Homeless in Arizona

Medical Marijuana & Drug War News


ACLU joins lawsuit supporting Ariz. marijuana law


ACLU joins lawsuit supporting Ariz. marijuana law

Sept. 27, 2012 02:10 PM

Associated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union is joining a lawsuit pushing for full implementation of Arizona's medical marijuana law.

The national ACLU and its Arizona affiliate are now helping represent a company suing Maricopa County over its refusal to provide zoning clearances for a medical marijuana dispensary to serve Sun City.

State and county prosecutors have asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to rule that the state's voter-approved law is illegal on grounds that it conflicts with federal drug law.

A response filed Thursday by ACLU lawyers and another attorney for White Mountain Health Center says Arizona is allowed to make policy decisions on medical marijuana.

A judge has scheduled an Oct. 19 hearing on the case.

ACLU asks judge to stop Horne from blocking marijuana licensing


ACLU asks judge to stop Horne from blocking marijuana licensing

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 5:46 pm

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a judge to rebuff efforts by Attorney General Tom Horne to block state licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries.

In legal papers filed Thursday, attorneys for the group want Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon to rule that Arizona is constitutionally entitled to determine what it does and does not want to make a crime.

They acknowledged the federal Controlled Substances Act makes possession, sale and transportation of marijuana a felony. But they told Gordon that none of that criminalizes the activities of state and local employees in processing the paperwork for everything from licenses to zoning permits, the reason Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery contend that part — if not all — of the state law is void.

Edward Ezekiel, the lead ACLU attorney in the case, also argues that Arizona has a Tenth Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution to make its own drug laws — or, in this case, allow some people to possess marijuana — despite Congress making it a federal crime.

And Alessandra Soler, state director of the ACLU, said her organization believes the bid by the prosecutors to halt implementation of the state law has nothing to do with concerns about conflicts with federal statutes.

“We think that Horne and Montgomery are doing this because they’re trying to advance their own personal, political agenda,” she said.

Horne, in turn, took his own shot.

“I think that the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union, which was founded to fight political suppression ... would turn over in their graves if they knew what the ACLU is doing now is protecting pot smoking,” he said. [On the other hand Attorney General Tom Horne, cops and prosecutors don't like it when the people vote to cut the war on drugs which is nothing but a jobs program for prosecutors, cops, probation officers and prison guards, and Tom Horne is attempting to protect that unconstitutional jobs program]

The 2010 voter-approved law allows those with a doctor’s recommendation to get a state-issued card allowing them to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks. There are currently more than 32,000 cardholders in Arizona.

Until now, users have been able to grow their own drugs or trade with others. But the law envisions 126 dispensaries scattered throughout the state authorized to grow and sell to cardholders.

While the Department of Health Services has awarded about 100 permits — some areas have no applicants — it has yet to conduct a final inspection of any site, a necessary precursor to opening its doors.

Horne and Montgomery want to stop that from happening. And they are doing it through a lawsuit filed by White Mountain Health Center over its bid to open a dispensary in the unincorporated community of Sun City.

County officials, on Montgomery’s advice, refused to provide the necessary documentation to show they have the requisite zoning. Jeffrey Kaufman, the clinic’s attorney, wants Gordon to rule that the county cannot refuse to perform its role in implementing the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

The prosecutors have, in effect, countersued, telling Gordon that judges are legally powerless to authorize anyone to sell marijuana as long as it remains illegal under federal law.

Montgomery’s view is even more sweeping: He contends it is illegal for the health department to even issue cards to users.

The court fight has statewide implications, as whoever loses is virtually certain to appeal. And that appellate level ruling will be binding beyond Maricopa County.

In the legal briefs, Edwards said the U.S. Constitution gives each state the right to decide if it wants to make possession and sale of marijuana a crime. In this case, he said, allowing some people to sell and have the drug is just a variation of decriminalization, albeit on a more limited scale.

Horne said, though, the Arizona law does more than just say Arizona won’t prosecute some people.

“The state has a right to decriminalize marijuana if it chooses,” he said.

“But what it cannot do by the language of its statute is authorize people to violate federal law,” Horne continued. “And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.”

Edwards conceded that federal law is enforceable in Arizona. And no change in state law can stop federal prosecutors from arresting anyone for possession or sale of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

But in this case, he said, nothing in the federal law requires any individual to violate federal law. He said anyone concerned about federal prosecution is free to decide not to become a medical marijuana user or vendor.

And Edwards said while public employees do have duties under the state law, that does not mean they are violating federal law.

“Compliance with a ministerial duty — such as approving and issuing building permits for dispensaries — cannot legitimately expose county employees to federal prosecution for aiding and abetting” the violation of federal marijuana laws, he wrote.

A hearing before Gordon is set for Oct. 19.

Guatemalan President to world: Legalize drugs

I am all for 100 percent legalization of ALL drugs.

But I am kind of confused on why Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is stepping up his "war on drugs" when he says they should be legalized??


Guatemalan President to world: Legalize drugs

Sept. 25, 2012 01:53 PM

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS - Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is advocating the international legalization of drugs even as he is moving to fight narcotics cartels with the biggest military buildup in the Central American country since its long and bloody civil war.

There's no contradiction, the president said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, a day before he plans to address the U.N. General Assembly.

"We can't take unilateral action, it will be gradual," Perez said, referring to his push for legalization. "Meanwhile, while we're taking these steps, we're not going to let Guatemala become an open corridor for trafficking and consuming drugs."

Perez Molina said he may be the first head of state to propose legalizing drugs before the General Assembly, but the Organization of American States already is studying the idea, with a report due in a year.

"With cocaine and heroin, for example, they're substances that are damaging and addictive," he said. "We would have to regulate the procedures for selling them: a prescription or series of things that would come out of the discussion."

The legalization proposal came just a month after the retired general took office in January with promises of an "iron fist" against crime, and it provoked strong criticism from the United States, as well as intense discussion within Guatemala.

The president said the traditional war on drugs had failed over the past half century, and that the United States' inability to deal with its drug consumption problem left Central America with no option but to promote legalizing drugs in some way.

Meanwhile, to battle Mexican drug cartels that have overrun parts of Guatemala, Perez said he needed military equipment, and put a top priority on ending a longstanding U.S. ban on military aid that was imposed over concerns about human rights abuses during the Central American country's 36-year civil war.

Perez Molina has approved the creation of two new military bases and the upgrading of a third to add as many as 2,500 soldiers. He also signed a treaty allowing a team of 200 U.S. Marines to patrol Guatemala's western coast to catch drug shipments.

He says the measures don't exceed limits imposed on Guatemala's military under the 1996 Peace Accords, which he helped negotiate.

Since the war's end, the military force has fallen by 60 percent, Perez Molina said, and the growth of the civilian police force has not been sufficient to fight the security threat.

"What you saw was an imbalance and parts of the country that were out of control of the state," he said. "Organized crime took advantage of those areas, as well as drug traffickers and criminals and now we're trying to take back that territory."

Mexican drug cartels or their local allies have taken over large swathes of Guatemala and other Central American countries, fueling some of the highest murder rates in the world.

A May 2011 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service said that 95 percent of all cocaine entering the United States flows through Mexico and its waters, with 60 percent of that cocaine first coming through Central America.

The new Marine operation is the largest in Guatemala since President Jimmy Carter sharply cut U.S. military aid to the country due to concerns over atrocities committed during the country's civil war.

U.S. law says that Guatemala can regain military aid once Secretary of State Hillary Clinton certifies Guatemala's military is "respecting internationally recognized human rights" and cooperating with judicial investigations of former military personnel.

Since Guatemala's civil war ended in 1996, the U.S. has spent $85 million fighting drug traffickers in Guatemala. The level of spending was relatively low, less than $3 million a year, until 2007, when it shot up to $14 million. Last year spending peaked at $16 million, and is budgeted to decline to about $9 million in 2013.

The new operations fall under the Central American Regional Security Initiative, a multinational U.S. effort to fight crime in the region, so officials do not categorize them as direct aid to the Guatemalan military.

"We continue to uphold the military aid ban as well as the Leahy Act which prevents the US from training people suspected of having committed human rights violations," said William Ostick, a spokesman for the State Department's Western Hemispheric Affairs Office.

But he added that "narcotics trafficking is of great concern in the region ... it is clear that interdiction has demonstrable and measurable effects."

Perez said he plans to increase the national police by 10,000, allowing the military to focus on securing the borders and fighting drug trafficking.

Pot crop seizures plummet for 2nd year


Pot crop seizures plummet for 2nd year

Andrew Becker, California Watch

Updated 11:20 p.m., Friday, September 28, 2012

As California's outdoor marijuana growing season nears its end for 2012, drug officials are reporting a sharp decline in crop seizures for the second year in a row.

The latest figures show that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are on track to eradicate an estimated 1.5 million plants from outdoor gardens - mostly on public land - down from a decade high of about 7.3 million plants in 2009. This year's seizure total would be the lowest since 2004, when a little more than 1.1 million plants were eradicated, according to federal Drug Enforcement Administration statistics.

Some attribute the drop to a federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries and illegal cultivation on public land, along with political losses in California such as the defeat in 2010 of pro-legalization Proposition 19. At the same time, fewer counter-narcotics teams hunted for California pot this year because of the elimination of a 3-decade-old state eradication program.

Others say growers have retreated to smaller plots on private land and gone back underground. They also point to a glut of marijuana that depressed wholesale prices and burst the state's "green rush" to capitalize on relaxed attitudes toward the drug.

Trending down

Tommy LaNier, director of the National Marijuana Initiative, a program funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said law enforcement officers and agents had a hard time locating marijuana patches this season, even though they spent the same amount of flight time as in years past searching for plants.

"There's a significant down trend in cultivation activities," LaNier said. "There's been a huge impact because of what we've been doing the last six years."

A confluence of other factors might have contributed to fewer plants this year, including improved intelligence gathering and investigative efforts, more tips about illicit marijuana gardens from the public, and concerted efforts to prosecute growers, LaNier said.

He also highlighted the use of intelligence analysts and informants to find marijuana gardens on public land. The U.S. intelligence community has helped track money that moves across the southern border and people who are entering the United States from Mexico who are involved in cultivation, he said.

While more federal attention has turned toward California's pot industry, the state's 28-year-old Campaign Against Marijuana Planting did not operate this year. Funding for the program was slashed in 2011, and Gov. Jerry Brown effectively shuttered the state Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, which oversaw the effort and eradication teams in five regions in the state.

In the absence of state funding, a consortium of federal agencies banded together to support the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team, as the new program is known. State Justice Department spokeswoman Michelle Gregory said that as of last week, the program had destroyed 959,144 plants from 215 sites, more than half of which were found on national forestland.

Growers adjusting?

Dale Gieringer, the California coordinator of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that other than for a brief period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the annual eradication campaign didn't have a huge effect on marijuana production. The same might be true of recent efforts, he said.

Growers have improved their techniques to avoid detection, with some turning to smaller patches and even using Google Earth as a tool to help improve concealment, Gieringer said.

"All I can look at are prices and availability on the ground, and I really haven't seen any impact," he said.

As law enforcement has squeezed growers on public land, officials have seen them migrate elsewhere, often to where they can exploit the state's permissive medical marijuana law, officials said.

"There is other stuff that is happening," said William Ruzzamenti, who directs the federally funded Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. "My honest opinion is that there was just as much growing this year as last year. But we're just not getting it."

Moving operations

Increasingly, growers are moving out of state, to places such as Nevada, southern Utah, Wisconsin and North Carolina, often growing closer to drug markets, he said.

In California, Ruzzamenti said, there's been a transition from illicit gardens on public land in the Sierra to the valley floor in Fresno and Tulare counties and remote plots on private land in Northern California, where growers operate "under the pretenses of medical marijuana."

For years, Trinity County, Humboldt County's eastern neighbor, has attracted growers because of its sparse population and amenable climate. Local law enforcement says the region has seen a recent explosion in marijuana gardens on private land.

"The number of private grows we have is astronomical. It's a huge problem," said Chris Compton, a detective with the Trinity County Sheriff's Department. "It's not a secret what we have going up here."

Andrew Becker is a reporter for California Watch ( www.californiawatch.org), part of the independent, nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. E-mail: abecker@californiawatch.org

Lab technicians routinely frame people for drugs?

If you are falsely arrested on drug charges don't plan on getting a fair trial. Over zealous lab technicians routinely cook the books, rig the evidence and help the police frame people.

Yes, this is just one case, but if it happened here it is certainly happening in other places.

Recently I posted a similar article about how lab technicians at the FBI were also helping the police frame people.


Chemist in Mass. lab scandal could see new charges


BOSTON (AP) — A chemist accused of lying about drug samples she tested at a state lab could face additional charges as prosecutors and defense attorneys sift through thousands of criminal cases that could be upended by her actions.

Annie Dookhan, 34, of Franklin, was arrested Friday in a burgeoning investigation that has already led to the shutdown of the lab, the resignation of the state's public health commissioner and the release of more than a dozen drug defendants.

Many more defendants are expected to be released. Authorities say more than 1,100 inmates are serving time in cases in which Dookhan was the primary or secondary chemist.

"Annie Dookhan's alleged actions corrupted the integrity of the entire criminal justice system," state Attorney General Martha Coakley said during a news conference after Dookhan's arrest. "There are many victims as a result of this."

Dookhan faces more than 20 years in prison on charges of obstruction of justice and falsely pretending to hold a degree from a college or university. She testified under oath that she holds a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, but school officials say they have no record of her receiving an advanced degree or taking graduate courses there.

State police say Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston. Defense lawyers and prosecutors are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the fallout.

Assistant Attorney General John Verner called the charges against Dookhan "preliminary" and said a "much broader" investigation is being conducted.

Verner said state police learned of Dookhan's alleged actions in July after they interviewed a chemist at the lab who said he had observed "many irregularities" in Dookhan's work.

Verner said Dookhan later acknowledged to state police that she sometimes would take 15 to 25 samples and instead of testing them all, she would test only five of them, then list them all as positive. She said that sometimes, if a sample tested negative, she would take known cocaine from another sample and add it to the negative sample to make it test positive for cocaine, Verner said.

Dookhan pleaded not guilty and was later released on $10,000 bail. She was ordered to turn over her passport, submit to GPS monitoring, and not have contact with any former or current employees of the lab.

Dookhan's relatives and attorney declined to comment after the brief hearing in Boston Municipal Court. Her next court date is Dec. 3.

The obstruction charges accuse Dookhan of lying about drug samples she analyzed at the lab in March 2011 for a Suffolk County case, and for testifying under oath in August 2010 that she had an advanced degree from the University of Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley said at a news conference.

In one of the cases, Boston police had tested a substance as negative for cocaine, but when Dookhan tested it, she reported it as positive. Investigators later retested the cample and it came back negative, Verner said.

The only motive authorities have found so far is that Dookhan wanted to be seen as a good worker, Coakley said.

According to a state police report in August, Dookhan said she just wanted to get the work done and never meant to hurt anyone.

"I screwed up big-time," she is quoted as saying. "I messed up bad; it's my fault. I don't want the lab to get in trouble."

Dookhan's supervisors have faced harsh criticism for not removing her from lab duties after suspicions about her were first raised by her co-workers and for not alerting prosecutors and police. However, Coakley said, there is no indication so far of criminal activity by anyone else at the lab.

Co-workers began expressing concern about Dookhan's work habits several years ago, but her supervisors allowed her to continue working. Dookhan was the most productive chemist in the lab, routinely testing more than 500 samples a month, while others tested 50 to 150.

One co-worker told state police he never saw Dookhan in front of a microscope. A lab employee saw Dookhan weighing drug samples without doing a balance check on her scale.

In an interview with state police late last month, Dookhan acknowledged faking test results for two to three years. She told police she identified some drug samples as narcotics simply by looking at them instead of testing them, a process known as dry labbing. She also said she forged the initials of colleagues and deliberately turned a negative sample into a positive for narcotics a few times.

"I hope the system isn't treating the evidence against her the way she treated the evidence against several thousand defendants," said defense attorney John T. Martin, who has a client who was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea based on concerns over Dookhan's work.

Dookhan was suspended from lab duties after getting caught forging a colleague's initials on paperwork in June 2011. She resigned in March as the Department of Public Health investigated. The lab was run by the department until July 1, when state police took over as part of a state budget directive.


Niedowski reported from Franklin. Associated Press writer Bridget Murphy contributed to this report.

Mesa cops kidnap woman's children for smoking pot

Don't these pigs have any real criminals to arrest. You know real criminals that hurt people like robbers, rapists and murders. Not harmless pot smokers.

What's next will the cops be arresting people who drink beer in front of their children??

This also looks like an attempt by the cops to create a jobs program for their fellow government bureaucrats in CPS. The cops stole the poor woman's children and gave them to Child Protective Services.


Mesa mom accused of smoking pot in front of kids, leaving them home alone

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 3:33 pm

By Patrick Lancaster, ABC15

A Mesa mother was arrested on Wednesday after being accused of smoking marijuana in front of her children and leaving them home alone.

A neighbor at the apartment near Main Street and Extension Road had called police, and Mesa police said the children, both age 6, told an officer that it wasn't the first time they had come home from school at to an empty home.

Yvette Lopez, 36, faces five counts including child abuse, endangerment, and drug-related charges.

A Mesa police officer found an empty pill bottle at the residence, which one of the children said was for "bud."

"It appears the mom and boyfriend had been using marijuana in front of the children," said Mesa Police Det. Steve Berry. "They were very aware of what it was, where it was kept, those sorts of things."

Lopez was arrested when she arrived at the apartment two hours later, claiming she was out looking for a job, according to police.

Child Protective Services took custody of the children.

Supreme Court - 4th Amendment is null and void!!!!

I am sure this is one of the reasons the Founders gave us the 2nd Amendment. But I am sure the Supreme Court feels the same way about the 2nd Amendment.


Supreme Court rejects appeal on airport scanners

8:52 a.m. CDT, October 1, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a Michigan blogger's challenge to the use of full-body scanners and thorough pat-downs of passengers at airport checkpoints.

Jeffrey Corbett complained that the Transportation Security Administration's use of the screening techniques violated passengers' protection against illegal searches under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

DNA evidence exonerates 300th prisoner nationwide

Ray Krone of Phoenix was the 100th person to be freed from death row after DNA testing proved he was framed by the Phoenix police for murder.

That number is up to 300 today.

I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg and that tens of thousands, and probably hundreds of thousands of people have been framed by the police for crimes they didn't commit.

I was framed for selling drugs by the DPS. At the time I thought it was a case of mistaken identity, but later I found out it wasn't a case of mistaken identity, I was intentionally framed because they thought I was a dope dealer. That came from the mouths of the pigs that framed me.

I lucked out and didn't get convicted because of a number of circumstances. But I suspect if I had gone to trial I would have been convicted and sent to prison. That is despite the fact that I was innocent.


DNA evidence exonerates 300th prisoner nationwide

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

October 1, 2012

A Louisiana man has been released from death row, becoming the 300th prisoner nationwide to be freed after DNA evidence showed he was innocent.

Of those 300 prisoners, 18 had been on death row, according to lawyers from the New York-based Innocence Project.

"It feels good. I'm still processing it," said Damon Thibodeaux, 38, when reached by phone in New Orleans.

A Jefferson Parish judge overturned his murder conviction Friday and ordered Thibodeaux released after 16 years in prison, 15 on death row. The decision was one of several recent exonerations across the country.

Last Monday, John Edward Smith was released from a Los Angeles jail nearly two decades after he was wrongfully imprisoned in connection with a gang-related shooting. In August, Chicago prosecutors moved to dismiss murder charges against Alprentiss Nash 17 years after he was convicted of a murder that recent DNA tests indicated he didn't commit. Earlier that month in Texas, David Lee Wiggins was freed after DNA tests cleared him of a rape for which he had served 24 years.

Thibodeaux, a deckhand, was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to death after he confessed to the July 19, 1996, rape and murder of his 14-year-old step-cousin, Crystal Champagne, in Westwego, a dozen miles southwest of New Orleans.

The girl was last seen alive by her family when she left their Westwego apartment to go to a nearby Winn-Dixie grocery store. When she failed to return, her parents alerted police and a search ensued.

Her body was discovered the next evening under a bridge, her pants pulled down, a wire ligature around her neck; she appeared to have been strangled. That night, detectives began interrogating potential witnesses, including Thibodeaux.

After a lengthy interrogation, Thibodeaux confessed to raping and murdering Crystal, a confession that became the primary basis for his conviction in October 1997.

He unsuccessfully appealed his conviction in 1999, arguing that he was coerced into giving a false, unrecorded confession after being interrogated for nine hours by Jefferson Parish sheriff's investigators. He also said that there was insufficient evidence to convict him and that he did not receive a fair trial.

"This is a tragic illustration of why law enforcement must record the entire interrogation of any witness or potential suspect in any investigation involving a serious crime," said one of Thibodeaux's attorneys, Steve Kaplan of the Minneapolis firm Fredrikson & Byron.

In 2007, Thibodeaux's legal team persuaded Jefferson Parish Dist. Atty. Paul Connick to reinvestigate the case, sharing half the cost, which ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars. DNA testing showed that Thibodeaux was not the killer and that Crystal had not been raped.

"District attorneys now recognize that the system doesn't always get it right and many, like Dist. Atty. Connick and his team, are committed to getting to the truth," said Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, which also represented Thibodeaux. The case highlights the importance of California's Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty, on the November ballot, Scheck added.

Thibodeaux, who said he felt "great sympathy for the Champagne family" and hoped Crystal's killer "is found and tried," said he was grateful the district attorney was willing to reexamine his case.

"A lot of prosecutors, when they see a case like mine, they just turn away from it and say, 'We tried it in court, that's it,'" he said.

Louisiana pays those wrongfully convicted $25,000 for each year they were held in error for up to a decade. [Big stinking deal!!! That is a lousy $68 a day, or $2.85 for each hour spent in prison. Those crooked government b*stards don't even pay them the Federal minimum wage]

Thibodeaux plans to live in Minnesota, which he heard had a good reintegration program for former inmates.

After he walked out of prison, Thibodeaux said, he took the first step toward that new life, inhaling a deep breath of "free air."

"It's probably the best breath I've ever had," he said.


County Attorney pursuing civil enforcement action against AG Tom Horne

The only thing that is almost certain is that cops and politicians are almost always above the law and get away with almost all the crimes they commit.

"Officials said that civil penalties are being pursued because there was not a sufficient basis for filing criminal charges" - I translation - "I don't want to send a fellow politician to prison"

You hear that line every time a prosecutor doesn't want to charge a pig with a crime. I remembers when a News 12 Helicon caught a some phoenix pigs beating up a Mexican who stole a car, and that is the line the prosecutor gave us.


County Attorney pursuing civil enforcement action against AG Tom Horne

Stems from possible violation of campaign finance laws; fines up to $1.5 million possible

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Craig Harris - Oct. 1, 2012 10:35 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is initiating a civil enforcement action against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn, one of his political allies, alleging they violated state campaign finance laws.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery alleged at a 10 a.m. news conference that Horne actively directed fundraising by an independent expenditure committee and communicated strategy with Winn, who worked for the committee, during the final weeks of 2010 campaign for attorney general.

It is illegal for candidates to communicate with independent expenditure committees.

Officials said that civil penalties are being pursued because there was not a sufficient basis for filing criminal charges and state statutes specifically allow for civil handling of such matters.

Montgomery said the law allows civil penalties of up to three times the cost of illegal literature or advertisements disseminated during the time of illegal activity. The independent expenditure committee raised more than $500,000 in the final weeks of the 2010 campaign from the Republican State Leadership Committee and individual donors. The money paid for television advertisements advocating against Felecia Rotellini, Horne's Democratic opponent in that race.

The County Attorney intends to issue an order requiring compliance by the independent committee and the Tom Horne for Attorney General campaign committee, followed by an order assessing a civil penalty.

In August, the county attorney initiated a separate civil enforcement action against the Committee for Justice and Fairness, an independent expenditure committee that paid for a commercial advocating against Horne's candidacy and which failed to register with the Arizona Secretary of Office . Oral argument in that matter is scheduled for Oct. 8.

The findings came after an 11-month investigation by the FBI and county investigators. Secretary of State Ken Bennett determined there was reasonable cause to believe Horne and Winn violated civil statutes governing independent expenditure committees, Montgomery said at his news conference.

According to the county attorney, the independent expenditure campaign raised more than $500,000 run ads to beat out Horne's Democratic challenger.

The investigation also uncovered evidence of a misdemeanor vehicle hit-and-run incident, which was referred to the City of Phoenix for review.

The FBI and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office have been investigating whether Horne and Winn, improperly colluded with Horne on an independent expenditure committee when he was running for office.

Horne, a Republican, said late Sunday he was unaware of any announcement that may involve him. He said he likely would issue a written statement following any such announcement. He has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Two of Horne's employees -- one a longtime state investigator -- have accused him of communicating with an independent expenditure committee during the 2010 election as it raised money to run negative ads against Horne's Democratic opponent. State law prohibits coordination between candidates and independent expenditure committees. Those who violate laws governing independent expenditure committees can face stiff financial penalties.

Horne's employees alleged he communicated regularly with Winn, chairwoman of the Business Leaders for Arizona, as she solicited money from Horne's brother-in-law in California and GOP supporters across the Valley.

In June, state criminal investigator Margaret "Meg" Hinchey said she had obtained information that Horne collaborated with the independent expenditure committee. Hinchey turned witness statements and other evidence over to the FBI, which began an investigation in January.

FBI special agents have been gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses over the course of several months. The FBI shared information with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which issued subpoenas.

A separate complaint filed with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office by another Horne employee and former political ally alleged Horne helped funnel $115,000 from his brother-in-law to the committee and promised a job to Winn as a reward for her work on the committee. Horne has vehemently denied the allegation, and points out he first offered Winn's position to someone else.

Horne, the state's No. 3 GOP official, can continue to serve as Arizona's top prosecutor and provide legal advice to agencies.

Horne is among numerous Arizona elected officials to face state or federal investigations since 2008. That list includes the Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Rep. Ben Arredondo, D-Tempe, former Arizona Rep. Richard Miranda and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Previously, Horne has said that Winn, in December 2009, filed paperwork to create Business Leaders for Arizona to oppose Thomas, who ran against Horne in the primary election. Horne said that although Winn filed the paperwork, there was no independent expenditure during the primary.

She volunteered for Horne's campaign before the primary. When the primary was over, Horne has said, Winn told him she was withdrawing from his campaign to conduct an independent campaign "on her own initiative" in the general election.

Horne has said he had no knowledge that Winn approached his sister for a contribution to that independent campaign.

The large contribution came in late October 2010, as Horne and his Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, were in a tight race. Business Leaders for Arizona, headquartered at Winn's Mesa home, raised $512,500 in nine days to fund anti-Rotellini TV ads through Tempe-based Lincoln Strategy Group.

Independent campaigns are created to eclipse the contribution limits imposed on a candidate's own campaign, which are capped at $840 in the attorney general's race.

The independent committee, however, could raise far more from individual sources.

State campaign-finance records show Lincoln Strategy Group spent nearly all the money raised by the BLA on the attack ads.

During a June 29 interview, Horne spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico told The Arizona Republic that Winn was known for her energy and determined style she brought to the job. Rezzonico said Horne is "deeply loyal" to Winn because of her work on the independent expenditure committee. Rezzonico said Horne would not have won his bid for attorney general had it not been for Winn.

"Kathleen was under fire with people, meaning, you know, she wasn't that popular with some people," Rezzonico said. "She was overzealous in her job. She kind of got into everybody's business and that was annoying to people."

"However, we knew, I mean, in Tom Horne's close circle, that Kathleen had done a good job for Tom Horne. She went off, she did an independent expenditure for him, and he's deeply loyal to people such as that, that do such things ... Tom was deeply fond of her."

The uncivil politics of prosecution


The uncivil politics of prosecution


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said there were not sufficient legal grounds to pursue a criminal case against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn, General Director of Community Outreach for Horne’s office, over alleged campaign finance violations that occurred when Horne was running for office in 2010.

So Montgomery is pursuing a “civil enforcement action.”

Although, this being politics, “civil” seems like an oxymoron.

That is why many of the questions raised at Montgomery’s Monday press conference over the Horne case seemed to revolve around politics, rather than prosecution, often focusing on the possibility that Montgomery, Horne and, to a degree, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, all Republicans, are seen as potential rivals in future state elections.

Montgomery dismissed that idea.

He said that we must take politics out of issues like this.

He said that in spite of his investigation of Horne that he expected the county attorney’s office and the attorney general’s office to have a “good working relationship.”

You hope so.

But people aren’t robots. They can’t just switch off their emotions. And the jobs of attorney general and county attorney are elected positions. They’re politicians as well as prosecutors.

And in any dual relationship like that politics usually wins.

Maybe this will be an exception.

However, before you call me or write the answer is…. no, I don’t want to bet on it.

Montgomery declines to call on Horne to resign


Montgomery declines to call on Horne to resign


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident The highest law enforcement official in the state (that would be Tom Horne) -- a guy who prosecutes people who break the law -- broke the law.

This, according to the second highest law enforcement official in the state (that would be Bill Montgomery) -- a guy who also prosecutes people who break the law.

It's just that he won't be prosecuting anybody this time.

Montgomery this morning announced that Horne knowingly tromped all over campaign finance laws, in order to defeat Democrat Felicia Rotelini in the 2010 attorney general's race. He worked with and even directed the spending of money in an independent expenditure campaign, which is a distinct no-no under Arizona law.

There's just not much anybody can do about it.

Montgomery plans to tell Horne that his committee must repay the money or face a penalty of up to $1.5 million.

But that penalty applies only to the committee, not to Horne.

In other words, no harm, no foul.

So to recap, if you're a candidate you can get one of your pals to start an independent campaign and then get your other pals to give as much money to that campaign as they wish, and THEN you can direct how all that glorious money is spent.

It's called cheating your way into office.

I asked Montgomery if he planned to call on Horne to resign. It seems obvious that you can't be enforcing laws against other people if you don't follow them yourself.

To my surprise, Montgomery declined to call for Horne's resignation.

How you can hold a press conference to announce a blatant violation of the election law by the attorney general of the state and then not call for that same attorney general to resign is just beyond me.

Then again, this is Arizona politics we're talking about.

Documents detail Horne fender-bender

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is the guy who wants to jail medical marijuana users. I wonder why, is it to create a smoke screen for all the crimes he commits. Like hit and run accidents or not following campaign finance laws???

Of course while I disagree with many of those campaign finance laws, that's not the issue. The government expects us serfs to obey the laws and Tom Horne should be expected to obey the laws he forces us to obey.


Documents detail Horne fender-bender

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - Oct. 1, 2012 07:50 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident It may not be a campaign-finance allegation that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is remembered for. It might be the March 27 hit-and-run fender-bender he was involved in while driving with a female employee to her home -- a collision witnessed by two FBI special agents who were tailing Horne when the accident occurred.

Documents obtained by The Arizona Republic through a public records request detail the crash. Maricopa County Attorney's Detective Mark Stribling wrote an April 19 memo describing how FBI agents Brian Grehoski and Merv Mason watched the accident happen.

Stribling wrote that agents saw Carmen Chenal, a longtime Horne confidante and employee, leave the Attorney General's Office during lunch hour, get into a vehicle and drive to a downtown Phoenix parking garage. Horne then left the office and drove his gold Jaguar into the same garage.

Horne and Chenal then left the garage with Horne driving the vehicle originally driven by Chenal, Stribling wrote. Chenal was in the passenger seat.

"Horne was now wearing a baseball hat and he drove to Carmen's residence where Horne backed into a white Range Rover," Stribling wrote. "Horne and Chenal then drove away, parked in a parking garage and both walked into residential area where Chenal lived."

The FBI turned its evidence over to the Phoenix Police Department on Monday. The city's review of the case is ongoing. A police spokesman said striking an unattended vehicle is a low-level misdemeanor that could result in a fine.

Horne on Monday said he didn't believe there was any damage when he bumped the vehicle.

"I didn't think there was any damage or I would have been happy to stop and pay for it," Horne said. "I stand ready to pay for the damage."

When asked who he was with at the time of the crash, Horne said he couldn't recall: "It was last March, I have no idea."

Reporter Craig Harris contributed to this report.

County Attorney: AG Tom Horne broke law


County Attorney: AG Tom Horne broke law

Stems from possible violation of campaign finance laws; fines up to $1.5 million possible

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Craig Harris - Oct. 1, 2012 10:21 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the state's top law-enforcement official, deliberately broke campaign-finance laws during his 2010 bid for office by coordinating with an independent expenditure committee, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery concluded after a 14-month investigation.

At a news conference Monday, Montgomery said investigators found e-mails and phone records showing Horne, a Republican, was intimately involved with Business Leaders for Arizona, which raised and spent more than $500,000 to run TV ads blasting Horne's Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, in the closing days of the tight race.

"There were contemporaneous e-mails and telephone conversations on how much money was expected from this particular source of funds, and what ... needed to be the message, concerns over the content of the commercial in production, and active communications about why maybe some of the messaging needed to be changed," Montgomery said.

Such committees, which unlike candidates can accept unlimited donations, are supposed to operate independently of candidates and their campaigns.

Montgomery, whose office worked with the FBI, said he will not pursue criminal charges because a civil statute was more applicable.

Montgomery, a Republican, said the investigation also uncovered evidence of a misdemeanor vehicular hit-and-run involving Horne. Records obtained by The Republic show Horne was under FBI surveillance at the time of the accident, which occurred as he drove an employee, Carmen Chenal, to her residence in downtown Phoenix. That case has been referred to the Phoenix Police Department for review.

Horne said Monday that he is not guilty and that investigators got the timing and the facts wrong. He said he has no plans to resign, noting many national politicians have paid fines for civil campaign-finance violations.

"The evidence will show that we did not coordinate (campaign-finance activities)," Horne said.

The political implications for Horne, considered a 2014 gubernatorial contender, remain unclear. Some political observers said Montgomery's findings could damage Horne's aspirations for higher office -- particularly if he does not disprove them.

Horne and Kathleen Winn, a top Attorney General's Office employee who ran the independent campaign, could face civil penalties under that statute. However, Montgomery said he believes the civil sanctions allowed by the law are inadequate. He plans to lobby state lawmakers in the next session to strengthen campaign-finance laws.

Horne and Winn first will be allowed to return to donors the amount of money that exceeded campaign-contribution limits. If they refuse, they could face up to $1.5 million in civil penalties -- three times the amount spent by the independent expenditure committee on ads blasting Rotellini.

Montgomery first said Horne and Winn would not be held personally liable but later changed his position, saying the law allows individuals to be held liable. Montgomery also theorized the independent expenditure committee could be responsible for repaying the money. That committee as of last month had $8.18, according to public records filed with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.

FBI Agent James Turgal, whose office initiated the investigation, would not talk in detail about his agency's role. He said investigators conducted the inquiry and turned the file over to the U.S. Attorney's Office. A spokesman for that agency said it is not investigating Horne.

Independent committee

Independent campaigns are created to bypass donor-contribution caps imposed on candidate campaigns. In the attorney general's race, for example, donors to the Horne or Rotellini campaigns could contribute only $840 each.

In December 2009, Winn created Business Leaders for Arizona to raise money to oppose former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, a Republican who opposed Horne in the 2010 primary. Horne has said that although Winn filed paperwork, there was no independent expenditure during that primary.

Winn volunteered for Horne's campaign in the primary. When it was over, Horne has said, Winn told him she was withdrawing from his campaign to conduct an independent campaign "on her own initiative" in the general election.

State campaign-finance records show her committee raised large contributions in late October 2010 as Horne and Rotellini were running neck and neck. The committee, headquartered at Winn's Mesa address, raised $512,500 in nine days to fund anti-Rotellini TV ads through Tempe-based Lincoln Strategy Group, a political-consulting firm.

Contributions included a $115,000 donation from Horne's brother-in-law in California and $350,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee, a Virginia-based organization whose goal is to elect Republicans to statewide office. Montgomery said Horne may not be required to repay the donation from his brother-in-law.

Horne beat Rotellini by 3 percentage points. Following his victory, Horne hired Winn as his director of community and outreach.

In July 2011, Horne assigned Margaret "Meg" Hinchey, supervising special agent in the attorney general's criminal division, to internally investigate whether an employee was leaking information about his agency to the media. During that probe, Hinchey uncovered allegations that Horne and Winn coordinated campaign activities. The next month, the information was turned over to the FBI, which started an investigation and asked the County Attorney's Office to assist with interviews and obtain subpoenas.

E-mail evidence

Typically, Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office investigates campaign-finance violations and recommends to the Attorney General's Office whether to pursue charges. That recommendation is needed for a prosecutor to take action, according to Bennett.

However, because the FBI's long involvement in Horne's case, it wasn't until last month that federal agents and the County Attorney's Office met with Bennett's staff to discuss why action should be taken against Horne.

Bennett provided Montgomery with an official letter Sept. 20, recommending that Montgomery pursue civil charges against Horne, Business Leaders for Arizona and Winn. The letter states that e-mails that are part of the evidence "unquestionably demonstrate Attorney General Horne actively seeking funds for the IE committee." An Oct. 27, 2010, e-mail from Horne to Winn says: "Try again for the hundred k (sic)."

Winn two days later raised $100,000 from Horne's brother-in-law, Richard G. Newman, a California businessman.

Bennett's office on Monday released an Oct. 20, 2010, e-mail exchange between Winn and Brian Murray, a consultant to Winn's committee. The records note that while Winn was discussing strategy with Murray via e-mail, she also was on the phone with Horne. That same day, Winn began raising money for the committee, campaign-finance records show.

Murray confirmed he cooperated with the FBI inquiry but had no comment on the allegations.

Winn said Monday that law enforcement treated her unfairly. She said thatinvestigators did not interview her for her side of the story and that she "never coordinated" with Horne. "It just never happened," she said.

Investigators are misreading her communications with Horne , she added. She was advising him on a complicated real-estate transaction, not details of the independent expenditure committee, she said.

"The people that conducted the investigation have phone logs and several e-mails that are disconnected," she said. "I'm glad I'm not in Salem, and I'm glad I'm not in the witch trials, because that's what it feels like today."

Political reactions

Political reaction was swift. Though Republicans generally would not comment on the record about a fellow Republican, the Democratic Party and its elected officials called on Horne to resign.

Rotellini called the charges a stain on the Attorney General's Office, noting the race was decided "by precious few votes."

"The attorney general will have his day in court, as he should," Rotellini said. "But the fact that Tom Horne needs to have a day in court is shameful. This goes well beyond politics. It goes to the core of the meaning of the office."

John J. "Jack" Pitney Jr., a government professor at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, said any allegation against a law-enforcement official undermines public trust.

"A conviction is far more damaging," Pitney said. "But even an accusation like this could give rise to future attacks, so it's very damaging. ... The personal and political image is very difficult to undo."

Republic reporters Mary Jo Pitzl and Michael Kiefer contributed to this article.

More on this topic

About the Arizona Attorney General

Salary: $90,000

Fiscal 2013 budget: About $102.7 million

Number of employees: About 900 in nine divisions.

Duties: Voters elect the attorney general to a four-year term, and he serves as the chief legal officer for the state. The office represents and provides legal advice to state agencies and enforces civil rights and consumer-protection laws. It prosecutes some financial and illegal-drug crimes. The office handles all felony conviction appeals.

Q&A on the Horne case, its ramifications


Q&A on the Horne case, its ramifications

by Craig Harris and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - Oct. 1, 2012 10:27 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Attorney General Tom Horne was accused Monday of breaking campaign-finance laws. He said he will not resign.

Question: What's the issue?

Answer: Horne is accused of coordinating with an independent campaign committee to help him win the 2010 election. Such coordination is illegal .

Q: What's the penalty?

A: Donors, who gave $512,500 to Business Leaders for Arizona committee, must be repaid. A fine of three times the expenditures, or roughly $1.5 million, could be assessed if he does not repay.

Q: Who pays?

A: It could come from Horne; Kathleen Winn, a current Attorney General's Office employee who ran the independent committee; the 2010 campaign committee; or a new committee.

Q: How did the FBI get involved?

A: An investigator working for Horne notified the FBI of possible illegal activity, which prompted the investigation.

Q: How did Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery get the case?

A: The FBI took the case to Montgomery because it involved state statutes, and the Attorney General's Office had a conflict of interest.

Misconduct allegations against Horne: A timeline


Misconduct allegations against Horne: A timeline

by Craig Harris - Jul. 1, 2012 11:24 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident The Arizona Republic has constructed a time line of developments in Attorney General Tom Horne's case based on interviews, public records and documents in a $10 million defamation and retaliation claim filed against the state by Margaret "Meg" Hinchey, a former special agent in Horne's office.

Dec. 23, 2009: Business Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure campaign, is registered with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. Kathleen Winn, a Horne supporter who would later be hired by his office, is the founder and makes the initial $100 contribution to the fund.

Oct. 20-29, 2010: Business Leaders for Arizona raises $512,500 in the final 10 days of a heated campaign. Nearly all the money is used to run negative ads against Felecia Rotellini, Horne's Democratic opponent for attorney general. Among the donors: Horne's brother-in-law, who contributes $115,000.

July 7, 2011: Horne picks Hinchey, a veteran investigator, to conduct a confidential internal investigation. The Republic has been told the probe was launched to determine if anyone leaked information to the media about Horne hiring into the office Carmen Chenal, a longtime Horne confidante whose law license had been suspended.

July 11-21, 2011: After getting access to an e-mail account of the person suspected of being the news leak, Hinchey discovers the employee was engaged in outside employment while being paid by the state.

Aug. 3, 2011: Hinchey is told of other possible criminal violations, including a grant application with potentially fraudulent information that may have been submitted to Gov. Jan Brewer's office.

Late summer 2011: Concerned about prior alleged criminal violations being "explained away," Hinchey reports the new allegations to the FBI.

Sept. 27, 2011: Amy Rezzonico, Horne's spokeswoman, "spontaneously" discloses to Hinchey that independent expenditures occurred for Horne, at his direction, during the 2010 campaign. It is illegal for a candidate for political office to be involved with an independent expenditure campaign. Horne has since denied involvement.

Sept. 29, 2011: Hinchey again is told about the grant-related fraud and the campaign finance allegations by an assistant attorney general.

Sept. 30, 2011: Hinchey reports allegations of illegal campaign-finance violations to the FBI.

Dec. 12, 2011: Hinchey learns that Deputy Attorney General Rick Bistrow and Horne discussed with Criminal Division Chief James Keppel whether or not they could destroy Hinchey's internal investigation file or "wipe her computer of all related documents." Keppel told them they could not.

Dec. 13, 2011: Hinchey provides outside law enforcement authorities a disc containing her investigative records, based on concerns her office records may be destroyed.

Jan. 11, 2012: The FBI contacts the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, seeking records about Horne's campaign and an independent expenditure committee operated by Winn. After the election, Winn had been named community-outreach and education director for the attorney general. Bistrow tells Hinchey her investigation is "suspended" and she is to take no further action.

Feb. 3, 2012: Horne and Bistrow tell Keppel that Hinchey "can't be trusted." Bistrow asks Keppel if he thinks Hinchey would notice if her case-file notebook was to go missing from her office. Keppel says she would.

Mid-February 2012: Horne tells Assistant Attorney General Steven Duplissis that Hinchey may have been having a personal relationship with Rotellini, whom Horne had defeated to become attorney general. Hinchey's attorney recently told The Republic that no such relationship ever existed. According to Duplissis, Horne asks if Hinchey was a registered Democrat and involved in Rotellini's campaign. Rotellini, who is divorced, tells the newspapers she never had a personal relationship with Hinchey.

March 20, 2012: Horne and Bistrow tell Keppel that Hinchey cannot be trusted because she went to the FBI to report "alleged baseless criminal activity" by Horne, related to campaign finance issues.

Late March 2012: Keppel resigns amid disagreements with Horne over the handling of Hinchey's investigation and other matters.

March 23, 2012: Hinchey's attorney writes Horne demanding an end to a "smear campaign" against Hinchey. Horne personally answers, saying there was no campaign and no investigation into Hinchey.

April 2, 2012: Horne publicly denies being involved in an independent expenditure committee that ran TV ads attacking Rotellini at the close of the 2010 campaign. Don Dybus, an assistant attorney general and Horne supporter, alleges Horne illegally collaborated with the independent expenditure committee to raise campaign funds, that he promised a job to Winn, and that he helped funnel money to the committee from his brother-in-law.

June 7, 2012: Hinchey files $10 million notice of claim against Horne, Bistrow and state of Arizona.

June 29, 2012: Bistrow tells The Republic he did not engage in a cover-up or attempt to destroy records that potentially show criminal activity as suggested in the claim. Rezzonico also denies allegations that she told Hinchey that independent expenditures had occurred for Horne during the 2010 campaign.

October 1, 2012: The Maricopa County Attorney's Office initiates a civil enforcement action against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn, one of his political allies, alleging they violated state campaign finance laws. Officials said that civil penalties are being pursued because there was not a sufficient basis for filing criminal charges and state statutes specifically allow for civil handling of such matters.

Sources: Notice of claim, The Arizona Republic

Why no call for Tom Horne's resignation


Laurie Roberts' Columns & Blog

Arizona Republic Columnist

Why no call for Tom Horne's resignation?


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Holy Fiesta Bowl, here we go again. Only this time it’s far worse than a few dozen junketeering legislators who got away with thumbing their noses at annoying laws that require them to pay for their own football tickets. It’s worse than wondering who’s paying for our leaders’ fabulous five-star weekend getaways – something they’re supposed to disclose but so often it slips their minds.

This time, it’s the attorney general of Arizona, the top law enforcement officer in the state who is accused of violating campaign finance laws. Basically, Attorney General Tom Horne is accused of cheating his way into office, only don’t look for anyone to suggest that he ought to have to forfeit that office.

This, after all, is Arizona, where the rugs in the hallways of power bulge like the San Francisco Peaks, given all the stuff swept underneath the things.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on Monday announced a “civil enforcement action” against Horne and Kathleen Winn, who ran a supposedly independent campaign that raised and spent more than $500,000 on ads attacking Democrat Felecia Rotellini in the waning days of the November 2010 election.

At that point, Horne was out of cash in a close race and there was only one way to raise big money quickly: an independent campaign, where there are no limits on what a donor can contribute.

In just 10 days, Winn’s Business Leaders for Arizona raised $513,000 for last-minute attack ads.

Montgomery says that Horne was involved both in collecting that money and in designating how it should be spent – a definite no-no under Arizona law.

Both Horne and Winn are adamant that they did nothing wrong, with Horne calling the allegations “totally false.”

Montgomery, however, says he’s got the goods – phone records that show Winn engaged in e-mailing directions about the “independent” campaign while on the phone with Horne.

“This isn’t acceptable,” Montgomery said. “This isn’t acceptable to me as a citizen in this state and it isn’t acceptable to me in the capacity that I hold as county attorney.”

It isn’t acceptable but it apparently isn’t unacceptable enough that Montgomery would call for Horne’s resignation.

Or look further into how Winn came to be hired as Horne’s community-outreach and education director.

Or get to the bottom of what happened once Horne took office and a veteran investigator stumbled upon evidence of his involvement in the independent campaign. That investigator has claimed that Horne and a top aide engaged in a coverup and attempted to destroy records that might have showed criminal activity.

None of that, however, is under investigation by Montgomery – or anyone else, apparently.

And blatantly violating campaign finance laws in order to get yourself elected is evidently not a crime in Arizona.

Shocking, I know.

Montgomery, during his press conference, said that the Legislature needs to overhaul campaign finance laws. Of course, post Fiesta Bowl Fiasco, he said the same thing about the need for tighter laws governing disclosure of gifts and you know what happened on that. (Nothing, that would be.)

This time, however, Montgomery says he plans to lobby for tougher penalties, though he wasn’t specific on what he would be seeking.

So here’s a suggestion.

If you’re a candidate and you blow by campaign finance limits by having your pals give big money to an independent campaign in the final 10 days of a race…

… and then you direct how all that glorious money should be spent on attack ads against your opponent ….

… and you win with not even 52 percent of the vote….

Then you’re a cheater under ARS 16-Don’tYouDare and if you do, you’ve got to go.

It seems obvious, after all, that you can't be enforcing laws against other people if you don't follow them yourself.

But Montgomery declined to call for Horne's resignation while he’s pursing civil enforcement.

“I think it’s incredibly important for me to avoid … calling for the elected official in question to do anything else,” he said. “What’s important for me to do at this point in time is to make sure that the civil enforcement action goes forward.”

How you can hold a press conference to announce a blatant violation of the election law by the attorney general of the state and then not call for that same attorney general to resign is beyond me.

Then again, this is Arizona politics we're talking about.

Was Rotellini robbed by Horne?


Was Rotellini robbed by Horne?


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Tom Horne beat Democrat Felecia Rotellini in the 2010 race for the state attorney general job by a few percentage points.

So, given what County Attorney Bill Montgomery says about the shady financial dealings that Horne is alleged to have participated in during the campaign does that mean Rotellini was robbed?

Short answer: Yes.

At least that’s how it looks.

So, how does Rotellini, who spent more than a decade in the AG’s office going after bad guys, feel about all this? zI’ll let her tell you.

She issued a statement Monday that reads:

“The 2010 Attorney General’s race was decided by precious few votes. While there’s no way of knowing if that election might have ended differently without the boost provided by TV ads paid for with hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations, I do know this: Tom Horne stands accused of breaking the law, as determined by an FBI investigation and the Republican Maricopa County Attorney. The Attorney General will have his day in court, as he should. But the fact that Tom Horne needs to have a day in court is shameful.

“An Attorney General accused of breaking the law by his fellow law enforcement officials undermines the credibility of AG’s office and hurts the State of Arizona. This goes well beyond politics. It goes directly to the core attribute of the job: The ability to prosecute wrongdoers on behalf of the people of Arizona.

“You can’t stand accused of breaking the law and meanwhile defend the law. Attorney General Horne should be as ashamed of his alleged conduct as we, the people of Arizona, are disappointed in it.

“Let me also say this: As a career prosecutor, I know how hard resources are to come by in a world where you’re faced with investigating and prosecuting homicides, rapes and massive fraud. I very much appreciate the hard work and diligence of the FBI and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the courage of all the witnesses who came forward in this case. Again, they’ve proven that no one in Arizona is above the law.

“Thank you.”

So, were WE robbed?

Short answer: Yes.

Some tie Horne case, Citizens United fears


Some tie Horne case, Citizens United fears

by Ronald J. Hansen - Oct. 1, 2012 10:26 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident As a legal matter, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is accused of violating campaign-finance laws that were on the books long before the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

But as a practical matter, the case may play into fears that corporations have used the 2010 decision to thwart democracy, some election lawyers said.

On Monday, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery sought to fine Horne's campaign for what he deemed improper coordination with groups that are required to operate independently of candidates. Such collaboration has long been illegal under Arizona law.

Records show the independent groups relied on corporate donations, a funding source not permitted until the groundbreaking Citizens United case. Horne narrowly defeated Felecia Rotellini in 2010 to become the state's top law-enforcement officer.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court held that corporations and labor unions could spend directly and in unlimited amounts to influence elections, but only through independent groups.

For months, Washington, D.C.-based liberal advocacy group People for the American Way has cited the Horne case as a troubling example of the impact of that decision.

"That election really does show the dangerous impact of Citizens United," Paul Gordon, legislative counsel for the group, said Monday. "The fact is that most of this was corporate money. That's why it made such an impact. If you had some individuals putting in some money, it wouldn't have been nearly as much money."

But others said corporate money wasn't the issue.

"I don't think (the Horne case) has a whole lot to do with Citizens United," said Paul Eckstein, a Phoenix attorney who specializes in election law. Instead, it was the coordination between a candidate and an independent committee, he said.

While not seeing an impact in Horne's case, Eckstein takes issue with the ruling. The Citizens United decision assumes that campaign contributions can corrupt politicians and must be limited while independent expenditures are outside candidates' control and don't need limits, he noted.

You are being watched by the police and government

Emails, phone call used against Baby Gabriel's mom in trial

Sadly over two thirds of the people in American prisons are there for victimless drug war crimes that should be legal. In addition to that a large number of other people are in American prisons for victimless crimes like gambling, prostitution, messy yard crimes and consensual sex with a minor. I don't consider these people to be criminals and this advice is for them.

Remember any phone calls you make from jail are tape recorded and will be used against you.

And of course there is a good change that people you are in jail with are government snitches who will be paid by the government to help convict you and anything you say to them will be used against you. And since these people are begin paid by the government to help convict you they will frequently lie and make up stuff. So just shut up and talk to NO ONE if you are put in jail.

And of course all the mail you send or receive is also viewed by jail guards and probably will be used against you.

And last but not least remember, anything you do on the internet such as emails, tweets, facebook, meetup and web pages is probably being saved by a third party, and will be used against you by the police.


Emails, phone call used against Baby Gabriel's mom in trial

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 8:39 pm

By Corey Rangel, ABC15

Prosecutors used baby Gabriel's mother's own words against her during trial on Monday.

Elizabeth Johnson started crying as the jury saw emails between her and Gabriel’s father, Logan McQueary.

The emails show McQueary wrote Johnson that he loved his son and wanted to be apart of his life, but he said Johnson kept pushing him away.

Johnson is on trial for kidnapping and custodial interference charges.

Jurors also heard a recorded phone call Johnson made from jail after she was arrested in Miami in December of 2009.

During the call, Johnson told friends, family, and a TV reporter she gave her son away to a couple she met at a San Antonio park even though she knew nothing about them, not even their last name.

The state is expected to wrap up its case on Tuesday.

AG Tom Horne was having an affair when he had his hit and run accident???

From this article it sure sounds like Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was having an affair when he has his hit and run accident.

Remember Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is the jerk who wants to throw medical marijuana users in prison.


Probe into Horne's campaign finances leads to report over alleged hit-and-run

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 8:24 pm

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was having an affair when he got into his hit and run accident???? The FBI probe into campaign finance activities of Attorney General Tom Horne is landing him in hot water over an alleged hit-and-run accident.

"I'm told that I bumped into another car pulling out of a parking spot, another parked car,'' Horne told Capitol Media Services.

"Apparently at the time, I didn't think it was damaged,'' Horne continued. "I was told later it was damaged. I was happy to pay if there was any damage.''

Horne said after being informed about the incident by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office he sent off a letter.

"As soon as I hear whose bumper I damaged, I'm happy to pay for it,'' Horne said.

But reports from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office show there may have been more involved -- and that Horne may have purposely left the scene. And they know about the incident because the FBI was already watching Horne and his office back in March.

That report shows that Carmen Chenal, a disbarred attorney hired by Horne at the Attorney General's office, left the office, got into a vehicle and drove to a parking garage. Horne left the building separately, got into his gold Jaguar and drove to the same parking garage.

"Horne and Chenal then exited the parking garage with Horne now driving the vehicle that Chenal was originally driving and Carmen in the passenger seat,'' according to a report filed by Detective Mark Stribling.

"Horne was now wearing a baseball hat and he drove to Carmen's residence where Horne backed into a white Range Rover,'' the report continued. "Horne and Chenal then drove away, parked in a parking garage and both walked into residential area where Chenal lived.''

Horne told Capitol Media Services he did not remember why he and Chenal drove to the area.

"It was last March, so who remembers?'' he said, adding that the site is a parking area for Pita Jungle and other restaurants.

The incident became public with Monday's release of the investigative report into Horne's 2010 election campaign.

Phoenix police report they just got the investigation Monday and are still looking into it. It is a violation of the law to leave the scene of an accident without reporting it to authorities or at least leaving your name for the owner of the other vehicle.

Paul Penzone isn't much better then Sheriff Joe.

Yes I know that Sheriff Joe is the worst *sshole on the face of the earth and anything is better then him. But while Paul Penzone is better he isn't much better. It's kind like comparing Hitler to Bush. Sure Bush is a cut above Hitler, but he isn't that much better.

From this article Paul Penzone sounds like he is a big fan of the "drug war"

"Penzone spent six years under cover in narcotics, working on local and federal cases ... Penzone said under his leadership, the sheriff’s office will focus on ... drug trafficking"

Candidate seeks student votes to oust Arpaio

By Tess Homan

September 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Paul Penzone isn't much better then Maricopa County tyrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio - Paul Penzone is a big fan of the insane, unconstitutional drug war Maricopa County Sheriff candidate Paul Penzone said at an ASU Young Democrats meeting Friday that a sheriff should have accountability, responsibility and the intent to build a safer community.

Penzone said he decided to run for office because Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his opponent, has not acted accountably in his 20 years holding the position. Arpaio, known nationally as America’s Toughest Sheriff, and for his enforcement of immigration law, is seeking his sixth term.

After $100 million in misappropriated funds and more than $50 million in lost lawsuits, Maricopa County needs new law enforcement leadership, Penzone said.

Penzone said he is not running for sheriff to gain the title.

“It’s about me wanting to do the job of sheriff,” Penzone said.

A recent poll commissioned by Penzone showed that he is six points behind Arpaio. Penzone is also behind Arpaio in fundraising.

Arpaio raised $457,000 between Aug. 9 and Sept. 17, while Penzone raised $138,000 in that period, according to a report from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

Overall, Arpaio has raised more than $8 million to Penzone’s almost $400,000.

ASU Young Democrats Vice President Quentin Gunn, an economics and mathematics junior, said he thinks Penzone will be able to overcome the gap in funds.

“(Penzone) is one of the first candidates in a while that looks like he has a chance,” Gunn said.

Gunn said Arizona seems to be waking up to how Arpaio is hurting Arizona’s reputation and mismanaging the Sheriff’s department.

Aerospace engineering freshman Mark Bahrijczuk said he supports Arpaio.

“He’s doing a great job,” Bahrijczuk said.

He said he is in favor of Arpaio’s immigration policies because illegal immigrants take away jobs from U.S. citizens.

Although Penzone comes from a long background of law enforcement, he has never run for political office or held such a large administrative position.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, the third largest in the nation, employs more than 3,400 people, according the MCSO website.

Penzone said his 21 years in law enforcement have given him all the experience he needs to be sheriff.

He became a police officer at 21 and worked in law enforcement until 2009, when he retired and worked with nonprofit organizations like NotMyKid, which is dedicated to preventing substance abuse in adolescents.

While on the police force, Penzone spent six years under cover in narcotics, working on local and federal cases.

“If you guys watch any of the cop shows … that’s what I did,” Penzone said.

Penzone spent some time in administration and said he realized it’s one of the most important jobs on the force, despite lacking the thrill of fieldwork.

Administration is essential because that is where decisions about money distribution and allocation are made, Penzone said.

Penzone also worked with Silent Witness, Arizona’s crime tip hotline.

If elected, Penzone said he wants to restructure and reprioritize Maricopa’s law enforcement.

Although immigration will still be a concern, Penzone said he will shift the focus from catching “low-hanging fruit,” like illegal immigrants who do not pose a threat to society, to bringing down the cause of the problem.

Marketing sophomore Cassie Woods said she supports Arpaio for his crackdown on illegal immigration.

“He has the right idea,” Woods said.

There needs to be immigration reform, Woods said.

Penzone said under his leadership, the sheriff’s office will focus on hunting fugitives and stopping human slavery and drug trafficking.

Penzone said he would like to see Tent City, the outdoor jail started by Arpaio, eventually closed.

It was a temporary solution for a permanent problem, Penzone said.

Biomedical engineering sophomore Heather Borgard said she supports Penzone because of his stance on issues like Tent City.

“What’s going on in Tent City is inexcusable,” Borgard said.

She said Penzone has a chance in November if people come out to vote.

Reach the reporter at tnhoman@asu.edu

Report: Intelligence centers saving citizens data

I suspect this program is the one that pays the cops who will read this email and read this article after I post it on my web pages.

Lets face it, the American Homeland Security is just as evil as the Nazi Germany's Gestapo and the Soviet Unions KGB.


Report: Intelligence centers saving citizens data

by Matt Apuzzo and Eileen Sullivan - Oct. 3, 2012 12:00 AM

Associated Press

A multibillion-dollar information-sharing program created in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly collected information about innocent Americans and produced little valuable intelligence on terrorism, a U.S. Senate report concludes.

What began as an attempt to put local, state and federal officials in the same room analyzing the same intelligence has instead cost huge amounts of money for data-mining software, flat-screen televisions and, in Arizona, two fully equipped Chevrolet Tahoes that are used for commuting, investigators found.

The lengthy, bipartisan report is a scathing evaluation of what the Department of Homeland Security has held up as a crown jewel of its security efforts. The report underscores a reality of post-9/11 Washington: National security programs tend to grow, never shrink, even when their money and manpower far surpass the actual subject of terrorism. Much of this money went for ordinary local crime-fighting.

What's been spent is unclear

Disagreeing with the critical conclusions of the report, Homeland Security says it is outdated, inaccurate and too focused on information produced by the program, ignoring benefits to local governments from their involvement with federal intelligence officials.

Because of a convoluted grants process set up by Congress, Homeland Security officials don't know how much they have spent in their decade-long effort to set up so-called fusion centers in every state. Government estimates range from less than $300 million to $1.4 billion in federal money, plus much more invested by state and local governments. Federal funding is pegged at about 20 percent to 30 percent.

The report recommends the Senate reconsider the amount of money it spends on fusion centers, but Congress is unlikely to pull the plug. That's because the program means politically important money for state and local governments.

Infringing on civil liberties

A Senate Homeland Security subcommittee reviewed 600 unclassified reports over a one-year period and concluded that most had nothing to do with terrorism. The panel's chairman is Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

"The subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot," the report said.

When fusion centers did address terrorism, they sometimes did so in ways that infringed on civil liberties. One center cited in the Senate investigation wrote a report about a Muslim community group's list of book recommendations. Others discussed American citizens speaking at mosques or talking to Muslim groups about parenting.

No evidence of criminal activity was contained in those reports. The government did not circulate them, but it kept them on government computers. The federal government is prohibited from storing information about First Amendment activities not related to crimes.

'What planet are you from?'

Inside Homeland Security, officials have long known there were problems with the reports coming out of fusion centers, the report shows.

"You would have some guys, the information you'd see from them, you'd scratch your head and say, 'What planet are you from?'" an unidentified Homeland Security official told Congress.

Until this year, the federal reports officers received five days of training and were never tested or graded afterward, the report said.

Lack of federal oversight

The Senate Homeland Security subcommittee's report is as much an indictment of Congress as it is the Homeland Security department. In setting up the department, lawmakers wanted their states to decide what to spend the money on. Time and again, that setup has meant the federal government has no way to know how its security money is being spent.

Counterterrorism money started flowing to states in 2003. But it wasn't until late 2007 that the Bush administration told states how to run the centers.

DHS ‘fusion centers’ portrayed as pools of ineptitude, civil liberties intrusions


DHS ‘fusion centers’ portrayed as pools of ineptitude, civil liberties intrusions

By Robert O’Harrow Jr., Published: October 2

An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators.

The nationwide network of offices known as “fusion centers” was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats.

But after nine years — and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security — the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.

The creation and operation of the fusion centers were promoted by the administration of President George W. Bush and later the Obama administration as essential weapons in the fight to build a nationwide network that would keep the country safe from terrorism. The idea was to promote increased collaboration and cooperation among all levels of law enforcement across the country.

But the report documents spending on items that did little to help share intelligence, including gadgets such as “shirt button” cameras, $6,000 laptops and big-screen televisions. One fusion center spent $45,000 on a decked-out SUV that a city official used for commuting.

“In reality, the Subcommittee investigation found that the fusion centers often produced irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever,” the report said.

The bipartisan report, released by subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking minority member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), portrays the fusion center system as ineffective and criticizes the Department of Homeland Security for poor supervision.

In a response Tuesday, the department condemned the report and defended the fusion centers, saying the Senate investigators relied on out-of-date data. The Senate investigators examined fusion center reports in 2009 and 2010 and looked at activity, training and policies over nine years, according to the report.

The statement also said the Senate investigators misunderstood the role of fusion centers, “which is to provide state and local law enforcement analytic support in furtherance of their day-to-day efforts to protect local communities from violence, including that associated with terrorism.”

The DHS statement also said that all of the questioned expenses were allowable under the rules.

Department officials have defended the fusion centers in the face of past criticism from the news media and internal reviews. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and other senior officials have praised the centers as centerpieces of U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association, an advocacy organization, called the report unfair. Sena, who manages the center in the San Francisco Bay area, said fusion centers have processed more than 22,000 “suspicious activity reports” that have triggered 1,000 federal inquiries or investigations. He said they also have shared with the Terrorist Screening Center some 200 “pieces of data” that provided “actionable intelligence.”

The Senate report challenged the value of the training and much of the information produced by the centers. It said that DHS analysts assigned to the fusion centers received just five days of basic training for intelligence reporting. Sena said they received an array of other training as well.

Some analysts at the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which received the fusion center reports, were found to be so unproductive that supervisors imposed quotas for reports, knowing those quotas would diminish the quality of the intelligence, according to the Senate report. Many of those analysts at the DHS intelligence office were contractors.

Investigators found instances in which the analysts used intelligence about U.S. citizens that may have been gathered illegally. In one case, a fusion center in California wrote a report on a notorious gang, the Mongols Motorcycle Club, that had distributed leaflets telling its members to behave when they got stopped by police. The leaflet said members should be courteous, control their emotions and, if drinking, have a designated driver.

“There is nothing illegal or even remotely objectionable [described] in this report,” one supervisor wrote about the draft before killing it. “The advice given to the groups’ members is protected by the First Amendment.”

Financial questions were pervasive, with the report saying oversight has been so lax that department officials do not know exactly how much has been spent on the centers. The official estimates varied between $289 million and $1.4 billion.

A DHS official, who insisted on not being identified because he was not authorized to talk to the news media, acknowledged that the department does not closely track the money but said it conducts audits of the fusion spending. The official said that just under half of the fusion centers’ budgets comes from the department.

In the statement, the department said its Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the grants, provides “wide latitude” for states to decide how to spend the money.

“All of the expenditures questioned in the report are allowable under the grant program guidance, whether or not they are connected with a fusion center,” the statement said.

The Senate report said local and state officials entrusted with the fusion center grants sometimes spent lavishly. More than $2 million was spent on a center for Philadelphia that never opened. In Ohio, officials used the money to buy rugged laptop computers and then gave them to a local morgue. San Diego officials bought 55 flat-screen televisions to help them collect “open-source intelligence” — better known as cable television news.

Senate investigators repeatedly questioned the quality of the intelligence reports. A third or more of the reports intended for officials in Washington were discarded because they lacked useful information, had been drawn from media accounts or involved potentially illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to the Senate report.

Senate panel criticizes anti-terror data-sharing centers


Senate panel criticizes anti-terror data-sharing centers

By Ken Dilanian and Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times

October 3, 2012

WASHINGTON — A federal domestic security effort to help state and local law enforcement catch terrorists by setting up more than 70 information-sharing centers around the country has threatened civil liberties while doing little to combat terrorism, a two-year examination by a Senate subcommittee found.

The so-called fusion centers were created in 2003 after the Sept. 11 commission concluded that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies needed to collaborate more in counter-terrorism efforts.

Funded by federal grants, the fusion centers were intended to share national intelligence with state and local law enforcement and to analyze potential terrorist activity detected by police. Homeland Security Department officials have credited the centers for helping uncover terrorist plans, including a 2009 plot to bomb the New York subway.

But the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in a 146-page report released Tuesday that reviewed intelligence reports from fusion centers between April 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, "could identify nothing that uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution any fusion center made to disrupt an active terrorist plot."

Senate investigators concluded that Homeland Security liaisons to the centers "forwarded 'intelligence' of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism."

The investigators also found that some local analysts had written inappropriate and potentially illegal reports about constitutionally protected activities of American citizens. Homeland Security officials prevented most from being disseminated.

The Homeland Security Department could not say for sure how much federal money had been spent on the centers, the subcommittee found, providing a range of $289 million to $1.4 billion.

Homeland Security officials took issue with the conclusions, saying they resulted from a "fundamentally flawed" investigation. "The committee report on federal support for fusion centers is out of date, inaccurate and misleading," said spokesman Matthew Chandler.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has lauded the centers, which are located in nearly every major metropolitan area. In March 2010, Homeland Security Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis Caryn A. Wagner praised them as "the linchpin of the evolving homeland security enterprise."

The Senate report rebuts statements by Homeland Security officials that the centers helped uncover terrorist plots, including a 2010 attempt to blow up a sport utility vehicle in Times Square, saying that the same work would have been done through previously existing channels.

One of the most significant terrorism cases in which officials have claimed a success for fusion centers was that of Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant who traveled in 2009 from Colorado to New York City, where he has admitted that he planned to blow himself up on the subway around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Napolitano claimed in a speech in 2010 that "it was a fusion center near Denver that played the key role in 'fusing' the information that came from the public with evidence that came in following the suspect's arrest by the FBI."

But that claim was not true, the investigation found. The Colorado Information Analysis Center's involvement consisted of checking a few public databases and addressing media inquiries. The crucial role, the report said, was played by Colorado state troopers assigned to the center who were also assigned to help the FBI. The report found that the troopers would have been doing what they did whether or not there was a fusion center.

In preparing the report, the committee reviewed intelligence that had been edited to protect classified information. Homeland Security officials said that these redactions limited the investigators' ability to assess the usefulness of intelligence generated by local analysts.

One of the country's largest federally funded fusion centers covers most of Southern California. The Joint Regional Intelligence Center in Norwalk has more than 80 full-time staff members and stitches together information from 166 law enforcement departments.

Deputy Chief Michael Downing, head of the LAPD's counter-terrorism bureau, said his department had gotten "a lot of value" from the increased cooperation: "There's a lot of white noise, but there are occasionally gold nuggets."

In the last year, Downing said, the Norwalk-based center has helped start terrorism investigations by sharing information about Muslim extremist literature found in the back seat of a car during a traffic stop and about an individual who went into a youth group meeting at an Islamic center and tried to recruit young Muslims to "kill infidels."

He did not know whether any of these cases had led to a conviction.

In some cases, the investigation found, fusion centers have also made embarrassing intelligence errors.

Last year, for example, the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center in Springfield published a report asserting that a hacker in Russia had stolen an unknown number of user names and passwords to sensitive utility control systems and used that information to break into a local water district's computerized control system.

In fact, the "hacker" was a utility employee who had accessed the system legitimately while on a family vacation, the report found.

A spokeswoman for the center, Monique Bond, would not comment on the report, but said, "Fusion centers and the information shared by local, state and federal agencies enhances law enforcement's efforts in fighting everyday crime and homeland defense."

The subcommittee report also pointed to fusion center reports on activities protected by the U.S. Constitution.

One draft intelligence report examined a reading list from a Muslim community group: "Ten Book Recommendations for Every Muslim." Four were written by individuals with records in a U.S. intelligence counter-terrorism database, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, known as TIDE.

"We cannot report on books and other writings of TIDE matches simply because they are TIDE matches," wrote a Homeland Security reviewer of the draft report. "The writings themselves are protected by the 1st Amendment unless you can establish that something in the writing indicates planning or advocates violent or other criminal activity." The report was not published.



Jailing of 'Innocence of Muslims' creator raises free speech worries


Jailing of 'Innocence of Muslims' creator raises free speech worries

By Victoria Kim, Abby Sewell and Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times

October 2, 2012, 9:42 p.m.

As rioting over the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" spread across the Muslim world, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton both deplored the film's message but defended the free speech rights of its creators. In Clinton's words: "We do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be."

But now one of the film's creators, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is sitting in jail in downtown Los Angeles. He may face two years in prison for allegedly violating the terms of his probation through his actions surrounding the film's production. News of his arrest and detention has been widely covered around the world, causing some to worry about the perception that the United States was punishing Nakoula because of the content of his movie.

Government officials maintained that Nakoula was back in custody not because of the impact of the movie, which portrays the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a child molester, but because he had used aliases in producing the film and lied to probation officers.

Nakoula, who was on a type of probation known in the federal system as supervised release, served time in prison for a 2010 conviction for taking out bank and credit cards under myriad fake identities. He now faces eight charges of probation violation. The allegations include making false statements to authorities about the film — claiming his role was limited to writing the script — and denying he used the alias "Sam Bacile."

Authorities say they have proof Nakoula's role in the movie was "much more expansive" than that of a writer and that Nakoula could face new criminal charges for lying to federal officials.

Probation officials are recommending a two-year prison term for Nakoula, despite a guideline range of four to 10 months.

A federal judge ordered him held in protective custody without bail, saying he is a flight risk and poses "some danger to the community."

Some legal experts said the government was on firm legal footing and had little choice but to enforce the terms of Nakoula's probation once he came onto their radar.

Those on probation don't have the same rights as the average citizen, and authorities have wide discretion over their behavior, the experts said. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld speech restrictions as part of probation in specific cases. Nakoula was barred from using computers or the Internet without permission from his probation officer, though he has not been accused of violating those terms.

"Everything that has happened to him is really consistent with the way the probation office might act if he were doing a film about kittens," said Kenneth P. White, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner in the Los Angeles firm Brown, White & Newhouse.

But others question whether Nakoula's notoriety — and the global political fallout over the contents of the film — is placing more scrutiny on the filmmaker and prompting federal officials to be harsher with him.

"Certainly the sequence of events looks very much as though this man has been arrested and held on account of his producing a film," said Michael W. McConnell, a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit who now directs the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. "It sends exactly the wrong message abroad, because when people are becoming violent to try to pressure the U.S. to violate someone's constitutional rights, we ought to be going out of our way to make it clear that we will not accede to that kind of pressure."

Nakoula's court hearing after his arrest Thursday was anything but a routine probation violation proceeding.

The public was allowed to watch only through a video feed in a separate courthouse blocks away, and U.S. marshals kept the media away from the courtroom. Robert Dugdale, the criminal division chief for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, personally handled Nakoula's hearing, contending misrepresentations by Nakoula had caused "real harm" to those who signed on to work on the film. Vehicles marked "Homeland Security" closed off a stretch of Main Street as Nakoula was whisked away to the federal lockup after the hearing.

News of Nakoula's arrest prompted some critics to charge that the probation violation was a thinly veiled punishment for the film's message. A Wall Street Journal editorial called his detention a 1st Amendment affront saying that even speech that "causes the White House headaches abroad" is still constitutionally protected. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote on his blog that the case "raises obvious concerns that the Administration is again defending free speech while quietly moving to punish those who cause religious strife."

In an interview, Turley, a criminal defense attorney who has represented high-profile terrorism suspects accused of violent speech, said the charges against Nakoula had "common elements of pretextual charges." He said the government could have been hoping that putting Nakoula behind bars would appease those incensed by the film.

He said the arrest could send the wrong message to the public: "Even if you have a right to say something, the government can still choose to punish you on other grounds."

Neither Nakoula's attorneys nor the U.S. attorney's office would comment for this article.

But legal experts said they anticipate Nakoula's defense will attempt to show Nakoula is being punished for what was said in the film.

"His attorney is going to make the pitch that the government is trying to censor this guy," said Ellen Barry, a veteran criminal defense attorney and a former federal public defender who regularly handles probation violation cases. "The government's argument is going to be, this is exactly the same conduct he was convicted of — he's moving in that direction, make him stop."

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor and a vocal free speech advocate, wrote on his widely read blog in the early days of the uproar over "Innocence of Muslims" in defense of protections for blasphemous speech. Even so, he said actions against Nakoula do not illustrate a clear case of targeting someone on 1st Amendment grounds.

"I think it's interesting enough that people should be asking questions," he said. "It's not obvious what the answer is."




L.A. repeals its ban on pot stores


L.A. repeals its ban on pot stores

By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

October 2, 2012, 7:34 p.m.

After struggling for years to regulate storefront pot shops, the Los Angeles City Council retreated Tuesday, voting to repeal the carefully crafted ban on medical marijuana dispensaries it approved a few months ago.

The move shows the political savvy of the increasingly organized and well-funded network of marijuana activists who sought to place a referendum overturning the ban on the March ballot, when the mayor and eight council seats will be up for grabs.

It also leaves Los Angeles, once again, without any law regulating an estimated 1,000 pot shops, which some describe as magnets for crime and others call a source of relief for those who are desperately ill.

The council's 11-2 vote came after an impassioned plea from Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a medical marijuana patient who is fighting a rare form of cancer. Looking gaunt and speaking in a faint voice, Rosendahl asked his colleagues how sick patients like him would be able to acquire the drug if the ban remained in place.

"Where does anybody go, even a councilman go, to get his medical marijuana?" he said.

Like other cities in California, Los Angeles has strained to find a way to balance the state law that permits medical marijuana against federal statutes that continue to make its sale and use a crime. Federal officials recently launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in the city, leading one council member to suggest that any regulation is beyond L.A.'s control.

"That is our relief," Councilman Jose Huizar said of the federal crackdown, which included raids on several dispensaries last week in Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights and other neighborhoods. Dozens of other pot shops received letters ordering them to close within two weeks.

But council opponents of dispensaries said they would try to find other ways to shut down marijuana shops by using laws that are already on the books. Immediately after the vote, Councilman Mitchell Englander called on the city to prosecute medical marijuana businesses for violating zoning laws because they are not on the city's list of approved land uses.

In another motion Tuesday, exasperated council members called on the Legislature "to address the inadequacies of state law." Council members asked for clarity on what municipalities can do to regulate dispensaries and called for stricter regulations of physicians who provide medical marijuana recommendations. They also said patients should be required to demonstrate six months of medical history to obtain recommendations.

The city's ban was enacted in July by council members who complained that neighborhoods were being overrun by dispensaries. It called for storefront marijuana sales to be outlawed, but allowed small groups of patients to cultivate and share the drug on their own.

The ban was the last in a string of ordinances the council has adopted since 2007, when the city imposed a moratorium on dispensaries. A loophole in the first law allowed hundreds of new pot shops to proliferate.

Subsequent ordinances have generated more than 100 lawsuits from dispensary operators and others, according to the office of City Atty. Carmen Trutanich.

Many medical marijuana activists say they agree that there are too many dispensaries, and have asked for regulation. [What rubbish!!! That is like saying there are too many Fry's grocery stores, too many Circle Ks or too many gas stations. Let the free market determine the number of pot stores. If that happens I suspect almost all of the stores that sell pot will go out of business, but you will be able to buy marijuana at any place you can buy booze, such as Fry's, Walgreens or Circle K] They have called on the city to enact an ordinance supported by Rosendahl and Councilman Paul Koretz that would allow pot shops that opened before the 2007 moratorium to remain.

Tuesday's repeal of the ban marked a major victory for the coalition of marijuana activists who came together to put the referendum on the ballot. The effort was led by an advocacy group called Americans for Safe Access, a group of dispensaries called the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 770, which has organized workers at more than 50 dispensaries.

By collecting tens of thousands of signatures to qualify the referendum, the activists forced council members to decide whether to rescind the ordinance or put the matter on the March ballot.

Huizar said he believes medical marijuana proponents would have put up a lot of money to fund the referendum to "protect their profits."

"They have attorneys, they have lobbyists, they have unions," he said.

Huizar accused opponents of the ban of using patients "as a pretense," and said most people who obtain medical marijuana from stores are recreational users.

The council heard from several people during Tuesday's meeting who insisted that medical marijuana had been invaluable in helping them cope with their medical problems. None was more effective than Rosendahl.

The 67-year-old councilman began taking medical marijuana a decade ago to manage neuropathy, a stinging pain in his feet. He told council members that he used the drug "occasionally at night" until he was diagnosed with ureteral cancer three months ago. The drug has helped him during chemotherapy, he said.

He criticized President Obama's handling of the medical marijuana issue and spoke against some of the recent federal raids of dispensaries. "If I can't get marijuana, and it's medically prescribed, what do I do?" he said.

Because the vote was not unanimous, the repeal will come back for a second vote next week.


Speedy Airport Security: Should You Apply?

I wonder is this a violation of the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment which says all people must be treated equally by the government.

The "equal protection clause" of the 14th Amendment says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Not that it would matter, because these searches are almost certainly a violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments.

Last but not least I wouldn't apply for this. Giving the government your personal information for faster, quicker service is like giving your personal information to a bank robber for faster, quicker service.


Speedy Airport Security: Should You Apply?


Published: October 3, 2012 Comment

WHO hasn’t stood in an airport security line shoeless, beltless, clutching a Ziploc bag and inching grimly toward a full body scanner? A few weeks ago, I decided I’d had enough. I applied for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program, which expedites passenger screening and customs declaration processes for fliers willing to undergo background checks and pay a $100 fee. If you’re already a member, you’ll soon be zipping through more airports. If you’re not a member, get ready to see a lot more travelers scoot ahead of you in line.

“The applications have grown dramatically,” said John Wagner, executive director of Admissibility and Passenger Programs for Customs and Border Protection. When Global Entry, one of several Trusted Traveler programs, began testing at three airports in 2008, Customs and Border Protection was receiving a few hundred applications a month. Today the program receives 25,000 to 30,000 applications a month.

If you are accepted for Global Entry, which expedites customs, you are also automatically qualified for the newer domestic screening program, T.S.A. PreCheck, which often (but not always) means you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt and jacket or take your laptop and liquids out of your carry-on. PreCheck is thriving, too. More than three million passengers have been screened since the program began tests last October, and the Transportation Security Administration said it plans to screen about a million passengers a month in 2013. Currently in 26 airports, PreCheck is aiming to be in 35 airports by the end of the year, according to Sterling Payne, a T.S.A. spokesman. (For the basics about Global Entry and PreCheck and the nongovernmental screening program, Clear, check out the Practical Traveler column that was published on April 18.)

Some in the travel industry are making it more compelling than ever to apply. On Sept. 24, Loews Hotels & Resorts announced that it would be the first hotel chain to pay the $100 application fee for its approximately 2,400 YouFirst Platinum loyalty rewards members if they apply by Nov. 23. That will cost Loews about a quarter of a million dollars, according to a spokeswoman for the brand. But Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels and himself a Trusted Traveler, said it’s worth it. “We are keenly aware that traveling today is a difficult proposition,” he said. “And we thought that it was in the best interest of our loyal guests that we team up with Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to promote programs they have spent a long time figuring out that will speed up the travel process.”

Industry executives think more hotels will follow. Airlines, including American, Delta, United, Alaska and US Airways, have already promoted the programs. But many travelers and public interest groups have serious concerns. Should you apply? To help you decide, here are some of the most common questions about Trusted Traveler, and what the experts have to say.

Are we endangering our civil liberties by sharing our personal information with the government?

When Global Entry members return to the United States after an international flight, they do not fill out customs forms or wait in line to be interviewed by a customs official. Instead, they use an automated kiosk to scan their passports and their fingerprints. The kiosk has a touch screen that enables travelers to answer the customs declaration questions. Then it prints out a receipt for them to take to officials at the baggage claim.

To get this speedy service (along with the perks of PreCheck), you must submit a raft of personal data: your address, employment status, driver’s license, passport and travel history as well as proof of “admissibility,” like a birth certificate. If your online application is conditionally approved, you will then have an in-person interview with a Customs and Border Protection officer and have your picture and fingerprints taken.

For at least one colleague of mine, this engenders thoughts of secret police. Certainly, it concerns public interest groups like the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research center in Washington that focuses on civil liberties issues. In written comments to United States Customs, the center said Global Entry raises “substantial privacy and security issues,” like who exactly has access to the information and whether the program satisfies fair information practices (like enabling travelers to see and amend their personal information and ensuring that it is being used only for the purpose for which they provided it). You can learn more at epic.org/privacy.

In a privacy impact assessment available at tsa.gov, the Department of Homeland Security says that the information it collects is necessary for national security, enabling it to ensure that applicants are not on any watch list and that they are not misidentified as someone who is. “It’s really no different than the data we would collect from any one of the millions of people who enter the U.S. each day,” Mr. Wagner said.

The impact assessment contends that the information will be accessed only by people who must see it to do their jobs and who have passed a background check and completed privacy security training. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has said the department’s definition of who can access this information is too broad.

I’m concerned about privacy. At the same time, with the electronic trail that we all leave in the information age, the Global Entry application seemed only slightly more exhaustive than forms I’ve filled out for things like online banking and renewing my driver’s license. Time will tell if I was too trusting.

Doesn’t clearing people as Trusted Travelers create an opportunity for criminals to slip through the cracks?

“We do a pretty rigorous background check,” Mr. Wagner said, ticking off the sorts of things the government probes like criminal records, watch lists, and customs violations. Applicants’ fingerprints are run through F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security systems, he said. Additionally, members of the programs are still subject to random checks at the airport.

That said, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has noted that criminals with records could potentially collaborate with Trusted Travelers who do not have previous ties to terrorism.

A valid (and chilling) thought. Yet there is some comfort in knowing that even though Trusted Traveler makes navigating an airport less onerous, members and their bags are still screened to ensure safety. There is no bypassing the detectors.

If millions of people are eligible for expedited screening, will it really be all that fast?

Just as priority boarding lines have become interminable thanks to travelers with every kind of status imaginable, one wonders if something similar will happen as Trusted Traveler becomes widespread. The Global Entry process is supposed to take 60 seconds to complete. Not bad. While I have not gone through it myself, other travelers say this is fairly accurate.

As for PreCheck, after a year of testing the T.S.A. is expanding the program to the nation’s busiest airports. One of the biggest complaints about PreCheck is that members never know if they will be expedited. The program is not available at every checkpoint in participating airports (a list is at tsa.gov), and sometimes members are simply told to stay on the regular line. Still, David A. Castelveter, director of external communications for the T.S.A., said in a statement that “we have evaluated the results of the pilot program to ensure T.S.A. PreCheck is operationally ready for larger volumes of travelers.”

Here’s hoping.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Isn't Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne the guy who demanded that Gov Jan Brewer declare Prop 203 null and void so he could throw sick people who smoke medical marijuana in prison???

I bet that was just a smoke screen to direct attention away from his illegal campaign contribuntions and the old hit and run accident that appears to have happended while he might have been having an affair with Carmen Chenal.

Hmmm, I wonder will Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne attempt to find some lame *ss excuse to throw me in jail for posting these things on my web page that show that Arizona's top cop may have been involved in some illegal activities along with some immoral activities???

Look Tom, I don't care if you are sleeping with some other women besides your wife. But you are a hypocrite if you do that, while the same time you pretend to be holier then the rest of us because you want to jail medical marijuana smokers.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has been accused of accepting millions in illegal campaign contributions, and having a hit and run accident while having a possible affair with Carmen Chenal


Cops routinely lie to justify illegal searches???

Police officers routinely lie to justify illegal searches for drugs???

Odor chemist James Woodford says yes to that question.


Police say they smelled marijuana before search, but judge tosses out the evidence

By Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune reporter

October 4, 2012

After Chicago police curbed Jonathan Stoffels in December 2008, one of the arresting officers said he saw a leafy substance inside the Lincoln Navigator and also took note of a strong odor of marijuana.

That led to a search that allegedly yielded 10 grams of pot inside a mason jar, $8,600 in cash, what appeared to be drug recipes and a drug ledger — evidence that could have added to the drug manufacturing case that federal agents were already building against Stoffels, 36, of Plainfield, and his cohorts.

Last week, a federal judge tossed the evidence — in part because the jar had been destroyed while in police custody. But Stoffels' defense attorney had also raised an unusual challenge to the second reason for the search, that the officer caught whiffs of marijuana from Stoffels' car.

At a suppression hearing, a taste and smell expert on that skunky, funky weed testified that the odor was unlikely so strong the officer could smell it.

Defense attorneys who have had suspicions about the "strong odor of pot" justification for searches say it's a struggle to challenge the statements, claiming that judges tend to believe the officers and that it's hard to prove a negative.

As it turns out, there is a small scientific body of work and years of forensic research that has raised challenges to the ability to smell weed through containers, outside homes or, in this case, from a suspect's car.

"Usually there is never anybody who challenges it, and when it is not challenged, the judges just take it at face value," said James Woodford, an "odor chemist" and expert on drug scents. "When the police say, 'I smell marijuana,' if the defense doesn't say anything or bring in an expert, it becomes a fact."

Woodford is a chemist who specializes in odor molecules and how they can permeate barriers and how a smell dissipates in air. He has been called to testify on the issue numerous times over 20 years, often re-creating scenes to challenge officers' assertions that they could smell marijuana through packages, containers or car trunks. He said evidence in some of those cases was suppressed.

In Stoffels' case, Chicago defense attorney John A. Meyer challenged the officer's right to search the car by relying on the testimony of Richard L. Doty, who treats patients for disorders on taste and smell.

And although there were other problems with the evidence recovered in Stoffels' traffic stop, his defense attorney believes Doty's testimony was key.

"To this case, it was absolutely essential," Meyer said.

In 2004, Doty published the only study to examine use of marijuana odor as a reason for probable cause for searches. As part of his study, he examined how the characteristic marijuana odor develops in plants by having subjects sniff both mature and immature plants.

The study mattered in Stoffels' case because the government was alleging he was inside a grow house about an hour before his Dec. 11, 2008, traffic stop and that the scent of marijuana had lingered on his clothes.

The officer said he detected an "overwhelming odor" of cannabis emitting from inside the vehicle, according to the arrest report. The officer also claimed to see the jar, which contained a "crushed leafy green substance."

But the jar was destroyed by Chicago police after it was confiscated, and U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled that it could not be used to justify the search of the car.

Without that piece of evidence, the government resisted Meyer's challenge to the search by arguing that the officer had smelled the marijuana, Meyer said.

But the attorney said he found the story "preposterous" and started researching the topic, discovering Doty's research.

At the hearing over the challenge, the arresting officer testified that he smelled it, and a federal agent who was in the grow house also testified that the odor had lingered on his clothes after he left.

But after examining photos and video of the marijuana inside the grow house, Doty testified that it was scientifically unlikely that anyone could have smelled marijuana on Stoffels during the stop. The plants, he said, were simply too young and had not grown to a stage of maturity, bringing that strong, familiar pot smell.

"Immature plants don't have a distinct marijuana smell," Doty explained to the Tribune. "… In looking at the plants, it was evident there wasn't any budding."

Late last week, Pallmeyer ruled in Stoffels' favor, suppressing the use of all the evidence from the car. Pallmeyer went out of her way to say she wasn't making a statement about the officer's credibility.

"All I need to do is say that the notion that this overwhelming scent came from Mr. Stoffels' clothing is not persuasive to me," Pallmeyer said, according to transcripts.

Meyer believes that the science mattered, and that without Doty's testimony, it could have been hard to challenge the officer who testified.

Doty has testified in at least a dozen cases since 2004, and in three cases, including this one, evidence was suppressed.

Even so, the drug manufacturing case is moving to trial with a lot of other evidence — including statements from both Stoffels and a co-defendant, surveillance of their alleged drug-making activities, alleged receipts for the purchase of grow materials and chemicals needed to manufacture other illegal drugs and emails a co-defendant was allegedly sending to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration website.

Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor, said testimony such as Doty's was rare and reflects the unusual set of circumstances that had Stoffels coming from a grow house with plants that could be analyzed.

Cramer, who now heads Chicago's office of Kroll Advisory Solutions, an international risk-assessment firm, also said that in his experience as a prosecutor, when an officer testifies to smelling pot, it's usually because there is some in the car.

But for Meyer and other defense attorneys, the ability to challenge the officer's claim with research goes to a broader issue about the Fourth Amendment. Even if illegal contraband is recovered, as it allegedly was in Stoffels' case, a search should be based on legitimate and defensible evidence by the police, they said.

Meyer said he wonders about the countless searches based on suspected marijuana odor in which police never find any contraband.

"People don't complain about it," he said. "This is just a fact of life that you might be stopped and searched. … It matters because the Fourth Amendment protects all individuals against warrantless searches, and once police start abusing that right, everybody is at risk."


Bad news for Chicago medical marijuana patients!!!


Cops seize pot plants near Bishop Ford: 'Big as Christmas trees'

Staff report

10:15 a.m. CDT, October 3, 2012

A police helicopter discovered a patch of marijuana plants the size of two football fields, nestled among heavy brush along the Bishop Ford Freeway on the Southeast Side, authorities say.

The sheriff's deputy aboard the helicopter spotted the pot while flying above overgrown wetlands near Stony Island and 105th Street around noon Tuesday.

"The plants are pretty big. They're as big as Christmas trees," Chicago police Lt. Michael Ryle told WGN-TV. "Some of the plants are as tall as 10 feet tall."

The plants were found in an area the size of two football fields, from 105th Street to 108th, police said. There was also a makeshift "watchman" area where the still at-large growers could keep an eye out for trespassers, Ryle said.

The growing area is "very secluded, very difficult to see from anywhere but the air," Ryle said. "You can't smell it from here, but the smell is very intense once you're inside.

"There's some evidence in there of like a camp, where there's been a watchman. . .or a guard sitting on it."

Ryle complimented the deputy and a Chicago police officer who were aboard the helicopter.

“They used their training and their experience to spot this. They claim it was luck, but it was more than luck.”

WGN-TV contributed.


Chicago police find about 1,500 pot plants in city

Source Chicago police find about 1,500 pot plants in city

By DON BABWIN | Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — In Chicago, a bustling urban metropolis where skyscrapers are as likely to sprout up as anything a farmer might plant, someone decided there was just enough room to grow something a little more organic: Marijuana.

The plants grew even taller than the tallest Chicago Bulls. However, just days before the crop on a chunk of land the size of two football fields would have been ready to harvest, a police officer and county sheriff's deputy in a helicopter spotted it as they headed back to their hangar about three miles away.

On Wednesday, a day after the discovery of the largest marijuana farm anyone at the police department can remember, officers became farmers for a day as they began to chop down about 1,500 marijuana plants that police said could have earned the growers as much as $10 million.

No arrests had been made as of Wednesday, and police were still trying to determine who owns the property that housed the grow site on the city's far South Side. But police said they were hopeful that because of the size of the operation, informants or others might provide tips about those involved, including a man seen running from the area as the helicopter swooped low.

James O'Grady, the commander of the department's narcotics division, said they've never seen anything like it before, in part because Chicago's harsh winters mean growers have a lot less time to plant, grow and harvest marijuana than their counterparts in less inclement places such as California and Mexico. The bumper crop was likely planted in spring, O'Grady said.

Add to that the urban sprawl: there are few spots in Chicago where such an operation could go unnoticed because of all the buildings, roads and residents. The growers took pains to ensure their crop was largely hidden by a canopy of trees and surrounding vegetation.

"Somebody put a lot of thought into it," O'Grady said. "But they probably didn't anticipate the helicopter."

Chicago Police Officer Stan Kuprianczyk, a pilot, said police helicopters flew "over it all the time," to and from their hangar, without spying the grow site. Yet somehow, a number of factors came together to allow Cook County Sheriff's Deputy Edward Graney to spot the plants.

"We had the right altitude, the right angle, the right sunlight, and I happened to be glancing down," said Graney. He said he initially spotted five plants or so through the trees before he asked Kuprianczyk to circle around for a closer look.

"We just happened to be right over a small hole in the trees and we looked down," Kuprianczyk said.

They also happened to have the right training, Graney said, explaining that just a few weeks earlier a much smaller operation in suburban Chicago prompted them to fly over and videotape the scene so they might be able to recognize marijuana if they ever saw it from the air again.

So, by the time Graney spotted the marijuana plants, which are a much brighter shade of green than the surrounding vegetation, he had a pretty good idea what he was looking at.

Superintendent Garry McCarthy, whose officers are more used to intercepting shipments of marijuana grown elsewhere or discovering hydroponic growing operations inside buildings, said the discovery of the marijuana is significant in a larger fight against street violence.

Those involved with narcotics, whether it is marijuana, heroin or cocaine, purchase firearms with their profits and have shown they're willing to use them to protect their business, he said.

"That's where the violence comes in, the competition for the markets," he said.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery wants to expand the insane drug war

It sounds like the cops and prosecutors want the ability to declare any damn drug they don't like is illegal and start arresting people because they say it's bad.

Let's fact it the "drug war" is just a jobs program for over paid cops, prosecutors, probation officers and prison guards and they want to increase the size of this job programs as much as they can.


Maricopa County launches new offensive vs. 'bath salts'

by Laurie Merrill - Oct. 3, 2012 12:00 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Frustrated by chemists who concoct legal versions of designer drugs as soon as key ingredients are banned, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Tuesday that he wanted to shut down or seize the businesses that sell the potentially lethal drugs.

"While we are waiting (to pass bans), chemists are making changes that would render the drugs legal," Montgomery told the East Valley Synthetic Drug Task Force on Tuesday. "By the time we act, they have already redesigned (the drugs)."

The task force, meeting for the fourth time, gathered at Skysong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, to hear Montgomery's ideas and to discuss emerging drugs in Arizona, including kratom,salvia and 2c-1.

The public must be educated about synthetic drugs, task-force members say. Users can buy the drugs online or at smoke shops for as little as $10.

It remains crucial to enact laws that render illegal the components of "bath salts," which mimic cocaine and methamphetamine, Montgomery said.

But because of the swift ability of suppliers to skirt bans by changing chemical components, more must be done, Montgomery said.

ASU police don't always confiscate suspected synthetic drugs because they can't always be certain that the drugs contain banned ingredients, said ASU police Officer Laura Gill.

The Arizona Legislature recently banned seven components of bath salts, but police can't be sure the potion in a suspect's pocket is illegal, said Stephanie Siete of Community Bridges, an Arizona drug-treatment organization.

A July raid of designer-drug distributors probably won't make a dent in local distribution because those arrested will be replaced, Montgomery said.

Montgomery has directed his office's civil attorneys to study a Yavapai County practice of getting injunctions against businesses that sell "a known public health threat."

Another option is using federal racketeering laws to seize businesses, he said.

Jerry Cobb, Montgomery's spokesman, said it was unclear how long civil attorneys would need to study Yavapai's practice.

Task force organizes to fight war on synthetic drugs


Task force organizes to fight war on synthetic drugs

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 6:11 am

By Mike Sakal, Tribune

Prosecutors and police throughout the Valley are continuing to push back against the war on synthetic drugs.

Law enforcement agencies say they have faced an uphill battle the last two years against various illegal chemicals often used in spice and other drugs commonly referred to as Bath Salts and not being able to get a handle on chemists altering the chemicals to make their sale legal. The next step is to organize a formal plan in hopes of staying ahead of the curve

Prosecutors and police hope that part of that plan will include legislation with teeth to stop the sale and distribution of the drugs while cracking down on — if not ultimately closing — the businesses that sell them. They also want to more aggressively go after online businesses where many college and high school students are purchasing the drugs.

About 25 members of law enforcement, including Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, school officials and drug prevention officials, attended the Mesa Prevention Alliance Synthetic Drug Task Force meeting at Arizona State University’s SkySong campus in south Scottsdale on Tuesday.

During the meeting in which Montgomery was the guest speaker, he stressed the importance of law enforcement to be able to identify the dangerous and illegal chemicals in synthetic drugs mostly being used by younger men.

Prosecutors in Yavapai County now can seek injunctions against smoke shops and other retail outlets selling them, and Maricopa County hopes to eventually move toward being able to have similar provisions in place. The injunctions come amid a “tricky balancing act” by law enforcement in determining probable cause as to whether some of the ingredients or chemicals in Spice are illegal in order to confiscate the drug so investigators can successfully work their way up the chain to not only prosecute the user but the seller.

“We’re establishing that these drugs are not safe to use and that they’re a threat to health, safety and welfare,” Montgomery said during the meeting. “I’m not going to listen to these business owners who are insisting they are just pursuing economic opportunity by selling these drugs. We also have to have data to support those claims. When it comes to criminal law or a criminal act, the law has to be very specific in what you can and cannot have. All it takes is for a chemist to alter the chemicals somewhat, and they circumvent the law.”

“If we can go after business owners, we will,” Montgomery added, who said his office also is eyeing major retailers who are selling various stimulants that likely have illegal chemicals in them.

As of the spring, Arizona laws have included seven of the known synthetic cathinones used in the creation of bath salts that have been classified as dangerous drugs and prohibited for possession, use or sale under Arizona state law: fluoromethcathinone, methoxymethcathinone, methyleenedioxymethcathinone, methylenedioxypryovalerone, butylone, methylmethcathinne and napthylpyrovalerone.

David Shuff, director of student support services for Mesa Unified School District, said that something has to be done in the way of laws being put in place to reflect what manufacturers are putting into Spice that students often buy and are caught with on campus. However, it is hard to know what substances or chemicals are being placed in Spice, Shuff said.

Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

Pot smokers make border dangerous

In this article Linda Valdez seems to be blaming pot smokers for the carnage caused by the insane and unconstitutional "war on drugs". Linda Valdez should put the blame on the politicians who passed the unconstitutional and immoral "war on drugs" for the damage cause by the "war on drugs"


Linda Valdez

Republic editorial writer & columnist

Pot smokers make border dangerous


Thu, Oct 04 2012

Those most cuplable in the death of Border Patrol agent Nicholas Ivie just keep smoking their illegal marijuana.

Pot smokers create a steady market that Mexico’s drug cartels work hard to satisfy. It’s a lucrative business for criminal syndicates. They have sophisticated weaponry and spotters who use night-vision goggles and two-way radios to shepherd the drug-carrying smugglers through the desert.

Those who carry the drugs on their back are being told by the criminal bosses in Mexico not lose a load, Lt. Floyd Gregory of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office told Arizona Republic reporters Daniel Gonzalez and Ronald J. Hansen. The smugglers are increasingly armed and dangerous.

This creates enormous risk for law enforcement and those who live near the corridors where drugs are smuggled.

But blaming border security strategies is ridiculous.

In this land of free enterprise, it should not be difficult to recognize the laws of supply and demand at work. Cartels will supply drugs to the American market as long as there is a demand.

Buying and using illegal marijuana is not a victimless crime. [She is wrong on the, unless she consider the people jailed for using and selling marijuana who are put in prison victims of government crimes.]

It contributes to death and disorder.

So do the policies of prohibition that are no more successful at limiting drug use than they were in ending alcohol use. [Yes, and it's time to end the insane "war on drugs", which is a dismial failure like the "war on booze" or "Prohibition" was]

Those who really want to learn from the tragedy of Ivie’s death should look at drug policy in the United States.

Legalizing marijuana would do more than higher fences to make the border safer. [She is 100 percent right on that!!!]

Authorities Subvert Voters, Continue Medical Pot War

Lets face it, the "war on drugs" is just a jobs program for over paid cops, who would rather arrest pot smokers, then risk their lives hunting down dangerous criminals like robbers, burglars, rapists and muggers.

Currently about two-thirds of the people in American prisons are there not for real crimes like robbery, burglary, rape and mugging someone, but for victimless drug war crimes, like smoking or selling marijuana.


Authorities Subvert Voters, Continue Medical Pot War

By Ray Stern Thursday, Oct 4 2012

Chris Martin had an idea for a business in Arizona, where voters passed a law that legalizes medical-marijuana "edibles" under certain conditions.

Last year, the Zonka Bar was born, available in flavors including chocolate and sugar-free peanut butter and infused with marijuana extract. Like other edibles, it was perfect for a medical-marijuana patient who didn't want to smoke, and it's less harmful than a four-pack of wine coolers.

But Martin and his associates didn't follow the rules under the 2010 law, authorities say.

Had they contracted with a so-far-nonexistent state-authorized dispensary to distribute Zonka Bars, their actions would have been legal.

Instead, these entrepreneurs face multiple felony charges and the possibility of years in prison.

In seemingly schizophrenic Arizona, 841,346 voters passed a liberal law that legalizes marijuana for those with certain medical ailments, but the state is governed by rabid conservatives who are some of the law's most vocal opponents.

Local cops could be taking a different approach to this very political issue. They could use reasonable discretion, but they've chosen to side with the prohibitionists.

State law is part of the problem. Not the new law, but the old, obsolete law — the one that says possession of a single grain of marijuana is a felony and that selling, growing, or transporting marijuana or the "narcotic" of "cannabis" are serious felonies. Cops love making felony arrests — and usually it's a good thing. But not in this case.

Police allege that Martin and his associates sold a product labeled as medical marijuana to various "compassion clubs," which, in turn, sold them to medical-marijuana patients.

Without a doubt, this has something do with the burgeoning medical-pot industry authorized by the passage of Prop 203. Law enforcement officials aren't seeing it that way, though.

A Yavapai County task force that calls itself PANT (Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking) led a lengthy investigation into Zonka Bars. No fewer than 100 law officers took part. A September 17 news release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office about the bust is titled: "P.A.N.T. takes out Drug Sales Syndicate — Items Sold Included Cannabis Candy and Treats."

Four people have been arrested so far: Christopher Lee Martin, 37, and Andrea Lyn Martin, 33, of Prescott and Todd James, 40, and Christopher Goodrich, 39, both of Phoenix. Others may be arrested or charged as the investigation continues, cops say.

Raids took place on September 12 and 13 at a commercial kitchen; the Joint ReLeaf Compassion Club, 3143 East Roosevelt; AZ CPC, 1833 East Indian School Road; Green Cross, 1000 East Indian School Road, and the home of James, all in Phoenix.

And in Prescott, raids occurred at The Green Cross, 919 12th Place, #14, and Hippie Village Emporium, 635 Walnut Road.

Authorities seized 20 pounds of marijuana, "hundreds" of Zonka Bars and other candy made by the company and about $70,000 in cash. Numerous firearms also were recovered (though that would be the case with a raid of many homes in Arizona).

Martin was the leader and master chef who created the line of candy bars and other products, police point out.

Authorities say the investigation began with a tip to Silent Witness, plus other citizen complaints.

But it's not like the Zonka company was skulking around a street corner or attending meetings with Los Zetas. The company has been advertising on the Internet since April. Its website still was up at press time, advertising pot-infused candy bars, lollipops, and ice cream. The site has rolling banners that warn against use by children and recommend getting the advice of a doctor.

Martin and the others are not just charged with selling pot — they're charged with selling a "narcotic." Arizona law has long defined "cannabis" as the resin extracted from marijuana plants, and "cannabis" is deemed a "narcotic" that merits higher penalties.

The 2010 law apparently nullifies that "narcotic" designation by defining usable marijuana as the plant or "any mixture or preparation thereof."

But prosecutors allege that the Zonka folks were operating outside the 2010 law, and, therefore, the harsh "narcotics" designation applies.

Jack Fields, chief of the civil division of the Yavapai County Attorney's Office, says he believes that, in general, distributing a Zonka-like product to a state-authorized dispensary could be legal.

But it's the view of his office that no marijuana can be sold except by dispensaries, which don't exist yet. Patients can exchange marijuana among themselves under some of the law's rules, as long as nothing of value is transferred. Registered caregivers can be reimbursed by patients for some of their expenses. But Fields says nothing in the 2010 law allows for compassion clubs, whose operators claim they're giving away marijuana to dues-paying members.

Although all of Zonka "players" were either medical-marijuana patients or caregivers, the law doesn't allow them to manufacture Zonka candies and sell them wholesale to compassion clubs, Fields says.

The medical-marijuana law, he says, "in our view, calls out very narrow exceptions."

In other words, Yavapai County expects those in the medical-marijuana industry to walk a tightrope — and jail will be waiting if they fall.

Fields acknowledges that his boss, County Attorney Sheila Polk, "has very strong opinions" about the medical-marijuana law.

That's for sure. Polk is one of the state's most vocal anti-marijuana activists. Recently, she even stooped to putting out false propaganda about a supposed plan by Arizona U.S. Attorney John Leonardo to shut down dispensaries if they ever open. ("Polk's Letter Misstates AZ U.S. Attorney's Position," July 31). Her bad info subsequently was picked up and repeated by Sheriff Scott Mascher in his own letter to the governor.

In their letters, the Yavapai officials asked Jan Brewer to prevent any dispensaries from opening. Brewer already has delayed the advent of Arizona's pot shops for more than a year by ordering the rejection of all dispensary applications. Brewer eventually was ordered by a state judge to give voters what they wanted, and some dispensaries may open this month.

But would-be pot-shop operators have been warned by state Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, both Republicans, that a judge could decide in a pending lawsuit that federal law trumps the voter-approved medical-pot law. If that happens, Montgomery said, he'll bust everyone he can — even card-holding patients.

An affiliate with Green Cross, one of the targets in the PANT investigation, says the state's "vendetta" against medical marijuana "makes me want to vomit."

The affiliate didn't want to give his name, but he says he knows Chris Martin and the others involved with Zonka personally.

"These are really nice people — they're not criminals," he says. "They have been arrested for creating an edible line. The only drug they were working with was marijuana."

Martin, president of a Prescott Valley motorcycle club that does charity rides, has been in trouble before. A check of court records turned up a conviction for growing pot and a 1996 arrest for criminal damage and assaulting a peace officer.

Whatever Martin's background, he seems to have a head for business.

Chicago school sued for searching 13 year old for marijuana

The insane "war on drugs" is flushing our rights down the toilet at all levels!


Round Lake schools sued over alleged strip search of boy

By Jeff Danna, Chicago Tribune reporter

October 5, 2012

The mother of a middle school student is suing Round Lake Area School District 116, an administrator and a former administrator for $1.2 million, claiming her son was illegally strip-searched in April. But the superintendent says the search never happened.

Filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, the mother's lawsuit alleges that former Round Lake Middle School Principal Ryan Hawkins and current Assistant Principal Ray Porten conducted the search of her 13-year-old son because a student claimed to have overheard the boy and another student say they had marijuana.

The suit alleges that the boy was pulled out of class on April 20 and taken to a room with Hawkins, Porten and an "unknown staff member," who asked the boy if he was carrying anything inappropriate for school.

After the boy replied that he was not, Porten told him to take off his shoes, according to the suit. The suit claims Porten then told the boy to lift his shirt, pull down his pants and underwear, and lift his genitals "to allow visual inspection."

After finding nothing illegal under the boy's clothes, Hawkins and Porten searched his locker and also found nothing illegal, the suit states.

"In order for there to be a strip search, there first has to be an outer search," said Elizabeth Vitell, a lawyer representing the mother, explaining that a student's locker, the exterior of his or her clothing and other visible areas must first be examined. Only if contraband is found during that search can a student be asked to remove clothing, Vitell said.

The Tribune is not naming the boy's mother because that could identify the boy.

Although students are not guaranteed privacy in all cases — lockers can be searched, for example — the search of the boy was done in violation of his civil rights, Vitell said.

The suit calls the search "outrageous and excessive" and seeks damages for emotional turmoil caused by the officials at Round Lake Area School District 116.

Porten declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday. Hawkins could not be reached.

District 116 Superintendent Constance Collins said she is aware of the lawsuit but has not yet seen a copy.

"We absolutely deny this claim," Collins said.

Immediately after the allegation was made in April, the school district and the Round Lake Heights Police Department investigated the claim, she said. They found no strip search had occurred, let alone an illegal one, Collins said. A Round Lake Heights police official could not be reached for comment.

She said Hawkins left the district at the end of the last school year, adding that it had nothing to do with the allegations. He wanted to pursue another job, Collins said, noting that she does not know where he is now employed.

In the lawsuit, the mother claims her son was emotionally distressed after the incident, which he told her about when he returned home that day. The boy was afraid to return to school, and he stayed home the following Monday, the suit said.


What Obama successes?

If you ask me this would be a great way to end the war on drugs.

Just declare that we have won the war on drugs and re-legalize all drugs like they were before 1914.

We did the same thing when we "won the war in Vietnam". Sure South Vietnam collapsed a week after the American military withdrew, but nobody really cared, because after all we "won" the war in Vietnam and all the troops came home.


What Obama successes?

Oct. 3, 2012 12:00 AM

I really get tired of the administration and the media scratching around trying to find something to call an Obama "accomplishment," like "ending the war in Iraq."

Great way to end a war, just pull out all the troops no matter the consequences.

Hooray, let's also end the war on drugs. Stop arresting dealers.

Let's end the war on neighborhood gang enforcement. Pull all the cops off those beats.

And when it comes to Osama bin Laden, what person in his right mind would have not OK'd sending in the Navy SEALs?

Gimme a break.

-- James D. Law, Phoenix

Feds lied about Border Patrol agent being murdered???

This reminds me of the Pat Tillman shooting.

When football hero Pat Tillman was accidentally or perhaps intentionally murdered by his fellow troops in Afghanistan the government lied and told us that he was a hero who was killed in action.

Sounds like the same thing may have happened in this case.


Possible friendly fire in fatal shooting of Border Patrol agent

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 8:12 am

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating the possibility that the fatal shooting of a U.S. border patrol agent and the wounding of another was a case of friendly fire, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

The probe is looking into whether the two agents exchanged gunfire Tuesday in the mistaken belief that each was being fired on by a hostile gunman. The shootings occurred near Bisbee, Ariz.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation.

At FBI headquarters, spokesman Chris Allen declined to comment.

The shootings occurred in a rugged hilly area about five miles north of the border near Bisbee, as Nicholas Ivie and two other agents responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border. Ivie was fatally shot. The wounded agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks and released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. The third agent wasn't injured.

Ivie's death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly firefight with Mexican bandits that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation called Operation Fast and Furious.

On Tuesday after the latest shooting, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said "there's no way to know at this point how the agent was killed, but because of Operation Fast and Furious, we'll wonder for years if the guns used in any killing along the border were part of an ill-advised gun-walking strategy sanctioned by the federal government." Early investigative work by Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought Fast and Furious to light in early 2011.

Twenty-six Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty since 2002.

Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk when he crashed his car and died???

Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk when he crashed his car and died???

More of the old "do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.

I have said many times that the government's war on drunk driving is all about raising money for our government masters and almost nothing about safety.

And I suspect this article which says Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk supports that statement to some degree.

I think driving when you are drunk is pretty stupid, but the government .08 standard for setting the level of being drunk is just as stupid.

At .08 I am legally drunk after 2 beers. And those petite women who weigh in at 100 pounds are legally drunk after one beer.


Cochise County sheriff impaired at time of deadly crash, authorities say

Oct. 5, 2012 04:20 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of a rollover in northern Arizona that took his life, authorities said Friday afternoon.

Preliminary toxicology results indicate Dever had a level of blood-alcohol level "associated with impairment" when his 2008 Chevrolet truck rolled on a gravel U.S. Forest Service road on Sept. 18, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said. The office said the results came from the county medical examiner's office.

Dever was on his way to White Horse Lake to meet one of his six sons for a two-day family hunting trip.

In a prepared statement, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office said the Dever family "expressed great sorrow at the findings," noting that the sheriff was "still undoubtedly reeling from the stress and pressure" of his personal life, including the death of his 86-year-old mother, Annie, four days earlier. In addition, one of his six sons was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan the week of the hunting trip.

"The Dever family advised that they remain so grateful for the overwhelming support and outpouring of love from Cochise County and across the nation, and they pray this report does not diminish the respect and admiration that so many have for such a great man," the statement read.

Authorities said earlier this week that they believe Dever was heading south and lost control of his truck as the road curved to the right. Dever's truck veered to the left-hand side of the road before rolling over and crashing into a rocky embankment on the right-hand side, according to a Coconino County Sheriff's Office report.

The truck's black box shows Dever was traveling at 62 mph before his truck rolled over and that his seat belt was unbuckled, the report said. Forest Service roads don't have posted speed limits, but motorists are expected to drive at a prudent speed.

Paul Penzone ain't much better then Sheriff Joe Arpaio!!!!

OK, I know, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the biggest Nazi in the world.

But sadly Paul Penzone isn't much better.

He is a big fan of the "drug war" and in fact he was an undercover narcotics agent for several years.

If Paul Penzone gets elected you can count on many more years of the insane drug war in Maricopa County.

That's not to say I like Sheriff Joe. Sheriff Joe is an evil person and probably the worst Sheriff in the USA, if not the world.

Here are some snips from the New Times article article about Paul Penzone.


Penzone's garnered a long list of high-profile endorsements from Democrats and Republicans, the latter including such GOPers as former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and ex-U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton.


He [Paul Penzone] regularly hikes North Mountain or Piestewa Peak with a friend from the DEA


In response, Penzone ... opened a Bible, haphazardly, to 1 Samuel, Chapter 17, the story of David and Goliath and their death battle in the Valley of Elah [I wonder is Paul Penzone a Christian nut job, who will mix religion and policing???]


He discusses his 21 years as a cop, his work as an undercover narcotics officer, and later as a cross-deputized agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, dismantling large drug-dealing organizations with the assistance of federal wiretaps. Plus, he offers a bit of motivation.


A 1997 commendation describes how he led an investigation into a criminal organization of meth-dealing white supremacists, authoring a 60-page wiretap affidavit, which led to the conviction of 19 suspects on federal drug-trafficking charges and the eradication of two underground meth labs.


After ChildHelp, Penzone worked with the anti-drug outfit notMYkid, which he quit at the end of 2011 to devote himself full time to running for sheriff.

More on that Border Patrol "friendly fire" murder.


Border agent's death spurs review of protocols

by Laurie Merrill - Oct. 7, 2012 11:05 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Confirming that investigators believe a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired the first shot in a suspected "friendly fire" incident last week, an agents-union official said Sunday that the Border Patrol will review procedures to help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

"It's just a horrible, unfortunate incident," said George McCubbin, National Border Patrol Council president, who has reviewed investigative reports.

After the FBI and the Cochise County Sheriff's Office complete their investigations, the Border Patrol will investigate whether policies and procedures were followed and whether they're adequate to prevent an agent from firing at another agent in the field, McCubbin said.

Border Patrol officials were not available for comment Sunday.

Agent Nicholas Ivie was killed about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in a shooting in a remote, mountainous area known for drug smuggling about 6 miles east of Bisbee and several miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The FBI announced on Friday that there are strong indications that the shooting involved friendly fire.

Ivie, 30, and two other agents were responding to an activated sensor. Ivie and the other agents arrived in vehicles, then set out on foot, said acting Cochise County Sheriff Rodney Rothrock. McCubbin said Ivie was approaching a shallow canyon from the north, and two agents, a man and a woman, were approaching from the south.

"They were dropping into a saddle (shallow canyon) from different directions," McCubbin said. "The area was heavy with thick brush."

Investigators believe Ivie thought he had run into an armed smuggler and fired, striking the man in the ankle and buttocks, McCubbin said. The agents were about 20 yards apart, Rothrock said. McCubbin said the injured agent returned fire, killing Ivie. The female agent also fired her service revolver, but it's not clear whether she struck anyone. She was not injured.

"We believe Agent Ivie was responding to whatever was there," McCubbin said. "Initial reports said he was ambushed."

McCubbin's statements confirm what azcentral.com reported late Friday. A source close to the investigation told The Arizona Republic and azcentral that the agents lost radio contact and Ivie got spooked and started to shoot, with another agent returning fire.

It is unclear if Ivie identified himself before firing, which is common practice, McCubbin said, and it's unclear if the other agents heard him if he did.

"It's at night and you have more than one unit responding to the report," McCubbin said. "We are running into canyons and saddles and down mountains, and you don't know what you are going to find down there."

Rothrock would not comment on whether Ivie shot first, but said, "They (the agents) were able to distinguish there was somebody else there but not able to distinguish that they were border agents."

The agents' weapons have been seized, and they are on paid leave pending a Border Patrol review of the incident, which is customary, McCubbin said. The union has hired lawyers for both agents, standard practice in any incident involving a shooting.

Investigators have reported there is no evidence that border crossers tripped the sensors. Sensors are often tripped by grazing cattle, McCubbin said.

He said, according to investigative reports, Ivie and the other two agents knew they were responding to the same tripped sensor because they radioed dispatch. They apparently lost radio contact, he said.

He said radio communication has been an issue during his 27 years on the force.

Union: Arizona Border Patrol agents opened fire on each other


Union: Arizona Border Patrol agents opened fire on each other

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 2:28 pm

Associated Press

The head of the Border Patrol agents union says the agent killed last week in a shooting in southern Arizona apparently opened fire on two fellow agents thinking they were armed smugglers and was killed when they returned fire.

National Border Patrol Council president George McCubbin said Sunday that the two sets of agents approached an area where a sensor had been activated. He says they arrived from different directions early Tuesday when Agent Nicholas Ivie opened fire.

Acting Cochise County Sheriff Rod Rothrock confirmed the scenario but would not say if Ivie was the first to shoot.

The shooting happened a few miles north of the border with Mexico, in a well-known smuggling area.

The FBI announced Friday that the shooting appeared to be a case of friendly fire.

Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk as a skunk

Sheriff Larry Dever was smashed out of his mind when he crashed his truck and died

Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk as a skunk when he crashed his truck and died.

More of the old "do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.

I am a little person and I am legally drunk at .08 after about about 2 beers. I don't consider myself drunk at 2 beers but the government does.

I consider myself drunk after 4 beers. For me to hit 0.291 like Sheriff Larry Dever was when he crashed his pickup and killed himself I would have to drink about 7 or 8 beers. I would have been smashed out of my mind after 7 beers.

I find it odd that the Cochise County Sheriff's office didn't include in the press release that Sheriff Larry Dever death is a good reason why you shouldn't drink and drive.

Let's face it, the drunk driving laws are nothing more then a way the government to shake down people for revenue. At .08 a person is not drunk.

When drunk driving was first invented the legal definition of being drunk was .15. At that level I would consider myself too drunk to drive.


Arizona sheriff legally drunk in crash, autopsy shows

By Haley Madden The Arizona Republic - 12 News Breaking News Team Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:55 AM

An Arizona sheriff’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he died in a crash in northern Arizona, an autopsy report shows.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever’s 2008 Chevrolet truck rolled on the gravel road on Sept. 18. His blood-alcohol level was 0.291, the report released Monday says.

The truck's black box showed Dever was traveling at 62 mph before the crash and that his seat belt was unbuckled, according to authorities.

Dever was on his way to White Horse Lake to meet one of his six sons for a two-day family hunting trip.

In a prepared statement, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office said the Dever family "expressed great sorrow at the findings," noting that the sheriff was "still undoubtedly reeling from the stress and pressure" of his personal life, including the death of his 86-year-old mother, Annie, four days earlier. In addition, one of his six sons was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan the week of the hunting trip.

"The Dever family advised that they remain so grateful for the overwhelming support and outpouring of love from Cochise County and across the nation, and they pray this report does not diminish the respect and admiration that so many have for such a great man," the statement read.

Authorities said last week that they believe Dever was heading south and lost control of his truck as the road curved to the right. Dever's truck veered to the left-hand side of the road before rolling over and crashing into a rocky embankment on the right-hand side, according to a Coconino County Sheriff's Office report.

High school students suspended for possession of energy mints

I wonder when the government schools ever find time to educate the kids!


High school students suspended for possession of energy mints

By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News

A group of high school students in Pekin, Ill., were suspended last week after school officials suspected the mints they were eating were actually illegal drugs.

Jason McMichael, the father of one of the students, told the Journal Star that his 17-year-old son Eric was suspended for two days from Pekin Community High School and not allowed to attend the school's homecoming festivities after staffers found four students eating energy mint tablets that are marketed like caffeine energy drinks.

McMichael said he received a phone call from the dean's office informing him of his son's suspension and that the teen was being monitored by the school nurse for an elevated heart rate—though McMichael doesn't believe it was due to the energy mints.

"He's never been in trouble," McMichael said. "He was probably just nervous."

Eric McMichael said he and three others were eating Revive tablets—touted as "nature's energy mints"—in the school cafeteria when they were disciplined.

"People bring energy drinks to school every day," the teen told Central Illinois' WMBD-TV. "I see this every day and we get in trouble for energy mints?"

According to EnergyFiend.com, each mint contains 101 milligrams of caffeine along with guarana, green tea, ginseng, acai, mangosteen and goji. The Revive brand is endorsed by several MMA fighters and fitness pageant contestants.

McMichael's father said school officials later admitted they did not know if the chewable, unmarked mints were, in fact, illegal drugs but upheld the suspensions anyway, saying the teens displayed "gross misconduct for taking an unknown product."

"Now they know nothing illegal happened," McMichael said on Friday, "but they're still pursuing the suspension."

Superintendent Paula Davis told the paper that while she was not able to discuss the incident, school officials would have been within their rights to discipline the students if they were seen "ingesting things that look like unmarked pills."

ATF & DEA thugs routinely commit crimes

ATF & DEA thugs routinely commit crimes with the approval of their bosses!!!!!


Crimes by ATF and DEA informants not tracked by feds

Brad Heath and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

The nation's top law enforcement agencies, facing new scrutiny after the Fast and Furious investigation, say they do not know how often their agents allow informants to commit crimes. whitey bulger

9:12PM EST October 7. 2012 - WASHINGTON — The nation's top drug and gun enforcement agencies do not track how often they give their informants permission to break the law on the government's behalf.

U.S. Justice Department rules put strict limits on when and how agents at the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can authorize their informants — often drawn from the ranks of the criminals they are investigating — to commit a crime. But both the ATF and DEA acknowledged, in response to open-records requests and in written statements, that they do not track how often such permission is given.

That routine, if controversial, tactic has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the bungled "Fast and Furious" gun-trafficking investigation, which allowed 2,000 weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and other criminals. A report by the Justice Department's Inspector General found that ATF agents failed to get authorization from their superiors before they allowed gun dealers to sell weapons to suspected cartel operatives.

The report, delivered in September, is the latest internal probe to find agents ignoring the rules. And the department continues to face accusations that its agents overlook crimes by their informants, including one case this year involving an alleged Boston mob captain who was working for the FBI.

"The way we use confidential informants is a huge aspect of the daily operation and also the legitimacy of the criminal justice system," said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles. "It's insane that even the law enforcement agencies that actually carry out this policy may not always know how their operatives are doing it."

The ATF and DEA said in written statements that they are "in compliance'' with the rules for using informants, and that information about crimes by individual informants is "collected at both the field division and headquarters levels." The rules do not require the agencies to tally authorizations to engage in what the department calls "otherwise illegal activity" to determine how often it happens.

The FBI, by comparison, is required to collect information on how often each of the bureau's 56 field offices allows informants to break the law, though the bureau would not release those figures. (The FBI initially said in response to a request by USA TODAY that it, too, had no reports that would indicate how often informants are allowed to commit crimes.)

"There has to be some new accountability," said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who introduced a bill last year to force federal law enforcement agencies to tell Congress about crimes by their informants. "There can be a big upside when informants are used and the FBI actually pulls bad people off the street. But no one is looking at the collateral damage."

Informants' work is a closely guarded secret, in large part because of the danger involved. But records suggest the government's network of cooperators is vast: In 2005, the DEA estimated it had 4,000 informants, and two years later the FBI said in a budget request that its agents had 15,000 more. DEA officials told the inspector general's office that "without confidential sources, the DEA could not effectively enforce the controlled substances laws of the United States."

As part of that work, agents have authorized their informants to do everything from buying and selling drugs to participating in Medicaid fraud rings. Agents are supposed to get supervisors' approval before they permit informants to commit even minor crimes; in more serious cases — involving violence or big drug shipments — they must also get permission from Justice Department lawyers.

The department tightened those rules a decade ago, after the FBI acknowledged that its agents had allowed accused Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger to run a crime ring responsible for extortion and murder in exchange for information about the mafia.

Border agent's death spurs review of protocols

If a civilian "accidentally" murdered a person like this they would probably arrested for manslaughter or some other form of murder. But when a cop does it there are never any criminals charges.


Border agent's death spurs review of protocols

by Laurie Merrill - Oct. 7, 2012 11:05 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Confirming that investigators believe a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired the first shot in a suspected "friendly fire" incident last week, an agents-union official said Sunday that the Border Patrol will review procedures to help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

"It's just a horrible, unfortunate incident," said George McCubbin, National Border Patrol Council president, who has reviewed investigative reports.

After the FBI and the Cochise County Sheriff's Office complete their investigations, the Border Patrol will investigate whether policies and procedures were followed and whether they're adequate to prevent an agent from firing at another agent in the field, McCubbin said.

Border Patrol officials were not available for comment Sunday.

Agent Nicholas Ivie was killed about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in a shooting in a remote, mountainous area known for drug smuggling about 6 miles east of Bisbee and several miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The FBI announced on Friday that there are strong indications that the shooting involved friendly fire.

Ivie, 30, and two other agents were responding to an activated sensor. Ivie and the other agents arrived in vehicles, then set out on foot, said acting Cochise County Sheriff Rodney Rothrock. McCubbin said Ivie was approaching a shallow canyon from the north, and two agents, a man and a woman, were approaching from the south.

"They were dropping into a saddle (shallow canyon) from different directions," McCubbin said. "The area was heavy with thick brush."

Investigators believe Ivie thought he had run into an armed smuggler and fired, striking the man in the ankle and buttocks, McCubbin said. The agents were about 20 yards apart, Rothrock said. McCubbin said the injured agent returned fire, killing Ivie. The female agent also fired her service weapon, but it's not clear whether she struck anyone. She was not injured.

"We believe Agent Ivie was responding to whatever was there," McCubbin said. "Initial reports said he was ambushed."

McCubbin's statements confirm what azcentral.com reported late Friday. A source close to the investigation told The Arizona Republic and azcentral that the agents lost radio contact and Ivie got spooked and started to shoot, with another agent returning fire.

It is unclear if Ivie identified himself before firing, which is common practice, McCubbin said, and it's unclear if the other agents heard him if he did.

"It's at night and you have more than one unit responding to the report," McCubbin said. "We are running into canyons and saddles and down mountains, and you don't know what you are going to find down there."

Rothrock would not comment on whether Ivie shot first, but said, "They (the agents) were able to distinguish there was somebody else there but not able to distinguish that they were border agents."

The agents' weapons have been seized, and they are on paid leave pending a Border Patrol review of the incident, which is customary, McCubbin said. The union has hired lawyers for both agents, standard practice in any incident involving a shooting.

Investigators have reported there is no evidence that border crossers tripped the sensors. Sensors are often tripped by grazing cattle, McCubbin said.

He said, according to investigative reports, Ivie and the other two agents knew they were responding to the same tripped sensor because they radioed dispatch. They apparently lost radio contact, he said.

He said radio communication has been an issue during his 27 years on the force.

Arizona AG Tom Horne is a crook???

I bet Arizona AG Tom Horne's witch hunt against medical marijuana users is just a smokescreen to cover up his political crimes.


File: Staff politics worried Tom Horne

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

The Republic | azcentral.com

Tue Oct 9, 2012 11:54 PM

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was preoccupied with the political loyalty of his employees from the day he took office and hired dozens of faithful employees from the state Education Department, according to new investigative records obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Horne and his chief of staff, Eric “Rick” Bistrow, have repeatedly said politics play no role in the Attorney General’s Office, essentially the state’s largest law firm.

But one former employee told county and federal investigators that Horne, a Republican, kept lists of employees’ political affiliations and campaign contributions to his Democratic opponent and directed staff to hire dozens of supporters and prior employees.

Horne said Tuesday that the statements by Susan Schmaltz, his former human-resources adviser, are “utterly false.” He said he never had lists of employee party affiliations, nor did he track employee contributions to his Democratic opponent.

“I never asked her about people’s political affiliations,” he said. “I’ve promoted people that I’ve known to be Democrats.”

Schmaltz’s recollections of Horne’s activities are contained in a June 14 transcript of an interview with two FBI special agents and a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office investigations commander.

The transcript was part of nearly 3,300 pages of investigative documents that included witness interviews, bank records, subpoenas and other material that agents used to build a campaign-finance case against Horne and one of his employees. The Republic acquired the file through a public-records request.

Schmaltz told investigators that Horne had her double- and triple-fill positions, put employees in jobs they were not qualified for and pay them more than what the positions allowed.

Horne and employee Kathleen Winn are accused of illegally coordinating with an independent expenditure committee during the 2010 election to circumvent campaign-finance laws.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is pursuing a civil enforcement action against Horne and Winn, who chaired the committee and then went to work as Horne’s director of community outreach. Horne and Winn have said they’ve done nothing wrong.

When Schmaltz raised concerns about Winn’s background, which included allegations of check fraud, she said Horne said, “(Winn) had been instrumental in raising a lot of money for my campaign,” and he wanted her hired.

Schmaltz worked as the employee services division director under then-Democratic Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. She continued in that position until shortly after Horne took office. Horne brought his human-resources director, Debbie Jackson, from the Department of Education, where Horne had served for eight years.

Schmaltz told investigators that Horne then named her his human-resources adviser and allowed her to keep her salary. She made about $87,000. She said she left the office last year after becoming “extremely uncomfortable” with the way Horne ran the agency. A longtime independent, she disclosed to investigators she voted in 2010 for Horne’s Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, and was growing increasingly worried as Horne continued to ask questions about staff’s political leanings.

“I was requested and required to appear before the FBI to give information. I did so as requested,” Schmaltz told The Republic. She now works at a major accounting firm.

She said she answered questions “truthfully and honestly.” She declined to comment further.

Schmaltz also told investigators:

Within the first week of taking office, Horne expressed concerns about staff who had raised or given money to his opponent. “He was concerned that he’d have people within the office that … would not be loyal to him.” Horne continued to ask questions about subordinates’ political affiliations and inquired about specific employees.

About two months after Schmaltz resigned, Horne asked her to lunch to talk about potential leaks by employees to the media. At that lunch, he brought with him a list of employees who contributed money to Rotellini and a list of employees and their political affiliations that he “wanted to kind of go through.”

Horne went through some names, and Schmaltz said she told him, “This isn’t something you need to really be concerning yourself with.”

During her tenure with Horne, Schmaltz said, he repeatedly asked her about documents memorializing an exit interview in which one former employee allegedly voiced a negative experience working with Rotellini, a former assistant attorney general. Schmaltz told investigators the interviews are supposed to be confidential.

During their lunch, Horne again asked her about the exit interview and if she recalled the employee’s name.

Schmaltz told investigators Horne wanted the information “Because he said Felicia’s (sic) gonna run again in a few years and I want to have that information.”

Horne acknowledged Tuesday that the two spoke of the exit interview but said Schmaltz brought up the subject.

Shortly after Horne was elected, more than 40 employees showed up at the Attorney General’s Office, and “pretty much everyone would come in saying, ‘Tom Horne promised me a job,’” Schmaltz said.

She said she was asked to place people in positions they weren’t qualified for, “and we’re bringing people in from the Department of Ed who have no legal secretary experience, have no paralegal experience. We’re throwing them into paralegal positions, throwing them into all of these other positions, and we’re paying them more money than what the position’s coded for” through the state Department of Administration.

When she raised issues with state administrators, she was told they talked to Horne and his new human-resources director, “and now, we were not to worry about ’em.”

Schmaltz said Jackson gave her a list of people to find positions for. “And — and what she did is she gave me the list of — here’s the salary that they’re gonna make. Let’s find a position. Which is not normally how it works,” Schmaltz said.

Schmaltz said the hirings came at a time when the Attorney General’s Office, like most state agencies, was pinching resources and reeling from staff reductions and budget cuts.

Schmaltz also talked to investigators about Horne’s relationships with Winn and Carmen Chenal, an assistant attorney general and longtime Horne confidant.

Schmaltz said the relationship between Winn and Chenal was fractured at the time of her departure. Schmaltz recalled Chenal telling her that during the campaign the three got along great and were “like the Three Musketeers.”

It is common for elected officials to bring staff with them to their new jobs, especially in key government positions.

Horne was asked at an April news conference how many employees he brought with him to the agency. He replied that he brought “about 20” from the Education Department.

“They were placed in their areas of competence and, in fact, they’ve received very high marks from their co-workers,” he said.

Officials with the state Department of Administration said that prior to a recent overhaul of the personnel system, agencies were able to hire additional staff without vacancies with approval by state administrators. Officials said it is up to agencies to determine whether applicants are qualified for positions.

Kathy Peckardt, the state’s human- resources director, said no employee within the Attorney General’s Office is making more than the maximum allowed by pay ranges.

Horne’s spokeswoman disputed that Horne cared about the politics of employees.

“Whether Tom carried a list around or not, I don’t believe that to be true,” Amy Rezzonico said. “But anybody who made a contribution to Felecia’s or Tom Horne’s campaign is a matter of public record.”

Rezzonico, who was also interviewed by investigators, said Horne did not hire or fire based on politics. “This is hearsay, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t even understand why the FBI was asking this person questions — how does this relate to an (independent expenditure committee)?”

Rezzonico said Horne may have been asking about employees because he “perceived” those people didn’t like changes he was making to the agency.

Employment lawyers said it is unwise for supervisors to ask about employees’ political affiliations because it could prompt discrimination and other claims. Questions could leave the impression that decisions are being made based on politics, not performance.

“If someone has collected this information for their own curiosity to just know what this person’s political view is, that might be OK,” employment attorney David Selden said.

“But you’re in the AG’s Office and prosecuting crimes, so I don’t know that it should matter who Republicans and Democrats are giving money to. Possessing the information isn’t a wise thing to do because the risk is: What did you do with the information, and why did you want to know?”

Sheriff Larry Dever was an alcoholic???

I don't have a problem with Sheriff Larry Dever being a big time drinker.

I do have a problem with him being a hypocrite and shaking down people for DUI crimes, which are mostly about raising revenue and a little tiny bit about safety, when he was a professional DUI criminal himself.


Was Larry Dever a Drinker? Deceased Sheriff's .29 BAC Suggests High Tolerance, Experts Say

By Ray Stern Tue., Oct. 9 2012 at 3:22 PM

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Larry Dever's BAC was .29 after his fatal crash. Experts say the high BAC could indicate he was a problem drinker.

The high blood-alcohol content found in Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever's body after his fatal crash last month suggests the sheriff had a strong tolerance for booze, experts say.

In other words, Dever -- known by many as a Mormon who didn't drink -- may have been a problem drinker.

If so, did his fellow law enforcement officers know?

Dever died on September 18 in the one-car crash on Forest Service Road 109 near Williams. He'd been on his way to a hunting trip near White Horse Lake with family members. Autopsy results released last week showed that Dever had at least a .29 BAC.

Arizona, which has one of the toughest DUI laws in the nation, classifies anything above a .20 BAC as super-extreme. Had Dever been convicted of driving with a .29 BAC, he would have served a minimum of 45 days behind bars.

An alcohol-abuse expert and a local driving expert tell New Times that in DUI cases with similarly high BACs, the suspect often is an alcoholic.

"A .29 is very significantly impaired," says the program director at one Valley substance-abuse clinic. "You're talking about extreme intoxication. However, someone who drinks regularly can sometimes drive at levels where other people would be comatose. At the least, it's indicative of binge drinking."

The driving expert, who knew Dever, agreed with that sentiment. But the expert and others who knew Dever expressed shock that he was driving drunk at all.

Kenneth Kimmel, chief of police in Sierra Vista, the largest city in Cochise County, says he'd known Dever for 30 years and "never known him to have a drink."

If Dever was a drinker, did his department cover for him?

Rod Rothrock, acting sheriff of Cochise County, did not return messages for this article.

A message left with Dever's family hasn't yet been returned.

If Dever wasn't a regular drinker, that makes his lapse in judgment on September 18 even less explainable. Achieving a .29 BAC might take as many as 15 drinks slammed over a fairly short space of time, says another expert. As someone who's handed out many DUI tickets in his career, Dever would have known the danger of consuming that much booze. On top of that, Dever didn't have his seat-belt on and was driving at an excessive 62 miles per hour on a dirt road at sunset.

"Gosh, that's really shocking," says one acquaintance of Dever's, retired Cochise County Judge Rich Winkler, upon hearing Dever's high BAC. "That's very out of character of the image I had of him."

Sheriff Bill Pribil of Coconino County, where the accident occurred, says he saw Dever at official functions three to four times a year and never saw him drink. A check of Coconino's database shows that Dever never was stopped in the county, Pribil says.

In this case -- as with similar, one-vehicle crashes with a deceased DUI suspect and no other victims -- investigators won't bother to determine how and where the driver became drunk, Pribil says. Coconino County has received no reports from anyone who claims to have seen Dever's truck weaving or seen Dever drinking before the crash, he says.

Kelley Dupps of MADD Arizona says people in her organization hope this tragedy keeps others from getting on the road while plastered. But it's also a sign that after three decades of activism against drunk drivers, and after helping Arizona pass harsh laws against offenders, the group still has plenty of work to do.

Dever's death is another reminder that drinking too much and getting behind the wheel can happen to anyone -- "even folks we look up to and are prominent in law enforcement."

