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Archive for October, 2017

Special Counsel Probe of Trump, Russia Ties Nets First Criminal Charges

Special counsel Robert Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel appointed to investigate possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia has produced its first charges in the early stages of what has become a wide-ranging inquiry, CNN reports.

A grand jury in Washington D.C. approved the charges Friday, and an arrest could come as early as Monday.

Details were still murky Friday because the charges are still sealed by judge’s order. It wasn’t immediately clear, for example, who is being charged and what crimes were allegedly committed.

As of late Friday evening, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has declined to respond to questions about the charges, but top lawyers in the probe were seen entering the grand jury room earlier in the day. 

In May, was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to lead the investigation into escalating questions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The appointment came shortly after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who testified before Congress that the president pressured him to end the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. 

The special counsel probe has broadened in scope and includes inquiries into whether Trump obstructed justice or whether some of his campaign team violated foreign lobbying laws or had financial ties to Russia.  

Michigan Man Charged After Allegedly Threatening to Blow Trump’s Brains Out

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Michigan man accused of threatening to blow President Trump’s “white brains” out of his head has been charged in federal court.

Authorities said truck driver James Anthony Jackson made repeated, profanity-laced calls to the Secret Service in Detroit and Chicago earlier this month, threatening to assassinate the president.

Jackson, who has apparent ties to Grand Rapids, was arrested in Idaho and arraigned in federal court in Spokane, Wash., where he is being held without bond pending a hearing Friday, the Detroit News reports

“Better watch Donald Trump ass, ya bitch,” Jackson said during one of the phone calls, according to court records. “Ya’ll think someone playing with yo dumbasses, I am going to blow white brains out … his (expletive) head.”’

Other Stories of Interest

JFK Files Reveal FBI’s Fears of a Threat to Kill Lee Oswald

John F. Kennedy, via White House archives.

John F. Kennedy, via White House archives.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI warned Dallas police about a threat to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, but cops didn’t provide adequate protection, according to information found in the release of 2,800 previously classified files relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued the warning to police about a potential death threat to Oswald after he was in police custody.

“There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead,” Hoover wrote on Nov. 24, 1963.  “Last night we received a call in our Dallas office from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.”

Hoover continued: “We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection. This morning we called the chief of police again warning of the possibility of some effort against Oswald and again he assured us adequate protection would be given.

“However, this was not done.”

Hoover indicated he didn’t have “firm” information about Jack Ruby, the man who fatally shot Oswald, but said there were rumors of “underworld activity.”

An FBI scrambled to Oswald’s deathbed but was unable to get a confession.

Less than an hour after Oswald died, Hoover expressed concerns about quelling conspiracy theories about the assassination of JFK.

“The thing I am concerned about, and so is (deputy attorney general) Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin,” he said.

5 Wild Discoveries in Release of John F. Kennedy Files

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The release of more than 2,800 records related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy revealed some unexpected and wild information about spies, surveillance, informants and assassination plots.

Here are five of those findings:

Money offered to kill Castro

A 1964 FBI memo revealed the U.S. offered Cuban exiles $100,000 to kill dictator Fidel Castro, $20,000 for Raul Castro and $20,000 for Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Initially, Cuban exiles initially suggested a larger reward while in a meeting with U.S. officials.

“It was felt that the $150,000 to assassinate FIDEL CASTRO plus $5,000 expense money was too high,” the memo noted.

Russia: VP Lyndon Johnson behind assassination

Russian sources in the KGB insisted it had “data” that showed Vice President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for the assassination of JFK.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a top secret memo to the White House that claimed the assassination was a “well-organized conspiracy.” 

The 1966 memo cited a Russian mole who claimed the assassination was am “ultra-right” plot to create a “coup.”

“They seemed convinced that the assassination was not the deed of one man, but it arose out of a carefully planned campaign in which several people played a part,’” said the memo.

Bizarre schemes to kill Castro

The U.S. considered some wild schemes to kill Castro, including an underwater, “booby-trapped spectacular shell” that “would be loaded with explosives” to blow up Castro when her went diving.

“After investigation it was determined that there was no shell in the Caribbean area large enough to hold a sufficient amount of explosive which was spectacular enough to attract the attention of Castro.”

Other assassination plots included contaminating Castro’s diving suit, giving him botulism in his food and sending a lone gunman to shoot the dictator.

“The plans involved a number of bizarre schemes and, in at least one instance, involved some contact with organized criminal elements. Among the means considered were poison, botulism pills, and the use of Cuban Exile groups,” said one intelligence report on Cuba.

Johnson a member of the KKK?

An informant told the FBI in May 1964 that the KKK “had documented proof that President Johnson was formerly a member of the Klan in Texas during the early days of his political career.” 

No documented proof was provided to back up the claims.

Johnson, some say reluctantly, pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to outlaw racial discrimination.

Sex parties involving JFK

A 1960 memo suggests a Los Angeles private investigator approached a “high-priced Hollywood call-girl” for information about sex parties involving then Senator John F. Kennedy, his brother-in-law actor Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

The memo read: The memo read: “She told the agents that she was unaware of any indiscretions.”

FBI Informant to Plead Guilty to Long-Running Scheme to Commit Fraud

Mohammed Agbareia, via Mobile County, Alabama, Sheriff's Office.

Mohammed Agbareia, via Mobile County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI informant investigating a terrorism sting in Palm Beach County is accused of a long-running scheme to commit fraud.

Mohammed Agbareia, whom the FBI classified as a “national security asset,” is expected to plead guilty Friday after his arrest in June on six federal charges alleging he committed fraud for 10 years beginning in 2007, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports

Prosecutors said Agbareia posed as a “stranded traveler” and defrauded victims out of more than $300,000.

Agbareia became an undercover informant a year after he was released from prison for a prior fraud conviction.

JFK Files Prompt Calls to Publicly Release Files on Civil Rights Killings

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Tune into 910AM the Superstation at 11 a.m Friday for a discussion on the release of files on civil rights killings. 

The long-awaited release of secret John F. Kennedy assassination files has prompted a push for the FBI to release secret or redacted files on killings during the civil rights era.

Students from Highstown High School in New Jersey lobbied Congress to make the files public.

“This issue is not as prominent within the mainstream media, but it should be,” one of the students, senior Zabir Rahman, told the Clarion Ledger. “The families of the victims of these atrocious crimes deserve justice if they can get it and some measure of closure.” 

The students used the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992 as a model for what they called the “Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2017,” which would create an independent review board to coordinate the release of classified records on civil rights killings.

Many of the killings are detailed in FBI files that remain largely redacted. They include the KKK’s 1964 killing of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and the 1959 lynching of Mack Charles Parker.

FBI records on the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. also contain redactions.

Activists also are calling on redacted files relating to the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X.

Civil rights lawyers said the largely secret files make it difficult to solve cold cases.

The measure to release the files was introduced in March by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and is under consideration by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

So far the bill has received bipartisan support. Also backing the bill is Cynthia Deitle, a former FBI special agent who ran the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Cold Case Division.

“The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2017 is a crucial piece of legislation that must be passed by Congress and signed by President Trump,” she Deitle in a statement. “We as a society can no longer wait for vital records housed within the FBI to stay within their exclusive control. The federal government needs to release the records to researchers, academics, journalists and others who are devoted to finding the truth as to what happened to thousands of individuals who were murdered as a result of racially-motivated homicides. We have the ability, with passage of this act, to rewrite history and bring justice long delayed.”

Ex-FBI Informant to Testify about Obama-Era Nuclear Bribery Scheme

congress copyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has given the green light to a former FBI informant to testify before Congress about what he discovered in an undercover investigation about the Russian nuclear industry’s efforts to buy uranium in the U.S. during the Obama administration.

The news comes as House Republicans announce an inquiry into the President Obama-approved sale of a Canadian uranium mining company, Uranium One, to Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom, the Hill reports

The Justice Department released the unidentified informant from a confidentiality agreement, nearly eight years after he began investigating the issue.

“As of tonight, the Department of Justice has authorized the informant to disclose to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as one member of each of their staffs, any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market, including but not limited to anything related to Vadim Mikerin, Rosatom, Tenex, Uranium One, or the Clinton Foundation,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

The informant spent nearly five years digging up information on Russia’s efforts to grow its atomic energy business, helping secure a conviction against Russia’s top commercial nuclear executive in the U.S., a Russian financier in New Jersey and the leader of a U.S. uranium trucking company. Prosecutors said the scheme involved bribery, extortion, kickbacks and money laundering.

Comey Blames Trump for Distracting from Discussions on Race, Law Enforcement

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey began his lecture series on “law enforcement and race” at Howard University on Wednesday evening, describing a growing divide between police and people of color and blaming President Trump for muddying the issue with distractions.

Comey said the U.S. has lost some of its focus on the tension between law enforcement and people of color, partly blaming Trump.

“I have noticed that since the election of our current president, [the issues] have not had the place in American life that I saw in late 2014, throughout ‘15, throughout ‘16,” Comey said, according to Newsweek. “I think the most likely explanation is that issues involving the new administration, including the emergence of appalling voices of white nationalism and racism, have crowded out the topic of law enforcement from American public life.” 

Comey added in his third public speech since being fired: “Although I think it is vital that we confront racism when it comes at us in the form of torch marches or racism or hate crimes, it is critical that we not lose sight of the issue that we began discussing in earnest two and a half years ago.”

Comey encouraged frank discussions between people with different viewpoints.

“My goal is to try to model, especially for students, how to have a conversation about really hard, emotional things,” he said. “It’s only by all of us adopting that attitude, the attitude that, ‘Hey, you could be right and I could be wrong,’ that we have the best chance of learning something in a deep away.” He added, “We are in a dangerous place in this country right now, where we hate too quickly, where disagreement becomes anger too quickly.”