Saturday, December 20, 2014

83 Philadelphia Police Officers Honored For Acts of Unsung Bravery

Mike Newell at the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a piece on the ceremony honoring 83 Philadelphia police officers for acts of bravery.

Patrolman Michael Minor was driving solo. It was a slow, rainy morning. The radio was quiet. When the call came - a domestic disturbance on Old York Road - Minor, then a seven-year veteran assigned to the 35th District, jumped on it, even though another officer had originally been sent. He was just a few blocks away. And bored.

Pulling up, he saw a man pacing on the porch. It was the father, he'd later find out. Walking up the steps, the front door of the house swung open, and a man stood in the doorway. His eyes wide, his hands concealed, it was the son, Keenan McIntosh.

Minor did not know that McIntosh's mother, Patrice, 50, lay dead in her bedroom, shot once in the side of the head by her son, police say.

Seeing his son in the doorway, the father dropped to the ground, yelling for McIntosh to "drop it, drop it."

Minor grabbed for his weapon, and a quiet morning suddenly became a life-and-death struggle - one that would end with Minor shaken, but alive, and McIntosh in custody on murder charges.

For his actions that Sunday last December, the 41-year-old Minor was one of 83 officers awarded commendations during an awards ceremony Wednesday at the Fraternal Order of Police hall in Northeast Philadelphia. Rows and rows of stiff-backed men and women in dress blues honored for overlooked acts of valor and bravery.

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

Genovese Organized Crime Family Soldier And Two Crime Family Associates Admit Racketeering Conspiracy

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

NEWARK, NJ—Three North Jersey men today admitted conspiring to conduct or participate in the affairs of the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Genovese family”) through a pattern of racketeering activity, including a conspiracy to extort members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) for Christmastime tribute payments, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced.

Stephen Depiro, 59, of Kenilworth, New Jersey, a Genovese family soldier, and two other Genovese family associates – Albert Cernadas, 79, of Union, New Jersey, former president of ILA Local 1235 and former ILA executive vice president; and Nunzio LaGrasso, 64, of Florham Park, New Jersey, former vice president of ILA Local 1478 and ILA representative – pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court. All three pleaded guilty to Count One of the second superseding indictment charging them with racketeering conspiracy. Depiro admitted to predicate acts involving conspiracy to commit extortion and bookmaking. Cernadas and LaGrasso admitted to predicate acts involving conspiracy to commit extortion and multiple extortions.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Since at least 2005, Depiro has managed the Genovese family’s control over the New Jersey waterfront – including the nearly three-decades-long extortion of port workers in ILA Local 1, ILA Local 1235 and ILA Local 1478. Members of the Genovese family, including Depiro, are charged with conspiring to collect tribute payments from New Jersey port workers at Christmastime each year through their corrupt influence over union officials, including the last three presidents of Local 1235 and vice president of ILA Local 1478. Depiro also controlled a sports betting package that was managed by several others, through the use of an overseas sports betting operation.

During their guilty plea proceedings, Depiro, Cernadas and LaGrasso admitted their involvement in the Genovese family, including conspiring to compel tribute payments from ILA union members, who made the payments based on actual and threatened force, violence and fear. Cernadas and LaGrasso admitted to carrying out multiple extortions of dockworkers. The timing of the extortions typically coincided with the receipt by certain ILA members of “Container Royalty Fund” checks, a form of year-end compensation.

The racketeering charge to which Depiro, Cernadas and LaGrasso pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled as follows: Cernadas, Jan. 16, 2015; LaGrasso, March 9, 2015; and Depiro, March 10, 2015.

U.S. Attorneys Fishman and Lynch credited the FBI in New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, and in New York, under the direction of Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas.

They also thanked the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for its cooperation and assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mahajan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.

From Poisoned Cigars To Exploding Seashells: How Half A Century Of Crackpot CIA Plans To Overthrow Fidel Castro Were Born When JFK Invited James Bond Author Ian Fleming To Dinner

In a LIFE magazine piece in the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy listed his favorite 10 books. One of the ten listed was Ian Fleming's James Bond thriller From Russia With Love.  
Darren Boyle at the Daily Mail writes about the 1960 meeting between presidential hopeful and then-Senator Kennedy and Ian Fleming.
According to the piece, the dinner conversation about Fidel Castro led the Kennedy administration to order the CIA to kill Castro and overthrow his communist government.
At the dinner Kennedy asked Fleming, a former British naval intelligence officer who came up with daring and offbeat intelligence plots in WWII, how to deal with Castro. Fleming told Kennedy that Castro had to be humiliated as well as killed.
Although the Daily Mail piece does not mention this, the Fleming suggestions were made partly in jest.
According to Christopher Moran in the Journal of Cold War Studies: 'Fleming suggested flooding the streets of Havana with pamphlets explaining that radioactive fallout from nuclear testing caused impotence and was known to be drawn to men who had beards.
'As a result, Cuban men would shave off their facial hair, thus severing a symbolic link to Castro and the revolution. If this did not work, the CIA should build a religious manifestation, ideally a cross of sorts, and fly it over the Havana skyline in order to induce the Cubans to look skyward.'
Between 1960 and 1965 the CIA considered at least eight plots to assassinate Castro.
On July 25, 1962, a Top Secret document was prepared for the White House outlining Operation Mongoose, which considered the overthrow of Castro.  
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
Note: In my view, if Castro had been killed the Cuban people would have been spared decades of living under his murderous communist dictatorship, and the world would have been a far better place. I believe the Devil has a nice hot spot in Hell waiting for Castro when he finally dies.

Crimes and Detectives, Inc: A New Crime Fiction Blog

R.T., a frequent commentator here, has begun a new crime fiction blog called Crimes and Detectives, Inc.  

R.T., who describes himself as a U.S. Navy retiree (25 years in military justice) and a part-time teacher (15 years in university classrooms), states that reading (and rereading) classic crime fiction has been his guilty pleasure for more than 50 years.

You can check out the crime fiction blog via the below link:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Release The Kracken!: Sony Should Put 'The Interview' On The Internet For Free, To 'Screw Over' North Korea, Krauthammer Says

Matt Wilstein at offers a piece on columnist Charles Krauthammer's view that Sony should place The Internet on the Internet and allow Internet users to view the film for free.

Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer thinks Sony Pictures made “exactly the wrong decision” when they decided to pull The Interview from theaters after receiving terror threats from the North Korea-affiliated hackers that committed a massive cyber-attack on the company last month.

Echoing Mitt Romney (of all people), Krauthammer said he believes Sony should put the film online for free so it is seen be as many people as possible.

Since they are already guaranteed to lose money on the project now that major theater chains have said they will not show it, Krauthammer said they should “write it off” and post it on the internet for free. “It’s a gesture” to the fans, he said. “But also, it doubly screws over Pyongyang.”

You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video of Charles Krauthammer via the below link:

FBI Update in Sony Investigation

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

Today, the FBI would like to provide an update on the status of our investigation into the cyber attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).  In late November, SPE confirmed that it was the victim of a cyber attack that destroyed systems and stole large quantities of personal and commercial data. 

A group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” claimed responsibility for the attack and subsequently issued threats against SPE, its employees, and theaters that distribute its movies.

The FBI has determined that the intrusion into SPE’s network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees’ personally identifiable information and confidential communications.  The attacks also rendered thousands of SPE’s computers inoperable, forced SPE to take its entire computer network offline, and significantly disrupted the company’s business operations.

After discovering the intrusion into its network, SPE requested the FBI’s assistance.  Since then, the FBI has been working closely with the company throughout the investigation.  Sony has been a great partner in the investigation, and continues to work closely with the FBI. Sony reported this incident within hours, which is what the FBI hopes all companies will do when facing a cyber attack.  Sony’s quick reporting facilitated the investigators’ ability to do their jobs, and ultimately to identify the source of these attacks.

As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions.  While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on the following:
  • Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed.  For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.
  • The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. Government has previously linked directly to North Korea.  For example, the FBI discovered that several Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with known North Korean infrastructure communicated with IP addresses that were hardcoded into the data deletion malware used in this attack. 
  • Separately, the tools used in the SPE attack have similarities to a cyber attack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.
We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there.  Further, North Korea’s attack on SPE reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States. 

Though the FBI has seen a wide variety and increasing number of cyber intrusions, the destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart.  North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves.  Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior.  The FBI takes seriously any attempt – whether through cyber-enabled means, threats of violence, or otherwise – to undermine the economic and social prosperity of our citizens.

The FBI stands ready to assist any U.S. company that is the victim of a destructive cyber attack or breach of confidential business information.  Further, the FBI will continue to work closely with multiple departments and agencies as well as with domestic, foreign, and private sector partners who have played a critical role in our ability to trace this and other cyber threats to their source.  Working together, the FBI will identify, pursue, and impose costs and consequences on individuals, groups, or nation states who use cyber means to threaten the United States or U.S. interests.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Little Night Music: 'Sarabande' From The Film 'Barry Lyndon'

I'm very fond of Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon and I'm very fond of the film's music, especially Handel's Sarabande.

Thanks to we can listen to the classic music and watch images from the great film via the below link: