Steve G.

Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Why Exactly is Madoff Going to Prison?

In Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Fraud, Law, People in the news, Taxation on July 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm

On June 29, 2009, Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.  According to The New York Times, Madoff was guilty of running “the largest, longest and most widespread Ponzi scheme in history.”

It is true that Madoff ran a Ponzi scheme, but it is categorically false to call his the largest, the longest-running, or the most widespread.  But I digress.

The point is, I do not believe jail-time is the appropriate punishment for Mr. Madoff.

(1) If Madoff told his customers that he would be investing their money in a way he did not, then he committed fraud, and his punishment should be to pay back his customers in full plus extra for time preference.  If he has less money in his name than he owes to his victims, then he should (A) first pay what he has and (B) then have his future wages garnished to pay those to whom he still has debt.  (He should also pay back his poorest victims first, working his way up the ladder until he either pays off his entire debt in full or dies, whichever comes first.)

(2) If he did not lie to his customers about what he was doing with their money, then he committed no real crime, and should not be punished at all.

Either way, he should not go to jail.

As Mr. Jeffrey Tucker writes,

What, then, precisely, is the point of jailing him?  He is no direct threat to anyone.  Society would not be safer because he is in the slammer.  He is not going to rob people or beat people up.  He might write a book and donate the funds to charity or make some restitution to his victims.  I, for one, would like to read that book.

Instead, taxpayers will be forced to pick up the tab for his living expenses.  Victims get nothing.  That’s not justice.  That’s inhumane for both sides of the transaction: Bernie and us.

—Alexander S. Peak

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF PIRACY: PART SIX

In Corruption, Crime, War on June 1, 2009 at 1:35 am

PART SIX: PIRACY’S END AND BEGINNING

With the round-up of the major British pirates in the 1720s, piracy was relegated to the status of minor nuisance. European governments made efforts to keep privateers in line by limiting letters of marque and demanding bonds for assurance of good behavior. Quite likely the major restraint on piracy was the increased presence of European navies in remote areas, a side-effect of the constant European wars.

As ever the rise and fall of empire spurred sea-raiding. From 1775 to 1822 the Americas and Europe were convulsed by revolution. American, French, and Latin American revolutionaries found themselves desperately short of sea-power. Their answer was privateering. Predictably, the lure of loot undermined adherence to strictly patriotic motives.

The French Revolutionary Wars generated one of the United States’ first international crises. French and English privateers had hunted each other’s sea-trade to near extinction. Consequently merchant sailors from the United States stepped in to fill the gap. In due course the rivals began seizing vessels suspected of carrying a belligerent power’s merchandise. By 1798 attacks by French privateers on American vessels sparked a brief war at sea. In 1800 the new dictator of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, decided one global enemy was enough and adopted a conciliatory line towards Washington ending the Quasi-War.

No sooner than the Quasi-War had ended than a new crisis arose in Africa. The Barbary corsairs were taking an interest in American sipping. While Morocco took a decidedly friendly approach to the U.S., the bashaw of Libya tried to squeeze more money by declaring war in 1801. The U.S. Navy began by bungling badly and losing a frigate and its crew. But U.S. forces re-grouped and were soon shelling the bashaw’s palace.

Meanwhile a group of U.S. Marines, Greek mercenaries, and a rebel Libyan prince were making their way across the desert to enact a bit of regime change. This, perhaps more than the rather lumbering U.S.N. vessels, alarmed the bashaw sufficiently to cause to make peace in 1805 with a minor discount in blackmail. The prince was unceremoniously abandoned in the desert to make his way home.

Back in the West Indies the erstwhile French privateers found new employment as corsairs for the Latin American republics. The revolutionary juntas were suitably lax in their oversight to make privateering profitable. In time honored tradition, the raiders preferred to loot more profitable American or British vessels rather than the relatively low-profit Spanish shipping.

Although slavery was still legal throughout the Americas, there was an increased international opposition to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. While slavery remained in force, importing slaves from Africa was illegal. Though perhaps it was the best that could be done at the time, the effect was to shoot prices for slaves sky-high and make slave smuggling highly profitable.

The focus of both privateering and slave smuggling was the thriving port of New Orleans. A pair of brothers, Jean and Pierre Lafitte, managed to unite the smugglers and the corsairs in an enormously profitable alliance from 1810 to 1817. Jean also dabbled in covert operations, alternately fomenting conspiracies against Spanish rule and reporting on them to Spanish authorities.

The end of the Napoleonic Wars saw the U.S. and Britain, lately enemies, deliver a one-two punch to the Barbary corsairs (Morocco excepted). In the 1820s they tackled the growing menace of West Indian piracy. Pirates, devoid of even the fig-leaf of rebel privateer commissions, had proliferated. Many found Cuba a friendly haven. The colonial authorities had a push-pull effect of compensation from pirate loot and the pleasure of seeing their American and British rivals discomfited. By 1825 most of the pirates had been swept up. The Lafittes were out of business, but slave smuggling remained highly lucrative until abolition in the 1860s.

The Pax Britannica of the 19th century was the death-knell for piracy. In the 1850s sea-raiders swarmed in Eastern waters from the Red Sea to China. They were diverse in their origins and motivation. They included the Arab corsairs of the Red Sea, the Angrians of India, the Ilaununs of Sulu Sea and other Malay raiders, and outlaws from China. These groups ranged in type from Vikings to privateers to out-and-out pirates. By the 1840s few were left. The Royal Navy, along with the expansionist Spanish and Dutch empires, swept the seas. The Age of Empire imposed a lockdown.

Privateering had its last flings in the Texas War of Independence (1835-36) and the American Civil War (1861-65). The new era called for centralization and control. Advanced military technology was no longer marketed to privately owned warships. Privateers had a long history of excess, unsuited for the new era of enlightenment and progress. Pillaging was retrograde, torpedoes and bombs embodies the modern way of war at sea.

And so matters stood. But the Pax Britannica is gone, vanished as thoroughly as the Cold War verities of the American Century. While Somali pirates are defying the world and collecting ransoms that would make Caesar wince, crime syndicates in the Far East are running hijacking rings engaged in systematically looting the busy shipping lanes of South East Asia.

The international community seems unable to mount any truly effective response. Pompey’s preferred method, crucifixion, is off the table (at least until Dick Cheney gets back to the Whitehouse). The Woodes Rogers program, generous pardons and certain hanging, is limited by the uncertainty of any kind of punishment being imposed on pirates, let alone hanging. The classic standby, recruiting them all as mercenaries, perhaps offers some hope, if only one can organize a joint Blackwater-Somali pirate venture. But if history teaches us one thing it is that each case is unique and fraught with its own perils and pitfalls.

Somewhere the Cilicians are laughing.

END

Torture by any other name….

In Civil Liberties, Crime, History, Human Rights Abuses, Iraq War, Libertarian, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on May 17, 2009 at 10:14 pm

The April 19th edition of the New York Times Scott Shane summarizes the now infamous 2005 CIA memo on torture. Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed were between the two of them waterboarded 266 times. Am I the only one who’s outraged by this? The same article conceeds:

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

So why the need to waterboard him after he confessed in the first 35 seconds? Why should he have been tortured in the first place? For a possible answer, three points:  first, a brief history of this form of torture; second, the effects of  torture on the human body; third, a look at how other countries have used and finally, some thoughts on why this issue doesn’t bother Americans.

Waterboarding has had many names over the many centuries that it has been used. A variation of it was used in the Spanish Inquisition under the name “toca“:

“The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had the impression of drowning”.William Schweiker claims that the use of water as a form of torture also had profound religious significance to the Inquisitors.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding

The Dutch East India company used a variation of it as well. Pay special attention to the physical affects it had on the victim:

…Agents of the Dutch East India Company used a precursor to waterboarding during the Amboyna massacre, which took place on the island of Amboyna in the Molucca Islands in 1623. At that time, it consisted of wrapping cloth around the victim’s head, after which the torturers “poured the water softly upon his head until the cloth was full, up to the mouth and nostrils, and somewhat higher, so that he could not draw breath but he must suck in all the water”. In one case, the torturer applied water three or four times successively until the victim’s “body was swollen twice or thrice as big as before, his cheeks like great bladders, and his eyes staring and strutting out beyond his forehead”…

This next instance occured in more recent times in 1852 at Sing Sing prison:

…’hydropathic torture.’ The stream of water is about one inch in diameter, and falls from a hight [sic] of seven or eight feet. The head of the patient is retained in its place by means of a board clasping the neck; the effect of which is, that the water, striking upon the board, rebounds into the mouth and nostrils of the victim, almost producing strangulation. Congestion, sometimes of the heart or lungs, sometimes of the brain, not unfrequently [sic] ensues; and death, in due season, has released some sufferers from the further ordeal of the water cure…

And again in WWII by the “Evil Axis Powers”:

…During World War II both Japanese troops, especially the Kempeitai, and the officers of the Gestapo,[66] the German secret police, used waterboarding as a method of torture. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore the Double Tenth Incident occurred. This included waterboarding, by the method of binding or holding down the victim on his back, placing a cloth over his mouth and nose, and pouring water onto the cloth. In this version, interrogation continued during the torture, with the interrogators beating the victim if he did not reply and the victim swallowing water if he opened his mouth to answer or breathe. When the victim could ingest no more water, the interrogators would beat or jump on his distended stomach…

It sounds very barbaric but it’s still something that we “had to do” to get “intelligence” out of “high value detainees”. I will concede that we might not have stomped on the stomach’s of detainees when they could not swallow more water but we have done things just as bad or worse.

…In the memos, released Thursday, the Bush Administration White House Office of Legal Counsel offered its endorsement of CIA torture methods that involved placing an insect in a cramped, confined box with detainees. Jay S. Bybee, then-director of the OLC, wrote that insects could be used to capitalize on detainees’ fears…

…The memo was dated Aug. 1, 2002. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s children were captured and held in Pakistan the following month, according to a report by Human Rights Watch…At a military tribunal in 2007, the father of a Guantanamo detainee alleged that Pakistani guards had confessed that American interrogators used ants to coerce the children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into revealing their father’s whereabouts…

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/04/17/bush-torture-memos-align-with-account-that-911-suspects-children-were-tortured/

A few of the effects of drowning on the the human body:

…A conscious victim will hold his or her breath (see Apnea) and will try to access air, often resulting in panic, including rapid body movement. This uses up more oxygen in the blood stream and reduces the time to unconsciousness. The victim can voluntarily hold his or her breath for some time, but the breathing reflex will increase until the victim will try to breathe, even when submerged.

The breathing reflex in the human body is weakly related to the amount of oxygen in the blood but strongly related to the amount of carbon dioxide. During apnea, the oxygen in the body is used by the cells, and excreted as carbon dioxide. Thus, the level of oxygen in the blood decreases, and the level of carbon dioxide increases. Increasing carbon dioxide levels lead to a stronger and stronger breathing reflex, up to the breath-hold breakpoint, at which the victim can no longer voluntarily hold his or her breath. This typically occurs at an arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide of 55 mm Hg, but may differ significantly from individual to individual and can be increased through training…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drowning

When water enters the lungs

…If water enters the airways of a conscious victim the victim will try to cough up the water or swallow it thus inhaling more water involuntarily. Upon water entering the airways, both conscious and unconscious victims experience laryngospasm, that is the larynx or the vocal cords in the throat constrict and seal the air tube. This prevents water from entering the lungs. Because of this laryngospasm, water enters the stomach in the initial phase of drowning and very little water enters the lungs. Unfortunately, this can interfere with air entering the lungs, too. In most victims, the laryngospasm relaxes some time after unconsciousness and water can enter the lungs causing a “wet drowning”. However, about 10-15% of victims maintain this seal until cardiac arrest, this is called “dry drowning” as no water enters the lungs. In forensic pathology, water in the lungs indicates that the victim was still alive at the point of submersion. Absence of water in the lungs may be either a dry drowning or indicates a death before submersion…

…The brain cannot survive long without oxygen and the continued lack of oxygen in the blood combined with the cardiac arrest will lead to the deterioration of brain cells causing first brain damage and eventually brain death from which recovery is generally considered impossible. A lack of oxygen or chemical changes in the lungs may cause the heart to stop beating; this cardiac arrest stops the flow of blood and thus stops the transport of oxygen to the brain. Cardiac arrest used to be the traditional point of death but at this point there is still a chance of recovery. The brain will die after approximately six minutes without oxygen but special conditions may prolong this (see ‘cold water drowning’ below). Freshwater contains less salt than blood and will therefore be absorbed into the blood stream by osmosis. In animal experiments this was shown to change the blood chemistry and led to cardiac arrest in 2 to 3 minutes. Sea water is much saltier than blood. Through osmosis water will leave the blood stream and enter the lungs thickening the blood. In animal experiments the thicker blood requires more work from the heart leading to cardiac arrest in 8 to 10 minutes. However, autopsies on human drowning victims show no indications of these effects and there appears to be little difference between drownings in salt water and fresh water. After death, rigor mortis will set in and remains for about two days, depending on many factors including water temperature…

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed experienced this 183 times. You think he felt that we were a proverbial “Shinning City on a Hill”? No, instead a bet he felt like he’d been captured by savages. I’m personally ashamed and appalled that my taxes paid the CIA torture this man.  They used our tax money to kill, torture, and humiliate people who we don’t even know. They coerce the complicity from each one of us living in America and Britain.

Historically speaking, there have been many other people persecuted for war crimes. America has even persecuted other people for waterboarding.

…McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as ‘water cure,’ ‘water torture’ and ‘waterboarding,’ according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.” Politifact went on to report, “A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps…

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2007/dec/18/john-mccain/history-supports-mccains-stance-on-waterboarding/

Remember that they killed Saddam’s sons and one of their “justifications” was that they tortured Iraqis. This is ironic because we’re the ones torturing Iraqis now and nobody has been executed for it yet. This page outlines Saddam’s “Crimes Against Humanity”. It’s funny how we use these slogans against everyone except Americans even when our government commits the same crimes. Carl Clauberg experimented on over 300 woman and sterilized many of them. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Doihara Kenji was sentenced to death for his part in the Pearl Harbor incident. There are many other war criminals that can be found here.  Why no American presidents are on this list?

We want to believe that the American government is incapable of torturing people even though it’s exactly what we’re doing. Does the government have that much of a hold on the media?  They play word games  to cloud our view. They say that we’re in a “credit crunch” when we’re in a “recession“.  When they admit to  “recession,” we’re really  in a “depression“. They played the same game in Iraq. According to the news we were dealing with a few “foreign fighters” when it was an “insurgency”.  Called it “insurgency” when it was really a “civil war“.   Now that Baghdad has been separated among sectarian lines we’ve declared victory. Likewise they now call “harsh interrogation” what is “torture”.

I want  to remind people of the horrors of torture. When McCain was caught and tortured then sang like a bird but torture is only successful at getting the captor to say what he thinks the torturer wants him to say. Torture inevitably gives the torturer incorrect intelligence because the tortured just wants the pain to stop. It is also a double-sided sword  because the enemy becomes emboldened by the barbarism of the side that uses this disgraceful tactic. It reminds them of the immoral and merciless nature of their enemy and only makes them fight harder. In the case of religious fanatics they are emboldened even more when they see that their brethren are being tortured by people of a different faith.

So I think we just need to endorse Peace and do away with states who carry out atrocities in the name of all the people that live within its borders.

Peace…

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PIRACY: PART FOUR

In Crime, History, War on May 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm

PART FOUR: THE BUCCANEERS

The 1600s witnessed the birth of a new phenomenon, the buccaneers. These men were a frontier subculture, akin to the Gauchos, Trekboers, or Cossacks. The buccaneers were West Indian frontiersmen, drawn from runaway servants (white slaves, after a fashion), outlaws, deserting sailors, adventurers, and assorted drifters. They lived by hunting, logging, and smuggling. Their favorite dish was barbecue, called in the local patois boucan, thus boucaniers or buccaneers.

The principal base of these “Brethren of the Coast” was the island of Tortuga off Haiti. The lumberjack groups called the “Baymen” favored the mainland around the Gulf of Honduras and others associated with a short-lived Puritan colony on Providence Island.

French and English colonial governors found these well-armed hoodlums to be just the thing to confront Spanish might. The barbecue-men became privateering mercenaries and looted ships and cities across the Spanish Main. With their canoes and hunting muskets the Brethren of the Coast were a formidable, if rag-tag, force. Armed with actual warships and generously supplied with cannon, they were a major threat capable of seizing Spanish cities. In 1678 A Dutchman named Alexander Exquemelin penned a memoir of life among the buccaneers. He immortalized buccaneer leaders such as L’Olonnais, Rock the Brazilian, Bartholomew the Portuguese, and Henry Morgan. Exquemelin paid tribute to their cunning and courage without understating their treachery and cruelty.

The wild and woolly frontier days waned as English and French colonies became more established. The Baymen in the Gulf of Honduras began settling down as planters and formed the basis for the English colony of Belize. The buccaneer hang-out of Port Royal in Jamaica suffered a devastating earthquake in 1692 which sunk it to the bottom of the harbor. Successful raiders such as Henry Morgan, Laurens de Graaf, and Jean Ducasse found comfortable berths in the planter elite.

By the 1690s what was left of the buccaneers were almost entirely associated with the French colonial establishment. When Tortuga was incorporated into France’s empire, the buccaneers went with it. In 1697 buccaneers spearheaded a French naval task force that seized the colonial city of Cartagena. It was the last great buccaneer raid. Dynastic politics made France and Spain allies in the 1700s. But by then Spain was no longer the dominant colonial power. The buccaneers had worked themselves out of a job.

-Dave Hardy

PART I: An Introduction to American Involvement with War Crimes Trials

In Activism, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, George Bush, Guantanamo, History, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Military, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on May 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm

If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.

 

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of The United States
Robert H. Jackson

 

Justice Jackson was asked by President Truman to represent The United States in establishing the process for trying German war criminals after Germany’s surrender in World War II. The above quote was made by him in 1945 during the negotiations of The London Charter of The International Military Tribunal (IMT) which established the legal justifications and basis for the trials. He later acted as the Chief Prosecutor for the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (IMT) of the major war criminals.

