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Monday :: January 19, 2015

Johnny Depp and George Jung Catch Up

George Jung, the infamous cocaine dealer played by Johnny Depp in the movie Blow, was released from prison last June, having completed his 20 year sentence.

Depp and Jung recently got together to reminisce and catch up.

George Jung wrote a sequel to Blow while he was in jail called Heavy, which was released on Kindle in September. I wonder if they discussed making it into a movie.

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Martin Luther King Day Open Thread

Today is a day to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his significance to the global struggle for peace, justice, and reconciliation.[More...]

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Saturday :: January 17, 2015

Indonesia Executes Six Drug Traffickers, More Planned

R.I.P. Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira (Brazil), Ang Kiem Soei (The Netherlands), Daniel Enemuo (Nigeria), Namaona Denis (Malawi), Tran Thi Bich Hanh (Vietnam) and Rani Andriani (Indonesia.) Despite pleas from governmental leaders and world-wide criticism, the four men and two women were executed just after midnight in Indonesia. There are 58 more convicted drug offenders on Indonesia's death row.

For background, see my earlier post today here, this from yesterday, this post from a few days ago and this one from over a year ago.

It seems not much has changed in Indonesia. The five who were executed on Nusakambangan Island, in Central Java, were taken from their cells in the dead of night and driven to a remote spot several miles away where they were shot in pairs. Media and families were of those killed were not allowed to be present. Reactions from the governments in the home countries of those killed was swift: [More....]

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Tied to a Wooden Cross, Part Two: Boycott Bali

Indonesia does not deserve your tourist dollars. Many Indonesians support their barbaric laws against drug traffickers. This is how many on Bali reacted to Schapelle Corby's arrest for 4.4 kilos of marijuana. This weekend, six drug traffickers, including five foreigners, will be killed by firing squads in Indonesia. Indonesia's President has rejected requests from leading officials of Brazil, the Netherlands and Australia not to kill their citizens.

Death is neither quick or painless when you are tied to a wooden cross and shot. The same fate awaits Bali Nine Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.(Indonesia claims the executioners now walk right over to those they just shot and shoot them again behind the ear to make sure they are dead.)

There are beautiful beaches all over the world. There is no reason to give your tourist dollars to a country that executes drug traffickers. [More...]

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Friday :: January 16, 2015

U.S. Statement on ICC Inquiry into Possible War Crimes

From the State Department on the International Court announcement it will open open an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, beginning with actions of Israel and Hamas militants last summer.

We strongly disagree with the ICC Prosecutor's action today. As we have said repeatedly, we do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC. It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC. The place to resolve the differences between the parties is through direct negotiations, not unilateral actions by either side. We will continue to oppose actions against Israel at the ICC as counterproductive to the cause of peace.

Reuters reports:

This allows the court to delve into the war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza in July-August 2014.

Please keep your comments civil. Opinions on both sides are fine, so long as they are expressed without venomous attacks on Israelis or the Palestinians, and without ridicule of other commenters who don't share your view.

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Holder Makes Change in Seizure Policy

Update: I should have waited to read the fine print in the actual directive. This is much less a reform than the press release promised. I'll update soon. The directive is far too vague, has too many exceptions, and states it it is prospective only.

Original Post

AG Eric Holder has put a big dent in the equitable sharing of money, property and car seizures between local cops and the feds. It's the first I'm hearing about it, and it's going to affect a lot of cases.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.

Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.

[More...]

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Indonesia to Execute 5 Foreign Drug Traffickers This Weekend

Indonesia will kick off its execution binge of 20 drug traffickers with the first six this weekend. Five are from foreign countries.

Attorney General HM Prasetyo confirmed on Thursday that five people — four men and a woman — would face the firing squad on Nusakambangan Island, Central Java, while one woman would face the firing squad in Boyolali, Central Java.

“We have prepared everything; the firing squad, clergymen and doctors. The executions will be done simultaneously, not one by one,” he said.

The Netherlands, Brazil and the European Union have asked Indonesia to call off the killings. It says it won't. Amnesty International issued this protest. [More...]

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Friday Open Thread

I'm still busy with work today. Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Thursday :: January 15, 2015

What if You Were Falsely Accused?

Alan Dershowitz has a terrific op-ed in the Wall St. Journal, "A Nightmare of False Accusation That Could Happen to You."

I don't know how he tells the whole story in one op-ed column, but he does. My last post on his current travails was 5,000 words.

Go read Dershowitz. You'll learn a few things about the shortcomings of the criminal justice system. As he puts it, if there's no legal recourse available to someone with all of his resources, what does it mean for the rest of us? [More....]

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Wednesday :: January 14, 2015

Five Yemeni Detainees Leave Guantanamo

Five Yemeni detainees have left Guantanamo. Four were sent to Oman and one was sent to Estonia.

122 detainees remain.

Senior U.S. officials say they hope to accelerate transfers in 2015 of the dozens of prisoners already cleared for release from Guantanamo and to complete reviews that could clear others to be moved. Obama is taking a more active role in the renewed effort to close the facility, pressing foreign heads of state to accept detainees and making a fiscal case for shutting the prison, which costs $400 million to $500 million a year to operate.

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Belgian Arms Dealer Admits Selling Weapons Used in Paris Attacks

A Belgian arms dealer and "known underworld figure" turned himself into authorities today. He admitted supplying several weapons to Amedi Coulibaly which were used in the Paris attacks.

Federal police, who searched the suspect’s apartment, found papers linking him to a transaction with Amedy Coulibaly, the jihadist who murdered four Jewish men and held others hostage at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in east Paris on Friday.

According to the local press, the man sold Coulibaly the Skorpion submachine guns he used in the attack, as well as the rocket propelled grenade launcher and the Kalashnikov automatic assault rifles that Said and Cherif Kouachi used to perpetrate the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. The weapons were purchased near the Midi railway station in downtown Brussels for less than 5,000 euros, according to the reports.

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Hillary 2016?

In November 2008, this was posted at TalkLeft:

Ezra Klein thinks: "Presuming that Hillary Clinton will remain one of, if not the, central actors in Democratic life from the year 2000 to the year 2016 displays a certain poverty of imagination about the path of Democratic politics. With every passing day, her singular political position erodes. In 2004, she would have won the nomination in a walk. By 2008, there was a new politician who better tapped into that particular moment in the party's life. By 2016, there will be many politicians like that, most of whose names we don't know. It's very hard to imagine that eight years in the future, the party will want to move back to Clinton."

One thing for sure, Ezra is not suffering from a poverty of imagination in this post. The entire post seems a figment of his imagination to me. [...] I think the complete opposite of Ezra - If Hillary wants to be the Dem nominee in 2016, she will be the Dem nominee in 2016.

Told you so. Of course Ezra got the Vox money tho.

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Wednesday Open Thread

The Judge has rejected Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's request for a trial delay based on the Paris attacks.

"My detailed review of juror questionnaires in preparation for voir dire has so far confirmed, rather then undermined, my judgment that a fair and impartial jury can and will be chosen to determine the issues in this case,"

I'm in court all day, this is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Dershowitz Supplements His Request to Intervene in Jane Doe Lawsuit

[Warning: This is very long. It assumes you know the basics. If not, see my four prior posts on the Dershowitz - Jane Doe claims, accessible here.]

Victims' Rights Lawyers Paul Cassell and Bradley Edwards have not yet responded in court to Alan Dershowitz' motion to intervene in the civil suit between Jane Does 1 and 2 and the Department of Justice. The Court has not yet ruled on Dershowitz' motion. Yesterday, Dershowitz filed a supplement to his motion. I have uploaded it here.

In addition to asking that he be allowed to intervene, he asks that Cassell and Edwards' allegations against him be stricken and that the Court enter a "show cause" order (explaining why they shouldn't be held in contempt of court.) [More...]

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AQAP Claims Credit for Charlie Hebdo Attacks

AQAP has issued a statement taking credit for the Charlie Hebdo killings. The reason for the operaton: Their insults to the Prophet.

We in the Organization of Qa'idatul Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula claim responsibility for this operation as a vengeance for the Messenger of Allah. We clarify to the ummah that the one who chose the target, laid the plan nd financed the operation, is the leadership of the organization.

It says by coincidence, Coulibaly had another operation set at the same time.[More...]

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