Monday, March 31, 2014

America's Biggest Serial Killer: Philadelphia Abortion Doctor And Convicted Murderer To Be Topic Of TV Movie

Paul Bond at the Hollywood Reporter offers a piece on a film being made about Philadelphia abortion doctor and murderer Kermit Gosnell.

An independent filmmaker says he will tackle the gruesome and controversial case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion doctor serving life in prison after multiple convictions on first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Gosnell's crimes allegedly occurred over the course of decades. A grand jury said he kept severed feet of late-term fetuses in display jars; killed newborns with scissors to the backs of their necks; kept fetal remains in refrigerators next to employee lunches; joked about killing viable fetuses; and kept his patients bleeding and writhing in pain for hours. Anti-abortion advocates charged that mainstream media ignored the trial and its grisly details.

The filmmaker, Phelim McAleer, says he will explore not only Gosnell's actions -- he calls Gosnell "America's biggest serial killer" -- but also what he says is the bureaucratic and media inattention that allowed them to continue until his arrest in 2011.

... "It's a graphic story," says McAleer. "Gosnell is a fascinating monster; a hoarder, mad man and megalomaniac. He's a black man who is racist against blacks and Hispanics. He's a real-life Hannibal Lecter. It’s an omission that Hollywood is ignoring the biggest serial killer in American history, and we’re going to fill that gap."

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

You can also read an earlier post on Gosnell via the below link:

Was James Bond Writer Ian Fleming A Sadomasochist?

Orla Barry at Newstalk radio in Ireland interviews Andrew Lycett, author of a biography of Ian Fleming, about the newly released Fleming love letters.

With the release of new letters between writer Ian Fleming and his young Austrian lover, Edith Morpurgo, questions are being asked about the sorts of relationships the creator of James Bond enjoyed.

Andrew Lycett, an Ian Fleming biographer says it was well known that fidelity was never one of Fleming’s best traits.

The love letters show another side to the writer.

You can listen to the interview via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on Andrew Lycett and the Fleming letters via the below link:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Inside A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon As Aircraft Searches For Malaysia Airlines Flight 370


In the above photo U.S. Navy Lt. Clayton Hunt and Lt. j.g. Nicholas Horton pilot a P-8A Poseidon at sea on March 24, 2014, during a mission to assist in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Hunt and Horton are naval aviators assigned to Patrol Squadron 16, which is deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Trumbull monitors his workstation on a P-8A Poseidon at sea, March 24, 2014, during a mission to assist in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Trumbull is a naval flight officer assigned to Patrol Squadron 16, which is deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Note: The above photos were released by the U.S. Navy.

You can click on the photos to enlarge. 

Study Says Italian Organized Crime Group The 'Ndrangheta Made More Last Year Than McDonald's And Deutsche Bank

The British newspaper the Guardian offers a piece on the huge earnings of the Italian organized crime the 'Ndrangheta.

The 'Ndrangheta mafia from southern Italy made more money last year than Deutsche Bank and McDonald's put together with a turnover of €53bn (£44bn), a study has claimed.

The study by the Demoskopika research institute detailed the international crime syndicate's sources of revenue, including drug trafficking – which brought in an estimated €24.2bn – and illegal garbage disposal, which earned it €19.6bn.

The southern Italian mafia earned the equivalent of 3.5% of Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) last year, said the report based on analysis of documents from Italy's interior ministry and police, parliament's anti-mafia commission and the national anti-mafia task force.

The 'Ndrangheta is thought to have about 400 key "operatives" in 30 countries, but its activities are believed to involve as many as 60,000 people worldwide, the report said.

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ian Fleming's Cruel Way With Women

Andrew Lycett, who wrote a biography of Ian Fleming, offers a piece in the Telegraph on the love letters written by the young Ian Fleming, who would of course go on to write the James Bond thrillers.

It’s good to be reminded that, contrary to what Philip Larkin wrote, sex didn’t begin in 1963. A cache of passionate love letters written in the mid-Thirties by a youthful Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, to an Austrian girlfriend, Edith Morpurgo, has surfaced and is being sold by a London book dealer.
Written partly in German, with alternating hints of tenderness, sensitivity and random cruelty, they confirm Fleming to be a full-blooded heterosexual with a penchant for sado-masochistic sex. “If I were to say 'love’,” he writes, “you would only argue, and then I would have to whip you and you would cry and I don’t want that.”

The letters, which are being sold by a London book dealer, Peter Harrington, also throw light on another interesting and hitherto unexplored dimension to Fleming’s life – his enduring links not just with the German-speaking world but with its Jewish community.
His lover, Edith, was born in Salzburg in November 1912, the daughter of a Salzburg businessman. After the Anschluss, the German invasion and annexation of Austria in March 1938, she and most of her immediate family fled to Amsterdam, where she married and had two children. However, following the German invasion of Holland, she was deported to Auschwitz, where she was murdered in August 1942.

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

U.S. Navy Names Suspect in Naval Station Norfolk Shooting

The Navy News Service released the below information:

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has identified Jeffrey Tyrone Savage as the civilian truck driver who killed Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo March 24 onboard Naval Station Norfolk.

Savage, 35, from Portsmouth, Va., drove his 2002 Freightliner through Gate 5 just after 11 p.m., proceeded to Pier 1, left his truck and attempted to board USS Mahan (DDG 72).

He was confronted by ship security personnel who ordered him to stop. A struggle occurred and Savage was able to disarm the petty officer of the watch. Savage then used the weapon to fatally shoot Mayo and attempted to fire at other nearby security personnel.

Mayo was serving as chief of the guard at Naval Station Norfolk and was in the vicinity of the Mahan. Mayo immediately came to render assistance to personnel on Mahan and engaged in gunfire with Savage. Other security forces shot and killed Savage.

Savage, an employee of Majette Trucking, did have a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). A TWIC alone does not authorize base access; it must be used in conjunction with other documents to gain authorized entry. The NCIS investigation has confirmed that Savage had no reason or authorization to be on Naval Station Norfolk. The chain of events that allowed Savage entry to the installation and the ship are under investigation.

Note: You can read an earlier post on the shooting via the below link: 

Rob the Mob: True Crime, True Love, True Story

Don Steinberg at the Wall Street Journal offers a piece on a new film about organized crime called Rob the Mob.

"Rob the Mob," the latest film from director Raymond De Felitta, shares certain key traits with his prior movies. It is based in a blue-collar neighborhood of a New York borough. It features a lively script and fleshed-out characters who explode with heart, played by surprisingly recognizable actors for an indie film (including Andy Garcia and Ray Romano). And it's destined to be severely underappreciated. 

... Set in 1992 and based on a true story, "Rob the Mob" tells of a young Queens couple who become a working-class Bonnie and Clyde. Tommy (Michael Pitt of "Boardwalk Empire") is an ex-con without a plan until he discovers, by watching the trial of mobster John Gotti, that in mafia social clubs they don't keep any guns on the premises. He figures they're ripe for robbery and gets himself an Uzi. Exacting revenge on the kind of wiseguys who harassed his father is a bonus. Nina Arianda, a Tony-Award winner who played the sassy secretary in the movie "Win Win," steals scenes as Tommy's devoted girlfriend and accomplice. Their crime spree attracts the attention of a newspaperman (Mr. Romano), a philosophical mob boss (Mr. Garcia), and the FBI.

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

You can also watch the film's trailer via the below link:

Note: I look forward to seeing the film. Good cast with Andy Garcia, Michael Rispoli, Burt Young, Ray Romano and others. I also enjoyed director Raymond De Felitta's earlier film, City Island.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Look Back At James Dickey's Novel "Deliverance"

As Steve King at notes, it was on this day in 1970 that James Dickey's novel Deliverance was published.

Although primarily a poet -- thirty collections by the time of his death in 1997, a National Book Award in 1965 for Buckdancer's Choice -- Dickey's first novel was a best-seller when it appeared, and the movie two years later (Dickey wrote the script and played the Sheriff) was a box-office hit. The tale of four suburb-dwellers on a manly descent into camping nightmare -- the human-nature horrors include rape and murder -- is described as "an allegory of fear and survival" and "a Heart of Darkness for our time" by the critics.

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

Note: I enjoyed James Dickey's novel and I enjoyed John Boorman's film as well. It was Burt Reynold's finest film.  

Love Letters Between James Bond Author Ian Fleming And Austrian Lover Revealed

Emma Glanfield at the British newspaper the Daily Mail reports on the sale of love letters written by Ian Fleming as a young man, long before he wrote the James Bond thrillers, to an Austrian girlfriend.

The somewhat steamy, youthful letters are part of a collection which will be auctioned off at the New York antiquarian book fair next week by Peter Harrington.

You can read the piece via the below link:

Accused Mother And Child Killer Surrendered To Officials at U.S. Embassy In Managua, Nicaragua

The FBI announced that Juan Elias Garcia, who is accused of murdering a young woman and her 2-year-old child, surrendered to authorities at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua.

You can read an earlier post on Garcia via the below link:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Top Ten Fugitive: MS-13 Gang Member Wanted By FBI For Murder Of Woman And Her 2-year-Old Child

The FBI web site announced a new addition to their Ten Most wanted Fugitives list:

Juan Elias Garcia, wanted for the execution-style murder of a 19-year-old New York woman and her 2-year-old son, has been named to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading directly to the arrest of Garcia, who is alleged to be a member of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang—MS-13—and may be hiding in El Salvador.

“Garcia’s callous disregard for human life resulted in the senseless murder of a young mother and her helpless 2-year-old son,” said George Venizelos, assistant director in charge of our New York Field Office. “His appointment to the FBI’s Top Ten list illustrates not only the seriousness of his crimes but our commitment to seeking justice for his victims.”

The murders occurred in Central Islip, New York in 2010. At that time, Garcia—who is known by the nickname “Cruzito”—was 17 years old.

“MS-13 is the most violent gang here of any of the street gangs,” said Special Agent Reynaldo Tariche, who investigated the case with other members of the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force. While gang-related murders are not uncommon on Long Island, “the execution of a 2-year-old and his mother is a new low even for MS-13,” Tariche noted. 

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

Nothing Less Than Heroic: Navy Identifies Naval Station Norfolk Shooting Victim

The Naval Station Norfolk Public Affairs Office released the photo and below piece that identifies the shooting victim from the naval base shooting:
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark A. Mayo, 24, was killed during a shooting incident at Naval Station Norfolk March 24.

Mayo was assigned to Naval Security Forces, Naval Station Norfolk. A Hagerstown, Md. native, Mayo enlisted in the Navy in October 2007 and reported to Naval Station Norfolk in May 2011.

"Petty Officer Mayo's actions on Monday evening were nothing less than heroic. He selflessly gave his own life to ensure the safety of the Sailors on board USS Mahan (DDG 72)," said Capt. Robert E. Clark, Jr., commanding officer, Naval Station Norfolk. "Petty Officer Mayo's family has endured a tremendous loss, as have the men and women of Naval Station Norfolk, in the loss of a shipmate and friend."

The events of Monday evening are under investigation but it is known at approximately 11:20 p.m. there was a shooting on board Mahan at Pier 1. The suspect approached the Mahan's quarterdeck and was confronted by the ship's petty officer of the watch. A struggle occurred and the suspect was able to disarm the Sailor. Mayo, serving as the chief-of-the-guard, rendered assistance after seeing the suspect board the ship. Mayo put himself between the gunman and the petty officer of the watch and as a result was fatally wounded.

James Schlesinger, Who'd Helmed CIA, Pentagon, Dies at Age 85

Terri Moon Cronk at the American Forces Press Service reports offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2014 - Former CIA director and defense secretary James R. Schlesinger died from complications from pneumonia today in a Baltimore hospital at age 85.

Schlesinger was considered a tough, forthright and outspoken leader throughout his career.

Schlesinger was considered an exceptional candidate for the top Pentagon job. His career history included university economics professor, the Rand Corp. director of strategic studies, and other senior government appointments as the former Atomic Energy Commission chairman, CIA director, and Bureau of the Budget assistant director, where he spent time on defense issues.

By the time he was nominated as defense secretary, Schlesinger had a formidable background in security affairs. President Richard Nixon tapped Schlesinger to become defense secretary in May 1973, the position for which he became best known. He took office July 2 at the young age of 44.

James Rodney Schlesinger was born Feb. 15, 1929, in New York City to a middle-class family. He married Rachel Line Mellinger in 1954, and the couple had eight children.

Schlesinger graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in 1950, a master's in 1952 and his doctorate in economics in 1956. Schlesinger was described as an intelligent and strong-willed conservative, whose professorial expertise led to controversy in his career in the federal government.

Serving as defense secretary until Nov. 19, 1975, Schlesinger was dismissed by President Gerald R. Ford, reportedly for insubordination over his demands for increased defense budgets, and disagreements with the administration, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and the Congress.

Throughout his government career and into retirement, a large part of Schlesinger's legacy was his goal to make certain that arms control agreements would never put the United States in an inferior strategic defense position against the then-Soviet Union.

Schlesinger enjoyed a rapport with U.S. military leadership, because he fought to give them more resources, consulted with them regularly, and agreed with many of their views. Schlesinger also opposed amnesty for draft resisters, and pressed for development of more sophisticated nuclear weapon systems. His support for the A-10 and the lightweight fighter program -- later the F-16 -- helped carry them to completion.

Schlesinger also realized the importance in the post-Vietnam era of reinstituting the morale and prestige of the military services, to modernize strategic doctrine and programs to increase research and development, and to jumpstart a defense budget that had declined since 1968.

Because he regarded conventional forces as an equally essential element in the deterrence posture of the United States, Schlesinger wanted to reverse what he saw as a downward trend in conventional force strength. He said because Soviet nuclear capabilities were nearly at parity with the United States, the contribution to deterrence made by U.S. strategic forces had declined. He emphasized that one of the missions of conventional forces was to deter or defeat limited threats.

Schlesinger therefore dedicated much of his attention to NATO, noting that its conventional capabilities must be strengthened. He didn't agree that NATO did not need a direct counter to Warsaw Pact conventional forces because it could rely on tactical and strategic nuclear weapons, and said nuclear near parity between the United States and the USSR in the 1970s made that stand inappropriate.

In his discussions with NATO leaders, Schlesinger favored qualitative improvements in NATO forces, including equipment standardization, and an increase in defense spending by NATO governments by up to 5 percent of their gross national product.

Schlesinger had a succession of crises in the Pentagon that challenged his administrative and political prowess. In October 1973, three months into his tenure as defense secretary, Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War with a sudden attack on Israel. Israel's military was not performing well, and the USSR's efforts to restock the Arab antagonists complicated the situation for Israel.

Schlesinger said U.S. policy to avert direct involvement depended on Israel winning quickly. But as the Israelis faced large-scale military forces, the United States became involved by resupplying the Israeli forces. A cease-fire soon was declared, but after the USSR threatened to get involved to aid the Arab forces, the United States declared a worldwide forces alert.

The final chapter of the Indochina conflict also took place on Schlesinger's watch. While U.S. combat forces were out of South Vietnam in spring 1973, the United States kept a military presence in parts of Southeast Asia.

During Schlesinger's defense secretary confirmation hearings, a handful of senators heatedly questioned him when he said he would favor resuming U.S. bombing in North Vietnam and Laos if the North Vietnamese launched a major offensive against South Vietnam.

When North Vietnam did so in early 1975, however, the United States had few resources there to help South Vietnam, and it collapsed when the North overtook Saigon in late April of that year. It was then that Schlesinger announced the last helicopter evacuation of U.S. diplomatic, military and civilian personnel from Saigon.

In Schlesinger's quest to strengthen conventional and strategic U.S. military forces, he devoted much of his time to increasing the defense budget.

He noted the Defense Department was absorbing about 6 percent of the gross national product, the lowest percentage since before the Korean War, and that military manpower was at its lowest since before the Korean War. Defense spending, he said, came to about 17 percent of national spending, which was the lowest since before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. With those figures, and with his concern over ongoing Soviet weapons progress, Schlesinger was a dedicated advocate of bigger defense budgets.

After leaving the Pentagon, Schlesinger wrote and spoke vehemently about national security issues, particularly the Soviet threat and the need for the United States to maintain adequate defenses.

When Jimmy Carter became president in January 1977, he appointed Schlesinger as his special adviser on energy, and later as the first secretary of his new Energy Department. After two years, Carter replaced Schlesinger at the Energy Department.

Following his federal government career, Schlesinger resumed his writing and speaking engagements. He was employed as a senior adviser with Lehman Bros., and Kuhn Loeb Inc., of New York.

Five Individuals Charged with Conspiring to Fraudulently Obtain Union Job for Organized Crime Underboss

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

Five men have been charged in the Eastern District of New York with conspiring to defraud the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers’ Union (NMDU) and Hudson News newsstands to obtain a union card and employment at Hudson News newsstands for the son of the alleged underboss of the Colombo family of La Cosa Nostra.

A criminal complaint was unsealed today charging Benjamin Castellazzo Jr., Rocco Giangregorio, Glenn LaChance, Rocco Miraglia, aka “Irving,” and Anthony Turzio, aka “the Irish Guy,” with mail fraud conspiracy.   The five men were arrested earlier today, and their initial appearances are scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
In addition, a three-count indictment was unsealed today charging Thomas Leonessa, aka “Tommy Stacks,” with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and theft and embezzlement from employee benefit plans in an unrelated scheme.   The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury sitting in Brooklyn, N.Y., on March 6, 2014, and relates to Leonessa’s alleged “no show” job as a delivery driver for the New York Post.
The charges were announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia of the New York region of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and Assistant Director in Charge George C. Venizelos of the FBI’s New York Field Office.

As alleged in the complaint, the NMDU is an independent union that represents approximately 1,500 employees involved in the newspaper industry in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.   NMDU members deliver newspapers for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, the New York Post and El Diario.   Hudson News, which also employs members of the NMDU, is a retail chain of newsstands mainly located in major transportation hubs, including airports and train stations.

Between June 2009 and October 2009, Miraglia, who was a foreman at the New York Daily News – as well as an associate of the Colombo organized crime family and the son of a deceased soldier in the Colombo family – conspired with officials of the NMDU and with Turzio, an employee of El Diario, to get an NMDU union card for Castellazzo Jr. and place him in a job at Hudson News.   Castellazzo Jr. is the son of Benjamin Castellazzo, the alleged underboss of the Colombo family.   Giangregorio and LaChance, who are business agents for the NMDU, also participated on this scheme.

As alleged in the indictment, Leonessa was employed by the New York Post to deliver newspapers by truck from a New York Post warehouse in the Bronx, N.Y., to New Jersey.   He was also a member of the NMDU, which maintained offices, including offices for its welfare and pension funds, in Queens, N.Y.   From about December 2010 to about September 2011, Leonessa had a “no show job” – a job for which he was paid wages and benefits for services he did not perform – at the New York Post.   When Leonessa did not complete his required deliveries, he was nevertheless, based on his fraudulent representations, paid wages by the New York Post and accorded benefits from employee pension and welfare funds managed by the NMDU.

Leonessa is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The charges in the complaint and indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the FBI, with assistance from the New York City Police Department, the New York County District Attorney’s Office and Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph Wheatley of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth A. Geddes and Allon Lifshitz.

U.S. Navy Appoints Investigating Officer To Look At Deadly Shooting Aboard USS Mahan At Norfolk Naval Base

The U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs Office released the below information:
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command appointed Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley to lead an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deadly shooting aboard USS Mahan (DDG 72) at Naval Station Norfolk March 24.

Harley is currently serving as the president, Board of Inspection and Survey based in Norfolk.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and shipmates of our sailor who was killed Monday night," said Gortney. "I have directed a second investigation to be conducted in addition to the law enforcement investigation led by Naval Criminal Investigative Service."

The second investigation will be convened under the Manual of the Judge Advocate General. This investigation will be a comprehensive examination into the circumstances surrounding the Naval Station Norfolk shooting, to include a review of applicable policy, programs and implementation.

"The safety and security of our sailors, civilians and families is paramount, and it is imperative that we are taking all appropriate and necessary measures to ensure their safety," said Gortney.

A Look Back At An Earlier NSA Spy, Robert Stephen Lipka

Edward Snowden has been making news by releasing classified material he stole from the National Security Agency (NSA), but long before Snowden became a leaker and skipped to Russia, there was another NSA spy who passed secrets to the Soviet Union.

Yesterday I interviewed former FBI Special Agent John W. Whiteside III. Whiteside was the FBI agent who investigated, arrested and helped convict NSA spy Robert Stephen Lipka (seen in the above FBI mugshot photo).

Whiteside is the author of  Fool's Mate: A True Story of Espionage at the National Security Agency. The book recounts the investigation that led to Lipka's arrest, conviction and imprisonment.

According to Fool's Mate, Lipka was a young U.S. soldier assigned to NSA in 1965 when he began the wholesale theft of top secret information from NSA and sold the information to the Soviet KGB.

He gave up espionage when he left the Army two years later and disappeared into obscurity. His case remained open for more than 30 years.

Decades after Lipka's betrayal, a KGB officer sought asylum in the West. He brought with him documents from the KGB's archives, and hidden in these documents was proof of Lipka's espionage.

Whiteside (seen in the below photo) then began an investigation that included a "False Flag" sting operation that drew Lipka out.  Fool's Mate reads like a spy thriller.

Lipka, who recently died, resembled the comic actor Wayne Knight, who portrayed Newman on TV's Seinfeld. By all accounts, Lipka was also as creepy and strange as the Newman character.
My Q & A with Whiteside will appear in the upcoming issue of Counterterrorism magazine and I'll post the interview here when the magazine comes out.   
You can purchase a copy of Fool's Mate at via the below links:
And you can check out the FBI's account of the Lipka spy case via the below link:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raymond Chandler Died On This Day In 1959

As notes, Raymond Chandler died on this day in La Jolla, Califronia in 1959.

Born on July 23, 1888, in Chicago, Illinois, Raymond Chandler went on to become a highly successful and influential crime novelist known for such works as The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely and The Long Goodbye, all of which were made into films. Chandler was also a Hollywood screenwriter, receiving Academy Award nominations for his work on Double Indemnity and The Blue Dahlia. 

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

You can also read my interview with Raymond Chandler biographer Tom Williams via the below link:  

Dark Invasion 1915: Germany's Secret War And The Hunt For The First Terrorist Cell In America

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review of Howard Blum's Dark Invasion 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America for the Washington Times.

As a career diplomat, Count Johann von Bernstorff was not surprised in July 1914 when he was summoned from his ambassadorial post in Washington back to Berlin for “consultations.” Two weeks earlier, he had been dining at the Metropolitan Club when word arrived of the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austrian heir-apparent, and his wife in Sarajevo. However, von Bernstorff was confident that an intricate mesh of alliances between the European powers would prevent war.

Thus, von Bernstorff was stunned when, upon arrival in Berlin, he was directed to Maj. Walter Nicoli, the spymaster heading the “political section” of Abteilung IIIB, the kaiser’s secret service. The name was misleading: The section had nothing to do with politics. Its agenda was spying, as vomn Bernstorff soon learned from Nicolai.

War was sure to come, Nicolai stated, and he expected a swift Germany victory. However, it was imperative that America not be permitted to send munitions and food to England and France. Such shipments could be stopped only by two means: submarines and sabotage. Given the Royal Navy's  domination of the seas, sabotage was the solution, and he tasked von Bernstorff with “using any means necessary” to carry out the mission.

Such is the backdrop for Howard Blum's engrossing examination of German intelligence efforts in the “neutral” United States long before Washington decided — very reluctantly — to enter the war on the side of the Allies in 1917.

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

George Washington, Father Of American Intelligence: Peter Earnest On AMC's Historical Spy Drama "Turn"

Peter Earnest, former CIA officer and the executive director of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., was interviewed at about the upcoming historical spy drama Turn.

Q: George Washington is considered to be one of the founders of American spycraft. What did he do to earn this legacy?

A: Washington is considered the father of American intelligence because he had a very keen sense of intelligence, of what it is and how to use it. He readily embraced gathering intelligence because he was commanding a very meager force. Great Britain had the most powerful military in the world, and they were here in a colony dealing with these colonials, who they looked down on. The Americans were the insurgents. The “war of the flea” is a phrase that’s used when a small force is battling an overwhelmingly large one, and that’s what Washington was up against. So he had to make the most of what he had. Interestingly, Washington recruited spies personally and questioned them personally about their operation. He didn’t just push it down for someone else to do.

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

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine interview with Peter Earnest on the myth, the mystique, and the history of espionage via the below link:

The AMC miniseries Turn is based on Alexander Rose's Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring. 

Ben Macintyre Discusses His Book "A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby And The Great Betrayal"

The Telegraph's web site offers a video interview with Ben Macintyre, author of a new book on the most notorious traitor and spy of the 20th Century, Kim Philby.

You can watch the video clip via the below link:

Spying Is As American As Baseball Or Apple Pie, Says Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden

Tierney Sneed at reports on former CIA Director and retired Air Force General Michael Hayden's remarks about the upcoming AMC program on the Revolutionary War spy ring and America's history of espionage.

The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency hopes a new AMC drama about spies during the American Revolution will change opinions about government spying. 

"The American public has an uneasy relationship with espionage agencies. It’s just back and forth," said Michael Hayden – who headed the National Security Agency and later the CIA during the George W. Bush administration – during a Q&A after the Washington premiere of "Turn" at the National Archives Tuesday.

"What this shows is that espionage is as old as the Republic. American espionage is [as patriotic as] baseball and apple pie – it goes back to our roots," Hayden said.      

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

You can also read an earlier post on the AMC historical spy drama Turn via the below link:  

Naval Station Norfolk Shooting Leaves Sailor, Suspect Dead

The U.S. Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia offered the below news release:
NORFOLK, Va., Mar. 25, 2014 - A male sailor and a male civilian suspect are dead following a shooting here last night.

Naval security forces killed the suspect.

The incident occurred at about 11:20 p.m. at Pier 1 on board USS Mahan.

No other injuries have been reported. The naval station was put on lockdown as a precautionary measure. The lockdown lasted about 45 minutes.

With the exception of Pier 1, operations have returned to normal. Counselors from Navy Fleet and Family Service Center are on hand.

The shooting and the details surrounding it are under investigation.

Note: The above photos were released by the U.S. Navy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Peter Lorre: One Of Cinema's Most Deliciously Sinister Presences

Anne Billson at the Telegraph looks back at the late actor Peter Lorre.

It's 50 years since the death, on March 23, 1964, of one of cinema's most deliciously sinister presences. Peter Lorre was born in 1904, of Jewish Austro-Hungarian descent, and attracted international attention in 1931 with his terrifying but weirdly sympathetic portrayal of a child murderer in Fritz Lang's M, the mother of all serial-killer movies.

Lorre used to tell the story that after he'd left Germany following the Nazi rise to power, he received a telegram from Joseph Goebbels, praising his performance in M and asking him to return. To which Lorre wrote back, "There is no room in Germany for two murderers like we are, Hitler and I."

In London, for Alfred Hitchcock, he was a charming baddie (learning his English dialogue phonetically) in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1924) before swapping over to the side of the good guys to play an exuberant spy with moustache and earring in Secret Agent (1936).  

In Hollywood his accent and slightly bug-eyed look landed him signature roles as a mad scientist, a Japanese detective, and, most memorably, as the slippery Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon. And, of course, he was a vital part of one of the greatest supporting casts ever assembled, in Casablanca.
After the war, his movie career seemed to go off the boil (though he made a welcome contribution to Disney's fabulous 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) but he did plenty of television. He was the screen's first ever Bond villain, Le Chiffre, in CBS's Casino Royale (1954), and played opposite Steve McQueen in the classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, Man from the South, adapted from a Roald Dahl story.

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


From Siegel To Spilotro: Mob Influenced Gambling In Las Vegas

Jeff German a the Las Vegas Review-Journal offers a piece on organized crime's influence in developing Las Vegas.

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had been at the helm of the Flamingo for only six months in June 1947 when he was killed in a hail of gunfire at his girlfriend’s Beverly Hills, Calif., home.

But his vision for the Flamingo, the first resort-style hotel on the Strip, was the beginning of a 50-year relationship between Las Vegas and traditional organized crime that helped define “Sin City”and turn it into one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

“The general perception on the part of the public is that Las Vegas and the mob have been inextricably linked, and I don’t think it will ever be extricated,” former longtime state archivist Guy Rocha says.

Groundbreaking books such as “The Green Felt Jungle” in 1963, which revealed the mob’s early grip on the city, and popular movies such as “The Godfather” in 1972 and “Casino” in 1995 enhanced this perception through the years.

So did the buzz on the Strip over the Rat Pack, led by headliner Frank Sinatra and his associations with high-profile underworld figures.

In reality, Las Vegas was regarded as an “open city” for more than two dozen Mafia families across the country. Many had representatives in Las Vegas for decades, with Chicago being the most dominant.

The colorful mob era has long since passed, but Rocha believes it should not be forgotten.

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

Former President of Russian Steel Producer’s U.S. Subsidiary Indicted for Hiding Assets in Secret Swiss Bank Accounts

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information this past Friday:

Victor Lipukhin, formerly a resident of St. Charles, Ill., was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., for attempting to interfere with the administration of the internal revenue laws and filing false tax returns, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.  The charges relate to Lipukhin hiding millions of dollars in several Swiss bank accounts held at UBS AG.  
According to the indictment, Lipukhin formerly served as president of Severstal Inc. (USA), a subsidiary of AO Severstal, the largest steel producer in Russia.  He lived in St. Charles from at least 2001 through mid-2007.
Lipukhin, a Russian citizen and former lawful permanent U.S. resident, kept between approximately $4,000,000 and $7,500,000 in assets in two bank accounts with UBS in Switzerland from at least 2002 through 2007.  In 2002, he and another individual opened a UBS bank account in the name of Old Orchard, a sham Bahamian entity.  The account was initially funded with over $47,000,000 transferred into the account from a previously maintained UBS account in the Bahamas.  In 2003, the other individual left the account, leaving Lipukhin as the sole owner and signatory.  Lipukhin also maintained another account at UBS in Switzerland in the name of Lone Star, another sham Bahamian entity.  He directed virtually all transactions in the accounts, typically through a Bahamian national who served as the nominee director of the Old Orchard and Lone Star entities to help conceal Lipukhin’s ownership and control.  However, he failed to report his ownership of these accounts and failed to report any income earned in these accounts on his tax returns.
According to the indictment, in order to further conceal his ownership of the undisclosed UBS accounts, Lipukhin utilized fictitious mortgages through an entity called Dapaul Management, controlled by a Canadian attorney, to conceal his purchase of real estate in the United States with funds from the UBS accounts.  This includes his purchase of a historic building at 18 N. Fourth St, in St. Charles, Ill., for $900,000 in the name of Charlestal LLC, a domestic entity controlled by Lipukhin.  He also transferred funds from his UBS accounts to the Canadian attorney for ultimate transfer to a domestic Charlestal bank account in order to conceal the source of the funds, then used the funds in the Charlestal account to pay for various personal expenses and to withdraw cash for personal use.  Finally, Lipukhin impeded the administration of Internal Revenue laws by attempting to prevent an automobile dealer from filing a Form 8300 – which is required for certain cash transactions over $10,000 – with the IRS in order to report Lipukhin’s cash payment to purchase an automobile.
An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, Lipukhin faces a potential maximum sentence of three years imprisonment on each count.  
U.S. citizens and permanent residents are required to report income from any source on their tax returns, regardless of whether the source of the income is inside or outside the United States.  Further, U.S. taxpayers who have an interest in, or signature or other authority over, a financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000 are also required to disclose the existence of the account on Schedule B, Part III of an individual income tax return.  They must also disclose the existence of the account by filing a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts with the U.S. Treasury.
Assistant Attorney General Kathleen Keneally of the Tax Division commended the agents from IRS –Criminal Investigation who investigated the case and Trial Attorney Timothy J. Stockwell of the Tax Division, who is prosecuting the case.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

American Hustle II: How A 3-Year Philadelphia Politico Sting Unfolded

Craig R. McCoy, Anglea Couloumbis, and Jennifer Lin at the Philadelphia Inquirer offer a piece on the backstory of the sting operation that caught Philadelphia politicans taking money and gifts on tape.

The sting operation is now controversal, as the case was dropped by the Pennsyvania Attorney General, who, like the politicians caught on tape, is a Democrat.

You can read the story via the below link:

You can also read a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, also a Democrat, who blasts the PA Attorney General for not prosecuting the case, via the below link:  

And you can read a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Frank Fina, the sting's prosecutor, via the below link:

And you can also read an earlier post on the politico sting via the below link:

With Friends Like Kim Philby... A Review Of Ben Macintyre's "A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby And The Great Betrayal"

Andrew Lycett wrote a good review of Ben Macintyre's A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal in the Telegraph.

Outside a small flat in Beirut in January 1963, the usual Middle Eastern sounds – blaring horns, raised voices and amplified music – rent the air, while inside “one of the most important conversations in the history of the Cold War” (to use author Ben Macintyre) was taking place.
Finally, almost three decades after Kim Philby, product of Westminster School and Cambridge, had been recruited into the Soviet secret service, and had wormed his way into its British equivalent, MI6, to become the most dangerous traitor in British espionage history, he was being confronted by Nicholas Elliott, his friend and former MI6 colleague.
Elliott had been sent to the Lebanese capital to extract a confession, a dozen years after Philby had been identified in parliament as the “third man” in a top-level spy ring, following the defection to Moscow of two of his co-conspirators, Donald Maclean and Gy Burgess.

But, despite overwhelming evidence which had forced him to resign, Philby had always protested his innocence and, such was the camaraderie in MI6, associates such as Elliott had believed him. Indeed Elliott had helped him financially and later pulled strings to find him employment as a journalist in Beirut, where, amazingly, he still performed occasional freelance jobs for MI6.
However, following the discovery of further incriminating evidence, even Elliott now realised Philby was guilty.

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

FBI Seeks Information in the Murder Investigation of a U.S. Government Contractor

The FBI released the below information yesterday:

WASHINGTON— The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the May 2009 murder of James Owen Kitterman, a U.S. citizen and government contractor, in Baghdad, Iraq.

James Kitterman was last seen alive on May 21, 2009, at approximately 9:00 p.m. (2100) local time inside the Green Zone, Baghdad, Iraq. The following day, May 22, 2009, Kitterman’s body was found in his vehicle, which was located inside the Green Zone.

Kitterman was the owner and operator of Peregrine Eyes, a private construction company (now defunct) that operated in Baghdad and was contracted by the U.S. government. Peregrine Eyes was established in 2008 and began contracts in Iraq that same year. At the time of his death, Kitterman was overseeing Peregrine Eyes’ construction of a helipad at the U.S. Consulate in Baghdad inside the Green Zone. Kitterman’s office and residence were also located inside the Green Zone on a compound owned and operated by Corporate Training Unlimited (CTU), a security contracting company. Compound security was provided by locally recruited guards, some of whom reported Kitterman’s vehicle leaving the compound around 11:00 p.m. (2300) local time on May 21, 2009.

In 2009, Peregrine Eyes had approximately 45 employees with whom James Kitterman was known to interact. As is common with many U.S. government construction-related contracts on bases in the Middle East, employees were recruited from many different countries. Employees working for Peregrine Eyes in 2009 were primarily from the U.S. and the Philippines. After Kitterman’s death, Peregrine Eyes was run by another contractor until approximately late 2009 or early 2010, when the company was dissolved.

Almost five years after Kitterman’s death, the FBI continues to investigate this unsolved murder.
The FBI has created a seeking information poster and is asking anyone with information regarding James Kitterman to please contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or to submit a tip online at Tips can remain anonymous.

Tales Of Lawmen, Outlaws And Cowboys: Happy Birthday To Western Writer Louis L'Amour

As notes, Western writer Louis L'Amour was born on this day in North Dakota in 1908.

Louis L'Amour published several short stories, but it was his first Western novel, Hondo (1953), that gained him instant success. While L'Amour later wrote works in different genres, it was his many Westerns that gained him great popularity among readers. L'Amour died on June 10, 1988, in Los Angeles, California. Having written more than 100 books and 400 short stories, he remains one of the most prolific and popular authors in the world.

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

You can also visit Louis L'Amour's web site at    

Friday, March 21, 2014

Agent Blanche: Tale Of Last Surviving Female British Spy Who Infiltrated Nazis In Northern France

Paul Donnelley at the British newspaper the Daily Mail offers a piece on a daring British teenage spy during WWII.

The little-known story of a daring British teenager who risked her life to be a spy in Nazi-occupied France during the Second World war has come to light. 

Plucky Sonya Butt - known as Agent Blanche - was just 19 when she was parachuted into northern France to act as a go-between for Allied troops and the French Resistance ahead of D-Day. 

During her time with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) she met and married Guy D'Artois, a fellow spy, and the pair went on to wreak havoc on the Germans.

Sonya used her beauty to woo German soldiers for information while secretly recruiting new Resistance cells and training them in guerilla warfare.

Despite her youth, Sonya was a specialist in explosives and her expertise was much in demand in rural towns and villages in the beaten country.

The intrepid youngster earned a reputation for fearlessness often sabotaging bridges and ambushing German convoys.

You can read the rest of the piece and see some interesting photos via the below link:

Words Of The Bard

Daniel Swift at the British newspaper the Telegraph looks back at William Shakespeare and words.

When Hamlet is asked what he is reading, he replies wearily, “words, words, words.” It is, surely, an in-joke for his creator.
Shakespeare, if anything, was endlessly bedazzled and amazed by the richness and possibilities of words. Although he had an astonishingly large vocabulary, he found not even this enough, and invented more words in the English language than any other person.

It is notoriously hard to establish exactly who first comes up with a word — and critics will always disagree — but the best measure we have is the Oxford English Dictionary, which tracks the first appearance in print of every word in the language.
Shakespeare is the writer they quote most often, and he is quoted almost three times as often as the next most-quoted. To give an example: from the preceding paragraph, Shakespeare seems to have been the first to use “critics,” “amazement,” and “bedazzle.”

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

Happy 68th Birthday To Former James Bond Actor Timothy Dalton

As notes, actor Timothy Dalton is 68 today.

Timothy Dalton was born March 21, 1946 in Colwyn Bay, Wales.

An accomplished Shakespearean actor, Dalton got his start in film in The Lion in Winter (1968). He caught the attention of sci-fi fans in Flash Gordon (1980) then catapulted to international fame in the 1980s as James Bond. Dalton has appeared in a host of American television shows and was the voice of Mr. Pricklepants in Toy Story 3 (2010).

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

You can also read an earlier post on Timothy Dalton via the below link:

Philadelphia FBI Agent Honored For Work That Brought Ruthless Drug Kingpin And Murderer To Justice

Steve Tawa at in Philadelphia reports on an award given to a Philadelphia FBI agent who helped put away drug kingpin Kaboni Savage.

A local FBI agent has been given a national award for his tireless work in connection with the recent Kaboni Savage serial murder case in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia FBI special agent Kevin Lewis, an agent since 1996, had been consumed by the drug gang case.

“Kaboni Savage has been a part of my career for about 14 years,” he noted today.

Lewis’ boss, special-agent-in-charge Edward Hanko, is delighted with the work that Lewis did in the case.

“Finally, someone has been brought to justice for the years and years of terror that he and his crew inflicted on the city of Philadelphia,” Hanko says.  

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

You can also read more about Kaboni Savage via the below the link:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

U.S. Navy Personnel Remain Aboard as Seized Tanker Returns to Libya

Claudette Roulo at the American Forces Press Service offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, Mar. 19, 2014 - Twenty-five Navy personnel remain aboard the oil tanker Morning Glory after a team of Navy SEALs boarded and took control of the ship March 17, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said today.

U.S. forces took control of the tanker in international waters at the request of the governments of Libya and Cyprus following its seizure earlier this month by three armed Libyans.

"The Morning Glory is carrying a cargo of oil owned by the Libyan government National Oil Company. The ship and its cargo were illicitly obtained from the Libyan port of As-Sidra," Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement released yesterday.

The U.S. sailors aboard the tanker are supervising the transit and performing security, navigation and communications tasks, Warren said today, and the SEALs have left the ship.

"The USS Stout is escorting the Morning Glory towards Libya. The three Libyans who had taken control of the Morning Glory remain now under U.S. control aboard the Morning Glory," the colonel said.

The 21-person civilian crew, consisting of six Pakistanis, six Indians, three Sri Lankans, two Syrians, two Sudanese and two Eritreans, also remain aboard the ship, he said.

The ship is underway to an as-yet undetermined spot in international waters near Libya to await a final port decision, Warren said, noting that discussions have begun on turning the three Libyans over to the Libyan government.

Note: In the above U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher B. Stolz, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stout is escorting the Libyan oil tanker Morning Glory.