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Soldier faces trial in 'sport killing' case

* Spc. Jeremy Morlock faces a maximum sentence of life in prison
* He is part of a larger case involving several soldiers
* They are accused of a conspiracy to kill and cover up, prosecutors say
* Photos were published of what appears to be Morlock posing over dead Afghan civilians


The trial of a soldier accused of killing Afghan citizens for sport is scheduled to begin Wednesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock is charged with three counts of murder. He is accused of killing one Afghan civilian in January 2010 with a grenade and rifle; killing another in May 2010 in a similar manner; and shooting a third to death in February 2010.

Morlock is one of two U.S. soldiers who are scheduled to be tried at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes is also facing charges in the case but a start date for his court martial has not been publicly announced.

Both are part of a larger case that involves several other soldiers, all accused of similar killings.

Handcuffs

US: 13 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in California Wearing U.S. Marine Uniforms


Border Patrol agents recently arrested 13 illegal immigrants disguised as U.S. Marines and riding in a fake military van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.

The illegal immigrants were clad in Marine uniforms when they were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., border officials said. Two U.S. citizens in the van also were arrested.

After the suspicious white van was subjected to secondary inspection, it was determined that the driver of the vehicle and its front seat passenger were U.S. citizens who were attempting to smuggle 13 illegal immigrants into the United States. All of the vehicle's occupants wore U.S. Marine uniforms, reportedly emblazoned with the name "Perez."

"This effort is an example of the lengths smugglers will go to avoid detection, and the skilled and effective police work and vigilance displayed everyday by Customs and Border Protection personnel," the agency said in a written statement.

The van used in the smuggling attempt, according to California's El Centro Border Intelligence Center, was a privately owned vehicle registered out of Yucca Valley, Calif., and was bearing stolen government plates that had been defaced. The center digit -- 0 -- was altered to read as an 8. Further research through multiple government agencies determined that the plate belonged to a one-ton cargo van registered to the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bad Guys

Nigeria: Trafficking in Human Beings

The Italian ambassador to Nigeria recently claimed that Nigerians constitute one of the largest African migrant groups in his country. In fact, according to various research findings, Nigerian women in particular account for about 90 per cent of all African women in Italy, the vast majority of who are engaged in prostitution. It is uncertain how many of these women are coerced into the trade by bogus claims of well-paid jobs on the part of the traffickers and how many are aware of what they are letting themselves in for, although the increasing publicity surrounding this shameful practice by the federal government on the one hand, and non-governmental organisations on the other, would suggest that the majority are very much in the know.

In amongst all this it was also the case, at least until recently, that fully 80 per cent of these women came from Edo State. One of the main reasons given for this is that businessmen from that state developed links with Italian companies for purposes of trade when the economy was still buoyant, but as the value of the naira continued to slide and the economy worsened they gradually switched to trafficking women. Benin in particular is reputed to have the largest number of trafficking rings, most of which initially recruited young women from the city itself but have since broadened their net to encompass Delta State as well.

All in all, it is reckoned that there are upwards of 10,000 Nigerian prostitutes in Italy, although large concentrations also occur in Belgium, Holland and, to a lesser extent, France and Germany. The cost of trafficking a woman is put anywhere between $8,500 and $14,000. Once delivered, all their documents are seized and they are forced to pay back between $40,000 and $100,000, which can take up to three years. Failure to do so can lead to unpleasant consequences. In one particular case, a woman who escaped back to Nigeria was beaten so badly that she had to be hospitalised for three months. Additionally, her father's house was burnt down. That said, most women work out their time, either because, without papers, they fear deportation, or because they believe that harm will come to them as a result of the oath they were forced to take before they departed Nigeria.

Handcuffs

Police arrest 35 outside U.S. military base where Bradley Manning is held

Among those taken away was Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon's secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971

Police in riot gear arrested 35 people yesterday during a demonstration at the U.S. base holding the soldier accused of leaking thousands of confidential memos to the Wikileaks website.

Hundreds of supporters had rallied outside the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia wearing T-shirts and carrying signs bearing the smiling image of Bradley Manning.

Many sat underneath a yellow banner which read 'Caution: Whistleblower Torture Zone.'

Short scuffles broke out as dozens of officers attempted to push the protesters, some of whom were seated on the pavement, away from the road.

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© Associated Press
Arrested: A women cries as she is handcuffed outside the Army base in Quantico - she was protesting at the treatment of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking thousands of confidential memos to the Wikileaks website

Document

Letter cites dolphin deaths as part of a "criminal investigation"

Gulfport, Mississippi - The number of dead dolphins washing up along the Gulf Coast continues to climb.

As of Tuesday, 70 dolphins, including 52 calves, have died in Mississippi and Alabama waters. The cause of their deaths remains a mystery, and samples taken from dead animals still have not been tested.

WLOX News has now obtained a letter from NOAA, which we first told you about last week. The letter was sent to marine institutes and orders researchers to hold the samples they've taken until federal officials decide their next step.

The letter cites an active criminal investigation by the Justice Department against BP and others involved in the spill. It also details a civil lawsuit the department has filed, which seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

Click here(PDF) to read the original letter from NOAA.

Nuke

The Next Nagasaki - Nuclear Fears Stalk The World

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A second Hiroshima is happening with the partial meltdowns at Fukushima 1 nuclear reactors. We can only hope the eventual toll in lives comes nowhere near close to that of the world's first atomic catastrophe.

The international community is now asking: Where will be the next Nagasaki?

In the US with its 23 aging reactors of identical design as Fukushima's GE Mark 1 reactors, along with another dozen more of slightly modified design?

In France, the world's most nuclear-dependent country?

Probably not in Germany or Venezuela, which are cutting back their nuclear programs, nor Britain, the world leader in conversion to offshore wind power. Or even China, a solar-energy paragon now scaling back plans for new nuclear plants.

Many people are also wondering: How can the only nation that ever experienced atomic bombings become so trusting in nuclear energy? The answer is both simple and complicated. In the modern economy, the energy to run machines is intertwined with national security, foreign policy and warfare.

Padlock

Ex-Israeli president gets 7 years in rape case

Image
© Ariel Schalit/AP
Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center, arrives at a court in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Katsav is the highest-ranking Israeli official ever convicted of a crime.
Tel Aviv, Israel - An Israeli court ordered former Israeli President Moshe Katsav to prison for seven years Tuesday following his rape conviction, rejecting his attorneys' request for leniency and making him the highest-ranking Israel official ever sent to jail.

The silver-haired Katsav broke down in tears and screamed at the judges: "You made a mistake! It is a lie! The girls know it is a lie!"

In December, the Tel Aviv Disctrict Court found Katsav, 65, guilty of raping a former employee and sexually harassing two other women who used to work for him. He also was convicted of indecent acts and obstruction of justice.

In sentencing the disgraced politician, the court said Katsav's record of public service would not be weighed in his favor, accusing him instead of exploiting his position to become a sexual offender.

The former president, who resigned under public pressure two weeks before his term was to end in 2007, went to trial after rejecting a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail.

Comment: 7 years at a country club resort doesn't seem like Justice for such a predator. Perhaps he will be in a general population prison with the thousands of Palestinians who've been suppressed for the past five decades. That would be a better sentence.


USA

Texas, US: Man Starts Shooting After an Increase in Taco Bell Prices

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© Reuters/Keith Bedford
San Antonio - While no one exactly enjoys price increases, one San Antonio man took a 50-cent hike on Taco Bell burritos a little too hard.

The drive-thru customer flew into a "taco rage" after learning that Taco Bell's special on Beefy Crunch Burritos had ended and they were no longer selling for 99 cents each--they were now priced at $1.49 each. The man responded by firing into the drive-thru window at the fast food restaurant. While it was a BB gun that he fired, he had a semi-automatic rifle and a pistol on him as well.

What's even more scary is that those BB shots (which luckily didn't hurt anyone) weren't enough to subdue the man's rage as he opened fire at police cars as officers responded to the Taco Bell manager's call for help.

After a SWAT team stand-off, a barricaded motel room and some tear gas, the man was taken into custody and was originally to be charged with attempted capital murder but will instead be charged with "two felony counts of aggravated assault," which has a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

Footprints

Yemen Leader Willing to Step Down This Year

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© msnbc.com
Saleh vows to never hand over power to the military, spokesman says

Sanaa - A spokesman for President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Tuesday that the Yemeni leader is willing to step down by the end of the year as part of a "constitutional" transfer of power.

Ahmed al-Sufi told The Associated Press that Saleh informed senior Yemeni officials, military commanders and tribal leaders of his intention in meetings on Monday night.

He said the president also vowed never to hand over power to the military.

Saleh's comments are a reversal of his rejection earlier this month of an opposition proposal demanding his resignation by the year's end.

It is not clear whether the opposition movement calling for Saleh's ouster will accept his latest offer, especially after his security forces shot dead more than 40 protesters on Friday.

On Monday, a top military commander and at least 18 other senior officers defected to the opposition movement demanding the ouster of Yemen's embattled president.

Comment: Interesting to note is the continued references to Al-CIAda by the media. Also, Gadhafi has made references to Al-Qaida in several speeches in recent news. Why the recent extra push about Al-Qaida in the news, is it due to so many waking up to the truth about 9/11 and Empire America?


Nuke

All six Japanese nuclear reactors hooked up to power lines

Emergency crews dump seawater on spent fuel pool, reducing temperatures

Image
© Tokyo Electric Power via AP

Fukushima, Japan - Workers reconnected power lines to all six reactor units at Japan's radiation-leaking nuclear plant Tuesday, its operator said, marking a significant step in bringing the overheated complex under control.

In making an announcement after days of anxious waiting by the public, Tokyo Electric Power Co. cautioned that much work needed to be done before the electricity can be turned on. Workers are checking all additional equipment for damage to make sure cooling systems can be safely operated, Tokyo Electric said.

In another advance, emergency crews dumped 18 tons of seawater into nearly boiling storage pool holding spent nuclear fuel, cooling it to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, Japan's nuclear safety agency said. Steam, possibly carrying radioactive elements, had been rising for two days, and the move lessens the chances that more radiation will seep into the air.

The power lines and the sustained dousing together mean authorities are closer to bringing the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, with its six reactors and spent fuel pools, under control. Officials and experts, however, have said days, even weeks would be needed to replace damaged equipment and vent any volatile gas to make sure electricity does not spark an explosion.