Saturday, May 19, 2018

OREGON STANDOFF:  HEARINGS START MONDAY IN FBI AGENT CASE AS DEFENSE WANTS EXPERTS BANNED FROM TRIAL


The defense lawyers for FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita will be using four days of hearings in the coming week to tear down the prosecution's case against him.

Astarita is accused of lying about the shots he fired in the direction of LaVoy Finicum at a roadblock along Route 395 in Harney County, Oregon on January 26, 2016.   The shots were fired moments before Oregon State Police fatally shot Finicum alongside his truck.

Federal prosecutors are using the work of an Oregon shooting team investigation that includes both expert witnesses and a 3-D animation of the trajectory of a bullet the prosecution says was fired by the FBI agent.

Defense lawyers are trying to use the "Daubert hearings" set for May 21st to 24th (Monday thru Thursday) to knock out witnesses the prosecution wants to present at trial, set to begin at US District Court in Portland July 24th.


Senior US District Judge Robert E. Jones is handling the case and will rule on who will be allowed to testify at trial and what evidence will be allowed.

Judge Jones was responsible for detention of those arrested in connection with the Oregon Standoff protest in 2016, telling Ammon and Ryan Bundy in a courthouse jail cell that they were not eligible for release on bail.

Link below.......


Wikipedia on "Daubert standard"


(EDITED SATURDAY PM, EXPANDED WITH LINK SATURDAY PM)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

OREGON STANDOFF:  HEY FEDS, THIS IS REAL DOMESTIC TERRORISM THIS DAY IN 1974


"......now we need all the gas you can round up from Parker Center, any geographical division and we need it down here Code 3 as fast as you can get it down.  In addition to that we need all the ammo we've got in the safe.  We're taking automatic fire front and back from this location they're much better armed than we are..."


LAPD officer on radio May 17, 1974 during confrontation with SLA terrorists near 54th and Compton  (at around 10:24 in video link below)


During the Oregon Standoff protest in early 2016 we heard and saw phrases like "militants", "armed standoff","militia" and so on.

And all that verbiage was aimed at people led by Ammon Bundy, who was armed.

The only violence during the protest came from law enforcement with the first shots fired by an FBI agent on January 26, 2016 aimed at a man driving a pickup truck (LaVoy Finicum)  to a town hall meeting where the Constitution of the United States would be discussed.

The protest began because some ranchers in Harney County, Oregon (Dwight and Steven Hammond) were being sent back to a federal prison to serve mandatory five year "terrorism" sentences for lighting a backfire to protect their property from a brushfire.

The protestors were training people to use non-violent means to get the land in their area out of federal hands and back into the hands of local people.

And after others were arrested among the last four, David Fry, a non-violent man unloading any firearms and putting them in a car.

Some crazy people came with guns.  At one point Ammon Bundy asked some of them to leave.
Others among the "crazies" were informants for the FBI who staged and postured as violence minded people trying to lead others into violence even firing off thousands of rounds of ammunition in one case.

Then there's the detention of those arrested in Oregon and Nevada with their trials staged in an atmosphere of fear.

Massive law enforcement presence around the accused in the courtrooms.   In Nevada, helicopters overhead and a convoy moving at a high rate of speed.   Detention indefinitely without bail.  The notion that these people were like Al-Qaeda terrorists.

In fact, the hostility extended towards those who came to the courtrooms to observe and protested outside in support of those arrested.

Those people were harassed by the authorities and one marshal homeland security officer in Portland said to the face of supporter Kelli Stewart that she was a 'domestic terrorist'.

But today we see the historical record of what really happened when some real terrorists were operating on the West Coast back in the 1970's.

The Symbionese  Liberation Army were murderers, bank robbers, kidnappers and more.   Their kidnapping of Patricia Hearst, the heiress to the media family's fortune, was a major news story at the time and much attention was paid to whether she was in the firefight depicted in this video clip of the 11 PM newscast from ABC in Los Angeles (KABC "Eyewitness News").


