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Archive for November, 2010

Explosive Packages Were 4 Times More Powerful than Underwear Bomb

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The explosives used in the packages from Yemen were four times more powerful than those used by the underwear bomber, the Associated Press reports.

Citing German authorities, AP reported that the two bombs contained 300 and 400 grams of the industrial explosive PETN, compared to about 80 grams used in the Nigerian man who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane last Christmas by detonating a bomb in his underwear.

AP reported that authorities suspect the bomb maker is Ibrahim al-Asiri, the master bomb maker for the Yemen-based group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“It shows that they are trying to again make different types of adaptations based on what we have put in place,” John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser said, according to AP. “So the underwear bomber, as well as these packages, are showing sort of new techniques on their part. They are very innovative and creative.”

Sen. Feinstein Says DEA Needs More Helicopters to Fight Drugs in Afghanistan


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, renewed her call Monday for the State Department to cough up more helicopters for the DEA in Afghanistan.

The public call comes in wake of last week’s major airborne drug raid that netted more than a ton of high-grade heroin in Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan, Feinstein said in a press release.

“This raid netted 2,056 pounds of the highest-grade heroin with a wholesale value of $56 million,” Senator Feinstein said.

“That’s millions of dollars in heroin proceeds that won’t be going to the Taliban. This raid underscores the importance of helicopters to our counternarcotics effort in Afghanistan. Helicopters are critical to getting DEA agents and their Afghan partners to the drug processing facilities that are providing the Taliban with a ready source of cash.

Read more »

The Nigerian Letter Scam Has Finally Found Me on Facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Nigerian letter scam has officially arrived — at least in my case — on Facebook, the most popular social network.

The other day I received a personal message on Facebook. This fella has a lot of money for me. Millions. He wants me to help him get the money out of the account.  How the scam usually works is: He’ll ask me to send some money for legal fees to free up the millions of dollars. And then he’ll ask for some more.

The Facebook message said this:

Attn: Allan Lengel,

Please reply via this email address
(barrjohnsonmorris@hotmail.com) or call me
Phone+228-9177735

I hope all is well?,indeed i am very sorry for distracting your attention .I am Barrister Johnson Morris personal attorney to Late Mr H.C Lengel,a national of your country, Who died and left some huge amount of money with a bank here in Africa, valued at US$ 20.5 million dollars. I have contacted you to assist me and get it transfered. Please Reply to My Private Email for More Details (barrjohnsonmorris@hotmail.com)

Regards
Barrister Johnson Morris.
(barrjohnsonmorris@hotmail.com)

First off, I wouldn’t know what to do with all that money. Secondly, who the hell is Mr. H.C. Lengel?

I used to get messages like that all the time via email when I was a reporter at the Washington Post. More often than not, I’d reply by saying something like: “this is fantastic, I’ve been waiting for a break like this. Please call me asap.” I would often then leave the person the FBI Washington Field Office number.

I usually never heard back from the person again. Except in one instance, someone wrote me back and said: “Mr. Lengel, how dare you give me the FBI number.”  I responded: “How dare you try to scam me.”

I never heard back from him again.

Read more »

White Man Sentenced to 9 Years For Burning Down African-American Church: Was Angry About Obama Being Elected

Haskell was upset about Obama's election

white house photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

A white man was sentenced today to nine years in prison for burning down a predominately African-American church in Springfield, Mass., the day after Barack Obama won the presidential election.

Benjamin Haskell, 24, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor in Springfield for the 2008 burning of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ. The predominately African-American church was under construction and 75 percent complete when it was torched, the Justice Department said.

In addition to the prison term, Haskell must pay a $7,500 fine and $1.7 million in restitution, including $123,570.25 to the Macedonia Church.

“The burning of the Macedonia Church because of racial hatred and intolerance was a vicious attack on one of our most cherished freedoms — to worship in the religion of our choice safely and without fear of discrimination,” Carmen Ortiz, U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said in a statement.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Woman Convicted in Bizarre Bank Robbery-Collar Bomb Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Marjorie Diehl- Armstrong, the woman accused of playing a role in the bizarre 2003 Erie, Pa. bank robbery and collar bombing that grabbed the nation’s attention, was convicted Monday in federal court, authorities said.

The 61-year-old was convicted of criminal conspiracy, bank robbery and using a weapon during a crime of violence following a two-week trial.

Mark Potter, head of ATF in Philadelphia, said the verdict “brings closure to a bizarre scheme of greed that played out like a Hollywood movie. I commend the joint law enforcement efforts of those who participated in this investigation.”

The case captivated America due to its strangeness.

Diehl-Armstrong was charged with being part of the scheme to rob the PNC branch at Summit Towne Center on Aug. 28, 2003.

On that day, pizza delivery man Brian Wells, who authorities say was at least initially in on the plot, walked into the bank with a shot gun and an explosive collar around his chest and neck.

He got more than $8,000 and fled, but was stopped by state troopers, who called in the bomb squad.  Before the squad could arrive, the bomb went off and killed Wells.

U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said: “The verdict today is the product of literally thousands of hours of difficult and painstaking work by our law enforcement partners and this office.”

Authorities said she will get mandatory life.

FBI Agents Who Fatally Shot Detroit Imam Weren’t Interviewed Until More than 6 Months Later

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Detroit Free Press reports some puzzling matters surrounding the death of Detroit imam  Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot and killed by four FBI agents during a raid in a suburban warehouse in Dearborn in October 2009.

The paper reports that the four FBI agents were not interviewed by investigators until more than six months later, in May and June, and that the FBI files “contain letters that show their attorney initially declining to let them be interviewed by Dearborn police. The FBI agent who fired eight shots at Abdullah was interviewed in June from Baghdad, Iraq.”

All the agents were cleared of wrongdoing in multiple investigations on the shooting, which stemmed from a raid involving a probe into stolen goods.

The paper also reported that Dearborn police, which investigated the shooting, “expressed concern about their inability at times to get evidence for their investigation of the fatal shooting, according to the records.

“Shortly after the shooting, the FBI removed the hard drives of surveillance video footage it made of the shootings with five covert cameras placed in the warehouse. Dearborn police ‘objected to removal of the hard drives,’ an FBI report said, but the FBI then later provided the department with copies for its investigation, which cleared the FBI of any wrongdoing.”

To read more click here.

Bombs May Have Been Designed to Detonate on Planes

Washington Post Editorial: Mexico’s Massacres- U.S. Needs to Do More

The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — TIJUANA, one of Mexico’s violence-racked border cities, was supposed to be getting better. A drug kingpin notorious for dissolving his enemies in acid was arrested; a record cache of 134 tons of marijuana was seized and burned.

President Felipe Calderon said the city was a “clear example that the security challenge has a solution.” Then came the massacre. On Oct. 24, gunmen attacked a drug rehabilitation center, slaughtering 13 men. That brought this year’s death toll to 639 in a city of 1.5 million.

The mass slaying was one of three recorded in Mexico in just five days. On Oct. 22, a gang attacked a teenager’s birthday party in Ciudad Juarez, killing 14; the youngest was a 13-year-old girl. On Oct. 27, shooters appeared at a carwash in the Pacific state of Nayarit, where clients of a drug rehabilitation center were working. Some of the workers were wearing T-shirts bearing the words “Faith and Hope.” At least 15 were killed.

The larger message here is that Mexico is still embroiled in a desperate fight to save its liberal democracy.

To read more click here.