Mormon massacre in Mexico: US victims were shot at point-blank range

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

Mormon massacre in Mexico: US victims were shot at point-blank range

Many of the nine women and children killed on a remote stretch of highway in northern Mexico Monday were shot at point-blank range — victims of a targeted assassination that Mexican authorities refuse to allow their American counterparts to investigate, according to high-ranking Mexican and US law enforcement sources.

“They were taken out of their cars and shot,” an American federal investigator told The Post. “It’s kind of disturbing that the FBI has had no access to the crime scene, which is probably a disaster already because the Mexicans have allowed families to remove the bodies. Any evidence that could have been gathered is probably destroyed.”

The Mexican federal official close to the investigation told The Post that the sicarios “shot some of the victims at point-blank range” and that local authorities were still gathering evidence at the scene in Sonora state, some 70 miles from the Arizona border, where the massacre occurred.

The revelations run completely counter to the official accounts the Mexican government put out, which blamed the deaths of three mothers and six young children — including 8-month old twins — on cartel gunmen who mistook the Mormons’ convoy of dark SUVs for a rival drug group’s.

Enlarge ImageAlleged drug trafficker Jose Rodolfo Escajeda
Alleged drug trafficker Jose Rodolfo Escajeda AP

Army chief of staff Hector Mendoza told a press conference that a faction of the Juarez Cartel, La Linea, thought their Los Salazar rivals — in the Sinaloa Cartel, once headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman — were encroaching. Mendoza said that the two criminal groups had clashed a day before the massacre in the same region. Mendoza said that the attackers even allowed some of the surviving children to go, indicating that “it was not a targeted attack.”

But both sources said Mexican officials were covering up the savage attack’s true targets.

“We’ve been saying all along that the Mexican government just doesn’t want to investigate anything related to drug trafficking,” said the American federal source, adding that officials in Sonora state sought FBI help for the massacre probe but were thwarted by Mexican federal officials.

“They will go to any extreme to cover everything up,” said the US source. “It’s completely corrupt, and it’s only going to get worse.”

Enlarge Image
Getty Images

On Saturday, an FBI spokesman offered only this comment when asked if it was being obstructed by Mexican authorities: “The FBI continues to engage with our US government and Mexican law enforcement partners. We have offered assistance and stand ready to assist in the wake of this tragedy.”

Some members of the victims’ families who were part of a tight-knit group of Mormon communities in the neighboring states of Sonora and Chihuahua said they don’t believe the government’s official version of events.

“They [the hitmen] had to know that these were women and children,” said Julian LeBaron in an interview with “El Universal” in Mexico. He told the newspaper that some of the eight children who survived the massacre said that one of the mothers left her truck with her hands up in the air when she was shot and killed.

Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29, was fatally shot in the chest when she jumped out of her Chevy Suburban and waved at the shooters to try to get them to stop. Before leaving the vehicle, she placed her 7-month-old daughter Faith’s car seat on the SUV’s floor, likely saving the child’s life.

The brave mother was buried on Saturday, her plain pine casket surrounded by members of the Mormon communities and relatives of the extended Le Baron family. Her husband, Tyler Johnson, was seen holding a young boy during the service in LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Enlarge ImageA relative reacts during the burial of Rhonita Miller and her children Howard, Kristal, Titus, and Teana, who were killed by unknown assailants, in LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico
A relative reacts during the burial of Rhonita Miller and her children Howard, Kristal, Titus, and Teana, who were killed by unknown assailants, in LeBaron, Chihuahua, MexicoReuters

The victims, dual US-Mexican citizens, all had links to the prominent LeBaron and Langford families in several small Mormon farming communities that have a long history of violent clashes with local drug traffickers.

“This is a very high-risk zone for confrontations with cartels,” said the Mexican source, adding that both the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels use the remote roads to transport drugs to the Arizona border.

Mormons began settling in the region after 1890 when the US government began to put restrictions on polygamy. The community is fundamentalist but has no leader and is not affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah. Many in the community still practice polygamy.

Enlarge ImageAlthough it’s not yet clear what might have provoked last week’s massacre in which three SUVs traveling in a convoy between Sonora and Chihauhua states were attacked by a hail of bullets and engulfed in flames, the prosperous Mormon farmers and ranchers in the rugged, mountainous region have long been vocal opponents of drug traffickers, and have resisted attempts by the criminal groups to extort them in the past.

In 2009, Julian LeBaron’s older brother, Benjamin, a local farmer and activist founder of a crime-fighting group called SOS Chihuahua in Colonia LeBaron, was killed by traffickers after he led protests over the kidnapping of their 10-year-old brother, Eric, who was being held for $1 million in ransom by local drug traffickers. Colonia LeBaron was founded in 1924.

The family refused to pay the ransom and Eric was eventually released, but Benjamin and a neighbor — Luis Widmar — were killed when 20 heavily armed men invaded the LeBaron home and shot both men dead.

“These are not isolated incidents,” said Julian LeBaron, in a 2010 opinion piece in a Dallas newspaper. “Throughout our nation, countless people have lost their lives or their security in a similar manner, while politics of confusion and volumes of magic words appear to have more sway than reality.”

The massacre has come on the heels of other violent confrontations between traffickers in Mexico, which has already recorded more than 32,000 homicides since December. Last year’s total was 33,341 homicides, most of them related to drug violence, according to Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior.

Last month, an elite group of state police officers on a routine patrol in Culiacan, in northern Mexico, captured one of El Chapo’s sons. But when a fierce gun battle erupted around them, killing two people and injuring 21, security forces released Ovidio Guzman Lopez. Last week, the 30-year-old officer who detained Guzman Lopez, was ambushed and killed in a hail of more than 150 bullets in Culiacan.

Enlarge ImageA woman holds a picture of Mormon anti-crime activist Benjamin LeBaron, left, and his neighbor Luis Widmar, who were killed in 2009
A woman holds a picture of Mormon anti-crime activist Benjamin LeBaron, left, and his neighbor Luis Widmar, who were killed in 2009ASSOCIATED PRESS

Since coming to power last year, Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s security strategy has been to emphasize “hugs not bullets” to combat drug-related violence in the country.

“It was lamentable, painful because children died, but do we want to resolve the problem … by declaring war?” said Lopez Obrador last week in response to the Mormon massacre.

FILED UNDER       

China approves sale of home-grown new Alzheimer’s drug

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China approves sale of home-grown new Alzheimer’s drug

Xinhua

A home-grown drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease has been approved by the National Medical Products Administration to hit the market, according to its developers Saturday.

The drug, GV-971, was developed by Ocean University of China, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under Chinese Academy of Sciences and Green Valley Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, after research efforts of 22 years.

A total of 1,199 persons participated in the three-phase clinical trials. The 36-week-long Phase 3 clinical study showed that the drug can improved cognition in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, the developers said.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking ability, and the capability to carry out simple tasks. The disease affects about 48 million people worldwide, and the number is expected to increase with the aging population.

China: Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Taking a deep breath, a 40-year-old drug addict surnamed Hu stepped onto a stage at the Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center to act in the debut performance of the facility’s drama club.

The patients performed a play entitled “Chaguan,” or “Teahouse,” adapted from a masterpiece written by renowned novelist and playwright Lao She.

The drama club is part of the rehab facility’s arts therapy program. It was initiated by Yin Jun, 33, a center officer who said he believes that drama can help recovering addicts rebuild their confidence. The group, nicknamed “Uncle Yin’s Drama Club,” is the first of its kind in a Shanghai drug rehabilitation center.

“Chaguan” takes place in a typical Beijing teahouse and mirrors the changes in China between 1898 and 1948, running from the late Qing Dynasty (1636-1911) to the end of the Republic of China. To give it a more local flavor, Yin said it was adapted to a Shanghai setting and is played in Shanghai dialect.

Its first act highlights the weakened state of China in 1898, with an impoverished populace, foreign aggression on the rise, and opium flooding into the market. For those in drug rehabilitation, the lesson that drugs are harmful isn’t lost.

Hu admitted he was nervous at the beginning but managed to conquer his stage fright as the play progressed.

“When I was informed that our Shanghainese version of ‘Chaguan’ would be performed in the debut, I was really excited but still worried about my acting ability,” he said. “But I have learned some performing skills, and our drama coach Yin Jun has given us encouragement, so that I feel more confident.”

Yin, who worked at an advertising agency before joining the center, told Shanghai Daily that drama can be “a good tool to enrich the spiritual life and cultural world” of addicts.

The idea has merit, but it can be hard to convince drug takers to open their minds and participate in the arts.

Yin recounted the example of a patient in his 50s who was a recidivist drug taker. At first, he refused to take part in any performance.

“He was asked to perform an episode from the famous Peking opera ‘Shajiabang,’ which is about Chinese war against Japanese invaders, at the center’s Spring Festival celebration this year,” Yin said.

Yin constantly kept at him, and the man finally agreed to take part. It opened a whole new world for him, Yin said.

“Drug addicts all have a dark side and tend to hide their true feelings,” he said. “What we are trying to do is pull them from the darkness and provide them a setting to show their real selves.”

Performing requires concentration that focuses their minds outside of their own lives.

“One of the performers who has the part of a bad guy used to be considered lazy,” Yin said. “But in this play, he has the most lines. He recited the line tirelessly and ran through them with some of his roommates.”

Yin said he saw the man change from a nervous participant to a relatively accomplished actor.

The club can be a bridge between the drug rehabilitation center and the society.

“After these people are released back to society, they will encounter many problems,” he said. “It can take long time to adapt.”

Besides stage dramas, the rehab center is planning to do some video of humorous mini-plays related to the theme of kicking the habit.

Sports also plays a big role in rehabilitation.

According to Wang Xuemei, an executive of the center, 60 drug addicts have been selected for a sports rehabilitation program that includes activities such as tai chi, basketball, dragon and lion dance and aerobics.

Among those in the program is 32-year-old Lin, a former baseball player, who is now the driving force behind the Chinese dragon and lion-dancing team.

“I was a professional athlete for eight or nine years,” Lin told Shanghai Daily. “However, after an injury, I was washed up and my career came to an end.”

He lost hope, fell into depression and began taking drugs.

Lin said he had only seen dragon dancing on television and knew nothing about it until he joined the group.

“Once I watched the efforts and spirit of team members, I wanted to be among them,” he said. “It has helped me out of the darkness. I’m much stronger now, just like I was years ago.”

Art therapy is also used in some local residential communities as part of the city’s community drug rehabilitation program.

At the Daning neighborhood in Jing’an District, former addicts displayed craftworks like Chinese traditional ink paintings, paper cuts and cloth-paste painting to foreign academics who arrived in Shanghai for the 2019 Alcohol and Drugs History Society conference.

Among them is Xie, 49, a former nurse who got hooked on heroin.

She told Shanghai Daily that she underwent a long cycle of rehab and recidivism.

“Every time I left the drug rehabilitation center, I had a sense of inferiority and isolation,” she said. “I felt I was different from others, which made me go back to drugs again.”

Her mother’s death was a catalyst to her quitting drugs. Now she is living with her elder sister and receiving community drug rehabilitation.

“The people here all have similar experiences as me, so I can be myself when facing them. We are like a family,” said Xie.

One of the foreign academics attending the Alcohol and Drugs History Society conference was Professor Nancy D Campbell, head of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. She praised the rehab programs in Shanghai.

“These centers offer what we call ‘alternative reinforcers’ — activities that occupy people’s minds and bodies while they are benefiting from treatments such as methadone and buprenorphine,” she said. “Both should be delivered simultaneously in order to reduce the harms that drugs and alcohol can cause.”

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Hu and his fellow drama club members are performing a Shanghainese version of “Teahouse” for their more than 100 audience, including the others receiving drug rehabilitation at the city’s Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center and some volunteers coming to provide them psychological counseling on the Open Day.

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Hu and his fellow drama club members are performing a Shanghainese version of “Teahouse,” adapted from a masterpiece written by renowned novelist and playwright Lao She.

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Lin and the other dragon and lion dance team members are giving a dance on the playground at the Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center.

Emerging from the shadows, addicts shed their old identities on stage

Ti Gong

Lin and the other dragon and lion dance team members are giving a dance on the playground at the Gaojing Drug Rehabilitation Center.

(Humanity/Poem) The Wall

The Wall

(FROM 10-31-2017)

Why do we wish to build, is it to keep out

Was not Berlin’s Wall built to keep citizens in

The Great Wall of China can be seen from space

Decide what is real and what discriminates

Your reflection in the world’s looking glass

Does it show to them and us but one face

 

Division from the South, but not from the North

Do you not see your two faces shining

What do you think your Wall will facilitate

Is this Wall about safety and poor labor jobs

Or is it about your hate of language and race

 

The poor of the South you choose to lock out

Hungry, tired, and scared, they come to your gates

Looking for a safe place to build, to work and pray

You wish to build a higher Wall, are guard towers next

We tell them they have to wait at the River Great

 

From terrorist and drugs, you say your Wall will protect

You wall out your brother, your neighbor, your friends

How can you be so cold yet on Sunday you bend your knees

Do you not know, nor see, nor care that your actions offend

Unless you are Indian your family tree is not from here

 

Do you not think that terrorist or drugs are here

Pro’s take the safest routes like Heaven in the cold

Do not speak to me of family values ye hypocrite

As children and mothers die of hunger and disease

At the foot of this Wall you create from your own hate

 

 

(Humanity/Poem) The Wall

The Wall

(FROM 10-31-2017)

Why do we wish to build, is it to keep out

Was not Berlin’s Wall built to keep citizens in

The Great Wall of China can be seen from space

Decide what is real and what discriminates

Your reflection in the world’s looking glass

Does it show to them and us but one face

 

Division from the South, but not from the North

Do you not see your two faces shining

What do you think your Wall will facilitate

Is this Wall about safety and poor labor jobs

Or is it about your hate of language and race

 

The poor of the South you choose to lock out

Hungry, tired, and scared, they come to your gates

Looking for a safe place to build, to work and pray

You wish to build a higher Wall, are guard towers next

We tell them they have to wait at the River Great

 

From terrorist and drugs, you say your Wall will protect

You wall out your brother, your neighbor, your friends

How can you be so cold yet on Sunday you bend your knees

Do you not know, nor see, nor care that your actions offend

Unless you are Indian your family tree is not from here

 

Do you not think that a terrorist or a drug King Pin

Can’t enter your haven from the cold frozen North

Do not speak to me of family values ye hypocrite

As children and mothers die of hunger and disease

At the foot of this Wall you create from your hate

 

 

Heroin: What The Hell Are We Doing To Yourselves Folks?

Heroin: What The Hell Are We Doing To Yourselves Folks?

 

For those of you who do not know me from this blog I will tell you up front that what I am going to say if from my life’s experiences now being over 60 years old. I have never stuck a needle in myself for the purpose of getting some kind of a high, or even to decrease my own pain. I have had medical people do their thing quite a few times where I felt like a wore out pin-cushion before I got out of their care, but I have never stuck myself. I really hope that I do not end up needing Insulin shots someday. But, I have had quite a few folks whom I quickly found out where poking needles in themselves when they would get home from work or on the weekends for the purpose of getting a high was part of their normal day. As I set and watched quite a few people poking themselves or having their friends do it for them and putting them in very painful places, I had to wonder how, how and why they are where they are at this point in their lives? We hear on the news quite often now how Heroin is a major epidemic in many places in America today. I did not know until about a year ago that heroin is actually a very cheep costing drug, I had always though it would be a very expensive drug until I found out it is made from Morphine.

 

For those of you who have decided to first put a needle in yourself, I’m not talking about the first time you let someone else do it to/for you, I’m asking about the first time you yourself stuck a needle in yourself for the purpose of getting high, was it that? Was it in an attempt to get out of some type of pain, mental or physical? If there are ten million people in America alone that put that first drug, that first needle, in our-self, by our-self, are there ten million different stories? Stories of loss, of pain, of stupidity? In the ‘wired world’ about everyone has to have heard a lot of really bad things about this drug getting a power over you that you can no longer control so why? Why did you do that to yourself? All of the people who I knew way back then are gone now, old memories, I don’t know of any that made it anywhere near fifty. I have seen a few cases where people gradually got off of the drugs they were shooting up by turning more and more to the use of marijuana to calm themselves and start to see the world clearer and got themselves off of their own personal demon. I have learned and seen that marijuana is really a ‘step down drug’ that does help some folks, this ‘medication’ being illegal is insane and inhumane. There is another absolute fact and that is where Marijuana is a legal drug, pain pill use goes way down. Heroin or Morphine pills or how about the God-given medicine instead of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on these pills, and then there is this Demon called Heroin that is killing so many people. The ‘War On Drugs’ got this part backwards folks. Drugs like Heroin are a disease on the human race as are these millions of ‘Pill Heads’ that the system is helping fan the flames of.

(Humanity/Poem) The Wall

The Wall

(FROM 10-31-2017)

Why do we wish to build, is it to keep out

Was not Berlin’s Wall built to keep citizens in

The Great Wall of China can be seen from space

Decide what is real and what discriminates

Your reflection in the world’s looking glass

Does it show to them and us but one face

 

Division from the South, but not from the North

Do you not see your two faces shining

What do you think your Wall will facilitate

Is this Wall about safety and poor labor jobs

Or is it about your hate of language and race

 

The poor of the South you choose to lock out

Hungry, tired, and scared, they come to your gates

Looking for a safe place to build, to work and pray

You wish to build a higher Wall, are guard towers next

We tell them they have to wait at the River Great

 

From terrorist and drugs, you say your Wall will protect

You wall out your brother, your neighbor, your friends

How can you be so cold yet on Sunday you bend your knees

Do you not know, nor see, nor care that your actions offend

Unless you are Indian your family tree is not from here

 

Do you not think that a terrorist or a drug King Pin

Can’t enter your haven from the cold frozen North

Do not speak to me of family values ye hypocrite

As children and mothers die of hunger and disease

At the foot of this Wall you create from your hate

 

 

The Wall Of Shame

The Wall Of Shame

Why do we build, to keep out

Was not Berlin’s built to keep in

The Great Wall of China can be seen from space

Decide what is real, do you live a sanctified life

Your reflection in the world’s looking glass

Does it show but one face or do you have many

Division from the south, but not from the north

Do you not see your two faces shining

 

What do you think your wall will facilitate

The poor of the south are humans just like you

Hungry, tired, and scared, they come to your gates

Looking for a safe place to build, and work and pray

We build a higher wall, we tell them they have to wait

From terrorist and drugs, you say your wall will defend

You wall out your brother, your neighbor, your friends

 

How is it you can be so cold yet say you’re a Christian

Do you not know, nor see, nor care, people are starving

By your actions you do offend the Lord Himself

Do you not think that a terrorist or a drug King Pin

Can enter your haven from the cold frozen north

Do not speak to me of family values ye hypocrite

As children and mothers die of hunger and guns

At the foot of this wall, this barrier you create

Unarmed Black Man Murdered By Officer In Tulsa Had A lot Of PCP In His System: Should It Matter At All?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Unarmed black man killed by Tulsa police had PCP in his system: autopsy

By Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton | TULSA, OKLA.

An unarmed black man who was fatally shot by police in Oklahoma last month while he had his hands in the air had a hallucinogenic drug in his system when he was killed, according to an autopsy released on Tuesday.

The shooting of Terence Crutcher, 40, was one in a string of police killings of unarmed black people over the past two years that have sparked protests and debate across the United States. Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter in connection with the shooting and is out on bond.

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office report said Crutcher had 96 nomograms per millilitre of phencyclidine, or PCP, in his bloodstream at the time of his death on Sept. 16. The office said the figure reached the threshold for “acute phencyclidine intoxication.”

Tulsa police said previously that PCP was discovered in Crutcher’s stalled SUV after his death. Police said Crutcher was unarmed and had no weapon on him or in his car. The department also released video of the shooting that showed Crutcher had his hands in the air and was in clear view before he was shot.

American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma’s executive director, Ryan Kiesel, said Crutcher having drugs in his system was irrelevant to his killing.

“Drug possession and drug use do not now, nor should they ever, justify summary execution,” he said, adding that the findings “do not tell us whether or not Terence Crutcher was under the influence of PCP at the time of this encounter. Testing positive to a substance in your system is very different from being under the influence of a substance.”

According to an arrest affidavit, the officer overreacted when she came upon Crutcher, whose car had broken down. Shelby has said she fired her weapon because she feared for her life.

Under Oklahoma law, first-degree manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of four years. She is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 29.

PCP, initially developed as a human anesthetic in 1959, is an illegal drug that can produce a dissociative mental state in users as well as delirium, confusion and other effects, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

(Reporting by Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton in Tulsa, Okla.; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Peter Cooney)

Why Does President Putin Have No Faith In Russia’s Athletes?

 

As almost all of the wired world knows, Russia had a huge contingent of their athletes banned from the Rio Olympics that are going on now because Russia was found guilty of wide-spread doping during the last Olympics that were held in Russia. Athletes have been known to cheat through drugs in almost every sport it seems, not just Olympic athletes. In America we had that scourge in Major League Baseball for many years and it ruined the bodies, careers, and reputations of many quality athletes. There was also the disgrace of American bicyclist Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France for all those years. To me when a person cheats they are telling the world several things, among them is the fact that they have no ethics, that they are crooks, thieves, cowards, and insecure in their own abilities. By reports I have been reading lately the IOC says that Russia has been involved in State sponsored doping at least since the 1984 Olympics. This is a disgrace to the integrity of the Russian Nation and their people. Well, maybe not their people but certainly against the integrity of the Russian government and as in any country the buck stops at the Presidency of the country. Why has President Putin allowed such a disgrace to go on in his country? Here in America we are led to believe that Mr. Putin rules Russia with an iron fist as his Kremlin controls all aspect of the people of Russia’s lives. Russia is a great country, the people of Russia are a great people, they can compete physically with the people of any nation, why is it that Mr. Putin doesn’t believe that? If a person, a team or a Government believe that they have the ability to compete and to win they do not show that by cheating, instead they show cowardliness and insecurity. I have to admit that I find it odd that I seem to have more faith in the Russian people than their own President seems to have.