Marine Ordered to Stand Trial For Killings in Fallujah

August 8, 2008

A Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant was ordered Friday to stand trial on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the killing of an unarmed detainee in Fallujah, Iraq.

Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland ordered the court-martial of Sgt. Ryan Weemer after finding there was sufficient evidence to send him to trial.

Weemer is one of three current and former Marines accused of breaking rules of engagement and killing four men they had captured after a platoon commander radioed to ask whether the Iraqis were “dead yet.”

A telephone message left by for Weemer’s attorney, Paul Hackett, was not immediately returned.

The killings happened in November 2004 during the invasion of Fallujah, one of the fiercest ground battles of the Iraq war.

The case came to light in 2006, when Weemer volunteered details to a U.S. Secret Service job interviewer during a polygraph screening that included a question about the most serious crime he had ever committed.

Weemer, of Hindsboro, Ill., is charged with one count of murder and six counts of dereliction of duty encompassing failure to follow the rules of engagement in Fallujah and failing to follow standard operating procedures for apprehending or treating detainees or civilian prisoners of war.

Helland’s decision to order the court-martial follows an Article 32 hearing, similar to an evidentiary hearing, where prosecutors argued that Weemer, a burly 25-year-old honored with a Purple Heart, should be tried for unpremeditated murder because he knew the rules of engagement forbade harming anyone in his custody.

During the hearing last month, prosecutors played a tape recording of the Secret Service interview where Weemer recounted arguing with his squadmates about what to do with the detainees – all military-age males captured in a house where weapons were also found. The squad was under pressure from the platoon to get moving.

Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. David Griesmer said Weemer next faces arraignment on the charges at Camp Pendleton. A date has not been set.

Weemer’s attorney has put much of the blame on Weemer’s former squad leader, saying Jose Nazario Jr. escalated the situation inside the house by beating one detainee with the butt of a rifle after the weapons cache was found.

Nazario, 27, of Riverside, Calif., has been charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of two captives. The former sergeant is scheduled to be tried Aug. 19 in federal court because he has already completed his military service.

Another Marine, Sgt. Jermaine Nelson, 26, of New York, is slated to be court-martialed in December on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty for his role in the alleged killings.

Article by Chelsea J. Carter

Andre Jetmir iNPLACENEWS


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Obama Assassination Plan Mastermind Arrested

August 7, 2008

A man who authorities said was keeping weapons and military-style gear in his hotel room and car appeared in court Thursday on charges he threatened to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Raymond Hunter Geisel, 22, was arrested by the Secret Service on Saturday in Miami and was ordered held at Miami’s downtown detention center without bail Thursday by a federal magistrate.

A Secret Service affidavit charges that Geisel made the threat during a training class for bail bondsmen in Miami in late July. According to someone else in the 48-member class, Geisel allegedly referred to Obama with a racial epithet and continued, “If he gets elected, I’ll assassinate him myself.”

Obama was most recently in Florida on Aug. 1-2 but did not visit the South Florida area.

Another person in the class quoted Geisel as saying that “he hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president’s head,” according to the Secret Service.

Geisel denied in a written statement to a Secret Service agent that he ever made those threats, and the documents don’t indicate that he ever took steps to carry out any assassination. He was charged only with threatening Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, but not for any threat against President Bush.

Geisel’s court-appointed attorney declined comment. The charge of threatening a major candidate for president or vice president carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The Obama campaign declined comment Thursday on the alleged threat.

In the interview with a Secret Service agent, Geisel said “if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he simply would shoot him with a sniper rifle, but then he claimed that he was just joking,” according to court documents.

A search of Geisel’s 1998 Ford Explorer and hotel room in Miami uncovered a loaded 9mm handgun, knives, dozens of rounds of ammunition including armor-piercing types, body armor, military-style fatigues and a machete. The SUV, which has Maine license plates, was wired with flashing red and yellow emergency lights.

Geisel told the Secret Service he was originally from Bangor, Maine, and had been living recently in a houseboat in the Florida Keys town of Marathon, according to court documents. He said he used the handgun for training for the bail bondsman class, had the knives for protection and used the machete to cut brush in Maine.

In the affidavit, the Secret Service said Geisel told agents that he suffered from psychiatric problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, but he couldn’t provide the names of any facilities where he sought treatment.

