Monday, September 15, 2014

White House Secrets Revealed In Ronald Kessler's "First Family Detail" Book

James Rosen at interviews veteran journalist Ronald Kessler, author of a book on the U.S. Secret Service called The First Family Detail.  

President Obama is nice to the “little people” – but his wife wishes he were tougher with his political enemies. 

Ex-President Nixon was once observed sampling the dog treats he was feeding to his pet. 

Moore Of The Same Please: Sir Roger Moore Has No Plans To Retire

Simon Edge at the British newspaper the Express offers a piece on actor Sir Roger Moore and his new book (called One Lucky Bastard in the US and Last Man Standing in the UK).

"Retirement is when the phone stops ringing," he says. 

"Actors don't retire. We've never had to work very hard in our lives so we may as well go on doing it."

His latest project is a book, his third venture into print, in which he says he wants to share some of the fun he has experienced with showbiz folk in his long and illustrious career. 

It is a hilarious read but it is not all suitable for publication in a family newspaper. 

An anecdote on the first page about Grace Kelly complaining her face has been airbrushed on to Ava Gardner's body - "I do not have t*** like that!" - sets the pace and then we are racing through stories about Lana Turner effing and blinding, Joan Collins sneering at movie boss Darryl Zanuck's desktop mould of his own member ("I've seen bigger things crawl out of cabbages"), then fast-cutting to lavatorial stories about Tallulah Bankhead, Diana Dors and Dirk Bogarde, the last involving a lost denture. And that's just the first couple of chapters.

Couldn't he have told some tales I can actually repeat? 

"That's nothing," he says, and proceeds to tell me a story he didn't include about Tony Curtis, his co-star in 1970s TV series The Persuaders, insulting Collins with the rudest word in the English language.

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

Note: I enjoyed Sir Roger Moore's previous two books and I look forward to reading this one.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Top Five Organized Crime Groups In The World

Chris Matthews at offers a piece on the top five organized crime groups in the world.

So, who are the biggest organized crime gangs around the world and how do they make their money? Organized crime revenues are very difficult to estimate, as criminals often spend a significant amount of time trying to hide what they make. Also, “organized crime” is a loosely defined concept. Anything from a vast drug smuggling ring to a handful of car thieves can be classified as organized crime groups, and the cohesiveness of organized crime organizations around the world varies widely. Some groups, like Japan’s Yakuza, are highly organized and hierarchical, allowing economists and crime fighters in Japan to attribute much higher revenue totals to Yakuza groups than others around the world. Here are the top five criminal gangs, ranked by revenue estimates:

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

By Dawn's Early Light: Onlookers Salute 'Old Glory' At Fort McHenry

Navy Seaman Kameren Guy Hodnett, U.S. Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, offers the below piece:

BALTIMORE, Sept. 14, 2014 - Visitors and special guests watched today as members of the U.S. Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), with the help of War of 1812 re-enactors, hoisted a 15-star, 15-stripe, full-size replica Star-Spangled Banner flag over Fort McHenry here at the "By Dawn's Early Light" flag-raising ceremony.

Star-Spangled Banner replica

At precisely 9 a.m., guns blasted and the crowd of onlookers fell silent as service members raised a 30-foot by 42-foot replica of the flag that 200 years ago inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Defence of Fort McHenry," which would later become America's national anthem.

"It is a great pleasure for me to be here at this historic site and historic city of Baltimore as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of our Star-Spangle Banner," said former Secretary of State and retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, the event's guest speaker. The American flag is "a piece of cloth I have loved all my life and have served under for over 40 years,' Powell added.

Celebrating history

The special ceremony capped a weeklong series of events at the fort for Baltimore's Star-Spangled Spectacular, a celebration commemorating the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore and the national anthem.

The fort played host to a number of special events and activities including commemorative ceremonies, living history demonstrations and interpretive programs during the Star-Spangled Spectacular. The city's celebration, which concludes Sept. 16, also includes visits by more than 30 ships from the U.S. and foreign nations, as well as an airshow performance by U.S. Navy's Blue Angels.

Note: The above U.S. Coast Guard photo was taken by Petty Officer 1st Class Pamela J. Boehland.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

FBI: Drug Cartel Money Laundering Takedown

The FBI web site offers an interesting piece on the takedown of a money laudering operation for a major drug cartel.

In a major takedown in Los Angeles on Wednesday, September 10, nearly 1,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers seized approximately $100 million in cash, arrested nine subjects, and searched dozen of businesses in the city’s downtown fashion district alleged to have laundered money for Mexican drug cartels.

The ongoing investigation—three indictments were unsealed Wednesday—is specifically aimed at the Sinaloa Cartel and its activities, including narcotics trafficking, hostage taking, and money laundering in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the U.S. and Mexico.

In one case, the cartel used a fashion district business to funnel ransom payments related to a kidnapped U.S. citizen who was held hostage and tortured by cartel members in Mexico.

“The victim, who worked as a distributor for the Sinaloa Cartel, was kidnapped after 100 kilograms of cocaine he was supposed to distribute were seized by U.S. law enforcement,” said Bill Lewis, assistant director in charge of our Los Angeles Field Office. The victim—who was ultimately released and safely returned to the U.S.—was kidnapped because of his drug debt.

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Head Of 'Particularly Dangerous' Japanese Gang Arrested

Julian Ryall at the British newspaper the Telegraph offers a piece on the arrest of a Japanese organized crime leader.

Japanese police have carried out the very public arrest of the head of the Kudo-kai yakuza gang, one of the country's most violent underworld groups.
Watched by hundreds of reporters, including television crews in helicopters hovering overhead, police officers in full riot gear and helmets entered the luxurious home of Satoru Nomura in the city of Kitakyushu, southern Japan.
Shielded by an umbrella before being bundled into the back of an unmarked police van, 67-year-old Nomura was taken into custody on Thursday on suspicion of shooting dead the leader of a local fisheries cooperative in 1998.
Nomura allegedly killed Kunihiro Kajiwara after he refused to assist the Kudo-kai's efforts to make money from a public works project at a nearby port.
The most powerful underworld group in northern Kyushu, the Kudo-kai has a hard core of around 600 active members and a reputation for being swift to resort to violence.

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Look Back At The Horrific Terrorist Attack On 9/11

As today is September 11th, I'm offering a link to my Crime Beat column on the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

I covered the Police-Security Expo in Atlantic City this past June. Sponsored by the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police, the theme of the expo was to prepare to act and respond to terrorism. Previous to 9/11, counterterrorism was largely a federal responsibility, but now police officers have become front line soldiers.

I sat in on a seminar conducted by retired New York Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Dunne. He gave what we used to call in the military a commander’s "after-action report" on the 9/11 attack.

Dunne played tapes of some of the 911 emergency calls, one of which had the voice of a young woman on the 110th floor pleading with the operator to tell her what she should do. The woman paused, and told the operator that she was pregnant. The audience was a tough group of cops and security people, but most of them were touched by the woman’s frantic call for help.

While standing near the towers, Dunne said he thought debris was falling around him, but he discovered that it was people. This, he said, left an indelible image in his mind.

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

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon via the below link: