US Marines Seriously Injure Brazilian Prostitute Romilda Ferreira by Throwing Her from Moving Embassy Van
American Marines seriously injured a Brazilian prostitute when they threw her out of a moving US Embassy vehicle in the South American nation’s capital.
MailOnline reports that Romilda Ferreira suffered a broken collar bone, two broken ribs and a punctured lung as a result of the incident, which happened last November in the capital city of Brasilía.
Three US Marines assigned to a US Embassy security team, as well as an embassy staff member, were all whisked out of the country before Brazilian authorities were able to press charges against them.
The incident came to light when US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta traveled to Brazil and was questioned by a local reporter during a press conference.
Brazilian police claim that the three Marines and the embassy staffer visited a nightclub in central Brasilía frequented by prostitutes. One of the Americans and at least one prostitute left the club in a taxi; Ferreira and another woman got into the embassy van with the three other men.
A disagreement allegedly ensued about how much the women would be payed; at that point a Marine pushed Ferreira out of the moving van. She tried to hold on to the door but ended up getting dragged under the van’s wheels.
“I tried to get up and grabbed the doorknob,” Ferreira, who is 31 years old, told Jornal Nacional. “That was when they told the driver to go. Then I felt my leg burning. I let go and fell underneath the van. I hit my head and passed out.”
The Americans allegedly fled the scene without offering their victim any help.
Police requested the arrest of the van’s driver as well as one of the Marines, but US officials quickly moved to remove them from Brazil before they could be charged in connection with the incident.
Secretary Panetta told reporters that two of the Marines were punished with rank reductions, while the embassy staffer was removed from his post. Panetta also said that the embassy had paid for Ferreira’s medical expenses.
“This incident was fully investigated and all those involved were punished. They are no longer in this country. This type of behavior is unacceptable,” Panetta told reporters. He added that the US has “no tolerance for that kind of conduct. Where it takes place you can be sure that we will act to make sure that they are punished.”
Ferreira is still recovering from her injuries and says she intends to sue the US Embassy.
This latest revelation of Americans behaving badly comes hot on the heels of a major scandal in which a dozen Secret Service agents allegedly hired prostitutes in Cartagena just before President Barack Obama arrived in the country to attend the Summit of the Americas.
For a TV Globo (Brazil, in Portuguese) report on the Romilda Ferreira scandal, click here.
‘Douches du Jour’: Israel Knesset Members Michael Ben-Ari & Aryeh Eldad Pose for Photo on Illegally Evicted Palestinian Family’s Sofa
Two far-right Israeli parliamentarians have added insult to injury by posing for a photo on the sofa of a Palestinian family evicted from their East Jerusalem home in order to make way for illegal Jewish settlers.
Haaretz reports that the Natsheh family, who say they have owned the confiscated land since the 1940s, was evicted from their property in the Arab Beit Hanina neighborhood after a court ruled that it had been purchased by Jews in the 1970s. Khaled Natsheh argued that the papers showing this purchase had been forged, but Judge Yitzhak Shimoni of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, who plans to seek a building permit for a Jewish settlement on the occupied Palestinian land.
According to Mondoweiss, Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad, two ultra-conservative members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, celebrated the Natsheh family eviction by posing for a photo of themselves lounging happily on what used to be their sofa. They then posted the offensive photo on Facebook. Their callous celebration of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is chillingly reminiscent of old black-and-white photos of Nazis posing in confiscated Jewish homes.
“We are at the start of the establishment of a new Jewish neighborhood in the area, which will create a continuous sequence of Jewish neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem,” Ben-Ari told the Israel National News as he and Eldad attached mezuzahs (symbolic Jewish prayer markers) to confiscated home. Ben-Ari then referred to the Natsheh family as “Arab squatters.”
This frank admission of what can only be described as intentions of further ethnic cleansing is very telling; the ultimate goal of Zionists like Ben-Ari and Eldad is the complete Judaization of the occupied territories.
Mondoweiss reports that far-right Knesset members want to Judaize Beit Hanina, despite the fact that the East Jerusalem neighborhood has never had any Jewish residents. Then again, much of what is today Israel had no Jewish residents since the Bronze Age before the Zionists establishing the Jewish state forced more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes and destroyed hundreds of their villages beginning in the 1940s. An additional 200,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes following a 1967 war, in which Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Ben-Ari has announced that Israeli settlers will build 50 new Jewish housing units on the confiscated Natsheh property. He and Eldad are both members of the conservative Ichud Leumi (National Union) party. Mondoweiss reports that Ben-Ari once belonged to the outlawed Kach party, whose members have carried out brutal attacks against Arabs including the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in which 29 Muslim worshippers were slain and another 125 wounded. Kach is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union and Canada.
In other related news, the Israeli government retroactively legalized three illegal Jewish settler outposts in the occupied West Bank and moved to delay the evacuation of a fourth illegal settlement. US State Department Victoria Nuland expressed Washington’s “concern” over the move.
“We don’t think this is helpful to the process and we don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity,” she said.
But the Obama administration will do nothing to stop Israel from its continued illegal settlement expansion. US military aid to Israel, which averages around $3 billion each year, will continue unabated.
When I first saw this Comcast XFINITY Streampix commercial, I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Even more incredible is that there has been absolutely zero coverage of the ad, which clearly pokes fun at the decidedly no-fun epidemic of police brutality that has swept the nation.
The ad, which is for Comcast’s bundled cable TV/internet/home phone service now called XFINITY, is set to the Everly Brothers’ 1958 number one hit “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” Various Comcast customers are seen happily singing an altered version of the song, replacing the word “dream” with “stream” as they go about their daily business.
In one part of the ad, a police officer is seen arriving at a station with a handcuffed suspect. As both of them sing the catchy corporate ditty, the cop proceeds to slam the suspect’s head hard on a desk with an audible thump. The suspect smiles and keeps singing despite his rough treatment.
This ad is reprehensible, especially in the context of the nationwide epidemic of police brutality. From hospitalizing Occupy Wall Street protesters to killing the homeless to alleged sexual assaults against women at the US-Canadian border– to even shooting family pets and pulling guns on innocent pregnant women, recent headlines have been full of horrific stories of cops behaving badly. Comcast should have known better than to make light of such brutality.
Moral Low Ground attempted to reach a Comcast corporate representative, but due to the late hour was unable to. We’ll try again tomorrow…
A Florida man hunting wild hogs with his girlfriend mistook her for one of the animals and shot her in the legs.
ABC News reports that 52-year-old Steven Egan was with his girlfriend Lisa Simmons at Coward Hunt Camp in Flagler on Saturday night when he spotted a hog. He shot at the animal and then left Simmons behind to go track it down. When he heard a noise in the woods, he fired his rifle again, believing it was the hog.
But it wasn’t. Simmons had left her tent to collect loose oranges that had fallen from trees on the camp property. Instead of shooting a hog, Egan hit his girlfriend in both legs with the powerful .30 caliber round.
“He saw a hog and thought he shot it and went to look for it,” Maj. Steve Clair with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News “He heard her and thought it was a hog and just shot.”
Simmons was airlifted to the Halifax Health Medical Center for surgery and is listed in serious condition.
No charges will be filed against Egan.
“He was very sympathetic that he’d shot his girlfriend,” Clair told ABC News. ” It was an accident. I think it was just a violation of one of the cardinal rules of hunting which is you never shoot what you don’t see.”
“That’s Justice for Trayvon”: Black Alabama Mob Brutally Beats White Victim Matthew Owens over Basketball
A white Alabama man was set upon and brutally assaulted by a black mob, one of whom allegedly referred to the attack as “justice” for Trayvon Martin.
According to WKRG, 40-year-old Matthew Owens of Mobile was attacked around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night on his property after he told a group of children to stop playing basketball in the middle of his street.
After the children left, a group of as many as 20 black men armed with baseball bats, chairs, pipes and paint cans attacked Owens in his front yard. He was beaten so badly that he had to be rushed to an intensive care unit, where he was listed in critical condition.
Ashley Parker, the victim’s sister, told WKRG that she heard one of the assailants say, “Now, that’s justice for Trayvon.”
If he said that, he was referring to Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old black Florida teen who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a mixed-race (white and Hispanic) neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the case; his family and many blacks believe that Trayvon was targeted because of his race.
There is some doubt as to whether Owen’s attackers referenced Trayvon Martin, since Parker is the only one to have reported such remarks.
“We have not been able to find any other witness that can back that statement up,” Ashley Rains, public information officer for the Mobile Police Department, told WKRG.
The attack is not being investigated as a hate crime.
“It’s being investigated as an assault,” Eugene A. Seidel, first assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, told Fox News.
Owens is currently hospitalized in serious condition at the University of South Alabama Medical Center. He regained consciousness early Tuesday, more than two-and-a-half days after his beating.
A measure that would end capital punishment in California has qualified for this November’s ballot.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the measure, if passed, would make California the 18th state in the nation without a death penalty. In the past five years, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, New York and Connecticut have all abolished capital punishment.
November’s ballot measure would commute the death sentences of the more than 700 death row inmates to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The vast majority of death row inmates would be incarcerated among general prison populations, where they would have to work and pay their earnings as restitution to their victims.
The abolition measure has the support of not only Democrats and progressives, but many Republicans as well. Among them are Ron Briggs, who was instrumental in passing Proposition 7, which reinstated the death penalty in California in 1978, and Donald J. Heller, who wrote the 1978 measure. Both men say that doing so was among the biggest mistakes of their lives.
Other conservative death penalty opponents include Jeanne Woodford, a former warden at San Quentin State Prison who oversaw four executions, and former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, whose experiences in that office opened his eyes to the injustice inherent in the capital punishment system.
Former California Chief Justice Ronald M. George and current Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, both Republicans, have also publicly expressed that the state’s capital punishment system is broken.
Californians have historically been very strong supporters of capital punishment. Since 2000, support for executions has hovered around 70% in the state. But even if Californians have few moral objections to state-sanctioned homicide against convicted murderers, fiscal objections may just push enough voters to cast “yes” votes on abolition.
The results of a three-year study by a judge and a law professor found that California’s death penalty costs $183 million more than life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The state’s 13 executions since reinstatement have cost taxpayers a whopping $4 billion. That’s a staggering $308 million per execution.
Add in the fact that California death row inmates are more likely to die of old age than from being executed, and the fact that a federal judge has expressed the possibility that condemned inmates may suffer excruciating pain as a result of the three-drug lethal injection process, and there are even more reasons why voters may want to consider voting in favor of repeal.
Opposition to capital punishment in the United States is often based on the grounds that it is applied disproportionately to the poor and minorities, that legal representation provided to these defendants is often as poor as they are, that the majority of convictions are so flawed that they are overturned, that the system tragically kills innocent people but its appeals process rejects even the strongest proof of a condemned man’s innocence, and that executions have been marred by horrific errors.
The argument that executions deter others from committing crimes is also morally and statistically bankrupt.
Capital punishment has been abolished by every country in the Western world except the United States. The countries which executed the most people in 2010 were: China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Syria.
North Carolina Judge Greg Weeks Throws Out Marcus Robinson Death Sentence Under State’s Racial Justice Act
A North Carolina judge has commuted the death sentence of a condemned killer under a landmark law allowing death row inmates to challenge their execution rulings if race was a significant factor.
The Associated Press reports that Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks commuted the death sentence of Marcus Robinson to life imprisonment without parole under the state’s Racial Justice Act, enacted in 2009, which allows death row inmates to challenge their death sentence if race played a important role in “decisions to seek or impose the sentence of death in the county, the prosecutorial district, the judicial division, or the State at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed.”
Weeks became the first judge to apply the law, finding racial discrimination in the state’s jury selection process both in Robinson’s and most other death penalty cases with black defendants.
Weeks declared that race played a “persistent, pervasive and distorting role” in jury selection and that “prosecutors have intentionally discriminated” against Robinson and other defendants.
“Race was a materially, practically and statistically significant factor in the decision to exercise preemptory challenges during jury selection,” Judge Weeks told a packed Fayetteville courtroom after two months of deliberation.
“This case is important because it provides an opportunity for all of us to recognize that race far too often has been a significant factor in jury selection in capital cases,” James Ferguson, Robinson’s defense attorney, told the AP.
Robinson relied heavily on a Michigan State University study that analyzed data from 173 different death penalty cases. The study found that nonwhite potential jurors were twice as likely to be stricken than whites in North Carolina. The odds of this occurring in a race-neutral environment is one in 10,000,000, a statistic Judge Weeks called “staggering.”
Weeks ruled that race was a significant factor in the prosecution’s decision to strike potential black jurors before Robinson’s murder trial. Robinson and co-defendant Roderick Williams, Jr. were convicted of killing white teenager Erik Tornblom, who was 17, in 1991.
The jury that found Robinson guilty was comprised of nine whites, two blacks and one Native American.
Robinson’s is the first of more than 150 additional cases which are expected to get evidentiary hearings before a judge. Prosecutors have announced their intention to challenge Judge Week’s ruling in the Robinson case.
Republicans in the state legislature unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the Racial Justice Act earlier this year; Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed their bill.
Judge Weeks said he hopes that North Carolina’s unique law– only Kentucky has a similar measure on the books– would go a long way to healing a centuries-old legacy of racial injustice.
“It is the hope of this Court,” he said, “that we now are at the beginning of the end of the struggle to end racial discrimination in our justice system.”
Mexican immigration to the United States has slowed dramatically and may be on the brink of an historic reversal in which more Mexicans may be returning home than coming here.
According to a new Pew Hispanic Center report, analysis of both US and Mexican government data shows that “the largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill.”
“After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed,” the report says.
“The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.”
Among the report’s key conclusions:
- In the five-year period from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States and about 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from the United States to Mexico.
- In the five-year period a decade earlier (1995 to 2000), about 3 million Mexicans had immigrated to the U.S. and fewer than 700,000 Mexicans and their U.S. born-children had moved from the U.S. to Mexico.
- This sharp downward trend in net migration has led to the first significant decrease in at least two decades in the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.—to 6.1 million in 2011, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007. Over the same period the number of authorized Mexican immigrants rose modestly, from 5.6 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2011.
- Mexicans now comprise about 58% of the unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. They also account for 30% of all U.S. immigrants. The next largest country of origin for U.S. immigrants, China, accounts for just 5% of the nation’s stock of nearly 40 million immigrants.
- Apprehensions of Mexicans trying to cross the border illegally have plummeted by more than 70% in recent years, from more than 1 million in 2005 to 286,000 in 2011—a likely indication that fewer unauthorized immigrants are trying to cross. This decline has occurred at a time when funding in the U.S. for border enforcement—including more agents and more fencing—has risen sharply.
- As apprehensions at the border have declined, deportations of unauthorized Mexican immigrants—some of them picked up at work or after being arrested for other criminal violations—have risen to record levels. In 2010, nearly 400,000 unauthorized immigrants—73% of them Mexicans—were deported by U.S. authorities.
- Although most unauthorized Mexican immigrants sent home by U.S. authorities say they plan to try to return, a growing share say they will not try to come back to the U.S. According to a survey by Mexican authorities of repatriated immigrants, 20% of labor migrants in 2010 said they would not return, compared with just 7% in 2005.
- Looking back over the entire span of U.S. history, no country has ever sent as many immigrants to this country as Mexico has in the past four decades. However, when measured not in absolute numbers but as a share of the immigrant population at the time, immigration waves from Germany and Ireland in the late 19th century equaled or exceeded the modern wave from Mexico.
To read the entire Pew report, click here.
PETA Releases Whistleblower Video Showing Coast Guard Contractors Cutting Legs off Live Goat for Combat Medical Training
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES OF ANIMAL MUTILATION
The animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has released a disturbing whistleblower video showing Coast Guard contractors cutting the legs off a live goat during combat medical training in Virginia.
PETA reports that the undercover video was shot during a training course for Coast Guard personnel taught by private contractor Tier 1 Group. The shocking video shows instructors breaking and severing the limbs of a live goat with tree trimmers. It also shows them stabbing an animal and removing its organs while the goat moans and kicks, proof that it was not adequately anesthetized and was probably feeling pain.
One instructor appears downright happy as he chops up the goat; Coast Guard personnel are heard joking about writing a song about mutilating the animal.
The whistleblower who shot the undercover video told PETA that the goats were later shot in the face and then hacked to pieces with axes while still alive.
The Coast Guard responded to the PETA video by claiming the use of live animals in combat medical training is necessary and saves lives.
“Effective combat trauma training and treatment results in lowering the fatality rate of US troops deployed in combat situations,” Lt. Cmdr. Jamie C. Frederick told Fox News.
“Animals used in trauma training are supported and monitored by well-trained, experienced veterinary staff to ensure that appropriate anesthesia and analgesia prevent them from experiencing pain or distress,” he added.
But the video would suggest otherwise, and when one goat writhes and makes noises, someone is heard calling for additional anesthesia.
Animal rights advocates and even some military doctors argue that mutilating live animals is cruel and unnecessary.
“Learning how to apply a tourniquet on a severed goat’s leg does not help prepare medical providers to treat an anatomically different human being wounded on the battlefield,” Dr. Michael P. Murphy, an associate professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine and a lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserves told Fox News.
This shocking cruelty is nothing new.
“Each year, the US military and its contractors shoot, stab, mutilate and kill more than 10,000 live animals in crude and cruel trauma training exercises that are nothing like real battlefield conditions and that don’t help soldiers save lives,” PETA claims. The group has asked the US Department of Agriculture to investigate “apparent serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act.”
“You’re torturing animals when you don’t have to,” Filner told Fox News.
Indeed, PETA asserts that “there are high-tech, humanlike simulators available specifically for military training that can breathe, bleed, cry, talk, and respond to medications. These human-based methods are obviously more humane and effective than cutting apart, blowing up, shooting, and killing thousands of animals every year.”
Baltimore Jewish Neighborhood Watch Brothers on Trial for Beating Black Teenager; Trayvon Martin Case Looms Large
Two Baltimore brothers belonging to a Jewish neighborhood watch program are on trial for the 2010 beating of a black teenager, drawing comparisons to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case in Florida.
According to the Associated Press, Eliyahu and Avi Werdesheim, both white and Jewish, are accused of brutally beating a black 15-year-old boy as he walked through an Orthodox Jewish Baltimore neighborhood in November, 2010. Eliyahu was a member of Shomrim, which is Hebrew for “guard,” a volunteer neighborhood watch group of about 30 unarmed monitors who keep an eye on Jewish areas of the city.
According to court documents, the Werdesheim brothers pulled up next to the teen in a vehicle, got out and attacked him. The boy was thrown to the ground and hit in the head with a hand-held radio.
According to the victim, the driver of the car yelled, “You wanna mess with us, you don’t belong around here, get outta here!”
A third man then exited the vehicle and kneed the boy, pinning him to the ground. He was searched; the boy insists that he was unarmed but the Werdesheims claim to have been acting in self-defense because the teen was wielding a nail-studded board at some point during the encounter.
J. Wyndal Gordon, an attorney for the boy’s family, said that the victim did indeed pick up the piece of wood but put it back down.
As a result of his encounter with the neighborhood watch, the victim’s wrist was broken and he suffered from a cut to the head.
The Werdesheim brothers are charged with second-degree assault, false imprisonment and carrying a deadly weapon– the hand-held radio. If convicted on all three counts, they could spend as many as 13 years behind bars.
The case has drawn inevitable comparisons with the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case in Florida, in which neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman (who also happens to be Jewish) fatally shot black teen Trayvon Martin while patrolling a gated community in Sanford. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense; Martin’s family says Trayvon was targeted because he was black. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder.
How much the Trayvon Martin case will influence the Baltimore trial is unknown. In a city where nearly two-thirds of the population is black, chances are the jury will also be mainly black and the challenge for the Werdesheim brothers’ defense will be to downplay the race factor and establish that brute force was indeed necessary to stop the victim from committing some unknown crime.