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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.

NY Killer Mob Snitch Gets Time Served and Witness Protection Program

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The headline in the New York Post read: ” ‘Life’ of a Super Mob Rat; Turncoat Killer Gets Witness Protection.”

The headline referred to former Bonanno crime-family underboss Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale, who the Post described as “one of the most helpful government informers in US Mafia history.”

Vitale was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to time served. And Vitale, who had pleaded guilty to 11 murders and a number of other mob related charges, was being placed in a witness protection program, the Post reported. He had served eight years.

Vitale “will live the balance of his life as a notorious and endangered prisoner, in a cell of his own creation, targeted by the very criminal organization of which he was once a leader,” U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said, according to the post.

Vitale helped put a number of mobsters behind bars including the boss of the Bonanno crime family Joseph Massino.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: al Qaeda’s Gift to the U.S. — Incompetent Missions

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda and its associates may not be known as benevolent organizations, but they do give gifts.

The failed “Underwear Bomber”. The failed “Times Square Bomber”. The failed “Shoe Bomber”. And now the failed attempt to deliver explosives on planes. All gifts.

The U.S. should be grateful for these opportunities in which no one gets hurt, but we learn about the shortcomings in our system. (Now we learn that this latest bid was one of the more competent efforts that failed).

Too bad there’s not a better way to figure out the flaws. And we can’t forever count on the al Qaeda B Team carrying out these incompetent missions.

So, let’s learn from the incidence, but let’s get more aggressive about  examining our transportation systems.  Obviously, there are plenty holes to plug.

Let’s not wait for al Qaeda to get lucky.

Weekend Series on Crime: Replacing FBI Director Louis Freeh

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqLvxdyyetY

(tip for watching this: you have to wait 15 seconds before video begins)

WEEKEND STORIES OF INTEREST