Friday, August 31, 2012

An American man wrongfully convicted of rape 30 yrs ago has lost his battle to file a lawsuit...

An American man wrongfully convicted of rape almost 30 years ago has lost his battle to file a lawsuit against the police officers involved in a case that kept him in prison for two decades.
A federal appeals court has decided to agree with an earlier ruling that will keep Johnny Briscoe from filing claims against the law enforcement agents who he says violated his constitutional rights.
Briscoe was sentenced to 45 years in prison after being found guilty of committing a rape in St. Louis, Missouri in 1982. In 1997, Briscoe asked for the District Attorney to produce crime scene evidence that he said would clear his name with the aid of modern forensic technology. For nearly a decade after, though, the objects in question — cigarettes found at the scene of the crime that contained the DNA of the actual criminal — were lost among officials. The butts were eventually discovered in 2004, although not handed over to the DA until 2006. Only days after the District Attorney’s office received the evidence, testing was completed and Briscoe was exonerated, but not before having already served 23 years in prison for Forcible rape, sodomy, burglary, robbery, stealing and armed criminal action.
In the seven years since his release, Briscoe has attempted to take legal action against St. Louis County police officers Lane Hollandsworth, Stephen Deen and Jack Webb. His attorneys have claimed that the defendants violated their client’s constitutional rights by not just convicting him without presenting undeniable evidence, but by prolonging his exoneration — it took officials more than six years to produce the crime scene evidence that eventually led to his release.
Briscoe’s attorneys call the police-led investigation reckless and one that involved blatant withholding of exculpatory evidence. The defendants were granted summary judgment by a federal court, though, which the appellate court announced it was in agreement with this week, removing any chances Briscoe had of receiving justice.
At the center of the attorneys’ argument was the use of police line-ups to identify Briscoe during the early days of the rape trial. When labeled by the victim as the culprit behind the crime, Briscoe was the only suspect clad in an orange jump suit. Nevertheless, the appeals court wrote this week that the legal attempts at persecuting Briscoe for the crime were in full compliance with the US justice system.
"Even assuming Hollandsworth caused some degree of suggestiveness in the photo lineup, it did not violate Briscoe's constitutional rights," Judge Duane Benton wrote, as reported by Courthouse News Service. A three panel appellate judge added in their ruling that the identifying of Briscoe in a police line-up, “showed sufficient indicia of reliability to be admitted at trial without causing 'a violation of the core right – the right to a fair trial.'”
The victim, the judges wrote, “had ample opportunity to view her attacker during the prolonged and well-lit encounter.”
“She focused on his face in order to identify him later,” the ruling continues, adding that the victim, “expressed complete confidence in her identification, which she made immediately upon viewing Briscoe's photo.”
“It is undisputed that at that time – six weeks after the attack – the rape investigation was considered complete, she had positively identified the same suspect in two lineups, and that suspect was in jail awaiting trial," Benton writes. "The investigators were not seeking additional suspects."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Afghanistan: Western retreat turning to slow motion rout after latest killings...

Patricia L. Horne
The body of Private Patricia L. Horne, a US soldier killed in Afghanistan, is flown back home. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP
The killing of 17 people by Taliban insurgents in Musa Qala, the deaths of 10 Afghan army personnel in a separate, large-scale assault in Helmand, and the killing of two US soldiers by an Afghan national army recruit could be dismissed as just another bloody day in Afghanistan.
Alternatively these gruesome events, taken together, might sensibly be seen as another urgent warning to neglectful western politicians that their policy of gradual, go-slow withdrawal is rapidly unravelling. It is a warning they may ignore at their peril.
Barack Obama and David Cameron have set a departure date for Nato forces of 2014. But the deteriorating security situation, the rank unreliability or underperformance of large sections of the Afghan army and police, and the fearful persistence of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban may yet force their hand, turning ragged retreat into slow-motion rout.
Western leaders would prefer to ignore Afghanistan. It hardly features in the US presidential contest between Obama and Mitt Romney.
In Britain, news of each soldier's death is received with muted official regret. President Hollande of France has already washed his hands of the affair. The war has become an embarrassment, a hangover from the Bush-Blair days. More pressing issues, closer to home, now dominate.
"Remember the war in Afghanistan?" asks Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard, in Foreign Policy magazine:
"You know: It was the 'good war,' fought in response to al-Qaida's attack on 9/11 and the Taliban's refusal to turn them in, and subsequently justified by (1) the need to prevent future terrorist 'safe havens,' (2) the desire to liberate Afghan women, (3) the imperative to bring democracy and modern governance to an underdeveloped tribal society, and (4) as always, the need to preserve American 'credibility'."
Walt suggests none of these objectives has been attained. Afghan policy is heading for the rocks, if it is not already wrecked on them, and there is scant chance that Nato will leave behind a functioning state, let alone a liberal democracy, Walt suggests.
If the politicians are asleep at the wheel, oblivious to the dangers, the American military is not. Hence the visit to Kabul last week of the Pentagon's top soldier, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. His meetings with President Hamid Karzai and other top officials focused on the massive upsurge in so-called "green-on-blue" attacks by Afghan soldiers or police on Nato personnel.
These "stab-in-the-back" attacks, allegedly orchestrated by Mullah Omar, the top Afghan Taliban leader, have reached epidemic proportions this year, with 42 foreign troops killed and dozens more injured. Eleven US soldiers have died in the past week alone. Dempsey is understood to have discussed counter-measures including an extraordinary plan for the Afghan security force, in effect, to spy on itself.
"Soldiers must feel that they are under the full surveillance of their leadership at all levels," the Afghan army chief of staff, General Sher Mohammad Karimi, said in an interview with the Washington Post after meeting Dempsey. "Initially, it will have a negative impact on morale, but we have to do something. We have to look seriously at every individual."
But Nato commanders cannot avoid evidence that the rise in such attacks may reflect a deepening, wider hostility to the continuing foreign occupation, anger at perceived cultural affronts (such as the Qu'ran burning episode earlier this year), and the continuing toll of civilian casualties caused by both Nato and the Taliban.
According to a 2011 Pentagon analysis, quoted by Bloomberg, only about 11% of the attacks are the result of Taliban infiltration:
"The majority had other causes, particularly disputes or grudges between coalition and Afghan forces … Among the causes identified in interviews with hundreds of Afghan soldiers and police officers was anger over everything from US convoy procedures, night raids and civilian casualties to widespread cursing and shooting of livestock. Even something as elemental as how to urinate while on patrol was a cultural flashpoint. US personnel, the same study found, had 'extremely negative' views of their Afghan counterparts."
Meanwhile, Karzai and his officials blame infiltration by agents acting for Pakistan and Iran for much of Afghanistan's security problems, including Taliban atrocities like the Musa Qala beheadings. They argue their neighbours' spy agencies are intent on undermining efforts to "stand up" the Afghan security forces, as part of a wider struggle for power and influence in a post-2014 Afghanistan.
Pakistan has its own Taliban problem, of course, as a recent attack on a military base at Minhas demonstrated. The Pakistani military is said to be preparing a big new offensive in North Waziristan, a base for militants operating in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Such an offensive is likely to greatly exacerbate Afghan security problems, at least in the short term.
When they return from their holidays, western leaders urgently need to refocus attention on Afghanistan – before the situation spins fatally out of their control.

US military terror plot uncovered...

Murder Case Uncovers Terror Plot By 'Militia' Within the U.S. Military...      

Military Terror Plot
LUDOWICI, Ga. — Four Army soldiers based in southeast Georgia killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks, prosecutors told a judge Monday.
Prosecutors in rural Long County, near the sprawling Army post Fort Stewart, said the militia group of active and former U.S. military members spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components. They allege the group was serious enough to kill two people – former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York – by shooting them in the woods last December in order to keep its plans secret.
"This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk," prosecutor Isabel Pauley told a Superior Court judge. "Prior to the murders in this case, the group took action. Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans."
One of the Fort Stewart soldiers charged in the case, Pfc. Michael Burnett, also gave testimony that backed up many of the assertions made by prosecutors. The 26-year-old soldier pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter, illegal gang activity and other charges. He made a deal to cooperate with prosecutors against the three other soldiers.
Prosecutors said the group called itself F.E.A.R., short for Forever Enduring Always Ready. Pauley said authorities don't know how many members it had.
Burnett, 26, said he knew the group's leaders from serving with them at Fort Stewart. He agreed to testify against fellow soldiers Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, identified by prosecutors as the militia's founder and leader, and Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon.
All are charged by state authorities with malice murder, felony murder, criminal gang activity, aggravated assault and using a firearm while committing a felony. A hearing for the three soldiers was scheduled Thursday.
Prosecutors say Roark, 19, served with the four defendants in the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division and became involved with the militia. Pauley said the group believed it had been betrayed by Roark, who left the Army two days before he was killed, and decided the ex-soldier and his girlfriend needed to be silenced.
Burnett testified that on the night of Dec. 4, he and the three other soldiers lured Roark and York to some woods a short distance from the Army post under the guise that they were going target shooting. He said Peden shot Roark's girlfriend in the head while she was trying to get out of her car. Salmon, he said, made Roark get on his knees and shot him twice in the head. Burnett said Aguigui ordered the killings.
Read more:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Free admission at gay bathhouse for Republican convention candidates



Ybor Resort And Spa, Gay Florida Bathhouse, Offers Free Admission To Republican Convention Delegates


A gay Florida bathhouse could reap the benefits of the Republican National Convention next week by offering GOP delegates free admission.
As Joe. My. God blogger Joe Jervis reported, Ybor Resort and Spa -- which describes itself as Tampa Bay’s "largest, all-gay, private men’s club, resort, and bathhouse" -- advertises the special RNC deal on its website.
"For those unaware, Ybor City is a homo-heavy entertainment district famed for its riotous nightclub scene, which is often described as Tampa's version of Bourbon Street," Jervis notes.
Also taking place in the neighborhood: gay Republican group GOProud's Homocon 2012 event. Special guests at the event will reportedly include Richard Grenell, former U.S. Spokesman at the United Nations, and author, CNN contributor and long-time GOP operative Mary Matalin.
The Daily Bleach features a round-up of the various adult events offered in town during the convention, while Edge on the Net cites an ad for the Homocon party as mentioning a male revue featuring "a Paul Ryan look-alike."

Islam is such a kind, gentle, peaceful religion - yeah right!

  • Kinder, Gentler Islam Demands Gays Go Straight Or Be Stoned To Death

    Gays and Lesbians Are Executed By Stoning In Many Countries
    In many islamic countries homosexuality is considered a capital offense punishable by death through stoning or when merciful hanging. Last week Iran announced the stoning deaths of two young men ages 20 and 21 for the act of sodomy. These two Gay men are the most recent in a long list of homosexuals condemned to a violent and gruesome death by islamic law.
    Some muslim moderates are looking to change the way islamic law treats Gays and Lesbians by allowing those convicted of homosexuality to convert to a heterosexual lifestyle.
    … Saad envisions an Islamic society that treats homosexuality as a curable illness. “Society has a critical role to play in treatment,” writes Saad’s anonymous protagonist, as “any disease, whether physical or psychological, demands support from society and especially from the patient’s close relatives.” Without “the right kind” of support, “the patient’s frustration grows” until he surrenders himself to the disease.
    Convinced that their lifestyles are unhealthy and go against God, Saad said in a recent interview that most homosexuals would seek treatment if provided a supportive atmosphere and the opportunity to do so. As to the minority who refuse treatment because they believe in exercising what the West calls individual liberty, most can be disabused of such ideas, he argued. For the remainder, his words were harsh: “As Sodom and Gomorrah’s homosexuals were executed for failing to heed God’s words, so should homosexuals be ‘stoned to death,’ as decreed by Islam, if they refuse to change.”
    “The homosexual does not live alone by himself in society,” asserted Saad, whose small build and reserved demeanor bely the determination with which he conveys his message. “If [a homosexual] is freely left to practice his sexuality openly and without shame, he endangers society in its entirety. He will influence children and infect them with his disease.”
    via Give them a second chance to be straight.
    Unfortunately for Gays and Lesbians living in islamic countries a persons sexual orientation is fixed and cannot be changed. Every accredited medical, psychological and scientific institution in the United States agrees that homosexuality and heterosexuality are both normal, natural and unchangeable sexual orientations.
    Medical professionals warn that attempting to change a persons sexual orientation can lead to devastating psychological damage and drive the unsuccessful convert to suicide.
    But honestly what’s a little psychological damage when you are facing death by stoning for your crimes against god and nature. Here is a brief description of the stoning process:
    The prisoner is buried either up to his waist (if male) or up to her shoulders (if female) and then pelted with stones by a crowd of volunteers until obviously battered to death. Under the terms of most fundamentalist courts, the stones must be small enough that death cannot reasonably be expected to result from only one or two blows, but large enough to cause physical harm. The average execution by stoning is extremely painful, lasting at least 10 to 20 minutes.
    via Death by Stoning – An Overview and History of Death by Stoning.
    According to noted christian dominionist and presbyterian church member, Gary North, stoning is a preferred method of execution for islam and christianity because it’s cheap and unites the community.
    “Why stoning?” asks North. “There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost.” Thrift and ubiquity aside, “executions are community projects–not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do his duty, but rather with actual participants.” You might even say that like square dances or quilting bees, they represent the kind of hands-on neighborliness so often missed in this impersonal era. ”
    via Invitation to a Stoning – Reason Magazine.
    I gotta tell ya faced with the choice of “going straight” or being executed by people throwing rocks at my head I could fake the straight…and I’m pretty damn Gay! I only hope that NARTH and Exodus International don’t get hold of these “conversion statistics” to claim that reparative therapy actually works.