This BBC article has some better background info on the murders in the French Alps. See especially the 6-part timeline, which is halfway down the main page
Had some discussions with friends over the weekend. Purely informal. If this incident was the result of a hit by a major western intelligence agency ... then it's bloody brutal and quite messy. Definitely lacking in precision and execution.
I'll stick with my own theory that the unexpected arrival of the cyclist on the road caused confusion with the hit men ... they apparently had poor surveillance on the road where the killing took place. As a result, they did not carefully check that all of their intended targets were dead.
If this was an intelligence agency ... standards are really slipping out there.
One alternate theory is that this was actually the work of mafia-style hit men. Maybe the victim had business problems and he had borrowed substantially from some mafia organization in the Middle East. Then he was unable to pay it back. That would explain the cold-blooded brutality of the murder.
French and British police are taking this incident very seriously. Someone has got a lot of heat headed in their direction.
one small detail that's been hard to figure out - how did the hit men get the victim's vehicle to stop? It was parked in a pullover area, and apparently everyone was killed at that location. at least two dozen shots were fired with silenced pistols - maybe 22 caliber (a guess).
One possibility is that the victim had pre-arranged to stop at that spot. maybe the meeting was set up ahead of time. it's possible he thought he was meeting a contact to drop off a payment or information. instead - he was set up to be killed. the point is that the hit men may have been expecting him to come alone, and were not expecting the whole family. once the incident went down - they proceeded and killed all the adults. it's just one possiblity, but the police will have to look at it.
[An Nahar] A man has been sentenced to 2½ years in prison for selling access to botnets in a computer malware case.
Federal prosecutors say 30-year-old Joshua Schichtel also was ordered to serve three years of supervised release after his 30-month prison term. He was sentenced Thursday by a federal judge in Washington.
Schichtel pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of attempting to cause damage to multiple computers without authorization by the transmission of programs, codes or commands.
Authorities say Schichtel sold access to "botnets." Those are networks of computers that have been infected with a malicious program that allows unauthorized users to control them.
Schichtel pleaded guilty to causing software to be installed on about 72,000 computers on behalf of a customer who paid him $1,500 for the botnet's use.
Four people killed in a horrifying shooting in the French Alps were all shot twice in the head, autopsies carried out on their bodies have established, officials said Saturday.
"All four were killed by several bullets and all four were hit twice in the head," Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud told news hounds here.
"The whole scene was played out in a very, very short time."
The prosecutor refused to offer any interpretation of his remarks, but they will inevitably strengthen the impression held by many experts on crime that the attack was the work of professional killers.
Maillaud said he could not divulge any details of the ballistic analysis of the bullets recovered from the bodies of three members of a British-Iraqi family and a local cyclist who is believed to have come upon the scene of Wednesday's shooting by chance.
Investigators will have established from the autopsies how many guns were used in the attack and possibly the type of weapon or weapons, which may give them an indication as to whether the attack was a random robbery or car-jacking that went wrong or a contract killing.
Interesting last name. Interesting info re family & a will.
"None of Mr Al-Hilli's businesses appear to have been making much money, something which has raised questions about how he financed his lifestyle."
Posted by: Barbara ||
Well, hell - hit "submit" when I meant to hit "bold."
"Mr Al-Hilli subscribed to the Google Circles social networking website, where he recorded his own movements." (Presumably telling the killers where he was the day of the killing so they could conveniently find him and kill him and his family.)
And that, my friends, is just plain damn stupid, no matter who you are. Nobody needs to know where you are, though there's probably no harm in telling where you went or just got back from >:-(
Posted by: Barbara ||
"Here I am on vacation at the Grand Canyon with the entire family. My house is unoccupied and we won't be back for several days. Please rob me"
Posted by: Frank G ||
...though there's probably no harm in telling where you went or just got back from...
Think again. Do that enough and you can be patterned even from that information. The best Social Media account, is the one you don't have.
Posted by: Secret Asian Man ||
Facecrook and some of these other chattering venues are little more than yellow arm bands for our curious and inquiring masters. Why wear them ?
Good point, Barbara. Doesn't 'al-Hilli' mean something like 'from the village of al Hilli'? And isn't that the site of rebels near the ancient ruins of Babylon? Foggy memories of the Marines in a firefight nearly 10 years ago....
Al-Ḥillah, city, capital of Bâbil muḥâfaẓah (governorate), central Iraq. It lies on the Al-Ḥillah Stream, the eastern branch of the Euphrates River, and on a road and a rail line running northward to Baghdad. The city was founded in the 10th century as Al-Jamiayn ("Two Mosques") on the east bank of the Euphrates. In the 12th century a new city was founded opposite on the west bank and in 1102 was called Al-Ḥillah. The city was on the pilgrimage route between Baghdad and Kufa, then one of the most important cities in Iraq, venerated by Shîʿite Muslims as the site ...
