March 30, 2008

Video's Exposing Freemasons

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The Secret Architecture Of Washington D.C. Riddles In Stone – David Bay


The Lightbringers – Juri Lina


Inside The Brotherhood (Part 1)


Inside The Brotherhood (Part 2)


Inside The Brotherhood (Part 3)


The Atlantis Connection

97 Percent Of US Death Toll Came After ‘Mission Accomplished’


Agence France-Presse
March 24, 2008

BAGHDAD (AFP) — The death toll of US soldiers in the five-year Iraq conflict has hit 4,000 in what the US military said Monday was a “tragic” loss of lives after four troops were killed in a Baghdad bombing.

The four soldiers died when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb while on patrol late Sunday in southern Baghdad, bringing the overall toll to 4,000, according to an AFP tally based on independent website.

Another soldier was wounded in the attack, a military statement said.

The chaotic and brutal conflict which is now in its sixth year has also wounded more than 29,000 American soldiers, according to icasualties.org.

At least 97 percent of the deaths occurred after US President George W. Bush announced the end of “major combat” in Iraq on May 1, 2003, as the military became caught between a raging anti-American insurgency and brutal sectarian strife unleashed since the toppling of Saddam.

140 American servicemembers died before May 1, 2003, out of a total 4,000.

Despite the losses, Bush on the eve of the war’s fifth anniversary defended his decision to invade Iraq, vowing no retreat as he promised American soldiers would triumph despite the “high cost in lives and treasure.”

US military spokesman in Baghdad, Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, said the loss of every soldier was “tragic”.

“No casualty is more or less significant than another; each soldier, marine, airman and sailor is equally precious and their loss equally tragic,” Smith told AFP.

“Being in the military means we are willingly in harm’s way to protect others in order to bring hope and a sustainable security to the Iraqi people.”

According to icasualties.org, 81.3 percent of the soldiers killed have died in attacks by Al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters, Sunni insurgent groups loyal to Saddam and radical Shiite militias.

The remainder died in non-combat related incidents.

Roadside bombs caused most of the casualties, with small arms fire the second biggest killer.

Around 40 percent of those killed were struck by roadside bombs, according to the website, making these weapons the main cause of fatalities.

Others died variously in car bombings, small arms fire, helicopter crashes, ambushes, rocket attacks and suicide bombings.

American soldiers interviewed by AFP in Iraq expressed sorrow over the casualties but insisted the conflict was justified.

“It’s sad that the number is that high. It makes you wonder if there is a different way of approaching things. Nobody likes to hear that number,” said senior Airman Preston Reeves, 26, from Birmingham, Alabama.

“Everyone of those people signed up voluntarily and its a shame that that happens, but tragedies do happen in war.”

Reeves said it was depressing that the support back home was receding.

“It’s a shame you don’t get support from your own country, when all they want you to do is leave Iraq and all these people will have died in vain,” he told AFP.

The military death toll is one of the key elements of the US 2008 presidential elections for Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who are calling for the withdrawal of troops.

The deadliest war for the US military, aside from the two world wars, has been Vietnam, with 58,000 soldiers killed between 1964 and 1973, an average of 26 a day. On average, just over two US soldiers die every day in Iraq.

The icasualties.org statistics reveal that the deadliest year for the military in Iraq was 2007 when it lost 901 troops on the back of a controversial “surge”, which saw an extra 30,000 soldiers deployed in a bid to break the stranglehold of violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis.

This figure compares with 486 deaths in 2003, the first year of the conflict, 849 in 2004, 846 in 2005 and 822 in 2006.

Since the start of 2008, 96 soldiers have died.

US military commanders in Iraq acknowledge that putting extra troops on the ground also exposed them to more attacks.

In recent months the military has begun withdrawing the surge troops as violence levels fall across the country, with US and Iraqi officials reporting a 60-percent drop in attacks since June.

Most of the attacks in the past five years have been staged in four of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

The western Sunni province of Anbar witnessed most overall casualties, with 1,282 losses since the US-led invasion, according to icasualties.org, followed by Baghdad with 1,255, Salaheddin with 376, and Diyala with 238.

In Anbar and Salaheddin the military faced a strong anti-American insurgency, while in Baghdad and Diyala it has been caught in a three-way fight involving Al-Qaeda, Sunni groups loyal to Saddam and Shiite militias.

But for the past year attacks against US troops have fallen sharply in Anbar after local Sunni Arab groups joined forces with the US military to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

According to the website, November 2004 remains the deadliest month for the US military in Iraq.

It lost 137 troops that month when it launched a massive assault to take back the Anbar city of Fallujah, then a Sunni insurgent bastion.

The US state of California has borne the brunt of American losses, with at least 426 soldiers killed in the conflict.

The US military is also searching for four of its soldiers missing in Iraq.

Two of them were captured in May last year after insurgents ambushed their patrol south of Baghdad in an attack which killed four other soldiers and their interpreter.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq in a later Internet message said it had kidnapped and killed the soldiers. The military says it is still searching for them.

Apart from deaths due to hostile fire, 145 soldiers have died due to “self-inflicted wounds,” the website said, indicating a large number of suicides.

The death toll also includes 102 female service members.

The TSA Continues Delivery Of Total Enslavement, Tells Woman To Remove Nipple Rings


Lee Rogers
Rogue Government
March 28, 2008

The terrorists in the Transportation Security Administration otherwise known as the TSA responded to news of a woman saying that security screeners humiliated her by forcing her to remove body piercings because they set off the metal detector alarm. The woman was forced to remove the piercings with pliers while low class TSA goons laughed at her. The TSA claims that there are numerous incidents of female terrorists hiding explosives in sensitive areas of the human body so that’s why the actions by the security screeners were warranted. It is funny how the TSA declines to list all of these different incidents involving female terrorists hiding explosives around their private areas. The bottom line is that the TSA’s main purpose is not to provide safety but instead to ensure that the American people are acclimated into the 21st century technological enslavement system. How does forcing people to remove body piercings keep the American people safe from terrorism? The whole thing is a joke and the TSA should be abolished and their $10 an hour employees should find their way to an unemployment line.

Here is a blurb from an Associated Press report detailing this particular incident.

A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.

"I wouldn’t wish this experience upon anyone," Mandi Hamlin said at a news conference. "My experience with TSA was a nightmare I had to endure. No one deserves to be treated this way.”

Hamlin, 37, said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin’s chest, the Dallas-area resident said. Hamlin said she told the woman she was wearing nipple piercings. The agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the jewelry, Hamlin said.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked whether she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin’s attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties. Allred is a well-known Los Angeles lawyer who often represents high-profile claims.

Applying pliers to the torso of a mannequin that had a peach-colored bra with the rings on it, Hamlin showed reporters at the news conference how she took off the second ring.

She said she heard male TSA agents snickering as she took out the ring. She was scanned again and was allowed to board even though she still was wearing a belly button ring.

Here is the original response from the TSA regarding this incident that has since been removed from their web site.

TSA is actively investigating Ms. Hamlin’s allegations to ensure procedures were followed appropriately. Our security officers are well-trained to screen individuals with body piercings in sensitive areas with dignity and respect while ensuring a high level of security.

TSA is well aware of terrorists’ interest in hiding dangerous items in sensitive areas of the body, therefore we have a duty to the American public to resolve any alarm that we discover. Incidents of female terrorists hiding explosives in sensitive areas are on the rise all over the world. This scenario must be addressed at our nation’s airports.

This message has been replaced with another statement saying that they are now going to change procedures as a result of the incident. Considering that this is the same institution that has made people remove their shoes going through metal detectors, banned liquids and adopted all sorts of ridiculous procedures, one can’t help but be pessimistic about these changes.

Apparently the TSA thinks that people wearing body piercings in private areas of their body could be hiding something and are terrorists. This is insane. There is no need for these intrusive and humiliating searches. Not to mention, there is no evidence indicating that there are all of these female terrorists hiding explosives around the areas of their private parts. If there actually is, perhaps the TSA would like to share us specific information. It seems fairly obvious that the TSA is just making this up so they can try and save face in light of another embarrassing public relations snafu. Pretty soon the TSA will force all of us to walk through metal detectors naked followed by full cavity searches. They will claim that this is designed to protect you from Al-Qaeda a so called terrorist group that doesn’t even exist as a true organization. It was founded by the U.S. government in the late 1970s as a list of Islamic freedom fighters that could be counted on to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda doesn’t even exist as a real organization. It is all a big fraud, and it would take pages upon pages of text to detail all of the different lies that the government and the media use to convince the American people that the war on terror is real. You are more likely to die in a car accident or in a swimming pool than you are from international terrorists. The war on terror is actually the war of terror and it has no basis in reality. It is just an excuse for the U.S. government to go around the world invading countries and to implement a totalitarian technological enslavement system for the American people.

We are living in a police state and this incident as well as the TSA’s ridiculous response to the incident shows us that we are living in tyranny. Protest this tyranny by limiting airline travel as much as possible so that the airlines go bankrupt. Maybe then, the airline companies will lobby to get rid of the TSA and their Gestapo police state tactics.

Jerome Corsi Denied Permission To Hear Defense Of Mexican Truck Program By Department Of Transportation


Posted: March 10, 2008
12:16 pm Eastern
WorldNetDaily

The Department of Transportation today barred WND from attending a news conference in which Secretary Mary Peters defended the controversial Bush administration program allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. roads.

Agency spokesman Duane DeBruyne, who was screening reporters at the security entrance of the federal building at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., said he did not have the authority to allow entry to WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi, who has reported extensively on the program and attended other news conferences on the subject.

DeBruyne telephoned his supervisor, DOT spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney, who declined permission without explanation, requiring WND to leave the premises.

In a phone call to the DOT public affairs office, the agency explained it was requiring "press credentials" for admittance, and no one without them was allowed to participate.

The news conference was only for "credentialed members of the media," spokesman Bill Moseley told WND. "There's a specific credential. He did not have a media credential."

And how can a reporter obtain such a credential providing permission to attend?

"I don't know," Moseley responded.

But Corsi said he was never asked to produce media credentials of any kind, noting he had a press ID card issued by WND. DeBruyne, Corsi said, immediately recognized him and apologetically explained the department would "not accept your press credentials."

Corsi paraphrased DeBruyne saying, "We know who you are, we know you're from WND, we read your stories."

"They never asked for what credentials I had," Corsi said. "They didn't want to see anything from me. That was never in question."

"It's outrageous you were turned away at the door," Teamster President James P. Hoffa told WND. "I thought we had free press in the United States. What's Secretary Peters afraid of?"

The press conference by Peters came in advance of what is expected to be a rancorous oversight hearing tomorrow scheduled by the Senate Commerce Committee on the issue.

"WND sent a New York-based reporter to Washington to cover an area within his specialization, only to be turned away by bureaucrats for not being 'credentialed,'" said Joseph Farah, WND's founder and editor.

"WorldNetDaily is credentialed by the Senate Press Gallery to cover the Capitol. WorldNetDaily is credentialed to cover the White House. WorldNetDaily is a member in good standing of the Washington Press Club. Our reporter on the scene is a Harvard Ph.D and best-selling author. WorldNetDaily is one of the largest news sources in the world, larger than any newspaper websites except the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today. If those credentials aren't good enough, I’d sure like to know which journalists were permitted in the Department of Transportation hearing."

Hoffa told WND he planned to call Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J, who is expected to chair the hearing, to protest WND being turned away.

Leslie Miller, the Teamsters communications coordinator, also was dismayed WND had been prevented from hearing the DOT press conference.

"It's an absolute outrage when the executive branch of the government tries to stifle free speech by selecting who it shares information with," Miller wrote WND in an e-mail.

"What are they afraid of? Are their arguments so weak they can only allow people they consider 'friendly' into their news conferences?" she asked.

As WND previously reported, a constitutional crisis is developing over DOT's decision to continue the Mexican demonstration project in defiance of a vote by the House and Senate that removed funding for the effort. That vote was in the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by President Bush Dec. 26.

At the press conference today, Peters announced plans to forward to Congress a letter signed by 69 companies and associations urging Congress to allow the project to continue, under the argument that Mexico could retaliate if it is discontinued.

The letter argued Mexican retaliation could jeopardize up to 49,909 U.S. jobs in 17 states.

In a statement posted on the agency's website, Peters "cautioned Congress" not to stop the program.

"Whatever their reason, this is not time to let the politics of pessimism dim the promise of prosperity for hundreds of thousands of American drivers, growers and manufacturers," she said. "We should be looking for every chance to open new markets for our drivers, to find new buyers for our products and encourage new consumers for our produce.

"Our drivers and our workers don't deserve a timeout from success and prosperity. So my message to Congress is clear. If you want to help American businesses thrive, support American agricultural success, and champion American highway safety, then keep on trucking with cross border shipping," the statement said.

Rod Nofziger, director of government affairs at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, was not impressed with Peters' statement.

"The Bush administration seems to appreciate Vladimir Putin's approach to executive branch activism," he said.

"Today's press conference was a weak attempt to shift the focus away from the safety and security deficiencies of their pilot program," Nofziger said in a e-mail. "It's sad they are turning to economic fear mongering to cover their tails."

Hoffa agreed, arguing Peters is on the losing side of the argument, both legally and in the court of public opinion.

"How many times does the Department of Transportation have to be told 'No'? The Senate has said 'No' and the House has said 'No.' President Bush signed the bill removing funding for the Mexican truck demonstration project to continue. What more does DOT need?" he said.

As WND reported, the Teamsters argued Feb. 12 in front of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that Peters broke federal laws aimed at ensuring American voters are not endangered by allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads.

In a press teleconference today, Hoffa cited as evidence of the safety hazards represented by Mexican trucks a Jan. 11 accident at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in Texas caused by a Mexican driver who made a U-turn at the border, triggering a collision and fire that killed four and left six with minor injuries.

Mexican truck drivers routinely make U-turns back into Mexico when they realize they will be stopped at the border and denied entry because they lack proper documentation to bring their cargo into the U.S.

"George Bush is a lame duck," Hoffa said. "The administration has a limited time frame to get Mexican trucks into the United States on an unlimited basis, and they don't care what they need to do to get this done."

Asked about Peter's argument that U.S. trucking companies want access to Mexico, Hoffa scoffed.

"It's ridiculous when the State Department issues regular warnings to alert U.S. citizens to the dangers of kidnappings and murder if they travel Mexico's roads," he said. "No trucker wants to drive a load of automobiles into Mexico to park them somewhere."

The arguments presented to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came in cases brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and a coalition of the Sierra Club, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Public Citizen.

"It makes no sense that while safety and security laws are continually being ratcheted up on U.S.-based drivers and companies, the DOT wants to allow their Mexico-based counterparts to get by with lower standards," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA.

His organization alleges the Mexican-based carriers are not meeting U.S. rules and regulations regarding safety. Specifically, OOIDA has challenged Department of Transportation claims that drug and alcohol testing programs, medical qualifications standards and commercial driver's license demands for truck drivers in Mexico are "equivalent" to those for U.S. drivers.

Catherine O'Mara, a paralegal from the Cullen Law Firm of Washington, D.C., previously compiled the safety inspection reports on the Mexico-based motor carriers and a summary of selected SafeStat Data.

Her work showed that in the span of one year, Sept. 21, 2006, to Sept. 21, 2007, four of the Mexican companies participating in the Bush administration's test trucking program collected more than 1,700 safety violations.

The Teamsters, who argued a separate legal challenge to the program on related issues, have taken the issue one step further, launching a campaign to encourage the firing of Peters, on whose watch the program has been developed.

March 29, 2008

Minnesota Cops, School District: OK to Use Tasers On Students


Superior Daily Telegram
February 08, 2008

(I guess calling the parents first was out of the question for police state Minnesota. They get enjoyment out of hurting children.)

Superior High School scored a dubious first last week when law enforcement officers subdued a student with a Taser stun gun.

The electronic devices have been part of the Superior Police Department’s arsenal for the past two years. Last week, Officer Jeff Darst was the first to deploy one in a school. The target was a 15-year-old boy.

Assistant Police Chief Chuck LaGesse called the Taser’s use reasonable as officers and school administrators struggled to gain control of a violent situation.

“I’m not uncomfortable with it,” school district Superintendent Jay Mitchell said. He said officers used necessary means to defuse a difficult situation.

“In this particular case, the young man involved was out of control,” Mitchell said.

The Taser, a brand name for a stun gun that can propel electrodes toward its intended subject, wasn’t fired.

“They used it as more of a stun gun to get his attention,” Mitchell said.

The teen, who stands 6 feet tall and weighs more than 300 pounds, was not injured by the incident, according to police reports.

“He appeared fine, and there was very little, if any, sign of Taser use on his right back area,” Darst wrote in his report.

An electronic control device like a Taser transmits electrical pulses that lock up skeletal muscles during the few seconds it is applied. Barbs are either shot out of the gun to hook into the suspect’s clothing or skin, or the gun is placed close to the skin causing a stun effect. The Superior Police Department’s X26 and older M26 Tasers pack 50,000 volts but only a fraction of an amp.

“Amperage is what makes electricity deadly,” LaGesse said.

The department deploys its Tasers about 20 times a year, on average, and every officer is trained to use them.

LaGesse said use of the device at a school is uncommon and generally unnecessary, but not prohibited.

According to Superior police reports, the incident started when the student began swearing at staff members and refusing to follow directions. When School Liaison Officer Tom Johnson was called to Assistant Principal Steve Olson’s office to issue the 15-year-old a citation, problems escalated. The boy tried to leave and swung at Johnson when the officer stopped him, according to reports. Johnson placed the boy up against the wall with the help of Olson and Assistant Principal Bill Punyko. By that point, Johnson wrote in his report, the boy “was totally out of control … flailing his arms and trying to either hit us and/or get away.”

The three adults brought him to the floor, but the boy continued to fight. He repeatedly kicked Johnson in the lower back and tried to bite both school officials, reports stated.

Johnson called in more officers to help prevent the boy from hurting himself or the adults. Three officers responded and Darst deployed the Taser as they struggled to apply handcuffs. The boy complied after the stun was applied.

At the point when officers entered the room, LaGesse said, they had other options to gain control — using pressure points, pepper spray or a baton.

“All of these are more likely to create injury than a Taser,” LaGesse said.

Electronic control devices are not governed by the state of Wisconsin.

“We don’t have any mandate at the moment,” said Ken Hammond, law enforcement education director for the Wisconsin Department of Justice Training and Standards Bureau.

While the bureau does offer sample policies on its Web site, he said, “Policies are a matter of home rule and local control.”

Superior’s policy on the use of nonlethal force places Tasers on the same level as pepper spray. They may be deployed to control a dangerous or violent person when other tactics have been ineffective or the officer believes other options would be either unsafe or ineffective.

“Our guidelines take into consideration: ‘What do you need to do to establish control?’ Age is really secondary,” LaGesse said.

Use of Tasers by law enforcement officers is not prohibited by Superior school district policies.

“When police take over, they do whatever they think is necessary,” Mitchell said. Crafting a policy to prevent Taser use, he said, would be like tying the hands of police officers.

“Having a person out of control, trying to deal with him and not hurt him is a difficult situation to be in,” Mitchell said.

The Duluth school district would frown on the use of Tasers in its schools, Superintendent Keith Dixon said Thursday.

“We don’t necessarily have a policy at this time,” Dixon said, “but [Duluth Police Chief] Gordon Ramsey and I have talked about it, and in our judgment Tasers are not an appropriate use in our schools. I don’t know what happened in Superior, but in our discussions we just see too many downsides and we don’t want them in our buildings. … I know he has informed his officers of that, so that is where we are at on the issue right now.”

The 15-year-old was arrested on charges of battery to a law enforcement officer, attempted battery to school officials, resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. He was then released to his mother.

Zbigniew Brzezinski Mocks Questions Concerned With Bilderberg Group Secrecy

Infowars.com


Part 1

Part 2


About a dozen members of We Are Change confronted Zbigniew Brzezinksi, former National Security Advisor under Carter, with questions about the secretive Bilderberg group, the consequences of setting up the Mujahideen and other questions which were largely ridiculed and rejected by Brzezinski as the queries of ‘conspiracy theorists.’

Luke Rudkowski previously confronted Brzezinski in an encounter that ended with him being ejected from the building for asking a pointed question.

Brzezinksi even commented sarcastically that the Bilderberg group indulges in "drinking the blood of the poor"– a comment which may illustrate the underlying disconnect between elites who wield extremely concentrated power and the effect of their policies on the remainder of the world, who largely have no power to control factors that affect them.

Brzezinski ignored the issues raised, including the pattern of false-flag provocation to start conflicts– instead taking the opportunity to belittle those who dared to ask such questions. He was obviously irritated that the sycophants did not turn out in droves for his talk at Columbia University in the same numbers that concerned members of We Are Change did.

The University ejected at least one member and deflected several other questions.

Nightmare Biometric Control Grid Not Fascist Enough For U.S. Airports


Karen De Coster
LRC Blog
March 23, 2008


Homeland Security the Militarized Police State Shock You Into Submission?"> Will Homeland Security the Militarized Police State Shock You Into Submission?


This is perhaps one of the most kooky and creepy Security State tactics that I have come across: the EMD safety bracelet, which is being billed as the "last line of defence." A company called Lamperd Firearm Training Systems (scroll down) is trying to commercialize this item as an "airline security product." The company’s video that hawks this device talks about the current facial recognition system called biometrics, where cameras capture photos of people and compare those images to the images of "terrorists" in its "terrorist" database. No matter how sophisticated this technology, it can all too often allow a terrorist on board a plane, and, this technology can also have the effect of creating airport bottlenecks. Ahem. The solution? The "viable, workable answer" is an electronic ID bracelet. This bracelet will replace the need for a ticket and contain all necessary information about the person, and as a bonus, it can allow the passenger to be tracked through the terminal. Crew members would be empowered with radio frequency transmitters to subdue "hijackers." The technology will override a person’s central nervous system and zap them down quicker than you can say "Homeland Security." The company assures us that being dragged through the bracelet process is a "small inconvenience in order to assure your safe arrival." In fact, its studies show that most people would "happily opt" for wearing the bracelet to "insure their own security."

Here’s the Lamperd video on YouTube - you must watch it. Here’s the patent for this device. The patent actually reads this:

Upon activation of the electric shock device, through receipt of an activating signal from the selectively operable remote control means, the passenger wearing that particular bracelet receives the disabling electrical shock from the electric shock device. Accordingly, the passenger becomes incapacitated for a few seconds or perhaps a few minutes, during which time the passenger can be fully subdued and handcuffed, if necessary. Depending on the type of transmission medium used to send the activating signal, other passengers may also become temporarily incapacitated, which is undesirable and unfortunate, but may be unavoidable.

