Crimes and Their Punishments – Through the Ages

Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!

Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.

Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.

Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.

Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.

Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe

Take a look …

Crimes and Their Punishments

A new documentary about the Gawker vs. Hulk Hogan trial will change how you see the case

Nobody Speak John Pendygraft Sundance Institute

Any documentary filmmaker would like to delve into the trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker: a high-profile case filled with sex, betrayal, and outlandish courtroom testimony.

But director Brian Knappenberger also saw something more troubling beneath the surface. The case was also a fight against the freedom of the press. Regardless of what you may think of Gawker’s content, ruling against the site in this case could open the floodgates for silencing other media whenever it runs a negative story on a person with influence.

It was a scary thought to Knappenberger. And then it became a reality.

Having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday, Knappenberger’s latest documentary, “Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Trials of a Free Press,” is a fascinating look at the story behind the Hogan win against Gawker for posting a sex tape of the former pro wrestler. The $140.1 million verdict in favor of Hogan led to Gawker closing its doors and its publisher Nick Denton going into personal bankruptcy.

Peter ThielBut two months after the verdict, it was revealed that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel was responsible for financing Hogan’s case against Gawker. It was also revealed that the major motivation for Thiel to do that was less because he was sympathetic to what Hogan was going through and more that he wanted Denton and Gawker to feel his wrath after the site ran a story in 2007 outing him as being gay.

“This notion of a nine-year grudge and this epic tale of revenge was so spectacular,” Knappenberger told Business Insider at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday. “That’s when I really started work on the movie.”

Knappenberger — who previously made the movies “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,” on internet activist Aaron Swartz, and “We Are Legion,” about the hacker group Anonymous — got in touch with Denton and Gawker editor-in-chief (who also posted the Hogan sex tape video) A.J. Daulerio to be in the film as well as Hogan’s lawyer David R. Houston.

They all took some convincing to come on camera and talk for the movie, according to Knappenberger, but at the end of the day they agreed because they all wanted to tell their sides of the story.

Brian Knappenberger Alberto E Rodriguez Getty final“The Gawker guys were angry,” he said. “They wanted to talk, and David Houston wanted to tell his story.”

There was also a time that Knappenberger thought he would get Hogan to participate, but ultimately Hogan declined.

“They didn’t want him to say something that would hurt the settlement,” Knappenberger said of Hogan. “But even if we got him now I would add him in the film.”

In many ways, “Nobody Speak” portrays Hogan in a sympathetic manner, basically as the pawn in Thiel’s mission to destroy Gawker (Knappenberger said he also tried to get Thiel to be in the movie, but Thiel declined Knappenberger’s numerous requests). And the movie shows how other people with money and influence can and do silence the media.

Knappenberger also showcases what happened to the Las Vegas Review-Journal at the end of 2015. The paper’s staff was suddenly told that the paper had been sold, though they were never told who the new publisher was. A group of reporters found that the son-in-law of Las Vegas casino titan Sheldon Adelson was a major player in the purchase of the paper. According to the movie, Adelson had a vendetta with the paper’s columnist John L. Smith, who wrote unflattering things about him in a 2005 book. Smith was even ordered after the paper was bought that he was never to write about Adelson in any of his pieces. 

For Knappenberger, there’s no other way to look at it: The suppression of the media by billionaires is happening. But it was the election of Donald Trump as president that influenced the movie the most.

“It went from cautionary to holy f—,” Knappenberger said. “Things that seemed lighter before now seemed serious.”

Donald TrumpKnappenberger said the making of “Nobody Speak” was a fast process that constantly changed, but it’s the ending that has become the most nerve-wracking, as he’s gone through numerous versions to paint a most up-to-date picture of Trump’s dislike toward the media.

“What we’ve seen is disturbing,” he said of Trump. “Calling reports scum, calling them vile, slime, it’s just a regular feature in his speeches. The blacklisting of the press. What’s he’s doing now to CNN. Talking about moving the press out of the White House briefing room. This is a clear intimidation of the press. I think all of that is scary.”

Knappenberger said he doesn’t see the press lying down and playing dead, but he hopes the new administration will be a wake-up call to the media to be on their game.

“The press should be adversarial, should be confrontational, should be questioning those in power, that’s the role of the press,” he said.

And that’s why Knappenberger believes the loss of Gawker is such a huge blow for journalism. As one former Gawker editor says in the movie, “If you’re not pissing off a billionaire, what’s the point?”

“Yeah, they insulted people, but why is there not a place for that in this media environment?” Knappenberger said. “This is free speech. We protect hate speech. We protect a lot that one side or the other doesn’t like. Thiel’s response that Gawker is a ‘singular, sociopathic bully’ is absurd. That is only true if you live in a world without Facebook or Twitter.”

Knappenberger isn’t too nervous to show the movie on Tuesday. If any legal documents are sent from Thiel or Adelson’s representatives, he said, “We’re ready for it,” but he added the bigger issue is getting people to understand that the loss of the free press is “the most important thing facing our country.”

“Lots of other films at Sundance have legitimate causes and important things and I wouldn’t say this is more important than those causes,” he said, “it’s just that you can’t do anything about those causes unless you have this first. Free speech, First Amendment rights. Without that, there’s no democracy.”

“Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Trials of a Free Press” has its world premiere on Tuesday at the Sundance Film Festival.

SEE ALSO: Al Gore has a triumphant new documentary about climate change and Trump that you need to see

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'Criminal Minds' author to appear at Culpeper Library | News … – The Daily Progress

Exploring the reasons people do the things they do is one of the main factors that led Orange County author Mark O’Connell into writing about the workings of the criminal mind.

In “Criminal Minds in Real Time,” O’Connell draws from his 25 years experience as an adult probation officer serving Orange and Greene counties to explore the line that exists between “criminal behavior and the disciplined life.”

On Thursday, Jan. 26, O’Connell will bring that on-going exploration to the Culpeper County Library for a program which will begin at 6 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

During 2016, O’Connell published two books through Tate Publishing, based in Mustang, Oklahoma.

O’Connell was one of many local authors who participated in last year’s Author Extravaganza at the Culpeper Library, after which he said Librarian Susan Keller invited him to return and talk about his works.

O’Connell’s second book is entitled “Justice Denied.” It’s a crime novel based upon the true story of a trio of unsolved murders which occurred in Virginia during the mid-2000s.

For “Criminal Minds,” O’Connell said he drew upon presentencing reports he prepared for the Orange and Greene counties’ court systems throughout his years as a probation officer.

In the book’s introduction, O’Connell writes, “I decided to write the stories of many of our offenders with the hope that the reader will understand that sometimes only a thin line separates those who obey the law and those that do not.”

O’Connell said he changed the names of the individuals whose stories were used in the book.

“For presentencing reports, you’re talking about all manner of crimes,” O’Connell said. “I took what I thought were the most outlandish, preposterous or unusual things that people said. It’s called ‘In Real Time’ because these are real stories taken in real time.”

O’Connell said psychology tells us that individual’s personalities and character traits are mostly established during the first three to four years of their lives.

Most of us are fortunate to have stable and/or responsible influences during these most important formative years, he said.

But what happens if an individual does not?

“For all of us there are several pivotal points in our childhoods that make the difference,” O’Connell said. “I’d hear these stories and think about the saying ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ It keeps you humble and reminds you not to ever think that you’re better than anyone else.”

O’Connell says he doesn’t pretend to be an authority on these matters and noted that many of his colleagues in the criminal justice field could easily proffer similar insights.

“No one has all the answers; there are so many things that come into play,” O’Connell said. “But what I’ve found is there is usually something amiss or dysfunctional in those early years.”

O’Connell said he is in production on his third book—this one a historic look at the 1971 Virginia high school football championship game between T.C Williams of Alexandria and Andrew Lewis High School of Salem, a game that was the basis for the film “Remember the Titans.”

“I went to that game when I was 14 years old,” O’Connell said. “They played at Victory Stadium in Roanoke—on a bright sunny day in December.”

O’Connell noted that the movie took some creative license with the facts, a major one being that Andrew Lewis High School—O’Connell’s eventual alma mater—was changed to TC Williams’ rival school, George C. Marshall from Fairfax, for the movie’s championship contest.

O’Connell said he is grateful for the supportive home life he had as a youngster growing up in Salem in southwestern Virginia, and particularly for the invaluable lessons he learned from his parents and grandparents during his formative years.

“We can thank the people in our lives who helped keep us on the straight and narrow,” he said. “Without those people, you never know what you could end up doing.”

O’Connell’s books will be available for purchase and autographing during the Jan. 26 presentation at the Culpeper library in Southgate Shopping Center.

“Criminal Minds in Real Time” sells for $12.99, and “Justice Denied” sells for $10.99.

Both are also available online from Tate Publishing and Amazon.com.

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Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Says Nursing Homes Can Be Crime Scenes – Yahoo Finance

BOCA RATON, FL. / ACCESSWIRE / January 23, 2017 / Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep residents from harm. You may think of that as preventing falls or bed sores but it’s much more than that. It includes keeping residents away from criminals, including those who are employees and fellow residents. Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne states nursing homes’ obligation to keep residents safe includes sufficient supervision of residents and properly screening job applicants.

A former North Miami nursing home employee faces three counts each of grand theft and exploitation of the elderly after her arrest in August, reports WPLG1. Haymee Hernandez is accused of deceiving three sick or disabled residents and stealing more than $13,000 from their bank accounts. She was the Medicaid coordinator at the Claridge House in North Miami, adds Joe Osborne, a nursing home negligence attorney in Boca Raton.

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The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Florida Office of the Attorney General states Hernandez used some of the money to shop at Macy’s and buy baked goods, among other things.

Hernandez is accused of conning victims into giving her their ATM cards, then accessing their accounts and withdrawing cash without their knowledge or consent.

She falsely told nursing home residents they had too much money in their accounts to qualify for Medicaid. Hernandez offered to make withdrawals and put their cash in a nursing home safe. Instead she spent the money on herself.

It was a successful con at least three times. Her victims included a man with diabetes, anemia, chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Another is wheelchair bound and a third is partially blind.

After being confronted by authorities and the nursing home administrator Hernandez admitted to using patients’ money due to financial problems caused by her divorce. She faces a possible jail sentence of up to 30 years if convicted.

It’s not just employees who are a possible threat to nursing home residents. An 87-year-old nursing home resident faces criminal charges after he was found having sex with a 94-year-old man debilitated by Parkinson’s disease and too disabled to consent. Louis Lawson was charged with sexual battery in July, according to the Palm Beach Post2.

His roommate told Lantana police Lawson would “screw anything that walked” and was “oversexed.”

He was living at the Village on High Ridge. Employees stated they have found Lawson touching himself and was known for grabbing and fondling staff but he had no prior criminal record in Palm Beach County.

The Lantana facility is in the bottom 20% of the state’s nursing homes for administration, according to rankings by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Overall the facility received two out of a possible five stars.

When the newspaper asked the facility about the situation, they responded the alleged sexual assault of a severely disabled 94-year-old man and resulting criminal charges had been blown out of proportion by the media and declined to comment.

If a loved one has been the victim of a crime in a South Florida nursing home, whether that involves a physical or sexual assault or financial exploitation, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss the case, how the law may apply and the best legal options to protect the nursing home resident’s rights and obtain compensation for the harm done.

Press Contact:
Personal injury lawyer Joseph Osborne
561-800-4011

Footnotes:
1 WPLG- www.local10.com/news/crime/former-north-miami-nursing-home-employee-bilks-from-sick-disabled-patients
2 Palm Beach Post- www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/lantana-nursing-home-resident-charged-with-sexual-battery/05XhtFvdXO2BqMbk6CWAPM/

Source: Personal injury lawyer Joseph Osborne Via Submit Press Release 123

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How Trump's Day 1 deportation plans could backfire

inauguration trump

Within hours of being sworn in as president on Friday, Donald Trump can begin acting on the numerous pledges he made during his campaign.

According to numerous sources within his transition team, Trump has multiple executive orders relating to his main campaign promises — a crackdown on immigration and constructing a wall on the southern border — primed and ready to go as his first acts as president.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer has said the president-elect will sign “four or five” executive orders in the hours after taking the oath and will take additional action on Monday, after he takes the first weekend of his presidency off.

Trump’s advisers have vetted more than 200 possible executive orders, and the transition team has a “very robust few weeks” of executive actions planned on immigration, energy, crime, and terrorism policies, Spicer said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Building on a deportation framework established by Obama, Trump is likely to remove temporary protections granted to people in the country illegally during the Obama administration and to widen the scope of people eligible for deportation, specifically people with criminal convictions, and he may tamp down on the number of refugees admitted to the country.

immigration

According to the Los Angeles Times, people with only minor convictions are likely to be deported, as are the roughly 800,000 people who have been designated for deportation but may still be in the US.

As a part of this crackdown, immigration agents are expected to go to jails to look for violators. Immigration advocates and people familiar with the Trump administration’s plans expect to see raids on workplaces around the country.

The incoming administration is also expected to narrow the scope of what constitutes the “credible fear” that immigrants can invoke to avoid being returned to their country of origin. (This may throw up an additional barrier to Cuban immigrants, who have recently seen their special immigration status removed by Obama.)

Though Trump has said he’s working on a plan with “a lot of heart” to allow some unauthorized immigrants to stay in the country, a massive dislocation of people — 2 million or 3 million, according to Trump — back to Central America and Mexico (nearly one-third of immigrants in the US in 2015 were from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala) is likely to recreate many of the conditions that have pushed migrants from those regions to the US in years past.

trump immigration protest

While US authorities have worked with local governments to some degree in the past, there are few things to anchor all these new arrivals in Latin America — many of them have no real connection to the places to which they would be deported.

“There is a bit more emphasis on speaking with deportees today, but there is limited assistance for those deported. There are no jobs,” Mike Allison, a political science professor at the University of Scranton, told Business Insider in November.

Their arrival in Central America and Mexico would exacerbate the shortcomings of authorities on the ground there, deepening instability.

“The addition of millions of unemployed people to economies that are already struggling would only multiply desperation and violence in Mexico and Central America, where security, justice, and social-service institutions are already overwhelmed,” Adam Isacson, the senior associate for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America, told Business Insider.

Central American immigrants

“Many of those deported simply want to return to the US where they might have lived for several years or where their family lives,” said Allison, who has spent time in El Salvador and Guatemala with the Fulbright Program.

“While they might stay in El Salvador to reconnect with friends and family, many of them try to return to the US rather quickly,” Allison added.

“There would probably be chaos,” Isacson said. “And the desire to escape chaos would spur more migration northward.”

Indeed, Trump’s rhetoric has already spurred an exodus of migrants hoping to get to the US before he takes office.

“They tell us the new president doesn’t like illegal immigrants, but we have to take the chance,” Fares Revolorio, 27, told Reuters in November, as she struggled to hold back tears in the Mexican border city of Tijuana. “Nobody wants to die in a horrible way, and we can’t be in Guatemala any longer. My children are growing up in fear.”

In the past, migrants from Central America deported back to that region from the US helped transform gangs like MS-13 and Barrio 18 into the violent, transnational criminal organizations they are now.

The US’s deportation policy in the 1990s and 2000s created “an era of expansion for these gangs,” Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, told Business Insider.

“And as a result of that, we have created a disaster in Central America … where these gangs are fighting among each other, creating a massive migration of individuals into the United States,” added Vigil, the author of “Metal Coffins: The Blood Alliance Cartel.”

Should Trump’s deportation plans come to fruition, many of those removed from the US are likely to become fodder for these gangs, either as new members or as new victims to be exploited and brutalized.

MS-13 Salvador gang member tattoos

This boomerang effect — waves of people deported and then head back to the US — would also feed human-trafficking networks, which, over the past few decades, have become intertwined with drug-trafficking networks, especially as border enforcement has intensified and the migrant-smuggling business has become more professionalized.

“Scholars have widely agreed that migration after the 1990s became much more expensive and dangerous with the advent of more organized coyotes,” or human traffickers, write Jeremy Slack and Howard Campbell, who teach sociology and anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso.

“A result of US enforcement is that coyote networks are more extensive, and those networks more criminalized,” David Scott Fitzgerald, the cochair of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, told Tom Wainwright for his 2016 book, “Narconomics.”

Even scholars who have downplayed the nexus between human smugglers and drug traffickers agree that militarization of the border and stepped-up enforcement have affected the way migrant smuggling operates.

Mexico Central America migrant Honduras

“Before, smugglers were able to do their jobs on a one-on-one basis. It was like a family-style business,” Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley and a Wilson Center fellow who has studied Central American migration, told Insight Crime. “[The militarization] has made them more oligopolized.”

The relationship between drug-trafficking networks and human smugglers is complex, changing over time, and influenced by both geography and the nature of the organizations and individuals involved.

Sometimes, migrant smugglers have paid tribute to drug cartels to operate in their territory. In other instances, cartels appear to have allowed their infrastructure — i.e., cross-border tunnels — to be used by coyotes.

In an incident in Sonora in 2010 documented by Slack and Campbell, drug traffickers followed a group of migrants attempting to cross the border, hoping the migrants’ crossing would cover their own journey.

Wainwright also points to Homeland Security Department research showing that rates charged by people smugglers have risen significantly over time, from about $700 to $1,400 in 1993 to $1,500 to $2,400 in 2007.

In a situation with heightened border enforcement — like Trump’s proposal to deploy more border-patrol agents and to construct a wall — plus a spike in the number of people hoping to cross, the profits to be had by human smugglers would only go up.

“To the big wave of economic migrants would be more people fleeing violence, along with many thousands of husbands, wives, and parents who got separated from their loved ones by Trump’s deportation raids,” Isacson, of the Washington Office on Latin America, told Business Insider.

“The big winner will be migrant smugglers, whose rates would increase still higher.”

central america child migrants

In addition to padding the coffers of organized crime, a greater number of migrants angling to cross the US-Mexico border would be exposed to the depredations of criminal groups operating in the area. Some of the Zetas cartel’s most vicious crimes were committed against migrants in northeast Mexico.

Emboldened criminals and increasing numbers of vulnerable people would also challenge the capacities of the Mexican government, which has struggled to address the problem of violent organized-crime groups. Instability in Mexico that exacerbates problems of drug trafficking, organized crime, and human misery will redound on the US.

“Trump, in essence, will deport 2 or 3 million individuals, and probably we will get 5 or 6 million undocumented immigrants coming into the United States,” Vigil, the former DEA official, told Business Insider in November.

“So it’s a strategy that has not been well laid out … and all it’s going to do is cause even more issues than we currently have in the United States.”

SEE ALSO: Obama: Trump should address illegal immigration at the source

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'Criminal Minds' author to appear at Culpeper Library – The Daily Progress

Exploring the reasons people do the things they do is one of the main factors that led Orange County author Mark O’Connell into writing about the workings of the criminal mind.

In “Criminal Minds in Real Time,” O’Connell draws from his 25 years experience as an adult probation officer serving Orange and Greene counties to explore the line that exists between “criminal behavior and the disciplined life.”

On Thursday, Jan. 26, O’Connell will bring that on-going exploration to the Culpeper County Library for a program which will begin at 6 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

During 2016, O’Connell published two books through Tate Publishing, based in Mustang, Oklahoma.

O’Connell was one of many local authors who participated in last year’s Author Extravaganza at the Culpeper Library, after which he said Librarian Susan Keller invited him to return and talk about his works.

O’Connell’s second book is entitled “Justice Denied.” It’s a crime novel based upon the true story of a trio of unsolved murders which occurred in Virginia during the mid-2000s.

For “Criminal Minds,” O’Connell said he drew upon presentencing reports he prepared for the Orange and Greene counties’ court systems throughout his years as a probation officer.

In the book’s introduction, O’Connell writes, “I decided to write the stories of many of our offenders with the hope that the reader will understand that sometimes only a thin line separates those who obey the law and those that do not.”

O’Connell said he changed the names of the individuals whose stories were used in the book.

“For presentencing reports, you’re talking about all manner of crimes,” O’Connell said. “I took what I thought were the most outlandish, preposterous or unusual things that people said. It’s called ‘In Real Time’ because these are real stories taken in real time.”

O’Connell said psychology tells us that individual’s personalities and character traits are mostly established during the first three to four years of their lives.

Most of us are fortunate to have stable and/or responsible influences during these most important formative years, he said.

But what happens if an individual does not?

“For all of us there are several pivotal points in our childhoods that make the difference,” O’Connell said. “I’d hear these stories and think about the saying ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ It keeps you humble and reminds you not to ever think that you’re better than anyone else.”

O’Connell says he doesn’t pretend to be an authority on these matters and noted that many of his colleagues in the criminal justice field could easily proffer similar insights.

“No one has all the answers; there are so many things that come into play,” O’Connell said. “But what I’ve found is there is usually something amiss or dysfunctional in those early years.”

O’Connell said he is in production on his third book — this one a historic look at the 1971 Virginia high school football championship game between T.C Williams of Alexandria and Andrew Lewis High School of Salem, a game that was the basis for the film “Remember the Titans.”

“I went to that game when I was 14 years old,” O’Connell said. “They played at Victory Stadium in Roanoke — on a bright sunny day in December.”

O’Connell noted that the movie took some creative license with the facts, a major one being that Andrew Lewis High School — O’Connell’s eventual alma mater — was changed to TC Williams’ rival school, George C. Marshall from Fairfax, for the movie’s championship contest.

O’Connell said he is grateful for the supportive home life he had as a youngster growing up in Salem in southwestern Virginia, and particularly for the invaluable lessons he learned from his parents and grandparents during his formative years.

“We can thank the people in our lives who helped keep us on the straight and narrow,” he said. “Without those people, you never know what you could end up doing.”

O’Connell’s books will be available for purchase and autographing during the Jan. 26 presentation at the Culpeper library in Southgate Shopping Center.

“Criminal Minds in Real Time” sells for $12.99, and “Justice Denied” sells for $10.99.

Both are also available online from Tate Publishing and Amazon.com.  

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Rule of Law: Deciding the Prime Minister's fate – Jerusalem Post Israel News

One man will decide the fates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the current government and, perhaps, the country – Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.

Will Netanyahu and the government implode in an avalanche of cataclysmic proportions from allegations that he broke the law in receiving hundreds of thousands of shekels in gifts of cigars and champagne from wealthy business people (Case 1000)?

Or from allegations that he hatched a plan to handicap Israel Hayom in order to convert Yediot Aharonot from his greatest enemy to his biggest supporter (Case 2000)?

Mandelblit cuts a much larger physical figure in his office than his short predecessor, Yehuda Weinstein and is a man of contradictions. He is an extremely cerebral man who overwhelmingly comes off as a smooth-operating, calculating, rationale actor, who sees the chessboard of complex issues and disputes better than almost anyone.

Mandelblit, the former top lawyer in the army and former cabinet secretary to Netanyahu, exudes a warmth and carries with himself a free and bellowing laugh that one does not see from many coldly calculating politicians.

His multifacetedness and complexity offers insight into some of the highly nuanced views Mandelblit holds about major legal issues confronting him and the lack of a rush on his part to reach major decisions.

To indict, or not to indict Regarding those in the press pressuring Mandelblit that he must indict Netanyahu and do it now, the attorney-general is convinced that such people – who are calling for the prime minister’s head when it is obvious that they do not have all of the facts – have an agenda focused solely on Netanyahu, not on the truth.

In contrast, Mandelblit would note that he is fully supported by top officials, both in the state prosecution and the police.

Mandelblit acknowledges that the support is only at the top, and that among some of the rank and file in the prosecution and the police, there is dissent and criticism of the pace of the case and a stronger tendency toward indicting Netanyahu.

However, he would respond simply that leadership comes from the top, and that the rank and file do not make final decisions in any organization.

As for the pace of his decisions, the impression is that while brushing off accusations of favoritism, he is cognizant that if he indicts Netanyahu and there is an acquittal, as with Weinstein’s indictment of Liberman, such a failure would be on him.

His view is that the impact of an indictment on the government is very clear – it would fall. While some Likud members have imagined Netanyahu continuing in office even once indicted, Mandelblit harbors no such delusions – Netanyahu would have to resign.

And if that turns out to be the right legal call, and if Mandelblit believes they will get a conviction of Netanyahu in court, sources close to him say that he would accept that outcome.

But Mandelblit thinks that any lawyer making a decision that causes the government to fall must be fully at peace with the decision.

If he does not indict Netanyahu, and some of the police investigators then say he made a mistake, he would also not like that, but again, Mandelblit believes that he is the only one who must live with the consequences of his decision. In contrast, most of his critics come from a safe place, with no responsibility for the consequences of decisions they are pushing for.

Ultimately, the impression is that Mandelblit has the nerve to indict Netanyahu, but probably will not, based on the evidence currently before him.

Mandelblit would reject accusations and stories that he has improperly interfered with the police, or prevented the police from taking necessary investigative actions.

In his public comments on Monday he explained that he held off moving to a criminal investigation of Case 2000 regarding the Netanyahu-Mozes talks in order to give the police more time to investigate Case 1000.

What he did not say was that the latest investigation started with Case 1000 and that there were internal debates within the police and the prosecution which drew out the preliminary inquiry of Case 1000.

Mandelblit’s perspective would be that, across the board, the senior echelon believes that many of the strands of Case 1000, which have been heavily covered in the media as being ignored by him personally, simply have no chance on the legal merits.

For example, regarding one strand that has been written about as suspicious, Likud lobbyists may get overpaid, but that does not mean there is proof or a chance of proof that a crime was committed, especially when a statute of limitations also applies.

An investigation into connections between Netanyahu and lobbyist Odelia Carmon was sitting on Weinstein’s desk as early as 2014, and when he closed the file, the police did not object.

He likes to point out that many of his critics did not call him out for limiting aspects of the investigation into opposition leader Isaac Herzog, which he ultimately closed with no indictment.

Mandelblit continues with a similar defense of the slow pace of his handling of the Sara Netanyahu and Prime Minister’s Residence cases.

He would say there is too much focus on him, and would note that regarding the criminal cases, his prosecutors wanted additional investigative acts by the police.

In fact, he would say that if he had pressed for a quicker decision, he would have been criticized for limiting the police.

Many have alleged that the state lawyer in the civil labor court Sara Netanyahu case was more aggressive in attacking plaintiff Meni Naftali than was necessary for merely doing the state’s duty in defending a lawsuit against state property. Sources close to Mandelblit say that he did not deal with the case, and that the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office decided how to handle it.

To release, or not to release Despite speculation from his public statements on Monday, sources close to Mandelblit say he will not put out one iota of the recordings or its transcripts before the investigation is complete.

On the other hand, whether he will put them out once the investigation is complete but before he makes his final decision may be in play.

If asked about excerpts from the recordings that have been published to date, Mandelblit would treat them with disdain, pointing out that they are very limited pieces of the full picture and that none of the media actually have the recordings themselves.

His view is that as important as the public’s right to know what occurred between Netanyahu and Mozes is, the principle of avoiding obstruction of justice and digging in to get to the truth of what happened is far more important.

Mandelblit is also unimpressed by the day after day insistence of the media that he has no choice but to immediately publish the transcripts and to indict Netanyahu.

One issue where Mandelblit’s views would seem to be shocking and have not been revealed until now is Netanyahu’s possession of the Communications Ministry.

This is a battle of huge consequences, because many are saying Netanyahu is trying to conquer the media to assure his continuation in the prime minister’s chair.

The opposition seems to believe that it has Netanyahu cornered on having to give up his prized personal control over the ministry, even if he avoids an indictment.

And the opposition may have a point, at least on this issue.

Even if Mandelblit lets Netanyahu off of any indictment, due to ambiguities in the facts and law regarding the current cases, it can be demanded of him: How can he possibly not view Netanyahu as having a conflict of interest as communications minister, when the prime minister so flagrantly interfered, for personal gain, in coverage with the country’s two largest print publications? Mandelblit would, shockingly, strongly reject that conventional wisdom out of hand. His perspective is that no one seems to know, or everyone is consciously ignoring, that it is the Interior Ministry, not the Communications Ministry, which has power over the issues that Netanyahu and Mozes were negotiating regarding a new Israel Hayom law and rolling back aspects of the newspaper.

If there is any reason to suspend Netanyahu from the Communications Ministry because he has violated a grave duty or criminal law, then Mandelblit will unhesitatingly suspend him. But it appears that Mandelblit does not believe any of the publicly available evidence has proven that Netanyahu did anything grave from a legal perspective.

There is another issue where The Jerusalem Post and many others have taken Mandelblit to task.

Let us assume that Netanyahu should be cleared of all charges and that Mandelblit is able to decide the case objectively, despite having worked closely with the prime minister.

Still, their close working relationship inherently meant from day one that the press and much of the public would doubt the objectivity of the investigation as long as Mandelblit was handling it.

In other words, even if Mandelblit is an angel, there was no way he could avoid the appearance of impropriety. Specifically for that reason, many said he should have been vetoed from becoming attorney-general, or at the very least should recuse himself from cases relating to the Netanyahu family – which everyone knew were already on the table.

On the legal question of whether Mandelblit could be attorney-general without a cooling off period, the selection committee voted 4-1 confirming him (with former Supreme Court president Asher Grunis notably voting “against” on the cooling-off issue), and a petition to the High Court of Justice to block his appointment was rejected, removing any formal legal bar.

But the question of appearances – crucial when it refers to the legitimacy of the prime minister of the country – and whether it would have been smart, even if not required, to recuse himself from the Netanyahus’ cases, is a much harder question to dodge.

Mandelblit surprises again and does not dodge. The impression is that he would fall back on a major decision of former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak that judges and top legal officials do not have discretion about whether to judge and make tough decisions, but have an obligation to do so.

Mandelblit firmly believes that he would actually be violating his duty as attorney- general if he recused himself because of some distant connection, which was solely professional, to Netanyahu, as opposed to any kind of close emotional connection that could have interfered with his duty.

He would explain that Barak ordered that judges must not recuse themselves just for convenience or due to vague connections, even if 200 other judges could have properly handled the case.

Mandelblit considers that if this is true for judges, then the obligation of the attorney- general to be the one to decide the fate of the prime minister is far more paramount, since the law specifically dictates he be the one who decides the fate of ministers, and there is not a single official of equivalent rank.

The attorney-general rejects any comparison to Weinstein, who recused himself from former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s case, as Weinstein had previously been Olmert’s lawyer.

Asked if he really would not be emotionally impacted at all by indicting Netanyahu and causing his government to fall, sources close to him say that he was also sad as a citizen when Olmert was indicted, but that his experience as the army’s top lawyer taught him how to completely separate those emotions from his professional responsibilities.

Settlement Bill, Amona outpost Other issues that have rocked Mandelblit’s tenure are the Settlement Arrangements Bill and the Amona outpost.

At the start of his term, Mandelblit was showered with praise by members of the coalition for being far more flexible in trying to find legal ways to implement some of their more controversial ideas. In contrast, the coalition, especially Knesset members on the Right, had accused Weinstein of being overly activist in blocking government and Knesset initiatives.

That honeymoon ended on November 23 when Mandelblit threw down the gauntlet and told those on the Right in no uncertain terms that he, too, would put up a stop sign – namely, the Settlement Arrangements Bill.

At that point, the Knesset ignored his stop sign and at least voted through the bill’s first reading.

Asked if the Knesset would have been less aggressive if he had taken a harder line from the start, Mandelblit would say that nothing can dissuade the Knesset, if it is prepared to ignore legal advice.

Sources close to Mandelblit say that the Settlement Arrangement Bill could be called “the Law for Legalizing the Infiltration of Criminals” onto others’ lands, and ask: How could it be that the State of Israel would do such a thing and tolerate such lawbreaking? This is not to mention the international law implications of the Settlement Arrangement Bill, which sources close to him say amounts to complete suicide.

Despite his fierce opposition to the bill, Mandelblit stands firmly behind his efforts to move and salvage Amona, efforts that were criticized internationally.

Regarding the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s preliminary examination of Israel for alleged war crimes relating to the 2014 Gaza war and the settlements enterprise, Mandelblit is loath to comment, but it appears that he is worried and does not think Israel’s chances are great, but also believes that the fight is not lost.

Most surprisingly, the impression is that Mandelblit believes not only that Israel may dodge the ICC bullet on the grounds that its legal system prosecutes its own sufficiently, but it still may get off by convincing the ICC to undo its recognition of “Palestine” as a state.

If that recognition would be withdrawn, the entire examination would need to go away, since generally only states can ask the ICC to get involved.

Thus, Mandelblit straddles a fence between opposing views and complexities.

He may be on his way into Israel’s legendary class of lawyers and, eventually, to the Supreme Court.

But whether he will find a safe landing for himself on Netanyahu’s fate and the country’s fate before the ICC, or topple off the tightrope into the abyss awaiting him below, should he stray off course for even an instant, remains to be seen.

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David Clarke tells 'DeploraBall' crowd the only time he'd reach 'across the aisle' to Democrats 'is to grab one of them by the throat'

David Clarke

WASHINGTON — Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke made a Thursday night appearance at the “DeploraBall”  — the pre-inauguration party organized by some of Donald Trump’s more prominent alt-right supporters.

While addressing the boisterous crowd from the stage, Clarke, who is a registered Democrat and has run as a Democrat in each of his elections as Milwaukee County sheriff, said the only way he’d reach across the aisle to work with liberal politicians would be “to grab one of them by the throat.”

“You may know me, you may not,” Clarke told the crowd. “I am one of those bare-knuckle fighters. When I hear people say we need to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats, you know what I say? The only reason I’ll be reaching across the aisle is to grab one of them by the throat.”

Following his speech, Clarke was asked by Business Insider why he so viciously slammed Democrats when he runs as one.

Democrats, he said, do “nothing for black people and I’m tired of that.”

The bombastic sheriff also said during his speech that he asked President Donald Trump during the campaign to put him “in the trenches.”

“I play smash mouth politics,” Clarke said. “To this day the left does not know what to do with me.”

The sheriff, who is a frequent guest of cable news hosts, particularly Fox News’ Sean Hannity, said he visited 39 states on behalf of Trump during the campaign.

“If you know the left like I do, if you know liberals like I do, they never quit and defeat is not in their vocabulary,” he said, making note of protesters who were throwing eggs at attendees of the “DeploraBall” as they entered the National Press Club in Washington.

Clarke was also asked by reporters after his speech if he was offered a job with Trump.

“I have a job and it is as sheriff of Milwaukee County,” he replied.

SEE ALSO: David Clarke, the Fox News sheriff, puts Milwaukee on the back burner as he rides Trump wave to chase stardom

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'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Spoilers: Episode 11 Sees Jane Lynch's … – Enstarz

One of those series returning on February is CBS network’s crime drama, ‘Criminal Minds.’ Fans excitement can’t be hidden as several speculations about the possible events to happen on the series’ return have rapidly been appearing online.

Criminal Minds

‘Criminal Minds’ EP Erica Messer breaks silence on Thomas Gibson’s exit. (Photo : Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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It’s officially announced that the hit police procedural action crime drama series from CBS, Criminal Minds, is coming back on the first day of February this year. The series is set to air on televisions the remaining episodes of season 12 which will start with the eleventh, with the title, “Surface Tension.”

The most recent episode aired just last week featured a series of home invasions in San Diego which turned out to be deadly. In the upcoming episode, it is expected that the team is going to have another case to solve but other possible happenings have been speculated online.

According to a report from TV Line, fans are going to see, once again, actress Jane Lynch, who will reprise his role for the character Diana Reid, Spencer Reid’s (Matthew Gubler) mother. It can be remembered that Lynch’s last appearance on the series as Diana was during the fourth season in which she was a recurring cast member.

One of the executive producers of the series, Erica Messer, told the source that the actress’ upcoming appearances on the show resets from the moment Spencer is with his mom and with her struggles. As recalled, Diana was found wandering in a Vegas casino, after dropping her Alzheimer’s treatment study program. The showrunner added that Lynch will appear on more episodes on the series, reprising her role as a recurring cast member.

Meanwhile, after months of silence, Messer, being one of the showrunners, broke her silence about the Thomas Gibson issue. In an exclusive interview with TV Guide, Messer revealed her sentiments after Gibson, who previously portrayed one of the lead roles, Aaron Hotchner, had left Criminal Minds.

Messer, who is also one of the writers of the series, apparently had a supposed story line on season 12 that she had planned when Gibson was still on the show. She revealed that it was difficult for her and the other writers to write Aaron Hotchner off the show in a believable way possible, especially that the fans have already invested on the character.

“I really had a hard time with that. This was a character I’ve known and loved for 12 seasons. I really wanted to be able to send him off in a way that felt believable for that character”, Messer said.

She added that it was also emotional for her to let go of the character because it has already been a huge part of the series for twelve long seasons. When asked about his probable comeback, Messer said that there has been no discussion about it and that it would probably be impossible for the character to return to Criminal Minds at this point.

