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by AVA News Service, September 5, 2013
KZYX’S SELDOM SEEN station manager, John Coate, is in Australia to attend a radio conference, and news blurb guy Paul Lambert is on vacation. Lambert’s interim replacement is a fellow called Michael Kisslinger of Ukiah. Kisslinger has no radio experience but Coate has previously paid Kisslinger to attend station board meetings to fend off the one person, Shiela Dawn, who asks Coate questions he’d rather not answer. Coate’s probably paying him to the read press releases in lieu of a real news show in Lambert’s absence.
IF THE AVA were the only people saying it, we’d have to re-think our opinion.
But we, like many County residents, would like to see an end to Coate and station hatchet lady Mary Aigner.
The two of them don’t have one People Skill between them.
Both are gratuitously nasty to even their mildest critics.
WE UNDERSTAND that pleasant, capable people are rare anymore, but a tiny outback radio station should be able to manage at least one in an up-front position.
We’d also like to have real news programming, which ended when Coate, in a thuggish firing of Christina Aanestad, ended with Aanestad.
As it is, mention KZYX most places and all you get is despairing groans. (By the way, is Public Radio Mendo paying for Coate’s trip to Australia?)
LOW INCOME people have been evicted from the Eastridge Building (aka “Abalone Arms”) on the west side of Main Street, Point Arena. The sagging structure has been red tagged, but a red tag in Mendocino County seldom results in actual evictions. If a red tag meant evictions, several hundred more Mendolanders would be homeless. The folks in Abalone Arms were warned ahead of time but the building inspectors showed up a couple days early and several residents, suddenly without a roof over their heads, were shocked, one into real trauma who had to be driven to the hospital in Ukiah by the Point Arena City Clerk.
FIRST WE STEAL THEIR MINDS, THEN THEIR DRINKING WATER
Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:
On September 3, 2013, approximately 12:20pm, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the superintendent of Bridgeville Elementary School reporting a water theft. The superintendent reported that about 5am on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, a maintenance worker went to the school and noticed there was no running water. When the maintenance worker checked the onsite 20,000 gallon water tank which stores water for the school, the worker discovered there was no water in the tank, it was completely drained. The school had to be closed due to no running water. Further investigation into the incident revealed tire tracks in the field on the south side of the school. School staff believes someone climbed the fence surrounding the enclosed school grounds and took a garden hose from the school which they used to drain the water tank. It is believed the suspect(s) had a water truck or large truck and trailer with water tanks which allowed them to steal the water from the school’s water tank. Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
A COMMUNITY HARVEST DINNER AND FUNDRAISER for the Will Parrish Defense Committee, Save Our Little Lake Valley, and Little Lake Grange takes place on Saturday, Sept. 21st from 6pm to midnight at Little Lake Grange, 291 School Street in Willits. This event features a photographic display of the Little Lake wetlands before the bypass (photos by Steve Eberhard), a dinner featuring food from local farms, inspirational words (featuring Amanda “Warbler” Senseman” and Will Parrish), music and dancing (Dirt Floor Band, The Raging Grannies, and Blue Sky Pie). Dinner & Music tickets: $25. Discount tickets: $15 (if you bring a dish or just come for music & dancing). Children under 12: $10.
TOM STIENSTRA WEED ARREST: SF CHRONICLE COLUMNIST SUES BLOG OVER THREE-YEAR-OLD REPORT
The Trout Underground is a really good blog out of Siskiyou County. Tom Stienstra is an outdoor columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle who was arrested in Siskiyou County three and a half years ago, after cops found 60 plants and 11 pounds of processed weed at his home, which was in the town of Weed. The Siskiyou County District Attorney declined to bring charges in the case. Stienstra filed a small claims lawsuit against The Trout Underground a few weeks ago, the Underground reports. Why? According to the Underground, Tom Stienstra is alleging that the Underground’s report of his arrest defames his character. Why does Stienstra bring this suit three and a half years after the fact? Why does he sue the Trout Underground when major newspapers, including the one Tom Stienstra writes for, covered substantially the same facts (though in a less lively manner)? Underground publisher Tom Chandler has a theory: “The real difference between the Underground’s article and the mainstream media versions mentioned above — which enjoyed much wider circulation than the Underground’s — is that mine appears on the first page of Google results for ‘Tom Stienstra.’ The next mention of Stienstra’s arrest doesn’t appear until the bottom of page 3.”
— Hank Sims (Courtesy, LostCoastOutpost.com)
“WHEN IT COMES TO THE WAR IN IRAQ, the time for promises and assurances, for waiting and patience is over. Too many lives have been lost and too many billions have been spent for us to trust the President on another tried-and-failed policy, opposed by generals and experts, opposed by Democrats and Republicans, opposed by Americans and even the Iraqis themselves. It is time to change our policy. It is time to give Iraqis their country back, and it is time to refocus America’s effort on the wider struggle against terror yet to be won.” — Barack Obama, Jan. 19, 2007
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CALL FOR AMENDMENT TO US CONSTITUTION — The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling for an amendment to the US Constitution at its August 27 meeting in Ukiah. Their resolution called for an amendment that said only human beings are endowed with Constitutional rights and that donations to political campaigns are not free speech and can be regulated. The Supervisors’ action was called for by citizens’ Measure F that county voters passed by a 74.71% to 25.29%. Measure F was put on the ballot by citizen initiative and signatures to put Measure F on the ballot were gathered by volunteers of the Move To Amend Coalition of Mendocino County. Mendocino County was the first county in California to pass a call for a Constitutional amendment that was put on the ballot by citizens. The Board of Supervisors also voted to support Move To Amend’s Amendment, Joint House Resolution HR 29 (The We The People Amendment), that was introduced in to the House of Representative on February 14, 2013 by Representative Rick Nolan of Minnesota. Contacts: Margaret Koster (firstname.lastname@example.org), 459-5970 Carrie Durkee (email@example.com), 937-2554
ON AUGUST 25, 2013, at approximately 3am Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to an assault victim who was at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center. The victim reported her ex-boyfriend, Joshua Roberts, 26, of Ukiah, held her captive in a tent during the evening hours of August 24. The tent had been located in a vacant field near the 300 block of Ford Road. During the incident Roberts bit, punched and slapped the victim several times over a four hour period. During the same time Roberts sexually assaulted the victim. The victim was able to leave the tent briefly, however Roberts chased her down on foot and dragged her back to the tent by her hair. The victim was later able to escape after Roberts fell asleep. The victim sustained numerous bite marks, lacerations, abrasions and bruises during the physical assault. Deputies responded to the tent where Roberts was found asleep. Roberts was arrested and physically resisted Deputies several times prior to being booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the charges of torture, battery with serious bodily injury, sexual assault, false imprisonment, criminal threats, domestic assault, and resisting arrest. Bail was set at $50,000.
ANOTHER SIGN OF THE END TIMES — On August 30, 2013 at approximately 2:45pm, deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop on a silver Chevrolet Tahoe on Highway 162 near the Redwood Oil Station in Covelo. The vehicle had license plate tabs which expired in 2010. As the Deputy contacted the female driver, Melody Scroggins, 36, of Covelo, he noticed she exhibited symptoms of stimulant influence, leading the deputy to investigate further. Scroggins admitted to recently using methamphetamine. Scroggins’ seven year-old daughter was also in the vehicle at the time. A plastic container in her purse held four small baggies of suspected methamphetamine. Elsewhere in her vehicle a pipe used to smoke methamphetamine and a straw used to snort methamphetamine were located. Because the drugs were readily accessible to her child inside her car, Scroggins was also arrested for child endangerment. Scroggins was lodged into the Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $10,000. The child’s father responded to the scene and took custody of his daughter.
ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2013 at approximately 9am, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office contacted a couple parked in a dirt turnout in the 500 block of Muir Mill Road in Willits. Both the female, 29 year-old Falon D. Lynch of Willits and the male, 41 year-old Sean M. Wilson, also of Willits, exhibited visible symptoms of stimulant influence. During the contact the Deputies noticed that Sean Wilson was making an effort to keep the right side of his body concealed from view. A pat search of Wilson revealed a methamphetamine pipe. Wilson was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. A search of his person incident to arrest discovered nine hypodermic syringes and approximately 1.2 grams of suspected methamphetamine. Wilson and Lynch were evaluated and found to be under the influence of methamphetamine. Lynch was on Mendocino County Probation for drug related crimes. She was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance and violation of probation. Based on the evidence at the scene and suspect statements, Wilson was arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both suspects were transported to the Mendocino County Jail, with Lynch’s bail set at $7500 and Wilson’s bail set at $25,000.
LADIES! PLEASE! On September 2, 2013 at about 10pm Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were detailed to a residence off of Barnes Lane Covelo regarding an assault with a vehicle. Deputies learned Bridgette Frank, 23, of Covelo, had been driving through the neighbor’s yard at a high rate of speed intimidating a female at the location and endangering her children who had been playing in the yard. Deputies responded and upon arrival found the front porch of the residence had been struck by a vehicle. Further investigation revealed the victim had been standing on the porch involved in a verbal altercation with Frank, when Frank suddenly rammed the porch with her vehicle. The force of the vehicle collision caused extensive damage and the victim received injuries from the collision. The victim was flown to a trauma center for treatment. Frank had fled the area prior to deputies arrival. On September 3, 2013 Deputies were able to locate Frank and placed her under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism and driving on a suspended license. Frank is held on $45,000 bail.
LADIES! PLEASE! II! — On August 30, 2013, at approximately 10:40pm, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Creekside Cabins, 29801 N. Hwy 101 in Willits to investigate a reported assault. Veronica Hamilton, 36, of Willits, told Deputies that she had argued with a neighboring couple. As she focused on the argument with the couple, another female she described as blonde and heavy-set, punched her from the side. Deputies were unable to locate the female suspect at that time. Approximately two hours later Deputies were again dispatched to the Creekside Cabins. It had been reported that a woman had been stabbed in the chest by Veronica Hamilton. As the Deputies pulled into the trailer park, they heard shattering glass and found Veronica Hamilton hiding in her trailer as multiple individuals shattered every window on her trailer. Hamilton was secured in a patrol car and the female stabbing victim was contacted in a nearby cabin. Jennifer Divine, 25, told Deputies she fought with Hamilton and was then stabbed in the chest by her. There was a four inch long, one inch deep wound to her left chest area. Two neighbors who attempted to break up the fight were also injured by Hamilton’s knife. A 30-year-old female had a small cut to her left bicep area. A 21 year-old man suffered a significant laceration to his right forearm. He and Jennifer Divine were transported to Howard Hospital for treatment. None of the injuries sustained in this incident were considered to be life threatening. Hamilton was arrested and lodged into the Mendocino County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon. Additional charges are under review for other involved parties in this incident for misdemeanor battery and vandalism. Veronica Hamilton’s bail is set at $30,000.
ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2013, at approximately 1:45pm, Deputies received a call for service regarding suspicious circumstances at mile post marker 83.30 on North Highway 1 in Westport. Upon arrival Deputies contacted a California Highway Patrol Officer and the female who initially reported the observed incident and summoned law enforcement. Deputies learned that at about 1330 hours, the female discovered that the engine was running in an unoccupied white 1999 Cadillac Deville in the pullout along the highway at the above location. The female observed the same vehicle parked at the same location at about 1000 hours. The female attempted to locate the person associated with the vehicle without success. With the assistance of the California Highway Patrol, Deputies searched the area and were unable to locate anyone associated with the vehicle. Deputies attempted to make contact with Patrick Guzman, the registered owner of the vehicle, at his place of residence in Fort Bragg without success. On September 23, 2013, Deputies were still unable to locate Guzman or make contact with any of his family members. Based on the circumstances, Deputies generated a documentation report for a missing person. Guzman’s whereabouts are presently unknown and the circumstances surrounding his vehicle are unknown. Anyone with information that could assist Deputies with this investigation is asked to call the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 961-2421.
WHITE HOUSE DOCUMENT ‘PROVING’ SYRIA¹S GUILT DOESN¹T PASS SMELL TEST
Obama’s & Kerry’s Big Lie
By Dave Lindorff
The document released on the White House web site to “prove” to the American people that the Syrian government had used poison gas — allegedly the neurotoxin Sarin — to kill hundreds of civilians, is so flawed and lacking in real proof that if it were being used to make a case against a terrorist group it would be too weak to justify an indictment.
For starters, there is no documentary proof offered. Only assertions about evidence which is never actually shown. No maps. No satellite or aerial spy-plane or drone surveillance photos. No identified witnesses with verifiable expertise. All there is in this document is a narrative with assertions like: “The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013.”
There are coy explanations for the lack of any hard evidence, like: “To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence – but what follows is an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s analysis.”
Remember, we’re talking about a debate over whether to have the US launch a war of aggression against a sovereign nation that poses absolutely no risk either to the US or even to its allies directly abutting Syria. The reality is that this is about launching a war against a country wracked by civil war, not a country that is threatening its neighbors, or US interests and citizens. And make no mistake, a major US bombing campaign against Syria will not be clean and precise. Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of innocent Syrian men, women and children will be killed, whether by errant bombs and rockets, or by accurate ones that hit targets located near residences.
The first section of the report is devoted to trying to make the case that poison gas, and specifically Sarin, was used in a suburb of Damascus. No actual evidence is presented, though certainly there is evidence available — specifically the reports of physicians working in Syria with Doctors Without Borders. Why those doctors are not identified is never explained, but perhaps it is because to do so would make the lack of identifiable sources for the rest of the argument all the more blatant. In any event, it is probable that Sarin was used and that a considerable number of people were killed or injured by the chemical, but that is no casus belli, since it is not at all clear who is responsible for the release of the deadly chemical–the Syrian government, the rebels, or, as retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell has suggested, Israel.
Moving along, the White House document becomes even more opaque and useless.
In the “proof of use” section of the precis, the White House writes: “A large body of independent sources indicates that a chemical weapons attack took place in the Damascus suburbs on August 21.”
Not one of those independent sources is identified. Yet on the basis of this vague assertion, the document goes on to say: “We assess with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely.” Lest anyone think that this falls a good deal short of “proof” or “certainty” or, to use a phrase from the Bush-era campaign for an invasion of Iraq over non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction, a “slam dunk,” the White House goes on to say: “ Our high confidence assessment is the strongest position that the U.S. Intelligence Community can take short of confirmation.”
Actually, what they are saying here is that they do not have confirmation. The rest of the section is just obfuscatory verbiage.
The next section, headed “Background,” makes the entirely circumstantial argument that the Syrian government, and specifically President Bashar al-Assad, was responsible for a Sarin attack in Damascus on Aug. 21 because a) Syria has stockpiles of gas weapons, b) it has used small amounts of poison gas against rebel fighters (no examples given), c) it uses gas when it is caught in a battle stalemate (no examples given), and d) the opposition rebels have never used Sarin (this last point is a deliberate falsehood, since the administration certainly is aware that Carla del Ponte, chief investigator with the UN Human Rights Commission, has reported publicly that Syrian rebels used Sarin gas against civilians last March).
Again, all the arguments are fact and evidence-free, and the inclusion of a falsehood should make any reader particularly skeptical. Besides, there is an excellent, well sourced report from a US publication, Mint Press News in Minnesota, that suggests it was rebel forces which were responsible for the Aug. 21 poison gas, which may have been unintentionally detonated by fighters who didn’t know how to handle toxic weapons allegedly provided by Saudi Arabian intelligence sources.
Under the section titled “Preparation,” the document says” “We have intelligence that leads us to assess” that the Syrian military was preparing to use Sarin gas.” This so-called intelligence includes: “streams of human, signals and geospatial intelligence” allegedly indicating that military personnel were active in an area said by the administration (again on the basis of no evidence offered) to be where Sarin stocks were stored, and that they were wearing gas masks. Not a single photo, reported “signal,” or identified source was given to substantiate these evidentiary claims.
Finally, under the heading “The Attack,” the administration writes that: “Multiple streams of intelligence indicate that the regime executed a rocket and artillery attack against the Damascus suburbs in the early hours of August 21.” That fact in and of itself would mean nothing as Syrian forces have been using tactical rocket fire and artillery against rebel forces for two years running. But then the White House writes, ominously, that these rocket and artillery attacks included “rocket launches from regime controlled territory early in the morning, approximately 90 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack appeared in social media.”
Let’s think about that a moment. 90 minutes is a long time. We’re talking about rockets that land within seconds of launch, and explode on impact. In an age of cell phones and other “social media,” why would it take 90 minutes from that particular rocket launching event for a “first report” of a chemical attack? Is that remotely credible? Why didn’t the administration at least address that peculiar time lapse?
The paper goes on to offer as evidence, some 100 videos it collected from the internet purporting to show visual evidence of the poison gas attack. It goes on to say, “We assess the Syrian opposition does not have the capability to fabricate all of the videos, physical symptoms verified by medical personnel and NGOs, and other information associated with this chemical attack.”
Reading between the lines here, we can assume with, as the White House would put it, “a high degree of confidence,” that many of those videos are in fact fabricated. Since we are not offered even one to view, the assumption might be reasonably made that none are reliable.
In fact, there is no evidence presented in this administration document to support the whole poison gas attack scenario; only assumptions and assertions by the administration based upon evidence which we are told exists but that we cannot see. We are, in other words, being expected to trust the White House. As the administration puts it: “As indicated, there is additional intelligence that remains classified because of sources and methods concerns that is being provided to Congress and international partners.”
Except that at least when it comes to those foreign “partners,” Washington is still not sharing the classified evidence. We know this because in the Aug. 29 presentation made by British Prime Minister David Cameron in his failed attempt to win parliamentary approval for the UK to join the US in a Syrian attack, there was no hard evidence provided, and certainly if any foreign country would have been privy to any hard evidence in the hands of US intelligence, it would have been Britain, and it would have been used by PM Cameron to win the support of Parliament. As well, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that his US “partner,” in a presentation made to the Russian government, provided no evidence to support the charge that Syria had used Sarin gas.
In a statement made after the US released its intelligence report, Putin said: “I am convinced that (the chemical attack) is nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict, and who want to win the support of powerful members of the international arena, especially the United States.” He went on to scoff at alleged US intercepts of Syrian communications, saying that such flimsy, ambiguous evidence should not be relied upon in making “fundamental decisions” about using military force against another nation.
As for Congress, after a closed session Sunda in which the White House made its case for war, members reportedly exited the room with some saying the case had not been made and that the evidence presented was sketchy. As Rep. Bennie Thompson, top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee put it, “”In terms of whether not a lot of questions were really answered today? I’d say no.”
Something smells here. If this is the best the White House can come up with to make a case for starting a war with a country that poses no threat to the US, at a time when a majority of Americans opposes starting yet another war in the Middle East, and when most of the world, including America’s closest allies, are backing away from support for an attack, the conclusion has to be that there is no real case against Syria.
Rather, President Obama appears to have oratorically backed himself into a corner by saying he would bomb Syria for what he insists is a war crime it has committed, and now he feels he has to attack, committing an even more serious war crime, in order to defend his “credibility” as a leader.
(Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion; AK Press.)