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Border Patrol Agent Killed in Car Crash on Way Home in Texas

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was killed in a car accident while headed home from work in Texas, KFOX14 reports. 

Jose Daniel Barraza, who was assigned to the Big Bend sector in Marfa, Texas, rear-ended a semi with his Ford F-150 on Interstate 10.

Barraza was wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Barraza, who was on his way home and was on duty, had been an agent with the Big Bend sector since August 2008.

The driver of the semi was injured.

Other Stories of Interest

Parker: The DEA’s Opportunity to Legalize Hemp

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The DEA announced recently a re-examination of the Schedule I classification of marijuana. This most restrictive classification is reserved for substances which have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Marijuana’s classification in the federal system is anomalous considering that 23 states have legalized it for medical purposes. The states have taken this action even though there has been limited medical research supporting that use. Older research used by legalization proponents was based on the greatly reduced psychoactive content of the substance thirty or forty years ago.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Drug Administration have made recommendations to DEA on reclassification, but these recommendations have not been made public. Advocates of reclassification argue that making it a Schedule II drug would permit more research on its benefits, if any, as a medicine. More research may well also point out the public health dangers it poses. A decision is expected at mid-year.

This review provides an excellent opportunity to re-examine the treatment of hemp as the same schedule as marijuana. There is a substantial argument that hemp should be de-classified entirely because of the host of potential legitimate uses it could have.

The hemp plant has a long history of use around the world. It was used in the Neolithic Age in China to make paper more than 10,000 years ago. Its hardy nature and versatility spread its cultivation until it became one of the most produced agricultural plants in the world. Its uses ranged widely from ropes on ships, clothing, food, and dozens of other products.

It is claimed that Columbus’s ships’ riggings, the Gutenberg Bible, the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was written, and the first American flag were all made of hemp products. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers.  During World War II hemp was used to make uniforms and for other military products. The government considered it so important to the war effort that it produced a film entitled “Hemp for Victory” in 1942.

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Hemp’s industrial future crashed in 1972 with its inclusion with marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance making it illegal to grow, sell or possess. There was limited scientific understanding of the psycho-activity of Cannabis varieties in 1972 and, even if that had been known, the difference of THC content between the two was not as dramatic as it is today. The THC content of hemp is .3%. Although marijuana plants averaged about 1-2% in the 1970s, they can easily exceed 20% today. Plus research claims that hemp contains which some scientists believe has an opposing effect both pharmacologically and behaviorally to THC. But these conclusions were unknowns in the 1970s. Few believe hemp poses a risk of abuse today.

Whether it was a reasonable policy at the time to prohibit the production of hemp is subject to debate. Perhaps today’s retrospective analysis of hemp’s aborted future is exaggerated. Maybe hemp’s day was essentially done, and it would have had limited impact in a more complex world of synthetics and agri-business.

But today 30 countries in the world still allow industrial hemp cultivation, and some, like France, Great Britain and Canada, report that in the last two decades it has made a resurgence and that its industrial use having increased by several times. Canadian farmers in particular would be unhappy if their southern neighbor lifted its prohibition. Hemp enthusiasts today claim that the product has an unlimited economic future.

The Agriculture Act of 2014 made it legal for universities to cultivate hemp for research purposes. Twenty-eight states have, likewise, authorized this limited use. This research has demonstrated the utility of hemp in the production of textiles, lotions, shampoo, and many other potential purposes. As renewable energy it is said to reverse the greenhouse effect.

There are factors on both sides on the issue of whether to re-classify marijuana as Schedule II. One factor in favor is that the facilitation of more research may point out the downside to legalization. As a dozen or so of these columns have reported,   recent research supports the conclusion that regular use has serious negative health consequences, especially for young brains.

Whatever the decision on re-classification, this time provides an opportune moment for DEA to legalize hemp. It will benefit farmers, industrialists, consumers and environmentalists. And it will give DEA some much needed credibility in this confusing and often inaccurate public debate over the legalization of marijuana.

FBI-Themed Stripper with Replica Assault Rifle Causes Alarm in Germany

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A male stripper caused alarm in Frankfurt’s red-light district after he was spotted with what appeared to be an assault rifle and bullet-proof vest emblazoned with “FBI.”

“A significant number” of police were called to the area Saturday night, NBC News reports.

Turns out, the 30-year-old Hungarian man was table-dancing and wearing a costume.

The gun was a plastic replica “but had deceiving similarities to a G36 assault rifle,” police said.

The stripper was allowed to perform after a delay.

“Prosecutors in Frankfurt now have to evaluate whether the possession of the rifle replica violates German gun laws,” Frankfurt police spokesman André Sturmeit told NBC News.

FBI Honors 56 Individuals, Organizations for Contributions to Education, Prevention of Crime

FBI award recipients, via FBI.

FBI award recipients, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI honored 56 individuals and organizations for their “extraordinary” contributions to education and the prevention of crime at the bureau’s headquarters on Friday.

Director James Comey presented the Community Leadership Award, which has been given annually since 1990.

The idea is to “publicly honor those who have gone above and beyond the call to service by tirelessly working to make their own cities and towns a better and safer place for their fellow residents.”

“They are united by a single thing—an effort to do good,” Comey said of the recipients.

Click here to see the list of honorees. https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2016/april/directors-community-leadership-awards-presented

College Student, Iraqi Refugee Removed from Plan for Using Traditional Arabic Greeting

Southwest Airlines plane.

Southwest Airlines plane.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A college student and refugee who fled Iraq after his father was killed by Saddam Hussein, was pulled from a Southwest flight and questioned by the FBI for using a traditional Arabic greeting, The Daily Californian reports. 

Khairuldeen Mahkzoomi was on a flight from Los Angeles to Oakland when it was reported that he said the phrase, “inshallah,” meaning “if God is willing,” to his uncle over the phone.

A passenger reported hearing Mahkzoomi say the word “shahid,” which means martyr.

Mahkzoomi was removed from the plane and interrogated by the FBI.

“The way they searched me and the dogs, the officers, people were watching me and the humiliation made me so afraid because it brought all of these memories back to me,” Mahkzoomi told the Daily Californian. “I escaped Iraq because of the war, because of Saddam and what he did to my father.”

The airline company responded: “We regret any less than positive experience on board our aircraft. … Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind.”

Homeland Security: Uninstall Quicktime on Windows PC Because of Hacking Vulnerabilities

quicktimeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland security officials and a top cybersecurity farm are warning Windows PC users to uninstall Apple’s Quicktime video player because bugs could be used to launch attacks on computers, Fox News reports. 

Authorities discovered bugs in the software that make it vulnerable to attacks.

Apple, however, is not issuing security updates for Quicktimes for Windows, the Trend Micro security firm said.

Experts have not seen any hacking cases yet.

“The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows,” DHS’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team said. 

Apple has not commented publicly on the issue.

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime History: NY Mobster Albert Anastasia

FBI Director Announces Several New Management Assignments At Headquarters and In The Field

fbi logo large

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey recently announced a wave of new management assignments.

According to an FBI press release, the new assignments include:

Carl Ghattas, Assistant Director for the Counterterrorism Division

Carl Ghattas has been named the assistant director for the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ). Most recently, Mr. Ghattas served as the special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division at the Washington Field Office. In his new role, Mr. Ghattas will oversee all the FBI’s counterterrorism investigations.

Hayden Temin, Assistant Director for the Resource Planning Office

Hayden Temin has been named assistant director for the Resource Planning Office. Ms. Temin most recently served as the section chief of the Performance and Strategy Section in the Resources Planning Office.

Stephen Richardson, Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigative Division

Stephen Richardson has been named assistant director for the Criminal Investigative Division, where he will replace Joseph Campbell, who is retiring in April after 25 years of service to the FBI. Most recently, Mr. Richardson served as the assistant director for the Operational Technology Division at FBIHQ.

John Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, San Francisco Division

Mr. Bennett has been named special agent in charge of the San Francisco Division. Most recently, Mr. Bennett served as the section chief of the Digital Forensics and Analysis Section in the Operational Technology Division, where he led the establishment of scientific standards for digital media exploitation.

Marlin Ritzman, Special Agent in Charge, Anchorage Division

Marlin Ritzman has been named as the special agent in charge of the Anchorage Division. Most recently, Mr. Ritzman was the section chief of the Transnational Organized Crime–Western Hemisphere Section in the Criminal Investigative Division.