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Posts: 8,274
Reply with quote  #26 

Shrimp Boy Chow trial: FBI agent grilled about undercover role


Posted: 12/07/2015

SAN FRANCISCO -- The lead FBI undercover agent in the Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow investigation returned to the witness stand on Monday, pressed by defense lawyers about whether he played a role in encouraging a hit on a rival of the reputed Chinatown crime ring.

The agent, known by the fake name of "David Jordan," spent years cozying up to Chow and his associates in building a sweeping racketeering case that ultimately netted dozens of targets, including former state Sen. Leland Yee. But as the racketeering trial stretches into its third week, Chow's lawyers are now devoting days of cross-examination to trying to discredit the agent and the government's tactics.

In the latest move, Curtis Briggs, one of Chow's lawyers, pressed Jordan about whether he in 2012 encouraged Andy Li, a Chow associate, to take part in murdering a gang rival, Jim Kat Tong, who was found shot to death with his wife in Mendocino County in 2013. The jury heard a tape recording of the undercover agent and Li in a San Francisco bar discussing Chow and Tong. Li has pleaded guilty to racketeering and is expected to testify for the government in the trial.

Referring to Chow as "Dai Lo," Cantonese for big brother or boss, the agent tells Li: "The Dai Lo is never going to ask anybody to do anything. You just gotta do it."

Briggs repeatedly asked Jordan if he encouraged Li, a known enforcer for Chow, to murder Tong, but the agent insisted he was only "gathering intelligence" on the threat. Jordan posed as an East Coast mafia businessman during the five-year undercover probe.

"It was intended to garner intelligence, that's all," Jordan told the jury of his conversation with Li.

The murder allegation is a key part of the government's sweeping racketeering indictment against Chow, who also faces another charge that he was involved in the murder of Allen Leung, his predecessor as

Posts: 8,274
Reply with quote  #27 
2 stories



FBI joins wide-ranging probe at Lincoln Hills
Some staff at Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma are under investigation for possible crimes ranging from second-degree sexual assault of a child to intimidation of witnesses and other misconduct.

Some staff at Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma are under investigation for possible crimes ranging from second-degree sexual assault of a child to intimidation of witnesses and other misconduct.

What happened at the state juvenile detention facility? The panel talks about the latest developments and whether there will be any political repercussions.
JS on Politics, 12/10: Fallout from the raid at Lincoln Hills detention facility
Related Coverage

Lincoln Hills probe focuses on sexual assault, abuse, misconduct

Irma— Agents of the Federal Bureau Investigation are now involved in the sweeping investigation into alleged crimes at a troubled state prison for juveniles, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The presence of the federal agents, who join dozens of state investigators and attorneys, underscores the serious and broad scope of the probe at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys. Authorities are looking into a range of potential crimes, including second-degree sexual assault, physical child abuse, and intimidation of victims and witnesses.

The sources, who spoke under condition of anonymity because the probe is still ongoing, said they couldn't give more details about the extent of the FBI's role. A FBI spokesman declined comment.

"With respect to Lincoln Hills, we have no comment," spokesman Leonard Peace said.

Also this week, interviews with multiple employees at the prison revealed that Lincoln Hills workers have been put on paid leave following their involvement in incidents in which youth offenders suffered broken arms or wrists.

But at least one staff member who was with an inmate when his wrist was broken recently remains on the job, workers at Lincoln Hills School for Boys said.

In some cases, workers have been put on leave without being told why. Some believe the incidents that are being questioned occurred years ago in some instances.

Court records show state authorities are investigating a

In opening the John Doe probe Oct. 22, Lincoln County Circuit Judge Robert Russell found that there was "reason to believe" that those crimes and several more — child neglect, abuse of prisoners, strangulation and suffocation, using pepper spray to cause bodily harm or discomfort, tampering with public records and misconduct in public office — had been committed.

In the wake of a weekend raid by state agents at this secure juvenile school 30 miles north of Wausau, interviews are revealing the complex factors that contributed to the toxic environment at Lincoln Hills. Those with firsthand knowledge say staff and students didn't have an environment where they could follow the rules and in turn be sure they would be safe and treated fairly.

At the facility, some youth have attacked other youth and staff; some workers have assaulted youth; superiors have been unwilling or unable to take the actions and provide the resources needed for a safe prison; and a racial disconnect has complicated the interactions between rural Wisconsin workers and urban youth offenders.

In one case, a Muslim teenager from Milwaukee had trouble convincing staff to allow him have a Qur'an, according to that former offender and a staff member who worked directly with him.

That man, 21-year-old Andrew Edwards of Milwaukee, today has a wife and child, works as an independent building contractor and has a clean adult record. But he still remembers time at Lincoln Hills in 2011 and 2012 when he says he was scared of staff and of other youth.

"We look back on it and say, 'We went through some s...,' " Edwards said of himself and other former inmates. "It's stuff that I'm still getting past."

Corrections spokeswoman Joy Staab has only commented about a few of the allegations that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has passed on to her and made no comment Wednesday or Thursday. But on Tuesday she said the agency wants to keep youths and staff safe.

"Due to the ongoing investigation, DOC is limited on our ability to comment on specifics regarding the investigation," Staab said.

In interviews, workers said they were routinely directed to go into cells without following department policies that require staff to wear protective gear and the incidents to be videotaped. The workers agreed to speak with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the condition that they not be named because of a Department of Corrections policy that bars them from speaking to the media.

Patrol officers have to go into offenders' rooms to remove contraband items or to move the students to other areas when they are being disruptive. When they do that, a supervisor is supposed to be present, the room entry is to be videotaped and those going in are supposed to wear helmets, masks and protective gear.

Supervisors are almost always present when staff go into rooms, but the incidents are rarely recorded and the protective equipment is rarely worn, staff said. One worker said he had only been required to follow those policies once in 10 years.

"When you expect staff to respond, they should have the appropriate training and gear," said Mark Towne, a retired longtime Department of Corrections official with three family members on the Lincoln Hills staff.

Inmates live in cottages scattered around the prison's campus. Two youth counselors oversee each cottage, which hold about 50 inmates each.

Workers said dangerous fights among the offenders are common, with multiple kids sometimes ganging up on one or two others. The patrol officers said they typically respond to such emergencies two to four times each shift — and sometimes much more often than that.

When assaults or disruptions happen, the offenders go to a one inmate per room "security cottage," but after a few days the youths return to their regular rooms. Long-term staff said the stays are much shorter than in years past, when inmates could be put in the security cottages for weeks at a time.

In part, they are sent for shorter stays now because they have to make room at the security cottage for other offenders who are acting out.

"They're emboldened because they've gotten away with so much for so long." Towne said.

Meanwhile, officials felt pressure over how much time offenders were spending in school, said former teacher and librarian Kelly Knudsen.

Officials from Milwaukee County — where many of the offenders come from — raised concerns about how much time they spent in their dorm rooms, Knudsen said. In response, Wendy Peterson, the educational director and later deputy superintendent, and Sue Holt, the teacher supervisor, told teachers to focus on "quantity (classroom time) over quality."

They advised showing Hollywood movies in class, said Knudsen and another current teacher.

"I didn't go to school for four years to show a movie," said Knudsen.

Peterson and Holt didn't return phone calls.

Edwards, the former youth resident of Lincoln Hills, praised Knudsen's work with the youth, saying that she was one of the staff members that he did feel safe around. Edwards said he did two stints at Lincoln Hills after being charged for being a party to an armed robbery and for not keeping the terms of his initial release.

His juvenile records are sealed and he has a clean record as an adult.

Edwards said he had a monthslong struggle to convince Lincoln Hills officials that he is a practicing Muslim who wanted a Qur'an and to be able to keep certain dietary restrictions such as fasting on holy days.

"I constantly had to fight for my rights while I was there," Edwards said.

Knudsen said students who claimed to be Muslim came under scrutiny because some wanted the Qur'an or other Muslim materials because some gangs associate with the faith. She confirmed that Edwards — who she had no doubts was genuinely Muslim — had difficulties getting his own Qur'an and wearing a cap traditionally used by Muslims.

To save money in the June 2011 budget, Walker and GOP lawmakers shut down the youth correctional institutions Ethan Allen School in the Town of Delafield and Southern Oaks Girls School in Union Grove. As part of that change, the juvenile offenders from those closed institutions, including many from southeast Wisconsin, were moved across the state to Lincoln Hills and its sister school, Copper Lake School for Girls.

At the time, Andrews said he was transferred from Ethan Allen to Lincoln Hills and noticed a big difference. At Ethan Allen, some of the staff were minorities that he could connect with, he said, but that wasn't true at Lincoln Hills, where it was also hard to contact family members, he said.

Racial epithets were used by some staff to students and from some students to staff, Andrews said.

Ryan Mendez, a former teacher from Lincoln Hills who left for a different job, said he also heard racially disparaging remarks from staff, calling it a "toxic environment." He recalled a time a co-worker joked about "hunting" African-Americans by using fancy car rims as bait.

Randy Hahn, a former social worker at Lincoln Hills, also saw a cultu



An Arlington County Circuit Court judge sentenced Spicocchi to 13 years and suspended seven of them.

FBI Official Gets Six Years

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In a courtroom crowded with his friends from law enforcement, a former FBI official was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison for torturing his girlfriend at knifepoint and gunpoint during a six-hour ordeal in her Crystal City high-rise apartment.

Carl L. Spicocchi, 55, a 19-year FBI veteran who had run the Toledo office and was on temporary assignment in Washington, pleaded guilty in Arlington County Circuit Court last year to two felony counts of abduction and using a firearm in the Aug. 23 attack.

"This obviously was a horrific crime," Circuit Court Judge James F. Almand said. "It requires a substantial sentence and a substantial amount of time."

Almand sentenced Spicocchi to 10 years in prison, suspending four of them.

Spicocchi, who is married, believed his girlfriend was dating another man and attacked her in a jealous rage, according to court records. But the girlfriend, who said she was too fearful of Spicocchi to appear in court yesterday, said in a statement that she was not unfaithful.

"He thought she was cheating on him, but she wasn't," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lisa Bergman. The attack "came completely out of the blue," Bergman said.

In the statement, read by Bergman, the woman gave this account: When she came home that day, she found Spicocchi hiding in a closet, armed with a gun and a 10-inch knife. He stripped her and wrapped her in tape, then dragged her around the apartment by her hair. He forced the gun into her mouth and held the knife to her throat. He beat her repeatedly. He told her that he would cut open her veins and that, because of his training, he knew how long it would take the blood to drain from her body.

"He said I had met my match," she said in the statement.

He told her that he planned to kill her and that she would soon join her father, who had died 10 months earlier. He said that he would write a check for $100,000 from her account and flee to South America after she was dead and that he had a plane ticket for a 6 a.m. flight.

Finally, the woman said, she escaped by running into the hall and screaming for help. "The attack on me was unprovoked," she said in her statement. "I feel lucky to have escaped the monster."

She said Spicocchi had told her he had been divorced for four years.

Defense attorney Thomas Abbenante said

Posts: 8,274
Reply with quote  #28 
couple of stories


I graduated from the LA Police Academy class of 11/73, hit the streets in January ... The point about the drug trade is not that the CIA dealt a few drugs during the ...
CIA Drug Dealing - LewRockwell - LewRockwell.com
Nov 1, 2014 - Government Drug Dealing: from "Kill the Messenger" to "Pinocchio" .... by former Los Angeles Police department officer Michael Ruppert.
Secret ties between CIA, drugs revealed - The Final Call
This CIA-backed drug network opened the first pipeline between Columbia's ... "While the FDN's war is barely a memory today, Black America is still dealing with its ... in exchange for his testimony against corrupt Los Angeles police detectives.
CIA Fueling New U.S. Drug Epidemic Using Cheap Afghani Heroin ...
Mar 26, 2014 - “That way, legitimate police officers weren't arresting his CIA drug dealers.” Ending on a riveting note, Morrow said: “These topics aren't ...
Special Reports - Cocaine, Conspiracy Theories And The Cia In ...
According to the stories, the CIA and its operatives used crack cocaine--sold via the ... that CIA officials knew that their Nicaraguan allies were dealing drugs. .... that the DEA was going to ask San Salvadorian police to investigate Amador and ...


Veteran York County police officer arrested on federal corruption charges



December 18 2015

YORK, Pa. -- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a 17 year veteran police officer with the Fairview Township Police Department was arrested today by federal authorities on corruption charges.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Officer Tyson Baker, age 41, Etters, was charged in a criminal complaint with violations of federal law relating to his conduct as a police officer.

In the complaint, the Federal Bureau of Investigation charged Baker with stealing money from drug traffickers who had been arrested, the subject of police traffic stops, or both. The specific federal statute is the Hobbs Act, which prohibits interfering with interstate commerce by force, violence or intimidation. Baker was also charged with removing evidence that was subject to seizure and providing false information to federal authorities.

The complaint also charges that, in November, Baker orchestrated the theft of $2,000 in drug proceeds seized by the Fairview Township Police Department during a search of a residence that had r

Posts: 8,274
Reply with quote  #29 

The Latest: Family Lawyer Denounces Police Shooting in Video


SAN DIEGO — Dec 22, 2015, 5:53 PM ET

The latest on a videotape showing a San Diego police officer shooting an unarmed suspect

An attorney for the family of a man who was fatally shot by a San Diego police officer says surveillance video shows the killing was unprovoked.

Lawyer Skip Miller says 42-year-old Fridoon Rawshan Nehad was walking alone in an alley without bothering anyone when the officer fired.

Surveillance footage released Tuesday by the San Diego County district attorney shows Officer Neal Browder shooting Nehad in the chest about four seconds after exiting his patrol car as Nehad walked toward him.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has defended her decision not to prosecute the officer in the April 30 shooting, saying initial reports by witnesses indicated the 42-year-old Nehad had a knife. The object turned out to be a pen.

Posts: 8,274
Reply with quote  #30 


Ex-LAPD officer Henry Solis laughs at murder hearing
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 11:29 AM A A A

Former Los angeles police officer Henry Solis, 27, is seen after being detained in Juarez in May.

A former Los Angeles police officer accused of killing a man in a bar fight laughed in court Tuesday, upsetting the victim's grieving family, they said.

Henry Solis, 27, appeared in court for his arraignment in the murder of 23-year-old Salome Rodgriuez Jr. and smiled briefly while talking with his attorneys, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We don't know what he was laughing about, but this is not funny," the Rodriguez family's attorney, Gloria Allred, told reporters. "At the end of this case, we're hoping

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Reply with quote  #31 


Deal in cops' whistleblower case means Emanuel won't testify on code of silence

Chicago police
1:25 pm, May 31, 2016
With a trial just minutes away, the Emanuel administration announced a $2 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by two Chicago police officers who alleged they were blackballed by the department for blowing the whistle on corruption, keeping the mayor from having to testify about the code of silence.

The explosive civil rights lawsuit filed by Officers Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria against the city and top department brass had threatened to expose an ugly side to the police code of silence that allegedly put at risk the lives of cops willing to uncover corruption within their ranks.

The city's top attorney, Corporation Counsel Steven Patton, said the decision to settle the case had nothing to do with the fact that the judge had ordered Mayor Rahm Emanuel to testify about what he knew about the code of silence in light of his acknowledgment of its existence in a highly publicized speech to the City Council days after the court-ordered release of the video of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

Patton told reporters the settlement was hammered out over the weekend after attorneys for the officers approached them with a settlement offer that was "substantially lower" than what they had previously demanded. The payout, which needs to be approved by the City Council, includes about $1 million in legal fees, so each officer would wind up splitting about $500,000, he said.

The trial had been scheduled to

Tuesday, May 31, 2016Last Update: 6:40 AM PT
Gitmo Redactions Confound Defense Counsel


     GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (CN) — Defense attorneys for an accused 9/11 financier complained about how prosecutorial redactions impede their work.
     Kicking off pretrial proceedings Monday, Ammar al Baluchi's attorney Col. James Connell accused the government of scrambling discovery productions to make it harder on his team to match up documents.
     Al Baluchi, who is also known as Ali abd al Aziz Ali, is accused of helping to finance the 9/11 attacks and arranging travel to the United States for some of the hijackers. He, along with alleged plot mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad and three other alleged co-conspirators, faces the death penalty if convicted.
     The case has dragged on for years. These latest proceedings mark the third attempt to try the five men. The case was briefly set to be tried in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before being sent back to a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2011.
     Al Baluchi's defense team says the government has improperly redacted hundreds of documents, depriving it of hundreds of thousands of pieces of information that could potentially be valuable to his defense.
     Such evidence is known as Brady material after the landmark Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, which compels prosecutors to turn favorable evidence over to the defense.
     Since the government has blacked out serial numbers of documents in al Baluchi's case, as well as names and numbers of potential witnesses, the defense claims it has been prevented from compiling information that could help their case.
     In a motion from March 2014, al Baluchi's team said the government turned over multiple sets of FBI documents but that it had removed serial numbers and scrambled the pages to leave the lawyers unable to match them with other documents they have received.
     Not having serial numbers also left the defense unable to compile a spreadsheet that could show holes in the government's production or find references to the documents found in other reports like the 9/11 commission.
     "The government's



Senate Bill Allows FBI to Snoop Emails


Posted May 31st, 2016 @ 4:44am by iHeartMedia's Nik Rajkovic
The FBI is pushing legislation giving it warrentless power to check emails, and the bill already passed the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act would extend current FBI powers authorized under the Patriot Act, forcing telecoms to hand over email and phone records of terror suspects.

“It is a warrantless search because it is not signed by a third-party judge, where an agent has to provide probable cause in the form of an affidavit, its an administrative subpoena basically,” says former FBI counter-terrorism agent Jim Conway, president of Global Intel Strategies.



Abuses on the Border

Donald Trump says he plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but civil liberties advocates say the border is already over-policed, with reports of abuses and even fatal shootings in Southwestern communities.

AP Photo/Eric Gay
In this Tuesday, September 15, 2015, photo U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents patrol along the border fence in Hidalgo, Texas.

Amanda Rodríguez Varela, who lives in Ciudad Juarez just south of El Paso, Texas, is fearful that her husband will find out that officials at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) have concluded that she’s a prostitute.

The 51-year-old wife and mother’s ordeal began last September, when CBP officers grilled her as she crossed the border from Juarez to El Paso to shop at Walmart. “I don’t know why they decided I was a prostitute,” Varela told the Prospect in Spanish. “It seemed very arbitrary.”

As Varela tells it, CBP agents called her a puta, or whore, and asked her if she had syphilis or gonorrhea. After about an hour, the officials let her cross, but a month later, she was detained once again. This time, she faced almost ten grueling hours of detention and interrogation. The agents fingerprinted her and searched her body, she says. An officer named Quintanas (she only remembers his last name) mocked her work as a women’s rights advocate.

“I was just crying and praying,” Varela recalled recently during an interview. “They left me in a room for hours with just a little bottle of water. I was afraid I was going to go to prison. I was so scared that I didn’t even think


What Happened When the FBI Investigated Foreclosure Fraud in Florida
By David Dayen

May 31, 2016

Six years ago, FBI agents in Jacksonville, Florida, wrote a memo to their bosses in Washington, DC, that could have unraveled the largest consumer fraud in American history. It went to the heart of the shady mortgage industry that precipitated the financial crisis, and the case promised to involve nearly every major bank in the country, honing in on the despicable practice of using bogus documents to illegally kick people out of their homes.

But despite impaneling a grand jury, calling in dozens of agents and forensic examiners, doing 75 interviews, issuing hundreds of subpoenas, and reviewing millions of documents, the criminal investigation resulted in just one conviction. And that convict—Lorraine Brown, CEO of the third-party company DocX that facilitated the fraud scheme—was sent to prison for duping the banks.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, VICE has obtained some 600 pages of documents from the Jacksonville FBI field office showing how agents conducted a sprawling investigation. (The Jacksonville case is also featured in my new book, Chain of Title.) The documents suggest the feds gained a detailed understanding of how and why the mortgage industry enlisted third-party companies to create false documents they presented to courts, as detailed in the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, for which the big banks paid billions in civil fines. The banks' conduct is described in the settlement documents as "unlawful," and the Jacksonville FBI had it nailed almost two years earlier.

In these case files, you can see the seeds of an alternative history, one where dedicated law enforcement officials take on some of the country's most powerful financial institutions with criminal prosecutions.

So why didn't they?

"Given everything I see here, you'd have thought there would be many more convictions," said Timothy Crino, a now-retired FBI forensic accountant who reviewed case file documents. "If I was the case agent, I would be devastated."

At the center of the FBI investigation were the documents required to turn ordinary mortgages into mortgage-backed securities (MBS). During the housing bubble, banks bought up mortgages and packaged thousands of them at a time into MBS; this was known as securitization. The mortgages were transferred through a series of intermediaries into a trust, and the trust paid out investors with the revenue stream from homeowners' monthly payments.

In the end, of course, an upswing in the number of homeowner defaults led the MBS market to collapse disastrously, nearly taking down the worldwide financial system along with it. But there was another problem. In order to legally foreclose on homeowners, the financial institutions doing the foreclosing must produce documents proving the mortgages were properly transferred from their originators through intermediaries and on to the trusts, detailing every step along that chain.

"If evidence collected shows intent to defraud investors by the real estate trusts, this matter has the potential to be a top ten Corporate Fraud case." —FBI Criminal Investigative Division memo, June 2010

This is common sense: If you accuse someone of stealing your car, you have to establish that you actually owned it in the first place.

This chain of ownership was at the heart of the FBI investigation, according to a "request for resource enhancement" sent on May 25, 2010, from the Jacksonville office to Sharon Ormsby, then chief of the FBI Financial Crimes Section in Washington. (Ormsby no longer works for the bureau, and an attempt to contact her through the Society of Retired Special Agents of the FBI was unsuccessful.)

"The fraud in this matter was the result of negligence in the process of creating Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS)," the memo reads.

The Jacksonville FBI agents cite three reasons why the banks didn't properly transfer the mortgages. First, the sheer volume—millions of loans—would have made it too time-consuming to file each transfer in county courts in advance. Second, it would have been too costly, as each transfer triggers a recording fee of somewhere between $35 to $50. And finally, "during a booming market, the trusts did not recognize the need to secure the loans," because they didn't believe it would ever be called into question in the courts.

The Jacksonville FBI memo claims the trusts committed fraud by reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the credit rating agencies, and investors that they had clear title to the properties when they actually didn't. And agents present evidence that mortgage-servicing companies and their law firms hired third-party outfits to falsify the mortgage documents needed


A belated reckoning

Posted on May 31, 2016 by Farah Jamil in Latest, National


WEB DESK: An Argentinian federal court has sentenced the country’s last military dictator, 88-year-old General Reynaldo Bignone, to 20 years imprisonment for kidnapping and ‘disappearing’ more than 100 people during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

Of this period, Bignone was himself holding absolute power in 1982-1983. The General is already serving life sentences for multiple human rights violations during that dark period. In the landmark trial, 14 other former military officers were sentenced to between eight and 25 years imprisonment for criminal association, kidnapping and torture. Many of them are also serving prison sentences already.

They include one Uruguayan former Colonel, Manuel Cordero Piacentini, who tortured prisoners inside Automotores Orletti, the Buenos Aires repair shop where many captured leftists were ‘interrogated’ under orders from their home countries. One other defendant was convicted on charges separate from the larger case, involving a different set of victims.

Two other accused were absolved of similar charges against them. The unprecedented court verdict after a trial lasting three years in which the four-member judges’ bench received testimony from about 370 witnesses, ruled that Operation Condor was a criminal conspiracy to kidnap and forcibly disappear people across international borders. The covert operation was launched in the 1970s by six South American military dictatorships that used their secret police and intelligence networks in a co-ordinated effort to track down and eliminate their opponents abroad.

Most of those disappeared, tortured and killed were leftists who had sought refuge from brutal repression at home in neighbouring countries and further abroad. The sentences are seen as a milestone because they mark the first time a court has proved that Operation Condor was an international criminal conspiracy by the US-backed regimes in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The investigation into the affair was launched in the 1990s when an amnesty law still protected many of the accused. Argentina’s Supreme Court overturned the amnesty in 2005 at the urging of then President Nestor Kirchner. It has taken 40 years after Operation Condor was formally founded and 16 years since the judicial investigation began to deliver justice to some of the victims of Latin America’s past military dictatorships. During this protracted process, several defendants either died or were removed from the judicial process.

Their victims reflected conflicted and bitter feelings about the verdict. Since the bodies of many victims have never been found, Argentine prosecutors argued that the crime of covering up their deaths continues to date and therefore statutory time limits do not apply. A key piece of evidence in the case was a declassified FBI agent’s cable sent in 1976 that described in detail the conspiracy to share intelligence and eliminate leftists across South America. Operation Condor, which started in 1968 and was officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America.

Augusto Pinochet of Chile was the most brutal military dictator among them, who had come to power through a bloody US-backed coup in

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Reply with quote  #32 

Posts: 8,274
Reply with quote  #33 
Link du jour




Former FBI agent sentenced to probation for lying on stand during 2013 Bulger trial
Robert Fitzpatrick.         –
Retired FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick was sentenced to two years of probation in federal court Friday for lying on the stand at Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s 2013 trial, according to The Boston Globe.

Fitzpatrick, 76, who was second-in-command of the FBI’s Boston office from 1981 to 1986, pled guilty in May to six counts of obstruction of justice and six counts of perjury for testimony that exaggerated his accomplishments and assisted


Mexico police official resigns after Texas properties worth millions discovered
Arturo Bermúdez Zurita, public security secretary of Veracruz, and his wife purchased five properties with a combined value of $2.4m despite $3,200 salary

police officer arrested on suspicion of possessing child porn |

Little is accused of exchanging sexually explicit messages with a 13-year-old girl, asking and receiving pornographic images and video of her and sending her an image of his genitals. The interaction occurred over the KIK messenger app on a smartph

by JESSIE STENSLAND,  Whidbey News-Times Co-Editor 


SEE IT: Texas woman arrested after reporting cop’s harassment
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, August 5, 2016, 12:11 PM


Video shows Chicago cops' shooting of teen (WARNING:GRAPHIC)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Updated: Friday, August 5, 2016, 3:47

Body cam shows Chicago police shooting
NY Daily News

Body cam shows Chicago police shooting
NY Daily News

00:00 / 02:25
Chicago authorities have released video of an unarmed teen being shot and killed by police, including one who laments that he will receive “desk duty” for his actions.

Officers opened fire on 18-year-old Paul O'Neal, striking him in the back as he fled in a Jaguar


Feds: NYPD cop who torched SUV and abuse dates shouldn’t get bail
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, August 5, 2016, 7:

Posts: 8,274
Reply with quote  #34 

Heat is Online


Hudson Bay to Experience Periods of Above Freezing Temperatures, Possible Rainfall During January of 2017
Earlier this morning, warm winds rushing in from the south ahead of an extensive frontal system draped across central and eastern North America pulled 32 + degree Fahrenheit (0 + C) temperatures into the southern coastal area of Hudson Bay. These temperatures were around 30 to 35 degrees (F) above normal. An odd event to say the least. One that would have been far less likely to happen without the added kick provided by global warming in the range of 1.2 C above 1880s averages.

(Temperatures rose to above freezing at around 4 AM EST along the southern shores of Hudson Bay on January 11, 2017 according to this GFS model summary. Middle and long range forecasts indicate that at least two more such warming events will occur over this typically frigid region during January. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Such a kick has been pushing climate zones northward — sparking numerous instances of unseasonable weather. Meanwhile, some researchers have indicated that the Jet Stream has also tended to produce higher amplitude ridges and troughs as the Northern Hemisphere polar zone has warmed faster than the rest of the world. In these more extensive ridge zones, this climate change related alteration to atmospheric circulation provides big avenues for warm air to enter typically frozen regions during winter (please see Arctic Melt ‘Already Affecting Weather Patterns Where You Live Right Now’).

Today’s warming event was driven by a northward extending bulge in the Jet Stream running up over Alberta and on into the North Atlantic near Greenland. Similar ridging in the Jet Stream is expected to occur over Central Canada five to six days from now on Monday and Tuesday of January 16-17, again over extreme southern Hudson Bay on Wednesday, January 18, and once more over the southern half of Hudson Bay on Monday, January 23rd.

Warming during the 16th and 17th is expected to range from 30 to 38 Fahrenheit (17 to 21 C) above average. Meanwhile, the longer range forecast may see temperatures hit near 40 F (22 C) above average for some regions if the model guidance ends up being correct.

(Numerous instances of above-freezing temperatures are predicted for Hudson Bay during mid-to-late January. The most intense warming is showing up in the long range forecast for January 23rd. Image source: Tropical Tidbits.)

It’s worth noting that the five day forecast is rather uncertain and the longer range forecast at this time is highly uncertain. That said, the models do indicate a particularly strong tendency for Jet Stream ridging and associated anomalous warming for this region.

Today’s warming occurred in association with strong frontal storm system anchored by a 976 mb low. This coming Monday’s warming is expected to come in conjunction with a much less stormy warm front. The long range model for January 23rd shows an odd event where another strong frontal storm pulls a curtain of rainfall over much of southern Hudson Bay (which typically receives only frozen precipitation at this time of year).

(Light to moderate rain could fall over a large portion of Hudson Bay during late January as a very extensive frontal system is predicted to pull moisture and warmth from the Gulf of Mexico. An odd winter climate/weather event to say the least. Image source: Tropical Tidbits.)

Over the past two years, large ridges have tended to drive warm air into the Arctic over the Bering Sea, through Alaska and Northwest Canada, and up through the North Atlantic and the Barents. But during early 2017, ridging appears to be setting up for Central and Northern North America — which is providing the warmer middle latitude air mass with an invasion route toward Hudson Bay. And such periods of anomalous warmth will tend to have a weakening effect on sea ice cover in this vulnerable near-Arctic region.


Earth Nullschool

Tropical Tidbits

Arctic Melt ‘Already Affecting Weather Patterns Where You Live Right Now’

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FBI Political Octopus


US Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick assigned to foreign affairs, homeland ...
The Intelligencer-
Fitzpatrick worked for nearly 15 years as a special agent with the FBI and assisted with interrogations overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired at the ...

FBI: Hollywooding us softly with their screenplays


First CHiPs Movie Footage Has Insane Action and Big Laughs
Ponch is actually an FBI agent who goes undercover as a CHP officer to find a group of crooked cops. Baker doesn't have a traditional backstory either, a retired


Study: Racial disparities found in police traffic stops
Wisconsin Gazette-
A study of statewide police traffic stops in Vermont, the second-whitest state in the country, has ... and black drivers were twice as likely as white drivers to be arrested after stops, the study said. ... One of the reasons some police officers use to explain the higher rate of searches of ... Only Maine, at 94.9 percent


Donora police officer accused of stealing heroin confiscated during search
Updated: Jan 11, 2017 - 7:31 PM

WASHINGTON, Pa. - Charges have been filed against a part-time Donora police officer accused of stealing evidence, the Washington County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday


NEW: Did FBI do all it could to stop airport gunman? Ex-agent says no
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John Pacenti Jorge Milian Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
2:39 p.m Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017 Local News


The top doc, the FBI, the Geek Squad informant – and the child porn ...
The Register-
On Wednesday this week, after years of legal wrangling over the case, FBI agent Tracey Riley told district court judge Cormac Carney that the image found by 


Jan. 04, 2017, at 2:47 p.m.
WEST BATH, Maine — A charge of aggravated operating under the influence filed against the correctional administrator for Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset will be dismissed, and he will plead to a lesser charge if he abides by conditions set by a judge on Tuesday.

Mark Westrum, 56, of Bath must provide proof by May 1 that he has completed counseling and must continue regular attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to the satisfaction of the district attorney’s office, according to a deferred disposition signed by Westrum, his attorney, former Lincoln County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wright, and Androscoggin County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Walsh.

If Westrum abides by the special conditions, as well as standard conditions that include refraining from further criminal conduct, no use or possession of drugs or alcohol, not being present in any business that serves alcohol and submitting to a search of his home or vehicle upon request of law enforcement, a complaint of aggravated operating under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of greater than 0.15 percent will be dismissed, and Westrum will plead guilty to the lesser charge of operating under the influence, according to court documents.

In that case, he will be sentenced to the mandatory minimum $500 fine and 150-day loss of license.

Westrum has been administrator of the jail, which serves Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties, for more than eight years, and he served as sheriff in Sagadahoc County from 1993 to 2008.

Westrum was arrested the night of Oct. 8, 2016, on Front Street after Bath police Officer Mike Lever spotted his vehicle operating without lights, according to police records.

Police declined to provide specifics of the arrest and did not take a mugshot


Brunswick police officer sentenced for sending obscene material to girl
Garrett Brosnan was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after an Arizona girl's parents filed a complaint.

Garrett Brosnan, a Brunswick police officer who pleaded guilty to sending obscene material to a minor girl was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Brosnan, 25, was arrested in June after an investigation that began in October 2015, when the parents of a 13-year-old girl in Arizona complained that someone had engaged in online conversations that were sexual in nature with their daughter. According to the allegations, a Department of Homeland Security agent, posing as a 14-year-old girl, then began having conversations via computers with Brosnan, who, they said, sent pictures of his genitals in June.

Prosecutors had sought at least 15 months for Brosnan and submitted a sentencing memo that included screen shots of the conversations between Brosnan and the person he thought was a 14-year-old girl, in which he pushes repeatedly to see pictures of the girl topless or nude, accusing her of being a “tease” when she hesitates. Brosnan also allegedly sent short videos in which he winks and blows kisses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff said the exchanges clearly show that Brosnan thought the girl was 14 in their online conversations. At one point, the agent referred to the “girl” having an upcoming 8th-grade graduation ceremony. He also said that Brosnan pressured the girl for nude pictures, saying he loved her or would cut off the conversations if she didn’t send the pictures.

Brosnan’s attorney, Michael A. Cunniff, told District Judge Jon Levy that his client had taken responsibility for what he he had done by pleading guilty in June, getting counseling and resigning his position as a police officer.

In a brief statement to the court, Brosnan apologized for his conduct and said he was grateful to have gotten caught because it gave him an opportunity to turn his life around.

“The guilt will be with me until the day I die,” he said.

Cuniff also told the judge that Brosnan would be “vulnerable” in jail as a former police officer and he asked for a sentence of probation or a short jail term followed by home confinement.

Levy said he was unpersuaded by that argument, saying that Brosnan’s law enforcement background actually made his behavior “more inexcusable,” although Brosnan apparently did not mention to the undercover agent that he was a police officer or use that in trying to convince the “girl” he was conversing with to send nude photos.

Levy said federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account things like a prior criminal record, whether someone has taken responsibility for a crime and if there was a guilty plea instead of a trial, called for a term of 12 to 18 months in prison. But he said he lowered the severity level because it included the fact that the crime was committed using a computer. Levy said that the prevalence of computers in society, along with their frequent use for personal commmunications, made that provision calling for a longer sentence out-of-date.

But Levy said he wanted to send a message that the crime Brosnan committed was serious and would be taken seriously by the court, although he said that was mitigated somewhat because he thought that Brosnan had a good chance for rehabilitation. He a



South Florida Cop Stripped of Badge and Gun Six Months After Kidnapping Woman for Sex

Miami Gardens Police Sergeant Javier Romaguera was transporting a mentally ill woman to a home she had lived in last July when he checked her into a hotel and tried to have sex with her.

Miami Gardens Police Sergeant Javier Romaguera was transporting a mentally ill woman to a home she had lived in last July when he checked her into a hotel and tried to have sex with her.

Romaguera fondled her breasts and tried to kiss her, but the 23-year-old woman declined his advances, so he left the room.

However, he filed a report saying he had dropped her off at a home where she had previously lived, which turned out to be a lie

Meanwhile, a friend of the woman, Jensen Mondesir, who had been trying to track her down, even notifying the Miami Gardens Police Department who told him they dropped her off at her prior residence, eventually received a call from her.

After the woman told Mondesir what had happened, he filed an internal affairs complaint against Romaguera.

They hired an attorney, who obtained a receipt from the Stadium Hotel, which confirmed that Romaguera booked a room that night under his name, listing the address of the police department as his address.

However, it was not until Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman began asking questions that the department suspended him. And even that took four months.

The incident began on July 11, 2016 when Romaguera was responding to a call of a woman running in traffic.

“I’m giving a transport to a black female,” Romaguera can be heard saying to dispatch according to a recording obtained by Local 10.

Mondesir filed his internal affairs complaint on July 15, 2016, but nothing happened until Norman began investigating the complaint in October, which resulted in the cop being placed on desk duty the following month.

According to Norman’s article dated November 12, 2016:

“She explained that the officer told her that she was beautiful, that he liked her, and that he was getting them a room at ‘his’ hotel,” Mondesir wrote in the complaint, filed July 15. “She told me that he came [onto] her, wanting to kiss her, and said she would not leave the room until they finished.”

Mondesir also wrote that she “blanks out from there.” Her attorney, Lopez, has taken a sworn statement from the alleged victim and sent a letter notifying the police department of his intent to file a lawsuit. Lopez believes Romaguera violated her Constitutional rights and much more.

“He committed armed kidnapping and he committed attempted sexual assault,” Lopez said. Romaguera “was armed. She didn’t run. She didn’t call police, because he was the police.”

Lopez said the case was made more egregious, because of the extreme vulnerability of his client.

“She comes into this country, she’s suffering from mental illness, this person is destitute, this person is alone,” Lopez said. “And Javier Romaguera knew that and that is why he preyed on her.”

Lopez said he expects Romaguera to try to use his client’s mental health issues against her.

“He’s hoping that he can just point the finger and say, ‘She’s crazy, she’s making it up,'” said Lopez, adding that the evidence overwhelms any such argument. “The evidence will support that he had no rhyme or reason to take any of the actions he took that night.”

But after two months of desk duty, Romaguera was stripped of his badge and gun, according to an article published by Norman on Monday, January 9, 2017.

He has also been barred from entering the Miami Gardens Police Department as the “investigation” continues, which sources told Local 10 is being conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Speaking of which, another Miami Gardens cop was fired in May 2016 after it was discovered he used his badge to coerce a woman to have sex with him.

But as of today, Deandre Morris has not been charged, even though the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been investigating him for alleged sexual battery since March of last year.

Romaguera is one of a multitude of Miami Gardens police officers named in a lawsuit filed by Earl Sampson, who made national news in 2013 when it was discovered he had been arrested 56 times for trespassing in the convenience store in which he worked.

In 2015, Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Edward Johnson – who had been hired the previous year to repair the department’s negative image from the Sampson story – was arrested and fired for attempting to hire a prostitute through backpage.com, a site that announced this week it was shutting down its adult section after pressure from the government.

Unlike Romaguera and Morris, the chief did not try to use his badge and gun to coerce sex from the women, nor was he in uniform or on the clock at the time.

He merely wanted to pay $100 to have sex with two women, who turned out to be undercover cops, as you can see in the video below.

An introduction to FBI Knoxville's first female leader
Renae McDermott is the first woman to ever earn the title of Special Agent in Charge of the Knoxville FBI division. She took over the position late last year.


High-Ranking FBI Agent Convicted of Assault on Teen Nearly Faints in Court After Verdict
Proving to be unstable, combative and petty, an FBI agent interjected himself in a family custodial dispute on behalf of his girlfriend and her estranged husband, who was two hours late in dropping off their baby.

But FBI Agent Gerald Rogero’s intrusive attempts at heroism led to him assaulting and threatening to shoot the 15-year-old son of the estranged husband’s girlfriend.

He then threatened the teen’s mother with arrest when she tried to intervene.

The incident took place in Chevy Chas


JANUARY 11, 2017
North Carolina Cop Charged After Toddler Son Shoots Mom with his Gun


JANUARY 11, 2017

Federal Marshals Seize Florida Deputy’s Personal Assets After Sheriff Refuses to Pay Settlement for Man Left Paralyzed in Wrongful Shooting


Cop Admits Taking Bribes

A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to accepting bribes of cash and sexual favors in exchange for waving through carloads of immigrants crossing illegally at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border cr

Florida Deputy Accused of Stealing Identities


Lawsuit: Border Patrol Destroyed Surveillance of Conditions at Detention Facilities

A overcrowded, cold detention facility in Tucson.

Border Patrol officials are accused in a lawsuit of destroying surveillance footage of poor conditions inside detention facilities in Arizona.

The National Immigration Law Center filed a motion Monday that alleged Border Patrol knowingly recorded over videos and handed over unwatchable footage, BuzzFeed reports.

“This is yet another example of an agency going out of its way to keep the horrible conditions in these facilities out of the public eye,” Karen Tumlin, managing attorney for NILC, told BuzzFeed News.

Border Patrol officials declined to comment


Searching for Integrity in Trumplandia

It's about time America has a president who will stand up to those greed-headed corporate executives who keep hauling our middle-class jobs out of country. Bring those jobs back home, Donald Trump bellowed, or I'll slap you with a huuuge tariff when you try to sell your foreign-made products here.

Great stuff, Donnie. And to prove you mean business, I know just the CEO you should target first: Her name is Ivanka. Yes, your daughter!

Ivanka's multimillion-dollar line of clothing and accessories are sold through major national retailers, ranging from Macy's to Amazon, and she pitches her Ivanka Trump-branded dresses, handbags, boots, blouses, etc. to America's working women. Yet, practically all of her products are made on the cheap in factories anywhere but America, with most coming from the low-wage bastions of China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Imagine the message it would send to runaway corporations and the integrity it would establish for The Donald if he slapped his first tariffs on Ivanka's goods!

But neither Daddy Trump nor his daughter wants to discuss the embarrassing conflict between his political bluster and her ethic of runaway capitalism. Instead, she's tried to dodge the issue by saying it doesn't matter, since she'll "separate" herself from the business if she becomes a White House advisor.

Nice try, Ivanka, but the stench of hypocrisy will only grow nastier if you're at your father's side while he castigates and punishes other corporations that have absconded from America. The only way to salvage even an iota of moral virtue is to repatriate the manufacturing of your brand-name apparel. And bringing those middle-class jobs home to the good ol' US of A would also make a powerful political statement.

But no, showing that money trumps both political savvy and the morality of simply doing what's right, Ivanka says her corporate brand will stay offshore. As a spokeswoman put it: "We want to make responsible business decisions."

Really? How does that "Make America Great Again?"

But take heed, for I have good news, folks : our new president says he's planning a tax holiday for you!

Well... not directly for you. Trump's trillion-dollar whopper of a tax break will go to only a handful of multinational corporations, such as Apple, GE, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft. However, Trump and Congress will push for cuts in your name, insisting that the trickle-down effect will be to create thousands of new jobs for America's hard-hit working stiffs.

Here's the deal: The giants of Big Pharma, Silicon Valley and other global industries have dodged paying the taxes they owe to our country by stashing about $2-trillion worth of their profits in offshore bank accounts. Now they want to bring this pile of loot back here to their homeland — yet they want to be rewarded for doing so by having the taxes they owe to us slashed. Enter The Donald, who has delighted those scofflaws by offering a better deal than even they'd proposed: an income tax rate of only 10 percent, versus the 30 percent you and I pay for America's upkeep. Trust me, exclaims The Donald. They'll expand their business here and generate jobs for you!

I was born at night, but it wasn't last night. We've been suckered with this tax holiday scam before. In 2004, George W. Bush pulled it on us — and instead of creating jobs, the corporate tax-dodgers eliminated thousands more of our jobs!

Why'd that happen? Because they put their "repatriated" profits not into expanding business, but by buying back their corporation's stock, which jacks up the payout to top executives and the richest shareholders, and by shrinking the number of businesses by buying up competitors and firing duplicate workforces.

The way to know whether or not Trump's tax holiday will benefit workers is to see if it requires that corporations actually create the thousands of good jobs promised before they ge


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EXCLUSIVE: “8th Man was part Putin-Bush ‘Oligarch’s Ball’
Posted on July 24, 2017

When Russian Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze became the eighth and last participant identified last week attending Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, many wondered if there might be a reason he’d been fingered last.

Turns out, there is. His “legend,” or cover story, cannot withstand close scrutiny. Kaveladze’s lawyer Scott Balber said last week his client attended the Trump Junior meeting with the Russians “just to make sure it happened.”


That would have been an odd mis-use of his talents. Because when Ike Kaveladze attended Donald Trump’s Jr’s meeting with the Russians last year, he brought to the table with him abundant experience with putting together oligarch-to-oligarch deals.

Was that why he was at Trump Towers?


Fake news is not just what gets reported, but what gets left out

In dozens of media profiles of Kaveladze which have appeared since he was identified last Tuesday, a big chunk of his known activity while in the U.S. has somehow been redacted.

Stories profiling Kaverladze begin with the extraordinary tale of congressional investigators discovering his money laundering in 2000.

“Seventeen years ago congressional investigators looking into money laundering stumbled upon an obscure Soviet-born financier who offered ‘special services’ to his Russian clients.”


That’s Ike. Citing a November 2000 Government Accountability Office report, the reports indicated that Kaveladze laundered $1.4 billion through more than 2,000 bank accounts he opened at two U.S. banks for Russian oligarchs.

Back in 2000, Kaveladze had blasted away at investigators using the same “Russian witch hunt” characterization President Trump uses 17 years later.

Now here’s the ‘tricky part. The timeline of Kaveladze’s history in the U.S leaps directly and inexplicably ahead from 2000 to the present. But there is something wrong here.

Kaveladze’s timeline doesn’t match his tick-tock.

“On Tuesday that man, Irakly Kaveladze, resurfaced as the latest foreign ‘guest’ on the ever-expanding list of participants to last year’s June 2016 meeting where Donald Trump Jr was hoping to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton.”

We don’t pretend to know why, but news report to date about the last man identified as being in the room with Donald Trump Jr and Russians and folders with TOP SECRET stickers on them, have all left out Kaveladze’s attendance at The Oligarch’s Ball.


The part they left out

Three years after successfully laundering $1.4 billion for the Russian Mob, Ike Kaveladze surfaced again in 2003. This time he was playing an important role in the sale of a U.S. company, Stillwater Mining, to Russia’s huge Norilsk Mining, which produces nickel, palladium, platinum, copper and cobalt.

In November 2002, Norilsk of Siberia, which is apparently located at the back-end of nowhere, even though its listed as one of the world’s most polluted places, announced its intention to buy Stillwater Mining of Montana—the U.S.’s only producer of palladium, used in catalytic converters, and found in only three places on the planet: the U.S. Russia, and South Africa— for $341 million.

Surprisingly, they were very quickly successful in purchasing controlling interest in the company.

The Norilsk-Stillwater deal was unprecedented in its scope and significance. It required strong lobbying in the U.S. with the Federal Trade Commission, and with an inter-agency body called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews foreign transactions which may have an effect on U.S. national security.


To help make it happen, President Bush flew to St Petersburg Russia on June 3, 2003 to help his friend Vladimir Putin celebrate his hometown’s 300th birthday. In a lunch in the Konstantin Palace the two men huddled over the terms of the deal.

Along with former Bush officials in the Carlyle Group, the sweetheart deal Kaveladze helped put together nearly passed unnoticed, because of the Iraq War.

But it outraged many industry observers. One of them, Andrew Meier, writing in Harpers magazine in April 2004, called what transpired “The Oligarch’s Ball.”

The subhead: “Washington’s plutocrats court their Russian counterparts.”


Thirst for oil, etc etc.

Washington-based private equity fund Carlyle Group, which boasted former Bush alumni like James Baker, as well as the former President himself, lost Arab investors after the 9/11 attack, who either withdrew their money or saw it returned when it became impolitic to hang on to.

Among them, Meier explained, was Shafiq Bin Laden, one of Osama’s numerous brothers.

America’s thirst for non-Arab oil was increasing exponentially at the same time. It prompted a fundamental shift in U.S. policy towards Russia. The oligarchs came alive, and quickly learned to thrive.

“They need the oligarchs now more than ever,” said a Moscow financier who has had longtime dealings with Carlyle. “They’re replacing the Bin Laden’s with the Potanin’s and the Khodorkovsky’s.”

The “Potanin’s” refers to the Kremlin’s favorite oligarch at the time, Vladimir Potanin, a 42-year old banker who, with a second Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, jointly controlled the Norilsk metals empire.


Speaking as one oligarch to another

Mikhail Prokhorov has gone on to become the most famous Russian in Brooklyn, no mean feat. He currently owns the NBA’s also-ran Nets.

Donald Trump’s oligarch-to-oligarch deals may be more brazen, but oligarch-to-oligarch collusion under cover of government diplomacy has apparently been going on longer than many suspected.

“On the subject of oligarchs—the clutch of Russian ‘entrepreneurs’ who had seized the spoils of the Soviet state and become preposterously rich overnight—the governor of Texas railed against their contributions to Russia’s twin epidemics of crime and corruption,” Meier writes in the Oligarch Ball.

“The real fundamental question for Russia,” Bush told Jim Lehrer in 2000, “is what will Russian look like? A market economy? Or one of those economies where a favored few elite are able to put money in their own pockets? And it’s something that we need to be concerned about; something we need to watch very carefully.”

“That approach to the Bush Administration’s dealings with the oligarchs seems not to have lasted long. The administration, its corporate proxies, and even the president’s own father have been waging a campaign to charm the oligarchs, the same “favored few elite” candidates Bush had earlier discerned were the clear and present danger in the Russian morass.”


“Out of an abundance of caution.”

To ensure the historic union, Norilsk hired Baker Botts, the Houston-based law firm run by James A. Baker III. Andrew Meier called it “an instructive example of the oligarch’s new clout in Washington.”

Norilsk engaged two U.S. lobbyists to smooth the way for federal approval of the deal in the U.S. The men became two of the five nominees to the new Stillwater board of directors.

Atop the list was Craig Fuller, former chief of staff to George H.W. Bush, co-chair of the presidential transition team, and chairman of the 1992 Republican convention.

Largely unknown outside Washington, D.C. Fuller has been called one of the “most important Republicans alive.”

In addition to Fuller, the others were former Democratic Senator Donald W. Riegle Jr., Jack E. Thompson, Vice Chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation; and two experienced lawyers, Steven S. Lucas and Todd D. Schafer.

But not Ike Kaveladze. A Russian language press release headlined “Norilsk offers Steve Lucas to replace Ike Kaveladze on Stillwater Board” explained why.

“US citizen Irakly Kaveladze, a former classmate of the general director of Norilsk, Mikhail Prokhorov, was mentioned in 2000 in connection with money laundering through the Bank of New York. Therefore the Company decided not to take risks.”


“It’s a theater of financiers.”

Norilsk and Stillwater controlled over 50% of the palladium in the world. Yet U.S. Federal agencies rolled over and immediately signed off on the deal. The FTC even granted early termination of the waiting period for the transaction, and it closed on June 23, 2003.

About the only disgruntled parties were locals in Montana, where the Stillwater mines were located, along with many mining industry analysts. “Just ten years after the Cold War ended, our once-mortal enemy now stands to control half of the world’s supply of palladium with its foot right in America’s heartland,” wrote one.

In The Oligarch’s Ball” Meier wrote, “Since the days of the Romanov’s trade and commerce, Russia has followed a patriarchal model, in which courtiers who wish to succeed must “kiss the ring,” as Russians like to say.”

“The success of the Russian oligarchs abroad delivers a bitter and familiar lesson. Business and politics have always been inseparable in Russia…

“In America these days, things are not so very different.”


“Ecoutez and repetez!”

Since Kaveladze is a name we’ll be hearing often, getting it’s pronunciation right— it’s Kah-veh-LAHD’-zeh—may well separate the cognoscenti from those occupying cheaper seats in the coming circus.

Kaveladze’s lawyer Scott Balber said last week that his client attended the Trump Junior meeting with Russians “just to make sure it happened.”

Attorney Balber also said his client was “cooperating fully with investigators.”

But there is reason to doubt both statements. Ike himself was incommunicado. Or maybe he’d already fled the country. And attorney Balber often works for Donald Trump. He threatened to sue, on Donald’s behalf, HBO host Bill Maher for likening Trump to an orangutan. Cooler head prevailed.

As to the wheraqbouts of Ike, it certainly sounds as if he left town in a hurry.


“No one answered the door or the phone at Kaveladze’s three-story home in Huntington Beach,” reported the L.A. Times. “A dresser and other small pieces of furniture sat on the front lawn.”




Link du jour









More Fire and Anthrax for the Arctic: Study Finds 21 to 25 Percent of Northern Permafrost Will Thaw at Just 1.5 C of Warming
In the far north, the land is rippling, trembling, subsiding, and blowing up as greenhouse gasses are released from thawing frozen soil. Meanwhile, old diseases are being released from thawing carcasses and presenting a health hazard to locals. Strange processes that are likely to accelerate soon as global warming approaches 1.5 degrees Celsius and between 21 and 25.5 percent of all the vast region of Northern Permafrost thaws out.


(More methane blowholes like this one in Yamal are likely as permafrost thaw accelerates in the coming years and pockets of methane explosively remove the land above. How extensive permafrost thaw becomes is directly dependent on how much fossil fuel human societies decide to burn. Image source: The Siberian Times.)

Arctic Carbon Feedbacks Accelerating

Carbon feedbacks from the thawing permafrost are a serious concern. And they should be. There’s about 1,400 billion tons of carbon locked away in that massive region of frozen ground. More than twice the amount humans have already emitted into the atmosphere. And though frozen permafrost carbon stays locked away, thawed permafrost carbon tends to become biologically active — releasing into soils, the water and the air.

Already, this thawing has generated a worrying effect. During the 20th Century, it was estimated that about 500,000 tons of methane were released from the Siberian land-based permafrost region. By 2003, as this permafrost zone warmed, the annual rate of release was estimated to be 3.8 million tons per year. And by 2013, with still greater warming, the rate of release had grown to 17 million tons per year. This compares to a global emission of methane from all sources — both human and Earth System-based — of about 500 million tons per year.

(Megaslump craters like the one at Batagaika, formed by subsidence, are also a result of permafrost thaw. Such features are likely to grow and proliferate as the Earth warms and permafrost thaw expands.)

That’s a thirty-fold acceleration in the rate of Siberian permafrost methane emission over a little more than one generation. One that occurred as temperatures rose to about 1 C above 1880s averages and into a range not seen for about 150,000 years. It’s a warming that has produced visible and concerning geophysical changes throughout the Arctic permafrost environment. In Siberia, lands are subsiding even as more and more methane and carbon dioxide are leeching out. And in the Yamal region of Arctic Russia, temperatures warming into the upper 80s (30 C+) during summer appear to have set off a rash of methane eruptions from the soil even as ancient reindeer carcasses release anthrax spores into the environment as they thaw. From a report this week in The Guardian:

Long dormant spores of the highly infectious anthrax bacteria frozen in the carcass of an infected reindeer rejuvenated themselves and infected herds of reindeer and eventually local people. More recently, a huge explosion was heard in June in the Yamal Peninsula. Reindeer herders camped nearby saw flames shooting up with pillars of smoke and found a large crater left in the ground. Melting permafrost was again suspected, thawing out dead vegetation and erupting in a blowout of highly flammable methane gas.

21 to 25.5 Percent of Northern Permafrost Set to Thaw over Next Two Decades

In total, 14 methane blow out craters are now identified throughout the Yamal region. A testament to the growing carbon feedback coming from previously frozen and inactive stores.


(Permafrost losses are likely to be quite considerable over the coming decades — which is likely to produce serious knock-on effects for local and global environments. But continued fossil fuel burning through end Century produces more catastrophic results. Image source: Responses and changes in the permafrost and snow water equivalent in the Northern Hemisphere under a scenario of 1.5 C warming.)

But, unfortunately, these kinds of weird, disturbing, and often dangerous changes to northern environments are just a foreshadowing of more to come. For a recent scientific study has found that just 1.5 degrees Celsius worth of warming will force between 21 and 25.5 percent of the northern permafrost to thaw. A process that is already underway, but that will continue to accelerate with each 0.1 degree Celsius of additional warming. The study found that the faster human atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions build up, the more rapidly permafrost would thaw once the 1.5 C threshold was reached. Under a rapid human reduction of greenhouse gasses (RCP 2.6 scenario), permafrost thaw was reduced to 21 percent in the study. But under worst case human fossil fuel emissions (RCP 8.5 scenario), the accelerated rate of warming resulted in 25.5 percent permafrost thaw.

Perhaps more concerning was the fact that the study found that this 1.5 C temperature threshold was reached by as early as 2023 under the worst case fossil fuel burning scenario even as it was held off only to 2027 if rapid fossil fuel burning reductions were achieved. A broader sampling of studies and natural variability hold out some hope that 1.5 C might be pushed back to the early to mid 2030s in the absolute best case. However, considering the amount of human emissions already released and in the pipeline even under the best cases, it appears that crossing the 1.5 C threshold sometime in the near future is unavoidable at this time (barring some unforeseen massive global response and mobilization).


(Permafrost losses under different human emissions scenarios through 2100 show that continued fossil fuel burning results in between 47 and 87 percent loss of permafrost area by 2100 [RCP 4.5 and 8.5]. Image source: Responses and changes in the permafrost and snow water equivalent in the Northern Hemisphere under a scenario of 1.5 C warming.)

Overall, the study found that surface permafrost losses lagged the crossing of the 1.5 C threshold by only about 10 years. And that the lowest emissions scenarios (RCP 2.6) resulted in a leveling off of permafrost losses to 24 percent by 2100. Meanwhile, the worst case human greenhouse gas emissions scenarios (RCP 8.5) resulted in 87 percent permafrost area reductions by 2100.

Risk of Serious Carbon Feedback Far Worse With Fossil Fuel Burning

With so much carbon locked away in permafrost, heightened rates of thaw present a risk that longer term warming might eventually run away as millions and billions of tons of carbon are ultimately liberated. Under moderate to worst case human fossil fuel burning scenarios, it is estimated that permafrost carbon emissions could approach 1 billion tons per year or more. At about 10 percent or more of the present human emission, such a rate of release to the atmosphere is about equivalent to that achieved during the last hyper-thermal event of 55 million years ago (the PETM). Moreover, a heightened response by large methane stores could result in a more immediate warming effect as methane is 28 to 36 times more potent a heat trapping gas than carbon dioxide over Century time scales.

A risk of serious carbon feedbacks that accelerate rates of warming this Century and over the longer term is not inconsiderable even with a 24 percent loss of Permafrost under the best case scenario identified by this study. However, the likelihood of a much more serious feedback under continued fossil fuel burning is far more apparent.



Responses and changes in the permafrost and snow water equivalent in the Northern Hemisphere under a scenario of 1.5 C warming

All Hell Breaks Loose as Tundra Thaws

Permafrost Thaw to Blow Carbon Budget Faster Than We Would Expect

PETM Hyperthermal

Arctic Methane Emissions

RCP Scenarios

Hat tip to Spike



see link for full story



EXCLUSIVE: ‘8th Man’ in mystery purchase of U.S. Mining Co.
Posted on July 21, 2017
It’s been widely reported that Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, the “8th man” who attended the June 2016 meeting where Donald Trump Jr. was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, had years earlier laundered $800 million through Citibank.


What’s remained unknown until now is that Citibank ALSO loaned the exact same amount, $800 million, to Kaveladze’s Russian oligarch boss at the time.


An itinerary that refuses to come into the light

At the now-famous confab in Trump Towers, Kaveladze was representing Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, who was paid $20 million to bring Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant to his family’s Moscow concert hall in 2013.

Reports stated Kaveladze began working for Agalarov in the early 1990s. Federal investigators were said to believe he began laundering money shortly thereafter.

However Ike Kaveladze’s U.S. itinerary is far more mysterious than what’s been so far reported. Here’s what’s already known:

In 2000, Kaveladze incorporated 2000 shell companies in Delaware, then ran their deposits through either Citibank, which investigators concluded had laundered $800 million for unknown Eastern European and Russian “clients,” or Commercial Bank of San Francisco, which laundered an additional $600 million.

Kaveladze’s actions— caught laundering hundreds of million of dollars for the Russian Mob— became the subject of a Congressional investigation into how Russians were able to so easily launder billions through U.S. banks.


Overnight a bank disappears

According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, Kaveladze was a central figure in a near decade-long effort to launder $1.4 billion of Russian and Eastern European money through U.S. banks.

A Government Accountability Office report—requested by then-Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)— concluded it was “relatively easy” for foreigners to use shell companies to open U.S. bank accounts and route hidden money through the American financial system.

When U.S. authorities discovered the scam, Commercial Bank immediately disappeared from existence.

Citibank, being somewhat larger (assets of S1.7 trillion), did not have that option. The bank was forced to scrape their feet in the dust, admitting a few “lapses” in deliberately vague press releases.

Sen. Levin, who retired in 2014, issued a statement on Tuesday calling Kaveladze a “poster child” for the practice of using shell companies to launder dirty money.

Disquieting news: Neither Kaveladze nor either of the two U.S. bank were ever charged with any crime. “Lapses” allowing the laundering of $800 million of unknown money apparently don’t even rise to the level of nuisance crime.


Citibank “dances with bears”

Kaveladze surfaced again several years later. The Mining Journal, a trade publication, reported on April 11, 2003:

“Metals producer MMC Norilsk Nickel of Russia has named five nominees to the board of Stillwater Mining Co. in respect of its proposed acquisition of a 51% interest in the US-based company.”

Kaveladze was working in the U.S. for another Russian oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, when he engaged two U.S. lobbyists, one a prominent Republican, the other a former Democratic Senator, to smooth the way for federal approval of the purchase of U.S. mining company Stillwater by Potanin’s Norilsk Mining, Russia’s largest, producing nickel, palladium, platinum, copper and cobalt.


One month before that purchase, in February 2003, Citibank loaned Norilsk Nickel $50 million, tightly secured by the export sale of nickel, and already the object of due diligence over many months by no less than ten other banks.

Eyebrows were raised a year later Citibank loaned Potanin’s Norilsk $800 million. Several years earlier, while head of Russian bank Uneximbank, Potanin had “defaulted” on billions of dollars of obligations, which is not a usual resume item for someone finding himself at the center of one of the largest Russian offshore transactions to date, and the largest-ever Russian borrowing from Citibank at that time.


Collateral is out. Kompromat is in

“Citibank’s credit committee and legal department wouldn’t readily approve lending $800 million to Potanin without trusting him,” said Moscow business journalist John Helmer, whose “Dances with Bears” website covers the Russian mining industry.

“Citibank had never loaned Norilsk more than $50 million before. That loan, in February 2003, was tightly secured by the export sale of nickel. Also, it had been the object of a due diligence effort over many months by no less than ten other banks.”

Citibank executives privately admitted to Helmer that they secured the $800 million loan from Citibank only with Norilsk’s guarantee to repay out of metal sales.

“Potanin’s intentions were plain,” Helmer reported. “He was trying to move the mining assets he secured by rigged privatization in the 1990’s beyond the reach of the Russian government.”


“The Perestroika 5K”

Ike Kaveladze first surfaced in American life during the summer of 1989, when he ran in a race in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania named “The Perestroika 5k” in his honor. Judith Ann Flinchbaugh from Gettysburg’s second husband was the director of the Gettysburg 5k race program.

When she died four years later, she named her two sons as her survivors, as well as Irakly Kaveladze, listed as her adopted son.

A few years later, on July 6, 1993, Kaveladze made news again. This time it was because it was hot in New York City. “As the city plunges into another heat wave this week, New Yorkers are seeking refuge from the sauna-like weather wherever they can find it,” reported Newsday.

“Nearby, in Central Park yesterday, some park-goers found shaded spots, under trees and on the grass. Others escaped the heat on the deck of the Boathouse Café, sipping a cool drink.

“But yesterday’s heat didn’t seem to deter the cyclists, joggers and roller-bladers roller-blading in Central Park. “For me, it’s a better workout,” said a breathless Ike Kaveladze, 28, who was roller-blading past the Great Lawn. “The hotter the day, the more weight I lose.”

Early on Kaveladze was involved with classic nested Russian dolls, called Matryoshkas, that reflect something of the nature of the Trump-Russia scandal itself. Billionaire Aras Agalarov set up a company to manufacture the dolls in Moscow and export them to the U.S.

Today it seems an odd coincidence—or something worse—that Citibank in 2004 loaned Ike Kaveladze’s Russian oligarch boss the exact same amount that Kaveladze had years earlier laundered through the bank.

Kaveladze has been under a harsh public spotlight before, but never one this incandescent. Is there something in Ike Kaveladze’s background that made Citibank’s $800 million loan in 2004 less risky?

It’s time to take a closer look at the two American political operatives who worked with the money laundering team to win quick federal approval of the Russian purchase of Stillwater Mining, a strategic U.S. mining company.





'Police Easily Startled' warning signs pop up around Minneapolis after Justine Damond shooting

Monday, July 24, 2017, 8:43 PM



Bill Cosby accuser arrested on heroin charge at San Diego County jail






police chief gets 2 months for stealing impounded guns ...
He also admitted to lying to an FBI special agent conducting an investigation into the missing property, claiming he had bought one of the impounded vehicles ...


FBI Octopus


'A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline' tops Lake Travis area events
Austin American-Statesman-
Aug. 16. Lakeway Men's Breakfast Club meeting: 7 a.m. at the Lakeway Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek. Robert Baker, FBI agent, will be the featured speaker.



Retired FBI Special Agent named Grand Marshal Watkins Glen race
News 10NBC-2
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 25, 2017) – Zippo Manufacturing Company has named retired FBI Special Agent Wesley Wong grand marshal of the NASCAR ...

During a 30-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wong was involved in the investigations of John Gotti, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, TWA 800, the 2000 Millennium bomb plot, and 9/11, where he was the senior FBI on-scene commander at Ground Zero and subsequently set-up the largest fusion center in the Bureau’s history.



Clancy Sigal obituary
US journalist, novelist and political activist blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950s who fled to London, where he became a darling of the left

Tuesday 25 July 2017 08.06 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 25 July 2017 12.19 EDT

The work of the American novelist, journalist and essayist Clancy Sigal, who has died aged 90, was much admired and discussed – particularly in leftwing circles – over the course of six decades. His best known book, the novel Going Away (1961), featured a politically blacklisted Hollywood agent on a cross-country journey from Los Angeles to New York, observing with sagacity the experiences both of ordinary people and of the protagonist himself.

The novel was largely autobiographical: Clancy himself had been blacklisted in Hollywood, where he worked as a talent agent, and, in the 1950s, had spent a period on the run from J Edgar Hoover’s FBI agents. At the end of that decade he fled to London, where he began a relationship with the novelist Doris Lessing and became a darling of the London left.

Thereafter, with periods spent between the UK and the US, he wrote novels, aligned himself with political causes, became involved with the radical psychiatrist RD Laing, contributed comment pieces, columns and book reviews to various newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Review of Books, and wrote screenplays, notably for the 2002 film Frida.

Clancy acquired his chutzpah and resilience in 30s Chicago, where he was born as the result of an illicit affair between Leo Sigal and Jennie Persily, both labour organisers. Leo was almost entirely absent from Clancy’s upbringing and he was raised by his tough Jewish mother, who managed to earn a precarious living from union activities in a neighbourhood blighted by gangsters, poverty and violence.

After school he was drafted into the US Infantry, where he trained to fight in the Battle of the Bulge and retrained after VE Day for the expected invasion of Japan that never happened. He was then posted as a sergeant to occupied Germany, attending the Nuremburg war trials and determined (he insisted later) to shoot Hermann Göring.


After being demobbed Clancy returned home to become an organiser for the Detroit auto workers’ union, only to find himself expelled during one of the early cold war purges of communists and fellow travellers. He hitchhiked to Los Angeles, attracted by the promise of golden age Hollywood, where he attended UCLA and found success working as a talent agent, hustling in the day and, in his own words, playing the radical Scarlet Pimpernel by night. However, he was fired when Harry Cohn, president of Columbia Pictures, discovered him using the studio mimeograph to run off subversive leaflets.

Now blacklisted and under the shadow of FBI surveillance, he travelled to Britain via Paris, where he had dug his sharp elbows into the set around Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre and dived headlong into the violent street politics whipped up by the Algerian war of independence.



Judge to rule on 'calm' 911 call made by Martens to report death
Independent.ie-Jul 24, 2017
Molly Martens-Corbett (33) and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens (67), both deny the killing of Irish businessman Jason Corbett (39) two ...





A New Jersey Democrat is drafting a bill in response to a WNYC report about the unusual arrangement between Governor Chris Christie and his Bridgegate attorney, Christopher Wray, who President Trump has nominated to lead the FBI.

Documents obtained by WNYC show that Wray secretly started representing Christie, at a $2 million cost to taxpayers, in September 2014. But it wasn't until 11 months later, in August 2015, that Wray and Christie signed a legally-required retainer agreement.

Legal experts said that lag time is unusual and unethical.

New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski questions why Christie, who was preparing to run for president at the time, hid Wray's public job as the governor's criminal attorney.



Wasserman Schultz’s IT Aide Arrested At Airport After Transferring $300k To Pakistan From House Office

5:41 PM 07/25/2017

Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology (IT) aide was arrested attempting to leave the country just a few hours after The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group revealed that he is the target of an FBI investigation.

The employee, Imran Awan, had wired $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union in a House office building to two individuals in Pakistan. Credit union officials permitted the wire to go through, and his wife has already fled the country to Pakistan, after police confronted her at the airport and found $12,000 in cash hidden in her suitcase but did not stop her from boarding.

“On January 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm, an international wire transfer request form was submitted [at the Congressional Federal Credit Union] at the Longworth House Office Building in the District of Columbia, in the amount of $283,000.00, to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan,” according to an affidavit obtained by TheDCNF.

Imran Awan, a Pakistani-born IT aide, had access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, as well as the password to the iPad that Wasserman Schultz used for Democratic National Committee business before she resigned as its head in July 2016.

–– –


In March, his wife Hina Alvi, who also was on the House payroll, withdrew her children from school and left the country, the affidavit says. The Capitol Police confronted her at the airport but could not stop her. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted a search of Alvi’s bags immediately prior to her boarding the plane and located a total of $12,400.00 in U.S. cash inside. Alvi was permitted to board the flight to Qatar and she and her daughters have not returned to the United States,” the affidavit says. “Alvi had numerous pieces of luggage with her, including cardboard boxes… Your affiant does not believe that Alvi has any intention to return to the United States.”


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