L.A. Prosecutors Charge Real Estate Mogul With Murder


According to lohurst.com, real estate mogul Robert Durst – suspected in the 1982 disappearance of his wife and the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman –  seemed to confess in the conclusion of the HBO documentary “The Jinx” on Sunday.

The Boston Herald states that authorities found more than a quarter-pound of marijuana and a gun in Durst’s New Orleans Marriott hotel room when he was arrested over the weekend.

Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki suggested in “The Jinx” that it is Durst ‘s handwriting on a note directing police to Berman’s body.  Durst later left his microphone on as he went to the bathroom.

“There it is. You’re caught,” he said, adding moments later “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

More here:


(Updated post)

Is There Censorship Surrounding The Death Penalty?

Due to a European Union ban on selling drugs used in lethal injections, death penalty states now rely on compounding pharmacies, according to Business Insider.

Compounding pharmacies are typically small businesses who produce execution cocktails to order. These compounds are unregulated by the FDA, and their manufacturers are cloaked in secrecy, states ReasonTV.

“Since the 70s, America has tried to sanitize the way it kills people in death chambers by saying that this is an act of medical intervention,” says Ed Pilkington, chief reporter for The Guardian US.

Pilkington describes the botched execution of Clayton Lockett of Oklahoma in April 2014, as related to him by a Guardian colleague who witnessed Lockett’s execution:

“He was groaning, he was shouting out. They were finding it impossible to get the vein, so blood was spurting over all the people in the death chamber, I mean it was the most horrendous situation. And right at that moment they decided to shut the curtain, which would prevent any witnesses, including reporters, from seeing what happened.”

Pilkington calls this the “most visceral form of censorship” and says “there should be maximum transparency.”

He claims the current system has complete secrecy surrounding every step of the execution process, from the sources of the drugs themselves to the grisly reality when those drugs fail to kill the condemned in a timely and painless fashion.

Missouri is one of 13 states to have expanded what are known as “black hood laws,” which are meant to protect the identities of executioners, to now also make confidential everyone involved in the production and delivery of lethal injection drugs. These laws even supersede the Freedom of Information Act.

In response, The Guardian, Associated Press, and several prominent Missouri newspapers have filed suit against the state, in what is believed to be the First Amendment challenge to the death penalty.

The lawsuit argues the public has a First Amendment right to access all information pertaining to government activities in capital cases, beginning in the courtroom, through the death chamber, and into the autopsy room. No court date has been set.


More on Ed Pilkington

War Crimes Case Filed in Germany Against Architects Of Torture Program

Democracy Now

A human rights group in Berlin, Germany, has filed a criminal complaint against the architects of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor.

Little Known War Crimes In Ukraine

Groups of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists have been committing executions in the rebel-held territories of Eastern Ukraine, according to a report from Amnesty International.  Evidence emerged last September in the local media of volunteer militias beheading their victims.

According to Newsweek, armed volunteers who refer to themselves as the Aidar battalion “have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions”, Amnesty said.

The organization has also published a report detailing similar alleged atrocities committed by pro-Russian militants, highlighting the brutality of the conflict which has claimed over 3,000 lives.

Amnesty’s statement came before images of what appeared to be the severed heads of two civilians’ started circulating on social media, identified by Russian news channel NTV as the heads of rebel hostages.

Shortly after, Kiev-based news network Pravilnoe TV reported that it had spoken with one of the mothers of the victims who confirmed her son was a rebel, captured during fighting in Donetsk.

She said she had received her son’s head in a wooden box in the mail, blaming nationalist volunteers for her son’s death. Newsweek has not been able to verify the report independently.

There are over 30 pro-nationalist, volunteer battalions similar to Aidar, such as Ukraina, DND Metinvest and Kiev 1, all funded by private investors.

The Aidar battalion is publicly backed by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who also funds the Azov, Donbas, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2 volunteer battalions, operating under orders from Kiev. Last spring Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty of $10,000 of his own money for each captured Russian “saboteur.”

Russia is calling for an international investigation into the discovery of the burial sites of those allegedly executed.

The top authority at Russia’s presidential human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, called on the authorities to do everything to “ensure an independent international probe” and “let international human rights activists and journalists” gain access to the site in Eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

The burial sites are near the Kommunar mine, 60 kilometers from Donetsk, and were discovered by self-defense forces.

Four bodies have been exhumed, including those of three women. Their hands were tied, at least one of the bodies was decapitated, self-defense fighters said.

The four bodies were found in September. Self-defense forces believe there might be other burials in the area.



Former Nazi SS Officer, 89, Not Charged For WW II Massacre Of French Village

A German court has sensationally thrown out a case against a former Nazi SS member accused of taking part in the massacre of hundreds of French villagers during the Second World War.

Werner Christukat, 89, had been accused of being a member of an armored SS division that attacked Oradour-sur-Glane on June 10, 1944 – savagely murdering nearly all of its inhabitants.

The case against the elderly suspect – who had been charged in January with the murder of 25 people committed by a group, and with aiding and abetting the murder of several hundred others – was dismissed recently for lack of evidence.

Overall, 642 people were killed in the massacre.

Christukat, who lives in Cologne, admitted being in the village with his S.S. regiment on the day, but denied ever killing anybody.

Had he been convicted, it is almost certain that  Christukat would have spent the rest of his life in jail.

The massacre the man had been accused of taking part in took place in the tiny village of Oradour-sur-Glane in western France on June 10, 1944.

 Today Oradour-sur-Glane exists as a massive memorial – a time capsule where the burned out homes remain exactly as they were on the day they were torched.

Christukat, 89, was accused of being a member of an armoured Nazi SS division that attacked Oradour-sur-Glane on June 10, 1944 - savagely murdering nearly all of the its inhabitants

SS members stormed a barn where 181 men had gathered, using pistols and automatic weapons to murder them all before setting fire to the structure. They are believed to have then moved on to a church where a further 254 women and 207 children were killed using explosives and machine guns.

The remains of homes in can be seen in Oradour -sur-Glane, where inhabitants were massacred and all homes and businesses destroyed.

Christukat says he has had nightmares about the massacre ever since it took place, particularly overr one small boy whose life he was unable to save.

‘Not a night goes by in which I don’t think of Oradour. In front of me, I can still see the church through the treetops. I hear a bang and then the screaming of women and children.’

Last September German president Joachim Gauck (left) became the first German leader to visit the site when he joined François Hollande (right) and two of the three living survivors on a tour of Oradour-sur-Glane.

Memories: Hollande and Gauck were accompanied by two of only three living survivors of the Oradour massacre - Robert Hebras, 88, and Jean-Marcel Darthout.

The village has been a ghost town since the massacre, with rusting cars nestled long-abandoned beside the rubble of the burned-out church.

Today Oradour exists as a massive memorial – a  time capsule where the burned out homes remain exactly as they were on the day they were torched, and even the car of the mayor still lies rusting in the main street.

The location of Oradour-sur-Glane is in central France, approximately 250 miles south of the capital Paris.

German soldiers killed all 642 inhabitants, including children. The men were rounded up and shot in barns, the women were herded into the local church which was set ablaze with hand grenades

Homes and business were all torched by rampaging S.S officers, leaving just empty shells remaining.

The atrocity is an understandably sensitive subjective for France, and last September German president Joachim Gauck became the first German leader to visit the site when he joined François Hollande and two of the three living survivors on a tour of Oradour-sur-Glane.

In a sign of post-war unity, Gauck said he felt a ‘mixture of gratitude and humility’ as he visited the site with his French counterpart Hollande.

The statesman added: ‘The Germany that I have the honor of representing is a different Germany from the one that haunts memories.’

In return, Mr Hollande said: ‘You have made the choice to visit – this is a tribute to you, and at the same time it forces us, once the past has been acknowledged, to go boldly into the future.’

Hollande and Gauck were accompanied by two of only three living survivors of the Oradour massacre – Robert Hebras, 88, and Jean-Marcel Darthout.

However, many could not be extradited from the new East Germany, and 14 of them were Alsatians – French nationals of German descent.  20 men were found guilty, but were all released from prison within five years.

In 2010, Germany re-opened the war crimes file into the massacre after a historian uncovered evidence from former East German files implicating several still-living suspects.

Prosecutors identified seven previously unknown members of the SS unit that carried the attack.

Investigations are now underway into six of the men. The other suspect is Christukat, against whom charges were recently dropped on December 9th.