Powered By

Free XML Skins for Blogger

Powered by Blogger


Contract Killings


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Slain underworld hitman Andrew "Benji" Veniamin is believed to be the hired gun who carried out the execution.

Slain underworld hitman Andrew "Benji" Veniamin is believed to be the hired gun who carried out the execution. In opposing bail for Vendetti in the Supreme Court yesterday, Senior-Detective Tim Bell said the accused killer had been under police surveillance since May this year.Sen-Det Bell said it had become apparent Vendetti was well-connected to criminal and sporting identities, including Cousins and gangland figures Mick Gatto and John Kizon.Cousins, 30, officially became a Tiger yesterday after the club selected him with the final pick in the pre-season AFL draft.A hero's welcome awaits him at the club's Punt Rd headquarters today where he will join teammates for a 9am training session."I am very excited about the opportunity," a jubilant Cousins said from Perth last night before flying into Melbourne."I want to thank everyone for what has transpired and I'm talking about my family, especially my Mum and Dad."And I want to thank Richmond and the support from all their fans in the past 48 hours."I can't wait to start training with the players and I'm looking forward to wearing the yellow and black and playing at the MCG."
Premier John Brumby led the chorus of footy fans congratulating the confessed drug user on his comeback."Everybody likes heroes in the AFL and he's been one of those heroes. He's got a chance to be a hero again," Mr Brumby said."He's a very talented footballer and it would be wonderful ... if he can prove to himself and to the public."Coach Terry Wallace said a groundswell of support for Cousins from Richmond fans and players had been instrumental in the club taking a punt on the former Eagle champ."AFL footy is about the game itself, it's about the players who play the game, and it's about the fans who come along to watch the game and I think strongly our decision is based on all three of those things," Wallace said.Cousins' manager Ricky Nixon said it was vital for Cousins to resurrect his career in the AFL's heartland.
"We were pretty keen to get Ben to Melbourne. I won't go into the details as to why, but as part of his rehab," Nixon said.And he said the resurgent Richmond, which won eight out of their last 11 games last season, was the perfect fit.Justice Bernard Bongiorno will rule today on Vendetti's bail application.

Italian police have arrested 94 suspected Mafia gangsters who they claimed were on the brink of creating a command structure under a new godfather

Italian police have arrested 94 suspected Mafia gangsters who they claimed were on the brink of creating a command structure under a new godfather to relaunch Cosa Nostra as a power in the land.In a huge pre-dawn operation, more than 1,000 officers swooped on dozens of addresses in Palermo and around Sicily. Masked officers climbed gates and tore down walls as helicopters hovered, pouncing on known mafiosi, many with long prison terms behind them. Since the 2006 arrest of the top mobster, Bernardo Provenzano, the Sicilian Mafia's ranks have been in disarray and investigators said yesterday's operation had been unleashed as gangsters were planning to reconstitute the so-called "Provincial Commission", a cabinet under a new boss with absolute power. "If that [Provenzano] operation... brought Cosa Nostra to its knees, this prevented it from getting up again," Italy's anti-Mafia prosecutor, Pietro Grasso, told reporters.Yesterday's operation was codenamed Perseus, after the Greek mythological hero who beheaded Medusa, and Mr Grasso said it "severed all the strategically important heads of a new ruling structure that had to deliberate, as it once did, on all serious acts".Historically, the Provincial Commission was the executive body that decided on the Mafia's most notorious atrocities, including the murders of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the investigating magistrates killed by road bombs in 1992. Investigators said a preliminary summit meeting was held on 14 November. From bugged phone conversations, they obtained a full list of those present and those who had sent their apologies, as well as details of the issues discussed and the decisions adopted. The object, as one bugged gangster put it, was to "re-establish Cosa Nostra" in the old style, with a single all-powerful boss, a "capo di capi".While other Italian Mafia outfits – in particular the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta and the Camorra from Campania -- have enjoyed vigorous growth in recent years, the Sicilian Mafia has been floundering since the spectacular arrest of Provenzano. The mobster, known as the Tractor for his propensity to mow people down, had been a wanted man for more than 40 years. For much of that time, he eluded arrest by refusing to use telephone, post, fax or computer, relying solely on minuscule notes typed by him and delivered by a complex network of couriers. When police cracked the code used in the notes, they discovered his hideout and were able to dismantle much of his organisation. As a result, the Sicilian Mafia has been recovering its strength only slowly and with great difficulty.A younger generation of Mafia leaders cast aside Provenzano's reluctance about using the phone, allowing police to amass a huge quantity of wiretap information, the key to yesterday's success.Detectives learnt that the efforts to rebuild the Sicilian Mafia were being supervised from behind bars by Provenzano and his predecessor, Salvatore Riina, the brutal head of the Mob during its most violent phase, who is still regarded as the Mafia's ultimate authority. Riina was arrested in 1993, and is now serving a life sentence for his numerous murders.
The third veteran gangster involved in breathing new life into the Mob was Matteo Messina Denaro from the Trapani, who is still on the run. The three veterans had apparently agreed on the choice of another old-timer, Benedetto Capizzi from the Villagrazia section of Palermo, to be the new boss of bosses.
Investigators said Operation Perseus had taken nine months and that its denouement had been brought forward when they learned from wiretaps that one of the "families" within the Palermo Mafia – Porta Nuova – objected to the choice of Capizzi as the new head of the organisation. As a result, police feared a killing spree and the outbreak of a new Mafia civil war.Investigators said many of those arrested yesterday had recently been released from prison on health grounds, and were serving out their sentences under house arrest. They held clandestine gang meetings in Palermo's municipal hospitals, the only place outside their homes where they were allowed to spend time under the terms of their release.

Blackwater Worldwide was involved in the shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians last year

Blackwater Worldwide was involved in the shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians last year, should be dismissed by the US Government, an advisory panel to the State Department said yesterday. In a report commissioned by Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, the panel called for Blackwater’s contract not to be renewed when it expires next year, leaving the decision of what to do with the security firm to President-elect Barack Obama. Dr Rice ordered a review last September of the State Department’s large-scale use of private security firms in Iraq, after the 17 civilians were killed in Baghdad. Last week the US Justice Department said that five guards who had been working for Blackwater and gave themselves up in Utah have been charged with manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and weapons violations.
A sixth guard pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter — a killing in the heat of the moment with no prior planning — and attempt to commit manslaughter.
The multiple deaths on September 16, 2007, highlighted the huge number of private security guards employed by the State Department to protect diplomats, visiting politicians and Iraqi Government officials in Iraq. On that day the Blackwater guards were escorting State Department officials through central Baghdad when they fired on other civilians after killing the occupants of a car that had approached a blockade. US prosecutors say that the car posed no threat and that the subsequent shootings were unprovoked. The five defendants say that they acted in self-defence.
Between 2005 and September 2007 Blackwater security staff were involved in 195 shooting incidents in Iraq; in 163 of those cases Blackwater personnel fired first.
Patrick Rowan, of the Justice Department, said: “While there were dangers in Baghdad in September 2007, there were also ordinary people going about their lives, performing mundane daily tasks. [This] indictment and guilty plea should serve as a reminder that those who engage in illegal attacks on civilians in times of conflict or peace will be held accountable.” If Blackwater is dropped next year, it is not clear how it will be replaced. The department relies heavily on private security guards. There are an estimated 30,000 in Iraq and Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador in Bagdhad, told Congress last year: “There is simply no way at all that the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security could ever have enough full-time personnel to staff the security function in Iraq.” Blackwater has won more than $1 billion (£650 million) in government contracts under the Bush Administration, a large portion of which has been for work in Iraq. The recommendation does not affect Blackwater contracts outside Iraq but a decision to end the company’s role there will pose proble

four gangland-style killings in October, Croatia's powerful - and previously largely negated - underworld flexed its muscle

four gangland-style killings in October, Croatia's powerful - and previously largely negated - underworld flexed its muscle and sent the authorities scurrying for emergency measures. Ivana Hodak, 26, beautiful celebrity daughter of a socialite lawyer defending powerful clients with lots of enemies, was slain in broad daylight in central Zagreb on October 6. A professional hitman coolly walked off after delivering the fatal shots to her head and neck - all this in broad daylight and not even 100 metres from the main police precinct. On October 23, a bomb killed Ivo Pukanic, an influential journalist and publisher with friends in the elite as much as the underworld - though nowadays the two worlds are not necessarily separated. A close friend died alongside him like collateral damage. Ahead of these killings, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader would have responded angrily when asked about organized crime, insisting there was no such thing in his country. After Hodak's murder, however, Sanader made his first-ever public reference to "mafia," though somewhat clumsily: "We are no longer going to put up with organized crime and the mafia." He then fired interior and justice ministers and and the head of police. Following the Pukanic killings, Sanader promised: "Zagreb will not become Beirut ... I want to state clearly - nobody from the criminal milieu will be able to sleep calmly.
"It is us or them. This is terrorism," President Stjepan Mesic said after Pukanic was killed, who was his personal friend. But that very day, another mafia murder - that time of a less-known member of the Zagreb jet-set and a shadowy businessman, was found parked in his jeep and with a bullet in his head. Why Croatian leaders appeared so surprised and suddenly outraged, remains unclear as roughly 80 other killings in the capital have remained unresolved from the previous 10 years.
Although the motive of the Pukanic and other killings has not yet been determined clearly, police has uncovered am extended business of "Murder-on demand". Pukanic's killing was carried out by two Serbs working on a contract by an unidentified party in Croatia. "We could describe that as 'Murders Incorporated," an unidentified high-ranking state security official told the Jutarnji List daily. "You order a murder and they do it, regardless of who the target is. The scheme is believed to involve the entire Balkans region including Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo and beyond, and involve other criminal activities such as the heroin trade, according to police. And Croats finally had to accept that the tentacles of organized crime penetrated their own society just as well as other countries in the region. Those tentacles date from Croatia's 1991-95 independence war with Yugoslavia and Serb insurgents. The state - then under an arms embargo - turned to black marketeers and criminals to help it smuggle weapons for the fledgling army, in a multi-billion dollar business. Many of the newly rich, their fortune expanded through trafficking of drugs, cigarettes, people and anything else on top of weapons, were also given a badge of social acceptance for their services. A decade-and-a-half later, criminals have emerged as businessmen with millions laundered through construction, sports and even fine art collections. With a foe that rich, ruthless and legally clean, the state is virtually helpless, even state prosecutor Mladen Bajic admitted in confidential report to Sanader and Mesic that was leaked on October 19. Following its initial accumulation of wealth, organized crime "permeated all pores of Croatian society," Bajic warned. "Mobsters became respectable businessmen. The assessment was a hard blow to Croatia's carefully nurtured image of a country which righteously fought a righteous war and remained clean in the process.

Ex professional rugby league player Mark Webster had drunk more than 10 pints when he knocked Jason Hale unconscious with a single blow

Ex professional rugby league player Mark Webster had drunk more than 10 pints when he knocked Jason Hale unconscious with a single blow before stamped on him. Mr Hale's relatives sobbed in court yesterday as they watched CCTV of the WakefieldPrison officer deliver the blow which left him with devastating brain injuries. Webster, 38, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the attack outside the Black Sawn, Normanton, near Wakefield. Judge James Stewart told him: "You were at the time of this incident a serving prison officer. "That means you were expected to be able to deal with your fellow man who misbehaves in a violent way." He added: "But on this day you were drunk. Drinking in excess disinhibits and causes people to behave in a way in which they would not ordinarily behave. "Binge drinking is the scourge of our society. Town centres become no-go areas. "Frequently violence erupts outside public houses as indeed on this night." Leeds Crown Court heard how Webster, a former Wakefield Wildcats prop, had played for amateur side Normanton Knights in a Challenge Cup play-off match against East Hull on the day of the incident. Mr Hale, 37, of Netheroyd, Streethouse, was among a group of fans who joined players drinking at the club after the match in the early afternoon before moving onto nearby pubs.
Jonathan Devlin, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court how there was an initial incident inside the Black Swan when a fight erupted after a racist remark was made to an Asian woman. Mr Hale had hit his head on a table during the trouble and was trampled on inside the pub. The court heard how someone had also punched Webster during the incident as he tried to act as peacemaker, causing him to lose his composure. Mr Devlin said Mr Hale, who was also heavily drunk and had taken cocaine, suffered his fatal injuries outside the pub when he raised his hands to Webster in a "mock fight" gesture. The barrister said his behaviour could not have been construed as a aggressive because he was so drunk. Mr Devlin said: "Without any warning the defendant then struck Jason Hale to the head with a blow. The force of which rendered him unconscious immediately."
After the footage was played in court he added: "What is clear is that the defendant aimed a blow with his foot at Jason Hale as he lay on the ground. The prosecution say he was unconscious and quite clearly defenceless and unable to tense himself or prevent injury from the blow." Mr Hale suffered a fractured skull as well as damage to internal organs from the stamp. His life support machine was switched off the next day, on February 25 this year, as his injuries were inoperable.The court heard the how his death had devastated his family, including his two teenage children, partner and stepson.Simon Bourne-Arton, mitigating, said Webster had walked into Wood Street police station in Wakefield the day after Mr Hale's death and admitted his role in the incident.He said Webster felt "worthless" for taking another man's life.
The lawyer added that Webster, who has a young daughter, had no previous convictions and acted out of character.He said his career in the Prison Service was over and any jail term would prove difficult to serve because of his former job.

UN court sentenced a former Rwandan military officer to life in prison

UN court sentenced a former Rwandan military officer to life in prison on Thursday for organizing of 1994 genocide, according to agencies.The Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) accused former army colonel Theoneste Bagosora of being having masterminded the 1994 Rwandan genocide, said reports."Bagosora is guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity and war crimes," the ICTR said.Bagosora would appeal the verdict, his lawyer said after the sentence.
The UN tribunal last month got its mandate extended by the United Nations Security Council to the end of next year instead of to the end of this year to allow it hear all pending cases of genocide suspects.The tribunal was established in 1995 to prosecute suspects of the 1994 Rwanda genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives.
Though the United Nations had an agreement with Tanzania that no convicted person should remain on the host country's soil, there are now still 17 convicted persons who are waiting for a host country.The massacres took place in 1994 after the Rwandan president's plane was mysteriously shot down over Kigali as he returned home from peace talks with Tutsi-led rebels.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...