Links below...........




ABC Los Angeles "Eyewitness News" 5/17/1974 11PM Firefight with SLA terrorists


Wikipedia on "Symbionese Liberation Army"

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

ITALY UPDATE:  MORE TIME NEEDED TO FORM NEW GOVERNMENT, FIVE STAR LEADER INTERVIEWED


The word after talks with Italy's president today is that more time is needed for the Five Star Movement and League to finalize details of a new government program and agree on the name of a new prime minister.


Leaders Luigi Di Maio of Five Star and Matteo Salvini of the League have agreed not to be prime minister, another person will be named.

Reuters quoted Di Maio:  "We agree that we have to move quickly, but we are writing what will be the government program for the next five years, it's very important for us to do it as well as possible, so we told the president we needed a few more days."

Meanwhile the founder-leader of the Five Star Movement, comedian Beppe Grillo, has been interviewed by "Newsweek".

He answered a variety of questions including ones about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

"Donald Trump also came from show business.  Did it help him?


I observed that mainstream media was so totally against him that, at the end, they helped him. The same has happened with the Five Star Movement....(The media) achieved the opposite of what it aimed for.  Same happened with Brexit.


Is the Five Star Movement on the left or the right?

.  

Left, right, populism...all are meaningless concepts.  Unitelligible for the new generations.  Artificial intelligence is destroying the traditional world of work.  Old nation-states have been emptied from within, and we are going back to the age of city-states...........


"And immigration?


The immigration flows have to be controlled.  We have to know who comes into Italy.  The problem shouldn't be left to oversized, dysfunctional government groups.


How do you feel about Russian President Vladimir Putin?


He is certainly somebody who has clear ideas.  I don't fear Putin at all.  Russia wants to make commerce, not war.  Anti-Putinism costs us billions in sanctions............"


Links below........






Monday, May 14, 2018

ITALY UPDATE:  OUTSIDER PARTIES REACH AGREEMENT, PRIME MINISTER, CABINET TO BE NAMED BUT......


The two outsider parties, the Five Star Movement and  the League,  have reached agreement on a new government in Italy and plan to name a prime minister and cabinet within days.


They have also reached agreement on a common set of policies which will include standing up for Italy within the European Union seeking renegotiation of EU rules that hurt the country,

A crackdown on illegal immigration with increased deportations, a flat tax to help individuals and businesses, a repeal of the 2011 pension reform law and opposition to new sanctions on Russia are also part of the agenda of a new government.

The leaders of the two parties,  Luigi Di Maio of Five Star and Matteo Salvini of the League, will meet separately with the Italian president later today at 430 and 6pm Italian time (1030am and 12 Noon Eastern time US)

It will be up to Italian President Sergio Mattarella to approve the new prime minister and its possible that Mattarella, a former politician from the pro-EU "Left" coalition in Italy, may refuse to do so.

Mattarella has noted in recent days that a former president declined to approve the proposed prime minister in 1955.

Another new development over the weekend was the Saturday decision by a Milan court to "rehabilitate" high profile Uniparty politician Silvio Berlusconi.   The court ruled that the billionaire media magnate is now eligible to run for public office again after a 2013 conviction for tax fraud.

When Berlusconi first emerged on the public scene in the 1970's and 80' to dominate privately owned television in Italy, he called himself a socialist and supported the Socialist Party.

In the 1990's he emerged on the Italian political scene with his "Forza Italia" party named after a popular soccer team.  Berlusconi served three terms as Prime Minister and was considered to be the leader of the "Center-Right" in Italian politics.

His flamboyant and theatrical style including fainting on stage and being punched by assailants while walking in large crowds with cameras around him has caused some to compare him to President Donald Trump.

After the economic downturn of 2008, Berlusconi pulled out of politics to allow a "technocratic" government to move in to impose harsh austerity measures on the country, which in part has contributed to the rise of new political forces like the Five Star Movement.

For this year's election, Berlusconi revived his "Forza Italia" party that was part of the "Right" coalition  but finished second inside that coalition to the League, which now intends to form a government with the Five Star Movement.

We shall have to wait to see how Italy's president reacts to a new government proposed to him and if any roadblocks put up by him will lead to a new election or cirumstance where Mr. Berlusconi might be enabled to stir things up and thwart outsider political forces in Italy now on the verge of achieving power.

Some mainstream media reports describe the anticipated government emerging in Italy as "radical".

(EDITED MONDAY AM)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

OREGON STANDOFF: LAWYERS FOR FBI AGENT ACCUSED OF LYING ABOUT SHOOTING AT LAVOY FINICUM SEEK DELAY


The defense lawyers for FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita, accused of lying about shooting at LaVoy Finicum at a roadblock on January 26, 2016,  tried to get a federal judge to delay a series of hearings set to begin a week from Monday (May 21st).

They said they needed time to get a statistician to detail out math errors in the prosecution's case regarding the trajectory of a bullet.

But US District Judge Robert E. Jones said the hearing date of May 21st remains firm but that the defense can file additional reports on its contention,

A federal prosecutor said the defense lawyers can contest the math at the trial.

The trial is set to begin with jury selection on July 24th.

Defense lawyers have been working to tear down the prosecution case developed by an Oregon law enforcement shooting team with various experts prepared to testify and a 3-D animation also planned for use at trial.

Judge Jones intends to use the 4-days of hearings planned later this month (May 21st-24th) to sort out which experts and exhibits the prosecution will be allowed to use at the agent's trial.

Why have the FBI agent's defense lawyers sought a delay in pretrial hearings?

Perhaps the recent revelations of grand jury testimony by mainstream media in Oregon, where the jury pool is located for Astarita's federal trial on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

One part of the transcripts released to the media include the testimony of an Oregon detective, who spoke with Agent Astarita just hours after LaVoy Finicum was killed,

An Oregon State Police detective, Scott Hill, was told by the accused agent that LaVoy Finicum almost hit one of his fellow FBI agents and intended to run him over and called Finicum uncooperative and verbally combative.

Those comments would seem to point to Astarita being very motivated to open fire on LaVoy Finicum, something he is denying with his 'not guilty' pleas to the five charges of lying about shooting.

The Oregon shooting team investigators discovered that two shell casings were unaccounted for.

W.  Joseph Astarita is only charged with lying about the shooting, not charged with killing LaVoy Finicum, attempting to kill LaVoy Finicum, attempting to kill the other three people in LaVoy's truck or injuring Ryan Bundy, one of the passengers in the truck.

Bundy has shrapnel inside him that federal prosecutors believe is related to Astarita's gun being used.

Ryan Bundy says he is willing to have surgery to remove the shrapnel but federal prosecutors claim Bundy is making 'outrageous demands'.

Links below..........


Friday, May 11, 2018

BREAKTHROUGH IN ITALY:  THE MOST 'OUTSIDER' PARTIES MOVE TO FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT


"Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the right-wing League party say they have made significant steps to forming a government, more than two months after a general election..."


BBC News report May 10th, 2018


"Let me say I've worked with both of these parties in the European Parliament.  Both of these groups and I've been president of those groups and these people have served with me and I really want to see this coalition forming......."


Nigel Farage on "The Nigel Farage Show"-LBC May 10th, 2018


There was an "inconclusive" result in Italy's general election on March 4th with the standard 'coalitions' of the 'Left' and 'Right' failing, especially the 'Left' one which had ruled the country.

But emerging with the greatest percentage of the popular vote were the political outsiders of the Five Star Movement founded by stand up comedian Beppe Grillo.

Attempts to form a new government had faltered with the "Right" coaltion leader Silvio Berlusconi balking at the notion of his coalition governing with Five Star.

But now Berlusconi has relented to allow The League, a pro-free market European Union skeptic party in his coalition, to move forward and join Five Star in efforts to form a new government.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has given the two parties until Sunday to form a government, but not without offering some critical remarks saying it would be wrong 'to look to 19th Century solutions' to deal with '21st Century problems'.

Italian markets fell at the prospect of such a new government being formed with business elites fearful of anti-EU policies and the Five Star's promotion of 'income support' for poor Italians living in the South of the country.

But The League has a strong pro-business position including promotion of a 15 percent flat tax rate which would benefit big business.

On paper, the coalition of the 5 SM and League commands majorities in both houses of Italy's parliament (352 of 630 in the lower, 170 of 315 in the upper).

Links below........


BBC News story 5/10

The Nigel Farage Show 5/10 (Italy Discussion at 12:24)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

SYRIA UPDATE: MISSILES LAUNCHED AMID CONFLICTING CLAIMS,  IS REGIME CHANGE NEXT?


"After spending 10 hours in the company of President Vladimir Putin in Moscow at his guest of honor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he believes that Israel's freedom to operate in Syria in its defense is not in jeopardy...."


Debkafile report May 9th, 2018 at 1:42 pm Eastern time


"Some of the missiles Israel launched into Syrian territory have broken through the defenses deployed by Damascus and hit radar and air defense positions, state media outlet SANA said, citing a military source.......

The Israeli army said it was attacking "Iranian targets" inside Syria..."


Russia Today Report May 10th, 2018


"Israel claimed that it will respond against Iran, but hit positions of the SAA (Syrian Arab Army) only......"


"WithinSyriaBlog" post May 10th, 2018


"Israel will 'eliminate' Syrian President Bashar Assad if he continues to let Iran operate from Syria, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday.....Steinitz told Israeli news site ynet that Assad needs to know it will be his end if he allows Iran to turn Syria into military base in order to attack Israel.....Steinitz later clarified his comments reflect his personal opinions."


Haaretz story May 8th, 2018


When the missiles began to fly in the Golan Heights late last night it came as no surprise with President Trump's announcement of withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal following days of reports, first from Israel, then US sources that there was an "imminent" Iranian threat from Syria.

In the last several weeks Israeli raids were launched into Syria with no response from either the Iranians or the Syrians aimed at Israeli controlled territory.

There were claims that Israel fired first last night from Syria but Israel says Iranian forces fired at their positions in the Golan first.

Soon missiles were flying in other parts of Syria with Israel claiming to have hit 50 Iranian targets in what was a major Israeli operation.

Syrian defenses were hit according to Syrian government media with pro-Syrian sources online saying only Syrian targets were hit, not Iranian ones.

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's trip to Moscow Wednesday May 9th to be "guest of honor" at the World War 2 victory parade gave him an opportunity to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli leader came away confident that Russia would not interfere with Israeli military action.

But while Israel insists Iran is its target, one wonders whether the comments made earlier this week (which were later walked back) by Israel's energy minister Yuval Steinitz stating that Israel would 'eliminate' Syria's ruler Bashar Assad if he continues to host Iranian bases  is the real end game for Israel in Syria.

Will Israel seek to do what its Saudi allies and their Al-Qaeda jihadists were unable to do, remove Assad from power in Syria?

Russia is apparently urging restraint from Syria for now in response to Israeli attacks so as to not fall into a trap of justifying even harsher attacks from Israel.

Russia among other things would like to successfully host the World Cup of soccer (football) starting next month but we shall see if there is more escalation in Syria in the hours and days ahead.

You might recall when Russia hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014 at Sochi, the pro-Russian government was overthrown in Ukraine.  That forced Russia to retake Crimea from the new anti-Russian government.   Ex-Israel Defense Forces were among those helping the anti-Russian coup in Ukraine.

Links below......(ADDED 5th link later on with 2014 post about ex-IDF in Ukraine 2014)