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Sunday, February 26, 2006

DP World - US Ports involved in controversy (Maps & Info)

Crane at Port Newark Container TerminalA debate rages and no one is really explaining the full details of what Dubai Ports World (or DP World for short), based in the United Arab Emirates, is exactly buying that has everyone so upset. Anne Marie Cox describes the confusion:

Was just watching Scott McClellan field questions about the "sale of American ports" to a company based in the UAE. The more one learns about this issue, the more one knows more than the White House press corps about it. Some seem to be under the impression we are handing over the keys to country to men who have just taped good-bye videos and talk fondly of the virgins they hope to meet. No one can even get the terminology straight: is the company controlling ports? Terminals? Security? Shipping? It doesn't seem to matter -- shouting "sold to country with terrorist ties" is fun and easier than trying to understand maritime law.

Earlier this month, DP World agreed to pay $6.85 billion to acquire the Peninsula & Oriental Steam Navigation Company of the United Kingdom, which operates ports around the world, including those in New York, Newark, Miami, Baltimore, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Today (Feb. 26th) the state-owned Dubai company, DP World, based in the United Arab Emirates, said it had requested a 45-day review involving the American port takeover. The company said it would o create an American subsidiary to operate independently of executives in Dubai as it seeks to quell fears among American critics that links between the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers and the Emirates raised serious security concerns.

Dubai Ports World is one of several Dubai government-linked firms looking for assets to invest in, backed by huge cash piles from the Gulf emirate's oil resources. The $6.8 billion purchase of P&O now makes DP World the third-largest port-operator in the world.

The Council on Foreign Relations said:
What sets DP World apart from other foreign companies controlling terminals at U.S. ports is that DP World is state owned...the only other state-owned shipping company to have leased a U.S. port terminal is the Singaporean company Neptune Orient Lines.


21 P&O Port Facilities in United States-

21 Peninsular & Oriental Port Facilities in US


First, here is information about the six key port facilities -- New York, Newark, Miami, Baltimore, New Orleans and Philadelphia that are involved in the deal:

-- Newark - Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT)
241 Calcutta Street
Newark, NJ 07114
(the third-largest cargo terminal on the property of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

New York, New Jersey Port Facilities

Website: www.pnct.net

P&O Ports ownership: 50% (and 50% ownership by A.P. Moller-Maersk, of Denmark)

2004 Volume: 692,845 TEU (equity adjusted)
Primary Cargo Type: Container lift on/lift off
Terminal Area: 180 acres/71.2 hectares
Berth Length: 4,400 ft./1,165 meters
Depth at Berth: 2 x 50’/1 x 45’/1 x 40’
Container Cranes: 2 ZPMC - 50 tons, 4 Fantuzzi - 50 tons, 3 Paceco - 40 tons
Reefer Plugs1: 335
Intermodal Access: Daily connecting service with CSX (Railroad)
M&R: Full service repair facility and reefer shop
Equipment: 64 Straddle Carriers, 6 Reach Stackers, 9 Empty Handlers, 29 Fork Lifts, 59 Hustlers, 10 Bomb Carts, 42 Utility Vehicles, 10 MAFI Trailers

Port Newark Marine Terminal Map


New York City Passenger Ship Terminal New York - New York City Passenger Ship Terminal
Address 711 12th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Peninsular & Oriental operates the New York Cruise Terminal.

The New York City Passenger Ship Terminal is owned by the City of New York and operated by P&O Ports North America. It provides five 1,000-foot-long berths suitable for servicing the world’s largest cruise vessels at a convenient location on the Hudson River only a few blocks west of Times Square in the heart of Manhattan. The terminal occupies the West Side of 12th Avenue between 46th and 54th streets.

P&O Ports North America customers include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America, Norwegian, P&O Cruises, Princess, Radisson Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn and Silversea. The terminal is also home to an array of trade shows and special events managed by P&O Ports North America.

Piers: 88, 90, 92
No. of Berths: 5
2004 volume: 886,351 passengers

Map of New York City Passenger Ship Terminal

website: New York Cruise Terminal


Tioga Marine Terminal - PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia - Tioga Marine Terminal
Delaware River Stevedores
3461 North Delaware Avenue
Delaware Avenue at Tioga Street
Philadelphia, PA 19134

Peninsular & Oriental has a half-interest in Delaware River Stevedores, which leases the Tioga Marine Terminal in Philadelphia's Port Richmond.

Philadelphia Regional Port Authority is the state agency that owns Tioga Marine Terminal. Delaware River Stevedores also loads and unloads cargo ships in Camden and Wilmington, and provides stevedoring services at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal.

Volume at Tioga Marine Terminal: 350,000 tons of cargo a year.
Specialized Cargoes: Containers, refrigerated fresh fruit, paper, plywood, cocoa, beans, autos, palletized, project, breakbulk, and steel
Terminal Area: 96.5 acres (39.1 ha.)
Number/Size of Berths: 6 berths - 3,822 linear ft. (1,164 m.); 1 RO/RO
Draft: 36ft. (10.8 m.)
Number/Size of Storage Warehouses: 4 sheds
1 compartmented 300,000 sq. ft. warehouse (150,000 sq. ft. refrigerated; 150,000 sq. ft. heated)
1 cold storage - 90,000 sq. ft. (8,370 sq. m.) with racked storage for 6,000 pallets
1 heated storage - 97,500 sq. ft. (9,065.5 sq. m.)
1 dry - 40,000 sq. ft.
Reefer Plugs: 180
Cranes: 2 Kocks container gantry cranes: each 45 short tons (40.9 metric tons)
Direct Transfer: Direct to truck/rail; LCL and FCL handling
Equipment: Electric forklifts; semi automatic spreaders; top lifters for containers; 3 toploaders - each 50 tons (45.4 metric tons)
4 fork lifts - each 30 tons
4 fork lifts - each 20 tons
Loading Docks: Canopied loading platforms for 100 trucks
Highways: Immediate access to highways I-95 and I-76
Rail Connections: Norfolk Southern, CP Rail System, CSX
Other Features: Fumigation capabilities for 800,000 fruit boxes a day; trailer offices for customers; 2,000 ft. of rail siding for intermodal COFC transfer


-- Baltimore -P&O Ports Baltimore, Inc.
2200 Broening Highway
Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21224

Baltimore Terminal aerial viewLocations:
Dundalk Marine Terminal
Seagirt Marine Terminal
North Locust Point Marine Terminal
Fairfield Terminals

P&O Ports has a contract with the Maryland Port Administration to operate Seagirt Marine Terminal and Dundalk Marine Terminal in Baltimore. These contracts were awarded through a competitive public bid process open to all qualified terminal operating companies.

Seagirt Marine Terminal is the Port's largest pure container facility that is operated by P&O Ports with Evergreen, CSAV and Mediterranean Shipping Company as its main customers. Seagirt has the latest in cargo-handling equipment and systems. The computerized gate complex serves as the nerve center for the 275-acre (112 ha) container terminal.

Baltimore terminalSeagirt features seven 100-foot gauge (30.5m), post-Panamax cranes which are among the most productive in the industry, averaging 35 containers an hour. Three of the cranes feature the latest dual-hoist systems, which lift two containers simultaneously to expedite the loading and discharge of the vessel. Seagirt currently handles 425,000 TEU's a year.

Dundalk Marine Terminal is located adjacent to Seagirt, and major customers include Atlantic Container Line (ACL), Hapag Lloyd, National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA), Nordana, Lykes and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Line. With 13 berths, 10 container and two gantry cranes and direct rail access, the 570-acre (230 ha) terminal remains the Port of Baltimore's largest and most versatile general cargo facility.

No. of Berths: 13 (Dundalk)
Area: 275-acre (112 ha) (Seagirt), 570-acre (230 ha) (Dundalk)
Equipment (as of 2004): 10 Container and 2 Cantry cranes (Dundalk)
P&O Ports ownership: 100%
2004 Volume (equity adjusted): 405,071 TEU (Seagirt & Dundalk)

Dundalk & Seagirt location


Miami TerminalMiami - Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company L.L.C. (POMTOC)
1007 North America Way
Suite 400
Miami, FL 33132

P&O Ports is a 50% owner (50% by Eller-ITO) of the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company (POMTOC), which operates the only multi-user container facility in the port, on 117 acres with 12 container cranes.

Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company (POMTOC) has over 10 years of service at the Port of Miami-Dade. POMTOC is now serving over 30 ocean carriers and handling over 500,000 TEU’s annually.

Locations:
POMTOC
Dodge Island
Cruise Terminals

No. of Berths: 7
Berth Length: 1675m
Area: 54.6 ha
Draft: 12.8 meters
Equipment (as of 2004): 7 Post Panamax, 3 Panamax, 2 Super Post
Panamax ordered for 2004
2004 Volume: 301,606 TEU (equity adjusted)
Website: www.pomtoc.com

Port Miami Map

-- New Orleans - P&O Ports Louisiana, Inc.
601 Louisiana Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70115

Locations:
Nashville Avenue
Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal

Nashville Ave. FacilityP&O Ports' 62 acre Nashville Avenue facility handles containers and breakbulk cargoes. It has over 1.2 miles of continuous deep-water berthing located near mile markers 100 and 101 and is part of the world's longest continuous general cargo quay. The facility also offers an additional twenty-five acre container and marshalling quay, and 1,172,620 sq. ft. of covered storage.

Napoleon Avenue FaciliyP&O Ports has 28 acres at Napoleon Avenue adjoining 88 acres under lease at Nashville Ave. The combined facilities include 1.4 miles of berths, 27 acres of warehouse space and over 50 acres of container/open storage space under lease to P&O Ports. Four rubber tired gantry (RTGs) cranes are in use at this facility.

