To: lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com

From: "John Buttrick - SUPCRTX" <buttrick@superiorcourt.maricopa.gov> 

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 09:40:49 -0700

Subject: RE: [lpaz-discuss] Re: resisting a false arrest - federal cases

 

        Just  to clarify the possible consequences of conviction on the charged count of class two felony dangerous (because of the weapon):

Assuming no prior convictions, the presumed sentence is 10.5 years. The minimum is 7 years. The maximum is 21 years. The judge will have no discretion to go outside those numbers if the defendant is convicted or pleads guilty to that offense.

 

                -----Original Message-----

                From:

                Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 9:31 AM

                To: lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com

                Subject: Re: [lpaz-discuss] Re: resisting a false arrest -

federal cases

 

                kevin walsh got a telephone call from a republican

                phone solicitor asking him to vote for president bush.

                kevin told the phone solicitor that he "wished bush

                were dead" and the phone solicitor reported kevin to

                the secret service.

 

                the secret service didnt have any probable cause to

                arrest kevin so they said that kevin was insane and a

                threat to him self, others and of course the president

                and asked the phoenix police to arrest kevin not for

                any crimes he committed but because kevin was "crazy".

                the phoenix police then arrested kevin at an apartment

                complex in tempe where kevin worked.

 

                kevin was jailed in a mential institution for 10 days

                in mesa before his first hearing. at that hearing it

                was discovered that neither the secret service nor the

                phoenix police got the required paper work or "arrest

                warrent" to have kevin arrested for being "insane".

                the warrent or paper work was issued several hours

                after the hearing.

 

                at the hearing kevin was declared "a danger to himself

                and others" and the court ordered him locked up for up

                to 6 months and to take the drugs the shrinks ordered

                him to take and do talke to the shrinks.

 

                after about 4 months the secret service got a court

                order giving them information about all the treatment

                and talks the shrinks kevin had at the mental

                institution he was being jailed at in mesa. i suspect

                this was mearly a fishing trip looking to see if they

                could dig up any evidence to see if kevin threatened

                the president.

 

                neigher the secret service nor the federal court

                system has charged kevin with any crimes relating to

                threatening the president so i suspect that they didnt

                dig up any of the evidence they wanted to by jailing

                him in a mental hospital for 4 months and forcing him

                to talk to shrinks, and forcing him to take drugs.

 

                kevin was released from the mental hospital but

                transfered to the maricopa county jail where he was

                charge with 3 counts of assulting a police officer

                with a deadly weapon which is a class two felony.

 

                kevin didnt shoot at, punch, kick or hit any of the

                cops who arrested him. but he did try to take his gun

                out of his pocket and kill himself. and in the police

                report the cops had to grab his gun from him. and this

                is why kevin is charge with the class two felony. also

                the prosecutor didnt charge him with the crime, but

                got a grand jury to do it.

 

                in letters kevin has written to me kevin says his

                public defender doesnt think the grand jury had enough

                evidence to come up with the charges and she is going

                to do something along those lines to get them dropped.

 

                kevin has not been charged with resisting arrest, or

                trying to escape. but for some reason kevins public

                defender has told him that she thinks he could be

                convicted of resisting arrest if he was tried for

                that. i dont know if they are planning to add that

                charge on to him in addition to the other charges.

 

                last in a letter kevin just send me the shrinks

                declared that he was sane enough to be placed on trial

                for the above charges (as long as he keeps taking the

                drugs the shrinks tell him to take). but that also

                said that he was insane and "delusional, paranoid,

                depressed, and dangerous to himslef and others".

 

                if you ask me the government shrinks sound like a

                bunch of hypocrites who say kevin is sane enough to be

                jailed, but if he isnt convicted that he is insane

                enough to be jailed as mentally ill.

 

                i know kevin from american atheist because we are both

                atheist. but the government may be singling kevin out

                because he is a communist. my self i dont think

                communists are any stranger then repulicans or

                democrats but the secret service may.

 

                mike

 

                --- greenspj <greenspj@yahoo.com> wrote:

                >

                >

                > Resisting a federal administrative arrest is not

                > covered by the ARS.

                >

                > Further, while federal case law may say you can

                > resist a federal

                > administrative arrest (you SURE it says that?  I

                > highly doubt it!),

                > you're not going to be able to contest it with MP5

                > barrels up your

                > nostrils, are you?

                >

                > After that it's a political battle and a matter for

                > the courts.

                >

                > (Sadly.)

                >

                >

                > --- In lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com, mike ross

                > <getlibdis@y...>

                > wrote:

                > >

                > > john a while back you made this statement that

                > while

                > > it is illegal in arizona to resist a false arrest

                > that

                > > there is some federal case laws that say you CAN

                > > resist a false arrest.

                > >

                > > can you tell me the case laws? or if not can you

                > point

                > > me in the right direction so i can find them, or

                > where

                > > to have my friends public defender find them.

                > >

                > > kevin walsh was falsely arrested when the secret

                > > service said he was insane. they didnt even have

                > an

                > > arrest warrent when they arrested him. currently

                > he is

                > > being held on 3 charges of assulting the phoenix

                > pigs

                > > who arrested him. his public defender says they

                > may

                > > charge him with resisting arrest too, which she

                > says

                > > they will probably convict him on.

                > >

                > > from what you said in your post below his public

                > > defender probably doesnt know what she is talking

                > > about.

                > >

                > > mike

 

                  <#==#>


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To: AZRKBA@asu.edu

Subject: Re: Resisting unlawful actions

From: John Wilde <imptaskforce@GETNET.NET>  Add to Contacts

Date: Thu, Aug 12 2004 10:26:24 AM -0700

 

The federal case law still supports the right to resist an unlawful arrest.  It was that line of cases that finally freed the Spans after nearly 10 years.

 

  There is an Arizona statute (A.R.S. Section 13-404.B.2), that prohibits the use of physical force against even an unlawful arrest when

you know that the person attempting to make the arrest is "peace officer".

 

  My argument around that is.  First it is facially unconstitutional, because an unlawful arrest would be tantamount to kidnapping and if an officer was going to put himself in the position of committing a kidnapping under the guise of an arrest, I have the right to conclude

that this officer has no true regard for my safety and might just carry his unlawful action further in an effort to cover up his first misdeed. Second, since I knew the arrest was unlawful, then that peace officer knew or should have known his attempted arrest was unlawful, which means I would be entitled to an inference to believe that this person was impersonating a peace officer.  The peace officer should know better, after all a trained peace officer would not permit himself to be put in a position to make an unlawful arrest and because the unlawful arrest was attempted I am entitled to conclude that he must not really be a peace officer and I therefore acted accordingly to defend myself.

 

  They might avoid a constitutional problem if the statute were to also provide that once an arrest is found to be a false arrest, that the officer may not assert an affirmative defense of qualified immunity. In other words, once it is found that the arrest was false there is an admission that the arrest was false should result in strict civil liability at a minimum against the arresting officer.

 

g'day

John Wilde

 

RD wrote:

 

> I know the bias of the Court is that one cannot resist unlawful arrest

> because the Court will apply due process and make everything nice again.

> What are the limits of such resistance in Arizona and around the country?

> Thanks,

> Rick

 

When the government fears the people, that is LIBERTY.

When people fear the government, that is TYRANNY.

 

Thomas Jefferson

 

<#==#>

 

 

<*==*>

 

To: AZRKBA@asu.edu

Subject: Re: Resisting unlawful actions

From: John Wilde <imptaskforce@GETNET.NET>

Date: Thu, Aug 12 2004 10:26:24 AM -0700

 

The federal case law still supports the right to resist an unlawful arrest.  It was that line of cases that finally freed the Spans after nearly 10 years.

 

  There is an Arizona statute (A.R.S. Section 13-404.B.2), that prohibits the use of physical force against even an unlawful arrest when you know that the person attempting to make the arrest is "peace officer".

 

  My argument around that is.  First it is facially unconstitutional, because an unlawful arrest would be tantamount to kidnapping and if an officer was going to put himself in the position of committing a kidnapping under the guise of an arrest, I have the right to conclude

that this officer has no true regard for my safety and might just carry his unlawful action further in an effort to cover up his first misdeed.  Second, since I knew the arrest was unlawful, then that peace officer knew or should have known his attempted arrest was unlawful, which means I would be entitled to an inference to believe that this person was impersonating a peace officer.  The peace officer should know better, after all a trained peace officer would not permit himself to be put in a position to make an unlawful arrest and because the unlawful arrest was attempted I am entitled to conclude that he must not really be a peace officer and I therefore acted accordingly to defend myself.

 

  They might avoid a constitutional problem if the statute were to also provide that once an arrest is found to be a false arrest, that the officer may not assert an affirmative defense of qualified immunity. In other words, once it is found that the arrest was false there is an admission that the arrest was false should result in strict civil liability at a minimum against the arresting officer.

 

g'day

John Wilde

 

RD wrote:

 

> I know the bias of the Court is that one cannot resist unlawful arrest

> because the Court will apply due process and make everything nice again.

> What are the limits of such resistance in Arizona and around the country?

> Thanks,

> Rick

 

When the government fears the people, that is LIBERTY.

When people fear the government, that is TYRANNY.

 

Thomas Jefferson

 

Premium Accounts for Legal Professionals

http://1stcounsel.com/

 

<#==#>

 

i wrote a program so people can visit this web site, enter a letter to give to you or laro, and then when they click on the SUBMIT button it will save it to a disk file. Then when i print up my news articles i can merge the file in with them. the URL is:

 

      http://kevin-laro.tripod.com/cgi-bin/letters.html

 

the only problem with this is that its not too private. any of the 2 billion or so people that use the internet can view any letters sent to you.

 

for a test i typed up the letter you just sent me which is 2 pages long hand written. when you type it up and merge it in the newsletter it only takes up one column or one fourth of a sheet of paper. And at 37 cents which is the postage for one ounce of mail that two page letter only costs 1.85 cents to mail you. kevins letter follows:

 

24 - March

 

Dear Mike,

 

Thanks for looking up that Burnst Zündel material. Thanks also for telling me how to access my website.

 

In other news Iceland has granted citizenship to chess champion Bobby Fisher, so he will not be deported to the USA for violating sanctions against Yugoslavia. Japan had planned to deport him for traveling on an expired U.S. passport. In the USA he would face up to 10 years in prison for playing in a Yugoslavia chess tournament during sanctions.

 

Israel plans to re-imprison nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vonnuni, who was given 18 years for telling foreigners about Israel’s atomic weapons. Since his release he has been forbidden to leave Israel or speak with foreigners. The Government alleged he has tried to contact foreigners.

 

Tuesday the 22nd I was found competent to stand trial on condition that I continue to take my prescribed medications. Dr Patresso’s report found me competent but also found me to be delusional, paranoid, depressed and dangerous to my self and others.

 

My charges have not been altered. I am still charged with three counts of assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, a class two felony. I have not been charged with resisting arrest, though my lawyer believes it would be easy for the prosecution to win a conviction on such a charge.

 

The fact that the arrest was illegal does not mean I can’t be charged for resisting it. The courts have not upheld resistance to unlawful arrest as justifiable.

 

On 4 April there will be a status hearing at which my trial date will be decided.

 

I had been out of touch with Rose Tonvi a Kenyan of mine, during my confinement. My mother contacted her by e-mail recently. Rose Tonvi told my mother that someone had written her warning her not to sympathize with Kevin or the same thing could happen to her. If you want to ask her for details of this, her address is lilyasirah@yahoo.co.uk.

 

It’s ok with me if you want to put either of the photos of me on the website.

 

Yours,

 

Kevin

 

<#==#>

 

To: lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com

From: "auvenj" <auvenj@gmail.com>

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 22:36:17 -0000

Subject: [lpaz-discuss] Re: resisting a false arrest - federal cases

 

--- In lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com, mike ross <xxxxx@y...> wrote:

> > I know nothing of Kevin Walsh besides what you post

> > here Mike. All

> > I'm saying is that the Secret Service can't have a

> > guy lifted off

> > the street and institutionalized for disliking Bush.

> > There is

> > something else going on here.

> i know it sounds like something in a movie where a guy

> in a communist country gets yanked off the street and

> placed in a mental institution because he says

> something bad about the commie leader.

> but it aint. it is happening in the USA, and it is

> happening to kevin because he said he "wished bush

> were dead". as i said in the last post because kevin

> is a communist that may be why the secret service

> doesnt like him. and it could also because kevin is

> armed, always carries a gun, and has a concealed

> weapons permit.

 

This is speculation Mike.  Sometimes the worst motivations are behind what happens.  Sometimes it's just sheer incompetance.  And sometimes there's more to the story than you are aware of.  It is impossible to say at this point.

 

I don't know why Kevin Walsh was really arrested, but I debated him online enough to know that there are a number of possibilities.  The potential for statements alone goes far beyond a single comment that he "wished bush were dead", and it's all on public internet listserves like azsecularhumanists.  Kevin repeatedly praised the 9/11 hijackers, including the civilian casualties that occurred on that day.  He was as you mentioned a hard core communist as well.  He posted reports of American casualties in the Iraq war with glee, and the official releases from the government of Kim Jong Il in North Korea as representative of truth and goodness.  He was "anti-war" only in the sense that he wanted the U.S. to lose the Iraq war and any other war. This is why I refused to go along with or condone working with Kevin on any of his so-called "anti-war" projects.  He routinely advocated violence against civilians, particularly those of Jewish origin or those involved in international business, though he scrupulously avoided any specific plans involving himself and mostly stuck to indirect advocacy by praising the violent acts of others.  Though I found many of his statements and reposts highly offensive, none of them were or should have been grounds for arrest or confinement to a mental institution.  As an aside, Kevin O'Connell on this list has accused Libertarians of hating the U.S., but he's obviously never encountered Kevin Walsh or he'd know how someone who REALLY DOES hate the U.S. talks and acts.

 

Anway, there was no denying that Kevin Walsh had a mind that was informed, disciplined, and intelligent in excess of that found in the average citizen.  He wasn't "crazy" in the commonly understood sense of the word other than that his expressed VIEWS were crazy.  Kevin always sidled right up to the line between free speech and publicly plotting murder and mayhem.  You had to pay attention and watch every word carefully to know that he wasn't crossing that line.  This tells me that Kevin was bright enough, and sane enough, to know exactly where the line was and not to cross it.  Crazy people (which I've heard a few) tend to cross it regularly without even realizing they have done so.  But as I said you had to pay attention to Kevin's words, because the impressions you got were very often over the line until you'd go back and re-read what was specifically said.

 

We don't know what the plans of the cops were when they approached Kevin.  It is possible, even likely, that they had no intention of either arresting him or putting him in a mental institution at that point, only gathering evidence.

 

So here's one plausible scenario:  Kevin told the telemarketer he "wished Bush were dead", in a way (tone of voice and context) that implied without saying it that Kevin might be just the guy to do it. The telemarketer probably wasn't all that bright (like most of them) and acted on the sentiment as much as the words, in deciding Kevin threatened the president.  So the telemarketer reports it, and unless the call was recorded, by the time the SS comes around the telemarketer's memory has faded a bit and he probably doesn't recall exactly WHAT Kevin said, but what he does recall is enough to make them want to know more.  Maybe they do some investigations and find Kevin's posts on public listserves...or maybe not.  Either way they

decide Kevin might be a problem so they send some cops around to have a chat with him and see if they can get anything solid on him.  When Kevin sees the cops, he pulls out his gun and threatens to kill himself, which IS legal grounds to put someone in a mental institution.

 

Point being, Kevin may only have been sent to the mental institution because he tried to kill himself, not because of what he said about Bush.  Of course, it is possible they intended to put him there all along.  We just don't know.

 

If nothing else, Kevin is a good example of the canary in the coal mine, warning us that free speech might not be totally free in America.  But we already knew that, didn't we?

 

--Jason Auvenshine

 

<#==#>

 

kevin:

 

i sent an email to your friend in kenya or whatever asking her to contact you or me.

 

if she gets back with me i will send you the results.

 

otherwise i will probably forget about her.

 

judge buttrick did comment on your case. i will include it one of the leters. he just gave the sentences which i think are from 7 years min, to a suggest of 10 years and i forget what the max was. anyway it is too long.

 

your case is stiring up some interest on the libertarian listserver. most people are shocked and say it must have been something you did beside say that "you wished the president were dead".

 

i keep telling them thats it. thats the whole story and pointing them to read the police reports which are on the web as images.

 

rajah domeisnisc binekteka

 

<#==#>

 

To: lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com

From:  "jpathanasius" <jpathanasius@yahoo.com>

Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 18:02:32 -0000

Subject: [lpaz-discuss] Re: Mike Ross, Kevin Walsh, and the REAL problem with involuntary commitments

 

--- In lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com, "maywood2008" <gonzolawyer@c...>

wrote:

> Either you're very new to the list, you don't follow all the threads

> too closely, or you're not getting it. I don't know which it is, but

> I'll explain my statement more clearly so that there is no

> misunderstanding.

 

Um, no, no, and no.  How about you missed my point?

 

What I see you people doing is arguing the reality of the situation based on your issues with Mike or Kevin, or your faith in the government, and not on the actual incident.

 

Again, I didn't read every thread, but I see no one else spending any effort to go to the sources of the incident (as Mike is doing) to find out what really happened.  The news media is hardly ever going to be straight, and there are as many different versions as there are people at the scene.

 

You have the option of doing what I do most the time: not commenting none way or the other.  Yet you want to stand up and say, "there goes Mike again crying wolf".  You could have just said nothing.

 

Yeah, I remember the Campbell stuff on here.  So what?  I don't know any more about that than what I read here, saw on the news, and in subsequent interviews with Campbell.  And that means that I still don't know what happened.  And you didn't hear a peep out of me.

 

But my point is not about Kevin's troubles, it's about what I see taking place here on the forum.

 

Let's go back to this simple but inflamatory statement of yours:

> > Given what we know about Mike Ross, Mike always jumps the gun and

> > assumes without a second thought that the government action is

> > illegitimate.

 

a) what do you mean "we" paleface?

b) You've cited one example, can you prove your use of the word "always"? and

c) As for assuming any particular (or every) government action is illegitimate, again, why is that wrong or in anyway a bad thing?

 

In science when you wish to prove a theory, the correct thing to do is question it and spend all your effort seeking to disprove it.  If you fail, then it just may be good.

 

Government holds all the cards.  Government wields the biggest stick. Anything less than questioning *each* and *every* use of that stick will lead to... well pretty much the shit we're in now.  What did you think was meant by "eternal vigilance"?

 

And finally you get argumentative about 1 out of 3 of my points, but mistake the point.  Here it is again, more explicit:

 

So as far as I can tell these days, if I stand up in a crowd and say,

"I'm going to kill that S.O.B. Bush."  That is considered a crime (or treated that way).  Assume no political statment.  Is it a crime, or an equal crime to say, "I'm going to kill that goddamned Mr. Wilson who lives next door"?  If it's not the same crime then it fails the "equal protection" concept, regardless of what the courts have said. If you argue because he's an official of the state/politically elected... well then it would be more honest to amend that "equal protection" thing to say, "unless you are one of the elite..."

 

<#==#>

 

I  asked Kevin what his daily life is in Sheriff Joes stinking jail. This is the letter he gave me.

 

12 March 2005

 

Dear Ganesh,

 

My mail to Laro was rejected by FCI Tucson, not the Madison Street Jail, so I think it is his captors who are interfering with our free speech, not mine.

 

Life here is mainly boredom but we do have a weekly routine. Wednesday evening we are handed a commissary sheet, and we order items from it which are delivered Friday evening.  Thursday morning laundry is exchanged, and we turn in the set of clothing we have been wearing all week. Saturday night we are issued one roll of toilet paper an two small bars of soap.

 

Mondays and Thursdays are visiting days on which there are two potential half-hour visits, one at 1:30 PM and one at 8 PM. We are limited to three regular visits per week. So my mother comes twice on Monday and once on Thursday. I am taken down to the visiting center on the fourth floor wearing handcuffs and leg chains. I am chained to a seat and handcuffed to a table. I am given one free hand to hold the telephone receiver, and I use it to talk to m mother, who is seated across a Plexiglas window from me. After visits we are strip searched and gone over with a metal detector even though it was a non-contact visit.

 

For 23 hours each day we are backed in our cells. For one hour, we are allowed out into the day room to use the telephone, shower, and exercise. The time of this hour varies from day to day and different inmates are assigned different times, so we are not out together.

 

We are only fed twice a day. Breakfast is served at 8:30 AM, dinner at 7 PM. Breakfast is a plastic bag with one or two pieces of fruit, some bread, two slices of cheese and luncheon meat, a half pint of milk and a few small cookies. Dinner consists of a Styrofoam tray of hot food, usually potatoes, bread, cabbage, some stew containing a small quantity of meat and a small doughnut.

 

Around 10 AM and again around 4 PM a psychiatric nurse delivers my medicine. Also around 4 PM except Sundays, my mail and newspaper subscription are delivered.

 

Apart from that at any given time, I may be sleeping on my bunk, pacing on the floor, reading, listening to the radio, or writing a letter. We are not subjected to any kind of propaganda or indoctrination.

 

I find I spend far more time sleeping than is required for good health. I am also subject to bouts of depression. I fear I may truly be getting mentally ill.

 

As to those who imprison me, I generally call them officer X, Sergeant X. They are detention officers.

 

Yours

 

Kevin

 

<#==#>

 

this was a full page ad that was run in the tribune on wed march 23. it was on page A5 of the scottsdale tribune.

 

it says:

 

TWO THUMBS DOWN

 

Now Playing at Taxpayers' Expense

 

"You won't beleive your eyes an ears!" - Charles Goyette - 1010 Talk KXXT

 

THE POLITICAL HYPOCRITES

 

A story of greed & deception in the East Valley

 

Interducing Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman as the Deal Maker!

 

Featuring Jeff "Alt Fuels" Groscost as the Invisible Man!

 

Watch! Hugh Hallman campaign for Mayor of Tempe telling voters he opposes seizing private property - Then after he's elected, paves the way to build Tempe Marketplace with public funds for private developers by helping condem the land of property owners.

 

Hear! A Theater Mogul tell the public he opposes $84 Million in subsidies for a Mesa Development - While he will benefit from the $80 Million in developer subsidies for the proposed Marketplace in Tempe where he intends to build a megaplex theator.

 

Witness! Developers' Lawyers put the squeeze on hard-working Tempe property owners to run them off their land and out of business.

 

IS YOUR PROPERTY NEXT?

 

See! Tempe taxpayers get stuck for $80 Million in subsidies for developers - While property owners are left high and dry.

 

PG - POLITICAL GUIDENCE SUGGESTED

Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Taxpayers

 

Paid for by Friends of Tempe Property Owners Against Govermental Theft.

 

this is the republic article about the anti-government ad in the tribune.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0324t-marketplace24Z10.html

 

Mayor, mall backers lampooned

'Friends' of site landowners taking offensive

 

Jahna Berry

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 24, 2005 12:00 AM

 

The fight over the Tempe Marketplace took another nasty turn Wednesday when a property owners' group blasted Mayor Hugh Hallman, movie chain owner Dan Harkins and a Vestar Development Co. consultant in a full-page newspaper ad.

 

The advertisement signals that Tempe's $200 million shopping center has been sucked into the controversy over Mesa's Riverview retail project, which will go before voters May 17.

 

The East Valley Tribune ad is a parody of a movie poster that makes several allusions to the Tempe and Mesa projects. The mock film is called "The Political Hypocrites" and stars "Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman as the deal maker!" and "Jeff 'Alt Fuels' Groscost as the invisible man!"

 

During his mayoral campaign Hallman opposed taking landowners property, but later helped condemn land for Tempe Marketplace, the ad says. While it does not name Harkins explicitly, the ad criticizes him for opposing tax subsidies in Mesa but accepting them to build a Tempe Marketplace theater. The black-and-white advertisement could have cost more than $8,000.

 

Groscost, who works with Vestar, could not be reached for comment. Hallman and Harkins dismissed the ad.

 

"If those property owners spent that money on cleaning up their property we wouldn't be in this mess," Hallman said.

 

Pollution on the mall site forced the city to condemn the land in 2004, before he was elected mayor, Hallman said.

 

Harkins doesn't oppose all tax subsidies, says spokesman Jason Rose, but opposes Mesa's because it would effectively end Harkins' plans to put a theater near Fiesta Mall, he said.

 

The ad was paid for by "friends of Tempe Property Owners Against Governmental Theft." The owners contend that Tempe illegally condemned their property for the Marketplace project and that the developers won't pay a fair price for their land. This month, Tempe filed condemnation lawsuits against 19 holdout property owners who haven't sold their land. Three of those suits are expected to settle.

 

The owners want to counter the city and the developers' propaganda, said Del Sturman of the Tempe property owners group.

 

"We are pulling out all of the stops," Sturman said. "People just think that we are sitting on some land trying to screw the city out of some money."Sturman would not say who paid for the ad. The property owners were approached by someone who offered to create and pay for the ad. The property owners group approved the final product, he said.

 

When asked about the Riverview references in the ad, Sturman said that he opposed tax incentives. He also acknowledged that until recently, "We didn't care about Riverview one way or the other."

 

Wednesday's development adds a new dimension to rivalry between Tempe Marketplace and Mesa's Riverview.

 

The cities raced to complete their respective project first, because experts say there isn't enough market demand for both. Lately, though, Tempe figures have been accused of trying to sink the Mesa project.

 

Groscost, who works for Tempe Marketplace developer Vestar, and Harkins, which will build a movie house in Tempe Marketplace, donated money to the "No on Riverview" effort.

 

<#==#>

 

i suspect me, kevin, and laro have some pretty strong disagrements on the clean elections laws but this should stir up the pot and cause some confusion on whats legal and what aint with clean elections.

 

More Clean Elections Fun. Probably in the courts.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0325cleanelection25.html

 

Legislator told to quit over campaign violation

Panel makes Rep. Smith first to be ousted under Clean Elections law

 

Chip Scutari and Robbie Sherwood

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

 

In a historic move, the Citizens Clean Elections Commission voted Thursday to oust state Rep. David Burnell Smith from office for overspending his public campaign limits by more than $6,000.

 

The 5-0 vote marks the first time in the United States that a legislator has been ordered to forfeit his office for violating a publicly financed election system.

 

Smith, who did not attend the meeting, said he will immediately appeal the panel's decision to an administrative law judge, vowing, "I have not yet begun to fight!" The Scottsdale Republican will continue serving in the Legislature pending the appeal.

 

The commission's vote comes after three months of scrutiny in what has been billed as the biggest test for Arizona's popular but controversial system of taxpayer-funded political campaigns.

 

The commission also ordered Smith to pay a $10,000 fine and repay $34,625 of public money he used for his 2004 campaign, effectively upholding the findings and recommendation that Clean Elections investigator Gene Lemon issued two weeks ago.

 

Removal from office is the most severe penalty under the Clean Elections law. Legal experts said the constitutionality of that provision has never been argued in an Arizona court of law and that it needs to be settled by the courts.

 

Constitutional question

 

Smith and his attorneys believe that the appointed commission doesn't have the constitutional authority to overturn an election. Smith noted that he reported himself to the commission after his campaign accountant red-flagged some possible overspending, an accounting error he blames on an overpayment to a consultant. But the accounting mistakes did not rise to the level to toss out an elected lawmaker, Smith said.

 

"The commission was wrong," said Smith, an attorney who blames his troubles on political enemies. "My story has yet to be told fully. And when it is, I will be vindicated. There's forces out there that will not listen, and they have one goal in mind and that's to destroy David Smith."

 

When asked to name the "forces," Smith mentioned The Arizona Republic and Planned Parenthood.

 

Overspending the limit

 

Under state law, the penalty for a candidate who overshoots his publicly funded spending limit by more than 10 percent is to be removed from office. Smith is accused of overspending his limit by about 17 percent. During his GOP primary, Lemon said, Smith spent at least $6,000 more than the limit set by state law to disqualify candidates for violations of the voter-approved system.

 

His spending limit for the primary under Clean Elections rules was $24,500. An independent audit done for the commission showed that, according to Smith's campaign bank account and invoices from his consultant, Constantin Querard, he spent nearly $32,000 to win his primary.

 

Commission Chairwoman Marcia Busching said the arguments offered Thursday by Smith's accountant, Robert Hubbard, had "a number of inaccuracies" and were "hard to follow." Busching said that she believes the facts and the law are on the commission's side and that Smith should resign.

 

"Mr. Smith has acknowledged that his records were poorly kept. He acknowledged that he had overspent. He's now merely quibbling with the details," Busching said. "He should try to rise above himself and realize that the law says what it says, particularly since he's a lawyer, and resign and move on with his life."

 

Backers of the Clean Elections Law think this case is especially important, saying that if candidates are allowed to break spending limits and just face a fine, it could shake the foundation of the public campaign-financing system.

 

"It's important that candidates take the Clean Elections law seriously," said Barb Lubin, executive director of the advocacy group called the Clean Elections Institute. "This is important so people cannot cheat and get elected to office."

 

Lubin said that Clean Elections candidates such as Smith must sign a sworn affidavit acknowledging spending limits and possible penalties if they violate the 1998 law.

 

Lemon concluded that Smith's accounting of that spending in his campaign- finance reports was far sloppier than the law allows.

 

Smith's District 7 primary opponent, Thom Von Hapsburg, said he was glad to see the commission take action because he felt that, during the race, Smith "seemed to push the envelope on the law as far as he could to see if he could get away with it."

 

"This is going to be a test for Clean Elections," said Von Hapsburg, who ran with traditional funding. "Everybody across the country is watching this to see how it works out because a lot of other states are considering Clean Elections."

 

Support for Smith

 

Nancy Barto, chairwoman of the District 7 Republicans, said there is still strong support for Smith in his legislative district and equally strong animosity toward the commission.

 

"I'm disappointed that they would go this route," Barto said. "I don't think they have the authority to overrule the voters of this district."

 

Some commissioners admitted they were reluctant to attempt to overturn the wishes of voters in a legislative district but said it was more important to uphold the wishes of the state's voters, who narrowly approved the Clean Elections initiative in 1998.

 

Arizona and Maine are the only states with a statewide system under which candidates can get public money to support their campaigns. But the Clean Elections idea is spreading. North Carolina has it for judges. Vermont uses a similar system for governor and lieutenant governor, and New Mexico has it for its Public Utilities Commission. New Jersey recently approved a pilot program for two of its swing legislative districts.

 

Removing an elected official is a rarity in Arizona politics. And, as Smith's attorney Lee Miller has noted, the Arizona Constitution makes no mention of expelling a legislator for having broken campaign- finance rules. But duly elected officials in Arizona have been bounced from office for a variety of reasons.

 

Tony West was removed from the state Corporation Commission in 1999 by the Arizona Supreme Court for illegally having kept a securities license, an area of business supervised by the commission.

 

Advocates for disqualifying Smith point to precedents like the West case. One of the earliest, 1948's DeConcinci vs. Sullivan, held that impeachment, as set forth in the Constitution, is not the exclusive means of removing a public officer.

 

<#==#>

 

as long as we have americans and mexicans who are willing to take bribes the terrorists and dope dealers will be able to get anything across the border they want.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0325bribery25.html

 

Mexico lawmen charged in bribery

Pair accused of trying to enlist U.S. agent in pot smuggling

 

Susan Carroll

Republic Tucson Bureau

Mar. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

 

TUCSON - The top public safety official and a municipal police officer in the Mexican border community of Sonoyta were charged in federal court Thursday with trying to bribe a U.S. law enforcement official to smuggle loads of marijuana across the U.S.-Mexican border.

 

Ramon Robles-Cota, head of public safety for the town south of Lukeville, is accused of approaching a U.S. federal agent in January to broker a deal to smuggle marijuana through southern Arizona, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tucson. In a series of meetings and negotiations outlined in court documents, Robles-Cota reportedly tried to enlist the agent to join the payroll of a Mexican cartel that ran more than 60 loads of marijuana across the Arizona-Sonora border each month.

 

Kent Johansson, interim special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Phoenix, called the case a "serious incident" that "underscores the importance of our focus on securing our borders."

 

Robles-Cota's attorney, Saji Vettiyil said her client is "presumed innocent under the law."

 

"I am looking forward to the day he can present his side of the story, and hopefully people can see he's innocent," she said.

 

Officials said the reputed corruption case highlights the vulnerability of the Southwest border, where Mexican and U.S. authorities have reported an uptick in drug-related violence in recent months, particularly south of Texas. The State Department has issued a travel advisory for northern Mexico through April 25, warning that police corruption has contributed to increasingly brazen and dangerous behavior by drug cartels.

 

"Mexico's police forces suffer from lack of funds and training, and the judicial system is weak, overworked and inefficient," the advisory said. "Criminals, armed with an impressive array of weapons, know there is little chance they will be caught and punished. In some cases, assailants have been wearing full or partial police uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles, indicating some elements of the police might be involved."

 

Last year, President Vicente Fox's government forced the resignation of senior law enforcement officials in Sonora, Veracruz and Chihuahua, according to a report released earlier this month by the U.S. Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Mexico's attorney general also probed links between cartels and federal officers in southern Mexico, exploring possible involvement in the execution of three Mexican federal agents, according to the report.

 

In the Sonoyta case, authorities allege Robles-Cota first approached the agent in January in Sonoyta, about 150 miles south of Phoenix, and started pressing for a deal. According to court records, Robles-Cota, 29, and Julio Cesar Lozano-Lopez, 28, were working for an unidentified cartel that wanted the U.S. federal agent to clear the border near Menager Dam, east of Lukeville, for two hours, according to the complaint.

 

The court documents outlined plans to send in three to four vehicles, including a tractor-trailer, full of marijuana every few minutes, in exchange for paying the federal agent $25,000 per load.

 

The court records state the two men came from Sonoyta to Tucson on March 15, and Robles-Cota gave the agent a shopping bag filled with $80,020 as an advance.

 

On Thursday, Robles-Cota and Lozano-Lopez were charged with bribing a public official and conspiracy with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday.

 

<#==#>

 

of course they excluded COPS from the cell phone ban!

 

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0325cellphones25.html

 

Chandler tells its workers not to phone while driving

Policy is toughest among Valley cities

 

Edythe Jensen

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

 

Hang up and drive.

 

Chandler is sending a no-excuses message to employees that phoning while motoring a municipal vehicle could cost them their jobs.

 

The city is the Valley's first to disconnect its traveling workforce from their cellphones, following a national trend among safety-conscious businesses and insurance industry recommendations.

 

Phoenix and Mesa tell employees they "should not" drive while talking on cellphones, and Phoenix sanitation workers are prohibited from using cellphones while operating machinery. Arizona commercial vehicle regulations prohibit school bus drivers from talking on cellphones.

 

"It's better to be safe than have an employee or citizen injured," said O.D. Burr, Chandler's risk manager, who helped draft the policy that took effect this month.

 

The policy exempts police officers but encourages them not to talk and drive. Claims against the city for accidents caused by employees on cellphones spurred the change, Burr said. Earlier this year, a Water Department worker ran a stop sign while he was on the phone and was hit by another motorist.

 

In the name of safety, businesses nationwide are taking steps to stop workers from talking while driving, said Loretta Worters, vice president of the non-profit Insurance Information Institute in New York City. "If you're engaged in a lively conversation on the phone, you're not keeping your eyes on the road," she said.

 

Government and businesses are wise to halt driving while phoning to reduce accident risks when work-related conversations tend to be long and technical, said Robin Olson, research analyst for the Dallas-based International Risk Management Institute.

 

However, Olson said he doesn't support state laws that ban cellphone use by all drivers because research on the device's ties to accidents is inconclusive and enforcement would take resources away from proven dangers like drunken driving and speeding.

 

"There are so many distractions for drivers that singling out one as the cause of an accident is difficult," he said.

 

New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., ban all motorists from driving while talking on the phone, but efforts to bring such a law to Arizona failed this year.

 

Rep. Tom Prezelski, D-Tucson, who introduced the failed cellphone bill, praised Chandler's ban. "I don't drive safely when I'm on a cellphone," he said. "People seem to believe when they're in their car, they can do anything they want and the safety of people around them is not important."

 

Ray Dubois, Chandler water distribution superintendent, tells his workers to pull off the road and stop before answering calls and advises them to create a voice-mail message that says they don't answer calls while driving.

 

Paul Ahlas, a senior inspector for Chandler construction projects, said he and other employees who spend most of their time on the road must now interrupt trips to park and return messages from contractors or city offices. "Personally, I think it's a good thing," Ahlas said. "I see how people drive when they have cellphones stuck in their ears."

 

Gilbert, Tempe, Peoria and Surprise do not ask workers to refrain from talking on cellphones while driving. Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman, who has owned cellphone stores, prefers to let employees decide if they can talk and drive.

 

"My concern about employees using cellphones is whether they're running up town bills with personal calls," Berman said. "Talking on a cellphone while driving is not terribly different from talking to someone next to you."

 

Staff reporters Ginger Richardson, Justin Juozapavicius, Jahna Berry, David Madrid and Charles Kelly contributed to this article.

 

<#==#>

 

Peoria declares war on the homeless

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0325wvpeocamp25.html

 

Peoria bans camping in public areas

 

Charles Kelly

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

 

PEORIA - Camping without permission and sleeping in cars or other vehicles, except under certain circumstances, have been outlawed by the City Council.

 

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an ordinance making most camping illegal.

 

City Attorney Stephen Kemp said the ordinance, effective April 22, was framed because river courses running through the city tempt transients to set up camps, leading to "unsavory transactions" that sometimes involve minors in drinking or drug use.

 

Council member Vicki Hunt said some constituents were worried that the ordinance might restrict enforcement of city codes downtown.

 

There has been a problem there with homeless people camping behind buildings and under bushes, she said.

 

"This does not diminish existing protections of the city code," Kemp assured her. "Rather, it expands them."

 

Violations for illegal camping would be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a fine and up to one year in jail.

 

Camping would be permitted only in areas designated by the city or on private property with the consent of the owner or occupant.

 

Generally, people will not be allowed to sleep in cars, buses, trucks, campers, trailers or recreational vehicles. They could do so, however, in the parking lots of religious institutions with written consent.

 

Even then, no more than three such vehicles will be permitted at any one location.

 

Such camping couldn't exceed seven days in a 30-day period.

 

<#==#>

 

damn i dont get it. the american empire conquered iraq to steal their oil and make it our oil. so how come gas prices are so high?

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0326gasprices26.html

 

Record gas prices likely to keep rising

 

Max Jarman, Stephanie Paterik and Jennifer Girardin

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

 

Ashley McIntire of Mesa doesn't drive as much as she used to and carpools more.

 

Mesa handyman Tom Cassatt buys only half a tank at a time, hoping to find a better price somewhere else.

 

Tim Irving of Scottsdale has cut back on the grade of gasoline he puts in his vehicle.

 

"I'm old, I'm cheap," he said. "I remember when it was 25 cents."

 

With the average price of regular gasoline reaching a record high in Arizona and across the nation Friday, consumers and businesses are changing their driving habits and cutting back in other areas to adjust.

 

"I think it's terrible," said Glendale resident Polly Esquer, who noted that her gas costs have gone up substantially in the past month.

 

AAA Arizona reported the average price of gas for the state was $2.159 per gallon Friday, two-tenths of a cent more than the previous record of $2.157 set May 26. The national average was $2.13, a penny more than the old record of $2.12 set the day before.

 

In metro Phoenix, the average price of $2.15 per gallon was still below the record of $2.20 reached May 26.

 

David Cowley, a spokesman for AAA Arizona, which monitors state gas sales, predicts that prices will continue to rise and that the Phoenix record will be surpassed this year, possibly by a lot. The statewide price is 18 cents higher than a month ago and 25 cents more than last year. In Phoenix the price is up 17 cents and 19 cents, respectively.

 

Irving, a driver for Desert Storm Hummer Tours, considered opening his own Jeep tour business last year and is glad he decided against it.

 

"The gas prices would've killed me," he said.

 

Cowley noted that this is the third spring in a row that gas prices have spiked in Arizona and that it should not come as a surprise.

 

He suggested that consumers and businesses plan for spikes and make adjustments to minimize their effect.

 

Indeed, many businesses have made such adjustments. Trucking firm Knight Transportation has added a gas surcharge to its freight bills, and Tempe flower shop owner Carol Hall-Wood traded her delivery van for a more-economical Dodge Neon and raised her delivery charge.

 

Handyman Cassatt, though, has not raised his rates. Instead, the high gas prices are cutting into his bottom line.

 

"It cuts into the money that goes into my pocket," he said. "I kind of live with it and hope it goes back down."

 

Not everyone is concerned.

 

Arizona State University students Skylar Johnson and Kevin Monachelli were not bothered by the $2.19-a-gallon price Friday at an Exxon station at University Drive and Rural Road in Tempe - their parents pay for it.

 

"To be honest, I don't pay attention," Monachelli said. "It could be $5."

 

<#==#>

 

when i was in college the only thing we could do when we were hacking was steal free computer time on the universitys computer. things sure have changed.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/0326hackers26.html

 

Hacking becomes more a business than geeky game

 

Richard J. Dalton Jr.

Newsday

Mar. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

 

The world of hacking was once just a nasty, geeky, online version of American Idol: young adults competing to gain recognition. But lately they've been trying to gain money, security professionals say.

 

"We've seen a definite trend toward monetary gain," said Oliver Friedrichs, senior manager at Symantec Security Response.

 

From July through December, 54 percent of the top 50 malicious programs sought to steal confidential information, often financial data, up from 44 percent from the previous six months, security software company Symantec Corp. reported.

 

"This is easy white-collar crime," said Steven Sundermeier, a vice president at security software company Central Command.

 

The semiautomatic weapon for online criminals: bots, short for robots, a combination of worms, which are self-propagating viruses, and trojans, malicious software secretly installed on a PC.

 

Hackers covertly install bots on insecure computers and remotely control the PCs. Though bots aren't new, they're increasingly used for criminal purposes, experts said.

 

Criminals scour the infected PCs for credit card numbers and banking passwords and may steal a person's identity. They can install adware - software that launches money-making ads - log keystrokes and turn on a PC's video camera.

 

One bot Symantec found could receive commands from the hacker via e-mail. Numerous others hijack PCs and use them to send spam. Another bot uses a seized PC to send e-mails to lure people to a replica of a Web site under the hacker's control, routing entered passwords and other sensitive information to the hacker.

 

Some hackers even sell bots that resist anti-virus protection for $20 to $1,000 to organized-crime groups and other hackers, according to TruSecure, a security software company.

 

As anti-virus companies release vaccinations, hackers craftily tweak their techniques. Symantec found 6,000 new variants of the top three bots in the last half of 2004, nearly 11 times the number from the same period the previous year.

 

Hackers connect the bots into a network of up to hundreds of thousands of bots, which they can use to overwhelm Web sites with requests, making the sites inaccessible and demanding "protection money. "They basically say to the online gambling sites, 'If you don't pay a certain amount of money, we will send our bot army against you,' " said Johannes Ullrich, technology officer at the SANS Institute.

 

It's difficult to trace the crimes to hackers because infected PCs in homes and workplaces do the dirty work, security specialists said.

 

"An 80-year-old grandma who is just online innocently chatting or e-mailing grandsons or granddaughters may download and execute one of these bots," Sundermeier said. "If any trace routing is done, it comes back to her machine."

 

<#==#>

 

its not about whether your for or against nuclear energey its about how goverment idiots can abuse their power, screw up things, and waste tax money

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0326yucca26.html

 

Yucca Mtn. woes spur need for nuclear Plan B

 

Erica Werner

Associated Press

Mar. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

 

WASHINGTON - As problems mount with the government's plan to open a national nuclear-waste dump in Nevada, lawmakers and industry officials are increasingly pushing for a Plan B.

 

After the most recent setback for Yucca Mountain, a revelation last week that government workers on the planned dump may have falsified documents, a key House Republican urged the Energy Department to look at temporary waste-storage solutions.

 

Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., is promoting talk of alternatives to Yucca Mountain, while nuclear utilities are already looking into other options. Many have begun building on-site storage for spent fuel and moving forward with plans for a private waste dump in Utah. They also are pursuing lawsuits against the government, seeking reimbursement for the cost of temporary waste storage.

 

Although the Energy Department remains committed to Yucca Mountain, there's a growing consensus that the dump, scheduled until recently to open in 2010 but now delayed indefinitely, can no longer be considered the only answer for disposing of the nation's nuclear waste.

 

"What matters is getting rid of the fuel," said attorney Jerry Stouck, who represents nuclear utilities in lawsuits against the government. "I don't think Yucca Mountain is so important as a solution."

 

Yucca Mountain, approved by Congress in 2002, is planned as a repository for 77,000 tons of defense waste and used reactor fuel from commercial power plants. The material is supposed to be buried for at least 10,000 years beneath the desert 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

 

But the project has suffered serious setbacks, including funding problems and an appeals court decision last summer that is forcing a rewrite of radiation exposure limits for the site.

 

About 55,000 tons of commercial reactor fuel and 16,000 tons of high-level defense waste are already waiting at sites in 39 states. The government, which originally promised nuclear utilities it would begin accepting their spent fuel in 1998, is facing billions of dollars in lawsuits for failing to make good on that pledge.

 

That mounting liability prompted Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, last week to urge Theodore Garrish, the Energy Department official in charge of Yucca, to start looking at alternatives.

 

Hobson, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee panel that oversees the project, proposed an interim, above-ground storage facility at the Nevada Test Site or elsewhere to accept waste for up to 500 years, giving scientists time to develop new disposal solutions.

 

"It doesn't take brain science to think that we could save money in the long run to get this stuff out of where it is and live up to an obligation, a contractual obligation," Hobson told Garrish at a hearing.

 

He also suggested another look at reprocessing used reactor fuel.

 

Garrish said the Energy Department remains "100 percent committed" to Yucca but said he understood Hobson's complaints.

 

Hobson's ideas aren't new. The Energy Department pursued interim "monitored retrievable storage" facilities in the late 1980s and early 1990s before abandoning the idea. The Bush administration has also proposed reviving reprocessing, which the United States abandoned in the 1970s over fears the resulting plutonium could be seized by terrorists or a rogue state.

 

Yucca Mountain's chronic delays are forcing the ideas to the surface again, even from supporters.

 

"There has been a sea change in the way the nuclear community looks at Yucca Mountain," said Marnie Funk, spokeswoman for Domenici, the Energy Committee chairman who is a Yucca backer but nonetheless is open to such discussions.

 

"People are no longer saying Yucca Mountain has to be finished in order for the nuclear industry to have a revival in this country. You can still have a nuclear renaissance without Yucca Mountain, but that would mean at some point other options have to be discussed."

 

<#==#>

 

people dont like the american emporer any more? i think as kevin knows these people better watch out cuz when you dont like emporer george w hitler bad things will happen to you :)

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0326bush-poll26.html

 

Job-approval rating plunges to low for Bush

 

Ron Hutcheson

Knight Ridder Newspapers

Mar. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

 

WASHINGTON - President Bush's job-approval rating has sunk to 45 percent, the lowest of his presidency, amid public opposition to his intervention in the Terri Schiavo case and growing concern over soaring gasoline prices.

 

The slide in Bush's standing comes at a time when he needs all the political leverage he can get to push through his embattled plan to change Social Security. The 45 percent rating is a far cry from his record 90 percent approval after the Sept. 11 attacks, but it is still well above the low marks scored by most recent presidents, and it is within range of Bush's relatively steady poll numbers over the past year.

 

Except for a slight bounce after the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections, Bush's job-approval rating has been stuck in the high 40s to low 50s since early 2004. The Gallup polling organization tests the president's standing almost weekly by asking voters if they "approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job."

 

Pollsters attributed the president's lackluster showing to economic worries, high fuel prices and a public backlash against his entry into the Schiavo case. The CNN/USA Today/Gallup nationwide survey of 1,001 adults was conducted Monday through Wednesday, after Bush signed legislation that gave federal courts a chance to decide whether Schiavo should be allowed to die. Federal courts refused to intervene, saying the issue is properly Florida's to resolve.

 

The margin of error in the poll was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

 

Polls said that big majorities of Americans, 70 to 82 percent, opposed Bush's and Congress' intervention.

 

But the Schiavo case isn't Bush's only political problem.

 

"The public's increasingly dismal views about the economy and about the way things are going in general could also be factors in Bush's lower approval rating," a Gallup analysis said.

 

Nearly 60 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting worse, compared with only a third who think it's getting better. About 32 percent think that current economic conditions are good or excellent, compared with 41 percent who felt that way at the start of the year.

 

Economic jitters seem directly related to rising gas prices. That ranked at the top of concerns, along with unemployment and low wages, when poll respondents were asked to identify "the most important economic problem facing the country today."

 

Only 5 percent mentioned fuel prices last month, before average retail prices surged sharply above $2 a gallon nationally.

 

"People see the prices of their gasoline rising at the pumps," Bush said at a Wednesday news conference in Texas. "I am concerned, and the American people are concerned."

 

Bush's slippage in polls raises questions about his political clout at a critical time in his campaign to create private investment accounts funded by wage taxes drawn from Social Security. The president wants Congress to act on his proposal soon. He has told aides that he expects his political power to wane by the middle of next year as voters and lawmakers start to think of him as a president on the way out.

 

<#==#>

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0326iraq-abuse26.html

 

Army reported abuse at jail near Mosul, Iraq

 

Associated Press

Mar. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

 

WASHINGTON - An Army investigation found systematic abuse and possible torture of Iraqi prisoners at a base near Mosul just as top military officials became aware of abuse allegations at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, documents released Friday showed.

 

Records previously released by the Army have detailed abuses at Abu Ghraib and other sites in Iraq as well as at sites in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The documents released Friday were the first to reveal abuses at the jail in Mosul and are among the few to allege torture directly.

 

An officer found that detainees "were being systematically and intentionally mistreated" at the holding facility near Mosul in December 2003. The 311th Military Intelligence Battalion of the Army's 101st Airborne Division ran the lockup.

 

"There is evidence that suggests the 311th MI personnel and/or translators engaged in physical torture of the detainees," a memo from the investigator said. The January 2004 report said the prisoners' rights under the Geneva Conventions were violated.

 

Top military officials became aware of the Abu Ghraib abuses in January 2004, when pictures such as those showing soldiers piling naked prisoners in a pyramid were turned over to investigators. The resulting scandal after the pictures became public tarnished the military's image in Arab countries and worldwide and sparked investigations of detainee abuses.

 

<#==#>

 

dont eat those chocolate crosses (at least around christians) it is politically incorrect. but i am a little confused on this. as a former catholic every sunday at mass we used to eat the body jesus and drink the blood of the jesus and that was politically acceptable. so whats the big deal about eating the cross that the mythical jesus dude was tortured and killed on by the romans? man sometimes those christian superstitions confuse the krap out of me!

 

ttp://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0325chocolate-crosses25-ON.html

 

Some irked as chocolate crosses go mainstream

 

Associated Press

Mar. 25, 2005 10:14 AM

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A symbol of Christianity that sits atop church steeples, dangles from necks and hangs on walls is now ending up in the mouths of the faithful, over the objections of some religious officials.

 

A mass-produced chocolate cross is being sold this Easter by Russell Stover Candies Inc. in about 5,000 stores nationwide, which experts say is apparently a first for a major American company.

 

"Obviously they've seen that there's a market for chocolate crosses at Easter," said Lisbeth Echeandia, a consultant for Candy Information Service, which monitors candy industry trends. "I don't see it growing tremendously but I think there would be growth in the Christian market."

 

However, not all Christians are happy about it. Chomping on a chocolate cross can be offensive to some, said Joseph McAleer, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic diocese in Bridgeport, Conn.

 

"The cross should be venerated, not eaten, nor tossed casually in an Easter basket beside the jelly beans and marshmallow Peeps," he said. "It's insulting."

 

Nonetheless, Kansas City-based Russell Stover, the third-largest American chocolate manufacturer, said it is targeting some of the most devout Christians - Hispanic Americans.

 

Pangburn, which Russell Stover bought in 1999, has long had a hold in that market. The milk chocolate cross is about 6 inches high, adorned with a floral bouquet and filled with caramel made of goat's milk, popular in Mexico and Latin America. Its packaging features Spanish more prominently than English.

 

Russell Stover President Tom Ward doesn't expect the chocolate cross to overtake the chocolate bunny, but he does expect it to bring in new customers who "wouldn't buy rabbits."

 

"I think it's a market that's potentially overlooked," said chocolate expert Clay Gordon, who runs the chocolate Web site Chocophile.com.

 

Ward said Russell Stover considered making other traditional images out of chocolate but eventually opted not to.

 

"A molded Jesus, for example, would not be a good call and a cross with Jesus on it wouldn't be a good idea either," Ward said.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0325Chocolate-Crosses-ON.html

 

Chocolate crosses challenging Easter Bunny

 

Matt Sedensky

Associated Press

Mar. 25, 2005 08:38 AM

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A symbol of Christianity that sits atop church steeples, dangles from necks and hangs on walls is being worshipped in a new way - in the mouths of the faithful.

 

A mass-produced chocolate cross is being sold this Easter by Russell Stover Candies Inc. in about 5,000 stores nationwide.

 

Chocolate crosses have long been available. But chocolate expert Clay Gordon said Russell Stover's chocolate cross under its Pangburn's brand appears to be the first by a major American company.

 

"Obviously they've seen that there's a market for chocolate crosses at Easter," said Lisbeth Echeandia, a consultant for Candy Information Service, which monitors candy industry trends. "I don't see it growing tremendously but I think there would be growth in the Christian market."

 

Kansas City-based Russell Stover hopes to see greater sales among Christians in general, but the third-largest American chocolate manufacturer is focusing on Hispanic Americans.

 

Pangburn, which Russell Stover bought in 1999, has long had a hold in that market. The milk chocolate cross is about 6 inches high, adorned with a floral bouquet and filled with caramel made of goat's milk, popular in Mexico and Latin America. Its packaging features Spanish more prominently than English.

 

Russell Stover President Tom Ward doesn't expect the chocolate cross to overtake the chocolate bunny, but he does expect it to bring in new customers who "wouldn't buy rabbits."

 

"I think it's a market that's potentially overlooked," said Gordon, who runs the chocolate Web site Chocophile.com.

 

Ward said Russell Stover considered making other traditional images out of chocolate but eventually opted not to.

 

"A molded Jesus, for example, would not be a good call and a cross with Jesus on it wouldn't be a good idea either," Ward said.

 

But even chomping on a plain chocolate cross is offensive to Joseph McAleer, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic diocese in Bridgeport, Conn.

 

"The cross should be venerated, not eaten, nor tossed casually in an Easter basket beside the jelly beans and marshmallow Peeps," he said. "It's insulting."

 

---

 

Associated Press writer David Twiddy contributed to this report.

 

---

 

On the Net:

 

Russell Stover: http://www.russellstover.com

 

Chocophile: http://www.chocophile.com

 

National Confectioners Association: http://www.candyusa.org/

 

<#==#>

 

since when is it the purpose of the messy yard cops to paint over graffiti on private land??? dont these government nannys and  busybodies have something better to do?

 

http://sun.yumasun.com/artman/publish/articles/story_15585.php

 

City officials in Somerton seeking for new weapon against graffiti: paint

 

BY PAIGE LAUREN DEINER, STAFF WRITER

Mar 24, 2005

 

SOMERTON — City officials will be going door-to-door next week asking residents and business owners to sign a waiver that will enable the city to paint over graffiti on private property.

 

The waiver would allow the city to paint over the offensive writing within 24-hours with a grayish paint for free.

 

The decision to go door-to-door came out of a meeting Tuesday night between various Somerton city leaders and interested community members, who are working to find practical solutions to the graffiti problem.

 

"The longer we wait, the more tagging we get," said Somerton Vice Mayor Victor Lozano.

 

City officials also discussed a program that would have the city paint over the gray paint with a color that matches the building's original color, at no cost to the property owner — but they are still working out the details of how to fund the program.

 

The city saw a fivefold increase in graffiti incidents from 2003 to 2004, from 22 cases to 114 cases, Somerton Police Chief Terry Hollis said.

 

The cities of Yuma and San Luis, Ariz., already have a similar policy in place to paint over graffiti on residential and commercial property.

 

In addition to Somerton's plans to paint over graffiti, Hollis said the police department is enforcing a curfew. This means that teenagers 15-years-old and younger cannot wander the streets after 9 p.m., and 16- and 17-year-olds cannot be out after 10 p.m.

 

If youths are caught on the street after curfew by an officer, they are taken to the police department. Parents are then called to pick up their children from the police department. Children and parents must then attend a hearing before a juvenile judge to explain why they were on the street past curfew.

 

Somerton Municipal Justice of the Peace Judge Manuel Figueroa said the average offender commits 11 acts of graffiti before being arrested. He added that catching those creating graffiti is a matter of "getting lucky" and the best thing the city can do is "not give individuals the opportunity to show off their work."

 

He said the graffiti should be "gotten rid of as soon as possible," if possible during "the first hour of the work day."He suggested that someone in public works could be assigned to look at police reports of graffiti every day and then paint over them as the first task of the day.

 

Laurie Senko, of Housing America, said after she became aware of the graffiti problem in the Housing America complexes, Senko instructed her staff to paint over any graffiti immediately. "It wasn't long before they stopped at Housing America," said Senko.

 

She added that those who create graffiti become discouraged and move on to easier targets when they “tag” a building and then, within hours, the “tag” is gone.

 

http://sun.yumasun.com/artman/publish/articles/story_15452.php

 

The handwriting is on the walls

 

BY PAIGE LAUREN DEINER, STAFF WRITER

Mar 17, 2005

 

The back side of a building in the 200 block of State Street in Somerton shows where city crews have painted — and repainted — over graffiti with yet another spray-painted tag on top of the gray paint. Photo by Carlos Moreno

Graffiti is on the rise in Somerton.

 

And the community is going to fight back.

 

The city saw a fivefold increase in incidents from 2003 to 2004, from 22 cases to 114 cases, Police Chief Terry Hollis said.

 

The wall behind Primera Iglesia Bautista became a drawing board for spray-painters.

 

A construction site at the entrance into Somerton has scrawling graffiti.

 

Former Somerton Mayor Agustin Tumbaga's house was hit.

 

The outside wall of Gaby's Barbershop was tagged.

 

Hollis said most of the graffiti is thought to come from youth between the ages of 11 and 18.

 

Hollis and other city officials attribute the incidents to youth with too much time on their hands, and the city council has called a meeting on Tuesday to develop a plan of attack.

 

Somerton Mayor Jose Yepez said the council is looking at anti-graffiti ordinances with heavy fines, incorporating anti-graffiti education into a school drug-prevention program and establishing curfews to limit the number of youths on the streets at night.

 

Hollis said it’s "one of the harder crimes to solve." But it's a crime that angers many of the victims.

 

Tumbaga said his former home, located on a busy intersection, was tagged several times. When it was first hit, Tumbaga called the city, and city employees came out and painted over it. But on subsequent occasions, Tumbaga painted over it himself.

 

"It was my own personal property and I went out and painted over it, upset," Tumbaga said. "It's not anything you take personal — kids will be kids. You just go out and take care of it.”

 

Tumbaga said children are tagging properties to show off and make their mark. He said the faster people paint over the graffiti, the less impact the tag makes. "Graffiti that isn't taken down right away encourages kids to do it again," he said.

 

Gabriela Coronado, the owner of Gaby's Barbershop on Main Street in Somerton, has also been affected by graffiti. When she moved into the shop several years ago, there was graffiti on the outside wall. She said she spoke to the property owner about the graffiti and he told her it wasn't worth painting over because it would just be tagged again.

 

"I think it would look better if they got rid of it," Coronado said.

 

Somerton Police Detective Michelle Magana has set up the Community Advocates Responding Environmentally Committee, which is working to do exactly that. It is comprised of citizens, police officers, Yepez, principals of all the schools in Somerton, Parent League liaisons and parents, all of whom are looking for ways to eliminate or drastically reduce the amount of graffiti in Somerton.

 

Through this committee, Magana is "going to schools encouraging parents to report anything suspicious."

 

Hollis said he is also working through the committee to encourage apartment managers, neighborhood-watch captains, business leaders, youth leaders and ministers to come up with ways to prevent graffiti.

 

Somerton City Manager Cliff O'Neill said the "goal is to reduce the amount of time the graffiti is seen."

 

One of the challenges in doing that, he said, is paint color. If there is graffiti on city property, the city covers over the graffiti with gray paint within 24 hours. If the graffiti occurs on private property, the city will paint over it for free — but only with the same gray paint.

 

Having only the choice of gray paint on their walls has made some home and business owners reluctant to have the city paint over the graffiti, said O'Neill, so the city is now working to find alternate paint colors.

 

The police will give a presentation on the anti-graffiti project at the city council's meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

 

To report graffiti in Somerton, call 911 or 627-2011.

 

"It's a community issue that affects the whole community. We need those eyes out there to help us," said Hollis.

 

Paige Lauren Deiner can be reached at pdeiner@yumasun.com or 539-6872.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0326azroundup26.html

 

Arizona news briefs

 

Mar. 26, 2005 12:00 AM

 

City wants to paint over graffiti on private land

 

SOMERTON - The city is asking landowner to sign waivers to let workers paint over graffiti on private property.

 

The city saw a fivefold increase in graffiti incidents from 2003 to 2004, from 22 cases to 114 cases, said Police Chief Terry Hollis.

 

Officials plan to go door-to-door next week to seek approval for the waivers.

 

<#==#>

 

odd construction materials. cow's blood used to seal adobe floors in mexican and spanish buildings. yea! can you go down to lowes or home depot and pick up 5 gallons of cow's blood so i can finish sealing this mud floor.

 

http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/11825.html

 

The dirt on restoration

 

Tom Sharpe | The New Mexican

March 23, 2005

 

The oldest public building in the United States is getting a new mud floor -- common in New Mexico and many other parts of the world until a century and a half ago.

 

Richard Connerty of La Puebla is finishing work in a 20-by-25-foot room in the southeastern corner of the Palace of the Governors that was set up to simulate a 19th-century chapel.

 

"We've had a dirt floor in the chapel since the early (1970s)," Louise Stiver, senior curator for the fourth-century-old flagship of the Museum of New Mexico that was used for its first three centuries as New Mexico's seat of government.

 

"Actually, it was never a traditional mud floor," she added. "It was really topsoil that they probably sprinkled water on to make it a little bit hard, but over the years, the floor had started eroding, so we decided it was time to put in a traditional mud floor."

 

Three weeks ago, Connerty began clearing out the old dirt floor to expose a layer of linoleum, in preparation for the first of two coats of mud and straw, to be followed by a final coat of cow's blood as a sealant.

 

The Museum of New Mexico Foundation will pay his firm $3,000 for the work, which should be completed in another week, Stiver said.

 

Connerty, who learned traditional construction methods while restoring old churches as a volunteer for Cornerstones Community Partnerships, said the main advantages of a mud floor is sustainability.

 

"There's no impact on the earth when you're using adobe and mud floors," he said. "It takes very little energy as opposed to cement ... and, frankly, it's not rocket science.

 

It's real low-tech."

 

Mud floors were the standard in New Mexico as well as in most of the rest of the world until the mid-1800s, Connerty said. Today, he said, a billion people in Latin America, Africa and Asia still live on mud floors, with each culture adapting them to local conditions and available resources.

 

For example, linseed oil and turpentine sometimes are used as sealers, but Connerty said he prefers blood, not only because of the rich red color it imparts but because it doesn't emit an odor in the unventilated room. He gets cow's blood from an Espańola slaughter house.

 

Techniques vary widely. Connerty said one area floor maker fills in the cracks that form when the floor dries with different colored grout to get a flagstone effect. Another uses Elmer's Glue. In Africa, he said, sweet-potato-leaf oil and animal manure sometimes are added to the mud, and floors are tamped with the splayed end of a palm leaf.

 

Connerty gets the clay-rich mud he's using from behind the Palace of the Governors, in the pit dug in preparation for construction of the new history museum, and the straw from a contractor who specializes in different lengths of straw for adobe construction.

 

The faux chapel's altar screen, the raised pulpit and a few bultos in a nicho have been covered with plastic to protect them from dust from the construction. When that is over, other artifacts will be returned -- a missal or prayer book, a crucifix, a retablo, tin sconces and images of San Antonio and the Madonna.

 

Traditionally, mud floors were covered with rugs to protect them from wear, especially in areas of high foot traffic. The chapel's floor will be left uncovered, but visitors will be blocked from walking on it. They'll look on from behind a railing where a hands-on exhibit on mud-floor construction will be set up.

 

<#==#>

 

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/01/12/Tampabay/Law_enforcement_offic.shtml

 

Law enforcement officers escape tickets

Most local agencies prefer in-house investigations and discipline to ticketing peers.

 

By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN and SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER

 

Published January 12, 2005

 

Tickets, please

Have you ever observed a law enforcement officer deserving of a traffic ticket?

No. They seem to observe the same rules that we all do.

Yes. I see many infractions that shouldn't go unpunished.

 

TAMPA - You blow through a stop sign, slam into a car and injure the other driver. Automatic traffic ticket, right?

 

Maybe not.

 

Last week, a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy ran a stop sign and rammed another car. The other driver was taken to the hospital.

 

But Deputy Carole Frauenfeld didn't get a ticket.

 

Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the deputy who was at the crash scene told her: "You don't cite people to punish them. You cite them to teach them something. In this case, the deputy knew what she did was wrong."

 

Hillsborough lets deputies decide whether to ticket other officers.

 

Some local agencies, including Tampa and St. Petersburg, go even further, exempting their on-duty officers from traffic tickets in crashes not involving alcohol or other criminal offenses.

 

Instead, they take care of it internally, investigating the crash and deciding whether employees should be disciplined. That gives officers a pass on the things that make civilian drivers grumble: points against their licenses, hefty fines and spikes in insurance rates.

 

Newly elected Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee changed his office's policy last month. It used to be deputies never wrote up their colleagues. Now traffic investigators have that option.

 

Still, he said, there are reasons deputies shouldn't be held to civilian standards.

 

For one thing, their duties are complicated.

 

"There are calls coming across the (deputy's laptop) computer, you have the radio, you have the deputy supposed to be constantly observing what's going on around them with expired tags" and looking for crooks, Gee said. "You have to consider the nature of the job."

 

Then, there's the impact on working relationships. Who wants to issue a ticket, he asked, to the person who might be a backup on your next call? "There is an inherent conflict there," Gee said. "There's no way around it."

 

Last week Tampa police Chief Steve Hogue rear-ended a car as he got onto Interstate 75 from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Hogue shouldered the blame for a four-car fender bender, and the officer investigating the crash gave him a $120 citation for following too closely. But Hogue was not on duty, nor was he on patrol.

 

It is different for on-duty Tampa officers. They don't get traffic tickets for driving errors, but they face potential reprimands, suspensions, fines and the loss of an annual bonus, said spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

 

The Tampa police system mirrors the county's old policy. It keeps internal the investigation of accidents involving on-duty patrol officers.

 

When a collision involves death or serious injury, internal affairs investigates, McElroy said. Otherwise, it is investigated by the police district where the crash occurred. If officers are to blame, they might get a letter of counseling, a written reprimand or a suspension, McElroy said. They also might be ordered to pay a property damage fine of up to $350.

 

"If there's a crash while they are hurrying to get to a burglary, they may not pay the fine," she said. "If they were just driving along and hit someone, they may have to pay the maximum fine."

 

At-fault Tampa patrol officers also can lose their annual safe driver's bonus, which is equal to a full day's pay, for a total of three years.

 

The Florida Highway Patrol began ticketing its troopers about three years ago. Any trooper at fault in a crash gets one, same as the public, said FHP spokesman Larry Coggins.

 

There are some exceptions, Coggins said. For instance, if a trooper is involved in a crash while responding to an emergency call, the situation is reviewed first. But if a trooper on routine patrol rear-ends someone, he's getting a ticket, Coggins said.

 

The FHP also makes itself available to investigate crashes involving officers from other agencies. But troopers make it known that if the officer is at fault, the officer will be ticketed. "So most of them don't invite us to investigate," said Lt. Harold Frear.

 

The general policy of the St. Petersburg Police Department: no tickets. If an officer is involved in an on-duty traffic crash, the details are sent for internal review, and any discipline is metted out in-house, said police spokesman Bill Doniel.

 

Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter erroneously said last week that deputies don't ticket their colleagues because they are self-insured. On Tuesday, she said the insurance is a separate issue.

 

And even if a deputy gets a ticket, he or she still must go before an internal crash review board, said Hillsborough Sheriff Gee. Deputy Frauenfeld faces such a review, he said.

 

Frauenfeld, 43, who is a 15-year veteran with the office, drove through a stop sign at 26th Street and Lake Avenue last week. She wasn't answering a call at the time, Carter said.

 

Still, Gee said, deputies are constantly on the lookout for crime and suspicious behavior, while monitoring radios and computers.

 

Investigators consider those factors at the scene of the crash. But, he added, they also are allowed to cut civilians some slack.

 

"I apply an equal standard there," Gee said. "If I were to say all deputies should get a ticket, I would have to say, "Write all citizens a ticket."'

 

Times staff writer Jamie Thompson contributed to this report.

 

<#==#>

 

these idiots are going to protect us from terrorists?????

 

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/03/27/fbi_slip_sends_cd_back_to_ex_translator/

 

FBI slip sends CD back to ex-translator

Disc had led to worker's arrest

By Michael Levenson, Globe Correspondent  |  March 27, 2005

 

The FBI acknowledged yesterday that it accidentally handed back a compact disc containing classified information to a former translator for the military who served 17 months in jail for illegally removing the disc from the US base in Guantanamo Bay.

 

Agents unwittingly handed the disc back to Ahmed Mehalba when he walked into FBI offices in Boston last week to collect his personal belongings after being released from prison earlier this month, officials said. ''I think they're still trying to figure out what happened, but from what I know it was a blunder," said Assistant US Attorney Michael D. Ricciuti, who prosecuted Mehalba.

 

The disc was in Mehalba's possession for only a few hours before he discovered it. Terrified that he could be arrested again, Mehalba alerted the FBI, said his lawyer, Michael C. Andrews.

 

Agents rushed to collect the disc, and immediately launched an internal investigation into how it ended up in Mehalba's hands, Ricciuti said. The FBI was at first concerned that Mehalba could have copied classified documents off the disc while it was in his possession, Ricciuti said. He added that it was unlikely Mehalba had done so.

 

''I know that's why the bureau jumped on this, but I don't believe so," Ricciuti said. ''I'm actually fairly confident saying it wasn't."

 

Andrews said his client made no copies of the information. ''He never even looked at it," Andrews said. ''He just called me up and the FBI right away."

 

The incident embarrassed the FBI because it involved the same type of mishandling of classified information to which Mehalba had pleaded guilty in January.

 

Mehalba, an Arabic linguist who was under contract with the Pentagon, had been arrested in September 2003 after customs agents at Logan International Airport found the disc among dozens of other CDs in his luggage. A US citizen, he had been returning from his native Egypt, where he had been on leave to visit family.

 

At first he told agents that the discs contained only music and videos. But in January, he pleaded guilty to taking the classified information and to making false statements. He said he had taken the disc so he could work on the files at home, and never intended to disseminate the information. He was sentenced to 20 months, but released from jail March 10 after serving about 17 months.

 

While he was behind bars, the FBI kept Mehalba's belongings in storage, including the disc, about 130 other nonclassified CDs, a backpack, and some clothes, Ricciuti said. Agents copied the classified documents off the disc for analysis, but did not mark it in any special way, to keep it preserved as evidence, he said. The copies, as required, were labeled with bright red stickers marked ''Secret," he said.

 

 Because the original lacked any special label, a clerk who handles prisoners' belongings probably handed the classified disc to Mehalba when he reclaimed his items on Tuesday.

 

Ricciuti called it a case of simple inattentiveness. ''I would be surprised if there's gross negligence here," he said. ''It looks like it's just a mistake."

 

The FBI decided to make the incident public yesterday, in a statement released by Special Agent in Charge Kenneth W. Kaiser, after the agency received calls from reporters, Ricciuti said. The disclosure was all the more nettlesome because the FBI and US attorney's office had taken pride in their prosecution of Mehalba's case.

 

In interviews at the time, Ricciuti had stressed that handling classified information is ''serious business" because ''disclosure can cause grave harm to the United States."

 

Yesterday, Ricciuti said the FBI was taking its own apparent mishandling seriously.

 

''I'm sure this is not the kind of thing they're proud of, but I think we need to be fair," Ricciuti said. ''They made an error and they're being upfront about it. They're being open, they're being candid, they got on this immediately, and that's a good thing."

 

Mehalba, who now lives on the North Shore and has begun working in auto dealership, made the discovery when he returned home, put some music on the stereo, and began to examine his belongings, Andrews said.

 

''He was just going through his discs, you know how you would if you've been away from your things for a long time," Andrews said.

 

Taped to the top of a plastic spindle holding Mehalba's discs was the classified disc whose mishandling had transformed him from a linguist translating the interrogations of suspected terrorists to an inmate serving time in the Essex County Correctional Facility, Andrews said.

 

''When he discovered it, it was obviously bewildering and upsetting to him because he had been released from jail a week earlier because he had possession of this," Andrews said. ''He was very nervous. His first reaction was he left a voice message for me right away, and contacted the FBI right away."

 

On Wednesday, Andrews said, the FBI informed him that no charges would be brought against his client.

 

Mehalba could not be reached yesterday.

 

Ricciuti said he was proud of the way the man he had prosecuted acted after discovering the disc. ''He didn't compound by it making it worse, so it's a good thing, ironically," he said.

 

He said the FBI was trying to ensure that its agents follow the rules for the handling of classified information.

 

''This certainly wasn't an intentional error," Ricciuti said.

 

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

 

http://www.newkerala.com/news-daily/news/features.php?action=fullnews&id=91000

 

FBI hands secret disc to released prisoner

 

[U.S. News] BOSTON, March 27 : The FBI admits an Arab translator convicted of taking a classified disc was handed the disc with his personal property when he was released from prison.

 

The Boston Globe reports agents learned of the blunder from the former translator himself.Ahmed Mehalba immediately called his lawyer and the Boston FBI office when he discovered the disc with his other CDs.

 

Mehalba, who worked as a translator for the Army at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, served 17 months for removing the classified disc from the base.When he pleaded guilty, he said he had taken the disc home to work on material there and it got mixed in with other discs and CDs.

 

Customs officials at Logan Airport discovered the offending disc in Mehalba's luggage when he returned from a family visit to Egypt.

 

The Globe said agents copied information from the disc and marked the copies "Secret," but did not put anything on the original.A clerk apparently put it with other items that had been taken from Mehalba when he was arrested.

 

- -- Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

 

<#==#>

 

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/0327lowenthal0327.html

 

Ex-offenders should have their voting rights restored

 

Gabriel "Jack" Chin and Gary Lowenthal

Mar. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

 

Michelle Convie is a social worker, mother and grandmother. She owns property, pays taxes and works hard at a shelter for homeless women and children.

 

Because of two marijuana-possession convictions, both of them more than 20 years old, Michelle cannot vote, serve on a jury or hold elected office.

 

Michelle is not alone. Roughly 5 million Americans are barred from full citizenship even though they fully paid their debt to society.

 

As President Bush reported in his 2004 State of the Union address, "America is the land of second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life."

 

House Bill 2490, introduced by Rep. Ted Downing, D-Tucson, would restore the right of Michelle and countless other Arizonans to be responsible citizens.

 

All former inmates would automatically regain their voting rights once they completed their punishment and paid all fines and fees.

 

They would still have to petition a judge to regain the rights to carry or possess firearms after a suitable waiting period.

 

Existing law is confusing. First-time felons in Arizona have their rights automatically restored when they complete their sentence.

 

People with two or more convictions must wait two years and then must ask a judge to reinstate full citizenship.

 

That judge may choose to deny reinstatement. The application process is poorly understood, even by court personnel and prison officials. The law does not give judges a standard to apply. No office helps people navigate a complex legal process. This puts basic civil rights out of reach for many average ex-offenders.

 

HB 2490 would eliminate these obstacles. This would bring Arizona law into line with 38 states that have a similar or less-restrictive policy, including California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Only ex-offenders who stay out of trouble could get their rights back. Anyone returning to prison would lose their right to vote.

 

This is the right thing to do, and it promises to reduce crime. A study sponsored by the National Science Foundation, among other research, found that people who have their rights restored are less likely to reoffend than people who are isolated from the mainstream, law-abiding community.

 

These people paid their debt to society. They served their time and paid their restitution. If the goal of our laws is to hold people accountable, restoring a person's civil rights makes good sense. It once again lets them fully participate in the affairs of their community.

 

Arizonans pride themselves on self-sufficiency. We support the rights of people to make decisions and to have a say in their own lives.

 

Denying them such a right conflicts with our American values of compassion and equality. It undermines the basic democratic principles of our nation and state. We call on Arizona's legislators to stand up for true democracy and give the bill a fair hearing.

 

Gabriel "Jack" Chin is the Chester H. Smith Professor of Law and co-director of the Law, Criminal Justice and Security Program at the University of Arizona. Gary Lowenthal is a professor at the ASU College of Law.

 

<#==#>

 

i suspect that it was a valid search warrent but a fishing expedition looking for dirt on michael jackson.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0327jackson27.html

 

Oddities found in '03 search of Neverland

 

John M. Broder

New York Times

Mar. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

 

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - At Michael Jackson's ranch, Neverland Valley, wine and liquor are hidden in an underground room down a set of stairs concealed by a jukebox on wheels in the large video-game arcade.

 

The main house has several rooms devoted to toys and dolls, including a life-size model of a child in a Boy Scout uniform and models of Batman, Darth Vader and Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. Disney characters and cherubs populate the house and gardens. Jackson kept in his bedroom a lifelike mannequin, which someone had lewdly defaced with a marker, of an 8-year-old girl said to be a relative.

 

Jackson's trial on child-molesting charges has provided jurors and spectators with an intimate look into some of the hidden corners of his 2,800-acre Eden in the Santa Ynez Valley.

 

Over Jackson's bed is a print of The Last Supper. At the foot of his bed is a crib for his youngest child, Prince Michael II, also known as "Blanket," he of the infamous balcony dangling incident. In Jackson's nightstand, police found family photographs and pornographic magazines. Sexually explicit materials were also found in his bathroom, a downstairs closet and in his library, which his lawyer said contained thousands of volumes. Records of visits to pornographic Web sites were recovered from three of the 14 computers seized at the estate.

 

Some of the reading interest in the Jackson household runs to what prosecutors delicately call "teen-themed" material, with titles like Barely Legal or Finally Legal that show female models who appear to be well younger than 18.

 

But the courtroom got a moment of rare comic relief this week when prosecutors projected the cover of one sex magazine titled Over 50.

 

All this material and hundreds of other pieces of evidence were seized on Nov. 18, 2003, when 69 detectives, investigators and sheriff's deputies descended on Neverland to serve an expansive search warrant. Helicopters hovered as the team combed through and videotaped every nook of the estate, staying all day and into the night. Jackson turned himself in two days later and was arrested, fingerprinted and photographed.

 

Since his trial began four weeks ago, Jackson has sat in the courtroom for hours of testimony in evident physical and mental pain as his lavish world of fantasy has been unearthed and publicly cataloged.

 

He has been charged with four counts of child molesting, one count of attempted child molesting, four counts of administering alcohol to a minor to aid in child abuse and a count of conspiracy to kidnap and falsely imprison the family of the boy who raised the accusations. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million bond.

 

Friends, relatives and a bodyguard with a large black umbrella accompany Jackson to court. His parents, Katherine and Joe, attend almost every day. His mother wears a perpetually careworn look; his father wears alligator shoes and a scowl.

 

Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., lead lawyer for Jackson, petitioned the judge to allow jurors to tour Neverland, saying the prosecution had unfairly depicted the ranch as a pedophile's paradise, a candy-coated lure for unsuspecting children.

 

"So much of this case involves what the nature of Neverland is," Mesereau pleaded in court on March 18 outside the presence of the jury. "I don't think there's been an alleged crime scene that more cries out for a jury view than this."

 

He said of the prosecution, "They're trying to portray Neverland as a criminal enterprise or criminal location from A to Z." Mesereau said that Neverland was, in fact, a genius' castle, a wonderful escape from reality and a haven for thousands of ill and underprivileged children over the years.

 

Judge Rodney Melville of Santa Barbara Superior Court denied the request. "We have more than adequate evidence," Melville said.

 

<#==#>

 

whats the big deal. they dont try police officers who murder civilians either?

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0327prisoners27.html

 

Army won't try 17 tied to Iraqi deaths

 

Associated Press

Mar. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

 

WASHINGTON - Army officials have decided not to prosecute 17 soldiers involved in the deaths of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a military report says.

 

Military investigators recommended courts-martial for the soldiers in the cases of three prisoner deaths for charges ranging from making false statements to murder. Officers rejected those recommendations, ruling that the soldiers lawfully used force, did not understand the rules for using force or there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

 

Eleven Army soldiers are facing murder or other charges involving the deaths of detainees in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Army Criminal Investigation Command released a report Friday detailing the cases of 27 detainees killed in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan between August 2002 and November 2004. advertisement

 

Twenty-four cases encompassed the 27 deaths; 16 investigations have been closed and eight are open, according to the Army report released Friday. Five cases were referred to other agencies, including deaths involving Navy and Marine troops and the CIA.

 

"We take each and every death very seriously and are committed and sworn to investigating each case with the utmost professionalism and thoroughness," said Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Command.

 

Army investigators turn over their recommendations to commanders of the soldiers involved. Those commanders can decide whether to bring criminal charges against the accused.

 

In one case, commanders decided not to file criminal charges against 11 soldiers involved in the death of a former Iraqi army lieutenant colonel in January 2004.

 

Investigators decided there was enough evidence for negligent homicide charges against two soldiers and for lesser charges, ranging from making false statements to assault, against nine others.

 

The accused soldiers' commander decided that the soldiers were justified in using force against the Iraqi because he was being aggressive. The case is closed.

 

In another case, Army special-forces commanders decided not to charge a soldier accused of shooting to death a detainee in Afghanistan in 2002. The commanders decided there wasn't enough evidence, the New York Times reported Saturday.

 

The third case involved a soldier who killed an Iraqi detainee in September 2003. That commander decided the soldier was not well informed about the rules for using force against prisoners.

 

One case where soldiers are facing courts-martial involves the death of an Iraqi army major general who was stuffed headfirst into a sleeping bag and suffocated. Four 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldiers are awaiting hearings on whether they will be tried on murder charges.

 

Another case involves three killings in the Sadr City sector of Baghdad in August 2004, all involving soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division who allegedly shot the Iraqis in search operations. Two soldiers have pleaded guilty at courts-martial and charges against two soldiers are pending courts-martial, the Army said.

 

In one of the Sadr City cases, two soldiers have been convicted of murder. One is Staff Sgt. Johnny M. Horne, of Winston-Salem, N.C., who pleaded guilty Dec. 10 to killing a critically wounded 16-year-old Iraqi on Aug. 18. Horne was sentenced to three years in prison, a reduction in rank to private, total forfeiture of wages and a dishonorable discharge.

