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Archive for July, 2010

Mexican Drug Dealers Use Car Bomb For First Time

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

As if the drug war in Mexico wasn’t violent enough.

Now, the drug dealers, for the first time, have resorted to a car bomb in Mexico in the drug war, the El Paso Times and the Associated Press reported.

Mayor Jose Reyes  Ferriz of Ciudad Juarez said traffickers set a deadly car bomb trap at a busy intersection  that killed three people on Thursday night in his border town including a federal policeman, a medical technician and a man dressed in a fake police uniform, the El Paso Times reported.

Ferriz said he feared some officers might quit the force out of fear of running into booby traps and ambushes, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

With Fed Indictments & Justice Dept. Intervention: Scandal-Plagued New Orleans Police Dept. at Crossroads

new-orleans-map-istock
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In New Orleans, a town known for its jambalaya, jazz and hospitality, it hasn’t been difficult over the years to find folks willing to serve up some harsh words about their often-maligned and scandal-plagued police department.

That may change — even with the latest federal indictments for the shootings after Hurricane Katrina.

The Big Easy has a new mayor, Mitch Landrieu. The Justice Department — at his request — has stepped in to examine signs of systemic police misconduct. And a new police chief, Ronal Serpas, has been installed.

The department is at a crossroads. And the nation is watching a department in need of an extreme makeover.

Just this week, Americans got a glimpse of the department’s travails: The Justice Department announced the indictment of six New Orleans cops in the post-Katrina shootings of six unarmed people on Danziger Bridge, two of whom died. The charges come on top of decades of scandal: cops busted for drug trafficking, bribes, rape and murder.

To read full story click here

Ex-State Dept. Officials Gets Life for Spying for Cuba

spy graphicBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Walter Kendall Myers — aka Agent 202 — the former State Department official, who spied for Cuba along with his wife for nearly 30 years, will join the many other convicted spies in American prisons.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Friday sentenced Myers to life in prison without parole and gave his wife Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers 6 years and 9 months in prison for  providing Cuba highly-classified U.S. defense info, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In November 2009, Kendall Myers, 73, and wife Gwendolyn Myers, 72. pleaded guilty to spy-related charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

They also agreed to forfeit $1.7 million.

“For nearly 30 years, this couple proudly committed espionage on behalf of a long-standing foreign adversary. Today, they are being held accountable for their actions. Their sentences should serve as a clear warning to others who would willingly compromise our nation’s most sensitive classified information,” David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security said in a statement.

Va. Man on No-Fly List Can Return Home from Egypt

plane window2Update: The Associated Press reported that Yahya Wehelie returned to the U.S. on Saturday.
By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON — A Virginia man who had been in no-fly list hell for months will now be allowed to return to the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

Yahya Wehelie spent 18 months in Yemen. In May, he was heading home to Virginia and was changing planes in Cairo when the FBI stopped him and told him he was on the no-fly list. He was then stuck in Egpyt.

The New York Times had reported that the FBI wanted to question him about his contact with an American in Yemen accused of hooking up with al Qaeda and fatally shooting a hospital guard. He and his parents said at the time eh wanted to come home and finish his education and get a job. They also said he hated al Qaeda.

AP reported that Wehelie said in a phone interview that he’s not clear why US officials changed their mind, but he holds no ill will.

“I’m not angry at all. I know who I am and I knew eventually I would go home,” he told AP.“They’re trying to find the bad people, so more power to them.”

Must Have? Paper Offers Ringtones of Rod Blagojevich FBI Recordings

iphoneBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As absurd as this sounds, this might be a “must have” for your cell phone.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill.,  is offering ringtones on iPhones with the FBI recordings of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is on trial in Chicago on public corruption charges, USA Today reports.

The paper reports the ringtones include such colorful statements as: “Only thirteen percent of you all out there think I’m doing a good job. So (expletive) all of you.”

Another one says: “I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden. And I’m just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing.”

Bush Justice Official Never Ok’d Some Harsh CIA Interrogation Techniques

torture1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The controversy over harsh interrogation techniques under the Bush years surfaced again Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.), head of the House Judiciary, released a transcript to the Justice Department showing former Justice Department official Jay S. Bybee told Congressional investigators in May that the CIA may have gone beyond the limits of memos he wrote blessing harsh interrogation techniques, the Washington Post reported.

The Post reported that Bybee, who headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, told investigators in May that he never approved some techniques on detainees like punching, kicking and dousings with cold water.

He did, however, approve waterboarding, the Post reported.

To read full story click here.

Justice Dept. Calls Ex-Detroit Fed Prosecutor Unmanageable

Ex-Prosecutor Richard Convertino

Ex-Prosecutor Richard Convertino

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-Detroit federal prosecutor Richard Convertino, who became a controversial figure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, “was a nearly unmanageable employee who blew off reprimands, cut secret deals, kept his bosses in the dark, drummed up lucrative work for a snitch and tried to land a position for himself,” the Detroit Free Press reported, based on a court filing in Washington this week by the U.S. Justice Department.

The filing was part of a request before a judge by the Justice Department to dismiss Convertino’s whistleblower lawsuit. Convertino is in private practice in Michigan.

The Free Press reported that the Justice Department document quoted Convertino’s boss at the time, then-U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins, as saying  Convertino failed to keep him and others in management informed about a terrorism case following the 9/11 attacks or his dealings with Senate invesigators.

“It was almost (as if) you had an unmanageable employee,” the document said.

The Free Press said Convertino’s attorney Stephen Kohn characterized the allegation as “absurd and ridiculous” and a smear tactic.

Convertino was originally applauded after he successfully prosecuted a terrorism case that stemmed from raids right after Sept. 11, 2001. But the case imploded and the terrorism charges were eventually dropped.

The Justice Department eventually criminally charged Convertino with a variety of charges including that he failed to disclose materials in the case.

Convertino was acquitted of all of the charges, but he’s been involved in some lawsuits relating to the office. There continues to be bad blood between him and certain members of the office.

To read full story click here.

Read document

Couple Convicted of Trying to Extort $680,000 From Actor John Stamos

John Stamos

John Stamos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Michigan couple was convicted Thursday of trying to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos in a trial held in federal court in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Scott Edward Sippola 31, and Allison Lenore Coss,24, both of Marquette, Mi., were convicted following a four day jury trial, authorities said. Sentencing is set for Oct. 8.

Authorities said the two began sending Stamos emails in November 2009, saying they had compromising photos of him that they planned to sell to tabloids unless he forked over $680,000. Stamos went to the FBI.

On Dec. 2, 2009, both defendants were arrested near the K.I. Sawyer International airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, authorities said.

Authorities said Coss met Stamos in Orlando in April 2004 during a trip to Disney World. Authorities said Coss was a party with Stamos and about eight others.

Stamos told authorities they developed a friendship and communicated by email, and he testified in court that nothing improper happened at the party and he didn’t believe compromising photos existed.

The FBI never found compromising photos.