled trigger.” Everyone makes “mistakes” in the course of their work, he continued, “but while most of us can walk away from our mistakes relatively unscathed, those [police officers] involved [in de Menezes’ shooting] can now expect to be charged, face losing their jobs and even going to jail.”
“It is exactly this kind of nonsense that cannot be allowed to happen,” Dinsmore continued. “Bin Laden must be rubbing his hands in glee as the liberal lawyers begin sharpening their pens ready to dash off the writs...Every politician in the country needs to have the conviction to get behind our policemen at this crucial time or we may as well surrender to the terrorists now.”
In truth, the officer involved in de Menezes’ death has not even been suspended pending further investigation, but simply moved to other duties, and an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission is expected to take months to report. The IPCC has already stated that its investigation will not “start from the assumption” that any crime has been committed.
To date, most human rights organisations have remained silent. The civil rights organisation Liberty, for example, has said it will not “rush to judgement”—a courtesy that was tragically not afforded to de Menezes.
What Dinsmore is really arguing is that at no time and on no account should the state be held to account for de Menezes’ death, nor any other action taken in the name of the “war against terror.” Those who demand otherwise are giving in to the terrorists.
Contempt for civil liberties is not confined to the right-wing press. Writing in the Guardian on July 25, Peter Preston insisted, “Stockwell is not the place for a soapbox.”
Making mistakes was not a crime, he wrote regarding the police shooting. “Simple, inevitable fallibility” was a “basic law of the human condition.”
“Stuff happens,” he declared, implying that the state execution of an innocent man is no big deal. “We’re crazy to rush on to soapboxes when it does,” he added.
According to Preston, there can be no discussion of de Menezes’ death and its implications. Instead, people must accept such horrors as a fact of life and move on.
An editorial in the Independent expressed the desire that the police officers involved in the shooting not be “scapegoated.” Dismissing concerns that the young electrician’s death “showed that we now have a trigger-happy police force,” it argued, “All the evidence points in the opposite direction.” Eight bullets pumped into the head of an innocent man is not evidence enough for the Independent.
Whilst all the newspapers agreed there should be no questioning of the police, no such restrictions apply to the victim. Independent columnist Bruce Anderson was perhaps the most insistent in this regard.
“Anyone who behaves as Mr. de Menezes did can not have been keeping abreast of current affairs,” Anderson wrote. “His conduct invited the police to draw the conclusions which they did and to act as they did. He was the author of his own misfortune.”
According to Anderson, de Menezes was asking for it. He should have realized that the war on terror had granted police a license to target anyone with brown skin dressed in a warm coat.
Just when one thought Anderson had plumbed the depths of political depravity, there was the Guardian. In its leader of July 25, “Death of an Innocent Man,” the Guardian commented, “[T]he biggest mistake the police made was not the most obvious one of shooting the wrong man ...
“The biggest mistake was not to properly prepare the public for the sustained campaign of violence facing the country. Even when Mr. Menezes was thought to be a bomber, witnesses were shocked by the ferocity with which he was killed. More should have been done to prepare the public for the forceful response needed to protect them.”
In other words, revulsion at de Menezes’ murder showed that the public had not been sufficiently “bloodied” beforehand to accept extra-judicial executions, and more efforts needed to be made towards this end.
Whatever the particulars surrounding de Menezes’ shooting, his death is being used retroactively precisely to condition public opinion to accept the militarisation and brutalisation of daily life.
No other conclusion can be drawn from the fact that the government and the security forces have surreptitiously remodeled law-and-order policies along the lines of Israel and Sri Lanka—two countries whose ruling elites have prosecuted a savage, decades-long civil war against Palestinians and Tamils respectively.
This points to another reality of Blair’s Britain: the huge social polarization that now exists. In recent decades, successive governments have carried out policies aimed at benefiting a tiny privileged elite at the expense of the broad mass of working people.
In Britain, private capital has been given the go-ahead to loot the vital resources—health, education, housing—on which millions depend. Social benefits have been all but eradicated and wage rates slashed to amongst the lowest in Western Europe. Social inequality is now the greatest on record as a consequence.
This has been accompanied by a turn to imperialist war and neo-colonialism. From the Balkans, to Africa, to the Middle East, Britain’s ruling class seek once again to subjugate the former colonies, so as to more effectively exploit their peoples and resources.
The Guardian and the Independent speak for a narrow segment of the upper-middle-class that has materially benefited from these policies and is reconciled to their consequences.
Nothing progressive can be expected from such quarters. Opposition to the creeping imposition of a police state depends on the active and independent intervention of working people and all those committed to the defence of democratic rights, through the organisation of protests, demonstrations and meetings to demand an end to state terror and the holding to account of all those responsible for preparing and commissioning the policy that led to de Menezes’ shooting.
Protest at killing outside British embassy in Brazil
BRASILIA, July 26—A group of Brazilian rural workers demonstrated in front of the British embassy here to protest at the killing in that country of young electrical worker Jean Charles de Menezes, after he was allegedly confused with being a terrorist, PL reported.
Demonstrators placed flowers and candles in front of the embassy and observed a minute of silence. They also hung two large banners on the fence surrounding the grounds; one demanding the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and the other read: "Jean Charles de Menezes, another victim of state terrorism."
The killing of the Brazilian in London last Thursday has had a profound impact and repercussion here, and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim has even traveled to that city, where he is discussing the matter with the British authorities.
Menezes' Killing Casts Ugly Glare on Racial Profiling in Britain
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Pacific News Service. Posted July 27, 2005.
Last week's police shooting is just the latest in a long string of questionable cases. Tools
The slaying of Brazilian legal migr Jean Charles de Menezes by the London police again cast an ugly glare on racial profiling in Britain. And race profiling there has nothing to do with stopping terrorism. During the past decade, London police have stopped, patted down, and detained legions of black, Asian, and Muslim British home office officials, doctors, lawyers, athletes, and business professionals. According to a 2003 British Home Office report on "Race and the Criminal Justice System," Blacks and Asians were four times more likely to be stopped than whites, and North African and Middle Easterners were seven times more likely to be stopped than whites.
The humiliation, and embarrassment of being subjected to an unwarranted stop and search didn't end there. London police have issued scores of what's euphemistically called a "producer." That's a summons that requires the detainee to appear at a police station and produce their driver's license and car registration.
British officials claim that the unwarranted stops and searches are a regrettable, but necessary tactic to fight terrorism. That's not true. Three years before the London train station bombings, and the killing of Menezes, British police made more than 20,000 stops and searches under authority of the Terrorism act. Less than two percent of those stopped were arrested. Even that figure is misleading. Only two of those arrested were charged with involvement with a terrorist group, and their arrest did not result from a street stop and search. By contrast, nearly 15 percent of those stopped as suspects in criminal activities were arrested. In London, nearly 40 percent of those stopped on suspicion either under the Terrorism act or the Police and Criminal Evidence Act were non-whites.
The issue of racial profiling has long been a sore spot for the black and Asian communities in Britain. It exploded to the surface in 1993 when white hooligans beat Stephen Lawrence, a black London youth, to death. Police came under intense fire for their foot dragging investigation into the beating. It took five years, and a mass protest campaign, before British officials conducted an "inquiry" into the killing. Scores of black and Asian Londoners told harrowing tales of harassment, verbal insults, and even physical assaults by police. In a stark admission, the "Stephen Lawrence Inquiry" concluded that institutional racism infected all levels of policing in Britain.
British officials made a mild stab at reform. In 2003, they announced that under new guidelines an individual could not be subjected to unwarranted street stops because of race, but only when there was clear suspicion of criminal activity. It was a hollow victory. Five years after the commission fingered institutional racism as the cause of profiling, and a year after the guidelines took effect, a commission advisor found that young black men were still twice as likely to be stopped by police than five years earlier. The Terrorism act gives British officials virtually unlimited power to question and detain anyone they deem a likely terrorist suspect whether there is any actual evidence of terrorist involvement on their part. In nearly all cases, the suspect is black, Asian or Muslim.
Britain, though, is not the United States when it comes to dealing with the prickly issue of race profiling. Some states have passed laws that ban racial profiling, and police departments have spent millions on sensitivity programs and training. Michigan Congressman, John Conyers' Traffic Stops Statistics Act, which would collect data on police traffic stops, has kicked around Congress for the past five years. That at least keeps the issue of racial profiling alive at the federal level.
But with the terror war now in full swing in Britain, and national jitters that more bombings and attacks could happen at any time, British officials are in no mood to do much to protect against blatant civil liberties abuses. The reaction of British officials to the police killing of Menezes is a prime example of the collateral fall-out of innocents getting killed in the terror battle. British Prime Minister Tony Blair's apology for the killing sounded more like a defense of the police than a sincere expression of regret over the tragedy. Blair and British officials made it clear that the street stops and searches will continue, and that there will be no change in the police shoot to kill policy. They gave no indication that the officers that killed Menezes would be punished.
