Saturday, May 25, 2013
Jay Leno laid into the Obama scandals again on The Tonight Show.
Time magazine found a picture of President Obama at his high school prom back in 1979. Let me tell you how long ago that was. Back then, Obama had to ask a girl for her phone number. He couldn't illegally obtain it through the Justice Department.
It is not looking good for President Obama. Today, his teleprompter took the Fifth. In fact, the White House has changed its slogan from "Yes, we can" to "No, I can't remember."
The latest scandal in Washington, of course, is raising questions about the IRS. You know, I have a question. Why is it called the Internal Revenue Service? How is having your money confiscated a service?
A Democratic congressman said that he worries that the IRS scandal might have a chilling effect on the IRS and that they might be afraid to audit people. So finally some good is coming out of all of this.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Three Defendants Plead Guilty To Participating In Ambush Murder And Attempted Murder Of ICE Special Agents In Mexico
The U.S. Justice Department released the below information today:
Julian Zapata Espinoza, also known as “Piolin,” 32, pleaded guilty today to the murder of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila in Mexico.
The court also unsealed today the guilty pleas of three other defendants on related murder, attempted murder, racketeering and accessory charges.
The guilty pleas, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen Jr.; Assistant Director Ronald T. Hosko of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division; and ICE Director John Morton.
As set forth in court filings, on Feb. 15, 2011, Espinoza, a commander in Los Zetas Cartel, a heavily armed Mexican narco-trafficking cartel and transnational criminal organization, attempted to hijack Special Agent Zapata’s and Special Agent Avila’s armored government vehicle as the agents were driving on Highway 57 in San Luis Potosi.
Two armed Zetas hit squads, or “estacas,” forced the agents off the road and surrounded their vehicle. Espinoza, the leader of the attack, ordered the agents to exit their vehicle. When the agents refused and attempted to identify themselves as American diplomats from the U.S. Embassy, the hit squad members fired weapons near and into the vehicle, striking both agents. Estaca members continued to fire at the vehicle as the agents attempted to escape by driving away. Special Agent Zapata died as a result of the gunshot wounds he suffered during the attack, and Special Agent Avila was seriously injured.
On April 19, 2011, Espinoza was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on multiple counts pertaining to the murder of ICE Special Agent Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Avila and, on Dec. 20, 2011, was extradited from Mexico to the United States. This morning, the defendant entered a guilty plea before Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth to the murder of Special Agent Zapata, an officer and employee of the United States, and the attempted murder of Special Agent Avila, an officer and employee of the United States.
In addition to the announcing the guilty plea of Espinoza, prosecutors also announced related guilty pleas by three other defendants. Ruben Dario Venegas Rivera, also known as “Catracho,” 25, pleaded guilty on Aug. 1, 2011, to federal charges concerning the murder of Special Agent Zapata and attempted murder of Special Agent Avila. Jose Ismael Nava Villagran, also known as “Cacho,” 30, pleaded guilty on Jan. 4, 2012, also to federal charges concerning the murder and attempted murder of the ICE agents. Francisco Carbajal Flores, also known as “Dalmata,” 38, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2012, to conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity and to being an accessory after the fact to the murder and attempted murder of the ICE agents.
As part of their guilty pleas, Espinoza, Rivera and Villagran admitted to being members of a Los Zetas hit squad and to participating directly in the Feb. 15, 2011, ambush of the two Special Agents. The fourth defendant, Flores, acknowledged assisting Zetas members after the Feb. 15 attack.
All four defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison. No sentencing date has been set for the defendants.
“Special Agent Zapata died for his country in a senseless and brutal attack, and Special Agent Avila was grievously wounded in the same ambush by members of Los Zetas Cartel,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “Both men are American heroes who dedicated themselves to protecting the United States, only to be attacked by vicious thugs. I hope that today’s announcement of guilty pleas by the Cartel members directly responsible for the attack brings some measure of justice to the victims and their families. A team of dedicated prosecutors and investigators has worked day and night to identify and hold these defendants accountable. Our work is far from over, and we will continue to devote our full resources and work with our law enforcement partners here and abroad to investigate and prosecute those responsible.”
“The deadly ambush of two highly dedicated and courageous American law enforcement officers by the Los Zetas drug cartel demanded an intense, dedicated and forceful response,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “The message to any criminal who dares to commit an act of violence against a U.S. law enforcement officer serving in a foreign land is unmistakable - if you commit such a heinous crime, we will not forget, we will not falter, and we will not rest until you are brought to justice. Our work in this critical case will continue until all of those who participated in the murder of Special Agent Zapata and attempted murder of Special Agent Avila are held accountable.”
“With the assistance of our law enforcement partners, assailants responsible for murdering Agent Zapata and wounding Agent Avila have been brought to justice,” said FBI Assistant Director Hosko. “While there is nothing we can do to change what happened that fateful day in Mexico, let it be known that an attack against any federal agent serving his or her country is an attack on all federal agents and as such remains a priority for the FBI until those responsible are brought to justice.”
“Today’s announcement is a very important milestone in the effort to see that justice is served in the murder of ICE Special Agent Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila,” said ICE Director Morton. “Both men were trying to make the world a safer place, and today’s result is a very welcome step to honor their service and sacrifice.”
This case is being investigated by the FBI, with substantial assistance from ICE, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Customs and Border Protection, the Diplomatic Security Service and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime and Gang Section and the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided substantial assistance.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Happy Birthday to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, who was born on this day in 1859.
You can read about Arthur Conan Doyle via the below link:
Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the Kaboni Savage federal trial in Philadelphia for Bigtrial.net.
Death by lethal injection or life in a "concrete box."
That's what the future holds for Kaboni Savage, his lawyer told a federal jury today at the start of the capital punishment phase of Savage's racketeering-murder trial.
In a low-key, but pointed opening statement, the lawyer, William Purpura, asked the jury to choose the box -- the concrete prison cell where Savage will spend the rest of his life.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Troyer, on the other hand, asked the jury to sentence Savage, 38, to death for orchestrating a series of murders, including one of the "most heinous crimes" ever committed in the Philadelphia underworld, a firebombing in which six innocent people -- two women and four children -- were killed.
Capital punishment in federal cases, Troyer told the jury, is reserved for the most heinous crimes and the worst offenders.
"This is that case," the prosecutor said.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
'Hop-Frog': 'Game Of Thrones' Actor Peter Dinklage To Appear In Film Based On Edgar Allan Poe's Short Story
As May as been designated Short Story Month, it was good to read screendaily.com and discover that Game of Thrones standout actor Peter Dinkage will appear in a film based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story Hop-Frog.
Peter Dinklage, riding high on the global success of Game Of Thrones, has signed on to star in Hop Frog.
The film is based on the Edgar Allan Poe revenge story about a puppeteer who poses as a court jester to exact revenge on the knights who murdered his uncle and kidnapped the woman he loves.
Mark Palansky, who last directed Penelope, will direct from a screenplay by newcomer Brian Alan Carr.
“Hop Frog is beautiful and vicious,” said Dinklage. “It has haunted me ever since I read Poe’s original tale of revenge years ago. I can think of no other director than Mark Palansky to bring this new imagining of it vibrantly to life.”
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can read Poe's short story Hop-Frog online via the below link:
You can also read an earlier post on Short Story Month via the below link:
Monday, May 20, 2013
Was The Arrest Of A CIA Officer In Moscow Meant To Conceal What The Russians Know About The Boston Marathon Bombing?
David Satter at the National Review offers a piece on the Russian takedown of a CIA spy.
The comic-opera arrest of an American CIA agent in Moscow this week is less of a joke than it seems. The timing, nature, and public character of the arrest all point to the possibility that the Russian authorities, far from being concerned about the arrest, are using it to conceal what they know about the Boston Marathon bombers.
The arrest of Ryan Fogle for supposedly trying to recruit an agent of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) who was working on the North Caucasus — and therefore might have been able to tell U.S. authorities more about the attack on American civilians than they have gained officially — has been the occasion for an enormous amount of ridicule of the American intelligence services in the Russian media.
A video of the arrest was shown on Russian television, and Russian officials took the almost unprecedented step of publicly naming the American CIA resident in Moscow. The head of U.S. and Soviet intelligence operations was not named publicly even during the Cold War.
You can read the rest of the story via the below link:
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Mary Bovsun at the New York Daily News looks back at the Gary Heidnik case.
Among the most terrifying places in movie history is the pit from Silence of the Lambs, where serial killer Buffalo Bill imprisoned women before he murdered and skinned them.
Unbelievably horrific it may have seemed, but it was no figment of a writer’s imagination. The prison was drawn from life and a person whose crimes were front-page headlines shortly before Thomas Harris wrote the novel that would become the classic film.
On March 24, 1987, Philadelphia police received a cry for help from a drug-infested area of North Philadelphia that had been dubbed the O.K. Corral because of the frequency of street shootouts.
Josefina Rivera, a 25-year-old streetwalker, blurted out a nightmare tale of kidnapping, rape, murder and cannibalism.
She told them she had just escaped from Gary Heidnik, who had kept her captive in his home since about November. Three women, Rivera said, were still tied up in the basement. Two others, she said, had died, one starved, one electrocuted.
You can read the rest of the story via the below link: