London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

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Flight risk remains, says judge as she refuses bail attempt

Julian Assange has failed to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to get out of prison – after a judge ruled that his previous antics made him a flight risk.…


Situation On Riker's Island "Unimaginably Bad" As COVID-19 Tears Through Prison

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Situation On Riker's Island "Unimaginably Bad" As COVID-19 Tears Through Prison

This weekend we reported that Harvey Weinstein had tested positive for coronavirus just days after being transported out of Riker's Island prison in New York, where 38 people had been infected with COVID-19 and another 58 inmates were under observation.

On Monday, Brooklyn public defender Scott Hechinger reported that conditions at the notorious pr

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ison are "unimaginably bad" thanks to the extremely tight quarters, lack of sanitation, and unavailability of protective medical gear.

See the rest below, or click above tweet to scroll through thread:

  • People trapped on Rikers right now are sleeping close enough to reach out and touch the next person.

  • People trapped on Rikers right now are being served food on dirty food trays.

  • There is one toilet for every 29 people trapped on Rikers Island right now.

  • People jailed on Rikers right now who are asking to be tested are not getting tested.

  • While eating, people on Rikers are forced to sit four to a table. No possibility of social distancing while sleeping or eating.

  • Those serving the food on Rikers are not wearing masks (and, therefore, possibly contaminating the food). The food also is coming in from other buildings increasing the likelihood of contamination.

  • After one of the people in their dorm tested positive for Coronavirus and was taken out, Rikers staff did not clean the general areas.

  • People are being housed with others with flu-like symptoms and there is no recourse. When people ask to be transferred to correctional health services, they are being told that there aren't enough escorts.

  • Just spent the last hour talking to another colleague about Rikers conditions. "It is like a fucking slave ship. It makes me want to fucking cry. They can't even wash their hands. It is insane that this day & age we treat human beings this way. This is shameful."

  • We heard from our social worker colleagues today that videoconferences w/ the people we represent on Rikers have now been suspended indefinitely. Were not allowed on the island. The only way we had to communicate & access information on the inside is now gone. I'm really worried.

  • Right now, there are 5,294 people jailed on Rikers. Mayor de Blasio today announced he agreed to release 75 people. He's looking at a list (we have no idea who is on this list) of a couple hundred.

  • Imagine the feeling you have these days when you go to the grocery store. I'm wearing gloves & a mask. Even then, I'm keeping my distance. Social distancing in jail is impossible. Sanitation is non-existent. No gloves. No mask. Just hundreds of people coughing on each other.

  • 5,294 humans are locked up on Rikers already at extreme risk of contracting this deadly illness. With no precautions whatsoever. Nearly guaranteed to be exposed. And spreading that deadly illness to guards & other staff, who cycle in & out daily. Our leaders are doing NOTHING.

  • While we are taking steps to prevent COVID-19 infection in our community to stay inside, social distance, and be vigilant with sanitization, these efforts will be worthless if we don’t act rapidly to prevent infection in Rikers.

  • To stem the spread of this deadly virus, we must drastically reduce the number of people in jail and limit new admissions to exceptional circumstances. And we must do so now. This is a matter of life and death.

  • Significantly fewer people in jail (not 75, not hundreds, but thousands) will: Limit spread of COVID-19 infection among people in custody & those who work there. Minimize people in custody who will need medical care. Decrease density of housing areas for people who remain.

  • Governor Cuomo could do the same as New Jersey right now. On Rikers: 500+ are serving short jail sentences for low level offenses. He could grant clemency to all. 666 are jailed for technical parole violations. He could order parole to release them. Thats 1000+ like that.

  • Note how I'm not bringing up those jailed pretrial, presumed innocent, charged w/ misdemeanors & non-violent felonies. Why? Bail reform just enacted in January 2020 has kept 1000s charged w/ these low level offenses home w/ their families, jobs & homes, & free from Coronavirus.

  • But what about those jailed pretrial on "violent" felonies? Not one of them would be eligible for death if ever convicted. And no one. I repeat: NO ONE, deserves to be infected by a deadly virus by virtue of the deliberate indifference of those w/ the power to do something.

  • I'm exhausted.

  • I have to wrap this up.

  • If we all have, and most critically right now, our leaders, have the courage to do what is necessary and what is right, at some point, hopefully soon, this pandemic will be behind us. But we cannot then just go back to business as usual.

  • The spread of Coronavirus has exposed the inhumanity, waste, and danger of a criminal legal system that has completely ignored humanity and public.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 17:05

'Stay Indoors Or Risk A Year In Prison': Jordan Blows Sirens At Start Of Virus Lockdown

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'Stay Indoors Or Risk A Year In Prison': Jordan Blows Sirens At Start Of Virus Lockdown

Jordan has imposed an unprecedented nation-wide curfew on Saturday to combat the spread of coronavirus at a moment its official confirmed number of cases approaches 100. As of Friday health officials said Jordan has 85 confirmed infections while emphasizing they expect numbers to rise rapidly. 

"Jordan blew sirens at the start of a nationwid

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e curfew on Saturday, limiting the mobility of its 10 million citizens indefinitely to combat the spread of coronavirus, witnesses and officials said," Reuters reports.

The round-the-clock ban on residents going outside started at 7am with warning sirens literally sounding across Amman. The new curfew is being widely described as the most severe measure any country has imposed on a nation-wide level thus far in the crisis.

Jordanian soldiers in the capital Amman on March 18, 2020. Image source: AFP

As nations across the globe move to a militarized response, and with even the United States witnessing the rare deployment of National Guard units to city streets, such as in New York and Georgia, the government of Jordan is poised to impose perhaps the most draconian penalties for violating the newly announced measures.

The Jordanian Army announced Saturday curfew violators for all but authorized emergency personnel and vital services will face up to a year in jail. Thousands of soldiers have already been deployed to city streets and highways, especially in the sprawling capital of Amman.

"Anyone going outside will be subjecting themselves to punishment," Justice Minister Bassam Talhouni said in an Arabic broadcast. Already at least 400 were arrested Saturday. "Nearly 400 people have been arrested in Jordan for violating an indefinite curfew introduced on Saturday that bans people from leaving their homes even to purchase food," The Guardian reports.

The stringent measures immediately resulted in the following scene, as Reuters describes: 

Armored police vehicles roamed the streets of main cities, calling on people to heed warnings not to leave their homes, witnesses said.

Streets across the capital and main cities were deserted, with shops shuttered as police patrolled neighborhoods and the army manned checkpoints, witnesses said.

Amman officials say they had to take drastic measures due to the "recklessness" of some elements among the population who refuse to take the pandemic threat seriously.

“Unfortunately we have seen recklessness in scenes of shopping and moving around in the streets. These pose a grave danger to our efforts to contain the epidemic,” Amjad Adailah, a cabinet minister and government spokesman said.

Similar but arguably less draconian measures have been deployed in some communities and cities in neighboring Israel and the West Bank.

Also, Syria to the north is presenting an increasingly worrisome situation: the Assad government has ordered the closure of all schools, restaurants, theaters and public places, and has even sent many government workers home as of Saturday. Yet authorities in Damascus are still officially reporting zero cases. However, it could also be the case they acted quickly enough, with WHO officials looking on and administering tests, amid all but the Lebanese border being for years shutdown due to war.

The potential for an outbreak inside squalid and over-crowded refugee camps in the region is also alarming international health officials. The WHO is reportedly attempting to set up urgent testing inside camps along the Syrian-Turkish border, after a handful of cases appeared in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Iraq.

Tyler Durden

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 20:55

Harvey Weinstein Gets 23 Years In Prison For Sex Crimes

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Harvey Weinstein Gets 23 Years In Prison For Sex Crimes

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday for sexually assaulting two women.

The sentence follows a landmark verdict on February 24, after a jury found that Weinstein raped aspiring actress Jessica Mann at a DoubleTree hotel in 2013 when she was 27-years-old, and forced oral sex on former prod

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uction assistant Mimi Haleyi, now 42, at his apartment in 2006.

Weinstein’s sentencing was watched in the Manhattan courtroom by all the women who had testified at trial against the once-feared mogul, who was convicted Feb. 24 of rape and committing a criminal sexual act more than two years after explosive news articles about his alleged serial sexual abuse of women.

The producer of films including “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Gangs of New York” was found not guilty of the most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault for which he could have been sentenced to life in prison. He also was acquitted of first-degree rape. -CNBC

Weinstein faced a minimum of five years in prison. 

Prior to his sentence, Weinstein told the judge "I am totally confused," adding "I think men are confused about all of this…this feeling of thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I’m worried about this country."

"This is not the right atmosphere in the United States of America," he added.

Weinstein said he had “serious friendships” with the two primary accusers in the case, Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann. Both women delivered “victim impact” statements before Burke issued the sentence. Haley, who says she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in his apartment in 2006, told the judge that she was left emotionally damaged by the incident. -Variety

"It scarred me deeply, mentally and emotionally," said Haley. "What he did not only stripped me of my dignity as a human being and a woman, but it crushed my confidence."

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 11:14

6 Killed, Dozens Wounded During Coronavirus-Inspired Prison Riot In Italy

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6 Killed, Dozens Wounded During Coronavirus-Inspired Prison Riot In Italy

A prison riot reportedly broke out Sunday afternoon at an Italian prison in the city of Modena that has left six dead, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere di Bologna.

The riot, which started at around 2 pm local time, started when about 60 inmates decided to set the prison on fire in an attempted mass escape reportedly inspired by the coronavirus quarantine crackdo

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wn. Inmates were reportedly told that family members wouldn't be allowed to visit during the quarantine (remember what happened in those Chinese prisons?). This left dozens furious and, in an overcrowded prison, that type of rage can spread quickly.

Inmates demands for more information about policies being put in place to suppress the virus certainly helped spark the riot, but local officials were careful to characterize the riot as something that happened "in addition" to the outbreak, not because of it, while critics noted longstanding issues like overcrowding contributed to the unrest.

Shortly after prisoners overwhelmed the guards, a contingent of police arrived, sparking a confrontation that led to an hours-long faceoff.

While six have been killed so far, more fatalities are expected, as dozens were badly wounded in the fighting, while others reportedly overdosed on medications like methadone and benzodiazepines as prisons apparently raided the prison hospital and stole all the methadone and Xanax they could find. Authorities insist that half of the six deaths so far could be attributed to overdoses, though that sounds...somewhat suspicious to us.

According to Corriere, the police intervention stopped 500 prisoners from escaping. On Italian twitter, reports that the 500 prisoners had escaped were being reported as fact.

We hope to learn more about the riots later in the day. But will this uprising inspire others across the locked-down north?

Tyler Durden

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 08:13

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Double Overnight In South Korea To 204; China Reveals Alarming Prison Outbreak, 500+ Already Infected

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Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Double Overnight In South Korea To 204; China Reveals Alarming Prison Outbreak, 500+ Already Infected

When historians look back at the COVID-19 outbreak, they'll remember this week as an important turning point in the crisis, when international public-health experts and investors started to focus their attention on South Korea, Japan and other countries in the region that have seen the number of new cases accelerate markedly in recent day

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Put another way, evidence that the virus is spreading more rapidly within other Asian countries outside mainland China has become impossible to ignore, which is probably why US futures are pointing to a lower open for a second straight day.

As Bloomberg reminds us, South Korea has seen its total cases soar past 200 as the number of infections doubled in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, cases in Singapore and Japan have topped 85, and let's not forget the 600+ from the 'Diamond Princess' who have been excluded from the 'Japan' total.

At least as far as deaths are concerned, the numbers outside of China remain small: out of 2,247 deaths, only 13 have occurred in other regions (this includes 2 more deaths in Iran announced just minutes ago).

But there's no getting around it: the spread of the virus will undoubtedly worsen the economic blowback, as one economist explained to BBG.

"The sudden jump in infections in other parts of Asia, notably in Japan and South Korea, has sparked renewed concerns," said Khoon Goh, Singapore-based head of Asia research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. "This points to a new phase in the outbreak, and one which will see continued disruption and more economic impact than previously thought."

Last night, we reported on the latest case numbers out of South Korea, and more have already been recorded. The current total is 204. Earlier this month, the WHO said China's approach to tackling the virus should be a "model" for other governments facing similar outbreaks. At the time, experts criticized the organization for appearing to parrot Chinese propaganda. But it looks like they might have been on to something. Because as we reported late last night, the Blue House has ordered a 'special management zones' in the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo, or what appears to be a kind of 'soft' quarantine. The government said that since they've failed to prevent an outbreak, they're pivoting decidedly to a strategy of containment.

Just a few hours ago, Chinese state media reported that 500 cases - roughly half of the new cases reported in China on Friday - involved prisoners at a handful of jails across the country, according to the Washington Post.

Infections have been confirmed at five prisons in Shandong, Hubei and Zhejiang, according to China's Ministry of Justice. A prison in eastern Shandong province showed 207 out of 2,077 inmates and staff were infected, and the provincial justice department’s Communist Party secretary was dismissed as a result, the province announced. Another jail in Zhejiang province found 34 cases. Hubei province, at the center of the outbreak, said Friday it found 220 new cases inside penitentiaries.

According to the Washington Post, the prison outbreaks underscore the virus's easy transmissibility in confined spaces.

Even the Global Times acknowledged that the prison outbreaks have "weakened" Beijing's claims that the virus is receding...

...Even as local officials adopt ever-more bizarre and draconian restrictions on individual movement.

Tests at a prison in eastern Shandong province showed 207 out of 2,077 inmates and staff were infected, and the provincial justice department’s Communist Party secretary was dismissed as a result, the province announced. Another jail in Zhejiang province found 34 cases. Hubei province, at the center of the outbreak, said Friday it found 220 new cases inside penitentiaries.

The prison outbreaks underscored the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s high transmissibility in confined spaces after the disease ravaged the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan.

While overall numbers remain low, thousands who fear they may have come into contact with a 'super-spreader' in Daegu, a city of 2.5 million about 2 hours south of Seoul. The woman, who believed she was suffering from a simple cold because she had not traveled abroad, reportedly attended four church services at a "cult-like" church with 1,100 members in the city, as well as branches in other cities, including Seoul, where the mayor has ordered the local church closed until further notice.

Communist Party leaders made yet another public misstep overnight when health officials said they would once again change their 'criteria' for what constitutes a 'confirmed' case of COVID-19 back to the more inclusive and accurate definition. Officials said they decided on the switch because they couldn't subtract already confirmed cases from the total, which sounds...almost plausible.

On CNBC Friday morning, Eunice Yoon, the network's reporter on the ground in Beijing, interviewed the owner of a Beijing restaurant discussing his fears about going out of business. But as China slouches back to work, millions are worried that Beijing might sacrifice the public welfare to get a few factories up and running.

Looks like the cat's out of the bag: North Korea has cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon, the country's largest tourism money-maker, because of COVID-19, according to the operators of several tour companies who spoke with AFP.

Beijing-based Koryo Tours, the official partner of the marathon, said on its website it had "received official confirmation today that the Pyongyang Marathon 2020 is cancelled".

"This is due to the ongoing closure of the North Korean border and COVID-19 virus situation in China and the greater region," it added.

North Korean officials have vehemently denied reports that the virus had crossed the Yalu River, evening becoming enraged at the US in response to an offer of assistance from the State Department. Recently, a WHO official said there are "no indications" that the virus has arrived in North Korea, but considering that we're talking about North Korea, that's hardly surprising.

As the lockdowns in Beijing, Tianjin and other cities intensified over the last week, more Chinese were subjected to displays like this:

On Friday, Japanese health officials and Carnival Japan will release the last batch of passengers and crew from their 14-day quarantine aboard the 'Diamond Princess' despite criticisms from the CDC that Japanese officials had failed to maintain the quarantine. Right now, infectious disease experts see Japan as one of the riskiest places outside China, according to BBG. Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Sunday that Japan had lost track of the route of some of the infection cases, which have tripled in the past week to more than 90.

Iran just confirmed 13 more cases and 2 new deaths, mostly in Qoms, the same city where some earlier cases had been detected, while also reporting that the virus has reached Tehran, according to Reuters. So far, seven Iranians have been diagnosed in Qom, four in Tehran and two in Gilan, according to a tweet from the Iranian health ministry. Iranian officials have acknowledged the possibility that the virus might have arrived in every major Iranian city.

Even in Korea, health officials say they their investigators can't figure out how some of the outbreaks started. That's not exactly reassuring.

Right now, the focus is on South Korea. Last week, it briefly shifted to the UK before moving on to Japan. Italy just reported another three cases, doubling its count from 3 to six. Will they be next? Maybe Africa?

Tyler Durden

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 06:51

Prosecutors Recommend 7-9 Year Prison Sentence For Roger Stone

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Prosecutors Recommend 7-9 Year Prison Sentence For Roger Stone

The prosecutors who successfully convicted Republican strategist and decades-old Trump pal Roger Stone on charges of witness tampering and lying to Congress are now lobbying the judge presiding over his Feb. 20 sentencing to give Stone seven to nine years in prison.

In the sentencing memo, the prosecutors make clear that they're recommending such a hefty sentence for relatively benig

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n charges because of Stone's insistence on speaking out in his defense (though he didn't testify at his trial in November). Specifically, the lawyers cited Stone's expressed "contempt" for the legal system.

Writing in the Daily Caller, former Rep. Bob Barr (no relation to the AG) defended Stone, and reminded the world that he remains silenced under a federal court gag order that prevents him from publicly saying anything about the conviction last November. The former Republican strategist and early Trump booster is awaiting sentencing for up to 20 years on Feb. 20. The sentencing has been called the last "loose end remaining from the Mueller investigation."

Barr added that it's also the last travesty of the Mueller probe.

One more thing: Stone was never charged with any real crimes. Essentially, he was charged with lying to Congress during a voluntary appearance in 2017, and another bullshit charge of witness tampering (the individual ended up testifying against him anyway).

Here's a summary of the circumstances surrounding Stone's charges from the AP:

Prosecutors alleged Stone lied to Congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host and comedian Randy Credico - who scored an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016, when he was avoiding prosecution by sheltering in the Ecuadoran embassy in London - and conservative writer and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi.

During the 2016 campaign, Stone had mentioned in interviews and public appearances that he was in contact with Assange through a trusted intermediary and hinted at inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans. But he started pressing Credico to broker a contact, and Credico testified that he told Stone to work through his own intermediary.

Earlier testimony revealed that Stone, while appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, named Credico as his intermediary to Assange and pressured Credico not to contradict him.

After Credico was contacted by Congress, he reached out to Stone, who told him he should "stonewall it" and "plead the fifth," he testified.

Credico also testified during Stone’s trial that Stone repeatedly told him to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli,’” a reference to a character in "The Godfather: Part II" who lies before Congress.

Prosecutors said Stone had also threatened Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca, saying he was "going to take that dog away from you."

In the memo, prosecutors claimed that Stone displayed "contempt for the rule of law" after his indictment. Stone was the sixth Trump associate or employee to be convicted in the probe.

Following Stone's conviction, Trump tweeted that his case exemplified “a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country."

But for everybody complaining about corrupt President Trump pardoning his disgraced allies.

Read the memo below:

Stone-Memo-USA-2020-02-10 by Zerohedge Janitor on Scribd

Tyler Durden

Mon, 02/10/2020 - 19:05


Law Crime


UK: Why Are Dangerous Jihadists Being Released Early From Prison?

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UK: Why Are Dangerous Jihadists Being Released Early From Prison?

Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute,

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to toughen sentencing guidelines for convicted terrorists after a newly-released prisoner carried out a jihadist attack in London.

On February 2, Sudesh Amman, a 20-year-old jihadist from Harrow in north-west London, sta

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bbed two people in a knife rampage on Streatham High Road before he was shot dead by police. He had been released from prison just days earlier after serving less than half of his sentence for terrorism offenses.

Amman, who was carrying a 10-inch kitchen knife, wearing a fake suicide bomber vest, and shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the Greatest"), had been under active police surveillance at the time of the attack, which London police described as an "Islamist-related terrorist incident."

In December 2018, Amman was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after pleading guilty to 13 counts of expressing support for Islamist terrorism and possessing and sharing Islamic State and al-Qaeda propaganda. He was 18 years old at the time.

Amman was arrested in May 2018 after posting Islamist propaganda online. At the time, police said that he had expressed support for the Islamic State, sent beheading videos to his girlfriend, and asked her to kill her "kuffar" (non-Muslim) parents. He also wrote about carrying out a jihadist attack:

"If you can't make a bomb because family, friends or spies are watching or suspecting you, take a knife, Molotov [cocktail], sound bombs or a car at night and attack the crusaders, police and soldiers of taghut [idolatry], or western embassies in every country you are in this planet."

In a search of Amman's computer, police found documents titled, "How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom", "U.S. Army Knife Fighting Manual Techniques" and "Bloody Brazilian Knife Fighting Techniques."

During Amman's trial, police noted that he had a "fierce interest in violence and martyrdom." Acting Commander Alexis Boon, then head of the Metropolitan police counter terrorism command, explained:

"His fascination with dying in the name of terrorism was clear in a notepad we recovered from his home. Amman had scrawled his 'life goals' in the notepad and top of the list, above family activities, was dying a martyr and going to 'Jannah' — the afterlife."

"It's not clear how Amman became radicalized, but it is apparent from his messages that it had been at least a year in development. Whatever the circumstances, this case is a reminder of the need to be vigilant to signs of radicalization and report it."

Amman's attack is the second one in the British capital in the past three months. On November 29, 2019, Usman Khan, a 28-year-old jihadist from Stoke-on-Trent, stabbed and killed two people in a knife rampage near London Bridge. Like Amman, Khan had also been released early from prison.

A day after Khan's attack, Boris Johnson announced a review into the license (parole) conditions of 74 terrorists who had been released from prison early. He also vowed to end the practice of automatically releasing serious offenders from prison before the end of their terms:

"The terrorist who attacked yesterday was sentenced 11 years ago under laws passed in 2008 which established automatic early release.

"This system has got to end. I repeat, this has got to end.... If you are convicted of a serious terrorist offense, there should be a mandatory minimum sentence of 14 years — and some should never be released.

"Further, for all terrorism and extremist offenses, the sentence announced by the judge must be the time actually served — these criminals must serve every day of their sentence, with no exceptions."

A Sentencing Bill included in the Queen's Speech in October 2019 would have changed the automatic release point from halfway to two-thirds for adult offenders serving sentences of four years or more for serious violence or sexual offenses. The bill, however, stalled due to a hung parliament, and was shelved later that month when new elections were called.

The latest attack sparked considerable anger. In an interview with Sky News, the editor of Spiked magazine, Brendan O'Neill, spoke for many when he said:

"The Streatham terror stabbing is a scandal. This man was an Islamist maniac. He was devoted to ISIS and he had planned to kill non-believers. And yet he was let out of jail after just 18 months. We've got to start taking Islamic terrorism more seriously."

Paul Stott, a terrorism researcher with the London-based Henry Jackson Society, added:

"We need an immediate moratorium on the release of terrorist prisoners, whilst the government reviews each individual case."

In an interview with the Daily Mail, an unidentified government source said that according to British law, Amman had to be released from prison early, despite the threat he posed to society:

"There had been concerns when he [Amman] was in prison but there were no powers for any authority to keep him behind bars.

"There was nothing that could be done to keep him behind bars under existing laws, hence why he was under surveillance and strict licensing conditions.

"He had served half of his sentence, which was more than three years, so he had to be released despite concerns over his conduct.

"The public will look at this case and say why was this individual not kept behind bars and the Prime Minister shares that view."

After the latest attack, Johnson promised "fundamental changes" to the system for dealing with convicted terrorists. He said that terrorists currently in prison will lose their right to automatic early release halfway through their sentences. Johnson stressed that the legal concept of automatic early release for people "who obviously continue to pose a threat to the public has come to the end of its useful life."

On February 3, Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland announced that the government would introduce emergency legislation — The Counterterrorism Bill — to end the automatic early release from prison of terror offenders:

"We cannot have the situation, as we saw tragically in yesterday's case, where an offender — a known risk to innocent members of the public — is released early by automatic process of law without any oversight by the Parole Board.

"We will, therefore, introduce emergency legislation to ensure an end to terrorist offenders getting released automatically having served half of their sentence with no check or review."

Buckland added that the changes would be retroactive and apply to jihadists currently in prison:

"We face an unprecedented situation of severe gravity and, as such, it demands that the government responds immediately and that this legislation will therefore also apply to serving prisoners.

"The earliest point at which the offenders will now be considered for release will be once they have served two-thirds of their sentence and, crucially, we will introduce a requirement that no terrorist offender will be released before the end of their full custodial term unless the Parole Board agrees."

A total of 353 convicted and suspected Islamist terrorists were released from prison between June 2012 and June 2019, according to Home Office statistics cited by the Daily Mail.

In October 2018, the Islamist firebrand preacher Anjem Choudary, described as Britain's "most dangerous extremist," was released from prison after serving only half of the five-and-a-half-year sentence he received in 2016 for pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

Prison authorities could not prevent his release: under British sentencing guidelines, prisoners — even those who are still a risk to the public — automatically become eligible for release under license (parole) after serving half their terms.

In an essay published by the Daily Mail, Philip Flower, a former chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, warned that the fight against violent Islamism in Britain was being hampered by political correctness:

"As a retired senior police officer involved in containing terrorist and other threats during a 40-year career, I want to tell you of the intense frustrations that will be felt today across British policing. They will feel utterly let down by the judicial system.

"When I was a constable, I could arrest and process a suspect in an hour, maximum. Today, it takes a day or more.

"The police are mired in bureaucracy, while the judicial system has become an institutional cloud-cuckoo land.

"As a society, we have to decide how to deal with terrorist suspects. It takes around 32 police officers to maintain around-the-clock surveillance of a single terror suspect.

"It is insane to attempt to maintain this level of supervision of the thousands of individuals known to be of interest to the security services and counter-terrorism police. It seems as though the Streatham perpetrator was being watched by armed police, yet still he managed to stab shoppers....

"If we are to release convicted terrorists from jail early, then we would have to recruit thousands and thousands more police to oversee them, which of course will never happen because there is not enough money and we would find that level of intrusion unacceptable in a free society.

"There is a wider problem of maintaining the morale of the officers charged with keeping the public safe from fanatics.

"Bluntly, how would you feel if you were told to keep track of known terrorists who have been released from prison to satisfy the politically correct assumptions of our justice system?"

Ian Acheson, a veteran prison officer who in 2015 led an independent review of Islamist extremism in British prisons, told the BBC's Today program that the UK's risk-management system is fundamentally broken:

"We are going to have to accept that we have to be much more skeptical and robust about dealing with the risk of harm.

"We may need to accept that there are certain people who are so dangerous they must be kept in prison indefinitely....

"I am still unconvinced that the prison service itself has the aptitude or the attitude to assertively manage terrorist offenders."

Tyler Durden

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 02:00


Law Crime
War Conflict


Hospital hacker spared prison after plod find almost 9,000 cardiac images at his home

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NHS working with cops and ICO to determine if patients must be told

A Stoke-on-Trent hospital administrator has avoided prison after hacking his NHS trust and helping himself to almost 9,000 heart scan images.…

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Chinese Scientist Who Created First Gene-Edited Babies Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison

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Chinese Scientist Who Created First Gene-Edited Babies Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison

A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a scientist responsible for creating the world's first genetically modified children to a three-year stretch in prison after his experiments elicited a massive backlash over what some described as a blatant abuse of bioethics, according to reports in the Chinese press that were picked up by WSJ.

The court accused Dr.

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He Jiankui of forging documents to conceal what he was doing from both the patients he recruited for the trial and the doctors who performed the work alongside him. Both Dr. He and two alleged "accomplices" pleaded guilty, according to the court.

"In order to pursue fame and profit, they deliberately violated the relevant national regulations, and crossed the bottom lines of scientific and medical ethics," the court said.

Dr. He (the son of rice farmers) graduated with a degree in physics in China before getting a doctorate from Rice University in the US. Eventually, he switched to studying biology, which led to his interest in gene-editing technology.

Dr. He

People who knew the doctor said he wanted to make history, and also ameliorate what he saw as an injustice against HIV-positive people in China, who are barred from receiving fertility treatments. It's believed that the doctor expected a reward from Beijing for helping China reach its goal of becoming a leader in genetic science.

Instead, Dr. He stunned the global scientific community last year when he revealed that he had successfully edited the genes of two twin babies from HIV+ parents. Dr. He said he had engineered the twin girls using a gene-editing technology called Crispr-Cas9 to be resistant to HIV. The girls were born of a healthy mother and an HIV+ father, which can sometimes lead to the virus being passed down to the children.

He also admitted to creating a third genetically modified baby. Chinese authorities said they will monitor all three children into adulthood.

Unfortunately for Dr. He, the accolades he had anticipated never materialized.

Instead, his revelation elicited condemnation from bioethicists and other doctors in China, including the inventors of the gene-editing technology he used. Dr. He was soon fired from his post at Southern University of Science and Technology (based in the southern city of Shenzhen).

And on Monday, he was convicted by a court in Shenzhen of illegally practicing medicine.

Bioethics contend that editing the genes of embryos is a much more sensitive area because those children will eventually grow up and risk passing on the edited genes to the next generation, creating room for unintended consequences to surface decades down the road.

In the US, gene-editing technology has mostly been applied to terminally ill patients who likely won't pass on the changes to the next generation.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 22:45


Health Medical Pharma

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Assange "Could Die In Prison" Without Urgent Medical Care, 60+ Doctors Warn

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Assange "Could Die In Prison" Without Urgent Medical Care, 60+ Doctors Warn

Authored by Julia Conley via CommonDreams.org,

Following an urgent warning from an expert at the United Nations earlier this month that Julian Assange's mistreatment in prison may amount to life-threatening torture, more than 60 doctors from around the world Monday called on officials in the United Kingdom to act immediately to ensure the WikiLeaks found

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er receives proper medical attention.

In their letter to British Home Secretary Priti Patel and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, the doctors—including physicians practicing in the U.K., Sri Lanka, the U.S., and several other countries—expressed grave concerns over Assange's deteriorating health as a result of his seven-year confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and subsequent incarceration by British authorities as he awaits possible extradition to the United States.

"We have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr. Assange could die in prison," the doctors wrote.

"The medical situation is thereby urgent."

Assange is currently serving a 50-week sentence in prison for violating his bail conditions in 2012 and is facing charges in the U.S. under the Espionage Act for exposing human rights violations and evidence of war crimes by the U.S. government. He is set to appear in court in February for an extradition hearing.

"Mr. Assange was unable to exercise his right to free and necessary expert medical assessment and treatment throughout the seven-year period," the physicians added.

While he was examined by a number of medical experts during his confinement, Assange was not permitted to go to a hospital even as he reported stiffness and inflammation in his shoulder which first appeared nearly four years ago. He has also exhibited signs of moderate to severe depression and major dental health issues.

Last month, the doctors wrote, former British ambassador Craig Murray published an eyewitness account of Assange's current state describing him as exhibiting "exactly the symptoms of a torture victim." Shortly after, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer accused the U.K. government of "outright contempt for Mr. Assange's rights and integrity."

"It is our opinion that Mr. Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health," wrote the medical experts.

"There is no time to lose."

On social media, supporters of Assange expressed alarm and anger at the government's decision to allow his health to deteriorate so significantly.

"Revealing stuff that should have been in the public domain all along should be treated as a public service, not a crime," Guardian columnist and political activist George Monbiot wrote Monday.

"But Julian Assange is rotting in jail, awaiting extradition, at the behest of a government that wants to preserve its grim secrets."

Tyler Durden

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 03:30


Social Issues


Former Baltimore Mayor Pleads Guilty To Fraud, Tax Evasion, Faces Decades In Prison

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Former Baltimore Mayor Pleads Guilty To Fraud, Tax Evasion, Faces Decades In Prison

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to federal charges in the "Healthy Holly" book scandal, reported WJZ Baltimore. 

Pugh pleaded guilty to four of the 11 charges, including wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the US, and two counts of tax evasion. The disgraced mayor faces up to 35 years in federal prison, sentencing is expected

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in late February 2020.

Maryland US Attorney Robert K. Hur told reporters on the steps of the US District Court in Baltimore that "the city of Baltimore faces many pressing issues. We need dedication and professionalism from our leaders, not fraud and corruption, if we have any hope of fixing these problems."

Pugh's attorney Steven D. Silverman said her client "sincerely apologizes to all of those that she let down, most especially the citizens of Baltimore whom she had the honor to serve in multiple capacities for decades." 

The indictment alleges Pugh used her position of power to defraud the customers of "Healthy Holly" children's book series for personal use and also to fund her mayoral campaign.

"The indictment alleges that from November 2011 until March 2019, Ms. Pugh conspired with Gary Brown to defraud purchasers of 'Healthy Holly' books to enrich themselves, promote Ms. Pugh's political career and fund her campaign for mayor," Hur said. "Mr. Brown helped Ms. Pugh solicit nonprofit organizations and foundations to buy the 'Healthy Holly' books."

The indictment said for years Pugh evaded paying taxes on the sales of the book. 

"For the tax year 2016, Ms. Pugh claimed her taxable income was a little over $31,000 and the tax due was a little over $4,000, when in fact her taxable income was over $322,000 with an income tax due of approximately over $100,000. In other words, her taxable income was more than 10 times what she reported to the IRS for that year and she owed more than 20 times more in taxes than she actually paid for that year," Hur said.

Pugh resigned in May after the FBI and IRS raided her home amid speculation, she was involved in large book sales to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from the University of Maryland Medical System and managed-care consortium KaiserPermanente. 

Fraud runs deep in Baltimore...

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:45


Law Crime


Will Julian Assange Die In Prison?

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Will Julian Assange Die In Prison?

Authored by Barbara Boland via TheAmericanConservative.com,

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is suffering significant “psychological torture” and abuse in the London prison where he is being held, and his life is now “at risk,” according to an independent UN rights expert. A senior member of his legal team believes Assange may not live until the end of the extradition process.

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Assange mumbled, stuttered, and struggled to say his own name and date of birth when he appeared in court on October 21. The Wikileaks founder is being subjected to long drawn-out “psychological torture” as he battles to prevent his extradition to the United States where he faces a slew of espionage charges, warns Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

“Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life,” Melzer said in a statement on Friday.

“His physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration,” writes former British ambassador Craig Murray, who was present at the October hearing. “When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both… his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought… Until yesterday I had always been quietly skeptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture… and skeptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that … Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.”

“One of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable,” writes Murray.

Melzer, who is not speaking on behalf of the UN, visited Belmarsh prison in May and conducted an extensive review of Assange’s physical and psychological condition. Melzer told the AFP news agency that his increased alarm is based on “new medically relevant information received from reliable sources” that indicate “Assange’s health has entered a downward spiral of progressively severe anxiety, stress and helplessness typical for persons exposed to prolonged isolation and constant arbitrariness.”

“While the precise evolution is difficult to predict with certainty, this pattern of symptoms can quickly develop into a life-threatening situation involving cardiovascular breakdown or nervous collapse,” he told AFP.

Assange is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day, and permitted 45 minutes exercise. When he has to be moved, guards clear the corridors and lock all cells to guarantee he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the exercise period.

Assange “continues to be detained under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance, not justified by his detention status,” said Melzer, who pointed out that Assange completed his prison sentence for violating his British bail terms and is “being held exclusively in relation to the pending extradition request from the United States.”

The US charges that Assange, an Australian citizen, violated the U.S. Espionage Act in 2010 when he published a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. Those leaks include the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, the Collateral Murder video, and classified U.S. State Department cables. For her role, Manning was court martialed and sentenced to 35 years in prison. After serving seven and a half years in prison, Manning had her sentence commuted by President Obama, but she has since been jailed again for her refusal to testify against Assange.

The U.S. has claimed that Wikileaks’ publications have caused the deaths of Americans serving overseas. But no evidence has ever surfaced to prove this, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2010 that such claims were “significantly overwrought.”

Nevertheless, the U.S. wants Assange because the information he published was deeply embarrassing to the government. The British courts have already signed off on an extradition order and he will remain behind bars until the hearing, which isn’t until early next year, according to The New York Times.

And curiously, even though mainstream media once heralded Assange’s publications, there is substantially less coverage of his current plight, former CIA officer Raymond McGovern told The American Conservative.

To McGovern, the timing of the U.S. decision to press charges is particularly suspect; charges were announced right after Assange published that the CIA has cyber-tools that can leave a false digital footprint. McGovern, who had visited Assange during his seven-year asylum in the the Ecuadoran embassy, has been a vocal supporter since the beginning.

“The CIA can hack into a system and make it look like the Russians did it,” said McGovern. This challenges the official narrative that Russians hacked the DNC server, exposing Hillary Clinton’s emails. “Imagine that.”

The October hearing was Assange’s first public appearance since May. Illness has prevented him from attending previous hearings.

The UK ignored earlier pleas that to protect Assange’s health and dignity, Melzer said, and his condition has progressed to the point where “his life was now at risk.”

In fact, when Melzer tried to raise the alarm in the media, The Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning HeraldThe AustralianThe Canberra Times, The TelegraphThe New York Times,The Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek all refused to publish his op-ed.

Instead of addressing Assange’s health, “what we have seen from the UK government is outright contempt for Mr. Assange’s rights and integrity,” said Melzer. “Despite the medical urgency of my appeal, and the seriousness of the alleged violations, the UK has not undertaken any measures of investigation, prevention and redress required under international law.”

Assange has lost 33 pounds during his imprisonment, according to Australian filmmaker John Pilger. He attended the hearing and has visited Assange in Belmarsh prison.

“To see him in court struggling to say his name, and his date of birth, was really very moving,” said Pilger. “When Julian did try to speak, and to say that basically he was being denied the very tools with which to prepare his case, he was denied the right to call his American lawyer. He was denied the right to have any kind of word processor or laptop. He was denied… his own notes and manuscripts.”

Assange’s “access to legal counsel and documents has been severely obstructed” undermining “his most fundamental right to prepare his defense,” charged Melzer.

The judge refused to grant Assange’s request to delay the February trial.

The lack of legal process in the hearing was “profoundly upsetting,” to watch unfold, writes Murray, because it is “a naked demonstration of the power of the state.”

“Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed,” writes Murray. “If the state can do this, then who is next?”

Tyler Durden

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 23:05

Russian 'Agent' Maria Butina Freed From Prison, Leaves US For Moscow

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Russian 'Agent' Maria Butina Freed From Prison, Leaves US For Moscow

Convicted Russian agent Maria Butina was released from a Florida prison on Friday and embarked on a 13-hour plane ride back to Russia. Butina served an 18-month sentence for conspiring to act as an unregistered agent for the Kremlin to influence US conservative gun-rights group, reported Reuters.

Butina, 31, was released early Friday from prison in Tallahassee, Florida, due to

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good behavior and a change in federal law. Her original release was expected in early November, Butina's attorney, Robert Driscoll, told Reuters.

Upon her release from jail, she was immediately detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities and taken to Miami International Airport for a 6 pm est. flight to Moscow. 

Federal prosecutors last year alleged Butina was a Russian agent who infiltrated the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Prayer Breakfast to gather intel for Russia.

The Siberia native admitted to colluding with Russian security officers and several Americans to align Washington's policy toward Moscow.

Court filings show Butina had connections with Russia's Federal Security Services. US investigators obtained detailed conversations between her and Russian intelligence officials.

Butina's case was one of the latest examples of anti-Russian hysteria. American media identified her as a Russian spy in 2018 and accused her of trading sex for political favors.

Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected the idea she was a spy. He said last April, "it's not clear what she was convicted of or what crime she committed."

"It's not clear what she was convicted of or what crime she committed," Putin said. "I think it's a prime example of 'saving face.' They arrested her and put the girl in jail. But there was nothing on her, so in order not to look totally stupid they gave her, fixed her up, with an 18-month sentence to show that she was guilty of something."

Journalist Martin Summers told RT News that Butina was "collateral damage" in the escalating anti-Russian hysteria campaign by American media. 

"Because they've got her caught up in this, they've got to think of something she's supposedly done. And she hasn't done anything that could be classed as spying. We've now got to a ridiculous situation when any Russian person who comments on Western politics is accused of being some sort of agent for their own security services," Summers said.

RT spoke with Butina's father who said the 18-month sentence has put Maria through a lot of psychological distress. The first thing she needs to do when she arrives home is rest and recover. 

"Every single day of imprisonment for any person would have been a very severe psychological trauma," he said.

"Masha is a strong person; she never lost her fortitude even though she was held in solitary confinement for months. Nevertheless, there are problems, for sure."

Before Butina was convicted last year, she told the court she was "truly sorry" for what she did and said she should've registered as a foreign agent.


Tyler Durden

Sat, 10/26/2019 - 13:30


Law Crime


Weep For Catalonia - Separatist Leaders Handed Vicious Prison Terms

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Weep For Catalonia - Separatist Leaders Handed Vicious Prison Terms

Authored by Craig Murray,

The vicious jail sentences handed down today by the fascists (I used the word with care and correctly) of the Spanish Supreme Court to the Catalan political prisoners represent a stark symbol of the nadir of liberalism within the EU.

As The BBC rep

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orts, Spain's Supreme Court has sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in an independence referendum in 2017.

The prosecution had sought up to 25 years in prison for Oriol Junqueras, the former vice-president of Catalonia and the highest-ranking pro-independence leader on trial.

Junqueras was handed the longest sentence of 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds.

Others to receive prison sentences for sedition were:

  • Dolors Bassa, former Catalan labour minister (12 years)

  • Jordi Turull, former Catalan government spokesman (12 years)

  • Raül Romeva, former Catalan external relations minister (12 years)

  • Carme Forcadell, ex-speaker of the Catalan parliament (11.5 years)

  • Joaquim Forn, former Catalan interior minister (10.5 years)

  • Josep Rull, former Catalan territorial minister (10.5 years)

  • Jordi Sànchez, activist and ex-president of the Catalan National Assembly (9 years)

  • Jordi Cuixart, president of Catalan language and culture organisation Òmnium Cultural (9 years)

The nine leaders, who had already spent months in pre-trial detention, were acquitted of a more serious charge of rebellion.

That an attempt to organise a democratic vote for the Catalan people in pursuit of the right of self determination guaranteed in the UN Charter, can lead to such lengthy imprisonment, is a plain abuse of the most basic of human rights.

I was forced to withdraw my lifelong personal support for the EU when, in response to the vicious crushing of the Catalan referendum by Francoist paramilitary forces, when the whole world saw grandmothers hit on the head and thrown down stairs as they attempted to vote, all the institutions of the EU – Council, Commission and Parliament – lined up one after the other to stress their strong support for the Madrid paramilitary action in maintaining “law and order”.

Today we see the same thing. As the Catalans are imprisoned for efforts at democracy, the EU Commission stated that it “respects the position of the Spanish judiciary” and “this is, and remains, an internal matter for Spain, which has to be dealt with in line with its constitutional order.” The Commission here is simply ignoring what is very obviously a fundamental breach of basic human rights. This is far worse than anything Poland or Hungary have done in recent years, and the Commission is also showing a quite blatant hypocrisy in its relative treatment of its Western and Eastern members.

There was a time when the EU was a shining example of economic and environmental regulation and of regional wealth redistribution. My fondness for the institution dates from it being one of our few defences from economic Thatcherism. But it has evolved into something very different, a mutual support club for neoliberal political leaders.

I do not much blog about Brexit because I am less concerned about it than the majority of the population. I neither think remaining inside is essential nor that leaving it is a political panacea. I do desperately wish to retain freedom of movement, and believe leaving the customs union would be economic self-harm on a large scale. A Norway style relationship would suit me fine, but by and large I prefer to stay out of the argument. I do believe that, as a matter of democratic legitimacy, having had the 2016 referendum the result should be respected; England should leave and Scotland and Northern Ireland remain.

But I also say this. A million people are expected to march on Saturday in support of the EU. That is the EU which has just expressed its active support for the jailing of Catalans for holding a vote. They join Julian Assange as political prisoners in the EU held for non-violent thought crime.

I say this to anyone thinking of marching on Saturday.

It is morally wrong, at this time, to show public support for the EU, unless you balance it by showing your disgust at the fascist repression of the Catalans and the EU’s support for that repression.

Every single person going on Saturday’s march has a moral obligation to balance it by sending a message to the EU Commission that their support for this repression is utterly out of order, and carrying a flag or sign on the march indicating support for the Catalan political prisoners. Otherwise you are just a smug person marching for personal self interest. Alongside the progenitors of the Iraq War, who doubtless will again dominate the platform speeches.

*  *  *

Unlike his adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, Craig's blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate. Subscriptions to keep Craig's blog going are gratefully received.

Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 02:00




Dramatic Video Shows ISIS Prison Break Under Turkish Artillery Fire In Syria

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Dramatic Video Shows ISIS Prison Break Under Turkish Artillery Fire In Syria

After President Trump days ago revealed the US military in northeast Syria had moved some of the “most dangerous” ISIS terrorists amid fears they could escape as Turkish forces invade US allied Kurdish areas, saying “We’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure,” a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) official has told reporters that at least 5 ISIS members have escaped

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after a mortar struck their prison. This comes after a separate earlier 'riot' and escape attempt incident filmed at al-Hol prison camp. 

CCTV footage released by Syrian Kurdish authorities appears to confirm this, at a moment Qamishli continues to be under severe bombardment through late Friday:

The Independent (UK) reports of the incident in Qamishli city, which is now under attack by Turkey: 

Five Isis militants have broken out of a prison in northern Syria after Turkish shelling nearby, a spokesman in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has said. The detainees escaped from a prison in Qamishli city, Marvan Qamishlo said.

The official statement from the SDF's Coordination and Military Ops Centers said that "5 ISIS detained militants fled Jirkin prison in Qamishli as a result of Turkish shelling."

Separate video released showed the moments Turkish artillery shells rained down on the prison:

Crucially, the SDF announced days ago that under Turkish attack they can no longer maintain appropriate level of security guarding their ISIS prisoners.

And though American special forces personnel are still present at a number of bases in the region (after having fallen back from border observation posts amid the Turkish operation), it doesn't appear the Pentagon has any sort of contingency plan.

The SDF are holding an estimated 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters, 8,000 local ISIS militants, and 70,000 women and children affiliated with the group in various detention centres and camps in northern Syria. — Rudaw

The SDF currently holds an estimated total 11,000 ISIS prisoners according to most international reports, not to mention families of Islamic State terrorists at al-Hol camp, the region's largest.

The White House's plan to allow Turkish forces to ensure capture and detention of all ISIS prisoners has been met with severe controversy and push back this week; however, Trump has threatened severe economic reprisals on Ankara, including "very powerful" sanctions, should Erdogan fail to maintain his prior promises and responsibilities, some of which were personally assured to Trump in a phone call last weekend. 

Tyler Durden

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 18:40


War Conflict


Holy smokes! Ex-IT admin gets two years prison for trashing Army chaplains' servers

logicfish Security holy smokes ex-it admin gets years prison trashing army chaplains servers All http://go.theregister.com   Discuss    Share
Let's hope that 'take this job and shove it' moment was worth it

A former system admin for a US Army contractor has been sentenced to two years behind bars for trashing his employer's network on his way out the door.…


"Withheld" - Access To Prison Documents About Jeffrey Epstein Fornally Denied

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"Withheld" - Access To Prison Documents About Jeffrey Epstein Fornally Denied

Via SharylAttkisson.com,

There’s a bit of news in the case of Jeffrey Epstein. He’s the convicted sex offender who somehow managed to commit suicide in a New York jail last month while he was supposed to be under close watch.

My public information request about his death -  has been formally denied.

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Shortly after Epstein died in August, I filed a Freedom of Information request for public documents about his injuries and medical care for both the day he died and earlier, in July, when he reportedly attempted suicide.  

Members of the public and press are entitled to review documents and communications generated and collected by federal agencies and officials because– we own them. However, federal agencies often delay, obstruct and resist the release of such documents.

Guidance from FOI court cases and the executive branch indicates that federal agencies are supposed to make every effort to release as much information as possible– and at least partial information if exemptions are at play.

In the case of the Epstein documents I requested, the federal Bureau of Prisons responded by stating that it is withholding all of the documents entirely.

The Bureau cites six exemptions, including that releasing the information “could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of an(y) individual.”

One of the exceptions cited by the Bureau of Prisons in withholding all information related to Jeffrey Epstein.

The Bureau of Prisons invited me to keep refiling in the future to see if the status changes.

The FBI is said to be investigating how jail authorities missed Epstein committing the act of suicide in their custody while awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges. 

The letter from the Bureau of Prisons is below:

*  *  *

Support Attkisson v. DOJ and FBI

Tyler Durden

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 21:45


Social Issues
Law Crime


"Manifestly Criminal" College-Scam Parents Must Go To Prison: DOJ

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"Manifestly Criminal" College-Scam Parents Must Go To Prison: DOJ

Wealthy parents busted for their role in the nation's largest college admissions scandal in US history must go to prison - even if it's only for a few months, according to the Justice Department. The agency rejected proposals for 'alternative punishments' filed a week before the first sentencing. 

Prosecutors asked US District Judge Indira Talwani to throw D

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esperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman behind bars for one month and order her to pay a $20,000 fine for hiring the scam's ringleader to boost the SAT score of her daughter, according to Bloomberg. Huffman will stand in front of the judge on Friday.

Home confinement for the parents “would be a penological joke conjuring images of defendants padding around impressive homes,” and community service is “too easily co-opted for its ‘PR’ value,” according to the sentencing recommendations from the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts.

For wrongdoing that is predicated on wealth and rationalized by a sense of privilege, incarceration is the only leveler: in prison everyone is treated the same, dressed the same, and intermingled regardless of affluence, position or fame,” prosecutors told the court in the memo. -Bloomberg

According to former New York federal prosecutor Brad Simon, federal prosecutors "got what they want," adding "They got an early guilty plea from a high-profile celebrity, and now they’re going to claim a big victory if she gets a sentence of one month in jail or less." Prosecutors said Huffman's conduct was "deliberate and manifestly criminal" when she paid corrupt college counselor William "Rick" Singer to help her daughter. 

Huffman's defense attorneys stated in a filing that she is "deeply remorseful" and deserves nothing more than probation and 250 hours of community service. 

Her husband, actor William H. Macy, said in a six-page letter to Talwani: "She hurt her daughters. It was the one thing she swore never to do, and she did it," adding "It’s a great lump of pain that she carries with her night and day. It’s a pain I don’t think she will ever escape."

"When one of her daughters needs to scream at her, she takes it in and makes no excuses. She only loves them back," he added, closing by saying "Every good thing in my life is because of Felicity Huffman."

In total, 34 parents were charged in the scandal, which saw parents paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their kids into elite schools, including Stanford and Yale. According to the sentencing memo, 11 of the 15 who have pleaded guilty to paying Singer in the fraud have received recommendations. While the charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the longest any of the parents wioll serve is 15 months, according to the report. Parents who acknowledge their crime or have a clean record will serve significantly less time. 

19 parents who chose not to accept plea deals were indicted on money-laundering charges and have chosen to fight in court - with some of their lawyers arguing that the US Government's case is weak. Others have argued that they wrote checks to Singer's charitable foundation in good faith. 

Singer, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to racketeering and is cooperating with prosecutors.  

As the U.S. has laid out the scheme, the Newport Beach, California, college admissions strategist took thousands of dollars from affluent clients to fix their children’s entrance exam scores. Upping the ante, the government says, he funneled through a charity he’d set up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for college athletic coaches to put the kids on recruiting rosters, assuring them of places in elite schools across the country, including the University of Southern California and Georgetown University. None of the colleges or students have been charged.

Some of the proposed punishments in the prosecutors’ memo are less severe than the plea agreements called for, while others are the same. The longest prison sentence the government is seeking for the 11 parents is 15 months, for Agustin Huneeus, who spent $300,000 on the racket, and Stephen Semprevivo, who spent $400,000, according to prosecutors. Their plea deals called for 21 to 27 months each. -Bloomberg

While prosecutors have insisted that the parents serve time in prison, the Probation and Pretrial Services office has advised against increasing sentences based on alleged financial harm or the size of the bribes. Judge Talwani will hold a public hearing on Tuesday to discuss. 

Tyler Durden

Sun, 09/08/2019 - 11:10


Law Crime


Former Prosecutor Says BoJo Could Wind Up In Prison If He Refuses Brexit Delay

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Former Prosecutor Says BoJo Could Wind Up In Prison If He Refuses Brexit Delay

After a cross-party "rebel alliance" of opposition MPs and pro-remain Tories passed a law that will require PM Boris Johnson to ask the EU27 to once again delay Article 50 - this time until Jan. 31 - unless he can bring home a new withdrawal agreement by Oct. 19, Johnson made clear that he has no intention of asking Brussels for another extension.


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n remarks earlier this week, Johnson said he would rather die than remain in the EU after Oct. 31.

But with the hysteria surrounding the UK's seemingly never-ending Brexit negotiations once again on the rise, a former director of public prosecutions has told Sky News that Boris Johnson could go to prison if he refuses to delay Brexit in the face of court action or parliament passing the law.

Lord MacDonald, who held the senior prosecutor post between 2003 and 2008, said in this case, legal action would mean a court ordering that the law should be followed.

"A refusal in the face of that would amount to contempt of court which could find that person in prison," he said.

The cross-bench peer said this was "not an extreme outcome" as it was "convention" that individuals who refuse to "purge their contempt" are sent to prison.

Then again, since the prospect of throwing a prime minister in prison doesn't really bode well for social cohesion, it's also possible that the government could authorize another figure to ask for the delay.

It's also possible that Johnson has come up with a workaround of his own.

MacDonald added that Johnson and his senior advisor Dominic Cummings might have found a way to to have to delay Brexit, saying "I expect they have some ideas that they're working on."

Meanwhile, Dominic Grieve, who was expelled from the Conservative Party for joining the rebel alliance to vote against the government, told Sky News that Johnson was acting like a "spoilt child having a tantrum," and that if he refuses to obey the law, he should be "sent to prison for contempt."

One former Supreme Court judge said if Johnson refused, the government would designate another official to handle the sign off on an extension in place of the PM.

If the prime minister still refused to comply, a judge could make an order demanding that a government official sign off the extension "in place of the prime minister".

"He's not going to be marched off to Pentonville Prison… it's much less dramatic than all that," he added.

The cross-party bill demanding a Brexit delay if no agreement is reached is expected to become law on Monday, when it's expected to pass the House of Lords.

Tyler Durden

Sun, 09/08/2019 - 08:45


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