Feds Score Again: Salesman Guilty

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Fitzroy to lose freedom.
In what amounted to a no-brainer decision, a jury found Fitzroy Salesman guilty on four felony counts of bribery and extortion after four and a half hours of deliberation, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Salesman faces up to 60 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines fall between five and seven. From the Sentinel article:

"As the verdict was read, Salesman showed little reaction other than rubbing his chin with his hand. Federal marshals took him into custody immediately, and he removed his suit jacket, tie, and jewelry before being handcuffed behind his back."

Salesman's defense attorneys, Jamie Benjamin and Daniel Aaronson, fought hard for their client, but the problem is I think these guys really thought they could win the thing. I know Benjamin was telling people around town he was going to "walk" Salesman. Not a chance.

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Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen (top) and driver Saeed Chmagh
Next up is the trial of Joel Williams, who was arrested along with Joe Eggelletion. That should be a fairly quick affair, and then you just have to hope that the feds can get back to doing some new cases and put some of the rest of Broward's elected riff-raff behind bars.

It's a good day, but I'm still affected by a video I saw for the first time this morning. It's a massacre by our U.S. military forces of an Iraqi-born Reuters journalist, Namir Noor-Eldeen, his driver, Saeed Chmagh, and a slew of other innocent civilians, including the wounding of two children. It's sickening. Where there were cameras and gear, the soldiers in their Apache helicopters somehow saw AK-47s and rocket launchers. So they annihilated everyone and laughed while they were doing it. When Good Samaritans came and bravely tried to save the people who were blown up, the soldiers opened fire from above on them too, killing them and wounding the two children in the van they were riding in. After they learned children were involved, one soldier said, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids to a battle." 

Then, of course, the military tried to cover it up. But here's the real secret: This kind of thing happens a lot more often than any of us wants to know. If you haven't seen it, you can watch the video after the jump. It is one of the most powerful and disturbing things a U.S. citizen can ever watch. And, as former Marine pilot and current civic activist Fane Lozman remarked to me, it shows how war has become little more than a sick videogame. 

Here's what Salon reporter Glenn Greenwald says about the video

[T]here's a serious danger when incidents like this Iraq slaughter are exposed in a piecemeal and unusual fashion: namely, the tendency to talk about it as though it is an aberration. It isn't. It's the opposite: It's par for the course, standard operating procedure, what we do in wars, invasions, and occupation. The only thing that's rare about the Apache helicopter killings is that we know about it and are seeing what happened on video. And we're seeing it on video not because it's rare, but because it just so happened (a) to result in the deaths of two Reuters employees, and thus received more attention than the thousands of other similar incidents where nameless Iraqi civilians are killed, and (b) to end up in the hands of WikiLeaks, which then published it. But what is shown is completely common. 

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