It is being theorized that now the focus will be on Western Europe leaving Eastern Europe without ample liquidity.Comments »
A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been sentenced to two years in prison for improperly lifting the arms of a 15-year-old drug smuggling suspect while handcuffed — in what the Justice Department called a deprivation of the teenager’s constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force.
Agent Jesus E. Diaz Jr. was named in a November 2009 federal grand jury indictment with deprivation of rights under color of law during an October 2008 arrest near the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, in response to a report that illegal immigrants had crossed the river with bundles of drugs.
In a prosecution sought by the Mexican government and obtained after the suspected smuggler was given immunity to testify against the agent,Diaz was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlumin San Antonio. The Mexican consulate in Eagle Pass had filed a formal written complaint just hours after the arrest, alleging that the teenager had been beaten.
Defense attorneys argued that there were no injuries or bruises on the suspected smuggler’s lower arms where the handcuffs had been placed nor any bruising resulting from an alleged knee on his back. Photos showed the only marks on his body came from the straps of the pack he carried containing the suspected drugs, they said.
Border Patrol agents found more than 150 pounds of marijuana at the arrest site.
The allegations against Diaz, 31, a seven-year veteran of the Border Patrol, initially were investigated by Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which cleared the agent of any wrongdoing.
But the Internal Affairs Division at U.S. Customs and Border Protection ruled differently nearly a year later and, ultimately, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas brought charges.
In a statement, the council said that because the arrest took place at about 2 a.m., darkness would have made it impossible for the government’s witnesses to have seen whether any mistreatment took place. It said Marcos Ramos, the Border Patrol agent who stood next toDiaz, testified that he did not see any mistreatment of the smuggling suspect.
The council said other witnesses made contradictory claims and some later admitted to having perjured themselves. Such admissions, thecouncil said, were ignored by the court and the government. It also said that probationary agents who claimed to have witnessed the assault raised no objections during the incident and failed to notify an on-duty supervisor until hours later.
“Instead, they went off-duty to a local ‘Whataburger’ restaurant, got their stories straight and reported it hours later to an off-duty supervisor at his home,” the council said. “Then the ‘witnesses’ went back to the station and reported their allegations.”
The council also noted that the teenager claimed no injuries in court other than sore shoulders, which the council attributed to “the weight of the drug load, approximately 75 pounds, he carried across the border.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, which brought the charges, is the same office that in February 2006 — under U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton — prosecuted Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean after they shot a drug-smuggling suspect, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, in the buttocks as he tried to flee back into Mexico after abandoning a van filled with 800 pounds of marijuana. Aldrete-Davila also was given immunity in the case and testified against the agents.
Agents Ramos and Compean were convicted and sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison, respectively.Comments »
No charges rendered yetComments »
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(Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican October 23, 2011/Giampiero Sposito)
The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises. The document from the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department should please the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.
“Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions. “The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” it said.
It condemned what it called “the idolatry of the market” as well as a “neo-liberal thinking” that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems. “In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviours like selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” it said, adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.
“If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid,” it said.
It called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions.
Asked at a news conference if the document could become a manifesto for the movement of the “indignant ones”, who have criticised global economic policies, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department, said: “The people on Wall Street need to sit down and go through a process of discernment and see whether their role managing the finances of the world is actually serving the interests of humanity and the common good. “We are calling for all these bodies and organisations to sit down and do a little bit of re-thinking.”Comments »
The 100 or so assholes camped out in the middle of a Detroit park (ironically dedicated to and adourned with the statues of business men who would be ashamed to live here nowadays) have thankfully had to suffer some of the most miserable, rainy October weather imaginable, up to now.
May the plagues against them continue…
The past week’s weather hasn’t always been conducive to their cause, with rainy days and cold temperatures, but members of the Occupy Detroit movement say they’re undeterred and will stay the course at their encampment in Grand Circus Park downtown.
“We’re still basically a work in progress, but I continue to remain wildly optimistic about what we’re accomplishing here,” Sarah Coffey, 38, one of the volunteers in charge of organizing the group’s informational meetings, said late Sunday afternoon.
“In order for us to transform society, we have to bridge the differences between the races and classes. And when you stop to think about it, is there any better spot to begin than in Detroit?”
Ann Arbor residents Marcia Mai, 59, and Bob Davis, 87, said they came downtown to observe what was happening.
“We’re here to show some solidarity with the young people, and it’s great to see they’re actually doing something about the gross inequalities that exist in the country,” said Mai, who said she did her share of protesting during the 1970s.
“I’m encouraged because people are here and they plan to remain for the long term,” Mai said. “And why not? Their future has been impacted by a loss of jobs and homes, and the fact that they’re committed to being here is very moving to see.”
The Organizers vs. the Organized in Zuccotti Park
- 10/20/11 at 5:38 PM
All occupiers are equal — but some occupiers are more equal than others. In wind-whipped Zuccotti Park, new divisions and hierarchies are threatening to upend Occupy Wall Street and its leaderless collective.
As the protest has grown, some of the occupiers have spontaneously taken charge on projects large and small. But many of the people in Zuccotti Park aren’t taking direction well, leading to a tense Thursday of political disagreements, the occasional shouting match, and at least one fistfight.
It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons weren’t sitting well with the neighborhood’s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters.
“[The high school] couldn’t teach,” explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out,” said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.
But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.
“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it … they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”
To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest,” he said. “They didn’t even give the drummers a say … Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”
The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting.”
All belongings and money in the park are supposed to be held in common, but property rights reared their capitalistic head when facilitators went to clean up the park, which was looking more like a shantytown than usual after several days of wind and rain. The local community board was due to send in an inspector, so the facilitators and cleaners started moving tarps, bags, and personal belongings into a big pile in order to clean the park.
But some refused to budge. A bearded man began to gather up a tarp and an occupier emerged from beneath, screaming: “You’re going to break my fucking tent, get that shit off!” Near the front of the park, two men in hoodies staged a meta-sit-in, fearful that their belongings would be lost or appropriated.
Daniel Zetah, a 35-year-old lead facilitator from Minnesota, mounted a bench. “We need to clear this out. There are a bunch of kids coming to stay here.” One of the hoodied men fought back: “I’m not giving up my space for fucking kids. They have parents and homes. My parents are dead. This is my space.”
Other organizers were more blunt. “If you don’t want to be part of this group, then you can just leave,” yelled a facilitator in a button-down shirt, “Every week we clean our house.” Seth Harper, the pro-drummer proletarian, chimed in on the side of the sitters. “We disagree on how we should clean it. A lot of us disagree with the pile.” Zetah, tall and imposing with a fiery red beard, closed debate with a sigh. “We’re all big boys and girls. Let’s do this.” As he told me afterwards, “A lot of people are like spoiled children.” The cure? A cold snap. “Personally, I cannot wait for winter. It will clear out these people who aren’t here for the right reasons. Bring on the snow. The real revolutionaries will stay in -50 degrees.”
“The sunshine protestors will leave,” said “Zonkers,” a 20-year-old cleaner and longtime occupier from Tennessee. (He asked that his name not be used due to a felony marijuana conviction.) “The people who remain are the people who care. You get a lot of crust punks, silly kids, people who want to panhandle … It disgusts me. These people are here for a block party.”
Another argument broke out next to the pile of appropriated belongings, growing taller by the minute. A man named Sage Roberts desperately rifled through the pile, looking for a sleeping bag. “They’ve taken my stuff,” he muttered. Lauren Digion, the sanitation group leader, broke in: “This isn’t your stuff. You got all this stuff from comfort [the working group]. It belongs to comfort.”
And as I spoke to Michael Glaser, a 26-year-old Chicagoan helping lead winter preparation efforts, a physical fight broke out between a cleaner and a camper just feet from us.
“When cleanups happen, people get mad,” Glaser said. “This is its own city. Within every city there are people who freeload, who make people’s lives miserable. We just deal with it. We can’t kick them out.”
In response to dissatisfaction with the consensus General Assembly, many facilitators have adopted a new “spokescouncil” model, which allows each working group to act independently without securing the will of the collective. “This streamlines it,” argued Zonkers. “The GA is unwieldy, cumbersome, and redundant.”
From today’s battles, it’s not yet clear who will win the day: the organizers or the organized. But the month-long protest has clearly grown and evolved to a point where a truly leaderless movement will risk eviction — or, worse, insurrection.
As the communal sleeping bag argument between Lauren Digion and Sage Roberts threatened to get out of hand, a facilitator in a red hat walked by, brow furrowed. “Remember? You’re not allowed to do any more interviews,” he said to Digion. She nodded and went back to work. But when Roberts shouted, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Digion couldn’t hold back.
“Someone has to be told what to do,” she said. “Someone needs to give orders. There’s no sense of order in this fucking place.”Comments »
As politicians in Western capitals were taking quiet pleasure in the capture and killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi yesterday, opinions elsewhere were divided.
In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Geneva Conventions had been breached with the killing of Colonel Gaddafi.
“We have to lean on facts and international laws,” Mr Lavrov said. “They say that a captured participant of an armed conflict should be treated in a certain way. And in any case, a prisoner of war should not be killed.”
Russia has been critical of Nato military action in Libya, saying that it has gone well beyond the stated mission of saving civilian life. The main concern for Moscow now is whether the new Libyan authorities will honour contracts signed by the Gaddafi regime. As well as the oil and arms trade, Russian Railways had secured a £2bn contract to construct a railway line between Sirte and Benghazi. Moscow recognised the National Transitional Council as the official government of Libya last month and said it expected all existing contracts to be honoured.
China, which like Russia abstained in the Security Council vote on whether to use force against Colonel Gaddafi’s troops, was quicker yesterday to change its tune. Beijing initially refused to support the rebels and had been highly critical of the bombing campaign. But as realities on the ground altered, in recent weeks the Chinese government had started to engage with the rebel movement.
“A new page has been turned in the history of Libya,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said yesterday. “We hope Libya will rapidly embark on an inclusive political process … and allow the people to live in peace and happiness,” she said.
A sign of the official policy change could be discerned in the language that Chinese state media used to refer to Colonel Gaddafi. Newspapers and agencies run by the state, which had previously referred to a “Middle East strongman”, had yesterday made a small but significant change to their phrasing, calling him a “madman” instead.
Reaction from other enemies of the US was varied. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described the dead dictator as a “martyr”, while Iran’s foreign ministry tried to banish any parallels between the Libyan revolution and anti-government protests at home. “Despots and oppressors throughout history have no fate other than destruction and death,” a spokesman said. He called Colonel Gaddafi’s killing a “great victory” but added that all foreign forces must now pull out of the country.
And the eccentric Russian politician Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is also the head of the World Chess Federation, said that Colonel Gaddafi’s death was a “tragedy” but that he died as a martyr and would be reincarnated.
Mr Ilyumzhinov made a surreal mission to Tripoli in June, where he met with Colonel Gaddafi as an unofficial mediator and played a game of chess with him. Yesterday, he said in a Russian newspaper interview that he had spoken to the Libyan leader numerous times on the phone since. He claimed that Colonel Gaddafi had not been scared of death: “Not a bit! He believed in reincarnation.”
Former New York Mets star and financial guru Lenny Dykstra pleaded no contest Wednesday to three counts of grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement in a scheme to obtain luxury automobiles. He faces up to four years in prison.
Dykstra, 48, entered his plea before L.A. County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig, who released him pending sentencing on Jan. 20, 2012, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Alex Karkanen. The case is among the baseball star’s mounting legal woes, which include criminal charges involving federal bankruptcy fraud and indecent exposure.
In January, Dykstra, his accountant Robert Hymers, 27, and friend Christopher Gavanis, 30, tried to lease high-end automobiles from several area dealerships by allegedly providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business, prosecutors said.
Dykstra was originally charged with five counts of attempted grand theft auto, eight counts of filing false financial statements, four counts of identity theft, three counts of grand theft auto and three counts of possession of a controlled substance. In addition, he was charged with one misdemeanor count each of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and unauthorized possession of a syringe. He originally faced up to 12 years in state prison. In exchange for his plea, the remaining charges will be dismissed at sentencing.
If Dykstra fails to appear for sentencing, he faces up to six years in state prison.
In September, Hymers pleaded no contest to one felony count of identity theft, and Gavanis pleaded no contest to one felony count of filing a false financial statement. Their sentencing was put over for a year.
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Something that has no effect upon you is cause to pay no mind. When over a 1000 cities have protests and it goes global in 1500+ cities in foreign countries then the elite must worry and fight back.
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Pay up or get out.
Con Ed has given the Ground Zero mosque an ultimatum: Pay the $1.7 million you owe in back rent, or we’ll terminate your lease and take back our property.
Con Ed and mosque developer Park51 have an unusual, uneasy alliance, sharing ownership of a site slated to be one of the most controversial projects in city history.
The utility owns a former substation on the western half of the property, at 51 Park Place, and the mosque developers own a five-story building on the eastern half. The buildings were connected years ago and used to house a Burlington Coat Factory store.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/evict_threat_for_mosque_lIbVwVeDv8FaBnnPEyuLmN#ixzz1axeFbduw