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Reports of sex abuse, beatings inside Cleveland house

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© Cleveland Dept. of Public Safety
Ariel Castro is shown in a booking photo by the Cleveland Department of Public Safety following his arrest Monday in connection with allegedly abducting three women for up to a decade and holding them captive in his Cleveland house.
Three young women are back with their families for the first time in almost a decade

Three young women, reunited with their families for the first time in nearly a decade, were talking to investigators Tuesday about their life in captivity amid reports that the women were forced to endure years of sexual abuse and beatings inside a rundown house on Cleveland's west side.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight bolted to freedom Monday after Berry's screams alerted a neighbor who helped her break free.

Police have arrested three brothers, Ariel Castro, 52, the owner of the house and a former Cleveland school bus driver; Pedro Castro, 54; and Onil Castro, 50, in connection with the alleged abductions.

A law enforcement official told USA Today there is evidence that the victims were held in chains during at least part of their captivity.
The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, did not elaborate on other conditions of their confinement or whether they were ever moved from the home.

Khalid Samad, a former assistant safety director for the city, said law enforcement officials told him that the women were beaten while pregnant, with unborn children not surviving, and that a dungeon of sorts with chains was in the home. Samad, who works with a crime prevention non-profit group, said he saw the women at the hospital Monday night.

Heart - Black

Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder; death penalty possible

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Jodi Arias: I'd prefer death penalty
After months of twists and turns in a dramatic trial rife with sex, lies and digital images, an Arizona jury Wednesday found Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

Jurors will return to court Thursday for the aggravation phase of the trial -- an important step in the next key decision they face: determining whether Arias lives or dies.

"Now the odds, I think, shift somewhat in her favor, because it's a very different thing to sentence someone to die than to convict them," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffery Toobin said.

In a television interview minutes after the verdict was announced, Arias said she'd prefer a death sentence.

"I said years ago that I'd rather get death than life, and that still is true today," she told Phoenix television station KSAZ. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I'd rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it."

The comments prompted authorities to place Arias on suicide watch in an Arizona jail, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

"Until she is released from suicide protocol by Sheriff's officials no further media interviews of inmate Arias will be permitted," the office said in a statement.

USA

Amanda Berry: Three captive women chained up in grim dungeon for a decade gave birth to five babies

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© AP
Amanda (top right) with her sister. Below right - Amanda as a teen and Gina DeJesus
Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 30, and Amanda Berry, 26, and her six-year-old daughter fled the house in Cleveland, Ohio

Three women held captive in a dungeon for a decade gave birth to five babies during the ordeal.

Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 30, and Amanda Berry, 26 , and her six-year-old daughter fled the house in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ariel Castro, 52, and his two brothers have been arrested.

Frantic Amanda choked back tears as she told police "I'm free" after she escaped the dungeon.

Amanda fled the hell-hole thanks to a hero neighbour before her dramatic 911 call ended the victims' ordeal .

It had been feared that Amanda and the other captives - Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight - had been murdered.

After escaping the house on Monday just three miles from where they each went missing between 2002 and 2004, they named their captor as 52-year-old Ariel Castro, who tonight was in custody with his two brothers.

The women, who were aged between 14 and 22 when they disappeared, spent today in hospital before being given the all-clear by doctors and returning to their overwhelmed families.

Stop

Don't blame consumers for the Bangladeshi factory disaster - blame multi-nationals

Ever since the disaster at the Rana Plaza textile factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, some commentators have been trying to guilt-trip cash-strapped western consumers for the terrible conditions of workers in Bangladesh's Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector, where wages are as low as £27 a month.

We've been told that our insatiable desire for cheap clothing is what keeps wages down, and working conditions so poor that factory fires are endemic and corners cut so badly that buildings collapse, as Rana Plaza did.

But we think cash-strapped consumers aren't the problem, and the TUC have researched and published a quick graphic to explain:
Bangladesh workers
© goingtowork.org.uk

Pistol

Canadian mobsters killed in 'old-fashioned' Sicilian mafia hit

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© Look Die Bildagentur Der Fotogra/Alamy
Palermo police have found the bodies of two Canadian-Sicilian mobsters after 'a traditional gangland hit'.
Palermo police find incinerated bodies of Cosa Nostra mobsters as Canadian turf war spills into Sicily.

Two senior members of the Canadian mafia have been murdered in Sicily and their bodies incinerated, victims of what police suspect is a vicious turf war in Canada which has spilled over into the Cosa Nostra's Italian heartland.

After an anonymous tip-off, the bodies of Juan Ramon Paz Fernandez and Fernando Pimentel were discovered near a rubbish dump in the countryside outside Palermo on Thursday. Police described the double killing as an "old-fashioned" gangland hit.

Spanish-born Fernandez, 57, a notoriously tough enforcer for Montreal's Rizzuto clan, was expelled from Canada last year for the third time after serving a 10-year sentence for conspiracy to murder a fellow mobster. He resurfaced in Palermo, where he was suspected of teaming up with the Cosa Nostra to build drug-trafficking links between Sicily and Canada.

Pimentel arrived in Palermo a few weeks ago to join Fernandez, who was allegedly working as a martial arts instructor as cover for his mob activities.

Smoking

US woman hits cop to quit smoking

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© Unknown
A woman slapped a sheriff's deputy in the US state of California to quit smoking, US media reported.

Deputy Matt Campoy said the woman, Etta Mae Lopez, 31, blocked his way as he left his shift at the Sacramento County Jail, CBS 13 reported this week.

"All of a sudden, she stepped into me and slapped me in the face," he was quoted by the TV station as saying.

The incident occurred on Tuesday. Lopez was detained at once. She apparently wanted to use California's ban on tobacco in prisons to kick the habit.

"She told us that she needed to quit smoking," Campoy said.

Lopez allegedly admitted having waited in front of the county jail for hours to hit an officer, get arrested and be put in jail, where she would not be allowed to smoke cigarettes.

"She explained it with great detail as to why," Campoy said.

Sherlock

Unexpected twists in case of deadly blast at Texas fertilizer plant

A first responder to the huge explosion last month at a Texas fertilizer plant was arrested Friday for possessing a pipe bomb - but officials aren't linking his arrest to the deadly incident. The probe, however, is now a criminal matter, they said.

Bryce Reed
© McClennan County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters
Bryce Reed, a paramedic in West, Texas, is shown in a McClennan County Sheriff's Office booking photo taken on May 10, 2013.
The arrest Friday of a first responder to the deadly April 17 fertilizer plant blast in West, Texas, on explosives charges, is a new wrinkle that may call into question whether the incident that killed 14 people - including 12 firefighters and paramedics - was in fact a tragic industrial accident, as most people in the area believed.

Texas authorities arrested Bryce Reed, a paramedic with West Emergency Medical Services, at 2 a.m. Friday and have since charged him with possession of a pipe bomb. Mr. Reed was among those who responded first to the fertilizer plant explosion and served for a time as incident commander at the site. He was also shown giving a taped eulogy for explosion victim Cyrus Reed at an April 25 memorial in Waco, Texas, attended by President Obama.

Police have neither confirmed nor denied that Reed's arrest is tied to the plant explosion. However, authorities said Friday that the Texas Rangers and the McLennan County Sheriff's Department have launched a new criminal probe into the incident, with Texas Department of Public Safety chief Stephen McCraw pledging that the state will "leave no stone unturned."

Comment: Curious. However, this report, as any other we have seen so far from the mainstream media, fails to mention that videos of the explosion show a bright light hitting the site an instant before the explosion. See:

Something impacted the fertilizer plant in West, Texas... most likely a Comet fragment!
Symbolic Universe - Boston, Waco, Oklahoma, Revolution
Was the West, Texas Explosion a Meteorite Impact?

We also find it interesting that this incident has been 'criminalized' in the same manner as the explosion in Indianapolis last year...

Prosecutors say Southeastside Indy explosion was set to collect insurance money


Life Preserver

Kidnap survivors explain what kept them from attempting to escape

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As investigators work to piece together the last decade of the lives of three women held captive, one question many want to know is, was there ever a chance for Amanda Berry, Michele Knight and Amanda Dejesus to escape much earlier than they did?

Berry, 27, DeJesus, 23, and Knight, 32, are believed to have been held captive by three brothers in small, modest home only miles from their families, according to authorities. Berry ended the nightmare Monday when she escaped by breaking through a locked door with the help of a passing neighbor.

But if that was the first attempt to escape while being held captive, it would follow a common thread of other surviving kidnap victims who decided to stay put, remain silent for a long period of time and in some cases, have a personal relationship with the abductor.

"The common modus operandi of a kidnapper or kidnappers is to create an extraordinary amount of fear that they have a capacity either to kill the abductee or to kill their family," forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner said today on "Good Morning America."

"Very quickly after the abduction the captor will do a variety of things physically, sexually to dehumanize the victim and it's the dehumanization that's the beginning of the process where a person loses their identity," he said.

Camcorder

Student unhappy with professors' anti-conservative views distributes class video in contravention of university code

A second professor at the University of Southern California (USC) has been caught on video using his political science class as a platform for bashing conservatives.

In the video, Political Science Professor Richard Dekmejian claims former President George W. Bush suffered from mental instability and stupidity during his time in office.

Bush was bound by "serious intellectual and mental problems," he said before going on to claim Bush must have been "stupid or lying" to initiate Operation Iraqi Freedom for the reason of promoting democracy.

Dekmejian also alleges Bush dodged the draft when he was a young man because he was busy "getting drunk and high" and was "lazy for the first several months when he came into the presidency until 9/11."

In the 20-minute secret recording, captured by student Tyler Talgo, during the Fall 2012 semester, Dekmejian also leveled a number of derogatory comments against members of the Bush administration, alleging both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice "lied" to the American people during their service.

"You have to use that term [lying] people," he reflected. "Don't use that term mislead."

In his class, Dekmejian additionally appeared to accuse some Christians of salivating over violence in the Middle East.

WATCH: USC professor delivers attacks on President Bush, other Republicans

Yoda

American political refugee: Musician Lauryn Hill imprisoned for not paying taxes to corrupt Feds, ordered to undergo therapy for 'conspiracy thinking'

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Lauryn Hill outside Newark court in New Jersey
Reclusive soul superstar Lauryn Hill has been jailed over an enormous unpaid tax bill.

Fugees singer Hill, 37, was sentenced to three months' jail followed by three months' home confinement for failing to pay $500,000 to the taxman in the United States.

Hill claimed the sum was outstanding because she had "withdrawn from society" after alleged threats against her family.

She was imprisoned after failing to pay the amount within the stipulated two-week timeframe.

During her trial, Hill was ordered by the judge in Newark, New Jersey to undergo counselling because of her conspiracy theories - including that artists are being oppressed by a plot involving the military and media.

Hill pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion last year. Her lawyers said she had paid more than $970,000 of an outstanding tax bill which amounted to more than $2m.

Comment: 'Correctional' psychotherapy for 'conspiracy thinking'?

It rather sounds like the judge needs to go back to law school...

The Secret Meeting that Changed Rap Music and Destroyed a Generation

Hill's sentencing comes a week after she signed a new contract with Sony in order to pay the taxes. So it seems like the 'justice system' sought to make an example of her one way or another...

Here is a statement Hill made last week concerning her new record deal:
It has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released. And yes, I am working on new music.

I've remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ year battle, for a long time played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye. This is an old conflict between art and commerce... free minds, and minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure. This is about inequity, and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I've been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.

It took years for me to get out of the 'parasitic' dynamic of my youth, and into a deal that better reflects my true contribution as an artist, and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs. I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.

The nature of my new business venture, as well as the dollar amount reported, was inaccurate, only a portion of the overall deal. Keep in mind, my past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me).

Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything. I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need. There are volumes that could (and will) be said.

MLH
When new first broke that the Feds were going after Hill, she issued this statement:
"For the past several years, I have remained what others would consider underground. I did this in order to build a community of people, like-minded in their desire for freedom and the right to pursue their goals and lives without being manipulated and controlled by a media protected military industrial complex with a completely different agenda. Having put the lives and needs of other people before my own for multiple years, and having made hundreds of millions of dollars for certain institutions, under complex and sometimes severe circumstances, I began to require growth and more equitable treatment, but was met with resistance. I entered into my craft full of optimism (which I still possess), but immediately saw the suppressive force with which the system attempts to maintain it's control over a given paradigm. I've seen people promote addiction, use sabotage, black listing, media bullying and any other coercion technique they could, to prevent artists from knowing their true value, or exercising their full power. These devices of control, no matter how well intentioned (or not), can have a devastating outcome on the lives of people, especially creative types who must grow and exist within a certain environment and according to a certain pace, in order to live and create optimally.

I kept my life relatively simple, even after huge successes, but it became increasingly obvious that certain indulgences and privileges were expected to come at the expense of my free soul, free mind, and therefore my health and integrity. So I left a more mainstream and public life, in order to wean both myself, and my family, away from a lifestyle that required distortion and compromise as a means for maintaining it. During this critical healing time, there were very few people accessible to me who had not already been seduced or affected by this machine, and therefore who could be trusted to not try and influence or coerce me back into a dynamic of compromise. Individual growth was expected to take place unnaturally, or stagnated outright, subject to marketing and politics. Addressing critical issues like pop culture cannibalism or its manipulation of the young at the expense of everything, was frowned upon and discouraged by limiting funding, or denying it outright. When one has a prolific creative output like I did/do, and is then forced to stop, the effects can be dangerous both emotionally and psychologically, both for the artist and those in need of that resource. It was critically important that I find a suitable pathway within which to exist, without being distorted or economically strong-armed.

During this period of crisis, much was said about me, both slanted and inaccurate, by those who had become dependent on my creative force, yet unwilling to fully acknowledge the importance of my contribution, nor compensate me equitably for it. This was done in an effort to smear my public image, in order to directly affect my ability to earn independently of this system. It took a long time to locate and nurture a community of people strong enough to resist the incredibly unhealthy tide, and more importantly see through it. If I had not been able to make contact with, and establish this community, my life, safety and freedom, would have been directly affected as well as the lives, safety and freedom of my family. Failure to create a non toxic, non exploitative environment was not an option.

As my potential to work, and therefore earn freely, was being threatened, I did whatever needed to be done in order to insulate my family from the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by. This was absolutely critical while trying to find and establish a new and very necessary community of healthy people, and also heal and detoxify myself and my family while raising my young children.

There were no exotic trips, no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health, without mistreatment denial, and/or exploitation. In order to liberate myself from those who found it ok to oppose my wholeness, free speech and integral growth by inflicting different forms of punitive action against it, I used my resources to sustain our safety and survival until I was able to restore my ability to earn outside of it!

When artists experience danger and crisis under the effects of this kind of insidious manipulation, everyone easily accepts that there was something either dysfunctional or defective with the artist, rather than look at, and fully examine, the system and its means and policies of exploiting/'doing business'. Not only is this unrealistic, it is very dark in its motivation, conveniently targeting the object of their hero worship by removing any evidence that they 'needed' or celebrated this very same resource just years, months or moments before. Since those who believe they need a hero/celebrity outnumber the actual heroes/celebrities, people feel safe and comfortably justified in numbers, committing egregious crimes in the name of the greater social ego. Ironically diminishing their own true hero-celebrity nature in the process.

It was this schism and the hypocrisy, violence and social cannibalism it enabled, that I wanted and needed to be freed from, not from art or music, but the suppression/repression and reduction of that art and music to a bottom line alone, without regard for anything else. Over-commercialization and its resulting restrictions and limitations can be very damaging and distorting to the inherent nature of the individual. I Love making art, I Love making music, these are as natural and necessary for me almost as breathing or talking. To be denied the right to pursue it according to my ability, as well as be properly acknowledged and compensated for it, in an attempt to control, is manipulation directed at my most basic rights! These forms of expression, along with others, effectively comprise my free speech! Defending, preserving, and protecting these rights are critically important, especially in a paradigm where veiled racism, sexism, ageism, nepotism, and deliberate economic control are still blatant realities!!!

Learning from the past, insulating friends and family from the influence of external manipulation and corruption, is far more important to me than being misunderstood for a season! I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns! I also embraced my right to resist a system intentionally opposing my right to whole and integral survival.

I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period. Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution.

My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.

As this, and other areas of issue are resolved and set straight, I am able to get back to doing what I should be doing, the way it should be done. This is part of that process. To those supporters who were told that I abandoned them, that is untrue. I abandoned greed, corruption, and compromise, never you, and never the artistic gifts and abilities that sustained me."
What are creative people to do in a world run by, for and of psychopaths?

Mother of five and hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill gets 3 months and the humiliation of being told she's crazy for using art to point out that U.S. society is toxic beyond repair... while Wall Street critters remain free to pillage and plunder at will...

Hill released this single the day before she was sent down: