Sunday, September 30, 2012

Joseph Merlino: The Mobster Next Door (In Boca Raton)

 
Julie K. Brown at the Miami Herald offers an interesting piece on Philadelphia organized crime figure Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, who now resides in Boca Raton, Florida.
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A year out of prison, Joseph Salvatore “Skinny Joey” Merlino isn’t so skinny anymore. But he looks almost as boyish at 50 as at 39, when he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for racketeering. Back then, he was a five-foot-three, 100-pound dapper young don who masterminded the bloody takeover of the Philadelphia mob. Today, he is a two-hour plane ride from the Southwest Philadelphia row house where he grew up to become an underworld icon, both feared and eerily revered in the City of Brotherly Love.
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“How’d ya find me?” he asks, his Philadelphia accent unmistakable.
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 You can read the rest of the story via the below
link:
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 http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/29/3026287/joseph-merlino-the-mobster-next.html#
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Note: Merlino grew up in South Philadelphia, not Southwest Philadelphia.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/29/3026287/joseph-merlino-the-mobster-next.html#storylink=cpy

The World's Most Hilarious Mug Shots

 
Joanna Slome and Rosanne Salvatore at the New York Daily News collected a series of awful and ridiculous police mug shots, like the one above, that the police call "Dracula."

You can view the collection via the below link:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world-hilarious-mug-shots-gallery-1.14220 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Why Men Bond With The 007 Theme



Marc Myers at the Wall Street Journal offers an interesting piece on why men bond with the James Bond theme.

Maybe it's the stealthy bass line. Or the machine-gun guitar solo. Or the swaggering wail of the horns. Or maybe it's all three shaken together. Whatever the reasons (and there are many), the "James Bond Theme" still has a way of making guys feel, well, more guy-ly.

Fifty years after appearing in "Dr. No"—the first James Bond film, which had its premiere in London on Oct. 5, 1962—the jaunty theme is back with a vengeance. At the Olympics' opening ceremony, the theme played as Britain's "queen" parachuted from a helicopter. On Oct. 5, Vic Flick, the theme's original guitarist, will perform his signature solo during "The Music of James Bond: The First 50 Years" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And it will be laced throughout the latest Bond film, "Skyfall," opening on Nov. 9.

For millions of baby-boomer males who saw their first car chase and sex scene in a Bond film in the '60s, the theme song stirs powerful psychological coals, flipping a primal switch as images of silencers, casinos, bikinis, gin and gadgets flood the male brain.
 
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
 
 
And you can listen to the 007 theme via the Dr No intro via the below link:
 

Friday, September 28, 2012

U.S. Treasury Department Guns For Japanese Yakuza Groups

 
Jake Adelstein, the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter On the Police Beat in Japan, offers an interesting piece in The Daily Beast on the U.S. Treasury's crackdown on Japanese organized crime.

The U.S. Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on Japan's second largest yakuza crime syndicate, the Sumiyoshi-Kai and its leaders today. The sanctions make it possible to freeze their U.S. assets and block their transactions with American corporations or other entities.

The Sumiyoshi-Kai’s leader, Shigeo Nishiguchi, and the underboss Hareaki Fukuda, were added to the U.S. Treasury’s list of persons that are targeted for punitive financial measures.


The Sumiyoshi-kai is a designated organized crime group in Japan, regulated but not outlawed. It has offices, the members have business cards; fan magazines, comics, and books list the top executives and celebrate their exploits. The Sumiyoshi-kai, with close to 11,000 members, is based in Tokyo, with offices in the luxurious Ginza area and flashy Akasaka. The group’s moneymaking activities include real estate, construction, prostitution, temporary staffing, as well as the standard extortion, blackmail, and racketeering.

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

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/28/u-s-treasury-department-guns-for-japanese-yakuza-groups.html


You can also read also read my Crime Beat column on Jake Adelstein's Tokyo Vice via the below link:

http://pauldavisoncrime.blogspot.com/2010/03/tokyo-vice-american-reporter-on-police.html  

My Washington Times Review Of James Lee Burke's Crime Thriller 'Creole Belle'


The Washington Times published my review of James Lee Burke's crime thriller Creole Belle today.

In James Lee Burke’s previous Dave Robicheaux crime thriller, “The Glass Rainbow,” the Cajun detective from the New Iberia, La., Sheriff's Department ended up struck in the back in a bayou shootout with the bad guys.

In Mr. Burke’s latest novel, “Creole Belle,” the 19th in the Dave Robicheaux series, Robicheaux is in a hospital in New Orleans recovering from the gunshot wound.

He is administered morphine, which is good for the pain but not necessarily good overall, as Robicheaux is a recovering alcoholic with a history of depression and violence.

... The story leads to the kind of bad guys Robicheaux and Purcel encountered in the previous novel as well as those before it in the series: rich, powerful, corrupt and decadent patricians, greedy, crooked and heartless corporate executives, and violent, sociopathic, low-life criminals. Their collective crimes range from art fraud to white slavery and from Nazi war crimes to murder.

Mr. Burke once again makes the Louisiana region come alive in his vivid descriptions of the land, the sea, the weather, and the people, music and food — especially the food.

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

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/28/book-review-creole-belle/?page=all#pagebreak

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Kim Philby Infilrated MI6, With A Lot Of Help From His Friends


Richard Norton-Taylor and the Nick Hopkins at the British newspaper the Guardian offer a look at a new book on British traitor and spy Kim Philby.

So much has been written about Kim Philby and the Cambridge spy ring that people may be forgiven for thinking that's enough. They would be wrong.

There is so much, ranging from the exotic to the banal, which makes the story of the Cambridge spy ring of such perennial interest.

A new account shows how Kim Philby, the "third man" of the Ring of Five, came, partly by sheer luck, to head the counter intelligence branch of MI6 and ended up being responsible for co-ordinating British secret operations in the Soviet Union.

As Edward Harrison, author of The Young Kim Philby, published on 1 October by the University of Exeter Press, points out, this Soviet agent was at the heart of Britain's secret cold war.

How he got there is described in detail, some of it fresh, most of it very telling. It tells you as much as about the British establishment, as about Philby personally.


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

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/defence-and-security-blog/2012/sep/27/espionage-mi6

U.S. Officials knew Libya Attack Was Terrorism Within 24 Hours, Sources Confirm

 
 FoxNews.com reports that American officials knew the attack on the American Consulate in Libya was an act of terrorism within 24 hours.
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U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News -- though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.
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The account sharply conflicts with claims on the Sunday after the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice that the administration believed the strike was a "spontaneous" event triggered by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.
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Two senior U.S. officials said that the Obama administration internally labeled the attack terrorism from the first day in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect. The officials said the intelligence community knew by Sept. 12 that the militant Ansar al-Shariah and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were likely behind the strike.
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Further, an official said, "No one ... believed that the mortars, indirect and direct fire, and the RPGs were just the work of a mob -- no one."
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You can read the rest of the story via the below link:
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http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/27/us-officials-knew-libya-attack-was-terrorism-within-24-hours-sources-confirm/

Mexico Catches Zetas Drug Capo 'El Taliban'

 
Mark Stevens of the Associated Press offers a piece on the capture of the Zeta drug gang leader called 'El Taliban.'

MEXICO CITY - Mexico appeared to strike a major blow against one faction of the hyper-violent Zetas cartel, with the navy announcing it has captured one of the country's most-wanted drug traffickers, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, known as "El Taliban."

Velazquez Caballero has been fighting a bloody internal battle with top Zetas' leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, and officials have said the split was behind a recent surge in massacres and shootouts, particularly in northern Mexico.

"A person who is presumed to be, and acknowledges being, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, was captured in the state of San Luis Potosi" in north-central Mexico, the navy said in a statement on Wednesday.

You can read the rest of the story at Philly.com via the below link:

http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/world/20120927_ap_mexicocatcheszetasdrugcapoeltaliban.html

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rare Hemingway Works Go To South Carolina University Library


The Washington Times reports that rare Ernest Hemingway works have been donated to a South Carolina universary library.

A love of Ernest Hemingway’s writing and the thrill of tracking down his many works led a Mississippi physician to amass a huge literary collection and donate it to the University of South Carolina so students and scholars could share it, the doctor said Tuesday.

“It’s like an Easter egg hunt. You just don’t know what’s going to pop up,” Edgar Grissom said as he described his 50-year effort to compile all of Hemingway’s English-language publications.

“I have the most complete collection of his primary works in existence,” said Grissom. “There’s no equal to it.”

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

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/25/rare-hemingway-works-go-to-sc-university-library/

Former Navy SEALs To Obama: 'We Are Not Bumps In The Road'


Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart.com offers a piece on the response of former U.S. Navy SEALs to President Obama's callous comment "..bumps in the road."

Former SEAL and current Montana State Senator Ryan Zinke issued the following statement:

The President refuses to admit that his policy of appeasement and apology has failed. The murder of our Ambassador and two former Navy SEALs is more than a "bump in the road," it is a global catastrophe where America is seen as being weak and vulnerable by our enemies. This President has failed to establish a red line for Iran's nuclear ambitions and has failed to recognize the scale and implications of the attacks against us. Reagan had it right: don't negotiate with terrorists and recognize the clear and present danger of not being willing to act or lead from the front. 
 

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

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/09/25/Seals-to-Obama-We-Are-Not-Bumps-in-the-Road

Everything Or Nothing: James Bond Celebrates 50 Years On Screen

 
DigitalSpy.com offers an interesting piece on the James Bond documentary called Everything or Nothing.

Sandwiched between the Bond 50 Blu-ray collection and next month's Skyfall comes Everything or Nothing, a documentary celebrating 5 decades of 007. Helmed by Fire in Babylon's Stevan Riley, it tells the story of how James Bond leapt from the pages of Ian Fleming's hard-edged spy novels to become Hollywood's most durable movie franchise.

The talking heads range from friends of Fleming, to series producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, to five of the six James Bond stars (Sean Connery is conspicuously absent), as Riley cleverly weaves in footage from the Bond films to help illustrate the narrative.

The doc doesn't just focus on 007's big screen outings, however - author Fleming's life is covered in detail, with the former intelligence officer emerging as Bond's true alter ego, a man with a penchant for cigarettes, alcohol and women.


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

http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/review/a408344/everything-or-nothing-review-james-bond-celebrates-50-years-on-screen.html

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Legendary Undercover FBI Agent Joseph Pistone Testifies At Quebec Commission


The Canadian newspaper the National Post reports on the testimony of legendary FBI special agent Joseph Pistone, who went undercover with the Bonanno Cosa Nostra organized crime family in New York, in Quebec.

The man who infiltrated the New York Mafia and inspired the movie Donnie Brasco is regaling Quebec’s corruption inquiry with tales about his years in the mob.

Joseph Pistone, a legendary FBI agent who spent six years undercover as a Mafia associate, told the Charbonneau Commission about the inner workings of the Mob in the United States during his testimony on Monday.

The commission is looking into criminal corruption in Quebec’s construction industry and its ties to organized crime and political parties.

... Pistone’s undercover work led to some 20 trials and 200 convictions across the U.S. But the Bonanno clan continues to exist to this day, Pistone says, and still has strong ties to groups in Montreal as it did when he was embedded.

Pistone’s testimony at the Charbonneau commission is intended to help the inquiry better understand the murky world of the Mafia as a whole.

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

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/09/24/donnie-brasco-finally-testifying-at-quebec-corruption-commission/

You can also read my column on Joseph Pistone via the below link:

http://pauldavisoncrime.blogspot.com/2010/01/look-back-at-joseph-pistone-aka-donnie.html

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Bad Things Presidents And Would-Be-Presidents Have Said About Each Other

 
Think the Obama-Romney presidential race is nasty?

Well, Thomas Fleming, the noted historian and author, offers a look back at some of the bad things our presidents and would-be-presidents said about each other at the History News Network.

Recently I went to a dinner party at which several guests wondered aloud if the 2012 presidential election was setting some sort of record for nastiness. The two candidates and their spokesmen were calling each other a startling range of names from liar to crook to weakling to would be dictator. I agreed that the rancor was growing intense -- but I assured them that other candidates for and holders of the nation’s highest office had compiled a record that equaled and often exceeded the current epithets.

Enraged by President George Washington’s refusal to support the French Revolution, Thomas Jefferson said he was "a Samson who had allowed himself to be shorn by the harlot, England." Around the same time, an ardent Jefferson supporter, journalist James Thomson Callender, offered a toast at a public dinner "to the speedy death of President Washington."

A few years later, President John Adams, defeated for re-election by Mr. Jefferson, accused him of having "a mean thirst for popularity, an inordinate ambition and a want of sincerity." Adams shuddered at "the calamities" that Jefferson’s policies would soon inflict on the country. 

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

http://hnn.us/articles/bad-things-presidents-and-would-be-presidents-have-said-about-each-other

Meet The Beatles, Johnny Carson, James Bond And The Cuban Missile Crisis: October 1962 Brought Not Just The Arival On Screen James Bond, But A History Book Full Of Enduring Pop Culture Icons

 
Joe Neumaier at the New York Daily News wrote an interesting piece that looks back at October 1962.

It’s been noted that 1962 was one of the great years — if not the greatest — in pop culture.

Let’s pinpoint things even more precisely: 50 years ago, October 1962, is when it all changed.

As the Cuban missile crisis brought the world closer than ever to its end, there was an explosion of beginnings whose aftershocks are still being felt.

One of the biggest was James Bond’s debut stroll across the screen — seen through the barrel of a gun — in “Dr. No.” The first 007 film, featuring Sean Connery as the British superspy and the blueprint for every Bond flick and so many other thrillers since, still holds up beautifully.

... Meanwhile, on television, Oct. 1, 1962, saw Johnny Carson's debut as host of “The Tonight Show.” Today, some half a dozen Carson heirs and aspirants stroll onto the air between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. In music, the Beatles released their first single, “Love Me Do,” in the U.K. the same day “Dr. No” opened. (Its flip side: “P.S. I Love You.”) In America, the Beach Boys’ debut album, “Surfin’ Safari,” was released on Oct. 1. (It’s title track, from the previous June, is one of the original “songs of summer.”)

On Oct. 24, James Brown recorded his classic “Live at the Apollo,” backed by the Famous Flames. And on Oct. 26, Motown Records launched “The Motortown Revue” in Washington, D.C.,, featuring Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Miracles, the Marvelettes, Mary Wells and 12-year-old sensation Little Stevie Wonder.

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

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/october-1962-brought-arrival-screen-james-bond-a-history-book-full-enduring-pop-culture-icons-article-1.1163940?pgno=1#ixzz27OOmq6BM

Note: I remember October 1962 well, as I was 10-years-old at the time. I became a big fan of the Beatles and Ian Fleming's character James Bond, and I recall that I was frightened of our heading towards a nuclear world war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Former CIA Operative Edwin Wilson Dies At 84

 
CBSNews.com announced the death of former CIA officer Edwin P. Wilson.

Edwin P. Wilson, a former CIA operative who was branded a traitor and convicted of shipping arms to Libya but whose conviction was overturned after he served 22 years in prison, has died. He was 84.

Wilson died Sept. 10 in Seattle from complications from a heart valve replacement surgery, said Craig Emmick, a director at Columbia Funeral Home in Seattle.

Wilson who set up front companies abroad for the CIA and posed as a rich American businessman was convicted in 1983 for shipping 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya. At trial, he said he did it to ingratiate himself with the Libyan government at the CIA's request.

A federal judge threw out that conviction in 2003, saying the government failed to correct information about Wilson's service to the CIA that it admitted internally was false.

Joseph C. Goulden, the veteran journalist and author, wrote a book about Wilson called The Death Merchant. 

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine interview with Joseph C. Goulden, in which he discusses Wilson, via the below links:

http://home.comcast.net/~pauldavisoncrime/pwpimages/JosephGouldenQandA.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~pauldavisoncrime/pwpimages/JGouldenQandA2.jpg

Well, Perhaps Partly: The WWII Spy Whose Ruthlessness With Enemies, And Charming Way With Women Inspired Author To Create James Bond


Bob Pressce at the British newspaper the Daily Mail reports on yet another claim that a real-life WWII spy/commando influenced Ian Fleming, a British Royal Navy Commander and naval intelligence officer in WWII, in his creation the iconic secret agent character James Bond..

His identity has remained a secret for decades, as one would expect of an international man of mystery.

But after years of speculation, the debate over who it was that Ian Fleming based his character James Bond upon may finally have been resolved.

One of Britain's greatest spies of the Second World War, Wing Commander Forest 'Tommy' Yeo-Thomas, has been identified as the inspiration behind 007. 

A new biography of Yeo-Thomas claims that, like Bond, he surrounded himself with women and ruthlessly saw off his enemies. And it suggests that many of his rela-life adventures are recreated in Fleming's novels.

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

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2207357/Revealed-The-Second-World-War-spy-inspired-007-author-Ian-Fleming-create-James-Bond.html#ixzz27Iid4Fcm

Note: I don't completely buy into this story. I've no doubt that Yeo -Thomas is all that Sophie Jackson claims him to be, and I don't doubt that Commander Ian Fleming came across his file in WWII.

But this is perhaps the 20th WWII spy and/or commando that others have made claim to be the single source inspiration for the character of Bond.

As I've written here before, Fleming said he based Bond on the secret agents and commandos he knew in WWII (plural, not singular), yes, but he also added his own "quirks and peccadilloes" to the character. Bond was merely a "blunt instrument" for the government.


Bond film producer Cubby Broccoli said that Ian Fleming was James Bond.

I believe he meant in style and background. Fleming had an intelligence background like Bond, he was a great womanizer like Bond, he eat and drank like Bond, and in his youth he was as handsome as Bond.

And Fleming "borrowed" the fist and gun fights and other heroics from the background of the many secret agents and commandos he knew during the war.     

The top photo is of Yeo-Thomas and the bottom photo is of Fleming during WWII.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cat People: 30 Renowned Authors Inspired By Cats


Summer Anne Burton at BuzzFeed.com looks at 30 famous authors who were famously cat lovers.

Cats – with all their mysteriousness and adorableness and softness – have served as muses for some of the most brilliant writers in the world for centuries. Some notable examples, amazing pictures, and charming quotes from 30 of the best kitty/writer combo deals.

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

http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/30-renowned-authors-inspired-by-cats

Note: For most of my life I've been a dog guy, even though at least three of my favorite writers growing up were cat lovers - Raymond Chandler (seen in the above photo), Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway.

That changed when we took in a feral kitten, a small, harmless creature that was the survivor of a litter of kittens that were poisoned and killed by one of our awful neighbors.

You can read my piece on the incident via the below link:

http://pauldavisoncrime.blogspot.com/2010/01/kitten-killers-and-how-dog-guy-came-to.html 

Blame Bush Department: Jake Tapper At ABC News Notes That President Obama Falsely Claims Fast And Furious Program "Begun Under The Previous Administration"

 
Jake Tapper at ABCNews.com reports that President Obama blamed former President Bush once again for his failure.

Asked about the Fast and Furious program at the Univision forum on Thursday, President Obama falsely claimed that the program began under President George W. Bush.

“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration,” the president said. “When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned a inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued, confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and the people who did initiate this were held accountable.”

In actuality, the Fast and Furious program was started in October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency.

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

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/president-obama-falsely-claims-fast-and-furious-program-begun-under-the-previous-administration/

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Al Qaeda Ex-Gitmo Detainee Involved In Consulate Attack, Intelligence Sources Say

 
FoxNews.com offers a report on the Libyan attack that killed the American Ambassador to Libya and three others on the anniversary of 9/11.

Intelligence sources tell Fox News they are convinced the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was directly tied to Al Qaeda -- with a former Guantanamo detainee involved.

That revelation comes on the same day a top Obama administration official called last week's deadly assault a "terrorist attack" -- the first time the attack has been described that way by the administration after claims it had been a "spontaneous" act.

"Yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy," Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said during a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Olsen echoed administration colleagues in saying U.S. officials have no specific intelligence about "significant advanced planning or coordination" for the attack.

However, his statement goes beyond White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, saying the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate was spontaneous. He is the first top administration official to call the strike an act of terrorism.

Sufyan Ben Qumu is thought to have been involved and even may have led the attack, Fox News' intelligence sources said.

You can read the rest of the story and watch the video from the FoxNews report via the below link:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/19/top-administration-official-says-strike-in-libya-was-terror-attack/

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Author, Editor And Publisher Otto Penzler Discusses Crime Fiction In Interview


Otto Penzler discussess crime fiction in an interview at crimefictionlover.com.

Surely there are few people on the planet who are more knowledgeable on the topic of crime fiction than Otto Penzler. The American author, editor and publisher won an Edgar Award back in 1977 for co-writing the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, and he picked up another one in 2010 for The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives. He has many more accolades to his name, and ran the Mysterious Bookshop in New York for 25 years. But perhaps he is best known for founding Mysterious Press, publishing thousands of crime fiction titles, and working with writers such as Ed McBain, Len Deighton, PD James, Patricia Highsmith, Lawrence Block and many more.

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

http://www.crimefictionlover.com/2012/09/cis-interview-with-otto-penzler/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cis-interview-with-otto-penzler

Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard Wins Prestigious Book Award


A report at Syracuse.com announced that crime writer Elmore Leonard will receive a major book award.

For a man who built his career on word economy, the title is pretty darned long — The National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Still, Elmore Leonard says he's thrilled to receive one of the literary world's highest honors.

The 86-year-old crime novelist will be presented with the medal in New York on Nov. 14, the same evening this year's National Book Awards are announced.

"I was very surprised. I didn't ever count on winning this kind of an award," Leonard, with one of his trademark Virginia Slims between his fingers, said in an interview at his home in suburban Detroit. "I've won a lot of awards, but not like this one."

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

http://www.syracuse.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/author-elmore-leonard-wins-prestigious-book-award/76508e4a10a64444a450f8a94476ae5c

The Ten Commandments of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra: Mafia Expert Revels Mob Secrets At Quebec Inquiry

 
CBCNews reports that Valentina Tenti, an expert on the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, reveled some of the organized crime group's secrets at a Canadian inquiry into organized crime. 

Quebec's corruption inquiry heard a detailed history of the Italian Mafia on Tuesday — with everything from its secret codes, its origins and the scope of its reach to how it got into the construction business.

The inquiry was even shown the so-called "Ten Commandments" of the Sicilian Mafia, the list of rules under which members must supposedly live.

The Ten Commandments of the Cosa Nostra

1. I swear to be faithful to the Cosa Nostra. If I betray my flesh must burn — as this image burns.
2. No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.
3. Never look at the wives of friends.
4. Never be seen with cops.
5. Don’t go to pubs and clubs.
6. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty — even if your wife is about to give birth.
7. Appointments must absolutely be respected.
8. Wives must be treated with respect.
9. When asked for any information the answer must be the truth.
10. Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.

Individuals who cannot be part of the Cosa Nostra
  • Anyone who has a close relative in the police.
  • Anyone with a two-timing relative in the family.
  • Anyone who behaves badly and doesn’t hold to moral values.
You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/09/18/quebec-mob-expert-testifies-charbonneau.html

U.S. Navy Investigators Say Submarine Commander Faked His Own Death To End Affair

 
FoxNews.com reports on the creepy story of a U.S. Navy submarine commander who faxed his own death to end an affair with a pregnant mistress.

A Navy officer who was dismissed last month as commander of a Connecticut-based nuclear submarine faked his own death to end an affair he was carrying on with a mistress, investigation documents show.

Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II was relieved of his duties aboard the USS Pittsburgh a week after taking command of the attack submarine.

Investigators found that Ward sent his mistress an email from a fictitious person named Bob in July, posing as a co-worker and saying that Ward had died unexpectedly, according to a report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/19/navy-investigators-say-submarine-commander-faked-his-death-to-end-affair/

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Agatha Christie Essay On British Crime Fiction Has Finally Seen The Light of Day In The UK And America

 
Alison Flood at the British newspaper the Guardian offers a piece on an essay by crime writer Agatha Christie on British crime fiction written in 1945 and has finally been published.

A long-lost essay by Agatha Christie that was commissioned by the government in 1945 to sing the praises of British crime fiction has finally seen the light of day.

Christie's essay, in which she extols the virtues of the British detective story, has been published for the first time in the UK as the preface to the reissued 1933 collaborative crime novel Ask a Policeman. "I discovered it in 1997 going through her archive but never had an opportunity to publish it," said David Brawn, who publishes Christie at HarperCollins. "Although it was published in a Russian magazine in 1947, it's never been seen in the UK before. She was commissioned to write it by the Ministry of Information in Britain in order to seed it out internationally – it's really a piece of propaganda; they were trying, I guess, to extol the virtues of the British and western way of life, and so the government asked her to write this essay about the crime-writing genre."

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

Mob Talk: Big Philadelphia Mob Trial To Begin Soon

 
Fox 29's Dave Schratwieser and the Philadelphia Inquirer's George Anastasia offer another video segment of Mob Talk on Fox 29 in Philadelphia.

This segment offer a look at the upcoming federal trial of alleged Philadelphia Cosa Nostra crime family members. Charges of racketeering, loan sharking and illegal gambling will be backed up with tape recordings of the defeandants and a witness named "Bent Finger Joe" (seen in the above photo).

You can watch the video via the below link:

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/19566178/mob-talk-big-mob-trial-to-begin-soon

Digital Spy: What's Your Favorite James Bond Film

 
The staff of the Digital Spy web site weigh in on their favorite James Bond film and offer an online poll where readers can vote for the best film in the 50-year-long series about Ian Fleming's iconic secret agent character.

James Bond fans have plenty to celebrate in 2012 with the release of a 22-film Blu-ray box set and Daniel Craig returning to the 007 role in Skyfall.

As the suave secret agent celebrates his 50th cinematic anniversary, we here at Digital Spy want to know which Bond movie is your favorite. Do you love the ruthless steak of
Sean Connery, or the arched eyebrow of Roger Moore? How about the darker movies led by Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig?

To help make up your mind, DS staff have had their say on which films are their personal favorites.


You can read the rest of the piece, vote in the online poll and watch a video about the James Bond film series via the below link:

http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/at-the-movies/a405176/whats-your-favorite-james-bond-movie-poll.html

Note: As I noted here before, my favorite James Bond film is From Russia With Love.

The above photo shows Sean Connery (who is far and away the best James Bond) and Pedro Armendariz in From Russia With Love. (You can click on the photo to enlarge). 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Re-Branding Guevara: Che The Butcher

 
John Fund at National Review Online offers an interesting piece on the violent history (and myth) and continuing influence of the communist guerrilla Che Guevara.

The stern photo of revolutionary Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda in 1960 is one of the most reproduced images on the planet, appearing on posters, flags, postcards, T-shirts, and even bikinis. Sadly, the ubiquitous appearances of Che — hailed today usually by his first name only — demonstrate the near-total failure to educate people about the blood-soaked cruelty he really represented. 

... After Fidel Castro seized power in 1959, Che was instrumental in setting up forced-labor camps for dissidents, gays, and devout Catholics. He was put in charge of La Cabaña Fortress prison for five months. There are varying accounts of how many people were executed under his command during that time, and how many deaths are attributed directly to Che as opposed to the regime overall, but some sources say that more than 100 journalists, businessmen, and followers of the previous regime faced death by firing squad at La Cabaña, under Che’s jurisdiction.

... Nor was Che’s violence directed only against Cubans. Author Humberto Fontova points to evidence that Guevara, the chief instigator of Castro’s revolutionary efforts overseas, was involved in a November 1962 terrorist plot to use 1,200 pounds of TNT to blow up Macy’s, Gimbels, Bloomingdale’s, and Grand Central Station on the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year. Such an act could have rivaled 9/11 in its destruction. This is hardly a man who deserves to be honored as a hero on T-shirts.

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

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/321089/re-branding-guevara-che-butcher-john-fund#

You can also read my interview with Humberto Fontova about Che Guevara via the below links:

http://home.comcast.net/~pauldavisoncrime/pwpimages/Fontovache1.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~pauldavisoncrime/pwpimages/Fontovache2.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~pauldavisoncrime/pwpimages/Fontovache3.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~pauldavisoncrime/pwpimages/Fontovache4.jpg 

Philadelphia Cosa Nostra Crime Family Capo Sentenced To 57 Months In Prison

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

Martin Angelina, 50, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for his participation in a racketeering conspiracy involving loan sharking and illegal gambling, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and George C. Venizelos, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
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Angelina was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In addition to his prison term, Judge Robreno ordered Angelina to serve three years of supervised release. On Aug. 8, 2012, Angelina pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (LCN) Family through a pattern of racketeering activity. At the time of the plea, Angelina admitted he attempted to collect payments related to usurious loans by using extortionate means and operated an illegal video poker machine business in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy.
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Angelina is among 14 members and associates of the Philadelphia LCN Family charged with crimes involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering and theft from an employee benefit plan in a third superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on July 25, 2012. The other defendants charged in the 52-count third superseding indictment included Philadelphia LCN Family boss Joseph Ligambi, Philadelphia LCN Family underboss Joseph Massimino, George Borgesi, Gaeton Lucibello, Anthony Staino Jr., Damion Canalichio, Louis Barretta, Gary Battaglini, Robert Verrecchia, Eric Esposito, Robert Ranieri, Joseph Licata and Louis Fazzini.
*
Lucibello pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on Aug. 2, 2012, and was sentenced to 51 months in prison. Barretta also pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on Sept. 5, 2012, and is awaiting sentencing on Nov. 26, 2012.
The trial for Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Staino Jr., Canalichio, Battaglini, Licata and Fazzini is scheduled for Oct. 9, 2012. The trial for Verrecchia, Esposito and Ranieri has not yet been scheduled. Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Canalichio, Licata and Fazzini are detained while awaiting trial. Staino Jr., Battaglini, Verrecchia, Esposito and Ranieri are free on bond while awaiting trial.
*
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. Attorneys Frank A. Labor III and Suzanne B. Ercole of 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, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New Jersey State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. Additional assistance was provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Details Of Bin Laden Raid Leaked First By Obama Administration Aides


Rowan Scarborough at the Washington Times reports that Obama administration officials already leaked much of the information contained in No Easy Day, an account of the bin Laden raid by a former U.S. Navy SEAL.

The Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to publicize details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, even as it threatens to file criminal charges against a former Navy SEAL because he provided the same type of mission rundown in his recently published book.

An examination by The Washington Times shows that several details in the book “No Easy Day” already have appeared in print based on interviews with administration officials and likely will be included in an upcoming movie and another book.

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

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/16/details-of-bin-laden-raid-leaked-first-by-aides/?page=all#pagebreak

Sunday, September 16, 2012

'Most Wanted' Author Discusses Boston Mobster 'Whitey' Bulger's Arrest


Thomas J. Foley, the author of Most Wanted: Pursuing Whitey Bulger, the Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected, answered questions about Bulger's arrest, Nate Holman reports.

Former Massachusetts State Police Colonel Thomas J. Foley, author of Most Wanted discussed the 16-year odyssey of chasing one of America’s most wanted and notorious criminal mastermind, James “Whitey” Bulger at the BPL on Thursday evening. Former Boston Globe reporter and current Boston University professor Dick Lehr, author of Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob moderated a Q+A forum with the audience. 

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

http://fenwaykenmore.patch.com/articles/most-wanted-author-discusses-whitey-bulger-arrest-at-the-bpl

You can also read my Washington Times review of Most Wanted via the below link:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/8/hunting-down-a-crime-boss/?page=all#pagebreak

Saturday, September 15, 2012

'The Iceman' Film Trailer: Michael Shannon Is A Cold-Blooded Killer

 
Drew Turney at screenrant.com offers the trailer for the film The Iceman, a true crime story that stars Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski, a notorious murderer (Shannon is seen the left in the above photo, with Ray Liotta as a mob captain on the right).

The Iceman tells the true story of contract killer Kuklinski, who worked for almost two decades between the 60s and 80s, all the while hiding his job from his loving family. Vromen’s Iceman stars Michael Shannon as Kuklinski, who looks perfect for the role with his creepy, mob-inspired visage.

You can read the rest of the piece and view the trailer via the below link:

http://screenrant.com/the-iceman-trailer-richard-kuklinski-michael-shannon/

Not Present: Former CIA Director Says President's Daily Intelligence Briefings Are Valuable

 
Ronald Kessler, the veteran journalist and author of several books on the CIA, the FBI and the Secret Service, and a columnist for Newsmax.com, interviewed former CIA director Michael Hayden about the report that President Obama has passed on 56 percent of his daily intelligence briefing.

As it turns out, the Barack Obama who usually voted “present” in the Senate on any controversial issue has been skipping intelligence briefings as president 56 percent of the time.

Asked about that this week, White House press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama reads the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) every day. Asked if there was a distinction between reading the document and participating in the daily meetings, Carney did not answer but defended the president’s record on national security.

Without commenting on Obama, former CIA Director Michael Hayden describes to Newsmax how valuable the briefings were to President Bush. Typically, the briefings lasted half an hour.

“The briefings of Bush were incredibly interactive,” Hayden says. “There was rich give and take, so that not only did the president get the advantage of knowing the analysts’ innermost thoughts, but they [the analysts] also were able to leave the room understanding what the president believed he needed in order to make the kind of decisions he had to make.”
You can read the rest of the column via the below link:

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/CIA-Director-Intelligence-Briefings/2012/09/13/id/451714

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gaeton Lucibello, A Member Of Philadelphia's Cosa Nostra Crime Family, Sentenced To 51 Months In Prison

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

Gaeton Lucibello, 59, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 51 months in prison for his participation in a racketeering conspiracy involving extortion and illegal gambling, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and George C. Venizelos, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
*
Lucibello was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In addition to his prison term, Lucibello was ordered to serve three years of supervised release. On Aug. 2, 2012, Lucibello pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (LCN) Family through a pattern of racketeering activity. At the time of the plea, he admitted to the court that he assisted in shaking down a bookmaker for “street tax” payments and operated two illegal video poker machine businesses in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy.
*
Lucibello was among 14 members and associates of the Philadelphia LCN Family charged with crimes involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering and theft from an employee benefit plan in a third superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on July 25, 2012. The other defendants charged in the 52-count third superseding indictment included Philadelphia LCN Family boss Joseph Ligambi, Philadelphia LCN Family underboss Joseph Massimino, George Borgesi, Martin Angelina, Anthony Staino Jr., Damion Canalichio, Louis Barretta, Gary Battaglini, Robert Verrecchia, Eric Esposito, Robert Ranieri, Joseph Licata and Louis Fazzini.
*
Angelina pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on Aug. 8, 2012, and is awaiting sentencing on Sep. 17, 2012. Barretta also pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on Sep. 5, 2012, and is awaiting sentencing on Nov. 26, 2012.
*
The trial for Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Staino Jr., Canalichio, Battaglini, Licata and Fazzini is scheduled for Oct. 9, 2012. The trial for Verrecchia, Esposito and Ranieri has not yet been scheduled. Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Canalichio, Licata and Fazzini are detained while awaiting trial. Staino Jr., Battaglini, Verrecchia, Esposito and Ranieri are on bond while awaiting trial.
*
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. Attorneys Frank A. Labor III and Suzanne B. Ercole of 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, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New Jersey State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. Additional assistance was provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.  

John McCain Tells How Neil Armstrong Inspired The Vietnam War's POWs


Seantor John McCain offers an interesting piece in the Washington Post on how Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon inspired him and the other POWs who held in prison by the communist North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.

Neil Armstrong's passing reminded me of the moment I learned of his historic accomplishment. I didn’t gather with my family around the television to watch him take his “small step” onto the surface of the moon. When the momentous event occurred, I had no idea it was happening. I and several hundred comrades were otherwise engaged — prisoners of war in the enemy’s capital, where in 1969, news could travel slowly.

... Once in a while, the Vietnamese unwittingly let a little good news slip by. One evening, Hannah played a clip of a speech by a prominent American opponent of the war. It was a quick, throwaway line in a long list of diatribes about the war and the president. But we all caught it. The quote was something like: “President Nixon can put a man on the moon, but he can’t end the war in Vietnam.”

Yes, that was news to us, arriving years after the successful Apollo 11 mission.

We had all heard President John F. Kennedy commit our country to putting a man on the moon within a decade. Most of us prisoners were pilots, and we admired and envied the pilots who became Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts. Most of all, we wanted our pride in our country, our love for the place where free people reached for the stars, reaffirmed in the place where it had been tested and mocked.

In that one screw-up, that brief mention of glorious news, our morale soared. We felt almost physically strengthened as we communicated with each other in whispers and tap code: “Did you hear that? Did you? We put a man on the moon. My God, we did it.”


Many years later, I had the honor of meeting the man who planted that flag. I told him how we had learned what he had done and how much it had meant to us. Armstrong was a brave man who made his countrymen proud, but he was also a modest man with a quiet demeanor, and he seemed moved by the recollection.

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

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-mccain-how-neil-armstrong-inspired-a-pow/2012/09/13/5bd707e2-fdc0-11e1-b153-218509a954e1_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

Legendary Former Undercover FBI Agent Joseph Pistone Testifies On Organized Crime In Canada

 
The Canadian newspaper the National Post offers a piece on the upcoming testimony of legendary former undercover FBI special agent Joseph Pistone.

MONTREAL — So how much light can “Donnie Brasco” really shed on modern-day corruption in Quebec?

The man who decades ago infiltrated the New York Mafia in an operation immortalized in a 1997 Hollywood film will testify next week at Quebec’s corruption inquiry, according to a report.
It wouldn’t be the first time on a high-profile witness stand for Joseph Pistone, the retired cop who assumed the Brasco identity during his undercover days and who is still hiding from the Mafia all these years later as a result of his old career.

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

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/09/13/what-trash-will-donnie-brasco-dish-out-at-the-quebec-corruption-probe/

You can also read my interview with Joseph Pistone via the below link:

http://pauldavisoncrime.blogspot.com/2010/01/look-back-at-joseph-pistone-aka-donnie.html

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Acting New England Cosa Nostra Crime Boss Pleads Guilty In Racketeering And Extortion Conspiracy

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

WASHINGTON – Anthony L. Dinunzio, 53, of East Boston, Mass., the acting leader of the New England La Cosa Nostra (NELCN) crime family, pleaded guilty today for his role in a conspiracy to extort protection payments from adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island, according to a signed plea agreement filed today in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I.
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The plea agreement was 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.
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“Today, Anthony Dinunzio admitted to serving as a leader of the New England La Cosa Nostra, a criminal organization that, while under his control, extorted business owners throughout Rhode Island,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Dinunzio is the eighth member of the NELCN to plead guilty for his role in the alleged mafia conspiracy that harmed its community for two decades, and this plea is a crucial step in the Justice Department’s fight to dismantle the NELCN.”
*
“Prosecutorial offices, when they are at their best, build cases. And not just any cases, but impactful cases. This case is one of those cases,” said U.S. Attorney Neronha. “Through their painstaking hard work, the prosecutors, agents and detectives have decimated organized crime in Rhode Island and, with this plea today, have removed its leader in Boston.”
*
“Mr. Dinunzio’s guilty plea based on the evidence gathered by the FBI and our law enforcement partners shows undeniably we have shattered Omerta, the New England LCN’s code of silence,” said Special Agent in Charge DesLauriers. “Our persistent, methodical, and unyielding investigation of those who are part of the LCN and other new national and transnational organized crime groups emerging from every corner of the globe will not stop.”
*
Dinunzio pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William E. Smith in the District of Rhode Island to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise (RICO). At sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 14, 2012, Dinunzio faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
*
According to the signed plea agreement, Dinunzio was a member and leader of the NELCN from at least 2002, as charged in a superseding indictment returned on April 24, 2012. Dinunzio admitted committing multiple acts of extortion and knowingly assisted in the charged criminal racketeering conspiracy through the oversight and receipt of monthly protection payments, paid in cash by the owners and operators of certain adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island. Dinunzio also admitted to obstructing or impeding the administration of justice by, among other methods, attempting to influence, delay or prevent witness testimony related to the investigation and prosecution of NELCN members.
*
The superseding indictment alleges that Dinunzio participated with other alleged members and associates of NELCN in a racketeering conspiracy in which monthly cash payments for protection of $2,000 to $6,000 were demanded of the owners and operators of several adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island.
*
To date, seven leaders, underbosses, members or associates of the NELCN have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in the alleged racketeering and extortion conspiracy to extort protection payments from adult entertainment businesses and individuals in Rhode Island during the past two decades. Admitted NELCN crime boss Luigi “Louie” Manocchio is serving a sentence of 66 months in prison. Edward “Eddy” Lato, an admitted capo, is serving a sentence of 108 months in prison. Alfred “Chippy” Scivola, an admitted NELCN member, is serving a sentence of 46 months in prison. Admitted NELCN associates Richard Bonifiglia, 58, and Albino “Albie” Folcarelli, 54, are both serving sentences of 84 months in prison. Raymond “Scarface” Jenkins is serving a sentence of 37 months in prison. And Thomas Iafrate is serving a sentence of 30 months in prison.
*
A ninth defendant, Theodore Cardillo, 69, has entered a plea of not guilty to three counts each of RICO conspiracy and extortion conspiracy and is awaiting trial.
*
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 Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland of the District of Rhode Island and Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The matter was investigated by the FBI, the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department.

Krauthammer: U.S. Embassy Should Have Told Protesters In Egypt To 'Go To Hell'

 
On Fox News Charles Krauthammer offered a great response to the apologetic message the U.S. Embassy put out regarding the protesters in Egypt.

You can read the story and watch the video via the below link:

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/09/11/charles-krauthammer-us-embassy-shouldve-told-protesters-in-egypt-to-go-to-hell/

Former U.S. Navy SEAL Identified As Consulare Attack Victim In Libya

 
FoxNews.com reports that one of the victims of the attack on the American consulate in Libya was a former U.S. Navy SEAL.

Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL from Massachusetts, was one of the victims of the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, a family friend confirmed to Fox News.

Doherty is the latest victim to be identified. The U.S. government earlier confirmed that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, a foreign service information management officer, died in the attack.

The name of the fourth American who died in the attack has not been disclosed.

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

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/13/former-navy-seal-identified-as-embassy-attack-victim/

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Cinematic Bond At 50: 'Goldfinger' Still Stands Out As The Best James Bond Film

 
Justin Craig at FoxNews.com writes that Goldfinger is still the best James Bond film as the Bond film series marks its 50th anniversary.

We raise our first glass to “Goldfinger,” the third, and arguably best, film based on Ian Fleming’s 007 series. Fast cars, double-crossing women, slick gadgets and outrageous megalomaniacs spell Bond, James Bond and “Goldfinger” is the most essential, most quintessential of all Bond films.

Dodging bullets, hats and an army of beautiful women,007 -- with a license to kill -- races to stop international criminal Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), the man with the Midas touch, from infiltrating Fort Knox and destroying all its gold, thus making his own stash of treasure rise significantly in value.

Just as exciting, smart and sexy as when it premiered 48 years ago, “Goldfinger,” more than any other Bond film, is a cinematic icon; From Robert Brownjohn’s archetypal opening credits with images projected over a scantily clad Margaret Nolan, to Bond’s signature Aston Martin DB5, to Shirley Eaton’s naked, gold-painted body, to henchman Oddjob’s weapon-of-choice: his hat, to Shirley Bassey’s propulsive and legendary opening title song, “Goldfinger” remains a staple in movie history.

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

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/09/12/bond-turns-50-goldfinger-still-stands-out-as-best-007-bunch/

Note: I agree with Craig that Goldfinger is a great film, but in my view From Russia With Love is the best Bond film and Goldfinger is the second best Bond film.

Also, Craig is mistaken when he notes that the Q character portrayed by Desmond Llewlyn was introduced in Goldfinger. Desmond Llewlyn first appeared as Q in From Russia With Love. And the first Bond film Dr No introduced Q by his name and title Major Boothroyd. The character was portrayed by actor Peter Burton.

Back To Blood: Tom Wolfe Is Back With New Novel

 

Sarah Fenske at the LA Weekly reviews Tom Wolfe's new novel Back To Blood.

THE BACKSTORY: Tom Wolfe is back! This time, it's a 704-page novel that manages to be a breezy, funny read -- much more similar to his first, greatest novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, than his subsequent efforts, both of which had some great scenes and a few keen observations, but suffered from pacing problems.

THE STORY: Back to Blood combines the strongest elements of Bonfire of the Vanities -- racial politics in a divided city, sharp satire, and a cast of over-the-top characters -- with the only memorable part of the overlong disappointment A Man in Full: an examination of just what it means to be a man.

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

http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2012/09/back_to_blood_tom_wolfe_our.php

Outrage: Terrorists Murder U.S. Ambassador To Libya And Three Other Americans


By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2012 - The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans should "shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said here today.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information officer and Air Force veteran, were killed in the attack. The State Department is withholding the identities of the other Americans, pending next-of-kin notification.

"All over the world every day, America's diplomats and development experts risk their lives in the service of our country and our values because they believe that the United States must be a force for peace and progress in the world," Clinton said. "Alongside our men and women in uniform, they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation."

Stevens risked his life to stop former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and then gave his life trying to help in building a better Libya, Clinton said.

"The world needs more Chris Stephenses," she added.

Although this happened in a country the United States helped to liberate and in a city it helped to save from destruction, Clinton said Americans must remain "clear-eyed, even in our grief."

"This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya," she added. Libyans stood and fought to protect Americans during the attack, and Libyans carried Stevens' body to the hospital, Clinton noted.

The United States will not waver in its mission in Libya, the secretary pledged.

"The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary," she said. "A free and stable Libya is still in America's interest and security, and we will not turn our back on that."

Clinton said the United States is working closely with Libyan authorities to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice.

"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protests that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," Clinton said, referring to a video that is purported to blaspheme Islam.

"Let me be clear, there is no justification for this," she said. "Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. And as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace."

Clinton noted that the attack took place as Americans observed the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

"It's an anniversary that means a great deal to all Americans," she said. "Every year on that day, we are reminded that our work is not yet finished -- that the job of putting an end to violent extremism and building a safe and stable world continues."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Look Back At The 9/11 Attack On The Pentagon


It is hard to believe that 11 years have passed since the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

On September 11, 2001, I was the administrative officer of a Defense Department command in Philadelphia. I oversaw security, safety and other programs for the command.

That morning I was sitting in my office on a naval base in Philadelphia when one of our people stopped in and told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

"Accident or terrorism?" I asked.

When we later heard a second aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center, we knew we were under  attack. I thought of the Tom Clancy novel where he had a villain crash an aircraft into Washington D.C.

My security job more than doubled from that day until the day I retired from the Defense Department in 2007.

Last year I wrote a piece for Counterterrorism magazine on the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. You can read the piece below:




Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Carrier At Sunset In the Western Pacific


The U.S. Navy released the photo and infromation below:

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 8, 2012) The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) is underway near Guam at sunset.

The Washington is the centerpiece of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 based out of Yokosuka, Japan, and is currently on patrol in the western Pacific.

The U.S. Navy photo was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly.

Note: you can click on the photo to enlarge.

The Murderous And the Mundane: Taped Philadelphia Mobster Sheds Light On Organized Crime Insiders

 
George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter, offers a story on how taped conversations of organized crime figures will be used in the upcoming racetereeing trial of suspected Philadelphia organized crime figures.

Joe Ligambi, the reputed Philadelphia mob boss, spent a decade operating in the shadows. Unlike his predecessor, the flamboyant Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, Ligambi, 73, seldom spoke to the media, avoided public displays of bravado, and preferred to spend his nights at home rather than in bars and nightclubs.
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But secretly recorded conversations from a mob meeting at a New Jersey restaurant two years ago offer a rare opportunity to listen in as Ligambi breaks bread in a gossip-filled gabfest with several other mobsters.
*
It's Ligambi, in his own words, discussing the murderous and the mundane as the wine flowed during a five-hour luncheon meeting at La Griglia, a restaurant in Kenilworth.

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

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20120910_Taped_mobster_meeting_sheds_light_on_insiders.html?viewAll=y

You can also read my GreatHistory.com piece on George Anastasia's book on Philadelphia organized crime via the below links:

http://greathistory.com/philly-mob-files-mobsters-molls-and-murder-part-i.htm

http://greathistory.com/philly-mob-files-mobsters-molls-and-murder-part-ii.htm

http://greathistory.com/philly-mob-files-mobsters-molls-and-murder-part-iii.htm

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Former Navy SEAL Offers First-Hand Account Of Bin Laden's Killing on '60 Minutes

 
Mark Owen, the pseudonym of the former U.S. Navy SEAL who wrote No Easy Day, appeared on 60 Minutes  tonight.

His voice and face disguised and using the pseudonym Mark Owen, one of the Navy SEALs who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden gives an exclusive interview to Scott Pelley. Owen, now retired, says the SEALs trained for the mission using a full-size replica of the bin Laden compound, and that a dress rehearsal was held for military top brass. And Owen refutes charges that he's trying to make a political statement with his book, "No Easy Day."

You can watch the interview via the below link:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57508646/seals-first-hand-account-of-bin-laden-killing/?tag=contentMain;cbsCarousel

Istanbul: A City Of Spies In Fact And Fiction

 
 
Two of my favorite thrillers, Eric Ambler's Journey Into Fear and Ian Fleming's From Russia With Love, take place in Istanbul, so I was interested in NPR's look at the Turkish city and its history of spies in fact and fiction.

Headlines today in Turkey feature stories of alleged Iranian spies, gathering information about Kurdish militants who are responsible for many deaths in Turkey this summer.

But these tales of deception and intrigue pale in comparison with the city's storied past as a mecca for spies. Turkey's golden age of espionage was World War II, a period that continues to serves as a muse for writers of historical thrillers.

You can listen the NPR broadcast and read the story via the below link:

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/09/160771041/istanbul-a-city-of-spies-in-fact-and-fiction

Mexico Arrests Suspect in Fast And Furious Killings Of Brian Terry

 
Foxnews.com reports that Mexico has arrested one of the suspected killers of U.S. Border Patrol officer Brian Terry (seen in the above photo).

Mexican federal police announced Friday that they have arrested a suspect in the killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the slaying at the center of the scandal over the botched U.S. gun-smuggling probe known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Jesus Leonel Sanchez Meza is one of the five men charged with killing Terry in December 2010 during a shootout in Arizona near the Mexico border. One is on trial in Arizona and the other three remain fugitives. Sanchez was arrested Thursday in Sonora state.

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

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/08/mexico-arrests-suspect-in-fast-and-furious-killing-brian-terry/?test=latestnews 

Three More Men Plead Guilty In Plot To Bomb Ohio Bridge

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

CLEVELAND—Three men pleaded guilty today to three counts each for their roles in a conspiracy to use explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio; and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI.

At a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge David Dowd, defendants Douglas L. Wright, 26, of Indianapolis; Brandon L. Baxter, 20, of Lakewood, Ohio; and Connor C. Stevens, 20, of Berea, Ohio, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and attempted use of an explosive device to destroy property used in interstate commerce.

Anthony M. Hayne, 35, of Cleveland pleaded guilty in July to the same charges.

“Today’s guilty pleas demonstrate that when individuals decide to commit acts of terrorism that endanger the safety of our community, they will be held to account,” U.S. Attorney Dettelbach said. “The defendants today made a voluntary choice to plead guilty, the same way they made voluntary choices to try to detonate what they thought were explosive devices they had planted at the foot of a bridge.”

“We are pleased these defendants have admitted to their intent to utilize violence, which threatened innocent citizens, to further their ideological views,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Anthony said. “The safety of our citizens is and continues to be the FBI’s primary focus as demonstrated by this investigation. The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to detect and disrupt any terrorism threat, domestic or international.”

Hayne, Wright, Baxter, Stevens, and Joshua S. Stafford were arrested on April 30, 2012.

According to court documents, Wright, Baxter, Hayne, Stevens, and Stafford are self-proclaimed anarchists who formed into a small group and considered a series of evolving plots over several months.

The initial plot involved the use of smoke grenades to distract law enforcement in order for the co-conspirators to topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland, according to the complaint.

The plot later developed to the utilization of explosive materials. The defendants conspired to obtain C-4 explosives contained in two improvised explosive devices to be placed and remotely detonated, according to the complaint.

The defendants discussed various bridges and physical targets in and around the Cleveland metropolitan area over the course of several months. The final plan resulted in the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge being the designated target. This bridge crosses from Brecksville, Ohio, to Sagamore Hills, Ohio, over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to the complaint.

The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by an undercover FBI employee. The defendants were closely monitored by law enforcement. The explosives that the defendants allegedly purchased and attempted to use were inoperable and posed no threat to the public.

Stafford’s case is pending while he undergoes an examination and competency hearing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Duncan T. Brown, Justin E. Herdman, and Thomas E. Getz, following an investigation by the FBI and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Agencies represented on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force include: Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office; Federal Air Marshal Service; Cleveland Police Department; Cleveland Heights Police Department; U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence; Westlake, Ohio,Police Department; U.S. Diplomatic Security Service; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Customs and Border Protection; RTA Police; Ohio State Highway Patrol; Transportation Security Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Shaker Heights, Ohio Police Department; North Olmstead, Ohio Police Department; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistance in this case was also provided by the U.S. National Park Service Park Rangers, Sagamore Hills Police Department, Brecksville Police Department, and the Summit County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office.