Society's ChildS


7 people including 8yo child, killed in random drive-by shootings in Kalamazoo County, Michigan

Police tape
© Khaled Abdullah / Reuters
At least seven people, including an eight-year-old child, have been killed in ongoing shooting in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, local police said, adding that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the apparently random shooting.

"We had several shootings tonight in the county and in the city of Kalamazoo. They all appear to be related. We have multiple people dead," Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas told 24 Hour News 8.


Double bombing in Homs, Syria kill at least 25, dozens injured

Dozens of people have been killed and injured in a double bombing attack in Homs, Syria. Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs, said at least 25 people had been killed, but other sources say the death toll was even higher.

The explosions at a traffic light at al-Siteen Street in the al-Zahra neighborhood happened within minutes of each other, witnesses said. One of them may have been triggered by a suicide bomber.


American justice: Black man released after 43 YEARS in solitary confinement for robbery offense

© Billy Sothern (Attorney for Albert Woodfox)/EPA Albert Woodfox released, accompanied by his brother Michel Mable, out of the West Feliciana Parish Detention Center.
In 1951, scientists at McGill University conducted an experiment in which they subjected male graduates to solitary confinement in a simulated prison cell, to see how they would cope with prolonged isolation. The study was intended to run for six weeks but was abruptly terminated after only seven days because several students began hallucinating and suffering from severe mental breakdowns.

Albert Woodfox has been held in such conditions of extreme isolation in Louisiana prisons and jails not just for seven days, but for 15,000. On Friday, after 43 years and 10 months of almost continuous captivity totally alone in a 6ft by 9ft cell, America's longest-standing solitary confinement prisoner finally walked free.

So how did he do it? How did Albert Woodfox remain sane for more than four decades in the bleakest and most inhumane of circumstances, which have been denounced by the United Nations as a form of torture and have broken the will of lesser mortals in a matter of days?

In his first interview since being released from West Feliciana parish detention center in Louisiana, Woodfox told the Guardian that in 1972, when he was put into "closed cell restriction", or CCR, he made a conscious decision that he would survive. He and his comrades from the so-called Angola Three, Herman Wallace and Robert King, made a vow to be strong.

Comment: That is an unspeakably barbaric thing to do to someone.

Book 2

Harper Lee, Pulitzer prize winner and beloved author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' dies at 89

Harper Lee
© Donald Uhrbrock/Time and Life Pictures/Getty ImageHarper Lee on the porch of her family home, in Monroeville, Alabama, 1961, the year she won the Pulitzer prize.
Harper Lee, who has died aged 89, was the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Her story of race relations and legal injustice set in the American south in the 1930s, first published in 1960, won the Pulitzer prize for fiction in 1961, was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 and went on to sell more than 40m copies worldwide. It has never been out of print and is perhaps the most widely loved American novel of the past half-century. The book was seen by many as saying something good, something important about America itself.

The story Lee wanted to tell, which took her more than seven years to complete, was about a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of raping a white woman in a small town in south-western Alabama, which Lee named Maycomb. It was loosely based on a case in 1933 of a black man in her home town of Monroeville who was convicted of rape. A death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and the defendant died in 1937. Lee also drew upon the infamous Scottsboro case of 1931 in which nine black teenagers were accused of the rape of two white girls. At the time, there were still Scottsboro defendants under sentence of death (the last of them was pardoned by the Alabama governor, George Wallace, in 1976).

Comment: Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your conscience with us, Harper Lee.

Cell Phone

The Apple encryption case and the dangerous All Writs Act precedent

Tim Cook
© DAVID PAUL MORRIS / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTYTim Cook, the C.E.O. of Apple, has strongly objected to a court’s order that the company must help the F.B.I. access the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
Tim Cook, the C.E.O. of Apple, which has been ordered to help the F.B.I. get into the cell phone of the San Bernardino shooters, wrote in an angry open letter this week that "the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create." The second part of that formulation has rightly received a great deal of attention: Should a back door be built into devices that are used for encrypted communications? Would that keep us safe from terrorists, or merely make everyone more vulnerable to hackers, as well as to mass government surveillance? But the first part is also potentially insidious, for reasons that go well beyond privacy rights.

The simple but strange question here is exactly the one that Cook formulates. What happens when the government goes to court to demand that you give it something that you do not have? No one has it, in fact, because it doesn't exist. What if the government then proceeds to order you to construct, design, invent, or somehow conjure up the thing it wants? Must you?


Up to 5000 EU citizens trained with ISIS, now in Europe

© Jason Lee / Reuters
Between 3,000 and 5,000 so-called 'foreign fighters' - EU citizens trained in Islamic state terror camps - have returned to Europe and pose a "completely new challenge," according the continent's top police chief.

"Europe is currently facing the highest terror threat in more than in a decade," Rob Wainwright, Europol's director, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung daily, warning of the real possibility of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) or other terror groups attacks in Europe.

"We can expect [IS] or other religious terror groups to stage an attack somewhere in Europe with the aim of achieving mass casualties among the civilian population," he said, noting that the risk of attacks by individuals has also not diminished.

However, Wainwright refused to link the unprecedented increase in the terror threat with the ongoing refugee crisis. He refuted the widespread assumption that terrorists are infiltrating Europe under the guise of asylum seekers.

"There are no concrete indications that terrorists are systematically using the stream of refugees to come into Europe undetected," Wainwright said.

Comment: Undoubtedly some ISIS-trained fighters have entered Europe with the refugees. (Probably a relatively low number, however.) But Wainwright is right: Europe's primary problem isn't refugees, it's the terrorists the EU is complicit in creating, supporting, arming and training. These terrorists don't even require the refugee stream to enter the EU. They freely cross borders, and the security services know who they are yet do nothing. Gee, you'd think they were being handled - deliberately allowed free passage. None of this would be an issue if the U.S. and their groveling vassals had stayed out of the Middle East, left the secular regimes there alone, and refused to support radical jihadi groups. But what's done is done, and the EU is getting a taste of what the big wheel of life brings you: consequences.


British PTB: You might be a terrorist if you support Palestinians

child and flag
©"Turning Muslim Brits into terrorists." Imagine her with a cowboy hat and an American flag.
Most would agree that the issue of Palestine and Israel is one that should be discussed in all schools, particularly in Britain, which has played no small part in one of the most grave injustices in history.

Last week, CAGE — an advocacy group for those affected by the 'War on Terror' — leaked a number of training documents that revealed teaching staff are being encouraged to consider Muslim students who display an interest in Palestinian issues as vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. "Where the public sector is being required to play a role as part of the security state, it is important that there is full transparency and accountability." — CAGE

We have previously reported on the creeping use of counter-terrorism policies in the U.K. being used to clamp down on civil liberties by way of the PREVENT programme, which is operated across the U.K. through the government's Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent, commonly referred to as WRAP. Recently leaked training materials include workshop plans, video clips, and software programmes that are being used to train public sector workers in spotting signs of radicalisation. The resources list Palestine alongside Syria and the growth of the Islamic State group as issues that need careful monitoring by those involved in safeguarding.

Comment: Do the same British teaching staff consider Muslim students (or any other students for that matter), who display an interest in Israeli issues, as also being "drawn into terrorism?" Surely the depth, degree and frequency of Israeli torture, IDF death squads, random and planned acts of genocide, bombing of neighborhoods and bulldozing villages, the starvation and imprisonment of Gazans, in addition to various global acts of terroristic manipulation with or without violence, qualifies Israel as a "proactive terrorist state." In comparison, the actions of Palestinians are more appropriately "reactive counter-terrorism." British mindset: Israelis are the victims and Palestinians are the terrorists. We can guess where this comes from.

Book 2

Umberto Eco, celebrated Italian novelist and intellectual, succumbs to cancer

Umberto Eco
© Ralf Juergens/Getty ImagesUmberto Eco, 1932-2016.

Italian explorer of the nature of meaning Umberto Eco was a best-selling novelist and towering figure in philosophy and academia
The revered literary critic, author and essayist - most famous for 1980 novel The Name of the Rose - had been suffering from cancer

The celebrated Italian intellectual Umberto Eco, who shot to fame with his 1980 novel The Name of the Rose, has been remembered as a master of Italian culture after his death at the age of 84.

Eco died on Friday night after suffering from cancer, prompting tributes to pour in for the esteemed writer.

He was "an extraordinary example of a European intellectual, combining unique intelligence of the past with a limitless capacity to anticipate the future", said Italy's prime minister, Matteo Renzi. "It's an enormous loss for culture, which will miss his writing and voice, his sharp and lively thought, and his humanity," Renzi told the Ansa news agency.


Former priest implicated in 1960 murder of beauty queen

John Feit
© Maricopa County Sheriff’s OfficeJohn Feit, the former priest has been arrested Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Arizona in the 1960 slaying of a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher and beauty queen, Irene Garza.
For more than half a century, the unsolved killing of a young schoolteacher and beauty queen who was last seen at church haunted the Texas city of McAllen.

But now, nearly 56 years after the bludgeoned body of 25-year-old Irene Garza was pulled from an irrigation canal, police have arrested the man long suspected in her slaying: the former priest who apparently heard her final confession.

Using a walker, a frail-looking John Bernard Feit, now 83, appeared in court Wednesday in Phoenix after being arrested a day earlier at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on a murder charge. He was jailed on $750,000 cash bail while he awaits transfer back to Texas.

"This whole thing makes no sense to me because the crime in question took place in 1960," Feit said, adding that he plans to fight extradition to Texas.


Doogie Howser wannabe: Florida teen arrested for practicing medicine without a license

Dr. Malachi A. Love
"Dr." Malachi A. Love
A Florida teen was arrested on suspicion of practicing medicine without a license after he allegedly performed a physical exam on an undercover agent on Tuesday.

Malachi Love-Robinson is shown in a booking photo released by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Feb. 16, 2016.

Malachi Love-Robinson, 18, was taken into custody after the undercover operation, during which he gave medical advice, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office announced.

Authorities had received a complaint earlier in the month about Love-Robinson, who had been cited by the state health department for practicing medicine without a license in October 2015.