Category Archives: Crime

Boston Truth Revealed

The Boston Marathon bombing, like 9/11 raises lots of questions which suggest that there is more here than meets the eye. Take a look at the following videos and decide for yourself whether the conspiracy theory is easily dismissed, or if there is something more at work here.

One may ask what can be done about it, true or not. The answer to that question is for you to figure out.

Boston Truth Revealed

Fort Hood deaths bring new scrutiny to Army

Stretched thin by 2 wars, military may have missed Hasan warning signs
By STEWART M. POWELL and GARY MARTIN
WASHINGTON BUREAU
Nov. 14, 2009, 10:30PM

WASHINGTON — At a time when U.S. Army troops are fighting two wars halfway around the globe, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan possessed all the qualifications the military so desperately needs: He is an Arabic-speaking Muslim of Palestinian descent, a doctor, a psychiatrist and a midlevel commander.

But that was before Nov. 5, before, authorities say, Hasan opened fire at Ford Hood, before he was accused of murdering 13 of his colleagues, and before his case raised questions about whether the U.S. military may have relaxed its standards to keep Hasan and others in uniform to meet the unrelenting demand for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The Army is caught in a perfect storm,” says Larry Korb, the Pentagon’s top manpower official during the Reagan administration. “It’s had to lower standards to keep people coming in — and it’s made changes to keep people from getting out.”

Alarmed, the White House and Capitol Hill are vowing to investigate whether warning signs of potential trouble are being routinely ignored in a military stretched to — or beyond — the breaking point.

“The president has asked every agency involved … to investigate why this happened, how this happened, and to ensure that they can tell him that it won’t happen again,” said President Barack Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs.

In Hasan’s situation, there are many reasons why Pentagon officials wouldn’t want to lose an officer of his background. Arabic-speaking Muslims are in extremely short supply, as are doctors and psychiatrists.

Indeed, the Army has been trying to train and keep psychiatrists such as Hasan for years amid mounting cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers returning from multiple tours in the war zone.

The ranks of Army psychiatrists suffer some of the most chronic shortages among the Army’s 27 medical specialties, according to the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog. Physicians in general are in short supply. The Army fell short 159 doctors over the eight-year period ending in 2008, meeting only 93 percent of its goal of 2,421 physicians, the GAO found.

Some doctors are being forced to remain in uniform under the Pentagon’s “stop loss” authority that enables the military to keep soldiers beyond their official enlistment limits. At least 11,000 soldiers in the Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard are being retained under “stop loss” rules.

Majors are needed

Hasan also was a valuable find for the military because he helped fill another need: Majors.

Because of enlistment cutbacks dating back to the end of the Cold War, the Army faces a shortage of midlevel officers, including a 15 percent shortage of majors in the medical corps. To ease a looming shortage of 3,000 majors, the Army has put young captains on the fast track to the rank of major. A decade ago, 78.1 percent of captains were promoted to the rank of major. In the past year, that percentage jumped to 94.1 percent.

Because of shortages among specialists — and also to maintain troop levels needed to fight two wars — the Army also has been forced to periodically rewrite standards for incoming recruits to keep up a flow of more than 70,000 enlistees each year.

It raised the maximum enlistment age from 34 to 42 in 2006. Fitness standards have been pushed to the breaking point: 25 percent of prospective recruits between the ages of 17 and 24 are now deemed medically obese — five times the percentage in the 1980s.

Educational standards have slipped, as well. The Army accepted nearly 14,200 high school dropouts among 67,395 incoming recruits without prior military service in 2007, for example.

The Army also has been flexible on recruits’ prior criminal activity. It granted 10,236 waivers for misconduct including felonies and 4,962 medical waivers including failure to pass drug or alcohol entrance tests to enlist 67,395 new recruits in 2007.

“They’ve taken people in who should not be in — and they’re promoting people quickly who should not be promoted,” said Korb, the military manpower expert. “Now we have to live with that.”

An Army Recruiting Command spokesman, Douglas Smith, says the service retains “high recruiting standards” with the quality of the force “always top priority.” But the military also offers “deserving individuals who have overcome mistakes an opportunity to realize their potential to be high performing soldiers.”

The nation’s deep recession has freed the Army to raise entrance standards again as more civilians flee poor job prospects in the economy to join the armed forces.

The Army is drawing its highest percentage of high school graduates since 1996, with 58,836 of the 61,933 recruits in fiscal 2009 holding high school diplomas.

Because of the manpower shortages, some lawmakers are asking if the military is ignoring potential warning signs in individual cases.

Hasan, for example, won a crucial promotion two years after cautioning colleagues at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that Muslims needed leeway to leave the Army as conscientious objectors to “decrease adverse events.” He reportedly said that the Koran took precedence over the U.S. Constitution.

But his superiors and his psychiatric colleagues apparently never had him evaluated on either security or psychological grounds.

Background checks

Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee panel that handles military readiness, says the Army needs to “conduct a good, good background check on these people.”

“We need to ask, before these people become officers or are accepted into specialty schools like medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, about their commitment to our nation,” Ortiz said.

Hasan’s ability to remain in the military also raises questions about the lack of coordination between U.S. intelligence services. Months before Hasan pinned on the golden oak leaves of an Army major, he exchanged e-mails with a radical Islamic cleric in Yemen who knew three of the 9/11 hijackers and once presided over a mosque in Falls Church, Va., attended by Hasan.

The e-mails came to the attention of a joint FBI counterterrorism task force last year, but the exchange was never shared with intelligence agencies — an oversight that President Barack Obama ordered investigated on Thursday.

stewart.powell@chron.com

gmartin@express-news.net

Ill. Gov: Chicago May Get Troopers, National Guard

Mayor Daley Surprised by Official’s Comments
By DON BABWIN

Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday raised the possibility of bringing in state troopers or even the Illinois National Guard to help Chicago combat a recent increase in violent crime — an offer that Mayor Richard Daley didn’t know was coming.

Appearing at signing ceremony for a bill that toughens the penalty for adults who provide guns to minors, Blagojevich said “violent crime in the city of Chicago is out of control.”

“I’m offering resources of the state to the city to work in a constructive way with Mayor Daley to do everything we can possibly do to help … stop this violence,” said the governor.

Blagojevich said Daley had not asked for help and he had not talked to the mayor about offering it, adding he would call Daley after he met later in the day with the state police, National Guard and others.

Daley’s office said the mayor did not know anything about Blagojevich’s comments and did not know he was going to make them.

“The mayor welcomes partnerships, not just on this issue but on a variety of issues,” said spokeswoman Jody Kawada. “Beyond that, it is difficult to comment because we don’t have any facts.”

And police department spokeswoman Monique Bond said they learned of the comments after Blagojevich made them as well, and said it was too soon to comment.

But Bond took issue with the governor’s contention that crime is “out of control” in Chicago.

In fact, she said if the current murder rate holds in the city, 2008 may end with fewer than 500 homicides and that it is expected to be one of the least deadly years in the city in the last 40 years.

The governor’s comments come at a time when violent crime has spiked in Chicago. This spring, for example, nine people were killed in 36 shootings during a weekend and Chicago Public Schools officials say more than two dozen students have been killed by gunfire since last September.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Jody Weis was grilled by members of a city council committee, who complained both about rising crime and statistics that suggested to them that the police department wasn’t doing enough to stop it.

They also come as the governor tries to find support for a massive statewide construction program that would be funded by expanded casino gambling. So far, Daley has refused to go along because he objects to the amount Blagojevich wants to charge Chicago to run a downtown casino.

Blagojevich raised that issue as he discussed the possibility of state aid with Chicago’s crime problem.

“We need help in that legislative process and the mayor could be a big help in this in getting the House Democratic leadership to pass that big capital program or versions of it,” the governor said.

Blagojevich’s offer, whether or not it comes to anything, also puts him in the position of trying to help on an issue dominating the news in Chicago.

Blagojevich said it is far more likely that state troopers would be used than guardsmen. In fact, his office moved quickly after the governor’s comments to stress in a news release that Blagojevich was not considering bringing in National Guard troops to the city.

“The only way the National Guard would be involved, if they are involved, is with the use of tactical helicopters that are currently used in narcotics operations,” spokesman Lucio Guerrero said in a prepared statement.

Blagojevich had few details, but suggested that one possibility would be to assign state troopers to areas of the city with lower crime rates, freeing Chicago police officers for areas where there is more crime.

“Maybe we can play a role in providing more manpower so that the mayor doesn’t have to make that choice between taking a police from, let’s say the North Side, and putting that police officer on the street on the South Side,” he said.

He also suggested that retired Chicago police officers and state troopers could be hired on a temporary basis to help out during the summer months when the violent crime rate typically climbs.

Woman dies of Leptospirosis

Just received the following email from a friend:

This is Serious!

This incident happened recently in North Texas.

A woman went boating one Sunday taking with her some cans of coke which she put into the refrigerator of the boat. On Monday she was taken to the hospital and placed in the Intensive Care Unit. She died on Wednesday.

The autopsy concluded she died of Leptospirosis. This was traced to the can of coke she drank from, not using a glass. Tests showed that the can was infected by dried rat urine and hence the disease Leptospirosis.

Rat urine contains toxic and deathly substances. It is highly recommended to thoroughly wash the upper part of soda cans before drinking out of them. The cans are typically stocked in warehouses and transported straight to the shops without being cleaned.

A study at NYCU showed that the tops of soda cans are more contaminated than public toilets – full of germs and bacteria. So wash them with water before putting the m to the mouth to avoid any kind of fatal accident.

Please forward this message to all the people you care about.
(I JUST DID)

And responded:

Yeah, I’ve died quite a few times from all those pops I drank when I was a kid and teenager and didn’t bother wiping off anything. Of course rat urine has gotten a lot stronger than it was back in the day.

I just get the shivers thinking about all the times I had my hands in my mouth after touching God knows what when I was a toddler. It is said, though, that God looks after babies and fools. Why do we pray over our food before we eat it?

Poor lady. Must have just been her time to go, huh? Maybe she could have saved herself if she would have read the information on the CDC site before she bought those cans of coke. Anyway its sad to think that she wasn’t alone. It seems other women have died under the same exact circumstances. Weird, huh?

Don’t take my word for it, check for yourself.

What does it mean when so many people get lured in and even propagate this kind of stuff?

Is it any different from the old woman who answers the door and lets herself get talked into signing on the dotted line for a second mortgage with astronomical interest rates? Any different from the college student who signs up for credit card after credit card without any kind of education about finances or debt? Any different that the Y2K scare? The Iraq war? Iran? Hmmm…

Blackstar Project: taking back the community

On Saturday, June 7, 2008, at 11:00 am C.S.T, seventy-five courageous, principled and hardworking men–ministers, former gang members, law officers, fire fighters, teachers, construction workers, business owners, social workers, retired elders, community members, and students–will bring this movement of Black men to the community where the mass arrest occurred. Men will come together to walk the streets, talk to the people and bring hope to a community that has not seen much hope.

They will knock on doors, visit youth in schools during the week, take youth to churches on Sundays, play basketball and baseball with young males, teach teenagers how to “hustle legit,” encourage young fathers to take care of their children and encourage young men who have had a brush with the law to finish school, secure gainful employment and remain law-abiding. These Black men will be role models for other Black men around the country to launch a similar Movement of Black Men, while standing up for their communities, their families and their children. Chicago’s Roseland, Woodlawn, Englewood and Uptown communities are also scheduled for this effort

Organizations collaborating to do the work that needs to be done to stop the violence among our youth in Chicago are ABBA Church of Renewed Faith, Afrikan American Council of Islamic Brotherhood, Black Souls Organization, Block Club University, Blyden Delany Academy (Milwaukee, WI), Center for Community Development Initiatives, Citizens for a Safer Community, Hip Hop Detox/L.E.A.R.N Charter School, Kidz Off The Block, P.E.A.C.E., Peoples Army, Ministry Network Coalition, No Limit Ministries, TEECH Foundation, Williams Youth Services, 100 Black Men of Chicago and The Black Star Project.

This effort has no funding. Although funding would help the Movement of Black Men with its overall mission, these organizations are not waiting for foundation or government money before they start their work. We are simply the laborers doing the work that is necessary in the vineyard of Chicago’s mean streets. We are not the police. We will not arrest anyone. Our communities don’t need more policing; they need more strong, positive Black men. And we will not try to be tougher or more macho than the men with whom we will speak in these communities. We want to work with them as we replace the violence and fear in Chicago communities with hope and promise.

Please join us. If men want to participate in this effort or if you want to bring the Movement of Black Men to your city, please email blackstar1000@ameritech.net, call People Acting Responsibly Empowering Neighborhoods Together (PARENT) – 773.285.9600 or visit

Charges Against 9/11 Suspect Dropped

His Statements Were the Result of Abusive Interrogation, Officials Say

By Josh White and Julie Tate

U.S. authorities have long considered Mohammed al-Qahtani one of the most dangerous alleged terrorists in U.S. custody, a man who could have been the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot if he had not been denied entry into the country.

But yesterday, amid concerns about using information obtained during abusive military interrogations, a top Pentagon official removed Qahtani from the military commission case meant to bring justice to those behind the vast Sept. 11 conspiracy.

Susan J. Crawford, the appointed official who decides which cases will be heard in the largely untested commission process, dismissed the charges against Qahtani while affirming those against five other alleged terrorists to stand trial at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Prosecutors reserve the right to charge Qahtani again, and the military says it can hold him without trial for the duration of the counterterrorism wars. But his defense lawyers and officials familiar with the case say it is unlikely that Qahtani will face new charges because he was subjected to aggressive Defense Department interrogation techniques — such as intimidation by dogs, hooding, nudity, long-term isolation and stress positions.

Those techniques were later rescinded because of concerns about their legality. In 2005, an official military investigation concluded that Qahtani’s interrogation regimen amounted to abuse.

Officials close to the case said Crawford’s office was reluctant to sanction the charges against Qahtani because prosecutors had little evidence against him outside of his own coerced confessions, a point that most certainly would have become a central issue at trial.

“Their case was only based on evidence derived from torture,” said Army Lt. Col. Bryan Broyles, who represents Qahtani. “In six-plus years, the evidence comes down to what they beat out of him. The prosecution evidence was entirely unreliable and inadmissible.”

Crawford has not commented publicly since taking over as the top official for military commissions, and a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday she has not explained her decision. Officials close to the case said the office’s top legal adviser, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, concluded in an analysis that Qahtani’s case was too weak to prosecute.

“Decisions relating to joining several accused are based upon such factors as the nature of the offenses, the evidence and applicable rules of procedure,” said Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman.

“My guess is that they will never charge him at all,” said Charles D. “Cully” Stimson, a lawyer with the Heritage Foundation and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs. “It may be next to impossible to prove a case against him without what came out of his mouth.”

From the outset, Qahtani’s case appeared to be an odd companion to the co-conspirator trial, as the other cases involve detainees — such as alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed — held by the CIA, and they involve high-level allegations of conspiracy to commit the attacks, including financing, running al-Qaeda training camps and helping the hijackers carry out the plot. Qahtani is alleged to be a field operative.

Human rights organizations have been warning that harsh treatment of detainees would come back to haunt the U.S. government.

“Statements obtained using interrogation techniques explicitly approved by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are so tainted by torture that the current Pentagon has determined that they cannot be used, even in military commissions which allow the use of certain evidence obtained through abuse,” said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch.

Although some of the other five detainees were subjected to harsh interrogations by the CIA, the military organized a coordinated effort to re-interview them after they arrived at Guantanamo Bay in September 2006, using rapport-building methods. The results yielded incriminating evidence, officials said. But the same “clean teams” were not successful with Qahtani.

“Qahtani has never made a statement that was not extracted without torture,” said Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which also represents Qahtani.

The charges approved against the alleged co-conspirators detail 169 overt acts in support of the Sept. 11 attacks, including murder, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, terrorism and providing material support for terrorism. Barring a continuance, the five suspects should appear in a Guantanamo Bay courtroom within the next month for an arraignment, but those involved in the cases say a joint trial is unlikely to begin before next year.

One issue that could further complicate the Sept. 11 case is the disqualification of Hartmann by a judge in another military commission because of alleged bias in favor of the prosecution. Hartmann has been deeply involved in the conspiracy case, also.

But Stimson said that “anytime Hartmann touches something, you’re giving the defense an opportunity to tee up the unlawful command influence issue.”

Cops to get rifles to compete with gangs

Daley pleads with Chicagoans to take stand against violence, save kids

April 26, 2008

BY FRAN SPIELMAN AND FRANK MAIN Staff Reporters

Chicago Police officers will soon be equipped with M4 carbines to match the firepower of the street gangs they’re up against, under a policy change in the works to stop the bloodshed on the city’s streets.

Police Supt. Jody Weis’ decision to arm and train his 13,500 officers with more powerful weapons was disclosed as Mayor Daley emerged from a City Hall summit meeting with a plea to every Chicagoan who cares about children.

“I don’t want people to wait for Mayor Daley to call a meeting. I want you to call a meeting in your home, with your children and loved ones. I want you to . . . talk to those children next door. I want the parents on the block to say, ‘This block will be free of violence. This summer, not one child will be [killed by] gangs and drug dealers,’ ” Daley told a City Hall news conference.

“Regardless of whether you live in a high-rise on Lake Shore Drive [or] poor housing or you’re middle class or business leaders — I want you to get energized about saving a child. . . . A mentoring position, a summer job. . . . Reach out to adopt a school. Reach out to a block club. Reach out to an ex-offender program. Let’s do things that we’ve never done before collectively.”

Chicago Police SWAT teams are already equipped with M4 carbines, but rank-and-file officers are out-gunned. They’re only allowed to carry pistols. When you’re up against a street gang member armed with an AK-47, that’s like taking a BB-gun to a battle.

Used by the U.S. Marine Corps, the M4 is an assault rifle that fires more shots in less time than a conventional handgun. The fully automatic version can fire up to 1,000 rounds a minute, although the magazines hold 20 to 30 shots.

Last week, police arrested a man suspected of using an AK-47 during a shoot-out with police just after he allegedly used the gun to kill a man at a South Side plumbing business.

In October 2006, police were in a shoot-out with three gang members they thought were on their way to carry out a gang hit. Police fired at the men after one of the suspects raised an AK-47 at them. Some of the officers were armed with assault weapons and shotguns. Two of the suspects were killed.

“That’s a good example of why it’s important for police to be equally armed,” Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue welcomed the change, as long as the Police Department pays for the weapons and officers are properly trained and given discretion in using the M4.

“Many people have made statements that they feel outgunned on the street. In certain circumstances, that has been shown to be true,” Donahue said.

New York City police officers recently started patrolling subways with similar assault weapons and bomb-sniffing dogs. In the Chicago area, some suburban police departments have carried assault weapons since the mid-1990s.

Timing and logistics of the change in firepower have not yet been ironed out.

First, the weapons must be purchased — and it’s not yet clear who is going to pay. Officers currently chose from a list of authorized handguns and pay out of their own pockets. Second, they must be trained in how to use them. That would be a logistical nightmare that would require all officers to return to the police academy.

Finally, the Police Department must determine whether the new weapons would remain in squad cars or be carried by officers.

The firepower change is the latest show of force by Weis.

This weekend, he plans to flood South and West Side neighborhoods plagued by violence with SWAT teams and Targeted Response Units in full battle dress, with two police helicopters hovering above.