Then... and Now
Police tell reporters to get off a public road, stop filming a public road and to never come back:
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Everyone with a soul, needs to do what they can to end this madness.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A NATO airstrike targeting insurgents inadvertently hit two civilian homes in the volatile southwestern Helmand province, killing 14 women and children, an Afghan government official said Sunday.
Dawood Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial government, said the alliance launched the airstrike late on Saturday in retaliation for an attack earlier in the day on a U.S. Marine base in Helmand's northwest district of Nawzad. He said NATO hit two civilian houses, killing five girls, seven boys, and two women.
Most of all, Dr. Logsdon said, hindsight had made him aware of his blindness to Apollo’s implications for the long run. He said he had been wrong, in a 1970 book on the subject, to think that the lunar decision “can be generalized to tell us how to proceed toward other “great new American enterprises.”
And like many others who for years lived and breathed the project, he finally had to recognize that the “impact of Apollo on the space program has on balance been negative.” It was, he explained, not the beginning of human voyages to Mars and lunar bases but “a dead-end undertaking in terms of human travel beyond the immediate vicinity of this planet.”
You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it’s worse than you’ve heard.
Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a “dragnet” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden tells Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”
What exactly does Wyden mean by that? As a member of the intelligence committee, he laments that he can’t precisely explain without disclosing classified information. But one component of the Patriot Act in particular gives him immense pause: the so-called “business-records provision,” which empowers the FBI to get businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any “tangible things” it deems relevant to a security investigation.
“It is fair to say that the business-records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming,” Wyden says. “I know a fair amount about how it’s interpreted, and I am going to keep pushing, as I have, to get more information about how the Patriot Act is being interpreted declassified. I think the public has a right to public debate about it.”
That’s why Wyden and his colleague Sen. Mark Udall offered an amendment on Tuesday to the Patriot Act reauthorization.
The amendment, first reported by Marcy Wheeler, blasts the administration for “secretly reinterpret[ing] public laws and statutes.” It would compel the Attorney General to “publicly disclose the United States Government’s official interpretation of the USA Patriot Act.” And, intriguingly, it refers to “intelligence-collection authorities” embedded in the Patriot Act that the administration briefed the Senate about in February.
Were Actors involved in the Tucson shooting? In a news article that posted today from the NY Times, written by Marc Lacey, called 'Hoax Site Distressing for Victims of Shooting," the article claims that Ed Chiarini of Wellaware1.com is a conspiracy website that is claiming the shooting in Tucson on 01/08/11, involving Jared Lee Loughner that allegedly killed six people, including Judge John Roll and 9-year old Christina Taylor Green, and injured 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a hoax investigation. The article claims that "obviously fantastic claims would usually not merit the attention of law enforcement, but they have in this instance because some believers have become confronting, and alarming, some of the people associated with the case in recent weeks."
In the article, Richard Kastigar, the investigative Chief of the Pima County Sheriff's Department said the following, " he passed information about the Web site to his intelligence unit. He reacted angrily to those denying the shootings. “There were bodies sent to the morgue, people’s loved ones,” "Mr. Kastigar said. Manuel J. Johnson, a spokesman for the F.B.I., said the bureau was aware of the site, but he declined to say whether an investigation was under way." An investigation for what? People in America, under the 1st amendment have a right to ask questions and have Freedom of Press. I am not sure what is alarming about the WellAware1 investigation considering the web site does announce, "he would like nothing more than to debunk his own theory" and asks the people who are in question to contact him.
The TSA wants you know that should you express any kind of dissatisfaction at having to be prodded, groped or forced through a radiation firing naked body scanner, you will be treated as suspicious.
Even if you merely frown or display any other negative facial expression at the prospect of having your private areas frisked by a uniformed government employee, you will be considered irregular.
The agency has now deployed dozens of “behavioral indicator officers” at 161 airports across the nation, trained to “SPOT” (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique) dissenters.
The TSA states:
“Behavior detection officers are screening passengers for involuntary physical and physiological reactions that people exhibit in response to a fear of being discovered. TSA recognizes that an individual exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent. Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors may be referred for additional screening at the checkpoint to include a handwanding, limited pat down and physical inspection of one’s carry-on baggage.”
So next time you’re fondled by a hairy 400 pond stranger, remember to smile and look pleased. Do not grimace or display any form of discomfort or you may be prevented from flying altogether. You could even be placed on the TSA’s domestic extremist watch list, and rightly so.
Remember this is ” yet one more challenge the terrorists need to overcome in attempt to defeat our security system.” It is not aimed at everyday Americans in any way.
Gadling’s Mike Barish notes: ‘”You know who exhibits involuntary physical and physiological reactions in response to TSA screenings? A very large segment of the population. Between patting down children, radiating travelers and blatant xenophobia, the TSA hasn’t exactly installed confidence in the general public. So, it’s only natural that completely innocent travelers might exhibit signs of fear while waiting to be screened by poorly trained security agents.
Indeed, according to ABC News, Netanyahu received more standing ovations from the U.S. Congress (29) than the U.S. President did the last time he spoke (25); all of the ones Netanyahu received were from the super-patriots of the GOP caucus (and most from the Democratic caucus as well), whereas those right-wing patriots joined in only a small fraction of the ones received by their own country's President.Not to mention what an extremist Netanyahu is-- one of the more loathsome and evil leaders Israel has ever had.
What makes this more remarkable still is that this foreign leader whom they were cheering so boisterously and continuously just completed a public, ugly conflict with the American leader and has a long record of demonstrated indifference to American interests; yet the super-patriots of the American Right sided so brazenly and publicly with this foreign leader over their own country's President. Meanwhile, both political parties in Congress are in a frantic competition to see which one can lavish Netanyahu with more obsequious praise; this statement sent out in the name of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey is typical of the entries. For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ran to AIPAC to undercut (and rebuke) his own President and the leader of his own party on Israel, something that -- as Andrew Sullivan correctly observed -- would be inconceivable on any foreign policy issue other than Israel.
THE US Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden were carrying a pocket guide to the occupants of his compound that was so detailed it suggests the CIA may have had a mole inside. (snip) One side of the document is printed with a familiar photograph of the al-Qa'ida leader as well as a new picture of Amal - only the second known photograph of her - and an age-enhanced image of his son Khalid. From the other side stares the flabby courier Arshad Khan, looking older than the 33 years stated. There is also a description of his brother, another courier.
I don't believe Obama is guided in these efforts by any principled concern or moral empathy for the plight of Palestinians or the injustice of the 45-year-old occupation; it seems clear that he isn't ever driven by considerations of that sort. But what he is, at least compared to the prior President, is a competent technocrat, a more calculating imperial manager, able to rationally assess costs and benefits with a ruthless analytical stoicism.
In October 2005, Torpy asked an Oklahoma County judge to tack on three more years to his 30-year prison sentence for armed robbery and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.
“He said if he was going down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird’s jersey,’’ Oklahoma District Judge Ray Elliott told the Associated Press back then. “He was just as happy as he could be.’’
But after sharing a 10-foot-by-15-foot cell at the Davis Correctional Facility for the last six years, Torpy regrets asking for the extra time.
“Now that I have to do that time, yes I do,’’ says Torpy. “I kind of wished that I had 30 instead of 33. Recently I’ve wisened up.
“That three is a big deal, you know? Three years matters.’’
Torpy will turn 33 this year and is not eligible for parole until 2033.
The 33 imagery doesn’t end there. Put his arms together and the tattoos on his elbows read 33.
One possibility is that Strauss-Kahn was set-up-- he may have called a prostitute, but someone who wanted him in trouble called in the maid, who would resist his advances and charge rape... Some interesting details with some discrepancies:
According to New York Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, a 32-year-old woman told police officers that she entered Strauss-Kahn's suite at the luxury Sofitel hotel not far from Manhattan's Times Square at about 1 p.m. Eastern time (16:00 GMT) Saturday and he attacked her. She said she had been told to clean the spacious $3,000-a-night suite, which she had been told was empty.
According to the woman’s account, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her. She said she fought him off, then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to escape, telling hotel staff what had happened, authorities said.
When detectives arrived moments later, Strauss-Kahn had already left the hotel, leaving behind his mobile phone, Browne said. "It looked like he got out of there in a hurry," he said.
NEW YORK (AFP) – No one disputes that at around midday Saturday, Dominique Strauss-Kahn left his posh Manhattan hotel in a hurry. But why -- to flee a crime scene, or just to grab some lunch?
Those starkly different possibilities illustrate the dispute taking shape between prosecutors and high-profile defense lawyers for Strauss-Kahn, the French politician and International Monetary Fund chief accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid.
At a bail hearing on Monday, Strauss-Kahn's attorney Benjamin Brafman gave a glimpse of his future trial strategy when he ridiculed "inaccuracies" in the official timeline of the alleged rape attempt and flight.
According to police and prosecutors, Strauss-Kahn was in his luxury hotel suite on the 28th floor of the Sofitel near Times Square when a chambermaid entered and, to her horror, found herself being sexually assaulted by a naked man.
Initially, police said this happened at around 1:30 pm, but authorities now say it was closer to 12:00 pm.
Next, prosecutors say, the white-haired Strauss-Kahn -- until now considered a serious contender for the French presidency -- fled to JFK Airport, and boarded an Air France plane. He was 10 minutes from take-off and getting beyond reach of US law when police removed him from his first class seat.
Prosecutor John McConnell told the court that video footage shows Strauss-Kahn looking like "a man who was in a hurry." And on the basis of that timeline, Judge Melissa Jackson denied bail to a suspect who might flee.
But Brafman came up with a startling alternative to the official scenario.
"The reason he was rushing is because he had a luncheon appointment," said Brafman, a renowned courtroom performer who has previously represented Michael Jackson and hip hop mogul Jay-Z.
Promising to produce that lunch partner to corroborate the alibi, Brafman then fired another shot: the Air France flight was booked long before and had nothing in common with a sudden attempt to escape, he said.
"The theory he ran out of the hotel and ran to the airport, running away, is simply not true."
And if Strauss-Kahn showed no sign of being in a panic or attempting to flee after noon, then that was "inconsistent with logic and consciousness of guilt," Brafman said.
Strauss-Kahn was the first IMF director in my lifetime, if memory serves, who disavowed the traditional IMF policy of imposing on the poor and ordinary people the cost of bailing out Wall Street and the Western banks. Strauss-Kahn said that regulation had to be reimposed on the greed-driven, fraud-prone financial sector, which, unregulated, destroyed the lives of ordinary people. Strauss-Kahn listened to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, one of a handful of economists who has a social conscience.
Perhaps the most dangerous black mark in Strauss-Kahn’s book is that he was far ahead of America’s French puppet, President Sarkozy, in the upcoming French elections. Strauss-Kahn simply had to be eliminated.
The Daily Mail reports that Strauss-Kahn’s suspicions are supported by the fact that the first person to break the news of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest was an activist in Mr Sarkozy’s UMP party – who apparently knew about the scandal before it happened. Jonathan Pinet, a politics student, tweeted the news just before the New York Police Department made it public, although he said that he simply had a ‘friend’ working at the Sofitel where the attack was said to have happened. The first person to re-tweet Mr Pinet was Arnaud Dassier, a spin doctor who had previously publicised details of multi-millionaire Strauss-Kahn’s luxurious lifestyle in a bid to dent his left wing credentials.
Strauss-Kahn could just as easily been set up by rivals inside the IMF, as well as by rivals within the French political establishment.
Michelle Sabban, a senior councillor for the greater Paris region and a Strauss-Kahn loyalist said: ‘I am convinced it is an international conspiracy.’
She added: ‘It’s the IMF they wanted to decapitate, not so much the Socialist primary candidate.
‘It’s not like him. Everyone knows that his weakness is seduction, women. That’s how they got him.’ (snip)
Michelle Sabban is on to something when she says the IMF was the target. Strauss-Kahn is the first IMF director who is not lined up on the side of the rich against the poor. Strauss-Kahn’s suspicions were of Sarkozy, but Wall Street and the US government also had strong reasons to eliminate him. Wall Street is terrified by the prospect of regulation, and Washington was embarrassed by the recent IMF report that China’s economy would surpass the US economy within five years. An international conspiracy is not out of the question.
Indeed, the plot is unfolding as a conspiracy. Authorities have produced a French woman who claims she was a near rape victim of Strauss-Kahn a decade ago. It would be interesting to know whether this allegation is the result of a threat or a bribe. As in the case of Julian Assange, there are now two women to accuse Strauss-Kahn. Once the prosecutors get the odds of two females against one male, they win in the media.
To much controversy, Noam Chomsky recently wrote: "uncontroversially, Bush's crimes vastly exceed bin Laden's." That claim prompted widespread objections, including from Andrew Sullivan, who specifically criticized Chomsky's use of the word "uncontroversially" in making that claim. That semantic objection is not invalid: of course that comparative judgment is controversial, especially in the U.S.Also these crimes by both the US and Israel.
Nor do I think such comparisons are ultimately worthwhile: how does one weigh the intentional targeting of civilians that kills several thousand against an illegal, aggressive war that recklessly and foreseeably causes the deaths of at least 100,000 innocent people, and almost certainly far more? Comparisons aside: what is clear is that Bush's crimes are grave, of historic proportion, and it's simply impossible for anyone who believes in the Nuremberg Principles to deny that.
His invasion of Iraq caused the deaths of at least 100,000 (and almost certainly more) innocent Iraqis: vastly more than bin Laden could have dreamed of causing. It left millions of people internally and externally displaced for years. It destroyed a nation of 26 million people. It was without question an illegal war of aggression: what the lead prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials -- as Ferencz just reminded us -- called the "the central crime in this pattern of crimes, the kingpin which holds them all together." And that's to say nothing of the worldwide regime of torture, disappearances, and black sites created by the U.S during the Bush years.
Yet the very same country -- and often the very same people -- collectively insisting upon the imperative of punishing civilian deaths (in the bin Laden case) has banded together to shield George Bush from any accountability of any kind. Both political parties -- and the current President -- have invented entirely new Orwellian slogans of pure lawlessness to justify this protection (Look Forward, Not Backward): one that selectively operates to protect only high-level U.S. war criminals but not those who expose their crimes. Worse, many of Bush's most egregious crimes -- including the false pretenses that led to this unfathomably lethal aggressive war and the widespread abuse of prisoners that accompanied it -- were well known to the country when it re-elected him in 2004.
Engineers from the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) entered the No.1 reactor at the end of last week for the first time and saw the top five feet or so of the core's 13 ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down.
Previously, Tepco believed that the core of the reactor was submerged in enough water to keep it stable and that only 55 per cent of the core had been damaged.
Now the company is worried that the molten pool of radioactive fuel may have burned a hole through the bottom of the containment vessel, causing water to leak.
"We will have to revise our plans," said Junichi Matsumoto, a spokesman for Tepco. "We cannot deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak".
Tepco has not clarified what other barriers there are to stop radioactive fuel leaking if the steel containment vessel has been breached. Greenpeace said the situation could escalate rapidly if "the lava melts through the vessel".
With Osama bin Laden dead, McKeon et al want to update the AUMF, so that it doesn't phase itself out as the connection between existing terrorist groups and the September 11 attacks themselves becomes more and more tenuous over time. That's exactly what some Democrats hope to avoid.
The new language eschews references to September 11, and instead centers the authorization on "armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces," though "associated forces" is not defined. It replaces the authority to target "organizations" and "persons" domestically with the power to target "all entities that continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad."
Democrats and advocates highlight these seemingly subtle changes and argue that they will allow the President to initiate military action even more broadly, and without the consent of Congress -- effectively perpetuating the war indefinitely.
"Such authority must not be ceded to the President without careful deliberation from Congress," the Democrats write. Their immediate goal is to have these measures considered separately from the crucial defense bill, so that they receive individual scrutiny, and don't get dragged along for the ride.
