A good number of readers have asked me how they can learn more about organized crime in Philadelphia, especially during the Nicodemo xe2x80x9cLittle Nickyxe2x80x9d Scarfo era in the 1980s.xc2xa0
I suggest they read former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter George Anastasiaxe2x80x99s xe2x80x9cBlood and Honor: Inside the Scarfo Mob xe2x80x93 the Mafiaxe2x80x99s Most Violent Family,xe2x80x9d which is perhaps the best book on Philadelphia organized crime. Originally published in 1991, an updated and expanded edition is available through Camino Books.xc2xa0
The book covers Scarfoxe2x80x99s bloody reign and the internecine mob wars in Philadelphia, where bodies were purposely left on the streets as a message. Anastasiaxe2x80x99s primary access inside the Scarfo mob was via a cooperating witness named Nick Caramandi.
Being half-Italian and raised in South Philadelphia, the hub of the South Philly-South Jersey Cosa Nostra crime family, I know or know of most of the people and places mentioned in the book. I lived through the Scarfo era, and Ixe2x80x99ve interviewed many people who were well-acquainted with Scarfo, from his nephew and underboss-turned cooperating witness, Philip Leonetti, to several detectives and FBI agents who worked the mob back then.xc2xa0
I reached out to Anastasia and asked him why he wrote the book.xc2xa0xc2xa0
xe2x80x9cSerendipity,xe2x80x9d Anastasia responded. xe2x80x9cNick Caramandi had begun cooperating and was being kept in a safe house by the FBI. Caramandi had reached out to a book agent in New York who was putting a deal in place. The FBI arranged for Nick to meet with one or two reporters from New York, but they didnxe2x80x99t connect. The feds then contacted The Inquirer and an editor, Bill Marimow, put them in touch with me. I met with Caramandi, and we hit it off. I already knew the back story, so he felt comfortable with me. I think the fact that I was an Italian-American helped.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0
Why do you call the Scarfo mob the most violent mafia family?xc2xa0
xe2x80x9cIt was the wanton violence. Scarfo used violence as a solution to any and every problem. Thatxe2x80x99s a big reason why it all fell apart,xe2x80x9d Anastasia explained. xe2x80x9cCaramandi cooperated, for example, because he figured Scarfo would kill him after the Rouse extortion got screwed up. It wasnxe2x80x99t that he was worried about going to jail. He had already done jail time. But both he and Tommy DelGiorno, who cooperated at the same time, had screwed up and both knew that the way Scarfo would deal with it was to have them killed.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0
How would you describe Scarfo? And how did he differ from former mob boss Angelo Bruno?
xe2x80x9cScarfo was a psychopath. He confused fear with respect and never really understood what it meant to be boss,xe2x80x9d Anastasia said. xe2x80x9cAngelo Bruno ruled with an iron fist covered with a velvet glove. Scarfo saw no reason for the glove.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0
How would you describe Caramandi?
xe2x80x9cI found him fascinating, a great story-teller and a funny guy. Still do,xe2x80x9d Anastasia said. xe2x80x9cIn retrospect xe2x80x93 and I think he agrees xe2x80x93 he should never have gotten made. It gave him status and power, but it took away his ability to maneuver in the underworld. He was better off being an associate who could wheel and deal on his own terms.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0
Anastasia said he interviewed dozens of people, such as lawyers and investigators. He was covering the mob story for the Inquirer at the time, and he incorporated that newspaper coverage into the book.xc2xa0
Scarfo died in prison in 2017. What is the legacy of the Scarfo Cosa Nostra crime family?
xe2x80x9cWhat happened in Philadelphia during the Scarfo era happened in almost every other American city where the Mafia operated,xe2x80x9d Anastasia said. xe2x80x9cSo, in that respect Philadelphia was a precursor of what was to come xe2x80x93 incompetent leadership, highly sophisticated law enforcement and devastating use of cooperating witnesses.xc2xa0
xe2x80x9cThis, coupled with the fact that by the 1980s the best and the brightest in the Italian-American community were doctors, lawyers, educators and the mob was scraping the bottom of the gene pool. Angelo Bruno was smart, and he knew how to lead. For him, I think, the Mafia xe2x80x93 omerta, men of honor, etc. xe2x80x93 was truly a way of life.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0
But a generation later that wasnxe2x80x99t the case for a lot of the mob guys, Anastasia noted. He said the mob was only a way to make money.xc2xa0
xe2x80x9cAnd when they got jammed up, they made a business decision: How do I cut my losses? By cooperating. And the witness protection program gave them a way out, a chance to walk away. That didnxe2x80x99t exist in the 1930s and 1940s. Different time, different type of gangster. So, all these things factored into the demise of the American Mafia. And itxe2x80x99s never coming back.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0
Paul Davisxe2x80x99 Crime Beat column appears here each week. You can contact him via <a href=”http://pauldavisoncrime.com” rel=”nofollow”>pauldavisoncrime.com</a>.
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Celebratory gunfire resounded across #Kabul on Tuesday (August 31) as #Taliban fighters took control of the #airport before dawn, after the withdrawal of the last US troops.The transition presents an enormous test for the Islamists in a desperately poor, diplomatically isolated country.
#Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony #Blinken in a phone call on Sunday that the international community should engage with #Afghanistan’s new #Taliban rulers and “positively guide” them, China’s foreign ministry said. FRANCE 24’s Charles Pellegrin tells us more.
Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks that propelled the US into its longest war, the last US troops have left Afghanistan. More than 800,000 US soldiers were deployed there over the past two decades. The Taliban have now retaken control of nearly the whole country. Should the US have pulled out? Could the Biden administration have handled the withdrawal better? What will happen after US troops are gone? Our correspondents met with US citizens whose lives have been changed forever by the conflict.
posted at 14:33:12 UTC by email@example.com (Jake Epstein)viaBusiness Insider
Clinicians work on intubating a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana on August 10, 2021.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
The US is averaging over 100,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations a day for the first time since February, before many were eligible to get vaccinated, The New York Times reported Sunday.
In the past two months, hospitalizations across the country have increased by nearly 500%, The Times said. Florida claims the country’s highest hospitalizations tally with 16,457, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Meanwhile, deaths have climbed to 1,000 a day for the first time since March, the report said.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
The US is all set to host a foreign minister’s virtual meeting on Afghanistan future policy. The foreign minister Anthony Blinken will host the conference with America’s key partners.
#US #Afghanistan #WorldNews
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posted on Aug 29 2021 16:15:16 UTC by MSNBCviamsnbc
NBC’s Al Roker reports from New Orleans as Hurricane Ida’s max sustained winds hit 150 mph after intensifying to a powerful Category 4 hurricane as it threatens parts of the Gulf Coast before landfall. » Subscribe to MSNBC: http://on.msnbc.com/SubscribeTomsnbc
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Jeffrey Epstein’s Secret Exposed: Convicted Child Sex Abuser Reportedly Worked As An FBI Informant.
Disband the FBI! – Chris Farrell | Private data belonging to an alleged treaty violator was accessible to unauthorized FBI agents for months.
#FBI#Opinion – Chris Farrell: The level of FBI and #DOJ#Corruption is Staggering: “The FBI needs to go away. It should happen in an orderly and thoughtful process …
Leon Turrou (last name in French, from the Russian Lev Turov, or likely DUROV – common Jewish? name- the Chief Investigator for the FBI, recruited by Hoover in 1930-s – WHO WAS HE?! My answer: Russian-Jewish adventurist, and very likely the Abwehr and the Russian GPU agent, one of the first and important FBI infiltrators. Research him!
National Security Adivser Jake Sullivan: “After August 31st, any person in country who is an American citizen or a legal permanent resident or an SIV holder or otherwise, we will work to ensure their safe passage out of the country and to the United States.”
Glitch Exposed Data of Alleged Treaty Violator to FBI https://buff.ly/2UOtYxxPrivate data belonging to an alleged treaty violator was accessible to unauthorized FBI agents for months because of a software program flaw. #FBI#cybersecurity
The #FBI has identified many people who incited violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, but it still needs your help to bring others to justice. If the man in this photo looks familiar, submit a tip at http://tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI, and mention photo #194-AOM.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continues its downward spiral into terminal corruption. Sadly, the scandals, criminality and ethical abuses of the organization are largely ignored by the American public and by the institutions of government charged with oversight and correction. Outrage after outrage is reported, hearings are held, Inspector General reports are issued — but the systemic corruption is never really tackled and dirty cops skate away virtually unscathed.
This situation is constitutionally unacceptable, corrosive to public trust in law enforcement, and a threat to the survival of the republic.
In the past few days alone, we have learned that the October 2020 Michigan governor kidnap plot was largely a creation of the FBI; a “senior FBI official” was on the take from media organizations; and another assistant director was in a “romantic relationship with a subordinate” and involved in “other misconduct.” The leadership failures documented by the Office of the Inspector General are now almost standard and part of a tiresome media drip-torture for the public to endure.
Meanwhile, the FBI had the audacity to issue a Stasi-like tweet urging “monitoring of ‘family members and peers’ for extremism.”
Remember: what we learn about the FBI in the press are only the stories that are SO outrageous that the FBI cannot keep a lid on them and is forced to make disclosures via a toothless Inspector General report — but never anything that results in a criminal indictment. Imagine what the ordinary day-to-day misconduct in FBI offices across the country could be. And these scandals don’t just amount to “bad press” xe2x80x93 in several of these, federal courts scourge the FBI for lawbreaking. Additionally, Inspector General report after report details FBI abuses such as whistleblowers being retaliated against and ignoring “high-risk” employees who fail polygraph tests.
There are still apologists for the FBI. Some seek to defend the organization with the rationalization that “it’s always been that way.” That sort of thinking is a cynical effort to inoculate and immunize real criminality as something normal and regular. “Get used to it kid, that’s the way of the world,” they offer with a shrug and a grin. Others, like Sean Hannity, cling to the “just a few bad apples” excuse. That sort of FBI cheerleading flies in the face of a litany of systemic abuses and pervasive abusers. The FBI ran a coup against President Trump. It failed. The following got away: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Clinesmith, Pientka, Brower, Baker, et al. Any real consequences for attempting to overthrow the government of the United States? No.
“The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump … internal and external reports have found lapses throughout the agency, and longtime observers, looking past the partisan haze, see a troubling picture: something really is wrong at the FBI… other painful, more public failures as well: missed opportunities to prevent mass shootings that go beyond the much-publicized overlooked warnings in the Parkland, Fla., school killings; an anguishing delay in the sexual-molestation probe into Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar; and evidence of misconduct by agents in the aftermath of standoffs with armed militias in Nevada and Oregon. FBI agents are facing criminal charges ranging from obstruction to leaking classified material.”
Four years later and the situation has not improved.
Let us go back to the Michigan governor “kidnap plot” for a moment. The entire operation was an anti-Trump political smear job — and was called into question for being exactly that back when the story broke in October 2020. Now we find out that the FBI was running at least a dozen paid “confidential informants” in the plot. It was a plot they dreamed up. It was actually a rehash of an Obama-era 2010 FBI plot by the so-called “Hutarees” that fell apart in court.
The FBI worries about “entrapment” in these cases because the FBI must demonstrate that there is reasonable suspicion that the subject in a case is about to be or is engaging in criminal activity. The government then allows the criminal/terrorist the opportunity to commit the act. In these cases, the FBI has good reason to worry.
More disturbingly, this is nothing new. Look at the “Herald Square Bomber” case as another instance in which the FBI identifies, recruits, trains, dispatches and then arrests the very informant they recruited in the first place. The FBI appears to have fabricated plots and terrorists to advance their own agenda and statistics. It looks, walks, and talks like “entrapment.” Are there really no other bad guys out there for the FBI to go after? They need to focus on this modus operandi?
Questions are now being raised as to whether the FBI had a role in the Capitol Hill protests of January 6, 2021. When one examines the FBI’s involvement in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax; Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses; standing by idly while in possession of Hunter Biden’s Ukraine and Burisma-laden laptops, while President Trump endured a second phony impeachment; and the frame-up of Trump’s National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn xe2x80x93 it is not too difficult to imagine. And that is just the problem: It is not difficult to imagine. It should be an “impossibility.”
The FBI needs to go away. It should happen in an orderly and thoughtful process, over a period of months. Congress should authorize and create an investigative division in the U.S. Marshals Service and open applications for law enforcement officer seeking to be rigorously screened, vetted and then accessed into the new organization. Similar action was taken before in the very creation of the FBI. It is now time to clean house and restore the public’s trust in the “premier investigative agency” of federal law enforcement.
Chris Farrell is Director of Investigations at Judicial Watch and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
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Jose Pagliery, Shannon Vavra, DB Department of Justice lawyers revealed Wednesday that the FBI improperly gave agents access to a suspect’s private online communications that only a few agents were authorized to see, sparking privacy concerns that investigators could be sharing too much information without permission. Virgil Griffith, a young technologist who gave a public talk about cryptocurrencies at a conference in North Korea, was the subject of an FBI search warrant to…
How did humans learn to talk and why haven’t chimpanzees followed suit? Linguistics expert Sverker Johansson busts some chauvinist myths
How and when did human language evolve? Did a “grammar module” just pop into our ancestors’ brains one day thanks to a random change in our DNA? Or did language come from grooming, or tool use, or cooking meat with fire? These and other hypotheses exist, but there seems little way to rationally choose between them. It was all so very long ago, so any theory must be essentially speculation.
Or must it? This is the question presented as an elegant intellectual thriller by The Dawn of Language: Axes, Lies, Midwifery and How We Came to Talk. Its author is Sverker Johansson, a serene and amiable 60-year-old Swede who speaks to me over Zoom from his book-crammed home study in the city of Falun, where he works as a senior adviser at Dalarna University.
Two children of assassinated Senator Robert F Kennedy support California decision which may be reversed
Six children of Robert F Kennedy have condemned the decision to grant parole to Sirhan Sirhan, the man who shot and killed the New York senator as he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968.
The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has serious implications for global security. Western governments are concerned about the prospect of more attacks on their own turf. But there’s also particular worry that jihadist movements in Africa and Asia could gain ground. Might the news from Kabul attract new recruits to their ranks – especially in those places where international forces have been deeply involved in fighting them back? The various armed groups allied with Al Qaida and the Islamic State across the Sahel and east Africa have been wreaking havoc for more than a decade now. Andrew Harding has reported on many of those wars, and recent events have brought back vivid memories… and hard questions… In Afghanistan itself, some among the Taliban now in charge of the country again have grievances of their own, after losing relatives and comrades killed in airstrikes and night raids over the past twenty years. So how will they rule, and treat their old enemies? Kate Clark was the BBC correspondent in Kabul in the final years of the last Taliban regime, where she witnessed the fall of the city in 2001 – and she has done so again in 2021. She’s seen rulers come and go – and how after each change of regime, cycles of revenge have been fed, prolonging the conflict. After a week of chaos, she considers a longer view of four decades of war. Reporting from Israel often inevitably revolves around the politics of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the basic, day-to-day issues – town planning, health care, education – are complicated by this central problem. So imagine the challenge of policing in such a divided setting. For some time, Palestinian citizens of Israel have reported rising violence within their communities – not politically motivated, but driven by organised crime. The mobsters’ trade in drugs and weapons, and their vendettas, have blighted many areas – and left many families bereaved. Yolande Knell has spoken to several families trying to cope with the aftermath. In Spain, paying the rent is often a political issue – and there’s a long history of squatting. After the property crash of 2008, many families fought to stay on in homes that did not belong to them, because they couldn’t afford their mortgages any more. In cities like Barcelona, while prices slumped, speculators moved in and bought up buildings at knock-down prices. Thousands of flats are still standing empty. Some have been illegally occupied by people who just can’t afford a market rent and needed a roof over their heads. But not all squatters actually live in the homes they take over. Criminals have spotted an opportunity: why not just move into a property and demand a ‘ransom’ of thousands of Euros from the owner before they will leave? Linda Pressly recently met a man who claimed to be a professional extortionist in Barcelona… And Patrick Muirhead takes a gruelling hike in the Seychelles, on the trail of its fabled Jellyfish Tree. It’s not just rare, but a botanical mystery: no-one yet understands how it manages to reproduce. In the teeth of climate change and rapid development for the islands’ tourism industry, there are fears the species may not last much longer. If a proposed dam is built to supply water for the growing population of Mahé island, it could engulf one of the last remaining outcrops of the plant. Producer: Polly Hope
»What the Taliban Got Right 23/08/21 12:20 from Brooklyn New York T he United States never understood Afghanistan. American planners thought they knew what the country needed, which was not quite the same as what its people wanted. American policy was guided by fantasies; chief among them was the idea …