Officer Arrested For Lying, Stealing And Drugs

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Roswell, New Mexico- Christopher Ray Moreno (22), a Roswell police officer accused a Sonic Drive-In employee, Isaac Briseno of spitting in his drink. This accusation resulted in a shutdown of the restaurant as fellow officers investigated.

After the investigation in his claims begin, Moreno admitted that he had made up the story and then resigned from the police.

He was arrested and charged with false reporting, malicious criminal prosecution and tampering with evidence. Roswell investigators say that this false report “may have been triggered by a personal issue Moreno perceived he had with the restaurant employee.”

But there is more. He had to turn in his patrol car after the resignation, so when the fellow officers searched his squad car they found methamphetamine, 19 syringes, three meth pipes, three marijuana pipes, a BB gun and several other items.

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This led to searching Moreno’s home, where officers found a stolen licence plate.

Moreno now faces additional charges on possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia possession, larceny and receiving stolen property.

Source : Police Brutality

22 YEARS AFTER, STILL IN OUR MINDS

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       CHIEF DAVID ADEBAYO ADEWUMI

       (Retired Principal)

       B.A Econs., Dip. Ed. Durham F.R. Econs. S.(End) M.N. Econs. S.(Nig.)

      The Akogun of Ibeshe, Lagos state

      (Former Electoral Commissioner, Lagos state(Alhaji Lateef Jakande Civilian         Administration )

 

      Daddy, the legacy you left behind 22 years ago still stands like the THE ROCK OF GILBRATA.

                                  BISI, NIKE, FUNKE, TAYO

Igbo Leadership Tussle In Oyo state : The Truth

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”  As law abiding citizens of our great country, Nigeria, we should at all times, abide by the rule of law, as that is the only way we can continue to have peace in our society”-Eze Dr. Anozie

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My reaction to Sun Online publications By Eze Dr. Alex Anozie(Ezendigbo, Onyendu Ndigbo, Ibadan, Oyo state

1) My attention has been drawn to the Sun Newspaper of Friday June 17, which has been placed online, whereby Aloysius Obi and his group’s photograph were place side by side with the photograph of myself and my council. In the publication, Obi was referred to as the Onyendu Ndigbo in Ibadan and Oyo state.

With due respect to the Sun newspapers, I hereby make it known that myself and my group seriously frown at that, because the information was misleading to the general public.       

Why do we say so ?

A) Aloysius Obi was never, and is not any Igbo leader by any title of Onyendu Ndigbo of Ibadan and Oyo state, so do their so called Igbo General Assembly which broke away from our own group, the Igbo Community Development Association that later metamorphosed to Ohanaeze, Oyo state Branch.

B) I am saying so because an High Court of  competent jurisdiction in Oyo state, had ruled on 24th February, 2014, that Aloysius Obi is not an  Igbo leader with the title of Onyendu in Ibadan and Oyo state, as he and his group were before then, claiming to be. The court went on further to order himself and his group to stop parading as such. This court judgement has not been vacated by any superior court, neither is there any stay of execution against that particular judgment up till now. Of course, they appealed the judgement, but the Appeal Court never vacated the High Court judgment, hence it still subsists. Any preliminary ruling that has come from the Appeal Court on the matter, has nothing to do with the main case before the Appeal court. The main case is still before the Appeal Court, and not yet disposed of. So, nobody should be deceived.

It is very important that the public  be truthfully informed on all issues particularly on such sensitive and very crucial matters. Very surprising that a newspaper such as the Sun of very high repute, still preferred to go the way it went, despite the fact that they were fully armed with the truth, when they visited me and my council and got a first hand information from the horse’s mouth. They also promised to publish the truth always. I leave it to them now, to explain further and convince the public on why they chose to go that way. Truth, they say, is the only weapon that heals the conscience wound.

Fortunately, they managed to publish just a very little bit of my words of advice to the management, when they came calling, on the need for the public to be fed with only the truth always. But surprisingly they went ahead to refer to Aloysius Obi as Onyendu, which the court said he is not, thereby feeding the public with lies. That a case has been appealed against, does not  mean that the High Court judgment seizes to subsist, particularly when no stay of execution stands against such ruling. Let the world go through the High court judgment/declaration as published here(see below) and now see the truth themselves and judge. It is very dangerous to give the impression that anybody, no matter the personality, is above the law in our country, except of course, we have all decided to invite anarchy in the society. When some Governors were at the Appeal court during the election tussles, the sitting Governors were parading as Governors, while their challengers, who were also claiming victory were not parading as Governors, just because they appealed the election results which  did not favour them.

As law abiding citizens of our great country, Nigeria, we should at all times, abide by the rule of law, as that is the only way we can continue to have peace in our society. Aloysius Obi is not the Onyendu Ndigbo in Ibadan and Oyo state, neither are his IGA group leaders of Igbos in the state. The court ruled that all actions, steps taken by any group of people including South East Traditional Rulers towards  the making and installation of Aloysius Obi as Onyendu Ndigbo of Ibadan and Oyo state are null and void, and of no effect whatsoever. The court ruled that I, Eze Dr. Alex Anozie, is the Head, Leader, Onyendu Ndigbo, Ezendigbo of Ibadan and Oyo state, you are free to refer to me with any of the mentioned titles.

Eze or Onyendu position is for life, and once one emerges and is installed by the Igbo community, who must have according to their constitutional guidelines, chose that Eze or Onyendu, that Eze remains in that position as long  as he is alive, only when he is no more, then, will the same community choose and install another person. And interesting enough, both parties agreed before the court that there can only be one Eze, Onyendu in one community.

Unfortunately, people who do not believe in due process and rule of law, people who believe that money is everything, and that they can buy everybody with their money, but they refused to remember that some people can collect their money and still use their conscience, people who believe that they are above the law, have constituted themselves to obstacles to the unity and peace of Ndigbo in Ibadan and Oyo state, while they have continued to deceive the public with their falsehood. They have always used as their excuse, the past actions of the South East Traditional Rulers Council group, who were not sincerely and properly informed then, thereby made the big and serious mistake, they made on the matter, because they acted after hearing from only one side.

But all their actions,  when presented before an High court of competent jurisdiction were all declared null and void and of no effect.

So, Aloysius Obi is not Onyendu Ndigbo in Ibadan and Oyo state. And I believe that every law abiding citizen of Nigeria will agree with me.

                                                           THE TRUTH

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Supreme Court’s Texas Decision Is the Greatest Victory for Abortion Rights Since Roe v. Wade

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Red states like Texas have used ‘women’s health’ as an excuse to gut reproductive rights for the past 20 years. That’s all over now.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is the most monumental abortion rights decision in decades. In time, it may prove to be nearly as significant to a rising generation of American women as Roe v. Wade was to their mothers and grandmothers.

