The mother of Michael Brown could be charged with felony armed robbery for allegedly attacking people in a Ferguson, Mo., parking lot because they were selling T-shirts honoring the late teenager.
The Ferguson Police Department is currently investigating claims that Lesley McSpadden brought a group of people — including her own mother — to beat vendors and rob them of their “Justice for Mike Brown” merchandise Oct. 18, The Smoking Gun has learned.
One person was hospitalized in the reported attack and another unidentified alleged victim was reportedly beaten with a pipe.
McSpadden’s former mother-in-law, Pearlie Gordon, was among those beaten by “a large group of about 20-30 subjects” who had “jumped out of vehicles and rushed” the group of sellers, according to the police report.
Gordon, 54, was allegedly knocked to the ground and repeatedly struck in the head. She detailed the brief exchange she had with McSpadden at the time of the attack.
“You can’t sell this s**t,” McSpadden allegedly said, according to the report.
Gordon responded that “unless McSpadden could produce documentation stating that she had a patent on her son’s name (Gordon) was going to continue to sell her merchandise,” according to the report.
More than $1500 in merchandise and $400 in cash was allegedly stolen by the attackers.
Once the investigation is finished, Ferguson police will decide whether to charge McSpadden and the others with felony armed robbery.
Michael Hanline was convicted to life without parole for a 1978 Ventura County murder. On Monday, the 69-year-old was released after new DNA evidence didn’t match his. ‘It feels like I’m on the front of a missile going through space and stuff is just flying by. I mean it’s just incredible,’ he told reporters.
After spending more than half of his life behind bars, California’s longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate is heading home.
Michael Hanline was released Monday from the Ventura County jail, where he served 36 years in prison for a 1978 murder.
“It feels like I’m on the front of a missile going through space and stuff is just flying by. I mean it’s just incredible,” he told reporters outside of the jail.
The white-haired 69-year-old walked away with the help of a cane and left the facility hand-in-hand with his wife, Sandee.
Hanline was convicted to life in prison without parole in 1980, the L.A. Times reported. Prosecutors said he shot and killed J.T. McGarry two years before. They claimed he murdered the biker and dumped his body off the side of the road for money McGarry owed Hanline’s then-girlfriend
Hanline maintained his innocence from the start. The California Innocence Project began working on the case 15 years ago — 20 years after he was first convicted.
But the group’s big break came this year, when DNA evidence didn’t match Hanline’s. Instead, the DNA of another person was found on the evidence, Ventura County Deputy D.A. Michael Lief said.
The mismatched DNA prompted a judge to order his release Monday — his 36 years behind bars is the longest a wrongfully convicted California inmate has ever served.
“Through the miracle of DNA, we’ve added an extra piece to the puzzle here that showed that the evidence he was convicted on was false and we now have this DNA evidence to show that he did not commit this crime,” California Innocence Project spokesman Justin Brooks said at a Monday press conference.
Hanline was released with a GPS ankle bracelet, which he’ll wear while the District Attorney decides weather or not a lunch a retrial.
For now, he’ll head home, to a brand new world.
“I can’t really express the feelings that I got inside me because it’s just like a whirlwind. It’s a whole new ball game,” Hanline said. “I mean, you know, it’s an age of cellphones and technology and all that stuff is new. I’m a dinosaur.”
Police are reinvestigating the 1978 murder, including the new DNA evidence.
The most important details in Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony come on pages 77-78 of the transcript. Asked if he had filled out an incident report on the shooting, Wilson explained that the “protocol” in such cases is to “contact your FOP [Fraternal Order of Police] representative and he will advise you of what to do step by step.”
When asked if he had committed his recollections to paper in a diary or journal, Wilson replied: “My statement has been written for my attorney.”
“And that’s between you and your attorney, then?” asked the exceptionally helpful prosecutor, who received an affirmative reply.
“So no one has asked you to write out a statement?” the assistant DA persisted.
“No, they haven’t,” Wilson acknowledged.
Like anybody else suspected of a crime, Wilson was presumed innocent and could not be forced to incriminate himself. Unlike a Mundane suspected of homicide, however, Wilson was given the luxury of crafting his story to fit subsequent disclosures, in consultation with a police union attorney who added the necessary melodramatic flourishes.
Thus we are told that when Wilson grabbed Brown’s forearm through the window of his SUV, “the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.”
Although the 18-year-old Brown possessed nearly 300 pounds of unathletic girth, Wilson was no nebbish: Like Brown, he stands 6’4″ and weighs 210 pounds.
After being shot during the altercation in the SUV, Brown displayed the face of a “demon,” Wilson claims. After fleeing from the officer, who continued to shoot at him, Brown could be seen “almost bulking up to run through the shots,” Wilson continued, a line that doubtless reflects the verbal artistry of a well-paid police union attorney.
Like others accused of a crime, Wilson had the right to counsel of his choice. In his case, however, a defense attorney was redundant.
The grand jury transcript from September 26 listed the case as “State of Missouri vs. Darren Wilson,” but the assistant St. Louis County District Attorneys who examined the suspect behaved more like defense attorneys than prosecutors. Their advertised task was to determine if probable cause existed to justify criminal charges against Wilson for the shooting of tardily identified robbery suspect Michael Brown. The actual function they performed was to rationalize the killing in a way that would bring about Robert McCullouch’s intended result, the no-billing of the former police officer.
When a prosecutor actually seeks an indictment, he will not go to the trouble of presenting potentially exculpatory evidence. In fact, as former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell documents in her infuriating new book Licensed to Lie, prosecutors generally go through heroic contortions to withhold, disguise, misplace, or exclude “Brady” material. McCullouch, a prosecutor not known for his solicitude toward the accused unless they are swaddled in the vestments of the State’s coercive caste, made a point of making the case for the defense, which is a function usually carried out during a criminal trial by counsel for the defendant.
At various points in the 92-page transcript, we can see how McCullough’s carefully guided Wilson through his testimony, prompting him to follow the script provided by his police union attorney, and either ignoring or gently correcting him when caught in the kind of contradictions upon which a motivated prosecutor would triumphantly seize. For example: Wilson claimed that at one point, Brown had “complete control” over the officer’s firearm. Under the kind prompting from one of the unusually solicitous assistant DAs, Wilson admitted that the gun never left his hand, and that his was the finger on the trigger.
Wilson states that after he confronted Brown and Johnson (whom he did not identify as robbery suspects until after the initial contact) for jaywalking, Brown’s hostile attitude prompted him to call for backup and then cut them off with his police vehicle. When he tried to leave the vehicle, Brown allegedly shoved the car door shut and glared at the officer with an “intense face” as if intending to “overpower” him. At some point — Wilson isn’t clear on the details — Brown supposedly slugged the officer through the window.
Reciting a well-rehearsed script, Wilson told the jurors that he scrolled through non-lethal options before pulling his gun.
“Get back or I’m going to shoot you,” Wilson says he told Brown. At this point “He immediately grabs my gun and says, `You are too much of a pussy to shoot me,’” the officer claimed. Later in his testimony, Wilson elaborated: “He didn’t pull it from my holster, but whenever it was visible to him, he then took complete control of it.”
Wilson threatened to kill Brown; Brown refused to be shot. This complicates the self-defense claim, which rests on Wilson’s assertion that by this time he had been struck twice by the behemoth, and was afraid that “the third one could be fatal if he hit me right.” Yet despite being repeatedly pummeled by a man-mountain of preternatural strength — a veritable Hulk Hogan, if not an Incredible Hulk — Wilson’s face displayed no visible injuries.
The alleged blows were sufficient to justify lethal force, even against a fleeing, unarmed suspect, Wilson insists.
“My gun was already being presented as a deadly force option while he was hitting me in the face,” he told the jurors, later saying that hurling lead down a residential street was justified in order to “protect” the public from an unarmed suspect who had assaulted an armed police officer.
Michael Brown was apparently a shoplifter and a bully. If this was the case, he should have been compelled to make restitution to the victims. (Interestingly, although Wilson claimed to have seen stolen cigarillos in Brown’s hands during the “assault,” they were never found.) While there’s no clear evidence that Brown ever assaulted Wilson, it is indisputable from Wilson’s testimony that he was the one who escalated the encounter by threatening lethal force. This is problematic even under positivist legal precedents: Per Bad Elk vs. US, Brown — even as a criminal suspect — didn’t have a duty to die simply because Wilson had the means to kill him, and according Tennessee vs. Garner Wilson didn’t have the legal authority to kill Brown simply because he tried to evade arrest.
One needn’t consider Michael Brown to be a winsome innocent in order to believe that Wilson’s conduct in this incident was, at best, thoroughly suspect — and suitable for examination in a genuinely adversarial process of the kind Robert McCullouch was determined to avoid.
How does this outfit survive on ad revenues? Why do sponsors pay for 181,000 people?
WHAT COULD WE DO WITH CNN’S VAST RESOURCES????
CNN has no audience. It is liberal, and it has no audience.
Why should anyone believe that CNN represents a mass movement?
It is nice to know that Turner can see the futility of his major effort. He deserves no less.
Monday’s 9pmET timeslot on CNN drew 181,000 total viewers, the lowest for the time period since at least Oct. 1, 1991, as far back as Nielsen electronic records go. Anderson Cooper anchored a second live hour of AC360 at 9pm. It was also the lowest rated hour of CNN’s entire day. Cooper finished fourth in the hour behind Megyn Kelly on Fox News, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Dr. Drew Pinsky on HLN, in both total viewers and the demo.
An unarmed Russian bomber in April flew over a high-tech U.S. ship. A crew member pressed a button. Poof! No more missile defense system on the ship. No more radar. The ship became a defenseless floating coffin.
Then the plane flew over the blind ship a dozen times. Basically, it was “Nyah, nyah, nyah.”
This story got no play in American media.
On 10 April 2014, the USS Donald Cook entered the waters of the Black Sea and on 12 April a Russian Su-24 tactical bomber flew over the vessel triggering an incident that, according to several media reports, completely demoralized its crew, so much so that the Pentagon issued a protest.
The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.
The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.
Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny.
As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up — or about to be — with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.
The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft — unarmed — repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.
After that, the 4th generation destroyer immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.
Since that incident, which the Atlanticist media have carefully covered up despite the widespread reactions sparked among defense industry experts, no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.
According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service.
Vladimir Balybine — director of the research center on electronic warfare and the evaluation of so-called “visibility reduction” techniques attached to the Russian Air Force Academy — made the following comment: “The more a radio-electronic system is complex, the easier it is to disable it through the use of electronic warfare.”