P&O Ports ownership: 100%
2004 Volume: 264,893 TEU (equity adjusted)

Terminals: Napoleon Container, Nashville A, B and C and Henry Clay. Gantry container cranes, shore cranes, floating cranes.

Peninsular & Oriental (P&O) also has smaller operations at these ports that will be sold to DP World:
Other Louisiana ports

Texas ports

links:
Bush Administration Sells Port Security To Highest Foreign Bidder [Daily Kos, Feb. 17, 2006]
Port Authority sues over Dubai control of NJ port [Reuters, Feb. 24, 2006]
North American Operations [Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.]
P&O Ports [Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., London]
Storm rages over ports deal [GlobalSecurity.org]
Dubai firm's bid to run port at Miami challenged [AP, Feb. 19, 2006]
P&O agrees bid from Dubai Ports [BBC, Nov. 29, 2006]
Dubai Ports World [Wikipedia]

notes:
1. Reefer Power Plugs: are used extensively in port terminals and shipboard applications to provide a safe, watertight electrical connection for refrigerated containers.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Body Snatching Business of Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike - Michael Mastromarino"Dr. Mike" is Michael Mastromarino, a former oral surgeon from Fort Lee, New Jersey, who has been accused of illegally harvesting body parts from hundreds of corpses in three states to sell the parts to commercial tissue banks. He went door to door at funneral homes in search of cadavers he could loot.

On Thursday (Feb. 23rd), Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced indictments against Mastromarino, owner of Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J., and three other men alleging they ran an illicit body parts ring.

The case was "like something out of a cheap horror movie," Hynes said in a statement.

The indictments are the latest chapter in a widening scandal involving scores of funeral homes and hundreds of looted bodies, including that of "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke, who died in March 2004.

The indictment accuses Mastromarino, Joseph Nicelli, Lee Crucetta and Christopher Aldorasi of conspiring to steal tissue from corpses of people who never gave permission to be donors, prosecutors said.

The 122-count indictment alleges the defendants forged death certificates and organ donor consent forms to create the appearance the tissue was legally harvested.

The defendants were charged with enterprise corruption, body stealing and opening graves, unlawful dissection, forgery and other counts.

Joseph Nicelli, funeral home director and accomplice of MastromarinoDr. Mastromarino went into the tissue business after losing his dentist license, prosecutors said. Nicelli, a funeral home owner in Brooklyn, became a partner with Mastromarino in the tissue company.

Prosecutors allege that Mastromarino secretly removed bones, tendons, heart valves and other tissue from cadavers at Nicelli's funeral parlor.

The scheme began to unravel in late 2004, when a detective responded to a report from the new owner of Nicelli's funeral home that he allegedly cheated customers out of funeral deposits. The detective grew suspicious when she saw a hidden operating room, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

From Newsday - How the horror happened:

When Det. Patricia O'Brien walked into the Daniel George & Son Funeral Home in Bensonhurst to investigate a larceny, she noticed something bizarre. On the second floor of the facility was what looked like a fully equipped operating room for surgery, complete with bright overhead lights...

Dubbed the "operating room" by detectives, the second-floor room was allegedly the place where funeral director Joseph Nicelli allowed ex-dentist Michael Mastromarino and two cohorts to remove body parts from corpses before being embalmed or prepared for cremation.

Investigators said that when Nicelli got a body in the normal course of his funeral business, he brought it into the building through the first-floor embalming room. The corpse was placed on a table and lifted hydraulically through a special opening in the second floor, where it was operated upon.

Once tissues were harvested, Mastromarino and his associates, Christopher Aldorasi and Lee Curcetta, then allegedly replaced missing leg bones with PVC piping. The bodies were then crudely stitched closed, said investigators. Bodies subject to visitation were then clothed and the lower parts of the corpses were hidden from view by closing part of the coffins, a normal procedure, said investigators.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration closed Biomedical Tissue Services, saying it had evidence the company failed to screen for contaminated tissue. The agency warned that patients who received the company's products could have been exposed to diseases, although the FDA insisted the risk was minimal

Firms that received tissue from Mastromarino and his Biomedical Tissue Services:
update:
Michael Mastromarino / Biomedical Tissue ServicesCNBC-TV devoted an episode of their series American Greed to the Mastromarino case. The episode was entitled, The Body Snatcher, and it premiered on March 11, 2009, at 9pm.

The show reveals now Mastromarino forged the consent forms for deceased persons in order to illegally harvest their tissue. He reportedly grossed over $4 million during his four year scheme.

Mastromarino was sentenced on June 27, 2008 in the Supreme Court of Brooklyn, New York to between 18 to 54 years in prison.

links:
He went door to door in search of cadavers [Star-Ledger, Feb. 25, 2006]
Prosecutors offer proof of grisly body parts scheme [Newsday, Feb. 24, 2006]
Four indicted in stolen human tissue case [USA Today, Feb. 22, 2006]
FDA Orders Biomedical Tissue Services, Ltd., to Cease Manufacturing [FDA.gov, Feb. 3, 2006]
Body snatchers of New York [NY Daily News, Oct. 6, 2005]

related:
Tissue product cos. recover from scare [BusinessWeek.com, Feb. 24, 2006]
Body snatchers tied to allograft firms? [CNN.com, Oct. 7, 2005]
Tissue from corpses in strong demand [CNN.com, Oct. 4, 2005]

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Europe vs. Islamic Sense & Sensitivities

Gevoelig by Joep Betrams

A video cartoon by Dutchman Joep Betrams entitled “Gevoelig,” (which means “Sensitive”) about the Mohammed Cartoons.

The ghosts of the Spanish warriors of the Reconquista are restless tonight, as their modern day countrymen willfully forget their sacrifices: Don't Burn Muhammad | The Brussel Journal -


In 711 Muslim armies crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. They took Spain by force and remained there until they were thrown out during the reconquista in 1492. Every year, in a tradition that goes back to the 16th century, Spanish villages still celebrate the liberation from the Moors (as the Muslims were locally called) during “Moros y Cristianos” festivals in which effigies of the prophet Muhammad – the so-called “la Mahoma” – are mocked, thrown out of windows, and burned.

Now the Spanish, having witnessed what happened to the Vikings recently, are wondering whether they can still continue their tradition of “offending Muslims.” The village of Bocairent near Valencia decided this year to discontinue the century old tradition of mocking and burning effigies of Muhammad. Bocairent does not want to risk becoming the target of suicide bombers.

via Little Green Footballs

The Mohammed Cartoons
Backlash against the backlash

Thursday, February 16, 2006

World Oil Production Peaked on December 16, 2005

Professor Kenneth Deffeyes
Professor Ken Deffeyes is a geologist and professor emeritus at Princeton. He has been studying world petroleum production data for many years and has come to the conclusion that the world hit peak oil production last December 16, 2005.

Professor Deffeyes has used the methodology of Dr. Marion King Hubbert to make this bold prediction.

In 1956, M. King Hubbert predicted that U.S. oil production would peak in the early 1970's. Although Mr. Hubbert was widely criticized by some oil experts and economists, in 1971 his prediction came true. 1971 was the year that U.S. oil production peaked and it has been declining ever since.

If Professor Deffeyes is correct, total world oil production will never surpass what was produced just this last December (two months ago).

World Peak Oil Production - Dec. 16, 2005

Professor Deffeyes' latest article from Feb. 11th:

In the January 2004 Current Events on this web site, I predicted that world oil production would peak on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2005. In hindsight, that prediction was in error by three weeks. An update using the 2005 data shows that we passed the peak on December 16, 2005.

"A decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires" that I present an update on the data sources and the interpretation.

1. The underlying methodology is Hubbert's postulate that the rate of new oil discoveries depends on the fraction of the oil that has not yet been discovered. Similarly, the rate of oil production depends on the fraction of oil that has not yet been produced. A test of Hubbert's hypothesis, using the long history of US oil production, is on pages 35—42 of my book Beyond Oil. An algebraic result from the Hubbert theory says that the production rate peaks when half of the oil has been produced....

Compared to 2004, world oil production was up 0.8 percent in 2005, nowhere near enough to compensate for a demand rise of roughly 3 percent. The high prices did not bring much additional oil out of the ground. Most oil-producing countries are in decline...

That's it. I can now refer to the world oil peak in the past tense. My career as a prophet is over. I'm now an historian.

Is The Oil End Game Here? [TJN]
Oil Shortage Looming? [TJN]
Hubbert Peak of Oil Production

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Bali Nine: Two Australian Men Sentenced to Death, seven Australians given life for heroin smuggling

Myuran Sukumaran
Australian Myuran Sukumaran, one of the two the alleged ringleaders of the "Bali Nine" drug ring

The Bali Nine:

-- Myuran Sukumaran, age 24, ringleader, death by a firing squad
-- Andrew Chan, age 22, ringleader, death by a firing squad
-- Renae Lawrence, 28 (only female), of Newcastle, life in prison
-- Scott Rush, 19, of Brisbane, life in prison
-- Michael Czugaj, 20, of Brisbane, life in prison
-- Martin Stephens, 29, life in prison
-- Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 23, of Brisbane, life in prison
-- Si Yi Chen, 20, of Sydney, life in prison
-- Matthew Norman, 19, of Sydney, life in prison


Channel News Asia reported:

Indonesian judges have sentenced two Australians to death for drug trafficking in Bali while four other Australian drug offenders were given life sentences.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, accused of being leaders of the drug smuggling ring, will face death by firing squad.

Renae Lawrence, Scott Rush, Michael Czugaj and Martin Stephens were given life sentences.

The Australian drug traffickers are part of the “Bali Nine." They were arrested after a tip-off from Australian police who chose to inform Indonesian authorities instead of taking them into custody at home.

The case has ignited intense debate in Australia where activists feel that Australian Federal Police were exposing the defendants to the death penalty by giving Indonesian police the tip-off.

Renae Lawrence
Australian Renae Lawrence weeps inside a court's cell after her trial in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia on Monday, Feb. 13, 2006.

Bloomberg reports:
Feb. 13 -- Australian Renae Lawrence was sentenced to life in jail for trying to smuggle heroin from Bali, as judges disregarded the prosecution's recommendation for a 20-year term.

Lawrence, 28, was the first of the so-called `Bali Nine' to be sentenced in Denpasar District Court. The verdict was televised on Sky News. She was also fined 1 million rupiah ($108).

The nine Australians were arrested on the Indonesian resort island in April 2005 and charged with attempting to smuggle 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of heroin to Australia.


Michael William Czugaj
Michael William Czugaj of Brisbane in the back of a Bali police van.

Myuran Sukumaran
Myuran Sukumaran in court

The execution - by The Age:
THE shots usually ring out at dawn's first light, from an isolated clearing or deserted beach. Indonesia's condemned may suffer an agonising death. Hooded and handcuffed to a chair or post, they wear a white apron with a red cross marking their heart.

Most of the 12 police volunteers, standing less than 10 metres from their targets, will fire blanks to spare their consciences from the certainty they have killed.

The condemned does not always die instantly, requiring a final shot to the heart or temple minutes later. A doctor will attend to pronounce death and the prisoners may request the presence of a priest.

The executions occur unannounced, with police often dispatching decoy convoys to distract relatives or the media. The condemned receive about three days' warning.

update Feb 15th: Last Bali Nine mules jailed for life
The final three members of the Bali Nine have been sentenced to life imprisonment by an Indonesian court.

Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 23, of Brisbane, and Sydney men Si Yi Chen, 20, and Matthew Norman, 19, were found guilty of being part of an operation to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin from Bali to Australia last April.

The young Australians, who had claimed in their trial that they had been "at the wrong place and the wrong time", looked resigned to their fate as they sat before a three-judge panel.

Bali accused: I was recruited in Brisbane nightclub [smh.com, Apr. 29, 2005]
Bali Nine [Wikipedia]

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Map of Alabama Church Fires

Update: March 8, 2006 - 3 College Students Arrested in Alabama Church Fires
Update: April 10, 2007 - Ex-Students Are Sentenced for Burning Rural Churches

Russell DeBusk, age 19 Matthew Lee Cloyd, age 20 Ben Moseley, age 19
Russell DeBusk, Matthew Lee Cloyd, Benjamin Mosely

Map of Church Fires:

Google Map of Alabama Church Fires at MapBuilder.com
List of ten Alabama church fires:

Bibb County, reported Friday, February 3rd:


  • Ashby Baptist Church in Brierfield -- destroyed

  • Pleasant Sabine near Centreville -- destroyed

  • Old Union Baptist at Brierfield -- minimal damage

  • Antioch Baptist at Antioch -- minimal damage

  • Rehobeth Baptist Church in the Lawley community -- destroyed


Rehobeth Baptist Church destroyed by arson on Feb. 3, 2006

Greene County, reported Tuesday, February 7th:

  • Morning Star Missionary Baptist off County Road 20 in Boligee -- destroyed


Pickens County, reported Tuesday, February 7th:

  • Dancy First Baptist Church off Highway 17 near Aliceville -- damaged



Sumter County, reported February 7th:

  • Galilee Baptist Church in the Panola community -- destroyed

  • Spring Valley Baptist Church off Highway 116 near Emelle -- damaged


Lamar County, reported Saturday, February 11th:

  • Beaverton Freewill Baptist Church in Beaverton -- destroyed


Links:
10th Alabama church burns [CNN, Feb. 12, 2006]
Fires burn 4 more Alabama churches [CNN, Feb. 8, 2006]
Church blazes 'No. 1 priority' for federal agency [CNN, Feb. 8, 2006]
Alabama Churches Set Ablaze [FoxNews, Feb. 4, 2006]

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives-
ATF Responds to Four Additional Alabama Church Fires [ATF.gov, Feb. 7, 2006]
ATF and Alabama Offer $10,000 Reward for Church Fires [ATF.gov, Feb. 3, 2006]
ATF Deploys Resources to Alabama Church Fires [ATF.gov, Feb. 3, 2006]

MyMaps at MapBuilder.net

Update - The New York Times, 3 College Students Arrested in Alabama Church Fires:

Three college students from the prosperous suburbs south of Birmingham, two of them 19 and one 20, were arrested today in the burning of nine Baptist churches in rural Alabama last month that federal officials say was a prank that spun out of control.

Benjamin N. Moseley and Russell L. DeBusk Jr., both 19 and students at Birmingham Southern College, were arrested after admitting their involvement in the fires to federal agents who had been led to them by tire tracks left behind at several of the burned churches, officials said.

Arrested a few hours later was Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20, a student at the nearby University of Alabama-Birmingham whose mother was the owner of the 2000 Toyota 4Runner that had left the tracks, federal agents said in an affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint against the three men.

Suspect: Church fires started as 'joke' [CNN, Mar. 9, 2006]
Three students arrested in connection with Alabama church fires [CNN, Mar. 8, 2006]

2nd Updated:

Jim Noles / April 10, 2007 / NY Times:
Ex-Students Are Sentenced for Burning Rural Churches -- Three former college students who set fire to churches in rural Alabama in February 2006 were sentenced to prison on Monday on federal arson charges.

The defendants apologized for the fires, with one of them saying that the incidents followed a night of drinking and deer poaching.

“This is the close of a chapter, but not of the book,” Judge R. David Proctor of Federal District Court told the young men. “I hope that you will all find a way that, when that last chapter of that book is written, some good will come of this.”

Two of the defendants, Benjamin N. Moseley and Matthew L. Cloyd, were sentenced to eight years and one month for setting nine fires over two nights. The third defendant, Russell L. DeBusk Jr., who was involved in only the first five fires, was sentenced to seven years.

All three were also sentenced to five years of supervised release, 300 hours of community service and $3.1 million in restitution payments to the burned churches. [...]

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Backlash against the backlash

Backlash: An antagonistic reaction to a trend, development, or event.

Backlash
: Muslims massively demonstrating and rioting against the publishing of twelve "offensive" Danish cartoons of Muhammad (also translated as Mohammed, Muhammed, and sometimes Mahomet) in European newspapers.

Backlash against the backlash: The rest of the world realizing that something is fundamentally wrong when twelve mild "political" cartoons result in the death, violence and acrimony that have swept the Arab/Islamic world.

Muhammad with a bomb in his turban
The most controversial drawing shows Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, with a lit fuse and the Islamic creed written on the bomb. Led to a violent Muslim backlash:

Islamic protester: Freedom go to hell
The murderer of Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro was captured. The motive was the Mohammad cartoons:

Turkish security forces arrested a high school student on Tuesday over the killing of an Italian Catholic priest and Turkish television said the teenager had confessed to a crime which has shocked this Muslim nation.

The student told police he was influenced by cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad, NTV commercial television said. The report could not be immediately confirmed.

The state Anatolian news agency said the student, aged 16, had been carrying a 9 mm pistol when he was captured in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, where Andrea Santoro, 61, was gunned down on Sunday while praying.

...Turkey, with a population of 72 million, is overwhelmingly Muslim and its tiny Christian population is barely 60,000. Turkey has seen street protests against the cartoons, but they have been peaceful, in contrast to some Muslim countries...

The twelve Muhammad drawings:

Danish Muhammed Cartoons and Islamic Vitriol
[TJN]

The timeline of events that have led to this eruption.
How cartoons fanned flames of Muslim rage [Guardian]
Timeline: How the cartoon crisis unfolded [FT.com]

Two quick, cryptic observations by Daniel Drezner:
a) there's a difference between a democracy and a liberal democracy, and it's clear that the Muslims exercised by this cartoon do not distinguish between the two at all, and b) this is neither the first or the last time we're going to see protests of this nature.

related: anti-American, anti-British and anti-semitic cartoons have been standard fare in Arab media for a long time:

The Dark-Side of Cartoons [TJN]

Fox Murder Suspect Dimitry Sheinman convicted of assault

Dimitri Sheinman convicted Feb. 6th of assaulting a man last year in Inwood Hill Park.
Dimitry Sheinman was convicted of assault on Monday, Feb. 6, 2005 in Criminal Court in Manhattan. The New York Times described the trial:

Last April, Dimitry Sheinman, his wife, who was eight months pregnant, their 2-year-old daughter and their large dog were lying in a meadow in Inwood Hill Park, in Upper Manhattan, when a fluffy little white dog came bounding out of some bushes and jumped on Mrs. Sheinman's belly and the sleeping toddler's stroller.

Dimitry Sheinman in Manhattan Criminal Court, where he was convicted Monday of assaulting a man last year in Inwood Hill Park.

Mr. Sheinman, an artist and construction worker, yanked the dog by the collar, or maybe kicked it, as its owner, Rene Perez, came charging up, yelling and calling Mr. Sheinman a criminal, according to testimony at trial. Mr. Sheinman, retorting that he was innocent until proven guilty, punched Mr. Perez at least once.

Yesterday, after a two-day trial, a jury took barely an hour to convict Mr. Sheinman, 41, of reckless assault, a misdemeanor, for hitting Mr. Perez. Most misdemeanor charges are resolved by negotiation, not trial. But not only did this one go to trial, it also had a homicide detective in a back row, and a bevy of prosecutors and reporters dropping in and out. It was not an ordinary trial, and everyone knew it, even the jury.

Dimitri SheinmanThe NY Post said:
The conviction is the only criminal hold investigators have on Sheinman, who Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has named the "prime suspect" in the ritual slaying of promising theater student Sarah Fox.

Sheinman has not been charged in Fox's murder. But he has bizarrely volunteered to cops that he's had "visions" of her body, which was left to decompose in Inwood Hill Park, nude and surrounded by ritually scattered flower petals. Sheinman also knew unpublished details of the crime scene.

Mr. Sheinman was acquitted of two other misdemeanor counts, intentional assault and attempted assault. He is now out on $100,000 bail posted by his father, Yuri, and is due back in court in the next few weeks. He faces up to a year in jail at sentencing. Sheinman's family moved to South Africa. He has been traveling to court from there, where he lives with his wife, Jane, an architect, and their two children.

His father said yesterday that the treatment of his son in the assault case had been "unproportional" to the charges. "They ruined his life...This is America."

Sarah Fox
Sara Fox

A Killing Looms Large Over a Case of Assault [NY Times, Feb. 7, 2006]
JUILLIARD SUSPECT IS GUILTY [NY Post, Feb. 7, 2006]
'Sarah Fox' Suspect Guilty In Another Assault [story & video, WCBS-TV. Feb. 6, 2006]

The Johnsville News coverage of the Sarah Fox Murder:
Sarah Fox Murder Suspect on trial for assault [TJN, Jan. 30, 2006]
Sarah Fox Murder Case: Cold and close to forgotten [TJN, Dec. 2, 2005]
Prime Suspect Identified in Sarah Fox Murder Investigation [TJN, Dec. 7, 2004]
Prime Suspect Identified by Police in Sarah Fox Murder Case [TJN, Dec. 2, 2004]
Sarah Fox murder case grows cold and reward is raised [TJN, Nov. 21, 2004]
Sarah Fox Murder Mystery Update [TJN, June 9, 2004]
Juilliard Student Murder Mystery - Sarah Fox [TJN, May 28, 2004]

related:
Sarah Fox [anglesmissing.com]
One Year Later, And Still No Arrest In Brutal Murder [abcnews/crimeandjustice.us, July 1, 2005]
Body of Sarah Fox ID'd; Death Ruled A Homicide [Gothamist, May 27, 2004]

Monday, February 6, 2006

Zombie King goes to jail

A 20-year-old hacker, Jeanson James Ancheta, ran a "Zombie Network" or "BotNet" for profit. He was caught by Feds and is going to jail. AP reported:

A 20-year-old hacker admitted Monday to surreptitiously seizing control of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers, using the zombie network to serve pop-up ads and renting it to people who mounted attacks on Web sites and sent out spam.

Jeanson James Ancheta, of Downey, Calif., pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to four felony charges for crimes, including infecting machines at two U.S. military sites, that earned him more than $61,000, said federal prosecutor James Aquilina.

Under a plea agreement, which still must be approved by a judge, Ancheta faces up to 6 years in prison and must pay the federal government restitution. He also will forfeit his profits and a 1993 BMW. Sentencing is schedule for May 1.

Prosecutors called the case the first to target profits derived from use of "botnets," large numbers of computers that hackers commandeer and marshal for various nefarious deeds, their owners unaware that parasitic programs have been installed are being run by remote control.

Botnets are being used increasingly to overwhelm Web sites with streams of data, often by extortionists. They feed off of vulnerabilities in computers that run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system, typically machines whose owners haven't bothered to install security patches.

As some backgroud, Sunbelt Blog writes:
The incidence of BotNets (or at least, those that were discovered) started increasing enormously in 2004 and continues to rise. According to Symantec's Global Internet Threat Report in 2005, there was a 140% increase in the number of active 'bots observed per day over the previous reporting period.

BotNets have become big business. BotMasters will rent the use of their BotNets for 10 to 25 cents per machine, so that those without the technical savvy to set up their own BotNets can still have the use of one to launch attacks, distribute spam, commit identity theft, or whatever other nefarious activities they wish. Some common 'bot programs include:

  • Agobot/Phatbot/Forbot (there are more than 500 known versions)

  • SDBot/RBot/UrBot (published under the Gnu Public License)

  • GT-Bots (IRC script-based 'bots)

  • Q8 Bot (for UNIX/Linux systems)

  • Perl bots (written in Perl scripting language, also used on UNIX systems)


via Schneier on Security

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Newark New Jersey Murder Map

Newark - Essex County Homicide Map 1998-2003
Killers in Essex County (which includes Newark, NJ) are just as likely to get away with their crime as to face justice, a Star-Ledger investigation found. The study looked at 637 homicides that occurred between 1998-2003. The map above shows the location of these killings, color-coded based on the outcome.

Red pins represent murders resulting in murder convictions.
Purple murders resulting in convictions on lesser charge.
Light blue represent unsolved murders.

Essex County Murder Map
[NJ.com]

Friday, February 3, 2006

Danish Muhammed Cartoons and Islamic Vitriol

Danish flag defaced
A Palestinian militant in Gaza with a makeshift Danish flag defaced by a black foot

The Islamic world is rioting because a few newspapers in Europe published some (12) cartoons with caricatures of Muhammed. Given how may times Jesus, Moses, and Buddha have had their caricatures done in the press it seems unreasonable for Muhammed (also translated as Mohammad) to get a free pass. Compared to some "political" cartoons these seem very tame. Here are the twelve cartoons that have caused the massive controversy:

Muhammad with a bomb in his turban
The most controversial drawing shows Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, with a lit fuse and the Islamic creed written on the bomb.

Muhammed as a peaceful wanderer in the desert with his donkey
Muhammad as a peaceful wanderer, in the desert, at sunset. There is a donkey in the background


Kåre Bluitgen (Danish writer and journalist), wearing a turban with the proverbial orange dropping, with the inscription "Publicity stunt". In his hand is a stick drawing of Muhammad. An "orange in the turban" is a Danish proverb meaning "a stroke of luck."

Muhammed in police line-up
A police line-up of seven people, with the witness saying: "Hm... jeg kan ikke lige genkende ham" ("Hm... I can't really recognise him"). Not all people in the line-up are immediately identifiable. They are: (1) A generic Hippie, (2) politician Pia Kjærsgaard, (3) possibly Jesus, (4) possibly Buddha, (5) possibly Muhammad, (6) a generic Indian Guru, and (7) journalist Kåre Bluitgen, carrying a sign saying: "Kåres PR, ring og få et tilbud" ("Kåre's public relations, call and get an offer")

Muhammed with halo
Muhammad standing with a halo in the shape of a crescent moon.

face of Muhammad
The face of Muhammad as a part of the Islamic star and crescent symbol. His right eye the star, the crescent surrounds his beard and face.

angry Muhammad
An angry Muhammad with a short sabre and a black bar censoring his eyes. He is flanked by two women in niqaabs, having only their eyes visible.

Muhammad standing on a cloud, greeting dead suicide bombers
Muhammad standing on a cloud, greeting dead suicide bombers with "Stop Stop vi er løbet tør for Jomfruer!" ("Stop, stop, we have run out of virgins!"), an allusion to the promised reward to martyrs.

reactionary provocateurs
A boy in front of a blackboard, pointing to the Farsi chalkings, which translate into "the editorial team of Jyllands-Posten is a bunch of reactionary provocateurs". The boy is labelled "Mohammed, Valby school, 7.A", implying that this Muhammed is a second-generation immigrant to Denmark rather than the man Muslims believe was a prophet. On his shirt is written "Fremtiden" (the future). According to the editor of Jyllands Posten, he didn't know what was written on the blackboard before it was published.

nervous caricaturist drawing Muhammed
A nervous caricaturist, shakingly drawing Muhammad while looking over his shoulder.

Prophet! daft and dumb, keeping woman under thumb
An abstract drawing of crescent moons and Stars of David, and a poem on oppression of women "Profet! Med kuk og knald i låget som holder kvinder under åget!". In English the poem could be read as: "Prophet! daft and dumb, keeping woman under thumb"

relax it's just a drawing by some infidel from the middle of nowhere
Two angry Muslims charge forward with sabres and bombs, while Muhammad addresses them with: "Rolig, venner, når alt kommer til alt er det jo bare en tegning lavet af en vantro sønderjyde" (loosely, "Relax guys, it's just a drawing made by some infidel South Jutlander". The reference is to a common Danish expression for a person from the middle of nowhere.)

The Jawa report said:

The interesting question raised by all of this: is Islam inherently unable to support freedom of speech

Links:
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy [wikipedia.org]
Envoys meet as Muslim anger grows [BBC, Feb. 3, 2006]
SUPPORT DENMARK: WHY THE FORBIDDEN CARTOONS MATTER [Michelle Malkin]

update: Michelle Malkin is covering this story very closely.

A list of blogs that have posted the "forbidden" cartoons:

THE MUHAMMAD CARTOONS BLOGBURST

Unbelievable. The news network reports on an international controversy, but refuses to show readers what the news is actually about and let them judge the cartoons for themselves.

THE COWARDLY AMERICAN MEDIA (VIDEO ADDED)

Islamic protester: Freedom go to hell

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

related: anti-American, anti-British and anti-semitic cartoons are standard fare in Arab media:

The Dark-Side of Cartoons [TJN]

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia