Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Alexandria Man On FBI Most Wanted List Indicted On Terrorism Charges

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging an Alexandria man with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization operating in Somalia.
According to court documents, Liban Haji Mohamed, 34, a Somali-born naturalized United States citizen, allegedly left the United States in July 2012 with the intent to join al-Shabaab in East Africa. Al-Shabaab is a Somali-based insurgent and terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for many bombings in Somalia and Uganda and is known to have recruited Westerners. According to court documents, Mohamed allegedly attempted to recruit an undercover agent to travel to Somalia to provide combat training to al-Shabaab fighters.  Mohamed also allegedly planned to use his own media skills to improve al-Shabaab’s propaganda machine, which it has used to recruit Westerners.  Mohamed was a close associate of convicted terrorist Zachary Chesser, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to al-Shabaab.
In July 2012, Interpol, the world’s largest international police organization, issued a red notice seeking Mohamed as a wanted fugitive.  In January 2015, the FBI announced the addition of Mohamed to the “Most Wanted Terrorists” list, and is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mohamed.
Mohamed is charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Individuals with information concerning Mohamed are asked to contact the FBI or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. Tips can be submitted anonymously at Additional information regarding Mohamed, including a poster with his picture, and the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list can be found at:
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Larissa L. Knapp, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office's Counterterrorism Division, made the announcement.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys James P. Gillis and John T. Gibbs, and Trial Attorney Rebecca A. Magnone for the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Babylon Bee: China Issues Stay-At-Home Order To Hong Kong To Prevent Spread Of Democracy

The Babylon Bee takes a satirical shot at Communist China’s crackdown on Hong Kong.

HONG KONG—Sensing the possibility of a dangerous contagion spreading, China has issued a stay-at-home order for Hong Kong so that ideas of democracy might not spread.

“There is a virus out there,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping. “One that could destabilize all of China. That’s why we are requiring all people in Hong Kong to stay home so they don’t infect each other with the idea they get to vote for their own leadership, say whatever they want, or tell each other I look like Winnie the Pooh when I don’t because I look like Brad Pitt.” 

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

Monday, May 25, 2020

No Sadder Song: 'Taps' Played To Honor Those Who Died For Our Country

As notes, the origins of “Taps,” the distinctive bugle melody played at U.S. military funerals and memorials and as a lights-out signal to soldiers at night, date back to the American Civil War. 

In July 1862, U.S. General Daniel Butterfield and his brigade were camped at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, recuperating after the Seven Days Battles near Richmond. Dissatisfied with the standard bugle call employed by the Army to indicate to troops it was time to go to sleep, and thinking the call should sound more melodious, Butterfield reworked an existing bugle call used to signal the end of the day. After he had his brigade bugler, Private Oliver Wilcox Norton, play it for the men, buglers from other units became interested in the 24-note tune and it quickly spread throughout the Army, and even caught on with the Confederates. 

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

You can also watch and listen to an American sailor play “Taps” via the below link:

Memorial Day 2020: A Day To Honor And Remember Those Who Gave Their Lives For Our Country

Sunday, May 24, 2020

My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Richard Hughes, The Foreign Correspondent Who Inspired Ian Fleming And John le Carre

The Washington Times published my On Crime column on the late Richard Hughes (seen in the above photo), a foreign correspondent and the author of Foreign Devil: Thirty Years of Reporting in the Far East. Both Ian Fleming and John le Carre based fictional characters on him in their novels. 

Later this year Casemate will publish Edward Abel Smith’s “Ian Fleming’s Inspiration: The Truth Behind the Books.”

“James Bond is possibly the most well-known fictional character in history,” Casemate Publishing notes. “What most people don’t know is that almost all of the characters, plots and gadgets come from the real-life experiences of Bond’s creator — Commander Ian Fleming.

“In this book, we go through the plots of Fleming’s novels explaining the real-life experiences that inspired them. The reader is taken on a journey through Fleming’s direct involvement in World War II intelligence and how this translated through his typewriter into James Bond’s world, as well as the many other factors of Fleming’s life which were also taken as inspiration.”

One friend who inspired Fleming was the late Richard Hughes, who was a foreign correspondent for the British Sunday Times. He was the inspiration for the fictional character Dikko Henderson in Ian Fleming’s 1964 James Bond novel “You Only Live Twice.” 

“He is a giant Australian with a European mind and a quixotic view of the world,” the late Ian Fleming said of Richard Hughes

In 1959, Fleming, then the foreign manager of the Sunday Times, was asked by the newspaper’s editor to travel to foreign cities and write about them, as Fleming notes, “through a thriller-writer’s eye.” The newspaper articles were compiled into a book called “Thrilling Cities” in 1963. 

While visiting Hong Kong and Tokyo, Fleming’s guide was Richard Hughes, whom Fleming called “Our Man in the Orient.”   

Ian Fleming later wrote “You Only Live Twice,” which featured a character named Richard Lovelace Henderson. Henderson, based on Hughes, was the British intelligence chief in Japan. He was a big, boisterous and profane Australian who understood the way of the Japanese. Fleming described him as looking like a middle-aged prize-fighter who retired and had taken to the bottle.

In the late 1970s, John le Carre visited Hong Kong while doing research for his novel “The Honorable Schoolboy,” the sequel to his novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Mr. le Carre met Richard Hughes, and like Ian Fleming, he based a character on him.

In the novel, the assembled journalists at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Hong Kong were discussing the closing of the local branch of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Mr. le Carre wrote that William Craw, like Hughes, was the doyen of Asia’s foreign press corps.

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

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story Of The Capture & Killing Of America's Most Wanted Crime Boss

The New York Post offers an excerpt from a new book on the capture and death of the notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger.

The leader of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang and No. 1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, Whitey Bulger was indicted for 19 counts of murder, racketeering, narcotics distribution and extortion. But it was his 16-year flight from justice on the eve of his arrest that made him a legend. In this exclusive excerpt from the new book “Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story of the Capture & Killing of America’s Most Wanted Crime Boss,” authors Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge reveal how the notorious Bulger finally got caught . . . 

On the night of May 1, 2011, people around the world heard the news about the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Then-President Barack Obama made the announcement, interrupting a nationally televised baseball game between the Mets and the Phillies:

“Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children,” he declared.

In Santa Monica, at Barney’s Beanery on the Third Street Promenade, bar patrons broke into cheer; “USA, USA,” they shouted. At the popular Santa Monica pub Britannia, one grizzled barfly hoisted his mug in the air. “The bastard’s dead. I’ll drink to that!”

Inside apartment 303 at the Princess Eugenia Apartments, James “Whitey” Bulger sat in his living room with his girlfriend Catherine Greig, watching the announcement with a mixture of pride and dread. The patriotic side of Bulger was elated to learn that members of SEAL Team 6 had sent the terror mastermind back to his maker with a bullet above his left eye. But bin Laden’s death also meant that Bulger, 81, was now number one on the FBI’s list of most-wanted criminals. He knew the pressure to find him would intensify. 

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


You can also read my Crime Beat column Q&A with Dick Lehr, the co-author of Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss via the below link: 

Friday, May 22, 2020

A Little Night Music: Daryl Hall's 'I'm In A Philly Mood'

Daryl Hall met John Oates when the two budding singers and musicians were attending Temple University in Philadelphia in the 1960s.

They were influenced by the rhythm & blues of the "Philadelphia Sound."

They went on to record and perform many fine songs as Hall & Oates.

"I'm in a Philly Mood" was Daryl Hall's toast to his former home.

You can listen to the song via the below link: