Thursday, September 08, 2005
A Cincinnati-area mother says her 12-year-old daughter was humiliated and eventually stunned with a taser gun by Cincinnati Police inside Burton Elementary School Wednesday.
"My daughter Rakehsa has never been arrested and never been in trouble with the law," Cynthia Harris tells ONN affiliate WXIX.
Rakesha Thomas was taken to Children's Hospital with taser injuries and arm and facial bruises.
After the hospital visit the girl was taken to juvenile jail.
Cynthia Harris says Rakesha argued with another student, refused to go to detention, talked back to administrators, and then after 30 minutes of arguing with police got stunned.
"They did it out in the public in the school where other kids came around. She (Rakesha) said they were laughing," said Harris.
According to the 12-year-old's account, once threatened with being stunned she begged the officers to take her to ISS but was told it was too late.
Cincinnati Police say they're investigating whether the use of force was justified
Fortune 75 - Tom Friedman: Oracle of the Global Century - FORTUNE - Page
The orange revolutionaries let the side down
From The Economist Global Agenda
Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko has sacked his prime minister and her cabinet following the resignation of several senior figures amid allegations of corruption. Last year’s orange revolution promised much but has so far delivered little
WINNING power is the easy bit. Wielding it properly is much harder. That is the lesson for the victors of Ukraine’s orange revolution. Squabbling and scandals among the country’s new rulers have shrivelled the high hopes of the demonstrators who braved the freezing streets of Kiev to remove the corrupt and incompetent old guard from power last year. Now those squabbles have boiled over. Top aides to the president, Viktor Yushchenko, have resigned amid swirling allegations of corruption. And on Thursday September 8th he sacked the government, led by the fiery prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko. Her administration, the president declared, had lost its “team spirit”.
In the past week, the president’s inner circle started disintegrating. Oleksandr Zinchenko, his impressive chief of staff, resigned claiming that other advisers had organised an “information blockade” around the president, in order to “use government posts to get their hands on everything they can”. He explicitly named the national-security secretary, Petro Poroshenko, a controversial figure who has at times seemed to run a private foreign policy at variance with Mr Yushchenko’s pro-western orientation. Mr Poroshenko and a colleague resigned shortly before the whole government was sacked, followed by the head of the state-security service. But perhaps the final straw for Mr Yushchenko was the resignation of Nikolai Tomenko, a deputy prime minister, who said he was no longer prepared to put up with the venality of the president’s inner circle.
Mr Yushchenko moved quickly on Thursday to plug these gaps, asking Yuri Yekhanurov, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, to form a new government. “I am setting before the new team one task: the ability to work as a united team…We need to halt the disappointment in society,” said the president. He has worked closely with Mr Yekhanurov before—when they were prime minister and deputy prime minister, respectively, in 2000—but it was not immediately clear whether the appointment was interim or something more permanent. Nor is it certain to be approved by the parliament, where the president’s supporters have lacked a stable majority.
The revolution that brought Mr Yushchenko to power, named after his campaign colour, pitted him against the corrupt, often incompetent administration of President Leonid Kuchma. The government drew most of its support from the industrial, Russian-speaking southern and eastern regions, while Mr Yushchenko was much more popular in the Ukrainian-speaking west. When the challenger finally won the election against Mr Kuchma's candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, after the rigged first round was re-run, he pledged to stamp out the dodgy-dealing that was rampant under Mr Kuchma and to strengthen Ukraine’s ties to the European Union and America.
But it did not take long for things to start going wrong. Economic reform stalled while inflation climbed. This, say people who tried to advise the government, was partly because of Mrs Timoshenko’s short attention span, and also because of deep divisions within the government between those who genuinely wanted to reform the country and those who wanted merely to rejig the old arrangements to their advantage.
In particular, much time and energy was spent on the question of the allegedly fraudulent privatisations of Ukraine’s heavy industry under the old regime. Some in the new government seemed more interested in score-settling and asset-grabbing than fairness. Huge sums were at stake, and the desire of Ukraine’s oligarchs to hold on to their gains, ill-gotten or not, may be at the root of the current upheaval.
Mrs Timoshenko dithered on the privatisation issue. In other areas, her problem was rashness. The most egregious example came when she imposed price caps on fuel, alleging an anti-Ukrainian conspiracy by Russian energy firms. Predictably, this measure led to fuel shortages. Mr Yushchenko intervened to remove the caps, and relations between the two soured. The president never forgot that Mrs Timoshenko’s stirring oratory had brought thousands on to the streets in support of him during last year’s revolution. But he also came to see that she could be more of a liability than an asset in government.
Mr Yushchenko let the side down, too, failing to live up to his stellar reputation as a reformer (which always mystified those who remembered his undistinguished stint as prime minister). He did make some stabs at reform: sacking the country’s entire traffic police, who were detested for their corruption, was a high point. But his own reputation has frayed. His son’s extravagant lifestyle (involving tycoon’s toys like a $40,000 mobile phone) came under close scrutiny; contradictory and angry responses by Mr Yushchenko and others made matters worse.
There are fears that Ukrainian politics may be about to get a lot nastier. Mr Yushchenko held out an olive branch to his outgoing prime minister and her cabinet on Thursday, saying: “These people remain my friends. It is very difficult but today I must remove this Gordian knot.” But Mrs Timoshenko—who is yet to comment publicly on her dismissal—may not see it that way. Analysts predict a noisy showdown between the rival orange camps in the parliamentary elections that are due in March.
All of which is worrying for Ukraine’s western friends. America and the EU threw their weight behind the orange revolution, aware that Mr Yushchenko was keen to remove his country of 47m from Russia’s sphere of influence. In April, during a visit by Mr Yushchenko to America, George Bush asked Ukraine to join the NATO defence alliance and the World Trade Organisation. And Ukraine also hopes to join the EU, one day. For Mr Yushchenko’s western cheerleaders, the latest developments in Kiev are disappointing.
But they are even more upsetting for Ukrainians. Having booted out one lot of corrupt and incompetent rulers, they could do so again. But this time there are no obvious candidates to lead the opposition.
Blogger Thoughts: If this is true, this is important news, and should give pause to anyone who thought the problem was entirely a lack of Fed response.
On the Fox News Channel just a little while ago, Major Garrett, one of Fox's star reporters, and author of The Enduring Revolution, broke a very disturbing story for those on the left that want to play the blame game regarding the reaction to the Katrina. Here's his interview with Hugh Hewitt moments ago:
HH: Joined now by Major Garrett, correspondent for the Fox News Channel, as well as author of The Enduring Revolution, a best seller earlier this year. We talked about that. Major Garrett, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
MG: Hugh, always a pleasure. Thanks for having me.
HH: You just broke a pretty big story. I was watching up on the corner television in my studio, and it's headlined that the Red Cross was blocked from delivering supplies to the Superdome, Major Garrett. Tell us what you found out.
MG: Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They're not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdom, and the convention center, needing most accutely. And all of us in America, I think, reasonably asked ourselves, geez. You know, I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don't I see that?
HH: And the answer is?
MG: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state's homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come.
HH: Now Major Garrett, on what day did they block the delivery? Do you know specifically?
MG: I am told by the Red Cross, immediately after the storm passed.
HH: Okay, so that would be on Monday afternoon.
MG: That would have been Monday or Tuesday. The exact time, the hour, I don't have. But clearly, they had an evacuee situation at the Superdome, and of course, people gravitated to the convention center on an ad hoc basis. They sort of invented that as another place to go, because they couldn't stand the conditions at the Superdome.
HH: Any doubt in the Red Cross' mind that they were ready to go, but they were blocked?
MG: No. Absolutely none. They are absolutely unequivocal on that point.
HH: And are they eager to get this story out there, because they are chagrined by the coverage that's been emanating from New Orleans?
MG: I think they are. I mean, and look. Every agency that is in the private sector, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Feed The Children, all the ones we typically see are aggrieved by all the crap that's being thrown around about the response to this hurricane, because they work hand and glove with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When FEMA is tarred and feathered, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are tarred and feathered, because they work on a cooperative basis. They feel they are being sullied by this reaction.
HH: Of course they are. Now Major Garrett, what about the Louisiana governor's office of Homeland Security. Have they responded to this charge by the Red Cross, which is a blockbuster charge?
MG: I have not been able to reach them yet. But, what they have said consistently is, and what they told the Red Cross, we don't want you to come in there, because we have evacuees that we want to get out. And if you come in, they're more likely to stay. So I want your listeners to follow me here. At the very moment that Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans was screaming where's the food, where's the water, it was over the overpass, and state officials were saying you can't come in.
HH: How long would it have taken to deliver those supplies, Major Garrett, into the Superdome and possibly the convention center?
MG: That is a more difficult question to answer than you might think. There were areas, obviously, as you approached the Superdome, that were difficult to get to, because of the flood waters. And as the Red Cross explained it to me, look. We don't have amphibious vehicles. We have trucks and ambulance type vehicles. In some cases, after the flood waters rose as high as they did, we would have needed, at minimal, the Louisiana National Guard to bring us in, or maybe something bigger and badder, from the Marines or Army-type vehicle. They're not sure about that. But remember, Hugh, we were transfixed, I know I was. I'm sure you were and your listeners were, by my colleague, Shep Smith, and others on that overpass.
MG: ...saying, wait a minute. We drove here. It didn't take us anything to drive here.
MG: Why can't people just come here?
HH: I also have to conclude from what you're telling me, Major Garrett, is that had they been allowed to deliver when they wanted to deliver, which is at least a little bit prior to the levee, or at least prior to the waters rising, the supplies would have been pre-positioned, and the relief...you know, the people in the Superdome, and possibly at the convention center, I want to come back to that, would have been spared the worst of their misery.
MG: They would have been spared the lack of food, water and hygiene. I don't think there's any doubt that they would not have been spared the indignity of having nor workable bathrooms in short order.
HH: Now Major Garrett, let's turn to the convention center, because this will be, in the aftermath...did the Red Cross have ready to go into the convention center the supplies that we're talking about as well?
MG: Sure. They could have gone to any location, provided that the water wasn't too high, and they got some assistance.
HH: Now, were they utterly dependent upon the Louisiana state officials to okay them?
HH: Because you know, they do work with FEMA. But is it your understanding that FEMA and the Red Cross and the other relief agencies must get tht state's okay to act?
MG: As the Red Cross told me, they said look. We are not state actors. We are not the Army. We are a private organziation. We work in cooperation with both FEMA and the state officials. But the state told us A) it's not safe, because the water is dangerous. And we're now learning how toxic the water is. B) there's a security situation, because they didn't have a handle on the violence on the ground. And C) and I think this is most importantly, they wanted to evacuate out. They didn't want people to stay.
HH: Now off the record, will the Red Cross tell you what they think of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin?
HH: Will they tell you what they think about FEMA director Brown?
HH: Will they tell you any...will they give any advice of how to make sure this doesn't happen again?
MG: Well, there is something, Hugh, that I think we have to be honest with ourselves about. New Orleans is a situation, because of its geography, utterly unique in America. We don't build cities in bowls, except there. This complicated the Red Cross efforts, and the FEMA efforts, from the start. In the mid-90's, the Red Cross opened a shelter in South Carolina that was eventually flooded. And there was a big controversy about that. After that, the Red Cross made a policy decision that it would never shelter, or seek to shelter, any evacuee from any hurricane, anywhere where flooding was likely to occur. High ground is where they were going to be, and where they were going to go. Well, that basically rules out all of New Orleans.
HH: Sure. Does the Red Cross, though, assist in evacuation, Major Garrett?
MG: Not under the state plan in Louisiana. And not very many other places, either, because again, the Red Cross is a responding private charity. It is not an evacuation charity. It does not assume, as you can well imagine, Hugh, the inevitable liability that would come with being in charge of evacuating.
HH: How senior are your sources at the Red Cross, Major Garrett?
MG: They're right next to Marty Evans, the president.
HH: So you have no doubt in your mind that they have...
MG: Oh, none. None. And I want to give credit to Bill O'Reilly, because he had Marty Evans on the O'Reilly Factor last night. And this is the first time Marty Evans said it. She said it on the O'Reilly Factor last night in a very sort of brief intro to her longer comments about dealing with the housing and other needs of the evacuees now. She said look. We were ready. We couldn't go in. They wouldn't let us in, and the interview continued. I developed it more fully today.
HH: And the 'they' are the Louisiana state officials?
HH: Now any in the 'they'...is the New Orleans' mayor's staff involved as well? Or the New Orleans police department?
MG: Not that I'm aware of, because the decision was made and communicated to the Red Cross by the state department of Homeland Security and the state National Guard. Both of which report to the governor.
HH: Do they have any paper records of this communication?
MG: I did not ask that. It's a good question. I'll follow up with them.
HH: I sure would love to know that. And if you get it, send it to me. We'll put it up on the blog. Major Garrett, great story. Please keep us posted. Look forward to talking to you a lot in the next couple of weeks on this story. Thanks for breaking away from the Fox News Channel this afternoon.
End of interview
If you really want to get to the bottom of what really happened after Katrina, and you want to get caught up in the blame game, you will eventually discover that blame in Louisiana is spelled B-L-A-N-C-O.
Posted at 5:31PM PST
Blogger Thoughts: WSJ editorital views are so predictable that they waste paper and web space printing them.
Blogger Thoughts: Will have to take to time to speak to this sometime.
Blogger Thought: This post is so dead on!
Posted on Wed, Sep. 07, 2005
Saddam family lawyer denies he has confessed to killings
By Richard A. Oppel Jr.
New York Times
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has confessed to crimes in meetings with investigators for the special tribunal that will try him later this year, President Jalal Talabani said in a televised interview Tuesday night. But a lawyer for Saddam's family dismissed the statement as a ``fabrication.''
Speaking on the state-run Al-Iraqiya network, Talabani said investigators had told him the ``good news'' that Saddam confessed to ordering the Al-Anfal massacre against the Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988 and to ordering other executions.
``He confessed about the Anfal executions, and the orders issued by his name,'' Talabani said. ``Saddam should be executed 20 times.''
It was not clear from the interview whether Talabani was saying that Saddam had acknowledged that his actions were criminal or that the former leader had merely admitted he had ordered killings he believed were proper. In the past he has not denied that he ordered people killed.
Iraqi officials say Saddam's first trial is expected to begin Oct. 19, when he faces charges that he ordered the killing of nearly 150 men and boys from the Shiite village of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad, after a failed assassination attempt against him there in 1982.
If convicted, Saddam could be hanged soon afterward, forgoing the need for other prosecutions of charges of crimes against humanity, Iraqi officials have said.
Fighting against Sunni Arab insurgents continued to rage in western and northern Iraq. Residents fled the insurgent stronghold of Tal Afar to take shelter in camps outside the northern city as fighting continued between U.S. and Iraqi forces and insurgents who have controlled much of the city for almost a year. Residents complained of severe food shortages, and news agencies reported that the fighting had killed and wounded civilians and that residents were bracing for a new round of combat.
Insurgents used a large roadside bomb to kill one U.S. soldier in Tal Afar on Monday, the military said. U.S. troops have been fighting since May to wrest control of the city from insurgents who moved in after the military largely abandoned Tal Afar last year.
In western Iraq, military jets launched two airstrikes against insurgents near the Syrian border Tuesday, the latest assault against militants who control much of the desolate badlands of western Al-Anbar province that are home turf to the most hardened elements of the Sunni Arab insurgency.
Shortly after midnight Tuesday, jets bombed two bridges across the Euphrates River near the town of Karabilah that insurgents had used to transport foreign fighters and weapons into central Iraq, a statement by the U.S. Marines said. Hours later, jets flattened a ``foreign fighter safe house'' near the bridges after a gunbattle with Marines there that killed two insurgents, another statement said.
In central Baghdad, two U.S. soldiers were killed Tuesday morning and two more were wounded when insurgents attacked their vehicle with a large roadside bomb. Another soldier died Monday in Ar-Ramadi the provincial capital of Al-Anbar, when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.
Across parts of Iraq with heavy Sunni Arab populations -- especially in western Al-Anbar -- Iraqi security forces are far from being able to battle the insurgency on their own. But in the Shiite-dominated south, a battalion of 1,500 Iraqi soldiers formally assumed control of the holy city of An-Najaf, where Shiite insurgents fought fierce battles with U.S. troops just last year.
The U.S. 155th Brigade Combat Team handed over control of the main military encampment in An-Najaf, Forward Operating Base Hotel, to Iraqi troops during a ceremony Tuesday.
The U.S. commander, Brig. Gen. Augustus L. Collins, said the ``Iraqi army in Najaf can control the area,'' according to a pool report of the ceremony. But the general also emphasized that a contingent of U.S. troops will remain based nearby in case the Iraqi forces need help.
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