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Wednesday :: July 30, 2014

Exonerated Innocent Man Describes 21 Year Prison Nightmare

Kenneth Ireland of Connecticut was 17 when he was arrested for raping and killing a woman. During his police interrogation, he maintained his innocence. He was 18 when he was tried and convicted. 21 years later, in 2009, he was freed after DNA evidence showed he did not commit the crime, and the real perpetrator was identified, tried, convicted and sentenced.

A state commissioner will decide Ireland's compensation, which may be up to $8 million. During testimony this week Ireland described the horror he experienced daily in prison.

I wish it were an actual nightmare ... because then I could have woken up instead of spending 21 years in a tiny cell with the most violent criminals who targeted me because I was a convicted sex offender."

[More...]

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ISIS Mass Massacre in Tikrit: "Down By the River"

I can't bring myself to watch (and won't link to) the ISIS video of the massacre of hundreds of Shi'ite Muslims and army deserters in Tikrit. Almost all are in their 20's and 30's. The video is 36 minutes long, and the real horror is in the last 6 or 7 minutes. Shorter version: There are trucks loaded with hundreds of terrified young men. First they make them lie down in the sand. Then they shoot around 50 of them in the head, one by one. Then there's a scene of an open area packed with more than 100 bodies. And then:

The 36-minute video ends with a scene in which fifteen young men are being escorted to a blood-soaked path along a river, where masked gunmen await, one of whom is holding the Islamic State's flag. The victims are each shot in the head and dumped into the river one by one.

Video above: Neil Young and CS&N, Big Sur Sept 6, 1969:

"Down by the river, I shot my baby
... This much madness is too much sorrow...."

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Tuesday :: July 29, 2014

Tuesday Night Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. Here's another one, all topics welcome.

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Imprisoned Drug and Paramilitary Leader Claims His Brother Killed Pablo Escobar

Former cartel and AUC right-wing paramilitary honcho Don Berna, aka Diego Murillo, who is serving 31 years in a Florida prison, has written a book. In it, he says it was his brother Rodolfo Murillo Bejarano, alias “Semilla,”, not the Search Bloc cop Hugo Aguilar who fired the shot that killed Pablo Escobar.

Berna was one of the leaders of the Pepes (Persecuted by Pablo Escobar). Aguilar has since been sentenced to 9 years in prison for his ties to the AUC. [More...]

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Overblown Fears of Foreign Fighters

In a NY Times Oped, two scholars in Arab Studies debunk the myth that ISIS is coming after the West. They say homegrown terrorists are a bigger threat than foreign fighters returning from Syria.

...Contrary to what many counterterrorism experts believe, however, ISIS has so far shown no interest in Western targets. The group’s overarching objective is to consolidate its dominion in the Levant, a place of great religious significance.

What could change this dynamic?

The one thing that might change the attitude of foreign fighters is the United States’ launching military action against them.

[More...]

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Monday :: July 28, 2014

My First Tornado

I was driving to the ICE detention facility in Aurora today when looking off to the left, I saw what I assumed was a fire. I considered for a brief second it could be a tornado, but it wasn't raining and it didn't seem to be twirling, it just looked like dirty smoke. So I kept going.

Within a minute there was lightening. Then I could hear a little bit of hail fall on the roof of my car, then a siren went off in my car (my cell phone was plugged into the stereo, and the siren was as loud as the radio when the volume is turned up really high. I didn't even have the radio on, let alone set at high volume.) It was an emergency alert -- which I hadn't signed up for but appreciated -- telling me to get out the area, a tornado had been spotted "in rotation" on radar. I had no idea what "in rotation" meant, but I understood I should get out of the area.

Within seconds, I was in the midst of a torrential downpour and the streets were flooded. By now I was only about 5 blocks from the jail, but the jail was in the direction of the brown blob of smoke I had seen, which was not a fire, but a tornado that had touched down. [More...]

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Monday Open Thread

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Drug Mule's Cocaine Pellets Burst on Plane

Colmin Smith, age 48, was flying from Antigua to London with 239 grams of cocaine (about 1/2 pound) in pellets in his stomach. Shortly after the packed Virgin Atlantic flight took off, the pellets burst. He managed to tell a flight attendant right before he lost consciousness.

The plane made an emergency landing in Bermuda, where medics performed emergency surgery at the airport, and then took him to the hospital. He survived, and then had to face the judge.

The penalty: No jail, just a fine of 417 pounds (about $700.00). Why did he catch such a break? [More...]

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ISIS Turns Against John McCain in Latest Publication

ISIS released the second edition of Dabiq, its glossy magazine yesterday, titled "It’s Either the Islamic State or the Flood"." There's a drawing of a big ark on the cover. While they certainly have mastered graphic design -- the issue is visually compelling, well laid-out, and uses easily readable fonts, it's also very long (44 pages) and mostly centered around religious concepts.

As with its other publications, it mostly ignores the West and U.S. The notable exception is that it devotes 2 pages to John McCain. On the first page it blasts him.[More...]

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Sunday :: July 27, 2014

Trial Monday on Production of Missing Video From OKC Bombing

Utah attorney Jesse Trentadue has been fighting for years to obtain videos referenced in Secret Service and FBI timelines of the Oklahoma City Bombing investigation. Trial in his FOIA lawsuit (see IntelFiles case page for background) begins tomorrow in federal court in Utah. Trentadue's brother Kenneth died in an Oklahoma detention facility in 1995. The government claimed his death was a suicide. Jesse says the condition of his brother's body shows it was murder.

On Monday, a three-day trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on a lawsuit by lawyer Jesse Trentadue. He filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking documents and videotapes from the bombing investigation — including one tape he believes shows two suspects exiting a Ryder truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the detonation of explosives in the vehicle.

[More...]

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New York Times Editorial: Feds Should Legalize Marijuana

The New York Times has taken a bold step. Its editorial board is calling for the legalization of marijuana -- Repeal Prohibition Again.

The Times will feature marijuana legalization all week in a series of articles, High Time. Here's the first article, Let the States Decide. [more....]

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Saturday :: July 26, 2014

No Treaty, No Problem for the DEA

Update 7/27: The Netherlands has authorized Aruba to release Hugo Carvajal, saying he does have diplomatic immunity. Looks like the DEA has lost this round. Definitely the right decision in my view.

******

Venezuela does not allow the extradition of its citizens to the U.S. That doesn't stop the DEA. The latest conquests in its global war on drugs: Benny Palmeri-Bacchia, a Venezuelan attorney who served as a judge and prosecutor, and Hugo Carvajal Barrios, aka "Pollo" (chicken), the former head of Venezuela's Military Intelligence. Palmeri-Bacchi was arrested en route to Disneyland with his family for a vacation, and Carvajal was arrested in Aruba (as the result of a year long DEA plan to arrest him outside of Venezuela, more on this below.) [More...]

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Saturday Open Thread

For Stephanie Grisham, the press secretary for Arizona Attorney General Tom Home , who said in an email that the claims being made by the media witnesses and defense attorneys about the botched execution of Joseph Wood are not accurate.

"He went to sleep, and looked to be snoring. ...I was surprised by how peaceful it was. There was absolutely no snorting or gasping for air."

(h/t SJ in comments.) This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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ISIS Publishes Graphic Photos of Multiple Beheadings

ISIS yesterday published its most gruesome photos yet of multiple beheadings at the Division 17 base in Raqqa, Syria. I'm not going to link because they are just too gross.

The New York Times says 50 Syrian soldiers were killed. Reuters says the same.

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Friday :: July 25, 2014

Friday Night Open Thread

As expected following the media's publication of multiple unnamed law enforcement leaks concerning Stephen Silva, (background here) Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers have renewed their motion to determine the source of law enforcement leaks. I'm glad to see they complained about the leak I thought was the most egregious -- you can read the leak here. As I wrote:

....leaks by law enforcement that this is bad for Jahar because it shows he was more than an errand boy are just speculation. And incredibly out of line for law enforcement, who have no business opining to the media on the specifics and strength of any defendant's defense.

The defense wants to know what steps the Government took after the June hearing at which the judge expressed his concern about leaks to avoid future ones.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12 hour cease-fire tomorrow.

I wonder what ISIS has been up to the past 2 days. I'll write about it later if there's anything new.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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