Friday, March 20, 2009
WASHINGTON - March 18 - WHAT: Press Conference.
Iraq Veterans Against the War Commence "OPERATION NOT CHANGE"
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans begin a tower-guard vigil across from the White House. The towers will be manned 24 hours a day March 19th to March 21st, Saturday. (All are welcome to come speak to the vets on post and ask questions about their deployments.)
WHEN: 10:00 A.M. Thursday, March 19th
WHERE: Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets, North of the Washington Monument
WHY: To protest President Obama's deceptions about his foreign policy and mark the sixth year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
Adam Kokesh: (505) 470-1917 firstname.lastname@example.org. IVAW board member who served in Fallujah with a Marine Corps Civil Affairs team. "Relabeling the remaining forces in Iraq 'non-combat troops' will not change the fact that these occupations are being perpetuated to maintain a criminal empire."
James Circello: (419) 905-8305. ANSWER organizer, former Airborne soldier, Iraq veteran, and Afghanistan war resister. "President Bush would often boast that, under his watch, the United States hadn't been attacked since September 11, but the working class has been attacked every day since."
James Gilligan: (267) 506-1495 email@example.com, Served with the USMC in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo. "The backlash of the actions by both administrations, of pursuing the enemy outside of the combat regions will only spread the violence further.
Bryan Casler: (315) 877-3420 firstname.lastname@example.org. Deployed three times in his four years with the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry man, including a tour to Kabul, Afghanistan. "No matter how Obama spins a surge into Afghanistan, it's still a criminal occupation and we don't want it."
Tracey Harmon: (808) 292-0525 email@example.com Conscientious Objector, served six years in the US Army Reserves.
From MPs visit deserter in U.S. prison, urge Ottawa to allow resisters refuge in Canada
TORONTO — Two members of Parliament who met Sunday with an Iraq army deserter court-martialed after fleeing to British Columbia are hopeful their San Diego prison visit reignites debate about allowing others to take refuge in Canada.
New Democrat Olivia Chow and Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj spent 45 minutes discussing the issues around Robin Long's deportation and learning about his condition behind bars.
Long, 25, who the Toronto MPs call a "war resister," was deported from Canada in July 2008 after fleeing to avoid serving in Iraq - the first deserter to be sent back to the U.S. by the courts.
"The (incarceration) conditions are acceptable, but what's unacceptable is the fact that this young man, as a consequence of taking a principled stand, is spending 15 months of his life while he's in his 20s in prison," Wrzesnewskyj said from San Diego.
"It coincides with the key formative years of his young Canadian son who's two years old. That's a terrible thing to do to someone."
Long's deportation occurred one month after Chow initiated a motion urging that U.S. military deserters be allowed to stay in Canada.
Parliament passed the nonbinding motion but so far the Conservatives have ignored the directive.
With three more deserters facing the possibility of deportation, Chow plans to re-introduce the motion when Parliament resumes next week.
It comes almost exactly six years after the Iraq war began.
"Hopefully we can debate it again," she said. "And we certainly hope that (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper will not ignore the will of Parliament one more time."
When the two MPs and a representative of the War Resisters Support Campaign entered the barbed wire-enclosed Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar to speak with Long they discovered a young man who continues to hold an unshaken belief in the rightness of his cause, Wrzesnewskyj said.
"There didn't seem to be any hint of anger or vindictiveness, he seems like a well-balanced young man and hopeful," he said.
But there were several issues raised in the meeting that alarmed the group, who now believe Canada's methods in deporting Long may have worsened his prosecution.
Long told them he was driven across the border in handcuffs and not allowed to enter the country and surrender on his own will, which potentially opened him up to more serious charges.
Long also alleged that citizenship and immigration officials had compelled him to hand over original military documents, stating they would be returned.
When instead he later only received copies, he faced charges of handing over military documents to a foreign power.
From "Gospel spirituality of resistance"
Father Harak, a Jesuit priest and author, helped found Voices in the Wilderness, which was nominated in 2000, 2002, and 2003 for the Nobel Peace Prize. Father Harak is both a war resister and theology professor at Marquette University, and director of The Center for Peacemaking at Marquette, which is committed to support research on the effectiveness of initiatives to prevent violent conflicts and to reconcile communities in the wake of violence.
From Naomi Klein Interview
Naomi Klein inherited some of her politics. Her grandfather was blacklisted by Joe McCarthy for being a union agitator at Walt Disney, where he worked as an animator. Her grandmother worked for Henry Wallace in 1948. Her father fled the United States as a Vietnam-era war resister and became a medical doctor and a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her mother was a feminist filmmaker for Canada's National Film Board.
But upbringing is not destiny, and Klein has created her own. She was a student journalist and activist at the University of Toronto. She edited the leftist Canadian publication This Magazine. In 2000, she became an instant sensation when she published No Logo, which served as a manifesto for the anti-corporate, global justice movement. After that, she chronicled the rebellion against neoliberalism in Latin America. With her husband, Avi Lewis, she made a film called The Take, which is about autoworkers in Buenos Aires who occupy their idle factory.
A columnist for The Nation and The Guardian, Klein published the monumental book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism in 2007, which systematically refutes the claim that democracy and free markets are inseparable. In part, the book is a history of U.S. imperialism since the overthrow of Allende's Chile. And in part, it's an exposé on how Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics, the U.S. Treasury, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank all do the bidding of U.S. corporations and banks, especially in times of crisis.
Klein was recently profiled in The New Yorker, which called her “the most visible and influential figure on the American left—what Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky were thirty years ago.”
From André Shepherd, Iraq War Resister, Applies for Asylum in Germany
U.S. Army Specialist André Shepherd, who went AWOL after serving in Iraq, has applied for asylum in Germany. Shepherd refused military service because he is morally opposed to the Iraq War.
"It is a sickening feeling to realize that I took part in what was basically a daily slaughter of a proud people," said Shepherd at a press conference announcing his application for asylum. "I am remorseful for my contribution to these heinous acts, and I swear that I will never make these mistakes again."
Shepherd, who has been living underground in Germany for nearly two years, applied for refugee status on November 26th on the grounds that the Iraq War is illegal.
This makes Shepherd the first Iraq War Veteran to apply for refugee status in Europe. His case may have profound implications for the growing ranks of troops who are refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Who is André Shepherd?
Shepherd did not set out in life intending to build a career in the military. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and went to school at Kent State University, where he studied computer science. He graduated in 2000 in the midst of the dot-com bubble burst, and he found himself unable to get a job in his field. Shepherd embarked on a litany of odd jobs to get by, including working fast food, stuffing envelopes, couriering, and selling vacuum cleaners. Yet it often wasn't enough to cover his basic living expenses.
In the summer of 2003, Shepherd ran into an army recruiter who told him of the army's benefits: free travel, healthcare, and free housing. "At the time, I was living in my car, so that sounded appealing," said Shepherd.
On January 27, 2004, Shepherd decided to join the army. "At that time, I didn't have the knowledge I have now. All I had was pretty much what the mass media was telling me and what the Bush Administration was saying on the mass media," said Shepherd.
Shepherd was trained in Apache helicopter repair and sent first to Achach Germany, then to Iraq, where he was stationed from September 2004 to February 2005.
"While I was in Iraq, the first thing I noticed was when the local population would come on our base. Usually when you liberate a people, they are overjoyed to see you, they are happy to see you, they would welcome you with open arms," said Shepherd. "When I would see the Iraqi population, they didn't look like they were in any way happy to see us. They looked like either they were afraid of me or if I turned my back without my weapon, they would probably want to kill me. That started me thinking."
Shepherd started talking to soldiers on his base and was shocked to learn that many did not understand why they were there and did not see any benefit. He began doing research and started seeing "inconsistencies between what the Bush Administration was saying and what was actually happening."
Eventually, Shepherd began analyzing his own contribution to a war that was making less and less sense to him. "My job appeared harmless until one factors in the amount of death and destruction those helicopters cause to civilians in Iraq," he said.
"Once I pretty much figured out the truth, that this war was nothing more than a fraud, not only on the American people but the entire world, I resolved within myself that I would no longer go on another deployment to Iraq," he said in an interview with Courage to Resist, one of the many U.S.-based organizations rallying support for him.
From DVD FOCUS: Jane Fonda's anti-war years lived anew
A time capsule of the anti-Vietnam War movement, "FTA" is also a vivid flashback to a world-famous movie star's stint as a political radical. At the peak of her celebrity, which coincided with the dawning of her political consciousness, Jane Fonda abdicated her Hollywood throne and remade herself as the face of the anti-establishment.
With government agents and the news media watching her every move, she led a vaudeville troupe on a tour of U.S. military bases in 1971—a trip chronicled in this fascinating documentary, largely unseen since its brief, abortive release and finally available on DVD this week.
In the disc's only extra, a 20-minute interview, Fonda recounts how the project came about. She and Donald Sutherland, her co-star in 1971's "Klute" (which won her an Oscar), were approached by Howard Levy, a doctor who had become an anti-war cause celebre for refusing to train Green Beret medics. He proposed that they put on a corrective to Bob Hope's gung-ho USO shows, giving voice not just to the growing peace movement but to anti-war sentiment within the ranks of the military.
The FTA troupe staged its first shows in the U.S., with Fonda and Sutherland (who had just played the irreverent Hawkeye in Robert Altman's "M*A*S*H") headlining a company that included Peter Boyle and Howard Hesseman. (The all-purpose acronym is short for "Free the Army" and a more profane variation.)
When it came time to embark on the two-week Pacific Rim tour, Fonda assembled a more politically correct lineup that stressed racial and gender parity—equal numbers of black and white, and male and female, performers, including singer Holly Near and comedian Paul Mooney.
Fonda, Sutherland and company stopped off in Hawaii, the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan (where they were initially refused entry). Denied permission to perform on U.S. bases, they set up shop in nearby coffeehouses and other venues, although military officials apparently tried to minimize attendance by publicizing incorrect showtimes .
All told, the troupe played 21 shows, which were attended by some 64,000 servicemen and women. Many of the male GIs, as Fonda ruefully concedes in the interview, must have been anticipating the Space Age sex kitten from "Barbarella" and not the righteous radical who took the stage in jeans, no makeup and a raised fist.
The show mixes protest songs with broad and bawdy skits, taking potshots at military chauvinism and top-brass privilege. But what it lacks in finesse, it makes up for with a raucous energy. Directed by Francine Parker (who died in 2007), the documentary alternates between the song-and-dance routines and behind-the-scenes footage of soldiers talking candidly to the troupe members about their frustration and anger at the ongoing war and the American presence in the region.
From Ex-Bush admin official: Many at Gitmo are innocent
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. "There are still innocent people there," Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. "Some have been there six or seven years."
Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a "mosaic" of intelligence.
"It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance," Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather "sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified."
Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said vetting on the battlefield during the early stages of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was incompetent with no meaningful attempt to discriminate "who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation."
Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to comment on Wilkerson's specific allegations but noted that the military has consistently said that dealing with foreign fighters from a wide variety of countries in a wartime setting was a complex process. The military has insisted that those held at Guantanamo were enemy combatants and posed a threat to the United States.
In his posting for The Washington Note blog, Wilkerson wrote that "U.S. leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released."
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney fought efforts to address the situation, Wilkerson said, because "to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership."
From One Million And Counting by Ernest Stewart
"The FBI's Terrorist Screening Center acknowledged this week that there are more than 1 million names on its official terrorist watch list, a number that suggests the vast scale of the police-state measures undertaken by the US government on the pretext of waging a 'war on terror.'" ~~~ Patrick Martin
"Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That's been going on, in the name of all of us."
~~~ Seymour Hersh ~ about the J.S.O.C. ~~~
Eat The Rich
There's only one thing that they are good for
Eat The Rich
Take one bite now - come back for more
Eat The Rich
I gotta get this off my chest
Eat The Rich
Take one bite now - spit out the rest
Eat The Rich ~~~ Aerosmith
Here's something that we told you about last summer and the FBI is finally admitting. According to their "Terrorist Screening Center" they've acknowledged that there are more than 1 million names on the official terrorist watch list.
This is a list that has very little to do with actual terrorists but is all about Americans as well as foreigners who are considered an enemies of the state for political reasons. Actual terrorist are not on the terrorist list as the government doesn't want to tip its hand about whom they are actively pursuing! Now isn't that special?
Some famous folks who've made the list include politicians such as Senator Edward Kennedy and members of the House of Representatives, John Lewis, Loretta Sanchez and Don Young. Or any journalist who has spoken out about the last two Juntas such as James Moore, author of a critical biography of Karl Rove, entitled Bush's Brain, and CNN reporter Drew Griffin who found himself on the list in May 2008, shortly after he did a series of reports critical of the Transportation Security Administration. A couple of other well known folks on the list are Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, and Evo Morales, currently president of Bolivia. I'm sure there are more but we're not allowed to see this secret list and only find out when someone is harassed because of it. Even though I made Nixon's enemies list I'm apparently not on this one yet as I got my passport last year which surprised me to no end!
There is no legal restriction on who can be placed on the watch list nor is there presently any legal right to have your name removed from the list once it appears. You may recall that children have been stopped from boarding planes, in one case, an eight-year-old boy was deemed a terrorist because of the list, so you can see how well it works!
According to a 2007 report by the Government Accountability Office, "an individual may be nominated to the list if they are subject to an ongoing counterterrorism investigation, or if the individual is the subject of a preliminary investigation to determine if they have links to terrorism." The second category potentially includes the entire population of world as after all we're apparently just six degrees of separation apart! Of the million plus currently on the list at least one hundred thousand are Americans, many because they've spoken out against Bush, Israel, the wars or because someone on the nominating committee doesn't like them! This means the other nine hundred thousand or so must belong to Al Qaeda which gives them more troops than the US Army. Strange to say the least, as the last count I had there were about five hundred members in Al Qaeda.
The FBI has stated that they removed thirty three thousand last year but since they're adding several hundred thousand a year it may take decades to get your name off the list once it gets put on! While there currently aren't one hundred thousand American terrorists (my guess would be less than fifty), if this kind of big brother sh*t keeps up there soon will be one hundred thousand American terrorists or more as one man's terrorist is another man's patriot!
In Other News
Are you hip to the "Joint Special Operations Command?" If not, let me hip you!
They say they're, "...a joint headquarters designed to study special operations requirements and techniques; ensure interoperability and equipment standardization; plan and conduct joint special operations exercises and training; and develop joint special operations tactics." Joint Special Operations Command was established on December 15, 1980, in the aftermath of the failure of "Operation Eagle Claw," the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the 53 hostages from the American embassy in Tehran, Iran. The Joint Special Operations Command is located at the Pope Air Force Base, Fort Bragg complex outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
They're really combat teams of professional killers like the Green Berets or the Navy Seals but their targets aren't military but political!
The Hague, Netherlands: A prestigious Dutch human rights award was presented Friday to two groups from Israel and the Palestinian territories even though the director of the Palestinian organisation was banned from attending the ceremony.
The Geuzenpenning medal was presented to Palestinian group Al Haq and Israeli organisation B'Tselem at a ceremony in the southern Dutch city of Vlaardingen.
