MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A New York college student being held by an armed home intruder was shot and killed by a Nassau County police officer who had responded to a report of a home invasion at an off-campus home, police said Saturday.
Andrea Rebello was shot once in the head Friday morning by an officer who opened fire after the masked intruder, Dalton Smith, pointed a gun at the officer while holding the 21-year-old junior in a headlock, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said.
The Nassau County police officer fired eight shots at Smith, who has what police have described as an “extensive” criminal background, Azzata said. Smith was hit by seven bullets and died. Rebello was shot once in the head, Azzata said.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said he had traveled to Rebello’s Tarrytown, N.Y., home to explain to Rebello’s parents what happened.
Earlier Saturday, police announced that Smith, 30, was wanted on a parole violation related to a first-degree robbery conviction and had an arrest history dating back nearly 15 years.
The shooting came just days before the school’s commencement ceremonies, which are scheduled to take place Sunday.
A university spokeswoman said Saturday students will be handed white ribbons to wear in memory of Rebello.
Rebello was in the two-story home with her twin sister Jessica, another woman and another man were when the Smith, wearing a ski mask, walked into the house through an open front door, Azzata said. The intruder allowed the third unidentified woman to leave and collect money from an ATM, and she called 911.
Two police officers arriving at the home encountered Smith holding onto Rebello.
Elvis was prosecuted in the news and let go. Everett Dutschke of Mississippi was arrested and has been in custody for nearly a month. Here we go again… Where is all this Ricin coming from? Could this just be all made up? WTF?
FBI searches apartment in ricin letter case
Authorities in hazardous materials suits are searching an apartment in downtown Spokane, Wash., as they investigate the recent discovery of a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin.
SPOKANE, Wash. — Seattle Times
Authorities in hazardous materials suits are searching an apartment in downtown Spokane, Wash., as they investigate the recent discovery of a pair of letters containing the deadly poison ricin.
FBI agents, Spokane police officers and U.S. Postal Inspection Service officials descended on the apartment Saturday morning.
No arrests have been made. An FBI spokeswoman has not said whether agents are questioning anyone in connection with the case.
Authorities have not released a motive for why the letters were mailed this week.
Despite the hazmat suits, officials say apartment residents are not at risk, and people were seen coming in and out of the building.
Ricin is a highly toxic substance. Tiny amounts can be deadly if inhaled or ingested.
There have been no reports of illness connected to the letters.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are executing a search warrant Saturday in the case of two letters containing the deadly poison ricin that were intercepted this week at a post office in Washington state.
Police say the investigation has focused on a neighborhood near downtown Spokane.
The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Spokane police are involved, but further details were not immediately available.
Ricin is a highly toxic substance made from castor beans. As little as 500 micrograms, the size of the head of a pin, can kill an adult if inhaled or ingested.
Two letters containing the substance were intercepted at the downtown Spokane post office Tuesday. There have been no reports of illness connected to the letters.
“The crude form of the ricin suggests that it does not present a health risk to U.S. Postal Service personnel or to others who may have come in contact with the letter,” the agency said in a news release Thursday.
The Postal Service said it has received no other reports of similar letters. However, the agency did investigate a suspicious package sent to a federal judge in Spokane this week and found there was no hazard.
The Spokane investigation comes a month after letters containing ricin were addressed to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge. A Mississippi man has been arrested in that case.
more HERE – Seattle Times
Minority Report and “The All Seeing Eye” on Steroids (and this is just what is admitted!) There is literally nowhere left to hide.
IMRSV developed software for smart advertising billboards. But now it’s bringing sight to the Internet of Things. It could even make a toy smile back.
When Jason Sosa started work on a webcam technology that detects, in real time, the age, gender, attention time, and glances of the people looking at it, he thought he was solving an advertising problem. It’s turned out to be much more.
His startup’s first product was a digital billboard that changes the ads it displays depending on who looks at them–showing, for instance, an ad for a toy to a child and an ad for aftershave to a man.
It wasn’t long, however, before requests started pouring in from other industries eager to use the technology:
In a car, one request proposed, real-time facial detection could monitor a driver’s attention, alerting him if he falls asleep.
In a fast-food restaurant, it could track how many people are standing in line.
In a house, it could help control the temperature based on who is home.
In a bar, it could keep tabs on the gender ratio (though startup SceneTap already does so using a similar technology).
It could even make a toy smile back.
“This was a much bigger task than what we could do alone,” Sosa says he quickly realized. So for the past two years, he and his team at IMRSV (previously Immersive Labs) have been developing software that allows developers to turn any webcam into a real-time video analytics sensor. They call it Cara, which means “face” in Spanish.
Cara is different than face recognition technology such as that of Face.com, which helps identify individuals in photos and was recently acquired by Facebook. Because Cara runs locally, it is instantaneous, allowing for real-time analysis of video that can be used to trigger a reaction in real time. It’s also designed for a different purpose, which Sosa argues makes it less of a privacy risk. “The goal isn’t to identify people individually,” he says. “Our software doesn’t record images, it doesn’t save video, it doesn’t collect any personal information. It’s simply gathering stats.”
What separates Cara from IMRSV’s previous billboard technology and others like it–and makes it a potential game changer–is that any developer with any webcam can use it for $39.99 per month.
Most who have signed up so far are working on solutions for advertising, retail analytics, and enterprise systems, but the possibilities extend as far as developers take them. The Internet of Things has sensors for moisture, motion, temperature, humidity, light, pressure, and other qualities. Cara gives it something that could potentially be more interesting: a sense of who is in the room.
“It can be that my living room is telling my kitchen that I’m coming,” Sosa says.
The cause of the deadly explosions at a Texas fertilizer plant last month remains undetermined, state and federal officials said Thursday.
Robert Champion, the agent in charge of the Dallas office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said at a briefing that investigators hadn’t been able to rule out the possibility that the two blasts at West Fertilizer Co. were caused by an intentionally set fire.
The briefing was delayed a half-hour so authorities could talk to the families of the victims, said state Fire Marshal Chris Connealy, who promised to “leave no stone unturned to make sure everything is done.”
On Thursday investigators said they still don’t know what caused the initial fire, but they have ruled out smoking, weather and spontaneous combustion. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.
“This community has suffered a great tragedy,” he said, adding that 30 different local, state and federal agencies were working “with one common goal: to understand what happened so we can give closure to these families.”
The explosions in the town of West, near Waco — which killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others on the night of April 17 — devastated a 37-square-block area, creating a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep, Champion said.
Twelve of the dead were firefighters and other first responders, and Champion paid special tribute to them.
“They were doing their job and showing their bravery when they were fighting that fire,” he said.
Investigators said the fire began in a fertilizer and seed building called the seed room. They said the possible causes included arson, a failure of one of the plant’s two electrical systems and a compromised battery on a golf cart.
The golf cart had been recalled from the manufacturer, said Brian Hoback, a national response team investigator for the ATF, who said “there’s a history of golf carts’ actually starting fires” when their batteries fail. He said the cart couldn’t yet be ruled out because it hadn’t been fully recovered from the scene.
Many other triggers had been speculated upon as the cause, including the weather, some sort of spontaneous ignition, failure of the facility’s second electrical system, two ammonium compounds used in the fertilizer-making process and smoking. Investigators said all of those had been ruled out.
And they chillingly said the explosions could have been much worse.
The fire caused at least 28 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly combustible powder, to explode in the seed room, they said. Sitting outside was a rail car holding about 100 more tons of the compound — which fortunately didn’t blow up.
Because the inquiry is being handled as a criminal matter, Champion and other investigators refused to go into other details of their investigation, which they said was expected to take several more months.
West Fertilizer said in a statement that it would have no comment other than that “the authorities repeatedly emphasized that their investigation continues, as does ours.”
Champion, meanwhile, wouldn’t comment on the arrest of Bryce Reed, a paramedic who helped the victims, who pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a count of unlawfully possessing an unregistered destructive device.
Govt comes down on those who try this is the real world – but if new cyber cash will condition the masses to accept a global electronic “currency” – which the bankers can manipulate and cut off anytime – then so be it.
gives ‘tens of millions’ away for free to US Kindle owners
- One Amazon Coin is worth one US penny
- Coins can be bought in batches of 1000 and Kindle Users have been given 500 Coins for free
- Plans to launch Coins in the UK and for non-Kindle users have not yet been announced
Amazon has launched its own virtual currency called Coins in the US. It is only available for Kindle Fire users, for the time being, but can be used to buy games, apps and in-app purchases from the Kindle Appstore, as well as buy items from Amazon’s retail store
Microsoft Points are the currency of the Xbox Live Marketplace, Games for Windows Marketplace, Windows Live Gallery, Xbox Music and Video online stores.
Points can be used to buy content from the respective stores.
They can be bought using a credit card and the credit card can then be removed.
This means parents can buy their children Points to spend on games and upgrades, and control how much they spend without adding a credit card to the account.
However, in October 2012, Windows 8 began support local currency in the Xbox Video Store instead of relying on Microsoft Points.
This suggests that Microsoft may move away from its virtual currency, in the same way Facebook did with its Credits scheme last year.
The Coins will also be able to be used on the company’s retail site when they become more widely available.
Amazon has not yet confirmed when the scheme will be launched outside of the US, or if it will be available to non-Kindle users.
Amazon Coins can be bought in batches of 1000, 2500, 5000 and 10,000.
The more you buy, the bigger the discount and 10,000 Coins costs $90, for example.
Customers will also get a 10% discount on items bought using Amazon Coins.
Amazon isn’t the first company to introduce it’s own currency; Microsoft Xbox and Windows Live customers can use Microsoft Points to pay for games, upgrades, bonus levels and so on.
Amazon Coins are only currently available in the US. The company has not yet confirmed when the scheme will come to the UK. All Kindle Fire users in America have been given 500 Coins worth $5 for free, to spend in the Kindle Appstore
Nintendo similarly has Nintendo Points that can be used in the Wii Shop Channel.
Facebook launched Facebook Credits in 2009, which could be used for apps and games on the social network site, but scrapped the scheme last year in favour of local currency.
Amazon has said it has launched its Coins program as a way for developers to make more money by making it easier for shoppers to buy apps and games.
It hopes Coins will make it easier for customers to pay for items because they can buy and store Coins in their Amazon Appstore accounts to use as and when.
It can also be a way for parents to control how much children spend, negating the need to have a credit card attached to the account.
Amazon already accepts card payments and gift cards for Kindle purchases and has said that these payment options will remain.
Amazon developers had until April 25 to submit their app if they wanted it to run on the new Coins currency.
Developers will continue to get 70% revenue share for any apps or in-app purchases bought using Coins.
Read more: London Daily Mail
Not “buckling up for safety” can get you killed all right. By a cop.
That’s what happened to Deland, Florida resident Marlon Brown about a week ago. Brown was killed – run over – by Deland Police Officer James Harris, who pursued him with his squad car after Brown tried to run away on foot after being stopped over a seatbelt violation (see here).
Brown – according to news reports a popular neighborhood barber – hadn’t done anything to anyone. His “crime” was to have asserted self-ownership, which in a slave society is the gravest offense there is. He probably thought to himself: I am a grown man. No one has any more right to demand I wear a seatbelt than they have a right to insist I eat my veggies or wear a sweater because it’s cold out. Whether eating veggies or wearing a sweater on a cold day – or “buckling up for safety” – is a good idea or a bad idea is completely irrelevant insofar as it’s my self that’s involved and thus, no one else’s business. Certainly not a cop’s. Aren’t cops supposed to fight crime? When did the job of a cop become parenting or life-coaching at gunpoint? Who the hell are these people to point guns at me over my decision to not “buckle up”?
Brown likely had such thoughts as he saw the wig-wag lights of Officer Harris in his rearview. Then, he probably got mad. I know I would have. You are driving along, minding your business, causing no harm to anyone. Then you glance up and see the bright lights – and the buzz-cut head – of Officer Unfriendly. This costumed menace is about to threaten you with violence and – at minimum – shove a piece of paper in your face that will demand what amounts to a ransom payment, or else. The “or else” being a jail cell. Over… nothing. A non-crime.
And so, Brown attempted to flee. It ended up costing him his life.
Mind, “officer safety” was never threatened. Brown merely tried to get away from an obnoxious costumed thug who had no business bothering him in the first place. But that was sufficient to justify summary execution by motor vehicle.
It is not an isolated happenstance anymore. Not a month goes by – oftentimes, hardly a week goes by – without some godawful report of a citizen being killed by cops over…. nothing. A murder – and that’s exactly what this was – prefaced by some petty affront to the authority of someone in a state-issued costume. Talk back – hell, dare to question – and the Tazers come out. Attempt to ward off the blows – and you will hear Stop Resisting! as the blows continue to rain down. They may – or may not – stop at merely a beating, a kicked-in skull.
Obama is forced to say he has ‘confidence’ in the Attorney General
- Justice Department obtained records listing incoming and outgoing calls and duration of calls for more than 20 telephone lines used by journalists
- Lines included the main number used by reporters in the House of Reps press gallery and general AP numbers in Washington and New York
- Stems from AP article talking reporting a thwarted terror attack
- Attorney General Eric Holder said he had recused himself from the investigation into the leak to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest
- Said that his deputy made the decision to obtain the records
During an interview with NPR’s Carrie Johnson on Tuesday, Holder was asked how often his department has obtained such records of journalists’ work.
“I’m not sure how many of those cases … I have actually signed off on,” Holder said. “I take them very seriously. I know that I have refused to sign a few [and] pushed a few back for modifications.”
, Carrie added that Holder declined to say whether there will be a review of the Justice Department’s policy on searches of reporters’ records.
Tuesday, NPR and other media organizations joined in . In it, the news outlets ask that the Justice Department:
— “Immediately return the telephone toll records obtained and destroy all copies, as requested by The Associated Press.”
— “Announce whether it has served any other pending news media-related subpoenas that have not yet been disclosed.”
, Holder said the AP records were seized as part of an investigation into leaks about a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an airliner bombing plot.
He will be asked about the search of the reporters’ phone logs at . Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., says “Congress and the American people expect answers and accountability.”
Holder will also be questioned about the Justice Department’s plan to when they gave extra scrutiny to some conservative groups’ applications for tax exempt status.
White House Admits That It Knew About IRS Scandal ‘Several Weeks Ago,’…And Did Nothing (Obama admin Also used DHS on Occupy!)
Full Story – http://b4in.info/t4vw While successfully dodging questions about the 3 scandals the White House is caught up with spokesman Jay Carney admits the Obama administration knew about the IRS targeting activists but did nothing about it.
Was this all just political / “anti Republican”, Or was it a continuation of what the Obama admin has done to other groups like Occupy?
I Spy An Occupy: Obama’s DHS Surveils Legit Protesters
By Spencer Mandel on May 21, 2012
Remember the Occupy Movement? Since last November, when the NYPD closed the Zuccotti Park encampment in downtown Manhattan –the Movement’s birthplace and symbolic nexus—Occupy’s relevance has seriously dwindled, at least as measured by coverage in the mainstream media. We’re told that this erosion is due to Occupy’s own shortcomings—an inevitable outcome of its disjointed message and decentralized leadership.
While that may be the media’s take, the U.S. Government seems to have a different view.
If recent documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) are any indication, the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In response to repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Fund, made on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild, the DHS released a revealing set of documents in April. But the latest batch, made public on May 3rd, exposes the scale of the government’s “attention” to Occupy as never before.
The documents, many of which are partially blacked-out emails, demonstrate a surprising degree of coordination between the DHS’s National Operations Center (NOC) and local authorities in the monitoring of the Occupy movement. Cities implicated in this wide-scale snooping operation include New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Denver, Boston, Portland, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
Interest in the Occupy protesters was not limited to DHS and local law enforcement authorities. The most recently released correspondence contains Occupy-related missives between the DHS and agencies at all levels of government, including the Mayor of Portland, regional NOC “fusion centers,” the General Services Administration (GSA), the Pentagon’s USNORTHCOM (Northern Command), and the White House. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF, contends that the variety and reach of the organizations involved point to the existence of a larger, more pervasive domestic surveillance network than previously suspected.
These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people. These heavily redacted documents don’t tell the full story. They are likely only a subset of responsive materials and the PCJF continues to fight for a complete release. They scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.
As alarmist as Verheyden-Hilliard’s charge may sound, especially given the limited, bowdlerized nature of the source material, the texts made available contain disturbing evidence of insistent federal surveillance. In particular, the role of the “Fusion Centers,” a series of 72 federally-funded information hubs run by the NOC, raises questions about the government’s expansive definition of “Homeland Security.”
Created in the wake of 9/11, the Fusion Centers were founded to expedite the sharing of information among state and local law enforcement and the federal government, to monitor localized terrorist threats, and to sidestep the regulations and legislation preventing the CIA and the military from carrying out domestic surveillance (namely, the CIA ban on domestic spying and the Posse Comitatus Act).
Is nonviolent, albeit obstructive, citizen dissent truly an issue of national security? The DHS, for its part, is aware of the contentiousness of civilian monitoring. That’s why, in a White House-approved statement to CBS News included in the dossier, DHS Press Secretary Matthew Chandler asserts that
Any decisions on how to handle specifics (sic) situations are dealt with by local authorities in that location. . . DHS is not actively coordinating with local law enforcement agencies and/or city governments concerning the evictions of Occupy encampments writ large.
However, as a reading of the documents unmistakably demonstrates, this expedient PR nugget is far from the truth. In example after example, from its seeking of “public health and safety” grounds from the City of Portland for Occupy’s ejection from Terry Schrunk Plaza, to its facilitation of information sharing between the police departments of Chicago and Boston (following a 1500-person Occupy protest in Chicago), the DHS’s active ”coordinating” with local authorities is readily apparent. Other communiqués are even more explicit in revealing a national focus, such as the DHS’s preemptive coordination with the Pentagon about a port closure in Oakland, and its collection of identity and contact information of Occupy protesters arrested at a Bank of America in Dallas.
Those Pesky Amendments
The right to public assembly is a central component of the First Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect Americans from warrantless searches—with the definition of “search” expanded in 1967 to include electronic surveillance, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Katz v. United States. Assuming the Occupy protesters refrain from violence—and the vast majority do, in accord with a stated tenet of the Occupy movement—the movement’s existence is constitutionally protected, or should be.
The DHS’s monitoring, documenting, and undermining of protesters may in fact violate the First Amendment. In a recent piece for Dissent Magazine, sociologist James B. Rule explains the fundamental importance of a movement like Occupy in the American political landscape.
This surveillance campaign against Occupy is bad news for American democracy. Occupy represents an authentic, utterly home-grown, grassroots movement. Taken as a whole, it is neither terrorist nor conspiratorial. Indeed, it is hard to think of another movement so cumbersomely public in its deliberations and processes. Occupy is noisy, disorderly, insubordinate, and often inconvenient for all concerned—statements that could equally well apply to democracy in general. But it should never be targeted as a threat to the well-being of the country—quite the contrary.
Accordingly, Rule calls for the White House to rein in the ever-expanding surveillance activity of the DHS—which he contends is motivated by its own funding interests, and which prioritizes security at the expense of civil liberties.
The resource-rich Department of Homeland Security and its allies no doubt see in the rise of the movement another opportunity to justify their own claims for public legitimacy. We can be sure that many in these agencies view any noisy dissent as tantamount to a threat to national security.
Nobody who cares about democracy wants to live in a world where simply engaging in vociferous protest qualifies any citizen to have his or her identity and life details archived by state security agencies. Specific, overt threats of civil disobedience or other law-breaking should be dealt with on a piecemeal basis—not by attempting to monitor everyone who might be moved to such actions, all the time. Meanwhile, the White House should issue clear directives that identification and tracking of lawful protesters will play no further role in any government response to this populist moment.
Optimistic as it may be, Rule’s appeal to the White House is a problematic one, given the ubiquitous influence of the DHS revealed by these documents. If the White House-approved press release is any indication, the Oval Office, while not directly authorizing the DHS’s initiatives, is certainly turning a blind eye to the Department’s focus on the Occupy movement as a potential terrorist threat. Federal surveillance of citizens in the Bush years, most visible in the NSA warrantless wiretapping controversy, has apparently not ceased with Obama’s inauguration.
Which raises the question: Does Obama, as he claims, “stand with the 99 percent,” or with those who cannot stand them?
AFP – The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto Monday over an Indiana farmer accused of having pirated the genetically-modified crops developed by the agribusiness giant.
The high court’s unanimous decision focuses specifically on seed production, but experts say it may also have implications on intellectual property law in medicine, biotechnology and software.
The nine justices ruled that laws limiting patents do “not permit a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission.”
The crux of the argument was over “patent exhaustion” which states that, after a patented item has been sold, the purchaser has “a right to use or resell that article,” Justice Elena Kagan explained in the court’s 10-page decision.
“Such a sale, however, does not allow the purchaser to make new copies of the patented invention,” she added.
At 2 pm (1800 GMT) on Monday after the ruling, Monsanto stock was down 1.1 percent at $106.94.
In a lawsuit filed in 2007, Monsanto had accused Vernon Hugh Bowman, a farmer, of infringing on its intellectual property rights by replanting, cultivating and selling herbicide-resistant soybean seeds it spent more than a decade developing.
The patented seed, which allows farmers to aerially spray Monsanto-made Roundup herbicide over their entire fields, was invented in 1996 and is now grown by more than 90 percent of the 275,000 US soybean farmers.
The farmer, 75, said he had respected his contract with Monsanto and purchased new Roundup Ready seeds each year for his first planting.
But he said hard times forced him to purchase a cheaper mixture of seeds from a grain elevator starting in 1999, which he used for his second planting.
The mixture included Roundup Ready soybeans, which Bowman was able to isolate and replant from 2000 to 2007.
“Under the patent exhaustion doctrine, Bowman could resell the patented soybeans he purchased from the grain elevator; so too he could consume the beans himself or feed them to his animals,” Kagan explained.
“But the exhaustion doctrine does not enable Bowman to make additional patented soybeans without Monsanto’s permission (either express or implied).
“And that is precisely what Bowman did,” she said.
The court found that the law rightly protects Monsanto from such a practice because, “were the matter otherwise, Monsanto’s patent would provide scant benefit.”
It upheld a lower court ruling demanding Bowman — whose lawyer has said is in dire economic straits — pay the $85,000 in damages Monsanto had sought.
Monsanto cheered the decision in a statement Monday.
“The Court’s ruling today ensures that longstanding principles of patent law apply to breakthrough 21st century technologies that are central to meeting the growing demands of our planet and its people,” Monsanto executive vice president David Snively said.
The company had been supported in court by the US government and, during the hearing, several justices already seemed disposed to rule in its favor.
Monsanto attorney Seth Waxman argued that Bowman was able to profit from the seed giant’s technology without having to pay for it, comparing the case to software piracy.
The high court agreed:
“If simple copying were a protected use, a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention,” Kagan wrote in the decision. “And that would result in less incentive for innovation than Congress wanted.”
Although the decision specifically limited its scope to the seed industry, “there’s one clause saying it may be broader,” patent expert Michael Ward told AFP.
“Where the replication is not inadvertent, as long the replication is not a necessary but incidental step, that decision would apply,” he explained.
Story By Alex Constantine
Photos by David Burnett
Marley knew the drill – in Jamaica, at the height of his success, when music and politics were still one, before the fog of censorship rolled into the island, old wounds were opened by a wave of destabilization politics. Stories appeared in the local, regional and international press downsizing the achievements of the quasi-socialist Jamaican government under Prime Minister Michael Manley. In the late 1970s, the island was flooded with cheap guns, heroin, cocaine, right-wing propaganda, death squad rule and, as Grenada’s Prime Minister Maurice Bishop described it three years later, the CIA’s “pernicious attempts [to] wreck the economy.”
“Destabilization,” Bishop told the emergent New Jewel Party, “is the name given the most recently developed method of controlling and exploiting the lives and resources of a country and its people by a bigger and more powerful country through bullying, intimidation and violence.”
In response to the fascistic machinations of the CIA, Marley wove his lyrics into a revolutionary crucifix to ward off the cloak-and-dagger “vampires” descending upon the island. June 1976: Then-Governor-General Florizel Glasspole placed Jamaica under martial law to stanch the bloody pre-election violence. Prime Minister Manley’s People’s National Party asked the Wailers to play at the Smile Jamaica concert in December. Despite the rising political mayhem, Marley agreed to perform.
In late November, a death squad slipped beneath the gates of Marley’s home on Hope Road in Kingston. As biographer Timothy White tells it, at about 9 PM, “the torpor of the quiet tropical night was interrupted by a queer noise that was not quite like a firecracker.” Marley was in the kitchen at the rear of the house eating a grapefruit when he heard the bursts of automatic gunfire. Don Taylor, Marley’s manager, had been talking to the musician when the bullets ripped through the back of his legs. The men were “peppering the house with a barrage of rifle and pistol fire, shattering windows and splintering plaster and woodwork on the first floor.” Rita Marley, trying to escape with her children and a reporter from the Jamaica Daily News, was shot by one of the men in the front yard. The bullet caught her in the head, lifting her off her feet as it burrowed between scalp and skull.
Meanwhile, a man with an automatic rifle had burst through the back door off the pantry, pushing past a fleeing Seeco Patterson, the Wailers’ percussionist, to aim beyond Don Taylor at Bob Marley. The gunman got off eight shots. One bullet struck a counter, another buried itself in the ceiling, and five tore into Taylor. He fell but remained conscious, with four bullets in his legs and one buried at the base of his spine. The last shot creased Marley’s breast below his heart and drilled deep into his arm.
The survival of the reggae singer and his entire entourage appeared to be the work of Rasta. “The firepower these guys apparently brought with them was immense,” Wailers publicist Jeff Walker recalls. “There were bullet holes everywhere. In the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room, floors, ceilings, doorways and outside.”
There has since been widespread belief that the CIA arranged the hit on Hope Road. Neville Garrick, a Marley insider and former art director of the Jamaican Daily News, had film of “suspicious characters” lurking near the house before the assassination attempt. The day of the shooting he had snapped some photos of Marley standing beside a Volkswagen in a pool of mango-tree shade. The strangers in the background made Marley nervous; he told Garrick that they appeared to be “scouting” the property. In the prints, however, their features were too blurred by shadow to make out. After the concert, Garrick took the photographs and prints to Nassau. Sadly, while the Wailers and crew prepared to board a flight to London, he discovered that the film had been stolen.
Many of the CIA’s files on Bob Marley remain classified to the present day. However, on December 5, 1976, a week after the assault on Hope Road, the Wailers appeared at the Smile Jamaica fest, despite their wounds, to perform one long, defiant anthem of rage directed at the CIA – “War” – suggesting the Wailers’ own attitude toward the “Vampires” from Langley:
Until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
That now hold our brothers
In Angola, in Mozambique,
In subhuman bondage
Have been toppled,
Everywhere is war…
Only a handful of Marley’s most trusted comrades knew of the band’s whereabouts before the festival. Yet a member of the film crew, or so he claimed – reportedly, he didn’t have a camera – managed to talk his way past machete-bearing Rastas to enter the Hope Road encampment: one Carl Colby, son of the late CIA director William Colby.
While the band prepared for the concert, a gift was delivered, according to a witness at the enclave – a pair of boots for Bob Marley. Former Los Angeles cinematographer Lee Lew-Lee [his camera work can be seen in the Oscar-winning documentary The Panama Deception] was close friends with members of the Wailers, and he believes that Marley’s cancer can be traced to the boots: “He put his foot in and said, ‘Ow!’ A friend got in there… he said, ‘let’s [get] in the boot, and he pulled a length of copper wire out – it was embedded in the boot.”
Had the wire been treated chemically with a carcinogenic toxin? The appearance of Colby at Marley’s compound was certainly provocative. [And so was Colby’s subsequent part in the fall of another black cultural icon, O.J. Simpson, nearly 20 years later. At Simpson’s preliminary hearing in 1995, Colby – who resided next door to Nicole Simpson on Gretna Green Way in Brentwood, a mile from her residence on Bundy – and his wife both took the stand to testify for the prosecution that Nicole’s ex-husband had badgered and threatened her. Colby’s testimony was instrumental in the formal charge of murder filed against Simpson and the nationally televised fiasco known as the “Trial of the Century.”]
Seventeen years after the Hope Road assault, Don Taylor published a memoir, Marley and Me, in which he alleges that a “senior CIA agent” had been planted among the crew as part of the plan to “assassinate” Marley. It’s possible that this lapse in security allowed Colby entrance to the compound. It’s clear that the CIA wanted Marley out of the picture. After the assassination attempt, a rumor circulated that the CIA was going to finish Marley off. The source of the rumor was the agency itself. The Wailers had set out on a world tour, and CIA agents informed Marley that should he return to Jamaica before the election, he would be murdered.
Taylor and others close to Marley suspect that it was more than a threat. Lew-Lee recalls: “I didn’t think so at the time, but I’ve always had my suspicions because Marley later broke his toe playing soccer, and when the bone wouldn’t mend the doctors found that the toe had cancer. The cancer metastasized throughout his body, but [Marley] believed he could fight this thing.”
British researcher Michael Conally observes: “They certainly had reasons for wanting to. For one, Marley’s highly charged message music made him an important figure that the rest of the world was beginning to notice. It was an influence that was hard to ignore, least of all because everywhere you went you saw middle- and upper-class white people sprouting dreadlocks, smoking spliffs and adopting the Rastafarian lifestyle. This sort of thing didn’t sit well with traditionalists and authoritarian types.”
The soccer game took place in Paris in 1977, five months after the boot incident, Marley took to the field with one of the leading teams in the country to break the monotony of the Wailers “Exodus” tour. His right toe was injured in a tackle. The toenail came off. At first, it wasn’t considered a serious wound.
But it would not heal. Marley was limping by July and consulted a physician, who was shocked by the toe’s appearance. It was so eaten away that doctors in London advised it be amputated. Marley’s religion forbade it: “Rasta no abide amputation,” he insisted. He told the physician, “De living God, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Ras Tafari, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah…He will heal me wit’ de meditations of me ganja chalice.” No scalpel, he said, “will crease me flesh… C’yant kill Rasta. Rastamon live out.”
He flew to Miami and Dr. William Bacon performed a skin graft on the lesion. The disease lingered undiagnosed and spread throughout his body.
Isaac Fergusson, a friend and devotee, observed the slow death of Bob Marley firsthand. In the three years separating soccer injury from cancer diagnosis, Marley remained immersed in music, “ignoring the advice of doctors and close associates that he stop and obtain a thorough medical examination.” He refused to give up recording and touring long enough to consult a doctor. Marley “would have to quit the stage and it would take years to recoup the momentum. This was his time and he seized upon it. Whenever he went into the studio to record, he did enough for two albums. Marley would drink his fish tea, eat his rice-and-peas stew, roll himself about six spliffs and go to work. With incredible energy and determination, he kept strumming his guitar, maybe 12 hours, sometimes till daybreak.” Reggae artist Jimmy Cliff observed after Marley’s death: “What I know now is that Bob finished all he had to do on this earth.” Marley was aware by 1977 that he was dying, and set out to condense a lifetime of music into the few years remaining.
The Nazi Doctor
In September 1980, Bob Marley suffered a stroke while jogging in New York’s Central Park. He was released by a physician the following day and recuperated in his room at the Essex Hotel. Rita Marley choked when she saw him. Her fears rose into uncontrollable sobs, “Wha’ has happened to you?” “Doctor say brain tumor black me out,” Marley told her. Isaac Fergusson had caught the dying rebel’s performance at Madison Square Garden a few days before, and had realized then that something was terribly wrong, even as Marley gripped his guitar “like a machine gun” and “threw his ropelike hair about,” a “whirlwind around his small black face. The crack of a drum exploded into bass, into organ.” Midway into the set, the Wailers stood back and Marley did a solo: “These songs of freedom is all I ever had…” Why, Fergusson wondered, was he singing this alone? Why the past tense?
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery…”
Fergusson noticed that Marley “was always rubbing his forehead and grimacing while performing.” The following weekend, Fergusson stopped to visit Rita Marley and Judy Mowatt. He asked about Bob’s condition. “We don’t know for sure,” Rita told him. “The doctors say he has a tumor in his brain.” In a silent moment, Fergusson realized that Marley was dying.
He was convinced at last to seek medical treatment. Marley was admitted to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Tests revealed that the cancer had spread to his brain, lungs and liver. The reggae legend received a few radiation treatments, but checked out when the New York papers let on that he was seriously ill. Marley consulted physicians in Miami, briefly returned to Sloan-Kettering, then to Jamaica, where he met with Dr. Carl “Pee Wee” Fraser, recommended to him by fellow Rastafarians. Dr. Fraser advised that Marley talk to Dr. Josef Issels, a German “holistic comprehensive immunotherapist” then practicing at the Ringberg Clinic in Rottach-Egern, a small Bavarian village located at the southern end of Tegernsee Lake.
Marley traveled to Bavaria and checked into the clinic. Dr. Issels met him, looked him over and allowed, without naming sources: “I hear that you’re one of the most dangerous black men in the world.”
The portrait offered by publicity releases from the Issels Foundation is imposing enough: Dr. Issels, born in 1907, founded the first hospital [financed by the estate of Karl Gischler, a Dutch shipping magnate] in Europe for comprehensive immunotherapy of cancer in 1951. He was the medical director and director of research.
All well and good… until it is considered that by this time, Dr. Issels was 44 years old. Certainly, his medical career did not begin in 1951. Why the unexplained gap in his bona fides? During World War II, it seems, Dr. Issels could be found plying his “research” skills for Hitler’s SS. Lew-Lee claims that Dr. Issels was assigned to the Auschwitz concentration camp, working alongside Dr. Josef Mengele. But author Gordon Thomas, in a long-out-of-print biography of Issels, contends that the doctor served in the SS only briefly. At any rate, he was indeed a member of the Nazi Party and served under Heinrich Himmler. Bob Marley, the “dangerous” black upstart, had placed his life in the hands of a Nazi doctor.
Lew-Lee recalls that Marley rejected conventional cancer treatments, “wanted to do anything but turn to Western medicine. This may have been a mistake.” Evidently so. “Dr. Issels said that he could cur Bob. And they cut Bob’s dreadlocks off. And he was getting all of this crazy, crazy medical treatment in Bavaria. I know this because Devon Evans [a musician then playing with the Wailers] told me that Bob was receiving these medical treatments.” Evans came by “every two or three months – 1979-80 – and told me: ‘Yeah, man, they’re killing Bob. They are KILLING Bob.’ I said, ‘What do you mean ‘they are killing Bob?’ ‘No, no, man,’ he said. ‘Dis Dr. Issels, he’s a Nazi!’”
Dr. Issels was one of the scores of Nazi practitioners to escape the attention of the Nuremberg tribunal. Michael Kater, a professor of history at York University in Canada, informs us that physicians of the Hitler period were steeped in Nazi racial doctrines at medical school, that many of them continued to practice undisturbed by war-crimes tribunals: “It was in a conventional medical culture, infiltrated from one side by a science alienated from humanity and from another by charlatanry, that young physicians in the Third Reich were raised to learn and prepare for practice, with many predestined to practice after 1945.”
Dr. Josef Issels first offered his alternative cancer therapies in a Nazi-fied atmosphere of ruthlessness and quackery. In the 1930s, chronic cancer patients consulted Dr. Issels and received his experimental “combination therapy,” a regimen of diet, homeopathic remedies, vitamins, exercise and detoxification, among other holistic approaches. Today, his clinic offers training in cancer immunization vaccines, UV blood irradiation, oxygen and ozone therapy, “biological dentistry” [tooth extraction], immunity elicitation by mixed bacterial vaccine, blood heating, and so on.
The medical establishment, particularly in the UK, has long rallied against some of Issels’ therapies. A former BBC producer reported in a televised documentary that Dr. Issels was arrested in September 1960. The police warrant alleged, “The accused claims to treat… cancer…. In fact [he] has neither reliable diagnostic methods nor a method to treat cancer successfully. It is contended [that] he is aware of the complete ineffectiveness of this so-called… tumor treatment.” It also called Issels a flight risk, noting that “he had prepared for all contingencies by depositing huge amounts in foreign banks.”
Marley, unaware of his physician’s past, was placed on a regimen of exercise, vaccines [some illegal], ozone injections, vitamins and trace minerals.
In time, Dr. Issels also introduced torture. Long needles were plunged through Marley’s stomach through to the spine. The patient-victim was told that this was part of his “treatment.” The torture continued until Marley foundered on the threshold of death.
Cedella Booker-Marley, his mother, visited him three times in the course of the “treatments.” She found Dr. Issels to be an “arrogant wretch” with the “gruff manners of a bully,” who subjected her dying son to a bloodless brand of “hocus-pocus” medicine. Booker-Marley: “I myself witnessed Issels’ rough treatment of Nesta [Marley]. One time I went with Nesta to the clinic, and we settled down in a treatment room. Issels came in and announced to Nesta, ‘I’m going to give you a needle.’” Dr. Issels “plunged the needle straight into Nesta’s navel right down to the syringe. [Marley] grunted and winced. He could only lie there helplessly, writhing on the table, trying his best to hide his pain. ‘Jesus Christ,’ I heard myself mumbling.” Issels yanked out the needle and strolled casually out of the room. Marley was left groaning with pain. “I went and stood at his side and held is hand.
“With every visit,” she recalls, “I found him smaller, frailer, thinner. As the months of dying dragged on, the suffering was etched all over his face. He would fall into fits of shaking, when he would lose all control and shiver from head to toe like a coconut leaf in the breeze. His eyes would turn in his head, rolling in their sockets until even the white jelly was quivering.”
Marley’s torment was aggravated by starvation. “For a whole week sometimes,” Booker laments, her son “would be allowed no nourishment other than what he got intravenously. Constantly hungry, even starving, he wasted away to a skeleton” – starved to death like an Auschwitz inmate. “To watch my first-born shrivel up to skin and bone ripped at my mother’s heart.” Marley weighed 82 pounds on the day of his death. The starvation diet must have devastated his immune system and rushed his demise, not prolonged his life as Dr. Issels and some biographers have contended. It also caused him intense pain. “It would drag on so, for one long painful month after the other, and every day would be a knife that death stabbed and twisted anew in an already open, bleeding wound.” The agony “wrapped him up like a crushing snake.”
Death finally claimed Marley on May 11, 1981. In Jamaica, May 20 was declared a national day of mourning. Marley’s wake at the National Arena was attended by some 30,000 mourners.
He was survived by his old partner Peter Tosh, who was shot to death in 1987. Marley and Tosh were not the only musicians murdered for political reasons in Jamaica. By the end of the decade, all Jamaican musicians were censored and subject to shell-casing politics.
The island’s Daily Gleaner reported in 1987 that Winston “Yellowman” Foster, stopped at a police roadblock and frisked for drugs, resisted detainment. One of the officers hissed, “You want to go like Tosh?” When Tosh went, there was nothing random about it. Witnesses and friends insist that he was a political hit. Two of the gunmen fled to New York to remain at large. The third was Dennis “Leppo” Lobban, an ex-con sentenced for the murder after an 11-minute trial.
Like Marley, Peter Tosh found the bloodshed and hypocrisy of death squad justice and CIA covert ops in the Third World unbearable. He was so obsessed with hidden evil and the upswell of violence in Jamaica that they visited him in his sleep. He had “visions” of “destruction [and] millions of people inside of [a] pit going down. And I… say, ‘bloodbath, where so much people come from?’ and looking in the pit, mon, it the biggest pit… but the way the people was crying, it was awful.”