Monday, January 31, 2011

White House Shows Support for Spectrum
Indiana Officer Seriously Injured in Crash
South Carolina Officer Saves Infant's Life
N.M. Officers Get Take-Home Cars Back
Chaplains Help Fla. Cops Cope With Loss
Okla. Robber Demands Pants From Victim
Man Accused of Dragging N.H. Officer
Off-Duty N.H. Police Officer Nabs Suspect
L.A. Officer Allegedly Made Up Story
Oregon Officer Expected to Survive

Homeland Defense & Terror News

Most Wanted News

Arizona Fugitive Planned Suicide by Bear
A convicted killer who escaped from an Arizona prison said after his capture that he had planned to overdose on heroin at Yellowstone National Park and let bears eat him to end the fear and panic he was experiencing while on the lam.
'Granddad Bandit' Suspect to Plead Guilty
The federal prosecutor's office in Richmond says the suspect known as the Granddad Bandit will plead guilty to multiple bank robbery counts on Feb. 10.
Feds Arrest Over 100 in Mob Takedown
Federal agents have arrested more than 100 suspected mobsters in multiple investigations of New York's organized crime families.
Arizona Fugitive Captured by Oregon Police
A man police said kidnapped and raped a woman at knifepoint in Apache Junction was found in Oregon and extradited to Pinal County last week.
Florida Prison Escapee Recaptured
Osceola County Sheriff's deputies located Michael France and took him into custody without incident.


25 arrested at California conservative meeting

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Twenty-five people were arrested for trespassing Sunday as hundreds protested outside a strategy session of conservative political donors at a resort near Palm Springs, authorities said.
The mostly peaceful demonstration had been arranged with authorities, but some protesters crossed the street to the entrance of the Rancho Las Palmas Resort where they were met by deputies in riot gear, Riverside County Deputy Melissa Nieburger said. They were arrested without a struggle, booked at Indio Jail and released.
Sunday was the second day of the four-day, invitation-only conclave of about 200 wealthy conservative political activists. It was organized by brothers David and Charles Koch, whose Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries is one of the nation's largest privately held companies.
The brothers have held similar conclaves in the Palm Springs area and Aspen, Colo., for years, but this conference was met with increased scrutiny. Liberal groups have targeted the brothers for criticism because of their funding of the fight against global warming laws and their financial support of Americans for Prosperity, an organization that has worked closely with tea party groups.
The group did not say who was attending the conference, and reporters were not allowed inside the resort, but the strategy sessions in years past have included radio talkers Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, according to The New York Times.
Organizer Samantha Corbin told City News Service the protesters were there to "voice opposition to the Koches' funding of climate denial groups, far-right political candidates and anti-health care reform efforts."
Protesters carried signs reading "Troops Home Now," "Medicare for All" and "Tea Party Founded and Funded By The Kochs."
Several dozen people dressed in hazardous materials suits and held police tape and a banner that read "Quarantine the Kochs."
The protest, which had nearly 1,000 people at its peak, lasted about two hours.
Koch Industries defended the gathering as an exercise in democratic assembly and service to the country.
"This conference brings together some of our nation's most successful business leaders, job creators and those who make it a priority to support their communities and our country in significant ways," said Nancy Pfotenhauer, a spokeswoman for the company.
"We respect all Americans' rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble," she said in a written statement. "It is disappointing that some members of the group protesting today made the choice to not be respectful of the community or of our right to meet."

What the U.S. Loses if Mubarak Goes

The revolt that appears to have fatally undermined President Hosni Mubarak's prospects for remaining in power is a domestic affair - Egyptians have taken to the street to demand change because of economic despair and political tyranny, not because of the regime's close relationship with Israel and the U.S. But having tolerated and abetted Mubarak's repressive rule for three decades precisely because of his utility to U.S. strategy on issues ranging from Israel to Iran, his fall from power could deprive Washington of a key Arab ally.
"The birthpangs of a new Middle East" was then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's description of the bombs falling on Beirut in 2006 as Israel and Hizballah traded blows in an inconclusive war, but her words more aptly describe the convulsions currently shaking Egypt. Rice's vision of an alliance of Israel and Arab autocrats crushing Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizballah proved to be a chimera, but Mubarak's ouster could change the regional order in ways quite at odds Secretary Rice's vision. (See how Obama has been forced to sit on the sidelines during Egypt's turmoil.)
The situation in Egypt remains dangerously fluid, its outcome still difficult to predict. But even if the duration and terms of the inevitable transition are unknown, five days of dramatic street demonstrations have effectively called time on the strongman's 30-year rule. Even the Obama Administration appears to be distancing itself from a leader that Washington has long hailed as a pillar of regional stability. The White House has stopped short of demanding that Mubarak resign, but it has called for "an orderly transition" to "a democratic participatory government," and for Egypt's U.S.-funded security forces to refrain from violence against protestors. Heeding those calls would effectively consign Mubarak to political oblivion. And even if he tried to fight his way out of the crisis, the autocrat's ability to serve as a bastion of stability will have been fatally compromised. In the space of less than a week, a central pillar of U.S. regional strategy has become an untenable ruler.
The man most likely to replace him if the political process is thrown open now looks to be Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize winning former nuclear inspector who has been endorsed as a presidential candidate by the smaller secular parties and importantly also by the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition party. ElBaradei is a moderate and a democrat, but he doesn't share Washington's allergy to Islamist parties and has publicly questioned the Obama Administration's strategy on Iran's nuclear program.
Curiously enough, years before the current turmoil, Washington was warned it could expect a difficult transition after Mubarak, even if his succession had been handled within the regime. "Whoever Egypt's next president is, he will inevitably be politically weaker than Mubarak," reads a remarkably prescient May 2007 cable from the U.S. embassy in Cairo released late last year by WikiLeaks. "Among his first priorities will be to cement his position and build popular support. We can thus anticipate that the new president may sound an initial anti-American tone in his public rhetoric in an effort to prove his nationalist bona fides to the Egyptian street." (See TIME's video "Tahrir Square: The Epicenter of Cairo's Protests.)
The cable also warns that any new president would have to bolster his support by reconciling with the banned Muslim Brotherhood. If all of that was true for what was then anticipated would be an in-house transition, it may be even more so now that the citizenry has demanded a say in the matter. It's not that the rebellion is fueled by anti-Americanism or radical Islamist sentiments; on the contrary, it's a protest driven by Egyptians' own economic and political needs. The U.S. is viewed with hostility among the demonstrators first and foremost because of its longtime support for a tyrannical regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood may be in the "radical" column of Condi Rice's schema, but Egypt's democracy movement doesn't see it that way. "The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian movement, has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places," ElBaradei said over the weekend. He called the Brotherhood a conservative group that favors secular democracy and human rights, and said that as an integral part of Egyptian society, it would have a place in any inclusive political process. (Read "Is There an ElBaradei Solution?")
Israel has looked on aghast as its most important friend in the region tumbles - with the U.S. doing little to save him. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly reached out to Washington and European capitals to urge them to ease off on criticism of the Egyptian leader, whose ouster would bring instability to the wider region. It's highly unlikely that any new Egyptian government would go to war with Israel, but an administration more responsive to its own citizenry than Mubarak will almost certainly cool relations. Mubarak's role as the go-to guy when the U.S. and Israel have wanted to pressure the Palestinians into new talks, for example, is unlikely to be reprised by any successor. Nor can Israel count on Egypt's continued cooperation in imposing an economic siege on Gaza, aimed at unseating the territory's Hamas rulers.
If Israel is alarmed, so is the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, who on Saturday phoned Mubarak to express his solidarity and whose security forces blocked demonstrations in support of the Egyptian democracy protests. Mubarak has been an important source of political cover for Abbas in his dealings with Israel and the U.S., and has kept the pressure on Hamas in Gaza. And the Palestinian leader who presides over a less-than-democratic administration won't have been thrilled by the Egyptians' example to his own people of the power of mass protest.
None of the region's moderate autocrats will have been particularly reassured by the Obama Administration's perceived willingness to wave goodbye to an Egyptian autocrat whose 30 years of service to U.S. regional agendas had the likes of Vice President Joe Biden just last week reiterating how important his contribution had been. (Comment on this story.)
Syria and Iran, of course, are celebrating the travails of one of their fiercest Arab antagonists - even if the type of popular rebellion that has rocked Mubarak could at some point also come to the streets of both Damascus and Tehran. Indeed, the Egyptian rebellion may stand as the ultimate negation of the Bush Administration "moderates" vs. "radicals" approach to the region: Mubarak's ouster might be a loss for the moderate camp, but that wouldn't necessarily translate into a gain for the radicals. Instead, it marks a new assertiveness by an Arab public looking to take charge of its own affairs rather than have them determined by international power struggles. Even that, however, suggests turbulent times ahead for U.S. Middle East policies that have little support on the Egyptian street.

Egypt AP/Lefteris Pitarakis

Egypt's opposition calls for 1 million on streets

Egypt protesters call for 'million man march'  
AFP – Looters walk away with goods as smoke billows from the riot-hit Abu Zaabel prison in Cairo. A sea of …
CAIRO – A coalition of opposition groups called for a million people to take to Cairo's streets Tuesday to demand the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, the clearest sign yet that a unified leadership was emerging for Egypt's powerful but disparate protest movement.
In an apparent attempt to show change, Mubarak named a new government Monday. But the lineup dominated by regime stalwarts was greeted with scorn by protesters camped out for the fourth day in the capital's central Tahrir, of Liberation, Square.
"We don't want life to go back to normal until Mubarak leaves," Israa Abdel-Fattah, a founder of the April 6 Group, a movement of young people pushing for democratic reform.
If Egypt's opposition groups are able to truly coalesce — far from a certainty for movements that include students, online activists, old-school opposition politicians and the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood — it could sustain and amplify the momentum of the week-old protests.
A unified front could also provide a focal point for American and other world leaders who are issuing demands for an orderly transition to a democratic system, saying Mubarak's limited concessions are insufficient.
Banks, schools and the stock market in Cairo were shut for the second working day. Long lines formed outside bakeries as people tried to replenish their stores of bread, the main source of sustenance for most Egyptians.
Barbed wire sealed off the main road to Tahrir Square but thousands of people gathered.
Cairo's international airport was a scene of chaos and confusion as thousands of foreigners sought to flee the unrest in Egypt and countries around the world scrambled to send in planes to fly their citizens out.
The official death toll from the crisis stood at 97, with thousands injured, but reports from witnesses across the country indicated the actual toll was far higher.
The White House said President Barack Obama called Britain, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia over the weekend in the U.S. to convey his administration's desire for restraint and an orderly transition to a more responsive government.
European Union foreign ministers urged a peaceful transition to democracy and warned against a takeover by religious militants.
In Cairo, the coalition of groups, dominated by youth movements but including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, were discussing the possibility of making prominent reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei spokesman for the protesters, members said.
Spokesmen for several of the groups said some 30 to 40 representatives were meeting to discuss the future of Egypt after Mubarak, whom they blame for widespread poverty, inflation and official indifference and brutality during his 30 years in power.
They said the coalition wants the march from Tahrir Square to force Mubarak, 82, to step down by Friday.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to form an Islamist state in the Arab world's largest nation, said it would not take a leadership role in the opposition coalition. Western governments and many secular Egyptians have expressed fears about a significant Brotherhood role in Egyptian politics.
"We don't want to harm this revolution," Mohamed Mahdi Akef, a former leader of the group, said.
ElBaradei, a pro-democracy advocate and former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, invigorated anti-Mubarak feeling with his return to Egypt last year, but the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood remains Egypt's largest opposition movement.
Its support base comes in large part from its elaborate network of social, medical and education services. It made a suprisingly strong showing in parliamentary elections in 2005, winning 20 percent of the legislature's seats, but it failed to win a single seat in elections held late last year and are widely throught to have been rigged in favor of Mubarak's ruling party.
Mubarak, a former air force commander in office since 1981, is known to have zero tolerance for Islamists in politics, whether they are militants or moderates, and it remains highly unlikely that he would allow his government to engage in any dialogue with the Brotherhood.
Rashad al-Bayoumi, the Brotherhood's deputy leader, said that, "What we hope to reach in today's meeting is formulating a united strategy to remove Mubarak ... "What we have here is the Egyptian people's biggest chance to affect regime change."
Al-Bayoumi told The Associated Press that a joint committee would issue demands that, besides Mubarak's ouster, include the release of political prisoners, setting up a transitional government to run the country until free and fair elections are held and prosecuting individuals thought to be responsible for the killing of protesters.
A leading Muslim Brotherhood official, Saad el-Katatni, told The Associated Press that "we didn't deputize anybody because we don't want anybody to be solely in charge," but if the coalition agrees on naming ElBaradei, "this is fine."
The meeting of opposition groups excluded the legal opposition parties that had been allowed to operate under Mubarak, said Abouel Elaa Maadi, a representative of al-Wasat, a moderate breakaway faction of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, Mubarak swore in a new Cabinet whose most significant change was the replacement of the interior minister, Habib el-Adly, who heads internal security forces and is widely despised by protesters for the brutality some officers have shown. A retired police general, Mahmoud Wagdi, will replace him.
The new line-up of Cabinet ministers announced on state television included stalwarts of Mubarak's regime but purged several of the prominent businessmen who held economic posts and have engineered the country's economic liberalization policies the past decades. Many Egyptians resented to influence of millionaire politician-moguls, who were close allies of the president's son, Gamal Mubarak, long thought to be the heir apparent.
In the new Cabinet, Mubarak retained his long-serving defense minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
The longest-serving Cabinet minister, Culture Minister Farouq Hosni, was replaced by Gaber Asfour, a widely respected literary figure.
Egypt's most famous archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, was named state minister for antiquities, a new post.
State newspapers on Monday published a sternly worded letter from Mubarak to his new prime minister, Shafiq, ordering him to move swiftly to introduce political, legislative and constitutional reforms.
Mostafa el-Naggar, a member of the ELBaradei-backing Association for Change, said he recognized no decision Mubarak took after Jan. 25, the first day of Egyptian protests emboldened by Tunisians' expulsion of their longtime president earlier in the month.
"This is a failed attempt," said el-Naggar. "He is done with."
The coalition also called for a general strike Monday, although much of Cairo remained shut down anyway, with government officers and private businesses closed.
Police and garbage collectors appeared on the streets of Cairo and subway stations reopened after soldiers and neighborhood watch groups armed with clubs and machetes kept the peace in many districts overnight.
One group fended off a band of robbers who tried to break in and steal antiquities from the warehouse of the famed Karnak Temple on the east bank of the Nile in the ancient southern city of Luxor.
The locals clashed with the attackers who arrived at the temple carrying guns and knives in two cars around 3 a.m, and arrested five of them, said neighborhood protection committee member Ezz el-Shafei.
The locals handed the five men to the army, which has posted a handful of soldiers at the vast temple's entrance.
In Cairo, soldiers detained about 50 men trying to break into the Egyptian National Museum in a fresh attempt to loot some of the country's archaeological treasures, the military said.