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Column: We Must Stop Glamourizing Mobsters

William Donati is an English professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and author of the just-released book: “Lucky Luciano: The Rise and Fall of a Mob Boss”

lucky luciano and bookBy William Donati
For ticklethewire.com

LAS VEGAS –– Hollywood was criticized in the thirties for films like Public Enemy and Little Caesar: Gangsters were portrayed too sympathetically complained citizens.

In modern times, we have the Godfather, Goodfellas, Scarface, and the Sopranos offered as popular entertainment. Motion pictures reflect cultural values. The recent film Dillinger was criticized for its moral ambiguity. The cops are just as rotten as the crooks. Is that true?

Do citizens believe that? If so, society is in deep trouble.

Of course, the real heroes are the police and prosecutors. Film audiences do not feel the actual pain criminals inflict as killers, extortionists, thieves, and drug dealers.

Read more »

2 Suspected Terrorists Headed to Somalia Busted at JFK Airport

jfk airport

jfk airport

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two New Jersey men were arrested late Saturday at JFK Airport as they prepared to head to Somalia to join up with the radical Islamic group Al Shabaab and  kill American troops overseas, the FBI announced Sunday.

Mahmood Alessa, 20, of North Bergen, N.J. and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, of Elmwood Park, N.J. had gone to JFK to take take separate flights to Egypt, with the final destination being Somalia,  the FBI said.

Authorities said a law enforcement team was at the airport, armed with arrest warrants, and waiting for the men. The arrest warrants were issued by a U.S. District Court judge in Newark.

The men, according to the FBI, listened to recordings of Anwar al-Awlaki, the spiritual Islamic leader who has reportedly has had many followers including the officer responsible for the Ft. Hood shootings.

Read more »

Congressional Bids for 3 Ex-U.S. Attorneys a Little Tricky

Patrick Meehan/doj photo

Patrick Meehan/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Politics can be a little tricky, and tricky it may be for three ex-Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney’s who are running as Republicans for Congress.

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane reports that the three U.S. Attorneys are “running in districts held by Democrats, the GOP candidates are betting that their prosecutions in cases ranging from illegal immigration to local corruption will trump questions about their connections to the Bush White House.”

“You’re wearing the white hat, protecting people and seeing justice done,” Patrick Meehan, a former U.S. attorney for southeastern Pennsylvania, told the Post in explaining the appeal of ex-federal prosecutors.

Besides, Meehan, the other two candidates are Thomas Marino, an ex-U.S. attorney for northeastern Pennsylvania, and Timothy Griffin, an ex-interim U.S. attorney in Little Rock.

The Democrats are calling them “Bush retreads”, the Post reported.

“Middle-class families will reject these Washington-insider Republican candidates for representing a return to the failed Bush agenda, and they won’t be able to hide from their dirty records,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Ryan Rudominer told the Post.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on History of Crime: The Hells Angels

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0-X1TA3u-o

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELpfo18e1to

Border Patrol Agent Pleads to Beating Mexican National at Arizona Border

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Tucson to assaulting a Mexican National in his custody, the Justice Department said.

Agent Eduardo Moreno admitted that on May 10, 2006, while on duty at the U.S. Border Patrol Processing Center in Nogales, Ariz., he kicked the man, struck him in the stomach with a baton, threw him down to ground and punched him without justification, authorities said.

“We place a great deal of trust in federal law enforcement officers, and the Civil Rights Division will aggressively prosecute any officer who violates the rights of others and abuses the power they are given to perform their critical duties,”  Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 12. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Under the plea agreement, authorities agreed to drop the charge that he made a false statement to federal agents.

Did Mexican Cartel Plan to Blow Up Dam Along Texas Border?

Falcon Dam/u.s. govt. photo

Falcon Dam/u.s. govt. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It could have been a major disaster.

The Houston Chronicle reports that authorities were scrambling last month to deal with a suspected plot by a Mexican drug cartel to blow up the 5-mile-long Falcon dam along the Texas border that would have endangered millions of peopole.

The paper reports that the plan may have been “derailed by a stepped-up presence by the Mexican military, which was acting in part on intelligence from the U.S. government, sources said.”

To read more click here.

A Loss in Blago Case Would Be a “Black Eye” to U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As the high-profile trial of the very chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich gets underway in Chicago, some can’t help but think what this case means to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, a star prosecutor who has publicly vilified the former politician.

The Chicago News Cooperative writes in the New York Times that ultimately a loss “would be a black eye for Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney who brought the case against him.”

“For more than three decades, the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago has made its reputation successfully prosecuting public servants,” the paper wrote. “It has sent to prison Cook County judges, scores of Chicago aldermen and other City Hall officials, as well as former Gov. George Ryan. But in terms of pure news media spectacle and national profile, the Blagojevich trial may be the biggest test yet for an office with a storied legacy.”

“The hobby of the office has been public corruption,” Scott Lassar, the United States attorney whom Mr. Fitzgerald succeeded in 2001, told the paper.

To read the full story click here.

Jose Conseco Says Fed Grand Jury into Roger Clemens Waste of Taxpayers’ Money

Jose Conseco/abc news

Jose Conseco/abc news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Jose Conseco, — who is described in the New York Daily News as a “now broke former ballplayer” — emerged from a grand jury in Washington on Thursday and had a few words about the investigation into whether former pitcher Roger Clemens perjured himself before Congress about taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

“It’s ridiculous,” Canseco said, after testifying two hours, the Daily News reported. “There’s got to be better ways to spend taxpayer money.”

The paper said he sharply criticized Clemen’s chief accuser Brian McNamee.

“He’s an absolute liar and I challenge him to a polygraph,” said Canseco, according to the Daily News. He said Conseco also never asked him for steroids.

Canseco also said  Clemens never asked him for steroids or told him he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

To read more click here.