 

I was probably only 12 years old when I first saw the movie ‘Judgment at Nuremburg‘ (based on the Judges’ Trial of the twelve subsequent Nuremberg Trials held after the one for the major war criminals). Even at that age, several things about the trials didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t have much more of an understanding of law or philosophy than that of any other child of my age, but I have always had a very natural understanding of logic… especially in my ability to recognize what ISN’T logical. The main question I have always had about the Nuremberg Trials is: “Why didn’t the losers get to file any charges against the winners?” That, to my mind, would be the primary aspect of a war crimes trial which would keep it from being simply ‘victors’ justice’

 

As I got older, more questions came to my mind about the Nuremberg Trials. The two most prominent of these questions are:

 

(1) We judged that those who were indicted and tried should have resisted or refused to obey laws and/or orders which they thought were immoral. However, what about those who did not have personal moral objections to those laws and/or orders? If they agreed with them but had no hand in giving or enacting them, weren’t they operating both within the law AND within their own moral codes and, if that was the case, then why weren’t they protected from prosecutions such as those at Nuremberg?; and

 

(2) If we wanted to establish that “I was just following orders” is NOT a valid defense, why doesn’t The United States put procedures and practices into place for our own soldiers and citizens who hold such objections to laws and/or orders which they are expected to follow and for which they would face court-martial and/or civil prosecution if they did refuse to obey.

 

In World War II, while there were several localized instances of American War Crimes which could be truthfully judged to be individual aberrations which could be properly, adequately and legally dealt with internally through courts-martial (the Biscari massacres, the Chenonge massacre, and the Dachau massacre, to name just three), there were no attempts to try larger scale incidents against any of the Allies for potential war crimes which originated at a command level or higher. Examples of these would include: the Dresden fire bombings of a non-strategic civilian city for the psychological effect it would have throughout Germany; the re-designation by the Allies of some German POWs (who were protected by The Geneva Conventions) to ‘disarmed enemy forces‘ (who, allegedly, were NOT protected he Geneva Convention) and their subsequent use as forced (i.e. – slave) labor by the French to clear minefields in France and The Low Countries (while this was provided for by the Armistice, the French government conceded that the practice was ‘perhaps‘ not in accordance with The Geneva Conventions. By December of 1945, the French government estimated that 2,000 German prisoners were being killed or maimed each month in accidents); and American food policy in post-war Germany which directly and indirectly caused the unnecessary suffering and deaths, from starvation, of large numbers of civilians and POWs in occupied Germany in violation of Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Rules of Land Warfare.

 

As we look at the debates our nation faces today about war crimes, it is ironic that, at the end of World War II and during the post-war period, it was The United States which took the lead in demanding legal actions and prosecutions to establish both guilt of those who would be punished AND legal precedence for the future. As early as December 1941, British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, was a vocal advocate for summary executions of war criminals, even to the point of being willing to use Acts of Attainder to circumvent any legal obstacles. It was leaders in The United States who eventually dissuaded him from this stance.

 

In 1943, at the Tehran Conference, Stalin proposed summarily executing 50,000 – 100,000 German Staff Officers. President Franklin Roosevelt tried to lighten this attitude with the suggestion that maybe only ‘49,000’ would need to be executed. Churchill followed this up by denouncing the “cold-blooded executions of soldiers who fought for their country”. In 1945, America’s Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, and his staff at The War Department drafted a plan for the ‘Trial of European War Criminals‘, which was strongly approved by President Truman. This plan formed the basis for negotiations of The London Charter.

 

While there may have been legitimate criticisms of the Allied war crimes trials, including by at least three other members of The United States Supreme Court… Chief Justice Harlan Stone (who called the Nuremberg trials “a fraud” and a “high-grade lynching”), Associate Justice William O. Douglas (who said that the Allies were guilty of “substituting power for principle” and that “law was created ex post facto to suit the passion and clamor of the time”), and Associate Justice Frank Murphy (who said, in protest of the war crime trial of Japanese General Masaharu Homma, “Either we conduct such a trial as this in the noble spirit and atmosphere of our Constitution or we abandon all pretense to justice, let the ages slip away and descend to the level of revengeful blood purges.”), it was The United States of America which led the path to the establishment of norms of public international trials for war crimes. Now we face showing ourselves as a nation of hypocrites who are quick to judge others but unwilling to have judgment turned on our own.

 

The war crimes trials of World War II may have utilized ex post facto laws and rules to judge and condemn Axis war criminals but, thanks in large part to The United States, they establish the precedent for holding accountable those at any and all levels of military, political, civilian AND economic structures for both actions AND decisions which lead to the systematic rule of brutality, terror and violence of both the German and Japanese regimes.

 

The United States considered such trials so important that after growing differences between the four major Allied Powers made additional international trials under the International Military Tribunal impossible, that they held 12 subsequent trials on their own at Nuremberg. Under Control Council Law #10, which empowered any of the occupying authorities to try suspected war criminals in their respective occupation zones, The United States alone, between December 1946 and October 1948, conducted:

 

01.) The Doctors’ Trial (Medical doctors and Nazi officials)

 

War Crimes: Performing medical experiments, without the subjects’ consent, on prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, in the course of which experiments the defendants committed murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts. Also planning and performing the mass murder of prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, stigmatizated as aged, insane, incurably ill, deformed, and so on, by gas, lethal injections, and diverse other means in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums during the Euthanasia Program and participating in the mass murder o concentration camp inmates.

 

Crimes Against Humanity: For performing those same acts on German nationals.

 

02.) The Milch Trial (Field Marshall of the Luftwaffe, Erhard Milch)

 

War Crimes: Knowingly committed war crimes as principal and accessory in enterprises involving slave labor and having also willingly and knowingly participated in enterprises involving the use of prisoners of war in war operations contrary to international convention and the laws and customs of war. Also, knowingly and willfully participated in enterprises involving fatal medical experiments upon subjects without their consent.

 

Crimes Against Humanity: For slave labor and fatal medical experiments, in the same manner as indicated in the first two counts, except that here the alleged victims are declared to be German nationals and nationals of other countries.

 

03.) The Judges’ Trial (German jurists and lawyers)

(Held responsible for implementing and furthering the Nazi “racial purity” program through the German eugenic and racial laws)

 

War Crimes: Abuse of the judicial and penal process, resulting in mass murder, torture, plunder of private property.


Crimes Against Humanity: The same grounds, including slave labor charges.

 

04.) The Pohl Trial (Employees of the SS Economics and Administrative Department)

(Held for active involvement in and administration of the “Final Solution”; they also handled the procurement for the Waffen SS and the administration of the SS ‘Totenkopf’Divisions)


War Crimes: Administration of concentration camps and of extermination camps, and the mass murders and atrocities committed those camps.

 

Crimes Against Humanity: The same grounds, including slave labor charges.

 

05.) The Flick Trial (high-ranking directors of Flick’s group of companies)

(Charges centered on slave labor and plundering, but Flick and the Otto Steinbrinck, were also charged for their membership in the “Circle of Friends of Himmler”, a group of influential German industrialists and bankers for the purpose of giving financial support to the Nazis. Its members “donated” annually about 1 million Reichsmark to a “Special Account S” in favor of Himmler.)


War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Participating in the deportation and enslavement of the civilian populations of countries and territories under the belligerent occupation of or otherwise controlled by Germany, and of concentration camp inmates, for use as slave labor in Flick mines and factories.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Plundering and spoliation of occupied territories, and the seizure of plants both in the west (France) and the east (Poland, Russia). Crimes Against Humanity: participation in the persecution of Jews and the ‘aryanization’ of their properties.

 

06.) The Hostages’ Trial

(Regarding the taking of civilian hostages; wanton shootings of hostages and ‘partisans’)


War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Mass murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia by having ordered hostage taking and reprisal killings.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Plundering and wanton destruction of villages and towns in Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Norway.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Murder and ill-treatment of prisoners of war, and arbitrarily designating combatants as “partisans”, denying them the status of prisoners of war, as well as killing them after such a designation.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Murder, torture, deportation of, and sending Greek, Albanian, and Yugoslav civilians to concentration camps.

 

07.) The IG Farben Trial (directors of IG Farben)

(IG Farben was a large German civilian industrial conglomerate of chemical firms)


War crimes and crimes against humanity: Through the plundering and spoliation of occupied territories, and the seizure of plants in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, France, and Russia.

 

War crimes and crimes against humanity: Through participation in the enslavement and deportation to slave labor on a gigantic scale of concentration camp inmates and civilians in occupied countries, and of prisoners of war, and the mistreatment, terrorization, torture, and murder of enslaved persons.

 

08.) The Einsatzgruppen Trial (Officers of SS mobile Death Squads)

 

Crimes Against Humanity: Through persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds, murder, extermination, imprisonment, and other inhumane acts committed against civilian populations, including German nationals and nationals of other countries, as part of an organized scheme of genocide.

 

War Crimes: For the same reasons, and for wanton destruction and devastation not justified by military necessity.

 

09.) The RuSHA Trial (Various SS officials of various political and administrative

                  departments)

(For implementation of the ‘pure race’ program [RuSHA])


Crimes Against Humanity: Implementing “racial purity” programs; kidnapping children; forcing ‘non-Aryan’ pregnant women to undergo abortions; plundering; deportation of populations from their native lands in occupied countries and resettling of so-called Volksdeutsche (‘ethnic Germans’) on such lands; sending people who had had ‘interracial’ sexual relationships to concentration camps; and general participation in the persecution of the Jews.

 

War Crimes: For the same reasons.

 

10.) The Krupp Trial (Directors of the Krupp Group)

                  (The Krupp Group was a collection of large German civilian industrial companies)


Crimes Against Humanity: Participating in the plundering, devastation, and exploitation of occupied countries; participating in the murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, and use for slave labor of civilians, German nationals, and prisoners of war who came under German control.

 

11.) The Ministries’ Trial (officials of various Reich ministries)

(Charged for their participation in or responsibility for atrocities committed both in Germany and in occupied countries during the war)


Crimes Against Peace: Planning and waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.


War Crimes: Being responsible for murder, ill-treatment and other crimes against prisoners of war and enemy belligerents.


Crimes Against Humanity: Committing atrocities and crimes against German nationals on the grounds of political, racial, or religious discrimination.


War crimes and crimes against humanity: Participating in or being responsible for atrocities and crimes committed against civilians in occupied countries; plundering and spoliation of occupied territories; participation in the enslavement, deportation for slave labor, and ill-treatment of civilians in both Germany and occupied countries, and of prisoners of war.

 

12.) The High Command Trial (Senior Flag Officers of the German High Command)

(Charged with having participated in or planned or facilitated the execution of the numerous atrocities committed in countries occupied by the German forces during the war)


Crimes Against Peace: Waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.

(The tribunal considered all of these accused to be not guilty of this charge, stating that they were not the policy-makers and that preparing for war and fighting a war on orders was not a criminal offense under the applicable international law of the time.)


War Crimes: Being responsible for murder, ill-treatment and other crimes against prisoners of war and enemy belligerents. Crimes Against Humanity: participating in or ordering the murder, torture, deportation, hostage-taking, etc. of civilians in occupied countries.

 

All of the judges for all twelve of these trials were American, as were all of the prosecutors. As a result of these trials, 142 out of 185 total defendants were found guilty of at least one charge. Out of the 142 guilty verdicts, those convicted received 24 death sentences, 20 life sentences, and 98 other prison sentences of varying lengths. In addition to the 35 of the accused who were acquitted, 4 were removed from the trials due to illnesses and 4 others committed suicide during the trials. All of these trials also included charges of conspiracy to commit the various crimes and to initiate and engage in wars of aggression but those charges were mostly dropped either because of poor wording in the orders which provided the legal justification the tribunals or because of beliefs among many of the judges that consideration of those charges was outside of their scope of authorization, or various other concerns. Any future war crimes trials would have to be aware of these difficulties so that they could adequately justify including conspiracy charges in those trials.

 

The United States has prosecuted our vanquished opponents in war for war crimes at least since the trial of Henry Wirz, Commandant of Camp Sumter, the Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville. We also had a history going back just as long of denying full justice and fair trials to those we have accused while, at the same time, have not held our own accountable to the same standards of justice we have condemned others for. A large part of the problems at the Andersonville Prison, for example, occurred because the Union ended the policy it had with the Confederacy of exchanging prisoners in an effort to cause hardship for the Confederacy, which resulted in the massive overcrowding and food shortages at Camp Sumter (which, at its maximum occupation, held enough Union prisoners to make it the 5th largest city in The Confederacy).

 

In 1902, the Lodge Committee in the United States Senate was supposed to investigate allegations of American war crimes committed in The Philippines, which had been building until they eventually ignited when Brigadier General Jacob Smith remarked to a reporter from The Manila News that he “intended to set the entire island of Samar ablaze” and would probably wipe out most of the population of the island. At Nuremberg, Karl Dönitz Commander In Chief of the Kriegsmarine, was charged, tried and found guilty of violating the Second London Naval Treaty (1936) which prohibited unrestricted submarine warfare even though Admiral Chester A. Nimitz stated that The United States also conducted unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific Theatre from the first day we entered the war (Great Britain had also violated the treaty itself).

 

During the Vietnam War, The United States used Agent Orange and other defoliants in Operation Ranch Hand, even though the use of poison agents as weapons in war has been banned since World War I, and initiated The CIA’s Phoenix Program, which was designed to identify and ‘neutralize’ (via infiltration, capture, terrorism, or assassination) the civilian infrastructure supporting the National Liberation Front (NLF) of South Vietnam (or Viet Cong) insurgency. In addition, the files of The Vietnam War Crimes Working Group, a Pentagon task force created to detail endemic war crimes, compiled documentary evidence which confirmed 320 incidents committed by U.S. forces (NOT counting the massacre at My Lai), including seven massacres from 1967 through 1971 in which at least 137 civilians died; 78 other attacks on noncombatants in which at least 57 were killed, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted; and 141 instances in which U.S. soldiers tortured prisoners of war or civilian detainees.

 

These examples show how The United States has not been consistent in its pursuit of international justice regarding war crimes investigations or trials, especially when such investigations or trials should focus ON Americans. However, WE established the precedents at Nuremberg that any and everyone within a nation is accountable to the world for their belligerent actions and intentions against other nations and that, once a nation has acted ON those intentions and engaged in such actions, they are also accountable to the world for their actions regarding how they treat their own nationals, citizens and those within their own borders during such international actions. The United States has also set its own precedents for the legality of removing persons who it considers to be criminals in violation of its own laws, most notably with our invasion of Panama and the forcible removal of Manuel Noriega from his own country to The United States to stand trial under our laws and then be imprisoned in our jail system. This case also demonstrates very nicely our own view that being a head of state is not a protection against international justice.

 

It seems to me that war itself is a crime not ONLY because of what one nation does to another nation and its people in the course of war but also because of what it inevitably causes any warring nation to do to its own people while it is in preparation for and engagement of such wars. This would seem to make the investigation and prosecution of war crimes to be a domestic civil necessity as well as an international criminal one. In 1945, in his opening statement before the IMF during the Nuremberg Trial of the major war criminals, Justice Robert Jackson, in his role as Chief Prosecutor said:

 

Any resort to war – to any kind of war – is a resort to means that are inherently criminal. War inevitably is a course of killings, assaults, deprivations of liberty, and destruction of property. An honest defensive war is, of course, legal and saves those lawfully conducting it from criminality. But, inherently criminal acts cannot be defended by showing that those who committed them were engaged in a war, when war itself is illegal. The very minimum legal consequences of the treaties making aggressive war illegal is to strip those who incite or wage them of every defense the law ever gave, and to leave war-makers subject to judgment by the usually accepted principles of the law of crimes.

 

The United States of America has not demonstrated itself to be deserving of the trust of its own citizens or of the world in examining our own for potential war crimes. Nor would it seem that we could be trusted conducting trials for such crimes internally. Since World War II, the prosecution of war crimes has become, of necessity, an increasingly international matter. The United States needs to cooperate with the international community to investigate and try such crimes. Part II of this article topic will cover the rise of and legal justification for international courts for conducting war crimes trials.

 

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

 

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all Honor”

 

© copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

 

 

The accused and trial results of the Nuremberg Trial (IMT) of the major war criminals were:

 

Martin Bormann: Nazi Party Secretary

(Bureaucrat)

            Sentence: Death

 

Karl Dönitz: Commander-in-Chief of the Kreigsmarine / Hitler’s successor as President of Germany

            Sentence: 10 years

 

Hans Frick: German Law Leader and Governor-General of Poland.

            Sentence: Death

 

Wilhelm Frick: Minister of the Interior and Reich Protector of Bohemia-Moravia

(Authored the Nuremberg Race Laws)

            Sentence: Death

 

Hans Fritzsche: Radio Commentator and Head of Nazi Propaganda Ministry’s news divisions. (Tried in place of Joseph Goebbels who had committed suicide)

            Sentence: Acquitted

 

Walther Funk: Minister of Economics and head of the German Reichsbank.

            Sentence: Life

 

Hermann Goring: Reichsmarshall

(Second highest Nazi official after Hitler)

            Sentence: Death

 

Rudolf Hess: Hitler’s Deputy until 1941

(Flew to Scotland in 1941 to try to broker peace)

            Sentence: Life

 

Alfred Jodl: Wehrmacht Generaloberst

(Military leader)

            Sentence: Death

 

Ernst Kaltenbrunner: Chief of the central Nazi intelligence agency.

(Highest surviving SS official)

            Sentence: Death

 

Wilhelm Keitel: Head of the Wehrmacht command structure

(Military leader)

             Sentence: Death

 

Baron Konstantin von Neurath: Foreign Minister and Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (Resigned in 1943)

            Sentence: 15 years

 

Franz von Papen: German Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor under Hitler, Ambassador to Austria, and Ambassador to Turkey

(Politician and Diplomat)

            Sentence: Acquitted

 

Erich Raeder: Commander-in-Chief of the Kreigsmarine (before Karl Dönitz)

(Resigned in 1943)

            Sentence: Life

 

Joachim von Ribbentrop: Ambassador-Plenipotentiary and Minister of Foreign Affairs

(Politician and Diplomat)

            Sentence: Death

 

Alfred Rosenberg: Party Ideologist, later Minister of Eastern Occupied Territories

            Sentence: Death

 

Fritz Sauckel: Plenipotentiary of slave labor program

            Sentence: Death

 

Hjalmar Schacht: Banker and economist

(Admitted violating the Treaty of Versailles)

            Sentence: Acquitted

 

Baldur von Schirach: Head of the Hitler Youth and Gauleiter of Vienna

(Retired in 1943)

            Sentence: 20 years

 

Arthur Seyss-Inquart: Various political positions and instrumental in the Anschluss

(Political functionary and Diplomat)

            Sentence: Death

 

Albert Speer: Architect and friend of Hitler, later Minister of Armaments

            Sentence: 20 years

 

Julius Streicher: Gauleiter of Franconia, and the publisher of a weekly pro-Nazi newspaper

            Sentence: Death

 

 

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PIRACY: PART THREE

In Crime, History, Military, War on May 3, 2009 at 1:11 pm

PART THREE: THE SPANISH MAIN

The 1500s saw Europe plunge into an increasingly violent cycle of wars at home and abroad that stretched from the Habsburg-Valois Wars beginning in 1520 to the bombing of Nagasaki in 1945. The 1500s were dominated by attempts by the rulers of France and England to undermine the power of the Habsburg family that ruled The Holy Roman Empire and Spain. In the early days monarchs sought to maximize their sea-power by recruiting privateers, ostensibly seeking reprisal from wrongs to king and country. Privateers proved to be quite forthcoming, lured by Spain’s American gold.

Spain’s colonies were run as closed shops. Foreign trade in the colonies, however profitable for the colonials, was regarded as detrimental to the king’s pocketbook and banned. In 1568 the Spanish shot up some slave-smuggling vessels commanded by Englishmen John Hawkins and his cousin Francis Drake. Queen Elizabeth granted Drake permission to take reprisals and the Anglo-Spanish war at sea was on in earnest.

Soon English, French and Dutch ships were scouring the seas in search of Spanish and Portuguese prey. As the sea-dogs grew in might they were able to seize and pillage lightly defended Spanish colonial cities. Havana had fallen to the French raider De Sores as early as 1555. Drake accounted for Panama, Santo Domingo, Valparaiso, St. Augustine, and Cadiz on the Spanish mainland.

The Reformation gave the new sea-marauding an ideological angle, pitting Protestant against Catholic. England and the Netherlands adopted Protestantism as the state religion. While France never formally rejected Catholicism, the growth of the Huguenot movement fueled forty years of inter-religious civil war. Protestant raiders could see themselves not simply as loot-greedy pirates, but as crusaders for the Reformation.

The growth of national identities was boosted by the sea-wars. Drake, the erstwhile privateer, became a national hero in the Armada Campaign in 1588. The Sea-Beggars, as the Dutch raiders were called, were part of modern Europe’s first national liberation struggle. The Netherlands, infuriated by heavy-handed Spanish rule, revolted in 1567. They took to the sea in “fly-boats,” an early type of schooner. The Dutch terms for flyboater were corrupted into filibuster and free-booter.

The old war between Christian and Muslim still raged in the Mediterranean. North Africa was fragmented into the semi-independent Barabary States of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and the sultanate of Morocco. The new wealth from Asia and the Americas gave the European economy a decisive boost over the barren shores of North Africa. Slavery was a major motivation for corsair raiding. While the Spanish might carry off some Moors to slavery in the colonies, the teeming population on the Christian side of the Mediterranean was a ready source of wealth for the Barbary Corsairs. That is not to suggest that the Christian realms were morally superior, rather they found easier pickings further south.

A substantial number of European pirates “turned Turk” and joined the corsairs, bringing valuable expertise in shipbuilding and gunnery. The corsairs were willing to work on installment, accepting payment to leave a particular ruler’s ships alone. These arrangements tended to suit the dominant sea-powers as they could bear the burden better than second-tier commercial rivals.

Privateers formed a sea-going militia for their countries. But a desire for loot as for love of country of religion motivated these sea-rovers. This disjunction of interest often put the privateers at odds with the authorities they ostensibly served. Privateers operated under letters of marque (for service to a ruler in war) and letters of reprisal (for wrongs done at any time) with specific limitations and expiration dates. In practice these were often ignored, frequently with connivance of officials who got a share of the loot. Privateers that attacked neutral ships or made raids in peacetime could involve their sovereigns in awkward diplomatic incidents. The end of the Anglo-Spanish War in 1605 saw King James I of England struggling to suppress the pirates who had lately been heroic defenders of the realm. King James’s efforts proved to be a rather minor interlude.

-Dave Hardy

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PIRACY: PART TWO

In Crime, History, Middle East, War on May 1, 2009 at 8:59 am

PART TWO: THE MEDIEVAL ERA

The fall of Rome reset affairs at sea to more Homeric conditions. Barbarian tribes such as the Angles, Saxons, Wends, Heruli, and Slavs wreaked havoc at sea. Irish pirates, known in low Latin as Scotti, launched the career of St. Patrick by kidnapping him into a life of slavery. The Scotti eventually acquired a kingdom and settled down (relatively speaking) to become the Scots. The Vikings were the exemplars of the Dark Ages sea-marauders.  They exploited the weakness of neighboring kingdoms, notably the seemingly invincible Frankish Empire founded by Charlemagne, and in the process made themselves part of the ruling class in Ireland, Scotland, England, France, and Russia.

The Medieval era introduced an ideological element into pillage at sea. The new religions of Christianity and Islam preached a brotherhood of man and frowned on robbing one’s co-religionists. Infidels on the other hand were fair game. With the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the 8th century Moorish raiders began harrying the European coasts. The Muslim corsairs were called Sea-ghazis, a ghazi being a fighter for the faith or jihadi. The Sea-ghazis and their Christian rivals turned the Mediterranean into a free-fire zone.

Piracy was a routine hazard of medieval maritime affairs. The growth of trade attracted pirates, but conditions tended to find equilibrium. Occasionally a colorful outlaw such as Eustace the Monk, who dabbled in black magic, highway robbery, mercenary service, and piracy, achieved a level of fame. But outlaws like Eustace had no lasting effect such as the Scots or Vikings had.

The rise of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic motivated pirate gangs known as the Victual Brothers and the Like-dealers. The Hanse was a trade consortium formed in the 1300s, part Wal-mart, part Mafia racket. The Victual Brothers began, typically enough, as hired swords for the Hanse in a war against Denmark. It is not too surprising that groups like the Victualers tried to carve themselves a piece of the rich Baltic pie with their swords.  One of the best known of the Victualers was Klaus Stortebeker, renowned for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Stortebeker may have found it expedient to give a bit to the poor, robbing them could hardly have been profitable.

Invasions of piratical barabarians could change history. But most Medieval pirates were background noise in the clamor or European affairs.  The collapse of Rome, the rise of the Muslim Caliphate, and the faltering of Charlemagne’s empire all created conditions ripe for massive piracy. The rise of the Hanseatic League created a bonanza for pirates. But in general, the stagnation of trade and the deadlock of feudal warfare meant that piracy remained a constant, but low-level threat. That was to change forever with the discovery of the golden treasures of the Americas.

-Dave Hardy

Cops Gone Wild: Brutal attack on teen girl not uncommon police behavior

In Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Human Rights Abuses, Law, People in the news, Police Brutality, Police State, Protest on March 13, 2009 at 6:15 pm

By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve seen the video of the 15-year-old girl who was violently attacked by a Seattle (Kings County) cop while being booked, because she kicked her shoe off at him and called him a name.

For said cave dwellers, here’s the video in question from a news report.

The teen had been arrested when she and some friends were seen driving erratically; the car belonged to a friend’s mother, and had been taken without permission.  The girls were arrested and charged with stealing the car.

Bear in mind, I do not condone that behavior by any stretch of the imagination.  No one ever has the right to take someone else’s property without permission, and they were also a serious danger to everyone else on the road since their erratic driving along with their age suggests they had no training or experience driving a motor vehicle.  I therefore have absolutely no problem with the girls being arrested.

I do, however, have a very, very serious problem with cops violently attacking suspects in this manner.

In a nutshell, the 15-year-old girl (Malika Calhoun, who has since given media interviews so her name is in the public record) angered officer Paul Schene, age 31, by calling him a “fat pig” and kicking her shoe off at him (though the shoe was not kicked hard, so it could not have harmed anyone), and Schene reacted with a shocking level of violence.  As you can see in the video, Schene ran into the room in full attack mode, slammed her head against the wall, threw her to the floor, punched her in the head several times, then picked her up by her hair (don’t get me started on what the hair-pulling says about this cop’s psychological problems).  She complained of having trouble breathing after the attack, which I do not doubt.  If nothing else, she may have had a panic attack following the shockingly violent attack against her.

Should she have called him a “fat pig” and kicked her shoe off at him?  Obviously not, and it’s pretty clear that she is a troubled teen based on her being involved in auto theft.  At the same time, that kind of behavior in teens is not unusual, as many parents find out the hard way, and many teens engage in that kind of behavior but grow up to be perfectly respectable, law-abiding adults; in fact, that’s why the criminal records of minors are sealed, since they lack the maturity of adults and do many times make extremely poor choices.  Either way, her disrespectful actions toward Schene do not explain Schene’s reaction, and in fact his reaction says far more about him than her behavior says about her, given her age.  I therefore can’t say her portrayal of him as a “fat pig” was necessarily incorrect.  Why should anyone respect the authority of a cop like Schene, who acts like a violent criminal himself?

Even in light of the video evidence against him, Schene has only been placed on paid leave pending the investigation.  Yet it is very clear that he engaged in brutality, since even his defense – that she called him names and kicked her shoe off at him – does not in any way explain, much less excuse, his violent actions.  So why are taxpayers being forced to fund what amounts to a paid vacation for him?  Clearly he is a danger to the public, and thus should have been fired as soon as his actions came to light.  Steps must be taken to protect the public from Schene.  Pure and simple, this is a man who should never have been given a badge.  Paul Schene didn’t just snap and attack a suspect this one time, that much I can guarantee.  He merely got away with it until now, because he’s a cop.

While the various television talking heads are quick to point out that this is an unusual situation, they’re both completely right and horribly, terribly wrong.  This kind of violence toward suspects actually happens all the time, but is almost impossible to prove since the average person tends to believe cops over the people they arrested, so the public doesn’t hear about it.   The only thing truly unusual about this situation – not unlike the infamous Rodney King beating by the LAPD – is that the attack was caught on videotape.  In this case, the prosecutor who was assigned to examine the criminal complaint (filed by the cop against the girl, not vice versa) pulled the surveillance tape to see what happened.  Had Schene not charged the girl for kicking her shoe at him, the public would never have even known about this shocking instance of police brutality.  The truth is, few if any people would believe a 15-year-old girl over a cop, even if she went public with the allegation.  Schene was counting on that, too.  The fact that he knew there was a surveillance camera there, but still filed the assault charges against her, suggests that he was counting on the prosecutor looking the other way as well.

The other cop in the room, a trainee, never reported the incident even though he had an absolute duty to do so since a violent crime was committed in his presence.  Is this trainee really so stupid that he doesn’t recognize assault when it’s right in front of him?  Does that trainee believe that cops are allowed to brutalize suspects?  Was he afraid of getting into trouble for being there?  Or did the trainee not report it because he feared for his career, and possibly even his life since in the field he has to depend upon other cops to cover his back?

The trainee cop has not been disciplined, and has not been charged.  However, he should have been fired immediately for failing to report the assault.  It’s easy to fire a trainee, since they can be relieved of duty for any reason, or no reason at all.  Chances are he was not fired because he cooperated with the investigation into Schene’s actions, but that still does not excuse his actions (or lack thereof) insofar as his employment is concerned.  At most he should be granted immunity from prosecution, since he does not appear to have assaulted the girl himself (but could still be charged with conspiracy); however, he still should lose his job for not reporting Schene’s assault.

Schene, on the other hand, would be harder to fire because he almost certainly has the Fraternal Order of Police backing him up.  While the FOP is extremely powerful when it comes to defending cops who have been fired, it would also be extremely hard for them to successfully argue that Schene should not be fired in light of the video and his pathetic excuses for his actions.  Yes, it would cost the department quite a bit of money to defend against a union challenge, but that’s their mistake and they now need to correct it.  They obviously didn’t screen either cop very well, or else they would not be in this predicament at all.  They need to fire the trainee, fire Schene, fight any FOP challenge to the decision, and learn from it by more carefully screening their officers.  Either way, take the badge and gun away from this uniformed thug before he kills someone else.

Yes, you read that right.  Schene has been a cop for only eight years, but has already been investigated for two police-related shootings, one of which resulted in death.  He was cleared both times, which is also not at all surprising.  Cops are rarely found at fault in shootings, even when they acted improperly, because the cop’s claimed perceptions are given greater weight than the actual reality of the situation.  Schene’s shootings should be reinvestigated by an independent panel outside the law enforcement community and outside the area, given his actions in this case which clearly show that he has extremely serious impulse control problems which render him dangerous to others, as well as the failure of everyone within the department to report his assault upon the girl – though obviously numerous people knew, including the trainee and the medics – which suggests there may have been a coverup in the investigation of the shootings as well. 

This brings me to another issue, with regard to the complaint made against this girl which resulted in the discovery of this surveillance video.  Simply stated, charges of obstruction of justice and assault on a police officer are rarely legitimate charges.  More likely than not, they are used to pad other charges.  Sometimes, as in this case, a charge of assault upon a police officer is filed only to cover up violent behavior by the cops.  Those kinds of charges are also used as a trump card by the prosecution, to make defendants think they’re getting a deal by having some charges dropped in exchange for a guilty plea on other charges, when in reality there is rarely any evidence to back up the dropped charges beyond than the cop’s word.  That the girl would be charged with assault upon a police officer at all, given what is shown in that video, is disturbing at best.

What I find most disturbing of all, however, is the number of people who are defending Schene for committing a violent crime against a minor.  The internet is overrun by those making excuses for him, from “maybe he had a bad day” to “the girl had it coming because she stole a car”.   I hate to tell them this, but “having a bad day” is not an excuse for attacking anyone, or else it would be an affirmative defense for everyone accused of assault, murder, and other violent crimes; and there is no law in this country which states that the punishment for being accused of car theft is a violent beating by someone much larger than you, and trained to attack others. 

Those who claim to be law-and-order types are strangely the first ones to suggest that violent crime is acceptable, as long as it’s committed by a cop.  Those with the same mindset defended the animals-with-badges on the LAPD who nearly beat Rodney King to death (they claimed he was resisting arrest, though the video shows otherwise), and the NYPD cops who shot Amadou Diallo a shocking 41 times (they claimed they thought his wallet, taken out to show ID as he did not speak English well, was a gun), so making excuses for completely out-of-control cops is not a new phenomenon, but it never fails to be an extremely disturbing reflection upon our society.

At any rate, the US Department of Justice is now investigating Schene’s actions in brutalizing the teenager.  While normally I don’t approve of the feds intervening in local affairs, it is the best thing which could happen in this case since local authorities (and local juries) rarely take appropriate action in cases of police brutality, even when there is clear and convincing evidence and high public/media interest.  Even in this case, in which Schene was criminally charged, he was only charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault.  Chances are he will get probation at most if convicted of that charge, and based upon the long history of cops being acquitted for even more heinous acts against the citizenry, it is not even sure that he will be convicted despite the video evidence.  However, if convicted in federal court, he will likely be sentenced to federal prison, and caged like the animal he has proven himself to be.

Cheney and Gonzalez indicted in Texas

In Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, George Bush, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Media, People in the news, Politics, Republican, US Government on November 19, 2008 at 2:25 am

From Houston Chronicle:

McALLEN — A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on state charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers.

The indictment, which had not yet been signed by the presiding judge, was one of seven released Tuesday in a county that has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles in recent years. Another of the indictments named a state senator on charges of profiting from his position.

Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra himself had been under indictment for more than a year and half before a judge dismissed the indictments last month. This flurry of charges came in the twilight of Guerra’s tenure, which ends this year after nearly two decades in office. He lost convincingly in a Democratic primary in March.

Cheney’s indictment on a charge of engaging in an organized criminal activity criticizes the vice president’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees because of his link to the prison companies.

Megan Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment on Tuesday, saying that the vice president had not yet received a copy of the indictment.

The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately-run prisons.

Gonzalez’s attorney, George Terwilliger III, said in a written statement, “This is obviously a bogus charge on its face, as any good prosecutor can recognize. Hopefully, competent Texas authorities will take steps to reign in this abuse of the criminal justice system.”

Willacy County has become a prison hub with county, state and federal lockups. Guerra has gone after the prison-politician nexus before, extracting guilty pleas from three former Willacy and Webb county commissioners after investigating bribery related to federal prison contacts.

(Click link above to read entire article)

Steve Kubby: Placer County Republicans whine over Kubby Vindication

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug War, Health, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Medical Marijuana, People in the news, Politics, Republican, Steve Kubby on August 28, 2008 at 4:35 pm

The following was submitted to LFV by Steve Kubby.  The blogger notes at the end are part of what Steve sent us, and were not written by LFV.

Friends,

As most of you know, I had the court’s permission to move to Canada, I returned voluntarily to clear up an alleged probation violation, I was never extradited, and was I never convicted for “Narcotics production.”

Despite these facts, the Placer County Republicans continue to lie about me as well as their own criminal and dopey response to the passage of California’s historic Prop. 215.

It’s time the Placer County Republicans grow up and do what former Republican Congressman and now Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Bob Barr has done — declare that the drug war was a mistake and must end now.

–Steve Kubby

———————————–

http://blog.placer-cra.org/past/2008/8/23/auburn_journal_took_up_case/

Auburn Journal Took up Case of Celebrated Pothead
Posted by Aaron Park on August 23, 2008 at 06:32 PM

Remember Steven Kubby?

He was extradited from Canada to the USA when he ran to avoid prosecution for Narcotics production. (at least Rothe stuck around)

Before and after Rothe had his civil rights restored from his prior Drug Trafficking conviction – the Auburn Journal took up the cause of Stephen Kubby.

In 2003, Kubby’s felony conviction was reinstated as reported by the Auburn Journal

There was a follow-up story trumpeting Kubby’s plight as he applied for refugee status in Canada

And another in 2006 when his ‘stay’ in Canada was about to run out

And this is basically a commentary printed in the AJ taking Kubby’s side

And this year a follow-up story was run:

By Gus Thomson

Journal Staff Writer

A Mendocino County court has dismissed the remnants of a 1999 Placer County prosecution of medical marijuana proponent Steve Kubby.

The ruling – which sees Kubby’s misdemeanor convictions for possession of a magic mushroom stem and peyote buttons expunged under California law – came last week.

Full erasure of the conviction would take a governor’s pardon, but Kubby said Tuesday that the court decision to dismiss the case leaves him “fully vindicated and in possession, once again, of my inalienable, inseparable, non-transferable rights.”

Mendocino County Chief Probation Officer Wesley Forman issued a statement said that he had no objection to the dismissal by Judge David Nelson because Kubby had complied with the terms of his probation.

Kubby’s legal challenges started after a January 1999 raid on his Olympic Valley home in Placer County. The raid netted 265 marijuana plants from an indoor grow.

Kubby was a chief proponent of medicinal marijuana law Prop. 215 when it was passed by voters in 1996 and ran for governor as a Libertarian two years ago. He was also a candidate for Libertarian Party presidential nominee this year.

Kubby’s chief defense at the trial was that he and his wife had a doctor’s recommendation for medical use of marijuana and that his use kept a rare form of adrenal cancer at bay.

In one of the most contentious trials in Placer County legal history, a mistrial was declared after a jury leaning 11-1 for acquittal on possession-of-marijuana-for-sale charges remained deadlocked after
five days of deliberations and four months of testimony.

Kubby would eventually serve 20 days of a 120-day jail term in Placer County on the jury’s peyote and mescaline possession convictions, both misdemeanors.

Kubby, 61, now lives in Mendocino County. He said that he has fond memories of much of his life in the county but that he wouldn’t return as long as the district attorney who prosecuted the case – Brad Fenocchio – was still in office.

The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.
A more detailed story will appear in a future edition of the Journal.

Blogger’s Notes – I can hardly wait to see the full story. What I have read thus far looks pretty biased in favor of the pothead. While Rothe didn’t write any of the stories, he has a responsibility to make sure his paper isn’t used to pimp an agenda.

Even worse – a reporter by the name of Ryan McCarthy wrote some of the stories. McCarthy was a known pot user himself. Given how Rothe and the journal have reported on crime over the years – why should anyone be surprised?

Celebstoner: Tommy Chong not stoked about Biden selection

In Activism, Barack Obama, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Health, Law, Media, Medical Marijuana, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Science on August 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

http://www.celebstoner.com/news/celebstoner-news/tommy-chong-not-stoked-over-biden-selection.html>

Tommy Chong not stoked about Biden selection

Earlier this week, in an interview with the Washington Post, Tommy Chong was asked what the average citizen can do to further the cause of decriminalization. “Check out the people you’re voting for,” Chong replied. “For instance, Joseph Biden comes off as a liberal Democrat, but he’s the one who authored the bill that put me in jail. He wrote the law against shipping drug paraphernalia through the mail – which could be anything from a pipe to a clip or cigarette papers.”

Obamas running mate Joe Biden doesnt want anyone to have fun

Obama's running mate Joe Biden doesn't want anyone to have fun

Barack Obama’s V.P. selection Sen. Joe Bidenalso sponsored the Rave Act, which targets music events where drug use is allegedly prevalent.

About medical marijuana, Biden said iin 2007: “We have not devoted nearly enough science or time to deal with the pain management and chronic pain management that exists. There’s got to be a better answer than marijuana. There’s got to be a better answer than that. There’s got to be a better way for a humane society to figure out how to deal with that problem.”

Biden coined the term “drug czar” and has championed the Office for National Drug Control Policy.

On a more positive note, Biden introduced a bill that would eliminate the discrepancy between crack and cociane sentencing in federal cases. The curent ratio is 100:1. In other words, 500 grams of cocaine equals five grams of crack; possession of either is punishable by a five-year sentence

“I have long regarded Biden as an opponent of the cause for reasons like Tommy says, and more,” offers Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann, “but I was surprised when he was the one who introduced the 1:1 crack/powder reform bill this year, which leapfrogged the more modest reforms put forward by Sens. Kennedy, Hatch and others. I’m not sure whether to take it as a sign of a more general opening up on his part, or just a play for the African-American vote in the primaries. But at least Biden isn’t entirely bad news for drug policy.”

What do you think of Obama’s choice of Biden for his running mate?

Many thanks to Steve Kubby for sending this item to LFV!

85-year-old woman grabs gun, forces burglar to call 911 on himself

In Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Second Amendment on August 21, 2008 at 1:19 pm

From CNN:

POINT MARION, Pennsylvania (AP) — An 85-year-old woman boldly went for her gun and busted a would-be burglar inside her home, then forced him to call police while she kept him in her sights, police said.

“I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun,” Leda Smith said.

Smith heard someone break into her home Sunday afternoon and grabbed the .22-caliber revolver she had been keeping by her bed since a neighbor’s home was burglarized a few weeks ago.

“I said ‘What are you doing in my house?’ He just kept saying he didn’t do it,” Smith said.

After the 17-year-old boy called 911, Smith kept holding the gun on him until state police arrived at her home in Springhill Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh.

If you get an unexpected package in the mail, be prepared to be raided and have your dogs killed by the cops

In Big Brother, Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Crime, Drug War, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Police Brutality, Police State, Terrorism on August 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm

A package of marijuana was sent to an unsuspecting mayor’s wife, in a scheme in which drugs are mailed to people who are not in any way involved, then intercepted by those in the smuggling ring.   She hadn’t even seen the package, and it had not even been opened, when a SWAT team burst in without knocking, killed their dogs immediately, and terrorized the mayor, his elderly mother-in-law, and his innocent wife.  The cops refused to show a warrant when asked, and furthermore, no-knock warrants aren’t even legal in the state of Maryland.  Not at all surprisingly, the cops claim they did nothing wrong.

Why did they raid these people at all?  Had they done even a little bit of background, they’d know it was the mayor’s home, and that they could have just knocked on the door and asked for the package, and it would undoubtedly have been turned over without question.

From CNN:

(CNN) — A Maryland mayor is asking the federal government to investigate why SWAT team members burst into his home without knocking and shot his two dogs to death in an investigation into a drug smuggling scheme.

“This has been a difficult week and a half for us,” Cheye Calvo, mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, said Thursday. “We lost our family dogs. We did it at the hands of sheriff’s deputies who burst through our front door, rifles blazing.”

The raid last week was led by the Prince George’s County Police Department, with the sheriff’s special operations team assisting, after a package of marijuana was sent to Calvo’s home.

Authorities say the package was part of a scheme in which drugs are mailed to unknowing recipients and then intercepted.

Calvo said he had just returned home from walking his two Labrador retrievers, Chase and Payton, when his mother-in-law told him a package had arrived for his wife, Trinity Tomsic.

Moments later, Calvo was in his room changing for a meeting when he heard commotion downstairs.

“The door flew open,” he said. “I heard gunfire shoot off. There was a brief pause and more gunfire.”

Calvo said he was brought downstairs at gunpoint in his boxer shorts, handcuffed and forced onto the floor with his mother-in-law near the carcass of one of dead dogs.

“I noticed my two dead dogs lying in pools of their own blood,” Calvo said.

Calvo said his mother-in-law is still recovering from the incident.

“She got the worst of it,” Calvo said. “She was literally in the kitchen, cooking a lovely pasta dish, and they brought down the door and shot our dogs.”

While he was being held, Calvo said, he told police he is the town’s mayor, but they didn’t believe him.

Berwyn Heights has its own police force, he said, but Prince George’s County police did not notify the municipal authorities of their interest in his home or the package.

“They didn’t know my name. All they knew was my wife’s name. They matched that to the registration of the car,” Calvo said. “It was that lack of communication that really led to what has really been the most traumatic experience of our lives.”

After the raid, arrests were made in the package interception scheme.

The incident has prompted the couple to call for a federal investigation because, they say, they don’t believe police are capable of conducting an internal investigation.

“They’ve said they’ve done nothing wrong,” Calvo said. “I didn’t sign up for this fight, but I think what we have to do now is make changes to how Prince George’s County police and Prince George’s County sheriff’s department operate.”

Calvo said authorities entered his home without knocking and refused to show him a warrant when he requested one.

But Prince George’s County Police Department spokeswoman Sharon Taylor said legal counsel had informed her that “no-knock” warrants do not exist in Maryland.

Taylor said authorities were acting on a warrant issued based on information available to them at the time.

“This warrant was for permission to search the premises,” she said. “The special operations team that supported us made a decision about the necessity of entry at the point of being on the scene.”

“No-knock” warrants have drawn criticism before. In Atlanta, Georgia, Kathryn Johnston, 92, was shot to death by police in a botched drug raid involving such a warrant in November.

Taylor, a self-described dog lover, expressed sympathy for the loss of Calvo’s dogs, but stopped short of apologizing for the incident.

“We’ve done these similar kinds of operations over and over again, to the tune of removing billions of dollars of drugs from the community and without people or animals being harmed,” she said. “We don’t want any of our operations to result in the injury or loss of anybody, and certainly not animals.”

The deputies have said they killed the two animals because they felt threatened.

“I would say that the dogs presented a threat, I would imagine, to the special operations situation,” Taylor said.

Meanwhile, Calvo and his wife said members of the community have expressed sympathy and concern about the incident.

At a news conference Thursday, Tomsic tearfully recalled a recent encounter with a neighbor who used to wave at the couple as they walked Payton and Chase.

“She gave me a big hug,” Tomsic said. “She said, ‘If the police shot your dogs dead and did this to you, how can I trust them?’ “

I’m a whore and a glory hole slut

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Crime, Economics, Entertainment, First Amendment, Green Party, Humor, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, US Government on August 1, 2008 at 12:24 am

— In lpradicals@yahoogroups.com, “Rachel Hawkridge” wrote:

Last nite, I was reading one of the blogs, and someone called paulie a whore for helping to get Barr on the ballot, when he’s not a supporter of the nominee.

I roared with laughter . . . paulie gets paid. I did it for free.

Guess that makes me . . . a slut? ;o)

BTW, paulie said “Thank you.”

p] Actually, I’m both a slut and a whore. For instance, I got Barr on the ballot in Arkansas for free. To make matters even worse, I didn’t even know it was for Barr at the time, since he wasn’t nominated yet and hadn’t even announced, so I guess that makes me a glory hole slut to boot, in addition to being a whore.

Also, I’m a pimp, in addition to being a slut and a whore, because I make part of my living collecting overrides for managing crews of petition gatherers sometimes. And I am in no ways faithful to the Libertarians. Right now I’m doing a three-way, and negotiating to add one or two more clients at the same time. And I’m not using a condom with any of them! I guess that makes me a dirty whore.

Not only that, but I kiss and tell: I offered to write either pro- or anti- Barr polemics to the highest bidder. I’m thinking of selling my vote, too, although I guess the buyer would just have to trust me that I stayed bought.

If this sort of thing turns you on, read all about it at

https://lastfreevoice.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/bob-barr-recants-position-on-wiccans-in-the-military/

Rep Barney Frank (D-Mass) wants marijuana possession legalized

In Activism, Big Brother, Congress, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Democrats, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Law, Media, Medical Marijuana, Nanny State, People in the news, Politics, US Government on July 31, 2008 at 1:06 pm

From CNN:

(CNN) — The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.

Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, said Frank, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

“The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government’s business,” Frank said on Capitol Hill. “I don’t think it is the government’s business to tell you how to spend your leisure time.”

The Massachusetts Democrat and his supporters emphasized that only the use — and not the abuse — of marijuana would be decriminalized if the resolution resulted in legislation.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says people charged with simple possession are rarely incarcerated. The agency and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy have long opposed marijuana legalization, for medical purposes or otherwise.

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, according to the drug control office.

“Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science — it is not medicine and it is not safe,” the DEA states on its Web site. “Legalization of marijuana, no matter how it begins, will come at the expense of our children and public safety. It will create dependency and treatment issues, and open the door to use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior, and drugged drivers.”

Allen St. Pierre, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, likened Frank’s proposal — co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas — to current laws dealing with alcohol consumption. Alcohol use is permitted, and the government focuses its law enforcement efforts on those who abuse alcohol or drive under its influence, he said.

“We do not arrest and jail responsible alcohol drinkers,” he said.

St. Pierre said there are tens of millions of marijuana smokers in the United States, including himself, and hundreds of thousands are arrested each year for medical or personal use. iReport.com: Is it time to legalize pot?

There have been 20 million marijuana-related arrests since 1965, he said, and 11 million since 1990, and “every 38 seconds, a marijuana smoker is arrested.”

Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for “all violent crimes combined,” meaning police are spending inordinate amounts of time chasing nonviolent criminals.

“Ending arrests is the key to marijuana policy reform,” he said.

If HR 5843 were passed, the House would support marijuana smokers possessing up to 100 grams — about 3½ ounces — of cannabis without being arrested. It would also give its blessing to the “nonprofit transfer” of up to an ounce of marijuana.

The resolution would not address laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not speak to state laws regarding marijuana use.

Read the entire article on CNN.

IRS Gone Wild: Joe Francis claims alleged tax evasion was a setup

In Celebrities, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Entertainment, Fraud, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Police State, Shine on you crazy diamond, Taxation, US Government on July 26, 2008 at 12:04 am

Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, currently free on $1.5 million bond, has been accused of claiming $20 million in fraudulent expenses on his tax returns. He has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of tax evasion. If convicted, he faces a possible 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

However, Francis says he never knew anything about the tax problems until after he was indicted, and that the situation is really nothing more than his own CPA setting him up so he could collect a multimillion dollar “reward” from the Internal Revenue Service.

“IRS informant rules permit a CPA who actually plans and initiates the tax return mistakes to still collect the tax informant reward, which in this case could go as high as $10 million. If the case goes criminal, the tax rat gets even more.” – Robert Bernhoft, attorney for Joe Francis

Francis has filed a lawsuit against his former CPA, Michael Barrett, for fraud. Francis alleges that Barrett personally prepared, reviewed and approved tax ledgers with errors in them, and vouched for the correctness of those records with Francis’s tax preparers. Francis also claims that Barrett never brought the errors to his attention, or to the attention of anyone except the IRS; and that he pushed the IRS to bring criminal charges against Francis, so that he could collect a larger bounty.

Joe Francis’s tax evasion trial is presently scheduled to start on September 16th.

Starchild instrumental in putting prostitution decriminalization on the ballot

In Activism, Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Economics, Entertainment, First Amendment, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Nanny State, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics on July 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Press release posted on the LP Radicals yahoo group. Starchild has had various offices in the San Francisco and California LP, and is one of the spokespeople for this initiative.

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced today that the measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task Force were implemented,” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. “Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

Starchild – (415) 621-7932 / (415) 368-8657 / RealReform@…
Maxine Doogan – (415) 265-3302 / MistressMax@…

Man who gave Christine Smith her “Outstanding American Award” arrested for fraud. Again.

In Christine Smith, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Fraud, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates on June 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Last year, I warned that the “awards” touted on Christine Smith’s presidential campaign website were not authentic, and in fact were laughable given where she got them.  I also warned that her “Outstanding American Award” came from Alex Merklinger, a New Age charlatan previously incarcerated for a $39 million fraud scheme.

In that scheme, Merklinger falsely claimed to be a surety for private companies bidding on government projects.  When he was asked to pay claims under the surety contract and could not do so (since he wasn’t really a surety company, and allegedly had only had $13,000 in assets despite having taken $885,000 in surety fees), he filed bankruptcy, leaving the private companies holding the bag for millions.  He also was convicted of multiple counts related to that fraud, and sentenced to federal prison.

I also warned that additional fraud charges were pending against Merklinger, due to a con in which he convinced an older gentleman that he was an Investment Banker, then pocketed $125,000 of the man’s money.  Previously on El Paso County’s “Most Wanted” list, Merklinger was finally arrested on Wednesday, and charged with Securities Fraud in connection with the fraudulent Investment Banker scheme.

It is a very good thing that the delegates declined Christine’s candidacy, given how embarrassing this situation would be to the Libertarian Party.

Click here to read ENM’s previous article about Merklinger’s frauds on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Dirty cop convicted in no-knock warrant death of 92-year-old woman

In Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug War, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Obituaries, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police Brutality, Police State on May 21, 2008 at 4:37 pm

After two Atlanta cops (Gregg Junnier and Jason R. Smith) pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and federal civil rights violations in the death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, a third cop (Arthur Bruce Tesler) has been found guilty by a jury of lying in the investigation into the woman’s death. Tesler did not fire any of the shots in the raid.

Tesler and his partners Junnier and Smith had gotten a no-knock warrant, claiming that there was a kilo of cocaine in the house, but they lied about whether they had confirmed the information from their informant. Consequently they busted into the elderly woman’s home in plainclothes, shot and killed her when she shot at them – undoubtedly in self-defense, believing them to be intruders – then planted drugs in her house to make it look like a “good” bust.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The jury acquitted Tesler on two charges from the illegal 2006 narcotics raid in which officers shot and killed Kathryn Johnston in her northwest Atlanta home. It found him guilty of lying in an official investigation in the cover-up of police wrongdoing that followed the shooting.

“It is not like anyone intended to hurt her, but that’s what came out of it,” Woltz said. “Right will win out.”

Tesler, 42, faces up to five years in prison when sentenced Thursday. If he had been convicted on all counts, he could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The verdict came shortly after the jury reviewed a transcript of Tesler’s defense testimony. He and his two partners were accused of lying to get the no-knock search warrant for Johnston’s home on the mistaken belief it was the house of a drug dealer.

The Johnston killing shocked metro Atlanta and enraged many in the African-American community, who complained that shoddy or heavy-handed police work in the war on drugs was a source of repeated abuses.

You can read the article in its entirety on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police brutality in Philadelphia last night caught on tape

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Cops Gone Wild, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Media, Minorities, People in the news, Police Brutality, Police State on May 7, 2008 at 5:03 pm