Ku Klux Klan prison guards’ murder plot in Florida, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

25 June 2014

Ku Klux Klan (KKK), or just the Klan is the name of three distinct movements in the United States. They first played a violent role against African Americans in the South during the Reconstruction Era of the 1860s. The second was a very large controversial nationwide organization in the 1920s. The current manifestation consists of numerous small unconnected groups that use the KKK name. They have all emphasized secrecy and distinctive costumes, and all have called for purification of American society, and all are considered right-wing.

The current manifestation is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is estimated to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members as of 2012.

The first Ku Klux Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members made their own white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.

The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, and adopted a standard white costume (sales of which together with initiation fees financed the movement) and code words as the first Klan, while adding cross burnings and mass parades. The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the Civil Rights Movement and progress among minorities. The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to the USA’s “Anglo-Saxon” blood, harking back to 19th-century nativism. Though most members of the KKK saw themselves in holding to American values and Christian morality, virtually every Christian denomination officially denounced the Ku Klux Klan.

From News4JAX in the USA:

KKK murder plot highlights racism in prison

Author: Kent Justice, Weekend anchor, reporter

Published On: Apr 02 2015 10:35:12 PM EDT Updated On: Apr 03 2015 12:13:00 AM EDT

UNION COUNTY, Fla. –

A crime story filled with racism, corruption and undercover success has three Union County men under lock and key following a four-month investigation by local, state and federal agents.

All three men worked for the Department of Corrections Lake Butler facility where investigators believe that Thomas Jordan Driver, with co-worker David Moran, and with former guard in-training Charles Newcomb conspired to get revenge on an inmate by killing him.

The state has not named the target of the murder plot but they do identify all three men as known members of a specific group in the Ku Klux Klan.

Federal agents apparently infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in order to uncover and stop the plot before the three men could complete their deadly scheme with the final nail in the coffin being a staged murder scene that was supposed to be proof of the heinous crime.

“A lot of times in these cases, we have people come in and say we really didn’t mean it. But when the FBI staged this crime scene and these photographs were shown to each of these men, they were happy about it. They shook the source’s hand. The source even went to the point of asking them, “Is this what you wanted?” They each said yeah. They were happy about it. They were literally happy about it,” statewide prosecutor, Nick Cox, said.

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke in direct and powerful terms concerning the joint effort to stop the murder plot.

“I’ll tell you, we will not tolerate nor will we ever remain silent over the violence of hatred embedded in prejudice in this country,” Bondi said.

Bondai and other experts tracking hate groups said that this case is shocking because three present or past corrections officers were involved, planning to kill the inmate when he was released, because he had fought with one of those officers. And disturbing because of their alleged ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

“To actually have three people involved with the correctional system plotting the murder of a former inmate who annoyed one of them, yes I think that’s fairly amazing,” Mark Potok, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. “It’s a very, very unusual case in this day and age. Historically of course, the prisons and Police Department, particularly in the Deep South, and that includes Florida, were filled with Klansmen. But that hasn’t been true for many years. It’s very unusual to come across these cases.”

Officials said the officers were tied to a specific group of the Ku Klux Klan, called the Traditionalist American Knights, whose imperial wizard made threats last fall during the upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri.

“In November he sent out a pamphlet in which he threatened to use “lethal force” against the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri if they in any way threatened his members. That got a lot of attention,” Potok said.

Potok says the KKK doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention in recent years because most members don’t operate out in the open and don’t operate in cities.

It is usually, he said, in rural areas and the larger group doesn’t initiate actions like the corrections officers are accused of.

“So what we see are people who act as lone wolves, that’s really the dominant thing that’s happening. They get tired of the hate groups which seem to never actually do anything other than rant and rave about their enemies. They take it upon themselves to one day walk out their door and start to kill,” Potok said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says racism is alive and well even though America has evolved in past 50 years from a civil rights standpoint, that prisons have become an ideal place for racism to survive.

“Many of the prisons are controlled, or at least partly controlled, by race-based prison gangs and it’s an environment in which racial hatred really flourishes. So it’s not terribly surprising when some of that rubs off on correctional officials,” Potok said.

Florida’s Department of Corrections has seen turnover at the top and down through the ranks in recent years, following complaints of racism and the mistreatment of prisoners.

Climate science illegal in Florida


This video from the USA says about itself:

Florida Bans The Phrases ‘Climate Change’ And ‘Global Warming’

16 March 2015

Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, discusses the move by Florida officials to ban the use of the term ‘climate change’.

Officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have been told that the words ‘climate change’ when used together has been banned, according to former and current employees including attorney for DEP’s Office of General Counsel Christopher Byrd. Byrd stated that along with climate change that the words ‘sustainability’ and ‘global warming’ were also banned.

Chief officials of the DEP refused to answer why. The policy went into effect after Florida Governor Rick Scott came to office.”

Decades ago, there was a lot in NATO countries’ media about people in the then Soviet Union who had been declared to be mentally ill. Political abuse of psychiatry, the media said. These people were not mentally ill; they just disagreed with the (Soviet) government. Such an outrage, of course, would never happen in the western ‘free world’ …

After the Soviet Union of decades ago … and after the censorship of science during George W Bush’s presidency in the USA … now, censorship of science in Florida, the state of George W’s little brother Jeb Bush, maybe Republican party candidate in the next US presidential election.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Florida employee ‘punished for using phrase climate change

In a complaint against the state, worker says he was accused of violating policy and instructed to get a mental health evaluation after mentioning climate change

Katherine Krueger in New York

Thursday 19 March 2015 18.05 GMT

An employee of Florida’s environmental protection department was forced to take a leave of absence and seek a mental health evaluation for violating governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming” under any circumstance, according to a complaint filed against the state.

‘Unwritten ban'; that reminds me of Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, officially there is not any law banning women from driving cars. However, if Saudi women drive cars, then they get jail terms and whip lashes.

Longtime employee Barton Bibler reportedly included an explicit mention of climate change in his official notes from a Florida Coastal Managers Forum meeting in late February, during which climate change, rising sea levels and the possible environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline were discussed.

On 9 March, Bibler received a formal reprimand for “misrepresenting that ‘the official meeting agenda included climate change’”, according to a statement from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), a nationwide non-profit that champions public employees’ rights and providers resources and guidance to whistleblowers using its network of members across the country.

Bibler was instructed to stay away from the office for two days and told he could return to work only after a mental health evaluation from his doctor verified his “fitness for duty”, the complaint said. In the letter to Florida’s inspector general, Candie Fuller, the state’s Peer director calls for a full investigation to the matter.

Bibler told the Miami Herald that he “didn’t get the memo” about the gag order, so when he introduced himself by congratulating other officials on the call for the “exciting” work they were doing to address climate change, the “reaction was mostly shock”.

News of the governor’s ban on the phrases first surfaced in early March, when the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting found that the ban came from the top after Scott took office and appointed Herschel Vinyard Jr as DEP director.

Guardian requests for comment from Scott, the Florida inspector general and the environmental protection department were not immediately returned on Thursday, but Scott and representatives from his office have ardently denied such a policy exists.

Scott has also long dodged questions about climate change with a refrain of “I’m not a scientist” and consistently misrepresented the state’s preparedness for rising sea levels.

Florida is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as 80% of the state’s residents live or work near the coasts and damage from recent storms, including hurricane Wilma, has caused billions of dollars in damage since 2005.

Republicans’ new climate strategy: just ban the words ‘climate change': here.

Ringling Bros. circus retiring elephants


This video is called Earth Focus Episode 58 – Asian Elephants in Peril.

From Discovery News:

Ringling Bros. to Phase Out Use of Circus Elephants

Mar 6, 2015 09:20 AM ET

Across America through the decades, children of all ages delighted in the arrival of the circus, with its retinue of clowns, acrobats and, most especially, elephants.

But, bowing to criticism from animal rights groups, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Thursday it will phase out use of their emblematic Indian stars.

The company said the giant pachyderms will be gradually withdrawn from the big top, and will be gone from the show altogether by 2018.

Feld Entertainment — the parent company of America’s best known circus — called the decision an “unprecedented change in the 145-year old ‘Greatest Show On Earth’.”

Thirteen of the animals currently part of the circus’ migrating entourage will be relocated to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, the company said.

It added that the retirement decision “was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers.”

Family scions Nicola and Alana Feld, meanwhile, acknowledged that the decision to retire their elephant act is part of an ongoing cultural shift.

“As the circus evolves, we can maintain our focus on elephant conservation while allowing our business to continue to meet shifting consumer preferences,” they said.

It once would have been unthinkable to have a big tent circus act without elephants, long a crowd favorite.

World’s oldest crocodile dies


This video from the USA says about itself:

The American Crocodile: Waterways

8 June 2013

They’ve been around since the dinosaurs and are certainly as scary as T-Rex (not the band), the American Crocodile has consistently lost habitat, and decreased in numbers. Follow the decades long research and work to save this wonderful, toothy creature.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Rotterdam Zoo mourns after death of the ‘oldest crocodile in the world’

Today, 11:50

In Blijdorp Zoo crocodile Hakuna has died. According to the zoo, he was probably the oldest crocodile in a zoo in the world. How old Hakuna was exactly is not known, but he came to the park in 1930 and was already an adult. He must have been certainly over 85 years.

The zoo has announced the death of Hakuna on Facebook.

Hakuna came along with his female partner Matata to Rotterdam Zoo. They were a gift from singer and actress Josephine Baker. Matata died last year. The two American crocodiles were among the few animals in the zoo which survived the bombing of Rotterdam [by Hitler’s air force] in 1940.

See also here.

Trapped manatees rescued in Florida


This video from the USA says about itself:

Crews save 19 manatees trapped in Florida storm drain

24 February 2015

Thanks to a rescue operation that stretched late into the night, the large marine mammals were set free. Erica Rakow of CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG reports from Satellite Beach, Florida.

By Barbara Liston:

Trapped manatees rescued from storm drain

February 25 2015

About 20 Florida manatees have been freed from a storm drain near Cape Canaveral, where they were apparently trying to warm themselves, officials and local media said.

Video footage showed a rescuer comforting one manatee floating at the opening of the pipe, which was cut open during the hours-long rescue.

The footage, posted online by Central Florida News 13 and Florida Today newspaper, also showed a manatee being carried in a sling to a nearby canal, where it was released to cheers from onlookers, and two other manatees being petted after being hoisted out of the water by heavy machinery.

The rescue in Satellite Beach, a town on the Atlantic coast 24 kilometres south of Cape Canaveral, started mid-afternoon on Monday when Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist, Ann Spellman, sounded the alarm, according to Florida Today.

She told the paper that her hunch led city workers to check the 30 to 45 metre-long drain pipe.

Manatees, also known as sea cows, often leave the Indian River Lagoon during cold snaps for warmer waters in the canals and had probably followed each other into the pipe, she said.

Young loggerhead turtle survives beaching in the Netherlands


This video from the USA says about itself:

25 September 2012

An educational video by SEE Turtles about sea turtle migrations including leatherbacks and loggerheads.

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

Loggerhead survives stranding

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

On Sunday, January 11th a young loggerhead turtle stranded on the beach at Wassenaar. It was the second turtle on a Dutch beach in four weeks because on December 20, 2014 at Den Helder a young Kemp’s ridley turtle had been found. This animal was transferred to Rotterdam Zoo but died that night. The loggerhead is more fortunate.

The young loggerhead (Caretta caretta) was noticed in the morning by hikers in the low surf on the beach, near Berkheide, and was reported to Ecomare museum and the animal ambulance in The Hague. The turtle was then picked up by the animal ambulance and delivered at Rotterdam Zoo. Rotterdam Zoo is along with Burgers’ Zoo the designated place for accommodation of stranded sea turtles.

Upon entering Rotterdam Zoo it was noted that the animal was very apathetic, felt cold, but apparently had no injuries. Also an X-ray examination revealed no significant issues. However, abnormal liver and kidney values were found in the blood. The turtle had a weight of 2.1 kg and a shell with a length of 24.5 centimeters. The first night the turtle was housed in a small amount of water at 14 degrees Celsius to prevent drowning. The next morning, the animal swam around to everyone’s surprise. The water level was increased to 80 centimeters and the temperature was raised in four days time in small increments to 20 degrees. After six days the turtle started feeding and also its blood levels became a lot better. The coming months the turtle will remain in Rotterdam Zoo to recuperate and to see if it has no permanent damage on account of its adventure in the cold North Sea. Then people will look where the animal can be freed again.

The first mention of a loggerhead turtle [in the Netherlands] was in 1707. This animal was exhibited after its discovery in a café in Amsterdam, where the animal died after a few days. Since then, there are seven other reports from the Netherlands. Insofar as is known, only the animal that washed ashore in 2008 at Groote Keeten (Noord-Holland province) survived. This weakened animal was rehabilitated in the aquarium of Burgers’ Zoo and later freed off the Portuguese coast.

The current one is probably from Florida (USA) where a large population nests. Juveniles make journeys with the Gulf Stream to the Azores and Cape Verde Islands after which they return to the coast of America.

An article about the stranding of the young loggerhead will soon appear in the RAVON journal.