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Terrorists Convictions Upheld in Plot to Bomb 110-Story Building and FBI Offices

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The appeals of Narseal Batiste and followers were rejected in Atlanta on Tuesday, reports the Associated Press. Batiste and four others were convicted of plotting, in conjunction with al-Qaida, to destroy the 110-story Willis Tower in Chicago and to bomb FBI offices in several cities in May of 2009.

Batiste, cited as the group’s ringleader, questioned the sufficiency of the evidence, the FBI’s use of an informant posing as a member of al-Qaida and one juror’s dismissal amid deliberations in the trial. A three-judge panel in Atlanta’s 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the claims.

The men were convicted of providing material support to al-Qaida in addition to the plan to take down the hulking, 110-story Chicago skyscraper formerly known as the Sears Tower. Their stated goal was to “overthrow the US government,” according to the AP.

After two mistrials, they were convicted the third time around.

To read more click here.

Dems Demand Explanation on TSA Missed Deadline on Screening Packages on Planes

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Transportation Security Administration is still not scanning 100 percent of  the parcels on inbound international flights, and Congress wants to know why.

The website NextGov.com reports that it appears TSA will miss a deadline to scan all parcels on overseas planes for the second time, and House Democrats have sent a letter to TSA officials demanding an explanation,NextGov.com

Following 9/11,  TSA was mandated to screen 100 percent of international inbound passenger plane cargo by August of 2010. NextGov reported that when the time came and the task still seemed too great, “partly due to technological challenges,” the deadline was extended until the end of this year.

Still, TSA is reportedly screening only “identified high-risk” parcels. In an Oct. 31 letter legislators demanded to know if the TSA is skirting the law, reports NextGov.

Bomb-making materials were found hidden in packaged printer parts headed from Yemen to the United States about a year ago.

The TSA declined to comment specifically on the new demands, but TSA spokesman Greg Soule did say that the TSA is continuing its efforts to detect and eliminate risk, NextGov reported.

“Air cargo is more secure than it has ever been with 100 percent of cargo on flights departing US airports and 100 percent of identified high-risk international inbound cargo undergoing screening,” he said in a statement.

To read more click here.

Feinstein, Breuer: ATF Needs Improved Gun Laws

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) defended the ATF at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, reports the website Main Justice, saying the real problem is lax gun laws.

“The number of deaths caused by American guns are up in the tens of thousands,” she said, claiming that 70 percent of guns seized in Mexico were traced to the US.

Later on, reports Main Justice, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) had entered into the record a report refuting Feinstein’s numbers.

Agreeing with Feinstein, Asst. Attorney General Lanny Breuer said that if the ATF had more information on gun sales and enhanced its regulatory function, the agency would be better positioned to stem the violence.

To read more click here.

4 Congressional Members Send Letter to FBI’s Mueller and Hillary Clinton Asking Palestinians to be Put on Terrorist List

Rep. Berman was one the Congressional members who signed letter

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. terrorist data base watch could get quite a few new names if it’s up to four Jewish Congress members.

The Jewish Telegraph Agency reports that the four Congress members wrote to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asking that they place on the list the names of the Palestinian prisoners who were recently released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been abducted and held prisoner since 2006. The move would prevent any of those people from entering the U.S.

The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that Israel agreed to release 1,027 Palestinian men and women, and all but a handful were convicted of terrorism related crimes.

“Each of these Palestinian prisoners has been convicted of a terrorism-related offense and should be treated as such,” said the Oct. 28 letter, which was first obtained by Politico.

The letter was signed by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on its Middle East subcommittee; Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee; and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

 

15 Tied to Texas Mexican Mafia Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy, Assault, and More

By Danny Fenster
ticklethwire.com

They say things are bigger in Texas, and a recent Tex-Mex plate of indictments and potential sentences certainly are.

A group of members and associates of the Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) have been indicted with a buffet of charges that may net them decades in prison, the FBI announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The 9-count, 15-defendant indictment charges men from Uvalde and Crystal City, Texas, including:

Jorge Abel Ramirez (a/k/a “Hondo,” a/k/a “Superdope”), age 32; Geronimo Torres (a/k/a “Jerry,” a/k/a “G”), age 32; Benito Benavides (a/k/a “Benny”), age 48; Chris Gutierrez (a/k/a “Fire”), age 19; Albert Torres (a/k/a “Terrible”), age 41; Robert Marcus Castro (a/k/a “Tiny”), age 32; Eric Velasquez Solis (a/k/a “Kilo”), age 32; Mario Zavala, age 26; Rodolfo Villegas (a/k/a “Rudy”), age 31; Charles Martinez (a/k/a “Charlie”), age 29; Eliseo Sanchez, III, age 29; and Sebastian Cortinas (a/k/a “Seabass”), age 28.

Charges against the men, returned on the 12th of October and unsealed on Tuesday, cover a variety of crimes related to drugs and violence, including “attempted murder, retaliation against an informant, extortion, and distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine,” according to the FBI. Three of the men–Ramirez, Gutierrez and Torres–have been charged with conspiring to attempt to kill an informant on November 22, 2010.

All defendants but Cortinas are in federal custody.

Intl. Arms Trafficker Viktor Bout Goes Down; NY Jury Convicts Him

  

dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Bye Bye Viktor Bout.

A federal jury in New York on Wednesday convicted the international arms dealer, whose life inspired the Nicholas Cage film “Lord of War.”

The Justice Department said Bout was convicted of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – a designated foreign terrorist organization based in Colombia – to be used to kill Americans in Colombia.

“Today, one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers is being held accountable for his sordid past,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.

“Viktor Bout’s arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts have been a source of concern around the globe for decades. Today, he faces the prospect of life in prison for his efforts to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to terrorists for use in killing Americans.” N.Y. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharaa added: “As the evidence at trial showed, Viktor Bout was ready to sell a weapons arsenal that would be the envy of some small countries. He aimed to sell those weapons to terrorists for the purpose of killing Americans.”

Authorities said Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 based on a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. He was charged in a four-count indictment in May 2008 and extradited to the Southern District of New York in November 2010.

Specifically, the federal jury Wednesday convicted him of conspiring to kill U.S. nationals; conspiring to kill U.S. officers and employees; conspiring to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles; and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin presided over the three week trial.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

 

Occupy Wall Street Snitch is Partner in Private Security Firm with Busted Secret Service Agent

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk

WASHINGTON –A business partner of the self-appointed spy who stole hundreds of Occupy Wall Street emails last month and posted them online was convicted of using excessive force as a Secret Service agent, court records show, and sentenced to six months incarceration in a halfway house.

Kevin Schatzle lists himself as one of two managing partners at Provide Security, a private intelligence and security firm with a Web site but no physical address. His co-managing partner is Thomas Ryan, who last month infiltrated OWS and pilfered protesters’ e-mails and social network postings, which he claimed showed the movement’s plans for violence.

Provide Security boasts that its “associates are handpicked from the ranks of highly trained and experienced former agents of the US Secret Service, members of U.S. Special Forces, Global Intelligence Agencies and other premier law enforcement organizations.”

To read full story click here.

 

FBI Investigating Ex-NJ Gov’s Investment Firm