Friday, 31 December 2010


Gonçalo Amaral: I haven't lost my dignity.

For a year, he was silent due to the injunction that had been filed against him by the McCann couple, for all copies of ‘Maddie – The Truth of the Lie’ to be taken off the shelves in bookshops. Nonetheless, he never gave up and appealed to the Appeals Court, which in October overturned the prohibition to sell the book and the video that was produced from a TVI documentary, because “it does not offend the McCanns’ fundamental rights”, further stating that Gonçalo Amaral’s freedom of expression is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. At the time, the English couple also demanded compensation in the amount of 1.2 million euro, over statements that they consider to be libellous. For the former PJ coordinator and his wife, Sofia Leal, those were months of suffocation that forced them to make some changes, namely to perform cuts to their family budget, in the education of their daughters, who left the school where they were studying due to the financial difficulties that the couple faces.

“The exile that I was subject to is coming to an end, I have not lost my dignity or my integrity and I feel strong enough to intervene, in a more active way, in the search for truth and in the performance of justice”, Gonçalo clarifies, adding that this was a complicated year. “It wasn’t easy, actually nothing has been easy since I retired from the Judiciary Police and decided, at my own cost and risk, to affront instituted powers within the search for the truth”, he mentions. “The seizing of assets remains unsolved because it took place outside of the injunction. The losses, financial and others, have yet to be counted, there has been extensive damage, but we continue to believe in justice. We have been living with the support of family and friends, who have never abandoned us”, reveals the former police officer, who resides in a rented apartment in Portimão with his wife, his daughters and the cat, Bolachinha [Cookie].

Gonçalo Amaral and Sofia Leal defend a family Christmas and insist on keeping the tradition of the ‘Presépio do Menino ao Alto’ [Nativity of the Child on the Height] alive, which dates back to the Middle Ages. “In the Algarve, it’s he who brings the presents and it’s to the Child that children pray every day of the year. On the 8th of December, the day of ‘Nossa Senhora da Conceição’ [Our Lady of Conception], the ‘searinhas’ [little corn fields] or ‘cabeleiras’ [wigs] are sown. Those are wheat seeds, which are placed in small containers, under the bed, where it’s dark and warm. Nine days before Christmas, a chest of drawers is ‘dressed’ with the finest needlework that one owns and a stepped throne is built. Then, the ‘cabeleiras’ are placed, symbols of abundance, as well as the oranges and the pomegranates. Finally, Baby Jesus is placed on top of the throne. It’s a very emotional moment, where the family all comes together. While my father says the prayers, my mother and I finish arranging the throne, the girls place the fruits and in the end Gonçalo places Baby Jesus. On the Kings’ Day, we take the ‘cabeleiras’ into the field and sow them into the earth. That’s the Algarve’s mixture of the sacred and the profane. We also build the common Nativity, as it was created by St. Francis of Assisi, but with a very Portuguese touch: with clay figures that are placed on a base of cork and moss, with water streams, fountains, sheep and a little rock”, the wife of the former PJ coordinator explains.

The season has almost always the same taste to the Amaral family. “Christmas Eve supper and Christmas Day lunch are the most important meals in the year. Therefore, on the 1st of December, the women in the family gather to decide on the menu, the dinnerware, the linen, the details…”, she says, adding that they spend Christmas in Portimão with her parents, her sister, her brother-in-law and the neighbours.

In a conversation with ‘Nova Gente’, Gonçalo said that the McCanns continue to attack him: “What they are trying to do to me is not only to limit my civic and constitutional rights. They try my civil assassination, to destroy my life, not allowing the exercise of any licit activity, or for me to comply with the existing compromises and those of my family”, he explains, stressing that “while limiting my freedom of expression, they have destroyed the firm that I had created, they tried to forbid my access to the Lawyers’ Orders’ stay, and they have seized assets and income sources”, he says, justifying that everything was done “under the banner of searching for a mysteriously disappeared child, who is probably dead – as the Public Ministry says -, people and their relatives are being destroyed. One has to say that this is not catholic at all, coming from people who say they are so religious and pious. This is not how they will find the child!”

Gonçalo Amaral says that he will wait to read the book that the McCanns are writing. “It’s being said that the book is an aid to find their daughter. As it will only be published towards the end of April, we can conclude that until then, their daughter won’t be found.”

Gonçalo Amaral

The Dignity of NHS Doctors McCann

This is the last post. I shall still blog non-McCann related material at Only in America.
I have another blog evolving, it is called, Diary of a Mad Person, but, unlike the Earth, blogs take a tad longer than six days to create.

Tony Bennett

In this penultimate post, prior to relinquishing control of my McCann related blogs, I shall in the main address two issues, propriety and veracity.

Propriety or suitability if you will. A recent comment made by myself in regard to the suitability, actions, and it must be said, judgement, of Tony Bennett seems to have sent my once loyal supporters scurrying away in packs, not droves I add.

And the cause of this exodus? with Bennett, and a little imagination, leading his flock Moses-like out of Egypt and delivering them unto the land of Canaan, aka the Madeleine Foundation. The cause of this exodus then, these few words.

Hey you, shouter; I don't know what you're screaming for, he's the best asset you've got.

I've just watched the fucker on BBC East Midlands, the man is a fucking liability to our cause, an absolute fucking liability if ever the were, and it's time one or two others woke up to the fact.

A self serving barmpot with as much sense of judgement as a blind lemming.

East Midlands Today! "I think I will let a outfit called East Midlands Today do a program on me, it's sure to be fair and balanced."

Yeah right, just like Fox News is fair and balanced.

Fucking stroll on! will y'all wake up and smell the goddamned coffee.

Asset my arse.

Seems reasonable enough, at least I haven't called him a serial loser and a liar, well not yet. Nor for that matter, have I called him a homophobic racist arrogant religious nutter, which of course he is.


Now I'm not alone in this opinion, there is this fellow, and having borrowed such a delightful term of phrase as "serial loser," I thought I might borrow the relative passage from which it was sourced. This by the by, is incidental to what I have to say here.

Their main target of opportunity is a social worker named Tony Bennett, an espouser of various fringe causes such as “death to metrication”. Bennett is an ideal target – anti-McCann, loud and self-righteous, an effective, if weird, self-publicist (he can be seen sitting owlishly behind McCann and the Coffin in the House of Commons hearings) and, most importantly, a serial loser who looks like he fell out of Monty Python.

As I say this is just an aside, but not so the next writer, what he has to say, and Bennett's response, is the crux of the matter.

It surprises me little that Bennett felt the need to respond to an article written by *TTW4, though in hindsight I'm sure he will rue the day he did so. Or to be more accurate, the manner in which he responded. (*Then there were four)

Had Bennett chosen to ignore the article by TTW4, a far wiser choice given the content. I cannot help but wonder how many of those that read the thing, took the trouble to understand it or realise its import. Because to read, line by line what TTW4 argues, certainly as far as I'm concerned, leaves little room for counter-argument. Its a good opinion and its pretty near spot on.

Perhaps it is for this reason, that he had no counter, that Bennett attacked the article in the bizarre manner that did. Let us look then at the offending article. Compiled from screenshots and presented as a jpeg, the article, highlighted in blue, sandwiched by those of Bennett in green.

Which in a slightly longer and in a somewhat more elegant manner, does much to endorse my original comment. The Carter-Ruck reference I will address down the page. So now to matters more serious.

'thentherewere4' = 'himself'

TTW4 and 'Himself' are one and the same.

Do you not recognise the style?

And 'Good Quality Wristbands' as well.

What is it about these four lines that makes them so important? Quite simply, they are lies, but they are not simple lies, they are not lies told in passing, they are constructed lies and constructed for a purpose.

Whatever that purpose be, is beyond my ken. What is not in doubt is that they were deliberately and knowingly constructed by Tony Bennett for purposes of his own. How can I be so sure of that, read on?

An email from TTW4 to myself in response to Bennett's post.

To which I can only add. If the man is prepared to lie so deliberately over an issue like this, what else is he prepared to lie about? Or perhaps more the point, what else has he lied about?

Tony Bennett is a Young Earth Creationist, as such his whole life is a lie. He cannot defend the bizarre and ridiculous dogma of Creationism without constantly having to lie in his attempts to defend the indefensible.

Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. Number nine on the list was it?


Regarding the Carter-Ruck thing, I think I will leave it, but it was much to do with effectiveness of the man once he refused the first hurdle. Think of Carter-Ruck in terms of the cartoon below, and of course not least, the genesis of all this, TTW4s opinion piece.
I will leave one or two other things as well, there is enough here as it stands.

I'm undecided whether this post remains on a permanent basis or not. It's not the kind of thing I want to bow out on after three years, but it certainly stays for today.

It stays.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

John Pilger: The War You Don't See (And The Truth You Never Heard)

Pilger takes a look at the role played by the media in the selling, and the maintaining of, the Bush/Blair war of aggression in Iraq. (and others)

The first clip is out of sinc, but sinc, as does content and revelations, improves greatly after that.

H/T Joana Morais.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Political Pressure, Whodathunkit?

Which kind of endorses the adage, no matter who you vote for, it's always the government that gets in.

What happened to all that hope people invested in you Mister President?

But not for one minute would I have expected anything different. If successive administrations prosecuted the previous one for crimes against humanity, by gum there'd be a lot of folk in gaol.

Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe

A WikiLeaks cable shows that when Spain considered a criminal case against ex-Bush officials, the Obama White House and Republicans got really bipartisan.
By David Corn

Wed Dec. 1, 2010 2:47 PM PST

In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A "confidential" April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.

The previous month, a Spanish human rights group called the Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners had requested that Spain's National Court indict six former Bush officials for, as the cable describes it, "creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture." The six were former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Pentagon's former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel. The human rights group contended that Spain had a duty to open an investigation under the nation's "universal jurisdiction" law, which permits its legal system to prosecute overseas human rights crimes involving Spanish citizens and residents. Five Guantanamo detainees, the group maintained, fit that criteria.

Soon after the request was made, the US embassy in Madrid began tracking the matter. On April 1, embassy officials spoke with chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza, who indicated that he was not pleased to have been handed this case, but he believed that the complaint appeared to be well-documented and he'd have to pursue it. Around that time, the acting deputy chief of the US embassy talked to the chief of staff for Spain's foreign minister and a senior official in the Spanish Ministry of Justice to convey, as the cable says, "that this was a very serious matter for the USG." The two Spaniards "expressed their concern at the case but stressed the independence of the Spanish judiciary."

Two weeks later, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and the embassy's charge d'affaires "raised the issue" with another official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The next day, Zaragoza informed the US embassy that the complaint might not be legally sound. He noted he would ask Cándido Conde-Pumpido, Spain's attorney general, to review whether Spain had jurisdiction.

On April 15, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who'd recently been chairman of the Republican Party, and the US embassy's charge d'affaires met with the acting Spanish foreign minister, Angel Lossada. The Americans, according to this cable, "underscored that the prosecutions would not be understood or accepted in the US and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship" between Spain and the United States. Here was a former head of the GOP and a representative of a new Democratic administration (headed by a president who had decried the Bush-Cheney administration's use of torture) jointly applying pressure on Spain to kill the investigation of the former Bush officials. Lossada replied that the independence of the Spanish judiciary had to be respected, but he added that the government would send a message to the attorney general that it did not favor prosecuting this case.

The next day, April 16, 2009, Attorney General Conde-Pumpido publicly declared that he would not support the criminal complaint, calling it "fraudulent" and political. If the Bush officials had acted criminally, he said, then a case should be filed in the United States. On April 17, the prosecutors of the National Court filed a report asking that complaint be discontinued. In the April 17 cable, the American embassy in Madrid claimed some credit for Conde-Pumpido's opposition, noting that "Conde-Pumpido's public announcement follows outreach to [Government of Spain] officials to raise USG deep concerns on the implications of this case."

Still, this did not end the matter.......more

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Words From The Grave: Aldous Huxley

It would be a rare day indeed when something comes along, the significance of which makes me watch the thing over, and back to back at that.

This 1958 interview between Mike Wallace and Aldous Huxley is one of those rare things.

I honestly don't know which I would find the most frightening; listening to Huxley's near oracle like predictions as a contemporary, or, as I sit now, with the luxury of hindsight, half a century later.

The number and the accuracy of Huxley's talking points, given that same luxury of the aforementioned hindsight, is quite remarkable and not least a testament to the man's foresight and intellect.

Given where we sit today, in the shadow of the concerted attacks by disproportionate forces against one man, Julian Assage, makes the interview all the more compelling.

From over-population to propaganda, from technology, its growth and use, to controlling people by administered drugs, * to the carnival surrounding the election of personalities rather than policies, Huxley covers them all.

As an aside, Mike Wallace was the father of despicable Republican shill, Chris Wallace.

*I wanted to mention this, but I've never had an appropriate vehicle to do so since discovering some fresh data.

I had written previously about the quality of evidence extracted from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed under torture, but what I never knew until very recently was the amount of times that the man subjected to being water-boarded. It amounts to a staggering one hundred and eighty three times.

Now a spook or an inquisitor I ain't, but a hundred and eighty three times! what's with this lot, ain't they got no bleedin' television in Guantanamo Bay?

John Pilger: Protect Assange, Don’t Abuse Him

Update. Amy Goodman talks to John Pilger. I think the details that Goodman gives out about the US attempts to try and stop everyone and their mother reading the leaks actually betters what Pilger has to say. Well it is if you have a penchant for high farce.

Protect Assange, Don’t Abuse Him

By John Pilger

Forty years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: "There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual." I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that political action had failed and only "culture" and introspection could change the world. This merged with an insidious corporate public relations campaign aimed at reclaiming western capitalism from the sense of freedom inspired by the civil rights and anti-war movements. The new propaganda's euphemisms were postmodernism, consumerism and "me-ism".

The self was now the zeitgeist. Driven by the forces of profit and the media, the search for individual consciousness all but overwhelmed the spirit of social justice and internationalism. A new deity was proclaimed; the personal was the political.

In 1995, Reich published Opposing the System, in which he recanted almost everything in The Greening of America. "There will be no relief from either economic insecurity or human breakdown," he now wrote, "until we recognize that uncontrolled economic forces create conflict, not well-being . . ." There were no queues in the bookstores this time. In the age of economic neoliberalism, Reich was out of step with the rampant individualism of the west's new political and cultural elite.

False Tribunes

The revival of militarism in the west and the search for a new "threat" following the end of the cold war depended on the political disorientation of those who, 20 years earlier, would have formed a vehement opposition. On 11 September 2001, they were silenced finally, and many were co-opted into the "war on terror". The invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 was supported by leading feminists, especially in the US, where Hillary Clinton and other false tribunes of feminism made the Taliban's treatment of Afghan women the rationale for attacking a stricken country and causing the deaths of at least 20,000 people while giving the Taliban new life. That the warlords backed by America were as medievalist as the Taliban was not allowed to interrupt such a right-on cause. The zeitgeist, the years of "personal" depoliticizing and distracting true radicalism, had worked. Nine years later, the disaster that is Afghanistan is the consequence.

It seems the lesson must be learned all over again as a group of media feminists joins the assault on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, or the "Wikiblokesphere", as Libby Brooks abuses it in the Guardian. From the Times to the New Statesman, apparent feminist credence is given to the chaotic, incompetent and contradictory accusations against Assange in Sweden.

On 9 December, the Guardian published a long, supine interview by Amelia Gentleman with Claes Borgström, the "highly respected Swedish lawyer". In fact, Borgström is foremost a politician, a powerful member of the Social Democratic Party. He intervened in the Assange case only when the senior prosecutor in Stockholm dismissed the "rape" allegation as based on "no evidence". In Gentleman's Guardian article, an anonymous source whispers to us that Assange's "behaviour towards women . . . was going to get him into trouble". This smear was taken up by Brooks in the paper that same day. Ken Loach and I and others on "the left" are "shoulder to shoulder" with the misogynists and "conspiracy theorists". To hell with journalistic inquiry. Ignorance and prejudice rule.

The Australian barrister James Catlin, who acted for Assange in October, says that both women in the case told prosecutors that they consented to have sex with Assange. Following the "crime", one of the women threw a party in honour of Assange. When Borgström was asked why he was representing the women, as both denied rape, he said: "Yes, but they are not lawyers." Catlin describes the Swedish justice system as "a laughing stock". For three months, Assange and his lawyers have pleaded with the Swedish authorities to let them see the prosecution case. This was denied until 18 November, when the first official document arrived - in the Swedish language, contrary to European law.

Unveiled Threat

Assange still has not been charged with anything. He has never been a "fugitive". He sought and got permission to leave Sweden, and the British police have known his whereabouts since his arrival in this country. This did not stop a London magistrate on 7 December ignoring seven sureties and sending him to solitary confinement in Wandsworth Prison.

At every turn, Assange's basic human rights have been breached. The cowardly Australian government, which is legally obliged to support its citizen, has made a veiled threat to take away his passport. In her public remarks, the prime minister, Julia Gillard, has shamefully torn up the presumption of innocence that underpins Australian law. The Australian minister for foreign affairs ought to have called in both the Swedish and the US ambassadors to warn them against any abuse of human rights against Assange, such as the crime of incitement to murder.

In contrast, vast numbers of decent people all over the world have rallied to Assange's support: people who are neither misogynists nor "internet attack dogs", to quote Libby Brooks, and who support a very different set of values from those espoused by Charles Reich. They include many distinguished feminists, such as Naomi Klein, who wrote: "Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that women's freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!" source Truthout

Friday, 17 December 2010

It's The Hypocrisy See - Michael Moore: Dear Government of Sweden

If only, there are far darker forces at play here than a bit of cant.

But it is Michael Moore that highlights Sweden's normal laissez-faire attitude regarding rape in that country, reflecting in some pretty abysmal sex crime statistics in doing so.

Not unsurprisingly, Moore takes these statistics, gives them a wave in the air, and asks the same question as many of us do. What's going on?

Dear Government of Sweden

Dear Swedish Government:

Hi there -- or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your Volvos, your meatballs, your hard-to-put-together furniture -- we can't get enough!

There's just one thing that bothers me -- why has Amnesty International, in a special report, (PDF) declared that Sweden refuses to deal with the very real tragedy of rape? In fact, they say that all over Scandinavia, including in your country, rapists "enjoy impunity." And the United Nations, the EU and Swedish human rights groups have come to the same conclusion: Sweden just doesn't take sexual assault against women seriously. How else do you explain these statistics from Katrin Axelsson of Women Against Rape:

- Sweden has the HIGHEST per capita number of reported rapes in Europe.

- This number of rapes has quadrupled in the last 20 years.

- The conviction rates? They have steadily DECREASED.

Axelsson says: "On April 23rd of this year, Carina Hägg and Nalin Pekgul (respectively MP and chairwoman of Social Democratic Women in Sweden) wrote in the Göteborgs [newspaper] that 'up to 90% of all reported rapes [in Sweden] never get to court.'"

Let me say that again: nine out of ten times, when women report they have been raped, you never even bother to start legal proceedings. No wonder that, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, it is now statistically more likely that someone in Sweden will be sexually assaulted than that they will be robbed.

Message to rapists? Sweden loves you!

So imagine our surprise when all of a sudden you decided to go after one Julian Assange on sexual assault charges. Well, sort of: first you charged him. Then after investigating it, you dropped the most serious charges and rescinded the arrest warrant.

Then a conservative MP put pressure on you and, lo and behold, you did a 180 and reopened the Assange investigation. Except you still didn't charge him with anything. You just wanted him for "questioning." So you -- you who have sat by and let thousands of Swedish women be raped while letting their rapists go scott-free -- you decided it was now time to crack down on one man -- the one man the American government wants arrested, jailed or (depending on which politician or pundit you listen to) executed. You just happened to go after him, on one possible "count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape (third degree)." And while thousands of Swedish rapists roam free, you instigated a huge international manhunt on Interpol for this Julian Assange!

What anti-rape crusaders you've become, Swedish government! Women in Sweden must suddenly feel safer?

Well, not really. Actually, many see right through you. They know what these "non-charge charges" are really about. And they know that you are cynically and disgustingly using the real and everyday threat that exists against women everywhere to help further the American government's interest in silencing the work of WikiLeaks.

I don't pretend to know what happened between Mr. Assange and the two women complainants (all I know is what I've heard in the media, so I'm as confused as the next person). And I'm sorry if I've jumped to any unnecessary or wrong-headed conclusions in my efforts to state a very core American value: All people are absolutely innocent until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. I strongly believe every accusation of sexual assault must be investigated vigorously. There is nothing wrong with your police wanting to question Mr. Assange about these allegations, and while I understand why he seemed to go into hiding (people tend to do that when threatened with assassination), he nonetheless should answer the police's questions. He should also submit to the STD testing the alleged victims have requested. I believe Sweden and the UK have a treaty and a means for you to send your investigators to London so they can question Mr. Assange where he is under house arrest while out on bail.

But that really wouldn't be like you would it, to go all the way to another country to pursue a suspect for sexual assault when you can't even bring yourselves to make it down to the street to your own courthouse to go after the scores of reported rapists in your country. That you, Sweden, have chosen to rarely do that in the past, is why this whole thing stinks to the high heavens.

And let's not forget this one final point from Women Against Rape's Katrin Axelsson:

"There is a long tradition of the use of rape and sexual assault for political agendas that have nothing to do with women's safety. In the south of the US, the lynching of black men was often justified on grounds that they had raped or even looked at a white woman. Women don't take kindly to our demand for safety being misused, while rape continues to be neglected at best or protected at worst."

This tactic of using a rape charge to go after minorities or troublemakers, guilty or innocent -- while turning a blind eye to clear crimes of rape the rest of the time -- is what I fear is happening here. I want to make sure that good people not remain silent and that you, Sweden, will not succeed if in fact you are in cahoots with corrupt governments such as ours.

Last week Naomi Klein wrote: "Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that 'women's freedom' was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!"

I agree.

Unless you have the evidence (and it seems if you did you would have issued an arrest warrant by now), drop the extradition attempt and get to work doing the job you've so far refused to do: Protecting the women of Sweden.

Michael Moore Source HuffPo

Countdown's Keith Olbermann reports on the story followed by Michael Moore. Tuesday 14th, fifteen minutes.


Thursday, 16 December 2010

What Price a Job?

A comment left on the previous article prompted me to put this video post together.

The basics in this case are; District Attorney/Prosecutor Mike Nifong, pursued a case of rape against three students from Duke University NC knowing them to be innocent. In a case that would send the defendants up the river for thirty years, effectively a death sentence; rich white boy rapes black sister, Nifong, in his attempt to shorten the odds, withheld crucial DNA evidence from the Grand Jury.

And his motive for all this? Not to keep his job, but to better his chances of being re-elected.

I report on the case here, and the Judicial system in general, make my feelings known on Nifong's jail time here, or, a little less emotionally, you can read the overview of the case here. Which by the way includes this:

In one of the many similar judgments made about how the news media covered the case, columnist David Broder described “a painful exercise in journalistic excess.

Now I'm a great believer in First Amendment rights, but not when it comes to sub judice, not that the US seems to have any, and if it did, the First Amendment would override it. But between the cops, the DA's office and the press, half the poor buggers have already been tried and found guilty before ever setting foot in a courtroom, and when they do appear, it's just for the court to set the sentence.

I don't know which one of the clips it is, but someone makes reference to the weight people, particularly jurors, attach to the simple fact that a prosecutor has seen fit to bring the case. Which might go a long way in explaining why US prisons are half full of innocent people.

Strap yourself in for this figure. Since 1973, one hundred and thirty eight people,138 people have been exonerated from death row alone. And that by anybody's standards is a frightening number of people. I don't really need to pose the follow up question do I? Perhaps better that we spare a thought for poor buggers that no longer walk this earth.

You may think I go on a bit, but I do rail against injustice, that's why I'm here in the first place, it sets me on fire, and it does so no matter the case.

Overview 8 minutes.

Radio comment on Nifong's motives. 2m 3os

This is the clip where Geraldo Rivera talks about the weight given to a prosecutors decision to bring charges. Worth watching for its rarity value, common sense and the truth on Fox News. 3mns

Essential talking points. 4m 30s

Nifong goes to jail. For a day!

Optional viewing. Nine minutes of Mike Nifong speaking in court. Sick bag essential, and if you can get past the four minute mark, you're a better man than I.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Martin Brunt, Oh No They Weren't

Said Martin, I'm such a little sycophantic McCann apologist, Brunt of the yard no less, recently:

The dogs were said to have found evidence of blood and a body, but the McCanns were eventually cleared of any involvement in their daughter's disappearance and insist the suspicion around them held up the search for Madeleine and dissuaded potential witness from speaking to police. blah blah

Nice try sunshine, but you're not on.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

David Frost - Julian Assange -Al Jezeera

Lots of interesting talking points are covered in this thirteen minute interview between David Frost and Lawyer for Julian Assange, Mark Stevens.

That initially Assange had no case to answer, and then under the direction of another prosecutor in another town, combined with vagaries in Swedish law, all of a sudden he did. And of course the Yanks are baying for blood, tell me something new you might ask.

There is even a bit towards the end, though cut short, on Nobel peace prise winner Liu Xiaobo. I shall try to find the rest of it if I can.

A little reading on justice USA.

Thousands of Children Sentenced to Life without Parole

For those that had the luxury of DNA evidence. Exonerated, The Innocence Project

The hysteria following Columbine shootings. Harsher penalties for gun toting kids than for gun toting adults.

Children sentenced to die in prison

USA tops Iran in juvenile executions.

