Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jill Carrol's Story: Parts VI, VII, VIII

In Part VI of her story, Jill Carrol writes about her interactions with the wife of one of her captors, and the lack of sympathy she received from the woman. Carrol writes about being forced to study and recite verses from the Koran:

Part of Um Ali's growing hardness toward me came as I tried to let her know that, despite the many hours of reciting the Koran with her, I didn't plan to convert to Islam.

In the beginning I was an eager student, as I saw how much it pleased them whenever I showed an interest in learning. But I soon realized I had made a dangerous mistake.

The more I let my captors teach me, the more they expected me to convert. After a few weeks, the question was always, "Why haven't you come to Islam yet?"

I tried to put the brakes on delicately, afraid of what they might do if they thought I was rejecting Islam. How could I tell them that adopting a new religion and code for living wasn't possible when I was held captive, racked with despair, and in fear daily for my life?

One afternoon, when I was exhausted from listening to Um Ali repeat verses of the Koran over and over so I could memorize them, I said, "I don't understand the Arabic in the Koran, and so I can't understand what it really means."

"We'll bring you an English Koran," said Abu Ali, who had overheard me. "You want this?"

They were always insisting that they didn't want to pressure me into converting, while at the same time asking me why I hadn't converted yet.

"Oh, sure," I said.

Abu Ali whipped out his cellphone, and made a call. "You have a Koran in English?" he said. "Quickly, quickly, bring it."

He sounded almost frantic as he gave the person on the other end of the line directions about where to meet him.

After about 20 minutes he returned, bearing a small, green Koran. Emblazoned in gold on the cover was "Le Qur'an." It was a French translation - not an English one.

Later, I tried telling Um Ali, gently, that I probably wasn't going to convert after all.

She said she would be angry if I didn't convert, given the time she had spent teaching me.

"We are afraid for you and don't want you to go to hell," she said. "We are afraid that we'll see you [on Judgment Day] and you'll say, 'Why didn't you save me?' "

In Part VII, Carrol writes about passing time in small locations where she was periodically held, about her captors' reactions to various people calling for her release, and about discovering that the release of a handful of Iraqi women would make it more difficult for her captors to justify killing her.

In Part VIII, Carrol writes about the emergence of conflict between her captors and Shiites and how it impacted the importance of her captivity.

Part VI: Reciting Koranic Verses
Part VII: False Hopes
Part VIII: A New Enemy

Introduction: 82 Days in Captivity
Part I: The Kidnapping
Part II: Spy With A Homing Device
Part III: The First Video
Part IV: A Mother As A Suicide Bomber
Part V: Mujahideen Movies

Next: Part IX: The Muj Brothers

Friday, August 18, 2006

Jill Carrol's Story: Part V

In Part 5 of her personal kidnapping story, Jill writes about how her captors made her watch DVDs of them and their fellow Al-Qaeda members waging war and killing American soldiers. She writes:

One video showed all these men who were going to be suicide car bombers. They interviewed them, and then showed a field, with cars lined up, and each man getting into a car - waving, just euphoric - and then driving off.

Others had pictures of an American Humvee driving along - and then it would blow up, and they'd cut to a graphic of a lightning flash, and thunder clapping.

She also writes about how she came to understand that, to her captors, killing Americans was "a righteous path, this was their work for God."

While I sat there watching them, I felt the insurgents were sending me a message: They hate Americans so much, they're proud of these attacks. It's normal to them.

Surely they were going to kill me. How could they not?

Part V: Mujahideen Movies

Introduction: 82 Days in Captivity
Part I: The Kidnapping
Part II: Spy With A Homing Device
Part III: The First Video
Part IV: A Mother As A Suicide Bomber

Next (Sunday Night)
Part VI: Reciting Koranic Verses

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Federal Judge: Domestic Spying Program Unconstitutional

I'll try to get the Wiretapping Link Repository updated later today or tomorrow. But for now, a federal judge today has ruled that the NSA program is unconstitutional.

Memorandum Opinion
Jurist Coverage
MSNBC Coverage
CNN Coverage
Fox News Coverage
NY Times Coverage
LA Times Coverage
Washington Post Coverage

ACS Blog

Jill Carroll's Story: Part IV

In Part 4 of her story about her kidnapping, Jill Carroll relates the story of learning that one of her kidnappers was proud that his wife planned to be a suicide bomber. Jill writes:

I was still unused to captivity, still learning the boundaries, both physical and mental, that my kidnappers had imposed. I didn't want to offend. But I was shocked at the talk of a mother's suicide; shocked that Um Ali would blush at her husband's praise of this plan.

"Oh, I didn't know women could be car bombers," was all I could muster.

Later I was told that this was the only way women could be part of the mujahideen. The men could have the glory of fighting in battle. Women got to blow themselves up.

Part IV: A Mother As A Suicide Bomber

Introduction: 82 Days in Captivity
Part I: The Kidnapping
Part II: Spy With A Homing Device
Part III: The First Video

Part V: Mujahideen Movies of Attacks

New Legal Writing Blog Blog-rolled.

I've added "the (new) legal writer" to the blog-roll. There's lots of great legal writing links and tips, and it's well worth checking out.

DUI: "Defending" Under the Influence

A judge in Las Vegas ordered a blood-alcohol test for a defense attorney who was slurring words. The judge then declared a mistrial and declared the attorney too tipsy to effectively argue his client's kidnapping case.

According to AP, via the New York Times:

''I don't think you can tell a straight story because you are intoxicated,'' the judge told Joseph Caramango as she declared a mistrial for his client.

Caramango, 41, acknowledged in court that he was drinking the previous night, but maintained he was not drunk. If convicted, his client faces life in prison.

''I don't believe I've committed any ethical violation,'' Caramango said Tuesday, disputing the accuracy of the breath-alcohol test. ''If it proved anything, it proved I was not intoxicated.''

Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt announced Caramango had a blood-alcohol level of 0.075 percent. Nevada's legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.08 percent.

In an exchange recorded by courtroom video, Caramango arrived about 90 minutes late for trial and was slurring his words.

The judge asked if anything was wrong, and Caramango said he suffered a head injury in a rear-end car crash while driving to court.

One of my favorite parts of the news account is the following:

Caramango also identified a woman who accompanied him to court as his ex-girlfriend, Christine, but when questioned by the judge the woman identified herself as Josephine. She said they just met about 20 minutes earlier at a bar and coffee shop.

Classic. Somehow it is apparently "not immediately clear if [Caramango will] face discipline by the State Bar. Check out the lengthy video clips below and see what you think.

More links:
Legal Reader (hat-tip)
Court TV (complete with LENGTHY VIDEO excerpts)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

UPDATE: Porco Murder Trial in New York.

As previously blogged about HERE and here the trial in New York of Christopher Porco, accused of murdering his father and brutally attacking his mother, has been going on recently.

On Thursday last week, a jury returned a guilty verdict. A link to the video of the verdict is available here.

Comments and reaction of a family member can be read here. The family member writes:

So as not to leave you all on a down note I will say that if anything good has come from this it’s that much of our family is as strong as or stronger than we have ever been. I personally hale from Joan’s side of the family, so even though I considered Peter one of my favorite relatives, I was related to him only by marriage. But through this experience, I, and many other family members, have had the opportunity to grow closer to the extended Porco family, and especially Peter’s sister Patty. If one person has guided all of us through this time it has been Patty. Because of her, I am proud to say that even in Peter’s absence, our two families will remain connected. If there’s a silver lining here, that has to be it.

Jill Carroll's Story: Part III.

In Part 3 of her story, Jill Carroll writes about the filming of her first video while in captivity. She writes:

I was to say that they were mujahideen fighting to defend their country, that they wanted women freed from Abu Ghraib prison, and the US military, particularly the Marines, were killing and arresting their women and destroying their houses.

And I must cry, on cue.

Abu Rasha donned a jumpsuit and wrapped his head in a kaffiyeh. Two others did the same. I sat down in front of them and the camera rolled.

I started to give my speech. Abu Ali standing behind the camera ran his fingers down his cheeks, to signal that I needed to cry.

It took me a while to work up to the crying part. But I had a lot of pent-up emotion and stress, and by the time we finished, I was crying for real. (Later, I learned that Al Jazeera only aired about 30 seconds - without audio - of that first four-minute tape. The tears were never broadcast.)

Part III: The First Video

Introduction: 82 Days in Captivity
Part I: The Kidnapping
Part II: Spy With A Homing Device

Part IV: A Mother As A Suicide Bomber.

Jill Carroll's Story: Part II.

In Part 2 of her story, Jill Carroll writes about the US military being very near her location early in her captivity, being accused by her captors of somehow contacting the military about her location, about her day-to-day existence in captivity. She writes:

I was moved often. They provided me meals that Iraqis would think fit for guests, as well as small luxuries such as expensive toiletries.

View the neighborhood where Jill was held the first night of her captivity in our interactive map.

Yet I was a prisoner. My captors would unexpectedly explode with bitter accusations that I was a spy, or Jewish, or hiding a homing device. They'd boast about their exploits fighting - and once sharing a meal - with American soldiers while I was in captivity.

In response, my mood would veer wildly. One moment I'd be sure they were going to kill me. The next I'd think they were going to let me go, that it was only a matter of time.

Overall, I just wanted it to be over with, whatever "it" was going to be. I remember being in a hurry to get done with it from the moment it began.

Part II: Spy With A Homing Device

Introduction: 82 Days in Captivity
Part I: The Kidnapping

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jill Carroll's Story: Part I.

The Christian Science Monitor is now running, in parts to be posted over the next few days (10 parts in all), Jill Carroll's story, in her own words. It's worth your time to check out her account of her ordeal. In Part I, she writes about the kidnapping itself. A group of Sunni's killed her interpreter and took her hostage. She makes the following poignant observation:

[Her interpreter, Alan] and I had been focusing for several months on piecing together a clear picture of Iraq's Sunni community. Their tacit support for the insurgency allowed it to operate; understanding them was key to understanding the forces violently splitting the country.

Now I was to gain the insight we had so long sought. At such a price to Alan, I have never been so desperate for ignorance.

Introduction: 82 Days in Captivity
Part I: The Kidnapping

Part II: A Spy With A Homing Device.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Natalee Holloway Civil Case: Not in New York.

Back in March I posted THIS POST about the civil case filed by the parents of Natalee Holloway. As I noted then, the problem seemed to be that the parents are from Alabama, suing two men from Aruba, for actions they believe occurred in Aruba, and using Alabama law. But the suit was filed in New York state court.

As TalkLeft has reported, the judge in New York has granted the motion to dismiss, concluding that New York is, in fact, not the appropriate forum for this case. According to CBS News Online:

The lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Barbara Kapnick, who said it shouldn't have been filed in Manhattan. She rejected an argument that if the case were filed in Aruba, it would prompt a media frenzy that could interfere with the investigation.

Kapnick said taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for a case "when their interest in the suit... is so ephemeral."

Stupid Criminals: Stolen ID.

Last week in Ohio, a watress checked a customer's identification to determine if the customer was legally old enough to drink. The customer handed the waitress a photo i.d. The problem? The photo i.d. was not the customer's, but was actually the waitress' identification, lost last month. reported the story. Needless to say, police said that "[t]he odds of this waitress recovering her own license defy calculation."

You can find more stupid criminals at

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Update on Air Frivolity.


According to Oregon, the idiot who was "tired" of being "mistaken" for Michael Jordan has decided to drop his lawsuit. According to the article:

Heckard did not give a reason for dropping his request for $416 million from Jordan and $416 million from Knight, the shoe company executive he blamed for making Jordan -- and his -- a household face.

Vada Manager, Nike spokesman, said no payment was made to Heckard to get him to drop the lawsuit.

"It's fairly simple," Manager said Monday. "He finally realized he would end up paying our court costs if the lawsuit went to trial."

The lawsuit gained attention in newspapers and magazines and on radio and television -- including comedy monologues -- across the country. It was the subject of online chats around the world.

Like Jordan, Heckard is African American, has a shaved head, wears an earring and likes to play basketball. However, he is about half a foot shorter, 25 pounds lighter and 8 years older than Jordan.

End Air Frivolity.

Previous Post:
Kierkegaard Lives July 13, 2006

"Punk'd at a Deposition."

There's a pretty interesting post over at Concurring Opinions about a young attorney being "punk'd" by a fellow attorney during a deposition. The basic setup involves a fake deposition in a sexual harrassment case, wherein the young attorney was representing the "victim" being subjected to increasingly objectionable questions. Some of the questions and responses of the "punk'd" attorney are priceless.

As noted in the comments, the "taste" of using this as the subject matter could be questioned, and the outrageous nature of some of the questions is tempered by the unfortunate reality that many such questions often are, properly or not, asked and allowed during depositions in this sort of case.

Nonetheless, the overall effect is pretty good, and if nothing else shows that lawyers DO have senses of humor afterall.

The video:
Candid Camera: Legally Punk'd

Concurring Opinions