Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Obama Could Have Been Beheaded By ISIS

SeeCharges expected in White House beheading

SITE has the video.


Obama Assassination PsyOp Jumps the Fence
Obama Assassination PsyOp Stuck on the Fence

You won't be after these:

"Secret Service stumbled after 2011 White House shooting" by Carol D. Leonnig | Washington Post   September 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — The gunman parked his black Honda directly south of the White House, in the dark of a November night, in a closed lane of Constitution Avenue. He pointed his long, semiautomatic rifle out of the passenger window, aimed directly at the home of the president of the United States, and pulled the trigger.

A bullet smashed a window on the second floor, just steps from the first family’s formal living room. Another lodged in a window frame, and more pinged off the roof, sending bits of wood and concrete to the ground.

At least seven bullets struck the upstairs residence of the White House, flying some 700 yards across the South Lawn.

But because of a string of security lapses, it was not until four days later that the Secret Service realized that a man had fired a high-powered rifle at the White House.

President Obama and his wife were out of town on that evening of Nov. 11, 2011, but their younger daughter, Sasha, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, were inside, while older daughter Malia was expected back any moment from an outing with friends.

Secret Service officers initially rushed to respond. One, stationed directly under the second-floor terrace where the bullets struck, drew her .357 handgun and prepared to crack open an emergency gun box.

Snipers on the roof, standing just 20 feet from where one bullet struck, scanned the South Lawn through their rifle scopes for signs of an attack. With little camera surveillance on the White House perimeter, it was up to the Secret Service officers on duty to figure out what was going on.

Then came an order that surprised some of the officers. ‘‘No shots have been fired. . . . Stand down,’’ a supervisor called over his radio. He said the noise was the backfire from a nearby construction vehicle.

That command was the first of several security lapses, never previously reported, as the Secret Service failed to identify and properly investigate a serious attack on the White House.

While the shooting and eventual arrest of the gunman, Oscar R. Ortega-Hernandez, received attention at the time, neither the bungled internal response nor the potential danger to the Obama daughters has been publicly known.

By the end of that Friday night, the agency had confirmed that a shooting had occurred but wrongly insisted the gunfire was never aimed at the White House.

Is there ever a time when this government doesn't knee-jerk a lie at first? 

Then they wonder why we never believe them?


The focus on this stuff lately is either an assassination in the works being pre-programmed in the public mind or an excuse for more tyranny.

"White House intruder got deep into building" by Carol D. Leonnig | Washington Post   September 30, 2014

WASHINGTON — The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident.

You mean previously told, right?

An alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards to an intruder had been muted at what officers believed was a request of the usher’s office, said a Secret Service official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The officer posted inside the front door appeared to be delayed in learning that the intruder, Omar Gonzalez, was about to burst through. Officers are trained that, upon learning of an intruder on the grounds — often through the alarm boxes posted around the property — they must immediately lock the front door.

After barreling past the guard immediately inside the door, Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife, dashed past the stairway leading a half-flight up to the first family’s living quarters. He then ran into the 80-foot-long East Room, an ornate space often used for receptions or presidential addresses.

Gonzalez was tackled by a counterassault agent at the far southern end of the East Room. He reached the doorway to the Green Room, a parlor overlooking the South Lawn with artwork and antique furniture, according to three people familiar with the incident.

Secret Service officials had earlier said he was quickly detained at the main entry. Agency spokesman Edwin Donovan said the office is not commenting during the ongoing investigation of the incident.

People jumping over the White House fence have become a more common occurrence, but most individuals are tackled by Secret Service officers guarding the complex before getting even a third of the way across the lawn. Gonzalez is the first person known to have jumped the fence and made it inside the executive mansion.

This after I was told Delta Force did a drill decades ago and found deficiencies, a day after I was told no one could ever imagine something like this.


The more detailed account of this month’s security breach comes from people who provided information about the incident to the Post and whistleblowers who contacted Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of a House Oversight subcommittee on national security.

Oh, so the Secret Service and this White house was caught telling more lies, huh?


The new revelations follow accounts provided to the Post last week detailing how Gonzalez’s ability to enter the White House reflected a failure of multiple levels of security at the compound. The agency relies on these successive layers as a fail-safe for protecting the president and the White House complex.

If I were Obama I would be damn worried about my safety.

In this incident, a plainclothes surveillance team was on duty that night outside the fence, meant to spot jumpers and give early warning before they made it over. But that team did not notice Gonzalez. There was an officer in a guard booth on the North Lawn. When that officer could not reach Gonzales, there was supposed to be an attack dog, a specialized SWAT team and a guard at the front door — all at the ready.

The dog was not released, a decision now under review. Some people familiar with the incident say the handler probably felt he could not release the dog, because so many officers were in pursuit of Gonzalez and the dog may have attacked them instead.

That's the best lame excuse you can come up with?

Since the incident, the Secret Service has added an additional layer of temporary fencing while the agency reviews its procedures.

Which was the goal of this charade, wasn't it?


Gee, the Secret Service really sucks these days.

Other articles from today that I'm cutting loose:

Ben Bradlee of Washington Post in hospice
Denver judges consider border immigration cases
Jury selection begins in penalty retrial of Arias in Arizona

While in the spirit of things, why not slice off the last two sections, too?

Frein With this Post

"Search shifts for Pa. trooper ambush suspect" Associated Press   September 29, 2014

CANADENSIS, Pa. — The search for the suspect in the deadly ambush of Pennsylvania State Police troopers shifted slightly to the dense woods of the state’s Pocono Mountains during the weekend, police said Sunday.

Trooper Adam Reed of the Pennsylvania State Police said that the focus of the search remains in the same general area as the past two days but has moved slightly southeast.

Police are constantly following up on information they receive, Reed said. He declined to go into specifics about why the shift occurred or what new information police have.

The search for Eric Frein, 31, entered its 16th day Sunday. Authorities said they believe they have Frein contained within a 5-square-mile perimeter around his parents’ home in Canadensis.

Frein is described by authorities as a survivalist, marksman, and war reenactment enthusiast who planned his attack on police for years.

Investigators believe he is armed with at least one high-powered rifle.

Frein is charged with opening fire at the Blooming Grove barracks during a shift change on the night of Sept. 12, killing Corporal Bryon Dickson and seriously injuring Trooper Alex Douglass.


RelatedCan You Find Frein?

Also see:

"As trial ends, prosecutors slam Karadzic as liar"  Associated Press   September 30, 2014

THE HAGUE — Prosecutors called former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic a liar in closing remarks at his genocide trial Monday, saying he lacks any credibility in denying responsibility for the atrocities committed on a massive scale while he was in charge.

Prosecutor Alan Tieger said Karadzic, 69, should be convicted and imprisoned for life, the heaviest punishment possible at the UN Yugoslav Tribunal.

Karadzic was president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb Republic during the 1992 to 1995 Bosnian War that left 100,000 dead. His responsibilities included ultimate oversight of the army commanded by General Ratko Mladic, who is also on trial for genocide.

Karadzic says he is innocent of any wrongdoing and was unaware of the slaughter of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces at Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995 — the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.

Leading his own defense, he is expected to deliver his closing remarks Wednesday. A verdict is expected sometime in mid-2015.

Tieger said Karadzic publicly ‘‘bragged at the time about the painstaking steps he was taking’’ to violently remove non-Serbs from parts of Bosnia to create an ‘‘ethnically pure’’ Serb ministate. Karadzic now denies that, Tieger said, promoting a ‘‘revisionist history’’ and ‘‘blaming those who did his dirty work.’’

Karadzic is charged with genocide for Srebrenica and for the ethnic cleansing of many towns at the start of the war in 1992. He also is charged with murder and persecution for the shelling and sniper campaign that terrorized Sarajevo during a lengthy siege.



"Water cannons, armored vehicles and riot police blocked traffic on the route of the march amid threats of attacks from extreme nationalists, as Serbia tried to show it respects human rights of all of its citizens as it seeks European Union membership. Still, it was important symbolically as a rare public event staged by gays in this highly conservative Balkan country."

RelatedSt. Louis challenge to gay marriage ban in court

Boston Police Embedded at Playground

"Summer crime fell in city, police say; Shootings reported down by 12 percent" by Evan Allen | Globe staff   September 24, 2014

Shootings in Boston dropped more than 12 percent during June, July, and August compared with last year, and major crime dropped sharply during the months of May through September, a calm that Police Commissioner William Evans attributed to a strategy of targeting hotspots and major players and getting guns off the street.

“There’s only a small pocket of kids out there driving the violence in the city,” Evans said Tuesday. “If you focus on those kids and you focus on those places, you can have some pretty good success. And that’s what we’ve been doing.”


Preliminary statistics suggest that major crimes, which include homicide, rape and attempted rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft, dropped almost 15 percent during the months of May through September compared with last year....

This summer’s decline follows a bloody start to the year, which saw nine people killed in January, and the Feb. 7 shooting death of 9-year-old Janmarcos Peña by his 14-year-old brother, Juanly Peña, at their Morton Street home.

Following that early burst of violence, Boston police joined with community leaders to begin a gun buyback program, which has so far this year removed 385 guns from the streets. Boston police have taken an additional 496 guns through arrests and investigations, according to police statistics.

“We had a horrible January and February; it scared the hell out of everybody,” said Emmett Folgert, executive director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative.

“People didn’t panic, didn’t lose confidence,” he said. “And now, there are results.”

Folgert credited coaches, mentors, and people who run jobs programs and said police have been “relentlessly” hunting for guns. When young people know that authorities are focused on getting firearms, he said, they are less likely to carry them around. That makes it harder for fistfights to escalate into gun battles.

“They’re texting their friends, ‘Bring the gun,’ ” said Folgert. “And then [they’re] getting stuck in traffic jams and not getting to the scene of the fight.”

Evans said that police have been closely watching gang members and others likely to commit acts of violence. Officers arrest them for firearms or other offenses or talk to them and offer them city services to get them out of gang life and into jobs.

Come work with our gang

Uniformed police maintain a presence by walking parks and neighborhoods or parking on dangerous streets with their blue lights flashing, Evans said.

Last year, Evans said, he began a program to increase police presence in trouble spots by putting graduates of the city’s Police Academy on the streets in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury right after their June graduation for the duration of the summer. This year, he said, 55 graduates joined officers in those areas. Evans, who was appointed commissioner this January, also consolidated the bike unit and put officers in those hotspot areas.

The department ran a junior police academy this summer and worked with local organizations to put on summer camps, and officers held flashlight walks and drove a canteen truck distributing hot dogs and ice cream.

“I think more than ever, we were really embedded in the playgrounds, in the community, this summer, and it worked,” Evans said.

Major crimes for the whole year to date are down 5 percent by Sept. 21 compared with the same period last year, according to police statistics, though there were 39 homicides this year compared with 34 last year at this time.

“It’s certainly a positive, to see the reduction in crime rates, particularly shootings, given the effort that Commissioner Evans and the Boston police have made to specifically address gun violence,” mayoral press secretary Kate Norton said in a statement. “But we also know that statistics don’t bring back innocent lives that we’ve lost and that every victim is someone’s parent, or sibling, or cousin, or friend.”

Though this summer was quieter than previous years, Evans said, he was hit particularly hard by the shooting death of 26-year-old Dawnn Jaffier, a children’s coach who was struck in the head by a stray bullet on Aug. 23 as she made her way to the city’s annual Caribbean festival. Officials have said that Jaffier was the unintended victim of a possible gang-related shooting.

Monalisa Smith, who founded Mothers for Justice and Equality after her nephew was shot to death in 2010, said that every life lost causes pain in the community, but that it is also important to stay positive about successes. And this summer, she said, the effort by police to keep people safe was visible on the streets and felt by the people.

What about the violence of wars?!


"Makeover plan at Faneuil Hall Marketplace; A hotel, changes in retail, dining" by Casey Ross | Globe Staff   September 10, 2014

The operator of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, one of Boston’s most visited yet dated landmarks, is proposing a dramatic overhaul of the historic property that would create a new boutique hotel and shake up a shopping experience that has changed little since the 1970s.

The plan, from Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., is designed to bring Boston residents back to a central retail district that remains popular with millions of tourists but has lost much of its appeal for locals.

Related: Israel Occupies Faneuil Hall

The company’s proposal would turn the marketplace’s crowded central food court into more open retail spaces, bars, and sit-down restaurants. It would add several glass pavilions for shopping and dining, and the South Market building would get a 180-room hotel.

Many of the changes, described to the Globe in interviews Tuesday, could be in place as soon as next summer, pending regulators’ approval.

“We want to create an environment that’s active 12 months a year,” said Barry Lustig, an Ashkenazy vice president. “Our intent is to make this a relevant property to the people of Boston, where families and couples can be in the kind of space you can’t find anywhere else.”

Renovation plans for the city-owned market, one of the most familiar and historic gathering places in Boston, need approval from the Landmarks Commission and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said the plans are “a good first step” and that the city would “continue the conversation” with the developer and the marketplace’s vendors.

Faneuil Hall is steeped in history, which helps make it one of the world’s most visited sites. It served as a rallying point for the American Revolution, and the three buildings constructed near it — Quincy Market, South Market, and North Market — have become a hub of commerce and culture that attracts more than 20 million visitors a year. The market, established in 1742, currently hosts more than 70 vendors.

The property has been managed in recent decades by a succession of private companies. Ashkenazy bought a ground lease to operate the market in 2011 and has been working on a renovation plan for nearly three years.

The head of Faneuil Hall’s merchants association, Carol Troxell, said she hoped that any changes would not cause vendors to be displaced from the market.

“The local merchants welcome modern upgrades to the property; we just want to be part of the marketplace,” she said. “We recognize that it has to be a mix of vendors. But it’s a local market, and we want it to be primarily local Boston and New England merchants.”

Troxell said merchants are worried about rent increases and whether they will be able to afford rents in the upgraded property. Ashkenazy has said its plan will cost tens of millions of dollars, but its executives declined to be more specific.

Lustig said the company intends to retain the vast majority of the current vendors, but acknowledged some will be replaced and others will be moved to new locations in the complex.

“The pushcarts and the food vendors that are truly unique to Boston are going to absolutely be part of the future evolution of this property,” Lustig said. “There are some who are selling goods that are not really Boston, and that’s a little different.”

Ashkenazy’s overhaul of the property would bring the first major changes since the 1970s, when the buildings were renovated into a so-called festival marketplace. Though it has remained a popular tourist destination, the area lacks the dining and retail options popular with local residents.

Lustig said the company intends to add several restaurants and stores in coming years. He declined to name any but promised a mix of national brands and local entrepreneurs.

The Quincy Market Colonnade, a food court that includes local and national vendors, would be transformed into an open-concept space. Instead of the current jam-packed corridor, open bars and eateries would fill the center of the walkway, surrounded by food counters with additional seating along the windows and a few narrow counters lining the walls.

The ends of the colonnade would include new retail shops, while the rotunda in the center would have additional seating during the day and an area for live performances at night.

The renovation plans would also modernize the market’s architecture and outdoor spaces. The proposal calls for outdoor spaces to be used for yoga classes and set up with table tennis stations and chess boards.

Ashkenazy devised its plan with help from a prominent Boston firm, Elkus Manfredi Architects, and designer Dan Biederman, who spearheaded the successful revitalization of New York City’s Bryant Park, next to the New York Public Library’s main building.

The plan calls for the market’s uneven brick walkways to be replaced by smoother stone paths. New patios could host small music concerts and give visitors more comfortable places to relax outdoors.

Digital kiosks would also be added to direct people to historic sites and shopping options. Plans call for the tinted glass windows that line the Quincy Market building to be replaced with clear glass. And many of the area’s dying honey locust trees would be replaced.

Another distinctive addition would be a new glass retail pavilion next to Faneuil Hall. The leaf-shaped pavilion, designed by Howard Elkus, is planned to replace the current glass greenhouse-like structure, which over the years has housed a flower market and several other vendors.

Elkus said that the pavilion, which is expected to house a new retail store, was designed to be a light touch at the property edge’s that would not distract from the historic grandeur of Faneuil Hall.

“We want to create something transparent that floats in the space and is not hard edged,” said Elkus, a principal of Elkus Manfredi. “The intention is more for you to see through it than look at it.”

Ashkenazy’s executives said that other glass pavilions would be added outside the Ames Plow and Salty Dog restaurants. Those pavilions would be fitted with retractable roofs and large windows so they could be open in summer but closed and fully heated during the winter.


"Compact Boston may have Olympic advantage; Close array of venues a contrast with rivals’ spread-out plans" by John Powers | Globe Staff   September 16, 2014

The 2024 Summer Olympics may be a decade away, but in just four months the US Olympic Committee probably will decide whether to enter a US city in the international competition to host the event — and Boston has a potential edge in that race.

Boston is offering itself as a city with compact venues, and if the International Olympic Committee, meeting in Switzerland in December, decides that is what it wants, Boston is seen as a strong candidate. It would probably gain an advantage over its US competitors, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, whose plans offer less intimate settings.

“The city is the Olympic park,” said Dan O’Connell, president of the Boston 2024 Partnership, the city’s potential bid committee. “It becomes a public-transit and walking Olympics.”

By contrast, Los Angeles would have five of its facilities in Long Beach, 25 miles to the south. Washington would use sites in Maryland and Virginia. San Francisco would spread its venues in a large loop around the Bay Area.

While Suffolk Construction chief executive John Fish, who chairs the partnership, acknowledges that “theoretically we have a 25 percent chance as one of four cities,” he publicly has reckoned the city’s odds of being named the US entry as 75 percent based on the perceived reaction to Boston’s pitch to USOC officials.

In the race to secure the US bid to host the 2024 Olympics, Boston could have an advantage over rival domestic candidates Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

“I’m not in this to lose,” Fish said. “I would never bet against myself.”

But even if Boston is selected, it is not clear that the city is ready to commit to staging the Games. The only first-time bidder among the four, it is still investigating the feasibility and availability of sites in the vicinity.

With potential host cities for the 2022 Winter Games scared off by the exorbitant $50 billion cost of this year’s event in Sochi, Russia, the IOC is expected to make things easier and cheaper for future cities. That could be done not only by having more compact venues, but also by favoring the use of temporary or existing facilities. That would help relieve cities of the burden of expensive “white elephants” destined to lie idle after the Olympics....


RelatedProposed Financial District tower could alter Boston’s skyline

Linehan proposes 29% raise for City Council

"A proposal by City Council President Bill Linehan to give himself and fellow councilors a 29 percent pay increase this year is running into major roadblocks with the State Ethics Commission and the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The commission is challenging whether the councilors’ move to grant themselves a pay hike would amount to a violation of the state’s conflict-of-interest law."

Also see:

Bill Linehan’s City Council raises are too much too soon

City program will boost men, boys of color

Time to get you kids off to school:

"Boston school bus drivers rally for union leader; Lawyer argues charges against union chief should be dismissed" by Peter Schworm | Globe staff   September 15, 2014

Members of the Boston school bus drivers’ union filled Dorchester District Court Monday in support of Steve Kirschbaum, a union leader charged with trespassing and assault following a June rally.

Kirschbaum’s lawyer, Barry Wilson, said the charges were trumped up and the bus company was “using the courts to resolve a labor dispute.”

“This is nothing more than an attempt by the company to use the courts to resolve matters that should be before the NLRB,” he said, referring to the National Labor Relations Board. “The courts are being abused.”

He asked that the charges be dismissed. Prosecutors said they should go forward.

Although they operate city-owned buses, drivers are employed by Transdev, an Illinois-based company that oversees the city’s four bus yards.

The drivers’ union has been locked in contentious negotiations with the company for several months. But prosecutors said the matter was unrelated to the labor strife.

They said union members broke into a building and that the defendant pushed a table into a woman who was trying to prevent them from coming in. She and another person then locked themselves in an office “afraid of what they might do,” the prosecutor said.

Union members said they were allowed to be in the building and that they entered without incident.

The judge said he would review the defense motion and set a hearing for Oct. 6.


Meanwhile, Walsh has been playing in Ireland.


State rejects plan for $244 million downtown school

Propriety of pay hike worries Boston City Council

Menino pens a new chapter with book

Longtime merchants worry about their future in Faneuil Hall Marketplace

"New transit station to connect Allston to downtown; A step in effort to transform area near Pike" by Nicole Dungca | Globe Staff   September 30, 2014

State officials announced plans Tuesday for a $25 million transit station at the old rail yard in Allston that will allow commuters to take the train from the neighborhood to the Back Bay, South Station, and possibly Kendall Square.

The tentatively titled West Station is meant to help overhaul the huge swath of land near the Allston-Brighton tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike, and potentially bring dramatic changes to the transportation landscape of the region. Allston residents, who have long clamored for a commuter rail station, called the plans a transformative change for the neighborhood.

The construction of the station goes hand in hand with the state’s $260 million project to straighten out the Massachusetts Turnpike near the tolls. That massive undertaking is scheduled to begin construction in 2017.

Governor Deval Patrick said Tuesday that the new transit hub will be a way to make “the very best use of this new space, this new land, and the abutting neighborhoods.”

The station, which is expected to open in 2020, initially will serve as a new stop along the Worcester/Framingham commuter rail line....


BBC Reports From Iran

"Iran says BBC tried to steal from ‘archives’"  Associated Press   September 29, 2014

TEHRAN — Iranian state television accused the BBC on Sunday of trying to steal ‘‘artistic, historic, and cultural documents’’ from government archives in the Islamic Republic.

The BBC had no immediate comment on the claim, coming in a report on the Iranian broadcasting company’s website, though Iran has a history of accusing the British broadcaster as operating as a cover for spies and dissidents.

The state television report said Iranian intelligence officials disrupted the alleged plot by local dependents of the BBC.

‘‘The hostile network of the BBC — against the mores and regulations of media and international law — attempted to steal historical documents from formal archive centers through its local dependents,’’ the report read, citing a statement by Iran’s intelligence department.


"Iran rejects new use for nuclear facility" Associated Press   September 23, 2014

UNITED NATIONS — Diplomats on Monday reported a setback at talks on Iran’s nuclear program, saying Tehran has resumed rejecting US demands it repurpose a uranium enrichment site.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tehran cited what it said was an Israeli drone shot down last month near another Iranian enrichment site in arguing that it wants to leave the underground facility as an enrichment plant. The United States wants the site shut down or converted because it is dug deep into a mountain. Washington fears it is impervious to air attack. Enrichment can make both reactor fuel and the core of a nuclear weapon. Iran denies it wants nuclear arms.

In a separate matter Monday, an Iranian newspaper said 11 people were arrested after allegedly sending text messages deemed insulting to the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.


Cops Can't Prove Provo Murder

"Bodies of three children, parents found in Utah home" Associated Press   September 29, 2014

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Two parents and three of their children were found dead in a home near Provo, and authorities said early Sunday they were trying to determine the cause of the deaths.

‘‘There were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play,’’ Lieutenant Dave Caron, a police spokesman, said in a telephone interview early Sunday....


Miami Nightclub Mystery

"Miami nightclub shooting injures 15" Associated Press   September 29, 2014

MIAMI — A shooting sent terrified patrons scrambling from a Miami nightclub early Sunday and wounded 15 people, including an 11-year-old child, authorities said.

When Miami police and rescue crews arrived at a club called The Spot around 1 a.m., they said they found chaos among the large throng of adults and teenagers gathered there.

What were TEENAGERS (and an 11-year-old) doing at the CLUB?

Details were sparse in the hours after the shooting. Investigators sought to piece together what happened in what was described as a scene of confusion....


Stop in Cyprus

As I have noted earlier, these are all refugees from Obummer's wars:

"345 people rescued from boat stranded off Cyprus" Associated Press   September 26, 2014

LIMASSOL, Cyprus — A cruise ship rescued more than 300 people, apparently refugees who fled Syria, who were stranded Thursday aboard a small boat off Cyprus.

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said Cyprus will host the people until authorities determine what will happen to them according to international laws and regulations.

The Cypriot Defense Ministry said the 345 people, including 52 children, will be taken to a reception center near the capital Nicosia where they will be given shelter and medical attention....

The Defense Ministry said the boat issued a distress call early Thursday amid bad weather and had ‘‘most likely’’ set sail from Syria loaded with ‘‘civilian refugees.’’


"700 feared dead in 2 Mediterranean boat wrecks" by John Heilprin | Associated Press   September 16, 2014

GENEVA — This year is on track to become the deadliest ever for migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, after two heavily loaded boats were wrecked in the past week, possibly killing 700 people fleeing Africa for Europe, the same number as died during all of last year.

That would raise the total number of migrants killed on the sea in 2014 to about 2,900, according to estimates from the International Organization for Migration and other officials.

More than 20,000 people have died in the past two decades trying to reach the Italian coast, including 2,300 in 2011 and around 700 in 2013.

The migration organization says the steep death toll reflects turmoil in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and across the Middle East and Africa. To escape those conflicts, many people are willing to board unsafe smugglers’ boats.

About 500 Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians, and Sudanese are feared dead after their boat was rammed and sunk off the Malta coast last week, the IOM, an intergovernmental organization with 156 member countries, said Monday.

Another 200 are feared dead in the wreck of a second boat that was carrying at least 250 African migrants to Europe when it capsized off the Libyan coast.

The migrants who were apparently lost off Malta were undertaking a perilous journey from the Egyptian port of Damietta, seeking a better life in Europe, when their boat was overtaken by human traffickers equipped with two vessels on Wednesday, said organization spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume.

For years, thousands of African, Asian, or Middle Eastern migrants have attempted risky voyages, primarily from Libya, across the Mediterranean to get to Italy’s coastline and islands. Hundreds die en route. Unless they are eligible for asylum or have families or jobs in Europe, they risk expulsion by Italy.

This year, with the surge of conflicts, roughly as many arrived in the first few months of 2014 as in all of 2013. Many are Syrians, Palestinians, Eritreans, Sudanese, or from other African countries.

Italy has repeatedly pleaded with its European partners for more help patrolling the waters. Previous deals between the Italian government and the regime of Moammar Khadafy to thwart smuggling operations in exchange for Italian infrastructure projects yielded at best only modest results and fell apart when the regime was ousted.

According to IOM’s interviews with two of the survivors from the group that left Damietta, the traffickers rammed the boat carrying the migrants with one of their vessels. The two survivors, both Palestinians, said there had been a violent confrontation between the migrants and the traffickers when the traffickers tried to move the migrants onto a smaller boat.

Berthiaume said the traffickers ‘‘used one boat to knock the other’’ and that there were about nine survivors in all.


RelatedMigrant deaths may be mass murder, UN official says

Boko Haram Hijinks

I really can't remember the last time I flagged down the missing Nigerian girls:

"Nigeria: Report Chibok girl freed, identity doubts" Associated Press   September 26, 2014

ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigeria’s Islamic extremists have freed one of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, Nigerian police reported Thursday, but a community leader says she’s too traumatized to identify herself properly.

Hundreds of girls, women, and boys have been kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters in the past year but the abduction of more than 270 schoolgirls and young women from a school in the remote northeastern town of Chibok in April inspired a worldwide campaign for their freedom.

More than 50 girls escaped by themselves at the scene or soon after and now 219 remain missing. The failure by the Nigerian government and military to rescue them has brought international condemnation.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told reporters that on Wednesday ‘‘a girl, 20 years of age, among the abducted Chibok girls was dropped off by suspected Boko Haram militants at Mubi,’’ a town in northeast Adamawa state.

‘‘The information we have is that she is one of the abducted girls,’’ he said.

But Chibok community leader Pogu Bitrus said he spoke to the young woman by phone and that the name she gave is not on the list of missing girls. ‘‘She is mentally traumatized, not coherent at all,’’ he said.

He has asked security forces to send him a photograph so that parents may look at it and her image can be compared with a database of photographs of the missing students.

Bitrus also worried that ‘‘it could be a trick by Boko Haram to release another girl just to create a diversion.’’

The whole scripted and staged fraud was a tricky diversion.


ICC Opens Probe of CAR

This will only take a second:

"ICC opens new Central African Republic probe" Associated Press   September 25, 2014

THE HAGUE — The International Criminal Court is opening a new investigation into atrocities including murder, rape, and persecution during ruthless sectarian fighting since 2012 in the Central African Republic, the court’s prosecutor said Wednesday.

Months of fighting between the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition and the Christian anti-Balaka militia have left at least 5,000 people dead in one of Africa’s least developed countries, prompting prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to step in and try to bring perpetrators to justice.

‘‘The list of atrocities is endless,’’ Bensouda said. ‘‘I cannot ignore these alleged crimes.’’

It is the court’s second investigation in the Central African Republic. In the first, a former Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, is on trial on charges of commanding rebels who committed murder, rape, and pillaging in the country in 2002 and 2003. Bemba is awaiting verdicts in his trial, which began in 2010.

Bensouda opened a preliminary inquiry in Central African Republic in February and in May the conflict-torn nation’s government authorized the court to step in — a crucial step clearing the way for a full-blown investigation.

Rights group Human Rights Watch welcomed the move. ‘‘An impartial inquiry to identify those responsible for the most serious crimes from all parties is crucial to bring justice to the victims” said Richard Dicker, the group’s director of the international justice program.


Last I heard Ebola had made its way there.

Navajo Nation Gets Paid

"Final step nears in $554m US-Navajo settlement" by Felicia Fonseca and Terry Tang | Associated Press   September 26, 2014

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation is poised to receive $554 million from the federal government over mismanagement of tribal resources in the largest settlement of its kind for a Native American tribe.

Much of the land on the 27,000-square-mile reservation has been leased for things like farming, grazing, oil and gas development, mining, and housing.

The leases once were largely overseen by the US government, which mismanaged the revenue and failed to properly invest and account for it, according to the Navajo.

US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to visit Window Rock, where the Navajo Nation is based, Friday to formally recognize the settlement.

‘‘The historic agreement strengthens the government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Navajo Nation, helps restore a positive working relationship with the nation’s leaders, and empowers Navajo communities,’’ Jewell said in a statement Thursday.

Navajo officials hailed the settlement as a positive end to a long ordeal.

‘‘The trust litigation has been a protracted battle and in the end, it was a victory for tribal sovereignty,’’ tribal President Ben Shelly said in a statement.

The tribe agreed to settle the case earlier this year but was awaiting signatures from federal agencies before the deal could be finalized.

The Navajo Nation originally sought $900 million when the lawsuit was filed in 2006.

The Navajo Reservation is larger than any single American Indian land base, covering sections of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Almost two-thirds of the 300,000 Navajos live on the reservation, which has some of the most iconic landscapes in the Southwest and is rich in natural resources.

Public meetings will be held to seek community input on how the money should be spent, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Lorenzo Curley said. The first meeting is scheduled for next month. Some tribal members have suggested that it be set aside for future generations, or used for business development, he said.

Deswood Tome, an adviser to Shelly, said the money could help with housing, water, roads, power line extensions and other infrastructure needs.

‘‘There’s a critical housing shortage on the Navajo Nation,’’ Tome said.

About 70 percent of the roads on the reservation are unpaved, an estimated 16,000 families don’t have electricity, and many more don’t have telephone, water, or natural gas services, according to the tribal utility provider.

Andrew Sandler, one of the Navajo Nation’s attorneys on the case, said the tribe has taken on much of the responsibility for leasing on its land. If additional disputes arise with the federal government, the settlement outlines a process to resolve them.

‘‘It was a good result for all parties, an appropriate result for all parties, and it creates finality,’’ Sandler said.

Native American tribes across the country have filed more than 100 breach-of-trust cases against the US government. The Navajo Nation settlement is the largest, exceeding the next highest amount by $170 million, Sandler said.


Who Is Murdering Thailand's Tourists?

"Thailand to install cameras after tourist murders" Associated Press   September 26, 2014

BANGKOK — Thailand will install more surveillance cameras and better lighting in major tourist areas after two British tourists were killed last week on a resort island, a senior government official said Thursday.

More police and soldiers were being sent to help investigate the slayings of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, who were found battered to death on a Koh Tao beach last week.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters he has ordered the Interior Ministry, city government, and police to install the surveillance cameras and improve lighting. He said authorities are urgently investigating the case, which critics say has been bungled by police.

‘‘Right now we have limited the investigation to some areas and some individuals. We are not getting lost like they said because we have to work systematically,’’ said Prawit.


Romanian Dog Whistle

Dogs been silent a long time:

"Romania puts ex-communist prison chief on trial" Associated Press   September 25, 2014

BUCHAREST, Romania — A former Romanian prison commander appeared in court Wednesday to face charges of torture and causing the deaths of 12 political prisoners in the nation’s first trial of the head of a communist lockup.

Alexandru Visinescu, who ran the Ramnicu Sarat prison from 1956 to 1963 and is charged with crimes against humanity, was in court but did not take the stand, listening attentively to the proceedings.

Visinescu, who turns 89 this week, told the Associated Press earlier the court would have to prove that his actions led to the prisoners’ deaths. He denied wrongdoing.

About 500,000 Romanians were condemned as political prisoners in the 1950s as the nation’s Communist government sought to crush all dissent. The widow of one former political prisoner asked the court for $132,000 in moral and financial damages for her husband, General Ion Eremia, who was imprisoned for writing a book that criticized communist leaders. He died in 2004. Valentin Cristea, the last survivor of the prison where Romania’s political elite were incarcerated in isolation cells, told the AP the trial was late but important.

‘‘It stirs my soul with bad memories. He won’t recognize anything, won’t remember anything,’’ Cristea said by telephone.


RelatedDespite recent study, region’s waters still flush with dogfish

"1,000 arrested in EU crackdown on organized crime" | AP   September 25, 2014

THE HAGUE — In what a police chief called the biggest organized crime crackdown in Europe, law enforcement agencies across the European Union arrested more than 1,000 people in a closely coordinated nine-day sweep.

Operation Archimedes targeted almost all kinds of crime ranging from drug trafficking to illegal immigration, tax fraud, counterfeiting, and theft, Europol director Rob Wainwright told reporters.

The operation involved 20,000 law enforcement officers in more than 300 cities, ports, airports, and border crossings. They made 1,027 arrests and saved 30 Romanian children from being trafficked. It also netted large amounts of drugs including hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin, Wainwright said.

The operation ‘‘has led, I think, to a very significant attack on the whole criminal infrastructure in Europe,’’ Wainwright said.

He added that intelligence gained in the operation will lead to future arrests.

The raids underscored how criminals across the European Union and beyond are organizing their efforts, often using heavily encrypted Internet messages to communicate.


This Pilfering Was Made Possible by Viewers Like You

The joke is that PB$ is the Petroleum Broadcast Service, and one look at the corporate sponsors proves it.

"Lawsuit claims ex-worker stole $2 million from PBS" by Deirdre Fernandes | Globe Staff   September 25, 2014

The former finance director of PBS’s video distribution arm in Boston is alleged to have stolen more than $2 million from the public broadcasting network over the course of about four years, according to court records.

The alleged embezzlement came to light in a lawsuit filed Monday by PBS’s insurance company against Citizens Bank in US District Court in Boston. The suit alleges that Christopher C. Morris, who worked for a PBS subsidiary that sells DVDs and video-on-demand of popular shows, deposited more than 200 checks meant for PBS in his own private account, and it contends that Citizens should have been aware of the fraud.

Federal law enforcement officials are investigating, according to the PBS subsidiary, Public Media Distribution. No charges have been brought in the case, according to court records.

The office of US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz declined to comment, as did Citizens Bank. Morris, whose last known address was in Chelsea, could not be reached.

In a statement, Public Media Distribution, said, “There is current law enforcement activity regarding this issue and we cannot comment at this time.”

PBS, which stands for Public Broadcasting Service, and its state affiliates are nonprofits that rely on taxpayer funding and the goodwill and trust of individual and corporate donors.

I did back in the day, but never again.

But the network also has some money-making entities, such as Public Media Distribution, a joint venture between PBS and Boston public television’s WGBH Educational Foundation.

Public Media Distribution generated $48.7 million in profits in 2012, according to the latest federal tax filings.

Morris worked for the distribution company until 2012.


Morris deposited 202 checks made out to PBS totaling $2.1 million into his own account starting in 2008 continuing until at least 2012, according to the lawsuit filed by Federal Insurance Company, a New Jersey firm that covers PBS and its subsidiaries. The checks were not from the network’s fund drives but from consumers and companies buying PBS and WGBH programming such as “Downton Abbey,” the Civil War series by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and the children’s program, “Arthur.”

The checks should have been deposited into PBS’s Bank of America account. But the lawsuit alleges Morris forged a PBS endorsement on the checks and presented the checks to Citizens for deposit into his own account

“Citizens Bank did not conduct any reasonable inquiry or question the appropriateness of the deposits when the checks were presented to Citizens Bank and accepted,” Federal Insurance said in the lawsuit.

Why would they? It's money! They launder drug money for the CIA, so why would they care about PB$?

Federal Insurance, which covered PBS for employee theft, paid the nonprofit $2 million, the limit of the policy’s liability. The insurer is seeking to recover that money from Citizens, plus legal and other costs.

Related: "nonprofits provide new ways for corporations and individuals to influence" 

It's televi$ion for elites, and don't they already have enough?

Federal Insurance on Wednesday filed a motion asking the court to seal the original complaint and allow Federal Insurance to submit a redacted version concealing the name of the former employee and PBS, according to court records.

WGBH was the victim of employee theft a few years ago. In 2010, a former accounting manager at WGBH-TV pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $500,000 from the station over nine years.

Such thefts deliver a blow to the reputations of charities, because they are built on trust and the expectation that the money they receive is used appropriately, said Chris Marquet, the owner of Marquet International, a Boston investigative firm that publishes an annual report on white-collar fraud.

And truthfully, once that is gone you never get it back. 

Exhibit A: AmeriKa's government 

Exhibit B: AmeriKa's ma$$ media.

“It’s never a good thing,” Marquet said. “They are probably no doubt going to have show the world that they have safeguards in place.”

Thefts from charitable organizations are fairly common, usually because they do not have the resources and structure for strict oversight, Marquet said. One in six major embezzlement cases in 2012 involved charities or religious organizations, according to Marquet’s study.

I just closed my wallet to any nonprofits or causes mentioned in my agenda-pushing paper.

Public Media Distribution is set up as separate company from PBS and WGBH, with its own leadership and employees. But executives from WGBH, which owns a 40 percent stake in the distribution company, sit on its board of directors.


Dion Still Running

"Suspect in N.H. killings could be in Florida" by Martin Finucane | Globe staff   September 23, 2014

The US Marshals Service says that a man accused of killing his parents in March in Manchester, N.H., might be in Florida.

Matthew T. Dion, 38, was last seen in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sept. 5, the Marshals Service said in a statement.

Authorities have offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Dion allegedly stole a silver 2013 Hyundai Elantra in St. Petersburg that day, the agency said.

Dion has a history of changing license plates on cars and could be living in the car, the marshals say.

Dion should be considered armed and dangerous, the marshals say. They also said it was possible he has changed his appearance to conceal his identity.

Dion faces two counts of second-degree murder, as well as charges of arson and possession of child pornography, all of them relating to the death of his parents, whose bodies were found after a March 24 fire destroyed the family home on Mooresville Road.

“Dion could be anywhere, but he has extensive history in the Southeastern United States, specifically the Atlanta, Ga., area and Florida,” the officials said. “It is important to remind the public not to attempt to apprehend Dion, but to report any information to the US Marshals Service or their local police.”

The Marshals Service asked anyone with information to call....

In this age of total surveillance no one knows where he is?


Also see: Deviant Dion on the Run

More Lunacy at Logan

"2 off-duty Boston officers subdue man on flight" by Trisha Thadani | Globe correspondent   September 23, 2014

Two off-duty Boston police officers subdued an unruly passenger who tried to open an exit door aboard a flight from Boston to Los Angeles, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, officials said.

A 26-year-old California man had a “psychopathic episode” Monday morning on Virgin America Flight 363, which prompted officials to divert the plane to Eppley Airfield in Omaha, according to a report filed by Omaha police.

The flight was carrying 108 passengers, police said. When the plane landed, the man was taken into custody by police.

A Boston police spokesman said the Boston officers, Sergeant Detective Marc Sullivan and Sergeant Detective Brian Albert, were off-duty but on official business.

Virgin America described the incident Monday as resulting from a “medical condition.”

The flight resumed service from Omaha and arrived in Los Angeles later Monday.


Related: Terrorists Taking Direct Flight to Boston 

ISIS is still coming, but now that the war is moving forward the plane scares have faded a bit.


"Airline employees charged with money laundering at Logan Airport" by Rachel Riley | Globe correspondent   September 26, 2014

Five airline employees are facing charges that they used their security clearances to smuggle more than $400,000 in cash past checkpoints at Logan International Airport, says the US attorney.

The defendants allegedly used their security clearances to sneak cash past Transportation Security Administration checkpoints from open areas of the airport, such as public bathrooms near the baggage claim and passenger pick-up and drop-off areas, the office of US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said.

The employees got cash payments from a cooperating witness involved in the undercover investigation in return for delivering the money to secure areas of the airport and, in some cases, aboard commercial flights, Ortiz’s office said.

Arrested were four JetBlue Airways employees working in ground operations: Rupert Crossley, 26, of Lynn; Anthony Trotman, 24, of Boston; Eric Vick, 24, of Mattapan; and Alvin Leacock, 28, of Florida. Also arrested was a Delta Air Lines customer service ramp agent, Dino Dunkley, 31, of Boston.

Each is charged with money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the United States, namely, the TSA.

Investigators believe the money exchanges, involving a total of $417,000 that the defendants believed to be drug proceeds, occurred nine times.


The Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan, applauded the investigation. “Massport takes the safety and security of the people who use and work at our facilities as its highest priorities,” spokesman Matthew Brelis said. “As part of Logan’s security program, all persons requesting identification that provide unescorted access to the secure areas undergo careful vetting, which includes a criminal background check.”

Ortiz’s office conducted the investigation with assistance from the TSA, the Air Marshal Service, and State Police....


This Post Dedham On Arrival

"Dedham woman fatally struck by pickup while walking to church" by Kiera Blessing | Globe correspondent   September 24, 2014

A 70-year-old Dedham woman walking to church was struck and killed by a pickup truck as she tried to cross a street Tuesday morning, officials said.

Sad irony there.

Dedham police responded to High Street near Linden Place in Dedham at about 7 a.m., where the woman was found lying in the parking lot of St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Chief Michael J. d’Entremont said in a statement. Police identified the woman as Anne McIntyre.

She was taken to Norwood Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The incident is still under investigation, but police said it appears that McIntyre was crossing High Street, heading to St. Mary’s, when she was struck by a 2013 Nissan Frontier pickup being driven by a 25-year-old Boston man.

The driver pulled over, called 911, and is not facing any traffic citations, authorities said. The driver was not identified, but he was taken to a hospital after the incident because he became “emotionally distressed,’’ police said.

Police are looking at the possibility that solar glare played a role in the fatal accident.

“This appears to be a tragic accident, which took the life of a local resident,” d’Entremont said.


Chelmsford Man Hit By State Trooper

"Chelmsford husband accused of plot to kill wife; But ‘hit man’ was state trooper" by Kiera Blessing | Globe correspondent   September 23, 2014

He allegedly tried to pay $20,000 to an undercover state trooper posing as a hit man to kill his wife in August, and in later discussions he allegedly asked the trooper to beat her so she could not attend a court hearing, said a statement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and Chelmsford’s deputy police chief, James Spinney.

In June, Gordon learned that his wife was planning to divorce him, the authorities said.

After learning of the divorce plan, Gordon allegedly vandalized his wife’s car and her neighbors’ cars by deflating or damaging tires and inflicting other damage, police said. Gordon also allegedly watched his wife’s apartment complex from nearby woods, wearing a ski mask and using binoculars....


NEXT DAY UPDATEChelmsford man finds bear near coop

Framed in Framingham?

Sadly, I don't know and worse, I don't care. Sorry.

Framingham State suspends 4 after sex assaults reported

A different kind of $crewing:

"Boston Heart Diagnostics Corp. questioned on doctor fees" by Robert Weisman | Globe Staff   September 23, 2014

A fast-growing Framingham company is responding to inquiries from federal investigators examining whether diagnostic firms improperly paid doctors who send them patients’ blood specimens to test their risk for cardiovascular disease.

Boston Heart Diagnostics Corp. said in a statement that it is “fully cooperating with the government’s information requests” in an investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice and the inspector general’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The inquiry was first disclosed by The Wall Street Journal, which earlier this month reported that investigators were focusing on a Virginia company, Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., but also looking into a group of rival companies, including seven-year-old Boston Heart, as well as Quest’s Berkeley HeartLab, Singulex Inc., and Atherotech Diagnostics Lab.

Those companies have paid processing fees to the offices of physicians who send them blood samples that can be screened to identify patients vulnerable to conditions such as heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.

While the fees are considered reimbursement for packaging and labeling the specimens, investigators reportedly are trying to determine whether they are illegally designed to generate revenue by giving doctors incentives to order unnecessary tests.

Neither the Justice Department nor the inspector general’s office would confirm the investigations. But on June 25, the inspector general’s office issued a “special fraud alert” that said processing fees may violate a federal antikickback law if they exceed market value for the services covered, if doctors are paid in a method that compensates them by volume collected, or if they are paid for tests that are not reasonable or necessary or that Medicare already covers.

Boston Heart paid up to $15 per specimen to physician offices for process and handling before the fraud alert was issued but then halted payments.

In the Boston Heart statement, spokeswoman Cherie Lucier said, “Ensuring strict compliance and ethical conduct are core values for our company. We support any industry developments that ensure a safe, transparent, and fair market.”

The statement also said Boston Heart’s cardiovascular tests are aimed at “high risk and secondary prevention” patients, including people with multiple risk factors. “We are not a primary screening company,” the company said. “Additionally, Boston Heart does not preserve patient samples for the purpose of running new [tests] that it may bring to market.”

Founded in 2007 as Boston Heart Lab, the company received investment funds from Bain Capital Ventures in 2010 and changed its name to Boston Heart Diagnostics the next year.

Last year, it ranked eighth on consulting firm Deloitte’s list of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and clean technology companies in North America.

Boston Heart grew 32,031 percent during between 2008 and 2012, according to the ranking.


Also seeNew trial set for Needham doctor in opioid case

Hung jury?

This Paper Is No More

"Los Angeles Register Abruptly Ceases Publication" New York Times   September 24, 2014

NEW YORK — The Los Angeles Register, the daily newspaper started by entrepreneur Aaron Kushner in April, has abruptly shut down, ceasing publication with its Monday issue.

Monday evening, Kushner sent a memo to his employees announcing the news and published an article that ran on the Los Angeles Register’s front page.

“We launched in April with the ambition to tell the local stories that make Los Angeles great,” Kushner wrote. “Unfortunately, not enough readers took us up on our offering, and we have decided that today’s print edition will be the final one.”

The closure of the Register is a setback for Kushner, a publishing industry neophyte who dived headlong into newspapers at a challenging time for the industry, which is struggling with persistent declines in circulation and advertising. Kushner at one time had expressed interest in The Boston Globe.


RelatedMacworld magazine to shutdown

Skipping the Soda

Friends of mine drink twelve packs like beers, but I can count the number of them I have in a given month on one hand.

McDaid Had It Made

"No alarms as Maynard pension official took $739,000; Only an anonymous tip halted repeat schemer" by Beth Healy | Globe Staff   September 23, 2014

Timothy McDaid looked out of place at the Hyannis resort, haggard and sullen and wearing a dark trench coat on a warm June day.

McDaid, who oversaw Maynard’s $29 million retirement fund, was attending a 2012 conference of public pension officials. Such events are usually predictable affairs, but this one took a dramatic turn.

Three colleagues from the Maynard pension board pulled McDaid into a meeting room to confront him with troubling information. Through an anonymous fax, they had just learned that McDaid had a drug problem and that six months earlier he was convicted of stealing $165,000 from a charity where he had kept the books.

These people seem to rise to power (Where did all that Haitian relief money go anyway?).

“Did you hurt us too, Tim?” one of them asked.

His long-running ruse exposed, McDaid broke down in tears, according to board members. He admitted writing himself $739,000 in checks from the town’s pension fund. The news was shocking. But it shouldn’t have been.

How McDaid was able to steal from two organizations over five years is a story of lax oversight, small-town politics, and poor communication by the Middlesex district attorney’s office. It also serves as a cautionary tale in a state with a decades-old web of tiny pension offices, in towns similar to Maynard, monitored by central audits only every three years. 

If Wall Street isn't stealing the manager is!

McDaid, now 48, joined Maynard’s retirement system in July 2007 with an impressive resume. He had been chief auditor for the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, known as PERAC, the group that regulates Massachusetts city and town pension systems. But Maynard’s pension directors did not realize that McDaid had been asked to resign from his $80,000-a-year job there. And they did not call to check his references.

Instead, the board relied on a glowing Dec. 13, 2006, letter from PERAC’s deputy director at the time, Kevin Blanchette, his “heartiest recommendation” of McDaid, “without reservation.”

But that letter of recommendation had actually been written to pension officials in Cambridge, McDaid’s first choice for a job; his late aunt had been a popular figure there, and he considered himself a strong candidate.

But Cambridge found a more qualified applicant. Disappointed, McDaid went after the Maynard job, submitting a photocopy of the Cambridge recommendation letter, according to public records obtained by The Boston Globe.

The Maynard pension fund was coming off a period during which its prior director had run afoul of the state Ethics Commission. On paper, McDaid looked like a reassuring hire, with top credentials.

“People coming out of PERAC, they had a halo around them,’’ said Thomas Gibson, a lawyer who represents the Maynard pension system. So McDaid was hired as a part-time pension director at a $46,000 salary, about half his prior pay.

PERAC executives were stunned to learn McDaid had landed the Maynard job. Blanchette, now head of the Worcester Regional Retirement System, said he was not even aware McDaid had reused his Cambridge reference letter.

Joseph Connarton, the chief of PERAC, was surprised, too. It was he who had asked McDaid to resign, for poor work attendance and for falling behind on audits.

“Maynard never called us saying that he was interviewing for a job,’’ Connarton said. But after the fact, Connarton said he didn’t believe he had a duty to tell the Maynard board about McDaid’s shortcomings.

Neither McDaid nor his former lawyer, Timothy Flaherty, returned calls seeking comment for this story.

Before leaving PERAC, McDaid had started taking on side jobs, including one handling the books for the Asperger’s Association of New England. Dania Jekel, the Watertown-based nonprofit’s executive director, said she hired him largely on his work history, including at PERAC and in the private sector.

Jekel said McDaid was likable and came across as trustworthy. He was married with children, the son of a retired Somerville firefighter, a graduate of Boston College High School and Northeastern University.

In November 2009, three years after McDaid started his part-time position at the Asperger’s association, auditors discovered he had been stealing cash collected at the group’s social nights, events where adults with Asperger’s paid $7 to eat pizza and play chess or computer games, Jekel said. In addition, the nonprofit found McDaid had forged checks to himself. All told, about $165,000 was missing.

Jekel said she immediately fired McDaid and alerted the office of Gerard T. Leone Jr., the Middlesex district attorney at the time. Two years later, McDaid pleaded guilty to the theft and was sentenced to five years of probation, ordered to seek treatment for substance abuse, and required to pay $177,000 in restitution.

McDaid used the money to support a drug addiction he developed after injuring his back while gardening in 2006 and being prescribed fentanyl patches to treat the pain, according to court records. The drug use caused him to make “massive errors in judgment to obtain funds to purchase illicit opiates to feed his addiction,’’ Flaherty would later write in a court memorandum.

They mix it with heroin or something to make it some sort of extra kick.

McDaid agreed to give back $75,000 right away and to pay $1,000 a week until the charity was made whole.

Not good enough, scum.

But the district attorney’s office did not report the conviction to PERAC, as required under state law. Somehow, over the two-year investigation, prosecutors apparently forgot that McDaid was also a public employee in Maynard, officials acknowledged at the time.

Hey, they're all friends there.

Asked how that could have happened, MaryBeth Long, spokeswoman for the current Middlesex DA, Marian Ryan, said in a statement that McDaid’s conviction “related to fraud committed at a private nonprofit organization, and as such it did not appear to trigger a reporting requirement.’’

It was an expensive oversight.

Amazingly, in the age of Google, McDaid was able to keep his conviction secret from the town and pension officials, and the regulators at PERAC who were performing a routine audit of the Maynard retirement fund.

Yes, how strange.

He also hid the fact that he was stealing from the pension fund — in part to make restitution payments to the Asperger’s association, court records would later show.

For months, McDaid cut checks to himself from a small office in Maynard’s Town Hall, where he was paid to administer a fund with 98 retirees and 186 active workers. Heavy turnover in the town’s financial staff meant there was no second set of eyes on the books, according to court records and interviews. McDaid told officials he was happy to help out by writing the checks and reconciling the bank records.

Help him$elf!

Just days before McDaid’s 2011 conviction in the Asperger’s foundation case, PERAC auditors filed their report on the Maynard pension fund, citing numerous irregularities. Glaringly, seven months of cash reconciliations had not been done, and McDaid had failed to produce various documents and books they requested.

“The system had not filed any monthly cash book filings for any month in 2011’’ until the auditors arrived in late June, the report said. Still, Connarton, whose job includes signing off on audits, approved Maynard’s. He said the financial records met the regulator’s standards, except for the issues noted. The report was filed in October, with a follow-up scheduled for six months later.

By June 1, 2012, the auditors had again come and gone. Connarton now says they had identified additional concerns that were going to lead to further investigation.

But what they didn’t yet know was McDaid had pilfered $739,000 from the pension fund. And he might have continued to drain money from the system if it hadn’t been for the mysterious fax that arrived in PERAC’s office the Friday before the Hyannis conference.

And here I thought that was what newspapers were for.

It was a copy of the court case from the Asperger’s foundation theft. There was no cover sheet, no traceable fax number.

Connarton alerted the Maynard board, which held an emergency meeting and then confronted McDaid.

A flurry of activity followed. McDaid was arrested and held in jail for five months. Connarton and PERAC took credit for uncovering the fraud. That August, Connarton amended the Maynard audit, retracting his initial stamp of approval. After seeing records that weren’t previously available, he wrote, the audit “does not reflect an accurate account of the system’s financial statements.’’

A full investigation of the fund ultimately revealed the missing money.

The case received attention in 2012, when McDaid was arrested, and last year, when Superior Court Judge Kathe M. Tuttman, who had also presided over the Asperger’s case, again gave McDaid a suspended sentence, instead of the seven to nine years of jail time prosecutors requested. He also was banned from working in finance or accounting. 

It's AmeriKan Ju$tu$.

A court memorandum seeking a lenient sentence from the judge included several letters from friends and family members. McDaid’s sister, Kathryn Costa, said her brother told her during a jailhouse visit that he regretted his addiction and the pain he had caused.

“He is so sorry for the mistakes he has made and is so remorseful for the things he has done,’’ wrote Costa, a Somerville Police Department detective. 

Jail brought that out, huh? No wonder Wall Street is still filled with arrogant $hits.

Maynard had an insurance policy that covered $500,000 of the pension loss, and McDaid had to forfeit the $75,507 pension account he had accumulated while working for PERAC and the retirement fund. He was also ordered to reimburse the fund $200 monthly, but only after he finished paying back the Asperger’s association. Those payments also were reduced to $200 a month.

But according to Jekel, they have been sporadic. At their current rate, she said, “He’s never going to pay it back.’’

No pensioners have been hurt by the theft. But the town may ultimately have to come up with the missing $164,000 or make it up through investment returns.

Why? Why should taxpayers be on the hook? Take it out of this guy's hide if you have to.

Connarton is outraged that McDaid did not serve more time in jail. He said his agency, PERAC, did its job. He also said his staff is more now alert to strange behavior or findings related to audits.

“We followed the same protocol in Maynard as we did anywhere else,’’ Connarton said. “We had no knowledge that he had a money problem here or at Asperger’s or in Maynard. So I don’t know how we would see the red flag.”

Yeah, government uses that excuse way too often, meaning it's either a lie or evidence of complete failure and total loss of credibility.


UPDATEMaynard case highlights risks of small retirement systems

Sunday Globe Special: Jeter's Job

Yankees star Derek Jeter bows out at Fenway

Hyatt should take page from Derek Jeter’s playbook

"Hyatt to pay ousted workers $1m in boycott-ending deal" by Katie Johnston | Globe Staff   September 26, 2014

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has agreed to pay $1 million to 98 Boston-area housekeepers who were fired five years ago and replaced by lower-paid, outsourced workers, at the time triggering a backlash that drew national attention — and a stern scolding from Governor Deval Patrick.

The settlement, to be announced Friday, could give some workers as much as $40,000, depending on their years of service.

In exchange, the hospitality workers’ union that brokered the deal will call off its five-year boycott at the three full-service Hyatts in the area. The union estimates the boycott cost the hotel chain about $6 million.

“There are plenty of companies that make token gestures, and this is not token,” said Brian Lang, president of the hospitality union, Unite Here Local 26. “This is very significant.”

None of the Hyatt properties is a union hotel, but the workers, who unknowingly trained the people who would become their replacements, turned to the union for help after they were fired on the spot on Aug. 31, 2009.

Housekeepers briefed on the settlement said the money will help, but for some, the bitterness still runs deep....

Is that why this room is such a mess?



‘Hyatt 100’ get some justice after 5 years

One final time, Derek Jeter gets the job done

At least someone is working somewhere.

Sunday Globe Special: Ditching the Bike

I saw his wife is a rabbi and thought to myself, of course.

Sunday Globe Special: Chelsea Clinton's Kid

"Chelsea Clinton gives birth to daughter" by Amy Chozick and Nicholas Kulish | New York Times   September 28, 2014

NEW YORK — Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton finally have the titles they have long wanted: Grandpa and Grandma.

Their daughter, Chelsea, gave birth to her first child — with her husband, Marc Mezvinsky — on Friday and posted the news on Twitter early Saturday.


As late as Wednesday afternoon, Clinton was on stage delivering speeches and moderating panels at the Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York. The Clintons’ soon-to-arrive grandbaby was a constant topic of conversation at the meeting.


Chelsea Clinton, 34, announced her pregnancy in April at an event on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, her mother at her side and her husband watching from the back of the room.

The baby arrives as the family, never out of the spotlight since Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, has moved center stage amid speculation that Hillary Clinton will run for president, a decision that is considered probable but that she has remained coy about. She has said the baby’s arrival could be a factor in her decision....

Chelsea Clinton, the vice chairwoman of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, married Mezvinsky in 2010, and they live in New York.

She has worked at a hedge fund and the consultant McKinsey & Co. and holds degrees from Stanford, Columbia, and Oxford. Last month, Clinton announced that she was leaving her position as a special correspondent for NBC News.

Clinton has been a national public figure since she was 12, when her father was elected to his first term in the White House.

Princess Chelsea.


Also see: The Clinton's Political Incest

Sunday Globe Special: Suffolk Superior Court

Where has all the money gone all these years?

"Suffolk court faces shutdown, maybe for good; Mass. courthouses need vast, costly fixes" by Maria Cramer | Globe Staff   September 28, 2014

Almost 10 years after the completion of massive repairs at the Suffolk Superior Courthouse — a renovation project that displaced dozens of clerks, judges, and lawyers — officials say one of the state’s largest and busiest court buildings may have to close again, perhaps for good.

The proposal is one result of a sweeping study of the 101 courthouses across the state, many of which are overcrowded and rundown. But the notion of shutting down the venerable Suffolk courthouse, a stately example of art deco architecture built in the 1930s, has workers there anxious about the future of the building in downtown Boston.


Massachusetts Trial Court officials said they have been examining all the state’s courthouses to determine the needs of the buildings, some of which were built in the 19th century and are in desperate need of updates, major repairs and, in some cases, replacement.

In Quincy District Court, for example, psychologists tasked with interviewing addicts and mentally ill defendants work in a tiny trailer with a rusted tin roof and no toilets. At Springfield District Court, water leaks into the district attorney’s office and carpets have been ruined.

“Our fear and conviction is that the capital needs of the 101 courthouses are very, very large and we’re very concerned about that,” said Trial Court Administrator Harry Spence, who has traversed the state to visit the buildings. “We’re trying to figure out what do we think is a reasonable, affordable future for the court system.”

At the Suffolk courthouse, a 24-story high-rise, elevators break down continually, and on rainy, windy days water seeps in through the windows.

“The Trial Court will have to vacate the Suffolk High Rise to rehabilitate or replace it,” Spence said. “The building envelope is failing, so weatherization is a serious problem. ... Water comes in through the exposed bricks. This causes water to get inside the building and to travel to office spaces and courtrooms.”

Clerks and security officers have become stuck in the elevators, which were built when the building was constructed and are especially difficult to fix because replacement parts are no longer available.

“We manage to keep it together with chewing gum and bailing wire,” Spence said.

Spence said there is no timetable yet for potential projects or estimates for the cost of upgrading old courthouses and building new ones.

But a look at other courthouses approved for construction gives an idea of how costly the endeavor could be: In Greenfield, a new trial court expected to open in 2016 is estimated at $60 million; in Salem, renovations for a 100-year-old courthouse are expected to cost $55 million; and in Lowell, a 16-courtroom judicial complex touted as the future of energy-efficient government buildings is projected to cost $175 million.

The Trial Court has hired a consultant to draft a report detailing problems at the other state facilities and possible solutions that will not be ready until at least February. Even then, the Legislature will have to approve bond bills for any construction.

But lawyers and judges said they are worried about how an extended period of construction at the Superior Court might affect access to justice.

One plan calls for shutting down the courthouse and temporarily moving all civil and criminal matters across the county line to Malden, a possibility that Spence said is remote.

Still, even the outside chance that court business will move from a downtown location to Middlesex County is extremely troubling, said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, whose office prosecutes criminal cases in Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop.

“We serve victims and they are the ones that would be most negatively impacted should this move occur,” he said. “This is an ill-conceived move on its face. We’re not talking about mere inconvenience here but enormous costs and hurdles for victims, witnesses, police officers, and jurors to take their rightful place in the justice system.”

Spence declined to identify the precise Malden location or why it was considered as a possible space to move Suffolk Superior Court business....


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RelatedMagna Carta tug-of-war

Chief Justice Roberts praises Magna Carta

That's all well and good, but we have a piece of parchment known as the U.S. Constitution that rules this land. 

Of course, maybe not. The way this court decides things they may as well be reading the Magna Carta.