Monthly Archives: March 2011

Van Jones: “Stronger Than Bombs” (9/12/2001)


Exclusive: WANTED: U.S. workers for crippled Japan nuke plant

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As foreign assignments go this must be just about the most dangerous going.

A U.S. recruiter is hiring nuclear power workers in the United States to help Japan gain control of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been spewing radiation.

The qualifications: Skills gained in the nuclear industry, a passport, a family willing to let you go, willingness to work in a radioactive zone.

The rewards: Higher than normal pay and the challenge of solving a major crisis.

“About two weeks ago we told our managers to put together a wish list of anyone interested in going to Japan,” said Joe Melanson, a recruiter at specialist nuclear industry staffing firm Bartlett Nuclear in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Thursday.

So far, the firm has already signed up some workers who will be flying to Japan on Sunday.

Melanson said there will be less than 10 workers in the initial group. Others are expected to follow later, he added.

Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has appealed to the nuclear industry outside of Japan for assistance as the crisis has spiraled beyond their control.

On Thursday, the company said radiation levels in water found in tunnels under the plant was 10,000 times the normal level and radioactive iodine 131 was found in ground water near No.1 reactor of the complex.


Exonerated Texas man uses freedom to help others

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — A courthouse seems like the last place Michael Anthony Green would choose to spend his time following his release this summer after 27 years in a Texas prison for a rape he didn’t commit.

But each weekday, Green walks past metal detectors and police officers in the lobby of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center and makes his way to the 20th floor. There, he sits in a small office and pores through letters written by inmates discussing possible problems with their cases.

Since his release in July, after new DNA tests showed he was innocent, Green has worked for his attorney as a volunteer, reading letters from inmates, looking for others who might be wrongfully imprisoned.

“We might find a case where there’s another me that I can help,” said Green, 45.

According to the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal center that uses DNA to challenge convictions, 261 inmates in the U.S. have been exonerated post-conviction with DNA, most of them since 2000. Texas leads the nation with 40 cases. After his release, Green’s attorney, Bob Wicoff, approached Green about working for him to review cases.

Wicoff said he became impressed with Green’s knowledge of the law during their prison visits. “It was pretty apparent he knew a lot more law than any other inmate I’ve met,” Wicoff said.

Each day, Green reads inmate letters and fills out a two-page form that summarizes the claims and whether they have merit. Green looks for cases where DNA could play a factor. A typical letter is one written by an inmate in prison for rape. The inmate claims the victim sought charges because he broke his promise to give her illegal drugs. The inmate also claims he had a bad attorney.

“He doesn’t deny having sex but that it was consensual,” said Green, a stack of other letters next to him. “There is nothing that can be challenged, other than the ineffective assistance of counsel. But that is his word against the attorney’s.”

Green said most of the letters he reads are about burglary, robbery and murder cases where inmates claim they are innocent but that nothing can be done because either there is no DNA to test or such testing wouldn’t make a difference.

Wicoff said while the focus is DNA cases, they are also on the lookout for other potential legal problems.

Once motivated by anger, Green said he is now driven by a need to help others who might have been wrongfully convicted and by, of all things, a love for the law.

That love for the law began, oddly enough, after Green was convicted in 1983 for raping a woman who had been abducted by four men from a pay phone in north Houston and taken to a remote location. Green was detained by officers that night as he walked in the area.

The victim misidentified Green as one of her abductors. Green was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 75 years in prison. He was the only person convicted in the case. Green entered prison four months after turning 18.

“My first three years in prison, I didn’t do nothing but act a fool. I was mad about being in prison,” said Green.

After getting into trouble in October 1985, he was sent to administrative segregation, known to inmates simply as “seg” and where he stayed locked up in a tiny cell 22 hours a day. There, Green decided to take the advice of a fellow prisoner to “go to the law library and find a way to beat your case.”

While in seg, Green had law books sent to him. He read them cover to cover but stopped after becoming frustrated about the lack of uniformity in court decisions.

“My new year’s resolution for 1986 was get into the law and I’m not going to stop this time. From Jan. 3 of 1986, all the way until I got out of prison and working up in here, that’s what I did,” Green said. After years of appeals by Green, including some he wrote himself, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office reviewed his case and found that DNA evidence on the victim’s clothing could not have come from him.

Green said that in the more than 200 letters he’s read from inmates thus far, he hasn’t found one he could help, but that he remains committed to his work. “This is important.getting somebody out that don’t belong in prison,” Green said. For the last few years, Wicoff has mainly been working out of an office in the courthouse while leading a review by Harris County of about 180 cases with questionable blood analysis work by the Houston Police Department’s troubled crime lab.

Green’s need to right judicial wrongs is common among individuals who have been exonerated, said Kimberly Cook, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington who has studied the experiences of those exonerated who were on death row.

Their need to bring about social change because of their experiences seems to make their psychological adjustment to life outside of prison healthier, she said.

“So if they can use their personal experience to either prevent it from happening to other people, then there is some comfort in that,” Cook said.

Angela Amel, a social worker with the Innocence Project, said in addition to having family support, a place to live and employment, a sense of purpose is also important in helping people like Green rebuild their lives.

