Category: Justice

Elite Israeli veterans refuse to continue serving Apartheid government

boycott

Denouncing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians under occupation, a group of veterans from an elite, secretive military intelligence unit have declared they will no longer “take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians” in required reserve duty because of what they called “our moral duty to act.”

In a letter sent Thursday night to their commanders as well as Israel’s prime minister and army chief, 43 veterans of the clandestine Unit 8200 complained that Israel made “no distinction between Palestinians who are and are not involved in violence” and that information collected “harms innocent people.” Intelligence “is used for political persecution,” they wrote, which “does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence, further distancing us from the end of the conflict.”

The letter, revealed Friday in Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper as well as The Guardian in Britain, echoes similar periodic protests by reservists over the years, including a group of 27 pilots who refused to participate in what Israel calls targeted assassinations, and 13 members of the vaunted commando unit known as Sayeret Matkal, both in 2003. But it is the first public collective refusal by intelligence officers rather that combat troops. Unit 8200 has a special role in Israeli society as a coveted pipeline to its high-technology industry.

“After our service we started seeing a more complex picture of a nondemocratic, oppressive regime that controls the lives of millions of people,” said one of the group’s organizers, a 32-year-old sergeant major who was on active duty from 2001 to 2005. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because the military prohibits Unit 8200 members from being publicly identified.

“There are certain things that we were asked to do that we feel do not deserve the title of self-defense,” he added in a telephone interview. “Some of the things that we did are immoral, and are against the things we believe in, and we’re not willing to do these things anymore.”

The new refuseniks said their group began a year ago and was not motivated by Israel’s battle with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip this summer, which a member said was “just another chapter in this cycle of violence.”

RTFA. Please. A rare divergence from US/Israel foreign policy. Our own government exhibits no concern whatsoever for the lot of Palestinians living under the heel of brutal colonial repression – in the name of Lebensraum for Israel.

The 80-20 rule persists, whether discussing markets or military. Though the whole of participants may appear to come from a homogeneous population, there generally is a small percentage with perception and the ability to decide to wander away from the herd in search of something better. In this case, honesty, loyalty to a standard of democracy ignored by Israel’s government for decades, ignored by a United States government more than satisfied with a nation of legionnaires prepared to commit any crime to satisfy policies natural only to the greediest of elites.

Of course, as in the US military, fear of political and criminal retaliation reduces that percentage of those willing to act publicly, to speak out as citizens of decency. The pressure to live whatever passes for a normal life is usually sufficient to quiet most dissent. Especially in a time and place that treats dissent as the greatest enemy of governance.

These members of Unit 8200 deserve recognition for their courage.

Thanks, Mike

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Gay widower entitled to benefits despite official Arizona bigotry


Fred McQuire and George Martinez, love and marriage

A judge handed a victory on Friday to a gay man who lost his spouse to cancer last month and was denied death benefits because Arizona does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Fred McQuire and George Martinez were partners of 45 years who got married in California this summer, fulfilling one of their final wishes as they both dealt with serious health issues.

Martinez died in late August, but McQuire was unable to receive social security and veteran benefits because Arizona bans gay marriage.

McQuire went to court on Friday as his lawyers asked US District Judge John Sedwick to let McQuire be listed as Martinez’s spouse on the death certificate, which they believed would help qualify him for the benefits. The judge quickly issued a ruling in favour of McQuire…

Sedwick ruled that McQuire demonstrated that he faced irreparable harm on the basis of the loss of his dignity and status while he was in the midst of his grief…

Without ruling on the larger issues of whether the ban is unconstitutional, the judge said the state’s argument that its marriage laws do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation lacks merit, pointing out that the reason same-sex couples do not marry is because of their sexual orientation.

Martinez was a Vietnam war veteran who died late last month of pancreatic cancer that is blamed on his exposure to Agent Orange. While in the throes of the illness and chemotherapy, he and McQuire travelled to California to get married, calling it “demeaning and unfair” to have to go out-of-state to exchange their vows.

“I feel frightened and worried about what will happen to Fred after I die,” Martinez wrote in an August court filing just two weeks before he died. “Although Fred and I are legally married under the laws of California, the fact that the US government honours our marriage while Arizona does not is confusing and stressful.”

James Campbell, a lawyer arguing on behalf of the state, said blah, blah, blah!.

More details in the article.

You know, being an old fart, I can actually remember when being conservative didn’t require you to be a bigot or stupid. I think the credit should go to Nixon for the change. Though, old George W. certainly tried hard for the stupid part.

Stupid gun nut trick of the day — shoot yourself while you’re on the crapper!

cops at westbrook elementary

A teacher in the…state of Utah who was legally carrying a gun in her primary school accidentally shot herself in the leg…The incident happened in a staff toilet before classes started and no children were in the building…

The unidentified woman was seriously injured but was in a good condition in hospital by the afternoon.

Utah is among a number of states that allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons into primary schools.

