It has been more than ten years since September 11, 2001. Ever since that day, our
elected selected leaders have chosen to trash the U.S. Constitution, attack several other countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and more), build secret military bases and prisons around the world, and spy on and even assassinate American citizens.
For a concise summary of many of the Constitutional abuses that have taken place since that awful day ten years ago, I highly recommend reading this essay by Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Here’s a sample:
In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, George W. Bush shredded the U.S. Constitution, trampled on the Bill of Rights, discarded the Geneva Conventions, and heaped scorn on the domestic torture statute and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
As we mark the 10th anniversary of the terrible events of September 11, 2001, none of us has any desire to play down the horrors of that day, but two wrongs do not make a right, and, in response to the attacks, the Bush administration engineered and presided over the most sustained period of constitutional decay in our history.
Moreover, although George W. Bush entered the first decade of the 21st century by dismantling the rights that are fundamental to the identity of the United States and the security of its people, Barack Obama ended the decade by failing to fully reinstate those rights. Through his own indecision, or through ferocious opposition in Congress, he has been unable to close the infamous prison at Guantánamo Bay, as promised, and has also refused to even contemplate holding anyone in the Bush administration accountable for their crimes.
As a result, the democratic principles which we hold dear have suffered a massive blow in the first ten years of the 21st century, although that is not the main problem. The deep erosion of our civil liberties is to be lamented, and should be resisted, however difficult the political climate, but the most painful truth about the last decade is that it marks an undoing of democracy so severe that without concerted and deliberate action by the people in this country — and, one hopes, by their elected leaders — the values which defined us, before the events of 9/11 allowed the Bush administration to reshape our perception of executive power, may never be regained.
The Bush and Obama administrations and Congress by supporting and passing the Patriot Act and other clearly unconstitutional laws, have also given free rein to the FBI to spy on and persecute American citizens–usually peace activists or Muslim-Americans.
Today I want to focus on the FBI’s “investigations” of “homegrown terrorism.” I use those quotes because I don’t consider sting operations in which the FBI seeks out vuknerable Muslim-Americans and suggests methods by which they could attack the U.S., provides weapons and funds, and then arrests people who haven’t yet taken any action to be real “investigations.”
I’m really getting sick and tired of reading stories like the one that broke on Wednesday about a young Ashland, MA man named Rezwan Ferdaus. Ferdaus is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston. He was indicted yesterday for
attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive, attempting to damage and destroy national defense premises, receiving firearms and explosive materials, and attempting to provide material support to terrorists and a terrorist organization.
“With the goal of terrorizing the United States, decapitating its ‘military center,’ and killing as many ‘kafirs’ [an Arabic term meaning nonbelievers] as possible, Ferdaus extensively planned and took substantial steps to bomb the United States Pentagon and United State Capitol Building using remote controlled aircraft filled with explosives,”
Read the indictment here (PDF).
Please keep in mind that the “investigation” of Ferdaus was done by the FBI. This is the same FBI that can’t get their 80-year-old definition of rape changed without being pressured for years, after which they finally decide to form a committee to consider proposed changes. This is the same FBI that couldn’t catch Whitey Bulger for 16 years even though he hiding in plain sight. Never mind that, this is the same FBI that tried to use Whitey Bulger as an “informant” while he was murdering people right and left. This is the same FBI whose agents enabled Bulger to go on the lam instead of being prosecuted. By 1994, the FBI was “considered compromised” and so the DEA joined with Massachusetts law enforcement to investigate Bulger, and chose not to inform the FBI of their task force.
This is just a bit of the history of FBI incompetence in the Boston area. Imagine if we looked at the agency’s failures in every major city and state!
I want to begin my recommended reads on the Ferdaus case with a piece by a Boston writer who knows the local background of FBI “investigations” well. Here’s Charlie Pierce, writing at Esquire Magazine. He suggests that the FBI is “busting its own conspiracies.”
Up until now, “homegrown terrorism” has been a phrase reserved for people like Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, and Kevin Harpham, who tried to do the same to the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane last January. In other words, “homegrown terrorism” meant rightwing violence either in fact, or in actual attempt…Now…what is being called “homegrown terrorism” is being applied to Ferdaus, an America citizen who is a Muslim. And certainly, if the FBI is to be believed — which is always a very big if, especially in Boston, as history has taught us — Ferdaus had it in him to be a very bad actor. If the FBI is to be believed, he had every intention of carrying out his plans. If the FBI is to be believed, he spouted off extensively to FBI agents whom Ferdaus believed were recruiters for Al Qaeda. He bought cellphones to be used as detonators. On Wednesday, he took delivery of what he believed to be weapons and explosives, which is when the FBI busted him. The Justice Department even helpfully supplied a photo of a model of a Sabre jet of the type it says Ferdaus planned to use to deliver his explosives.
If the FBI is to be believed, that is.
But why should we believe them? Look at their history. Just think about what the FBI did back in the ’60s and ’70s–spying on the Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Vietnam Veterans who spoke out against the war, and of course peace activists of every stripe. This is their history: enabling criminals and persecuting anyone who questions the government. And since 9/11, they have almost no brakes on their activities. Back to Charlie Pierce:
Ferdaus is only the latest person arrested by the FBI for being part of what they believed to be an enterprise — terrorist or otherwise — in which his “partners” actually were FBI agents themselves. (There is no evidence yet presented that Ferdaus did anything except run his mouth prior to meeting the two counterfeit jihadis who worked for Uncle Sam.) The pattern is now familiar. There is an announcement at maximum volume. The suspect is usually described as being fully dedicated — and fully capable — of carrying out the plans he is charged with making. And, as a bonus, all the psychological alarms that the country has been carrying around since 9/11 begin to rattle to life again. The problems arise when the cases fall part, as several of them have, or when the question arises as to whether or not the FBI is simply busting its own conspiracies. When the cases fall apart, or when they turn out to be rather less serious than the original blare of publicity would have had the nation believe, the news is often buried, but the fear and the political utility of the original announcement remain.
Again, why should we believe them this time? Will Ferdaus get a fair trial? Will he be tortured? Who knows? But I do not trust these people. Anyway, I’ve collected some interesting reads on this subject to share with you today. Please feel free to discuss any other stories you wish in the comments.
First, Mother Jones had a great series awhile back on the FBI, and they have posted an update on the Ferdaus case.
UPDATE: On September 28, Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year-old graduate of Northeastern University, was arrested and charged with providing resources to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to destroy national defense premises. Ferdaus, according to the FBI, planned to blow up both the Pentagon and Capitol Building with a “large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives.”
The case was part of a nearly ten-month investigation led by the FBI. Not surprisingly, Ferdaus’ case fits a pattern detailed by Trevor Aaronson in his article below: the FBI provided Ferdaus with the explosives and materials needed to pull off the plot. In this case, two undercover FBI employees, who Ferdaus believed were al Qaeda members, gave Ferdaus $7,500 to purchase an F-86 Sabre model airplane that Ferdaus hoped to fill with explosives. Right before his arrest, the FBI employees gave Ferdaus, who lived at home with his parents, the explosives he requested to pull off his attack. And just how did the FBI come to meet Ferdaus? An informant with a criminal record introduced Ferdaus to the supposed al Qaeda members.
From the Aaronson article on the FBI’s use of informants:
Ever since 9/11, counterterrorism has been the FBI’s No. 1 priority, consuming the lion’s share of its budget—$3.3 billion, compared to $2.6 billion for organized crime—and much of the attention of field agents and a massive, nationwide network of informants. After years of emphasizing informant recruiting as a key task for its agents, the bureau now maintains a roster of 15,000 spies—many of them tasked, as Hussain was, with infiltrating Muslim communities in the United States. In addition, for every informant officially listed in the bureau’s records, there are as many as three unofficial ones, according to one former high-level FBI official, known in bureau parlance as “hip pockets.”
The informants could be doctors, clerks, imams. Some might not even consider themselves informants. But the FBI regularly taps all of them as part of a domestic intelligence apparatus whose only historical peer might be COINTELPRO, the program the bureau ran from the ’50s to the ’70s to discredit and marginalize organizations ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to civil-rights and protest groups.
Throughout the FBI’s history, informant numbers have been closely guarded secrets. Periodically, however, the bureau has released those figures. A Senate oversight committee in 1975 found the FBI had 1,500 informants. In 1980, officials disclosed there were 2,800. Six years later, following the FBI’s push into drugs and organized crime, the number of bureau informants ballooned to 6,000, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1986. And according to the FBI, the number grew significantly after 9/11. In its fiscal year 2008 budget authorization request, the FBI disclosed that it it had been been working under a November 2004 presidential directive demanding an increase in “human source development and management,” and that it needed $12.7 million for a program to keep tabs on its spy network and create software to track and manage informants.
I find that very frightening. Please read the whole article if you can find the time. Talking Points Memo has more information on the supposed “plot,” along with photos provided by the FBI. But check this out: a guy who knows a lot about the model planes in question says the plan wouldn’t work.
As hobbyist Bill DiRenzo warms up the real jet engine of his remote control airplane, he said the alleged plot to use jets like his to blow up the U.S. Capitol or the Pentagon sounds a little far-fetched.
DiRenzo said the suspect most likely didn’t even have the skills needed to make his alleged plot succeed.
“If you’ve never flown one, there’s no way, especially these turbine powered ones where there are the safety issues. I mean there’s so many things in the sophistication in the electronics in it. You have to be in the hobby to even think about doing what that kid did,” DiRenzo said.
DiRenzo also said from what he’s seen and read, the planes the suspect allegedly tried to use in his plot were simply not large enough to carry the explosives and the guidance system needed to be successful.
“They’re pretty close to their wing load when they take off, so to put 40 pounds of explosives on it, even some of these huge jets I have seen, they wouldn’t fly,” DiRenzo said.
The FBI is clearly targeting young Muslim-American men for their terror sting operations, so I’d like to call your attention to this scary story by Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room blog about the FBI’s blatantly bigoted attitudes toward Muslim-Americans.
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”
These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.
“There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”
The FBI isn’t just treading on thin legal ice by portraying ordinary, observant Americans as terrorists-in-waiting, former counterterrorism agents say. It’s also playing into al-Qaida’s hands.
Read it and weep. This is what we’ve come to as a country. At the UK Guardian, there are some questions being asked: FBI faces entrapment questions over Rezwan Ferdaus bomb plot arrest
The dramatic arrest of a man in Massachusetts accused of plotting to crash explosive-filled miniature airplanes into the US Capitol and the Pentagon has sparked fresh concerns that the FBI might be using entrapment techniques aimed at Muslims in America.
some legal organisations and Muslim groups have questioned whether Ferdaus, whose activities were carried out with two undercover FBI agents posing as terrorists, would have been able to carry out such a sophisticated plot if left to his own devices. In numerous previous cases in the US, the FBI has been accused of over-zealousness in its investigations and of entrapping people into terror plots who might otherwise not have carried out an attack.
“It deeply concerns us. It is another in a pattern of high-profile cases. Would this person have conceived or executed this plot without the influence of the FBI?” said Heidi Boghosian, president of the National Lawyers Guild.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also expressed its concern and wondered if more details would later emerge at trial that showed the full scale of the FBI involvement in setting up the sting. “There is a big, big difference between a plot initiated by the FBI and a plot initiated by a suspect, and it seems this might have been initiated by the FBI,” said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s director of communications.
There lots more in the article. Finally, here’s an excellent blog post by Stephen Lendman, “Entrapping Muslims in America,” and a scare story in the Christian Science Monitor about how we’re going to be attacked by terrorists with drones. In actuality, it is the U.S. who is attacking other countries (and U.S. citizens abroad) with drones. Talk about projection!
Those are my offerings for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
Many of our readers know this past week has been an absolute frustrating hell…and it is only going to continue. So if you don’t mind, I won’t mention anything about the smoke and mirror show going on now in Washington. Today’s Sunday Reads is going to be on the light side…as far as the political news stories are concerned. You won’t find any in this post… So sit back and enjoy the interesting links I have found for you today.
First thing…the Women’s World Cup…Hurray for US Women’s Soccer!
Yes, some excited news out of Germany. The US Woman’s team is in the finals against Japan. Women’s World Cup – This Time, a Show Worth Watching – NYTimes.com
In cities across Germany, 16 teams have been competing for the sixth World Cup title (men have had 19) and — thanks to a buzzer-beater against Brazil and some true grit against France — the Americans meet Japan in Sunday’s final in Frankfurt.
For those of you who are more into soccer, there is a good analysis of the players on both teams here on Sports Illustrated: U.S. women favored against Japan in Women’s World Cup final – Georgina Turner – SI.com
The game is scheduled to start today at 2:45pm EST and 11:45am PST, ESPN will be covering the game live.
Now, yesterday Boston Boomer asked in the comments when the next spectacular trial will be starting, aside from the Michael Jackson one, or actually his doctor’s involuntary manslaughter trial. (Starts in September…) The next trial I am looking forward to is the one in Boston…Here is a real engrossing article about the sons of one of Whitey’s 19 murder victims. In Whitey Bulger Case, a Voice for the Victims – NYTimes.com
Heads turned as the lanky man made his way to the courtroom pews reserved for those who suffer because of the criminal Whitey Bulger. The face of an altar boy masked his rage, and a shirt of powder-blue covered his tattoos, including one evoking the Celtic cross that adorns his father’s gravestone.“Tommy’s here,” one of the many reporters whispered, and others nodded, for it was like saying that all of Boston had just walked into Federal District Court to bear witness.
Tommy Donahue, a union electrician, 37 years old, with one good eye and the nickname of Bagga — as in bag of bones — attends nearly every Bulger-related hearing as the representative of the 19 people Mr. Bulger is accused of killing, especially Michael Donahue, his father. He then tells the news media assembled outside exactly what he thinks, his every word accented with Dorchester distrust.
“To be honest with you,” Mr. Donahue often begins, as if to suggest that in this uncomfortable summer of Bulger, honesty needs to be stipulated.
Tommy Donahue and his family are seeking some closure in the murder of their father and husband, Michael Donahue.
Now that Mr. Bulger’s return has exhumed a damning past never properly buried in the first place, a half-blind electrician from Dorchester is once again speaking out. And everyone in Boston knows that in this matter, Tommy Donahue has standing.
In the late afternoon of May 11, 1982, a union truck driver, the son of a Boston police officer, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s how a wise guy later summed it up, in the oops philosophy of the underworld: wrong place, wrong time.
Give the rest of the article a read. This family has been through a horrible experience, they deserve some justice.
Meanwhile, back in my own state of Georgia, there has been a huge scandal involving cheating in schools. But it wasn’t the kids cheating…it was the teachers and school administrators. Atlanta schools created culture of cheating, fear – CBS Atlanta News
Teachers spent nights huddled in a back room, erasing wrong answers on students’ test sheets and filling in the correct bubbles. At another school, struggling students were seated next to higher-performing classmates so they could copy answers.
Those and other confessions are contained in a new state report that reveals how far some Atlanta public schools went to raise test scores in the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal. Investigators concluded that nearly half the city’s schools allowed the cheating to go unchecked for as long as a decade, beginning in 2001.
Administrators – pressured to maintain high scores under the federal No Child Left Behind law – punished or fired those who reported anything amiss and created a culture of “fear, intimidation and retaliation,” according to the report released earlier this month, two years after officials noticed a suspicious spike in some scores.
The report names 178 teachers and principals, and 82 of those confessed. Tens of thousands of children at the 44 schools, most in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, were allowed to advance to higher grades, even though they didn’t know basic concepts.
One teacher told investigators the district was “run like the mob.”
“Everybody was in fear,” another teacher said in the report. “It is not that the teachers are bad people and want to do it. It is that they are scared.”
In an effort to keep from losing funding, you know that no kid left behind bill that really does not work as well as those politicians say it does…teachers and administrators were cheating on standardized test. School systems in Washington DC, Philadelphia and Los Angeles are currently under investigation for cheating.
Experts say the cheating scandal – which involved more schools and teachers than any other in U.S. history – has led to soul-searching among other urban districts facing cheating investigations and those that have seen a rapid rise in test scores.
In Georgia, teachers complained to investigators that some students arrived at middle school reading at a first-grade level. But, they said, principals insisted those students had to pass their standardized tests. Teachers were either ordered to cheat or pressured by administrators until they felt they had no choice, authorities said.
One principal forced a teacher to crawl under a desk during a faculty meeting because her test scores were low. Another principal told teachers that “Walmart is hiring” and “the door swings both ways,” the report said.
Another principal told a teacher on her first day that the school did whatever was necessary to meet testing benchmarks, even if that meant “breaking the rules.”
Wow, The article is a long one, but give it a read, it is hard to imagine all these students for the last 10 plus years getting passed on through the system. What kind of jobs and productive lives could these people have if their education was nothing but a farce.
HuffPo has the latest here: Teachers Implicated In Atlanta Cheating Scandal Told To Resign Or Get Fired
The 178 educators implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools’ cheating investigation received letters in their mailboxes Friday from interim Superintendent Erroll Davis. The message: Resign by Wednesday, or get fired.
The announcement comes after Davis replaced four area superintendents and two principals as a result of the investigation into alleged cheating by teachers, revealed early this month. APS Human Resources Chief Millicent Few resigned Monday. Investigators accused Few of illegally ordering the destruction or altering of important documents that evidenced the cheating.
According to the article, the entire process could take months. Some teachers have retained lawyers to fight for their jobs.
Another long read for you: Los 33: Chilean miners face up to a strange new world | World news | The Observer
The rescue of 33 miners from Chile’s San José mine after 69 days trapped underground was a triumph shared with the whole world. But the transition back to normality is proving difficult for both the men and their families
These miners have just filed a lawsuit against the mining company and country of Chile for negligence. It is the start of a long legal battle as the men and their families are still trying to adjust and heal from the trauma of being buried alive, 2,000 feet down for 69 days.
Moving on to something very cool…check out this eye candy: The Maddow Blog – Lost afternoon: British tattoo history
Jezebel ran a great set of photos yesterday related to Great Britain’s first professional female tattoo artist, Jessie Knight, including the one above, likely dating back to the early 1930s.
Some neat pictures at the link…I have five tattoos myself, so seeing some history about woman tattoo artist is cool as hell.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: The website this next link comes from, called Geekosystem, is a sister site to Mediaite. I could have posted so many cool geeky science articles but this one popped out at me. I don’t know, perhaps it was the photo of the majestic animal…with her head held high, or perhaps it was the phrase “farting camels” that struck my childish, immature heart-strings? Anyway, here it is: Australia Considering Camel Kill To Reduce Global Warming | Geekosystem
Farting camels make global warming worse, death to the camels! It would be nice if there was something (anything?) that we could blame for climate change, other than human actions. But, farting camels? What seems like a ridiculous farting farce, is actually a real plan being considered by officials in Australia to kill camels for their alleged role in global warming.
The idea is that killing camels, who release methane gas when they fart, would solve global warming in Australia because their farting has a serious impact on the country’s carbon emissions. The International Society of Camelid Research Development (ISOCARD), has called the proposed camel-cull “stupid,” and an “abomination of science,” in addition to declaring that it would make camels scape-goats for a man-made problem.
Sound a bit far fetched to you? Well, what if I told you that there was money to be had…or at least carbon tax credits for Australia’s big corporations. See, one dead camel equals a tax credit based on the amount of carbon fart emissions that the average camel puts out.
Australia still relies on coal for power and has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world. The government has set plans to start taxing the country’s biggest polluters, but these companies will be able to buy carbon credits to offset their emissions.
So far, it remains to be seen what will happen to the camels, but ISOCARD seems ready to fight for feral camels, who in all their farting glory, are not a major player in Australia’s carbon emission problem.
I don’t know, but I can bet there will be some pissed off animal lovers down in Australia if this plan goes through.
Easy like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Another one from Down Under…this one has nothing to do with camelid flatulence. The Earth/Sky website is freaking awesome! Check this video out: Astonishing time lapse video of the Australian night sky | Earth | EarthSky
This beautiful collection of images depicts the Milky Way from the Southern Ocean Coast in Australia and was posted on Vimeo by Alex Cherney. Complete description can be found here.
Well, that is it for me…post links to whatever you like below in the comment section. Hell, post some of your thoughts if you don’t have a link…
Hope you have an awesome Sunday.
Good Morning!! I think I have some interesting reads for you today, so let’s get right to it.
The biggest story of the day is that the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals has ordered the Obama administration to quit stalling and get rid of DADT immediately.
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a two-page order against the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a case brought by the group Log Cabin Republicans.
In 2010, a federal judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, ruled that the law was unconstitutional and ordered the government to stop enforcing it. That decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which issued a stay allowing the government to continue enforcing the policy as it made its way through the courts.
Congress repealed the policy last year, but called for a lengthy process of preparation, training and certification, still under way, before ending it….
Judges Alex Kozinski, Kim McLane Wardlaw and Richard A. Paez stated in their order that “circumstances and balance of hardships had changed” since their initial ruling: the Obama administration had informed the court that repeal of the policy was “well under way,” and in a filing in another case on July 1, the Department of Justice took the position that discrimination based on sexual orientation should be subjected to tough scrutiny. The government, the judges wrote, “can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay.”
And the credit goes to the Log Cabin Republicans, because Democrats are too weak and cowardly to do anything useful anymore.
As I predicted, Michele Bachmann is making gains on Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, according to the latest PPP Poll.
When PPP polled New Hampshire in April Michele Bachmann was stuck at 4%. She’s gained 14 points over the last three months and now finds herself within single digits of Mitt Romney. Romney continues to lead the way in the state with 25% to 18% for Bachmann, 11% for Sarah Palin, 9% for Ron Paul, 7% for Rick Perry and Herman Cain, 6% for Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty, and 4% for Newt Gingrich.
Bachmann’s surge in New Hampshire is being built on the back of the Tea Party. Among voters identifying themselves as members of that movement she’s leading the way at 25% with Palin and Romney tying for second at 16%, and Cain also placing in double digits at 11%. Only 33% of Republican primary voters in the state identify themselves as Tea Partiers though and with the remaining folks Romney’s way ahead with 33% to 13% for Bachmann, and 10% for Huntsman and Paul.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The 14 men (and 5 boys whose names are being withheld because they are juveniles) who gang raped an 11-year-old Texas girl were due in court yesterday.
Four of the accused face charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child, while the majority of the men have been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. All defendants are expected to appear in the Liberty, Texas courtroom today for status updates, according to the Associated Press.
Cleveland police began investigating the case in December of last year after cell phone video showing the alleged sex attack started circulating among students at Cleveland schools, according to court documents. The video shows the girl engaged in sexual acts with several men….Most of the men who face charges are free on bond. One of the accused men, Marcus Porchia, 26, has been implicated in another unrelated case for sexual assault.
The trial has been postponed until October because of delays in DNA testing.
“I’m going to pressure the state to pressure the DPS lab to get whatever analysis as quickly as possible,” state District Judge Mark Morefield said.
Morefield reset the 14 men’s cases for Oct. 3. Five juvenile boys also have been charged.
During the hearing, Warren told the judge his office was in tentative negotiations with at least one of the defendants, Jared McPherson. Warren did not say if he was referring to a possible plea agreement and he declined to comment after the hearing. McPherson’s attorney also declined to comment. A gag order is preventing those connected to the case from commenting.
Something tells me this trial won’t get as much publicity as the Casey Anthony trial. I hope I’m wrong, because this is a horrendous crime against a child, and these men need to be put away for a very long time.
Actually the next high profile trial I expect to follow is that of Amy Bishop, the professor who opened fire in a faculty meeting after failing to get tenure. So far the judge is planning to keep the trial open to the public. I hope it will be televised. Once Bishop finishes that trial, she’ll have to go to Massachusetts and face murder charges in the shooting of her brother in 1986.
There’s already a true crime book out about the Bishop case.
The Amy Bishop story inspires fear, confusion, and now 258 pages of true crime drama.
Attorney Mark McDaniel says the lawyers involved in the case will be hurrying to read the book.
McDaniel says, “I promise you the defense lawyers and the prosecutors are reading that, probably reading it today.”
And then there’s the Whitey Bulger trial. Bulger pled not guilty to 19 murders today.
The retired state police colonel who oversaw the unearthing of the remains of several of the people James “Whitey” Bulger is accused of killing from crude mass graves said he felt some personal satisfaction yesterday in seeing his notorious nemesis “a broken man” in chains before a judge.
But retired Col. Thomas J. Foley said that for the families to hear Bulger, 81, plead not guilty to 32 charges, including 19 murders, extortion, machine-gun possession and money laundering, “I’m sure had to be a difficult pill for the families to swallow.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said that should the case go to a trial, he expects prosecutors will need at least a month to present evidence and up to 40 witnesses.
J.W. Carney Jr., Bulger’s public defender, would not say whether his client, who faces life imprisonment here and could face the death penalty in murder cases pending in Florida and Oklahoma, is interested in striking a plea deal.
Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis is asking Whitey’s politically powerful brother Billy Bulger to get Whitey to talk.
William M. Bulger, former president of the state Senate and the University of Massachusetts, sits in the front row in a charcoal business suit, a look of implacable rectitude frozen on his pale face.
Around Billy in the courtroom are the wives, brothers, sons and daughters of some of the 19 people Whitey is accused of killing. Billy knows they are there, but never acknowledges them. Strange for a man who began his star-crossed career as a lawyer taking cases in South Boston District Court.
As this circus lumbers forward, it will become increasingly obvious that the only man who can clear a path to something called justice is Billy Bulger, the man some people still think of as “The Good Brother.”
Billy should do what he refused to do 10 years ago before a grand jury and a congressional committee. He should have the courage to confront his brother and urge him to give some small semblance of peace to the families he’s wounded by coming clean. Billy should ask Whitey to take ownership of his sins.
I’ve got a few reactions to the verdict in the Casey Anthony case. James Wolcott says he didn’t follow the case closely, but based on what he did see he wasn’t surprised at the not guilty verdict.
I seemed to be one of the few whose world didn’t flip sideways–I wasn’t that surprised and if anything pleased that the jury made up its own collective mind in defiance of the lynch-mob clamor on the cable channels.
It can’t be said that the know-nothing know-it-alls on Fox News and Nancy Grace’s Sweeney Todd cooking school accepted the jury’s verdict with modesty and maturity. After expressing shock and taking turns to tell us how “stunned” they were, they accused the jury of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (staring at Casey Anthony’s face somehow melting their reason and resolve), appearing to resent that fact that the defendant might be freed soon (since she might be granted time-served on the lesser charges, having already served years behind bars), and acting peevish that they didn’t get their way, having already convicted Casey Anthony on the airwaves for years now and treating the trial as an audiovisual demonstration of what to them was self-evident.
“Appearing to resent” and “peevish” are too mild, actually–many of the instant commentators on cable were visibly, audibly angry at the AUDACITY these acquittals.
Failed OJ prosecutor Marcia Clark thinks the verdict in the Anthony case is even worse than what happened with OJ.
…it was a circumstantial case. Most cases are. But the circumstances were compelling. Maybe not sufficient to prove premeditated murder—and I never believed the jury would approve the death penalty—but certainly enough to find Casey Anthony guilty of manslaughter at the very least.
Why didn’t they? My guess, since I’m writing this before the inevitable juror cameos, is that the jury didn’t necessarily believe Casey was innocent but weren’t convinced enough of her guilt to bring in a conviction. The thinking goes something like this: Sure, Casey’s behavior after her daughter’s death looks bad—dancing, partying, lying—but that doesn’t mean she killed the baby. Sure, that duct tape was weird, but that could’ve been done after the baby was already dead—no way to know who or when that tape was put on the baby’s face. Sure, the chloroform computer search seems damning, but that may not even have been done by Casey (her mom took the fall for that one).
And so, every bit of evidence presented by the prosecution could’ve been tinged with doubt. At the end of the day, the jury might have found that they just couldn’t convict her based on evidence that was reconcilable with an innocent explanation—even if the weight of logic favored the guilty one.
It’s a thoughtful article, highly recommended. Clark may be right about the jury, because at least one juror is already talking. She says she felt sick to her stomach at having to vote not guilty.
I wonder why she didn’t push for manslaughter then or at least child endangerment?
Jeralyn wrote a couple of good posts on the Anthony case yesterday: The Meaning of a Not Guilty Verdict and So Many Ignorant Reactions to Casey Anthony Acquittal. She had a few choice words for the HLN vampires.
HLN…proceeded to blast the defense team for holding a victory party and sharing a toast of champagne. Excuse me? This team didn’t work as hard as the prosecution? With fewer resources? The defense team saved a life today. That’s as close to G-ds work as it gets for criminal defense lawyers. Why shouldn’t they be proud? They held the state to its burden of proof and the state failed to meet it.
One viewer said the jury got it wrong because unlike everyone else, they weren’t privy to what was being said on Facebook and Twitter. The host agreed, saying the jury was in a vacuum in the courtroom. Hello? The jury was in the courtroom and heard and saw all the evidence. They were sequestered so they would be free from outside influences and prejudice. The jurors were the ones who received the judge’s instructions on how to apply the law. Did anyone bother to post or read all the instructions on Facebook and Twitter?
I wish the news media would stop saying no one will ever be held accountable for the little girl’s murder. It hasn’t be proven there was a murder. The defense argued it was an accident. The state took its best shot and came up short.
Congratulations to Jose Baez, Cheney Mason and everyone else on the defense team. They represented their client with pride and dedication, and with enormous sacrifices to their personal lives and law practices. They successfully battered the junk science, and prevailed in the long run — despite the unprofessional conduct of a prosecutor who smirked throughout their closing argument.
The fossil of a car sized mega-wombat has been unearthed in northern Australia, scientists said Wednesday — the most complete skeleton of its kind.
Weighing in at a whopping three tonnes, the herbivorous diprotodon was the largest marsupial to ever roam the earth and lived between two million and 50,000 years ago.
A relative of the modern-day wombat, the diprotodon skeleton was dug up in remote Queensland last week — the most northerly specimen ever discovered — and scientists believe it could shed valuable light on the species’ demise.
Along with Australia’s other megafauna, which included towering kangaroos and gigantic crocodiles, diprotodon became extinct around the same time that indigenous tribes first appeared and debate has raged about the role of humans.
That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
Kansas Planned Parenthood Update below!
Anyone wonder if and when young women will realize just how bad these new PLUB laws are for their Reproductive Health. Kansas no longer has on demand abortion services, I can’t believe it has come to this: Kansas Denies Abortion License For Planned Parenthood : NPR
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas has been denied a state license to allow it to continue performing abortions as of Friday.
That means Kansas will become the only state without a clinic or doctor’s office performing abortions, at least temporarily.
There is more info at this link below, but since it is an AP article, I won’t quote from it…just go and read it yourself.
***Updated AP article*** I have a link to Atlanta Journal Constitution here:
The Kansas health department now says that one of its three abortion providers will receive a license to continue performing abortions.
Joseph Kroll, right, director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment bureau that wrote new rules for abortion clinics, talks with Kathy Ostrowski, left, in white, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, Thursday, June 30, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. They are speaking after a state board allowed the rules to take effect, as of July 1, 2011. Planned Parenthood disclosed Thursday that its Kansas clinic had been denied a state license to continue performing abortions as the group filed its own lawsuit to block new state rules that will make Kansas the first state in the nation without an abortion provider. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
Kansas Secretary of Administration Dennis Taylor, left, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach, right, listen to a presentation on new regulations for abortion clinics, Thursday, June 30, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Taylor and Kobach are members of the State Rules and Regulations Board, which is allowing the regulations to take effect on Friday, July 1, 2011. Planned Parenthood disclosed Thursday that its Kansas clinic had been denied a state license to continue performing abortions as the group filed its own lawsuit to block new state rules that will make Kansas the first state in the nation without an abortion provider. (AP Photo/JohnThe Kansas Department of Health and Environment did not name the provider Thursday.
But Planned Parenthood officials said that state inspectors returned to its Kansas City area clinic for a second visit Thursday after denying it a license previously.
The state’s two other clinics have not been inspected for licensing under a new law taking effect Friday, along with health regulations for the providers. If none of the clinics were to receive a license, Kansas would become the first state in the country without an abortion provider.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
And hey, check out what Senator Orrin Hatch (R) is trying to pull now: Hatch Aims To Tack Abortion Ban on to Trade Pact | Mother Jones
What does the Korean free trade agreement have to do with abortion? You got me. But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) plans to offer an amendment in today’s markup of a handful of trade bills in the Senate Finance Committee that would bar Medicaid funding for abortions.
The amendment is described as seeking “to close the loophole that sends taxpayer dollars to fund operational costs for abortions.” It would block Medicaid dollars from being used at “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.” It’s hard to begin on how bad this would be. Basically, any facility that offered abortion for any reason—even a hospital providing it as life-saving emergency care for a woman—would not be able to accept Medicaid payment. The effect would be that hospitals and clinics that currently offer abortion would likely stop doing so in order to be able to continue accepting Medicaid money, and the low-income women who rely on Medicaid would be effectively denied abortion coverage entirely.
The article goes on to say it will more than likely not pass, but what the hell? The fact that it was even put into this Korean free trade agreement is proof enough that these PLUBs will try anything to get their anti-woman agenda passed.
Whitey Bulger was assigned a defense attorney today, and not just any suit in the Public Defender’s office: Judge taps high-profile defender for mob boss Bulger | Reuters
Former Boston mob boss and accused murderer James “Whitey” Bulger will have a high-profile criminal defense attorney, J. W. Carney, represent him at public expense, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler rejected the prosecution’s argument that Bulger should not get publicly funded counsel in his pending trial for racketeering, 19 counts of murder and other crimes.
There was no evidence that Bulger had the means to pay for his defense, Bowler said, setting his arraignment for July 6.
As far as the $800,000 in cash they found on Bulger when he was taken into custody last week: Bulger victim wins lien freezing mobster’s $800k – CBS News
In other criminal news, the Defense rest in the Casey Anthony trial. Not much more to say about the trial, this headline pretty much does it…
Since the defense rested today, closing arguments will probably be heard on Saturday…then comes the media’s jury watch that may rival the one when OJ was on trial. Back when the jury was deliberating whether OJ did it or not, social networks were not as prevalent or ingrained into our society as it is now.
I will end with this nugget of stupidity that was seen at the end of court today. Matthew Bartlett, a 28-year-old waiter at TGIFriday’s flipped a bird at Prosecutor Ashton while the jury was in court…fortunately they did not see it!
ABCAshleigh Ashleigh Banfield
He has to also pay $223 court cost, so a total of $623 in fines and 6 days in the county jail…for this,
What a dumb ass…
Well, that is all I can say about that.
If you have any news links you want to post, please do so in the comment section below.
There are some updates about Whitey Bulger being reported in the NYT. Some Charges May Be Dropped in Bulger Case as Prosecutors Focus on Killings – NYTimes.com
The federal government moved on Tuesday to drop a racketeering case against the longtime fugitive James (Whitey) Bulger, saying it wanted to focus on a separate case that charges him with 19 murders, among other crimes.But Judge Mark L. Wolf of Federal District Court said he would not immediately allow the dismissal, in part because Mr. Bulger needed time to confer with his lawyer about it.
In seeking to drop the 1994 racketeering case against Mr. Bulger, federal prosecutors said they wanted to focus on getting justice for the murder victims. The evidence against Mr. Bulger is stronger in the murder case, they said, and the penalties are steeper if convicted. A conviction on a single murder charge could send Mr. Bulger, 81, to prison for the rest of his life.
I am glad the prosecutors want to focus on the murder victims…all nineteen (19) of them. Ten of the murder charges stem from murders Bulger commented while he was an informant for the FBI. The article quotes Dick Lehr, a Boston University Professor as saying,
“There’s no question that that one is the big enchilada,” he said. “Racketeering cases by their nature are so huge and complicated. Why not tidy up and go full bore on the big one?”
Makes sense to me…but there could be other reasons for dropping the RICO charges.
Peter Krupp, Mr. Bulger’s temporary lawyer, said in a hearing Tuesday that the government appeared to be trying to avoid dealing with Judge Wolf, who presides over the 1994 racketeering case. Judge Richard Stearns of Federal District Court is in charge of the murder case.
Judge Wolf, the chief judge of the district, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bulger cases and has a reputation for being “brilliant but overbearing,” Mr. Lehr said. The judge scheduled another hearing for Thursday on whether the 1994 case should be dropped. Judge Wolf has also not yet decided whether Mr. Bulger is eligible for a free, court-appointed lawyer.
With all the talk of the Casey Anthony trial, the Bulger trial is one I would love to see. (Anyone looking for another perspective of the CMA trial, check this out: Women in Crime Ink: Trials: Truth, Expectation and Reality )
There is a new article and video up at CBS News that interviews a resident of Fukushima about her concerns about radiation and her children. Japan’s radiation dilemma: Leave or live in fear – CBS News
For ten years, Akiko Murakami has lived a suburban dream — growing flowers, as she raised four sons, in a leafy corner of Fukushima city. But now she wonders if it’s safe to stay here. CBS News reporter Lucy Craft brought a Geiger counter, which measures radiation, to her house.
The home she and her husband built for their kids, ages 12 to 21, is surrounded by pockets of radiation — known as hotspots.
Fukushima is a city of 300,000 people, and I guess it is just too many people to evacuate. (Bit of snark there.)
The government has lowered radiation exposure standards in the Fukushima region to 20 millisieverts a year. That’s about the same amount as 50 mammograms. Fukushima City is 40 miles from the nuclear plant, the source of the radiation, but Japan is telling its residents that there’s no additional risk. Many international experts and even the prime minister’s own nuclear advisor disagree. They claim that Fukushima is no longer safe – particularly for children.
Residents travelled to Tokyo to protest after the government loosened safety limits — despite the fact that the long-term impact of low-dose radiation is unknown.
I am no doctor or radiation expert, but 50 mammograms seems like a lot of x-ray exposure to me. Murakiami says that her biggest fear is her children’s health, no doubt she is just one of the many families facing the same decision. Stay or go…I say, get the hell out if you can.
Oh, and while many of you have those 50 “tata” mammograms a year in your minds, lets move on to yet another fight that Breast Cancer victims must face…Breast Cancer Patients Fight for Avastin, a Breast Cancer Drug – ABC News
Priscilla Howard, who has metastatic breast cancer, has been taking the drug Avastin for a little more than two years and has seen a remarkable difference in the progression of her disease, she told a panel of experts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the first day of a two-day hearing that pits the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research against Genentech, Avastin’s manufacturer.
“I am progression free but not cancer free,” said Howard, one of a handful of Avastin patients who gathered both inside and outside the FDA to fight for keeping Avastin on the market.
“I want every available weapon in my arsenal as I fight this devastating disease,” Howard told the panel. The hearing will ultimately decide the fate of what some patients consider a lifesaving drug.
The FDA could take Avastin off the list of approved medications for cancer patients, which
Some cancer specialists said the decision could hold huge implications for the way their patients will be treated.
“This decision [could] remove an option for patients,” said Dr. Edith Perez, clinical oncologist at the Mayo Clinic.
American Cancer Society’s deputy medical officer Dr. Len Lichtenfeld attended the hearing and tweeted “No one has asked the question: What do we say to all the patients and families who testified this morning?”
I am thinking that one of the reasons the FDA wants to withdraw the use of Avastin may have something to do with the cost of Avastin. As this article from the New York Times in 2008 states: The Evidence Gap – In Cost Cancer Drug Avastin, Hope and a Dilemma – Series – NYTimes.com
…some in the pharmaceutical industry worry that such prices will raise concerns about whether the drugs are worth it, leading to a backlash like price controls or restrictions on use.
Roy Vagelos, a former chief executive of Merck who is considered an elder statesman of the industry, said in a recent speech that he was troubled by a drug, which he would not name but which was a clear reference to Avastin, that costs $50,000 a year and adds four months of life. “There is a shocking disparity between value and price,” he said, “and it’s not sustainable.”
You thinking what I am thinking…screw the women that may get extra time on this earth to live their lives, cause it cost too damn much.
And on that note, I want to give you a link from the state of Kansas on the continued war against women. Second abortion lawsuit filed in Kansas | CJOnline.com
The Center for Reproductive Rights submitted to federal district court in Kansas City, Kan., a challenge to abortion clinic licensing regulations adopted by the 2011 Legislature and signed into law by anti-abortion Gov. Sam Brownback.
The suit was filed on behalf of the Center for Women’s Health, which has been operated in Overland Park by physicians Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser.
“Between the rigid and unnecessary building standards and the absurd deadlines, this licensing process is a complete sham,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“Our clients have a long record of providing safe and high-quality OB/GYN care, including abortion services, to women over the last 30 years,” she said. “These regulations have nothing to do with safety standards and everything to do with an aggressive anti-choice government trying to shut down abortion providers.”
And BTW, the article points out that if these three clinics are denied licenses, Kansas will be the first state, “not to have abortion services on demand.”
Let’s end with an article about Hillary Clinton Chides Male Domination of African Union – Bloomberg
Hillary Clinton’s speech was met with silence from the male-dominated envoys at the African Union as she criticized the continents aging autocrats. The mood changed when the U.S. Secretary of State turned her attention to women.
“The women of Africa are the hardest working women in the world,” said Clinton, addressing the 53-nation body in Addis Ababa on June 13. Interrupted by loud cheers from the visitors’ area in the upper gallery in the back of the hall, she exclaimed: “If all the women in Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, decided they would stop working for a week, the economies of Africa would collapse.”
If African women were given equal access as men to vocational training and technology, the continent’s economy would expand by at least 40 percent, according Calestous Juma, a professor of international development at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The disparities are most evident in agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of employment and 30 percent of the gross domestic product of sub-Saharan Africa. About 100 million women in Africa use only rudimentary farm tools. That limits them to cultivating at most an hectare (2.5 acres) of land, which they spend almost 2,000 hours a year weeding.
Damn, I appreciate this woman so much…
For Clinton, the plight of women has helped drive an aggressive travel schedule that her office says has clocked up more miles than any of her predecessors. She’s gone 567,305 miles, visiting 85 countries in 232 days on the road since taking office in January 2009. She makes it a point to meet local women in impoverished nations.
And the Bloomberg article ends with this, Wonk take notice…cause it is something you have mentioned many times:
Women’s rights have been the defining issue for Clinton, from her time in Arkansas to the empowered wife of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s to senator for New York and finally the face of American diplomacy.
As first lady she traveled to China in 1995 to attend the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women and defied Chinese authorities by refusing to tone down a speech that state radio and television blacked out.
“It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights,” she told 180 delegates from the podium. “Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.”
As she prepares to leave office next year, Clinton has given a glimpse of where her future lies.
Which all of us here at Sky Dancing believe is a return to advocating for the rights of women and children…and geez, we need her fighting for us…big time!
So what are you reading and blogging about today? Get busy in the comment section!
And for those of you who have the song Rico Suave running through your head, I apologize…for those of you who don’t remember this tune, this video is for you: