Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times: No Independent Confirmation of FARC Laptop Files Indicating Venezuelan Support for Terrorism . . . Except that Interpol Report . . . And the Files Shown to the AP . . .

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:34 am

The L.A. Times claims that there has been no independent confirmation of the content of computers recovered from FARC terrorists, which show Venezuelan assistance to the terrorists:

Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) proposed congressional hearings to examine the contents of laptop computers apparently owned by a Colombian rebel commander known as Raul Reyes.

The computers were recovered by Colombian commandos in Ecuador after Reyes, the No. 2 commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was killed in a March 1 bombing raid.

The Colombian government has leaked files that it said indicate Venezuela made offers of financial, political and arms help to the FARC, which the U.S. views as a terrorist group.

No independent confirmation of the laptops’ content has been made, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has denied the Colombian charges.

I’m not sure what is meant by that final sentence. The Times itself recently published an AP story that reported that Interpol had examined the laptops and “found no evidence of tampering”:

“There was no tampering with or altering of any of the data contained in the user files by any of the Colombian law enforcement authorities following their seizure on March 1,” said Interpol’s secretary general, Ronald Noble, a former enforcement chief for the U.S. Treasury Department.

The same story reported that the AP had been shown “damning” files from one of the computers:

The most damning evidence to date against Chavez came in text files shown to The Associated Press last week by a senior Colombian official.

More than a dozen internal rebel messages detail several years of close cooperation between top Venezuelan and FARC officials, including rebel training facilities on Venezuelan soil and a meeting inside Venezuela’s equivalent of the Pentagon.

They also suggest Venezuela was preparing to loan the rebels at least US$250 million (euro190 million), provide them with Russian weapons and possibly even help them obtain surface-to-air missiles for use against Colombian military aircraft.

So I don’t know what the paper means today when it says that “[n]o independent confirmation of the laptops’ content has been made.” A Blog for All, which brought this to my attention, thinks the paper is simply shilling for Chavez. I wouldn’t put it past them — but since I’m stubbornly willing to give this paper the benefit of the doubt, I’m wondering if there’s some legitimate reason they’re saying this. Perhaps the AP didn’t get to examine the laptops directly, and had to take the Columbian official’s word for the content?

Even if that’s what’s meant, it strikes me as pretty misleading to simply assert that “[n]o independent confirmation of the laptops’ content has been made” without mentioning Interpol’s report, or the AP‘s examination of files from the computer.

Kennedy Has Malignant Brain Tumor

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:33 am

Just breaking:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor. Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat say tests conducted after Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal lobe. His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.

Good luck to Sen. Kennedy.

Sleep Well, Secure in the Knowledge That the Prison Crisis Is Being Addressed By Three of the Most Liberal Judges on the Planet

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

The L.A. Times is pleased to announce:

A proposed legal settlement in a high-profile federal court case on California prison overcrowding would vastly reduce the number of state inmates without releasing criminals early, by diverting low-risk offenders to community-based rehabilitation programs and county jails.

I’m glad to hear we won’t be releasing criminals early. What will we be doing, then?

Instead of releasing prisoners early — a controversial step that many state and local officials feared the judges would take — the agreement would cut tens of thousands of inmates from the prison population by reducing the number who enter for short stays and those who churn through frequently on parole violations.

They would be given treatment and confined locally, including in home detention and by electronic monitoring.

So we won’t be releasing criminals early. We’ll just be taking tens of thousands of state prisoners and releasing them early giving them home detention and electronic monitoring.

I suppose it could be worse, but the devil is in the details. I gulped a little when I read who’s in charge:

U.S. District Judges Thelton Henderson and Lawrence Karlton and U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt are overseeing the case, in which inmates’ lawyers contend that overcrowding is the primary cause of unconstitutional healthcare and mental healthcare in state prisons.

So, you know, rest easy.

P.S. How does Stephen Reinhardt get in the middle of every hot-button legal issue the State of California ever confronts?? Judges are supposed to be assigned to cases randomly, but somehow, with Stephen Reinhardt, “random” takes on a new meaning when liberal causes are involved . . .

UPDATE: In comments, prosecutor JRM seems to think that this deal would be tantamount to releasing criminals early. What with the local jails kicking everyone loose early, and home monitoring being a joke for people whose record earned them a prison stretch.

But they’re not releasing criminals early, JRM. I read it in the L.A. Times!

Primary for Oregon and the Middle State Near Arkansas Today

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 7:13 am

Going into the primaries for Oregon and one of those middle states close to Arkansas and nowhere near Illinois, Hillary has the lead in the popular vote. Or not. It all depends on what the meaning of popular vote is.

Meanwhile, Obama is expected to hit a grim milestone*: a majority of pledged delegates. But he’s not planning to flaunt it. That’s OK: he has the media to flaunt it for him.

*I suppose for Obama it’s not so grim, but what about the rest of us?

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