Bill Wilson is on record for having found a solution in 1960 for treating anxiety and depression using vitamin B-3 therapy and worked tirelessly for eleven years begging for its inclusion into A.A. recovery circles. His desire was to help alcoholics stay recovered. This means he would have immediately brought this mineral replacement therapy that eliminates alcohol cravings forth without exception. Master of ceremonies, Andrew W. Saul, includes Bill Wilson as an inductee of the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame at the Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, April 29, 2006 in his induction speech, “…To this day, selective history records A.A.’s 12-Step Program, but has forgotten, or deliberately purged, what Bill wanted to be A.A.’s 13th step – orthomolecular therapy with vitamin B3.”[Lee Brack1] In February 2009, Orthomolecular Medicine’s founder, Abram Hoffer and Bill Wilson’s good friend, clarified to me over the phone, “..yes, Lee, he wanted to share this information as an added step and talked about it all the time because he felt so strongly about nutrition…” Abram Hoffer passed away a few months later in May having lived healthy and happily for ninety one and a half years.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Monday, 1 April 2013
|North-West District of Cocaine Anonymous welcomes you to...|
Reaching Out in Redcar UNITY Day
|Time||Saturday 11:30am Start|
Cameron F (Canada)
Will B (Spain)
|Information||TICKETS £5 (or donation).|
Click here to download flyer & contact info.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
Understand the inherently peaceful presence of Awareness the art of Living in the NOW, and see that this peace is not dependent upon the condition of the mind, body or world, just as a screen is not dependent on the quality of the words or images that appear on it.
Friday, 29 March 2013
The addicted brain is distinctly different from the nonaddicted brain, as manifested by changes in brain metabolic activity, receptor availability, gene expression, and responsiveness to environmental cues
There are many biological factors that are involved with the addicted brain. "The addicted brain is distinctly different from the nonaddicted brain, as manifested by changes in brain metabolic activity, receptor availability, gene expression, and responsiveness to environmental cues" (2) In the brain, there are many changes that take place when drugs enter a person's blood stream. The pathway in the brain that the drugs take is first to the ventral tegmentum to the nucleus accumbens, and the drugs also go to the limbic system and the orbitofrontal cortex, which is called the mesolimbic reward system. The activation of this reward system seems to be the common element in what hooks drug users on drugs (2).
Drugs seem to cause surges in dopamine neurotransmitters and other pleasure brain messengers. However, the brain quickly adapts and these circuits desensitize, which allows for withdrawal symptoms to occur (3). Drug addiction works on some of the same neurobiological mechanisms that aid in learning and memories (3). "This new view of dopamine as an aid to learning rather than a pleasure mediator may help explain why many addictive drugs, which unleash massive surges of the neurotransmitter in the brain, can drive continued use without producing pleasure-as when cocaine addicts continue to take hits long after the euphoric effects of the drug have worn off or when smokers smoke after cigarettes become distasteful." (4)
Since memory and pleasure zones are intertwined in the brain, many researchers have been using psychological approaches to stop drug use. Many rehabilitation centers have used classical conditioning to rehabilitate drug addicts. They combine exposure to drugs combined with cognitive scripts, like statements how drugs have destroyed a person's life or what can be accomplished without using drugs, according to DeLetis (5). By using classical conditioning, the drugs addicts pair the drugs with negative connotations and properties. "Adverse withdrawal symptoms can function as an instrumental negative reinforcer and can be linked to the opponent process theory of motivation." (6) However, drug addicts may relapse and start using again because of many environmental "cues", which are external forces that are associated with drug use in their lives. When the drugs addicts see these cues, their brain circuitry, especially the orbitofrontal cortex become hyperactive and causes these people to start craving drugs again (2). No matter how successful the rehabilitation treatment is, once those "cues" are around, the drug addicts remember how pleasurable the drugs felt and relapse into drug abuse again.
Through all of the research done about drug addiction and its affects on the brain, one can see how drug addiction is considered a brain disease. Drug addiction is a disabling disease and can ruin a person's life. By taking drugs, a person's brain becomes "rewired" to tolerate high amounts of dopamine neurotransmitters, but once those high amounts of dopamine cease to exist, the person experiences withdrawal symptoms. However, there are ways drug addicts can control their drug intake by using classical conditioning techniques, which allows them to associate drugs with negative attributes.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Bill Wilson is on record for having found a solution in 1960 for treating anxiety and depression using vitamin B-3 therapy and worked tirelessly for eleven years begging for its inclusion into A.A. recovery circles.
The Serotonin Support Group (SSG)
Is a mutual support group for people who suffer from low Serotonin levels, wishing to participate in a support group that uses as one method a vitamin supplement as a method of replacement or addition to a diet to help the sufferer.The historical basis of this form of nutritional treatment was discovered and researched by Bill Wilson of Alcoholics Anonymous and it is to promote this Legacy to persons who suffer from low serotonin uptake and depression that the Group was formed.Bill Wilson wished to add a step to the 12 he had produced for AA. We struggle to make that possible and fulfill his promise. Without detracting from the message of recovery in the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. If alcoholics and addictive abusers of other drugs have specific chemical imbalances in the brain, and if these imbalances turn out to be reliable enough and measurable enough in sufficiently large numbers of human addicts, it is natural to wonder whether, eventually, science can find a way to correct them.
Some sort of neurotransmitter cocktail, maybe.
Bill Wilson is on record for having found a solution in 1960 for treating anxiety and depression using vitamin B-3 therapy and worked tirelessly for eleven years begging for its inclusion into A.A. recovery circles. His desire was to help alcoholics stay recovered. This means he would have immediately brought this mineral replacement therapy that eliminates alcohol cravings forth without exception. Andrew W. Saul, includes Bill Wilson as an inductee of the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame at the Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, April 29, 2006 in his induction speech, “…To this day, selective history records A.A.’s 12-Step Program, but has forgotten, or deliberately purged, what Bill wanted to be A.A.’s 13th step – orthomolecular therapy with vitamin B3.”[Lee Brack1] In February 2009, Orthomolecular Medicine’s founder, Abram Hoffer and Bill Wilson’s good friend, clarified to me over the phone, “..yes, Lee, he wanted to share this information as an added step and talked about it all the time because he felt so strongly about nutrition…” Abram Hoffer passed away a few months later in May having lived healthy and happily for ninety one and a half years.
The results strongly suggest that the mechanism of depression after alcohol drinking may be related to serotonin.
|We examined tryptophan and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) levels in the blood after consumption of alcohol. Forty-five minutes after drinking, whole blood serotonin concentration was significantly reduced, whereas no changes were observed in tryptophan level. The diurnal rhythm of 5-HT in subjects who the day before had drunk alcohol was quite different from the control group, but very similar to that of patients with depression. The results strongly suggest that the mechanism of depression after alcohol drinking may be related to serotonin.|
The important thing with serotonin, is to keep it at steady levels. The medicines that raise the level of serotonin in the brain do so by slowing the reabsorbtion of serotonin. The alcohol increases the availible serotonin for a bit and then it drops off quickly, leaving the depressed person feeling worse, and they tend to not take the medicine correctly when they feel badly or are drunk. High serotonin levels do not mean somebody will feel happy or good, It makes it more likely that they won't feel realy bad.
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989.
It was pretty much all the money Bozena Oracz had after a working life as an accountant: the equivalent of $15,000. She placed it in a fund investing in gold, with the hope of paying for her daughter's studies and getting treatment for a bad knee.
Those dreams were dashed when she discovered she had fallen victim to an elaborate fraud scheme that has left thousands of Poles, many of them elderly, facing financial ruin.
The so-called Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989. The extent of wrongdoing is still murky, but it seems to have some elements of a pyramid scheme, meaning the financial institutionused funds from new clients to pay off older clients rather than investing them.
Consumed with anger and desperation, 58-year-old Oracz traveled last week from a small town near Warsaw to a law firm in the capital to consider whether, after losing 50,000 zlotys, she should risk another 3,000 zlotys ($920; €730) on the fee to join a class-action lawsuit seeking to recover some of the losses.
"This was a lot of money to me — it was my savings," Oracz said, fighting back tears. Now retired and living on a small pension, she sees no way of building another nest egg. "My pension barely covers my needs," she said.
The affair has raised questions about the effectiveness of Poland's justice system and government because authorities failed to act against the scheme despite red flags from regulators and the criminal record of its young owner. Scrutiny has also focused on the prime minister due to business dealings his son had with those running the scheme. The scandal has even touched democracy icon Lech Walesa, who fears it could tarnish his good name.
Prosecutors say investors lost about 163 million zlotys ($50 million; €40 million), a number that has been mounting as more and more victims come forward. Any law suits could take care years to go through the courts, with no guarantee of their outcome.
"People are desperate," said Pawel Borowski, a lawyer preparing the class-action suit that Oracz is considering joining. "In most cases the clients lost life savings or sold family properties to make investments."
The financial institution, Amber Gold, promised guaranteed returns of 10 to 14 percent a year for what it claimed were investments in gold. Many of its clients were older Poles who grew up under communism and lacked the savvy to question how a financial firm could guarantee such a high return on a commodity whose value fluctuates on the international market. The promised returns compared well to the 3 to 5 percent interest offered by banks on savings accounts — earnings essentially wiped out by the country's 4 percent inflation rate.
"These were people with a low level of financial education," said Piotr Bujak, the chief economist for Poland at Nordea Markets. "They think it's still like in the old times, where everything was guaranteed by the state. They underestimated the risk."
Amber Gold launched in 2009, opening branches in city centers alongside respected banks, with white leather sofas and other sleek touches that conveyed sophistication and respectability. It bombarded Poles with convincing advertisements. Some early investors got out with their expected gains, adding to the fund's credibility.
The company, based in Gdansk, capitalized on gold's allure while playing on people's anxieties in unpredictable financial times. "We are dealing with a loss of confidence in the entire financial system and an urgent need for safe investments," one ad said. "The environment for gold is perfect."
Amber Gold drew in 50,000 investors over its three years of operation, though the company's founder, Marcin Plichta, said there were only about 7,000 at the time of liquidation.
Soon after Amber Gold began operations, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority put it on a "black list" of institutions that operate like banks without authorization. There are 17 other such black-listed institutions in operation, but the regulators lack the authority to shut them down. This has sparked a debate in the government and news media about whether courts should be more aggressive in intervening.
According to prosecutors, the company did use some of its money to invest in at least one legitimate business: It was the main investor in budget airline OLT Express. It was this investment that brought Amber Gold down — when the airline filed for bankruptcy, Amber Gold entered liquidation and its scheme of investments unraveled. Its bank accounts were blocked and it was unable to return the money of thousands of its customers.
Plichta was charged this month with six counts of criminal misconduct.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk's center-right government went into damage-control mode when it emerged that the leader's son, Michal Tusk, had done PR work for the airline. Tusk said he had warned his son against doing business with Plichta but that ultimately he son makes his own decisions.
Leszek Miller, the head of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance, asked how Tusk could warn his son against involvement in the airline but not warn the thousands of Poles who invested in the fund. Miller has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal.
Public discontent is also centering on the justice system because Plichta, 28, has past convictions for fraud, and many Poles are asking why authorities — aware of his criminal record — didn't stop him sooner. Born Marcin Stefanski, he took his wife's last name to distance himself from his past crimes.
The country's top prosecutor, Andrzej Seremet, admitted Monday that prosecutors were negligent in failing to heed multiple warnings since 2009 about Amber Gold from the financial supervisory body. He announced personnel changes in the office he blamed for mistakes.
The affair also has an unlikely connection to the Solidarity leader and former president, Lech Walesa, because an Oscar-winning director, Andrzej Wajda, was relying on money from Amber Gold to produce a film about Walesa's struggle in the 1980s.
Walesa came out publicly to make clear he is not involved in any way, saying he doesn't want his name "dirtied."
Many of the unlucky investors are not only furious but wracked by shame and guilt.
Engineer Andrzej Malinowski, 61, put three months of salary — 25,000 zlotys ($7,660; €6,100) — into Amber Gold. He made the investment without consulting with his wife, sensing that there was some risk and that she would not have agreed.
Now he is so shaken and embarrassed that he doesn't want to talk about it, leaving his wife, Danuta Malinowska, to help unravel the mess.
"He saw that gold was going higher and higher so he believed that maybe it would be a good deal," Malinowska said. "Now he has so much guilt that I am trying to help — contacting the lawyer, filling in the forms, writing to the prosecutors. But the justice system is very ineffective. I don't believe we will be getting any of this money back."
Monday, 27 August 2012
Miguel Angel Trevino Morales new leader is emerging at the head of one of Mexico's most feared drug cartels.
This undated image taken from the Mexican Attorney General's Office rewards program website on Aug. 23, 2012, shows the alleged leader of Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias âZ-40.â (AP Photo/Mexican Attorney General's Office website)
Mexico's Violent Zetas Cartel Sees New Leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales A split in the leadership of Mexico's violent Zetas cartel has led to the rise of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a man so feared that one rival has called for a grand alliance to confront a gang chief blamed for a new round of bloodshed in the country's once relatively tranquil central states.
Trevino, a former cartel enforcer who apparently has seized leadership of the gang from Zetas founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, is described by lawmen and competing drug capos as a brutal assassin who favors getting rid of foes by stuffing them into oil drums, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire, a practice known as a "guiso," or "cook-out".
Law enforcement officials confirm that Trevino appears to have taken effective control of the Zetas, the hemisphere's most violent criminal organization, which has been blamed for a large share of the tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico's war on drugs, though other gangs too have repeatedly committed mass slayings.
"There was a lot of talk that he was pushing really hard on Lazcano Lazcano and was basically taking over the Zetas, because he had the personality, he was the guy who was out there basically fighting in the streets with the troops," said Jere Miles, a Zetas expert and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who was posted in Mexico until last year.
"Lazcano Lazcano, at the beginning he was kind of happy just to sit back and let Trevino do this, but I don't think he understood how that works in the criminal underworld," Miles said. "When you allow someone to take that much power, and get out in front like that, pretty soon the people start paying loyalty to him and they quit paying to Lazcano."
The rise has so alarmed at least one gang chieftain that he has called for gangs, drug cartels, civic groups and even the government to form a united front to fight Trevino Morales, known as "Z-40," whom he blamed for most of Mexico's violence.
"Let's unite and form a common front against the Zetas, and particularly against Z-40, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, because this person with his unbridled ambition has caused so much terror and confusion in our country," said a man identified as Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, in a viedo posted Tuesday on the internet.
A Mexican law enforcement official who wasn't authorized to speak on the record said the video appeared to be genuine,
"He is the main cause of everything that is happening in Mexico, the robberies, kidnappings, extortion," Gomez is heard saying on the tape. "We are inviting all the groups ... everyone to form a common front to attack Z-40 and put an end to him."
Trevino Morales has a fearsome reputation. "If you get called to a meeting with him, you're not going to come out of that meeting," said a U.S. law-enforcement official in Mexico City, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.
In two years since Zetas split with their former allies in the Gulf cartel — a split in which Trevino reported played a central role — the gang has become one of Mexico's two main cartels, and is battling the rival Sinaloa cartel.
Now the Zetas' internal disputes have added to the violence of the conflict between gangs. Internal feuds spilled out into pitched battles in the normally quiet north-central state of San Luis Potosi in mid-August, when police found a van stuffed with 14 executed bodies.
San Luis Potosi state Attorney General Miguel Angel Garcia Covarrubias told local media that a 15th man who apparently survived the massacre told investigators that both the killers and the victims were Zetas. "It was a rivalry with the same organized crime group," Garcia Covarrubias said.
The leadership dispute also may have opened the door to lesser regional figures in the Zetas gang to step forward and rebel, analysts and officials said.
Analysts say that a local Zetas leader in the neighboring state of Zacatecas, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, "The Taliban," was apparently trying to challenge Trevino Morales' leadership grab, and that the 14 bullet-ridden bodies left in the van were The Taliban's men, left there as a visible warning by Trevino Morales' underlings.
The Taliban's territory, Zacatecas, appears to have been a hot spot in Trevino's dispute with Lazcano. It was in Zacatecas that a professionally printed banner was hung in a city park, accusing Lazcano of betraying fellow Zetas and turning them in to the police.
Trevino began his career as a teenage gofer for the Los Tejas gang, which controlled most crime in his hometown of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from the city of Laredo, Texas, officials say.
Around 2005, Trevino Morales was promoted to boss of the Nuevo Laredo territory, or "plaza" and given responsibility for fighting off the Sinaloa cartel's attempt to seize control of its drug-smuggling routes. He orchestrated a series of killings on the U.S. side of the border, several by a group of young U.S. citizens who gunned down their victims on the streets of the American city. American officials believe the hit men also carried out an unknown number of killings on the Mexican side of the border, the U.S. official said.
Trevino Morales is on Mexico's most-wanted list, with a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.28 million) offered for information leading to his capture.
Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said that the Zetas are inherently an unstable cartel with an already huge capacity for violence, and the possibility of more if they begin fighting internal disputes. "I think the Zetas are having problems, and there is no central command," he said.
The Zetas have been steadily expanding their influence and reaching into Central America in recent years, constructing a route for trafficking drugs that offloads Colombian cocaine in Honduras, ships it overland along Mexico's Gulf Coast and runs into over the border through Trevino Morales' old stomping grounds.
Samuel Logan, managing director of the security analysis firm Southern Pulse, notes that "personality-wise they (Trevino Morales and Lazcano) couldn't be more different," and believes the two may want to take the cartel in different directions. The stakes in who wins the dispute could be large for Mexico; Lazcano is believed to be more steady, more of a survivor who might have an interest in preserving the cartel as a stable organization.
"Lazcano may be someone who would take the Zetas in a direction where they'd become less of a thorn in the side for the new political administration," Logan said in reference to Enrique Pena Nieto, who is expected to take office as president on Dec. 1. "In contrast, Trevino is someone who wants to fight the fight."
Referring to Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, a member of the rival Sinaloa Cartel who died in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010, Logan noted, "Trevino is someone who is going to want to go out, like Nacho Coronel went out, with his guns blazing."
Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.
Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.
A "privileged" racing driver has been jailed with 11 other drug smugglers. Crown Court heard he was head of a gang moving drugs from Eastern Europe along the M4 corridor to London, western England and south Wales.
Kilby was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.
Raids on properties
Kilby was jailed in June but his conviction, and those of the rest of the gang, can now be reported following the conclusion of another trial.
In an undercover operation between Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police, officers seized 3kg of cocaine as it was being ferried between London and Cheltenham in October 2010.
Another 1kg of the drug was intercepted in Cheltenham in February 2011 and 2.5kg was discovered in raids on properties in Cheltenham, Staverton, Bristol and London in July 2011.
The gang of 12 drug dealers from Gloucestershire, Bristol and London received sentences of between 18 years and four years seven months.
It can now be reported Kilby, who was jailed in June, and Vladan Vujovic, 43, of Grange Road, London were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Both were jailed for 18 years.
Richard Jones, 42, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, was sentenced to 15 years for the same offence, and Mark Poole, 47, from Portishead, was sentenced to nine years seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Police said Kilby sourced the drug in London from an East European criminal gang, which included Vujovic.
Vujovic ran a baggage handling company at Heathrow Airport and was said to receive the cocaine before it was distributed around the South West and Wales.
Kilby is the former husband of Flora Vestey, daughter of Lord Vestey, and was owner of motor racing firm Ajec Racing which was based in Staverton.
He was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.
In a separate charge, Kilby also pleaded guilty to stealing money from the charity Help for Heroes and was sentenced to 10 months, to run concurrently with his 18-year sentence.
He organised a charity race day at Gloucestershire Airport in July 2010, but failed to pass on between £3,500 and £4,000 in proceeds to the charity Help for Heroes.
Det Insp Steve Bean, from Gloucestershire Police, said Kilby was the main man.
"He portrayed himself as a well-connected socialite and businessman, whilst indulging his ambition as a minor league racing driver.
"Despite a privileged background, the reality was that his lifestyle was funded by the ill-gotten gains of drug dealing.
"He continually lied and blamed others in an attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy.
"He displayed an air of arrogance and thought he could get away with it because he didn't get his hands dirty."
The majority of the gang were jailed in June, but reporting restrictions meant it could not be reported until now, after the sentencing of the remaining gang members.
Others members of the gang to be sentenced were:
- David Chapman, 29, from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to nine years.
- William Garnier, 31, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced six years and eight months.
- Garry Burrell, 46, from Easton, Bristol, and John Tomlin, 28, from Newtown, Gloucestershire both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and were sentenced to six years and six months and four years and six months respectively.
- Timothy Taylor, 40, from Bristol was found guilty of supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced to four years and seven months.
- Brian Barrett, 48, from Keynsham was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
- Scott Everest, 39, from Clevedon was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for seven years.
Jonathan Tanner, 45, from Warminster was sentenced to 18 months for possession with intent to supply of cannabis, but was cleared of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Darren Weetch, 38, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He was sentenced to 16 months.
Officers also worked with Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police during the operation.
FOUR men with alleged links to outlaw motorcycle gangs were arrested last week after a brawl at a Penrith shopping centre. Police officers from the gangs squad and Penrith local area command had been investigating the brawl, which forced shoppers to flee for their safety about 2.45pm last Monday. Police will allege a man was leaving the shopping centre when he was confronted by a group of nine men and fighting began. A number of people tried to intervene, including an unknown male who was assaulted. All involved in the brawl then left the scene. At 7am last Thursday, police simultaneously raided four homes at St Marys, Emu Plains, South Windsor and Freemans Reach. Three men with alleged links to the Rebels were arrested at St Marys and Emu Plains, while an alleged senior Nomads member was arrested at Freemans Reach. During the search warrants, police seized distinctive gang clothing, quantities of anabolic steroids and prescription drugs and a set of knuckledusters. A man, 29, of Emu Plains, was charged with affray, participate in a criminal group and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 44, of Freemans Reach, was charged with affray, possess prohibited weapon, and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 25, of St Marys, and a 23-year-old New Zealand man were each charged with affray and participate in a criminal group. Penrith crime manager Detective Inspector Grant Healey said further arrests were anticipated.
Local and federal authorities moved Thursday to break up an alleged drug trafficking ring connecting a major Mexican cartel and San Gabriel Valley street gangs, arresting 17 people in a pre-dawn sweep. A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges 27 defendants with making, possessing and dealing methamphetamine imported by La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico’s most violent cartels, to two Pomona gangs: Los Amables and Westside Pomona Malditos. Seven law enforcement agencies, including the Pasadena and Pomona police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, were involved in the sweep. Thursday’s crackdown is the culmination of a probe called Operation Crystal Light, a 16-month investigation by the San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Gang Task Force. The investigation was launched after a 2011 kidnapping among suspected gang members in Southern California. Officers said they seized nine weapons, an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, other drugs, and paraphernalia in Thursday morning raids in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The probe involved about 200 law enforcement officers and several undercover purchases. “The goal of the federal task force is to disrupt the network so it’s disrupted permanently,” Timothy Delaney, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Division in Los Angeles, said. “Today’s arrests took some very serious players in the methamphetamine world off the streets.” The methamphetamine came into the country in liquid form via airplane, boats and cars, officials said. The drug was recrystallized at an Ontario home before local gangs would sell it and funnel money to the Mexican cartel. Most of the drugs were being sold in Pomona and Ontario, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Shawn Nelson. Dealers were selling multiple pounds a day and making up to $9,000 per pound, Nelson said. He described the arrests as “a good dent” in the Mexican cartel’s local drug network. Three suspects were in custody before the raid and seven remain at large, federal authorities said. The indictment alleges that a La Familia Michoacana associate named Jose Juan Garcia Barron oversaw the transport of the meth between Mexico and Los Angeles County. Delaney said Garcia Barron is among the suspects who have not been apprehended. The 17 arrested Thursday were expected to make their first court appearance Thursday afternoon at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
Police believe drive-by shootings at an Ogden home Tuesday night and Wednesday morning may be related to a violent power struggle within a street gang over control of leadership, drugs and money. Ogden Police Lt. Scott Conley declined to identify the gang, but said members are not affiliated with the Ogden Trece. On Monday, 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones issued a permanent injunction against Trece members, banning them from associating with each other in public and being in the presence of guns, drugs and alcohol. The injunction also places Treces under an 11 p.m. curfew. The drive-by shootings at a home in the 500 block of 28th Street are signs of in-fighting among members of a local gang who are attempting to resolve their differences through escalating violence, Conley said. “They are in the same gang and are arguing back and forth,” he said, noting police have gathered intelligence on the dispute. “We are taking enforcement action to eradicate the problem or get the individuals involved incarcerated.” Six to eight gang members are believed to be involved in the dispute.
Saturday, 25 August 2012
The nine people believed injured by stray police gunfire outside the Empire State Building were not the first to learn how dangerous a crowded street can be in a gunfight.
Civilians occasionally find themselves in harm's way when officers use deadly force, though usually only a handful of times annually. When that happens, a rigid process of investigation is set in motion — and the police department can reasonably expect a lawsuit. The latest episode came when police say a man disgruntled over losing his job a year ago shot a former colleague to death and pointed his weapon at two police officers in the shadow of a major tourist attraction. He apparently wasn't able to fire before police killed him, one firing off seven rounds and the other nine. Bystanders suffered graze wounds, and some were struck by concrete gouged from buildings by the bullets, authorities said. At least one person said he was actually hit by a bullet. Robert Asika, a 23-year-old tour guide who was hit in the right arm, said he was "100 percent positive" he was shot by a police officer. A witness told police that laid-off clothing designer Jeffrey Johnson fired at officers, but ballistics evidence so far contradicts that, authorities said.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
A Trail of Ink: Tracking a Rare Tattoo-Related Infection
This trail began when the man received a tattoo in Rochester, N.Y. in October 2011. A short while later, he noticed the raised, bumpy rash. He called his primary care physician.
Doctors initially treated the man's arm with topical steroids, thinking that the rash was allergic-contact dermatitis. But that only made the problem worse.
By the time dermatologist Dr. Mark Goldgeier saw the patient, it was clear that this was no simple allergy.
He performed a skin biopsy so he could take a closer look at the rash under a microscope. What he saw was startling: the sample was riddled with a wormlike bacterium related to tuberculosis.
"I explained [to the patient] that he had TB, and he had a look of horror on his face," Goldgeier said.
For the patient, the finding meant a trip to an infectious disease specialist to start up to a full year of treatment.
Goldgeier, meanwhile, called the Monroe County Health Department.
"As soon as biopsy came back," he said, "I knew something in the process of tattooing was involved -- the ink, the water used for dilution, the syringes, the dressings."
And so began a nationwide medical mystery.
Dr. Byron Kennedy, public health specialist at Monroe County Department of Public Health, took over the case from Goldgeier. Kennedy first confirmed the results by repeating a skin biopsy on the patient. Once again, tendrils of mycobacterium chelonae, a type of tuberculosis-related skin bacteria, showed up in the sample.
Mycobacterium chelonae is a rapidly growing bug found in soil, dust, water, animals, hospitals, and contaminated pharmaceuticals. This family of bacteria does not commonly affect healthy individuals, but in patients with suppressed immune systems -- like those with HIV or on chemotherapy -- these bacteria can cause serious disease, often resulting in death.
The finding sent Kennedy and his associates to the tattoo parlor where the patient had been inked. Everything in the clinic was sterile, which made it unlikely that the infection had arisen there. But the tattoo artist, they learned, had been using a new gray premixed ink purchased in Arizona in April 2011; he used the ink between May and December 2011.
The ingredients of the ink -- pigment, witch hazel, glycerin, and distilled water -- seemed innocuous enough. But further examination revealed that the distilled water in the pigment was the likely culprit of the contamination.
The finding raised a number of questions -- not the least of which was how the bottles of premixed ink passed U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged this gap in regulations Wednesday in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report.
"Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, tattoo inks are considered to be cosmetics, and the pigments used in the inks are color additives requiring premarket approval," the report says.
Twenty-five people were killed and 43 others hurt in a prison battle in Venezuela as two armed gangs vied for control of a penitentiary near Caracas, authorities said on Monday.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Investigations into the murder case of MiD DAY journalist J Dey began just a few hours after his killing, when sleuths began combing the scene of crime in Powai for clues. In the days that followed the murder, they scoured Dey’s email account, his phone records, interrogated hundreds of acquaintances, eyewitnesses, informants and operators. They gathered CCTV footage from the store outside which Dey had been slain, and obtained sketches of suspects based on eyewitness accounts.
A fortnight later, they arrested seven men who were scattered across the country — all had been directly involved in the shooting. Senior Inspector Arun Chavan, who was in charge of the property cell at the time, acquired the initial clues for these busts. Chavan said, “Through our informer network, we were told that these men had gone missing after the shooting. After verifying if they were indeed absconding, we probed further and traced their location.”
Three accused were found hiding in Rameswaram, another two in Karnataka, and two more in Sion. The primary arrested accused — Rohit Thangappan alias Satish Kalia — hailed from Thiruvananthapuram. He was one of the men picked up from Rameswaram. Kalia allegedly used a .32 Czech-made revolver to fire the five bullets that felled Dey. Arun Dhake, another accused, piloted the bike, on which Kalia rode pillion. Four other arrested accused — Sachin Gaikwad, Nilesh Shelge alias Babloo, Mangesh Agawane and Abhijeet Shinde — are natives of Maharashtra.
The seventh arrested accused was Anil Waghmode, whose contribution to the operation was to recce all the spots that Dey frequented, including areas near his home in Ghatkopar, and MiD DAY’s Parel office. Interrogating them, cops picked up some more names — underworld don Chhota Rajan’s aide Paulson Joseph had supplied the group with international SIM cards, from which Rajan provided them instructions. He had also provided them with finances for the killing. It was also learnt that Rajan had provided his contract killers Dey’s photographs and licence plate number via Skype, after obtaining them from senior journalist and another accused in the murder case, Jigna Vora.
The ninth link yielded by interrogations was that of Deepak Sisodiya, a Nainital-based weapons supplier. The next name to crop up was of builder-bookie Vinod Asrani alias Vinod Chembur, another of Rajan’s aides, who had allegedly physically identified Dey for Kalia, at the Uma beer bar in Chembur, not long before the murder.
Days after the shooting, Rajan gave a handful of interviews to various news channels, claiming that he regretted having masterminded Dey’s killing. He named Vora as his ‘instigator,’ and alleged that she had provided Dey’s licence plate number and photographs to Rajan. Later, the Crime Branch, acting on information received from Chembur unit’s senior inspector Shripad Kale, tapped the phone of Asrani’s relative Manoj. In a recorded conversation, Rajan was heard lamenting his role in the murder of Dey, and blaming Vora for instigating him.
The Delta family of a 32-year-old mother shot to death during a trip to India is hailing a life-sentence handed to her husband in Hoshiarpur, India.
The Delta family of a 32-year-old mother shot to death during a trip to India is hailing a life-sentence handed to her husband in Hoshiarpur, India.
In March 2009 police in India announced the arrest of Vancouver truck driver Manjit Singh Badyal, on suspicion of hiring contract killers to murder his wife, Kuldeep Kaur Badyal. The couple had been in India for several months, when the wife was shot in the chest at close range as she was going to visit a Sikh temple in the northeast Punjab. She died on the spot.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the heinous murder of our beloved sister, daughter, and niece Kuldeep,” Kuldeep’s brother Amandeep Bal said at the time. “She was a devoted wife and loving mother of two young children.”
In an interview Saturday, the victim’s uncle Gurmeet Bahia of Delta told The Province the family has been informed by officials in Hoshiarpur that last week session court judge JS Bhinder sentenced Badyal to life in prison.
Court details have not yet been logged on the district’s online legal database. Sentencing documents are being mailed to interested parties in Canada, the family says.
“We are very happy with the life sentence,” Gurmeet Bahia said. “She won’t be coming back, but he was punished for what he did.”
The victim’s cousin, Ravinder Bahia, said that police told the family an alleged conspiracy involved Badyal’s plan to profit from a life insurance policy on his wife, and return to Vancouver to marry a mistress.
“He had put a life insurance policy (reported to be $400,000) on her one week before leaving for India in January (2009),” Ravinder Bahia said.
Following Badyal’s arrest in 2009, Indian newspapers reported on a growing trend of contract killings involving Indo-Canadians from the Punjab.
The Vancouver-based South Asian Post reported at least two dozen contract hits involving Indian migrants had occurred since 2007, mostly in Punjab’s Doaba belt where many Indo-Canadians come from.
Quoting Indian investigators, the paper reported that culprits believe they can get away with crimes arranged in India for several reasons. Poor Indian policemen often are paid to cover up evidence or even play a role in hits, according to the South Asian Post. And extraditing suspects from Canada to face justice in India is an extremely difficult process.
Gurpreet Singh, a Vancouver-based Radio India commentator, applauded reports of the Badyal sentence and recent developments in the Jassi Sidhu case.
In 2000 Sidhu, a 25-year-old Maple Ridge beautician, was murdered in Punjab after she went against her family’s wishes and secretly married a poor Indian man. Ever since police in India have been trying to extradite her mother and uncle, alleged conspirators in her slaying.
“Some people come to Canada and get rich, and then they think they have the right to hire contract killers in India,” Singh said. “That is what happened in Jassi’s case. They hired people that were working for the police.”
In January, Malkit Kaur Sidhu, 63, and Surjit Singh Badesha, 67, both of Maple Ridge, were arrested under the extradition act based on a request by India. The pair were recently denied bail in B.C. Supreme Court, pending an extradition
“Now that we’ve seen some movements in these cases, this might send a strong message,” Singh said.
Singh said in context, contract killings are rare in the South Asian community. But the root problem of marital discord and spousal abuse is far too common.
“Community leaders have to sit down and find out why some of these cases go so far,” Singh said. “We are still living in that primitive age, those old time customs.”
Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican, has authorized changes to a 2006 legislation that legalizes the use of deadly force on a public servant — including an officer of the law — in cases of “unlawful intrusion.” Proponents of both the Second and Fourth Amendments — those that allow for the ownership of firearms and the security against unlawful searches, respectively — are celebrating the update by saying it ensures that residents are protected from authorities that abuse the powers of the badge. Others, however, fear that the alleged threat of a police state emergence will be replaced by an all-out warzone in Indiana. Under the latest changes of the so-called Castle Doctrine, state lawmakers agree “people have a right to defend themselves and third parties from physical harm and crime.” Rather than excluding officers of the law, however, any public servant is now subject to be met with deadly force if they unlawfully enter private property without clear justification. “In enacting this section, the general assembly finds and declares that it is the policy of this state to recognize the unique character of a citizen's home and to ensure that a citizen feels secure in his or her own home against unlawful intrusion by another individual or a public servant,” reads the legislation. Although critics have been quick to condemn the law for opening the door for assaults on police officers, supporters say that it is necessary to implement the ideals brought by America’s forefathers. Especially, argue some, since the Indiana Supreme Court almost eliminated the Fourth Amendment entirely last year. During the 2011 case of Barnes v. State of Indiana, the court ruled that a man who assaulted an officer dispatched to his house had broken the law before there was “no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.” In turn, the National Rifle Association lobbied for an amendment to the Castle Doctrine to ensure that residents were protected from officers that abuse the law to grant themselves entry into private space. “There are bad legislators,” the law’s author, State Senator R. Michael Young (R) tells Bloomberg News. “There are bad clergy, bad doctors, bad teachers, and it’s these officers that we’re concerned about that when they act outside their scope and duty that the individual ought to have a right to protect themselves.” Governor Daniels agrees with the senator in a statement offered through his office, and notes that the law is only being established to cover rare incidents of police abuse that can escape the system without reprimand for officers or other persons that break the law to gain entry. “In the real world, there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met,” Daniels says. “This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers.” Officers in Indiana aren’t necessarily on the same page, though. “If I pull over a car and I walk up to it and the guy shoots me, he’s going to say, ‘Well, he was trying to illegally enter my property,’” Sergeant Joseph Hubbard tells Bloomberg. “Somebody is going get away with killing a cop because of this law.” “It’s just a recipe for disaster,” Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police President Tim Downs adds. “It just puts a bounty on our heads.”
Thursday, 7 June 2012
Two suspects were arrested for the Killing of Eswaradasan Keniswaran of Wairwan Kovil St. Palapettu, Trincomalee. The victim was hacked to death on April 18, 2012 at Aiyakarni by unidentified persons. The CID had taken over the investigations into the death and had arrested a pilot and another contract killer. According to the Police the Pilot was in an illicit love affair with the victims wife and together with the wife had paid 1750 punds to the contract killer for the murder of the man. The CID and the Police had conducted its inquiries based entirely on scientific evidence since there were no eyewitness accounts of the murder, the Police said.
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Investigators who view the biker gang as a criminal organization feel vindicated by the statements of a star witness, whose testimony has sparked a massive police investigation. It may ultimately put the existence of the organization at risk. It's easy to reach the biker on his cell phone, which is surprising, given his reputation and celebrity status -- and the fact that quite a few police investigators view him as the head of a criminal organization. Of course Frank Hanebuth, 47, a former boxer, local celebrity and president of the "Hannover Charter" of the Hells Angels biker organization, would prefer to say nothing. He would much rather allow the myths surrounding this men's society to speak for themselves -- the clothing, the militaristic patches, the intimidating symbols. But silence is no longer an option, not since 5 a.m. on May 24, when members of a German GSG-9 special forces unit roped down from a helicopter above his fortress-like house, shot his Anatolian sheepdog, handcuffed Hanebuth and, during the ensuing raid, seized two laptops, a handful of mobile phones and a few decorative rifles. And silence certainly isn't an option since a star witness told a German court last Thursday that Hanebuth hired him to murder a troublesome rival in the northern German city of Kiel. On the phone, the biker boss calls the claims made by the witness, former biker Steffen R., nothing but fantasy. He is still audibly upset about the police raid on his property, the death of his dog and the fact "that my 11-year-old son had to see it all." In contrast, he coolly rejects the murder-for-hire accusation, saying that he doesn't even know Steffen R. or Tekin Biçer, the alleged Turkish-born murder victim. And what about the claim made by the star witness that as a reward for the murder, a Hells Angel was allowed in Hamburg to establish his own charter, the term the organization uses to describe their local groups? "It's all nonsense," says Hanebuth. There was never a contract killing, nor were any such orders issued in Kiel. "I'm the president of Hannover, and that's all," he says. The alleged murder was used as a pretext, says Hanebuth, but the real goal was to "make accidental discoveries to support an effort to ban the organization." In truth, what is at stake at the moment is not just Frank Hanebuth, the colorful owner of a security company, a real-estate management company and two brothels, but the very existence of the Hells Angels in Germany. Its will depend on whether the star witness, a man with a criminal past, told the truth. Breaking the Code of Silence Steffen R., 40, accused of procuring, extortion and assault -- charges he overwhelmingly denies -- complied with the bikers' code of silence and said nothing during his eight months in pretrial detention. But in mid-February R., the former leader of "Legion 81," a Hells Angels auxiliary group, started talking. He revealed details on the biker gang's illegal business dealings, about prostitution, drugs and protection money -- and about alleged contract killings. The ex-convict from the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt was questioned about 12 times. He told investigators about a second contract killing that Hanebuth had allegedly approved, although it was not mentioned in court last week. According to R.'s statements, Hanebuth had given the "green light" to kill the leader of the Tigers biker gang, a man named Hakan. R. claimed that Hanebuth had said that it was to be done in such a way as "not to attract a lot of attention." Three Hells Angels members were then given orders to spy on Hakan. However, Steffen R. could not say why the murder plan was not carried out. Hanebuth also characterizes this accusation as "complete nonsense." The star witness's extensive testimony led to the massive police strike against the Hell Angels on May 24. In a major operation, some 1,200 officers raided bars, brothels and apartments in northern Germany. On the outskirts of Kiel, experts used heavy equipment to search a warehouse where, according to R., the body of Tekin Biçer, who had disappeared, had been buried in the concrete foundation. The public prosecutor's office is conducting about 200 investigations against 69 defendants. So far, no insider has come clean to the extent that R. did. His statements sharpen the authorities' focus on the Hells Angels, and they support the theories of investigative authorities, if they are indeed true. According to those theories, the bikers form a hierarchically structured organization not unlike the mafia. For years, Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) has noticed that bikers are increasingly involved in cases of organized crime. They now control the red-light districts in many cities. And in places where they are not yet in control, they use brutality, and weapons like machetes, axes and firearms, to expand their influence. According to BKA Vice President Jürgen Stock, the Hells Angels show "a high potential for violence and brutal clashes, even in public spaces." The police have regularly found pistols, hand grenades and explosives during searches. 'Unsettling Characteristics' An internal BKA report finds that the four largest German biker clubs -- the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Outlaws and Gremium -- count more than 3,500 members. The gangs try to cover up their criminal dealings, say the investigators, with supposedly clean companies, such as security companies, bars and brothels. Security companies, in particular, are often used in protection rackets, say the report's authors. The bikers like to portray themselves publicly as tough guys with soft hearts. Hanebuth, for example, has been a guest at gentleman's evenings hosted by Hannover celebrity attorney Götz von Fromberg, parties attended by local notables like Carsten Maschmeyer, Michael Frenzel and former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Cultivating ties with politicians and business leaders is part of the concept, while donations to social causes are a helpful public relations tool. The Bandidos, for example, handed a check to a pediatric cancer organization in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, while the Hells Angels have donated money to organizations supporting Alzheimer patients. BKA Vice President Stock calls this pure camouflage, saying: "These are extremely unsettling characteristics of organized crime." Investigators have also noticed a "massive pressure to expand" into Southern Europe among some Hells Angels groups. According to the European police agency Europol, there are efforts underway on the so-called Balkan route, a classic path for heroin coming into Central Europe, to start new groups in countries like Croatia, Serbia, Albania and Turkey. The EU authorities believe that the bulk of the profits from the drug trade are deposited in Swiss banks. Europol has been gathering information about bikers, which it calls "outlaw motorcycle gangs," for more than 10 years. Officials say that biker gangs count their largest membership in Germany. According to Europol, 64 percent of all bikers have criminal records. "In almost every house search, the police find weapons and drugs," reports an official at Europol headquarters in The Hague. Europol's conclusions coincide with the investigations by Berlin authorities, which recently lead to the banning of the "Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Berlin City." According to the official order banning the club, anyone who got in the way of the bikers' business dealings was "eliminated through attempts at intimidation or, if necessary, with violence that led to serious injuries and even death." Leaks from Authorities According to the State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA), the authorities could have -- and should have -- taken action against Kadir P., the future head of the gang, as long ago as 2008. A source at the LKA says that a bill to issue a ban on the biker gang already existed at the time, but it never made it past the internal administration of the city-state's senate. Hells Angels members claim that they have known about the senate's preparations for a ban since February. The fact that they were told in advance about the timing of a raid in Berlin last week, so that police ended up raiding empty premises, was the high point of an apparently long-standing, productive relationship between the bikers and corrupt officials. The circle of suspects is large. There are two special commissions at the LKA that handle biker crime, but a leak in the administration or judiciary also cannot be ruled out. The chumminess between biker gangs and the police is also glaringly evident elsewhere. Some police officers are apparently very attracted to the motorcycle gangs, with their rituals and uniforms, their insignias and macho behavior. In 2010, authorities in the western city of Essen investigated an officer with the criminal investigation department who had allegedly given the Bandidos information from his office computer. That same year, five officers were suspended in Frankfurt, including a 50-year-old first senior commissioner with the LKA, because they had allegedly sent internal information to the Hells Angels. Two defendants were even accused of dealing in drugs. In another case in Berlin, the police found a note during a search that read: "You don't have to kick down the door. It's open." According to star witness Steffen R., three officials in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein -- one each from the police, the prison system and the Kiel city administration -- helped the Hells Angels with their business dealings. State Interior Minister Klaus Schlie is outraged over the "lengths that the bikers went to infiltrate government structures." Central Investigation Needed Schlie was the first German cabinet minister in many years to introduce a motion in 2010 to ban the Bandidos and the Hells Angels. Some of his counterparts in other German states took a dim view of the dynamic, down-to-earth and fearless Schlie. But a conference of state interior ministers last Thursday, Schlie noted with satisfaction that there was a new receptiveness among his counterparts. Impressed by the statements of the star witness, a number of state interior ministers are now thinking about changing their tune. Schlie is even taking things a step further, saying: "If suspicions are borne out in the current trials that the bikers constitute a criminal network, and that certain individuals are assuming leadership positions in these criminal structures, it will be time to think about a nationwide ban." Experts are increasingly skeptical that the fight against the lawless gangs can be waged successfully, in light of the intricacies of state bureaucracies. The chairman of the Association of German Police Officers (BDK), André Schulz, is convinced that a nationwide phenomenon like biker gangs also needs to be "centrally investigated." For Schulz, the most recent accusations against Frank Hanebuth show that the local or regional charters are not nearly as independent as claimed, and that a concerted intervention by federal security agencies could make sense. Just how powerful Hanebuth really is, and how far his interest reaches, became clear in May 2010. In the law office of his friend and attorney, Götz von Fromberg, Hanebuth made a big fuss about sealing a nationwide peace treaty with Bandidos leader Peter Maczollek. The handshake between sworn enemies was binding for all Hells Angels in Germany, and it also sealed the agreement not to establish a new charter for a year. The search for the body that was allegedly embedded in concrete will continue this week. Interior Minister Schlie refuses to back down, and he is convinced that the star witness is reliable. In one detail, however, his investigators have had to explain to him that Steffen R. was apparently wrong. The star witness had testified that another biker was allowed to form his own charter in Poland to help solve the suspected murder of Tekin Biçer. When the biker gang celebrated its newest charter with much fanfare on April 10, 2010, Tekin Biçer had not disappeared yet. That happened 20 days later.Also attending the party were two bikers who still accuse each other of lying today: Steffen R. and Frank Hanebuth.
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called on Arab and other world powers on Monday to intervene in Syria after 108 people were killed in the town of Houla in an attack it blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Images of the bloodied bodies of children and others slain in Houla have shocked the world and highlighted the failure of a 6-week-old UN-backed cease-fire to stop the violence in the 14-month uprising against Assad's rule. "The Muslim Brotherhood calls on Arab, Islamic and international governments ... and the people of the free world to intervene to stop these massacres, especially after the failure of international forces and international monitoring to stop them," spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said in a statement. He did not say exactly what the world should do about Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in Egypt's presidential election topped last week's first-round poll, unofficial results show. The Islamist group already dominates both houses of Parliament after earlier elections. The UN Security Council on Sunday condemned Assad's government for firing heavy weapons at Houla. Ghozlan also called on Syrians to put aside their differences and unite to "bring down the regime, make the revolution succeed and free the heroic Syrian people." He said the Syrian government's crimes were worse than those of Genghis Khan, a warrior who founded the Mongol empire in the 13th century. Syria's Muslim Brotherhood is part of the opposition to Assad, whose father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, bloodily crushed an armed Islamist uprising in the 1980s. The Syrian and Egyptian branches of the Brotherhood share the same ideology but have no direct organizational links.
Sunday, 13 May 2012
THE man believed by police to be the central figure in a bikie feud has declared he is not at fault for Sydney's spate of drive-by shootings and says they are the "act of a coward". Wissam Amer, 28, broke his silence to The Sunday Telegraph to say he was not at the heart of the current shootings between the Hells Angels and Nomads outlaw motorcycle gangs. Last week The Sunday Telegraph revealed police believe Amer was the source of the conflict after he defected from the Hells Angels to the rival Nomads. Speaking through his lawyer Maggie Sten, the former bikie said unequivocally that he was no longer part of any gang and disputed police claims he's responsible for the feud. "The conflict between the Hells Angels and the Nomads is dead and buried - it has been for a while," Mr Amer said through his lawyer. "It has got nothing to do with me." Mr Amer was previously a member of the Bandidos, but left the group during a large scale "patch-over" of its members to the Hells Angels more than a year ago. Police believe he then tried to leave the Hells Angels to join the Nomads and burned bridges along the way - however he disputes this. Ms Sten said Mr Amer now wants to clear the record and confirm he is not part of any gang and is attempting to get on with a "normal life". What is not in dispute, however, is that Mr Amer was the target of two drive-by shootings over the past seven months. One was a drive-by at a Merrylands Oporto, two days after he was released on bail; the other happened three days later at his previous address at Canley Vale. Police believe both attacks were committed by Hells Angels, however Mr Amer said he could not prove this and neither could police. Mr Amer is unsure who the perpetrators were. "It could have been anybody - it's a dirty game, it could have been someone that I'd had a run-in with years ago," Ms Sten said on Mr Amer's behalf. "I live my life with no fear - I live now as a normal person." What Mr Amer was sure about was that drive-by shootings on himself or anyone else was a despicable act. "It's as weak as scratching somebody's car - anybody who drives a car and attacks you at 1am is a coward," he said through Ms Sten. "Especially when you know the people you're looking for are not there," referring to cases where the alleged targets were in jail. He could not explain the forces behind the current wave of shootings, but agreed with a police theory - revealed by The Sunday Telegraph - that a third party is trying to reignite animosities between the groups. Authorities brokered a peace agreement between the two gangs in January, but that faltered on April 16 when shots were fired at a home and car in Pemulwuy. "We believe it's other people trying to stir the pot," Ms Sten said for Mr Amer. "This is the perfect time for people to attack because they know the Hells Angels and Nomads were in a previous conflict which no longer exists." Police Strike Force Kinnarra has locked up 13 people in relation to the nine shootings that happened last month. Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said the conflict was firmly between the two gangs.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
The US treasury department has put two sons of Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on its drugs kingpin blacklist. The move bars all people in the US from doing business with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, and freezes any US assets they have. Joaquin Guzman, on the list since 2001, runs the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. Mexico has seen an explosion of violence in recent years as gangs fight for control of trafficking routes. The US administration "will aggressively target those individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking operations, including family members," said Adam Szubin, director of the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control . "With the Mexican government, we are firm in our resolve to dismantle Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking organisation." Ovidio Guzman plays a significant role in his father's drug-trafficking activities, the treasury department said. Ivan Archivaldo Guzman was arrested in 2005 in Mexico on money-laundering charges but subsequently released. As well as the Guzman brothers, two other alleged key cartel members, Noel Salgueiro Nevarez and Ovidio Limon Sanchez, were listed under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. They were both arrested in Mexico in 2011 and are still in custody. Under the Kingpin Act, US firms, banks and individuals are prevented from doing business with them and any assets the men may have under US jurisdiction are frozen. More than 1,000 companies and individuals linked to 94 drug kingpins have been placed on the blacklist since 2000. Penalties for violating the act range include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10m (£6m). The US has offered a reward of up to $5m a for information leading to the arrest of Joaquin Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.
Monday, 7 May 2012
Eduardo Ravelo, born on October 13, 1968 was added as the 493rd fugitive to the FBI 10 most wanted list on October 20, 2009. He is originally from Mexico, however he holds permanent residency status in the United States which gives him free movement across the border. An FBI informant and former lieutenant in the Barrio Azteca, a prison gang active in the U.S. and Mexico, testified that Ravelo told him to help find fellow gang members who had stolen from the cartel. In March 2008, he became the leader of the gang shortly after betraying his predecessor, stabbing him several times and shooting him in the neck. (Eduardo Ravelo: Wikipedia) Eduardo Ravelo was indicted in Texas in 2008 for his involvement in racketeering activities, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and conspiracy to possess heroin, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute. His alleged criminal activities began in 2003. He is believed to be living in an area of Cuidad Juarez controlled by the Barrio Ravelo, with his wife and children just across the border from El Paso, Texas. He is also said to have bodyguards and armored vehicles to protect him from rival gangs as well as rival cartels.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Former Sydney bikie boss Sam Ibrahim has been sent back to jail for allegedly breaching his parole. The 46-year-old was arrested yesterday at his home in Sydney's north-west at Bella Vista by a police strike force targeting the city's bikie gun war. The New South Wales Parole Authority revoked parole for the former Nomads boss after receiving a report from parole officers alleging he had been taking prohibited drugs and failing to obey directions. The arrest followed a police raid of his house last Friday, which was part of an operation targeting 18 homes and businesses linked to feuding Hells Angels and Nomads bikies. The house had been sprayed with bullets only a week earlier, in one of nine tit-for-tat shootings between the gangs in just over a week. Ibrahim is being held at Silverwater jail, ahead of a public hearing by the NSW Parole Board later this month. The board will decide whether to keep the former Nomads boss in prison until his sentence expires on October 7, or whether to extend his jail time. Ibrahim spent five months in jail as part of the 15-month sentence over the violent kidnapping of a 15-year-old boy in 2009. His arrest was part of a crackdown by the Gangs Squad's Strike Force Kinnara, which was set up to combat an escalation in bikie gun crime. The strike force also arrested convicted Sydney drug boss Bill Bayeh a fortnight ago for an alleged breach of parole.
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company in a bombshell report by MPs today. His son and business heir James was accused of “wilful ignorance” towards phone hacking, while Murdoch executives were accused of lying to cover it up. The verdicts leave the 81-year-old tycoon fighting to justify his leadership of a worldwide empire including the broadcaster BSkyB. He faces being dragged before Parliament to apologise. The force of the report was partly diminished by a row between members of the culture select committee. Four Conservatives voted against the final draft because they felt the attack on Rupert Murdoch’s fitness to run a company was over the top. However, the final 100-page report backed by the Labour and Lib-Dem MPs on the committee amounted to one of the most scathing parliamentary verdicts on an international business. The MPs said Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor and chief executive of News International, “should accept responsibility” for the culture that led to Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked, along with hundreds of others. The report also found editors, lawyers, the police and prosecutors guilty of a catalogue of failings. Several former Murdoch lieutenants were singled out for misleading Parliament, including former News International executive chairman Les Hinton, former News Group lawyer Tom Crone, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler. It criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and the former Metropolitan Police acting deputy commissioner John Yates, saying “they both bear culpability for failing to ensure that the evidence ... was properly investigated.” Rupert Murdoch was accused of “wilful blindness” about the mounting evidence of phone hacking. The verdict will add muscle to shareholders seeking to topple Mr Murdoch and to critics demanding that media regulator Ofcom strip him of his broadcasting licence. The report accused the Murdoch companies of trying to “buy the silence” of victims by awarding huge payouts to victims of hacking such as football players’ union boss Gordon Taylor. Verdicts on some figures who have been arrested by the police were held back in case they hampered fair trials. Among these was Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was hired by David Cameron as his spin chief at No 10. The ferocious conclusion, which divided the committee in a series of votes on the final wording, was that Mr Murdoch was ultimately to blame and therefore not fit to hold his position. It said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The committee branded it “simply astonishing” that Rupert and James said it was not until December 2010 that they realised that News International’s claim that hacking involved a single “rogue reporter” was untrue. It poured scorn on James Murdoch’s “lack of curiosity” that raised “questions of competence”. Mr Hinton was “complicit in the cover-up at News International” that included paying inflated compensation to victims. Mr Crone and Mr Myler misled the committee by answering questions “falsely”. The final devastating verdict on Mr Murdoch was a triumph for Labour MP Tom Watson who drafted the conclusions. But the 11-member committee divided along party lines, with the full denunciation being passed by the vote of a single Liberal Democrat member. Mr Watson said of Rupert Murdoch: “More than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are his. He paid the piper and he called the tune.” Conservative MPs Louise Mensch and Philip Davies insisted the MPs had no right to make such a ruling and hit out at “partisan” voting by Labour members led by Mr Watson and Paul Farrelly. Mrs Mensch said Tory members could not back the declaration, describing it as “wildly outside the scope” of the committee and “improper attempt to influence” watchdog Ofcom.” Mr Davies said Mr Murdoch was “very clearly” a fit and proper person to run a major firm, pointing to the jobs he had created. He added: “Many people may conclude that some people’s conclusions were written before any of the evidence was heard, and that is very sad.” Mr Watson said he was disappointed there had been splits, but insisted Mr Murdoch must be held to account for crimes at News Corporation. Committee chair John Whittingdale said he did not vote on any of the amendments in the report, but hinted at his opinion on whether it should have branded Mr Murdoch unfit, saying: “I would merely observe that as well as being the chairman of the committee, I am a Conservative MP.” Lib-Dem member Adrian Sanders who was effectively left with the casting vote, sided with the Labour view. He said he would have faced accusations of party bias whichever way he had decided. After the report was published Mr Watson said he had “reason to believe” that even more the material in the form of hard drives was in the hands of the Serious Organised Crime Agency. He sought to extend the probe into new areas — including claims News Corp could be in contempt of Parliament over claims they sought to use private investigators to dig dirt on committee members. He also said politicians — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as well as David Cameron and George Osborne — should reveal their email and text message contacts with News Corp executives.
Saturday, 28 April 2012
Detectives hunting double murder suspect James Allen have urged Yorkshire residents to lock their doors and windows after reported sightings of him on the East Coast raised fears the killer could strike again. Allen, a 35-year-old drug user with previous convictions for violence, is believed to have killed his former next-door neighbour in Middlesbrough and murdered a Whitby housewife while on bail for other offences. Police called on him to hand himself in yesterday as they revealed sightings of the suspect had been reported in Whitby, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. More than 100 officers from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces are investigating the murders of Colin Dunford, 81, and Julie Davison, 50. Both victims suffered head injuries. The detective leading the inquiry, Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police, said it was a “24/7 operation” that would not stop until Allen is found.
Friday, 27 April 2012
One of the country's busiest shopping streets has been closed as a man wearing gas canisters stormed into an office and threatened to blow himself up, it was reported. Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after police received emergency calls at midday. Scotland Yard sent a hostage negotiator to the scene amid reports the man had held people hostage inside the building several floors up. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment being thrown through one of the office windows. A police spokesman said it was "too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages" but businesses and nearby buildings were evacuated. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: "There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. "All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. "We don't know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage."
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Three men have been arrested and 36 criminal websites selling credit card information and other personal data shut down as part of a two-year international anti-fraud operation, police have confirmed. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as authorities in Germany; the Netherlands; Ukraine; Australia and Romania, swooped after identifying the sites as specialising in selling card and bank details in bulk. The move comes as a blow to what is a growing black market for stolen financial data. Detectives estimated that the card information seized could have been used to extract more than £500m in total by fraudsters. SOCA claimed it has recovered more than two and a half million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years. “The authorities have shut down 36 websites but it is difficult to know how many other people had access to that data. They could spring back up somewhere else if a gang is not eradicated completely,” said Graham Cluley of internet security firm Sophos. He added: “This is big business and, just as in any legitimate company there are people who specialise in different things, so there are those who actually get their hands on the personal data and those who sell it on; they are not often the same person.” An investigation by The Independent last summer found that scammers were making a “comfortable living” getting their hands on sensitive information and selling it online. Card details were being offered for sale for between 4p and £60 per card – depending on the quality – according to one source in the business. Some cards would be sold with incomplete or unreliable information; others ready to use. Some of the card details for sale on the websites shut down by SOCA were being sold for as little as £2 each. Investigators said that the alleged fraudsters were using Automated Vending Carts, which allowed them to sell large quantities of stolen data. They are said to be a driver of the growth in banking fraud over the last 18 months because of the speed with which stolen data can be sold. Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.” An alleged operator in Macedonia was one of those arrested, while two British men accused of buying the information were also detained. Britain’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit also seized computers suspected of being used to commit fraud.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
SIMMERING tension between rival bikie gangs exploded on the Gold Coast yesterday with the drive-by shooting of a tattoo parlour in the heart of Bandidos territory. Police fear the attack could be a push for territory by the Hells Angels as the outlaw gang seeks a toehold on the lucrative Glitter Strip. Less than 24 hours after police commissioner Bob Atkinson told the Bulletin that bikie gangs were "one of the greatest challenges to face law enforcement", the Bandido-protected Mermaid Beach tattoo shop was hit by at least four shots in the early hours of yesterday morning. High-ranking police yesterday said it was "inevitable" that the violence that has plagued Sydney would eventually spill across the border. "We do not believe it is directly connected to the war between the Hells Angels and the Nomads that has been unfolding in New South Wales," said police. "But it is a similar style of attack. "We know the Hells Angels have been pushing to establish a chapter on the Gold Coast -- that push is coming from Sydney. "Tradelink Drive is not their most profitable chapter." While detectives have attempted to play down the shooting, police say there is "no doubt" it was intended as a warning. The Bandidos are the largest and one of the most secretive bikie gangs on the Gold Coast. The club has gained strength as its main rival -- the Finks -- have been severely weakened with so many senior members behind bars and Bandido territory stretches south from Broadbeach. Police said last month's Hells Angels National Run was intended as a direct message to all gangs on the Gold Coast. More than 200 patched gang members descended on Surfers Paradise for the run. "These clubs are so well organised, they do nothing without a reason," police said. "You can bet they had some purpose in coming to the Gold Coast. "They taunted the Finks and nothing happened, now the Bandidos tattoo shop is shot up in the same way the gym controlled by the Hells Angels was hit a few months ago. "You join the dots." The shop is owned by a senior member of the outlaw gang who has been a patched member of the Bandidos "for years", police say. In an exclusive interview with the Bulletin, Mr Atkinson said the danger of bikie gangs was "under-rated" by the community. "The outlaw motorcycle gangs nationally present one of the greatest challenges to police. "I think the degree of that challenge and the risk they present to our society is underrated." The Gold Coast has one of the highest populations of bikie gangs in the country. Mr Atkinson said he would not be surprised if the Hells Angels were not considering a move closer to the Glitter Strip. "They are businesses, they look for opportunity so that wouldn't be a surprise," he said. "They market themselves as a group of mature men who have a love and interest in motorbikes and they do that very cleverly. The reality is they are highly sophisticated, well organised criminal enterprises that pose a genuine risk to the community and many are well represented by the finest and best lawyers who they retain to represent them." South East Region Assistant Commissioner Graham Rynders said the gangs were constantly looking to expand. "One of things about OMCGs is they look for opportunity for criminal enterprise," Mr Rynders said. "Throughout Queensland, throughout the country, probably throughout the world they are looking to expand. It is obviously dictated to by territory, depending on who or what other groups exist in what areas."
Police discovered a grisly scene on Sept. 10, 2000, when they entered a Cogmagun Road home in Hants County. “It was a very brutal scene,” Cpl. Shawn Sweeney, who was a constable with the Windsor rural RCMP detachment that day, testified Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Kentville. It was the second day of trial for Leslie Douglas Greenwood, 42, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Barry Kirk Mersereau, 48, and his wife, Nancy Paula Christensen, 47. Sweeney, a Crown witness, testified that he and four other police officers who responded to a 911 call found Christensen sitting upright in a chair in the living room of her Centre Burlington home with a bullet wound in her left cheek, under her glasses. She had a cup of tea in her hand and a small dog was sitting in her lap. There were several bullet casings and lead fragments scattered on the floor. Mersereau was lying face down, with pools of blood around his head and body. Another dog, believed to be a German shepherd-Rottweiler mix, was hiding under covers on the bed in the master bedroom. A third dog was tied to the front porch and another had run off into the woods. Sweeney told Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy and the seven-woman, five-man jury hearing the case that the house appeared to be neat and orderly, with no signs of struggle. “It didn’t appear to be a house that was rifled through or things thrown around,” Sweeney testified. Const. Glenn Bonvie told the court it was immediately obvious that Mersereau and Christensen were dead. “There was no movement. There was no doubt that they were deceased.” Crown witness Ronald Connors owned a hunting cabin in the woods about half a kilometre away from the couple’s house. He testifed that he heard several shots at about 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 9. Connors said he heard six shots fired in quick succession, followed by a pause and a couple more shots. Moments later, there were more shots. He said he thought at first someone might be jacking deer, but Connors concluded that the shots didn’t sound like those from a high-powered hunting rifle. The jury was shown a video of the two bodies as they were found. Former RCMP officer David Clace, then in charge of the RCMP’s forensics identification unit in New Minas, said a large amount of money was found in plastic bags in a gym bag in one of the bedroom closets. The bag was later determined to contain about $65,000 in cash. Crown attorney Peter Craig has told the court that the victims were shot to death in their home in an execution-style killing as part of a Hells Angels-ordered killing. “They were killed in their home in a quiet community, with a teapot on the stove, with no signs of struggle and their baby in the next room,” Craig told the jury. He said evidence presented by as many as 40 Crown witnesses will show that Michael Lawrence and Greenwood murdered the couple on the orders of Jeffrey Lynds, a former Hells Angels operative who died recently in a Montreal jail of an apparent suicide. Lawrence, who owed Lynds money, pleaded guilty last January to three charges of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years. Also killed that day, by Lawrence, was Charles Maddison, an innocent man who picked Lawrence up hitchhiking. Lawrence shot him to take his truck to commit a planned robbery. Craig said Lawrence, expected to be a crucial Crown witness, will testify that he and Greenwood shot the couple, one with a .357 Magnum, the other with a 32-calibre handgun, in what he called “planned and deliberate” killings. The couple’s 18-month-old baby boy was safely recovered from the house by neighbour Ruby McKenzie, who went to the victim’s home the day after the shootings. McKenzie said she brought the baby back to her mobile home and called police. Greenwood sat quietly during the proceedings, occasionally exchanging comments with his lawyer, Alain Begin. Begin is expected to argue that Greenwood went to the Mersereau house the day of the shootings to buy drugs, and that Lawrence shot the couple while Greenwood was waiting outside. Also charged with first-degree murder in the killings is Curtis Blair Lynds, 36, who is serving time in a federal prison for drug trafficking. A preliminary inquiry in his case is scheduled to begin July 16.