Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Pic of the Day

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Click to enlargeREUTERS/Brian Snyder

The shoes of 2013 Boston Marathon bombing survivor J.P. Norden read “Boston Strong” as he stands at the finish line on the one-year anniversary of the bombings in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Written by Ed Campbell

April 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Because of clerical error, he never served prison sentence

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The state of Missouri let a man convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to prison roam free…For thirteen years.

In 1999, Cornealious “Mike” Anderson, of St. Louis was convicted for the armed robbery of a Burger King manager who was making the night drop and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

He paid his bond and went back to his life while going through the appeals process.

When a judge rejected his final appeal, he waited for word on when to surrender himself to the penal system, but word never came.

And he kept waiting…For a long time…He also kept busy.

Anderson met a girl, fell in love, took up the trade of carpentry, had four children, started his own contracting business, joined a church, started coaching youth sports.

Years passed. Over a decade. And only last summer when his sentence “ended” did officials notice he was never actually incarcerated and sent U.S. Marshals to his family’s quiet house in the suburbs to finally lock him away.

Anderson was arrested and is currently waiting behind bars for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to respond to a petition for his release…“I never felt like a fugitive, because a fugitive’s someone that’s running from the law,’’ he said. “I never ran from the law. I was there.”

“This man is not a fugitive,” Anderon’s attorney Patrick Michael Megaro said. “He didn’t try to hide.”

“Even the victim himself went on record and said, ‘I don’t think this guy should be in jail,’” Megaro added.

Nearly 14,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org asking for Anderson’s release…

[Almost up to 20,000 signatures at post time]

“He built a business, he built a house,” said Megaro. “He never changed his name. He owned a corporation. He did everything by the book. He pays his taxes. He coaches football. He goes to church. For 13 years, what more do you want a man to do?”

The current prosecutor unsurprisingly wants him sent to jail. What that would achieve other than satisfy breast-beating Old Testament fundamentalists – or help with vote-getting among that same crowd next election – is beyond reason.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm

ATM strikes back

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Hot foam may soon send criminals running if they damage ATM. ETH researchers have developed a special film that triggers an intense reaction when destroyed. The idea originates from a beetle that uses a gas explosion to fend off attackers.

Its head and pronotum are usually rusty red, and its abdomen blue or shiny green: the bombardier beetle is approximately one centimetre long and common to Central Europe. At first glance, it appears harmless, but it possesses what is surely the most aggressive chemical defence system in nature. When threatened, the bombardier beetle releases a caustic spray, accompanied by a popping sound. This spray can kill ants or scare off frogs. The beetle produces the explosive agent itself when needed. Two separately stored chemicals are mixed in a reaction chamber in the beetle’s abdomen. An explosion is triggered with the help of catalytic enzymes…

The researchers use plastic films with a honeycomb structure for their self-defending surface. The hollow spaces are filled with one of two chemicals: hydrogen peroxide or manganese dioxide. The two separate films are then stuck on top of each another. A layer of clear lacquer separates the two films filled with the different chemicals. When subjected to an impact, the interlayer is destroyed, causing the hydrogen peroxide and manganese dioxide to mix. This triggers a violent reaction that produces water vapour, oxygen and heat. Whereas enzymes act as catalysts in the bombardier beetle, manganese dioxide has proven to be a less expensive alternative for performing this function in the lab…

While protective devices that can spray robbers and banknotes already exist, these are mechanical systems, explains Stark. “A small motor is set in motion when triggered by a signal from a sensor. This requires electricity, is prone to malfunctions and is expensive.” The objective of his research group is to replace complicated control systems with cleverly designed materials.

Clever, yes? Effective, very likely? Likely to be instituted in the United States? Doubtful – we have enough lawyers and politicians dedicated to making the work environment as safe for criminals as we do for protecting victims.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 13, 2014 at 2:00 am

Dumb crook of the Day

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A New Hampshire man was arrested on burglary charges after police were able to track him down for stealing a laptop when he called technical support for help with the device.

The computer’s rightful owner, Mike Witonis, received an email from Apple thanking him for calling customer service about the laptop even though he hadn’t had it for a year.

Casey Wentworth, 24, was arrested at his home after police were able to use the computer’s serial number, which he had provided during the tech support call, to locate him.

“It then took us a while to track down the individual who made the phone call, but we were able to put that together and ultimately come up with enough evidence to charge him with the original burglary and recover the computer,” Lt. Brant Dolleman told WMUR…

“It was sort of shocking,” Witonis said. “I guess luck was on our side that the guy who took it didn’t try to get rid of it, which was sort of strange. Then, all of a sudden, he decides in his infinite wisdom, ‘Well, I’ll just call Apple and see if they can help me unlock this thing.’”

Coppers are hanging onto Witonis’ MacBook Air until the case is resolved. He can wait a few more weeks, OK. Hopefully, the judge will make certain the state of New Hampshire hangs onto Casey Wentworth – behind bars – for a spell, as well.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm

CIA torture report starts to leak from the Senate

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A still-secret Senate Intelligence Committee report calls into question the legal foundation of the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists, a finding that challenges the key defense on which the agency and the Bush administration relied in arguing that the methods didn’t constitute torture.

The report also found that the spy agency failed to keep an accurate account of the number of individuals it held, and that it issued erroneous claims about how many it detained and subjected to the controversial interrogation methods. The CIA has said that about 30 detainees underwent the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA’s claim “is BS,” said a former U.S. official familiar with evidence underpinning the report, who asked not to be identified because the matter is still classified. “They are trying to minimize the damage. They are trying to say it was a very targeted program, but that’s not the case.”

The findings are among the report’s 20 main conclusions. Taken together, they paint a picture of an intelligence agency that seemed intent on evading or misleading nearly all of its oversight mechanisms throughout the program, which was launched under the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and ran until 2006.

Some of the report’s other conclusions, which were obtained by McClatchy, include:

_ The CIA used interrogation methods that weren’t approved by the Justice Department or CIA headquarters.

_ The agency impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making regarding the program.

_ The CIA actively evaded or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

_ The agency hindered oversight of the program by its own Inspector General’s Office.

RTFA and imagine what we wait to read in detail. Thugs acting on behalf of the United States government do our nation no service at all. Lying about what they did – in conjunction with a phony court called to order to justify crimes committed in our name – doesn’t change their deeds.

We need a government with sufficient backbone to keep this from happening again. We need laws that can’t be defeated by the usual expedient of crying “wolf” about national security.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 12, 2014 at 2:00 am

Angela Merkel denied access to NSA file on her government

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The US government is refusing to grant Angela Merkel access to her NSA file or answer formal questions from Germany about its surveillance activities, raising the stakes before a crucial visit by the German chancellor to Washington.

Merkel will meet Barack Obama in three weeks, on her first visit to the US capital since documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been monitoring her phone.

The face-to-face meeting between the two world leaders had been intended as an effort to publicly heal wounds after the controversy, but Germany remains frustrated by the White House’s refusal to come clean about its surveillance activities in the country.

In October, Obama personally assured Merkel that the US is no longer monitoring her calls, and promised it will not do so in the future. However, Washington has not answered a list of questions submitted by Berlin immediately after Snowden’s first tranche of revelations appeared in the Guardian and Washington Post in June last year, months before the revelations over Merkel’s phone.

The Obama’s administration has also refused to enter into a mutual “no-spy” agreement with Germany, in part because Berlin is unwilling or unable to share the kinds of surveillance material the Americans say would be required for such a deal…

A senior US administration official denied the surveillance controversy would overshadow Merkel’s visit.

So, Germany isn’t spying on enough people to make it worthwhile for the White House to order diminished spying on Germans and their government. Not exactly a modern approach to democracy.

The “senior US administration official” – of course – is a liar.

RTFA article for history, details, the kind of info embraced by few journalists and even fewer editors.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Dumb Crook of the Day

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A Maine man who was trying to avoid being charged with marijuana possession may now be wishing he simply pleaded to police that the pot was his.

When Douglas Glidden was stopped by police in Livermore Falls because an officer recognized him and knew his license was suspended, he “told them the marijuana found in the car was not his because he had stolen the car.”

While Glidden was being taken to the Androscoggin County Jail for booking, police said the car’s owner called and reported that it had been stolen from his driveway.

The 25-year-old was charged with felony operating under the influence, and felony counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and violating condition of release.


Written by Ed Campbell

April 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Mounties commandeer snowmobile – catch the bad guy on the tractor

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Canadian Mounties were able to commandeer a snowmobile in order to track down a suspect who allegedly stole firearms and other items and then took off on a John Deere 6400 tractor.

“Blackfalds RCMP began following the movements of the tractor along the fields and secondary roads,” the RCMP said in a release. “The tractor was crashing through farmers’ fences and stands of trees on their properties.”

According to RCMP officers, Jesse Cecka was not “an experienced tractor driver, by any stretch of the imagination.”

“It was just tractor speed across the fields and secondary roads,” Cpl. Barry Ledoux told the Edmonton Journal.

The 25-year-old was captured after he rolled the tractor after it stalled while going up a hill.

…Ledoux said. “It was unique, but at the end of the day, the citizens of the area were happy we got the guy.”

Cecka was charged with break and entry, theft, theft over $5,000 for the tractor, breach of existing court documents and multiple counts of mischief.

My kind of police chase.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Maryland lawmakers vote to decriminalize marijuana

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State lawmakers in Maryland’s House of Delegates voted Saturday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The state’s Senate has already approved a similar measure – but some changes made by the House would still need to be approved by the Senate in order to pass the bill before the legislative session ends at midnight Monday…

Some of the “decriminalized” penalties are crap and overblown. No doubt to be reduced at a later date.

Maryland’s Democratic governor will review the bill if it passes the General Assembly, said Nina Smith, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O’Malley…

Republicans had introduced several amendments to the bill – such as requiring a public service campaign highlighting the dangers of smoking, or letting it remain a criminal offense to smoke pot in public. None of the measures made it through.

“We don’t have to notify the public that they’re not supposed to use marijuana,” said Delegate Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery. “It’s still illegal.”

Much of Saturday’s debate focused on whether decriminalization would encourage teens to smoke marijuana…

Dumais said a better way to deal with drug abuse is to encourage treatment, rather than imprisonment.

Arguments in support of the bill tended to focus on racial disparities in drug law enforcement. The American Civil Liberties Union found last year that black people in Baltimore are 5.6 times more likely than the city’s white residents to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Golly gee. Maryland politicians actually noticed that racial disparity, eh? Must be gaining slightly better vision – along with a touch of backbone.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 7, 2014 at 2:00 am

Tularosa downwinders fight for justice from first nuclear bomb test

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Trinity Tularosa
Tularosa survivors demonstrated for the first time at access to the Trinity Test Site
permitted by our government one day a year

Photo by Natalie Guillén/The New Mexican

Residents of the tranquil Tularosa Basin in the 1940s feasted on figs, apples, peaches and plums grown in their irrigated orchards. They ate eggs from their own chickens. Meat came from the cows and pigs they raised and the elk and turkey they hunted. Three dairies in the area supplied fresh milk. Rainwater was caught in cisterns for gardening.

But everything changed when the first atomic bomb was unleashed without warning at the Trinity Site, about 40 miles upwind from the town of Tularosa, on July 16, 1945.

No one knew just how much things had changed. No one had considered what effect the bomb’s significant radiation might have on the 19,000 people living in the shadow of the mushroom cloud, how that radiation might have seeped into the rainwater, the soil, the vegetation, the blood, the bone.

No one thought fresh milk might be poison.

“People down here started to get sick, started to die at alarming rates,” said Tina Cordova, an Albuquerque businesswoman born and raised in Tularosa. “And we knew it had to have been the bomb.”

We met Cordova in 2010 when her efforts to connect the 1945 atomic bomb test to the abnormally high rate of cancer she discovered among the residents downwind of the Trinity Site seemed close to bringing relief, recognition and a long-overdue apology from the U.S. government.

Three years later, relief, recognition and apology have yet to materialize…

Back in 2010, Cordova said it was hard to find anyone living within a 40-mile radius of the Trinity site who hadn’t known someone stricken with cancer. Six members of her own family had either died of or fought cancer, including herself and her father, who was 3 when the bomb turned the dark skies white and radioactive ash fell from the skies like snow.

Today, Cordova is a 16-year survivor of thyroid cancer. Her father successfully battled two forms of cancer in the past decade but lost his third bout last spring at age 71. As a child, he had loved milk and drank ample quantities, never imagining what it might contain, Cordova said…

Cordova can no longer quickly calculate how many family members have died of cancer, how many in the Tularosa Basin have suffered. There have been so many.

The National Cancer Institute is adding folks from the Tularosa Basin to their study of New Mexicans who may have been affected by the nuclear weapons programs so beloved of our government for decades. The Feds say it never occurred to them to check on radiation from that first and following atomic bomb tests. That’s probably a lie. There’s no doubt they wanted to have some idea what would follow use of these weapons on the wider population they were preparing to use the weapons on – in Japan.

All of this is part of the larger refusal to accept responsibility for contamination and poisoning of Americans associated often by virtue of where they lived – near mining, production and testing of nuclear weapons – in addition to direct employees of our rollout of weapons of mass destruction.

There is no legitimate reason for special laws having to be passed to include the healthcare of ordinary citizens affected by the radiation of our bigger and better bombs. There is no legitimate reason for Congress dragging their feet, turning their collective backs on American citizens damaged individually and generationally by the poisons and death visited upon them by our military death-industry.

We are a nation run by imperial thugs, represented by cowards and flunkies afraid to challenge official powers on behalf of the people who elected them to office. There are few exceptions. There is a greater number sharing guilt for the suffering that became part of the lives of the farmers of the Tularosa Basin after July 16, 1945.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 6, 2014 at 8:00 am


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