Category Archive 'Crime'
18 Dec 2018

“Bermuda Triangle of the Himalayas”, Sure!

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Full-of-crap Outside Magazine peddles a magical mystery tale about disappearing tourists in the Himalayas.

There is only one road in and out of the Parvati Valley. It’s a narrow track—roughly paved in parts, washed-out dirt in others—along which rattletrap buses swerve and screech to a crawl with inches to spare as they pass. Mountains rise up one side, and cliffs drop precipitously down the other, often hundreds of feet to the Parvati River below. The milky blue waters, named after a benevolent Hindu goddess of fertility and devotion, seem inviting but can be a powerful, violent force.

The valley’s hillside hamlets and postcard mountain vistas attract tens of thousands of tourists every year, but those who come here are different from those who speed through the Taj Majal on a Golden Triangle tour or backpack from vibrant temple to sparkling beach as the mainstay of India’s tourism. The travelers who feel drawn to the Parvati Valley, more than a full day’s bus ride north of New Delhi into the Himalayas, quickly settle into a pace of life common in this remote corner of India: a blur of weeks or months spent meditating, practicing yoga, and consuming copious amounts of hash grown in clandestine plantations or from plants that sprout wild along river and road.

The valley, where gods are said to have meditated for 3,000 years, is particularly alluring to the spiritually curious. Every summer, the valley hosts a Rainbow Gathering, a counterculture congregation that promotes anti-consumerism and utopianism. Many visitors come to venerate Shiva, husband of Parvati and one of the most exalted and popular gods in the Hindu pantheon. Among Shiva’s most resolute followers are the sadhus who dress and live in emulation of the gods, but many Westerners are also lured by his familiar symbolism as the dreadlocked master of meditation and yoga and the supreme renouncer of possessions, and follow suit. Those who follow this path view the Parvati Valley as a penultimate stage or even the culmination of their quest for enlightenment. It is a place where wandering ascetics, New Age neophytes, and determined religious tourists flock, believing that the bumpy road to nowhere instead leads to long-sought answers or higher understanding. While Parvati is purifying water, Shiva is transforming fire.

The valley may appear idyllic, but it holds a dark past. Over the past 25 years, according to both official and unofficial reports, at least two dozen foreign tourists have died or disappeared in and around the Parvati Valley. Among the vanished are people from Canada, Israel, Japan, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Australia. Distraught loved ones post stories of the missing on social media, online message boards, and travel forums with scattered details and few clues.

Many cases reek of foul play. In 1996, Ian Mogford of the UK disappeared in the Parvati Valley after reportedly telling his father over the phone that he had befriended a sadhu. “It is not beyond the realms of possibility that… for some reason my son got attacked and is lying on the bottom of a gorge,” Mogford’s father told the Telegraph. Others might have been targeted after being caught up in the lucrative drug trade, buying hash at the source and selling it to tourists. After Bruno Muschalik, a backpacker from Poland, went missing in the summer of 2015, his father maintained that local drug mafias were to blame. Some of the missing are presumed murdered; in 2000, a British man, his fiancée, and her teenage son were brutally attacked while camping above the Parvati Valley. Only the man survived. Most simply vanished without a trace in this one sliver of the subcontinent.

When a body does turn up, it is often pulled from the torrential churn of the Parvati River, which during the monsoon summer is capable of carrying a person downstream or consuming one in its undertow in a blink. But it is the dearth of bodies that turns the Parvati Valley into India’s backpacker Bermuda Triangle.

In the rest of the country, hotel and guesthouse owners are required by law to log their patrons into an online database, but in the Parvati, the vast majority travel in and out without record. The isolation and lack of regulation only add to the draw. It’s not difficult or unusual for foreigners to deliberately drop off the radar for the full duration of or even illegally beyond their travel visas. One Israeli man lived in the valley for decades, growing and dealing hash, getting married and having a child, until he was arrested for overstaying his visa.

With conditions ripe for vanishing without trace, a question arises: Did all of these travelers get lost or murdered in the wild, or did some not want to be found?

RTWT

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Well, it’s neither so spiritual nor so mysterious as all that. It turns out that the Parvathi Valley is the Himalayan equivalent of Humboldt County, doing a booming trade in Charas, an exceptionally potent local version of hashish.

Bayside explains:

The Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh is an extraordinarily beautiful region, but most people know it more for its charas than its beauty. Even till a decade ago, the valley remained underground, somewhat surprisingly, and mostly saw foreign tourists, as Indian tourists preferred other destinations in the Himalayan state. But as awareness about cannabis (the source plant of charas) and its forms increased in India over the years, the Valley has seen more and more young Indians pour in. While that has definitely helped tourism in the Valley’s villages, its environment, along with its reputation, has suffered a lot.

Charas is a black, sticky substance that is extracted from cannabis plants by continuously rubbing the plants, and it has been cultivated and used by the locals for decades. Lord Shiva is said to smoke it, which makes it a substance of immense religious importance in a region that is predominantly Hindu.

When foreigners, mostly backpackers, and hippies, first stumbled upon the valley and discovered the potent charas, they couldn’t wait to take it back with them, as it had immense value in the west. More interestingly, the natives of the valley had little idea of the prices their products would fetch, as they kept selling it for extraordinarily low prices.

Thus started a drug trade that grows stronger with every passing year. The natives are now fully aware of their products’ value in the international markets. As a result, thousands of acres of Himalayan lands, located in the upper reaches of the valley, remain full with cannabis plantations from April onwards. They are allowed to thrive and grow till September when the rubbing process begins, and the charas is extracted. It’s hard work, but it definitely pays; to what extent, however?

Earnings may have skyrocketed for the locals in recent years thanks to the charas trade, but most people these days venture into the Valley in the only for charas, and they rarely want anything more.

Cultivators tend to object to Western tourists messing with their crops, and local badmashes may simply prefer to harvest Western currency from the pockets of Kumbaya-humming tourists instead of actually delivering any of the dope. Relieved of his money, camera, and smart phone and given a head-start in the direction of his next incarnation, the naive Western tourist’s remains can simply be tossed into the local river.

03 Dec 2018

Mexican Mafia Female Assassin Shoots Five

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07 Oct 2018

An Interesting Anniverary

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My 1983 arrest photo, taken at 4 in the morning. I look tired and disgruntled.

I’m a Baby Boomer and consequently, at this point, a geezer. My original Yale class arrived with short hair, wearing jackets and ties, at a non-coeducated Yale featuring strict parietal hours (meaning no girls in your room after 10 PM). I was, by the merest of accidents, at Woodstock.

I am going to confess, reluctantly, that I very recently turned 70. 35 years ago today, when I was 35-years-old, half a lifetime ago, I made a citizen’s arrest in New York City which involved reducing the culprit to possession by shooting him in the leg, causing me to be arrested, thrown into the NYC jail system, and charged with First Degree Armed Assault, plus some firearm possession charges (which –oddly enough– were never really discussed as the whole thing proceeded).

My shooting incident occurred a year earlier than the famous Bernhard Goetz Subway Shooting. I could easily have been what Bernhard Goetz became: a nationally-famous test case involving the private use of force against the then-epidemic minority violence terrorizing New York City.

I was, of course, smarter than Goetz. I used the threat of publicity to persuade the Manhattan DA’s office to back down and actually follow the law. Publicity was not in their interest. And it was not in my interest. Had the story broken, no doubt they would not have backed down, the Grand Jury would have indicted me, and I’d have been convicted, gotten a criminal record, and served time for something.

I saved the local CT newspaper article, some of the legal correspondence, and other material related to the event in a scrapbook at the time, and a few years ago, scanned the most interesting bits into my computer.

If anyone wants to read the story of all this, here it is: Shooting a Rapist.

18 Aug 2018

Chinese Art Objects Returning, One Way or the Other

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GQ links a series of robberies of Chinese art from European museums with auction records for similar objects broken recently by Chinese billionaires bent on repatriating objects looted from China in the 19th Century, and wonders aloud if the burglaries were ordered by the Chinese Government or one of the billionaires?

The patterns of the heists were evident only later, but their audacity was clear from the start. The spree began in Stockholm in 2010, with cars burning in the streets on a foggy summer evening. The fires had been lit as a distraction, a ploy to lure the attention of the police. As the vehicles blazed, a band of thieves raced toward the Swedish royal residence and smashed their way into the Chinese Pavilion on the grounds of Drottningholm Palace. There they grabbed what they wanted from the permanent state collection of art and antiquities. Police told the press the thieves had fled by moped to a nearby lake, ditched their bikes into the water, and escaped by speedboat. The heist took less than six minutes.

A month later, in Bergen, Norway, intruders descended from a glass ceiling and plucked 56 objects from the China Collection at the KODE Museum. Next, robbers in England hit the Oriental Museum at Durham University, followed by a museum at Cambridge University. Then, in 2013, the KODE was visited once more; crooks snatched 22 additional relics that had been missed during the first break-in.

Had they known exactly what was happening, perhaps the security officials at the Château de Fontainebleau, the sprawling former royal estate just outside Paris, could have predicted that they might be next.

With more than 1,500 rooms, the palace is a maze of opulence. But when bandits arrived before dawn on March 1, 2015, their target was unmistakable: the palace’s grand Chinese Museum. Created by the last empress of France, the wife of Napoleon III, the gallery was stocked with works so rare that their value was considered incalculable.

In recent years, however, the provenance of those treasures had become an increasingly sensitive subject: The bulk of the museum’s collection had been pilfered from China by French soldiers in 1860 during the sack of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace.

In the low light before daybreak, the robbers raced to the southwest wing and shattered a window. They climbed inside, stepping over broken glass, and swiftly went to work dismantling the empress’s trove. Within seven minutes, they were gone, along with 22 of the museum’s most valuable items: porcelain vases; a mandala made of coral, gold, and turquoise; a Chimera in cloisonné enamel; and more. …

In each case, the robbers focused their efforts on art and antiquities from China, especially items that had been looted by foreign armies. Many of these objects are well documented and publicly known, making them very hard to sell and difficult to display. In most cases the pieces have not been recovered; they seem to simply vanish.

After that first robbery, in Stockholm, a police official told the press that “all experience says this is an ordered job.” As the heists mounted, so did the suspicion that they were being carried out on instructions from abroad. But if that was true, an obvious question loomed: Who was doing the ordering?

RTWT

07 May 2018

Old-Timer in Ohio Trips Criminal Fleeing Cops

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The (British) Mirror admires the feistiness of one American senior citizen.

Police have hailed the elderly hero, who walks with a stick, for the ‘bold’ move – which they say saved the life of the 18-year-old suspect.

An Ohio grandfather has been dubbed a hero after he tripped up a young armed suspect who was attempting to run away from police.

Video footage shows the brave man, named only as Bill, quickly step backwards and stick his leg out behind him as the suspect, identified as DeShawn Briggs, sprints past – causing him to fall to the ground.

A police van then descends on the scene and an officer jumps out of the moving vehicle moments later.

Columbus police posted the footage on Facebook on Thursday, and hailed Bill for his “fancy footwork” which enabled them to detain the suspect – who was holding a gun.

Bill was at west Columbus library with his granddaughter on April 3 when he heard police sirens and officers shouting “drop the gun”.

He says he turned around to see a man with his hand in his waistband running towards him, and officers were lagging behind.

The quick-thinking grandfather then made the brave decision to trip the 18-year-old up, in a bid to help police detain him.

Police confirmed a Glock 9MM pistol containing 29 rounds of bullets was recovered from the scene.

RTWT

Deshawn Briggs was lucky really that it was Ohio, not Texas or rural Pennsylvania. In the latter locations, old geezers would not only be packing a cane. They’d be carrying concealed.

04 May 2018

And, Just Like That, He Was Gone!

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10 Apr 2018

78-Year-Old British Home Defender in Hiding, While Dead Criminal Gets a Shrine

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News reports weren’t kidding about Richard Osborn-Brooks (the 78-year-old pensioner who killed a criminal home invader in a hand-to-hand struggle) and his wife now being in jeopardy of revenge from the dead crook’s gypsy clan.

The pensioner and his wife, the Mirror reports, are living in exile from their home under police protection, while the pikey clan has built a shrine to the dearly departed featuring flowers, balloons, ribbons, and hand-written, ill-spelt messages of affection for the dead armed robber.

