Category Archives: Crime

Headline of the day: Tossing a bone to Trump


Pun intended.

From the London Daily Mail, the estranged hubby of Hillary’s closet pal is at it again:

America’s toughest prosecutor demands Anthony Weiner’s cellphone records after DailyMail.com reveals his sexting relationship with girl, 15

  • Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has subpoenaed the disgraced congressman’s cellphone records
  • The  high school girl, whose name is being withheld by DailyMail.com because she is a minor, revealed the online relationship began last January
  • The girl says she told him she was 15 and a sophomore in high school; messages confirm he knew she was underage 
  • In one message Weiner tells the girl ‘I would bust that tight p***y’ 
  • She claims Weiner asked her to undress and encouraged her to touch herself and say his name over video chat 
  • Weiner did not deny exchanging ‘flirtatious’ messages with the teen.  He declined to comment on the specifics

Bloodshed in Mexico: Corruption spirals onward


Mexico is descending into a new abyss of violence, and it’s government officials who bear the brunt of the blame as the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto plumbs a new depth of unpopularity.

The latest polling numbers given the Mexican leader a favorability rating of 26 percent, the lowest number for any Mexican president in more than two decades.

One of the leading reasons for the presidential plunge is the nation’s growing level of violence, with the latest victims including both journalists and priests.

Real blood on the newsroom floor

The press has fared poorly under Peña, with an ever-growing number of journalists slain, and politicians from Peña’s party have been linked to some of the slaying.

From teleSUR English:

At least 26 journalists have been killed since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office, including two more last week.

Aurelio Campos, editor at the daily “El Grafico,” based in the central state of Puebla, and Agustin Pavia, host at the southern Oaxacan community radio station “Tu Un Nuu Savi,” were killed just two days apart in unrelated incidents.

“Mexico is in the process of turning into a cemetery for journalists,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of Reporters Without Borders’ Latin America desk. “The local and national authorities must urgently overhaul the alert and protection mechanisms for journalists and must give the police and judicial authorities the resources they need to quickly and systematically identify those behind these murders.”

Campos previously reported to local authorities that he had been the victim of intimidation. However, police determined that he was killed by “an angry colleague,” who they have not yet identified. He was fatally shot while driving his car on Sept. 14.

Two days later Pavia was also shot dead while driving. Authorities are still investigating the motive for the crime, and no one has been arrested.

A politician linked to press killings under fire

A second story from teleSUR English looks at one of those government officials linked to press murders:

Mexico’s Attorney General confirmed Thursday the launch of a probe against outgoing Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte for embezzlement and related crimes.

Duarte is infamous in Mexico because 17 journalists have been killed or disappeared since he took office, although none of these crimes form part of the investigation against him. Duarte belongs to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party – known by its acronym, PRI – and is a close ally to President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Prosecutors said Duarte must present valid documentation to confirm that his expenditures of nearly US$721,000 were for governmental and not personal use.

The outgoing governor will end his mandate in December, leaving Veracruz with a public debt of US$583 million, according to Mexico’s finance ministry.

Mexican authorities launched a probe in July into the potentially improper use of taxpayer money. So far, at least 69 relatives, friends and associates of Duarte have been investigated. That investigation has not concluded.

Duarte has been linked to the killing of journalist Ruben Espinosa and activist Nadia Vera, both of whom accused him of threatening them and told friends that if they were killed, the governor would be responsible.

In addition to journalists, women have also been subjected to state violence on Duarte’s watch. According to official figures, a total of 500 women have been killed since his swearing-in in 2010.

Priests slain, another abducted

Priests have also been favorite targets of violence, and the Roman Catholic Church is asking for help in finding one of the latest victims:

From TheNewsMX:

Roman Catholic Church officials pleaded on Thursday for the life of a priest who was kidnapped from his parish residence one day after two other priests were abducted and killed in another part of Mexico.

The Archdiocese of Morelia said priest José Alfredo Lopez Guillén was abducted Monday from his parish residence in the rural town of Janamuato, in the western state of Michoacan. The archdiocese said he was kidnapped after he was robbed.

“We plead that the life and physical integrity of the priest be respected,” the archdiocese said.

In a video statement, Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda, head of the Morelia archdiocese, said, “After sharing the enormous pain of the death of two young priests in the diocese of Papantla, Veracruz, we are now suffering our own anguish with the disappearance of one of our priests.”

Two priests were kidnapped Sunday in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, and their bullet-ridden bodies were found on a roadside the next day.

Police sex crimes probed

From the New York Times comes yet another story about official violence:

International human rights officials are demanding an investigation into the brutal sexual assaults of 11 Mexican women during protests a decade ago — an inquiry that would take aim at President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was the governor in charge at the time of the attacks.

The demand is part of a multiyear examination by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights into abuses during a 2006 crackdown ordered by Mr. Peña Nieto on San Salvador Atenco, a town in Mexico State where demonstrators had taken over the central square. During the operations, which left two dead, more than 40 women were violently detained by the police, packed onto buses and sent to jail several hours away.

The case was brought by 11 women to the international commission, which found that the police tortured them sexually. The women — a mix of merchants, students and activists — were raped, beaten, penetrated with metal objects, robbed and humiliated, made to sing aloud to entertain the police. One was forced to perform oral sex on multiple officers. After the women were imprisoned, days passed before they were given proper medical examinations, the commission found.

>snip<

The commission delivered its findings last week to the Inter-American Court, an independent judiciary with legal authority over Mexico. If the court agrees with the commission, it can order Mexico to broaden its current inquiry into the case, a requirement that could force the state to investigate its own president.

The U.N. backs Ayotzinapa parents

Jan Jarab, representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, meets with Aytozinapa parents. Via Alternative Economics'

Jan Jarab, representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, meets with Aytozinapa parents. Via Alternative Economics.

The most notorious incident of violence in recent years in Mexico happened two years ago this coming Monday when 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, vanished after their abduction from the town of Iguala after a violent assault by police and drug cartel gunmen [previously].

Parents of the missing students have maintained protests and vigils ever since, often met with more violence from police as they demand real answers from a seemingly indifferent government.

And now the United Nations is taking their side.

From the news agency EFE:

The representative in Mexico of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed solidarity here Wednesday with the parents of 43 teacher trainees who went missing two years ago in the southern state of Guerrero.

After a meeting with the mothers and fathers of students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher Training College in Ayotzinapa who disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014, in the nearby city of Iguala, Jan Jarab said he supported their efforts to seek the truth and ensure these crimes are not repeated.

“We need to overcome this climate of impunity,” Jarab said in reference to the more than 27,000 people who have gone missing in Mexico over the past decade, many of whom, according to international rights groups, were victims of enforced disappearances, crimes in which state officials – or people acting with state consent – grabbed people off the street or from their homes and then refused to say where they were.

During the closed-door meeting at the school, Jarab hailed the fact that Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office was opening new lines of investigation.

He also said a special monitoring mechanism dictated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, would be installed soon to ensure the Mexican government is held accountable for its probe.

If Donald Trump wants to keep Mexican killers and rapists out of the U.S., maybe he should start with government officials.

Headlines of the day II: Philippine body count grows


First, from Deutche Welle:

Philippines President to extend violent war on drugs for six more months

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said his country’s drug problem was far worse than he anticipated when taking office. Around 3,500 suspected dealers and traffickers have been killed in the last 10 weeks.

And this from the Japan Times:

British baron’s daughter dies in Philippine drug war

  • A daughter of the late British baron Lord Moynihan has been killed in the Philippines where the government is waging a deadly war on drugs, police said Monday.
  • Maria Aurora Moynihan, 45, was shot by unknown attackers who left her by the side of a Manila street on Sept. 10, authorities said.
  • Her killers left a cardboard sign accusing Moynihan of being a “drug pusher for celebrities,” Chief Inspector Tito Jay Cuden said.

Ayotzinapa parents rebel, tests debunk gov’t claim


Two major developments to report in the ongoing controversy 26 September 2014 disappearances of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the state of Guerrero [previously].

First, parents of the missing students, frustrated with the government’s self-evident coverup of events surrounding the mass kidnaping, have broken off talks with officials of the government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

From teleSUR English:

Relatives of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who disappeared are cutting off all dialogue with the Mexican government after the lead investigator resigned for allegedly tampering with evidence—and was then awarded with a promotion.

Thomas Zeron de Lucio was the former director of criminal investigations responsible for overseeing the Ayotzinapa case. He resigned Wednesday but Ayotzinapa relatives accuse President Enrique Peña Nieto of rewarding Zeron with a higher paying position as technical secretary of the National Security Council. That comes after a new independent study debunked the government narrative on the disappearance of the students in Guerrero.

“Enough, no more lies or simulations,” Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the families, said during a press conference on Thursday in Mexico City. “That’s the requirement. Until it is completed—until Thomas Zeron de Lucio is investigated and punished—the parents will not be returning to the talks.”

The government’s official version says local police apprehended the students, who had commandeered a bus to travel to a protest, and handed them over to a gang known as Guerreros Unidos.

“It is outrageous that after having an open investigation he is rewarded with a higher charge. It’s nothing but a joke to the 43 parents—a mockery to all Mexicans,” said Mario Gonzalez, whose son is one of the missing students.

Confirmation of the coverup

The official government version of events declares that the students were ambushed by members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel in collusion with corrupt local police, acting on the believe that the students, who lived in dorms without beds or other furnishings, were engaged in major legaue drug trafficking.

Absurd on its face, the government scenario has been rejected by parents and by numerous NGOs which have been conducted their own independent investigation.

Keystone of the government’s theory is the allegation that the bodies of the students were incinerated in a mass cremation at a trash dump in a ravine.

But that theory has been rejected by internation scientists, most recently in experiments conducted by Australian fire scientist José Torero of the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, in Brisbane.

Torrero conducted his own tests, using pig carcasses, burning as many as four at a time on pyres.

From Science:

Torero’s experiments “are one more element that says the so-called ‘historical truth’”—how a former attorney general labeled the government’s theory of the crime—“is impossible,” says Francisco Cox Vidal, a lawyer and member of an expert group (known in Spanish as the GIEI) convened by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in Washington, D.C., to examine the disappearance and the official inquest. Deputy Attorney General for Human Rights Eber Betanzos Torres did not respond to requests for comment.

>snip<

Born in Peru and trained at the University of California, Berkeley, Torero has investigated many high-profile fires, including those that brought down the Twin Towers. The cartel members had testified that they incinerated the bodies on a pyre of wood and tires in the open air. Torero’s calculations suggested that fully incinerating 43 bodies in the manner the cartel described would have required a staggering amount of wood: between 20,000 and 40,000 kilograms. He also doubted that it would be possible to nearly eliminate organic matter from the remains with an open-air fire, rather than with a furnace. And when he visited the Cocula dump in July 2015, he saw no evidence of a massive fire. He concluded that it was impossible the students had been burned there.

In an 8 June report, the Attorney General’s office called for experimental verification. Torero independently took up the challenge. He and a dozen students simulated the alleged pyres at Cocula in a field at his university’s Gatton campus, outside Brisbane. They used bone-dry wood, stacked precisely, and left out tires, which would have made the fire less efficient. The experimental set-up, Torero says, represented “the ideal scenario.”
Scientist José Torero working with fire in his lab.

His team systematically burned pig carcasses. Even when using 630 kg of wood for a single 70-kg pig, 10% of the pig’s flesh remained after the fire burned out, Torero told Science. Forty-three bodies of a similar weight, therefore, would have required over 27,000 kg of wood, and organic matter would have survived the fire. Even if the cartel had been able to find that much wood in Cocula, the intense bonfire would have scarred nearby tree trunks, Torero says. Visiting the dump 10 months after the disappearances, he saw no such scars.

Torero also burned up to four pig carcasses at once to explore whether body fat would fuel the fire and promote total incineration. Each added carcass weakened fire intensity, the team found. Burning 43 bodies together, therefore, would require much more wood than burning each separately. “Bodies are a large percent water,” says Lentini. “They’re not great fuel.”

One casualty of Torrero’s investigation has been Tomás Zerón de Lucio, director of the national government’s Agency of Criminal Investigations, who resigned Wednesday.

With the government’s case up in flames, the mystery of just what happened to the missing students remains an open case in the eyes of the world.

Sadly, news media in the U.S. had been neglecting the story. We hope that changes.

Headlines of the day: Chickens come home to roost


First, one of two headlines from the London Sunday Mail:

‘A bomb exploding in New York is an act of terrorism’: ‘Homemade IED’ that injured 29 in Manhattan had NO ISIS connection says Governor Cuomo – but it’s still the work of a terrorist

  • Police responded to explosion in Chelsea neighborhood at West 23rd and Sixth Avenue around 8.30pm
  • Hundreds of people were fleeing the scene down the block as police cordoned off the area  
  • At least 29 people were reported injured by the Fire Department but injuries don’t appear life-threatening
  • Police have said cause of blast is unknown as bomb sniffing dogs search for remnants of a possible bomb 
  • NYPD Special Ops tweeted that they are investigating a ‘possible’ second device found four blocks away
  • The device is reportedly a ‘pressure cooker’ wrapped in plastic with a cell phone or timer attached to it   
  • CCTV footage shows blast ripping through New York’s affluent Chelsea neighborhood as people passed by  
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio said during press conference that authorities believe it was an ‘intentional act’ 
  • The NYPD tweeted that people should stay away from windows facing 27th Street until the area is clear 
  • NYPD has increased security across the city following the blast Saturday night as a precaution 
  • Subways in the area have been shut down because of the explosion, authorities said 

And the second:

Mass stabbing at Minnesota mall: Rampaging knifeman dressed as a security guard attacks eight shoppers while talking about Allah before being killed by off-duty cop

  • Stabbing attack took place at Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud
  • Eight people were taken to St. Cloud hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and one person was admitted
  • St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson says the attacker made references to Allah during the attack and asked at least one person whether they were Muslim

Finally, from the Guardian:

Pipe bomb explodes near Jersey Shore 5km run in support of US Marines

  • No injuries reported in explosion in Seaside Park, New Jersey
  • Semper Five race cancelled after unattanded backpack also found

Quote of the day: A matter of perspective. . .


From From Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program, writing for Medium:

It’s deeply disturbing that, 15 years after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government’s sense of justice is so skewed that while not a single person has been prosecuted for torture or unlawful drone killings, it is Edward Snowden who faces decades behinds bars.

So, while we witness the vilification of Edward Snowden, this is happening:

  • The architects of CIA torture celebrate their abuses, safe in the knowledge they likely won’t ever be prosecuted.
  • 61 men languish at Guantanamo, many locked away without charges for more than a decade, and they may die there.
  • Drone strikes have killed scores, including a woman struck by Hellfire missiles and blown to bits before the eyes of her grandchildren, and yet her death has never even been acknowledged by the U.S. government.

Wednesday September 14th marked the 15th year that U.S. intelligence and defense agencies have used the 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force, a law passed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, as a permission slip for human rights abuses.

These out of control agencies, unchecked by the courts and Congress, violating human rights with impunity — this is why Edward Snowden had to speak out, why it’s ludicrous to suggest he could have worked within this desperately broken system, a system where human rights abuses are systematically ignored and sometimes covered up.

Headline of the day: It’s about damn time


From teleSUR English:

 CEO’s Can Now Be Prosecuted Like War Criminals at the Hague

  • The International Criminal Court announced Thursday it will now hold corporate executives and governments legally responsible for environmental crimes.
  • The Hague court made explicit references to widening its approach to include land grabbing, which has allowed private corporations, with the help of governments, to take over large of areas of foreign land to exploit natural resources. It will also prosecute for environmental destruction.