When the cities are on fire with the burning flesh of men
Just remember that death is not the end
And you search in vain to find just one law abiding citizen
Just remember that death is not the end - Bob Dylan
Afraid I don't have time today to discuss these, but some stories need attention:
From Wednesday's Mirror the headline, "Have 200,000 AK47s Fallen Into the Hands of Iraq Terrorists?" (also see this thread on the RI discussion board):
Some 200,000 guns the US sent to Iraqi security forces may have been smuggled to terrorists, it was feared yesterday.
The 99-tonne cache of AK47s was to have been secretly flown out from a US base in Bosnia. But the four planeloads of arms have vanished.
Orders for the deal to go ahead were given by the US Department of Defense. But the work was contracted out via a complex web of private arms traders.
And the Moldovan airline used to transport the shipment was blasted by the UN in 2003 for smuggling arms to Liberia, human rights group Amnesty has discovered.
It follows a separate probe claiming that thousands of guns meant for Iraq's police and army instead went to al-Qaeda.
Amnesty chief spokesman Mike Blakemore said: "It's unbelievable that no one can account for 200,000 assault rifles. If these weapons have gone missing it's a terrifying prospect." American defence chiefs hired a US firm to take the guns, from the 90s Bosnian war, to Iraq.
But air traffic controllers in Baghdad have no record of the flights, which supposedly took off between July 2004 and July 2005. A coalition forces spokesman confirmed they had not received "any weapons from Bosnia" and added they were "not aware of any purchases for Iraq from Bosnia". Nato and US officials have already voiced fears that Bosnian arms - sold by US, British and Swiss firms - are being passed to insurgents. A NATO spokesman said: "There's no tracking mechanism to ensure they don't fall into the wrong hands. There are concerns that some may have been siphoned off." This year a newspaper claimed two UK firms were involved in a deal in which thousands of guns for Iraqi forces were re-routed to al-Qaeda.
The Moldovan airline is Aerocom, and yes, it's one of Victor Bout's.
It's always a bang-your-head-against-the-wall moment, reading again the play the incompetence theory receives, even from some of the Administration's harshest mainstream critics. But then, even to talk of an "administration" may be misdirection at this point, given how little representative government means in the United States these days, and how much of "national security" has been privatized into a global gangland of drugs and guns.
Like the tens of billions of dollars that have been "lost" in Iraq, planeloads of arms don't just "vanish"; not when the Pentagon contracts the work to an international criminal of Bout's untouchable stature. But Bout's name isn't likely to be mentioned in whatever coverage this story receives, before it sinks like so many others beneath the media's frothing triviality.
Meanwhile, a decision's been reached in the trial of Toledo priest Gerald Robinson. And it's guilty:
The Rev. Gerald Robinson appeared stony-faced as the jury's guilty verdict was read, and he blinked repeatedly and glanced at his lawyers before being led away in handcuffs.
The crime occurred in the sacristy adjoining the hospital chapel in downtown Toledo on the Saturday before Easter in 1980. Investigators said the nun, Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, was strangled and then stabbed, with nine wounds on her chest forming the shape of an inverted cross, a well-recognized Satanic symbol.
An altar cloth was draped over her half-naked body, which was posed as if she had been sexually assaulted.
"It was about how he could humiliate her the most," prosecutor Dean Mandros said in closing arguments. "He left a message for everyone to see … maybe to God himself."
After the sentencing one of Robinson's tearful supporters "turned to Claudia Vercellotti, a local leader of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests [SNAP], who had helped reopen the case, and told her, 'I hope you rot in hell!'"
From SNAP's statement on the Robinson conviction:
More than ever, police and prosecutors have the tools and the will to go after horrific crimes, even when the defendants are seemingly powerful individuals or institutions.
When victims and witnesses stay silent, nothing changes. When victims and witnesses speak up, at least sometimes a child is protected, the truth is exposed, and justice is done.
The murder weapon, Robinson's letter opener:
Finally, from an email, a follow-up on the reopening of the investigation into the Atlanta Child Murders:
Dekalb County Police Chief Louis Graham...the man who reopened the investigations last year, is mysteriously stepping down. And of all the people who the county is getting to find a replacement...is none other than Lee Brown, the original supervisor of the Atlanta PD, who was in office during the murders and the subsequent investigation.
SNAP is right in part. Police and prosecutors have the tools. The will is another matter. Some do, individually. But institutionally? That's still the domain of those who don't.