Tuesday, September 30, 2014

South Philly "Wannabe Wiseguy" Convicted In Murder-For-Hire Case

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the murder-for-hire case of a South Philly auto repair shop owner with alleged organized crime connections for bigtrial.net.

Wannabe wiseguy Ron Galati was convicted of murder-for-hire and conspiracy charges today in a case that offered a look into a bizarre and twisted South Philadelphia family dynamic.

A federal jury deliberated for about five hours before returning guilty verdicts on all four charges Galati faced. No date has been set for sentencing, but the 64-year-old auto body shop owner is looking at from 20 years to life.

With a prior conviction for insurance fraud and with two other cases pending in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia, Galati could very well spend the rest of his life in prison.

"We're not surprised, but we're disappointed," said Anthony Voci Jr., Galati's defense attorney. Voci said Galati took the verdict well. But members of his family were "devastated," according to Galati's twin sister Renee.

"I can't believe it," she said through tears. "This is something my brother is not capable of."

The jury of 10 women and two men, after hearing five days of testimony and deliberating for about six hours, thought otherwise. The verdict was an endorsement of the prosecution case and a clear rejection of an alternative motive offered by Voci during an impassioned defense and closing argument.

Galati was convicted of hiring hitmen to kill the boyfriend of his estranged daughter Tiffany.

The boyfriend, Andrew Tuono, 35, was shot as he and Tiffany left their Atlantic City townhouse on Nov. 30 of last year. Tuono, shot three times, survived the assault. He was one of several witnesses called by the prosecution.

While Galati liked to play the role of The Godfather and frequently quoted lines from famous gangster movies, the plot he was convicted of setting in motion was strictly a grade-B operation.

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


Federal Indictments Charge 40 Alleged Drug Traffickers In Chester, PA

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

PHILADELPHIA—Federal, state, and local law enforcement, today, arrested more than 30 people on charges of distributing drugs in and around the city of Chester, PA. The operation targeted alleged members of the violent Rose and Upland Drug Trafficking Group (“DTG”) and coincided with the unsealing of 14 indictments charging 40 people. The group is charged with selling drugs, illegally carrying guns and stashing both drugs and guns in a neighborhood playground.

The main indictment is a 261-count superseding indictment that charges 22 of the 40 defendants with operating a drug market within the Rose and Upland neighborhood on the east side of Chester City.

According to the indictment, William Dorsey ran the operation, sold multiple kilograms of cocaine, often in the form of crack, to members of the group and others. One of the group’s largest alleged cocaine and heroin suppliers, Paris Church, has been charged in five separate indictments alleging that he, along with others, distributed and attempted to obtain approximately 25 kilograms of cocaine for re-distribution.

The charges were announced today by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Robert R. Niczyporowicz, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Edward J. Hanko, and Chester Police Chief Joseph Bail.

According to the superseding indictment, the DTG was distributing cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin to customers in their territory and elsewhere between September 2012 and 2014.

Charged with Dorsey are: Donald Womack, Sr., Paris Church, Braheem Edwards, Naim Butler, Ronell Whitehead, Michael Lewis, Breon Burton, JaVaughn Anderson, Robert Duson, Spencer Payne, Satchel Johnson, Alonzo Jones, Jamear McGurn, Classie Mae Dorsey, Herman Purnell, Dondre Ellis, Erven Towers-Rolon, John Dennis, Charles Stansbury, Waali Shepherd, and Kareem York.

The defendants are also charged with maintaining a drug house, possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, and distributing cocaine, crack and heroin within 1,000 feet of area schools and a playground. Some of the defendants are also charged with being felons in possession of firearms. During the investigation, 15 firearms were recovered.

Several other individuals are charged in separate indictments with drug trafficking conspiracies and other drug distribution offenses. Included in those indictments are: Kareem Bannister, George King, Nathaniel Coles, Lamont Carter, Rafael Hunt-Irving, Michael Pinkney, Solomon Whitaker, Shmeca Melvin, Anthony Floyd (of North Carolina), Steven Miller (of Maryland), and Anthony Potter, Shawn Mills, Tiffany Beauford, Farud Gigetts, Avery Mosley, Al-Ghani Rasheed, Steven Crews, and LaQuan Allen.

According to the superseding indictment, members of the DTG who sold cocaine hid the drugs in various ?stash? locations in order to avoid having drugs on them if they were stopped by police. Those stash locations included playgrounds, abandoned houses, alley ways, trash cans, mailboxes, windowsills, and other locations in the neighborhood. Members of the RUDTG controlled the drug sales in the Rose and Upland geographic territory and did not permit non-group members to sell drugs in that area. To protect their territory and drug trafficking activities, members routinely carried, and sometimes used, loaded firearms or had firearms available in hidden locations, including their stash locations.

“The people who live in the city of Chester, particularly in the area surrounding Rose and Upland Streets, deserve a break,” said Memeger. “They deserve better. And we will keep going back there until we release the choke hold these drug organizations have on that community. This is the third major multi–agency law enforcement initiative in that city and we will continue to commit the federal resources necessary to free the many good, hardworking citizens who call Chester home from violent drug traffickers.”

“Today, a major step was taken to make the City of Chester, PA a safer place” said DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Bob R. Niczyporowicz. “The outstanding cooperation between the local, state and federal partners utilizing their resources led to the infiltration and dismantlement of this violent DTO, which had a stronghold on the streets of Chester. Taking the entire hierarchy of this organization off the streets should have a significant impact and help improve the safety and welfare of the residents of Chester.”

“These arrests dismantle an insidious drug trafficking organization that operated throughout the city for years and will make a significant dent in criminal activity and violence not only in Chester but in surrounding communities,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “This is an excellent example of collaboration among law enforcement that sends a clear message that we are continuing to aggressively work together to address the violent gang problems that communities like Chester have faced for too long.”

“Residents of a city blighted by violence often feel like law enforcement has just given up,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Ed J. Hanko. “Well, that’s clearly not the case with the FBI, and all of the partners involved in today’s arrests. We’ll keep working to make Chester’s streets safer—corner by corner, block by block.”

“In my 43 years of police work, I’m most amazed by the good, old-fashioned, boots-on-the-ground law enforcement effort that achieved today’s result,” said Chester Police Chief Joseph Bail. “Running a close second is the collaborative focus among the local, state, and federal agencies, all in the name of making Chester a safer place.”

The government has given notice of intent to forfeit 15 firearms seized during the investigation, along with approximately $1.8 million proceeds derived from the crimes charged.

The case was investigated by the Delaware County Office of the District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chester Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police. Also providing substantial manpower and assistance in the arrests were agents from the United States Marshall Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Faithe Moore Taylor, Ashley K. Lunkenheimer, and A. Nicole Phillips.

The Guardian's 100 Best Novels: No 54 - "The Maltese Falcon" By Dashiell Hammett (1929)

Robert McCrum at the British newspaper the Guardian offers a piece on Dashiell Hammett's classic crime novel The Maltese Falcon, which comes in at number 54 in the newspaper's 100 Best Novels series.

Raymond Chandler, who has yet to appear in this series, once said: “Hammett is all right. I give him everything. There were a lot of things he could not do, but what he did, he did superbly.” He added, in a summary that helps define Hammett’s achievement: “He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.” He also gave his characters a distinctive language and convincing motivations in a genre that had grown stereotyped, flaccid and uninvolving.

The Maltese Falcon is the Hammett novel that jumps from the pages of its genre and into literature. It’s the book that introduces Sam Spade, the private detective who seduced a generation of readers, leading directly to Philip Marlowe. Dorothy Parker, never a pushover, confessed herself “in a daze of love” such as she had not known in literature “since I encountered Sir Lancelot” and claimed to have read the novel some 30 or 40 times.

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


You can check out the Guardian's list of 100 Best Novels via the below link:


Monday, September 29, 2014

'Decisive' Air Power Thwarts ISIL's Capabilities, Official Says

Amanni Lyle at DoD News offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2014 - Air power has stymied Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists, with the Air Force accomplishing 74 percent of the more than 240 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since Aug. 8, a senior Air Force official told reporters at the Pentagon today.

Maj. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, the Air Force's assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, said airmen are working closely with joint and coalition partners to execute current operations as part of the "persistent and sustained" campaign against the terrorist group.

"Air power's targeted actions are disrupting ISIL's command and control, their logistics and infrastructure, and their freedom of movement," Harrigian said. "We see air power as one of the fundamental components of the comprehensive strategy."

The general also reported that the Air Force's decisive capabilities have prevented large-scale force massing, have degraded ISIL's command and control capabilities, and will, over time, stanch ISIL's financing, which he acknowledged will require a whole-of-government approach to address. The Air Force has executed some 50 percent of the airstrikes in Syria thus far, and 70 percent of the more than 3,800 total sorties in Iraq and Syria, Harrigian said.

The Air Force, he added, also has accomplished 95 percent of the almost 1,300 tanker sorties essential to persistence and range requirements, as well as 700 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sorties in support of the operation.

Noting his dual role as Air Force operations deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Harrigian explained that the Air Force has worked for years to develop airmen across the theater, training them both downrange and in garrison to seamlessly integrate into operations and ensure necessary interoperability.

But U.S. air power alone, the general asserted, will not destroy ISIL. "We've been working with our coalition partners and sister services for years to develop the full array of air power capabilities that we're bringing into this fight, leveraging our lessons from both combat and training to execute these current operations," he said. "This broad coalition has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of the strategy against ISIL."

The F-22 Raptor fighter jet has been an important part of the effort, the general said, bringing stealth, speed and integrated avionics that facilitate situational awareness for the pilots, planners and joint terminal air controllers.

"Ultimately, ... air power offers a broad range of capabilities to the combatant commander, and ultimately, the president," Harrigian said. "Beyond airstrikes, we'll continue to provide ISR, the tankers, command and control platforms and humanitarian assistance as required to meet the enduring and ... emerging requirements that will occur over the course of the operation."

Note: The above DoD photo shows two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighters.

South Philly Murder-For-Hire Trial To Turn On Testimony From Hit Men

Julia Terruso is covering the murder-for-hire trial of a South Philly auto repair shop owner with alleged organized crime connections for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The only evidence tying Ronald Galati to the shooting of his daughter's boyfriend is the testimony of three men, all career criminals, who say Galati hired them to do it.

It's up to a jury whether to believe them.

"This is a simple case, simple facts. The defendant, Ron Galati, wanted Andrew Tuono dead," U.S. Assistant District Attorney Jason Richardson said in his closing argument today in federal court in Camden.

Richardson reiterated in a 30-minute summation how the three hit men - Ronald Walker, Jerome Johnson and Alvin Matthews - all testified that Galati sent them to shoot Tuono in Atlantic City. The three have pleaded guilty in the case and are facing life in prison. Tuono was struck three times while walking with Tiffany Galati from his apartment to a car with Tiffany Galati but survived the attack.

Galati, an alleged mob associate, is on trial on murder-for-hire and attempted-murder charges that could land him in prison for 15 years. He also faces murder-for-hire charges in Philadelphia and insurance scam charges in Philadelphia. No testimony about Galati's friendships or connection to the Philadelphia mob was admissible in the trial.

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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

U.S. Military, Partner Nations Conduct Airstrikes Against ISIL In Iraq and Syria

The U.S. Central Command released the below information:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2014 - U.S. and partner nation military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria Friday and today, using fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct seven airstrikes. Separately, U.S. military forces used attack aircraft to conduct three airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq.

In Syria, an ISIL vehicle was destroyed south of Al-Hasakah. Also near Al-Hasakah several buildings that were part of an ISIL garrison were destroyed. An ISIL command and control facility near Manbij was damaged.

An ISIL building and two armed vehicles at the Kobani border crossing were destroyed. An ISIL held airfield, an ISIL garrison and an ISIL training camp near Ar Raqqah were damaged.

To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy attack and fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates also participated in these strikes.

All aircraft exited the strike areas safely. In Iraq, three airstrikes southwest of Irbil destroyed four ISIL armed vehicles and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

All aircraft exited the strike areas safely. The strikes were conducted as part of the President's comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What The Jury Knows, And Doesn't Know, In The South Philly Murder-For-Hire Trial

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the federal murder-for-hire trial of the South Philadelphia auto body shop owner with alleged organized crime connection for bigtrial.net.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning in the murder-for-hire trial of South Philadelphia auto body shop owner Ron Galati.

A jury of 10 women and two men will likely begin deliberations later in the day. Galati's future is in the balance. The 64-year-old wannabe wiseguy, who opted not to take the witness stand, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. A sentence near the top of the guideline would be tantamount to life.

If the jury convicts, Galati's daughter Tiffany, 31, will be the witness who sealed his fate.

If the jury acquits, or can't make a decision, Tiffany may also be the reason.

The tart-tongued South Philadelphia princess was one of the last witnesses called by the prosecution in the weeklong case. She spent nearly three hours on the stand, largely supporting the testimony of three other key witnesses who said Ron Galati had hired them to kill Andrew Tuono, Tiffany's then boyfriend.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below piece:


Army Sergeant Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Defraud the Military

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

WASHINGTON—An Army sergeant pleaded guilty today to bribery and conspiracy to defraud the government for his role in a scheme to steal more than one million gallons of fuel from the U.S. military for resale on the black market in Afghanistan.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina, Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Southeast Field Office, Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte Division, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU) and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko made the announcement.

Christopher Ciampa, 32, of Lillington, North Carolina, entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina. The sentencing hearing was scheduled for the week of December 15, 2014.

“Sergeant Ciampa took bribes to help steal millions of dollars’ worth of fuel meant to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “His greed put his fellow soldiers at greater risk, and his actions stand in stark contrast to the integrity and sacrifice demonstrated every day by the men and women of our Armed Forces.”

“The DCIS, with our investigative partners, continues to aggressively pursue those who deprive the Department of Defense of much needed resources, such as fuel, critical to accomplishing its global missions,” said DCIS Special Agent in Charge Khin. “Corruption and theft in a combat environment, especially on such a large scale, degrade the effectiveness of the U.S. armed forces, and increases the danger to our warfighters by diverting those resources to our enemies

“Sergeant Christopher Ciampa betrayed his unit and nation for personal profit by entering into illegal relationships in order to personally profit from the sale and transport of fuel valued at millions of dollars,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Strong. “These actions, especially in a wartime environment, damage the reputation of all soldiers and impede the success of coalition war efforts. Those who put the reputation and lives of their fellow servicemen and women at risk will be aggressively pursued by the FBI and our military partners dedicated to upholding justice.”

“Our highly-trained special agents are experts in fraud investigations and untangling webs of lies and deceit,” said CID MPFU Director Robey. “Whether an individual is in or out of uniform, it makes no difference, we will do everything in our investigative power to see those who defraud the Army brought to justice.”

“The crimes alleged in this case are serious and describe actions that undermine our mission in Afghanistan,” said Special Inspector General Sopko. “SIGAR will continue to work tirelessly to protect the American taxpayers’ hard earned money and bring the full weight of the justice system to bear on anyone who seeks to rob the U.S. government.”

According to his plea agreement, Ciampa was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group Service Detachment and was assigned to Camp Brown at Kandahar Air Field between February 2011 and January 2012. During the deployment, one of Ciampa’s chief responsibilities was management of the Transportation Movement Requests (TMRs) for fuel and other items in support of military units in Afghanistan paid for by the U.S. government.

Over the course of the conspiracy, Ciampa and others created and submitted false TMRs for the purchase of thousands of gallons of fuel that were neither necessary nor used by military units.

Instead, Ciampa and his co-conspirators stole the fuel and resold it on the black market in neighboring towns. Between February 2011 and December 2011, they created false TMRs for 114 large fuel tanker trucks, which could each carry approximately 10,000 gallons of fuel. All of the TMRs were awarded to a single Afghan trucking company, despite significantly higher rates charged by this company.

As a result of the criminal conduct, the United States suffered a total loss of $10,812,000. The loss resulted from stolen fuel and payments on the fraudulent TMRs in the following amounts: $9,120,000 in lost fuel and $1,692,000 in fraudulent TMRs for the 114 large tanker trucks.

Ciampa admitted that he and his co-conspirators sent some of the illicit proceeds back to the United States via wire transfer and carried some of the cash in their luggage, and Ciampa hid $180,000 of stolen funds inside stereo equipment that he shipped back to North Carolina with his unit’s gear. He used his share of the proceeds from the scheme to purchase a truck and other personal items.
The case was investigated by DCIS, FBI, CID MPFU and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Wade Weems on detail to the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section from SIGAR and Assistant U.S. Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

From The Factory Floor To The Front Line: New Mission Statement For The Defense Contract Management Agency

The Defense Contract Management Agency released the below information:

FORT LEE, Va. - Defense Contract Management Agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Wendy Masiello announced a new mission statement for the agency in an email to the workforce yesterday:

We are the independent eyes and ears of DoD and its partners, delivering actionable acquisition insight from the factory floor to the front line … around the world.

“Those words get to the heart of what DCMA is about,” said Masiello. “We are uniquely poised on the factory floor to front line continuum to provide insight to our program partners so they can make the best decisions about their contracts and the products and services that result.”

The announcement came as Masiello finishes her first 100 days as the agency’s director. She’s spent much of that time visiting contract management office’s around the world, talking with employees at all levels to get a full understanding of the organization’s work and the challenges it faces.

“These visits have solidified my belief that DCMA is a great organization with great people,” she said. “I’ve been inspired by the dedication, innovation and observations you’ve shared. I look forward to meeting more of you in the future.”

Masiello took the input from her visits into a two-day strategic offsite meeting with agency senior leaders. There they conducted a stakeholder analysis and discussed overarching DoD strategic guidance including the Quadrennial Defense Review; the DoD Strategic Management Plan; and the acquisition, technology and logistics Better Buying Power initiatives.

The meeting also produced a new vision to complement the new mission statement:

One team, one voice delivering global acquisition insight that matters.

Masiello said, “This vision means we will integrate our efforts, analyze our data, and provide one unified message that our customers can use to the benefit of today’s contracts and those in the future.”

In addition, the director announced four broad strategic goals that will be the foundation of a strategic plan for fiscal years 2015 to 2020.

Masiello said in the coming weeks she’ll conduct both virtual and live all-hands sessions with the workforce to discuss the agency’s way ahead.

“I could not be more proud to be a part of this amazing team,” said the director. “I know that by working together we will overcome many obstacles while exceeding any goals we assign ourselves. I look forward to your partnership as together we provide acquisition insight that matters through global engagement."

NOTE:  After serving in the U.S. Navy as a young sailor during the Vietnam War I went on to serve as a Defense Department civilian employee for the Defense Contract Management Agency.

For the last 21 of my more than 37 years of combined U.S. Navy/DCMA service, I was the administrative officer of a DCMA command in Philadelphia. I oversaw security, safety, public affairs and other support services for the command.

I retired in 2007 and became a full-time writer.

You can learn more about DCMA (then called DCASR and DCASMA) and the old Philadelphia Quartermaster via the below link:


A Look Back At The Notorious Spy And Traitor John Walker: The Quiet Death Of America's Worst Spy

Mark Ambinder at theweek.com offers a look back at John Walker.

Chief Warrant Officer John A. Walker, who died in federal prison late last month at the age of 77, was the most consequential spy in American history. Over the course of seven years, from 1967 to 1975, he turned over some of the country’s most significant military secrets to the Soviet Union. When he retired, his friend, Jerry Whitworth, continued where he left off. Walker was arrested in 1985. His wife Barbara turned him in.
Walker’s motive was money. He spent lots on prostitutes and lots more to try and keep his wife happy. When a woman looked at him crossways, a fellow sailor said, "he would unzip his breeches" in a heartbeat. He was unhappy and erratic, except on his binges. His friends knew this; the Navy did not. Walker was nearing bankruptcy and his most valuable asset was his security clearance: TOP SECRET, with access to cryptologic material. Officially, he volunteered himself to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, walking in under the nose of the FBI, which monitored every movement in and out of the 16th Street complex. (His spying may actually have begun earlier.)
But when he did show up in Washington, he brought sample documents, including schematics of advanced submarine systems and diagrams of rotor wire settings for an encryption machine called the KL-47, which protected the U.S. Navy’s most sensitive traffic. The KGB resident at the time, Boris Solomatin, knew at once that he was a genuine walk-in. When Solomatin, against all protocol, introduced himself immediately, Walker "didn't say anything about his love for communism or for the Soviet Union. And because of that, he showed himself to me to be a decent man because as a rule, the people who want only money always try to camouflage their real desire. They try to act as if they are ideologically close to us. But Walker did not,” he told author Pete Earley.  
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also read my Greathistory.com piece on John Walker via the below links:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

U.S., Partner Nations Conduct 13 Strikes Against ISIL in Syria

The U.S. Central Command released the below information:

TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 24, 2014 - U.S. military forces and partner nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, attacked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria today, using a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 13 airstrikes against 12 ISIL-controlled modular oil refineries in remote areas of eastern Syria near Mayadin, Hasakah, and Abu Kamal and an ISIL vehicle near Dayr az Zawr, also in eastern Syria, U.S. Central Command officials reported.

Centcom officials said they are still assessing the outcome of the attack on the refineries, but have initial indications that the strikes were successful. The ISIL vehicle was destroyed, they added. The small-scale refineries provided fuel to run ISIL operations, money to finance their continued attacks throughout Iraq and Syria, and an economic asset to support their future operations, Centcom officials said. Producing 300 to 500 barrels of refined petroleum per day, ISIL is estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day from these refineries.

The destruction and degradation of these targets further limits ISIL's ability to lead, control, project power and conduct operations, officials said.

To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed Air Force fighter aircraft deployed to the Centcom area of operations. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in the airstrikes, officials said, and all aircraft safely exited the strike areas.

Interpol Washington Spearheads Foreign Terrorist Fighter Program, Serves as Catalyst for Global Information Sharing Network

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

Interpol Washington today announced the formation of a dedicated Interpol Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF) program in partnership with the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The program leverages the unique resources Interpol utilizes to combat transnational crime, including its secure, encrypted communications system, its criminal and analytical databases and its system of advisory notices. 

Through this program, Interpol will provide an unparalleled mechanism for addressing the threat from FTFs by helping to monitor and deter their international movement and interdict them at strategic entry points, where possible.  Composed of the National Central Bureaus (NCB) of more than 30 member countries, the program was established in response to the need for a forum for sharing intelligence and best practices on a global scale to combat the threat of foreign terrorist fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria.

“Interpol provides critical leadership in advancing the Justice Department’s efforts to combat terrorism and ensure the safety of all Americans – offering cutting-edge resources, a structure for international cooperation, and strategic tools like Red, Blue and Green Notices for tracing, targeting and apprehending terror suspects,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “In a world that is increasingly interdependent and interconnected, Interpol helps to defend against a range of evolving challenges by disseminating information, combating crime, and identifying potential threats.  And particularly today, with the emergence of groups like ISIL, and the knowledge that some Americans are attempting to travel to countries like Syria and Iraq to take part in ongoing conflicts, Interpol – as the world’s largest international police organization – has a vital role to play in safeguarding our homeland and protecting the American people.”

“The threat posed by foreign fighters is one that is persistent and requires the full cooperation and resources of the international law enforcement community to effectively combat," said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.  “We are already working closely with European and other governments to build better information sharing, and we will continue to leverage our partnership with the Interpol, Department of Justice and other international partners to make enhanced and concerted efforts to track foreign fighters who come from or seek to enter the United States.”

The program currently supports a working group that includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, and an international symposia—a multinational database populated with information contributed by and accessible to participating member countries.

The criminal intelligence information contained in the database includes detailed identity particulars that are especially valuable to law enforcement and border control authorities in making determinations of the terrorist threat posed by subjects located in, or attempting to enter, their respective jurisdictions.

Interpol Washington played a critical role in the program’s development and is taking the lead on implementing it in the United States by continuing to strategically use Interpol Red Notices to target and apprehend terrorists for prosecution in U.S. courts and Interpol Blue Notices to trace and locate terrorists and others suspected of terrorism-related activity, including those not charged with a particular offense.

Further, Interpol Washington is extensively utilizing Interpol Green Notices to publish information about hundreds of foreign nationals previously identified in both Iraq and Afghanistan and involved in terrorist activities. Interpol also offers countries the ability to use its information sharing system to send targeted messages to key partners on terrorist subjects.

“Interpol Washington continues to champion international police cooperation by leading U.S. efforts in the Interpol Foreign Terrorist Fighter program,” said Interpol Washington Director Shawn A. Bray. “Interpol provides a unique set of information sharing solutions for addressing this growing threat.  By applying these solutions via its secure global communications network, Interpol member countries send a strong, unified message of engagement against FTFs and those who support them.” 

Regional meetings, meetings of the heads of National Central Bureaus and the annual Interpol General Assembly represent additional opportunities for strengthening the FTF program.  Finally, Interpol works closely with the United Nations, particularly the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, to publish Special Notices on individuals listed by the Sanctions Committee as belonging to or associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Interpol Washington, a component of the DOJ and co-managed by the DHS, facilitates the sharing of criminal justice, humanitarian and public safety information among Interpol’s 190 member countries and more than 18,000 local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States.  In coordinating international investigative efforts, Interpol Washington works to enhance the safety and security of our nation.

For more information about Interpol Washington, visit: www.justice.gove/interpol-washington.

Details Of A Bloody South Philly Family Feud Surface At Murder-For-Hire Trial

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia offers a piece on the murder-for-hire trial of a South Philly auto repair shop owner with alleged organized crime connections.

The father sat at the defense table facing a murder-for-hire charge that could land him in prison for the rest of his life.

The daughter sat on the witness stand, offering testimony that could help the government put him there.

Ron Galati, the 64-year-old South Philadelphia auto body shop owner, and his daughter, Tiffany, 31,  squared off in federal court in Camden today in a bloody and twisted version of family feud.

Galati is charged with hiring hitmen to kill Tiffany's boyfriend Andrew Tuono back in November. But her testimony, which included her eyewitness account of the shooting, covered a dysfunctional family dynamic that stretched back several years and that Tiffany Galati said shattered her relationship with her father, her mother Vicky and brother Ron Jr.

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


You can also read Julia Terruso's account of the trial in the Philadelphia Inquirer via the below link:


The U.S. Marshals Service Celebrate 225 Years of Service

The U.S. Marshals Service released the below information:

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Marshals Service celebrates its 225th anniversary. As the nation’s oldest, most versatile federal law enforcement agency, it continues to build on its legacy of steadfast service and its unique position in the country’s federal justice system.

“When President George Washington appointed the first 13 U.S. Marshals on Sept. 24, 1789, his pen marked the creation of an agency that has since played a role in virtually every facet of the nation’s federal judiciary during times of crisis and times of peace,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton.

“From upholding the law in our untamed western territories to tracking and apprehending the most notorious fugitives, the U.S. Marshals Service has been committed to answering the call of our great nation for justice,” said Hylton.

Some of those challenges to justice included responding to the Whiskey Rebellion under the command of President Washington in 1794; keeping the trains moving during the Pullman railroad strikes in 1894; enforcing court orders related to civil rights and the desegregation of the South during the 1960s, protecting witnesses who testified against organized crime, and securing all high-threat federal trials involving domestic and international terrorism such as the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombing trials, and most recently, the Boston Marathon bombing trial.

“As we mark 225 years of service, our men and women stand ready to continue that commitment,” said Hylton.

Today, the U.S. Marshals Service is a force of 5,400 deputies and civil servants who carry out operational and administrative duties as varied as apprehending fugitives, housing and transporting prisoners, protecting witnesses and federal judges, and managing and selling seized assets.

Most notably, the Marshals Service is the federal government’s primary agency for conducting fugitive investigations. Working with its law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels, the Marshals apprehend more federal fugitives than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. In fact, in fiscal year 2013 alone, the U.S. Marshals arrested more than 110,000 fugitives.
"With our fugitive task forces, state-of-the-art technology, and investigative expertise, we have made the idea of escaping justice nearly impossible. Every day our deputies track down the worst-of-the-worst criminal offenders,” said Hylton.

Other agency accomplishments include protecting the federal courts and facilities from more than 1,000 threats and inappropriate communications, daily managing the care and transport of nearly 60,000 prisoners, and combating major criminal activity by stripping criminals of their ill-gotten gains and distributing $200 million to victims of crime through the effective management and disposition of assets seized for forfeiture. In addition, through the enforcement of the Adam Walsh Act, the U.S. Marshals Service helps protect our communities and children from noncompliant sex offenders.

“As we mark this tremendous milestone of 225 years, I am honored to lead an organization made up of so many dedicated professionals, and I am proud of their commitment to and embodiment of our motto of justice, integrity and service,” said Hylton. 

A Private Tour Of The CIA's Incredible Museum

David Wise, a veteran journalist and author of numerous books on espionage, offers an interesting piece on the CIA's spy museum for Smithsonian magazine.

A chill wind whipped off the Warnow as a retired railroad worker shuffled through the streets of the port city of Rostock one winter night in 1956. He wore the drab clothes typical of East German residents. But when a second man appeared from the shadows, the elderly German revealed that he was wearing a pair of distinctive gold cuff links embossed with the helmet of the Greek goddess Athena and a small sword.

The second man wore an identical pair. Wordlessly, he handed the German a package of documents and retreated back into the shadows. The German caught a train for East Berlin, where he handed the package and the cuff links to a CIA courier. The courier smuggled them to the agency’s base in West Berlin—to George Kisevalter, who was on his way to becoming a legendary CIA case officer.

The man who retreated back into the shadows was Lt. Col. Pyotr Semyonovich Popov, an officer of the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence agency. Three years earlier, Popov had dropped a note into an American diplomat’s car in Vienna saying, “I am a Soviet officer. I wish to meet with an American officer with the object of offering certain services.” He was the CIA’s first Soviet mole, and Kisevalter was his handler. Popov became one of the CIA’s most important sources through the 1950s, turning over a trove of Soviet military secrets that included biographical details on 258 of his fellow GRU officers.

It was Kisevalter who had decided on the cuff links as a recognition signal. He gave them to Popov before Moscow recalled the GRU officer in 1955, along with instructions: If Popov ever made it out of the USSR again and renewed contact with the CIA, whoever the agency sent to meet him would wear a matching set to establish his bona fides.

Popov renewed contact after he was assigned to Schwerin, East Germany, and the cuff links worked as intended. He fed Kisevalter information through the retired railroad worker for another two years. But after Popov was recalled to Moscow in 1958, he was arrested by the KGB. There are various theories on why he fell under suspicion. However, in a series of interviews two decades ago, Kisevalter told me it was the result of a botched signal: He said George Payne Winters Jr., a State Department officer working for the CIA in Moscow, “got the instruction backward” and mistakenly mailed a letter addressed to Popov at his home. The KGB spotted him in the act and fished the letter out of the mailbox. Popov was doomed.

The Soviets expelled Winters from Moscow in 1960, the same year they executed Popov—by firing squad, Kisevalter believed. He told biographer Clarence Ashley he doubted a rumor that Popov had been thrown alive into a furnace as a lesson to other GRU officers, who were required to watch.

Today, the cuff links rest in one of the most compelling and least visited museums in the United States. The museum has an extraordinary collection of spy gadgets, weapons and espionage memorabilia from before World War II to the present—more than 28,000 items, of which 18,000 have been cataloged—and hundreds are on display.

But the museum is run by the CIA and housed at its headquarters in Langley, Virginia, eight miles outside Washington, D.C. The agency’s entire campus is off-limits to the public, and the museum is open only to CIA employees, their families and visitors on agency business.

By special arrangement, Smithsonian magazine was allowed to tour the museum, take notes and photograph select exhibits. Our guide through the looking glass was Toni Hiley, the museum’s director. “Every day, CIA officers help to shape the course of world events,” Hiley said. “The CIA has a rich history, and our museum is where we touch that history.”

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


You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine interview with David Wise via the below link:


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Al Qaeda Spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghayth Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To Life In Prison For Conspiring To Kill Americans, Providing Material Support To Terrorists

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

United States Attorney General Eric Holder, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton announced that Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, aka “Salman Abu Ghayth,”

Usama Bin Laden’s son-in-law and the former spokesman for al Qaeda at the time of the September 11th terrorist attacks, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to serve life in prison by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.  Abu Ghayth, who was arrested overseas on Feb. 28, 2013, and first appeared in this district on March 1, 2013, was found guilty on March 26, 2014, following a three-week jury trial, of conspiring to kill U.S. nationals, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and providing material support to terrorists.

 “Justice has been served,” said Attorney General Holder.  “This outcome ensures that Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, a senior member of al Qaeda and an associate of Usama bin Laden, will never again set foot outside a prison cell.  From beginning to end, this trial, conviction and sentencing have underscored the power of America’s Article III court system to deliver swift and certain justice in cases involving terrorism defendants.  We will continue to rely on this robust and proven system to hold accountable anyone who would harm our nation and its people.  And we will never waver, and never relent, in our pursuit of violent extremists.”

“As the face and voice of al Qaeda in the days and weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Abu Ghayth conspired with Usama Bin Laden and others and announced to the world al Qaeda’s deadly intentions to continue to attack America,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “For his role in al Qaeda's plot to kill Americans, Abu Ghayth will now spend the rest of his life in prison.  This case highlights our resolve to find and bring to justice - no matter how long it takes - those who plot to attack our citizens and our interests around the world.  I want to thank all of the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this result.”

“Sulaiman Abu Ghayth was the mouthpiece of murder and menace for al Qaeda,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.  “Hours after the 9/11 attacks, Abu Ghayth, Usama bin Laden’s propaganda minister, was exhorting others to pledge themselves to al Qaeda in the cause of murdering more Americans.  It has been 13 years since that terrible day, but from the day Abu Ghayth was brought to the United States 19 months ago, justice for him has been swift and fair.  Today, having been afforded a fair and impartial trial in an American civilian court at which a jury unanimously convicted him of material support to al Qaeda and conspiring to kill Americans, Abu Ghayth has been sentenced to life in prison.No sentence can restore what was taken from the families of al Qaeda’s victims.  But today’s sentence ensures that Sulaiman Abu Ghayth will never be free to incite or support mass murder again.”

“As the spokesman for al Qaeda, Abu Ghayth espoused messages of terror, hate and fear to motivate others to harm our country, underestimating the resiliency of the United States to stand strong in the face of violence and adversity,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos.  “Today's sentence is the culmination of years of hard work and cooperative efforts among law enforcement professionals to seek justice for those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.  Along with its law enforcement partners, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force will vigorously pursue those who support this radical terrorist agenda.”

“Sulaiman Abu Ghayth was a key spokesman for al-Qaida and had access to the terrorist group's senior leadership as he took to the airwaves and threatened further attacks as our city was recovering from the horror of 9-11,” said NYPD Commissioner Bratton.  “His capture, trial and conviction is a reminder that the NYPD detectives and FBI agents of the Joint Terrorist Task Force will follow leads anywhere in the world to bring terrorists to justice.”

According to the evidence presented at trial, statements made during other public proceedings including today’s sentencing, and other court documents:

Since around 1989, al Qaeda has been an international terrorist organization, dedicated to opposing non-Islamic governments with force and violence.  Usama Bin Laden served as the leader, or “emir,” of al Qaeda until his death on or about May 2, 2011.  Members of al Qaeda typically have pledged an oath of allegiance, called bayat, to Bin Laden and to al Qaeda.

The core purpose of al Qaeda, as stated by Bin Laden and other leaders, is to support violent attacks against property and nationals, both military and civilian, of the United States and other countries.  Between 1989 and 2001, al Qaeda established training camps, guest houses, and business operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries for the purpose of training and supporting its agenda of violence and murder.  Members and associates of al Qaeda have executed a number of terrorist attacks, all in furtherance of the organization’s stated conspiracy to kill Americans, including the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, which killed approximately 2,976 people.

From at least May 2001 up to around 2002, Abu Ghayth served alongside Bin Laden, appearing with Bin Laden and his then-deputy and now the declared leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, speaking on behalf of al Qaeda and in support of Bin Laden’s terrorist objectives, recruiting young men to join al Qaeda and its murderous mission against the United States, and warning that attacks similar to those of Sept. 11, 2001, would continue.

In particular, around May 2001, Abu Ghayth urged young al Qaeda recruits at a guest house in Kandahar, Afghanistan, to swear bayat to Bin Laden, shortly before these men were brought to an al Qaeda training camp.  On the evening of Sept. 11, 2001, immediately after the terrorist attacks on the United States, Bin Laden summoned Abu Ghayth and asked for his assistance, which Abu Ghayth agreed to provide. 

On the morning of Sept. 12, 2001, Abu Ghayth appeared with Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and another al Qaeda leader, and spoke on behalf of al Qaeda in a speech that would be disseminated around the world, warning the United States and its allies that “[a] great army is gathering against you” and called upon “the nation of Islam” to do battle against “the Jews, the Christians and the Americans.”  Also, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Abu Ghayth delivered speeches in which he addressed the then-U.S. Secretary of State and warned that “the storms shall not stop, especially the Airplanes Storm,” and advised Muslims, children, and opponents of the United States “not to board any aircraft and not to live in high rises.”  At this time, in Afghanistan, Bin Laden and others within al Qaeda were plotting to detonate shoe bombs aboard flights within or en route to the United States.Abu Ghayth continued to speak on behalf of al Qaeda as the terrorist organization’s spokesperson through 2002, repeatedly working to drive more young men to al Qaeda.  Also in 2002, Abu Ghayth arranged to be, and was, successfully smuggled from Afghanistan into Iran, where he was later arrested with other al Qaeda leaders.

*                      *                      *    
In addition to a prison term of life, Abu Ghayth was ordered to forfeit all foreign and domestic assets derived from, involved in, and used and intended to be used to commit terrorism against the United States, its citizens and residents, and their property, and was ordered to pay a $300 special assessment fee.

Abu Ghayth’s conviction is the result of the close cooperative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force – which consists of law enforcement officers of the FBI, NYPD, United States Marshals Service, and other agencies – and the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Department of State also provided assistance.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys John P. Cronan, Nicholas J. Lewin and Michael Ferrara of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, with assistance from Trial Attorney Jolie Zimmerman of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, Tara M. LaMorte of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Diane Gujarati, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Launches Aircraft To Attack Islamic Terrorists Positions

In the above U.S. Navy photo an F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 and an F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 prepares to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

The carrier aircraft are conducting strike missions against ISIL targets. The George H.W. Bush is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Note: The above U.S. Navy photo was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert Burck.

You can click on the photo to enlarge.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Celebrating the the 50th Anniversary of "Goldfinger": 6 Classic Scenes From The Definitive James Bond Movie

Simon Reynolds at digitalspy.com offers six video links to classic scenes from the great James Bond film Goldfinger.

There's a strong argument that Goldfinger, Sean Connery's third outing as Ian Fleming's secret agent, is the first true 'James Bond Movie'. Where Dr No and From Russia with Love were low-key spy thrillers, Goldfinger pushed the series to the next level with its belter of a theme song, eccentric villain/sidekick combo, and introduction of high tech gadgets.

Goldfinger gets a 50th anniversary re-release on Blu-ray on September 22, so to mark the occasion we take a look back at 6 classic moments from the 1964 Bond installment...

You can check out the the scenes via the below link:


Note: Goldfinger is my second favorite James Bond film. From Russia With Love is my favorite.

You can read an earlier post on Ian Fleming's Goldfinger via the below link:


Saturday, September 20, 2014

FBI: Senior Citizens Targeted In Sweepstakes Fraud

The FBI web page offers the below piece:

A North Carolina couple recently pled guilty to running a sweepstakes fraud scheme that targeted elderly Americans, in some cases causing victims to lose their entire life savings.

Jessica and Jason Brown acknowledged in federal court that they operated call centers in Costa Rica that falsely informed U.S. residents—predominantly senior citizens—that they had won a substantial cash prize in a global sweepstakes, but the prize was only redeemable if the “winners” sent money to cover insurance and other fees. From 2004 until 2013, the Browns and their crew fleeced hundreds of elderly Americans out of nearly $900,000.

“They could make themselves extremely believable over the phone,” said Special Agent Scott Duffey, who investigated the case from our Baltimore Division. “For people on the other end of the line who were even a little bit gullible or desperate for money, the deception could be too much to resist.”

“The victims of these scams are not just people without an education,” noted Pat Donley, a senior litigator with the Department of Justice who has prosecuted many sweepstakes fraud cases. “Some victims have been doctors, others Ph.Ds. They are just taken in.”

Those who carry out these types of telemarketing frauds, including the Browns, use Internet technology and even forged documents to dupe their victims. They also purchase marketing lists—commonly used by lawful telemarketers—so they may know something about their victims, such as credit cards they might possess.

The fraudsters work out of so-called boiler rooms, usually apartments or offices with banks of phones. They might make hundreds of calls before finding one person receptive to their pitch.

Typically, the criminals say they are calling on behalf of some reputable insurance company or a U.S. federal agency such as the Federal Trade Commission or the Internal Revenue Service. The imposters say they want to make sure all the taxes are paid on the sweepstakes money so the winner faces no legal or tax issues.

To mask that they were calling from Costa Rica, the Browns used readily available technology that made victims think they were talking to someone from an area code in Washington, D.C. This added a further air of legitimacy to the scheme, since the callers frequently claimed to be representing a U.S. federal agency.

Though initial prizes were usually billed as second-place winnings, the $350,000 to $400,000 figures were still substantial. The victims were told they would have to pay fees and taxes of about 10 percent—between $3,500 and $4,000—and were often directed to send the money via Western Union.

It didn’t stop there. After receiving money, the scammers would contact the victims again and inform them that their prize amount had increased, either because of a clerical error or because another prize winner was disqualified. Of course, the new, larger prize meant more taxes and fees. The attempts to collect more cash would continue until a victim either ran out of money or realized what was going on, Duffey explained. “One Delaware woman was swindled out of more than $300,000—her life savings,” he added.

Donley has seen similar schemes ruin elderly victims financially. “One person in Florida gave up more than $800,000,” he said, “and a woman from California gave up most of her savings that she was going to use to care for her two handicapped children. These criminals are heartless,” he continued. “It’s easy for them to rob people, because they never meet the victims and never see the consequences.”

Don’t Become a Victim
Criminals who prey upon the elderly through sweepstakes fraud and other telemarketing schemes can be extremely convincing, but you can avoid becoming a victim by keeping a few simple guidelines in mind.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency charged with preventing fraud and deceptive practices in the marketplace, offers these common-sense tips:

- Don’t wire money, ever. No government official will ask you to send money in this manner. If you have to pay for a prize, it’s not a prize.

- Never give callers financial or personal information. Don’t give out sensitive information such as your credit card or Social Security number unless you absolutely know who you’re dealing with.

- Don’t trust a name or number. Fraudsters use official-sounding names, like Lloyds of London of Costa Rica, to make you trust them. No matter how convincing their story—or their stationery—they are most likely lying. To make a phone call seem legitimate, scammers use technology to disguise where they are calling from. Even though it may look like they’re dialing from Washington, D.C., they could be anywhere in the world.

- Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. This won’t stop fraudsters from calling, but it should make you skeptical of random calls. Most legitimate sales people generally honor the Do Not Call list. Scammers ignore it. Register your phone number at donotcall.gov.

- Report the scam. If you get a call from a government imposter or someone attempting a sweepstakes fraud, file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

- Here’s the bottom line: If someone is pitching something on the phone that doesn’t sound right, you always have the option to just hang up. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information about sweepstakes and telemarketing fraud, visit the FTC website: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-imposter-scams 

International Terrorism Defendant Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court

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

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin and United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announced that Adel Abdel Bary, aka “Adel Mohammed Abdul Almagid Abdel Bary,” aka “Abbas,” aka “Abu Dia,” aka “Adel” (“Bary”), pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to international terrorism charges in connection with Bary’s work on behalf of al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.  Bary was extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom on Oct. 6, 2012. 

Bary pleaded guilty to a three-count superseding information charging him with conspiring to kill U.S. nationals, conspiring to make a threat to kill, injure, intimidate, and damage and destroy property by means of an explosive, and making such a threat.  Following the defendant’s plea of guilty, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan asked for further information regarding the basis of the plea agreement which the parties will provide within a week.

According to the indictment on which Bary’s extradition was based, the superseding information to which he pled, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made at today’s guilty plea:

In 1997 and 1998, Bary led the London cell of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (“EIJ”) organization.  EIJ, which was led for years by co-defendant Ayman al Zawahiri, was dedicated to the forceful overthrow of the Egyptian Government and to violent opposition of the United States, in part, for its support of the Government in Egypt.  By February 1998, EIJ had effectively merged with al Qaeda and EIJ joined with al Qaeda in targeting American civilians.  To that end, in February 1998, indicted co-defendant Usama Bin Laden and Zawahiri endorsed a purported fatwah under the banner of the “International Islamic Front for Jihad on the Jews and Crusaders.” 

This fatwah stated that Muslims should kill Americans – including civilians – anywhere in the world where they can be found.  Then again, on Aug. 4, 1998, EIJ published a statement threatening to retaliate against America for its claimed involvement in the apprehension of EIJ members.  A copy of this statement was found in an office used by Bary and his London-based co-conspirators.

While in London, Bary pledged his commitment to pursue the goals of EIJ and to follow the orders of the leadership of the group.  Many of the leading members of EIJ became influential members of al Qaeda, including indicted co-defendants Ayman al Zawahiri and indicted co-defendant Muhammad Atef, both of whom later sat on the majlis al shura (or consultation council) of al Qaeda.  Zawahiri is now the declared leader of al Qaeda.

On Aug. 7, 1998, three days after EIJ published its threat to retaliate against America, al Qaeda operatives bombed the United States Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people.  Bary transmitted, via international telephone calls to the media, the contents of al Qaeda’s claims of responsibility for the Aug. 7, 1998, bombings.  These claims of responsibility included threats of future terrorist attacks by al Qaeda and its allies, and were sent from London, England, to media organizations in France, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on Aug. 8, 1998 – the day after the embassy bombings.

In August 1998, both before and after the bombings, Bary additionally arranged for messages to be transmitted from members of the media to his co-conspirators, including Bin Laden and Zawahiri, and conveyed messages from his co-conspirators, including Bin Laden and Zawahiri, to members of the media.  Bary also used an office in London, which he shared with co-conspirators, to store documents, including the claims of responsibility described above, as well as for other conduct related to the conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals.

*                *                *

In connection with his role in transmitting al Qaeda’s claims of responsibility for the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Bary pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to make a threat to kill, injure, intimidate, and damage and destroy property by means of an explosive, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison, and one count of making such a threat, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison. 

In connection with his role in the conspiracy—led by Bin Laden and Zawahiri—to attack American targets around the world, Bary pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to kill U.S. nationals, which carries a maximum term of five years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Two co-defendants, Khalid al Fawwaz, aka “Khaled Abdul Rahman Hamad al Fawwaz,” aka “Abu Omar,” aka “Hamad,” and Anas al Liby, aka “Nazih al Raghie,” aka “Anas al Sebai,” are scheduled to commence trial on Nov. 3, 2014, before Judge Kaplan.  The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, and the Metropolitan Police Department of London, England (New Scotland Yard).  U.S. Attorney Bharara also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and National Security Division for their ongoing assistance.                                                    

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean S. Buckley, Adam Fee, Nicholas J. Lewin, and Stephen J. Ritchin are in charge of the prosecution.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Death Does Not Become Them: Arise The New James Bond, Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes

Linda Morris at the Sidney Morning Herald offers a piece on the continuation novels of famous characters created by authors who passed on.

Agatha Christie detested her fictional detective Hercule Poirot. In her words, Poirot was "a bombastic, tiresome, egocentric little creep", and so in the 1940s she bumped the fussy Belgian off, writing Curtain, Poirot's final case.

Christie was eventually overruled by an adoring public and her publishers and the novel was kept in a bank vault, where it remained unpublished until shortly before her death in 1976.  And that, in the ordinary course of a literary life, should have been the end of it.

Except that Christie's canny literary estate, chaired by her only grandchild, Mathew Prichard, has assented to Poirot's exhumation in a new mystery authored by the British crime writer and poet, Sophie Hannah.

The Monogram Murders adds another title to the ample Christie legacy of 33 Poirot novels, one play and more than 50 stories. In accepting the commission, Hannah walks in the eminent footsteps of Sebastian Faulks (Devil May Care and Jeeves and the Wedding Bells), Val McDermid (Northanger Abbey), Alexander McCall Smith (Emma), William Boyd (Solo), Jeffrey Deaver (Carte Blanche) and the Booker Prize winner John Banville (The Black-Eyed Blonde), all feted novelists who have joined publishing's current obsession with literary resurrections.

It is an easy sell, the pairing of international writers to literary classics. New books bring bankable royalties for the deceased's literary estates, and in theory, adds to the material engagement of younger readers with the classics.

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


Note: Like Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming killed off their popular characters, but both later resurrected their characters due to popular demand. 

Philadelphia Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Deadly Firebombing Of Federal Witness's Family

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

A Philadelphia man was sentenced today to life in prison for his role in the Oct. 9, 2004, retaliatory firebombing that killed six members of a federal witness’s family, including four children.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division made the announcement.  U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick imposed the sentence.

Robert Merritt, 34, was convicted following a jury trial on May 13, 2013, of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and the murders of the family members of a federal witness, Eugene Coleman.

At the direction of convicted drug kingpin Kaboni Savage, Merritt and his cousin, Lamont Lewis, participated in the firebombing of the Coleman family home in retaliation for Coleman’s testimony against Savage.  Evidence introduced at trial showed that Merritt threw a gas can with a lit cloth fuse, and then a second gas can, into the occupied Philadelphia row house in the predawn hours of Oct. 9, 2004.  Six people, including four children ranging in age from 15 months to 15 years, were killed in the ensuing fire.

Co-defendants Kaboni Savage and Kadida Savage were also convicted at the May 2013 trial of the firebombing.  Kaboni Savage was sentenced to death for 12 counts of murder in aid of racketeering.  Kidada Savage was sentenced to life in prison.  Lamont Lewis, who pleaded guilty before trial, is awaiting sentencing.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the Maple Shade, New Jersey, Police Department.  The United States Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals Service, and the Philadelphia / Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force also assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steve Mellin of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys David E. Troyer and John M. Gallagher of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.   

Note: You can also read an earlier Justice Department release on Kaboni Savage via the below link:


Alleged Shooter Of Two Pennsylvania State Troopers Added To FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List

The FBI's Philadelphia Division released the below information:
Edward J. Hanko, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, and Frank Noonan, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, announced today the addition of Eric Matthew Frein to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Frein is wanted in connection with the homicide and attempted homicide of two Pennsylvania State Police troopers.
On September 12, 2014, a gunman targeted the Pennsylvania State Police Blooming Grove Barracks in Pike County, Pennsylvania, ambushing Corporal Bryon Dickson and Trooper Alex Douglass. Corporal Dickson, 38, was fatally shot and Trooper Douglass, 31, critically wounded. Days later, Frein’s vehicle was found partially submerged in a nearby pond and allegedly contained evidence linking him to the shootings.
State arrest warrants were issued after Frein was charged with homicide, homicide of a law enforcement officer, and attempted murder. Frein is also charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He is considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Frein is a 31-year-old white male (date of birth May 3, 1983), 6’1” tall, 165 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He may have shaved his head on both sides and may have long hair on top. He is known to be a heavy smoker, a weapons enthusiast, and a survivalist and has studied the Russian and Serbian languages.

Frein has connections to the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., including the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

“When law enforcement officers are violently targeted, we take it seriously—and personally,” said SAC Hanko. “The FBI is committed to finding this suspect, keeping the public safe, and supporting our partners at the Pennsylvania State Police.”

“On behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, I would like to thank the FBI for their hard work on this case and for adding Eric Matthew Frein to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list,” said Commissioner Noonan. “All of law-enforcement is committed to apprehending Frein, and we are dedicated to making sure that the danger to the public ends with his arrest.”

Eric Frein is the 503rd person to be placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, replacing former fugitive Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara. The list was established in March 1950; since then, 472 fugitives have been apprehended or located, 156 of them as a result of citizen cooperation.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of Eric Matthew Frein. Tips can be called in to the Pennsylvania State Police at (866) 326-7256 or to the nearest FBI field office.

Additional information regarding Eric Frein, including his wanted poster, is available on the FBI’s Internet home page at http://www.fbi.gov and at the Pennsylvania State Police Internet home page at www.psp.pa.gov.

Second Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping and Murder of DEA Agent Terry Watson

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

WASHINGTON—A second Colombian man extradited to the Eastern District of Virginia pleaded guilty today for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent James Terry Watson in Bogotá, Colombia, on June 20, 2013.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart and Director Bill A. Miller of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) made the announcement.

“Throughout his law enforcement career, Special Agent Watson’s service was both selfless and courageous,” said Attorney General Holder. “With this action, we continue our work to hold accountable those who were responsible for his murder. In the weeks ahead, we expect to take additional steps to bring the perpetrators to justice. And in all that we do, our nation’s Department of Justice will continue to honor Special Agent Watson’s sacrifice, to safeguard the nation he served, and to protect the values and principles he defended all his life.”

“DEA will never forget the sacrifice of Special Agent Terry Watson, nor will we rest until those responsible for his kidnapping and murder are brought to justice for this horrific act,” said DEA Administrator Leonhart. “While this is certainly not the final step, we are pleased that another criminal facilitator in this awful tragedy is answering for his actions in a U.S. courtroom.”

Andrés Álvaro Oviedo García, 22, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia to aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person and conspiracy to kidnap an internationally protected person. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2014.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Oviedo García admitted that he and his conspirators agreed to conduct a “paseo milionario” or “millionaire’s ride” in which victims who were perceived as wealthy were lured into taxi cabs, kidnapped and then robbed. Oviedo García admitted that he was part of the group of individuals that targeted Special Agent Watson, but his taxi encountered mechanical issues. Oviedo García remained with the disabled taxi while the other conspirators continued with the group’s plan to conduct the “millionaire’s ride” robberies. Shortly thereafter, Special Agent Watson was targeted and picked up in a taxi outside a restaurant in Bogotá. Soon after, two conspirators entered the taxi carrying Special Agent Watson, and one used a stun gun to shock Special Agent Watson and the other stabbed him. Special Agent Watson was able to escape from the taxi, but he later collapsed and died from his injuries.

Six other defendants were charged in this case for their alleged involvement in the murder of Special Agent Watson. Gerardo Figueroa Sepúlveda, 39; Omar Fabián Valdes Gualtero, 27; Édgar Javier Bello Murillo, 27; and Héctor Leonardo López, 34, are each charged by indictment with second degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap. Wilson Daniel Peralta Bocachica, 31, was charged for his alleged efforts to destroy evidence associated with the murder of Special Agent Watson.

On Sept. 3, 2014, Julio Estiven Gracia Ramírez, 31, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person and conspiracy to kidnap an internationally protected person. Sentencing for Gracia Ramírez is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2014. Trial for the remaining defendants is set for Jan. 12, 2015.

The charges in the indictment against the other defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI, DEA and DSS, in close cooperation with Colombian authorities and with assistance from INTERPOL and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. The case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Stacey Luck of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Department of Justice gratefully acknowledges the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, Colombian National Police, Colombian Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol (DIJIN), DIJIN Special Investigative Unit, Bogotá Metropolitan Police, Bogotá Police Intelligence Body (CIPOL) Unit and Colombian Technical Investigation Team for their extraordinary efforts, support and professionalism in responding to this incident.