TBR News June 27, 2016

Jun 26 2016


The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. June 27, 2016: “The following article by a British film-maker is one of the most lucid expositions to date of the Brexit movement. It should be noted that there is now growing discontent in many countries of Europe, as well as the United States, for leadership and and governmental change. The anti-Brexit movement in England was heavily financed by American banking interests, supported by American political and governmental entities because the United States is a very strong supporter of what they see is an anti-Russian, American-influenced entity, similar to Nato. American banking interests poured money into the ‘Stay’ movement and were stunned when it failed. Now, American intelligence and fiscal people are moving out of England to the continent where they hope to find a new home and reestablish their previous control.”



Why the British said no to Europe

June 26, 2016

by John Pilger


The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.

A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.

Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – first Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and Nato. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.

The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centerpiece of modern “globalization”, with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labour; its perfidious politicians and politicized civil servants.

All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On 23 June, the British said no more.

The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21st century zeitgeist, even “cool”. What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism”.

The aim of this extremism is to install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society, with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a permanent working poor. In Britain today, 63 per cent of poor children grow up in families where one member is working. For them, the trap has closed. More than 600,000 residents of Britain’s second city, Greater Manchester, are, reports a study, “experiencing the effects of extreme poverty” and 1.6 million are slipping into penury.

Little of this social catastrophe is acknowledged in the bourgeois controlled media, notably the Oxbridge dominated BBC. During the referendum campaign, almost no insightful analysis was allowed to intrude upon the clichéd hysteria about “leaving Europe”, as if Britain was about to be towed in hostile currents somewhere north of Iceland.

On the morning after the vote, a BBC radio reporter welcomed politicians to his studio as old chums. “Well,” he said to “Lord” Peter Mandelson, the disgraced architect of Blairism, “why do these people want it so badly?” The “these people” are the majority of Britons.

The wealthy war criminal Tony Blair remains a hero of the Mandelson “European” class, though few will say so these days. The Guardian once described Blair as “mystical” and has been true to his “project” of rapacious war.

The day after the vote, the columnist Martin Kettle offered a Brechtian solution to the misuse of democracy by the masses. “Now surely we can agree referendums are bad for Britain”, said the headline over his full-page piece. The “we” was unexplained but understood – just as “these people” is understood. “The referendum has conferred less legitimacy on politics, not more,” wrote Kettle. “ … the verdict on referendums should be a ruthless one. Never again.”

The kind of ruthlessness Kettle longs is found in Greece, a country now airbrushed. There, they had a referendum and the result was ignored. Like the Labour Party in Britain, the leaders of the Syriza government in Athens are the products of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, groomed in the fakery and political treachery of post-modernism. The Greek people courageously used the referendum to demand their government sought “better terms” with a venal status in Brussels that was crushing the life out of their country. They were betrayed, as the British would have been betrayed.

On Friday, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was asked by the BBC if he would pay tribute to the departed Cameron, his comrade in the “remain” campaign. Corbyn fulsomely praised Cameron’s “dignity” and noted his backing for gay marriage and his apology to the Irish families of the dead of Bloody Sunday. He said nothing about Cameron’s divisiveness, his brutal austerity policies, his lies about “protecting” the Health Service. Neither did he remind people of the war mongering of the Cameron government: the dispatch of British special forces to Libya and British bomb aimers to Saudi Arabia and, above all, the beckoning of world war three.

In the week of the referendum vote, no British politician and, to my knowledge, no journalist referred to Vladimir Putin’s speech in St. Petersburg commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June, 1941. The Soviet victory – at a cost of 27 million Soviet lives and the majority of all German forces – won the Second World War.

Putin likened the current frenzied build up of Nato troops and war material on Russia’s western borders to the Third Reich’s Operation Barbarossa. Nato’s exercises in Poland were the biggest since the Nazi invasion; Operation Anaconda had simulated an attack on Russia, presumably with nuclear weapons. On the eve of the referendum, the quisling Secretary-General of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, warned Britons they would be endangering “peace and security” if they voted to leave the EU. The millions who ignored him and Cameron, Osborne, Corbyn, Obama and the man who runs the Bank of England may, just may, have struck a blow for real peace and democracy in Europe.

The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

Monday, 19. February through Saturday, 3. March, 1951

I shall have to go to some trouble to prevent Bunny from looking into these pages. How fortunate that she cannot read either my handwriting or the German language as I write it. A wonderful time in Cuba was had by all. By that, I mean myself, Arno, Heini and all the beautiful ladies we encountered. I gambled at various casinos and in the end, came away with $10,000 more than I went in with! This is not viewed as a nice thing to do at the casinos, all of whom are owned by friends of Angleton. After doing well on the roulette wheel, I decided to walk outside to calm myself down. Amazing that two sinister looking assholes followed me outside…and had my two dear friends right on their asses.

As I was wearing a very expensive white silk suit, I did not bother to confront those behind me but walked into a convenient alley instead. There was some noise behind me but the music from a dance hall drowned it out…more or less.

I waited at the end of the alley with a pistol in my pocket but all that emerged were my loyal people, smiling and making such pleasant jokes. As usual, Arno used his knife (Heini later said, to perfection) while my American friend smashed one of them in the throat, causing him to strangle with a smashed larynx.

We decided not to go back into that casino again. Arno, who if anything is not careless, found over $500 on one of them so it was even more profitable an evening than I thought. Behn has enormous holdings in Cuba and had been having some difficulties with unpleasantly greedy people in the Cuban government. This is an entirely corrupt bunch anyway but some are worse than others. At least some stay bought but others are much more ambitious.

That business got cleared up and we all spent the rest of the time going to dance shows, swimming at the beaches and even chartering a sailboat for a fishing trip.

I had no idea what to do with the fish when they were caught but the cook in our hotel made a very nice dinner for us. We were all sunburned, one of the young ladies rather badly. Attractive or not, the bum should be kept covered, at least in public, and this one cannot now sit down. Well, one can do many things standing up after all!

Poor Arno. He is in love with Heini’s charming sister and views him as a brother- in-law. There is Arno with a degree in history from the University of Munich, filleting thick-necked goons while his soon-to-be in-law is breaking their necks. Such memories for the future! In their wish books, one can just seen the nice stories.

Heini, on the other hand, has more or less resigned himself for at least temporary bachelorhood although he was quite taken with a beautiful lady who insisted on walking up and down on his back in her bare feet. Other things happened and Arno was highly annoyed because his beautiful lady spit tobacco on the carpet.

Bought some decent rum and more cigars, although I have reduced my smoking now to one a day after dinner. Tea seems to have taken its place but tea is not something one finds too often here, at least in public places.

I bought some very expensive colonial Spanish pieces at an overpriced antique barn run by a fairy that smelt like a French whore in August. Smelt like a violet factory and he seemed to like Arno very much. Arno did not like him at all, perfumed or not, so we had to leave before there were serious problems. I will take the pieces on the plane; a mirror, two silver candlesticks and a very attractive, if ornate, crucifix that will do well in the projected chapel.

As we were carrying it to the taxi, a number of people crossed themselves. thinking that Arno, with his sensitive features and pleasant smile, was a priest.

That will be the day indeed!

Sunday, 4. March, 1951

Robert Patterson, former War Secretary, has been doing his best to prevent the breakup of the German steel industry, claiming that this would be counter-productive to Truman’s economic plans.

The Rosenbergs will go on trial this week. He we know was a spy but there is some question about his wife. However, both her husband and brother are known to have been Soviet agents so her position is not too secure.

The Governor of Florida is denying that he was involved with gambling but I know that the entire area and certainly Cuba is as corrupt as one could wish. In Germany we put such people into camps but here they make them Governors. Truman is now vacationing in Key West so maybe the Governor can whine to him. Unfortunately, a number of Truman’s close friends are not honest and there are occasional problems about this. The President himself is certainly a very honest man but there are others around him who are not. Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion but no one can discuss this with the President who is very loyal to his entourage.

Hoover wants more money from Congress and claims that armies of spies need to be uncovered. Of course there are no armies of spies but more power to Hoover.

Now, as to comments from Behn (who is very pleased that we were able to solve his problems in Havana in such a pleasant and non-intrusive way) about the flying disc problems.

I did not tell him about Viktor but I did tell Viktor about him.

It does seem that these things that have been seen and which Arno, ever a good man with a phrase, (and the knife as well!) calls them “celestial crockery” are neither

.American nor Russian. If this is true, then what are they and where do they come from?

Too many official, and very secret, American reports exist (and I have seen three, one of which I made a copy of to give Behn) to laugh at these things as mass hallucinations or hoaxes. Some of this, of course, is no doubt true, but there are so many radar trackings, visual sightings, and photographs and so on as to make all of us wonder just what is going on?

I know we did work on such objects during the war and were entirely successful in producing a prototype that flew at incredible speeds but all the postwar reports indicate that there was only one such prototype and this was destroyed at the end of the war to keep it from the enemy.

If we were building these, my friends would certainly know about it and they do not, at least at the non-technical levels. I suspect that the Air Force has more knowledge than it wishes to discuss and there are other sources to be considered.

Truman has become very upset about these sightings and has stated to all and sundry that no official acknowledgment must ever be made. None of us know what they really are or where they come from but America remembers that radio program in 1938 (“War of the Worlds” by Orson Wells on the Mercury Playhouse program on Halloween of that year, ed.) that caused a terrible panic in this country and led to far more heart attacks and suicides than the government would ever admit to.

There will be no more panics if Harry can help it and since the military officials are frankly at a loss, they will not advertise their ignorance by entering into debate.

The Roe Company we know is working on prototypes that can duplicate German pieces and are known to be able to achieve very high-altitude levels and incredible speeds. Nothing is released on this but Behn and I feel that investments in this area could be most profitable. Naturally, I did not mention all of this to Viktor and for one reason.

If Stalin feels that we have such a potential weapon here, it might force him into some kind of rash action against the U.S. Better that Viktor thinks that the prototypes are not feasible as either a reconnaissance tool or as the vehicle for the delivery of an atomic bomb, a vehicle that no known Soviet weapon could ever counteract. Bombers could be shot down but not such a weapon. We will follow this up.

The subject of UFOs or Flying Saucers has intrigued the world since they were first observed in the mid-1940s. Sightings have persisted for fifty years and explanations, suppositions and theories have resulted in thousands of books and magazine articles.

It appears reasonably certain that some kind of a craft crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. There was a very high-level report located in the U.S. Archives that would tend to confirm the authenticity of this crash. A large number of sightings of disks, or saucers, turned out to be misinterpretation of natural phenomena such as stars, ball-lightening and refracted light while other sightings were proven to be very high altitude weather balloons and other man-made objects. Some of the sightings were very obviously the quite natural desire on the part of self-important people to enhance their images while others were clearly proven hoaxes.

In studying official American government analysis of a half-century duration, of the reported sightings of flying saucers or UFOs, it is obvious that about 75% of these incidents can be explained by the reasons given above. That leaves about 25% that the U.S. Air force, who investigated these sightings, states are either unexplained or authentic. Other countries besides the United States have also conducted investigations into UFOs and many have come to the same conclusions.

When these objects were first sighted, the United States was beginning the Cold War with Soviet Russia and the American public was extremely apprehensive that some kind of an atomic war could erupt at any time, possibly followed by a Russian military invasion.

It was quickly recognized in official Washington that panics of the kind created by Orson Wells’ dramatization of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds at the height of international war concerns in 1938 should not be permitted to develop.

For this reason, any mentions of UFOs in the print media were immediately countered by official denials, ridicule, elaborate and dismissive academic explanations and excuses. In 1948, as it is today, the American print media was a tightly-controlled entity and governmental censorship was far easier to achieve without the Internet, faxes and an alternative media as an effective counter-balance.

What is known, although not commonly, in technical circles, is that German scientists were working on the concept of a “Flying Disk” in the 1940s and succeeded in producing a prototype that matched the overall performances of the objects later described and with astonishing accuracy.

This project, “Fliegende Scheiben” (Flying Disk) was commenced in Germany in 1941. The developers of this project were aeronautical experts Schreiver, Habermohl and Miethe and the Italian specialist, Bellonzo. Habermohl and Schreiver developed a circular model that revolved around a raised control dome while Miethe envisioned a disk-shaped object with jet engines affixed to assist in take off and horizontal flight. The Miethe disk was 42 meters in diameter. In Prague, Schreiver and Habermohl flew the first “Flying Disk” on February 14, 1945. In three minutes of flight, the prototype attained an altitude of 12,400 meters and achieved a horizontal flight speed of 2,000 kilometers an hour. with a planned top speed of 4,000 kilometers an hour.

Just before the end of the war, this working prototype was destroyed. Habermohl, who lived and worked in Breslau, was captured by the Soviets and he and his plans were transported to Russia. Meithe remained in Prague and went over to the Americans along with his plans. In America, Meithe worked with the A.V. Roe Company of the United States and Canada and official records indicate that his crafts were built in four different sizes; 16, 42, 45 and 75 meters in diameter and were able to achieve horizontal flight speeds of 7,000 kph. Public government commentary on these aircraft was that, although they had been developed, they could only reach a horizontal flight speed of 25-30 miles per hour!

Given that there was the technology to build such a craft and also given that work was being done on it in the United States, official silence on the matter is, under the circumstances, entirely understandable.

Putting aside the hoaxes and the misunderstandings of viewers, it seems that there were indeed UFOs observed throughout the second half of the twentieth century but whether these legitimate sightings, radar trackings and occasional photographs are of experimental or extra terrestrial craft cannot be determined.

It is not impossible that the Roe craft sightings were paralleled by legitimate sightings of other objects whose origins are simply unknown. 


Study finds police officers arrested 1,100 times per year, or 3 per day, nationwide

June 22,2016

by Tom Jackman

Washington Post

So far this month, two New York City police commanders have been arrested on corruption allegations, an officer in Killeen, Tex., has been accused of sexually assaulting a female driver, a Philadelphia police officer has been charged with extortion of a drug dealer, and an officer in Hono­lulu has been accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.

Such sporadic news accounts of police officers being arrested led one group of researchers to a question: How much crime do police officers commit?  No one was keeping track, much as no one was tracking how often police officers shoot and kill civilians, although both may involve use of police power and abuse of public trust.

Now there is an answer: Police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day, according to a new national study. The most common crimes were simple assault, drunken driving and aggravated assault, and significant numbers of sex crimes were also found. About 72 percent of officers charged in cases with known outcomes are convicted, more than 40 percent of the crimes are committed on duty, and nearly 95 percent of the officers charged are men.

The study is thought to be the first-ever nationwide look at police crime, and was conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University through a grant from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. The research covered seven years, 2005 to 2011, and sought to quantify not only the prevalence of police officers arrested across the country, but also how law enforcement agencies discipline officers who are arrested and how officer arrests might correlate with other forms of misconduct.

For example, the study found that 22 percent of the officers arrested had been named as defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit at some point in their careers, unrelated to their arrest case. The authors suggest that police agencies analyzing such suits “could potentially lead to new and improved mechanisms to identify and mitigate various forms of police misconduct.”

In the seven years of the study, the researchers compiled 6,724 cases, or about 960 cases per year, involving about 792 officers per year — 674 officers were arrested more than once. But the study has continued beyond 2011, and lead researcher Philip M. Stinson at Bowling Green said the number of cases now averages about 1,100 arrests per year.

“Police crimes are not uncommon,” Stinson concluded. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.” Although nearly 60 percent of the crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” Stinson wrote, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”

“This is probably the tip of the iceberg,” said Cara Rabe-Hemp, a professor at Illinois State University who has studied police deviance. She said the effort is the “first-ever study to quantify police crime” and shows it is “much much more common than what police scholars and police administrators previously thought.”

To be clear, police are not committing crimes at anywhere near the level of civilians. Stinson’s data found 1.7 arrests of police per 100,000 population over the seven years of the study, where the general arrest rate in 2012 alone was 3,888 arrests per 100,000 population.

The number of arrests was “not particularly notable,” said Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police officers’ union, “when you take into account there are between 850,000 and 950,000 law enforcement officers.” The study did not include federal law enforcement, only state and local agencies. A recent Justice Department census of sworn state and local law enforcement officers put the nationwide total in 2012 at about 750,000.

Pasco said “the level of media scrutiny of police is way up,” even in the years of the study, making recruitment of quality officers more difficult. “In that context, some departments have lowered their standards,” Pasco said. “And you get what you paid for.”

The study gathered cases by using Google news alerts that send a message whenever an item on the Internet contains specific search terms. So only cases that are uncovered by a media outlet or disclosed in a police news release are captured in the database, meaning that many arrests that aren’t reported by, or even known to, the police are excluded.

“Every profession struggles with what to do when a member of their own commits a crime,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). “But for the police, having officers involved in crime strikes at the very core of what is important to them: public trust and integrity.”

Wexler said PERF and the Justice Department studied a series of sexual assaults committed by San Diego police officers. Officers working late shifts by themselves used traffic stops to commit sexual crimes against women they pulled over, Wexler said. “The actions of these officers impacted the whole department and resulted in major changes. Better screening for hiring, more effective supervision and early warning systems could help reduce these crimes.” He said the new study “sheds light on the extent and nature of this problem.”

The study found that more than 81 percent of the crimes were committed by patrol or detective-level officers and that nearly 85 percent were reported in metropolitan agencies.

New Orleans had the highest per-capita number of officers arrested, with 44.2 arrests per 1,000 officers, during a period that included misconduct committed after Hurricane Katrina. Milwaukee, with 36.7 arrests per 1,000 officers, and Memphis with 29.7 arrests were the cities with the highest arrest ratios.

There were 125 officers charged with murder or non-negligent manslaughter in the seven years of the study, and the Bowling Green researchers have followed the outcomes. Of the 125 cases, 107 have been resolved and 77 of those officers were convicted, a 72 percent conviction rate, the same conviction rate as for officers in all crimes where the outcomes are known. A Justice Department study of state court convictions for all defendants, not just police, found a conviction rate in all felony cases of 68 percent, and a 70 percent conviction rate for murder.

Stinson felt it was particularly significant that of all the officers arrested, for offenses ranging from murder to drunken driving, only 54 percent were fired, and 37.5 percent arrested for domestic violence lost their jobs.

The study also found that roughly two-thirds of all the arrests were made by an agency that didn’t employ the officer, and “in at least some cases agencies are not aware of the crimes perpetrated by their own officers.”Although applicants for police jobs are required to disclose arrests, Stinson said all police departments should require all sworn employees to disclose their arrests or protective orders against them, “so that police agencies can document and respond to known cases of police crime.” He suggested that all law enforcement agencies conduct routine annual criminal background checks of all officers, noting that officers arrested for domestic violence sometimes are able to maintain jobs requiring them to carry guns by not notifying their agency.

“Systems designed to provide an early warning of officers who are problem-prone,” Stinson wrote, “cannot be considered complete if they are unable to identify sworn law enforcement officers who have perpetrated a criminal offense.”

Rabe-Hemp noted that data showing 54 percent of arrested officers being fired likely means that many officers are allowed to resign and retain their law enforcement certification. “When officers resign, they usually just go to a neighboring county,” she said. She said she had studied a number of arrested officers’ cases, and “you could find them bopping all over the Midwest.”

Rabe-Hemp also pointed out that while women constitute 12 to 15 percent of all police officers, they make up less than 5 percent of those arrested. “One solution to police crime should involve hiring more women as police officers,” she said.

In cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, 72 percent of the officers were fired, and more than 80 percent resulted in convictions, the study found. There were 422 reported cases of forcible and statutory rape, 352 cases of forcible fondling and 94 sodomy cases over the seven years of the study, which Stinson called “larger than expected based on the existing research.” The data search turned up 174 examples of male officers arrested in cases of “Driving While Female,” in which women drivers were harassed or assaulted. About 82 percent of those cases ended in convictions.

The study also checked each arrested officer’s name in the federal court database to see if they had ever been named as a defendant in a federal civil rights suit. Of the 5,545 arrested officers, 1,233, or 22 percent, were named as a defendant in a federal civil rights action at some point during their law enforcement career. The researchers found that “officers who perpetrate crimes while on-duty are significantly more likely to have been named as a [civil rights] defendant” than those whose crimes occurred off-duty.

Although the Bowling Green database now includes about 1,100 cases per year, Stinson thought that number underrepresented how much crime police commit, both because news articles may not capture every arrest and also because police agencies may allow officers to resign in lieu of arrest because “they don’t want to air their dirty laundry.”

Stinson noted that almost two-thirds of the police arrests were made by agencies other than the officer’s. In some cases, Stinson wrote, “the employing agency should have made the arrest and failed to do so,” in part because of officers extending each other “professional courtesy.” He noted that of the 960 drunken-driving arrests, there were “comparatively few run-of-the-mill cases of DUI,” and that arrests only occurred if something egregious happened, such as a crash, injuries or leaving the scene.

Of the drunken-driving cases with known outcomes, however, officers were convicted only 35 percent of the time, and only about 38 percent lost their jobs.

Brexit makes UK cheaper – and pricier – for EU citizens

Now what? When the United Kingdom completes its exit from the EU in the next two years, Britons and Europeans will have a lot to adjust to. Here’s a sampling of that.

June 26, 2016


Will Scotch whisky become more expensive?

On the contrary! Experts believe that the pound will remain weak after its initial crash. So that means that British products abroad will be cheaper for the time being. Now is a good time to stock up on Scotch whisky, English wine gums and orange marmalade. In the long term, the narrow “no” to the EU will lead to tariffs and other taxes on British products again, once more raising the price on products made in the UK. In addition to high-proof hooch, Britain mainly exports cars and auto parts to Germany. The total value of those goods, however, is modest: According to the Federal Statistical Office, last year’s total was 38.3 billion euros – leaving the UK in ninth place on the list of Germany’s most important importers.

Can I still swim across the English Channel?

Resilience will no longer suffice. Soon, the United Kingdom will have to reach individual agreements on visa-free travel with different countries. Before taking the plunge, you should check to see what agreements have been made with your country. At the moment, people traveling to the United Kingdom need to present their ID cards or passports before entering the country as the UK is not a member of Schengen. It is safe to say that British citizens will soon no longer be EU citizens. Tourists from Birmingham who are traveling to Rome, for example, will have to take their place in the “All Other Passports” line instead of breezing through the EU exit.Will shopping in London become cheaper?

The United Kingdom is not exactly known for being a cheap holiday destination. But the devalued pound offers tourists hope of being able to take home more souvenirs on their next trip than they did on their last. If you fly to London for a Christmas shopping spree, you will get more for your euros or dollars. Phone calls, however, will probably become more expensive for EU callers because they will not be able to benefit from the abolishment of mobile roaming charges starting in 2017.

Do British members of the European Parliament have to pack their suitcases?

There’s no rush. The 73 members of the European Parliament with British passports will remain legislators until the official exit. They will continue to be involved and vote – just not on the Brexit referendum, which must be approved by the other EU states.

Will there still be Erasmus scholarships for Great Britain?

Gaining expertise in pub crawls, boasting Oxbridge degrees and spending a semester abroad in the United Kingdom are popular with students from all over Europe. That could change. Even the Erasmus student exchange program must be renegotiated. Anyone who wants to complete a bachelor’s degree, master’s or PhD in the United Kingdom had better start saving money: Right now, EU citizens pay the same tuition as British students and not the much higher fees for non-EU foreigners, but that is likely to change.

Should Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger be worried about his job at Manchester United?

In the past, Schweinsteiger, Mesut Özil and other European players could simply work in the Premier League. After Brexit, professional soccer players, like all foreign labor, will need an extra work permit. At the moment, non-EU players are required to have played in a certain percentage of their national team’s matches in order to play in the Premier League. This rule may now be applied to EU nationals, as well. But Schweinsteiger may not have to deal with the red tape: In two years, he will be 33 years old and could theoretically start enjoying his life as a soccer retiree. Of course, the Three Lions will be allowed to take part in the European Championship, as participation in the tournament does not stipulate membership in the EU.

Will the NHS collapse?

The National Health System is an institution almost as sacred to Britons as their monarchy. For years, it has not been running particularly well because Great Britain is suffering from an acute shortage of doctors. The remedy for this problem has been to hire doctors from abroad – for example, heart surgeons or oncologists from Germany. Perhaps these highly qualified immigrants will be scared off by the end of the free movement of workers in the future. In the divorce talks, the British will have to negotiate work visas for doctors.

Vatican hits back at Turkey for calling pope ‘crusader’

June 26, 2016

by Philip Pullella and Margarita Antidze


The Vatican hit back on Sunday at Turkey’s depiction of Pope Francis as having a “crusader mentality” after he used the word genocide to describe the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians a century ago.

“The pope is on no crusade. He is not trying to organize wars or build walls but he wants to build bridges,” spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters. “He has not said a word against the Turkish people.”

Addressing Armenia’s president, the government and diplomats on Friday, Francis departed from his prepared text to use the word “genocide”, a description that infuriated Turkey when he first used it a year ago.

Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Saturday it was “very unfortunate” the pope had used the word, adding: “It is unfortunately possible to see all the reflections and traces of crusader mentality in the actions of the papacy and the pope.”

Francis first used the word last year in a ceremony at the Vatican. An infuriated Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador to the Vatican and keeping him away for 10 months.

The word appeared again in a joint declaration signed at the end of the trip by the pope and the head of the Armenian Church, using the same phrase that riled Turkey last year.

Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide. It also says many Muslim Turks perished at that time.

On Sunday morning, at the last main event of his three-day trip to Armenia, Francis again made reference to the massacre, paying homage to “the many victims of hatred who suffered and gave their lives for the faith”.

The pope was a guest in a Christian liturgy presided over by Catholicos Karekin II, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which split from Rome over a theological dispute in the fifth century and is part of the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Francis sat to one side as Karekin led an elaborate service filled with chanting in the compound at Holy Etchmiadzin, the headquarters of the Armenian Church near Yerevan.

The pope has urged Armenia and Turkey to seek reconciliation and to shun “the illusory power of vengeance”.

The dispute about the massacres and differences over Yerevan’s support of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, have led to fraught relations that include closed borders and a lack of diplomatic ties.

At the trip’s last stop on Sunday before the pope was due to fly back to Rome, the two religious leaders released doves from a monastery near the Turkish border as a symbol of their hopes for peace between the countries.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Digby Lidstone)

 ‘Auxit’ vote within year: Far-right Hofer warns Austria could follow in British footsteps

June 26, 2016


Norbert Hofer, who narrowly failed to become EU’s first far-right head of state in last month’s presidential run-off in Austria, warns his country could hold a referendum on EU membership within a year if the bloc insists on political “centralization.”

“The founding fathers [of the EU] wanted to ensure closer economic cooperation because states that cooperate economically do not wage war against each other. That worked very well until the political union was founded,” the head of Austria’s anti-immigration and Euroskeptic Freedom Party (FPO) told the tabloid newspaper Oesterreich, as reported by Reuters news agency.

“If a course is set within a year further towards centralization instead of taking [the EU’s] core values into account, then we must ask Austrians whether they want to be members,” Hofer suggested.

Hofer and his establishment see the bloc as based on economic, rather than political, cooperation.

Hofer’s party has challenged the result of the presidential election won by the Green Party’s Alexander Van der Bellen by a mere 0.6 percent, with claims of irregularities in the procedure of counting postal ballots. The Constitutional Court is currently examining the allegations, yet even if the FPO succeeds and the court orders a re-run of the vote, the president in Austria does not hold the power to order a referendum.

A latest survey, however, adds to the notion that Austria may be on the way ‘out’ of the European Union, with some 40 per cent of Austrians expressing a wish to hold a referendum on EU membership.

The poll, conducted by Peter Hajek Opinion Strategies, surveyed 700 people.

It also found that 53 percent of the nation wants to stay for the moment in the EU, but the gap is not that big, especially compared to the results of the same survey conducted in 2014, which suggested only a quarter of the population supported the country’s EU exit.

Last year, 260,000 Austrians signed an EU exit petition, forcing a referendum debate in parliament. Moreover, this year’s survey showed that the majority of those up for ‘Auxit’ are supporters of the Freedom Party, and with its popularity growing steadily ahead of parliamentary elections in 2018, it’s fair to say the number of those supporting Austrian departure from the Union might grow as well.

Britain’s ‘Brexit’ vote has left many speculating it could have a domino effect across Europe, with Euroskeptic politicians gaining ground and polls showing at least eight more countries could ‘want out’ of the EU.  Meanwhile, Britain itself has been largely divided on the outcome of the referendum, with many calling for a revote.

British EU vote causes alarm abroad as ripples spread

June 26, 2016

by Estelle Shirbon and Ben Blanchard


LONDON/BEIJING- Britain plunged deeper into political crisis on Sunday after its vote to leave the European Union, spreading further confusion and uncertainty to the continent, where officials were unable to agree about what to do next.

The turmoil also caused alarm around the world; China’s finance minister said fallout from Thursday’s referendum “will cast a shadow over the global economy” while a senior official in Tokyo warned of the danger of “speculative, violent moves” in currencies.

In Britain, open political conflict spread from the ruling Conservatives to the opposition Labour party, where senior lawmakers withdrew support for their leader after traditional backers rejected the party’s pro-EU stand in droves.

Splits widened across the nation. Over 3 million Britons signed a petition demanding a re-run of the referendum, with the number climbing by the hour, and an opinion poll showed a large majority of Scots now want to break with the United Kingdom.

Scotland’s leader promised she would do whatever it takes to keep her strongly pro-EU country in the bloc, including potentially vetoing legislation on a British exit from the world’s biggest single market.

But French President Francois Hollande declared there was no going back on “Brexit”.

“What was once unthinkable has become irreversible after the vote of a majority of the British people,” he said during the inauguration of a World War Two memorial in central France.

Hollande called for France and Germany to use their strong friendship to seize the initiative, warning that “separated, we run the risk of divisions, dissension and quarrels”.

He and Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the issue by phone and an aide said they were in “full agreement on how to handle the situation”.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel also took a tough line on the EU’s future ties with London, although Merkel had been more emollient on Saturday, calling for clear-headed negotiations with a “close partner”.

“We will not hold talks about what the EU can still offer the Britons to keep them in,” Gabriel said.


British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned on Friday after voters ignored his appeals to stay in the EU by 52 to 48 percent, delivering the biggest blow since the war to the European project of forging greater unity.

Cameron, however, left the task of formally notifying the EU of Britain’s intention to leave to his successor, who is unlikely to be in office for about three months. That signals a long period of limbo. He will meet the other 27 EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Tuesday.

Sterling fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar on Friday to levels last seen in 1985, while more than $2 trillion was wiped off the value of world stocks. The weekend gave some respite for markets, but apprehension grew as Monday’s reopening approached.

In China, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei expressed his concerns about the threat to the global economy.

“It’s difficult to predict now,” he said at the first annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing. “The knee-jerk reaction from the market is probably a bit excessive and needs to calm down and take an objective view.”

Central banks promised through their global forum to do as much as they could to contain market uncertainty.

Already, the Bank of England and some other of the world’s biggest central banks have offered financial backstops in the hope of calming investors.

Japan contemplated official action on the currency market. “Speculative, violent moves have extremely negative effects,” said Tomomi Inada, policy chief of the ruling LDP party, according to the Nikkei daily. “If necessary, the government should not hesitate to respond, including currency intervention.”

South Korea also expressed concern while Hong Kong’s finance chief promised vigilance.


The United States – which during campaigning made clear it wanted Britain to stay in the EU – also showed signs of unease. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Brussels and London on Monday. A senior U.S. official said he would stress the importance of other EU members not following Britain to further weaken the bloc.

Despite the international expressions of concern, respite from the uncertainty is unlikely for months, at the very least.

Cameron has offered to remain as a caretaker, but refused to invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which allows for two years of exit negotiations. That duty will lie with his successor, who is due to be elected by his Conservative Party sometime before its annual conference in October.

The man widely tipped as the next prime minister is former London mayor Boris Johnson, the most prominent member of the campaign to leave the EU.

Cameron’s Conservatives have been at war with each other for years over whether to quit the EU. But the vote to leave a bloc that Britain joined 43 years ago also pushed Labour into chaos.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sacked a top colleague on Sunday, setting off a wave of resignations from his “shadow” cabinet. Dismissed foreign affairs spokesman Hilary Benn called for Corbyn, who was elected last year largely by left-wing party members and supporters, to go. “He is a good and decent man but he is not a leader,” Benn told BBC television.

Corbyn’s critics accuse him of campaigning only half-heartedly for a “Remain” vote in the referendum, and of failing to win over traditional Labour voters who were more receptive to the anti-EU message of the UK Independence Party.


The referendum has re-energized support for Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, to break away from the United Kingdom instead.

An opinion poll in the Sunday Post said 59 percent of Scots backed independence, rocketing from the 45 percent who voted for it in a referendum in 2014.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a fresh independence referendum is possible.

Under the UK’s complex arrangements to devolve some powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, any legislation before the Westminster parliament to withdraw Britain from the EU may also have to gain consent from the three devolved parliaments.

Asked whether she would consider asking the Scottish parliament to block a motion of legislative consent, Sturgeon said: “Of course.”

However, a spokesman for Sturgeon later said that there was legal debate over whether a lack of Scottish consent would be enough to hold up the withdrawal, and that the Scottish government expected their London counterparts to say it was not needed.

Beyond Scotland, signs are growing that not all the 16 million Britons who voted to stay in the EU are willing to take the result lying down. Backing for the online petition demanding a second vote more than doubled in 24 hours, with the number of signatures nearing 3.5 million on Sunday evening.

The petition, posted on parliament’s website before the referendum, said there should be another vote if the outcome was close on a turnout of less than 75 percent – three points above Thursday’s figure.

It will have to be considered for debate by lawmakers, but has no legal force and its backers compare with the 17.4 million who voted “Leave”.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Ingrid Melander, Christine Kim, Donny Kwok, William Schomberg, Minami Funakoshi, Francois Murphy and Warren Strobel; Writing by David Stamp and Anna Willard; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

 Putin Conspiracies, Obama Nonintervention Blamed for Brexit

June 24, 2016

by Adam Johnson


The referendum results in favor of Britain leaving the European Union seemed to have caught most Western media off guard. Betting markets and the pundit class had heavily favored a vote to keep the UK in the EU, but at around midnight on the US East Coast, it became increasingly clear Britain would be supporting “Brexit” by a roughly 52–48 percent margin. Per usual, the more cynical writers and pundits—no matter how contrived the task would be — would take the opportunity to take a story about a nationalistic British response to a pro-austerity EU, and make it about Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

First up was the idea that Brexit resulted from Obama not adequately invading and bombing Syria, namely having not overthrown the “Assad regime” in 2013. The Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin insisted that Obama’s “neglect” of Syria had prolonged the conflict, which thus caused more refugees and thereby provoked more racist backlash.

If you’re counting at home, that’s four causal links needed to blame Obama for the UK leaving the EU, despite the fact that Obama had actively lobbied for it. To say nothing of the fact that Obama has done anything but “neglect” Syria, having armed and funded anti-Assad and anti-ISIS forces for years, as well as assisting the Saudis, Turks and Qataris in doing the same.

On Andrea Mitchell Reports (6/24/16), Chuck Todd echoed this canard as well. Note that this claim is based on the assumption that not bombing and invading countries is what causes violence—putting aside the assertion that arming and funding proxy wars for almost four years is equivalent to “neglect.”

But blaming Obama is never enough. One has to contrive a reason to somehow use the Brexit to further demagogue against Russia—another favorite pastime of Western media. The most popular way of doing this was to insinuate that Putin was pro-Brexit based only on vague notions of aligned interest, rather than citing any statements by Putin himself.

Consistent Russia critic Daily Beast (6/8/16) published a 1,400–word piece suggesting Russia was secretly pushing Brexit, without an ounce of primary source evidence—only a smattering of secondhand assumptions and hearsay.

The day after Thursday’s referendum, Putin would blame the exit on the “arrogance” of British leadership, but the Kremlin, much to the disappointment of professional cold war pundits, still had yet to make a value claim either way.

Indeed, last week Putin was confused why the UK held the vote at all, and expressly withheld sharing an opinion on the matter (Reuters, 6/17/16).

“If it’s such a problem, why did he initiate this, if he is against it himself?” Putin said of Cameron at a meeting on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Putin said that he had a view on whether Britain should leave the EU but that it was not appropriate for him to voice it because it was Britain’s internal affair.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

by Charles Mackay

London, 1852


 A fouth o’ auld knick-knackets,

Rusty airn caps and jinglin’ jackets,

Wad hand the Lothians three, in tackets,

A towmond guid;

An’ parritch pats, and auld saut backets,

Afore the flood.


The love for relics is one which will never be eradicated as long as feeling and affection are denizens of the heart. It is a love which is most easily excited in the best and kindliest natures, and which few are callous enough to scoff at. Who would not treasure the lock of hair that once adorned the brow of the faithful wife now cold in death, or that hung down the neck of a beloved infant now sleeping under the sward? Not one! They are home-relics, whose sacred worth is intelligible to all: spoils rescued from the devouring grave, which to the affectionate are beyond all price. How dear to a forlorn survivor the book over whose pages he has pored with one departed! How much greater its value, if that hand, now cold, had written a thought, an opinion, or a name, upon the leaf! Besides these sweet domestic relics, there are others which no one can condemn: relics sanctified by that admiration of greatness and goodness which is akin to love; such as the copy of Montaigne’s Florio, with the name of Shakspeare upon the leaf, written by the poet of all time himself; the chair preserved at Antwerp, in which Rubens sat when he painted the immortal Descent from the Cross; or the telescope, preserved in the Museum of Florence, which aided Galileo in his sublime discoveries. Who would not look with veneration upon the undoubted arrow of William Tell—the swords of Wallace or of Hampden—or the Bible whose leaves were turned by some stern old father of the faith?

Thus the principle of reliquism is hallowed and enshrined by love. But from this germ of purity how numerous the progeny of errors and superstitions! Men, in their admiration of the great, and of all that appertained to them, have forgotten that goodness is a component part of true greatness, and have made fools of themselves for the jawbone of a saint, the toe-nail of an apostle, the handkerchief a king blew his nose in, or the rope that hanged a criminal. Desiring to rescue some slight token from the graves of their predecessors, they have confounded the famous and the infamous, the renowned and the notorious. Great saints, great sinners; great philosophers, great quacks; great conquerors, great murderers; great ministers, great thieves; each and all have had their admirers, ready to ransack earth, from the equator to either pole, to find a relic of them.

The reliquism of modern times dates its origin from the centuries immediately preceding the Crusades. The first pilgrims to the Holy Land brought back to Europe thousands of apocryphal relics, in the purchase of which they had expended all their store. The greatest favourite was the wood of the true cross, which, like the oil of the widow, never diminished. It is generally asserted, in the traditions of the Romish Church, that the Empress Helen, the mother of Constantine the Great, first discovered the veritable “true cross” in her pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Emperor Theodosius made a present of the greater part of it to St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, by whom it was studded with precious stones, and deposited in the principal church of that city. It was carried away by the Huns, by whom it was burnt, after they had extracted the valuable jewels it contained. Fragments, purporting to have been cut from it, were, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, to be found in almost every church in Europe, and would, if collected together in one place, have been almost sufficient to have built a cathedral. Happy was the sinner who could get a sight of one of them; happier he who possessed one! To obtain them the greatest dangers were cheerfully braved. They were thought to preserve from all evils, and to cure the most inveterate diseases. Annual pilgrimages were made to the shrines that contained them, and considerable revenues collected from the devotees.

Next in renown were those precious relics, the tears of the Saviour. By whom and in what manner they were preserved, the pilgrims did not inquire. Their genuineness was vouched by the Christians of the Holy Land, and that was sufficient. Tears of the Virgin Mary, and tears of St. Peter, were also to be had, carefully enclosed in little caskets, which the pious might wear in their bosoms. After the tears the next most precious relics were drops of the blood of Jesus and the martyrs, and the milk of the Virgin Mary. Hair and toe-nails were also in great repute, and were sold at extravagant prices. Thousands of pilgrims annually visited Palestine in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, to purchase pretended relics for the home market. The majority of them had no other means of subsistence than the profits thus obtained. Many a nail, cut from the filthy foot of some unscrupulous ecclesiastic, was sold at a diamond’s price, within six months after its severance from its parent toe, upon the supposition that it had once belonged to a saint or an apostle. Peter’s toes were uncommonly prolific, for there were nails enough in Europe, at the time of the Council of Clermont, to have filled a sack, all of which were devoutly believed to have grown on the sacred feet of that great apostle. Some of them are still shewn in the cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle. The pious come from a distance of a hundred German miles to feast their eyes upon them.

At Port Royal, in Paris, is kept with great care a thorn, which the priests of that seminary assert to be one of the identical thorns that bound the holy head of the Son of God. How it came there, and by whom it was preserved, has never been explained. This is the famous thorn, celebrated in the long dissensions of the Jansenists and the Molenists, and which worked the miraculous cure upon Mademoiselle Perrier: by merely kissing it she was cured of a disease of the eyes of long standing.

What traveller is unacquainted with the Santa Scala, or Holy Stairs, at Rome? They were brought from Jerusalem along with the true cross, by the Empress Helen, and were taken from the house which, according to popular tradition, was inhabited by Pontius Pilate. They are said to be the steps which Jesus ascended and descended when brought into the presence of the Roman governor. They are held in the greatest veneration at Rome: it is sacrilegious to walk upon them. The knees of the faithful must alone touch them in ascending or descending, and that only after the pilgrims have reverentially kissed them.

Europe still swarms with these religious relics. There is hardly a Roman Catholic church in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, or Belgium, without one or more of them. Even the poorly endowed churches of the villages boast the possession of miraculous thigh-bones of the innumerable saints of the Romish calendar. Aix-la-Chapelle is proud of the veritable châsse, or thigh-bone of Charlemagne, which cures lameness. Halle has a thigh-bone of the Virgin Mary; Spain has seven or eight, all said to be undoubted relics. Brussels at one time preserved, and perhaps does now, the teeth of St. Gudule. The faithful, who suffered from the toothache, had only to pray, look at them, and be cured. Some of these holy bones have been buried in different parts of the Continent. After a certain lapse of time, water is said to ooze from them, which soon forms a spring, and cures all the diseases of the faithful.

It is curious to remark the avidity manifested in all ages, and in all countries, to obtain possession of some relic of any persons who have been much spoken of, even for their crimes. When William Longbeard, leader of the populace of London in the reign of Richard I., was hanged at Smithfield, the utmost eagerness was shewn to obtain a hair from his head, or a shred from his garments. Women came from Essex, Kent, Suffolk, Sussex, and all the surrounding counties, to collect the mould at the foot of his gallows. A hair of his beard was believed to preserve from evil spirits, and a piece of his clothes from aches and pains.

In more modern days, a similar avidity was shewn to obtain a relic of the luckless Masaniello, the fisherman of Naples. After he had been raised by mob favour to a height of power more despotic than monarch ever wielded, he was shot by the same populace in the streets, as if he had been a mad dog. His headless trunk was dragged through the mire for several hours, and cast at night-fall into the city ditch. On the morrow the tide of popular feeling turned once more in his favour. His corpse was sought, arrayed in royal robes, and buried magnificently by torch-light in the cathedral, ten thousand armed men, and as many mourners, attending at the ceremony. The fisherman’s dress which he had worn was rent into shreds by the crowd, to be preserved as relics; the door of his hut was pulled off its hinges by a mob of women, and eagerly cut up into small pieces, to be made into images, caskets, and other mementos. The scanty furniture of his poor abode became of more value than the adornments of a palace; the ground he had walked upon was considered sacred, and, being collected in small phials, was sold at its weight in gold, and worn in the bosom as an amulet.

Almost as extraordinary was the frenzy manifested by the populace of Paris on the execution of the atrocious Marchioness de Brinvilliers. There were grounds for the popular wonder in the case of Masaniello, who was unstained with personal crimes. But the career of Madame de Brinvilliers was of a nature to excite no other feelings than disgust and abhorrence. She was convicted of poisoning several persons, and sentenced to be burned in the Place de Grève, and to have her ashes scattered to the winds. On the day of her execution, the populace, struck by her gracefulness and beauty, inveighed against the severity of her sentence. Their pity soon increased to admiration, and, ere evening, she was considered a saint. Her ashes were industriously collected; even the charred wood, which had aided to consume her, was eagerly purchased by the populace. Her ashes were thought to preserve from witchcraft.

In England many persons have a singular love for the relics of thieves and murderers, or other great criminals. The ropes with which they have been hanged are very often bought by collectors at a guinea per foot. Great sums were paid for the rope which hanged Dr. Dodd, and for those more recently which did justice upon Mr. Fauntleroy for forgery, and on Thurtell for the murder of Mr. Weare. The murder of Maria Marten, by Corder, in the year 1828, excited the greatest interest all over the country. People came from Wales and Scotland, and even from Ireland, to visit the barn where the body of the murdered woman was buried. Every one of them was anxious to carry away some memorial of his visit. Pieces of the barn-door, tiles from the roof, and, above all, the clothes of the poor victim, were eagerly sought after. A lock of her hair was sold for two guineas, and the purchaser thought himself fortunate in getting it so cheaply.

So great was the concourse of people to visit the house in Camberwell Lane, where Greenacre murdered Hannah Brown, in 1837, that it was found necessary to station a strong detachment of police on the spot. The crowd was so eager to obtain a relic of the house of this atrocious criminal, that the police were obliged to employ force to prevent the tables and chairs, and even the doors, from being carried away.

In earlier times, a singular superstition was attached to the hand of a criminal who had suffered execution. It was thought that by merely rubbing the dead hand on the body, the patient afflicted with the king’s evil would be instantly cured. The executioner at Newgate formerly derived no inconsiderable revenue from this foolish practice. The possession of the hand was thought to be of still greater efficacy in the cure of diseases and the prevention of misfortunes. In the time of Charles II., as much as ten guineas was thought a small price for one of these disgusting relics.

When the maniac, Thom, or Courtenay, was shot, in the spring of 1838, the relic-hunters were immediately in motion to obtain a memento of so extraordinary an individual. His long black beard and hair, which were cut off by the surgeons, fell into the hands of his disciples, by whom they were treasured with the utmost reverence. A lock of his hair commanded a great price, not only amongst his followers, but among the more wealthy inhabitants of Canterbury and its neighbourhood. The tree against which he fell when he was shot, was stripped of all its bark by the curious; while a letter, with his signature to it, was paid for in gold coins; and his favourite horse became as celebrated as its master. Parties of ladies and gentlemen went to Boughton from a distance of a hundred and fifty miles, to visit the scene of that fatal affray, and stroke on the back the horse of the “mad knight of Malta.” If a strict watch had not been kept over his grave for months, the body would have been disinterred, and the bones carried away as memorials.

Among the Chinese no relics are more valued than the boots which have been worn by an upright magistrate. In Davis’s interesting description of the empire of China, we are informed, that whenever a judge of unusual integrity resigns his situation, the people all congregate to do him honour. If he leaves the city where he has presided, the crowd accompany him from his residence to the gates, where his boots are drawn off with great ceremony, to be preserved in the hall of justice. Their place is immediately supplied by a new pair, which, in their turn, are drawn off to make room for others before he has worn them five minutes, it being considered sufficient to consecrate them that he should have merely drawn them on.

Among the most favourite relics of modern times, in Europe, are Shakspeare’s mulberry-tree, Napoleon’s willow, and the table at Waterloo on which the emperor wrote his despatches. Snuff-boxes of Shakspeare’s mulberry-tree are comparatively rare, though there are doubtless more of them in the market than were ever made of the wood planted by the great bard. Many a piece of alien wood passes under this name. The same may be said of Napoleon’s table at Waterloo. The original has long since been destroyed, and a round dozen of counterfeits along with it. Many preserve the simple stick of wood; others have them cut into brooches and every variety of ornament; but by far the greater number prefer them as snuff-boxes. In France they are made into bonbonnières, and are much esteemed by the many thousands whose cheeks still glow and whose eyes still sparkle at the name of Napoleon.

Bullets from the field of Waterloo, and buttons from the coats of the soldiers who fell in the fight, are still favourite relics in Europe. But the same ingenuity which found new tables after the old one was destroyed, has cast new bullets for the curious. Many a one who thinks himself the possessor of a bullet which aided in giving peace to the world on that memorable day, is the owner of a dump, first extracted from the ore a dozen years afterwards. Let all lovers of genuine relics look well to their money before they part with it to the ciceroni that swarm in the village of Waterloo!

Few travellers stopped at the lonely isle of St. Helena without cutting a twig from the willow that drooped over the grave of Napoleon, prior to the removal of the body by the government of Louis Philippe. Many of them have since been planted in different parts of Europe, and have grown into trees as large as their parent. Relic-hunters, who are unable to procure a twig of the original, are content with one from these. Several of them are growing in the neighbourhood of London.

But in relics, as in every thing else, there is the use and the abuse. The undoubted relics of great men, or great events, will always possess attractions for the thinking and refined. There are few who would not join with Cowley in the extravagant wish introduced in his lines “written while sitting in a chair made of the remains of the ship in which Sir Francis Drake sailed round the world:”

Pope says Church should ask forgiveness from gays for past treatment

June 26, 2016

by Philip Pullella


Pope Francis said on Sunday that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them.

Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, he also said the Church should ask forgiveness for the way it has treated women, for turning a blind eye to child labor and for “blessing so many weapons” in the past.

In the hour-long freewheeling conversation that has become a trademark of his international travels, Francis was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Roman Catholic cardinal that the Church should apologize to gays.

Francis looked sad when the reporter asked if an apology was made more urgent by the killing of 49 people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida this month.

He recalled Church teachings that homosexuals “should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”

He added: “I think that the Church not only should apologize … to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

The Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste.

Francis repeated a slightly modified version of the now-famous “Who am I to judge?” comment he made about gays on the first foreign trip after his election in 2013.

“The questions is: if a person who has that condition, who has good will, and who looks for God, who are we to judge?”


Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the pope, by saying “has that condition”, did not imply a medical condition but “a person in that situation”. In Italian, the word “condition” can also mean “situation”.

“We Christians have to apologize for so many things, not just for this (treatment of gays), but we must ask for forgiveness, not just apologize! Forgiveness! Lord, it is a word we forget so often!” he said.

Francis has been hailed by many in the gay community for being the most merciful pope toward them in recent history and conservative Catholics have criticized him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.

He told reporters on the plane “there are traditions in some countries, some cultures, that have a different mentality about this question (homosexuals)” and there are “some (gay) demonstrations that are too offensive for some”.

But he suggested that those were not grounds for discrimination or marginalization of gays.

The pope did not elaborate on what he meant by seeking forgiveness for the Church “having blessed so many weapons”, but it appeared to be a reference to some Churchmen who actively backed wars in the past.

In other parts of the conversation, Francis said he hoped the European Union would be able to give itself another form after the United Kingdom’s decision to leave.

“There is something that is not working in that bulky union, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, let’s try to jump-start things, to re-create,” he said.

He also denied reports that former Pope Benedict, who resigned in 2013, was still exercising influence inside the Vatican.

“There is only one pope,” he said. He praised Benedict, 89, for “protecting me, having my back, with his prayers”.

Francis said he had heard that when some Church officials had gone to Benedict to complain that Francis was too liberal, Benedict “sent them packing”.

(This version of the story has been refiled to add dropped word “for” in paragraph 12, fix typos in “Francis” and “officials” in last paragraph)

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Kevin Liffey)

Clinton’s State Department calendar missing scores of entries

June 24, 2016

by Stephen Braun

Associated Press

WASHINGTON  — An Associated Press review of the official calendar Hillary Clinton kept as secretary of state identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, loyalists, Clinton Foundation contributors and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded or were listed without the names of those she met.

The missing entries raise new questions about how Clinton and her inner circle handled government records documenting her State Department tenure — in this case, why the official chronology of her four-year term does not closely mirror other more detailed records of her daily meetings.

At a time when Clinton’s private email system is under scrutiny by an FBI criminal investigation, the calendar omissions reinforce concerns that she sought to eliminate the “risk of the personal being accessible” — as she wrote in an email exchange that she failed to turn over to the Obama administration but was subsequently uncovered in a top aide’s inbox.

The AP found the calendar omissions by comparing the 1,500-page historical record of Clinton’s daily activities as secretary of state with separate planning schedules often supplied to Clinton by aides in advance of each day’s events. The AP obtained the planning schedules as part of its federal lawsuit against the State Department. At least 114 outsiders who met with Clinton were not listed in her calendar, the AP’s review found.

No known federal laws were violated and some omissions could be blamed on Clinton’s highly fluid schedule, which sometimes forced cancellations at the last minute. But only seven meetings found in Clinton’s planning schedules were replaced by substitute events listed on her calendar. More than 60 other events listed in Clinton’s planners were omitted entirely in her calendar, tersely noted or described only as “private meetings” — all without naming those who met with her.

Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said Thursday night that the multiple discrepancies between her State Department calendar and her planning schedules “simply reflect a more detailed version in one version as compared to another, all maintained by her staff.”

Merrill said that Clinton “has always made an effort to be transparent since entering public life, whether it be the release of over 30 years of tax returns, years of financial disclosure forms, or asking that 55,000 pages of work emails from her time as secretary of state be turned over to the public.

Clinton’s State Department calendar omitted the identities of a dozen top Wall Street and business leaders who met with her during a private breakfast at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2009, minutes before she appeared in public at the exchange to ring the market’s ceremonial opening bell.

State Department planning schedules from the same day listed the names of all Clinton’s breakfast guests — most of whose firms had lobbied the government and donated to her family’s global charity, the Clinton Foundation. The event was closed to the press and merited only a brief mention in her calendar, which omitted all the names — among them Blackstone Group Chairman Steven Schwarzman, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and then-New York Bank of Mellon CEO Robert Kelly.

The missing or heavily edited entries in Clinton’s calendar also omitted private dinners with political donors, policy sessions with groups of corporate leaders and “drop-bys” with old Clinton campaign hands. Among those whose names were omitted from her calendar were longtime adviser Sidney Blumenthal, lobbyist and former Clinton White House chief of staff Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Clinton campaign bundler Haim Saban.

The AP first sought Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department in August 2013, but the agency would not acknowledge even that it had the material. After nearly two years of delay, the AP sued the State Department in March 2015. The department agreed in a court filing last August to turn over Clinton’s calendar, and provided the documents in November. After noticing discrepancies between Clinton’s calendar and some schedules, the AP pressed in court for all of Clinton’s planning material. The U.S. has released about one-third of those planners to the AP, so far.

The State Department censored both sets of documents for national security and other reasons, but those changes were made after the documents were turned over to the State Department at the end of Clinton’s tenure.

The documents obtained by the AP do not show who logged entries in Clinton’s calendar or who edited material. Clinton’s emails and other records show that she and two close aides, deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and scheduling assistant Lona J. Valmoro, held weekly meetings and emailed almost every day about Clinton’s plans. According to the recent inspector general’s audit and a court declaration made last December by the State Department’s acting executive secretary, Clinton’s aides had access to her calendar through a government Microsoft Outlook account. Both Abedin and Valmoro were political appointees at the State Department and are now aides in her presidential campaign.

Unlike Clinton’s planning schedules, which were sent to Clinton each morning, her calendar was edited after each event, AP’s review showed. Some calendar entries were accompanied by Valmoro emails — indicating she may have added those entries. Every meeting entry also included both the planned time of the event and the actual time — showing that Clinton’s calendar was being used to document each meeting after it ended.

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