Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Morning Brief: Rebekah Brooks to be charged in hacking case; Human Rights Law Review details wrongful execution in Texas; Greek party leaders meet in last-ditch effort to form coalition government

The former head of News International, the British division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is to be charged today with obstructive of justice – as in Watergate, it is the cover-up that gets you.

Also to be charged will be Charlie Brooks, her husband, as well as several other News International employees including Mark Hanna, head of security, and the Brooks's her chauffeur, Paul Edwards.

All are accused of concealing evidence from investigators last July including removing computers and documents. Three separate charges are being leveled, all said to be conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

It was bound to happen, one day a case would be reexamined and revealed that the wrong man was executed in the United States. Today the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, a journal of Columbia University, published a book and launched a website dedicated to their findings in the case of Carlos DeLuna – described on the website as "a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989."

Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students conclude after investigating that DeLuna was an innocent man.

The case involves the murder of Wanda Lopez, a poor Hispanic single mother, who in 1983 was stabbed to death at a convenience store in Corpus Christi where she worked.

The comprehensive website, entitled Los Tocayos Carlos – The Wrong Carlos – features access to the book itself in digital form, timelines, maps and other supporting material. It also includes video interviews of many of the people involved in the case including police detectives, relatives of the executed man, and others.

The new website is brilliantly designed organized. But the conclusion of the book, that an innocent man was executed, will be what is talked about. This morning web posts appeared on The Huffington Post and The Guardian, though nothing is to be found on the NYT site, or other major news sites in the U.S. Whether this changes during the course of the day will be interesting to see.

Leaders of the political parties represented in the Greek parliament – minus the communist and fascist parties – met for almost two hours this afternoon Athens time. They were attempting to see if it is possible to form a government and avoid a second round of elections, mostly to be held on June 17. No word has leaked as of yet as to the success of the talks.

The hold up has most likely been the unwillingness of SYRIZA to join in a government that would end up implementing the bailout memorandum. Three parties, New Democracy, the center-right party, PASOK, the socialist, center-left party, and the Democratic Left, have enough seats to form a working coalition. But this would leave SYRIZA as the leading opposition party, and none of the three parties seem eager to be in a position where they will be blamed for further austerity measures.

While polls show that SYRIZA would gain seats in a second round of voting, the polls still show that no party could count on getting more than 25 percent or so of the vote. The nightmare for many would be that a second round of voting still does not lead to a stable government. On the other hand, no one party appears to be in a position to speak for the majority of Greeks in negotiations over the terms of the nation's debt repayments.

Nonetheless, a second round of voting would seem the most likely outcome of the talks.

Update: It is confirmed, Greece is heading for a second round of voting.