Society's Child


Judge blasts government for seizing $176,000 from man pulled over for driving slow, orders money returned

© Shutterstock
A federal judge accused the U.S. government of a "lack of candor" and ordered it to return $167,000 that was seized from a man who was stopped for a minor traffic violation.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a Nevada state trooper stopped Straughn Gorman's motor home on Interstate 80 in January 2013 for allegedly driving too slow.

After Gorman declined to let the trooper search his vehicle, the trooper let him go without a citation. But the trooper radioed ahead for a Elko County sheriff's deputy to perform a second stop with a drug-sniffing dog.

The dog alerted the deputy to something suspicious in the motor home, and $167,000 was found hidden throughout the vehicle. Gorman's money was turned over to federal authorities to initiate civil forfeiture proceedings, but he was never charged with a crime.

Star of David

Karma: Israel sees foreign investment plummet by 50% since Gaza massacre

Foreign investment in Israel plummeted almost 50 percent in 2014, a fact attributed to last summer's assault on Gaza and the growing impact of boycotts.

This week the UN's trade and development agency UNCTAD released its annual World Investment Report on foreign direct investment (FDI) - a measure of money that investors from overseas put into a country to invest in businesses, build factories or start other economic projects.

According to the report, FDI into Israel in 2014 plummeted to just $6.4 billion from almost $12 billion in 2013.

The 2014 figure appears to be the lowest in more than a decade. Foreign direct investment into Israel averaged around $9 billion per year from 2005 to 2012.

"We believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing," Roni Manos, an Israeli economist who co-authored the report, told Israel's Ynet.


15 most outrageous responses by police after killing unarmed people

Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police.

There have been around 400 fatal police shootings; one in six of those killings, 16 percent, were of unarmed people, 49 had no weapon at all and 13 had toy guns, according to the Washington Post. Of the police killings this year less than 1 percent have resulted in the officer being charged with a crime. The Guardian did a study which included killings by Tasers and found 102 people killed by police so far in 2015 were unarmed and that unarmed black people are twice as likely to be killed by police as whites.

Here are 15 of the most outrageous reasons given by police to justify killing unarmed people in the last 12 months.

Comment: It's been starkly clear to police officers that they will not be punished for what is essentially murder. The system is set up to protect the authorities and the police exist to protect the rich and powerful. The rest of us can be murdered with impunity. Welcome to 21st century freedom in the good ole USA.


Fire in predominantly black church ruled arson by fire officials

Jeanette Dudley, associate pastor at God's Power Church of Christ
A fire inside a church with a primarily African-American congregation in Macon, Georgia has been ruled as arson by fire officials, reported the Telegraph.

Macon-Bibb County fire Sergeant Ben Glea­ton told the newspaper that while the investigation into Tuesday's fire at the God's Power Church of Christ continues, enough evidence had been discovered to rule the blaze had been deliberately set.

The arson ruling came a day after North Carolina authorities said a predominantly black church in Charlotte was purposefully burned, and roughly a week after a white gunman opened fire in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people.


Americans are twice as likely to be killed by right-wing terrorists than Muslim jihadists

© Reuters/Darren Hauck
Family members of those killed in a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin attend a candlelight vigil in in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on the one-year anniversary, August 5, 2013
Nearly twice as many Americans have been killed by right-wing extremists since 9/11 as have died at the hands of radical Muslims on US soil, a new report found. There have also been nearly three times as many deadly right-wing attacks as jihadist ones.

In almost a decade-and-a-half, 48 Americans have died in the US in 19 attacks by white supremacists, so-called "sovereign citizens" and other non-Muslim extremists, while 26 have died in seven jihadist attacks on US soil during that same time period, research center New America found as it compiled a new database on deadly attacks in the US since 9/11.

"Since 9/11, our country has been fixated on the threat of jihadi terrorism," said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to the Kansas City Star. "But the horrific tragedy at the Emanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real."

Last Wednesday, nine African-Americans were shot and killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Storm Roof, who later confessed to the massacre, made racist statements as he killed his victims, survivors told police. A website believed to belong to Roof contained a white supremacist manifesto, as well as photos of him posing with a gun, carrying the Confederate flag and burning an American flag. The Charleston shooting has not been officially labeled as terrorism, however, and Roof has not been charged with any crimes more heinous than murder.


The 'devious defecator' case is a landmark for US genetic-privacy law

Genetic testing, a closer look at the law.
Nature explores the impact of the first US court decision over how employers use genetic information.

A US company is the first to face penalties under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), a law that protects the privacy of genetic information. On 22 June, a federal court jury in Georgia awarded US$2.25 million to two men whose employer tested their DNA, seeking to identify who had repeatedly left faeces in one of its warehouses.

