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Tag: Vietnam

Father and Son Plead Guilty in International Rhino Horn Smuggling Ring

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Peddling rhino horns is big business. It’s also illegal.

The LA Times reports a father and son who were masterminds of an international rhinoceros horn smuggling ring pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles federal court Friday to illegal wildlife trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion.

The pleas were part of a nationwide crackdown on the trade of the rhino horns to Asia. The Times reports that Vinh Chuong “Jimmy” Kha, 49, and son Felix Kha, 26, have been jailed since their homes and import-export business were raided in February, the paper reported.

“It is unconscionable that a species as ancient and majestic as the African Black Rhino has been hunted to the brink of extinction by unscrupulous profiteers,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. in a press release. “The rhino horn smuggling ring dismantled by Operation Crash contributed to the soaring increase in the trade of rhino horns both domestically and internationally and this illegal trade leads directly to increased poaching of the species in the wild. Operation Crash represents a giant step forward in the global fight to save a beautiful species like the Black Rhino from extinction.”

To read more click here.

Paul Lindsay; Ex-Detroit FBI Agent and Prolific Author of 7 Novels Dead at 68

Paul Lindsay/simon & schuster photo

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Paul Lindsay, the hard-digging FBI agent who became a prolific author, and wrote seven novels — the last two of which were N.Y. Times best sellers — died peacefully Thursday night at a Boston hospital of pneumonia with his family by his side. He was 68.

The ex-Marine, who friends kidded was a cop trapped in an agent’s suit, was known for his dogged pursuit of criminals, his sharp wit and sometimes a lack of patience for management.

Lindsay graduated from MacMurray College in 1968 and served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Marine Corps infantry officer, according to his website. In the Marine Corps, he was a Company Platoon Commander who was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Silver for bravery, according to the family.

He later joined the FBI and worked in the Detroit office for 20 years. He lived in Rye, N.H.

He authored his first book at the tail end of his FBI career, which stirred controversy in the FBI because it was a thinly veiled novel that took shots at some folks in the agency.

He went on to write six other books. And just last month it was reported that Millenium Films had acquired the rights to “The Bricklayer”, his best-selling novel penned under the pseudonym Noah Boyd, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Book was written under the pseudonym Noah Boyd

The report also noted that Scottish actor Gerard Butler is supposed to star in the film as a rogue former agent who’s services are needed to battle a criminal group that’s been demanding multi-million dollar ransom payments.

Friends and family  said that Lindsay died due to complications from pneumonia.

He had been diagnosed in 2005 with a blood cancer, leukemia,  that compromised his white blood cell count, the possible result of his exposure to chemical defoliates when he served in the Marines in Vietnam, the family said.

The condition eventually left him with compromised immune system, which made it difficult to fight off infection. The family said he kept his condition secret from everyone but his immediate family and one friend.

“He never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him or treat him differently–he never permitted himself that luxury,” his family wrote in an email to friends.

In part of a memoir the family shared with friends, Lindsay wrote:

“I am dying. A single cell, damaged and then mutated, is now multiplying at a Pandorian rate through my bloodstream. The aberration was triggered, from best guesses, by Agent Orange, the defoliant dumped so generously-18,000,000 gallons or so–on Vietanam to help keep American troops alive. An irony that is life itself.

“For me, it was over forty years ago. The medical term is Chronic Lyphocytic Leukemia, or to those of us on more intimate footing, CLL. The disease has reached stage four, and unfortunately there is neither a cure nor a stage five.

“. . . I have been the recipient of a great deal of luck in my life. But as John Steinbeck wrote in The Pearl, ‘Luck, you see, brings bitter friends’.”

“Recent events have made it apparent that good fortune is nothing more than a temporary statistical anomaly, which given enough time has little choice but to swing in an opposite and equal arc. In my case, leukemia. Given the extraordinary adventure my good luck has provided to my years, I can offer no complaint about the pendulum’s final resting place.”

His family concluded the email by saying: “Our Father will be missed, loved and remembered.”

Funeral services will be held at the Robert K. Gray, Jr. Funeral Home 24 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton, N.H. Saturday morning, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m.

Family and friends are invited to call to the funeral home on Friday 2:00-4:00PM and 7:00-9:00PM.

Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

In his memory contributions may be directed to: The Wounded Warrior Program

 

FBI Started Tracking late Sen. Paul Wellstone After His Anti-Vietnam Arrest

Late Sen. Paul Wellstone

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI first took interest in the late Sen. Paul Wellstone when he was arrested during an anti-Vietnam war protest in 1970, and years later investigated death threats against him as a liberal Democratic senator, according to Minnesota Public Radio, which obtained FBI files under a Freedom of Information request.

MPR reported that Wellstone, who died in a plane crash in 2002, started getting death threats after he unseated incumbent Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, but no one was ever charged. Wellstone opposed the first gulf war.

The FBI also investigated the plane crash in 2002, but found no evidence of criminal activity, MPR reported.

To read more and read the files click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

NY Times Editorial: A Reminder to the FBI

spy graphicBy The New York Times
Editorial Page

The day after Thanksgiving, 2002, was a slow day in the Pittsburgh office of the F.B.I., so a supervisor sent a special agent to a rally against the threatened war in Iraq to look for any terrorism suspects who might be there, just to ”see what they are doing.”

The peace rally was sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, which has opposed violence and armed conflict since the days of Vietnam, and consisted largely of people distributing leaflets.

There was not the slightest indication that there were any terrorists there or even the hint of a connection to terrorism. Nonetheless, the agent kept the leafleteers under surveillance and even took pictures.

It sounds like the paranoid approach to dissent of J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I., but this and other abuses took place during the Bush administration. A report on the subject by the Justice Department’s inspector general is a reminder of how easily civil liberties can be cast aside during suspicious frenzies, such as that unleashed after the 9/11 terror attacks.

To read more click here.

FBI Hunts for Suspected Wisconsin Bomber 40 Years Later

leo burtBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Forty years ago Tuesday, a van loaded with explosives rocked the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, killing one person and wounding three others — all part of a protest against the war in Vietnam. It was also the biggest domestic terrorism attack until the Oklahoma City bombing 25 years later.

Three of four of the anti-war culprits were captured and served time in prison. But 40 years later, the hunt for the fourth suspect — Leo Burt, a student and aspiring journalist at the time — continues.

“We’re still pursuing leads like he’s still alive,” Bruce Carroll, a campus police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, told AOL News. “I’ve expressed my doubts in the past that he’s still alive. It would be very hard to live totally undercover for 40 years. That being said, stranger things have happened.

“But we’ve had a bunch of leads and we still have leads that are active,” he said.

On Monday, the FBI upped the profile of the case, prominently displaying a story on its website that began: “Where is Leo Burt? You can earn up to $150,000 by helping us find him.”

The bombing occurred on Aug. 24, 1970. The country was in turmoil. Richard Nixon was president. The rock ‘n’ roll landscape was flush with giants like the Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. And campuses like the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor were bubbling with the anti-war, anti-establishment sentiments that were polarizing the nation.

According to published reports, the protesters parked a van loaded with 2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil outside the East Wing of Sterling Hall, which housed the Army Math Research Center that conducted research for the military. The building also housed the physics department.

The potent bomb went off at 3:42 a.m. The bombers said the explosives were never intended to hurt anyone. But the blast killed physics researcher Robert Fassnacht, a father of three, who was reportedly finishing up some work before heading off on a family vacation. It also wounded three others and caused an estimated $2.1 million in damage to the the university. As an aside, The New York Times reported that Fassnacht’s family said he was against the Vietnam War.

After the bombing, the hunt for the attackers was on. Karleton Armstrong was captured in Toronto in 1972 and sentenced to 23 years, but served only about seven. His brother Dwight Armstrong, who just died this year, was caught in Toronto in 1977 and served three years. And David Fine was captured in California in 1976 and served about three years.

Retired FBI agent Kent Miller, a deputy coroner in Wisconsin, was assigned to the case in the late 1990s. He said he “goes back and forth” as to whether fugitive Burt is still alive.

“I think there’s a good chance he’s still alive,” he told AOL News. “If he’s alive, he’s living quietly somewhere, most likely outside the country.”

Over the years, he said, the bureau followed up on hundreds of tips — including ones that Burt was homeless in Denver and working at a Costa Rican resort.

Forty years later, the incident is still not easy for some to talk about. In 1971, Paul Quin, a physics researcher at the the university who was injured in the blast, told the Wisconsin State Journal: “Sometimes I still think about [the bombing]. It sends a shiver up my spine when I’m working late on Sundays.”

But on Monday, Quin, who is listed as a physics professor emeritus, declined an interview with AOL News.

“I do not discuss this event,” he responded by e-mail.

As time passes, some of the links are vanishing. In June, Dwight Armstrong died at age 58 in Madison, Wis., The New York Times reported. After getting out prison, he served additional time for involvement in a methamphetamine ring. He then drove a cab, the Times reported.

His level of remorse was left in question.

He once told the The Capital Times in Madison: “We did what we had to do; we did what we felt a lot of other people should have done,” he said. “I don’t care what public opinion is; we did what was right.”

FBI Hunts For Suspected Wisconsin Bomber 40 Years Later

leo burtBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Forty years ago Tuesday, a van loaded with explosives rocked the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, killing one person and wounding three others — all part of a protest against the war in Vietnam. It was also the biggest domestic terrorism attack until the Oklahoma City bombing 25 years later.

Three of four of the anti-war culprits were captured and served time in prison. But 40 years later, the hunt for the fourth suspect — Leo Burt, a student and aspiring journalist at the time — continues.

“We’re still pursuing leads like he’s still alive,” Bruce Carroll, a campus police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, told AOL News. “I’ve expressed my doubts in the past that he’s still alive. It would be very hard to live totally undercover for 40 years. That being said, stranger things have happened.

“But we’ve had a bunch of leads and we still have leads that are active,” he said.

On Monday, the FBI upped the profile of the case, prominently displaying a story on its website that began: “Where is Leo Burt? You can earn up to $150,000 by helping us find him.”

To read more click here.

Ex-Chicago FBI Agent Lead Double Life as a Gangster

Vo Duong Tran was an American success story who escaped Communist Vietnam as a kid and grew up to be an FBI agent. Problem was, he was crooked. Reporter Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times tells the story of an FBI agent gone bad. Tran was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for planning a home invasion of a drug stash house in California in what ended up being an FBI sting.

fbi logo large

By Steve Warmbir
Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO — Vo Duong Tran spent his 11th birthday in November 1978 on a cold, rainy Malaysian beach after he and his family made a treacherous voyage during monsoon season across the South China Sea to escape Communist Vietnam.

The old boat they rode in almost capsized a few times, then Tran and his family completed the journey by having to make a dangerous swim to shore.

After such a perilous trip, Tran’s family forgot all about his birthday, as an uncertain future in a refugee camp loomed before them.

But their luck soon turned. A Catholic church in Connecticut brought them to America, where for years Tran would make his family proud.

Once hobbled by asthma as a boy, Tran turned himself into a hulking man, bulging with muscles.

Growing up in a tough neighborhood, Tran went on to fight crime and join the FBI, where he investigated traditional and Asian organized crime in Chicago.

In his new homeland, Tran would use the first name Ben, and Ben Tran was an American success story.

At least on the surface.

To read the full story click here.