Whoda thunk it? Chemical weapons treaty cannot be invoked in assault case

Legitimate target of the treaty

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that prosecutors may not rely on an international chemical weapons treaty to convict a woman who attacked her husband’s mistress.

The justices threw out the conviction of Carol Anne Bond of Lansdale, Pa., who was prosecuted under a 1999 law based on the chemical weapons treaty. Bond served a six-year prison term after being convicted of using toxic chemicals that caused a thumb burn on a friend who had become her husband’s lover.

The intent of the chemical weapons treaty was to prevent a repeat of the use of mustard gas in World War I or toxic weapons in the Iraq-Iran war in the early 1980s, not “an amateur attempt by a jilted wife to injure her husband’s lover,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court…

Pennsylvania laws are sufficient to deal with threats posed by a woman in a love triangle, he said.

Bond, unable to bear any children of her own, was excited for her best friend Myrlina Haynes when the woman announced her pregnancy. But that was before Bond learned that the baby’s father was her husband of more than 14 years, Clifford Bond.

Vowing revenge, Bond, a laboratory technician, stole the chemical 10-chloro-10H phenoxarsine from the company where she worked and purchased potassium dichromate on Amazon.com. Both can be deadly if ingested or exposed to the skin at sufficiently high levels.

Bond’s efforts were obvious enough that Haynes noticed chemicals had been spread on her door handle and in the tailpipe of her car. Haynes suffered a minor burn. But believing local police did not do enough to investigate, she called the United States Postal Service after finding more of the chemicals on her mailbox. Postal inspectors arrested Bond after they videotaped her going back and forth between Haynes’ car and the mailbox with the chemicals.

Instead of turning the domestic dispute case over to state prosecutors, a federal grand jury indicted Bond on two counts of possessing and using a chemical weapon. The grand jury based the charges on a federal anti-terrorism law passed to fulfill the United States’ international treaty obligations under the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction.

Bond pleaded guilty.

Remorse or not, it’s an abuse of the intent of the law. It’s tough enough trying to get our courts up to obeying the spirit of much of our civil and criminal law. Please, folks, please try to stick to the point.

Thanks, Mike

German spies demand $400 million to catch-up to the NSA

Confidential documents from the BND, Germany’s answer to the NSA and GCHQ, suggest the agency could soon get major funding to improve its online surveillance and hacking capabilities.

Ah, Germany: the home of data protection law; a bastion for the privacy-minded in these crazy days of international surveillance and hackery. Or is it? The German government and intelligence services have already been sued over alleged privacy violations in cooperation with the NSA, and now leaked documents have described plans for monitoring social networks in real-time.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR have turned up secret documents belonging to the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s counterpart to the NSA. It seems the BND is jealous of the digital espionage capabilities of the NSA and the U.K.’s GCHQ, and wants to up its game.

The documents warn that, if the BND doesn’t get the €300 million [$409 million] it needs to run expanded surveillance activities until 2020, Germany will fall behind even Italy and Spain in the spook stakes. They also suggest the spies hope to get their funding in the coming weeks.

According to the reports, the BND wants to analyze streaming data in real-time from forums and services such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, collect and store more mobile metadata, and use software vulnerabilities for targeted hacking. The reports state targets would be outside Germany — indeed, targeted data must have a foreign element if the spies are to remain compliant with German law…

They play the same games with semantics and ethics in Germany as American spies and politicians.

Earlier this week…it emerged that there would be no full investigation into mass surveillance nor the bugging of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, due to lack of evidence. Prosecutors were unable to get any answers out of American or German spies, who pointed out that the most damning revelations about German surveillance came from one newspaper, Der Spiegel — and the newspaper refused to identify its sources (sometimes assumed to be Edward Snowden’s cache, but never confirmed or denied as such.)

Having lived through the missile gap, the space gap, sitting back and watching the self-serving creeps of counter-intelligence and their latest rationale – the Worldwide War on Terror – watching them demand more money to fund the subversion of basic human rights in order to keep up with the Big Brother Joneses of the NSA — it would be laughable if they weren’t all such hypocrites and liars.

Swiss officials discovered dump was radioactive 18 months ago — and didn’t tell residents!

A highly radioactive substance, emitting in some places radiation 100 times the permitted amount, has been discovered in Switzerland, local media reported, saying the hazard was known about for 18 months.

Le Matin Dimanche and Sonntags Zeitung reported on Sunday that federal, regional and local officials decided not to reveal the discovery of radium in an old dump in the town of Bienne in case it scared the 50,000 residents.

“120kg of radioactive waste was obtained after sorting. We measured doses of several hundred microsieverts at the source,” Daniel Dauwalder, a spokesman for the Swiss federal office for public health, told Le Matin Dimanche…

In certain places, measurements of 300 microsieverts per hour were taken, more than 100 times the permitted amount for an old dump, the newspapers reported.

Anyone exposed for three hours would absorb the equivalent of a year’s permitted dose.

The waste came from a paint used by the watch-making industry to illuminate the numbers on watch faces.

The substance, which has been banned since 1963 due to its radioactive nature, was discovered when roadworks were started at the site…

The president of the federal commission in charge of monitoring radiation, which was not informed of the incident, said the various authorities had made a “mistake”.

“This will all come back to bite us and it is much more difficult to stay credible and win back the public’s trust,” Francois Bochud told Le Matin Dimanche.

Are we supposed to think the company making the radioactive paint wasn’t aware of the dangers presented by the crap they poured into the town dump? Especially after it was declared illegal to use anymore?

Is someone going to track these scumbags down and make them liable for health and pollution damages? And make the town and regional officials dig up this crap by hand – with trowels.

Cook charged for licking cheese before making sandwiches for probation and parole officers

Yolanda Arguello, a cook at the South Valley New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy, was arrested for allegedly slobbering on cheese slices and ice cubes before serving them to officers.

The 59-year-old cook at a New Mexico facility that trains state corrections employees was charged with battery for allegedly licking the insides of sandwiches and then presenting them to probation and parole officers.

Yolando Arguello was arrested this week after colleagues witnessed her strange behavior at the South Valley New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy in Albuquerque…

The woman, according to interviews conducted by authorities, was seen licking cheese slices and then inserting into sandwiches. She would also suck on ice cubes, spit them into a cup, and then serve the container to officers.

Witnesses said Arguello didn’t want to prepare meals for probation and parole workers and that she messed with their food to show them who was special and “better than others.”

The woman also dumped ice on the floor, scooped it into pitchers and poured tea into them before giving the drinks to diners.