A larger number of states leave it up to individual school districts to prohibit firearms on school campuses or allow only teachers and other school staff to carry guns.

Utah also prohibits school officials from asking teachers if they are carrying a firearm.

In Taylorsville, Utah, on Thursday, school district spokesman Ben Horsley told the Associated Press news agency the district required teachers who carry guns at school to keep the weapons with them at all time, including in the toilet…

Crisis counsellors were available and a substitute teacher was brought in to supervise the wounded teacher’s class, he added.

The school pays for the crisis counsellor. You have to get your own counsellor for stupid.

Republican whines about early voting – too many Black voters!

A Republican state senator in Georgia has vowed to end Sunday balloting in DeKalb County due to the fact that the area is “dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches.”

…State Sen. Frank Millar rants that…”Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election,” Millar wrote in an email. “Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist. Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea…”

Millar’s vow comes in response to news that DeKalb plans to reserve Oct. 26 for early voting…

“I have spoken with Representative Jacobs and we will try to eliminate this election law loophole in January. Galloway summed it up, ‘Democrats are showing their hand on how they might boost their numbers…”

This creep’s racist buddies may be callow enough to try to deny their bigotry saying they’d reverse their demand if there was the slightest chance Georgia Republicans might acquire a significant number of non-white voters.

Anyone holding their breath waiting for that to happen?

Thanks, Mike

Pharmacist busted who caused 2012 meningitis outbreak

US officials on Thursday arrested a pharmacist linked to a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people across the United States as he was boarding a flight to Hong Kong,..

Glenn Adam Chin, 46, had been a supervising pharmacist at the now-defunct New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Massachusetts. It produced tainted steroids that sickened 700 people in 20 states in the worst outbreak of fungal meningitis recorded in the United States, officials said.

Chin has been charged with mail fraud in connection with shipping 17,000 tainted vials, according to the US attorney’s office in Boston. The contaminated vials were sent to more than 76 facilities in 23 states. The steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, typically was injected into patients to ease back pain.

US prosecutors said they became concerned Chin was a flight risk when he bought tickets for a flight to Hong Kong…

Chief magistrate judge Jennifer Boal ordered Chin to surrender his passport, post a $50,000 unsecured bond and remain under house arrest until 16 September when his family returns from Hong Kong…

Chin is the first person to face criminal charges related to the outbreak, which pushed NECC into bankruptcy and led to stricter national regulation of custom medication makers.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Authorities accused Chin of instructing pharmacy technicians to mislabel medication to indicate it was properly sterilized and tested. Medications compounded by NECC were prepared, filled and held under unsanitary conditions, according to an affidavit from Food and Drug Administration Special Agent Benedict Celso.

There have been enough cases of creepy compounding pharmacies taking part in sleazy practices – ranging from unsanitary profiteering to volunteering untested, unregulated drugs for prisons and politicians who prefer to kill prisoners – to form an image of corruption, correct or not, in the eyes in the public.

I’ll let you know if I get deathly ill in the next few months. When I changed my Medicare plan in January the source I acquired for my one dinky preventative prescription is a compounding pharmacy.

Black convicts free after 30 years: five questions racist cops must answer

brown and mccollum
Leon Brown and Henry McCollum

Henry McCollum, North Carolina’s longest-serving death row inmate, and his half-brother Leon Brown were released after more than 30 years in prison on Tuesday after DNA tests proved their innocence of rape and murder. The exoneration followed dogged investigations by the two men’s lawyers and by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, an independent body that operates with the full statutory powers of the state.

The exoneration and release of the two men now puts the spotlight on the police department in Red Springs, North Carolina, that carried out the initial investigation leading to the 1984 convictions of the then teenagers and their subsequent languishing behind bars.

Here are five questions the police authorities in Red Springs now have to answer:

1. Why did the Red Springs police department consistently deny that it had any evidence in its possession relevant to the murder convictions of McCollum and Brown? Only last month the commission found a box full of physical evidence being held by the police that had been in the department’s possession since the early 1990s.

2. Why did the Red Springs police department consistently fail to disclose to lawyers for the two men or to the local district attorney’s office that detectives had requested a potentially critical fingerprint test just days before the 1984 McCollum-Brown trial? The test would have compared the print found on a beer can at the crime scene with the fingerprints of Roscoe Artis, a convicted sex offender and murderer who lived just feet away from the field in which the body of the victim, Sabrina Buie, was found. Neither the request for the test, nor the fact that it was cancelled a year later before being completed, was ever disclosed.

3. Why was the crime scene investigator, who knew all the details of the crime scene as well as key findings from the autopsy of the victim, involved in the interrogation of McCollum, thus risking that his “confession” would be contaminated?

4. Why did detectives write out confessions for both Brown, then 15, and McCollum, then 19, and ask them to sign the statements? Why did they do so knowing that the confessions were incriminating, that the boys were both intellectually disabled and that they were being interrogated in the absence of any legal representation?

5. Why did the police continue to pursue McCollum and Brown knowing that key elements of their confessions were inconsistent with each other? In their “confessions” the two boys incriminated three other youths as accomplices, and yet when the police investigated those three individuals they found they had watertight alibis and were never prosecuted?

Incompetent racist creeps! And you can extend that subtle description all the way up to the Supreme Court and scumbags like Anthony Scalia.

Take a wander through this companion article at slate.com – the second half of the article focuses in on Scalia’s Old Testament ideology. He actually advocates that if someone [by his low-life standards] receives a fair trial, they should be executed even if innocent!

Thanks, Mike

Security video shows Michael Brown paid for his cigars – Ferguson PD lied!

The Ferguson PD, following the killing of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson, released information that Brown was a suspect in a convenience store robbery that took place just before the encounter with the officer. There’s a problem with that story though, which was obviously just an attempt to demonize Brown in the public’s opinion; Michael Brown appears to have paid for the cigars he was suspected of having stolen.

According to attorneys for the Ferguson Market, where the hypothetical robbery took place, not a soul at the store called the police to report the robbery. Instead, it was a customer who called and reported that he thought he had witnessed a robbery.

What’s more appalling is that the supposed robbery likely had nothing to do with the altercation between Wilson and Brown, as the video was not obtained until well after Brown had been shot and killed by Wilson.

Justice in America is supposed to be colorblind. Someone mail me a penny postcard when that happens.

Thanks, SmartAlix

Row over cow settled by DNA tests


The cow in question

A woman in the southern Indian state of Kerala is set to win a court battle to keep a cow after DNA tests proved it belongs to her, her lawyer says…The woman, TS Sashilekha, had been accused by her neighbour Geetha of stealing the animal.

The acrimonious dispute even saw the cow in question appear in court.

It is thought to be the first time an ownership battle over an animal has been decided by DNA tests in India, where Hindus consider cows to be holy.

The legal battle between the two women began last year when Geetha claimed that a cow in her herd was the mother of the disputed animal…But DNA tests ordered by the court did not match, meaning that Sashilekha will get to keep the cow.

…N Chandra Babu, lawyer for Sashilekha, told the BBC, “It is a rare case and possibly the first of its kind in history. Perhaps this is the first time a DNA test was held on a cow to find out its real owner.”

After the disputed cow was produced in court, Sashilekha was allowed to keep it in her possession – but only after paying 45,000 rupees in securities.

I understand why the court would ask the eventual victor to provide security presumably covering the value of the cow. Hopefully, returned without charges. Another good reason why she is suing the accuser for costs and compensation.

Racist, sexist St. Louis County cop suspended – finally!


Domestic violence? “If you don’t like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with…”

Officer Dan Page was outed as a racist extremist after video of his speech at an Oath Keepers meeting went viral Friday…A St. Louis County police officer who pushed CNN’s Don Lemon, a black television host, during live coverage of protests this week in Ferguson, Mo., has been suspended from duty after video of an hour-long racial rant against minority groups, women, liberals and politicians emerged online.

Officer Dan Page spewed the vile rhetoric during an Oath Keepers of St. Louis/St. Charles meeting in April, just months before he was tasked with keeping order among a crowd of majority black protesters in Ferguson.

Page’s first spin on live TV went horribly wrong: “Move out of the way, sir. Move!” he can be heard screaming as Lemon tries to do a live stand-up amid the crowd in broad daylight on Monday afternoon, footage from Mediaite shows.

“We’re on national television, so imagine what they’re doing to people when you don’t see it on national television, people who don’t have a voice like we do,” Lemon says as he’s pushed around.

The bizarre rant went viral after Page was on the frontlines of the Ferguson, Mo., protests in his duties as a St. Louis County police officer…And on Friday, Page was relieved of his duties in response to his vile comments raging against hate-crime legislation, the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” women and Muslims.

“You’re either gonna go to the ballot box or the bullet box in the next 18 months,” he demands as he decries Missouri’s two Senators.

“Roy Blunt (Republican) and Claire McCaskill (Democrat) won’t even talk to me, they say, ‘you’re an extremist’ and I say, ‘amen!’” the cop raves on video. “And I’m real good with a rifle. My best shot is 1,875 meters, I got me a gold star on that one. You run from me, you’re gonna die tired…”

For as many sensible cops, dedicated to Constitutional rights, that I have known – I’ve confronted dozens more in my lifetime as an activist. Even the otherwise-unemployables who treat their local police department as a safe job with benefits aren’t likely to have encountered anything approaching a high school civics lesson in the course of their job training.

Friends of mine who are serious about law enforcement as a professional career have had to change police departments more than once because a professional attitude, respect for equal justice, is judged unacceptable to the wardheelers and hacks who often float to up to command rank – like toasty turds in a septic tank.

And, please, don’t believe the public accepts the excuses and lies from the Saint Louis County PD that the ideology of this creep just suddenly surfaced. If anything, he’s been working his racist butt off trying to recruit other members of the force into his scumbag cell for years.

Thanks, Mike