Blair's half-hearted apology, and the hard-nosed attitude of British officials ignited justifiable outrage among many Brazilians. Relatives and friends of Menezes demanded that Blair arrest the cops that killed him. That, of course, won't happen. There will be a perfunctory investigation, another statement of regret, and compensation to Menezes' family. But police policies and practices in Britain will not change. Even if the train bombings had never occurred, and the British did not feel threatened by more attacks, blacks, Asians, and Muslims in the country would still be stopped, and searched with impunity on the streets and required to troop to police stations to "produce" documents. It won't stop one potential terrorist attack, or break up a terrorist cell. It will just be business as usual.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of 'The Crisis in Black and Black' (Middle Passage Press).
General urged use of dogs in interrogation
Testimony bolsters handlers' defense in Abu Ghraib case
Cynthia H. Cho
Los Angeles Times
Jul. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
FORT MEADE, Md. - A former operations officer at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq testified Wednesday that the use of military working dogs in interrogations was a tactic recommended by the general who commanded the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Maj. David Dinenna's testimony supported defense arguments during the two-day hearing for two Army dog handlers, Sgts. Michael J. Smith, 24, and Santos A. Cardona, 31, who are accused of engaging in a contest to make Abu Ghraib inmates defecate and urinate on themselves.
Dinenna, who likened his role at Abu Ghraib to that of a warden, was the only witness for either defendant during the Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a civilian preliminary hearing.
The officer testified that he attended a meeting in Iraq in September 2003 at which Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who had supervised the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, suggested using dogs during interrogations.
"He wondered why we didn't have military dogs," Dinenna said. At the time, military dogs had been requested for use at Abu Ghraib, but none had been delivered.
The witness said it was understood that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had dispatched Miller to Iraq to teach interrogation techniques.
Earlier this month, Army Gen. Bantz Craddock, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, rejected a recommendation to reprimand Miller for his role in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, which Miller ran until March 2004.
He was sent to Iraq soon afterward, after the Abu Ghraib scandal became public, to reform the military prison system there.
Smith and Cardona are charged with maltreating detainees by using unmuzzled dogs to frighten and threaten them.
Witnesses said Tuesday that one prisoner needed stitches after a dog bit his thighs.
Maj. Matthew Miller, an Army prosecutor, said in his closing statement that there was "copious evidence" that Smith and Cardona had committed crimes.
Smith, with the 523rd Military Police Detachment in Fort Riley, Kan., faces 14 charges; Cardona, with the 42nd Military Police Detachment in Fort Bragg, N.C., faces nine.
Miller, the prosecutor, urged Maj. Glenn Simpkins, the investigating officer, to recommend a general court-martial for each.
Simpkins has two weeks to make his recommendation.
In her closing statement, Capt. Mary McCarthy, Smith's military lawyer, challenged the prosecution witnesses' credibility.
She said that Pvt. Ivan Frederick and Pvt. Sabrina Harman, who testified Tuesday, cooperated with the government to reduce their own sentences stemming from involvement in the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Harvey Volzer, a civilian attorney representing Cardona, said in his closing statement that Cardona and Smith were "doing their job" by following interrogators' instructions in the case of the inmate whose thighs were bitten.
After the hearing ended, he told reporters that dog handlers were not briefed on interrogation tactics but were told to listen to interrogators.
He also told reporters that Dinenna's testimony proved that senior officers at Abu Ghraib sought to copy the tactics used at Guantanamo Bay.
There was, he said, a top-down plan to "Gitmo-ize the prison."
If convicted, Smith, of Fullerton, Calif., faces up to 29 1/2 years in a military brig, reduction in rank to private, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. Cardona, who is from Fort Lauderdale, faces 16 1/2 years in jail and the same other penalties.
i wonder why arpaio wasnt braggind to these irish officils that he is the meanest sheriff in the universe?
Arpaio offered to give Irish authorities
a tour of the jail if they were concerned
Colleary avoids extradition Irish judge keeps priest from facing abuse charges
By Gary Grado, Tribune
July 28, 2005
An Irish judge denied the extradition Wednesday of a former Scottsdale priest accused of molesting an altar boy in 1978. Judge Phillip O’Sullivan of Ireland’s High Court based his decision not to extradite the Rev. Patrick Colleary on the age of the case and Arizona’s law that allows judges to withhold bail for accused sex offenders, according to the written judgment.
"I’m extremely disappointed," said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. "It’s an arrogant decision. It’s interesting because it’s the second time in a week that a foreign country has made clear that it intends to dictate to us how we may bring to justice their citizens when they come here and allegedly commit crimes."
Mexico has indicated it won’t extradite Rodrigo Cervantes Zavala to face trial on charges he killed the uncle and grandparents of his children July 11 near Queen Creek, unless Arizona drops the death penalty, Thomas said.
Colleary’s friend, the Rev. David Myers of Guadalupe, said he spoke with Colleary early Wednesday and he was thankful to God and everyone who helped him.
Myers, who also is an attorney, said O’Sullivan’s ruling was a "serious indictment" of Arizona law.
Colleary moved to Ireland in early 2003 before a grand jury indicted him on charges he sexually abused a 10- or 11-year-old parishioner at Church of the Holy Spirit in Tempe.
Colleary is one of eight priests indicted after a yearlong investigation into decades of sexual misconduct in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. He is one of three indicted priests living in other countries.
Diocese attorney Mike Haran said the diocese was disappointed in the ruling and its Youth Protection Advocate would be offering continued support to those who say Colleary molested them.
O’Sullivan wrote that he was prepared to deny the extradition April 22, but he postponed the decision until Wednesday to hold another hearing after learning that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio marched 700 inmates in only their flip-flops and pink underwear during an April 15 jail transfer.
And while O’Sullivan said he finds Arpaio is sadistic and humiliates inmates, it had no bearing on his original findings.
Arpaio offered to give Irish authorities a tour of the jail if they were concerned about it.
Thomas said he will not dismiss the charges against Colleary unless there is some "fundamental change" in the case.
Contact Gary Grado by email, or phone (602) 258-1746
Soldier Who Refused Iraq Duty Faces Charge
By RUSS BYNUM
Associated Press Writer
FORT STEWART, Ga. (AP) -- Sgt. Kevin Benderman turned his back on war, but he insists he never deserted the Army whose uniform he continues to wear six months after refusing to deploy to Iraq for a second tour.
Benderman served in Iraq during the 2003 invasion, but says he decided he could no longer be a part of the destruction he witnessed, even if that meant choosing his conscience over his commitment to his fellow troops.
He faces a general court-martial Thursday on charges of desertion.
"I went to war. I never ran from it," Benderman said Wednesday. "I experienced it and I realized it's not what I should be doing. In my opinion, it's not what anybody should be doing in the modern world."
Benderman, a mechanic, faces up to five years in prison if convicted. He has opted to let a military judge, Col. Donna M. Wright, decide his guilt or innocence rather than a jury of his peers in uniform.
That's a shrewd move, considering the bitter emotions that wartime desertion cases can stir up in soldiers, said Mark Stevens, a defense attorney in North Carolina and retired Marine Corps judge advocate.
"With the war going on, I would not choose a (jury) panel, especially a panel that's been to Iraq," Stevens said. "Desertion is a very technical legal defense, and a lot of times juries go on their gut."
Benderman said he became morally opposed to war after serving eight months in Iraq, where he witnessed a young girl suffering third-degree burns to her arm, dogs feeding on corpses in a mass grave and Iraqi civilians drinking from mud puddles.
Pallats reports Benderman says he's prepared to deal with whatever consequences he faces as a result of his decision.
He did not tell commanders he planned to seek objector status until 15 months later, after he had trained with his unit for a year in preparation to return to Iraq and had packed his bags to ship overseas.
He skipped his 3rd Infantry Division unit's deployment flight Jan. 8, just 10 days after giving Fort Stewart commanders notice that he was seeking a discharge as a conscientious objector.
Prosecutors argue Benderman had an obligation to deploy while his conscientious objector application was pending, and his actions betrayed the soldiers in his unit. The Army Conscientious Objector Review Board rejected Benderman's application April 22.
"Sergeant Benderman submitted his conscientious objector application, not because of deeply held moral or ethical beliefs, but rather, because he did not want to deploy with his unit," Col. John M. Kidd, Fort Stewart's garrison commander, said in a memo April 6.
Military law defines a deserter as a soldier who flees the military with no intent to return or to "avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service."
Benderman declined to discuss specifics of his case. But his civilian defense attorney, William Cassara, said Fort Stewart trumped up charges against Benderman to punish him for his anti-war stance.
Sgt. Kevin Benderman: http://www.bendermandefense.org