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Grand Jury Testimony Unlikely To Be Released in Michael Brown Shooting

By: Masoninblue Monday November 24, 2014 5:21 am

Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

Monday, November 24, 2014

Good morning:

Prosecuting Attorney Bob Culloch has publicly stated that a transcript of the proceedings before the grand jury investigating the Michael Brown shooting will be released, if the grand jury decides not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

Jason Sickles at Yahoo reports,

For three months, prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch has said he would seek a rare court order from Judge Carolyn Whittington immediately releasing nearly all evidence should Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson not be charged. Grand jury proceedings usually remain secret.

“We’ve asked the judge to do that, and the judge has agreed that she will do that, if there is no indictment,” McCulloch said during a radio interview with KTRS in September. “There’s no probably about it, it will be released.”

On Sunday, however, the court said, “Judge Whittington has entered no such order and has made no such agreement,” according to director of judicial admnistration Paul Fox.

I do not believe Judge Whittington will order the evidence released.

Grand jury proceedings are secret in order to protect witnesses from potential public criticism, condemnation and retaliation. Not even their identities can be disclosed, much less their testimony, especially in an extremely controversial case like this one where threats to kill have been uttered and public officials are preparing for a war to break out. The situation is so tense that Governor Nixon has preemptively declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard.

Under these circumstances, where public disclosure of witness identities and testimony could be a death sentence, I cannot imagine that a judge would lift the veil of secrecy. I certainly would not risk people’s lives to provide political cover for McCulloch’s decision to try Wilson in secret.

There is only one way to handle this case properly and that is to charge Wilson with murder and accord him a public trial with due process of law.


Over Easy: Monday Science

By: BoxTurtle Monday November 24, 2014 4:41 am

The most practical recipe for turkey begins “First, catch a turkey”

Well, the holiday season begins. First, we have the holiday of Gluttony, then we have the holiday of Greed, then we have the holiday of Drunkenness. What a wonderful country!

Fukushima Update:

They have finally admitted total failure in keeping contaminated water from flowing into the Pacific. They can’t freeze it, their “special cement” didn’t do the job. TEPCO’s next plan is to just pump the water out. To where, I wonder? They are running out of tank space and the #2 basement which an unofficial water storage area is likely the source of the hot water.

TEPCO admits that it’s about 11,000 tons of hot water in the tunnels, rather than 4,000.   They are going to try to use special cement as a wall material rather than a plug material. There is concern that work on the special cement will slow down work on the ice wall. Wait, what? Didn’t we admit the ice wall had failed?

Even the man in charge of the cleanup is not optimistic.

6.7 magnitude earthquake hits Japan.  This is west and slightly south of Fuku.  JG assures us that all their NPP’s are fine, but it turns out that the damage is worse than initially thought. JG says the reactors are still fine. Aftershocks are expected and could be more powerful than the initial earthquake.

From our own Fukushima (Hanford), we learn that workers are becoming very sick, the key doctor will not even consider that Hanford vapor releases might be the cause because “This is industrial medicine and we need to consider the company”. It’ll take you a few minutes, but read all the links. Have a mentioned recently what a wonderful source for things like this ENENEWS is?

The latest news from Space-X. Private space exploration plods along, since NASA has abandoned the manned program. NASA better be finding military/espionage uses for it’s people, or the government will simply phase them out.

Did we outsmart ourselves with our Dark Matter detectors? It’s possible we buried them too deep for that dark matter to trigger them. It depends on how much dark matter actually interacts with real matter and we just don’t know.

Did we really detect the Higgs or some other particle? available data says it was the Higgs, but this is a valid alternate interpretation.

Everybody was looking forward to seeing the central black hole wake up and eat a cloud of gas. It now appears that despite coming within 30 billion kilometers of the event horizon, the cloud escaped. What the heck held it together? That’ll be a question generating years of research.

A biological battery?  Anything that doesn’t use heavy metals and rare materials is a good thing.

Your body odor can identify your political party. Speculate on how the voter ID people might use this to target “bad” voters.

Boxturtle (it is challenging thawing a turkey in your sink when you have kittens)




Food Sunday: Sinfully Delicious Cornbread and Pumpkin Pie: Both Best Evah

By: wendydavis Sunday November 23, 2014 4:18 pm

Gourmet cornbread  (it may have come from Epicurious)

If you don’t have 2 cups of buttermilk, add 2 T of cider vinegar to 2 C. milk, and let it stand until it curdles a bit while you assemble and measure other ingredients.

Melt ¾ C. of butter (yes, that much) and allow to cool while you assemble other ingredients

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and butter a 9 x 12 inch pan, or preferably Corning Ware or other glass baking dish (they finish the bottom better)

Eat Shit, it can Save Your Life!

By: RichardKanePA Sunday November 23, 2014 2:15 pm

Eating shit can save your life if you are in an isolated village in Africa and your caregiver relative is an Ebola survivor. However the relative might instead chew your food for you like mothers in Africa do their little children, that is providing the relative isn’t an old lady without teeth,

The Cuban embargo can save thousands if not millions of people from Ebola

First of all Cuban’s medical teams already saved almost a thousand Africans from dying from Ebola and without the US embargo Cuban medical aid would show down.

Second of all, Cuban doctor Felix Baez Sarria who got Ebola already told his brother that he plans to go back to Africa when he gets cured. Cuba plans each medical team carefully. Dr. Sarria is likely be be part of a new team where he works directly with patients maybe without masks and gloves and the rest of the team staying slightly in the background. With an exhausted Doctors Without Borders personnel, changing procedure could be temporarily dangerous. There are thousands of Ebola survivors that can treat the newly sick without protection the UN already has a small program with infants. As soon as it becomes the norm for survivors to work without protection many thousands of lives will be saved,

I think the world may soon be extremely grateful for the US Embargo of Cuba. In therebellions tribal North of Pakistan, nurses giving out polio shots are being assassinated, and may continue to be during the first weeks of an Ebola epidemic. Despite religious leaders publicly taking their kids to be inoculated, and condemning the killings as being against Islam.Extremistscan’t stand America, NATO, India, and when it comes to China, China being as close to Pakistan as the US is to Israel gets on their nerves. Again the Embargo can save the day if it leads to Cuban doctors not being shot at in Pakistan. The US could give Cuba $30,000 for each doctor Cuba sends to Pakistan to fight polio, and be on hand when Ebola strikes. Though part of the 6 billion Obama wants for Ebola could be spent on one-hour Ebola tests and other things the US does best. By the way the US could give far less than 30 thousand if it makes it clear to Cuba that the Embargo would be lifted, as soon as militants accept Cuban doctors,

I am amazed at the difference in reaction from the assertion that Jesus rose from the dead with that of others who have lost a lot of body fluids. Perhaps putting Ebola victims who spent two days without treatment into a deep coma would give the body time to make antibodies.

Ending privacy especially in a hospital can save many from dieing from Ebola. Embedded cameras everywhere would let a nurse know when she or he got in contact with Ebola and get an experimental vaccine a few minutes later if cameras were constantly monitored. Demand everything everywhere be recorded, perhaps only with a court order may sensitive material to discussed or acted upon. Side note bin Laden was outed by spying on a relatives DNA, we got to make sure that criminals don’t get punished for material gathered under false pretenses even with a court order. However every innocent person could be off of death row despite no court order in their regard.

If only 50% or even 40% of those who get Ebola without profession treatment around survive, it should be more than enough to treat the sick or drive trucks around with food or even to harvest the crops laying fallow. What is wrong are we all sleep walking or am I the little boy in the fairy tale The Emperors New Clothes. Millions of lives of lives can be saved if I can wake everyone up,

Video: SNL Spoofs Obama’s Amnesty Order

By: jbade Sunday November 23, 2014 1:02 pm

Saturday Night Live opened with a dig to the Obama Administration’s executive order granting temporary amnesty to millions. They noted the mid term elections and the fact that it was not the desire of the American People. A very funny, yet sad statement by the SNL team.

Cleveland Police Kill 12 Year Old Boy Armed with (gasp!) BB Gun.

By: Ohio Barbarian Sunday November 23, 2014 11:34 am

Yesterday afternoon, a rookie cop responding to a call about a juvenile with a gun that was “probably fake,” according to the citizen caller, shot the 12 year old in question in the stomach. The kid subsequently died.

Details are scanty. The caller saw a kid playing with a gun, which turned out to be a BB gun, at a recreation center where other kids were present. He arguably did the prudent thing and called police, even telling the dispatcher that the gun was “probably fake,” but he just wanted to make sure. These days, many would find that action reasonable.

For some reason, dispatch didn’t bother to relay the probably fakeness of the gun to the responding officers, one of whom was a rookie; the other a ten year veteran. Supposedly, the rookie cop pulled his gun and ordered the kid to put his hands in the air, the kid reached for the gun tucked into his pants, and the cop shot him in the guts. That’s all we know so far.

With what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri and all across the country, it seems to me that our local police are increasingly trigger-happy these days. Maybe “out of control” would be a better phrase. No doubt this will be just another “righteous shoot,” but come on now. A 12 year old? Really?

I realize this is just one more incident, one more needless citizen death at the hands of police in addition to the hundreds, I’m guessing as to the number,  in recent years, but is it any wonder that many people regard the police as more an occupying army than a group of professionals there to serve and protect them? And where is this “shoot first and ask questions later” mentality in the police coming from? I know in my lifetime it has not always been that way.

For what it’s worth, I think that all these pumped-up muscle cars if not outright armored personnel carriers cops are now driving, the military firearms and equipment, and the constant ruling class drumbeat of Be Afraid of and Kill the Terrorists, Foreign and Domestic, has gone way, WAY too friggin’ far. The real terrorists sit in corporate boardrooms and live in gated communities. They don’t even condescend to walk among us Great Undercapitalized for the most part. If the cops want to keep us safe from them by going in and blowing them away, that’s fine with me. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of that happening.

But if you are a kid with a new Red Rider BB gun, the warning is no longer A Christmas Story’s ”You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” It’s more like “The cops’ll blow your ass away, kid.”

40% of Palestinian Children Detained by Israel Are Sexually Abused; Virtually All Are Tortured

By: Ben Norton Sunday November 23, 2014 10:54 am

According to a new report by the independent, non-governmental, human rights organization the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC), at least 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in Jerusalem alone in the past five months. Of these, roughly 40% were sexually abused.

PPC attorney Mufeed al-Haj notes that this horrific, grotesque abuse is not the only crime of which the Israeli military is guilty. Israeli Occupation Forces are not supposed to engage in night and predawn raids, but they regularly conduct them. Israeli law says that minors undergoing investigation are supposed to be accompanied by their guardians, yet Israel virtually never allows this. As should be the case with any “democracy,” authorities are also legally “required” to have warrants for the arrest of Palestinians; they rarely do. Kidnapping is a common, everyday crime. In the first 3 weeks of November 2014 alone, Israel kidnapped at least 380 Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Sexual abuse and rape are indeed a form of torture. Palestinian children, illegally detained by Israel without charge, are also tortured by authorities in other ways. In a June Mondoweiss article, “New Testimonies from Palestinian Children Tortured by Israeli Authorities,” I summarized a report by the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah). The report stated that

[Israeli] Investigators threatened children with beatings, isolation, torturing their fathers and raping their mothers and sisters; children were denied food for dozens of hours unless they confessed to the charges against them.

I also noted that, in its 2013 review of Israel’s child rights record, the UN Committee on the Rights of Children (CRC) expressed “its deepest concern about the reported practice of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested, prosecuted and detained by the military and the police, and about the State party’s failure to end these practices in spite of repeated concerns expressed by treaty bodies.”

The CRC corroborated testimonies recalling Israel’s systematic use of

  • physical and verbal violence,
  • humiliation,
  • painful restraints,
  • hooding of the head and face in a sack,
  • death threats,
  • physical violence,
  • sexual assault against them or members of their family, and
  • restricted access to toilet, food and water.

CREDIT: ActiveStills

The CRC report also explained that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has used Palestinian children as human shields multiple times.

The following is a collection of points made in the children’s testimonies, as I outlined in my article on Adalah’s report:

  • The majority of arrests were made during late-hour night raids.
  • Palestinians’ homes were “violently broken into by dozens of soldiers who intimidated both the children and their families.” In 100% of the testimonies, children said they were bound and blindfolded, before being transferred hundreds of meters away in military vehicles.
  • In many of the testimonies, children revealed that soldiers went into their rooms, “aggressively woke them up, and shackled their hands and feet while they were still in bed.”
  • In one testimony, a child who had been sleeping in his bed when the “brutal kicks of the soldiers” woke him up, had to have his finger amputated. Israeli soldiers ignored his wounded finger, tying up his hands and feet, for over 12 hours, leading to an inoperable infection.
  • When family members inquired as to why exactly their young children were being harassed, assaulted, bound, blindfolded, and taken away in the middle of the night, Israeli soldiers often replied by beating and insulting them.
  • In the preponderance of the arrests, neither children nor their families knew why they were being taken away. Family members would not be allowed to accompany the minor, and they would not be informed as to where Israeli authorities would be taking them.
  • While soldiers were transferring the detained children to interrogation sites, soldiers regularly “used extreme physical and verbal abuse against them, including beatings, smashing the child’s head against a wall, threats of violence, and threats of sexual assault and rape.”
  • In one testimony, a child was separated from his family so that soldiers could interrogate him. When finished, the soldiers ordered in four of the child’s friends, to see their peer being beaten before their eyes. In this torturous event, the detained child “confessed” that he, along with his friends, had thrown stones. Later, however, the same child admitted he had only confessed in order to stop the beatings, and he withdrew his “confessions.”

This is what Israeli officials do to Palestinian children who they think threw a few stones.

Adalah’s press release also notes that Israeli investigators, at interrogation and detention sites, regularly employed interrogation techniques that are forbidden under international law:

  • 100% of the detained children’s interrogations lasted many hours. A majority said they were denied food, water, and access to a toilet. In some cases, children, who had been denied food for dozens of hours, were told they would only be fed if they confessed.
  • 100% of the detained children “were left handcuffed on both their hands and feet while seated on a low chair.”
  • Most of the detained children were stripped naked and strip-searched numerous times. Those “who refused to be strip-searched while naked were violently assaulted by the wardens.”
  • 0 of the investigations were conducted in the company of a lawyer or relative, in flagrant violation of Israeli law.
  • When children asked to meet with a lawyer, investigators told them it was “forbidden.”
  • 100% of children were held in solidarity confinement for multiple days, and in some cases even weeks. One child testified that he had been held in uninterrupted solidarity confinement for 28 days.
  • 100% of children “described their cells as being in very poor conditions.” Cells were windowless and incredibly small; they held only a small mattress and a foul-smelling toilet. It was not permitted that children lean on the rough walls. The cells were also lit 24 hours per day by a bright light. This light “hurt the children’s eyes” and made it difficult for children to fall asleep; from this forced sleep deprivation, children lost a sense of time, and presumably suffered from other ailments associated with sleep loss.

Book Salon Preview: Angels By The River, A Memoir

By: Elliott Sunday November 23, 2014 8:19 am

Reflections on race, environment, politics, and living on the front lines of change

Angels By The River: A Memoir

Come chat with author Gus Speth and host Will Potter, 5pm ET, 2pm PT.

In Angels by the River, James Gustave “Gus” Speth recounts his unlikely path from a southern boyhood through his years as one of the nation’s most influential mainstream environmentalists and eventually to the system­-changing activism that shapes his current work.

Born and raised in a lovely but racially divided town that later became the scene of South Carolina’s horrific Orangeburg Massacre, Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South’s agrarian roots shaped his later work in the heyday of the environmental movement, when he founded two landmark environmental groups, fought for the nation’s toughest environmental laws, spearheaded programs in the United Nations, advised the White House, and moved into a leading academic role as dean of Yale’s prestigious School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Yet, in the end, he arrived somewhere quite unexpected—still believing change is possible, but not within the current political and economic system.

Throughout this compelling memoir, Speth intertwines three stories—his own, his hometown’s, and his country’s—focusing mainly on his early years and the lessons he drew from them, and his later years, in which he comes full circle in applying those lessons. In the process he invites others to join him politically at or near the place at which he has arrived, wherever they may have started.

James Gustave “Gus” Speth is the former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, founder and president of the World Resources Institute, and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He has also been administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, chair of the U.N. Development Group, professor of law at Georgetown University, and chair of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality in the Carter administration.

He currently teaches at Vermont Law School, and is a senior fellow at the Democracy Collaborative where he is co-chair of the Next System Project. He is also distinguished senior fellow with Demos, associate fellow with the Tellus Insitute, and the recipient of numerous environmental awards. His previous books include America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, and the award-winning The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability and Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment. (Chelsea Green Publishing)