Sunday, February 1, 2015
NEWS FOR 2/1/2015 February 1st 2015
FAST AND FURIOUS WHISTLEBLOWER________
Federal judge blasts DOJ lawyers in case of ATF whistle-blower
Judge Francis Allegra, who was appointed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in 1998 by President Bill Clinton, is presiding over a suit brought by former ATF agent Jay Dobyns against the government agency, which he claims retaliated against him and damaged his reputation. Dobyns infiltrated Hell's Angels and worked on cases involving the Aryan Brotherhood and MS-13 during his law enforcement career.
In a newly unsealed, Dec. 1, 2014, court ruling that legal experts said was highly unusual, Allegra accused seven Justice Department lawyers of "fraud upon the court, banned them from making any further filings in the case and took the unusual step of directly notifying Attorney General Eric Holder.
“In 40 years of legal practice, government and private, I've never seen that done,” said David Hardy, a constitutional law expert who formerly worked in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.
Allegra said the government attorneys may have intimidated a witness and charged that seven of them may have kept illegal behavior secret from the court.
The controversy began after someone burned down the home of Dobyns. Dobyns claimed the ATF failed to protect his family, but the agency claimed Dobyns burned down his own home, a charge he denied. Dobyns then sued the ATF in U.S. Federal Claims Court for damaging his reputation and retaliation.
That’s when Justice Department lawyers got involved. In the ruling from last month, Allegra found a key witness in the trial said he was threatened by another ATF agent – and that ATF lawyers told the threatened agent not to tell the judge about it.
US Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis Allegra basted Justice Department lawyers in a recently unsealed ruling made last month.
“[ATF lawyers] ordered the agent in question not to communicate the threat to the court and stated that there would be repercussions if the agent did not follow counsel’s instructions,” Judge Allegra said in his ruling.
(fox news, jan 29th)
Obama administration officials and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties and as many people struggle with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance.
The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid a political firestorm.
Mark J. Mazur, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, said up to six million taxpayers would have to “pay a fee this year because they made a choice not to obtain health care coverage that they could have afforded.”
(NYT, jan 31st)
Concealed carry on campuses made strong advances with bills in Wyoming and Florida passing out of committee and one bill in Texas gaining support. Indiana and Montana recently introduced similar bills, and North Dakota is reportedly considering such legislation.
(Free beacon, jan 31st)
One day after saying a newly-created police unit armed with machine guns would police protesters, the New York Police Department has backtracked, saying the unit will only work on counter-terror initiatives.
Chief of Department James O’Neill told the New York Daily News that the new counter-terror unit “will not be involved in handling protests and demonstrations. They’ll have no role in protests. Their response is single-fold. They’ll be doing counter-terror work. They’ll be assigned to different posts throughout the city.”
The reversal comes shortly after New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton announced the new 350-strong unit – dubbed the Strategic Response Group – during a press conference at a Police Foundation event. The unit would be dedicated to “disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities,” with police citing attacks like the hostage situation in Sydney as examples where it would be deployed.
(Russia Today, feb 1st)
A left-behind family of a man killed by cops has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against San Bernardino County for excessive force.
Dante Parker was electrocuted as many as 27 times as cops shot him repeatedly with a Taser gun, according to the lawsuit.
Dante’s five children and his wife were devastated when he died after the electrical shock.
The incident occurred when Dante dropped his children off at school.
After he left them in school, he went on a bike ride around 4 PM.
He was riding his bike down Luna Rd when he was stopped by Officer Irwin.
Officer Irwin claimed to be responding to a report about a suspicious black male who was attempting to break into houses.
It is presumed that at some point during the questioning, an argument ensued, though the lawsuit does not specify.
(filming cops, jan 31st)
Quebec woman suing cop who left her locked in back of police truck with man who ended up raping her
The lone police officer on duty on the night of Sept. 19 had her hands full. Fresh out of police school, she had been on the job less than a month and was not even authorized to carry a sidearm.
But as she apprehended a 17-year-old girl who had become heavily intoxicated, Const. Danielle Gallant made a decision that would come back to haunt her.
According to court documents, she handcuffed the girl and placed her in the back of her Kativik Regional Police Force vehicle truck. Already in the backseat for having caused a disturbance — but not handcuffed — was Joe Kritik, who at age 24 already had four convictions for sexual assault and was listed on the national sex offender registry
(National post, jan 29th)
The 11 News I-Team has obtained video of a violent scuffle between a school police officer and three middle school girls, and it brings into question whether the officer's use of force was justified.
"She had six stitches. No, I'm sorry -- 10. Four on the inside and six on the outside," said Tashona Neals, the mother of 13-year-old Diamond. The girl's injuries came at the end of October inside Vanguard Middle School in northeast Baltimore.
What happened that day was captured on the school system's surveillance cameras. The altercation started when Diamond's cousin, Starr, had an encounter with the school police officer, who could be seen on the video looking up a stairway.
"Starr said they was changing classes," said Vanessa Ward, Starr's grandmother. "The officer was hollering at her and said, 'Little girl, get down here.' And so Starr said, 'My name is not little girl, it's Starr.' Starr came on down the steps, and Starr said that's when the officer grabbed her."
The video shows the officer push Starr against a wall. Starr's sister, who was also a student at the school, said she heard there was a fight.
"So she goes over there thinking it's another child, and she gets over there, and it's an officer. She went over there to try to stop her," Ward said.
Diamond arrived next in the video and appears to shove the officer, who then let go of Starr and gave chase, pulling a baton and using it. Diamond was hit at least twice it appeared, including the blow from the baton that put the gash in her head.
"I knew something had happened because I received a call from the paramedics," Neals said.
Neals said she heard nothing from the school.
"So your daughter is in the office bleeding, and they don't call you?" I-Team lead investigative reporter Jayne Miller asked.
"No," Neals replied.
All three girls were taken to a hospital: Diamond because of the head injury and her cousins because they were each sprayed with pepper spray. Miller reported that the same officer used the spray while another school employee tried to restrain the girls.
(Wbaltv, jan 30th)
Police in a Canadian town are asking residents to donate blood samples in efforts to crack a murder mystery that’s gone unsolved for more than a month.
Cops in Windsor, Ontario, are preparing to go door-to-door in a sweep that will seek the voluntary extraction of DNA from residents following the December 11 murder of 31-year-old Cassandra Kaake, a pregnant mother whose body was found inside her torched home.
Investigators say they’re going to rely on a technique known as “blooding” to hopefully formulate a list of suspects after weeks of research failed to produce a person of interest.
“They are asking what make of vehicle they drive, what their license plate is, how long they have lived there, whether they rent or own their home and who else lives in the house,” reports The National Post, adding that police’s final question asks if residents would be willing to submit a blood sample at a future time.
Police claim all but a “handful” of the town’s 500 residents have agreed to allow cops to probe their DNA.
“The response has been tremendous. We know the community is very co-operative and they obviously feel the same way we do,” Sergeant Matthew D’Asti told the Post, adding that “The entire community is very empathetic to the victim and her family.”
Civil rights activists, however, argue the warrantless, “guilty until proven innocent” tactic is a gross violation of personal privacy.
“The extraction of a DNA sample without a warrant is concerning. It is inherently coercive,” Executive Director and General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Sukanya Pillay, said.
“There is no guarantee that doing wide sweeps of DNA collection is going to produce the killer, but there is a guarantee it will create potential privacy violation and erosion of standards,” Pillay added.
(Infowars, jan 31st)
Crews, a former law enforcement officer who had been at the helm of the state’s largest agency for close to three years, had been fielding calls from the governor’s office for weeks. Each message seemed more urgent than the last, with Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign in full swing and civil rights groups calling for a U.S. Justice Department investigation into a series of questionable prison deaths.
“We need you to take a bullet for the governor,’’ Crews recalled being told by the governor’s chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, as he was driving home that afternoon from North Carolina, where and he and his wife had spent a few days decompressing.
The former prisons chief, in an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald, said the governor’s office asked him to fire people Crews didn’t believe should fired; it wrote press releases that said things he didn’t say, and orchestrated hastily arranged news conferences that were little more than smokescreens designed to distract from the real crisis that Crews was sounding the alarm on for years: Florida’s prisons were so rundown and understaffed that they had become dangerous.
(Miami herald, jan 31st)
WAR ON TERROR_________________
The French government has been ridiculed for producing a poster that is supposed to help identify potential jihadists – with one suggestion that giving up baguettes is a telltale sign.
They claim pointers that someone is being radicalised by Islamist fanatics include alarm bells such as losing interest in sports, rejecting members of their family and changing eating habits.
The poster was launched as part of a new £320million campaign to counter terrorism in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in early January, when 17 innocent people were killed over three days.
But the attempt to inform the public backfired, with many ridiculing it for some of the suggestions made in the Stop Jihadism poster.
(daily mail, jan 31st)
Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul
When Islamic State group militants invaded the Central Library of Mosul earlier this month, they were on a mission to destroy a familiar enemy: other people's ideas.
Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books — including children's stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science — into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.
"These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned," a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press. The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation, said the Islamic State group official made his impromptu address as others stuffed books into empty flour bags.
(AP, jan 31st)
Millennials are far more likely than their older counterparts to hold the disproven belief that vaccines can cause autism, according to a new poll.
Twenty-one percent of those polled under 30 say that vaccinations can cause autism, a new YouGov poll reports, compared to only three percent of those over 65.
Young people are also the only adult age cohort that says they’d prefer parents to make the decision on vaccinating children.
43 percent say parents should be able to decide whether to vaccinate their kids for childhood diseases, compared to 42 percent in favor of requiring the vaccines.
(washington examiner, jan 31st)
Woman born with no womb gives birth to miracle twins
Hayley Haynes, who was born with no reproductive organs, has given birth to twins after specialist treatment to grow a womb
(telegraph, jan 31st)
EPA approves continued heavy spraying of neurotoxic pesticide that causes brain damage in children
(natural news, jan 30th)
Talks aimed at striking a “binding” truce in Ukraine began in Minsk on Saturday afternoon as the number of soldiers and civilians killed continued to mount amid fierce fighting in several areas.
Representatives for the rebels, Russia, Ukraine and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe met in the Belarusian capital, but no details were immediately available.
Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, the OSCE’s Heidi Tagliavini, and separatist representatives Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, as well as the Russian ambassador to Kiev, Mikhail Zurabov, were participating in the talks aimed at ending fighting that has left more than 5,000 people dead.
(guardian, jan 31st)
On Feb. 12, 2008, Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, walked on a quiet nighttime street in Damascus after dinner at a nearby restaurant. Not far away, a team of CIA spotters in the Syrian capital was tracking his movements.
As Mughniyah approached a parked SUV, a bomb planted in a spare tire on the back of the vehicle exploded, sending a burst of shrapnel across a tight radius. He was killed instantly.
The device was triggered remotely from Tel Aviv by agents with Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, who were in communication with the operatives on the ground in Damascus. “The way it was set up, the U.S. could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” said a former U.S. intelligence official.
The United States helped build the bomb, the former official said, and tested it repeatedly at a CIA facility in North Carolina to ensure the potential blast area was contained and would not result in collateral damage.
(washington post, jan 31st)
The Obama administration’s illusionary job gains from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Clearly, with the Peterson Institute refusing to play the game this time and cough up a jobs number, the administration decided to concoct its own. But, as we have shown, one cannot at the same time claim both a gain of $77 billion in income and a gain of 650,000 jobs; the same effects simply cannot happen at once.
Moreover, these are big numbers with virtually no context. It is pretty lame to use such huge numbers to tout what, in the context of the U.S. economy, amounts to minuscule changes in income —10 years from now.
Our advice remains: be wary whenever a politician claims a policy will yield bountiful jobs. In this case, the correct number is zero (in the long run), not 650,000, according to the very study used to calculate this number.
(washington post, jan 30th)
Anti-austerity anger sweeps from Greece to Spain as hundreds of thousands march through Madrid in support of fledgling radical leftist party
-The streets of Madrid were today filled with activists supporting Spain's fledgling anti-establishment party Podemos
-Supporters from across Spain gathered as they hoped to emulate the success of Greece's radical Syriza party
-Polls show Podemos, which was formed last year, is in the lead to win Spain's general election later this year
-It could shatter Spain's two-party system in what would be the country's largest political shake up since 1978
(daily mail, jan 31st)
Four out of every ten Italians no longer want the euro, according to a survey released on Friday by the Institute of Political, Economic and Social Studies, Eurispes.
The percent of Italians who want Italy to leave the Eurozone has risen from 26% at the start of 2014 to 40.1% now, the polling agency says.
More than half of the Euroskeptics think the single currency is the chief cause of Italy’s economic woes, as it has deprived the country of the possibility of devaluating its currency at will.
Italy’s Euroskeptics want to return to the lira; 22.7 percent of respondents claim that only the richer EU members have benefited from the euro and 71.5 percent of the respondents claim that their purchasing power has declined significantly over the past year. More than half of the Italians polled (57%) said they can’t manage to pay for large expenses.
Nearly one of every two Italians, or 45%, would like to leave the country and live abroad. The poll also found that almost half of Italians, 47%, say they can’t make it financially to the end of the month, 16.4% more than last year.
(Sputnik, jan 31st)