Saturday, November 28, 2020

A Look Back At Nelson DeMille's Vietnam War Novel 'Word of Honor'

Back in 2003 I watched a good film on TV called Word of Honor, which was based on Nelson DeMille’s novel. Don Johnson, Arliss Howard and other actors delivered fine performances in the film. 

Although I had previously read Nelson DeMille’s fine thrillers, I had not read Word of Honor, so I went out and bought the book and read it. I’m glad I did, as Word of Honor is perhaps Nelson DeMille’s finest novel. 

Nelson DeMille (seen in the above photos) served as an infantry officer in the Vietnam War and his experiences in the war made the novel and film gripping, insightful and realistic.  

I served as a teenage sailor on an aircraft carrier on “Yankee Station” off the coast of Vietnam in 1970-1971, but my late older brother Ed Davis, like Nelson DeMille, served as a soldier "in country" in Vietnam. 

I’ve maintained an interest in the war and I’ve read and reviewed many history books, personal accounts and novels on the war. I’ve also interviewed a good number of military men, including Nelson DeMille, CIA officers and journalists who were there.   

Word of Honor is described below on Nelson DeMille’s website: 

He is a good man, a brilliant corporate executive, an honest, handsome family man admired by men and desired by women. But a lifetime ago Ben Tyson was a lieutenant in Vietnam. There the men under his command committed a murderous atrocity - and together swore never to tell the world what they had done. Now the press, army justice, and the events he tried to forget have caught up with Ben Tyson. His family, his career, and his personal sense of honor hang in the balance. And only one woman can reveal the truth of his past - and set him free. 

You can purchase Word of Honor via the below link:

Word of Honor: DeMille, Nelson: 9780446301589: Books

 And you can watch the film via the below link:

Word Of Honor | Full Movie | Don Johnson - Bing video       

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine interview with Nelson DeMille via the below link: 

Paul Davis On Crime: My Q&A With Nelson DeMille, Author Of 'The Lion's Game' And 'The Panther'

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving Message From President Dwight D. Eisenhower

 Jennifer Harper at the Washington Times offers the below message from Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, issued 66 years ago: 

“Early in our history the Pilgrim fathers inaugurated the custom of dedicating one day at harvest time to rendering thanks to Almighty God for the bounties of the soil and for His mercies throughout the year. At this autumnal season tradition suggests and our hearts require that we follow that hallowed custom and bow in reverent thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us individually and as a Nation,” said President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Nov. 25, 1954, in his official Thanksgiving Day proclamation. “We are grateful that our beloved country, settled by those forebears in their quest for religious freedom, remains free and strong, and that each of us can worship God in his own way, according to the dictates of his conscience,” the president said. 

“We are grateful for the innumerable daily manifestations of Divine goodness in aff airs both public and private, for equal opportunities for all to labor and to serve, and for the continuance of those homely joys and satisfactions which enrich our lives. With gratitude in our hearts for all our blessings, may we be ever mindful of the obligations inherent in our strength, and may we rededicate ourselves to unselfish striving for the common betterment of mankind.” 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Feed-the-Troops Tradition Continues Despite COVID-19

Katie Lange at the DOD News offer a piece on feeding the troops on Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different for just about everyone this year thanks to the global pandemic. Unfortunately, that includes our service members stationed overseas.  

Large group gatherings in dining facilities used to be the standard for our deployed men and women when it came to celebrating Thanksgiving. This year, that setup will likely look more like grab-and-go style takeout instead.  

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

Thanksgiving Feed-the-Troops Tradition Continues Despite COVID-19 > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Story 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Babylon Bee: Democrats Warn That Excess Thankfulness May Lead To Conservatism

 The Babylon Bee takes a satirical shot at liberal Democrats.

U.S.—Democrat experts are warning the public to avoid excess amounts of thankfulness this year after studies showed that feelings of gratefulness often lead to conservatism.  

