Saturday, April 28, 2012

Al Qaeda's Intent High, Capability Low, John Miller Says

CBS News' John Miller discusses the possiblity of a terrorist attack on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

Al Qaeda's intent to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden is high, but the terror group's capability, for now, is low, says John Miller.

Sources tell CBS News there has been an increase in messages on jihadist extremist websites calling for terror attacks on May 2, the anniversary of last year's U.S. Navy SEALs raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

There has been no indication of any credible, specific attacks, said Miller - a former deputy director at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence - on "CBS This Morning." 

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

Defense Secretary Says U.S. Remains Focused On Pursuit Of Al-Qaida

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service
ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, April 27, 2012 - America has become a safer place since a Navy SEAL team killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan compound nearly a year ago, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today.
Returning from a weeklong trip to South America to strengthen military ties in Colombia, Brazil and Chile, Panetta, who was director of the CIA on May 2, 2011, when the al-Qaida chieftain met his end, recalled the high-risk mission the Defense Department called Operation Neptune Spear.
"I don't think there's any question that America is safer as a result of the bin Laden operation," Panetta told reporters traveling with him.
"When you combine that with the other operations that have ... gone after al-Qaida leadership," he added, "I think it has weakened al-Qaida as an organization and certainly it has prevented them from having the command-and-control capability to be able to put together an attack similar to 9/11.
But al-Qaida remains a threat, the secretary said.
"It doesn't mean that we somehow don't have the responsibility to keep going after them wherever they are -- and we are," he said.
President Barack Obama's decision to give the bin Laden operation the green light was gutsy, the secretary said, since there wasn't absolute confirmation that bin Laden was inside the Abbottabad compound.
Officials had based the operation "on a lot of circumstantial evidence," the secretary said, yet it was the best lead on bin Laden's whereabouts since 2001.
However, the validity of the evidence, he said, was "still a big question mark."
Panetta said the operation provided "several fingernail-biting moments" for U.S. officials and military leaders who from Afghanistan, the CIA operations center and the White House were monitoring the raid as it happened.
One of those anxious moments occurred, the secretary said, when the military aircraft used in the operation -- two lead helicopters plus backups -- entered Pakistani airspace.
"When they crossed the border and were going into Pakistan there were a lot of tense moments about whether or not they would be detected," Panetta said.
Another nail-biting moment occurred as the helicopters entered the Abbottabad compound and one of them lost lift and had to be left behind and destroyed, Panetta said.
"What had happened was that we had picked up from weather reports what the heat conditions were going to be on the ground," the secretary said, "but it turned out to be hotter than we expected."
The heat, intensified by the compound's thick, high walls, caused the helicopter to lose lift and end up on the ground.
Panetta was at that time on the line with Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. McRaven was monitoring communications from Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
After the loss of the helicopter, Panetta recalled asking McRaven, "Okay, what's next?" The admiral, the secretary said, replied, "Don't worry, we're ready for this."
There was additional tension during a 20-minute period of silence that began after the SEALs entered the building where everyone hoped they would find bin Laden, the secretary said. Then they heard weapons fire.
"We knew gunshots had been fired but after that I just didn't know," Panetta said. It was at that point that McRaven reported that he might have heard the code word -- Geronimo -- that would mean they had found bin Laden.
"We still were waiting, and then within a few minutes McRaven said the words, 'Geronimo KIA,'" the secretary said, which meant that bin Laden had been killed in action.
"And that was that," Panetta said.
It was also tense when the team got back into the helicopters and began to leave the compound, he said.
"By that time they had blown [up] the helicopter that was down and you knew that we had woken up all of Pakistan to the fact that something had happened," Panetta said.
The concern revolved around what the Pakistanis were thinking and how they would respond, and whether the team could get out without problems, he said.
"The moment they crossed the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, we finally knew that the mission had been accomplished," Panetta said.
Yet, he said, there were no cheers or high-fives at the CIA's operations center.
"We had some special forces people at the operations center at CIA and we all kind of looked at each other," Panetta said. "As a matter of fact, I have a picture in my office of all of us putting our arms around each other, just [acknowledging that] we got the job done."
Today, nearly a year after bin Laden's demise, the United States and its allies continue to hunt down al-Qaida and other terrorists -- wherever they may be.
"The more successful we are at taking down those who represent their spiritual and ideological leadership, the greater our ability to weaken their threat to this country and to other countries," Panetta said. 

The Mystery Writers Of America Announced The Winners Of The 2012 Edgar Awards

Dianna Dilworth at offered a report on the announment of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award.

The annual prize is named after beloved Edgar Allan Poe and awarded to the best authors in the mystery genre since 1945.

You can read the rest of the piece and link the list of the Edgar winners via the below link: 

Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Reasons Why Sean Connery Should Return To Acting

Steve Tilly at the Toronto Sun offers 5 reasons why Sean Connery, one of my favorite actors, should return to acting.

Sean Connery, where the blazes are you?

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of James Bond's cinematic debut, we can't help but wonder what it would take to coax the man who gave us the original (and by many estimations, the best) 007 out of his self-imposed retirement and back onto the silver screen.

We realize that Connery, 81, is not the swaggering, sculpted rogue who introduced the moviegoing world to Bond in 1962's Dr. No. And just to be clear, we're not asking Connery to come back and play a geriatric Bond. It was painful enough watching Harrison Ford don the fedora again for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a movie for which Connery politely and perhaps wisely declined to reprise his role as Indy's dad.

Still, the world of film and of celebrity in general is a poorer place without Connery in it. Here's why we need him to come back.

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

Note: I'd like to see Sean Connery come out of retirement and play the sort of roles Michael Caine, his friend and contemporary, plays in films today.

But if Sean Connery prefers to remain in retirement, we still have a good number of his great films that we can watch again and again, such as Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Hill, The Man Who Would be King, Robin and Marion, The Hunt for Red October, The Great Train Robbery, Zardoz, The Wind and the Lion, The Untouchables and The Offense. 

You can visit an earlier post and learn more about Sean Connery and see photos via the below link:

Transcripts Show Reputed New England Mob Boss' Violent Streak

Milton J. Valencia at the Boston Globe reports on the prosecutor's arguments that the reputed New England Cosa Nostra crime family boss has a propensity for violence and should be denied bail.

The man owed him money, tens of thousands of dollars for the purchase of his cheese shop in the North End, and Anthony DiNunzio was furious and wanted to send a message.

“So I grabbed him,’’ DiNunzio, the reputed boss of the New England Mafia, allegedly told an associate last December.

“Twenty-five [thousand dollars] comes to me.’’
DiNunzio’s associate, a senior member of the Gambino family, was sympathetic. And he responded, “He’s going to pay the twenty-five.’’
“Oh, yeah,’’ DiNunzio said, laughing and insinuating that if the payment wasn’t made, “I’ll kill him.’’

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

You can also read the U.S. Justice Department's release on the DiNunzio case via the below link: 

A Look Back At Don Siegel's Great Crime Films

I'm a big fan of the late film director Don Siegel.

I often watch his films again whenever I catch them on TV, especially his great crime films, like Madigan, with Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda (seen in the above photo with Don Siegel on the left), Coogan's Bluff  and Dirty Harry, both with Clint Eastwood, and Charley Varrick, with Walter Matthau.

Siegal also made a good spy thriller with Michael Caine called The Black Windmill and he directed John Wayne's last film, a great Western called The Shootist. 

Oliver Lyttelton at takes a look back at Don Siegal and five of his notable films.

In the credits to his masterpiece "Unforgiven," Clint Eastwood included a dedication: "for Don Siegel and Sergio Leone." Leone was a no-brainer, one of the great filmmakers who worked with Clint on a trio of films ("The Good The Bad And The Ugly," "A Fistful Of Dollars" and "For A Few Dollars More"). But Siegel was less beloved of cinephiles. A cosmopolitan Chicago native who studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, he started directing montages at Warner Bros. (including the opening scene of "Casablanca"), before breaking into features, with a string of B-movies with everyone from Robert Mitchum to Elvis Presley (the latter on 1960's "Flaming Star"), but became most notable for his work with Eastwood on five pictures from 1968's "Coogan's Bluff" to 1979's "Escape From Alcatraz."

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

A News Columnist With His Own Secret

Terry Teachout at the Wall Street Journal offers a look back at newspaper columnist Joseph Alsop, the subject of a new play called The Columnist.

Nobody remembers Joseph Alsop now, but in his day he was as famous as a journalist could be. A white-shoe-leather political columnist who went from Groton to Harvard to the New York Herald Tribune in three easy steps, he spent the whole of his life rubbing elbows with powerful pols whom he flattered assiduously, then wrote about in his widely read newspaper column. He was also a closeted homosexual who mistakenly supposed that no one knew of his after-hours inclinations. In fact, Mr. Alsop's friends were well aware that he was gay—and so were his enemies.

David Auburn's "The Columnist," which opened on Broadway this week, hinges on something that happened to Mr. Alsop when he visited Moscow in 1957, at the height of the Cold War. It seems that he picked up a young man at a party and spent the night with him, not knowing that the fellow in question was a KGB operative and that he had inadvertently stumbled into what is known to intelligence agents as a "honey trap." Mr. Alsop and his companion were secretly photographed having sex, and the next day the columnist was informed that if he didn't agree to serve as an "agent of influence" for the Soviet Union after returning to America, he would be exposed as a homosexual, thrown in jail and left to rot.

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

Note: The above photo is of Joseph Alsop and the below photo is of actor John Lithgow, who portray Alsop in The Columnist.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ex-CIA Chief Defends Waterboarding Of Al Qaeda Leader offers a preview of the 60 Minutes interview with Jose Rodriguez, a former CIA chief  and author of Hard Measures.

Jose Rodriguez has no regrets about using the "enhanced interrogation techniques" - methods that some consider torture -- on al Qaeda detainees questioned after 9/11 and denies charges they didn't work. The former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service talks to Lesley Stahl about those methods, including waterboarding, for the first time and defends their use - even comparing them to the current policy of killing al Qaeda leaders with drone strikes. The Rodriguez interview will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Rodriguez says everything his interrogators did to top-level terrorists like Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah was legal and effective. "We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days," he tells Stahl. "I am very secure in what we did and am very confident that what we did saved American lives," says Rodriguez, who has written a book on the subject called "Hard Measures."

You can read the rest of the piece and watch a short preview of the interview via the below link:

Alleged Classified Documents Leaker's Trial Set For September

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
FORT MEADE, Md., April 26, 2012 - Army Pfc. Bradley Manning will go to trial this fall to face charges that he leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents in what's believed to be the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
Army Col. Denise Lind, the judge presiding over three days of motion hearings here, scheduled the trial to begin Sept. 21 and continue through Oct. 12.
The defense will get to decide if the case will be heard by a judge alone, by a jury to consist of all officers, or by a mixed panel that includes one third enlisted members from within Manning's current command, the Army's Military District of Washington.
During the hearings, Lind rejected the defense's argument yesterday that all 22 charges against him Manning should be dismissed.
Today, she also upheld the most serious charge against him, that he aided the enemy by disclosing classified military and diplomatic documents material to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks, in turn, released thousands of these documents, including classified records about military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, on its website.
Lind specified today that the prosecution must prove that Manning disclosed the data with a clear understanding that the enemy would have access to it.
The decision followed three days of oral arguments, with the discussion centered largely on Manning's intent in disclosing the classified documents and what damage resulted.
The defense, led by civilian counsel David Coombs, argued that Manning never intended to aid the enemy when he provided the information to WikiLeaks.
The government called Manning's intent immaterial and said he should be tried based solely on his actions. "Why he did something isn't relevant," Army Maj. Ashden Fein, the lead prosecutor, told the judge. What is relevant at this point, he said, is what Manning actually did and how he did it.
Aiding the enemy under Article 104 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice is a capital offense; however, the prosecution team has said it won't recommend the death penalty, a legal official said.
The maximum sentence Manning could receive, if found guilty of the charge, is life in prison.
He also could be reduced to E-1, the lowest enlisted grade, face a total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and dishonorable discharge, officials said.
Lind upheld other lesser charges against Manning, rejecting the defense's claim the government imposed "unreasonable multiplication of charges," essentially piling on duplicate charges for the same acts. She said she found no evidence that the prosecution exaggerated Manning's criminality or otherwise "overreached" in compiling charges against him.
The judge did, however, leave the door open for combining charges in the event that Manning is found guilty and the case moves into the sentencing phase. This could reduce the length of any sentence imposed, a military legal official explained.
The defense team reiterated its call for the government to provide assessments of damages actually caused by the disclosures, calling this information critical to its case. Coombs argued today that the government's failure to provide a full accounting of harm done demonstrates that the disclosures actually had minimal impact.
Fein said the burden of proving actual damages isn't the government's responsibility, and that that information, should it be considered at all, should be reserved until sentencing.
Lind did not say when she will rule on the defense's request for damage assessments. She said she will review these documents personally to determine if the defense team should have access to them.
The judge also has yet to consider a new prosecution request to reconsider her directive that the State Department share its interim damage assessment report findings.
Lind ruled yesterday that the prosecution does not have to provide the defense team transcripts of federal grand jury testimony regarding the WikiLeaks case. Although the FBI has been involved in the WikiLeaks investigation, the judge said the military has no authority to release the FBI information.
Manning sat emotionless in the courtroom wearing his Army service uniform during the three days of oral arguments. He followed the proceedings closely, periodically jotting notes on a yellow pad or leaning toward Coombs or his new military defense attorney, Army Capt. Joshua Tooman, to whisper a comment or peek at a document.
The 24-year-old military intelligence analyst was arrested at Contingency Operating Base Hammer near Baghdad, Iraq, May 25, 2010. A former 10th Mountain Division soldier, he is accused of installing unauthorized software onto government computers to extract classified information, unlawfully downloading it, improperly storing it, and transmitting the data for public release and use by the enemy.
The specific charges, as outlined on his charge sheet, include aiding the enemy; wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy; theft of public property or records; transmitting defense information; and fraud and related activity in connection with computers. The charges include violation of Army Regulations 25-2 "Information Assurance" and 380-5 "Department of the Army Information Security Program."
Manning has not issued a plea on these charges.
Along with the trial dates, Lind scheduled additional hearings related to the case: June 6 to 8; July 16 to 20; Aug. 27 to 31; and Sept. 19 to 20. The hearings will focus on specific elements related to each charge to ensure a common understanding as both sides prepare their cases, as well as other procedural items.

Two Alleged members Of The Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra Crime Family Charged In Second Superseding Indictment

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information today:
WASHINGTON – Two alleged members of the Philadelphia organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (LCN) were arrested today on racketeering charges contained in a second superseding indictment, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge George C. Venizelos of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office.
Joseph Licata, 70, of Florham Park, N.J., and Louis Fazzini, 45, of Caldwell, N.J., were arrested today in the Newark, N.J., area and will make initial court appearances in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia at 1:30 p.m. EST. They are each charged with racketeering conspiracy. According to the second superseding indictment, Licata served as a “caporegime” of North Jersey crew of the Philadelphia LCN Family and supervised Louis Fazzini, a fully initiated or “made” member of this crew, in the operation of an illegal sports gambling business and other activities.
The 52-count second superseding indictment also charges 12 defendants who were previously charged in a May 23, 2011, superseding indictment: Philadelphia LCN Family acting boss Joseph Ligambi, Philadelphia LCN Family underboss Joseph Massimino, George Borgesi, Martin Angelina, Anthony Staino Jr., Gaeton Lucibello, Damion Canalichio, Louis Barretta, Gary Battaglini, Robert Verrecchia, Eric Esposito and Robert Ranieri.
The second superseding indictment adds two new charges against Philadelphia LCN Family acting boss Ligambi relating to theft from an employee benefit plan administered by the Teamsters Health and Welfare Fund of Philadelphia and Vicinity. According to the second superseding indictment, from 2003 to 2011, Ligambi unlawfully caused the Teamsters Health and Welfare Fund of Philadelphia and Vicinity to pay the cost of health benefits provided to him and several of his family members through a “no show” job at Top Job Disposal, a Philadelphia-based waste hauling and removal company. As a “no show” employee, he performed no work or productive services for Top Job Disposal, while still receiving pay and health benefits.
The second superseding indictment alleges that for more than a decade, 11 of the defendants, including Ligambi as the acting boss and Massimino as the underboss, as well as other members and associates of the Philadelphia LCN Family in Philadelphia and New Jersey, conspired to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Philadelphia LCN Family through a pattern of racketeering activity and through the collection of unlawful debts. The alleged racketeering activity includes numerous acts involving extortion, extortionate extensions of credit through usurious loans, extortionate collections, illegal gambling, witness tampering and theft from an employee benefit plan. The organization’s collection of unlawful debts allegedly relates to its loan sharking operations and debts that arose from their illegal gambling businesses.
According to the second superseding indictment, the defendants promoted and furthered their illegal money-making activities through violence, actual and implied threats, and the cultivation and exploitation of the Philadelphia LCN Family’s long-standing reputation for violence. The defendants also used this reputation for violence to intimidate and prevent victims and witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement. The second superseding indictment alleges various instances where defendants used phrases such as “chop him up” and “put a bullet in your head” when threatening victims. In one instance, Canalicho allegedly used a bat to beat a victim for not paying a loan debt.
The second superseding indictment alleges that some of the defendants continued their racketeering activities even after being sent to prison. For example, Borgesi and Massimino, while in prison, allegedly generated criminal proceeds for themselves and the Philadelphia LCN Family by using intermediaries to operate criminal businesses and to make extortionate demands at their direction.
Each charge of racketeering conspiracy, collection of unlawful debt, collection of extensions of credit through extortionate means, making extortionate extensions of credit, financing extortionate extensions of credit and witness tampering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The illegal gambling and theft from an employee benefit plan charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney John S. Han of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank A. Labor III for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Valuable prosecutorial assistance was provided by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New Jersey State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the Employee Benefits Security Administration. Additional assistance was provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Cool Navy Photo: Carrier All-Hands Swim Call

Capt. John D. Alexander, left, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Command Master Chief Susan Whitman, Capt. Timothy Kuehhas, executive officer, and Rear Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9, jump from an aircraft elevator aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier during an all-hands swim call.

The Abraham Lincoln is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The above U.S. Navy photo was taken by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zachary S. Welch.

Note: You can click on the above photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Alleged Acting New England Crime Boss Anthony Dinunzio Charged In Racketeering And Extortion Consiracy

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

Anthony L. Dinunzio, 53, of East Boston, Mass., the alleged leader of the New England organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (NELCN), was arrested today on racketeering and extortion charges.
The arrest and charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Peter F. Neronha, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island; Richard Deslauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare.
Dinunzio was ordered detained following an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I. A third superseding indictment returned on April 24, 2012, and unsealed today in the District of Rhode Island, alleges, among other things, that Dinunzio and other leaders, members and associates of the NELCN extorted protection payments from adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island.
“According to the indictment unsealed today, as the leader of the New England LCN for more than two years, Mr. Dinunzio used fear and intimidation to control the corrupt activities of his criminal enterprise,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Among other charged criminal conduct, he allegedly asked an LCN member to extort a businessman in the adult entertainment industry and told others he would use violence against insubordinates. These charges are another step in our unrelenting efforts to stamp out the mafia.”
“This superseding indictment is the latest in a step by step, block by block, effort by this office, our partners in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, the FBI, the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department to charge, prosecute and send to federal prison long-time members of, and in particular, the leadership of, organized crime,” said U.S. Attorney Neronha.
“The FBI and its law enforcement partners have shattered Omerta, the New England LCN’s code of silence. In doing so , we have severely disrupted their criminal activity,” said FBI SAC DesLauriers. “Our persistent, methodical, and unyielding investigation of those who are part of the LCN and other groups will not stop. Looking forward, organized crime groups and transnational criminal enterprises are emerging from every corner of the globe. Through our task-force and intelligence based model, our joint efforts will continue to disrupt and dismantle emerging organized crime syndicates to prevent their entrenchment in our communities.”
Dinunzio is charged with one count each of racketeering and extortion, and five counts of travel in aid of racketeering. Since January 2011, he is the ninth alleged leader, underboss, member or associate of the NELCN to be indicted by a federal grand jury in Providence on federal racketeering and related charges. Five of the defendants, including admitted longtime former NELCN underboss and boss Luigi Manocchio and admitted capo regime Edward Lato, have pleaded guilty and are detained while awaiting sentencing. A sixth defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Dec. 12, 2011, to 30 months in prison.
The third superseding indictment alleges that Anthony Dinunzio, a member and capo of the NELCN, assumed a leadership role of the NELCN in late 2009 and early 2010, and ultimately became the acting boss. This superseding indictment alleges that Dinunzio participated with other NELCN members and associates in a racketeering conspiracy in which monthly cash payments for protection of $2,000 to $6,000 were demanded from the owners and operators of several adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island. Several of those NELCN members and associates have previously pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. This superseding indictment also alleges that on several occasions, at Dinunzio’s direction, crime family members from New England, New York and New Jersey were consulted with and/or traveled to Massachusetts to discuss various criminal activities and crime family matters. Dinunzio also allegedly directed NELCN members to travel to various locations, including New York, for meetings to discuss various criminal activities and crime family matters.
According to this indictment, it is alleged that one such meeting occurred on Nov. 3, 2009, in Boston, at a wake of an NELCN member’s mother, and later that same evening at a local restaurant. During these meetings, Dinunzio and another NELCN member allegedly discussed, among other things, the distribution of proceeds from the extortion of the Rhode Island adult entertainment businesses. Dinunzio allegedly indicated that a portion of those extorted monies would now be coming to him and to the NELCN leadership in Boston. Previously, as alleged, the money had been going to former Rhode Island NELCN boss Luigi Manocchio who had stepped down as boss in 2009.
In addition, this indictment alleges that in late 2009 or early 2010, Dinunzio asked another NELCN member to extort money from a prominent businessman in the adult entertainment industry in Rhode Island, who had paid protection money to the Gambino crime family from New York over the years. Dinunzio allegedly dispatched an NELCN member to New York to meet with Gambino crime family members on several occasions to receive Gambino family permission to extort money from the businessman for businesses he was operating in New England.
According to this indictment, it is alleged that on June 22, 2011, Dinunzio met with a senior made member of the Gambino crime family at a restaurant in Malden, Mass. Dinunzio allegedly discussed the extortion of the Rhode Island strip clubs, indicating that “it is still going.” Dinunzio also discussed a May 5, 2011, FBI search of his person and the seizure of $5,000 cash in alleged protection money paid by Rhode Island businesses and brought to him by a NELCN leader from Rhode Island.
In this June 22, 2011, meeting with a senior Gambino crime family member, Dinunzio allegedly discussed the rules for joining the NELCN. In discussing a fellow LCN member, Dinunzio allegedly stated, “You know what I can’t understand? How the hell did he get made, because he’s half Irish…I don’t understand that...that’s not the rules…you gotta do one hundred percent (Italian).” Referring to a person sponsored for membership, Dinunzio allegedly stated, ‘I said he’s good.’ For ten years he waited. Then he come and see me and said ‘Thank you Anthony. You know I’m with you all the way.’ He deserved it though.”
According to this indictment, at the same June 22, 2010, meeting with a senior Gambino crime family member, Dinunzio allegedly discussed his NELCN leadership style stating, “As soon as I took over I changed everything. One guy… ‘What if nobody wants to listen to you?’ ‘I said you’re shelved.’ He said ‘What if they don’t wanna get shelved?’ ‘Well then you and I get to watch you die in the ground….I’ll bury you right in the [expletive] ground puts all the dirt. You’re alive. They stay there. I’ll stay there [expletive] 10 hours until you’re dead. And I’ll dig you back up and make sure you’re dead.’”
The indictment alleges that Dinunzio continued to be concerned about the investigation, arrests of other members and possible government cooperators in the case. The third superseding indictment alleges that despite these concerns, he continued to try to get other members to assist in running the Rhode Island part of the criminal enterprise. At one point, during a Dec. 7, 2011, meeting with a senior Gambino made member, Dinunzio allegedly commented, “If I go to the can. I’m still the boss…no matter what.”
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland for the District of Rhode Island. The matter is being investigated by the FBI, Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department. 

5 Things You May Not Know About 'The Third Man'

Oliver Lyttelton at offers an interesting piece on one of my favorite films, The Third Man.

Thirty-six years ago today, on April 25th, 1976, filmmaker Carol Reed passed away. One of the greatest directors ever to come out of the U.K., Reed started out as an actor, but gained fame as a writer-director in the late 1930s and 1940s, thanks to films like "Night Train To Munich," and the outstanding "Odd Man Out" and "The Fallen Idol." Later, he'd also find success with films like "Trapeze," "Our Man In Havana," "The Agony and the Ecstasy" and "Oliver!," for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director, beating out Stanley Kubrick's "2001" and Gillo Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers."

But Reed's undisputed masterpiece is "The Third Man," a 1949 film noir based on a screenplay by the great British writer Graham Greene. The film involves a writer of Westerns, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), who comes to post-war Vienna after being promised a job by his childhood friend Harry Lime. On arriving, he discovers that Lime had seemingly been killed shortly beforehand. However, he soon finds out, through investigating with Lime's girlfriend Anna (Alida Valli) that his old pal had been stealing and diluting penicillin from military hospitals, leading to the death of children, and that Lime (indelibly played by Orson Welles) is still alive.

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

You can watch some of the footage from the great film via the below link:

And you can listen to a reading of Graham Greene's The Third Man via the below link:

Note: the above photo is of Orson Welles as Harry Lime and the below photo shows is of Third Man director Carol Reed and writer Graham Greene.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Defense Service Enhances Intelligence Capabilities

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 - The Defense Department has begun a new effort to better integrate defense intelligence with the broader intelligence community and make the department a better, more versatile organization, a senior Pentagon spokesman told reporters today.

"What we've done here is we've formed a new effort here called the Defense Clandestine Service," said Navy Capt. John Kirby, the deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for media operations (seen in the above photo). "It's essentially designed to integrate defense intelligence capabilities with the broader intelligence community by leveraging unique military capabilities.

"It's also designed to further professionalize our intelligence workforce and offer some career progression inside the intelligence community," Kirby added. "And we'll also provide general direct support, not only to DOD collection, but also to the intelligence community's collection."

Kirby said the intent is to use "existing capabilities and existing personnel to better focus on this particular kind of intelligence."

He noted this new, joint effort, which has already began, is intended to be complementary to other intelligence efforts.

"I think the practical result will be a rebalancing of our efforts and our focus on the human side of intelligence collection," Kirby said. "We're very, very proficient at the technical side of intelligence collection and I think this will help us get a little bit better at the human intelligence effort."

Another benefit of this new effort, according to Kirby, will be better career progression for military officers in the intelligence community as "another professional track for they can pursue."

Kirby noted while the Defense Clandestine Service is a DOD initiative, it will be in support and complementary to the Director of National Intelligence's work.

"Yes, there are other intelligence communities who do this and they will continue to do this," Kirby said. "This isn't about supplanting anybody, it's not about taking over anything, it's not about militarization of intelligence collection; it's about making us better contributors to the overall team effort."

Kirby emphasized this initiative will build upon the best intelligence practices and lessons learned during the past decade.

"We're a learning organization and we've learned a lot over the last 10 years," he said, "and one of the things we've learned is that we can do better in this realm and we can contribute better to the intelligence community across the interagency in this realm."

Boston Chooses Life-Size Statute Of Edgar Allan Poe For The Boston Square Dedicated To The Writer

Johanna Kaiser at reports on Boston's selection of a life-size statue to commemorate the writer's ties to Boston. (Your move, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City).

American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe is set to return to the city of his birth in the form of a bronze statue standing in the Boston square dedicated to him.

The Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston announced Monday that a life-size statue depicting Poe striding through Boston--trunk in hand, a raven at his side, a heart and papers trailing behind him--has been chosen to stand in Edgar Allan Poe Square, a tree-lined, brick plaza at the intersection of Boylston Street and Charles Street South, two blocks north of where Poe was born in 1809.
You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pentagon Launches Defense Clandestine Service To Work Alongside CIA Overseas

The Washington Post offers a piece on the creation of a new Defense Department intelligence organization.

The Pentagon is rebranding and reorganizing its clandestine spy shop, sending more of its case officers to work alongside CIA officers to gather intelligence in places like China, after a decade of focusing intensely on war zones.

Several hundred case officers will make up the new Defense Clandestine Service. Drawn from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the officers will be sent to beef up U.S. intelligence teams in areas that are now receiving more attention. Those include Africa, where al-Qaida is increasingly active, to parts of Asia where the North Korean missile threat and Chinese military expansion are causing increasing U.S. concern.

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

Her Majesty's Secret Servant Is Celebrating 15 Years On The Internet

The always interesting James Bond web site Her Majesty's Secret Servant announced that they are celebrating 15 years on the Internet this month.

HMSS celebrates its 15th anniversary this month. The Web site began as the “toy train” of founders/co-publishers Paul Baack and Tom Zielinski. The duo decided it’d be “rather fun” if some of the regular posters on the old newsgroup could contribute to an “e-magazine” centered around the special world of James Bond.

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

Philadelphia Man Sentenced To 400 Months In Prison For Role In Violent Home Invasion Robberies Of Business Owners In Four States

The U.S. Department of Justice released the below information today:
WASHINGTON – Tahn Le, 44, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 400 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to commit violent home invasion robberies of successful Asian business owners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
U.S. District Court Judge Legrome D. Davis also ordered Le to serve five years of supervised release following his prison term and to pay $112,689 in restitution. After a four-day trial, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found Tahn Le guilty on Jan. 20, 2012, of conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce through multiple home invasion robberies and related firearms violations. To date, seven co-defendants have pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing: Teo Van Bui, Buu Huu Truong, Thach Van Nguyen, Den Van Nguyen, Denise Novelli, Sidney Biggs and Hung T. Ngo.
According to evidence presented at trial, Le and his co-defendants targeted successful Asian business owners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia for home invasion robberies because they believed that the owners stored significant amounts of business proceeds in their homes. In carrying out the robberies, the defendants brandished handguns, tied up, and in some instances, beat their victims, and stole business proceeds as well as expensive jewelry.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John S. Han and Robert Livermore of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.
The case was investigated by the FBI; the Poconos Township, Penn., Police Department; the Freehold Borough, N.J., Police Department; the Monroe Township, N.J., Police Department; and the Fairfax County, Va., Police Department. Additional assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Joseph Wambaugh's Officers Hit the Beat In 'Harbor Nocturne'

Rege Behe at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review talks to Joseph Wambaugh about his East Pittsburgh background, his years as an LAPD cop and his latest novel, Harbor Nocturne.

Perhaps the key to Wambaugh's success as a fiction writer lies in the truth of his work. He never strikes a false note because it is all true. Although he resigned as an Los Angeles policeman in 1974 after 14 years of service, he maintains friendships with his peers and develops relationships with succeeding generation of officers, or "coppers" as he lovingly refers to them.

It is their stories he tells, and the more than 50 people he thanks in the acknowledgements of "Harbor Nocturne" are proof of his ongoing quest for veracity.

"All the anecdotes in the book came from them," Wambaugh says. "I didn't invent anything. I just take the material they give me, and I shape it. I don't have the imagination to come up with all of this stuff with each book. My gosh, I couldn't write anything without these people."

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

You can also read my review of Joseph Wambaugh's Harbor Nocturne, which appeared in the Washington Times, via the below link: 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How A Double Agent And Her Dog Nearly Lost Us The War: The Murky World Of The D-Day Spies

Christopher Hudson at the British newspaper the Daily Mail reviews Ben Macintrye's new book, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

Winston Churchill's admiring account of the British Secret Service could stand as a description of this book.

"Tangle within tangle, plot and counter-plot, ruse and treachery, cross and double-cross, true agent, false agent, double agent, gold and steel, the bomb, the dagger and the firing party, were interwoven in many a texture so intricate as to be incredible, and yet true."

It all came together in the gigantic deception mounted in 1944 to persuade Hitler that the D-Day landings in 1944 would be around Calais, miles away from the Normandy Coast.

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

You can also read an earlier post on Ben Macintyre's Double Cross and watch a video of Macintyre discussing his book via the below link: 

Bram Stoker: 10 Facts About the Author of 'Dracula'

Martin Chilton at the British newspaper the Telegraph offers 10 facts about Bram Stoker, the author of the classic novel Dracula.

Bram Stoker wrote 12 novels, including Dracula and The Jewel of Seven Stars, and also published collections of short stories. Dracula (1897) was originally titled The Undead. As Dracula says: “My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side.” To date, more than 1000 novels and 200 films have been made about the vampire Dracula.

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

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Washington Times Review Of Joseph Wambaugh's New Cop Novel 'Harbor Nocturne'

My review of Joseph Wambaugh's new novel, Harbor Nocturne, was published today in the Washington Times.

I recently had the opportunity to accompany officers from the Philadelphia Police Department's Narcotics Field Unit South as they raided two drug houses and arrested suspected dealers. Spending the evening with the Philly cops, I was able to witness the twin masks of comedy and tragedy in the street theater that plays out for police officers on every watch. I was also able to listen to the cops' insightful comments, colorful banter and dark humorous remarks. Insightfulness, spirited dialogue and dark humor are standard features of Joseph Wambaugh's novels, and all animate "Harbor Nocturne," his latest novel.

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

The Bellboy Tolls For Thee: Ernest Hemingway Estate Announces Hotel Chain

Kate Sullivan at the New York Daily News reports on the announcement that Ernest Hemingway's estate has plans for a Hemingway hotel chain.

He loved Montana, Spain and the green hills of Africa. Soon, you, reader, will be able to share in Ernest Hemingway’s love of travel not only through reading his work but by paying for an expensive Papa-branded hotel room.

Hemingway’s estate recently announced that it intends to build a hotel brand based on the iconic author and his works. The chain, Hemingway Hotels and Resorts, cites his traveling and jet-setting lifestyle as the inspiration behind the concept, which hopes to infuse the surrounding landscape and character of the hotels’ locations into the physical architecture and layout of these lush resorts.

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

Sounds So Good: Chuck Mangione's 1977 Smooth Jazz Classic 'Feels So Good'

I came across one of my favorite smooth jazz songs on

I love Chuck Mangione's Feels So Good, the song and the album, and I played the song and album to death in the late 1970s.

You can listen and watch a video of Chuck Mangione performing Feels So Good live via the below link:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amazon Publishing Has Aquired Ten-Year License For North American Rights To Ian Fleming's James Bond Thrillers

You can read a report on the deal made between Amazon Publishing and the estate of the late, great thriller writer Ian Fleming (seen in the above photo at his Jamaican villa Goldeneye) at the web site

Amazon Publishing has bought a 10-year license for North American rights to the entire series of Ian Fleming's James Bond books in both print and e-book form. The deal was done with Fleming's family company Ian Fleming Publications Ltd via Jonny Geller, managing director at Curtis Brown.

All the Bond titles will be reissued by Amazon Publishing's Thomas & Mercer imprint from the summer.

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

To Russia, With Love: Why Soviet Spy Alger Hiss Chose Treason

Harvey Klehr, the co-author of such respected books on espionage as Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America and Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, reviewed a new book on the Soviet spy Alger Hiss for the Wall Street Journal.

Klehr reviewed Christina Shelton's Alger Hiss: Why He Choose Treason.

With so much having been written about the espionage case involving Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers, is there a need for yet another book on this riveting and contentious Cold War battle?

Christina Shelton, a retired analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, thinks there is. She worries that many Americans don't have sufficient knowledge of the case and that others fail to grasp its significance. Written in the style of an intelligence analyst's brief, "Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason" is aimed at readers with a vague notion of the episode and puzzlement about why it became such a big event in American history.    

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

You can also read my review of Klehr's Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, which appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, via the below link:

As I note in my review, Klehr and his co-authors devote an entire chapter on Hiss. Was he a Soviet spy? Yes, case closed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Accused South Philly Mobster Gaeton Lucibello Withdraws From Racketeering Deal

George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter reports that accused South Philadelphia mob member Gaeton Lucibello has withdrawn from a racketeering deal with prosecutors.

The deal was signed, but it wasn't sealed or delivered.

In a surprise move Tuesday, mobster Gaeton Lucibello withdrew his guilty plea to racketeering charges, rejecting a government plea deal that called for a 63-month sentence in the case.
During a brief hearing before Judge Eduardo Robreno, Lucibello, 59, turned down a deal he had signed off on earlier this month.

The signed plea agreement was the basis for Tuesday's hearing. Lucibello is one of a dozen reputed mob figures charged in an indictment handed up in May.

Reputed mob boss Joseph Ligambi, underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, and several other mob soldiers are also defendants in the case.   

You can read the rest of the story via the below link;

You can also read an earlier post on Gaeton Lucibello's deal via the below link:

Val Kilmer Performs Mark Twain's Famous 70th Birthday Speech

Joe Williams at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers a video of actor Val Kilmer (seen in the above photo) performing Mark Twain's famous 70th birthday speech.

"The seventieth birthday! It is the time of life when you arrive at a new and awful dignity; when you may throw aside the decent reserves which have oppressed you for a generation, and stand unafraid and unabashed upon your seven-terraced summit and look down and teach - unrebuked. You can tell the world how you got there. It is what they all do. I have been anxious to explain my own system this long time, and now at last I have the right.

"...I will now teach, offering my way of life to whomsoever desires to commit suicide by scheme which has enabled me to beat the doctor and the hangman for seventy years. Some of the details may sound untrue, but they are not. I am not here to deceive. I am here to teach.

You can watch the video via the below link:

How To Make The FBI's 10 Most Wanted List

CBS News reported that child pornographer Eric Justin Toth replaced the late terrorist Osama bin Laden on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.

John Miller explained how the process works.

CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former assistant FBI director, said various divisions of the FBI is now poring over piles of folders, meeting a couple times a week to fill that space.

So how are "Most Wanted" fugitives selected?

Three criteria are considered when a person is added to the list, Miller said. How long someone has been on the list - the longer the more likely the person gets added to the list - helps qualify a candidate. Also, people make the list if they're believed to be at risk of committing, usually, a violent crime, again. And finally, if national publicity could help find the person, they may be added to the listing.

You can read the piece and watch the video of John Miller (seen in the below photo) explaining the FBI's process via the below link:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tim Weiner's 'Enemies' Wears Its Anti-FBI Agenda On Its Sleeve

Susan Rosenfeld, the FBI's first official historian is critical of Tim Weiner's Enemies: A History of the FBI. She offers a detailed look at Weiner's book at the History News Network.

This book is not an objective study of FBI history. Instead it selects examples that bolster the contention that the FBI put its wars against anarchists, Communists, the New Left, and foreign and domestic terrorists ahead of any consideration for the Bill of Rights. Weiner concedes that proponents from all these groups actually committed acts of espionage or violence. But for the most part, he features perpetrators who were never punished.

Weiner also oversells the role that surveillance played in J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and beyond. As former foreign counterintelligence (FCI) agent Robert Lamphere noted in The FBI-KGB War, “only a small fraction of the New York field office [in the 1940s]—fifty or sixty men out of a thousand—was concerned with Soviet espionage and few agents outside the squad really knew or cared much about Soviet spies.”   

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

Note: The piece offers a link to a rebuttal by Tim Weiner, but I was unable to link to that piece.

Sin Won: Island Of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Dommed Quest To Clean Up Sin-Loving New York

Joseph C. Goulden, the author of The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak Into English, wrote a good review of Richard Zachs' Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York (Doubleday) for the Washington Times.    

...Years before Roosevelt became president (in 1901), what happened when he took on the happily corrupt city of New York? Sin won.

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

Former CIA Field Commander Gary Berntsen On The Recent Attacks In Afghanistan

Gary Berntsen, the former CIA field commander in Afghanistan appeared on CNN and commented on the recent attacks in Afghanistan and how the Afghanistan security forces responded.

You can watch the video via the below link:

Ronald Kessler's Column: Secret Service Agents Violated Top Secret Clearance

Ronald Kessler, the veteran journalist and author of In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect, broke the story of Secret Service agents hiring prositiutes in Colombia.

He writes in his latest column that the Secret Service agents violated their Top Secret clearances.

By allegedly hiring prostitutes, married Secret Service agents in Colombia violated their top-secret security clearances.

Every agent has such a security clearance. An extra-marital affair if proven can be grounds for revoking a clearance. Without that, no one can be an agent.

While some are single, most of the 11 Secret Service agents and uniformed officers suspended in the Colombia scandal are married. Two are supervisors. Aside from jeopardizing security clearances, engaging prostitutes violates the basic Secret Service code of conduct.

The scandal began last week two days before President Barack Obama’s trip to Cartagena in conjunction with the Summit of the Americas. A prostitute at the Hotel Caribe refused to leave an agent’s room because he had not paid her.

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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

George Washington Named Britain's Greatest Ever Military Opponent reports that George Washington has been named Britain's greatest ever foe, according to Britain's National Army Museum.

You can read the piece via the below link:

You can also read Jasper Copping's report at the Telegraph via the below link:

Was A Cop Killer An FBI Informant?

Micah Morrison at the New York Daily News reports on the idea that the man who is suspected of killing NYPD Officer was an FBI informant.

Forty years ago this weekend, Police Office Phillip Cardillo was gunned down in Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam Mosque No. in Harlem. No one was ever convicted in the case. To the police rank and file, it is the greatest scandal in NYPD history — a story of murder, betrayal and coverup.

On April 14, 1972, Cardillo and three other patrolmen were lured into an apparent ambush in Mosque No. 7 by a fake “officer in distress” call. In the ensuing melee, all four officers were badly beaten and Cardillo was shot. Top NYPD brass quickly ordered a full retreat from the mosque.

The result: no crime scene, no physical evidence, no witnesses.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Search Of The Third Man

Mary Russell at the Irish Times takes a tour through Venna that retraces one of my favorite films, The Third Man.

The film The Third Man, made in 1948, only three years after WWll ended, shows the underbelly of this elegant city almost totally destroyed by Allied bombs, divided like Berlin and patrolled by the same Allied Forces, its postwar shortages making it a haven for black marketeers. Harry Lime, played by Orson Welles, is an American racketeer living in the Russian quarter where, our guide tells us, most of the criminals lived. Why? Because the Russians were easily bribed. Harry’s friend Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) turns up to look for him and finally locates him, Harry’s hiding place betrayed by his loving cat.

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

Above is a photo of Orson Welles as the criminal Harry Lime in the film and below is a photo of the director of The Third Man, Carol Reed, and the writer of the film, Graham Greene.