Center for Arizona Policy Pathetic Laws Go Into Effect Today


Center for Arizona Policy Reminds Everyone Its Pathetic Laws Go Into Effect Today

By Matthew Hendley Thu., Aug. 2 2012 at 2:47 PM

Dear Jesus please save me from your nutty followers Thanks to Center for Arizona Policy legislative council Josh Kredit, we were reminded today of all the mostly useless laws "supported" by CAP that are going into effect today.

Kredit posted the list of CAP's bills that were passed by the Legislature and are going into effect today, which are a great public service to just about nobody.

For example, "The Arizona Commission on the Arts cannot use taxpayer dollars on programs that include obscenity or that desecrate or dishonor religious objects or the Arizona or American flags."

The lobbying organization, which describes itself as being "dedicated to influencing our culture through the proclamation of biblical truth," has now seen 114 of its ideas turn into laws since 1995.

We presume they don't keep track of the bills they influence legislators against when they're too gay or something.

Anyway, Kredit says the new laws are thanks to you, Arizona voter, "...because you turned out and voted your values that these laws are a reality."

Here are the blessings to Arizona law that Kredit listed:


  • Abortion clinics must post signs in their waiting rooms letting women know that it is illegal for them to be pressured by anyone - including boyfriends and clinic staff - into having an abortion.
  • Women must have their ultrasound and the opportunity to view the image of their preborn child at least 24 hours before having an abortion.
  • Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) must create an informed consent website for women considering abortion so they can get the facts about the life growing inside them.
  • When a woman discovers that her child may have a life-threatening birth defect, she must be informed about the support that is available to her, including perinatal hospice.
  • Planned Parenthood will no longer be able to come into public schools and promote abortions as the preferred option over childbirth and adoption.
  • Parents cannot file a lawsuit against a doctor claiming that their child with a disability would have been better off aborted.
  • Abortion providers are disqualified from eligibility for the Working Poor Tax Credit.


  • Arizonans can now claim an additional tax credit for donations to School Tuition Organizations, with this new tax credit going specifically to students stuck on waiting lists to attend the school of their parents' choice.
  • Children in public schools and libraries will be better protected from exposure to online pornography because online filters must be installed on public computers.
  • Students attending failing public schools will be eligible for Arizona's Empowerment Scholarship Account program to attend the school of their parents' choice.


  • Arizona's professionals licensed by the state cannot have their licenses threatened because of the free exercise of their religious beliefs.
  • Religious organizations cannot be forced by the government to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs or contraception if it violates their religious beliefs.
  • University and college professors cannot be denied tenure because of their political or religious beliefs.
  • The Arizona Commission on the Arts cannot use taxpayer dollars on programs that include obscenity or that desecrate or dishonor religious objects or the Arizona or American flags.


  • Proponents of a ballot measure will have legal standing to defend a proposition if it is ever challenged in court.

Two of CAP's new laws will not be going into effect today, as they're facing legal challenges: A ban on abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy, and a ban on Planned Parenthood from providing care to participants in the state's Medicaid program.

CAP Now Concerned About People "Touching or Tipping" Strippers


By Matthew Hendley Mon., Jun. 11 2012 at 2:55 PM

Dear Jesus please save me from your nutty followers The Center for Arizona Policy would like anyone running for a seat at the Legislature to give their opinions on professionals like these.

For some reason, lobbyists at the Center for Arizona Policy would like anyone running for a seat in the Legislature this year to tell the group whether they support banning the "touching or tipping" of strippers.

The surveys, which usually are a good indication of the CAP morality cops' agenda for the next legislative session, are updated every two years.

In 2010, one of the questions on the survey asked whether the candidate supported or opposed "[r]egulating sexually oriented businesses to the fullest extent possible under the law."

Not surprisingly, that led to Republican state Representative Steve Court introducing a bill last session to regulate strip clubs and the so-called "adult-oriented businesses."

Court's bill would have banned alcohol and private rooms from these establishments, regulated the size of stages, and redefined the terms "nude" and "seminude," among other changes.

The bill was held from the start -- never becoming an actual topic of discussion -- and Court admitted this was the idea of Cathi Herrod and her CAP.

In this year's survey from CAP, the question's a little different -- a possible indication of what kind of legislation Herrod will convince some sucker to introduce next session.

"Prohibiting touching or tipping dancers and fully nude performances in sexually oriented businesses," is what many potential legislators will address, opting to express their support or opposition.

These surveys were due on Friday, but haven't yet been posted by CAP.

This isn't the least bit surprising coming from the group, which has an obsession with legislating morality and instituting Christian Right policies, and these laughable bills are sometimes signed into law -- 114 and counting.

This year's survey also includes two other new questions and one amended question.

One asks whether the candidates support lowering the minimum sentencing guidelines for possessing child pornography, and another asks whether the candidates support subsidizing paid time off for public employees to engage in union activities.

The amended question, which previously asked whether candidates supported "[p]rotecting healthcare professionals from being required to provide services that violate their moral or religious beliefs," no longer includes the word "healthcare."

For those interested, CAP also scores how much Herrod ass-kissing each legislator engages in, grading both state senators and representatives.

Paul Babeu ramps up the war on Mexicans and drugs

Sheriff Paul Babeu ramps up the war on Mexicans and drugs in Pinal County.

If this keeps up Arizona will soon have the reputation or treating the Mexicans here, like they treat Blacks in the South, if we don't already have that reputation.


New Pinal County unit targets drug smuggling

Babeu forms armed posse

by Lindsey Collom - Oct. 10, 2012 11:16 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A controversial effort to place armed volunteers on the U.S.-Mexico border has been resurrected 70 miles north of the international line.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, announced the formation Wednesday of an anti-smuggling posse to help deputies combat drug smuggling.

Members of the armed, all-volunteer posse will not patrol or make arrests. Instead, Babeu said, they will focus on surveillance and intelligence gathering at the direction of a multijurisdictional SWAT team led by the Sheriff's Office. They will assist law enforcement as needed.

Posse members will "be the eyes and the ears to support all of the efforts of our SWAT and our tactical efforts in the western part of Pinal County," Babeu said. "Largely, they will be armed ... not only as a posture of strength but also to defend and protect themselves."

This new group is an addition to Babeu's existing armed posse, whose activities include transporting prisoners and assisting deputies on patrol.

Babeu, a Republican who rose to prominence as a border-enforcement hawk, said the posse is another effort to compensate for the federal government's failure to secure the border. Although not on the border, Pinal County is a major smuggling corridor.

His new posse in some ways mirrors legislation Allen sponsored earlier this year to require Gov. Jan Brewer to establish an armed volunteer state guard on the border. Senate Bill 1083 passed in the Senate but stalled in the House. Critics listed liability and training as chief concerns.

"It was to create a pool of trained individuals who would be available for local law enforcement to use to have more boots on the ground, more eyes on the ground, especially in intelligence gathering," Allen said Wednesday, defending the bill. "There just isn't the money in our state to provide this, but there's a lot of capable ex-law-enforcement and military individuals in our state who, through proper training and (organization), could be very efficiently used and be very valuable to us."

Babeu said "hundreds and hundreds" of concerned residents have expressed interest in being part of the anti-smuggling posse, but his office has deliberately sought out recruits with a military or law-enforcement background. The sheriff declined to reveal how many members they have to date, but he said they've been successful in their recruitment efforts.

As for cost, Babeu didn't have an exact amount. He said the office had enough firearms and equipment to outfit the posse, but any additional costs would be absorbed by the current budget.

The Sheriff's Office has exceeded its general-fund allotment two years running.

Posse members must pass a full background investigation and will receive at least 100 hours of training, including tactical and weapons training and the basics of constitutional law.

But Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, issued a statement Wednesday questioning whether that's enough.

"Anything less than full and complete law enforcement training is inadequate for this type of dangerous work," Campbell said. "It will put the volunteers and the law enforcement agents they are working with in jeopardy. This is irresponsible. Instead, we should be ensuring that law-enforcement agencies have the tools and the resources needed to protect our communities and to ensure the safety of the agents and officers."

Reach the reporter at lindsey.collom@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-7851.

Korean TSA thugs are just as dumb as the American TSA thugs

Looks like the TSA morons in South Korea aren't any better then the TSA morons in the USA!

On the other hand I thought I read an article somewhere that said that in some countries that all flights to the USA are inspected by American TSA thugs. So these TSA morons in Korea might have been TSA thugs from the USA.

Last but not least I am just making fun of the TSA goons here. We don't need to have government goons searching everybody that boards an airplane, and in the USA, it is almost certainly a violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.


South Korea airport missed weapons

Officials never detected concealed smoke grenade in checked luggage

by Michael R. Blood - Oct. 10, 2012 10:59 PM

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - South Korean security officials screened a man with a bulletproof vest before he got on a flight to Los Angeles, but they never detected a banned smoke grenade concealed in his checked luggage with a cache of knives, handcuffs, a gas mask and other weapons, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

Yongda Huang Harris and his carry-on luggage were thoroughly searched, but authorities found nothing suspicious and he boarded the flight, said a Homeland Security official briefed on the investigation. The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Harris, 28, was arrested in Los Angeles last week during a stopover on a trip from Japan after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noticed the bulletproof vest. A search of Harris' checked luggage uncovered the smoke grenade and an array of suspicious items, including leg irons, body bags, a hatchet, billy clubs, a collapsible baton, duct tape and a biohazard suit.

U.S. officials were working with South Korean authorities to determine how the grenade slipped through screening.

Harris is not cooperating with federal officials who are trying to determine why he was headed to Boston with the cache of weapons, authorities said. The smoke grenade was X-rayed by police bomb squad officers, who said the device fell into a category that is prohibited on board passenger aircraft.

Tom Blank, a former deputy administrator at the Transportation Security Administration, said the U.S. will likely look at whether the failure to detect the grenade on a U.S.-bound jet was a one-time lapse or part of a security vulnerability.

If the U.S. determines a country's airport doesn't meet U.S. standards, it can ask for stronger security measures and even prohibit flights from flying directly to the U.S. from that country.

"This clearly looks like an error. Something slipped through that should not have slipped through," Blank said of the grenade.

Many of the other belongings authorities say they found in Harris' luggage -- including the hatchet and knives -- wouldn't violate TSA guidelines for property in checked luggage. Bulletproof vests and flame-resistant pants like the ones Harris was wearing aren't among prohibited items aboard flights.

There is no indication that Harris, who does not have a criminal record, is linked to a terrorist organization or planned to damage the plane, and it's not likely a smoke grenade could bring down the aircraft, the federal official said.

But the smoke grenade is banned from planes under the United Nations' explosives shipping rules. Depending on the conditions when it is ignited, the grenade could fill the cabin with smoke or cause a fire.

Customs officers believed that the billy clubs and collapsible baton might be prohibited by California law, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.

Rules, or the lack of them, that govern what passengers can do, carry or wear on flights can seem alternately reasonable or unfathomable. Increased airline security after 9/11 sought to armor flights against terrorist threats, but they can also test credulity for those getting on board.

An intrusive pat-down by security or the discovery of a too-big bottle of tanning lotion can leave a passenger feeling violated, while Harris, outfitted in a bulletproof vest, flame-retardant pants and knee pads underneath a trenchcoat, with a concealed arsenal in his luggage, appears to have triggered no suspicion before arriving in Los Angeles

Torture cases rise sharply in Mexico

And please remember that Felipe Calderon's "war on drugs" is brought to you by the American government.


Torture cases rise sharply in Mexico, Amnesty International says

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times

October 10, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

MEXICO CITY — A leading human rights group contends that the Mexican government under outgoing President Felipe Calderon has "effectively turned a blind eye" to a dramatic increase in reported instances of torture and abuse by police and the military in recent years, as those forces have been pressured to come down hard on the powerful drug cartels threatening large chunks of the country.

In a report issued Thursday, Amnesty International noted that Mexico's National Human Rights Commission received 1,669 reports of torture and abuse by police and the military in 2011. That number has grown each year since 2008, when the commission received 564 complaints. Many observers believe that those numbers represent a fraction of the actual abuse cases because many victims are afraid to report them.

The torture of criminal suspects has played a role in the Mexican justice system for decades despite clear federal laws prohibiting the practice. In a 1984 report, Amnesty found evidence that Mexican police beat suspects, injected carbonated water into their nostrils, used electric shocks and sexually abused them, among other things.

But the issue has become more pressing of late with the growing power of the drug gangs and Calderon's decision, beginning in December 2006, to deploy the military to help restore public order. The armed forces were unprepared for domestic police work as they began to work beside an existing mix of local and federal law enforcement agencies that had a long history of abusing suspects.

Under the Calderon administrations, the torturers have "enjoyed almost total impunity," the report said, and coerced confessions continue to be entered as evidence in court.

Amnesty noted that the government has taken some steps to reduce torture. But the ineffectiveness of those efforts, the group argues, raises "questions about the political will at all levels of government" to eradicate the practice.

The Calderon administration did not respond to a request for comment from The Times. In the past, the president, who leaves office Dec. 1, has admitted that abuses occurred and has argued that the government has sought to legally punish the abusers.

Amnesty's suggestions for Mexico include reforms that would disallow evidence obtained through torture in criminal proceedings; a ban on the military carrying out police functions; and an end to the practice known as arraigo, in which those suspected of serious crimes can be detained for up to 80 days by officials without being charged. The group documented several cases in which suspects were abused during such periods.

Before the July 1 presidential election, the eventual winner, Enrique Peña Nieto, told Amnesty that his commitment to human rights would be "unwavering" and promised to take steps to end torture.

Doing so would require more than changes in the law, said Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana. Clark said it also would require a change in the culture — and not just the culture of policing.

The violence and instability wrought by the drug gangs has left many Mexicans with little appetite to consider the rights of suspects in organized-crime cases, Clark said, even though innocents are sometimes rounded up by authorities as well.

Clark said drug suspects in northern Mexico often appear on television with visible bruises from beatings that appear to have been delivered by authorities. He said viewers often respond by saying: "How great that they beat them up. They deserved it."


Oakland sues feds over pot dispensary

This is unusual a government entity fighting FOR medical marijuana.

Sadly they didn't cite the 10th Amendment as one reason the Feds don't have any business regulating marijuana.


Oakland sues feds over pot dispensary

Matthai Kuruvila

Updated 10:51 p.m., Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The city of Oakland took the unusual step Wednesday of filing a suit in an attempt to stop the federal government from seizing and closing down one of the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Attorneys for Harborside Health Center said the suit against the federal government appears to be the first such action by a municipality on behalf of a marijuana dispensary.

The city states that federal attempts to seize the property, which began in July, contradicted promises by officials with the Obama administration who have said that dispensaries complying with state laws would not be targeted by federal agencies.

Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California, has contended that Harborside is not complying with California's law because it is a large-scale operation that processes millions of dollars worth of business.

Oakland leaders say the city, like many other jurisdictions, built an entire regulatory scheme based on the federal government's promise, only to find dispensaries under attack.

The city says protecting a private property housing a dispensary is a matter of patients' rights, public safety and city revenues. "If the federal government is successful with shutting down these businesses we have licensed and are complying with regulations and taxes, we will shift people into the black market," said City Attorney Barbara Parker, who announced the filing of the suit Wednesday.

"That will endanger their lives because they may not have safe, affordable access to medicine," said Parker, who was appointed to the city attorney position earlier this year and is in the running for the elected position this fall. "It will also exacerbate our crime and public safety crisis."

Parker said the case, which is being handled pro bono by the firm Morrison & Foerster, was authorized by the City Council in a closed-session meeting last week.

Harborside and the city's three other dispensaries brought in at least $1.4 million in business tax revenue to Oakland last year. In 2009, Harborside alone generated at least $21 million in sales, all of which were also subject to sales taxes, which are 8.75 percent in Alameda County.

"The federal government has made assurances that cities like Oakland, as long as we abided by state law, would not see these types of consequences," said Councilwoman Libby Schaaf. "We need to know whether we can rely on those types of statements."

Haag's office did not return multiple calls.

When the U.S. attorney's office announced forfeiture proceedings against Harborside in July, it relied on Harborside's alleged violation of federal drug law in asserting the government's right to seize the property at 1840 Embarcadero, along the Oakland Estuary.

Haag said that Harborside's size - the largest in the nation with an estimated 108,000 patients - made it a target.

Calling Harborside a marijuana "superstore," she said in a statement at the time, "the larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state's medical marijuana laws and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need."

Oakland's suit also alleges that the federal government's seizure attempts came after a five-year statute of limitations on forfeitures had lapsed. Harborside opened in 2006.

The only way the government could claim that the statute had not lapsed is if they claim they didn't know in 2006 about the existence of Harborside, said Cedric Chao, a partner at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco.

"It would be impossible for the federal government to say they were unaware of these dispensaries in 2006," Chao said.

The property, which federal authorities said was valued at around $2 million, is owned by Ana Chretien, owner of ABC Security, one of the East Bay's most politically powerful security companies. Her company has had contracts with the city of Oakland, Alameda County and the Port of Oakland, including Oakland International Airport.

The U.S. started eviction proceedings on Harborside earlier this summer, said Chretien's attorney, Geoff Spellberg. He said Chretien would prefer to find a solution that satisfies all the parties involved.

Spellberg and Harborside's executive director, Stephen DeAngelo, said they were thrilled by Oakland's lawsuit.

"Compassion and common sense says that if you're going to give patients the right to use cannabis, you also need to provide them a way to legally access that medicine," he said. "The city, like us, is simply asking for the federal government to honor the policies they've already articulated."

Matthai Kuruvila is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: mkuruvila@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @matthai

No free speech for people that hate crooked police officers


UK man jailed for wearing offensive T-shirt

Associated Press Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:35 PM

LONDON — A British man who wore a T-shirt that glorified killing police hours after the deaths of two officers has been sentenced to four months in jail.

Barry Thew, 39, was arrested for wearing a shirt bearing handwritten messages saying

“One less pig perfect justice”
in Radcliffe, near Manchester, on Sept. 18.

His arrest came hours after two police officers in the northwest England city were killed in a gun and grenade attack that shocked Britain.

Thew was sentenced to four months in jail Thursday after earlier pleading guilty to a public order offense. He received another four months for breaching the terms of an earlier suspended sentence.

Civil liberties campaigners slammed the sentence as absurd and warned it would have a chilling effect on free speech.

Drug cartels flood U.S. with cheap meth

Let's face it, the "drug war" is a dismal failure that will never be won.

On the other hand, that is probably why the highly paid police officers in the drug war love it. They know they will have their high paying jobs forever.


Drug cartels flood U.S. with cheap meth

Associated Press Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:20 AM

ST. LOUIS — Mexican drug cartels are quietly filling the void in the nation’s drug market created by the long effort to crack down on American-made methamphetamine, flooding U.S. cities with exceptionally cheap, extraordinarily potent meth from factory-like “superlabs.”

Although Mexican meth is not new to the U.S. drug trade, it now accounts for as much as 80 percent of the meth sold here, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And it is as much as 90 percent pure, a level that offers users a faster, more intense and longer-lasting high.

“These are sophisticated, high-tech operations in Mexico that are operating with extreme precision,” said Jim Shroba, a DEA agent in St. Louis. “They’re moving it out the door as fast as they can manufacture it.”

The cartels are expanding into the U.S. meth market just as they did with heroin: developing an inexpensive, highly addictive form of the drug and sending it through the same pipeline already used to funnel marijuana and cocaine, authorities said.

Seizures of meth along the Southwest border have more than quadrupled during the last several years. DEA records reviewed by The Associated Press show that the amount of seized meth jumped from slightly more than 4,000 pounds in 2007 to more than 16,000 pounds in 2011.

During that same period, the purity of Mexican meth shot up too, from 39 percent in 2007 to 88 percent by 2011, according to DEA documents. The price fell 69 percent, tumbling from $290 per pure gram to less than $90.

Mexican meth has a clearer, glassier appearance than more crudely produced formulas and often resembles ice fragments, usually with a clear or bluish-white color. It often has a smell people compare to ammonia, cat urine or even burning plastic.

“You can look at it and see it has a much more pure look,” said Paul Roach, a DEA agent in Denver.

The rise of Mexican meth doesn’t mean American labs have disappeared. The number of U.S. meth labs continues to rise even as federal, state and local laws place heavy restrictions on the purchase of cold and allergy pills containing pseudoephedrine, a major component in the most common meth recipe.

The crackdowns that began a decade ago have made it more difficult to prepare large batches, so many American meth users have turned to a simpler method that uses a 2-liter soda bottle filled with just enough ingredients to produce a small amount of the drug for personal use.

But south of the border, meth is being made on an industrial scale. Sophisticated factories put out tons of the drug using formulas developed by professional chemists. The final product often is smuggled into the U.S. taped beneath tractor-trailers or hidden inside packages of other drugs.

While clandestine U.S. labs generally supply rural areas, Mexican meth is mostly targeted to urban and suburban users. Increasingly large quantities are turning up in dozens of American cities, including Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis and Salt Lake City, according to the DEA.

The marketing format follows a well-established pattern. By simultaneously increasing the purity and cutting the price, the cartels get people hooked and create a new customer base.

“They’re marketing geniuses,” said Jack Riley, the agent in charge of the DEA office in Chicago.

When Illinois authorities recently confiscated 1,000 pounds of Mexican marijuana, they found 10 pounds of meth hidden among the pot — essentially a free sample for the distributor to give out to drug users, Riley said.

Until recently, meth was seldom seen in major urban areas, except in biker gangs and parts of the gay community, Riley said.

“We’ve never really seen it on the street like we’ve seen cocaine and heroin,” Riley said. He worries that if the estimated 180,000 members of street gangs in Chicago get involved in meth trafficking, violence could follow.

Like the U.S., Mexico has tightened laws and regulations on pseudoephedrine, though some labs still are able to obtain large amounts from China and India. To fill the void, cartel chemists have turned to an old recipe known as P2P that first appeared in the 1960s and 1970s in some parts of the western U.S.

That recipe uses the organic compound phenylacetone. Because of its use in meth, the U.S. government made it a controlled substance in 1980, essentially stopping that form of meth in the U.S. But in Mexico, the cartels can get phenylacetone from other countries, DEA experts said.

In the third quarter of 2011, 85 percent of lab samples taken from U.S. meth seizures came from the P2P process — up from 50 percent a little more than a year earlier, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said.

Federal agents say the influx of meth from Mexico illustrates the difficulty of waging a two-front war on the drug in neighboring countries. When one source of the drug is dealt a setback, other suppliers step in to satisfy relentless demand.

Considering the relatively untapped market of bigger American cities, the rise of Mexican meth is not surprising, said Illinois State University criminologist Ralph Weisheit, a meth expert.

“It’s something that was inevitable,” Weisheit said. “This wasn’t hard to predict.”

American authorities are not the only ones taking notice. The sharp spike in meth activity also is evident from the other side of the border. Seizures of labs and chemicals have increased nearly 1,000 percent in the past two years.

Last year, Mexican authorities made two major busts in the quiet central state of Queretaro, seizing nearly 500 tons of precursor chemicals and 3.4 tons of pure meth with a street value of more than $100 million. In Sinaloa, investigators found a sophisticated underground lab equipped with an elevator and ventilation systems as well as cooking and sleeping facilities. The facility was reachable only by a nearly 100-foot tunnel with its opening concealed under a tractor shed.

And in February, soldiers in western Mexico made a historic seizure: 15 tons of pure methamphetamine, a haul that could have supplied 13 million doses worth more than $4 billion.

The meth problem is spilling into other parts of Latin America too. In December and January, Mexican authorities seized nearly 900 tons of precursor chemicals at Mexican ports, almost all of it bound for Guatemala, which seized about 1,600 tons of meth precursors in 2011 — four times the 400 tons seized there a year earlier.

For now, cocaine remains far and away the cartels’ most profitable drug. The RAND Corp. estimates the annual street value of cocaine is about $30 billion, heroin about $20 billion and meth about $5 billion.

But cocaine is getting more expensive and less pure. According to the DEA, the price per pure gram of cocaine rose 59 percent from 2007 through September 2011. At the same time, the purity level dropped 25 percent.

Cocaine also typically comes from Colombia, meaning Mexican cartels serve as middle men who compete against each other to smuggle it into the U.S. That marginalizes their profits.

Because methamphetamine is a synthetic drug the cartels can make for themselves, the profit potential is enormous.

“It’s not plant-based,” Weisheit said. “It can be completely produced in Mexico. It’s very compact, and that makes it easy to smuggle.”

Mexico condemns shooting involving border agent

Sadly the insane and unconstitutional American drug war has cause the murder of 1,000's of people over harmless drugs like marijuana.

I don't know what drugs the people that were murdered by the BP agents were accuse of smuggling, but it is insane to justify their murders because of any drug they were smuggling.


Mexico condemns shooting involving border agent

by Domenico Nicosia and Cassondra Strande - Oct. 11, 2012 10:15 PM

The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

The Mexican government is reacting angrily to reports that a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot a suspected drug smuggler on the Mexican side of the Arizona border.

U.S. authorities confirmed that a young Mexican citizen was shot Wednesday night near Nogales after rocks were thrown at agents.

Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, said his government strongly condemns and deplores the use of lethal force by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Alday would not elaborate or confirm any details of the incident.

The Spanish-language network Telemundo reported that the suspect died after being shot on Mexican territory.

Border Patrol officials had not confirmed his death Thursday night.

The shooting occurred after agents reportedly saw two suspected narcotics smugglers in Nogales drop a load of narcotics on the U.S. side of the border, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection document.

The suspects then fled to the Mexican side of the border and began assaulting the agents with rocks, the document said. When they ignored orders to stop, at least one of the agents fired at them, according to the document.

It was unclear how many shots were fired.

After the suspected smuggler was hit, agents secured the scene and notified the Mexican government, according to U.S. authorities.

Alday said in the statement that "it is imperative that the relevant U.S. authorities proceed with a timely and transparent investigation, and take it to its ultimate consequences. Mexican authorities will proceed accordingly within their jurisdiction."

Neither Border Patrol officials nor the FBI, which is leading the investigation, would comment aside from a statement released Thursday.

The shooting comes less than two weeks after the death of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, who was killed by friendly fire Oct. 2. Ivie was based at the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station near Naco.

Was the death of Heriberto Lazcano staged by the Mexican government???

I wonder, did the Mexican government stage the capture, murder, and then theft of Heriberto Lazcano's body to prove they are a great government who can catch any criminal???

This case is kind of like the case where the American government claimed to have captured bin Laden, proved it by taking his fingerprints before killing him then dumping his body in the ocean.

In both cases the Mexican and American governments might be lying to make themselves look like heroes.


Autopsy: 2 shots in head killed Mexican drug lord

Oct. 11, 2012 11:40 PM

Associated Press

MEXICO CITY -- An autopsy carried out on the body of drug cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano before his body was stolen shows he died of six gunshot wounds, including two to the head, according to a forensic report released Thursday.

The Coahuila state prosecutors' office said the autopsy determined Lazcano died of brain injuries, hemorrhaging, shock and blood loss. Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," was a founder and one of two top leaders of the brutal Zetas drug cartel and was one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords.

The head wounds stood out, given navy reports indicating Lazcano was shot at a distance of as much as 300 meters (yards) by marines during a confrontation in northern Coahuila state Sunday.

The autopsy report said Lazcano was shot once in the side or top of the skull and once in the back of the head. The four other wounds were in the buttocks, chest and arm.

Masked men stole his body from a funeral home early Monday. State forensic experts performed the autopsy at the funeral home Sunday evening, before the body was stolen.

Mexico's navy said its personnel had no idea they had killed the leader of the country's most-feared drug cartel until after his body was stolen. By law, military personnel in Mexico cannot keep or examine suspects or corpses, but must turn them over to civilian prosecutors. In areas where morgues are in short supply, medical examiners sometimes perform autopsies at funeral homes.

The navy says Lazcano was killed after marines tried to search a group of suspicious men in a truck outside a baseball stadium, after receiving a tip there were armed men in the area. The men fired when the marines stopped the truck. One suspect died where the truck was stopped, but the man later identified as Lazcano fled across a field, where he was reportedly cut down by marine fire.

Who is lying? Sheriff Joe or Paul Penzone?

Is Sheriff Joe lying??? Is Paul Penzone lying.

In this case Paul Penzone might be lying.

After Sheriff Joe's reign of terror for 20 years in Maricopa County he definably needs to go. But of course I don't think Paul Penzone is any better then Sheriff Joe.

Paul Penzone is an ex-narc and I suspect he will continue to terrorize the citizens of Maricopa County for victimless drug war crimes if he replaces Sheriff Joe.

Like Sheriff Joe, I suspect Paul Penzone will say anything to get elected, or in this case lie about anything to get elected.

If I was in Nazi Germany living under Hitler, I would certainly vote for Joe Stalin to get rid of Hitler. Not because I like Stalin, but because I would have been tired of Hitler terrorizing us.

I feel the same way about this election. I think both Paul Penzone and Sheriff Joe are police state thugs and I don't want either of them in office. But I would vote for Paul Penzone just to get rid of Sheriff Joe.

Here is a link to the commerical on UTube.



Arpaio ad on Penzone smacks of desperation


Thu, Oct 11 2012

Fresh on the heels of a poll showing Paul Penzone within four points of catching Joe Arpaio, Team Arpaio released a rather vicious campaign ad today, accusing Penzone of hitting his wife.

“For years, Paul Penzone was the face of Silent Witness," the ad says. “But in 2003, Paul Penzone pushed his then-wife against a door, injuring her in front of their child. He's tried to explain it away, but there's no excuse for hitting a woman. Now, the only silent witness is his ex-wife.“


Of course, there are just few things missing from Arpaio’s ad….

…Like the fact that Penzone is the one who called police and Penzone is listed by police as the victim.

...Like the fact that neither Penzone nor his then-wife was prosecuted, as it was a he-said, she-said affair. No independent witnesses (presumably, not even the child whom Arpaio says witnessed the fight.)

According to a Glendale Police Department report of the 2003 incident, the Penzones were getting a divorce and in the midst of a nasty custody battle. He called police, saying his wife had assaulted him.

The report says Penzone had gone to the house to pick up his son’s hockey gear and told police that his wife hit him in the face with a hockey stick. Police said he had a minor bruise on his face.

His wife then told police that she hit him because he pushed her first, causing her to hit her forehead on the door. Police said she had a minor bruise on her forehead.

City prosecutors declined to prosecute.

Penzone then filed for an order of protection against her, and a few days later, she filed one against him, recounting their versions of the story.

There are no records – at least, none that I have found -- to indicate that Penzone had ever previously or ever since been involved in a domestic violence.

Arpaio spokesman Chad Willems defended the ad, saying the records “speak for themselves.”

They certainly do.

If I were I Joe, I'd stick to investigating sex crimes.

Is Penzone being 'Saban-ed' by Arpaio?


Is Penzone being 'Saban-ed' by Arpaio?


Thu, Oct 11 2012

Before Paul Penzone became the closest thing to a challenger that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has had there was Dan Saban.

Arpaio beat him twice, in 2004 and in 2008.

Saban sued Arpaio, and lost, after a local TV station ran a story in 2004 in which Saban's adoptive mother alleged that he raped her 30 years earlier. Saban said that it was his adoptive mother who’d taken advantage of him and claimed that Arpaio's then-chief deputy, David Hendershott, leaked the story.

The whole sordid episode came up again in 2008, when Saban was running against Arpaio.

This time in a nasty anti-Saban TV ad.

Now Arpaio’s camp has released an anti-Penzone ad dredging up a domestic dispute between Penzone and his former wife that took place nine years ago. Police were called. He said one thing. She said another. He had a little bruise. She had a little bruise.

No one was prosecuted.

Nothing since.

That is, until the sheriff’s race got close. That’s how it goes in politics. It’s sad.

But even sadder, it sometimes works.

No trial, no nothing US declares MS-13 gang to be criminals

Look I think criminals sucks like everybody else does.

But when the government declares people to be criminals without even a trial and freezes their assets the government is just as much as criminal the the person they are alleging to be a criminal.

Of course if the government legalized drugs, the MS-13 gang would go out of business over night. So in the case as usual, the government created the problem.

And of course the remaining criminal business the MS-13 gang is involved in, smuggling aliens into the US would be eliminated if the US government allowed free immigration to the US from Mexico, like they did before they blamed the Mexicans for the Great Depression and locked up the US Mexico boarder in 1933.

Again the government is the cause of the problem.


U.S. targets violent, central American street gang

Oct. 11, 2012 11:58 AM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A Central American street gang known for using machetes to hack and stab rivals to death became the first street gang to be labeled a transnational criminal organization Thursday.

The Treasury Department formally designated MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational criminal organization in an attempt to freeze the ultra-violent gang out of the U.S. financial system and seize potentially millions of dollars in criminal profits from drug and human smuggling and other crimes committed in the United States.

The gang was founded by immigrants fleeing El Salvador's civil war more than two decades ago its founders took lessons learned from the brutal conflict to the streets of Los Angeles as they built a reputation as one of the most ruthless and sophisticated street gangs in the country. according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jason Shatarsky

With as many as 10,000 members in 46 U.S. states, the gang has expanded beyond its initial and local roots and members are accused of crimes ranging from kidnapping and murder to drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Shatarsky, an MS-13 expert assigned to ICE's national gang unit, said the group quickly established themselves in Los Angeles before later spreading across the country. The group's penchants for violence -- using a machete to hack a victim to death or shooting someone in the head in broad daylight for instance -- surprised authorities and rival gangs

The gang now has a large presence in Southern California, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, all areas with substantial Salvadoran populations. And in any community where the gang operates, he said, its members often prey on their own community, targeting residents and business owners for extortion, among other crimes. The gang is also active throughout Central America and in parts of Mexico and authorities in Europe have reported evidence of MS-13 expanding operations there.

"They saw a level of violence that hadn't been seen before," Shatarksy said, adding that as the gang as expanded it has also become more sophisticated than many of its rivals.

Among the most high profile killings attributed to MS-13 in Virginia was the 2003 slaying of a pregnant teenager who left the gang and became an informant. Brenda Paz, 17, was stabbed to death and her body was left along the Shenandoah River. MS-13 members have also been linked to the 2007 execution style shooting deaths of three friends in a Newark school yard. One of the victims was also slashed with a machete before being shot. Six people have been charged in the case.

By labeling MS-13 an international criminal organization subject to sanctions by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the government hopes stymie the gang's ability to funnel money back to its leaders in El Salvador or launder criminal proceeds through otherwise legitimate businesses.

David S. Cohen, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said while no specific members of the gang have been individually listed as part of the group's sanction, anyone identified as a gang member or associate trying to do business with gang members are subject to criminal prosecution.

By declaring the group a transnational criminal organization, the government is also making it more difficult for gang members to use banks and wire transfer services to move profits from the group's crimes.

ICE Director John Morton described the designation Thursday as a "powerful weapon" for his agency's ongoing effort to dismantle the gang. "This designation allows us to strike at the financial heart of MS-13," he said.

Other international criminal groups that have been subject to similar sanctions by the Treasury Department include the Yakuza, a Japanese organized crime group, and the ruthless Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas.


Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at www.twittter.com/acaldwellap

Mexican mayor says boy shot by U.S. agent 7 times


Mexican mayor says boy shot by U.S. agent 7 times

Oct. 12, 2012 05:30 PM

Associated Press

A teenage boy apparently killed this week by a U.S. Border Patrol agent was hit seven times by gunfire and died on a sidewalk just across the Arizona-Mexico border, a mayor in Mexico said Friday.

"It was a burst of gunfire," Nogales Mayor Ramon Guzman Munoz told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It was a hail of bullets."

Munoz called the episode "deplorable" and urged a thorough investigation by both U.S. and Mexican authorities.

Meanwhile, the Border Patrol had not yet confirmed anyone was struck by the agent's bullets, only that "it appeared someone had been hit," agency spokesman Victor Brabble said Friday.

The Border Patrol said several agents responded Wednesday night to reports of suspected drug smugglers in Nogales, Ariz. The agents watched two people abandon a load of narcotics, then run back to Mexico, according to the Border Patrol. They were then pelted by rocks thrown from across the border. The agency said the people ignored orders to stop, and an agent open fire.

The Sonora state attorney general's office in Mexico said in a statement Thursday that Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, from Nogales, Sonora, was found dead at the border from gunshot wounds about midnight Wednesday.

However, the office didn't definitively confirm the boy had been shot by the Border Patrol, only noting that police received reports of gunshots, then found his body on a sidewalk near the border barrier.

A Mexican official with direct knowledge of the investigation confirmed the boy was shot by the agent, and said authorities were meeting Friday in Mexico City to discuss the case. The person also said the teenager had been shot multiple times in the back. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not yet authorized to discuss details of the case.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department issued a statement Thursday saying it "forcefully condemned" the shooting and calling such deaths "a serious bilateral problem."

Border agents are generally allowed to use lethal force against rock throwers, and there are several ongoing investigations into similar shootings in Arizona and Texas.

Glendale Cops love sales taxes???

Glendale cops love sales taxes??? Because they get a cut of the loot!

I think this letter to the editor helps verify my point that the "war on drugs" is just a job program for overpaid and under worked cops.

Note Proposition 457 if passed will force the city of Glendale to stop taxing the krap out of people to pay for government welfare to professional sports teams.


Letter: Proposition 457 ignores public safety

By Letters

October 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm

As president of the Glendale Law Enforcement Association, I represent the dedicated and professional men and women from the Glendale Police Department. I, like many Glendale police employees, chose the profession of law enforcement for one primary ambition – to protect the innocent. [You mean the high pay? Where else can an entry level employee start out at $50,000 a year with only a high school diploma] Officers are honored to give citizens a peace of mind that we will be there to help them when needed.

However, Glendale officers feel like they are taking steps backwards, combating crime when they are forced to function with slim essential services and personnel. Over the last few years, Glendale has cut millions of dollars from the police department. [Yea, the royal rulers of Glendale would rather give handouts to professional sports teams, then to cops] Now, the city is looking at eliminating millions more from our budget this next fiscal year, resulting in the lay-offs of 66 police positions. Preventative enforcement units, like narcotics, will be eliminated entirely. [Sounds great to me. If you end the silly "war on drugs" you can start hunting down real criminals!!!]

I have seen firsthand what criminal elements can and will do to harm our loved-ones. With shortages in police manpower coupled with funding cuts, I believe Glendale will see serious long-term damage to communities, neighborhoods, schools and other services. As a father of three and a police officer, I cannot let that happen. [So what are you going to do about it? Arrest us if we don't give you more money???]

Common sense can draw parallels between Glendale’s crime rates and budget cuts over the years. The city is No. 1 in auto thefts (in Arizona) and violent crime is up 13 percent. Additionally, Arizona is still No. 1 in identity theft nationally. Border related crimes, like drug smuggling and human trafficking, continue to ail our city. [Of course if drugs were legal drug smuggling wouldn't be ailing anybody!] What statistics can Glendale citizens expect in the future with further public safety funding reductions and lay-offs?

No Arizona citizen wants to be taxed more than we already are in these economic times. Families, like mine, have had to make changes in order to deal with our fiscal down-turn. However, government’s core responsibility is public safety, and it must be adequately funded. A temporary revenue source is Glendale’s only option to keep police services at their current levels.

Glendale police officers encourage you to vote “no” on Proposition 457. Help protect public safety, and the men and women that serve you. [Translation, vote against Prop 457 so Glendale can continue it's government welfare program for over paid cops to arrest people for the victimless crime of smoking or selling marijuana!]

Justin Harris

President, Glendale Law Enforcement Association

"Drug war cops" now shoot down suspected drug smuggling planes

Cops are now shooting down airplanes suspected of smuggling drugs.

I have half seriously joked that when American cops start using drones they will order drone missile strikes to destroy the homes of suspected drug dealers in South Phoenix.

In Honduras, American financed drug war cops are already shooting down the airplanes of suspected drug smugglers.

The only question is when is this "drug war" insanity going to come to the USA and have cops murdering Americas suspected of "drug war" crimes?


U.S. Rethinks a Drug War After Deaths in Honduras


Published: October 12, 2012

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The Honduran Air Force pilot did not know what to do. It was the dead of night, and he was chasing a small, suspected drug plane at a dangerously low altitude, just a few hundred feet above the Caribbean. He fired warning shots, but instead of landing, the plane flew lower and closer to the sea.

“So the pilot made a decision, thinking it was the best thing to do,” said Arturo Corrales, Honduras’s foreign minister, one of several officials to give the first detailed account of the episode. “He shot down the plane.”

Four days later, on July 31, it happened again. Another flight departed from a small town on the Venezuelan coast, and using American radar intelligence, a Honduran fighter pilot shot it down over the water.

How many people were killed? Were drugs aboard, or innocent civilians? Officials here and in Washington say they do not know. The planes were never found. But the two episodes — clear violations of international law and established protocols — have ignited outrage in the United States, bringing one of its most ambitious international offensives against drug traffickers to a sudden halt just months after it started.

All joint operations in Honduras are now suspended. Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, expressing the concerns of several Democrats in Congress, is holding up tens of millions of dollars in security assistance, not just because of the planes, but also over suspected human rights abuses by the Honduran police and three shootings in which commandos with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration effectively led raids when they were only supposed to act as advisers.

The downed aircraft, in particular, reminded veteran officials of an American missionary plane that was shot down in 2001 by Peruvian authorities using American intelligence. It was only a matter of time, they said, before another plane with the supposedly guilty turned out to be filled with the innocent.

But the clash between the Obama administration and lawmakers had been building for months. Fearful that Central America was becoming overrun by organized crime, perhaps worse than in the worst parts of Mexico, the State Department, the D.E.A. and the Pentagon rushed ahead this year with a muscular antidrug program with several Latin American nations, hoping to protect Honduras and use it as a chokepoint to cut off the flow of drugs heading north.

Then the series of fatal enforcement actions — some by the Honduran military, others involving shootings by American agents — quickly turned the antidrug cooperation, often promoted as a model of international teamwork, into a case study of what can go wrong when the tactics of war are used to fight a crime problem that goes well beyond drugs.

“You can’t cure the whole body by just treating the arm,” said Edmundo Orellana, Honduras’s former defense minister and attorney general. “You have to heal the whole thing.”

A sweeping new plan for Honduras, focused more on judicial reform and institution-building, is now being jointly developed by Honduras and the United States. But State Department officials must first reassure Congress that the deaths have been investigated and that new safeguards, like limits on the role of American forces, will be put in place.

“We are trying to see what to do differently or better,” said Lisa J. Kubiske, the American ambassador in Honduras.

The challenge is dizzying, and the new plan, according to a recent draft shown to The New York Times, is more aspirational than anything aimed at combating drugs and impunity in Mexico, or Colombia before that. It includes not just boats and helicopters, but also broad restructuring: several new investigative entities, an expanded vetting program for the police, more power for prosecutors, and a network of safe houses for witnesses.

Officials from both countries have often failed to fully grasp the weakness of the Honduran institutions deployed to turn the country around. But the need to act is obvious. The country’s homicide rate is among the highest in the world, and corruption has chewed through government from top to bottom.

“We know that unless we really help these governments and address the complexities of these challenges they face, their people and societies would be further endangered,” said Maria Otero, under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights.

“Honduras,” she added, “is the most vulnerable and threatened of them all.”

A Country’s Cry for Help

The foreign minister, Mr. Corrales, a hulk of a man with a loud laugh and a degree in engineering, said he visited Washington in early 2011 with a request for help in four areas: investigation, impunity, organized crime and corruption. President Porfirio Lobo, in meetings with the Americans, put it more bluntly: “We’re drowning.”

In 2010, a year after a military coup eventually brought the conservative Lobo government to power, drug flights to Honduras spiked to 82, from six in 2006. Half the country, which is only a little bigger than Tennessee, was out of government control. Then last October, the mingling of corruption and impunity hit the front pages here with the murder of Rafael Alejandro Vargas, the 22-year-old son of Julieta Castellanos, the rector of Honduras’s largest university.

Mr. Vargas’s death stood out not just because he was the son of a prominent academic; he was killed by police officers, who appeared to have kidnapped him as he left a birthday party, and then killed him when they realized who he was. Many of the officers were not arrested.

“It was a wake-up call for all of Honduras of just how corrupt and infiltrated the police were,” Ms. Otero said.

Another State Department official said the killing — along with the soaring homicide rate and the increased trafficking — sounded alarms in Washington: “It raised for us the specter of Honduras becoming another northern Mexico.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton demanded a strong response, and William R. Brownfield, the assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, became the point man for what was created: a broad security program centered on rapid-response law enforcement activities organized by the D.E.A. and the Pentagon.

Known as Anvil, it was meant to work alongside efforts like outreach to youth and training for some police officers, prosecutors and judges. But the interdiction of cocaine was the immediate focus. Mr. Brownfield and other officials wanted to test whether they could keep drug planes from landing on Honduras’s isolated Caribbean coast.

The plan was for American and Colombian radar intelligence to guide D.E.A. agents working with the Honduran police. They would intercept drug planes once they landed, using State Department helicopters flown by Guatemalan pilots. “It was the most multinational law enforcement operation we have ever conducted,” Mr. Brownfield said.

They started in the spring, and several officials, including Ambassador Kubiske, said the program had succeeded in many ways. From April 24 to July 3, 4.7 tons of cocaine were seized, and the number of drug flights coming into Honduras fell significantly.

But the operation had evident procedural flaws. It was started without some simple measures that could have prevented deaths or allowed for swift investigations and a full public accounting when things went wrong.

According to a senior American official who was not authorized to speak on the record, there were no detailed rules governing American participation in law enforcement operations. Honduran officials also described cases in which the rules of engagement for the D.E.A. and the police were vague and ad hoc.

“In these kinds of situations, who can really say how the decision to shoot is made?” said Héctor Iván Mejía, a spokesman for the Honduran National Police.

And for a law enforcement program, investigations seemed to be an afterthought. On several occasions, crime scenes were left unsecured for more than 12 hours, until an investigator could be flown to them. After episodes in which suspects were injured or killed, it often took days — and significant public pressure — to begin inquiries about whether deadly force was justified, too late to create a full and credible account.

The Honduran authorities were not much help. After one previously undisclosed interdiction raid in July, soldiers refused to board an American military helicopter that had come to collect reinforcements.

More broadly, it was often unclear who was in charge. Sometimes neither Honduran nor American authorities seemed to know who was ultimately responsible for the policy.

The D.E.A.’s role was especially contentious. Its commandos were part of a tactical assault program known as FAST, for Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team, which has been credited with victories against drug traffickers from Peru to Afghanistan. But a May 11 shooting in a town called Ahuas, in which gunfire killed four people whom neighbors said were innocent, led to concerns in Congress that the D.E.A.’s commandos were operating with impunity.

The agents were supposed to act as trainers. “During our operations in Honduras, Honduran law enforcement is always in the lead, and we play a support and mentorship role,” said Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the D.E.A.

But American officials overseeing Anvil now acknowledge that turned out not to be the case. Members of the Honduran police teams told government investigators that they took their orders from the D.E.A. Americans officials said that the FAST teams, deploying tactics honed in Afghanistan, did not feel confident in the Hondurans’ abilities to take the lead.

Three of the five joint interdiction operations during Anvil included deadly shootings. In Ahuas, officials said the gunfire came from the Honduran police. In late June, D.E.A. agents shot and killed the pilot of a plane bearing drugs, and another pilot who landed farther inland on July 3. Anvil ended soon afterward, several days ahead of schedule.

“This operation was bungled in its conception, in its implementation and in its aftermath,” said Mr. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s panel on the State Department and foreign operations.

Representative Howard L. Berman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Mrs. Clinton, “Unfortunately, this is not the first time the United States has come perilously close to an overmilitarized strategy toward a country too small and institutionally weak for its citizens to challenge the policy.”

Mr. Brownfield, the assistant secretary, said it was impossible to “offer a zero risk program for interdicting drugs in Central America.” He noted that the shootings during interdiction raids happened in the middle of the night, in remote locations that were hard for investigators to reach. Despite these challenges, he said that investigations were conducted and that he was “basically satisfied” that he knew what had happened.

But an aide to Mr. Leahy said members of Congress were not reassured. “One of several reasons funds currently are being withheld is that we have yet to see the results of any investigation, and there is little confidence that the next time would be any better,” the aide said.

Military Justice Gone Awry

When the Honduran Air Force pilot took off from his base at La Ceiba on July 26, tracking a plane without a flight plan, the State Department helicopters used for interdiction had already returned to Guatemala. The D.E.A. agents were gone. Anvil had ended, but the broader mission of joint enforcement and the sharing of American intelligence had not.

From the moment the Honduran pilot departed in his aging Tucano turboprop, just before midnight, he was in radio contact with Colombian authorities, who regularly receive radar intelligence from the American military’s Southern Command.

Intelligence-sharing is a major component of the American approach to fighting drugs regionally, and military commanders said they were not especially worried about any mistakes as they watched the suspicious flight on their radar screens. Nearly a decade earlier, Honduran military commanders signed an agreement with the United States to abide by laws that prohibit firing on civilian aircraft. After all, small single-engine planes are used by local airlines, courier services and missionaries all over Honduras’s remote northeastern coast.

Yet Honduran and American officials said the Honduran pilots did not seem to be aware of the rules.

Mr. Corrales, the foreign minister, and some American officials have concluded that the downed planes amounted to misapplied military justice, urged on by societal anger and the broader weaknesses of Honduras’s institutions.

“It reflects a lot of frustration in the country, that they think this is a tool they need to use,” Ambassador Kubiske said. “If you had a law enforcement system and then a justice system that could reliably detain suspected narcos when they land — if they could seize the goods and put together a strong case.” She added, “If they had a strong functioning system, then this would look like a less attractive alternative.”

Creating a stronger system is at the core of what some officials are now calling Anvil II. A draft of the plan provided by Mr. Corrales shows a major shift toward shoring up judicial institutions with new entities focused on organized and financial crime.

Mr. Corrales said the plan was closer to what he had hoped for before Anvil, with a few protective fixes: each vetted investigative unit will include up to three embedded prosecutors, who will direct the activities of Honduran police officers and D.E.A. agents.

The D.E.A.’s role will also probably change. American officials say they are discussing how to keep it more limited, possibly by requiring FAST agents to stay on helicopters during raids, “more like a coach on the sidelines,” one American military official said.

Much of what is being proposed would be paid for with a national security tax Honduras recently established. The Americans have agreed to help Honduras determine how the money will be spent, and if Congress releases its hold on American contributions, joint security programs will accelerate quickly.

But many Hondurans worry that the pull of the familiar — of muscular, military-style interdiction — may be difficult to resist. In the handwritten notes on Mr. Corrales’s draft, he placed a No. 1 next to two items: intelligence-sharing, and a reference to training for 20 Honduran helicopter pilots.

Honduran officials have also resisted demands from Congress for a more thorough investigation of Juan Carlos Bonilla, the head of the Honduran police, who has been accused of running a death squad that killed at least three people from 1998 to 2002. (He was acquitted of a single murder charge in 2004, though critics say the case was hindered by corruption.)

Dr. Castellanos, the university rector, said the challenge for Honduras and the Americans would be staying focused on long-term problems like corruption. “It’s a tragedy; there is no confidence in the state,” she said, wearing black in her university office.

The old game of cocaine cat-and-mouse tends to look like a quicker fix, she said, with its obvious targets and clear victories measured in tons seized. Since Anvil ended, officials have seen a revival of suspicious planes heading to Honduras, with many landing inland, along rivers.

“This moment presents us with an opportunity for institutional reform,” Dr. Castellanos said. But that will depend on whether the new effort goes after more than just drugs and uproots the criminal networks that have already burrowed into Honduran society.

“There’s infiltration everywhere,” she said. “There is no guarantee it can be stopped.”

Propaganda from Sheriff Joe

Here is an editorial from the worst sheriff in the world on why he should be reelected.

I couple of days ago the Republic wrote an editorial saying Sheriff Joe has got to go. I think they let him respond to that editorial with this "My Turn" letter to the editor.

Please note, while I think Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the worst sheriff in America, I don't think Paul Penzone is much better.


Endorsement for sheriff ignores some key facts

by Joe Arpaio - Oct. 12, 2012 06:26 PM

The Arizona Republic editorial board's endorsement of one of my political opponents was no surprise to anyone familiar with this newspaper and its board ("Arpaio's record says: Elect Penzone," Editorial, Sunday). It has long opposed my policies regarding Tent City, as well as how I enforce illegal-immigration laws. This board joins the ultraliberal New Times newspaper as advocates for my ousting. [Hey, Sheriff Joe, the Republic has endorsed you for years. But you have screwed things up so badly they finally have started to call for an end to your reign of terror like us normal folks have been doing for years.]

There were a number of distortions and omissions by this editorial board, a move carefully calculated to unseat a conservative sheriff who upholds laws this newspaper despises.

This editorial board clearly advocates replacing me with Paul Penzone, a man it knows has little management experience and who isn't even endorsed by the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. PLEA supports me for sheriff. Why? It cites Penzone's lack of experience and knowledge as reasons they will not support him.

Instead, the paper's editorial writers recite reasons to vote me out yet conveniently omit facts that debunk their arguments.

They characterized investigations into various politicians as a terror-waged vendetta yet fail to remind readers those investigations resulted in the indictments of some and an admission by the U.S. Justice Department that the evidence was so lacking, they dropped the 3-year-long investigation. [Sheriff Joe, just because they didn't get enough evidence to prove you are a crook, doesn't mean you are not a crook!]

The paper asked readers to believe I misappropriated $100 million when it was an accounting error only. Deputies' salaries were paid out of the wrong fund. It was corrected by a journal entry. Taxpayers were not affected. [I think that is an outright lie. From what I have read the deputies salaries were paid out of a fund that was supposed to be used to purchase a new jail. Not a cent of that money has been paid back. It's lost]

They complain the jails cost taxpayers millions in lawsuits. All large jails do. Inmates sue all the time. Occasionally, someone dies in jail. What predictably follows is a lawsuit by the family. The fact remains, the legal costs associated with the running of my jails are far less than many large jails in the U.S. [Really, it would be nice to supply us with some numbers here.]

The editorial board claims my deputies embarrass Arizona by arresting people who are simply "driving while Hispanic." We do not racially profile, but we do uphold the state laws on illegal immigration. [I think you are lying about that! I have not heard of you having any patrols in Scottsdale to shake down all the White Canadian snow birds that come there for their "papers" like you do to the Latinos in Guadalupe and South Phoenix!]

Five weeks before my election, this paper did a huge series on our sex-crimes unit and problems we endured several years ago. Difficulties in investigating sex crimes are not unique to this agency.

Other agencies here and elsewhere have similar challenges yet The Republic has never offered an in-depth examination about those agencies' difficulties. When I learned about our problem, we reinvestigated the cases, arrested perpetrators, and put new systems in place to avoid a reoccurrence. Today, we have a larger sex-crimes unit with better-trained detectives, an improved case-tracking system and new state-of-the-art advocacy centers.

On Nov. 6, you have important choices to make including the Maricopa County sheriff's race. Despite what this paper tries to persuade you to think, I believe you know I do the job I was elected to do. Because of that, the areas my deputies patrol are the safest in the county.

I have had my share of difficulties, and like any experienced manager, I faced them head on and moved on. Too bad The Arizona Republic doesn't do the same.

Joe Arpaio is Maricopa County sheriff.

The "drug war" causes far more crime then it prevents

If we legalized drugs and ended the insane "war on drugs", the crime associated with the drug war would end over night, and that includes the smuggling of guns into Mexico.

On the other hand I suspect that the smuggling of guns into Mexico from the USA is mostly hype created by the ATF to create jobs for it's agents.

Why buy 100 AK-47s in the USA which cost $1,000+ each when you can get them in other 3rd world countries for under $100.

As H. L. Mencken said

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Letter: U.S. sells guns to anyone with cash

Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 8:12 am

Letter to the Editor

Mike McClellan is right. We, the U.S. of A., are a major supplier of guns to Mexico. We’ll sell guns to anyone that has the cash to buy them, and the drug cartels have a LOT of cash. It’s cash they earned from selling drugs.

Mostly to Americans, who buy around $40 billion worth a year. That kind of money doesn’t come from homeless druggies living in dumptsters. It comes from people with bachelor’s or master’s degrees and doctorates. It comes from middle an upper class people and their kids.

No drug buyers, no cartel, no cartel, no mass weapons purchases, no mass weapons purchases, no mass killings of innocent victims on either side of our borders. Ain’t free trade grand?

Jerry Ricks


Flushing "free speech" down the toilet for "religious freedom"???

You have the right to free speech as long as you don't insult the religious nut jobs!!!!


Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech

Brian Stauffer for The Washington Post

By Jonathan Turley, Published: October 12

Free speech is dying in the Western world. While most people still enjoy considerable freedom of expression, this right, once a near-absolute, has become less defined and less dependable for those espousing controversial social, political or religious views. The decline of free speech has come not from any single blow but rather from thousands of paper cuts of well-intentioned exceptions designed to maintain social harmony.

In the face of the violence that frequently results from anti-religious expression, some world leaders seem to be losing their patience with free speech. After a video called “Innocence of Muslims” appeared on YouTube and sparked violent protests in several Muslim nations last month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.”

It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, “Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.”

A willingness to confine free speech in the name of social pluralism can be seen at various levels of authority and government. In February, for instance, Pennsylvania Judge Mark Martin heard a case in which a Muslim man was charged with attacking an atheist marching in a Halloween parade as a “zombie Muhammed.” Martin castigated not the defendant but the victim, Ernie Perce, lecturing him that “our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures — which is what you did.”

Of course, free speech is often precisely about pissing off other people — challenging social taboos or political values.

This was evident in recent days when courts in Washington and New York ruled that transit authorities could not prevent or delay the posting of a controversial ad that says: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

When U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the government could not bar the ad simply because it could upset some Metro riders, the ruling prompted calls for new limits on such speech. And in New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded by unanimously passing a new regulation banning any message that it considers likely to “incite” others or cause some “other immediate breach of the peace.”

Such efforts focus not on the right to speak but on the possible reaction to speech — a fundamental change in the treatment of free speech in the West. The much-misconstrued statement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that free speech does not give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theater is now being used to curtail speech that might provoke a violence-prone minority. Our entire society is being treated as a crowded theater, and talking about whole subjects is now akin to shouting “fire!”

The new restrictions are forcing people to meet the demands of the lowest common denominator of accepted speech, usually using one of four rationales.

Speech is blasphemous

This is the oldest threat to free speech, but it has experienced something of a comeback in the 21st century. After protests erupted throughout the Muslim world in 2005 over Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, Western countries publicly professed fealty to free speech, yet quietly cracked down on anti-religious expression. Religious critics in France, Britain, Italy and other countries have found themselves under criminal investigation as threats to public safety. In France, actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been fined several times for comments about how Muslims are undermining French culture. And just last month, a Greek atheist was arrested for insulting a famous monk by making his name sound like that of a pasta dish.

Some Western countries have classic blasphemy laws — such as Ireland, which in 2009 criminalized the “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” deemed “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” The Russian Duma recently proposed a law against “insulting religious beliefs.” Other countries allow the arrest of people who threaten strife by criticizing religions or religious leaders. In Britain, for instance, a 15-year-old girl was arrested two years agofor burning a Koran.

Western governments seem to be sending the message that free speech rights will not protect you — as shown clearly last month by the images of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the YouTube filmmaker, being carted away in California on suspicion of probation violations. Dutch politician Geert Wilders went through years of litigation before he was acquitted last year on charges of insulting Islam by voicing anti-Islamic views. In the Netherlandsand Italy, cartoonists and comedians have been charged with insulting religion through caricatures or jokes.

Even the Obama administration supported the passage of a resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council to create an international standard restricting some anti-religious speech (its full name: “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief”). Egypt’s U.N. ambassador heralded the resolution as exposing the “true nature” of free speech and recognizing that “freedom of expression has been sometimes misused” to insult religion.

At a Washington conference last yearto implement the resolution, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that it would protect both “the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.” But it isn’t clear how speech can be protected if the yardstick is how people react to speech — particularly in countries where people riot over a single cartoon. Clinton suggested that free speech resulting in “sectarian clashes” or “the destruction or the defacement or the vandalization of religious sites” was not, as she put it, “fair game.”

Given this initiative, President Obama’s U.N. address last month declaring America’s support for free speech, while laudable, seemed confused — even at odds with his administration’s efforts.

Speech is hateful

In the United States, hate speech is presumably protected under the First Amendment. However, hate-crime laws often redefine hateful expression as a criminal act. Thus, in 2003, the Supreme Court addressed the conviction of a Virginia Ku Klux Klan member who burned a cross on private land. The court allowed for criminal penalties so long as the government could show that the act was “intended to intimidate” others. It was a distinction without meaning, since the state can simply cite the intimidating history of that symbol.

Other Western nations routinely bar forms of speech considered hateful. Britain prohibits any “abusive or insulting words” meant “to stir up racial hatred.” Canada outlaws “any writing, sign or visible representation” that “incites hatred against any identifiable group.” These laws ban speech based not only on its content but on the reaction of others. Speakers are often called to answer for their divisive or insulting speech before bodies like the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

This month, a Canadian court ruled that Marc Lemire, the webmaster of a far-right political site, could be punished for allowing third parties to leave insulting comments about homosexuals and blacks on the site. Echoing the logic behind blasphemy laws, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that “the minimal harm caused . . . to freedom of expression is far outweighed by the benefit it provides to vulnerable groups and to the promotion of equality.”

Speech is discriminatory

Perhaps the most rapidly expanding limitation on speech is found in anti-discrimination laws. Many Western countries have extended such laws to public statements deemed insulting or derogatory to any group, race or gender.

For example, in a closely watched case last year, a French court found fashion designer John Gallianoguilty of making discriminatory comments in a Paris bar, where he got into a cursing match with a couple using sexist and anti-Semitic terms. Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud read a list of the bad words Galliano had used, adding that she found (rather implausibly) he had said “dirty whore” at least 1,000 times. Though he faced up to six months in jail, he was fined.

In Canada, comedian Guy Earle was charged with violating the human rights of a lesbian couple after he got into a trash-talking session with a group of women during an open-mike night at a nightclub. Lorna Pardysaid she suffered post-traumatic stress because of Earle’s profane language and derogatory terms for lesbians. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ruled last year that since this was a matter of discrimination, free speech was not a defense, and awarded about $23,000 to the couple.

Ironically, while some religious organizations are pushing blasphemy laws, religious individuals are increasingly targeted under anti-discrimination laws for their criticism of homosexuals and other groups. In 2008, a minister in Canada was not only forced to pay fines for uttering anti-gay sentiments but was also enjoined from expressing such views in the future.

Speech is deceitful

In the United States, where speech is given the most protection among Western countries, there has been a recent effort to carve out a potentially large category to which the First Amendment would not apply. While we have always prosecuted people who lie to achieve financial or other benefits, some argue that the government can outlaw any lie, regardless of whether the liar secured any economic gain.

One such law was the Stolen Valor Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, which made it a crime for people to lie about receiving military honors. The Supreme Court struck it down this year, but at least two liberal justices, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, proposed that such laws should have less of a burden to be upheld as constitutional. The House responded with new legislation that would criminalize lies told with the intent to obtain any undefined “tangible benefit.”

The dangers are obvious. Government officials have long labeled whistleblowers, reporters and critics as “liars” who distort their actions or words. If the government can define what is a lie, it can define what is the truth.

For example, in Februarythe French Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law that made it a crime to deny the 1915 Armenian genocide by Turkey — a characterization that Turkey steadfastly rejects. Despite the ruling, various French leaders pledged to pass new measures punishing those who deny the Armenians’ historical claims.

The impact of government limits on speech has been magnified by even greater forms of private censorship. For example, most news organizations have stopped showing images of Muhammad, though they seem to have no misgivings about caricatures of other religious figures. The most extreme such example was supplied by Yale University Press, which in 2009 published a book about the Danish cartoons titled “The Cartoons That Shook the World” — but cut all of the cartoons so as not to insult anyone.

The very right that laid the foundation for Western civilization is increasingly viewed as a nuisance, if not a threat. Whether speech is deemed imflammatory or hateful or discriminatory or simply false, society is denying speech rights in the name of tolerance, enforcing mutual respect through categorical censorship.

As in a troubled marriage, the West seems to be falling out of love with free speech. Unable to divorce ourselves from this defining right, we take refuge instead in an awkward and forced silence.


Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.

The constantly expanding American Police State!!!

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit


10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

By Jonathan Turley, Published: January 13, 2012

Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.

The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.

Assassination of U.S. citizens

President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Last year, he approved the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi and another citizen under this claimed inherent authority. Last month, administration officials affirmed that power, stating that the president can order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists. (Nations such as Nigeria, Iran and Syria have been routinely criticized for extrajudicial killings of enemies of the state.)

Indefinite detention

Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. While the administration claims that this provision only codified existing law, experts widely contest this view, and the administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal courts. The government continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion. (China recently codified a more limited detention law for its citizens, while countries such as Cambodia have been singled out by the United States for “prolonged detention.”)

Arbitrary justice

The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice. (Egypt and China have been denounced for maintaining separate military justice systems for selected defendants, including civilians.)

Warrantless searches

The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records. The government can use “national security letters” to demand, without probable cause, that organizations turn over information on citizens — and order them not to reveal the disclosure to the affected party. (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan operate under laws that allow the government to engage in widespread discretionary surveillance.)

Secret evidence

The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security — a claim made in a variety of privacy lawsuits and largely accepted by federal judges without question. Even legal opinions, cited as the basis for the government’s actions under the Bush and Obama administrations, have been classified. This allows the government to claim secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence. In addition, some cases never make it to court at all. The federal courts routinely deny constitutional challenges to policies and programs under a narrow definition of standing to bring a case.

War crimes

The world clamored for prosecutions of those responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration, but the Obama administration said in 2009 that it would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted for such actions. This gutted not just treaty obligations but the Nuremberg principles of international law. When courts in countries such as Spain moved to investigate Bush officials for war crimes, the Obama administration reportedly urged foreign officials not to allow such cases to proceed, despite the fact that the United States has long claimed the same authority with regard to alleged war criminals in other countries. (Various nations have resisted investigations of officials accused of war crimes and torture. Some, such as Serbia and Chile, eventually relented to comply with international law; countries that have denied independent investigations include Iran, Syria and China.)

Secret court

The government has increased its use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. In 2011, Obama renewed these powers, including allowing secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group. The administration has asserted the right to ignore congressional limits on such surveillance. (Pakistan places national security surveillance under the unchecked powers of the military or intelligence services.)

Immunity from judicial review

Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy. (Similarly, China has maintained sweeping immunity claims both inside and outside the country and routinely blocks lawsuits against private companies.)

Continual monitoring of citizens

The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review. (Saudi Arabia has installed massive public surveillance systems, while Cuba is notorious for active monitoring of selected citizens.)

Extraordinary renditions

The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects. The Obama administration says it is not continuing the abuses of this practice under Bush, but it insists on the unfettered right to order such transfers — including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.

These new laws have come with an infusion of money into an expanded security system on the state and federal levels, including more public surveillance cameras, tens of thousands of security personnel and a massive expansion of a terrorist-chasing bureaucracy.

Some politicians shrug and say these increased powers are merely a response to the times we live in. Thus, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) could declare in an interview last spring without objection that “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” Of course, terrorism will never “surrender” and end this particular “war.”

Other politicians rationalize that, while such powers may exist, it really comes down to how they are used. This is a common response by liberals who cannot bring themselves to denounce Obama as they did Bush. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), for instance, has insisted that Congress is not making any decision on indefinite detention: “That is a decision which we leave where it belongs — in the executive branch.”

And in a signing statement with the defense authorization bill, Obama said he does not intend to use the latest power to indefinitely imprison citizens. Yet, he still accepted the power as a sort of regretful autocrat.

An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.

The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

Benjamin Franklin was more direct. In 1787, a Mrs. Powel confronted Franklin after the signing of the Constitution and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” His response was a bit chilling: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely.

The indefinite-detention provision in the defense authorization bill seemed to many civil libertarians like a betrayal by Obama. While the president had promised to veto the law over that provision, Levin, a sponsor of the bill, disclosed on the Senate floor that it was in fact the White House that approved the removal of any exception for citizens from indefinite detention.

Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.

Arizona sued in medical pot case

Cops invent a lame excuse to charge medical marijuana patients with felonies

I suspect if the founders were alive today, they would say this is one of the reasons they passed the Second Amendment.

In this article the cops are trying to flush Prop 203, which is Arizona's medical marijuana law down the toilet.

In the article the cops say that if a medical marijuana patient mixes marijuana with any other substance, such as brownie mix, or oil, the medical marijuana becomes a narcotic drug, which the medical marijuana patient can be arrested for and charged with a felony.

Lets face it, the war on drugs is just a jobs program for overpaid and under worked cops. And the cops are terrified that if marijuana becomes legal their "war on drugs" job program will end.

I am sure the cops prefer to arrest harmless Cheech and Chong "drug war" criminals instead of real criminals like robbers, rapists and murders who might fight back.


Arizona sued in medical pot case

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez The Republic | azcentral.com Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:46 PM

A woman is suing the state, claiming police violated Arizona’s medical-marijuana laws when they seized a marijuana-infused oil during a raid of her home last spring.

Charise Voss Arfa, a medical-marijuana patient, claims police wrongfully considered the oil labeled “Soccer Moms Tincture” a narcotic instead of marijuana. A tincture is typically an alcoholic extract of plant or animal material or solution.

W. Michael Walz, the attorney representing Voss Arfa, said some law-enforcement officials consider mixing marijuana with any substance — such as oil, brownie mix or dressing — altering the marijuana into “cannabis.”

The lawsuit argues the statute defining cannabis is too vague and should not apply to medical-marijuana cardholders who legally participate in the state program that allows people with certain medical conditions to ingest marijuana.

“This is really about not smoking and having the ability to use marijuana in non-smoking forms without fear of being prosecuted for a Class 4 felony, which is, under the law, the same thing as heroin — the same severity, believe it or not,” Walz said.

According to the lawsuit, police on March 28 served a search warrant, finding probable cause to search Voss Arfa’s Phoenix home for “a usable amount of cannabis, a narcotic drug, to include the extracted resin and cannabis which is now in solution.”

Voss Arfa in her lawsuit asks a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to order police to return the oil; to ban police from arresting, prosecuting or taking property from medical-marijuana cardholders; and to declare the state’s criminal statute related to cannabis void as it applies to medical-marijuana patients and caregivers. She also asks the court to pay her expenses associated with the legal action.

Arizona’s medical-marijuana program was created in 2010. Qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions must obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana and register with the state, which issues identification cards. Under the law, the state can set up and regulate up to 126 dispensaries, although none has yet opened.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble, whose agency oversees the medical-marijuana program, said patients will be allowed to buy and possess items containing marijuana, such as brownies and oils, through dispensaries. But because no dispensaries are open, Humble said, people are only allowed to grow plants or have caregivers grow for them. Patients can obtain up to 2½ ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

“The (medical marijuana) act allows the future dispensaries, under our regulation, to create edibles and other infused products, like a tincture,” he said. “Since there’s no dispensaries, no one’s able to legally make the stuff, and it’s not legal to import from out of state.”

State and county prosecutors are trying to prevent the opening of any dispensaries, arguing in part the state’s medical-marijuana program violates federal drug laws.

A Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the case Friday.

Mexicans unhappy with BP murders


Mexican officials question border agent's use of force in boy's death in Nogales

by Bob Ortega - Oct. 13, 2012 07:00 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

As more details emerge about the shooting death late Wednesday of a 16-year-old Mexican boy in Nogales, Sonora, by a Border Patrol agent, Mexican authorities increasingly are questioning whether lethal force was needed.

The FBI, and Mexican federal and state police, are carrying out parallel investigations into the incident.

Nogales Mayor Ramon Guzman Munoz told the Associated Press that Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot seven times. Various news reports by Sonora broadcasters and newspapers described anywhere from five to 14 bullet holes on the wall of the building beside which the body was found.

Elena Rodriguez's death - following more than a dozen similar incidents along the U.S.-Mexico border since 2010 - has provoked condemnation from Mexican authorities and outrage in Mexican news media, in particular over the number of times the youth allegedly was shot. Twitter messages and comments on Mexican news sites routinely condemned the shooting as an "asesinato," or murder.

This is the fifth incident in Nogales since mid-2010 in which Border Patrol officers resorted to force after youths threw rocks at them. In three of those cases, agents fired their guns, killing a 17-year-old boy in January 2011 and wounding a man in January of this year.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Mike Friel said Saturday that the agency's "law-enforcement personnel are trained to use deadly force in circumstances that pose a threat to their lives, the lives of their fellow law-enforcement partners and innocent third parties."

Mexican officials have questioned the use of force before and filed diplomatic protests on several occasions, but Customs and Border Protection has not changed its policies on use of force in recent years, said Friel.

Sonora state police released a statement saying they found Elena Rodriguez's body, "with various gunshot wounds on different parts of the body," shortly after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, lying next to the curb on Calle Internacional, a street that runs along the border fence. The body was found four blocks from the border crossing in downtown Nogales, at a spot where there is roughly a 10-foot vertical drop from the base of the fence to the street below.

According to the Border Patrol, several agents responded Wednesday night to reports that drug smugglers were carrying bundles into the U.S. As agents saw two men fleeing back into Mexico, people on the other side of the fence began to throw rocks at the agents. Agents ordered them to stop and when they didn't, an agent fired his weapon, hitting one of them, an agency spokesman said.

In interviews aired by several Mexican broadcasters, alleged witnesses said the youths were throwing rocks to prevent the Border Patrol from arresting the two men who were trying to climb back over the border fence after dropping bundles of drugs.

Ricardo Alday Gonzalez, a spokesman for Mexico's Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Friday that Mexican authorities will closely monitor the U.S. investigation into the incident, and cooperate with the FBI and other U.S. agencies, to "provide whatever support is necessary to ensure a transparent, exhaustive and accountable process in the United States."

He said Mexican federal and state law enforcement also "will not hesitate to request whatever assistance they require" from the FBI or other U.S. agencies.

The Border Patrol has declined to say what weapon the agent involved in Wednesday's incident fired. They also did not reply to queries about whether that agent is currently on leave.

The standard service firearm for Border Patrol agents is the .40-caliber Heckler & Koch pistol, which carries a 14-round magazine. Agents also have the option to carry an M-4 carbine identical to the one used by the U.S. Army, which has semiautomatic and automatic settings, Friel said. On the semiautomatic setting, the trigger must be pulled to fire each round; on the automatic setting, the rifle can fire multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger.

Border Patrol agents have access to non-lethal alternatives. In May of last year, for instance, a Nogales-based Border Patrol agent fired several rounds from a pepper-ball launcher at a suspected drug smuggler who was throwing rocks at him, and completed the drug seizure without injuries on either side.

Reach the reporter at bob.ortega@arizonarepublic.com.

Campaign-finance accusations may hurt Horne career

Isn't Tom Horne the Jerk who asked Governor Jan Brewer to declare Prop 203 null and void so he could continue his witch hunt and send medical marijuana users to prison??

I bet that was a smoke screen to cover up for all the illegal activities he has been doing.


Campaign-finance accusations may hurt Horne career

By Dan Nowicki, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Mary Jo Pitzl The Republic | azcentral.com

Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:28 AM

He’s been investigated by the FBI, formally accused of violating campaign-finance laws and may have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations or more than a million in penalties.

He’s been accused of hiring unqualified cronies and politicizing the top law-enforcement office in Arizona. He’s under investigation in a possible hit-and-run of a parked vehicle.

Political experts and even some Republicans say the publicity from a lingering scandal could end Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s political ambitions — especially if he attempts a run for governor in 2014 as has long been rumored.

“I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I will say that you are the head law-enforcement officer of the state and you are expected to obey the law just like you expect everybody else to,” said Bob Corbin, a Republican who was Arizona attorney general from 1979 to 1991 and who endorsed Andrew Thomas, Horne’s GOP primary rival, in 2010. “It’s always going to come up. Even if there are no charges brought or anything like that, there’s always the allegation. Sometimes the allegations are worse than the convictions.”

Horne, a Republican, says he is innocent and vows to fight the accusations of campaign-finance-law violations that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, another Republican, laid out Oct. 1 when announcing plans for a civil-enforcement action. Horne also says he has no plans to resign his post as the No. 3 Republican in state government, and there’s been no outcry for him to step down.

Horne, a former state legislator and state superintendent of public instruction, is accused of illegally coordinating with an outside group, Business Leaders for Arizona, to finance television advertising against his Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, during the 2010 general election. Montgomery also will pursue civil-enforcement action against Kathleen Winn, who chaired the committee and now works in a top position for Horne.

FBI agents also say they witnessed a hit-and-run accident involving Horne that Phoenix police are investigating.

It’s unclear how long it would take for the civil action to play out. Horne’s decision to fight the allegations in court could stretch the drama well into next year — when some candidates will likely begin to campaign for governor.

Documents show the case against Horne and Winn was investigated asboth a civil and potential criminal matter. Federal agents also researched federal wire-fraud charges since a large portion of the donations to the independent-expenditure committee came from out-of-state and crossed state lines.

Montgomery declined to press criminal charges against Horne and Winn, saying criminal statutes don’t specifically address their alleged coordination.

Instead, Montgomery will pursue civil-enforcement action, which could force Horne and Winn to repay money to contributors or pay penalties of more than $1 million.

State GOP leaders could try to pressure Horne to step down or the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature could move to impeach and remove him — as happened 24 years ago with former Republican Gov. Evan Mecham — though neither scenario is viewed as likely.

But by doing nothing, Republicans could allow a festering Horne controversy to damage the GOP brand in the run-up to a crucial election.

Party push-back

Mecham’s impeachment represents the best-known instance in which top Arizona Republicans took an aggressive stand against a major elected official in their own party.

The Republican-led Legislature in 1988 impeached and removed Mecham, a gaffe-prone Republican outsider elected in 1986 who proved an embarrassment to the GOP. He was impeached on allegations that he misused state money and obstructed the investigation of a death threat to a government official. He also was indicted on charges that he tried to conceal a campaign loan from a developer, but was later acquitted.

Retired U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater and his successor, U.S. Sen. John McCain, were among state Republican leaders who called on Mecham to quit. The decision to take on Mecham backfired on some GOP legislators, including House Speaker Joe Lane of Willcox and Senate President Carl Kunasek of Mesa, who lost their seats in the aftermath.

In a more recent example, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin resigned in 2003 as Republican lawmakers were taking steps to impeach him for alleged gross misconduct in office. All four of his commission colleagues had demanded his resignation. A federal jury had concluded that Irvin had sabotaged a utility takeover and socked him with a $60 million punitive judgment. That penalty eventually was reduced on appeal to $1.19 million, which the Arizona Supreme Court in 2011 required a private insurance company to pick up.

In other high-profile episodes, Republicans have been less inclined to try to force fellow party members out of office amid controversy.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio felt no pressure from Republican leaders while under investigation for alleged abuses of power; federal prosecutors announced in late August that they would not be pursuing criminal charges.

Former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., finished out his final term while indicted on federal corruption charges. He is still awaiting trial.

Former Republican Gov. Fife Symington resigned in 1997 after he was convicted on bank-fraud charges. Before that, there were scattered GOP calls for him to step down but no concerted effort as was seen with Mecham. Symington’s conviction was overturned, and a 2001 pardon from then-President Bill Clinton ensured that federal prosecutors would not refile charges against him.

“Not to say Tom Horne does not have enemies within the Republican Party, but it’s nothing like what Mecham had way back in the day,” said Rodolfo Espino, an assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University. “I think the likelihood of impeachment is rather low. What’s more likely, if anything, is that certain Republican leaders just say to him, ‘Look, deal with this. Step down. You’re going to hurt some other Republicans running for office right now.’”

To date, Republican officials have generally said they are not privy to evidence and other details of alleged ethical misconduct within Horne’s office.

Romney’s national campaign did not respond to The Arizona Republic’s requests for comment on Horne’s situation.

Veteran U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, a three-term Republican who is is not seeking re-election this year, declined to comment on the specifics of the Horne case but praised Montgomery for his professional handling of the investigation thus far. Speaking generally, Kyl, a lawyer who as an Arizona congressman had joined McCain in calling for Mecham to step down, said that even without criminal charges, voters certainly take such alleged legal violations into account “when they decide whether to support someone in the future.”

Symington said Horne should not resign regardless of who may call for it. In retrospect, the Mecham impeachment looks politically motivated and premature, Symington said.

“He’s fought hard for the office,” Symington said of Horne. “He’s sustaining some pretty severe attacks and seems to be handling them pretty well at this point. He still has a few years to go as the attorney general of this state and has lots of time to recover, to win his fights and run again.”

From his own experience, Symington added this: “When you’re in the middle of the storm, it’s hard to see the horizon, but it’s out there, and there’s always a better day.”

Democrats have stayed out of the fray, save for state Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, who called for Horne’s resignation the same day Montgomery made his announcement.

Democrats have had their share of scandals this year, with three Democratic lawmakers resigning because of scandal. When state Rep. Ben Arredondo, D-Tempe, was hit with federal felony charges, fellow Tempe resident and Senate Minority Leader David Schapira called for Arredondo to step down, which he later did.

And when state Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson was named in several domestic-violence complaints, House Minority Leader Chad Campbell called for his resignation and House Democrats signed a petition seeking an ethics investigation. Patterson resigned under pressure; a court later acquitted him of all the charges.

State Rep. Richard Miranda, D-Phoenix, resigned a few days before federal felony charges were entered against him. Fellow lawmakers said they had no idea he was under investigation.

Republicans kept silent as the Democrats’ woes unfurled.

An outsider

Horne is a bit of an outsider among his party’s high-profile politicians. He was a Democrat for years, switching his party registration to GOP in the 1990s when he made his first run for the Legislature.

GOP leaders are clearly aware of Horne’s political radioactivity: He was conspicuously missing from Arizona’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Florida.

His relationship with Gov. Jan Brewer, who enjoys rock-star status among conservatives in Arizona and across the nation, has been publicly prickly.

Grant Woods, a former Republican Arizona attorney general who served under three governors and now unofficially advises Brewer, said the governor and Horne haven’t had “a particularly close relationship.” Woods could not point to any one incident that affected the relationship.

“I’ve just noticed from the beginning it has never been a close relationship,” he said. “I think that, for whatever reason, he’s never gained her confidence. Consequently, she never seemed to involve him much.”

Asked what Horne’s political challenges have been, Woods responded, “His longevity really worked against him because he’s run for and held a lot of offices and being that political and ambitious leaves a lot of people mad at you who you have defeated or rubbed the wrong way.”

Views on future

Republican political consultants have differing viewpoints on Horne’s future political prospects.

Horne might be able to salvage his current term in office, but his longer-range future is dim, said Jason Rose, who worked for the rival Thomas campaign in 2010 but subsequently became a Horne supporter.

“I think it’s bleak on his best day,” Rose said. “When following the law is your primary responsibility, it cuts to the heart of his credibility.”

Other political observers suggested it is premature to write off Horne.

Chuck Coughlin, a Brewer confidant who has advised numerous statewide candidates, said the campaign charges could hamper a Horne gubernatorial bid but wouldn’t necessarily end his career as attorney general. He pointed to the recent scandal involving Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who was accused by a former boyfriend of abusing the power of his office. The Attorney General’s Office cleared Babeu, who had abandoned his congressional campaign but was able to pivot and win the primary for sheriff and is favored in the general election.

“The conventional wisdom is don’t seek a different office, run back to safe territory,” Coughlin said.

And with nearly two years left in office, Horne has the time and ability to drive the narrative about his tenure, Coughlin said.

The civil-enforcement action filed Oct. 1 against Horne is simply allegations at this point, Coughlin said. If the case remains open as 2014 rolls around, “it’s he said/she said stuff.”

Barry Aarons, a lobbyist and former Symington aide, has been friends with Horne for more than two decades.

He has watched Horne climb through the years from Paradise Valley school-board member to state lawmaker, state schools superintendent and, now, attorney general.

“If you look at his career, I think you find that everywhere he’s gone, every step along the way, he has done a lot, he has accomplished a lot,” Aarons said. “People who don’t like you call you ‘blindly ambitious.’ People who like you call you ‘focused.’”

Asked for his reaction to Montgomery’s finding that Horne deliberately violated campaign-finance laws, Aarons responded, “I find it difficult to believe that he would have intentionally violated the law.”

Aarons added that if Montgomery’s statements prove true, Horne “will have explaining to do, and those people who have been his supporters are going to have to listen real carefully to how he explains it away.”

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