"I cannot overstate how dangerous this is," said DNC Chair Tom Perez. "If people start forgetting their many grievances and injustices, they may begin to think of living in America as a profound blessing from some non-existent deity and start voting for Republicans. This is unacceptable." 

According to recently published studies, people who are filled with lasting gratefulness to God for the blessings of living in 21st century America -- the freest, most prosperous, country that has ever existed on Earth -- are approximately infinity times more likely to become conservatives. 

You can read the rest of the piece and other humor pieces via the below link:

Democrats Warn That Excess Thankfulness May Lead To Conservatism | The Babylon Bee 

FBI: Five Things To Know About NIBRS Transitioning To The National Incident-Based Reporting System Will Offer More Robust Crime Statistics Data To Police, Public

The FBI offers information on the new national crime collection program.

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) will become the national crime data collection program. The result will be more robust and complete data for law enforcement, researchers, and the public.

And while the transition to NIBRS is new, publishing reliable, informative crime statistics has been part of the FBI’s role since its earliest days. This transition is the latest in a more than 90-year effort to ensure police and communities have accurate crime data. 

You can read about the new program via the below link

Five Things to Know About NIBRS — FBI 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On This Day In History Conservative Author, Newspaper Columnist, TV Host And Magazine Editor William F. Buckley Was Born

On this day in 1925 conservative newspaper columnist, magazine editor, TV talk show host and author William F. Buckley was born. 

He died in 2008 at the age of 82. 

I began reading William F. Buckley's books, newspaper columns and his magazine National Review when I was 12-years old. I also began watching his TV show Firing Line at that time.  

As he was for so many others, William F. Buckley was a huge influence in my life.   

I’m thankful that I was able to review favorably two of his books for the Philadelphia Inquirer – one was a political book on President Reagan and the other was his last spy thriller.  

He died before my review of his The Reagan I Knew appeared in the Inquirer, but as he was alive and still an avid reader when my review of Last Call for Blackford Oakes appeared in the Inquirer, I hope he read my review.

William F. Buckley may have passed, but his influence lives on. 

You can read my two reviews of his books below:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Dry Runs Taking Place Across U.S., General Says

David Vergun at the DoD News offers a piece on a press conference held by U.S. Army Gen. Gustave F. Perna on Operation Warp Speed and COVID-19 vaccine dry runs

You can read the piece via the below link:

COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Dry Runs Taking Place Across U.S., General Says > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Defense Department News 


Monday, November 23, 2020

The Babylon Bee: Philly Bans All Indoor Gatherings Unless You're Still Counting Biden Votes

 The Babylon Bee offers a satirical shot at the Democrats in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA, PA—With New COVID cases on the rise, and after reports that there are a few Americans left whose spirits are not fully broken yet, states are cracking down on social gatherings during the holidays. Philadelphia is leading the way with a citywide curfew and strict bans on gatherings that include eating, drinking, fellowship, or merriment. The only exception will be for vote counters who are still counting Biden mail-in ballots at counting centers.

"We must flatten the curve and whatever," said Pennsylvania's Health Secretary Rachel Levine, "but we also must protect our democracy from the evil tyranny of Donald Trump. This is why we have chosen to make an exception on our indoor gathering restriction for anyone who is still doing the hard work of counting as many Biden ballots as possible in Philly."

You can read the rest of the piece and other humor pieces via the below link:

Philly Bans All Indoor Gatherings Unless You're Still Counting Biden Votes | The Babylon Bee 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

‘Casino’ Movie’s Anniversary Celebrated In Las Vegas, Recalling City’s Mafia History

Larry Henry at offers a piece on the celebration of Martin Scosese’s classic crime film Casino in Las Vegas. 

The movie Casino’s 25th anniversary took center stage in Las Vegas this week. The movie recalls an era when mobsters operated casinos in Sin City. 

The Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas celebrated the anniversary with a sold-out presentation on Thursday, featuring author/screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, appearing virtually, and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. 

Goodman’s wife, Carolyn, is the current mayor. A restaurant at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas is named after him. In special dinner events at Oscar’s Steakhouse, he discusses Las Vegas history and his work as a lawyer representing accused underworld figures. Memorabilia at the restaurant and menu items also reflect his experiences. 

The 87-year-old Pileggi co-wrote the screenplay with director Martin Scorsese. Pileggi is a former Associated Press reporter living in New York City. The movie is based on Pileggi’s 1995 nonfiction book, Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. 

Pileggi and Scorsese also co-wrote the Mafia movie Goodfellas, which premiered in 1990. It is based on Pileggi’s book Wiseguy, about New York gangster Henry Hill. 

The 1995 movie Casino is a fictionalized account of Mafia associate Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal’s troubled marriage to Geri Rosenthal, a former topless dancer at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. During their marriage, Geri Rosenthal became romantically involved with mobster Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro. 

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

'Casino' Movie's Anniversary Celebrated in Las Vegas, Recalling City’s Mafia History - 'Casino' Movie's Anniversary Celebrated in Las Vegas, Recalling City’s Mafia History 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Theodore Roosevelt And The Frontier Lawman: Long Before Heading To The White House, Teddy Roosevelt Hung Out With The Wildest Badge-Wearers Of The Old West.

Erin Lindsey at offers a piece on Teddy Roosevelt and his friendship with frontier lawmen. 


The word calls a specific image to mind. Rugged features, weathered skin, bushy moustache. He’s got a hat on his head, a gun at his waist, and a tin badge on his chest, and he’s a one-man embodiment of the American Old West.

In an era populated with colorful characters—the gunfighter and the gambler, the outlaw and the prospector—no one loomed larger than the lawman. Some of the most notorious figures of the day, including Wild Bill Hickock, Wyatt Earp, and Bat Masterson, wore a badge. Not that this stopped them from pursuing other endeavors, not all of them strictly legal. Lawmen of the Old West were gunslingers, gamblers, prospectors, prize fighters, buffalo hunters, and even outlaws. Small wonder they so captured the imagination of the American public—and of her 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt. 

TR was himself a lawman, having served as deputy sheriff of Billings County, Dakota Territory in 1885-1886, and as police commissioner of New York City ten years later. He had a deep and abiding respect for the law and those who upheld it, and maintained lifelong friendships with a number of famous frontier lawmen. He even appointed several of them to positions in federal law enforcement—prompting the press of the era to refer to them collectively as “the White House Gunfighters.” 

I first became acquainted with this fascinating facet of Rooseveltian history while doing research for The Silver Shooter, a Wild West mystery featuring Theodore Roosevelt as a character. One of my favorite television shows of all time was HBO’s Deadwood, so imagine my delight upon discovering that one of TR’s closest confederates from his Dakota days was Seth Bullock, onetime Sheriff of Deadwood. 

According to TR’s autobiography, their first meeting was less than cordial, with Bullock inquiring after a horse thief Roosevelt had arrested “with a little of the air of one sportsman when another has shot a quail that either might have claimed—‘My bird, I believe?’” TR seems to have smoothed it over, however, and Bullock became one of his “staunchest, most valued” friends. The legendary lawman even presided over a posse of 50 Dakota cowpunchers as part of TR’s inaugural parade in 1905, an event described with breathless delight by the newspapers of the day. 

Interestingly, Bullock wasn’t officially considered one of the White House Gunfighters, perhaps because his reputation was too squeaky-clean. The same could not be said of ‘official’ members Pat Garrett (famous for gunning down Billy the Kid) or Ben Daniels, a former assistant marshal of Dodge City whose stint as a lawman ended when he was tried and acquitted for a murder he almost certainly committed. When TR appointed these men to federal positions—Garrett as Collector of Customs in El Paso (1901) and Daniels as US Marshal of Arizona Territory (1902), the outcry was swift and furious. In the case of Daniels, he was forced to resign barely a month after accepting the post (though he was reappointed three years later). 

The most famous of Roosevelt’s White House Gunfighters was William Barclay “Bat” Masterson, former Sheriff of Dodge City and acquaintance of many of the era’s most famous figures, including Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Buffalo Bill Cody. 

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

Babylon Bee: California Gov Newsom Announces Curfew So He Won't Have To Wait In Long Line At Fancy Restaurants

 The Babylon Bee takes a satirical shot at California Governor Newsom, who ordered a shutdown in his state and then was captured in a photo dining out in Hawaii.

SACRAMENTO, CA—Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a curfew, telling Californians not to go out at night, so that he can reduce the wait time at fancy, expensive restaurants when he goes out to dine with his rich friends.

Newsom announced the "Stay at Home, Stay Safe, Stay Out of the Lines at my Fancy Napa Restaurants" order in a press conference Thursday evening. Newsom says the science shows that staying home helps defeat the coronavirus and also ensures that there won't be any lines at the restaurants he frequents with his buddies. As an added benefit, no one will be out to take pictures of him violating his own restrictions.

You can read the rest of the piece and other humor pieces via the below link: 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column: Crime, Contention And COVID-19

Philadelphia Weekly ran my Crime Beat column. You can read the column above or via the below link:

 Note: You can click on the above to enlarge. 

Pres. Trump, Joe Biden…And The Philadelphia Mafia Voter Fraud Claim

Eric Shawn and Bradford Bett at offer a piece on the story floating that the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra crime family committed voter fraud to benefit Joe Biden. 

No, the Philadelphia mob did not stuff the ballot box for Joe Biden. "Never, never," the city's former Mob boss, Ralph Natale told Fox News. "They were told if you do one thing it will be the end of us for all time. This is their chance to become human beings." 

Natale, born and raised in the South Philadelphia neighborhood that is the city's mafia home base, ruled the Philadelphia mob in the late 1990s. He flipped and testified for the government against his reputed successor, Joe "Skinny Joey" Merlino in 2000, after pleading guilty to racketeering, murder, and drug conspiracy charges. He also admitted to eight gangland murders. He says organized crime may resort to almost every crime imaginable but putting the fix in for Biden is not one of them. 

"The Dems won the election fair and square," he said.  

The prospect that the mafia interfered in the election to tip it to the President-Elect in the key state of Pennsylvania, was first raised on the internet by a Buffalo, N.Y. website and then amplified by several of President Trump's supporters. 

Jordan Sekulow, the son of top Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, retweeted the claim that Merlino helped fake 300,000 illegal ballots for Biden, at $10 each, for a $3 million underworld score that handed the state to the Democratic nominee. 

Besides Natale, authorities and Merlino's lawyer say the story is not true. 

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

You can also read my Q&A with former Philadelphia Cosa Nostra crime boss Ralph Natale via the below link:

Note: The top and bottom photos are of Ralph Natale. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Former Army Green Beret Pleads Guilty To Russian Espionage Conspiracy

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

A former Army Green Beret pleaded guilty today to conspiring with Russian intelligence operatives to provide them with United States national defense information. 

According to court documents, from December 1996 to January 2011, Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, of Gainesville, a former member of the U.S. Army, conspired with agents of a Russian intelligence service. During that time, Debbins periodically visited Russia and met with Russian intelligence agents. In 1997, Debbins was assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents and signed a statement attesting that he wanted to serve Russia. 

“Debbins today acknowledged that he violated this country’s highest trust by passing sensitive national security information to the Russians,” said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.  “Debbins betrayed his oath, his country, and his Special Forces team members with the intent to harm the United States and help Russia.  Debbins’s guilty plea represents another success in the Department’s continuing effort to counter the national security threat posed by our nation’s adversaries, including Russia.” 

“Our country entrusted Debbins with the responsibility and training to protect it from its adversaries,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“Debbins betrayed that trust and betrayed his fellow service members by conspiring to provide national defense information to Russian intelligence operatives. I would like to commend our investigative partners for their steadfast and dogged dedication to bringing Debbins to justice and holding him accountable for his crimes.” 

From 1998 to 2005, Debbins served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in chemical units before being selected for the U.S. Army Special Forces. The Russian intelligence agents encouraged him to join and pursue a career in the Special Forces, which he did, where he served at the rank of Captain. 

Over the course of the conspiracy, Debbins provided the Russian intelligence agents with information that he obtained as a member of the U.S. Army, including information about his chemical and Special Forces units. In 2008, after leaving active duty service, Debbins disclosed to the Russian intelligence agents classified information about his previous activities while deployed with the Special Forces. Debbins also provided the Russian intelligence agents with the names of, and information about, a number of his former Special Forces team members so that the agents could evaluate whether to approach the team members to see if they would cooperate with the Russian intelligence service. 

“Debbins betrayed this nation and his fellow serviceman, putting Americans and our national security at risk by providing national defense information to Russia’s Intelligence Service,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “Despite being entrusted to protect his colleagues and U.S. national security, he chose to abuse this trust by knowingly providing classified information to one of our most aggressive adversaries.  Today’s plea is an example of the zealous pursuit of justice that the FBI and our partners stand for and work tirelessly to achieve every day.” 

“President Kennedy called the Green Berets ‘a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction.’ Mr. Debbins’ actions were a symbol of betrayal, a badge of cowardice, and a mark of treachery,” said Alan E. Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division. “He pledged his allegiance to Russia, and in doing so, sold-out his country and fellow Green Berets. This case should serve as a reminder that the FBI and its investigative partners will stop at nothing to hold an individual accountable for their actions.” 

Debbins is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 26, 2021.  He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas W. Traxler and James L. Trump, and Trial Attorney David Aaron of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, are prosecuting the case. 

U.S. Attorney Terwilliger and Assistant Attorney General Demers greatly appreciate the assistance of Army Counterintelligence, the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police Service, and MI5.

FBI: The Chinese Threat: Chinese Talent Plans Encourage Trade Secret Theft, Economic Espionage

 The FBI released the below information:

What are Talent Plans? 

Foreign governments sponsor talent recruitment programs, or talent plans, to bring outside knowledge and innovation back to their countries—and sometimes that means stealing trade secrets, breaking export control laws, or violating conflict-of-interest policies to do so.

While various countries use talent plans, the Chinese government is the most prolific sponsor of these programs—and the United States is one of China’s main targets.

The U.S. welcomes international collaboration in academic and scientific research and business development. But American businesses, universities, and laboratories should understand the potential risks and illegal conduct incentivized by Chinese talent plans and take steps to safeguard their trade secrets and intellectual property.

How Chinese Talent Plans Work 

China oversees hundreds of talent plans. All incentivize its members to steal foreign technologies needed to advance China’s national, military, and economic goals.

China recruits science and technology professors, researchers, students, and others—regardless of citizenship or national origin—to apply for talent plans. Individuals with expertise in or access to a technology that China doesn’t have are preferred.

Participants enter into a contract with a Chinese university or company—often affiliated with the Chinese government—that usually requires them to:

  • Subject themselves to Chinese laws
  • Share new technology developments or breakthroughs only with China (they can’t share this information with their U.S employer or host without special authorization from China)
  • Recruit other experts into the program—often their own colleagues

China will let people with existing jobs in the United States participate in talent plans part-time so they can maintain their access to intellectual property, trade secrets, pre-publication data and methods, and U.S. funding for their research.

Talent plan participants are offered multiple financial, personal, and professional benefits in exchange for their efforts.

China’s talent plans have successfully recruited participants around the world to work on key programs like military technologies, nuclear energy, wind tunnel design, and advanced lasers.

Risks and Information for U.S. Businesses, Universities, and Laboratories 

Talent plans can sometimes foster legitimate sharing and collaboration as part of an appropriate business arrangement or research exchange, but this is not the norm.

Instead, talent plans usually involve undisclosed and illegal transfers of information, technology, or intellectual property that are one-way and detrimental to U.S. institutions.

Your students and/or employees could be talent plan participants. Many people who participate in these programs work at prominent U.S. laboratories, businesses, and universities, including places where government research is conducted for sensitive military and scientific projects.

Transparency and disclosure regarding an individual’s participation in a talent plan are essential. This is the only way U.S. institutions can assess the risks to their intellectual property, prevent abuse of the open access offered by the U.S. research environment, and ensure grant-funding programs are fair and equitable. Unfortunately, many participants do not disclose their involvement in these programs.

An individual’s undisclosed participation in a talent plan may:

  • Pose risks to national security because of the participant’s obligation to the Chinese government

  • Result in inappropriate use of taxpayer funds if the participant is awarded a U.S. government grant
  • Harm other researchers and scientists by jeopardizing their professional credibility and their ability to obtain future research funding—and denying them the professional and financial benefits of their efforts—if their work is stolen and transferred to China
  • Result in the recruiting of colleagues by the participant
  • Result in lasting financial damages to your institution due to stolen information or the inability to obtain federal research funding in the future

Even if talent plan participants who steal information are eventually caught and prosecuted, the damage done to your organization by intellectual property theft may be irreversible.

Risks and Information for Chinese Talent Plan Participants 

Although participating in talent plans is not inherently illegal, you may violate U.S. law, especially if you don’t properly disclose your affiliation.

You should familiarize yourself with and abide by disclosure and conflict-of-interest rules required by your U.S. employer and the U.S. government. Transparency and full disclosure of talent plan membership and foreign contracts or agreements are essential for institutions to assess risk.

You risk criminal prosecution when you steal intellectual property or misuse grant funds. Talent plan participants have pleaded guilty or been convicted of offenses including:

  • Export-control law violations
  • Economic espionage and theft of trade secrets
  • Grant and tax fraud

Monday, November 16, 2020

Have You Seen This Grenade-Stealing, C-4 Packing, Fugitive Sailor Who Escaped 15 Years Ago Today?

 Geoff Ziezulewicz at the Navy Times offers a piece on an armed and dangerous sailor fugitive. 

Fifteen years ago today, James T. Praefke ditched his escort and escaped from Navy custody after being sentenced to hard time at Naval Brig Puget Sound, Washington.

The electronics mate 1st class remains on the lam to this day, and he is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s longest-running active fugitive investigation.

Now, NCIS is asking if you’ve seen him.

Authorities discovered a M33 fragmentation grenade in Praefke’s bag during a customs inspection as he returned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, from an Afghanistan deployment in February 2005.

“Later searches led to the discovery of military grade C-4 explosive,” NCIS said in their latest appeal for help in locating the fugitive former sailor.

Praefke had been serving as a command logistics petty officer, in charge of packing items for transport to and from Afghanistan. He went to trial later that year and was convicted at general court-martial in October 2005 and sentenced to more than three years in the brig for unlawful possession of explosives, larceny of ammunition and for making false official statements, according to NCIS.

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

Babylon Bee: Chicago Mayor Limits Gatherings To Ten People Unless You're Involved In A Drive-By

 The Babylon Bee takes a satirical shot at the Chicago mayor.

CHICAGO, IL—Now that Biden victory parties in the streets have ended, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is announcing a new round of lockdowns to help halt the spread of something bad that nobody can remember anymore. To help prevent transmission of the deadly something, the mayor has announced that all gatherings of more than 10 people will be prohibited -- unless, of course, you're going to be involved in a drive-by shooting.

"Let me be clear, you probably shouldn't be shooting people," said Lightfoot in a press conference. "But if you really have to shoot some rival gang members, and you need more than a crew of 10 to do it, we'll make an exception just this once. Don't go crazy though."

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


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Philadelphia Police Reportedly Struggling To Close Gun Cases, Murders: There Have Been 1,300 Shootings In Philadelphia In 2020

 Stephanie Pagones at offers a piece on the Philadelphia Police Department dealing with an increase in shootings and murders 

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

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Israeli Operatives Killed Al Qaeda’s No. 2 Leader In Iran In August: Report

 The New York Post reported that the al Qaeda number two terrorist was killed by Israel operatives.

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran in August by Israeli operatives acting at the behest of the United States, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing intelligence officials.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle in the streets of Tehran on Aug. 7, the Times reported.

The killing of Masri, who was seen as a likely successor to al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was kept secret until now, the newspaper said.

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

Ralph Cipriano: City Of Philadelphia Shuts Down Database That Showed Dead People Voted, Like Smokin' Joe Frazier

 Ralph Cipriano at offers a piece on Philadelphia shuting down a database that revealed dead people had voted. 

A funny thing has happened to "Voter Inquiry Menu," the city of Philadelphia database that showed dead people voting. 

This morning, without any prior warning, the city abruptly shut it down. City employees who tried to log onto the database found that it had been "disabled," and that access was closed. 

Meanwhile, officials at the Board of Elections, such as Al Schmidt, the GOP elections commissioner who's been called a RINO by President Trump, has plenty of time to do interviews with CNN, where he claimed that no dead person voted in Philadelphia. But Schmidt has repeatedly declined, by email and on Twitter, to answer Big Trial's questions about the 22 people that according to the database compiled by his own office have voted in prior elections. 

As Big Trial has reported, city employees who went into the "Voter Inquiry Menu" database have discovered a parade of 22 dead people, led by former heavyweight champ Smokin' Joe Frazier, who miraculously came back to life to vote in past Philly elections from 2015 to 2019.

In the case of Smokin' Joe, he died on Nov. 7, 2011, but in 2018, according the database that's just been shut down, Frazier voted in the general election. 

Since the only information stored on that database emanates from the Board of Elections, is it possible in corrupt and contented Philadelphia, that the city shut down that database for some urgently needed "housekeeping?" 

Other celebrities on the list of dead people who voted in Philadelphia included Will Smith's late father, Willard Carroll Smith Sr. He died on Nov. 7, 2016, but still managed to vote in the 2017 and 2018 general elections.  

And Anna Henderson, the oldest living person in Pennsylvania, who died on July 1, 2014, at 114. But, according to city records, she still managed to vote in the 2017 and 2018 general elections. 

The other names on the dead people voting list included seven hero cops who died in the line of duty, a murdered community activist, and 11 dead relatives of cops.  

According to federal and local sources, the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia has launched a criminal probe into multiple allegations of voter fraud here in the city, including Big Trial's report about the 22 dead people who voted in previous elections, led by Smokin' Joe. 

In recent days, I have been contacted by several city employees who discovered that according to that same database, they also had dead relatives who voted in past Philly elections. 

Since the Big Trial report on the dead voting, it's become a pastime in certain city offices for municipal employees to log onto the database, and see if they have any dead relatives voting. 

I don't know of a single employee who's played this game who didn't discover that in Philadelphia, the dead come back to life on Election Day.  

… The list goes on. Big Trial was in the process of collecting screen shots and electronic copies of those records to verify the allegations when the city shut down the database.  

Any further investigation will have to be done by lawyers investigating voter fraud on behalf of President Trump. 

Or the feds. 

But somebody in authority needs to start digging quick. Before the locals scrub those records clean. 

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

Friday, November 13, 2020

Two Brothers, Both Senior City Of Philadelphia Officials, Charged With Fraud And Embezzlement: Separately, A City Contractor And Manager Of A Meal Program For HIV/AIDS Patients Was Also Charged With Theft

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania released the below information:

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that two brothers, Leo and Paul Dignam, were charged by Information with fraud and embezzlement, and a third person, Barbara Conway, was also charged by Information with theft.

Leo Dignam, 61, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of embezzling from a program receiving federal funds. Leo’s brother, Paul Dignam, 58, also of Philadelphia, was charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of embezzling from a program receiving federal funds. Barbara Conway, 61, of Drexel Hill, PA, was charged with one count of theft of funds from a program receiving federal funds. At the time of the charged offenses, Leo and Paul Dignam were senior officials with the City of Philadelphia, and Conway was the Food Voucher Coordinator for the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), an agency contracted by the City to manage the Food Voucher Program.

Leo Dignam was an Assistant Managing Director in the Managing Director’s Office and, prior to serving in that position, was the Deputy Commissioner for Programs with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (“PPR”) Department. In these positions, he oversaw the administration of major events in the city, such as the Philadelphia Marathon, the Broad Street Run and the Mummers Parade. Mr. Dignam worked for the City of Philadelphia for approximately 38 years.

Over the course of several years, from 2012 through 2019, Leo Dignam allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud the City of Philadelphia of approximately $150,000 by misusing two bank accounts he controlled on behalf of the City that existed to support the work of PPR, namely, recreational activities for citizens. In particular, he opened a bank account purportedly to support the activities of PPR in connection with a non-profit organization, the Junior Baseball Federation (“JBF”). The JBF partnered with the Philadelphia Phillies to raise most of its funds through the sale of tickets for Phillies games.

Instead of using the JBF bank account solely for its intended public purpose, Leo Dignam allegedly misused the account by converting funds from the account to pay for personal expenses he incurred on an American Express (“AMEX”) credit card that he opened in connection with the JBF account. He used the AMEX card, and shared it with family members, for purchases from retail stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, online retailers and service providers, and other businesses. He then used the funds in the JBF bank account to pay off the personal expenses on the credit card.

According to the Information, he similarly misused another account that was created for the benefit of PPR and the citizens of Philadelphia, the Program Advisory Fund Account. The defendant used this account to pay personal expenses by transferring funds directly to a personal account, solely for his own benefit, and by using it to pay personal expenses on a Verizon Wireless Account.

Paul Dignam was the Regional Manager for the South Region of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. In this position, he oversaw the administration of local recreation centers and playgrounds and supervised the activities of several PPR district managers. In 2011, Paul Dignam opened a bank account that purported to be for use by a recreation advisory council, a commonly used governance structure in PPR that exists to support local recreation centers and playgrounds by helping to raise funds, develop programs, and maintain play sites.

Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2019, he allegedly misused this bank account by repeatedly writing checks on the account made payable to himself. He helped conceal this fraud by having bank statements mailed to his personal residence and having another individual act as a signatory on the account. The defendant then forged the other individual’s signature on the misappropriated checks and falsely noted in the memo line of the checks that they were “reimbursements” for expenses he incurred by making purchases on behalf of PPR. In sum, Paul Dignam wrote himself approximately 102 checks worth approximately $119,000.

Finally, Barbara Conway was the Food Voucher Coordinator for the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), an organization contracted by the City to manage a Food Voucher Program designed to provide emergency assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS. This initiative is funded by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, a federal program that provides grants to states, cities, counties, and other local organizations to fund care and treatment services for individuals living with the disease.

The Information alleges that beginning in 2015 through 2019, Conway stole more than $39,000 worth of food vouchers intended for HIV/AIDS patients receiving services through the Food Voucher Program.

“All three of these defendants allegedly made the same bad choice to steal funds from federally-funded programs,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Further, in all three cases, the defendants stole money from programs designed to benefit groups that desperately needed the assistance – from patients struggling with HIV/AIDS who require emergency assistance to meet basic necessities to a youth baseball organization serving many underprivileged children. The callousness that the defendants displayed by stealing from these programs is stunning.”

“We share a collective and long-standing devotion to integrity in City government, and I wish to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their partnership in the investigation of the Dignam brothers and our broader mission,” said City of Philadelphia Inspector General Alexander DeSantis. “Further, the Conway case shows our continuing commitment to root out fraud and corruption in all forms, including by employees of city contractors involved in programs that affect some of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable populations.”

If convicted, Leo Dignam faces a maximum possible sentence of 50 years in prison, Paul Dignam faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison, and Barbara Conway faces a maximum possible sentence of ten years in prison.

All three cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General. The cases of Paul and Leo Dignam are being prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen, and the case of Barbara Conway is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard Barrett.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.