I received the following email a few days ago from a Russian nuclear physicist friend who is an expert on the kinds of gases being released at Fukushima. Here is what he wrote:For instance this: "Fukushima Groundwater Contamination Worst in Nuclear History"About Japan: the problem is that the reactor uses "dirty" fuel. It is a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX). I suspect that the old fuel rods have bean spread out due to the explosion and the surrounding area is contaminated with plutonium which means you can never return to this place again. It is like a new Tchernobyl. Personally, I am not surprised that the authority has not informed people about this.I have been following the Fukushima story very closely since the earthquake and devastating tsunami. I have asked scientists I know, nuclear physicists and others about where they find real information. I have also watched as the news has virtually disappeared. There is something extremely disturbing going on, and having lived through the media blackout in France back in April and early May 1986, and speaking to doctors who are deeply concerned by the dramatic increase in cancers appearing at very young ages, it is obvious that information is being held back.
Macrobiotic Diet Prevents Radiation Sickness Among A-Bomb Survivors in Japan - In August, 1945, at the time of the atomic bombing of Japan, Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., was director of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Francis's Hospital in Nagasaki. Most patients in the hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after came down with symptoms of radiation sickness from the fallout that had been released. Dr. Akizuki fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso soup, wakame and other sea vegetables, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital, while many other survivors in the city perished from radiation sickness.
I gave the cooks and staff strict orders that they should make unpolished whole-grain rice balls, adding some salt to them, prepare strong miso soup for each meal, and never use sugar. When they didn't follow my orders, I scolded them without mercy, 'Never take sugar. Sugar will destroy your blood!'...
There is just one question about America and torture: whether we should do it. The answer to that, after hundreds of years of legal thinking and moral progress, not just in America but around the world, is no. It's bad for those asked to torture, and it's bad for our soldiers who will be tortured by others. A bunch of Bush officials secretly changed that answer for a time, based on misapprehensions of its efficacy, but for serious interrogators, ethical thinkers, and lawyers, the answer has always been no.
The folks who think otherwise are now using half-facts and unverifiable assertions to ask another question: Does torture work? Unsurprisingly, they claim that it does. That's nice. Let's ignore them. As former interrogator Matthew Alexander explains, even if it did work, we still wouldn't do it—because it's immoral and leads to all sorts of false claims and wasted time. The answer to question No. 1—should America torture?—has nothing to do with the bogus questions being raised today.
In short, if you are being led by a handful of torture apologists to "reconsider" the efficacy of torture, ask yourself whether you have yet heard even one credible account that water-boarding led us to Bin Laden. I haven't. At most, I have heard that it may have played some very small part in a vast tangle of intelligence and surveillance and patient detective work, all of which is unproven and—more important—impossible to disprove. A handful of cynics may want to relitigate the efficacy of torture based on facts not in evidence. The rest of us should continue to remind them that they have been answering the wrong question all along.
... an acronym that stands for "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again". It is used colloquially to indicate that an adverse situation is about to repeat itself, and that acquiescence is the wisest course of action. It is commonly understood as a reference to being sodomized. An alternative etymology relates the expression to the days of sail and avoiding being struck by the boom, which would swing around the mast due to shifts in wind or the vessel's course. The term grew to regular use amongst the United States armed forces during the Vietnam War. Although it originated in the US Military forces, its usage has spread to civilian environments and used to describe unavoidable, unpleasant situations that have inconvenienced one before, and are about to yet again.
The killing of bin Laden got the testosterone pumping, the righteousness pulsating, and faith in the American military and its Commander-in-Chief skyrocketing to all-time highs. It made America feel good about itself in a way that no other event has since at least Obama's inauguration; we got to forget about rampant unemployment, home foreclosures by the millions, a decade's worth of militaristic futility and slaughter, and ever-growing Third-World levels of wealth inequality. This was a week for flag-waving, fist-pumping, and nationalistic chanting: even -- especially -- among liberals, who were able to take the lead and show the world (and themselves) that they are no wilting, delicate wimps; it's not merely swaggering right-wing Texans, but they, too, who can put bullets in people's heads and dump corpses into the ocean and then joke and cheer about it afterwards. It's inconceivable that this wave of collective pride, boosted self-esteem, vicarious strength, and renewed purpose won't produce a desire to replicate itself. Four days after bin Laden is killed, a missile rains down from the sky to try to execute Awlaki without due process, and that'll be far from the last such episode (indeed, also yesterday, the U.S. launched a drone attack in Pakistan, ending the lives of 15 more people: yawn).Even if millions of Americans have real doubts about the war on terror and the 9/11 official story, our fucked up political and media class go on with their evil business, with no apparent qualms. It's actually hard to put into words how nauseating the whole "bin Laden killing" reaction has been. Just amazing and depressing how little questioning there is of the official bin Laden narrative by the media.
Last night, in a post entitled "Reigniting the GWOT [Global War on Terrorism]" -- Digby wrote about why the reaction to the killing of bin Laden is almost certain to spur greater aggression in the "War on Terror," and specifically observed: "They're breathlessly going on about Al Qaeda in Yemen 'targeting the homeland' right now on CNN. Looks like we're back in business." The killing of bin Laden isn't going to result in a reduction of America's military adventurism because that's not how the country works: when we eradicate one Enemy, we just quickly and seamlessly find a new one to replace him with -- look over there: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the True Threat!!!! -- and the blood-spilling continues unabated (without my endorsing it all, read this excellent Chris Floyd post for the non-euphemistic reality of what we've really been doing in the world over the last couple years under the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner).
A civil liberties lawyer observed by email to me last night that now that Obama has massive political capital and invulnerable Tough-on-Terror credentials firmly in place, there are no more political excuses for what he does (i.e., he didn't really want to do that, but he had to in order not to be vulnerable to GOP political attacks that he's Weak). In the wake of the bin Laden killing, he's able to do whatever he wants now -- ratchet down the aggression or accelerate it -- and his real face will be revealed by his choices (for those with doubts about what that real face is). Yesterday's attempt to exterminate an American citizen who has long been on his hit list -- far from any battlefield, not during combat, and without even a pretense of due process -- is likely to be but a first step in that direction.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - U.S. drone aircraft fired missiles into a house in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on Friday, killing at least eight suspected militants just as Islamists protested against the killing of Osama bin Laden."suspected militants"... yeah, that's the ticket.
It was the first drone strike since U.S. special forces killed the al Qaeda leader on May 2 not far from Islamabad, further straining ties between the strategic allies.
Anti-American sentiment runs high in Pakistan, despite billions of dollars in aid for the nuclear-armed, impoverished country.
Pakistan's religious parties have not traditionally done well at the ballot box, but they wield considerable influence on the streets of a country where Islam is becoming more radicalized.
The United States war on militancy is unpopular in Pakistan because of the perception of high civilian deaths from drone attacks against suspected militants along the Afghan border and the feeling they are a violation of the country's sovereignty
LOS ANGELES – Convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan was manipulated by a seductive girl in a mind control plot to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his bullets did not kill the presidential candidate, lawyers for Sirhan said in new legal papers.There is, of course, lots of evidence to suggest that Sirhan was a programmed patsy, who was made to look cleverly like he was RFK's killer.
The documents filed this week in federal court and obtained by The Associated Press detail extensive interviews with Sirhan during the past three years, some done while he was under hypnosis.
The papers point to a mysterious girl in a polka-dot dress as the controller who led Sirhan to fire a gun in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel. But the documents suggest a second person shot and killed Kennedy while using Sirhan as a diversion.
For the first time, Sirhan said under hypnosis that on a cue from the girl he went into "range mode" believing he was at a firing range and seeing circles with targets in front of his eyes.
"I thought that I was at the range more than I was actually shooting at any person, let alone Bobby Kennedy," Sirhan was quoted as saying during interviews with Daniel Brown, a Harvard University professor and expert in trauma memory and hypnosis. He interviewed Sirhan for 60 hours with and without hypnosis, according to the legal brief.
Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney, said prosecutors were unaware of the legal filing and could not comment.
The story of the girl has been a lingering theme in accounts of the events just after midnight on June 5, 1968, when Kennedy was gunned down in the hotel pantry after claiming victory in the California Democratic presidential primary.
Witnesses talked of seeing such a female running from the hotel shouting, "We shot Kennedy." But she was never identified, and amid the chaos of the scene, descriptions were conflicting.
Through the years, Sirhan has claimed no memory of shooting Kennedy and said in the recent interviews that his presence at the hotel was an accident, not a planned destination.
Under hypnosis, he remembered meeting the girl that night and becoming smitten with her. He said she led him to the pantry.
"I am trying to figure out how to hit on her.... That's all that I can think about," he says in one interview cited in the documents. "I was fascinated with her looks .... She never said much. It was very erotic. I was consumed by her. She was a seductress with an unspoken unavailability."
Brown was hired by Sirhan's lawyer William F. Pepper.
Pepper's associate, attorney Laurie Dusek, attended the interviews. and Brown said in the documents they both took verbatim notes because prison officials would not let them tape record nearly all the sessions.
Sirhan maintained in the hypnotic interviews that the mystery girl touched him or "pinched" him on the shoulder just before he fired then spun him around to see people coming through the pantry door.
"Then I was on the target range ... a flashback to the shooting range ... I didn't know that I had a gun," Sirhan said.
Under what Brown called the condition of hypnotic free recall, he said Sirhan remembered seeing the flash of a second gun at the time of the assassination. Without hypnosis, he said, Sirhan could not remember that shot.
Pepper, a New York lawyer with an international practice, previously tried to prove that James Earl Ray was not the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.
The lawyer said he is convinced that Sirhan was a victim of a mind control project such as those used by the CIA in the 1960s. He is seeking an evidentiary hearing to exonerate Sirhan in Kennedy's killing.
Dusek said in an interview that Sirhan was hypnotized for perhaps 30 percent of the interviews, most of which had to be done through a glass partition with Brown talking to him on a phone.
Only when Sirhan was moved from the state prison at Corcoran to his current location at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga were they allowed face-to-face visits, she said, and a few of those were recorded.
Other portions of the motion allege suppression of ballistics evidence and the autopsy report, and claim ineffective assistance of counsel. It contends previous lawyers for Sirhan accepted from the start that he was the lone shooter, settled on a defense of diminished capacity and did not seek other avenues of defense.
During the trial, Sirhan tried to confess to killing Kennedy "with 20 years of malice aforethought," but the judge rejected the blurted statement.
A large portion of the new documents seek to prove the bullets that hit Kennedy came from a different direction than the spot where Sirhan was standing. The papers do not name any other possible shooter.
Sirhan was denied parole in March by a panel that said he had not shown sufficient remorse for the killing.
Long after blacks and Jews have made great strides, and even as homosexuals gain respect, acceptance and new rights, there is still a group that lots of Americans just don’t like much: atheists. Those who don’t believe in God are widely considered to be immoral, wicked and angry. They can’t join the Boy Scouts. Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations. Surveys find that most Americans refuse or are reluctant to marry or vote for nontheists; in other words, nonbelievers are one minority still commonly denied in practical terms the right to assume office despite the constitutional ban on religious tests.Nice discussion/affirmation of this here.
Rarely denounced by the mainstream, this stunning anti-atheist discrimination is egged on by Christian conservatives who stridently — and uncivilly — declare that the lack of godly faith is detrimental to society, rendering nonbelievers intrinsically suspect and second-class citizens.
Is this knee-jerk dislike of atheists warranted? Not even close.
A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency — issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious.
Consider that at the societal level, murder rates are far lower in secularized nations such as Japan or Sweden than they are in the much more religious United States, which also has a much greater portion of its population in prison. Even within this country, those states with the highest levels of church attendance, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, have significantly higher murder rates than far less religious states such as Vermont and Oregon.
As individuals, atheists tend to score high on measures of intelligence, especially verbal ability and scientific literacy. They tend to raise their children to solve problems rationally, to make up their own minds when it comes to existential questions and to obey the golden rule. They are more likely to practice safe sex than the strongly religious are, and are less likely to be nationalistic or ethnocentric. They value freedom of thought.
As a hair-gelled, grimly unsmiling Mr. Trump sat at a nearby table — a guest of the Washington Post — Mr. Obama ripped one punch after another at the real estate tycoon.Orwellian, given how obviously bogus the BC is-- and NOW Trump ignores the fakery issue. It's all a psy-op, with multiple layers, I can only assume.
“Donald Trump is here tonight,” the comedian in chief said, grinning. “Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate to rest than The Donald. Now he can get to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”