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Archive for March, 2013

Lawsuits Allege Pattern of Abuse at Border Patrol, Cites Freezing Holding Cells

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Detained immigrants were forced to sit in freezing holding cells without toilets and beds while their lips turned blue and cracked because of the cold, according to a series of lawsuits that makes numerous allegations of abuse against Border Patrol, the USA Today reports.

The suits were filed on behalf of 10 plaintiffs by advocacy groups that says the abuse is all too common.

“I don’t think these are isolated cases,” Melissa Crow, who is representing one of the plaintiffs and is the director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council, an immigration advocacy organization, told . “The spectrum of cases we’re presenting exemplifies the culture of impunity that has taken hold at CBP.”

CBP declined to comment on the suit but said allegations of abuse are taken seriously.

“We do not tolerate misconduct or abuse within our ranks and we fully cooperate with all investigations of alleged unlawful conduct, on or off duty, by any of our CBP employees and contractors,” Burke said in a statement.

Two City Councilmen in Georgia Were Indicted on Accusations of Taking $20,000 in Bribes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two city councilmen accused of splitting $20,000 in bribes were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday, the Macon Telegraph reports.

Forsyth City Councilmen Desi Hansford and James Calloway face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on three counts.

Hansford “admitted to receiving the previous $5,000 bribe in January. [He] stated that he paid some bills with part of the money and over $2,000 of the original bribe money was located in his residence in Forsyth,” McClendon’s affidavit reads, the Telegraph reported.

The bribes allegedly come from Travel America truck stop restaurant in Jackson, which is trying to renew its contract.

The Telegraph couldn’t reach the councilmen for comment.

Feds Want to Run eBay Sneaker Business Implicated in Massive Pot Conspiracy

photo: Baltimore City Paper

 
By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a pair of Nike Shox Turbo 3.2 SL running shoes is $120, but Krush NYC, an eBay seller based in a warehouse in Jessup, sells them for $79.99. That kind of markdown is what attracts the buyers that make Krush a profitable enterprise: It clears an average of almost $1.5 million annually on gross sales of nearly $2.6 million, according to court documents.

The nitty-gritty on Krush’s financial information was revealed in court because federal prosecutors want to make sure Krush remains valuable. Its principals—40-year-old Kerem Dayi of Gambrills, Md., and California, and 43-year-old Steven Neil Madden of Randallstown, Md.—are two of 18 defendants charged in January with operating a massive pot-dealing and money-laundering conspiracy in Maryland, New Jersey, and California since early 2010. The indictment includes a count to allow the government to take ownership of at least $10 million in allegedly ill-gotten gains, including a number of assets already seized: eight pieces of real estate, 22 bank accounts, 24 vehicles, and three businesses. Krush is one of them.

To read the full story clickhere.

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FBI and Secret Service Probing How Info of Big Names Landed on Internet

white house file photo

By Carol Cratty
CNN Senior Producer

Washington – The Secret Service and FBI are investigating how personal information purported to relate to first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former first lady Hillary Clinton ended up on an Internet site, officials said Tuesday. It was not clear how much of the information was accurate and whether it was obtained through hacking or by scrutinizing public records.

Asked about the hacking in an interview Tuesday, President Barack Obama couldn’t confirm the details of the incident, but said “we should not be surprised that if you’ve got hackers who want to dig in and devote a lot of resources, that they can access peoples’ private information. It is a big problem.”

To read more click here.

 

Dallas County DA Under Fire for Decision to Seek Charges Against Oil Heir

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are investigating Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in connection with his decision to seek criminal mortgage fraud charges against an oil heir, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Questions are swirling about whether Watkins leveled charges against oil heir Al Hill II in 2010 as a favor to political contributors, according to the Morning News.

Watkins was found in contempt last week for refusing to testify under oath about the circumstances leading up to his decision to seek charges.

A judge dismissed the mortgage fraud charge, the Morning News reported.

The FBI and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas are investigating Hill.

FBI Investigates Who Posted Personal, Financial Information on Government Officials, Celebrities

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is trying to determine who posted private financial and personal information on a website about top government leaders and celebrities such as Mel Gibson and Jay-Z, the Associated Press reports.

Even the Social Security number, address and credit report of FBI Director Robert Mueller were posted on the site, which included Beyonce, Ashton Kutcher, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Some information also was posted about Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the AP wrote.

The site, which was not identified, did not reveal why the people were targeted.

“The best word I can use to describe it is creepy,” Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told the AP. “It’s a creepy thing to do.”

TSA Draw Criticism for New Policy That Would Allow Knives, Golf Clubs on Planes

tsa.gov

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The announcement by the Transportation Security Administration last week that knives and other prohibited items will be permitted in airline cabs has incensed some travelers, lawmakers, aviation professionals and TSA employees, CNN reports. 

“I am aware of the argument that anything can be made into a weapon, but knives make it easy,” Nikki Stern, who lost her husband in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, told CNN. “The rules are so enormously confusing for the passenger and so arbitrarily applied.”

The new rule would allow knives with blades 2.36 inches or shorter on airline cabins, but blades cannot be fixed or locked into place.

Passengers also will be permitted to carry sports equipment such as two golf clubs, toy bats, ski poles, hockey sticks and pool cues.

The rules are to go into effect April 25.

Border Patrol Workers Face Up to 40% Pay Cuts under New Budget Reductions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Border Patrol employees will lose up to 40% of their pay if they are forced to take 14 days of unpaid leave and eliminate overtime, Tucson News Now reports.

The agency released a statement:

“In order to address the more than half a billion in budget cuts imposed by sequestration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection must take significant budget reduction actions.  CBP will continue to make every effort to minimize the sequester’s impact on public safety and national security, but expects that planned furlough of employees, along with reductions to overtime and hiring freeze will increase wait times at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and reduce staffing between land ports of entry. Even with these cuts though, individuals apprehended illegally crossing the southwest border will still be processed as usual.  CBP continues to evaluate further impacts of sequestration on our operations.   Because the length of the sequestration as well as funding levels through the end of the fiscal year are unknown at this time, it is difficult to project the impact of the reductions on individual employees or job occupations.”

Employees said the cuts add up.

“I mean that’s astronomical,” Tucson Border Patrol Union President, Art DelCueto, told Tucson News Mow. “I don’t know how anybody especially now a days, no matter how much money you’re making. I don’t know how anybody can take a 40% cut.”

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