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Archive for September 15th, 2011

Ex-FBI Dir. William Sessions Says Georgia Should Stay Execution of Inmate Convicted of Killing Cop


William Sessions/fbi photo

Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director William S. Sessions is the latest to come forward and say the execution of Troy Davis, a Georgia death row inmate convicted of killing a cop, should be halted because of “pervasive, persistent doubts” about his guilt.

In an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sessions, who was FBI director from 1987 to 1993,writes:

“What quickly will become apparent is that serious questions about Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction. Last summer, an extraordinary hearing ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to answer these questions instead left us with more doubt.”

The Huffington Post reported that others who have called for a halt to the execution, set for Sept. 21, include Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter and the leadership of the NAACP and Amnesty International.

In his Thursday column, Sessions wrote that: “At Davis’ evidentiary hearing, witnesses called by Davis recanted trial testimony and made allegations of police pressure. Others testified that an alternative suspect had confessed to them that he committed the crime. One eyewitness testified, for the first time, that he saw this other suspect, a relative of his, commit the crime. Police witnesses for the state of Georgia alternatively asserted that the original trial testimony was the true version of events and that it was elicited without coercion.”

“Some of these same witnesses also had testified at Davis’ trial but have since recanted their trial testimony. The judge at the evidentiary hearing found their recantations to be unreliable and, therefore, found Davis was unable to “clearly establish” his innocence. The problem is that the testimony of these same witnesses, whom the judge had determined were less believable, had been essential to the original conviction and death sentence.”

Davis, 42, was convicted of the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah cop who was shot to death while coming to the aid of a homeless man being assaulted.

The murder weapon was never recovered. Davis has maintained that another man shot the cop.

To read Sessions’ full piece click here.

 

FBI Teaches Agents: Mainstream Muslims Are “Violent, Radical”

By Spencer Ackerman
WIRED (Danger Room)

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.

“There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”

To read the full story click here.

 

Detroit Feds Score Victory; Judge Rules Incriminating Statements of Underwear Bomber Admissible


Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds in Detroit scored a victory in a pretrial battle against the man dubbed the “Underwear Bomber.”

The Detroit Free reports that U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds ruled Thursday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s incriminating statements he made to the FBI after the 2009 incident can be used in trial.

The paper reported that the judge concluded that Abdulmutallab wasn’t under the influence of the painkiller fentanyl when he confessed to the FBI that he was an al Qaeda operative who was trying to blow up the Northwest airlines plane bound for Detroit from Europe on Christmas Day in in 2009.

Edmunds also ruled that agents didn’t have to read him his Miranda rights before the interview because of concerns that there might have been other suicide bombers planning attacks that day.

“I’m satisfied based on the testimony… that he was in fact lucid, not confused and fully oriented,” Edmunds said following two days of testimony at an evidentiary hearing, according to the Free Press. “There was no reason to believe he didn’t understand the questions being asked or circumstances under which he was being asked those questions.”

She added: “I’m also satisfied there was a national security exception… that excused the giving of Miranda warnings.”

Agents eventually read the Miranda rights after questioning him for a while.

Jury selection is set to begin Oct. 4. Trial is set for Oct. 11.

 

FBI Investigating Hacker Attack on Celebrities; Nude Photos of Scarlett Johansson Stolen

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A scandal in Hollywood is brewing — and this time it doesn’t involve some affair, but rather a hacker.

The Associated Press and Fox News reported that the FBI is investigating a series of computer hacking attacks on celebrities including Scarlett Johansson. Personal information and other materials were stolen.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles said dozens of celebrities had been targeted, according to AP.

Fox News reports the FBI is looking into stolen nude photos that Johansson likely took of herself on her cell phone.

The photos surfaced on the website of Buzz Feed.

 

Las Vegas Man Fuming He Didn’t Get Any of FBI’s $2 Mil Reward for Capture of Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger


Updated Bulger photo/wbur

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Las Vegas man is fuming over the fact the FBI has written a $2 million reward check to an Iceland woman who reportedly tipped off authorities about the whereabouts of fugitive mobster James “Whitey” Bulger in June.

The Boston Herald reported that Keith Messina, 45, the manager of a Subway and father of three,  says he spotted Bulger on a beach in California in 2008 and tipped off authorities, but nothing happened. He said he deserves a reward.

The Herald reports that Messina said the “feds” called him about a month ago to say they were writing the check to a woman in Iceland who spotted Bulger.

“I’m peeved,” Messina said, according to the Boston Herald “I would have been happy with half. I did all the work and you give it to a person in Iceland? The FBI is hiding something.”

“The feds told me ‘We’re writing the check as I speak’ to the woman, ” Messina said in a telephone call from his Las Vegas home.

The feds nabbed Bulger in June in Santa Monica, Calif., along with his longtime companion Catherine Greig.

Messina told the Herald that he spotted Bulger in Santa Monico in 2008 reading a book near the Pacific Ocean.

“I was sitting in front of him next to the chess area. He was standing up reading a thick, brown book,” the 45-year-old Subway manager said. “I want half the money, if not all.”

The paper reported that Messina immediately reported his find  and also told the Fox show “America’s Most Wanted.”

“I want the truth for the people in Boston,” Messina said, according to the Herald. “They deserve straight answers.”

Author Ronald Kessler Says 100 Percent Chance His House and Car Are Bugged

Ronald Kessler

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is New York Times best selling author Ronald Kessler a little paranoid or just a little more important in the eyes of the FBI than the average Joe?

Kessler, author of “The Secrets of the FBI”,   tells Politico  there’s “about a hundred percent chance that both his house and car are bugged.”

“When I was doing interviews at the FBI, my tape recorder battery died. They gave me a new one and I said, ‘of course, this is bugged?’” Like the rest of his electronic devices, it probably was, Politico reported.

Still, Kessler maintains, the FBI is not concerned with “average Joes,” but is rather “focused on real terrorists.”Kessler concedes in the interview with Politico of J. Edgar Hoover’s transgressions, but still maintains respect for the great things he did for the FBI.

Kessler showed some ambivalence towards the upcoming Clint Eastwood movie on Hoover, reported on ticklethewire on many occasions. The movie expected to suggest Hoover was carrying on a romantic affair with his right hand man Clyde Tolson.

Kessler says Hoover was not a crossdresser, but  did have a “spousal relationship” with Clyde Tolson, whether that was sexual or not.

To read more click  here.

Blood Gang Leader Admits to Murdering Teen in Case of Mistaken Identity

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A leader of a Bloods street gang in New Jersey has admitted to the murder of an innocent teenager in a case of mistaken identity, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

Torien Brooks, the 30-year-old leader of the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims subgroups or chapters of the Bloods, also admitted Tuesday in federal court in Newark to kidnapping a rival gang member and conspiring to sell narcotics, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a press release.

According to court documents, the murder took place on July 19, 2004 in Jersey City and involved Brooks and  co-defendant Emmanuel Jones, 27, of Jersey City, who went by the names “Killer,” “Killer E” and “Emo.” The documents say the two shot and killed who they thought to be responsible for an earlier shooting of a fellow gang member, but who was in fact an innocent teenager identified only as “M.T.” Three bystanders were hit by stray shots in the incident.

The kidnapping confession involves a rival gang member identified as “M.M.” According to ATF, Brooks said that he and fellow members Lary Mayo, 29, John Benning, 28, and Haleek State, 26 conspired to kidnap M.M. after a M.M. had changed gang sub-groups without permission.

The four kidnapped M.M. on April 11, 2005, pistol whipped him and took him to Patterson Falls, N.J., with the intent to kill him. M.M. was able to make a break and run to safety, according to court documents.

The narcotics confession involves a period in April 2007 and continuing for about a year in which Brooks and others conspired to smuggle heroin into Northern State Prison in Newark, where he was incarcerated. As part of the conspiracy, he and others in the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims gangs conspired to sell heroine on the streets of Paterson and have profits sent to his prison commissary account.

Brooks’ sentencing is set for Dec. 14. The racketeering count to which Brooks pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and $250,000. Jones, Mayo and Benning await sentencing for similar charges.

 

Those Whacky Salahis — the Party Crashers Who Were Targets of Criminal Probe — Grab Headlines Again

The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

That whacky couple — Tareq and Michaele Salahi — who crashed the White House party in November 2009 and ended up being the target of a long drawn out and fruitless criminal investigation, were grabbing some rather weird headlines in the Washington media on Wednesday.

The media reported earlier in the day that husband Tareq said he believed his wife had been abducted.

But the Washington Post’s Reliable Source reported:

“Hours later, though, came a calmer statement from the Warren County (Va.) Sheriff’s department: They had talked to Michaele Salahi. She seemed fine. She had left home willingly. And she told them she didn’t want her husband to know where she was.”

The column reported that late in the day a publicist for the 80s rock group Journey — “confirmed that that Michaele, 45, is shacking up with guitarist Neal Schon, 57, and is currently with him at a concert tour stop in Memphis.”

The famous party-crashing incident involving the couple on Nov. 24, 2009, was an embarrassment for the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security and raised questions about security at the nation’s most important address.

Federal authorities had reportedly been looking at possibly charging the couple with criminally trespassing or lying to a federal agent.

But the case appeared problematic for a number of reasons. And although the U.S. Attorney’s Office has yet to make a public announcement on the final disposition of the case, sources tell ticklethewire.com that it does not appear as if the feds will end up filing criminal charges.

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