The foundation that makes the annual award praised both groups for their "independent and critical" monitoring of rights abuses in the occupied territories.
The director of Al Haq, Shawan Jabarin, was not able to attend the presentation because Israel refused to lift a travel ban it imposed on him.
Hans Mathijssen, who helped organise the ceremony, said Jabarin was able to watch live through a computer link with Ramallah.
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On 19 December 2008, approximately 150 undocumented migrants and solidarity activists occupied the Prediger Church in Zurich (Switzerland) for more than two weeks. The squatters demanded a just implementation of the hardship provision, the abolition of the prohibition of work and the legalization of the status of all undocumented migrants.
In 2007 and 2008, Switzerland implemented several stricter laws regarding asylum and foreigners. There's no social assistance for rejected asylum seekers anymore and the concerned persons are only entitled to receive emergency assistance. Its procedure, quantity and form is up to the cantons. The Canton of Zurich forces people to live on only 60 Swiss Francs (US$ 52) per week in coupons for the supermarket chain Migros. Some migrants are even forced to change their accommodation (emergency shelters) weekly.
Zurich is also very strict in the implementation of the so-called hardship policy. The provision for cases of hardship allows undocumented migrants, who have lived in Switzerland for at least five years and have "integrated very well" to file a request for a residency permit. After checking these requests, cantonal migration authorities forward them to the Federal Office for Migration (FOM). The Canton of Zurich, however, imposes extremely difficult conditions and didn't forward a single request to the FOM in 2008.
Activists of the Bleiberecht (Right to stay for all) campaign have already occupied a church in Zurich in 2007. During the last year, further protests and activities were organized. However, Zurich's asylum policy hasn't improved and in winter 2008, many people regarded a determined action as necessary in order to push their demands forward.
The film documents the occupation of the church. Undocumented migrants and activists of the Bleiberecht collective explain the current problems, their demands and further aspects of the occupation in detail. They tell of the negotiations with the Department of Migration of Zurich and evaluate the political results.
The 30-minute film was produced by several video activists with a-films, Bleiberecht Bern, Bleiberecht Zurich and Solidarité sans Frontières.
Further versions of this film and download links:
Daniel Hopsicker reports in the 19 Feb. issue of Madcow Morning News :
Michael Francis Brassington, the pilot arrested two weeks ago on felony charges in the February 2005 crash of a Challenger business jet at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport, flew illegal charter flights for corrupt Premier Michael Misick of the Turks & Caicos Islands on Gulfstream jets owned by a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton.
A British Commission of Inquiry into corruption in the Turks & Caicos Islands last week heard testimony that former Guyanese military pilot Brassington, currently facing a 23-count indictment in Federal Court in Newark for endangering passengers lives, has since several months after the Challenger jet crash been in business with Misick, who was just forced to resign, using jets provided by Jeffrey Watson, a former Clinton Aide and now a Washington lobbyist.
The Commission heard testimony that Brassington and Turks & Caicos Premier Michael Misick conspired to induce the island's government to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a month to Watson to lease two high-end Gulfstream III luxury business jets.
The men engineered an air charter deal that paid Watson more than $160,000-a-month from the coffers of the Turks & Caicos' nearly-bankrupt government, which was at the same time eliminating all student scholarships.
Watson is a former housing official in Miami who became a Special Assistant t0 Clinton in the White House, where he was responsible for doling out $75 million in Federal government largesse after the devastation of Hurricane Andrew.
"The hurricane plan was shaped in part by Florida's insider at the White House: Jeffrey Watson," reported the April 29 1993 Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
"Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless"
The British Commission of inquiry probe uncovered evidence of massive corruption by Misick, whose assets of $50,000 when he took office six years ago multiplied like loaves and fishes on steroids from A-Rod's cousin in the Dominican Republic until today he is worth an estimated $80 million, according to the testimony of his estranged wife, Hollywood actress Lisa-Raye McCoy.
The inquiry also revealed that Brassington, a former Guyanese military pilot with a very checkered U.S. aviation career, continues to fly illegal charter flights in and out of the United States despite government sanctions by both the FAA and NTSB which have included rare emergency cease-and-desist orders as well as orders affirming the emergency revocation of his pilot's license.
Aviation observers have long been puzzled as to what, or who, has been keeping Brassington flying. Some no doubt suspected he had high-level government connections.
They point to his seeming impunity with the FAA, U.S. Customs, and the DEA, despite frequent incidents any one of which would have forever grounded most pilots.
That it took Federal officials four years--and a change of Administrations--to charge Brassington did nothing to change their opinion.
Brassington had also suffered no ill effects from being the co-pilot in July of 2000 on a Lear jet which belonged to Wally Hilliard, owner of the Venice flight school which had enrolled Mohamed Atta in its flight training program earlier that month, when the Lear was seized by DEA agents in Orlando, who found 43 lbs. of heroin onboard. The event would almost certainly guarantee most pilots some state-sponsored downtime... but not Brassington.
His name didn't even appear in newspaper accounts of the bust.
Had it been known that he was flying jets belonging to an influential lobbyist and former official in the Clinton Administration, it would have cleared up considerable confusion.
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From the WSJ report In Ads, 1 Out of 5 Stats Is Bogus*
*Actually, It's Misleading, Incomplete or Obscured in Fine Print That Few People Read
In making numerical claims asserting superiority over their competitors, marketers court greater scrutiny, as did Coke and Pepsi when each cola maker's ads focused on taste-test results. And some do the bare minimum to avoid litigation. "I won't say they're trying to make honest ads," says Eric Zanot, who teaches advertising at the University of Maryland, "but they're at least trying to make ads that pass the legal test."
Campbell and Progresso traded blows outside the legal arena in a contest over which soup maker uses more monosodium glutamate. Campbell sponsored a study asking consumers to choose a chicken-noodle soup after perusing the ingredient label; two out of three with a preference chose the Campbell variety that lacked MSG. Progresso struck back by sending shoppers to grocery stores and counting 95 different Campbell soups with MSG, a number it touted in an ad.
Campbell spokesman Anthony Sanzio says the number is 87. But the number isn't a fair comparison because Campbell makes about three times more soup than Progresso; Mr. Sanzio says Campbell makes 124 varieties without MSG.
Nutrition experts responded mostly by yawning at a number that, for most people's health, is meaningless. An influential Food and Drug Administration-funded study concluded that MSG has no adverse health effects.
Taking on rivals head-on in such campaigns is being diagnosed as a symptom of an ailing economy by some advertising experts. "When the tide is running out, and there's less business, you have to take it from somewhere else," says Jack Trout, a marketing strategist in Old Greenwich, Conn.
Progresso was taking that approach long before the financial crisis, says vice president of marketing Jerry Lynch. Recently the company trumpeted its taste-test victory in the same chicken-noodle soups whose ingredient labels were perused for Campbell's ads: Seven out of 10 preferred the Progresso variety when they tasted both.
The victory among 70% of opinionated tasters sat somewhat awkwardly between two thirds and three quarters. "Simple numbers are always better -- I can relate to two out of three," says Mr. Lynch. "Three out of four is better -- me and my two brothers like it while my sister didn't. I start having trouble when you say 11 out of 15."
The Domino's ads took a two-out-of-three victory and ran with it. Rick Rosner, a writer for comedian Jimmy Kimmel and someone who is famously smart, is shown playing a board game against a child. Mr. Rosner then claims that his own IQ of 200 represents the people who prefer Domino's while the fifth-grader's IQ of 100 is equivalent to the outnumbered Subway fans. Cue an angry board-clearing by the young Subway stand-in.
The ad has a sub-genius flaw. It suggests that an adult with an IQ of 200 is twice as smart as a fifth-grader with one of 100. But IQ scores are directly comparable only between people of the same age. In its defense, Mr. Rosner points out, "it's a Domino's commercial," and not, say, a scientific paper.
