Showing posts from 2014

CIA’s queen of torture was used to create Zero Dark Thirty character

Recently released Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture featured a key character in the agency’s string of horrific misdeeds. Alfreda Frances Bikowsky is a career CIA officer, who remains in a senior position at the agency, having headed the Bin Laden Issue Station (also known as its code name, Alec Station) and the Global Jihad unit. She is a former Soviet analyst, who has worked in the CIA's Counterterrorist Center and in the Al Qaeda unit since the mid-1990s.

While the agency refuses to publicly name Bikowsky, her name was deduced by Salon reporters Rory O'connor and Ray Nowosielski, as well as a contemporary historian Kevin Fenton, in 2011. Bikowsky had been referenced in Jane Mayer’s book “The Dark Side,” by her middle name, Frances. As a supervisor and an analyst in the pre-911 world, Bikowsky dropped the ball when the CIA was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks.
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In the wake of the Sony hack, Russia buddies up to North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit Moscow in 2015, the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Dec. 19, 2014. North Korea’s reclusive leader would be celebrating the anniversary of the former Soviet Union's World War Two victory on May 9, 2015. Last month, Kim Jong Un sent his personal envoy to Moscow to further deepening ties between Russia and North Korea. If Kim accepts Putin’s offer, this will be his first public foreign visit since coming to power in December 2011.

Russia’s Gazprom wants to build a gas pipeline through North Korea, to provide natural gas exports to South Korea. Russia also seeks leverage in dealing with the West, by offering help in resuming stalled international talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. The talks were suspended after Pyongyang tested nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009. Russia’s leading mad-hatter ideologue Alexander Dugin advocated that Russia should be providing nuclear weaponry to North K…

Metropolitan Opera undeterred by Anna Netrebko fraternizing with terrorists

On December 16, 2014, President Obama signaled his intent to sign newly passed legislation that will expand sanctions against Russia and provide $350 million in arms and military equipment to Ukraine, as it continues to battle terrorist elements armed and empowered by Russia in eastern regions of Ukraine. “The president does intend to sign the piece of legislation that was passed by Congress,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.” Analysts opined that President Obama had little choice but to sign the legislation, in light of Putin’s outright aggression. Russia has continued to violate the terms of a Minsk agreement by providing military and material support to the terrorists/separatists in Ukraine. Obama is expected to sign the new legislation by the end of this week.
On November 17, 2014, the Metropolitan Opera finally responded to an inquiry about their upcoming opera performances starring Anna Netrebko - opera singer who landed herself in hot water, when she held up …

Minority Report in real life: how social media posts impact your threat rating

Whether you’re a young, proactive blogger, a prolific Facebook poster, an occasional Twitter user or a compulsive promulgator of cat photos, someone you don’t know is watching you. Social media activities are being meticulously recorded, scanned and organized to determine your “threat level” that is then transmitted to various law enforcement agencies.

For example, your local police department is likely using numerous tools and applications that might determine how you get treated during a routine traffic stop, or in response to your neighbor’s call about loud music. One such application, Beware, has been sold to police departments since 2012. It can be accessed on any Internet-enabled device, including tablets, smartphones, laptop and desktop computers, while responders are en route to, or at the location of a call.

This app explores billions of records in social media postings, commercial and public databases for law enforcement needs, churning out “risk profiles” in real time. ‘Bewar…

Jury awards $900,000 to man punched by sheriff's deputy over tinted windows

On December 11, 2014, a federal jury awarded $900,000 to Eduardo Cervantes for physical and emotional pain and suffering. Cervantes was punched in the face by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in a Maywood parking lot in 2010. He was sitting in his parked car outside a billiards hall, when two sheriff’s deputies approached him. Sheriff’s deputies Paul Cruz and Victor Cisneros wanted to cite Cervantes because his car windows were tinted.

According to the lawsuit, Deputy Paul Cruz ordered him to get out of the car. Both deputies became angry when Cervantes asked why he is being told to step out of the vehicle. Cervantes, who wears a prosthesis on his right leg, got out and complied with commands to face his vehicle and put his hands behind him. In spite of his cooperation and non-resistance, Deputy Victor Cisneros punched him, and both deputies then knocked him backward.
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Man pleads guilty to mailing 21 fake Anthrax/Ricin letters to public officials

On December 12, 2014, the Department of Justice announced that Brian Daniel Norton, age 59, of Cicero, New York, entered a guilty plea to two federal felony counts of conveying false information and hoaxes. He faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

During court proceedings, Norton admitted to mailing 21 death threat letters between 1997 and 2012. Most of the letters contained a white powder that he claimed to be either anthrax or ricin. One of the death threats, which was mailed in 1997, didn’t contain any powder and threatened the recipient with death by the AIDS virus.