 

The other soldier convicted in the same killing was Staff Sgt. Cardenas J. Alban of Inglewood, Calif. He was convicted Jan. 14 and sentenced to one year in prison, a bad-conduct discharge and reduction in rank to private.

 

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Bush dropping his drawl

Speech is more precise this term

 

John D. McKinnon

Wall Street Journal

Mar. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

 

WASHINGTON - At a late-afternoon Paris news conference in May 2002, a jet-lagged President Bush rushed through sentences, mangled some words and teased an American journalist for asking President Jacques Chirac a question in French. Asked about street demonstrations protesting his presence, Bush drawled: "The only thing I know to do is speak my mind. . . . A lotta people on the continent o' Europe appreciate that."

 

Last month, addressing European leaders in Brussels, Bush spoke precisely, with only traces of his twang. He paid homage to the continent's political legacy, such as the Magna Carta, and pronounced the name of Albert Camus.

 

Linguists and watchers of Bush say it is evidence of a subtle but unmistakable change the 43rd president has undergone in speaking style. He is enunciating more clearly and dotting his remarks with more literary references. Gone is much of the verbal swagger, which produced such memorable first-term phrases as "Bring 'em on" (said of Iraqi insurgents) and "dead or alive" (said of catching Osama bin Laden). Some linguists say they detect a dialing-down of Bush's Texas accent, at least in his formal speeches. advertisement

 

The more careful speaking style also has meant fewer verbal slip-ups. Jacob Weisberg, who filled four books, numerous Web entries and a calendar series with Bush malapropisms, says his supply of new material has slowed to a trickle.

 

"In a press conference in his first year I might get five" bloopers, says Weisberg, editor of Slate, the online magazine. "Now I'm pretty lucky if I get one or two."

 

In his 2004 and 2005 State of the Union addresses, Bush reported that the "state of our union is confident and strong." But in 2004, the word "our" sounded like "are," a typical pronunciation for Bush. In this year's address, "our" sounded more like "hour."

 

Adding the G's

 

And in a word like "my," which Bush often pronounced somewhat like "mah" in the past, he partly reformed this "non-gliding vowel," as linguists call it. In his 2005 speech, Bush generally pronounced the words ending in "ing" without dropping the "g," unlike in 2004. He largely overcame his tendency to say "hunnerd" for "hundred," and started pronouncing the word "government" more precisely. Still proliferating, though, are pronunciations of "nuclear" as "nu-kyoo-lar."

 

Bush may be weighing his legacy factor. When presidents are mindful of the history books, their style sometimes is different than when they're trying to win elections.

 

His advisers say Bush is speaking with an eye to setting a different tone for his second term, although they say they are not trying to play up his intellectual side.

 

"We made a concerted effort (to change the tone), particularly with the start of the second term," says Dan Bartlett, a senior adviser. After the disagreements of the first term, especially with European allies, "the goal was to say, 'Let's turn the page.' And the president went out of his way to demonstrate that he was willing to turn the page. At different times we find different ways to communicate that."

 

The makeover is far from extreme. In his less-formal appearances, Bush still invokes colloquialisms. The baby-boom generation, he often says in talking about Social Security, "is fixin' to retire." But in a speech Tuesday night, he said "getting ready to retire."

 

Chroniclers of Bush's miscues say there are still enough to keep their cottage industry puttering along. But many are just verbal foot faults, some coming when Bush tires.

 

A slip Weisberg posted on Slate three weeks ago was, "I believe we are called to do the hard work to make our communities and quality of life a better place."

 

Missing for a while have been howlers, such as one in September 2004, when, arguing for his medical-malpractice overhaul, Bush said, "Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

 

<#==#>

 

mixing government and religion. Charles must atone for committing adultery

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0328prince-charles28.html

 

Charles is told to apologize to ex of fiancee

 

Associated Press

Mar. 28, 2005 12:00 AM

 

LONDON - A high-ranking Church of England official has called for Prince Charles to apologize to the ex-husband of his fiancee Camilla Parker Bowles, a newspaper reported Sunday.

 

Bishop David Stancliffe said church rules dictated Prince Charles must atone for committing adultery and he should apologize to Andrew Parker Bowles for breaking up his marriage, the Sunday Times newspaper said.

 

Stancliffe, a church authority on rules of worship, said the apology should come before the April 8 wedding and should include "making good of any hurts, the restoration of relationships and serious attention being paid to the relationships fractured or damaged by misconduct."

 

He did not say whether he thought the apology should be in person, by letter or by other means.

 

A spokesman for Charles' office would not comment.

 

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will be married in a civil ceremony in the Town Hall at Windsor, west of London, followed by a service of prayer and dedication at the Windsor castle chapel.

 

It is unprecedented for an heir to the throne to marry outside of a church, but the Church of England, of which Charles will be supreme governor when he is king, has qualms about remarriage for divorcees.

 

The forthcoming marriage has upset some members of the church, which frowns on church remarriages for divorcees whose spouses are still alive.

 

Camilla Parker Bowles, who was blamed in Britain's tabloid press for the breakdown of Charles' marriage to Princess Diana, divorced army officer Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995.

 

Their divorce came after Charles admitted in a TV documentary in 1994 that he had strayed from his vows, but insisted infidelity happened only after the marriage was "irretrievably broken down, us having both tried."

 

It was assumed, but never confirmed, that Parker Bowles was the other woman.

 

Prince Charles divorced Princess Diana in 1996, a year before she died in a car crash.

 

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http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0328taser-siebert.html

 

Firm paid Phoenix councilman to push stun guns

Councilman got $3,500 from Taser

 

Robert Anglen

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 28, 2005 12:00 AM

 

A council member who pushed to make Phoenix the first major city in the country to arm all of its police officers with Tasers was paid $3,500 last year to help Taser sell stun guns to another city.

 

Law and Public Safety Committee Chairman Dave Siebert, who has voted to spend more than $1.2 million in taxpayer money on the electric stun guns since 2001, was hired by Taser last summer to make a sales presentation to the San Francisco Police Department.

 

State law prohibits city council members from receiving compensation for services rendered as a public official. The city's ethics policy warns officials "to be wary of accepting gifts or benefits from individuals doing business with the city."

 

Siebert said he believes in the stun gun and did everything he could to make sure his involvement with Taser was aboveboard. He got approval from the City Attorney's Office, excused himself from any future votes on Taser and declared the payment in a January financial disclosure.

 

"I did everything in my power, except say 'no.' If I didn't believe in the product, I wouldn't have gone there," he said. "I would like to think that it has saved lives in the city of Phoenix."

 

Siebert's relationship with Taser was disclosed as questions are raised in Arizona and nationally over Taser's financial influence on municipal employees who are involved with purchases of the stun guns. In Chandler and Minneapolis, police officers have been criticized for their ties to the company.

 

Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle said Siebert is the only council member the company has paid as a consultant.

 

"The city of San Francisco desired the input of a major city council member's experience with a large deployment of (Tasers)," he said.

 

The company has paid hundreds of police officers to be instructors and given stock options to some officers in return for their support of the gun.

 

Taser Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith has said that training program has been responsible for the company's success in sales to police departments.

 

Critics say payments to city employees have created a conflict of interest, with officers promoting the stun gun and repeating Taser's assurances of safety while minimizing risks.

 

The potential conflicts "have the direct consequence of shielding the company from scrutiny," said John Crew, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in northern California who specializes in police practices.

 

"A major problem with these stun guns has been the exaggerated claims of safety coming from Taser . . . And they have been using police officers and other public officials to tout the safety of their stun guns."

 

Scottsdale-based Taser International has armed nearly a third of America's 18,000 law enforcement agencies with stun guns. For years, Taser claimed its weapon never caused a death or serious injury. But an ongoing investigation by The Arizona Republic has linked the stun gun to at least 12 deaths nationwide and to the injuries of several police officers.

 

Those deaths have left cities nationwide rethinking Taser purchases and deployments as police departments, city council members and state legislators raise concerns about how the gun is used and the need for independent medical information on the stun gun.

 

Smith maintains that Tasers have never caused a death or serious injury and cites more than 90 studies by universities, the military and police departments that he says support Taser's safety claim.

 

San Francisco effort

 

When the San Francisco Police Commission considered buying the stun guns in 2004, Siebert was hired by Taser to promote the weapon and address any concerns based on his experience with the stun guns in Phoenix.

 

"In the middle of last year, (Taser) asked me to tell our story to the San Francisco police," Siebert said.

 

He said he did not tell the commission during public meetings that he was being paid by Taser, but, "it was no secret that I was helping Taser. That was very clear."

 

Siebert said he made two trips to San Francisco with Taser officials that involved meeting privately with some commissioners and participating in a public sales presentation. He said he agreed to take the job only if Taser agreed to let him talk about the safeguards Phoenix put in place to control the gun's use.

 

"We were cautious," he said, citing the department's extensive training and review procedures. "We weren't following someone else's lead. We were the leader."

 

San Francisco Police Commissioner Peter Keane said Siebert and other Taser officials emphasized the stun gun's safety while minimizing deaths and injuries.

 

"Their position was that the device was completely safe," said Keane, a law professor and former dean at Golden Gate University. "We found it a little bit curious that a sitting city official was being brought along as part of the sales pitch."

 

Keane and others at the meeting said Siebert emphasized his position as a Phoenix City Council member.

 

San Francisco did not buy any stun guns as the result of the presentation.

 

Siebert said that he was paid on an hourly basis and that his financial relationship with Taser began in June and ended in October. He said he did not receive stock options and has not worked for Taser since.

 

Acting City Attorney Gary Verburg said Siebert's position with Taser did not violate any state statutes or city policies. "He has done everything in compliance with the statute," Verburg said. "He has declared a conflict and refused to participate in any decision involving Taser."

 

He said the law doesn't dictate where you can work.

 

The city's ethics policy cautions public officials about conflicts: "You should not be involved in any activity which might be seen as conflicting with the responsibilities of your position. The people of Phoenix have a right to expect that you act with independence and fairness toward all groups and not favor a few individuals or yourself."

 

The state Attorney General's Office and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office investigate allegations of conflicts, which can carry criminal penalties.

 

Tim Delaney, director of the non-profit Center for Leadership, Ethics and Public Service in Phoenix, said there are gray areas in the state's conflict-of-interest laws.

 

Delaney, who has served as Arizona solicitor general and a chief deputy attorney general, says officials have a right to make a living while in public office. But, "you don't want them to make a living off of public service," he said.

 

Siebert publicly disclosed his financial relationship with Taser in a January filing that requires city officials to document assets, property, business interests and any compensation over $1,000 during the previous year.

 

Siebert, 43, was elected to the City Council in 1995 and represents District 1, which includes most of northwest Phoenix.

 

Siebert's long-time support of Taser is a matter of public record. He took credit for bringing the stun gun to Phoenix in a 2003 newsletter to constituents: "At my request, the Police Department introduced the (Taser) in a pilot program as a less-lethal weapon. During a nine-month period, when the Taser was used, the number of officers and suspects injured from use of force decreased dramatically."

 

Siebert's newsletter borrowed language verbatim from Taser's sales brochures and described the stun gun as "a non-injury-causing weapon."

 

At the time, Siebert was running for re-election and Taser executives and their spouses contributed at least $1,750 to his campaign, according to campaignreports for 2003.

 

Public records show that Siebert first asked the Police Department to look into Tasers in 2001. Ultimately, the city purchased 1,348 stun guns, making Phoenix the nation's largest police department to arm all of its officers with the gun.

 

Taser officials have highlighted Phoenix as a role model for other departments considering purchasing the stun gun. They point to Phoenix in sales presentations, press releases and interviews, citing the reduction in police shootings and officer and suspect injuries after the Taser deployment.

 

Taser's defense

 

Taser defends its payment to Siebert and police officers across the country. Active duty officers are often paid to act as trainers for companies that sell weapons to police departments.

 

"It is an industry standard and an officer safety issue that police equipment providers utilize active duty police trainers as consultants to provide training," Tuttle said, adding that such trainers "do not attempt to sell or market the stun gun."

 

The officers, called "master instructors," are paid as much as $450 to host a two-day training session for other law enforcement agencies. In some cases, those master instructors have been given stock options.

 

In December, Minneapolis Sgt. Ron Bellendier quit his department after questions were raised about his role in Taser purchases while moonlighting as one of Taser's master instructors. The police chief said Bellendier, now a sales manager for Taser in the Midwest, did not have permission to work for Taser.

 

In Arizona, a former Chandler police officer was the subject of a conflict-of-interest investigation after the City Council spent $193,000 on Tasers based on his recommendation two years ago.

 

The officer, Jim Halsted, now is a regional sales manager for Taser. Minutes from the March 27, 2003, Chandler City Council meeting show that Halsted made a presentation and urged purchase of the stun guns.

 

"Sergeant Halsted also commented on the medical safety aspects of the equipment and reported that the Tasers will not result in any physical injury . . . (Halsted) reported that not one death has been attributed to the use of this equipment."

 

Halsted received stock options, payments and a trip to Hawaii from Taser. The city's investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

 

Siebert said he did not know about the Chandler or Minneapolis cases. But he said his situation is different.

 

He said he has no doubts that Tasers have been involved in deaths and injuries and thinks Taser should make all of that public. He also said the police have benefited from the stun gun and his job as a councilman is to protect the public and officers. "It is good and healthy to have a debate. I still believe, with the proper training . . . it is an effective tool."

 

<#==#>

 

http://nytimes.com/2005/03/28/politics/28weapons.html?hp&ex=1112072400&en=b63cc5e6c827507f&ei=5094&partner=homepage

 

An Army Program to Build a High-Tech Force Hits Cost Snags

By TIM WEINER

 

Published: March 28, 2005

 

The Army's plan to transform itself into a futuristic high-technology force has become so expensive that some of the military's strongest supporters in Congress are questioning the program's costs and complexity.

 

Army officials said Saturday that the first phase of the program, called Future Combat Systems, could run to $145 billion. Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said the "technological bridge to the future" would equip 15 brigades of roughly 3,000 soldiers, or about one-third of the force the Army plans to field, over a 20-year span.

 

That price tag, larger than past estimates publicly disclosed by the Army, does not include a projected $25 billion for the communications network needed to connect the future forces. Nor does it fully account for Army plans to provide Future Combat weapons and technologies to forces beyond those first 15 brigades.

 

Now some of the military's advocates in Congress are asking how to pay the bill.

 

"We're dealing today with a train wreck," Representative Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said at a March 16 Congressional hearing on the cost and complexity of Future Combat Systems.

 

"We're left with impossible decisions," said Mr. Weldon, a strong supporter of Pentagon spending who was lamenting the trillion-dollar costs for the major weapons systems the Pentagon is building. One of those decisions, he warned, might cut back Future Combat.

 

The Army sees Future Combat, the most expensive weapons program it has ever undertaken, as a seamless web of 18 different sets of networked weapons and military robots. The program is at the heart of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's campaign to transform the Army into a faster, lighter force in which stripped-down tanks could be put on a transport plane and flown into battle, and information systems could protect soldiers of the future as heavy armor has protected them in the past.

 

Army officials say the task is a technological challenge as complicated as putting an astronaut on the moon. They call Future Combat weapons, which may take more than a decade to field, crucial for a global fight against terror.

 

But the bridge to the future remains a blueprint. Army officials issued a stop-work order in January for the network that would link Future Combat weapons, citing its failure to progress. They said this month that they did not know if they could build a tank light enough to fly.

 

The Army is asking Congress to approve Future Combat while it is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan whose costs, according to the Congressional Research Service, now exceed $275 billion. Future Combat is one of the biggest items in the Pentagon's plans to build more than 70 major weapons systems at a cost of more than $1.3 trillion.

 

The Army has canceled two major weapons programs, the Crusader artillery system and the Comanche helicopter, "to protect funding for the Future Combat System," said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and a member of the Armed Services Committee. "That is why we have to get the F.C.S. program right."

 

David M. Walker, the comptroller general of the United States, said in an interview that the Pentagon's future arsenal was unaffordable and Congress needed "to make some choices now."

 

"There is a substantial gap between what the Pentagon is seeking in weapons systems and what we will be able to afford and sustain," said Mr. Walker, who oversees the Government Accountability Office, the budget watchdog of Congress. "We are not going to be able to afford all of this."

 

He added, "Every dollar we spend on a want today is a dollar we won't be able to spend on a need tomorrow."

 

Paul L. Francis, the acquisition and sourcing management director for the accountability office, told Congress that the Army was building Future Combat Systems without the data it needed to guide it. "If everything goes as planned, the program will attain the level of knowledge in 2008 that it should have had before it started in 2003," Mr. Francis said in written testimony. "But things are not going as planned."

 

He warned that Future Combat Systems, in its early stages of research and development, was showing signs typical of multibillion-dollar weapons programs that cost far more than expected and deliver fewer weapons than promised. Future Combat is a network of 53 crucial technologies, he said, and 52 are unproven.

 

Brig. Gen. Charles A. Cartwright, deputy director for the Army research and development command, said in an interview that Future Combat was a work in progress, evolving in an upward spiral from the drawing board to the assembly line.

 

"We are working through the affordability," General Cartwright said. He acknowledged that the Army's cost estimates could spiral upward as well.

 

The Army's publicly disclosed cost estimates for Future Combat stood at $92 billion last month. That excluded research and development, which the G.A.O. says will run to $30 billion. Mr. Boyce, the Army spokesman, said on Saturday that Future Combat costs were estimated at $25 billion for research and development and from $6.1 billion to $8 billion for each of 15 future brigades, or as high as $145 billion.

 

The Army wants Future Combat to be a smaller, faster force than the one now fighting in Iraq. Tanks, mobile cannons and personnel carriers would be made so light that they could be flown to a war zone. But first they must be stripped of heavy armor. In place of armor, American soldiers in combat would be protected by information systems, so they could see and kill the enemy before being seen and killed, Army officials say.

 

Future Combat soldiers, weapons and robots are to be linked by a $25 billion web, Joint Tactical Radio Systems, known as JTRS (pronounced "jitters"). The network would transmit the battlefield information intended to protect soldiers. It is not included in the Future Combat budget.

 

If JTRS does not work, Future Combat will fail, General Cartwright said. The Army halted production on the first set of JTRS radios in January, saying they were not progressing as planned.

 

"The principle of replacing mass with information is threatened," Mr. Francis said in an interview. "Now you'd have light vehicles fighting the same way as the current force, without the protection. This is one reason why we don't know yet if Future Combat Systems will work."

 

Another factor is the weight of the new weapons. Future Combat's tanks and mobile cannons, all built on similar frames, were supposed to weigh no more than 19 tons each. At that weight, they could be flown to a war zone in a few days, rather than taking weeks or months to deploy.

 

They will weigh "less than 50 tons, perhaps less than 30 tons," Claude M. Bolton Jr., the Army's acquisition executive, told Congress at the March 16 hearing. "Will it be 20 tons or 19? I don't know the answer to that."

 

That doubt may damage a conceptual underpinning for Future Combat: the ability to deploy armed forces quickly in a crisis. Unless the weapons are as light as advertised, they will have to arrive in a theater of war by ship.

 

Boeing, best-known for making commercial aircraft and military space systems, is designing Future Combat Systems in the role of lead systems integrator, acting as architect and general contractor. It is also responsible for the JTRS radios.

 

Boeing is being paid $21 billion through 2014 for its work on Future Combat Systems. "It's certainly a key element of our defense business," said Dennis Muilenburg, the vice president and general manager for Future Combat Systems at Boeing. The Army's Future Combat contract with Boeing, which has suffered several Pentagon contracting scandals in the last few years, exempts the company from financial disclosures demanded under the federal Truth in Negotiations Act.

 

The challenge for the Army and Boeing is to build "an entirely new Army, reconfigured to perform the global policing mission," said Gordon Adams, a former director for national security spending at the Office of Management and Budget, "and that is enormously expensive."

 

Mr. Rumsfeld told the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee last month about the challenge of remaking an Army in the middle of a war. "Abraham Lincoln once compared reorganizing the Union Army during the Civil War to bailing out the Potomac River with a teaspoon," he said. "I hope and trust that what we are proposing to accomplish will not be that difficult."

 

<#==#>

 

http://nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Scotus-Death-Penalty.html?hp&ex=1112072400&en=398c8bf1fbf86c70&ei=5094&partner=homepage

 

Supreme Court Examines Rights of Foreigners on Death Row

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Published: March 28, 2005

 

Filed at 9:37 a.m. ET

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is considering whether Texas and other states can execute 51 Mexicans who say they were improperly denied legal help from their consulates, a dispute testing the effect of international law in U.S. death penalty cases.

 

Justices were scheduled to hear arguments Monday in the case of Jose Medellin, who says he is entitled to a federal court hearing on whether his rights were violated when a Texas court tried and sentenced him to death in 1994 without giving him consular access.

 

The case, which has attracted worldwide attention, is seen as a test of how much weight the Supreme Court will give in domestic death penalty cases to the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, in The Hague, which ruled last year that the 51 convictions violated the 1963 Vienna Convention.

