Thursday, May 26, 2016

The War On Cops: How The New Attack On Law And Order Makes Everyone Less Safe


Jeffrey G. Gahler offers a review of Heather Mac Donald's The War on Cops: How The New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe for the Washington Times.

In “The War on Cops,” Heather Mac Donald provides overwhelming and compelling data to discount the misguided, misplaced and too often malice-based attacks on the law enforcement profession taking place in our country every day. The proven and effective tactic of focusing police efforts on analytically identified high crime areas has improved the quality of life for countless honest, law-abiding citizens living in challenged neighborhoods throughout this country. More importantly, proactive and targeted enforcement have saved countless lives, many of whom are from urban areas and minority communities.
These same communities have seen the positive impact that purposed policing can offer. They have also seen the damage from false messaging and rhetoric. The assault on law enforcement has brought with it a reduced quality of life for those who desperately deserve a chance, and increased crime and unacceptable homicide rates to these same communities. The degradation of these communities is a direct byproduct of the war on cops. De-policing — a phenomenon of police not engaging or refusing to take proactive enforcement actions based on crime patterns and data — has led to a dramatic increase in violent crime and lives lost all over this country. You need to look no further than Baltimore or Chicago to see the impact of de-policing, which is well documented within these pages.
The attacks on law enforcement, attacks based on false information or outright lies crafted to discredit an entire profession, are undeserved. As outlined in the data provided by Ms. Mac Donald, the police profession is the one aspect of government that has had a meaningful impact in many of the communities in need. Over the past several decades, program upon program, dollar upon dollar, have been “invested” in struggling communities trying to make them better. While most have failed, it is our police who have not. It is our police who have held the line for the people the programs have failed.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Outlaw Biker Rants About Philadelphia Doctor's Alleged Pill Mill


Veteran journalist and author George Anastasia (seen in the above photo) is covering the federal trial of a Philadelphia doctor accused of selling narcotics to outlaw bikers and others for Bigtrial.net.

Sam Nocille was angry.

A leader of the outlaw motorcycle club known as the Pagans, Nocille was in prison in 2013 while associates continued to profit from a pill mill operation authorities say he helped set in motion.

The problem was that those associates had stopped kicking up to Nocille who had been receiving about $2,000-week, his share from the illegal street sales of oxycodone, methadone, Xanax and Percocet.

"All of a sudden he's changing the whole fuckin' thing," Nocille said in a phone call to his wife in which he complained about Peter Marradino, an associate who was part of the scheme. "It's not gonna happen...The door was opened for him due to me."

In another call, Nocille said of Marradino, "I'm gonna split his fuckin' head."

The Nocille tapes (all prison phone calls are recorded)  were played along with several others today in the trial of Dr. William O'Brien 3d whose medical offices, authorities allege, were the nerve center of a multi-million dollar pill mill operation set up by Nocille.

"Even that fat motherfucker Bill in Levitttown is gonna get it," Nocille said in another rant recorded in January 2014. One of O'Brien's office was in Levittown.

The tapes were introduced as evidence as the prosecution tried to establish the connection between the Pagans and O'Brien, a connection O'Brien, who is representing himself, has denied. In his opening statement to the jury on Monday O'Brien said he had patients who were Pagans, but said he was not part of the drug conspiracy that is the basis for a 140-count criminal indictment against him.


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

http://www.bigtrial.net/2016/05/pagan-leader-rants-about-pill-mill.html#more

Another Cooperating Witness Implicates Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah At Federal Trial


Veteran reporter Ralph Cipriano is covering the federal trial of Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah for Bigtial.net.

Mark M. Lee, a lawyer for Congressman Chaka Fattah, asked Greg Naylor about his negotiations with the government. And what Naylor was told he could expect to gain from his guilty plea, cooperation with the feds, and his testimony against the congressman.

"I don't believe they [the feds] had any interest in what I had to gain," Naylor bluntly replied. His discussions with the government prior to his guilty plea, he said, was "not a negotiation."

Naylor, a retired political operative who was once close to Fattah, testified in federal court today about how he wrote more than $20,000 in checks to cover the tuition bill of Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. The payments came from Naylor's political consulting firm, Sydney Lei & Associates Inc., and were usually made on a monthly basis to Drexel University and Sallie Mae, the student loan corporation, Naylor said.

"The congressman asked if I would help out," Naylor explained in direct testimony under the questioning of Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Gray. Naylor said he kept writing checks for four years until the congressman told him, "We're done, we're good."

"Anybody ever tell you Chip had a gambling problem," the prosecutor asked.

"No," Naylor replied. He had something else to confess. As part of the scam, "I made false 1099 forms" and sent them to "Chip," Naylor said. Even though Naylor testified that Chip Fattah had done no work for Sydney Lei & Associates.

After the prosecutor got throughout questioning Naylor, his story held up under cross-examination from four defense lawyers, which was more bad news for the congressman formerly known as Arthur Davenport.

On cross-examination, Mark M. Lee, on behalf of Congressman Fattah, tried to get Naylor to talk about the central fraud in the case. The plot to have Albert Lord, former Sallie Mae CEO, make a phony loan of $1 million to Thomas Lindenfeld, another political consultant close to Fattah. So that the Lord money could be used to pay the campaign expenses of Fattah's unsuccessful 2007 run for mayor.


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

http://www.bigtrial.net/2016/05/another-cooperating-witness-implicates.html#more

Russian Banker Sentenced In Connection With Conspiracy To Work For Russian Intelligence


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

Evgeny Buryakov, aka Zhenya, 41, was sentenced to 30 months in prison today for conspiring to act in the United States as an agent of the Russian Federation without providing prior notice to the Attorney General.
The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York.
“Evgeny Buryakov is being held accountable for his efforts to secretly operate as a Russian foreign intelligence officer in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Foreign intelligence officers attempting to illegally collect information pose a direct threat to our national security.  Working with our law enforcement and intelligence partners at tracking down and disrupting these clandestine operations against our country will continue to remain one of the National Security Division’s highest priorities.”
“Evgeny Buryakov, in the guise of being a legitimate banker, gathered intelligence as an agent of the Russian Federation in New York,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.  “He traded coded messages with one of his Russian spy co-defendants, who sent the clandestinely collected information back to Moscow.  So long as this type of Cold War-style spy intrigue continues to go on in present-day New York City, the FBI and the prosecutors in my office will continue to investigate and prosecute it.”
According to the complaint, indictment, other court filings and statements made during court proceedings:
Beginning in at least 2012, Buryakov worked in the United States as an agent of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, known as the SVR.  Buryakov operated under non-official cover, meaning he entered and remained in the United States as a private citizen, posing as an employee in the New York office of a Russian bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB).  SVR agents operating under such non-official cover (NOCs) are typically subject to less scrutiny by the host government and, in many cases, are never identified as intelligence agents by the host government.  As a result, an NOC is an extremely valuable intelligence asset for the SVR.
Federal law prohibits individuals from acting as agents of foreign governments within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General.  Department of Justice records indicate that Buryakov never notified the Attorney General that he was, in fact, an agent of the Russian Federation.
Buryakov worked in New York with at least two other SVR agents, Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy.  From on or about Nov. 22, 2010, to on or about Nov. 21, 2014, Sporyshev officially served as a trade representative of the Russian Federation in New York.  From on or about Dec. 13, 2012, to on or about Sept. 12, 2013, Podobnyy officially served as an attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.  The investigation, however, showed that Sporyshev and Podobnyy also worked as officers of the SVR. 
The directives from the SVR to Buryakov, Sporyshev and Podobnyy, as well as to other covert SVR agents acting within the United States, included requests to gather intelligence on, among other subjects, potential U.S. sanctions against Russian banks and the United States’ efforts to develop alternative energy resources. 
During the course of their work as covert SVR agents in the United States, Buryakov, Sporyshev and Podobnyy regularly met and communicated using clandestine methods and coded messages in order to exchange intelligence-related information while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents. 
In the summer of 2014, Buryakov met multiple times with a confidential source working for the FBI and an FBI undercover employee, both of whom purported to be working on a casino development project in Russia.  During these meetings, Buryakov accepted documents that were purportedly obtained from a U.S. government agency and which supposedly contained information potentially useful to Russia, including information about U.S. sanctions against Russia.
For their alleged roles in the conspiracy, Sporyshev and Podobnyy are charged with conspiracy to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  They are also charged with aiding and abetting Buryakov’s actions in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  These maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.  The charges against Sporyshev and Podobnyy are merely accusations, and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  Sporyshev and Podobnyy no longer live in the United States and have not been arrested.  By virtue of their prior positions in the United States on behalf of Russia, both of them were afforded diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution while in the United States. 
Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Bharara in praising the investigative work of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen J. Ritchin, Emil J. Bove III, Brendan F. Quigley, Anna M. Skotko and Ian McGinley of the Southern District of New York, with assistance provided by Senior Trial Attorney Heather Schmidt of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. 

International Arms Trafficker Found Guilty For Conspiring To Kill Americans And Provide Material Support To A Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization


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

Virgil Flaviu Georgescu, 43, of Romania, was convicted by a federal jury today of conspiring to sell large quantities of military-grade weaponry to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the FARC), a designated foreign terrorist organization, to be used to kill Americans in Colombia.  Georgescu’s conviction followed a 10-day trial before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York.
The conviction was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York.
“As the jury swiftly found, Virgil Flaviu Georgescu conspired to kill American officers and provide material support to the FARC,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.  “In concert with his co-defendants, Georgescu conspired to obtain and sell to the FARC military weapons, including anti-aircraft cannons and rocket propelled grenades, to be used against American personnel and aircraft in Colombia.  Having sought to profit from the murder of U.S. officers abroad, Georgescu has now been convicted in the U.S. by a unanimous jury.”
According to the allegations in the indictment, other documents publicly filed in federal court and the evidence introduced at trial:
Between May 2014 and December 2014, Georgescu, a Romania-based weapons broker, conspired with his co-defendants, a former Romanian government official and a former member of the Italian Parliament, to sell an arsenal of weapons, including machine guns and anti-aircraft cannons, to the FARC, with the understanding that the FARC would use the weapons against U.S. personnel in Colombia.  During a series of recorded telephone calls and in-person meetings, Georgescu and his co-conspirators agreed to sell the weapons to three confidential sources (CSs), who represented that they were acquiring these weapons for the FARC but were, in fact, working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Georgescu and his co-conspirators agreed to provide these weapons to the CSs with the specific understanding that the weapons would be used to kill Americans and, in particular, to shoot down American helicopters and airplanes.
Georgescu first spoke with a CS in May 2014.  Thereafter, Georgescu recruited both of his co-conspirators to help obtain the weapons for the CSs, with the understanding that the former Romanian government official would provide weapons expertise and the former Italian Parliament member would help secure fraudulent end-user certificates, in order to make the illegal sale of weapons look legitimate.  Georgescu instructed his co-conspirators and others involved in the deal to use encrypted applications when communicating about the weapons deal to avoid detection by U.S. authorities.
Over the course of five consensually-recorded meetings with the CSs in Romania and Montenegro, Georgescu and his co-conspirators provided the CSs with catalogues of weapons that included anti-aircraft cannons, rocket propelled and thermobaric grenades and other high-powered weapons, as well as military-grade optical equipment.  During these meetings, the CSs explained that the arms would be used to kill Americans and Georgescu offered his thoughts on what weapons would best suit the FARC’s needs.
Between September 2014 and December 2014, Georgescu and his co-conspirators traveled to Romania, Montenegro, Italy, Germany, Albania, Poland and Bulgaria to advance the weapons deal.  During this period, the co-conspirators met with weapons suppliers, obtained sample fraudulent end-user certificates and test-fired military-grade rifles.  In December 2014, Georgescu and his co-conspirators secured a signed contract from a European weapons supplier to provide more than $17 million worth of weapons to a straw purchaser.  On Dec. 15, 2014, Georgescu met with the CSs, showed them the signed contract and discussed means of payment and transportation of the weapons to Colombia. 
Georgescu was arrested by Montenegrin authorities on the charges in the indictment on Dec. 15, 2014, and extradited to the United States on Feb. 25, 2015.
Georgescu was convicted of one count of conspiracy to kill U.S. officers or employees, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and one count of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.  Georgescu is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Abrams on Sept. 16, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Bharara in praising the outstanding investigative efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division, the DEA’s Bucharest Country Office, the DEA’s Rome Country Office, the Montenegrin National Police and the Romanian Authorities.  Assistant Attorney General Carlin and U.S. Attorney Bharara also thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Surratt and Ilan Graff of the Southern District of New York, with assistance from Trial Attorney Josh Parecki of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

