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The USA is the most corrupt country in the world and I have 10,000 posts that point heavily to that fact…

FBI Probes Mishandling of Remains at Arlington Cemetery July 1, 2011

The FBI and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command are now looking into the mishandling of remains and mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery. The probe is part of a broad investigation run by the Justice Department that also includes a federal grand jury, sources tell The Washington Post.

The criminal inquiry is seeking evidence of contracting fraud and falsification of records.

The investigation into activities of the nation’s most hallowed military burial ground has been ongoing for the past six months.

Congress is also looking into the mess at Arlington that includes poor management, millions in waste, misplaced and misidentified remains, four cases of crematory urns being dug up and dumped in a dirt pile, and a mass grave.

Superintendent John C. Metzler Jr. and Deputy Superintendent Thurman Higginbotham were both forced out, the Post reported.

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‘Whitey’ Bulger, Accused Mobster, Seeks Court-Appointed Lawyer June 26, 2011

James “Whitey” Bulger, the accused Boston mobster arrested in California with $800,000, was given three days to show why a lawyer should be appointed to represent him at taxpayer expense.

Bulger, 81, and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 60, made initial appearances in federal court in Boston Friday after a trip from California. Bulger, who was a fugitive for 16 years, didn’t oppose his continued detention while awaiting arraignment. Wearing jeans and a white hooded sweatshirt, he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs by U.S. marshals.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said prosecutors oppose any kind of taxpayer-funded attorney for Bulger, saying he has “family resources available.” Bulger was asked by Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler if he could afford an attorney.

“Not after you took my money,” Bulger responded. More than $800,000 in cash and more than 30 firearms, along with false identification, were found in Bulger’s apartment after his arrest, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

“We think he has more access to cash,” Kelly said. “We clearly don’t think this was his last stash.”

The government seized all of Bulger’s assets, said Peter Krupp, a lawyer appointed to provisionally represent him. Bowler gave Krupp until the close of business on June 27 to make any filings regarding the appointment of lawyers to represent Bulger. She gave Bulger the same deadline to file a financial affidavit.

Bulger is described in a 111-page indictment dated May 23, 2001, as a leader of a criminal organization known as the “Bulger Group” and “Winter Hill Gang.”

The gangs committed extortion, loan sharking, bookmaking, narcotics trafficking and murder, beginning about 1972, the government said. Bulger was wanted in connection with 19 murders.

Bulger may face life in prison or the death penalty if he is convicted of murder, depending on the jurisdiction, Carmen M. Ortiz, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, said.

Greig, who fled with Bulger in 1995, was charged in an April 1997 complaint in federal court in Boston with harboring and concealing him from arrest. If convicted, she may face a five-year prison term.

After appearing yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal, Greig was returned to the custody of U.S. Marshals. She is scheduled to return to court June 28 for a hearing on bail.

Entering the courtroom, Bulger mouthed the word “hello” to his brother William, who was seated in the second row. Greig’s twin sister, Margaret McCusker, also attended the court appearances.

William Bulger served as president of the Massachusetts Senate from 1978 to 1996 and later became president of the University of Massachusetts. While president of the university, he appeared before a U.S. House committee and refused to answer questions about his brother’s whereabouts, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Bulger and Greig were arrested June 22 in Santa Monica, California, after FBI agents and Los Angeles police put an apartment building under surveillance and lured Bulger outside with an undisclosed ruse, said FBI agent Richard DesLauriers.

The arrests came as the result of a tip received the day before generated as the result of an ad campaign about Greig. The ads ran in 14 cities starting this week and targeted women who were the same age as Greig and might have been her co- worker, hair-stylist or neighbor.

The tip was received by the FBI’s Los Angeles office. While the ads didn’t run in Los Angeles, news coverage of the campaign aired in that market on national news and cable outlets, DesLauriers said.

FBI Informants

U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf was assigned to preside over Bulger’s case. It was in Wolf’s courtroom in 1998 that Bulger’s partner, Stephen Flemmi, revealed that he and Bulger were FBI informants and had been promised immunity from prosecution.

Bulger’s group was also linked to illegally shipping arms to the Irish Republican Army and importing about 36 tons of marijuana into the U.S., both in 1984, prosecutors said.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Bulger worked as an informant on mob activities for the FBI in Boston, according to the agency. He was indicted in January 1995 for racketeering violations, including activities while he was an informant. Five years later he was indicted for multiple murders.

Bulger, who was born in Boston, has a violent temper and was known to frequent libraries and historic sites, the FBI said. He carried a knife and kept physically fit by walking on the beach, the agency said.

Another girlfriend of Bulger’s cooperated with the government in trying to track down the fugitive in 1996, according to a 1997 FBI affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Greig. The woman, who told the FBI she had been Bulger’s girlfriend for 20 years, found out in 1994 that he had been involved with Greig as well during that time.

The former girlfriend told the FBI in 1996 that, after Bulger was charged in January of 1995, he returned to Massachusetts and picked up Greig, according to the affidavit.

In 2008, the FBI doubled its $1 million reward for information leading to Bulger’s capture. Officials said the disposition of the reward — and a $100,000 reward for Greig — is undetermined.

DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, said speculation that the bureau knew of Bulger’s whereabouts before this week’s advertising campaign was wrong.

“Any claim that the FBI knew Mr. Bulger’s whereabouts prior to the FBI’s publicity efforts this week are completely unfounded,” DesLauriers said in a statement posted on the website of the FBI’s Boston division. “When we learned his location, he was arrested promptly.”

The case is U.S. v. Bulger, 94-cr-10287, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston.)

© Copyright 2011 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Hackers Break into Arizona Police Computers June 24, 2011

* Arizona DPS confirms “computer issues”

* Group says it hacked computer to protest immigration law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Computer hackers who
previously broke into a U.S. Senate server and brought down the
CIA web site struck an Arizona police web site on Thursday.

Lulz Security, saying it opposed a tough anti-immigration
law in Arizona, said it was releasing documents that related to
border control and other law enforcement activities. Its
headline was “Chinga La Migra,” Spanish for a more profane way
of saying “Screw Immigration.”

It released contact information for several people. Reuters
was able to reach two of them to establish that they were
accurate.

“We are aware of computer issues,” said Steve Harrison, a
spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, “We’re
looking into it. And of course we’re taking additional security
safeguards.”

The Mexico border state passed a law last year ordering
police to check the immigration status of anyone suspected to
be in the United States illegally, in a bid to curb illegal
immigration and border-related crime.

A majority of Americans supported the measure, but outraged
opponents charged it was unconstitutional and would lead to the
harassment of Hispanic-Americans, and called for an economic
boycott of the desert state.

The most controversial parts of the law were blocked by a
federal judge shortly before it came into effect last July,
although Arizona is pursuing an appeal.

FEW ARRESTS

Lulz, a group of rogue hackers who have not been
identified, posts the results of its hacks on Twitter, the
microblogging site where the group has cultivated more than
240,000 followers.

So far LulzSec’s publicized assaults on Sony Corp., the
CIA, News Corp’s Fox TV and other targets have mostly resulted
in temporary disruptions of some websites and the release of
user credentials.

There have been few arrests in the hacks. British police
said Tuesday that they had arrested a 19-year-old man on
suspicion that he was connected to attacks on Sony, the CIA and
a British police unit that fights organized crime.

Spanish police earlier this month apprehended three men on
suspicion they helped Anonymous, a second rogue hacking group
that has teamed up with LulzSec.

Hacker attacks forced Brazil to shut down its presidential
website and other government sites temporarily Thursday, a
day after cyber attacks briefly disabled other government
sites.

LulzSec, whose hacks started to hit headlines last month,
has published the email addresses and passwords of thousands of
alleged subscribers to porn sites, it temporarily took down the
public website of the CIA, and it published data from internal
servers of the U.S. Senate.

Security experts who have researched LulzSec’s origins say
it emerged from Anonymous, which became famous for attacking
the companies and institutions that oppose WikiLeaks and its
founder, Julian Assange. Anonymous also attacked Sony and
governments around the globe that it considered oppressive.

LulzSec’s members are believed to be scattered around the
world, collaborating via secret Internet chat rooms. Suspected
leaders include hackers with the handles Kayla, Sabu and
Topiary, security experts say.

The group’s name is a combination of lulz, which is slang
for laughs, and sec, which stands for security.

(Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor in Phoenix and Roberto
Samora in Sao Paulo)

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Jim Finkle; Editing by Paul
Simao)

© 2011 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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US Hits Iran Air, Port Company with Sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration hit two pillars of the Iranian economy with sanctions Thursday, targeting the Islamic republic’s national airline carrier and a major port company on charges that they facilitate illegal weapons trade and help the mighty Revolutionary Guard corps in destabilizing activity in Iran and nearby countries.

The Treasury Department’s action blocks any assets in the United States belonging to Iran Air, Tidewater Middle East Co. and three other firms. It also prevents Americans from doing business with them.

In a joint statement, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the hardline Revolutionary Guard’s use of Tidewater and Iran Air for proliferation activities was indicative of its increasing power in the Iranian economy. This displaces legitimate private Iranian companies in the commercial and energy sectors, which they called “deeply troubling.”

The Revolutionary Guard serves as the “enforcer” for the Iranian regime by suppressing peaceful protests, and imports and exports weapons for the government, the secretaries said. They also blamed it for supporting terrorism in the Middle East.

The other companies sanctioned were the Mehr-e Eqtesad-e Iranian Investment Company, Iran Air Tours and the Behnam Shahriyari Trading Company. Iranian businessman Behnam Shahriyari was personally targeted for his alleged role in providing weapons to the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Although the sanctions only apply to the United States, senior Treasury and State Department officials said they hoped other countries would take a closer look at business being conducted with the companies. The U.S. is hoping authorities will halt the refueling of Iran Air planes, though non-U.S. airports are not required to take any action against the company, the officials said.

The Treasury Department says Iran Air has helped the military obtain raw materials such as titanium sheets, which can be used in support of advancing nuclear weapons. It has also transported rockets on passenger planes and taken missile components to Syria, Treasury alleges.

The airline operates about 40 aircraft flying to 35 international destinations.

The statement from Geithner and Clinton said preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a top U.S. priority. They said they remain deeply concerned about Iran’s uranium enrichment program, even if the Iranian government insists it is solely designed for energy purposes.

“The international community must continue to increase and broaden the scope of pressures on Iran,” the two secretaries said. “We have made important progress in isolating Iran, but we cannot waver. Our efforts must be unrelenting to sharpen the choice for Iran’s leaders to abandon their dangerous course.”

Tidewater manages seven ports in Iran and serves as a key element in Iran’s infrastructure and transport network. Treasury says it has operations at terminals that have facilitated the Iranian government’s weapons trade.

The company has no relation to Tidewater Inc., an international shipping company based in the United States.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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AP Analysis: Edwards Mixed Personal with Public June 7, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The legal case against two-time presidential candidate John Edwards focuses on where to draw the line between the public and private in a politician’s life, a divide he riskily straddled throughout his entire career and family life.

Edwards isn’t alone. The private activities and concerns of public officials increasingly seem to be pulled or pushed into the public arena. Is that Rep. Anthony Weiner modeling his underwear? Donald Trump and Sarah Palin use a knife and fork to eat pizza! Which school did President Barack Obama pick to go all the way in college hoops?

These things don’t reveal much about their qualifications to lead, yet they fascinate Americans.

Edwards, a millworker’s son, was a master at honing an image of his private life for public consumption.

There was much to draw the public to Edwards and his family that seemed so full of youthful vibrancy. He had a whip-smart wife who was at least his equal in political talent and a daughter getting her Ivy League education. The tow-headed youngest daughter and son coaxed smiles out of voters and even from the journalists invited to board the family’s campaign bus, eat their snacks and join their sing-alongs. The way that the Edwardses dealt with their son Wade’s death in an auto accident won sympathy.

But from the start, there were ruses. Edwards’ chief criminal accuser, former aide Andrew Young, writes in his book how Edwards would drive a beat-up Buick Park Avenue while on campaign business, stashing his BMW and Lexus to keep up the “everyman” image.

Now the central dispute over his indictment on felony charges is whether money that two of his supporters spent to keep his mistress in hiding were campaign contributions that should have been reported publicly, as prosecutors say, or private gifts from friends, as Edwards’ lawyers claim.

Edwards’ team says the payments were to keep the affair a secret from hurting his cancer-stricken wife. The government alleges they were a scheme to keep the child conceived by Edwards and Rielle Hunter a secret from the public to protect his White House ambitions.

“A centerpiece of Edwards’ candidacy was his public image as a devoted family man,” the indictment of Edwards says. “The communication strategy developed by Edwards’ campaign stressed the importance of publicizing, among other things, ‘that (Edwards’) family comes first.'”

That is a reference to the communications plan Edwards’ advisers wrote in advance of the 2008 nominating race, when the former North Carolina senator was coming off a losing race as vice presidential nominee to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., on the 2004 ticket.

The undated document, turned over to prosecutors and provided to The Associated Press by a person involved in the investigation, stressed that “JRE” — the initials Edwards’ staffers often used to refer to him — had a unique chance to show Americans how he “shares their everyday values.”

“JRE is a household name, and we have a remarkable opportunity to give voters a richer understanding of just who John Edwards is — the man, not the politician,” the plan said. President George W. Bush “of course, has done a tremendous job in this regard — in 2000, among many other things, people knew he liked to clear brush, that he loved baseball, that he loved his wife, and that he had overcome personal adversity. “

It recommended that Edwards use every chance to attend activities with his family, such as going to a theme park, rodeo or high school football games. “These do not need to be advertised to the press,” it said. “Word will get out on its own. And hearing about things like this from your friend or neighbor is much more powerful than a staged photo-op on the 6 p.m. news. We should do this AS OFTEN as possible.”

It also suggested that a book by his wife, Elizabeth, would help the effort. She ended up writing “Saving Graces,” published in September 2006. That book and a second published after her husband’s campaign was over and his philandering exposed endeared her to many as a woman of strength who gracefully dealt with hardships, even the cancer that would kill her. Meanwhile, campaign operatives whispered behind the scenes that Elizabeth could often be cruel and demanding.

While the campaign communications plan stressed Edwards’ devotion to family and Elizabeth, he was secretly spending time in the lead-up to the campaign with his videographer.

“In the same way that so many know that JRE is the son of a mill worker and the first person in his family to go to college (which we cannot repeat enough), we need people to know:

“— that his family comes first,

“— that he and Elizabeth have overcome tremendous challenges and adversity,

“— that faith has been an important part of his life,

“— what his friends think about him, and

“— what he likes to do for fun.”

Even disregarding the National Enquirer reports during the campaign about Edwards’ affair, which he denied, there were other signs the public image of his private life was not as it seemed.

While Edwards’ campaigned on a fight against poverty and the “Two Americas” of the haves and have-nots, it was disclosed that he was getting $400 haircuts, building a 28,000-square foot home and consulting work for a hedge fund that catered to the wealthy.

Edwards’ lies eventually alienated most of his one-time supporters and advisers and demolished his political career. Now he really does have more time for family, and even now it is still part of his public image.

As he left federal court Friday in a crush of media photographers, his daughter Cate was by his side.

___

Baker reported from Raleigh, N.C., and can be reached at http://twitter.com/MikeBakerAP . Pickler can be reached at http://twitter.com/nedrapickler

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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