Norton mailed his death threats to various government agencies, public officials, schools and television personalities.
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Former Border Patrol Agent sentenced to life in prison for murder, torture

On December 12, 2014, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that retired border patrol agent Nerio Celaya, 44, of Calexico, California has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the killing and torture of his cousin’s 29-year-old girlfriend, Lupe Fernandez, in 2010.

Celaya was found guilty of one count each of first degree murder and torture. Special circumstance allegation of torture was specifically investigated by the jury and found to be true. Celaya’s cousin, Louie Alex Mendoza, 38, of Sylmar, was also found guilty of murder and torture and sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
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Psychologist who devised CIA interrogation tactics resigned as Mormon bishop

Bruce Jessen (pictured on the left), one of the chief architects of the CIA's torture program, bemoaned the exposure that caused him to resign from his position as the bishop of his Mormon church in Spokane, Washington. On December 11, 2014, Jessen told Reuters that he had to quit after civil liberties and human rights activists criticized his past activities in the local newspaper. “This was due to concerns expressed about his past work related to interrogation techniques,” said Eric Hawkins, a national spokesman in Salt Lake City for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Local leaders met with Jessen and together determined that it would be difficult for him to serve as an effective leader in that position,” Hawkins added.

Former Air Force psychologists, Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, ran a company that received compensation of a whopping $81.1 million from the CIA, according to a U.S. Senate report released on December 9, 2014. Neither one of them had any experienc…

Russia Digest: ruble plummets, prostitutes and condom makers hike their prices

December of 2014 is proving to be a very interesting month for Russia-watchers. Western sanctions are taking their toll, devastating the country’s already weak economy. Russia’s Hamas-style activities in Ukraine carry an expensive price tag, as oil prices continue to fall and the ruble is close to turning into rubble. Russia’s central bank has used $100 billion worth of its $400 billion foreign reserves since July, 2014. These desperate attempts to prop up the country’s currency are failing, as the ruble continues to plummet. The ruble has lost more than 40% of its value against the dollar and 60% against the euro since the start of this year. On December 11, 2014 the central bank implemented the fifth rate hike this year, which raised interest rates to 10.5%.

So far, Russia’s central bank has refused corporate requests for subsidies to the private sector. Corporate leaders are warning that their companies may become insolvent without state support. Investors are expected to pull out a…

Los Angeles County’s unclaimed dead buried in a mass grave

Los Angeles County’s 1,416 unclaimed bodies were buried in a mass grave on December 10, 2014. They were cremated in 2011, but held by the county for three years, in hopes that the relatives would pick up the remains of their loved ones. LA County maintains an online database of unclaimed dead people, but it includes only the cases that went through the Office of the Coroner. That represents only about a third of all unclaimed deceased in Los Angeles.

The only complete list in existence is a handwritten ledger at the county cemetery in Boyle Heights. The county eventually plans to put the complete list online. The numbers of the unclaimed dead in Los Angeles County are staggering. The latest data reveals that for the year 2011 there were 843 unclaimed deceased men, as well as 431 women, 137 babies and two children. This includes at least 16 homicide victims.
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Los Angeles actor Dimitri Diatchenko boils roommate's pet rabbit, finds himself in hot water

Hollywood actor Dimitri Diatchenko portrayed Russian villains and tough guys in “G.I. Jane,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Bones,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “General Hospital” and many other film and TV productions. He recently decided to play the bad guy in real life. On December 9, 2014, Diatchenko was criminally charged with killing his female roommate’s pet rabbit and threatening to do the same to her.

In a scene reminiscent of “Fatal Instinct,” Dimitri Diatchenko skinned the bunny, Ella, whom he previously described as his roommate and “the chillest rabbit” ever. Last Sunday, bunny Ella became the innocent victim in the falling out between Diatchenko and his former girlfriend, Amie. After the pair stopped dating, they continued to live together. However, when Amie wanted Diatchenko to move out, he took it out on her pet.
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Terrorist sympathizer Anna Netrebko no longer the face of Austrian Airlines

According to opera singer Anna Netrebko's website, on December 9, 2014, Austrian Airlines was scheduled to launch a new advertising campaign, featuring Netrebko and Austrian Olympic gold medal-winning downhill skier Matthias Mayer. The campaign would run in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. In a gut-wrenching irony, Anna Netrebko is also a staunch supporter of the pro-Russian terrorists in Ukraine – the same band of rogues responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

On December 8, 2014, terrorist leader, pig farmer and a disgraced former MP Oleg Tsarov gleefully reported that Netrebko “accepted the flag of Novorossiya.” The nonexistent republic the terrorists strive to carve out of the Ukrainian land is the proverbial meat grinder, where “rebels” armed by Russia fight without a cause. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the beleaguered region as a festering sore, but disingenuously blamed the West for the continued bloodshed.
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American mother stabbed to death by burqa-clad woman in Abu Dhabi

On December 1, 2014, American mother of two was brutally stabbed to death by a burqa-clad woman in the public restroom of a shopping mall on Reem Island in the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi. The victim is a 37-year-old kindergarten teacher from the United States, who is the mother of 11-year-old twins. She was taken to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City to be treated for her injuries, but did not survive.

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Russian media doctors up a Fathead commercial for anti-Western propaganda

On November 28, 2014, Russian mainstream television channel Russia-1 aired a shocking video. The program claimed that by the first grade, Western children are forced to learn everything there is to know about sexual intercourse and are told to pick which gender they would like to be. Decrying the loss of traditional values in the Western society, the host proclaimed that Europe is obediently following the United States off the cliff.

Russia-1 proceeded to show the video, purportedly depicting an American boy being led to his bedroom by his father. The astonished child is subsequently shown a newly-decorated wall above his bed, depicting cartoon images of naked adult males, posing on their own and during sexual activities. The host angrily exclaims: “Is it appropriate for a child’s bedroom to look this way?”

The program’s guest commentator, Maria Mamikonyan of the Russian Parenthood Resistance movement, proceeded to add that Western societies are normalizing previously prohibited sexu…

Mickey Rourke wins a staged boxing match in Russia

On November 28, 2014, 62-year-old Mickey Rourke fought an exhibition match against 29-year-old Elliott Seymour in Moscow. It’s difficult to fathom what motivated the aging actor to participate in such a “match” against a decades-younger opponent. Rourke ended his original boxing career at the age of 21.

Mickey Rourke entered the auditorium a-la Burt Reynolds in “Striptease,” wearing a cowboy hat, a fringed red robe, gold-colored boxing gloves and a set of cowboy-shaped booties. Rourke wearily pranced about the stage, half-heartedly throwing a few air punches to impress the receptive Moscow audience. He bounced against the ropes and winked to the camera. Seymour, for his part, looked resigned to his pre-determined fate and did his best to keep a straight face.

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Obama pardoned more turkeys than people in 2014

On November 26, 2014, President Barack Obama has carried out the annual White House tradition by pardoning two turkeys. He extended the executive clemency to Mac and Cheese – two lucky birds that will now live out the remainder of their days on a farm in Virginia, instead of becoming Thanksgiving dinner.

President Obama referred to this tradition as "puzzling." Perhaps even more puzzling is the fact that in 2014, he pardoned more turkeys than people. The only other clemency extended by President Obama this year was the commutation of the sentence of a prisoner who was serving an additional term of three-and-a-half years in prison because of a clerical error. Ceasar Cantu, a convicted drug dealer from Katy, Texas, was sentenced at the wrong level of the sentencing guidelines. Instead of a mandatory 11-and-a-half year sentence, he was facing 15 years behind bars.
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Ferguson protesters in Los Angeles will be freed in time for Thanksgiving dinner

Los Angeles protesters, who remained in police custody after being arrested in connection with demonstrations against the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, Missouri, will be released in time for Thanksgiving dinner. On November 27, 2014, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck ordered that the approximately 90 people still jailed on Thanksgiving Day be released on their own recognizance.

“We have every legal right to keep them until they post bail," LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times, "but in light of the holiday … [Beck] called and said he wants everybody who is eligible for release to be released by dinner time." Before they can be released, protesters currently being held in jails, downtown Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley and South L.A. facilities, will have to sign a promise to appear in court. They won’t need to post bail. Any protesters with warrants out for their arrest will not be eligible for this release.

The Los Ange…

Colombian machete murderer removed from the United States

Pedro Nel Moreno-Romero, 51, was removed from the United States on November 24, 2014 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers in Miami, Florida. Moreno-Romero was convicted of aggravated murder in 2013 in Colombia and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment. He murdered a friend, then dismembered the body with a machete and discarded the remains in a plastic bag.

Moreno-Romero had been on the run since 2007. He fled Colombia the next day after committing the murder and illegally entered the United States at or near Hidalgo, Texas, in August 2007. He’s been living in the U.S. undetected for seven years. Moreno-Romero was finally apprehended and ordered removed by an immigration judge in May 2014. His subsequent appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals was denied in October 2014. Moreno-Romero was immediately taken into custody by Colombian authorities upon his arrival in Bogota.

Since 2009,…

Department of Homeland Security’s OIG report: murder, drugs and corruption

Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General recently released the second part of its semiannual report to Congress. In response to OIG’s investigations, the DHS declined to prosecute 111 cases, accepted 56 investigations for prosecution and achieved 56 convictions. OIG audits resulted in questioned costs of $59,424,677, of which $2,679,489 did not have supporting documentation. As a result of disallowed costs, the DHS recovered or de-obligated $32,743,847. OIG issued 14 reports, identifying $898,468,917 in funds that could be put to better use by the DHS.

OIG determined that the Department of Homeland Security cannot ensure it has sufficient personal protective equipment and antiviral medical countermeasures for a pandemic response. Previous OIG report, “DHS Has Not Effectively Managed Pandemic Personal Protective Equipment and Antiviral Medical Countermeasures,” found that the Department of Homeland Security is “ill-prepared for pandemic response.”

The OIG report exam…

Banana bandit: man arrested for pointing fruit at sheriff's deputies

A man in western Colorado was arrested and is facing a felony menacing charge, after two sheriff's deputies say he pointed a banana at them. Self-proclaimed comedian, Nathen Channing, 27, thought it would be funny to make law enforcement go bananas. Depending on the source, descriptions of this incident range from comical to “life threatening.”

The banana bandit is a resident of Fruitvale. He was taken into custody on November 23, 2014, after pointing a banana at a pair of Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies. Both law enforcement officials claim they initially believed that the piece of fruit was a handgun.

Tensions in the area were already high, as the arrest for banana menacing took place one day before a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson. In a widely criticized designation, Officer Wilson classified Michael Brown as “menacing” before he shot and killed him. Deputy Sheriffs Joshua Bunch and Donald Love, who mistook a banana for a handgu…

Los Angeles Council votes for handgun restrictions

On November 25, 2014, Los Angeles Council unanimously voted 11 to 0 to make residents lock up handguns or disable them with a trigger lock when not in use. Los Angeles lawmakers will now start drafting a city ordinance with the same requirements and bring it back to lawmakers for approval.

With this decision, Los Angeles is following in the footsteps of San Francisco. The San Francisco gun restrictions were challenged by gun owners, but were upheld by a federal appeals court earlier this year. City Councilman Paul Krekorian has argued that some Americans "think it is their God-given right to keep an unlocked and loaded firearm on their bedstand ... It is not. It is not their right. It is not responsible."

At the same meeting, Los Angeles Council unanimously voted in favor of new rules that require firearm vendors in the city to electronically send records of all ammunition sales to the Police Department. Any seller who fails to do so would be facing misdemeanor charges. Until …

Sony Pictures computer systems hacked

Sony Pictures Entertainment said its computer system is still down as of November 25, 2014, for the second day in a row, after a major hack paralyzed the computer systems of the film and television studio. The Amazing Spider-Man couldn’t help the staff of Sony Pictures, when they tried to log on to their computers and were greeted with an ominous warning. An image of a red skeleton appeared on the screen under, along with messages "Hacked By #GOP," reportedly short for "Guardians of Peace," and a list of threats. The warning said: "We've already warned you, and this is just a beginning … We’ve obtained all your internal data including your secrets and top secrets … We continue till our request be met ... If you don't obey us, we'll release data shown below to the world." As a precaution, Sony’s computers in Los Angeles were shut down, while the corporation is attempting to deal with the breach.

On day two of the hack, Sony’s bicoastal staff is …

Attorney hypnotized female clients into performing sexual acts at his office

On November 21, 2014, Ohio attorney Michael W. Fine agreed to the suspensionproposed against him by the Lorain County Bar Association. He is accused of hypnotizing female clients into performing sexual acts during professional meetings at his office. The unscrupulous attorney also reportedly used hypnosis on his clients inside conference rooms at the Lorain County Justice Center, while the women thought they were preparing for their court cases. Fine may have been inspired by the Woody Allen’s comedy, “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” in this unusual case that is infinitely stranger than fiction.

The first victim, identified only as Jane Doe #1, came to the Sheffield Village Police Department in September, 2014. She reported having no recollection of what happened during meetings with her attorney, who was handling a custody dispute case on her behalf. She strongly felt that something sexual was occurring without her consent, based on her physical sensations and the clothes that were c…

Robocops on patrol in California

New security robots are patrolling the streets of Silicon Valley, California. Soon, these 300-pound, five-foot tall robocops are expected to be everywhere. These futuristic-looking robots are called the Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machines. They were designed by Knightscope, a robotics company located in Mountain View, California. The K5s have no firepower, but they possess rudimentary artificial intelligence, can videotape suspects and their vehicles, alert the authorities and track suspicious activities in progress.

The K5 robots are equipped with microphones, speakers, cameras, laser scanners and sensors, as well as a laser navigation guide and an SOS alarm system that alerts the control center if anyone tries to tamper with the machine. These sophisticated robots have the ability to detect heat and odor. They can also detect the sounds of breaking glass or other loud sounds that might be associated with home burglaries or business break-ins. The K5's camera can recall up to …

Watercolor painting by Adolf Hitler auctioned off for $161,000 in Nuremberg

A watercolor painting of Munich's old city hall, which is believed to have been painted by Adolf Hitler in 1914, has been auctioned off for $161,000 at an auction in Germany to an anonymous buyer from the Middle East. The painting is entitled “Standesamt und Altes Rathaus Muenchen” (Civil Registry Office and Old Town Hall of Munich). It was sold at the Weidler auction house in Nuremberg, the site of the post-war Nuremberg Trials in 1945 and 1946.

The watercolor painting was sold along with the original bill of sale and a signed letter from Hitler's adjutant, Albert Bormann. The text of the undated Bormann letter states that the art in question appears to be "one of the works of the Fuehrer."
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Obamnesty ends Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities program

President Barack Obama’s executive immigration action, announced on November 20, 2014, will put an end to the six-year-old multimillion dollar enforcement program, Secure Communities. Under the program, local authorities shared digital fingerprints from everyone booked into jail with federal authorities, who searched the records to determine whether the arrestees were illegally present in the United States. Eighty-two percent of all illegal aliens deported from the interior of the U.S. in 2013 had been convicted of a crime. Many of them were identified through the Secure Communities program, which was greatly expanded by Obama’s former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

In a November 20, 2014 memo, Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Secretary, Jeh Johson writes: “The Secure Communities program, as we know it, will be discontinued. The goal of Secure Communities was to more effectively identify and facilitate the removal of criminal aliens in the custody of state and loc…

Russian website is live streaming webcams of unsuspecting victims worldwide

On November 20, 2014 The United Kingdom government, through the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), issued a shocking warning: live footage streaming from your webcam may be currently shown on a Russian website, which features video footage from thousands of unsuspecting victims all over the world.

If you didn’t change default settings on your computer, you too may be unwittingly starring in a creepy show, along with people in more than a hundred countries. Russian hackers infiltrated a number of systems and are live streaming webcam footage from bedrooms, hospitals, offices, baby monitor cameras, gyms, stores and bars. Nearly 5,000 of these feeds originate in the U.S., according to the BBC. About 2,000 feeds are coming from France, 1,500 from the Netherlands, 500 from the U.K. and thousands more from other countries.
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Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov charged with felony

On November 20, 2014, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Viatcheslav Leonidovich “Slava” Voynov was charged in connection with an alleged attack on his wife, Marta Varlamova, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. He faces one felony count of corporal injury to spouse with great bodily injury.

The government alleges that during an argument at the couple’s Redondo Beach home, Voynov caused his wife to suffer injuries to her eyebrow, cheek and neck. The injuries were serious and required medical attention at a local hospital, where Voynov brought his wife for medical treatment and was subsequently arrested.

Even after the felony charge was brought forth, the case remains under investigation by the Redondo Beach Police Department. If convicted as charged, Voynov faces a possible maximum sentence of nine years in state prison. He is a citizen of Russia and may be deported from the United States by the Department of Homeland Security, if convicted.
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V for Vicodin: married San Diego Police officers plead guilty to drug offenses

On November 19, 2014, two married San Diego Police officers have pleaded guilty to numerous criminal charges, which included burglarizing homes while on duty and running a hydrocodone distribution network. Bryce Charpentier, 32, and Jennifer Charpentier, 41, admitted to selling and furnishing a narcotic substance, possession of a firearm by an addict, conspiracy to commit a burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime: possession and sale of a controlled substance.

Both of them were fired from the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) as of the date of their guilty plea. Bryce, a six-year veteran of the SDPD, and Jennifer, an 18-year veteran, were arrested in June 2014, during a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department narcotics investigation. The pair went to see twelve different doctors, obtaining prescriptions for hydrocodone and re-selling medications online. According to the government’s filings, Jennifer obtained 71 prescriptions for numerous drugs and then traveled to 17 pharmacies to fi…

Star Wars: is Russian mystery object in space inspector or satellite killer?

Earlier this year, Russia launched a mysterious object into space. Recent orbital maneuvers of "Object 2014-28E" have raised concerns that the satellite may be utilized as a space weapon. It was launched along with three military communications satellites, but not declared as part of the launch. The object was originally thought to be space junk, but over the past several weeks satellite trackers have watched it perform a number of interesting maneuvers.

On November 17, 2014, Financial Times reported that the object’s movements are stoking fears over the revival of a defunct Kremlin project, “Istrebitel Sputnikov” (Satellite Killer). Russia previously scrapped this anti-satellite weaponry program, but its military officials have publicly stated that they would restart research in the event of a deterioration in relations with the US. Oleg Ostapenko, General Director of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said that as of 2010, Russia was again developing “inspection” …

Inmate and psychologist who loved him charged with threatening a murder witness

The FBI describes this case as “one of the more outrageous prison plots the FBI has investigated in recent memory.” An Ohio inmate—and the clinical psychologist who was in love with him—were indicted and charged with threatening a murder witness, along with three other accomplices. “I’ve seen a lot of creative inmates trying to get released,” said Special Agent Eric Rardain, who investigated the case out of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, “but never in my 22 years of law enforcement have I seen anyone go to this extreme.”

On October 16, 2014, the FBI announced that Nicholas Stanishia, 44, an Ohio prison inmate, clinical psychologist Marcia J. Weber, 46, of Loveland, Ohio, Martin Jay Wilson, 43, of Kansas City, Missouri, Jody Six, 40, an Ohio prison inmate and Anthony Vaughn, 41, an Ohio prison inmate were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with an interstate conspiracy to transmit threats to a witness.
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Desperate housewives of ISIS: Virginia woman arrested for lying to the FBI

On November 17, 2014, Heather Elizabeth Coffman, 29 of Henrico County, Virginia, made her first appearance in U.S. District Court in Richmond. She is charged with making a false statement regarding an offense involving international or domestic terrorism. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent, Coffman promoted ISIS on several Facebook accounts she maintained under various aliases. Court documents also accuse her of offering to help an undercover FBI agent connect with the terrorist group in Syria. When she was questioned by the authorities, Coffman lied, denying that she engaged in these activities.

Mark Henry Schmidt, Coffman’s defense attorney, said that his client was born and raised in the United States, lived with her parents and cared for her 7-year-old child. He seemed to blame the case on “Facebook going badly.” The FBI’s investigation of Coffman commenced when agents took note of her Facebook postings and sought search warrants to access her various accounts. In her …

Study finds that more than 1 million people in Russia live as modern day slaves

On November 17, 2014, the Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, released its latest slavery index. Estimated number of people in modern slavery globally is 35.8 million, with 61% of them living in India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Russia.

For the second year in a row, India was found to have the greatest number of slaves in the world, at 14.3 million people. Top five countries with the biggest numbers of people living in conditions tantamount to slavery:
India (an estimated 14.29 million enslaved people)China (3.24 million enslaved people)Pakistan (2.06 million enslaved people)Uzbekistan (1.2 million enslaved people)Russia (1.05 million enslaved people) The criteria used by the Walk Free Foundation takes into account the number of people born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labor. The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom with the…

Sheriff's officers arrested for smuggling phones, drugs to gang member inmate

Three San Mateo County, California Sheriff's Department officers, Michael Del Carlo, George Ismael and Juan Lopez, have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs, cellphones and other contraband to a gang member inside a detention facility. Lopez is a deputy, Del Carlo and Ismael are correctional officers at the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City. All of them have been charged with bringing an unauthorized communication device into the jail and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Lopez has been a sheriff’s deputy in San Mateo County for 26 years. Earlier this year, he challenged his boss, Greg Munks, running for the post of Sheriff. Del Carlo has worked for the county for 19 years and Ismael has 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer.

"The Sheriff's Office has hundreds of people who go to that jail. Any time you have a breach of security, such as bringing in contraband, that taints everything," said Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District Att…

Mexican drug cartel leader extradited to the US after importing tons of cocaine

On November 17, 2014, Department of Justice officials announced that Mexican drug kingpin Alfredo Beltran Leyva, also known as El Mochomo (The Desert Ant), was extradited to the United States from Mexico. He is one of the alleged leaders of the Beltran Leyva Organization, a Mexican drug-trafficking cartel that imported multi-ton quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States for decades.

According to the DEA’s Special Agent in Charge Hunt, “For years Alfredo Beltran Leyva, along with his brothers, was responsible for not only smuggling tons of cocaine to the United States, but also for the violence that has plagued the lives of Mexican citizens.”

According to government’s filings, between the early 1990s until his January 2008 arrest by Mexican law enforcement, Beltran Leyva headed the Beltran Leyva Organization with his brothers Hector Beltran Leyva and Arturo Beltran Leyva. During that time, this drug smuggling organization, working closely with the Sinaloa Cartel, s…

Putin: the pariah of G20

Russian President Vladimir Putin turned out to be the Anna Karenina of the Group of 20 major economies summit (G20), where he was ostracized by all Western leaders. On November 16, 2014, he was the first world leader to leave the G20 in a hurry, before the official conclusion of the summit. Putin claimed thathe wanted to leave early to catch up on sleep before going to work, as though attending the most important summit of world leaders was not part of his official duties. Putin faced intense criticism from Western leaders over Russia's unsavory involvement in Ukraine, but attempted to downplay it.

In Putin’s press statement following the G20 summit, he made no mention of Ukraine, until journalists started asking pointed questions. Putin’s initial responses included abrupt statements, such as “Ukraine hasn’t even come up yet” and “Ukraine was not discussed in any official context during the G20 discussions.” He was then forced to acknowledge that “[A]ll of the bilateral meetings de…

BB gun robber who shot a woman in the face gets 374 years in prison

Jose Lewis Avila, 33, shot a woman in the face with a BB gun as she held her child during one of a series of home invasion robberies in San Gabriel Valley, California. On November 13, 2014, Avila was sentenced to 374 years to life in prison. Avila’s crime spree included three robberies, one of which involved two victims, in Alhambra. Three of the attacks committed by Avila occurred in San Gabriel, one took place in Arcadia and another one transpired in Monterey Park. Avila’s hefty sentence is due in part to him being a third strike offender. He had gone to jail in 2005 for a previous string of robberies. Avila was paroled in 2011, only to embark on another crime spree.

In July 2014, Avila was convicted for nine counts of second-degree robbery, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime and one count of child abuse. Jurors also found true special allegations that Avila used a BB gun, deadly and dangerous weapon, and that he inflic…

New York City hired a con artist for Ebola clean-up

A recent BuzzFeed News investigation unearthed an unbelievable story: New York City officials awarded a government contract for Ebola clean-up to a con artist. Sal Pane, 32 boasted about his alleged experience, proclaiming: “I’ve been dealing with pathogens, bacterias, and terrorism types of anti-warfare for decades.” No one seemed to question the obvious implausibility of such a statement. “Twenty-seven years,” he told one radio station. “Not my first rodeo.” This would mean that Pane ventured into the business of hazardous material clean up at the tender age of four.

In fact, Pane turned out to be a mortgage scammer and a convicted felon, who duped a dead man’s grieving sister into selling her deceased brother’s business, along with his truck and performance record. When Pane and his Bio-Recovery crew showed up at the home of Dr. Craig Spencer, New York City’s first Ebola patient, they brought a truck bearing permit numbers that belonged to a dead man. Pane and Bio-Recovery have clai…

Rat poison found in pills linked to deaths at India’s sterilization camp

Tablets linked to the deaths of at least fifteen women at a government-run sterilization camp in Chhattisgarh, India, were likely contaminated with a chemical compound commonly used in rat poison, two senior state officials said on Saturday. On November 14, 2014, Chhattisgarh government seized tablets of various "substandard" drugs manufactured by Mahawar Pharma.

The government seized over 200,000 tablets of Ciprocin 500, as well as over 4 million other tablets. Police have arrested Ramesh Mahawar, managing director of Mahawar Pharma. In 2012, Mahawar Pharma was found to have produced sub-standard drugs, but it did not lose its license and was temporarily barred from manufacturing medications for a mere 90 days.

Preliminary tests of the antibiotic Ciprocin tablets were found to contain zinc phosphide. The antibiotics were handed out to women at a recent mass sterilization. In addition to fifteen deaths, around twenty women who attended the camp remain in intensive care. The de…

Anti-polygraph crusader indicted, entrapped by Department of Homeland Security

On November 13, 2014, Douglas Williams, 69, of Norman, Oklahoma, was charged in a five-count indictment in the Western District of Oklahoma with mail fraud and obstruction.

According to allegations in the indictment, Williams is the owner and operator of the website “” He marketed his training services to help people appearing for polygraph examinations before federal law enforcement agencies, federal intelligence agencies, and state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as people required to take polygraph examinations under the terms of their parole or probation.

The indictment reveals that Williams was entrapped in a sting by two undercover agents with the Department of Homeland Security.
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First non-citizen to be transported to the United States for Ebola treatment

Dr. Martin Salia, a citizen of Sierra Leone, who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to receive treatment. Dr. Salia is a green card holder (permanent U.S. resident). On November 13, 2014, government officials said that Dr. Salia will receive treatment for the deadly virus at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He is expected to arrive in the United States on Saturday.

Dr. Salia is the first non-citizen to be transported from West Africa for Ebola treatment in the United States. A hospital spokesman said that the patient would soon be evaluated for possible treatment.

Under the laws of the United States, spelled out in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a non-citizen could be deemed inadmissible on “health-related, security, criminal and labor certification grounds.” The Act states that: “Any alien who is determined (in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to have a communicable …

OIG report: New Orleans PD failed to investigate 1,111 sex crime calls

On November 12, 2014, the City of New Orleans, Louisiana Office of Inspector General released its report examining the handling of sex crime investigations by five Detectives in the Special Victims Section of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) over a three-year period. The report is replete with chilling details of justice being denied to numerous victims of sex crimes and violence, including infants.

Out of 1,290 sex crime-related calls for service that were assigned to the five detectives, only 179 contained supplemental reports documenting any additional investigative efforts beyond the initial report. The remaining 1,111 cases were not investigated.
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Dutch bitcoin entrepreneur is one of about 1,500 people injected with RFID chips

Dutch bitcoin entrepreneur, Martijn Wismeijer, has had two microchips containing the virtual currency injected into his hands, AFP reported on November 12, 2014. The chips are enclosed in a 2mm by 12mm capsule of "biocompatible" glass. They were injected by a professional, utilizing special syringe. The chips are meant to allow their carrier to serve as a “virtual wallet,” enabling him to make contactless payments.

RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips emit radio signals, using Near Field Communication (NFC). Each microchip can store up to 888 bits of information. Besides storing bitcoins, along with a smartphone, the chips can be programmed to perform other tasks. For example, they can be used to open doors electronically or turn off an alarm clock.

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Senior intel officer removed after stating that China is a military threat

Telling the truth can be a dangerous proposition for government workers and members of the military. On November 10, 2014, Navy Times reported that a senior Navy intelligence official Captain James Fanell, the director of intelligence and information operations at the U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), has been removed from that position by his boss, Admiral Harry Harris. Capt. Fanell was subsequently reassigned within the command. He is a California native and a career intelligence officer for nearly 29 years. Capt. Fanell was responsible for providing damage assessments for Pacific Fleet during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

Capt. Fanell was abruptly removed, after making comments that were considered to be too provocative and perhaps too honest. His insights about Chinese military hostility stirred up an international controversy. During his public appearance in February 2014, Capt. Fanell warned about recent Chinese amphibious exercises, which led to naval intelligence assess…

Department of Homeland Security allowed convicted terrorist to become US citizen

On October 10, 2014, Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 66, was convicted on immigration fraud charges for failing to disclose terrorism conviction to immigration officials. According to the indictment, Odeh was convicted in Israel for her role in the 1969 bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem. Those bombings were carried out on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ("PFLP"), a designated terrorist organization. Odeh and her co-conspirators placed multiple bombs at the British Consulate and in a supermarket. One of the bombs placed at the supermarket detonated, killing two people and injuring several others. A bomb placed at the British Consulate caused structural damage to the facility.

Israeli military authorities sentenced Odeh to life imprisonment, but she was released after serving 10 years, as part of a prisoner exchange. After her release, Odeh returned to the West Bank. In 1995, Odeh immigrated to the United States, in spite of her t…

Off-duty Border Patrol agent arrested after shooting civilian multiple times

On November 8, 2014, an off-duty Border Patrol agent John Demery, 40, has been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting a 27-year-old Adam Thomas in southwestern Riverside County, authorities said. Thomas had been shot by Demery multiple times at a Riverside County home in Hemet, about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Los Angeles, California.

The off-duty Border Patrol agent, John Demery, reportedly confronted the victim. Shots were fired following an argument, according to the Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the East Hemet residence on what was initially reported as an assault call. Upon their arrival, deputies found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Adam Thomas was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Demery works at the Border Patrol's San Diego Sector Newton-Azrak Station in Murrieta. Border Patrol’s San Diego office and the internal affairs unit of the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) a…

Russians will be paid to reject Apple, iPhone monument faces public destruction

Russia is still not done punishing the iPhone monument, which has been recently dismantled in St. Petersburg, Russia to combat “gay propaganda.” ZEFS (West European Financial Union) announced that it intends to carry out a public destruction of the memorial to Apple founder Steve Jobs in December 2014. The company plans to hold a public vote on the Internet, to make everyday citizens feel like they’re participating in the unilateral decision. The final determination will be made ​​before December 1, 2014.

In December, ZEFS will also unveil its plan to offer "massive compensation" for Russian citizens who publicly renounce the use of Apple products.

A memorial to Apple founder Steve Jobs has been recently dismantled in St. Petersburg, Russia, to combat “gay propaganda,” after Jobs’ successor, Tim Cook, came out as being gay. The structure in the shape of an iPhone was over six feet tall and featured an interactive screen with photos, videos and text about Jobs, Apple’s late c…