Patterico's Pontifications

5/31/2007

“Caveat Blogger”

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 7:29 pm

Beldar offers yet another reminder of why bloggers need to be careful what they write.

Bratton vs. Parks: No Contest

Filed under: Crime,General — Jack Dunphy @ 9:41 am

[Posted by Jack Dunphy.]

Rank-and-file officers on the LAPD certainly have their reasons for being disappointed with Chief William Bratton. I have expressed some of those reasons in my columns on National Review Online, most recently here. But disappointed as we might be with Bratton, you’d have a hard time finding anyone on the department lamenting the fact that L.A. city councilman Bernard Parks was ousted from the job.

So it’s laughable to see Parks insinuating, as he did at a recent city council meeting, that the LAPD would be in better shape today if he had been retained as chief. During a discussion of the LAPD’s handling of the May Day protest at MacArthur Park, Parks played a video supplied by “community members” that portrayed the May Day melee as merely the latest in a series of abuses committed by LAPD officers during Bratton’s tenure. Among these were the videotaped arrests of Stanley Miller, who was struck with a flashlight after fleeing from a stolen car, and William Cardenas, who was punched in the face by officers attempting to arrest him for a felony warrant. For Parks to suggest that these incidents would not have occurred had he been in command of the LAPD is beyond absurd.

But, on second thought, maybe not so absurd after all, but not for the reasons Parks would wish. Under Parks’s autocratic stewardship, morale in the LAPD was abysmal. Officers were leaving the department in droves, far outpacing recruiting efforts. So perhaps it’s true that those controversial arrests would not have occurred, but only because there wouldn’t have been any cops left to make them.

William Bratton could do better, but even on his worst day he’s a better chief than Parks was on his best.

L.A. Weekly Article on Yagman Trial

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:12 am

The L.A. Weekly has an article about the Yagman trial, and I have a couple of quotes:

“I have no doubt Yagman and his lawyer are going to make a circus out of this trial,” says Patrick Frey, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who operates the influential legal-community Web site Patterico.com — and who dis-trusts Yagman. “They’re going to make it a David-versus-Goliath thing.”

I have no reason to believe that I was misquoted, but now that I see that statement in print, I realize that it doesn’t quite reflect my true view. I believe that Yagman and his lawyer will try to make the trial a circus — placing the focus on Yagman’s adversarial relationship with the federal government, rather than on the evidence of Yagman’s shady financial dealings — but I doubt Judge Wilson will allow it to become a circus.

(By the way, calling this site “influential” definitely torpedoes the credibility of the article! Reporter Patrick McDonald obviously doesn’t read ThinkProgress, or he would know that this site is not “influential” — it’s obscure.)

In 1994, Yagman grabbed headlines when he publicly derided U.S. District Judge William Keller as a “drunk” and an “anti-Semite.” As a result, he was suspended from practicing law by a federal Standing Committee on Discipline. In typical Yagman style, he fought back vociferously. The committee’s decision was reversed a year later — on the grounds of free speech.

At the time, now–Assistant D.A. Frey, a.k.a. “Patterico,” worked for Keller as a law clerk. “Yagman clearly said untrue things,” says Frey. “It was part of a pattern that he would say outrageous things about conservative judges so he could get them to recuse themselves for his civil rights cases — and then get liberal judges” to oversee his cases, often against police.

That’s definitely an accurate quote. That’s what the guy does.

The article also quotes me as praising Judge Wilson with an almost Harriet-Miers-like devotion. You’ll have to click through for that quote.

All in all, interesting stuff. It’s one of the few articles about the trial that I have seen anywhere. With the coverage Yagman has gotten in the past, I’m surprised that the L.A. Times isn’t covering it extensively.

Or am I?

AP Spins for the Terrorists on GTMO Suicide

Filed under: Media Bias,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:00 am

The AP reports on a recent suicide at Guantanamo, with characteristic pro-terrorist spin:

A Saudi Arabian detainee died Wednesday at Guantanamo Bay prison and the U.S. military said he apparently committed suicide. Critics of the detention center said the death showed the level of desperation among prisoners.

Way to put that spin up front, AP!

The article reinforces this spin again:

Defense attorneys said the death was likely an act of desperation at a prison camp where detainees are denied access to U.S. civilian courts and isolated in their cells for up to 22 hours a day.

”You have five and a half years of desperation there with no legal way out,” said Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. ”Sadly, it leads to people being so desperate they take their own lives.”

Of course, the New York Times editors who reprinted this piece might remember that they published a lengthy article in September 2006, based on interviews with over a hundred detainees and GTMO personnel, that provided extensive and detailed support for the idea that the 2006 suicides at GTMO were a publicity stunt. That article set forth clear evidence that the suicides were designed as an act of propaganda, specifically to get people across the world to believe that Gitmo was driving inmates to suicide, and had to be shut down.

Have New York Times editors forgotten about that article? Is the AP unaware of it? It would appear so, because only in the last paragraph of today’s article do we see this:

The former commander of the detention facilities, Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris, described those suicides as acts of ”asymmetric warfare” — an effort to increase condemnation of the prison.

Further, the article provides no indication that Adm. Harris’s opinion was backed up by extensive evidence — or that it might have some relevance to the most recent suicide.

Nah, AP editors, it’s far better to put up front the claims by “critics” (meaning you) that “the death showed the level of desperation among prisoners.” That’s what the terrorists at GTMO would want you to say, after all — and you wouldn’t want to let them down, would you?

(Thanks to See Dubya for the link to the article.)

Snopes Remains Shameless

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Justin Levine @ 3:57 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

Patterico justifiably took Snopes to task in 2004 for skewing the real issue behind the Annie Jacobsen story concerning the suspicious behavior on flight 327.

Recent events seem to have vindicated key claims of Jacobsen’s story – but Snopes continues to be disingenuous about the controversy.

Snopes writes:

Claim: Passengers encountered by reporter on airline flight were proved to be terrorists making a dry run at assembling a bomb on-board.

Status: False

[UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Note that this is different from Snopes's original characterization of the controversy, as detailed in my 2004 post:

Claim: Reporter encounters terrorists on airline flight who are making a dry run at assembling a bomb on-board.

Status: False.

More on this in the UPDATE BY PATTERICO below.]

Snopes then even has the gall to cite the latest government [PDF] report as “proof” about the veracity of its own assessment.

Technically, Snopes is correct of course – but only because it constructs a disingenuously worded “claim” upfront, rather than reassess the story under a reasonable “claim”.

It is true that none of the passengers were “proven” to be terrorists. The latest government [PDF] report does not offer any such proof either.

However, contrary to Snopes implication, (more…)

“Deport the Criminals First” — Part Two of an Ongoing Series: The Murder of Jenny Garcia

Filed under: Deport the Criminals First,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 12:00 am

["Deport the Criminals First" is a recurring feature on this blog, highlighting crimes committed by illegal immigrants -- with a special focus on repeat offenders. I argue that, instead of arresting illegal immigrants who work hard for a living, we should use our limited immigration enforcement resources to target illegal immigrants who commit crimes in this country -- especially violent crimes.]

From Channel 8 news in Austin, Texas, January 27, 2004:

On Monday two girls found their older sister — a freshman at St. Edward’s University — stabbed to death inside the family’s Northwest Austin home. Detectives later connected a man to the capital murder after he placed a call to APD’s Homicide Tip Line.

Channel 8 News in Austin published this photo of “Jenny” Garcia:

virginia-garcia.jpg

The story continued:

People living at the Champion Forests subdivision in Northwest Austin are still in shock over the death of 18-year-old Virginia Garcia. The victim’s neighbors are relieved a suspect is behind bars.

People describe the Champion’s Forest subdivision in Northwest Austin as a quiet neighborhood. A Monday night murder disrupted the community.

Police said Garcia — better known as “Jenny” — was stabbed to death by 20-year old David Diaz Morales inside her home. Police charged Morales with her murder. Detectives believe he was infatuated with the St. Edward’s University freshman. Police said Morales broke into the home and stabbed Garcia.

Jenny Garcia died at the hands of someone who should have been deported when he was arrested for a previous crime. The web site of U.S. Congressman John Culberson says:

On January 26, 2004, 18-year-old Virginia Garcia was raped and murdered by David Diaz Morales in Austin, Texas, a sanctuary city. Morales, an illegal immigrant, had been arrested previously for child molestation, but was not deported because Austin’s sanctuary policy prohibited the arresting officers from determining his immigration status.

Do-gooders prevent police and immigration authorities from identifying a criminal as a deportable illegal alien. And Jenny Garcia dies as a direct result. The connection is clear and unmistakable. Her blood is on their hands.

P.S. Some Republican lawmakers tried to put an end to this concept of sanctuary cities — and guess what happened?

5/30/2007

“Deport the Criminals First” — Part One of an Ongoing Series

Filed under: Deport the Criminals First,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 12:00 am

["Deport the Criminals First" is a new recurring feature on this blog, highlighting crimes committed by illegal immigrants -- with a special focus on repeat offenders. I argue that, instead of arresting illegal immigrants who work hard for a living, we should use our limited immigration enforcement resources to target illegal immigrants who commit crimes in this country -- especially violent crimes.]

As regular readers know, I have repeatedly argued that our federal government should devote all its ICE agents (at least those not working on border enforcement) to the task of identifying and deporting those illegal aliens who commit crimes while in this country. In my view, it is outrageous that we would use a single ICE agent to arrest someone working hard for a living, while countless thousands of illegals sit in county jails and state prisons — their illegal immigrant status unknown, waiting to be released onto the streets once their sentences are completed.

This seems like an utter no-brainer to me — but no matter how much I talk about it, the policy isn’t getting implemented. I recently read a Steve Lopez column in which a pro-illegal immigration activist argued that (as Lopez put it) “the tone of the debate has been and will continue to be changed by humanizing it.” I promised to try to “humanize” the problem of crime committed by illegal immigrant criminals, by seeking out and reporting stories of crimes that would have been prevented by pursuing my “deport the criminals first” policy.

This is another in my ongoing series of anecdotes about crimes that could have been prevented by simply following my policy.

Today’s example is very poignant: a law enforcement officer gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a long rap sheet — someone who should have been deported several times over:

KENOSHA – The man now charged with killing Kenosha County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Fabiano is an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record.

Despite a rap sheet going back six years, Ezeiquiel Lopez was never deported. Only after he was charged with killing Fabiano did anyone try to have him kicked out of this country.

Lopez, 44, is accused of murdering the 17-year sheriff’s department veteran while high on cocaine. Lopez’s history with the law dates back to 2001, when he was arrested in Utah for lewd and lascivious conduct.

In 2003, he was arrested in Texas on a gun charge.

In 2003, Lopez was picked up in Missouri for driving drunk.

In 2004, Kenosha police arrested him on charges of domestic battery, disorderly conduct and bail jumping.

And yet, this is the first time immigration enforcement had heard of him. “We can find no record of having had contact with this individual before or having had him referred to us by another law enforcement agency,” said Tim Counts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While immigration officials were busy raiding businesses and arresting hardworking illegals, Ezeiquiel Lopez committed crime after crime after crime — and nobody ever bothered to check his status in jail.

Kenosha County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Fabiano is dead as a result.

deputy-fabiano.jpg

Here’s the kicker:

In court on Friday, Lopez said nothing. But a fellow inmate at the jail said Lopez had plenty to say Thursday night.

“He was saying ‘I’ll kill another one of you guys, give me a chance and I’ll kill another one of you guys,’” said the inmate, who wanted to remain anonymous.

We’ve given him plenty of chances already. Why shouldn’t we give him another?

5/29/2007

Audrey Hudson Provides Further Details on Current and Former Air Marshals Opining that Flight 327 Was a Terrorist Dry Run

Filed under: Air Security,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 8:09 pm

Audrey Hudson reports further on the newly released inspector general report that confirms several key concerns expressed by Annie Jacobsen about the infamous Flight 327, otherwise known as “Terror in the Skies”:

The report comes three years after the incident, which was not officially acknowledged until a month later, after The Washington Times reported passenger and marshal complaints that the incident resembled a dry run for a terrorist attack. After reviewing the report, air marshals say it confirms their earlier suspicions.

Many people, including at least one current air marshal, are going on the record and putting names to their complaints:

An air marshal who told The Washington Times that he has been involved personally in terror probes that were ignored by federal security managers, called such behavior typical.

Agency management was not only covering up numerous probes and dry-run encounters from Congress and other federal law-enforcement agencies, it was also hiding these incidents from their own flying air marshals,” said P. Jeffrey Black, an air marshal stationed in Las Vegas.

Hudson says that both current and former air marshals (that’s marshals, plural) say the men’s activities “detail[] a dry run for a terrorist attack”:

Portions of the report remain redacted. However, current and former air marshals who reviewed a copy provided by The Times say the activities of the men details a dry run for a terrorist attack.

One named former air marshal says this was an “unmistakable dry run”:

“This report is evidence of Homeland Security executives attempting to downplay and cover up an unmistakable dry run that forced flight attendants to reveal the air marshals and compel the pilots to open the flight deck door,” said Robert MacLean, a former air marshal who was fired last year for revealing that the service planned to cut back on protection for long-distance flights to save money.

A second named former air marshal concurs, saying that he thinks the suspects should not have been released — a clear indication that he thinks the suspects were connected to terrorism:

It’s unfortunate that the suspects were released from custody, but it’s not surprising,” said Jeffrey Denning, a former air marshal who quit the agency last month.

“The overt behavior of the 13 men on Flight 327 was indicative of a terrorist probe. It appeared rehearsed, coordinated and planned. It was menacing activity,” Mr. Denning said.

Notwithstanding the feeble, Clintonian, disingenuous (and predictable) protestations of some of my commenters, the fact that several current and former air marshals have reviewed the facts of this report and see Flight 327 as a dry run should concern us all.

Yes, they are only expressing their opinions. The only people who know for sure whether this was a terrorist dry run are the people who engaged in the suspicious behavior. But we can’t spend out lives wringing our hands for the lack of absolute certainty. There’s plenty here that should be eye-opening — and what the air marshals are saying about the government response is very disturbing.

P.S. No, I don’t give primacy to the conclusions of the air marshals on board. Having taken no serious action, they are likely in CYA mode.

Report: Plame Was Covert

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 pm

When I supported Patrick Fitzgerald’s prosecution of Scooter Libby, many of you confidently asserted that Fitzgerald knew that Plame was not covert. Ergo, you said, he knew early on in the investigation that “no crime had been committed,” and he should have dropped the investigation immediately. In this post, I argued (among other things) that those of you making that argument were “making assumptions that the facts can’t cash.” I noted that it was entirely unclear whether Plame was indeed covert; why, even Tom Maguire didn’t know for sure.

Today, it has become more clear, with this report:

An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame’s employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was “covert” when her name became public in July 2003.

It’s anybody’s guess why Fitzgerald didn’t bring charges of outing a covert agent; my guess is that he couldn’t prove intent. But the idea that he should have dropped his investigation as soon as he “found out Valerie Plame wasn’t covert” just took a pretty big hit.

Snopes: Wrong Again on Flight 327

Filed under: Air Security,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:23 am

With the revival of the debate over Annie Jacobsen and Flight 327, commenters are pointing to Snopes as providing an allegedly authoritative opinion on the matter.

Hardly — as I showed long ago in this post.

Since I wrote that post, Snopes has doubled down — and their new material is disingenous indeed. Xrlq explains.

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