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


© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.


Perhaps The Most Twisted, Sadistic Cult Stories Ever

June 21, 2008

In Brno, Czech Republic, Kalra Mauerova, 31, is being accused of partially skinning her caged son and feeding it to relatives. She wept in court as she admitted torturing her son, Ondrej and his ten-year-old brother, Jakub. Ms. Mauerova, a member of the Grail Movement cult, caged Ondrej for months while relatives, also members of the cult, ate his raw flesh This is according to her testimony to a judge.

The court in Brno heard the family sexually abused the boys and forced them cut themselves with knives.The boys said they were either kept in cages or handcuffed to tables where they were left for days to stand in their own urine.

The abuse was discovered when a man living nearby installed a TV monitor to keep watch on his newborn baby. Instead of pictures of his newborn he was confronted by live images of Ondrej naked in the cellar – beaten and chained.

Mauerova is believed to have installed the monitor so she could watch her victims suffering from her kitchen. Ms Mauerova accused a fellow cult member, Barbora Skrlova, of brainwashing her. The abuse of Ondrej and Jakub was co-ordinated via text messages sent by a leader of the Grail Movement cult, who was known only as the “Doctor”.

The trial of Mauerova, another relative and their bogus sister Skrlova, who fled and was later found posing as a boy in Norway, continues.

iNPLACENEWS


Obscenity, Porn, or Art On Trial

June 11, 2008


What violates community obscenity standards in the nation’s reputed pornography capital? Federal prosecutors think they know it when they see it.

Ira Isaacs readily admits he produced and sold movies depicting bestiality and sexual activity involving feces and urine.

The judge warned potential jurors that the hours of fetish videos included violence against women, and many of them said they don’t want to serve because watching would make them sick to their stomachs.

“It’s the most extreme material that’s ever been put on trial. I don’t know of anything more disgusting,” said Roger Jon Diamond — Isaacs’ own defense attorney.

The case is the most visible effort of a new federal task force designed to crack down on smut in America. Isaacs, however, says his work is an extreme but constitutionally protected form of art.

“There’s no question the stuff is disgusting,” said Diamond, who has spent much of his career representing pornographers. “The question is should we throw people in jail for it?”

Isaacs, 57, a Los Angeles advertising agency owner who says he used to market fine art in commercial projects, calls himself a “shock artist” and says he went into distributing and producing films about fetishes because “I wanted to do something extreme.”

“I’m fighting for art,” he said in an interview before his federal trial got under way. “Art is on trial.”

He plans to testify as his own expert witness and said he will cite the historic battles over obscenity involving authors James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence.

One of his exhibits, he said, will be a picture of famed artist Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” a porcelain urinal signed by the artist in 1917.

Diamond said Isaacs also will tell jurors the works have therapeutic value for people with the same fetishes depicted on screen.

“They don’t feel so isolated,” Diamond said. “They have fetishes that other people have.”

Isaacs makes a brief appearance in one of the videos he produced; others that he distributed were imported from other countries.

The business has been lucrative. At one point, he has said, he was selling 1,000 videos a month at $30 apiece. Then his office was raided by agents who bought his videos online with undercover credit cards.

The government obtained an indictment against Isaacs on a variety of obscenity charges, including importation or transportation of obscene material for sale. Prosecutors have declined to comment about the case.

Jean Rosenbluth, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at University of Southern California, said such prosecutions were rare until the creation of the U.S. Department of Justice Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. Child pornography cases are handled by a separate unit.

“The problem with obscenity is no one really knows what it is,” she said. “It’s relatively simple to paint something as an artistic effort even if it’s offensive.”

The test of obscenity still hinges on a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which held that a work is not legally obscene if it has “literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

Jurors also are asked to determine whether the material in question violates standards of what is acceptable to the community at large.

“This task force was quite controversial and many in the Department of Justice felt that it was a waste of resources,” Rosenbluth said. “Because of the pressure, they seem to have chosen the worst cases they can find to prosecute.”

Each of the four counts against Isaacs carries a five-year maximum prison sentence. Prosecutors also are seeking forfeiture of assets obtained through his video sales. Two of the original six counts were dropped.

“A lot of this is about sending a message — `Don’t make this stuff. Don’t put it on the Internet. We don’t want it here,”‘ Rosenbluth said.