Moldova Azi Magazine reports :
Relatives of young man shot dead by policeman demand that officer is tried
The relatives of the young man that was shot dead by a police officer three days ago protested in front of the Ministry of
Internal Affairs on Tuesday, March 17.
Info-Prim Neo, 17 March 2009
2009-03-17/15:18/ Chisinau (IPN) Accompanied by a large group of persons, they demanded that the policeman is held accountable as he used the gun without firing a warning shot. Officials of the Ministry say yet he acted in accordance with the law, Info-Prim Neo reports.
The large number of young persons with candles in hands and white flours at the chest chanted that justice is done in front of the Ministry's building.
The tragedy happened on the night to Sunday on the stairs of a block in Botanica district.
Ion Verbinschi, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs' internal security division, told a news conference on Tuesday that the police officers had to use the guns because the man injured a policeman with the knife while he tried to escape. Ion Verbinschi confirmed witnesses' words that the young man was confused with an offender wanted for theft that was in the block at that moment.
The girlfriend of the shot young man Stela Berbici said that he did not have a knife on him during the arrest and that the policeman injured himself with a knife to be able to explain his deed. "We want that the police officer stands trial because he did not have the right to shoot without warning," she said during the protest. The young man's brother Sergiu Timus also said that his brother was not guilty.
The prosecutors of Botanica district said they instituted legal proceedings against the policeman. An investigation is under way to establish if the shot could have been avoided.
The police say the shot young man Alexei Vlas aged 29 had criminal record.
This report in French from the Centre des Médias Alternatifs du Québec (Indymedia-Québec) paints a grimmer picture :
...Mais selon les témoins, amis d`Alexei, aussi que les personnes de l`immeuble qui le connassaient, tout s`est passé totalement different. Selon la fille de la femme qui aurait appellé les policiers, il y a eu aucun appel de leur part cette soiree la. Mais les policiers connaissaient bien leur problèmes de famille et s`en servent pour cacher une exécution de sang froid. Selon une habitante du cartier, les policiers avaient harcelé et battu Alexei à plusieurs reprises dans les dernières mois. Cette soirée fatale ils s`en sont ``debarassé`` definitivement en quelques secondes. Ils ont lui serré les mains au dos, en le frappant avec les genoux sur sa tete. Ses amis qui ont essayé de l`aider ont eté aussi brutalisés par les policiers, parmi eux une femme enceinte. Essayant de resister, Alexei a aussi reproché qqchose à un des policiers, toute de suite apres il a recu un balle dans pleine tete, par en arrière... il est decedé instantanément. Dans quelques instants, le policier descende un etage plus bas et se blesse lui meme sa jambe avec un couteau, afin de pouvoir motiver son acte irresponsable.
Selon le rapport des policiers d`hier matin, le policier a agi d`une facon tout a fait légale, en legitime defense , en ``neutralisant`` l`agresseur qui avait attaqué l`agent avec un couteau. Ils ont reconu quand meme qu`ils cherchaient une autre personne et qu`ils se sont trompé...
The Irish Times report :
A homemade bomb exploded in a central Athens avenue tonight, causing serious damage to a state building and shops but no injuries, police said.
A police official said it exploded outside the building of an agency managing state property about 250 metres from Athens central police headquarters.
There was no warning and no group had claimed responsibility for the attack. Police experts at the scene were investigating what kind of explosive device was used.
The government is still reeling from the worst riots in decades in December, provoked by the fatal police shooting of a 15-year-old and fuelled by anger at youth unemployment and economic measures.
Last week, Greece's most militant guerrilla group Revolutionary Struggle said it was behind two attacks against Citibank branches in the Greek capital.
The group has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks against police and ministries, including a rocket-propelled grenade attack against the US embassy in Athens, in 2007.
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