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Archive for November 12th, 2015

Oregon’s Justice Department Spied on Black Lives Matter Protesters

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By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Oregon’s Justice Department spied on Black Lives Matter supporters to determine whether they presented a threat, the Huffington Post reports.

The digital surveillance included reviewing people who used the movement’s hashtag, BlackLivesMatter.

“When I initially heard about this incident I was appalled,” state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a letter, which was in response to an earlier letter from the Portland chapter of the national civil rights organization the Urban League.

But Rosenblum discovered that at least one Justice Department investigator performed digital surveillance.

Rosenblum said the department put an end to the surveillance after it became known.

“It is improper, and potentially unlawful, for the Oregon Department of Justice to conduct surveillance and investigations on an Oregonian merely for expressing a viewpoint, or for being a part of a social movement,” the letter from Urban League of Portland reads. “We are concerned that such unwarranted investigations are racially motivated, and create a chilling effect on social justice advocates, political activists and others who wish to engage in discourse about the issues of our time.”

Germany Accused of Spying on FBI, Arms Companies And European Countries

spy graphicBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, BND, is accused of spying on the FBI and U.S. arms companies, according to a German radio station.

The Associated Press reports on the radio station’s claims:

The station claimed that Germany’s BND also spied on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the World Health Organization, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and even a German diplomat who headed an EU observer mission to Georgia from 2008 to 2011.

It provided no source for its report, but the respected German weekly Der Spiegel also reported at the weekend that the BND targeted phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland, Greece, the Vatican and other European countries, as well as at international aid groups such as the Red Cross.

The BND is accused of using phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the U.S and a slew of European countries.

Germany strongly criticized the U.S. two years ago after reports surfaced that America was eavesdropping on the German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

FBI Helps Search for Stolen World Champion Belts from International Boxing Hall of Fame

stolen boxing beltsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has entered in the ring in search of world championship belts stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Central New York, The New York Times reports. 

The break-in Thursday resulted in the theft of six championship belts at the museum about 20 miles east of Syracuse.

The FBI’s Antiquities Bureau is assisting Canastota Village Police.

The missing belts belong to boxing greats Carmen Basilio and Tony Zale.

The value of the belts is unknown.

DEA Busts 2 Members of Venezuelan President’s Family in Alleged Drug-Smuggling Scheme

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, via Wikipedia.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has busted a drug-smuggling ring that led to the arrest of the Venezuelan president’s family in Haiti, UPI.com reports. 

Arrested were two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores Freites are accused of trying to smuggle 1,700 pounds of cocaine from Haiti to the U.S.

The nephews tried to claim they had diplomatic immunity, a claim that didn’t work with the DEA.

They were taken to New York awaiting a court hearing today.

Other Stories of Interest

Former FBI Agent Recalls Real-Life ‘Casino Story’ And the Perp Walk

fbi badgeJane Ann Morrison
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Although I have never been a perp, I participated on a famous perp walk in 1983 and have the black-and-white photo to prove it.

The perp was later-to-be-murdered mobster Anthony Spilotro. The serious-looking FBI agent walking him by the press was Marc Kaspar.

The journalists waiting to ask questions that wouldn’t be answered were George Knapp and the R-J’s federal court reporter at the time. That would be me. The one with the Afro.

During a panel Saturday, Kaspar told the behind-the-scenes story of that perp walk outside the Foley Federal Building.

Spilotro had been indicted on racketeering by a federal grand jury, and Kaspar went to arrest him. The two men had known each other for years because Kaspar has been on the FBI’s Las Vegas organized crime squad since coming to Las Vegas in 1977, and the squad’s No. 1 target was the Chicago mob’s enforcer.

You would think they would be bitter enemies. Not so. When Spilotro was arrested, Kaspar didn’t even use his handcuffs. Until they got close to the federal building and Kaspar said, “Tony, I’ve got to put handcuffs on you.”

Spilotro offered his hands up, he was cuffed, and they did the perp walk. Kaspar knew what he had to do, so did Spilotro; it was all very professional.

Kaspar has donated those cuffs to the Mob Museum, which hosted the Saturday panel discussion of what was real and what was fiction in the 1995 movie “Casino.”

Kaspar was speaking out publicly for the first time about his experiences as the case agent in the Spilotro investigation.

Oscar Goodman gave his views from the perspective of the attorney representing Spilotro and his chum Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal.

Former Gaming Control Board member Jeff Silver spoke about his role chasing the mob as a state regulator.

Former FBI agent Deborah Richard told her experience in two previous columns, and retired television reporter and anchor Gwen Castaldi told of the challenges facing journalists covering the mob in the 1970s and 1980s.

As Castaldi said, without cellphones and the Internet, it wasn’t easy, especially because news about the mob in Las Vegas was frequently connected to news about the mob in Kansas City, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago.

Kaspar told about a 1981 search where the subject — in this case Stardust employee Phil Ponto — had been tipped. The agents searched his apartment looking for marked money that had been skimmed from the Stardust.

The safe was opened, and inside was nothing but Ponto’s Social Security check.

It was Ponto’s way of flipping off the FBI, much like the simultaneous search that resulted in agents coming up with cookies and a bottle of wine in a car trunk.

To read more click here. 

FBI Foils Alleged Plans by White Supremacists to Shoot Up, Bomb Church And Synagogues

fbi-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI said it has disrupted two men’s plans to shoot up or bomb churches and synagogues.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that FBI agents were posing as illegal arms dealers who received orders for guns and explosives from two men who were part of a white supremacy group.

The men, Robert C. Doyle, 34, of Chester, and Ronald Beasley Chaney III, 33, were charged  Monday in U.S. District Court in Richmond with attempting to buy the weapons from FBI agents.

“Doyle and Chaney and others known and unknown to the FBI, ascribe to a white supremacy extremist version of the Asatru faith (a pagan religion),” alleges a five-page affidavit from FBI Special Agent James R. Rudisill.

The agent said the plan was for Doyle and others to meet at Doyle’s house “to discuss acting out in furtherance of their extremist beliefs by shooting or bombing the occupants of black churches and Jewish synagogues, conducting acts of violence against persons of the Jewish faith, and doing harm to a gun store owner.”