Category Archives: In the News

Jack the Ripper Unmasked: One Hundred and Twenty-Five Years Later

Jack the ripper, Dr. Scott Bonn, Doc Bonn

(picture courtesy mjg deviantart.com)

On November 9, 1888, Jack the Ripper killed his fifth and final victim, Mary Kelly. He then disappeared without a trace. One hundred and twenty-five years after his killing spree abruptly ended without his capture, the murders of Jack the Ripper continue to haunt and tantalize the world. The Ripper killings are the greatest unsolved “whodunit” mystery of all time. I write this is to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Jack the Ripper murders and share my thoughts on his true identity.

The tale of Jack the Ripper involves five extremely brutal slayings of prostitutes between August and November of 1888 in the Whitechapel area of London, England. Legend has it that the perpetrator called himself Jack the Ripper in letters he sent to the London police—taking credit for the crimes. Prior to the Jack the Ripper letters, the London newspapers called the unknown killer “Leather Apron” based on a suspicion that the killer was a local butcher. It was later believed that the Ripper was a medical doctor due to the significant cutting of the victims’ bodies.

The Ripper case was the first serial killer story in history to cause a widespread media frenzy and that was due to the proliferation of inexpensive broadsheet newspapers in Victorian London in the late nineteenth century. By the fall of 1888, at the height of the Ripper’s killing spree, one million newspapers with updated stories on the case were sold each day—an unprecedented circulation of newspapers at the time.

The Jack the Ripper case has generated a glut of conspiracy theories concerning his identity over the years. Incredibly, there are at least one hundred different theories about the identity of Jack the Ripper. One of the most colorful involves a British royal family connection and the freemasons. It became the basis for the Johnny Depp film From Hell.

I believe that Jack the Ripper was in fact a poor, insane Polish Jew with homicidal tendencies called “David Cohen” who was admitted to the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in London, December 1888. He died in the asylum in October 1889. The name David Cohen is a pseudonym similar to “John Doe” that was given to him because his actual name was never determined or at least not recorded.

Let me explain my rationale for identifying David Cohen as Jack the Ripper. First and foremost, forensic evidence supports this conclusion. In what is frequently cited as the first application of criminal profiling techniques, London physicians George Phillips and Thomas Bond used autopsy results and crime scene evidence in the fall of 1888 to make rudimentary but informed predictions about Jack the Ripper’s personality, behavioral characteristics and lifestyle.

In his written report after examining the available forensic evidence, including the bodies, Dr. Thomas Bond concluded that “all five murders no doubt were committed by the same hand… the women must have been lying down when murdered and in every case the throat was cut first.”  Dr. Bond stated that Jack the Ripper had no medical training or knowledge of anatomy, despite the killer’s extensive cutting and mutilation of his victims.

This bold statement by Dr. Bond directly opposed what law enforcement authorities had previously concluded—that Jack the Ripper was either a physician or had medical training due to the fact that he had removed internal organs from some of his victims. Dr. Bond reached his conclusion after noting that the gaping wounds inflicted by the Ripper were not consistent with the training of a medical expert or “even the technical knowledge of a butcher or horse slaughterer.”

In the opinion of Dr. Bond, the murderer must have been “a man of solitary habits,  subject to periodic attacks of homicidal and erotic mania, and the character of the mutilations  possibly indicating satyriasis” or uncontrollable sexual desire.

Based on an approach established by the FBI to categorize serial predators, the Ripper was a “disorganized” killer. Disorganized crimes are not planned and the criminal typically leaves evidence such as fingerprints or blood at the scene of the murder. There is often no attempt to move or otherwise conceal the corpse after the murder. Disorganized criminals are often insane. They also have deficient communication and social skills.

Disorganized killers will often “blitz” their victims—that is, use sudden and overwhelming force to capture and kill them. The victim’s body is usually left where the attack took place and the killer makes no attempt to hide it. In all of these regards, Jack the Ripper is a classic example of the disorganized serial killer.

The Ripper also had what is known as a signature. The signature is not required in order to commit the crime. Rather, it serves the emotional or psychological needs of the offender. The signature comes from within the psyche of the offender and it reflects a deep fantasy need that the killer has about his victims. The signature may involve mutilation or dismemberment of the victim’s body. The signature of Jack the Ripper was the extensive hacking and mutilation of his victims’ bodies that characterized all of his murders.

In addition, Jack the Ripper sometimes posed his victims’ nude bodies with their legs spread apart to shock onlookers and the police in Victorian England.

David Cohen fits the profile of Jack the Ripper almost perfectly. He was admitted to the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum just one month after the murder of Mary Kelly, the Ripper’s final victim. The asylum’s records show that Cohen had “homicidal tendencies and a great hatred of women.” Cohen reportedly exhibited violent, destructive tendencies while at the asylum and had to be restrained at all times. Consistent with the profile of a disorganized killer, David Cohen was mentally ill and virtually non-communicative.

Also pointing to David Cohen is the fact that a leading theory of Scotland Yard at the time said Jack the Ripper was a “low class Polish Jew and sexual maniac living in Whitechapel.” As noted by author and Ripper historian Martin Fido, David Cohen is the only insane Polish Jew who was committed to an asylum at the right time for the murders to stop as they did, and the only registered lunatic pauper admitted to Colney Hatch between 1888 and 1890 that fits the suspect described by Scotland Yard.

Moreover, in his book The Cases That Haunt Us, former FBI criminal profiler John Douglas said that behavioral clues gathered from the Ripper murders all point to a person “known to the police as David Cohen … or someone very much like him.”

We will never know if David Cohen was Jack the Ripper but it is fun to speculate. It is also hard to overstate the impact of the Ripper case in terms of its impact on the popular culture. As noted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in its 2005 report titled Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators, the name Jack the Ripper has become synonymous with serial murder over the years.

In the 1970s and 1980s the exploits of high-profile serial killers in the U.S. such as the Green River Killer, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer rekindled public interest in serial murder, which then exploded after the 1991 release of the now classic Hollywood film The Silence of the Lambs and its subsequent sequels and prequels.

Most recently, the world tuned in to watch an avenging angel serial killer named Dexter for eight seasons on Showtime Network. We seem to love our serial killers and Jack the Ripper was the granddaddy of them all.

Scott Bonn, PhD, is an author, media analyst and professor of criminology at Drew University. He is the author of a forthcoming book “Why We Love Serial Killers” from Skyhorse Press in 2014. He can be reached @DocBonn on Twitter.      

Dr. Scott Bonn, Doc Bonn,ImaginePublicity

 

Dr. Scott Bonn is located in Manhattan and is available for live on-air commentary, expert consultation and speaking engagements. More information about his experience and past media appearances can be found at his website, DocBonn.Com   Please call (843.808.0859) or email (contact@imaginepublicity.com) to discuss media opportunities.

 

 

Related articles

DA Killings Creating Mass Panic?

Assassinations put Texas county's DA office on edge

Two district attorneys in Kaufman County, Texas, have been murdered within two months of one another — and their slayings, assuming that they are linked, may constitute acts of terror and retribution by an organized group such as the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.

District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were found shot to death inside their home last Saturday night. Their murders occurred just two months after Mark Hasse, an Assistant DA who worked under McLelland, was gunned down outside the county courthouse.

Over the last century, only 14 prosecutors have been killed in the U.S., according to the National District Attorneys Association, which means that the murder of two prosecutors in one county in Texas within 60 days is unprecedented.

The motive(s) of the murders remain a mystery.

“There’s always the revenge factor but the most likely [scenario] is it’s an ongoing investigation or an ongoing prosecution that may have triggered this,” said Buck Revell, a former special agent who ran the Dallas office of the FBI.

Authorities are currently looking into people who were involved with both prosecutors in trials, as well as people who thought they were wrongly convicted.

The FBI is aiding local investigators who are pursuing all leads and angles, including the possibility that the murders, if linked, were committed by county employees, members of organized crime or even white supremacists.

“The most likely [suspect] is organized [crime],” said Revell. “But it could be an individual [who is] hiring professional hit men.”

To read complete story go to CBS News Crimesider

Dr. Scott Bonn writes for CBS News Crimesider

Follow criminologist and media analyst and consultant Dr. Scott Bonn @DocBonn on Twitter and visit his website www.docbonn.com  Listen to Doc Bonn’s bi-weekly segment on Wednesdays at 11pm ET on  The Roth Show

Dr. Scott Bonn is located in Manhattan and is available for live on-air commentary, expert consultation and speaking engagements. More information about his experience and past media appearances can be found at his website, DocBonn.Com   Please call (843.808.0859) or email (contact@imaginepublicity.com) to discuss media opportunities

DA Killings Creating Mass Panic?

Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony Common Denominators: Is Arias a Cold-Blooded Murderer?

Jodi Arias, Dr. Scott Bonn, Doc Bonn

Jodi Ann Arias, the young California woman accused of brutally killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, will face the death penalty when her case finally goes to trial soon in Arizona after numerous delays.  Judge Sherry Stephens denied a defense motion in which Arias’ lawyers requested the death penalty be removed as a punishment option for her. The 31-year-old photographer is accused of shooting her former lover, Alexander, in the face, stabbing him 27 times, and slitting his throat. Certainly, it was an act of overkill by any analysis of the facts.

This will be another blockbuster trial and media event.  Similar to Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias is an attractive young woman with no prior criminal record who is accused of committing an unimaginable murder—in Anthony’s case, the killing of her own daughter.  Similar to Anthony, Arias faces the death penalty. And, eerily similar to Anthony, Arias exhibits sociopathic tendencies in both her demeanor and behavior. Specifically, she appears emotionless and detached when she describes her ex-boyfriend’s death. Claiming that Alexander’s death was an act of self-defense, Arias exhibits neither sadness nor remorse. In fact, her demeanor seems almost cold-blooded at times.

Assuming that Arias did act in self-defense, and is a rational, normal person, you would expect her to express some remorse for her lover’s death, if only for the grotesque and extreme nature of her actions that took his life. Instead, Arias manifests an almost smug persona, including a little smile, and she expresses no pity for Alexander, whatsoever.  Instead, she seems aloof and self-absorbed.  These are classic sociopathic tendencies, similar to those exhibited by Casey Anthony.

In order for the prosecution to be successful in its case against Arias, it must demonstrate that she killed Alexander after careful deliberation and with premeditation—the requirements of first-degree murder.  In order for her to receive the death penalty, the prosecution must also prove extreme and aggravating circumstances in the murder. Casey Anthony is free today precisely because the prosecution failed to prove that she killed her own daughter in such a manner.

First-degree murder with aggravating circumstances is a high-risk prosecution and it is very difficult to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.  Is Jodi Arias innocent?  Will she be executed?  Or just like Casey Anthony, is she a sociopath who will get away with murder? Only time will tell in this fascinating case.

Follow criminologist and media expert Dr. Scott Bonn @DocBonn on Twitter and visit his website www.docbonn.com

Dr. Scott Bonn is located in Manhattan and can be present in any of the New York City network studios for on air appearances or feeds to affiliate stations. He is available for live assignments as well as commentary or remarks for print and speaking engagements. More information about his experience and past media appearances can be found at his website, DocBonn.Com   Please call (843.808.0859) or email (contact@imaginepublicity.com) to discuss media opportunities.

Why Doesn’t the U.S. Recognize International Law? Ask Doc Bonn!

The world community has been concerned about genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes throughout the centuries.  In 2002, a treaty-based court, called the International Criminal Court (ICC), was established in The Hague, The Netherlands, for the prosecution of international war crimes committed on or after that date.

The ICC is the first ever permanent international institution, with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals responsible for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.  The ICC was established by the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court, so named because it was adopted in Rome, Italy on July 17, 1998 by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.  The Rome Statute is an international treaty, binding only on those states which formally express their consent to be bound by its provisions.  Upon ratifying it, these states become formal “Parties” to the Rome Statute.  The Rome Statute entered into force on July 1, 2002 after ratification by 60 countries.  To date, 121 countries, with the notable exceptions of the U.S. and China, have become Parties to the Statute.

The ICC is an independent international organization, and is not part of the United Nations system.  However, the jurisdiction and functioning of the ICC are governed by the Rome Statue, which is a treaty that was initiated by the United Nations.  The ICC has jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, i.e., genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  Each of these crimes is clearly defined in the Rome Statute and other relevant texts such as the Geneva Conventions.   The Rome Statute clearly stipulates that acting in an official capacity as a head of state, member of government or parliament or as an elected representative or public official in no way exempts a person from prosecution or criminal responsibility.  Superiors or military commanders may be held responsible for criminal offenses committed by persons under their effective command and control or effective authority and control.

According to the Rome Statute, the specific crimes of war that may be prosecuted by the ICC include:

Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, such as:

1) Willful killing, or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health 2)Torture or inhumane treatment

3) Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property

4) Forcing a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of a hostile power

5) Depriving a prisoner of war of a fair trial

6) Unlawful deportation, confinement or transfer

7) Taking hostages

 

 The following acts as part of an international conflict:

1) Directing attacks against civilians

2) Directing attacks against humanitarian workers or U.N. peacekeepers

3) Killing a surrendered combatant

4) Misusing a flag of truce

5) Settlement of occupied territory

6) Deportation of inhabitants of occupied territory

7) Using poison weapons

8) Using civilians as shields

9) Using child soldiers

 

 The following acts as part of a non-international conflict:

1) Murder, cruel or degrading treatment and torture

2) Directing attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers or U.N. peacekeepers

3) Taking hostages

4) Summary execution

5) Pillage

6) Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution or forced pregnancy

 

Significantly, the ICC only has jurisdiction over these crimes where they are part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.  Additionally, the ICC only tries those accused of the gravest crimes, and due to resource limitations (as it is primarily funded by state parties) it is not in a position to bring to justice every person who has committed crimes of concern to the international community.

The ICC is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal justice systems.  In this regard, the ICC is a court of last resort.  Proceedings before the ICC may be initiated by a state party, the prosecutor or the United Nations Security Council.  It will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine; for example, if formal proceedings were undertaken solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility.  Also, the ICC may exercise jurisdiction over international crimes only if they were committed on the territory of a state party or by one of its nationals.  These conditions, however, do not apply if a situation is referred to the prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council, whose resolutions are binding on all U.N. member states, or if a state makes a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Although the U.S. originally voted against the adoption of the Rome Statute, President Bill Clinton unexpectedly reversed his position on December 31, 2000, and signed the treaty but indicated that he would not recommend that his successor, George W. Bush, submit it to the Senate for ratification.  On May 6, 2002, the Bush administration announced that it was nullifying the U.S. signature of the treaty.  The main objections to the ICC offered by the Bush administration were interference with national sovereignty and a fear of politically motivated prosecutions.  President Barack Obama has taken no action to change the U.S. position on the ICC he inherited from G.W. Bush.

The refusal of the U.S. to recognize the authority of the ICC over its citizens places it at odds with almost all of its staunchest international allies. Ironically, however, it puts the U.S. in alignment with China, a nation that the U.S. has frequently accused of human rights violations.  Similarly, Iran, Iraq and North Korea do not recognize the court’s authority.  The refusal to recognize the ICC thus aligns the U.S. with the G.W. Bush administration’s so-called axis of evil in rejecting international consensus on war crimes.

How does the refusal of the U.S. to recognize the authority of the ICC make you feel?  I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please submit your comments below or email me directly at docbonn1@gmail.com.  Follow me @DocBonn on Twitter.

Tune in for “An hour to kill with Doc Bonn” at high noon ET on Friday, Nov. 9th when Dr. Scott Bonn is joined by Dr. Jonathan Golden, Associate Director of Drew University’s Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict.  Professor Golden is an expert in global conflict and religious studies.  They will discuss international law, terrorism and war crime in the post-9/11 era.  Listen live http://groups.drew.edu/wmnj/

 

Dr. Scott Bonnis Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq”and is currently writing a book about the possibility of finding hope and redemption behind prison walls.   

 

 

 

 

 

James Holmes and The Dark Knight Massacre: What Motivates Mass Murder?

 

The Batman inspired movie theater massacre perpetrated by James Holmes is the latest incident of mass murder to rock U.S. society.  In some ways, Holmes is very typical of other mass murderers, and in some ways he definitely is not.  As a criminologist who studies the minds of killers, I offer my initial insights into the twisted “Joker” James Holmes.

Dr. Scott Bonn’s recent appearance on Crime Wire discussing the Colorado shooter, James Holmes: CLICK HERE

Holmes’ killing rampage on opening night of the film The Dark Knight Rises was a signature example of mass murder in terms of its design and execution.  Mass murder is a one-time event that involves the killing of multiple people at one location.  In a mass murder, the victims may be either randomly selected or targeted for a specific reason, such as retaliation, by the killer.  A mass murder normally occurs when the perpetrator, who is often deeply troubled, suffers a psychotic break from reality and strikes out at his/her perceived tormentors in a blitz-like attack.  James Holmes certainly fits that profile.

However, mass murderers are frequently, but not always, killed at the scene of the crime. This is where James Holmes is an aberration among mass murderers.  Typically, mass murderers are either shot by law enforcement officers called to the crime scene or they take their own lives in a final act of suicide.  From a psychological standpoint, mass murder is a premeditated act of vengeance against society by a desperate and fatalistic individual who typically has no intention of going away quietly.

The classic, tragic example of mass murder in recent years is the Virginia Tech massacre—a catastrophic school shooting—which took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia.  In this terrible event, a very troubled student named Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate blitz attacks which occurred approximately two hours apart on the Virginia Tech campus.  Cho ended his murderous rampage by turning his gun on himself and committing suicide.  In addition to the 17 wounded, another six people were injured while escaping from classroom windows during the attacks.  The Virginia Tech massacre is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history.

It is apparent that James Holmes is very different from the late Seung-Hui Cho. Holmes does not appear to be fatalistic and he clearly did not want to die at the scene of his carnage.  In fact, I suspect that he is actually enjoying his new-found infamy.  When he surrendered to law enforcement officials, Holmes reportedly said, “I am the Joker.”  If you recall, in the film The Dark Knight, the late Heath Ledger as the Joker said, “I am an agent of chaos.”

Although it is possible that Holmes is faking his bizarre jailhouse and courtroom behavior since being apprehended, it is unlikely.  He would have to be an incredible actor.  On the contrary, I believe that he did suffer a psychotic break from reality—albeit in the form of a slow unraveling—in the months leading up to his rampage.  We know that his performance in the neuroscience graduate program at the University of Colorado was in decline prior to dropping out completely in June.  Moreover, he was being treated by a psychiatrist.

I believe that just like the Joker in The Dark Knight, James Holmes fancies himself an agent of chaos.  In custody, he is reportedly defiant and unremorseful.  I believe that Holmes was motivated to kill by a grandiose belief that society does not appreciate his self perceived genius.  He most likely became enraged when the University of Colorado downgraded his performance.       Consumed by resentment, he became determined to exercise his vengeance on society.  His selection of the Joker as his public persona indicates both paranoia and profound narcissism on his part.  Holmes felt unappreciated by the world and was determined to leave an indelible impression on the public consciousness.

It appears that the public will indeed be exposed to James Holmes for some time to come—fortunately in prison shackles.  Whether or not he will be deemed mentally competent to stand trial is yet to be determined.  One thing is certain, however.  His days of striking fear in society are over because this terribly disturbed and ruthless killer will never, ever walk freely again.

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Drew University in Madison, NJ.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq”and is currently writing a book about the public’s fascination with psychopathic serial killers in reality and fiction. He is @DocBonn on Twitter.

 

Related articles

Muhammad Ali, the greatest, will receive the 2012 Liberty Medal

Muhammad-Ali-celebrates-70th-anniversary-today

I grew up watching Muhammad Ali and I was greatly inspired by his courage, integrity and fighting spirit inside and outside the ring.  He is truly one of a kind.

Ali, 70, will receive the medal in a ceremony on Sept. 13 in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall. The three-time world heavyweight champion was not in attendance for Thursday’s announcement.

“Ali embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal by embracing the ideals of the Constitution — freedom, self-governance, equality and empowerment — and helping to spread them across the globe,” said former President Bill Clinton, chairman of the National Constitution Center.

Liberty Medal sponsors and partners said Ali’s lifelong courage and conviction exemplify the qualities that the award was established to honor, from his outspoken advocacy for civil and religious freedom to his philanthropy, social activism and humanitarian efforts.

“Muhammad Ali symbolizes all that makes America great, while pushing us as a people and as a nation to be better,” said National Constitution Center president and chief executive officer David Eisner. “Each big fight of his life has inspired a new chapter of civic action.”

The fast-talking, boisterous fighter who referred to himself as “the greatest” was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942. He took up boxing at age 12 and flourished in the ring, becoming a top amateur and Olympic gold medalist.

Ali won the heavyweight title in 1964, defeating the heavily favored Sonny Liston. Soon after, Ali — who was raised in a Baptist family — announced his conversion to Islam and changed his name.

While in his prime, Ali was stripped of his heavyweight crown in 1967 for refusing to be inducted into the military during the Vietnam War because of his religious beliefs. The decision resulted in a draft-evasion conviction and spurred a long legal fight that ended in 1971, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

Three years after his retirement from boxing in 1981, Ali announced he had Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain condition that some researchers believe may be brought on by repeated blows to the head. Despite the diagnosis, he devoted himself to traveling the world on humanitarian missions bringing food and medical supplies to developing nations throughout the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia. He also continues to work at home in the U.S. to raise funds for organizations including the Special Olympics and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center in Phoenix.

In 2005, Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Previous recipients of the Liberty Medal, which was established in 1988 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution, include rock singer and human rights activist Bono, former South African President Nelson Mandela and former President Jimmy Carter. Six winners have subsequently received the Nobel Peace Prize.

The National Constitution Center, which opened in 2003 near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, is dedicated to increasing public understanding of the Constitution and the ideas and values it represents.

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq” and is currently writing a book about the public’s fascination with serial killers.  He is also a big fan of boxing and Muhammad Ali. 

Doc Bonn Says, Julia Davis is an American Hero; We NEED Whistleblowers.

Dr. Scott Bonn,Doc Bonn

Do you know the name Julia Davis?  She is the most important whistleblower you have probably never heard of.  After exposing serious problems in the processing of aliens from suspected terrorist countries, admitted into the U.S. without proper scrutiny, former Customs and Border Protection Officer Julia Davis became a target for the beleaguered agency.

She was falsely branded a Domestic Terrorist, accused of being a convicted murderer, maliciously prosecuted for alleged immigration violations and weapons charges.  Nevertheless, Davis ultimately prevailed over her accusers in the court of law.

The public needs whistleblowers. Why? Whistleblowers keep the system in check by telling the public about alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company. The alleged misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption.

As Julia Davis found out the hard way, whistleblowers frequently face reprisal, sometimes at the hands of the organization or group which they have accused, sometimes from related organizations, and sometimes under state or federal law.

Unlike U.S. Army whistleblower, Private Bradley Manning, who has received an outpouring of support and has even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after being arrested on suspicion of passing classified documents to the whistleblowing website, WikiLeaks, the ordeal of Julia Davis has been largely absent from the media and public discourse.  That is about to change.

Dr. Scott Bonn,Doc BonnJulia Davis is now seeking justice in the court of public opinion.  A documentary film “Top Priority: The Terror Within” about Julia Davis is finally breaking through the wall of cover-up and obstruction in the U.S. This incredible but true story exposes whistleblower retaliation of an unprecedented magnitude, unleashed by the Department of Homeland Security against one of its own law enforcement officials.  The film sheds the light on what is perhaps the most suppressed story of a prevailing whistleblower in U.S. history.

The Department of Homeland Security’s best kept secrets will be unveiled with the premiere of “Top Priority: The Terror Within” on May 16th, 2012 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, CA.

This is an important story and documentary film not to be missed.

Follow Julia Davis News Blog

For additional information about the documentary film “The Terror Within”, please visit the official website:

Official trailer for “The Terror Within” on the Internet Movie Database:
Additional information about Julia Davis and her case:

Dr. Scott Bonn,Mass Deception

 

 

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Criminology at Drew University.  He is an expert in state crime and elite deviance.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq.”  Follow him @DocBonn on Twitter or email him directly at docbonn1@gmail.com.

What is the International Criminal Court (ICC)? Ask Doc Bonn

            Dr. Scott Bonn,Doc Bonn

 The world community has been concerned about genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes throughout the centuries.  Finally, in 2002, a treaty-based court, called the International Criminal Court (ICC), was established in The Hague, The Netherlands, for the prosecution of international war crimes committed on or after that date.

 The ICC is the first ever permanent international institution, with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals responsible for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.  The ICC was established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so named because it was adopted in Rome, Italy on July 17, 1998 by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.  The Rome Statute is an international treaty, binding only on those states which formally express their consent to be bound by its provisions.  Upon ratifying it, these states become formal “Parties” to the Rome Statute.  The Rome Statute entered into force on July 1, 2002 after ratification by 60 countries.  To date, 121 countries, with the notable exceptions of the U.S. and China, have become Parties to the Statute.

The ICC is an independent international organization, and is not part of the United Nations system.  However, the jurisdiction and functioning of the ICC are governed by the Rome Statute, which is a treaty that was initiated by the United Nations.  The ICC has jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, i.e., genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  Each of these crimes is clearly defined in the Rome Statute and other relevant texts such as the Geneva Conventions.   The Rome Statute clearly stipulates that acting in an official capacity as a head of state, member of government or parliament or as an elected representative or public official in no way exempts a person from prosecution or criminal responsibility.  Superiors or military commanders may be held responsible for criminal offenses committed by persons under their effective command and control or effective authority and control.

According to the Rome Statute, the specific crimes of war that may be prosecuted by the ICC include:

  1. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, such as:

1) Willful killing, or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health 2)Torture or inhumane treatment

3) Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property

4) Forcing a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of a hostile power

5) Depriving a prisoner of war of a fair trial

6) Unlawful deportation, confinement or transfer

7) Taking hostages

  1. The following acts as part of an international conflict:

1) Directing attacks against civilians

2) Directing attacks against humanitarian workers or U.N. peacekeepers

3) Killing a surrendered combatant

4) Misusing a flag of truce

5) Settlement of occupied territory

6) Deportation of inhabitants of occupied territory

7) Using poison weapons

8) Using civilians as shields

9) Using child soldiers

  1. The following acts as part of a non-international conflict:

1) Murder, cruel or degrading treatment and torture

2) Directing attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers or U.N. peacekeepers

3) Taking hostages

4) Summary execution

5) Pillage

6) Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution or forced pregnancy

However, the ICC only has jurisdiction over these crimes where they are part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.  Additionally, the ICC only tries those accused of the gravest crimes, and due to resource limitations (as it is primarily funded by state parties) it is not in a position to bring to justice every person who has committed crimes of concern to the international community.

 The ICC is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal justice systems.  In this regard, the ICC is a court of last resort.  Proceedings before the ICC may be initiated by a state party, the prosecutor or the United Nations Security Council.  It will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine; for example, if formal proceedings were undertaken solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility.  Also, the ICC may exercise jurisdiction over international crimes only if they were committed on the territory of a state party or by one of its nationals.  These conditions, however, do not apply if a situation is referred to the prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council, whose resolutions are binding on all U.N. member states, or if a state makes a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC.

 Although the U.S. originally voted against the adoption of the Rome Statute, President Bill Clinton unexpectedly reversed his position on December 31, 2000, and signed the treaty but indicated that he would not recommend that his successor, George W. Bush, submit it to the Senate for ratification.  On May 6, 2002, the Bush administration announced that it was nullifying the U.S. signature of the treaty.  The main objections to the ICC offered by the Bush administration were interference with national sovereignty and a fear of politically motivated prosecutions.  President Barack Obama has taken no action to change the U.S. position on the ICC he inherited from G.W. Bush.

The refusal of the U.S. to recognize the authority of the ICC over its citizens places it at odds with almost all of its staunchest international allies. Ironically, however, it puts the U.S. in alignment with China, a nation that the U.S. has frequently accused of human rights violations.  Similarly, Iran, Iraq and North Korea do not recognize the court’s authority.  The refusal to recognize the ICC thus aligns the U.S. with the G.W. Bush administration’s so-called axis of evil in rejecting international consensus on war crimes.

How does the refusal of the U.S. to recognize the authority of the ICC make you feel?  I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please submit your comments below or email me directly at docbonn1@gmail.com.  Follow me @DocBonn on Twitter.

  Dr. Scott Bonn,Mass Deception  Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq” and is currently writing a book about the public’s fascination with serial killers.

Was Charles Manson a serial killer? No, says Doc Bonn.

Charles Manson,Serial Killer, Dr. Scott Bonn

The infamous Charles Manson has once again been denied parole for masterminding the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and several others.  Manson is now 77 years old.  He will be 92 if he lives to see his next scheduled parole hearing.

The diabolical Manson is often incorrectly referred to as a serial killer.  That is simply not an accurate description of his crimes.  According to the FBI, serial murder is “the unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events,” with an emotional cooling-off period between the murders. The FBI previously set the number of victims at three, but its Behavioral Analysis Unit lowered that number to two in 2005.

The emotional cooling-off period is the most important factor in determining a serial killer.  Ted Bundy and the “Killer Clown” John Wayne Gacy are good examples. They both slipped back into their seemingly normal lives in between their murders. That’s where the cooling-off period comes into play — their ability to maintain an outward appearance of being completely normal and functioning in society and then, when the urge to kill becomes overwhelming, they strike again.

Charles Manson, Manson Family, Dr. Scott BonnThe misconceptions about Manson began decades ago and continue today.  Manson was leader of the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that he formed in California in the late 1960s. Manson believed in an impending apocalyptic race war, which he termed “Helter Skelter,” after the Beatles’ song of the same name. He orchestrated a series of gruesome murders on consecutive nights in an effort to help precipitate the race war. In 1969, Manson and his followers were convicted in the slaying of actress Sharon Tate and several others. Initially sentenced to death, Manson’s sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

So, if not a serial killer, then what category of killer does Manson fall into?  I contend that the Manson family murders constitute a killing spree.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics defines a spree killing as “killings at two or more locations with almost no time-break between murders.” The FBI’s general definition of spree killing is two or more murders committed by an offender or offenders without a cooling-off period.

Consistent with a killing spree, the Manson murders involved multiple incidents that took place over a short period of time.  Significantly, there was no emotional cooling-off period. The killing spree was cold-blooded, calculated and planned.  Moreover, Manson and his followers are what are known as “mission killers.”  That is because the Manson family had a specific purpose (i.e., to bring about Helter Skelter) and that purpose led to a killing spree.

However, an argument that Manson never killed anyone persists despite the fact that he was convicted on seven counts of first-degree murder for

Charles Manson,Serial Killer,Dr. Scott Bonn

his role in the killings. Technically, it is true that Manson never murdered anyone himself.  Instead, he ordered his followers to murder for him.  Essentially, his family was doing his bidding when they killed on his behalf and in compliance with his orders.  The court ruled that Manson’s family was an extension of him.  Thus, when they committed murder for him it was the same as if Manson had done it himself.

What are your thoughts on the legacy of Charles Manson and my argument that he is a mission killer who ordered his followers to commit a killing spree on his behalf?  I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please submit your comments below or email me directly at docbonn1@gmail.com.  Follow me @DocBonn on Twitter.  

 

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq” and is currently writing a book about the public’s fascination with serial killers. 

 

 

If Tim Tebow was wearing a hoodie like Trayvon Martin would he have been shot?

Doc Bonn,Dr. Scott Bonn

If Tim Tebow was wearing a hoodie like Trayvon Martin would he have been shot?

We live in a politically correct society in which we do not discuss race.  Should someone be rude enough to bring up the topic, we are told that race no longer matters.  Tell that to the parents of Tayvon Martin.

Although the police investigation is ongoing, it seems likely that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed for merely walking and eating Skittles while being Black.  The fact that he was stalked by his killer, George Zimmerman, for allegedly looking suspicious–that is, for being a young black male wearing a hoodie in a white neighborhood–is documented in Zimmerman’s telephone call to the police.

As a criminologist I can say with certainty that there is probable cause to arrest George Zimmerman now.  A charge of voluntary manslaughter or perhaps even second degree murder (the intent to kill without premeditation) seems reasonable given the evidence.  Nevertheless, Zimmerman remains free.

My question: Would beloved white, cultural icon and football hero Tim Tebow have been shot if he, rather than Trayvon Martin, had been spotted wearing a hoodie the night that Zimmerman ended Trayvon’s life?  Does race still matter?  Please tell me your thoughts on this important topic.

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq” and is currently writing a book about the public’s fascination with serial killers. Follow him @DocBonn on Twitter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers