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Richmond, Va., Aug 8, 2009 / 10:06 am (CNA).-
Civil rights and religious freedom groups are criticizing the Rappahannock Regional Jail in northern Virginia, charging that the jail illegally censored the letters a Christian mother sent to her jailed son for being “too religious.” Jail authorities cut out so many Bible passages that her letters resembled “Swiss cheese,” the groups said.
The letters of inmate mother Anna Williams were stamped for censorship with the words “Religious Material from Home,” a press release from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports. On at least one occasion, all that was left of a three-page letter was its salutation, its first paragraph, and its signature “Love, Mom.”
A July 9 letter from civil and religious liberty groups to the jail’s superintendent, Joseph Higgs, Jr., protested the alleged censorship.
“Ms. Williams, a devout Christian, wanted to support her son spiritually during his confinement at the Jail by sending him religious language, including passages from the Bible,” the letter reports.
“Rather than delivering these letters to Ms. Williams’ son, the Jail expurgated the religious material, citing variously as the reason for censorship ‘Internet Pages’ and ‘Religious Material from Home.’
“Such censorship destroyed the religious messages Ms. Williams sought to convey to her son and reduced her letters to something resembling Swiss cheese. Using scissors or a hobby knife, Jail officials literally cut the religious portions out of Ms. Williams’ letters and delivered only the snippets that did not quote the Bible.”
Sources for the censored passages included the Book of Proverbs, the Book of James and the Book of Matthew. Jail officials also refused to deliver a Christian article titled “Coping with Loneliness.”
The censored portions of the letters were placed in the “personal property” of Williams’ son and were not given to him until he was transferred out of the jail.
“Even the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky had ready access to Scripture while incarcerated in a Siberian prison camp in tsarist Russia,” the letter to jail officials said.
The letter to the superintendent was signed by officials from the Becket Fund, the Rutherford Institute, Prison Fellowship, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Friends Committee on National Legislation and several local and national American Civil Liberties Union officials.
The letter, expressing hope that the issue could be resolved “without resort to litigation,” requested revisions to jail policy and written guarantees that Biblical passages in letters to detainees would not be censored.
Eric Rassbach, National Litigation Director at the Becket Fund, was a signatory to the letter.
“The citizens of Rappahannock County should be alarmed that their government has decided to join North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Iran in treating the Bible as dangerous contraband,” he said in a statement.
“Although the Bible says, ‘the truth shall set you free,’ prison authorities shouldn't treat the Bible as a security risk,” he added. “In censoring this mother's letters, the prison violated the First Amendment rights of both the prisoner and his mother.”
Kristina A. Arriaga, communications director with the Becket Fund, in a Friday e-mail told CNA that the jail superintendent has said he will start an investigation.
Prison authorities may legitimately censor writings that affect prison security, but U.S. courts have ruled that inmates may have access to religious materials.
But if this man has kept a connection to the outside, then for him, whatever letters, phone calls, pictures, money, and/or visits that he gets can sometimes become.
A man who almost died twice after being stabbed 17 times says he wants to become friends with his attacker after he received a letter of apology from him from prison.
Kristian Shortt was left for dead when Kenneth Broe attacked him in an apartment in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. So bad were Mr Shortt's injuries that gardaÃ could not tell if he was a man or a woman when they arrived at the bloodbath scene.
Broe, from Tallaght in Dublin, was jailed last month at Letterkenny Circuit Court for eight years for the violent attack on Mr Shortt.
But last week the knifeman wrote to his victim pleading for forgiveness and suggesting that they might even become friends one day.
And remarkably, Mr Shortt, now 37, has now said he forgives his attacker and is looking forward to visiting him in prison.
The court had heard how Broe had fled the scene of the attack on Main Street in Letterkenny in 2008 and was later caught in Monaghan in possession of â¬1,100 of cocaine.
He initially tried to blame another man who was in the apartment at the time for the brutal attack.
The trial of Broe, which initially took place last June, heard how he used a pair of scissors to attack his victim injuring him four times in the neck, three in the back of the head, three in the chest and also wounded him in the hands and back area.
Shortt had been taken to Letterkenny General Hospital before being transferred to St Vincentâs Hospital in Dublin and spent two weeks in intensive care and underwent two life-saving operations.
This week Broe blamed a blood transfusion which he said put him in fear that he had contracted CJD which he says later led him to suffer from depression.
In the letter to Mr Shortt he says that he has become a changed person and wants to tell the man he almost killed how sorry he is for all he has done to Kristian and his family.
He wrote "I'm sure you think that I am a bad person but I am actually a very decent person. I was down on my luck and I behaved terribly.
"Now that the court is over I can finally move on if that makes sense and I expect that you feel the same.
"The court has sentenced me and I have to serve my time but at least we have closure.
"You seem like a man of great character and strength and I always felt that me and you could have been good friends if it were not for what happened."
Broe then offers his apology to his victim and says that in time he would like to speak with him face-to-face.
He adds in the letter "I would also like to apologise to your family. I can only imagine the pain and upset I've caused them as well.
"I do have intentions of speaking with you in time if that's ok with you. I feel it would be good to talk about it as there's only so much I can say in a letter. Obviously if you feel differently then I understand and I will not contact you again."
Broe adds that he no longer needs medication in jail and that he had got his act together.
He says he cannot change what happened between himself and Kristian but that he can only learn from it.
"I am a completely different person than the one you met ten years ago," he pleads.
And he adds "I do hope that you get closure Kristian and that you can find it in your heart to forgive me or maybe understand what was going on with me at the time."
Broe finishes the letter by telling Kristian that if he has any more questions to get in touch.
"Perhaps I am putting the cart before the horse but I do hope we can draw a line underneath this and move on with our lives," he adds.
Giving his reaction to the letter, Mr Shortt said what his attacker has done in asking for forgiveness is a huge gesture.
And he said that if a man like Ken Broe with a chequered criminal past can do it, then there is no reason why the Kinehans and Hutch families can't put down their arms.
He said "Ken attempted to murder me in the most brutal and humiliating fashion by hacking me to death with a knife, which is even more brutal than what you see in Dublin these days from a quick bullet. Ken went all out to obliterate me in gory fashion.
"He has been sentenced for the stabbing which runs concurrently to the extra 5 years he got for GBH on my body afterwards.
"He has every reason to be engulfed with hate and despair, but within his letter, he is not. He wrote me a very poignant letter which apologises to me for putting me through what he did and he has also apologised to my family in his letter. He told me personal things and how he struggled with it all.
"Unbeknownst to Ken, I had already written a letter which I intended to give to him in prison when I move to Dublin in the New Year.
"And within my own letter I described to Ken that it takes men of character and true conviction to forgive somebody who tried to kill them, and without having yet delivered my letter to him, he writes this charismatic and touching letter to me apologising for the hurt he has caused.
"If only the killers and the would-be killers in these Dublin gangs could read this and learn from our mistakes and realise that violence is NOT the answer, that killing people is wrong and what they are doing will achieve nothing but unhappiness, despair and misery for them and everybody around them.
"They could learn from Ken and I, men who once stood in their positions, that we now have taken responsibility for our past and our wrongdoings and that is what now elevates us into the realms of real men, of real warriors. Both Ken and I, now realise that."
Adding that he was "proud of Ken" for fighting his own demons, Mr Shortt said he forgave the man who almost killed him.
"I forgive Ken Broe now of course, how could I not, because he has done something I feel is worthy of the Gods. He swallowed his biggest bullet and asked forgiveness of the man he tried to kill and forgiveness from his family.
"I can say with the utmost sense of humility, that I am proud of Ken for fighting his own demons and rising up as a man to take responsibility for what he did in his past.
"That is a powerful notion and symbol I think all criminals across Ireland, especially the gangs of Dublin, could learn such a valuable lesson from it, and to really really look at and consider all of this the next time they reach for their guns or their knives to do harm to others.
"It takes the biggest and bravest of men to swallow their pride, take responsibility and do what Ken Broe has done here. And if his friends or family read this then I would hope they would pass on that message to him from me and I hope that they can be proud of him and visit him in prison over the next 10 years with that in their minds and hearts."
Failure is a fact of life and it’s doubly true when it comes to security. On-site social engineering is a unique beast and it carries its own issues when it comes to failure. While it’s easy enough to modify your payload to bypass a WAF or just hang-up the phone when the phish isn’t biting, you don’t have the luxury of just disappearing when confronted in person (even if you’re wearing camouflage). You are forced to literally come face to face with an obstacle and try your darndest to figure your way out of it.
You’re probably going to be caught eventually. We even make it a specific goal during every engagement. Unfortunately, night vision goggles do not give you the foresight to see when it will happen, so you’ll need to come prepared with a get-out-of-jail letter.
The concept of a get-out-of-jail letter itself is simple: it’s a document from the client proving that you are allowed to be sneaky. Essentially, it is your permission slip to be on-site. It should contain all of the necessary information to verify who you are working with and what you are doing. Document any specific addresses or buildings that you will attempt to access, as well as detailed contact information for your client point of contact.
I recommend that you include at least two different contacts and/or multiple methods to reach your primary contact. Ideally, there should be one other person on-site who is aware of your activities. Keep in mind that it is completely up to the client who they notify and how much information they share regarding the project – just make sure that someone can vouch for you. You don’t want to be stuck in an awkward situation where a security guard is unable to reach the only person who knows just exactly what is going on.
I’ve prepared a sample letter that anyone is free to use.
It’s a fairly generic document that has worked well for both legitimate and decoy letters.
Yes that heading is a cliché, but there’s a reason it gets repeated ad nauseam. It is important to confirm the accuracy of any document – including one that says a complete stranger should have all-encompassing privileges to break into a building. There is nothing stopping an attacker from simply fabricating the entire scenario. That’s why I’ve started to carry a second letter – to see if someone will validate its contents or just take it at face value.
Preparing a decoy letter is no different than creating a legitimate one – just swap the contact information with something a teammate can access. Google Voice is a free, popular option. Simply choose the number you wish to use and configure it to forward to a co-worker’s phone. The main caveat with Google Voice is that you can only own one number at a time. This restricts you to a certain geographic region since unfamiliar area codes are still one of the first things that catch someone’s attention.
Another useful service is Flowroute. Flowroute allows you to purchase several individual numbers across multiple area codes. You can then configure inbound calls to forward to the numbers of your choice. This flexibility allows you to setup both a desk phone and mobile number for your decoy contact. If you want to establish an extra ounce of credibility, record the target company’s public-facing phone greeting, mix it with a standard voice message prompt, and set that as the “desk phone” voicemail. Then when you get caught and present the decoy letter, just have the person call the desk phone first.
You can’t just write an article about “on-site social engineering” without an accompanying anecdotal series of events. I was able to utilize this “decoy letter” with great success while on an engagement last year. To set the stage, this customer was split across two separate buildings. The primary building was several floors tall with keyfob entry into each floor after exiting the elevator. This building occupied the majority of the business employees. The secondary building was just across the parking lot and held IT staff. I had already obtained access to one of the restricted floors in the first building and had been on-site for a little over an hour under the guise of an IT intern that was tasked with “upgrading monitor firmware”. At this point I was trying to establish persistent remote access by compromising a workstation and creating a reverse shell back to our external testing machines. Par for the course for these types of engagements. My USB Rubber Ducky was already configured with a PowerShell payload and all I needed to do was plug it into an unlocked workstation, wait a few seconds, and just walk away.
I eventually caught someone’s attention and they wanted to escort me over to my manager’s office to confirm if this was legitimate work. Luckily, the client contact I was working with sits in the second building. Walking out the office, across the parking lot, and towards this other building gave me plenty of time to (unsuccessfully) talk my way out of the situation. As we approached the doorway, I finally came clean with the employee and handed them my fake letter. They read it over, made a comment along the lines of “hah, that’s good”, and we continued onward into the office. That wasn’t really the reaction I was expecting at all and I practically begged – “Just call the number on the paper, that’s a direct line for this specific situation. He’ll answer it I promise!” This was my first time getting caught so quickly so I was pretty disappointed in myself.
We made our way through the building towards the contact’s office. I had accepted my fate. Getting caught isn’t the end of the world and is absolutely accounted for when preparing for the engagement. We’ll normally take a few minutes to go over the details of what happened, what lead up to the catch, and then document it in the final report. From there, we’ll ask to be released back into the wild to continue the test. To my surprise, the contact had stepped out of their office at just the right time. Without anyone to talk to, I was escorted back to the main building and my captor agreed to call the number listed in the letter. This number belonged to a second tester located back at our headquarters. It was up to Karl to get me out of this mess.
Karl answered the phone. (I’m fairly certain this call ended up interrupting him during a meeting – sorry about that.) I was only able to overhear half of the conversation – “I found Patrick in the office and he says he’s working with you? … Okay … okay. So should I just let him go or … okay.” And sure enough, I was free to go.
A core part of our onsite testing methodology involves getting caught. Typically there are protocols in place that an employee is meant to follow. Our goals are to:
During the initial entry and setup we’ll try our best to fly under the radar – but as we stay onsite longer and longer, we start to “turn up the volume” so to speak. It’s obviously an issue that someone is able to tailgate into an office and sneak around for a few hours, but what can the client really do with this information? This risk is (or should be) accounted for in their physical controls. The employees are the last line of defense and it’s important to identify just where they will draw the line.
Another benefit here is the lasting impression it leaves on the staff. It is not our intention to wreak havoc and turn the company into a mass of paranoia, but it brings a few of the issues that we test for into the spotlight. It really highlights that just about anyone could become a target. A complete stranger entering the building and asking to borrow your laptop, once a mere thought that was passively ingested through mandatory annual training videos, has now turned into a legitimate concern that they will actively attempt to identify and prevent.
The Letter from Birmingham Jail, also known as the Letter from Birmingham City Jail and The . "I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to.
When Simon Gittany gets his first bag of mail in prison, the convicted murderer might be surprised to find admiring letters from strangers.
For some women, Gittany’s incarceration in a maximum-security prison last week has sent his attraction ratio skyrocketing.
These are the women who fall in love with men behind bars and just like Gittany’s model girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, many of them are attractive – even drop-dead gorgeous.
When Scott Peterson was sent to Death Row in California’s San Quentin prison for murdering his wife and their unborn child, dozens of women phoned asking for his address, with one teenager wasting no time in offering to marry him.
Killers Lyle and Erik Menendez, who are doing life in jail for the shotgun execution of their parents, are married to women they met while in jail, who have never shared any more intimacy with them than communal jail room visits.
Lyle’s first prison wife was a Playboy model; his second is an editor turned attorney.
In Australia, Lucy Dudko, a one-time librarian with a young child, showed her love for jailed armed robber John Killick by committing the most daring prison break in Australian history.
Then she served time herself in prison, and now waits for her lover – a white-haired paunchy man of 71 – to gain parole.
What is it about the women who love men behind bars?
Some psychologists say women attracted to imprisoned men want control over a “helpless” prisoner and a relationship which provides them with the chance to “mother” or at least spoil the man.
They also might be chronically lonely, love-starved or in need of excitement, lured by the bad boy glamour of a real life criminal.
Psychologist and criminal profiler, Dr Tony Clarke, told news.com.au prison relationships were often a testament to the manipulative ability of the incarcerated inmate.
“There are two groups of women who get involved with prisoners,” he said.
“The self-selected group who write to men in jail and then there’s the women who work in jails. They think [the inmate] is a nice person who has changed and who loves them. [The women who work in jails] then become accomplices who help smuggle things into jail or help them escape.”
“Psychopaths in jail are expert at manipulating people and they specialise with people who have low self esteem. Psychopaths test [these people’s] vulnerability extremely quickly and then exploit them to get what they want … for sex, money or boredom. It’s boring in jail. Once they are out and they no longer need [the woman’s] services, they will frequently beat them.”
Here are some of the women who fell in love with men behind bars.
Tammi Ruth Saccoman was nine years older than the groom.
The wedding took place in a prison waiting room and the wedding cake was a chocolate bar from a machine.
But the new Mrs. Erik Menendez said it “was a wonderful ceremony” followed by a “very lonely night”.
With Erik sentenced to life without parole, along with his brother Lyle, for the 1989 shooting of their wealthy parents, Jose and Kitty, things don’t get any more intimate than a cuddle during visiting hour among dozens of other inmates and their partners.
Tammi told ABC News in the US her relationship with Erik was “something that I’ve dreamt about for a long time. And it’s just something very special that I never thought that I would ever have.”
She began writing to him after watching his first trial on television.
They met in prison and Erik proposed to her, on one knee, in the jail visits room.
She released a self-published book which Erik heavily edited during visits she and her daughter – who refers to Menendez as “Earth Dad” – drive 240kms to every weekend.
During a subsequent interview, she told CNN: “Not having sex in my life is difficult, but it’s not a problem for me.
“I have to be physically detached, and I’m emotionally attached to Erik. My family does not understand. When it started to get serious, some of them just threw up their hands.”
Erik has stated, “Tammi is what gets me through. I can’t think about the sentence. When I do, I do it with a great sadness and a primal fear. I break into a cold sweat. It’s so frightening I just haven’t come to terms with it.”
Lyle Menendez, now 45, met his first wife after the Playboy Playmate watched him on television and felt compelled to write to him.
Anna Eriksson moved to Los Angeles so she could visit him and the couple wed in a telephone ceremony on the day he was sentenced to life without parole for murdering his parents.
Eriksson subsequently divorced him when she learnt Lyle was corresponding with another woman.
In 2003, Lyle married a 33-year-old magazine editor, Rebecca Sneed, who has since become an attorney.
They wed in a maximum security visiting area of Mule Creek State Prison in California.
Neither of the Menendez brothers has met their spouses.
Russian-born librarian Lucy Dudko was a 41-year-old just breaking up with her husband in Sydney in 1996 when she met convicted armed robber, John Killick, at a party and embarked on a fateful journey which ended up with them both in jail.
Dudko and Killick were both separated from their spouses.
Killick had a girlfriend. Dudko was living alone.
He was a 58-year-old career criminal. She was an innocent, mousy-looking librarian.
Despite his criminal history, and during the wild ride as fugitives from justice which ensued, Dudko said she never doubted him or her feelings.
“I just love him … I never analysed him,” she later told a court.
Back in jail and sentenced to a total 28 years for armed robberies, Killick began convincing his devoted new girlfriend to hatch an escape plan.
“He said he would probably die in jail and he didn’t want to die in jail,” she said.
Dudko followed her lover’s explicit instructions.
On March 24, 1999, Lucy booked a motel room in a false name and gathered clothing for the two of them.
She had done her homework, studying three videos Killick recommended – Hostage, Fled and Breakout, inspired by a real escape from a Mexican prison with the aid of a helicopter.
The following day, Dudko took a Derringer .22 Magnum pistol and a Luger semiautomatic pistol to the Sydney Olympic site in Homebush, where she had booked a helicopter joy ride.
Soon after takeoff, she pointed a firearm at the pilot, Tim Joyce, directing him to land in the exercise yard of Silverwater prison, where Killick was waiting for her.
Prison guards fired on the helicopter as it approached, believing it may have been a terrorist attack.
Killick boarded the craft and allegedly told the pilot, “G’day mate, I’m a lifer. You can make a lot of money out of 60 Minutes, or you could be dead. It’s your choice.”
Mr. Joyce flew to an oval in Sydney’s north, where the couple abandoned the chopper and hijacked a car.
Armed and on the run for six weeks during which they kidnapped a Victorian motel owner and forced him to drive them back to Sydney, the pair was eventually captured in a caravan park.
Killick returned to prison and Lucy Dudko was jailed for seven years for the hijack.
For most of her time inside, she refused to admit she was the woman in the helicopter.
Released in 2006, Dudko is said to be waiting to be reunited with Killick, who was declined parole this year.
She has also befriended his former wife Gloria, who visited both former fugitives in prison.
He’s 73 years old, she’s 33.
They are Mr and Mrs Phil and Rachelle Spector.
He lives in a tiny jail cell and she lives in his 35-room Los Angeles castle.
In between visiting him in prison, where he is serving 19 years for killing a former girlfriend, she has been doing a tour promoting her new album which was reportedly produced by the retired music mogul before he was put away.
Phil Spector, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend who once produced artists such as the Beatles, Ike and Tina Turner, the Ramones and Cher, is appealing against his sentence and hoping for a new trial.
His new wife is deflecting criticism she is playing on his reputation and his vulnerability now he is behind bars.
The aspiring singing star has given interviews about their sex life before Spector was jailed.
The Huffington Post reported she drives more than two hours from his vast Los Angeles home to visit him.
They spend a few hours in his prison each week talking and holding hands, before being allowed one kiss and a hug, after which she returns to the mansion.
Earlier this year, she released a song, “PS I Love you” a love letter to her husband in jail.
She said she passionately believes in his innocence and her main focus is “keeping his spirits up, keeping him positive, keep reiterating that he’s an innocent man, that he took the fall for other people”.
Deranged mass murderer and psychopath, Charles Manson, has been luring in women as cult followers all his adult life, but his latest adherent is a class above.
Calling herself Star, the 25-year-old runs an online network of Manson believers and has carved an X into her face in devotion to the 79-year-old lifer.
In photographs on the site she is dressed as a nun in white.
The site quotes Manson saying, “air, trees, water and animals . . . the air and the water is our spirit, the trees and the animals are our flesh and blood”.
In her nun’s outfit, Star is pictured worshiping a tree.
Manson has a swastika carved into his forehead, as did his followers in 1969 – mostly young women who lived with him at a sordid Californian commune – who carried out nine killings that, according to Manson’s theory, would spark an “apocalyptic war” between blacks and whites.
“I’ll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married,” Star says, although Manson himself does not agree, saying instead, she is his latest “project”.
Asked how her parents felt about her man, Star said they were happy.
“My parents like Charlie. We were just talking and they said, ‘If Charlie gets out, you guys can come stay here. You could stay in the basement for a while, and you could maybe build your own little house down by the creek’.”
Manson’s followers have been continually refused bail.
In 2009, Susan Atkins died from brain cancer at the age of 61 in prison.
But before she died, Atkins had jail romances of her own.
Atkins, whose real name was Sadie Mae Glutz, was the “give up” in the Manson family.
Arrested in connection with the murder of Gary Hinman, a Manson acquaintance, she boasted to her cellmates about the other brutal murders in which she had participated.
What ensued was one of the most sensational and highly publicised trials in American history, known as “Helter Skelter” in a book which documented the hearings.
Manson, Atkins and three others were sentenced to death in 1971.
Atkins’ sentence was commuted to life and she converted to Christianity.
She married a Texan “millionaire”, Donald Laisure, but divorced him when she learned he was not as rich as he claimed and had been allegedly married thirty-five times before her.
In 1987, she married Harvard Law graduate James Whitehouse who represented her at subsequent parole hearings.
Back in Australia Simon Gittany will be sentenced in February for the murder of his fiancee Lisa Harnum.
His girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, will be allowed almost daily visits while he stays at Silverwater Remand Centre in Sydney, but may find it more difficult to visit him when he is moved to his sentencing jail in regional NSW.
This article originally appeared on News.com.au.
A man who almost died twice after being stabbed 17 times says he wants to become friends with his attacker after he received a letter of.