• Delaware attorney general strips county sheriffs of arrest powers
By Pat Shannan
Sheriff Jeff Christopher of Sussex County, Delaware, when he was elected to the office in 2010, thought he was handpicked by the people to represent them as the highest-ranking law officer in the county. Instead, he has found himself in the middle of a fight for the future of American law enforcement as a result of a nationwide effort to abolish the sheriff’s office altogether.
It is one more example of federal and state governments ignoring the will of the people as well state laws. In the case of Delaware, the state’s own constitution stipulates that the office of the sheriff is a constitutionally created position just like the secretary of state and the attorney general. Delaware’s Constitution states: “The sheriffs shall be conservators of the peace within the counties . . . in which they reside.”
This time it is Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, sending out mandates to commissioners informing them that their sheriffs no longer have arrest powers. In an opinion released February 24, State Solicitor L.W. Lewis said that neither the state nor the common law grants arrest powers to the county sheriffs.
It would appear that Lewis is a little confused. The office of sheriff was created more than a century before the official founding of the United States. Delaware’s first sheriff took office in 1669.
Christopher tells AMERICAN FREE PRESS that the two administrations prior to his—as far back as 2000—began to notice a reduction in funding and the chipping away of powers of the office in general.
“Now my deputies and I have been relieved of all arrest powers and can’t even make a traffic stop,” he said. “Delaware has only three counties. . . The other two sheriffs . . . will not stand up with me” to prevent the elimination of county law enforcement, he said.
During an interview at the Las Vegas Sheriffs Conference in January, Christopher told AFP that the impotence of his office was brought home to him when he was hit in the eye and kicked by County Councilman Vance Phillips but was unable to arrest him.
Beau Biden’s questionable ruling against the longtime tradition of the sheriff being the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the county because of election by the people means the state’s usurpation of the office appears to be a forthcoming fact.
County spokesman Chip Guy announced, “The opinion from the attorney general’s office reinforces what has long been the position of the county [that] Delaware sheriffs and their deputies do not have arrest powers and are not in the same vein as state police or municipal officers.”
Pat Shannan is an AFP contributing editor and the author of several best-selling videos and books.
English-speaking jihadis seen in Mali, as a Canadian is reported to have co-ordinated Algeria attack
Canada is investigating an allegation by the Algerian Prime Minister that one of its citizens co-ordinated the terror raid at the Saharan gas plant in which dozens of hostages were killed.
Westerners, including a man with blond hair and blue eyes, are believed to have been among the Islamist militants who launched last week’s attack on the Tigantourine complex near Algeria’s border with Libya.
A French jihadist, previously unknown to authorities, and two Canadians are suspected to have been involved in the hostage-taking, and reports also claim that a man with a Western accent was among the extremists who lured terrified gas workers from their rooms during the hostage crisis.
Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told reporters that a man, judged “by his English accent” to have been Canadian, was among the 32 Islamists whose raid on the Algerian refinery prompted a global crisis. One of the Canadians, identified only as “Shaddad”, is alleged to have played a leading role in the attack which left 58 hostages – including 37 Westerners – dead after a four-day battle with Algerian forces. Five further Western workers are still unaccounted for. “A Canadian was among the militants,” Mr Sellal said. “He was co-ordinating the attack.”
The militant group also included men from Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritania and Niger, Mr Sellal said. At least 29 Islamists from eight nationalities were killed in the operation to end the siege, with the remaining three captured alive. The make up of the attacking group – an al-Qa’ida splinter brigade who call themselves “Those Who Signed in Blood” – will be carefully examined as security experts try to assess the scale of the terror threat across North and West Africa.
Concern at the international composition of the Algerian kidnap brigade will be compounded by reports from residents in Diabaly, Mali, that Islamists who overran the town last week contained English-speakers and militants of European appearance. Speaking to The Independent yesterday after French and Malian forces had retaken the town, student Amadu Dumbia said: “I definitely heard them and there’s no chance that I made a mistake with another language. They spoke like they were from England, but had darker skins.”
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the leader of the group who is suspected of masterminding the gas plant attack from outside Algeria, yesterday warned that there would be more attacks on those participating in the military campaign in neighbouring Mali. In a statement to a radio station in Mauritania, which received regular communications from the militants during the In Amenas plant siege, the Algerian-born militant said: “We warn all the states who took part in the Crusader campaign against the Azwad region [northern Mali] that if they do not retreat from their decision there will be more operations.”
He also insisted that the brigade which undertook the attack was not local, saying “only five Algerians” took part in the attack and “none of them were locals from the city”.
