Ehud Olmert is the first Israeli Prime Minister sentenced to prison

Olmert enters prison
Click to enlargeOlmert on the leftMoti Milrod

Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert started serving a 19-month prison sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice on Monday, becoming the first Israeli premier to be imprisoned and capping a years-long legal saga that forced him to resign in 2009…

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say this about George W Bush? Trouble is – even the anti-government Tea Party-types won’t join the campaign. Ideology still overrules any sense of fighting for justice.

Former Massachusetts Speaker of the House gets 8 year sentence

Former Massachusetts House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for his conviction on political corruption charges, the longest federal sentence handed out to an elected official in Massachusetts history, climaxing a years-long scandal that had captivated the state’s political establishment.

DiMasi’s codefendant, Richard McDonough, a well-known State House lobbyist, was sentenced to seven years in prison for taking part in the conspiracy to help a software company win state contracts in exchange for kickbacks.

US District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf called the sentence appropriate, saying he balanced the ages of both men, 66, and consideration for their families, against the fact that they had betrayed the public’s trust by orchestrating the criminal scheme…

You and Mr. McDonough devised a scheme to sell your office,’’ the judge told DiMasi, who was forced to stand as Wolf handed out the sentence. “You’re standing here today because you committed what I consider to be, what the law considers to be, a most serious crime…’’

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said outside the courthouse…“Public corruption is a very, very serious crime, and it has a tremendous amount of impact on the citizens of this Commonwealth and the trust of the public,’’ Ortiz said. “The reality is that the core of this case was simply about how a high, powerful speaker of the House took kickbacks in exchange for using his political position to benefit himself and his friends…’’

In his remarks, Wolf said he was troubled by the fact that DiMasi was the third consecutive House speaker to be convicted in federal court. His predecessors were Thomas Finneran, who was convicted of obstruction of justice, and Charles Flaherty, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion. They did not serve prison sentences.

Some cases come up to legal standard. Some to American political standards. If that’s what they’re called?

Hooligans jailed for inciting to riot – which they put on Facebook!


Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan and Jordan Blackshaw

Two men have been jailed for four years each in northwest England for inciting disorder via social networking sites, as rioting and looting erupted in London and other cities last week…

The pair, who were arrested last week, were named by Cheshire Police as Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22. Neither of their Facebook posts resulted in any rioting, a Cheshire Police spokeswoman said.

Sutcliffe-Keenan had set up a Facebook page called “Warrington Riots” that urged rioters to gather in the northwestern town on August 10, while Blackshaw had created a page encouraging people to cause trouble in his home town of Northwich on August 9, the spokeswoman said.

Residents and businesses reported the posts to police, and the men were arrested before any disorder occurred, she added…

More than 1,300 people have been charged across England in connection with last week’s unrest, which led to widespread looting and damage. Five deaths have been linked to the violence…

England’s cities have remained calm for the past week after a massive police deployment on the streets, but officers continue to make arrests based on security camera images and intelligence.

Police in London said they had arrested a 31-year-old man Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with an incident in which two officers were bowled over by a vehicle, as they chased looters last week. Both were injured.

How stupid can you be? Let me count the ways:

1. Inciting to riot ain’t exactly a new violation of law. Most Western nations have similar laws – sometimes abused by backwards governments and coppers; but, long-standing and valid in an appropriate context.

2. Taking advantage of legitimate concerns, genuine public protest, to stake a criminal claim on a community through riot and arson is despicable.

3. Thinking that you are invisible in the online world is about as dumb as it gets.

Throw away the key.

Israeli president gets 7-year sentence for rape


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav has been sentenced to seven years in prison for rape and other sexual offences following a year-long trial which ended with his conviction in December.

Katsav, president from 2000 to 2007, said he was innocent and was being persecuted by the courts and Israeli society at large. He is expected to appeal.

Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape of an employee at the tourism ministry, where he was minister from 1996-1999. He was also convicted of the indecent assault and sexual harassment of two other employees at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem during his presidency.

The president was given the chance of a plea bargain in which he could admit lesser charges but chose to fight all charges in a trial which, although conducted in private, was accompanied by leaks from both sides in the media.

The judges told the court: “The crime of rape damages and destroys a person’s soul … Due to the severity of the crime, the punishment must be clear and precise. The defendant committed the crime and like every other person, he must bear the consequences. No man is above the law…”

The former president was also ordered to pay 100,000 shekels ($28,000) to the rape victim and 25,000 shekels to each of the other victims.

He isn’t the first president – nor will he be the last – to end up in prison. There is an endless supply of politicians seeking the highest office in their land – who think they are above the law.

Sadistic Catholic priest gets 20 years for abusing boys

An Australian Catholic priest has been jailed for almost 20 years for “sadistic” sex attacks on young boys that spanned more than 18 years.

John Sidney Denham, 67, was sentenced to 19 years and 10 months after pleading guilty to a range of charges, including multiple counts of indecent assault against boys aged five to 16.

Denham was found guilty of abusing 39 boys at schools in Sydney and elsewhere in New South Wales between 1968 and 1986.

In sentencing, judge Helen Syme said that the abuse had been ignored by school authorities for many years, allowing it to continue.

“The indecent assaults involved multiple children, often significant planning, were frequently sadistic and overall persistent, objectively serious, criminal courses of conduct,” Judge Syme said. “The offender’s actions contributed to a culture of fear and depravity, especially at the school, which allowed these disturbing offences to occur and then remain unpunished for years.”

The public gallery applauded when the sentenced was announced.

Throw away the key!

Hacker gets 20 years


A holiday snap from DefCon

One of the world’s most notorious computer hackers was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to helping run a ring that stole tens of millions of payment card numbers.

Albert Gonzalez, a 28-year-old college dropout from Miami, had confessed to helping lead a global ring that stole more than 40 million payment card numbers by breaking into retailers including TJX Cos Inc, BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc and Barnes & Noble.

It was the harshest sentence ever handed out for a computer crime in an American court, said Mark Rasch, former head of the computer crimes unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Altogether, Gonzalez and conspirators scattered across the globe caused some $200 million in damages to those businesses, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann.

He said it was not possible to quantify how much money was stolen from individuals. “They would quite literally go to ATMS and take out bundles of money from victims’ accounts,” Heymann told the court in Boston.

Under his plea agreement, Gonzalez had faced up to 25 years in prison, but asked the judge for leniency in sentencing, saying he had been addicted to computers since childhood, had abused alcohol and illegal drugs for years and suffered from symptoms of Asperger’s disorder, a form of autism…

Gonzalez, who buried $1 million cash in the backyard of his parents’ home, said that his crimes got out of control “because of my inability to stop my pursuit of curiosity and addiction…”

Throw away the fracking key!

Criminals whining for leniency because “their crimes got out of control” don’t impress. That only says he originally meant to steal at a measured pace.

There’s a much longer, more detailed account – if you find this crook interesting – over here.

Four to be hanged for superstitious killing of albino in Tanzania


Witch doctors teach that body parts
from albinos can bring luck and wealth.

A court sentenced four people to death in northern Tanzania for the killing of an albino man who was targeted for body parts believed to have special powers, authorities said Friday….

So far, seven people have been sentenced to death for the killing of more than 50 Tanzanian albinos, including children, in the past two years, Haule said. Dozens more are awaiting trial….

Body parts of albinos are sought in some regions of Tanzania and other African countries, where some believe they bring wealth and good luck. Attackers chop off limbs and pluck out organs, selling them to witch doctors.

Killings have gone up in the east African nation, which has an estimated 200,000 albinos, according to the Tanzania Albino Center.

“People believe that albino body parts mixed with traditional medicine can make people rich,” said Franck Alphonse, the center’s director. “It is a thriving business … witch doctors are asking business people to bring the body parts of albinos, who are not considered human beings….”

“We want to see justice done to everyone involved in the killings,” Alphonse said. “They (police) only pick those who slaughtered albinos, what about those who send these people to kill?”

Broken down to its elements, it’s all about religion superstition and greed, and a willingness to do anything, to anyone, to get whatever.