of the Day
- November 19, 2010
some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood
activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local
newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage
of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood
activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible
issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular
point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From the Los Angeles Times
Thai human trafficking victims reunite with families
As their case against a Beverly Hills labor contracting firm looms, the future of a program to help them acclimate to American life is in doubt.
By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
November 19, 2010
Recalling the last time he saw his family, he most remembers the tears shed as he left for what he thought would be a chance to earn more than 25 times his Thai income by picking apples in Washington.
This week, he and his family shed more tears—but this time with joy as they reunited in Los Angeles for the first time in six years after his predawn escape in what authorities call the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history.
"This is the most wonderful moment of my life," the Thai worker said as he hugged his wife and two daughters at the Los Angeles International Airport reunion.
The 42-year-old worker, who asked to be known as Don to avoid possible retaliation, is one of about 400 plaintiffs in the federal case against Global Horizons Inc., a Beverly Hills labor contracting firm. Global President Mordechai Orian, an Israeli national, and six associates were indicted in September by a federal grand jury in Honolulu on charges of conspiracy to coerce labor.
Don, for instance, said he was promised monthly earnings of about $2,600. But when he arrived in Washington in July 2004, he said, there was barely any work and he was not paid for at least a month. His passport was confiscated and a guard kept watch over him and about 20 other men, he said.
Orian has pleaded innocent in the case, scheduled for trial in February. He declined an interview request, but a spokeswoman said he "is looking forward to fighting these false allegations."
Even as Don and two other workers celebrated their family reunions this week, however, the daunting challenges of adjusting to U.S. life have only begun, according to Chancee Martorell, executive director of the Thai Community Development Center. The Los Angeles center has worked on the Global case for seven years and has helped resettle more than 2,000 Thai trafficking victims and their families.
The families will need to find housing. Don, for instance, rents a single room but will need bigger accommodations affordable on his $8-an-hour restaurant job. His two daughters will need to begin school despite almost no English ability, a task likely to be more formidable for the 16-year-old than for the 6-year-old, Martorell said.
The families will also need to learn to use the public transportation system and get used to myriad other changes, including colder weather, an ethnically diverse society and school cafeteria food.
Beyond the daily needs will be the more difficult psychological and emotional adjustment, Martorell said. Some families arrive here only to find that their husband and father has started a second family. Some men suffer overwhelming stress at the increased financial burdens of providing for a family.
"It's a lot of struggle," Martorell said. "You feel disempowered, frustrated, stressed out."
Despite the growing caseload—500 more Thai workers could step forward in the Global case—Martorell expressed concern that the anti-trafficking assistance programs could be shut down if federal funding is not renewed next spring. The U.S. Health and Human Services department had awarded $17 million to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to manage cases for foreign victims of human trafficking under a five-year contract that expires in April.
The Thai center receives $100,000 annually under a three-year subcontract with the Catholic conference.
Martorell said she and other anti-trafficking organizations were concerned that no announcements have yet been made on how to apply for renewed funding and wondered if the process was frozen because of upcoming political changes in Washington, with the House of Representatives coming under Republican control in January.
Kenneth Wolfe, Health and Human Services department spokesman, said it was not clear how much the new Congress would allocate for the program. But currently, health officials intend to renew the funding, he said.
For now, Don's concerns were more immediate as he reveled in his reunited family.
First, a celebratory feast. Then, settling his daughters into school. The parents, neither of whom finished high school, say their biggest dream is education for their children so they can escape farm labor.
"I never thought this day would be possible," Don's wife said, brushing tears from her eyes. "I had to work hard all of my life, and I want my children to have better opportunities."
An anti-aircraft missile is fired during a war game near the city of Semnan, Iran.
Iran touts new air defenses during war games
During what Iran described as its largest-ever war games, military officials say they have tested new command-and-control equipment, a domestically built medium-range air defense system called Mersad, and new weapons.
by Borzou Daragahi
Los Angeles Times
November 19, 2010
Reporting from Beirut
Iran's military this week is showing off its defensive capabilities, including what it described as new air defenses, amid renewed talk of airstrikes on Iran's nuclear sites.
Iranian military authorities said they activated radar and signal detection installations along the mountainous nation's 4,200 miles of borders; put army, Revolutionary Guard and Basiji militia forces on alert; and launched a six-plane mock military raid by the fictional "orange forces" likely meant to mimic an Israeli or United States airstrike on its nuclear facilities.
"The radar network acts as the watchful eyes of the air defense system in all the border areas of the country and in various locations, detecting the slightest movements within the skies of the Islamic Republic, accurately monitoring them all," Air Marshal Hamid Arzhangi, spokesman for the war games, told the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
Iran described the war games as its largest ever.
Iranian diplomats and political leaders regularly dismiss the possibility of a preemptive American or Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities or conventional armed forces, an idea that was suggested this month by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Air Force Reserve. But Iran's military elite, especially officers of the Revolutionary Guard who have recently emerged as a driving force of foreign and national security policy, are increasingly warning of conflict.
"Presently we are in a situation of facing threats, and our guards and the army constantly prepare themselves," Revolutionary Guard commander Maj. Gen. Gholamali Rashid was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency in September. "It is no exaggeration to say that we are on the verge of a possible war in the future."
Military draftees and enlisted men have been told to be ready for confrontation. "During the early morning flag ceremony, we are repeatedly warned that we should be ready for any surprise attacks of the U.S. and the Zionist regime," said one draftee, who serves at the Farahabad military base in Tehran and requested anonymity. "We are also told that we can demolish all of Israel in a day or so in case of any attack."
Iranian officials this week said they tested new encrypted air-command-and-control communications equipment; a domestically built medium-range air defense system called Mersad; and new weapons, including what they described as Iranian-made shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.
Tehran also claimed it was about to unveil a homemade version of a Russian air defense system, though military experts said the claim was inflated. Iran for years has been pressing Russia to sell its S-300 mobile long-range anti-aircraft rockets, but Moscow this year reneged, citing a United Nations Security Council resolution that barred sales of weapons to Iran.
Iranian officials said the war games were meant to improve air defense combat-readiness, sharpen coordination between the units via centralized command and control, assess military commanders' performance and identify tactical weaknesses, including potential breaches in electronic security.
Iranian lawmaker Mahmoud Ahmadibigash told the state-controlled Al Alam satellite channel that his nation wanted to warn the U.S. and Israel "not to commit any stupidity because they will regret it forever."
No independent analysts were granted access to the military exercises, which began Tuesday and are to conclude Saturday. With a budget of about $10 billion a year, or a relatively small 2.8% of the nation's gross domestic product, Iran's conventional armed forces have not been battle-tested since 1988, the final year of the war against Iraq. Military experts doubt that Iranian air power could repel a full attack by Western warplanes, such as the dozens of F-35 fighter jets the U.S. has agreed to sell or give Israel.
"Iran maintains very sizeable military forces," said an unclassified Pentagon report in April. "But they would be relatively ineffective against a direct assault by well-trained, sophisticated military such as that of the United States or its allies."
Iran's security strategy is based foremost on deterring an attack, the report says, by increasing the costs to any nation that would cross its border and cultivating relationships with allied paramilitary and guerrilla forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and Arabian Peninsula as potential retaliatory tools.
"They're specializing in niche areas that exploit their adversaries' weaknesses," which include an unwillingness to take heavy casualties and a lack of knowledge of Iranian terrain, said Michael Connell, an Iran specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses in Virginia.
Swedish prosecutors get OK to seek arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder
A Stockholm court's ruling could lead to an Interpol arrest warrant for Julian Assange, who is being sought for questioning about allegations of rape and other sexual offenses.
By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
November 19, 2010
Reporting from London
Swedish prosecutors won permission Thursday from a Stockholm court to seek an international arrest warrant for Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks website, whom they want to question about allegations of rape and other sexual offenses.
The accusations stem from encounters that Assange, 39, had with two women during a visit to Sweden in August. Assange denies any unlawful conduct, saying that his relations with the women were consensual.
But the Swedish Prosecution Authority said it wanted to bring Assange in for questioning and asked the district court in Stockholm to declare him detained in absentia. The declaration is a preliminary step to requesting an international arrest warrant for him, probably to be issued through Interpol.
"We need to interrogate him. So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogations," said Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecution.
Assange, who is Australian, is believed to be in London, though his British lawyer, Mark Stephens, declined to reveal his whereabouts. Stephens lambasted the prosecutors' move to try to haul his client back to Sweden, saying that Ny's office had rebuffed repeated offers from Assange to cooperate in the investigation, both when he was in Sweden during the summer and later in London.
"It's perfectly easy for them to get on a plane and come here to meet him, and he's perfectly happy to do that. But this prosecutrix has set her face against that, for reasons that are inexplicable," Stephens said, adding that Assange was in no way "a fugitive from justice."
It was the latest wrinkle in a strange case that Assange has suggested may be an act of retaliation, perhaps by the United States, for publishing hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents pertaining to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The leaks have been excoriated by Washington and some of its allies, who say the information could endanger their Afghan informers.
The allegations against Assange by the two women first surfaced in August. An investigation of charges of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion was opened in Stockholm, but the city's chief prosecutor quickly decided to drop the case. Ny's office later reopened the investigation.
Few details of the allegations have emerged. Stephens said Assange has still not been formally notified of the nature of the charges or of any evidence there may be against him.
An attorney for the two complainants hailed the Stockholm court's decision to allow prosecutors to seek an international warrant.
"Finally. This has been stressful for my clients," said lawyer Claes Borgstroem, according to the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. "It's clear that Julian Assange absconds."
WikiLeaks was founded in 2006 to promote transparency, especially in nations ruled by repressive regimes. Its leaks have been controversial, including the tens of thousands of Pentagon documents on Afghanistan. U.S. authorities are investigating the unauthorized release but have yet to identify who passed the information to WikiLeaks.
Ronni Chasen slaying: Police believe publicist was shot from another vehicle, perhaps an SUV
November 18, 2010
Detectives investigating the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen have surmised from evidence that she was probably shot from another vehicle, perhaps an SUV, the mayor of Beverly Hills said Thursday night.
Mayor Jimmy Delshad told The Times that, although many questions remain unanswered, police believe Chasen's assailant fired into her passenger-side window from another vehicle and not from the street or a sidewalk.
"Indications are [the shots] could have come from another car, higher up, maybe an SUV," Delshad said.
Chasen was shot to death early Tuesday while driving her Mercedes-Benz near the intersection of Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. She was on her way home from a movie premiere after-party.
She is believed to have left the event about midnight, traveling west on Sunset. Friends believe she had planned to head south to her condominium on Wilshire Boulevard near the grounds of the Los Angeles Country Club.
Lt. Tony Lee of the Beverly Hills Police Department said Thursday that officials have not concluded whether Chasen was shot at the intersection or closer to where her car crashed into a light pole near Whittier and Greenway Drive.
Delshad said police found some pieces of glass--possibly from Chasen's car window--near the intersection of Whittier and Sunset, but they found no bullet casings. He added that Beverly Hills police were working on the case 24 hours a day.
He said police have been interviewing witnesses, analyzing computer and phone logs and examining video from surveillance cameras along the route.
"We're working very hard on it," he said.
Several residents dialed 911 at the time of the attack. The first call, from a person who lives near Sunset and Benedict Canyon Drive, reported a gunshot.
Moments later, more 911 calls came in reporting shots heard several blocks to the west, near Whittier and Wilshire. Another resident called 911 to report hearing the car crash into the light pole.
Residents who heard the crash found Chasen slumped over the steering wheel, bleeding. The passenger-side window of her car was shattered. One person who lives next to where Chasen's car came to a stop said she heard several shots, followed moments later by what she believed was the sound of a car crashing.
Police said they have no motive for the attack and no suspects.
Ronni Chasen slaying: Detectives review 911 calls as they seek location of shooting
November 18, 2010
Detectives investigating the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen are examining 911 calls made around the time she was shot in hopes of determining precisely where the attack occurred.
Chasen was shot while driving her Mercedes home from a movie premiere after-party on Tuesday morning around the intersection of Whittier Drive and Sunset Boulevard.
Lt. Tony Lee of the Beverly Hills Police Department said officials have not concluded whether she was shot at the intersection or closer to where her car crashed into a light pole near Whittier and Greenway Drive.
"As far as where the shooting occurred exactly, our detectives are trying to determine whether it occurred at the intersection or the site of the crash," he said. "We just don't know at this time."
Several residents dialed 911 at the time of the attack. The first call, from a resident living near Sunset and Benedict Canyon Drive, reported a gunshot. Moments later, more 911 calls came in reporting shots heard several blocks to the west, near Wilshire and Whittier Drive. Another resident called 911 to report hearing the car crash into the light pole.
Detectives are studying these calls and looking for surveillance tapes that might shed light on the case. There are currently no suspects or motive.
"Our invesigators are still working this around the clock," Lee said.
Ex-LAPD chief Bratton lays out possible scenarios in Ronni Chasen killing
November 18, 2010
Beverly Hills police released no new information Thursday in the shooting death of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, but some law enforcement officials have offered theories about how detectives are investigating the case.
Former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton, who now works in the private security industry, laid out several investigative scenarios in an interview with CBS News.
"The scenarios are, Los Angeles, possible (random) gang drive-by, (but) Beverly Hills, very unlikely. Road rage, very potentially likely in a lot of those incidents in California and Los Angeles," he said. "A crime of passion, somebody who knew her -- they have not determined, to the best of my knowledge, as to whether there was possibly somebody else in the car. Fourth could be the idea of an unintended consequence, that she was killed and they were looking for somebody else."
Beverly Hills detectives investigating the slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen believe she was shot moments before her car crashed off Sunset Boulevard early Tuesday.
Beverly Hills detectives are focusing on forensic evidence gathered from the spot where Chasen was found shot several times in her Mercedes coupe. Residents who heard the crash found Chasen slumped over the steering wheel, bleeding. The passenger-side window of her car was shattered.
Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Lincoln Hoshino said that although investigators are still not sure exactly where the shooting occurred, their working theory is that it happened before the crash. Police are also trying to determine whether the shattered window was caused by gunshots or by some other type of force.
One person who lives next to where Chasen's car came to rest said she heard several shots, followed moments later by what she believed was the sound of a car crashing.
Calling the investigation “wide open,” detectives are also seeking video surveillance footage from businesses and residents along Sunset Boulevard, hoping it might shed clues on what happened. Chasen had attended an after-party for the premiere of the movie “Burlesque” at the W Hotel in Hollywood.
She is believed to have left the event for home about midnight, traveling west on Sunset Boulevard. Friends believe that she had planned to head south to her condominium on Wilshire Boulevard near the grounds of the Los Angeles Country Club.
The six-mile drive would have taken Chasen along Sunset Strip, an area stocked with potential surveillance video as well as mansions with sophisticated security systems that include surveillance cameras that could allow investigators to pick up crucial clues.
John Tyner, 31, a software engineer from Oceanside, does not think
the entire flying public should be subject to invasive procedures
Traveler who resisted TSA pat-down is glad his moment of fame is nearly over
Software engineer John Tyner's challenge—'If you touch my junk I'll have you arrested'—has become a rallying cry for air travelers upset at invasive new screening procedures.
by Catherine Saillant
Los Angeles Times
November 19, 2010
John Tyner knows he's at minute 14.5 of his headlong rush into the national spotlight. And he couldn't be happier.
An audio recording capturing Tyner's don't-touch-my-junk showdown with San Diego airport security screeners a week ago brought the software engineer instant celebrity. His story has been featured on all the major news and late-night comedy shows. Bloggers have alternately praised and excoriated him.
A "Don't Touch My Junk…and Don't Touch My Kid's Junk, Either" T-shirt is reportedly selling quickly on the Internet. So are other commercial products using Tyner's widely-heard challenge to a Transportation Security Administration screener: "If you touch my junk I'll have you arrested."
But after a dizzying week of interviews explaining why he refused to submit to a full-body scan or a pat-down search, the former bicycle racer who considers himself a Libertarian says he's ready to slide back into his normal life.
"I'll be back at work on Friday," said Tyner, 31, pausing at midweek for a brief interview between other media calls. "Hopefully I'll be able to get back on my bike again soon."
Tyner's story has touched a nerve with the flying public, dividing passengers into two camps: those willing to put up with invasive security measures for safety's sake and those saying enough is enough.
"If you don't like the screenings, take the train!" advised a number of blog commenters. Others confessed to their own personal humiliation at undergoing X-ray screenings that show the naked body, or to pat-downs so thorough that critics call them molestations.
One 32-year-old woman said she was in tears after a full-body scan Monday as she boarded a flight out of Los Angeles International Airport to attend a family member's funeral. Adriana, who asked that her full name not be used, said she was molested as a child and that the screening experience was so traumatic that she is actually considering train travel for the first time in her life.
"People who have not been violated before can't understand how it feels for a stranger to see more of you than your doctor," she said. "Someone should try to explain the situation for those that quietly and continuously take the torment."
Sandra Elliott of Denver said she is no prude but that a recent pat-down at John Wayne Airport was so humiliating that she is considering no longer traveling to see her grandchildren in Newport Beach.
"These women's hands were thrust firmly in my crotch. They pulled up my sweater and stuck their hands inside of my pants, plus thoroughly groped my breasts," Elliott said of screeners she encountered before her Nov. 1 flight back to Denver. "Please know that I am not a prude. I am not adverse to being touched by others, sometimes intimately, but this was absolutely overboard."
She was so upset, Elliott said, that she filed a complaint with the TSA and contacted her congressional representative.
The media latched onto Tyner's refusal in part because it occurred close to Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel times of the year. The Senate on Wednesday held a hearing on the growing passenger complaints about the scans and a new, more invasive pat-down introduced by federal screeners in October.
TSA Director John Pistole told senators the technology is safe and is there to protect the public. To Tyner's relief, Pistole also said it's unlikely the TSA would follow through on a $10,000 fine a San Diego airport official threatened to impose on Tyner when he left the airport without completing the screening process.
He didn't come to San Diego International Airport intending to take a stand, said Tyner, who is unflaggingly polite and well-spoken. He was on his way to South Dakota with his father-in-law and brother-in-law for a pheasant-hunting vacation. When he saw the body-scan machines, Tyner said, he turned on his cellphone in case there was a conflict. He refused the scan, and a TSA agent took him to another area and explained the pat-down procedure, triggering Tyner's "don't touch my junk" challenge.
After half an hour of haggling, the agent escorted him to the ticket counter, where he got his ticket refunded. As he headed back to his Oceanside home, his relatives continued on with their flight, he said. His father-in-law, who had urged him to just go ahead with the pat-down, was upset at first, Tyner said.
But by the time he touched down in South Dakota he had changed his mind, Tyner said.
"He called me and said, 'You know, I'm really proud you took a stand on something you believe in.'"
Tyner was raised in Orange County and attended a private Christian high school before enrolling as a computer science major at UC Riverside. He writes software for communications and networking equipment for a San Diego company, he said.
He and his wife, Suzanne, are parents of a 1-year-old son, Jack. Before Jack's birth, Tyner competed in bicycle road races on weekends. Tyner is something of a political junkie, browsing dozens of articles from favorite websites such as the Libertarian Standard and Salon.com every day.
He didn't vote for Barack Obama or John McCain in the 2008 presidential election and thinks both parties are "terrible."
"They're both out to secure power for themselves," he said. "I don't think they're really committed to the liberty that this country was founded on."
And if that sounds like the standard "tea party" pitch, Tyner isn't fond of that conservative movement either. "They've got some good ideas, but they've been in large part co-opted by the Republican Party."
If anything, Tyner said, he believes in common sense. And it just doesn't make sense to him to subject the entire flying public to invasive screening procedures when alternatives could do the job just as effectively.
He mentions behavioral profiling, the process of interviewing passengers flagged for closer screening, as one way to catch potential terrorists. There are others, he said, but before he can explain, the phone is ringing again and another reporter is calling.
"Sorry," he said. "Gotta go."
San Diego congressman demands investigation into airport scans and pat downs.
November 18, 2010
A San Diego congressman is calling for a hearing into the Transportation Security Administration's rules about full-body scans and pat downs for airline passengers.
The request by Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) comes days after an Oceanside man created an Internet-fueled controversy by refusing to undergo a scan or pat down at San Diego's Lindbergh Field.
John Tyner, 31, of Oceanside posted a video of his dispute with airport security officials.
Filner called for the House Homeland Security Committee to hold a hearing into the appropriateness, constitutionality and effectiveness of the procedures.
"We need to restore the people's confidence that TSA is taking privacy concerns seriously," Filner said.
Among other things, Filner wants to know if the procedures that Tyner refused to undergo are actually making travel safer.
Filner has had his own airport problems. In 2007 he was charged with assaulting a baggage employee at Dulles International Airport in Washington when he allegedly tried to enter a restricted space to look for his luggage.
The incident was resolved with the equivalent of a no-contest plea and an apology from Filner.
State court issues temporary stay on ruling that blocks part of Jessica's Law
November 18, 2010
A California appeals court Thursday ordered a temporary stay on a ruling by a Los Angeles County judge that blocked a major provision of Jessica's Law, which restricts how close sex offenders can live to schools or parks.
Los Angeles County Judge Peter Espinoza's ruling on Nov. 1 said that the measure was unconstitutional and that it left sex offenders in some areas with the choice of being homeless or going to jail because the law restricts them from living in large swaths of cities such as Los Angeles.
Following the ruling, the state Department of Corrections ordered parole agents to immediately suspend the portion of the law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school, park or play area. Additionally, parole agents were told to use global-positioning systems to track the movement of offenders and to continue enforcing local ordinances governing offenders.
Proposition 83, approved by state voters in 2006 and informally known as Jessica's Law, imposes strict residency requirements on sex offenders, including rules forbidding them from residing near locations where children gather.
Before the law passed, those residency requirements were imposed only on offenders whose victims were children.
Civil rights attorneys have argued that provisions of the law make it impossible for some registered sex offenders to live in densely populated cities, and Los Angeles officials have noted the lack of places that meet its requirements.
Nearly all of San Francisco, for example, is off-limits to sex offenders because of the number of parks and schools close to housing. In Orange County, where more than a third of the paroled sex offenders are homeless, dozens started living on the streets in an industrial section of Anaheim because it was the only place they could find that complied with Jessica's Law. After complaints, police broke up the camp in May. But many of the offenders moved to another industrial area.
Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court said that registered sex offenders could challenge residency requirements in the law if it proves impossible to avoid living near parks and schools.
There are about 5,100 registered sex offenders in Los Angeles, and about 1,020 of them are prohibited under Jessica's Law from living near places where children gather. Throughout Los Angeles County, about 2,000 registered sex offenders are subject to residency restrictions.
From the New York Times
Germany Copes With Terror Alert
By STEFAN PAULY and MICHAEL SLACKMAN
BERLIN — One day after Germany's interior minister said there was a concrete threat of a terrorist strike, the nation woke to reports of a possible bomb intended for an Air Berlin flight, hypercautious police forces at transportation hubs around the nation and a determined call not to let fear change the way people live.
By day's end, Air Berlin said a suspicious laptop bag — identified in Namibia on Wednesday, just a few hours before the minister's alert — did not contain any explosive material. Police officials said that it had batteries wired to a clock and detonator, and that it would take several days to determine whether it could have exploded or was a false alarm.
The day was for the most part routine for Germany's 82 million citizens. Train stations were buzzing, coffee shops busy, government offices going about their business. Facing one of their most serious terror alerts, Germans broadly supported their government's call to fight back by resisting fear.
“There are situations in which calm is actually a civic duty and has nothing to do with apathy,” wrote the conservative daily Die Welt. “It is not a sign of carelessness but of strength if life goes on as normal in dangerous situations.”
But there was an undercurrent of concern, a permeating jitteriness, especially for law enforcement. At Berlin's main train station, two suitcases left by an entrance were quickly surrounded by heavily armed police officers. They brought in a bomb sniffing dog and kept the public at a distance. The surprised owner returned and opened his bags, and slipped away embarrassed.
Two men working for the national railroad said that on Wednesday the trains stopped running for about 45 minutes because of a package found unattended at the next station. They said it contained a harmless liquid.
Germany's state interior ministers met in Hamburg and issued a statement noting that there was “proof of a high degree of a security threat, both in terms of time and content.” Speaking on Deutschlandfunk radio, Berlin's interior minister, Ehrhart Körting, told listeners that regardless of the best efforts of law enforcement, “Terrorists will not allow themselves to be disrupted by the warnings,” and added, “You will never be able to guarantee 100 percent security against terrorists.”
The Rhineland-Palatinate interior minister, Karl Peter Bruch, told The German Press Agency that the authorities had “concrete evidence” that Berlin, Munich and Hamburg were possible targets, as well as the Ruhr region in the southwest.
Germany had resisted declaring a public terrorism alert for many weeks, even when it repeatedly emerged at the center of new concerns. Some German citizens have been arrested and killed in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region in connection with terrorism. One of two bombs mailed from Yemen passed undetected through the airport in Cologne-Bonn before being found in Britain on a tip from Saudi Arabia. Days later, a package bomb sent from Greece and addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel was found in her mail room in Berlin.
The government had been under pressure from Washington to take the threats more seriously. Officials in Berlin said they had received angry calls from a White House official, demanding stepped-up counterterror efforts — calls that were passed on to Mrs. Merkel. But Germany held to its view that the threats against it were “abstract.”
That changed Wednesday in the hours after German officials learned that luggage screeners had found the untagged laptop bag and, scanning it, discovered the strange batteries-fuse-clock contraption.
Four hours later, Germany's interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said at a news conference that there was reason for concern, though not panic, and that information had been received from a foreign intelligence source indicating that Germany faced “concrete indications of a series of attacks planned for the end of November.” Intelligence officials in Germany said that the assessment was based on mounting evidence and nearly daily intelligence reports of a planned strike coming in from multiple sources.
Pat-Downs at Airports Prompt Complaints
By SUSAN STELLIN
In the three weeks since the Transportation Security Administration began more aggressive pat-downs of passengers at airport security checkpoints, traveler complaints have poured in.
Some offer graphic accounts of genital contact, others tell of agents gawking or making inappropriate comments, and many express a general sense of powerlessness and humiliation. In general passengers are saying they are surprised by the intimacy of a physical search usually reserved for police encounters.
“I didn't really expect her to touch my vagina through my pants,” said Kaya McLaren, an elementary schoolteacher from Cle Elum, Wash., who was patted down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport last Saturday because the body scanner detected a tissue and a hair band in her pocket.
The agency has so far responded to the complaints by calling for cooperation and patience from passengers, citing polls showing broad support for the full-body scanning machines.
Still, it remains to be seen whether travelers approve of the pat-downs, especially as millions more people experience them for the first time during the holiday travel season.
“I would be very surprised if the average American would say this is O.K. after going through the kind of experience we're hearing about,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has received nearly 400 complaints from travelers.
Critics also question whether the pat-downs will survive legal scrutiny. On Tuesday, two pilots filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, claiming that the new screening procedures violate Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. But legal experts are divided over whether the courts will find the searches reasonable.
“For Fourth Amendment purposes, you can't touch somebody like this unless you're checking them into a jail or you've got reasonable suspicion that they've got a gun,” said John Wesley Hall, a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in search and seizure law.
“Here there is no reasonable suspicion,” he said. “It's the pure act of getting on a plane.”
But Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University, said the courts had generally supported the government's claims in cases involving airport screening, although new cases would have to balance the more invasive nature of current search procedures with the government's security needs.
“Reasonableness is a murky standard, so there's room for a new legal challenge,” Professor Kerr said. “But the tenor of earlier cases is pretty deferential to the government.”
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has also filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security, arguing that the body scanners violate Fourth Amendment protections as well as other federal laws. The group is weighing how to respond to the pat-downs, calling for a stronger response from the government to passenger concerns.
“There's been no meaningful effort in Washington to hear from the American traveling public,” said Marc Rotenberg, president of the privacy center. “So far, Congress has only heard one side of the story — quite literally, they have only heard from the T.S.A.”
In an effort to give travelers more of a voice, groups including the privacy center, the U.S. Travel Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, are soliciting feedback about passengers' experiences at airport checkpoints, collectively gathering more than 2,000 reports since the new pat-down policy took effect late last month.
“What I'm hearing is some real inconsistency,” said Kate Hanni, executive director of FlyersRights.org, which operates a hot line for passenger complaints. “There seems to be a huge variation in how they're patting people down.”
Representatives from the various groups say reports about security agents' behavior run the gamut from respectful and apologetic to aggressive and hostile, with male and female passengers seemingly equally bothered by the searches. Disabled travelers, parents traveling with children, victims of sexual assault and people with medical devices or health issues have expressed concerns about how the new policy affects their ability to fly.
Laura E. Seay, an assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College in Atlanta, said she wore an insulin pump and was disturbed to find that she would have to submit to a pat-down every time she flew because the device showed up on the full-body scanner. After experiencing that physical search for the first time at Washington National Airport, she said she realized that she would have to endure the same thing once a month, because she traveled frequently for work.
“It definitely made me uncomfortable,” she said. “I don't think anything improper was done, but it's very invasive and the thought of going through that every time I fly is discouraging.”
Although she submitted a complaint to the T.S.A. in September, she said she had yet to receive a response.
For passengers, one frustration is that the agency, citing security reasons, has declined to release specific guidelines about how the pat-downs are conducted or what agents are permitted to touch. Law-enforcement officials, on the other hand, conduct searches subject to state laws and long-established guidelines after extensive training on what is, and is not, allowed. They are also generally searching only for weapons in a stop-and-frisk encounter.
According to information the T.S.A. has shared or published, the airport pat-downs are supposed to be conducted by officers the same sex as the traveler, and passengers can request a private screening and have a traveling companion present during the search. Agents are not permitted to look inside passengers' underwear or reach inside a skirt, and children 12 and younger are supposed to receive a modified pat-down.
Even passengers who submit to the new body scanners may be subject to a pat-down if the machine detects an anomaly. In other cases, passengers may be randomly selected for a physical search.
Rather than waiting for a court decision or the T.S.A. to rethink its procedures, some local officials — and passengers — are taking matters into their own hands. On Thursday, New York City Council members called for the city to ban the use of body scanners at city airports. And sites like WeWontFly.com and OptOutDay.com are calling for passenger protests at security checkpoints next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, while other disgruntled travelers are suggesting that men wear kilts or that the boldest passengers strip down to their underwear before entering the security line.
The growing furor, and the divided opinions over a better approach to security, suggest the debate is likely to heat up before anything is resolved.
“There are many people who are in favor of this level of screening and there are many people who are terrified by it,” said Ms. McLaren, the teacher. “But I don't think we as an American people have reached a consensus on what it is we want.”
The Ghailani Verdict
The verdict in the first federal trial of a former Guantánamo detainee has unleashed the usual chest-thumping and fear-mongering from the usual politicians. They are disappointed that the defendant was only convicted of one count of conspiring to blow up American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 — a crime for which he will probably serve a life sentence.
That clearly wasn't enough for Representative Peter King, a Long Island Republican who will be the next chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He showed a shocking disdain for the 12 jurors, who deliberated more than four days. He described their verdict as a “total miscarriage of justice.”
Senator John McCain proclaimed on the “Imus in the Morning” program that the verdict proved that all terrorism cases should be tried in military commissions, which he said were set up to “get the job done.”
It's not clear what job Mr. McCain had in mind, unless he meant guaranteeing guilty verdicts, on all counts, all of the time, no matter what the facts are in a case. President George W. Bush created such a system. The Supreme Court rightly declared it unconstitutional.
Let's pause to consider some facts:
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was convicted of a major crime and will pay a high price. The military tribunals have generated four minor guilty verdicts. Not one of the really dangerous men at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of Sept. 11, has been brought to trial. It's never been clear why the tribunals can't manage to try an important case. Perhaps it is because those cases are so tainted by torture and illegal detention. But it's clear the tribunals are not working.
Despite predictions of security problems — an argument that Mr. King, Mr. McCain and others often make against civilian terrorism trials — the courthouse near ground zero in Lower Manhattan, the judge, the jury, all of New York City, got safely through the trial.
The prosecution was not as robust, perhaps, as it might have been, but the problem was not the civilian courts. It was the years of abuse that preceded the trial.
Mr. Ghailani was held for five years in outlaw C.I.A. prisons and at Guantánamo and was abused and likely tortured. The prosecution chose not to use his interrogation records because of that and could not introduce testimony by another witness because interrogators learned his name from Mr. Ghailani's coerced testimony.
That severely tainted evidence most likely would also have been excluded in a military trial. The military tribunals act bars coerced evidence. Mr. McCain knows that because he was a driving force behind the 2006 law and its 2009 amendments. Mr. King voted for both bills.
The problem was never the choice of a court. The 12 civilian jurors were not too weak-minded, as Mr. King seems to think. The judge was not coddling terrorists. He was respecting the Constitution and the law.
The problem with this case was President George W. Bush's authorizing the illegal detention, abuse and torture of detainees. Susan Hirsch, whose husband was killed in the Tanzania attack, understood that. “I can't help but feel that the evidence in the case would have been stronger had Ghailani been brought to trial when he was captured in 2004,” she said.
Instead, Mr. Ghailani was kept in illegal detention and was abused and likely tortured.
Some politicians want to keep terrorism trials in military courts because it makes them look tough. Unfortunately, this sort of bluster has led the White House to back off of its pledge to try Mr. Mohammed and other high-profile prisoners in the federal courts.
What really makes this country strong is that it is based on laws not bluster. The federal courts have proved their ability to hold fair trials and punish the guilty. That is what we call getting the job done.
A Terrorist Gets What He Deserves
By MORRIS DAVIS
CRITICS of President Obama's decision to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees in federal courts have seized on the verdict in the Ahmed Ghailani case as proof that federal trials are a disastrous failure. After the jury on Wednesday found Mr. Ghailani guilty of only one charge in the 1998 African embassy bombings, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, called on the administration to “admit it was wrong and assure us just as confidently that terrorists will be tried from now on in the military commission system.”
The verdict — in which Mr. Ghailani was found guilty of conspiring to blow up United States government buildings and not guilty on 284 other counts — came as a surprise to many, but the outcome does not justify allowing political rhetoric like Senator McConnell's to trump reality.
True, prosecutors suffered a major setback when Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Federal District Court in Manhattan refused to permit the testimony of the only witness who could connect Mr. Ghailani to the explosives used in the bombings. The judge did so because Mr. Ghailani claimed that he revealed the identity of this witness after being tortured by the C.I.A. The prosecution did not contest his claim, arguing instead that the identificationof this “giant witness for the government” was only remotely linked to Mr. Ghailani's interrogation.
Judge Kaplan disagreed, saying that Americans cannot afford to let fear “overcome principles upon which our nation rests.” He said that, given the same circumstances, a military commission judge might have reached the same conclusion and barred the testimony.
Many have scoffed at this claim. Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, insists that Judge Kaplan “doomed” the case. Yet a look at the record shows that Judge Kaplan's assessment of what a military commission judge might have decided was well founded.
Consider Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan teenager who was charged with attempted murder for throwing a grenade at an American vehicle in Kabul in 2002. In 2008 a military judge, Col. Stephen Henley, suppressed incriminating statements Mr. Jawad had made after he was beaten and his family threatened while he was in Afghan custody. The military commission charges were later dropped and last year the United States sent Mr. Jawad home to Afghanistan.
We don't know for certain whether a military judge would have reached the same conclusion as Judge Kaplan, but given the Jawad precedent it seems very possible. Those who claim to know that the government would have gotten a more favorable ruling in a military commission are ignoring the record.
In any case, Mr. Ghailani now faces a sentence of 20 years to life. Even if he gets the minimum, his sentence will be greater than those of four of the five detainees so far convicted in military commissions. Only one defendant, Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, has been sentenced to life, and this was after he boycotted his tribunal and presented no defense.
Of the four detainees who participated in their military commissions, Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was 15 when arrested, is serving the longest sentence after pleading guilty to murder. Yet he will serve no more than eight years behind bars, less than half of Mr. Ghailani's minimum incarceration. Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver, was sentenced to five and half years in 2008 but given credit for time served; five months later he was free. There is no reason to assume that a military commission sentence will be more severe than one from a federal court.
In addition, Mr. Ghailani may well serve his sentence at the “supermax” federal prison in Florence, Colo., where others convicted in the embassy bombings are confined. If so, he will spend more time in solitary and enjoy fewer privileges than those under the most restrictive measures at Guantánamo.
President Obama is in a no-win situation when it comes to trying detainees — any forum he chooses will set off critics on one side of the debate or the other. I hope he pauses to reflect on what he said at the National Archives in May 2009: “Some have derided our federal courts as incapable of handling the trials of terrorists. They are wrong. Our courts and our juries, our citizens, are tough enough to convict terrorists.”
The Ghailani trial delivered justice. It did so safely and securely, while upholding the values that have defined America. Now Mr. Obama should stand up to the fear-mongers who want to take us back to the wrong side of history.
Morris Davis, a former Air Force colonel, was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007. He is the director of the Crimes of War Project.
Thank the Courts
By LINDA GREENHOUSE
“America has reached a fork in the road, and the time has come to make a decisive choice,” Daniel J. Popeo, chairman of the Washington Legal Foundation, wrote this week in his monthly column in The Washington Examiner. The choice he posited was between continuing to endure judicial intervention in the conduct of the war on terrorism and “returning control over national and homeland security decisions to the executive and legislative branches.”
I don’t mean to single out the Washington Legal Foundation, a respected conservative research and litigation organization. It is hardly alone in its ritualized framing of a dichotomy between law and national security.
And that’s the point. That the courts — and the lawyers who bring cases to them — are a threat to the country is a trope that has penetrated deep into public consciousness. The typical accompanying warning against “Miranda rights for terrorists” resonates with the doom-saying of an earlier generation of conservatives to the effect that courts make it impossible to keep the streets safe from common criminals.
Now, as then, politicians who would stand up for the courts do so at their peril, or presumed peril. Mark the Obama administration’s painful indecision about what to do with the self-described mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, as Exhibit A. A New York jury’s acquittal this week of Ahmed Ghailani, the accused embassy bomber, on all but one of many charges provided an utterly predictable platform for Republican politicians to denounce the use of civilian courts to try terrorism cases.
I’m not running for anything, so perhaps it’s easy for me to stand up for the courts. But I like to think I would do it anyway, because the current court-bashing is so deeply misguided. It reflects a profound failure of imagination: the inability to imagine how the world would look — or, more precisely, how the United States would look to the world — if the Supreme Court back in the dark winter of 2003-2004 had refused a hearing to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay.
The Bush administration tried to argue that no legal process was due the detainees, and in fact that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction even to hear any case arising from the Guantánamo detentions. But the justices nonetheless accepted the case, Rasul v. Bush; heard it days before the news broke about the atrocities at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; and ruled in June 2004 that the federal courts did indeed have jurisdiction through habeas corpus to hear the detainees’ claims that they were being wrongly confined without formal charges or the prospect of a hearing. (Given the politically polarized nature of today’s debate, it is perhaps worth pointing out that four members of the 6-to-3 majority had been appointed by Republican presidents.)
Nine days later, the Bush administration responded to the decision by putting in place a system of “combatant status review tribunals” to determine whether each detainee had been designated correctly as an enemy combatant. These tribunals, staffed by three military officers, were deeply flawed; detainees were not represented by lawyers and had sharply limited rights to see the government’s evidence. But the new system was an acknowledgment, however grudging, that there was such a thing as the rule of law. It would not have happened without the Supreme Court.
Acting without guidance from Congress and with hardly any from the Supreme Court, judges across all ideological lines have approached a thankless task with utmost seriousness and attention to the details that matter.
This is not the place to recount the convoluted, problematic, and still unfinished evolution of the Guantánamo detention policy. But looking back to the 2004 decision and those that followed, including the 2008 Boumediene decision in which the Supreme Court rejected a Congressional effort to strip the courts of jurisdiction, it seems abundantly clear that the court did the country a huge favor. In making the rule of law part of the conversation, it saved the other two branches from their own worst instincts and, in doing so, redeemed at least a bit of the national honor that had been so recklessly squandered.
Although it has now been more than two years since the Supreme Court addressed a Guantánamo-related issue, the law has continued to develop in the hands of federal judges in Washington. Judges of the Federal District Court have issued more than 50 habeas corpus decisions, with the detainee prevailing in about three-quarters of the cases. People can debate whether all these decisions were correct by any given measure; the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld some, overturned others, and most recently, vacated one and sent it back for further consideration. The appellate decisions themselves have not been without controversy.
But my point is that here, again, we owe the judges a debt of gratitude. Acting without guidance from Congress and with hardly any from the Supreme Court, judges across all ideological lines have approached a thankless task with utmost seriousness and attention to the details that matter, striving to extract a legal regime from an episode born in lawlessness.
Once again, the courts saved the other branches from their own worst instincts. In a dozen habeas cases that the government contested and lost, the Obama administration chose not to appeal. One was the case of Mohammed Jawad, a teenage detainee (perhaps as young as 12 when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002) held for nearly seven years until Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of Federal District Court ordered his release in July 2009. Judge Huvelle found that the government had produced no evidence to justify continued confinement; she had earlier thrown out a purported confession as the product of torture. At a hearing that preceded her final decision, Judge Huvelle called the case “unbelievable,” “riddled with holes,” and “an outrage.” The next month, the administration, which until then had defended Mohammed Jawad’s detention, repatriated him to Afghanistan.
For anyone for whom it is not a full-time job, it is almost impossible to keep track of the Guantánamo cases as they work their way through the courts. The news media have not been much help; The Times, for example, did not report on a significant appeals court decision earlier this month in the case of Mohammedou Ould Salahi (a Guantánamo detainee from Mauritania, not the White House party-crasher with the same last name from northern Virginia.) The public inattention is unfortunate, because it is in decisions like Salahi v. Obama that the judicial process reveals itself.
The decision vacated the district court’s grant of habeas corpus and sent the case back for reconsideration of whether Mr. Salahi, who had sworn an oath of allegiance to Al Qaeda in 1991, was still “part of” the organization, despite his assertion that he had long since “severed all ties” by the times he was captured in Mauritania 10 years later.
Early this past summer, weeks after Judge James Robertson had issued his habeas corpus ruling in the Salahi case, the law within the District of Columbia Circuit continued to evolve. In a trio of decisions in other cases, the appeals court refined and, to some extent, redefined what it means to be “part of” Al Qaeda and thus subject to detention under the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force. As a result, a different federal district judge (Judge Robertson having retired) will now have to apply the revised definition to re-evaluate Mr. Salahi’s claim that he is being illegitimately held.
The definitional details, while significant for the law, are not necessary for this column. The three-judge appellate panel’s decision in the Salahi case was unanimous, and that is an important point. The decision was written by Judge David S. Tatel, one of the court’s more liberal members, and joined by Chief Judge David B. Sentelle and Judge Janice Rogers Brown, two of its most conservative.
I very much doubt that anyone, even a politician, who actually took the trouble to read this nuanced opinion could go out on the stump to denounce the federal judiciary for unduly interfering with the prerogatives of the other branches or the prosecution of the global war on terrorism. In this season of Thanksgiving, let’s thank the courts.
From Google News
Remains Of Women, 11-Year-Old, Found
November 18, 2010
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — The bodies of three people who were missing for more than a week were found on Thursday in garbage bags located inside a hollow tree.
The discovery of Tina Herrmann, 32; her son, Kody Maynard, 11; and a friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41; was made at about 2:30 p.m. near the North Branch of the Kokosing River Lake, near Waterford Road in Fredericktown, Ohio, 10TV news reported.
The three were reported missing last week, along with Kody's 13-year-old sister, Sarah Maynard. On Sunday, authorities found Sarah Maynard alive, bound and gagged, inside a Mount Vernon man's basement.
The man, Matthew Hoffman, 30, was arrested and charged with Sarah Maynard's kidnapping after authorities swarmed his Columbus Road home, 10TV News reported.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber said that Hoffman provided information to authorities on Thursday that led them to the bodies.
Barber would not speculate on how the bodies were placed in the trees but said Hoffman previously worked as a tree trimmer.
"As elated as we were when Sarah was rescued, the tragedy today is just devastating," said Knox County prosecutor John C. Thatcher.
Neither Thatcher nor Barber would say whether Hoffman confessed to the crime.
According to Thatcher, an indictment against Hoffman was being prepared against Hoffman and the case would go to a grand jury. Hoffman is being held under $1 million bond on the kidnapping charge.
Barber said that families were notified about the discovery of the bodies a short time after they confirmed the victims' identities.
"We're a small community here," Barber said. "We became close to the victims' families. We have to as much take care of the survivors as we do with the victims, and that's what we've done ever since (the investigation) started."
According to Barber, the slayings occurred inside Herrmann's home, about 20 miles away from where the bodies were found.
Hoffman is scheduled to appear for a preliminary court hearing on Tuesday. An indictment against him could be within 4 to 6 weeks, Thatcher said.
Neb. gang raids yield 12 arrests, promises of more
By JOSH FUNK
The Associated Press
November 19, 2010
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- A massive central Nebraska raid may have decapitated a violent gang, but officials say they have no plans to let up and allow the group to thrive again in the Plains manufacturing and retail hub of Grand Island.
The arrest of a dozen suspected gang members was trumpeted Thursday after 120 officers from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement agencies conducted simultaneous raids in the 50,000-resident city 125 miles west of Omaha.
Local officials welcomed the effort to rein in gang activity but law enforcement offered few details about their continuing investigation into the East Side Locos, which has ties to the international Surenos gang based in southern California. Officials refused to discuss specifics of the gang's activities and origins Thursday.
"I am all in favor of everything we can do to make sure that any gang members feel unwelcome in Grand Island," Mayor Margaret Hornady said.
Police say gangs have been active in Grand Island since at least the mid-1990s, but their strength and influence has varied. Hall County Attorney Mark Young and other officials promised to keep up pressure on gangs across central Nebraska through a recently expanded law enforcement task force.
"Our next step is to continue disrupting the activity of this group and any other group that may be out there," Young said.
On Wednesday, an FBI SWAT team captured a 24-year-old Grand Island man indicted on 11 federal weapons charges and three federal drug charges. The other 11 suspects were captured between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thursday as teams of officers served arrest warrants throughout the area. Two suspects eluded capture Thursday and are considered fugitives.
The 14 indicted men face a combination of federal weapons and drug charges or state drug and gang recruitment charges. They all lived in Grand Island and were either U.S. citizens or legal residents.
Mike Feinberg, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations within ICE, said the East Side Locos is one of the largest criminal organizations Grand Island has ever seen and "one of the most violent criminal street organizations in Nebraska."
Feinberg's agents help track international aspects of gangs, and over the past two years Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested 80 gang members, including some in Grand Island. But Feinberg refused to detail the East Side Locos' international ties or say how many of those 80 arrests were made in Grand Island.
Grand Island Police Chief Steve Lamken said many of the city's residents probably aren't affected directly by the East Side Locos, but "the gangs are involved in a lot of our violent crime."
Three men arrested Thursday have been charged with violating a new Nebraska law that made it illegal to recruit new gang members. Court documents filed in support of those charges say the East Side Locos have been active in Grand Island since at least 1997.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dun said criminals shouldn't see this week's arrests as an opportunity.
"Don't think for one second that today's arrests create a void for you to move into," Dun said.
Members of the East Side Locos have been convicted of drug trafficking, armed robberies, witness tampering and burglary, according to court documents. The gang allegedly maintains a "Homie Fund" - money made available to members when they are released from jail - supported by fees members pay on every ounce of methamphetamine and pound of marijuana they sell.
Grand Island's gang problems were highlighted earlier this year when a 15-year-old student was shot at a home in the city in what was believed to have been a gang-related altercation. Rumors of retaliation soon followed, prompting police to station officers carrying AR-15 assault rifles at Grand Island High School entrances in February to prevent any problems.
Joel Hoffman, 60, a semiretired manufacturing worker, said he's lived in Grand Island for nearly 50 years, and is glad to see federal officials going after suspected gang members.
"Nothing good can happen from these gangs," Hoffman said.
Officials promised the arrests won't be the end of the enforcement.
"This is the start of a new and safer Grand Island," Young said.
From the White House
Remarks by the President at a Meeting on the New START Treaty
10:36 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: I want to begin by thanking the incredible leaders who are around this table, not only the Vice President and the Secretary of State, but also some of the most able statesmen from both parties that we've had in modern American history who are sitting around this table.
We are here to discuss the importance of ratifying the START treaty. And let me be clear: It is in the national security imperative -- it is a national security imperative that the United States ratify the New START treaty this year.
There is no higher national security priority for the lame duck session of Congress. The stakes for American national security are clear, and they are high. The New START treaty responsibly reduces the number of nuclear weapons and launchers that the United States and Russia deploy, while fully maintaining America's nuclear deterrent.
If we ratify this treaty, we're going to have a verification regime in place to track Russia's strategic nuclear weapons, including U.S. inspectors on the ground. If we don't, then we don't have a verification regime -– no inspectors, no insights into Russia's strategic arsenal, no framework for cooperation between the world's two nuclear superpowers. As Ronald Reagan said, we have to trust, but we also have to verify. In order for us to verify, we've got to have a treaty.
The New START treaty is also a cornerstone of our relations with Russia. And this goes beyond nuclear security. Russia has been fundamental to our efforts to put strong sanctions in place to put pressure on Iran to deal with its nuclear program. It's been critical in supporting our troops in Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network. It's been critical in working with us to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world, and to enhance European security.
We cannot afford to gamble on our ability to verify Russia's strategic nuclear arms. And we can't jeopardize the progress that we've made in securing vulnerable nuclear materials, or in maintaining a strong sanctions regime against Iran. These are all national interests of the highest order.
Let me also say -- and I think the group around the table will confirm -- that this New START treaty is completely in line with a tradition of bipartisan cooperation on this issue. This is not a Democratic concept; this is not a Republican concept. This is a concept of American national security that has been promoted by Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now my administration.
We've taken the time to do this right. To ensure that the treaty got a fair hearing, we submitted to the Senate last spring. Because of the leadership of John Kerry and Dick Lugar, there have been 18 hearings on this subject. There have been multiple briefings. It has been fully and carefully vetted, and has the full endorsement of our nation's military leadership. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hoss Cartwright is here and will confirm that this is in our national security interests.
My administration is also prepared to go the extra mile to ensure that our remaining stockpile and nuclear infrastructure is modernized -- which I know is a key concern of many around this table and also many on Capitol Hill. We've committed to invest $80 billion on the effort to modernize over the next decade. And based on our consultations with Senator Kyl, we've agreed to request an additional $4.1 billion over the next five years.
So the key point here is this is not about politics -– it's about national security. This is not a matter that can be delayed. Every month that goes by without a treaty means that we are not able to verify what's going on on the ground in Russia. And if we delay indefinitely, American leadership on nonproliferation and America's national security will be weakened.
Now, as Senator Reid said yesterday, there is time on the Senate calendar to get this treaty ratified this year. So I've asked Vice President Biden to focus on this issue day and night until it gets done. It's important to our national security to let this treaty go up for a vote. I'm confident that it's the right thing to do. The people around this table think it's the right thing to do.
I would welcome the press to query the leadership here, people who have been national security advisors, secretaries of state, and key advisors -- defense secretaries for Democratic and Republican administrations, and they will confirm that this is the right thing to do.
So we've got a lot on our plate during this lame duck session. I recognize that given the difficulties in the economy that there may be those, perhaps Democrats and Republicans on the Hill, who think this is not a top priority. I would not be emphasizing this and these folks would not have traveled all this way if we didn't feel that this was absolutely important to get done now.
And so I'm looking forward to strong cooperation between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, as exemplified by John Kerry and Dick Lugar, to get this done over the course of the next several weeks.
All right? Thank you very much.
Q Do you have the votes in the Senate?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm confident that we should be able to get the votes. Keep in mind that every President since Ronald Reagan has presented a arms treaty with Russia and been able to get ratification. And for the most part, these treaties have been debated on the merits; the majority of them have passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. There's no reason that we shouldn't be able to get that done this time as well.
From the Department of Homeland Security
DHS Highlights Two Cybersecurity Initiatives to Enhance Coordination with State and Local Governments and Private Sector Partners
November 18, 2010
Washington, D.C. - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today highlighted two important cybersecurity initiatives that enhance coordination and information sharing with state, local, tribal and territorial government and private sector partners—building on a series of recent cybersecurity measures that increase our nation's ability to protect against cyber threats.
Today, DHS officials joined White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt and representatives of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) in East Greenbrush, N.Y., to launch the MS-ISAC Cyber Security Operations Center, a 24-hour watch and warning facility. The new operations center builds on a long-standing information sharing partnership between MS-ISAC and the Department and will both enhance situational awareness at the state and local level for the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC)—the DHS-led integrated cyber incident response hub—and allow the federal government to quickly and efficiently provide critical cyber risk, vulnerability, and mitigation data to state and local governments.
Additionally, last week, DHS signed an agreement with the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center (IT-ISAC) to embed a full-time analyst and liaison to DHS at the NCCIC. The IT-ISAC consists of information technology stakeholders from the private sector and facilitates cooperation among members to identify sector-specific vulnerabilities and risk mitigation strategies. Under a cooperative agreement with DHS, the MS-ISAC will also have a permanent representative at the NCCIC. Both the IT-ISAC and MS-ISAC had representatives at the NCCIC during Cyber Storm III.
The two initiatives build on a series of recent cybersecurity accomplishments that also facilitate coordination and information sharing with government and private sector partners. In October, DHS and the Department of Defense (DoD) signed an agreement that deploys a DoD support team to the NCCIC to enhance the National Cyber Incident Response Plan and sends a full-time senior DHS leader and support team to DoD's National Security Agency. In September, DHS conducted Cyber Storm III, a cyber incident response exercise, which included participants from seven Cabinet-level departments, 11 states, 12 countries, 60 private sector companies, and representatives from the MS-ISAC and IT-ISAC.
For more information on the progress DHS has made in strengthening cyber preparedness and response capabilities, please visit:
Defending Against Cyber Attacks (pdf)
From the Department of Justice
Attorney General Issues Memoranda to Improve Use of DNA Evidence
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder issued two memoranda today – on the collection of DNA evidence and the use of DNA waivers when defendants plead guilty – to ensure the Department of Justice uses DNA evidence to the greatest extent possible to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent.
The memorandum on sample collection provides guidance concerning the requirements and procedures for DNA sample collection, the treatment of cases in which DNA has not been collected from a defendant prior to his appearance in court, and the status of and response to litigative challenges to DNA sample collection. It notes that the regular collection of DNA samples from federal arrestees must be a priority, as DNA provides a powerful tool in the enforcement of federal and state criminal laws and the administration of justice.
The memorandum on the use of DNA waivers establishes as general department policy that prosecutors will not require as part of plea agreements that defendants waive their rights to testing under the Innocence Protection Act. Under exceptional circumstances, prosecutors may obtain such waivers.
"DNA evidence is one of the most powerful tools available to the criminal justice system, and these new steps will ensure the department can use DNA to the greatest extent possible to solve crimes and ensure the guilty are convicted," Attorney General Holder said. "Improving both the collection and the use of DNA evidence will help law enforcement and prosecutors keep communities safe."
Congress enacted the Innocence Protection Act in 2004 to allow convicted individuals access to DNA testing if they met certain conditions such as the possibility that testing could produce new material evidence that would raise a reasonable probability that the individual did not commit the offense. Among other restrictions, it limits new testing to evidence that was not previously tested and generally requires it to be done within 36 months of conviction.
Federal law since 2004 has also required the collection of DNA samples from most persons convicted of federal crimes, and regulations implemented by the department in January, 2009 extended DNA collection to include arrestees and defendants in federal jurisdiction.
Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Veterans Appreciation Ceremony
November 18, 2010
Thank you, Lee [Loftus]. It is a pleasure to be with you and a privilege to join you in welcoming so many colleagues and guests to the first-ever Department of Justice Veterans Appreciation Ceremony. Thank you all for being here.
It is fitting that we've gathered today – exactly one week after Veterans Day and one week before Thanksgiving – to honor the 19,000 veterans who serve our nation's Justice Department. This is an important opportunity to recognize your courage and commitment and, above all, to express our deep and enduring gratitude for the extraordinary contributions that you have made – and for the inspiring example that you continue to provide.
Each one of you is a role model for your colleagues, for your friends and family members, and for your fellow Americans.
You have served the cause of justice across this country and around the world – in areas of great danger and in times of urgent need. And although what you experienced in the Armed Forces is very different from the duties you now fulfill, it would be a mistake – I believe – to completely differentiate your time in the U.S. military from your tenure at the Department of Justice. In both instances, you have defended essential liberties and expanded opportunities. You have strengthened our nation's most sacred principles. And you have answered the highest calling of citizenship.
While I am encouraged – and proud – to see so many veterans here today, I also realize that you represent just a small fraction of the many veterans who now serve our nation's Justice Department. I am grateful – and we are all fortunate – to have thousands of former service members included in our ranks.
Veterans are leaders. Veterans are patriots. Veterans are heroes. They are among our nation's most effective and dedicated public servants. And today's Justice Department relies on – and benefits from – the unique experience, expertise, and perspective that our veterans provide. Whether you're an agent, attorney, investigator, or support staffer, the specialized training that you received – and the skills that you developed – in the military now help to advance the Department's critical mission. And I am grateful, in particular, that many of you are leading the Department's activities to protect the employment rights, voting rights, and financial security of veterans across the country.
Today – as part of the administration's efforts to develop and maintain a well-qualified and highly skilled workforce – the Department is working to attract and to retain more veterans. As many of you know, last year, President Obama established the Veterans Employment Initiative – an important step forward in helping men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces find employment opportunities in the federal government. Here at the Department, we are proud to be part of this effort. And we have made this new initiative a priority. In February of this year, we launched the Veterans Employment Office, which is working with veterans from across the country who wish to pursue careers in the Department. Already, this office is helping us to attract talented and dedicated colleagues. And these veterans are bringing their exceptional skills – and patriotic spirit – to the Department's work.
In addition to this new office, we are also working to renew and to reinvigorate the Department's commitment to treating veterans well every day of the year – to serving you, as President Obama put it this past Veterans Day, “as well as you have served, and still serve, the United States of America.”
From me and from our nation's Justice Department, you deserve – and you can expect – nothing less.
And, now, it is a special privilege to introduce our speaker and distinguished guest – a leader who embodies the commitment and contributions that we celebrate today.
Senator Lindsey Graham has served our country in many ways – as a member of Congress, where he works to represent South Carolina's – and our nation's – best interests; as a U.S. Air Force Colonel; as a Senior Instructor at the Air Force JAG School; as an active-duty military lawyer; and – to this day – as a member of the Air Force Reserves.
Even before his election to Congress, Senator Graham was involved in advancing the critical work – and key goals – of the Department of Justice. He logged more than six years of active service as an Air Force attorney – at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany and, during the first Gulf War, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina. At McEntire, he prepared service members for deployment by briefing pilots on the law of armed conflict, by preparing legal documents for deploying troops, and by providing legal services for members of the South Carolina Air National Guard and their families. Since then, he has been an independent voice – and a leading advocate – for our nation's warriors and veterans. And he has worked tirelessly to promote the rule of law and to secure the country that he loves so dearly.
I consider Senator Graham to be a valued partner in our daily efforts to advance the cause of justice. During my tenure as Attorney General, it has been a privilege to work with him. And I look forward to continuing – and to strengthening – our important partnership.
As I am sure you'll agree, there are few public servants better suited to deliver the keynote address for the Justice Department's inaugural Veterans Appreciation Ceremony. So, please join me in welcoming Senator Lindsey Graham.
From the Department of Justice
Two Defendants Each Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Child Pornography Charges International Child Pornography Conspiracy Case Leads to Identification of Child Victims and Production of Child Pornography Charges
WASHINGTON – Two defendants were sentenced to prison today for their participation in an online child pornography conspiracy and for child pornography production charges, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett of the Southern District of Indiana, U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler of the District of Alaska, and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California.
Charles Neyhart, 34, of Chugiak, Alaska, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for his role in the child pornography conspiracy and for charges of child pornography production. Richard Schweich, 40, of San Jose, Calif., was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his participation in the conspiracy and for producing child pornography. Each defendant also was sentenced to lifetime supervised release following their respective prison terms. Both defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Lawrence in Indianapolis.
Neyhart pleaded guilty on April 7, 2010, to one count of conspiracy to advertise child pornography, one count of conspiracy to distribute child pornography, 13 counts of advertising child pornography and two counts of distributing child pornography. Neyhart also pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with three counts of producing child pornography between February and June 2009. According to the criminal information filed in the District of Alaska, Neyhart produced sexually explicit photographs of a 10 year-old girl in West Virginia and transported the photographs to his home in Alaska,.
On June 15, 2010, Schweich pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to advertise child pornography, one count of conspiracy to distribute child pornography, 13 counts of advertising child pornography and two counts of distributing child pornography in conjunction with the child pornography conspiracy. Schweich also pleaded guilty to a criminal information filed in the Northern District of California, charging him with one count of producing child pornography. According to the criminal information, Schweich produced sexually explicit photographs of an 11 year-old girl in January 2008.
The charges against Neyhart, Schweich and 24 co-defendants are a result of “Operation Nest Egg,” an ongoing and joint investigation led by the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Operation Nest Egg, launched in February 2008, targeted 26 defendants charged in the Southern District of Indiana, as well as approximately 500 additional individuals located throughout the world for their involvement in an online group dedicated to trading images of child pornography.
According to court documents filed in the Southern District of Indiana, the 26 co-conspirators participated in a sophisticated, password-protected Internet bulletin board group, which existed to allow members to meet like-minded individuals with a sexualized interest in children, to discuss that interest and to trade images of child pornography. The defendants are charged with conspiring to advertise and distribute child pornography, along with substantive counts of advertising and distributing child pornography. Twenty-two of the 26 defendants charged in the conspiracy have been arrested and 20 of the 22 individuals arrested have been convicted or have pleaded guilty. Seventeen defendants have been sentenced to prison on previous dates.
Four of the 26 individuals charged in the conspiracy remain at large and are known only by their online identities. Efforts to identify and apprehend these four individuals continue.
To date, as a result of Operation Nest Egg, more than 80 searches have been conducted in the United States. In total, more than 50 individuals have been arrested and 43 individuals have been convicted. The investigation is ongoing. Numerous members of the Internet-based bulletin board were found to have been personally sexually abusing children and to date, 16 child victims have been identified through Operation Nest Egg. For example, the 10 year-old child depicted in the sexually explicit photographs recovered from Charles Neyhart's home was identified through an extensive investigation conducted by ICE, the Anchorage Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers and the West Virginia State Police. An extensive investigation conducted by USPIS and the San Jose Police Department led to the identification of the 11 year-old girl depicted in the sexually explicit photographs produced by Richard Schweich.
Additionally, lead administrator Delwyn Savigar of the United Kingdom, was identified and arrested in partnership with the U.K.'s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, for his involvement in the conspiracy. After his initial arrest, Savigar was identified through DNA testing as the perpetrator of a previously unsolved sexual assault against a minor female in Great Britain, to which he pleaded guilty. Following this discovery, Savigar was linked to additional incidents of sexual assaults. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to either abusing or attempting to abuse three minors from 1999 to 2002. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in the United Kingdom.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Project Safe Childhood
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. DeBrota of the Southern District of Indiana, Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey J. Renschen of the District of Alaska, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hanley Chew of the Northern District of California and CEOS Trial Attorney Alecia Riewerts Wolak. The investigation was conducted jointly by CEOS' High Technology Investigative Unit, USPIS and ICE, with assistance provided by the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce, Indiana State Police, the Anchorage Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers, the West Virginia State Police, the San Jose Police Department and numerous local and international law enforcement agencies across the United States and Europe.
11 indicted for growing marijuana in Ohio
DAYTON, Ohio - A federal grand jury has indicted 11 Mexican nationals, charging each one with one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in connection with the seizure of more than 2,500 marijuana plants being grown in rural areas of Muskingum and Logan counties. The indictment stems from an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Robert Corso, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Brian Moskowitz, Special Agent in Charge, ICE HSI for Ohio and Michigan; Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray; Logan County Sheriff Andrew Smith and Muskingum County Sheriff Matthew Lutz announced the indictment returned yesterday.
The indictment charges Hugo Ayala, 41, of Columbus, a Mexican national and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, and ten Mexican citizens:
- Leonel Mondragon-Garcia, 29,
- Jose Vilchiz-Garcia, 27,
- Ismael Bucio-Hernandez, 33,
- Daniel Zarco-Aguilar, 26,
- Jacinto Chavez-Castyalon, 29,
- Lorenzo Guzman-Garcia, 26,
- Manuel Castrejon-Sanchez, 36,
- Genaro Gallegos-Gamillo, 21,
- Saul Vargas-Garcia, 20,
- Lusiano Garcia-Sanchez, 25.
The Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) initiated the investigation into the growing operation after a tip was received in June from two hunters who stumbled upon dozens of marijuana plants being cultivated on an outdoor parcel in a rural area of Logan County near Zanesfield. A second marijuana field was located near the town of Adams Mills, Ohio, next to the Muskingum River.
BCI partnered with local and federal authorities to monitor marijuana cultivation activity in that area. They believe Ayala drove the workers to the site to camp for a period of time so they could tend their marijuana crop.
All were arrested on Sept. 21, 2010 and have been in custody since their arrest.
Conspiracy to cultivate more than 1,000 marijuana plants is punishable by at least ten years and up to life in prison if the suspects are found guilty.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the agencies involved. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheila Lafferty is prosecuting the case. Judge Thomas M. Rose will preside over the case.
ICE arrests 6 at-large convicted criminal aliens in Miami
MIAMI - Six convicted criminals residing in Miami were arrested on Tuesday by officers with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in an enforcement operation targeting convicted criminal aliens identified with being in violation of U.S. immigration law.
Yesterday's enforcement operation was conducted by the ICE ERO Joint Criminal Alien Removal Taskforce (JCART). JCART operations are intended to seek, locate and arrest at-large criminal aliens with convictions for drug trafficking offenses, violent crimes and sex offenses.
"Arresting convicted criminals and immigration fugitives is a top priority for ICE ERO," said Marc Moore, field office director for ICE ERO in Miami. "We're committed to working with our state, federal and local law enforcement to be a force multiplier in making our communities safer for everyone."
All six were arrested administratively for being in violation of immigration law, and all are being held in ICE custody pending immigration removal proceedings or removal from the United States.
Arrested by ICE ERO officers were:
- Marvin Ledesma, 31, a citizen and national of the Dominican Republic. He has prior convictions in Miami/Dade County for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, criminal mischief, prostitution and driving with a suspended license.
- Jose Hernan Perez, 22, a citizen and national of Honduras. He has prior convictions in Miami/Dade County for aggravated battery with great bodily harm and driving without a license while the license was suspended for causing a death.
- Jose Sorto Sorto, 48, a citizen and national of Honduras. He has a prior conviction in Miami/Dade County for aggravated battery.
- Ady Niang, 20, a citizen of Canada and national of Senegal. He has a prior conviction in Alachua County, Fla., for the sale of cannabis.
- Maritza Rodriguez, 43, a citizen and national of Venezuela. She has prior convictions in Miami/Dade County for grand theft and forged checks.
- Josue Rene Alarado-Herrera, 35, a citizen and national of Nicaragua. He has a prior conviction for hit and run.
JCART works closely with other federal law enforcement agencies and conducts special operations at the request of local law enforcement agencies. JCART may also target criminal aliens at large in the community who have been released from federal, state or local custody.
Former Indiana police officer sentenced to 15 years for producing child pornography
INDIANAPOLIS - A former veteran police officer who produced child pornography with a 16-year-old girl was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in federal prison. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Henry County Sheriff's Office; the Henry County Prosecutor's Office; the Hamilton County Metro Child Exploitation Task Force; the U.S. Secret Service; the Indiana State Police; and the Indiana police departments of New Castle, Carmel, Fishers, and Noblesville.
Lawrence Ross Frame, 46, of New Castle, Ind., was sentenced Nov. 17 following his guilty plea to sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography. Frame was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release following his release from prison. During the period of supervised release, Frame must register as a sex offender and comply with sex offender treatment, among other conditions.
Prior to his arrest, Frame was a detective with the New Castle Police Department, where he had been employed for nearly 20 years. In early August 2009, the New Castle Police Department and the Henry County Sheriff's Office received a report that Frame may have had sex with a minor female and produced images and videos of her engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
The minor female, named "Jane Doe 1" in court documents to protect her identity, was 16 years old at the time the images were taken. Federal law makes it illegal to produce such material involving minors under the age of 18.
On Aug. 4, 2009, the Henry County Sheriff's Office notified the Henry County Prosecutor's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office of the allegations. Within hours, a joint investigation was initiated involving local, state and federal agencies, many which are members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children ("ICAC)" Task Force, due to the allegations that computer evidence and a minor victim were involved.
Frame was taken into custody after he reported for his scheduled shift with the New Castle Police Department on Aug. 4, 2009. Numerous digital storage devices, such as thumb drives and camera memory cards, were taken from Frame's pockets and personal effects, in addition to laptop computers in his vehicles. Using innovative techniques developed in Indiana, Frame's digital storage devices and computers were forensically examined on-site by ICAC members. Child pornography images and videos of the victim that were produced on several dates were found on various devices. Frame admitted to producing the child pornography and was arrested that evening.
Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Brant Cook, Southern District of Indiana, prosecuted this case.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 . This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com