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Archive for March 5th, 2015

Federal Judge Terrence Berg Shot and Wounded in Detroit

Terrance Berg/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Berg, a former federal prosecutor and former acting U.S. Attorney, was shot and wounded Thursday night on Detroit’s northwest side.

George Hunter of the Detroit News reports that it was an attempted robbery. He was shot in the leg outside his home in the city’s University District and taken to Sinai-Grace Hospital. He’s undergone surgery.

Two robbers tried to force Berg inside his home, but he didn’t comply with their demand. One shot him in the leg and both men fled. Berg’s wife and teenage son were inside.

Berg was appointed by President Obama and has been on the bench since 2012. It’s unclear what the circumstances are behind the shooting.

Berg, a very affable person, was born in Detroit in 1959.

More details to come.

FBI Informant Said He Was Encouraged to Have Sex with Muslim Women for Information

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A married FBI informant who was spying on Muslims said the bureau instructed him to sleep with women  to get intelligence, The Huffington Post reports. 

Craig Monteilh, who was known as Farouk al-Aziz, was told to get “personal information” such as phone numbers, emails and friends in the Los Angeles area. He aid the FBI taught him to “pretend to be a Muslim.”

“The FBI paid me to infiltrate mosques in Los Angeles and Orange County in Southern California, as a very broad surveillance operation to give them the personal information of Muslims,” he said.

Monteilh said his $11,200 monthly compensation “clouded his judgment” as he had sex with Muslim women.

“I portrayed myself as a unmarried male, although I was married,” he said. “Within the Muslim community, they would help me to get a bride, so they would introduce me to single Muslim women. I would go out on dates and things like that. … [My FBI handlers] instructed me, if I was getting good intel, to allow it to go into sexual relations.”

The plan backfired when the Muslims he had befriended reported him to the FBI and filed a restraining order against him because of the jihadist rhetoric.

Justice Department Blasts Ferguson Police for Discrimination, Abuse of Power

Michael Brown

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A long-awaited report on Ferguson found numerous constitutional violations that called for new oversight, retraining of employees and abandoning the current approach to policing.

The New York Times reports that the Justice Department criticized Ferguson police for routinely making unlawful searches, hurling racial insults and treating anyone as a criminal for questioning the tactics.

While a separate report found no civil rights abuses against the white officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, the Justice Department described a discriminatory environment that led to months of protests.

“Seen in this context — amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices — it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” Mr. Holder said.

The report means Ferguson must make changes or face a federal civil rights lawsuit.

LA Times: Does End of Homeland Security Stalemate Mean New Type of GOP Leadership?

By Los Angeles Times
Editorial

It took the House GOP leadership a couple of weeks, but it finally conceded defeat Tuesday and allowed a “clean”  funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security to come up for a vote. With all 182 Democrats in the Capitol and 75 of the 242 Republicans lining up in favor, the measure passed easily and was sent to President Obama to sign.

The question now is whether the Republican majority has learned not to pick fights they don’t have the votes to win, or whether they’ll overplay their hand again the next time a must-pass bill comes up. Given what we’ve seen the past lour years, the latter seems more likely.

The Homeland Security measure isn’t exactly “clean” because it contains numerous policy changes negotiated by Republican and Democratic appropriators, such as one stepping up the department’s ability to detain people caught crossing the border illegally. What it doesn’t have are the House-passed riders that would have reversed Obama’s temporary deferrals of some deportations.

It’s rare to see House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) bring anything to the floor that doesn’t have at least 218 Republican votes, and rarer still to see anything that most Republicans oppose. But Boehner reportedly told Republicans in a private meeting that they had run out of options. There weren’t enough votes in the House for another stop-gap funding bill, and Senate Democrats wouldn’t let that chamber even consider a measure that rolled back President Obama’s immigration orders.

That brings us to a crucial point that, sadly, continues to be lost on many House Republicans: The filibuster is a very powerful thing. As long as it’s available to Democrats, Republicans won’t be able to move anything through that chamber without the help of at least six members not in their party.

To read more click here. 

DEA Group Apologizes for Tweet Commemorating Black History Month with Arrest

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group affiliated with the DEA has apologized after tweeting a photo of a Harlem drug dealer to commemorate Black History month, The Washington Post reports.

The DEA said the tweet was a misunderstanding.

“The focus of original tweet was to be invaluable hard work of African American DEA agents, not the target of the investigation,” the DEA Educational Foundation said in an apology Monday.

The tweet was offensive because of the discorporate impact the drug was has had on black families and communities, The Post wrote.

“With the Justice Department and politicians from both political partiestaking active steps to reduce racial disparities in drug sentencing, and many states taking steps to reduce penalties for drug possession or legalize the use of some drugs altogether, the DEA has, at times, appeared out of touch with public sentiment in recent years.”

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