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Archive for March, 2015

Suspect Fatally Shot by Border Patrol Agent Wanted for Murder in Washington

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The man shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent last week was wanted for murder, KMVT.com reports. 

Investigators said a man was crossing the border illegally in Sumas in Washington when the shooting occurred.

“The subject refused the agents commands then assaulted one of the agents with an unknown incapacitating spray,” said Dan M. Harris Jr., chief Border Patrol agent for the Blaine sector.

Turns out, the suspect, 20-year-old Jamison Childress, was wanted for murder outside Whatcom County, where the shooting happened.

 

 

Washington Times: Why Homeland Security Is Sad Place to Work

By The Washington Times
Editorial Board

No department of the government has a mission more important than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created after Sept. 11, 2001 to defend and protect the towns and cities, the farms and factories of the American homeland. It ought to be one of the most attractive places in Washington to work, inspired by pride and sacrifice to deliver a job well done. But it isn’t. It’s one of the worst.

By one measure it has succeeded beyond bureaucratic dreams. The department has grown to encompass 22 agencies, with 168,000 full-time permanent employees. Armies become lean and mean when they fight on home soil, but this bureaucracy has become fat and forlorn. A survey by the Partnership for Public Service to determine the best place to work among large federal agencies ranks the Department of Homeland Security dead last. Both Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate are trying to find out why.

The bureaucrats have resorted to the usual “studies” and “task forces” to find out why everyone in the place is so sad. If that doesn’t answer the questions, they will commission another study to find out why the first study failed. Millions have been spent on these studies already.

Techdirt, an independent blog about the bureaucracies, reports that employees complain that “senior leaders are ineffective; that the department discourages innovation, and that promotions and raises are not based on merit. Others have described in interviews how a stifling bureaucracy and relentless congressional criticism makes DHS an exhausting, even infuriating, place to work.”

Now even Congress has noticed. The Washington Post reports that Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a Democrat, last week wrote to ask Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to account for how the study money was spent. “The volume of reports that DHS has commissioned to address these issues is concerning,” she wrote, “and morale continues to remain low in the department. It is unclear who is commissioning these reports and who, if anyone, is reading them.” She is the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She wants answers by March 27, and asked Mr. Johnson “to provide costs and details of all studies DHS has done on employee morale in the past five years; the names and titles of each official who approved the studies; the recommendations they made and whether any were implemented, and whether any of the more recent studies were approved by [Mr.] Johnson or his appointees.”

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest


 

Retired FBI Agent To Appear on Q & A Panel in Detroit for Documentary on Mystery VA Hospital Deaths

Greg Stejskal was a young FBI agent in Detroit when he was assigned to a task force investigating the mysterious deaths of patients at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital. He served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

Stejskal will appear on a Q & A panel Sunday at the Detroit Free Press Film Festival following the screening of a documentary on the mystery entitled “That Strange Summer.” The film will be shown at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the Marvin and Betty Danto Lecture Hall at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Tickets are $10, $9 for DIA members and seniors.

Stejskal wrote a lengthy column about the VA deaths. It first appeared on the website, ticklethewire.com, in 2011.

Greg Stejskal
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

In 1977, two , Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez, were convicted of poisoning patients at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital after one of the longest trials in U.S. history.

The prosecution and verdict became a cause celebre in Ann Arbor, across the nation and in the Philippines. It was widely believed the were made scapegoats as they were immigrant Filipinos.

Months after the convictions, the trial judge ordered a new trial because of his finding of prosecutorial misconduct. The case was never retried.

What little information about the case that is now available on the internet indicates that Narciso and Perez were innocent and “falsely accused.”

In an effort to at least the historical record, I have tried to write an objective of the case.

The case was a classic “whodunit,” and its resolution was worthy of Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. If this had been a mystery story, the hospital would have been a dark foreboding place, but it wasn’t.

The Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital (VAH) was built in 1953 of reddish brick and generic government architecture. It sits on a hill above the meandering Huron River and on the edge of the north campus of the University of Michigan. This placid scene belied the events that occurred during the summer of 1975 in the hospital.

During a six week period of that summer, there was a sudden spike of patients experiencing breathing failures requiring emergency resuscitation (termed Code 7 emergencies with in the VAH).

Initially the medical staff was not overly concerned as such resuscitations are routine albeit not as frequent as they were beginning to experience. But as the incidents and became more frequent, the staff did become alarmed. Some of the patients were not revived and died.

One staff member, Dr. Anne Hill, an Irish born, Chief of Anesthesiology, was not only concerned, but began to suspect foul play. On August 15th, her suspicion coalesced into a conclusion that someone was intentionally poisoning patients. On that day there were three respiratory failures with in twenty minutes – each resulting in a Code 7 alert and requiring emergency resuscitation.

A Muscle Relaxant

Dr. Hill was present for all three of the Code 7 resuscitations. Upon seeing the first victim, she determined that based on the symptoms, a flaccid state, but with a pulse, the patient had been administered a powerful muscle relaxant.

After doing some diagnostic tests, she concluded that the drug Pavulon (pancuronium bromide) had been given to the patient. (Pavulon is the synthetic equivalent of curare, a plant derived toxin, used by some South American Indians to poison the tips of their blow-gun darts and arrows.)

Read more »

ATF Director B. Todd Jones Calling it Quits; Tom Brandon Will Step Up

US Attorney B. Todd Jones

Todd Jones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

B. Todd Jones, the head of ATF, who first stepped in as acting director in 2011, and later became the first ATF directory in history to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, is stepping down, effective March 31.

The announcement from ATF came in a press release, which said he’s departing to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Jone’s number two person, Thomas Brandon, will step in as acting director.

“ATF employees are hard-working, dedicated individuals who serve the public to make our nation safer every day,” said Jones in a statement. “I have seen firsthand their extraordinary commitment to combatting violent crime, ridding the streets of criminals, and leveraging all available resources to keep our communities safe.”

“I will truly miss leading and working side-by-side with these men and women in their pursuit of ATF’s unique law enforcement and regulatory mission,” Jones added.

Jones initially held two jobs in 2011: He was named acting director of ATF while still serving as U.S. Attorney in Minnesota. President Obama nominated him for the permanent post on Jan. 24, 2013, and he ended his job as U.S. Attorney after being confirmed as ATF director.

Tom Brandon/atf photo

ATF Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon will serve as Acting Director. Brandon was appointed Deputy Director of ATF in October 2011.

 

 

Weekend Series on Crime: The Watergate Break-in

Thieves Break into Homeland Security Agents’ Cars in Detroit’s Corktown Area

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Detroit’s popular Corktown business district continues to have problems with car thefts and break-ins.

The latest: Two unmarked cars belonging to federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security were broken into Wednesday night at Corktown as agents were dining at the new Batch Brewery at 1400 Porter St., Mara MacDonald of WDIV reports. Laptops and other equipment were taken, sources tell the station.

The Department Homeland Security ordered the vehicles towed and taken to a location where investigators will look for evidence, MacDonald adds.

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FBI to Investigate Hanging Death of Black Man in Mississippi

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping investigate the hanging death of a 54-year-old black man in Mississippi.

Local police in the small central Mississippi town of Port Gibson requested the bureau’s help to determine whether Otis Byrd was murdered or committed suicide.

Byrd was last seen on March 2 and was found Thursday hanging from a tree in the woods.

“We want to make sure it was not a racial hate crime,” Derrick Johnson, head of the state chapter of the NAACP, told the Los Angeles Times. “We cannot stand by in 2015 and watch a lynching, if in fact that’s what happened.”

The focus Thursday was on combing the scene for evidence.

“We seen a man who had a bedsheet tied around his neck,” Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas told CNN.

 

 

Judge Threatens Justice Department with Sanctions over Immigration Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Justice Department attorneys are under scrutiny after a federal judge said they may have misled him about when President Obama’s immigration plans were implemented.

The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who has blocked President Obama‘s immigration executive action, hinted that sanctions could be forthcoming if he was misled about when the administration launched the controversial immigration plans.

Hanen questioned whether the administration reneged on a pledge not to implement a primary part of Obama’s program – offering people reprieve from deportations.

“Like an idiot I believed that,” Hanen said.

Justice Department attorney Kathleen Hartnett apologized for any confusion and said the administration was not intending to deceive the court.