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Archive for May, 2014

Columnist: Another Kafkaesque Moment in Saga of FBI’s Embrace of Whitey Bulger

By Kevin Cullen
Boston Globe

Pat Donahue was on the phone, incredulous not for the first time in this sordid, relentless mess.

“So what you’re telling me,” she said, “is that John Connolly is getting off on a technicality, that he is probably going to get out of prison because of the statute of limitations?”

Um, yes.

Thanks to a 2-to-1 decision by the Third District Court of Appeal for the state of Florida, John Connolly’s second-degree murder conviction was thrown out, not because he was innocent, but because he didn’t get caught soon enough.

Just another Kafkaesque moment in the never-ending scandal that was the Faustian embrace of Whitey Bulger by the FBI.

One can forgive Donahue’s incredulity, her being utterly perplexed, frustrated, and sick to her stomach. Because it was on those same statute of limitations grounds, on an identical 2-to-1 vote by a federal appeals court in Boston, that Pat Donahue and her three sons were told to go pound sand when they tried to hold the FBI and the Justice Department accountable.

One Border Agent Killed, Another Injured in On-Duty Crash in Arizona

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Border Patrol agents were on duty when their vehicle rolled over in Arizona, killing one of them and injuring another.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that tread separation contributed to the accident at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 10 about eight miles east of Benson.

The agents were rushed to the University of Arizona Medical Center.

One of the agents, who worked for Border Patrol for five years, died en route.

Details were still unclear Thursday morning.

FBI Agent: LA County Jail Deputies Forced Inmates to Fight While Being Filmed

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal investigation of the Los Angeles County jails involved “dozens, if not hundreds” of allegations of violence at the hands of deputies, an FBI agent testified Wednesday. The Los Angeles Times reports that inmates claimed they were assaulted by guards and were forced to fight, sometimes while being filmed.

FBI Special Agent David Dahle acknowledged the claims would be difficult to corroborate since the witnesses are inmates.

“When your main victims are inmates and potentially the defendants are law enforcement, it’s difficult to prove those cases when your victims are seen by many as inherently untrustworthy,” he said.

The trial includes six sheriff’s deputies accused of obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges.

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Feds Prepare Release of Thousands of Investigative Files on Folk Singer Peter Seeger

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Beloved folk singer Pete Seeger was subject to secret FBI and CIA surveillance since the 1940s and was even blacklisted for his political beliefs in the McCarthy era.

Since Seeger’s death in January at the age of 94, the National Archives and Records Administration has been preparing to release thousands of investigative files of Seeger, under the Freedom of Information Act, AlJazeera America reports.

The request for Seeger’s files was so popular that NARA is waiving the administrative fee of at least $2,000.

“As soon as possible, NARA will post this file online,” NARA spokeswoman Miriam Kleinman said. “We are waiting for review to be complete.”

Puppies Lester And Lugo Are on Way to Becoming Part of Border Patrol K-9 Units

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Meet Border Patrol’s two newest enforcers – Lester and Lugo.

The 4-month-old Belgian Malinois dogs arrived at the Yuma Sector K-9 unit this week, Yuma News Now reports.

“Canines have been used in the Border Patrol as far back as the 1950s, but the current Yuma program started in 1986 with four teams and has grown to more than 60. With these teams, we can cover much more ground,” Special Operations Supervisor (SOS) Wes Burch said.

Lester and Lugo will replace two retiring dogs.

The dogs will be trained to search for people, weapons and drugs.

Supreme Court: Secret Service Agents Immune from Protest Lawsuit Involving President Bush

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Supreme Court halted a lawsuit that alleges unequal treatment by Secret Service agents.

The Washington Post reports that the court unanimously ruled that agents were immune from the lawsuit because they were responsible for distancing protesters from then-President George W. Bush following a 2-0-4 campaign event in Jacksonville, Ore.

“The maintenance of equal access makes sense in the situation the agents confronted,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court.

During the event, the Secret Service moved protesters away while allowing supporters to stay close.

Seven protesters and two Secret Service agents filed suit, claiming unequal treatment of their free-speech rights.

Herald-Review Editorial: Perpetual Fears of Terrorism Feed Budget Increases

Editorial
By Herald Review

James Comey became FBI director last year, at a time when Osama bin Laden was dead, terrorism at home was on the decline and the United States was shrinking its inflammatory presence in the Muslim world. So naturally, he says the danger is way worse than you think.Referring to al-Qaida groups in Africa and the Middle East, he recently told The New York Times, “I didn’t have anywhere near the appreciation I got after I came into this job just how virulent those affiliates had become. There are both many more than I appreciated, and they are stronger than I appreciated.”

It may look like we’ve greatly diminished if not eliminated the danger of Islamic extremism against American targets. In fact, Comey assures us, “that threat has metastasized.” Of course cancer is far more deadly once it spreads.

In this respect he resembles just about every bureaucrat in the history of government. He thinks that his agency is vitally important and growing more so every day. If there had been a Federal Bureau of Stagecoaches when passenger trains and cars came along, it would still be in business and finding ways to justify its preservation and expansion.

Terrorism has fed the FBI’s growth. Between 2001 and 2013, its budget nearly doubled after adjusting for inflation. But Comey was not pleased on arriving to learn that he would be inconvenienced by last year’s federal budget sequester.

“I was very surprised to learn how severe the potential cut is,” he complained. He warned he might have to cut 3,000 jobs. His estimate was inflated — the agency now says it eliminated just 2,200 positions through attrition. The agency’s website, however, says it has 35,344 employees — up by 30 percent since 2001.

Comey is upholding the tradition that once the government identifies an evil, the evil never goes away — it only gets bigger and tougher, requiring ever-increasing efforts to combat it. The Department of Energy was created during the “energy crisis” of the 1970s. The crisis didn’t last, but the department did.

To read more click here.

Member of Gambino Organized Crime Family to spend Life in Prison on Racketeering Charges

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A member of the Gambino organized crime family was sentenced to life without parole for racketeering charges that span more than thee decades.

Bartolomeo Vernace was found guilty of all nine racketeering acts, a 1981 double homicide, heroin trafficking, robbery and illegal gambling.

“For more than four decades, the defendant dedicated his life to committing crimes for the mafia. He rose through the ranks to become a powerful Gambino family leader by making money from crime and committing brutal acts of violence, including the 1981 murders of two innocent bar owners over a spilled drink. Though they were taken from their families long ago, Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese—two businessmen who also ran the local Boys’ Club—have not been forgotten,” U.S. Attorney Lynch said. “We hope the victims’ families are able to take some measure of comfort from the fact that, with this life sentence, one of the killers has now been brought to justice.”

“After more than 33 years evading justice, Bartolomeo ‘Bobby Glasses’ Vernace can hide no more. Vernace made a life of being a key player in the Gambino crime family where his activities led to his convictions for heroin trafficking, robbery, loansharking, gambling, and firearms, as well the vicious double murder. Today’s life sentence ensures the rest of Bobby Glasses’s life will only be seen inside of a federal facility,” added FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos.

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