In short, “back to the drawing board!”
Problem: it takes about seven years for the Pentagon to design and deploy a new cybersecurity system. As for missile guidance systems, it takes even longer.
If you want to know how much bang for the taxpayer’s buck the Pentagon gets, begin here.
This is blind man’s bluff. The Pentagon is the blind man.
The Pentagon’s strategy is to play dumb. “Incident? What incident?”
Congressional hearings? Don’t hold your breath.
Now Russia’s defense minister says that Russian bombers will soon start patrolling the Gulf of Mexico.
George H. W. Bush and NATO promised in 1990 that NATO would not be expanded to Russia’s borders. Then NATO broke the promise. It was mission creep by a bloated bureaucracy, whose original mission was to defend Western Europe for a few hours against an invasion by the USSR until the USA launched nuclear missiles on the USSR. That mission officially ended in 1991, when the USSR committed suicide.
Russian bombers in the Gulf? We are now seeing tit-for-tat. It is mission creep from the other side.
MOSCOW – In a show of military muscle amid tensions with the West, Russia will send long-range strategic bombers on regular patrol missions across the globe, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a top official said Wednesday.
The announcement by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu came as NATO’s chief accused Russia of sending fresh troops and tanks into eastern Ukraine.
“Over the last few days, we have seen multiple reports of large convoys moving into Eastern Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “We assess that this significant military buildup includes Russian artillery, tanks, air defence systems and troops. His statement called the situation a “severe threat to the cease-fire.”
Moscow denied the allegation as unfounded, but Shoigu also said the dispute with the West over Ukraine would require Russia to beef up its forces in the Crimea, the Black Sea Peninsula that Russia annexed in March.
Shoigu said Russian long-range bombers will conduct flights along Russian borders and over the Arctic Ocean. He said, “In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.”
Shoigu would not say how frequent the patrol missions would be or offer any other specifics, but he noted that the increasing pace and duration of flights would require stronger maintenance efforts and that relevant directives have been issued to industries.
He said the Russian air force’s long-range planes also will conduct “reconnaissance missions to monitor foreign powers’ military activities and maritime communications.”
A senior U.S. military official said Russia has not previously flown actual bomber patrols over the Gulf of Mexico, including during the Cold War.
Long-range bombers have been in the area before, but only to participate in various visits to the region when the aircraft stopped over night at locations in South or Central America. During the Cold War, other types of Russian aircraft flew patrols there, including surveillance flights and anti-submarine aircraft.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the flights publicly, also said that the pace of Russian flights around North America, including the Arctic, have largely remained steady, with about five incidents per year.
Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to call this a Russian provocation. He said the Russians have a right, like any other nation, to operate in international airspace and in international waters. The important thing, Warren said, is for such exercises to be carried out safely and in accordance with international standards.
Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers were making regular patrols across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans during Cold War times, reaching areas from which nuclear-tipped cruise missiles could be launched at the United States. But that stopped in the post-Soviet economic meltdown.
The bomber patrol flights have resumed under President Vladimir Putin’s tenure, and they have become even more frequent in recent weeks, with NATO reporting a spike in Russian military flights over the Black, Baltic and North seas as well as the Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier this year, Shoigu said that Russia plans to expand its worldwide military presence by seeking permission for navy ships to use ports in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere for replenishing supplies and doing maintenance. He said the military was conducting talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.
Shoigu said Russia also is talking to some of those countries about allowing long-range bombers to use their air bases for refuelling .
Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network, a London-based think-tank , said the bomber patrols are part of Kremlin’s efforts to make the Russian military “more visible and more assertive in its actions.”
The new bomber flights “aren’t necessarily presaging a threat,” Kearns said. “They are just part of a general ramping-up of activities.”
But, he added, “The more instances you have of NATO and Russian forces coming close together, the more chance there is of having something bad happening, even if it’s not intentional.”
On Monday, the European Leadership Network issued a report that found a sharp rise in Russian-NATO military encounters since the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea, including violations of national airspace, narrowly avoided midair collisions, close encounters at sea, harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships, and Russian mock bombing raid missions.
Three of the nearly 40 incidents, the think-tank said, carried a “high probability” of causing casualties or triggering a direct military confrontation: a narrowly avoided collision between a civilian airliner and a Russian surveillance plane, the abduction of an Estonian intelligence officer, and a large-scale Swedish hunt for a suspected Russian submarine that yielded no result.
In September, the report said, Russian strategic bombers in the Labrador Sea off Canada practiced cruise missile strikes on the U.S. Earlier this year, in May, the report said, Russian military aircraft approached within 50 miles (80 kilometres) of the California coast, the closest such Russian military flight reported since the end of the Cold War.
Russia-West ties have dipped to their lowest point since Cold War times over the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russia insurgents in Ukraine. The West and Ukraine have continuously accused Moscow of fueling the rebellion in eastern Ukraine with troops and weapons — claims Russia has rejected.
Fighting has continued in the east, despite a cease-fire agreement signed between Ukraine and the rebels signed in Minsk, Belarus, in September.
Stoltenberg, the NATO chief, urged Russia to “pull back its forces and equipment from Ukraine, and to fully respect the Minsk agreements. ”
U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said Wednesday that in the last two days “we have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defence systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine.”
Breedlove, who spoke in Sofia, Bulgaria, wouldn’t say how many new troops and weapons have moved into Ukraine or specify how the alliance obtained the information.
The Russian Defence Ministry quickly rejected Breedlove’s statement as groundless.
Breedlove said the Russia-Ukraine border is “completely wide open,” and “forces, money, support, supplies, weapons are flowing back and forth.”
The head of the European Space Agency hails “a big step for human civilisation” as Philae sends signals from the comet surface.
The Rosetta mission has successfully landed a probe on a comet moving at 34,000mph in a historic first for space exploration.
Scientists cheered and punched the air in the European Space (ESA) control room when they received confirmation that the Philae lander was sending signals from the comet.
ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain told a delighted audience: “This is a big step for human civilisation.”
Staff at the Lander Control Center 300 million miles away in Cologne said information they were receiving suggested the probe had made a “soft, gentle” landing.
Philae’s ROLIS camera captured the final stages of the probe’s descent
But they said they were investigating data that indicated Philae’s anchor “did not shoot” as planned, casting doubt over whether the probe was properly fixed to the comet.
Anchoring is necessary because gravity on the comet is 100,000 times weaker than on Earth so the potential for “bounce-back” is a major challenge.
Video:How Will Rosetta Mission Work?
There was a nail-biting wait of seven hours between the probe’s detachment from the Rosetta orbiter at 9am UK time and touchdown on the comet’s icy surface.
Philae had to negotiate a distance of 22km (14miles) between the orbiter and the comet and land on the 4km (2.4miles) wide lump of ice and dust as it hurtled through space.
There had been concerns after a problem with the lander’s active descent system emerged overnight and for a while put the final approach in jeopardy.
Video:‘Singing’ Comet Reveals Space Song
A thruster intended to counteract rebound at touchdown could not be activated – meaning latching onto the comet was completely dependent on the dishwasher-sized probe’s harpoon and ice screw system.
But confirmation of the successful landing came at 4.04pm UK time when ESA operations tweeted: “RECEIPT OF SIGNAL FROM SURFACE European Space Agency receiving signals from @Philae2014 on surface of comet #67P/CG #cometlanding.”
In the final phase of the mission scientists said they were surprised to find the rock – called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – was “emitting a song”.
Video:Good Luck From Captain Kirk
The Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC) said it believed the comet was releasing particles into space which were becoming electrically charged and causing fluctuations in its magnetic field.
The £1bn mission is designed to analyse the composition and density of a comet to better understand the origins of our solar system.
The Rosetta mission blasted off from French Guiana in March 2004 and has travelled more than four billion miles to reach its target.
The spacecraft used the planet to get a gravitational boost in February 2007. This image was taken from 240,000km away
Gallery: Rosetta Reaches For Comet 67P
The Philae probe as it closes in on the comet landing (taken from the Rosetta orbiter). Pic: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA
A photo taken by the Philae lander shows the Rosetta probe shortly after a successful detachment. Pic: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA
In this illustration the Philae lander is pictured descending onto the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Pic: ESA
In this illustration the Rosetta probe (L) and Philae lander are pictured above the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Pic: ESA
The spacecraft used the planet to get a gravitational boost in February 2007. This image was taken from 240,000km away
Gallery: Rosetta Reaches For Comet 67P
The Philae probe as it closes in on the comet landing (taken from the Rosetta orbiter). Pic: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA
Scientists used gravity to act as a catapult, plotting co-ordinates which took the orbiter around the Earth three times and Mars once.
They even placed the spacecraft into deep space hibernation to conserve energy – it woke up after 31 months when it passed close to the Sun and was charged by solar rays.
Chief scientist Matt Taylor said the analysis of the data from the surface, together with Earth-based observations, could provide our most detailed ever snapshot of a comet.
Video:Rosetta: See How Philae Will Land
It is believed that comets which formed over four billion years ago could hold the key to how Earth was ‘seeded’ with water and organic matter, providing the building blocks for life.
Mr Taylor told Sky News: “This particular class of comet, Jupiter class comets, showed a similar flavour of water to what we see on Earth so possibly comets could have delivered the Earth’s oceans, so water – and ultimately us, because we are made of water.”
The spotlight again will be trained on the alleged sexual abuse of minors by powerful Hollywood players when Amy Berg‘s disturbing new documentary, An Open Secret, debuts at the DOC NYC film festival in New York on Nov. 14.
The subject was forced out of the shadows earlier this year when Michael Egan III filed lawsuits against X-Men director Bryan Singer, veteran TV executive Garth Ancier, former Disney exec David Neuman and producer GaryGoddard; all four denied the allegations, and by August, Egan had dropped the suits after prior inconsistent statements emerged (he also was scolded by a judge for lying in court). But now Egan is reemerging in a prominent role in Berg’s film, which focuses in part on the late 1990s Internet company Digital Entertainment Network headed by Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley, who held alcohol- and drug-fueled parties attended by teen boys. “They would pull away the better-looking younger kids and keep them for their own afterparty,” where skinny-dipping was mandatory, says Egan in the film, alleging that Singer was in attendance.
The documentary, which paints a broad picture of sexual exploitation in the entertainment industry, does not revisit the specific allegations in Egan’s lawsuits, nor does it characterize the men Egan sued as predators. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Berg defends her choice to include them, saying, “The question is, if you are an adult at one of these parties where so much is going on out in the open, what is your responsibility?” She admits, “I don’t know the ins and outs of the various suits,” but she is convinced of Egan’s general credibility.
“He’s a straight man in his 30s,” she continues. “For him to say he was sexually abused by men as a young teen all the way up to his late teens, that’s kind of an unlikely thing to lie about. He was at those parties. His story was not unique. So many other kids had the exact same stories with the same details.” Plus, she adds, Egan’s account is “only one aspect of the story. It’s a much greater issue. When you meet the victims and see how prevalent this problem is, it’s difficult to ignore.”
Singer’s attorney Marty Singer (no relation) has not seen the film yet, but he quesitons why Egan’s allegations were included. “It’s disappointing and pathetic that Amy Berg would rely on the word of Michael Egan, a proven liar, who recently was admonished by a federal judge for lying in court,” Singer tells THR. “Egan has no credibility at all and can hardly be considered a reliable source for her so-called documentary.”
An Open Secret also examines several other cases: Talent manager Marty Weiss — who pleaded no contest in 2012 to two counts of committing lewd acts on a child after he was charged with eight felony counts of molesting a young performer he represented — is seen in the film attending family gatherings with one of his victims, then is heard, on tape, admitting to the molestation. Bob Villard, a talent manager who at one time represented a young Leonardo DiCaprio and who pleaded no contest to a similar felony charge in 2005, is alleged to have sold pictures of boys (often pictured shirtless, in subservient poses) on eBay.
The film also claims that Michael Harrah, a talent manager who sat on SAG-AFTRA’s Young Performers Committee, had young boys stay with him in his home and tried to take at least one of them to bed. “[Berg] quoted someone she had apparently talked to, and that information didn’t seem to be correct,” Harrah tells THR. “It’s hard to respond to anything that is so nebulous.” Adds a SAG-AFTRA rep, “We have not received complaints nor suggestions of any wrongdoing regarding the former committee member who resigned earlier this year.”
An Open Secret originated in 2011, when Berg, 44, who received an Oscar nomination for her 2006 documentary Deliver Us From Evil, which explored sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, was approached by MatthewValentinas, a Boston entertainment attorney. He and hedge fund manager Alan Hoffman were looking to do something about victims of sexual exploitation, and, after listening to interviews in which actor Corey Feldman talked of encountering abuse, they decided to produce a documentary. “We chose Amy because we didn’t want it to be exploitative or tabloid,” says Valentinas. “We wanted it to be empowering for the victims.”
At first, Berg says, she had no interest in re-entering the dark world of abuse that she had visited in her earlier film. “It’s definitely not something I wanted to go back into,” she says. “But even many years after the DEN story, what I found really disturbing was the number of convicted pedophiles who are still being hired on set, on kids’ shows. These are people who technically should be nowhere near children. That was really upsetting.”
As she approached the filmmaking challenges involved, Berg discovered a wealth of visual material — 26 boxes worth — belonging to a collector on the East Coast who had bought up all of DEN’s video archives. More importantly, she found victims of abuse, now young men, who were willing to go on camera and relate their experiences — and, in some cases, their parents also agreed to take part. The young men described the process of “grooming,” by which the predators insinuated themselves into their lives, and they told of the often-difficult aftermath in which a number of them confronted depression, drugs and alcohol.
“They were all struggling with the same thing: trying to move on 10 years after the fact. I think this was healing for many of them,” Berg says. “They also felt that there was a threat to other children, and that was another reason they wanted to speak.” Valentinas adds, “The narrative really comes from the voices of the victims. The film relies on the courage of the victims coming forward. And for every person who did talk in the film, we talked to two or three who wanted to but couldn’t make that jump yet.”
Valentinas and Berg insist they didn’t hit roadblocks from attorneys representing men named in the film. But when the DOC NYC festival canceled a critics’ screening set for Nov. 4 at the producers’ request, it raised the question of whether the filmmakers were at odds over the final cut. “There was no disagreement,” says Valentinas. “There were a lot of legal complexities involved. We had to be sure we had all the documentation signed. That’s what we did, and we’re happy it’s going to be screening.”
While he had his fingers crossed, Thom Powers, artistic director of DOC NYC, says, “Certainly some moments were dicey, but I always believed in my heart that it was going to screen, because the whole film team was doing everything they could to make it happen.” He adds, “I think it’s an important film about an important topic, a topic that has, of course, been in the news this past year. But as many news reports as I’ve read about this story, the film gave me something that I hadn’t had before, which is a depth of emotional understanding of what people involved in this have gone through. Anyone who has seen Amy’s film Deliver Us From Evil understands the sensitivity she has around this subject and the depth of commitment she brings to it.”
Will a distributor now step forward, or will the film, which cost about $1 million to make, prove too hot for Hollywood, forcing the filmmakers to take the self-distribution route? Several distributors have looked at it, and Valentinas says there is one, which he would not name, that has expressed definite interest. Says another distributor who passed, explaining there wasn’t room for it on his release slate: “It’s extremely compelling. How explosive it is remains to be seen. But I would not have any issue working on this film and think it would be a very interesting release.” Valentinas adds, “I think it’s going to come down to how courageous the executives are who look at this film. I think Hollywood is obviously nervous about the film, but I think once it is out there and everyone sees it, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of suitors for the film. I’m glad it’s premiering in New York, and I’m grateful for Thom Powers for giving us this venue to get the film out there.”
In conjunction with the film, Valentinas is in the process of setting up a foundation. “The profits from the film are going to the foundation,” he says. “We are really hoping that more victims will feel they will have a place where they can come out and share their experience. It will also be a way for people to be more educated about how these pedophiles operate in Hollywood, because it’s very specific. The people who are going to Hollywood every year to get into films might be a little more susceptible, and the people who are preying on them have more influence and more power to dangle over them. I hope this film will help the industry to police itself better.”
Berg has already plunged into a number of new projects. Her first narrative film, Every Secret Thing, a drama about two young women, played by Dakota Fanning and Danielle Macdonald, convicted of killing a baby, debuted at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. and she is completing a documentary about Janis Joplin. But she’s looking for more than just applause when An Open Secret finally screens. Say the director, “The goal is having public exposure that helps clean up the industry.”
Current Attorney General (Top Cop) Eric Holder has been an unmitigated disaster. Yes that is our “opinion”, and it’s also the opinion of many African Americans, and civil libertarians who feel that things have changed…. For the worse. This is why current AG Eric Holder is on his way out, and why the Democrats unloaded him for the mid-term (s)election in 2014. Holder plans on going back to work as a corporate attorney, and will likely make boat loads of money using the contacts he made as AG sitting on the board of “Global Corp”. More on the background, and CRIMES of Eric Holder HERE.
Now, post mid-terms, Mr Obama has up’d his game nominating yet another African American, and a female to boot. Race should remain a major divisive issue for the remainder of Obama’s term, IF his new nominee Loretta LYNCH is approved by the now “lame duck” Senate.
If Loretta Lynch is confirmed, she will be the second (consecutive) African American appointed to the position, and the second female AG after the disastrous, and murderous Janet Reno. (Also a Clinton appointee)
Looking for accountability for financial crimes that wrecked the economy? Here’s why the status quo is more likely:
We’ve heard about the cases Lynch has prosecuted for the government, from the police shooting of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima to public corruption cases against the likes of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY).
But what’s less known is Lynch’s career in the private sector
Ms Lynch’s first job out of Harvard in the 80’s was with one of the most prominent corporate law firms in the world, as a litigation associate for Cahill Gordon & Reindel
After reviewing her record in this capacity, it’s not that she’s openly corrupted by the forces that increasingly rule our government, so much as she’s marinated in their worldview, in their cultural milieu. To ask her to take on powerful interests in finance would be like asking someone to rat out their friends.
Lynch then served at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn for 11 years, rising to run the office during the end of the Clinton Administration, from 1999-2001. When she left, she became a partner at Hogan & Hartson (it has since merged to become Hogan Lovells). It’s a giant DC law firm specializing in government regulatory, corporate and financial law. Like Cahill Gordon & Reindel, it advises all sorts of corporations, and it even has a separate lobbying firm, one of the top five in the United States. We know that Lynch worked on white-collar criminal defense and corporate compliance while in private practice at Hogan & Hartson.
At Hogan & Hartson she did admirable pro bono work with prosecutors in the Rwandan war crimes tribunal. (Furthering the goal of stealing Africa’s resources by the Corporate Elite). What this says is that she has a long history interacting with a certain class of corporate lawyers and executives, understanding their perspective in critical ways.
That’s further buttressed by a strange detour in her legal career – serving as a director of the New York Federal Reserve Board from 2003 to 2005. Here she worked with people like former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill, ex-Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld and ex-Blackstone chairman Pete Peterson.
And in 2003, Loretta Lynch had one of six votes in the appointment process that eventually put someone named Timothy Geithner in charge.
Lynch’s tenure coincides with the inflation of the housing bubble and the widespread use of mortgage securities and derivatives among the banks the New York Fed is meant to supervise. We don’t know how Lynch acted in this respect, as minutes of New York Fed Board of Directors meetings weren’t made public until 2007. It’s fair to say that nothing changed as a result of Lynch’s actions, if there in fact were any.
Again, the point here is that Lynch has a long career of close association with many extremely powerful people. Given that we’ve seen in the past decade a virtual crime wave among this very class, it’s just not that likely Lynch would have the will to crack down on malfeasance in the executive suites, which could implicate her colleagues and friends. It’s not corruption, more like mindshare.
To take this out of the realm of theory, let’s look at some of Lynch’s recent corporate crime actions as a federal prosecutor. She was instrumental in two financial fraud settlements, which President Obama touted in announcing her as Attorney General. One was the $7 billion mortgage-backed securities fraud case against Citigroup, part of a series of high-profile settlements that amounted to public relations vehicles for the Justice Department, so they could claim to have “gotten tough” on big banks. In reality, shareholders paid the fines, the perpetrators faced no jail time, investor victims received no compensation, and the public never got the full story on the extent of the wrongdoing.
Lynch’s other major financial fraud case was a $1.9 billion deferred prosecution agreement with HSBC for facilitating money laundering for terrorists and Mexican drug cartels. Carl Levin’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations basically gift-wrapped this case for federal prosecutors in an extensive report, relating lurid tales of HSBC collaborating with some of the worst people on the planet for years. But nobody from the bank went to jail or paid any fines. Lynch’s office didn’t even force HSBC to plead guilty; the deferred prosecution agreement just imposes a fine and a monitoring process as an out-of-court settlement.
As Matt Taibbi pointed out at the time, a kid caught with a few ounces of drugs will get thrown into jail for years, but a bank helping the criminals sell billions in drugs to those kids will have no trouble.
You can say that Main Justice prosecuted these cases, that Lynch’s name just appeared on the press releases, that it was Eric Holder’s show. But as a federal prosecutor, Lynch could have easily made decisions to charge individuals after the settlements were completed. She had the information at her disposal. But she chose instead to go along to get along, and you can see her elevation to Attorney General as part of the reward.
And that’s the picture you get from Lynch’s public and private career. She swims in the same pool as the moneyed elite, and her actions don’t pressure them too deeply. The Justice Department keeps insisting that someday they’ll prosecute someone for the corporate crimes that wrecked our economy, but there’s no reason to actually believe that. Under Loretta Lynch, like under Eric Holder, I don’t expect much determination to get it done. And ultimately, you have to hold responsible the President who gave them both their jobs.
Like Rudy Giuliani , Eliot Spitzer, and others who claim to go after corruption, the reality is that they pick and choose whom to protect and whom to prosecute and hold “accountable”. (It should be noted that Spitzer turned on his money masters, and what followed was scandal, and resignation.) Instead, Lynch’s former firm prosecuted Martha Stewart for the same insider trading that happens everyday by congress and Wall street. WOW. Thanks.
WHAT ABOUT THE PROTECTION OF THE CITIZENRY FROM OVER ZEALOUS COPS?
Following the July 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died of a heart attack after being held in a “department-prohibited” chokehold by a New York City police officer, Lynch agreed to meet with Garner’s family to discuss possible federal prosecution of the officer believed to be responsible in his death.
On July 20, 2014, the officer who grabbed Garner by the neck, Daniel Pantaleo,was put on desk duty and stripped of his service handgun and badge. Officer Justin Damico was allowed to keep his badge and handgun but was placed on desk duty. Four of the EMTs and paramedics who responded to Garner after he was put in a chokehold were suspended without pay on July 21, while the hospital they worked at, Richmond University Medical Center, conducted its own investigation into the incident. The two Paramedics have since been returned to their regular duties.
Garner’s death was found by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office to be a result of compression to the neck, compression to the body, and prone positioning, along with asthma, heart disease and obesity as contributing factors. On August 1, the medical examiner’s spokeswoman, Julie Bolcer, announced that Garner’s death has been ruled a homicide.
Police Commissioner William Bratton ordered an extensive review of the NYPD’s training procedures after Garner’s death, specifically focusing on the appropriate amount of force that can be used while detaining a suspect.
In other words, a few slaps on the wrist, and the NYPD investigation of itself…. Business as usual.
Of course this didn’t stop FBI CI (Confidential Informant), and race Pimp Al Sharpton from exploiting the incident for his own gain, while acting as a steam valve to salve the public outrage.
This will come in handy, as we have predicted…. The I-Patriot Act has been written for years, and the power elite, er Govt. are holding that card up their cuff linked sleeves. All they will need to institute this Government, police, DHS total takeover of the internet would be an ‘Internet Pearl Harbor’. As of late suspects are being lined up, including North Korea, China, Syria, and “ISIS”. (Not Israel, ahem)
Obama highlighted Lynch’s cybercrime bonafides when he formally announced her nomination on Saturday.
Lynch “has spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor, aggressively fighting terrorism, financial fraud, cyber crime, all while vigorously defending civil rights,” Obama said.
If confirmed, Lynch will take over an agency that has played an important role in cybersecurity. The DOJ earlier this year indicted five members of the Chinese military for (alleged) hacking, a decision that strained U.S.-China relations but sent a signal to Beijing about U.S. seriousness on the issue.
“In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet,” Lynch said.
Of course when the I-Pearl Harbor comes, you will have to trust those in power who declare it….. There is no way “We the People” will be able to confirm the authenticity of such an attack, nor its origins.
When will Americans take the blinders off? Reno, Ashcroft, Alberto (The torturer) Gonzales, Mukasey, Eric Holder…. Have things gotten better for “Law Abiding” Americans or worse? Was there any difference between (Nazi memorabilia collecting) John Ashcroft appointed by Bush, or Eric Holder by Bush cousin Obama? Well… it has gotten worse. You got me. It’s different.
Does the AG being a black women somehow soften the blows by Militarized police in your town?
Ms LYNCH is a total FAIL by the White House! We can do better. We suggest Judge Andrew Napolitano, or someone of his impeccable pro constitution ilk. This isn’t politics (except by the Democrats). This is a matter of ‘FREEDOM IS THE ANSWER – WHAT’S THE QUESTION”. This is a matter of overstepping constitutional authority! A matter of Liberty and Justice for ALL, not just for the corporate super elites lying, stealing, and unilaterally murdering their enemies….
Make your voice heard. Scream it from the mountain tops, and skyscrapers…. JUST SAY NO TO LORETTA LYNCH FOR AG!
And to the the GOP / Constitution protecting members in the House and Senate….. We will be watching YOU!
PHOENIX, November 4, 2014 – Today, voters in Arizona approved a ballot measure that follows James Madison’s advice to stop federal overreach. With 80% reporting, the tally held steady and increasing at 51-49%.
Approved was Proposition 122, a state constitutional amendment that enshrines the anti-commandeering doctrine in the state constitution. The language amends the state constitution to give Arizona the ability to “exercise its sovereign authority to restrict the actions of its personnel and the use of its financial resources to purposes that are consistent with the Constitution.”
This language is consistent with the advice of James Madison, who wrote in Federalist #46:
Should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter. [emphasis added]
The amendment language mirrors the well-established legal doctrine of anti-commandeering. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce and federal act or program.It rests primarily on four SCOTUS cases – Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), New York v. US (1992), Printz v. US (1997) and National Federation of Businesses v. Sebelius (2012).
Prop 122 places language in the state constitution that would empower the state to pass referendums, bills or use other legal means to end cooperation with an unconstitutional federal act. Supporters of the amendment say the provision allowing the people to vote to refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will prove especially significant.
“Basically, it will allow Arizonians to hold a state referendum on federal policy, something I don’t think has ever been done before,” one supporter said.
While the people of Arizona could hold a referendum like this now, by constitutionalizing the process, it now allows Arizonians to hold a statutory referendum on each issue instead of a constitutional referendum. A statutory referendum requires less signatures to get it on the ballot, something supporters say will allow grassroots groups to initiate the process.The money necessary to get a constitutional referendum on the ballot makes grassroots efforts difficult.
The amendment allows the people of Arizona to deal with unpopular federal programs like Obamacare, gun control, surveillance, and more. Supporters say one of the first issues they plan to target involves federal rules that allow Arizona Child Protective Services to hide important information. This has become an issue in several investigations alleging agency misconduct in the deaths of children under their care. CPS used rules tied to federal funding to refuse to disclose information. Amendment supporters say they will use the new process to forbid state cooperation with any federal rule that shields transparency.
Simply put, the amendment enshrines a process to refuse state cooperation with unconstitutional federal acts in the state constitution. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said, refusing participation on a state level can make federal laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”
ROAD TO THE BALLOT
In 2012, Arizona businessman and TAC lifetime member Jack Biltis spent $1.2M to get signatures in order to get his nullification question on the ballot. While he came up short that first try, he and others – including the tireless Arizona Tenth Amendment Center team – worked to get the measure on the ballot a 2nd time.
The ballot measure was put on the ballot this year after the Arizona state legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 1016 (SCR1016) in 2013. The state Senate passed it by a 16-12 margin, and then in the state House approved it 36-23. Bypassing a likely veto from Gov. Jan Brewer, the measure went to a vote of the people.
“Politicians in Washington are fond of passing far-reaching laws, but more often than not they depend on state and local governments – and state and local taxpayers – to implement them. This means that not only is Congress making life harder for Arizonans, they’re asking us to pay the bill,” according to the Yes on 122 website. “That’s why a bipartisan majority of the Arizona Legislature came together to pass Prop 122.”
Former Arizona Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, who died in August after being thrown from his horse, was the primary sponsor of the bill as it moved through the Legislature.
“I think we can all agree that the federal government is out of control. Look at Obamacare, excessive EPA regulations and the takeover of our automobile and financial industries,” Crandell wrote in the campaign literature sent out by the state. “The forest service and EPA are driving many of my rancher and farmer constituents out of business. The federal government has their hands in every aspect of our lives.”
PERSONAL DRIVE FOR FREEDOM
Biltis moved to the United States from Montreal, Canada 20 years ago. He says it worries him watching America follow the same path as his native country.
“I’ve seen this movie play out before, and I can’t risk my kids’ futures on it playing out again,” he said. “I’ve seen what an overreaching government can do. We couldn’t run a business. If we answered the phone in English, the language police could shut us down. We paid 70 percent of what we earned in taxes.”
Biltis said the move to nationalize health care in the U.S. particularly frightens him.
“Once the government had control of healthcare in Canada, things got even worse,” he said. “After surgery, my father-in-law couldn’t get a needed medication because it required government authorization, and the government office was already closed. The hospital admitted that he would die that night without the medication, but was not allowed to sell it to us because ‘that wouldn’t be fair to those who couldn’t afford the medication.’ We were eventually able to get the medication through the black market.”
Biltis calls the United States “the world’s last hope.”
“If America goes the way of Canada, there is no other place to escape. After seeing Washington’s takeover of the healthcare, auto, and financial industries, I realized that the government is not operating under any semblance of control,” he said. “Bringing back Federalism is the only way to make the government accountable and keep us free.”
So Biltis put his money where his mouth is, mortgaging his home and business to the tune of $950,000 to fund the drive to get the initiative on the ballot and passed in Arizona. And, that was just for the first round. Final figures have yet to be reported for what was invested to get Prop 122 passed.
“I have nothing personal to gain from this movement, other than the chance that my kids will grow up in an America as free as the one I knew,” he said.
Prop. 122 has the potential to be a real game changer. If supporters follow through and use it as a mechanism to successfully reject participation in major federal programs, it’s likely that more states will follow Arizona’s lead.
While not something that will happen in the immediate future, this kind of domino effect is what’s needed to spell doom for the destructive notion of endless federal supremacy. Because the feds rely on state compliance far more than they would like you to realize, these type of measures are incredibly important. They have the potential to create a chain reaction that could shake up the status quo more than anything we’ve seen in generations.