Friday, September 30, 2016

On This Day In History: The USS Nautilus, The World's First Nuclear Submarine, Was Commissioned In 1954

As notes, on this day in 1954 the USS Nautilus was commissioned.

You can read about it and watch a video clip via the below link:

Hitler Ascent: 1889-1939

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review in the Washington Times of Volker Ullrich's Hitler Ascent: 1889-1939.

Even at decades removed, historians remain fascinated with the why — and how — of Adolf Hitler’s rise to evil power, and the role of the German people in his horrendous assault on mankind. Many splendid works already exist, beginning with Alan Bullock’s 1952 masterpiece, and more recently, a two-volume work by Ian Kershaw in 1998 and 2000 (all of which I have read).
Now comes the German scholar/journalist Volmer Ullrich, with the first of two planned volumes, which offers keen insight into how Hitler perfected demography to sway audiences into hysteria. And Mr. Ullrich displays an insight into the making of Hitler that I did not find elsewhere.
When Hitler first dabbled in politics, he was a nobody, a slightly wounded war veteran who had served a jail term for trying to overthrow the government. He eked out a living selling postcards he painted in Munich. One person who saw him in those years later recollected, “When I first met him, he was like a tired stray dog looking for a master.”
But Hitler sensed that war-wrecked Germany ached for a “savior” who would restore to glory a nation defeated because of “Jews, communists and other traitors.” A passage in “Mein Kampf,” which he wrote in prison, revealed both his planned approach and the low mental esteem in which he held fellow citizens: “The receptivity of large masses is very limited. Their capacity to understand things is slight whereas their forgetfulness is great. Given this, effective propaganda must restrict itself to a handful of points, which it repeats as slogans as long as it takes for the dumbest member of the audience to get an idea of what they mean.”
Although his podium voice was shrill and unremarkable, Hitler displayed an ability to exploit the anger of a populace who felt they had been betrayed by their own leaders in war, and suffered from an unjust peace imposed at Versailles by the victors.
You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DoD Secretery: 600 Troops to Deploy to Enable Iraqis to Retake Mosul From ISIL

Terri Moon Cronk at the DoD News offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2016 — About 600 American troops will be deployed to Iraq to further enable local security forces as they prepare to retake the key Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today.
In a statement, the secretary said in anticipation of the Mosul fight, the U.S. and Iraqi governments have agreed that additional U.S. and coalition capabilities could help accelerate the campaign at this critical phase.

Carter said he and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended deployment of the additional troops to President Barack Obama to further enable Iraqi forces, and that the president authorized it with the support and approval of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Gearing Up for Mosul Offensive
The U.S. troops will work in close coordination with the Iraqi government to provide specific capabilities, such as logistics and maintenance support, and train, advise and assist teams for Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga for the upcoming Mosul operation. Expanded intelligence resources will be used to disrupt ISIL's terrorist network in Iraq and beyond, Carter said.
“The coalition to defeat ISIL continues to achieve results on the battlefield, and I congratulate Iraqi security forces on their recent progress, including the operation to free Sharqat,” he said. “The coalition will continue to increase the pressure on ISIL in Mosul and wherever it seeks refuge in Iraq.”
Increasing Pressure on ISIL

The addition of more than 600 additional troops in the coming weeks will bring the force management level to 5,262 U.S. troops as of today, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, director of Pentagon press operations.

“We are continuing to increase pressure on ISIL in Mosul in particular and in anticipation of that coming fight … as we close in on Mosul,” Davis said.

While most specific locations cannot be released for security reasons, Davis said, he identified two air bases where the American troops will be sent with specific missions: Al-Asad Air Base in the Euphrates River Valley north of Baghdad, and Qayyarah Air Base near Qayyarah City.

Bringing Capabilities to Air Bases

At Al-Asad Air Base, American troops will provide logistics and maintenance, and help with airfield operations to bring the base to a level that can support a greater pace of operations as the Mosul effort progresses.

Military logisticians will work at Qayyarah Air Base similarly to help the base function as the significant throughput point for the Iraqi forces as they move farther north, he said.
“Mosul is very isolated from the major population centers in Iraq, and to have a throughput point in Qayyarah will allow for greater enabling of our operations there,” Davis said.

The press operations director clarified that the additional train, advise and assist teams and additional intelligence support come under existing authorities. “Nothing is changing in regard to the role of our mission, with the role of what our authorities are to do there,” he noted. “This does not mean any greater role for [U.S.] service members in terms of what their mission is.”

Davis added that the fight remains Iraq’s, and “everything we do there is to support and enable them. They will continue to be the primary trigger-pullers.”

Double-Edged Goal

Two things going on: the retaking of Mosul, and helping to ensure a lasting victory for the Iraqis, Davis said.

“From our perspective, this [force management level] increase has been long anticipated [and] long planned,” he added. “We’ve known there would need to be another additive of capabilities prior to the final push [to Mosul].”

The roughly 600 additional U.S. forces are the number of forces expected to enable Iraq to take on its next major objective of Mosul, Davis said. “There are no major objectives after that,” said he added. “This is it. This is the last big holdout in Iraq for ISIL.”

Note: In the above photo by Marine Corps Army Captain Ryan E. Alvis Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, visiting Task Force Strike, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Qayyarah West Airfield, Iraq on Sept. 23, 2016. 

How Mohammed & The Fatboy Got Caught With 225 Pounds Of Marijuana But Beat The Rap (Thanks To Philly D.A. Seth Williams)

Veteran reporter Ralph Cipriano offers a piece at on the feud between the Philadelphia Police Narcotics Unit and the DA.

On Jan. 17, 2012, the Philadelphia Police Department's Narcotics Field Unit South tailed a suspected drug dealer to a garage, where they confiscated 53 pounds of hydroponic marijuana with a street value of $481,240.

When the cops interviewed the suspect, Mohammed Samhan, 26, of Los Angeles, he decided to cooperate and give up another marijuana dealer. The cops subsequently raided the home of Kit "Fatboy" Poon, 41, of Northeast Philadelphia. This time, they confiscated 172 pounds of hydroponic marijuana with a street value of $1,565,420.

Faced with serious jail time, Poon decided that he too wanted to cooperate. He told the cops he knew about an even bigger future marijuana shipment due to arrive by tractor-trailer.

With the two accused drug dealers in custody, Lt. Robert Otto, supervisor of the narcs, called Chief Jan McDermott of the District Attorney's Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit, and requested that McDermott conduct "proffers" with both suspects. [A proffer is an interview where, in exchange for information about criminal activity, a prosecutor agrees not to use that information against the suspect.]

That's when the system broke down. Two confidential police memorandums obtained by Big Trial lay out the details of what's been described in court papers as a "petty and childish feud" between the narcs and the Philly D.A.'s office. It was an old fashioned turf battle over who sat in on proffers, which law enforcement agency would collect drug forfeiture money, and who got credit for major drug busts.

Seth Williams put an end to the feud when he announced, via a letter leaked to the media -- without a shred of evidence to back him up -- that the district attorney's office would no longer prosecute any drug cases involving Lt. Otto or five of his officers.  The narcs and their supervisor were subsequently transferred out of the narcotics unit.

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

Note: While on assignment for Counterterrorism magazine I went out on drug raids with Lt. Robert Otto and his narcotics unit. You can read the piece via the below link:

FBI Director Warns Of A Massive 'Terrorist Diaspora Like We've Never Seen Before' As ISIS Flee Syria To Attack The West

The Daily Mail reports on the FBI director's warning of a future 'terrorist diaspora.'

FBI Director James Comey warned on Tuesday that in the next two to five years a massive 'terrorist diaspora' will happen.

Comey made the statement while testifying before Congress on Tuesday alongside Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center. 

The three men were at a hearing to examine threats to national security in the country 15 years after the horrific September 11 attacks. 

Comey, 55, said that he is convinced the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will be destroyed soon, however, that would not be the end of terrorism.

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

FBI Releases 2015 Crime Statistics

The FBI released the below information:

 After two years of decline, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased 3.9 percent in 2015 when compared with 2014 data, according to FBI figures released today. Property crimes dropped 2.6 percent, marking the 13th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.

The 2015 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 372.6 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,487.0 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate rose 3.1 percent compared with the 2014 rate, and the property crime rate declined 3.4 percent.

These and additional data are presented in the 2015 edition of the FBI’s annual report Crime in the United States. This publication, which is a statistical compilation of offense, arrest, and police employee data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, also includes limited federal crime reporting, human trafficking, and cargo theft data.

The UCR Program collects information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies regarding the violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. (Although the FBI classifies arson as a property crime, it does not estimate arson data because of variations in the level of participation by the reporting agencies. Consequently, arson data are not included in the property crime estimate.) The program also collects arrest data for the offenses listed above plus 20 offenses that include all other crimes except traffic violations.

Prior to 2013, the FBI’s UCR Program collected rape data in the Summary Reporting System under the category “forcible rape.” In 2013, the program removed the term “forcible” from the title and revised the definition. The legacy UCR definition of rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” The revised UCR definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Of the 18,439 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal agencies eligible to participate in the UCR Program, 16,643 submitted data in 2015. A high-level summary of the statistics submitted, as well as estimates for those agencies that did not report, follows:

In 2015, there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased 10.8 percent when compared with estimates from 2014.

Rape and aggravated assault increased 6.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, while robbery increased 1.4 percent.

Nationwide, there were an estimated 7,993,631 property crimes. The estimated numbers for two of the three property crimes show declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 7.8 percent, and larceny-thefts declined 1.8 percent, but motor vehicle thefts rose 3.1 percent.

Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses estimated at $14.3 billion in 2015.

The FBI estimated that law enforcement agencies nationwide made 10.8 million arrests, excluding traffic violations, in 2015.

The arrest rate for violent crime was 157.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, and the arrest rate for property crime was 458.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By violent crime offense, the arrest rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was 3.5 per 100,000 inhabitants; rape (aggregate total of revised and legacy), 7.1; robbery, 29.7; and aggravated assault, 117.0 per 100,000 inhabitants.

By property crime offense, the arrest rate for burglary was 67.5 per 100,000 inhabitants; larceny-theft, 364.5; and motor vehicle theft, 24.2. The arrest rate for arson was 2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.
In 2015, there were 13,160 law enforcement agencies that reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2015, they collectively employed 635,781 sworn officers and 277,380 civilians, a rate of 3.3 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.
Caution Against Ranking

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use the figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment. 

Four Chinese Nationals And China-Based Company Charged With Using Front Companies To Evade U.S. Sanctions Targeting North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons And Ballistic Missile Programs

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

Four Chinese nationals and a trading company based in Dandong, China, were charged by criminal complaint unsealed today with conspiring to evade U.S. economic sanctions and violating the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations (WMDPSR) through front companies by facilitating prohibited U.S. dollar transactions through the United States on behalf of a sanctioned entity in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and to launder the proceeds of that criminal conduct through U.S. financial institutions. 
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey and Assistant Director E.W. Priestap of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division made the announcement.
On Aug. 3, 2016, a U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson of the District of New Jersey signed a criminal complaint charging Ma Xiaohong (Ma) and her company, Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co. Ltd. (DHID), and three of DHID’s top executives, general manager Zhou Jianshu (Zhou), deputy general manager Hong Jinhua (Hong) and financial manager Luo Chuanxu (Luo), with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to defraud the United States; violating IEEPA; and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. 
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also imposed sanctions on DHID, Ma, Zhou, Hong and Luo for their ties to the government of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction proliferation efforts.
In addition, the department filed a civil forfeiture action for all funds contained in 25 Chinese bank accounts that allegedly belong to DHID and its front companies.  The department has also requested tha the federal court in the District of New Jersey issue a restraining order for all of the funds named in the civil forfeiture action, based upon the allegation that the funds represent property involved in money laundering, which makes them forfeitable to the United States.  There are no allegations of wrongdoing by the U.S. correspondent banks or foreign banks that maintain these accounts. 
“The charges and forfeiture action announced today allege that defendants in China established and used shell companies around the world, surreptitiously moved money through the United States and violated the sanctions imposed on North Korea in response to, among other things, its nuclear weapons program,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The actions reflect our efforts to protect the integrity of the U.S. banking system and hold accountable those who seek to evade U.S. sanctions laws.”
“The charges unsealed today reflect our nation’s commitment to using all tools to deter and disrupt weapons of mass destruction proliferators,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “One of the strengths of our sanctions programs is that they prevent sanctioned wrongdoers from engaging in U.S. dollar transactions.  Denying the use of the U.S. financial system can greatly curtail illegal activities and disrupt efforts to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists and rogue nations.  Those who seek to evade our financial sanctions will be fully prosecuted, and we will be unflagging in our efforts to bring them to justice.”
“The FBI takes violations of these laws extremely seriously and will not hesitate to use our full investigative resources to stop this type of illegal activity,” said Assistant Director Priestap.  “In this case agents, analysts and forensic accountants from field offices in Phoenix and Newark, as well as FBI Headquarters, all contributed to a successful investigation.”
According to criminal and civil complaints, DHID is primarily owned by Ma and is located near the North Korean border.  DHID allegedly openly worked with North Korea-based Korea Kwangson Banking Corporation (KKBC) prior to Aug. 11, 2009, when the OFAC designated KKBC as a Specially Designated National (SDN) for providing U.S. dollar financial services for two other North Korean entities, Tanchon Commercial Bank (Tanchon) and Korea Hyoksin Trading Corporation (Hyoksin).  President Bush identified Tanchon as a weapons of mass destruction proliferator in June 2005, and OFAC designated Hyoksin as an SDN under the WMDPSR in July 2009.  Tanchon and Hyoksin were so identified and designated because of their ties to Korea Mining Development Trading Company (KOMID), which OFAC has described as North Korea’s premier arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.  The United Nations (UN) placed KOMID, Tanchon and Hyoksin on the UN Sanctions List in 2006.  In March 2016, KKBC was added to the UN Sanctions List. 
In August 2009, Ma allegedly conspired with Zhou, Hong and Luo to create or acquire numerous front companies to conduct U.S. dollar transactions designed to evade U.S. sanctions.  The complaints allege that from August 2009 to September 2015, DHID used these front companies, established in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, the Seychelles and Hong Kong, and opened Chinese bank accounts to conduct U.S. dollar financial transactions through the U.S. banking system when completing sales to North Korea.  These sales transactions were allegedly financed or guaranteed by KKBC.  These front companies facilitated the financial transactions to hide KKBC’s presence from correspondent banks in the United States, according to the allegations in the complaints. 
As a result of the defendants’ alleged scheme, KKBC was able to cause financial transactions in U.S. dollars to transit through the U.S. correspondent banks without being detected by the banks and, thus, were not blocked under the WMDPSR program.
A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI is investigating the case.  Trial Attorneys Jennifer Wallis and Michael Parker of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Trial Attorney Christian Ford of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and Chief Barbara Ward and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joyce Malliet and Sarah Devlin of the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance in this matter.   

Real life James Bond Who Parachuted Into Lake Como Wearing His Clothes Under His Wetsuit During World War II And Twice Escaped The Firing Squad To Be Honored By The Italians

From Ian Fleming's older brother Peter to a good number of World War II secret agents and commandos, identifying the true-life person that Fleming based his iconic fictional character James Bond on has become a cottage industry in journalism and publishing.

Fleming said time and again that he didn't based the Bond character on a single person, but rather Bond was based on a general type of World War II secret agent and commando, many of whom Fleming met while serving as a naval intelligence officer during the war. And Fleming also noted that he gave Bond many of his own personal likes, dislikes and character traits.

But again we have a Daily Mail piece that speculates that Dick Mallaby (seen in the above photo), a WWII SOE commando, was the inspiration for James Bond.

Perhaps his actions and the fact that he wore his clothes under a scuba suit - like Bond in the Goldfinger film - conjures up the Bond image.

While I don't think Dick Mallaby was the sole inspiration for Bond, nor were the others mentioned over the years since Fleming's death in 1964, Mallaby's patriotism, bravery and resourcefulness were indeed the personal attributes that Ian Fleming infused into his James Bond character.  

You can read about Dick Mallaby via the below link:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Britain's MI6 Spy Chief Says Islamist Terrorist Threat Is Here To Stay offers a piece on the British intelligence chief, Alex Younger (seen above in his official photo) stating that the Islamist terrorist threat will endure for some time in the future.

The Islamist terrorist threat to the West will endure for years to come because simply taking back territory from Islamic State will not solve the deeper global fractures which have fostered militants, Britain's foreign intelligence chief has said.
In his first public comments outside Britain, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service said globalization, the information revolution, a deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East and failed states would ensure that terrorism remained a threat.

When asked by the Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan at a panel discussion in Washington whether the apex of the Islamist terrorist trajectory had been reached, MI6 chief Alex Younger said: "Regrettably this is an enduring issue which will certainly be with us for our professional lifetime."
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Warrior Cop Shot In Philadelphia: My Piece On The Inherent Danger Police Officers Face On The Front Lines In The War On Terrorism:

The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International published my piece on a warrior cop shot in Philadelphia and the inherent danger police officers face on the front lines in the war on terrorism.

You can read the piece below:

Note: You can click on the above article and the photos to enlarge.

A Surge Of Ideas: My Piece On General Petraeus' Five Take-Aways From The Middle East Conflicts

The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International published my piece on General David H. Petraeus (Ret) and his appearance at the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia, where he offered his "five take-aways" on the conflicts in the Middle East.
You can read the piece via below:

Note: You can click on the above article and photos to enlarge.

The above photos by Ryan Brandenberg Photography were provided by the Philadelphia World Affairs Council.

ISIL-Linked Kosovo Hacker Sentenced To 20 Years in Prison

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

WASHINGTON – Ardit Ferizi, aka Th3Dir3ctorY, 20, a citizen of Kosovo, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and accessing a protected computer without authorization and obtaining information in order to provide material support to ISIL.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Charles P. Spencer of the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office made the announcement after the defendant was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
"This case represents the first time we have seen the very real and dangerous national security cyber threat that results from the combination of terrorism and hacking,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “This was a wake-up call not only to those of us in law enforcement, but also to those in private industry. This successful prosecution also sends a message to those around the world that, if you provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations and assist them with their deadly attack planning, you will have nowhere to hide.  As this case shows, we will reach half-way around the world if necessary to hold accountable those who engage in this type of activity. I want to thank the corporation that worked with law enforcement to solve this crime, and the agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked on this groundbreaking case."
Ferizi, who was detained by Malaysian authorities on a provisional arrest warrant on behalf of the U.S., was charged by criminal complaint on Oct. 6, 2015. The criminal complaint was unsealed on Oct. 15, 2015. Ferizi subsequently consented to extradition.
Ferizi pleaded guilty on June 15. According to court documents, Ferizi admitted that on or about June 13, 2015, he gained system administrator-level access to a server that hosted the website of a U.S. victim company. The website contained databases with personally identifiable information (PII) belonging to tens of thousands of the victim company’s customers, including members of the military and other government personnel. Ferizi subsequently culled the PII belonging to U.S. military members and other government personnel, which totaled approximately 1,300 individuals. That same day, on June 13, Ferizi provided the PII belonging to the 1,300 U.S. military members and government personnel to Junaid Hussain, a now-deceased ISIL recruiter and attack facilitator. Ferizi and Hussain discussed publishing the PII of those 1,300 victims in a hit list.
According to court documents, on Aug. 11, 2015, in the name of the Islamic State Hacking Division (ISHD), Hussain posted a tweet that contained a document with the PII of the approximately 1,300 U.S. military and other government personnel that Ferizi had taken from the victim company and provided to Hussain. The document stated, in part, that “we are in your emails and computer systems, watching and recording your every move, we have your names and addresses, we are in your emails and social media accounts, we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands!” Ferizi admitted that he provided the PII to ISIL with the understanding that ISIL would use the PII to “hit them hard.”
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Van Grack of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Gregory Gonzalez of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The Malaysian authorities and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance.

Singapore OKs Extradition Of Two In 'Fat Leonard' U.S. Navy Bribery Case

Greg Moran at the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Singapore agreed to extradite two of Leonard "Fat Leonard" Glenn Francis' Glenn Defense Marine Asia employees. The two are charged with fraudulent billing in the U.S. Navy's "Fat Leonard" extensive bribery case and scandal.

You can read the piece via the below link:

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

A Wiseguy's Guide To Saving Atlantic City

Veteran organized crime reporter and author George Anastasia offers a piece at on what the organized crime "wiseguys," past and present, like the legendary Paul "Skinny D'Amato, believe will save Atlantic City.

You can read the piece via the below link:

You can also read more about Skinny D'Amato and the history of Atlantic City in an excellent book called The Last Good Time: Skinny D'Amato, The Notorious 500 Club and the Rise and Fall of Atlantic City.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Robert Caro To Receive Honorary National Book Award Medal

The Washington Times reports that Robert Caro will receive a National Book Award medal.

I've enjoyed his biographies of President Lyndon Johnson, a despicable man and president, in my view, but Caro's books on him and his times are first class. I highly recommend them.

You can read the piece via the below link:

You can also visit Robert Caro's website via the below link:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

True Believer: Stalin's Last Spy

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review in the Washington Times of Kati Marton's True Believer: Stalin's Last Spy.

Of all the American nitwits who spied for Joseph Stalin’s Soviet dictatorship, none perhaps behaved with more die-hard stupidity than State Department officer Noel Field.

Born into a prominent Quaker family, Field spent his boyhood in Europe. While at Harvard, his Quaker idealism, coupled with a loathing for capitalism, morphed into admiration for communism. Bent upon “reforming America,” he joined State’s Western European Division in 1926 and achieved a reputation for brilliance — and also for unconcealed leftism.

His sordid story is grippingly related by Kati Marton, whose parents, Hungarian journalists, covered various show trials that resulted in Field and other “traitors to the cause” being jailed. She also gained access to Field family papers and those of persons brought down with him.

In a New Deal Washington teeming with communists and sympathizers, Field proved to be a prime prospect for Soviet intelligence recruiters. A legendary KGB recruiter known as “J. Peters” easily hooked Field. “An ideal target,” Kati Marton terms him. “Who would ever believe a well-mannered young man with deep New England roots and immaculate appearances such as Noel Field could betray his country?”

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ahmad Khan Rahami Charged In Manhattan And New Jersey Federal Courts With Executing Bombings In New York City and New Jersey

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

 Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, FBI Director James B. Comey, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey, Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney of the FBI's New York Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher of the FBI's Newark Field Office and Commissioner James O’Neill of the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced that Ahmad Khan Rahami, aka Ahmad Rahimi, has been charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, for conducting and attempting to conduct bombings in New York City and various locations in New Jersey on Sept. 17, 2016, and Sept. 18, 2016.

Rahami, 28, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is charged in a complaint filed in the Southern District of New York with one count of using and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2332a, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; one count of bombing and attempting to bomb a place of public use, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2332f, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; one count of destroying and attempting to destroy property by means of fire or explosive, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(d), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, namely, the use and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), which carries a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of 30 years in prison, all in connection with Rahami’s alleged detonation of an explosive device and efforts to detonate explosives in New York City.
Rahami is also charged in a complaint filed in the District of New Jersey with two counts of using and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2332a, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on each count; one count of bombing and attempting to bomb a place of public use and public transportation system, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2332f, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; one count of attempting to destroy property by means of fire or explosive, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and two counts of using a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, namely, the use and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), each count of which carries a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of 30 years in prison and, if convicted of both counts, a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment, all in connection with Rahami’s alleged efforts to detonate explosives in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Rahami will first be transported by the U.S. Marshals Service, pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to face the charges filed in the Southern District of New York.  More than 30 people were injured as a result of the detonation of a bomb in the Chelsea area of New York City.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin and U.S. Attorneys Bharara and Fishman praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD, and the FBI’s New Jersey Joint Terrorism Task Force.  
The prosecution in the Southern District of New York is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas J. Lewin, Emil J. Bove III, Andrew J. DeFilippis and Shawn G. Crowley, with assistance from Trial Attorney Brian Morgan of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
The prosecution in the District of New Jersey is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis C. Carletta, Francisco J. Navarro, Margaret Ann Mahoney and James M. Donnelly, with assistance from Trial Attorney Brian Morgan of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
The charges contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

FBI: Confronting the Child Sex Trade in Southeast Asia

The FBI offers a report on the child sex trade in Southeast Asia.

Thailand has long been a popular tourist destination for Westerners charmed by the country’s culture and cuisine, its storied beaches, and its ever-present markets. Unfortunately, a certain type of visitor is also drawn to the well-established sex trade, which too often victimizes children.

The dark side of Thailand’s tourism industry plays out nightly in Bangkok’s tawdry red-light districts, in Chiang Mai’s after-hours club scene, and along the neon-infested Walking Street in the coastal town of Pattaya. In these and other places less obvious, trafficked children can be bought and sold, reduced to the basest form of commerce.

The FBI and other U.S. federal agencies are working closely with the government of Thailand and the Royal Thai Police to fight the scourge of human trafficking and the child sex trade in Southeast Asia. chronicles the efforts in a four-part series called Report from Thailand. 

You can read the report and watch video clips via the below link:

Kudos To The NYPD And The FBI For The Capture Of Ahmad Rahami

The New York Post editorial board gives credit to the NYPD and the FBI for the swift capture of terrorism bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami.

Kudos to the NYPD and its partners, from the FBI to the Linden, NJ, cops who actually nailed him: Less than 50 hours after the first bomb went off Saturday, they had Ahmad Rahami in custody. It’s hard to imagine finer police work.

Yes, luck played a role: The carnage would have been greater had those two “if you see something, take it” passersby not apparently disabled the 27th Street bomb. And by tossing the contents of their new piece of luggage, they also allowed law enforcement to gather more clues — including, apparently, both the flip-phone-trigger that traced to Rahami and a fingerprint.
But diligent work was also key, including what NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller called a “surge” of personnel to review video footage from the entire multi-block area, giving the authorities a clear read on the whole sequence of events.
You can read the rest of the editorial via the below link:

The Cyber Threat: Snowden—Ultimate Insider Threat Missed By NSA Security

Veteran national security reporter Bill Gertz offers a piece on NSA leaker and traitor Edward Snowden and the NSA for the Free Beacon

Security officials today use the politically correct term “insider threat” to describe what were once called traitors, and no one was more aggressive in pursuing them than counterintelligence types at the National Security Agency.

Thus many intelligence officials saw more than a tinge of irony in NSA contractor Edward Snowden making off with 1.5 million highly classified NSA intelligence documents in May 2013 and handing them over to several anti-American journalists who seemed more interested in inflicting as much damage as possible on America’s premier electronic spying and code-breaking agency than exposing alleged wrongdoing.
Until Snowden, the NSA had a reputation as one of the intelligence organizations most dedicated to protecting secrets. But the case exposed gaping holes at the agency, and a House intelligence report says gaps persist years after Snowden fled the country and holed up in Moscow.
Sure, the super-secret agency whose name itself was once classified had its share of Cold War spies, but nothing quite like Snowden.

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Seventh Man? Letter Reveals New 1950s Cambridge Spy Suspect But Judge Rules He Can't Be Named - As He Is Still Alive

Steve Doughty at the British newspaper the Daily Mail offers a piece on a British judge ruling that the possible "seventh man" in the 1950s Cambridge spy ring named in a letter cannot be revealed.

(In the above photo, the "third man," the late Kim Philby, meets with reporters).

A man connected to Britain’s most notorious spy scandal cannot be named, a judge has ruled. 

His identity must remain secret even though historians say he could be the ‘seventh man’ in the 1950s Cambridge spy network that included traitor Kim Philby.

Judge Peter Lane ruled that the suspect’s name cannot be revealed as he is still alive and it was ‘quite possible that personal relationships could be jeopardised’, and there was no pressing need to identify Cold War defectors.

The man is named in a letter held in the National Archives in Kew, South West London.

Its existence was traced by historian Andrew Lownie but he was denied the right to see the letter following a Freedom of Information request. That decision was upheld in the publication yesterday of Judge Lane’s first-tier tribunal ruling.

Historians criticised the ruling, saying possible social embarrassment was no reason for shielding a traitor from exposure.

You can read the rest of the piece and view the photos of the known spies via the below link:

Old Navy

Suspect In Chelsea, Seaside Park Explosions In Custody, Linden Police Say: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, Was Wanted For Questioning In Both Incidents

CBS New York reports on the capture of the suspect in the New York and New Jersey explosions.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect wanted in the bombings thatrocked Chelsea and Seaside Park, New Jersey was captured Monday after an intense manhunt that ended in a gun battle with Linden police.
The arrest came just hours after the FBI, NYPD and New Jersey StatePolice issued bulletins and photos of Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan with an address in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
You can read the rest of the piece and watch video clips via the below link:

An Interview With Poet And Former Philadelphia Inquirer Books Editor Frank Wilson

The North of Oxford website offers an interview Frank Wilson, my friend and former editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Poet Frank Wilson has been reviewing books for over fifty years. He began in college, worked for a weekly paper and as an editor for a book publisher. He served as Books Editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, publishes Books Inq., a popular blog and wrote a weekly column for When Falls the Coliseum.

You can read the interview via the below link:

You can also visit Frank Wilson's blog via the below link:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

'Pure Chaos' On Sansom Street In Philadelphia As Killer Goes On Rampage

Aubrey Whelan a the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a piece on the pure chaos that a killer caused when he shot police officers and bystanders.

Nicholas Glenn strode up Sansom Street just before midnight with a 9mm Ruger in his hand. 

In his back pocket was an envelope with a feverish, rambling letter inside, and two words scrawled on front.


It was Friday night, and down the street at the Maximum Level Lounge, the door was open and the drinks were flowing. A few blocks away, a young woman and her boyfriend pulled up to her apartment. Philadelphia Police Sgt. Sylvia Young, a 19-year veteran of the force, parked her squad car at the corner of 52nd and Sansom. Her shift was almost over. 

Glenn, a man with a long criminal record and an apparent grudge against law enforcement officers, walked up to Young's squad car and fired 18 rounds into the window.

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

New York Governor Cuomo Says Chelsea Explosion 'Obviously An Act Of Terrorism'

The New York Post reports that New York Governor Cuomo called the explosion in Chelsea 'an act of terrorism.'

Gov. Cuomo on Sunday called the Chelsea explosion “an act of terrorism” but said there was “no evidence” of ties to an international group.
Cuomo urged calm on the morning after the blast and said federal authorities were investigating the explosion that injured 29 people.
“We have no reason to believe at this time that there is any further immediate threat,” Cuomo said.
“But just to err on the side of caution, we will be deploying close to 1,000 state police and National Guard people to police the bus terminals, airports, and subway stations”
Cuomo added that “a bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism” and vowed to find those responsible.
You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video clip of the explosion via the below link:

Saturday, September 17, 2016

War On Cops? 2 Cops Shot, Suspect And Bystander Killed In West Philly Rampage

The Philadelphia Inquirer offers a piece on the shooting of police officers and bystanders in West Philadelphia.

A gunnman first ambushed a Philadelphia police sergeant late Friday night and then went on a shooting rampage killing a young woman and wounding two law enforcement officers and three other civilians before police shot him to death. 

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross identified the gunman Saturday as 25-year-old Nicholas Glenn, of West Philadelphia. 

The shooting rampage started about 11:18 p.m. when Glenn walked up to a marked police cruiser at 52nd and Sansom Streets and just began firing, police said. 

Sgt. Sylvia Young, 46, who was sitting inside the car, was shot several times after Glenn fired off 18 shots, Ross said at a Saturday afternoon news conference. Her gun was hit as well. A 19-year veteran assigned to North Philadelphia's 22d Police District, Young on Friday was working with a task force in West Philadelphia. 

She and another officer, who was later shot - University of Pennsylvania officer Eddie Miller, 56, a former Philadelphia police sergeant who joined Penn's force two years ago - were both in stable condition Saturday at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. 

One of the four civilians who was shot, Sara Salih, 25, who was sitting in a car at 49th and Sansom Streets, near where she lived, died. She was shot seven times in her torso and was pronounced dead at Penn Presbyterian at 1:56 a.m. Saturday.

The three other civilians who were shot - a 36-year-old man shot twice in his left arm and once in his right arm; a 42-year-old man shot twice in his left leg; and a 41-year-old woman shot once in her right ankle - were all in stable condition at Penn Presbyterian Saturday afternoon, police said.

"A horrific night," Ross said.

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