Saturday, December 22, 2007

Daniel Talbot's Murder Gets More Complicated

First of all, shots to Chris King over at Chris King's First Amendment Page, as he used this blog as a source for some updates on Daniel Talbot's murder. King's also got some great material on the Bruce McKay/Liko Kenney mess. Additionally, King pointed me in the direction of even more updates concerning the Talbot murder, and since then even more has come out from various media outlets. Of course the information is scarce and a lot of speculation surrounds it, but nonetheless I will try to decipher it as best I can.

It was reported on December 15 that a third arrest had been made in the Talbot murder. The arrested, Gia Nagy, was charged with accessory to murder after the fact, which carries a punishment of up to 7 years in prison. She is alleged to have helped Iacoviello after he allegedly killed Talbot. Prosecutors say that she helped break down the 9mm gun used to kill Talbot and then helped hide the pieces in a storm drain. The article says that numerous people have testified that they saw Nagy break the gun down and that Iacoviello had told other people that Nagy helped him with the gun (the latter of which, of course, is hearsay and thus in the majority of cases inadmissable in court).

Only five days later it was reported that a fourth arrest had been made in the case. 17 year old James Heang from Revere is being charged with accessory after the fact and unlawful possession of a firearm. There is no word yet, though, on what his role (if any) was in the murder of Talbot.

I will stress again the need for transparency in this case. The DA has been less than forthcoming with information from the onset of the case and something just does not seem right about this. The details are hazy, and some of the logic seems astounding. Hopefully some documents from the case are available at the Suffolk Clerk's office so I can try to get a better grip on what the hell went on on September 29 behind Revere High. Until then it seems that the prosecution will continue to feed us tiny bits of information to keep us pacified until trial. Peace.

Photos - Daniel Talbot (WHDH-TV), Gia Nagy (WBZ-TV)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Are All Muslims Supposed to Hate All Jews?

After a very long sabbatical thanks to finals, I am back. The story that brings me back is a disturbing tale of religious hatred and animosity. I'm sure many people have heard about the attack on a Q Train in Brooklyn a week ago in which a man was attacked for saying "Happy Hanakkah" in response to a group's saying "Merry Christmas." A group of about 9-10 people (the Christmas folks) were assaulting 2-3 people (those who wished people a Happy Hanukkhah) when a sole person stepped in and helped the outnumbered people. The main victim of the attack, Walter Adler, was able to pull the emergency brake at the next station, when cops came and arrested the large group of attackers.

Needless to say, the victims of the attacker were Jewish (Adler and two girls) and the perpetrators of the assault were Christian. Obviously not very knowledgeable about either faith, one of the pro-Christmas group members allegedly said that Hanukkah was the day that the Jews killed Jesus. This is funny, as Christ died on Good Friday (in April, no where near Hanukkah) and the Romans killed Jesus (though it is debatable what role the Jews played in Jesus' arrest which led to his death). In any event, the group clearly was ignorant of other religions, as well as their own.

To throw in the last of the Abrahamic religions, the man who jumped in to assist Adler and his friends' aid was Muslim. Of course, the news outlets ate this up. The local newspapers in New York had the typical headlines such as "Jews' Subway Hero a Muslim". I figured it would end there; the newspapers got their fill of playing on the religion theme to get readers to read an article. But no, CNN jumped on the bandwagon with their: "Muslim helps Jews attacked on New York subway".

All of this emphasis on the religions of the people is ridiculous. It is as if people should act shocked that someone of the Muslim faith helped someone of the Jewish faith. Can it not just be a person helping another person? Think of the ridiculous headlines that other combinations would have made: "White man helps latino man on subway," "Black man helps Asian man on subway," "Irish man helps German man on subway." Who cares about the good samaritan's religion?

The problem with pointing out the samaritan's religion (the man's name, by the way, is Hassan Askari) is that it simply reinforces stereotypical hatred between Jews and Muslims. It's like saying "Oh my! A Muslim actually helped a Jew! Look, they don't all hate each other!" The fact that one person stood up for another person on a New York subway is news in itself, there is no need to include the religious aspect of it, as it does harm by reinforcing stereotypes.

Of course, the papers are not the only people who were shocked that a Muslim would help out a Jew. The victim of the attack, Walter Adler, said, "A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah - that's a miracle." This makes it sound like all Muslims are supposed to hate Jews and that it is miraculous that a Muslim would prevent harm from happening to someone belonging to the Jewish faith. Askari is the only one who seems to not care about the whole religious talk, saying "I just did what I had to do. My parents raised me that way." Imagine, someone who was told to help others in his childhood, no matter what their religion/race/creed/ethnicity/etc. and acting on it - seems that a lot of people find this to be a foreign concept. Peace.

Photos - Hassan Askari, Walter Adler, and a friend (, A Q Train (NancyK!'s flickr),

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What Happened to the Black Shooter in Omaha?

With the tragic events unfolding in Omaha, Nebraska this afternoon, many news agencies descended upon the breadbasket city to cover the day's occurrences. It appears that a troubled young man, Robert Hawkins, went to the Westroads Mall with a rifle and started shooting, killing 8 people before killing himself.

While I had class most of the day (and when I did not have class I was preparing for class), I had little chance to peruse the various news organizations to get the information on what happened. Fortunately, my iGoogle page has news for me and so I clicked on the first report on it during a small break during studying. The article, from, fingered a young black man as the shooter, saying that a description over the police scanner described him as wearing fatigues and carrying a rifle. The article even included a blurry cell-phone photo of the man in cuffs and some quality eyewitness accounts: "Barrett said she believes she saw a deceased man inside the mall." Nothing like sketchy eyewitness accounts to portray the truth.

So why is this a big deal? Some black guy in fatigues shot up a mall in middle America, or so I was told. You can imagine my surprise to see, rather than a file photo of a black man, a scrawny white kid (not that a white kid had committed the crime, but that the initial report of a black shooter was false). Either this person pulled a reverse Michael Jackson since his photo had been taken to when the shooting occurred or MSNBC had it wrong. I figured I would just read MSNBC's updated article and find out where the discrepancy lay. Nothing. No mention of anyone of color shooting up the mall, or false (media codeword: initial) reports of a black shooter.

Maybe it was a dual-shooter type situation? Not so, according to Sergeant Teresa Negron (presumably from the Omaha PD), who says, "We do not believe that we have any other shooter. The person we believe to be the shooter has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound." None of the other articles I have read from various news sources name this mysterious black man who was arrested. (CNN, New York Times, ABC News). So my question is this: who is this man? What was he arrested for? This reminds me of a song by Immortal Technique, " And they thought nobody noticed the news report that they did / About the bombs planted on the George Washington bridge / Four Non-Arabs arrested during the emergency / And then it disappeared from the news permanently." Obviously this case is not as serious as 9/11, but the basis remains the same: false news reports that are not corrected or clarified. Hopefully MSNBC will correct themselves and follow up on this story. Of course, I do not expect them to. Peace.

Photos (top to bottom): The mysterious black shooter (, Robert Hawkins, the real shooter (, The scene outside of the Westroads Mall (

Monday, December 3, 2007

No More Iranian Nukes Four Years Ago

President Ahmadinejad of Iran (BBC)
Today the US revealed that Iran has stopped pursuing nuclear weapons. The problem? The report is four years late.

The report states that Iran had ceased to pursue nuclear weapons technology back in 2003. This is quite troubling, as US intelligence reports dated after 2003 strongly claimed that Iran was actively, if not aggressively, pursuing a nuclear weapons program and that this was a direct threat to America.

Take a report dated August 23, 2006. It states: "Iran has conducted a clandestine uranium enrichment program for nearly two decades in violation of its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement, and despite its claims to the contrary, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons." This, of course, is highly embarrassing in one of two ways. Either the United States has been lying to us for the past four years or our intelligence gathering is so weak that it takes four years to find out that something has occurred. I do not know which one is worse.

Stephen Hadley (USIP)
Of course, the 2006 report could just be what the government fed to us, the electorate, to keep us in fear of Iran (do not forget that midterm elections were coming in November and campaigning was well under way). Take this quote from the report: "This report provides an unclassified assessment of the Iran question to help the American public understand the seriousness of the Iranian threat and to discuss ways U.S. intelligence collection and analysis against Iran must be improved." It is wholly possible that there was plenty of classified information regarding the actuality of Iran's nuclear weapons program (or, as it turns out, lack thereof).

But there is another quote in the report that supports the second of my aforementioned theories: "There is a great deal about Iran that we do not know...A special concern is major gaps in our knowledge of Iranian nuclear, biological, and chemical programs." If, as this report states, we know so little about Iranian nuclear weapons procurement, how can we (in the same report, mind you) claim that Iran was, without a doubt and over the country's insistence that it was not, developing nuclear weapons?

But, do not forget, just because Iran is four years out of trying to get nuclear weapons does not mean that they are not a major threat to America, according to Stephen Hadley (U.S. National Security adviser). This, despite the NIE's report (the most recent one) stating: "Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005. Our assessment that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously." Diplomacy: it might actually be worth a try.

So, it appears that the inevitablity of Iranian nuclear holocaust may not be so inevitable, but the war drum continues to beat in the White House. Even if Iran had developed a nuclear weapon, the US would still outnumber them by 5,736 active nuclear warheads (hell, we can't even keep track of them and store them properly.) While I hate citing Wikipedia, the opening sentence of its article on nuclear weapons and the United States is telling: "The United States was the first country in the world to develop nuclear weapons, and is the only country to have used them in war against another nation."

I guess I am having trouble grasping the fact that we, as a country, can have as many nuclear weapons as we want but other countries that we deem unfit to possess them are not allowed to develop any type of nuclear capability (even for power, which Iran has claimed its uranium enrichment program is for and, with the advent of this report, now appears true.) Where do we, as a country, derive this power? Is it impossible to lead by example?