In 2008, at least nine Inland law-enforcement officers arrested

The Press-Enterprise

At least nine Inland law-enforcement officers were arrested in 2008 on charges including making inappropriate advances on a woman and attempted murder, according to court records.

Prosecutors say they believe some officers committed crimes while on duty.

Agencies rigorously test officers before and after they join the force to weed out problem people, but officials say these tests can't identify everyone who will ever be accused of a crime.

"I would love to have a target of zero arrests," said Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff. "But we are hiring human beings."

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The majority of the officers arrested in Riverside and San Bernardino counties were charged with behaving inappropriately with women, including their wives and women suspected of a crime.

Arnulfo Moreno, who was hired as a nonsworn Riverside County sheriff's correctional deputy less than two years before his arrest, pleaded not guilty to trying to kill his wife on Nov. 13, according to court documents. Attempts to reach his attorney were unsuccessful.

Robert Forman, who was hired by the Riverside Police Department as an officer in 1996, pleaded not guilty to coercing several women to give him sexual favors in exchange for looking the other way on crimes they committed from February to April, according to court records.

Two officers were charged with inappropriately touching women while on duty, and one officer was charged with trying to extort $80,000 and a truck from a man. An off-duty officer was charged with grinding a gun into the ear of a tow truck driver.

UC Irvine associate professor Paul Jesilow, who studies police misconduct, said that in his studies, he noticed that it is much more common for an officer to be accused of a crime that took place on duty than outside his job. Most difficulties arise when the officers are making judgment calls, Jesilow said.

National and state policing agencies don't track officer arrests. The exact number of officers arrested in the Inland area in 2008 could not be determined because no agency keeps those statistics. San Bernardino County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Phelps said four deputies were arrested in 2008. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which has about 2,200 sworn deputies, does not keep those statistics, said Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez.


Screening weeds out many people, but leaders of policing agencies want more tests.

Prospective officers' criminal, civil and credit histories are checked. They face physical, medical and mental exams. Their friends, neighbors and siblings are interviewed.

No felony convictions are allowed, said Bob Stresak, spokesman for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. The commission sets minimum standards for screening and training.

Sniff wants the commission to add an integrity test.

"There is a lot of trust we put in these folks to do the right thing even when nobody is watching," Sniff said.

Riverside police Capt. Michael Blakely, who oversees training, police personnel and internal affairs, said troubled histories help identify most problem applicants.

"What they have done in the past is the best indicator of what they will do in the future," Blakely said.

Sniff said people fresh out of college or high school sometimes slip through because they have not had enough life experience to reveal their true character. That is why he would like the state to implement an integrity test that would probe the candidate's ethics.

About 10 percent of candidates make it to the academy, where they receive at least 664 hours of training, Stresak said.

Capt. Greg Bottrell, the head of training for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, estimated at least 40 hours are dedicated to training that orders officers to report any criminal activity or serious break in policy by colleagues.

"That is their first lesson," Bottrell said.

He added that most problems stem from alcohol and drugs, women and money.

Sniff speaks to each of his recruits about the importance of following the rules.

"I underscore that eyeball to eyeball with each of the employees," Sniff said.


Officials said they must maintain the public's confidence even when a small number of officers falter.

Phelps, the San Bernardino County sheriff's sergeant, said he does not consider four officers arrested out of 1,775 sworn deputies to be an "exorbitant" number.

One Riverside Police Department officer among the approximately 400 budgeted was arrested in 2008, said Riverside Sgt. Jaybee Brennan.

Sniff said he must preserve public confidence when a deputy has broken it.

"We do find people after a number of years who do something stupid or criminal, and the best way our agency can reassure the public, because it does reflect poorly on us, is to deal with it quite harshly."

Staff writer Sonja Bjelland contributed to this report.

Reach Jessica Logan at 951-368-9466 or jlogan@PE.com

Inland law-enforcement officers arrested in 2008. RSO — Riverside County Sheriff. SBSO — San Bernardino County Sheriff. RPD — Riverside Police Department.
Name Charge Agency Case status Notes
John Thomas Laurent Attempted extortion SBSO Pending Accused of seeking $80,000, pickup from tribal member
John Frank Schafers Sexual battery on duty RSO Plea, 3 years probation Attorney says case is a misunderstanding
Raymond Cesar Vidales Sexual battery RSO In previous corporal injury to spouse case, convicted of disturbing the peace
Ernest Estrada Sexual battery on duty RSO Pending Attorney says accuser is lying
Arnulfo Moreno Attempted murder, sexual assault RSO Pending
Ronald Eugene Griffith Assault, domestic violence threats, battery by police officer RSO Pending
Robert A. Forman Sexual battery on duty RPD Pending Former Officer of the Year
Richard Heverly Assault SBSO Pending
Eric Lance Hamilton Stalking RSO Plea, 3 years probation Battery case settled civilly
Sources: News reports, law-enforcement agencies

Perversion of Justice: Gulag America

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

by Rady Ananda


The American Prison Gulag, already one-half Black, is becoming increasingly co-ed. "The US jailed one in 746 women in 2006, up from one in 100,000 back in 1925. Compared to other nations, the female portion of the prison population is highest in the US - at 9%." Melissa Mummert's film, Perversion of Justice, tells the "story of Hamedah Hasan and her three children" to "exemplify the need to repeal the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, and the mandatory minimum laws."

Perversion of Justice: Gulag America

by Rady Ananda

This article was originally posted at OpEdNews.

In 1925, the US jailed 1 in 100,000 women. In 2006, it jailed 1 in 746. The 1984 Sentencing Reform Act and mandatory minimum sentence laws need to be repealed for the protection of families, communities and society as a whole. The film, Perversion of Justice, highlights the experiences of one family victimized by these laws.

Perversion of Justice

A film by the Reverend Melissa Mummert

Border Walk Productions

Changemaker Award at the 2008 Media That Matters Festival

Run time: 30 minutes Website: www.PerversionOfJustice.com

In Perversion of Justice, filmmaker Melissa Mummert potently calls for prison sentencing reform. She highlights the victimization of one family caused by extreme penalties imposed for peripheral support of small time drug dealers. Examining the social costs, Mummert exposes the rank injustice and provides action links for battling outrageous terms meted for nonviolent crimes.

The story of Hamedah Hasan and her three children exemplify the need to repeal the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, and the mandatory minimum laws. Legal commentators bolster the argument, including the trial judge. The film asserts that the public cost for warehousing nonviolent prisoners is $30,000 a year. A review of legal documents reveals that over a four-year period, the drug selling operation earned $180,000. Divided among the three defendants, that's $15,000 a year in earnings. Society deserves a more judicially and fiscally sane policy in dealing with drug offenders.

Perversion of Justice is perfectly adapted for showing at faith-based and social justice meetings, allowing time for Q&A within a one-hour format. This 8-minute teaser should provoke interest in the 30-minute version that won the Changemaker Award at the 2008 Media That Matters Festival:

No stranger to the US penal system, Mummert watched her father's peace advocacy land him a six-month prison stay. In 1992, he organized a protest of the missile silo sites in Missouri. His crime: planting a white pansy on Air Force soil. With her father's activist background, it is not surprising that Mummert chose to intern at a prison while a student at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley.

While interning as a prison chaplain, Mummert learned of harsh sentences imposed on drug users and small time dealers, and began to research the topic. She pored through several case studies provided by Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Hamedah made the best case for public review: she had no prior run-ins with the law, her actions only peripherally supported small time drug deals, and she is a single parent who was pregnant at the time of sentencing. No better case for leniency could be made.

Mass Incarceration

But compassion is not a hallmark of the US justice system, where female incarceration rates jumped 64% from 1995 to 2006. For a longer view showing a cultural shift toward imprisonment, the US jailed one in 746 women in 2006, up from one in 100,000 back in 1925. Compared to other nations, the female portion of the prison population is highest in the US - at 9%. In 2006, two-thirds of incarcerated women in the US were mothers; and three-fourths had symptoms or a clinical diagnosis of mental illness, and/or received treatment from a mental health professional in 2005. (WAP)

Worse, Hamedah Hasan is black in a nation that universally convicts people of color at rates far above those for whites, and for longer terms. In 2006, the incarceration rate per 100,000 for whites was 409, and 2,468 for blacks. That's an imprisonment rate of nearly 3 in 100 for blacks, or six times higher than for whites. The film mentions Hasan's "Do Not Snitch" value; given these statistics, that value better serves human rights than cooperating with authorities.

Even the form of cocaine most readily available to poor blacks - crack cocaine - receives far harsher sentences than does the powdered form. Hamedah Hasan's case is featured in the most recent issue of Crack the Disparity, which also reports that the Obama-Biden Transition Team "has made elimination of the federal sentencing disparity for crack cocaine offense a key goal on its Agenda for Change" under its Civil Rights agenda.

"In 2006, two-thirds of incarcerated women in the US were mothers."

The Sentencing Project reports that "The rapid growth of women's incarceration - at nearly double the rate for men over the past two decades - is disproportionately due to the war on drugs." The federal Bureau of Prisons generally agrees: "As a result of Federal law enforcement and new legislation that dramatically altered sentencing in the Federal criminal justice system, the 1980s brought a significant increase in the number of Federal inmates. In fact, most of the Bureau's growth from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s was the result of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (which established determinate sentencing, abolished parole, and reduced good time) and mandatory minimum sentences enacted in 1986, 1988, and 1990." This chart graphically shows the marked increase for all inmates (prison and jails) for the past 100 years:

Sources: Justice Policy Institute and PEW Center on the States

Featured in Perversion of Justice, the trial judge in Hamedah's case is no stranger to balking at sentencing guidelines. Richard George Kopf was appointed to the federal bench by George the Elder in 1992. Early this year, he published his Top 10 List of sentencing debacles. Here's one:

"9. You don't need experience in actually sentencing people in order to totally screw up the law of sentencing. It is telling and painfully obvious that not a single Justice ever had to look a federal defendant in the eye while not knowing what law to apply."

Under the federal guidelines, Judge Kopf was required to sentence Hamedah to two life sentences, two 40-year sentences, two 20-year sentences and two more sentences at 5 and 4 years each. He felt awful. "This is the most unfair perversion of justice that I can think of." Pointing out the difference between small time and kingpin drug dealers, he clarifies, "The problem is that we begin to treat the Hamedah Hasans of the world like the Noriegas of the world."

Under new guidelines, he was able to reduce her sentence to 27 years. She appealed for further reduction and Kopf modified her sentence to 12 years. But, zealous prosecutors fought and won a reversal of the 12-year sentence. Now serving in a medium security prison at Victorville (California), Hasan is due to be released in 2016.

A Global Look at Prisons

At 5% of the world's population, the US imprisons a fourth of the 10 million reported prisoners globally. Of 218 nations surveyed by the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), the US ranks No. 1, far and away jailing more of its citizens than China, which ranks 118; Burma-Myanmar, at 117; and Zimbabwe, at 104. The Pew Center on the States shocked the nation early this year with its widely disseminated and devastating report, 1 in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008. Not only does the US have the highest incarceration rate in the world, but also the highest number of all prisoners worldwide.

Prison conditions vary widely across nations. The ICPS summarized data from 2003 through 2006 in a report released this year, International Profile of Women's Prisons. In this detailed study of twenty countries, Germany rises as an advocate of one of the most proactive prison systems in the world. It models what an enlightened view of incarceration means:

"The object of imprisonment is to enable prisoners to lead a life of social responsibility without committing criminal offences. This means that life in penal institutions shall be approximated as far as possible to general living conditions outside [and] that detrimental effects of imprisonment shall be counteracted."

"In separating children from their mothers, the US penal system harms families."

Germany's rehabilitation policy goal is backed up by conditions that support family life in their "open" prisons where children up to age six live with their mothers:

"Mothers live with their children in self contained flats which consist of a kitchen, bathroom, one bedroom and a living room. They do not have the appearance of cells but look more like well-equipped family houses. The building also does not look like a prison but more like a student flat from the outside.

"There are no bars at the windows and every flat has its own balcony. Also, mothers can go outside. According to a prison guard, the prison is very open and there are no fences. Staff do not wear uniforms because they do not want to create distance between themselves and the children."

In stark contrast, the US federal prison system does not allow mothers to keep their newborns. Hamedah gave birth to her third daughter while in federal prison. State prisons also generally do not allow mothers to keep their newborns, but some do for up to three months, and in some venues up to 18 months. In separating children from their mothers, the US penal system harms families, a point stressed in Perversion of Justice.

Like the Wall Street Bailout: Taxpayer Costs and Private Profits

The US penal system has grown into a massive prison industrial complex (PIC) in the past three decades. Over 350 prisons have been built since 1980. In addition to the big firms running private prisons (GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation, Cornell Companies, Inc., etc.), a host of industries feed off incarceration. One blogger posted over 100 companies that do business with prisons. In commenting last year on the growth of the U.S. prison industry, Neal Peirce wrote:

"[A]ny governor faces formidable political obstacles trying to pare back America's vast prison-industrial complex. In California, it's the Correctional Peace Officers Association, an astounding 31,000 members strong.... It has more than 2,000 members earning over $100,000 a year; its contract-guaranteed pension benefits are today superior to those of the state university system.... The three-strikes law is its full-employment act."

The PIC also relies on mass media to promote its growth and expansion. Violent crime has steadily declined over the past 20 years. Yet, cable and network television provide a steady stream of crime and punishment shows, from fiction to infomercials that celebrate the prison industrial complex and a gulag culture. Earlier this month, I received a viral email exemplifying PIC's propaganda, showing several pictures of a modern, shiny new prison and a slate of "facts" comparing prison life to work life. It ends with a wish for imprisonment.

The US prison system is privatized in more than half the states and at the federal level in 14 of its 194 facilities, using cheap prison labor to create products that are sold domestically and overseas. In this comprehensive 1998 article, Eric Schlosser shows how the PIC creates billions of dollars in profits for private corporations while underwriting the costs with public funds, hiring at non-union wages, and avoiding bureaucratic red tape.

Mummert's film only touches on the social impacts of harsh drug sentencing policies, but the PIC is wide open for reform, if not outright abolishment. Social scientists argue that prisons create far more problems for society than other methods of dealing with crime. Many advocate for full voting rights, ending felon disenfranchisement. Some advocate the abolition of prisons, given abuse of prisoners and political corruption that inevitably occur when humans cage humans.

About Media That Matters

If you feel inspired to take action in your community, Media That Matters sells DVD collections for showing films, as well as providing nuts and bolts advice on how to organize screenings. They'll even help publicize your event. Launched in 2001 by Arts Engine and one of the oldest and largest online film festivals, the MTM Film Festival is an annual global showcase of short films with "insight, humor and creativity that make audiences think, laugh and take action on today's most pressing social issues." Each short screened in the festival is accompanied by "Take Action Links," interactive tools that empower audiences to become activists at the click of a button.

"Media That Matters stands apart from other film festivals in that it really engages audiences and makes them feel part of something bigger, whether you're participating at home or at a screening," said Katy Chevigny, co-founder and executive director of Arts Engine. "These are films that not only entertain, but also inspire and motivate."

The eighth annual Media That Matters Film Festival launched on May 28th and is currently touring the world. Shorts for a dozen films can be viewed online, covering topics ranging from post-Katrina New Orleans to Argentina workers, to African Hip-Hop, to the disappearance of honey bees, to e-waste, and more.

Buy and show Perversion of Justice to support Mummert's work, and visit her website to support Hamedah Hasan's clemency appeal.

Check out these annotated Prison Resources.

Rady Ananda can be contacted at drum4peace@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Ananda offers special thanks to Roy Walmsley of the International Centre for Prison Studies for his help in clarifying calculation methodology of incarcerated foreigners, and for his incredible work in this field.

Nobody Frightens Kids Like The TSA

Source: Examiner

If there is a special place in Hell for officious government employees, I'm sure there's a spot all warmed up for the Transportation Security Administration officer at Baltimore/Washington International Airport who scared my kid out of his wits.

Last week, I solicited stories from readers about their unpleasant experiences with post-9/11 travel security. Little did I know I'd be my own best correspondent. On my family's flight back east, we witnessed random shakedowns at the gate after we'd already passed through security. But that didn't begin to compare to the brief but telling experience we had at BWI on the return leg of our journey.

My wife and I checked in without incident, then headed to the security checkpoint with our 3 1/2-year-old son in tow. The very first TSA officer we encountered glanced at our ID and our boarding passes, and then proceeded to interrogate ... my kid.

"What's your name, son? Can you tell me your name?"

He shuffled through our boarding passes and then started again.

"What's your name? Can you tell me?"

He barely acknowledged the presence of the adults, saying only, "This will just take a minute."

I seethed. But we were 3,000 miles from home, at airport security in a strange city. We all needed to get back to Arizona, and getting booted from the airport -- or worse, arrested -- wouldn't accomplish that goal.

"Tell the nice man your name, Tony," I suggested.

"Tell me your name," the uniformed officer insisted.

Through all oft his, Tony remained tongue-tied, with a look of growing confusion mixed with terror on his face. That's no surprise. Like most parents, we warn our son against chatting with strange adults. And, like most young children, Tony isn't inclined to react favorably to sharp questions from random people.

Tony's silence may even have been a blessing. On any given day, under good circumstances, he's as likely to tell you that he's a monster or a "sharptooth" or Christopher Robin as he is to volunteer the name his mother and I gave him. I mean, he's 3 1/2 for crying out loud.

About which I gently reminded the officer. The muttered, "he's just three, you know," may or may not have helped.

"I bet I know your name," the TSA agent finally said. "I bet it's Anthony. Do they call you Tony?"

Tony tearfully surrendered a slight nod, allowing the agent of the security state to claim a victory over the forces of evil, and we were on our way. Of course, at this point, the kid would have nodded if you'd asked him if he was Mickey Mouse.

Which makes this whole routine garbage. What was the point? To see if we were terrorists using a kidnapped kid as a beard? We could have been terrorists using our own kid. Or we could have been smuggling the kid from a clone farm to be broken up for parts by a Colombian criminal kingpin. Young children don't carry photo ID, and we don't implant chips in them like we do with our dogs (oh, I hope I'm not giving anybody ideas), so there's really no way around taking an adult's word for a child's identity. That conversation proved nothing except that really young kids choke under pressure.

Was the TSA goon really going to deny us passage or even haul us in if my kid insisted that he was a character from Winnie the Pooh?

After that encounter, piling our wordly possessions on the conveyor belt and passing through the metal detectors was relatively painless. As we pulled our shoes back on, though, my kid pointed back toward security and said, in a soft voice while looking at the floor, "those people scare me."

Well, they scare me, too. And now they've really ticked me off. Way to go folks. You know our country is just a little bit safer when we make toddlers pee their pants.

Except that, as a paper published just a year ago in the British Medical Journal made clear, the TSA has never bothered to study its procedures to determine if they actually accomplish anything. We don't know that any of this really makes us safer, because nobody has ever checked. Which suggests that putting tots in the hot seat is a tactic the security honchos dreamed up based on their instincts that it would make us all safer. I'll bet their home lives are charming.

I don't know what the penalty is for slugging a federal law-enforcement officer, but we almost found out at BWI. I feel guilty that I let my son be subjected to the third degree the way I did so that we could continue on our way home. Maybe I'd be a better father if I'd actually taken a swing at the officer harassing my kid.

One way or another, I guarantee that it won't happen again.

New Year's Eve Militarized Security In NYC

The following report is based on information obtained by the 14,000-member National Association of Chiefs of Police:

As New Yorkers and tourists prepare for tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations — especially in Manhattan’s Times Square area — law enforcement will be assisted by the citizen soldiers and airmen of the New York National Guard, according to security officials.

Under orders from New York Governor David Paterson, members of the New York Army and Air National Guard will conduct additional security missions and stand ready to respond to city authorities if a man-made or natural emergency occurs.

Within New York City, National Guard soldiers and airmen will conduct increased security operations at Pennsylvania Station on West 34th Street, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson terminal near Times Square, and at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports in coordination with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police.

The National Guard’s 2nd Civil Support Team, a full-time, rapid-response element that detects chemical, biological or radiological hazards, also will provide a detachment in Manhattan to support the New York Police Department. The 22-man detachment, based at the Scotia Air National Guard Base near Schenectady, NY, has worked with New York City police for counterterrorism support operations since the unit’s formation in 2000, according to police officials.

At the New York National Guard headquarters in Latham, N.Y., staff representatives from New York state’s military forces will operate the National Guard’s joint operations center. This command and control installation provides links to the New York State Emergency Management Office and New York State Office of Homeland Security.

The New York National Guard also will provide liaison officers to New York’s emergency management office and the New York City Police Department.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

Military Backpeddles on Troops in America

The commander of NORTHCOM, Air Force General Victor E Renuart Jr., recently held a press conference regarding the deployment of troops in America. This new mission has made many in America not only concerned but worried and the General tried to dispel those fears.

Chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) was nonplussed because Congress not only had not been briefed but was concerned that the new homeland missions would complicate their job as “steward of the defense budget.” No mention was made about being upset that we now have troops on our streets, only that his job would be made harder.

General Renuart explained that the new task force is “designed” to respond to chemical, biolocal or nuclear attacks and is “not meant to authorize the federal government to enforce martial law.” Such a statement may placate some but note the language - troops on the ground do not authorize martial law, the President does. And the President has not only Public Laws (Military Commissions Act and the John Warner Defense Authorization Act) on the books but Executive Orders under which he can declare an “emergency” and initiate martial law. [Full list of all Executive Orders here/a>.]

The General told the press, “It is not a force designed to go in and enforce laws. The national guard is empowered to do that through the states. This force is designed to go and render assistance and aid, as opposed to create security.” This is the not what was clearly stated in the Army Times article. See here and here for additional information on deployment of troops under NORTHCOM and how the National Guard is being assimilated into the federal military.

Despite his platitudes to the press and assurances to Congress that it would not require significant new funding from Congress, it is clear that the new task force’s deployment in the homeland most certainly is here to restore order in the event of civil unrest due to “unforseen economic collapse.” Unforseen? They are clearly here to prepare for widespread dissent and food riots due to the economic collapse.

So, as has been seen lately around the nation, the troops are engaging in a psychological operation to get the public used to seeing them on the streets. Troops have recently assisted California Highway Patrol at roadblocks supposedly to catch drunk drivers, they have assisted with Border Patrol and in other capacities such as collecting toys for underprivilged children for Christmas. The impression that citizens are supposed to have is “that military are here to help us!” Unfortunately as Alex Jones has said many times on air, this is part of a larger public relations effort before 20,000 troops are here under NORTHCOM.

That the military would feel the need to backpeddle, despite the fact that the reports in mainstream mediahave pushed the approved talking points, shows that they monitor the alternative media and what information is being provided to warn the populace on this issue. It also shows their concern about the increasing number of people who are not comfortable seeing military in full battle gear in their town, as well as the groundswell of people who are buying out the gun shops around the nation.

The military brass are clearly concerned about how the homeland missions are being perceived and that their public relations campaign is not going as well as planned. Look for major incidents in the near future to justify their presence.

Many in law enforcement and the military are deeply patriotic and are not aware of why they are being federalized, much less that it is universal and that they are becoming part of the control grid. One thing that patriots can do to educate the military that you know or happen to see is to give this incredibly powerful document: Operation Vampire Killer (.pdf). It is written by police for police and military and educates them not only about the New World Order, but exhorts them to think deeply about whether or not they will obey the command if and when they are told to disarm or fire upon fellow Americans.

If the police and military refuse to disarm Americans and refuse to fire upon us, the New World Order plan for America is greatly hampered. We must be bold and fearless and get this into the hands of those who have the decision to make.

Boomer CO fired for ‘loss of confidence’

The skipper of a ballistic-missile submarine was fired Monday shortly after returning home from his first deployment, according to a spokeswoman.

Cmdr. Charles “Tony” Hill, 45, was relieved “due to a loss of confidence” in his ability to command the Gold Crew of the boomer West Virginia. The Ohio-class submarine carries 24 Trident II nuclear missiles and is based at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga.

The boat returned to Kings Bay in November.

“There were no specific incidents, just a number of indications related to command climate,” said Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for Submarine Group 10.

“It had nothing to do with the [nuclear] reactor and at no point was the crew or the public in danger,” Rebarich said.

Hill is not facing criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Remarich said.

Capt. Daniel Mack, commanding officer of Submarine Squadron 16/20, made the decision to remove Hill and assign him temporarily to Submarine Squadron 20 at Kings Bay.

Mack assigned Capt. Stephen Gillespie as temporary commander of the West Virginia’s Gold Crew, which is conducting training at its home port.

Gillespie has served as commander of the ballistic-missile submarine Rhode Island and most recently was the deputy for training at Squadron 16/20.

Hill, originally from Lineville, Ala., was commissioned in 1990 through the Navy ROTC program at Auburn University. He served aboard the fast-attack submarine Cheyenne from 1998 to 2001, and later on the Rhode Island from 2003 to 2005, Navy records show.

Hill was promoted to commander in June 2006 and assigned to the West Virginia in June 2008.

California Officer Faces Sex Charges

A veteran San Jose police officer is facing serious charges stemming from allegations of the inappropriate pat-down search and arrest of an 18-year-old woman earlier in December.Police say the patrol officer -- 41-year-old Julio Morales -- has been charged with false imprisonment and sexual battery over his detention and physical search of the alleged victim several weeks ago.According to the victim, what Morales did during the incident wasn't a pat down; it was sexual battery."The incident occurred on December 3rd,” said San Jose Police spokesman Officer Enrique Garcia. “The victim reported she was walking in the area of Third and Keyes and she was detained by a patrol officer. During that stop, the officer conducted a pat-down search of her body."The victim reported that Officer Morales touched her inappropriately during the search, then put her in the patrol car and drove her to a nearby home and dropped her off. She immediately informed her mother of the incident."We launched a criminal investigation and yesterday the D.A.'s office filed a complaint," explained Officer Garcia. "Subsequently we obtained an arrest warrant today. And so the officer self-surrendered at the Santa Clara County jail."Garcia said San Jose Police Department conducts thousands of stops and searches every year. They say it's very uncommon for a suspect to complain of inappropriate behavior by a cop.In addition to being charged with false imprisonment and sexual battery, Morales has been placed on paid leave.In the meantime, San Jose police say their pat-down search and other policies are unequivocal. Cops are allowed to conduct searches of opposite-sex suspects but the procedures are very clear. Whenever a female suspect is placed in a patrol car, the officer is required to notify the police dispatcher.There's no word on whether Morales, a 13-year veteran of the force, followed that procedure.What KTVU research has revealed about Officer Morales is that he and another San Jose police officer were involved in a fatal shooting of a suspect after a three-hour stand-off back in 2004. An internal police investigation found no misconduct.Officer Morales was released on $20,000 bond. The identity of the alleged victim has not been released.

Civil rights suit filed in police killing

10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Press-Enterprise

The parents of a former Moreno Valley resident who was shot and killed by an Anaheim police officer in October have filed a federal lawsuit against that city claiming that their son was a victim of police negligence and racial prejudice.

The Civil Rights Violations complaint, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana by Jerry Alexander and Sheryl Bell, seeks damages against Anaheim and officers who were on the scene that night at 316 N. Muller Street.

The 16-page complaint did not specify how much they are seeking.

Story continues below

Their son, Julian Alexander, 20, who was black, was shot dead by an Anaheim officer early in the morning of Oct. 28, as he stood outside his in-laws' Anaheim home, where the newlywed was living with his wife.

The suit claims that Alexander was a victim of police negligence and excessive use of force motivated by racial prejudice. Alexander, who was born in Riverside and grew up in Moreno Valley and San Bernardino County, went to Riverside's Notre Dame High School.

Bell, his mother, lives in Moreno Valley. His father, Jerry Alexander, is a former Crestline resident who lives in San Luis Obispo County.

Cristina Talley, Anaheim's acting city attorney, said she could not comment because her office had yet to receive notice of the lawsuit. Talley said that Alexander's parents have filed a claim with the city but said the city has yet to accept or deny it.

Alexander was shot as he came out of the house to check out a commotion at the property, said the Anaheim Police Department. A police officer pursuing four burglary suspects on foot shot Alexander. In the shooting's aftermath, Anaheim police said that a police investigation found that Alexander had armed himself with a club-style weapon.

The complaint denied that Alexander was armed with any kind of weapon, and that he posed no threat. It alleged that the officer fired on Alexander without warning.

At least two investigations have been launched into the shooting, with Anaheim police and the Orange County district attorney's office running separate probes.

San Bernardino County to evaluate benefits for Superior Court judges

With the outlook of a bleak budget looming, Supervisor Neil Derry is calling for San Bernardino County to reconsider and possibly put a stop to the benefits it gives to Superior Court judges.

"This has been a concern, just nothing has been done about it," Derry said. "Now, we've got legal reasons for looking at it as well."

Derry has asked county counsel to review a recent court ruling that found Los Angeles County's payment of benefits to Superior Court judges unconstitutional. Los Angeles County had appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, but the court rejected hearing the case last week.

"There have always been questions about it in the past," Derry said. "Now, it seems cut and dried that we're not allowed to do it."

The benefits paid to Superior Court judges in San Bernardino County total $1.5 million, according to a letter submitted by Derry's office to county counsel.
That's the equivalent of paying the salaries of 23 full-time county employees, Derry said.

Under the state Constitution, judges' salaries are set by the Legislature, but some counties, such as Los Angeles and San Bernardino, have given Superior Court judges additional benefits.

Opponents of the recent court of appeals ruling say the benefits packages keep the positions competitive so that judges don't leave their positions to work in the private sector.

"I don't disagree with that statement," Derry said. "But they are state employees, and that's the state's responsibility."

In 2007, a grand jury report urged San Bernardino County to end or significantly reduce the money it was giving to Superior Court judges.

The report noted that the county paid nearly $20,000 in benefits to 83 judges presiding over court cases in the county.

The judges were paid salaries of $171,000 per year by the state, not the county, the report found.

Several years ago, the county enacted a sunset clause phasing out the benefits paid to judges starting Jan. 1, 2008. But the clause reportedly only eliminates the benefits packages given to newly elected judges.

Derry said the county is anticipating a 5 percent to 7 percent loss in overall revenue in 2009 due primarily to declines in sales tax and property tax revenue.
Given the tough budget time the county is expecting, the $1.5 million directed toward judges needs to be evaluated, Derry said.

But reconciling the issue may have deeper ramifications.

The letter from Derry's office also asks county counsel to examine whether the county would have an obligation to recover taxpayer money from the state if the benefits were deemed unconstitutional or illegal.

Cynthia McKinney SLAMS Israeli Navy

Ex-colonel sentenced in paternity case

By Brendan McGarry - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Dec 30, 2008 21:43:50 EST

CARLISLE, Pa. — A former Army colonel who was convicted earlier this year on charges related to cheating on a paternity test with a former classmate at the Army War College was sentenced Tuesday to serve a minimum of four months in county prison.

Scott M. Carlson, 53, was sentenced in Cumberland County Court to serve four to 23 months and pay a $500 fine. The sentencing was based on two felony conspiracy convictions for tampering with public records or information and attempted theft by deception.

When asked if he wished to say anything before the sentencing, Carlson, dressed in a dark gray suit, only said, “I respectfully decline, your honor.”

Bail was set at $75,000. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Carlson would post bail. After the sentencing he was handcuffed and led into a holding cell in the courthouse. He was later escorted out of the building and into a police van.

Carlson declined requests for comment from reporters gathered outside.

The case stems from a dispute over child support payments between Carlson and a woman with whom he had an affair. The crime “struck the heart” of the government’s responsibility to seek child support, Judge Edgar B. Bayley said.

Carlson, a 2007 graduate of the Army War College, was convicted by a jury in September on charges related to arranging for a classmate at the college, Col. Bruce S. Adkins, to take a paternity test for him. Adkins, who cooperated with investigators, is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 20 on related charges.

Contacted by Army Times after the sentencing, the woman who sued Carlson for child support said she is “fine with everything.”

“I am a little disappointed he didn’t offer an apology or anything because at some point his daughter is going to find out about this,” she said. The woman asked that her name be withheld to protect the identity of their daughter, now 10.

She and Carlson had an affair in 1997 while she was still in the service. Both she and Carlson were then assigned to the 240th Quartermaster Battalion at Fort Lee, Va., where he was a major and the battalion executive officer, and she was a specialist.

Cumberland County District Attorney David J. Freed said it was a “fair sentence.”

“We actually had a similar incident years ago — not the exact same charges, but very similar conduct — and that’s the exact same sentence that those perpetrators received,” he said. “I’m pleased that [the judge] recognized the serious nature of the crime and that it did, in fact, merit some jail time.”

Carlson’s attorney, Dennis E. Boyle, who asked the judge for Carlson to receive probation, described the sentencing as “excessive” and said he intends to appeal.

“We think there are significant errors in the trial itself,” he said. “We’ll be moving for a new trial and judgment of acquittal.”

When asked how the judge’s decision would impact the Adkins case, Derek R. Clepper, a senior assistant district attorney who helped prosecute the case, said, “We have to talk to the victim. We’re going to talk to the DA.”

'KopBusters' investigators bait Odessa police to illegally raid house: Video

For former drug interdiction officer Barry Cooper, the media storm is just beginning.

His upcoming reality show, 'KopBusters,' a 'To Catch A Predator' style crusade against dirty officers, sparked an immediate response after RAW STORY covered a news brief of their first sting.

Cooper has now released footage from the initial episode of 'KopBusters,' in which the Odessa, TX police department raids a suspected marijuana grow house, only to discover they played right into the filmmaker's hands. As surveillance cameras roll, the police slowly figure out they've been had, seemingly caught red-handed of illegally overreaching in a first-of-its-kind operation.

On his Web site, KopBusters.com, Cooper describes how the sting took place.

"KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.

"The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster's attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster's secret mobile office nearby.

"The attorney was handcuffed and later released when eleven KopBuster detectives arrived with the media in tow to question the illegal raid. The police refused to give KopBusters the search warrant affidavit which is suspected to contain the lies regarding the probable cause."

This video is from NeverGetBusted.com, posted Dec. 7, 2008.

Former drug officer launches 'KopBusters' TV show

Welcome Digg readers! A follow-up with raw footage from 'KopBusters' first sting has been posted here.

Barry Cooper, a former Texas police officer with eight years of specialty in drug interdiction, first made waves when he released the film "Never Get Busted Again," a how-to guide for evading police drug seizures.

Austin, Texas-based Cooper's latest project is not nearly so benign, and will likely generate for the former drug warrior an army of enemies in law enforcement.

'KopBusters' is a reality TV program that aims to sink crooked officers.

"KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana," claims a release from NeverGetBusted.com "When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house."

"The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster's attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster's secret mobile office nearby.

"The attorney was handcuffed and later released when eleven KopBuster detectives arrived with the media in tow to question the illegal raid. The police refused to give KopBusters the search warrant affidavit which is suspected to contain the lies regarding the probable cause.

"It is not illegal to grow plants under a light in your home but it is illegal to lie on an affidavit and plant drugs on a citizen. This operation was the first of its kind in the history of America. Police sometimes have other police investigating their crimes but the American court system has never dealt with a group of citizens stinging the police. Will the police file charges on the team who took down the corrupt cops? We will keep you posted."

Cooper's "Never Get Busted Again" was a runaway success, the sales of which serve as financial support for this most recent project.

"The drug war is a failed policy and the legal side effects on the families are worse than the drugs," Cooper said to the Dallas Observer in early 2007. "I was so wrong in the things I did back then. I ruined lives."

The 'Kop Busters' sting was the feature of a CBS 7 report, aired Dec. 4, 2008.

How to End The Violence Caused by Prohibition in Mexico? Ask a Federal Agent

The Los Angeles Times has a piece today containing suggestions from various officials for dealing with the extraordinary violence that has gripped Mexico since that country began pursuing a policy of aggressive drug prohibition. The most noteworthy remarks come from Terry Nelson, a Federal agent for 30 years with the U.S. Border Patrol, the Customs Service and the Department of Homeland Security. Nelson writes:

[E]ven with the best public health efforts, there will always be some who want to use drugs, and, as long as drugs are illegal, many willing to risk imprisonment or death to make huge profits supplying them. My years of experience as a federal agent tell me that legalizing and effectively regulating drugs will stop drug market crime and violence by putting major cartels and gangs out of business.

The Department of Justice reported [this month] that Mexican cartels are America's "greatest organized crime threat" because they "control drug distribution in most U.S. cities." If what we've been doing worked at all, we wouldn't be battling Mexican drug dealers in our own cities or anywhere else. There's one surefire way to bankrupt them, but when will our leaders talk about it?

Former Army Employee Pleads Guilty to Acting as Israeli Agent

MANHATTAN — Lev L. Dassin, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Ben-Ami Kadish pleaded guilty earlier today to a one-count information charging him with participating in a conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Government of Israel.

In summary, according to statements at Kadish’s guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz, the Information and other documents filed Manhattan federal court:

Kadish is a former employee of the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey ("the Arsenal"). On numerous occasions from about 1980 through 1985, Kadish provided classified documents relating to the U.S. military – including some relating to U.S. missile defense systems – to an agent of the Government of Israel, Yossi Yagur, who photographed the documents at Kadish’s residence.

Kadish, 85, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Kadish is scheduled to be sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley on February 13, 2009.

Mr. Dassin praised the investigative work of the New York and Newark Field Divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the U.S. Army for their support in this case.

This prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Iris Lan from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and Trial Attorney Kathleen Kedian from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.



Judge Halts Controversial Drug Testing Policy

Watch Story Video
Both sides agree the case is far from over.

Story by Gil McClanahan
Email | Bio | Other Stories by Gil McClanahan

Charleston -- A Federal Judge blocks enforcement of the new Random Drug Testing policy of the Kanawha County School Board, issuing a preliminary injunction on the policy that would have taken effect January 1st.

"Everybody wants to proceed with caution because of the serious nature of this issue. We're not surprised by it," says Kanawha County School Superintendent Ron Duerring.

"It's an insult to our profession. We have fought this battle all along on the grounds that it is unconstitutional against 4th amendment right," says Fred Albert, a Kanawha County teacher and President of the American Federation of Teachers-Kanawha.

The state's top two teacher's unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the West Virginia Education Association, teamed up to fight the policy. Both point out the board already has a policy to test those who are under suspicion of drug use. However, the school board contends teachers with students have "Safety Sensitive" positions and should be randomly tested. They also cite 8 positive drug tests this year.

"Both organizations are very supportive of every opportunity on just cause to have drug testing and those types of things," says Dale Lee, President of the West Virginia Education Association. "One in 5,000 is a problem if it's your child isn't it? That's the problem," says Kanawha County School Board Member Pete Thaw.

Despite today's outcome, this is expected to be just the beginning of what could be a long legal battle.

"I think this is important enough that we have to fight it as long as the board fights us," says Judy Hale, President of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia.

Doctor Duerring adds that the 8 positive drug tests this year were highly confidential. Most didn't know about it because of how it was handled. Both unions say there is not a drug problem among Kanawha County teachers, and money spent fighting the policy could be better spent on students.

Copyright 2008 West Virginia Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Lawsuit accuses Calif. police of improper search

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco police are facing a second $1 million federal civil rights lawsuit over an allegedly unwarranted and invasive search of two men in the South of Market neighborhood.

Eric Jones and Chris Gascon said plainclothes Officers Gregory Buhagiar and Arshad Razzak stuck their fingers down the young men's pants and touched them during a stop near Sixth and Howard streets Dec. 27, 2006, in a search for drugs or contraband. Jones was 18 and Gascon was 17 at the time.

Jones, who filed suit in January, told the officers that he wasn't on probation or parole and that police had no cause to search him. Buhagiar replied that he didn't care, according to the suit and Jones' attorney, Ben Nisenbaum.

According to Nisenbaum, Buhagiar told Jones, "I know you have drugs on you. ... I can tell by the way your heart is beating." The officers found no drugs, the suit said.

When Jones asked the officers for a pen and paper, one told him that he could make a report of the incident at 850 Bryant St. - the location of the Hall of Justice - but that he would have an unpleasant day if he did, the suit said.

City officials have denied the officers did anything wrong. Gascon was a known gang member, and police feared that Jones, who had an arrest record for a weapons charge, was a hit man seeking to avenge the earlier shooting of another gang member, Deputy City Attorney Meredith Osborn wrote in a court filing.

Osborn wrote that the searches had been conducted over the men's clothing and amounted to "a protective frisk ... for officer safety."

Gascon filed suit last week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Both suits name the city, Police Chief Heather Fong, Buhagiar and Razzak.

Like Jones, Gascon is seeking $1 million in damages.

Razzak is a 13-year veteran of the force, and Buhagiar has been on the job for seven years.

Copyright 2008 San Francisco Chronicle

Lawsuit on religion in military expanded

TOPEKA, Kan. — A newly expanded federal lawsuit alleges the military doesn’t take complaints of religious discrimination seriously enough and allows personnel to try to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan to Christianity.

The Military Religions Freedom Foundation and a Fort Riley, Kan., soldier suing Defense Secretary Robert Gates now allege a bias toward evangelical Christianity pervades even the Army’s suicide prevention manual and the Air Force’s sponsorship of an evangelical motocross ministry.

The Defense Department said complaints about religious discrimination are relatively few and pointed to military policies against endorsing any religious view.

Spc. Dustin Chalker and the Albuquerque, N.M.-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed their amended lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. They filed the original lawsuit in September.

Chalker, a combat medic, is an atheist whose original complaints included being forced to attend military formations where Christian prayers were given. The foundation says it represents about 11,000 military personnel, almost all of them Christians upset about what they view as discrimination by more conservative and evangelical personnel.

“Our amended complaint is specifically designed to further stab at the throbbing unconstitutional heart of darkness that comprises the systemic fundamentalist Christianity so pervasive and pernicious in today’s American armed forces,” said Mikey Weinstein, the foundation’s president.

Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said the agency doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits. But she said it has identified fewer than 50 complaints about alleged violations of religious freedoms during the past three years, with 1.4 million personnel in uniform.

She also noted a policy that says, “The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the Armed Forces to observe the tenets of their respective religions.”

Weinstein said Chalker had attempted in recent months to pursue his complaints within the Army but has been told they were “unfounded.”

The amended lawsuit said the foundation has “a number of well-documented reports” from others about unsuccessful attempts to resolve such issues. It said the military has failed to “adequately address complaints.”

The amended lawsuit also added examples of what Weinstein called “the noxiously unconstitutional pattern and practice of fundamentalist Christian oppression” within the armed forces.

That pattern, the amended lawsuit alleges, includes attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lawsuit includes comments from two soldiers, including a chaplain, that appeared in Christian missionary publications about such activities, including their desire to distribute Bibles.

The lawsuit also criticizes the Army’s 2008 manual on suicide prevention, quoting it as promoting “religiosity” as a necessary part of the effort and describing “connectivity to the divine” as “fundamental.”

The lawsuit also notes that in 2007, the Air Force sponsored “Team Faith,” which performs motocross stunt shows to “lead extreme sports athletes to Christ.”

In addition, the amended lawsuit alleges, the Air Force’s Air and Space Power Journal recently published an article portraying Islam as inherently violent, by an author with ties to an anti-Muslim group.

The lawsuit also alleges three military chaplains have endorsed specific ministries or religious products while in uniform. Those ministries, the lawsuit said, included a group that had a camp meeting this summer in which a speaker described President-elect Barack Obama as “an Islamic terrorist sympathizer.”


The case is Specialist Dustin Chalker and Military Religious Freedom Foundation v. Robert Gates, secretary, United States Department of Defense, No. 08-cv-02467.

Look ahead to 2009: Expansion seen for Operation Phoenix

05:04 PM PST on Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Press-Enterprise

Photo Gallery: 2008: Year in Pictures - San Bernardino County

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Special Section: 2008 Inland Year in Review

SAN BERNARDINO - San Bernardino will seek to add new programs and improve facilities in the city's anti-crime Operation Phoenix in the coming year despite budget worries, officials say.

Kent Paxton, the city's director of community safety and violence prevention, said plans for 2009 include:

Adding restrooms and paving a parking lot at Phoenix's eastern headquarters, a former San Gorgonio High School building at the edge of Speicher Park.

Story continues below

Establishing a community garden at the eastern site and reviving Phoenix's first such garden on the community's West Side.

Examining possible links between single-container alcohol sales and crime.

Contracting with Catholic Charities for job training and other services to young parolees and probationers considered to be at high risk of re-offending.

Crime-fighting Funding

Operation Phoenix, launched in 2006, is Mayor Pat Morris' multidepartmental crime deterrent project. It combines suppression, intervention and prevention tactics aimed at combating crime in the San Bernardino County city with the highest homicide rate.

Phoenix officials are proceeding with such programs despite the economic downturn by cobbling together residual funding from the last fiscal year, seeking new grant money and turning to other government agencies for help, Paxton said.

Grant applications include a bid for $300,000 in federal dollars for gang intervention and a request for a like amount on the alcohol-sales program.

Under a half-million dollar county grant first approved in November 2007, officials have increased law enforcement around the eastern headquarters, Paxton said. The grant also included $97,000 for recreation programs. A second $97,000 county allotment will help pay for restrooms at the Speicher Park headquarters, Paxton said. Construction is set to start next month.

Also next month, the Urban Youth Conservation Corps, a non-profit organization that works with youths considered at risk of joining a gang, will start building a community garden modeled on a pilot program at Phoenix's West Side center, Paxton said.

Thomas Contreras, who lives near the eastern headquarters, welcomed the proposals. He said he often sees gang members loitering near the park,

"These guys need direction," Contreras said. "They need to know they can do something with their lives."

Phoenix Concerns

Activists say Phoenix, with its blend of community-based policing, youth recreation, tutoring and job training, provides such direction. But they worry whether San Bernardino officials will stick with the program.

The West Side community garden, for example, lapsed this year following the July arrest of a Phoenix recreation supervisor on child molestation charges.

Michael Steven Miller was arrested on suspicion of child molestation and charged with 24 felonies. Miller, who pleaded not guilty, is accused of molesting two young girls in the months before his arrest and another girl more than a decade ago. He could face life in prison if convicted on all counts.

In the weeks after Miller's arrest, critics led by City Councilwomen Wendy McCammack and Esther Estrada questioned supervision and background checks in the program and called for greater oversight.

The Rev. Bronica Martindale, a West Side community activist who founded the garden, said officials failed to approve operating agreements for months during the political turmoil that followed the arrest.

"You have other programs that have something like this happen, and it's unfortunate, but people realize that that one case doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the program as a whole," Martindale said.

"Here in San Bernardino, it's start, stop, start, stop. And when that happens, people stop showing up for the programs."

Estrada said she's still concerned about security. As Phoenix expands, she'll continue to demand more oversight, Estrada said.

Reach Chris Richard at 951-368-9529 or crichard@PE.com

Police Fatalities for ‘08 Prove CCW Laws No Threat to Cops, Says CCRKBA

BELLEVUE, Wash., Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Another bogus argument of gun control extremists - that sensible concealed carry laws create an increased threat to police officers - has been refuted by statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and published by USA Today.

The number of officer fatalities due to gunfire is the lowest in 50 years, noted Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. A report out Monday said that this year, 41 officers have died from gunshot wounds, down 40 percent from the 68 who died by gunfire in 2007. Yet the number of concealed carry permits issued by the states has risen, dramatically in some areas, in the past 12 months.

"Better training and equipment have contributed to this decline," Gottlieb stated, "but it must be noted for the record that growing numbers of legally-armed citizens have not resulted in more police slayings. That has been one of the many lame arguments offered by gun control fanatics over the past few years when they fought against expanded concealed carry rights.

"The death of one police officer is a tragedy," he continued, "but common sense right-to-carry statutes have no relation to the criminal slayings of police officers, and anti-gun rights extremists know it."

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that more officers have died in traffic-related incidents than in shootings, same as last year, Gottlieb noted.

"There are, today, more legally-armed citizens than ever before," he commented, "and more privately-owned firearms than ten or even five years ago. More Americans own semiautomatic sport-utility rifles, growing numbers of women own guns for personal protection and more citizens are involved in shooting sports.

"None of these law-abiding citizens pose any threat to public safety, and especially to the safety of our local police," Gottlieb concluded. "We expect the new Congress, and state legislatures around the country, to keep this in perspective as the gun ban lobby mounts new attacks on firearm civil rights in 2009."

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (www.ccrkba.org) is one of the nation's premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

SOURCE Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

The US Army Document That Proves the US is the World’s Number One Sponsor of World Terrorism

In a ‘manual’ which is officially to be released only to ’students from foreign countries on a case-by-case basis only’, the US Army outlines a program of what it now calls ‘irregular warfare’, in fact US state sponsored terrorism, insurgency, and PSYOPS.

1-21. Waging protracted IW depends on building global capability and capacity. IW will not be won by the United States alone but rather through combined efforts with multinational partners. Combined IW [Irregular Warfare, euphemism for TERRORISM] will require the joint force to establish a long-term sustained presence in numerous countries to build partner capability and capacity. This capability and capacity extends U.S. operational reach, multiplies forces available, and provides increased options for defeating adversaries. The constituent activities of IW are:

  • Insurgency.
  • COIN.
  • UW.
  • Terrorism
  • CT.
  • FID.
  • Stability, security, transition, and reconstruction (SSTR) operations.
  • Strategic communication (SC).
  • PSYOP.
  • Civil-military operations (CMO).
  • Information operations (IO).
  • Intelligence and counterintelligence (CI) activities.
  • Transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms dealing, and illegal financial transactions that support or sustain IW.
  • Law enforcement activities focused on countering irregular adversaries.

1-22. The above list of operations and activities can be conducted within IW; … –Headquarters, Department of the Army, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare, September 2008[PDF]

Ignoring 1) the mountainous body of evidence that US policy and the CIA, specifically, is the root-cause of the vast majority of the what is commonly called ‘world terrorism’; and 2) the equally impressive body of hard evidence that 911 was an inside job, the Army cites 911 as the pretext by which the US should embark above the policy as outlined above.[See: Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes ] 1-18. The 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States highlighted the increased danger of warfare conducted by other-than-state enemies. Recognizing that such irregular threats by nonstate actors would be a likely and even dominant pattern throughout the 21st century, national policy makers dictated that planners must analyze and prepare for such irregular threats. It was clear that previous assumptions about the terms “conventional,” “traditional,” or “regular” warfare, and reliance solely on a “regular” or “conventional warfare” doctrine were inadequate. IW was a significant theme in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report. In April 2006, the Pentagon drafted the execution roadmap for IW as a means of combating this growing threat from actions beyond conventional state-to-state military conflict. –Headquarters, Department of the Army, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare, September 2008 [PDF]

Elsewhere, the document cites the threat posed to the US by “WMD—such as nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. But I have yet to find a single word, phrase, sentence or paragraph in which the manual mentioned the threat posed the rest of the world by some forty years or more of US meddling, threats, covert operations, US sponsored assassinations, and overt threats of bombing and/or war and invasion. Instead, we get platitudes that are made absolutely meaningless by the remainder of this arrogant, imperialistic document.

A-64. Democracy and the protection of fundamental liberties were the basis for the creation of the United States more than 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been to promote respect for democracy and human rights throughout the world. The DOS— .. Promotes democracy as a way to achieve security, stability, and prosperity for the entire world. .. Helps establish and assist newly formed democracies. op cit

It is odd that as the US is said to be ‘defending’ Democracy, it is subverting it. It is said that the United States must be concerned about the possibility that terrorists may acquire WMD, ignoring the fact that the US leads the world in the manufacture, sale and distribution of WMD. Let’s put this another way: the US military spending is greater than that spent by the rest of the world’s nations combined. If terrorists should ever obtain WMD, the chances are good that they will get them from the US, perhaps with monies raised selling cocaine to the one of the largest drug dealers on the planet Earth: the CIA!

During the 40s and 50s, most of the public was unaware of what the CIA was doing. Those who knew thought they were fighting the good fight against communism, like James Bond. However, they could not keep their actions secret forever, and by the 60s and 70s, Americans began learning about the agency’s crimes and atrocities. (3) It turns out the CIA has:

  • Corrupted democratic elections in Greece, Italy and dozens of other nations;
  • Been involved to varying degrees in at least 35 assassination plots against foreign heads of state or prominent political leaders. Successful assassinations include democratically elected leaders like Salvador Allende (Chile) and Patrice Lumumba (Belgian Congo); also CIA-created dictators like Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) and Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam); and popular political leaders like Che Guevara. Unsuccessful attempts range from Fidel Castro to Charles De Gaulle.
  • Helped launch military coups that toppled democratic governments, replacing them with brutal dictatorships or juntas. The list of overthrown democratic leaders includes Mossadegh (Iran, 1953), Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), Velasco and Arosemena (Ecuador, 1961, 1963), Bosch (Dominican Republic, 1963), Goulart (Brazil, 1964), Sukarno (Indonesia, 1965), Papandreou (Greece, 1965-67), Allende (Chile, 1973), and dozens of others.
  • Undermined the governments of Australia, Guyana, Cambodia, Jamaica and more;
  • Supported murderous dictators like General Pinochet (Chile), the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos (Phillipines), “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier (Haiti), General Noriega (Panama), Mobutu Sese Seko (Ziare), the “reign of the colonels” (Greece), and more;
  • Created, trained and supported death squads and secret police forces that tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians, leftists and political opponents, in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Angola and others;
  • Helped run the “School of the Americas” at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trains Latin American military officers how to overthrow democratic governments. Subjects include the use of torture, interrogation and murder;
  • Used Michigan State “professors” to train Diem’s secret police in torture;
  • Conducted economic sabotage, including ruining crops, disrupting industry, sinking ships and creating food shortages;
  • Paved the way for the massacre of 200,000 in East Timor, 500,000 in Indonesia and one to two million in Cambodia;
  • Launched secret or illegal military actions or wars in Nicaragua, Angola, Cuba, Laos and Indochina;
  • Planted false stories in the local media;
  • Framed political opponents for crimes, atrocities, political statements and embarrassments that they did not commit;
  • Spied on thousands of American citizens, in defiance of Congressional law;
  • Smuggled Nazi war criminals and weapon scientists into the U.S., unpunished, for their use in the Cold War;
  • Created organizations like the World Anti-Communist League, which became filled with ex-Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, Italian terrorists, Japanese fascists, racist Afrikaaners, Latin American death squad leaders, CIA agents and other extreme right-wing militants;
  • Conducted Operation MK-ULTRA, a mind-control experiment that gave LSD and other drugs to Americans against their will or without their knowledge, causing some to commit suicide;
  • Penetrated and disrupted student antiwar organizations;
  • Kept friendly and extensive working relations with the Mafia;
  • Actively traded in drugs around the world since the 1950s to fund its operations. The Contra/crack scandal is only the tip of the iceberg –- other notorious examples include Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle and Noreiga’s Panama.
  • Had their fingerprints all over the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X. Even if the CIA is not responsible for these killings, the sheer amount of CIA involvement in these cases demands answers; [editor's note, see: Evidence That the CIA Murdered RFK]
  • And then routinely lied to Congress about all of the above.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (4) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.” –Steve Kangas: The Origins of the Overclass

The US Army document, cited above, is an arrogant, imperialistic and ill-considered response to a growing ‘threat’ –but a threat that is posed only to US monopolists and death merchants, i.e., the Military/Industrial Complex, a fancy name for Murder, Inc. The US has, in fact, squandered the limitless goodwill that had been extended our nation at the end of World War II. The US has failed to make positive use of the world support for allied efforts to codify war crimes, to hold Nazi War Criminals responsibility for heinous crimes. But now –we have a recent US military document that the US Army would prefer to keep secret no doubt because it reveals to the world that those principles espoused at Nuremberg are either no longer operative or they were a fraud, the US didn’t really mean it. Or perhaps they forgot to tell the world that the laws applied to everyone but themselves. The Army has now revealed to the world that no nation is safe from US terrorism, US attack, US subversion of indigenous cultures and governments, US bullying or the US use of WMD against them. That is because the US believes itself to be a world-wide empire, in fact, a single nation that presumes to rule the world.

The well-informed countries –western Europe –know perfectly well what our game is. General de Gaulle took France out of NATO because he suspected that we were in the empire–building business, and he didn’t want to go along with it yet, simultaneously, France remained an ally in case there was a major war with the Soviets. I don’t think we should take too seriously those eastern European countries. In due course, they will wake up, as Turkey did, that we are dangerous. –Gore Vidal, The Erosion of the American Dream

I have repeatedly stated that the US regime of George W. Bush was not legitimate. How can I make it any clearer? “Illegitimate” means that the regime of George W. Bush was no more legitimate than the crooked regimes of tin horn dictators in banana republics. The Bush regime differed little in terms of competence or statesmanship. Now, in a cynical document that the US Army had never intended be disseminated publicly, we have confirmation that the position of the US vis a vis the rest of the world is based not upon Democracy or legitimacy. It is, rather based entirely upon force, aggression and US terrorism. Addendum:

Is the United States going to put dictatorship into effect under the guise of the anti-terrorist struggle? What may trigger another major transformation in 2009? The answer is obvious: another 9/11 in the USA.

Terrible and bloody events are in store for the world in the beginning of 2009. Most likely, the world will witness a reality show with a nuclear blast, which will be used as a reason for the US administration to change the world order again and leave the new Great Depression behind. There is every reason to believe that the Russian Federation may suffer as a result of this possible initiative too.

Joe Biden made a sensational statement on October 19, 2008. He said that Barack Obama would have to undergo an ordeal during the first six months of his stay in the White House. It will be the time of a very serious international crisis, when Obama would have to make tough and possibly unpopular decisions both in home and foreign politics.

Biden said that there were four or five scenarios for the development of the international crisis. Afghanistan, North Korea or the Russian Federation may become the source of one of them.

When Obama learned of Biden’s speech, he tried to explain everything with rhetorical exaggerations. However, Biden’s remarks gave food for thought, taking into consideration the fact that former secretary of state Madeleine Albright described his remarks as statement of fact. –USA needs nuclear explosion to turn the world into dictatorship


A comment amond several found on Buzzflash re this article:

But we already knew the US under sociopathic Bush is a terrorist nation..Bush,Rumsfeld,Rice,Hannity,Limbaugh,Cheney,Bolton,et al are all implicators in this world terrorism by threatening Iraq and Iran.It is certainly a terror to the Iraqui/Iranian people by the US.

My response is that it will be argued in ‘defense’ of the GOP that Bush, Rice et al were just an ‘aberration’. But the SIGNIFICANCE of the Army document is that they were NOT an aberration. It’s the MIC S.O.P.

As I have said numerous times: the Bush administration is illegitimate. Secondly, the MIC is a polite euphemism for a Murder Inc on an international, industrial scale. Death and destruction are the US’s chief exports. Our currency is all but worthless and, like Rome when it invaded Dacia for its gold, the US invades other nations for its resources, primarily oil. At last, The US resembles Rome in that Rome subverted ‘fair wages’ with ’slavery’, in effect, putting working people out of work for good! It became a permanent ‘underclass’. The US has accomplished the same thing by enriching ONLY the uppper one percent of the population –a disparity of both wealth and income that clearly parallels that of Rome in its last throes. Additional resources:

Source: http://www.propagandamatrix.com/articles/december2008/301208Document.htm