Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Trailer For Upcoming James Bond Film 'Skyfall'

Cinemaretro.com offers a short piece, a couple of photos and a link to a new trailer for the upcoming James Bond film Skyfall.

You can visit the web site via the below link:


WMDs In Syria And Iraqi Irony

Victor Davis Hanson wrote an intersting piece for National Review Online about the chemical weapons in Syria that may in part have come from Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Amid all the stories about the ongoing violence in Syria, the most disturbing is the possibility that President Bashar Assad could either deploy the arsenal of chemical and biological weapons that his government claims it has, or provide it to terrorists.

There are suggestions that at least some of Assad’s supposed stockpile may have come from Saddam Hussein’s frantic, eleventh-hour efforts in 2002 to hide his own arsenals of weapons of mass destruction in neighboring Syria. Various retired Iraqi military officers have alleged as much. Although the story was met with general neglect or scorn from the American media, the present U.S. director of national intelligence, James Clapper, long ago asserted his belief in such a weapons transfer.

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


Monday, July 30, 2012

Fists Kill Far More In U.S. Than Rifles: Dispelling Gun Myths

Emilly Miller wrote an interesting piece in the Washington Times today that debunks gun myths.

There is evil in the world, and the face of it was seen Monday when James Holmes made his first court appearance since he allegedly killed 12 innocent people at a showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo. As he sat with demonic-looking dyed-orange hair and bizarre facial expressions, it was hard to conceive of any law that could thwart such a maniac intent on mass murder.

That hasn’t stopped those on the left from seizing this tragedy to call for more gun-control laws. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, author of the expired assault-weapons ban, said on Fox News Sunday that firearms like the AR-15 the Colorado shooter used are “weapons of war” that “are only going to be used to kill people in close combat. That’s the purpose of that weapon.”

Though it is one of the most popular rifles sold to civilians, the AR-15 is rarely used in crimes, presumably because it’s not readily concealed. The most recent FBI figures show just 358 of the 8,775 murders by firearm in 2010 involved rifles of any type. By comparison, 745 people were beaten to death with only hands that year, but no one has called for outlawing fists.

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


A Look Back At Black April: The Fall Of South Vietnam, 1973-1975

Jamie Glazov at FrontPageMag.com offers an interesting interview with George J. Vieth, the author of an interesting book, Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam, 1973-1975.

You can read the interview via the below link:


You can also read my piece on the Vietnam war that appeared in Counterterrorism magazine via the below links:





Sunday, July 29, 2012

More From The Stieg Larsson School

Peter Rozovsky, a copy editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, offers a good review of Lars Kepler's The Nightmare in today's Inquirer.

The Stieg Larsson school of Swedish crime writing doesn't go in for guilty pleasures.

Instead, it combines potboiler thrills and righteous anger in a fat, sprawling, tosh-filled package, often with 475 or more pages plus a didactic, statistics-filled epilogue in case the reader doesn't get the point - or in case he or she thinks the point was just to have some fun. That way the reader gets dirty thrills but feels morally uplifted at the same time.

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


You can also read Peter Rozovsky's interesting blog, Detectives Beyond Borders, via the below link:


Saturday, July 28, 2012

On 'Military-Style' Weapons: Function, Not Style, Should Govern Gun Policy

John R. Lott Jr. at National Review Online explains that the gun used in the Auroro movie killings was not a rifle used by the military.

"AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities,” President Obama told the National Urban League on Wednesday. After the deadly attack in Colorado last Friday, the president’s concern is understandable. However, even — or perhaps especially — at such a time, distinctions need to be made.

The police in Aurora, Colo., reported that the killer used a Smith & Wesson M&P 15. This weapon bears a cosmetic resemblance to the M-16, which has been used by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War. The call has frequently been made that there is “no reason” for such “military-style weapons” to be available to civilians.

Yes, the M&P 15 and the AK-47 are “military-style weapons.” But the key word is “style” — they are similar to military guns in their aesthetics, not in the way they actually operate.     

... So President Obama wants to keep guns like the AK-47 “in the hands of soldiers.” But these are not military weapons. No self-respecting military in the world would use them, and it is time for Obama to stop scaring the American people.

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


Gambino Crime Family Captain Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 121 Months In Prison For Racketeering, Drug Trafficking, And Multiple Acts Of Violence

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York released the below information on the sentencing of a Gambino crime family captain:

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that Alphonse Trucchio—one of the youngest mobsters to be made a captain in mafia history—was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 121 months in prison for his crimes as a member of the Gambino Organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Gambino crime family”). Trucchio previously pled guilty on February 17, 2012, to racketeering, narcotics trafficking, assault, illegal gambling, loansharking, obstruction of justice, and extortion in connection with two indictments before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who also imposed today’s sentence.

Of the 22 defendants who were arrested in connection with U.S. v. Joseph Corozzo, et al., as part of a nationwide organized crime takedown on January 20, 2011, Trucchio was the 20th to be convicted. He was also charged in U.S. v. Alphonse Trucchio, et al. with 19 other individuals on November 30, 2011, for participating in a scheme to recruit illegal immigrants to work in adult entertainment clubs controlled by the Gambino Organized crime family.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Alphonse Trucchio rose to a leadership position in the Gambino crime family at a young age, and his future may have seemed bright—but now the life he chose has led, as it has for so many others in the mafia, to living behind bars. Today’s sentence should remind anyone who aspires to follow in his footsteps that they should think again, because we will do everything within our power to catch you and prosecute you to the full extent of the law.

According to the Indictment, other court filings, and statements made at court proceedings:

Alphonse Trucchio became a “made” member of the Gambino crime family in the early 2000s, when he was in his 20s. After Trucchio’s father, Gambino crime family Captain Ronald Trucchio, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005, Trucchio, who was 30 years old at the time, was promoted to the rank of captain. He was the youngest of the Gambino crime family’s captains, and one of the youngest captains in the history of La Cosa Nostra. In that capacity, Trucchio was responsible for supervising crews of street level members, also known as “soldiers,” and associates. From 2005 until his arrest in 2011, he assembled and led the Gambino Family’s largest, youngest, and most active crew. At least 14 other defendants who have been convicted in this case were either soldiers or associates in Trucchio’s crew.

Trucchio routinely participated in the illegal affairs of the Gambino crime family. Although the mafia traditionally purports to prohibit drug trafficking, Trucchio nonetheless presided over a large drug importation and trafficking ring, primarily located in Queens, New York. Trucchio and others distributed cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, and Vicodin pills, generating millions of dollars in illegal proceeds for the Gambino family. He also participated in the systematic extortion of multiple strip clubs in Queens and ordered numerous violent assaults. Trucchio and others further engaged in loansharking—making and collecting on extortionate extensions of credit, sometimes making threats and committing assaults in order to collect payment—and illegal gambling. In his plea agreement, Trucchio also conceded that he had obstructed justice by destroying evidence.

* * *

In addition to the prison term, Judge Berman sentenced Trucchio, 35, of Howard Beach, New York, to five years of supervised release, $100,000 in forfeiture, and ordered him to pay a $500 special assessment fee.

Ten other defendants have been sentenced in connection with U.S. v. Joseph Corozzo, et al.: Gambino family captain Louis Mastrangelo; Gambino family soldiers Michael Roccaforte, Anthony Moscatiello, and Vincenzo Frogiero; and Gambino family associates Todd LaBarca, Christopher Colon, Frank Bellantoni, Michael Kuhtenia, Frank Roccaforte, and Michael Russo. Nine others have pled guilty and have sentences pending: Gambino family consigliere Joseph Corozzo and fambino family associates John Brancaccio, Salvatore Tortorici, Christopher Reynolds, Keith Croce, Sean Dunn, Salvatore Accardi, Robert Napolitano, and Anthino Russo. Charges are pending against the remaining two defendants—Gambino family ruling panel member Bartolomeo Vernace and Gambino family associate Robert Bucholz. Two other defendants who were charged with Trucchio in U.S. v. Alphonse Trucchio, et al. have pled guilty. The charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Five defendants who were associates of the Gambino crime family and charged as part of the January 2011 takedown in a separate indictment, U.S. v. John Cipolla, et al., have also pled guilty; four have been sentenced.

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elie Honig, Daniel Chung, and Natalie Lamarque are in charge of the prosecution.

The Brothers Bulger: A Fitting Name For An Award For Assembly Leader?

Howie Carr, a Boston Herald columnist and author of The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston For a Quarter Century, wrote an interesting piece for the New York Post.

Prestigious — that’s how everybody from Gov. Cuomo on down is describing the award that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will pick up next month in Chicago from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What’s left unsaid is the name of the august honor — the William M. Bulger Excellence in State Leadership Award. And there’s a good reason for everyone’s silence — or maybe omerta is a better word.

For almost 20 years, as president of the Massachusetts state Senate, South Boston’s Billy Bulger was the most powerful politician in his state. The source of his immense clout? His brother, James “Whitey” Bulger — the most powerful gangster in the city of Boston, a cocaine-dealing FBI informant currently charged with 19 murders.

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


You can also read an earlier post on Howie Carr and Whitey Bulger via the below link:


Friday, July 27, 2012

U.S. Cyber Command Chief Says U.S. Unprepared For Serious Cyber Attacks

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

ASPEN, Colo., July 26, 2012 - The United States is not adequately prepared for a serious cyber attack, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command told the audience at the Aspen Institute's annual security forum today.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who also serves as the director of the National Security Agency and the chief of the Central Security Service, said that, in terms of preparation for a cyber attack on a critical part of its network infrastructure, the U.S. is at a three on a scale of one to ten.

The problem of defending the nation from a cyber attack is complicated, Alexander said. It's not just a question of preparing the Department of Defense or federal networks. Private industry also has to be defended.

"Industry has a variety of capabilities," Alexander said. While networks serving the financial community are well-defended, others sectors need help.

Key to developing a strong cyber security infrastructure is educating its users, Alexander said.

"We have a great program, it's jointly run by [the National Security Agency] and [the Department of Homeland Security] working with over 100 different colleges and universities to set up an information assurance/cyber security portfolio," he said.

Ensuring people who didn't grow up in the Internet age are security-aware is one of the major challenges facing those who secure the network, Alexander said.

The number of exploits of mobile technology has almost doubled over the past year, he said, and many people don't realize that phones are tied into the same digital network infrastructure as computers.

Alexander defined exploits as the means that a hacker uses to penetrate a system, including mobile phones or tablets, to potentially steal files and credentials or jump to another computer.

"The attack surfaces for adversaries to get on the internet now include all those mobile devices," Alexander said. And mobile security lags behind that of cyber security for landline devices like desktop computers.

Alexander said the Department of Defense, in concert with agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, works together with industry to secure network devices.

"If we identify a problem, we jointly give that back to industry and say 'Here's a problem we found,'" Alexander said.

Using the nuclear model, or concentrating solely on major nation-states, to analyze the cyber threat is wrong, he said. Several nations are capable of serious cyber attacks, he explained, but anyone who finds vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure could cause tremendous problems.

Industry and government must work as a team to combat these threats, Alexander said.

"There are great folks in industry who have some great insights," he said. "That's the only way that we can prevent those several states from mounting a real attack on this nation's cyber."

In addition, deterrence theory worked for nuclear weapons in part because the decision time was much slower than it is for cyber threats.

"A piece of information can circumnavigate the globe in about 133-134 milliseconds," he said. "Your decision space in cyber [is] half that—60 seconds."

"My concern is...you've seen disruptions like in Estonia in 2007, in Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, you could go on," he said. "We've seen them here in the United States... What I'm concerned about is the shift to destructive [attacks]. Those are the things that will hurt our nation."

Disruptive attacks, like distributed denial-of-service attacks, are aimed at interrupting the flow communication or finance, but aren't designed to cause long-term damage.

In contrast, destructive attacks are designed to destroy parts of the network infrastructure, like routers or servers, which would have to be replaced in order to resume normal operations, Alexander said. In some cases this could take weeks or months.

Congress is considering bills that would give the Department of Homeland Security a greater role in setting performance requirements for network industries. Alexander said this legislation is important to assist in setting network infrastructure standards.

Both parties have something to bring to the table, he said. Industry knows things that government doesn't, and government knows things that industry doesn't.

"If we were to be completely candid here, the reality is that industry is getting hacked [and] government is getting hacked," he said. "What we need to do is come together and form best practices."

Government-civil partnerships open up the possibility that the U.S. can accomplish things in cyber space that no other nation has the capability to accomplish, Alexander said.

"When we put together this ability for our nation to work as a team in cyber space, what that allows us to do now is do things that other countries aren't capable of doing in defending the nation," Alexander said.

Because attributing the source of a cyber attack is difficult, the focus is currently on defense rather than offense, Alexander said.

"Today, the offense clearly has the advantage," he said. "Get cyber legislation in there, bring industry and government together, and now we have the capability to say 'You don't want to attack us. We can stop it and there are other things that we can do to really make this hurt.'"

"The key is having a defensible capability that can survive that first onslaught," Alexander said.

Crime Leads The Way In Bloody Scotland

Gregor White at the Stirling Observer reports on the Scottish city's first crime festival.

Scotland’s first dedicated crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, comes to Stirling this September, with plenty of big names including Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, William McIlvanney and Val McDermid.Icelandic and Norwegian writers Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Karin Fossum are also set to contribute.With Nordic crime riding high in the popularity stakes, writer and Bloody Scotland founder Lin Anderson considers how Scotland might fit the mould.

SCOTTISH crime fiction is among the best in the world.

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


You can also read my Philadelphia Inquirer review of a novel by one of Scotland's famed crime writers, Val McDermid, via the below link:


Note: I lived in Scotland for two years in the mid-1970s while stationed on a Navy tugboat at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch. Although the weather was awful, I have fond memories of the people and the country. Ironically, although Scotland's crime writers are riding high, the crime rate in the country is relatively low.   

Defense Department Officials Describe Threats To U.S., Steps To Counter Them

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

ASPEN, Colo., July 26, 2012 - Internal and external threats to the United States are legion, and the Defense Department is partnering with industry and the international community to defend against them, senior defense officials said today.

Paul N. Stockton (seen in the above photo), assistant secretary for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security, and Michael A. Sheehan, assistant secretary for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, described the natural and manmade threats that threaten the United States during a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute's annual security forum.

The officials were joined by retired Navy Adm. Eric Olson,former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, and moderator Eric Schmitt, a senior writer for the New York Times.

Stockton and Sheehan said that much work remains to be done to keep the U.S. safe from both terrorism and natural disasters.

"There is a problem I discussed last year that is still keeping me up at night, and that is...the risk of a long-term, large-scale outage of the electric power grid," Stockton said.

Such an outage could result from either a natural disaster, such as a geomagnetic disturbance or major earthquake, or from a targeted attack, he said.

Stockton said a major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which touches on five Midwestern states, "could bring down the electric grid for weeks and months."

Internal attacks, like the attempted bombing of Times Square in 2009, demonstrate that there is much to be concerned about in the nexus between domestic and foreign threats, Sheehan said.

"Our adversaries, state and non-state, are not stupid. They're clever and adaptive," Stockton said. "Rather than attacking us on the pointy end of the spear...there is a risk that they'll adopt a profoundly asymmetric strategy, reach around and attack us here at home [in] the critical infrastructure that is not owned by the Department of Defense."

Despite this, the U.S. and its international partners have made a lot of progress in their fight against al-Qaida, its various affiliates, and groups like al-Shabaab in Somalia, Sheehan said, with enormous success coming in regions like Afghanistan and Pakistan. In other regions the fight is just beginning to show progress.

"We have begun to turn the tide of al-Qaida in Yemen," Sheehan said. "That partnership is showing results on the ground. Yemen is starting to regain territory that they lost to al-Qaida, but we still have a long way to go."

Sheehan added that al-Qaida in Yemen, along with the al-Qaida threat in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, remain the preeminent threat for strategic attacks against the U.S.

The Department of Defense is continually developing partnerships, both with the international community and with U.S. industries, to counter these threats, the officials said.

"We're taking care of business inside the Department of Defense...that is not enough," Stockton said. Industry needs have strong plans to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of an emergency. There also need to be voluntary, innovative partnerships between industry and the government, Stockton said.

Partnerships with industry do more than just protect business interests. They also protect the Department of Defense's ability to execute its mission, Stockton said.

"The Department of Defense depends on U.S. facilities and infrastructure in order to be able to operate abroad," he said. "To make those operations function, we depend on the electric grid and all of the other critical infrastructure that needs electrons to function."

The United States needs to take an all-hazards approach to dealing with potential threats, Stockton said, because prevention of certain events is just not possible.

"There are all kinds of threat vectors out there in addition to cyber," Stockton said. "There's only so much that can be done on the prevention side. We should do everything we can, but building resilience is also critical component of that effort."

Admiral McRaven On The Role Of Special Operations In America's Post-9/11

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

ASPEN, Colo., July 26, 2012 - The nation expects special operations forces to be successful every time they are called upon, but they're not wholly about combat, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command said here yesterday during a discussion moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Institute's annual security forum.

"We get a lot of notoriety for the raids, for the rescue operations, and frankly we're very proud of that," Navy Adm. William H. McRaven said. "But the fact of the matter is that's a small portion of what we do."

The discussion, titled "At the Point of the Spear: The Role of Special Operations Forces in America's Post-9/11, Post-Iraq/Afghanistan Defense Strategy," opened the annual three-day forum. Topics ranged from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden to what made McRaven decide to become a Navy SEAL.

McRaven said special operations forces are deployed to 79 countries, and the majority of those deployments are for partner capacity-building, not for combat missions.

"We're trying to teach other nations how to deal with their own problems so they don't grow violent extremists," he said. "We're building wells in places. We're doing civil affairs operations. ... There is a whole spectrum of things that special operations do that rarely get the press's attention because it's not 'sexy.'"

Some nations have not followed the extremist route because special operations forces have been working there for decades, McRaven said.

The admiral also presented his views on a variety of topics that came up during the wide-ranging discussion:

-- Pulling together defense and civilian agencies to make the bin Laden raid happen was easy, he said, because the interagency team has been built steadily over the last decade. "I've got to tell you, today it hums," he added.

-- "At the end of the day, all we care about is whether you carry your rucksack and you do your job," he said when the discussion turned to gays in the military.

-- On the Arab Spring: "What I know is democracy is hard," he said. "I've watched it as we've tried to build democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. ... It took us a long time as a nation to build a strong democracy, and it will probably take them some time."

-- On Afghanistan's forces: "When you spend time with the guys that we spend time with, you realize they are just as patriotic, just as committed, just as tough, just as courageous as the American soldier that's partnered with them," McRaven said. "For the folks that we work with, I don't think trust has ever been an issue."

-- Women have proven to be up to the task of serving in the nation's special operations forces, the admiral said. "We have a lot of females who serve in special operations," he noted. "They do a fantastic job across the board. ... We couldn't do the job without them."

-- McRaven credited a Green Beret soldier with helping him decide to become a SEAL. "This young Army captain came to meet my sister for a date," he said. "My sister, as usual, was late, so I had an opportunity to talk to him for a little while. ... He said, 'If you're going to go in the Navy, you ought to be a Navy SEAL.'"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Operation Log Jam: The DEA's Nationwide Synthetic Drug Takedown

The DEA released the below information today:

 WASHINGTON – More than 90 individuals were arrested and more than five million packets of finished designer synthetic drugs were seized in the first-ever nationwide law enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of synthetic drugs that are often marketed as bath salts, Spice, incense, or plant food. More than $36 million in cash was also seized.

As of today, more than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids (ex. K2, Spice) and the products to produce nearly 13.6 million more, as well as 167,000 packets of synthetic cathinones (ex. bath salts), and the products to produce an additional 392,000 were seized.

Operation Log Jam was conducted jointly by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, as well as countless state and local law enforcement members in more than 109 U.S. cities and targeted every level of the synthetic designer drug industry, including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.

“Although tremendous progress has been made in legislating and scheduling these dangerous substances, this enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to targeting these new and emerging drugs with every scientific, legislative, and investigative tool at our disposal.”

“Today, we struck a huge blow to the synthetic drug industry. The criminal organizations behind the importation, distribution and selling of these synthetic drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits,” said Acting Director of ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations James Chaparro. “ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring this industry to its knees.”

"The synthetic drug industry is an emerging area where we can leverage our financial investigative expertise to trace the path of illicit drug proceeds by identifying the financial linkages among the various co-conspirators,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. "We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the highest level drug trafficking and drug money laundering organizations that pose the greatest threat to Americans and American interests."

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service aggressively investigates the use of the U.S. Mail system for the distribution of illegal controlled substances and its proceeds. Our agency uses a multi-tiered approach to these crimes: protection against the use of the mail for illegal purposes and enforcement of laws against drug trafficking and money laundering. This includes collaboration with other agencies,” said Chief Postal Inspector Guy J. Cottrell of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

“The mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to guard our country’s borders from people and goods that could harm our way of life,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “We are proud to be part of an operation that disrupts the flow of synthetic drugs into the country and out of the hands of the American people.”

Over the past several years, there has been a growing use of, and interest in, synthetic cathinones (stimulants/hallucinogens) sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food.” Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” or “Bliss,” these products are comprised of a class of dangerous substances perceived to mimic cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes. The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe.

These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults and those who mistakenly believe they can bypass the drug testing protocols that have been set up by employers and government agencies to protect public safety. They are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops, and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.

Smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high have also become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, because they are easily available and, in many cases, they are more potent and dangerous than marijuana. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with dangerous psychoactive compounds that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Just as with the synthetic cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

While many of the designer drugs being marketed today that were seized as part of Operation Log Jam are not specifically prohibited in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (AEA) allows these drugs to be treated as controlled substances if they are proven to be chemically and/or pharmacologically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance. A number of cases that are part of Operation Log Jam will be prosecuted federally under this analogue provision, which specifically exists to combat these new and emerging designer drugs.

DEA has used its emergency scheduling authority to combat both synthetic cathinones (the so-called bath salts like Ivory Wave, etc.) and synthetic cannabinoids (the so-called incense products like K2, Spice, etc.), temporarily placing several of these dangerous chemicals into Schedule I of the CSA. Congress has also acted, permanently placing 26 substances into Schedule I of the CSA.

In 2010, poison centers nationwide responded to about 3,200 calls related to synthetic “Spice” and “bath salts.” In 2011, that number jumped to more than 13,000 calls. Sixty percent of the cases involved patients 25 and younger.

Comrades, Gangsters, Spies

Brett Stephens at the Wall Street Journal offers a good review of Edward Lucas' Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West.

Who is America's principal geopolitical foe? When Mitt Romney suggested recently that it was Russia, he was met with howls of high-minded derision. Didn't the presumptive Republican nominee know the Cold War was over? Wasn't he aware of all the benefits the U.S. had reaped thanks to the Obama administration's "reset" of relations with Moscow?

Mr. Romney's smug critics might laugh a bit less once they read "Deception," Edward Lucas's riveting follow-up to his prescient 2008 book on Russia, "The New Cold War." Mr. Lucas, a senior editor at the Economist and its former Moscow bureau chief, understands that even if the West has ceased to think of Russia as its enemy, the reverse has never really been true, especially among those who now govern from the Kremlin.

"The New Cold War" dealt mainly with how Vladimir Putin's Russia bullies its perceived enemies, using everything from pipelines to polonium poisoning. "Deception" has a narrower focus: the regime's aggressive use of its intelligence services to achieve ends that are malign and frequently criminal.

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


Military judge Fines Accused Fort Hood Shooter For Contempt

The U.S. Army's Fort Hood released the below information;

FORT HOOD, Texas, July 26, 2012 - A military judge here ruled that an Army psychiatrist accused in a November 2009 shooting rampage here is in contempt for his failure to comply with an order to appear in court clean-shaven and within Army grooming standards.

In an Article 39A hearing, Army Col. Gregory Gross fined Maj. Nidal Hasan $1,000, the maximum fine the court could impose under the court-martial contempt statute.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder during a shooting spree at a deployment processing center here.
After the contempt hearing, Hasan refused to voluntarily shave and watched the remainder of the hearing outside the courtroom via a close-circuit television feed. Gross informed him that if he did not voluntarily shave, he likely would compel a shaving so Hasan could attend forthcoming court-martial hearings in person.

The remainder of yesterday's hearing focused on discovery and expert matters. Gross said he would review for relevancy an unredacted copy of a recently released report to the FBI's director on the shooting incident. The judge also requested an update on whether the Senate maintained any notes or summaries of interviews the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs may have taken or made in support of its report on the shooting.

Gross also deferred ruling on whether the defense should have access to military investigations taught in a class at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and he took under advisement and deferred ruling on defense-requested experts in religious conversion and social science methodology.

The judge also authorized further government funding for already appointed defense experts in jury selection and mitigation and found that federal district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over matters raised under 50 U.S. Code Section 1806. He also said he would sign an order transferring any such matter to the federal district court in Waco, Texas. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hemingway's Boat: Replica Of Hemingway's Boat Ready For Its Close-Up

Brett Clarkson at the Sun Sentinel reports on the replica of the boat that belonged to the late great writer Ernest Hemingway, which will be featured in an upcoming movie.

RIVIERA BEACH — It's a boat fit for Papa but it wasn't always that way.

Before the words 'Pilar' and 'Key West Fla' were inscribed on its stern in gleaming paint, before its entire structure was revamped and restored to exacting specifications, this stone-cold replica of Ernest Hemingway's fishing boat was a ship past its prime in New York state.

But that was then. Now, the boat is tied to a local marina dock awaiting its turn to star in the upcoming film 'Hemingway and Fuentes.' Featuring Anthony Hopkins as Hemingway and Andy Garcia as his fishing buddy Gregorio Fuentes, the movie will touch upon Hemingway's years in Cuba in the 1950s.

It was a pivotal time for Hemingway, who wrote the classic "The Old Man and the Sea" after befriending Fuentes. The two grew close and spent a lot of time fishing together on the Pilar, Hemingway's custom-made Wheeler Playmate Cabin Cruiser. Bought by the writer for $7,455 in 1934, the boat became a lifelong retreat for the author before his suicide in 1961.

"She is not only a boat but a main character in our film," Garcia said in a press release.

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


You can also read an earlier post on Andy Garcia's upcoming Hemingway film via the below link:


You can also read a review of Paul Henrickson's outstanding book, Hemingway's Boat, via the below link:


Mob Scene: Prosecutors Want To Use Philly Mob's Violent History In Organized Crime Trial

George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter, reports on why the prosecutors of the Philadelphia organized crime family want to reference the Philly mob's violent history to the trial.

You can watch George Anastasia discuss the case on Mob Scene at Philly.com via the below link:


You can also read George Anastasia's earlier piece on the feds' takedown of the Philly mob's leadership via the below link:


Spies And Commissars: The Early Years Of The Russian Revolution

Noted author and journalist Joseph C. Goulden reviewed Robert Service's Spies and Commissars: The Early Years of the Russian Revolution for the Washington Times. 

Spies and Commissars” serves up a rich witch’s brew of intelligence intrigue and chicanery, bubbling with rogue characters who changed names (as well as claimed nationalities and mistresses) about as often as most folks change socks.

The broad outline of how the fledgling Bolshevik government clashed with the outside world after the 1917 revolution has been revealed in large part over the years. But scholar Robert Service delves into recently declassified British intelligence archives to add rich and very readable details of the cross-plotting.

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


Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Mystery And Thriller Books Set Amid The World Wars

Paula Woods offers a review of William Boyd's Waiting For Sunrise and Philip Kerr's Prague Fatale in her roundup of mysteries and thrillers at the Los Angeles Times

Mysteries and thrillers set in the years surrounding and during our two world wars have become a cottage industry. From Ken Follett's "Eye of the Needle" in the 1980s to recent novels by Charles Todd and Jacqueline Winspear, the standouts blend enough history with the genre's more familiar elements to keep readers enlightened and entertained.

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


U.S. Drug War Expands To Africa, A Newer Hub For Cartels

Charlie Savage and Thom Shanker at the New York Times report on the expansion of the United States' counter-drug efforts in Africa.

In a significant expansion of the war on drugs, the United States has begun training an elite unit of counternarcotics police in Ghana and planning similar units in Nigeria and Kenya as part of an effort to combat the Latin American cartels that are increasingly using Africa to smuggle cocaine into Europe.    

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


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ernest Hemingway: Hemingway & Hollywood

Happy birthday to the late great American writer Ernest Hemingway. He was born on this day 113 years ago.

Mary Claire Kendall at Forbes offers an interview with Hemingway's son Patrick. The son was not pleased with his father's portray in HBO's Hemingway and Gellhorn. (I was also dissapointed in the TV movie).

The recent HBO film, Hemingway & Gellhorn, Hemingway’s son Patrick said, is “so ludicrous as to be beyond conception.”

Though, he did like Midnight in Paris. “Owen Wilson is what made that film!” he said. He’ll get back to me on the actor who played Hemingway. Perhaps, he doesn’t expect much from Hollywood when it comes to his dad. As Hemingway famously said vis-à-vis dealings with Hollywood, it’s best to rendezvous discretely at the state line: “You throw them your book, they throw you the money, then you jump into your car and drive like hell back the way you came.”
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


You can also read an earlier post on Hemingway and Hollywood via the below link:


And you can read my online column On Crime & Thrillers on Hemingway and crime via th below link:


Friday, July 20, 2012

It Is Not About Guns: On The Aurora Movie Theater Murders

As I suspected, the knee-jerk calls for gun control are coming out in the wake of the terrible murders at the Aurora movie theater.

Yes, the suspect, James Holmes (seen in the above photo) used guns to kill and wound the theater-goers, but perhaps had one or more of the theater-goers had a firearm, they could have returned fire and killed the murderer and saved a few lives. For example, one can watch the video online of the brave 71-year-old man who drew his personal firearm and stood up to two armed-robbers in Florida.

Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review Online reports on the knee-jerk outcry for gun control.

What happened in Colorado in the early hours of this morning was not a “tragedy” but a willful act of mass murder. Beyond his age, name, and ethnicity, nobody yet knows who the shooter is, or why he chose to do what he did. In my view, this is a blessing, albeit a temporary one; for, as has been the way in recent years, once his party registration, television-viewing habits, and random scribblings become known to the public, all sorts of hysterical speculation and unlettered accusations will burst forth.

... Alas, this welcome early absence of opportunity for partisan political blame has created a vacuum that has been filled by another form of folly: Calls for “gun control.” Upon hearing the news, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence immediately changed the front page of its website to aver that, “This is yet another horrific reminder that guns enable mass killings.”

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


Authorities Say The Aurora Theater Shooting Suspect's Apartment Is "Booby Trapped"

The Denver Post reports on the police on the scene at the apartment of James Holmes (seen in the above photo).

Police say that the apartment of the suspect in an early morning movie theater shooting appears to be bobby trapped with trip wires attached to plastic bottles that contain an unknown substance.

Police Chief Dan Oates said the explosive devices were "pretty sophisticated."

"We could be here for days," he said.

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


Judge Webster Delivers Webster Commission Report On Fort Hood Shooting

The FBI announced yesterday that former FBI director and CIA director Judge Webster delivered his commission's report on the Fort Hood shooting.

Judge William H. Webster has delivered to the FBI the Final Report of the William H. Webster Commission on The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counterterrorism Intelligence, and the Events at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009.

The FBI requested a full investigation of the manner in which the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Forces handled and acted on counterterrorism intelligence before and after the Fort Hood shootings, as well as a review and assessment of the FBI’s governing authorities and the FBI’s remedial measures after the Fort Hood shootings. The investigation did not probe the shootings, which are the subject of a U.S. Army-led inquiry and military criminal proceeding against Major Nidal Hasan.

You can read the rest of the FBI release, as well as link to the unclassified report, via the below link:


Thursday, July 19, 2012

William Boyd Focuses On Psychoanlysis, Wartime Intelligence

Bernard Vaughan at Reuters interviews author William Boyd.

For more than 30 years, author William Boyd has won acclaim for writing complexly plotted page-turners often set in unique historical milieus, from World War One-era East Africa to 1936 Los Angeles.

His latest novel, "Waiting for Sunrise," features Lysander Rief, a young British actor seeking treatment from a disciple of Sigmund Freud for a sexual problem in pre-World War One Vienna before becoming entangled in the opaque world of wartime intelligence.

Boyd spoke with Reuters about the book, his writing process and his recent agreement with the estate of Ian Fleming to write the next James Bond novel.

You can read the rest of the piece at the Chicago Tribune via the below link:


Mark Twain And The Colonel: The Two Kings Of The Gilded Age

Richard Zacks at the Wall Street Journal offers an interesting review of an interesting book about two great American historical figures who didn't care much for each other, Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt.

Mark Twain called Theodore Roosevelt the "most popular human being that has ever existed in the United States"; he also called him "far and away the worst president we have ever had." Twain made these observations in his autobiography in 1906 but ordered them embargoed for 100 years.

Roosevelt once remarked privately to a friend that he would like to see Twain "skinned alive." He dismissed Twain's anti-imperialism as part of the "silly, mock humanitarianism of the prattlers who sit at home in peace."

Philip McFarland in "Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel L. Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt and the Arrival of a New Century" delights in spotlighting the secret vitriol between these two mustachioed men, who, in the first decade of the 20th century, arguably ranked as the most famous Americans on the planet.

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


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Raymond Chandler: The Crime Writer Who Made Poetry Out Of Pulp

Andrew M Brown at the British newspaper the Telegraph wrote an interesting piece about one of my favorite writers, Raymond Chandler, and a new book on Chandler by Tom Williams.

Crime writers have always had an inferiority complex about their work. It goes back to Conan Doyle, who thought his historical novels were better than the Sherlock Holmes stories. Ian Rankin was reflecting (on Twitter) the other day about the low status of crime fiction. And at the recent Crime Writers’ Association awards, authors were heard grumbling that the literary establishment looked down on the mystery genre.

But a novel written under genre constraints can be a work of literature, and one writer did more than any other to make detective fiction respectable: Raymond Chandler, the subject of a thorough new biography by Tom Williams. Chandler took violent pulp fiction and transformed it.

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


Where Are The Carriers? Why Does The United States Only Have Eleven Aircraft Carriers

Captain Marty Erdosey, USN (Retired), wrote an interesting piece for Forbes about why we need more aircraft carriers in this dangerous modern world.

Throughout the history of carrier aviation, it has been said that the first thing a President asks during times of crisis is: “Where is the nearest aircraft carrier?”

Our nation’s aircraft carriers have and will continue to serve as the centerpiece for our National Security Strategy. Given the Administration’s recent embrace of the Navy’s “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power” and the increased commitment to the Pacific Rim, this holds true more now than ever before.

Aircraft carriers provide four-and-a-half acres of survivable, sovereign U.S. territory wherever they deploy. They represent a unique warfare capability that can quickly arrive at a trouble spot and provide robust, and sustainable combat air power. The modern air wing can provide credible combat capacity with 80-125 air dominance, strike, electronic warfare, and surveillance combat missions each day. Carriers are both responsive and capable of immediate action, as they enable our nation to project power worldwide from the sea without dependence on other governments or local bases. By relying on aircraft carriers, our country avoids the huge investment required to establish and maintain bases and infrastructure ashore in a foreign country. 

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


Note: The above U.S. Navy photo is of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Treacherous Beauty: The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold's Plot To Betray America

Michael D. Schaffer, the Philadelphia Inquirer editor who edits my occasional contributions to my hometown newspaper, has written an interesting review of an interestering book on the woman behind America's first and perhaps greatest traitor, Benedict Arnold.

Nobody likes a traitor.

The traitor's wife? Well, that's a different story. Especially if she happens to be a beautiful young woman so bewitching and smart she can manipulate her husband's stolid commander with her hysterics even as her double-dealing spouse completes a mad dash for enemy lines.

The woman was Peggy Shippen Arnold, daughter of a distinguished Philadelphia family. Her husband, of course, was the infamous Benedict Arnold. And the commander she beguiled with her tears was none other than George Washington, one of a long line of men Peggy knew how to disarm.

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


Monday, July 16, 2012

Channelling George Washington: A Look Back At Milovan Dijilas' 'The New Class' And Communist China's Coming Failure

Noted historian and author Thomas Fleming continues his Channelling George Washington series for the History News Network. In his latest piece, George Washington talks about Milovan Dijilas and his book, The New Class.  

I just talked to a ghost who’s haunting China.”
“Does he, she, or it have a name?”

Milovan Djilas. He wrote a book that played a crucial role in destroying the Soviet Union -- The New Class. I think it will eventually do the same thing to the People's Republic of China.”

“Fascinating stuff. Please tell us more.”

No doubt you’ve read about the huge scandal surrounding the corrupt rule of the of the Chinese provincial boss, Bo Xilai, and his even more corrupt wife -- including the murder of the British businessman, Neil Heywood. The whole world is now aware that what Djilas wrote about the Soviet Union -- the blather about revolutionary heroism -- was a cover for a new ruling class to seize power and exploit and dominate the people more ruthlessly than the capitalists ever dreamt of doing.”

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


The Dark Knight Rises: Chris Nolan's Batman Trilogy Ends

Todd McCarthy at the Hollywood Reporter gives Chris Nolan's new Batman film a good review.

The real world threats of terrorism, political anarchy and economic instability make deep incursions into the cinematic comic book domain in The Dark Knight Rises. Big-time Hollywood filmmaking at its most massively accomplished, this last installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy makes everything in the rival Marvel universe look thoroughly silly and childish. Entirely enveloping and at times unnerving in a relevant way one would never have imagined, as a cohesive whole this ranks as the best of Nolan's trio, even if it lacks -- how could it not? -- an element as unique as Heath Ledger's immortal turn in The Dark Knight. It's a blockbuster by any standard.

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


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco Hotel Suite

Alan Pierleoni at the Sacramento Bee wrote about his stay at the San Francisco hotel the great crime writer Dashiell Hammett once called home.

Recently, we camped at the Hotel Union Square, a refurbished showplace built in 1913 for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

... One very special room is No. 505, the Dashiell Hammett Suite. It's been staged to evoke the memory of Hammett, a pioneer of "hard-boiled" detective fiction ("The Maltese Falcon," "The Continental Op," the lighter "Thin Man" series).

In the 1920s, Hammett worked across the street in the Flood Building as a PI for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. For a while, he lived in Room 505 at the then-Golden West Hotel, where he sat at a desk overlooking the streets below and typed his San Francisco-based mysteries.

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


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/15/4627841/you-can-almost-see-dashiell-hammett.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/15/4627841/you-can-almost-see-dashiell-hammett.html#storylink=cpy

U.S. Marshals Service Captures Most-Wanted Fugitive in Cancun, Mexico

The U.S. Marshal's Service released the below information on Friday:

Washington – U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted fugitive Vincent Legrend Walters, age 45, has been captured in Cancun, Mexico, after nearly 24 years on the run.

Deputy U.S. Marshals in San Diego recently developed information which indicated that Walters was residing in Cancun, Mexico. Further investigation revealed that Walters was using the alias of Oscar Rivera and working at the Cancun International Airport. Marshals Service investigators also learned that Walters had boasted to people that he was a fugitive from San Diego and wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service.

“... The U.S. Marshals are thrilled with the capture of this violent fugitive,” said Steven Stafford, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of California. “This is a prime example of the sheer determination and persistence we have when tracking down a wanted criminal.”

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


Friday, July 13, 2012

My Washington Times Review Of Mark Henshaw's Spy Thriller 'Red Cell'

The Washington Times published my review of Mark Henshaw's new spy thriller, Red Cell, today.

Henshaw, a veteran CIA analyst, has written a fast-paced and gripping debut novel. He has been called the new Tom Clancy.

The action in this thriller takes place in the offices and corridors of CIA headquarters, the streets and alleys of Beijing, and on the deck and passageways of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean. (As a former sailor who served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, I especially enjoyed the carrier action).

The thriller describes real CIA offices and units, including Red Cell, where Henshaw himself served three years, and the spy tradecraft is real - up to a classified point. Likewise, the American and Chinese military units and tactics are accurate.

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


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Muhammad Ali Does Not Deserve The National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal

I agree with Stan Hochman, a Philadelphia Daily News columnist, who offers a dissenting voice regarding the announcement that the National Constitution Center awarded Muhammad Ali the Liberty Medal.

... the folks at the National Constitution Center either forgot, or never heard Ali turn the weeks leading up to his first fight against Joe Frazier into a nasty monologue that reeked of racism.

Called Frazier "the white man's champ." Called him an Uncle Tom. Called him ugly, too ugly to be champion. Called him ignorant. (Years later he compared Frazier to a gorilla, rhymed it with Manila, site of their third fight. And if that ain't enough to disqualify him from the Liberty Medal, then maybe they ought to rethink the criteria.)

... Frazier never forgave Ali for that cruelty. The folks at the National Constitution Center apparently are more forgiving, more willing to rewrite history.
You can read the rest of the column via the below link:


In the above photo Muhammad Ali is on the canvas after Joe Frazier knocked him down in the 1971 fight.

Note: I was stationed on the USS Kitty Hawk as the aircraft carrier performed combat operations off the coast of Vietnam when the Ali-Frazier fight took place in 1971.

I was a gambler in those days and I took Frazier over Ali. Nearly everyone, especially the black guys, believed that Ali was going to beat Frazier. We listened to the fight over the Armed Forces Radio and I cleaned up when Frazier won.

Thank you, Joe. You were a true athlete and a gentleman. May you rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Five Trips For Crime Fiction Lovers

Leslie Gilbert Elman wrote an interesting piece for CNN.com about places to visit if you're a fan of crime fiction, such as the Edinburgh castle seen in the above photo.

It used to be safe to say that most of us don't go looking for crime on our vacations, but that's not true anymore. Crime fiction travel, a juicier version of the well-worn literary pilgrimage, is a popular way for people to see the world.

"A lot of people read crime fiction in advance of visiting a new city. Once there, I think it's natural to see how the real place aligns with the one on the page," says best-selling crime novelist Laura Lippman, whose main character Tess Monaghan is a reporter turned private investigator living and working in Baltimore.

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

Ruthless Philadelphia Black Mafia Convicted Killer Robert "Nudie" Mims Dies In Prison

John F. Morrison at the Philadelphia Daily News reports on the death and the life of the Black Mafia convicted killer, Robert "Nudie" Mims.

IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO, but the bloody rampage still reeks in the memory of Philadelphians.

Eight Black Mafia members invaded Dubrow's furniture store on South Street on Jan. 4, 1971, and unleashed a barrage of wanton terror, leaving a janitor shot to death and an employee doused with gasoline and left burning; 13 other clerks were bound and beaten and two others shot and wounded.

Then-Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo called it "the most vicious crime I have ever come across."
The gang was led by Robert "Nudie" Mims, one of the leaders of the ruthless criminal organization that came to be called the Black Mafia.

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


To learn more about Mims and the Philadelphia Black Mafia I suggest you read Sean Patrick Griffin's Black Brothers, Inc: The Violent Rise and Fall of Philadelphia's Black Mafia.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

James Bond Director Says Henry Cavill Could Be Future 007

Digitalspy.com reports that a former James Bond film director claims actor Henry Cavill could be portraying Ian Fleming's iconic fictional secret agent James Bond in the future.

GoldenEye and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell has said that Henry Cavill could potentially play James Bond in the future.

Man of Steel star Cavill auditioned for the 007 role in 2005, eventually losing out to
Daniel Craig. Campbell told The Express that Craig had the edge thanks to his turn as a gangster in Layer Cake.

You can read the rest of the piece and view a trailer for the new James Bond film Skyfall via the below link:



Mob's Family Album Used As Evidence in Philly Organized Crime Trial

George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter, reports on the evidence the feds are presenting in the case against the reputed Philly mob boss and his associates.

It's a "family album."

Photos and video from a wedding, a graduation party, several Christmas celebrations, and other memorable moments . . . like prison visits.

They're all part of a pretrial evidence list in the pending racketeering case against mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and 10 associates.

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


A Personal Remembrance And An Unforgettable Interview With The Late Ernest Borgnine

Scott Feinberg at the Hollywood Reporter offers his interview with the late Ernest Borgnine.

You can read the interview via the below link:


Monday, July 9, 2012

Thriller Writer Frederick Forsyth Honored At British Crime Writer's Association With Diamond Dagger Award

Thebookseller.com reports that the British Crime Writer's Association (CWA) announced at thriller writer Frederick Forysth will be honored at the group's annual awards ceremony.

Frederick Forsyth has been awarded the Crime Writers Association's Diamond Dagger award at the CWA's annual awards ceremony, which also saw the longlists for the Gold Dagger and Ian Fleming Steel Dagger revealed.

Forsyth was selected by his peers for the award, which recognises a significant and sustained contribution to crime fiction, with Peter James, chair of the CWA, declaring: “Frederick Forsyth is a hugely deserving recipient and The Day of the Jackal remains of the greatest thrillers of our times.”

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


You can also read my On Crime & Thrillers column on Frederick Forsyth via the below link:


Five Individuals Charged In Connection With Death Of A Customs And Border Protection Border Patrol Agent, $1 Million FBI Reward Announced

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information today:
An indictment charging five individuals involved in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry (seen in the above photo) was unsealed today in Tucson, and a reward of up to $1 million from the FBI for information leading to the arrest of four fugitives, was announced by Department of Justice officials.
According to the indictment, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza are charged with crimes including first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, is charged only with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
The 11-count third superseding indictment, which was handed up by a federal grand jury in the District of Arizona on Nov. 7, 2011, alleges that on Dec. 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza) engaged in a firefight with Border Patrol agents. During the exchange of gunfire, Agent Terry was shot and killed. The indictment alleges that the defendants had illegally entered the United States from Mexico for the purpose of robbing drug traffickers of their contraband. In addition to the murder of Agent Terry, the indictment also alleges that the five defendants assaulted Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza and Timothy Keller, who were with Agent Terry during the firefight.
Agent Terry served his country honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect it from harm, and we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This investigation has previously resulted in one defendant being charged with Agent Terry’s murder and taken into custody, and today’s announcement reflects the department’s unrelenting commitment to finding and arresting the other individuals responsible for this horrific tragedy so that Agent Terry’s family, friends and fellow law enforcement agents receive the justice they deserve.”
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy said, “Agent Terry died in the line of duty while protecting his country. But he was more than a federal agent – he was a son, a brother, a co-worker and a friend to many. The indictment unsealed today reflects the progress our dedicated law enforcement team has made piecing together this complex murder case. But there is more work to be done and we will not rest until we bring justice to the family of Brian Terry.”
“U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry made the ultimate sacrifice in December of 2010, while protecting our border,” stated James L. Turgal Jr., FBI Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Division. “Today’s announcement is an important step forward in the pursuit of justice for Border Patrol Agent Terry and his family. It is our hope that the publicity surrounding this case will lead to information concerning the whereabouts of the remaining four fugitives. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue those individuals responsible for the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since his arrest the night of the shooting. Rito Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since Dec. 12, 2010, when he was arrested by Border Patrol agents on immigration charges. The indictment is being unsealed today in order to seek the public’s assistance in locating the fugitive defendants.
This case is being prosecuted in federal court in Tucson by attorneys from the Southern District of California, Special Attorneys Todd W. Robinson, David D. Leshner, and Fred A. Sheppard. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is recused. This case is being investigated by the FBI.
An indictment is a formal charging document and defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of the fugitives should contact the FBI's Phoenix field office at (623) 466-1999. You may also contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.