He used "Saddam Bricks", some with inscriptions:
"This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq." Of course, we know whom the glory was meant for. And yes, Saddam is a true son of the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar who declared: "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built ...by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30). The Creator of the universe immediately sent him to eat with the beasts of the field.
I never watch pro sports either, but in my case it's because I find watching the hours and hours of commercial shilling in between short vignettes of actual sporting action to be totally unbearable. I'm not willing to pay the price of sitting through all that so that a bunch of overpaid, underworked, uneducated, drug-filled, genetic mutant lowlifes can haul in 8 figure salaries while showing total contempt for their "hometown" fans by taking the next offer from whatever city will pay a few extra million so the players can score a few more hookers, sports cars and trophy homes.
Support your local amateur teams. That's the real thing.
...I'm still a Browns and Indians fan - I grew up within earshot of Cleveland's old Lakefront Stadium - but I lost a lot of my love for pro sports when it simply became a mercenary pursuit for owners and players alike. We have a wonderful minor league baseball team here called the Blowfish (which the city is desperately trying to get rid of so a WalMart can go up on the stadium site )and it's a joy to watch them play. What it would cost me for parking alone back home in Cleveland pays for three tickets, snacks, a souvenir, AND parking.
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski ||
Yep, another justification for a 20 percent tax on the gross of the 'entertainment' sector.
I will still watch any level of hockey. I also like lacrosse and even soccer (minus the flopping and other un-manyly displays of gamesmanship). I used to love Baseball as a kid but really cannot stand it now --boring (4 hr games) & too many primadonnas. NBA is the worst in my book (total garbage) and I think the NFL is a mixed bag (games take too long and too many corporate time outs). I don't care for NCAA FB anymore either - bowls are a money scam and the schedules of big time teams playing Central Poly-Tech schools is clowish. Yes, I'm highly opinionated when it comes to sports (and music).
THE youngest of my three daughters was born around the same time I became a card-carrying medical cannabis patient. That's as opposed to regular cannabis. Wait, what?
Even though I was only 44, I'd been suffering from occasional back pain. I also suffered bouts of stress, compounded by anxiety. Art dealing is a contact sport, I hear
The causes were unknown, but there seemed to be a correlation with work deadlines and flying coach with three children under the age of 5. Sometimes it got so bad I had trouble falling asleep at night, leaving me groggy and irritable. Flying in the physical sense as with American Airlines, or flying in the metaphysical sense?
So, in 2010, I resolved to seek medical help. I received a thorough physical examination from my CannaMed doctor, who checked not only my pulse but my blood pressure as well. Wow, man. He, like, checked my blood pressure. It was sooo kewl!
Examining the results, he concluded that I would benefit enormously from a cannabis-based treatment regimen and recommended that I use a brownie-based form of the drug to avoid the lung irritation associated with other modes of dose administration. Other modes of dose administration: My guess: Toking up...
I soon had in my possession a shiny, state-sanctioned medical marijuana ID card, gaining me free access to the city's expanding array of quasi-legal cannabis dispensaries. You should see it while listening to Hendrix, man...
After two years of treatment, I can state unequivocally that I feel much better about pretty much everything. Sure, my back still hurts, but I'm cool with it. A stoner's credo if ever there was one...
But the best part is an amazing off-label benefit I call Parental Attention Surplus Syndrome.
Before beginning treatment, I was a dutiful if not particularly enthusiastic father. Workaday parental obligations were a necessary, unfortunate chore. Workaday parental obligations: Just a guess; Means being a dad
I was so stressed out by the end of the day that bedtime, with its interminable pleas for more stories, songs, sips of water and potty breaks, felt like a labor to be endured and dispatched as quickly as possible. I guess the writer never heard of the word no, or not tonight... Snip
I swear I am a more loving, attentive and patient father when I take my medication as prescribed. Perhaps this isn't surprising. As anyone who inhaled during college can attest, cannabis enhances the ability to perceive beauty, complexity and novelty in otherwise mundane things (grout patterns in your bathroom floor, the Grateful Dead, Doritos), while simultaneously locking you into a prolonged state of rapt attention. In my day we called that the o-zone and it didn't mean rapt attention, rather the lack of it...
You not only notice the subtle color variations in your cat's fur, you stare at them in loving awe for 20 solid minutes. The cat politely not showing how creeped out he is...
I submit that this can be enormously salutary to the parent-toddler relationship. Beyond food, shelter and clothing, what do small children need most from their parents? Sustained, loving, participatory attention. Thank you, Doctor. A watchful eye is just as effective, dude...
No doubt some of you are tut-tutting that I should use meditation or yoga or Zen mindfulness to achieve this. Or a swift kick in the ass, either way works...
Point taken, and if I had a full-time staff of cooks and nannies, I'm sure I'd give all that a whirl. But the reality is that my wife and I are raising multiple tots on modest incomes in a small space in a very expensive city. No time for Tantra. Certainly not when you are staring at your pecker in loving awe for 20 solid minutes
And I'm not suggesting that all stressed-out fathers should just get baked. You might even get a ticket for it in some states. And let's not forget the health risks, which are rumored to possibly exist. I've heard that even a small amount of marijuana can impair short-term memory function. It might also affect short-term memory function. Which can be redundantly redundant...
But for me, at least, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. I find the time I spend with my children to be qualitatively different and simply more fun when I take my medicine (always in private, never in front of them, never too much). File under responsible parenting, stoner style...
I am able to become a kid again, to see things through my daughters' eyes and experience, if I'm lucky, the wonder of each new game, each new object and sound, as they do. 20 years later paying for her therapy under Obamacare as she was too horrifyingly creeped out to tell Dad to get a hobby...
Deeply embedded voices of authority in my head do still caution that I may be hurting my kids in ways I can't see. But I just can't imagine how it could possibly be worse for them than the consequences of their father's former stress-fueled frustration and withdrawal. When I'm rolling around the floor with my giggling daughters, clicking into an easy dynamic of goofy happiness and love, I feel it's just what the doctor ordered. I feel woozy, but to each their own, I guess.
What a creep.
[Al Ahram] A maker of condoms purported to be from the town of Condom in southwestern La Belle France has been ordered to pay 10,000 euros ($12,600) for false advertising after the provenance of its prophylactics was found to be Malaysia.
"The Original Condom Company" advertised its condoms as coming from the picturesque forested town on the river Baise.
However a court in the city of Bordeaux has ordered the firm, run by two Frenchies, to remove references to the town from its advertising, as only an unoccupied address could be found there.
Condom's mayor, Bernard Gallardo, said the town of about 7,000 residents has "other advantages" to boast of, besides its name that for years has famously caused English-speaking tourists to stop and pose for photos next to its main sign.
"We're not going to hide our heads in the sand, we won't prevent people from making a link with the name. But retreating into such notoriety can only compromise the tourism qualities of the town," Gallardo told Rooters, citing its gastronomy and old mansions.
Unfortunately for the town, Francophile tourists passing through might also snigger at the name of the local river, which is French for the activity for which condoms are intended.
[An Nahar] Thousands of people protested in Tunis on Friday, mostly supporters of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, demanding that Tunisia be "cleansed" of corrupt remnants of the ousted Zine el Abidine Ben Ali regime.
The crowd gathered in the Kasbah, the site of government headquarters, calling for administrative purges in the media and political opposition, notably members of the exiled dictator's RCD party that once dominated Tunisian politics, to be speeded up, an AFP journalist reported.
"Tighten the screw," "RCD get out," and "The people want the judiciary and media to be cleansed," were some of the slogans daubed on the placards of the protesters, who also flew Tunisian and Ennahda flags.
The demonstration was organized via social media by an informal movement known as "Ekbes" ("Get a move on," in Arabic) that is close to the moderate Islamist party, with a number of those present arriving on buses from outside the capital.
"movement known as "Ekbes" ("Get a move on," in Arabic) that is close to the moderate Islamist party, with a number of those present arriving on buses from outside the capital".
Sounds like the Democrats Occupy movement.
[NY Times] Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ... sometimes described as The Heroine of Tuzla and at other times as Mrs. Bill, never as Another John Quincy Adams ... pledged Saturday that the United States would soon lift cold-war-era trade sanctions on Russia, but she did not address human-rights legislation in Congress that has so far stalled passage, infuriated the Kremlin and become an unexpected issue in the American presidential race.
Attending the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting here in place of the campaigning President B.O., Mrs. Clinton welcomed Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization last month. And she said that the United States must now normalize trade relations so that American businesses can reap the benefits of Russia's membership, including lower tariffs for American products.
Although the sanctions included in the 1974 law known as Jackson-Vanik are waived each year and have no practical effect, they violate W.T.O. rules, which could allow Russia to retaliate against American businesses.
The effort to grant Russia normal trade status, however, has become entangled in legislation that would punish Russian officials accused of abusing human rights ...which are often intentionally defined so widely as to be meaningless... , denying them visas and freezing their assets. That has raised doubts that any agreement on lifting the Jackson-Vanik provisions can be reached before the November election.
[An Nahar] An Azerbaijani soldier who was shot by an Armenian sniper in the ex-Soviet state's remote Nakhchivan region in July has died in hospital, the defense ministry in Baku said Saturday.
The ministry said the soldier, whom it named as Rabbi Jafarov, died late Friday.
"He was maimed in the head on July 13 by a sniper shot from the Armenian side," the ministry's statement said.
Jafarov was the 14th soldier reported to have died this year amid firefights between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops, who are locked in a bitter unresolved conflict over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh, where they fought a war in the 1990s.
The Armenian defence ministry has denied shooting the soldier in Nakhchivan, an Azerbaijani exclave that borders Armenia.
The announcement came amid heightened tensions between the ex-Soviet foes sparked by Azerbaijan's pardon of a soldier who axed to death an Armenian serviceman, which drew criticism from the U.S., EU, Russia and NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... Ramil Safarov was pardoned, promoted and financially rewarded last week after being extradited to Azerbaijan from Hungary, where he had been serving a life sentence for killing the Armenian soldier during a NATO training session in 2004.
Armenia-backed separatists seized Nagorny Karabakh from Azerbaijan in during the war that left some 30,000 people dead, but despite years of negotiations since a 1994 ceasefire, the two sides have not yet signed a final peace deal.
Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the disputed region by force if negotiations do not yield results, while Armenia has vowed massive retaliation against any military action.
Although the cause is yet to be determined, this is not the first time a river has turned red in China. Last December, the Jian River in the north Henan province, turned red after becoming polluted by a powerful dye.
The dye was being dumped into the city's storm drain network by two illegal dye workshops. Officials raided the factories to shut them down, and then disassembled their machinery.
According to the Bible's book of Revelations, one of the signs that Armageddon is near will be an angel pouring a bowl into the rivers, turning them into blood.
[Dawn] Differences have cropped up in Pakistain Tehrik-e-Insaf ...a political party in Pakistan. PTI was founded by former Pakistani cricket captain and philanthropist Imran Khan. The party's slogan is Justice, Humanity and Self Esteem, each of which is open to widely divergent interpretations.... (PTI), Swat chapter, and it stands divided into two groups with each claiming to be loyal to party chairman Imran Khan. ... aka Taliban Khan, who is the lightweight's lightweight...
Sources said that while the party's provincial leaders, mainly Asad Qaiser and Pervaiz Khattak, are striving to strengthen their personal positions, the PTI also suffered a setback in Swat as it stands divided into Dr Amjad and Dr Inayat groups.
These groups are levelling allegations against each other and holding separate corner meetings to gain support of workers. The Amjad group is supporting Mr Qaiser, while Inayat group is backing Mr Khattak for the party's provincial slot.
Party sources claimed the Sept 25 visit of Imran Khan to Swat was postponed owing to the tussle between the district leadership. They said that the provincial leadership was aware of the tussle, but nobody was ready to resolve these differences.
In such a situation the party workers here are in a quandary, as all is set for the intra-party election slated for Sept 15.
Mr Amjad, who is district chief of the party, told this scribe that he was leading the genuine group having support of party workers. He claimed that the rival group was creating problems for the party and pressing it to get ticket in coming elections.
[Fox News] Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was originally sentenced to death in his native country for his Christian faith, was acquitted of apostasy charges and released from custody.
Nadarkhani, 32, was imprisoned for three years and waiting execution for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. His charges were lowered to evangelizing to Mohammedans, which carried a three-year sentence. He was released with time served, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, a Washington-based watchdog group that had been campaigning for the pastor's release.
"Today our sources in Iran reported that Pastor Youcef was acquitted of apostasy and released from prison. After languishing in prison for almost three years, he has been reunited with his family," Jordan Sekulow, executive director of ACLJ said in a statement to FoxNews.com.
"While we are working on confirming the exact details of his release, some sources report that the court alternatively convicted Pastor Youcef of evangelizing to Mohammedans, sentencing him to three years and granting him time served. Pastor Youcef's story is an example of how the world can join together to ensure that justice is served and freedom preserved."
Nadarkhani was originally called to Saturday's hearing to answer to "charges brought against him," leading to speculation that the new charges from the Iranian Supreme Court could be for a security-based crime, a charge often handed down to cover-up prisoners being held and sentenced on faith-based charges.
"While we praise the release of Pastor Youcef, we must recognize that Iran felt obligated to save face among its people and continue its pattern of suppressing religious freedom with intimidation tactics," Tiffany Barrans, a legal director for ACLJ said to FoxNews.com.
"International attention to this matter saved this man's life, but we must not forget the human right of freedom of religion includes the right to freedom of expression."
Nadarkhani's attorney, who also has been tossed in the clink Drop the heater, Studs, or you're hist'try! , maintained that the married father of two faced execution because he refused to renounce his religion. An Iranian diplomat told a United Nations ...what started out as a a diplomatic initiative, now trying to edge its way into legislative, judicial, and executive areas... panel earlier this year that Nadarkhani would not be executed.
According to Sharia law, an apostate has three days to recant. The pastor refused to do so and sources close to the matter say executions in Iran can happen at any time, often without notice. The court is reportedly seeking the opinion of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic republic's spiritual leader and highest authority, according to AFP.