March 14, 2014

This should make your blood boil!

Moscow (AFP) - A United States surveillance drone has been intercepted above the Ukranian region of Crimea, a Russian state arms and technology group said Friday.

"The drone was flying at about 4,000 metres (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground. It was possible to break the link with US operators with complex radio-electronic" technology, said Rostec in a statement.

The drone fell "almost intact into the hands of self-defence forces" added Rostec, which said it had manufactured the equipment used to down the aircraft, but did not specify who was operating it.

"Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria," Rostec said on its website, which also carried a picture of what it said was the captured drone.

The photograph appeared to show an apparently armed drone in flight, rather than debris.

The Crimean port of Sevastopol is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is believed to be equipped with detection equipment.

Crimea, where pro-Kremlin forces have control, is to hold a referendum on Sunday on the peninsula joining Russia, in what Moscow says is a fair expression of self identity but the West views as an illegal annexation of sovereign territory.

Source: Yahoo News

A Las Vegas woman is suing the Metropolitan Police Department saying she was literally given the "third degree."
This photo was taken shortly after her leg was burned.
Local artist Cristina Paulos received third degree burns during an encounter with police after a traffic accident.

It all began on a hot August day when a car crash and a woman's arrest led to severe burns from scorching pavement and a lawsuit alleging excessive force.

"So, this is two years of healing. So, it's got a lot better, it used to look a lot worse," Paulos said.

The images of the woman's injuries are graphic. She fears she will forever bear the scars from an encounter with Metro Police in Aug. 2011.

"I was held down by police and security at the Palms property. And from that, I got third degree burns on my legs," Paulos said.

She admits driving her car into the exit lanes of the Palms hotel and hitting two cars in the process. But she was not drunk or high on drugs. She was later diagnosed as having a mental disorder that she now manages with medication. But her behavior was definitely erratic following the crash. She first ran from the scene then returned and climbed into one the car's she hit.

Casino surveillance video shows her getting out of that car and coming face-to-face with a Metro officer, who, after a brief interaction, takes her to the pavement. The high temperature that day was 104 degrees, but the asphalt was certainly much hotter.

"I literally thought I was in hell, what I believed was hell at the time because my flesh was burning. My skin was burning," she said.

The I-Team wanted to see how long Paulos' body was in contact with the asphalt. A clock was started the moment she came into contact with the pavement and it shows she was on the hot ground for more than three minutes.

"People have been taken down but brought quickly up. That didn't happen here. She was held down and casino security officers helped out and assisted the police officer to hold her down and that's why you have the serious burns on her legs," said Cal Potter, Paulos' attorney.

"And I was screaming. It wasn't like I wasn't screaming. I was screaming, so they were very aware that I was in pain," Paulos said.

She has had skin grafts and her medical bills have risen above the $100,000 mark. She hopes to get those bills paid through her lawsuit. She says she also hopes the suit will make police officers more aware of what can happen when someone is taken into custody on a very hot day.

"They just have to be more aware." she said. "There are safer ways to restrain someone so they don't walk away with burns for the rest of their life.

There are clearly other sides to this story and the lawsuit filed by Paulos represents only her version of events. Metro Police will not comment on pending lawsuits.

The Palms hotel also declined comment citing the same kind of policy. Metro's lawyers filed a written response to the suit denying allegations of wrongdoing and saying that any injuries sustained by Paulos were the result of her own negligence and/or actions.

Glenn  McDuffieYou've certainly seen the photo of Glenn Edward McDuffie. He's the sailor grabbing and kissing a nurse in the middle of Times Square after finding out WWII was over. The photo was shot August 14, 1945.

We learned today of McDuffie's passing today at the age of 86. He died on March 9. He was positively identified as the sailor in that photo back in 2007 after many men claimed it was them.

McDuffie, a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, moved to Houston in 1960 and lived here until 2009, when he moved to the Dallas area to spend his last years near his daughter.
McDuffie was preceeded in death by children Elene McDuffie and Mike McDuffie. He's survived by daughter Glenda Bell and Grand children Christopher Bell, 25, and Jordan Bell, 23.
A United Nations committee charged with enforcing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has come down hard on the United States for “gun violence,” code for the right to own firearms guaranteed by the Second Amendment, and a raft of other issues.

Walter Kälin, a Swiss international human rights lawyer who sits on the committee, criticized the “extreme domestic habits” of Americans, including the upholding the cornerstone to the Constitution, the Second Amendment. Kälin cited a “staggering figure” to argue in favor of eliminating the right to own guns – there are 470,000 crimes committed with firearms each year, including about 11,000 homicides. “We appreciate the position taken by President Obama on these issues. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done to curb gun violence,” he said.

Obama and the Democrats tried unsuccessfully to outlaw entire classifications of firearms following Sandy Hook. The 112th Congress considered an inordinately large number of bills designed to chip away the right to own firearms.

