Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak swigs poison, kills self in court

At his war crimes tribunal Wednesday, Bosnian Croat general Slobodan Praljak made a statement disdaining the court, then drank what he said was poison. He was rushed to hospital and died, according to reports, though courtroom footage depicts long moments of dithering confusion in the courtroom.

Praljak, who commanded ethnic Croat troops in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, yelled: "Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. I reject the verdict with contempt." He then drank from a small glass bottle in the courtroom. Moments later, as the court moved on to the next defendant, Praljak loudly announced "What I drank was poison."

The presiding judge called for medical assistance and ordered the session to be closed to the public. While the content of the bottle was not immediately clear, Praljak was hospitalized after the incident.

Later on Wednesday, Croatian state broadcaster HRT reported that Praljak had died. This was echoed by Croatia's Jutarnji List newspaper, citing "unofficial" information.

Note that the video below depicts Praljak's dramatic statement and his suicide.

Read the rest

"Less lethal" is a deceptive term to describe the weapons that routinely kill and maim peaceful protesters

This short interview with Homer Venters from Physicians for Human Rights, recorded in May at the the Right to Protest conference in Buenas Aires, is a succinct and important summary of the lie of "less-lethal" crowd-control weapons that kill and maim protesters, from tear-gas burns on lung-tissue to lethal, point-blank rubber bullet usage. Read the rest

Puerto Rico's streets crawl with heavily armed, masked mercenaries bearing no insignia or nametags

Though Puerto Rican law prohibits ownership and bearing of most long-guns and especially semiautomatic weapons, the streets of the stricken US colony now throng with mercenaries in tactical gear bearing such arms, their faces masked. They wear no insignia or nametags and won't say who they work for, apart from vague statements in broken Spanish: "We work with the government. It’s a humanitarian mission, we’re helping Puerto Rico." Read the rest

Fan outrage kills Marvel's deal to promote real-world arms-dealers in Avengers comics

On Saturday at New York Comic-Con, Marvel was scheduled to do a splashy launch event announcing the crossover between the Avengers and Northrop Grumman, a notorious arms dealer whose stealth bombers and drones have been front and center in the US campaigns of assassination in many theaters of war, declared and undeclared, in which literally uncounted civilians have been collateral damage. Read the rest

UAE surveillance contractor is recruiting an army of foreign hackers to break into its citizens' devices

The world's most sophisticated security experts have been bombarded with recruiting offers from UAE-based company Darkmatter, which bills itself as a major state security contractor -- but people who've taken the bait say they were then told that they were being hired to weaponize huge arsenals of zero-day vulnerabilities so that the UAE can subject its own population to fine-grained, continuous surveillance. Read the rest

Airport security officer was alleged war criminal, arrested for lying about participation in "genocidal acts" (UPDATED)

Yusuf Abdi Ali, a former Somali national army commander, is a pretty famous alleged war criminal, someone who's been profiled on major news media, deported from Canada over a failed claim of refugee status, arrested in the USA for lying about his participation in "genocidal acts" on his visa applications, currently embroiled in a lawsuit with someone who claims Ali tortured and shot him -- and now he works as a private airport security officer at DC's Dulles airport. Read the rest

Radovan Karadzic will die in jail

Bosian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was jailed for 40 years for war crimes today after being found guilty of genocide in the mid-1990s Balkan conflict.

The court sentenced Karadzic, 70, to 40 years in prison for his role in the conflict that was triggered by the collapse of the Yugoslav federation after the fall of communism. He was found guilty of genocide for the massacre of Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica, as well as murder, deportation, taking hostages, and other crimes, according to the court. The war killed more than 100,000 people.

Karadzic was collared in 2008 after spending a dacade on the run as "Dr. Dragan David Dabić", an alternative medical practitioner. Karadzic will now have plenty of time to work on his poetry. Read the rest

Nazi SS commander discovered living in Minneapolis

Michael Karkoc — a 94-year-old Ukranian immigrant who lives in a neighborhood of Minneapolis known for housing populations of both Eastern Europeans and artists — has turned out to be a former Nazi SS commander whose unit was involved in cracking down on the Warsaw uprising, as well as other brutal attacks on civilians. The Associated Press broke the story and Minnesota Public Radio has some great, in-depth coverage. Reached at his home, Karkoc told AP reporters, "I don't think I can explain." (Strangely, this has been a big week for Nazi-related news. Yesterday, Xeni posted a story about the discovery of a diary belonging to one of Hitler's confidants.) Read the rest