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?

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. [ 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.”


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]


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 911 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… [ 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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