Wednesday, April 23, 2014

FBI Seeking Information In International Child Exploitation Case

The FBI released the below information:

The FBI is asking for the public’s help to identify victims of a suspected serial child predator who taught in private American schools overseas in nine different countries beginning in 1972 and whose young victims—believed to be boys between the ages of 12 and 14—may be unaware of what happened to them.

William James Vahey, a 64-year-old U.S. citizen who was jailed in California in 1969 for child molestation, committed suicide last month days after his employer saw a thumb drive belonging to him that contained pornographic images of boys who were likely drugged. At the time, Vahey was teaching ninth-grade world history and geography at the American Nicaraguan School in Managua.

When confronted about the images by a school administrator, Vahey confessed that he was molested as a child and had preyed on boys his entire life, giving them sleeping pills prior to the molestation.
The thumb drive contained sexually graphic images of at least 90 victims, according to Special Agent Patrick Fransen.

The photographs were cataloged with dates and locations that corresponded to Vahey’s overnight field trips with students beginning in 2008. However, the investigation has revealed that Vahey accompanied students on similar trips throughout his career.

Fransen, a 16-year FBI veteran who specializes in crimes against children, noted that Vahey had been teaching at American schools overseas since the 1970s. “I’m concerned that he may have preyed on many other students prior to 2008,” he said. “I’ve never seen another case where an individual may have molested this many children over such a long period of time.”

At this point in the investigation, photographed victims are being identified and notified. Those who believe they may have been victims are being encouraged to come forward—not only to aid investigators but potentially to seek services through our Office for Victim Assistance.

A confidential questionnaire is available for anyone who thinks they may have been victimized by Vahey or who may have information about his predatory behavior.

In addition to teaching, Vahey coached boys’ basketball teams at several of the schools where he taught. The popular and highly respected teacher regularly organized overnight field trips and coordinated itineraries that included boys’ room assignments.

“He had access to children because of his position of trust,” Fransen said. “He created a system that gave him the opportunity and the means to molest children. The manner in which he committed these acts—while the boys were unconscious—may have inhibited them from knowing what happened, making it impossible for them to come forward at the time of the molestation.”

By his own admission, Vahey used sleeping pills to drug his victims, but investigators want to learn more about his methods and what drugs he may have used. They are hopeful the public can assist them.

Vahey traveled extensively over the past four decades, teaching at American schools in Nicaragua, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Iran, Spain, and Lebanon. His victims are multinational. In addition to foreign nationals, the schools were attended by the children of American diplomats, military personnel stationed overseas, and other American citizens working abroad.

As the investigation unfolds, the FBI continues to work with our international partners in the affected countries through our legal attaché offices and the U.S. Department of State. “At this time, investigators have no knowledge that Vahey shared or traded any of the pornographic material he made,” Fransen said. “But his suicide left a lot more questions unanswered than answered.”

Philadelphia Man, Known As "King Kobra," Convicted of Sex Trafficking

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of PA, released the below information:

PHILADELPHIA—A federal jury today returned guilty verdicts against Rahim McIntyre, 36, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was charged with three counts of sex trafficking.

McIntyre, a/k/a “King Kobra,” caused Internet advertisements to be created in which he advertised various females as available for purchase for purposes of prostitution. The advertisements featured pictures of the females, scantily clad; a description of each female; and a phone number to call to arrange a meeting with a female employed by McIntyre as a prostitute.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 21, 2014. The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment, with a minimum mandatory of 15 years, a $750,000 fine, five years up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a $300 special assessment.

McIntyre’s brother, Rashaad McIntyre, was charged in December 2012 with sex trafficking of minors and production of child pornography. He pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Intelligence Center and the Philadelphia First Judicial Court Warrant Unit. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Morgan.

Pennsylvania Firm and Chief Officer Charged with Shipping Machinery to Iran in Violation of U.S. Export License Requirements

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information today:

A criminal information has been filed against a Pennsylvania firm and its chief officer, charging them with conspiracy to evade export reporting requirements and with attempting to smuggle to Iran a lathe machine in violation of U.S. export regulations.   The announcement was made today by the U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Charged in the Criminal Information were Hetran Inc., an engineering and manufacturing plant in Orwigsburg, Pa., and its chief executive officer, Helmut Oertmann.   At the same time, an indictment was unsealed that had previously been voted by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg in December 2012 against three Iranians and two Iranian firms connected with the criminal scheme: Mujahid Ali, Khosrow Kasraei, Reza Ghoreishi, FIMCO FZE, and Crescent International Trade and Services FZE.

Also charged was Suniel Malhotra, an Indian national, an overseas sales representative for Hetran Inc.

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Hetran allegedly manufactured a horizontal lathe, also described as a bar peeling machine (peeler), valued at more than $800,000 and weighing in excess of 50,000 pounds.   A horizontal lathe, or peeling machine, is used in the production of high grade steel or bright steel,” a product used, among other things, in the manufacture of automobile and aircraft parts.

On or about June 2009, Hetran was allegedly contacted by representatives of FIMCO, an Iranian company with offices in Iran and the United Arab Emirates, and Crescent International, an affiliated company based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  FIMCO allegedly wanted to purchase the peeler.  During negotiations, it became apparent that the peeler was intended for shipment to Iran.  American companies are forbidden to ship “dual use” items (such as the peeler) to Iran without first obtaining a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Aware that it was unlikely that such a license would be granted, Hetran, Helmut Oertmann and other co-conspirators agreed to falsely state on the shipping documents that the end-user of the peeler was Crescent International in Dubai.On June 17, 2012, Hetran allegedly caused the peeling machine to be shipped to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, fraudulently listing Crescent International in Dubai as the end-user, knowing that the shipment was ultimately being sent to Iran in violation of federal law.

Hetran is charged with conspiring to violate the export laws of the United States, and is subject to a sentence of up to $1,000,000.  Helmut Oertmann, charged with attempting to smuggle goods from the United States to Iran, faces a potential penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 5 years supervised release.  The Iranian and Indian defendants are charged with conspiring to violate and with attempting to violate the export laws of the United States, each carrying potential penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 5 years supervised release for the individual defendants and a $1,000,000 fine for each corporate defendant.

The case was investigated by the Office of Export Enforcement of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The prosecution is being coordinated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Fawcett and Senior Litigation Counsel Gordon Zubrod and is being overseen by the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Indictments and criminal informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 10 years imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs.  For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Genovese, Costello and Anastasia: The Decline And Fall Of the American Mafia

Jim Zirin at offers a piece on the organized crime meeting at Apalachin, New York.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the trial in the infamous mobster conspiracy case, United States v. Bufalino, known as the “Apalachin affair,” a case that prosecutors won before a jury, and lost on appeal.  The case involved 20 of the more than 60 mobsters who attended a summit meeting of the American Mafia on November 14, 1957 at the 130-acre estate of boss “Joe the Barber” Barbera in Apalachin, New York. The meeting, which became a scene in Mario Puzo’s Godfather, occurred in Apalachin, a sleepy hamlet along the south shore of the Susquehanna River about 145 miles northwest of New York City. The jury must have wondered why anyone would go there.

Before the meeting could get off the ground, state police and federal agents raided Barbera’s home. At the time, no one knew what was on the bill of fare. There was no evidence at trial of the purpose of the meeting or that there was anything improper or illegal about it.

The government charged the Apalachin 20 with conspiracy to obstruct justice by giving similarly false and evasive answers before the grand jury as to the nature of the meeting.  The defendants, many of whom were festooned in Italian tailor-made suits, drove expensive cars and had come long distances to attend the meeting, were apprehended as they tried to escape the house into the nearby woods, which police found strewn with newly printed hundred dollar bills.

No one at the trial was permitted to say the word “Mafia,” as it was deemed too prejudicial. Still, the jury must have known that sitting in the well of the courtroom before them was an underworld stew of evil. The guest list at the Barberas that evening read like a mobster “social register.” Among those in attendance were notorious gangsters Don Vito Genovese, the kingpin of the mob, Carlo Gambino, Joe Profaci and Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonnano.  Questioned by police, virtually all of them claimed that they had visited the house from such far-flung locations as Buffalo, Rochester, Dallas, Denver and Los Angeles because they heard Barbera was not feeling well.  Anther claimed he had visited the house to deliver fish.

Although at least 50 men managed to escape into the woods outside Barbera’s house, state troopers and federal agents successfully arrested another 58.  State Trooper Edgar Croswell, a real life Inspector Javert who had been channeling Barbera for about a year, headed the raiding party.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Semper Paratus, "Always Ready": A Look At The Role Of The U.S. Coast Guard

Back in 2004 I wrote a piece on the role of the U.S. Coast Guard for Counterterrorism magazine.

You can read the piece via thr below links:

Charlton Heston Honored With U.S. Postage Stamp

Last week Paul Bond at the Hollywood Reporter offered a piece on the ceremony honoring actor and activist Charlton Heston with a U.S. stamp.

Charlton Heston, the movie star, political activist and former head of the National Rifle Association, got his own postage stamp on Friday, unveiled at a ceremony at the historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Burglary: The Discovery Of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a fine review of Betty Medsger's The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI in the Washington Times.

During his troubled last years, even friends of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover would confide — sotto voce, to be sure — that “the Old Man” was past his prime and should leave office. The complaints were that decades of wielding autocratic power had stripped Hoover of sound judgment to the point where he felt he could do no wrong. Such was what I heard from two men who had held the rank of assistant director, and who admired Hoover's service to law enforcement.

Long despised by the left — the hostility went both ways, to be sure — Hoover gave his enemies the “smoking gun” they long sought when bold anti-war activists broke into an FBI office in the Philadelphia suburb of Media the night of March 8, 1971. They chose an evening when the nation’s attention was sure to be focused elsewhere — on a long-anticipated boxing match between Joe Frazier, a supporter of the Vietnam War, and Muhammad Ali, a convicted draft dodger.

Working with the skills of professional burglars, the activists stripped the office of every file in sight and hauled them off to a farm in upstate Pennsylvania for examination. Of the thousands of stolen documents, perhaps the most explosive was a 1970 memorandum directing agents to increase their interviews of antiwar activists and other dissident groups.

The key sentence read, “It will enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles and will further serve to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

... Yet Ms. Medsger skirts around an ugly underside to the “New Left” that caused Hoover's reaction, excessive though it might have been. Consider bombings, both of government buildings (including universities) and private businesses. In his 2011 book, “MH/CHAOS: The CIA’S Campaign Against the Radical New Left and the Black Panthers,” the veteran counterintelligence officer Frank Rafalko devoted 46 pages to listing 943 instances of bombing from January 1969 to July 1970, several of which killed innocent persons.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link: