Blackwater Subject of Justice Department Probe

August 17, 2008

Half a dozen Blackwater Worldwide security guards have gotten target letters from the Justice Department in a probe of shootings in Baghdad that killed 17 Iraqis, The Washington Post reported.

The Blackwater guards are caught up in the investigation of shootings that took place last September when a Blackwater team arrived in several vehicles at an intersection in Baghdad where shooting erupted, leaving numerous Iraqis dead and wounded.

The Post described the six guards as former U.S. military personnel, but did not identify them by name.

Attributing its information to three sources close to the case, the Post said that any charges would be brought against the guards under a federal law used to prosecute cases referred to the Justice Department by the Pentagon for crimes committed by military personnel and contractors overseas.

Target letters often are a prelude to indictment.

The Post story appeared on the newspaper’s Website Saturday night.

The shootings began when a Blackwater convoy, which was responding to a Baghdad car bombing, entered the Nisoor Square traffic circle.

Blackwater says the convoy was ambushed by insurgents, touching off a firefight. Iraqi witnesses, however, described an unprovoked attack in which security guards fired indiscriminately, killing motorists, bystanders and children in the square.

Article by Associated Press

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Teachers Can Carry Guns in Texas

August 15, 2008


A tiny Texas school district will allow teachers and staff members to carry concealed firearms to protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting employees follow certain requirements.

The small community of Harrold in north Texas is a 30-minute drive from the Wilbarger County Sheriff’s Office, leaving students and teachers without protection, said David Thweatt, superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District. The lone campus of the 110-student district sits near a heavily traveled highway, which could make it a target, he argued.

“When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog,” Thweatt said in a story published Friday on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Web site.

Barbara Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards, said her organization did not know of another district with such a policy. Ken Trump, a Cleveland, Ohio-based school security expert who advises districts nationwide, said Harrold is the first district with such a policy.

Trustees approved the policy change last year, and it takes effect when classes begin this month. For employees to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, must be authorized to carry by the district, must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and must use ammunition designed to minimize the risk of ricocheting bullets.

Officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change, Thweatt said. The district also has other measures in place to prevent a school shooting, he said.

“The naysayers think [a shooting] won’t happen here. If something were to happen here, I’d much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them,” Thweatt said.

Texas law outlaws firearms at schools unless specific institutions allow them.

It isn’t clear how many of the 50 or so teachers and staff members will be armed this fall, because Thweatt did not disclose that information, to keep it from students or potential attackers.

Article from the Associated Press

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Body of Bigfoot Possibly Discovered in Georgia

August 15, 2008

Two men claim they’ve bagged Bigfoot, and they say the have the hairy corpse of the legendary creature stored away in a freezer. Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer say they stumbled across the corpse in the woods of northern Georgia, across the country from the remote regions of the Northwest where people usually claim to see the man-ape.

Still, the Georgia men say DNA will prove once and for all that the frozen creature is Sasquatch. They plan to present DNA test results and photographs during a news conference Friday in Palo Alto, Calif.

They’re not winning over any skeptics, though.

“What I’ve seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim,” Jeffrey Meldrum, a Bigfoot researcher and Idaho State University professor, told the Scientific American. “It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect.”

Meldrum said the DNA test likely won’t prove anything and, at best, might yield a gene sequence that doesn’t match any other known primates.

Whitton, an officer on medical leave from the Clayton County Police Department, and Dyer, a former corrections officer, announced the discovery in early July.

The picture they sent out in a news release and on their Web site – http://www.bigfoottracker.com – shows what appears to be a hairy corpse crammed into a chest freezer. The accompanying announcement describes the creature as a 7-foot-7 male, weighing 550 pounds with 16-inch human-like feet and reddish hair.

Messages left for Whitton and Dyer early Friday on their Bigfoot Tipline were not returned. They have so far offered three different tales so far about how they came to find the creature:

In one, the animal was shot by a former felon, and the men followed it into the woods. In a second version, they found a “family of Bigfoot” in North Georgia mountains. In the third, the two were hiking and stumbled upon the corpse with open wounds.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reserve spokesman Tom Mackenzie said officers also are not taking the claim seriously and will not investigate Bigfoot because it not a federal priority.

“It’s not on endangered species on any list that we’ve got,” Mackenzie said.

***Above video courtesy of Fox News and YouTube!

Article by Juanita Cousins

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Woman Who Had Dogs Cloned Linked to Abduction Case in UK

August 15, 2008

A woman who made headlines by having five pups cloned and was linked to an abduction case in England is also wanted in Tennessee on charges she tried to plan a burglary in 2004, a defense attorney and prosecutors there said.

Joyce Bernann McKinney was charged in Carter County with criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and failure to appear in court, said attorney David Crockett, who represented her in the Tennessee case. Authorities there said she instructed a 15-year-old boy to break into a house, and Crockett said she needed the money to buy a false leg for a beloved horse.

Crockett said Thursday he hasn’t heard from her since she skipped a court date, but after seeing television coverage of the cloning case, he’s certain she’s the same person known to the world as dog lover Bernann McKinney.

Prosecutors are reviewing charges against the 58-year-old McKinney to decide whether to pursue the case, said Melanie Widener, an assistant district attorney for the county in the northeast part of the state near the North Carolina state line.

“It’ll depend on where she is now, how important the case is, how much it would cost the taxpayers and whether witnesses are still around,” she said.

McKinney declined comment when reached by phone Thursday.

McKinney was arrested in November 2004 in Tennessee in a van with the 15-year-old, according to a Carter County Sheriff’s Department arrest report.

McKinney, then living across the state line in Avery County, N.C., needed money to help her three-legged horse, Crockett said.

“She loved it dearly,” Crockett said. “She was a rather bizarre character, and seems to have a strange circumstance now.”

He recalled that McKinney had two or three dogs in her car when she conferred with him about her case.

“There was a strong aroma about her, and I told her this needed to be taken care of before I went to court with her,” Crockett said.

McKinney made news around the world this summer when she had five pups cloned in South Korea from her beloved pit bull Booger.

She later confirmed she was Joyce McKinney, who in 1977 became a British tabloid sensation over the kidnapping case. She faced charges of unlawful imprisonment after she was accused of abducting a Mormon missionary in England, handcuffing him to a bed and making him her sex slave. She jumped bail and was never brought to justice.

“She is bold to put herself on worldwide television,” Crockett said. “She must know she’s a fugitive in at least one state.”

Article by Joe Edwards

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Woman Jailed After Young Daughter Drove Her to Bar

August 15, 2008

A 35-year-old Texas woman has been jailed after police say she made her 12-year-old daughter drive her to a bar.

Police in Longview say they watched a minivan turn into a driveway without signaling on Wednesday and bump into a home at a low speed. They say the car was driven by Jennifer Lynn Rosenberg’s daughter.

Police say the girl told an officer she had just dropped her mother off at a bar. They say they found Rosenburg at the bar and that she admitted having her daughter drive her there.

Rosenburg remains in the Gregg County Jail on a $2,500 bond. A jail official declined to say whether she had an attorney.

A spokeswoman for Child Protective Services told the Longview News-Journal that the agency is investigating.

*** Above photograph is NOT the above-mentioned 12-year old.

Article from the Associated Press

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Jackson Browne Suing John McCain for Using Lyrics in Campaign Ad

August 15, 2008


Jackson Browne doesn’t want John McCain running on anything fueled by his lyrics. The singer-songwriter sued McCain and the Ohio and national Republican committees in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday, accusing them of using his song “Running on Empty” without his permission.

The lawsuit claims the song’s use was an infringement of his copyright and will lead people to conclude he endorses McCain. The suit says Browne is a lifelong liberal who is as well-known for his music as for being “an advocate for social and environmental justice.”

The advertisement mocks Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s contention that if U.S. drivers got regular tuneups and drove on properly inflated tires, they could save the same amount of oil that would be gained by offshore drilling. According to the suit, “Running on Empty” plays in the background of the ad criticizing the remarks.

Robert Bennett, chairman of the Ohio party, said the ad was pulled when Browne objected. He called the lawsuit a “big to-do about nothing.”

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers disavowed the ad, saying it wasn’t a product of the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign.

Browne’s lawsuit contends the Ohio Republican party released the ad on behalf of McCain and the RNC. The RNC did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The suit notes that other musicians, including ABBA and John Cougar Mellencamp, have asked McCain to stop using their work.

Browne’s attorney, Lawrence Iser, called the ad’s use of the song “reprehensible.”

The 59-year-old singer claims his reputation has already been damaged and is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

Browne released “Running on Empty” – the song and an album by the same name – in 1977. According to the lawsuit, the album has sold more than 7 million copies.

Browne’s financial success has aided Democratic candidates over the years. Campaign finance records show he contributed $2,300 to Obama’s presidential campaign last year and $2,000 to the Illinois senator’s campaign coffers in 2004.

Article by Anthony McCartney

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Cop Sentenced 30 Days For Getting a Phone Number from Woman

August 14, 2008

A former part-time Pennsylvania police officer has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for pulling over a woman while he was off duty – just to give her his phone number. Steven Klinger, 32, was charged with official oppression, or acting outside his authority as an officer.

Police said he used red and blue lights mounted on the dashboard of his pickup truck to pull over a woman in Berwick in eastern Pennsylvania in April 2007. The woman became suspicious when he began asking her if she was married or had a boyfriend, police said.

Klinger was also sentenced Tuesday to three additional days in jail and fined $1,000 for driving drunk in July 2007. Police said he had a blood-alcohol level of .40 percent, five times the legal driving limit.

Klinger last worked for the Dallas Police Department in northeastern Pennsylvania. He is currently unemployed.

He apologized for his actions, and told the judge he had checked into treatment for alcohol abuse.

** The above photo is NOT related to the above story.

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