Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Na Grécia, o descarado golpe de estado continua o seu sinistro curso e o BCE é peça fundamental na articulação do cerco.

Sejamos claros: o BCE não está a recusar-se a conceder mais crédito à banca privada grega; está tão só a recusar-se a fornecer as notas e as moedas necessárias à conversão dos depósitos em valores iguais mas mais líquidos. Fazendo-o viola a sua primeira obrigação estatutária, ou seja, assegurar a estabilidade e a liquidez do sistema financeiro.

O Euro não é apenas uma moeda disfuncional. É também, é sobretudo, uma ferramenta de imposição da ideia autoritária da inexistência de alternativa.


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Propaganda assassina

Box of leaflets dropped from RAF plane kills Afghan girl

Ministry of Defence says box should have broken up mid-air but instead fell in one piece

A box of leaflets dropped by an RAF plane in Afghanistan landed on and killed a young girl, the Ministry of Defence said.

The box should have broken apart in mid-air but struck the young girl intact. She was taken to a hospital in Kandahar where she died. The leaflets were dropped over a rural area of Helmand province by an RAF C130 Hercules on June 23.

“It is a matter of deep regret that one of the boxes failed to fully open and on landing caused serious injuries to an Afghan child,” said a spokesman.

“The child was treated at a local medical facility in Kandahar where, despite the best efforts of staff, she died as a result of her injuries. An investigation into the incident is under way.”

Defence sources said the girl was taken to a local hospital in Kandahar instead of to an International Security Assistance Force hospital, which may have been better equipped.

The MoD would not comment on what type of leaflet was involved but said the air drops were common and in the past had included public information on the presidential elections and basic warnings about explosives.

The news of the death came as Gordon Brown told Sky News that where the military wants new equipment “they have got it” and refused to rule out sending more troops to Afghanistan.

“I can say that we will do whatever is necessary and that does not rule out doing what is necessary for our troops,” Brown said.

“Where they want new equipment – and there have been a thousand new vehicles gone into the defence department costing a billion pounds – where they need refurbishment or new helicopters, where they need new equipment like night vision equipment, they have got it.

“I defy you to say that any urgent operational requirement that is needed by the military has been turned down by the Treasury.”

A UN report published on Saturday said August was the deadliest month of the year for civilians in Afghanistan because of violence from the insurgency. About 1,500 civilians died from January through August this year, up from 1,145 for the same period of 2008.


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At a time when we Americans may abandon health care reform because it supposedly is “too expensive,” how is it that we can afford to imprison people like Curtis Wilkerson?

Mr. Wilkerson is serving a life sentence in California — for stealing a $2.50 pair of socks. As The Economist noted recently, he already had two offenses on his record (both for abetting robbery at age19), and so the “three strikes” law resulted in a life sentence.

This is unjust, of course. But considering that California spends almost $49,000 annually per prison inmate, it’s also an extraordinary waste of money.

Astonishingly, many politicians seem to think that we should lead the world in prisons, not in health care or education. The United States is anomalous among industrialized countries in the high proportion of people we incarcerate; likewise, we stand out in the high proportion of people who have no medical care — and partly as a result, our health care outcomes such as life expectancy and infant mortality are unusually poor.

It’s time for a fundamental re-evaluation of the criminal justice system, as legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Webb has called for, so that we’re no longer squandering money that would be far better spent on education or health. Consider a few facts:

¶The United States incarcerates people at nearly five times the world average. Of those sentenced to state prisons, 82 percent were convicted of nonviolent crimes, according to one study.

¶California spends $216,000 annually on each inmate in the juvenile justice system. In contrast, it spends only $8,000 on each child attending the troubled Oakland public school system, according to the Urban Strategies Council.

¶For most of American history, we had incarceration rates similar to those in other countries. Then with the “war on drugs” and the focus on law and order in the 1970s, incarceration rates soared.

¶One in 10 black men ages 25 to 29 were imprisoned last year, partly because possession of crack cocaine (disproportionately used in black communities) draws sentences equivalent to having 100 times as much powder cocaine. Black men in the United States have a 32 percent chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives, according to the Sentencing Project.

Look, there’s no doubt that many people in prison are cold-blooded monsters who deserve to be there. But over all, in a time of limited resources, we’re overinvesting in prisons and underinvesting in schools.

Indeed, education spending may reduce the need for incarceration. The evidence on this isn’t conclusive, but it’s noteworthy that graduates of the Perry Preschool program in Michigan, an intensive effort for disadvantaged children in the 1960s, were some 40 percent less likely to be arrested than those in a control group.

Above all, it’s time for a rethink of our drug policy. The point is not to surrender to narcotics, but to learn from our approach to both tobacco and alcohol. Over time, we have developed public health strategies that have been quite successful in reducing the harm from smoking and drinking.

If we want to try a public health approach to drugs, we could learn from Portugal. In 2001, it decriminalized the possession of all drugs for personal use. Ordinary drug users can still be required to participate in a treatment program, but they are no longer dispatched to jail.

“Decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal,” notes a report this year from the Cato Institute. It notes that drug use appears to be lower in Portugal than in most other European countries, and that Portuguese public opinion is strongly behind this approach.

A new United Nations study, World Drug Report 2009, commends the Portuguese experiment and urges countries to continue to pursue traffickers while largely avoiding imprisoning users. Instead, it suggests that users, particularly addicts, should get treatment.

Senator Webb has introduced legislation that would create a national commission to investigate criminal justice issues — for such a commission may be the best way to depoliticize the issue and give feckless politicians the cover they need to institute changes.

“There are only two possibilities here,” Mr. Webb said in introducing his bill, noting that America imprisons so many more people than other countries. “Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States, or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice.”

Opponents of universal health care and early childhood education say we can’t afford them. Granted, deficits are a real constraint and we can’t do everything, and prison reform won’t come near to fully financing health care reform. Still, would we rather use scarce resources to educate children and heal the sick, or to imprison people because they used drugs or stole a pair of socks?

Op-Ed Columnist – NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF- Priority Test – Health Care or Prisons? – NYTimes.com

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Crime is a bad thing


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