Saturday, February 6, 2016

Yakuza Hollywood: How Japanese Organized Crime Is Running Japan’s Film Industry

Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter On the Police Beat in Japan, offers a piece at the Daily Beast on how Japanese organized crime controls the Japanese film industry.

TOKYO — Japan’s entertainment industry is infested with organized crime and despite crackdowns on “yakuza Hollywood” nothing much seems to change. For example, last month 10 comedians from the colossal Yoshimoto Kogyo talent agency were caught up (innocently, they said) in a yakuza insurance fraud scheme involving, ahem, free massages. The scam reportedly netted over a million dollars. Who will be prosecuted remains murky. And that’s business as usual.
What is unusual is for a yakuza boss to break the code of silence and discuss how the talent agency he worked for intimidated its stars and the media, even using other yakuza to get the job done.
... Kazuo Kasaoka, the leader of the yakuza group Matsurua-gumi (Kobe),submitted a statement to the court which details the time he spent employed by the head of Burning Production, doing his own dirty work for the firm, he says, and watching the sinister activities of others.

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

You can also read my Crime Beat column on Jake Adelstein's true crime book about Japan via the below link: 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Far From American Headlines, Iran Keeps Humiliating U.S. Sailors

David French at National Review reports on how Iran is celebrating the capture of American sailors and the continuing humiliation of the Unites States.

Jihadist reality is a stubborn thing. Politically correct spin and na├»ve optimism always fails in the face of persistent aggression. Regarding Iran, the Obama administration’s grotesque misstatements in the aftermath of Iran’s capture and public humiliation of American sailors should now join its post-Benghazi lies in the hall of shame. Before discussing the most recent developments, let’s review the lowlights.

Three weeks ago Iranian Revolutionary Guards intercepted two U.S. Navy “riverine” boats they claimed had wandered into Iranian territorial waters. They forced the sailors onto their knees, taped an American officer apologizing, and then broadcast the images and apology to the world. In response, administration officials actually bragged about their handling of the incident and defended Iran.

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

Member Of International Child Exploitation Conspiracy Sentenced To 216 Months in Prison

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

A Bronx, New York, man was sentenced to 216 months in prison today for his participation in two websites that were operated for the purpose of coercing and enticing minors as young as eight years old to engage in sexually explicit conduct on web camera. 
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Section Chief Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section (VCACS) made the announcement.
Karlo Hitosis, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis of the Eastern District of Virginia, who also ordered Hitosis to serve 10 years of supervised release.  Last year, Hitosis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography.  The investigation, Operation Subterfuge, identified more than 300 minor victims in the United States and an estimated 1,600 minor victims were lured to the websites. 
In connection with his guilty plea, Hitosis admitted that members of the conspiracy created false profiles on social networking sites, such as YouTube, posing as young teenagers to lure children to the websites they controlled.  Once on the conspirators’ websites, the conspirators showed the children pre-recorded videos of prior minor victims, often engaging in sexually explicit conduct, to make the new victims think that they were chatting with another minor.  Using these videos, the conspirators coerced and enticed children to engage in sexually explicit activity on their own web cameras, which the website automatically recorded.  Conspirators earned points based on their contribution to the success of website objectives, which allowed them access to the sexually exploitative videos of children.  Law enforcement agencies have disabled both websites.
Trial Attorney Lauren Britsch of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick prosecuted the case.  CEOS Trial Attorney Ravi Sinha assisted with the prosecution.
VCACS special agents led the investigation with the assistance of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and the FBI’s Digital Analysis and Research Center.  The South Africa Police Service, Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offenses, Gauteng; Dutch Police Service Agency, KLPD; Royal Canadian Mounted Police, National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre; and the Australian Federal Police, Child Protection Operations, Sydney were active partners in the investigation.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York also contributed to the investigation and the prosecution. 
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Chasing The Dragon: FBI, DEA Release Documentary That Raises Awareness Of Drug Addiction

The FBI released the below report:

Every day, the nation’s law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels—including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)—use investigative resources to target the supply side in the war against drugs.
But even with numerous law enforcement successes in this area, the demand for drugs continues. And one of the more worrisome trends is a growing epidemic of prescription opiate and heroin abuse, especially among young people.
Today, in an effort to help educate students and young adults about the dangers of opioid addiction, the FBI and DEA unveiled a documentary called Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., before an audience of educational leaders from the region. The 45-minute film, whose title refers to the never-ending pursuit of the original or ultimate high, features stark first-person accounts told by individuals who have abused opioids or whose children have abused opioids, with tragic consequences.
“This film may be difficult to watch,” explains FBI Director James Comey, “but we hope it educates our students and young adults about the tragic consequences that come with abusing these drugs and that it will cause people to think twice before becoming its next victim.”
And according to Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “The numbers are appalling—tens of thousands of Americans will die this year from drug-related deaths, and more than half of these deaths are from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. I hope this [documentary] will be a wakeup call for folks.”
The individuals featured in the film—a few of whom are highlighted below—chose to tell their stories to help stop others from going down the same destructive path.
  • Katrina, a former business executive and mother who became addicted to opiates after self-medicating with pain pills and alcohol and whose own daughter died of a drug overdose. “You can’t go back and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ or set a better example, or talk ‘em out of it,” she says. And of her own addiction, she explains, “The spiral down is so fast...and I lost everything. I lost my daughter first and foremost. So all the work I did, all those dreams I had, it’s like I’m starting over again with a huge weight on my shoulder...all for a pill.”
  • Matt, who began using marijuana at age 11 and became addicted to opiates at age 15. “In the beginning,” he explains, “I would always try to get pills because you know what you’re getting. Eventually, that just got too then you’d go for heroin because it’s cheaper.”
  • Trish, whose daughter Cierra—an honor roll student at her high school—died after a heroin overdose. “Cierra did not take life for granted until she started using,” says her mother. “It is much stronger than you, and it will win.” Noting the broader impact of addiction, Trish adds, “It affects everyone in your family for the rest of their life...we’re the ones stuck missing you.”
Chasing the Dragon also features interviews with medical and law enforcement professionals discussing a variety of issues, including how quickly addiction can set in, how the increasing costs of prescription opioids can lead to the use of heroin as a less expensive alternative, the horrors of withdrawal, the ties between addiction and crime, and the fact that, contrary to popular belief, opiate abuse is prevalent in all segments of society.
The documentary is available on this website for viewing or downloading. Copies can also be obtained by contacting your local FBI or DEA field office.

Queen Of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain's Cold War Spy Master

Muriel Dobbin reviews Paddy Hayes's Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain's Cold War Spy Master for the Washington Times.

At the age of 11, Daphne Park was living in a tin-roofed shack with no lights or running water in the British protectorate of Tanganyika when a letter arrived from London that changed her life forever. It was from her aunts, who were offering to provide her with a home and an education and in the end, it would lead to her becoming one of the first women spies.
How successful she was might be measured by a memorial address given after her death at the age of 77 when a former intelligence chief declared that her service in the Moscow station had convinced the Soviets that she was “an asset and not an embarrassment.” In the wake of Miss Park’s performance, he said, “Our presence in the Embassies, even in the Soviet bloc, was readily accepted.”
Miss Park’s active life did not end at her retirement from the secret service. She found favor with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who appointed her to the board of the BBC, a precursor to her later elevation to the House of Lords. Yet not everyone liked her. Many compared her to Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple for her “deeply suspicious and sour” attitude toward life. But she did love being in the House of Lords and was “moved to tears by the admission ceremony.” She was believed to have had two great love affairs but remained characteristically discreet about who and where. And she had strong feelings about her colleagues. She disliked espionage author John le Carre to the point that she once said she would “hang, draw and quarter him” for his belief that intelligence was a “world of cold betrayal.”
You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Bribing Public Official At Georgia Military Base

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

A former agent for a large national trucking company has pleaded guilty for paying bribes to officials at the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) in Albany, Georgia, in order to obtain lucrative freight-hauling business, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney G.F. Peterman III of the Middle District of Georgia.
Ivan Dwight Brannan, 60, of Jupiter, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands of the Middle District of Georgia to one count of bribery of a public official.   
During his plea, Brannan admitted that from 2006 to 2012, he provided cash and other items of value to Mitchell Potts, a former traffic office supervisor for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at MCLB-Albany, to ensure that his trucking company client was awarded millions of dollars of business at MCLB-Albany.  Brannan also admitted that he directed David Nelson, a truck driver, to provide cash and other things of value to both Potts and Jeffrey Philpot, another official in the DLA Traffic Office at MCLB-Albany.  From 2006 to 2012, Brannan and Nelson paid at least $120,000 in bribes to Potts and Philpot.     
Potts and Philpot both previously pleaded guilty to one count of bribery of a public official and were sentenced to 10 years and seven years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the conspiracy.  Nelson pleaded guilty to one count of bribery of a public official on Oct. 7, 2014, and awaits sentencing.  
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service are investigating the case.  Trial Attorney John Keller of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney K. Alan Dasher of the Middle District of Georgia are prosecuting the case.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Cop's Cop: Phiadelphia Police Officer Allegedly Shot By ISIS Supporter To Be Named Man Of The Year

Dana DiFilippo at the Philadelphia Daily News reports on the naming of a wounded Philly cop as the National Police Defense Foundation's Man of the Year.

A Philadelphia police officer who chased down his armed attacker even after he was shot three times will be honored by the National Police Defense Foundation as its Man of the Year.
Officer Jesse Hartnett, 33, was sitting in his patrol car on Jan. 7 in West Philadelphia when a gunman approached on foot and fired 13 times into the cruiser's lowered window at Hartnett.
As the gunman fled, Hartnett was able to chase him down, even though he'd caught several bullets in his left arm, and shoot his attacker in the buttocks.
Edward Archer, the alleged attacker, later swore allegiance to ISIS and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing March 10 on attempted murder charges.
"This is in recognition of [Hartnett's] heroic efforts in the performance of his duties," said Joseph Occhipinti, executive director of the New York-based National Police Defense Foundation. "He is truly a law enforcement professional who demonstrated professionalism and valor in spite of grave danger. He's a cop's cop."
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: