Archive for April, 2011

Public defender in Cleveland seeks to help John Demjanjuk, says case may have been tainted

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

CLEVELAND, Ohio –

A local federal public defender said Friday that he wants to help suspected Nazi prison guard John Demjanjuk, claiming an FBI document unearthed this month undermines the government’s longstanding legal fight against him.

The 91-year-old Demjanjuk is on trial in Germany, accused of complicity in the deaths of more than 27,000 people at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He was deported to Munich nearly two years ago after U.S. judges ruled he lied about his wartime past.

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In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Public Defender Dennis Terez said all of Demjanjuk’s legal proceedings to date may have been tainted because he believes defense attorneys have not seen all the documents in the case.

He cited a newly found 1985 report by the Cleveland FBI office, which indicated that the Soviet KGB may have worked to create false information about Demjanjuk. The report suggested that a Nazi guard identification card, also called a pass, may have been forged, a claim Demjanjuk’s supporters have made for years.

 

John DemjanjukView full sizeAPJohn Demjanjuk is brought into the courtroom in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 22.

The report said federal authorities sought information from the Soviets about suspected Nazi persecutors. The KGB then produced “a record purporting to tie the accused with the commission of Nazi atrocities, which record may be falsified for the express purpose of discrediting the accused,” the report said.

“The end result is that justice is ill-served in the prosecution of an American citizen on evidence, which is not only normally inadmissible in a court of law, but based on evidence and allegations quite likely fabricated by the KGB,” the FBI report said.

The pass, known as the Trawniki card, has a picture and Nazi identification number of a man named Ivan Demjanjuk, who has the same birth date, hair color, scar on his back and father’s name as the former Seven Hills’ autoworker.

The Associated Press found the report this month in declassified government documents. The news agency reported that Demjanjuk’s attorneys in Munich sought to stop the trial so they could study more documents in the United States. A German judge refused. A verdict is expected in May.

 

Dennis Terez.JPG Public defender Dennis Terez, shown in 2006.

Demjanjuk’s deportation to Germany came years after a federal judge in Cleveland stripped Demjanjuk of his citizenship following a 2001 trial.

“The case was tried, judgment entered, and the judgment affirmed,” Terez said. “But the government knew then what the world knows now, namely, that its case had been judged not credible by its own FBI.”

Eli Rosenbaum, the director of the U.S. Justice Department unit that brought the case against Demjanjuk, could not be reached Friday. But Jonathan Drimmer, the former prosecutor who tried the case in Cleveland, said he never saw or heard of the FBI report.

He said he believes the card is authentic, based on extensive testing of handwriting, paper and ink. He also said there were tests on the typewriting and photograph.

“I don’t think there is a single piece of legal evidence that has undergone more scientific and forensic testing than the Trawniki identification card of John Demjanjuk,” he said.

Demjanjuk was first accused of being a Nazi guard in 1977, when federal prosecutors identified him as a sadistic camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible, a case based on eyewitness testimony. He was convicted in Israel and spent about six years on death row.

While in Israel, the public defender’s office in Cleveland was appointed to represent Demjanjuk in his U.S. appeals. In 1993, his conviction in Israel was overturned, after another man was identified as being the guard.

After he returned to Seven Hills, federal prosecutors accused him again, this time using the wartime documents, including the now-questioned Trawniki card to link him to Sobibor and other two camps.

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Skinhead promises speech at bench trial

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

A self-described skinhead says he has prepared a speech to read at his federal bench trial this afternoon for allegedly assaulting an accused child molester.

James D. Bacon, 23, is charged with misdemeanor assault for punching Darrell W. Monzingo, 44, as the men shared a holding cell at the Thomas S. Foley United State Courthouse on March 10.  The assault was captured on video, accoridng to a trial brief.

In a April 9 jailhouse letter to The Spokesman-Review, Bacon said he is a member of the Valhalla-Bound Skinhead movement, which was founded by Keegan Van Tuyl. Van Tuyl is scheduled to be released from federal prison in September. Authorities consider him extremely dangerous.

Bacon said his three-page speech will shock the judge.

“However, it is written with an eloquent passion from my heart,” Bacon wrote. “It is by no mean’s vulgar, & it addresses my beliefs as a skinhead, as a man, & as a person utterly disgusted with sex offenders.”

Bacon wrote that he hopes victims of sex crimes can be consoled by “knowing that people like myself are fighting in their honor.”

Bacon, who was convicted of armed robbery in 2004, was wanted for a felony drug violation and Department of Corrections warrant when he ran from police near Wellesley Avenue and Regal Street on Dec. 7.

Police arrested him in a struggle, then realized he was armed with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun.

Monzingo, whose trial is set for September, faces up to 30 years in prison after Spokane police found child pornography during a search of his home in the 3400 block of E. Fairview Ave. on Dec. 16. He’s charged with manufacturing the material.

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City’s black residents now top all groups

Monday, April 25th, 2011
Official seal of City of Philadelphia

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Their numbers dropped, but other changes put them first. Population rose for the first time in 50 years.

By Michael Matza, Kia Gregory, and John Duchneskie

Inquirer Staff Writers

African descendants have called Philadelphia home for centuries, with the first U.S. Census, in 1790, listing 2,099 “free” blacks and 373 slaves.

Today, the city’s black population is 644,287, according to the latest census, and for the first time it clearly outnumbers all other racial or ethnic groups.

This evolution happened even though the number of African Americans in the city, excluding Hispanics, declined about 1,800 over the last decade and their share of the population remained about the same.

Key to the new black plurality: the continued steep decline in the city’s white population. In 2000, each group accounted for about 42 percent of city residents, but the white share is now 37 percent, after a loss of 82,000 people.

Meanwhile, an influx of Hispanics, Asians, and other groups – now 21 percent of the city’s 1.5 million people – boosted Philadelphia’s total for the first time in 50 years.

The black plurality coincides with another trend: More and more middle- and working-class African Americans are leaving the city for suburbia. Since 2000, the black population of the city’s Pennsylvania suburbs jumped 26 percent – by 47,000.

“You need to look at it not only from a racial-ethnic point of view, but also the distribution of incomes,” said Mark Mather, senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit in Washington that interprets census data.

Are relatively “higher-income blacks moving away from the city, leaving behind a poorer population without a lot of prospects?” he asked. “That wouldn’t bode well.”

In the last decade, average income in white households in Philadelphia rose 4 percent to $65,100, adjusted for inflation. But black household income fell 10 percent to $40,200. Overall, the average income in the city fell 1 percent.

Neighborhoods with the highest concentration of African Americans – West Oak Lane, Kingsessing, and Nicetown, among others – were slammed twice.

Many who could move out did. Many who remained experienced a significant drop in income. In Tioga-Nicetown, which is 94 percent black, average household income fell 35 percent in the last decade – the city’s biggest drop – to $26,800. That’s half of the citywide average.

As gentrification gathered speed in some predominantly black parts of the city, superheating property values, several things happened. Some homeowners cashed in and bought again, either in suburbia or other parts of Philadelphia. Some renters got squeezed out or were left stranded in pockets of poverty.

“Yes, Philadelphia has 42 percent blacks,” said Voffee Jabateh, director of the African Cultural Alliance of North America, a Southwest Philadelphia advocacy group for African immigrants, but by and large “these are not blacks that have a strong economic voice.”

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat whose district covers parts of North and West Philadelphia and Montgomery County, said he saw the movement of black residents to better neighborhoods as “identical in many ways to patterns of other demographic groups . . . as people make their way into the middle class.”

 

Migrating to the suburbs

Across Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties, the proportion of black residents grew in 176 of 238 municipalities, mirroring a national trend, though still fewer than 10 percent of Philadelphia-area suburbanites are black.

In the 1950s, said Norristown municipal administrator David Forrest, mortgages “were more available to whites than blacks,” leading to “primarily white suburbanization.”

Black upward mobility and more available credit, particularly in the last decade, he said, spurred movement to inner-ring suburbs, especially in southeastern Delaware County, where better schools, lower housing density, and public transportation lured people from Southwest Philadelphia, including large numbers of African immigrants.

Sharon Hill and East Lansdowne for the first time became majority-black towns, according to the census. They joined Yeadon, Colwyn, Darby Borough, Chester, and Chester Township – already majority black in 2000 – as new pillars in the inner ring of predominantly African American suburbs.

“It’s the upward mobility of people coming out of the city,” said Mary Bell, manager of demographic and economic analysis for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. “The impact is biggest in Delaware County because the houses there are more affordable.”

Unlike Delaware County, where a fifth of the population is black, Bucks and Chester Counties experienced little change. According to the 2010 census, fewer than 6 percent of residents of those counties are black.

In Montgomery County, the number of black residents grew from 55,303 in 2000 to 67,582 in 2010, nudging its percentage of the total population to 8.4 percent.

Suburban diversity also was spurred by the arrival of Latinos, up 105 percent last decade, and Asians, up 72 percent.

 

A tale of two communities

Two swaths of the city that experienced significant population change during the last decade were parts of North Philadelphia – including Tioga-Nicetown, which lost 1,977 people, 10 percent of its population – and the largely white lower Northeast, which grew in numbers and diversity.

Tacony, for instance, was 9 percent minority in 2000; now it is 39 percent minority, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.

Louis Iatarola, president of the Tacony Civic Association, attributes that change to the mid-decade real estate boom, which created new homeowners and investors, who sometimes carved houses into affordable apartments.

On the loss side of the ledger, Majeedah A. Rashid, executive vice president of the Nicetown Community Development Corp., said she saw why the population in her part of town had fallen: “In the last 20, 30 years, there was really nothing going on here.”

Rashid cited the “flight of industry,” including the closing of the Budd and Tastykake factories.

“Those things make a big impact,” she said. “People are moving away from the neighborhood to find better housing conditions and more valuable employment.”

Her group is working to retain and attract residents by brokering such things as the construction of Nicetown Court, a mix of commercial business and 34 new affordable-housing units, and the installation of lights in one of the community’s two-acre parks. “That’s a big deal in Nicetown,” Rashid said.

Michael Burch, 51, who grew up in the Parkside section of West Philadelphia, is among those African Americans who picked up and moved.

After Burch earned a master’s degree in science education from Temple University, he left in 1982 for a more affluent city neighborhood – Wynnefield.

“I was slowly making my way out of the city,” he said, jokingly, of his move to near the Montgomery County border. He counts himself as part of a generation whose education and careers afforded it the means to move up and eventually out.

Burch, director of youth programs at the Franklin Institute, later settled in Upper Darby, then in Drexel Hill.

He said his main reason for leaving “was just the congestion of the city.” But after his mother died five years ago, instead of selling his three-story childhood home in Parkside, he moved back in.

“Growing up in that neighborhood as a child,” Burch said, “I had so many good and fond memories of the house and neighborhood and living near Fairmount Park, which was a big part of my life then. I thought I could add something to the neighborhood now.”

 

In Delaware County

In Collingdale, Pat Reilly of Reilly Real Estate said his business formerly had been based in Southwest Philadelphia, “but the area got pretty much sold out” after West African immigrants, especially from Liberia and Ghana, started snapping up houses a decade ago.

Then some of them, along with African Americans, moved into Collingdale, he said. Census figures show the proportion of black residents jumped from 4 percent in 2000 to 35 percent of the 8,786 residents in 2010.

A typical rowhouse that sold for about $105,000 half a decade ago sells for $80,000 to $85,000 today, Reilly said.

Those buying affordable Collingdale houses, he said, are mostly first-time buyers, often single mothers who work as health-care aides and certified nursing assistants.

Houses come on the market because of estate sales, Reilly said, or when elderly retirees move into nursing homes or to live with family.

The Rev. Michael Fitzpatrick of Collingdale’s Grace Reformed Episcopal Church said the arrivals were helping to resuscitate his congregation.

When he arrived at the parish from Havertown in 2003, he said, the church was down to 27 members, all white except for one Liberian woman. Today, thanks largely to the influx of African Americans and West Africans, there are 160 parishioners, including 30 who are white.

Church members have told Fitzpatrick that they moved to Collingdale for the heightened sense of security, better schools, and backyards.

Jacquelynn Puriefoy-Brinkley, a former president of Yeadon Borough Council, is a retiree in her 70s. She recalled moving to Yeadon with her parents in 1947, along with other “mostly upper-middle-class” black residents who lived in an enclave on one side of town.

Puriefoy-Brinkley’s father owned several businesses and was a salesman for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Yeadon was about 10 percent black, she said. Over time, a larger cross section of African Americans from the city moved in.

Today Yeadon is 88 percent black. NAACP membership forms are available at the circulation desk of the public library. A shopping strip includes the Mohammad Ali Variety Store across the street from the Harlem Cafe.

Going from virtually all white to virtually all black is certainly no triumph of coexistence, Puriefoy-Brinkley acknowledged, but she feels the pattern of movement has been basically positive.

“Maybe the upside,” she said, “is that people who didn’t have opportunities to live in decent housing or walkable communities have those opportunities now.”

 

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Sewn Cotton Totenkopf “Meine Ehre heißt Treue” Flag

Monday, April 25th, 2011

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Sewn Cotton Totenkopf "Meine Ehre Heist Treue" Flag

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

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Swastika Red & Black On White Patch

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

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Nationalist Front Square Patch

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

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Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

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Christian Knights KKK Patch

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

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Celtic Cross Red, White & Black Round Patch

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

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