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if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the plastic bag bill, California grocers, pharmacies, liquor stores and convenience stores will no longer be able to provide single-use bags to customers at no charge. They will be required to offer paper bags, reusable plastic bags and compostable bags for a 10-cent fee beginning next year. Few consumer issues have been more polarizing. Hailed by environmental groups for helping reduce the 14 billion plastic bags that are thrown away in the state annually, and by municipalities that spend millions to keep plastic waste under control, it has long been opposed by plastic bag manufacturers, who say such bans threaten American jobs, as well as customers who enjoy free bags’ convenience.

2 Utah men charged with toppling ancient rock.

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — A large swath of a town in eastern Quebec was destroyed Saturday after a train carrying crude oil derailed, sparking several explosions and forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people.,0,5313595.story

Hurricane Isaac left behind sections of dead marsh and answers about our future. The "coastal erosion" everyone has heard about isn't just a move northward from the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. It's also a simultaneous death from the inside out. Viewing year-to-year satellite images of areas outside our levees is like watching pixels being pulled from a digital photo, with tiny holes steadily growing into ever larger blank spaces. These open space fill with water, which gives even light breezes a longer fetch to build energy, which means waves landing against surviving shorelines arrive with greater force - which means our problem grows ever larger, faster. That's one reason comparatively small storms like Isaac now do so much damage. As the large masses of marsh are rendered into progressively smaller fragments, they become easier victims for wind and wave energy. Of course, there's another reason smaller storms are now causing more marsh destruction and consequent home and road flooding. It's the fact that shall not be named by our congressional delegation: global warming. The build-up of greenhouse gases mainly from fossil fuels is causing the sea to rise at an accelerated rate because water expands as it warms and because water that once was frozen on land as glaciers and ice fields is melting and flowing into the seas. This isn't a theory. It's a fact recorded by measurements at tide stations over the last few decades. And the rate of sea level rise in southeast Louisiana is about four times the rate of the rest of the continent because we are sinking at the same time the Gulf is swelling.

New Groundwater Study Exposes Deep Folly of Fracking.

Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World

In science, words matter Terms such as 'red tide' and 'global warming' are catchy but lead to misconceptions.,0,3072188.story

Republicans launched an unprecedented frontal assault against environmental protections and regulations this year, prompting Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to call his chamber "the most anti-environment House in history." Here are the 10 most powerful and outspoken opponents of clean air, clean water, conservation and climate action.

Borrego leads dark-sky movement Scientists see light pollution as a waste of energy, and Circadian disruption as a threat to the food chain and human health.

The health of the world's oceans is declining much faster than originally thought — under siege from pollution, overfishing and other man-made problems all at once — scientists say in a new report. The mix of interacting ingredients is in place for a mass extinction in the world's oceans, said a report by a top panel of scientists that will be presented to the United Nations on Tuesday. The report says the troubles from global warming and other factors are worse when they combine with each other. Factors include dead zones from farm run-off, an increase in acidity from too much carbon dioxide, habitat destruction and melting sea ice, along with overfishing. "Things seem to be going wrong on several different levels," said Carl Lundin, director of global marine programs at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which helped produce the report with the International Programme on the State of the Ocean. The conclusions follow an international meeting this spring in England to discuss the fate of the world's oceans.

Chernobyl, My Primeval, Teeming, Irradiated Eden. Twenty-five years after the Soviet-era meltdown drove 60,000 people from their homes in the Ukraine, a rebirth is taking place inside the exclusion zone. With Geiger counter in hand, the author explores Europe's strangest wildlife refuge, an enchanted postapocalyptic forest from which entirely new species may soon emerge.

Landscapes of Extraction: Industrial Impacts Mar the Planet. Industry and our pursuit of fossil fuels have left indelible marks on the planet in numerous ways.

Development of resistant Staphylococcus aureus over time.

Green Patriot Posters Reinvigorate Environmental Message.


Nov 14, 2013. A Chevron pipeline carrying liquefied petroleum gas exploded in Midland, Texas prompting law enforcement to evacuate a nearby town. There are no reports of injuries. Business is booming in Texas!

Stanford Ovshinsky, hybrid car battery inventor, dies. Stanford Ovshinsky, a self-taught American physicist who designed the battery now used in hybrid cars, has died aged 89 from prostate cancer. The electronics field of ovonics was named after Mr Ovshinsky, who owned over 200 patents and has been described as a "[Thomas] Edison of our age". He introduced the idea of "glass transistors" in 1968, which paved the way for modern flat-screen monitors. He and his first wife Iris set up a firm called Energy Conversion Devices. The firm specialises in manufacturing the nickel-metal hydride batteries he designed, which are still used in hybrid vehicles, and also produces large thin, flexible sheets of solar panelling also invented by Mr Ovshinsky.

Enbridge, a beleaguered Canadian oil pipeline company, has spilled more than 50,000 gallons of light crude oil in rural Wisconsin -- shortly after the company said it had implemented safety reforms after a massive 2010 spill in Michigan. Officials for Alberta-based Enbridge Inc., one of the United States’ most vital suppliers of Canadian oil, said Friday's spill has been contained by cleanup workers, who are now trying to repair and restart the 24-inch pipeline known as Line 14, which carries more than 300,000 barrels a day. The incident is another black mark for an ambitious energy company ridiculed earlier this month by U.S. safety officials, who likened Enbridge workers to the Keystone Kops. The comparison came after an investigation of a broken pipeline that released more than 800,000 gallons of heavy crude near Marshall, Mich. -- one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history and certainly the most expensive. The new spill, in sparsely populated Adams County, Wis., forced the evacuation of two homes. It is the company’s worst spill since the 2010 disaster, and it drew the ire of U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.,0,4305636.story

20 Experts Who Say Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices.

IEA Confirms The End Of Cheap Oil.

Trolleys save $, but financial case depends on price of oil.

US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015 • Shortfall could reach 10m barrels a day, report says • Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel

On Friday, Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu announced a "game changing" development in solar energy. A company called 1366 Technologies, headquartered in Lexington, Mass., has developed a silicon solar wafer that would cut the cost of solar cell manufacturing by an estimated 50 percent.

Climate Change

"Sun Kinks" in Railways Join the List of Climate Change's Toll.

The role climate change plays in our brush fires.

Scientists have warned about climate change and its consequences for decades. Now, the military is taking a stand. The warnings are the same: Rising sea levels and storm surges could wipe out port cities. Drought and flooding could alter crop production and cause famine and civil unrest. And melting polar ice caps could produce new competition for oil and mineral rights as well as conflict over how countries share that wealth. “I think the days of isolation are over,” Donald Hoffman, a retired four-star general in the Air Force, said yesterday during a Columbus Metropolitan Club panel discussion in Ohio. “We will be pulled into things ... because it’s the right thing to do and there’s no one else to do them.” Hoffman is one of 16 retired military leaders who contributed to a report on climate change and national security that was released this week. He and Michael Breen, a former Army officer and director of the Truman National Security Project and Center for National Policy, made up the panel. The new report updates a similar effort in 2007. “The one thing we didn’t get right was the predictions, the rate of change,” Hoffman said. “The 100-year storms don’t come every 100 years now. Maybe it’s every 10 years.” Hoffman described climate change as a “catalyst for conflict” that could worsen existing problems such as famine, disease and poverty and lead to terrorist activity or other violence. “The U.S. military does not want to become the disaster relief force for the world,” Hoffman said, adding that it will protect its interests and help its allies. Rising sea levels are one of the main concerns: “Are there going to be locations like Guam that are going to be there as relay or launching points in the region if they’re under water?” he asked. New shipping lanes at the poles and friction over oil drilling also could erupt. This week, NASA said that the West Antarctic ice sheet is collapsing and could raise global sea levels by 4 feet in the next century. Yesterday’s discussion also offered solutions, including weaning the nation, including the military, off of fossil fuels. “Your entire civilian economy runs on this single source of fuel. That’s a threat,” Breen said. He noted that many combat units now use solar panels to generate power.

Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change. Author: 'I call it the climate-change counter movement'. Study focuses on groups opposing US political action.

Climate Change archived Nov, 2013

Insouciant New Yorkers—here is another pending disaster to shrug off with characteristic brio! There is a huge, ongoing gas leak beneath your very feet. A team of natural gas experts recently commissioned to survey the New York system has found vastly elevated levels of methane in locations all over Manhattan, a clear indication that Con Ed’s 4,320-mile network of pipes, dating back to the 1800s, is corroded, full of holes, and spewing methane into the atmosphere. The main danger here is to planetary, not personal, safety: though it has received relatively little attention, methane, the primary component of natural gas, is second only to carbon dioxide on the list of greenhouse gases that are inducing climate change.

Schwarzenegger Will Get Credit For Any Major U.S. Climate-Change Law.

"The reason most Americans don't know what is happening to the climate is that the oil and coal industries have spent millions of dollars to persuade them global warming isn't happening." Greenpeace notes that the ongoing "campaigns against climate science continue to receive funding from big oil and energy interests — not just ExxonMobil, but a raft of other companies and foundations whose profits are driven by the products that cause global warming." A prominent public relations consultant, Frank Luntz, wrote a memo in 2000 that was widely circulated among conservatives seeking to debunk climate science and blunt any public policy progress on the issue. "Voters believe there's no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate."

Seven states, seven warning signs of global warming As the signs that the world is warming grow ever more unmistakable, one of the ironies of the American political debate on the topic is that leaders in the states being most heavily affected are often those least inclined to do anything about it, or even acknowledge that there's a problem.,0,2253029.photogallery

The curious blindness of climate deniers,0,811243.story

"Humans are almost entirely the cause" of climate change, according to a scientist who once doubted that global warming even existed. Last year, Richard Muller walked back years of climate change skepticism in light of new research. But Sunday's comments go one step further. Muller wrote in an NYT op-ed that after exhaustive research, he believes that an increase of greenhouse gases can be closely linked to the rise in the earth's temperature. He explains: Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

Global Warming & Climate Change Myths. Here is a summary of global warming and climate change myths, sorted by recent popularity vs what science says. Click the response for a more detailed response.

Eyewitness to climate change.

Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong MARCH 22, 2012 William D. Nordhaus

Climate denial in the classroom. It's bad enough that we're doing so little to fight climate change; let's not ask teachers to lie about it too.,0,3564279.story

The Inside Story on Climate Scientists Under Siege. Michael Mann reveals his account of attacks by entrenched interests seeking to undermine his "hockey stick" graph.

The letter also choose not to dig into the long history of the Wall Street Journal's rejection of climate science. The paper had earlier refused to publish a similar letter from 255 scientists from the National Academy of Sciences that supported the mainstream view on climate change. The rejection was seen by some as further evidence that Rupert Murdoch is using his news organisations, such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, to further his own anti-regulatory agenda. The article from the National Academy of Sciences was eventually published in Science. Fox News is not news.

Two incontrovertible things: Anthropogenic Global Warming is Real, and the Wall Street Journal is Political Rag.

I study the history of climate science, and my research has shown that the think tanks and institutes that deny the reality or severity of climate change, or promote distrust of climate science, do so out of self-interest, ideological conviction or both. Some groups, like the fossil fuel industry, have an obvious self-interest in the continued use of fossil fuels. Others fear that if we accept the reality of climate change, we will be forced to acknowledge the failures of free-market capitalism. Still others worry that if we allow the government to intervene in the marketplace to stop climate change, it will lead to further expansion of government power that will threaten our broader freedoms.,0,6437230.story

Frigid Months Still to Come in a Warming World.

Capitalism vs. the Climate.

A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly. The study of the world's surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. He was spurred to action because of "Climategate," a British scandal involving hacked emails of scientists. Yet he found that the land is 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1950s. Those numbers from Muller, who works at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, match those by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. He said he went even further back, studying readings from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. His ultimate finding of a warming world, to be presented at a conference Monday, is no different from what mainstream climate scientists have been saying for decades. What's different, and why everyone from opinion columnists to "The Daily Show" is paying attention is who is behind the study. One-quarter of the $600,000 to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions. Muller's research team carefully examined two chief criticisms by skeptics. One is that weather stations are unreliable; the other is that cities, which create heat islands, were skewing the temperature analysis. "The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago," Muller said in a telephone interview. "And now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias."

Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that conventional wisdom is often wrong. For example, the conventional wisdom about climate change. Muller has criticized Al Gore in the past as an "exaggerator," has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre's famous takedown of the "hockey stick" climate graph made him "uncomfortable" with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on. The earth is indeed getting warmer. Global average land temperatures have risen 0.91 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. This is "on the high end of the existing range of reconstructions." The rate of increase on land is accelerating. Warming for the entire 20th century clocks in at 0.73 degrees C per century. But over the most recent 40 years, the globe has warmed at a rate of 2.76 degrees C per century.

As rising sea levels eat away at the California coastline over the next century, the changing beachfront may cause huge economic damage to coastal communities stemming from lost tourism and tax revenues, according to a state-commissioned study released Tuesday. Economists at San Francisco State predict that as climate change warms the ocean, causing it to swell, storm damage and erosion will narrow the state's beaches and diminish their appeal to tourists, recreational visitors and wildlife. "You need a certain amount of space for people to recreate, and as beaches erode, you lose beach size and you lose tourism," said Phillip King, associate professor of economics at San Francisco State and an author of the study, which looked at five California beach communities. For example, Venice Beach could lose up to $440 million in tourism and tax revenue if the Pacific Ocean rises 55 inches by 2100 as scientists predict, according the study commissioned by the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

Last month conservative media ran with a study by climatologist Roy Spencer which they claimed "throws the entire global warming theory into question," in the words of Lou Dobbs. A Fox article asked, "Has a central tenant [sic] of global warming just collapsed?" and Fox News anchor Bret Baier asserted that the study "appears to be blowing a hole in global warming," echoing a Forbes column by James Taylor of the Heartland Institute. In reality, their claims overstated the findings of the study, which itself was widely criticized by climate experts. Today the editor of Remote Sensing, the journal that published the paper, resigned after concluding that it should "not have been published." The editor, Wolfgang Wagner, also criticized Forbes and Fox News for exaggerating the findings.

Leon Trotsky is reputed to have quipped, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." Substitute the words "climate change" for "war" and the quote is perfectly suited for the governors of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, all of whom have ridiculed or dismissed the threat of climate change even as their states suffer record-breaking heat and drought. In his book, "Fed Up!," Texas governor and presidential aspirant Rick Perry derided global warming as a "phony mess," a sentiment he has expanded on in recent campaign appearances. Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico, has gone on record as doubting that humans influence climate, and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma dismissed research on climate change as a waste of time. Her solution to the extraordinary drought: Pray for rain (an approach also endorsed by Perry). Although they may dismiss climate change, a changing climate imposes costs on their states and the rest of us as well. In Texas, the unremitting heat has been straining the capacity of the electric grid, killing crops and livestock, and threatening water supplies. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the grid's governing body, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, bases its forecasts on the average demand over the previous 10 years. In a world without the threat of global warming, this is an entirely reasonable approach. But what if climate change makes the past an unreliable guide to the future? Then Texas is left with the present situation, in which the grid operator is forced to procure power in a tight market where wholesale prices have skyrocketed to 60 times normal.,0,879690.story

"I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized," Perry said. "I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we're seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change." He added that plans to address climate change by limiting carbon emissions would cost "billions, if not trillions" and that America should not spend that much money on "scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question." Perry is the latest candidate to enter the race for the Republican nomination for president, announcing on Aug. 13, 2011, that he is running. Perry has served as the Texas governor since 2000. So is Perry correct? Is there significant disagreement on the causes of global warming? We looked at this question in some detail in a previous fact-check on candidate Tim Pawlenty, who has since dropped out of the race. Pawlenty said, "The weight of the evidence is that most of it, maybe all of it, is because of natural causes ... it's fair to say the science is in dispute." We rated that statement False. This report reviews much of the same evidence.

Animals and plants are shifting their natural home ranges towards the cooler poles three times faster than scientists previously thought. In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers looked at the effects of temperature on over 2,000 species. They report in the journal Science that species experiencing the greatest warming have moved furthest. The results helped to "cement" the link between climate change and shifts in species' global ranges, said the team. Scientists have consistently told us that as the climate warms we should expect animals to head polewards in search of cooler temperatures.

A meta-study published in Science today provides the first evidence that global movement of plants and animals to higher latitudes and altitudes is directly linked to climate change. The research, led by ecologist Chris Thomas at the University of York, UK, also reveals that species are moving two to three times faster than previously thought. Ecologists tracking the movement of butterflies, such as the comma butterfly (pictured), first noticed over ten years ago that their range was shifting. Since then, it has become clear that large numbers of different plants and animals across the globe are moving towards the poles or to higher ground (see "Warming planet shifts life north and early" and "Coral marches to the poles"). The most likely explanation is that organisms are moving to cooler latitudes or altitudes to escape the effects of global warming, but, until now, this has not been proven.

Arctic sea ice may be thinning four times faster than predicted, according to Pierre Rampal and his research team of MIT'S Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). The research team's findings will be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans.

THE drought that grips Texas is a natural disaster in slow motion. Life itself slows down, falters and begins to fade. Out here, in the low hills west of Austin, the ground under my boots is split and cracked, the creek below the house bone-white and dry. Even the Blanco River’s usually cool, spring-fed water is warm and still. Droughts have come to Texas before, but this time it’s a killing heat that grips the state. Even the tough, rangy whitetail deer are starting to die. Last spring, an old, dark-faced doe that comes around from time to time stood in my front yard, her body plump with pregnancy. But her ribs were starting to show; the fawn inside was unlikely to make it far past birth.

A study on how much heat in Earth's atmosphere is caused by cloud cover has heated up the climate change blogosphere even as it is dismissed by many scientists. Several mainstream climate scientists call the study's conclusions off-base and overstated. Climate change skeptics, most of whom are not scientists, are touting the study, saying it blasts gaping holes in global warming theory and shows that future warming will be less than feared. The study in the journal Remote Sensing questions the accuracy of climate computer models and got attention when a lawyer for the conservative Heartland Institute wrote an opinion piece on it. The author of the scientific study is Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama Huntsville, a prominent climate skeptic. But even he says some bloggers are overstating what the research found. Spencer's study is based on satellite data from 2000 to 2010 and is one of a handful of studies he's done that are part of an ongoing debate among a few scientists. His research looked at cause and effect of clouds and warming. Contrary to the analysis of a majority of studies, his found that for the past decade, variations in clouds seemed more a cause of warming than an effect. More than anything, he said, his study found that mainstream research and models don't match the 10 years of data he examined. Spencer's study concludes the question of clouds' role in heating "remains an unsolved problem." Spencer, who uses what he calls a simple model without looking at ocean heat or El Nino effects, finds fault with the more complicated models often run by mainstream climate scientists. At least 10 climate scientists reached by The Associated Press found technical or theoretical faults with Spencer's study or its conclusions. They criticized the short time period he studied and his failure to consider the effects of the ocean and other factors. They also note that the paper appears in a journal that mostly deals with the nuts-and-bolts of satellite data and not interpreting the climate.

Fox News' Top 10 Lies About Climate Science

A female polar bear swam for a record-breaking nine days straight, traversing 426 miles (687 kilometers) of water—equivalent to the distance between Washington, D.C., and Boston, a new study says. The predator made her epic journey in the Beaufort Sea (see map), where sea ice is shrinking due to global warming, forcing mother bears to swim greater and greater distances to reach land—to the peril of their cubs. The cub of the record-setting bear, for instance, died at some point between starting the swim and when the researchers next observed the mother on land. She also lost 22 percent of her body weight. "We're pretty sure that these animals didn't have to do these long swims before, because 687-kilometer stretches of open water didn't occur very often in the evolutionary history of the polar bear," said study co-author Steven Amstrup, chief scientist for the conservation group Polar Bears International. Amstrup is also the former project leader of polar bear research for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which led the new study. Another female bear in the study swam for more than 12 days, but appears to have found places to rest during her journey.

Loss of Arctic ice isn't just a threat to polar bears. Climate scientist James Hanson has just published a science brief on the NASA website about why those ice sheets are so important (besides providing an habitat for polar bears) and why we need to keep funding research that uses satellites to monitor the state of the world's ice sheets.

When we talk about global warming, much of the debate centers on separating facts from fluff, and environmental activist and Mother Jones contributor Bill McKibben wants to set the record straight. The Global Warming Reader, a book edited by McKibben and out this month from OR Books, pulls together seminal texts of the climate change debate with the goal of creating a complete picture of what we know about global warming. Selections range from a 19th-century treatise to images from Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, and include a few unexpected gems like Senate floor statements from climate change denier James Inhofe (R-Okla.). I spoke to McKibben about his history with climate change literature, his ongoing battle against ExxonMobil, and, in the face of dismal environmental realities, how he avoids the temptation to curl up in a little ball on the floor.

Now the very industry that publicly denies the very reality of climate change, is looking to climate experts for help. They cooperated with consultants who analyzed oil and gas industry's ability to absorb impacts from a changing climate. The resulting report was a terse assessment showing that the oil and gas industry was far behind the climate action curve.

Sea level has been rising significantly over the past century of global warming, according to a study that offers the most detailed look yet at the changes in ocean levels during the last 2,100 years. The researchers found that since the late 19th century — as the world became industrialized — sea level has risen more than 2 millimeters per year, on average. That's a bit less than one-tenth of an inch, but it adds up over time. It will lead to land loss, more flooding and saltwater invading bodies of fresh water, said lead researcher Benjamin Horton whose team examined sediment from North Carolina's Outer Banks. He directs the Sea Level Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. The predicted effects he cites aren't new and are predicted by many climate scientists. But outside experts say the research verifies increasing sea level rise compared to previous centuries. Kenneth Miller, chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University, called the new report significant.

Experts: Rising Sea Levels To Impact SD Coast. Scripps Researchers Say Low-Lying Local Beaches Will Be Most Affected In Future.

Cities along California's coastline that for years have dismissed reports of climate change or lagged in preparing for rising sea levels are now making plans to fortify their beaches, harbors and waterfronts. Communities up and down the coast have begun drafting plans to build up wetlands as buffers against rising tides, to construct levees and seawalls to keep the waters at bay or to retreat from the shoreline by moving structures inland. Among them is Newport Beach, a politically conservative city where a council member once professed to not believe in global warming. Now, the wealthy beach city is considered to be on the forefront of preparing for climate change. Though some in Newport Beach remain skeptical that global warming caused by humans is elevating sea levels, city planners are looking at raising seawalls by a foot or more to hold back the ocean. New homes along the city's harbor are being built on foundations several feet higher than their predecessors as a precaution against flooding. "I feel a real sense of urgency to begin planning for this right now," Mayor Michael Henn said. "To me it's irrelevant what the causes of global warming are. What we are dealing with is the reality that sea levels are rising.",0,3204468.story

At Surfers Point, California is beginning its retreat from the ocean. Construction crews are removing a crumbling bike path, ripping out a 120-space parking lot and laying down sand and cobblestones. By pushing the asphalt 65 feet inland, the project is expected to give the wave-ravaged point 50 more years of life. The effort by the city of Ventura is the most vivid example to date of what may lie ahead in California as coastal communities come to grips with rising sea levels and worsening coastal erosion. As the coastline creeps inland, scouring sand from beaches or eating away at coastal bluffs, landowners will increasingly be forced to decide whether to spend vast sums of money fortifying the shore or give up and step back.,0,85102.story

While it is no longer surprising, it remains disheartening to see a blistering attack on climate science in the business press where thoughtful reviews of climate policy ought to be appearing. Of course, the underlying strategy is to pretend that no evidence that the climate is changing exists, so any effort to address climate change is a waste of resources. A recent piece by Larry Bell in Forbes, entitled “Hot Sensations Vs. Cold Facts”, is a classic example. Bell uses the key technique that denialists use in debates, dubbed by Eugenie Scott the “Gish gallop”, named after a master of the style, anti-evolutionist Duane Gish. The Gish gallop raises a barrage of obscure and marginal facts and fabrications that appear at first glance to cast doubt on the entire edifice under attack, but which on closer examination do no such thing. In real-time debates the number of particularities raised is sure to catch the opponent off guard; this is why challenges to such debates are often raised by enemies of science. Little or no knowledge of a holistic view of any given science is needed to construct such scattershot attacks. The approach also works somewhat in print, if the references are sufficiently obscure and numerous. Ideally, someone will take the time to answer such an attack, but there is a fundamental asymmetry of forces at work. It is, in fact, easier to form an allegation than to track down a reasonable explanation of what it means and how it really fits in to the balance of evidence. Also, the skills required to reflect the science are deeper than the ones required to attack it; hence the defenders are outnumbered and outgunned. Still, sometimes an article is prominent enough that it merits a detailed response. The slightly out of the ordinary thing about Bell’s piece is that he casts his attack not as an attack on science (his usual method) but on the media:

Climate Wisconsin is an educational multimedia project featuring stories of climate change. The stories from across Wisconsin were documented over ten months beginning in February, 2010. All stories are supported by research in collaboration with the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Background essays and teaching tips were developed in collaboration with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Center for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

'Resisting the Green Dragon' targets environmentalism as 'deadly'. New DVD series from conservative Christian groups attempts to discredit modern green movement as 'one of the greatest deceptions of our day.'

"Resisting the Green Dragon:" Arguing God ISN'T green.

Environmentalism is a plot to take over the world, says coalition of Evangelical Christians.

Fox's unbalancing act. A memo to reporters on climate science suggests an unacceptable level of bias.,0,6952663.story

Then and Now: Repeat Photography Captures Changing Landscapes.

Latinos, Asians more worried about environment than whites, poll finds. The survey examined attitudes on such issues as global warming, air pollution and tainted soil and water.,0,5065919.story

International investors issue global warming warning. A group responsible for more than $15 trillion in assets calls on nations to combat climate change or face severe economic disruptions.,0,6204171.story

This week, a group of scientists called the "rapid response team" has promised to speak up about climate change and take skeptics head-on, even if that means participating in political debates. But does this verge on advocacy? And is that a problem? Ira Flatow and guests discuss.

Climate scientists plan campaign against global-warming skeptics. The American Geophysical Union plans to announce Monday that 700 researchers have agreed to speak out on the issue. The effort is a pushback against congressional conservatives who have vowed to kill regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.,0,545056.story


Auto Recyclers, Exempted From State Rules for Years, Begin to Feel the Heat.

Court case highlights questions about Salton Sea's future Appellate judges will hear arguments over a 2003 deal allowing transfer of Colorado River water instead of replenishing the shrinking desert habitat for fish and birds.,0,351715.story

On edge of paradise, Coachella workers live in grim conditions.

A Coachella Valley recycling and composting facility signed an agreement this week with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate noxious odors that local residents and school officials have long complained about. The agreement with Western Environmental Inc. and Waste Reduction Technologies, which operates facilities on the Cabazon Reservation near Mecca, calls for the company to install an odor-control misting system, more thoroughly identify incoming wastes for potential odors and implement measures to control additional odors if they occur. The company would be subject to financial penalties if it fails to comply. “Today’s agreement includes binding commitments for the facilities to identify and eliminate the odors that have plagued Mecca,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement Wednesday. “Our efforts are part of a collaboration with the Cabazon Tribe to ensure that the facilities operate in a way that protects human health. We are also coordinating our actions with the state of California to respond to the concerns of the local residents.”

Reporting from Mecca, Calif. -- California environmental regulators have launched an internal audit to determine why their agency sanctioned a Coachella Valley recycling facility to accept tons of toxic waste that, in part, was the source of noxious odors that sickened children at a nearby elementary school. The recycling company, Western Environmental Inc., was ordered by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection in May to cease accepting hazardous materials, drain an uncovered oil pond and reduce two four-story mountains of contaminated soil on the site. The company operates on reservation land owned by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians.,0,3686204.story

Federal environmental regulators Wednesday ordered a tire recycling plant in the Coachella Valley town of Mecca to remove excess stockpiles of tires that pose a fire danger. The tire recycler operates on the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians reservation and neighbors a soil-recycling plant that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May determined was the source of noxious odors that closed down an elementary school nearby. The EPA ordered that company -- Western Environmental Inc., which also operates on reservation land -- to cease accepting hazardous materials. The order, in effect, shut most of the operation down. The tire recycler, Consolidated Tire Recyclers Inc. in the 90300 block of 63rd Avenue, grinds up the mammoth mounds of tires and sells the crumb rubber as fuel for a power generation plant. The EPA determined that all 90,000 tires at the site are an imminent fire risk, but just ordered the removal of the excess stockpiles. “A large tire fire could pose a serious public health threat for the citizens of Mecca,’’ said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s administrator for the Southwest region.

Mercury and PCBs contamination is widespread in sport fish in urban coastal waters across California, though mostly in moderate concentrations, a survey released Thursday by the state Water Board found. Nineteen percent of the urban coastline sampled by researchers had fish with mercury in such high concentrations that they shouldn’t be eaten by young women and children. Fourteen percent of locations had similarly elevated levels of PCBs. The findings are part of the largest statewide survey to date of contaminants in sport fish along the California coast. The report was based on the first year of a two-year survey, which examined more than 2,000 fish from threedozen species gathered in 2009 from waters near Los Angeles and San Francisco, including San Francisco Bay. Researchers said the study highlights the health problem of lingering mercury, a poisonous metal that is found in fish globally, and PCBs, toxic chemicals the United States banned in the 1970s. Both substances continue to pose a risk to people who eat fish caught on the California coast because they can lead to nervous system damage and developmental problems in children and can cause cancer, liver damage and reproductive harm.

Noxious odor plagues poor desert communities. The source is a Coachella Valley soil-recycling plant on tribal land, regulators say. Operators defend their enterprise, but agencies have cracked down. assive illegal dumpsites and dilapidated shantytowns have dotted the valley for decades, mostly on patchwork reservation land, sovereign Indian property beyond the reach of state and local laws. Within sight of three schools in the immigrant haven of Thermal, on reservation land owned by the Torres Martinez Band of Mission Indians, is a plateau of human excrement that was 40 feet high at its peak. Called "Mount San Diego" for where the sewage originated, the operation was shut down by federal order in the 1990s, yet mounds remain. A mile or so away is the towering Lawson Dump, the biggest illegal dumpsite in California, also on reservation land. A federal judge ordered the dump closed in 2006 and also seized control of the neighboring slum town known as Duroville, owned by Torres Martinez tribal member Harvey Duro — 40 acres of mostly dilapidated mobile homes and home to as many as 5,000 farmworkers. "The east valley has been sort of blighted by environmental and housing crisis for such a long period of time … and, while there has been progress lately, we still have a long way to go," said Megan Beaman, an attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance Inc.'s migrant farmworker program in the city of Coachella. "People would not live in those areas if they had any other choice." Officials with Western Environmental said the company had been unfairly tainted by the area's notorious history. Matt Mullen, head of compliance quality control, said the facility accepts only waste that is below federal limits on toxic materials and that once it is treated, all the material is safer than state standards require. Mullen said that despite claims by state environmental officials, the facility has a permit to operate, which is issued by the tribe and meets all EPA guidelines. An investigation by the AQMD determined that the likely cause of the odors were an open-air oil-separation pond on the site and mounds of soy whey — a common byproduct of tofu — that were trucked to the facility.,0,3751742.story

A city effort to clear palm trees and other non-native vegetation from Tecolote Canyon has some area residents concerned for wildlife and questioning the expense. But city officials said the $900,000, five-year project that will restore native vegetation to the canyon is required by federal, state and local law and will be beneficial to the entire ecosystem in the long term. The work became necessary when repairs last year to sewer lines that run in the canyon resulted in damage to native vegetation and waterways, city biologist Keli Balo said. About 26.7 acres of the canyon between Balboa Avenue and Mt. Acadia Boulevard has been targeted, and many of the 158 palms that are not native to the canyon have been cut down and removed by helicopter. The project is being paid for by the San Diego Public Utilities Department, Balo said. The city has contracted the job out to Habitat West, an Escondido-based company that specializes in native habitat restoration.

Mystery of the dying seedlings in the Cuyamaca forest. Efforts to reforest Cedar fire-ravaged state park hindered by bad soil, drought, staffing.

California's 'big one' might be a megastorm. Scientists say such a storm, occurring every 100 to 200 years, would inundate the Central Valley, trigger widespread landslides and cause flood damage to 1 in 4 homes.,0,1868244.story

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's ecological decline is breathing new life into bypass proposals. A plan for a huge tunnel is the leading contender as the state looks for a way to save the delta at the same time it slakes thirsts in Southern California.,0,1440560.story


First-of-its-Kind Map Details Extent of Plastic in Five Ocean Gyres.


Telltale Rainbow Sheens Show Thousands Of Spills Across The Gulf.


The Garbage Eaters. By Erin Biba / April 9, 2014 1:49 PM EDT According to Tracy Mincer, a geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who studies the properties of the garbage patch, it takes about six weeks for a plastic bottle or piece of Styrofoam to make its way from the East Coast of the U.S. to the center of a gyre. What scientists have recently discovered is that the sudden appearance of concentrated nutrients is waking up and attracting dormant microbial life. "They're very aware of their environment and can find their way toward nutrients. They head toward the chemicals they want—they can follow a plume of nutrients towards a more concentrated bit," says Mincer. The science team is now specifically looking to find genes that might be responsible for the microbes' super-colonizing behavior. According to Mincer, the main question is: "Did the organisms on plastic go through a specific selective event that forced a rapid bottleneck or type of evolution?" By studying how these microbes evolved to attach themselves onto the ocean's garbage patch, scientists may find a way to reverse the human-made destruction. Given that it's unlikely that the world will unilaterally refrain from tossing plastic into the ocean, scientists are taking a different route: Mincer says that if they can identify "the right kinds of microbes to colonize and degrade in a natural fashion," manufacturers could start to add microbe-attracting materials into the plastics they make. In other words, we can engineer our plastics so that microbes eat up our trash, and clean the oceans for us. It's clear that humans certainly aren't the best influence on the Earth. But even if we throw billions of pieces of plastic at it, the ocean will adapt and life will find a way. whaaatt????

Sea Otters Finally Rebound From Exxon Valdez.

Exxon Valdez wreck demonstrates that oil spills impact environments for decades

Digging up bay’s dirty secrets. Dredging plan would make bay healthier by removing toxic sediment. The plan targets heavy metals and other industrial chemicals that harm humans or marine life. It will employ a large “clamshell” shovel to capture and enclose the material, and will dry and ship it to landfills. But the dredging, scheduled to start in mid-September, is still subject to disputes among the port, shipyards and other users over who is responsible for the cleanup bill, estimated at $75 million.

According to an EPA testimony before Congress in 2011, particulate matter—a key component of diesel exhaust fumes–causes premature death. “It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.” In addition: “If we could reduce particulate matter to levels that are healthy we would have an identical impact to finding a cure for cancer.”

Dioxin Causes Disease and Reproductive Problems Across Generations, Study Finds.

Life has returned here, and it hasn't. The water in Talmadge Creek runs clear now, and small schools of minnows shoot after each other, ducking behind creek rocks that seem too awkwardly settled to have been placed there by nature. That's because they weren't. In the two years since one of the worst inland oil spills in U.S. history — when a pipeline break in a nearby marsh sent 819,000 gallons of toxic sludge sliding into the Talmadge and then down more than 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River — cleanup workers have dredged and rebuilt this creek from the bottom. Now, Talmadge Creek is slowly headed back to normal, insomuch as normal is possible. The same could be said for the human ecosystem and the empty homes still surrounding the spill area.,0,865893.story

Did Mitt Romney Help Lake Michigan’s Polluters?

Gary Wescott Monika Mühlebach Wescott oil huggers gas hogs road hogs terrorists love the Turtle Expedition

GOP vs. Mother Nature. Dozens of proposals by the House GOP would encourage deadly pollution of the air and water.,0,6952661.story

In a recent Washington Times op-ed, John Engler, the President of the Business Roundtable, claims that the EPA's proposed standards for ground-level ozone constitute a "manufactured crisis" that will cost businesses and hinder job growth. Engler questions why stricter standards are necessary, since the Bush administration recently strengthened the standards after "years of scientific review": Following years of scientific review, public input and legal proceedings, the Bush administration set a new limit of 0.075 parts per million (ppm) in 2008, a reduction from the currently enforced level of 0.084 ppm. Now, before that limit ever went into effect, the EPA is proposing even lower levels, ranging from 0.60 to 0.70 ppm. This suggests that Bush's ozone standard was based on a "scientific review." But as we previously reported, the Bush administration ignored the "scientific review" that Engler references. The panel of scientists and doctors recommended a standard of between 60-70 ppb (the same level proposed by current EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson), and subsequently refused to endorse the Bush administration's chosen standard of 75 ppb because it is not "sufficiently protective of public health." The Bush administration's failure to follow the advice of its scientific advisors "inevitably raises the question of whether the [EPA] Administrator's decision will be judged arbitrary and capricious in judicial review," according to the Congressional Research Service. Indeed, Bush's standard was immediately challenged in court by states and environmental groups. As Politico reported, "the court agreed to put that litigation on hold" after the Obama administration said it would reconsider the Bush standard.

Beach closures in U.S. hit 2nd highest level in two decades; Gulf spill, heavy rains are big factors.

Statement: "Study after study has shown that fireworks have virtually no impact on marine life," San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a May 31 statement. Determination: False.

Prozac ingredient in Great Lakes killing off microbes, including E. coli.

10 Reasons to Still Be Pissed Off About the BP Disaster.

the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling has addressed both short-term and long-term government regulatory technical and organizational reforms associated with drilling and production operations in high hazard environments—including those of ultra-deep water and in the arctic. U.S. industrial companies and trade organizations (e.g., American Petroleum Institute, International Association of Drilling Contractors) also have responded with suggestions for a wide variety of technical and organizational reforms that will be considered for implementation in its future operations. Many international governmental regulatory agencies have and are responding in a similar fashion. There is no shortage of suggested technical and organizational reforms.

Southern California researchers have found evidence of widespread ingestion of plastic among small fish in the northern Pacific Ocean in a study they say shows the widespread impact of floating litter on the food chain. About 35% of the fish collected on a 2008 research expedition off the U.S. West Coast had plastic in their stomachs, according to a study to be presented Friday by the Long Beach-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. The fish, on average, ingested two pieces of plastic, but scientists who dissected hundreds of plankton-eating lantern fish found as many as 83 plastic fragments in a single fish. Floating marine debris — most of it discarded plastic — has accumulated in vast, slow-moving ocean currents known as “gyres.” Researchers worry that the ingested plastic can kill marine life or work its way up the food chain to humans.

As BP's well gushed into the Gulf of Mexico last year, the question of exactly how much oil it was spewing was hotly contested. BP first estimated that only 1,000 barrels of oil were leaking from the well each day; only months later would a team of scientists organized by the federal government conclude that it was actually more like 53,000 barrels per day. It wasn't that BP couldn't come up with a better figure even in the early days of the spill. In fact, in 2008 the company had touted its advanced technology for measuring flow rate. And in an interview with Project Gulf Impact posted today, Dr. Ira Leifer, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California-Santa Barbara, explains how BP misled the scientists they tapped to produce flow rate estimates.

Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor. That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012. At a science conference in Washington, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't. "There's some sort of a bottleneck we have yet to identify for why this stuff doesn't seem to be degrading," Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. Her research and those of her colleagues contrasts with other studies that show a more optimistic outlook about the health of the gulf, saying microbes did great work munching the oil. "Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know," Joye said, later adding: "there's a lot of it out there."

Dirtying the Clean Air Act. Republicans are preparing their latest attack on the law. But it's worth remembering all their warnings of economic doom since the 1970 legislation — and just how wrong those predictions have been.,0,3835636.story

Aerial photos of industrial eco-messes.

Oil on water. Sheens spotted off the coast of San Diego remain a mystery for the Coast Guard.


Why Doesn't Your City Have Curbside Composting?

Companies Pick Up Used Packaging, and Recycling’s Cost.

Giant mound of tires in SC visible from space.

Throwing trash all in one bin works in some cities. At a so-called dirty mixed-waste materials recovery facility, equipment and workers separate paper, glass, plastic, metal and other commodities so residents don't have to sort them into different bins.,0,971510.story

Why recycling in Los Angeles is so confusing. For one thing, major new products made of mystery materials keep everyone guessing.,0,6338687.story

The Garbage Maven: Talking trash (and recycling). What can and can't go in the blue bins? Can you lower your trash fee? Is zero waste possible? Let's find out.,0,7997656.story

Timeline of L.A. recycling.,0,1123411.story

Trash Inc.


Pesticides suspected in mass die-off of bees Two studies show that a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids created disorientation among bees and caused colonies to lose weight, which may have contributed to a mysterious die-off.,0,4969345.story?track=ud

Western Salt Pond Restoration Project. On the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events.

Scientists are trying to figure out what killed 53 bottlenose dolphins — many of them babies — so far this year in the Gulf of Mexico, as five more of their carcasses washed up Thursday in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It's likely to be months before they get back lab work showing what caused the spontaneous abortions, premature births, deaths shortly after birth and adult deaths said Blair Mase, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's stranding coordinator for the Gulf Coast.

Documents suggest that 2003 San Francisco tiger attack was likely provoked.

Biologists scour Mojave in desert tortoise roundup. Reptiles are being moved to make way for a solar-powered generating station.,0,5440740.story


News, links

HP says 2 ex-workers recruited for GM. Technology giant trying to decide whether filing suit is necessary.

Neil Young’s company being sued for damages from electric Lincoln fire.

The cars and trucks that are currently built in the United States.


Federal documents obtained by Jalopnik through a Freedom of Information Act request support today's conclusion by the federal government and what we've said all along: unintended acceleration events, like the infamous "Runaway Prius" were not caused by electronic boogeymen. At the height of last year's "unintended acceleration" fever, a driver in San Diego named Jim Sikes made headlines when he called 911 claiming his Prius was out of control for 38 miles and required help from California Highway Patrol to stop his murderous Prius. The tape of him freaking out made national news and added to the paranoia surrounding Toyota vehicles. While appearing on national news he told a story we were skeptical of and, upon research, we discovered Mr. Sikes declared bankruptcy twice and had a very shady past. Sikes never admitted he'd faked the incident, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated and said they'd found no evidence of a malfunction.



Star Trek: Some of the cast and creatives were aware that I was gay, and I did, on occasion, bring a male date to parties. “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry was aware of my sexual orientation and very supportive. That was the extraordinary thing about “Star Trek.” That we were a diverse crew of people representing so many colors, backgrounds and heritages. That was the promise of the future. And, now, in the J.J. Abrams reboot, an openly gay actor is playing a Vulcan in love with an African American. I'm not really surprised by this. “Star Trek” taught us to look ahead to a time where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream was fulfilled. Being a part of that vision was -- and has remained -- a tremendous honor.

The Lone Ranger's Creed

20 Gentle Quotations from Mister Rogers

Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot Member Details Horrific Abuse in Russian Women's Prison

Pussy Riot: ‘When friendly people like us become enemies of the state, it is very strange’ Masha and Nadia, fearless leaders of the radical feminist group whose name president Vladimir Putin refuses to utter, have thrown themselves back into political activism since their release from a penal colony last December. In their most revealing interview to date, Pussy Riot’s daring duo take Carole Cadwalladr on a three-day adventure around Moscow.

The First Thing: Pussy Riot is Crazy[UNIQID

Pussy Riot: Why was punk rock group on Capitol Hill? Pussy Riot was in Washington Tuesday seeking more sanctions on Russians. Two members of the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot sought sanctions on Russians they say are responsible for human rights abuses.

Pussy Riot Attacked In Nizhny Novgorod (VIDEO)


Cossacks have been in Russia since the 15th century. What are they exactly, and why are they whipping band members?:

Pussy Riot members attacked by Cossacks while staging protest in Sochi.


Pussy Riot to appear at Amnesty International concert in Brooklyn.,0,2338286.story#ixzz2r4e5be51

Pussy Riot Almost Free, Maybe, Thanks to Suddenly Sensitive Putin.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot's prison letters to Slavoj Žižek. Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is currently in a prison hospital in Siberia; here she and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek meet in an extraordinary exchange of letters.

Pussy Riot Member Ends Prison Hunger Strike After Falling Ill. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova fell ill and ended her nine-day strike protesting decrepit conditions in the remote penal colony where she is serving a two-year sentence. She has issued new demands to prison authorities, including the request that she be moved away from the colony.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of punk group Pussy Riot serving time at a Russian prison camp, was reportedly transferred to the jail's hospital on Friday. It was the fifth day of her hunger strike protesting what she says are long hours of forced labor and threats against her life. The 23-year-old activist was moved to the prison's medical unit on the recommendation of doctors, her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, said in a public statement. A prison doctor described Tolokonnikova's condition as "terrible," Verzilov said, according to the Agence France-Presse. Earlier the same day, Verzilov said prison guards had deprived her of water in the isolation cell to which she was recently moved. Prison officials said Tolokonnikova had not been denied water, AFP reported.

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: Why I have gone on hunger strike. In an open letter, the imprisoned Pussy Riot member explains why the brutal conditions at Penal Colony No 14 have led her to undertake a hunger strike in protest.

Police State

Police often provoke protest violence, UC researchers find.

Cop Ray Albers In Ferguson To Protestors: 'I Will F**king Kill You' (VIDEO)

Cop Pointing Rifle At Ferguson Protestors: "I Will Fucking Kill You" [UPDATE]

I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me. It’s not the police, but the people they stop, who can prevent a detention from turning into a tragedy. He endorses the use of body cameras and dashcams to record interactions between police and the public. He counsels, "you don't have to submit to an illegal stop or search. You can refuse consent to search your car or home if there's no warrant." And yet he demands unresisting submission to police without argument or even legal protest. Just how do you "refuse consent to search your car or home" without running afoul of the no-nos Dutta warns may get you "shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground"? Remember, this is a thoughtful police officer, with a PhD., who teaches criminal justice.

Michigan township rebels after new chief beefs up police force. Pierce, 56, a former Battle Creek police sergeant, recently told the township board, “I have preached a vision and the Lord put me here for a reason.” The department also has two Humvees and two armored personnel carriers received free of charge from the U.S. Department of Defense for a township with only four full-time officers. The show of force, he told the Free Press, is necessary because of the threats of terrorism, barricaded gunmen and mass shootings. “What I tried here was a visionary balance for the community. It wasn’t all about trying to create any kind of military machine or mind-set — nothing like that. So the numbers seem high but shortly after Sandy Hook (school shooting), I said that was the straw that broke the camel’s back ... I don’t want all these things to happen, but shame on me if something did.” Most of the 34 civilian, reserve officers — hired and personally trained by Pierce — are from outside the community. He has authorized them to carry guns and sent them out in patrol cars. They are unpaid, and many folks in the township question both their skills and their motivation.

Last month, Arizona State University English professor Ersula Ore was slammed to the ground and arrested after she argued with the campus cops about showing them her ID. Last week, dashcam video from the incident was released, and though it shows Ore arguing with the cops, the arresting officer still used a great deal of force for what should have been a non-incident. Ore (who, incidentally, is black) claims she was walking in the middle of the street because of construction work, and that other people were doing the same thing, so she was peeved about being singled out by police. Nevertheless, rookie ASU security officer Stewart Ferrin demanded she show ID, and she argued, then asked if he had to speak to her “in such a disrespectful manner.” (The university initially said the officers acted properly, though media attention has pressured it to take a second look.)

Steampunk Carousel Outing Cut Short By Security Guards.

Steampunk group says they were escorted out of Carlsbad mall because of their clothing.

OB Rag Editordude Kicked Off Library Lawn.

UPS program delivers unnerving surprise. In a seemingly egregious privacy violation, UPS' My Choice program taps into your past to cook up security questions.,0,1949782.column

Solidarity Sing Along crowd grows as arrests continue at Wisconsin Capitol protest

Moral Monday. North Carolina Capitol protest

Respect existence or expect resistance

Austin police arrest Santa for chalking nice Christmas wishes with kids (VIDEO)

B.C. teen arrested for photographing mall takedown Lawyer says guards and police have no right to demand people's cameras.

My arrest at Occupy Wall Street.

Topless Pussy Riot Supporter Cuts Down Cross in Kiev. Activists from the Ukrainian feminist group Femen cut down a wooden crucifix in the center of the country’s capital, Kiev, on Friday in support of members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot whose trial on hooliganism charges comes to an end today. A video posted online showed a topless blond Femen protester wearing red shorts, with the words “Free Riot” scrawled across her chest and arms, cutting the cross with a chainsaw and then pulling it down using a rope pulled by two other activists, and then posing with her arms extended crucifix-style.

Two Pussy Riot rockers flee Russia to avoid prosecution. Pussy Riot rockers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Mariya Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were sentenced last week to two years in prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Another member nicknamed Squirrel said she feels paranoid after the jailing of Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich. “The situation is horrible about girls and it's really scary. I'm trying to think that nobody is watching me or listening me,” Squirrel said. “To stop doing this means to be afraid of something. We just don't want to give up,” a band member named Sparrow said. “Of course sometimes we can have some fears, but it's better not to be afraid.” “It’s really scary to be afraid,” Squirrel said. Squirrel, Sparrow and Balaklava, interviewed in July while wearing balaclavas, probably were not involved in the February performance and have not fled Russia, said Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, who is close to the band.

Airlines give many reasons for refusing to let you board, but none stir as much debate as this: How you're dressed. A woman flying from Las Vegas on Southwest this spring says she was confronted by an airline employee for showing too much cleavage. In another recent case, an American Airlines pilot lectured a passenger because her T-shirt bore a four-letter expletive. She was allowed to keep flying after draping a shawl over the shirt.

Chalk a Sidewalk, Go to Jail. MAP: Across the nation, police are arresting adults and even citing kids for temporary drawings.

Pussy Riot trial gives Russia 'the image of a medieval dictatorship'. Even some of Putin's supporters are aghast at the penal term handed out to the feminist punks. Amid a global storm of protest, signs have emerged that they might be released early – but a deep national rift remains.

Why do Police Officers Use Pepper Spray?

Saggy pants get Green Day singer kicked off Southwest plane.

1. Surveillance: Someone in the bushes with a camera with a telephoto lens is suspicious. 2. Elicitation: Someone trying to get information or a response. For example, someone taking a cell phone picture of a computer screen with sensitive data. 3. Testing Security: For example, someone seeing how long will it take for a discarded bag to be noticed. 4. Funding: Someone selling goods out of a van and flashing a wad of cash may send up a red flag. 5. Acquiring Supplies: Someone acquiring a few dozen propane tanks, pre-paid cell, uniforms or electronic pass cards could be suspicious. 6. Impersonation: Someone using that uniform or pass card to access a secure location, pretending to belong there. 7. Rehearsal: Terrorists often do dry runs to see how smoothly it can go and check police response times. 8. Deployment: Someone moving people and supplies into place for the attack.

BART statement on killing wireless service in stations on Aug. 11, in anticipation of civil unrest.

Hey! You kids keep off my riot!

Beverly Hills police blew up an aspiring screenwriter's laptop and script when investigating a suspicious package Thursday morning on Rodeo Drive. The screenwriter, who was not identified, apparently left his briefcase -- with the computer and script inside -- unattended at a talent agency office. Beverly Hills Police Lt. Tony Lee said police, not knowing what was inside the briefcase, detonated it as safety precaution. Lee said the owner was distraught when he learned what happened to briefcase.

The American Police State is the 'New Normal'


Does Being Cruel to Animals as a Kid Predict Later Criminal Behavior?

FBI said to begin tracking animal cruelty cases

Research suggests sadism spurs Internet trolls.

the warning signs of an abuser. Here they are:

  1. PUSHES FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.
  2. JEALOUS: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because "you might meet someone"; checks the mileage on your car.
  3. CONTROLLING: If you are late, interrogates you intensively about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.
  4. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.
  5. ISOLATION: Tries to isolate you from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of "causing trouble." The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car, or try to prevent you from holding a job.
  6. BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS OR MISTAKES: It's always someone else's fault if something goes wrong.
  7. MAKES OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry" instead of "I am angry," or says, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you."
  8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life.
  9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partners will also abuse children.
  10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; finds the idea of rape exciting.
  11. VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you with relentless verbal abuse.
  12. RIGID GENDER ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey, remain at home.
  13. SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.
  14. PAST BATTERING: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person "made" him (or her) do it.
  15. THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Says things like, "I'll break your neck" or "I'll kill you," and then dismisses them with, "Everybody talks that way," or "I didn't really mean it."

In his first interview since the Miami Dolphins suspended him, Richie Incognito says his words to Jonathan Martin sound harsh, but that's not the way he meant them. "My actions were coming from a place of love," he told Fox NFL Sunday. "No matter how bad and how vulgar it sounds, that's how we communicate, that's how our friendship was, and those are the facts and that's what I'm accountable for." Incognito was suspended indefinitely for allegedly sending threatening messages that included racial slurs to Martin, his younger teammate, who left the NFL after he faced harassment that his lawyer said went "beyond locker-room hazing."

If you want an explanation for how the alleged bullying of Martin went on for so long without anyone on the Dolphins stopping it, just read this paragraph from Murtha: "What people want to call bullying is something that is never going away from football. This is a game of high testosterone, with men hammering their bodies on a daily basis. You are taught to be an aggressive person, and you typically do not make it to the NFL if you are a passive person. There are a few, but it’s very hard. Playing football is a man’s job, and if there’s any weak link, it gets weeded out. It’s the leaders’ job on the team to take care of it." Men. Testosterone. Hammering bodies. Man stuff. That's the micro-society within which this controversy took place. It's not the same as the outside world — where any employee would be immediately fired for, say, calling a co-worker a "half-n*****."

Caroline Criado-Perez's speech on cyber-harassment at the Women's Aid conference. "If there’s one thing I want to come out of what happened to me, it’s for the phrase “don’t feed the trolls” to be scrubbed from the annals of received wisdom."

All bullies are ultimately cowards. Bullies behave as bullies when they are in positions of strength, and as the latter in positions of weakness.

International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment.

Is Your Boss a Bully? Workplace torment is more common than we think, and it can lead to medication use, according to a new study. Trouble is, what counts as bullying isn’t quite clear.

I firmly believe in yer right to say what you want. And I believe in other people's right to socially shun you if they don't like it.

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion.

Here’s a new phenomenon I’ve tentatively identified: oppositional conversational style. A person with oppositional conversational style is a person who, in conversation, disagrees with and corrects whatever you say. He or she may do this in a friendly way, or a belligerent way, but this person frames remarks in opposition to whatever you venture.

Jacobson said, “he was absolutely stubborn. I was at a loss to how to get him to program in an object-oriented way. He just refused. Finally, I said, ‘Do it any way you can.’”,0,2746583.story

Columnist: Playing jokes on ´serious little geeks´ is fun. Engineers: can´t live with ´em, can´t live without ´em. So as not to offend, let me clarify that I have the greatest respect for our industry engineers. It has been my pleasure to work with several of the finest in the nation. As fate would have it, I have a grandson considering the profession. But, as "dinosaurs" will tell you, engineers can be a real pain. Seldom do engineers come to you with any good news. Whenever you ask them a question you never get a direct answer. It´s always something akin to, "Well, maybe," "Perhaps," "This is a possibility," "It might," "Let me look into that," "It´s going to cost ...," "We´ll have to run some tests," or "I´ll get back to you on that." I remember a headline in Waste News back in the ´90s when a landfill in Ohio suffered a "landslide." Roughly 15-20 acres of garbage tumbled into a new cell being created. "Shift Happens!" How would you have liked to have been the engineer on that little disaster? Most operating guys define engineers as Dilbert-like Boy Scouts with Coke-bottle glasses and pocket protectors. Rarely will you find one with a good sense of humor; they are serious little geeks. One of the things that make our industry so much fun is that we are a good-natured bunch who poke fun at one another and have a great sense of humor. Engineers are a prime target for abuse because they are so serious.

Do-it-yourself parking bans in Malibu. The California Coastal Commission fights a losing battle against homeowners who post illegal 'No Parking' signs. Some look so official that even authorities are misled.,0,6786995.story

“[Students] don't know when a book is going to be snatched out of their hands and thrown across the classroom,” said Judy. “They don't know if teacher is going to scream at them.” Rafael and Judy would like to see anti-bullying policies expanded to include not just child to child bullying, but adult to child bullying as well. They would like more training so adults know if there is bullying by teachers, coaches, any adult staff, they have an obligation to report it. “I think it expands beyond the school we were at, I think it expands beyond the district we're at, I think it's something that occurs nationwide,” said Judy. The family says states like Florida have policies regarding teacher bullying that encourage those who witness it to report it. While San Diego Unified does have its own administrative rules and regulations about professional misconduct, the family says it would like to see the district actually champion that as a priority, and include bullying by adults in its anti-bullying policy. “It needs to be expanded to include adults on campus including staff including parents anyone on campus because bullies exist in all forms shapes and sizes and ages,” The area superintendent said there was an investigation. He said the allegations were not accurate and the actions of the teacher did not rise to the level of bullying harassment or intimidation. The teacher, he says, has high expectation and this was his style of teaching. At one time, the district included the adult-to-child bullying guidelines in its safe school policy, but was advised legally to remove them because any complaints would be considered employee conduct and would fall under a personnel issue. Source: Our Child's Teacher Was a Bully: Parents | NBC San Diego .


More Americans Watch Birds Than Hunt. In 2011, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (PDF), 15.7 million Americans older than six went hunting. That's nearly 29 million less than went fishing, and 3 million less than went out to watch birds. Back in 1955, about 10 percent of Americans hunted; today it's around 6 percent.


Allan: That's quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn't it? Museum Girl: Yes, it is. Allan: What does it say to you? Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos. Allan: What are you doing Saturday night? Museum Girl: Committing suicide. Allan: What about Friday night?

Depression’s Upside.

Study links chocolate and depression. Men and women who eat more of the sweets are also likely to be depressed, researchers find.,0,7927541.story



Casey Nocket who had traveled to the west coast from New York for a few weeks. Ms. Nocket had been enjoying her time in the outdoors so much that she decided to document her trip on Instagram. And apparently Nocket was so moved by all the natural beauty she saw that she just had to paint all over it.

Acting on tip, federal officials recover stolen petroglyph panels. Bernadette Lovato, manager of the BLM field office in Bishop, declined to disclose details about the recovery, including when or where the petroglyphs were found. "The panels are currently being held as evidence," Lovato said. "Now, the healing can begin," she said. "Recovery was a priority for me, and the public outrage intensified the need for them to be returned." Investigators believe the vandals used ladders, chisels, electric generators and power saws to remove the panels from cliffs in an arid high-desert region known as Volcanic Tableland, about 15 miles north of Bishop. The thieves gouged holes in the rock and sheared off slabs that were up to 15 feet above ground and 2 feet high and wide. The theft was reported to the BLM last Oct. 31 by visitors to the area, where Native Americans had carved hundreds of lava boulders and cliffs with spiritual renderings: concentric circles, deer, rattlesnakes, bighorn sheep and hunters with bows and arrows.

BLM works to prevent vandalism in Moab.

Utah 'Goblin'-topplers in big trouble. Did government shutdown play a role? (+video) Authorities say three men, including two Boy Scout leaders, could face felony charges after knocking over an ancient Utah desert rock formation and posting a video of the incident online.


He usually has black hair and a black beard, sometimes just a mustache. Like Santa, he wears a hat — though often it's a sombrero. He dons a serape or a poncho and, in one case, a red and black zoot suit. And he makes his grand entrance on lowriders or Harleys or led by a pack of burros instead of eight reindeer. Meet Pancho Claus, the Tex-Mex Santa.

Yes Virginia, there is a Black Santa Claus.,0,1263663.story

“I hate ‘feminist.’ Is this a good time to bring that up?” Joss says as he begins his talk at an Equality Now benefit dinner. And people got angry. He explains that he doesn’t hate feminists. And then he goes on to say AMAZING things that made me want to hug him. Joss Whedon hates the word “feminist” but he is one. It’s not perfect. It’s not a solution to all problems women face in society. It’s a 15 minute talk where he offers the, admittedly not novel idea, that being feminist shouldn’t be an extreme position. We shouldn’t have a spectrum where sexism and feminism exist as uncomfortable extremes with an acceptable gray area between them. You shouldn’t have to be or not be a “feminist”. That feminism should be the default stance. There should be no gray area.

High Country Extremism: Patriot Games.

“Half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife” terrorized on 9/11 for Flying While Dark-Skinned.

The ACLU is always concerned about ways in which ordinary Americans get inconvenienced by "security" measures that actually make us no safer, and less free. TSA's unpopular and invasive scanners and "pat-down" searches, which began frustrating travelers at Logan and nationwide last year, are a perfect example. Recent reports of what happened to Arlington-based musician Vance Gilbert, who was questioned after reading a book about vintage airplanes on a flight out of Boston, seems to bear out that concern. Mr. Gilbert made it past TSA scanners and screeners, but then found himself being questioned after boarding his flight. We are reposting here Mr. Gilbert's open letter to the ACLU about what he experienced. He titled it "Racial Profiling First Hand".


I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful c—kmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you? In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterf-ck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it. Sincerely, Chris Kluwe

vexatious litigant, frivolous lawsuits

Sovereign Citizens Are a Sometimes Violent Fringe Group Rejecting All Government. Meet the Sovereigns, a radical right group that rejects all forms of government, embraces God as the only authority, and clogs the courts with reams of nonsensical paperwork. They are “sovereign citizens,” inspired by any number of complicated and cockamamie theories that all draw the same conclusion: we are not subject to your “laws.” And they are becoming an increasing headache for cops, public defenders, prosecutors, bailiffs, and judges all over the U.S., because when they inevitably land in court for driving without a license or failing to pay taxes, they clog up the system with reams of nonsensical paperwork. Their obfuscatory filings are so inundating that harried prosecutors often drop the charges against them—a victory for the sovereigns’ otherwise quixotic cause.

A bizarre lawsuit has the Pinball Hall of Fame playing defense.


Why Do You Hoard? Most of us have a friend, a relative, or a neighbor who seems to pack his or her home with unnecessary stuff. Researchers are just beginning to understand why.


After Filner debacle, San Diego's Todd Gloria's picking up the pieces. Acting Mayor Todd Gloria has spent the last four months cleaning up messes and running the city. 'The era of Bob Filner is over,' he says.,0,5674998.story

What used to be considered "extreme speech" is now coming from all quarters, including the political establishment. Members of Congress - like Tea Party-friendly Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Steve King, R-Iowa - rail against Obamacare as a form of socialism, for example. "When the government controls everybody's health care, pays for everybody's health care, it is the government controlling everything. They have the power then to tell everybody how much they should put in, how much they take out," Gohmert said recently. In 2009, the nonpartisan, Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking site PolitiFact said calling the health care law a "government takeover of health care" was its Lie of the Year. Lind said the mainstreaming of the radical right has changed our political rhetoric. "Now, you have one of the two parties, which used to have a completely different rhetoric from its fringe. ... Now the fringe is the mainstream," Lind said.



Your belief is that any other belief is wrong. If another does not share your belief that is discrimination against you.

White Evangelicals Think They’re Discriminated Against More Than Blacks, Jews, and Muslims. Read more at

Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life—in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.

My Fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far. And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Satanic group reveals crowdfunded monument for Oklahoma State Capitol.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has turned down an atheist’s request to place a “reason station” inside city hall for one year, saying it would disrupt an existing prayer station allowed by the city. Douglas Marshall, a Warren resident and a member of Freedom From Religion, wanted to put up a table inside the atrium of city hall to promote free thought, use of reason and logic and separation of church and state. But Fouts denied the request, saying it would disrupt the existing prayer station in violation of the Constitutional right to freedom of religion. In his letter, Fouts said Freedom From Religion is not a religion, has no tenets and no congregation. “To my way of thinking, your group is strictly an anti-religion group intending to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms or at least discourage the practice of religion. The City of Warren cannot allow this,” he wrote, underlining the last sentence. “Also, I believe it is group’s intention to disrupt those who participate in the Prayer Station which would also be a violation of the freedom of religion amendment. For these reasons, I cannot approve of your request,” he wrote. Last year, a federal appeals court ruled that the city didn’t trample on anyone’s free speech rights when it refused to add a sign proposed by Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation to its annual holiday display. The proposed sign would have read: “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, No heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but Myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Fouts called the sign “highly offensive” and “mean-spirited“ and said he wouldn't stand for it. He told the group in a letter, disclosed in court documents, that he wouldn’t allow any displays to disparage any religion, “so I will not allow anyone or any organization to attack religion in general.”

Religion, archived April 16, 2014

What went wrong at Waco. Doyle says very little about Koresh’s sexual practices in “A Journey to Waco,” even though his own daughter, Shari, became one of Koresh’s spiritual wives at the age of fourteen. In other memoirs of Davidian survivors, the issue is treated with similar reticence. But Koresh’s behavior seems to have been controversial even within Mount Carmel. It was discussed at length during Bible study. Some people left the Church over it. In a separate interview, Doyle recalled that, at first, “I wondered, I asked, is this God or is this horny old David?” But, in the end, he and the other Branch Davidians who stayed accepted the logic of it: if Koresh was indeed the Lamb, then it followed that he was entitled to the privileges promised to the Lamb in prophecy. It seems not to have mattered that this conclusion was at odds with virtually every social convention of modern life. No one became a Branch Davidian if he required the comfort of religious orthodoxy. One of Koresh’s predecessors, George Roden, had multiple wives as well, arguing his case in an essay on the Mosaic law of polygamy. Roden’s mother, Lois, had advanced an innovative argument that the Holy Spirit was feminine. From the movement’s beginnings, the point of being a Davidian was to be different.

Who Are the 'Satanists' Designing an Idol for the Oklahoma Capitol? A New York-based group has plans to erect a giant demonic statue next to the Ten Commandments on the statehouse lawn. But the devil is in the details.

Religious difference, not ideology, will fuel this century's epic battles. We must encourage education and tolerance if we are to bring about peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Timothy Murray of Novi, a non-practicing Catholic priest and onetime pastor of St. Edith parish in Livonia, is to find out Thursday how long he will spend in federal prison for possessing and distributing child pornography. Murray pleaded guilty to one count of possession and one count of distribution of child pornography in July and has been awaiting sentencing at home on bond. Murray was removed from his post at St. Edith in 2004, after the Archdiocese of Detroit received an allegation that he had molested a 13-year-old boy in the 1980s. Murray admitted to the molestation, according to court files, but was never prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

Top leaders at the Archdiocese of Chicago helped hide the sexual abuse of children as they struggled to contain a growing crisis, according to thousands of pages of internal documents that raise new questions about how Cardinal Francis George handled the allegations even after the church adopted reforms. The documents, released through settlements between attorneys for the archdiocese and victims, describe how priests for decades were moved from parish to parish while the archdiocese hid the clerics' histories from the public, often with the approval of the late Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin.

L.A. County supervisors want to put cross back in county seal.,0,1242704.story

216px-Seal_of_Los_Angeles_County,_California.png Seal_of_Los_Angeles_County,_California_(1957-2004).png

Religion in the Civil War: The Northern Perspective.

Religion in the Civil War: The Southern Perspective.

SANTEE, Calif. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego is under fire after the name of a retired priest surfaced on a list of priests accused of sexual abuse against children. Abuse survivors want to know why Paul Palmitessa's name wasn't released on earlier lists and why he was allowed to work in San Diego County as a priest -- even as the national abuse scandal was playing out. "My heart drops. My stomach turns," said Paul Livingston, who heads the San Diego chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

List of Buddhist Lists.

In his Herald column, Tom Freier, executive director of the North Dakota Family Alliance, suggests that the passage of a nondiscrimination ordinance would infringe upon religious freedoms (“Proposal violates our First Amendment rights,” Page A4, Sept. 15). As an organization committed to safeguarding the Constitution, we take religious freedom seriously — and we can say this simply isn’t true. Religious freedom in America means that every person has the right to his or her own personal, religious beliefs. It is not a free pass that people and institutions can use whenever they want to discriminate against others, and it does not mean that religious institutions or individuals are exempt from following the laws.

DITTO BOYS a Presbyterian pastor in San Jose named Ben Daniel, “a very beautiful corner of a dying world.” Ben called after I published an essay about a short time I’d spent living with a Christian conservative movement called the Fellowship, or the Family. The Fellowship is secretive, “invisible” in its own words, and exclusive, intended not for the masses but for those whom the movement calls “key men,” particularly in business and politics. Some members speak of “biblical capitalism,” others of “biblical law,” but in essence their beliefs are simple: “Jesus plus nothing,” they like to say. “Look at Westmont,” Ben told me. “It’s a feeder school.”

We’re Not a Christian Nation. Despite what many on the Christian right claim, America was not founded as a Christian nation. Author Fred Rich on why we should be afraid of their agenda on our Independence Day. Our Founding Fathers knew how dangerous theocracies could be. They gave us a constitutional democracy in large part to protect minorities from the yearnings of a religious majority. This Independence Day, their design of a secular state, with no religious belief receiving preference over any other, should be celebrated common ground for all Americans, whether conservative or liberal, religious or secular.

Time Cover Story Wrongly Attacks Atheists for Not Helping Out Victims of Oklahoma Tornadoes.

AUSTIN, Texas — Surrounded by sleigh bell-ringing Santa Claus impersonators, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a law protecting Christmas and other holiday celebrations in Texas public schools from legal challenges — but also stressed that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion. It was a serious tone for an otherwise fun bill-signing and should bolster the governor’s Christian conservative credentials before he travels to Washington for the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference with the likes of tea party darlings and U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and fellow Texan Ted Cruz.,0,2059115.story

The eternal disputes of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the beginning, there was a fierce fight over ownership. More than five decades later, controversies endure.,0,562776.story

Non-believers taking college campuses by storm. In the past few years, the number of affiliated student secular organizations has increased more than threefold.

Sovereign Citizens Are a Sometimes Violent Fringe Group Rejecting All Government. Meet the Sovereigns, a radical right group that rejects all forms of government, embraces God as the only authority, and clogs the courts with reams of nonsensical paperwork. They are “sovereign citizens,” inspired by any number of complicated and cockamamie theories that all draw the same conclusion: we are not subject to your “laws.” And they are becoming an increasing headache for cops, public defenders, prosecutors, bailiffs, and judges all over the U.S., because when they inevitably land in court for driving without a license or failing to pay taxes, they clog up the system with reams of nonsensical paperwork. Their obfuscatory filings are so inundating that harried prosecutors often drop the charges against them—a victory for the sovereigns’ otherwise quixotic cause.

Religion is a room closed with walls that won’t move. Human being himself is complex and always changing and transforming.

A Mojave Desert cross brings a lot of things to bear The head of the Mojave National Preserve had little reason to think that an exchange over a memorial built in 1934 would spur a 13-year saga full of litigation, vandalism, political theater and theft.,0,3428535.story

How do we know Americans are embellishing their churchiness en masse? If 37 percent of Americans went to church weekly or more and 33 percent went monthly/yearly — you know what you’d see at churches? Lines of people. A hundred million people every single Sunday. Instead churches (even iconic mega-churches) are going bankrupt and the pews are collecting dust instead of donations. No, when it comes to self-reporting religious devotion Americans cannot be trusted. We under-estimate our calories, over-state our height, under-report our weight and when it comes to piety – we lie like a prayer rug.’s-poll-dispute

‘Mea Maxima Culpa’ Reveals What the Catholic Church Knew. A chilling documentary about the Vatican’s sexual-abuse scandal gives voice to its victims. Barbie Latza Nadeau got an early look at the film the Holy See doesn’t want you to see.

A San Francisco man who admitted to beating a priest he said had raped him and his brother more than three decades ago was found not guilty of felony assault and elder abuse Thursday in a verdict that even he could not imagine. The 10-man, two-woman jury also found Will Lynch not guilty of misdemeanor elder abuse in the 2010 attack on Father Jerold Lindner, who has been accused of molestation by more than a dozen victims, including his nieces, nephew and sister.

It was Memorial Day weekend, 1974, and the campout in the Santa Cruz Mountains was sponsored by a group of devout lay Catholics called the Christian Family Movement. "Father Jerry," as he was known then, was the group's spiritual advisor. Lindner lured Lynch into his tent twice and raped him, Harris said. The first time, the boy was alone. The second time he arrived at Lindner's tent, Lynch's little brother was already there, looking dazed. Lindner proceeded to rape and sodomize Lynch, Harris said, "then he forced Mr. Lynch and his brother to have a sexual act." Afterward, Harris said, Lindner "told Mr. Lynch, 'You are no longer a child of God. You are dirty.' "And he threatened that he would do unspeakable acts to his family if they ever told," Harris continued. "For years they didn't."

Priest Sex Abuse Trial Tough on Catholics. One of the more shocking testimonies during the trial was that of a priest who stated that as a seminarian he had been tied down and nearly gang-raped at St. Charles Boromeo Seminary by other priests. He testified that another priest stopped the attack, only to rape him on several occasions himself. The priest testifying later assaulted minors in his own parish, but is not being prosecuted because he is himself a victim. Still, that priest also remains in ministry, as have so many others.

Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky Is ‘Following A Similar Path’ To Hitler, Stalin

Freedom of religion is safe. The nation's Roman Catholic bishops and some non-Catholic allies would have you believe this fundamental liberty is under attack, but their claims are greatly exaggerated.,0,6967593.story

A creator behind the big bang? Zeroing in on seconds after the universe's big bang.,0,5345003.story

A universe without purpose. New revelations in science have shown what a strange and remarkable universe we live in.

Right wing Christians would be the first to tell you that they feel that the dominance of traditional Christian values is under threat in this country. If you have any doubt about this, look at the long list of people they consider the enemies, internal and external, to their view of how America should be: atheists, Muslims, feminists, liberals, uncloseted gays and evolutionary biologists, amongst others. They aren’t wrong to believe these groups are growing both in numbers and in influence, as the polling data suggests that they are. The increasing volume and militancy from the religious right is to be expected in light of these changes. Sarah Posner, a senior editor at Religion Dispatches magazine, says the religious right has grown specifically in response to massive social changes. Opposing these changes was “exactly their point,” she told me, and conservative Christians believe that when they see these more secularist worldviews on the rise, they have a duty “to redouble one’s efforts”. She added that, in the eyes of evangelical leaders, “evangelicals had insulated themselves too much from secular society, and that they had a God-given duty to have an impact on the culture, on politics, on the media, and so forth.”

Christians are being oppressed in the U.S.? Hardly. Roman Catholic bishops have spoken out about bias and prejudice. But maybe it's a simple case of others reserving the right to disagree with social and political views of the church.,0,259917.column

An arts and crafts retailer with a strong Christian influence has made a $47.5-million cash bid for the bankrupt Crystal Cathedral. News of the offer by Hobby Lobby comes one day after the retail chain announced it had donated the 170-acre Rancho Capistrano to Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. This is the fifth known official offer for the Crystal Cathedral property and comes despite the church board’s recent decision to rely on a faith-based donation effort to emerge from more than $50 million in debt. The Garden Grove church, founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, filed for Chapter 11 last October. Officials hope to raise the money before a potential creditor’s plan is finalized. Hobby Lobby, based in Oklahoma City, said it would lease the Crystal Cathedral property to The King’s University, a Pentecostal bible college and seminary based in Van Nuys, said Mart Green, vice chairman of the board for the retailer and son of founder David Green. The university's chancellor is Jack Hayford, a longtime Pentecostal leader in Southern California and founder of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys.

An arts and crafts retailer has donated the 170-acre Rancho Capistrano, previously owned by the Crystal Cathedral, to Saddleback Church. The Lake Forest church, headed by the Rev. Rick Warren, has been leasing the property, used for retreats, conferences and worship services, from Hobby Lobby, based in Oklahoma City. "Pastor Warren's contributions to the world are long and inspirational, and we hope this transaction adds to his church's legacy of producing good in the world and providing hope to many," David Green, chief executive of Hobby Lobby, said in a statement.

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham on Religion.

Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock, Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto and Ramina Badal, 21, of Manteca were on a day trip to Yosemite National Park with a church group friends and family Tuesday afternoon when they climbed over a metal guardrail at the top of Vernal Falls near Curry Village in Yosemite Valley, park officials said. Jennifer Yacoub, the sister-in-law of Ninos Yacoub, said the devout family was gathered together in prayer in Turlock. "He’s a wonderful guy, loving, supportive of his family, very faithful and extremely helpful," she said, noting that the family are Assyrians who emigrated from the Middle East. Jennifer Yacoub said her brother-in-law was deeply involved in his church. She did not know the others who were swept over the falls with him. "All we're asking for is for people to pray ... the power of prayer, the power of prayer," she said, her voice exhausted. Just before the hikers fell in, Jake Bibee, 28, said he saw a man in his 40s leaning out over the waterfall, holding his 6-year-old daughter. "The little girl is crying and screaming," Bibee said. "There's a 13- or a 14-year-old taking their picture. And everyone at the top of the falls is pissed. I'm kind of a firey guy. I'm yelling at him ... 'Get over here!' " The man walked back to safety, but three other members of his group had also crossed over a safety barricade. "They're taking pictures and being stupid," Bibee said. Ramina Badal, 21, of Manteca fell first. Then a man plunged in after her. They were clinging to each other, Bibee said. "I'm watching the two of them being swept away," Bibee said. "I'm starting to jet for the edge. It's just instinct." His friend Amanda Lee pulled him back and told him not to go. A third person also fell in. The man looked back just as he was being swept over the edge of the falls, Bibee said. "I knew they were not going to make it," Bibee said. "They're going over the waterfall. When we saw the first two, then I grabbed Amanda and held her head down so she wouldn't see. And I didn't look either. I'd seen two people die. I didn't want to watch another." Please bless stupid people.

Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand Problem. These days, when people question a politician’s “morality,” they usually mean his or her personal behavior and choices. But an interesting thing is happening right now around the GOP budget proposal. A broad coalition of religious voices is criticizing the morality of the choices reflected in budget cuts and tax policy. And they’ve specifically targeted Ryan and his praise for Rand, the philosopher who once said she “promote[d] the ethic of selfishness.” Across the street from the Faith & Freedom Conference Friday afternoon, a group of religious leaders continued the attack on what they now consistently refer to as “The Ayn Rand Budget.” Father Cletus Kiley, a Catholic priest, declared the Ryan budget “does not pass our test” of Catholic teachings, and suggested that supporters of the budget “drop Ayn Rand’s books and pick up their sacred texts.” Rand’s influence on Ryan’s politics is also the subject of a new ad produced by the religious group American Values Network, which hopes to run the spot in Ryan’s district. It’s a stinging attack, and again, one that was wholly unanticipated by the Republican rising star.

Investigators examining tapped cellphone conversations between a Moroccan drug dealer and 51-year-old Father Riccardo Seppia (shown at left, in the red robe) found evidence of arranged sexual encounters with young boys, some of whom were paid for sex with cocaine. "I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger," Seppia is accused of having said on the tapes. "Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues." Seppia is a priest in a the archdiocese of one of the top advisers working with Pope Benedict XVI "on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests." He is said to have boasted in the recorded cellphone conversations that local shopping malls were the best place to pick up boys for sex.,8599,2072613,00.html

An American aid worker who was kidnapped last year in Sudan's ravaged Darfur region has sued the charity that sent her there. Flavia Wagner, who spent more than three months in captivity before being freed, accused Samaritan's Purse of failing to train its security personnel adequately and of willfully ignoring warning signs that abductions were a threat to foreigners. The suit also names a crisis-management consulting firm that was retained by Samaritan's Purse -- a North Carolina-based group run by Franklin Graham, the son of famed Christian evangelist Billy Graham -- to handle negotiations with the kidnappers.

Florida pastor cuts Michigan protest short.

For Easter Sunday, the producers of ABC's This Week thought it would be good programming to have host Christiane Amanpour chat with Franklin Graham, the evangelical leader and son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham. Amanpour introduced Graham as a religious leader "who continues his father's crusades, preaching to millions of people around the world. He also serves as the president of Samaritan's Purse, an international aid organization that does relief work in the developing world with missionary zeal." She neglected to mention that Graham has called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion and that last year Graham was disinvited from a National Prayer Breakfast event at the Pentagon after his Islam-bashing became an issue. Nor did she note that last month Graham claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood has "infiltrated every level" of the Obama administration. Her first question to Graham was a softball: "What's the word that you most dearly associate with Easter?" He replied, "It's God's love, it's the sacrifice of Jesus Christ." Moments later, he contended that the government has undermined the traditional church function of assisting the poor because it took this mission "away from the church, and...had more money to give and more programs to give, and pretty soon, the churches just backed off." He went on to note that "we are in the latter days" and that when the anti-Christ comes, "He'll have an economic mark that will be on [his] forehand." Whatever that means.

Gov. Perry Issues Proclamation for Days of Prayer for Rain in Texas.

Family Research Council Named ‘Hate Group’ By Watchdog Organization.

The chairman of the search committee actually said that creationist astronomer Martin Gaskell was "breathtakingly above the other applicants", which is as clear an admission of negative discrimination as a lawyer could want. My own position would be that if a young earth creationist (YEC, the barking mad kind who believe the entire universe began after the domestication of the dog) is "breathtakingly above the other candidates", then the other candidates must be so bad that we should re-advertise and start afresh.

Pope approved of child sex abuse.

In the never-ending battle over the constitutionality of religious symbols on public property, there are some close cases. But the huge cross atop a war memorial on Mt. Soledad in San Diego isn't one of them. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was right to rule that the prominence of this consummately Christian symbol on the memorial violated the 1st Amendment. The cross, on land acquired by the federal government in 2006, is 29 feet high and stands on a 14-foot-high base. As Judge M. Margaret McKeown noted in her opinion for the court, it is "visible from miles away and towers over the thousands of drivers who travel daily on Interstate 5 below." It likewise dominates the memorial itself, overshadowing secular memorial plaques on a wall at the base of the structure. The size of the cross wouldn't be an issue if it were a secular symbol of grief for fallen soldiers. But McKeown effectively refuted that notion, observing: "There is simply no evidence … that the cross has been widely embraced by or even applied to non-Christians as a secular symbol of death." Nor, she wrote, is there a tradition of crosses serving as "default grave markers" on war memorials. That's important, because one standard by which the Supreme Court evaluates religious displays on public property is whether they reflect long-standing practice.,0,7639100.story

Where do you stand on the Mount Soledad cross controversy?

God's mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the Big Bang, and Christians should reject the idea that the universe came into being by accident, Pope Benedict said on Thursday. "The universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe," Benedict said on the day Christians mark the Epiphany, the day the Bible says the three kings reached the site where Jesus was born by following a star. Pope on dope.

By waging a war on Muslims the Christians violate their own beliefs; they are no longer Christians.

Displaying displeasure with nativity scenes. Damon Vix isn't a Grinch by any means. He celebrates Christmas, giving gifts to family and friends. But when it comes to the nativity display in Palisades Park, Vix response is "bah-humbug," or better yet, "Happy Solstice." The Hollywood prop maker is the man behind a display that can be found just south of the nativity scenes that features quotes from the founding fathers about the importance of the separation of church and state. A quote from President Thomas Jefferson is by far the most visible. It reads: "Religions are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies."

The boycott appears to have gone nowhere fast, but something else did happen: another Christian group paid for vans displaying a religious message to follow the buses around town all day. Personally, I think this is hilarious. Do the Christians really have that much faith in the power of a two-second glimpse of an atheist message to change people's minds? Maybe they're imagining that the atheist bus emanates some kind of irresistible persuasive power, turning everyone it passes into a nonbeliever - but then the Christian van comes in its wake and changes them right back!

Fort Worth buses will no longer carry religious advertisements because of a furor sparked by an atheist group's ads that proclaim, "Millions of Americans are Good Without God." The Fort Worth Transportation Authority unanimously voted Wednesday night to ban religious ads, a decision that many atheists and church leaders applauded during the packed meeting. Board member Gary Havener called the atheist ad divisive.

Scientist alleges religious discrimination in Ky.;_ylt=Ajs1V4wzKCGWzeOpxlzGBYCs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFlcGQ0MzdmBHBvcwMxMTMEc2VjA2FjY29yZGlvbl9zY2llbmNlBHNsawNzY2llbnRpc3RhbGw-

The war on Christmas heats up. An atheist group's new billboard proclaims the holiday is a myth -- and controversy erupts. Because shoving your beliefs on other people is just plain rude. Do you see where I’m going with this? Whether one unshakably believes in a perfectly swaddled little baby Jesus who arrives precisely on Dec. 25 surrounded by cute donkeys and starstruck shepherds is hardly the point. It's that snotty, oh-just-face-it-you-idiots attitude, that utter certainty, that's just as belligerent coming from an atheist as it from an evangelical.

There's a face-off of holiday billboards on each end of the Lincoln Tunnel into New York City with an atheist billboard on the New Jersey side and a Catholic billboard on the New York side. The Associated Press reports:

Billboards to proclaim Jesus' return on May 21, 2011. The billboards are meant to be a reminder to folks to prepare for what is often known as the Rapture. After certain followers of Jesus are raised up to be with him, those left behind after May 21 will have to suffer through an earthquake that will open graves. And five months later -- on Oct. 21, 2011, to be exact -- the world will end "with God destroying the universe and everything in it," Warden said.

Pope Benedict XVI says: God hates Fags; God loves child molesters.,0,2512317.story


The ghost of Ayn Rand reminds us that environmentalists want to KILL US ALL [cue music from Psycho]

The Bush Years And What A "Lapdog" Press Really Looked Like. What the lapdog allegation really seems to revolve around is the fact that conservatives are angry that Obama remains popular with the public. Rather than acknowledge that reality, partisans increasingly blame the press and insist if only reporters and pundits would tell 'the truth' about Obama, then voters would truly understand how he's out to destroy liberty and freedom and capitalism. Sorry, but that's not what constitutes a lapdog press corps. And to confuse chronic partisan whining with authentic media criticism is a mistake. The Hannity-led claim also isn't accurate. Studies have shown that during long stretches of his first term, Obama was hammered with "unrelentingly negative" press coverage. By contrast, the lapdog era of the Bush years represented nothing short of an institutional collapse of the American newsroom. And it was one that, given the media's integral role in helping to sell the Iraq War, did grave damage to our democracy. Looking back at his tenure as Washington Post ombudsman, Michael Getler wrote in 2005 that the mainstream media's performance in 2002 and 2003 likely represented the industry's worst failing in nearly half a century. "How did a country on the leading edge of the information age get this so wrong and express so little skepticism and challenge?" Getler asked.

Phone hacking scandal involving kidnapped girl roils Britain. Britons voice disgust amid allegations that a tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch tampered with voicemails for a missing girl who was later found dead. The scandal has raised questions about his relationship with the political establishment and police.,0,2508879.story

Republican media strategist Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel in 1996, ostensibly as a "fair and balanced" counterpoint to what he regarded as the liberal establishment media. But according to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the "prejudices of network news" and deliver "pro-administration" stories to heartland television viewers. The memo—called, simply enough, "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News"— is included in a 318-page cache of documents detailing Ailes' work for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations that we obtained from the Nixon and Bush presidential libraries. Through his firms REA Productions and Ailes Communications, Inc., Ailes served as paid consultant to both presidents in the 1970s and 1990s, offering detailed and shrewd advice ranging from what ties to wear to how to keep the pressure up on Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the first Gulf War.

How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear FactoryThe onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America's Unfair and Imbalanced Network.

US military launches Operation Sock Puppet, pays contractor $2.76m to generate phony Facebook, Twitter psyops accounts. From the Your Tax Dollars at Work file, news that the US military's Central Command (CENTCOM) has awarded a $2.7 million contract to Ntrepid, a newly-formed Los Angeles-based startup, to create fake online "personae" for the purpose of manipulating online conversations and spreading pro-American, pro-military propaganda. In other words, our government is building a multi-million-dollar sock puppet army for Twitter and Facebook. The "online persona management service" called for in the contract would permit one US serviceman or woman to manage up to 10 separate identities. Good thing this is nothing at all like what the Chinese government does, in attempting to control free speech online. Nothing at all.

Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators.

Fox News anchor Chris Cotter and reporter Jeff Flock found the scene in Madison, Wisconsin a little bit inhospitable, as the gathered protesters chanted "Fox lies" over and over again during their afternoon hit from the state capitol building. One gentleman in a woolly hat was especially emphatic about his opinion that "Fox lies." "Fox lies!" he said, adding, "Fox lies." Flock quipped, "Those appear to be the only two words he knows," but credited the majority of the crowd for being "reasoned, calm, and willing to talk." As it turns out, questions regarding the veracity of the content on Fox News have been raised in more substantive ways of late. Additionally, many of the protesters carrying signs criticizing Fox for being "fascist" nevertheless praised their sports coverage, so that's something.


The Anti-Choice Movement Is a Denialist Movement.


Creation Museum Denied Membership By San Diego Museum Council. Wednesday, November 13, 2013 The museum presents a biblical account of creation through its exhibits and education programs. Danielle Susalla Deery is president of the San Diego Museum Council. She said the museum's membership was not rejected because of its mission but because of other factors. Museum of Creation and Earth president Tom Cantor said he’s not happy with the result. "I’m afraid we are being opposed for nothing more than the old prejudice against God," Cantor said. He went on to make a comparison between the museum's fight for respect and a moment in history. "It’s like we’re in Selma, Alabama in the 1950s and I want to have a museum on black Americans," he said. "Do you think I’ll be accepted by the council of museums in Selma, Alabama?" Membership on the Museum Council comes with marketing support and exposure, as well as training. There are currently 39 members, including the museums in Balboa Park. The Creation Museum was founded in 1992 and averages 30,000 visitors annually. Cantor said despite his frustration, the museum will make the recommended improvements and reapply for membership next year.

"Like their animal care and the protocol and care of their exhibitions and storage. They had a lot of areas that were not in line with membership guidelines. They have a staff member on the board of directors and that’s not good governance," Deery said.

1842: Peter Alekseevich Kropotkin, Russian geographer, biologist and anarchist revolutionary, is born. Kropotkin was the son of Russian nobles but came of age during a period of intellectual upheaval in the country, which had a profound effect on his social and political development. The miserable state of the peasant class especially bothered him, and the failure of the czar to undertake meaningful reforms radicalized him.

Bill O'Reilly on science: Why is Earth the only planet with a moon?

During an appearance on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Mahr" on Friday night, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) stated clearly that he does not believe in the process of evolution. "I believe I came from God, not from a monkey so the answer is no," he said, laughing, when asked if he subscribes to the theory. Later in the segment he added, "I don't believe that a creature crawled out of the sea and became a human being one day." According to a Gallup poll released last month, 40 percent of Americans believe God is responsible for creating human life in its current form roughly 10,000 years ago. The survey found that 52 percent of Republicans believe in creationism. 34 percent of Democrats and independents maintain the same view, the poll showed.

Despite 80 years of court battles ousting creationism from public classrooms, most public high school biology teachers are not strong advocates for evolution. While vocal advocates of intelligent design and similar non-scientific alternatives to evolution are a minority, more than half the teachers in a nationwide poll avoided taking a strong stance for evolution. Such teachers “may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists,” wrote Penn State political scientists Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer, the poll’s architects, in a Jan. 28 Science paper. Berkman and Plutzer, the authors of Evolution, Creationism and the Battle to Control America’s Classrooms, examined data from the National Survey of High School Biology Teachers, a representative sample of 926 biology teachers from across the country. They estimate that only 28 percent of those teachers consistently and “unabashedly” introduce evidence that evolution has happened, and build lesson plans with evolution as a unifying theme linking different topics in biology. At the opposite extreme, 13 percent of teachers explicitly endorse creationism or intelligent design, and spend at least on hour of class time presenting it in a positive light. An additional 5 percent reported that they support creationism in passing or when answering students’ questions. The remaining fraction of teachers, who Berkman and Plutzer dub the “cautious 60 percent,” avoids choosing sides. Often these teachers have not taken courses in evolutionary biology and lack confidence in their ability to answer questions from skeptical or hostile students and parents.


Library funding in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, may be diverted to a new jail thanks to a legislator who doesn't approve of the library's programs. Jail proponent and chair of the Lafourche Parish Council Lindel Toups supports a ballot measure that would take funding away from libraries. “They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” Toups told the local Tri-Parish Times, referencing Biblioteca Hispana, a Spanish-language section of one of the nine branch libraries. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. ... Them junkies and hippies and food stamps [recipients] and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps [on the Internet]. I see them do it.” "We are here to serve all of the residents of Lafourche Parish," Library System Director Laura Sanders told the Los Angeles Times. "It doesn't matter what ethnicity they are -- we serve them all.",0,7474904.story

'Project Censored' lists top stories that go unreported. "Project Censored" criticizes print and broadcast media outlets for overlooking important issues in favor of "junk food news." The group blames political, economic, and legal pressure.

Museum of Contemporary Art commissions, then paints over, artwork. An antiwar mural by street artist Blu on the side of the museum was deemed inappropriate by MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch. Critics say it's censorship.,0,4436829.story


Post 282 was dedicated in 1947, after members had excavated the grounds. Post historians believe the parcel was once site of a courthouse. Maritza Skandunas, of San Diego Ghost Hunters, has paid the Post nighttime visits twice with detection gear to pick up images, sounds, heat signatures, and electromagnetic fields. Skandunas has been tracking spirits for around 10 years, and her work includes assistance to local police departments in cold case investigations. She reports that her equipment detected whispers, talking, and shuffling of feet. She felt a palpable sense that ghosts were trailing down the stairs behind her. Angela Bertolino, a local amateur paranormal investigator, surveyed the Post in early October. After she ran an initial electromagnetic field detector sweep, her EMF instrument delivered anomalous results, which inexplicability she concludes could itself be evidence of spiritual activity. She plans a return-visit investigation with an overnight stay. Luna describes himself as curious, open-minded, and a former skeptic until his personal experiences convinced him otherwise. His invitation to doubters, “Come visit the Post, and observe for yourself.” - See more at:

After months of secrecy; Del Mar Fairgrounds management is talking about several paranormal investigations held on site to try and find out what employees have known for years. Thanks in part to the South Coast Paranormal investigating team; the investigation reveals that doors have opened and closed, voices have been heard and shadows discovered. The paranormal activity is believed to be at the hand of past Hollywood legends who helped establish the track back in 1936. In this report two Del Mar track employees talk about their own personal experiences with what goes bump in the night as ghostly images are discovered in a track pub.


Susan Brinchman – After her doctor confirmed that he believed her health problems were caused by electromagnetic radiation from a smart meter installed by SDG&E at her home, Brinchman launched a successful statewide effort to allow consumers the right to opt out of having smart meters. The La Mesa resident, founder of the Center for Electrosmog Prevention, is also working to reduce fees for opting out and ultimately hopes to ban smart meters.

Atheists, Humanists and Freethinkers

Cut it out, atheists! Why it’s time to stop behaving like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins. A dominant strain of atheism just loves to throw mud at the religious. Here's why it needs to stop. STEVE NEUMANN

Atheists Seen as a Threat to Moral Values.

New Atheism’s big mistake: Debating creationists solves nothing. Fundamentalism isn't really about the Bible; it's about politics. So attacking religion doesn't fix the problem.

San Diego Coalition of Reason (SDCoR)

The Secular Coalition for America is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization whose purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States. We are located in Washington, D.C. for ready access to government, activist partners and the media. Our staff lobbies U.S. Congress on issues of special concern to our constituency. - See more at:

Atheist mega-non-churches.

Atheists head for high schools with new clubs for Godless teens.

Atheist group placing billboard ads to protest Denver nativity display.,0,3972555.story

Atheist Groups Promote a Holiday Message: Join Us.


San Diego Area

CHOLLAS VIEW - San Diego police are investigating a brawl that resulted in a double-stabbing on a trolley car in Chollas View Sunday night. The stabbing occurred just after 9 p.m. Sunday on an Orange line trolley that was stopped at the Euclid Trolley Station in the 300 block of 47th Street in Chollas View. According to San Diego police, four Hispanic men got in a fight with the suspect, who pulled out a knife and stabbed two of the men. He stabbed one of the victims three times in the torso and the other once in the chest. The fight was caught on cell phone video. The suspect then got off the trolley and ran down 47th Street. Responding officers could not find him. One victim was transported to UC San Diego Medical Center and the other to Scripps Mercy Hospital, both in Hillcrest. None of their injuries were considered life threatening. 10News later learned that a third person may have been injured in the stabbing. According to police, a man with a stab wound to his upper arm went to Paradise Valley Hospital in National City at about 5 a.m. He alleged he was stabbed at the 47th Street Station. The suspect was described as white, 25 years of age with dark-colored shoulder-length hair and a tattoo of a triangle under his eye. He was wearing a black shirt and black skinny jeans.

Fallbrook woman accused of shooting son-in-law in court Tuesday.

Law enforcement officers made 53 arrests and caught nine probation violators during a probation compliance sweep of a busy trolley stop, officials announced Saturday. The multi-agency sweep occurred at the platform at 3443 Main St. and the surrounding area on Friday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Chris May said. The platform serves passengers riding the Metropolitan Transport System's Orange Line trolley, which runs from Downtown San Diego to El Cajon. During the check, enforcement officers made 3,330 contacts to determine trolley fare compliance which resulted in about 100 probation searches, May said. Officers made 22 felony arrests, 31 misdemeanor arrests, caught nine probation violators and issued 119 trolley citations. "The goal was to identify and contact prolific offenders and their associates," May said. "Deputies and investigators looked at who was arrested and, when possible, they looked to see if the offenders are linked to known existing crime cases." Sheriff's deputies worked with officers from MTS Trolley Enforcement, the San Diego County Probation Department and State Parole to conduct the sweep, dubbed "Operation Lemon Drop," as part of the sheriff's department's "Operation Safe Communities." May said "many of the arrestees" were previously convicted non-violent offenders who were released to local level law enforcement agencies to reduce overcrowding at state prisons. The information the deputies and officers compiled will aid the sheriff's department in determining when and where to devote resources to address safety issues in neighborhoods, May said.

Dancer alleges San Diego police harassed, hogtied her during arrest.

Police said a man tried to rob two women who were waiting for the trolley Thursday morning. Those women then stabbed him in the neck and hit him in the head with his skateboard in Valencia Park. The attempted robber grabbed one of the women’s backpacks while they were waiting for the trolley on Imperial Avenue near 62nd Street around 9:30 a.m., San Diego police Officer Frank Cali said. The women tried to stop the thief, who threatened them with a knife, Cali said. One of the women pulled out a knife of her own, and she and the man attempted to stab each other, Cali said. The other woman then hit the man in the head with his own skateboard, while her companion stabbed him in the neck. The women were 21 and 22 years old. Cali said the man, later identified as David Mongero, 22, ran to a nearby barber shop where he was taken into custody. Mongero was taken to a hospital with a minor neck wound, and was then booked into jail. Mar 27, 2014

San Diego police are investigating a stabbing that occurred on the trolley in Logan Heights. The incident was reported just before 10 p.m. Monday near 32nd and Commercial streets. Police say the victim was stabbed in the abdomen and was not seriously injured. A witness told 10News the victim was stabbed while trying to defend a woman who was being harassed by the suspect. The stabbing suspect is described as a tall, thin black male who has long straight hair and was wearing a stocking on his head. He was last seen running northbound on 32nd Street. More details will be posted as they become available. Mar 24, 2014

An apparent argument over a seat aboard a trolley Tuesday led to the stabbing of a woman and the arrest of another woman, San Diego police said. The knife attack was reported at about 3:30 p.m. on a trolley at 25th and Commercial streets in the Logan Heights area, according to San Diego police. Police said the suspected attacker was sitting with her feet across another seat and did not want anyone sitting near her. When the victim asked if she could sit down, the suspect refused, police said. An argument ensued, and police said the suspect stabbed the other woman. Patrol officers arrested the suspect at the scene, SDPD public affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said. Her name was not immediately available. Medics took the 53-year-old victim to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest for cuts to her left wrist and hip. Mar 18, 2014

Strippers file claim against city of San Diego after Kearny Mesa strip club raid. Claim alleges police held 25 dancers against will. San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman would only say the detectives do conduct random inspections. "As part of a police-regulated business, our vice squad goes in and they regulate police-related businesses," said Zimmerman. "I think the police department here has a history of pushing the envelope with certain classes like strippers and thinking, 'What are they going to do? Fight back against us?'" said attorney Dan Gilleon.

San Diego police raid strip club, photograph strippers. So this was a regulatory operation. But instead of sending a few bureaucrats to do the paperwork, the city of San Diego thought it appropriate to send a team of gun-toting cops to raid the place (similar to recent masked, militarized SWAT raids on massage parlors). Remember, according to the report, there was no suspicion of criminal activity here. This was a routine inspection. Which raises the question: Are all routine, regulatory inspections of San Diego businesses done with raid teams? Is it just strip clubs? Are strippers known for being dangerous? And if the photos were necessary for record-keeping purposes, why was it necessary to photograph the women while they weren’t wearing clothing? It’s also puzzling why the TV station felt obligated to protect the identities of the police officers. If this was truly just a regulatory inspection, the cops wouldn’t be undercover officers. So what’s the point? This seems to be to be a pretty questionable use of that sort of force. The TV station obviously believes there’s at least an argument to be made that it was, or they wouldn’t have aired the story. TV stations air the names and photos of people suspected of crimes all the time. Yet police officers are public servants, who are authorized to carry guns, forcibly detain, and in some cases kill. There’s a strong argument that journalists should make every effort to expose the identities of officers who use force in questionable ways, not go out of their way to obscure them.

San Diego Area archive March 2014

A rash of police shootings in San Diego.

Final guilty plea in DMV bribery scam. Special Agent Mike Peters, who investigated the case with Special Agent Kim George out of our San Diego Division. “It was so blatant,” Peters said, “that our surveillance showed the driving school operator brokering multiple deals in the DMV parking lot.” “They had gotten away with it for so long,” added George, “that they were extremely confident and had no plans to stop.” Court records indicate that the group—which included Kuvan Piomari, who owned the U.S. Driving School in El Cajon; Jeffrey Bednarek, a DMV examiner who conducted driving tests; and three other DMV employees—took part in the long-running bribery conspiracy that produced hundreds of ill-gotten licenses. In exchange for bribes, Bednarek falsely entered passing scores for written and behind-the-wheel tests for applicants seeking regular and commercial driver’s licenses. He enlisted other DMV employees to falsify records as well. Bednarek produced more than 100 fraudulent driver’s permits, for which applicants paid a total of more than $50,000. Sometimes the corrupt DMV employees would issue multiple bogus licenses a day, George said. “They would leave work with $500 in cash in their pocket. That could be one day a week or two. They were doing very well.” When a new manager arrived at the El Cajon DMV office, however, “she instantly realized that something wasn’t right,” Peters said. The new manager alerted the DMV’s investigative arm, who in turn called the FBI. Using undercover operatives and court-authorized surveillance and wiretaps, investigators quickly uncovered the scam. Some of the “candidates” who paid for licenses were bad drivers, George explained, “and some paid because they were just too lazy to take the test.” Peters added that some candidates had paid for commercial licenses that allowed them to drive tanker trucks. “That took things to a different level in terms of public safety,” he said. In all, 30 defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and identification document fraud, and all have pled guilty. The case is ongoing (see sidebar). Bednarek is scheduled to be sentenced in April. Another DMV employee, Jim Bean, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

Investigation of San Diego police culture reveals sexual posters, promotions, lawsuits. A series of sexually suggestive posters hung in the San Diego Police Department's sex crimes unit in 2011, as Officer Anthony Arevalos patrolled the streets trading tickets for sexual favors. Officer Chris Hays. Hays has been accused by six women of sexually assaulting them while on duty. "This all could have been stopped years ago," retired San Diego officer Francisco Torres said in a deposition. Torres worked closely with Arevalos in the department's southern district. Torres has said Arevalos' close relationship with his commanding officer, Lt. Rudy Tai, allowed him to remain unreported. Tai was promoted to head the department's sex crimes unit and is now the head of the San Diego Police Department's criminal intelligence unit. "They would go out and party together, go drinking, go bar hopping, go see women together," Torres said of the relationship. "Supervisors knew of his heavy handedness, of his way of dealing with things. They just turned the other cheek and walked away from it." The latest officer under investigation, Hays, has a father-in-law who is a deputy chief. San Diego's city attorney has settled 12 lawsuits for a total of $2.3 million because of Arevalos' actions. San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne has suggested arming every San Diego officer with body cameras. He declined Team 10's request for comment about police culture and liability.

The streets just got safer. new police station opens.

Team 10 investigates accusations against Aggressive Action Private Security. Source says some guards armed with water pistols. If you visit the website for Aggressive Action Private Security, on display is a description and photographs of what appears to be a sophisticated security company offering a wide range of services. The firm provides security for large apartment complexes across the San Diego region. There are hundreds of tenants who assume their security and safety is assured by the professional staff at Aggressive. However, Team 10 was contacted by former employees of the firm who allege the company engages in unethical business practices. Their complaints range from Aggressive's personnel practices to their claims of expertise in private security. Some of those accusations are in a lawsuit filed by the former employees. Read the lawsuit:

Operation Targets East County Probationers, Parolees. It was a bad day for trolley riders in the East County without a ticket, especially those on probation or parole who might be violating their terms of release in other ways. Then again, in the case of at least one probationer, his violations might have led to another chance to turn his life around. More than 100 law enforcement officers patrolled the trolley line as well as known hotspots for drug-related crime in the East County on Wednesday. The “Tip the Scale” operation resulted in 26 arrests, including 10 felony arrests and 16 misdemeanor arrests, according to the County’s Methamphetamine Strike Force. A welcoming committee of some 60 Sheriff’s deputies and transit and probation officers were waiting on the platform for riders at the El Cajon trolley stop to check for tickets from about 3 until 10 p.m. Violators got a citation and talked with officers. Officers asked violators if they were on probation or parole and if they were, they were searched for drugs, paraphernalia or weapons. Then officers checked their history to make sure they had no outstanding warrants. If people did not have identification, officers used a machine that employs facial recognition technology to compare faces to booking photos in San Diego County. If officers suspected someone was under the influence, they did a quick-results saliva test and took a mouth swab to send to a laboratory.

Police: Fingerprint Search Led To 1977 Michigan Prison Escapee’s Arrest In San Diego.

Everything We Know About the Campaign Money Scandal Rocking San Diego.

Joseph McStay, 40, his wife Summer McStay, 43, and their two sons, Gianni, 5, and Joey, Jr., 4, went missing from their Fallbrook home in February 2010. It would be almost four years before the skeletal remains of the family were discovered in shallow graves near Victorville on November 11. Within a week of the family's disappearance in 2010, large sums of money started being transferred out of Joseph McStay's business bank account. Where was the money going? Who was transferring it and why? CBS News 8 caught up with the employee who admitted to his involvement in some of those transactions. At first, Dan Kavanaugh, 32, was reluctant to talk about his former employer, Joseph McStay, when a CBS News 8 camera crew came knocking at his apartment door in Little Italy.

MAYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say an 81-year-old woman from the Los Angeles area has been found dead in rural San Diego County, and her son has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The Los Angeles County Sheriff' Department released a statement Wednesday saying the woman from Maywood had been reporting missing Nov. 15 by worried relatives. Investigators following leads found the woman near Alpine. The statement says detectives determined the woman's 53-year-old son, Jorge Rodriguez, killed her at a Maywood home and took her body to San Diego County. The department would elaborate no further on the evidence against Rodriguez, who was being held on $2 million bail. It is not clear whether he has hired an attorney. Coroner's investigators are determining the cause of death. The woman's name was not immediately released.

Sheriff: Remains of McStay family found; Source says one body's hands were bound. Patrick McStay angry over handling of case.

Cheap, pure meth makes a comeback. meth was detected in the system of Tassie Beherns, whose two toddlers drowned in an East County backyard pool while she slept the morning of May 13. She had used meth regularly before she was pregnant but stopped once she became a mother, she told investigators. But she later admitted to getting high in the garage a week before the drownings. The children, ages 2 and 16 months, were a day away from a new custody arrangement with their father’s side of the family. Their father is serving a 60-month prison sentence for conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. In El Cajon, police said methamphetamine and a pipe were found in the purse of Jessica Quezada, who along with her husband is charged with the death of their 4-month-old son. The boy’s temperature rose to fatal levels when police say the couple left him overnight in a van after a shopping trip in July.

Several hours later, at about 5 p.m., the Youngs and Johns again encountered DiMaggio and Anderson at a lake. Hannah was soaking her feet in the water. DiMaggio was petting a grey cat. When John asked what DiMaggio was doing with a cat, he “just kind of grinned. Didn’t say much more,” John said.,0,684960.story

Shooting/stabbings near Chula Vista trolley

Chula Vista train station shooting directed at trolley cops

El Cajon woman dies after beating earlier in week.

A 32-year-old woman was critically injured and not expected to survive after an assault in her El Cajon home on Wednesday, police said Friday, and a threatening note telling the mother of five to go back to her home country was found near her, a family friend said. The woman’s 17-year-old daughter found her unconscious in the dining room of the house on Skyview Street off Lemon Avenue about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, said El Cajon police Lt. Steve Shakowski. Police identified her as Shaima Alawadi. “Based on the type of injuries Alawadi sustained, and other evidence retrieved at the scene, this case is being investigated as a homicide,” Shakowski said. Police did not disclose the contents of the note. Sura Alzaidy, a family friend, said it told the family to “go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.” The family is from Iraq, and Alawadi is a “respectful modest muhajiba,” meaning she wears the traditional hijab, a head scarf, Alzaidy said.

Search continues at site of cannon death.

A 39-year-old handyman and explosives enthusiast was arrested Tuesday after a bizarre incident in which his live-in girlfriend was killed when a cannonball rocketed through the couple's trailer in eastern San Diego County. Richard Fox, 39, was arrested on charges relating to the negligent discharge of explosives causing injury. Fox's girlfriend, 38, was killed instantly, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Fox and a friend were loading a homemade cannon with powder from fireworks when it exploded shortly after midnight, sending shrapnel into the trailer where Fox, his girlfriend, and their 4-year-old daughter lived. The child and three other adults in the trailer were unharmed. Fox, who had been drinking, was burned in the explosion and treated at a local hospital, authorities said. The couple had lived in the trailer in Potrero, in rural eastern San Diego County, for several years.

An El Cajon police officer shot and wounded a man during a confrontation Thursday. It happened around 9:45 a.m. in the 1700 block of Pepperhill Dr. Neighbors called police after the saw a suspicious man casing the neighborhood, according to ECPD Lt. J.D. Arvan. An officer came to check out the complaint, when he asked the 22-year-old suspect to come over and speak to him the man walked away and refused to stop, Arvan said. When the man turned around, Arvan said the man produced a knife and lunged at the officer. The officer fired one round, which hit the suspect in the arm, Arvan said. The suspect was taken by ambulance to Sharp Memorial Hospital. The wound is said to be non-life threatening.

Police: Fugitive Who Caused I-8 Shutdown Also Involved In Councilman Robbery. Man allegedly one of three masked perpetrators of violent home-invasion robbery.

The bank robber known as the Geezer Bandit struck for the 16th time on Friday, the FBI said. A Bank of America branch in San Luis Obispo was hit late in the day by a gun-waving robber who fit the Geezer Bandit description: a white male in his 60s or 70s, about 6 feet tall, wearing glasses and a hat. Although most of the robberies attributed to the Geezer Bandit have been in San Diego and its suburbs, others have occurred in Temecula, Bakersfield, Goleta and Morro Bay. The first robbery was in the San Diego suburb of Santee in August 2009. Friday appears to be the bandit's favorite day: Eight of the 16 robberies have happened on a Friday. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Although witnesses have described the bandit as a man of mature years, there has also been speculation that he is wearing a theatrical mask to appear old.

Recent La Jolla bank robbery pinned on 'Geezer Bandit'.

A two-page suicide note was found in the City Heights apartment of a young man suspected of shooting a restaurant customer in the face in an In-N-Out parking lot Saturday, then pulling alongside a San Diego police officer and shooting him in the head, officers said Sunday. The first victim is expected to survive his injuries, but the shotgun round fired at Officer Jeremy Henwood proved fatal. Both appear to be random victims of violence at the hands of Dejon Marquee White, a 23-year-old with a record of minor offenses, who was later shot dead by police, authorities said. “This officer had no contact with the person, no indication of danger,” Police Chief William Lansdowne said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. “This was an assassination.”

The second San Diego Police officer in 10 months was shot in the line of duty Saturday evening, possibly by a suspect in a shooting earlier in the day in El Cajon. Police have not identified the male officer, who they said was “very critically” wounded just after 5:30 p.m. He was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, while one suspect was confirmed dead. The shooting took place when the officer pulled alongside a black Audi at 45th Street and University Avenue in City Heights. Someone in the Audi pulled out a shotgun and shot the officer in the head, according to emergency radio reports. “As far as we know, it was totally unprovoked,” said Police Capt. Jim Collins. “He was not attempting to stop the suspect vehicle. He had no idea that was the suspect vehicle.” The fatal series of incidents appears to have started on the outskirts of El Cajon at about 5:20 p.m. when police responded to reports of a shooting at an In-N-Out restaurant near North Magnolia and Bradley avenues. One man was reportedly hit by a bullet and police gave chase to a black Audi on Interstate 8 and south on state Route 15. Police stopped pursuit of the vehicle after its speeds topped 100 mph. At 5:29 p.m., said Collins, San Diego police were alerted by the Sheriff’s Department to look for a black sedan wanted in connection with the In-N-Out shooting. Three minutes later, “a female citizen got on the radio of one of our police officers and said an officer had been shot at 45th and University,” Collins said. update San Diego police officer Jeremy Henwood has died from wounds suffered in an “assassination,” a solemn-faced police Chief Bill Lansdowne announced Sunday.

A man remained jailed on Saturday on suspicion of grand theft after he allegedly took a bank bag from a woman in a parking lot of an El Cajon bank and may be linked to similar robberies, police said. The victim was walking in the parking lot of Bank of America at 512 Fletcher Parkway, when the suspect approached her from behind, grabbed the bank bag from her hands and ran off, police said.

El Cajon police Wednesday are on the lookout for a man who robbed an Arby's restaurant at gunpoint. The armed robbery at 325 N. Second St. was reported at about 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday, according to El Cajon police Lt. Vince Murillo. The assailant threatened a clerk with a handgun and demanded money, Murillo said, noting that the clerk complied and the gunman fled south on foot.

Geezer Bandit Out of Retirement?

Sheriff’s deputies were called Friday afternoon to a Spring Valley apartment complex on Harness Street, near Sweetwater Lane, where they found a 16-year-old male who had been shot in the stomach. The victim, who was uncooperative with deputies, was located outside about 1:20 p.m. and was taken to a hospital, said sheriff’s Lt. Jim Walker. During the investigation, deputies found several guns in an apartment that were stolen in burglaries in the area, Walker said. A 19-year-old man was arrested, but it was not known if he was connected to the shooting, or whether one of the weapons found was used in the shooting, Walker said. The investigation is continuing.

state senator Joe Anderson of El Cajon. Just a quick question to you because we're running out of time, senator Anderson, you've said get a dog, buy a gun and get an alarm system a couple of time, is this just rhetoric or do you really mean that? ANDERSON: I absolutely mean it. We've allowed this to occur, and we deserve better. When you have somebody who has used an explosive device or committed arson near a church, school or healthcare facility, I don't want them in my community. I want them to serve their full term. And unless my colleagues get serious about this, and get over the political correctness of it all, the next best thing you can do is get a dog, buy a gun and purchase a home alarm system. And it's a sad down in California when we can't protect our citizens. There's only three things that state government should be focused on.

Hell's Angels Converge on Alpine.,0,3894326.story

In San Diego, not your typical police scandal. A cluster of misconduct allegations has the San Diego police chief fuming and officials scrambling for reform. Experts say these seem to be 'systemic Republican family values' expressing as a culture of corruption in the department.,0,7505631.story

3 Teens Charged in Craigslist Killing. They placed a computer ad for a $600 MacBook Pro computer.

A vicious beating in front of picnickers and others enjoying Old Poway Park Saturday afternoon provided police with enough witnesses that they were able to later arrest two suspects. Three men attacked a 42-year-old man, whom they knew, at the park on Midland Road about 5:45 p.m., said sheriff’s Sgt. Keith Griggs. He said one man beat the victim on the head with a metal pipe. The victim was hospitalized with serious injuries. “They thought he had done something they didn’t like,” Griggs said.

The search continues for the man suspected of murdering a mechanic in Loma Portal. San Diego police have issued an arrest warrant for 47-year-old Nicolas Rosales. Rosales used to work for Jalal "Joe" Abou, who was gunned down at his repair shop last week. While slain Loma Portal auto repair shop owner Joe Abou's loved ones mourn his loss and police try to catch his alleged killer, former employee Nicolas Roasles, a motive for the murder may be emerging and it may be about money. Court documents show another mechanic, Frank Zittel, told investigators "Just two or three weeks before the incident, Rosales stopped by the business driving a white SUV." Zeitel says "He collected a few pieces of mail from Abou and after viewing the mail, became angry." He says "The man accused Abou of keeping a correspondence that had information pertaining to him inheriting a business. They argued and the man left."

Police Look For Suspects in Deadly Lincoln Park Shooting. Investigators Say The Victim Died Near His Home.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is investigating a fatal shooting that happened late Thursday night in the Lincoln Acres area of National City. Deputies from the Imperial Beach Sheriff's station responded to an emergency call just after 12:30 a.m., which reported shots fired in the 2800 block of Grove Street off of Sweetwater Road, according to sheriff's officials. When investigators arrived, they found the body of 21-year-old Jordan Hickey of National City lying near a brown bicycle on a sidewalk. It appeared he was shot at least once in the upper body, investigators said.

One man was shot and killed behind a La Mesa restaurant today, a crime in a deserted parking lot that police detectives said left them with few clues. Officers were called to the Kaiser Hospital in San Diego at around 2:20 a.m., when a shooting victim appeared in the emergency room. The 19-year-old victim, whose name was withheld, had been shot near the 6900 block of Alvarado Road, police said. Officers from the La Mesa and San Diego police departments searched the area and found shell casings in the rear parking lot of the Marie Callendar's restaurant, which was closed at the time, police said.

Four men were behind bars Friday on suspicion of carrying out an East County home-invasion robbery during which a family was bound and blindfolded, one of them was pistol-whipped and their dog was wounded by gunfire. At the time of their arrests in the case, two of the suspects, David Gates, 34, and Steve Warda Goria, 32, were already in federal custody in connection with an alleged sports-bribery and game-fixing ring involving the University of San Diego men's basketball team, according to prosecutors. The others -- Ranse Shaba, 19, and 46-year-old Christopher Hikmat Salmu -- were taken into custody Thursday in downtown San Diego and National City, respectively, sheriff's Sgt. Jeff Maxin said. The defendants allegedly carried out a Dec. 15 residential robbery during which four Rancho San Diego residents were tied up and blindfolded in their Wildwind Drive home before a group of masked thieves stole cash and jewelry.

Some victims of the Oceanside prostitution ring broken up by police last week had to endure many months of sexual exploitation while investigators built a case against their accused pimps, according to court documents. After an 18-month investigation, San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy announced Monday that federal authorities and local police had arrested 29 people in connection with the gang-run operation, which traded in girls as young as 13 years old. According to an indictment unsealed Monday, the girls were recruited by members of the Oceanside Crips gang, advertised on the Internet and prostituted in about a dozen North County hotels and motels. Pimps reportedly used beatings, intimidation, false promises and drugs to manipulate the girls and some adult women. About 30 girls younger than 18 were rescued by police, Duffy said. The girls were rescued at various points during the investigation, before the pimps were arrested last week, she said. Court documents reviewed by the North County Times indicate that some girls remained in what Duffy has called "a form of modern-day slavery" for many months ---- more than two years in the case of one girl. Asked why investigators appear to have allowed girls to remain in such conditions as the investigation proceeded, the lead prosecutor on the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano, declined to discuss the case in detail. "To the extent that we could get them out of that situation, we did it as quickly as we could," Serano said.

Man shot by SD sheriff's sergeant in East County had nailgun.

Boy assaulted, robbed on trolley in La Mesa.

Man stabbed after flap over kittens. A heated argument between neighbors in Lincoln Park over their pets left one man stabbed and another in custody. San Diego Police said a 74-year-old man who lives on Euclid Avenue near Castana Street got into a disagreement with his 64-year-old neighbor because he felt his kittens were being bothered by the victim’s dog. The man struck the victim in the face with a broomstick and then went home and retrieved a knife that he used to stab his neighbor once in the stomach, police said. The victim was taken to a local trauma unit with a non-life threatening stab wound and a cut lip. The other man was taken into custody by officers.

Entrepreneurs are printing surveillance shots of his wrinkled face on T-shirts, thousands of people "Like" him on Facebook and many are wishing him continued success at evading the law. To his legion of fans, the "Geezer Bandit" is a bank-robbing old man with a quirky nickname whose popularity only seems to grow with each heist. But authorities trying to track him down say there is nothing light hearted about the doddering robber. They say he is an armed and dangerous menace who leaves bank tellers terrified and could strike at any time. He might even be someone younger disguised under a lifelike special-effects mask. In a region the FBI has dubbed the bank robbery capital of the world, where stickups still occur on an almost daily basis, the "Geezer Bandit" case has captured the public's interest like few others in recent memory.

Geezer Bandit strikes again, robbing his 13th bank in California, FBI says.

A 41-year-old man from Fresno suspected of committing half a dozen robberies throughout the state was arrested on New Year's Eve trying to enter the U.S. at the San Ysidro border crossing, the FBI announced Saturday. John Richard Martinez, a U.S. citizen, was booked into jail in downtown San Diego. He is charged with the robbery of a payday loan business in San Diego on Dec. 20 and a bank in San Diego on Monday. He is also suspected of robbing banks in Fresno, Tulare and Thousand Oaks and robbing a pedestrian outside a hotel/casino in Lemoore, about 30 miles south of Fresno, the FBI said. The name Dapper Bandit, bestowed by the FBI, comes from the appearance of the robber during the bank jobs: black golf hat, gray or black sports jacket, and black high-collared shirt. He is accused of threatening tellers with a black semi-automatic pistol.

The case of the so-called Geezer Bandit, suspected in a dozen bank robberies in three counties, will be featured Saturday on the television show "America's Most Wanted." It is the latest attempt by authorities to find the elusive robber whose string of bank robberies began in August 2009 and now includes 10 in San Diego County, one in Riverside and one in Bakersfield. So far, a $20,000 reward has failed to provide information leading to an arrest. The robber got his FBI nickname from his appearance: 60 to 70 years old, lean, and usually dressed in a dapper if inexpensive style. In his most recent robbery, in Bakersfield in November, one witness thought he was wearing a mask to appear old.

A retirement-age thief who claimed to be carrying a grenade threatened a teller today while robbing a La Jolla bank. The bandit, described by witnesses as an "elderly" 6-foot-tall man, handed a demand note to a teller at the California Bank & Trust in the 1100 block of Wall Street shortly after 9:30 a.m., according to San Diego police. The man, who was wearing a hat and some type of mask over his face, told a cashier he would shoot her if she put an anti-theft exploding dye pack in his loot, though no gun was seen, SDPD Lt. Andra Brown said. Before fleeing, the robber placed something underneath a floor mat at the public entrance to the bank, claiming it was a grenade, Brown said. The object turned out to be harmless. The thief ran from the area toward Ivanhoe Avenue.

Escondido house where explosive ingredients were discovered is considered too dangerous to reenter

FBI warns 'Geezer Bandit' is armed, dangerous. list of robberies.

Probate court file reveals family history of accused bomb maker.

ESCONDIDO: Gardener injured in blast says ordeal shone light on 'evil'. More chemicals retrieved from 'bomb factory'

Man Wearing Old Man Mask Robs Bakersfield Bank, Resembles Geezer Bandit.

The real story behind the fake "Geezer".


Six Months After Standoff in Nevada, the Federal Government Has Not Yet Responded.

Defuse the West. Public-land employees are easy targets for a violent, government-hating fringe.

NRA fears that full legitimate study of gun deaths will not support the 'good guy with gun' model.

BLM seeks prosecution of 35 in Bundy standoff.

Man fatally shot fleeing burglar who said she was pregnant; autopsy finds she was not; investigation continues:

FBI files suggest Gabrielle Giffords shooter planned second attack. Shortly after Jared Lee Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she met with constituents at an Arizona strip mall, FBI agents rushed to his Tucson residence, fearing it was rigged to explode. Technicians with bomb-sniffing dogs found the front door locked and blocked by furniture, so they entered through the garage. After searching the kitchen, front room and hallway, they arrived at Loughner's bedroom, where dogs focused on a small safe behind the door. Using radiographs to peer inside before opening it, they detected bomb-making components — batteries, a circuit board, wires and a numeric keyboard system. The discovery strongly suggested that Loughner, had he not been captured on that 2011 morning, was preparing for an even more deadly attack.

Three people were killed and another wounded in a car-to-car shooting Friday night in South Los Angeles that may be gang-related, police said. The shooting happened at around 10 p.m. in the 8600 block of South Figueroa Street, said Sgt. M. Mason of the Los Angeles Police Department. The bodies of two victims were discovered in a parked vehicle on the east curb of South Figueroa Street, and a third passenger was taken to a hospital with gunshot injuries. A third body was discovered dead in a vehicle about a half mile away at the intersection of South Main and West 108th streets near the Southeast station of the Los Angeles Police Department, authorities said. It's not clear from which vehicle the first shot came from, but authorities believe the passengers in each vehicle fired on and killed each other.

A southern Missouri man has been accused of illegally buying one of the weapons allegedly used in the shootings that left three people dead outside Jewish facilities in Overland Park, sources said. Multiple sources confirmed to The Star that the federal charge filed against John Mark Reidle is related to the April 13 shootings outside the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom senior living facility that Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. allegedly carried out. Read more here:

Amanda Miller had legally purchased a shotgun and semiautomatic pistol carried by her husband, Scheff said, and she carried a revolver.

Lenz and Pitcavage agree Bundy’s front-line supporters were drawn from the loose-knit patriot movement. “There was a ragtag mix of conspiracy theorists, patriots and militia members, all of whom were influenced by the fear that the federal government was a tyrannical force seeking to undermine and tear down the constitution,” Lenz said. Some of the nation’s biggest militia leaders, including Oath Keepers President Stewart Rhodes and West Mountain Rangers head Ryan Payne, traveled to Bunkerville. So did Arizona white supremacist David Pringle and anti-immigration extremists Robert Crooks, Greg Burleson and Timothy Guiney. Also showing up was Richard Mack, who runs the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which is working to bring county sheriffs nationwide into the fold of the patriot movement. Mack, a former two-term sheriff in southern Arizona, has become a leading patriot voice. Lenz and Pitcavage said dozens of militias were represented in Bunkerville. Among them were the Indiana Rangers, Massachusetts Fighting Wolves Militia Corp. and the Radical American Patriots of Georgia. Writers for patriot websites, ranchers who share Bundy’s anti-government beliefs and people like the Millers, who weren’t known to be affiliated with any group but openly embraced anti-government ideology, all flocked to Nevada to be at Bundy’s side.

Student killed in shooting at high school outside Portland, Ore.

Man held without bail as Seattle campus struggles with shootings. A King County judge ordered Aaron R. Ybarra, 26, held without bail on suspicion of premeditated first-degree murder and first-degree assault in a shooting rampage at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday afternoon that left one dead, several injured and a campus reeling. Prosecutors on Friday described Ybarra as having a propensity for violence and said he intended to kill many more people. His public defender argued that her client had no history of violent behavior. If Ybarra is charged and convicted, he faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Georgia courthouse assault suspect prepared to take hostages. Roadways reopened Saturday near a Georgia courthouse that was nearly terrorized a day earlier by a man who planned to take hostages and had used homemade spike strips, grenades, his car and an assault rifle to thwart responding officers.

In a college community, disbelief turns to outrage and mourning.

Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women. Welcome to the dark side of America's war over guns.

Gun violence is erupting in America’s schools and colleges at a rate of more than three incidents a month, with 13 school shootings recorded in the first six weeks of 2014 alone, a new study on the impact of gun violence since the Newtown tragedy shows. The analysis by groups campaigning for tighter gun controls in the US identifies at least 44 school and college shootings since Newtown in December 2012, when 20 children and six of their carers were killed in a Connecticut elementary school. The total death toll from the events over the 14 months since then is 28, surpassing that of Newtown itself.

Hoping to avoid suicide epidemic, Florida company to end gun rentals.

The Year in Mass Shootings.

Read the Connecticut State's Attorney's Crime Report on the Sandy Hook Massacre.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gun owners' groups are considering recall campaigns against five Democratic state lawmakers, including local State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Senator Ben Hueso. Organizers said Thursday that their effort would be patterned on recall elections in September that unseated two Colorado state legislators, including the state Senate president. Jennifer Kerns, who recently founded a group called Free California, said during a Capitol news conference that the successful Colorado recalls suggest that lawmakers also are vulnerable in California. Kerns also is the spokeswoman for the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who was the only lawmaker to attend Thursday's news conference. The announcement comes nearly two weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown signed 11 gun-control bills into law, including a ban on lead ammunition. A spokesman for Assembly Speaker John Perez says gun safety measures enjoy overwhelming support in California.

We now have the same understanding of the Navy Yard mass shooter, thanks to an FBI report released on Wednesday, which includes evidence pertaining to Aaron Alexis' state of mind. Not only was he plagued by serious mental illness, as previous news reports suggested, but Alexis also had no expectation of entering a venue that was free of firearms. According to the FBI's analysis of evidence it recovered from his belongings, "There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions." That finding fits with a clear pattern in the data we gathered in our mass shootings investigation: The perpetrators weren't looking for a safe, gun-free place to carry out their attacks—they were on suicide missions. The FBI on Wednesday also released some eerie surveillance footage of Alexis entering the Navy Yard premises and moving with stealth through the corridors of Building 197 as he stalked his victims. We'll never fully know what was going through his disturbed mind, of course, but judge for yourself whether he was acting like a person who believed he was operating in a place full of defenseless sitting ducks:

"Ultra-low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this," read an electronic document agents recovered after the shooting. The attack came one month after Alexis had complained to police in Rhode Island that people were talking to him through the walls and ceilings of his hotel room and sending microwave vibrations into his body to deprive him of sleep. On his shotgun, he had scrawled "My ELF Weapon!" — an apparent reference to extremely low-frequency waves — along with "End to the Torment!" Not what yall say" and "Better off this way," the FBI said. Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist and computer technician for a government contractor, used a valid badge to get into the Navy Yard and opened fire inside a building with the Remington shotgun, which he had legally purchased in Virginia two days earlier. He also used a 9 mm handgun that he took from a security guard, a weapon found near Alexis's body. He was killed in the building by a U.S. Park Police officer following a rampage and shootout with police that the FBI said lasted more than an hour. "There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions," Parlave said.

Mark Follman has found in his extensive reporting on mass shootings (which is based on an clear explanation of the terms and criteria being used.) While pro-gun advocates claim that courageous gun owners have routinely stopped mass shootings, the reality is that armed civilians rarely respond to shooting rampages—and those who have are rarely, if ever, successful. Most of the examples they cite are either ambiguous or involve trained law enforcement or military personnel—not the ordinary citizens with personal firearms that Broderick alludes to in his clicktastic headline and just-asking-a-question subhead.

“Bernie Goetz is Charles Bronson in Death Wish,” said Sliwa. “He had enough, and Darrell Cabey represented every guy who had tried to mug him before. George Zimmerman is Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s a nut. He’s a complete nut job who thinks he’s on a ‘mission,’ and this young black man ended up on his radar screen, and then dead.

Other library workers followed her. Closing the closet door seemed to take forever because of resistance of the pneumatic closer. By then, a gunman had stepped into the library and was headed their way. Moments later, he fired into the rectangular room. Bullets sailed through furniture and walls, narrowly missing those inside. Police now say the library workers’ actions inadvertently created a distraction that allowed dozens of others to escape the library while the gunman focused on those huddled in the closet. “The diversion they provided really saved everybody else in this complex,” said campus police Chief Albert Vasquez. Police fatally shot John Zawahri, 23, inside the library, bringing to an end a rampage during which he killed five people.,0,3992701.story


At NRA University, National Rifle Association grassroots organizer Miranda Bond told a group of young conservatives fresh from Sarah Palin’s fiery, lead-barreled CPAC speech Saturday afternoon that encouraging pro-gun friends to register to vote was a good start—and even better would be discourage “anti-gunners” from casting ballots. “The thing is, we don’t want the anti-gunners to vote,” she said, lamenting the fact that President Obama was re-elected despite the NRA’s best efforts to oust him. So, she said, students should set up voter registration booths on campus but “put up a great big sign that says, ‘Pro-gun? Vote Here.” That will keep the gun control advocates away, she said, because “they’re scared of guns.” The group of more than 50 people, about half of them women, were there to listen, to learn, and to claim a free NRA hat as well as a free year of membership.

In the days after the shootout, law enforcement officials sifted through the scorched scene and held a news conference at the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office, where they displayed some of Dorner's weapons: a P22 Walther Suppressor hand gun and a Remington Model 700 rifle. The cold steel of the latter bore Dorner’s harrowing message with a single word: "Vengeance."

US Mass Shootings, 1982-2012: Data From Mother Jones' Investigation.

Illegally obtained assault rifles key in recent public shootings. As an ex-con, William Spengler was barred from having guns. But when he opened fire on Webster, N.Y., firefighters on Christmas Eve, federal law enforcement sources have told the Los Angeles Times that he did so with guns from someone else who had also gotten them illegally. Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, who had been known as a nice guy with a sense of humor, clutched an AR-15-style rifle as he jogged through a Macy's store at a mall in Clackamas, Ore., that was jammed with holiday shoppers. The gun -- a Stag Arms AR-15 variant, according to the Oregonian -- wasn't his. He'd stolen it from a friend who owned it legally. 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, he carried a Bushmaster .223 -- among the most popular of the civilian AR-15-style rifles -- plus a Glock 10-millimeter pistol and Sig Sauer handgun. Earlier in the week, he'd tried to buy a rifle at a local gun store but didn't want to wait for the 14-day background check, law enforcement officials said. So he took the guns legally registered to his mother, who was comfortable around guns, according to police sources. She was the first to be killed. Lanza shot her in the head four times with a .22 rifle. They found her body in bed.,0,625457,full.story

Last year, handguns killed 48 people in Japan, 8 in Great Britain, 34 in Switzerland, 52 in Canada, 58 in Israel, 21 in Sweden, 42 in West Germany and 10,728 in the United States.

Letter of Resignation Sent By Bush to Rifle Association. Published: May 11, 1995 Following is the letter of resignation sent last week by former President George Bush to the National Rifle Association: May 3, 1995. I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as "jack-booted thugs." To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as "wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms" wanting to "attack law abiding citizens" is a vicious slander on good people. Al Whicher, who served on my [ United States Secret Service ] detail when I was Vice President and President, was killed in Oklahoma City. He was no Nazi. He was a kind man, a loving parent, a man dedicated to serving his country -- and serve it well he did. However, your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us. You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre's unwarranted attack. Therefore, I resign as a Life Member of N.R.A., said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list. Sincerely, [ signed ] George Bush

In 1993, I attended the wake for A.T.F. agent Steve Willis, another dedicated officer who did his duty. I can assure you that this honorable man, killed by weird cultists, was no Nazi.

LaPierre appeared on television this morning to give the NRA’s perspective on the Newtown shootings. He blamed Hollywood and video games for the shootings, just after he recommended that schools be as heavily armed as private homes. The NRA would like to put a gun in every pocket, which makes sense for a man who makes $1 million a year selling guns.

Wisconsin shooter Wade Michael Page used a Springfield 9mm semiautomatic handgun to carry out the attack at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, officials said. As in several other recent mass shootings, the gun had been purchased legally, at a Milwaukee-area gun store called the Shooter Shop. Page lived in North Carolina before moving to the Milwaukee area and was issued five separate gun purchase permits in North Carolina after passing a background check in May 2008, according to the Cumberland County, North Carolina, sheriff's office. Semiautomatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass murderers because they are light and easy to conceal, and adaptable to using high-capacity magazines, experts say. This allows the shooter to fire the maximum number of bullets in a short period of time, said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates to reduce gun violence. Authorities said on Monday that Page emptied several magazines in the shooting, and several more unused magazines were found. A police officer who arrived on the scene early in the attack was shot at least eight times and survived in critical condition, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said.

What Does a Killer Think? Is the Colorado shooter delusional, depressed, or psychotic? And how do we stop the next one? Dave Cullen, author of Columbine, searches for clues in the latest research on mass murderers.

NRA clout rooted more in its tactics than its election spending. A look at its outlays suggest its true power lies in a well-paid staff, intense lobbying and ability to mobilize millions of members against political foes.,0,6023655.story

Brenda Ann Spencer (born April 3, 1962) is a convicted American murderer who carried out a shooting spree from her home in San Diego, California, on January 29, 1979. During the shooting spree, she killed two people and injured nine others at Cleveland Elementary School, which was located across the street from her home. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime, and her full explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day."[1] The explanation inspired the song "I Don't Like Mondays" by The Boomtown Rats, which was a UK number one single for four weeks in mid-1979.

California Highway Patrol officers shot and killed a 54-year-old man threatening to jump from the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge early Sunday after he appeared to be pulling a gun from his pocket, San Diego police said. At 1:29 a.m., San Diego police officers and CHP officers responded to reports of a man standing in westbound traffic lanes of the bridge, police homicide Lt. Ernie Herbert said. The officers arrived to see the man pacing the westbound lanes, Herbert said. He said as the officers negotiated with the man, he told them he had a gun and threatened to shoot them if they tried to stop him. The man suddenly reached into his pocket, quickly removing his hand as if pulling a gun, Herbert said. Three CHP officers shot the man, he said. Paramedics responded, but were unable to save him.

Ohio gunman kills 7, is shot dead by police. Witnesses say one shooting victim is a child. Copley police Sgt. Eric Goodwin said the victims' names and ages weren't being released until police could tell family members, some of whom were out of state.,0,4770489.story

An Arizona college complied with a court order and released numerous emails about the Tucson shooting rampage suspect, painting a picture of a struggling student with emotional problems who disturbed others with his strange behavior. At one point, a Pima Community College police officer wanted to expel Jared Lee Loughner after he caused an outburst in a math class in June 2010, but a dean said she wasn't ready to do so and expressed concerns about Loughner's due-process rights, according to one of the notes. The emails released Thursday document several outbursts by Loughner while at the college and efforts by school officials to confront his unusual behavior. The school was ordered to release 250 emails after The Arizona Republic sued it for withholding documents mentioning Loughner and a judge rejected the school's argument that the records were protected by a federal privacy law. Three months before the shooting rampage, campus police asked federal firearms agents to see whether they had any firearms information on Loughner, but the check turned up nothing, according to the emails. The apparent final straw was a Sept. 23, 2010, disturbance by Loughner. Campus police records say a teacher asked an officer to meet her outside her classroom to deal with Loughner because he was "being verbal disruptive." They do not elaborate on what Loughner allegedly did. Six days later, officers went to Loughner's home to serve an immediate suspension notice. He was told to get a mental health evaluation or not return. Loughner has pleaded not guilty to dozens of federal charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting at a meet-and-greet political event. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others were wounded in the attack, and six people were killed, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

A 58-year-old drifter is behind bars, accused of opening fire on freeway traffic in Kearny Mesa two weeks ago, wounding a college student and damaging another driver's car. Steven Joseph Dragasits, who was living in a recreational vehicle near the site of the shootings on state Route 163, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a Wal-Mart in the area, according to the California Highway Patrol. The gun that fired the rounds, believed to be a Winchester 190 rifle, has not been recovered, Stewart told news crews at CHP Border Division headquarters.

The California Highway Patrol held a news conference Thursday afternoon, discussing a Tuesday highway shooting that injured one commuter and struck the car of another to awake a strong public reaction. CHP officer Allen Reyes narrowed down the specific time in question to 7:15 a.m. and asked the public to report any suspicious activity witnessed at about that time between Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Balboa Avenue. There are no known suspects, and a "myriad" of calls by tipsters are being evaluated for credibility, Reyes said.

Officials hope Carlsbad school where gunman wounded two students can open Monday.


Detroit couple fears government will euthanize seized pygmy goats

Distraught Owner Of Goats, Chickens: ‘Detroit Police Pleaded With Animal Control, Ordered To Seize Family Pets’ Read more at

Fed up with crime, some armed Detroiters have developed itchy trigger-fingers — and Police Chief James Craig said lawbreakers are getting the message. In the latest incident, police say an 88-year-old who was beaten and robbed inside his east side home last week probably thought he was defending himself against attackers when he opened fire Monday on a television news crew. On Thursday, a woman appeared on his front porch asking for help, and when he opened his door, two men rushed in, assaulted him and tied him up with a phone cord before robbing him of several items. A reporter from Channel 2 (WJBK) knocked on the man’s door on Arndt Street Monday, and conducted a short interview, although the man, whose name was not released, would not open his door. After a crew from Channel 7 (WXYZ) came onto the man’s porch, he fired a single shot. No one was hurt, and the bullet lodged into a tree. Police took the man into custody, where he is undergoing a psychological evaluation, Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt said.

Ex-Inkster Chief Napoleon: 'When they killed that baby, that was it for me'



A man suspected of being a getaway driver is dead after being shot as burglary suspects fled a home Thursday on Detroit’s west side and then drove into another house, injuring a woman there, police said. It appears to be the latest example of Detroiters fatally shooting intruders. After shots were fired, the suspect’s Dodge minivan punched a large hole in the side of the second house at Glastonbury Avenue and Lancashire Street. Police arrived to find the driver dead on the scene, Detroit Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said.

Police Chief James Craig: 'The things I've seen in Detroit I have not seen in other places' The whole business of good Americans, good Detroiters, I think there are many more good Detroiters than bad Detroiters, and I'll give you an example, the 19-year-old young man who was fatally killed last week ... by gang members. I describe them as cowards, they're violent and they are not good Detroiters. It's just that simple. I make no apologies for that statement ... My position is based on 37 years of experience ... The things I've seen here in Detroit I've not seen in other places. There is certainly a culture of violence that many Detroiter have become numb to or desensitized to. I'll give you a great example: An elderly woman, 70 years old at home, home invasion, suspect comes in and the suspect beats her with a 2-by-4. Hr robs her of $70 and then he continues to beat her ... These crimes in other places would create a serious outcry that this is just not acceptable and it's almost like some of this is the norm.

For 30 years, attorney Ronald Zajac watched over Detroit's billion-dollar pension funds. He turned out to be a thief who made a $400,000 salary scamming the system, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday, disclosing yet more allegations of public corruption in Detroit and lavish lifestyles by individuals who abused the public’s trust. Among them was a former trustee who — the government says — accepted perks galore from businessmen seeking favors, including a $5,000 casino chip, a Christmas basket stuffed with cash and trips for him and his mistress. That former trustee is Paul Stewart, who, along with Zajac, was indicted Wednesday on charges of bribery conspiracy. They are the fourth and fifth defendants to be ensnared in the government’s years-long investigation into the Detroit pension funds.

Timothy Cromer, a former Detroit Public Library official who was fired in February 2013 and accused three months later of accepting kickbacks from technology contractors, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in federal court Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Cromer, 47, of West Bloomfield, was the library's chief administrative and technology officer between 2006 and 2013. He was paid a salary of $145,323 a year, according to the FBI, which raided the library for financial records in November 2012. Investigators accused him of accepting $1.4 million in kickbacks from two contractors. Prosecutors alleged Cromer helped co-defendant James Henley create Core Consulting & Professional Services in 2007, then awarded the company $1.8 million in information technology work for the library. He was also charged with approving $2.8 million in no-bid contracts to Cubemation, LLC and taking kickbacks from its owner Ricardo Hearn.

For 5th time in 14 days... a Detroit intruder is killed by Armed Homeowner.

Another Detroit crime victim uses deadly force to protect home.

A Detroit police officer is accused of raping a woman who had called 911 to report being assaulted by her boyfriend. Deon Nunlee, 39, was arraigned Friday on second-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault and misconduct charges, according to the Wayne County prosecutor's office.

3 different Detroit homeowners used guns to defend themselves against intruders this week. Three different homeowners in Detroit used guns to defend themselves against intruders this week. Two suspects were shot and killed. “I think it’s just a matter of the individual homeowners protecting themselves and finally catching up with the criminals in that enough is enough and they aren’t going to take it anymore,” said Detroit Police Deputy Chief Rodney Johnson.

The city's inspector general has released a report accusing former Detroit Police Chief Chester Logan of wasting police resources and abusing his authority by ordering officers to follow an ex-police commissioner. The Rev. Jerome Warfield, who resigned from the Board of Police Commissioners last month to take a job with the state’s Parole Board, complained to the Inspector General’s office in May, 2013 that police were following him. An investigation followed. From The Detroit News:

A day after news broke that he was involved in a traffic stop this week involving alcohol and marijuana, Detroit Councilman George Cushingberry was back to work today. Cushingberry attended a council committee meeting this morning. He declined to speak with reporters, he said, because he gave interviews on the incident on Thursday. “I talked to everybody yesterday,” he said. “I’m through talking.”

Detroit Councilman Championing Public Transit Found With Pot In Car.

In a brief 911 call, Theodore Wafer told a dispatcher that he had shot someone banging on the front door of his Dearborn Heights home. “I just shot somebody on my front porch with a shotgun banging on my door,” the 54-year-old said on the call, which was released by authorities today and is less than 30 seconds long. The victim, Renisha McBride, was shot in the face. Today, Wafer was arraigned in Dearborn Heights’ 20th District Court on charges in the 19-year-old’s death. He is facing charges of second-degree murder, which carries a penalty up to life in prison; manslaughter — death by weapon aimed with intent but without malice, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison; and felony firearm. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced this morning that her office was charging Wafer, who waived a reading of the charges during his arraignment before Judge Mark J. Plawecki, . The judge, noting the seriousness of the charges, set Wafer’s bail at 10% of $250,000 and scheduled his preliminary examination for Dec. 18. Wafer’s attorney, Mack Carpenter, had asked for bail to be set at $150,000, saying “the likelihood of him being a danger to society is very, very small.” Carpenter said Wafer had the highest security clearance at Detroit Metro Airport, where he works in maintenance and transportation and has been employed for 10 years. He noted that Wafer attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette for a year and cares for his 81-year-old mother. Wafer, who wore a gray T-shirt and jeans, answered with a simple yes when asked if he was waiving the reading of the charges. Carpenter noted Wafer has no history of substance abuse, although he does have “a couple” of 20-year-old drunken-driving charges.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

A mass shooting happened on Wednesday, but you probably didn't read about it in the news. It happened at Al's Place, a barbershop. There was a back room in the salon where men would often gather to gamble, get a haircut and just talk. Wednesday was a "crumbs" dice game, only $5 and $10 bills allowed. That afternoon, two men drove up in Chevrolet Impalas; one white, one black. They began exchanging gunfire. One of them shot their high-powered rifle through the open door where the men were playing dice. The shots kept coming, at least 30 or 40 of them. The men tried to run. Some of them hit the ground, crawling from the bullets whizzing through the air. But the door leading from the gambling room to the barbershop opened inward, and that slowed the crowd pushing to get out. Someone had a gun and fired back at the shooters. Customers were running for their lives. The cops arrived two minutes after being called. They found two dead people and at least seven injured. A third injured man would later die at the hospital. One person of interest in the crimes was arrested Thursday after he allegedly assaulted a federal officer while wearing body armor. He has not yet been charged in connection with the barbershop slayings. The three men who died at Al's Place on Wednesday were Elaine Williams' son, brother and nephew. there were three triple homicides in Detroit last week. Three days before the barbershop slayings, a woman nine months pregnant and her brother were both shot and killed by a gunman, who also critically injured their 75-year-old relative. Her baby, delivered by emergency C-section after the 23-year-old woman was pronounced dead, also died in the hospital. Two days after the gunmen shot up Al's Place, police responding to a 911 call found two men and a 22-year-old woman all shot to death inside a home on Detroit's west side. No arrests have been made.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said a man was taken into custody in Rochester after the shooting Wednesday night and is being held on an unrelated felonious assault charge. He said the man, at the time he was arrested, was wearing body armor. Craig said police are working with the U.S. Attorney’s office to determine whether the man could be in violation of federal laws for being in possession of body armor. The shooting happened at Al’s Place Barber Shop at 5220 E. Seven Mile Road and might have been the result of an ongoing feud between the shooter and people at the gambling party, Craig said. He called the shooting “urban terrorism.”

Police are sorting out the mystery of a possible murder-suicide that crossed state lines -- and included a deadly wrong-way driver collision and a grisly crime scene miles away that shook police officers. Michael Vanderlinden, 38, is dead, the wrong-way driver in a crash in Indiana that also killed another man and burned their vehicles to ruins. As The Times reported earlier Friday, Vanderlinden died when his car, traveling the wrong way on Interstate 94, collided with another vehicle. The driver of the second car, Juan Nelson Jr. of Portage, Ind., was also killed in the fiery crash early Thursday. "The medical examining officer said Michael's body was burned beyond recognition," Capt. Gregory Laurain of Michigan's Van Buren Township told the Los Angeles Times in an interview Friday morning. Local police, informed of the crash, were sent to the Vanderlinden home to notify his wife about her husband's death. What they found at the suburban Detroit house, however, was a possible triple homicide -- the first in the history of Van Buren Township, Laurain said. Police confirmed to The Times that the cause of death for Linda Vanderlinden, 34, was strangulation and a secondary stab wound to the chest. The Vanderlinden children -- 9-year-old Julien and 4-year-old Matthew -- died of multiple stab wounds to the chest and arms.,0,5003734.story

Vacant Detroit becomes dumping ground for the dead.

Before he, in the words of Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk, "went out hunting down ex-girlfriends" Thursday and became a mass murderer, 34-year-old Roderick S. Dantzler had a long history of temper, violence and assaults on women. His mother kicked him out of the house at 18 for serial abuse and got a court-issued restraining order to keep him out. In 1997, he went into a violent rage against his 17-year-old girlfriend, then five months pregnant with his child.

In coordinated predawn raids, investigators swept into the Romulus police station, the police chief's home and his wife's tanning salon Tuesday as part of a probe focused on the department's special investigative unit. Investigators were seeking computerized police records and other materials, officials said. They searched the police station, Romulus Police Chief Michael St. Andre's home in Garden City, and the home of an unnamed Romulus police officer, said State Police Inspector Garth Burnside. He declined to give details of what was confiscated. No arrests were made. The raids were part of an ongoing investigation by State Police, the FBI and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, Burnside said. The Romulus special investigative unit handles major drug and other significant cases. The investigation was triggered more than a year ago by complaints from a Romulus officer, said James Thomas, an attorney hired by the city to deal with the probe. Investigators spent about eight hours Tuesday at the police station. Thomas pledged cooperation with authorities and said he didn't expect any charges to come out of the raids. "The prosecutor has the right to investigate, and we'll see how that plays out," Thomas said. He said many of the details of the investigation are shielded "under investigative subpoenas, and much of the information is kept confidential." Information gathered under the investigative subpoena law remains confidential until charges are filed, after which a defendant can ask the judge to release the information. Romulus Mayor Alan Lambert released a statement that said in part, "We stand by our Police Department and will fully cooperate with the (State Police) during the course of this investigation." St. Andre could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Spokespeople with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and FBI declined to comment.

Mich. mosque plot suspect's criminal past examined.

Four police shot in Detroit precinct, gunman killed.

Medical examiner Spitz defends equipment, makes changes in autopsy procedures. Board members questioned why he missed a bullet hole in David Widlak.

The SWAT team tried the steel door to the building. It was unlocked. They threw a flash-bang grenade through the window of the lower unit and kicked open its wooden door, which was also unlocked. The grenade landed so close to Aiyana that it burned her blanket. Officer Joseph Weekley, the lead commando—who'd been featured before on another A&E show, Detroit SWAT—burst into the house. His weapon fired a single shot, the bullet striking Aiyana in the head and exiting her neck. It all happened in a matter of seconds.

Missing banker purchased gun.

DETROIT – Police said Shawn Patrick, coach of the Ferndale High school girls basketball team, was shot and killed Wednesday night on Milwaukee Street in front of his two teenaged children. According to a published report, neighbors of Patrick said the children's mother died earlier this year. Police said two men wearing masks shot Patrick execution-style just after 9 p.m. No motive has been established and police are seeking help in identifying the killers.

Lawsuit says missing bank CEO bilked senior. The disappearance of David Widlak, president and CEO of a Mt. Clemens bank, puts in limbo a lawsuit that accuses him of bilking a Windsor woman of $150,000. Read more: Lawsuit says missing bank CEO bilked senior | | Detroit Free Press

Drug Crime

Violence stalks the mountains above a quiet coastal town The slaying of Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo is the latest event in an area populated by marijuana growers drawn to the isolation, good weather and laissez-faire culture.,0,6329283.story

Pharmacy robberies sweeping US.

LA Area

From the police blotter: 7 of L.A.'s most unusual unsolved murders.

The Armenian Power Gang, Hollywood Hellions.

ICE agent told wife of work problems before allegedly opening fire.

Whitey Bulger: FBI releases photos of guns, cash, ammunition.

Suspect in Dodger Stadium beating of Bryan Stow is in custody Police this morning took into custody one of two men suspected in the opening-day beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow. At about 7 a.m., the Los Angeles Police Department SWAT team descended on an East Hollywood apartment building with a warrant in hand. According to apartment building manager Maritza Camacho, police, using loudspeakers and with guns drawn, called out to the occupants of Apartment 25. Inside was one of the men police suspect in the March 31 beating that left Stow with brain damage. As residents of the three-story building stood watching from balconies, police removed, one by one, the people who were inside the apartment, according to Camacho. Among them was a man with a bald head and tattoos on his neck and arms, she said, a description that appeared to match the vague sketches released by police of one of the two suspects. She added that he did not appear to resist being taken into custody. Several police sources confirmed that the man taken into custody was one of the two suspects in the beating.,0,5494774.story

2 men sought in Dodger Stadium beating of Giants fan.

MTA passengers help subdue kidnapping suspect at Green Line station. As many as 10 commuters thwarted a kidnapping attempt on a teenage girl at a Metropolitan Transit Authority station in South Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon by tackling the would-be attacker, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman said. Sheriff's transit deputies received a report of a disturbance on a train just after 2 p.m. at the Avalon station in the 11600 block of Avalon Boulevard in Green Meadows, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. When they arrived, witnesses told deputies that commuters at the station had wrestled a man to the ground after he grabbed an unidentified teenage girl from behind and tried to drag her away. "Eight to 10 people wrestled him to the ground," Whitmore said. "The bystanders refused to let this occur. They brought this man to the ground, and there was a fight. It was an aggressive fight." The teenage girl broke free and ran away, Whitmore said. The attacker fled on an arriving train. The suspect is identified as James Alfred Bennett, a 46-year-old registered sex offender with a criminal history. When Bennett arrived at the Imperial station, waiting deputies arrested him, Whitmore said. He was booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping. Bennett was taken to a hospital where he was treated for cuts and bruises. Sheriff's deputies want to speak with the teenage girl. "We want her to call us," Whitmore said. "We want her to know that everything is OK."

A 40-year-old man was shot and wounded Wednesday on an MTA bus in Glassell Park. Los Angeles police detectives are trying to determine what prompted the shooting, which occurred as the bus was in the 3700 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard near Fletcher Drive. [Updated at 11:30 a.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly said the incident occurred near Riverside Drive.] The man was shot inside the bus about 10:30 a.m. There were no other reports of injuries on the bus. The suspect fled from the scene.

Los Angeles judge finds confession was coerced, frees murder defendant. The jurist says 'it wasn't even a close call' whether LAPD detectives coerced the man, 19 at the time, into changing his story, his lawyer reports. The teen had denied involvement dozens of times.,0,235654.story

Raids targeting Armenian gang net 74 fraud suspects. Scams by Armenian Power took $20 million from discount store shoppers and the elderly, authorities say.,0,255173.story

An off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was involved in a running gunfight Friday afternoon with a motorist on the 60 Freeway in South El Monte. Details were not available, but law enforcement sources said the motorist was injured. The deputy was unharmed, according to the sources. The shots were exchanged about 2:30 p.m. on the eastbound 60 Freeway near the Peck Road offramp. It is unclear what prompted the gunfire or whether any arrests have been made. [Updated at 3:13 p.m.: The eastbound 60 Freeway is closed as the shooting investigation continues, according to the California Highway Patrol. Updated at 4 p.m.: The freeway has reopened, according to the CHP.]

Lancaster man convicted of attacking moviegoer with digital thermometer.

Police put jewelers on alert. Smash-and-grab robberies have officers preparing businesses before incidents happen.,0,4521798.story

Coroner's official criticizes Sheriff's Department for moving Mitrice Richardson's remains. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says he was 'very clear' in telling detectives not to move the skeleton before coroner's investigators arrived. A sheriff's official says that with nightfall approaching, detectives feared animals might get to the remains.,0,1664971.story

The Malibu Murder Mystery.

Woman drove with mummified remains in front seat of car for months, Costa Mesa police say.

Sheriff's deputy mistakenly shoots at West Hollywood liquor store clerk. A sheriff's deputy fired eight shots early Sunday morning at a man he believed had just robbed a West Hollywood liquor store, only to learn that his target was the clerk who had been held up, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The clerk was not hit, and the suspects, described as a black man armed with a handgun and a black woman, escaped. The shooting happened about 1:15 a.m. near Havenhurst Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, said sheriff’s Deputy Lillian Peck. “Deputies responded to a robbery call of a liquor store in the 8200 block of Santa Monica Boulevard,” she said. “The call indicated the suspects were armed with a handgun.” Peck said one deputy fired after seeing a man who matched the description of one suspect run from the area of the liquor store, holding what he believed to be a gun. “The man was detained by deputies and was determined not to be a suspect,” Peck said. Windows at a store across the street from the robbery site were shattered by the gunfire.

10 charged in group attack on pedestrian in Costa Mesa.


Muni’s citywide “saturation” approach to cut down on fare evasion appears to be paying off, reported Lea Militello, commander of the police department’s Municipal Transportation Agency operations. Muni reported last February that an estimated 8.5 of the passengers illegally boarded the system’s buses, streetcars and cable cars without paying; by November, the number dropped to 3.5 percent, Militello told a Board of Supervisors’ committee Thursday. In November, Muni’s team of 36 fare inspectors had contacts with 191,582 passengers to check for proof that they paid. As a result, they issued 3,928 citations and gave another 2,821 fare cheats a warning. The strategy: Saturate enforcement in one particular area at a time, and then move on to another. “We’re starting to see compliance in our system, which is what our goal is here,” Militello said. Muni, faced with chronic deficits, has been forced to to raise fares and cut service to balance the books in recent years and is looking to increase some fares next year. Paying passengers who don’t cheat the system have demanded that before Muni asks them for more money greater efforts must be made to crack down on fare evasion.


A bus rider who thought the driver may be drunk Tuesday called the Sheriff’s Department, and deputies arrested the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence. Deputies stopped the bus, route 309 from Oceanside to Encinitas, about 4:25 p.m. as it was heading east on Encinitas Boulevard near Calle Magdalena and determined the driver showed signs of being under the influence of alcohol, the Sheriff’s Department said. Deputies then conducted field sobriety tests and based on the results arrested the driver, 40, on suspicion of driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. “We take this allegation seriously, and we will be very aggressive in investigating and taking whatever action is necessary to prevent a reoccurrence of this event,” said Matt Tucker, the North County Transit District's executive director.

BART and the department had been working to repair its image after the New Year's Day shooting death that resulted in the involuntary manslaughter conviction for the former officer who pulled the trigger. The board replaced the chief of police and the Legislature created a citizen's oversight board for the BART police among other changes. Then on July 3, another officer shot and killed a man who police said lunged at him with a knife.

A 33-year-old man was stabbed and critically wounded Friday evening on a Gold Line train as it traveled through Pasadena, authorities said. A fistfight between the unidentified victim and another man preceded the stabbing, authorities said. Jose Paul Vasquez, 36, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after a knife with blood on it was recovered from his pants pocket, authorities said. His bail was set at $1 million. Police said the stabbing occurred about 6:40 p.m. inside the northbound train of the Gold Line light rail system as it approached the Memorial Park station on East Holly Street. Pasadena officers were there to meet the train and arrest Vasquez. The stabbing comes a week after a fatal stabbing on the Red Line train in Hollywood.

Witnesses recount Hollywood subway killing, stabber's escape On the crowded rush-hour Red Line in Hollywood, the killer cowered with other passengers, saying it was self-defense and fretting that police would await him at the station. Two young women advised him how to flee.


Shock over allegations that professor led motorcycle gang.

A woman charged with murder after police found her wheeling a trash can full of a man’s body parts on an Ontario street had tried to hire a relative and laborers to help dispose of the body, according to law enforcement sources. Investigators believe Carmen Montenegro had concealed the dismembered remains in a relative’s yard in the 700 block of Holmes Avenue and then, after becoming fearful that they would be discovered, tried to get relatives and laborers on Sunday to help move them. Ontario Police Det. Jeff Crittenden said the smell was so overwhelming as Montenegro pushed the trash can that residents alerted police. She was found trying to abandon the 30-gallon bin on a neighboring street. Detectives are still trying to determine the identity of the man dismembered but are focusing on a former boyfriend whom Montenegro once shared a house with in Diamond Bar.

Orange County

Couple, police officer sickened by acid thrown through window. He also spray painted their garage door with the phrase "Stalk Someone Else." The spray cans were found nearby and were taken as evidence. They will be checked for fingerprints and DNA. The couple and responding officer began to feel ill as the couple were giving their statement. Symptoms included runny eyes and sore throats. They were decontaminated. They believe the suspect threw a bottle of acid through the window, which is what made the three sick. All five units of the building and the building next door were evacuated.,0,1308369.story

14 alleged white supremacists arrested in O.C. sweep.

Bay Area and Northern California

1 home invader dead, 1 wounded in gunfight with Orosi resident.

Who is the Zodiac? A look at suspects we’ve considered.

The 16 most infamous crimes in Bay Area history.

An African American man who disguised himself as an elderly white man while holding up nearly a dozen banks throughout Northern California was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury. Deron Williams, 35 , held up banks as far south as Capitola while wearing a "sophisticated full-face mask giving him the appearance of an elderly white male," said San Leandro police Lt. Jeff Tudor. His take was more than $67,000, according to federal prosecutors. Williams, who has homes in Oakland and Hayward, was armed with a gun in most of the holdups from October to March, which included heists in San Leandro, Union City, Fremont, Albany, Capitola, Campbell, Pleasant Hill, Millbrae, Brentwood and Belmont. His single largest take, according to prosecutors, was the Jan. 12 holdup of Bank of the West on Balfour Road in Brentwood that netted him $14,590.

Killing of skinhead leader David Lynch: What was the motive? David Lynch, head of the racist skinhead group American Front, was shot and killed in his home near Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday.

Suspect arrested in fatal Sacramento strip mall shootout.


"If you wouldn't have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you," Hatch told the woman. The judge further said that all women must be vigilant against becoming victims. Even going to the grocery store after 10 p.m. can be dangerous, Hatch said. The Daily Sun wrote in an editorial that while Hatch likely meant well by telling the victim to avoid unnecessary risks, the victim should not have been subjected to a public lecture for standing up for herself after being violated. "For Hatch to use the occasion to give the victim a lecture on risk avoidance, however well-intentioned, marginalizes the courage it took for the victim of a stigmatized crime like sex abuse to come forward," the newspaper wrote.

Jason Bush, a tall, skinny suspected serial killer with alleged white supremacist ties, was sentenced to death in Tucson for murdering a Mexican-American child and her father in an Arizona borderlands home invasion. Bush, 36, a drifter and ex-con with a history of mental troubles, has been associated with the Aryan Brotherhood, and authorities suspect him in two additional race-related killings, in 1997 in Washington state. In one of the Washington cases, a Mexican man was stabbed to death. In another, a white man thought to be a “race traitor” was executed on a hunting trip.

Forde, dressed in a navy-and-cream blazer and navy pants, remained calm as she listened to the verdict, even though the murder charges could lead to a death sentence in a state that does not shy from executions. The 43-year-old former child burglar, mom, beautician, and self-professed Minuteman from Everett, Washington, kept her composure, because, she told The Daily Beast in an exclusive post-verdict jailhouse interview, “you can’t freak out with the whole world watching you.” Speaking by videophone in the Pima County Adult Detention Center, the woman prosecutors dubbed a braggart and a killer—who reportedly boasted she would “kick down doors and change America” with her border vigilante activities—maintained her innocence. Wearing glasses, no makeup, and black-and-white striped jailhouse pajamas, Forde told me she was “extremely saddened” by the verdict. The jury of 11 women and one man also found Forde guilty of attempted murder, two counts of assault, two counts of robbery and one count of burglary. The jury gave a clear victory to prosecutors, who accused Forde of cooking up a plan to steal drugs and money from Raul Flores by gaining entry to his Arivaca, Arizona, mobile home with accomplices on the pretense of being law-enforcement officers in search of fugitives. The verdict was “surreal” to Forde, but she said she took it like a “pro.” As the leader of Minutemen American Defense, or MAD, which she described as a large organization of patriots, she said she’d learned to “take things step by step, revamp, assess, and move forward.”

Arizona vigilante leader Shawna Forde convicted of murder, home invasion. A Tucson jury finds Arizona border vigilante Shawna Forde guilty of killing Raul Flores and his daughter Brisenia during a drug-related robbery.,0,5862655.story

“Beyond a reasonable doubt, Shawna Forde is guilty of these crimes,” prosecutor Kellie Johnson said at the trial.

Latinos are still wondering why the murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores raised none of the outcry of rancher Robert Krentz’s killing, which fueled Arizona’s tough immigration law. But the trial of a female Minuteman may finally bring the girl’s killers to justice. Terry Greene Sterling reports from the trial’s first day. As a wounded Gina Gonzalez played dead on the floor of her mobile home in Arivaca, Arizona, in May 2009, she silently told herself to “stay real calm.” Her goal, Gonzalez told a Tucson jury on Tuesday, was to survive so she could save her 9-year-old daughter from the tall intruder in blackface who had already shot Gonzalez twice and killed her husband, Raul Flores. The killer “was all out of bullets,” Gonzalez testified, so he reloaded as her child, Brisenia Flores, pleaded for her life. Then Gonzalez heard two shots, and from the corner of her eye she saw her daughter’s body “fall back on the couch.” Gonzalez is a chief prosecution witness in the murder trial of Shawna Forde, a beautician and hardcore nativist from Everett, Washington. Forde is accused of masterminding the killings as part of her plan to steal drugs and money to fund her fledgling group Minuteman American Defense, which she envisioned would patrol the Arizona border in search of illegal “invaders.” She has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges, and her lawyer has tried to portray Raul Flores as a drug dealer and user, although only pot residue was found in the Flores trailer after the murders. The trial, whose opening arguments began on Tuesday, comes as Tucson tries to return to normalcy after the shootings that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Mother describes border vigilante killings in Arizona. Gina Gonzalez says her 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia Flores, pleaded for her life. Opening arguments begin in the trial of Shawna Forde of the Minutemen movement, who is accused in the killing of the girl and her father.,0,4235852.story

Arizona Violence – the Untold Story.

Terrorists and Organized Crime

Gypsies: the Usual Suspects. The detectives weren't studying run-of-the-mill scam artists. Their target was the Rom, tagged with a reputation as criminals, fairly or not.

The man arrested today in connection with the attempted Martin Luther King Day parade bombing in Spokane, Washington, appears to have longtime connections to the white supremacist movement. Kevin William Harpham, 36, was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and receiving and possessing an improvised explosive device. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Harpham was a member of the National Alliance, an infamous neo-Nazi organization, in late 2004. It's not clear when he joined the National Alliance or whether he's still a card-carrying member. But an individual identifying himself as Kevin Harpham, who says he's a neo-Nazi who lives near Spokane, has been active on the crudely racist, anti-Semitic website Vanguard News Network since joining the online forum in November 2004.

Last year, WDET examined the rise in right-wing extremism…and now, a new report suggests that the problem is worse than ever. The Southern Poverty Law Center says there are more than a thousand active extremist movements in the U-S…the highest number since the Center started counting them 40 years ago. Mark Potok is in charge of the Center’s Intelligence Report. He told WDET’s Pat Batcheller why extremism is expanding.

Organized Crime: The World's Largest Social Network.

An official familiar with the case has said the bomb left along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Washington had a devastating potential to inflict a number of casualties. In an Associated Press article, the official is quoted as saying, "They haven't seen anything like this in this country," and "This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I've ever seen." Thankfully, a city worker noticed the bomb before the parade marched past the device last Monday. When law enforcement officials saw a wire coming out of the package, the bomb squad was called and the parade was re-routed. The bomb squad was able to defuse the bomb, and now officials are discovering the sophisticated nature of the device. The device was designed to be detonated remotely through something akin to a garage door opener. Shrapnel was also strategically placed in the package to cause more injuries afterward to anyone within the blast range. Continue reading on MLK parade bomb in Spokane called 'worst device' ever seen in this country - National Political Buzz |

State anti-terrorism officials listed the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee on an Internet map detailing "terrorism events and other suspicious activity" after the group warned schools to ensure holiday celebrations "are inclusive." ACLU-Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg called the Tennessee Fusion Center's tracking of First Amendment-protected activity "deeply disturbing." While saying improving and sharing anti-terrorism intelligence among different levels of government is "legitimate and important," Weinberg said, "Equating a group's attempts to protect religious freedom in Tennessee with suspicious activity related to terrorism is outrageous. Religious freedom is a founding principle in our Constitution -- not fodder for overzealous law enforcement."

Cop Crimes


An Oklahoma City police officer arrested on charges of serial sexual assault preyed on women in the rundown neighborhoods he was assigned to patrol — picking some up off the street, pulling others over at traffic stops and in one case taking a woman to a nearby school, according to an affidavit released Friday. Former star football player Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, raped one woman and either fondled others or forced them to expose themselves, investigators said. He made others perform sex acts on him. And police said there could be more victims than the seven already identified.

Cop Pointing Rifle At Ferguson Protestors: "I Will Fucking Kill You" [UPDATE]

VICTORVILLE — Contrasting pictures emerged Wednesday of a Daily Press employee who died Tuesday night in the custody of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies after being stunned with a taser multiple times. Family and co-workers of Dante Parker, 36, said the Victorville resident was a hard-working, well-liked pressman with a good sense of humor who loved to sing on the job. They said he took good care of his family and had been riding his bicycle for years to lose weight. Parker’s cousin, Ge’shun Harris, told the Daily Press in an email that Parker leaves behind a wife and five children: Four girls ranging in age from 8 to 19 and a 5-year-old boy. “My cousin was a good man, and that’s hard to do when you’re born into the streets of L.A. County,” Harris said. “(He) worked hard and took care of his kids and his wife. He would have been 37 (on Thursday). He would always tell me to keep working hard so we can ... get our family out of L.A. My cousin was a good (man) who was born into a terrible place but didn’t let that stop him.” But the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a detailed Wednesday press release that Parker was considered a suspect in the attempted burglary of a house in the 13000 block of Bucknell Court. A deputy from the Victorville Station stopped Parker while he was riding his bicycle on Luna Road in Victorville around 5 p.m. after the reported breaking-and-entering attempt. The resident who called deputies had told them the suspect fled on a bicycle. - See more at:

Seven Reasons Police Brutality Is Systemic, Not Anecdotal.

Husband-and-wife San Diego police officers pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of selling or furnishing a controlled substance, Hydrocodone, and possession of a firearm by an addict. Bryce Charpentier, 32 -- who is also charged with an allegation that he was armed during a drug transaction -- faces six years and eight months in state prison if convicted. His 41-year-old wife, Jennifer Charpentier, would face five years and eight months behind bars if found guilty, said Deputy District Attorney Matthew Tag. The prosecutor alleged that both defendants were addicted to opiates. "They were providing the medication (Hydrocodone) to others," Tag said outside court. "Enough Hydrocodone to sell or market, so it's not a couple pills."

SAN DIEGO -- A former San Diego police officer was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on five counts of mistreating women while on duty. Christopher Hays, an officer for four years before resigning after his arrest in February, was ordered by Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers to stand trial on two counts of felony false imprisonment and three counts of misdemeanor battery. Rogers' decision came after a preliminary hearing in which three women testified that Hays touched them inappropriately. Hays' attorney argued that the women's drug use and criminal records made their testimony unreliable, but Rogers disagreed. A police investigator testified that Hays broke into tears when told of the allegations against him and asked if the case would "go away" if he resigned. Also on Wednesday, officials disclosed that Officer Gilbert Lorenzo was arrested Tuesday in La Mesa on suspicion of domestic violence. Lorenzo, 31, a seven-year veteran of the San Diego department, was booked into county jail after his wife called police to say he had assaulted her. Lorenzo has been suspended without pay, officials said. At a news conference, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman repeated her vow not to tolerate the mistreatment of women by the department's officers.,0,423201.story

Video captures Albuquerque police shooting, raises questions.,0,4428676.story

Good Samaritan Backfire or How I Ended Up in Solitary After Calling 911 for Help – This story is another really scary example of the kinds of violence that the police can get away with. Trigger warning for a vivid description of being locked up and abused. I live in a new gilded age in a golden city. But sometimes the cracks show, even here. The façade crumbles and you find yourself naked, in solitary confinement, in a wretched, feces-stained prison. How? As a result of my efforts to help injured bicyclists by calling 911, I was, in short order: separated from my friend, violently tackled, arrested, taken to county jail, stripped and left in a solitary cell. I am writing this story because, if it could happen to me, it could happen to you, and I feel the need to do something to help prevent this brutality from propagating.

Innocent man beaten and tasered by California police for signaling he is deaf. The incident took place on February 13, when Meister visited a friend to pick up snowboarding equipment that was stored in his home. Suspecting a burglary, a neighbor called out to the man, who didn’t respond because he cannot hear. When two officers arrived at the scene shortly after, Meister reportedly put his boxes down and tried to use hand gestures to tell them he was deaf. As he approached police, though, the officers supposedly grabbed his hands, turned him around, and attempted to handcuff him. “Because he is deaf, Mr. Meister depends on using his hands while facing a person to communicate,” the lawsuit states, according to a local publication called the Daily Breeze. “The officers’ sudden aggression, which both caused pain and interfered with his ability to communicate, caused Mr. Meister reflexively to pull his hands away, hop back over the fence and step toward the gate ... to create some space so that he could communicate.” Police then became more physical with Meister, taking him to the ground with a stun gun. Two other officers had arrived at the scene by this time, and helped the other officials by striking Meister with their fist and feet. The Courthouse News Service reported that in the lawsuit, Meister said police then subjected him to multiple "punishing shocks" with tasers and were purposely "burning his flesh." Meister was eventually knocked unconscious and taken to a hospital, where he was charged with assault. Police described him as “aggressive and violent” in their report, but ultimately ended up dropping the charges and releasing him.

ATF uses rogue tactics in storefront stings across nation

Fullerton officers' trial in death of homeless man begins Monday. Attorneys for former officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli will highlight violent past of Kelly Thomas, who died after being beaten in 2011.,0,1008152.story

'Pepper spray' cop gets bigger payout than sprayed students. Wrong message? John Pike, a former campus police officer at UC Davis, won $38,000 in workers' comp stemming from a 2011 Occupy protest in which he infamously used pepper spray on peaceful students. Where's the justice in that, some are asking.

Wounded military veteran says parking violation turned into ugly takedown. Jesus Seineke says incident led to him losing job.

Rise of the Warrior Cop. Is it time to reconsider the militarization of American policing?

Excerpted from "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"“why_did_you_shoot_me_i_was_reading_a_book_the_new_warrior_cop_is_out_of_control/

NYPD lied under oath to prosecute Occupy activist. An Occupy Wall Street activist was acquitted of assaulting a police officer and other charges on Thursday after jurors were presented with video evidence that directly contradicted the NYPD’s story. Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges this week in regards to a case that stems from a December 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Lower Manhattan. For over a year, prosecutors working on behalf of the New York Police Department have insisted that Premo, a known artist and activist, tackled an NYPD officer during a protest and in doing so inflicted enough damage to break a bone. During court proceedings this week, Premo’s attorney presented a video that showed officers charging into the defendant unprovoked. The Village Voice reports that jurors deliberated for several hours on Thursday and then elected to find Premo not guilty on all counts, which included a felony charge of assaulting an officer of the law.

In Los Angeles, Questions of Police Brutality Dog LAPD. Nov 24, 2012 4:45 AM EST After Rodney King, the LAPD vowed to clean up its act. But new incidents are tarnishing its image. Christine Pelisek reports.

LAPD officer used Taser on handcuffed woman Elements of the officer's version of events are contradicted by video footage. The department denies that this and other force cases add up to a behavioral pattern of abuse.,0,7644605.story

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said Friday that he is seeking to fire two officers, demote a third and suspend 15 others for their treatment of Occupy Oakland protesters, whose downtown clashes with police drew worldwide attention. Jordan also revealed that one of his officers - not an officer from an outside agency - fired a beanbag that critically injured Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen on Oct. 25, an incident that galvanized the Occupy movement. Olsen was one of more than 1,000 people who rallied after police cleared an elaborate encampment outside City Hall. Read more:

Prosecutors accused four Milwaukee police officers Tuesday of illegally strip searching and sexually assaulting nearly a dozen people over a two-year span. According to a criminal complaint, 10 men identified only by their initials told prosecutors the officers searched them between February 2010 and February 2012. Their stories are strikingly similar. They allege that Officer Michael Vagnini stopped them, placed his hand down their pants and probed their anus or shifted their genitals, saying he was looking for drugs. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm charged Vagnini with 25 counts, including conducting an illegal strip search, misconduct in office, sexual assault and conducting an illegal body cavity search. Chisholm also charged Jeffrey Dollhopf with conducting an illegal strip search, conducting an illegal body cavity search and two counts of misconduct in public office; Brian Kozelek with conducting an illegal strip search and misconduct in public office; and Jacob Knight with conducting an illegal body cavity search and misconduct in public office.

Skateboarder says LAPD officer punched him in head.

Officer at center of pepper-spraying incident no longer works at UC Davis. Read more here:

A man is suing the Pennsylvania State Police, alleging police brutality after he was beaten so severely that one of the officers broke his hand punching him during the arrest, WBNG-TV reports. Video of the incident, which occurred in late 2010, was caught on one of the state trooper’s dash cameras but was just uploaded to YouTube a few weeks ago. The suspect, Robert Leone, of Vestal, N.Y., was reportedly pulled over on suspicion of committing a minor hit-and-run in Bradford County, Pa. Some of Leone’s injuries are displayed in a gruesome mugshot where his entire right eye is swollen shut and his face is extremely bruised. In the video, a terrifying scene plays out. Two Pennsylvania State Police cars box in Leone’s vehicle as troopers instruct him to exit. Shortly later, another trooper is seen shooting Leone with a Taser through the sunroof.

The father of the mentally ill homeless man who died after a run-in with Fullerton police officers marked the anniversary of his son's beating by suing the city and six officers, two of whom are facing criminal charges. Kelly Thomas died five days after the beating without regaining consciousness; his chest was so compressed it deprived his brain of oxygen as blood from his facial wounds poured into his lungs. Since that day, his father, Ron Thomas, a former Orange County sheriff's deputy, has crusaded to hold accountable the officers, the department and city. Even though he has seen the videotape and heard audio of the deadly events dozens of times, Ron Thomas said he still finds it hard to hold back tears when he hears some of his son's last words: "Dad, dad, they are killing me."

I give you two police department recruiting videos. The first is from Decatur, Georgia. The second is from Newport Beach, California. These are the videos each respective department has chosen to represent what being a cop is all about. They’re the videos each department feels will appeal to candidates with the characteristics and traits that make for a good police officer. Let’s assume two generic towns that are otherwise mostly similar. One town takes a Newport Beach approach to policing. The other takes a Decatur approach. In which town would you rather live?

Sheriff's sergeant under investigation Palmer has been the subject of four complaints, one $150,000 settlement.

UC Davis pepper-spraying report delayed by police union action.

Patrol Officer Craig Peyer typical CHP officer.

Fullerton officer charged in beating death gets big L.A. pension While with the LAPD, Jay Cicinelli was seriously injured in a shooting and was awarded a lifetime disability pension of 70% of his salary. He later joined the Fullerton department. Now his LAPD pension may be reviewed.,0,3953919.story

The Fullerton Police Department, already reeling from criminal charges filed against two officers in the death of homeless man Kelly Thomas, has been reprimanded by a federal judge for allowing a police officer accused of groping women to return to street patrol. The department permitted Officer Albert Rincon to continue working the streets even after seven women alleged that he sexually harassed or groped them during arrests.

Claim Filed Against SDPD After Birthday Party Raid. Family Members Say They Were Terrorized After Police Raided City Heights Birthday Party.

A San Diego County Sheriff's Department detective was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and hit-and-run, authorities confirmed Saturday. Deputies responding to reports of a hit-and-run crash about 8 p.m. Tuesday in Palm Desert were told by a witness that a vehicle with a woman behind the wheel collided with several parked cars and ran over a pedestrian's foot in an apartment complex parking lot, Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Joe Borja said. The witness provided investigators with a description of the vehicle and its license plate number, he said. About 11:40 that night, deputies received a call that a vehicle had crashed into a water fountain at the entrance of the Marrakesh Country Club at 47-000 Marrakesh Drive in Palm Desert. The license plate of the vehicle matched the one from the hit-and-run, according to Borja. Barbara Jean Crozier, 47, was arrested and booked at the Indio jail on suspicion of hit-and-run and driving while intoxicated, Borja said. Crozier was released on $50,000 bail early Wednesday and is scheduled to appear at the Indio courthouse on Nov. 2, according to jail records. The detective works out of the Santee substation, a representative from the San Diego County sheriff's personnel department confirmed. Her current status with the department was not immediately known.,0,2297716.story

Cop Crimes, archived September 04, 2011

An attorney representing the parents of a homeless man who died after an altercation with six Fullerton police officers has filed a claim with the city, signaling their intention to file a civil suit. The claim alleges that at least six officers “individually and in unison severely beat decedent Kelly Thomas with their fists and with objects and subjected decedent Kelly Thomas to excessive applications of Taser electricity and to numerous forms of excessive and deadly force under circumstances in which Kelly Thomas was subdued and restrained and represented no threat of harm to the Fullerton police officers, causing the death of decedent Kelly Thomas.” Kelly died five days after a violent altercation with police that began when officers confronted him at the downtown bus depot after receiving a report that someone was trying to break into cars in the adjacent parking lot. Six officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the case. On Wednesday, Chief Michael Sellers notified the city that he will be taking an indefinite medical leave.

One police officer was hospitalized and seven others were injured during riots in the Tottenham area of London, police said Sunday, after a demonstration against the death of a local man turned violent and cars and shops were set ablaze. The area in London's north exploded in anger Saturday night after a gathering to protest the Thursday shooting by police of the 29-year-old.,0,3794324.story

As hundreds of people on Saturday protested the death of a homeless man during an altercation with Fullerton police, it was looking less likely that a videotape at the center of the case would provide a full answer as to what happened. Surveillance tape shot from the Fullerton bus depot shows parts of the police altercation, but key elements are obscured, according to a law enforcement source who reviewed it. The source, who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, said the tape shows six officers struggling with Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old man who suffered from schizophrenia. The source said obstacles obscured the "quality and angle" of the shot. It's hard to see whether Thomas was restrained, as some witnesses have said, and the full extent of the officers' actions, the source said. Another source familiar with the video said tree limbs and leaves blocked part of the camera's view. Other videos that have been posted on the Internet, one from a bus and another from a bystander's phone, do not show the police officers but capture the sounds of a stun gun, Thomas' screams and the reactions of shocked bystanders. Witnesses on those videos describe Thomas being repeatedly struck, kicked and shocked by the officers.,0,6368545.story

Man dead and police officer hurt in Tottenham shooting.

She also said the tape does not show the full extent of the incident. "The camera at the bus depot was controlled by Fullerton police. It shows certain things but [does] not completely show everything" that happened, she said. Kang Schroeder said the D.A.'s office won't make the video public. "The reason why we are not releasing the video is we want to make sure that any witnesses who come forward testify to what [they] saw in person, not what they saw in the media," she said. She added: "Your heart goes out to family. You hear the crying, 'Dad, Dad' ... but our office has a very important job to do, and we will apply the applicable laws objectively."

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department watchdog released a report Thursday highlighting the misconduct of numerous deputies, including one deputy who shot at a motorist who bumped his car at a fast-food restaurant. The deputy was inside a McDonald's when he heard his car alarm go off. When he went outside, he realized his car had been hit. He and the other driver agreed to exchange information, but the other driver didn’t want to alert police, prompting the deputy to pull his gun out and tell the driver he was a cop. The other driver, in disbelief that the man was actually a law enforcement officer, got back in his car and took off. As the car pulled away, the deputy fired several rounds at the other driver’s car. The man was not struck, but his car was.

We don't know all the details yet about July 5, and police have been mum even as hundreds of citizens packed a City Hall meeting demanding answers, and there are even official calls now for the police chief to resign. Confronting someone with a mental illness can be dangerous, just like a confrontation with anyone else, but it doesn't have to be. Did Fullerton police have proper training for such encounters? Even if Kelly Thomas resisted arrest, did police escalate a situation that might have been defused if handled differently? Was it necessary for several cops to apply the force that left Thomas, unarmed as far as we know, badly beaten and in a coma?

Attorney defends Fullerton officers in death of homeless man.

Lauren Thompson McAllister, 37, an investigator with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, was arrested Sunday night at her Temecula home. A 26-year-old woman met arriving deputies and told them a man had raped her inside the two-story residence, McDonald said. When deputies attempted to search the home, McAllister allegedly tried to stop them, prompted them to arrest her, according to the sergeant. They then located the alleged assailant, 34-year-old Matthew Joseph Frembling of Murrieta, and took him into custody without incident. McAllister was booked on suspicion of felony obstruction of peace officers, being an accessory to a felony and misdemeanor resisting arrest. She posted $5,000 bail and was released from Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta on Monday morning. She will remain on administrative leave pending completion of an internal investigation by her supervisors, according to San Diego County sheriff's spokeswoman Melissa Aquino. Frembling was booked on suspicion of forcible rape and sexual penetration with a foreign object and was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Murrieta jail.

A detective with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department was arrested in Temecula on Sunday night on suspicion of obstructing and resisting officers during the arrest of a suspect in a sexual assault. Lauren T. McAllister, 37, allegedly tried to prevent Riverside County sheriff’s deputies from finding and arresting Matthew Frembling on the 32000 block of Poppy Street.

One resident told Fox CT that the incident was unnerving. "This is such a public area" she said. "There's children here … it's just scary."

This is the second time in as many weeks San Francisco's mass transit system has been the scene of a deadly police shooting. Earlier this month, BART police shot and killed Charles Hill at the Civic Center BART station. Police attest Hill was drunk at the time of the shooting and lunging at officers with a knife; however, much like this weekend's shooting, eyewitnesses have disputed the police's official version of events.

A Detroit police sergeant pulled from his smoldering cruiser early Thursday morning on Interstate 96 moments before the crashed car burst into flames was under the influence of alcohol and a controlled substance, the city's police chief said Saturday night. Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. said a preliminary investigation revealed that during the sergeant's shift, which began at midnight on July 7, several attempts were made by the zone dispatcher to contact him. All of the attempts went unanswered. At 4 a.m. the sergeant was driving a marked scout car when he was involved in a vehicular accident on the eastbound I-96 near Martin Luther King Boulevard. The freeway was closed for about three hours following the crash. The officer was taken to a local hospital, treated, and released. Godbee said that at the time of the accident the sergeant was under the influence of alcohol and tested positive for a controlled substance. :

Man in critical condition after brawl with Fullerton police.

One suspect is dead after an officer-involved shooting tonight, which has shut down the Civic Center BART station, a BART spokesman said. An officer shot the suspect at about 9:45 p.m. after BART police responded to reports of a "wobbly drunk" near the train platform, spokesman Linton Johnson said. The suspect, who was allegedly carrying a knife, was pronounced dead at the scene around 10:45 p.m., Johnson said.

Detective Claims Harassment In SDPD Sex Crimes Unit. Officers Claim Harassment In SDPD Sex Crimes Unit. The complaint singles out detective Carl Hershman saying he had a sexual dream about another detective and told her that in the dream he "was really good" and they had "exchanged fluids." The department has investigated the claims, but the female detective behind them said that things became worse - that she and "other female detectives in the sex crimes unit are now being targeted as whistleblowers and being retaliated against."

San Diego has moved away from its famed approach as budgets have been cut and Chief Bill Lansdowne has implemented his own vision for the department. "The result: A police officer in San Diego today places greater focus on responding faster to dangerous situations than on preventing underlying causes," Kyle wrote. Mirroring trends nationwide, crime continued to drop in San Diego as the department forged a new identity. Ten days after that story ran, crisis hit the department. Lansdowne acknowledged an "unprecedented" spike in police misconduct allegations and promised a raft of reforms. Since October, the department has acknowledged 11 internal or criminal investigations involving offenses including felony drunk driving, domestic violence, excessive force and on-duty rape.

BART agreed Tuesday to pay $1.3 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the mother of Oscar Grant, the unarmed train rider who was shot in the back by a transit agency police officer on New Year's Day 2009, attorneys said. The deal with Wanda Johnson, which includes no admission of fault by BART or any of the officers she sued, was reached at a settlement conference in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. It closes another chapter in a case that prompted protests and vandalism, ushered in reforms on the BART police force and led to the involuntary manslaughter conviction of former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was recently released after serving half of a two-year prison term.

There's something unusual about the case of San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos: Police asked the district attorney's office to pursue charges against him but prosecutors declined, so he was sent back to work. He stands accused of sexually assaulting women, soliciting bribes and falsely imprisoning them. As Keegan Kyle writes, "police knew of an allegation more than a year before he was arrested and fired. But he stayed on the job after the incident and retained the authority that prosecutors say he used to solicit sexual favors or assault five other women." One woman has filed a $5.5 million claim against the city, saying police didn't properly investigate and discipline Arevalos before he sexually assaulted her. Arevalos is just one of several San Diego cops who stand accused of a variety of serious offenses.

Miami cops intimidate citizen journalist who recorded shoot-em-up, smash camera.

A Chula Vista patrol officer was arrested Friday on suspicion of cheating at blackjack at an East County casino, police said. The officer, 9-year-veteran Jesus Salazar, 30, also faces drunken driving charges in an unrelated case at the same casino, Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano said Friday at a media conference at police headquarters. Salazar was arrested about 1:30 a.m. by Sycuan tribal police after he was seen by casino employees and on surveillance cameras to have increased a wager when he already knew he had won, Bejarano said.

A San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy was recently arrested near San Ysidiro on suspicion drunken driving after leading police on a short chase. Deputy Alex Bagarry, who works at the Central Jail, was arrested March 31. Police records show he and his passenger, another deputy, were spotted by a San Diego police officer speeding out of a parking lot, driving on the wrong side of the road, and speeding north on Interstate 5. He was eventually pulled over. Sheriff's officials would not confirm or deny that Bagarry is the subject of an internal investigation, but Asst. Sheriff Mike McNally said Tuesday any deputy that gets arrested is automatically referred to Internal Affairs.,0,3997748.story

Joining at least 10 department colleagues caught up in misconduct investigations over the last several months, a veteran San Diego police officer was on unpaid leave Friday and facing a possible DUI charge stemming from a recent off-duty South Bay traffic incident. The case stems from a report by another motorist about the driving of the 19-year SDPD officer, whose name was withheld, early last Friday evening on Ithaca Court in Chula Vista, according to a three-sentence news release from police in that city south of San Diego. "No arrest was made at that time, but there is a continuing investigation into the incident, and the (Chula Vista Police) Department intends to forward a case to the (District Attorney's) Office for ... review," the statement reads. "SDPD's command was notified of the incident the evening it occurred, and CVPD is cooperating with their internal investigation.'

Two NYC police officers illegally entered the apartment of a drunk woman, and one of them admitted getting into bed with her and wearing a condom. Today they were acquitted of rape, but convicted on minor charges related to police misconduct. One of the two said it was just a "cuddle." If you'd like to not have on-duty police officers "cuddle" you when drunk, remember to get so plastered as to be unconscious by the time the cuddle condom comes out: the NYT reports that "Defense lawyers pointed to surveillance footage of the woman walking on her own" as evidence she could not have been drunk enough to be unable to consent to sex.

Thug cop chokeholds CBS reporter: "I hate the press and I can do whatever I want."

Two pairs of women’s underpants were found in the work locker of a San Diego police officer accused of eliciting sexual favors from women during traffic stops, according to search warrant affidavits released Thursday. Anthony Arevalos, an 18-year department veteran who was fired on April 14, has been charged with 18 felony counts in San Diego Superior Court, including sexual battery, assault under color of authority and receiving a bribe. The charges relate to five victims. Arevalos, 40, has pleaded not guilty. The married officer told investigators the underpants in his locker belonged to his girlfriend, according to the affidavits. Testing showed his girlfriend’s DNA on one pair of the underpants. The DNA on the other pair was unknown, the records say. The affidavits also reveal that a source contacted police this month and said the officer “had a well known history of police misconduct.” The source said Arevalos was known to keep photos of women he contacted while on duty. The photographs showed the women in various stages of undress and engaged in sexual acts with the officer, according to the court records. The source claimed to have seen the photos 15 years ago. According to the documents, investigators searched Arevalos’ Chula Vista home and cars and seized a variety of items including his cellphone, computers, cameras and other electronic devices. They also seized a safe.

There is new information in the case against Anthony Arevalos, a recently terminated San Diego police officer charged with felony sexual misconduct. In an exclusive interview with News 8, a former veteran police officer is speaking out about allegations that surfaced 15 years ago against officer Arevalos. The ex-cop says complaints were filed with two supervising police sergeants back then, but no disciplinary action was taken against Arevalos. Arevalos currently is charged with 18 felonies for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances and in some cases groping young, female drivers he pulled over in the Gaslamp Quarter.

What Did SDPD Know About Ex-Cop's Conduct? Documents show the alleged perverted behavior of this 18-year veteran cop could go back as far as 15 years.

The Department of Justice has concluded its investigation into New Orleans's notoriously corrupt police force and concluded that it is so bad, so rotten from top to bottom, that the police have been placed under the supervision and authority of a fed judge. Next, the feds will take control of the city's hellish jails. The New Statesman's report on NOLA's version of justice sounds like something out of Baghdad or a Mexican border town or a wild west novel about corrupt frontier towns. Or Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Arizona.

Another San Diego Police officer is being investigated for conduct related to an off-duty incident, according to the San Diego Police Dept. “The incident stems from a neighborhood dispute,” said Lt. Andra Brown. The Police Department is conducting a personnel investigation and the investigation has been submitted to the San Diego District Attorney's Office for review. “The officer, a 24 year veteran of the Department, is currently on paid administrative assignment,” said Brown.

Documents Detail Relationship Of Officer Accused Of Stalking. SDPD Sgt. Ken Davis Accused Of Stalking Fellow Officer. San Diego police Sgt. Ken Davis, a 23-year veteran of the force, is accused of stalking and harassing a fellow female officer. According to court documents, Davis met the female officer in 2008. The woman is a 13-year veteran.

A veteran San Diego Police Department officer accused of trying to elicit sexual favors from women during traffic stops has been fired from the force. Anthony Arevalos, 40, was with the SDPD for 18 years. His termination was effective April 14, according to the SDPD. Arevalos currently faces 18 criminal charges involving five alleged victims. He is charged with false imprisonment, assault under the color of authority and sexual battery by restraint.

SDPD Chief Discusses Officers Currently Facing Legal Issues. 5 SDPD Officers In Trouble With Law In Past 4 Months.

A veteran San Diego police sergeant is accused of stalking a female officer and repeatedly harassing her with unwanted phone calls and other contact. Sgt. Ken Davis was formally charged in February with one felony and three misdemeanor charges: felony stalking and repeated harassing by phone or electronic contact.

The driver who followed an off-duty San Diego police officer on the freeway and then witnessed an alleged hit and run crash is speaking out to News 8. The witness asked to be identified only by his first name: David. He said he noticed off-duty San Diego police officer David Hall changing lanes suddenly and driving erratically on southbound I-805 just before the Murray Ridge Rd. exit on the evening of Feb. 22. "He kept going, violently changed lanes from the number five lane to the number four and almost hit somebody, then back the other way. That's when I grabbed my cell phone speakerphone and called 911," David said.

Another young woman has come forward, alleging a San Diego police officer touched her in a sexually inappropriate way during a traffic stop in the Gaslamp Quarter. In an exclusive interview with News 8, the 25-year-old woman said she was sexually battered by the officer after he handcuffed her. The woman was pulled over three weeks ago in the Gaslamp Quarter by Officer Anthony Arevalos, the same officer accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with other female drivers. She said the officer handcuffed her and started fondling her shoulder. "The first time I was just not even thinking about it, but then like the third and fourth time it just started getting more awkward and uncomfortable," the woman said. The 40-year-old officer arrested her on suspicion of drunk driving in the Gaslamp on Feb. 20. In a police report obtained by News 8, the officer wrote he stopped her "for failing to stop at a stop sign." While she was handcuffed, the woman said Officer Arevalos started rubbing her shoulder while pulling up the spaghetti straps on her dress.

Another woman has come forward with allegations that a San Diego police officer made sexual advances toward her during a drunk driving traffic stop. The San Diego State University student says traffic officer Anthony Arevalos, 40, pulled her over last year and suggested she get into the back seat with him.

A 43-year-old Los Angeles Police officer was convicted Monday of sexually assaulting one young woman and soliciting sex from another while he was on duty.

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated about two hours before finding Russell Mecano guilty of one misdemeanor count of solicitation and one felony count each of sexual battery and penetration by a foreign object by a public official and penetration by a foreign object by force or duress. Immediately after the verdict was read, Mecano was handcuffed and remanded to jail by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14. He faces nearly 10 years in state prison, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Natalie Adomian of the Justice System Integrity Division, who prosecuted the case. Adomian said Mecano, a patrol officer in West Los Angeles, propositioned a 19-year-old homeless woman after her arrest on suspicion of battery in October 2007. Mecano gave the young woman $200 in cash and told her to meet him at the Holiday Inn near the West Los Angeles Station, the prosecutor said. Instead, she asked a cab driver to take her to the beach. She reported the incident on March 16, 2008 to Santa Monica police and later to the LAPD, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office. The second incident occurred nearly two weeks after the woman reported the first case. On May 28, 2008, Mecano told an 18-year-old female he would not arrest her on suspicion of possessing a marijuana pipe if she had sex with him, prosecutors said. He sexually assaulted her near the Palisades Branch Library, Adomian said. She reported the incident to authorities. Mecano was arrested on Oct. 16, 2008, the same day the Grand Jury returned an indictment.

A veteran San Diego police officer under investigation for the alleged rape of a college student has resigned from the Police Department. Arthur Perea, 42, an 18-year veteran, was a vice detective. He had been on unpaid leave since the allegation was made last month. A student from Point Loma Nazarene University has told El Cajon police that she was raped by Perea and a woman in her apartment. The case is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

Deputy's comments on gang case taint jury panel, sparking investigation. A sheriff's deputy assigned to a Los Angeles courtroom told prospective jurors that a defendant in a gang case was clearly guilty and that they should shirk jury duty.,0,4315074.story

Eyewitness says Compton teenager killed by deputy held a cellphone, not a gun. Avery Cody's family is suing Los Angeles County in the 16-year-old's shooting death. The Sheriff's Department's official account is that the boy brandished a gun, but court testimony has contradicted that. Cody's parents are also suing the Sheriff's Department for keeping Reyes on, despite their allegation that he had problems in the past. Ralph Jackson, 38, a witness on behalf of the Codys who may testify, said the deputy called him a racial epithet in an unrelated 2006 run-in. Jackson said he and two others were sitting in a car outside Jackson's parents' house in Willowbrook listening to a Lakers game on the radio. Without any warning, Jackson said, the driver's side door of the car was opened from the outside and he was yanked out of the seat by Reyes, who was in full uniform with gun drawn. He said Reyes handcuffed and "manhandled" him, ignoring his pleas to check his ID so he could prove his parents lived across the street. "I can smoke you right here," Reyes said, according to Jackson. The deputy's attorney denied the allegation.,0,7847216.story

An Anchorage AK police officer has been convicted on 18 of 20 sexual assault and official misconduct charges for raping 6 women while he was on-duty. The jury didn’t convict him on two charges related to the alleged rape of a seventh woman.

Officer Art Perea is currently on leave of absence from the force while detectives investigate an alleged rape case against the officer. On Wednesday, Point Loma Nazarene University officials confirmed the victim is a student at the university. A source tells News 8 she is an adult, but under 21 years of age. According to police, the victim is also accusing another woman of participating in the alleged rape. News 8 has learned that woman is a food vendor at the university employed by the France-based corporation Sodexo, and our source says it was her who introduced the victim to the police officer. A company spokesperson for Sodexo tells News 8 the employee has been placed on leave during the investigation.

7 Shocking Examples of Cops Getting Away With Brutal Attacks. Cops are far less likely than civilians to pay for their crimes. Seven recent incidents bring that point home.

Man carrying water nozzle was shot 10 to 12 times by Long Beach police, family’s attorney says.

The 6 Most Shocking Cases of Police Stun-Gun Abuse. Some of the most egregious examples of taser abuse by police around the country, illustrating why the willy-nilly increase of taser use is terrible for citizens.

A Los Angeles judge denied bail Friday for Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed passenger. Mehserle, 28, will remain behind bars while he appeals his conviction and two-year prison sentence for shooting Oscar Grant in the back while the 22-year-old Hayward man lay face-down on the platform at Oakland's Fruitvale BART Station early Jan. 1, 2009. Read more:

A former Huntington Beach police officer will be arraigned Tuesday on 20 felony charges, including rape and sodomy. James Roberts III, 34, is charged with alleged acts against his wife and an alleged mistress while serving as an officer.,0,4144754.story

White ex-officer's sentence spurs Oakland protest.

A suburban Oregon police department is paying a local man $4,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit in which he claimed he was pulled over for flipping off the cops in traffic. Twice he saluted with his middle finger while driving, and was pulled over each time by a Clackamas County patrol officer, resulting in what he said was a tongue lashing and “bogus” citations that were later dismissed.

Ex-CHP Officer Who Dismissed Speeding Ticket for Sex Gets Two-Year Term.

San Diego County to pay $1.2 million to eight allegedly roughed up by deputies.

Sex Crimes

Boy Scout files reveal repeat child abuse by sexual predators. Los Angeles Times review of Boy Scout documents shows that a blacklist meant to protect boys from sexual predators too often failed in its mission.,0,5822319.story

Highway of Vanishing Women. Along one stretch of road in Canada, so many women have disappeared that it’s become known as the Highway of Tears. Christine Pelisek on the latest victim—and who locals think is behind it. There are few roads on earth more dramatically breathtaking than Canada's Highway 16. The lonely 837-mile stretch of asphalt slices east-west through British Columbia, winding its way through towering snow-capped peaks, bustling mill towns, and a remote wilderness that feels as if it hasn't been touched since the beginning of time. It's against this ruggedly beautiful backdrop that people are disappearing, the most recent in late May, when 20-year-old Madison Scott vanished near what has come to be known as the Highway of Tears. Scott was last seen at 3 a.m. on the night of May 27 at Hogsback Lake, a popular camping and party spot, about 15 miles south of her small town of Vanderhoof. A few days after Scott went missing, police found her tent and pickup truck at the campsite, but there was no sign of the young woman. Search parties came up empty handed.

Point Loma Nazarene University officials placed a ministry student in the home of a Berkeley family almost 30 years ago without telling the family that the student had been convicted of child molestation, according to a lawsuit. The student proceeded to molest the family’s 6-year-old daughter and 2-1/2- year-old son, the suit contends, while he lived with them as a summer pastoral intern. An appellate court decision this month has cleared the way for the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary compensation from Point Loma Nazarene and changes in its procedures, to go to trial in San Diego County Superior Court. “This is the most reckless placement of a student in a family’s house that I can conceive of,” said Vince Finaldi, the Newport Beach attorney for the brother and sister. The plaintiffs’ real names are not disclosed in the suit.

San Diego Police Officer Investigated for Rape Involving Point Loma Student.

“Rape is a crime without consequence,” Berkowitz told Senators on the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs at a September 14 hearing on the chronic failure to report and investigate rape cases. It’s a point supported by many others in both the legal and advocacy communities. “If we were to wave a magic wand and test all the rape kits today, there would still be major issues with prosecuting rape cases,” says Kristina Korobov, a former prosecutor in Indianapolis and Loudoun County, Virginia who now a senior attorney for the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women. Rape victim advocates highlight a number of shortcomings in the nation’s approach to sex crimes, including the poor UCR data and the fact that, according to Tracy, the FBI’s definition of rape has not changed since 1927; it still refers only to male penile penetration of the vagina, ignoring other orifices, rape by objects and male rape. Another key problem: for years, local police forces have routinely downgraded and re-classified rapes as non-crimes. Major culprits include Baltimore, New Orleans and Philadelphia suggesting that sexual assault is simply not a priority for many in law enforcement. Not surprisingly, perhaps, nearly 60 percent of rapes are never even reported to police.


The 10 most corrupt states in the U.S. 1. Mississippi 2. Louisiana 3. Tennessee 4. Illinois 5. Pennsylvania 6. Alabama 7. Alaska 8. South Dakota 9. Kentucky 10. Florida

Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation.

For some of the researchers and analysts who’ve studied the ties between military service and right-wing extremism, the story was hardly a surprise. Daryl Johnson, who until 2010 tracked domestic terrorism for the Department of Homeland Security, told news outlets last week that when he heard early reports of an attack on a temple, he turned to his wife and said, “This is likely a hate crime perpetrated by a white supremacist who may have had military experience.’” In 2009, Johnson authored a DHS report outlining how “[t]he economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.” The report included a section about “disgruntled military veterans,” warning that they were an appealing group to extremists, in part because of their military training. “The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today,” it read, citing Timothy McVeigh, the veteran of Operation Desert Storm who killed 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, as an ominous example.

A couple of recent developments related to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial commutation of convicted felon Esteban Nuñez 's prison sentence: A move to restrict governors' power to commute a prison sentence took a step closer to being reality. The state Assembly yesterday passed a bill that would require the governor to inform district attorneys in the jurisdiction where a conviction occurred at least 30 days before they commute a sentence. I wrote about the bill back in January. The bill, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Marty Block and now moves on to the Senate, would also require the local DA to notify the victims of the crime for which the prisoner was sentenced. Esteban Nuñez , the son of former State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2009 in relation to the stabbing death of 22-year-old Luis Santos in a drunken fight near San Diego State University. Nuñez was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment, but Schwarzenegger took the extraordinary step of reducing his sentence to seven years. That move angered District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who announced shortly after the commutation that she was working with Block to craft the new legislation. Dumanis argued that Schwarzenegger had made the commutation after hearing only one side of the argument — from Nuñez 's legal team. The new legislation will ensure that in the future the governor hears a prosecutor's side of the story.

‘Illegal Psyop’ Neither Illegal Nor Psyop, General’s Lawyer Ruled.

Investigators on Tuesday revealed more disturbing details about the events leading up to the assassination attempt against U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, including a menacing handwritten note in the suspect's home with the words "Die, bitch." And on the day of the shooting, a mumbling Jared Loughner ran into the desert near his home after his father asked him why he was removing a black bag from the trunk of a family car, sheriff's officials said. Loughner resurfaced later Saturday when authorities say he showed up at a grocery store in a taxi and carried out the rampage that injured 14 people and killed six, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. Investigators provided the new details to The Associated Press and said they're still searching for the bag. They suspect it could contain clues into Loughner's motives. "The bag is very important to us," said Capt. Chris Nanos, head of the Pima County Sheriff's Department's criminal investigations division. "What was in that bag and is there any relevance?" "What if he wrote a note that says, 'Hey, I'm going to go do these things and I know it's wrong but I'm still going to do them,'" Nanos said. "That'd be a pretty good piece of evidence." Authorities previously said they found handwritten notes in Loughner's safe reading "I planned ahead," My assassination" and the name "Giffords." Pima County Chief Rick Kastigar and Nanos told the AP they also found notes with the words "Die, bitch", which they believe referenced Giffords, and "Die, cops." All the writings were either in an envelope or on an actual form letter Giffords' office sent him in 2007 after he attended one of her political events, Nanos said.

The ramblings of accused Arizona killer Jared Lee Loughner are difficult to tie to a coherent political philosophy, yet in them can be discerned a number of themes drawn from the right-wing patriot and militia movements, experts said.,0,7697607.story

A 2009 Homeland Security study warned that the rise of right-wing extremism could spur violent attacks. But the report was attacked by Republicans, including now-Speaker John Boehner, blunting its impact. Two years before the Tucson massacre, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a report that right-wing extremism was on the rise and could prompt "lone wolves" to launch attacks. But the agency backed away from the report amid intense criticism from Republicans, including future House Speaker John Boehner. The report, which warned that the crippled economy and the election of the first black president were “unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment,” described the rise of “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology [as] the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States,” according to a copy reviewed by The Center for Public Integrity.

Shooting sparks left-right blog battle over motive, rhetoric.

The gunman accused of shooting Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Gifford and 19 others was trying to reload his semi-automatic weapon, but the efforts of bystanders and a new magazine that failed prevented what Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said could have been "a huge greater catastrophe." Speaking at a Sunday press conference in Tucson, Dupnik said that suspect Jared Lee Loughner was attempting to change magazines after his initial volley of shots when "a woman went up and grabbed the magazine and tore it away from him while he was trying to put another magazine in." Loughner then succeeded in loading another magazine but that "fortunately the spring and the magazine failed" and two other civilians were able to get the weapon away from him and subdue him until police came, according to Dupnik. Dupnik said each magazine contained 31 bullets and had Loughner been able to reload and fire again "there would have bee been a huge greater catastrophe." The woman who tried to get the magazine away from Loughner was herself wounded during the shootings. Dupnik did not immediately have the names of the bystanders who tried to stop Loughner. Loughner was armed with a 9 millimeter Glock semi-automatic which FBI Director Robert Mueller said he had obtained last November. Mueller did not say where Loughner got the gun. CNN reported it was purchased at a store in Tucson.

Although Giffords proudly owns a gun and publicly hooted at being in the Palin crosshairs, Giffords’ friend W. Mark Clark says she was secretly deeply troubled by death threats she began receiving during the 2010 campaign against businessman Jesse Kelly, who was supported by immigration hardliners Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and former congressman Tom Tancredo. Kelly used “inexcusable” military references during the 2010 race, says Clark, who owns a Tucson behavioral health facility and has volunteered on both of Giffords’ congressional campaigns. The Kelly campaign hate speech, says Clark, was funded by “so-called respectable businessmen” who should be ashamed of themselves. Kelly was not available for comment, but his website called the shooting a “stunning tragedy” and noted that “senseless acts of violence have no place in American politics.” During the race against Kelly, Giffords’ office was vandalized and one “patriot” dropped his gun on the floor as Giffords spoke at a pubic meeting. The death threat phenomenon was not confined to Giffords. Reporters who cover immigration, and judges, like John Roll, who adjudicate immigration, get death theats. But politicians probably get the most. Democrat and former congressman Harry Mitchell told The Arizona Republic he stopped going out in public to meet candidates and began holding electronic town halls after receiving death threats.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik did not ascribe a motive to the shooting but lashed out at what he called a climate of "vitriol that has permeated the political scene and left elected officials facing constant threats. "And unfortunately Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital," he said. "We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry." He went on to point a finger at the media. "I think it's time as a country that we do a little soul-searching. Because I think it's the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out, from people in the radio business, and some people in the TV business … that this has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in," Dupnik said. Referring to the increasing vitriol, he said, "that may be free speech, but it may not be without consequences.",0,961233.story

John Lewis knows plenty about violence in politics—as a young civil-rights organizer in 1965 he was savagely beaten by Alabama State police while leading a march in Selma. "This senseless act of violence against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Federal Judge John Roll, and 16 other people, including an innocent 9-year-old child, must be condemned by us all," he said in a statement. "There is not any room in our society for these acts of violence against our fellow citizens. The question we must ask as a people is not only who, but also what has created the atmosphere and climate that makes it almost impossible for us as Americans to reason together. I pray for my colleague Rep. Giffords and her family, for Judge Roll and his family and for all the victims who were injured and slain." During the 2008 election, Lewis took John McCain and Sarah Palin to task for “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” and “playing a very dangerous game” at their rallies, where Palin accused the Democratic nominee of palling around with “terrorists,” and rowdy crowds shouted epithets at “liberal” reporters in attendance. The criticism came as a surprise to McCain, who had previously cited Lewis as one of his idols. On Saturday, Palin became the subject of intense criticism from many commentators over a map she posted to her Facebook page last year featuring crosshairs over Giffords' district. The image was subsequently removed from her site.

One suspect was in custody immediately after the shooting, and investigators were "actively in pursuit" of a second man whom they believed may be involved in the attempted assassination, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Saturday night. Two people tackled the suspected shooter, stopping a spray of bullets from what federal and state law enforcement sources described as a 9mm Glock outfitted with a 30-round magazine. Police recovered a 9mm Glock Model 19 handgun believed used in the shooting, according to senior law enforcement sources. The weapon had a 30-round magazine, according to a federal law enforcement source briefed on the investigation. "He probably would have shot other people had he not been tackled," Dupnik said.

Authorities are actively pursuing a potential accomplice who may have brought the suspect to the scene and they know who that person is, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik tells reporters. There were still bullets in the suspect's gun when he was tackled by two bystanders, Dupnik says. Federal Judge John McCarthy Roll, who was killed, was just there to say hello to Giffords, according to the sheriff. There was no "return fire" from anyone at the scene aimed at the gunman, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says, laying to rest reports that bystanders might have tried to shoot the suspect. The gunman, he says, was tackled by two witnesses. "Yes, she was the target," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says when asked if Giffords was the the primary object of the shooter's attack.

Arizona Rep. Giffords shot, 6 killed in rampage. Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by people familiar with the investigation as Jared Laugher, 22. Pima County Sheriff's officials said he used a 9 mm pistol to carry out the attack. U.S. officials who provided his name to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release it publicly. The suspect's exact motivation was not clear, but a former classmate described Laugher as a pot-smoking loner who had rambling beliefs about the world. The Army said he tried to enlist in December 2008 but was rejected for reasons the military did not provide.

The ex-Pentagon official found dead on New Year's Eve was seen disoriented the day before his body was found. Friends tell Pat Wingert and Christine Pelisek what made them suspect something terrible had happened. The murder of former Pentagon official John P. Wheeler III, whose body was found on New Year’s Eve in a Delaware landfill, has been baffling since it was first discovered. But the more facts that emerge about his mysterious death, the more perplexing it seems to become. Newark police say images of a visibly disoriented Wheeler, a 66-year-old Beltway insider who had worked in four presidential administrations, were captured on surveillance videotape in downtown Wilmington as late as 8:30 p.m. on December 30, the night before his body was spotted at a local landfill.

DeLay convicted of laundering corporate money into political donations. Former House Majority Leader faces up to 99 years in prison, fines; sentencing set for Dec. 20.


Texas' open carry movement raises passions, threats.

The Scare Campaign of Open Carry Activists. A growing faction of gun rights advocates believes brandishing big guns will help everyone feel safer. But their protests have been inciting more fear than support.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Residents in Virginia town walked around carrying their guns today as a tourism initiative.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An arriving passenger has been arrested on suspicion of brandishing a weapon in the baggage claim area of Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 3, causing momentary panic before authorities determined his handgun was unloaded. Terminal 3 was the site of a deadly gun attack last week that left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead and three others wounded. Airport police Sgt. Karla Ortiz said the man either took out the gun or a gun carrying case around 9 p.m. Friday. At least one witness who saw the act notified authorities and the bomb squad was called in to search his bag. The man had declared his weapon and cleared security before getting on his flight to LAX. Ortiz said his offense was showing off a weapon in a public area.

By the Numbers: Comparing Spending by Gun Rights and Gun Control Interest Groups.

Home video showing machine gun fire at a paramilitary training camp southeast of Alpine has San Diego County Code Enforcement officials concerned about public safety. The camp is called Covert Canyon and this latest video recorded by neighbors may lead to a crack down on military training operations. The video shows uniformed personnel shooting machine guns at the privately-owned facility near Japatul Valley Rd. "There are explosions going on, continuous rapid fire," said neighbor Robin Williams. Robin and her husband Clark built their retirement home on the neighboring property years before Marc Halcon moved in and started operating Covert Canyon.

U.S. urged dealer to continue gun sales despite concerns, inquiry finds. The Arizona gun dealer repeatedly raised red flags about weapons ending up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels as part of Project Gunrunner, but his concerns were brushed aside, congressional investigators say.,0,132336.story

The Faces of The Gun Lobby.

We found the the states without "right to carry" were spread out across the list, not bunched together at the top. The District of Columbia, which has strict gun control laws, ranked highest for violent crime. The other states ranked as follows: Delaware, No. 5; Maryland, No. 10; Illinois, No. 13; California, No. 17; Massachusetts, No. 18; New York, No. 24; New Jersey, No. 30; Hawaii, No. 36; Wisconsin, No. 39, and Rhode Island, No. 42. We also couldn't help noticing that some states with laws that favor gun ownership placed at different points along the list. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates state gun laws, so we looked at the 14 states that had the weakest gun laws. Here, we also saw a wide variation in where the states ranked in terms of violent crime: Alaska, No. 6; Louisiana, No. 7; New Mexico, No. 8; Arkansas, No. 11; Oklahoma, No. 12; Missouri, No. 15; Arizona, No. 21; West Virginia, No. 32; Kentucky, No. 38; Montana, No. 41; Idaho, No. 44; Utah, No. 47; North Dakota, No. 48, and South Dakota, No. 49. So using the 2009 data, we don't see any evidence that state gun laws correlate with violent crime rates one way or the other, at least not "across the board" as LaPierre suggested in his speech.

As a cheerful midday crowd of tourists ate lunch at the Broad Arrow Café near the ruins of the 19th Century Port Arthur prison in Australia’s island state of Tasmania on April 28, 1996, Martin Bryant, a 29-year-old diagnosed with delusional schizophrenia, stepped through the door and without a word calmly and methodically opened fire on the tourists with one of two semi-automatic assault rifles that he took from a bag. Before his random shooting frenzy was over, Bryant had killed 35 people and wounded 21 more in the worst gun massacre in Australia’s modern history. The carnage sent shock waves throughout Australia, which in the previous decade had experienced five random, multiple gun killings but nothing remotely approaching the scale of the carnage left by Bryant, who had bought his weapons from a gun dealer without obtaining a license. Riding a wave of public outrage over lax gun controls that were seen by many as abetting the massacre, conservative Prime Minister John Howard quickly swung into action and before the year was out Australia’s firearms laws were massively transformed.

In a sign of the cost of widespread U.S. weapons smuggling into Mexico, federal law enforcement sources have confirmed that two guns, part of a series of purchases that were being monitored by authorities, were found at the scene of the firefight that killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona.,0,6169639.story

As Mexico drug violence runs rampant, U.S. guns tied to crime south of border. No other state has produced more guns seized by police in the brutal Mexican drug wars than Texas. In the Lone Star State, no other city has more guns linked to Mexican crime scenes than Houston. And in the Texas oil town, no single independent dealer stands out more for selling guns traced from south of the border than Bill Carter.

TSA Crime

TSA Admits In Leaked Doc: No Evidence of Terrorist Plots Against Aviation in US.

The metal detector beeps over her chest. She explains she has a prosthesis. She'd opted out of reconstructive surgery after the breast cancer. Transportation Security Administration agents take the woman to a room and order her to take off her blouse. Then her bra. Then her prosthesis, which they examine. The elderly woman strips to her waist, with nothing to hide her scars. "At her age and physical capability she posed absolutely no risk whatsoever to anyone's safety and should not have been subjected to such invasive and (undignified) treatment," the woman's grandchild wrote in a formal complaint. "This sort of degrading treatment is more appropriate for prisoners." This was just one of 26 complaints filed on behalf of people with disabilities at Sky Harbor's checkpoints in 2012, according to records recovered by The Arizona Republic under the Freedom of Information Act.

Ex-TSA worker accused in LAX threats is indicted by grand jury. Onuoha, who had worked for the TSA since 2006, was suspended from July 21 to July 27 for criticizing a 15-year-old girl's choice of clothes, telling her to "cover up," according to the federal affidavit. The encounter was highly publicized after the girl's father -- BoingBoing blog founder Mark Frauenfelder -- wrote about the incident. Additional court documents filed last week included religious-themed farewell letters Onuoha allegedly sent to acquaintances. The filing also included a Sept. 11 email between authorities stating that Onuoha had contacted Frauenfelder by email. "Mr. Frauenfelder and his family are in fear for their safety," the email between authorities read, "because as Mr. Frauenfalder [sic] stated, 'if he can get my email, he can get my address.'",0,1171688.story

TSA misconduct rises, but should travelers worry? Misconduct among airport screeners jumped 26% in a recent three-year period, but the chances that TSA workers will steal items from traveler baggage is slim, according to the union representing them.,0,589870.story

TSA agent accused of harassing 15-year-old girl over shirt.

TSA Agents Like to Steal iPads

8 passengers dubiously booted off Southwest flights. The budget airline has kicked off passengers for wearing saggy pants and crying, developing a reputation as the airline industry's version of the Soup Nazi.

TSA debate

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was formed to ensure America’s freedom to travel. Instead, they have made air travel the most difficult means of mass transit in the United States, at the same time failing to make air travel any more secure. TSA has never, (and I invite them to prove me wrong), foiled a terrorist plot or stopped an attack on an airliner. Ever. They crow about weapons found and insinuate that this means they stopped terrorism. They claim that they can’t comment due to “national security” implications. In fact, if they had foiled a plot, criminal charges would have to be filed. Ever hear of terrorism charges being filed because of something found during a TSA screening? No, because it’s never happened. Trust me, if TSA had ever foiled a terrorist plot, they would buy full-page ads in every newspaper in the United States to prove their importance and increase their budget.

Female Passengers Say They Were Targeted for TSA Body Scanners.

Smoke Screening. As you stand in endless lines this holiday season, here’s a comforting thought: all those security measures accomplish nothing, at enormous cost. That’s the conclusion of Charles C. Mann, who put the T.S.A. to the test with the help of one of America’s top security experts.

TSA workers trafficked Oxycontin for cash while defending America from terrorists.

TSA to introduce behavior-based screening program.,0,3183656.story

TSA Closes Terminal Over Science Project In Mint Tin.

Dr. David Mandy: Special Needs Son Harassed by TSA at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

A former Miss USA's tearful claim that she was groped during a pat-down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport could be a criminal matter under a bill gaining momentum in the Texas Legislature. The proposed Texas law, aimed at people conducting security checkpoints at airports and public buildings, would make it a felony to intentionally touch someone's private areas — even on top of clothing — unless the officer or agent has probable cause to believe the person is carrying something illegal. State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, who sponsored the bill, said Friday that the invasive pat-down searches at airports nationwide are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches. Last fall the Transportation Security Administration implemented a new pat-down procedure that includes a security worker running a hand up the inside of passengers' legs and along the cheek of the buttocks, as well as making direct contact with the groin area. "We're taking away people's dignity and freedom," said Simpson, whose bill was approved in committee and is now awaiting debate by the full House. Simpson has 70 co-authors on the bill, which is more than 90 percent of the votes needed to pass it. The bill then would go to the Texas Senate for consideration. Simpson insists that his law would pass muster, even though federal law requires all airline passengers to undergo a screening, which sometimes involves a pat-down. If the bill becomes Texas law, the only way a TSA agent can avoid fear of prosecution is if a traveler gives written consent to the pat-down search after being fully informed of the procedures, Simpson said.

A video of 6-year-old Anna Drexel of Kentucky being given a security pat-down at the New Orleans airport has energized the already highly charged debate about Transportation Security Administration procedures. Now a Utah congressman is proposing legislation to restrict searches of children. The video (below), shot by the girl’s father and posted on YouTube last week, appears to show a TSA agent putting her fingertips inside the waistband of the girl's pants as part of the procedure. TSA security looks at people who complain about ... TSA security.,0,5607388.story

Wiccan TSA Agent Fired.

A New Jersey Transportation Security Administration officer on Thursday pleaded guilty to federal charges that he and his supervisor regularly stole from passengers during screenings at Newark Liberty International Airport, according to federal prosecutors. Officer Al Raimi, 29, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark. He admitted that for nearly a year, he stole between $10,000 and $30,000 in cash from travelers as they passed through a security checkpoint at the airport. Raimi admitted that he would "kick up" some of that money to a supervisor, who in turn allowed him to keep stealing. The supervisor, Michael Arato, pleaded guilty earlier this month to accepting kickbacks and bribes.

An Alaska state lawmaker vowed Thursday to fight for the rights of travelers who have been subjected to what she considers intrusive airport searches by federal airport screeners. A jubilant Rep. Sharon Cissna arrived by ferry in Auke Bay, just outside Juneau, after a four-day ordeal that began with her refusal to submit to a full-body pat-down at a Seattle airport ordered by Transportation Security Administration agents. Cissna said travelers are "accidentally being abused by government," and it's an issue that must be dealt with. Cissna, D-Anchorage, is a cancer survivor who has had a mastectomy. She underwent the full-body scan at the Seattle airport but was singled out for a further pat-down search, her second within three months.

Rep. Sharon Cissna Returns To Alaska By Sea After Invasive TSA Patdown.

Airport security officials brand three inch toy gun "firearm"

Thermoses, coffee cups added to list of possible terrorist weapons. During the busiest travel season of the year, travelers carrying thermoses or beverage cups – which could be used to conceal explosive materials – may be subject to extra scrutiny.

Pilot raided for YouTube video exposing airport security flaws.

Let’s Stop Panicking Over Half-Assed Terrorists Already.

TSA worker accused of assault did jail time for stalking, harassment.

3 Women Say TSA Screeners Groped Vaginas During Pat-Down.

Air Travelers Opting Out of Opting Out.

Menstruating woman subjected to TSA grope because panty-liner obscured her vulva on pornoscanner.

Gun crusader strips down in front of TSA.

When you strip to a Speedo, the TSA has questions. The folks in Salt Lake City have found a way to avoid those uncomfortable pat-down checks at airports. If you show up in a Speedo, there's not really any reason to pat anything down.

Have Bikini, Will Travel. "I'm hoping by wearing a bikini they will see everything they need to see and we can avoid a pat-down"

Furrygirl's sexy stripdown protest in Seattle airport mocking TSA security theater (NSFW video)

My experience mocking TSA security theater at Seatac as a nearly-naked enfant terrible.

An airline passenger outfitted with a urine bag for medical reasons had to sit through his flight soaked in urine after a TSA agent dislodged his bag during an aggressive security pat-down. Nearly a month later, he finally received an apology from TSA chief John Pistole.

TSA ejects Oceanside man from airport for refusing security check. "I'm 6-foot-1, white with short brown hair," he said Saturday night. "I don't look like a terrorist." Was he singled out for "punishment"?

A TSA bomb appraisal officer in Philadelphia International Airport repeatedly "pranked" fliers by slipping a bag of white powder (creatine, a nutritional supplement, being used in equipment testing) into their luggage and then threatening them with arrest. Though his colleagues saw him pull this stunt, he was not removed from duty or reported -- merely told "don't do that," by another TSA worker. It wasn't until he reduced a woman to tears that he was disciplined. It's not clear whether the officer -- whose name has been redacted from the TSA memo that was released under a Freedom of Information Act request -- was fired, or quit, though reportedly he isn't working for the TSA any longer. You know how the TSA has all those signs saying you can be arrested for joking or "making remarks" about bombs? One law for them, another for us, apparently.

Las Vegas

Shooters carried arsenal, supplies into Sunday rampage.

How much does right-wing rhetoric contribute to right-wing terrorism?

2 Vegas police officers, 1 civilian killed in ambush; 2 suspects dead. shooting.

The small-time hustle lives on in today’s Las Vegas.

Las Vegas robber loses gamble. The thief in the armed robbery of casino chips from Las Vegas' Bellagio sped off with next to nothing.,0,4863593.story


War on Peace

US is no safer after 13 years of war, a top Pentagon official says. The outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency says that new players on the scene are more radical than Al Qaeda, and the core Al Qaeda ideology has lost none of its potency.

Bush War Crimes

It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn't believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. And that's when I began to believe they're getting serious about this. They wanna go into Iraq.

IIn the Roman conquest of Gaul, Julius Caesar led his legions into battle wearing a flowing red cape. The cape made him more likely to be killed but easier for his men to see; it served as a reminder of his fearlessness. John Bell Hood, one of the Confederacy’s most audacious commanders, had his left arm shattered at Gettysburg, and lost his right leg at Chickamauga; from then on, he rode into battle tied to his horse. Even in the Second World War, when senior officers had it easier than their predecessors, General Dwight Eisenhower was so consumed by the job that he smoked four packs of cigarettes and drank fifteen cups of coffee a day. Nowadays, most general officers, at least most American ones, do not see combat. They don’t fire their weapons, and they don’t get killed; for the most part, they don’t even smoke. In wars without front lines, American generals tend to stay inside fortified bases, where they plan missions and brief political leaders via secure video teleconferences. Their credentials are measured as much by their graduate degrees as by the medals on their dress uniforms. They are, for the most part, deeply conventional men, who rose to the top of the military hierarchy by following orders and suppressing subversive thoughts. In recent years, the most esteemed officer in America—the very model of the modern general—was David Petraeus, whose public image combined the theorizing of the new school with a patina of old-fashioned toughness and rectitude. Before a sex scandal forced him to step down as the director of the C.I.A., a few weeks ago, he was widely regarded by politicians and journalists as a brilliant thinker and leader, the man who saved America in Iraq and might work a similar miracle in Afghanistan. Roger Ailes suggested, perhaps less than half in jest, that Petraeus run for President. Now many of the same people are calling into question not just his ethics but his basic ideas and achievements. History often forgives military leaders for small scandals, if they are successful enough. Eisenhower’s long-alleged affair with Kay Summersby has not much tarnished his reputation as an officer; even Hood, whose late campaigns were disastrous, is remembered as a paragon of bravery, if not of good planning. Will Petraeus be thought of, in time, as a hero guilty of no more than a distracting foible? Or as the general most responsible for two disastrous wars? Read more:

Did the CIA just mess up on Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction'? Recently-declassified CIA documents blame 'analyst liabilities' for mistakenly concluding that Saddam Hussein had chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs – the rationale for invading Iraq. But some say the situation was more sinister.

In new memoir, Bush makes clear he approved use of waterboarding.

War on civilians

Police officer safety or surplus zeal: Military equipment spurs debate. Even in Pulaski County, population 13,124, a more military approach to law enforcement is needed these days, Gayer suggested. "The United States of America has become a war zone," he said. "There's violence in the workplace, there's violence in schools and there's violence in the streets. You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract. If driving a military vehicle is going to protect officers, then that's what I'm going to do."

Alleged gay-bashing by Marines mars post-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era. Did GOP’s anti-homosexual rhetoric help fuel an alleged assault by four Marines outside a gay bar in Southern California? The four suspects, all based at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif., were identified by a Pendleton public affairs official as Lance Cpl. Lewis Serna, Pfc. Thomas Pentek, Pfc. Sean Miller, and Lance Cpl. John O'Leary. They were arrested at the scene and have since been released on bail and returned to the base.

Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons.


‘Threat to homeland is real': FBI concerned over American fighters in Syria.

Saudi Arabia

On September 12, 2001, Americans learned that 15 of the 19 commercial-airplane hijackers of the previous day were Saudis. The thought that went through many minds was, What are the Saudis thinking? Were these 15 individual suicidal decisions, or does 9/11 represent a break in our mutually beneficial relationship stretching back to World War II? From that date until today those questions have largely gone unanswered. Unanswered because the government of the United States has engaged in a sustained and effective campaign to keep the American public from knowing the truth. And we may ask: Why?

US quietly expanding defense ties with Saudis.

Obama's Wars

Iraq Daesh Un-Islamic State

UN says Iraq has executed 60 people this year.

59 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia. The string of beheadings of American and British hostages at the hands of the Islamic State has drawn horror and intense media scrutiny the world over, redoubling international determination to defeat the extremist group. But with IS dominating headlines, it is easy to forget that Saudi Arabia, a member of the UN's Human Rights Council and a close ally of America in the war against the Islamist fighters, is itself routinely carrying out the practice of beheading. Since January of this year, 59 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia under the country's antiquated legal system based primarily around sharia law. Last month saw Saudi Arabia behead at least 8 people — twice the number of Western hostages who have so far featured in IS's barbaric execution videos. In August those executed by Riyadh were sentenced to death for crimes such as apostasy, adultery and "sorcery." In one case, four members of the same family were executed for "receiving large quantities of hashish," a sentence imposed, according to Amnesty International, on the basis of "forced confessions extracted through torture."

Rep. Duncan Hunter clarifies comment about ISIS fighters caught crossing border.

Congressman Hunter: 10 ISIS Terrorists Tried To Enter U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Denies Claim By GOP Politician From Alpine.

“I have a picture of what I estimate to be a 6-year-old girl in a gingham party dress, white tights, a little red band around her wrist, Mary Janes [shoes] and she’s lying on the ground and her head is gone,” Feinstein said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “This could be an American child. It could be a European child. It could be a child anywhere,” the chairwoman added. “This is the mentality of the group that we are so concerned with. They have killed thousands, they are marching on, they have an army, they are well organized.”

France is ditching the ‘Islamic State’ name — and replacing it with a label the group hates. From the start, exactly what to call the extremist Islamist group that has taken over much of Syria and Iraq has been problematic. At first, many called it the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, due to differences over how the name should be translated from the Arabic, some (including the U.S. government) referred to them as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). On Monday, the French government released a statement that included a reference to the group under a different name: "Daesh." “This is a terrorist group and not a state," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters last week, according to France 24. "I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats.’ ” Last month, Egypt's leading Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, called on the world's media to stop using the term, instead suggesting a new term: “al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria” or QSIS. “The initiative by Dar al-Ifta came to express the institution’s rejection of many stereotypes that attach the name of Islam to bloody and violent acts committed by such groups,” And a group of British imams recently called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to stop calling the group "Islamic State," making a request for a new moniker, "Un-Islamic State," instead. "We do not believe the terror group responsible should be given the credence and standing they seek by styling themselves Islamic State," a letter sent from the imams to Cameron read, according to the Guardian. "It is neither Islamic, nor is it a state. Despite the admirable French logic, Daesh comes with its own complications. As historian and blogger Pieter van Ostaeyen noted back in February, that word is a transliteration of an Arabic word (داعش), an acronym for al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham (which is itself a transliteration of the group's Arabic name: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام). There are a variety of different schools of transliteration, and there are a number of different styles for writing the Arabic acronym in Latin characters: The Washington Post uses DAIISH, but DAASH, DAIISH and DAISH are also used. However it's spelled, there's another big factor: The group is reported to hate the moniker. The Associated Press recently reported that the group were threatening to cut cut out the tongues of anyone who used the phrase publicly, and AFP have noted that the term "Daeshi" has been used a derogatory term in some parts of the Middle East. Some analysts have suggested that the dislike of the term comes from its similarity to another Arabic word, دعس, or Das. That word means to trample down or crush.

Ukrainian and Cold War

Is Sweden Hunting For A Russian Submarine In Distress Near Stockholm?

BREAKING: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven.


Benghazi attack suspect 'compliant but not cooperative' in federal custody. Khattala is accused of participating in a conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists. The Justice Department expects to bring more charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday. On Saturday he appeared at a federal courthouse near the US Capitol. The same day, attorney general Eric Holder said in a statement: “Now that Ahmed Abu Khatalla has arrived in the United States, he will face the full weight of our justice system. "We will prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant's alleged role in the attack that killed four brave Americans in Benghazi." Khattala was captured earlier this month and then held and questioned aboard the USS New York in the Mediterranean for 10 days, before being read his Miranda rights as a criminal suspect and being transferred to Washington. Rogers downplayed reports regarding the usefulness of information gained from Khattala in those 10 days. He said: “He was not obstinate, he was not pushing back. He likely gave details of some things, but not to the point where an FBI agent would say 'Bingo, we've got something that could be actionable intelligence.' We want intelligence that is useful – 10 days is not enough. “He's been compliant but not cooperative, so I doubt that changed once he was read his rights and once he understood the right not to talk at all.”

Lawmakers urge Obama to take stronger action to oust Kadafi. Three prominent senators take to the Sunday talk shows to push for more U.S. military aid to Libyan rebels fighting the regime of Moammar Kadafi, perhaps even targeting him directly, though others call for a more cautious approach. A trio of U.S. senators redoubled calls on the Obama administration Sunday to step up U.S support for Libyan rebels in their battle against the regime of Moammar Kadafi, even targeting Kadafi directly if necessary. "I think the focus should now be to cut the head of the snake off. That's the quickest way to end this," Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Let's get this guy gone." Graham was joined by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who just completed a visit to Libya, and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) in urging the U.S. to resume a leadership role in the air campaign against Kadafi's forces. Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats on Capitol Hill, also called on the U.S. to step up support for the popular uprising in Syria, which has met with increasingly violent reaction from the regime of President Bashar Assad. "This is a moment of extraordinary opportunity for the cause of freedom in Syria, and it has tremendous strategic significance for the region," Lieberman said, noting Syria's close ties with Iran. Lieberman called on the U.S. to freeze Assad's wealth and go to the United Nations to place an arms embargo on the regime.,0,7893188.story


The leader of the Ahrar al-Sham rebel group, one of the largest Islamist factions fighting Syria’s war, was killed on Tuesday along with scores of the group’s fighters in a suicide attack on a high-level meeting in Syria's Idlib province, a spokesman for the group told Al Jazeera. Hassan Abboud, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi, was killed when a bomb detonated as he met with Ahrar’s leadership council in the village of Ram Hamdan. Ahrar, which numbers around 20,000 fighters, is part of the powerful Islamic Front alliance formed to counter the Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State group and fight the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Six of the group’s leaders were among the victims in Tuesday's attack, along with 50 others, according to an Islamic Front spokesman who goes by the name of Abdulrahman. Other reports put the death toll between 20 and 45.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Across the country, protesters have grown ever more emboldened in recent weeks, and on Friday they poured into the streets by the tens of thousands to face the deadly fusillades of Assad’s security forces. More than 70 died. What did the White House have to say? From Air Force One: “We call on all sides to cease and desist from the use of violence.”

Attack of the drones: Now Obama approves the use of unmanned aircraft in Libya conflict. Read more:

Deadly drone raid sparks Pakistan protest Hundreds gather in Peshawar to stage sit-in after drone attack kills at least 25 people in Hasan Khel.


Peace Corps volunteers speak out against "gross mismanagement of sexual assault complaints"


Tracking U.S. Targeted Killings


A 3-Star General Explains 'Why We Lost' In Iraq, Afghanistan.

Terrorism experts see long, tough battle to contain Islamic State.

GOP House Armed Services Committee member Duncan Hunter of California, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine, had a different take Tuesday evening on Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” program. “[Islamic State] in Iraq is not an existential threat to us. They’re not going to harm the United States. They’re bad guys, yes. If you’re there,” Hunter said. “But a bunch of guys wearing pajamas pushing up logs, they are not an existential threat to U.S. like North Korea is, like Iran is, like Pakistan is,” he said, appearing to refer video of State fighters training in baggy black tops that reach their shins. “They are not like that.” Hunter said “the only” threat the Islamic States poses directly to the U.S. is if they can get their operatives inside the United States to carry out attacks. Rather than a ramped-up military operation against the group, Hunter is pushing mostly defensive measures — while also suggesting Washington should help certain minority populations in the Islamic State’s brutal path. “That’s why it’s so important that you secure the southern border ... and start denying visas in totality to people from the Middle East, from this area unless they’re persecuted Christians,” Hunter said. “And then we have to allow them in.”

ISIS jihadists demolish mosques, shrines in northern Iraq
Sheikh Fathi’s shrine – one of Mosul’s most important, dating back to 1760, was among those destroyed.

Marine Sgt. Colin Archipley's unit suffered heavy casualties in the savage house-to-house fighting against insurgents holed up in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004. Nearly a decade later, he watched in frustration from his organic farm north of San Diego as an al-Qaida splinter group seized control of Fallujah, Mosul and other Iraqi cities that Lima Company and other units risked so much to protect. Iraq's opportunity "was squandered," he said. "I'm not sure what else we could have done." At VFW halls, kitchen tables and rehabilitation clinics around the country, this week's stunning advance into Mosul left many U.S. veterans reflecting with bitterness and sadness on the sacrifices of a war that lasted for more than eight years and killed nearly 4,500 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. "In many ways, it just feels like a waste — a waste of many lives, a waste of many years," retired Army Col. Barry Johnson said from his home in Potlatch, Idaho.

Poll: Grim assessment of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan.

ew research on the human cost of the war in Iraq estimates that roughly half a million men, women and children died between 2003 and 2011 as a direct result of violence or the associated collapse of civil infrastructure. In a study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers concluded that at least 461,000 "excess" Iraqi deaths occurred in the troubled nation after the U.S.-led invasion that resulted in the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein. Those were defined as fatalities that would not have occurred in the absence of an invasion and occupation.,0,6128082.story

By invading Iraq, the U.S. did more to destabilize the Middle East than we could possibly have imagined at the time. On the 10th anniversary of the war, we recognize that we—and so many others—will pay the price for it for a long, long time.

One of the angry people shouted “why does the government pay budget for the ministry of electricity? Why does it pay salaries for unproductive employees?” and finally he asked simply “why don’t they give us the money to manage our electricity problem instead of wasting money?” The last question was the most important one for me. It reflects clearly the disappointment of Iraqis. Obviously, we don’t trust our government and our politicians in general because after even after eight years of collapsing Saddam’s regime, our politicians failed in everything. They failed in providing services, they failed in forming a real national government, they failed in protecting Iraq and they failed in saving Iraqis lives. They succeeded only in one thing. They perfectly succeeded in dividing Iraqis.

On June 28, 2004, the day the U.S.-led occupation authority in Iraq officially was dissolved, our Baghdad news bureau held a staff dinner to mark the beginning of the country's path to self-determination and democracy. A photo of the modest party and our serious faces reflected our concerns that the tensions coursing through Iraqi streets didn’t match the rosy predictions for the country’s future that were coming from Washington. Even so, Iraqi and American staff members toasted, “Long live Iraq!” and had a chocolate cake from the bakery in our hotel. After filing our reports, we piled on couches to watch TV channels replay the swearing-in of Iraq’s new interim premier, Ayad Allawi. More than seven years later, with U.S. troops almost gone from Iraq ahead of the Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline, these are the fates of the six Iraqi staffers in that photo: One is dead, one is an amputee, one was internally displaced and the others are refugees in Sweden, Australia and the United States.

The Illustrated Etiquette Guide for Soldiers (Iraq War Edition) Learn how to say "where are the prisoners kept?" in phonetic Arabic, plus cultural advice on hugging from the US military.

Iraqi security forces detained about 300 people, including prominent journalists, artists and lawyers who took part in nationwide demonstrations Friday, in what some of them described as an operation to intimidate Baghdad intellectuals who hold sway over popular opinion. On Saturday, four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest of thousands at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit. "It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussan al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet who described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq." The Iraq protests were different from many of the revolts sweeping the Middle East and North Africa in that demonstrators were calling for reform, not for getting rid of the government. Their demands ranged from more electricity and jobs to ending corruption, reflecting a dissatisfaction with government that cuts across sectarian and class lines.

On the 20th anniversary of the first Gulf War, historian Geoffrey Wawro says that the poor planning and mistakes made by George H.W. Bush and his advisers explain in part why American troops are still there fighting today. All of the president's men huddled in Texas this week to give themselves good marks for the conduct of Desert Storm, 20 years to the day after it started. Not so fast. Former President George H.W. Bush predicted "history will say that we did this right." This reminds us of a chief function of history: to restore credibility and perspective to wildly contorted current events. In fact, a great deal went wrong in the Iraq-Kuwait crisis of 1990-91. The Bush administration's vacillating policy toward the Iraqi dictator may have emboldened Saddam to invade Kuwait in the first place. President Bush, who as vice president had coordinated much of the U.S. military and economic aid to Saddam during his eight-year war with Iran, had been trying since 1989 to coax Saddam into an alliance with the U.S. against Iran. Bush's ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, shared the president's desire to "moderate" Saddam Hussein with incentives, such as Secretary of State Baker's cable in July 1990 that purported "to take no position on the border delineation issue raised by Iraq with respect to Kuwait." Saddam was threatening Kuwait with war if the emir did not surrender (oil-producing) territory on his border with Iraq and forgive $14 billion in Iraqi debt. Baker's failure to deliver a stern warning to Baghdad may have signaled to Saddam that he could proceed. He saw an opening in Baker's apparent indifference on the border issue. What if he left Kuwait largely intact, but looted the country, and annexed Kuwaiti oil fields and one or two of Kuwait's islands? Perhaps the Bush administration would permit that.

Superbombs and Secret Jails: What to Look for in WikiLeaks’ Iraq Docs. Read More

Beaten, Shocked, Eyes Gouged: Iraq Abuse, WikiLeaked.

WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results. Read More

A Grim Portrait of Civilian Deaths in Iraq.

Iraq war logs: secret files show how US ignored torture.


Five members of the American forces have been killed in an ­apparent friendly-fire incident in southern Afghanistan. The incident was one of the worst involving United States or coalition troops since the start of the nearly 14-year war. The US-led international coalition said the service members were killed in an apparent blue-on-blue incident, which an ­Afghan official said took place in southern Zabul province.

These days, there’s more talk of standards, Article 15s, and stories of people getting sent home for minor infractions. When I arrived, I wore a patch from a previous trip, and a senior NCO barely introduced himself before telling me the patch’s border was the wrong color. I said it was the right color just last year, and he said things change. Later, another senior NCO chased me down the hall to gripe about how my pants met my boots. Another thought I needed to shave better. I’ve been corrected more in a week here than in my entire career. These beefs aren’t worth the fight. It’s better to smile and say okay, thanks. When the mission becomes murky, and operations slow, bureaucracy creeps in to fill the gaps.

After billions in U.S. investment, Afghan roads are falling apart.

Real-Life "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell Really Hates the Liberal Media.

Afghan opium crop soared this year, U.N. says. The U.N.'s annual opium poppy report criticizes drug-eradication efforts in Afghanistan and cites a crop increase of nearly 50%.,0,5882144.story

Horror Hospital: The Most Shocking Photos And Testimony From The Dawood Military Hospital Scandal. If you look at only one story about the Afghan War this year, make it this one. An explosive Congressional investigation revealed horrific new details this week about a U.S. funded military hospital in Afghanistan that kept patients in “Auschwitz-like” conditions. Warning: Graphic images.

Col. Harry Tunnell commanded a brigade that included the 1-17 battalion, which patrolled Arghandab in central Kandahar province. He disagreed with Gen. David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency theory, compiled as the COIN manual. Tunnell didn’t believe in protecting villages and winning over residents through reconstruction; he only wanted to kill the bad guys. He called his unit the “Destroyer Brigade,” and his vehicles were painted with the motto “Search and Destroy.” Most egregiously, the 1-17 battalion was using the new eight-wheeled armored vehicle, called a Stryker, in places where soldiers should have been walking. They hit roadside bombs, and in one incident seven soldiers and an interpreter were killed. By the end of the 1-17’s deployment in Arghandab, 21 soldiers had been killed, the highest death toll of any U.S. Army battalion in Afghanistan.

Tension ratchets up for local Marines.

'Mistrust, contempt' divide NATO mission. Based on interviews with 613 Afghan security personnel, the document paints a bleak picture of mutual contempt and misunderstanding. US troops regard the Afghans they are training and fighting alongside as untrustworthy, dishonest, incompetent and practising repulsive hygiene. For their part, the Afghans have been provoked into fights, and even attempts to kill, by American behaviour. This includes urinating in public, cursing at, insulting and being rude and vulgar to Afghan members, and unnecessarily shooting animals. The factors that create the most animosity include US military convoys blocking traffic, returning fire on insurgents in an apparently indiscriminate way, risking civilian lives, naively using flawed intelligence sources and conducting raids on private homes. Another cause for concern is that armed Afghan soldiers hardly ever intervene when one of their comrades is trying to kill NATO soldiers.

Read more:

Night Raids Curbing Taliban, but Afghans Cite Civilian Toll. Police now use same tactics against US citizens.

Buried bombs take increasingly deadly toll on Afghan civilians As the fighting season escalates, civilians are dying in record numbers. Most recently, buried bombs kill 30 Afghan civilians in a 48-hour period.,0,3416047.story

Kill Team from Alaska. How U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan murdered innocent civilians and mutilated their corpses – and how their officers failed to stop them. Plus: an exclusive look at the war crime photos censored by the Pentagon. Sarah Palin

Troop surge brings progress to war-torn Afghan province. Camp Pendleton Marine general ends year in command.

Marines tell of snipers who fire from "murder holes" cut into mud-walled compounds. Fighters who lie in wait in trenches dug around rough farmhouses clustered together for protection. Farmers who seem to tip the Taliban to the outsiders' every movement , often with signals that sound like birdcalls. When the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, deployed to the Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province in late September, the British soldiers who had preceded them warned the Americans that the Taliban would be waiting nearly everywhere for a chance to kill them. But the Marines, ordered to be more aggressive than the British had been, quickly learned that the Taliban wasn't simply waiting. In Sangin, the Taliban was coming after them. In four years there, the British had lost more than 100 soldiers, about a third of all their nation's losses in the war. In four months, 24 Marines with the Camp Pendleton-based Three-Five have been killed. More than 140 others have been wounded, some of them catastrophically, losing limbs and the futures they had imagined for themselves. The Marines' families have been left devastated, or dreading the knock on the door. "We are a brokenhearted but proud family," Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly said. He spoke not only of the battalion: His son 1st Lt. Robert Kelly was killed leading a patrol in Sangin. The Three-Five had drawn a daunting task: Push into areas where the British had not gone, areas where Taliban dominance was uncontested, areas where the opium poppy crop whose profits help fuel the insurgency is grown, areas where bomb makers lash together explosives to kill and terrorize in Sangin and neighboring Kandahar province. The result? The battalion with the motto "Get Some" has been in more than 408 firefights and found 434 buried roadside bombs. An additional 122 bombs exploded before they could be discovered, in many instances killing or injuring Afghan civilians who travel the same roads as the Marines. Some enlisted personnel believe that the Taliban has developed a "Vietnam-like" capability to pick off a platoon commander or a squad or team leader. A lieutenant assigned as a replacement for a downed colleague was shot in the neck on his first patrol.,0,7828727.story

USAID and other Western donors often contract out development work to commercial firms, such as Development Alternatives Inc. or International Relief and Development, to implement COIN projects. These companies operate like military outfits, complete with armed and fortified compounds. They are an example not of how soldiers are morphing into aid workers, but of how so-called aid workers are morphing into military-like figures. Media references to these companies as "aid groups" creates confusion. These companies have made their choices and can claim neither neutrality nor independence. These NGOs should make the choice now to work independently, in order to provide humanitarian assistance based on needs, and needs alone. As the conflict intensifies and spreads, the Afghan people must be able to receive essential assistance without having to make the life-threatening choice of taking sides in the war.

Expect more Afghan villages to be destroyed by American rockets and bombs — if, that is, the Taliban “saturate” them with homemade explosives and kick out the villagers. But the U.S.-led coalition isn’t going to destroy populated areas, says a spokesman for Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the Afghanistan war. Paula Broadwell reported for Tom Ricks’ blog last week that coalition forces used 25 tons of munitions to demolish the ostensibly depopulated village of Tarok Kolache in October. The place was a Taliban stronghold, according to the commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th: packed with homemade bombs, and devoid of civilians. So the 1-320th wiped it off the map. “These are whole neighborhoods that are empty of people and are booby-trapped. it’s whole neighborhoods, it’s not the one odd house,” Petraeus spokesman Col. Erik Gunhus tells Danger Room. U.S. troops are finding more of these explosive-laden areas as they fight through southern Afghanistan, he adds — meaning that their destruction is ultimately the Taliban’s fault. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

“We’re being forced into these things,” he says. “We’re not the ones rigging houses or kicking families out of their homes in the middle of winter.”

25 Tons of Bombs Wipe Afghan Town Off Map.


An American jailed in Pakistan for the fatal shooting of two armed men was secretly working for the CIA when he was arrested, a disclosure likely to further frustrate U.S. government efforts to free the man and strain relations between two countries partnered in a fragile alliance in the war on terror. Raymond Allen Davis, 36, had been working as a CIA security contractor for the U.S. consulate in Lahore, according to former and current U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk publicly about the incident. Davis, a former Special Forces soldier who left the military in 2003, shot the men in what he described as an attempted armed robbery in the eastern city of Lahore as they approached him on a motorcycle. A third Pakistani, a bystander, died when a car rushing to help Davis struck him. Davis was reportedly carrying a Glock handgun, a pocket telescope and papers with different identifications.

Pakistan says shooter Raymond Davis is CIA agent. Pakistani authorities insist U.S. Embassy official Raymond Davis, who killed two alleged robbers, works for the CIA. A U.S. official has declined to confirm or deny the allegation, which threatens to further stir anti-American anger in Pakistan.,0,7234338.story

Cyber War

Security researchers confirmed on Monday that a vicious new cyberattack has compromised the computer systems of over 1,000 organizations in 84 countries. Dubbed "Energetic Bear," the Stuxnet-like malware is largely targeting energy and utility companies. It's almost certainly from Russia. This is scary stuff. Not only has the attack been going on for 18 months, it appears to be focused on targets in the United States and Europe. According to the Financial Times, the malware "allows its operators to monitor energy consumption in real time, or to cripple physical systems such as wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants at will." This is exactly the type of attack that the government's been (very vocally) worried about lately.

Stuxnet is a computer worm[1] that was discovered in June 2010. It was designed to attack industrial Programmable Logic Controllers or PLCs. PLCs allow the automation of electromechanical processes such as those used to control machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or centrifuges for separating nuclear material. Exploiting four zero-day flaws,[2] Stuxnet functions by targeting machines using the Microsoft Windows operating system and networks, then seeking out Siemens Step7 software. Stuxnet reportedly compromised Iranian PLCs, collecting information on industrial systems and causing the fast-spinning centrifuges to tear themselves apart.[3] Stuxnet’s design and architecture are not domain-specific and it could be tailored as a platform for attacking modern SCADA and PLC systems (e.g. in the automobile or power plants), the majority of which reside in Europe, Japan and the US.


How Terrorist Groups End Implications for Countering al Qa'ida. The United States cannot conduct an effective counterterrorism campaign against al Qa'ida or other terrorist groups without understanding how such groups end. While it is clear that U.S. policymakers will need to turn to a range of policy instruments to conduct such campaigns — including careful police and intelligence work, military force, political negotiations, and economic sanctions — what is less clear is how they should prioritize U.S. efforts. A recent RAND research effort sheds light on this issue by investigating how terrorist groups have ended in the past. By analyzing a comprehensive roster of terrorist groups that existed worldwide between 1968 and 2006, the authors found that most groups ended because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they negotiated a settlement with their governments. Military force was rarely the primary reason a terrorist group ended, and few groups within this time frame achieved victory. These findings suggest that the U.S. approach to countering al Qa'ida has focused far too much on the use of military force. Instead, policing and intelligence should be the backbone of U.S. efforts.

If it's ideas we fear, we've already lost.,0,1602695.story

Under Suspicion At The Mall Of America.

National Security: Ten Years After September 11 Attacks, U.S. Is Safe But Not Safe Enough

Suspicious baggage prompts LAPD to detain Amtrak train. Los Angeles police officers were checking baggage left on an Amtrak train at the Van Nuys train station late Saturday night. The luggage was brought onto a southbound train by a woman who boarded in Simi Valley, according to police. A person who accompanied the passenger to the train but did not board said something to an Amtrak employee about the woman and her bags. The employee became concerned and notified authorities, according to police. The train was held in Van Nuys and police closed off some of the surrounding area while the baggage was being checked by officers. By 12:15 a.m. Sunday, the police finished the check and the train was allowed to continue its journey.

In a 48-minute recording posted on the Internet, Adam Gadahn -- a native of California who is now al-Qaida's American spokesman -- specifically called upon Muslims living in what he called "the miserable suburbs of Paris, London, Detroit" to attack Americans, citing as examples the Ft. Hood shooting last November in Texas and the Dec. 25 attempted bombing of an airplane descending into Detroit Metro Airport. The region is known for its sizable Muslim population, and Detroit was the only American city mentioned by the al-Qaida leader. London and Paris also have significant Muslim communities. Gadahn's comments were condemned by Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "He obviously doesn't know Muslims in Detroit," Walid of Detroit said Saturday. "It appears to be a desperate plea by al-Qaida, which has virtually no support among Muslims in any Western countries." This was the first time in memory that al-Qaida referenced metro Detroit's Muslim population, local leaders said. Read more: Al-Qaida message aimed at region | | Detroit Free Press

Troops and Veterans

Marine reservist held in Mexico since April 1 on weapons charges was returned to prison Wednesday after a nine-hour hearing in which he proclaimed his innocence. Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was returned to El Hongo Prison near Tecate to await a hearing set for Aug. 4. He had been brought to the Tijuana courthouse under heavy guard.

Bergdahl's hometown blindsided by hatred in wake of release — and it's not over yet.

Do you know about the other Marine vet being held captive in a foreign country? A former U.S. Marine convicted of criminal charges in Iran after being accused of working for the CIA will appeal for a new trial after already seeing his sentence reduced once, his lawyer said Sunday. Amir Hekmati, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona and raised in Michigan, was arrested in August 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying. However, Iran’s Supreme Court annulled the death sentence after Hekmati appealed, ordering a retrial in 2012. The country’s Revolutionary Court then overturned his conviction for espionage, instead charging him with “cooperating with hostile governments” and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, Hekmati’s lawyer, told The Associated Press that he would appeal the 10-year prison sentence as well.

3-star: Marine Corps 'prepared to assist' with recovery of Tahmooressi from Mexico.

Marine vet's arrest in Tijuana brings wide attention. Following protests in U.S., Mexico responds. JUNE 15, 2014

Sgt. Tahmooressi, 25, a veteran of Afghanistan, has been in jail in Baja California since April 1 on a weapons charge. Mexican police say they found three weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his truck after he crossed the border at San Ysidro into Tijuana. Tahmooressi initially said that he became confused while driving and missed the turnoff to remain in the U.S. and that he had never before visited Tijuana. But Tahmooressi’s story has grown more muddled with the disclosure that he apparently checked in to a downtown Tijuana hotel in the hours before his arrest. Jose Antonio Vasquez, the manager at the Hotel Nelson, said that on March 31 Tahmooressi paid 309 pesos, about $24, for a single room, then went upstairs to his third-floor room. A photograph of the signed copy of the registration form, which included Tahmooressi’s Florida address, was published in the respected Tijuana news weekly Zeta, which first reported the story earlier this month. After he checked into the Hotel Nelson, Tahmooressi crossed back into the U.S. on foot, retrieved his pickup truck at a parking lot. then tried recrossing into Tijuana before being stopped by Mexican border authorities, the newspaper reported. A court hearing for Tahmooressi was canceled after he fired his Mexican attorney. No announcement has been made about a new hearing date. Tahmooressi remains in a federal prison outside Tecate. Family and supporters say he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and had moved to San Diego to get treatment at the Veterans Affairs hospital in La Jolla. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), who has also written to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and the Marine commandant, Gen. James Amos, wrote this week to President Obama urging him to "address this matter with the attention that it demands" from a commander-in-chief. "I trust that it will be treated with greater urgency than other matters that your administration has already responded to, including those that relate to Major League Baseball's Opening Day, Justin Bieber's immigration status, and the White House Beer Recipe."

Nearly three dozen rugged C-123 transport planes formed the backbone of the U.S. military’s campaign to spray Agent Orange over jungles hiding enemy soldiers during the Vietnam War. And many of the troops who served in the conflict have been compensated for diseases associated with their exposure to the toxic defoliant. But after the war, some of the planes were used on cargo missions in the United States. Now a bitter fight has sprung up over whether those in the military who worked, ate and slept in the planes after the war should also be compensated. Two U.S. senators are now questioning the Department of Veterans Affairs’ assertions that any postwar contamination on the planes was not high enough to be linked to disease.

Watch A Marine's Unbelievable Road Rage Explosion.

Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr.. the Orange County Sheriff's Department said the deputy feared for the safety of the two girls when he fired his service weapon. Authorities said Loggins was acting erratically and yelling irrational statements before climbing back into the SUV with his two daughters.

the use of the 'SS' flag was not an isolated incident.

Deputy killed Marine to protect the man's daughters, official says. Orange County sheriff's official says Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. failed to respond to officers' commands in the early morning incident at San Clemente High School.,0,1767100.story

Marines Sport Nazi SS Flag in Afghanistan.


'Warrior University' credited with lowering crime at bases in Korea

An estimated 2,200 veterans were homeless in San Diego County in 2010, about 400 more than two years before. VA officials expect that figure to jump again in future counts, as the population of homeless increases overall in the county. About a quarter of San Diego street people are veterans, experts say. In other cities, the rate is one in 10.

San Diego Military Veterans Break Their Silence On Sexual Assault.

Sexual assaults in the military continues to go unreported and emotional untreated, according to the military. A visual display in La Jolla hopes to help victims come forward about their traumatic experiences. "We have found that 1-in-100 men and 1-in-20 women report having some type of military sexual trauma," said Veterans Affairs psychologist Carolyn Allard.,0,5659286.story?track=rss

Veterans advocate kills self after war tours. Handsome and friendly, Clay Hunt so epitomized a vibrant Iraq veteran that he was chosen for a public service announcement reminding veterans that they aren't alone. The 28-year-old former Marine corporal earned a Purple Heart after taking a sniper's bullet in his left wrist. He returned to combat in Afghanistan. Upon his return home, he lobbied for veterans on Capitol Hill, road-biked with wounded veterans and performed humanitarian work in Haiti and Chile. Then, on March 31, Hunt bolted himself in his Houston apartment and shot himself. Friends and family say he was wracked with survivor's guilt, depression and other emotional struggles after combat.

One sailor shot, another arrested by Navy police at San Diego base.

In his last months alive, Senior Airman Anthony Mena rarely left home without a backpack filled with medications. He returned from his second deployment to Iraq complaining of back pain, insomnia, anxiety and nightmares. Doctors diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and prescribed powerful cocktails of psychiatric drugs and narcotics. Yet his pain only deepened, as did his depression. “I have almost given up hope,” he told a doctor in 2008, medical records show. “I should have died in Iraq.” Airman Mena died instead in his Albuquerque apartment, on July 21, 2009, five months after leaving the Air Force on a medical discharge. A toxicologist found eight prescription medications in his blood, including three antidepressants, a sedative, a sleeping pill and two potent painkillers. Yet his death was no suicide, the medical examiner concluded. What killed Airman Mena was not an overdose of any one drug, but the interaction of many. He was 23. After a decade of treating thousands of wounded troops, the military’s medical system is awash in prescription drugs — and the results have sometimes been deadly.

While businesses near Fort Campbell are expecting a stimulus, families are just hoping for life to get back to normal. Emily Burchfield would like to stop quizzing her daughters about where their father is and the kid-friendly version of what he's doing. "What does he do at his faraway work?" she asks her daughter Olivia. "He shoot the bad guys," Olivia says. "Yeah, he does shoot the bad guys. Why does he shoot the bad guys?" "They're not nice," Olivia says. "They're not nice," Burchfield agrees.

CO, XO of mine ship fired for fraternization. The commander of a mine countermeasures ship crew was fired Wednesday for fraternizing with a female officer — his executive officer. Lt. Cmdr. James Rushton, who commanded MCM Crew Constant aboard the ship Chief, was relieved of command “due to misconduct” following an investigation by his boss, Capt. Robert Hospodar, commodore of Mine Countermeasures Squadron 2 in San Diego, Naval Surface Forces spokesman Cmdr. Jason Salata said Thursday. Rushton appeared at mast to face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of violating a lawful general order and conduct unbecoming an officer. Hospodar found that Rushton “violated the Navy’s fraternization policy by engaging in an unduly familiar relationship with a subordinate female member of his crew,” Salata said. Hospodar on Wednesday also fired that crew member, Lt. Cmdr. Anne Laird, who has been serving as the XO, for “misconduct.”

Senior Airman Michael Kearns had been back from Iraq for only two months when he was pulled over on a Florida highway for going more than 120 miles per hour on his new Suzuki. He knew his motorcycle riding was reckless, but after living through daily mortar attacks on his base in Iraq, he said he needed the adrenaline rush. “When you get here, there’s nothing that’s very exciting that keeps your pulse going,” Airman Kearns, 27, said in a recent interview. His experience is so common that the United States military, alarmed by a rising suicide rate and the record number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who die in highway accidents back home, is asking a provocative new question: Nearly a decade into two bloody wars, are the armed forces attracting recruits drawn to high-risk behavior?

If we were interested, we might notice that record numbers of soldiers are killing themselves. At least 125 committed suicide through August of this year, an awful pace that if continued would surpass last year’s all-time high of 162. Stressed-out, depressed and despondent soldiers are seeking help for their mental difficulties at a rate that is overwhelming the capacity of available professionals. And you can bet that there are even higher numbers of troubled service members who are not seeking help. In the war zones, we medicate the troubled troops and send them right back into action, loading them up with antidepressants, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety drugs and lord knows what other kinds of medication.

Crime, Corruption, Cheating, Incompetence, Blackwater, Petraeus, Benghazi

Prosecutors troubled by extent of military fraud.

Probe of contract for illegal silencers leads to web of Pentagon secrets The mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program entwined with allegations of a sweetheart contract, fake badges and trails of destroyed evidence. Capping an investigation that began almost two years ago, separate trials are scheduled this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., for a civilian Navy intelligence official and a hot-rod auto mechanic from California who prosecutors allege conspired to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers. The exact purpose of the silencers remains hazy, but court filings and pretrial testimony suggest they were part of a top-secret operation that would help arm guerrillas or commandos overseas. The silencers — 349 of them — were ordered by a little-known Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon known as the Directorate for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration, according to charging documents. The directorate is made up of fewer than 10 civilian employees, most of them retired military personnel. Court records filed by prosecutors allege that the Navy paid the auto mechanic — the brother of the directorate's boss — $1.6 million for the silencers, even though they cost only $10,000 in parts and labor to manufacture. The badge inquiry led NCIS to discover emails and a paper trail pertaining to the $1.6 million contract to buy the silencers from Landersman, the California mechanic. Court papers describe him as a struggling small-business man who raced hot rods and had declared bankruptcy in July 2012. He is the brother of David W. Landersman, the senior director for intelligence in the Navy directorate.

A former Defense Department supervisor was sentenced Friday to two years in federal prison for accepting more than $100,000 in bribes from contractors who sought to win or retain millions of dollars worth of government construction and service contracts at Camp Pendleton. While handing down the punishment to 64-year-old Natividad Lara “Nate” Cervantes, U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia also ordered the defendant, who is free on bond, to surrender by Sept. 30 and forfeit $106,964. Cervantes — who, according to prosecutors, called himself the “godfather” of the military base north of Oceanside — pleaded guilty in January to bribery and conspiracy charges. He admitted using his position at Camp Pendleton to solicit bribes from construction companies seeking to do business on the base, including those run by co-defendants Hugo Hernandez Alonso (Hugo Alonso Inc.) and Bayani Yabut Abueg Jr. (MBR Associates).

A retired Navy official who started a second career working for a defense contractor in Japan pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court Thursday to his role in a conspiracy to overcharge the U.S. Navy by as much as $2.5 million for port services to American ships. Edmond A. Aruffo, 45, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Oct. 3 by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino. Aruffo, who retired in 2007 at the rank of lieutenant commander after a military career spanning 20 years, is the fourth defendant to plead guilty in an extensive international fraud and bribery scandal that has ensnared employees of Glenn Defense Marine Asia and several U.S. Navy officials. Aruffo became manager of GDMA's Japan operations in 2009 after meeting CEO Glenn "Fat Leonard" Francis, who was also charged in the case. GDMA is a Singapore-based defense contractor that has serviced Navy ships and submarines in the Pacific for decades. Francis is accused of bribing Navy personnel with cash, luxury travel, expensive meals, consumer electronics and prostitutes in exchange for classified and propriety information to win contracts and favorable treatment for his company.

The presidents of two local contracting firms were sentenced Friday to prison terms after pleading guilty to bribing a federal employee to get construction and service contracts worth millions of dollars at Camp Pendleton. Hugo Hernandez Alonso, 50, of Chula Vista was sentenced to a year in prison and fined almost $127,000. Bayani Yabut Abueg Jr., 51, of San Diego was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $366,140. The two admitted to bribing Natividad Lara Cervantes, a civilian employee of the Department of Defense who was the supervisor for construction and service contracts in the inspection branch of the department. Cervantes pleaded guilty in January and is set to be sentenced in July.

In a U.S. Court, Iraqis Accuse Blackwater of Killings in 2007.

Generals breaking the rules: Does rank garner privilege or increased scrutiny?

7 YEARS LATER, BLACKWATER GUARDS GO ON TRIAL Jun. 9, 2014 After years of delays, four former guards from the security firm Blackwater Worldwide are facing trial in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe. Whether the shootings were self-defense or an unprovoked attack, the carnage of Sept. 16, 2007, was seen by critics of the George W. Bush administration as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong. Blackwater founder Erik Prince declared: "I believe we acted appropriately at all times." The Nisoor Square shootings spelled the death knell for his company. Formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, the company is under new ownership, is based in Virginia and Prince is no longer affiliated with it. The company was sold to a group of investors who changed the name to Academi.

Exclusive: Lt. Gen. William Boykin, past Delta Force commander, hit with Army reprimand.

Navy petty officer pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to accepting more than $10,000 in cash, travel expenses and electronic "gadgets" in exchange for providing classified information to a Singapore-based defense contractor. Petty Officer 1st-class Daniel Layug, 27, is the third defendant to plead guilty in a bribery scandal involving Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a firm that for decades provided services to Navy ships at Asia-Pacific ports. Layug pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery. He faces up to five years in prison when sentenced. In his plea bargain, he admitted leaking information about the movements of Navy ships that would help Glenn Defense Marine Asia position itself to get lucrative contracts to provide services to the ships. He also leaked price information about the firm's competitors. The central figure in the case, Leonard Glenn Francis, 49, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he bribed Layug and others and that his company padded its bills and in some cases billed for services that were never rendered. The bribery scheme led to the U.S. overpaying by more than $20 million for supplies and services, prosecutors said.

An enlisted sailor has been charged in the Navy bribery case in which two officers have already been charged with helping a Singapore businessman secure lucrative contracts to service Navy ships in the Asia-Pacific region. Petty Officer 1st Class Dan Layug, 27, was arrested Wednesday in San Diego and appeared Thursday before federal Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford, who set bail at $100,000 and required Layug to wear a GPS monitor. The two officers, Cmdrs. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, have pleaded not guilty. The two are accused of receiving money, first-class travel arrangements, entertainment tickets and the service of prostitutes. Like Layug, the officers were stationed in Japan and were privy to inside information about the movement of ships. Layug received cash, travel, consumer electronics and an "allowance" of $1,000 a month, according to prosecutors. Together, Layug and the two officers are charged with leaking information to Leonard Glenn Francis, 49, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Navy ships were redirected to ports where Francis' firm could supply them with a variety of services.,0,7610351.story#ixzz2zCDtCrFA

Never mind the dead civilians. Forget about the stolen guns. Get over the murder arrests, the fraud allegations, and the accusations of guards pumping themselves up with steroids and cocaine. Through a “joint venture,” the notorious private-security firm Blackwater has won a piece of a five-year State Department contract worth up to $10 billion, Danger Room has learned. Apparently, there is no misdeed so big that it can keep guns-for-hire from working for the government. And this is despite a 2008 campaign pledge from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ban the company from federal contracts. Eight private security firms have won State’s giant Worldwide Protective Services contract, the big Foggy Bottom partnership to keep embassies and their inhabitants safe. Two of those firms are longtime State contract holders DynCorp and Triple Canopy. The others are newcomers to the big security contract: EOD Technology, SOC, Aegis Defense Services, Global Strategies Group, Torres International Services and International Development Solutions LLC. Don’t see any of Blackwater’s myriad business names on there? That’s apparently by design. Blackwater and the State Department tried their best to obscure their renewed relationship. As Danger Room reported Wednesday, Blackwater did not appear on the vendors’ list for Worldwide Protective Services. And the State Department confirms that the company, renamed Xe Services, didn’t actually submit its own independent bid. Instead, they used a blandly named cut-out, “International Development Solutions,” to retain a toehold into State’s lucrative security business. No one who looks at the official announcement of the contract award would have any idea that firm is connected to Blackwater. Read More

Investigative report details Marine Corps' findings in scout sniper urination case. The video, which spread widely on the Internet, showed four Marines urinating on three dead insurgents. The maltreatment of dead bodies is considered a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

AP Exclusive: Misconduct forces more soldiers out Over the past year, a series of high profile scandals — from sexual assault and damaging leadership to mistreatment of the enemy and unauthorized spending — has dogged the military, leading to broad ethics reviews and new personnel policies. Those scandals included the demotion of Army Gen. William "Kip" Ward for lavish, unauthorized spending; sexual misconduct charges against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair; and episodes of gambling and drinking by other general officers. More recently, there have been cheating allegations against Air Force nuclear missile launch officers and a massive bribery case in California that has implicated six Navy officers. Examples of troop misconduct include Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters and soldiers posing with body parts of Afghan militants.

Nine-soldier crime ring linked to death of Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale.

Hundreds of US soldiers pocketed ‘tens of millions’ of dollars in fraud scandal.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A violent outburst by a Camp Pendleton Marine during an apparent road rage incident was caught on camera by the passenger of a truck on base. The video, which is nearly three minutes long, shows a Marine sergeant screaming profanities at the driver and yelling for him to get out of the truck. 10News has learned the name of the sergeant, who is a Purple Heart recipient. However, 10News is not revealing his identity until he is formally charged. The woman filming the video is a wounded Marine. 10News was told she is paralyzed from the waist down. The driver in the video is the wounded Marine's brother, who is also her caregiver. Both say they are terrified after the ordeal, which occurred Monday afternoon.

Source shares 'raunchy exchange' between Army officers about Republican congresswoman.

A San Diego-based company providing information technology services to the Department of Defense admitted bilking the government of more than $3.6 million, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Vector Planning & Services Inc. admitted the overbilling and agreed to pay the government $6.5 million under an agreement between the company and federal prosecutors that was submitted Tuesday to U.S. Magistrate William McCurine Jr. The fraud involved a scheme for several years to apply general business costs to bills for different contracts. Fake invoices were submitted, with false accounting entries made, according to court documents. The effect of the fraudulent submissions was, in essence, to pay Vector twice for the same expenses, according to prosecutors. The scheme was blamed on the company's chief executive officer, who has since died. "Those companies that choose to defraud our nation's armed services will be found and held accountable," U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy said.,0,3118247.story#ixzz2qWEcSEcF

Navy’s second-ranking civilian resigns amid criminal investigation. Robert C. Martinage, the acting undersecretary of the Navy, stepped down Tuesday after his boss, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, asked for his resignation “following a loss of confidence in [his] abilities to effectively perform his duties,” according to a statement released by the Navy. Papers filed by prosecutors state that Hall, Landersman and Gill have been on administrative leave from their Navy jobs for the past 11 months. The judge in the case, Leonie M. Brinkema, has questioned the merits of the government’s evidence against Mark Landersman, the auto mechanic, while suggesting that the real targets of the whole investigation are the unindicted Navy officials. On Friday, she cited evidence supplied by Mark Landersman’s defense lawyers that his $1.6 million price for the silencers was actually far cheaper than a quote the Navy received from another manufacturer.

Former Camp Pendleton Marine shares sex abuse story amid sweeping reforms targeting sex crimes,

Crime, Corruption, Cheating, Incompetence, Blackwater, Petraeus, Benghazi archived 131221

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Karl Becker told a few of his fellow Navy SEALs last year he had a surefire way for them to make some extra money, federal investigators said. According to court documents, a confidential informant tipped the Naval Criminal Investigative Service last September to Becker's operation. Agents subsequently located a listing on for an M18 yellow smoke grenade that appeared to be from a shipment sent to Naval Special Warfare Group 2, which is based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach. In November, an undercover NCIS agent contacted the seller and was invited to see the grenades at his home in Norfolk, documents said. The agent purchased two grenades for $500. During a subsequent visit, the agent bought 200 rounds of 5.56mm NATO armor-piercing ammunition in a drum designed to be attached to an automatic weapon and two Avon M50 gas masks, which Becker claimed were issued only to special operations personnel. The agent paid $1,025 for the ammunition and gas masks, documents said. The agent looked at, but did not buy, at least 10 weapons Becker was trying to sell from his home. Becker told the agent some were from his personal collection and some had been acquired for resale and profit. Most had price tags. While speaking with the agent, Becker explained that he started his business, D&C Outdoors LLC, because he had "a ton of guns" to sell. Becker also told the agent he had suppressors "in stock" and available for sale, documents said. Records obtained from indicate that Becker used the site to sell more than 50 weapons since Oct. 10, 2012, documents said. According to Navy records, Becker enlisted on Aug. 13, 2009. He finished SEAL training in September 2012 and was assigned to the East Coast naval special warfare unit in October 2012.

FORT HOOD, Texas — A sexual assault prevention officer recruited young, financially distressed female soldiers to be part of an escort service involving senior noncommissioned officers, according to testimony Monday in the first day of the court-martial of a soldier Army prosecutors say used the service in February. Master Sgt. Brad Grimes, a 17-year Army veteran who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, faces a year of confinement, a reduction in rank to private and a bad conduct discharge on charges that include adultery and conspiring to pay for sex from a Fort Hood private. In a case that has helped focus public attention on the problem of sexual assault within the military, Army prosecutors accuse Grimes of taking part in a prostitution ring they say was set up by Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen, the sexual assault prevention officer of a battalion within Fort Hood’s III Corps headquarters.

Facing pressure to combat drug use and sexual assault at the Air Force Academy, the Air Force has created a secret system of cadet informants to hunt for misconduct among students. Cadets who attend the publicly-funded academy near Colorado Springs must pledge never to lie. But the program pushes some to do just that: Informants are told to deceive classmates, professors and commanders while snapping photos, wearing recording devices and filing secret reports. For one former academy student, becoming a covert government operative meant not only betraying the values he vowed to uphold, it meant being thrown out of the academy as punishment for doing the things the Air Force secretly told him to do. Eric Thomas, 24, was a confidential informant for the Office of Special Investigations, or OSI — a law enforcement branch of the Air Force. OSI ordered Thomas to infiltrate academy cliques, wearing recorders, setting up drug buys, tailing suspected rapists and feeding information back to OSI. In pursuit of cases, he was regularly directed by agents to break academy rules. “It was exciting. And it was effective,” said Thomas, a soccer and football player who received no compensation for his informant work. “We got 15 convictions of drugs, two convictions of sexual assault. We were making a difference. It was motivating, especially with the sexual assaults. You could see the victims have a sense of peace.” Through it all, he thought OSI would have his back. But when an operation went wrong, he said, his handlers cut communication and disavowed knowledge of his actions, and watched as he was kicked out of the academy. “It was like a spy movie,” said Thomas, who was expelled in April, a month before graduation. “I worked on dozens of cases, did a lot of good, and when it all hit the fan, they didn’t know me anymore.”

In a widening scandal, the Navy cut ties Wednesday with a second international company over "questionable business integrity" involving lucrative contracts to service U.S. ships in foreign ports. The Navy announced that it has suspended contracts with British-based Inchcape Shipping Services Ltd. and its affiliated companies. The firm has provided "ship husbanding" services to U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean.,0,3918434.story

‘Fat Leonard’ gets bond in Navy bribery case.

Trouble inside the Air Force's nuclear missile force runs deeper and wider than officials have let on. An unpublished study for the Air Force, obtained by The Associated Press, cites "burnout" among launch officers with their fingers on the triggers of 450 weapons of mass destruction. Also, evidence of broader behavioral issues across the intercontinental ballistic missile force, including sexual assaults and domestic violence. The study, provided to the AP in draft form, says that court-martial rates in the nuclear missile force in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. Administrative punishments, such as written reprimands for rules violations and other misbehavior, also were higher in those years.

Posted: 11/20/2013 SAN DIEGO - A Navy commander charged with accepting the services of prostitutes, luxury travel and $100,000 cash from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified information was scheduled to make his first appearance in San Diego's federal court Wednesday. Navy Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, was arrested in Tampa Nov. 6 and made his initial appearance in federal court in Florida later the same day. Federal authorities have since had him extradited to San Diego to face charges. Also charged in the same complaint as Sanchez is Leonard Glenn Francis, 49, of Malaysia -- the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Francis was arrested in San Diego Sept. 16 after Navy officials summoned him from Singapore to California to discuss business face-to-face. Two other senior Navy officials -- Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II -- are charged separately in connection with bribery allegations. "According to the allegations in this case, a number of officials were willing to sacrifice their integrity and millions of taxpayer dollars for personal gratification," U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said.

The owner of a Singapore-based company who was arrested in September in connection with a multimillion-dollar fraud and bribery scheme that has rocked the U.S. Navy, is due in court this week in hopes of getting bail. Leonard Glenn Francis, a 49-year-old Malaysian national, was arrested in San Diego, where he had been duped into thinking he was arriving for a business meeting. He is being held without bail in federal prison in San Diego. Prosecutors consider him a flight risk and oppose his request for bail. Also charged in the case are Alex Wisidagama, one of Francis’ executives; Navy commanders Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Jose Luis Sanchez and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent John Beliveau II. Each has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy. Francis’ firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, provided services to the U.S. Navy for more than 25 years in ports from South Korea to Hong Kong.,0,4122773.story

The Navy has canceled more than $200 million in contracts with a Singapore-based company at the center of a spiraling scandal involving accusations of bribery and leaking of confidential information. The Navy terminated "for cause" three contracts worth $196 million with Glenn Defense Marine Asia and six more worth $7.5 million "for convenience," Navy officials confirmed Thursday. Prosecutors say the bribery scheme cost the Navy and taxpayers more than $10 million. During a five-day visit by the carrier Abraham Lincoln to the port at Laem Chabang, Thailand, the Navy was billed $884,000 for husbanding services. Of that amount, more than $500,000 was overbilling, according to federal prosecutors.,0,3971359.story

Navy scandal spans globe, climbs ranks.

'60 Minutes' Apologizes For Benghazi Report: 'We Were Wrong'

Last month, Senator Lindsey Graham vowed to block the confirmation of every Obama administration appointee because the administration was preventing Benghazi survivors from testifying before Congress. Now, three Benghazi witnesses are set to testify for the first time. Their lawyer says the administration never discouraged their testimony, but Graham’s office says the holds aren’t going anywhere. “Still have holds in place,” Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop tells The Cable. It’s unclear what further actions might change Graham’s calculus on the holds…. Over the last year, I feel like a pattern has emerged. Congressional Republicans, convinced without evidence that their vague conspiracy theories have merit, said, “Give us classified briefings on Benghazi or we’ll throw a fit!” At which point the administration hosted a series of classified briefings, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand testimony from David Petraeus or we’ll throw a fit!” At which point Petraeus testified, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand testimony from Leon Panetta or we’ll throw a fit!” At which point Panetta testified, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand testimony from Hillary Clinton or we’ll throw a fit!” At which point Clinton testified, offering nothing to substantiate the conspiracy. So Republicans said, “We demand to hear directly from Benghazi survivors or we’ll throw a fit!” At which point the administration agreed to make several Benghazi survivors available for testimony.

Ex-Army Gen. David Petraeus tried to downgrade war hero’s valor award: Pentagon The then-top commander in Afghanistan had recommended a lesser award for Army Capt. William Swenson, who fought off Taliban insurgents and rescued other troops, investigators found. Swenson eventually received a Medal of Honor, the top award. Read more:

CIA chief Petraeus steps down, having failed to keep his drone in his pants.

Two Navy admirals have been put on leave and their access to classified material suspended while they are investigated as part of a bribery case involving services provided to U.S. ships in ports in the Asia-Pacific region, the Navy announced Friday. Five people have already been charged: two Navy commanders, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and two foreign businessmen. Vice Adm. Ted Branch, director of Naval intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, director of intelligence operations, have been put on leave and their access to classified material suspended, Navy spokesman Rear Adm. John F. Kirby announced in Washington. "The allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involve inappropriate conduct prior to their current assignments and flag officer rank," Kirby said. "There is no indication, nor do the allegations suggest, that in either case there was any breach of classified information.",0,4094344.story

Military misconduct cases worry Pentagon brass. Recent allegations against generals and admirals create concern about ethical and moral shortcomings among senior officers. "We do not have an epidemic of flag-officer misconduct in the United States Navy," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy's top spokesman, said in comments echoed by senior officers in other services. But officials acknowledge that a steady stream of revelations, some involving decorated combat officers, have the potential to damage public confidence in an institution that portrays itself as abiding by the highest standards of conduct. That could harm morale in the ranks, recruiting and public support for the military.,0,1744271.story

Senior officer, NCIS agent are among those arrested in Navy bribery scandal. Glenn Defense Marine officials soon became more familiar with Misiewicz and e-mailed one another about how the commander “liked Japanese women.” They later provided tickets and female escorts for Misiewicz and four co-workers to attend the Lady Gaga concert in Thailand and paid for shore leave in Singapore and other cities, according to court records. “Take care gents, thank you for the best leave (w/o kids that is) ever!” Misiewicz, a married father of four, wrote in an e-mail to Francis and another company official after a visit to Cambodia in June 2011, according to court documents. In his e-mails, Misiewicz fondly called Francis “Big Bro” — the executive is 6-3, weighs 350 pounds and is known in Navy circles as “Fat Leonard,” the court papers say. Francis in turn called Misiewicz “Little Bro,” reflecting how the commander stood nearly a foot shorter and almost 200 pounds lighter. In exchange for prostitutes, travel and other favors, federal authorities allege, Misiewicz provided Francis with classified information about ship movements and steered vessels to specific Asian ports. Court documents allege that Francis was receiving regular tip-offs from inside the agency about the state of investigations. The information, prosecutors say, was being supplied by John B. Beliveau II, a onetime NCIS agent of the year, who was arrested at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Southeast Washington on the same day that Misiewicz was taken into custody. Beliveau is the supervisory agent in charge of the NCIS office in Quantico. Prosecutors have charged him with conspiracy to commit bribery, saying he fed Francis confidential information about pending criminal investigations into Glenn Defense Marine from March 2011 until shortly before both were arrested. In return, according to charging documents, Francis supplied Beliveau with prostitutes and free travel, including a three-week trip to five Asian countries. Court records show that Beliveau met Francis when he was stationed in Asia with the NCIS and allege that the pair began exchanging regular e-mails in 2008. In e-mails included in the charging documents, Beliveau playfully pressed for returns from the Navy contractor. “You give whores more money than me ;)” he wrote to Francis in April 2012. “Don’t get too busy that you forget your friends. . . . Let me know . . . I can be your best friend or worst enemy.” “You are a sore Bitch and I have not forgotten you Bro,” Francis replied, according to court papers. “How do I send you a gift?” Beliveau was not assigned to the NCIS team scrutinizing Glenn Defense Marine, but court papers allege that he downloaded scores of reports from the case file by accessing the agency’s internal databases. Investigators say Beliveau took many of the copied files home and exchanged more than 1,000 text messages with Francis over 15 months. Beliveau’s attorney, Gretchen Von Holmes of San Diego, did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.

The head of a Singapore-based defense contractor was charged in San Diego Tuesday with bribing a Navy commander and a criminal investigator with prostitutes and luxury travel in exchange for confidential information on multimillion-dollar work contracts. One complaint alleges that the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. was slipped documents about a Naval Criminal Investigative Service fraud probe into how his company obtained a government contract potentially worth $125 million. A second complaint alleges that Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz gave the CEO tips months in advance about the worldwide movements of Navy ships, giving him the edge on obtaining other highly lucrative contracts to provide maintenance, repair and other port services. The contractor, Leonard Glenn Francis, was arrested in San Diego Monday evening and appeared in federal court Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The Justice Department on Thursday brought fresh charges against four former Blackwater Worldwide security contractors, resurrecting an internationally charged case over a deadly 2007 shooting on the streets of Baghdad. A new grand jury indictment charges the men in a shooting that inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq and heightened diplomatic sensitivities amid an ongoing war. The men were hired to guard U.S. diplomats. The guards are accused of opening fire in busy Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007. Seventeen Iraqi civilians died, including women and children. Prosecutors say the heavily armed Blackwater convoy used machine guns and grenades in an unprovoked attack. Defense lawyers argue their clients are innocent men who were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents.

Female Soldiers Facing Combat More Likely To Be Sexually Assaulted

“As graduate students and educators of CUNY, we express our outrage at the violent and unprovoked actions by the NYPD against CUNY students peacefully protesting the appointment of war criminal David Petraeus as a lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College. We deplore the use of violence and brutal tactics against CUNY students and faculty who were protesting outside the college. It is unacceptable for the university to allow the police to violently arrest students.” The statement concluded: “We call on CUNY to terminate Petraeus’ appointment and to ask for the charges against these students to be dropped immediately.”

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Peden, 25, right, and Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19 are led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge at the Long County Sheriffs Office on December 12, 2011, in Ludowici, Georgia. Can the army be held responsible for the actions of a few rogue soldiers? Caitlin Dickson pieces together a sordid tale of drugs, guns, and a plot to overthrow the U.S. government that left two civilians dead.

Military personnel punished for posting ads seeking sex in Afghanistan. Eleven military personnel and six civilian employees of the Department of Defense were punished for placing ads on commercial websites seeking sex while they were deployed to Afghanistan, the Marine Corps announced Saturday. The 11 included seven Marines, two sailors, one soldier, and one Air Force individual, the Marines said. Most were enlisted but an unspecified number were officers.,0,906123.story

Fort Carson investigates sexual misconduct with underage girls.,0,355654.story

Seven former Marines and seven active duty Marines are among 50 people arrested thursday in Southern California for reportedly operating a massive crime ring. There were a total of 64 indicted, and 14 are still at large. The Marines were allegedly stealing and selling military equipment from Camp Pendleton, to include night-vision goggles and kevlar helmets. Read more:

While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Sexual trauma set Ms. Jackson on her path. At first she thought she could put “the incident” behind her: that cool August evening outside Suwon Air Base in South Korea when, she said, a serviceman grabbed her by the throat in the ladies’ room of a bar and savagely raped her on the urine-soaked floor. But during the seven years she drifted in and out of homelessness, she found she could not forget.

The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer. Inside the military's culture of sex abuse, denial and cover-up.

It couldn’t be clearer now that, from the shirtless FBI agent to the “embedded” biographer and the “other other woman,” the “fall” of David Petraeus is playing out as farce of the first order. What’s less obvious is that Petraeus, America’s military golden boy and Caesar of celebrity, was always smoke and mirrors, always the farce, even if the denizens of Washington didn’t know it.

Every environment Petraeus enters is instantly bettered by his majestic personage. We see him passing through destroyed hamlets in Afghanistan, the weight of the world on his rugged shoulders, scratching his figurative chin as he worries which strategies to choose "so that villagers could once again live in peace and prosperity." We see Petraeus giving stirring speeches, working past midnight until aides tear him away from his desk, and stoically receiving compliments from grateful colleagues (Gates later tells him: "You have stepped forward as the indispensable soldier/scholar of this era . . ."). The book is so one-sided that it is almost supernaturally dull, and I was forgetting about it just minutes after I put it down. Then it hit me – it was an interesting book, after all! Because if you read All In carefully, the book's tone will remind you of pretty much any other authorized bio of any major figure in business or politics (particularly in business), and it will most particularly remind you of almost any Time or Newsweek famous-statesperson profile. Which means: it's impossible to tell the difference between the tone of a reporter who we now know was literally sucking the dick of her subject and the tone of just about any other modern American reporter who is given access to a powerful person for a biography or feature-length profile.

Paula Broadwell poses with submachine gun in tight jeans and leather boots on firing range. The mistress who brought down disgraced CIA Director David Petraeus was snapped shooting up a storm with the futuristic firearm in December 2011. Read more:

The woman at the center of the alleged adultery scandal that led CIA Director David Petraeus to resign on Friday gave a speech last month asserting otherwise unreported information about the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Broadwell seemed to speak on behalf of Petraeus: “The challenging thing for General Petraeus is that in his new position he is not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this, they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya. Within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.” Broadwell, herself a former military intelligence officer, began her discussion of the attack by referencing an exclusive Fox News report that had run that day. But while dramatic details of that story were later fiercely disputed by government officials, she relayed only parts of that story—like the attempt to send backup from a special-operations force—that were finally confirmed. Later she lamented that the coverage of Benghazi had compromised U.S. efforts. “As a former intel officer,” she said. “It’s frustrating to me because it reveals our sources and methods. I don’t think the public needs to know all of that.”

Some members of Congress have protested the delay in being notified of the F.B.I.’s investigation of Mr. Petraeus until just after the presidential election. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that her committee would “absolutely” demand an explanation. An F.B.I. case involving the C.I.A. director “could have had an effect on national security,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think we should have been told.”

it is truly remarkable what ends people’s careers in Washington – and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.

News that the CIA chief was having an affair did not shock those close to him during his final tours of battle. John Barry on the lonely life of the general—and the early hints of impropriety.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein(D-Calif.), said Petraeus’ announcement was “like a lightning bolt,” and that there was no advance notice of his decision. Appearing on “Fox NewsSunday,” Feinstein also explained her statement earlier in the week that President Obama should not have accepted Petraeus’ resignation. “When you realize additional complications, which I did not at the time when I spoke to him, I think he did the right thing. I think the president really had no choice but to accept that resignation,” she said. Petraeus was scheduled to testify on the attack in Benghazi this week, presenting the findings of his independent investigation into the situation on the ground, but will now be replaced in the hearing by Acting CIA Director Mike Morrell. Washington Postreporter Bob Woodward shed some light on what Petraeus’ findings may have been. “I think it would have essentially backed up the White House – the question is whether he’ll be asked to testify as a private citizen,” Woodward said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The suddenness of Petraeus’ resignation, and the heated political environment around the incident in Benghazi, has stoked conspiratorial speculation. Feinstein said there was “absolutely not” a connection between the resignation and consulate attack, but that hasn’t halted other members of Congress from engaging in speculation.,0,5885439.story

Yet more security concerns emerge about Paula Broadwell’s access to Petraeus.

How I Was Drawn Into the Cult of David Petraeus

The military's porn problem: A national security threat? Pentagon employees are caught surfing for X-rated material at work — and the porn may have contained malware that lets foreign spies phish for top-secret data.

Help Hospitalized Veterans charity accused of diverting donations California's attorney general alleges in a lawsuit that Help Hospitalized Veterans of Riverside County used much of its donations for lavish salaries, pensions and perks. The charity's longtime president, Roger Chapin, who reportedly received $2.3 million during seven years and retired in 2009 with a $2-million pension, was unavailable for comment. Chapin and his wife, Elizabeth, residents of San Diego County, are among the defendants.,0,3045658.story

The warrior class: A golden age for the freelance soldier.

Crime, Corruption, Cheating, Incompetence, Blackwater, archive April 2012

“We are having more and more issues with the military — suicides, domestic violence, DUIs, malicious mischief,” Bulman said. “They are trying to deal with issues unsuccessfully, and so they end up getting into trouble. But the situation can escalate if they are not treated properly.” Lewis-McChord, an Army and Air Force installation south of Tacoma, is the largest military base on the West Coast, and thousands of service members from here have been deployed, often repeatedly, to Iraq and Afghanistan. The consequences of those tours are being felt both on distant battlefields and in the communities that surround the base, according to activists who work with veterans. Confrontations with the police and criminal activity off the base are on the rise, and the legacy of battle is to blame, they say.

8 soldiers charged in private's 'apparent' suicide in Afghanistan.

The FBI Announces Gangs Have Infiltrated Every Branch Of The Military.

The fire was burning near a training site, where a 1-acre fire was sparked earlier this year by small arms fire, authorities said. Hollywood film crews and the military have used the Eagle Rock Training Center on the reservation for movies and training. Naval and Marine special forces from Coronado have trained at the facility, military officials said. The center's organizers have told North County Times repeatedly that they would not allow explosives at the facility, nor incendiary bullets. They also said they had cleared brush at the firing range and taken necessary fire safety measures. Authorities said the cause of the fire that started Thursday night is still under investigation. A guard shack at the entrance to the training center is the only reported structure that had burned as of Friday morning.

How badly did the Pentagon want special trucks that could protect against insurgent bombs? So badly that it let the contractors responsible for providing them essentially write their own contracts. That’s one of the conclusions from a Pentagon inspector general’s report released late Monday (.pdf) into a contract to provide logistics and maintenance work on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) worth nearly half a billion dollars. The line between contractor and government vendor became so porous that officials “increased the risk for potential waste or abuse on the contract,” the inspector general wrote. Getting the resilient MRAPs into Iraq and Afghanistan was a top priority for former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. That urgency led some officials at the Army’s Contracting Command and the Joint Program Office-MRAP into a too-cozy relationship with Jacobs Technology and its subcontractor SAIC, which won a $193.4 million award for logistics services on the MRAPs in November 2007. In a reversal of how contracting is supposed to work, the inspector general finds that Jacobs/SAIC employees “directed Government personnel in Iraq,” ordering them to report to the contractor team and not government officials. In another case, a battalion commander with the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade allowed a contractor employee to assist in reprimanding an unnamed Defense Department official for an unspecified infraction, another no-no. “[C]ontractor employees appeared to be directing the day-to-day operations of DoD personnel,” the inspector general finds. But the coup de grace came in 2009, ahead of the re-up of the contract. The contractors’ Army partners and the Joint Program Office “worked together to prepare the contract requirement” for the successor to the MRAP bid, a deal worth $285.5 million that ended in May. Shockingly, that contract went to SAIC, too. “The contractor’s performance of these functions violates the two underlying principles in the acquisition process: preventing unfair competitive advantage and preventing the existence of conflicting roles that might bias a contractor’s judgment,” the inspector general writes.

The Kill Team Photos More war crime images the Pentagon doesn't want you to see.

The statement only identified the official as D.V., and a spokeswoman for Duffy wouldn't provide any further information. It's unclear if that official serves in uniform or is a civilian, and whether he or she will face charges.

The owner of a San Diego machine shop pleaded guilty Monday to bribing a government official employed by the U.S. Navy in an effort to get more than $300,000 in contracts to provide parts for Navy warplanes. Jesse Denome, 47, owner of JD Machine Tech, pleaded guilty in federal court to providing the employee with a series of gifts, including a $2,472 bicycle,a $449 model airplane engine and more than $18,000 in credit card payments. Denome is set for sentencing Aug. 8. He faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on his guilty plea to conspiracy to bribe a federal official. He also pleaded guilty to income tax evasion, for which he faces a maximum three years in prison and $250,000 fine. The parts were part of the early warning system for the E-2C Hawkeye and the C-2A Greyhound. The planes provide a range of surveillance and electronic warfare capabilities. The name of the Navy employee was not released, nor was any information about whether he has been charged in the case.

The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom. Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times. The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest or were challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labor camps or democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year. The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

John Ashcroft assumes charge of "ethics and professionalism" for Blackwater.

A Camp Pendleton Marine is indicted in an alleged murder for hire plot that resulted in the death of his wife in Ohio. Sam Wilson was arrested Tuesday. It's a chilling crime has left the family of Asia Harris heartbroken, after investigators say she was killed in a murder-for-hire plot - orchestrated by her husband. "It's a tragedy and it kind of knocked us off our feet," said Denise Prince, Asia's cousin. Investigators say 21-year-old Samuel Wilson - a Camp Pendleton-based marine - hired his friend, 25-year-old Darin Brusiter, to shoot her in the head while the trio was driving through Cleveland earlier this month. When questioned by police, Wilson, who was on leave, said the gunman was a stranger he and his wife had asked for directions. But prosecutors say it was all an elaborate lie to cash in on his wife's life insurance policy.

n ex-Navy sailor pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court Thursday to stealing military equipment and selling it through EBay. Phillip Andro Jamison, 31, a former petty officer 1st class, admitted that he sold tactical flashlights, rifle scopes, laser aiming devices and night-vision items -- all stolen from an armory at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado. In one instance, he exported some of the equipment to Hong Kong. As part of a plea bargain, Jamison agreed pay the Navy more than $170,000 for the stolen items. He is to be sentenced Aug. 1. The maximum term for export of defense articles without a license is 10 years in prison and a $1-million fine.

Two men met Munzenmaier on the road. One introduced himself as Brian Bonfiglio. Bonfiglio was a vice president of Blackwater Worldwide and the main public contact during the private security firm’s 2006 bid to create the training facility in Potrero. Blackwater, now called Xe Services, pulled out in 2008 as residents protested its wartime activities in Iraq and raised concerns about increased traffic, noise and wildfire dangers linked to munitions exercises. The second man, Sean Roach, is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and former business executive. His name appears in the incorporation records for several companies in Nevada and San Diego County, and he is a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County. At the reservation, Bonfiglio and Roach told Munzenmaier that Eagle Rock LLC runs the facility as a Department of Defense outsourcing project and that troops would train there. They said the company was leasing the land from the tribe and that plans call for construction of five villages of different sizes and configurations to be built out of shipping containers spray-foamed and painted to resemble mud huts. Eventually, they said, “real Afghans” will be brought to the mock villages to help their clients with language and cultural immersion training. They also said a helicopter pad was located farther up a hill, as were two helicopter shells and several old vehicles.

Jeremy Morlock, the Army specialist made notorious in a grisly photograph showing off a dead Afghan civilian like a hunting trophy, pleaded guilty to three murders and faces up to 24 years in prison. Morlock's friends from Alaska tell Shushannah Walshe about his Army experience, his father's death—and his temper. Sarah Palin.

Photos of U.S. soldiers and Afghan corpse published.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus issued secretarial letters of censure Friday to four senior officers assigned to the carrier Enterprise while the often-raunchy XO Movie Night videos aired aboard the carrier from 2005 to 2007. The letters, according to Rear Adm. Denny Moynihan, chief of naval information, were given to Capt. Owen Honors, who as the carrier’s executive officer co-produced and starred in most of the offending videos; Capt. John Dixon, who followed Honors as XO and produced several additional videos, some of which contained what was viewed as offensive material; Rear Adm. Larry Rice, who commanded Enterprise from January 2005 through May 2007; and Rear Adm. Ron Horton, who relieved Rice and commanded the ship until May 2010.

Two San Diego sailors were arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony child abuse in the death 17 months ago of their 3-month-old daughter, San Diego police said. Steven Davinger, 28, and Sara Davinger, 22, were arrested at the 32nd Street Naval Station in the Oct. 13, 2009, death of Aziya Davinger. Steven Davinger is the child's stepfather. The child died of staph infections caused by multiple rib fractures, according to the county Medical Examiner. Police Lt. Kevin Rooney said the case was slowed by the tangled relationships between the five adults living in the same apartment. A caregiver called paramedics when the child lapsed into unconsciousness. The Davingers are being held responsible for "acts and omissions that led to their daughter's death," Rooney said. Once injured, the child did not receive adequate medical care, he said.

USS Enterprise videos: Navy admiral calls for censure. A US Navy admiral has recommended that the Navy censure senior officers of the USS Enterprise over a series of lewd videos produced on the ship. Adm John Harvey urged the potentially career-ending punishment for Capt Owen Honors and three others, and called for 32 other officers to be cautioned. Videos featuring Capt Honors included anti-gay slurs, women in the shower together and simulated masturbation. Capt Honors was relieved of command of the aircraft carrier over the matter.

Report: Wartime Contractors Waste, Steal Tens Of Billions -- Then Come Back For More.

Lemon Grove Detectives and U.S. Marine Corps Criminal Investigators searched a home at 2851 Highlands Blvd. in Spring Valley Thursday morning that is also used as a licensed child day care center. Authorities had previously arrested Michael Manglicmot, 23, for desertion from the Marine Corps. Sheriff’s detective Joel Stranger, working with USMC-CID investigators, learned that Manglicmot was the primary suspect in several recent burglaries at Camp Pendleton and Spring Valley. During the search, stolen property items including USMC body armor and night vision equipment were found. Detectives arrested Manglicmot’s brother, Mario Solis, 27, on charges of drug possession and sale, as well as possessing a loaded firearm. Manglicmot lived at the residence, where his mother runs the day care center. Solis was found to be in possession of a sizable amount of marijuana, along with items indicating he was selling the drug. Solis also had in his possession a loaded firearm. He was arrested and booked into San Diego Central Jail. Social service agencies were also contacted regarding the findings at the daycare center/residence, said Sgt. Jeff Maxin at the Lemon Grove Sheriff’s substation. The investigation is continuing.

An Army private and Palmdale native who escaped from military custody in Georgia and is believed to have raped a 15-year-old girl from Los Angeles County has been captured in Florida, authorities said Friday night. Daniel Brazelton, 20, was booked on suspicion of being a fugitive from justice in Volusia County, Fla., after his arrest at a motel by police in Daytona Beach, Fla., said Capt. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Brazelton was unarmed and surrendered to authorities without incident.

A landmark lawsuit filed Tuesday against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, alleges that the military's repeated failures to take action in rape cases created a culture where violence against women was tolerated, violating the plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights.

The Army's special medical units should be healing more than 9,300 soldiers entrusted to their care. But a nine-month probe by the Tribune-Review found America's sick and injured soldiers must struggle to mend inside 38 Warrior Transition units the Army has turned into dumping grounds for criminals, malingerers and dope addicts. Originally designed to treat the wounded from twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after nearly a decade of battle these barracks snag soldiers in red tape. Despite an epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, brain injuries and substance abuse linked to repeated combat deployments, soldiers sometimes spend years desperately seeking psychological care. Overlooked, over-medicated and overseen by a stressed staff, the hardest hit often are in the Army National Guard and Reserves. Read more: Documents show Army's disservice to broken soldiers - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Col. Robert G. Petit, commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was relieved of command Saturday following his arrest a week ago in connection with a theft at Walmart in Jacksonville. Petit, 50, who took command of the 24th MEU in September, was detained by Jacksonville police shortly after 5 p.m. Jan. 29, and charged with one count of misdemeanor larceny for allegedly stealing printer ink and STP fuel cleaner worth about $65, according to police and court documents. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 22.

Sykes is one of four former Camp Pendleton-based Marines charged with murdering Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak, 24, and his wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26, who were found dead Oct. 15, 2008, in the family room of their Bermuda Street home. Sykes and co-defendants Emrys John, 21, Tyrone Miller, 23, and Kevin Cox, 23, are charged with multiple felonies, including two counts of first-degree murder, rape by foreign object and special-circumstance allegations of multiple murders. John has also been charged with using a firearm. During a prior hearing, investigators testified about statements the defendants made that painted a picture of what happened at the Pietrzak home. The four men, armed with guns, went to the Winchester house where they believed the couple had a lot of money and valuables, Riverside County sheriff's Investigator Gary LeClair had testified. Jenkins-Pietrzak was sexually assaulted in front of her husband in an effort to force him to disclose where they could find cash and other valuables they incorrectly believed the couple had, LeClair had testified. After the couple were shot, attempts were made to set the Pietrzaks' two-story home on fire, authorities have said.

Staff Sgt. Corey H. McAdoo, 31, is charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. He was brought back to the U.S. from Afghanistan to face charges after an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

A former part-time anti-terrorism instructor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and other schools was arrested Tuesday in Maryland on mail fraud charges for allegedly lying about his academic credentials and military experience. William G. Hillar, who claimed to have been a retired colonel in the U.S. Army's Special Forces with a Ph.D. and many overseas adventures, "was living a lie and basing his entire career on experience he did not have and credentials that he did not earn," Baltimore-based U.S. Atty. Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. In fact, Hillar, who served in the Coast Guard reserves, was never trained in counter-terrorism and does not have a doctorate from the University of Oregon as he claimed, Rosenstein said.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal: the arch traitor. We need people to serve honorably, not people like McChrystal.

DynCorp, Other Private Contractors In Afghanistan Behaving Badly.

An ex-Marine was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in state prison for shooting at a California Highway Patrol officer after a 2009 freeway chase in El Cajon. Edward Michael Forney, 21, was sentenced in the El Cajon branch of San Diego County Superior Court after pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer. The officer was unhurt in the Aug. 9, 2009, incident. Forney was a Marine private stationed at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego. He has since been administratively separated from the Marine Corps. The incident began about 3 a.m. on Interstate 8 when the driver of a car in which Forney was a passenger refused to pull over. A CHP officer believed the driver was drunk. The driver, Charles Neal, 24, pleaded guilty to felony evading arrest and was sentenced to two years in prison. El Cajon police said Forney and Neal were documented gang members.

A Navy SEAL accused of smuggling 80 assault rifles from Iraq or Afghanistan will remain in custody pending an appeal of a federal judge’s decision Friday to release him on $150,000 bond. Magistrate William Gallo said he was willing to take a risk on Nicholas Bickle of San Diego because a Navy commander and about 20 SEALs packed the courtroom to show their support. But he held off on releasing the defendant after his ruling met resistance from prosecutors who called Bickle a “rogue” Navy SEAL who set up a criminal organization to sell the arms on the black market. Gallo agreed to keep Bickle in custody pending an appeal of his ruling. Government prosecutors called Bickle a danger to the community and a flight risk with connections worldwide. They said after his 2009 tour in Iraq, he smuggled in weapons to the U.S. and sales of the arms have earned him and his two associates hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A U.S. Navy noncommissioned officer has been arrested on base for allegedly downloading child pornography on his laptop computer, the FBI said Tuesday. Petty Officer 1st class Joseph Valencia Gonzalez II, 36, was sitting in his truck looking at child pornography on his laptop Monday using a wireless connection at a fast-food restaurant at Naval Base Coronado, the FBI said. On his computer were 42 images and three videos depicting child pornography, according to a criminal complaint in San Diego federal court. Gonzalez was arrested by FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents. He faces a prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000, officials said.

Four U.S. Marines have been arrested for allegedly selling rifles and assault weapons to gang members in Los Angeles. On Monday, ATF agents arrested Jose Smith Pacheco, 31, of Montebello, and Miguel A. Ortiz, 49, of Northridge, both former Marines. Also arrested were Edwin Cano, 33, of Northridge, and Christopher John Thomas, 32, of Van Nuys. The four, along with Gitschlag, are charged with five counts each of having unlawful assault weapons, including four AK-47 assault rifles and an AR-15 assault weapon. Cano faces three additional counts, including two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. The felony complaint for arrest warrant was filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Deputy District Attorney Steven Dickman of the Hardcore Gang Division is prosecuting the case.]

Bickle is described in the complaint as “very disciplined.” He certainly had a distinct style of operational security. “If you ever fuck with me,” he allegedly told a co-conspirator who dimed him out to the feds, “you know who we are. We’re the government, we’ll catch you.”

Navy SEAL accused of selling AK-47 assault rifles smuggled from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two active duty Marines were behind bars Monday on suspicion of robbing a La Mesa credit union at gunpoint, after one of them allegedly led police on a chase that included gunfire and the evacuation of a Rolando neighborhood. Davon Jacques Darden, 23, and Dominique Dontae Lasker, 26, are suspected of robbing the California Coast Credit Union at 8002 La Mesa Blvd. about 2 p.m. Saturday, according to FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth. They wore masks and one of them was armed with a handgun, he said, adding that they jumped over the teller counter and held up several tellers at gunpoint.

Recent revelations by WikiLeaks show how top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world. Ellen Knickmeyer on the carnage she saw as Baghdad bureau chief. In the dark morning hours of Feb. 22, 2006, a group of unknown attackers detonated bombs in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra, bringing down the golden dome of a revered Shia Muslim shrine. A few hours later, I drove through Baghdad and watched the country descend into civil war. Then the Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post, I drove with Iraqi and American colleagues to Sadr City, the sprawling slum on the outskirts of the city. We watched hundreds of black-clad religious militiamen, waving their AK 47s in the air and calling for revenge, in what would be the start to a campaign of sectarian killing and torture. During visits to Baghdad's morgue over the next two days, I saw Sunni families thronging to find the bodies of loved ones killed by the militias. The morgue's computer registrar told the grim-faced families and me that we would have to be patient; the morgue had taken in more than 1,000 bodies since the Samarra bombing, and was way behind on processing corpses. Here's the thing, though: According to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commanders, it never happened. These killings, these dead, did not exist. According to them, reporters like myself were lying. "The country is not awash in sectarian violence, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey said, on talk show after talk show, making the rounds to tell the American home-front not to worry. Civil war? "I don't see it happening, certainly anytime in the near term,” he said, as he denied the surge in sectarian violence.

U.S Hires Gun-Runner, Coup-Plotter to Guard Diplos.

Retired lt. cmdr. charged in bribery scheme. NORFOLK, Va. — A retired Navy officer and two contractors have been charged in a bribery conspiracy involving projects at a military installation in Iraq. Frankie J. Hand Jr., who retired as a lieutenant commander in 2008, made his first appearance in federal court in Norfolk on Thursday. He's charged with defrauding the government, bribery and receiving illegal gratuities. Also charged are contractors Michelle L. Adams and Peter D. Dunn. An indictment unsealed Thursday accuses the defendants of operating a bribery and kickback scheme to obtain contracts for two dining hall projects at Camp Taji near Baghdad. The case was first reported by The Virginian-Pilot. Hand's arraignment was set for Wednesday. Court records did not list an attorney for Hand or the contractors.

Never mind the dead civilians. Forget about the stolen guns. Get over the murder arrests, the fraud allegations, and the accusations of guards pumping themselves up with steroids and cocaine. Through a “joint venture,” the notorious private-security firm Blackwater has won a piece of a five-year State Department contract worth up to $10 billion, Danger Room has learned. Apparently, there is no misdeed so big that it can keep guns-for-hire from working for the government. And this is despite a 2008 campaign pledge from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ban the company from federal contracts. Eight private security firms have won State’s giant Worldwide Protective Services contract, the big Foggy Bottom partnership to keep embassies and their inhabitants safe. Two of those firms are longtime State contract holders DynCorp and Triple Canopy. The others are newcomers to the big security contract: EOD Technology, SOC, Aegis Defense Services, Global Strategies Group, Torres International Services and International Development Solutions LLC. Don’t see any of Blackwater’s myriad business names on there? That’s apparently by design. Blackwater and the State Department tried their best to obscure their renewed relationship. As Danger Room reported Wednesday, Blackwater did not appear on the vendors’ list for Worldwide Protective Services. And the State Department confirms that the company, renamed Xe Services, didn’t actually submit its own independent bid. Instead, they used a blandly named cut-out, “International Development Solutions,” to retain a toehold into State’s lucrative security business. No one who looks at the official announcement of the contract award would have any idea that firm is connected to Blackwater. Read More

Ships and Ship Building

Carrier disposal proves a challenge for Navy.

Full steam ahead for Nassco shipyard in San Diego The last major shipyard on the West Coast has outlasted the competition by making sure that every new vessel has been built better, faster, cheaper and with fewer injuries than the one that came before, says its president, Frederick J. Harris.,0,4193256.story

A 6-inch crack in the hull of the littoral combat ship Freedom caused the ship to abort sea-keeping trials on Feb. 12 and return to its homeport of San Diego for repairs, the Navy confirmed Friday. The crack, about three and a half feet below the waterline in a weld seam between two steel plates in the hull, allowed water to enter a void space in the ship, according to Naval Sea Systems Command. Flooding was contained, however, and, at a speed of about 8 knots, the vessel sailed about 600 miles to San Diego to begin repairs. NAVSEA and Lockheed Martin, the ship’s prime contractor, are reviewing the ship’s design, construction drawings and welding procedures to determine what caused the hull crack. It is not yet clear, NAVSEA said, whether the problem is due to a design flaw or faulty construction techniques.

More engine woes found with LPD-17. The troubles of the USS San Antonio, first of a large class of amphibious transport ships, haven’t quite come to an end yet; the Navy and its engineers are continuing to find and fix a host of problems plaguing the 25,000-ton ship. Earlier this year, engineers searching for the cause of vibrations in the drive train discovered that imperfections in the way the ship’s engines and main reduction gears were installed were threatening to eventually wreck the vessel. “The foundation bolts were not properly aligned or tightened. The main reduction gear was not properly installed and checked out,” Adm. John Harvey, commander of Fleet Forces Command, said in a Sept. 20 interview at his headquarters in Norfolk, Va. “There was vibration of the entire diesel which was reflected through the crankshaft, down to the couplings with the reduction gear, to the shaft,” Harvey said. “And you’re trying to figure out where this thing …” he said, pausing. “Over time on that ship we had tremendous alignment problems within the drive train and within the diesel.”

Weapons Aircraft

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on. Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn't).

Nuclear weapons growth since Iran negotiations began in 2002
India: 35 to 110 bombs
Pakistan: 24-48 to 110
N Korea: 0 to 8-12
Iran: 0 to 0
Other nuclear arsenal changes since 2002:
Russia: 18,000 to 4,500
US: 10,600 to 4,650
Israel 80 to 80
China: 400 to 400


Marine Ospreys proving their worth in Philippines.

Nuclear Weapons:

  1. US: 4,650
  2. Russia: 4,480
  3. France: 300
  4. China: 250
  5. UK: 225
  6. Pakistan: 120
  7. India: 110
  8. Israel: 80
  9. NK: ~8
  10. Iran: 0

In 2007, a team of civilians with a rare set of specialized skills joined a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division deployed to eastern Afghanistan. The civilian team’s leader was a former Special Forces officer; he was accompanied by a West Point graduate who had studied anthropology and described herself as a “high-risk ethnographer.” She asked reporters to identify her only as Tracy. Tracy and her colleagues were part of the Human Terrain System, a project whose creators saw themselves as a band of progressive upstarts seeking to transform the Army from within. The program’s goal was to draw on the tools of anthropology to help U.S. soldiers better understand Afghanistan. Known as AF1, Tracy’s group was the first Human Terrain Team to deploy in the field—and it quickly made an impact. In one community, Tracy pointed out that the Haqqani network, an anti-American group of insurgents, was gaining strength because an uncommonly large number of Afghan widows depended on their sons for support. With few jobs available, many young men were forced to join the insurgency to earn money. On the advice of the Human Terrain Team, soldiers started a job-training program that put the widows to work and cut the insurgents’ supply of recruits. The Human Terrain Team even convinced the Army to refurbish a mosque on the American base—a project that was credited with cutting insurgent rocket attacks.

Movies#Crazy Rulers of the World

Problem-plagued missile defense system fails in $214-million test.,0,4740544.story

The Drones Come Home. Unmanned aircraft have proved their prowess against al Qaeda. Now they’re poised to take off on the home front. Possible missions: patrolling borders, tracking perps, dusting crops. And maybe watching us all?

How Israel's drones help minimize civilian casualties.

Aircraft Carriers in Space. Naval analyst Chris Weuve talks to Foreign Policy about what Battlestar Galactica gets right about space warfare.

Raytheon has carried out a successful test flight at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The bomb, called Pyros, was dropped from a drone flying at 7,000 feet and hit the designated bull's-eye on a target that lay below. The target had two dummies, which simulated insurgents planting an improvised explosive device. (See in the video below.) “It went right through the center of the target board,” said J.R. Smith, a company business development manager. “We demonstrated everything works end to end.”,0,1226813.story

Army soon to field double-V hull Strykers to protect against blasts.

Military Urine Bag At Center Of Local Firm's Lawsuit. Escondido-Based American Innotek Claims Feds Allowed Patent Infringement. Military fighter jet pilots' missions are critical. They've answered the call to serve and fly, but sometimes nature calls. "You don't want pilots distracted or sitting in a wet flight suit," said Niki Kopenhaver, president of Escondido-based American Innotek. To give military pilots some relief, the company invented the Flight Extender II several decades ago. However, the invention has now inspired a legal battle over government waste like never before. The Flight Extender II allows pilots to relieve themselves into a bag containing a special polymer mix. The mix solidifies the liquid, preventing odor and spillage. After a decade of use by the military, a nonprofit group based in New York developed the Piddle Pak. Because the group employed disabled workers, the federal government -- by law -- had to award the contract to the group.

The Pentagon and Its Bogus Bomb-Zapper: A Love Story.

War Machines: Recruiting Robots for Combat.

Super-Silent Jimmy Carter Ready to Spy on North Korea.

Test fails for airborne laser designed to shoot down missiles. It's the second consecutive setback for a key missile defense program that is years behind schedule and plagued with cost overruns.,0,6448960.story



Report: Immigrants Contribute $650 Billion To California Economy.

Illegal immigrants benefit the U.S. economy.

Detroit's bankruptcy brings up more than finances. The issue of race has hovered persistently around the trial, with some black residents likening the loss of local control and the sale of assets to slavery and neocolonial plundering.,0,1560272.story

Should Rembrandt, Van Gogh help bail out a bankrupt Detroit? The future of the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts — and the community's cultural soul — is at stake as debate rages on a possible sell-off of some of its treasures.,0,5239287.story

House speaker John Boehner denied that Republican tactics were responsible for the shutdown, insisting Democrats were to blame for refusing to negotiate over Obamacare. "I didn't come here to shut down the government," Boehner told one of several heated House debates. "I came here to fight for a smaller, less costly and more accountable federal government. But here we find ourselves in this moment dealing with a law that's causing unknown consequences and unknown damage to the American people and to our economy. And that issue is Obamacare." But Democrats are confident that US public opinion will continue to hold Republicans to blame for what could be days of disruption until a deal can be struck. They argue that Republicans are using underhand methods to overturn a law that was passed four years ago, ratified by the supreme court and endorsed by voters at the last presidential election. Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, said: "If we surrender to hostage-taking tonight, these guys would be back within a couple of weeks without a shadow of a doubt. What we are dealing with tonight is an extraordinary anti-democratic act."

How Detroit went broke: The answers may surprise you - and don't blame Coleman Young

Jerry Brown's Tough-Love California Miracle. The 75-year-old governor rescued the Golden State from financial ruin - and is reshaping a national progressive agenda. Read more:


Secrets and Lies of the Bailout. The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come.

Rich And Poor San Diegans Take Stock Of The American Dream.

Toxic State Syndrome: As California Declines, Texas Rises. Sep 30, 2012 9:16 AM EDT Once the state of opportunity, California is now veering on a cycle of decline that will be difficult to reverse, writes Tom Gray.

ONE IN SIX IN COUNTY LIVING IN POVERTY. Census figures show 3 percent drop in median household income in 2011; Vista, Oceanside and Chula Vista hit with double-digit declines. Sept. 20, 2012.

Ian Welsh: Some basics on the economy.

It can raise important issues of distribution within generations and the taxes needed to pay for the debt can create economic distortions, but many other things also lead to economic distortions (like patents and copyrights). To carry this point a step further, since deficits that stimulate the economy today are likely to increase investment (especially if they are used to finance public investment and education), they are likely to make out children richer. Furthermore, the Fed could simply hold this debt and use higher reserve requirements in future years to stem an inflationary impact from a greater volume of reserves in the banking system. In that case, interest on the debt would be paid directly back to the Treasury. Where is the burden on our kids?

The New American Divide. The ideal of an 'American way of life' is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. Charles Murray on what's cleaving America, and why.

The Rescue That Missed Main Street.

IN OCTOBER 2005, three Citigroup analysts released a report describing the pattern of growth in the U.S. economy. To really understand the future of the economy and the stock market, they wrote, you first needed to recognize that there was “no such animal as the U.S. consumer,” and that concepts such as “average” consumer debt and “average” consumer spending were highly misleading. In fact, they said, America was composed of two distinct groups: the rich and the rest. And for the purposes of investment decisions, the second group didn’t matter; tracking its spending habits or worrying over its savings rate was a waste of time. All the action in the American economy was at the top: the richest 1 percent of households earned as much each year as the bottom 60 percent put together; they possessed as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent; and with each passing year, a greater share of the nation’s treasure was flowing through their hands and into their pockets. It was this segment of the population, almost exclusively, that held the key to future growth and future returns. The analysts, Ajay Kapur, Niall Macleod, and Narendra Singh, had coined a term for this state of affairs: plutonomy. In a plutonomy, Kapur and his co-authors wrote, “economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few.” America had been in this state twice before, they noted—during the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties. In each case, the concentration of wealth was the result of rapid technological change, global integration, laissez-faire government policy, and “creative financial innovation.” In 2005, the rich were nearing the heights they’d reached in those previous eras, and Citigroup saw no good reason to think that, this time around, they wouldn’t keep on climbing. “The earth is being held up by the muscular arms of its entrepreneur-plutocrats,” the report said. The “great complexity” of a global economy in rapid transformation would be “exploited best by the rich and educated” of our time.

Bank of America has agreed to settle with a group of high-profile investors for $8.5 billion for losses on mortgage-backed securities. A settlement of this size would seem to point to considerable wrongdoing by the bank. And yet, no criminal charges have been brought against Bank of America. How could this be? Charles R. Morris, a former banker and the author of "The Trillion Dollar Meltdown," told Salon on Wednesday that while it is clear that BofA behaved with "no shame," there are numerous reasons why the feds left the bank alone.

For instance, unlike in a case of insider trading, when the guilty party is caught red-handed on the phone, "it's really hard to make these criminal cases stick and if you really want to get the top guy, it will take forever," Morris said.

Borrowing and spending the GOP way The big deficit facing the U.S. is mostly Republican in origin, the Congressional Budget Office says. The Bush tax cuts alone have added $3 trillion in red ink, yet the party wants to double down on its failed policy.,0,7490630.story

"Surge in new business," the May 2 press release from Gov. Scott Walker's office said. "Twenty-five percent spike in new businesses since Governor declared Wisconsin Open for Business," its headline proclaimed. It was refreshingly good news for a state emerging from the worst recession in decades. And it was also good news for a new governor who made job creation priority No. 1 by pledging to ensure 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin by 2015. But it was a mistake. Two hours after the one-page press release was emailed, Walker's office issued a retraction, saying the numbers were based on incorrect data. "The actual numbers do not reflect a significant uptick in business formations," the follow-up statement said. In fact, numbers later provided to The Post-Crescent from the state Department of Financial Institutions showed a slight decline in business registrations since Walker took office in January. In the first three months of this year, 8,756 new businesses registered in Wisconsin compared with 8,763 during the same period in 2010.

California's outdoor economy is thriving The state's surf, snow and scenery aren't just breathtaking. They mean big bucks for tourism and other enterprises selling the great outdoors.,0,2096037.story

The collapse of Detroit. De-industrialization, racism, stagnation — is the Motor City our future? Scott Martelle,0,3013666.story

Some in Texas had talked tough about solving the state's budget problem by austerity alone, but lawmakers finally faced a hard fact: Texas is in serious financial trouble. The severity of the state's $27 billion budget crisis was evident in the furrowed brows, sad eyes and pained expressions of legislators. They fidgeted in their seats as hundreds of teachers, parents and disabled people explained in testimony in recent weeks how proposed budget cuts would ruin their lives. Legislatures elsewhere are facing budget problems, but most are blending cuts with asset sales, increased fees and tax modifications to soften the impact. Texas prides itself on lean government so Republicans here promised to solve the crisis here by budget cuts alone. Then rhetoric hit reality this week. The result was the latest and most vivid example of a state taking steps it had fiercely resisted. The Republican committee chairman's southern accent turned plaintive as he urged legislators who had campaigned on preserving the state's $9.2 billion Rainy Day Fund to now break that promise to ease the budget pressure. "If you want to close this shortfall through cuts alone, you have to either (completely) cut payments to Medicaid providers, cut payments to school districts or lay-off a substantial number of state employees," said state Rep. Jim Pitts, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "You would have to do these things immediately."

Why No One Who Helped Orchestrate Financial Crisis Is Going To Prison. Two and a half years after the financial system nearly collapsed, it appears that none of the highly paid executives who helped start the disaster will ever see jail time, like Michael Milken in the 1980s, or Jeffrey Skilling in the Enron disaster, says New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. It's a difficult question whether anybody should. In the 1980s, when nearly 1,000 savings and loans — a third of the industry — collapsed, costing the government billions, there were more than 1,000 major felony convictions, says William Black, a former regulator who teaches law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. The federal government threw enormous resources at those investigations. There were a dozen or more Justice Department task forces, involving more than 1,000 FBI agents. With the FBI now focused on terrorism, there isn’t a lot of manpower left to dig into potential crimes that may have taken place during the financial crisis. Fewer than 150 of the bureau’s agents are assigned to mortgage fraud. Lawyers who represent white collar defendants say that outside of New York, there aren’t nearly enough prosecutors who understand the intricacies of financial crime and know how to prosecute it. Sheldon Zenner, a Chicago attorney says, “These kinds of cases are extraordinarily difficult to make. They require lots of time and resources."

In Michigan, the GOP-led legislature passed an "emergency financial manager" bill that lets the GOP politicians in office appoint their cronies who weren't able to get elected and take over the jobs of elected officials. It is privatization run amok, as schools are being closed and then leased (cheaply) to private for-profit schools. Services for janitors and maintenance are being contracted out and those persons with 18 or 20 years of service are being fired and told that they cannot work for the new, privatized services else they will forfeit any pension rights that they have. The claim is that this is for security reasons. Don't these GOP politicians realize or care that they are creating a new class of poverty-striken people who were in the middle class just a few decades ago? I know a family of five who are living on the (about to end) unemployment compensation of the wife, the odd jobs that the carpentar husband can get (about $500 a month at most), and the meager wages that the son gets working as the cook at a pizza bar, and some income from a daughter that is a part-time dental assistant with a young child. The family gets just enough income that they've been turned down for money to assist with buying food. They are afraid they will lose their home, on which they have a $102,000 mortgage. What then? What prospects for that young child? For the father being able to work if he loses his garage workshop and his tools? For the mother to find a new job if she is struggling to eat or buy a warm jacket? This is what the GOP mentality is doing to this country. Throwing decent people out of jobs, because they won't raise taxes on the wealthy and big businesses. This has got to change.

Economists at the New York Federal Reserve have concluded that a controversial 2005 law backed by banks and credit card companies pushed more than 200,000 people into foreclosure and exacerbated the subprime mortgage crisis. Consumer advocates fought hard against the law, which made it much more difficult for individuals to alleviate credit card debt in bankruptcy. This inability of homeowners to eliminate other debts, the New York Fed economists conclude, in turn made borrowers unable to pay off their mortgages, spurring foreclosures. Despite opposition from public interest groups, the 2005 law easily cleared both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. In a paper released Tuesday, New York Fed researchers Donald P. Morgan, Benjamin Iverson and Matthew Botsch determined that the law sparked about 116,000 additional subprime mortgage foreclosures a year after going into effect.

Exports at L.A. and Long Beach ports are at a near-record pace. Sales growth spurred by demand from a rising middle class in countries including China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia is helping lead the region's rebound, experts say. LAX is on track for an all-time high for outgoing cargo.,0,2006125.story


Wall Street, Not Workers To Blame For Detroit's Bankruptcy Crisis, Says Demos Report.


Despite the catchy headlines, nature slew a paltry 3,168 Americans—or 1.2 percent of all deaths—in 2008 (the most recently updated data). In comparison, Americans are nearly eleven times more likely to die in an automobile accident than fall victim to nature. And a stickler could point out that over 80 percent of all forest fires are started by humans, virtually all climate scientists attribute global warming to human activities, and that the installation a four-sided fence around a pool reduces the likelihood of children drowning by 83 percent. Such statistics are nature’s way of seducing you into the antiquated notions that we have agency over our lives and that protecting the earth is a shared societal responsibility.

America’s Worst Companies To Work For 2. Express Scripts > Rating: 2.3 > Number of reviews: 312 > CEO approval rating: 36% (George Paz) > Employees: 30,215 Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ: ESRX) is one of America’s largest managers of prescription drugs services, with tens of millions of customers and thousands of clients. And after buying Medco Health Solutions last year, the company fills over 1.4 billion prescriptions per year, as of 2012. Express Scripts began a major workforce consolidation that included layoffs after it closed the deal in early 2012. Customer relations were roiled when Walgreen stopped accepting Express Scripts’ prescription plan. In the most recent JD Power rating of online pharmacies, Express Scripts ranked fifth behind Kaiser Permanente, Aetna Rx, Caremark, and Cigna Home Delivery, with the Medco branded service even further down the list. Both Express Scripts and the Medco brand showed particular weaknesses in prescription delivery and customer service. Like consumers, employees were also dissatisfied with the company. They felt pressured to reach key metrics and often complained that reaching these numbers was more important to the business than adequate customer service, or employee well-being. As a result, many employees felt overworked, and a too-heavy workload was the most common complaint. One aggrieved employee wrote that the company gives “the appearance of a work/life balance … but the truth is everyone is overworked.” Read more: America’s Worst Companies To Work For - 24/7 Wall St.

Provisions of the 2010 healthcare reform have already changed the lives of millions of Americans for the better. It has brought insurance coverage to more than 2.6 million previously uninsured young adults, cut prescription costs by a total of $3 billion for millions of seniors, eliminated co-pays on preventive services such as child immunizations and cancer screenings and eliminated annual and lifetime claims caps for more than 80 million policyholders.,0,901197.column

Repealing the U.S. healthcare law enacted last year would add $210 billion to the nation's deficit over the next decade, congressional auditors said on Friday. The Congressional Budget Office said enactment of a House of Representatives measure last month to scrap the healthcare overhaul would eliminate a number of provisions aimed at reducing federal healthcare costs as well as strip out new revenue-creating taxes and fees. Republicans, who now control the House, campaigned on repealing the law, one of Democratic President Barack Obama's main legislative victories. Despite the vote in the House, the repeal was largely symbolic as neither the Democratic-led Senate nor Obama support it. The CBO, along with the Joint Committee on Taxation, earlier estimated the law would save the federal government $124 billion between 2010, when the law was passed, and 2019. Its $210 billion cost increase estimate on Friday covers a slightly different period -- 2012 to 2021.

Raw feelings over President Obama's healthcare overhaul have subsided, with only about one in four supporting its repeal, an Associated Press-GfK poll found. Although the nation remains divided over the law, the strength and intensity of the opposition appear diminished. Forty percent of those surveyed said they support the law and 41% oppose it. Just after the November congressional elections, 47% said they opposed the law, and 38% supported it. Strong opposition stands at 30%, close to the lowest level registered in AP-GfK surveys dating to September 2009. The law expands coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and would require, for the first time, that most people in the United States carry health insurance.,0,4401137.story


Homeless during the holidays. As we spend time at home celebrating Christ's birth, it's worth thinking about how we treat people who have no roof over their heads.,0,5937292.story#ixzz2oWuSwPV1

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Army veteran Don Matyja was getting by alright on the streets of this city tucked in Southern California suburbia until he got ticketed for smoking in the park. Matyja, who has been homeless since he was evicted nearly two years ago, had trouble paying the fine and getting to court – and now a $25 penalty has ballooned to $600. The ticket is just one of myriad new challenges facing Matyja and others living on the streets in Orange County, where a number of cities have recently passed ordinances that ban everything from smoking in the park to sleeping in cars to leaning bikes against trees in a region better known for its beaches than its 30,000 homeless people. Cities have long struggled with how to deal with the homeless, but the new ordinances here echo what homeless advocates say is a rash of regulations nationwide as municipalities grapple with how to address those living on their streets within the constraints of ever-tightening budgets. The rules may go unnoticed by most, but the homeless say they are a thinly veiled attempt to push them out of one city and into another by criminalizing the daily activities they cannot avoid.

In Steinbeck's footsteps: America's middle-class underclass.

Homeless count revised; numbers spike after review. The 2011 count now stands at 9,020, up from the 8,517 counted the year before. That's a near 6 percent jump. Increases were found in both the numbers of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons. The street count jumped highest, going from 4,599 to 4,981 - a 8.3 percent increase. The number of sheltered homeless went up 3.1 percent, from 3,918 to 4,039 - a 3.1 percent increase. Since 2008, the number of homeless estimated to be living in San Diego County has gone up 19 percent.

Homeless advocates march in Venice. Activists allege police are unfairly targeting people who live in RVs and on the street.,0,2846867.story

Home Prices

Abandoned Homes Plague Tijuana’s Outlying Suburbs.

But along with the public benefit, the project also comes with a hefty price tag for taxpayers. The $44 million apartment project will cost an average of $477,743 per unit, 90 percent of which will be paid by taxpayers. That's twice what private developers say they're spending to develop high-end apartments in the city today. A few miles away, in Mission Valley, a private developer said he's building top-shelf apartments for $225 a square foot. Another developer currently building upscale apartments downtown said his total cost is $275 a square foot. The Estrella del Mercado apartments will cost $542 a square foot. Taxpayers have poured almost $600 million into two dozen housing projects in the city of San Diego since 2007. A three-month investigation showed that, again and again, these projects are wildly more expensive than private developments.

classic Case Shiller chart.


Last week, as the temperature soared to 90 degrees in Detroit, Michigan suffered a major power outage after an unelected city official decided he needed to send a "strong message" by turning off a portion of the electric grid. This led to dozens of reports of people trapped in elevators and the evacuation of numerous buildings, yet not a single major national news outlet felt this story warranted coverage. Detroit is currently under control of an emergency manager, not elected by the people of the city, but instead appointed by Governor Rick Snyder. Gary Brown, the city's chief compliance officer who reports to the emergency manager's office, when asked by local Detroit Fox affiliate about the blackout seemed to imply that it was intentional and done to "send a strong message:" Brown did claim that these were "precautionary measures" so that "large parts of the city" didn't go dark after two "main lines" on the power grid "went down."

Maintaining existing investment levels in transportation will result in a $3.1 trillion loss in gross domestic product by 2020, the civil engineers society warned in a report last year. "The problems facing our nation's infrastructure are widely acknowledged and well understood," the organization's president, Andrew Herrmann, said at the time. Mitt Romney's five-point plan for the economy makes no specific mention of infrastructure, although he told a town hall meeting in Charleston, S.C., in December: "We're going to have to make an investment in our infrastructure to make us more globally competitive." Where the money would come from in a Romney budget that looks to cut discretionary spending is less clear. President Obama's American Jobs Act, which got blocked in Congress, sets aside $85 billion for school building improvements; road, rail, mass transit and airport upgrades; and $10 billion for an infrastructure bank, leveraging private and public capital. Most of the money would come from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to his recently issued economic plan. Read more:

June 27, 2011- State Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) has introduced a bill to cut spending by eliminating the California Transportation Department (Caltrans). SB 851, would shift responsibilities for highway building and maintenance onto local cities and counties, also allowing local governments to outsource to private companies. Supporters say the bill would save money and cut waste. Opponents question whether public safety could be jeopardized, particularly in San Diego where a Grand Jury investigation found roadway conditions "appalling" and where local agencies have relied on Caltrans for quick highway repairs during wildfires and other disasters.

All these potholes turn San Diego drivers into Grinches. Cold weather and the recent rains caused potholes to open up along San Diego streets. Hitting a pothole can damage cars and can get expensive when it comes to repairs.


Why not blame George W. Bush?,0,4325244.story

Detroit Votes to Raise Taxes to Save Cash-Strapped Museum.


I am a visitor to California and a lifelong Texan. Imagine my surprise to encounter an anti-tax signature collector in San Diego arguing that California will lose jobs to Texas if taxes increase. We Texans have already got all the minimum-wage, no-benefit jobs we can handle, along with lousy roads, a 19th century school system, a high poverty rate, hunger, lack of medical care and the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation. Our education system is declining, and much of the new jobs pay minimum wage. Texas is becoming third-world. California has so much of what Texas lacks. Be happy to pay your taxes because you are getting so much for them. Tighten your belt and preserve the California you have while you can. Don't destroy California; you will regret it later. Kathleen Bombach, El Paso,0,1080741.story

How to Drive the Economy Off a Cliff While Insisting You’re Actually Fixing it. Republicans continue on their propaganda campaign that cutting taxes leads to economic and employment prosperity, in defiance of a mountain of evidence to the contrary. That one thing: Taxes. It is the single most divisive issue in American politics today; perhaps even more so than the current Battle Royale over Medicare. Democrats insist that the wealthiest Americans need to pay their fair share; that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 have led us into an economic abyss and that they need to be eliminated (something that by law actually should have happened already). Republicans insist that we’re being taxed into oblivion, which they claim is directly responsible for our current economic crisis. Their plan is to further cut taxes—and government regulation, but that’s another issue for another post—and sit back and watch as the economy mystically, magically grows and sprouts millions of new jobs. A little recap: During the Clinton administration, taxes went up slightly to what were historically very moderate levels, the top tax rate being 39%. The economy grew by leaps and bounds, 20 million jobs were created during Clinton’s eight years in office (compared with a paltry 1 million new jobs during Bush’s eight years), he left a budget surplus of $246 billion when he handed the reins to George W. Bush, and according to the CBO and Bush’s own Office of Management and Budget had Clinton’s policies remained in place the national debt would have been paid off by 2009.

The Republican Party is being reckless in historic proportions, reckless to the extreme. He's got to stop talking about taxing only the top 2 percent. Tax increases are going to have to include the middle class. On this path we're heading toward class warfare. Read more:

Of the several objectionable provisions included in the tax compromise that congressional Republicans extorted from the Obama administration, none is more noxious than the one that all but guts the estate tax. Even the needless and unfair continuation of tax reductions for families making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year merely extends a benefit already enjoyed by affluent households. Estate tax cuts, by contrast, create a whole new windfall for those who already enjoy privileges and security undreamed of by the vast majority of Americans. The provision is the work of Arizona's John Kyl, the Senate's second-ranking Republican and a longtime advocate of abolishing the estate tax. To most eyes, the former estate levy didn't look like much of a burden; it allowed couples to leave their heirs$7 million tax free and taxed any additional inheritance at 45%. Kyl's plan, which he has crowed is as good as abolition, increases the exemption to $10 million for couples and reduces the tax rate on the rest to just 35%. The average windfall for the approximately 6,600 wealthy taxpayers annually affected by the estate duty will top $1.5 million.,0,3912591.column

Obama’s 2011 Budget Proposal: How It’s Spent.

2010 United States federal budget.

Tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that she was willing to accept a compromise as long as all the current tax rates stayed the same for taxpayers of all incomes. But, she said, she opposed a compromise that would be attached to extending unemployment benefits. Stephanopoulos then asked why it was okay for the wealthy to get their tax cuts extended, but not okay to extend unemployment benefits for the jobless. "Well, remember again what this is. It's a massive tax increase, and it's on the people who are the job creators," Bachmann said. "And people want to think that these are millionaires, sitting in leather chairs, lighting their cigars with $100 bills. That's not what we're talking about. These are people who, who are carpet layers who maybe employ two or three other guys, or a plumber, maybe himself and his brother, and it's $250,000 in gross sales for their business. They're the ones that are looking at massive tax increases." That's probably a compelling narrative for Bachmann -- big government taxes the little guys. We first fact-checked similar claims during the 2008 election, when Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, worried he'd get a tax increase under Obama's plan if he bought a company that took in around $250,000 a year. It wasn't true then, and it isn't true now. Here's why: Plumbers -- or any other small business owner -- get to deduct their business expenses, so they'd have to be bringing in more than $250,000 in gross sales. The tax laws allow small business owners to deduct all kinds of business expenses: employees' pay, supplies, a car or truck, fuel costs, advertising, association dues, utilities, shop repairs, and the list goes on. (For more details, read chapter 8 of the Tax Guide for Small Business published by the IRS.) Bachmann said that the tax increases kick in at "$250,000 in gross sales," which traditionally means total sales at invoice values, or everything the plumbers billed. And, she said the plumbers would be looking at "massive tax increases," when actually the top two rates would be increasing from 33 percent to 36 percent, and from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

Prospect Theory and the Taxpayer Receipt.



BMW layoffs exemplify the evisceration of the middle class. Every working American should be dismayed by — and afraid of — what BMW is doing.,0,1163343.column

Rep. John Boehner says federal workers make twice as much as their private sector counterparts.



I would say that what defines patriotism, for me, is the idea that one elevates—or they act to benefit—the country, right? That’s distinct from acting to benefit the government, and that distinction, that’s increasingly lost today. You’re not patriotic, just because you back whoever is in power today. You’re not patriotic because you back their policies. You’re patriotic when you work to improve the lives of the people in your country, in your community, in your family, those around you. And sometimes that means making hard choices, choices that work against your own personal interest. You know, people sometimes say I broke an “oath of secrecy,” that was one of the early charges leveled against me. But it’s a fundamental misunderstanding, because there is no oath of secrecy for people who work in the intelligence community. You’re asked to sign a civil agreement, called “Standard Form 312,” which basically says, if you disclose classified information they can sue you, they can do this, that and the other. And you stand at risk of going to jail. But you are also asked to take an oath, and that’s the oath of service. The oath of service is not to secrecy; it’s to the Constitution—to protect it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That’s the oath that I kept, that James Clapper and Keith Alexander did not.

Switzerland’s Attorney General has raised the possibility that Edward Snowden could testify about NSA surveillance in Switzerland – and apply for asylum there – without fear of onward extradition to the United States. The written legal opinion, seen by Swiss newspapers le Matin Dimanche and Sonntags Zeitung, states there is no legal impediment to Mr Snowden being granted Swiss asylum but leaves open the possibility of “higher state obligations” taking priority. While those “higher state obligations” are left undefined, this is – on the face of it – a rather more positive response than inquiries seeking Mr Snowden’s participation in person have received elsewhere.

From 'Truth is coming' to 'Merkel Effect': Top 13 Snowden quotes on NSA.

What Would REALLY Happen to Snowden If He Returns to the United States?

Fact-Checking Hillary Clinton's Comments About Edward Snowden and the NSA.

DC thinks it can silence a new Snowden, but the anti-leak hypocrisy is backfiring. The Obama administration's latest secrecy guidelines would make Deep Throat spin in his grave. Good thing the floodgates are about to open on drones.

The underappreciated Steven Aftergood, of the Federation of American Scientists, first reported the story on his indispensable blog on government secrecy, but it was quickly picked up by major outlets under very ominous headlines. Even the Washington Post's editorial board, which once bizarrely called on its own reporters to stop the Snowden leaks that eventually led to the Post sharing the Pulitzer Prize, harshly criticized the new rules, writing that "Clapper's directive works in the opposite direction of what is needed" and "will lead to more isolation and suspicion."

Thomas Andrews Drake. The son of a World War II veteran, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake is a product of his environment—one part Texas, one part small-town Vermont. Having grown up in the Lone Star State and the Green Mountain State and been educated during second and third grade in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Vermont and later living on a family farm, Drake was steeped in surroundings that communicated the values of self-sufficiency and independent judgment. "The values of self-reliance and taking care of each other were doled out in equal measure," Drake remembers. Vermont town meetings left a particularly strong impression on him as a young man. "Everyone had their say that day. It was your right to say your piece." Tom Drake has exercised his right to say his piece at great cost and consequence. He directly exposed the ethical, budgetary and acquisition shortcomings at the NSA — including a very large multi-billion dollar NSA program called “Trailblazer,” as well as massive fraud, waste and abuse, and the existence of legitimate and fully legal alternatives for vastly improving national security that had tragically been summarily dismissed and discounted and had weakened the government’s ability to properly defend the nation. He also raised grave and substantial concerns regarding decisions that were made to completely bypass the Constitution with respect to domestic electronic surveillance as a result of 9/11. He now has the dubious distinction of being the fourth American indicted under the Espionage Act for allegedly mishandling classified information. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was the first person indicted under the very same section, 793(e), of the Espionage Act, as Drake.

Hillary Clinton Blasts Edward Snowden for Fleeing to Russia and China. "I have a hard time thinking that somebody who is a champion of privacy and liberty has taken refuge in Russia under Putin's authority." Hillary Clinton didn't have to directly deal with Edward Snowden's leaks when she was secretary of state. Clinton had already stepped down from her post by the time the Guardian published its first revelations on the expansive scope of spying by the National Security Agency. But at an event at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday night, Clinton made it clear that she's no fan of the NSA leaker, insinuating that Snowden had cooperated with countries hostile to the United States and unintentionally aided terrorist organizations. "I don't understand why he couldn't have been part of the debate at home," she said. Clinton questioned Snowden's intentions in fleeing the country before offerring his information to the public. "When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled, because we have all these protections for whistleblowers," Clinton said, when the moderator asked if there had been any positive effects for security policy following the NSA leaks. "If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been. But it struck me as—I just have to be honest with you—as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia, two countries with which we have very difficult cyber-relationships, to put it mildly."

Snowden claims he raised concerns about NSA internally 10 times before leaking documents. Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.

Microsoft sniffed blogger's Hotmail account to trace leak. The company's legal department determined that it had the right to go through a private email account, citing a leak of proprietary Microsoft code.

The senior CIA lawyer accused by the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee of trying to intimidate the panel over its investigation into secret prisons and brutal interrogations of terrorism suspects was himself involved in the controversial programs. The attorney, the CIA's top lawyer, is cited by name for his role more than 1,600 times in the Senate's unpublished, 6,300-page investigative report, according to the panel's chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Until the California Democrat's extraordinary Senate speech Tuesday, the CIA's senior deputy general counsel, Robert Eatinger, was little known outside a small cadre of highly specialized national security lawyers. He has maintained a low profile in a legal career that has spanned two decades at the CIA and in the Navy. But Feinstein's remarkable accusations instantly made Eatinger famous — or infamous — over a simmering constitutional dispute that threatens to engulf two branches of the government.

Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It.

Edward Snowden's magnificent testimony to the EU.

GCHQ's dirty-tricking psyops groups: infiltrating, disrupting and discrediting political and protest groups.

Surveillance baron busted by FBI for election-finance fraud. ast week, the FBI arrested Jose Susumo Azano Matsura at his home in Coronado, CA. Azano was a rich, successful surveillance technology vendor who came to prominence by touting ubiquitous, intense surveillance as an answer to social problems and got rich through a no-bid contract to supply surveillance tools to the Mexican military, and expanded to supply Internet surveillance tools through his company Security Tracking Devices, with offices in Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

Visiting CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou in Federal Prison.

Edward Snowden's Lawyer Claims Harassment from Heathrow Airport Border Police.

German Television Channel NDR does an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden.

Transcript: Senate Intelligence hearing on national security threats. Published: January 29. The Senate Intelligence Committee held an annual hearing on the nation’s most significant security threats. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service. SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): (Sounds gavel.) The committee will come to order.

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower.

Snowden blames Congress for leaks. Edward Snowden says if Congress had been doing its job, he wouldn’t have needed to leak reams of classified material about National Security Agency programs. In an interview with The Washington Post, Snowden singled out the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence panels for allowing the executive branch to conduct the surveillance programs. “Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings, he said. “Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. ... The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do.” Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) leads the Senate Intelligence panel, while Rogers (R-Mich.) is chairman of the House panel. “The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility,” Snowden told the Post.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who revealed the mass surveillance programmes organised by the US and other governments, gives this year's The Alternative Christmas Message.

CIA's Intelligence Art Collection.

The war on democracy. How corporations and spy agencies use "security" to defend profiteering and crush activism.

DiFi’s Circular Defense of the Phone Dragnet’s Legality Proves It Is Illegal - See more at:

Feinstein's NSA bill shows she doesn't have a clue about intelligence reform. Senator Feinstein's bill is a big step backwards for privacy. In contrast, the USA Freedom Act would stop intelligence abuses.

BRITAIN’S spymasters have told how 34 terrorist plots in the UK have been thwarted since the 7/7 suicide bombers attacked London eight years ago. In an unprecedented appearance before a Westminster committee, MI5 head Andrew Parker, MI6 chief Sir John Sawers and GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban detailed the “ongoing threat” to the UK. They also claimed revelations by the former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden had seriously damaged the country’s security, with organisations such as al-Qaeda “lapping up the information” and reconfiguring their communications systems as a result.

The NSA's Big Terrorism Claim Doesn't Hold Up.

NYPD agent arrested for biker beating spied on Occupy activists.

Snowden: 'Economies are built on creativity, curiosity- and privacy'.

Feds Targeted Snowden’s Email Provider the Day After NSA Whistleblower Went Public.

Senator Feinstein Admits the NSA Taps the Internet Backbone.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon, a critic of the surveillance program, questioned Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, about whether the spy agency had ever collected or planned to collect data revealing the locations where Americans used their cellphones. General Alexander responded that the NSA was not receiving cell site locational data and had no current plans to do so. “That’s not the question I’m asking,” Senator Wyden said. “I’m asking, has the NSA ever collected or ever made any plans to collect American cell site information?” Alexander suggested that he had already answered the question. Then he added: “What I don’t want to do, senator, is put out in an unclassified forum anything that’s classified here.” “General, if you’re responding to my question by not answering it, because you think that’s a classified matter, that is certainly your right,” Wyden said. He said he would continue to press for an answer. “I believe this is something the American people have a right to know,” he said.

Feinstein's NSA 'reform' bill would expand snooping powers

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is among many government officials uttering misstatements in the wake of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

That is the punchline of the Snowden affair: when we can't trust what government tells us, we come to trust those whom government doesn't trust. Thus, we no longer necessarily care what the official line is and who delivers it. And when that happens, access – the currency of the Beltway – becomes worthless. Ah, the irony.

Encryption Works: How to Protect Your Privacy in the Age of NSA Surveillance.

Edward Snowden is a patriot.

Snowden applies for asylum in Ecuador. Ecuador's foreign minister confirms on Twitter that NSA whistle-blower has applied for asylum.

it's important to bear in mind I'm being called a traitor by men like former vice president Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warmup on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.”

Edward Snowden’s grandiosity

One American Who Isn’t for Sale By Robert Scheer

Have you ever wondered about what life is like for a professional U.S. government eavesdropper? Well, you’re in luck. This month the National Security Agency (NSA) declassified 23 years’ worth of issues of “Cryptolog,” the newsletter written by and for the code-breakers, linguists, and computer scientists at the U.S. government’s most secretive intelligence organization. The issues span from 1974 to 1997.

GOP and Feinstein join to fulfill Obama's demand for renewed warrantless eavesdropping The California Democrat's disgusting rhetoric recalls the worst of Dick Cheney while advancing Obama's agenda.

When Yoo and Bolton decry unchecked Executive power you almost think it's not a principled stance. I've never seen a Cong member argue so strongly against Executive Branch oversight as Sen Feinstein did today re the FISA law. And California people just reelected her, the great liberal. Now her core is shown clearly. if you can read faces at all, you will have seen the deep fear inside her, repressed her entire life, allowed out in this manner.

TrapWire: International Surveillance Coordination Network New emails released by WikiLeaks indicate that TrapWire, a defense contractor owned and operated by ex-CIA operatives, sits at the heart of American intelligence. Everything from incidents on military base to calls to NYC's "See Something, Say Something" are routed through TrapWire.

How the CIA Became ‘One Hell of a Killing Machine’

Patriot Act is worse than you think, senator says.

Democrat urges investigation into federal security contractors. Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia is seeking an investigation into whether government money was used by three data security firms involved in a proposal to harass liberal critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.,0,6918223.story

Anonymous’ recent exposure of a federal contractor’s plan to take down WikiLeaks has led to a congressional probe seeking data on contracts the company and its partners hold with the U.S. military and intelligence agencies. The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities on Wednesday asked the Defense Department and its intelligence arm — the National Security Agency — to hand over copies of any contracts they may have signed with HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) grilled Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, and Dr. James Miller, Jr., deputy under secretary of defense for policy, on the services the firms provided their agencies. Miller replied that he would have to check with the Defense Department’s general counsel to “make sure that the provision of that type of information is allowed contractually.” When Johnson asked whether this meant the contracts might have provisions barring them from being shared with Congress, Miller backtracked and said no, that it would take time to determine all the agencies in the department that have contracts with the companies and decide in what form to provide the information. Subcommittee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) interjected that the information should be provided to the entire committee.

Anonymous victim HBGary goes to ground. The computer security company hacked by members of activist group Anonymous has gone to ground as further revelations about its activites leak online.

UPDATED: The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All.

Hoping to win a lucrative agreement with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, three data security contractors for federal defense and intelligence agencies developed a proposal to monitor and manipulate the chamber's left-leaning critics, according to recently released e-mail correspondence. Employees of the firms compiled short dossiers on a few activists that included photographs, references to their families and charts of their relationships with other liberal and labor leaders. A review of the correspondence, dating from late October through last week, suggested that the surveillance and intelligence gathering had begun only on a superficial basis in anticipation of a coming meeting with chamber officials. The proposals were received by Hunton & Williams, a law firm that represents the chamber. The firm, which also represents Bank of America, solicited a separate proposal from the security firms to help the bank deal with a threat by WikiLeaks, the international hacker organization, to release some of the bank's internal data. Chamber officials as well as a spokesman for Bank of America said they knew nothing of the surveillance proposals until the e-mails were released Friday by Anonymous, a group that is sympathetic to WikiLeaks.,0,2884792.story

Servant or snoop in the parking garage? To help absent-minded shoppers searching for 'lost' automobiles, Santa Monica Place installs the nation's first camera-based 'Find Your Car' system. Despite a few bugs, the technology is gaining fans — but there are privacy concerns.,0,5779844.story?page=1

Former Spy With Agenda Operates a Private C.I.A. Duane R. Clarridge parted company with the Central Intelligence Agency more than two decades ago, but from poolside at his home near San Diego, he still runs a network of spies. Mr. Clarridge, 78, who was indicted on charges of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra scandal and later pardoned, is described by those who have worked with him as driven by the conviction that Washington is bloated with bureaucrats and lawyers who impede American troops in fighting adversaries and that leaders are overly reliant on mercurial allies. His dispatches — an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports — have been sent to military officials who, until last spring at least, found some credible enough to be used in planning strikes against militants in Afghanistan. They are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver L. North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, and Brad Thor, an author of military thrillers and a frequent guest of Glenn Beck.

Sweden says the US has carried out secret surveillance without telling Swedish authorities.,0,1602072.story

US embassy accused of spying in Norway, Oslo demands answers.

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back. Read More


Secret Service accused of misconduct in Aaron Swartz case.

Is A New Virus Hitting In Iran?

Facial Recognition

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) -- More than two dozen San Diego county law enforcement agencies have started testing facial recognition technology used to help identify people in the field. Currently, the software allows officers to compare any photo of your face to a database of local mug shots. But there are concerns about what may happen next. Patrol cop Robert Halverson is one of seven officers in the Chula Vista Police Department who carries a tablet computer loaded with the facial recognition software, made by FaceFirst, LLC. "This only taps into the county booking photos," Officer Halverson said while demonstrating the software to CBS News 8. "This is just an investigation tool. It's only scanning against that one database to compare faces," he said. Twenty-five local agencies currently are testing about 180 of the devices, paid for with a Homeland Security grant under a $475,000 annual contract with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The devices and software allow officers to snap a photo of a person in the field and compare that image to mug shots already on file. "I think a policeman doesn't like it when someone gets away with not being held accountable, like say, they give you a bogus name and you weren't able to catch it," said Officer Halverson. Right now, the software ties into the county's criminal mug shot database of about 1.4 million images. But privacy advocates says it's only a matter of time before facial recognition technology is taken to the next level. "Once you have this technology you can use it for other things," said Dave Maass, a technology investigator with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in San Francisco. "You can use it to take security camera footage and run an identity check on that. You can grab Facebook images and run an identity check on that," said Maass. "Let's say the police are videotaping a crowd of protestors. Then can turn around and they can use this facial recognition software to start identifying the people in the crowd," said Maass. "That's problematic. It's problematic for free speech. It's problematic for freedom of association. It's problematic for privacy." The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants SANDAG to implement strict privacy and usage guidelines before facial recognition software goes mainstream with local police agencies. "Local law enforcement has this way of taking a technology before it's been regulated and pushing it to the extreme," Maass said. EFF also is worried that the technology may soon allow police to tap into the state's DMV photo database and use facial recognition to identify people through driver's license photos. "People are worried about the privacy with the DMV and stuff like that," said CVPD Officer Halverson. "We're only taking the photo of the person if we have a criminal reason like an arrest or a criminal investigation. It's not just anyone on the street," said Halverson. SANDAG currently is in the process of developing and updating draft guidelines for the use of facial recognition technology by local law enforcement, according to the agency's Associate General Counsel, Shelby Tucker. "The changes we are anticipating have to do with making it clear that we are not using the DMV photos. We never have and never plan to use the DMV photos," Tucker wrote in an email to CBS News 8.

Travel Restrictions

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist.

American Muslim Reporter Describes 'Dehumanizing' Treatment At US Border. Read more:

MTS has utilized undercover and canine teams and special enforcement teams (SEUs) have swept into stations resulting in 621 citations and 197 warnings being issued, mainly for fare violations. MTS reports a rising number of transients camping on transit agency property or loitering at certain trolley stops, especially Morena Linda Vista, Hazard Center, and Mission Valley on the Green Line and Merlin Street crossing and 54th Street bridge on the Orange Line. On the bus routes, MTS eliminated a stop at Imperial and Euclid due to rising complaints of drug and alcohol abuse. Mobile and bike patrols were increased along Broadway bus stops and stepped up enforcement at the Nimitz & Rosecrans bus stop was enacted. Undercover teams worked on bus routes 3, 7, 13 and 44 to control “unruly junior high and high school students.” Patrols were also increased around Fifth and University and Fourth and Robinson in response to complaints of loitering and drinking. In June, the MTS approved four year contract with Heritage Security to augment its enforcement program.

You Are No Longer Free To Move About the Country. Janet Napolitano said last month that we should expect to soon see tighter restrictions at bus, train, and marine transportation centers, too. Here's a report about TSA, Border Patrol, and local police setting up a checkpoint at a Greyhound station in Tampa. Note how quickly preventing a possible terrorist attack expands to include catching illegal immigrants, and preventing drug and what sounds like "cash smuggling." (It's hard to tell from the audio.) Note also the complete and utter reverence the local news report bestows on these government agencies, who after all are merely "teaming up to keep your family safe."


Assange targeted by FBI probe, US court documents reveal. May 20, 2014 Read more:

The former National Security Agency systems analyst, Edward Snowden, said that the mass surveillance programs used by the United States to tap into phone and internet connections around the world are making people less safe. In short video clips posted by the WikiLeaks website on Friday, Snowden said that the NSA's mass surveillance, which he disclosed before fleeing to Russia, "puts us at risk of coming into conflict with our own government." A U.S. court has charged Snowden with violating the Espionage Act for disclosing those programs. Snowden described them as a "dragnet mass surveillance that puts entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything even when it's not needed." "They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely," Snowden said.

First, just a very partial list from “Cablegate” (keep in mind, this does not include many other bombshells that caused a stir in smaller nations abroad):

• Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by the US. All part of giving US full rein in country against terrorists.

• Details on Vatican hiding big sex abuse cases in Ireland.

• US tried to get Spain to curb its probes of Gitmo torture and rendition.

• Egyptian torturers trained by FBI—although allegedly to teach the human rights issues.

• State Dept. memo: US-backed 2009 coup in Honduras was “illegal and unconstitutional.”

• Cables on Tunisia appear to help spark revolt in that country. The country’s ruling elite described as “The Family,” with Mafia-like skimming throughout the economy. The country’s first lady may have made massive profits off a private school.

• US knew all about massive corruption in Tunisia back in 2006 but went on supporting the government anyway, making it the pillar of its North Africa policy.

• Cables showed the UK promised in 2009 to protect US interests in the official Chilcot inquiry on the start of the Iraq war.

  • Oil giant Shell claims to have “inserted staff” and fully infiltrated Nigeria's government.

• US pressured the European Union to accept GM—genetic modification, that is.

• Washington was misled by our own diplomats on Russia-Georgia showdown.

• Extremely important historical document finally released in full: Ambassador April Glaspie’s cable from Iraq in 1990 on meeting with Saddam Hussein before Kuwait invasion.

• The UK sidestepped a ban on housing cluster bombs. Officials concealed from Parliament how the US is allowed to bring weapons on to British soil in defiance of treaty.

• The New York Times: “From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct outlier.”

• Afghan vice president left country with $52 million “in cash.”

• Shocking levels of US spying at the United Nations (beyond what was commonly assumed) and intense use of diplomats abroad in intelligence-gathering roles.

• Potential environmental disaster kept secret by the US when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere.

• US used threats, spying, and more to try to get its way at last year’s crucial climate conference in Copenhagen.

  • American and British diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear weapons program — with poor security — could lead to fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists or a devastating nuclear exchange with India.

• Hundreds of cables detail US use of diplomats as “sales” agents, more than previously thought, centering on jet rivalry of Boeing vs. Airbus. Hints of corruption and bribes.

• Millions in US military aid for fighting Pakistani insurgents went to other gov’t uses (or stolen) instead.

• Israel wanted to bring Gaza to the ”brink of collapse.”

• The US secret services used Turkey as a base to transport terrorism suspects as part of its extraordinary rendition program.

• As protests spread in Egypt, cables revealed that strong man Suleiman was at center of government’s torture programs, causing severe backlash for Mubarak after he named Suleiman vice president during the revolt. Other cables revealed or confirmed widespread Mubarak regime corruption, police abuses and torture, and claims of massive Mubarak famiiy fortune, significantly influencing media coverage and US response.

That's why I find the Snowden controversy so frustrating. I realize many Americans don't trust their government. I wish I could change that. I wish I could tell people the amazing things I witnessed during my 30 years in the CIA, that I've never seen people work harder or more selflessly, that for little money and long hours, people took it for granted that their flaws would be scrutinized and their successes ignored. But I've been around long enough to know that deep-rooted distrust of government is immune to stories from people like me. The conspiracy buffs are too busy howling in protest at the thought that their government could uncover how long they spent on the phone with their dear aunt. Let me break this to you gently. The government is not interested in your conversations with your aunt, unless, of course, she is a key terrorist leader. More than 100 billion emails were sent every day last year — 100 billion, every day. In that vast mass of data lurk a few bits that are of urgent interest and vast terabytes of tedium that are not. Unfortunately, the metadata (the phone numbers, length of contact, and so forth, but not the content of the conversations) that sketch the contours of a call to your family member may fall into the same enormous bucket of information that includes information on the next terrorist threat. As Jeremy Bash, the former chief of staff of the CIA, memorably put it, "If you're looking for a needle in the haystack, you need a haystack." bob filner,0,2610260.story

The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case.

Manning's heroism has long been established in my view.

Bradley Manning Takes ‘Full Responsibility’ for Giving WikiLeaks Huge Government Data Trove.

WikiLeaks case: What's fair? Pfc. Bradley Manning's court-martial proceedings have been delayed until June. The Army should use the delay to consider a plea arrangement.,0,3161764.story

11 Secret Documents Americans Deserve to See

Group Aims to Be a Conduit for WikiLeaks Donations.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes 1st public appearance in 2 months. Assange called on President Barack Obama to end a 'witch hunt' against his secret-spilling website, after appearing in public for the first time since he took refuge inside Ecuador's embassy in London two months ago. Assange also urged the U.S. to release Manning, but said: "If Bradley Manning really did as he is accused, he is a hero, an example to us all, and one of the world's foremost political prisoners.",0,6208118.story

Julian Assange case: Ecuador pushes for neighbours' support. Quito insists embassy is inviolable as Hague says WikiLeaks founder will not be allowed safe passage out of country.

We still don't know if he did it or not, but if Bradley Manning, the 24-year-old Army private from Oklahoma, actually supplied WikiLeaks with its choicest material—the Iraq War logs, the Afghan War logs, and the State Department cables—which startled and riveted the world, then he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom instead of a jail cell at Fort Leavenworth.

Zinnia Jones, the genderqueer YouTube vlogger who had an online friendship with alleged Wikileaks source Bradley Manning, has made their internet conversations available for download.

Bradley Manning’s Army of One How a lonely, five-foot-two, gender-questioning soldier became a WikiLeaks hero, a traitor to the U.S., and one of the most unusual revolutionaries in American history.


WikiLeaks accused Bradley Manning 'should never have been sent to Iraq' Guardian exclusive: Soldier held over US intelligence leak was known to be mentally fragile and unsuited to army life.

Obama on Manning: “He Broke the Law.” So Much for that Trial?

WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning is being moved from the Quantico brig where he is currently being held to the prison at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas, according to the Pentagon. The Associated Press reported that the move is connected to criticism about how the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, has treated the Army soldier. But at a press conference on Tuesday, the Army’s general counsel downplayed the criticism. “I won’t say that his conditions at Quantico had nothing to do with this,” said Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel, but also added that “the fact that we have made a decision to transfer him should not be interpreted as a criticism of the place he was before.” The Pentagon, he said, remained satisfied that Manning’s treatment at Quantico was in compliance with “legal and regulatory standards in all respects, and we salute the military personnel there for the job they did in difficult circumstances.”

Blame the Defense Department for WikiLeaks. The practice disclosed by Taki is outrageous. In the commercial world similar weaknesses in security systems with respect to stored documents are well-known. The government should have known about them too. Do not expect any investigation of the government’s actions soon. The government is only interested in investigating Julian Assange. Presently, that investigation is proceeding under the authority of a grand jury impaneled in Virginia. The grand jury is investigating Assange under the Espionage Act. It has admitted that prosecution under the Espionage Act would be difficult and that it was seeking other ways to indict Assange. The government’s admission that prosecution under the Espionage Act would be difficult comes as no surprise with those familiar with that Act. It simply does not apply to the receipt of classified information. If it did, there would be scores of journalists in jail who cover national security matters such as Bob Woodward, James Risen of The New York Times, or Walter Pincus of The Washington Post, all of whom receive classified information on a regular basis. The reason the Espionage Act does not apply is because the First Amendment protects newsgathering activities in the national arena, including the receipt of classified information. The government is not giving up easily, however. Last week it won a case against Twitter, forcing Twitter to give up information about WikiLeaks. What the government is looking for and expects to find is not clear. One wonders whether the government is huffing and puffing to cover up its own incompetence. If so, it has been effective since, as far as it is known, no one has called for an investigation into what the government has done. Compare the activities of Assange with the admission made by the Defense Department. Through incompetence and carelessness, it has permitted a huge national security leak which could have been easily prevented. On the other hand Assange has exercised his right under the First Amendment to publish, as have others including The New York Times, materials leaked to him by Manning. If we are to balance the behavior of the government and WikiLeaks in this matter, the government’s actions come off worse than WikiLeaks. It has really screwed up, it has admitted it, but where’s the outrage?

ACLU Protests Manning’s Treatment in Letter to Pentagon.

Wikileaks: Manning's dad protests conditions of son's incarceration, new legal filing complains conditions unjust.

Why Bradley Manning Is a Patriot, Not a Criminal.

But the real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained is the unified axis of government and corporate power. I've written many times about this issue -- the full-scale merger between public and private spheres -- because it's easily one of the most critical yet under-discussed political topics. Especially (though by no means only) in the worlds of the Surveillance and National Security State, the powers of the state have become largely privatized. There is very little separation between government power and corporate power. Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former. The revolving door between the highest levels of government and corporate offices rotates so fast and continuously that it has basically flown off its track and no longer provides even the minimal barrier it once did. It's not merely that corporate power is unrestrained; it's worse than that: corporations actively exploit the power of the state to further entrench and enhance their power.

Twitter’s Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard.

A defense attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims his client could face the death penalty if he’s extradited to Sweden and if that country then passes him to U.S. authorities. Defense attorney Mark Stephens made the assertion in a 35-page document (.pdf) released Tuesday, which forecasts the arguments Stephens intends to make in a London court next month to fight Assange’s extradition to Sweden in an ongoing sex-crimes investigation. Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning in the case, though he has not been charged with a crime. Stephens argued in the document that extraditing Assange could violate the European Convention on Human Rights if the U.S. then tried to extradite him from Sweden or, worse, grab him through an “illegal rendition.” The highly-charged reference is to the “extraordinary renditions” that the Central Intelligence Agency performed to illegally nab suspected terrorists and send them to countries overseas where they could be tortured in secret prisons. It is submitted that there is a real risk that, if extradited to Sweden, the U.S. will seek his extradition and/or illegal rendition to the USA, where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, in conditions which would breach Article 3 of the ECHR. Indeed, if Mr. Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well-known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr. Assange should be executed.

The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange.



CIA torture architect breaks silence to defend 'enhanced interrogation' • James Mitchell 'highly skeptical' of Senate report on CIA torture • 'It was not illegal based on the law at the time' • Mitchell said to have waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed • Interview: 'I'm just a guy who got asked to do something for his country'

Torture (and other abuses): Similarly, it will be no news to anyone that, in their infamous "torture memos," officials of the Bush Justice Department freed CIA interrogators to "take the gloves off" and use what were euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques" against offshore prisoners in the Global War on Terror. These "techniques" included "waterboarding," once known as "the water torture," and long accepted even in this country as a form of torture. On coming to office, President Obama rejected these practices, but refused to prosecute those who practiced them. Not a single CIA agent or private contractor involved was ever charged, no less brought to trial, nor was anyone in the Bush Justice Department or the rest of an administration which green-lighted these practices and whose top officials reportedly saw them demonstrated in the White House.

To be accurate, a single member of the national security state has gone to prison thanks to the CIA’s torture program. That was John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent who tortured no one, but offended the Obama administrations by turning whistleblower and going public about Agency torture. He is now serving a 30-month prison sentence "for disclosing a covert operative’s name to a reporter." In other words, the only crime that could be prosecuted in connection with the Agency’s torture campaign was one that threatened to let the American public know more about it.

Now, however, thanks to leaks from the embattled Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,300-page report on the CIA’s interrogation and torture program, we know that the Agency “used interrogation methods that weren’t approved by the Justice Department or CIA headquarters.” In other words, its agents went beyond even those techniques approved in the torture memos, which in turn means that they acted illegally even by the standards of the Bush administration. This should be an obvious signal for the beginning of prosecutions, but – not surprisingly – it looks like the only prosecution on the horizon might be of whoever leaked parts of the unreleased Senate report to McClatchy News.

John Kiriakou, a long-time former CIA official and case officer. John, an anti-torture whistleblower and activist, was hounded into ruin by the Justice Department because he revealed that the CIA had tortured prisoners and that torture was official US Government policy. John accepted a plea to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. The irony is extraordinary. For more than 14 years, John worked in the field and at home, under conditions of great peril and stress and at great personal sacrifice, dedicating himself to protecting America and Americans from harm at home and abroad.

letter from John Kiriakou:

CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says. A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques. The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document. “The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”

Sen. Feinstein on CIA spying: "This is a serious issue" Today on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke to Crowley about the possibility of terrorist involvement in the disappearance of MH370, her feud with the CIA, NSA metadata recommendations, and the Ukraine-Russia crisis. During a discussion about the CIA spying on her staff, Senator Feinstein said, “It isn’t the first time, it is actually the third time. So, this is a serious issue.”

Revealed: Inside the Senate report on CIA interrogations.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) accused the CIA on Tuesday of illegally searching her committee’s computers to find an internal CIA review of Bush-era interrogation policies. In comments on the Senate floor, Feinstein asked for an apology from the CIA and said she had “grave concerns” over its actions, which she said violated the Constitution’s separation of powers.

I got 30 months in prison. Why does Leon Panetta get a pass? The Espionage Act should be rewritten to deal with issues of intent and motive, and it should be enforced equally. By John Kiriakou,0,7028492.story

Senate intelligence committee presses CIA to release torture report. Secret 6,300-page report details 'enhanced interrogation'. Lawyer nomination brings contention into public view.

CIA Official Who Destroyed Torture Tapes Squirms at Zero Dark Thirty Abuse.

Why Mass Incarceration Defines Us As a Society Bryan Stevenson, the winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in social justice, has taken his fight all the way to the Supreme Court

Questions: Does anyone dispute the fact the CIA has systematically tortured captives? Is there any reason to believe that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee had no knowledge of it? Hasn't torture long been a crime under both U.S. and international law? Why aren't those who authorized torture and the committee members who failed to stop it being prosecuted? And what's to prevent future cases of torture if today's perpetrators aren't prosecuted?,0,4521907.story

Senate under pressure to release mammoth report on CIA interrogation Republican senators could move to keep under wraps a 6,000-page report detailing CIA methods during 'war on terror'

CIA 'tortured and sodomised' terror suspect, human rights court rules. Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen.

Bradley Manning: how keeping himself sane was taken as proof of madness WikiLeaks suspect's attempts to exercise and stay occupied in bare cell only perpetuated harsh anti-suicide measures.

Nobel laureates slam the US over Bradley Manning case. Leaders of the United States have insulted the intelligence of the rest of the world, three Nobel laureates write this week, because of their continuously perverse mishandling of the case against accused WikiLeaks source Pfc Bradley Manning. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel have authored a statement to be published in an upcoming issue of The Nation that condemns the United States’ persecution of the 24-year-old Army private and implores the rest of America to question the country’s secretive torture of a soldier that the prize winners say defended democracy.

On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., President George W. Bush sent a 12-page Memorandum of Notification to his National Security Council. That memorandum, we know now, authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to set up and run secret prisons. We still don’t know exactly what it says: CIA attorneys have told a judge the document is so off-limits to the courts and the American people that even the font is classified. But we do know what it did: It literally opened a space for torture.

In 2006, Philip Zelikow, an adviser to then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, wrote a secret memo warning his colleagues that many of the Bush administration's enhanced interrogation techniques were likely illegal. Zelikow didn't speak publicly about the memo—the smoking gun that the Bush administration was warned by its own staff about legal problems with its interrogation program—until 2009, when he revealed its existence in a blog post for Foreign Policy. But when Zelikow testified to Congress about his warning, his classified memo was withheld, and two unclassified documents were released in its stead. Zelikow told Mother Jones in 2009 that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had attempted to destroy any evidence of the classified memo, but that some copies might survive in the State Department's archives. It appears that Zelikow was right about the archives: the secret memo, which he called a "direct assault on [the Bush Justice Department's] interpretation of American law," was finally released by the State Department on Tuesday, three years after the National Security Archive and WIRED reporter Spencer Ackerman (then at the Washington Independent) first requested it under the Freedom of Information Act. You can read it here:

A federal appeals court judge, who as a government lawyer signed off on secret memos authorizing the use of the torture technique known as waterboarding against terrorism suspects, received $3.4 million in free legal services while successfully fending off ethics charges over the authorization. Jay Bybee, now a member of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and signed off on memorandums authorizing waterboarding, internationally recognized as torture, and harsh interrogations in the wake of 9/11. Bybee worked in the office from November 2001 to March 2003, supervising the memos’ controversial author John Yoo. In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Bybee to the appeals court. Despite the elevation of Bybee, the DoJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation in 2004, looking into whether to file professional misconduct charges against him for providing legal cover for the use of torture against terrorism suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11. But, thanks to the help of Los Angeles firm of Latham & Watkins, the investigation was dropped in 2010. The National Law Journal on Monday published Bybee’s financial disclosure statements for the 9th Circuit,. They show that Latham had donated $3.25 million in services and a few other firms another $150,000 in the years leading up to the government’s decision concluding that Bybee and underling Yoo had not committed professional misconduct.

Terrorism suspect secretly held for two months. Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali, is the first detainee known to have been secretly held by the Obama administration outside the criminal justice system.,0,5686806.story

The result is that the national discourse on torture is often dominated by the pro side. Torture apologists swarmed the airwaves after the death of Osama bin Laden, for instance, claiming validation from unsubstantiated reports that he was tracked down in small part due to information received years earlier from brutalized detainees. Lost in the bluster was the considerable evidence that torture actually slowed the hunt, as bin Laden might have been caught much earlier had those detainees been interrogated properly. Former vice president Dick Cheney and former president George W. Bush have both publicly bragged about their role in approving waterboarding and the use of other "enhanced interrogation techniques." Bush, for instance, casually acknowledged last year that he had Khalid Sheikh Mohammed waterboarded -- and would "do it again". In his memoir, he repeatedly acknowledged -- and attempted to justify -- his actions. Bush and Cheney insist that nothing they approved amounts to torture. But waterboarding, which creates the sensation of drowning, has been one of the most iconic forms of torture since the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Until the Bush administration's infamous "torture memos," the practice had always been considered illegal by the Justice Department. It is a clear violation of international torture conventions. Many of the other brutal interrogation techniques that were used much more pervasively than waterboarding -- including forced nudity, isolation, bombardment with noise and light, deprivation of food, forced standing, repeated beatings, applications of cold water, the use of dogs, slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them in stress positions and keeping them awake for as long as 180 hours -- are also widely considered to be torture, and certainly comprise violations of human dignity according to international standards championed by the U.S. government ever since World War II.

CIA Exhales: 99 Out of 101 Torture Cases Dropped.

Admitting that “some will call me a torturer” is a surefire way to cut yourself off from anyone’s sympathy. But Glenn Carle, a former CIA operative, isn’t sure whether he’s the hero or the villain of his own story. Distilled, that story, told in Carle’s new memoir The Interrogator, is this: In the months after 9/11, the CIA kidnaps a suspected senior member of al-Qaida and takes him to a Mideast country for interrogation. It assigns Carle — like nearly all his colleagues then, an inexperienced interrogator — to pry information out of him. Uneasy with the CIA’s new, relaxed rules for questioning, which allow him to torture, Carle instead tries to build a rapport with the man he calls CAPTUS. But CAPTUS doesn’t divulge the al-Qaida plans the CIA suspects him of knowing. So the agency sends him to “Hotel California” — an unacknowledged prison, beyond the reach of the Red Cross or international law. Carle goes with him. Though heavily censored by the CIA, Carle provides the first detailed description of a so-called “black site.” At an isolated “discretely guarded, unremarkable” facility in an undisclosed foreign country (though one where the Soviets once operated), hidden CIA interrogators work endless hours while heavy metal blasts captives’ eardrums and disrupts their sleep schedules. Afterward, the operatives drive to a fortified compound to munch Oreos and drink somberly to Grand Funk Railroad at the “Jihadi Bar.” Any visitor to Guantanamo Bay’s Irish pub — O’Kellys, home of the fried pickle — will recognize the surreality. But Carle — codename: REDEMPTOR — comes to believe CAPTUS is innocent.

Gen. David H. Petraeus is an evil idiot suggests interrogation policy for emergencies The would-be CIA director tells the Senate Intelligence Committee that the U.S. should consider a policy for using special interrogation techniques when information is needed right away to save lives. John McCain, a fellow opponent of recent 'enhanced' methods, agrees.,0,688817.story

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the intelligence committee, said Thursday that the detainee who gave the CIA its best understanding of the courier who ultimately led to Bin Laden — identified by U.S. officials as Hassan Ghul — did so before he was subjected to unspecified harsh interrogation techniques at a secret CIA prison in Poland. Feinstein knows this, she explained, because her staff has examined records documenting the CIA interrogations — records that few others have been able to examine. Her assertion contradicts several George W. Bush administration officials who have suggested that Ghul gave help only after rough treatment. Those claims have fueled the belief by some that "enhanced interrogation techniques," which President Obama banned after he took office, were instrumental in finding Bin Laden. Moreover, a U.S. official disclosed that Ghul was not named in a 2005 Justice Department memo that approved use of sleep deprivation, slapping, nudity and water dousing, as The Times reported last week. The memo referred to a detainee named Janat Gul, the official said, and no one suggests he provided information about Bin Laden's courier.,0,4868046.story

Some are arguing that intel obtained from detainees under torture led us to bin Laden. But Andrea Prasow says that had we stuck to lawful tactics, we might have found him even sooner.

Sitting in the hotel room, the lawyer lifted up his pants leg and showed me a red hole where electrodes had been placed in his knee during an interrogation in a U.S.-run detention facility. I told him not all Americans are like the ones he met. “We’re not a nation of torturers,” I said. Later, I wondered, how did this happen? If there is a smoking gun, it was in the hands of John Yoo. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, and he was the person behind a Justice Department memo that said interrogators could do what they wanted so long as the intensity of pain was less than that which the prisoners would feel if they suffered from organ failure or another life-threatening injury. These guidelines created the conditions that allowed for almost any sort of physical abuse. Yoo, along with David Addington, a Duke Law School graduate who was an aide to Dick Cheney, and Timothy Flanigan, a University of Virginia law school graduate who served as a deputy White House counsel—all of whom had studied at the nation’s premier law schools—got together in meetings in Washington to discuss the possibility of using harsh techniques on al Qaeda operatives and other high-level terrorists.

Surveillance, Not Waterboarding, Led to bin Laden.

Creepy handwritten notes of CIA psychologist who helped design US torture techniques for terror detainees.

Guantánamo Prison

Gitmo Doctors Hid Evidence of Torture.

Mr. Nashiri’s case would also raise unresolved legal questions about jurisdiction and rules of evidence in tribunals. And it would attract global attention because he was previously held in secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons and is one of three detainees known to have been subjected to the drowning technique known as waterboarding. Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Reyes of the Navy, a military lawyer assigned to defend Mr. Nashiri, declined to comment on any movement in the case. But he noted that two of Mr. Nashiri’s alleged co-conspirators were indicted in federal civilian court in 2003, and he made clear that the defense would highlight Mr. Nashiri’s treatment in C.I.A. custody. “Nashiri is being prosecuted at the commissions because of the torture issue,” Mr. Reyes said. “Otherwise he would be indicted in New York along with his alleged co-conspirators.”

Immigration and border fence

Immigration Reform

The minds of likely voters in California have hardly changed for years when asked about what should happen to illegal immigrants who live and work in the United States, according to a series of state polls. Since 2007, nearly two-thirds of respondents have continued to say the undocumented who have worked in the country for at least two years should be allowed to stay, keep their jobs and apply for legal status, the Public Policy Institute of California has found. The figure was 62 percent in the latest poll, which was released Wednesday.

A record number of immigrants were deported in fiscal 2011. You'd think that would be greeted as good news by Republicans, who have repeatedly demanded that the Obama administration crack down on illegal immigration. But it won't be. The latest numbers, released last week, are unlikely to sway the current field of Republican presidential hopefuls, who steadfastly refuse to discuss fixing the broken immigration system, arguing that only stricter enforcement, tougher penalties and a 100% secured border will satisfy them. Never mind that enforcement along the border with Mexico is more stringent now than perhaps any other time in U.S. history. Ignore the fact that an ambitious plan launched during the George W. Bush administration and continued under President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol boots on the ground and added hundreds of miles of new walls and cyber-fences. And pay no attention to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics that indicate arrests and illegal crossings at the southern border dipped to record low levels last year.,0,3449380.story

As it diversifies, Nevada shifts its tone. Anti-Latino remarks from a Nye County official prompt a popular recall campaign — a sign of shifting worldviews that's reflected across the state.,0,4474975.story

Republicans want a return to workplace immigration raids. They say they'll use their new majority in the House to press for more aggressive enforcement without any path to legal status.,0,578382.story

As DREAM Act Fails, Graham Tells Undocumented Youth They Wasted Their Time.

Flood of child immigrants

Mark Lane is hosting a family of undocumented immigrants from Guatemala who recently came over the U.S. border. The San Diego businessman went through the non-profit organization Border Angels to host an immigrant mom, her two teen boys and 23-year-old daughter (video below). “They’re people and they’re people who have suffered incredibly,” Lane told Fox 5. The family reportedly fled their home country because gangs threatened to kill the teen boys. The daughter was raped multiple times during their trip to the U.S., and the family had everything stolen while riding on top of a train. “Every time I pick up the phone, I don’t know if it’s a customer or if it’s someone to tell me how big of an A-hole I am, or I’m going to kill you and kill your family,” added Lane. One threat on Facebook read: “Mark Lane needs a serious beating in front of his customers.” - See more at:

Members of the United Church of Christ of La Mesa gathered Sunday to discuss immigration issues and children. Dozens of people listened to speaker Enrique Morones of the Border Angels. The conversation was called “50,ooo and Counting: A border crisis discussion.”

At the vigil, about 100 participants formed two semi-circles at noon on opposite sides of the main border fence near the Pacific Ocean at Friendship Park, a traditional meeting point for families that straddle the border. Speakers included leaders of American Baptist Churches and the National Council of Churches. The council comprises more than 100,000 congregations with 45 million people.

Physicians debunk claims of disease at the border. Migrant children do not pose health threat. As for vaccinations, the approximately 52,000 children who have crossed the border since September are coming mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras where vaccination rates for recommended vaccines exceed or fall just below the United States’ 94 percent rate, according to the handout, “Central American Immigrant Border Crossings Shine Light on Public Health.” Schlenker, who toured the Lackland facility, said children there are receiving excellent medical care. The detention center houses about 1,200 children at any time with 50 to 100 leaving daily, he said. In general, the children have had a rough time, he said. “They are skinny, awkward, oftentimes bewildered children,” Schlenker said. The most common reason they’re upset is they miss their mother or father, who they probably haven’t seen in a long time, he said. Medical workers “believe they’ve been able to help a lot of these kids just by listening to them,” Schlenker said.

Border Patrol, ICE

Border Patrol: Leave law enforcement to the pros.

El Centro was a far cry from Murrieta on Wednesday. One day after protesters shouting "Go home!" blocked three busloads of immigrants from a Border Patrol processing center in Murrieta, a different group of immigrants in El Centro were welcomed by a congressman carrying a Bible. "What a different scene," said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), who was on hand in El Centro for the arrival of three busloads of immigrants in Imperial County. The mothers and children, who were caught illegally crossing the border in Texas, were flown to Yuma and bused to a Border Patrol facility in El Centro. Not only did the El Centro reception differ, so did the response from the congressmen who represent the two areas — which are about 140 miles apart. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), whose district includes Murrieta in Riverside County, told The Times earlier Wednesday that his constituents were "extremely upset" that detainees could be "let loose" in California. He called for immigrants caught in Texas to stay there until they can be deported. In contrast, Vargas brought his Bible to the El Centro facility where the immigrants are to be housed, and prayed with detainees. "It’s been an outpouring of love here," he said, adding that he assured the mothers and children that the United States would treat them "fairly and with dignity." Vargas also had a message for what he called the "angry mob" in Murrieta: "Don't forget your humanity." He said he couldn't understand why the protesters who blocked the buses in Murrieta weren't arrested. Vargas praised the Border Patrol for its treatment of the immigrants. The surge in immigration has been spurred, in part, by false rumors that children and families will be given permission to stay in the U.S., as well as by violence in immigrants' homelands.

A handful of demonstrators remained outside a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Murrieta overnight Tuesday after large crowds forced a bus carrying undocumented immigrants to reverse course and head down to a San Ysidro checkpoint. The buses were carrying 140 migrants, mostly lone children, who had come up from Central America through Texas. The migrants were flown on a U.S. government charter flight from Texas to San Diego International Tuesday afternoon, and then bused to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, a town in Riverside County. After being unable to pull into the USBP facility in Murrieta, the three Department of Homeland Security buses left and drove down to a Customs and Border Protection facility in San Ysidro. At about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, one of the buses pulled out of the checkpoint and onto a freeway. Two people sitting behind the driver appeared to be Border Patrol agents wearing masks. 10News could not confirm if any children were on the bus. As 10News was trying to follow the bus onto a freeway, Border Patrol SUVs blocked the entrance to the freeway. Border Patrol union official Ron Zermeno told 10News Wednesday morning that 17 migrants were transported to the San Diego Sector Border Patrol Boulevard Station in southeast San Diego County overnight for processing. Another 10 people, mostly children, were taken to local hospitals with unknown illnesses. Seven more were being quarantined at the Border Patrol Chula Vista Station with active scabies. The facility will provide them with showers, laundry service and bedding.

Physical abuse and excessive force top the list of hundreds of complaints filed against U.S. Border Patrol agents, according to a new report. The accusations include charges that agents kicked a pregnant woman, stomped on a man, and physically forced a minor to sign a document. Those accusations are in a report on government data about the complaints that was obtained by advocacy group the American Immigration Council via a Freedom of Information Act request.

U.S. border agency under pressure to reform use-of-force policies. Lawmakers and watchdog groups call on U.S. Customs and Border Protection to toughen deadly force restrictions and increase transparency.,0,5174058.story#ixzz2uftpixQg

SAN DIEGO - A photo of a Border Patrol agent helping a child shoot a powder-filled ball at a target resembling a person sparked outrage by activists, who say the scene appeared to represent the shooting of an immigrant. But the Border Patrol said in a statement Friday that any suggestion the picture means the agency shows citizens how to attack immigrants is "patently false." "It look like a person with real clothes and little kids are shooting, this place where people have died," said Pedro Rios with American Friends Service Committee.

SAN DIEGO — Dozens of Border Patrol agents confronted a crowd of more than 100 people who tried to cross into the U.S. illegally Sunday in the Tijuana River channel, federal officials said. The group from Mexico crossed into the U.S. about a quarter of a mile west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according a news release issued Monday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They headed north in the river channel toward a Border Patrol officer who was stationed several hundred yards north of the border, the release said. The agent ordered the people to stop. When they continued advancing, he called for backup and began firing pepper balls at the people. Dozens of Border Patrol agents rushed to the scene and people in the crowd began throwing rocks, U.S. officials said. The agents returned fire with pepper balls and other weapons the agency described as “intermediate use-of-force devices,” eventually driving the crowd back across the border. No one as arrested and there were no reports of serious injuries, according to CBP.

US Border Patrol has 'alarming' alcohol problem, says internal memo and inside source. Alcohol awareness classes offered as a solution.

Border Fence

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- U.S. Border Patrol officials said Wednesday that agents discovered a garage-sized hole through a steel fence that divides the United States and Mexico just east of Nogales, Arizona. The announcement was the second one this week about problems with the border fence. On Sunday, agents found that runoff water from rainstorms during the weekend had also knocked down 60 feet of the rebar-reinforced steel fence just west of the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry near Interstate 19 in Nogales. That fence stood between 18 and 26 feet high and extended at least 7 feet underground. The hole in a section of the fence 1 1/2 miles east of the Nogales city limits was discovered by agents on Saturday.

Guys, The Border Already Is Secure. If fixing the U.S.-Mexico border is the hold-up on comprehensive immigration reform, then there is no hold-up.

Border Patrol Successes Questioned.

Members of a controversial non-profit, accused by some of aiding illegal immigrants, is now the one asking for help. Members of DesertWater.Org are looking for volunteers that can help them fight a string of vandalism that they say is costing lives. Over the past 12 years, John Hunter and wife Laura have dedicated a large part of their time and money to placing water stations across the Imperial Valley desert, near the border with Mexico. Hunter who’s brother, former US Republican Congressman from California Duncan Hunter was instrumental in building up the San Diego border fence with Mexico, and who proudly calls himself a conservative said he was moved to put up the water stations after finding out dozens of people were being found dead from dehydration across the California desert areas near the border. Currently his organization has about 140 active stations, barrels filled with gallons of water for people that may be passing by. “We still have the deaths not as many, but it’s about a third as many as they used to be,” said John Hunter. But while deaths have decreased, vandalism has caught on. The Duncan’s believe the reason is many of the people using the water stations are illegal immigrants who’ve just crossed the border. Dozens of gallons have been found sliced open, “we’ve had guys burn them, we’ve had guys shoot jack rabbits and stick them on the flag.”,0,6574198.story

Cruelty on the border. A hidden camera shows Border Patrol agents destroying water jugs left for migrants, and the abuse just gets worse.

Report: Millions Wasted In Constructing Border Fence. The DHS Inspector General said the $69 million “could have been put to better use.”

The Story Of Golden State Fence Company (Now Fenceworks Inc)

Border Fence Firm Snared for Hiring Illegal Workers. A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico. After an immigration check in 1999 found undocumented workers on its payroll, Golden State promised to clean house. But when followup checks were made in 2004 and 2005, some of those same illegal workers were still on the job. In fact, U-S Attorney Carol Lam says as many as a third of the company's 750 workers may have been in the country illegally.

Homeland Security Junks Billion Dollar ‘Virtual Fence’

Two girls race to top of US-Mexico fence in 15 seconds.

Costly virtual border fence in tatters. The U.S. is set to defund the troubled project. It was intended to keep a high-tech eye on the Mexican border.,0,5546525.story

Drug Tunnels, Ultralights, Smuggling

Rise of the Super Drug Tunnels: California's Losing Fight Against Smugglers.

Agents find two border drug tunnels with rail systems.,0,4933676.story#ixzz2xy1YJ8hh

How Tunnels Are Built, Used Along U.S.-Mexico Border.

Texas trooper in chopper shoots, kills 2 suspected illegal immigrants.,0,6104028.story

Border agents killed by train during chase in Arizona Border Patrol agents Hector Clark and Edward Rojas were chasing a group of suspected illegal immigrants near Gila Bend when they attempted to cross the tracks ahead of a Union Pacific freight train.,0,4691127.story

The visiting British pilots were training near a naval air station one night this month when their helicopter came within about 150 feet of an ultralight plane flying without lights. The ultralight darted away toward Mexico without a trace. The near-disaster over the Southern California desert was an example of drug smugglers using low-flying aircraft that look like motorized hang gliders to circumvent new fences along the U.S. border with Mexico. The planes, which began appearing in Arizona three years ago, are now turning up in remote parts of California and New Mexico. And in a new twist, the planes rarely touch the ground. Pilots simply pull levers that drop aluminum bins filled with about 200 pounds of marijuana for drivers who are waiting on the ground with blinking lights or glow-sticks. Within a few minutes, the pilots are back in Mexico.

Drug tunnel uncovered at San Diego-Tijuana border, officials say; nearly 20 tons of marijuana seized.


Border Patrol Out of Control

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, which has the power to search trains and buses even though they are not crossing any border, suddenly pulled back sharply from such searches in northern New York state during September and October. Exactly why these searches have been suddenly played down is somewhat a mystery. Bill Brooks, a spokesman for the agency, said such decisions are up to local commanders and that the agency still has the option to stage such searches at any time. "This is still in the toolbox," Brooks said. The searches, which often take place in overnight hours, became an almost daily occurrence on Amtrak's New York-Chicago Lake Shore Limited for months, as they did on numerous intercity buses. Customs and Border Patrol apparently told no one that it was halting the searches. Even New York government was apparently kept in the dark. Amtrak and bus company officials began calling each other several weeks ago asking what was happening. They also were not informed.

Seven people were arrested for suspicion of drunken driving during two checkpoints conducted by police in the South Bay Friday night. A Chula Vista Police checkpoint began at 7 p.m. Friday to 1:30 a.m. Saturday in an effort to crack down on drivers without a license and those who drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Officer Alicia Chudy said. She said police at the Broadway and McIntosh Street checkpoint arrested six people for suspicion of drunken driving and one of those arrests included false impersonation. A total of 15 vehicles were impounded by police due to drivers with a suspended license or no license, while 18 citations were issued for various vehicle code violations. The other checkpoint was conducted in the 100 block of Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach from 7 p.m. Friday to 2:30 a.m. Saturday. It netted one arrest for suspicion of drunken driving, Imperial Beach Traffic Sgt. Mike Leathers reported. He said three vehicles were impounded and 12 citations were issued.