PBS Frontline When Kids Get Life I have watched this documentary previously, it's available at the link in chapters.

Monday, 13 December 2010

It's The Hypocrisy See - Assange - Lieberman

Update: What was that you said? Scroll down a tad.
H/t Anon.

Joe Lieberman yesterday, still recovering from the trauma of being surgically removed from George Bush's arse, had this to say:

Lieberman said Assange, who was arrested Tuesday in England, should be charged with treason in the United States. (see link in main text)

Perhaps I have it wrong, but doesn't one have to be citizen of a country before one can be charged with treason? But that's not the cracker in this story, it's from whose mouth it came.

Joe "Benedict" Lieberman, the greasiest, the most disloyal, the most treacherous scumbag ever to take a seat in the Senate in all its history.

I don't follow American politics to the same degree that I used to, but for a man in whom there was so much hope, who looked so dignified and more presidential than all the Presidents of the last fifty years put together, Obama's first failure was not kicking Lieberman's treacherous arse from Washington to wilderness; the political one.

For a Democrat, and a black man at that, to have come so far and to have risen so high, exhibited a naive understanding of Republican party politics. Bridge building and olive leaves, and weakness more than anything, have no place in Republican politics; strength, that's the only game in town.

And whilst on the subject, I'm sure I can't be alone in looking at Sweden and thinking, what a shabby persona it seems to have taken on so very recently, Liebermanesque almost.

As for the story, well....

WikiLeaks' Assange to be indicted for spying 'soon'

'Serious, active' criminal investigation

US prosecutors plan to file spying charges against Julian Assange soon in connection with the publishing of secret diplomatic memos on the WikiLeaks website.

Assange attorney Jennifer Robinson told ABC News that charges would be brought “soon” under the US Espionage Act. The law makes it a felony to receive national defense material if it's known to be obtained illegally and could be used to harm United States interests.

If brought, charges against Assange would reflect a watershed event in the US, which has never successfully prosecuted a news organization for publishing classified information. Indeed, a report released this week by the Congressional Research Service, and published here (PDF) by Secrecy News, acknowledged that federal prosecutors would have a hard time making charges stick against the whistle-blower website, which operates almost entirely abroad.

“There may be First Amendment implications that would make such a prosecution difficult, not to mention political ramifications based on concerns about government censorship,” the report states. “To the extent that the investigation implicates any foreign nationals whose conduct occurred entirely overseas, any resulting prosecution may carry foreign policy implications related to the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction and whether suspected persons may be extradited to the United States under applicable treaty provisions.”

Justice Department officials have declined to comment on their plans, but Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this week that his agency is doing everything it can to take Assange down.

“We have a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature,” ABC News quoted him as saying. “I authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable, as they should be.”

Robinson maintains that any attempt to prosecute Assange will fail.

“Our position of course is that we don't believe it applies to Mr. Assange and that in any event he's entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of WikiLeaks and any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organizations in the US,” she said.

As big a stretch as it sounds to prosecute news agencies for publishing classified documents, US Senator Joe Lieberman has proposed doing just that.

“To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship,” he said on the right-leaning Fox News network. “And whether they've committed a crime, I think that bears very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.”

Assange remains in custody in London on sexual assault charges filed by prosecutors in Sweden. The WikiLeaks founder has maintained his innocence, and has said the charges are part of a smear campaign. A lawyer representing the two women Assange is accused of assaulting has insisted his clients are being truthful.

Assange is being held in solitary confinement with restricted access to a phone and lawyers.Via The Register

A couple from way back.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

God Bless America and All Her Cant and Hypocrisy

God Bless America and All Her Cant and All Her Hypocrisy

If I said this post was all about hypocrisy, (which it is) I would be doing disservice to those people who are shown here being murdered by United States of America. So this post then, is about both hypocrisy and unwarranted bloody murder.

To appreciate just how rank that hypocrisy, it becomes necessary to view the clip below, or, if you have already watched the first, then the second one is still fit for purpose.

Both clips speak for themselves and it requires little further from me. Other than that is, to listen to the Redneck and the Christian in the second clip. I only give them those names to differentiate between the two, but in actual fact they are both Rednecks, as are they all, Redneck being a philosophy not circumstance.

This hour long documentary is more than worthy of watching in its own right, and I can't encourage you enough that you do so. But for the purpose of this post I want to concentrate on two areas. Starting at the 25.30s mark the film shows an American attack helicopter murdering a dozen or more Iraqis who were doing no more than going about their daily business. The callow ease with which these men were murdered, is to say, horrifying. Compounded by, and showing these bringers of democracy for what they really are, common criminals, we hear the voices of the pilot and his gunner, and are treated to the likes of this.


"Look at those dead bastards"


And when it is pointed out to this pair of killers, that the Good Samaritan they had just murdered, had his children in the vehicle with him, this.

"It's their fault for bringing their kids to a battle"

All this carnage and murder bad enough, but nothing prepares you for the next couple of minutes starting 40.35s. The narrator tells the story, I can't.

God bless America.

A seventeen minute version of the forty minute original.

Same shit, different war.

Sean Penn/Bill Maher short version.

Sean Penn/Bill Maher long version.

H/T Joana Morais.


Friday, 10 December 2010

Too Much To Ask?

I suppose it is, but it has always been my opinion that the key to solving this case would come via the back door. Because there is one thing for sure, it isn't going to be resolved by due process, not in this country it ain't.

More Joana Morais.

WikiRebels The Documentary,
if you have the bandwidth it's a must watch. If you haven't as yet viewed the murder of Iraqi civilians by the crew of an American helicopter gunship you can do so here. But be prepared to get extremely angry.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Ore Appeal Tossed

Judges reject Operation Ore appeal

Claims of card fraud in child abuse pics case dismissed

The Court of Appeal has rejected claims that some individuals prosecuted under Operation Ore for incitement to distribute indecent photographs were themselves the victims of credit card fraud.
Operation Ore was a major, long-running investigation by UK police into individuals who appeared on a US-based database – Landslide – that prosecutors claimed was prima facie evidence of their having subscribed to child abuse material.
At issue was the claim by a Mr Anthony O’Shea that his conviction in October 2005 solely on the grounds that his name appeared on that database was unsafe.
In court last month, his lawyers argued that there was significant evidence that many of those who were drawn into the Ore net were only there because their credit card details had been stolen, despite prosecution claims that the only reason that anyone could be on the database was if they had subscribed voluntarily.
n the majority of instances, where police seized computers from individuals in the UK, an amount of child abuse material was found – ranging from a few images to collections of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of images. In a much smaller subset of cases, no images were found: and in some of these, including that of Mr O’Shea, the Crown Prosecution Service took the decision to prosecute on the grounds that the act of subscribing was an incitement to others to distribute imagery.
Clearly, had Mr O’Shea’s name been placed on the database as a result of fraud, then his conviction would have been open to question.
In the event, the Appeal Court found no evidence of any such fraud and therefore concluded that Mr O’Shea’s conviction was safe. Jim Gamble, ACPO lead for child protection, told the Reg:
“Today’s decision by the Court of Appeal draws a line under the efforts of a small number of individuals who, over the past ten years, have perpetuated conspiracy theories about Operation Ore.
“These allegations are unfounded and sought only to undermine an investigation which led to the safeguarding of more than 154 children. UK policing, and formerly the National Crime Squad, has been unable until now to refute these theories publicly due to a desire not to unduly influence pending prosecutions.
“Whilst convicted offenders understandably wish to disassociate themselves from this type of offence in any way possible, the devastating impact of child abuse on its victims must never be forgotten.”
Mr Gamble also drew our attention to two parts of the verdict that he believed to be particularly damning. In paragraph 54 the judgment states: “These suggestions are fanciful in the extreme. The appellant’s theory (for it is no more than such) that he [Mr O’Shea] was the victim of the machinations of a fraudulent webmaster is, in our view, pure speculation.”
The judgement further states in paragraph 43: “We have no hesitation in rejecting this evidence as incapable in belief. It was mere assertion, unsupported by any published or other material or any reasoning.”
We have contacted the appellant’s solicitors for further comment on this case, but have received no response so far. Register

Operation Ore decision a 'serious miscarriage of justice' - lawyer

Judges ignored evidence, lacked expertise

The solicitor who brought the Operation Ore appeal that was finally rejected today has questioned whether the British courts had the expertise to consider deeply technical cases.

Chris Saltrese, the solicitor who brought the case on behalf of Anthony O'Shea, told us today that in his view, the verdict was "not based on the evidence".more Register

Doing a Bit Of Grooming Yourself Mr Gamble?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Lack of Proportion

John Blacksmith writes: The Madeleine McCann affair falls into four parts to date. First, the disappearance of the child and the subsequent investigation until the McCanns were constituted arguidos in early September 2007; next the flight of the parents and the powerful public and legal campaign in their favour financed by the fund and rich well-wishers, ending in the admission of defeat by the PJ in April 2008 and the subsequent formality of the archiving process; then a period of apparent vindication and retrenchment by the parents brought to an end by Goncalo Amaral’s provocative attack on them in his book and by their decision to sue; finally the flurry of publicity, petitions and the new book announcement, all flowing from the Portuguese appeal court decision.

Distance lends perspective.

The first phase – the search for the child

In retrospect we can see that the famous “search for the child” was effectively over by the end of August 2007 and has never been resumed. The death-knell for Madeleine McCann was sounded not by Goncalo Amaral or his team but by the severely intellectual head of the PJ Alipio Ribeiro, who made it clear during the summer that the inquiry was concentrating on “pure investigation” and analysis of existing data rather than branching out to follow wider leads. No such leads existed and none exist to this day: the enquiry had returned, full-circle, to those known to be present in the Ocean Club on the night of May 3.

The media carnival, so noisy, melodramatic and self-important at the time, has vanished into insignificance, reminiscent of those weighty obituaries of one of their own by newsmen and broadcasters to an indifferent public before they are forgotten for ever. There is general agreement that it was initiated by the McCann family but it is doubtful if it was a critical factor: if decisive forensic evidence had been found to incriminate the McCanns, or forensic traces of an outsider to exonerate them, then no media campaign at that time – in contrast to their defence campaign from the safety of England - would have made any difference to their fate.

No evidence of improper protection of the parents by UK authorities has emerged. The content of the famous foreign office cables is fairly easy to infer, Ribeiro himself denied the claim that Ambassador Buck had in any way intimidated him early in the case and Clarence Mitchell’s absurd and Pooterish hints that he was an arm of the British government have been refuted in previous posts on here.

All the evidence suggests that the Labour government was comfortable in immediately smearing the KY of synthetic “we are suffering with you Maddie” popular sentiment all over the body of the case, prompted by the maladroit Gordon Brown’s hopeless attempt to match the tears for Princess Diana so effortlessly shed by Tony Blair.

The vexed question of why the parents and their friends chose to act independently of the police from the start remains unanswered. The retrospective justification is, of course, (in Glasgow-speak) that the Portuguese police were bluddy useless, didn’t have a clue etc, third world etc, etc. But that couldn’t have been the reason since the two crucial steps - the decision to brief the McCann friends and family on police shortcomings and the outright refusal to abide by the police “no media” instruction - were taken before the police performance could possibly have been assessed as bad or good, in the early hours of May 4. Since the parents were confined to the apartment block for that period they could have had no personal knowledge of either the form or quality of the wider search and thus no evidence to base a decision on.

It remains incomprehensible that the parents could have taken such a grave and critical step – which, according to current police doctrine, would obviously put the child’s life at risk - on such flimsy or non-existent grounds. There is no avoiding the stark reality: “obviously put the child’s life at risk” [at the hands of a panicking abductor] means just that - the McCanns’ refusal to co-operate with the police on Day One may well have been a death sentence for Madeleine McCann.

The only possible excuse for their actions lies in stress-induced bad and panicky decision taking. But that in itself raises difficult questions, since embarking so prematurely and wilfully on a course with potentially fatal consequences for their own daughter takes us into the murky question of character. One interpretation of the last three and a half years is that the McCanns really are totally innocent victims of an abductor but their personalities are so odious and selfish, their decisions so utterly and malignantly wrong throughout their ordeal, that they have brought dislike, contempt and unwarranted suspicion down onto themselves.More The Bureau.

but their personalities are so odious and selfish

Shurely shome mishtake?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Sounds Familiar

I found both these articles quite fascinating, sounding as they do, both similar and familiar.

Ex-Housekeeper says Patsy killed Jonbenet

A federal judge Thursday gave grand-jury witnesses permission to talk about their secret testimony, prompting the Ramsey family's former housekeeper to declare that Patsy Ramsey killed her 6-year-old daughter.

Former Ramsey housekeeper Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, speaking publicly for the first time about her testimony before the Boulder County grand jury, told reporters Thursday:

* She thought Patsy Ramsey had killed JonBenet.

* The grand jury seemed to zero in on Patsy Ramsey, and she thought it would indict her.

* A Swiss Army knife was found in the basement room where JonBenet's body was found.

* "Only Patsy could have put that knife there. I took it away from Burke (JonBenet's older brother) and hid it in a linen closet near JonBenet's bedroom. An intruder never would have found it. Patsy would have found it getting out clean sheets."

* Pieces of rope were tied around JonBenet's neck and wrist when her body was discovered Dec. 26, 1996.

* The blanket wrapped around JonBenet's body had been left in the dryer. There was still a Barbie Doll nightgown clinging to the blanket, so it had to have come out of the dryer recently, she said. Only Patsy would have known it was in the dryer, she said.

* An intruder never would have found the door to the basement room where JonBenet's body was discovered. It was too difficult to see unless someone knew it was there, she said.

This just a tiny snip from a lengthy transcript of the Larry King Show.

Imagine 'McCanns and Amaral face to face'.. .. the Ramseys call themselves 'TEAM RAMSEY"

(Patsy)P. RAMSEY: Did they show -- did all of those people show all of their evidence to the grand jurors? Why didn't they come.

(Ex cop) .. THOMAS: Let's remember, the grand jury did not exonerate you either.

John) J. RAMSEY: It's not the grand jury's task to exonerate. Their task is to indict.

THOMAS: I think the grand jury may have issued a report had they -- you were the targets of this grand jury.

J. RAMSEY: No question.

THOMAS: You know it.

J. RAMSEY: I know that.

THOMAS: Probable cause wasn't an issue. And Patsy tonight I think I've heard her say she wish she was arrested in this case.

KING: Well, because they feel it would be an end, to have a trial.

J. RAMSEY: We've been tried in public by innuendo and slander from people like you. God knows we would have loved to have a fair trial in a court of law.

THOMAS: I don't apologize for the book. I left a career, Larry, as you said. I wrote the book for the same reason that you did, to put information out publicly.

J. RAMSEY: No, you put that book out to line your pockets with money based on our tragedy.

THOMAS: No, that's not true. And as a matter of fact, I think you wrote a book as well and took money for that.

J. RAMSEY: It's going to charity.
Tell me what...

THOMAS: And I think you've also said it's going to a legal defense fund.

KING: On the other side, you said that one of the reasons this case is unsolved is him.

J. RAMSEY: Absolutely.

KING: Why?

J. RAMSEY: Because he failed miserably in the task he was given. He was inexperienced. He didn't accept help from people... Both articles on the same page.

I have yet to read this myself but here's a link to a 2008 Vanity Fair article if you haven't yet read it yourself. I think this is the one of, "Good Marketing Ploy" infamy.

H/T Caro, SAZ Aktuell