Hero Sued, Then Beat The Shit Out Of Priest Who Molested Him And His Brother

October 30, 2010

CALIFORNIA – In an interview with the Mercury News eight years a, William Lynch said that he was so angry at the priest he had sued for molesting him as a child that “I could kill him with my bare hands.”

Lynch surrendered today to Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies who suspect him of tracking the Rev. Jerold Lindner to the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos in May and pummeling the 65-year-old retired cleric so badly that he ended up in the hospital.

Lynch, 44, of San Francisco, was booked on suspicion of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, a felony, and was given a bail of $25,000. There is no scheduled arraignment.

The retired priest’s condition after the attack was unclear today and he could not be reached for comment.

The vigilante attack on Lindner reportedly happened May 10, when Lynch called the Jesuit retirement home, identifying himself as “Eric.” He pretending to have a “death notification” for the elderly priest, officials said.

The person who answered the phone confirmed Linder was there.

Lynch then showed up and confronted the priest.

“Do you remember me?” he reportedly said.

The priest said he didn’t.

Then, Lynch allegedly said “You abused me and my brother.”

And then he attacked, sheriff’s officials said, beating Lindner with his fists so badly that he left Lidner’s body covered with bruises.

After Lynch fled, police were called. Lynch was reportedly
interviewed by deputies on Oct. 18.

Soon afterward, Lynch’s surrender was arranged through his attorney.

Santa Clara County sheriff’s did not have an immediate answer why it took so long to find Lynch, who had sued Lindner for the abuse years ago.

Lynch could not be reached for comment Friday.

But in 2002, Lynch told the Mrecury News that he has suffered decades of psychological trauma and attempted suicide over his abuse.

Lynch accused Lindner of abusing he and his brother when during a church-led, family camping trip in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1975.

He said he and his then-4-year-old brother were sodomized by Lindner, forced to perform sexual acts on each other, and told they would go to hell if they told anyone what happened.

Lindner was removed from active ministry in Los Angeles in 1997 in response to a civil suit filed by Lynch that year. He was reportedly sent to the Jesuit Center in 2002.

Jesuit officials reportedly agreed to a confidential settlement.

A 2002 Los Angeles Times report said Lindner has abused children, including members of his own family, since the 1950s.

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October 30, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Nearly 18 billion dollars earmarked for reconstruction in Afghanistan remain unaccounted for, snagged in a “labyrinth” of contract bureaucracy, a sweeping US government audit has shown.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said 17.7 billion dollars was obligated over three years to nearly 7,000 contractors, but the Pentagon, State Department and US Agency for International Development were unable to say how much money has been spent.

The audit addresses fiscal years 2007 through 2009, but the problems go back to 2002 when the United States began funding Afghan reconstruction, because “much of the data available from the agencies prior to 2007 was too poor to be analyzed,” the report said.

And years into the reconstruction there is still no central government database to monitor the projects from various US agencies and departments, SIGAR found in its report, which was seen Thursday by AFP.

“Prior to this audit report there was no comprehensive study on contractors and the money the US is spending through contractors on Afghan reconstruction,” said special inspector general Arnold Fields in the first such snapshot of the reconstruction contracting environment in war-torn Afghanistan.

“This audit is crucial because if we don’t even know who we’re giving money to, it is nearly impossible to conduct system-wide oversight.”

Reconstruction is a key component in a US-led anti-insurgency effort which seeks to stabilize the volatile south and east of Afghanistan, in part by helping Afghan farmers and improving local government.

Asked about the report, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said it did not come as a surprise and that the administration has been working to improve accountability.

“I don’t think we’re surprised that as we’re going through this, we’re going to have reports like this that show weaknesses,” Crowley told reporters.

He said the report would contribute to “our efforts to improve our cooperation with the Afghan government and improve the ability of the Afghan government to be responsible and accountable for the support that we do provide.”

The SIGAR said its report, addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and US ambassador to Baghdad Karl Eikenberry, “shows that navigating the confusing labyrinth of government contracting is difficult, at best.”

It said the Department of Defense alone has four organizations set up to track Pentagon-funded contracts, but they do not share information. Cross-agency information sharing is also minimal, it found.

SIGAR, mandated by Congress to try and track reconstruction spending, identified nearly 7,000 contractor groups, including for-profit and non-profit groups as well as government agencies involved in Afghanistan.

Among the largest contracts, it said, is a deal worth 1.8 billion dollars to a US-based company to train Afghanistan’s national police forces, and 691 million dollars to an Afghan construction firm to build military facilities.

The future of the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan is believed to be in jeopardy because of President Hamid Karzai’s threatened ban on private security guards, which aid organizations rely on for protection.

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New York State Juvenile Corrections Workers Paid Nearly $90,000 To Do Nothing

October 30, 2010

FULTON COUNTY, NEW YORK – Some state workers make almost $90k to watch over juvenile detention facilities with no kids inside.

Taxpayers shell out about $3 million dollars a year to keep Tryon Detention Center open. Tryon is a juvenile detention facility located upstate New York in Fulton County.

And you can thank the New York State legislature for that bill. NY State Executive Law 501(15) requires the Office of Children’s and Family Services to give at least 12 months notice before closing any facility. So even if the facility has zero kids inside by law it cannot be closed for at least a year.

When asked about it Tryon’s union rep Frank Malagisi said, “No it’s not weird. That’s to look out for people’s families, New York State taxpayers’ families. You wouldn’t want someone to come to you and say you are out of a job tomorrow.”

When it comes to State Detention Facilities the empty Tryon Facility is the rule not the exception.

Commissioner Gladys Carrion tells Fox 5 News, “I inherited a system that has been a failure by any measure.”

Carrion says since 2008 she began reforms that included closing 16 upstate centers and group homes- saving $58 million dollars over a 2-year period.

But still only 661 juveniles are in the state system, and because of union rules and state law 2,134 employees watch over them. That comes to a cost of $228,000 dollars a year per kid in a secure facility and $298,000 dollars a year per kid in a non-secure facility. And all that money does little to keep these kids out of trouble, 88% of kids who leave the system get in trouble again.

Probation Commission Vincent Schiraldi tells Fox 5 News, “The quicker we can close these facilities that are underutilized, that are not good places for kids the more we will save the taxpayer.”

Right now it costs $169 million to run these facilities and New York City pays a big share of that cost- a share that city officials like Probation Commission Vincent Schiraldi want to cut down.

Schiraldi says, “Over the last 8 years we’ve reduced the number of kids in state run facilities by 62%. But the city is still going to pay 24 million more because the state keeps increasing the costs to pay for the staff that watch no kids.”

Commissioner Carrion tells Fox 5 News, “I think I could save a lot more money if I had the discretion to close facilities when we don’t need them anymore.”

But Commissioner Carrion’s cost cutting efforts make her a punching bag for unions that represent civil servants. C.S.E.A.’s representative, Stephen Madarasz says Carrion’s handling of the issue is “simply reckless and irresponsible.” And the unions have the support of many of the local legislators who have constituents that benefit from the relatively high-paying jobs.

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Buffalo New York Taxpayers Screwed Out Of Nearly $9 Million For Teachers Cosmetic Surgery

October 30, 2010

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – The state-appointed authority overseeing Buffalo public school finances says taxpayer-covered cosmetic surgery rung up by the city’s teachers totaled nearly $9 million in 2009.

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority reports that last year’s costs for such elective procedures as chemical peels and other skin treatments are up $8 million over the 2004 tab for cosmetic surgery provided under the teachers’ union contract.

School district officials say teachers or their dependents accounted for 90 percent of the approximately 500 people who received cosmetic surgery last year. About 10,000 district employees are eligible for the benefit.

The president of the teachers’ union says the union has agreed to give up the benefit in the next contract.

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Town’s Entire Police Force Quits After Machine Gun And Grenade Attack On New Headquarters

October 30, 2010

LOS RAMONES, MEXICO – The entire police force in a small Mexican town abruptly resigned Tuesday after its new headquarters was viciously attacked by suspected drug cartel gunmen.

All 14 police officers in Los Ramones, a rural town in northern Mexico, fled the force in terror after gunmen fired more than 1,000 bullets and flung six grenades at their headquarters on Monday night.

No one was injured in the attack. Mayor Santos Salinas Garza told local media that the officers resigned because of the incident.

The gunmen’s 20-minute shooting spree destroyed six police vehicles and left the white and orange police station pocked with bullet holes, the Financial Times reported.

The station had been inaugurated just three days earlier.

The attack was the second in less than a week against police forces in Nuevo Leon. Last week, thugs threw two grenades at police in Sabinas Hidalgo, according to newspaper Noroeste.

Los Ramones is in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, which has been a war zone of turf violence between two of the country’s fiercest drug gangs, the Zetas and the Gulf cartel.

Police have blamed members of both cartels for attacks on several police stations throughout the area. Several mayors in the region have been assassinated.

Mexico’s municipal police forces often quit out of fear after being attacked by cartels.

About 90% of forces have less than 100 officers, and 61% of cops earn less than $322 a month, according to the Finanical Times.

Mexico’s intelligence chief said this summer that nearly 30,000 people have died in drug related crimes since 2006.

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Polk County Florida Sheriff’s Department Chaplain Samuel Conley Arrested In Prostitution Sting

October 29, 2010

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA – The Kissimmee police department conducted an all day operation encompassing several checks and sting operations.

On October 28, 2010 the Kissimmee police department conducted sex offender checks, pawn shop inspections and prostitution stings. This operation was an all day event that included all areas of the Criminal Investigation Division.

The registered sex offenders that reside within the City limits were contacted as a part of the Department’s quarterly sex offender checks. All offenders were reminded that this coming weekend is Halloween and that they are to adhere to their court appointed restrictions. Detectives also ensured that the offenders did not have any items in front of their homes that would entice children to come and trick or treat.

During the inspection of pawn shops, 18 pawn broker inspection sheets were completed with very few violations noted at the pawn shops.

The Criminal Investigation Division also conducted an internet prostitution sting and a street prostitution reverse. During the operation the following were arrested for Assignation of Prostitution and Entering a Dwelling for Prostitution.

Name DOB City

Shambahran Harimian 4/23/41 Orlando

Samuel Conley 7/20/56 Haines City

Ramon Ayala 10/17/70 Orlando

Dae Hun Byun 5/6/60 Kissimmee

Allison Rice 8/5/74 Tavares was arrested for Prostitution

The following were arrested during the street prostitution reverse and were charged with Assignation to Commit Prostitution.

Name DOB City

John Doe # 2326 Kissimmee

Jose Aviles-Castro 3/29/74 Orlando

Radain Bonilaa 4/13/64 Kissimmee

Gemarine Totaram 5/7/46 St. Cloud

Yobani Aguilar 9/20/80 Kissimmee

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Canadian Police Charge Homeowner Who Attacked Burglar With Hatchet – 5 Months After Incident

October 27, 2010

TABER, CANADA – A Taber farmer who smashed a suspected burglar in the face with a hatchet is facing assault charges.

On May 29, a couple arrived at their home northwest of Taber to discover an unfamiliar vehicle parked in the driveway. The 46-year-old homeowner parked behind the vehicle, trapping it, while he fetched a hatchet, RCMP said.

The man searched the house and found no one inside but soon encountered a man in his 20s trying to escape in the blocked car.

Police said the homeowner struck the man twice with the blunt end of a hatchet, smashing his teeth and face.

The injured suspect ran off but police tracked him down to his home.

Police arrested two other men on a road near the house. All three were charged with breaking and entering.

Now, five months later, police have charged the homeowner with assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

“Under the Criminal Code, people can use degrees of force when protecting property or a person, but there are limitations, especially if the courts determine it to be excessive force,” said Sgt. Patrick Webb.

Joseph Bradley Singleton, 46, is charged with assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

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Foley Alabama Police Officer James Andrew Klein Arrested On Domestic Violence Charges

October 26, 2010

FOLEY, Alabama — A Foley police officer is on paid administrative leave after he and his girlfriend were arrested on domestic violence charges, officials said today.

Officer James Andrew Klein, 26, of Foley and Victoria Michelle Broadus, 22, of Summerdale were arrested after Foley police were called to Klein’s home at about 11:30 p.m. Monday.

When officers arrived on scene, they observed scratches and red marks on both Klein and Broadus, Lt. David White, Foley chief investigator, said.

Klein and Broadus were charged with third-degree domestic violence. When informed that an officer was a domestic violence suspect, Chief David Wilson asked the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident, according to a police statement.

White said that because the incident is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, he did not have additional details. Sheriff’s investigators could not be reached for comment late this afternoon.

Both suspects were booked in the Baldwin County Corrections Center and released on $2,500 bail, according to jail records.

Wilson ordered an internal investigation of the incident. He also put Klein on paid leave until the internal investigation is complete, according to the statement.

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New York Joint Terrorism Task Force Pissed Away 5 Months And Over $1 Million On Wild Goose Chase

October 25, 2010

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A Queens man led the Joint Terrorism Task Force on a wild goose chase for five months about a bogus plot to attack Times Square, tying up dozens of agents and costing the government more than $1 million, authorities said.

Syed Omair Ali, 25, even wore a wire to secretly record conversations with several associates he claimed were plotting to attack targets in New York City.

It turned out he was trying, because of a business dispute, to falsely finger an associate as a terrorist, officials said.

“The FBI took this information very seriously,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Silver said in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Ali popped up on the feds’ radar May 12 when he sent an email to the FBI’s website claiming that he knew of a terrorist plot.

He identified one man who had “ties with the tribal guys back in Karachi, Pakistan, and has been planning on hurting our motherland,” according to the criminal complaint.

Another person he identified planned “to fund those guys back in Karachi, get the appropriate training there and come back and do the maximum damage.”

Silver said the investigation came to a head this month after Ali claimed that one of the plotters was traveling to Pakistan with a large sum of money and would be attending a terrorist training camp to prepare for the Times Square attack.

“I myself spent last Saturday night at FBI headquarters with probably 25 FBI and NYPD personnel and representatives of other agencies, and literally the agents worked around the clock,” Silver said.

But investigators started doubting Ali’s story and confronted him.

He folded like a cheap suit, admitting it was all a lie and that he was motivated in part to get one of the plotters in trouble because of a debt he owed the man, sources said.

Ali, a U.S. citizen, lived alone in Queens Village. His wife is in Pakistan. Unemployed, he formerly worked as a dispatcher for Pakistan International Airlines. He is being held without bail and faces up to eight years in prison for the allegedly false statements.

Defense attorney Kannan Sundaram did not return a call for comment.

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Veteran Atlanta Police Officer Terence Alexander Arrested After Beating His Girlfriend – Previously Fired After Videotaped Beating Of Woman For Parking Violation, Which Cost City $350,000 To Settle – Already Under Investigation For Yet Another Incident – Reprimanded Or Suspended 13 Times In The Past

October 23, 2010

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – An Atlanta police officer once involved in an altercation that ended up costing the city $350,000 was arrested Thursday on domestic violence charges.

Terence Alexander, 41, an 11-year veteran of the force, is accused of hitting his 18-year-old girlfriend, a charge he denies, APD spokesman James Polite said.

DeKalb Police arrested Alexander at his Briarcliff Road apartment where Aleka Simmons said the assault occurred. Alexander told officers Simmons hit him and that he was merely trying to hold her down, Polite said.

Alexander, already under investigation for an undisclosed work-related incident, has been placed on administrative leave pending a meeting with Chief George Turner that will determine his future with the department.

He’s been fired by the APD once before, in 2005, after surveillance video captured him slamming a woman to the ground and arresting her for a parking violation while moonlighting at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The assault victim, Diana Dietrich-Barnes, sued the city and settled for $350,000.

Then-Police Chief Richard Pennington sacked Alexander for using unnecessary force but the department’s civil service board overturned the decision. Alexander was rehired despite having been either reprimanded or suspended without pay 13 times for violating departmental rules.

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Website Helps Harris County Texas Sheriffs Department Ignore Crimes

October 23, 2010

HOUSTON, TEXAS – People can now use the Internet to report minor crimes to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s online reporting system is available on the Office’s home page at http://www.hcso.hctx.net at the tab labeled “Report Crime,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The system allows people to report low-priority crimes that do not require deputies to respond to the scene.

People can report misdemeanor thefts, missing/lost property and criminal mischief to public or private property, including damage to a motor vehicle without suspect information.

Felonies and cases with known suspects will not be allowed on the system.

The system also provides documentation on file insurance claims.

The system will save time for people as well as for deputies who otherwise might have to go to non-emergency scenes when they can be responding to more urgent matters.

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Atlanta Georgia Police Officer Terrance Alexander Arrested After Beating Girlfriend – Previously Fired After Attacking Woman At Airport

October 23, 2010

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – An Atlanta police officer was arrested Thursday on domestic violence charges.

Officer Terrance Alexander is accused of hitting his girlfriend, but this is not his first brush with the law.

In 2004, Alexander was fired after he was caught on surveillance video attacking a woman in an airport parking lot. Alexander threw Diana Dietrich-Barnes to the ground outside Hartsfield-Jackson because he said she had refused to move her car.

Atlanta police settled a lawsuit with Barnes for more than $300,000. The police department rehired him after a civilian board overturned his firing.

In the latest incident, Alexander was arrested after a fight with his girlfriend at his Briarcliff Road apartment. His girlfriend, 18-year-old Aleka Simmons, said Alexander hit her, but the officer said she hit him and he only tried to hold her down.

Officers discovered Simmons had two outstanding warrants. Alexander was under investigation for a work-related incident and has been on desk duty pending the outcome, authorities said.

The 11-year veteran is scheduled for a meeting with the police chief that will determine his future with the department, police said.

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Two Westminster Colorado Police Officers Suspended With Pay After Sexually Assaulting Woman While On Duty

October 23, 2010

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO – Two Westminster police officers are under investigation and on paid leave, Investigator Trevor Materasso said Friday.

A woman contacted Broomfield police at about 3:20 a.m. on Thursday and said that while she was at a home in the 12800 block of South Princess Circle, in Broomfield, she became the victim of a sexual assault involving two Westminster police officers.

The officers were off-duty at the time, Broomfield police said in a statement.

A criminal investigation was under way Friday.

“Directly following the conclusion of Broomfield’s criminal investigation, Westminster will conduct an internal investigation into these allegations,” Materasso said. “This administrative process is being conducted after the criminal investigation, so as to not interfere with any criminal investigative process. Westminster has remained uninvolved with the criminal process to ensure the integrity of Broomfield’s investigation.”

The two officers have not been arrested or charged.

“At this time, these are only allegations and the officers deserve the same due process to determine their innocence or guilt before any action is taken against them,” Materasso said.

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Pilot Decides To Go Home Instead Of Putting Up With TSA Agents Searches And Scans Everytime He Goes To Work

October 21, 2010

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – A Tennessee pilot who says he’s tired of being manhandled by security agents is waiting to see if he will lose his job because he refused a full body scan.

ExpressJet Airlines first officer Michael Roberts was chosen for the X-ray scan Friday at Memphis International Airport. The Houston-based pilot says he also refused a pat-down and went home.

The 35-year-old Roberts told The Commercial Appeal newspaper he wants to go to work and not be “harassed or molested without cause.”

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen says a person was turned away after refusing to follow federal security procedures but declined to say if it was Roberts, citing privacy considerations.

Roberts says he has safety concerns, but called TSA a “make-work” program that doesn’t make travel safer.

“I just kind of had to ask myself ‘Where do I stand?’ I’m just not comfortable being physically manhandled by a federal security agent every time I go to work,” he told the Commercial Appeal.

Earlier this week, CBSNewYork reported that full-body scanners have not yet been installed at New York City area airports, despite plans that were in place to have them installed at Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia airports by September.

The Transportation Security Administration told The Star-Ledger of Newark the installation is complex and the scanners would arrive “in the coming weeks.”

Passengers who prefer not to be scanned can choose to be patted down and pass through a metal detector.

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New Jersey Turnpike Officals Pissed Away $43 Million While Raising Tolls For Motorists

October 21, 2010

NEW JERSEY – Auditors say the New Jersey Turnpike Authority wasted $43 million on unneeded perks and bonuses. In one case, an employee with a base salary of $73,469 earned $321,985 when all payouts and bonuses were included.

The audit says that toll dollars From the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway were spent on items ranging from an employee bowling league to employee bonuses for working on birthdays and holidays.

It took place as tolls were being increased.

The biggest expense uncovered in the audit was $30 million in unjustified bonuses to employees and management in 2008 and 2009 without consideration of performance.

One example was paying employees overtime for removing snow and working holidays and then giving additional “snow removal bonuses” and “holiday bonuses.”

The Comptroller’s Office audit released Tuesday says taxpayers also paid $430,000 for free E-ZPass transponders for employees to get to work and nearly $90,000 in scholarships for workers’ kids.

The audit shows turnpike authority employees got bonuses and overtime for working their birthdays and holidays.

Comptroller Matt Boxer says tolls are set for another increase in 2012.

“While tolls are going up, the Turnpike Authority is overpaying its employees, overpaying its management, overpaying for its health plan and overpaying for legal services,” Boxer said in a statement.

Public money was also used to cover costs for a toll operators event that none of the authority’s employees actually attended.

Another audit finding was that employees were allowed to cash out a portion of their unused sick and vacation days at the end of the year to circumvent the current $15,000 limit for sick leave payouts upon retirement. That cost $3.8 million a year.

Among the questionable legal expenses was a billing for $111,840 for a law firm’s weekly internal status meetings that were generally attended by 10 to 15 of the firm’s attorneys and two to three of its paralegals.

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Drunk Russian Police Officer Hits Three Young Girls With His Car, One Of Whom Died After Being Run Over Again By Responding Ambulance

October 21, 2010

SIBERIA, RUSSIA – A RUSSIAN police officer hit three girls with his car while driving drunk in Siberia and one was killed after being run over by the ambulance sent to treat them.

The police officer, who was driving his personal car, ran into the three girls on Tuesday as they walked at night on the side of the road near Kargosok, a town in the Tomsk region, the local interior ministry said.

One of the girls, aged 15, was then run over and killed by an ambulance that arrived at the scene, the ministry said.

The other two girls were being treated in hospital for head wounds and were in stable condition, it said.

The incident was the latest in a string of scandals involving Russian police hitting pedestrians while driving drunk.

In a separate incident, prosecutors in the Kursk region south of Moscow said that a member of the local police had been identified as the driver who fled the scene after hitting and killing a 16-year-old girl with his car on Monday.

“The investigation has identified the person responsible for this accident as the assistant to the chief of police in the Sovietsky district, who was drunk,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

In April, a drunk police officer hit a woman and her nine-year-old granddaughter with his car near Moscow, killing the girl. In March, another drunk police officer ran into and killed a pregnant woman in Moscow.

Scandals involving Russian police officials – from murder to extortion to corruption – have increased in recent years.

Fatal traffic accidents are also frequent in Russia and are often linked to dilapidated roads, poor adherence to safety rules and drunk driving.

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Lying Groveland Massachusetts Police Officer Aaron Yeo Caught Sleeping And Playing On The Internet – His Lawyer Claims He Was Actually Somewhere Secret “Watching For Terrorists”

October 21, 2010

GROVELAND, MASSACHSETTS – A small town police officer assigned to serve and protect has been accused of sleeping on the job, looking at inappropriate images online and lying about it to his superiors.

The officer had been on the force for three and a half years when his supervisors became suspicious. His low mileage on his overnight patrol shift didn’t add up, but time spent surfing the net, did.

Women wearing next to nothing were discovered on a Groveland Police station computer. Officials said Officer Aaron Yeo would surf for hours during his shift.

“I got information that this officer was not doing his job and we started looking at him and wondering why he wasn’t doing his job,” said Chief Robert Kirmelewicz from the Groveland Police Department.

Internal Affairs wired his car with GPS and video. They said they caught him sleeping on the job and calling into dispatch with false locations, sometimes from inside the police station itself.

“There was a pattern of deception and lying and that’s why he was terminated,” said Kirmelewicz.

But the 28-year-old father of two said he was fired without just cause.

“Unfortunately I feel my rights were violated,” said Aaron Yeo.

That’s because he didn’t know his car was rigged and his stalking like internet behavior was being monitored by internal affairs. His lawyer said lots of people used the computer and suggested Yeo’s dispatch locations were kept secret because he was watching for terrorists.

“He was concerned and fairly so that if somebody was using a scanner they’d listen to find out where he was,” said Stephen Pfaff, union attorney.

But even the Labor Relations Board said Yeo’s firing was justified. Michael Boyle, an arbitrator with the Division of Labor Relations said: “Officer dishonesty would erode the public’s confidence and hamper the ability to ensure public safety.”

Yeo’s former boss said Yeo won’t be doing that in Groveland anymore now that he’s off the force.

“A lying police officer loses all credibility and integrity and therefore cannot effectively perform the job of a police officer,” said Kirmelewicz.

Yeo and has lawyer said they’ll decide within the next two weeks whether they’ll appeal.

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UK Government To Track Every Phone Call, eMail, And Web Site Visit

October 21, 2010

UK – It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of
every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year
will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the
surveillance state.

The plans were shelved by the Labour Government last December but the Home
Office is now ready to revive them.

It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to “end the storage of
internet and email records without good reason”.

Any suggestion of a central “super database” has been ruled out but
the plans are expected to involve service providers storing all users
details for a set period of time.

That will allow the security and police authorities to track every phone call,
email, text message and website visit made by the public if they argue it is
needed to tackle crime or terrorism.

The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which
websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages.

The move was buried in the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, which revealed: “We will introduce
a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law
enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept
communications within the appropriate legal framework.

“This programme is required to keep up with changing technology and to
maintain capabilities that are vital to the work these agencies do to
protect the public.

“Communications data provides evidence in court to secure convictions of
those engaged in activities that cause serious harm. It has played a role in
every major Security Service counter­terrorism operation and in 95 per cent
of all serious organised crime investigations.

“We will legislate to put in place the necessary regulations and
safeguards to ensure that our response to this technology challenge is
compatible with the Government’s approach to information storage and civil

But Isabella Sankey, director of policy at Liberty, said: “One of the
early and welcome promises of the new Government was to ‘end the blanket
storage of internet and email records’.

“Any move to amass more of our sensitive data and increase powers for
processing would amount to a significant U-turn. The terrifying ambitions of
a group of senior Whitehall technocrats must not trump the personal privacy
of law abiding Britons.”

Guy Herbert, general secretary of the No2ID campaign group, said: “We
should not be surprised that the interests of bureaucratic empires outrank

“It is disappointing that the new ministers seem to be continuing their
predecessors’ tradition of credulousness.”

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Innocent Man Awarded $18.5 Million After Wrongful Conviction In Bronx New York And 21 Years In Prison

October 20, 2010

BRONX, NEW YORK – After spending 21 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, a city jury this week awarded a Bronx man $18.5 million.

Alan Newton was convicted in 1985 of raping and slicing the face of a woman in the Bronx.

He was released in 2006 after police eventually found the rape kit that they originally said they were unable to locate.

They say it was found once prosecutors provided a copy of the kit’s original voucher.

It did not match Newton’s DNA.

Newton says he hopes the ruling will help others who have been wrongfully convicted.

“I felt like I’m vindicated, after four years, I was exonerated, I walked out of jail but this says from a jury of my peers that we felt the system was wrong and we want to compensate you and we’re also sending a message to the city,” Newton said.

“They [jurors] did tell us post-verdict that what they found was very effective and what upset them was a timeline we presented in my closing argument to the jury where I showed the jury how many times Mr. Newton requested the evidence and what the responses were on each occasion,” said Newton’s attorney, John Schutty.

Since his release, Newton has graduated from Medgar Evers College with a degree in Business Administration and plans to enroll in law school next year.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Potkin, an attorney with the Innocence Project — which helps those who say they have been wrongfully convicted fight their way out of prison — says she believes there are many more Alan Newtons out there.

“We have dozens of cases at the Innocence Project where people are claiming innocence where the city is just saying they can’t find the evidence and New York is far worse than the rest of the country in this area,” Potkin said.

The city released a statement saying, “We are disappointed with the verdict and plan to appeal it.”

Newton says he plans to enroll in law school next year, but not before a vacation.

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20 Year Old Girl, The Only Candidate, Appointed Police Chief In Violent Mexican Town – Criminology Student

October 20, 2010

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – A 20-year-old criminology student, the only candidate for the position, was designated as police chief in the violence-plagued town of Guadalupe Distrito Bravo, Mexican media reported Tuesday.

Marisol Valles Garcia took charge on Monday of security in the town, population 10,000, on the US border. The community is around 80 km east of Ciudad Juarez, itself regarded as the most violent city in Mexico.

The former mayor of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, Jesus Manuel Lara Rodriguez, was killed on June 19 at his home in Ciudad Juarez, after receiving death threats.

Valles Garcia said she will not have to fight the drug gangs, which is the responsibility of other law enforcement agencies. Instead, she will pursue preventive programmes in neighbourhoods and schools, and she will be in charge of reclaiming public spaces for the community.

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Seattle Washington Firefighter Mark Jones Awarded $13 Million Despite Video Of Him Chopping Wood, Playing Horseshoes, And Dancing – City Lawyers Took Too Long To Investigate Mans Injury Claims

October 19, 2010

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A King County Superior Court judge refused Monday to vacate a nearly $13 million award to a Seattle firefighter who was injured at a fire station in 2003.

The city of Seattle appealed the award after an investigator it hired captured Mark Jones on surveillance video dancing, chopping wood, playing horseshoes and bocce ball this past spring.

But in Monday’s ruling, Judge Susan Craighead said the city had ample time and means to have pursued evidence of Jones’ condition since the case was brought forward in 2006, but failed to do so.

“The city devoted little effort to investigating this case until its third set of lawyers was retained in early 2009,” Craighead wrote in her ruling. She wrote that the city never asked to have Jones examined independently by any medical doctors to verify any of his physical complaints, instead relying only on evaluations from Labor and Industries physicians.

“The city cannot now take a second bite of the apple because it failed to make the most of the first,” Craighead said.

The city had also claimed the video proved Jones was fraudulently portraying the effects of his injuries to the jury, but Craighead said proving fraud requires a very high level of proof, and the video could not conclusively prove Jones was not suffering from mental effects that were a large part of the documented injuries relevant to his claim.

In 2009, a jury agreed Jones was permanently disabled at a fire station when he fell 15 feet through an opening near the fire pole in the middle of the night. He was awarded nearly $12.8 million, which included almost $2.5 million for lifetime medical care and assistance. Jones claimed he was permanently disabled and in constant pain.

“That’s what my day consists of. It’s just such a struggle from the point when I get up, I’m trying to get going through it,” Jones said during testimony.

But Jones’ attorney, Dick Kilpatrick, claims it has always been accepted that his client could perform daily tasks; it was his brain injury that called for such a large award, he said.

“We never claimed at trial, like the defense is trying to show, that he somehow is unable to do most things of daily life. The jury was told he was able to do most things of daily life,” Kilpatrick said after the city’s appeal was filed. “There was bleeding in two parts of his brain that were documented at Harborview (Medical Center). So that’s what the case was primarily about. It wasn’t about a person who’s practically an invalid, or whatever.”

The attorneys representing the city said Monday they had no comment on the substance of the court’s decision.

“We stand by the materials we filed on behalf of the City in superior court. We expect this ruling will become part of the City’s appeal from the judgment, which is already pending in the court of appeals.”

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Dumbass Pennsylvania State Trooper Nicholas Petrosky Leaves His Gun Within Reach Of His 4 Year Old Son, Who Shoots Himself

October 19, 2010

DONORA, PENNSYLVANIA – Channel 11 News learned Friday that the 4-year-old son of a Belle Vernon Pennsylvania State Trooper accidentally shot himself in the leg with his father’s gun Thursday night.

According to Donora police, Trooper Nicholas Petrosky was drying his son after a shower when the little boy grabbed his father’s gun, which had been placed on the bathroom counter.

Police said it was the trooper’s personal gun, not his state-issued weapon, that went off.

The child, whose name hasn’t been released, was taken to Children’s Hospital for treatment. The family put a block on information from the hospital and the child’s condition was not immediately known.

“Micah, his name is Micah. We see him all the time,” said neighbor Paul Brown.

Brown said he didn’t hear the gunshot but saw the commotion afterward.

The boy’s injured do not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

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Mesa Arizona Police Officer Steven Miller Charged After Attacking Two Female Police Officers In A Bar

October 18, 2010

MESA, ARIZONA – A Mesa police officer faces charges related to domestic violence after he is accused of grabbing two fellow off-duty female police officers by the neck and slamming their heads together in a Scottsdale bar.

Officer Steven Miller, a 15-year police veteran assigned to Mesa’s Organized Crime Section, declined to comment about the case, which is pending in Scottsdale Municipal Court.

Miller is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 12, when he’ll answer to three counts of assault and two counts of disorderly conduct. Scottsdale City Prosecutor Caron Close said the charges are misdemeanors, but some are related to domestic violence because one of the women he’s accused of assaulting is his ex-girlfriend.

Police reports state that the assault occurred early Sept. 12 at Flicka’s Bar, 2003 N. Scottsdale Road.

Miller’s ex-girlfriend and another woman, both off-duty Mesa officers, were in the bar when Miller came in with his current girlfriend.

Police said Miller’s ex-girlfriend told them that “she and Steve separated about a year ago and he did not take it well.”

When Miller’s current girlfriend went to the restroom, police said, Miller walked over to speak with the ex-girlfriend, who had undergone surgery a month earlier to implant a pacemaker.

“He came over to her and asked how she was feeling,” the report states. “She told Steve she was doing well and that was the extent of the conversation.”

Minutes later, the girlfriend returned from the restroom and joined Miller at the bar. After about 30 minutes, she stated “she felt uncomfortable given the situation and decided it was best to leave Flicka’s,” which is a regular hangout for Miller.

The victims told police that’s when Miller approached them, grabbed them from behind the neck and said, “Why the (expletive) are you in my neighborhood?” the report states. He then slammed their heads together.

The ex-girlfriend “was feeling a substantial amount of pain in her neck from Steve grabbing her as well as discomfort in her chest,” the report states. “She could tell Steve had been drinking alcohol at the time of the assault.”

Miller denied assaulting the women, although it was witnessed by others in the bar, the report states. His girlfriend told police she only saw him “hug” both women by placing his hands on their necks.

The incident sparked an internal investigation to determine whether any internal policies were broken, said Detective Steve Berry, a Mesa police spokesman. Miller has since been reassigned to the department’s evidence section pending the outcome of the internal investigation and the criminal case.

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Can Of Cat Pedialyte Closes Xenia Ohio Intersection For Hours As Dayton Bomb Squad Investigates

October 18, 2010

XENIA, OHIO – The Dayton Bomb Squad was called to downtown Xenia early Monday morning after a suspicious package was found outside a bank.

A witness told police he saw someone leaving a container with foil and rubber bands on it outside the Huntington Bank on North Detroit Street.

The bomb squad was called out to investigate and the intersection was shutdown for several hours overnight Monday.

The contents were later determined to be pedialyte for cats, a substance to help keep cats hydrated.

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Illegal Immigrants Prove To Much For U.S. Department Of Homeland Security [sic], Government Attorney’s Dismissing Deportation Cases By The Hundreds

October 18, 2010

HOUSTON, TEXAS – In the month after Homeland Security officials started a review of Houston’s immigration court docket, immigration judges dismissed more than 200 cases, an increase of more than 700 percent from the prior month, new data shows.

The number of dismissals in Houston courts reached 217 in August — up from just 27 in July, according to data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which administers the nation’s immigration court system.

In September, judges dismissed 174 pending cases — the vast majority involving immigrants who already were out on bond and had cases pending on Houston’s crowded downtown court docket, where hearings are now being scheduled into 2012.

Roughly 45 percent of the 350 cases decided in that court in September resulted in dismissals, the records show.

The EOIR data offer the first glimpse into Homeland Security’s largely secretive review of pending cases on the local immigration court docket.

In early August, federal attorneys in Houston started filing unsolicited motions to dismiss cases involving suspected illegal immigrants who have lived in the country for years without committing serious crimes.

News of the dismissals, first reported in the Houston Chronicle in late August, caused a national controversy amid allegations that the Obama administration was implementing a kind of “backdoor amnesty” — a charge officials strongly denied.

In recent weeks, some immigration attorneys reported the dismissals have slowed somewhat, while others reported they now have to ask ICE trial attorneys to exercise prosecutorial discretion in order to have their cases dismissed. Others, however, said they are still being approached by government attorneys seeking to file joint motions for case dismissal.

“They’re still doing it,” said immigration attorney Steve Villarreal. “They’re just doing it quietly.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials declined this week to discuss specifics of the docket reviews and dismissals, which are also going on in several other cities, including Dallas and Miami.

In response to the Houston EOIR data, ICE spokeswoman Gillian Brigham noted that immigration judges can terminate cases for other than prosecutorial discretion, such as when ICE does not meet its burden of proof. The Houston immigration courts averaged about 38 case terminations each month in the 10 months prior to the DHS review.
Broad set of criteria

ICE has tried to downplay the docket reviews, suggesting in some media accounts that they were limited to cases involving illegal immigrants with pending petitions filed by U.S. citizen relatives.

However, EOIR’s liaison with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Raed Gonzalez, said he was briefed on the guidelines in August directly by DHS’ deputy chief counsel in Houston and described a broader set of internal criteria.

Government attorneys in Houston were instructed to exercise prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis for illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least two years and have no serious criminal history, Gonzalez said.

To qualify for dismissal, defendants also must have no felony record or any misdemeanor convictions involving DWI, sex crimes or domestic violence, he said.

Several dismissed cases examined by the Chronicle involved defendants without U.S. citizen relatives but with arguments for dismissal on humanitarian grounds, such as illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who have stayed out of trouble and are enrolled in college.

Supporters of the review called it a necessary, common-sense step to reduce the system’s staggering backlog, which hit an all-time high this year. In June, the number of pending immigration cases nationally reached 247,922, including 7,444 in Houston.

By moving to dismiss cases for people who have stayed out of trouble, the agency will be better able to use its limited resources to more rapidly deport those with serious criminal records, supporters said.

“It makes all of the sense in the world,” John Nechman, a Houston immigration attorney, said of the review, which has led the dismissals of cases for several of his clients.
Dismissed, but still illegal

The dismissals essentially mean that officials are no longer actively trying to remove defendants through the immigration court system, though they can refile such charges at a later date.

The dismissals do not convey any kind of legal status, so recipients remain illegal immigrants and cannot work legally in the U.S.

But critics still charge that the dismissals show the government is not enforcing the law.

“When you have this kind of mass dismissal, it sends a very clear message to illegal immigrants, and to society at large, that the government is not serious about enforcing the laws,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for stricter border controls.

“This type of action muddles the message so both the public at large as well as illegal immigrants don’t know what to think.”

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Washington Department Of Corrections Officer Loses Handcuffed Man

October 11, 2010

LONGVIEW, WASHINGTON – A 26-year-old Longview man managed to escaped from a Department of Corrections car while handcuffed.

Police aren’t just looking for him. They also want him to be charged with stealing the handcuffs.

The Daily News of Longview reports that Eric Mitchell Lair was arrested Oct. 1 on a felony warrant. He was handcuffed behind his back, but still was able to open the door of the car that was taking him to Cowlitz County jail and run off.

Officers from several agencies searched the area but couldn’t find him, and a judge issued a warrant Thursday for his arrest on suspicion of first-degree escape.

Police say the handcuffs are valued at $29, and stealing them would constitute third-degree theft.

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Phoenix Arizona Police Chief Phil Gordon’s House Burglarized – While He Was Inside

October 11, 2010

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon’s house was burglarized Saturday morning after a thief entered through the backdoor.

The mayor was home alone and is unharmed, he said.

But Gordon said he is missing his personal home computer, and there is about $1,000 worth of damage to his central Phoenix house.

Gordon said he noticed everything was fine on Friday night before he went to bed around 10 p.m. The mayor, who is generally an early riser, woke up a little before 4 a.m. the next day. While he was making coffee, he said, he noticed a draft in the house coming from the laundry room but didn’t think anything of it, and went to watch television.

It wasn’t until about 6:30 a.m., he said, that he noticed anything was wrong. Gordon stepped out to the backyard and saw the backdoor had been damaged, with wood chips on the floor and the plaster wall of his home broken.

His computer was gone, but his wallet and checkbook that were in the same room weren’t taken, he said.

Gordon said he immediately called his security detail, which told him to leave the house and call 911.

Phoenix police officers came to the scene to collect evidence and dust for fingerprints, but Gordon said no one has been caught yet.

“One crime is too many,” Gordon said, but “Phoenix is still a very safe city.”

Last month, the Phoenix Police Department released statistics showing that the number of reported crimes in the city reached 20-year lows in some categories.

The mayor has a team of four detectives and a sergeant overseeing his day-to-day personal security but he isn’t monitored 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. City officials will likely meet Monday to discuss the incident and whether any changes to the mayor’s security detail are necessary, said David Leibowitz, a spokesman for the mayor.

Gordon said some called Saturday suggesting he increase his security detail, but the mayor said that is a judgment call he’ll leave for the police department and other city officials to decide.

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Attack Dog Use During Arrests Suspended After New Orleans Louisiana Police Officer Jason Lewis Killed Dog By Leaving It In His Hot Car

October 11, 2010

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas has suspended the use of K-9 police dogs during the apprehension of suspects.

In a press release, a spokeswoman for the NOPD said the following:

“After review by the ongoing study being conducted by the Department of Justice, Superintendent Serpas received information that the apprehension area of the N.O.P.D. K-9 Division showed deficiencies. Superintendent Serpas immediately suspended the use of N.O.P.D. apprehension dogs pending appropriate training. The remaining use of K-9 dogs for narcotic investigations and those for bomb detection will continue their present working status. In the event an apprehension K-9 dog is needed, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has agreed to assist in this area.”

The mandate from Serpas comes in the wake of a guilty plea by NOPD Officer Jason Lewis, who pled guilty to one count of animal cruelty in the death of his K-9.

It is not yet known whether the order from Serpas is related to the case of former officer Lewis.

Lewis recently agreed to pay $11,500 in restitution to the police department, the cost of replacing Primo, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, who died at a veterinarian’s office after suffering apparent heat stroke in Lewis’ vehicle.

Lewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty on Sept. 1.

The dog’s death caused an uproar last summer.

Criminal District Judge Terry Alarcon sentenced Lewis to probation and a suspended six-month jail term. On Friday, the court approved the restitution.

The police department found no wrongdoing by Lewis, and argued the car was equipped with a cooling device aimed at caring for a dog’s body temperature.

During the investigation, NOPD officers suggested the dog had another medical problem, or perhaps had become over-excited for some unknown reason.

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Kent UK Police Officers Didn’t Notice Knife Sticking Out Of Dead Man’s Back – Found By Undertakers

October 11, 2010

KENT, UK – A coroner criticised bungling police after they failed to spot a man had been murdered — until UNDERTAKERS discovered a knife sticking out of his back, an inquest has heard.

Antoine Denis, 66, was found slumped on his back in the bedroom of his flat in Chatham, Kent, in January this year.

Detectives at the scene pronounced father-of-four Antoine dead but found nothing that suggested a crime had been committed.

It was only when undertakers arrived to remove the body that they found blood and a 12CM (4.7in) KNIFE stuck up to its hilt in Antoine’s back.

One of the officers received a verbal warning following an internal police investigation into the handling of the as yet unsolved murder.

Mid Kent and Medway coroner Roger Sykes criticised the police handling of the case and recorded a verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest into Antoine’s death held in Maidstone, Kent, on Thursday.

He said: ”My understanding is that in the process of the undertaker’s preparation it was discovered there was some blood and indeed a knife and at that stage investigating officers attended.”

Det Con Linda Robb said: ”That is true. I think because of the flat being in darkness and him lying on his back there was no outward sign of anything untoward.”

Coroner Sykes concluded the inquest by appealing for anyone with information on Antoine’s murder to contact Kent Police.

He said: ”It is always unsatisfactory when I conclude an inquest when the full circumstances have not been revealed.”

Officers had arrived at the scene and discovered retired painter and decorator Antoine lying on his bedroom floor where a police nurse pronounced him dead.

But when undertakers arrived to remove the Antoine’s corpse they rolled him over and found dried blood and a knife in his back.

Detectives recovered the knife and police spent almost three days at the flats carrying out forensic investigations.

In April an internal investigation was opened into the handling of the crime scene and an officer was spoken to about procedural matters.

Coroner Sykes told the inquest Antoine died from a single stab wound, which penetrated his lung due to ”the unlawful act of a person whose identity has not yet been established”.

He said Antoine died on or around December 27 last year because a newspaper, which he bought every day, was found for that date.

Kim Albone, of Chatham, was arrested and charged with Antoine’s murder on January 21 but was later released after a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Det Chief Insp Dave Chewter has appealed for anyone with information on the murder to come forward.

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Australian Police Officer Benjamin Price Sentenced To Prison After Brutally Beating Handcuffed Man, Ramming Firehose Down His Throat – Also Beat Two Others, Including A Banker

October 11, 2010

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA – A POLICEMAN who rammed a fire hose down a handcuffed man’s throat during a brutal bashing in a police station has been jailed.

Former Senior Constable Benjamin Price, 34, was today sentenced to 27 months prison by Townsville District Court judge Stuart Durward but will be eligible for parole next July.

Price was sentenced after pleading guilty to four counts of assault against three victims in Airlie Beach, in north Queensland in 2007 and 2008.

In sentencing Mr Durward described Price as a “thug” and his actions as “cowardly and contemptible”.

“Your conduct was gratuitously violent,” he told Price, who looked pale when the sentence was announced.

Price’s teenage daughter wept when he was led away.

One of Price’s victims, Timothy Steele said he was stunned the case ever saw the light of day.

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He said as an ex-policeman Price “will do it hard in jail, and that’s good.”

Price’s actions only came to light when Price was reported by female police whistleblower constable Bree Sonter and forced to resign amid an internal affairs investigation.

In CCTV footage shown in court last week, Price can be seen punching and kneeing a bleeding, handcuffed Timothy Steele, 23 at the time, in May 25, 2008.

Price puts him in a brutal spine lock and leaves the commercial diver with a broken nose and two blackened eyes, cuts and bruising to the face.

Other police officers watch on – but none intervene – as Price stuffs a running fire hose into his victim’s mouth, nearly drowning him in a five minute ordeal, before Mr Steele slumps forward unmoving.

In another incident captured on camera, petite barmaid Renee Toms, 21 at the time, also handcuffed, was hit in the neck, flung about by the hair, and slammed to the floor inside the watchhouse by Price on January 2008.

Two female officers watch on, but again, do not stop the assault.

His third victim, investment banker Nicholas Le Fevre, of Sydney, was king-hit and repeatedly punched in the head by Price after arguing over urinating in a park while on holiday in Airlie Beach.

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Veteran El Paso Texas Police Officer Alberto Madrid Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Stealing Money Box He was Supposed To Be Guarding At A Wedding

October 11, 2010

EL PASO, TEXAS — An El Paso police officer who was off-duty working as security for a wedding reception at Bebe’s Hall on Saturday was accused of stealing a money box and then fleeing after partygoers confronted him, said police.

Alberto Madrid, an 18-year veteran of the El Paso Police Department, was charged with one count of aggravated robbery.

El Paso police told KFOX that the incident happened around 11 p.m. Saturday at the Bebe’s Hall located at 1212 N. Yarbrough Street.

When wedding guests confronted Madrid, police said he tried leaving in a vehicle. They also said one person jumped on the hood the of the vehicle Madrid was driving to avoid getting run over.

That person was eventually thrown from the vehicle, but not seriously hurt, said police.

Madrid was booked in to the El Paso County Detention Facility. A magistrate set his bond at $5,000.

Madrid was relieved of duty pending the outcome of a criminal investigation. Police said Madrid could be terminated if the allegations prove true.

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Washington DC Police Bomb Technician Crashes Department SUV Into Car Amid Movie Filming

October 11, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – A D.C. Police SUV was involved in a wreck at the filming of Transformers 3 in Washington D.C.

While the movie was filming a car chase scene on 3rd Street and Maryland Ave in southwest D.C., the police SUV collides with a yellow Chevy Camaro, which in the movie series is known as the character Bumblebee.

The police SUV was not supposed to be there and the wreck itself was not scripted.

The police officer driving the SUV is a veteran bomb technician. He was taken to a local hospital and sustained minor injuries.

Sources tell FOX 5 that he was running to a call to 9th and F Street and was apparently using a different radio channel than the police officers who were securing the perimeter for the movie.

Statement from the Metropolitan Police Department:

“Earlier today, a MPD marked cruiser responding to an emergency assignment, collided with a vehicle involved in the filming of a movie at Third Street and Maryland Avenue, SW. The officer sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital. No civilian injuries have been reported.

The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the facts of the crash and filming of this movie on closed DC city streets has been suspended until safety procedures can be reviewed.”

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Philadelphia Police Officers Arrested In Drug Sting Weren’t Intended Targets, They Were Hoping To Catch Other Bad Cops

October 9, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – Investigators who set up a sting operation Monday had hoped to snare two corrupt Philadelphia police officers suspected of robbing drug dealers – just not the two who fell into the trap.

The 25th District officers arrested Monday, Sean Alivera and his partner, Christopher Luciano, were not the initial targets of the investigation and were not previously suspected of wrongdoing, sources familiar with the case said.

A confidential informant had identified two other officers as associates of a local drug dealer and had helped set up a sting to catch them robbing a courier of cash and marijuana. The courier was actually an undercover officer.

Investigators said they were shocked when Alivera and Luciano arrived to carry out the scheme instead. Authorities now believe the two targeted officers sent Alivera and Luciano in their places, according to one source close to the investigation.

These disclosures raise the possibility that as many as four 25th District officers have been robbing couriers, stealing cash and giving the drugs to another dealer to sell, sources said.

“I don’t know how deep this runs,” Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said in an interview Thursday. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

He stressed that the case – barely two weeks old – remained in its “infancy.” But he also said investigators had no evidence to arrest any other officers from the 25th District, including the two thought to be the targets of the sting.

“We might have been wrong about the people we were looking at initially,” he cautioned.

Once the sting netted Alivera and Luciano, Ramsey said, investigators had to spring the trap. They could not allow those officers to remain on the street, even if arresting them meant warning other corrupt officers.

“We’re talking about law-enforcement officers. We’re talking about people who are making arrests every day,” Ramsey said. “If you’re ripping off drug dealers, you could end up in a shoot-out. You could end up in anything.”

Ramsey expressed his indignation at the corruption and pledged, “If there’s anybody else, we’ll continue to work it. . . . We’ll get them.”

He also repeated what he said Tuesday when the arrests of Luciano and Alivera were disclosed: “It could get worse before it gets better.”

The case began about two weeks ago, Ramsey said, with a tip from a confidential informant to investigators from the state Bureau of Narcotics Investigations.

The informant said he knew a drug dealer who was bragging about having “boys in blue that could assist him,” Ramsey said.

The informant had seen two men who claimed to be officers in the drug dealer’s company, but he never saw them in uniform or in a police vehicle. Therefore, sources said, the informant couldn’t confirm they were officers.

Investigators then showed the informant mugshots of 25th District officers, and he picked out one. It was that unnamed officer and his partner who were expected to arrive at the sting, sources said.

Authorities had an idea how the drug rip-offs occurred, and Monday’s sting operation closely followed the pattern they suspected.

Generally, the dealer working with the officers would arrange a drug purchase somewhere in the 25th District, which includes sections of North Philadelphia and Kensington. When the seller arrived, the officers would stop him and take him away from the scene long enough for someone to steal the drugs from his car.

That’s what happened Monday, authorities said, when the undercover officer arrived with $3,000 in cash and 20 pounds of marijuana in his trunk. Surveillance cameras captured the action.

After stopping the undercover officer and putting him in their car, Alivera and Luciano used some pretext to drive him away. During that time, someone believed to be an associate of the drug dealer came and took the marijuana. That person escaped with the drugs, and police were still seeking him on Thursday.

After about 15 minutes, Alivera and Luciano returned with the undercover officer still in custody. One of the officers drove him back to the district in the police cruiser. The other officer got into the undercover operative’s car and also returned to the district. The $3,000 was found in the two officers’ possession, authorities said.

District Attorney Seth Williams, following the sting operation on an open phone line, then made the call:

“That’s enough. Arrest them.”

The drug dealer suspected of working with the officers has been identified and also is the subject of the ongoing investigation, sources said.

The arrests of Alivera, 31, and Luciano, 23, came about three months after federal authorities charged three other officers with helping a drug dealer steal heroin.

One of the officers in the federal case, Robert Snyder, also worked in the 25th District. Ramsey said no connection had been established among Snyder, Alivera, and Luciano.

Ramsey said that he could not take any action against the officers who were the initial targets of Monday’s sting, and that he had not even learned their names.

“If they turn out to be innocent, I don’t want to be associating their names” with corruption, he said.

He also said he hoped the actions of a few officers would not taint the whole department or even the 25th District, which patrols one of the city’s toughest areas.

“I’m not going to sit here and deny the fact that we have a problem. . . . You can’t hide your warts,” Ramsey said. “I do know this: The vast majority of the men and women on this department do this job the way they’re supposed to.”

Alivera and Luciano are being held on $1 million bail each, according to court records.

On the night of their arrests, sources said, Alivera appeared despondent and ashamed, but investigators were irked by his younger partner’s seemingly nonchalant attitude.

Before he went to sleep in lock-up that night, sources said, Luciano took off his police uniform shirt, rolled it up, and used it as a pillow.

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Indiana Bureau Of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Andy Miller Quits After Exposing Himself, Masturbating, And Asking A Police Officer To Help Him In A Public Bathroom

October 9, 2010

Andy Miller has resigned as commissioner of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, one day after his arrest at a Downtown public restroom on a charge of public indecency.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a statement that “if things are as reported, the law must be respected, but either way this is just an extremely sad situation.”

Daniels named R. Scott Waddell, the BMV’s chief of staff, to succeed Miller.

Miller, a 40-year-old Carmel father of three, was arrested Wednesday after police say he exposed himself, masturbated in front of an undercover officer and asked that officer to touch his genitals in the men’s bathroom at Claypool Court. That Downtown facility has been the site of other public indecency arrests, and is only a short tunnel walk away from the Statehouse and the Indiana Government Center building where Miller worked.

In his statement, Daniels praised Miller’s service.

“Andy Miller has been an exceptional public servant. Indiana farmers, flood victims, motorists and taxpayers in general all have benefited from his hard work and leadership in three important capacities,” Daniels said.

Those include serving as Indiana’s first director of the Department of Agriculture and then as director of the Office of Disaster Recovery before taking over the top job at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in January 2009.

Last week, Daniels stood at Miller’s side as they announced the BMV had won an international award for customer service for cutting wait times at license branches at the same time they were instituting federal-required steps to ensure IDs are secure.

“I also know him to be a devoted father to three children, including one saved from cancer by Riley Children’s Hospital, for which Andy in turn has raised substantial funds in gratitude,” Daniels said.

Daniels appointed Miller to the $115,000-a-year post of BMV commissioner in January 2009 to replace Ron Stiver. With 140 branches statewide, the BMV oversees driver’s licenses and credentials for about 5.6 million Hoosiers and registrations for more than 6.6 million vehicles and watercraft.

A native of DeKalb County and a Purdue University graduate, Miller had served as director of the state Department of Agriculture from 2005 to July 2008.

Before joining state government, he was vice president of research, development and marketing for Weaver Popcorn and held posts at Procter & Gamble, Nabisco and ConAgra.

The charge against Miller is a misdemeanor. He was released from the Marion County Jail about 9 p.m. Wednesday on $150 bond.

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Crazed State Of New Hampshire Officials Kidnap Newborn Due To Parents Political Beliefs

October 9, 2010

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – A newborn baby was ripped from its mother’s arms by officials from the New Hampshire Division of Family Child Services accompanied by police after authorities cited the parents’ association with the Oath Keepers organization as one of the primary reasons for the snatch, heralding a shocking new level of persecution where Americans’ political beliefs are now being used by the state to kidnap children.

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Chief Delaware State Alcohol Enforcment Offical Siobahn Sullivan Quits Amid Suspension After DUI Arrest While Speeding

October 9, 2010

DOVER, DELAWARE – The head of the agency charged with enforcing Delaware’s alcohol laws has resigned after being arrested for drunken driving.

Siobahn Sullivan submitted her resignation letter to Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Lewis Schiliro on Friday, saying she was resigning effective immediately as director of the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement.

Sullivan was stopped for speeding early Thursday on Route 1 near Lewes and subsequently charged with drunken driving. The 45-year-old Sullivan was released pending arraignment, which is scheduled for Oct. 22., and had been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Sullivan is a retired state police sergeant and was the commander of the executive protection unit assigned to former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

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Atlanta Georgia Whore Sherry Ann Ramos Brought Down Federal Judge Jack T. Camp Jr. On Drug And Firearms Charges

October 7, 2010

ATLANTA, GEORGIA -The Atlanta stripper who worked with the FBI to snare a federal judge on drug and gun charges is a convicted felon who spent three years in prison for her role in a methamphetamine distribution operation, The Smoking Gun has learned.

TSG has identified the FBI’s confidential informant as Sherry Ann Ramos, a 26-year-old Georgia woman who secretly recorded conversations with U.S. District Court Judge Jack T. Camp Jr., who allegedly paid Ramos for sex and purchased cocaine and other illegal drugs to use with her.

Ramos is pictured at left in a photo from her Facebook page, and below in an April 2004 mug shot taken following her arrest in the meth case. She is only identified as confidential informant 1, or “CI-1,” in court papers filed in the Camp case.

[Click here for a gallery of photos of Ramos, who lists her occupation as “exotic dancer, gold digger” in an online profile.]

Ramos was originally indicted in January 2005 on a narcotics distribution charge, but later cut a plea deal to a lesser count of using a phone to arrange the sale of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. In describing the unnamed stripper/informant used in the Camp probe, FBI agents noted that the snitch’s rap sheet included a “federal felony conviction for use of a telephone in connection with a drug trafficking crime.”

Ramos’s codefendant in the methamphetamine case, Juan Carlos Ramos, pleaded guilty to three felony charges and was sentenced to 12 years in prison (he is scheduled to be released in May 2015). The nature of the relationship between the Ramoses is unclear.

Federal court records show that shortly after Ramos was released from prison in November 2008, she was accused of violating various terms of her probation, including using marijuana, drinking alcohol to excess, and “associating with known felons.”

Last April, Ramos was arrested by cops for working at the Gold Rush Showbar strip joint without an adult entertainment permit (she unsuccessfully attempted to flee the establishment when vice cops arrived for an inspection, according to an Atlanta Police Department report). That charge was later dismissed. Ramos is pictured at right in an April 2009 Atlanta Department of Corrections mug shot.

While avoiding a prison return for the probation violations, Ramos was twice placed under home confinement, complete with electronic monitoring. She admitted to illegal drug use and attempting to avoid detection by “flushing her system” with a substance used to alter drug screens.

According to the criminal complaint against Camp, Ramos met the 67-year-old judge earlier this year at the Gold Rush Showbar, where “CI-1 worked as an exotic dancer.” Over the following months, investigators allege, Camp paid the stripper for sex and shared with her narcotics, “including cocaine, marijuana, Roxycodone, and Hydrocodone.”

At some point during their relationship, Ramos–before she even started cooperating with the FBI–began surreptitiously recording conversations with Camp, who is pictured below. She provided these tapes to the FBI, and then continued recording him at the direction of federal agents probing the jurist, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.

During her FBI cooperation, Ramos acknowledged “engaging in prostitution and purchasing and using controlled substances,” crimes for which the government has promised not to prosecute her.

Ramos, who did not respond to TSG messages sent to her e-mail address and Facebook account, recently worked as a stripper at Follies, an Atlanta nightclub. According to the Camp complaint (a PDF copy of which can be downloaded here), Ramos and the judge met up last month at Follies, where they “each snorted cocaine” Ramos obtained from an unnamed individual.

According to a source, Ramos–dancing under the name “Cherry”–worked at Follies for a few weeks before she was let go following a dispute with another club employee. She is now reportedly working at another Atlanta-area strip club.

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Dumbass Howard County Maryland Police Officer Caught Parked In Handicapped Space And Drinking Coffee – Amid Crackdown On Those Illegally Parking In Handicap Spaces

October 7, 2010

HOWARD COUNTY, MARYLAND – After a short article appeared on a crackdown by Howard County police of people illegally parking in handicap spaces, a reader sent in a picture of a cop allegedly violating the very law her agency was targeting.

The reader noted that the officer had parked her marked cruiser in a handicapped space at a Barnes & Noble and was seen drinking coffee.

The Columbia Flier and the Howard County Times published the picture and sought comment from a Howard County police spokeswoman, who said the officer had responded to the Ellicott City store after workers there chased out a suspected thief. The officer was writing a report.

But the spokeswoman noted that officers are allowed to park in such spaces only in an emergency. While the officer was on official business — she can drink coffee and write a report — this wasn’t exactly an emergency and she did have other alternatives.

It would’ve been better had she parked anywhere else in the lot other than using a handicapped space.

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Third Party System Tracking Sex Offenders Crashes And Shuts Down – Police And Courts In 49 States Left In The Dark About Offenders Whereabouts

October 7, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Thousands of US sex offenders, prisoners on parole and other convicts were left unmonitored after an electronic tagging system shut down because of data overload.

BI Incorporated, which runs the system, reached its data threshold – more than two billion records – on Tuesday.

This left authorities across 49 states unaware of offenders’ movement for about 12 hours.

BI increased its data storage capacity to avoid a repeat of the problem.

Prisons and other corrections agencies were blocked from getting notifications on about 16,000 people, BI Incorporated spokesman Jock Waldo said on Wednesday.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

In retrospect, we should have been able to catch this”

End Quote Jock Waldo BI Incorporated spokesman

“At 0729 Mountain Time [1429 GMT] on 5 October, BI Incorporated experienced a problem with one of its offender monitoring servers that caused this server’s automatic notification system to be temporarily disabled, resulting in delayed notifications to customers. The issue was resolved approximately 12 hours later at 1925 [0229 GMT Wednesday],” BI said in a statement.

Tracking devices continued to record movement and gather information, but corrections agencies could not immediately view the data, BI said.

In Wisconsin, local police and probation agents held about 140 sex offenders at local jails until the GPS tracking system was restored.

The offenders – about 300 in the state, most of them sex offenders – were never aware they were not being tracked, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Linda Eggert said.

“In retrospect, we should have been able to catch this,” Mr Waldo is quoted as saying by the AP news agency.

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A-Hole Mississippi Judge, Nutcase Talmadge Littlejohn, Jailed Lawyer Who Refused To Recite The Pledge Of Allegiance In His Courtroom

October 7, 2010

NEW ALBANY, MISSISSIPPI – A Mississippi judge yesterday jailed a lawyer who refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in his courtroom.

Attorney Danny Lampley, 49, was taken into custody Wednesday morning after Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn cited him for criminal contempt of court for failing to recite the 31-word pledge at the outset of the morning’s proceedings at the Lee County courthouse.

An October 6 order signed by Talmadge notes that Lampley was being charged for his “failure to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance as ordered.” Lampley, the judge added, “shall purge himself of said criminal contempt…by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in open court.”

Lampley, pictured in the mug shots at right, was jailed for nearly five hours before Littlejohn ordered his release so that the lawyer could be present for a “previously set hearing before the Court.” The attorney, no longer in stripes, returned to the Tupelo courthouse after being sprung from jail.

It is unclear whether Lampley, who does not believe citizens are required to recite the pledge, will again be sanctioned by Littlejohn if he takes a pass on the pledge.

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High Cost Of New York Prisons Is Employees – Some Making Double Or Triple Salaries With Overtime

October 7, 2010

NEW YORK – Every time a criminal gets locked up in New York it costs taxpayers about $55,000 a year to keep him or her behind bars. But a Fox 5 News investigation found the biggest cost in the New York State Department of Correctional Services isn’t prisoners, it is employees.

At Bedford Hills Correction Center in Westchester some employees will work double time, legally doubling or tripling their salaries.

In 2009, 28 corrections staffers and nurses made more than $100,000 because of overtime. Overtime at this one prison cost the state $1.7 million in 2009.

Nurses were the big overtime winners. The base pay is $55,000 but one nurse took home an astonishing $227,000. Another made $187,000 and another made more than $161,000.

Bronx State Senator Jeffrey Klein is crusading against overtime in state agencies.

“We can’t afford to spend the taxpayer’s money this way,” Klein says. “Certainly no one is getting overtime in the private sector. They are lucky if they have jobs.”

In the Department of Correctional Services alone, taxpayers shelled out $90.1 million for overtime in 2009. Fox 5 News found that 1,469 corrections staffers and nurses had salaries over $100,000 because of overtime.

Overtime is generally awarded on the basis of seniority, and pensions are based on the last three years of service, so when correctional employees make over $100,000 a year because of overtime their pensions get sweeter.

Fox 5 News’ review of records from the comptroller’s office found that it appears many of the top overtime earners qualify for pensions because of their age and length of service.

Rob Salomon a professor at NYU Stern School of Business looked at the Correctional budget for Fox 5 News.

“This is a drain, and right now the state budget is in a place where we can’t afford these extra costs,” Salomon says.

Corrections Commissioner Brian Fischer doesn’t exactly defend the system. He makes $136,000 a year, significantly less than his overtime winners. Although he’s cut the budget by $200 million in the last two years, he says union rules make it tough to crackdown.

If someone makes more than $227,000, or $167,000, it’s going to cost the taxpayers for years.

“That’s the contract. They are allowed to. I don’t agree with it,” Fischer says. “A nurse by contract can choose to work 16 hour days if he or she wants to.”

Hiring more staff would help, but apparently there’s a high turn-over of junior correctional officers. And nurses aren’t lining up for the potentially lucrative jobs.

Fischer says, “There is a nurse shortage nationally. It’s tough in the city hospitals. It’s tough in the community hospitals. We’re at the bottom of that list.”

Overtime bills add up even in prisons that have fewer prisoners. Because of the plummeting crime rate, and the change in drug laws, New York state prisons are 88% of capacity. 7,732 beds are empty. And that’s where the commissioner has tried to cut.

“The way to save real money is to do away with an entire facility,” Fischer says.

But saving real money is tough because powerful unions, state legislators, and upstate communities fight closing prisons. In 2008 they fought to keep Hudson Correctional in Columbia County open.

That prison only has 265 full time inmates but it has 229 employees.

“That’s an incredible ratio, If only our children could get that student teacher ratio in our schools,” Salomon says.

Closing Hudson would have saved taxpayers more than $35 million dollars in operating and construction costs over 5 years. Five staffers at Hudson made more than $120,000 a year because of overtime.

The commissioner is still trying.

“We’ve advocated in basically the past two and half years to close prisons that we feel we could afford to give up,” Fischer says.

This year the commissioner planned to close four upstate prisons saving $45 million. But New York state legislators fought it. So the state will close only one and a half prisons.

Even crusaders like Senator Klein defend it.

“In upstate economies, prisons mean jobs. They’re a boon to the local economy, also there are still prisoners there that need to be in a penitentiary, Klein says.

But advocates for prisoners say the decisions to keep prisons open have more to do with the politics of local jobs than anything else. Elizabeth Gaines is with the Osbourne Association.

“Unfortunately people act like they have a right to work forever in prisons even when they are half empty,” Gaines says.

In those half-empty, and full prisoners- inmates don’t have to worry about health insurance. It’s guaranteed.

“That’s what we are required to do by law, and that’s the moral thing to do,” Fischer says.

But it’s pricey. $300 million in taxpayer money is spent on medicine for prisoners. One doctor at an upstate prison earns $266,000. $118,000 of that is overtime, making her the highest paid person in the department.

And there’s more. Prisons are rapidly becoming a substitute for mental hospitals. 13% of the prisoners are mentally ill.

the largest provider of mental health services in the state,” Gaines says.

that’s more money. It costs $63,000 a year to take care of a prisoner
like David Berkowitz, or Long Island railroad shooter Colin Ferguson.
And a recent lawsuit forced additional spending.

“That cost me
mega bucks; had to built new units. They demanded we create several, not
just one, but several new mental health programs for the offender,”
Fischer says.

Now, if you are inmate with a tic, with anxiety, with depression, you get help.

But the biggest costs remain the staffers and Fischer says the contracts have to be renegotiated.

next governor may have an opportunity to negotiate a new contract. In
the meantime, the union that represents the nurses told Fox 5 News,
nurses only work overtime when there is a need. The correctional
officer’s union did not respond to numerous phone calls.

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Mexico Complains About Limited Health Care For Wetbacks In U.S.

October 7, 2010

MEXICO – Mexican illegal immigrants in the United States face a higher risk of illness and death from limited access to health care, according to a new study announced this week by Mexico’s health ministry. Lack of adequate health care is likely to get worse for them as 26 American states consider legislation to crack down on illegal immigration, according to Mexican health officials.

The Mexicans also endure higher rates of drug addiction, HIV/AIDS and mental health problems when they move to the United States.

“While in Mexico addictions average 0.9 percent of the population, among Mexican migrants in the United States addictions affect 6.2 percent of members of that community, which is six times more than what is found in Mexico,” said Mexican Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos. “And regarding mental illnesses, in Mexico they affect 6.4 percent of the population and in the United States 15.4 percent of the migrants of Mexican origin.”

His figures were drawn from a study sponsored by the Mexican government in conjunction with the University of California.

Cordova Villalobos presented the findings Monday during a conference in Guanajuato, Mexico, on the health consequences of immigration from Mexico to the United States.

One in three Mexicans lack access to medical care when they move to the United States and only one-fifth of them have health insurance, the study found.

Results of the health study were announced at a time of growing resentment in Mexico about demands in the United States for a tougher political stance against illegal immigration.

In a recent example of the anti-immigrant sentiment, Florida Republicans are drafting a bill modeled on Arizona’s S.B. 1070, which Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last April.

The law empowers local police to stop people they reasonably believe are illegal immigrants to ask for them for documentation of their residency status. Local police also can question witnesses at crime scenes about their immigration status.

The Arizona law is the first to extend what had been an exclusive authority of federal law enforcement to local police.

Similar legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants is pending in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

At least 11 other state legislatures are discussing anti-illegal immigrant bills.

Conservatives who identify with the Tea Party movement are making an illegal immigration crackdown part of their campaign platform for the general election in November.

Mexican health officials expressed concern any additional anti-immigrant legislation might further reduce access to health care for the immigrants.

Speakers at the health conference in Guanajuato, Mexico, on Monday said health care is a right that should not be limited by government.

Xochitl Castañeda, project director of the California-Mexico Health Initiative, a University of California program to coordinate health resources for Mexican immigrants, said that in the United States health care “is a good that is bought and sold and is offered or withheld on eligibility criteria, much of them based on citizenship or illegal immigrant status.”

Jorge Bustamante, a professor at the Northern Border College in Tijuana, Mexico, said, “Laws like the Arizona law are a consequence of the xenophobic wave that has arisen after the start of the economic and financial crisis” in the United States, Bustamante said.

He also denied that Mexicans are contributing to U.S. economic problems.

He suggested that the U.S. government work more closely with the Mexican government to resolve illegal immigration.

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Puerto Rican Police Officers Protected Drug Dealers – 84 Cops Indicted And Arrested After 125 Drug Transactions

October 6, 2010

In the biggest crackdown on police corruption in the FBI’s 102-year history, authorities charged a total of 133 individuals in Puerto Rico Wednesday as the result of a probe into whether police provided protection for drug dealers.

All but four people, who were still being sought, were arrested Wednesday, authorities said. In all, 89 law enforcement officers and 44 other people were indicted as part of a two-year undercover investigation into 125 drug transactions.

The scope of Operation Guard Shack was also described as unprecedented because 750 FBI personnel were flown to the island to carry out the raids and make arrests, Attorney General Eric Holder said. In total, he said, more than 1,000 FBI personnel participated.

The investigation began when an undercover FBI agent posed as a dealer selling multiple kilograms of cocaine and “put the word out that he needed security during drug deals,” the FBI said on its website.

“Many of those who responded were cops. They actively took part in the transactions by carrying weapons and patting down the drug buyers — who were actually FBI informants.”

The cops were paid between $500 and $4,500 for their efforts, the FBI said. “In all, more than $500,000 was paid in protection money.”

Puerto Rico is a major shipping point for drugs between the East Coast and such South American countries as Colombia and Peru, said Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez, the U.S. attorney for Puerto Rico.

She described the corruption as limited to a relatively small number of officers “who wanted to make a fast buck … and needed the money.”

“The people of Puerto Rico deserve better,” Holder said. He told Puerto Ricans that “as you continue your fight against drug trafficking, violent crime and corruption, we will continue to stand with you.”

The 133 defendants have been charged in 26 indictments with charges that include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, attempt to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, and use of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking offense.

A grand jury in Puerto Rico returned the indictments last month, and they were unsealed Wednesday, officials said.

Arrested were 60 members of the Puerto Rico Police Department, 16 members of various local police departments, 12 correctional officers, eight former law officers, three National Guard soldiers, two U.S. Army officers, one administrative examiner in child support matters, one Social Security Administration employee and 30 other civilians.

The operations began at 3 a.m. ET Wednesday, the FBI said, when 65 tactical teams fanned out across the island, the FBI said. FBI personnel on hand included crisis negotiators, evidence response team members, police dogs and their handlers and 80 medical personnel, including a trauma surgeon and a veterinarian. They traveled in armored Humvees, helicopters and some 250 rental cars, the FBI said.

Some Puerto Rican police officers assisted in the investigation into alleged law enforcement corruption, said Rodriguez-Velez.

“They refused to tolerate the corruption they witnessed,” she said.

Puerto Rico Police Department Chief Figueroa Sancha knew of the investigation, the FBI said, quoting him as saying, “All the officers arrested during today’s takedown did not honor or value the significance of working for the Puerto Rico Police Department.”

Not all of the law enforcement officers arrested knew each other, according to Rodriguez-Velez, and they came from different parts of the island. A police lieutenant was involved in recruiting others to provide protection for the drug dealers, she said. “Badges were sold and honor was compromised for drug money,” she added.

“Public corruption does not just strike at the heart of good government. It also jeopardizes the security of our communities and our nation,” Shawn Henry, FBI executive assistant director, said in a statement.

If convicted, the defendants face sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment, according to the Justice Department.

“This is a fight that cannot be won without the assistance of our community,” said Rodriguez-Velez. “Today, I call upon the citizens of the community not to remain silent.”

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U.S. Governement Covered Up Scientists Descriptions Of Worst Case Scenario During BP Oil Spill Disaster

October 6, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – The White House blocked efforts by federal scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could have been.

That finding comes from a panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the worst offshore oil spill in history.

In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission reveals that in late April or early May the White House budget office denied a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make public the worst-case discharge from the blown-out well.

BP estimated the worse scenario to be a leak of 2.5 million gallons per day. The government, meanwhile, was telling the public the well was releasing 210,000 gallons per day – a figure that later grew closer to BP’s figure.

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Black Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Judge Joseph Williams Rejected Plea Deal For “White Boy”

October 6, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA — A black judge from western Pennsylvania rejected a plea agreement for a man accused of fighting with police during a traffic stop, saying it was “a ridiculous plea that only goes to white boys.”

The plea agreement was for a sentence of three months probation. Allegheny County Judge Joseph Williams said on Tuesday that a black defendant in that situation would not have been treated as leniently.

In court, Williams told Assistant District Attorney Brian Catanzarite that he “for some reason comes up with I think ridiculous pleas whenever it’s a young white guy,” according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m just telling you what my observation is. If this had been a black kid who did the same thing, we wouldn’t be talking about three months’ probation.”

Catanzarite responded that he was standing in for another prosecutor and didn’t broker the plea deal.

“Now that the court has essentially called me a racist, I think that’s unfair. I don’t make offers based on race. I make offers based on facts,” Catanzarite said, according to the Tribune-Review.

