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Monday :: March 16, 2015

Monday Open Thread

I've got a busy day and the dentist. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Javier Espinosa: ISIS Hostage #43

Yesterday, released ISIS hostage Javier Espinosa, a journalist with El Mundo, provided his first account of his kidnapping and detention by ISIS, including his description of "Jihadi John", believed to be Mohammed Emwazi. It was in the Sunday Times (UK) which is subscription only, and only descriptions by other media outlets were available.

Fortunately, El Mundo, has published it for free in two installments. Each one is about 4,000 words. It is riveting to say the least. Espinosa was held with James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Alan Henning, Peter Kassig and the other Western journalists and hostages, and he discusses all of them.

Google Translate actually does a pretty good job with it. You can read the full first installment here and the second installment here. [More...]

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Sunday :: March 15, 2015

Ferguson Suspect in Police Shootings Charged

20 year old Jeffrey Williams has been arrested and charged with the Ferguson police shootings. Police say he may not have intended to shoot the officers. They say that's his story, they don't know if they "fully buy it."

“I’m not sure we completely buy that part of it,” the prosecutor said. “I wouldn't say he wasn't targeting police. I’m saying right now the evidence we have supports filing the charge that he may have been shooting at someone other than police and struck the police.”

He's not charged with attempted murder. The complaint is here. Protest organizers say they aren't familiar with Williams.

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Saturday :: March 14, 2015

The Plot Thins: State Dept regs require employees to decide what e-mails are preserved

Media Matters points us to State Dept Reg. 5 FAM 443.2:

E-mail message creators and recipients must decide whether a particular message is appropriate for preservation In making these decisions, all personnel should exercise the same judgment they use when determining whether to retain and file paper records.

We already know there was no prohibition until 2014 regarding the use of private e-mail accounts. We now know that, as a formal matter, even e-mails sent or received on State Department email account were not automatically preserved. Instead only those e-mails designated for preservation, by the determination of the individual holding the e-mail, would be preserved.

Hillary Clinton should have made these determinations in a timely manner. When she did not, after the effective date (in 2010) of the 2009 NARA regulation, she failed to comply in my opinion. (I do not accept her argument that she could rely on the determination of the recipient or sender from a .gov account.)

But in terms of laws and regulations, this has become "The Incredible Shrinking Scandal."

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Saturday Open Thread

Your turn. All topics welcome.

Update: I just sent out my thank you emails to those of you who responded to my latest "TalkLeft Appreciation Days" request. I really appreciate the help. It's also very gratifying to realize, given the vast array of sites to follow, that so many of you have been reading for so many years.

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Friday :: March 13, 2015

Oscar Pistorius: Eligible for Release Within Months

Oscar Pistorius may be eligible for release from prison by August. He would finish his sentence on home detention. The timing is significant because it is unlikely the appeals court will have heard the state's appeal by then.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday said it would only submit its transcripts to the High Court at the end of May; and a date for the appeal would only be set after both the State and defence file their heads of argument.

This will most likely take around two months, which means it would be heard once Pistorius becomes eligible for early release.

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English Translation of al Adnani's Latest Message

Yesterday, ISIS supporters on Twitter were all excited waiting for a new speech by chief spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani. It was released mid-afternoon, but without English translation. Titled "So They Kill and Are Killed" Adnani accepted the "bayah" of Boko Haram in Nigeria, to become part of the Califphate, and urged supporters to go to Africa and fight with them.

There were news reports that in his speech, he threatened to blow up the Eiffel Tower, the White House, and Big Ben. An English translation has now been released. You can read it here or here. He doesn't call upon supporters to attack these places, he just says these attacks will happen before they conquer Rome. (Rome is usually a reference to the apocalypse and the Byzantine Roman Empire which was based in Constantinople, not Rome, Italy, and could be generations from now. More here.) [More...]

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Obama on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Both Funny and Serious

President Obama was on Jimmy Kimmel last night. Both were very funny and entertaining.

Obama did get serious for a few minutes, when he talked about Ferguson, the two officers who were shot, the protesters, racial profiling and the DOJ report. [More...]

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Thursday :: March 12, 2015

Carjack Victim Testifies in Tsarnaev Trial

Dun Meng, the Chinese national whose Mercedes was carjacked by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, testified today about his ordeal. He said Tamerlan was alone when he carjacked him, threatened him with a gun and then had him drive around for 20 to 30 minutes before they picked up Jahar.

During cross-examination by the defense, Meng acknowledged that Tamerlan was the one who jumped in his car and threatened him with a gun. He said Dzhokhar barely spoke to him, except to ask if the sound system in his car would work with his iPhone.

[More...]

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Ferguson Shooter: Rush to Judgment?

Why is no one asking whether the Ferguson shooter might be a lone wolf terrorist?

In November, 2014, ISIS supporters called for using Ferguson as an excuse for lone wolf attacks:

In particular, Al Nusra Al Maqdisiyya, a prominent group of pro-ISIS activists on social media, wrote on its Twitter account: "O lone mujahid, you must use the breakdown of security in #Ferguson to increase the burning in America. They are squabbling over worldly [matters], so you send them to hell! #ISIS.”

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NZ Court Orders Release of Some Kim Dotcom Funds

Kim Dotcom has had a few setbacks in U.S. and New Zealand courts recently. Today he won a round in New Zealand. The court released funds from his frozen assets to pay his legal fees and living expenses.

His legal fees are around $4 million. $12 million in assets were seized during the 2012 raid. No news articles yet for details, I'll update when they are available.

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Thursday Open Thread

It will be several hours before I get back to a computer today. Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday :: March 11, 2015

Republican Senators Write Iran, 155k Sign Treason Petition

Here is the letter Republican senators sent to the leadership of Iran.

Iran responded it has no legal value.

Republicans do not speak for Congress or the President who is Commander in Chief. They should be sanctioned for even writing it.

I guess I'm not the only one who thinks this is unacceptable behavior by Republicans. 155,000 people have signed a petition that the ink happy Senators be charged with treason. [More...]

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Shami Witness: Police Seek Another 6 Months to File Charges

Pro-ISIS Tweeter and news disseminator Mehdi Masroor Biswas, aka @Shami Witness, arrested in India in December, 2014, is still in custody in India. No charges have been filed. He hasn't had a bail hearing yet. The latest 90 day extension of time to file a charge sheet expires this week.

On March 9, Bangladore police requested an additional six months to file a charge sheet.

A hearing on the request and Shami's petition for bail may be set for next week. How can India hold someone for 120 days without a bail hearing? [More...]

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Ferguson Police Chief Resigns

In the latest fallout from DOJ's Ferguson report, Ferguson city officials announced that Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned today. Ferguson City Manager John Shaw resigned on Tuesday, and Municipal Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned on Monday. Jackson's resignation letter is here.

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