In a 5-3 decision authored by Stephen Breyer, the Supreme Court ruled that a Texas abortion restriction passed in 2013 “places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion” and that it “constitutes an undue burden on abortion access.” Accordingly, the Texas law was found to be unconstitutional.

The Texas law, HB 2, required abortion providers to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The law has been stuck in legal limbo since Gov. Rick Perry signed it in 2013, ultimately getting appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Over half of Texas’ abortion clinics have already closed since HB 2. If the Court had tied 4-4, or ruled in favor of the Texas law, as many as ten of the state’s remaining 19 abortion clinics could have been forced to close as well, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Now, they will stay open.

But Whole Woman’s Health has consequences that stretch far beyond the Lone Star State. Most importantly, it will give abortion-rights advocates even more authority to argue that a recent deluge of state-level abortion restrictions are unconstitutional.

FREEDOM

06.27.16 4:06 PM ET

Supreme Court’s Texas Decision Is the Greatest Victory for Abortion Rights Since Roe v. Wade

Red states like Texas have used ‘women’s health’ as an excuse to gut reproductive rights for the past 20 years. That’s all over now.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is the most monumental abortion rights decision in decades. In time, it may prove to be nearly as significant to a rising generation of American women as Roe v. Wade was to their mothers and grandmothers.

In a 5-3 decision authored by Stephen Breyer, the Supreme Court ruled that a Texas abortion restriction passed in 2013 “places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion” and that it “constitutes an undue burden on abortion access.” Accordingly, the Texas law was found to be unconstitutional.

The Texas law, HB 2, required abortion providers to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The law has been stuck in legal limbo since Gov. Rick Perry signed it in 2013, ultimately getting appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Over half of Texas’ abortion clinics have already closed since HB 2. If the Court had tied 4-4, or ruled in favor of the Texas law, as many as ten of the state’s remaining 19 abortion clinics could have been forced to close as well, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Now, they will stay open.

But Whole Woman’s Health has consequences that stretch far beyond the Lone Star State. Most importantly, it will give abortion-rights advocates even more authority to argue that a recent deluge of state-level abortion restrictions are unconstitutional.


According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than one-quarter of all state-level abortion restrictions since Roe have been passed in the last five years, increasing in pace since the GOP gained control over more governorships and state legislatures in the 2010 midterm elections. These laws have regulated everything from how long women must wait before an abortion to when women can receive an abortion to the width of abortion clinic hallways, prompting exasperated abortion rights advocates to ask: What good is legal abortion if access to it is severely restricted?

These restrictions were passed under the guise of protecting “women’s health” after the Court ruled in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey that lawmakers could not place an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion before fetal viability, generally considered to take place around 24 weeks. That decision was intended to prevent abortion opponents from passing laws with the express intent of closing clinics or restricting access without a health-based justification. But for the past six years especially, anti-abortion lawmakers have been stretching the meaning of the term “undue” with an unprecedented wave of restrictive legislation.

The fight over abortion restrictions came to a head in Texas after HB 2 forced many abortion providers to close and temporarily left women in the Rio Grande Valley without a clinic closer than San Antonio, which is hundreds of miles away. After appeal, the Fifth Circuit upheld HB 2 but also allowed Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen, Texas to remain open and serve the Valley pending today’s Supreme Court decision.

In a statement Monday morning, Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, said, “Today, justice was served.”

The McAllen clinic and other survived because the Court, citing medical experts, rejected arguments that HB 2’s restrictions were necessary to protect women in the event of abortion complications.

“Texas argues that HB 2’s restrictions are constitutional because they protect the health of women who experience complications from abortions,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in a withering concurrence opinion. “In truth, ‘complications from an abortion are both rare and rarely dangerous.’”

Ginsburg further argued that it was “beyond rational belief” for abortion opponents to suggest that HB 2 was meant to help women.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton still maintains that belief. In a statement, he called the decision “exceedingly unfortunate,” saying that the Court had taken away the state’s “ability to protect women’s health.”

Monday’s decision could have direct consequences not just for Texas but for dozens of other states. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 22 states require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers; 10 states require clinics to be within a certain distance of a hospital; five require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital — privileges that hospitals are not always willing to bestow given the controversy surrounding abortion.

The 5-3 ruling does not automatically roll back these restrictions, but abortion rights advocates will now be able to challenge them with a much greater chance of success. They are celebrating today’s ruling not just as a victory for Texas, but for all women.

EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock called the ruling “a victory for women everywhere, reaffirming our right to make our own reproductive health care decisions no matter where we live.”

“We are thrilled that these dangerous provisions have been struck down,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards in a statement. “This is a win for women.”

And NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said, “The Supreme Court has powerfully reaffirmed a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about her health, family, and future, no matter her zip code.”

Moving forward, we can expect abortion rights advocates to issue swift challenges to myriad other abortion restrictions nationwide. In a statement issued minutes after the ruling, National Abortion Federation president Vicki Saporta promised as much.

“While this decision will help with the barriers in Texas and gives a solid precedent to strike down similar laws in other states as unconstitutional, there are still many politically-motivated, medically-unnecessary barriers to accessing abortion care throughout the U.S.,” she said. “We will celebrate this win for evidence-based medical care today, but we will continue working with our members in Texas and across the U.S. to ensure that women can access the abortion care they need.”

Source : Daily Beast

Who Really Killed a Playboy Terrorist?

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One of the world’s most wanted terrorists met a fiery death last month. The mystery over who killed him is now an international guessing game—with the prime suspects in Washington.

Plenty of people wanted Mustafa Badreddine dead. 

There were the Saudis, who blamed him for terror attacks in the kingdom and against its allies abroad. 

The Israelis had already once tried to assassinate Badreddine, the military commander of Hezbollah and one of the most important and powerful figures in the organization. 

Even Badreddine’s own Hezbollah brethren were said to have their knives out, feuding with the storied militant over where the group should devote its resources: Towards attacks against its longstanding enemy, Israel, or on the battlefields of Syria, where Badreddine had been commanding around 6,000 men in an all-out effort to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Some Hezbollah figures had also chastised Badreddine as an easily distracted womanizer who had developed a taste for the high-life, dining in fine restaurants and tooling around Lebanon in a Mercedes. 

But of all Badreddine’s many enemies, one had a special place for him on its most-wanted list–the United States. And that has officials in several countries speculating that Washington finally took him out in a massive explosion in Damascus last month. 