Williams later recused himself from the case, and a white judge accepted the plea agreement for 24-year-old Jeffery McGowan.

The defendant, who had no criminal record, agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct. He had faced charges including aggravated assault.

Williams’ secretary on Wednesday told The Associated Press the judge does not give interviews.

The Allegheny County district attorney’s office did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, told the Tribune-Review the plea deal was appropriate and agreed to by the officer, who was not injured.

“Negotiated pleas are never based on the race of a particular defendant but rather on the behavior of the defendant and the facts associated with that behavior,” Manko told the newspaper.

“The assistant district attorneys who handled this plea on behalf of the commonwealth have outstanding reputations, and we firmly stand behind their integrity and the integrity of all of our prosecutors.”

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Feds Lose Key Witness In 1st Civilian Trial Of Guantanamo Bay Torture Prison Detainee

October 6, 2010

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The judge in the first civilian trial of a Guantanamo Bay detainee barred the prosecution’s star witness Wednesday from testifying, dealing a major setback to the government’s effort to build criminal cases with evidence obtained through harsh CIA interrogations overseas.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said the witness could not take the stand because investigators learned of his existence through coercive questioning of the defendant, terrorism suspect Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, at a secret CIA camp.

“The court has not reached this conclusion lightly,” Kaplan wrote. “It is acutely aware of the perilous nature of the world in which we live. But the Constitution is the rock upon which our nation rests. We must follow it not when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction.”

The ruling stunned prosecutors, who asked for and received an immediate delay in the case while they decide whether to appeal. It also re-energized the debate over whether terrorism suspects captured overseas should be prosecuted in civilian courts and whether the American justice system is up to the task.

Despite the setback, Attorney General Eric Holder said at a Washington news conference that he remains confident the Justice Department can successfully prosecute Ghailani in civilian court. He noted there have been over 300 successful prosecutions in civilian courts in terrorism cases.

The delay came during the final selection of jurors in the case against Ghailani, a Tanzanian charged in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The twin attacks killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

The man who was supposed to be the government’s star witness, Hussein Abebe, said he sold explosives to Ghailani that were used in the bombing. But defense lawyers said prosecutors never would have learned about Abebe if Ghailani had not divulged his identity while undergoing harsh interrogations at a secret overseas CIA camp in 2004.

Ghailani’s attorney, Peter E. Quijano, praised the judge’s ruling.

“It is the Constitution that won a great victory today,” Quijano said. “This case will be tried upon lawful evidence, not torture, not coercion.”

Michael Farkas, a former Army judge advocate and now a civilian attorney, said the ruling shows why those backing military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees contend that “civilian criminal courts are no place for war criminals.” He said the military rules of evidence do not give defendants some of the protections they are afforded in the civilian justice system.

“In a military tribunal, this witness would not have been precluded,” Farkas said.

Anthony S. Barkow, executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at the New York University School of Law, called the ruling “a significant blow” to prosecutors. But he noted that Ghailani was indicted before they learned about the witness, and he said they presumably have ample evidence without him.

The ruling “will certainly be cited in arguments relating to future decisions as to where to try these cases,” said Barkow, a former federal terrorism prosecutor in New York City who later observed Guantanamo proceedings for a human rights group.

Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar, who is monitoring the trial for the organization, said Kaplan’s ruling recognizing that “evidence derived through torture is inadmissible only strengthens the view that civilian federal courts, not military commissions, can best handle difficult terrorism cases.”

Ghailani was smiling after the judge ruled.

There was little controversy when Ghailani was brought to New York for trial in 2009, but the subject of where to try Guantanamo Bay detainees became heated after Holder announced last November that the professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others would be tried blocks from where the World Trade Center stood. Holder later said he was reconsidering.

Ghailani is accused of being a bomb-maker, document forger and aide to Osama bin Laden. He is charged with conspiring in the 1998 bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.

Prosecutors had repeatedly called Abebe’s testimony vital to their case.

But the judge said Abebe was identified and located as a “close and direct result of statements made by Ghailani” while in CIA custody. He noted the government had decided not to contest the details of Ghailani’s treatment while in CIA custody and had told the judge to assume that everything Ghailani said while in CIA custody was coerced.

Though many of the details about his treatment have been kept secret, the defense divulged during a pretrial hearing that he was subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques for 14 hours over five days. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the CIA used 10 harsh methods, including waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, against select detainees.

The judge previously rejected a defense request to throw out the charges because of Ghailani’s treatment at the hands of the CIA.

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Feds Can’t Close Southern Border With Mexico But They They Can Keep Intruders Out Of Digital Networks

October 6, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Guarding water wells and granaries from enemy raids is as old as war itself. In the Middle Ages, vital resources were hoarded behind castle walls, protected by moats, drawbridges and knights with double-edged swords.

Today, U.S. national security planners are proposing that the 21st century’s critical infrastructure — power grids, communications, water utilities, financial networks — be similarly shielded from cyber marauders and other foes.

The ramparts would be virtual, their perimeters policed by the Pentagon and backed by digital weapons capable of circling the globe in milliseconds to knock out targets.

An examination by Reuters, including dozens of interviews with military officers, government officials and outside experts, shows that the U.S. military is preparing for digital combat even more extensively than has been made public. And how to keep the nation’s lifeblood industries safe is a big, if controversial, aspect of it.

“The best-laid defenses on military networks will matter little unless our civilian critical infrastructure is also able to withstand attacks,” says Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary William Lynn, who has been reshaping military capabilities for an emerging digital battlefield.

Any major future conflict, he says, inevitably will involve cyber warfare that could knock out power, transport and banks, causing “massive” economic disruption.

But not everyone agrees that the military should or even can take on the job of shielding such networks. In fact, some in the private sector fear that shifting responsibility to the Pentagon is technologically difficult — and could prove counterproductive.

For the moment, however, proponents of the change seem to have the upper hand. Their case has been helped by the recent emergence of Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm of unknown origin that attacks command modules for industrial equipment.

Experts describe the code as a first-of-its-kind guided cyber missile. Stuxnet has hit Iran especially hard, possibly slowing progress on Tehran’s nuclear program, as well as causing problems elsewhere.

Stuxnet was a cyber shot heard around the world. Russia, China, Israel and other nations are racing to plug network gaps. They also are building digital arsenals of bits, bytes and logic bombs — code designed to interfere with a computer’s operation if a specific condition is met, according to experts inside and outside the U.S. government.

The Worms Are Coming!

In some ways, the U.S. military-industrial complex — as President Dwight Eisenhower called ties among policymakers, the armed forces and arms makers — is turning into more of a military-cyber-intelligence mash-up.

The Pentagon’s biggest suppliers — including Lockheed Martin , Boeing , Northrop Grumman , BAE Systems and Raytheon — each have big and growing cyber-related product and service lines for a market that has been estimated at $80 billion to $140 billion a year worldwide, depending on how broadly it is defined.

U.S. officials have shown increasing concern about alleged Chinese and Russian penetrations of the electricity grid, which depends on the Internet to function.  Beijing, at odds with the United States over Taiwan arms sales and other thorny issues, has “laced U.S. infrastructure with logic bombs,” former National Security Council official Richard Clarke writes in his 2010 book “Cyber War,” a charge China denies.

Such concerns explain the Pentagon’s push to put civilian infrastructure under its wing by creating a cyber realm walled off from the rest of the Internet. It would feature “active” perimeter defenses, including intrusion monitoring and scanning technology, at its interface with the public Internet, much like the Pentagon’s “dot.mil” domain with its more than 15,000 Defense Department networks.

The head of the military’s new Cyber Command, Army General Keith Alexander, says setting it up would be straightforward technically. He calls it a “secure zone, a protected zone.”

Others have dubbed the idea “dot.secure.”

“The hard part is now working through and ensuring everybody’s satisfied with what we’re going to do,” Alexander, 58, told reporters gathered recently near his headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Alexander also heads the National Security Agency, or NSA, the super-secretive Defense Department arm that shields national security information and networks, and intercepts foreign communications.

The Pentagon is already putting in place a pilot program to boost its suppliers’ network defenses after break-ins that have compromised weapons blueprints, among other things. Lynn told Alexander to submit plans, in his NSA role, for guarding the so-called defense industrial base, or DIB, that sells the Pentagon $400 billion in goods and services a year.

“The DIB represents a growing repository of government information and intellectual property on unclassified networks,” Lynn said in a June 4 memo obtained by Reuters.

He gave the general 60 days to develop the plan, with the Homeland Security Department, to provide “active perimeter” defenses to an undisclosed number of Pentagon contractors.

“We must develop additional initiatives that will rapidly increase the level of cybersecurity protection for the DIB to a level equivalent to the (Department of Defense’s) unclassified network,” Lynn wrote.

The Pentagon, along with the Homeland Security department, is now consulting volunteer “industry partners” on the challenges private sector companies envision, said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rene White, a Pentagon spokeswoman, in a status report.


Some see the Pentagon’s proposed new ring around certain critical services as a throwback almost to the dark ages. “Dot.secure becomes new Target One,” says Richard Bejtlich, General Electric’s director of incident response.

“I can’t think of an easier way to help an adversary target the most critical information on industry computers.”

Bejtlich and others say such an arrangement would only be as strong as its weakest link, vulnerable to compromise in many ways.

“I guarantee users will want to and need to transfer information between their normal company Internet-connected computers and ‘dot.secure’,” he says. “Separation is a fool’s goal.”

Utilities already use encrypted, password-controlled systems to handle communication between power plants and large-scale distribution systems.

Trying to move that traffic off the existing Internet onto an independent computer network would be expensive, and would not necessarily guarantee security.

“Even a private network is only so secure,” said Dan Sheflin, a vice president at Honeywell International who works on grid-control technology. “A big threat is employees walk in, unknowingly or knowingly, with (an infected) thumb drive, plug it in, put their kids’ pictures on their PC and, oh boy, something’s on the network. Those are things that even a private network could be subject to.”

Rather than building a new network, a more practical solution could be improving the security of existing systems.

“The real issue is not letting people in and having layers of defense if they do get in to isolate them and eradicate them,” said Sheflin, of Honeywell, which makes grid components ranging from home thermostats to automation systems to run power plants.

“This is a very difficult problem. We are up against well-funded groups who can employ many people who spend their time trying to do this.”

Greg Neichin of San Francisco-based Cleantech Group, a research firm, says utility companies already are well aware of the need to guard their infrastructure, which can represent billions of dollars of investment. “Private industry is throwing huge sums at this already,” he says. “What is the gain from government involvement?”

Companies ranging from Honeywell to General Electric — whose chief executive, Jeff Immelt, called the U.S. energy grid a relic last month — are pushing the drive toward a “smart grid.”

That model would permit two-way communication between power producers and consumers, so a utility could avoid a blackout during a peak demand time by sending a signal to users’ thermostats to turn down air conditioning, for instance. Such a system could also allow variable pricing — lowering prices during off-peak demand times, which would encourage homeowners to run major appliances like dishwashers and washing machines in the evenings, when industrial demand declines.

Neichin is worried that efforts to wall off grid-related communication could stifle that kind of innovation. But even Sheflin of Honeywell argues that private companies are not likely to solve a problem of this magnitude on their own.

“The government needs to be involved in this,” he said. “There is going to have to be someone that says, ‘Wait a minute, this is of paramount importance.’ I don’t think it’s going to be private industry that will raise the red flag.”

A Pentagon spokesman said he could not address industry concerns right now, but the Defense Department would do so before long. Still, the military’s proposal faces other complications.

Who’s in Charge?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security now leads efforts to secure federal non-military systems, often described as the Internet’s “dot.gov” domain. It also has the lead in protecting critical infrastructure. NSA and Cyber Command lend a hand when asked to do so, including by U.S. companies seeking to button up their networks.

The idea of letting the Defense Department wall off certain private-sector networks is highly tricky for policymakers, industry and Pentagon planners. Among the issues: what to protect, who should be in charge, how to respond to any attack and whether the advent of a military gateway could hurt U.S. business’s dealings overseas, for instance for fear of Pentagon snooping.

In addition, the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act generally bars federal military personnel from acting in a law-enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Congress.

Alexander says the White House is considering whether to ask Congress for new authorities as part of a revised team approach to cyber threats that would also involve the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department.

There are persistent signs of strains between Cyber Command and the Homeland Security Department over how to enhance the U.S. cybersecurity posture.

“To achieve this, we have to depart from the romantic notion of cyberspace as the Wild Wild West,” Homeland Deputy Secretary Jane Lute told the annual Black Hat computer hackers’ conference in Las Vegas in July. “Or the scary notion of cyberspace as a combat zone. The goal here is not control, it’s confidence.”

Alexander made a reference to tensions during certain meetings ahead of Cyber Storm III, a three-day exercise mounted by U.S. Homeland Security last week with 12 other countries plus thousands of participants across government and industry. It simulated a major cyber attack on critical infrastructure.

“Defense Department issues versus Homeland Security issues,” he told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Sept. 23.

“And that’s probably where you’ll see more friction. So how much of each do you play? How radical do you make the exercise?” President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator, Howard

Schmidt, is working with Congress and within the administration to develop policies and programs to improve U.S. cybersecurity, says a White House spokesman, Nicholas Shapiro. Obama, proclaiming October National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, said protecting digital infrastructure is a “national security priority.”

“We must continue to work closely with a broad array of partners — from federal, state, local and tribal governments to foreign governments, academia, law enforcement and the private sector — to reduce risk and build resilience in our shared critical information and communications infrastructure,” he said.

Virtual Castle Walls

Active defenses of the type the military would use to shield a “dot.secure” zone represent a fundamental shift in the U.S. approach to network defense, Lynn says. They depend on warnings from communications intercepts gathered by U.S. intelligence.

Establishing this link was a key reasons for the creation of Cyber Command, ordered in June 2009 by Defense Secretary Robert Gates after he concluded that the cyber threat had outgrown the military’s existing structures.

“Policymakers need to consider, among other things, applying the National Security Agency’s defense capabilities beyond the “.gov” domain, such as to domains that undergird the commercial defense industry,” Lynn wrote in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs.

“The Pentagon is therefore working with the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector to look for innovative ways to use the military’s cyber defense capabilities to protect the defense industry,” he said.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who led a Senate Intelligence Committee cyber task force that submitted a classified report to the panel in July, has floated a similar idea, drawing an analogy to medieval fortresses.

“Can certain critical private infrastructure networks be protected now within virtual castle walls in secure domains where those pre-positioned offenses could be both lawful and effective?” he asked in a July 27 floor speech.

“This would obviously have to be done in a transparent manner, subject to very strict oversight. But with the risks as grave as they are, this question cannot be overlooked,” said the Rhode Island Democrat. “There is a concerted and systematic effort under way by national states to steal our cutting-edge technologies.”

The “dot.secure” idea may be slow in getting a full congressional airing. More than 40 bills on cyber security are currently pending. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Missouri Democrat Ike Skelton, told Reuters he was not ready to pass judgment on possible new powers for Cyber Command.

Cyber Warriors

Cyber Command leads day-to-day protection for the more than 15,000 U.S. defense networks and is designed to mount offensive strikes if ordered to do so.

The command has already lined up more than 40,000 military personnel, civilians and contractors under Alexander’s control, nearly half the total involved in operating the Defense Department’s sprawling information technology base.

It is still putting capabilities in place from across the military as it rushes to reach full operational capability by the end of this month. Reuters has pinned down the numbers involved for each service.

The Air Force component, the 24th Air Force, will align about 5,300 personnel to conduct or support round-the-clock operations, including roughly 3,500 military, 900 civilian and 900 contractors, said spokeswoman Captain Christine Millette.

The unit was declared fully operational on Oct. 1, including its 561st Network Operations Squadron based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, where it operates, maintains and defends Air Force networks.

The Navy adds about 14,000 active duty military and civilian employees serving at information operations, network defense, space and telecommunication facilities around the world. They are now aligned operationally under the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, said spokesman Commander Steve Mavica.

The Army contributes more than 21,000 soldiers and civilians, including the Army Intelligence and Security Command, for cyber-related actions, said Lieutenant Colonel David Patterson, an Army spokesman.

The Marine Corps will assign roughly 800 of its forces to “pure” cyber work, according to Lieutenant General George Flynn, deputy commandant for combat development. Cyber Command’s headquarters staff will total about 1,100, mostly military, under a budget request of about $150 million for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, up from about $120 million the year before.

Beside guarding Defense Department computers, the nation’s cyber warriors could carry out computer-network attacks overseas with weapons never known to have been used before.

“You can turn a computer or a power plant into a useless lump of metal,” says a former U.S. national security official familiar with the development of U.S. cyber warfare capabilities. “We could do all kind of things that would be useful adjuncts to a balanced military campaign.”

Such weapons could blow up, say, a chemical plant by instructing computers to raise the temperature in a combustion chamber, or shut a hydro-electric power plant for months by sabotaging its turbines.

Scant official information is available on the development of U.S. cyber weapons, which are typically “black” programs classified secret. They are built from binary 1s and 0s — bits and bytes. They may be aimed at blinding, jamming, deceiving, overloading and intruding into a foe’s information and communications circuits.

An unclassified May 2009 U.S. Air Force budget-justification document for Congress lifted the veil on one U.S. cyber weapon program. It described “Project Suter” software, apparently designed to invade enemy communication networks and computer systems, including those used to track and help shoot down enemy warplanes.

“Exercises provide an opportunity to train personnel in combined, distributed operations focused on the ‘Find, Fix and Finish’ process for high-value targets,” says the request for research, development, test and evaluation funds.

The U.S. Air Force Space Command has proposed the creation of a graduate-level course for “network warfare operations.”

The proposed five-and-a-half-month class would produce officers to lead weapons and tactics development “and provide in-depth expertise throughout the air, space and cyberspace domains focused on the application of network defense, exploitation and attack,” Lieutenant Colonel Chad Riden, the space command’s Weapons and Tactics branch chief, said in an emailed reply to Reuters.

Georgia on Their Mind

The world got a glimpse of what lower-level cyber warfare might look like in Estonia in 2007 and in Georgia in 2008 when cyber attacks disrupted networks amid conflicts with Russia.

Now, the Stuxnet computer virus is taking worries about cyber warfare to new heights as the first reported case of malicious software designed to sabotage industrial controls.

“Stuxnet is a working and fearsome prototype of a cyber-weapon that will lead to a new arms race in the world,” said Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based security software vendor. “This time it will be a cyber arms race.”

The program specifically targets control systems built by Siemens AG, a German equipment maker. Iran, the target of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, has been hit hardest of any country by the worm, according to experts such as the U.S. technology company Symantec .

Asked about Stuxnet, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Bernard McCullough, head of Cyber Command’s Navy component, told Reuters: “It has some capabilities we haven’t seen before.”

Discovered in June, Stuxnet — named for parts of its embedded code — is capable of reprogramming software that controls such things as robot arms, elevator doors and HVAC climate control systems, said Sean McGurk, who has studied it for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at an Idaho lab that grabs live viruses from the Internet and serves as a kind

of digital Petri dish. “We’re not looking right now to try to attribute where it came from,” McGurk told reporters at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center that he runs in Arlington, Virginia. “What we’re focusing on now is how to mitigate and prevent the spread,” he said on Sept. 24.

And then there is China. Its cyber clout has been a growing concern to U.S. officials amid bilateral strains over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Beijing’s currency policies, its territorial claims in the South China Sea and other irritants.

Beijing appears to have thoroughly pierced unclassified U.S. government networks, said Dmitri Alperovitch, who heads Internet-threat intelligence analysis and correlation for McAfee , a software and security vendor that counts the Pentagon among its clients.

“In the U.S. when you’re sending an email over an unclassified system you might as well copy the Chinese on that email because they’ll probably read it anyway because of their pretty thorough penetration of our network,” he says.

Still, Chinese cyber capabilities lag those of the United States, Russia, Israel and France in that order, adds Alperovitch. He headed McAfee’s investigation into Aurora, a codename for a cyber espionage blitz on high-tech Western companies that led Google to recast its relationship with China earlier this year.

Cyber arms entail “high reward, low risk” says Jeffrey Carr, a consultant to the United States and allied governments on Russian and Chinese cyber warfare strategy and tactics.

Lynn, the deputy defense secretary steering the military’s cyber overhaul, went to Brussels on Sept. 14 to brief NATO allies on U.S. cyber defense initiatives. He encouraged them to take action to secure NATO networks, said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.

Some U.S. computer defenses are already linked with those of its allies, notably through existing intelligence-sharing partnerships with Britain, Canada, Australia and NATO. But “far greater levels of cooperation” are needed to stay ahead of the threat, Lynn says.

NATO’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “believes that this is a growing problem and that it can reach levels that can threaten the fundamental security interests of the alliance,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.

A Rasmussen-compiled draft of a new NATO vision statement is due to be approved by NATO states at a Nov. 19-20 summit in Lisbon and will endorse a more prominent cyber defense role for the alliance.

They all agree that castle walls alone are no longer an option.

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South Fulton Tennessee Fire Department Allowed Family’s House To Burn Because It “Wasn’t On Their List”

October 6, 2010

SOUTH FULTON, TENNESSEE – Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee.

Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat.

“They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn’t do it,” Cranick told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.

The fire started when the Cranicks’ grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.

“We wasn’t on their list,” he said the operators told him.

Cranick, who lives outside the city limits, admits he “forgot” to pay the annual $75 fee. The county does not have a county-wide firefighting service, but South Fulton offers fire coverage to rural residents for a fee.

Cranick says he told the operator he would pay whatever is necessary to have the fire put out.

His offer wasn’t accepted, he said.

The fire fee policy dates back 20 or so years.

“Anybody that’s not inside the city limits of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer. Either they accept it or they don’t,” said South Fulton Mayor David Crocker.

The fire department’s decision to let the home burn was “incredibly irresponsible,” said the president of an association representing firefighters.

“Professional, career firefighters shouldn’t be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up,” Harold Schatisberger, International Association of Fire Fighters president, said in a statement. “They get in their trucks and go.”

Firefighters did eventually show up, but only to fight the fire on the neighboring property, whose owner had paid the fee.

“They put water out on the fence line out here. They never said nothing to me. Never acknowledged. They stood out here and watched it burn,” Cranick said.

South Fulton’s mayor said that the fire department can’t let homeowners pay the fee on the spot, because the only people who would pay would be those whose homes are on fire.

Cranick, who is now living in a trailer on his property, says his insurance policy will help cover some of his lost home.

“Insurance is going to pay for what money I had on the policy, looks like. But like everything else, I didn’t have enough.”

After the blaze, South Fulton police arrested one of Cranick’s sons, Timothy Allen Cranick, on an aggravated assault charge, according to WPSD-TV, an NBC station in Paducah, Ky.

Police told WPSD that the younger Cranick attacked Fire Chief David Wilds at the firehouse because he was upset his father’s house was allowed to burn.

WPSD-TV reported that Wilds was treated and released.

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Warrant Issued After San Diego Police Officer Robert Acosta And His Wife Trash Million Dollar Home Amid Foreclosure

October 6, 2010

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – A San Diego police officer and his wife have warrants out for their arrest after they were accused of vandalizing their million-dollar Temecula home.

The warrants for felony vandalism were issued for Robert and Monique Acosta after they allegedly trashed their home because they were facing foreclosure.

Neighbors said the couple told them that their credit union refused to modify their mortgage and gave them until July to move out. Residents said the Acosta’s former home was the nicest on the block — neighbors called it the Castle.

Neighbor, Keith Peet, helped the couple move but said he had to break off the friendship.

“He started damaging the house,” Peet said. “Pouring concrete down the drain and just damaging the whole house like it is now.”

The couple is also accused of smashing decorative stones and destroying the landscaping. In addition, the Acostas allegedly stole trees, fixtures, air conditioning units and cabinets.

Almost $200,000 worth of damage was done, according to the Riverside District Attorney’s office. Officials said that some of the property was recovered.

One real estate agent said she has seen some foreclosed homes booby-trapped and even rigged to explode.

“They figure, ‘How am I going to get my investment back?’ — in those cases, this is what they do,” said Realtor Maria Polito.

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Thousands Of Individuals And Police Waste Time Investigating Video Of Child Throwing Puppies In A River – No Charges

October 6, 2010

BUGOJNA, BOSNIA – The blonde girl who was filmed hurling puppies into a river to drown will not face animal cruelty charges, furious animal rights campaigners have announced.

Police in Bugojna, Bosnia, have dropped plans to prosecute the youngster because they say she is not old enough to face court.

The decision was revealed by angry animal rights campaigners PETA in Germany, today (Tuesday).

They say local police and animal care groups claim all the pups were rescued from the fast flowing Vbras river by an onlooker.

But PETA spokeswoman Nadja Kutscher said: “This is outrageous. The puppies that the old woman was with were completely different ones to those thrown into the river in the video.

“The puppies would never have survived in the river.”

The original 44 second YouTube clip shocked hundreds of thousands around the world.

In the horrific footage some of the black and white pups could be heard whimpering in a basket before crying pitifully as they were flung through the air.

At one point the girl, wearing a red hoodie, shouted “Wooo!” as she hurled them into the river one by one.

The blonde girl – believed to be under 18 – and her parents were quizzed by local police and warned they could face a 5,000 GBP fine and an animal cruelty charge last month.

But today (Tuesday) PETA in Germany revealed: “The animal protection agency which works down in Bosnia has announced that the investigation has been closed and neither the girl nor the parents will be charged.”

“The child is said to be too young for any kind of punishment.”

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