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Gun-Toting Conservative Helped Negotiate End of Occupation at Wildlife Refuge

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was an intervention from the unlikeliest of people – Michele Fiore, a gun-toting politician who has supported the occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

On Wednesday Fiore was acting as a negotiator between the FBI and the four remaining occupiers, who may turn themselves in this morning.

Much of the credit for potentially ending the occupation belongs to Fiore, a 45-year-old Nevada state assemblywoman, who spoke to occupiers over the phone Wednesday night, the Washington Post reports. 

Whatever Fiore told the occupiers appears to have prompted them to tentatively agree to turn themselves in Thursday morning.

“Fiore has really given the holdouts a sense of purpose,” tweeted John Sepulvado, a reporter covering the standoff for Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Regardless of what you think of her politics — [she] clearly diffused the situation.”


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Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI

los angeles sheriffBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The former Los Angeles County sheriff who lied about helping hide an inmate-turned-FBI informant from his federal handlers pleaded guilty to making a false statement, his attorney said Wednesday.

ABC7 reports that former Sheriff Lee Baca was trying to hinder a federal investigation into civil rights abuses at county jails.

In April 2013, Baca also lied to the bureau about sheriff’s officials threatening to arrest an FBI agent at her in 2011.

As part of a plea agreement, Baca admitted he knowingly made a false statement about sheriff’s officials confronting an FBI agent at her home.

“Today’s charge and plea agreement demonstrate that illegal behavior within the Sheriff’s Department went to the very top of the organization,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “More importantly, this case illustrates that leaders who foster and then try to hide a corrupt culture will be held accountable.”

The federal investigation involved LASD Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is accused of overseeing a secret plot to hide an inmate who became an FBI informant so that investigators couldn’t find him.


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FBI Pumps Up Enforcement of U.S. Companies That Win Contracts Through Bribery

bribeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has pumped up its enforcement of overseas bribes made by U.S. companies to win contracts.

Bloomberg reports the bureau has added 40 lawyers and agents who will sniff out foreign bribes.

Anti-bribery units have begun working to uncover crooked deals in places like Africa, Asia and South America.

“We’re trying to leverage” companies into reporting suspected bribes by their workers “because often only they have the ability to get that information,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We expect that with new agents and our prosecutors out there,” companies “will think significantly about self-reporting.”

The FBI is using wiretaps and informants to help infiltrate crooking dealings.

“I’m a big fan of all sorts of tactics, including wiretaps, to build a case,” George Khouzami, the assistant special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York office, said in an interview. “We’ve had significant success in recent public corruption cases where it’s easy to play the tape and prove the crime. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of that now when doing FCPA cases?”


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American Families of Victims Killed By Drug Traffickers Sue HSBC Bank for Allegedly Laundering Money and Supporting Cartels

 

imgres

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

American families of victims killed by “ruthless” Mexican drug cartels are suing the HSBC Holdings PLC, saying it “knowingly provided continuous and systematic material support to the cartels and their acts of terrorism by laundering billions of  dollars for them.”

“As a proximate result of HSBC’s material support to the Mexican drug cartels, numerous lives, including those of the Plaintiffs, have been destroyed,” said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Tex.

HSBC said it plans to fight the allegations, according to Bloomberg News.

The lawsuit mentions some of the people who were killed by the cartel.

The lawsuit stated:

Victims Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila, Jr. were Special Agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. On February 15, 2011, while on assignment transporting cargo to Mexico City, the two were attacked in broad daylight by two car loads of Los Zetas militants on a highway outside of the city of San Luis Potosí. While travelling in an armored vehicle displaying U.S. diplomatic plates, the agents were chased down, flanked, and forced off the road. Ignoring cries from the Special Agents that they were U.S. citizens and diplomats, the militants fired over 100 rounds from AK-47s and other military-grade weapons inside and at the vehicle, killing Special Agent Zapata and seriously wounding Special Agent Avila.

In another case, the lawsuit stated:

Victim Lesley Enriquez Redelfs was an employee of the U.S. Consulate Office in Ciudad Juárez, and her husband, victim Arthur Redelfs, was a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. On Saturday, March 13, 2010, Arthur, Lesley, and their sevenmonth-old daughter attended a children’s birthday party in Ciudad Juárez hosted by the U.S. Consulate Office. As they were leaving the birthday party in their SUV, they were followed and ambushed by members of an enforcement arm of the Juárez Cartel. Lesley, who was four months pregnant, was shot twice in the head. Arthur made a desperate dash for the American border as the Juárez Cartel enforcers chased the Redelfs through the streets, spraying their car with more bullets. Just before reaching the border, Arthur was gunned down. The Redelfs’ infant daughter was found screaming in the backseat. At the same time, other Juárez Cartel enforcers chased down and killed the spouse of another U.S. Consulate employee as he left the same birthday party with
his two young daughters, who were also wounded in the attack.

Bloomberg reports that HSBC, in 2012,  paid $1.9 billion to resolve a criminal investigation into whether it violated U.S. sanctions laws and laundered at least $881 million on behalf of drug cartels.

Read Lawsuit 


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Mysteries Remain in San Bernardino Terrorist Attack Because of Encrypted Phone

The San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

The San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI still has many questions about the terrorist couple that opened fire and killed 14 people during a holiday party in San Bernardino on Dec. 2.

Did they get help from other terrorists? Were they planning to detonate a bomb at the Inland Regional Center where they opened fire? Were they planning other attacks?

Those questions, FBI investigators hoped, would be on a cell phone that belonged to the couple Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

But the FBI still can’t unlock encrypted data on the cellphone, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

“We still have one of those killers’ phones that we haven’t been able to open,” FBI Director James B. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It has been two months now and we are still working on it.”

Encrypted cell phones have been a challenge for federal law enforcement who are trying to track suspected terrorists in real time, the FBI has said.


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Former Armed Occupier of Wildlife Refuge Offers to Act As Mediator

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the armed occupiers of the weeks-old occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon is offering to help convince the remaining four militants to leave the site, the Oregonian reports. 

Scott Willingham, who just weeks ago was armed with an AR-15 rifle and camouflage vest at the front gate of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, wants to serve as mediator between the FBI and the four remaining occupiers.

“At this point in time, all anybody should care about is trying to help the community get past it,” Willingham, 48, said.

The Colorado resident left the refuge more than a week ago, when law enforcement arrested occupation leaders and killed one of them during a confrontation at a roadblock outside of the refuge.


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NY Magazine Writer: ‘FBI Is Bad at Talking with Teens’ As Evidenced by ISIS Video

FBI video directed at teens.

FBI video directed at teens.

By Brian Feldman
New York Magazine

If there’s one thing you can say about ISIS, besides the fact that it’s a medieval death cult responsible for inconceivable blood crimes, it’s that its recruiters are very charming on social media. But don’t worry: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is ready to fight back. It used your tax dollars to create Don’t Be A Puppet, a website for educating teens on violent extremism and the ways that online recruiters make contact. I took the site for a spin yesterday to earn an online certificate (really) in “countering violent extremism,” and quickly discovered: The FBI is bad at talking to teens.

The site’s main tactic for teaching its users about violent extremism is a set of quizzes, which cover not just international groups like ISIS but also white supremacists and that scourge of 21st-century America, environmental extremists.

You’ll realize that we’re working with something special when you arrive at this, the FBI’s mockup of a teen’s computer screen. You know, Just Teen Things: hundreds of lines of HTML and CSS.

To read more, click here.


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Crackdown on Sex Trade at Super Bowl Leads to More than 200 Arrests

super bowl 50By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A crackdown on the sex trade at the Super Bowl led to the arrests of more than 12 pimps, 85 johns and 129 prostitutes in the Bay Area.

The Contra Costa Times also reports that seven juveniles were recovered.

The multi-agency crackdown was the result of six moths of preparation before the big game.

“High-profile events, which draw large crowds, have become lucrative opportunities for sex trafficking criminal enterprises,” said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bertram Fairries.


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