PHOTOGRAPH BY OMAR TORRES/AFP/GETTY
Every morning, the newspapers in Mexico City announce how many days it has been since forty-three students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School disappeared while in Iguala, Guerrero. On Friday, the number—twenty-eight days—was accompanied by an announcement that the governor of Guerrero state, Ángel Aguirre Rivero, had finally resigned after weeks of outrage over the violence and lawlessness that marked his tenure.
The disappearance of the forty-three has aroused horror, indignation, and protest throughout Mexico and all over the world. An air of sadness, disgust, fear and foreboding hangs over Mexico City, where I live, like the unseasonably cold, gray, drizzly weather we’ve been having. This is usually a festive time of year, with the Day of the Dead holidays approaching, but it’s impossible to feel lighthearted. As one friend put it, the government’s cardboard theatre has fallen away, exposing Mexico’s horrifying truths.
The journalists John Gibler (the author of the book “To Die in Mexico”) and Marcela Turati (who has been reporting on the disappearance in the weekly magazine Proceso and elsewhere) have provided the most complete reports of what happened in Iguala on the night of September 26th. “Scores of uniformed municipal police and a handful of masked men dressed in black shot and killed six people, wounded more than twenty, and rounded up and detained forty-three students in a series of attacks carried out at multiple points and lasting more than three hours,” Gibler wrote to me in an e-mail. “At no point did state police, federal police, or the army intercede. The forty-three students taken into police custody are now ‘disappeared.’ ” On September 27th*, the body of another student turned up. His eyes were torn out and the facial skin was ripped away from his skull: the signature of a Mexican organized-crime assassination.
The Ayotzinapa Normal School trains people to become teachers in the state’s poorest rural schools. The students, who are in their late teens and early twenties, tend to come from poor, indigenous campesino families. They are often the brightest kids from their communities. According to Gibler, six hundred people applied to the class that included the students who disappeared, and only a hundred and forty were accepted. To become a teacher is seen as a step up from the life of a peasant farmer, but also as a way for those chosen to be socially useful in their impoverished communities. When Gibler and Turati went to visit the Ayotzinapa School in early October, only twenty-two students were left. In addition to the forty-three missing classmates, many others had been taken home by frightened parents.
Well written, detailed, the sort of work rarely matched by TV talking heads. And, of course, both the conservative and not-quite-so-conservative American Press is tame as ever on the topic. Even where it’s fashionable to recall we are a nation of immigrants, the specter of Fox News seems to haunt our nation’s editors.
Butt dial leads police to meth lab
Three Floridians were busted after one of them butt-dialed 911 while discussing their alleged drug operation.
The dispatcher heard Donna Knope, 55, Jason Knope, 32, and Thomas Stallings, 41, talk about “making and selling methamphetamine” for nearly half an hour on Saturday, authorities said.
Police traced the call to the backyard of the Knopes’ home on Roland Drive in Deltona, 30 miles north of Orlando…
Donna Knope is Jason Knope’s mother.
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies looked inside an open window to a shed to find what appeared to be a meth lab…
They saw a “bottle that appeared to be smoking” and white smoke came streaming from the shed, according to police.
The trio was arrested at the scene where deputies say they found all the elements needs to operate a meth lab, including hypodermic needles, a butane torch, plastic tubing, coffee filters, lighter fluid and more.
All three suspects were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possessing methamphetamine with the intent to sell or deliver…
For years, local law enforcement agencies around the country have told parents that installing ComputerCOP software is the “first step” in protecting their children online…
As official as it looks, ComputerCOP is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies.
The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. It isn’t particularly effective either, except for generating positive PR for the law enforcement agencies distributing it. As security software goes, we observed a product with a keystroke-capturing function, also called a “keylogger,” that could place a family’s personal information at extreme risk by transmitting what a user types over the Internet to third-party servers without encryption. That means many versions of ComputerCOP leave children (and their parents, guests, friends, and anyone using the affected computer) exposed to the same predators, identity thieves, and bullies that police claim the software protects against.
Furthermore, by providing a free keylogging program—especially one that operates without even the most basic security safeguards—law enforcement agencies are passing around what amounts to a spying tool that could easily be abused by people who want to snoop on spouses, roommates, or co-workers.
Producers of many versions of this crap software include bald-faced lies about capabilities, safety and legality as FAQs. Often, of course, coppers distributing this crap are disingenuous enough to think they’re providing a real public service.
This is a long well-researched article about law enforcement being hustled, mostly by outsiders. Misconceptions and incompetence about what is legal and ethical also play a role within policing agencies. RTFA and, perhaps, consider checking out the local heat and updating them – if they’ve been suckered.
The thug police force in Ferguson, Missouri, continues wage its campaign against the public it is sworn to defend…
Obviously, the most tragic consequence of their savage brutality was the slaying of unarmed teen Mike Brown, but the police in Ferguson have also tried to light the First Amendment on fire, arresting and attacking reporter after reporter in an attempt to intimidate the media from covering their world.
The list of reporters arrested so far, according to the Poynter Institute:
Ryan Devereaux (The Intercept)
Frank Hermann (Die Welt)
Ansgar Graw (Die Welt)
Lukas Hermsmeier (Die Welt)
Scott Olson (Getty Images)
Robert Klemko (Sports Illustrated)
Rob Crilly (The Telegraph)
Neil Munshi (Financial Times)
Ryan J. Reilly (The Huffington Post)
Wesley Lowery (The Washington Post)
And it’s not going to get better…
I started this – my personal blog – to point out the work of a diminishing breed. Good, professional journalists.
The biggest problems most face are cowardly editors and even more chickenshit owners of their publications. Ownership more and more relegated to narrow-minded profiteers who would confine the Free Press into that intellectual jail called entertainment.
OTOH, you know you must be doing your job when you’re threatened by goon squads pretending to be police.
Police shut down an East Fort Worth funeral home Tuesday where they discovered eight bodies in “varying stages of decay,” but the owners of Johnson Family Mortuary said the episode is simply a “miscommunication” between them and their landlord.
“We’ve done nothing wrong,” said Dondre Johnson, who runs the business with his wife, Rachel. “This is a funeral home. This is where dead bodies belong.”
The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office removed the bodies of six adults, one child and an infant from the mortuary on South Handley Drive. The owner of the building asked the Johnsons to vacate two weeks ago. Officers received a call around 8 a.m. Tuesday after the owner went to check on the property and found bodies inside, authorities said.
Police said in a statement Tuesday that officers entered the building “to conduct a protective sweep” and determine if anything had happened to the Johnsons, who were not there at the time.
Though some of the bodies had identification tags, officials were working Tuesday night to identify the rest and notify family members, said Linda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office.
No criminal charges had been filed Tuesday in connection with the incident.
Police said the bodies were not stored in refrigerated rooms. A foul odor came from the building while officers worked.
Dondre Johnson, who eventually showed up at the scene along with his wife, said the bodies inside the mortuary had been properly stored, and one was embalmed and in a coffin bound for Nairobi, Kenya. He said the rest were kept in black trash bags…
Records show Johnson Family Mortuary has had an active funeral director’s license with the state since July 2011. The license is current through the end of this month but cannot be renewed because there are five open complaints against the business filed with the Texas Funeral Service Commission.
Officials said they can’t talk about the details of the complaints until they are closed. Two of three previous complaints were closed without findings of wrongdoing. The third, filed over a late death certificate, resulted in a six-month probationary penalty…
According to the company website, Dondre Johnson and his twin brother, Derrick Johnson, began working in the funeral business when they were 11. They were later mentored by noted Fort Worth pastor and funeral director Gregory Spencer, who was found strangled at an Arlington motel in June 2003.
No doubt there are an abundance of regulations in the mortuary business. There are additional concerns given the clients you’re working with – in the depths of despair and sadness. From what’s made it to the press, so far – I’d be worried that this particular enterprise ain’t exactly up to par on either.
In an emphatic defense of privacy in the digital age, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police generally may not search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants.
Cellphones are unlike anything else police may find on someone they arrest, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. They are “not just another technological convenience,” he said, but ubiquitous, increasingly powerful computers that contain vast quantities of personal, sensitive information.
“With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life,” Roberts declared. So the message to police about what they should do before rummaging through a cellphone’s contents following an arrest is simple: “Get a warrant…”
The Obama administration and the state of California, defending cellphone searches, said the phones should have no greater protection from a search than anything else police find. But the defendants in the current cases, backed by civil libertarians, librarians and news media groups, argued that cellphones, especially smartphones, can store troves of sensitive personal information.
“By recognizing that the digital revolution has transformed our expectations of privacy, today’s decision is itself revolutionary and will help to protect the privacy rights of all Americans,” said American Civil Liberties Union legal director Steven Shapiro…
In the cases decided Wednesday, one defendant carried a smartphone, while the other carried an older flip phone. The police looked through both without first getting search warrants…
A ride on horseback and a flight to the moon both “are ways of getting from point A to point B, but little else justifies lumping them together,” Roberts said…
The decision will protect cellphones from warrantless searches going forward, but it may not be of much help to defendants in pending cases, or those whose convictions are final, said lawyer Gerry Morris…He said that courts could allow evidence to be used from police searches of cellphones that were done in “good faith” and relied on the law as it stood when the searches were conducted.
Still a two-fold victory. We’ve acquired the sort of protection many folks – from geeks to civil libertarians – agree we need in a digital age. Now, the task remains to take the modernized version of privacy and stick in the eye of paranoids ranging from the White House and Congress to the NSA.
Hawaii lawmakers in both chambers agree that legal permission for police to have sex with prostitutes should end.
House and senate members are still negotiating on the version of House Bill 1926 they will send to the governor. But they concur that the crime bill should revoke a peculiar exemption that permits police in Hawaii, in the course of their duties, to have sex with prostitutes.
The bill began in the house and was amended as it passed out of that chamber’s judicial committee. At the time, Honolulu police told lawmakers that vice-officers needed the exemption in law to prevent pimps and prostitutes from knowing the limits of police methods.
The Associated Press wrote about the successful police lobbying against removing the sex exemption after the bill passed the house. When the senate judiciary committee took up the bill, lawmakers revised it again to reflect the backlash against the exemption, with many expressing strong convictions that police should not have the legal ability to bed prostitutes.
Honolulu police, while assuring the public that their internal policies prevent such abuse, dropped their opposition to removing the exemption.
Nice try, guys. You realize you’ve probably set an example for Congress to try the same stunt.
No – I don’t know if this is the actual well
Spanish police are hoping to speak to a man who allegedly left 21-year-old Edelia Aponte at the bottom of a well after she fell in while they were having sex.
Aponte got stuck in the water at the bottom of the 15-foot hole for about a half hour after failing to notice that the wood covering the well’s opening was loose.
Police found out about the young woman’s situation after they received an anonymous phone call alerting them about her whereabouts. It’s possible that the man, whom she had only just met that evening, placed the call.
If Ciudad Real police are able to track him down, the man could be charged with failing to aid someone in need of assistance.
Firefighters rescued Aponte from the well and she was taken to a hospital and treated for hypothermia.
“It could have ended in tragedy,” fire service spokesman Leni Portillo told El Crisol de Ciudad Real. “Luckily, she could swim and she wasn’t knocked out as she fell.”
The range of preparations requisite for modern impulsive sex never seems limited. I guess swimming lessons are now required.
Police in India have failed to act on hundreds of corruption complaints over an eight-year period because they did not know a computer password, it seems.
Delhi officers could not operate a portal holding more than 600 complaints – a lapse that has gone undetected since 2006, the Indian Express Newspaper said. The complaints came from India’s anti-corruption agency, called the Central Vigilance Commission.
But two senior police officers have now been trained in the system, and can access the 667 cases that have piled up since the portal launched. One officer told the paper the oversight was “a technical problem”, and complaints are now being addressed…
Despite the confusion, police in Delhi “remain committed to public grievances“, a senior officer told the Indian Express.
Fourteen marijuana plants and seven years later, a New Mexico high court has overturned a lower court opinion and ruled that a police helicopter search operation in rural Taos County was illegal and unconstitutional.
The subject of that search, who said he had the 14 plants for personal use to smoke to alleviate physical ailments, was elated when contacted on Friday.
“It has been a lesson in the slow progress of the legal system … I’m happy that justice was served,” said Norman Davis, now 78.
Davis’ home was one of several checked out during a 2006 operation dubbed “Operation Yerba Buena” – a joint State Police, National Guard, and state Game and Fish effort that was targeting marijuana plantations in the sparsely populated Carson area…
Davis had his privacy jarred when, on a summer day as he was sitting on his sofa and feeling a bit out of sorts, he “heard this helicopter overhead.
“It was loud. Very loud,” Davis said at the time. “And I looked out the window and see these guys hovering over me.” The drug raid by the New Mexico State Police, using National Guard helicopters, involved six or seven officers armed with semiautomatic weapons and at least five police vehicles…