FBI Releases New Version Of Child ID App


The FBI released the below information:

The FBI today is announcing a reboot of its popular Child ID App, which provides parents with an easy way to electronically store their children’s pictures and vital information to have on hand in case their kids go missing.
The application, which works on most Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, allows users to store up-to-date images and physical descriptions—like height, weight, birthmarks, etc.—that could help responders in the event of an emergency. The information is stored only on your device—not with your mobile provider or the FBI.
The latest version of the Child ID App contains updated features, including high-resolution image capability, a default recipient field (where you can enter your local police department’s e-mail address, for example), and optional automatic reminders to update your children’s profiles.
Current users of the Child ID App are encouraged to download the latest version for improved performance and capabilities. Please note that if you had been using an older version of the app (prior to 2.0), you will need to re-enter all relevant information after installing the update.
The app has been downloaded more than 250,000 times since it was released, first on iTunes in 2011 and then for the Android operating system in 2012. The current version, released in April, has been downloaded more than 50,000 times onto devices around the world.
The Child ID App also includes tips on keeping children safe as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing.
For more information and to download:

Apologize For Hiroshima? Hell, No!


My late father was an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) frogman during World War II. The UDT combat swimmers cleared the way for the U.S. Marines to take the Pacific islands back from the Imperial Japanese.

I recall him telling me about an intelligence briefing where the UDT men were advised that the losses they would sustain during the planned invasion of mainland Japan would be catastrophic.

The deaths of millions of U.S. military men, as well as Japanese military men and Japanese civilians, was avoided due to the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It took the devastation of this weapon to finally force the proud Japanese to surrender unconditionally.      

I believe it would be a disgrace if President Obama apologizes for the U.S. dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima when he visits the city.

It would be an insult to the men who died during the war, which Imperial Japan began with their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

It would also be an insult to the men who survived the war, like my father.  

Stu Bykofsky, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News offers his take on the presidential visit to Hiroshima.

THESE ARE THE remarks I would like to hear from President Obama when he visits Hiroshima on Friday:
We gather in this place draped in death and sorrow to respectfully remember those who perished here almost 70 years ago.
Speaking for the United States, we have regrets.
We regret that, 75 years ago this December, Japan killed more than 2,400 Americans in an unprovoked attack against the United States in Hawaii. That's my home.
I regret that the United States was pushed into a war we did not seek and for which we were militarily unprepared.
We believed, correctly, that it was a war between our freedom and your tyranny and butchery.
You can read the rest of the column via the below link:

http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/stu_bykofsky/20160524_Byko__Apologize_for_Hiroshima__Hell__no_.html