Badreddine had put himself in America’s crosshairs at a young age. In 1983, the 22-year old budding terrorist helped to plan the suicide bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Even then, Badreddine was a genius with explosives and devised a means for increasing the force of the bomb by the insertion of compressed gas. Loaded onto a flatbed truck, his device ripped the hulking barracks building off its foundations and collapsed it inward, killing 241 men inside, most of them probably in their sleep. It was the deadliest day for the Marines since they stormed the beaches at Iwo Jima. 

Badreddine would go on to help plan and execute a string of bombings that year, including on the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait. But there, he was captured, tried, and imprisoned. The cunning killer seemed to have been put away.

Badreddine’s cousin, however, had other plans. He made it his mission to free his brother-in-arms, and he directed a slew of kidnappings and attacks all aimed at achieving that end. In one notorious airline hijacking in June 1985, in which the assailants demanded Badreddine’s release in exchange for the passengers, the cousin and his henchmen beat to death Navy diver Robert Stethem and dumped his body on the tarmac of the Beirut airport in front of rolling TV cameras. 

There were other violent efforts to free Badreddine and 16 of his fellow prisoners, including at least two hijackings, which claimed the lives of four passengers, and a kidnapping spree of Americans in Beirut in the 1980s. That led President Ronald Reagan to sell arms to Iran–Hezbollah’s main patron–in exchange for the Americans’ release.

But then, a stroke of luck for Hezbollah: Badreddine escaped prison in 1990 amid the chaos of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. For the next quarter century, he was practically a ghost, using aliases and multiple cell phones to avoid detection. 

Until one day last month. 

On May 10, in a building near the Damascus airport, Badreddine met the same fiery end as so many of his victims. News accounts are sketchy but all described a huge explosion that killed Badreddine and possibly others present for a meeting of Hezbollah’s forces in Syria. What was left of him was placed in a box and buried in Beirut. Thousands turned out for the funeral, and Iran’s government sent messages of condolence praising the vanquished commander. 

 

Who Really Killed a Playboy Terrorist

Reuters

Badreddine’s death was a body blow to Hezbollah, which has been losing more men in its efforts to prop up the Assad regime than it has in armed conflict with its longtime enemy Israel, according to U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials. But it was also a moment of celebration for American spies, soldiers, and diplomats. Badreddine was one of the founding fathers of the modern era of terrorism, kicked off by the barracks bombing in 1983 and an attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut that killed 63 people and wiped out most of the CIA station in the country. It was the deadliest strike on the agency until an al Qaeda suicide bomber detonated himself at a remote outpost in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009. 

Almost immediately after the explosion that killed Badreddine in Damascus, Hezbollah pinned the blame on Israel. That was no surprise. Accusing Israeli intelligence for all manner of attacks is practically a reflex for Hezbollah. And sometimes with good reason. In fact, the U.S. and Israel had been credited with killing Badreddine’s cousin, Imad Mughniyah, in 2008. Until his death, Mughniyah, who was also married to Badreddine’s sister, had been Hezbollah’s military chief. He was killed after a months-long operation–also in Damascus–with a bespoke bomb hidden inside a car. It detonated as Mughniyah passed, ripping him limb-from-limb and sending his torso flying through a window 50 feet away, Newsweek reported.

Who Really Killed a Playboy Terrorist

Reuters

But almost as soon as the word went out  that Israel had killed Badreddine, Hezbollah made a new claim–that he was assassinated by “takfiri” terrorists, a pejorative for Syrian rebel forces and Sunni militants, including ISIS and al Qaeda, whom Shiite Hezbollah considers apostates.

That may have been the official line. But in the U.S. and Israel, no one seemed to buy it. What’s more, in the corridors of power in Tehran, senior government officials were pointing the finger somewhere else: Washington. 

***

The U.S.  certainly had the motive, and the opportunity, considering that the  military’s Central Command is conducting a daily barrage of airstrikes in Syria. If American spies did finally track Badreddine to that building near the airport in Damascus, it must have been the result of painstaking work by U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies. 

Badreddine was famous not just for his lethal genius, but for being practically untraceable. “Since the year 2000, there has been no mention of his name in any registry or record in Lebanon, there are no bank accounts, social security or internal revenue documentation and no property in his name,” Ronen Bergman, the journalist who is perhaps most well-sourced in Israel’s intelligence community, wrote shortly after Badreddine died. 

But Badreddine didn’t exactly live a quiet life. Under another identity, Sami Issa–or alternatively Sami Samino–he struck the pose of an international man of mystery. He dined in expensive restaurants. Personal bodyguards attended his moves. He even owned a jewelry shop, boldly named “Samino,” Bergman reports.

On his various cell phones Badreddine kept in touch with his various mistresses. He risked detection by some of his oldest enemies. But not even the threat of imminent death could slake his mortal appetites, it seems.  

Being hunted also didn’t blunt Badreddine terrorist ambitions, and in 2005, he proved that while he might be off the radar, he was not out of the picture. Working with top Hezbollah commanders, Badreddine orchestrated the assassination of Rafic Hariri, the ex-prime minister of Lebanon and one of the country’s most well known politicians and business leaders. Hariri’s convoy was hit by a massive bomb hidden inside a parked car near the St. George Hotel in Beirut. It was a classic Badreddine operation. 

“Hariri was one of the best-guarded people in the world, with his security protocol formulated by experts from Germany and the United States,” Bergman writes. “Badreddine’s success in killing Hariri (together with 21 other people) had once again proven that apart from Mughniyah [his cousin and brother-in-law], he was the best operative in the organization.”     

But within three years, Mughniyah was dead, killed in that joint U.S.-Israeli operation. Badreddine stepped into his relative’s role, and now, the hunt was on for him. 

In January 2015, Israel thought they’d found their man, traveling in a convoy in Syria. An Israeli helicopter reportedly fired two missiles at the vehicles, but Badreddine wasn’t there. Mughniyah’s son, however, was among the dead. 

Badreddine would have gotten the message that his trail was no longer cold. Israeli officials were onto him, which meant the Americans almost certainly were, too. The fact that Israel had tried so recently to kill Badreddine is another reason why U.S. and Israeli officials I spoke to are deeply skeptical of the theory that ISIS or al Qaeda fighters finally took him to his grave. 

***

There has been no public claim from Hezbollah that the U.S. killed Badreddine. But at the highest levels of the Iranian regime, leaders have concluded that he was taken out in a precision U.S. airstrike, an Iranian official with knowledge of information sent to top leaders told The Daily Beast. 

Radar that Iran had installed in Lebanon and Syria picked up signals showing a missile that was fired by what Tehran’s intelligence analysts have concluded was either a U.S. drone or a manned aircraft, said the Iranian official, who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name. 

This bold allegation hasn’t been officially leveled. But, the official said, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was so incensed by the American attack on a Hezbollah icon that he ordered Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, to begin retaliatory strikes at U.S-backed rebels in Syria. It’s not clear if those orders were carried out. But a U.S. counterterrorism source told The Daily Beast that there had been “chatter” since Badreddine’s death that Iran had put out orders to exact some revenge. 

The fog of suspicion only thickens. Speaking privately, two U.S. defense officials said they’re aware of allegations in Iran that the U.S. was behind the attack. But they offered no claim about who was really responsible, other than to speculate that the explosion may have been caused by an errant artillery strike by the Syrian regime, a kind of friendly fire incident that was also a “lucky” event for the U.S., as one official put it.

A U.S. intelligence official said he was also aware that Hezbollah has publicly blamed “takfiri” terrorists. But no one in the U.S. national security community, nor in Israel, was persuaded that ISIS or al Qaeda’s branch in Syria had the sophistication or the firepower to pull off the attack that killed Badreddine.

Hezbollah said in an official statement that an “artillery bombardment” caused the explosion that killed their commander. But that would seem to rule out an attack by Sunni terrorists since they’re not known to possess those kinds of weapons. Syrian opposition forces, for their part, have also rejected claims that they may have been responsible. 

At the same time, some Lebanese journalists with sources in Hezbollah have claimed that Badreddine “was killed by a missile possessed only by advanced countries,” according to the Times of Israel. That would support Tehran’s contention that Washington is to blame. Lebanese papers have also quoted Hezbollah parliamentarians alleging that Israel provided the technology to kill Badreddine, the Times of Israel reported, which leaves open the possibility that Israel tracked Badreddine to his location and then tipped off forces on the ground. 

But Tehran has dismissed the notion that Sunni fighters, Israel, or anyone besides the U.S. military or the CIA were to blame, the Iranian official said. He also downplayed speculation, which has surfaced in various press accounts, that Hezbollah may have killed Badreddine as part of an internal power struggle. Hezbollah’s true believers “do not kill their own people–period,” the official said.

If the U.S. did kill Badreddine, it might want to keep that quiet so as not to divulge the intelligence sources used to find him. Iran may also have calculated that it’s not worth antagonizing the U.S. to publicly assign the blame for Badreddine’s killing, particularly now that Iran is enjoying sanctions relief following a landmark agreement with Western powers to suspend production of nuclear materials.

The lack of precise details on the nature of the explosion–was it really a missile, or could it have been a powerful bomb, maybe even of the kind that Badreddine knew how to build?–also has helped fan the flames of speculation about who’s to blame. But in recent conversations, Israeli journalists and intelligence officers repeatedly said that Israel wasn’t behind the assassination. 

One Israeli intelligence official, speaking privately, likewise concluded that Israel was not the culprit. What’s more, the official added, it was notable that Hezbollah quickly walked back initial claims that Israel was responsible. The reason? The last thing that Hezbollah’s leaders want now is another fight with Israel; their forces are too stretched, having evolved from a militant group focused primarily on its home base of Lebanon to an expeditionary force that is spilling blood and treasure in Syria, this official said.

So who did it? The Israeli official smiled. “I think maybe it was you,” he said, meaning the United States. 

In the end, it may not matter who gets credit for killing Badreddine. The fact that he was taken down after a lifetime spent in the shadows has sent a message to Hezbollah and its patrons in Tehran, the Iranian official said: Your forces aren’t as strong as you think they are.

The U.S. will count that as a win.

–with additional reporting by Nancy A. Youssef 

Source : Daily Beast

The Watch Thieves Who Picked L.A. Clean

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In less than 10 months, a fledgling robbery ring smashed and grabbed its way to $6 million in stolen goods. But the leaders got greedy, plans got sloppy, and the police got smart.

Their story was always about time—time to plan, to execute, to get away—but in the end it was really about how quickly time could disappear. How fast a plan could dissolve, a getaway route crumble, or a profit margin explode, becoming greater than anyone had anticipated.

They’re accused of forming one of the most ambitious robbery rings in recent Los Angeles history. The group operated for less than 10 months, yet it allegedly brought in nearly $6 million worth of stolen jewelry and luxury watches. One of their attempted heists took precisely 61 minutes, from planning to execution, according to federal prosecutors, and we know this because they were already under ATF surveillance. They were turning heads. They had the authorities worried. 

It all came down to time. Between a phone call and a robbery, an hour might pass or just a short car ride from one neighborhood to the next, or maybe a few days might slide by, but the clock was always ticking. There would be a donning of ski masks or more elaborate disguises—dressing up like construction workers seemed to work for them—and then a final check of a handgun or rifle. Then, of course, there were the heists. They were quick, explosive; one in February 2016, prosecutors claim, took less than a minute. 

Based on the resulting federal indictment, as well as several affidavits filed by a special agent of the ATF, reviewed by The Daily Beast, we can reconstruct what allegedly happened. We can piece together, nearly hour by hour, how prosecutors say a multimillion-dollar watch-theft ring took shape, its momentum nearly overwhelming the powers of the federal authorities who investigated them. 

The group is accused of carrying out a streak of high-velocity heists, from the San Fernando Valley to Orange County, from Malibu to Mission Viejo. It was an adrenalized blur of stolen SUVs and high school parking lots, of clothing thrown away in public trashcans and panicked cellphone calls to make sure nothing had been forgotten. They seemed to know the authorities were close—at one point, the group’s alleged leader suspected the police had been tracking a red BMW that one of the unindicted members of the crew had been driving—but they somehow managed to stay ahead of the game. 

I call them the Watchmen, because they were stealing watches—millions and millions of dollars’ worth of watches—including Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Audemars Piguet, and Hublot. They knew exactly what they were targeting, and how to get it. One robbery alone nabbed an incredible $1.6 million worth of Rolexes from a dealer at the Century City Mall, and even their other heists were huge: $200,000, $500,000, $600,000, $1.4 million. 

For all the rush and urgency, though, these guys studied. They practiced. They noted targets and escape routes. They were organized. They would walk into a store to browse the merchandise, checking out the shopping mall around them to make sure they knew how to escape. They took pictures. They planted getaway cars. They waited, their sledgehammers and masks at the ready. 

Seconds, minutes, hours. It was all about time, until their time ran out. 

The group consisted of at least 18 men, prosecutors say; however, at the time of this writing, two of them are still at large. Their ostensible leaders, the men who allegedly picked the targets, recruited the others, and assigned them all specific roles, were known as “D,” “Green Eyes,” and “Bald Head.” The nicknames for the rest of the crew are a cinematic grab bag of the humorous and the absurd. There was “Macc Attack” and “Tiny Bogart.” There was “Poncho” and “Bully Bad Ass,” “Hang Out” and “Snoop.” “J-Bone” and “Brownie” joined “Pitbull” for good measure. 

Beyond that nicknamed core, things quickly splintered into a labyrinth of unindicted co-conspirators—or UCCs—anonymous figures who populate the indictment, from UCC-1 all the way to UCC-23. These were the lowest-level recruits, brought on as muscle, which meant that, increasingly, as the spree went on and the robberies occurred closer and closer together in time, as if everyone knew a clock somewhere was ticking, they were the ones taking on most of the risk. 

“D” and “Bald Head” would hang back, according to prosecutors, waiting for things to go as planned, while paying outlandishly low fees to the guys who did the dirty work. It was $500 here, $750 there, for heists that easily netted seven figures. In the most extreme example, after pulling off a robbery that included more than one and a half million dollars’ worth of Rolexes, one UCC was paid $1,000 dollars—less than a thousandth of what those stolen watches were worth. 

Looking at this from one perspective, we can speculate that these guys were just entrepreneurs, building a business profile for themselves, farming out the hourly work while paying themselves the big salaries. Like mini-godfathers, they wanted to outsource their crimes, to run an organization and go into business for themselves, hoping to reap the biggest profits. It could have been the first step in an empire—if only they had had more time. 

What we don’t yet know—pending public confirmation from the ATF, which will only be available after the trial—is exactly how the wiretaps were set and how the group’s conversations inside stolen sedans and SUVs all over Los Angeles got recorded. But the wires were tapped; the conversations were logged. In a sense, these guys never stood a chance. 

***

The day of the alleged Century City heist—the group’s biggest—the high was 86 degrees. It was Los Angeles at its least apocalyptic, when even the shortest cigarette break or run to the coffee shop is just an excuse to feel some sunshine; but it was also the kind of day when that perfect afternoon light shining down out of the west might blind outdoor surveillance cameras or make CCTV flare unusably. 

The crew spent at least a week planning the heist, the indictment explains, discussing specific watches to grab and which guard to expect. Prosecutors claim a member of the crew known as “Bones” even made an early surveillance run to the store, photographing the most expensive watches with his cellphone (an alleged witness would later identify the man in a police line-up). Defendant “D” then developed a getaway plan, almost painful in its simplicity, where “Pitbull” would wait for them in the mall’s lower-level parking garage before they all finally fled—a trick that appears to have actually worked, as responding officers wrongly focused their initial attention on the surrounding neighborhood. 

As soon as the crew set their plan into motion, however, things began to go off-track. The security guard stationed in the Rolex store saw two guys running up the mall’s internal escalator—two guys who had, by now, put on ski masks, one of them actually carrying a rifle—and tried to block the door. If he could hold them off, the guard must have thought, then they wouldn’t be able to steal anything—but they also couldn’t hurt anyone, which had to be the larger concern.

It was at this point that one of the masked men—a still-unindicted co-conspirator, referred to in the indictment as UCC-4—leveled his rifle. It’s what anyone would do: you point a loaded, military-style assault rifle at somebody blocking your way and you hope it convinces them to back down. You hope they crumple. But the threat didn’t work and the guard held his ground. 

UCC-4 apparently felt he had no other choice in that moment. He held the rifle tight and fired.

***

This was by no means the group’s first heist, prosecutors claim; it would also not be their last. But it would certainly be their biggest. They had hit a jewelry store in the Westfield Topanga mall, grabbing nearly $60,000 worth of watches, disarming the guard with a cloud of pepper spray; they had even mugged a hapless shopper at another L.A. emporium, stealing a Rolex off his wrist. But this heist, the first and only in which shots would be fired, set the pace for what was to follow.

Los Angeles, of course, has long been a global center for heists, at every scale and intensity. In the 1980s and ’90s, for example, as I detail in my book A Burglar’s Guide to the City, L.A. became the bank robbery capital of the world. Through unique tweaks in its urban design and transportation infrastructure, Los Angeles had inadvertently set itself up as a place ripe for robbing—and, with all those city-spanning freeways, as an all-too-vulnerable metropolis with multiple opportunities to get away. For a criminal gang to stand out in L.A., in other words, they really had to push the envelope. 

As Sergeant Michael Maher of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, who helped investigate the case, explained to me, there was no doubt this group was sophisticated, even in a time of increasingly brazen bank robberies and home invasions. Sophisticated, he added, at least at the planning level. 

Maher is head of the Burglary-Robbery Task Force (BRTF) of the L.A. Sheriffs’ Major Crimes Bureau. The Watchmen, he said, were well organized, but their heists got “haphazard and even dangerous,” he explained to me, as things increasingly got farmed out to these unindicted co-conspirators. The plans had made sense, in other words, at least on paper; but throw volatile amateurs in the mix, being paid just a couple hundred dollars a pop, and errors began to be made in the execution. 

Consider the failed heist in January 2016, only one day after the new year, when three unindicted co-conspirators connected to the group raided a branch of Ben Bridge Jeweler in Santa Monica. Though two of them were armed with hammers, they were unable to break the protective glass of the jewelry cases. Battering the shatter-resistant displays again and again, they either didn’t have the arm strength or the right tools to break through. They left defeated, even humiliated, stealing nothing. 

It was only when they went back in April, after meeting up in a tiny Inglewood park across the street from a graveyard to discuss how to hit the jewelry store the right way, that they finally pulled it off.

Or think of the robbery they allegedly planned for February 2016, when the group tried to hit a branch of Westime in West Hollywood. Everything would have gone as planned—but perhaps the traffic that day was bad. Perhaps they’d taken a wrong turn somewhere. Perhaps they’d just forgotten the directions. Either way, when they finally showed up, the jewelry store was already closed. They had to come back the next day—as well as rent a hotel room for the accomplices, prosecutors claim—but at least they finally pulled it off. They were dressed like construction workers and fully armed. 

Captain Myron Johnson of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department echoed his colleague’s assessment. “They were pretty high up the food chain,” Johnson agreed; this meant they could farm out the worst of it, roping in people who might have intuitively known something didn’t quite add up, but who agreed under pressure, nonetheless. After all, it could be $500 for an hour’s work—no matter that they were actually stealing half a million dollars’ worth of Rolexes.

It was when the group “went and recruited these local gang members who weren’t afraid of using force to rob others,” Johnson suggested, that things really went wrong. This new layer of hired help was allegedly far more impulsive than the core group had anticipated, as well as far more willing to take risks—and more willing to hurt strangers. In business terms, it was a breakdown of middle management. These new guys issued death threats and forced a security guard down to the floor to steal his gun, the indictment explains. They hit another guard in the head with a handgun. 

“Macc Attack” and a small group of UCCs allegedly stole 66 watches worth $1.4 million in Malibu. “Bully Bad Ass” and “Hang Out” are accused of nabbing nearly half a million dollars’ worth of watches from a smash-and-grab in Torrance. “Pitbull” and “Snoop” allegedly scored watches worth $595,000 from a shop in Mission Viejo. A group consisting entirely of unindicted co-conspirators stole 36 watches worth $662,000 from a store in Canoga Park, prosecutors say.

As the list of stores across Los Angeles targeted for their luxury timepieces lengthened, the Watchmen’s outlines as a group gradually became clear. Meanwhile, “D,” “Green Eyes,” and “Bald Head” could hover in the background and watch the money roll in with every tick of the clock.

***

The shot fired at the Century City Mall that day missed the guard, slamming instead into the store window. But the guard dropped, anyway—leaving the door unprotected. The masked men got in. 

A display case full of Rolex watches is a beautiful thing. Precision metal work and lush settings make for an almost museum-like experience. It is quiet, even reverent, inside the shop itself, as if this is a place of contemplation, not commerce. But, hammers in hand, the men began to smash through the cases, sending ice-like chunks of reinforced glass flying. There was so much debris, in fact, that one of the men allegedly cut himself on the sharp edges, leading to the later forensic recovery of an incriminating DNA sample. 

That was when the frenzy really began, as they allegedly grabbed watch after watch—and not just a handful or even a dozen, even two dozen, but 40. Forty watches priced at $1,633,250 thrown into black backpacks while the guard lay on the ground and the other customers prayed they would escape with their lives. 

Functionally now millionaires, the two men ran back along the pre-rehearsed route to find “Pitbull” idling in the parking garage in a stolen Toyota, prosecutors say. The two men hopped in the car as police looked elsewhere, apparently expecting to see them fleeing through the streets, but, in just a few minutes, they were gone. 

***

The Watchmen allegedly met all over the city to plan their crimes, but they often came back to one place in particular, according to the indictment: a charter high school in Inglewood less than 60-seconds’ walk from “D”’s own home. In fact, schools seemed to play a strangely important role for the ring, as members of the group would often meet near them to make plans. They even dumped a bunch of incriminating clothing at a middle school in Calabasas. 

But it was often at this schoolyard in Inglewood, if the indictment is to be believed, that core members of the group, including “D” himself, would get together to hand out guns, masks, and other intangibles, such as advice for immobilizing security guards, or how to hammer through the display cases right the first time.

It’s not hard to speculate about the group’s overall motivations. The money was insane. They were nabbing $40,000 watches after mere minutes of action—and they were getting away with it. Local news didn’t know who they were; the authorities were only just picking up on them. It was a get-rich-quick scheme made real, a proto-empire on the up and up.

It took a while for a clear pattern in the crimes to emerge, Captain Johnson told me, but then the dots—these high-intensity raids on luxury watch shops all over the Southland—were finally connected. “Any time you have a unique crime,” Johnson said, “and it starts happening more than once, you gotta ask yourself if there’s a pattern. Investigators will start sharing different nuances from each crime—and, if there’s a pattern, that’s when you see it.”

On the day of their final heist, a clear Sunday afternoon in April 2016, the Watchmen met at a small park in Inglewood. It has an outdoor area for public seating and a few coiled children’s slides, colored red and green, swirling down to meet the ground. There are wooden benches beneath healthy trees. A community mural—colorful shapes of paint on chipped concrete—stretches from north to south along one side of the park, as if to help block what would otherwise be visible in a visitor’s most peripheral vision: a seemingly endless cemetery across the street, surrounded by a chain-link fence.

The Ben Bridge Jeweler they allegedly hit that day in Santa Monica was the exact same place where, only a few months earlier, their unindicted co-conspirators had, for whatever reason, been unable to break the display cases—a mistake that would not be made this second time around. 

When they got to the mall at Santa Monica Place, walking past a Coach and an Emporio Armani, wearing dark sweatpants and masks, carrying hammers, catching fractured reflections of themselves in the mirrors of a nearby Tiffany, tourists and families alike would have been out alongside them for a leisurely day of shopping. 

The group couldn’t have known this heist would be their last—and there’s no way they would have wanted it to be. By Watchmen standards, the take that day was terrible: a mere $67,000 worth of TAG Heuers. In retrospect, they never should have bothered. 

But it was also the day their time ran out. The authorities had put the puzzle together. The lines had converged. Other members of the crew had been arrested, following DNA evidence pulled from fragments of glass at earlier crime scenes and even from the discarded clothing thrown away so impulsively following otherwise successful heists. The police now had names; they had started wire-tapping; this particular jewelry store had already been hit—and the Watchmen, after all, seemed to really like shopping malls. It was a pattern. 

Many secrets of the case are still pending—how the ATF and the L.A. County Sheriffs got onto these guys for the very first time, and when their earliest wiretaps were initially set—but those details will become clear this summer after the cases go to trial. 

But it seemed like the clock would always be ticking. Hours, minutes, seconds—there would always be more. Until it finally hit zero, and the Watchmen were finished. 

Source : Daily Beast

We Just Witnessed The Greatest One Day Global Stock Market Loss In World History

By Michael Snyder

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More stock market wealth was lost on Friday than on any other day in world history.  As you will see below, global investors lost two trillion dollars on the day following the Brexit vote.  And remember, this is on top of the trillions that global investors have already lost over the past 12 months.  It is important to understand that the Brexit vote was not the beginning of a new crisis – it has simply accelerated a global financial crisis that started last year and that was already in the process of unfolding.  As I noted on Friday, we have been waiting for “the next Lehman Brothers moment” that would really unleash fear and panic globally, and now we have it.  The next six months should be absolutely fascinating to watch.

According to CNBC, the total amount of money lost on global stock markets on Friday surpassed anything that we had ever seen before, and that includes the darkest days of the financial crisis of 2008…

Worldwide markets hemorrhaged more than $2 trillion in paper wealth on Friday, according to data from S&P Global, the worst on record. For context, that figure eclipsed the whipsaw trading sessions of the 2008 financial crisis, according to S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt.

The prior one day sell-off record was $1.9 trillion back in September of 2008, Silverblatt noted. According to S&P’s Broad Market Index, combined market capitalization is currently worth nearly $42 trillion.

And of course many of the wealthiest individuals on the planet got absolutely hammered.  According to Bloomberg, the 400 richest people in the world lost a total of $127.4 billion dollars on Friday…

The world’s 400 richest people lost $127.4 billion Friday as global equity markets reeled from the news that British voters elected to leave the European Union. The billionaires lost 3.2 percent of their total net worth, bringing the combined sum to $3.9 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The biggest decline belonged to Europe’s richest person, Amancio Ortega, who lost more than $6 billion, while nine others dropped more than $1 billion, including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the wealthiest person in the U.K.

Could you imagine losing a billion dollars on a single day?

I am sure that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are not shivering in their boots quite yet, but what if the markets keep on bleeding like they did in 2008?

On the other hand, globalist magnate George Soros made a ton of money on Friday because he had positioned himself for a Brexit ahead of time.  The following comes from the London Independent

The billionaire who predicted Brexit would bring about “Black Friday” and a crisis for the finances of ordinary people appears to have profited hugely from the UK’s surprise exit from the EU.

George Soros is widely known as the man who “broke” the Bank of England in 1992, when he bet against the pound and made a reported £1.5bn.

Although the exact amount Mr Soros has gained after Brexit is not known, public filings show he doubled his bets earlier this year that stocks would fall.

So what will happen on Monday when the markets reopen?

Personally, I don’t think that it will be as bad as Friday.

But I could be wrong.

In early trading, Dow futures, S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures are all down

Dow futures fell by 90 points in early trading, while S&P 500 futures slipped 11 points, and NASDAQ futures dipped 24 points. Gold futures rose, in a reflection of sustained demand for safe-haven assets.

And at this moment, the British pound is getting absolutely crushed.  It is down to 1.33, and I would expect to see it fall a lot lower in the weeks and months to come.

Why?

Well, the truth is that now that the British people have voted to leave the EU, the globalists have to make it as painful as possible on them in order to send a warning to other nations that may consider leaving.  I think that a recent article by W. Ben Hunt explained this very well…

What’s next? From a game theory perspective, the EU and ECB need to crush the UK. It’s like the Greek debt negotiations … it was never about Greece, it was always about sending a signal that dissent and departure will not be tolerated to the countries that matter to the survival of the Eurozone (France, Italy, maybe Spain). Now they (and by “they” I mean the status quo politicians throughout the EU, not just Germany) are going to send that same signal to the same countries by hurting the UK any way they can, creating a Narrative that it’s economic death to leave the EU, much less the Eurozone. It’s not spite. It’s purely rational. It’s the smart move.

The elite need a crisis now in order to show everyone that globalism is the answer and not the problem.  If the British people were allowed to thrive once they walked away, that would only encourage more countries to go down the exact same path.  This is something that the elite are determined to avoid.

The Brexit vote has barely sunk in, and Bank of America and Goldman Sachs are already projecting a recession for the United Kingdom.  Sadly, I believe that this is what we will see happen.

But it won’t just be the British that suffer.

On Friday, European banking stocks had their worst day ever.  In particular, Deutsche Bank fell an astounding 17.49 percent to an all-time record closing low of 14.72.  I have warned repeatedly about the implosion of Deutsche Bank, and this crisis could be the catalyst for it.

In addition, I have repeatedly warned about the slow-motion meltdown that is happening in Japan.  On Friday, Japanese stocks lost 1286 points, and the yen surged in the exact opposite direction that the government is trying to send it…

Tokyo, we have a problem.

Last week, market tumult stemming from the U.K.’s vote to quit the European Union drove the British pound to its weakest levels in three decades.

Yet it also sent investors flocking to traditional safe haven assets like the U.S. dollar, gold and the yen, the latter surging against every major currency as the results of Brexit became clear: Dollar/yen spiked from a Thursday high near 107 to a two-year low near 99.

Just like in 2008, there will be days when global markets will be green.  When that happens, it will not mean that the crisis is over.

If you follow my work closely, then you know that it is imperative to look at the bigger picture.  Over the past 12 months, there have been some very nice market rallies around the world, but investors have still lost trillions of dollars overall.

What happens on any one particular day is not the story.  Rather, the key is to focus on the long-term trends.

And without a doubt, this Brexit vote could be “the tipping point” that greatly accelerates our ongoing woes…

“Brexit is the biggest global monetary shock since 2008,” said David Beckworth, a scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, in a blog post on Friday. “This could be the tipping point that turns the existing global slowdown of 2016 into a global recession.”

We were already dealing with a new global economic crisis without the Brexit vote.  But what this does is it introduces an element of panic and fear that had been missing up until this current time.

And markets do not like panic and fear very much.  In general, markets tend to go up when things are calm and predictable, and they tend to go down when chaos reigns.

Unfortunately, I believe that we are going to see quite a bit more chaos for the rest of 2016, and the trillions that were lost on Friday may turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

 Source : The Economic Collapse Blog

Africa: Uncertain Trade, Less Progressive Aid and a New Colonial-Minded PM? What Brexit Means for Africa

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Chaos has been unleashed and we all will be poorer because of Brexit, including in Africa.

23 June saw the UK vote for Brexit. A populist rebellion was provoked by an internal dispute in the ruling Conservative party, and chaos has been unleashed. We don’t know the full consequences of the UK withdrawing from the European Union (EU), but it’s not going to be good.

Commentaries before the vote speculated on implications. First there’s trade. The UK is an important trading partner with Africa, and deals with the EU govern much of this. Only this month an EU Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed with the Southern African Development Community, allowing free trade access to Europe for some countries. Now all these arrangements have to be renegotiated bilaterally through the World Trade Organisation, and its 161 members. It will be a slow and costly readjustment, creating much uncertainty. Baffled by this madness, Chinese official commentary put in nicely, saying Britons were “showing a losing mindset” and becoming “citizens of a nation that prefers to shut itself from the outside world”.

Then there is aid. The UK has been a substantial contributor to the EU aid programme, providing 2 billion euros, including 14.8% of the European Development Fund. While I would be the first to admit that not all of this was effective or efficient, it does allow a broader mandate than the increasingly narrow focus of the UK aid spend. And the UK influence on the portfolio has always been important.

But perhaps more important than the flows of cash is the influence of the UK on European development debates. Whether in discussions on the impact of EU domestic farm subsidies on African agriculture or in providing input into the framing of development efforts, the UK government as well as British NGOs, think tanks and research institutes have been really important. This has been particularly so since the establishment of the UK Department of International Development in 1997 and the G8 Gleneagles agreement in 2005, and a commitment – amazingly across governments of different political hues – to a progressive aid agenda, particularly in Africa. This role in European positioning globally will be much missed.

An “obnoxious and overbearing” new PM?

The Brexit campaigners argued for ‘taking back control’ of aid and trade. But in a globalised world, this small island mentality is absurd. Britain thankfully no longer rules the waves, nor has vast swathes of the globe as colonies under its control. But sometimes the rhetoric suggests we do – or should do. This is of course naïve and arrogant, and betrays an extraordinary lack of understanding of contemporary global political economy.

The UK’s diplomatic ‘soft power’ has been often exercised most successfully through the EU, as part of a joint commitment to change – whether around issues of conflict, migration or development. This allowed a common voice, and a more measured position. This was certainly the case in Zimbabwe. With, until recently, serial failures of UK diplomacy, the EU has provided a useful bridge and a more effective approach to engagement through a succession of EU ambassadors to the country who did not carry the colonial baggage of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This will be sorely missed.

The UK voters who pushed for Brexit were worried about jobs, livelihoods and immigration. But those who will now lead the country do not have these concerns at the centre of their agenda. They have a vision of free trade and further economic liberalisation: exactly the processes that will undermine yet further the poor and marginalised who voted to leave. This is the tragic contradiction of the ‘democratic’ result, and will lead to more strife in the future.

A cross-party and sustained commitment to internationalism, social democratic freedoms, human rights and inclusive global development, as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals, may not survive this sea-change in political fortunes in the UK. The racist slogans, posters and narrow nationalism that dominated the campaign reveal an uglier side to British (perhaps English) politics, most shockingly shown in the political murder of MP Jo Cox, a passionate campaigner for more progressive views on social justice and development.

Who takes over in the UK following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron really matters. Not just in the UK, but in Africa too. At the last election in 2015, I argued that we should “be scared, very scared” about the prospect of a shift at the top of the Conservative party. Now such a change is certain, everyone should be very worried indeed. We don’t yet even know the candidates, but the political opportunist and lead Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson is at the head of the race.

Johnson’s attitudes to Africa can only be described as backward and colonial. His slur on Barack Obama revealed much. His tales of his holiday in Tanzania frame Africa as a last wilderness, threatened by growing African populations, and could have come from a colonial explorer from the nineteenth century. His rants on Zimbabwe betray a shallow understanding of history and politics, and as one commentator described it, an “obnoxious and overbearing British imperialist mentality”. His close links with a certain section of the UK political elite (many in the House of Lords), who have consistently prevented a sensible debate on Britain’s relationship with Zimbabwe, show his political prejudices. It is not good news.

With the pound collapsing, remittances to Africa will be more expensive for the diaspora, and the prospects of investment will decline. The chaos in the global markets provoked by this crazy populism will take time to stabilise, and will affect the poorest more than the rich. And the nasty side of British politics, rejecting a progressive internationalism, will undermine the UK’s standing in the world. We all will be poorer because of Brexit, including in Africa.

This post appeared on Zimbabweland.

Ian Scoones is a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and co-author of the book Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities.

Source : African  Arguments

Between The Court Rooms And The Nigerian People

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The percentage of Judges and Magisterates in Nigeria,who have the tendency to sacrifice their integrity and career on the altar of filthy lucre are increasing by the day.

Most Nigerians, have a tale or the other to tell of their experiences in the courtrooms, good or bad, with the latter case occupying the majority position.

Interim injunctions, rulings and delivered judgements from the court rooms in the country have always attracted comments,questions and debates among the people, who still view the Judiciary,as the last resort and only hope of the common man.

However,the common man still finds it difficult to come to terms with the fact that the financial position of an individual determines what he comes out with from the court room.

In 2004, Justice Stanley Nnaji of the Enugu state Judiciary was suspended from office by the National Judicial Council(NJC), for ordering the then  Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, to remove the then Anambra state Governor, Chris Ngige from office.

Also in the same year in Enugu state, Justice Anthony Onovo,ofthe Nsukka  Judicial Division,was asked by the then Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman NJC to give reasons for delivering a controversial judgement.

Justice  Onovo’s judgement had led to the demolition of a six bedroom bungalow,Nursery and Primary school and a poultry farm at No. 29 John Nwod close, Government Reservation Area,Enugu. The property belonged to a couple-Obed Chukwunedum and Linda Menakaya.

Following a petition written by to the Chief Justice by Menakaya,which alleged perversion of justice between Menakaya and one Dr.Harry Ezim-a United States of America based legal practitioner, the Chief Justice in a letter dated May 24, 2004,with reference No. NJC/873/1/185, requested Justice Onovo to respond ”urgently” to the petition.

Before this time Justice Onovo was transferred in 2002 from the Enugu Judicial Division toNsukka Judicial Division,but for undisclosed reasons, he continued to adjudicate on some cases, he was in charge in Enugu, before his transfer to Nsukka.

Of worry, is the fact that similar instances abound in several court rooms in the country,today.

Interestingly,the then state Chief Judge, never authorized Justice Onovo to conclude pending cases in his court before his transfer. This exposed his hidden interests in those cases.

The case between Dr. Ezim and Menakaya is one of such cases.

On 3, July, 2001, Dr. Ezim had instituted a suit in the state high court,against the 78year old retired Chief Agricultural Officer,in the old Anambra state, in a bid to claim ownership of No. 29 John Nwodo close.

In the suit No. E/18301,2001, Dr. Ezim prayed the court to declare that, he legitimatley acquired the property from the siblings of a deceased, Gabriel Okiyi, a close friend of Menakaya.

Indeed, court rooms are increasingly becoming waiting rooms of injustice.

But Menakaya through his counsel,Chief Anthony Mogboh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) countered Dr. Ezim’s claim. Chief Mogboh stated that his client bought the land from late Okiyi, when he was Director in the Ministry of Agriculture in the defunct East Central state and thereafter, proceeded to build a six bedroom bungalow, a poultry farm and a Nursery and Primary school. He maintained that his client,had lived there since 1981.

Surprisingly, on 19 March,2004, Justice Onovo delivered judgement against Menakaya. In his judgement,Justice Onovo declared Menakaya a tresspasser on the land,while also ruling that Dr. Ezim was the rightful owner of the disputed property.

 

Less than an hour after  the judgement was  delivered, Dr. Ezim mobilised 15 thugs,three anti riot policemen and 14 policemen from the Police Area Command, Enugu and one Ugwu, the then Chief Bailiff of the Enugu state High court to eject Menakaya and his family.

On Monday,March 22, armed with a ”warrant of possession”,which Dr. Ezim claimed originated from Justice Onovo, and a caterpillar,the entire buildings were demolished.

Menakaya’s case is just one out of several thousands that have gone unnoticed. Indeed,it is very odd for some questionable legal practitioners to relocate their chambers to beer parlours,in residential  areas.

Their motives are  reflected in a beer parlour operator’s  words: “We always have our LLB, BL, beer parlour here for us,this is his chambers”.

Of interest,is the desperate attempts by individuals,who have  acquired illegitimate wealth to invest same in landed properties in major cities in the country, of course,this can only be possible with the seal of the court rooms,and the footsteps of  the law enforcement agents.

Are these attempts having the consent of the authorities that be ? Hopefully not !