Thursday :: June 25, 2015

Full text of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Statement

Here is the full text of Dzhokhar's statement at his death penalty trial.

THE DEFENDANT : Thank you, your Honor, for giving me an opportunity to speak. I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and glorious, the most gracious, the most merciful, "Allah" among the most beautiful names. Any act that does not begin in the name of God is separate from goodness.

This is the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is the month of mercy from Allah to his creation, a month to ask forgiveness of Allah and of his creation, a month to express gratitude to Allah and to his creation. It's the month of reconciliation, a month of patience, a month during which hearts change. Indeed, a month of many blessings.


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Wednesday :: June 24, 2015

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Speaks at Sentencing

Dzhohkar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for the Boston Marathon bombings. From live tweets of reporters Jim Armstrong and Patricia Wen in the courtroom.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke for about 4 minutes. He expressed remorse. "I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors." ..."I am sorry for the lives I have taken....for the suffering I have caused and the terrible damage I have done."

He left no doubt about his guilt:

"I am guilty of the bombing, let there be no lingering question about that."

He thanked his attorneys and said "I cherish their company." He said they have done a lot for his family. His defense attorney, Judy Clarke, told the Court he had tried to settle the case before trial. [More...]

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Tuesday :: June 23, 2015

ISIS Publishes Video of Extremely Cruel Killings

ISIS continues to shock the world with atrocity killings. Its latest video, filmed in or around Mosul and released by the Nineveh Wilayat, is titled "If You Promised We Came Back." I won't link to it, but I did watch it.

In the 7 minute video, orange-clad prisoners are divided into three groups. Each makes a statement. The first group is put inside a vehicle. An ISIS member fires a grenade missile launcher at the car, blowing it up and setting it on fire. The prisoners burn to death inside the vehicle.

The second group are put in a cage, suspended over water. The cage is lowered and they drown to death. There's a camera underwater filming their painful drowning.[More...]

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Benghazi Suspect Ali Awni al-Harzi Killed in Mosul Drone Strike

Ali Awni al-Harzi, a suspect in the 2012 Benghazi embassy attack, has been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Mosul.

Ali, a Tunisian, was arrested in 2012 for his suspected role in the embassy attack, and freed by Tunisia in January, 2013. [More...]

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Tuesday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread. All topics welcome.

In entertainment news, Netflix' new releases for July have been announced. On July 1, it will add both La Reina del Sur and El Senor de los Cielos, Seasons 1 and 2. Watching on Netflix is much better than the networks' internet sites or You Tube. No commercials, they have good subtitles and they don't stop every 10 minutes to play the show's theme song. I just finished watching all 80 episodes of En La Boca del Lobo. It's the story of the former security chief for the Cali Cartel who turned on them and led to their arrest and the demise of the cartel. (Of course that just led to the rise of the Norte Valle cartel, but that's another story, told in El Cartel de los Sapos.) He's now living with his family in the U.S. under an assumed name. [More...]

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al-Baghdadi's Ex-Wife Gives Birth in Lebanon

Back in December, 2014, Lebanon claimed to have arrested Saja Abdul Hamid al-Dulaimi, the wife or ex-wife of ISIS leader al Baghdadi. She was caught using a fake passport at the border, along with one of her small children.

Lebanon news is now reporting she has just given birth. She was three weeks pregnant when arrested. Her current husband is Kamal Khalaf, a Palestinian.

The baby was born in a military hospital and she and the baby are now at a General Security detention center. [More...]

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Monday :: June 22, 2015

WSJ/NBC Poll: Hillary With Wide Lead Over All GOP Opponents.

It's 1 poll, but a good one for Hillary Clinton:

Looking ahead to the general election, Clinton also leads Bush by eight points (48 percent to 40 percent), Rubio by 10 points (50 percent to 40 percent) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by 14 (51 percent to 37 percent).

Clinton is supported by 75% of Dem voters in the primary race, with Sanders at 15, Webb at 4, and O'Malley 2.

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Lebanon's Abu Ghraib Infuriates Everyone, Including ISIS

Lebanon's Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi has announced the arrest of five members of the Internal Security Forces allegedly responsible for the torture of Islamist prisoners at Roumieh prison. Videos of the torture were leaked Saturday, enraging the world.

Families of the inmates have been protesting conditions and treatment of the inmates for months. A Lebanese political leader said in April Romieh was worse than Abu Ghraib.

ISIS fanboys on Twitter are very upset about the torture. They urge retaliation and have posted the photos and names of the guards allegedly responsible.

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Indonesia to Execute French Drug Offender

Convicted drug offender Frenchman Serge Atlaoui has lost his appeal challenging the denial of clemency. He was scheduled to be executed with Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan and six others in April, but the date was pushed back because of his pending appeal.

Indonesia says it will schedule his execution after Ramadan is over in mid July. [More...]

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"Jihadi John" Reportedly Now in Libya

An unnamed source in the Joint Terrorism Task Force says Mohamed Emwazi, aka "Jihadi John" is now in Libya.

[A] source with America’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce, which along with the CIA and U.S special forces DEVGRU is hunting Emwazi, believes he has slipped over the border.

“We think it is a tactical move by ISIS to keep Emwazi out of the limelight. “His unmasking by the Press took away the mystery surrounding his ‘bogey man’ persona and though we have targeted him with conventional missiles we have had no confirmation of a successful strike.

I wonder if he's hanging out with the English speaking ISIS beheader in Wilayat Tarabulus (Tripoli) who appears in the video of the killing of Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach near Sirte.

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Sunday :: June 21, 2015

On race, there are no neutral observers

On Meet the Press, this morning, the Washington bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib, said:

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Friday :: June 19, 2015

Law Enforcement Says Dylann Roof Confessed

Here come the leaks. Two unnamed law enforcement officials say Dylann Roof confessed to the Charleston shootings.

South Carolina Ethical Rules: RULE 3.8: SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PROSECUTOR [More...]

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Brian Williams Demoted, Will Return to MSNBC

Brian Williams is returning to NBC -- but not as the anchor of the evening news. Instead, he will anchor breaking news and special reports on MSNBC. He appeared as a guest on the Today Show this morning with Matt Lauer. He said he's grateful for the second chance and he knows and expects he will be held to a higher standard.

Other changes are coming for MSNBC, as the network, whose ratings have been poor, starts to focus more on breaking news and less on punditry and talk shows.

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Thursday :: June 18, 2015

Alleged Charleston Shooter in Custody in S.C.

21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, of Eastover, SC, is in custody in Charleston, SC. He was arrested after a traffic stop in Shelby, NC, waived extradition and was flown back to Charleston.

His friends say he was planning the attack for some time: [More...]

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Court Reduces Arellano-Felix Life Sentence to 23.5 Years

It was a big deal back in 2007 when Francisco Javier Arrellano-Felix was sentenced to life in prison.

In 2014, the judge reduced it to 23.5 years. Everything was sealed until this week when the Judge released a 9 page order denying a request by Arellano-Felix's lawyer to reduce it more, saying the government was too stingy with its 40% reduction for cooperation.

Arellano-Felix has been held in severe conditions and 23 hours a day lockdown for most of the time, although he's flown around the country and to Mexico with the DEA to cooperate. The Judge acknowledges the harsh conditions, but quotes a line from a Merle Haggard song, "And the joint [is] a bad place to be." [More...]

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