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Judge exonerates woman who spent 17 years in prison, says justice system failed

Susan Mellen
© Associated Press/Brad GraversonSusan Mellen, left, sits with her attorney Deirdre O’Connor, as she is exonerated of murder
A woman who spent 17 years in prison after being convicted of murder in the death of a homeless man was exonerated Friday by a Los Angeles County judge who said she should not spend another minute behind bars.

The courtroom burst into applause after superior court judge Mark Arnold overturned the conviction of Susan Mellen, who was to be processed for release from the courthouse.

Mellen had entered the courtroom in tears, and her children also wept.

The judge said that in Mellen's case the justice system failed and she had inadequate representation by her attorney at trial.

"I believe that not only is Ms Mellen not guilty, based on what I have read I believe she is innocent," Arnold said. "For that reason I believe in this case the justice system failed."

Comment: What an incredible injustice! A woman spent 17 years of her life in prison for no other reason than the incompetence of the people handling her case!


Cut

Shlomo Sand: I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew

shlomo sand
© Gali Tibbon/Graphic"I feel a moral obligation to break definitively with tribal Judeocentrism."
His past was Jewish, but today he sees Israel as one of the most racist societies in the western world. Historian Shlomo Sand explains why he doesn't want to be Jewish anymore

During the first half of the 20th century, my father abandoned Talmudic school, permanently stopped going to synagogue, and regularly expressed his aversion to rabbis. At this point in my own life, in the early 21st century, I feel in turn a moral obligation to break definitively with tribal Judeocentrism. I am today fully conscious of having never been a genuinely secular Jew, understanding that such an imaginary characteristic lacks any specific basis or cultural perspective, and that its existence is based on a hollow and ethnocentric view of the world. Earlier I mistakenly believed that the Yiddish culture of the family I grew up in was the embodiment of Jewish culture. A little later, inspired by Bernard Lazare, Mordechai Anielewicz, Marcel Rayman and Marek Edelman - who all fought antisemitism, nazism and Stalinism without adopting an ethnocentric view - I identified as part of an oppressed and rejected minority. In the company, so to speak, of the socialist leader Léon Blum, the poet Julian Tuwim and many others, I stubbornly remained a Jew who had accepted this identity on account of persecutions and murderers, crimes and their victims.

Now, having painfully become aware that I have undergone an adherence to Israel, been assimilated by law into a fictitious ethnos of persecutors and their supporters, and have appeared in the world as one of the exclusive club of the elect and their acolytes, I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew.

Although the state of Israel is not disposed to transform my official nationality from "Jew" to "Israeli", I dare to hope that kindly philosemites, committed Zionists and exalted anti-Zionists, all of them so often nourished on essentialist conceptions, will respect my desire and cease to catalogue me as a Jew. As a matter of fact, what they think matters little to me, and still less what the remaining antisemitic idiots think. In the light of the historic tragedies of the 20th century, I am determined no longer to be a small minority in an exclusive club that others have neither the possibility nor the qualifications to join.

By my refusal to be a Jew, I represent a species in the course of disappearing. I know that by insisting that only my historical past was Jewish, while my everyday present (for better or worse) is Israeli, and finally that my future and that of my children (at least the future I wish for) must be guided by universal, open and generous principles, I run counter to the dominant fashion, which is oriented towards ethnocentrism.

Comment: Shlomo Sand provides us here with another example of the saying that "Knowledge Protects". A historian, who wrote The Invention of the Jewish People, has, through his research, been able to dispel himself of the racist and murderous propaganda with which Israel ponerized an entire group of people, killing their conscience, and send them off to become murderers, and supporters of murderers, of innocent people.


Alarm Clock

Ebola false alarm: Plane quarantined in Las Vegas airport amidst Ebola panic

ebola vegas flight
© Twitter/@INTJerk
A plane was briefly quarantined at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport Friday after a report that a passenger on the plane was showing symptoms similar to Ebola.

The Delta Airlines Flight left New York's JFK International Airport Friday morning, bound for Las Vegas. Six ambulances surrounded the plane at Terminal 1, according to Las Vegas station KSNV.

Shortly after landing, the plane was quarantined at the gate "after reports that a passenger who had recently traveled in Africa vomited on board the aircraft," according to a statement from airport officials.

"After a thorough assessment, it has been determined that the affected passenger does not meet the criteria for Ebola," according to the airport statement. All passenger were allowed to exit the plane after the medical assessment, according to Delta.

Stormtrooper

Cop shoots elderly dog in face at wrong house-raid, police refuse to pay

cop-shoots elderly dog
© flinttownshippolice.org
A Flint, Michigan couple is suing Department of Corrections officer, Michael Hughes in federal court for shooting their fifteen year old dog during a wrong-house raid. Authorities are refusing to comment on the lawsuit, filed on October 3, though the dog's owners say at the time of the incident, the officers acknowledged their error and said it would be taken care of.

On June 18, Katti Putnam answered her door to find her home surrounded by police and a tactical team. She was told they were looking for a fugitive, but as she was talking to them, an officer pointed out that they were at the wrong house. They had actually meant to raid the home next door. As Putnam walked to get her ID, she says she heard a loud popping noise:
"I went inside to get my identification and I heard a pop...I looked out the door to the back yard and there was an officer with his arm raised and a gun in his hand. I immediately realized Clohe had gone outside."
According to Putnam, the Hughes fired another shot, which missed, at which point Putnam ran outside to put herself between the officer and her dog. Putnam recalls:
"I was yelling at him,...I said, 'Why are you shooting my dog? What are you doing? You're at the wrong house."
Clohe, the elderly mutt who was already shot in the face, started to walk back inside, trailing blood behind her. Putnam's partner, Erica Moreno, saw and cradled her.

Putnam's neighbor, Jimmy Armstrong, who witnessed the entire event, stated in an affadavit that he saw Clohe enter the backyard. Armstrong stated the dog was not attacking or threatening any officer at any time.

He said:
"[Hughes] shot Clohe for no reason at all."
Putnam said her dog has no history of biting anyone and wasn't barking at the time. She explained:
"Clohe did not charge them or anything. She is old. She has a hard time getting on our couch as it is and she hobbles down the steps when she goes outside. She does not run or charge."
At the time, police said they would "take care of this" and advised them to take their dog to a vet, but went on to ignore all attempts at contact from the couple.

Evil Rays

British telecom providers give police mobile call records at click of a mouse

privacy phone records RIPA
© Thinkstock Privacy International, a transparency watchdog, said ‘providing communications data on automatic pilot is as good as giving police direct access’.
Three of UK's big four mobile phone networks are providing customer data to police forces automatically through Ripa

Three of the UK's four big mobile phone networks have made customers' call records available at the click of a mouse to police forces through automated systems, a Guardian investigation has revealed.

EE, Vodafone and Three operate automated systems that hand over customer data "like a cash machine", as one phone company employee described it.

Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, a transparency watchdog, said: "If companies are providing communications data to law enforcement on automatic pilot, it's as good as giving police direct access [to individual phone bills]."

O2, by contrast, is the only major phone network requiring staff to review all police information requests, the company said.

Mobile operators must by law store a year of call records of all of their customers, which police forces and other agencies can then access without a warrant using the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa).

Ripa is the interception law giving authority to much of GCHQ's mass surveillance. The law was again under the spotlight recently after it was used to identify sources of journalists from at least two national newspapers, the Sun and the Mail on Sunday.

Documents from software providers and conversations with mobile companies staff reveal how automatic this system has become, with the "vast majority" of records demanded by police delivered through automated systems, without the involvement of any phone company staff.

Comment: A hearty "Yeah, right" to that last statement. At least O2 has some minimal safeguards in place. Manpower costs, though. Automating the transfer of data to the police is another example of EE, Vodafone, Three, and others putting corporate profits before human rights.


Crusader

Virginia Christian boarding school staff assaults teen for 'talking to a girl'

Image
© Rawstory.com
Video obtained by CBS 6 shows four Christian boarding school workers chasing down and beating the trouble youths they were supposed to be helping.

In the video, which was taken in April, three life coaches and a program director at Abundant Life Academy in Caroline County, Virginia can be seen beating a 14-year-old in their charge. He attempted to run away, but the four employees chased him down and began assaulting him again.

According to The Free Lance-Star, the teen was tackled and then violently restrained because he had been caught "talking to a girl."

The investigation into abuse at the Christian center began in April, when four teenagers escaped from the facility. When authorities captured them, they claimed that they had fled the facility because of rampant abuse.

The boarding school's mission, according to its website, is to "equip students and families to live a life of love, acceptance and forgiveness through modeling and training of biblical principles, bridging the gap between parents and children."

"These children were brought into a situation that supposed to improve their lives with guidance, Christian fellowship and involve their families," local resident Nina Fogg told CBS 6. "And to find out there's abuse - that's not what any child deserves."

Timothy Jordan, Jovanny Rivera, Carey Honea and Liam Galligan were charged with mob assault and simple assault. The state dropped the mob assault charges in exchange for all four pleading guilty to simple assault.

Comment: What kind of Christianity is this? This sort of violence comes from a different spirit. Quite unholy.


Vader

Height of hypocrisy: Fracking company partners with breast cancer pinkwashing organization

frack for the cure
Happy Breast Cancer Industry Month! Bring On the Highly Questionable Profit-Driven Alliances!

In what's being touted as the most egregious example ever of the pinkwashing of cancer in the name of profit, Susan G. Komen, America's largest and sketchiest breast cancer organization, has partnered with Baker Hughes, one of the world's largest oilfield companies, to introduce a thousand hand-painted pink drill bits "for the cure," thus facilitating a thousand fracking operations emitting a host of toxic chemicals, including benzene and formaldehyde, known to lead to leukemia and - yes! - breast cancer.

Comment: One can't decide whether to laugh or cry, this is so outrageous! Just when you think that corporate idiocy cannot possibly deteriorate any further, it devolves to a new low.

Study says fracking chemicals interfere with endocrine functions, linked to heightened risks of cancer, low fertility rates and decreased sperm quality

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Makes Mockery of Self with KFC Pinkwashing Campaign

Seeing RED over PINK: The Dark Side of Breast Cancer Awareness Month


War Whore

Corporate media ignores facts showing costs of war deplete resources for infrastructure, science and education

military transport Afghanistan
© Vladimir PirogovAmerican servicemen prepare to board a military aircraft bound for Afghanistan in Manas airport in Kyrgyzstan in 2011.
Tuesday, this week, marked 13 years since the start of the Afghan War, when on October 7, 2001 the US and its NATO allies launched Operation Enduring Freedom against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.

The war has already become America's longest-running campaign in history. When combined with the war in Iraq, the military campaign has cost taxpayers between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, according to research published last year by a Harvard researcher.

According to the website iCasualties, the US military has suffered 2,349 military fatalities, including 2,144 "in and around Afghanistan".

However, American political writer, peace activist and co-director of the New York-based International Action Center Sara Flounders said in interview with Radio VR that the Americans are largely unaware of all this, because the figures are not revealed to the general public.

Comment: One reason why this news is buried is that many media pundits who promote war have financial ties to the defence industry.

Surprised? MSM silent about war-mongering pundits' financial links to defense industry


Light Saber

Spanish students eject bussed-in Ukraine nationalists protestors - 'Fascists, get out!'

no fascism
© Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis
Students at the Complutense University of Madrid kicked out several radical Ukrainians who stormed into a lecture, trying to provoke a fight. Posters reading, 'Ukraine besieged by fascism will not happen,' appeared in campus halls after the incident.

The university faculty of political sciences and sociology is currently hosting an exhibition titled, "Humanitarian crisis in southeastern Ukraine and its consequences for Europe," which features photographs from Odessa, and the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The display is part of a series of lectures and roundtables on the situation in Ukraine.

While students were gathering for one of the discussions, on the subject of the May 2 Odessa massacre, that left nearly 50 anti-government activists dead, several radicals carrying Ukrainian flags and banners of some of the country's nationalist parties stormed into the hall, not letting professors begin the lecture.

The skirmish was filmed and posted on YouTube.


According to Spanish newspaper La Republica, the protest was carried out by a group of supporters of the neo-Nazi Svoboda (Freedom) party. Chanting the name of Stepan Bandera, leader of Ukrainian nationalist movement during World War 2, the protesters threatened and assaulted several students who had gathered to remember the victims of the events in Odessa.

"At first professors asked them to leave the room, but they wouldn't do so, saying they would not let the lecture begin. Students were outraged by that and started shouting 'Fascists, get out of here!' Almost half the faculty got involved," one of the exhibition's organizers, Sergey Markhel, told RIA Novosti news agency.

After the fight's instigators were kicked off of the campus, students put up posters against fascism in Ukraine.

Leaving the university premises, still waving Ukrainian flags, the offenders were seen by a van with the registration of the Diplomatic Corps of the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid, La Republica reported.

The event was attended by a representative of the Ukrainian Embassy, the embassy confirmed to RIA Novosti.

The Ukrainian Ambassador to Spain has later met with the university rector, expressing his "deep concern" and asking him to cancel Ukraine-related conferences, which he claimed were being "used by Russian propaganda agents to give false information," El Pais reported.

The conference on the Ukrainian crisis is scheduled to run at the Complutense University until October 23.

Comment: What a clumsy attempt by the Ukrainian Embassy to sway public opinion. Kudos to the Spanish students who weren't having any of it. They've seen what fascism has done to their country. It's almost comic in a horrifying way. To bring in your goons with a diplomatic vehicle is, as Putin would say, "very unprofessional". Obviously Ukraine's hasbara skills need an upgrade.


Pistol

Police killed 77 people throughout the U.S. just in September

US police killed 77 people throughout the country in September, according to a compendium of local press reports compiled by volunteers on Wikipedia. Over the past week, police have killed at least 14 more people, while judges and prosecutors continued to protect the perpetrators of police violence.

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© Decryptedmatrix.com
Detroit judge throws out manslaughter charge against officer who killed 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway tossed out a felony manslaughter charge on Friday against a police officer who shot a 7-year-old girl during a raid in 2010.

Jones was killed as police were executing a "no-knock" search warrant for a homicide suspect in the two-apartment home. The police - members of the heavily armed Special Response Team - threw a flash grenade through an unopened window around 12:45 a.m. before charging in with guns drawn.

Jones' killer, Joseph Weekley, claimed he was pointing his gun at Stanley-Jones when it accidentally went off, killing her. Hathaway claimed it was not evident that the police officer had been acting with willful negligence. "The entire trial has been about the carelessness of the defendant based on his skills ... Nowhere did I hear anything about a willful negligence," she said.

Comment: The U.S. has become a horrific tyrannical police state. The police are militarized and are used for social control and repression. They are abusive, violent, above the law and have no respect for human life. In a police state, you are not a citizen, but an 'enemy combatant'. Protect yourself by not calling the police for any reason.