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Another victim of the drug war .
Mar 31st, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Another victim of the drug war. ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE DRUG WAR and its lying informants. A paid career criminal has more credence than an honest man with some people, just because he’s an “anti-drug warrior” and a pal of the cops. Who’ll pay for this death? Who’ll pay for all the rest of the deaths and imprisonments?
[Wolfesblog]

From the article:

bq. What happened to Chuck Plinton was a massive injustice that the University of Akron is just now trying to resolve, six months after his death.

Luis M. Prozenza, president of the university, in a statement issued yesterday said he is “calling for a thorough assessment of university regulations governing the student disciplinary process.”

A year earlier, a “thorough assessment” may have saved Chuck Plinton’s life.

Instead, the university took the word of a paid informant in one of the shakiest minor drug cases that ever came before a jury. They suspended him, took away the tuition waiver and stipend he was living on and he was banned from the dorms for life.

[…]

“We hold ourselves to the highest standards of fairness,” Prozenza said in his statement yesterday.

If Prozenza is telling the truth we can expect to read a follow-up story about how he killed himself to atone for what had been done to Chuck Plinton. I won’t be holding my breath.

iJacking .
Mar 31st, 2006 by Ken Hagler

iJacking. The San Francisco Bay Guardian is reporting on a new crime: people who grab laptops out of their owners’ hands and then run away. It’s called “iJacking,” and there seems to be a wave of this type of crime at Internet cafes in San Francisco:

bq. In 2004 the SFPD Robbery Division recorded 17 strong-arm laptop robberies citywide. This increased to 30 cases in 2005, a total that doesn’t even include thefts that fall under the category of “burglary,” when a victim isn’t present. (SFPD could not provide statistics on the number of laptop burglaries.)

In the past three months alone, Park Station, the police precinct that includes the Western Addition, has reported 11 strong-arm laptop robberies, a statistic that suggests this one district may exceed last year’s citywide total by the end of 2006.

Some stories:

bq. Maloney was absorbed in his work when suddenly a hooded person yanked the laptop from Maloney’s hands and ran out the door. Maloney tried to grab his computer, but he stumbled across a few chairs and landed on the floor as the perpetrator dashed to a vehicle waiting a quarter block away.

[…]

Two weeks before Maloney’s robbery, on a Sunday afternoon, a man had been followed out of the Starbucks on the corner of Fulton Street and Masonic Avenue and was assaulted by two suspects in broad daylight. According to the police report, the suspects dragged the victim 15 feet along the pavement, kicking him in the face before stealing his computer.

In early February a women had her laptop snatched while sitting in Ali’s Caf

Armor? We don’t need no stinkin’ Armor! .
Mar 31st, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Armor? We don’t need no stinkin’ Armor!. The U.S. Army has banned privately-purchased body armor for soldiers, ostensibly to “protect” them. According to the government: “We’re very concerned that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that doesn’t provide the level of protection that the Army… By William L. Anderson. [LewRockwell.com Blog]

I don’t believe the Army’s claim. All body armor sold to civilians is rated according to a system established by the National Institute of Justice, which is if anything somewhat conservative. Armor undergoes testing to verify that the rating is correct–and it’s not a complicated testing process. Anyone can verify that their armor meets its claimed rating simply by putting it over a soft clay backdrop and shooting it.

Note that the armor issued to soldiers by the military is purchased directly from the manufacturer and never undergoes the kind of testing and rating that civilian armor does. If any armor’s effectiveness should be questioned, it is the Army’s.

Lenovo Under U.S.
Mar 31st, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Lenovo Under U.S. Probe for Spying. BigControversy writes “The DailyTech has a report indicating that Lenovo, the giant Chinese PC manufacturer, is under a probe by the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission (USCC) for possible bugging. Apparently, the government has ordered 16,000 PCs from Lenovo but is now requesting that Lenovo be investigated by intelligence agencies. The fear is of foreign intelligence applying pressure to Lenovo to equip its PCs so that the U.S. can be spied on.” From the article: “Despite the probe, Lenovo says that its international business, especially those that deal with the US, follow strictly laid out government regulations and rules. Lenovo also claims that even after purchasing IBM’s PC division, its international business has not been affected negatively. Interestingly, in an interview with the BBC, Lenovo mentioned that an open investigation or probe may negatively affect the way that the company deals with future government contracts or bids.” There just has to be better uses of our intelligence community’s time. [Slashdot]

I’m not particularly concerned about some Chinese intelligence agency spying on me when US intelligence agencies are forcing companies such as AT&T to spy on Americans.

FBI Outrage in Harrisonberg, VA .
Mar 29th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

FBI Outrage in Harrisonberg, VA. Max Sawicky details some really horrible treatment of pro-U.S. Iraqi Kurds living in Virginia.

However, four of them have been arrested for transferring funds to their families and charitable organizations in Iraqi Kurdistan without a license, a felony offense under the Patriot Act and the act to keep Cubans from sending money to their relatives in Cuba. One has been convicted in a trial in which most of the evidence was not allowed and in which the FBI suggested that the defendant was a terrorist. These people were cowed into not talking to the media, and now they are all in deep trouble. Their homes have been raided, their money seized, even things like medical insurance cards (with one wife pregnant), applications for citizenship are off, they are facing deportation, and so on. They were assigned a Croatian translator for the court. There is a serious string of outrages associated with this with no coverage by any serious media. The FBI agent in charge even told them, “I know you are not the bad guys, but too much paperwork has gone forward on this.”

Max has contact information for the people being harassed if anyone’s interested in helping them out.

Just another example of how there hasn’t been a single incidence of PATRIOT Act abuse, I guess.

[The Agitator]

Chameleon Weapons .
Mar 29th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Chameleon Weapons. You can’t detect them, because they look normal:

bq. One type is the exact size and shape of a credit card, except that two of the edges are lethally sharp. It’s made of G10 laminate, an ultra-hard material normally employed for circuit boards. You need a diamond file to get an edge on it.

[…]

Another configuration is a stabbing weapon which is indistinguishable from a pen. This one is made from melamine fiber, and can sit snugly inside a Bic casing. You would only find out it was not the real thing if you tried to write with it. It’s sharpened with a blade edge at the tip which Defense Review describes as “scary sharp.”

Also:

bq. The FBI’s extensive Guide to Concealable Weapons has 89 pages of weapons intended to get through security. These are generally variations of a knifeblade concealed in a pen, comb or a cross — and most of them are pretty obvious on X-ray. [Schneier on Security]

That G10 credit card knife sounds pretty neat. Too bad there wasn’t a link to the company selling it, or I might have bought one.

As a follow-up to the story about the man being arrested in West Hollywood for having “counterfeit” billion-dollar bills, I was in the local Post Office this morning here in Koreatown.
Mar 24th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

As a follow-up to the story about the man being arrested in West Hollywood for having “counterfeit” billion-dollar bills, I was in the local Post Office this morning here in Koreatown. The clerk had a billion-dollar bill taped in his cubicle, along with various other decorations. I guess the SS isn’t in such a hurry to arrest fellow government employees for nonexistent crimes.

Ask Capital Times! .
Mar 21st, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Ask Capital Times!. David Codrea – Mr. Codrea translates a Wisconsin newspaper’s response to a simple question about open carry. [codrea]

Quote:

Good questions, Richard. Basically, the word “right” means whatever we say it does. Hell, even your “gun lobby” giants have their members convinced that bearing arms is a licensed privilege subject to fees (kind’a like the good old days of poll taxes– remember those? ), approvals and tests , limitations, restrictions, revocations–and it goes without saying, outright prior restraint denial.

[End the War on Freedom – Links and Commentary from my Crypto-Anarcho-Libertarian Perspective]

Getting Ready for Bernanke .
Mar 20th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Getting Ready for Bernanke. A news story has been circulating that a man was busted carrying counterfeit $1 Billion dollar bills..

    The counterfeit money looked good, but there was one flaw: there is no such thing as a billion-dollar bill.

    US Customs agents in California say they found 250 bogus billion-dollar bills while investigating a man charged with currency smuggling.

    Tekle Zigetta, 45, pleaded guilty to three federal counts of trying to bring cash, fake bills and a fake $100,000 gold certificate into the United States in January.

    Further investigation led agents to a West Hollywood apartment where they found the stash of yellowing and wrinkled one billion-dollar bills with an issue date of 1934 and bearing a picture of President Grover Cleveland.

    “You would think the $1 billion denomination would be a giveaway that these notes are fake, but some people are still taken in,” James Todak said, a secret services agent involved in the probe.

Counterfeit? Or just getting ready for Bernanke? [Mises Economics Blog]

Not mentioned is how something can be “counterfeit” if it’s an original work of art that doesn’t try to imitate something that already exists.

Lawyer Who Blew Moussaoui Case on $120,000/Year Vacation .
Mar 17th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Lawyer Who Blew Moussaoui Case on $120,000/Year Vacation. Even though it’s really all the State’s fault that they did not go to the FISA court and get permission to search Zacharias Moussaoui’s computer until after the 9/11 attacks, it is true that he was in custody, had knowlege of at least some of the hijackers, and failed to give warning. For this the man should hang, but some stupid lawyer for the TSA had to screw all that up by sending detailed notes on how to testify to all the government witnesses in the sentencing.

She is now getting a… [Antiwar.com Blog]

Why exactly should he hang? If he had given warning, he would have been incriminating himself. It’s illegal under the Fifth Amendment to require someone to incriminate himself.

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