Green’s work is voluntary but he said he isn’t worried about money. He is eligible for compensation from the state for being wrongfully imprisoned. But it’s a topic Green declines to discuss for fear of putting his family in danger.

“I take life one day at a time,” Green said. “Whatever is happening today, that’s what’s happening. After today, I move right along.”

U.S. Gunships Will Be ‘on Standby’ in NATO’s Libya War

Most legislators are relieved — if skeptical — to hear that U.S. planes and ships will pull back from strike missions in Libya. Sen. John McCain is appalled. And he got Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen to put a caveat on their pledge that the U.S. will stop its “offensive operations” under the new NATO command.

McCain was practically livid during a Thursday afternoon hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. With the Libyan rebels getting routed on the ground, “your timing is exquisite,” McCain sarcastically lectured Gates and Mullen. “I’m glad to know that small arms will be effective for them.”

Mullen confirmed that the U.S. Air Force’s low-flying gunships — chief tools of close air support for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan — will only be available for striking Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks, trucks and artillery pieces “over the next several days.” McCain couldn’t believe what he was hearing: “It seems to me we are not doing everything necessary to achieve our policy goals.”

So Gates disclosed that “we have made provisions to have our strike aircraft available on a short period of time,” should NATO be unable to stop an unfolding humanitarian disaster. The AC-130s and A-10s — and, possibly, U.S. warplanes — will be “sort of on a standby.” McCain still characterized that as the U.S. “abdicating its leadership role.”

Gates pushed back. Within NATO, he said “everyone understood the United States would come in heavy and hard in the beginning,” and then pull back to a supporting role.

But Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said the U.S. should stay in “heavy and hard until we have won this thing.” His GOP colleague, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, said she couldn’t understand how to get rid of Gadhafi without “putting our full might in.”

That set Gates off. “When you say putting the full might of U.S. involved, that’s another full scale war in the Middle East,” he said. Gates moved to shut the rhetorical door Adm. James Stavridis opened to a post-Gadhafi NATO peacekeeping mission, noting that the United Nations resolution authorizing the war might consider it an illegal occupation — and besides which, it would be “nearly impossible” for NATO to agree on that mission.

“The last thing this country needs is another exercise in nationbuilding,” Gates warned. “The future of Libya, the U.S. ought not take responsibility for that.” Gates essentially pleaded for patience from the Senate, for NATO warplanes to pound loyalist forces until the military turns on Gadhafi.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina didn’t sound convinced. “The idea that the A-10s, AC-120s, American airpower is grounded unless the place goes to hell is just so unnerving I can’t express it,” Graham said. “I would just ask you to please reconsider.”

U.S. officials, opposition warn Libya could get bloodier

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — From the halls of Congress to the shell-pocked streets of Libyan cities, intertwined themes rang clear Thursday: Leader Moammar Gadhafi is determined to prevail, and the opposition needs more training and allied airstrikes to have a chance.

“Gadhafi will “kill as many (people) as he must to crush the rebellion,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told the House Armed Services Committee.

The rebels, who were regrouping after several days of setbacks, pinned their hopes on more coalition airpower, which will likely increase as weather improves.

“We want more to bring a speedy end to this,” Col. Ahmed Omar Bani, an opposition spokesman, told CNN. “A strike is not a strike unless it kills,” he said.

CIA operatives have been in Libya working with rebel leaders to try to reverse gains by loyalist forces, a U.S. intelligence source said.

The United States, insisting it is now fulfilling more of a support role in the coalition, shifted in that direction as NATO took sole command of air operations in Libya.

The ferocity of this month’s fighting and Gadhafi’s advantage in firepower was clearly evident in Misrata, which has seen snipers, significant casualties and destruction.

A witness told CNN Thursday there “is utter madness” and Gadhafi’s men are going door-to-door evicting and terrorizing people.

“I am afraid it will be one big massacre here in Misrata” if the international forces “do not do more,” he said. CNN did not identify the witness for security reasons.


2 Former Officers Sentenced in Post-Katrina Slaying

NEW ORLEANS — Two former New Orleans police officers were sentenced on Thursday in the killing of an unarmed civilian and the burning of his body in the week after Hurricane Katrina in a case that exposed the city’s troubled Police Department.

One of the former officers, David Warren, was sentenced by a federal judge here to 25 years and 9 months in prison on a federal civil rights charge of using a firearm to commit manslaughter.

The other, Greg McRae, was sentenced to 17 years and 3 months in prison and three years of supervised release on two civil rights charges, including obstruction of justice.

On Sept 2, 2005, Mr. Warren shot Henry Glover from the second floor of a strip mall that was being used as a police substation. Mr. Glover, who had been trying to pick some looted suitcases, was shot as he was running away; at trial, Mr. Warren said he had fired in self-defense.

As he was dying, Mr. Glover was taken by a group of bystanders to a nearby school that was also being used a makeshift police station. There, police officers surrounded the men and handcuffed them.

Mr. McRae, then an officer, drove off in a bystander’s car with Mr. Glover, then burned his body and the car with a traffic flare.

The two men were convicted in December in a trial that exposed the breakdown of law within the department and, as the officers’ lawyers argued, the intense strain of working in chaotic conditions.

Another officer, Travis McCabe, then a lieutenant, was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice for drawing up a false police report; he has not been sentenced.

Mr. Warren was also ordered to pay $7,642.32 to Mr. Glover’s family for funeral expenses; Mr. McRae was ordered to pay $6,000 to the bystander as restitution for the burned car.

Al-Qaeda 100% Pentagon Run

Japan evacuees refused hospital treatment amid fear of radiation

31 March 2011

TOKYO — Hundreds of evacuees from the area around Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant are being turned away by hospitals and temporary evacuation centers because of fear they may be carrying radiation, a British newspaper reported.

The Daily Telegraph said that officials were demanding that evacuees provide certificates proving they have not been exposed to contamination.

The newspaper said a clinic in Fukushima City refused treatment to an 8-year-old girl for a skin rash. Her family was living in a shelter after abandoning their home in Minamisoma, 18 miles from the nuclear plant.

The newspaper noted that the prejudice was similar to the ostracism that survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 experienced.

“This is a knee-jerk reaction based on the fear that these people are going to harm you,” Dr. Robert Gale, a hematologist at Imperial College, London, told the Daily Telegraph. He is advising the Japanese government on health issues.

“If someone has been contaminated externally, such as on their shoes or clothes, then precautions can be taken, such as by removing those garments to stop the contamination from getting into a hospital,” he added. “That is very easy to do, but unfortunately I’m not surprised this sort of thing is happening.”

Joel Skousen: The Final Economic Countdown-Alex Jones

On Feb. 18, Israel’s Prime Minister along with his Foreign and Defence Ministers hatched a plot to keep Libyan strongmen Muamar Ghaddafi in power and his opponents dead or wounded. The big three would use Israeli taxpayers’ money to hire mercenaries to slaughter any Libyan who wanted a new leader.

(ANSAmed) – ROME, MARCH 1 – With approval from the government in Tel
Aviv, an Israeli security firm is responsible for sending groups of African mercenaries to Libya
to fight the protestors who have been calling for the fall of the Gaddafi
regime for the last two weeks, reports Al Jazeera’s website, citing a source in
the Israeli press.

The journalist from Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, who
prefers to remain anonymous, said that according to speculation in the security
sector, Israel looks at Libya from a strategic perspective and in terms of
security. The fall of Gaddafi would open the door for an Islamic regime in
Libya, accordingto speculation.

In a meeting on February 18, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defence
Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Lieberman decided to recruit African
mercenaries to fight alongside Gaddafi, according to the journalist. During the
meeting, they decided to let General Israel Zef, the director of security firm
Global CST, which is active in many African countries, to make a group of
paramilitary mercenaries from Guinea, Nigeria, Central Africa, Mali, Senegal,
Darfur and Southern Sudan available to Abdullah Assinousi, one of the heads of
Libya’s intelligence agency.

In just a few weeks, Libya was crawling with guns for hire, many without knowledge that their paychecks originated at the Bank of Israel. How could Israel justify the ongoing massacre of Libyan civilians by its hired guns? Because Ghaddafi’s defeat would mean an Islamist government, though it’s anybody’s guess if that is even the case. Meanwhile in Israel, the police shot 15 Jews at Havat Gilad with experimental crowd-control bullets, while most of the population was too shell-shocked by never-ending poverty and debt to even care. Would they care if they knew their taxes were paying hundreds of mercenaries $300 to $2000 bucks a day to shoot Libyans?

Nah, not when there’s the mortgage to be paid and children to feed. Israelis are too worn down and out to care that their government is risking huge international censure for prolonging the Libyan civil war.

Gaddafi is said to have lured some 25,000 mercenaries to quash a popular revolt against his regime. The head of the Libyan Human Rights League Ali Zeidan says Chad is leading this group of foreign fighters including citizens from Niger, Mali, Zimbabwe and Liberia who are being paid between $300 and $2,000 a day.

While most of these governments have denied their nationals are fighting as
mercenaries in Libya, Mali officials have confirmed hundreds of young Tuaregs
from Mali and Niger have been recruited by Gaddafi.

There may be more to Israel’s support than just the fear of radical Islam taking control of Libya. Fifteen years ago, I interviewed a family of Libyan Jews living in southern Israel, who claimed that Ghaddafi’s mother was Jewish and he was their cousin. Since the protests of Libya turned into a civil war, thanks in part to Israel, interest in Ghaddafi’s Jewish cousins has been revived by the local media:

As Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fights desperately to cling to
power, killing thousands of his countrymen in the process, more and
more bizarre stories about his connections to Israel are coming to

According to a Tel Aviv-based organization of Jews of Libyan descent,
in 2007 the Gaddafi regime offered a large sum of money for the
formation of a “Libyan political party” to run in Israel’s 2009
Knesset elections. Last week we reported on Gaddafi’s suspected Jewish heritage, citing an Israeli television interview last year with an Israeli Jew of
Libyan descent who claims to be Gaddafi’s cousin.

Is it possible that the expensive and insane risks Israel is taking over Ghaddafi is, at least partly, just a family affair?