Kälin and critics of the Second Amendment routinely ignore data showing how guns save lives and prevent violence. A Gun Owners of America factsheet shows guns were used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year — or about 6,850 times a day, according to research conducted by Dr. Gary Kleck, who was awarded the prestigious American Society of Criminology Michael J. Hindelang award for his research into guns and violence.

“Most uses of guns for either criminal or defensive purposes are less dramatic or consequential than one might think,” Kleck writes. “Only 3% of criminal gun assaults involves anyone actually being wounded, even nonfatally, and the same is true of defensive gun uses. More commonly, guns are merely pointed at another person, or perhaps only referred to (‘I’ve got a gun’) or displayed, and this is sufficient to accomplish the ends of the user, whether criminal or non- criminal.”
Even the government admits guns deter crime and violence.

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” a report commissioned by the Obama administration and issued by the Centers for Disease Control states.

Moreover, most deaths by guns resulted from suicide, not homicide, a fact ignored by the United Nations. “Between the years 2000 and 2010, firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States,” the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council noted in the CDC report.

The CDC report also doubts the effectiveness of gun control in reducing violence. It questions “whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence” and characterizes the dubious efficacy of such laws as “an unresolved issue.” The report expresses uncertainty “that passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime” and admits that “gun turn-in programs are ineffective.”

The United Nations call to disarm and render Americans defenseless is contradicted by police. Earlier this month Detroit Police Chief James Craig told residents to arm themselves and shoot to kill assailants and robbers. “A lot of Detroiters are fed up,” he told WDIV-TV. “They’re tired and they’ve been dealing with this epidemic of violence. They’re afraid and they have a right to protect themselves.”

The United Nations, on the other hand, does not believe citizens should be empowered to protect themselves, either from criminals or government.
“A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government,” George Washington advised.

A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action last week that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search. Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm.

organic-farm-police-raidBut farm owners and residents who live on the property told a Dallas-Ft. Worth NBC station that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. The police seized “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers,” after holding residents inside at GUNpoint for at least a half-hour, property owner Shellie Smith said in a statement. The raid lasted about 10 hours, she said.

Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including “grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises,” Smith’s statement said. She said the police didn’t produce a warrant until two hours after the raid began, and officers shielded their name tags so they couldn’t be identified.According to ABC affiliate WFAA, resident Quinn Eaker was the only person arrested — for outstanding traffic violations.

 The city of Arlington said in a statement that the code citations were issued to the farm following complaints by neighbors, who were “concerned that the conditions” at the farm “interfere with the useful enjoyment of their properties and are detrimental to property values and community appearance.”

The police SWAT raid came after “the Arlington Police Department received a number of complaints that the same property owner was cultivating marijuana plants on the premises,” the city’s statement said. “No cultivated marijuana plants were located on the premises,” the statement acknowledged.

The raid on the Garden of Eden farm appears to be the latest example of police departments using SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics to enforce less serious crimes. A Fox television affiliate reported this week, for example, that police in St. Louis County, Mo., brought out the SWAT team to serve an administrative warrant. The report went on to explain that all felony warrants are served with a SWAT team, regardless whether the crime being alleged involves violence.

 In recent years, SWAT teams have been called out to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex. A federal investigation later found that Atlanta police had made up the allegations of public sex.

Other raids have been conducted on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products. The federal government has for years been conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them, even though the businesses operate openly and are unlikely to pose any threat to the safety of federal enforcers.

The last I checked, a man being held and beaten with a baseball bat by multiple assailants would seem to be under a clear assault with a deadly weapon, justifying a lethal force response in self defense.

b99224151z.1_20140312234220_000_gi458knn.1-1That’s why I have to wonder what the heck is going on in Milwaukee, where a maintenance man being beaten in a stairwell with a baseball bat faces charges after killing his attackers:

The 39-year-old man accused of shooting the two Wednesday afternoon while he was being beaten with a baseball bat is being held in the Milwaukee County Jail on possible homicide charges.

The shootings were reported about 1 p.m. Wednesday at an apartment building in the 1400 block of N. 27th St.

Police said an argument occurred between the janitor and three people: the teens and a 20-year-old man.

The argument in the apartment stairwell led to a physical altercation, during which the maintenance worker was being held while one of the three beat him with the bat, officials said Wednesday.

The janitor then drew a gun and fired, shooting the two teens, police said.

He was hospitalized for injuries related to the bat-beating and has since been released.

The maintenance worker is now being held in jail on two possible counts of first-degree intentional homicide, according to jail records.

The man who was with the teens is being held in jail on a potential substantial battery charge, Milwaukee police said Thursday.

Neither man had been named by police or charged in court as of Thursday afternoon. The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office was expected to begin reviewing the case Thursday, police said.

According to an earlier version of the story, there was cell phone video of the confrontation shot by the man who was with the teens.

The fact that they are considering charges would indicates either a very cautious investigation, the possibility that the maintenance man was a prohibited person not legally in possession of the handgun he used to defend himself, that he shot his attackers after they disengaged, or perhaps that he instigated the fight.

All that allowed, I can’t easily think of many situations where a jury would convict a man who was attacked by multiple assailants with a weapon who then defended himself.

This case bears watching.



Amid the fearful talk of home invaders, Nazis and school shooters that has become routine in New Jersey’s gun control debates this past year, one voice stood out at an Assembly hearing Thursday: that of a 9-year-old competitive shooter.

“I am an example to others that kids and guns don’t always lead to bad things happening,” Shyanne Roberts told the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Shyanne Roberts holds her Crickett single-shot 22, her first gun, which she received as a gift for her sixth birthday. Shyanne Roberts holds her Crickett single-shot 22, her first gun, which she received as a gift for her sixth birthday.

Shyanne Roberts and her father, Dan Roberts, during Thursday's hearing.
“I am not a gangbanger or domestic terrorist,” Shyanne testified, speaking to the eight-member committee from a prepared text. It was unclear if she wrote the speech herself.

Shyanne, a fourth-grader whose feet barely reached the floor as she sat in front of the committee, was joined by her father. She began her testimony by apologizing if she sounded nervous, telling the legislators it was her first time speaking at a committee hearing.

The chamber was quiet as she spoke – without the usual background chatter of attendees and lawmakers – and the largely pro-gun crowd gave her a standing ovation when she finished.

Shyanne and her father, who live in Gloucester County, came to Trenton to speak against a bill that would limit the magazine capacity of firearms to 10 rounds, down from the current 15-round maximum. They and other opponents of the measure said legislation should target criminals without affecting legal gun owners. Similar arguments were made against several other gun-control bills the Legislature passed last year, most of which were ultimately vetoed by Governor Christie.

The bill passed the committee along party lines, 5-3, after more than three hours of testimony.

Shyanne, who has won several national sponsorships, has placed highly in several shooting competitions, including a second-place finish at the New Jersey State Ruger Rimfire Challenge. Her father said she entertains hopes of someday competing in the Olympics.

She is awaiting a custom AR-15 rifle, worth $3,000, from a sponsor, she said, which could become illegal if the magazine limit becomes law.

Shyanne’s appearance drew a sharp contrast with the child victims often cited by supporters of stricter firearm restrictions.

New Jersey’s debate over gun control picked up last year after 20 children and six adults were killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in late 2012 by a man who had earlier fatally shot his mother in the home they shared. The gunman killed himself at the school.

Parents of Sandy Hook victims have taken two trips to Trenton to push for tighter gun laws, and smaller magazine limits, in particular.

Shyanne’s speech also diverged from the arguments made by several other opponents of the bill. But as the Assembly committee’s hearing on Thursday wore on, the discussion increasingly turned from competitive shooting to fears about totalitarianism and home invasion.

“If you tried to tell the Marine Corps how many rounds they can carry in their magazines,” said Tony DeSantis, a veteran of the Marines, “you’d be speaking Japanese and German right now.”

The 10-round limit has been one of the most contentious proposals since new gun control measures began moving through the Legislature in January 2013, weeks after the shooting at Sandy Hook.

The Assembly approved a 10-round restriction in February 2013.

But the restriction would make gun owners less safe, the bill’s opponents argued, because they, too, would have fewer bullets at their disposal.

“Let’s not kid ourselves about this bill: It’s based on the fantasy that we could somehow wave a magic wand and be safer by removing a tool,” said Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs. “No one will be any safer under this feel-good legislation because madmen will ignore it or find another tool.”

Gun owners also argued that they shouldn’t have to face new restrictions because of the actions of criminals. Shyanne, the 9-year-old competitive shooter, made the point using her 4-year-old brother.

“I do not understand why the state wants to punish people like me … who have done nothing wrong because of the people who have,” she said. “I do not get in trouble or get punished at home because of something my little brother did.”

At a town hall event in Mount Laurel on Thursday, Governor Christie declined to take a position on the magazine limit.

“If they pass a bill like that and it comes to my desk, I have 45 days to read the fine print and talk to experts,” he said in response to a question.

“Here’s my view on this: It is a very emotional issue on both sides. Gun control and the Second Amendment are enormously emotional, combustible issues,” the Republican governor said. “My job as governor is to be the adult in the room.”

Christie vetoed many of the bills aimed at reducing gun violence that passed the Legislature last year, including the Democrats’ centerpiece legislation that would have overhauled the background check process for prospective gun buyers. He also rejected a ban on .50-caliber weapons – a measure that he had proposed only months earlier, but which he said went beyond the ban that he had called for.

he entire US power grid could be shut down for more than a month if just nine of the over 55,000 electric substations placed throughout the nation were sabotaged by terrorists or other criminals, according to a new report.

A study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) found that just a handful of American substations provide much of the electricity that flows to large swaths of the country, sources familiar with the analysis told Rebecca Smith of the Wall Street Journal. Aside from nuclear power plants there are no federal rules requiring utilities to be protected.
Reuters/Stephanie McGehee
This study, though, found that disabling just nine of these substations could leave much of the country without power for weeks, or possibly even months. There are an estimated 30 “crucial” substations that rely on large power transformers to increase the electricity’s voltage, thereby giving it the capability to move long distances.

The Journal report this week is only the first time the results of the study have been made public. Some officials have known about the results for months and have admitted that they would be open to updating security around the plants as well as changing the way electricity is delivered to Americans.

Former FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff was one of the officials who briefed top US lawmakers on the contents of the report. He recommended that officials propose new security standards for the crucial facilities no later than June.

“There are probably less than 100 critical high voltage substations on our grid in this country that need to be protected from a physical attack,” he told the paper. “It is neither a monumental task, nor is it an inordinate sum of money that would be required to do so.”

The study was inspired by an apparent sniper attack on an electric power station in San Jose, California last April. Snipers opened fire on the power transformers, knocking out 17 and causing millions of dollars in damage. Officials avoided a regional blackout in this case by rerouting the voltage of the path.

No arrests have been made in the case and while the FBI has maintained that there is no evidence the shooting was the product of domestic terrorism, Wellinghoff remains unconvinced.

“This wasn’t an incident where Billy Bob and Joe decided, after a few brewskies, to come in and shoot up a substation,” he said, as quoted by Steve Johnson of the San Jose Mercury News. “This was an event that was well thought out, well planned and they targeted certain components.”

Still, the incident served as a reminder of how few stations are protected by much more than a night time security guard and a chain link fence. In a 2011 incident in Arizona, one transmission line failed, igniting the chain reaction that affected power for millions of people in Arizona and Southern California.

Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics, told the Journal that a new solution is overdue.

“The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” he said. “That’s got to be the focus going forward.”
A new Chinese stealth fighter jet’s design includes details obtained in a Chinese cyber-spying operation conducted seven years ago against the F-35 Lightning II, according to a new report based on conversations with US military officials and contractors.

Lockheed Martin's F35 Joint Strike Fighter (Reuters/Lockheed Martin)The Chinese espionage plot, dubbed Operation Byzantine Hades by US intelligence agencies, primarily targeted government as well as US industry. While the US Office of National Intelligence is known to have more details about the plot, Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reported that new Chinese planes have incorporated technology previously only found in the F-35.

A video posted on a Chinese military message board was reportedly the first evidence that such a theft had taken place. The websites featured images of a newer version of the J-20 stealth jet, a twin engine aircraft currently under development by the Chinese People Liberation’s Army.

The initial J-20 prototype was revealed in 2011, however the aircraft shown in the video was equipped with a new electro-optical targeting system under its nose, an updated coating that will help the plane hide from radar, and newly hidden engine nozzle, according to the Free Beacon.

Pentagon officials have said that the data was first taken by a Chinese military group called the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau based in Chengdu province. The information was then given to the Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC). The AVIC then passed it on to a subsidiary, the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, to incorporate the information into the new design.

The US military first began development on the F-35 in 2006. Since then, the stealth fighter has a reported 100 percent success rate in its weapons testing in recent years, according to Michael Brissenden of ABC news in Australia, although reliability issues with the plane mean its design is not yet complete.

The F-35 was designed to carry out ground attacks and air missions, with advanced sensors attached to make up for any maneuvering vulnerabilities. Richard Fisher, a specialist on Chinese weapon systems, told the Free Beacon that technology installed under the J-20’s nose is remarkably similar to the F-35’s sensors.

“This targeting system and a set of distributed high-power infrared sensors give the F-35 a previously unrivaled ‘situational awareness,’ but now it is clear that the J-20 will have a similar targeting system and its own set of distributed sensors,” he said.

“If as part of their espionage, China had also gained engineering insights into the F-35’s very advanced sensor systems, that could prove disastrous to its combat potential barring a rapid redesign and improvements before entering service.”

Last year US officials denied that the Chinese had gained an edge on American military capabilities, although they did not refute that cyber-espionage is becoming more common in the tense world of geopolitics.

“The viciousness, and just the volume of attacks, not only by the Chinese but Russians and others trying to get the blueprints of our most sensitive material is just breathtaking – and they’re getting better,” Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN.

“It costs billions and billions of dollars extra to try to make sure that we’re staying ahead of our adversaries with technology. When they steal it, they leap ahead. That means we have to invest more, and change that technology. It is a serious problem,” he said.

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