Monday, July 25, 2016

On This Day In History Exotic Dancer And Convicted Spy Mata Hari Sentenced To Die

As notes, on this day in 1917 exotic dancer and convicted spy Mata Hari was sentenced to die in Paris, France.

You can read about Mata Hari via the below link:

Is Cosa Nostra Now Selling Deadly Assault Weapons To Islamist Terrorist Groups?

Mark Townsend at the British newspaper the Guardian offers a piece on the Sicilian Cosa Nostra selling weapons to Islamist terrorist groups.

A huge gun-running operation masterminded by the Sicilian mafia is being investigated by senior police officers for potential links to “terrorist activity across Europe and beyond”.
Anti-mafia prosecutors in Catania are investigating the possibility that Cosa Nostra is supplying assault weapons to organised crime syndicates from north Africa and firearms into the hands of extremists in western Europe.
Decommissioned guns legally procured from the same Slovak dealer, Afg Security, which supplied the “mass casualty” weapons used by Islamists in the Charlie Hebdoand Paris attacks of January 2015, as well as the failed terrorist attack on a TGV in France last August, appear to have ended up in the hands of the mafia.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial: Philly's A Great Place For A Party, But Its Democrats Are A Disgrace

With the Democratic National Convention beginning this week in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer offers an editorial on the Democratic Party's corruption in the City of Brotherly Love.

With new flags on the Parkway, new lights on the boathouses, and new efforts to shelter the homeless, the Democrats who have run Philadelphia for more than half a century have cleaned up the city for the Democratic National Convention.
If only they could clean up themselves.
Given its historic resonance, continuing revival, and convenient location in a politically important state, Philadelphia is a fine place for a convention. The city's chief flaw as a backdrop for the Democrats is, well, the Democrats.
In just the past three years, Philadelphia Democrats have seen a congressman, a state senator, five state representatives, and eight city judges found guilty of corruption. A former city sheriff also faces charges, and our top elections official has come under scrutiny for frequently failing to show up to work or, ironically, vote.
You can read the rest of the editorial via the below link:

You can also read my Crime Beat column on Philadelphia's past political scandals via the below link:

Philly Police, Including Frank Rizzo, Starred In Obscure '60s Cop Show

Stephanie Farr at the Philadelphia Inquirer offers an interesting piece on the discovery of an early reality TV series that featured real Philly cops, including an inspector who would go on to become the police commissioner and then mayor of Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo.

Long after his retirement in 1971, Philadelphia Police Lt. John A. Stevenson would tell his children and grandchildren about the time he starred alongside Frank Rizzo and other Philadelphia officers in one of the first reality-based law enforcement shows on television.
"He always talked about it. It was like family lore," said Dan Stevenson, 40, Stevenson's grandson. "We were like, 'OK, Pop Pop, you were on a TV show.' "
Stevenson insisted he was on a TV show, and it was hosted by Oscar-winning actor Lee Marvin. It was just that the show never aired in Philadelphia, so nobody here ever saw it, Stevenson told his family.
"He used to say, 'I'm waiting for the calls to come in from Hollywood for me to be a movie star,' " said Stevenson's son John Jr., 69, a retired Philadelphia police officer. "So we always thought he was embellishing."
... Each episode of Lawbreaker was set in a different city and starred police officers playing themselves in reenactments of crimes they had investigated or situations they had de-escalated.
Dan Stevenson went through the 30-minute episodes, searching for his grandfather. When he came upon one of the two episodes set in Philadelphia and saw Rizzo, he got butterflies.
You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video clip of the TV program via the below link:

Happy Belated Birthday To Raymond Chandler

As notes, yesterday was the birthday of Raymond Chandler, the late author of The Big Sleep, The Little Sister, Farewell My Lovely and other great crime novels featuring his private detective character, Philip Marlowe.

He was born in 1888. He died in 1959.

You can read about his life and work via the below link:

You can also read my Crime Beat column on Raymond Chandler and his influence on books and films via the below link:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Chinese National Who Conspired To Hack Into U.S. Defense Contractors’ Systems Sentenced To 46 Months In Federal Prison

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

A Chinese national who admitted to participating in a years-long conspiracy that involved Chinese military officers hacking into the computer networks of major U.S. defense contractors in order to steal military technical data was sentenced today to 46 months in federal prison.
Today’s sentencing was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California.
“Su Bin’s sentence is a just punishment for his admitted role in a conspiracy with hackers from the People's Liberation Army Air Force to illegally access and steal sensitive U.S. military information,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Su assisted the Chinese military hackers in their efforts to illegally access and steal designs for cutting-edge military aircraft that are indispensable to our national defense.  These activities have serious consequences for the national security of our country and the safety of the men and women of our armed services.  This prison sentence reinforces our commitment to ensure that hackers, regardless of state affiliation, are held accountable for their criminal conduct.”
“Protecting our national security interests, including sensitive military information, is the Justice Department’s highest priority,” said U.S. Attorney Decker.  “Over the course of years, this defendant sought to undermine the national security of the United States by seeking out information that would benefit a foreign government and providing that country with information it had never before seen.  The outstanding efforts of the prosecutors and investigators who developed this case demonstrate our commitment to protecting our nation’s security from all threats.  As this case shows, criminals can be held accountable no matter where they are located in the world.”
Su Bin, who is also known as Stephen Su and Stephen Subin, 51, a citizen and resident of the People’s Republic of China, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder of the Central District of California.
Su told his co-conspirators – military officers in China – whom to target, which files to steal and why the information they stole was significant.  During the course of the conspiracy, Su and his co-conspirators stole sensitive military and export-controlled data and sent the stolen information to China.
On March 23, Su pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer and to violate the Arms Export Control Act by exporting defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List contained in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.  Su admitted that he conspired with two persons in China from October 2008 to March 2014 to gain unauthorized access to protected computer networks in the United States – including computers belonging to the Boeing Company in Orange County, California – to obtain sensitive military information and to export that information illegally from the United States to China.
A criminal complaint filed in 2014 and subsequent indictments filed in Los Angeles charged Su, a China-based businessman in the aviation and aerospace fields, for his role in the criminal conspiracy to steal military technical data, including data relating to the C-17 strategic transport aircraft and certain fighter jets produced for the U.S. military. Su was initially arrested in Canada in July 2014 on a warrant issued in relation to this case. Su ultimately waived extradition and consented to be conveyed to the United States in February 2016.
Su admitted that as part of the conspiracy, he sent e-mails to his co-conspirators with guidance regarding what persons, companies and technologies to target during their computer intrusions. One of Su’s co-conspirators gained access to information located on computers of U.S. companies, and he emailed Su directory file listings and folders showing the data that the co-conspirator had been able to access. Su then directed his co-conspirator as to which files and folders his co-conspirator should steal. Once the co-conspirator stole the data, using techniques to avoid detection when hacking the victim computers, Su translated the contents of certain stolen data from English into Chinese. In addition, acoording to Su's admissions and the sentencing documents, Su and his co-conspirators each wrote, revised and emailed reports addressed to the Second Department, General Staff Headquarters, Chinese People’s Liberation Army about the information and technology they had acquired by their hacking activities, including its value, to the final beneficiaries of their hacking activities. Su also admitted that he engaged in the crime for the purpose of financial gain and specifically sought to profit from selling the data the he and his conspirators illegally acquired.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office’s Cyber Division with assistance from the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California’s Terrorism and Export Crimes Section and Trial Attorney Casey Arrowood and Senior Trial Attorney Robert E. Wallace of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, with support from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

Shooting At McDonald's In Munich

The British newspaper the Daily Mail offers coverage of the shooting at a McDonald's restaurant in a mall in Munich, Germany.

You can read the report and view photos and video clips via the below link: