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Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

$50m in diamonds taken in Brussels airport heist (Photos and Video)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 21, 2013

EIGHT masked gunmen made a hole in a security fence at Brussels’ international airport, drove onto the tarmac and snatched some $50 million worth of diamonds from the hold of a Swiss-bound plane without firing a shot, authorities said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcyVXZSpb1U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE5x6xVKJmk

The gang used two black cars in their daring raid late Monday, grabbed the cache of stones and sped off into the darkness, said Anja Bijnens, spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office.

“They tried to pass themselves off as police officers,” Ms Bijnens said. They reportedly wore outfits which resembled dark police clothing and both cars had blue lights on top, she said.

Police found one burnt-out vehicle close to the airport later Monday night and said they were still looking for clues.

The heist was estimated at some $50 million in diamonds, said Caroline De Wolf of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

Belgium Diamond Heist

Baggage carts make their way past a Helvetic Airways aircraft from which $50 million worth of diamonds were stolen on the tarmac of Brussels international airport in a daring diamond heist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amie Neely, Teacher, Accused Of Having Sex With Foreign Exchange Student

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 19, 2012

A suspicious husband used the GPS capability on his wife’s cellphone to find the 38-year-old teacher having sex with a 16-year-old boy.

Amie Neely now faces a felony sexual assault charge after being arrested by Port St. Lucie, Fla. police early Sunday morning, according to TC Palm.

WPBF reports that the boy was an exchange student living with Neely and her husband at the time of the alleged assault. There is also another exchange student still taking up residence there, according to the station.

There is no indication that Neely, who teaches at Community Christian Academy, ever taught the student she’s accused of assaulting.

The boy told cops he drove Neely to an area near St. Lucie West Centennial High School. He said he got in the back seat with Neely and, as the two were having sex, the teacher’s husband walked up to the car and discovered them. Read the rest of this entry »

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WikiLeaks remains the target of secret federal investigation two years later

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 9, 2012

The United States has yet to charge WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange with any crimes, but a judge this week admitted that a 2-year-old investigation is nonetheless still being pursued by federal prosecutors.

US District Judge Liam O’Grady denied a plea on Wednesday to unseal court documents pertaining to an elusive grand jury investigation targeting WikiLeaks started in 2010. Rejecting a request to make certain materials available outside of the closed-door inquisition, the judge acknowledged that publishing those files would put in jeopardy the country’s still pending and highly-secretive probe into the whistleblower site.

“For reasons stated in the memorandum of the United States, unsealing of the documents at this time would damage an ongoing criminal investigation,” O’Grady ruled in a decision according to court papers first obtained by Wired (.PDF).

The judge’s response this week is in regards to the latest request to release materials believed to discuss persons loosely affiliated with WikiLeaks, a website shunned by the Obama administration and largely expected to be indicted sooner or later for publishing hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables and other sensitive files online.

In December 2010, the US Justice Department subpoenaed the social media site Twitter with papers demanding information on four registered accounts, including the official @WikiLeaks page and three managed by particular individuals, namely activist Jacob Appelbaum; Icelandic lawmaker Birgitta Jonsdottir; and Dutch businessman Rop Gonggrijp. Initially, those persons unsuccessfully attempted to keep Twitter from providing the government with the requested information, including associated phone numbers, email addresses, bank account numbers and IP addresses. Now nearly two years later, they have been denied access to those still-sealed files yet again. Read the rest of this entry »

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No DNA link to Assange in condom central to sex assault case

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 18, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

A ripped condom given to Swedish police by one of Julian Assange’s accusers does not contain the WikiLeaks founder’s DNA, forensic scientists have reportedly found.

In a 100-page document shown to Assange’s lawyers, it was revealed that the torn prophylactic, having been examined by staff at two forensic laboratories, did not bear conclusive evidence that Assange had ever worn it, the Daily Mail reported on Sunday.

Assange’s lawyers said the lack of DNA evidence on the condom, which was allegedly used during a supposed August 2010 sexual assault, indicates that a fake one could have been submitted.

The woman in question, now aged 33, claims to have been molested by Assange at her flat in Stockholm. She says that at one point he deliberately broke a condom in order to have unprotected sex with her.

Assange claims he had consensual sex with the woman, but denies intentionally tearing the condom. He had previously told police that he continued to stay at her residence for the week following the alleged incident, saying his accuser never made any mention of the ripped condom.

But DNA purportedly belonging to Assange was present on a condom submitted by a second woman, who has accused him of rape, prompting Swedish authorities to push ahead with their bid to have him extradited from the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assange lawyer: A man who committed no crime is persecuted (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 11, 2012

Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)
Julian Assange (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

Baltasar Garzon is no stranger to conflict when it comes to fighting injustice carried out by state powers. In an exclusive interview with RT, the Spanish jurist explained why WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange is “worth defending.”

The seemingly intractable battle between Ecuador and Britain over Julian Assange has brought a spotlight on the dangerous path whistleblowers tread in exposing abuses of state power.

With Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June, the small Latin American country’s decision to grant the WikiLeaks founder political asylum sits in heavy contrast to the fact that he lives under lock and key like a fugitive, in constant fear of arrest.

In the midst of this international standoff, Garzon spoke at length with RT’s sister channel Actualidad RT about why the UK was only bluffing when British authorities threatened to storm the Ecuadorian embassy, why he has no doubt the US is pursuing a case against his client, and the irony that Assange is being persecuted for exposing gross human rights violations, while the perpetuators who committed those criminal acts remain free. Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI: NYPD’s Muslim spy program harmful and a waste of money

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 2, 2012

Members of the New York Police Department.(AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

The NYPD’s top officials have endorsed the department’s surveillance of Muslims and even top-secret missions abroad. According to the author of a new book, though, the FBI says these efforts produced “no intelligence of any value.”

That’s what reporter Ronald Kessler has found, at least, and he’s dug deep to get to the bottom of the NYPD’s controversial surveillance tactics that was first uncovered by the Associated Press in recent months. Earlier this year it was discovered that the NYPD had been conducting clandestine surveillance over Muslims and collecting intelligence everywhere from local markets to mosques and even in cities abroad. Kessler investigated that program to put together his forthcoming book, “The Secrets of the FBI,” and in an except just released by the author, he writes that even one of America’s biggest intelligence agencies is up in arms over the NYPD’s actions.

Kessler writes that the efforts under former FBI Director J Edgar Hoover “not only trampled on Americans’ rights but often failed to focus effectively on real threats such as spies and terrorists.” Decades after Hoover’s death, however, Kessler says that those merits are alive and well, but not with the FBI. Even though it’s arguably not part of their job, the NYPD has adopted controversial techniques and policies that the author compares to the practices put forth by Hoover.

“In an unprecedented move, Michael B. Ward, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office, went public to say that the New York surveillance tactics were not an effective form of intelligence gathering and were in fact harming the fight against terrorism by fomenting distrust among New Jersey’s Muslims,” Keller writes.

Elsewhere in his except, which he says will appear as an epilogue to the paperback edition of his book, slated to hit stores on August 8, Keller writes that FBI officials have shunned the NYPD. Despite widespread anger against the agency going beyond their jurisdiction, though, Keller says that complaints from the Justice Department are not being fully addressed. Read the rest of this entry »

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97-yr-old ‘Most Wanted’ Nazi war criminal arrested in Hungary

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)

Hungarian prosecutors have taken into custody the Nazi-era war crimes suspect Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, 97, who reportedly helped organizing the 1944 deportation of 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz.

He worked as a police commander in a Slovakian ghetto, at the helm of a brutal regime in the city of Kosice, where 140 people were allegedly driven to suicide to escape his torture in 1941-45.

Csizsik-Csatary fled to Canada under a new identity after being sentenced to death in absentia in 1948. He spent almost half a century in Canada, selling works of art. But his true identity was revealed in 1997 and he went on the run again, where he managed to evade capture for fifteen more years.

In April 2012, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a human rights organization, listed Csizsik-Csatary as the most wanted war crimes suspect.

He was eventually tracked down by journalists from the British tabloid ‘The Sun’, who collaborated their efforts with the Wiesenthal Centre. Csizsik-Csatary opened the door in his socks and underpants. Once asked if he could justify his past, he stammered, ‘No, no. Go away’, and slammed the door in the face of the correspondents. Read the rest of this entry »

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HSBC exposed: Drug money banking, terror dealings

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 17, 2012

AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure

AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure

The international banking giant HSBC may have financed terrorist groups and allowed Mexican drug money into the US economy through its lax policies, a damning Senate report reveals.

The findings are the results of a year-long Senate probe into HSBC’s activities, highlighting negligence throughout the bank’s international structure. The probe will be published in a 340-page report in Washington on Tuesday, and senior members of the bank will be called to account for the allegations.

“HSBC used its US bank as a gateway into the US financial system for some HSBC affiliates around the world to provide US dollar services to clients while playing fast and loose with US banking rules,” said Senator Carl Levin in a press release. He added that the US branch of the corporation “exposed the United States to Mexican drug money, suspicious travelers’ checks, bearer share corporations, and rogue jurisdictions.”

“The culture at HSBC was pervasively polluted for a long time,” Senator Levin said. Read the rest of this entry »

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French police raid home of former president Nicolas Sarkozy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 4, 2012

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy (AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy (AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure)

Police officers have carried out a number of raids in Paris – on the villa Nicolas Sarkozy shares with his wife Carla Bruni, on the law offices of the former president’s attorneys and on the apartment provided to him by the government.

Judge Jean-Michele Gentil and financial police searched the Sarkozys’ villa Montmorency, located in the French capital’s most luxurious district, the offices of Arnaud, Claude and Associates, in which Sarkozy is a shareholder, and an apartment given to the former president by the government.

The raids are reportedly linked to a campaign finance corruption scandal involving billionaire L’Oreal heiress Lilian Bettencourt.

Bettencourt, France’s richest woman, is alleged to have illegally contributed two payments of 400,000 euros each to Mr Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign, despite the fact the legal limit on individual donations being 4,600 Euro.

Both were traced to Swiss accounts, and one was allegedly received by Sarkozy in person in Paris, in return for offering the cosmetics magnate  tax breaks once he came to power.  Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Stalin was like Facebook’: Viral ad sparks controversy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 3, 2012

Poster inscription reads: "Stalin was like Twitter: he kept it brief." The image is part of a graduate project, commemorating victims of Stalinist repressions. Artwork by Nox-13

Poster inscription reads: “Stalin was like Twitter: he kept it brief.” The image is part of a graduate project, commemorating victims of Stalinist repressions. Artwork by Nox-13

“Stalin was like Facebook: he always wanted you to share information.” That is just one of the controversial posters aimed at showing the Internet generation the horrors of Stalin’s regime. Others compare him to Twitter and YouTube.

The posters, which were created for the Victims of Illegal Political Repressions Organization, use contemporary social platforms to illustrate to younger generations how much they have, and translate the awful reality of Soviet political repressions into a language they understand and can relate to.

The posters draw parallels between popular social networks and typical repressions of Stalinist times, and all provide historical details on this very dark period in Soviet history.

The Facebook poster describes how thousands of people regularly snitched on their neighbors, friends and relatives, filing reports with the NKVD or Secret Police. In the two years of the worst oppressions, from 1937 to 1938, the NKVD was flooded with so many reports, they physically couldn’t handle them.

A similar poster comparing the Soviet dictator to YouTube plays on the Russian words for “upload” and “send”, saying that Stalin let people get picked up and sent off. During the period of the Great Purge, known as Yezhovshchina in Russia (after the head of the Secret Police, Nikolay Yezhov), millions were sent off to labor camps and left to rot in Siberia. Their families were evaluated, and if deemed ‘capable of anti-Soviet actions’, they too were packed off to the camps, travelling for months in freight trains, like cattle.

The project started as a graduation work for communications studies student Ilya Tekhlikidi, who chose the Victims of Illegal Political Repressions Organization because of his own family history. His great-grandfather was executed by firing squad in 1937, and his great-grandmother and her children survived three labor camps. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sex abuse scandal rocks US Air Base

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 30, 2012

Photo from setyoufree-news.blogspot.com      

Photo from setyoufree-news.blogspot.com

A US air force investigation has identified 31 female cadets who were sexually assaulted by their trainers at a Texas military camp. The scandal has raised concerns that the US armed forces are not doing enough to protect women in the military.

An internal probe is currently looking at 12 male military instructors that were serving at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. Six of them face charges of misconduct, including allegations of rape and adultery.

The majority of those under investigation were from the 331st training squadron, whose commander was dismissed from duty last week. He was not charged with sex crimes but was relieved because of the unacceptable level of misconduct in his unit.

“We are taking a comprehensive look, not only at the cases we know, but in trying to assess whether there are other cases out there,” said General Edward Rice during a Pentagon briefing. He added that to his knowledge, all 31 women who reported to have been victims of abuse were still in the military. Read the rest of this entry »

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Court finds Bush and Blair guilty of war crimes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 2, 2012

George W. Bush (R) and Tony Blair (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)

George W. Bush (R) and Tony Blair (AFP Photo / Jim Watson)

Those who lobbied to have George W. Bush and Tony Blair tried for their role in the Iraq War have finally got their wish. Though the verdict of the court carries no legal weight, its supporters believe its symbolic value is beyond doubt.

The court in Malaysia where the trial took place may not have the power to convict, but the verdict against the former British and American leaders was unanimous.

“War criminals have to be dealt with – convict Bush and Blair as charged. A guilty verdict will serve as a notice to the world that war criminals may run but can never ultimately hide from truth and justice,” 
the statement from the Perdana Global Peace Foundation read.

The foundation was set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who was always a staunch opponent of the war against the regime of Saddam Hussain in 2003. He previously branded Blair and Bush “child-killers”. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 10 Greatest Art Thefts Of All Time

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 14, 2012

By  

Monalisatheft

Art theft, some might say, is the thinking man’s crime.

First: there’s the knowledge. The background in art history and antiques dealer-awareness required to pick the right target.

Then: there’s the plotting; getting past gallery staff with a six foot canvas is harder than you might think.

Thirdly: there’s the huge financial reward that comes if you get away with it. It’s little wonder art theft has been central to some of the best thriller films out there.

While, as our gallery shows below, some of the most famous paintings in the world have been returned to the walls they were pinched from, others never have – with little clues as to their whereabouts. Read the rest of this entry »

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World’s Deadliest Wealthy Countries

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 5, 2012

By Howard Steven Friedman,  Statistician/Economist for International Organization, Columbia University

 Before diving into any detailed analysis of government data, I usually hear the voice of one of my professors telling his favorite statistics joke. It went something like this, “Statisticians are brilliant people. They can analyze raw data, develop complex models, draw causal inferences and make bold projections of the future. They do this fearlessly, without concern for the minor issue that the data itself came from the fellow down the hall who wrote down whatever he felt like so he could get paid.” Analyzing government data isn’t quite as bad as that joke, but statisticians do need to be concerned about the danger of “garbage in garbage-out” in any work that do.

So how do these concerns about data quality relate to identifying the world’s deadliest wealthy countries? It starts with the fact that the data for crime is notoriously fraught with quality issues. Criminologists use the phrase the “dark figure of crime” to describe the amount of crime that goes unreported or undetected. This “dark figure of crime” represents the gap between the true crime rate and the rate found in official reports.

Knowing that the “dark figure of crime” is so large, I decided to focus on homicide rates in this article. Why homicide? For starters, it is a critically important measure of crime since it is perhaps the most extreme of possible crimes, the taking of a life. More importantly, it is considered to be one of the more reliable crime statistics.

So which wealthy countries have the highest homicide rates? Of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the countries with the five highest homicide rates are, in order: Mexico (highest), Chile, Estonia, the United States and Turkey (fifth highest). Anyone looking at that list would likely call out the fact that these countries, while all being in the OECD, are not equally wealthy. In fact, the United States has a GDP per capita that is more than twice that of any of the other top four most deadly OECD countries. A simple scatterplot, where each data point represents a different country and the US is displayed prominently, gives a clearer picture of how America stands. The graph below shows that for the OECD countries, the US has one of the highest rates of GDP per capita (a rough, but commonly used metric of wealth). You will also quickly see that the US is a major outlier in the general observation that wealthier countries tend to have lower homicide rates. Read the rest of this entry »

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Official: ‘US govt already seized hundreds of foreign domains’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 10, 2012

US government has taken control of 750 domains over the past few years

US government has taken control of 750 domains over the past few years

US seizure of a Canadian gambling website caused online outcry as it was registered abroad and thought to be outside American jurisdiction. But this is far from isolated; it has emerged that the US has seized hundreds of foreign domain names.

US customs official Nicole Navas confirmed that the US government has taken control of 750 domains, “most with foreign-based registrars” over the past few years.

Operation “In Our Sites”, an initiative run by US and Immigration Customs Enforcement, is dedicated to shutting down illegal websites that it believes are involved in the distribution of copyright goods and copyright works. It was initially created in 2010 to police US-owned domains, but now appears to have extended its reach using federal court orders to shut down websites.

“The ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc. needs to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of US federal and state lawmakers,”said EasyDNS, a multinational domain-hosting company. Read the rest of this entry »

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