Friday, April 24, 2009

Angelina Jolie voices support for Myanmar refugees in northern Thailand camps

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has called on the Thai government to grant Myanmar refugees in northern Thailand greater freedom of movement, after spending a day listening to refugees tell of the difficulties they have faced in two decades of living in closed camps."I was saddened to meet a 21-year-old woman who was born in a refugee camp, who has never even been out of the camp and is now raising her own child in a camp," Jolie said after her visit Wednesday to Ban Mai Nai Soi camp, home to 18,111 mainly Karenni registered refugees, just three kms from the Myanmar border, near Mae Hong Son."With no foreseeable chance that these refugees will soon be able to return to Burma (Myanmar), we must find some way to help them work and become self reliant," she said.The 111,000 registered refugees who live in nine camps in northern Thailand along the Thai-Myanmar border are not allowed to venture outside the camps to work or receive higher education.In a thatched two-room house on stilts, Jolie sat down on the floor and chatted with refugee Ma Pai, a 44-year-old minority ethnic Kayan woman who has applied for resettlement to the United States.At a boarding school for orphans and children separated from their parents, Jolie listened attentively as two teenage girls – sent across the border to the refugee camp by their parents for education – told of their fears that they might have to go back to Myanmar when they finish their schooling."I hope we can work with the Thai authorities to speed up the government admissions process and that you will not be forced to go back to Burma if danger remains," Jolie said.The Thai government's Provincial Admissions Board, the only body that can grant refugee status to people fleeing fighting or persecution in Myanmar, has yet to process some 5,000 people who arrived in Mae Hong Son province in 2006 and 2007, the last time there was significant fighting in Kayah State just across the border. Throughout last year, people continued to trickle into Ban Mai Nai Soi and three other camps in the province, mostly fleeing forced labor and other human rights abuses.One 26-year-old woman, Pan Sein, told Jolie she fled her village in Kayah State last November, and took a circuitous, hazardous journey on foot that finally brought her to the camp at the beginning of January."Weren't you scared to leave your parents and come on your own?" Jolie asked."Yes, I was scared," Pan Sein replied. "It was dangerous to flee, but even more dangerous to stay in my village."Jolie's visit came at a time of worldwide attention to the large numbers of Rohingya migrants fleeing Myanmar's northern Rakhine state in rickety boats, and just after UNHCR gained access to 78 Rohingya boat people in detention in Ranong in southern Thailand."Visiting Ban Mai Nai Soi and seeing how hospitable Thailand has been to 111,000 mostly Karen and Karenni refugees over the years makes me hope that Thailand will be just as generous to the Rohingya refugees who are now arriving on their shores," Jolie said."I also hope the Rohingya situation stabilizes and their life in Myanmar improves so the people do not feel the desperate need to flee, especially considering how dangerous their journey has become," she added. "As with all people, they deserve to have their human rights respected."


This woman is so beautiful inside and out to me.

Airlift to displaced civilians in Sri Lanka

I'm sure you’ve seen the news of the fierce fighting in Sri Lanka, and the mass exodus of tens of thousands of civilians from the war zone.The UN Refugee Agency has been assisting the victims of the conflict for months and - at this very moment - is preparing to ramp up its emergency support.

Plans include an airlift to Colombo of 5,000 lightweight family tents and other relief items. UNHCR’s Emergency Response Team is also being dispatched, in order to assess the needs of the victims and coordinate the life-saving operation.The urgent response follows a dramatic escalation in fighting between government forces and Tamil rebels in recent days. According to government reports, more than 100,000 people have left the conflict area since April 20. Some 35,000 had already arrived in internally displaced camps as of Friday.
Aid workers cite growing problems of malnourishment, lack of transport to move the sick to hospitals, and a shortage of medical personnel. Many families have not eaten for days.UNHCR is spearheading the international community’s efforts to provide shelter to innocent men, women, and children displaced by the conflict and is also coordinating the distribution of relief items and monitoring the security of the displaced. More to come....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blasts kill 78 in Iraq's bloodiest day in a year

BAGHDAD – Suicide bomb blasts tore through crowds waiting for food aid in central Baghdad and inside a roadside restaurant filled with Iranian pilgrims Thursday, killing at least 78 people in Iraq's deadliest day in more than a year.
The toll — at least 31 dead in Baghdad and 47 to the north in Diyala province — follows a series of high-profile attacks this month blamed on Sunni insurgents. The violence highlights potential security gaps as Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead role from U.S. forces in protecting Baghdad and key areas around the capital.
The insurgent push is still nowhere near the scale of violence in past years, but it has undermined confidence that Iraq's security gains were on solid footing at a time when the U.S. military is shifting its focus and resources to Afghanistan.
Thursday's attacks happened as American soldiers who specialize in clearing bombs from roads boarded a plane from Iraq to the Taliban heartland in southern Afghanistan, part of the largest movement of personnel and equipment between the two war fronts.
Iraqi authorities, meanwhile, say they have struck back at the heart of the insurgency: claiming they arrested one of the most wanted leaders of a militant network linked to al-Qaida.
The reported capture of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq, could mark a setback to insurgents as they try to intensify attacks after a relative lull.
In the past, however, Iraqi officials have reported al-Baghdadi's arrest or killing, only to acknowledge later that they were wrong. The U.S. military has even said al-Baghdadi could be a fictitious character used to give an Iraqi face to an organization dominated by foreign al-Qaida fighters.
A U.S. military could not confirm the arrest, said a spokesman, 1st Lt. John A. Brimley.
In 2007, Iraq's government reported that al-Baghdadi had been killed and released photos of what it said was his body. Later, security officials said they had arrested al-Baghdadi. In both cases, the U.S. military said at the time it could not be confirmed — and the reports turned out not to be true.
The two attacks — along with a suicide blast that killed three Sunnis who joined the anti-insurgent fight north of Baghdad — made it the deadliest day in Iraq since March 8, 2008, when at least 110 people were killed.
The two main blasts Thursday carried separate messages.
The carnage in Baghdad showed insurgents were still capable of hitting the center of the capital. The devastated restaurant, to the north in Diyala province, was a reminder that the area remains an insurgent stronghold despite sustained offensives by U.S.-led forces.
Diyala — with its good roads and proximity to Baghdad — is considered a crucial gateway to the capital and a key to its security. U.S. commanders, facing a planned end of combat operations in August 2010, have dedicated increasing firepower to the region to try to cripple insurgent networks.
The Baghdad attacker hit about noon as police were distributing Iraqi Red Crescent food parcels in the central neighborhood of Karradah — an area where many shops, restaurants and nightclubs have reopened in recent months as violence ebbed.
Police officials and staff members at Ibn al-Nafis hospital said at least 31 people were killed, including eight police officers, and that at least 50 were wounded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the death toll.
It not immediately clear who carried out the attack, but one witness said it appeared to be a woman. Women have been used in suicide bombings in Iraq, most recently during a Feb. 13 attack on Shiite pilgrims.
Muhanad Harbi, a shop owner near the blast site, said he saw a woman wearing a black robe move into the crowd. He said it appeared she detonated an explosives belt.
Shanoon Humoud, 70, sat weeping among burned food packages scattered on the ground. Her husband, her son and two grandchildren were killed in the blast.
Humoud said she was in her apartment praying when she heard the blast.
"I came down to look for my relatives who were getting the food," she said. "But I couldn't find them."
Abbas Ibrahim, a 24-year-old college student, rushed to the scene, dodging through pools of blood and wincing at the smell of scorched human flesh.
"We regret that violence has come back to Baghdad," he said.
A spokesman for the Iraqi Red Crescent, Mohammad al-Khuzaie, called the attack "a brutal assault on humanitarian activities."
"We were trying to help the widows, orphans and divorced women when the blast occurred," he said.
North of Baghdad, the target was a crowded restaurant near Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad, and a popular rest stop for Iranian pilgrims traveling by road to and from Shiite shrines in southern Iraq.
At least 47 people were killed and 69 were wounded, said U.S. military spokesman Derrick Cheng. Iraqi officials gave the same death toll.
Iranian state television reported that the blast killed about 35 Iranian pilgrims and wounded 60 others. It did not elaborate and there was no immediate reaction from Iranian officials.
Iraq's Shiite-led government has close ties to Tehran and has dedicated significant security resources to protect processions during major Shiite pilgrimages.
In January, a suicide bomber mingling among Iranian pilgrims killed more than three dozen people outside a mosque in Baghdad.
Associated Press


U.S. troops...stay in your protected bases, protect the flow of oil, and let the Iraqi police their own civil mess. US will need to maintain small bases in Iraq, similar to Germany and Japan after WWII to protect oil interests.

Remember when soldiers were complaining that the armor proof vehicles we sent weren't really armor proof? Thank you Don Rumsfeld for supporting the troops. Or when the shame and embarrassment of Abu Ghraib came out and 11 U.S. soldiers were either imprisoned or demoted only to find out now that the torture methods they used came directly from the White House. Poor bastards were just left twisting in the wind, thanks for supporting our troops George and Dick. Sadly, 4,000+ dead U.S. soldiers later, it comes to light that George and Dick subverted the constitution, blurred the lines of separation of duties, watered down our founding fathers' system of checks and balances and bullied and lied their way into an unjust and uncessary war.

These people in the Middle East have been fighting for thousands of years over religion horses swords & knives. A religion that allows torture, dismemberment, slaves, multiple wives, and the only ones with rights were the clerics and the rich. Now, the only way that they have upgraded is their tools of war- cell phones, computers, AK47s, rocket launchers, high speed motorized vehicles. Only their tools have changed, not their ideals.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AP source: Craigslist suspect had victims' items

BOSTON – A Boston University medical student accused of robbing women who advertised erotic services on Craigslist, killing one of them, had items belonging to both victims in his apartment, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.
Philip Markoff is charged with killing a masseuse at the Marriott Copley Place hotel April 14. He is also charged in the robbery of another woman who he allegedly met at another Boston hotel four days earlier.
A law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said police found items belonging to both women in Markoff's apartment in Quincy, south of Boston. The official wasn't authorized to speak about evidence in the investigation.
The official would not confirm a report by ABC News that the items seized by police included the victims' underwear. ABC News said two unidentified law enforcement sources said Markoff appeared to be collecting underwear as "souvenirs" from his alleged victims.
ABC News did not say how Markoff took the underwear, and he has not been accused of sexually assaulting either woman. Prosecutors have said he went through the purse of the first woman he allegedly robbed.
Investigators are looking into gambling as the possible motivation. The law enforcement source said Markoff was a "frequent visitor" to Foxwoods casino in Connecticut.
Markoff, 23, is accused in the death of Julissa Brisman, 26, of New York City, a masseuse who was found dead in the doorway of her hotel room after being bashed in the head and shot three times. He's also accused of robbing and tying up another woman, and police have said there could be more victims.
Foxwoods Resort Casino, in Mashantucket, Conn., has confirmed it is cooperating with authorities investigating Markoff's gambling habits.
Markoff was arrested on Monday on Interstate 95 in Massachusetts as he and his fiancee drove to Foxwoods.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said he believes Markoff's original motive was robbery, but he ended up killing Brisman when she fought back.
The first woman Markoff is accused of robbing said she believes she's alive because she didn't resist.
"I just complied with everything he wanted me to do and I didn't resist him in any way and I think that's why," she said in an interview with Boston television station WCVB. "I just hope that they can put him behind bars for the rest of his life."
Prosecutors have not released her name.
The woman, 29, of Las Vegas, who also advertised as a masseuse on Craigslist, was allegedly attacked on April 10 at the Westin Copley Hotel.
She said she had identified Markoff from the surveillance photos police distributed. He was wearing the same clothing and she recognized his face, she said.
The woman said she was able to slip out of the plastic ties she was bound with about a minute after Markoff left and escape. She said she was robbed of $800 in cash, a debit card and $250 in American Express gift cards.
Markoff is also suspected in an attempted robbery in Warwick, R.I., of a woman who had posted a Craigslist ad as a stripper. She was held at gunpoint before her husband entered the hotel room and her attacker fled.
Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch said in a statement Wednesday that Warwick police have developed "promising information" about the April 16 robbery at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.
"Although we're encouraged by the progress being made, this is a complex investigation and is going to take more time," Lynch said.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Wednesday called on Craigslist to stop what he calls "pimping and prostitution in plain sight." He asked the site to immediately eliminate photographs in the "erotic services" section, hire staff to screen images and ads that violate the site's terms of service and fine those who violate those terms.
Craigslist representatives did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
A wake for Brisman was scheduled at a New York City funeral home on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

We always hear this about serial killers...they are meek and mild, everyone they know says they wouldn't hurt a fly, they were caring loving people, they were studying hard to be a [doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc], they were good with children, they did volunteer work, it's always the same. Same as it ever was.
If the women who posted erotic things on craigslist, which is also illegal, did not do this then they would not have been robbed, or in one case killed. I am not taking this guy's side but I am saying craigslist needs to do something about this and pull the plug on the sexual part of their site. They are partly at fault as I see it. No they didn't do this but they didn't do anything to help stop it after many reports of all types of sexual abuse and etc. had been reported. I for one will not use their site EVER. I understand that there are other ways to post ad's for these people but why make it easier?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Red Cross: Sri Lankans in 'catastrophic' situation

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Tens of thousands of civilians trapped in Sri Lanka's northern war zone face a "catastrophic" situation, the Red Cross said Tuesday, amid fears a final assault against the Tamil Tiger rebels would lead to a dramatic rise in casualties.
The U.N. and others have called for a negotiated truce to allow civilians to leave the rebel-held coastal strip — and the government says more than 52,000 had escaped since Monday.
But it has refused to heed those international pleas to halt the fighting, saying it is on the verge of crushing the separatists and putting an end to the 25-year-old war.
The United Nations estimated more than 4,500 civilians have been killed in the past three months.
The rebels said more than 1,000 civilians died Monday in a government raid, while the government said it rescued thousands after they broke through a barrier built by the insurgents that protects their last stronghold.
Human rights groups say the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are holding many people in the enclave against their will and using them as human shields. Those groups have also accused the government of indiscriminate shelling in the region. Both sides deny the allegations.
Thousands of civilians also fled in packed small boats, and they were picked up by navy patrols and transported to camps where Tamils who have escaped the war are being held. More than 2,000 people in about 100 boats were picked up Monday.
The Red Cross said about 50,000 civilians were still stranded, while Human Rights Watch put the number between 50,000 and 100,000.
A worker for Doctors Without Borders said hundreds of wounded were arriving at her hospital in Vavuniya, south of the war zone, in government-arranged buses, and some had died en route. The hospital is overcrowded with 1,200 people being accommodated in a facility with only 400 beds, said mental health officer Karen Stewart, according to a statement from the aid group.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres was concerned about the "dramatic situation" for civilians still in the war zone, said commission spokesman Ron Redmond.
"There are innocent civilians — women and children — caught in the middle of the conflict ... so the high commissioner is saying there should be a pause in the hostilities and the LTTE should allow civilians to leave," Redmond said.
Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara denied that 1,000 civilians died, saying 17 civilians were killed Monday by rebel shelling and by three suicide bombers.
"Our troops are rescuing the trapped civilians. It's the LTTE which is preventing civilians from fleeing," Nanayakkara said.
It was impossible to get independent accounts of casualties because journalists are restricted from the war zone.
The number of fleeing civilians made it clear that the government had vastly underestimated how many people were caught in the fighting.
"Both sides need to show far greater concern for civilians, or many more civilians will die," said Brad Adams, Asia director for the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.
A final government offensive "could lead to a dramatic increase in the number of civilian casualties," the International Committee of the Red Cross said.
"The situation is nothing short of catastrophic. Ongoing fighting has killed or wounded hundreds of civilians who have only minimal access to medical care," said Red Cross operations director Pierre Kraehenbuehl. "I cannot remember ... as much concentrated pain and exposure to violence with very, very minimal possibilities to reach anywhere that could be called safe."
The U.N. Children's Fund South Asia director Daniel Toole said he was worried about the safety of children still in the war zone because "our greatest fear is that the worst is yet to come."
The military spokesman said there was no fighting Tuesday evening, adding that it avoids using heavy, long-range weapons.
Nanayakkara said 39,081 civilians fled the war zone Monday, the most in a single day, and at least 13,000 people crossed over Tuesday, with the stream continuing.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the U.S. was pleased so many civilians had fled, but he remained concerned about what he called credible reports of increasing casualties and indiscriminate firing on civilians by rebel forces.
Encouraged by the exodus, the government Monday asked the rebels to surrender within 24 hours, warning of a final assault if they failed. The ultimatum expired at noon (2:30 a.m. EDT) Tuesday without a response from the rebels.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa rejected a call by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a pause in the fighting, his office said Tuesday.
The president's office said in a statement that Rajapaksa deemed a pause "unnecessary" considering the "unexpected exodus of civilians" when the two leaders had spoken by phone Monday.
Red Cross spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne said the organization could not confirm or deny the figures quoted by the military. According to figures received by the Red Cross, 11,000 people crossed the front lines Monday and another 5,000 came Tuesday, she said.
The U.N. refugee agency said it is ready to provide shelter and aid to tens of thousands of displaced civilians.
Redmond said the UNHCR was working with the government to make more land available for displacement camps because existing sites were overcrowded, he said.
The rebels have fought since 1983 for an independent state for Sri Lanka's ethnic minority Tamils. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the years of violence.
Associated Press


It is good that a dead line is given because otherwise, how long we would or should wait before capture the remaining heart of the LTTE terrorists in the remaining part of Sri Lanka. I encourage many people live around globe that LTTE's final moments approaching and do not be afraid to stand up and help to eliminate without being fooled and helping LTTE and other organizations May the freedom come all sides. May the terrorism ends, May thriple jem bless Sri Lanka and civilians.

An UAV footage from an unmanned aerial vehicle was shown during the exodus of the 35000 Civilians yesterday escaping the clutches of the LTTE and this was shown to the Diplomats and Journalists.The claim of the LTTE in their email is incorrect that the Army killed 1000 civilians.There is no truth in the LTTE claim.The civilians who escaped have exposed the brutality of the LTTE and can be questioned by any journalist.

Do not expect the United Nations to intervene. A sad commentary on the times we live in. U S media is more interested in first family's new pet named Bo than many who protested new taxes and policies that could cost our grandchildren their right to live the American Dream.

When the media uses the word REBELS, it always makes them sound like the bad guys, like all of the are REBELS WITHOUT A CAUSE. Rebellion exists because too many in power ingratiate themselves and their clan, or group at the expense of others. If we treated others like we are selves wanted to be treated there would be no cause for rebellion. So when will those who can make a difference find real solutions to the inequities that have been created and are getting worse as statistics bear out. No wonder murderous rebellion is everywhere.

I just think that this is awful for the civilians; they should not be caught up in such a battle. I would like to see this war end and the civilians get back to a normal life. Why should a person have to try to flee the only home he or she has known just to be safe?

Med student held without bail in Craigslist death

BOSTON – Prosecutors said Tuesday they found a semiautomatic weapon at the home of a Boston medical student who has been ordered held without bail on charges he shot to death a masseuse he had lured to a hotel through Craigslist. Philip Markoff said nothing during the brief hearing in Boston Municipal Court.
Authorities said they followed a computer trail to Markoff, linking an account used to set up appointments on Craigslist with two women who were attacked to his address in Quincy.
They say a search of his home found the gun, ammunition and materials exactly matching those used in an attack on another masseuse in a Boston hotel.
Markoff is charged with murder in the death of Julissa Brisman of New York City and kidnapping and armed robbery in the other assault.
The second-year Boston University medical student lives with his fiance, who claims police have the wrong man.
"He could not hurt a fly," Megan McAllister said in an e-mail to ABC's "Good Morning America. "All I have to say is Philip is a beautiful person, inside and out," she said in the e-mail read on Tuesday's program.
Markoff's attorney, John Salsberg, did not immediately comment.
Authorities have said there could be more victims.
"Our top priority is holding Philip Markoff accountable. He's a predator," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said Monday night in announcing Markoff's arrest earlier in the day during a traffic stop south of Boston.
An e-mail message sent to McAllister via her Facebook page was not immediately returned Tuesday. The McAllister family did not respond to knocks of the door of their Little Silver, N.J. home Tuesday. Shortly after, a police officer emerged from home and said the family did not wish to speak with reporters, and asked the media respect their privacy.
Michael Bernard, who lives in Markoff's building in Quincy, was shocked to recognize his neighbor on television reports of the killing.
"He was smart, he carried himself well, he was clean, a good looking guy," said Bernard, a retired electric company worker. "He seemed like the type that would have it all. It doesn't make sense."
Authorities believe Markoff also may be connected to the attempted robbery Thursday in Warwick, R.I., of a stripper who had posted an ad on Craigslist. She was held at gunpoint before her husband entered the room and her attacker fled.
A Boston University spokeswoman said Markoff was suspended from the medical school after his arrest.


Remember folks Ted Bundy was a law student. Don't look thru rose colored glasses, lets wait to see how this plays out. Guilty or not it's for a jury to decide. If more women come forward and name this guy then the picture will become clearer to everyone. No one knows what is in someone's character or heart.

A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In this case high tech investigating has eliminated this premise. The authorities are certain they have the right man through the tactics used. They also have physical evidence. It will be difficult for this person to be proven innocent with so much evidence already against him.

Why doesn't Craiglist at least delete the sections where people can advertise "erotic services"... of course this should be illegal, it's prostitution?! It will only get worse... I don't think that Craiglist should completely be shut down, but how about eliminating the personal adds for dating and erotic services. This was bound to happen and I think Craiglist should be somewhat liable for this woman's death. There have even been problems with Human Trafficing on this site. Only the lowest of the low would let this happen on a site.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

1st Post on for Animal Care

A few tips on how to keep your pets safe and well.

Pets rely on you to protect them. Normally you should only feed your pets food and treats made for the type of pet that you have. Some human food and drink can make animals sick or worse, so keep an eye out.

Some examples:
• Alcoholic beverages
• Items containing caffeine, such as coffee,soda etc.
• Chocolate (Big no-no)
• Fatty foods
• Chicken and turkey bones (beef and pork bones normally are fine just watch them when they have one)

Here are a few odd ones that most people aren't aware of:
• Grapes and raisins
• Onions
• Macadamia nuts
• Salt and sugar
• Yeast dough
• Aspirin is especially harmful to cats
There are many other things in or around your home can cause illness or even death in your pet. Here are some more examples:
• Antifreeze
• Bait for rodents
• Batteries (they can contain corrosive fluid)
• Car care products
• Fertilizer
• Household cleaners
• Ice-melting products
• Nicotine products
• Pesticides for insects
• Plants that are toxic to pets ( see below for more information on what plants )
• Pool chemicals

For more information on what to do for a poisoned animal, what plants are poisonous visit the website on "Animal Poison Control Center."
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned and you need immediate assistance, call Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. The nonprofit hot-line is staffed 24/7 by a team of veterinarians, including veterinary toxicologists.There is a donation fee however. Or call information for your local 24 hour emergency vet hospital.

Just make sure to take a look around your house and make it pet-safe that's what makes a good pet parent.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Marine acquitted of murder in Iraq slaying

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A military jury on Thursday acquitted a Marine sergeant on charges of murdering an unarmed detainee during battle in Fallujah, Iraq. The jury also acquitted Sgt. Ryan Weemer of dereliction of duty in the November 2004 death.
The panel of eight Marines who served in Iraq or Afghanistan got the case Wednesday and deliberated more than four hours.
Weemer, of Hindsboro, Ill., could have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison and dishonorable discharge if convicted of murder. The maximum sentence for dereliction is six months in prison and a bad conduct discharge.
In closing arguments Wednesday, a defense attorney said the 26-year-old Weemer acted in self-defense.
The prosecutor, Capt. Nicholas Gannon, recounted that Weemer said in recorded interviews that he shot the man and told a squadmate that he would have to live with that for the rest of his life.
Weemer also said in interviews that he and other Marines shot a total of four men in a house after their squad suffered its first fatality.
"I can't bring you an autopsy report," Gannon said. "I don't have one, but we have a lot of evidence that shows you beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused shot an individual in the chest twice.... The killing was unlawful."
The prosecutor told jurors they should convict Weemer of lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter or assault if they acquit him of murder.
During the one-week court-martial, the defense argued that the government could not prove Weemer killed the unarmed captive because there are no bodies, no relatives complaining of a lost loved one and no forensic evidence.
Weemer's civilian attorney, Paul Hackett, said in his closing argument that Weemer fired while he and other Marines were trying to seize a house from insurgents. He recounted testimony and statements of Weemer's squadmates that portrayed a confusing scene.
"This was chaos!" he said. "(The detainees) were not cooperating. If they're not cooperating, they're not under control. If they're not under control, they pose a threat to these Marines."
Hackett told jurors to be skeptical of a 2006 recorded interview that Weemer gave to Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents in which he describes shooting the detainee. He said one agent was an experienced interrogator who knew how to wear Weemer down.
"It is a very, very, very complicated, confusing interview," Hackett said.
Weemer told two NCIS agents that he was covered with the blood of his best friend, who had been killed by a sniper, just before his squad leader ordered him to kill the prisoner, according to a tape recording played at the court martial.
"I grabbed a gun and took him to the back of the house," Weemer, 26, said on the tape. "I shot him twice in the chest."
Weemer said he argued with his squad leader, former Sgt. Jose Luis Nazario, before complying with the order to kill the man, who was taken prisoner when Marines stormed a house on the first day of the assault on Fallujah.
"I definitely wasn't the type to disobey an order," he said.
Last August, Nazario was acquitted in Riverside federal court of killing two prisoners and ordering Weemer and another Marine to each kill one.
Another sergeant, Jermaine Nelson, has pleaded not guilty to unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty, but his court-martial has been indefinitely postponed because of a flurry of last-minute motions filed by his attorney.

REPLY: 1st I have to say read Kevin Sites book " In The Zone. One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars". Even in the 1st few chapters you will see the real side of things that have happened. 2nd at this moment I personaly know a PFC that is in jail for this same matter at hand. Difference is he wasn't the shooter, 2 other PFC's were and said they were. They also told the court that my friend did not shoot. The courts told him either plead guilty and hopefully get out in around 6-9 years or don't and plan on being there for 18- 25 years. They gave him no time to think about it. He was barely 21, scared and didn't know what to do. So he pled guilty hopeing that the truth would set him free. He's been there for over 3 years now.

He finally had a hearing and awaits the outcome. If they don't let him go he has to wait a year to file again. They bullied him into saying he did something he did not do. I know him very well, he is not a murder. Corey Clagett is his name. Look him up and you'll see what I'm talking about. He has many people pulling for him but not enough. Even Doctors, a radio DJ, an Author and many more know what I know and are trying to help him. I speak to him about once a week, I write him as much as I can. People have come and gone while he's been there. 1st saying they would support him and write him then slowly they fade away leaving him feeling even more alone. He has changed in these 3 years into someone else. He's angry (wouldn't you be?) and our hopes are that when he gets out that he can be helped to have a normal life again. There are a few of us that won't give up on him.

It makes me ill to know what has been done to him. I'll spare you the details about how they treat him (just think of how helpless you could be and can't do anything about it but just take it). I hope this reaches a few people and they too try to free a free man but hope is something that fades fast when you ask people to help in these matters. People either don't want to hear it, don't care, don't want to be bothered to do anything that might help, are to selfish and involved in their own lives to take any time to do something because they don't get anything out of it and much more. I have seen the UGLY side of humans (so many). I've also seen the good side. The good ones are out numbered 20 to 1 but those who fall in that 1 work 20 times as hard to do whats right. The blinders people wear do it by choice!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

South African prosecutors drop case against Zuma/Beshir personality cult grips Khartoum

PRETORIA, South Africa – Prosecutors dropped their corruption case Monday against Jacob Zuma, clearing the way for him to become South Africa's next president but leaving behind questions that could haunt the next government.
Zuma, a colorful character and well-known champion of the poor, is the presidential candidate for the governing African National Congress in April 22 elections. He is almost certain to win given the party's dominance.
Hundreds of Zuma supporters reveled in the streets after prosecutors said they would not pursue — now or in the future — accusations Zuma accepted bribes to thwart an investigation into wrongdoing by a French arms company involved in a massive weapons deal in the late 1990s.
But prosecutors said the withdrawal had nothing to do with Zuma's guilt or innocence. They claimed to have a strong case, and said it was withdrawn because of prosecutorial misconduct. They noted that others could file civil cases, an option that may be pursued by opposition parties who decried Monday's announcement.
Zuma did not comment Monday, but scheduled a news conference for Tuesday in Durban, where he was to appear in court for the charges to be formally dropped.
Reactions to the decision highlighted the issues that remain as the country's fledgling democracy attempts to move forward.
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's secretary general, called Monday's decision "a victory for the rule of law, decency and common sense," and told reporters that Zuma should now be seen as free of suspicion.
"There are no allegations" against Zuma, Mantashe said at ANC headquarters. "They have been withdrawn this morning by the people who laid the charges."
The presidential candidate for COPE, a recently formed political party that broke away from the ANC, countered saying prosecutors should have gone forward with the case.
"We still have not heard about the merits or the demerits of the case against Mr. Zuma. The South African people want to know: Is he innocent or is he guilty?" COPE's Mvume Dandala said.
Mokotedi Mpshe, acting director of public prosecutions, said Monday that key prosecutors had abused their powers by trying to time the announcement of charges against the 66-year-old former guerrilla leader to a key ANC conference in late 2007, presumably to undermine his bid to become party president.
Zuma won the leadership race at that conference, and two days later Mpshe said he had enough evidence to try Zuma. On Monday, Mpshe said he had been unaware in 2007 of attempts to manipulate the case.
"An intolerable abuse of process has occurred which requires discontinuation of the prosecution," Mpshe said at a packed news conference that was broadcast live nationwide.
Mpshe's decision came after Zuma's legal team brought him taped phone conversations between prosecutors discussing the announcement timing. It was unclear how Zuma's team obtained the recordings, but Mpshe said prosecutors determined they were authentic.
Even before Monday's decision, the accusations that Zuma had taken a $55,600 (500,000-rand) bribe to protect a French arms company had not appeared to hurt Zuma among his base — impoverished black South Africans who embrace him as a man they believe understands their struggle.
Support was not even affected by rape charges in 2006, which ended in Zuma's acquittal. In that case, he outraged AIDS activists by testifying that he had unprotected, consensual sex with the HIV-positive woman and then took a shower in the belief that it would protect him from the virus.
Monday's news was greeted with an outpouring of joy and Zuma supporters danced through the streets of downtown Johannesburg, while car horns blared and whistles shrieked. Hundreds waved ANC flags in a downtown square, dancing and singing "Bring Me My Machine Gun," the anti-apartheid song that has become Zuma's trademark.
"I'm very happy for the decision, hoping that this gives our president what he needs for us to go forward," said Victress Iwabi, an ANC town councilor. "I think under Zuma people will have decent work, free and quality education, quality health care for all. And we are going to defeat crime."
Former President Thabo Mbeki fired Zuma as his deputy because of the corruption scandal, but Zuma bounced back. The Zuma-led ANC forced Mbeki to resign as national president last September.
Prosecutors said Monday they had found no evidence Mbeki was behind the attempt to manipulate the Zuma case. But Zuma allies called for an investigation into the former president's possible involvement. Mbeki had no comment, spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said.
Adam Habib, a political analyst at the University of Johannesburg, called on Zuma to "come clean with the nation" about the corruption case.
"If he does not, not only does he taint the image of his own administration, but the image of his country as well," Habib said.
Neren Rau, chief executive of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said investors needed to have confidence in the rule of law in South Africa, and for that the prosecutors' office "must be perceived as independent, above reproach and free of the perception that it offers political solutions."


Zuma is a typical African Politician. He is a Murderer, has murdered entire families, He's a Rapist, and is a ruthless mobster.

How can we have someone like Jacob Zuma run a country, if he has been in court for crimnal cases. If this was anyother country, they wouldn't have a leader like this. This just shows us is that you can get away with crime.

Bashir personality cult grips Khartoum

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir beams from billboards, T-shirts and baseball caps as pictures of the defiant African leader wanted for war crimes in Darfur mushroom across Khartoum.
Once rare portraits of the soldier who grabbed power in a bloodless coup 20 years ago have sprouted in the capital since March 4, the day the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Giant posters showing the 65-year-old leader of Africa's largest country clad in full military regalia can now be seen everywhere since the court accused him of war crimes and crimes against humanity in war-torn Darfur.
And with general and presidential elections due in February 2010, it appears that Bashir has finally succumbed to the traditional temptation of presidential iconography as he bids for political survival.
Since early last month, Bashir has been on the warpath to rally support against the ICC warrant -- the first ever to target a sitting head of state.
He has delivered fiery speeches, made multiple television appearances, gone on trips to the four corners of Sudan and also travelled abroad several times in clear defiance of the international court.
Pictures of the president accompanied by the slogan "All with you, Bashir" are distributed at rallies to which ordinary citizens and supporters of his National Congress Party (NCP) are bused in.
Bashir, who often punctuates his speeches by jabbing the air with his trademark walking stick and doing a little dance, has addressed Darfuris, soldiers, tribal chiefs and even donned a traditional feathered headpiece of Southern Sudanese chiefs.
He began this furious pace more akin to that of a campaigning candidate even before Sudan formally announced on April 2 that it will stage its first general election in 24 years next February.
The elections, which will see Sudanese vote for both their president and the national assembly, will be crucial to Beshir's political future.
"The electoral process starts this April and will finish in February 2010," Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, deputy head of the electoral commission, told AFP.
Under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended Sudan's decades-long civil war between north and south, the elections should have taken place this year. But they were postponed over delays in census results.
"The president is not campaigning for the next elections. What you see is a response to the decision by the ICC," Mandoor al-Mahdi, NCP political secretary, told AFP.
"But the ICC has created a situation which has made the president more popular... and we feel that the conditions are more favourable than before" for his re-election, Mahdi added.
A defiant Bashir recently even went as far as "thanking" the ICC for accusing him, since the court's move enabled him to bolster his support base.
Sudan does not recognise the ICC and refuses to hand over its citizens, but this policy could change under a new government.
"They (the NCP) would like a quick election and a quick victory" in order to cement Beshir's position after the ICC decision, said one Western diplomat who asked to remain anonymous.
But he also added that despite mass rallies in support of the president, "they would have to cheat to win the elections."
The last general election in April 1986 saw a victory for the Umma party of Sadiq al-Mehdi, whose three-year-old democratically elected government was overthrown in the 1989 coup that brought Beshir to power.
Beshir secured 87 percent of the votes in the 2000 presidential election, which were considered a farce by opposition parties despite promises by the president of "free elections."
In next year's polls, the Sudanese people will also vote for the head of the semi-autonomous south, the South Sudanese parliament and local governors.
Holding the vote in Darfur where a deadly conflict has raged since 2003 will take a great deal of "political will" amid great insecurity, according to a study published last month by the United States Institute of Peace.
The ICC accuses Beshir of criminal responsibility for "exterminating, raping and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians" in Darfur, where the United Nations says the conflict has cost 300,000 lives.
Sudan puts the death toll from the six-year war at 10,000.
Sudan analyst Alex de Waal has described Beshir, who joined the military at a young age, as "intensely proud."
"When he feels humiliated, he is prone to angry outbursts marked by extreme rhetorical excess. His language becomes replete with exhortations to avenge insult and betrayal, and crush the cowards and traitors."


What can I say that I haven't already????