Can anyone imagine this kind of thing being tolerated by the authorities before WWII? The corrosive effects of left-wing egalitarianism could hardly be more spectacularly manifested. Honest citizens are obliged to run and hide and the criminal element, empowered by the protected and privileged victim status awarded by Marxism, proudly occupies the public space and defends its own unchallenged by respectable society.

09 Apr 2018

Good News! British Cops Clear 78-Year-Old Pensioner Who Killed Home Invader

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Twitchy:

Richard Osborn-Brooks, the 78-year-old London man we told you about last week who was being held on suspicion of murder over the death of an alleged intruder he stabbed to death in his own home, has been cleared by the Metropolitan Police:

From the release:

    Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “This is a tragic case for all of those involved. As expected with any incident where someone has lost their life, my officers carried out a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the death.
    “We have approached the CPS for early investigative advice, as required under the guidance. We have received and considered that advice, and, at present – on the evidence available – we will not seek a charging decision. Therefore, no further action will be taken against the man.

Apparently, though the old man and his wife are not out of the woods. The deceased came from a family of criminals who are thought likely to come after them seeking revenge. This being Britain, there is no way Mr. and Mrs. Osborn-Brooks can arm themselves for self defense.

RTWT

19 Nov 2017

D.B. Cooper, Be Like Him; Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win.

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All these years later, the Daily Mail has news.

A letter newly released from the FBI’s archives may prove that DB Cooper – the 1971 hijacker last seen leaping out of a plane with a fortune in cash – survived his apparent death.

The letter, which was sent 17 days after the hijacking appears to contain information that was not released into the public domain until 13 years later.

If that’s the case it might reveal not only that Cooper lived to tell the tale of his extraordinary heist, but that the FBI covered it up to hide their embarrassment at his escape.

RTWT

06 Oct 2017

Murder Rates and Politics

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Top: murder rate / county
Bottom: 2016 election returns /county

04 Sep 2017

When They’re Right, They’re Right

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VDare is Nativist, which seems ironic to me considering the fact that its run by a Limey immigrant, and it very obviously relishes indulging in the sort of divisive rhetoric characteristic of less savory elements of the Alt-Right. But… we are living in a time when only the likes of John Derbyshire has guts enough to speak the obvious truth out loud.

Last night Tucker Carlson did a segment on looting in the flooded city of Houston; or rather, on the outraged reaction to ABC journalist Tom Llamas, who had calmly and factually reported the looting.

“What about our society has changed so much that noting that you’re watching [the looting] is somehow a thoughtcrime?” asked Carlson. …

The segment was decorated with video clips showing the actual looting. So far as I could tell, the looters were all black.

Yet this did not come up. In a 4m37s segment, the word “black” did not occur. Nor did any of the common euphemisms for “black” or “blacks.”

Why not? Because, as the late Larry Auster told us, blacks are sacred objects in our state religion. Criticism of them is received as a species of blasphemy.

As I watched these two talking heads blathering on about “nihilism” and “the destruction of objective values,” I kept hearing, in my mind’s ear, the voice of my old South African colleague cutting through the baloney: “It’s the blecks, dear fellow, it’s the blecks.” That was, in fact, the answer to all the questions they were chewing over so earnestly.

It’s a bit depressing to see that even Tucker Carlson, one of the more fearless of our heterodox commentators, believes he has to cleave to convention on this. …

So here’s my question: When a person inside the state religion observes the orthodoxies like this, is he at all aware how deeply weird it looks to us outside?

If you cannot bring yourself to mention, perhaps even to think, obvious true facts, then the world you are living in is to some degree a make-believe world, and you yourself are, to that same degree, slightly nuts.

08 Aug 2017

Jack the Ripper Left a Diary?

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A Victorian diary found in a suburb of Liverpool may have established the identity of history’s most infamous serial killer. Telegraph:

[T]he true identity of Jack the Ripper may have finally been confirmed, after researchers said they had proven the authenticity of a much disputed Victorian diary.

Twenty five years ago ‘Ripperologists’ around the world were stunned by the discovery of a previously unknown memoir, claiming to have been written by Liverpool cotton merchant, James Maybrick.

In the 9,000 word volume, Maybrick confessed to the brutal murders of five women in the East End of London, as well as one prostitute in Manchester.

He signed off the diary: “I give my name that all know of me, so history do tell, what love can do to a gentleman born. Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper.”

RTWT

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