Here’s what a diligent, professional copper gets done “with a bit of free time”


Larry Don Patterson and William Lloyd Harbour

❝ An investigator “with a bit of free time” decided to send for testing DNA samples from a long-dormant cold case, which led authorities to arrest a pair of men linked to the 1973 shotgun slayings of two young girls, authorities said.

Police in Oklahoma and California arrested the two 65-year-old suspects Tuesday morning for the murders of Valerie Janice Lane, 12, and Doris Karen Derryberry, 13.

❝ The seventh grade classmates told their mothers they were going to a mall shopping near their homes about 40 miles north of Sacramento on Nov. 12, 1973. Witnesses saw them in their neighborhood that night, but neither girl returned home. Both suspects were living in Olivehurst at that time, investigators said.

Two boys were target shooting and found the girl’s bodies about 20 hours later, according to news accounts at the time. Investigators say the girls were driven to a wooded area and shot at close range.

Authorities then and now said a large-scale investigation was immediately launched and some 60 people interviewed over a three-year period before the case went cold for a lack of solid leads and was shelved in 1976.

❝ In March 2014, an investigator doing a routine look through cold cases decided to send semen samples found on Derryberry’s body and preserved for 43 years to the state Department of Justice forensics lab for analysis. Seven months later, state DOJ technicians reported that the DNA in the semen matched the genetic profiles of cousins Larry Don Patterson and William Lloyd Harbour, who each committed serious enough crimes since 1973 to have their DNA samples collected and placed in law enforcement computer systems.

“Over time, anyone that’s been assigned to our investigations unit for any length of time looks into some of the unsolved cases that we have,” Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor said. “And this was one in particular that one of our investigators had a bit of free time and really looked very closely at this case and identified that we should send some things off and see what it might yield for us.”

❝ Patterson was arrested Tuesday morning in Oklahoma. Harbour was arrested after a traffic stop two hours later near his home in Olivehurst, where the two victims also lived.

Both are now charged with murder. Overdue, for sure. But, the cases move towards completion because folks in the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department lived up to standards that should define all police departments. Coppers who really deserve medals.

Mexico’s human rights agency says police murdered 22 at ranch

Federal police killed at least 22 people on a ranch last year, then moved bodies and planted guns to corroborate the official account that the deaths happened in a gunbattle, Mexico’s human rights commission said Thursday.

One police officer was killed in the confrontation in the western state of Michoacan on May 22, 2015. The government has said the dead were drug cartel suspects who were hiding out on the ranch in Tanhuato, near the border with Jalisco state.

The National Human Rights Commission said there were also two cases of torture and four more deaths caused by excessive force. It said it could not establish satisfactorily the circumstances of 15 others who were shot to death…

Mexico’s national security commissioner, Renato Sales, who oversees the federal police, denied the accusations, holding his own news conference before the rights commission had finished its own…

“The use of weapons was necessary and proportional against the real and imminent and unlawful aggression,” Sales said. “That is to say, in our minds they acted in legitimate defense.”

Thirteen of the 22 people the commission said were killed had been shot in the back…

Law and order in our southern neighbor. A police state is a police state – even when they’re killing criminal suspects – without a trial.

National Rifle Association — Follow the money because that’s all they really care about

The National Rifle Association goes to great lengths (and spends a huge sum of money) to defend the right to bear arms. It is opposed to virtually every form of gun regulation, including restrictions on owning assault weapons, retention of databases of gun purchases, background checks on purchasers at gun shows and changes in the registration of firearms.

The NRA’s influence is felt not only through campaign contributions, but through millions of dollars in off-the-books spending on issue ads. Lobbying expenditures for the National Rifle Association regularly exceed $1.5 million, as the organization’s lobbyists frequently try to exert their influence over government agencies including members of Congress, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Profile for 2014 Election Cycle

CONTRIBUTIONS
$974,152
ranks 239 of 12,337

LOBBYING
$3,360,000 (2014)
$3,410,000 (2013)
ranks 149 of 2,871 in 2014

OUTSIDE SPENDING
$27,024,618
ranks 10 of 138

RTFA for lots of links to details of the how and where these pricks get their money and spend their money.

Thanks, Papa Tom

Colorado Planned Parenthood reopens after terrorist rampage

A Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic reopened on Monday, seeing patients nearly three months after a deadly shooting rampage at the facility left three people dead and nine wounded.

“Today, we opened our doors in Colorado Springs. We didn’t back down. We didn’t disappear. We returned, stronger and with more conviction than ever,” the clinic said in a statement.

The clinic was closed on Nov. 27 following a bloody five-hour siege that police said began when a gunman opened fire with a rifle outside the building and then stormed inside. He was taken into custody by law enforcement at the scene…

The facility was resuming its work providing a range of healthcare services, including abortion, to the community of Colorado Springs, Cowart said…

The gunman accused of carrying out the attack, Robert Lewis Dear, 57, faces 179 felony counts, including charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault.

In a court appearance in December, he declared himself guilty and a “warrior for the babies.” He has also told a judge he distrusts his lawyers and wants to represent himself.

Like a tiny segment of Christians, Dear apparently feels he is doing the work of the God he believes in – by murdering people. Following the semantic logic of some Republican presidential candidates, that would make him a Christian terrorist.

Violent death in San Salvador

Removing crime tape San Salvador
Removing crime scene tape – afterwardsReuters/Jose Cabezas

Violence has risen steadily in El Salvador since a 2012 truce between the country’s two main gangs began to fall apart in 2014.

Last year was the most violent on record, with a 70 percent increase in murders from the previous year and a surge in attacks by street gangs…

The number of homicides reached an estimated 6,650 in 2015, from 3,912 the year before, said Miguel Fortin Magana, director until Dec. 31 of the National Forensics Institute of El Salvador.

“It’s a real pandemic,” he said.

The homicide rate is more than 103 per 100,000 inhabitants, making the country of 6.4 million among the most violent in the world, according to Insight Crime, a foundation that analyses organized crime.

RTFA. Work your painful way through the images recorded by Jose Cabezas.

I don’t doubt for a minute our country could offer something useful to this poor, tortured nation. We certainly didn’t have a problem training murderers in their military for civil war in the past.

Refugee camp set on Fire as Paris suffers terror attacks


Photo of Calais fires from Twitter

The refugee camp known as “the jungle,” in the French port of Calais, was set on fire Friday night just hours after a series of coordinated attacks rocked Paris, leaving over 120 dead and hundreds injured.

Local authorities have not confirmed yet a connection between the two events, but the coincidence has prompted speculation that the fires were set as revenge, despite a lack of proof.

Sherlock Holmes’ response to coincidence is worth recalling: “The universe is rarely so lazy”

Organizations on the ground have said on social media that the damage had been caused by a small fire that got out of control. According to unconfirmed reports around 40 makeshift homes were destroyed, but no refugees sustained any injuries.

At least 15 refugees have lost their lives in Calais since the end of June while trying to make their way through the undersea passage into the United Kingdom. Some 6,000 people are living in the “jungle.” Most of them are fleeing conflict-hit zones in the Middle East and Africa.

The situation in Calais is part of the current refugee crisis across Europe. According to the International Organization for Migration, 773,244 refugees have reached Europe’s shores so far this year, while a total of 3,423 people have either died or gone missing.


Refugees in Calais in a vigil of solidarity with Paris this morning

The beat goes on…

Snowden and Ellsberg welcome new [secret] whistleblower


How different are politicians who tell the same lies?

American whistleblowers hailed the release on Thursday of a collection of classified documents about US drone warfare as a blow on behalf of transparency and human rights.

The documents anchored a multi-part report by the Intercept on the Defense Department assassination program in Yemen and Somalia. Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other rights groups said the report raised significant concerns about human rights violations by the US government, and called for an investigation.

Classified documents published by the Intercept include pages from a 2013 study of the drone program by a Pentagon taskforce. The documents came from “a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides”, the Intercept said…

…“In some ways it reconfirms and illuminates much of what we knew, or thought we knew, about a lot of these programs, like that the administration firmly prefers kill over capture despite claiming the opposite, and that there’s not ‘a bunch of folks in the room’, as Obama calls it – that there’s a clear, bureaucratic process for this, said Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“It clearly shows, as we’ve known, that the United States does not know who it’s killing.”…

The Intercept report revealed, among other new disclosures, that at one point in 2012 Obama had approved 20 people for assassination in Yemen and Somalia. More than 200 were killed by drones in those countries that year…

It revealed that the military labels unidentified people it kills in targeted strikes as “enemies killed in action”, although victims may be family members or associates of actual targets – or may just have been nearby, or mistakenly targeted.

Edward Snowden…hailed the new leak on Twitter.

“In an astonishing act of civil courage, one American just shattered an unspeakable lie,” Snowden wrote. “When we look back on today, we will find the most important national security story of the year. Today, @DanielEllsberg is smiling.”

Ellsberg, who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers secret history of the Vietnam war, confirmed in an interview with the Guardian that he was smiling.

“He’s right about that,” Ellsberg said.

Ellsberg said the source behind the Intercept reports was part of a chain of recent whistleblowers going back to Chelsea Manning, the US army soldier who passed classified documents to WikiLeaks and was convicted of violating the Espionage Act.

“It’s wonderful,” Ellsberg said. “I waited 40 years to see somebody, for Chelsea Manning, to put out a comprehensive, sufficiently voluminous number of long-held secrets, enough to make the case clear.

“I waited 40 years for Chelsea. Three more for Snowden. And so it’s wonderful that somebody is telling the truth about this series of crimes. I’m very glad to see it.”…

…“I hope they stay anonymous. Nothing at all would be gained by their suffering the fate of exile like Snowden…or isolation or imprisonment like Chelsea…Or the life sentences that I faced, or that others have faced.

“It comes down to this. Hundreds could have done what I did, literally. And should have. Hundreds of people could and should have done what Edward Snowden did. And hundreds of people could and should have done what Chelsea Manning did.

“They did the right thing. The others were wrong to keep those secrets.”

Say it, again, bro.

I salute whoever is doing our nation a service by exposing our government’s lies.

Pic of the day


Click to enlargeReuters/Mohamad Torokman

A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah…

Just in case you hadn’t noticed that young people are still being murdered by the apartheid regime in Israel. They fight back against tanks and guns with stones.

Chicago calls for stricter gun laws – again – after 14 people shot overnight


Click to enlargeArmando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune

Fourteen people, including two young boys, were shot in Chicago over a 15-hour period from Monday night to Tuesday morning.

Six people were killed and at least eight were wounded, following two consecutive weekends when more than 50 people were shot in the city.

Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and police officials repeated their calls for stricter gun laws and a more robust criminal justice system.

“I’m angry about what happened here and I think I speak for everybody,” Emanuel said on Tuesday. “And I think I speak for everybody when I say enough is enough.”

RTFA here if you think you need more details of our gun plague.

The Tribune has been tracking gun violence in Chicago for four years and regularly reports record-breaking incidents of gun violence.

The shootings these past two weeks follow a four-week period in August, when more than 40 people were shot each weekend. At least 2,300 people have been shot in the city this year, which the Tribune said is 400 more than were shot in the same period last year.

The four other people shot from Monday night to Tuesday morning include a two-year-old boy, who was grazed by a bullet in an accidental shooting. Police said he was in good condition.

“Here we go again,” said Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy. “We’ve had the same conversation over and over. What do we have to do? We have to hold criminals responsible.”

The “criminals” include Congress. Cowards and copouts. The criminals include the NRA. The criminals include politicians up and down the line lacking courage enough to challenge the gun manufacturers lobby who sell fear as much as death.

Yes, the criminals include lawyers who found a profitable career on playing off mediocre legislation against chickenshit courts, bought-and-paid-for judges. That includes more than judges owned by political interests; but, those who cave in to foolish political trends which have nothing to do with reality.

I could roll on for pages on all the currents that bring us to this whirlpool of death. Yes, it includes the history of corrupt, racist police departments. Chicago being one of the worst. None of it takes away from the consummate cowardice and failure of Congressional political hacks. They couldn’t provide leadership to a hound dog looking for a meal in the city garbage dump.