 

It comes amid a growing divide on the Supreme Court over the role of international opinion to support decisions interpreting the U.S. Constitution. Last month, justices ruled 5-4 to outlaw the death penalty for juvenile criminals, citing in part the weight of international views against the practice.

 

In 1969, the Senate ratified the Vienna Convention, which requires consular access for Americans detained abroad and foreigners arrested in the United States. The Constitution states that U.S. treaties ``shall be the supreme law of the land,'' but does not make clear who interprets them.

 

The case also pits the authority of state courts against the Bush administration, which in a surprise move last month ordered states to comply with the ICJ ruling and hold new hearings. At the same time, the administration said it was withdrawing from a section of the treaty so that the ICJ could no longer hear U.S. disputes.

 

Texas argues that Medellin is procedurally barred under the Constitution from federal relief because he didn't raise his claims at his state trial. As a result, it says, the state court judgment should stand regardless of the orders from President Bush and the ICJ.

 

``Whether the president has authority to issue such a broad determination is far from clear,'' Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a recent filing. Any assertion that the presidential order ``is somehow sufficiently authoritative to pre-empt long-standing state criminal laws ... is utterly unprecedented,'' he said.

 

The administration, arguing that it is a president's decision -- and not the judicial branch's -- to determine whether the United States should comply with international law, said it decided that new state hearings were appropriate.

 

``Compliance serves to protect the interest of United States citizens abroad, promotes the effective conduct of foreign relations and underscores the United States' commitment in the international community in the rule of law,'' acting Solicitor General Paul Clement wrote.

 

Last year, the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas, ruling that federal relief for Medellin was barred because he failed at trial to file objections that Mexico was not told of his arrest. It cited a 1998 Supreme Court case that suggested treaties were subject to each country's procedural rules.

 

Medellin was one of five gang members sentenced to death for raping and murdering Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, in Houston in 1993.

 

Justices were told that Medellin's court-appointed lawyer was suspended from practicing law for ethics violations during the case, and he failed to call any witnesses during the guilt phase of the trial. Lawyers for Mexico say the country would have made sure Medellin had a competent lawyer had it known about the 1994 trial.

 

Medellin is supported in his appeal by dozens of countries, legal groups and human rights organizations, as well as former American diplomats and the European Union.

 

After Bush ordered new hearings for the Mexicans, Medellin's attorneys asked the Supreme Court this month to put case on hold so they could pursue relief in state court first. But justices did not act on that request, allowing arguments to proceed Monday.

 

According to Amnesty International, the Mexicans on death row affected by the ICJ ruling are held in nine states, although some have been recently commuted to life sentences. The states are California (27); Texas (15); Illinois (3); and Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Arizona and Arkansas (1 each).

 

In all, 118 foreigners from 32 countries are on death rows in the United States.

 

The case is Medellin v. Dretke, 04-5928. A ruling is expected by late June.

 

On the Net:

 

Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourtus.gov

 

<#==#>

 

sadly thes laws give special rights to government buerocrats in the military and allows them to avoid paying their bills on time.

 

BILLS IN THE KNAPSACK: A LAW GETS LOST

Some Creditors Make Illegal Demands on Active-Duty Soldiers

By DIANA B. HENRIQUES

 

Published: March 28, 2005

 

Sgt. John J. Savage III, an Army reservist, was about to climb onto a troop transport plane for a flight to Iraq from Fayetteville, N.C., when his wife called with alarming news: "They're foreclosing on our house."

 

Sergeant Savage recalled, "There was not a thing I could do; I had to jump on the plane and boil for 22 hours."

 

He had reason to be angry. A longstanding federal law strictly limits the ability of his mortgage company and other lenders to foreclose against active-duty service members.

 

But Sergeant Savage's experience was not unusual. Though statistics are scarce, court records and interviews with military and civilian lawyers suggest that Americans heading off to war are sometimes facing distracting and demoralizing demands from financial companies trying to collect on obligations that, by law, they cannot enforce.

 

Some cases involve nationally prominent companies like Wells Fargo and Citigroup, though both say they are committed to strict compliance with the law.

 

The problem, most military law specialists say, is that too many lenders, debt collectors, landlords, lawyers and judges are unaware of the federal statute or do not fully understand it.

 

The law, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, protects all active-duty military families from foreclosures, evictions and other financial consequences of military service. The Supreme Court has ruled that its provisions must "be liberally construed to protect those who have been obliged to drop their own affairs to take up the burdens of the nation."

 

Yet the relief act has not seemed to work in recent cases like these:

 

¶At Fort Hood, Tex., a soldier's wife was sued by a creditor trying to collect a debt owed by her and her husband, who was serving in Baghdad at the time. A local judge ruled against her, saying she had defaulted, even though specialists say the relief act forbids default judgments against soldiers serving overseas and protects their spouses as well.

 

¶At Camp Pendleton, Calif., more than a dozen marines returned from Iraq to find that their cars and other possessions had been improperly sold to cover unpaid storage and towing fees. The law forbids such seizures without a court order.

 

¶In northern Ohio, Wells Fargo served a young Army couple with foreclosure papers despite the wife's repeated efforts to negotiate new repayment terms with the bank. Wells Fargo said later that it had been unaware of the couple's military status. The foreclosure was dropped after a military lawyer intervened.

 

Little-Known Legislation

 

The relief act provides a broad spectrum of protections to service members, their spouses and their dependents. The interest rate on debts incurred before enlistment, for example, must be capped at 6 percent if military duty has reduced a service member's family income.

 

The law also protects service members from repossession or foreclosure without a court order. It allows them to terminate any real estate lease when their military orders require them to do so. And it forbids judges from holding service members in default on any legal matter unless the court has first appointed a lawyer to protect their interests.

 

The law is an updated version of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, which was adopted on the eve of World War II and remained largely unchanged through the Persian Gulf war of 1991. But in July 2001, a federal court ruled that service members could sue violators of the relief act for damages. And the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 prompted Congress to take up a long-deferred Pentagon proposal to update the old act. The revised statute, clearer and more protective than the old one, was signed into law in December 2003.

 

But the news was apparently slow in reaching those who would have to interpret and enforce the law.

 

"There are 50,000 judges in this country and God knows how many lawyers," said Alexander P. White, a county court judge in Chicago and the chairman of one of the American Bar Association's military law committees. "Are people falling down on the job - the judges, the bar, the military? Probably." And broad understanding of the law "is not going to happen overnight."

 

Military lawyers, credit industry organizations and some state courts and bar associations have also tried to spread the word about the new law. But these efforts are not enough, said Col. John S. Odom Jr., retired, of Shreveport, La., who is a specialist on the act. "What we need is a way to reach Joe Bagadoughnuts in Wherever, Louisiana," he said. "Because that's where these cases are turning up."

 

One reason they are surfacing in unlikely places is the Pentagon's increased reliance on Reserve and National Guard units that do not hail from traditional military towns, said Lt. Col. Barry Bernstein, the judge advocate general for the South Carolina National Guard. When these units are called up, he said, their members find themselves facing creditors and courts that may never have dealt with the relief act.

 

As a result, some service members heading off to war have confronted exactly the kinds of problems the law was supposed to prevent. The Coast Guard alone handled more than 300 complaints last year; military law specialists say the numbers are probably higher in the branches sending troops abroad.

 

Financial Difficulties

 

Sergeant Savage's lender eventually dropped its foreclosure against him after receiving repeated warnings from military lawyers at Fort Bragg, N.C. But damage was done. The foreclosure dispute remained on his credit history, hurting his ability to revive his struggling wireless Internet connection business when he returned home to Asheboro, N.C., he said. By then he had retired on full disability after being seriously injured while working on a sabotaged electrical system at the former Baghdad Convention Center.

 

Sergeant Savage has not let the matter end. Represented by Colonel Odom, he has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Greensboro, N.C. He says the EverHome Mortgage Company, a unit of the EverBank Financial Corporation in Jacksonville, Fla., violated the relief act by failing to cap his mortgage at 6 percent, wrongfully initiating foreclosure and, after dropping the foreclosure, failing to remove information about it from his credit history.

 

The mortgage company denied that it violated the act or treated Sergeant Savage unfairly. His case "has unique and extenuating circumstances" that will be raised when the dispute comes to trial, Michael C. Koster, EverHome's president, said in a written statement.

 

"We are confident that court documents will reveal that EverBank treated Mr. Savage equitably and worked diligently to resolve this matter," Mr. Koster said.

 

Extent of Coverage

 

When Sgt. Michael Gaskins of Fort Hood, Tex., was sent to Iraq last April, his wife, Melissa, was left to cope with a dispute over a delinquent loan from the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital credit union; the couple took out the loan just before Sergeant Gaskins enlisted in November 2001. When the credit union took the couple to court in Texas last year, a military lawyer at Fort Hood alerted the local judge that the new relief act required that the case be deferred because Sergeant Gaskins was abroad.

 

But on Feb. 18, a county court judge in Gatesville, Tex., ruled that Mrs. Gaskins had lost the case by default. She was ordered to pay the credit union more than $6,000 and turn over the family truck, which secured the loan. Colonel Odom, who is also representing the couple, is trying to have the default judgment overturned, in part on the ground that the relief act protects spouses as well as service members.

 

The credit union in Tallahassee, Fla., disputes that. "It's our position the act does not protect her," said Palmer Williams, a lawyer for the organization. Judge Susan R. Stephens, the county judge who signed the default judgment, said she did not think that Mrs. Gaskins had ever invoked the relief act but said she would review the matter when it came before her.

 

The relief act was also supposed to prevent the kind of situation that the marines returning to Camp Pendleton faced when they discovered that their cars and other possessions had been sold to cover towing and storage fees.

 

"The act says you need a court order to do that, and you can't get a court order without notice to the service member," said Maj. Michael R. Renz, director of the joint legal assistance office there. "I've got six attorneys here, and each one of us has handled at least two or three of these cases within the last eight months."

 

'I'm Not Sleeping'

 

Stephen Lynch, a civilian lawyer for the Coast Guard in Cleveland, said he had stepped in repeatedly over the past year to help service members invoke their rights under the act.

 

One of them is a young soldier sent to east Asia, leaving a wife and two children at home in northern Ohio. His periods of unemployment and the death of a newborn daughter last July left the young family struggling financially. Their situation was aggravated by delays in the processing of his first military paychecks, said Mr. Lynch, who asked that the couple's name not be used because their debt problems could hurt the soldier's career.

 

The soldier's wife said she had tried for months to renegotiate their mortgage with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. But on March 8, just three weeks after paying the bank $3,000 that the U.S.O. had raised on her behalf, she was served with foreclosure papers.

 

"I'm having anxiety attacks," the wife said in an interview that night. "I'm not sleeping." She said she was especially worried about how much to tell her husband. "The other military wives I've spoken to all say, 'Don't let them know you're upset; don't let them hear you cry.' "

 

Kevin Waetke, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, said the foreclosure action was dropped as soon as Mr. Lynch contacted the bank's lawyers. The bank had not known the couple was eligible for relief, he said.

 

Different Experiences

 

A Coast Guardsman, Kevin Cornell, was baffled by his experience with Citigroup's credit card unit. When he enlisted, he had a Citibank card and another from Sears, whose credit card operations Citibank acquired in late 2003. When he applied last fall to have the interest rates on both cards capped at 6 percent, Citibank did even better: it cut the rate on his pre-enlistment balance to zero.

 

But the Sears card was another story; a different Citibank employee refused to make the interest rate cut on that card retroactive to his date of enlistment, as the new relief act requires. Again, Mr. Lynch intervened. But he said he wondered how many other service members had been misinformed.

 

Janis Tarter, a spokeswoman for the bank, said the company's policy was to go beyond the requirements of the relief act on all its credit cards. "We regret the difficulty that our customer encountered," Ms. Tarter said. "It is not representative of the level of service we work to provide."

 

Burden of Enforcement

 

Some problems that military personnel are confronting suggest that the new law may need more work by Congress. For example, although mandatory arbitration clauses are becoming increasingly common in credit agreements, arbitration is not even mentioned in the relief act.

 

But the biggest problem, both bankers and military lawyers say, is that the enforcement of the act rests initially on the shoulders of the service members themselves. They must notify their creditors or landlords of their military status to invoke their rights under the act. It is one more chore for a soldier getting ready for overseas duty, and it often does not get done properly.

 

And if a landlord or creditor, out of ignorance or intransigence, refuses to comply with the act, the service member may not have the time or money to fight back, said Capt. Kevin P. Flood, a retired Navy lawyer.

 

"Sure, if you take them to court and win, you can even collect damages," Captain Flood said. "But most of our people are not in that position. They are just regular Joes, and they don't have the money to hire a lawyer."

 

<#==#>

 

normally i dont care about the news from israel but kevin asked for this.

 

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/3089800

 

March 17, 2005, 8:28AM

 

Israeli nuclear whistleblower indicted

Associated Press

 

JERUSALEM — Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was indicted today for violating the terms of his release from prison, the Israeli Justice Ministry said.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

 

Vanunu was freed from an Israeli prison in April after completing an 18-year sentence for revealing secrets of Israel's atomic program to the Sunday Times newspaper in London.

 

Under the terms of his release, the former technician at the Israeli nuclear facility in the Negev desert town of Dimona was barred from leaving Israeli territory and contacting foreigners. Since his release from prison, Vanunu has been living at a Jerusalem church compound.

 

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-03/18/content_2711969.htm

 

Israeli nuclear whistleblower indicted over violating release terms

 

www.chinaview.cn 2005-03-18 01:39:39

 

    JERUSALEM, March 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Israeli State Prosecution submitted Thursday to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court an indictment, charging nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu with 22violations of his release terms, Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported.

 

    The prosecution told the court that Vanunu has been systematically violating the restrictive warrant imposed on him since his release from prison in April 2004, including an attempt to leave the country.

 

    Vanunu was not remanded in custody.   The prosecution said Vanunu gave many interviews in which he described his work at the Dimona nuclear plant in detail, exposing sensitive and confidential information on the plant's production capabilities.

 

    A former nuclear technician who served an 18-year term for spilling Israeli atomic secrets to a British newspaper, Vanunu was released from prison last April under orders not to contact or exchange information with other nations without gaining permission in advance from state authorities.

 

    He was also forbidden from leaving the country.   In July 2004, Israeli High Court of Justice rejected Vanunu's petition to cancel his restrictive orders. The judges determined that he still possesses top-secret information that will jeopardizestate security if it is ever made public.  Enditem

 

http://www.wtvo.com/Global/story.asp?S=3090691

 

JERUSALEM An Israeli nuclear whistleblower, who has already served 18 years in prison, is once again facing an indictment.

 

The Israeli Justice Ministry says it's indicting Mordechai Vanunu for allegedly violating the terms of his probation.

 

Vanunu was released from an Israeli prison in April and was ordered not to leave Israeli territory or contact foreigners.

 

Since then, though, Vanunu has granted interviews to foreign news media. He was also stopped by Israeli police on Christmas Eve while attempting to attend Midnight Mass in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, which is outside his permitted area of travel.

 

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3230252a6160,00.html

 

Goff scoffs at citizenship bid

29 March 2005

By MARTIN KAY

 

Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu wants a New Zealand passport so he can escape harsh parole conditions that could land him back in jail.

 

But Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has poured cold water on the call, saying offering citizenship to someone who was not allowed to leave Israel would be an "empty political gesture".

 

Green MP Keith Locke first raised the issue of granting Vanunu a New Zealand passport last week, after the former nuclear plant worker was arrested for breaching the conditions of his release in April last year. Vanunu was jailed for 18 years for treason in 1986 after he leaked details and photographs of Israel's nuclear programme to Britain's Sunday Times.

 

His release conditions include strict controls on where he can travel – even within Israel – and ban him from speaking to journalists.

 

On March 18 he was charged with breaching those conditions 21 times.

 

Mr Locke said granting Vanunu a passport would strengthen New Zealand's anti-nuclear credentials and would be a slap in the face for Israel, which is yet to apologise after two alleged Mossad agents were caught trying to obtain false passports. "There would be great symbolism in nuclear-free New Zealand granting Mr Vanunu a passport. This humanitarian act would be hailed by all those opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons."

 

After his comments were published in Israel, Mr Locke received an e-mail from Vanunu that said he wanted New Zealand citizenship. "NZ as a state who was victim of Israeli spying can now do very good by without fear awarding me (a) passport," he wrote in broken English.

 

AdvertisementAdvertisementA letter to Mr Locke from Vanunu's adoptive parents said he could legally renounce his Israeli citizenship only if he had citizenship in another country recognised by Israel.

 

But Mr Goff said he could not see the point in Mr Locke's campaign.

 

"Offering somebody a passport who's not able to leave Israel really doesn't add up to much more than an empty political gesture. Citizenship itself is not something that we simply offer to people, and we certainly don't offer it as something that's only intended to be a political gesture with no prospect of being realised."

 

Meanwhile, Mr Goff said New Zealand and Israel were still discussing the text of an apology for what New Zealand claims were attempts by Israeli security services to obtain false passports.

 

New Zealand has been awaiting a formal apology since alleged spies Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara were jailed for six months in July last year. They were released in September and deported.

 

<#==#>

 

and the government thinks most of us civilians are too stupid to do anything but tie our shoe laces. look at how these government idiots screwed things up!

 

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-03-27-humvees-cover_x.htm

 

Posted 3/27/2005 11:27 PM     Updated 3/28/2005 1:08 PM

 

Army late with orders for armored Humvees

By Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY

 

WASHINGTON — In June 2003, the U.S. Army realized that it didn't have enough armored Humvees in Iraq to protect soldiers from a growing number of attacks by insurgents. By Friday, officials expect to correct that problem by having almost 22,000 armored Humvees in Iraq — up from 235 when the war began.

 

Why did it take the government almost two years to remedy a deficiency that the Army acknowledges was costing soldiers' lives?

 

An examination of Army records, correspondence with members of Congress and Pentagon documents shows that the military repeatedly underestimated the need for more armored Humvees. Even after recognizing its miscalculations, the Army was slow to order more armored Humvees, and then transported them to Iraq from its existing worldwide supply in fits and starts. Officials also failed to take full advantage of a defense contracting firm that says it could have increased production to meet the Army's needs.

 

The Defense Department had assumed that armored Humvees wouldn't be needed once the invasion of Iraq was over. Original plans called for the Pentagon to pull back most tanks and other armored vehicles to reduce the U.S. military profile as soon as Baghdad fell, because strategists had projected that Iraq would quickly become peaceful. But violent attacks by insurgents, never anticipated by the Pentagon, meant that troops traveling in unarmored Humvees faced grave risks. (Related story: Electronic ears on alert for enemy gunshots)

 

The Pentagon says it does not keep figures on how many soldiers have died or suffered serious wounds in unarmored Humvees. But at least 275 troops were killed in Humvees in 2003 and 2004 — one of every four American troops killed by hostile action during that period — according to news accounts, Pentagon records and figures compiled by the staff of the members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees.

 

It could not be determined whether those troops were in unarmored or armored Humvees, boxy-looking trucks that replaced the Jeep as the military's all-purpose utility vehicle. Armored Humvees, however, are reinforced to protect against the roadside bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons used by insurgents. In the summer of 2003, most Humvees had little armor, which made them much more vulnerable to attacks than the heavier Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks.

 

The Pentagon "thought we would be pelted with rose petals and not RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades)," says Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "I don't blame them for getting it wrong. I blame them for not understanding and adjusting fast enough, and the result is there has been a tremendous casualty list."

 

Better chance of survival

 

Armoring a Humvee is no guarantee of invincibility.

 

Insurgent bombs have destroyed heavily armored Humvees and even crippled 60-ton tanks. But military personnel — from troops in the field to Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — say that soldiers have a better chance of surviving attacks in an armored vehicle.

 

Critics say the Pentagon was not quick enough to see the need, and then reacted too slowly.

 

"There was a reluctance on the part of the Pentagon to take it seriously and get as many of these vehicles as quickly as possible," Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, says. "It was almost as if they were in a defensive posture, that to make any changes or to acknowledge any shortcomings would somehow be an acknowledgment that the planning had not been perfect."

 

In April 2004, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, criticized the Army's efforts to get more armored vehicles or armor kits to Iraq, telling Army officials they were afflicted by a "case of the slows."

 

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the Army's deputy for acquisition and systems management, disputes that charge. "To say that the Army has been unresponsive and been slow to respond is an inaccurate statement," Sorenson says. "Everybody can be the Monday morning quarterback. ... We did not think there was a major insurgency. Commanders in the theater were not asking for the vehicles. Who is to blame? I have no idea."

 

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has suggested the lack of armored Humvees was simply beyond the Pentagon's control.

 

When Tennessee Army National Guard Spc. Thomas Wilson asked during a public session with Rumsfeld in Kuwait last December why the Army didn't have enough reinforced Humvees, Rumsfeld replied, "You go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

 

By the time Rumsfeld said that, the Army had been working for almost a year and a half to gradually increase the number of armored Humvees in Iraq. But Rumsfeld's encounter with Wilson appears to have spurred the Pentagon: Two days later, on Dec. 10, the Army asked the sole company producing factory-armored Humvees to boost its production by more than 20%.

 

Rumsfeld declined to comment for this story.

 

The insurgents' weapon of choice for attacking Humvees is the IED, or "improvised explosive device," a homemade bomb cobbled from whatever explosives are on hand — frequently, large artillery shells. The Army acknowledges that the power and proliferation of the bombs came as a surprise. "The extent and the violence of the IED, the sophistication of the IED, was not anticipated," Sorenson says.

 

Each time the Army thought it had a fix on how many reinforced Humvees and armor kits it would need in Iraq, Sorenson says, another surge of attacks pushed the number higher.

 

But official records and correspondence raise questions about whether the Army acted aggressively enough:

 

• In August 2003, the Army officially increased the number of reinforced Humvees it said it needed for Iraq. Military officials in Iraq increased the requirement for factory-built armored Humvees twice that month, first to 1,233 and then to 1,407 in late August, according to a February 2004 Pentagon "information paper" and other documents.

 

Sorenson says the initial attacks on unarmored Humvees could have been "random" events. When attacks multiplied in the summer of 2003, senior officials asked field commanders whether they needed more armored vehicles, and the commanders at first "said they did not want them,"Sorenson says.

 

• In October 2003, the Army began moving reinforced Humvees to Iraq from U.S. bases around the world, where it had more than 3,000 of the armored vehicles. In response to written questions, the Army said it took time to locate the strengthened Humvees elsewhere in the world, determine what their missions were, and make decisions about whether they could be shipped to Iraq.

 

"Before such vehicles could be moved, the units had to be given other vehicles to perform their missions," the Army wrote. "Shipping the vehicles after they were identified also took a certain length of time, even with everyone's best efforts."

 

The Army says maintenance and transit alone took about two months. Even so, the process that began in October 2003 was not complete until March 2004.

 

• In November 2003, the Army officially declared a need for more add-on armor kits to modify Humvees already in Iraq. The armor plates could be bolted or welded onto existing vehicles, adding protection while forces waited for the delivery of more factory-built armored Humvees.

 

The Army tripled the number of factories from which it was buying the kits, from seven to 21, and the first shipments of kits began arriving the next month.

 

• By February 2004, the Army knew that Armor Holdings, the lone U.S. company that built reinforced Humvees, could increase production to at least 450 a month, according to a memo prepared for Strickland after a congressional briefing by a Pentagon official.

 

But for months, the Army did not take advantage of that production capacity. Rather than asking the company to increase monthly production to 450 as soon as possible, the Army stuck to the contract that did not call for that level of production until November 2004.

 

Only after Spc. Wilson questioned Rumsfeld in Kuwait last December did the Army redo the contract to push monthly production to 550. Sorenson says the Army had trouble paying for increased Humvee production, and in the congressional briefing, a Pentagon official cited "funding problems" for not pressing for more production sooner, according to the memo prepared for Strickland.

 

Members of Congress, including Strickland, say that's not a valid excuse. Had the Army asked, Strickland says, Congress would have provided the money.

 

"If at any time the Pentagon had said to the Congress, to any of us, 'We need more money for protective equipment for our troops,' they would have gotten it that day, I could guarantee you that," Strickland says.

 

Able to make more

 

The Army first asked Armor Holdings officials in the fall of 2003 whether it would be possible to increase production of the armored Humvees, according to Robert Mecredy, president of the company's aerospace and defense group. A subsidiary, O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt of Fairfield, Ohio, is the sole U.S. company building specially armored Humvees.

 

"We said, 'Yes, it would take up to six months, depending on steel, the hiring of people' " and other items, Mecredy says. "From the fall of 2003 we said, 'Yes, we can ramp it up.' "

 

Mecredy says the company had, and continues to have, a good working relationship with "my premier customer, the Army." But he says when no request to increase production was made, he invited Les Brownlee, then the acting secretary of the Army, to the Ohio plant where armored Humvees were made to push the issue in February 2004.

 

During his tour of the plant, Brownlee promised workers a "plan for getting these vehicles into the hands of our troops just as fast as we can." But the Army did not change its contract to increase Humvee production, according to Mecredy and Strickland. Mecredy says the Army never said why.

 

Members of Congress also say the Pentagon didn't move quickly to ramp up production. "People in the Pentagon were aware these vehicles could be produced in larger numbers," says Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., but "they have consistently underestimated the need for this kind of protection for our troops. ... Unfortunately, soldiers have been killed because of that."

 

House Armed Services Chairman Hunter adds that Congress must "continue to push to provide (the troops) the best equipment and gear to keep them safe so they can get the job done."

 

Sorenson insists the Army quickly rewrote contracts to build more armored Humvees. But even efforts to add bolt-on armor to existing vehicles encountered delays. Testing was needed to ensure that the extra 2 tons of armor didn't make the vehicles unwieldy and dangerous, Sorenson says. In fact, the Army is looking at a recent spate of Humvee rollover accidents to see whether bolt-on armor was a factor.

 

"When division commanders say they don't want the equipment, ... what are you going to (do)?" Sorenson says. Had he been the father of someone killed in an unarmored Humvee, he says, "I would be as outraged as anyone. I completely understand that, and there is really nothing I can say to make them feel better."

 

The outcry over the lack of armored Humvees is loudest among troops' families. When soldiers or Marines die in inadequately armored vehicles, friends and relatives ask why it's taking so long to get better equipment to Iraq.

 

Army Pfc. John Hart and 1st Lt. David Bernstein of Phoenixville, Pa., were killed in their unarmored Humvee on Oct. 18, 2003, in Taza, Iraq, when enemy forces ambushed their patrol using rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. According to Hart's father, they were killed by the small-arms fire that penetrated the Humvee.

 

"My son called me the week before he was killed," says Brian Hart of Bedford, Mass. "He said they were getting shot at all the time. They were in unarmored Humvees and were out there exposed to fire. He was concerned they were going to get hit. He was literally whispering this into the phone to me. He was right. That's how he died."

 

<#==#>

 

hmmm... these things only cost $10,000 a pop to make. if thats true i bet a couple of computer programmers with some good math background could write the software on their own and duplicate this hardware on a linux computer for a couple $100 (that is a few hundred bucks, not a few thousand) and give it away to freedom fighters around the world. i have read about this thing before and it is pretty straigh forward stuff using heavy trig and physics to caculate the locations of the shots.

 

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-03-27-antisniper_x.htm

 

Posted 3/27/2005 9:23 PM

 

Electronic ears on alert for enemy gunshots

By Dave Moniz, USA TODAY

 

QUANTICO, Va. — Riding inside heavily armored Humvees, U.S. troops in Iraq have a problem that goes beyond the threats of roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. It's noise.

 

The inside of a Humvee is so loud that the driver and front-seat passenger often have to shout to be heard. Troops inside the boxy-looking military trucks sometimes don't hear gunshots being fired at them, even when their vehicles are winged by enemy bullets. Even when troops are aware they're under attack, they sometimes have a hard time figuring out where the shooting is coming from.

 

To solve these problems, Capt. Steve Philipp and his comrades at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory here have spent much of the past year shooting machine guns and other weapons toward an odd-looking, flower-shaped device attached to the back of a Humvee.

 

The object that Philipp and others have fired at more than 4,000 times is called a "Boomerang." It's an acoustic sensor that the Marine Corps hopes will alert troops that they're being shot at and help them quickly figure out where the enemy gunfire is coming from.

 

Crash program

 

The Boomerang grew out of a program the Pentagon began in late 2003, months after the "major combat" phase of the Iraq war had ended on May 1, but at a time when it was clear that U.S. troops were increasingly at risk from a growing and aggressive insurgency. The Pentagon launched a crash effort to build a cheap and reliable sniper-detection system. There were existing gunfire detectors at the time, but the Marines thought they were expensive and in some cases too error-prone to be completely reliable.

 

To develop a cheap and reliable device, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a high-tech research and development arm of the Pentagon, contracted with a private firm to create a system within 60 days, an extraordinarily short development window for a battlefield system.

 

The company, BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Mass., is renowned for its expertise in the field of acoustics. In 1978, Congress asked one of BBN's chief scientists, James Barger, to analyze audiotapes of President John F. Kennedy's assassination to determine how many shots were fired at him.

 

Just missing the tight two-month deadline, BBN developed a first-generation Boomerang in 66 days in early 2004. The Marines have used 40 of those prototypes in Iraq for the past year while BBN has been developing a more reliable second-generation system.

 

The clunky-looking Boomerang resembles a 9-foot-tall Tinkertoy. It employs a cluster of seven microphones to measure both the sound of the muzzle blast and the shock waves bullets make as they zip through the air above the speed of sound. Boomerang uses sophisticated algorithms to compute what direction a bullet is coming from, and how high above the ground and how far away the shooter is, all in less than one second.

 

That information is displayed on a panel mounted near the vehicle dashboard. A computer-generated male voice simultaneously spits out information on the origin of the enemy fire. It will say, for example, "Shot, 6 o'clock. Shot, 5 o'clock," to alert troops that someone is firing from behind them.

 

Bosnian experience

 

The need for sniper-fire detection first came to light during the 1990s because of the United Nations' experience in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, home to a dangerous area that came to be known as "Sniper Alley." DARPA conducted research with a number of companies, including BBN, to test stationary sniper-detection technologies.

 

Karen Wood, a program manager at DARPA, says BBN's previous work was the most impressive that was looked at. That led her agency in 2003 to seek out the company to develop a sensor that could be mounted on vehicles. The idea was to find a way to protect the motorized convoys and patrols frequently conducted by U.S. forces in Iraq.

 

The Boomerang is not the only sniper-detection system in development or on the market. There are about a half-dozen such devices now available, including ones made by French and Canadian companies. The Army and U.S. Special Operations Command began using a limited number of French-made PILAR systems in 2003.

 

DARPA officials asked BBN to design a new system because the agency felt affordability was important. At $65,000, the PILAR system is more than six times the cost of the Boomerang.

 

Scott Miller, an engineer at the Army Research Lab in Adelphi, Md., says he believes the PILAR is more accurate than the Boomerang and says the Army is happy with its performance in limited use in Iraq. The military will not discuss how or where U.S. commandos are using PILAR. Philipp, the Marine Corps officer, says he has tested all of the existing sniper-detection systems. He says that the Boomerang, which can be manufactured for less than $10,000 per copy, is as good as if not better than the others.

 

He says one of the other systems is particularly prone to false alarms, a problem that until recently also plagued the Boomerang. Signals from military radios, he says, had a tendency to prompt false alarms in the Boomerang because its software interpreted the radio static as gunshots. BBN engineers were able to fix that problem by tweaking Boomerang's software, Philipp says.

 

The Marines are now testing second-generation Boomerangs at the Quantico Marine Corps Base and at Camp Lejeune, N.C., after having worked out a number of bugs identified by Marines in the field.

 

"They'd say, 'I don't like this,' 'I don't like this,' 'don't like this,' " Philipp says. The second-generation Boomerang has overcome several of those complaints, he says.

 

Early version too wordy

 

One of the criticisms was an excessively wordy warning system whose voice alert said "incoming" before giving the direction of the gunfire. Marines in the field thought that extra word wasted time, even if only a second. They wanted just the direction of the shot, and right away. Another problem was that the Boomerang's software sometimes had difficulty filtering out "celebratory" gunshots, which are typically fired into the air and are not threatening.

 

Philipp envisions the Boomerang being used in two ways. For support troops in convoys that come under attack, it will provide warning time to escape ambushes once the first shot is fired. Combat forces, Philipp said, can use the Boomerang "to stay and fight."

 

The big advantage that sniper-detection systems can bring, DARPA's Wood says, is time. In Iraq, insurgents often attack U.S. forces with AK-47 rifles, Russian-made weapons that are not precise when fired from a distance. Because AK shooters will often "walk their fire" toward the target with a series of rifle bursts, being alert to the first shots would give U.S. troops a huge advantage, she says.

 

"This is what I would want on every Humvee if my child was out there," Wood says

 

<#==#>

 

hmmm... the irs only collects about $2 trillion a year. that is only about a third of the $6 trillion national debt, and a 1/12 of the total debt when you throw in things like social security and medicare. which to me says we will have very hard time paying of the governments debt if the goons in congress ever tried to, which i doubt they will.

 

Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization in America, by Charles O. Rossotti, Harvard Business School Press, 340 pages, $26.95

 

http://www.usatoday.com/money/books/reviews/2005-03-28-irs-usat_x.htm

 

Posted 3/28/2005 2:46 AM     Updated 3/28/2005 2:51 AM

 

Former IRS leader learned tough lessons while on job

By Kerry Hannon, Special for USA TODAY

 

How does it feel to be the most hated man in America?

That's a question Charles Rossotti grappled with on a daily basis from 1997 to 2002 as IRS commissioner.

 

In Many Unhappy Returns, he shares his frustration tinged with a wistful sense of hope that his tenure made a difference in an agency that strikes fear in American hearts. Rossotti, the first businessman and non-tax attorney to run the IRS, took on the seemingly thankless task believing that by applying leadership, management and technology skills, he could transform the tax agency.

 

He was partially right.

 

Rossotti honed those skills as a co-founder, chairman and CEO of American Management Systems. Founded in 1970, AMS, a systems technology company, had mushroomed to $1 billion-plus in annual revenue by 2000. At a time when he could have retired to his Maryland Eastern Shore retreat to ponder his business acumen and success, he chose to shelve his ego, roll up his sleeves and try to make things better for more than 132 million individual taxpayers, 6 million business filers and 100,000 IRS employees.

 

Rossotti comes through in the book as smart, as well as rich — and blessed with a sense of humor.

 

"But, Dad, you don't even do your own tax return," his daughter Allegra comments when he signs on for the assignment. "I was not a tax expert," he admits. But Rossotti is tenacious and tireless when he takes on a mission. That is clear from Unhappy Returns.

 

He got a rude awakening, he recalls. While knowing next to nothing about anyone or anything at the IRS, he took charge of an organization with old, creaky computer systems, lots of unhappy taxpayers and some $2 trillion a year in revenue to collect.

 

To get an image of Rossotti as commissioner, picture him at a January 1999 meeting of about 600 IRS field managers and union officials. "Suddenly, the lights were turned down and the ballroom was nearly dark. ... Music sounded and video clips of daring deeds flashed on the screen. ... I slunk up the aisle in a long trench coat, Sherlock Holmes hat, dark glasses, and black gloves," he writes. His theme: Mission Possible.

 

As IRS commissioner, Rossotti forges ahead. He learns hard lessons. "The story does not have an entirely happy ending," he warns in his opening pages.

 

"Service to taxpayers doing business with the IRS has in fact become measurably better," he writes. Public approval ratings are higher, and electronic filing has taken off. Some 40 million returns were filed electronically by 2001, double 1998 levels, cutting errors and speeding refunds. Last year, that number was up to 60 million.

 

"The IRS has started to become more effective in enforcing compliance with the tax law than it used to be. By no means are all the IRS's problems solved," he writes.

 

In his five years at the IRS, the agency encountered mistakes, setbacks, potential disasters, and problems big and small. Among them: delays in computer modernization; unexpected problems fixing Year 2000 programs; and Government Accountability Office reports on IRS failures.

 

"Life is never smooth, decisions are not always proven right, and progress is uneven," he writes.

 

When he took office in November 1997, it was clear to him that making the IRS well-run and businesslike would take more than public relations sleight-of-hand. He had to convince the Clinton administration of that, regain the confidence of Congress and develop a comprehensive plan that would modernize the entire agency, not just the technology.

 

"The IRS in 1997 was already organized like a business, but one that was operating in the 1950s," he writes. (It was set up in 1952.) "I soon learned one of the peculiarities of managing change in a government agency: The political players seldom think management proposals are really about management. They instinctively assume that some deeper political motive must be in there somewhere."

 

For example, "During the yearlong debate over the IRS reform law, the greatest controversy of all was not about the IRS itself but over who would watch the IRS."

 

Rossotti's story is not a dishy book about political infighting in Washington, although he no doubt saw a lot of that in his tenure.

 

The closest you'll come is when, in a discussion of IRS reform, then-Sen. Bob Kerrey asks whether he has a dog. When Rossotti says he does, Kerrey replies: "That's good, because you'll need a friend."

 

Rossotti answers one final question as he winds down: Was it worth it? He believes it was, and to back that up, he outlines nine principal lessons learned from his experience.

 

"Successful change requires change, not just communication about change. Successful change depends more on having the right governance, leadership, direction, and authority than on rules and mandates. Successful change has its limits."

 

<#==#>

 

To: lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com

From: "maywood2008" <gonzolawyer@comcast.net>  Add to Address Book

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 17:08:01 -0000

Subject: [lpaz-discuss] Re: resisting a false arrest - federal cases

 

--- In lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com, mike ross <getlibdis@y...>

wrote:

> kevin walsh got a telephone call from a republican

> phone solicitor asking him to vote for president bush.

> kevin told the phone solicitor that he "wished bush

> were dead" and the phone solicitor reported kevin to

> the secret service.

 

This is Constitutionally-protected free speech, according to a

SCOTUS case from the late 1960s where a guy said in conversation "If

I get drafted, the first guy I'm gonna shoot is LBJ!" Sorry I can't

cite the case; if you really want to know, I can dig up that

casebook and find it.

 

> the secret service didnt have any probable cause to

> arrest kevin so they said that kevin was insane and a

> threat to him self

 

I know nothing of Kevin Walsh besides what you post here Mike. All

I'm saying is that the Secret Service can't have a guy lifted off

the street and institutionalized for disliking Bush. There is

something else going on here.

 

David Euchner

 

<#==#>

 

didnt russia used to be an atheist country at least officially?

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/29/international/europe/29russia.html

 

Russia Fines Museum Aides for Art Said to Ridicule Religion

By STEVEN LEE MYERS

 

Published: March 29, 2005

 

OSCOW, March 28 - A Russian court on Monday convicted a museum director and a curator of inciting religious hatred with an exhibition of paintings and sculptures that, to many, ridiculed the Russian Orthodox Church.

 

In a criminal case that tested the boundaries of artistic expression in Russia, the court ruled that the exhibition at the Andrei Sakharov Museum was "openly insulting and blasphemous." It rejected the prosecutor's appeal to sentence the two defendants to prison, however, and instead fined them the equivalent of $3,600 each.

 

The case against the exhibition, titled "Caution! Religion," has deeply divided Russia's religious and artistic groups ever since it opened briefly in January 2003, provoking alternate charges of censorship and animosity toward religious believers. Monday's verdict satisfied neither side entirely.

 

Yuri V. Samodurov, director of the Sakharov Museum, which is named for the late Soviet dissident and human-rights advocate, said he was relieved by the nature of the punishment, though not by the court's ruling. He said he had gone to court with his prescription medicines, assuming that he would immediately be imprisoned.

 

Still, he said, the court's verdict asserted the state's power to dictate the limits of artistic expression. "In essence," he said in a telephone interview, "the court declared a certain kind of art unacceptable."

 

Aleksandr V. Chuyev, a member of the lower house of Parliament who played a role in pressing prosecutors to bring criminal charges against the museum, agreed that the verdict would set a precedent, but one he considered healthy.

 

He said the case had established the legal foundation for prosecutions relating to other exhibitions, as well as pornography, films and other works that offend the faithful. He cited a recent exhibition by an artists' collective called Russia 2, which addressed similar themes at the First Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art last month and also prompted calls from Orthodox leaders for criminal prosecution.

 

"The people and the authorities now understand that religion and the feelings of believers should not be touched on," Mr. Chuyev said in a telephone interview. "They should understand that their rights end where the other person's begin."

 

The exhibition had been open only four days before six men from an Orthodox church in Moscow ransacked the museum, damaging or destroying many of the 45 works on display. Criminal charges against four of the men were dropped, while two others were acquitted last year in a trial that led to the new charges against Mr. Samodurov; the museum's curator, Lyudmila V. Vasilovskaya, who was also convicted and fined on Monday; and one of the artists, Anna Mikhalchuk.

 

Ms. Mikhalchuk, who exhibits under the name Alchuk, was acquitted Monday. She said the verdict in effect erased the separation of church and state in today's Russia. "I am afraid the formulation of the court's ruling will be used as a precedent for the authorities," she said. "It practically crosses out Russia on the list of secular nations."

 

The works addressed spiritual and political aspects of the Orthodox Church, whose influence over politics, if not society generally, has grown since the Soviet Union collapsed.

 

One sculpture depicted a church made of vodka bottles, a biting allusion to the tax exemption the church received in the 1990's to sell alcohol. A poster by Aleksandr Kosolapov, a Russian-born American artist whose work often satirizes state symbols, depicted Jesus on a Coca-Cola advertisement. "This is my blood," it said in English. The court refused a request by prosecutors to destroy the artworks, ordering that they be returned to the artists who created them.

 

The Rev. Aleksandr Shargunov, a priest from the church, St. Nikolai in Pyzhi, whose parishioners attacked the exhibition, derided the fines as too lenient. He described the exhibition as a deliberate and hostile provocation and called for more stringent laws against desecration of icons and other sacred symbols.

 

"The prophecies say that once God is insulted, expect trouble," he said. "And this is what happened.

 

<#==#>

 

mixing regilion and jury duty is bad

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/29/national/29bible.html

 

Colorado Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible

By KIRK JOHNSON

 

Published: March 29, 2005

 

DENVER, March 28 - In a sharply divided ruling, Colorado's highest court on Monday upheld a lower court's decision throwing out the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty after jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict. The Bible, the court said, constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the court called a "higher authority."

 

"The judicial system works very hard to emphasize the rarified, solemn and sequestered nature of jury deliberations," the majority said in a 3-to-2 decision by a panel of the Colorado Supreme Court. "Jurors must deliberate in that atmosphere without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts."

 

The ruling involved the conviction of Robert Harlan, who was found guilty in 1995 of raping and murdering a cocktail waitress near Denver. After Mr. Harlan's conviction, the judge in the case - as Colorado law requires - sent the jury off to deliberate about the death penalty with an instruction to think beyond the narrow confines of the law. Each juror, the judge told the panel, must make an "individual moral assessment," in deciding whether Mr. Harlan should live.

 

The jurors voted unanimously for death. The State Supreme Court's decision changes that sentence to life in prison without parole.

 

In the decision on Monday, the dissenting judges said the majority had confused the internal codes of right and wrong that juries are expected to possess in such weighty moral matters with the outside influences that are always to be avoided, like newspaper articles or television programs about the case. The jurors consulted Bibles, the minority said, not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations, but for wisdom.

 

"The biblical passages the jurors discussed constituted either a part of the jurors' moral and religious precepts or their general knowledge, and thus were relevant to their court-sanctioned moral assessment," the minority wrote.

 

Legal experts said that Colorado was unusual in its language requiring jurors in capital felony cases to explicitly consult a moral compass. Most states that have restored the death penalty weave in a discussion of moral factors, lawyers said, along with the burden that jurors must decide whether aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors in voting on execution.

 

"In Colorado it's a more distinct instruction," said Bob Grant, who was the prosecutor in the Harlan case. Mr. Grant said no decision had been made yet on whether to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

 

Legal scholars say the connection between hard legal logic and the softer, deeper world of values is always present in jury rooms, whether acknowledged or not.

 

"The court says we're asking you to be moral men and women, to make a moral judgment of the right thing to do," said Thane Rosenbaum, a professor of law at Fordham University School of Law in New York City, and author of the book "The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What's Right" (HarperCollins, 2004). "But then we say the juror cheated because he brought in a book that forms the basis of his moral universe," Professor Rosenbaum said. "The thing is, he would have done it anyway, in his head."

 

Other legal experts say the Colorado decision touches on an issue that courts do not like to talk about: that jurors, under traditions dating to the days of English common law, can consider higher authority all they want, and can convict or acquit using whatever internal thoughts and discussions they consider appropriate.

 

In this instance, lawyers said, there was simply a clearer trail of evidence, with admissions by the jurors during Mr. Harlan's appeal that Bibles had been used in their discussion. One juror testified she studied Romans and Leviticus, including Leviticus 24, which includes the famous articulation of Old Testament justice: "eye for eye, tooth for tooth."

 

Professor Howard J. Vogel, who teaches ethics at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and has a master's degree in theology as well as a law degree, said, "I don't think it's a religious text that's the problem here, but rather whether something is being used that trumps the law of the state."

 

The Bible is hardly monolithic about what constitutes justice. Some legal experts say the jurors might just as easily have found guidance that led them to vote to spare Mr. Harlan's life. Lawyers for Mr. Harlan also specifically urged the jurors to consider biblical wisdom, according to the Supreme Court's decision, with a request that they find mercy in their hearts "as God ultimately took mercy on Abraham."

 

The lawyers also made several references to Mr. Harlan's soul and his habit of reading the Bible with his father, the court said.

 

Kathleen Lord, a lawyer for Mr. Harlan, did not return repeated calls.

 

Mr. Harlan was convicted of kidnapping a waitress, Rhonda Maloney, and raping her. She escaped and flagged down a motorist, Jaquie Creazzo. Mr. Harlan caught up with the two women, shot Ms. Creazzo, leaving her paralyzed, then beat and killed Ms. Maloney.

 

<#==#>

 

cops over react to everything. the way this cop describes it he was being attacked by maching gun fire.

 

http://www.statepress.com/issues/2005/03/28/news/692576

 

Student arrested for firecracker explosion

ASU officer 'thought he was being shot at'

 

by Brian Indrelunas

Monday, March 28, 2005

 

Police allege an ASU student set off a firecracker from the balcony of his room at the Cholla Apartments early Thursday morning that exploded near an ASU police officer.

 

Adam Crane, 19, a pre-business undergraduate, was arrested shortly before 3 a.m. on Thursday on charges of aggravated assault against a police officer, disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon and possession of prohibited fireworks, according to records released late Friday by the ASU Department of Public Safety.

 

DPS Cpl. Louis Scichilone was responding to a call at the apartment complex and "thought he was being shot at" when he heard and felt an explosion as he was getting out of his patrol car, police reported.

 

Scichilone reportedly took cover and called for backup approximately 1:20 a.m. ASU and Tempe officers searched the upper floors of Cholla's A-wing for students who may have heard the explosion or knew where it originated.

 

Police found the remains of an M-80 firecracker near Scichilone's patrol car and began to suspect the firecracker was thrown from Crane's fifth-floor balcony.

 

Police located Crane and told him someone threw an M-80 at a police officer from his room's balcony. Crane reportedly said he lit the firecracker but did not throw it off the balcony and did not intend to hurt anyone.

 

Crane reportedly said he looked over his balcony before he lit the firework and found no one in the parking lot.

 

"He picked an egg carton full of broken egg shells, placed it on the balcony ledge and ignited the M-80 fuse," police reported. "He turned around, walked into his room, and closed the door behind him."

 

When asked if he had any more M-80s, Crane reportedly produced a bag containing six firecrackers.

 

State law prohibits the possession, use and explosion of fireworks.

 

Crane was arrested and transported to the ASU police station for processing.

 

"Crane was very apologetic saying he did not intentionally try to alarm/hurt Officer [sic] Scichilone," police reported.

 

Crane was released from custody, but DPS planned to forward the charges against him to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for review.

 

Reach the reporter at brian.indrelunas@asu.edu.

 

<#==#>

 

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/0328molloy0327.html

 

Law loses its way

 

By John F. Molloy

Mar. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

 

When I began practicing law in 1946, justice was much simpler. I joined a small Tucson practice at a salary of $250 a month, excellent compensation for a beginning lawyer. There was no paralegal staff or expensive artwork on the walls.

 

In those days, the judicial system was straightforward and efficient. Decisions were handed down by judges who applied the law as outlined by the Constitution and state legislatures. Cases went to trial in a month or two, not years. In the courtroom, the focus was on uncovering and determining truth and fact.

 

I charged clients by what I was able to accomplish for them. The clock did not start ticking the minute they walked through the door.

 

Looking back

 

The legal profession has evolved dramatically during my 87 years. I am a second-generation lawyer from an Irish immigrant family that settled in Yuma. My father, who passed the Bar with a fifth-grade education, ended up arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court during his career.

 

The law changed dramatically during my years in the profession. For example, when I accepted my first appointment as a Pima County judge in 1957, I saw that lawyers expected me to act more as a referee than a judge. The county court I presided over resembled a gladiator arena, with dueling lawyers jockeying for points and one-upping each other with calculated and ingenuous briefs.

 

That was just the beginning.

 

By the time I ended my 50-year career as a trial attorney, judge and president of southern Arizona's largest law firm, I no longer had confidence in the legal fraternity I had participated in and, yes, profited from.

 

I was the ultimate insider, but as I looked back, I felt I had to write a book about serious issues in the legal profession and the implications for clients and society as a whole. The Fraternity: Lawyers and Judges in Collusion was 10 years in the making and has become my call to action for legal reform.

 

Disturbing evolution

 

Our Constitution intended that only elected lawmakers be permitted to create law.

 

Yet judges create their own law in the judicial system based on their own opinions and rulings. It's called case law, and it is churned out daily through the rulings of judges. When a judge hands down a ruling and that ruling survives appeal with the next tier of judges, it then becomes case law, or legal precedent. This now happens so consistently that we've become more subject to the case rulings of judges rather than to laws made by the lawmaking bodies outlined in our Constitution.

 

This case-law system is a constitutional nightmare because it continuously modifies Constitutional intent. For lawyers, however, it creates endless business opportunities. That's because case law is technically complicated and requires a lawyer's expertise to guide and move you through the system.

 

The judicial system may begin with enacted laws, but the variations that result from a judge's application of case law all too often change the ultimate meaning.

 

Lawyer domination

 

When a lawyer puts on a robe and takes the bench, he or she is called a judge. But in reality, when judges look down from the bench they are lawyers looking upon fellow members of their fraternity. In any other area of the free-enterprise system, this would be seen as a conflict of interest.

 

When a lawyer takes an oath as a judge, it merely enhances the ruling class of lawyers and judges. First of all, in Maricopa and Pima counties, judges are not elected but nominated by committees of lawyers, along with concerned citizens.

 

How can they be expected not to be beholden to those who elevated them to the bench?

 

When they leave the bench, many return to large and successful law firms that leverage their names and relationships.

 

Business of law

 

The concept of "time" has been converted into enormous revenue for lawyers. The profession has adopted elaborate systems where clients are billed for a lawyer's time in six-minute increments. The paralegal profession is another brainchild of the fraternity, created as an additional tracking and revenue center. High-powered firms have departmentalized their services into separate profit centers for probate and trusts, trial, commercial, and so forth.

 

The once-honorable profession of law now fully functions as a bottom-line business, driven by greed and the pursuit of power and wealth, even shaping the laws of the United States outside the elected Congress and state legislatures.

 

Bureaucratic design

 

Today the skill and gamesmanship of lawyers, not the truth, often determine the outcome of a case. And we lawyers love it. All the tools are there to obscure and confound. The system's process of discovery and the exclusionary rule often work to keep vital information off-limits to jurors and make cases so convoluted and complex that only lawyers and judges understand them.

 

The net effect has been to increase our need for lawyers, create more work for them, clog the courts and ensure that most cases never go to trial and are, instead, plea-bargained and compromised. All the while the clock is ticking, and the monster is being fed.

 

The sullying of American law has resulted in a fountain of money for law professionals while the common people, who are increasingly affected by lawyer-driven changes and an expensive, self-serving bureaucracy, are left confused and ill-served.

 

Today, it is estimated that 70 percent of low- to middle-income citizens can no longer afford the cost of justice in America. What would our Founding Fathers think?

 

This devolution of lawmaking by the judiciary has been subtle, taking place incrementally over decades. But today, it's engrained in our legal system, and few even question it. But the result is clear. Individuals can no longer participate in the legal system.

 

It has become too complex and too expensive, all the while feeding our dependency on lawyers.

 

By complicating the law, lawyers have achieved the ultimate job security. Gone are the days when American courts functioned to serve justice simply and swiftly.

 

It is estimated that 95 million legal actions now pass through the courts annually, and the time and expense for a plaintiff or defendant in our legal system can be absolutely overwhelming.

 

Surely it's time to question what has happened to our justice system and to wonder if it is possible to return to a system that truly does protect us from wrongs.

 

John F. Molloy was elected to the Arizona Court of Appeals, where he served as chief justice and authored more than 300 appellate opinions. Molloy wrote the final Miranda decision for the Arizona Supreme Court.

 

<#==#>

 

its not very libertarian but they did a good job of jerking around the government goons that run the city of phoenix.

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0329phxcabbies.html

 

Angry cabbies block traffic

Drivers protest conditions; city has 57 taxis towed

 

Ginger D. Richardson

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 29, 2005 12:00 AM

 

Angry cab drivers created a 57-taxi roadblock Monday that snarled downtown traffic for nearly four hours as they parked in front of Phoenix City Hall to protest working conditions.

 

No one was arrested during the noisy demonstration, which involved nearly 60 cabbies who work out of Sky Harbor International Airport. The protest ended shortly after the city cited the drivers and had the cabs towed.

 

The drivers came to the city with a litany of complaints about how they are treated by their employers. They say they hold the city responsible because the city contracts with the companies to provide service at the airport. advertisement

 

Amid shouts of "No justice, no peace," cabbies said they are overworked, underpaid and frustrated at what they believe is a system that doesn't allow them to air their grievances without repercussion.

 

"We work 14-hour days, summer at the airport is horrible," said Manjet Hoti, who has been driving a cab for three years. "It never changes."

 

Driver Sunny Singh added: "We need our rights. We come here for justice because we request meetings and nothing changes."

 

The protest, which began in earnest around 9:15 a.m., caught Phoenix officials off guard. The drivers parked their cars across four of the five lanes of Washington Street, on the south side of City Hall before anyone knew they were on their way.

 

The onslaught put parts of City Hall on a security lockdown; police sealed off doors to the municipal building and blocked access to Mayor Phil Gordon's office.

 

"We were blindsided by this," Gordon said.

 

The blockade of taxis stretched for three blocks and bottled up traffic until shortly after 1:15 p.m., when the last of the 57 cabs were towed.

 

Taxi service at the airport was not affected as the protest involved only about 30 percent of the drivers there on any given day.

 

The cabbies all worked for one of three companies - AAA Full Transportation, Allstate and Discount - authorized to do business at Sky Harbor.

 

Their complaints seemed to focus on four major areas:

 

• Lease rates. The drivers do not own their vehicles. They lease them from the companies for about $85 a day. The cabbies believe that is too much.

 

• The use of CNG fuel. The city requires that cabs at the airport use a cleaner fuel called compressed natural gas. The drivers were complaining that cars using the fuel are at greater risk of exploding.

 

• Insurance. Drivers say cab companies have insurance that covers the car and passengers, but not the drivers.

 

• Competition from on-demand limousine companies. Sky Harbor is one of the only major airports that allows limo drivers to compete with cabbies for customers. Most other airports allow only limo drivers who are picking up passengers with reservations. City officials said they were aware of this issue and are hiring a consultant to look at its limousine policies.

 

Van Means, director of operations for AAA Full Transportation, watched the protests Monday with a grimace.

 

He said his company "bends over backward" and has an open-door policy when it comes to its drivers. The company can't fire the drivers involved, he said, because they are subcontractors. But it is possible that they won't have a car to drive when they arrive at work today, because the company doles out vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.

 

"If they don't want to drive, that's fine," Means said. "Because we have a waiting list of people who do."

 

Phoenix officials ultimately did sit down with three individuals who agreed to act as representatives for the protesters, but Phoenix Aviation Director David Krietor said Monday that because the drivers themselves have no direct contract with the city, its ability to solve their grievances would be limited.

 

Other city officials criticized Monday's demonstration, saying it was politically motivated.

 

It was organized by Jarrett Maupin II, a 17-year-old student at St. Mary's High School, who intends to run against Vice Mayor Michael Johnson for his southeast Phoenix seat this fall.

 

Maupin, Arizona chairman of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, denied the protest was linked to his political aspirations.

 

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http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0402rowland02.html

 

Conn. ex-governor locked up

Reports to prison in Pa. for term in fraud conviction

 

Dan Nephin

Associated Press

Apr. 2, 2005 12:00 AM

 

LORETTO, Pa. - Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland arrived at a federal prison Friday morning to serve a sentence for corruption, entering through a back way to avoid reporters.

 

Rowland was sentenced to one year and one day at the camp but will be eligible for release after 10 months. He must also serve four months of house arrest.

 

Earlier in the day, the three-term Republican gave thanks for his family and supporters.

 

"Throughout this whole ordeal, one thing has become abundantly clear: how blessed I am to have such a wonderful wife and loving children," Rowland, 47, said in a statement issued by his attorney. "I am also grateful for the prayers and support from so many people across our state."

 

Rowland, a congressman at 27 and the state's youngest-ever governor at 37, had been well-liked in heavily Democratic Connecticut and was considered a rising star in the Republican Party before he resigned in July under threat of impeachment.

 

Under a plea deal with prosecutors in December, he admitted trading access to his office for more than $100,000 in vacations, airline trips to Las Vegas and home repairs.

 

After sentencing two weeks ago, a federal judge recommended that Rowland be sent to a prison just outside Boston, where his family could visit him easily. But the Bureau of Prisons assigned him to the camp in Loretto, about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh and about 400 miles from Rowland's West Hartford home.

 

Loretto, a minimum-security prison, houses 140 non-violent offenders serving relatively short sentences. The inmates, all men, sleep in bunk beds and are allowed visitors on Friday evenings and on weekends.

 

Rowland, who is prisoner No. 15623-014, will be required to work for 12 cents an hour.

 

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http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/0402taser02.html

 

Taser says quarterly sales will fall short

 

Republic staff and news services

Apr. 2, 2005 12:00 AM

 

Taser International Inc. on Friday estimated its first-quarter revenue will fall well short of Wall Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

expectations, saying the controversy over the safety of its stun guns may have cut into sales for the period.

 

Taser shares fell $1.58, or 13 percent, to $10.42 Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has lost nearly two-thirds of its value from a late-December high of $32.59.

 

The company estimated sales for the quarter ending Thursday at $10 million, shy of the average target of $13.6 million from analysts polled by Thomson Financial. In the previous quarter, Taser had revenues of $19.3 million.

 

A year ago, the stun-gun maker took in revenue of $13 million in the quarter. The last time quarterly revenues dropped below $10 million were in the third quarter of 2003.

 

Donn Vickrey of Scottsdale-based Gradient Analytics, said he was not surprised Taser's forecast declined so much.

 

"It's not surprising if you see a company that is doing late-quarter deals like it did last quarter," Vickrey said about the October-December period. "Based on the late-quarter sales in Q4 and the safety-related issues, we felt there was a very good likelihood of this."

 

In recent months, Taser has faced mounting criticism for its stun guns, which are designed to temporarily incapacitate an individual with an electric jolt and have been blamed for a growing list of fatalities.

 

Human rights group Amnesty International, among the first to raise concerns about the safety of Tasers, released a report on Friday that expanded the number of Taser-related deaths since June 2001 to 103 from the figure of 74 contained in a report issued last fall. An ongoing Arizona Republic investigation has linked the stun gun to at least 12 deaths nationwide and to the injuries of several police officers.

 

Rick Smith, Taser's chief executive, has repeatedly contended that the weapons are safe and effective in subduing individuals when used properly, citing recent studies that include reports from the Department of Defense and the Home Office of the United Kingdom,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

where authorities last week approved the newest version of the Taser.

 

"These studies have supported the view that Taser devices, while not risk-free, are generally safe and reduce the risk of injury or death," Smith said.

 

Sid Parakh, an analyst with the Robins Group, said the company has suffered because until recently it had few independent studies to back its safety claims. The more recent British and Department of Defense studies should help bolster the company's safety claims, he said.

 

"It's an uphill battle, though," Parakh said. "It will take them awhile."

 

But Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst with Morgan, Keegan & Co., said he does not believe the concerns over safety are a temporary problem and the lawsuits are likely to mount.

 

In the company's latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it said it has been sued 18 times since April 2003 for personal injury or wrongful death.

 

Staff reporter Craig Harris and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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wow tough punishment!!! this white house felon will have to surrender his security clearance for three years and wont be able to view classified documents during that time period. does that mean he gets his $200k job back then?

 

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0402berger02.html

 

Berger pleads guilty in taking papers

Clinton aide stuffed secret files into suit

 

Mark Sherman

Associated Press

Apr. 2, 2005 12:00 AM

 

WASHINGTON - Sandy Berger knew better than almost anyone the ground rules for handling classified documents. As President Clinton's national security adviser, he routinely reviewed the government's most closely held secrets and determined what needed to remain off-limits to the public.

 

But on Friday in federal District Court, he admitted a sequence of events at once slapstick and criminal: sneaking classified documents out of the National Archives in his suit, cutting up some of them in his office and then lying about it.

 

U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson didn't ask why and Berger never attempted to explain.

 

Rather than the "honest mistake" he described last summer, Berger acknowledged he intentionally took and deliberately destroyed three copies of the same document dealing with terror threats during the 2000 millennium celebration.

 

"Guilty, Your Honor," Berger responded when asked how he pleaded.

 

Berger did not say why he cut up the materials and threw them away at the Washington office of his Stonebridge International consulting firm.

 

"It was a mistake, and it was wrong," he said after the hearing, refusing to answer questions.

 

The charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

 

However, under a plea agreement that still must be approved by Robinson, Berger would serve no jail time but pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his security clearance for three years and cooperate with investigators. Security clearance allows access to classified government materials.

Sentencing is set for July 8.

 

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