Sunday, January 17, 2010

UK - Businessman sues British Airways 'for treating men like perverts'

Original Article

What about banning woman as well? They commit sex crimes as well.

01/16/2010

By Sophie Borland

A businessman is suing British Airways over a policy that bans male passengers from sitting next to children they don't know - even if the child's parents are on the same flight.

Mirko Fischer has accused the airline of branding all men as potential sex offenders and says innocent travellers are being publicly humiliated.

In line with the policy, BA cabin crew patrol the aisles before take-off checking that youngsters travelling on their own or in a different row from their parents are not next to a male stranger.

If they find a man next to a child or teenager they will ask him to move to a different seat. The aircraft will not take off unless the passenger obeys.

Mr Fischer, a 33-year-old hedge fund manager, became aware of the policy while he was flying from Gatwick with his wife Stephanie, 30.

His wife, who was six months pregnant, had booked a window seat which she thought would be more spacious. Mr Fischer was in the middle seat between her and a 12-year-old boy.

Shortly after all passengers had sat down, having stowed their bags in the overhead lockers, a male steward asked Mr Fischer to change his seat.

Mr Fischer refused, explaining that his wife was pregnant, at which point the steward raised his voice, causing several passengers to turn round in alarm. He warned that the aircraft could not take off unless Mr Fischer obeyed.

Mr Fischer eventually moved seats but felt so humiliated by his treatment that he is taking the airline to court on the grounds of sex discrimination. He is paying all his own legal

If he wins at the hearing next month at Slough County Court, BA will have to change its policy.

He has promised to donate any compensation to the NSPCC.

Mr Fischer, who lives in Luxembourg with his wife and their daughter Sophia, said: 'This policy is branding all men as perverts for no reason. The policy and the treatment of male passengers is absolutely outrageous."

"A plane is a public place - cabin crew regularly walk down the aisles and passengers are sat so close to each other. The risk of any abuse is virtually zero."

"Furthermore statistically children are far more likely to be abused by a member of their family. Does that mean that BA are going to ban children sitting next to their own parents?"

"I was made to feel like a criminal in front of other passengers. It was totally humiliating. Neither myself or my wife dared to speak to the boy in case the cabin crew forced us from our seats. The poor child must have thought we were extremely rude and unfriendly."

Claude Knights, of the children's charity Kidscape said: 'The airline should have procedures in place to avoid this sort of situation."

"If the airline is that concerned they should sit unaccompanied children with cabin crew who have no doubt been thoroughly vetted."

A BA spokesman said: "As this is case is subject to court proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time."



IL - Soldier's family says pictures aren't porn

Original Article
Very Interesting Comments Here

One other question. If the photo is considered child porn, why is the mother not being arrested for distributing child porn? Father speaks out (listen here)

01/15/2010

By DAVID MERCER

CHAMPAIGN - The family of an Illinois National Guard soldier said Friday that he's been charged with possession of child pornography in Afghanistan over innocent snapshots of a 4-year-old relative in a swimsuit.

The U.S. Army has charged Spec. _____ of Galesburg, Ill., with possession of child pornography and a related charge of failure to obey an order that troops in Afghanistan not possess pornography.

Army spokesman Lt. Mary J. Pekas declined to discuss details of the case or evidence against _____. She said the charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

_____'s unit returned to Illinois in August, according to the National Guard, but the Army said he remains in Afghanistan, awaiting the end of his case and possible court martial.

"Spec. _____ is currently on active duty and assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 82nd Airborne Division, pending the conclusion of the investigation and any potential legal proceedings," the Army's media center in Bagram, Afghanistan, said in a brief, unsigned e-mail statement.

_____'s father, Rodney, said the Army won't discuss the case with the family. But he said his son has told him the charges stem from a handful of photos of the girl that the soldier's mother e-mailed to ease his homesickness.

"I can't believe that the Army's doing this to our son; it's unbelievable," Rodney _____ said from his home in Galesburg, about 55 miles south of Davenport, Iowa. "The Army and the government's telling us more or less that it's none of our business."

The pictures show the girl in a swimsuit playing in a pool and sitting on _____'s pickup truck, according to the family. A small portion of one of the girl's buttocks is visible in one, _____ said.

_____, a mechanic in civilian life, was part of the Illinois Army National Guard's 33rd Infantry Brigade. About 3,000 members of the brigade went to Afghanistan in late 2008 and returned home last year.

The _____ say their son became close to the little girl after she was diagnosed with a serious illness while her own father was away for military training. The pictures were taken by _____ and the girl's mother at the girl's birthday party last summer, _____ said.

The Army said any legal proceedings will happen in Afghanistan, but _____ hopes for some way to have his son tried in the United States if it comes to that. Anyone from his National Guard unit who can testify on his behalf isn't in Afghanistan, _____ said.

"If they court martial him in Afghanistan, he will be absolutely on his own," he said.

Video Link



U.S. Supreme Court: Throwing away the key for sex offenders?

Original Article

01/17/2010

By MICHAEL KIRKLAND

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court, after hearing argument last week, is set to decide whether the U.S. government has the power to commit indefinitely any federal prisoner who shows signs of being a sexual predator.

The issue is not whether it is a good idea to keep someone behind bars after serving a sentence but who has committed no new crime -- though there is considerable disagreement about the wisdom of such a policy. The issue is whether the federal government is usurping the power of the states.

The need to control sexual predators in some fashion seems to be compelling. In case after case, the same set of depressing facts ends in tragedy, such as the case of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell in Maryland last month.

A child disappears, sometimes from her own bedroom. There is a frantic search. A registered sex offender is arrested. The child is found dead.
- This is BS!  Less than 5% of the time that a child is sexually abused, is it a sex offender.  It's usually a family member or close friend who is not currently a sex offender.  It's just the 5% of those high profile cases which make the news and are pounded down everyones throats over and over, so it appears this is the norm, which it is not.

In the Foxwell case, the Wicomico County sheriff has promised to seek the death penalty against the suspect, Thomas Leggs Jr., 30, of Salisbury, Md. But nothing will bring the child back.

The case of 6-year-old Adam Walsh shocked the conscience of the nation in 1981. He disappeared while shopping with his mother in Hollywood, Fla. Only his head was later recovered. A convicted serial killer, who died in prison of natural causes in 1996, was blamed but never charged with the crime.
- Yes, his mother was negligent and left the child unattended (child neglect) and Ottis Toole was a sick psychopathic serial killer and liar, and not a sex offender.  A sex offender had nothing to do with Adam's death, period!

The boy's father, John Walsh, went on to host television's "America's Most Wanted," often cited by the FBI as being instrumental in helping to catch violent killers.

In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which among other things allows "the federal government to place in indefinite civil commitment 'sexually dangerous' persons," a federal appeals court said. The civil commitment procedures are not limited to prisoners convicted of sexual offenses, but can be applied to any prisoner in federal custody who has a history of illegal sexual conduct or attempts at such conduct.
- If a person is so dangerous, why aren't they put in prison longer or for life?  Civil commitment is a lot more expensive than prison, and the tax payers are paying for it, at a time where they cannot afford it and the country is going bankrupt. But, it does make jobs for others, and rakes in the money! We have always had involuntary commitment laws, so why is this needed in the first place?

So far, the commitment provisions of the federal act have been sparsely applied. Of the 15,000 or so federal prisoners with a history of sexual offenses, only about 100 have faced commitment procedures. But the program could be rapidly expanded in the face of public pressure.
- And how many have actually come out of commitment?

In January 2009, an appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., said the act's provision granted "the federal government unprecedented authority over civil commitment -- an area long controlled by the states." The appeals court panel agreed with a federal judge that the provision "exceeds the limits of congressional power and intrudes on the powers reserved to the states." The Obama administration then asked the Supreme Court for review.

About 20 states have civil commitment laws to continue to imprison sexual predators after they have served their sentences.
- It's ex post facto punishment, which the constitution forbids, but like I've said before, the constitution is not worth the paper and ink it's written on, anymore.

In 1997's Kansas vs. Hendricks, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act -- which sets up procedures for the civil commitment of persons who due to a "mental abnormality" or a "personality disorder" are likely to engage in "predatory acts of sexual violence" -- did not violate the "due process," or fair proceedings, guarantee of the Constitution.

But in 2002's Kansas vs. Crane, the high court ruled 7-2 that Kansas and other states must make some determination that a sexual predator cannot control his behavior when committing someone to an indefinite term.

The Supreme Court heard argument last week in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act challenge. The dispute is making for some strange bedfellows.

The Obama administration, represented by Solicitor General Elena Kagan, aggressively defended the federal act in argument. The administration's brief to the high court, defining who is eligible for civil commitment, said "the term 'sexually dangerous person' requires the government to make two showings (to a federal judge) by 'clear and convincing evidence.' ... First, the government must prove that the (prisoner) has previously 'engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or child molestation.' ... Second, the government must prove 'that the person suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder as a result of which he would have serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released.'"

The committed prisoner can request regular re-evaluation at six-month intervals, but the commitment can be open-ended.
- I am unaware of any offenders getting out of civil commitment yet!

The government's argument relies, not on the ubiquitous Commerce Clause -- which gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce and is used to underwrite a broad category of federal laws -- but the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution: "The Congress shall have power ... (to) make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States. ... "

Besides the Obama administration, 31 state attorneys general told the Supreme Court they support the federal act.
- Of course they do, their "oaths of office" mean nothing, neither does the constitution!

On the right, the American Enterprise Institute says the case "represents an opportunity for the (Supreme) Court to help restore federal power to proper constitutional limits."

The AEI urges the self-styled Tea Party protesters -- a loose coalition of protesters and bloggers who oppose big government and President Barack Obama -- to join the fight.
- As do I!

The conservative think tank said sex offenders should be committed, but, "Given how poorly federal policy has performed in many areas, one wonders whether things might be better if Congress had less on its regulatory plate. The (Supreme) Court should take this opportunity to rebuke Congress's gluttony by preventing it from meddling in areas that lawfully belong to the states."

And not everyone agrees that recidivism is inevitable for sexual offenders. In 2008, columnist Carl Bialik wrote in The Wall Street Journal: "It's common to hear claims that (past sexual offenders are) sure to commit more sex crimes. ... But ... the numbers don't bear this out. Recidivism rates (and here) vary widely depending on which crimes are counted, the time frame of the studies and whether repeat offenses are defined by convictions, arrests or self-reporting. But even the author of a widely published report suggesting a recidivism rate of 52 percent, Wisconsin psychologist Dennis Doren, told me of the notion that all sex criminals are likely to re-offend, 'There is no research support for that view, period.'"

But such questions are not part of the current debate. No court, not even the Supreme Court, wants to appear timid or soft when it comes to those who prey on children or the defenseless. The question is only which level of government will do the committing.
- And they don't have the balls to uphold their "oath of office," and the constitution, because of this!

In argument last week, even normally conservative justices who usually question the usurpation of state rights by the federal government seemed to agree with the Obama administration.

Only Justice Antonin Scalia, a variety of observers agree, questioned the constitutionality of the Adam Walsh Act from the bench.

The justices should hand down a decision in the case, U.S. vs. Comstock (transcript) et al, sometime before the summer recess begins in late June.



ME - Murders Put Focus on Sex-Offender Registry Policies (Just one example of many)

This is rather old (04/21/2006), but I just now created a video from the NPR audio. Many more are documented here, and on the RSOVigilantism YouTube channel.