Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category
The U.S. Senate voted 97-0 on Monday to pass reforms in how the military handles sexual assault cases, but it probably will be months before the changes become law.
The measure must still be approved by the House of Representatives, where Democratic and Republican aides said it is unlikely to be up for a vote until later in 2014.
Backed by Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, the bill includes significant changes such as eliminating the “good soldier” defense allowing a court to reduce the sentences of offenders who have strong military records.
It also strengthens prosecutors’ role in advising commanders on whether to go to court martial. But it falls short of shifting the decision on whether to pursue assault cases from top commanders to independent military prosecutors…
The Senate is bipartisan in being chickenshit!
High-profile military sexual assault cases, some involving defense officials responsible for prosecuting sex crimes, also contributed to charges that the Pentagon has not been serious enough about stopping an epidemic of sexual assaults seen as a “cancer” in the armed forces…
The bill that was passed on Monday is unlikely to go to the House as a standalone measure. Instead it is likely to be included as part of a bill expected later this year that authorizes Pentagon spending.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, offered a tougher bill which would have taken responsibility out of the good ol’ boy network. She couldn’t get enough Dems to support it to press past Senate Republicans.
I don’t know anyone who expects much of anything useful to happen in the House – controlled as it is by Tea Party misogynists and cowardly lion Republicans. They may allow the proposal to be passed back to Senate as an amendment – after the midterm elections in November.
Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself…The Army’s top sexual assault prosecutor has been suspended amid allegations that he attempted to grope and kiss a lawyer who worked for him while they were at a sexual-assault conference more than two years ago.
Stars and Stripes reported that the Army is investigating the allegations levied against Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, and that he is suspended “pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Morse supervises more than 20 special victims prosecutors who are responsible for dealing with cases involving sexual assault, domestic abuse and crimes against children…
The lawyer reported the incident in February and Morse was subsequently suspended.
“This reads like an article from the Onion,” Nancy Parrish, the president of Protect Our Defenders, said in an email to Stars and Stripes. “Unfortunately there is absolutely nothing funny about it.
“If true, this case is yet another disheartening example of the hollow pledges of ‘zero tolerance’ we have heard for more than 20 years. When the military has those at top of the chain who are in charge of fighting sexual assault accused of sexual misconduct at a conference on sexual assault it should be clear to every level headed human being [that] the status quo must be changed.”
Congress in their infinite wisdom is being pushed into doing something about sexual assault in our military. Predictably, Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats are trying to accomplish this without disturbing any of the good old boys they work with in our military services. You wouldn’t want to rock the boat at all. A case or two of honesty might break loose.
NSA data gathering facility in Bluffdale, Utah
Electronic spying tools used by the U.S. government could end up in the hands of organized criminals and hackers, further eroding Internet security, warned industry leaders who called for new restrictions and oversight of government activity.
“It is a big worry” that the methods will spread, said Andrew France, former deputy director of the UK’s NSA equivalent, GCHQ, and now chief executive of security startup Darktrace.
The government habit of purchasing information about undisclosed holes in software is also “really troublesome,” said former White House cyber security advisor Howard Schmidt. “There’s collateral damage.”
Both France and Schmidt spoke to Reuters at the annual RSA Conference, the world’s largest cyber security gathering, in San Francisco last week. RSA is the security division of electronic storage maker of EMC Corp.
Security researchers say that secret state tools tend to fall into the hands of mobsters and eventually lone hackers. That trend could worsen after former spy contractor Edward Snowden disclosed U.S. National Security Agency capabilities for breaking into Cisco Systems routers, Dell computer servers and all kinds of personal computers and smartphones, industry leaders and experts warned at the RSA conference and two smaller gatherings in San Francisco convened partly to discuss RSA’s government deals.
Both the United States and the security industry itself came under fire at the various assemblies.
Previously faulted mainly for their inability to stem the tide of attacks, security providers such as RSA have become front-line victims themselves. Hackers tied to China breached RSA in 2011 in order to falsify credentials used by employees at U.S. defense contractors…
Far worse was the revelation, by Reuters in December, that RSA had accepted a $10 million federal contract largely to promote the use of a flawed cryptographic formula developed by the National Security Agency.
Though experts publicly called the system suspicious in 2007, it remained the default in RSA’s widely distributed kit for securing software until documents leaked by Snowden last year suggested it had been planted by the NSA to provide the agency back-door access to a wide variety of computer programs. The Wall Street Journal confirmed the Reuters report a week ago…
Famed cryptographer Bruce Schneier, an outspoken opponent of mass surveillance, said Snowden had raised awareness on the extent of privacy invasions and showed that good encryption can force spy agencies to work harder and be more targeted in their investigations.
RTFA for details, disruption and disagreement. The beasts are starting to eat their own children. Unfortunately, that’s still not enough to keep them from snooping through the live of every citizen in the world they may access.
Just in case you need reminding why you don’t live in the Great White North. Or if you do – you spend beaucoup time indoors!
A French environmental group says it will sue a Danish shipping company for failing to fully report the loss of hundreds of containers during a violent storm.
The complaint by Robin des Bois accuses the company, Maersk, and the crew of the Svenborg Maersk of “unacceptable light-mindedness”…
The 20-foot and 40-foot shipping containers fell off the ship this month off the coast of France during a storm with 30-foot waves and 60-knot winds…
The containers were found missing when the ship docked in the Spanish port of Malaga for repairs.
Maersk initially reported 70 containers were lost. On Wednesday, it upgraded the total to 517.
The environmental group called the lost containers “a permanent danger for fishermen, coastal communities and the environment.” It said Maersk was guilty of pollution and “abandoning waste.”
The company said 85 percent of the containers were empty. The rest contained dry goods; none carried hazardous materials.
I hope authorities require online publication of a detailed listing for each container, contents, safety requirements and proof of insurance. All certainly exist inside the bowels of the Maersk computers.
First of all, this will aid local coppers when they have to deal with containers washing ashore. No matter where. Second, this would press Maersk essentially to prove they’re not continuing to lie about what happened.
When police arrived at the Weel Road Deli in Clallam Bay, Wash., to arrest a suspected shoplifter, they found the man duct-taped up into a neat little package outside the store.
After store clerk Cipriano Ojeda allegedly saw Alexander Greene, 28, walking out of the store with six beers and three bottles of malt liquor stuffed in his backpack, he confronted him.
The suspect wounded Ojeda, 46, in the forehead with a knife, but the clerk was able to restrain him and pin him to the ground.
When officers from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, they found Greene outside on the sidewalk with all four of his limbs bound with duct tape.
“We actually had help from another business’s employee down the sidewalk that helped duct-tape the suspect,” deli owner Marcia Hess told the Peninsula Daily News. “It was a team effort, [though] Cipriano definitely had him pinned down.”
Greene was arrested and is being investigated on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and third-degree theft.
Should be another exhibit in the Duct Tape Hall of Fame.
OK. So, maybe Dazed and Confused isn’t the pot classic that Up in Smoke is, but the cult coming-of-age film set in the ’70s featured enough grass to rank as Rolling Stone’s No. 2 “Stoner Movie of All Time.” More important, Dazed and Confused seems to perfectly capture the reaction to Friday’s announcement from the Justice and Treasury Departments aimed at addressing the biggest challenge facing the almost-legal marijuana industry today — lack of access to banks.
Banks have refused to do business with marijuana dispensaries operating within the bounds of state laws for fear of being prosecuted themselves. Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin, which means a bank doing business with a marijuana shop can be accused of money laundering and racketeering. This has left dispensaries in the 20 states and Washington, D.C., that allow marijuana distribution in a challenging position; they can’t let their bankers know how they make money…
Friday’s moves by the Justice and Treasury Departments gave many hope that the Feds were making significant changes to address this banking problem. Instead, the memos show that the industry is still dealing with a basic issue: Despite all the changes to state laws, popular support and President Obama’s recent remark that he considers marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol, marijuana is still 100% illegal under federal law. So, it’s no wonder you might be dazed and confused listening to the reactions that followed the release of the memos…
The Colorado Bankers Association calls this guidance a red light for banks, stating, “At best, this amounts to ‘serve these customers at your own risk,’ and it emphasizes all of the risks…Where does this leave the fledgling multi-billion dollar industry? Very much where it’s been.
Although marijuana entrepreneurs are increasingly comfortable starting businesses under permissive state laws and a federal “look the other way” policy, the federally regulated banking system needs certainty…
Trish Regan ends the piece by trivializing it all as election year politics. As cynical as I am, I don’t share the politics of many of those at Bloomberg. I’d like to presume that Obama and Holder went to the trouble of calling for opening service to the pot trade to save folks a lot of hassles. That brings in as many or more votes than a John Boehner tap dance.
She and Matt Miller got into a heated discussion on camera over the piece and though they both wasted time trying to talk over each other, I think she made the most sense. Fact is – and I’ve checked with my personal community banker, again – your community bank isn’t anymore likely than a chain store bank to open an account for a pot dealer who’s obeying all the local laws until and unless they receive assurances that would satisfy the most anal regulator.
Paradise on earth is how most people know Hawaii – white sandy beaches and coconut palms. But there are Hawaiians living outside the frame on the picture postcard.
The roughly 8 million tourists who visit the state each year attract a lot of property crime. Even an ocean away from the mainland, the methamphetamine market is thriving. The islands have jails and prisons, and plenty of people to fill them. But Judge Steven Alm is trying to bring his home state a little bit closer to the paradise people imagine.
To do that, he’s spearheaded an alternative probation program, one that delivers immediate consequences – often jail time — for each and every infraction. The program is tough on crime, while also keeping people out of prison. And this double feat has made it a nascent darling in the world of criminal justice policy, with states across the political spectrum seeking it out as a model…
From the deputy prosecuting attorney for Honolulu to the U.S. Attorney for Hawaii and finally judge, Alm won the respect of the law enforcement community…
That reputation gave Alm an opportunity. He knew Hawaii and the justice system. He also knew it needed a change, particularly the probation program.
…Probation is a great way to keep people out of prison, help them rebuild their lives and ease the burden on taxpayers.
The problem is that probationers rampantly violate the rules, and are often sent back to prison is at the discretion of the probation officer or presiding judge. How those authorities respond to violations varies widely from state to state, according to a 2007 Pew Study, with “enormous implications” for prison population size, cost and public safety…
In 2004, Alm founded HOPE, short for Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement. Its central principle is simple, Alm explained: “If there are any violations of probation, they’re going to go to jail.”
There also are opportunities and judicial/parole officer discretion exists especially for probationers who are honest and timely about reporting and discussing violations. This was an excellent piece of news reporting – and I hope the video is available sooner rather than later.
Please RTFA. It’s longish and thoughtful. Judge Alm’s system is bringing results – at a minimum 55% of probationers do not re-offend. Other qualities measured have even better results.
So far, 17 states and a number of other countries are on board to give his system a trial. No, New Mexico isn’t one of them; I can’t offer any local evidence.
But, please, read the whole article. If you have access to AJAM, AlJazeera in America from your TV content providers, watch for the documentary on one of their evening news programs. I imagine they’ll rerun it.
The crime scene of a break-in at a Rochester’s Hooked on Fishing shop showed evidence that a burglar got scared off by a motion-activated, singing bass…
The novelty bass, which had been hung near the door and would start singing “Take Me to the River” whenever someone entered the shop, was found on the floor after the intruder knocked it down as part of breaking the door to get in, according to the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office.
But the intruder appeared to have left in a hurry, without stealing anything — not tackle nor cash that had been left in “a very visible spot,” Sgt. Tom Claymon said.
The bass “took one for the team,” Claymon said. “There were plenty of things to take but nothing was missing … other than Billy’s pride”
A burglar whose level of sophistication matches that of the fish.