Prime Minister David Cameron today told the Commons that the West faced a “generational struggle” in combating the “poisonous ideology” of Islamic extremists in the Sahel. Mr Cameron said that Britain would join the manhunt for Belmokhtar and promised extra support for the French campaign in Mali. Echoing the language used by Tony Blair in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, he said: “This is the work our generation faces and we must demonstrate the same resolve and sense of purpose as previous generations have with the challenges that they faced in this House and in this country.”
A spokeswoman for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday said that they were still seeking clarity on a possible Canadian connection to the raid. “We are in close contact with Algerian authorities, but nothing [has been] confirmed yet,” Chrystiane Roy told Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.
The Algerian authorities have declined to confirm whether the alleged Canadian co-ordinator was among the 29 militants who died.
One of the hostage takers was a North American who took part in the killing of numerous Japanese workers, the AFP agency reported. An Algerian employee of a Japanese engineering firm working at the site, identified as Riad said the Islamist attackers shot three Japanese who were in a bus, then went straight to the rooms occupied by the Japanese.
“One terrorist shouted ‘Open the door’ with a North American accent, then fired,” he told AFP. “Two other Japanese died and we found four other Japanese bodies inside the base.”
One of the kidnappers was tall, blond with blue or green eyes and spoke English, an Algerian military source told the Norwegian daily Aftenposten. Norway’s Statoil energy company was one of the two foreign firms operating at the gas complex.
- Mali troops retake strategic town of Douentza
- Special report from Mali: You could not recognise the bodies of dead jihadis as human
- David Cameron says Britain faces a ‘generational struggle’ as Islamist terrorists switch focus to North Africa
- Why the French believed they had no choice but to intervene in Mali’s war
- Brother of Scottish gas worker killed during Algerian hostage crisis found out about his sibling’s death on Facebook
A series of car bombs killed 13 people and injured more than 500 in the deadliest attacks to hit the insurgency-torn far south of Thailand in recent years, officials said on Sunday. In an apparent escalation of their tactics, suspected militants Saturday attacked a hotel in Hat Yai, the largest city in southern Thailand and a popular destination for tourists from neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.
A car bomb in the basement triggered a fire which spread to a shopping mall within the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel and killed three people, including a Malaysian tourist, according to the police.
Songkhla provincial governor Grisada Boorach said 416 people were injured, mostly suffering from smoke inhalation, and 140 were still in hospital Sunday.
Until now Hat Yai and Songkhla province have been relatively untouched by the shadowy insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives in the neighbouring Muslim-dominated provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat since 2004.
“There is no hint why they did this at this time,” Hat Yai police chief Colonel Khomgrit Srisong told AFP by telephone. “We’re questioning witnesses and the injured for more information.”
A sensation of unbearable, sudden heat seems to come out of nowhere — this wave, a strong electromagnetic beam, is the latest non-lethal weapon unveiled by the US military this week.
“You’re not gonna see it, you’re not gonna hear it, you’re not gonna smell it: you’re gonna feel it,” explained US Marine Colonel Tracy Taffola, director the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, Marine Corps Base Quantico, at a demonstration for members of the media.
The effect is so repellant, the immediate instinct is to flee — and quickly, as experienced by AFP at the presentation.
Taffola is quick also to point out the “Active Denial System” beam, while powerful and long-range, some 1000 meters (0.6 miles), is the military’s “safest non-lethal capability” that has been developed over 15 years but never used in the field.
It was deployed briefly in Afghanistan in 2010, but never employed in an operation.
Japan has ended its whaling season with less than a third of its annual target, said the country’s Fisheries Agency.
The whaling ships headed home from the Antarctic Ocean this week with 266 minke whales and one fin whale, falling short of its quota of about 900.
The agency blamed “sabotage” by anti-whaling activists for the shortfall.
Japan conducts “legal research” on whales each year, but activists say it is a cover for commercial whaling banned under an international treaty.
“The catch was smaller than planned due to factors including weather conditions and sabotage acts by activists,” an agency official was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
“There were definitely sabotage campaigns behind the figure.”
The US-based anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd follows the Japanese fleet south every year in a bid to disrupt its hunt.
“I think it’s been a very successful campaign,” said the group’s president, Paul Watson. “I predicted they wouldn’t take over 30% and they got 26% so we were right on that one.”
There has been a ban on commercial whaling for 25 years, but Japan catches about 1,000 whales each year in what it says is a scientific research programme.