Archive for the ‘FBI’ Category

Tales from the bizarro world.

Monday, August 21st, 2017

I saw a story this morning that I was sort of vaguely keeping track of, but didn’t consider blogging. Yesterday, the FBI, BATFE, and Houston police blocked off a street in a Houston neighborhood, brought out the robot, and were telling people to stay inside:

The FBI said it was “lawfully present conducting law enforcement operations” that are “in the interest of public safety,” according to an agency statement. “Since the matter is ongoing, we are unable to provide additional details at this time.”

Then the other shoe dropped. Apparently, there’s an explosives aficionado who lives on the block. And said gentleman tried to blow up a Confederate statue in Herman Park.

When confronted Saturday night in the park, he tried to drink some of the liquid explosives but spit it out, officials said.
Federal authorities said one of the tubes contained nitgroglycerin and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, HMTD, a “highly explosive compound” used as a primary explosive. Nitroclycerin, in its purest form, is a contact explosive.

I describe the gentleman in question as an “explosives aficionado” because the police previously raided this house (and a couple of others) in 2013:

The following year, the younger [Andrew Cecil Earhart – DB] Schneck was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty in federal court to knowingly storing explosives. In 2016, a judge released him from probation ahead of schedule.

What really grabs me about this is the whole “he tried to drink the explosives” angle. I can’t find much information about the health effects or toxicity of HMTD. But everyone knows nitro is a potent vasodilator (that’s why they give heart patients nitro pills) and that exposure can cause severe headaches.

And even if he managed to choke it all down, couldn’t BATFE or the FBI analyze the dregs in the container? Guy doesn’t exactly strike me as the sharpest knife in the drawer. Though the fact that he was able to make and transport nitro without converting himself to chunky kibble makes me think he deserves some credit. (It looks like HMTD is fairly easy to make, the ingredients are mostly readily available, and it’s not quite as unstable as TATP.)

More quick notes from the legal beat.

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

I’ve written previously about the Hillsborough stadium disaster and the 2012 inquest.

Yesterday, six people were indicted on charges related to the incident. Four of them are “former senior police officials”, and one (this is kind of surprising to me) was a lawyer for the police.

David Duckenfield, who is described as “the match commander for the South Yorkshire Police on the day of the tragedy”, is charged with “manslaughter by gross negligence in the deaths of 95 people”. (I quoted the description of his rank because I’m unfamiliar with police ranks in England: i think this means he was in charge of the police presence at the match.) Peter Metcalf, the lawyer for the police, is charged with “two counts of perverting the course of justice”. (Perversion seems to be a theme here today, but I digress.)

Prosecutors say he “made suggestions for alterations, deletions and amendments” that misled the Taylor Inquiry.
Mr. [Norman] Bettison, a former chief constable, was charged with four counts of misconduct in public office. He is accused of lying to the authorities about his role in the aftermath of the disaster and about the culpability of the fans.
Mr. [Donald] Denton, a former chief police superintendent, and Mr. [Alan] Foster, a former detective chief inspector, each face two charges of perverting the course of justice, both in connection with altering witness statements.

The last guy on the list, Graham Henry Mackrell, was a secretary for Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, the people who ran the stadium.

Mr. Mackrell, the former football club official, faces three charges of violating safety laws. Prosecutors say he failed to organize the use of admissions turnstiles; to make and maintain inspection records about spectator numbers; to “take reasonable care,” as the stadium’s safety officer, to prevent the gathering of “unduly large crowds”; and to make plans with the police “for coping with exceptionally large numbers of spectators arriving at the ground.”

Related: “Why Britain Is Consumed With a 28-Year-Old Stadium Disaster”.

Closer to home: a member of the “F.B.I.’s elite Hostage Rescue Team” has been charged with lying and obstruction.

(Have you ever noticed how it’s always the “elite Hostage Rescue Team”? Never just “the Hostage Rescue Team”, at least on first reference. It’s like “Elite Hostage Rescue Team” is the full name of the organization, and they’ve got “Elite Hostage Rescue Team” on their patches and tactical windbreakers.)

Mr. Astarita was accused of lying to supervisors about firing his weapon in the effort to arrest Robert Finicum, known as LaVoy, who was killed during a standoff at a remote federal wildlife refuge in January 2016. Mr. Finicum led a small band of armed militants who said that the federal land had been improperly taken from area ranchers and demanded that it be returned to local or private control.

And three Chicago PD officers indicted:

The three officers, two of whom have since left the force, are accused of covering up for Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who fired the lethal shots that night, in an effort to protect him from being investigated and charged, court documents show.

Hey, you know what else seems to be a theme today? Lies and coverups.