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“Original Civil Rights Photographer” Was FBI Informant

cameraBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The late “original civil rights photographer” Ernest Withers snapped shots of history: the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot; King riding one of the first desegregated buses in Alabama.

But there was a little known side to the man who had a front row seat in the civil rights movement: He was an FBI informant, according to the Tennessee Commercial Appeal.

The paper reported that he marched with King and sat in on some of the civil rights movement’s sensitive strategy meetings.

He died in 2007 at age 85, the paper reported.

Sen. Trial Underway to Impeach Louisiana Fed Judge

Judge Thomas Porteous

Judge Thomas Porteous

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana appears to be in big big trouble.

A U.S. Senate impeachment trial began Monday in Washington to try and oust the presidentially-appointed judge, who is 63.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who heads five-member House team serving as prosecutors for the trial, said in his opening statement that Porteous, 63, has violated the public trust, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

“It is the unanimous view of the House of Representatives that his conduct is not only wrong but so violative of the public trust that he cannot be allowed to remain on the bench without making a mockery of the court system.” Schiff told the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee. according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

To read more click here.

Inspector Gen. Probing Justice Dept. Enforcement of Voter Rights

blackpantherptylogoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Inspector General is probing allegations that the agency’s civil rights division was racially discriminatory when it came to enforcing voting laws, the Washington Post reported.

The Post reports that the probe grows out of a voter intimidation case from 2008 in which members of the New Black Panther Party were charged with intimidating white voters in Philadelphia.

The members videotaped voters in front of the polling place, dressed in military-style uniforms who allegedly yelled out racial slurs. The Obama Justice Department eventually abandoned the case, triggering an outcry from conservatives that the Obama administration had failed to protect the rights of white voters.

The Post reported that Inspector General Glenn Fine wrote a letter to Congressional members saying he wasn’t investigating the New Black Panther case specifically but was instead looking into how the Justice Department enforces voting rights laws.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Stats Show Violent Crime Down for 3 Years in Row

crime 2009By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Despite a sour economy and disturbingly high unemployment, property crime dropped in 2009 for the seventh year in a row, according to FBI statistics released today. Violent crime also declined for the third consecutive year.

The FBI statistics show the murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate dropped by 7.3 percent from 2009 compared to 2008 and robberies slipped by 8 percent. Aggravated assaults dipped 4.2 percent, and rape dropped by 2.6 percent.

The FBI said there were an estimated 1.3 million violent crimes reported in 2009 and 9.3 million property crimes.

Criminologist Lawrence Kobilinsky, chairman of the Department of Sciences at New York’s John Jay College, credits the drop to improved police methods, including use of DNA and crime databases to solve burglaries and similar crimes that are often perpetrated by people who “commit 10, 20, 30 burglaries before they’re caught.”

To read more click here.

Underwear Bomber Hints He Might Plead Guilty; Also Fires his Attorneys

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The so-called “underwear bomber” who allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane showed up in chains today in a federal courtroom in Detroit and hinted that he might want to plead guilty to some charges, according to newspaper reports.

Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 24, also fired his court-appointed attorneys, saying they weren’t representing his best interests, the reports said. He will now represent himself.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds asked Abdulmutallab a series of questions to which he responded “yes, I understand,” according to the Detroit Free Press. She told him he was making an unwise decision but said she would appoint standby lawyers if necessary, the Free Press reported.

“In my opinion, you would be far better defended by a trained lawyer then by yourself,” Edmunds told Abdulmutallab.

To read more click here.

Homeland Security to Test Improved Eye Scanners

Beauty female eye with curl long false eyelashesBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Futuristic law enforcement equipment  keeps improving.

The latest: Improvements in iris scan technology that can read people’s eyes to identify them, USA Today reports.

It’s considered a quicker alternative to  fingerprinting.

USA Today reports that the Department of Homeland Security will run a two-week test in October of commercially sold iris scanners at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas. It will be used on illegal immigrants.

The previous generation of eye scanners had to capture images from just a few inches away. But USA Today reports that the new ones can capture images from six feet away.

The ACLU has concerns.

lawyer Christopher Calabrese fears that the cameras could be used covertly. “If you can identify any individual at a distance and without their knowledge, you literally allow the physical tracking of a person anywhere there’s a camera and access to the Internet,” ACLU lawyer Christopher Calabrese told USA Today.

Underwear Bomber Due in Court; His Attys Try to Get Plea Deal

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The infamous underwear bomber who tried blowing up a plane arriving in Detroit on Christmas day last year is due in court Monday, the Associated Press reported.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria is expected to appear before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in downtown Detroit, AP reported. She’s expected to set a trial date.

AP reported that defense lawyers filed a court papers last week saying they had talked to prosecutors on “multiple occasions” about a possible plea agreement. The U.S. attorney’s office has declined to comment, AP reported.

“Making a plea deal would send the wrong message. … They have enough evidence to put Mr. Abdulmutallab in prison for life,” Shama Chopra, who was on the plane, and husband Ray Chopra of Montreal said in an e-mail, according to AP.

To read more click here.

Mexican Marines Capture Drug Kingpin “El Grande”

mexico-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Amid the seemingly endless stream of depressing news out of Mexico involving violence and drugs comes a little bit of good news.

The Associated Press reports that Mexican Marines in the central state of Puebla on Sunday captured Sergio Villarreal Barragan, leader of the embattled Beltran Leyva drug cartel. Known as “El Grande”, he was on the country’s most-wanted fugitives list.

AP reports that he was captured with two accomplices. The raid involved 30 Navy marines, five vehicles and a helicopter.

“This is a new and resounding blow by the federal government against crime, given the high rank and dangerousness of this person inside one of the country’s most extensive criminal organizations which has been deeply weakened,” government security spokesman Alejandro Poire said in a statement, according to AP.

To read more click here.