The firm, Atlas Logistics Group Retail Services, a grocery distributor in Atlanta, Georgia, asked employees Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds to give cheek swabs in 2012. Atlas sent their DNA to a lab for genetic comparison with the offending faecal matter. The tests showed that Lowe and Reynolds' DNA was not a match.

In 2013, the workers sued Atlas. The case, nicknamed the 'mystery of the devious defecator' by US district court judge Amy Totenberg, is the first brought under GINA to go to trial. Here, Nature explains why the ruling matters.

Comment: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act bans US employers from using genetic information in hiring, firing, promotion and compensation decisions, and from collecting genetic information from employees. Similarly, the bill prevents health plans and insurers from denying coverage or boosting premium prices based on a person's genetic information, such as whether they have gene variants known to increase disease risk. It also forbids them from requesting or requiring people to take genetic tests. Other countries, including France and Austria, also ban the use of genetic information in such decisions.


At least 27 killed as gunmen attack beach outside 2 tourist hotels in Tunisia

© Screenshot from Google Maps
A beach outside two hotels in central Tunisia have been attacked, with at least 27 dead and panic being reported at the scene. Two gunmen armed with Kalashnikov rifles reportedly penetrated a private area and opened fire.

One of the hotels is the five-star Imperial Marhaba. The Interior Ministry at least 27 people are dead, foreigners among them.

Comment: Absolutely dreadful!


Emirates A380 makes emergency landing in Colombo after smoke in cockpit

© YouTube
Colombo: An Emirates Airbus A380 plane carrying over 500 people from Sydney to Dubai made an emergency landing in the Sri Lankan capital on Friday after pilots detected smoke in the cockpit.

The plane, which landed safely in Colombo, was 320 nautical miles east of Colombo's Bandaranaike International airport when pilots made a distress call, airport's chief air navigation services officer Crishanthi Tissera said.

"The pilots said May Day, May Day and we activated all our emergency services and brought the aircraft to a safe landing," Tissera told reporters.

She said the pilots reported smoke in the cockpit but later the "full emergency" was downgraded to an "urgency".

There was no fire seen as the plane landed 39 minutes after the first distress call. All 471 passengers, including six children and the 30-member crew disembarked safely.

"Emirates flight EK413 from Sydney to Dubai...was diverted to Colombo due to a technical fault," the airline said in a statement without giving details about the nature of the problem.

Comment: Yet another incident of 'smoke in the cockpit'! Other recent reports include: "burning electrical or smoke", "odor of fumes" in cabins and smoke filled cockpits - forcing emergency landings. What is going on 'up in the air'?

See also: Sott Exclusive: Mayhem and Maydays in May skies: Aircraft crashes,accidents, glitches, mishaps and near misses


Royal Navy bomb blasts caused mass whale death - report

© Reuters / Department of Conservation / Handout via Reuters
Scientists have concluded that four bombs detonated underwater by the Royal Navy were responsible for the death of 19 pilot whales, when they became stranded off the north of Scotland in 2011.

A report published on Wednesday by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said the noise from the explosions was likely to have interfered with the whales hearing, which caused them to drift onto the beach and die.

The report explains that four 1,000 pound bombs were exploded during the 24 hours before the mass beaching occurred, which saw 70 pilot whales swim into the shallow waters of Cape Wrath, Europe's largest live bombing range, and become stranded by the tide.

Another 250-pound bomb was later detonated after the crisis had begun.

Locals attempted to herd the whales back into open water, but 39 became beached.

Some 20 were re-floated, but, despite efforts by experts and concerned residents, 19 of the stranded whales died, prompting a government inquiry into the disaster.

The report says: "The magnitude, frequency and proximity of the multiple detonations in the day prior to the stranding, and the single high-order detonation shortly after the beginning of the mass stranding, were plausible sources of significant disturbance to any neighboring marine mammals."


Indiana cop arrested for pepper spraying a baby

Clarksville Police Officer Charles Edelen
A police officer is facing multiple charges following a domestic dispute in which he allegedly pepper sprayed an infant.

Clarksville Police Officer Charles Edelen had a domestic dispute with his wife and the father of her child on Tuesday night in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

A police report states that Edelen threatened the child's father with a gun. Edelen also pepper sprayed the child's father and the child. The medical condition of the father and the infant is not known at this time.

Edelen is now facing charges of aggravated battery, domestic battery, and criminal recklessness. As aggravated battery is a Class B felony under Indiana law, he could face between six and twenty years in prison if convicted.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, pepper spray has been known to cause immediate, life-threatening injuries when exposed to young children.

Online court records show Edelen posted bond and is now free. A judge told Edelen that he is not permitted to possess any weapons or have contact with his victims, and ordered him to seek mental health treatment.