Article by Curt Anderson

Andre Jetmir iNPLACENEWS

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1900 Year Old Chariot Discovered In Bulgaria

August 7, 2008


Archaeologists have unearthed a 1,900-year-old well-preserved chariot at an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, the head of the excavation said Thursday.

Daniela Agre said her team found the four-wheel chariot during excavations near the village of Borisovo, around 180 miles east of the capital, Sofia.

“This is the first time that we have found a completely preserved chariot in Bulgaria,” said Agre, a senior archaeologist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

She said previous excavations had only unearthed single parts of chariots — often because ancients sites had been looted.

At the funerary mound, the team also discovered table pottery, glass vessels and other gifts for the funeral of a wealthy Thracian aristocrat.

In a separate pit, they unearthed skeletons of two riding horses apparently sacrificed during the funeral of the nobleman, along with well preserved bronze and leather objects, some believed to horse harnesses.

The Culture Ministry confirmed the find and announced $3,900 in financial assistance for Agre’s excavation.

Agre said an additional amount of $7,800 will be allocated by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for an initial restoration and conservation of the chariot and the other Thracian finds.

The Thracians were an ancient people that inhabited the lands of present day Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Romania between 4,000 B.C. and the 6th century, when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

Some 10,000 Thracian mounds — some of them covering monumental stone tombs — are scattered across Bulgaria.

Article by VESELIN TOSHKOV

Andre Jetmir for iNPLACENEWS

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Miley Cyrus’s Hacker Strikes AGAIN

August 2, 2008

This story and all other past blogs along with all the up-to-date blogs can be found at the new home of the iNPLACENEWS blog here

The hacker, TrainReq, who claims to have hacked into Miley Cyrus’s iPHONE and stolen pics intended for her now ex-boyfriend, Nick Jonas, has struck again. iNPLACENEWS has been discussing getting an exclusive with him directly, but no deal has been worked out yet. In the meantime, here are the pictures he released today.

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IOC Strips Gold Medals After Admissions of Doping on US Relay Team

August 2, 2008

The International Olympic Committee stripped gold medals Saturday from the U.S. men’s 1,600-meter relay team that competed at the 2000 Olympics in the aftermath of Antonio Pettigrew’s admission that he was doping at the time.

The IOC executive board disqualified the entire team, the fourth gold and sixth overall medal stripped from that U.S. track contingent in the past eight months for doping.

Three gold and two bronze were previously removed after Marion Jones confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Saturday’s decision was almost a formality after Pettigrew gave up his gold medal in June. During a trial involving former track coach Trevor Graham, he admitted in May that he used EPO and human growth hormone from 1997 to 2003.

Five of Pettigrew’s teammates also lose their medals: Michael Johnson and twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison ran in the final; Jerome Young and Angelo Taylor ran in the preliminaries.

It was Johnson’s fifth gold medal of his stellar career. He has already said he was giving it back because he felt “cheated, betrayed and let down” by Pettigrew’s testimony. Johnson still holds world records in the 200 and 400 meters.

Three of the four runners from the relay final have been tainted by drugs.

Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year ban in 2004 after admitting he used performance-enhancers. Calvin Harrison tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2003 and was suspended for two years. Young was banned for life for doping violations.

“We support the action taken today by the IOC,” USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said. “Athletes who make the unacceptable choice to cheat should recognize that there will be consequences. Those consequences can be severe including the loss of medals and results. We’re in full support of this action. In other matters like this in the past we’ve worked with the IOC to make certain medals will be returned, and we’ll do so again.”

The IOC also disqualified Pettigrew from his seventh-place finish in the individual 400 meters in Sydney. And the committee banned him from attending the upcoming Beijing Games “in any capacity,” including as a competitor, coach or technical official. Pettigrew has retired from competition, and the U.S. Olympic Committee said there were no plans for him to be in Beijing.

The IOC had previously tried to strip the relay team after it became known that Young tested positive before the Sydney Games. But a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport said the entire team should not be disqualified, and Pettigrew and the others were allowed to keep their medals.

Saturday’s move came four months after the IOC stripped the gold from the U.S. women’s 1,600-meter relay team and bronze from the women’s 400-meter relay squad because of doping by Jones. She admitted last year that she used drugs at the time and returned her five medals, including gold in the 100 meters and 200 meters and bronze in the long jump.

The IOC has put off any decision on reallocating the U.S. medals until later this year when it takes into account all the files from the BALCO investigation in the United States.

No time frame for a decision on medal redistribution has been set, although an eight-year statute of limitations expires on Oct. 1.

Nigeria finished second in the men’s 1,600-meter relay, with Jamaica third and the Bahamas fourth.

“That’s such a shame, especially for the ones who were clean, and it’s most important for the athletes who were second,” Sanya Richards, who won gold on the 1,600-meter women’s relay in 2004, said from training camp in Dalian. “You lose that opportunity to stand on top of the podium and feel the joy of winning the race. Those are the people who hurt the worst when there are cheaters ahead of them. Giving back the medals is just a technicality because you can’t repair the hurt feelings and the hard work that went into it.”

The IOC is reluctant to hand Jones’ 100 gold to silver medalist Katerina Thanou, a Greek sprinter at the center of a doping scandal at the 2004 Athens Games. She and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris missed drug tests on the eve of the opening ceremony and claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident. They were forced to pull out of the games and were later suspended for two years.

An IOC disciplinary panel will meet next Thursday to consider whether Thanou can run at the Beijing Games. The 33-year-old sprinter qualified for the Greek team in the 100, but the IOC is reviewing her eligibility.

Thanou’s lawyer has threatened legal action if she is barred from the games.

Article by Stephen Wilson

Andre Jetmir for iNPLACENEWS

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Obama Rejects Ludacris Lyrics

August 1, 2008

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign says a new rhyme by supporter and rapper Ludacris is “outrageously offensive” to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Republican Sen. John McCain and President Bush.
The song brags about an Obama presidency being destiny. It uses an expletive to describe Clinton, calls Bush “mentally handicapped” and says McCain doesn’t belong in “any chair unless he’s paralyzed.”

The lyrics don’t spare the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who recently apologized for making crude comments about Obama. “If you said it then you meant it,” intones the rapper.

Obama’s campaign blasted “Politics as Usual,” which is on the “Gangsta Grillz: The Preview” mixtape with Atlanta spinner DJ Drama.

“As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to,” campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail statement Wednesday. “This song is not only outrageously offensive to Sen. Clinton, Rev. Jackson, Sen. McCain and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics.”

Ludacris’ publicist and manager did not immediately return calls Wednesday for comment.

Article from Associated Press Staff

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Man Charged For Stabbing and Beheading Fellow Bus Passenger

August 1, 2008

A 40-year-old man who witnesses said stabbed and beheaded the man sitting next to him on a Greyhound bus in Canada has been charged with second-degree murder, police said Friday.

Vince Weiguang Li, of Edmonton, Alberta, was due to appear in court later Friday, said Sgt. Brian Edmonds.

Authorities have not released the victim’s name but The Canadian Press said friends had identified him as Tim McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker.

William Caron, 23, said McLean was quiet, though he liked to socialize with friends. He was small – about 5-foot-4 and 130 pounds – and tended stayed away from a fight, Caron said.

“From what I hear, this other guy is three times his size,” Caron said. “All the time I’ve known Tim, he’s never been the type of guy to get into a fight with. He always kept to himself when there’s strangers around.”

Witnesses said the victim was stabbed dozens of times in the Wednesday night attack aboard the bus as it traveled a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway about 12 miles from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

They said the attacker then severed his seat mate’s head, displayed it and then began cutting up the body.

Garnet Caton, who was sitting just one seat in front of them, said the suspect had been on the bus about an hour. He initially did not sit near the victim but changed seats after a rest stop. Caton said he did not hear the two speak to each other before the attack.

“We heard this bloodcurdling scream and turned around, and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy repeatedly,” Caton said.

Caton said the driver stopped the bus when he became aware of the attack and passengers raced off. A short while later, Caton said he re-boarded along with the bus driver and a trucker who had stopped to see what was happening.

He said the suspect had the victim on the floor of the bus and “was cutting his head off” with a large hunting knife.

“When he was attacking him, he was calm,” said Caton. “There was no rage or anything. He was just like a robot stabbing the guy.”

The attacker turned toward them and the three men quickly left the bus, blocking the door as the attacker slashed at them through an opening. Caton said the driver disabled the vehicle after the attacker tried to drive it away.

As the three guarded the door with a crow bar and a hammer, the attacker went back to the body and calmly came to the front of the bus to show off the head, Caton said.

Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said there had been 37 passengers aboard, many watching a movie when the violence erupted. She called the attack tragic but isolated.

* Thanks to YouTube for providing witness video.

The follow-up story can be read here

Article by Rob Gillies
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