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Archive for March, 2011

Melee at Tripoli hotel

after woman claims

she was raped

27 Mar, 2011 10:27 AM

Dramatic footage has emerged of western journalists caught up in a hotel brawl in Tripoli after a Libyan woman burst in announcing she had been raped by government troops.

The woman was tackled by waitresses and government minders as she sat telling her story to the press.

In a state of distress, she had rushed into the restaurant at the Rixos hotel, where a number of journalists were eating breakfast on Saturday.

She told them troops had detained her at a checkpoint, tied her up, abused her, then led her away to be gang-raped – an account that could not be independently verified.

She claimed she was targeted by the troops because she is from the eastern city of Benghazi, a rebel stronghold.

In response, a hotel waitress brandished a butter knife, a government minder reached for his handgun and another waitress pulled a jacket tightly over her head.

The waiters called her a traitor and tried to stop her talking.

The scene descended into chaos when the journalists tried to intervene to protect the woman and were pushed out of the way by the government minders.

A British television reporter was punched and a CNN camera was smashed on the ground by the minders.

A gun was pulled out in front of a Sky News crew but was not pointed at anyone.

Meanwhile, the cameras continued to roll and journalists tried to smuggle the footage out but said attempts were made to prevent this.

Sky News foreign affairs correspondent Lisa Holland was among the reporters caught up in the melee, but Sky said none of its staff were injured.

The fracas culminated in the minders overpowering the woman, leading her outside and shoving her into a car that sped away.

At a hastily arranged press conference after the incident, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said investigators had told him the woman was drunk and possibly mentally challenged.

He added that she was under investigation.

A number of foreign media teams are staying at the Rixos while they cover the conflict.

PA  

Fatal blast,

and Israel again confronts

spectre of bus terrorism

Conal Urquhart Ewen Macaskill

March 25, 2011

Bomb blasts Jerusalem bus station

One woman is dead and more than 20 people are injured after a bomb struck a crowded bus stop in central Jerusalem.

THE Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed to react ”aggressively” after a suitcase bomb exploded in Jerusalem, killing a 60-year-old woman and injuring at least 30 people, three of them seriously.

The bombing, the first in the city for almost seven years, follows several days of rising tension along the Gaza Strip border. It will take Jerusalemites and the residents of other Israeli cities back to the time when the Palestinians’ second intifada was at its height between 2001 and 2004, and Israeli buses were regularly targeted by suicide bombers. Simply boarding a bus felt like a game of Russian roulette, and drivers and passengers in cars waited nervously at traffic lights if a bus was sitting in the next lane.

There has not been a bombing in Jerusalem since 2004, and there have been only a handful of suicide bombings in other Israeli cities in the past five years.

Reports soon after the explosion suggested it was not the work of a suicide bomber but rather the detonation of a package left at the city’s central terminus in West Jerusalem.

It was assumed Palestinian militants were behind the attack, with the Israeli military swiftly labelling it a terrorist operation. No one claimed responsibility.

”Israel will act aggressively, responsibly and wisely to preserve the quiet and security that prevailed here over the past two years,” Mr Netanyahu said.

Earlier he told MPs: ”It could be that this matter will entail exchanges of blows, and it may take a certain period of time, but we are very determined to strike at the terrorist elements and deny them the means of attacking our citizens.”

Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, said a series of Israeli air strikes yesterday hit its training facilities and smuggling tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border. It reported no casualties.

The Jerusalem bombing was swiftly condemned by the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, who said the ”terrorist operation” damaged the Palestinian cause and contradicted ”our people’s legitimate endeavour to gain its freedom by peaceful means”.

There has been relative calm in Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the past few years

but in the past week a barrage of missiles has been fired into Israel from Gaza, followed by retaliatory air strikes and tank shelling by the Israeli military. At least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including two children.

Guardian News & Media   

Soldier jailed for killing for fun

March 25, 2011

US soldier gets 24 years for murder

A n American soldier has been sentenced to 24 years in prison for the deaths of three civilians in Afghanistan.

SEATTLE: A US soldier who pleaded guilty to killing Afghan civilians for fun has been sentenced to up to 24 years’ jail.

Corporal Jeremy Morlock, one of five soldiers from a US Army Stryker brigade accused of staging combat situations to kill three civilians in Afghanistan last year, has agreed to testify against the other defendants.

He told the military judge presiding over the case that the deaths were neither justified nor accidental.

”The plan was to kill people, sir,” Morlock told the judge at the start of his court martial.

Some of the soldiers in the case are accused of posing with dead Afghans in photographs then sharing the pictures with others.

The German magazine Der Spiegel published three photographs this week, including one that appears to show Morlock smiling as he holds the head of a dead man by the hair.

”Soldiers who commit offences will be held accountable as appropriate,” the army said. It has described the actions as repugnant.

The sentence, plea and agreement to testify followed an agreement Morlock and his lawyers negotiated with prosecutors in January.

The typical sentence for the charges to which he pleaded guilty, including three charges of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder and assault, is life in prison, with the possibility of parole.

Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, is the first of the five to face a court martial.

In court he affirmed the accuracy of statements he had signed earlier, in which he said that another of the accused, a superior, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, was the ringleader in the killings.

A lawyer for Sergeant Gibbs has said all the killings were justified combat situations.

Morlock apologised to families of the victims, ”the people of Afghanistan themselves” and fellow soldiers.

He made several references to his close relationship to his father, a former US Army paratrooper who died in 2007.

”I violated not only the law but the army core values, and I also violated the principles my father instilled in me,” he said, adding that he had ”lost my moral compass”.

The New York Times  

Night Stalker guilty

after campaign of perverted terror

Tom Morgan

March 25, 2011

Guilty ... Delroy Grant.
Guilty … Delroy Grant. Photo: Reuters

 

A British man dubbed the Night Stalker has been convicted of being one of the most prolific and depraved sex attackers in British history.

Police apologised for botched chances to stop Delroy Grant, 53, earlier as he was found guilty of preying on the elderly in a campaign of perverted terror lasting 17 years.

Former minicab driver Grant was responsible for some of the most “awful and disturbing crimes” ever investigated at Scotland Yard, senior detectives said.

A jury at Woolwich Crown Court convicted him of claiming at least 18 victims – but it is feared the total may be more than 500.

The conviction brings to a close a massive manhunt that cost tens of millions of pounds and involved hundreds of officers.

Police missed a key chance to stop Grant in 1999 because of a paperwork blunder, it can now be revealed.

Officers mistakenly ruled him out of their inquiry when the DNA of another suspect with the same name was confused with his.

Commander Simon Foy, head of the Metropolitan Police’s homicide and serious crime command, said Grant’s conviction lifted a shadow of fear from thousands of pensioners living in south London.

But he added: “We are deeply sorry for the trauma suffered by all those victims and our failure to bring Grant to justice earlier.”

The police chief branded Grant a “perverted, callous and violent individual” who attacked some of the most vulnerable people in society.

His crimes were “some of the most awful and disturbing in the history of the Met”, he added.

“He was also feared by many people living in the same communities and it is not too dramatic to say when he was caught thousands of people in the South East were able to switch out their lights and go to sleep without the dreadful thought they would be preyed upon by Grant.”

Between 1992 and 2009 the masked sexual predator preyed on frail men and women in south London and violated them in their homes, sometimes for several hours.

Many of his victims – aged up to 89 – were blind, deaf or had conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Grant targeted detached and semi-detached 1930s houses in leafy suburbs, often levering out double-glazed window units with a crowbar to gain entry.

He was a highly-skilled burglar who carried out daytime reconnaissance.

The hallmark of many of his offences was to remove light bulbs, cut telephone lines, then grab his victims with a gloved hand.

He woke terrified pensioners by shining a torch in their eyes before engaging them in conversation.

Grant then subjected his vulnerable victims to humiliating and degrading sexual assaults for a gratification described in court as impossible to understand.

His “stuff of nightmares” crime spree sparked an international manhunt by police.

Officers had been hunting the Night Stalker, under the codename Operation Minstead, since 1998 when two rapes were linked to the same attacker.

Grant, of Brockley Mews, Honor Oak, eluded capture for years as the tally of victims linked to Minstead soared to 203. The offences took place in areas including Warlingham, Shirley, Beckenham, Bromley, Addiscombe, Orpington and West Dulwich.

The sex beast’s luck finally ran out when police swooped on his car in the early hours of November 15, 2009.

More than 70 undercover officers, supported by hidden cameras and a helicopter, staked out several streets in Shirley, near Croydon, in an ambitious operation after Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson called for a “step change” in the hunt.

Grant, a father of 10 and full-time carer for his estranged wife Jennifer, who has multiple sclerosis and is paralysed, refused to discuss his crimes with police.

But he stunned officers by suggesting they should instead speak to his son.

By the time the case arrived in court more than a year later, he had spun a web of lies in an attempt to get off the hook.

Among a string of “almost laughable” explanations at Woolwich was his claim that his ex-wife stored his semen in 1977, then waited 15 years to frame him for the crimes.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, attacked him during cross-examination for making up “utter, utter rubbish”, saying he would stoop to any level to avoid prosecution.

There were raised eyebrows among the jurors as Grant even claimed DNA could be seen with the human eye.

The “sickening and depraved” attacker was found guilty of 29 counts of preying on 18 elderly men and women between 1992 and 2009.

PA  

Policeman resigns

over probe

into Facebook postings

of drunk Aboriginals

Aja Styles

February 18, 2011

Prison photos published on Facebook

A WA police officer is under investigation after posting photographs of drunk Aboriginal men detained at his station’s lock-up as his Facebook profile pictures.

A West Australian police officer who allegedly used his Facebook profile to post photographs of drunk Aboriginal men detained at his station’s lock-up has resigned.

The photographs – obtained exclusively by WAtoday.com.au – show the men, bleary-eyed and barely conscious, inside a police cell in the remote town of Wiluna in the state’s Goldfields.

Underneath one of the photographs was written the caption: “I wonder if anyone will notice my spray-on tan?”

One of the men whose image was posted as a profile picture on Constable John Trenouth's Facebook page. <I>Original image pixellated to protect the victim's identity.</i>One of the men whose image was posted as a profile picture on Constable John Trenouth’s Facebook page. Original image pixellated to protect the victim’s identity.

The photographs were contained in Senior Constable John Trenouth’s profile pictures folder on his Facebook page, while a friend and fellow officer indicated she “likes this” – a popular Facebook feature.

A police internal inquiry was launched after WAtoday.com.aubegan investigating the matter back in December last year.

The photos were wiped from Senior Constable Trenouth’s Facebook page – which has restricted access – just hours afterWAtoday.com.au began investigating the claims.

Constable Trenouth was transferred from Wiluna before the internal investigation began.Constable Trenouth was transferred from Wiluna before the internal investigation began. Photo: Facebook

However, investigators have obtained screenshots of his Facebook profile when the images were displayed and also traced his computer activity.

Senior Constable Trenouth was stood down from duty on full pay after WAtoday.com.au brought to the attention of Police Commissioner, Karl O’Callaghan, the racial connotations of his Facebook page, months into the inquiry.

This week Senior Constable Trenouth handed in his resignation which has been accepted by Mr O’Callaghan and will become effective mid-April.

One of the images posted as a profile photo on Constable Trenouth's Facebook page. <I>Original image pixellated to protect the victim's identity.</i>One of the images posted as a profile photo on Constable Trenouth’s Facebook page. Original image pixellated to protect the victim’s identity.

The internal inquiry into Senior Constable Trenouth’s conduct will continue to examine whether any criminal charges can be brought against the officer, who has served a minimum of nine years on the force.

The matter has angered Aboriginal rights advocates and came just months after horrifying vision of Aboriginal man, Kevin Spratt, being Tasered 14 times by police in the East Perth lock-up became public.

For legal reasons comments cannot be opened on this story


 

US hostage drama

A man accused of killing a police officer holds nine hostages near a university in the southern US state of Georgia.

A man accused of killing a police officer surrendered to authorities late on Friday after freeing all the hostages he had been holding near a university in the southern US state of Georgia, officials said.

Jamie Hood emerged shirtless from an apartment where he had been holed up in handcuffs.

Five people, who were hostages, came out of the apartment before heavily armed police went in and brought out Hood, who had been communicating with police throughout the day.

Jamie HoodJamie Hood

Hood requested live media presence before he surrendered, fearing he would be gunned down by police.

Hood, 33, is the suspect in the Tuesday shooting death of Athens-Clarke County officer Elmer ‘‘Buddy’’ Christian, who was responding to the report of a car-jacking by Hood and accomplices.

Witnesses described how Hood ran across a parking lot toward a police car when it pulled into a parking lot near the University of Georgia campus and fired point-blank shots into Christian’s car.

Hood ran to another police car as it pulled on to the scene and fired two shots at close range at officer Tony Howard, who was wounded in the face.

Howard is expected to recover from his wounds.

There is a funeral scheduled for Sunday for Christian, 34, who was the father of two small children.

Police had assured Hood on live television he would not be harmed once he surrendered.

Hood’s mother had also pleaded for him to surrender.

Hood freed four people from the apartment around 8.00pm (1100 AEDT Saturday). Five others came out just before he surrendered.

Hood spent 11 years in prison for holding up a pizza delivery man. He got $3 in that robbery.

AFP

Quad bike rider caught

with firearm,

drugs and ammunition

Lucy Rickard

March 26, 2011 – 5:22PM

A man is arrested at a service station after allegedly stealing a quad bike and leading police on a chase through Rockingham. <i>Photo: Channel Ten.</i>
A man is arrested at a service station after allegedly stealing a quad bike and leading police on a chase through Rockingham. Photo: Channel Ten.

 

A man will face a string of charges after he was allegedly caught on a stolen quad bike with a fully loaded sawn-off firearm, ammunition, cash and drugs in Rockingham last night.

Police patrolling the Rockingham area last night spotted the 31-year-old man riding an unlicensed quad bike along Safety Bay Road about 8.30pm.

The man managed to elude police, but they had called in the police chopper to track the man’s movements until they finally located him at a service station on Read Street.

The man was allegedly attempting to car jack a vehicle parked at a bowser when police apprehended him.

Police allege the man was in possession of a fully, loaded sawn-off firearm, ammunition and a quantity of drugs and cash.

Police also allege the quad bike was stolen in a burglary in the area earlier that day.

The man will face Rockingham Magistrates Court on Monday on 15 charges related to the incident.

Boy, 11, ‘one of worst

accused sex offenders’

Aja Styles
March 25, 2011 – 1:21PM

An 11-year-old boy has faced court over a two-day spree of alleged rapes and sex assaults in Perth’s southern suburbs.

In Perth’s Children’s court today it was claimed that between March 9 and 10, the child raped two women and molested three others, including a woman aged 67.

The boy was the youngest of four boys charged with sexual offences against six women in total, who were aged between 16 and 67.

The boy, who was out on bail, had his bail conditions tightened after the state prosecutor successfully argued he was one of the worst offenders of the group.

In court today he appeared small and nervous sitting next to the older boys, while his mother sat at the back of the room with tears in her eyes.

Two other boys, aged 13 and 14, also faced court today. The 13-year-old was charged with indecently assaulting a woman, three counts of aggravated indecent assault in the company of three others, and two counts of aggravated sexual penetration without consent in the company of three others.

The 14-year-old was charged with indecently assaulting a woman, two counts of indecently assaulting women with three accomplices, sexually penetrating a woman without her consent and sexually penetrating a woman without her consent in the company of three others.

The older boys were remanded in custody to face court again in April via video-link from Rangeview Prison.

A 12-year-old boy, who was also on bail, faced Perth Children’s Court yesterday charged with indecent assault and sexual penetration without consent.

It was alleged in court that the 11-year-old boy stole a $1000 scooter in Murdoch, where a woman was indecently assaulted, and drove to Bull Creek.

In Bull Creek the majority of the pack was allegedly involved in sex attacks on a 16-year-old girl in a fast food shop, a 41-year-old woman walking along South Street, and a 42-year-old woman at a local shopping centre on March 9.

Another 16-year-old girl was also molested at Cockburn Central train station that day.

The 11-year-old was also accused of carrying out aggravated indecent assault on the 67-year-old woman at Rockingham the next day, while in the company of the two older boys.

He was released into the care of his mother and stepfather, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to attend school and spend the rest of his time at his Warnbro home under a 24-hour curfew.

He was not to go out on his own or with anyone who wasn’t his parent, Children’s Court Magistrate Andree Horrigan told him.

It was also revealed in court that he had come before the juvenile justice team on four other occasions.

His 12-year-old co-accused from Warnbro had never been charged before.

Magistrate Horrigan told the 11-year-old he was only being granted bail due to his age and he had strict conditions not to try and contact any of the women involved in the case or his four co-accused friends.

Outside court the boy’s mother told reporters to “f… off” as she and her son ran from the building shielding his face, but later taunted the television cameras by repeatedly giving them the finger once they were a distance away.

He was not required to enter a plea, but will face court again on April 29.

Standen trial:

Australians imbeciles

Dutch drug gang says

Geesche Jacobsen
March 25, 2011 – 11:45AM

The Australian participants in an alleged conspiracy to import pseudoephedrine to Australia were regarded as “a bunch of imbeciles” by a Dutch drug syndicate.

The gang was allegedly organising a test shipment of rice from Pakistan – which arrived in Sydney on October 4, 2007 – ahead of another shipment that was allegedly intended to contain the real precursor.

Former Crime Commission investigator Mark Standen is accused of conspiring with informer James Kinch and businessman Bill Jalalaty to import the pseudoephedrine and to pervert the course of justice.

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Mr Standen is also accused of taking part in the supply of 300 kilograms of the substance.

The Supreme Court heard yesterday that Mr Jalalaty had negotiated with the wrong people about the rice shipment while those he was meant to talk to complained about trouble contacting him.

The container remained on the wharf in Sydney amid confusion about the whereabouts of a payment Mr Jalalaty had made for the shipment and about the necessary documents needed to clear it.

Even after being told to contact only one man known as Rashid – who the court heard was actually a member of the Dutch syndicate – and to pay a particular account, Mr Jalalaty is repeatedly heard in telephone calls to his original contact, Raza.

This man attempts to persuade Mr Jalalaty to only deal with him, and pay only him.

In an email that Mr Kinch allegedly sent to Mr Jalalaty, he complains that “it seems that it’s one stupid thing after another” and tells him their contacts were “ready to walk away”.

“Do (asap) as he asks! Pay what he asks, fast, and we can sort everything out after.”

Meanwhile, Mr Jalalaty repeatedly discusses his plans to import cheese, milk powder and pizza sauce.

The jury also heard Mr Standen being asked by his brother about Mr Jalalaty’s involvement in a planned catering contract with James Packer’s Macau casino.

In other emails tendered in court yesterday, Mr Standen allegedly discussed rumours with Mr Kinch about “some big players” having friends “here” or in the federal police.

Mr Standen also allegedly tells Mr Kinch that the stories, which people “shouldn’t” be hearing, related to “Poms and others who live in Spain and Portugal”.

The court heard that Mr Kinch, an Englishman, used to live in Portugal.

Such stories had been repeated several times and people had “stopped business because they had heard things”, Mr Standen allegedly wrote.

In reply, Mr Kinch allegedly assured Mr Standen he had not spoken to anyone and did not move “in them circles”.

“Why they bring my name into conversations I do not know,” he allegedly wrote in another draft email in a shared hotmail account.

Body found in burnt-out car

Stephanie Gardiner
March 25, 2011 – 2:17PM

A body has been found in a burnt-out car on the NSW north coast, police say.

Fire crews were called to the car park at Iluka Beach about 9am after reports of a car on fire, a police spokeswoman said.

The fire was extinguished and a body was found inside, she said.

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A woman who works in the area said she saw smoke while she was out walking this morning.

“I just saw smoke coming from that direction and I didn’t think anything of it,” she said.

“I just thought it was in the forest.”

A crime scene has been set up and police are investigating

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