Lamperd even posts a series of letters on its website showing interest in the product for use "outside of airport security," which, of course, is the real reason for the product. Why it can be used for border control to subdue illegal aliens or by local law enforcement agencies to control the "criminal element!"

Freemason Worshipful Brother Jose Diaz Teaches Students At OSU About Freemasonry In Freshman Seminar Course


From The Beacon

Worshipful Brother Jose Diaz, a Past Master of York Lodge #563
and an Associate Professor of History, is currently teaching
a freshman seminar course entitled, “From National Treasure to The Da Vinci Code: Freemasons, Fact, and Fiction” at The Ohio State University.
“I was really surprised by the number of students who wanted
to take the class,” said Diaz. “At one point, this class had the
longest waiting list of any at OSU. I will teach it again in the Spring quarter, and I already
have 10 students enrolled.” The course syllabus states that by
the end of the seminar, students will be able to:

• Understand the origins and
history of Freemasonry
• Understand Freemasonry’s role
in American popular culture
• Search and locate information
resources that are helpful in
conducting more advanced
research in Freemasonry and
other fraternal orders
• Understand arguments for and
against Freemasonry

The course will meet once a week for nine weeks. Each week
will focus on a different topic. The three main textbooks for
the course are S. Brent Morris’ The Complete Idiot’s Guide
to Freemasonry, Christopher Hodapp’s Freemasons for
Dummies, and Mark Tabbert’s American Freemasons.
Worshipful Brother Diaz will take his class on a tour of the Grand
Lodge Museum in Worthington and will conclude the 9th week
with a viewing of the Stonecutters
episode of “The Simpsons.”

March 28, 2008

Stark County Ohio Sheriff Faces Second Lawsuit Over Treatment Of Another Woman At Jail


Thursday, March 27, 2008
BY Shane Hoover

Stark County Sheriff faces second lawsuit over treatment of woman at jail

Lake Township woman says she was abused; sheriff denies wrongdoing

CANTON Another lawsuit, another denial by the Stark County sheriff, this time of allegations that a second woman was treated poorly at the jail after being deemed suicidal.

The latest charge comes from Valentina Dyshko of Lake Township, who claims jailers forced her to remove her clothes and mistreated her after an arrest two years ago, even though she wasn't suicidal. Her federal lawsuit is the second alleging the violation of Constitutional rights in the treatment of female inmates considered suicide risks.

Sheriff Tim Swanson denies any wrongdoing by his staff. Dyshko made statements that caused jail staff to take suicide precautions, and his office is ready to take this latest case to court, he said.

"We're prepared to go forward with it, as with the other one," Swanson said.

But one of the lawyers representing Dyshko and the other plaintiff said more lawsuits are on the way.

"What we're seeing is a pattern in these cases and a basic disrespect for human decency," said David B. Malik of Chesterland.

DYSHKO'S CLAIM

Dyshko speaks Ukrainian and understands very little English, according to her lawsuit, filed earlier this month in federal court.

On March 10, 2006, she went to the Stark County Jail after receiving a notice from the sheriff concerning a warrant, according to the lawsuit.

The charges, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, were related to Dyshko's home-schooling of her children. They ultimately were dismissed.

After arresting Dyshko on the warrant, sheriff's deputies told her she was suicidal, even though she wasn't, and forced her to strip, the lawsuit says. Until her release three days later, Dyshko claims she had to wear a light, poorly fitting garment that repeatedly fell off her body and was forced to shower in an open area where men saw her.

On one occasion, as Dyshko used the phone, the garment fell off, exposing her body and prompting laughs from male jail staffers, according to the lawsuit.

The sheriff's office also failed to provide a competent interpreter who could speak Ukrainian, and one employee told her "go back to Russia," the lawsuit says.

"How is this justified? It's not," Malik said. "It's excessive, unreasonable and has to stop."

The sheriff tells a different version. A jail nurse interviewed Dyshko through an interpreter who participated in the conversation via telephone, Swanson said. Something Dyshko said during the screening prompted jail staff to take the suicide precautions, which includes removing an inmate's clothing and replacing it with a loose, tear-resistant garment.

The sheriff wouldn't repeat Dyshko's exact words, citing medical privacy, but said the conversation was recorded and a second interpreter confirmed the initial interpretation.

Jailers never made Dyshko shower where she could be seen by men, and if her garment fell off, it was up to her to keep it on, Swanson said.

The sheriff also said he had no personal knowledge of one of his employees telling Dyshko to "go back to Russia."

'GRAIN OF SALT'

Dyshko is the second woman to sue the sheriff over the treatment of potentially suicidal inmates.

Hope Steffey of Salem was the first to sue, claiming that deputies assaulted her, denied her medical help and left her naked in a cell for six hours after her arrest in October 2006. A videotape of Steffey being stripped naked by male and female deputies was featured in a WKYC-Channel 3 news report in January.

The sheriff's office denies any wrongdoing and has asked the Ohio attorney general to investigate.

"I think the press is really jumping the gun and getting completely inaccurate information from the plaintiff's attorneys, and they need to take that information with a huge grain of salt," said James Climer, the lawyer representing the sheriff's office.

Climer declined further comment on either case. Swanson said both plaintiffs are making the allegations for financial gain.

NEW DETAILS

Meanwhile, new details have come out regarding Steffey's arrest.

In her lawsuit, Steffey says she was assaulted by her cousin, then mistakenly gave the deputy her deceased sister's driver's license. Instead of getting medical treatment for Steffey, the deputy slammed her into his cruiser, cracking one of her teeth, and later threw her to the ground, causing cuts and bruises, according to the lawsuit.

In his report, Deputy Richard T. Gurlea Jr. reports a different story.

Gurlea writes that he responded to a Paris Township residence Oct. 21 to investigate an alleged assault on Steffey, but she was highly intoxicated and unable to answer his questions intelligently.

From one of Steffey's relatives, the deputy learned that Steffey had been involved in an altercation with her female cousin. The cousin gave a statement saying the fight started when Steffey, who was drunk, tried to take car keys from her.

As Gurlea tried to investigate further, Steffey started screaming obscenities, the report says.

When asked to provide her driver's license, Steffey pulled out one belonging to her deceased sister and told Gurlea that it was all she had left of her sibling, the report states. Despite warnings that she would be arrested, Steffey continued to be loud and yelled profanities at Gurlea, the report says.

The deputy pushed a resistant Steffey against his cruiser, then pulled her to the ground and handcuffed her, according to the report.

A relative helped calm Steffey, and Gurlea put her in his cruiser. During the ride back to the jail, Steffey appeared to have mood swings, cursing one moment, then becoming tearful and apologetic, Gurlea wrote in his report.

Extra deputies were on hand when Gurlea arrived with Steffey, and she walked into the jail without incident. The report doesn't describe what happened inside the jail, but says prior to Gurlea's departure, jail staff informed him that Steffey's "behavior had again turned, and it was necessary to use physical restraint techniques to gain her compliance."

In her lawsuit, Steffey says when jailers asked her, "Have you thought about harming yourself?" she responded, "Now or ever?" resulting in male and female guards stripping her without giving her a chance to remove her clothes.

A jury later convicted Steffey in Alliance Municipal Court of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest; she received a suspended jail term, court records show. Steffey's lawsuit accuses deputies of charging her to cover up their own actions.

Malik said he and Steffey's other lawyer need to gather more information about her case, including depositions.

"We will be before a jury in these cases, and at that point, you'll see what the result is going to be — in favor of the plaintiffs," Malik said.

Reach Repository writer Shane Hoover at (330) 580-8338 or e-mail:
shane.hoover@cantonrep.com


Officer's Taser Used On 9 Year Old Girl


Arizona Daily Star | May 25, 2004

A veteran South Tucson police sergeant is under investigation for firing his stun gun to subdue a handcuffed 9-year-old girl. At the request of Chief Sixto Molina, the Pima County Sheriff's Department is trying to determine if the sergeant committed a crime when he sent a jolt through the child's body. The police officer used a Taser on the girl at about 5:30 p.m. May 8, Molina said. The nonlethal weapon uses a pulsating electrical charge to immobilize a person for several seconds. "I'll be the first to admit, you've got a veteran sergeant Tasing a 9-year-old girl, it doesn't look good," said Molina. The sergeant was one of at least two officers who responded to a call from the Arizona Children's Home, a school for special needs children, on South Eighth Avenue, he said. "It had to do with a runaway from the institution," the chief said. He declined to provide further details. The school could not be reached for comment late Monday. But Molina said that the facility is the source of frequent calls to his 25-person department. Molina said one officer initially responded to the call from the school. That officer requested assistance from another officer and specifically asked that the second officer bring a Taser. He said the girl was handcuffed at the time the weapon was used. The sergeant who used the hand-held Taser remains on duty. His name is not being released while the investigation is under way. "It didn't involve an integrity issue," Molina said. "The officer made a decision to do what he thought he needed to do." Deputy Dawn Barkman, a spokeswoman with the Sheriff's Department, confirmed a review of the incident is under way but said she had no further details. The results of the probe will be forwarded to the Pima County Attorney's Office. "They'll have to present it to us to see if any criminal charges are warranted," said County Attorney's Office spokesman Dan Benavides. Sgt. Dan Snyder, a South Tucson police spokesman, said the investigation could be complete by the end of the week.

Minnesota Cops, School District: OK To Use Tasers On Students


Superior Daily Telegram
February 08, 2008

Superior High School scored a dubious first last week when law enforcement officers subdued a student with a Taser stun gun.

The electronic devices have been part of the Superior Police Department’s arsenal for the past two years. Last week, Officer Jeff Darst was the first to deploy one in a school. The target was a 15-year-old boy.

Assistant Police Chief Chuck LaGesse called the Taser’s use reasonable as officers and school administrators struggled to gain control of a violent situation.

“I’m not uncomfortable with it,” school district Superintendent Jay Mitchell said. He said officers used necessary means to defuse a difficult situation.

“In this particular case, the young man involved was out of control,” Mitchell said.

The Taser, a brand name for a stun gun that can propel electrodes toward its intended subject, wasn’t fired.

“They used it as more of a stun gun to get his attention,” Mitchell said.

The teen, who stands 6 feet tall and weighs more than 300 pounds, was not injured by the incident, according to police reports.

“He appeared fine, and there was very little, if any, sign of Taser use on his right back area,” Darst wrote in his report.

An electronic control device like a Taser transmits electrical pulses that lock up skeletal muscles during the few seconds it is applied. Barbs are either shot out of the gun to hook into the suspect’s clothing or skin, or the gun is placed close to the skin causing a stun effect. The Superior Police Department’s X26 and older M26 Tasers pack 50,000 volts but only a fraction of an amp.

“Amperage is what makes electricity deadly,” LaGesse said.

The department deploys its Tasers about 20 times a year, on average, and every officer is trained to use them.

LaGesse said use of the device at a school is uncommon and generally unnecessary, but not prohibited.

According to Superior police reports, the incident started when the student began swearing at staff members and refusing to follow directions. When School Liaison Officer Tom Johnson was called to Assistant Principal Steve Olson’s office to issue the 15-year-old a citation, problems escalated. The boy tried to leave and swung at Johnson when the officer stopped him, according to reports. Johnson placed the boy up against the wall with the help of Olson and Assistant Principal Bill Punyko. By that point, Johnson wrote in his report, the boy “was totally out of control … flailing his arms and trying to either hit us and/or get away.”

The three adults brought him to the floor, but the boy continued to fight. He repeatedly kicked Johnson in the lower back and tried to bite both school officials, reports stated.

Johnson called in more officers to help prevent the boy from hurting himself or the adults. Three officers responded and Darst deployed the Taser as they struggled to apply handcuffs. The boy complied after the stun was applied.

At the point when officers entered the room, LaGesse said, they had other options to gain control — using pressure points, pepper spray or a baton.

“All of these are more likely to create injury than a Taser,” LaGesse said.

Electronic control devices are not governed by the state of Wisconsin.

“We don’t have any mandate at the moment,” said Ken Hammond, law enforcement education director for the Wisconsin Department of Justice Training and Standards Bureau.

While the bureau does offer sample policies on its Web site, he said, “Policies are a matter of home rule and local control.”

Superior’s policy on the use of nonlethal force places Tasers on the same level as pepper spray. They may be deployed to control a dangerous or violent person when other tactics have been ineffective or the officer believes other options would be either unsafe or ineffective.

“Our guidelines take into consideration: ‘What do you need to do to establish control?’ Age is really secondary,” LaGesse said.

Use of Tasers by law enforcement officers is not prohibited by Superior school district policies.

“When police take over, they do whatever they think is necessary,” Mitchell said. Crafting a policy to prevent Taser use, he said, would be like tying the hands of police officers.

“Having a person out of control, trying to deal with him and not hurt him is a difficult situation to be in,” Mitchell said.

The Duluth school district would frown on the use of Tasers in its schools, Superintendent Keith Dixon said Thursday.

“We don’t necessarily have a policy at this time,” Dixon said, “but [Duluth Police Chief] Gordon Ramsey and I have talked about it, and in our judgment Tasers are not an appropriate use in our schools. I don’t know what happened in Superior, but in our discussions we just see too many downsides and we don’t want them in our buildings. … I know he has informed his officers of that, so that is where we are at on the issue right now.”

The 15-year-old was arrested on charges of battery to a law enforcement officer, attempted battery to school officials, resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. He was then released to his mother.

Top Cop Tests Taser On Himself To Dispel Concerns About Their Safety And Dies


guardian.co.uk

Colleagues shocked at death of police chief always in frontline

· Todd had been thought of as Met contender
· Tireless leader was keen to engage with the media

Mike Todd was as comfortable on the frontline taking on Manchester's gangs as he was discussing the finer points of policing with senior strategists and politicians. The chief constable of Greater Manchester, known affectionately as Tigger during his time at Scotland Yard, is thought to have killed himself high in the Welsh mountains. Yesterday colleagues expressed their shock at his death.

Peter Fahy, chief constable of the neighbouring Cheshire force, who saw Todd last week, said: "It was a face-to-face meeting, he seemed fine. He was a big, strong character, with a very commanding presence. I thought he was a top-quality guy. He was a great leader. I am genuinely shocked."

Known as an ebullient and tireless detective, the 50-year-old, who had worked his way through the ranks in London and Nottingham, hit the headlines last year when he volunteered to be shot with a 50,000-volt Taser gun in an attempt to dispel concerns about their safety. Popular with rank and file officers, he listed his heroes as Alexander the Great and Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and George Patton.

He moved to Manchester in 2002, and soon had a picture on his desk of himself in Moss Side dressed in police body armour. Todd was also a keen walker and marathon runner, often competing alongside Hugh Orde, chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Both Orde and Todd were mentioned as possible contenders to become the UK's "top cop" when Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair stands down. Those who knew Todd said he believed a spell in a big regional force would put him in contention. However, Manchester did not prove to be the platform he had hoped for, and recently his name appeared only on the periphery of those officers who could succeed Blair.

The married father of three joined Essex police in 1976 and served as a uniformed officer and a detective. After a stint as inspector at Bethnal Green in east London he was appointed an assistant chief constable in Nottinghamshire in 1995, before becoming deputy assistant commissioner at the Met three years later. In 2000 he was promoted to assistant commissioner, and became responsible for territorial policing across all 32 London boroughs.

He led many high-profile operations and events, including policing May Day demonstrations and the Notting Hill carnival. He was also responsible for managing the Queen's jubilee celebrations and policing a string of anti-globalisation protests.

When he took over at Manchester, Todd set about turning around a force which was then one of the poorest performers in the UK. He criticised some of his officers for the way they were conducting interviews with suspects, and said the city had to accept it had a problem with gun and gang crime. His supporters say he never lost contact with the frontline, and enjoyed being out on the beat with colleagues more than being behind a desk. Shortly after taking over in Manchester he set a minimum number of hours for beat duties for every officer in the force.

In 2006 he became the vice-chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers, the politically powerful group of senior officers that helps set policy across constabularies. His interests in the body included counter-terrorism and media policy. Greater Manchester became the first area outside London to launch a dedicated counter-terrorism unit.

In his force biography, Todd described his interests as chauffeuring around his children - twin boys and a girl - mountain biking, computer games and reading. A physically imposing man, he knew how to work the press, although his most famous stunt was largely seen to have backfired. A long-standing champion of the Taser electric gun, he hoped to persuade doubters by allowing himself to be shot to show its effects. Collapsing in agony moments later he said: "And yes, it hurt like hell, and no, I wouldn't want to do it again."

However, he wanted to be noticed. That didn't always mean he was popular with all his peers - but even his detractors would concede that his death is a big loss for policing.

Career

· First class honours degree from Essex University. Joined Essex police in 1976.

· Appointed an assistant chief constable of Nottinghamshire in 1995 before becoming deputy assistant commissioner with the Metropolitan police three years later.

· In 2000, following promotion to assistant commissioner, took charge of territorial policing, covering all 32 London boroughs.

· Elected vice-president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2006 and was a member of Acpo's terrorism committee.

· Described his heroes as Alexander the Great, and Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and George Patton.

Idaho Man Tasered To Death In Las Vegas


Taser Use Questioned
Posted: March 25, 2008 07:33 PM
kpvi.com

A Nevada coroner has ruled the death of an Idaho man a homicide and now questions are being raised about why he was tasered during a traffic stop.

Nisha Gutierrez spoke with local law enforcement officials who say although officers are properly trained on the use of non-lethal weapons sometimes other factors play a role.

Dr. Ryan Rich died January 4th after a Nevada Highway Patrol officer tasered him on a freeway in Las Vegas and now an inquest into his death is underway to determine if the officer's actions were justifiable or criminal.

Lew Roberts, Las Vegas Metro Police Detective: "What we know right is obviously this individual resisted the trooper. There was a struggle. That struggle was physical in nature."

Locally, Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen says when his deputies go through a process to figure out the safest way to arrest someone.

Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, Bannock County: "The officers know that they do everything they can to try and bring that about with no force of violence or no sign of violence and then we have to go up steps. There are times you go from here to here real fast."

And even though non-lethal force like tasers and pepper spray are sometimes used there is always a chance that something unintended can happen.

Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, Bannock County: "We've had some people that have died because we handcuffed them behind their back because the pressure on their heart or their lungs was so much that we couldn't do that. These are very rare but when you're dealing with the population that we have we don't know and that's the biggest problems for the officers we don't know."

Rich officially died of a seizure disorder, now the coroner in Nevada is looking into the events surrounding his death.

Sheriff Nielsen says if you ever find yourself in this kind of situation the best thing to do is comply with officers.

Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, Bannock County: "All kinds of level of force have their problems and have their issues that could cause more serious damage that what was intended but the code says that were to use as much force as necessary."

Once a decision is reached in the inquest, a toxicology report should be released.

Rich's family says that report will prove vindication.

Randy Rich, Son Died after Being Tasered: "When that report comes out. I'm convinced and you can etch it in stone, there will be nothing that he's not supposed to already have already been taking."

Mentally Ill Man Sierra White Tasered 9 Times. Then Cops Said "A knife is considered a lethal weapon. A Taser is non-lethal,"


POSTED: 12:14 pm EDT March 26, 2008
UPDATED: 12:49 am EDT March 27, 2008
news4jax.com

Despite taking several shocks from two police officers' Taser guns, a mentally ill man got up and kept coming at them with two steak knives, police said one day after the man was shot and killed.The incident began just before 11 a.m. Tuesday when a caseworker making a daily check on 30-year-old Sierra White at his Arlington apartment met resistance and called for police assistance.With White's behavior increasingly erratic and threatening, he went back inside his apartment and officers said they thought they heard the sound of a gun being "racked," or loaded. The officers took cover but continued to try to talk to White.

The incident escalated when White withdrew two knives from his pockets -- one in each hand -- and began threatening the officers, police said.Two officers deployed their Taser guns, but repeated shocks appeared to have no effect. Police said that when White got up and threatened a police sergeant, he was shot four times."He was up, making a move in a threatening manner toward the officer when the officer used the lethal force," Graham said.White died at the scene."A knife is considered a lethal weapon. A Taser is non-lethal," Graham said. "If the defendant has a knife ... they would have been well within state law to go immediately to their firearms. That was just a conscious decision by our officers to try to do everything possible to keep from having to go to lethal force."A realistic-looking BB-gun was found in the victim's pocket, but police said they found no "true firearms" in his apartment.At a news conference on Wednesday, Graham said White had a criminal history, including burglary and an assault with a deadly weapon."He's been known to carry a knife," Graham said.An examination of the Taser gun found that one officer pulled the trigger four times and another officer fired five shocks from his Taser gun. Graham said it's possible the probes were not making contact or became dislodged.The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the state attorney's office were conducting separate investigations whether appropriate force was used in the incident.This is the eighth police-involved shooting of 2008 and the fifth person to have died in the incidents. One police officer was shot in the altercations. That officer is recovering from his injuries."We hope that we can get through our career and not have to take somebody's life, but if we have to do it, it's part of the job," Graham said.


11-Year-Old Girl Tasered At School After Man Handling Officer


POSTED: 12:00 pm EDT March 27, 2008
UPDATED: 6:25 pm EDT March 27, 2008
wftv.com
CantonTruth Remarks In ( )

An Orange County deputy said she had no choice ( She could have called for back up) but to shock an 11-year-old girl with a Taser on Thursday morning in an elementary school classroom. Deputies said it was to stop a violent temper tantrum. ( What a weak cop)

The girl at Moss Park Elementary punched the deputy in the nose so hard the deputy went to the hospital. While an 11-year-old shocked by a Taser sounds extreme to some parents, other parents told Eyewitness News the girl deserved it.Eyewitness News talked to several parents Thursday who said that Thaliamar Jimenez has caused trouble before. Most of those parents are coming down firmly on the side of the deputy.Meanwhile, the mother of the fourth grader is having a hard time understanding how another day at school turned into her daughter going to jail."The school knows pretty well that my daughter is like a 5-year-old," explained the girl's mother, Sandra Garcia.Garcia told Eyewitness News that her 11-year-old daughter has a learning disability and when she was approached by the deputy Thursday morning in class she was simply scared to death.According to the arrest report, before school Thursday morning, another student told teachers at Moss Park that Thaliamar pushed a boy into the street. When teachers tried to talk to the girl she became combative, started pushing her desk and chair and even spit at the teachers.The school resource officer, Orange County Deputy Donna Hudepohl, tried to take Thaliamar to the principal's office and that's when the child started swinging, hitting the officer in the nose. Hudepohl was transported to Florida East Hospital. She sustained severe bruising to the nasal cavity as a result of the injury."My daughter told me, 'Mommy, you know I wouldn't hit nobody! If I hit her in the nose, it was by mistake. I didn't hit her intentionally. I didn't do that!'" Garcia said."She actually spoke to the student, told her multiple times to come. Even after the student punched her, she still continued to try and make the arrest without having to taze her. And that obviously wasn't working," explained Corporal Susan Soto, Orange County Sheriff's Office.Outside the school, many of the parents Eyewitness News talked to question the use of a Taser on an 11-year-old child."I just don't know if that's necessary," one parent said.Many other parents are standing by the woman they call "their deputy.""She had it coming. She assaulted an officer. ( Yeah officers are Gods Now) You can't let that go," said parent Shanna Herrick.Those same parents Eyewitness News talked to said that, to their knowledge, it was the first time an incident like this has taken place at the school.Jimenez was transported to Florida East Hospital to have the Taser prongs removed, but she had no other injuries. She was arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, disrupting a school function as well as resisting with violence.The Orange County Sheriff's Office policy allows deputies to use Tasers when there is "active resistance" from a suspect. There is no rule against using Tasers on children, but in 2005 a Florida lawmaker tried to make it illegal for any officer to shock children with Tasers. The proposal was stalled because there is no scientific research showing what Tasers can do to kids medically.


Family Wants Answers In Taser Death



ktnv.com
Posted: March 19, 2008 06:32 PM

The investigation continues into the death of man who died after being tasered by a state trooper. Police say Ryan Rich was involved in a series of crashes on I - 15 in January. When police pulled Rich over, police say Ryan became involved in a physical altercation with Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loren Lazoff. Trooper Lazoff tasered Ryan. Medics took Ryan to the hospital where died a short time later. The coroner has ruled Ryan's death a homicide. Ryan Rich's family talked exclusively to Action News. Action News reporter Ben Deci sat down with them. For Ryan Rich's family, there are still so many questions left unanswered. "We are supposed to die before our children do. So I do not know if there is going to be such thing as closure. It is an everyday thing my wife goes through. I doubt there has been a day since this happened that she has not shed some tears," said Randy Rich, Ryan's father. Exactly what did happen will be decided in a coroners inquest. Nevada Highway Patrol says trooper Loren Lazoff used his taser when Ryan Rich engaged him in an altercation. Rich had been involved in a number of small accidents, along I-15, eventually crashing along the median. According to the coroner, the cause of his death is a seizure disorder. The manner of his death is a homicide. Rich had reportedly been struggling with seizures prior to his accident and death. The thirty-three-year old was a doctor himself, in his third year of residency at Spring Valley hospital. Ryan had plans to move back to Idaho to practice medicine once his education was completed. Stay Tuned to Action News as we watch for developments in this investigation.

Mom Mourns Son After Taser Incident


Updated: 03/21/2008 04:56 PM
By: Brad Broders
news14.com

CHARLOTTE -- There are new details in the death of a 17-year old who was Tased on Thursday by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer and later died.

Darryl Turner passed away after being involved in an altercation inside a Food Lion in northeast Charlotte. There are now multiple investigations in to the case, including one from the boy’s mother, who has already hired an attorney.


"It felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest when I found out,” said Tammy Fontenot, Turner’s mother. "I just want the truth to come out, that's what I’m concerned with -- the truth."


Police are investigating what happened when Turner was Tased during the altercation. According to a CMPD statement, an officer deployed the Taser when Turner refused verbal commands and moved toward police.


On Friday, Turner’s friends and family visited Fontenot to help her through her grief.


"They're my angels,” she said of her son’s friends. “They're sad, but it actually kind of helps me to get my mind off the thought of what happened to my son."

Turner graduated first in his class at Crossroads Charter High School. He wished to be a personal trainer.


“Anything that that young man set his mind to do, he would do it,” Fontenot said. “He just had that way about him, that … success would come to him."


Fontenot hired Charlotte attorney Ken Harris, who is conducting his own investigation to find out if there are any discrepancies with the police findings.


The officer who deployed the Taser is on administrative leave, which police said is standard procedure.


Turner will be buried at Crown Memorial Park in Pineville.

Henderson County, NC Sheriff’s Deputies Taser Stefan McMinn Repeatedly While In Handcuffs. A Taser Death Cover Up?


citizen-times.com
published March 27, 2008

HENDERSONVILLE – Two Henderson County sheriff’s deputies did nothing criminally or procedurally wrong in the death of a man repeatedly shocked with a Taser while in handcuffs, authorities said Wednesday.

District Attorney Jeff Hunt said in a statement that Stefan McMinn’s death in November did not warrant criminal charges based on a State Bureau of Investigation report.

Sheriff Rick Davis said McMinn was being combative while being booked at the Henderson County jail on charges of being drunk and disruptive and resisting arrest.

McMinn had lethal levels of alcohol and cocaine in his system, the sheriff said.

“The autopsy didn’t reveal or didn’t show the cause of death, but given the fact that there was an acute amount of cocaine and alcohol in his system, the facts and the science would eliminate the Taser as a cause,” Davis said.

The N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office would not release information on McMinn’s autopsy, saying it was not yet complete.

Hendersonville police arrested McMinn, 44, on Nov. 2 at a motel after the owner said he appeared out of control and had jumped out a second-story window. An officer said he had to wrestle McMinn to the ground before handcuffing him.

Deputies shocked McMinn a few minutes after he arrived at the jail when he tried to assault them, Davis said.

He did not specify how McMinn assaulted the deputies.

McMinn went into cardiac arrest minutes after being shocked with the Taser. He was later taken to a hospital and declared dead.

Davis said he did not know how much time elapsed between the shocks and McMinn’s death, though it is included in the lengthy SBI report.

Hunt could not be reached. SBI reports are not considered public record.

Deputies used the Taser gun to stun McMinn with localized shocks rather than firing electrodes into his body, a more potent method that causes neuromuscular incapacitation, Davis said.

The District Attorney’s Office told Davis that deputies shocked McMinn about six times this way.

“What the officers were doing was basically a very short, brief, half-second Tase contact to try to get his attention to try to get him to stop being combative,” Davis said.

McMinn had a history of alcohol, drug and criminal activity, Davis said.

He had family in the area but lived alone, Sam Angram, who owns the Caldwell Inn motel where McMinn was staying when he was arrested, said at the time.

McMinn’s cousin, Anthony McMinn, was out of town Wednesday and said he would wait to comment until he returned to Hendersonville and learned more about investigation results.


Minnesota State Patrol Says No To Gordon Backlund's Video Footage Request Concerning His Sons Death


StarTribune.com
March 25, 2008

Critical questions remain two months after driver's death.

There are two critical questions requiring timely answers when a citizen dies following the use of force by law enforcement: Was the officer's use of force necessary? And was the response proportional to the threat posed?

More than two months after the disturbing death of Mark Backlund, a young Fridley man shot with a Taser by the Minnesota State Patrol, neither his family nor the public has the information needed to weigh what happened that January evening rush hour along Interstate Hwy. 694 in New Brighton.

Backlund, 29, was on his way to the airport to pick up his parents when he crashed his vehicle into a central median barrier. A responding trooper shot him with a Taser -- a device that jolts people into submission. He later died at a nearby hospital.

Nationwide, 290 people have died after Taser use. The deaths have been attributed to underlying causes, but lingering safety concerns are generating debate about the growing number of officers using the devices.

Given that backdrop, the Minnesota State Patrol and the agency investigating the death -- the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) -- should be working as quickly and transparently as possible to reassure the public about troopers' Taser decision-making. Instead, officials have released the barest of information and not responded to Star Tribune reporter Jim Adams' open-records law requests for critical details, such as what Backlund may have done to prompt Taser use.

In the days after the death, the State Patrol would say only that Backlund was "uncooperative.'' Two weeks ago, BCA Superintendant Tim O'Malley elaborated only slightly, saying Backlund had refused requests from a trooper intended to protect drivers on a busy freeway.

Not even Backlund's family knows what happened. His father, Gordon Backlund, has asked to see video footage shot at the scene, but said this week he has been told no. "... Why would you Taze someone in the driver's seat? That's what I'd like to find out,'' Gordon Backlund said.

O'Malley has said the agency wants to err on the side of thoroughness at the expense of time; more specific findings will be released when an autopsy is complete, though additional review by the Ramsey County attorney's office could cause further delay. Backlund said he'll be patient.

Ultimately, community trust is the foundation on which law enforcement rests. The BCA has collected physical evidence, interviewed witnesses and reviewed video from the scene. Releasing information in a more timely, organized fashion would start addressing the troubling questions Backlund's death raises. And it would help the public know what to expect -- and how to behave -- when a patrol car's flashing lights appear in the rear-view mirror.

March 24, 2008

The Biometric Cataloging Of Americans At Home



Dahr Jamail
Global Research
March 13, 2008

"Avoid the hassle of airport security every time you fly."

This is the rhetoric being used to entice U.S. citizens to voluntarily provide their biometric information to the U.S. government.

The program, called "clear," is being installed at airports around the country now. For a little background on this, view a post at this website from September 2005, called Securitizing the Global Norm of Identity: Biometric Technologies in Domestic and Foreign Policy.




In Fallujah, the cataloging of human beings has been involuntary since the U.S. siege of that city in November 2004. Having retina scans, fingerprinting and bar-code IDs is mandatory there for Iraqis.

But now, in the "homeland" of the United States, you too can join the happy club of those giving their biometric data to the federal government. Just bring two forms of government issued identification to your local Clear airport or various downtown location, enroll, pay the $128 fee, wait 2-3 weeks, and then if you are accepted, step up to your nearest scanner, and try not to blink as your retina is scanned.

These kiosks are planned for airports in New York, Denver, Oakland, and many others.

So, no need to be intimidated by the government’s desire to use biometric data to catalog U.S. citizens, (or Iraqis for that matter), as you can rest more peacefully knowing you are now more secure.

You can learn more about this safe, fast, and helpful way to get through airport security in four minutes or less, here.

NSA Shifts To E-mail, Web, Data-mining Dragnet


Declan McCullagh
CNet News
March 13, 2008

The National Security Agency was once known for its skill in eavesdropping on the world's telephone calls through radio dishes in out-of-the-way places like England's Menwith Hill, Australia's Pine Gap, and Washington state's Yakima Training Center.

Today those massive installations, which listened in on phone conversations beamed over microwave links, are becoming something akin to relics of the Cold War. As more communications traffic travels through fiber links, and as e-mail and text messaging supplant phone calls, the spy agency that once intercepted telegrams is adapting yet again.

Recent evidence suggests that the NSA has been focusing on widespread monitoring of e-mail messages and text messages, recording of Web browsing, and other forms of electronic data-mining, all done without court supervision. Taken together, those activities raise unique privacy and oversight concerns greater than those posed by large-scale monitoring of voice communications.

Documents released last week by a security consultant (PDF) indicate that an unnamed major wireless provider has opened its network to the U.S. government, allowing customers' e-mail, text messaging, and Web use to be monitored. And Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth Wainstein said last week that surveillance of e-mail was the real concern raised by the debate over amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

That led some high-ranking House Democrats, including Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, to circulate a letter (PDF) advising their colleagues to look skeptically at a Republican proposal that would grant retroactive immunity to companies that illegally let the Feds plug into their networks. The Republicans' blanket of retroactive immunity would likely cover e-mail providers, search engines, Internet service providers, and instant-messaging services too.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published an article saying that the NSA can, "without a judicial warrant," obtain the Subject line and other header information from e-mail messages, plus information about Web sites visited and queries to search engines. Phone records, credit card usage information, and airline passenger data are also reportedly vacuumed up by the NSA.

"According to current and former intelligence officials, the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records. The NSA receives this so-called 'transactional' data from other agencies or private companies, and its sophisticated software programs analyze the various transactions for suspicious patterns," the article said.

For its part, the NSA says that it abides by U.S. law. Last week, Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence, blamed critical reports on the NSA's culture of "stand-offishness" and said "we've lost something we never knew we needed until we didn't have it--the support of a grateful nation. The question we have to ask now, and this is something everyone here should help think about, is how do we get it back?"

If the reports are correct, what this transactional-data-dragnet amounts to is a rebuilding of the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness program, which promised to do extensive warrantless data-mining to identify "information signatures" that could identify criminals. After a public outcry, the department renamed it Terrorism Information Awareness; Congress zeroed funding for it in September 2003.

But that law referred only to "the program known either as Terrorism Information Awareness or Total Information Awareness, or any successor program"--leaving the door open, given sufficiently clever lawyering, to a similar program that wasn't quite close enough to be called a "successor" to TIA.

Elements of this data dragnet have been disclosed before. USA Today reported two years ago on how the NSA has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth; the latter two have narrowly denied it. Qwest reportedly was approached but rejected the request.

A survey CNET News.com published in February 2006 asked the major telecommunications and Internet companies this question: "Have you turned over information or opened up your networks to the NSA without being compelled by law?" AT&T, Adelphia, Google, Level 3, Verizon, and Yahoo would not answer the question; the rest said they had not.

A subsequent article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker said the NSA had returned to "intercepting large numbers of electronic communications made by Americans"--the same kind of legally dubious tactic that led to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act being enacted in 1978.

FISA reinforced the notion that the NSA could conduct widespread surveillance of foreigners, but specified that a court order (or authorization from the attorney general) was needed to spy on American citizens. That means the world's largest intelligence agency is, legally speaking, on very shaky ground when operating its e-mail/text-messaging/Web-site-visiting/search-term dragnet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl posted a stinging critique of the data-dragnet's legality. Here are some excerpts from what Opsahl wrote, referring to the Journal article:

The infobox incorrectly asserts that the subject lines of email are not "content," and can be obtained without a warrant... But this is contradicted by the Department of Justice's own 2002 Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations manual, which states that "the subject headers of e-mails are also contents."

The infobox incorrectly asserts that the NSA can review "[s]ites visited and searches conducted" without a warrant. "According to current and former intelligence officials, the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of ... Internet searches." "The [NSA's] haul can include ... records of Internet browsing." To the contrary, courts have held that search terms are "content" within the meaning of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The infobox asserts that the NSA can get cellphone location data without a warrant. "The information [obtained by the NSA] can give such transactional information as a cellphone's location..." The issue of obtaining cell phone location information has been contentious for some time, but the vast weight of judicial interpretation is that a probable cause warrant is required.

If you get the feeling that a lot of this depends on a set of legal definitions that the NSA would like to keep as fuzzy and ambiguous as possible, you're probably right.

One thing the recent disclosures are likely to do is put the Bush administration on the defensive, which will happen just as Congress is preparing to vote on extending retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. It has looked likely to pass if the House Democratic leadership had held an up-or-down vote; the Senate already approved its version by a 68-29 margin.

Add in FBI Director Robert Mueller's acknowledgment last week of additional surveillance abuses, and his admission that retroactive immunity may not be all that necessary, and retroactive immunity looks a lot less compelling a prospect than it did a week ago. Then again, the NSA didn't need it to create an electronic dragnet in the first place.