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Review: Johnny Depp Gives ‘Riveting, Rattlesnake Performance’ in ‘Black Mass’

Scene from "Black Mass."

Scene from “Black Mass.”

By Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

Ice-cold. Dead eyes. Demonic laugh. His face a mask you can’t read until he’s up in yours. Then run. That’s Johnny Depp giving everything he’s got in a riveting, rattlesnake performance as South Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in Black Mass. The FBI finally grabbed this Osama bin Laden of gangsters in 2011. The Irish mobster had been hiding in plain sight since 1994. Now 86, Bulger molders in prison, found guilty of 11 of the 19 murders with which he’d been charged.

Jack Nicholson did a fictional take on Bulger in 2006’s Oscar-winning The Departed (while a fugitive, Bulger reportedly sneaked in to see the film). Black Mass, smartly directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), casts a wide if hardly deep net, since the tentacles of Bulger’s tale could fill a mini-series or five. The script, by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, is based on the 2000 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. And an unholy alliance it truly was.

Bulger had known FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) from the Boston hood. It’s Connolly who persuades his fellow Southie to turn FBI informant in return for help in crushing the Italian Mob. Bulger got the best of that deal, leaving the FBI boss (Kevin Bacon) fuming. Edgerton excels at detailing the dread eating at Connolly; the dread also infects his ethical wife, Marianne (a superb Julianne Nicholson), whose quiet scene with Depp instills more terror than a hail of bullets.

But you get the bullets, too, and the gore, especially when Bulger lieutenant Stephen Flemmi, expertly slimed by Rory Cochrane, is on the scene. And duck when Bulger turns his gun on informant Brian Halloran, played with bug-fuck lunacy by Peter Sarsgaard.

To read more click here.

Bentley-Driving Preacher Convicted of Using Day Care Grants to Fuel Lavish Lifestyle

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury on Wednesday convicted a Bentley-driving preacher on 13 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and lying to the FBI, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Herman Jackson, who once warned a federal judge about the “wrath of God,” was taken into immediate custody because of his previous behavior while out on bond.

The jury also convicted his wife, Janetta Faria, of all five fraud counts against her.

As the leader of the Ark of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple, Jackson, 39, submitted false documents to obtain state Child Care Assistance Program subsidy payments for three Chicago-area child care centers.

Jackson used the money to subsidize his lavish lifestyle.

Border Patrol Agent Charged in 2012 Shooting Death of Mexican Teenager

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who killed a Mexican teenager in a cross-border shooting was charged with second-degree murder, CBS News reports. 

Lonnie Swartz was indicted by a federal grand jury, an attorney for Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez’s family said.

“The Elena Rodriguez Family is grateful to the DOJ (Department of Justice) for this first step in the pursuit of justice, and remain steadfast in their resolve to seek full transparency from the U.S. Border Patrol on behalf of Jose Antonio,” Parra said.

Swartz’s attorney said he expects his client to plead not guilty on Oct. 9.

Swartz said his life was in danger when he shot the 16-year-old on Oct. 10, 2012, when he said the teenager was among a group of rock-throwers.

His family said Swartz wasn’t throwing rocks and was walking home from a basketball game when he was shot about 10 times.

Border Patrol Release 14-Year Fugitive Before He Could Be Extradited

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After 14 years, authorities finally captured Luis Golberto-Molina, a fugitive wanted in Colorado for violating his felony probation from a 1998 burglary case.

Trouble is, Border Patrol agents released him after catching him trying to cross the border illegally into the U.S., ABC 7 reports. 

Yuma County authorities were incensed.

“The US Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute him for his aggravated illegal entry into the U.S., despite the fact that he still had an active warrant out of Colorado,” the Yuma County Undersheriff Adam Wills.

“A representative from CBP’s only response was, ‘We’ll get him next time,'” Wills stated.

Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day added, “It’s disappointing to say the least that CBP and ICE released this wanted felon after he had committed yet another crime by attempting to enter the country illegally, and after contacting my office to confirm we would extradite on this warrant.”

Secret Service Takes Extraordinary Steps to Protect Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

By Seve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hotels will be equipped with bullet-proof glass. Government snipers will be placed on rooftops. And mailboxes will be removed along parade routes.

Those are among the likely safeguards taken to protect Pope Francis during his U.S. visit., International Business Times reports. 

Joseph Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, even traveled to Italy in June to prepare for the pontiff’s visit.

“Facial recognition software will definitely be being used in any area where the Pope will be,” Ronald Kessler, the author of “The First Family Detail” and “In the President’s Secret Service,” told the International Business Times. “They’ll remove mailboxes that could have explosives along parade routes, seal manhole covers, protect the underside of the popemobile and stake out evacuation areas.”

So far, authorities said there have been no credible threats.

Other Stories of Interest

Plans to Build New FBI Headquarters Is Delayed over Dispute Among Agencies

Current FBI Headquarters

Current FBI Headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s plans to move into a new headquarters has hit a snag over a dispute involving the bureau, Office of Management and Budget and GSA, The New York Times reports. 

The dispute stems from how the federal government is going to pay for the 2.1-million-square-foot headquarters in one of three Washington D.C. suburbs.

As a result of the disagreement, the next step of releasing the second request for site proposals and draft environmental impact statements have been delayed.

“The fundamental problem with these federal real property assets is that there’s no money to replace and modernize them,” said Daniel M. Tangherlini, who was the administrator of the G.S.A., the government’s landlord, until he left for the private sector in February. “But there is also no money to leave them the way they are.”

The current headquarters is literally crumbling and can only house about half of the headquarters staff.

Did FBI Agent Swipe Some of Millionaire Heiress’ Fortune After 1977 Murder?

fbi badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A millionaire heiress was murdered in 1977, and investigators found her cash buried in an Arizona desert.

According to the Indianapolis Star, an FBI agent who was investigating the case may have stolen a large chunk of her money and hidden it in a Swiss bank account, according to the Indianapolis Star. 

During the investigation, about $1.6 million of Majorie Jackson’s fortune went missing after she was fatally shot inside her Indianapolis home.

Investigators found a lot of her money buried in an Arizona desert.

“I’m not accusing the FBI agent of anything,” said Steve Koers, a nephew of Jackson and co-executor of her estate. “But it sounds like there could be something to it, so I think it is something that should be looked into.”

‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Girlfriend Refused – Again – to Testify about Time with Boston Mobster

Catherine Greig

Catherine Greig

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s girlfriend once against refused to testify about the time the couple spent in hiding, the New York Post reports.

As a result, Catherine Greig, 64, was indicted for contempt of court on Tuesday.

Authorities want to know who helped Bulger while he was on the lam for 16 years.

“Catherine Greig has yet again failed to do the right thing,” said Boston FBI agent Joseph Bonavolonta in a press release. “Her refusal to testify has hindered the FBI’s efforts to seek justice for the victims of (Bulger’s) crimes.”

Greig, who already is serving an 8-year sentence in connection to Bulger, could serve more time for refusing to testify.