Rosenbluth said prosecutors would be emboldened to pursue similar cases if Isaacs is convicted, though there would be lengthy challenges on appeal.

In an unusual twist, the trial is being presided over by the chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski, under a program that allows appellate judges to occasionally handle criminal trials at the District Court level. Kozinski is known as a strong defender of free speech and First Amendment rights.

Eight men and six women were chosen for the jury Tuesday. Two will be designated alternates later. The panel was to hear opening statements Wednesday before viewing the movies.

When jury selection began Monday, he urged prospects to be open about their opinions and incurred an onslaught of negative statements. Within the first hour, he dismissed 26 men and women who said they could not be fair to the defendant because they were repulsed by the subject matter. By day’s end, half the panel of 100 had been excused.

“I think watching something like that would make me physically ill, nauseous,” said one woman. “It’s affecting me physically now just thinking about it.”

One man fired angry comments at the ponytailed Isaacs.

“Hearing stuff about feces made me sick and the defendant looks like my ex-business partner who did some of these things. He looks guilty as sin to me,” said the man. “It turns my stomach thinking about it.”

Several prospects marched up to the judge’s bench for private conferences when he told them that the films also involved violence against women. They, too, were excused, as were several who cited their religious beliefs.
Asked how long they would have to watch the movies, Kozinski told them it would be about five hours and “I will be there watching with you. This is part of the job we’re doing.”

This story was originally found @ CNN.COM

The story continues here as the Judge suspends trial.

iNPLACENEWS


Murderer Scott Peterson Going Back To Trial

June 9, 2008


Scott Peterson, the man convicted of killing his wife and their unborn child, will be heading to trial again, this time in civil court. The parents of his wife, Laci Peterson, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him, seeking a multimillion-dollar judgment, after a judge in Stanislaus County Superior Court ruled that he Scott would have to stand trial again.

As a reminder, a jury found him guilty in 2003 of killing Laci Peterson and her fetus and dumping the body in San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve of 2002. Scott has always maintained his innocence, and his lawyers site a video tape made at San Quentin Prison where he says he continues to say he is innocent.

The judge stayed his ruling until June 23 to allow lawyers to appeal.
The trial is set to begin July 8th.

iNPLACENEWS


R Kelly Possible Acquital Due To Mole

May 21, 2008


R Kelly’s child pornography and child sex charges may be dropped after defense lawyers unloaded a possible bombshell. Defense lawyers claimed almost right away that the man in the videos in question is not even R Kelly at all, and that this was easily proven by the lack of a significant mole on his lower back-side. Also, the defense claimed that the “nice and sweet” woman who is the supposed victim is not the same woman in the videotape, and that the woman seen in the video is actually a prostitute. More to come…

iNPLACENEWS


Liberia’s Former President A Possible Cannibal

May 19, 2008

Charles Taylor’s former vice-president and his brief successor as Liberia’s leader testified Monday that he never saw Taylor engage in cannibalism or heard him order his fighters to eat their slain enemies.

But Moses Blah refused to rule out the possibility that Taylor ate human flesh or ordered his troops to do so.

In March, a witness told the Special Court for Sierra Leone that Taylor ordered fighters in his National Patriotic Front of Liberia to eat their enemies as a way of striking terror into his opponents.

Joseph “Zigzag” Marzah, who described himself as Taylor’s chief of operations and head of a death squad before the accused became president, said African peacekeepers and even United Nations personnel were killed and eaten on the battlefield by his militiamen.

The rest of this story can be read at: CNN.com

iNPLACENEWS


Pentagon Official Ordered To Stay Away From Trial

May 12, 2008

A military judge’s ruling that a Pentagon lawyer improperly pressured prosecutors could hurt efforts to try top al Qaeda suspects held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann has been ordered to stay out of the prosecution of Osama bin Laden’s driver. The ruling judge says that Hartmann, the legal adviser to the Office of Military Commissions, exerted improper influence on the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan “troubling” and ordered Hartmann to stay out of Hamdan’s prosecution.

Defense attorney Charles Swift said the ruling is likely to stall the pending case against Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver and bodyguard, and complicate the prosecutions of other al Qaeda figures before the military courts set up by the Bush administration.

iNPLACENEWS