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Veteran lawyer Martin Regan fined for contempt of court – NOLA.com

Veteran New Orleans criminal defense attorney Martin Regan was found in contempt of court Friday (Jan. 20) and ordered to pay a $100 fine in the form of a donation to the Louisiana SPCA.

Criminal District Judge Karen Herman ordered the sanction benefitting the animal welfare organization in response to Regan’s contemptuous conduct in last month’s murder trial of defendant Brandon Guidry. Guidry was convicted Dec. 7 of murdering musician Bruce Tims, and on Friday was sentenced to life in prison.

Despite what the judge found to be numerous instances of inappropriate comments by Regan — made both in and out of jurors’ presence during Guidry’s three-day trial — the panel needed only 45 minutes of deliberations to render an 11-1 verdict finding Regan’s client guilty of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in connection with a French Quarter double-shooting on March 21, 2015.

Regan apologized to the judge Friday after Guidry’s sentence was rendered. But his contrition seemed hollow as he launched into a rambling explanation of his “sheer frustration” with the court’s rulings during the trial. But, he added, “I didn’t intentionally and on purpose act contemptuous.”

Regan exhausted the judge’s patience again Friday, causing Herman to interrupt him to ask, “Are we going to hear anything related to contempt, rather than you just trying to pepper the record?” Herman made it clear she would not be litigating the same issues again after having already denied Regan’s motion for a new trial.

“I accept your apology,” Herman said. “But I feel, once again, that you repeatedly try to control the narrative as to what takes place, while you continue to miss the point. In reality, from the beginning of the trial in voir dire (jury selection), I recall at least 20 separate times I admonished you to not make inappropriate statements in front of the jury, and to ask proper questions of a witness rather than launch into your own narrative testimony and then finish with a question at the end.

“I spoke to you about this privately in chambers, out of respect for you. Then I had to do it at the bench, still out of respect for you. Then it got to the point that it eventually had to be said in front of the jury. I’m going to rely on the transcript I have about you making flip comments to the jury about a witness’ testimony, and the court asking you not to ask questions in an inappropriate manner.”

Regan is the third attorney this month to be found in contempt of court at Tulane and Broad. Judge Laurie A. White found state prosecutor Jason Napoli in contempt of court on Jan. 5 over a text messaging dispute. Judge Darryl Derbigny found criminal defense lawyer Gary Wainwright in contempt on Jan. 13 for what he deemed inappropriate laughter and commentary during the aggravated burglary and attempted murder trial of his client Lottie Hibbler.

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The rise and fall of Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, the world's most ambitious drug lord

el chapo gif peace

On the evening of July 11, 2015, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán got up from the bed in his prison cell, walked behind his cell’s shower divider, and slipped through a hole in the floor, beginning his second jailbreak and entrenching his reputation as one of Mexico’s most ambitious drug lords.

He was recaptured six months later, in January 2016, and on Thursday, just hours before the end of President Barack Obama’s term, the Sinaloa kingpin was extradited to the US.

The extradition almost certainly marks end of his decades at the top of Mexico’s narco hierarchy — an ascent that has left the world awash in drugs, Mexico drenched in blood, and Guzmán almost without rival.

‘A way to survive:’ the rise of ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán

Joaquin El Chapo GuzmanBorn in the rough mountains of Sinaloa state in northwest Mexico in the late 1950s, Guzmán comes from humble origins.

He spent his early years hauling and selling oranges, and as a young man he joined his uncle and moved into the contraband trade.

According to Sean Penn, in the actor’s sensational profile of Guzmán, by age 9 he was already working in the marijuana and poppy fields around La Tuna, the town in Sinaloa state’s Badiraguato municipality where he was born.

Guzmán told Penn that by his mid-teens the drug trade was the only viable career path.

Badiraguato municipality Mexico Sinaloa

“Well from the age of 15 and on, where I’m from … in that area, and up until today, there are no job opportunities,” Guzmán said during an interview as part of Penn’s profile.

“Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up there was no other way and there still isn’t … a way to survive … no other way to work in our economy to be able to make a living.”

If Guzmán saw the drug trade as the only way to make a living, then he had ample connections to get started.

Pedro Aviles Perez, his uncle, is considered a top member of the first generation of notorious Sinaloa drug smugglers, who not only ushered in the modern drug-smuggling era in the 1960s but made extensive use of airplanes to do so — a method Guzmán would later embrace.

As much as Guzmán benefited from his connections to Sinaloan traffickers, his timing also probably sped his ascent.

With US authorities cracking down on trafficking routes through the Caribbean, Colombian drug lords widened their gaze.

“They started to look at Mexico, which was a godsend for them, because they had cultural similarities, namely the language,” Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, told Business Insider in early 2016.

In the 1980s, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo emerged as the leader of the Guadalajara cartel, which controlled most of the drug trafficking in Mexico for much of the decade. A fateful decision in 1985, however, would clear Guzmán’s path to the top of the narco food chain. Members of the Guadalajara cartel kidnapped, tortured, and killed DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.

US President George H.W. Bush put pressure on the Mexican government, and Gallardo was eventually jailed in 1989.

After that, Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada — both professional lieutenants of Gallardo — assumed control of the Sinaloa cartel. In 1989, when he assumed control of the Sinaloa cartel’s operations, Guzmán also rolled out what could be considered one of his lasting contributions to the drug trade: narco tunnels.

el chapo mexico altiplanoThe Sinaloa cartel, under Guzmán’s direction, “basically was the impetus for building tunnels across into the United States,” Vigil told Business Insider.

One of the Sinaloa cartel’s first tunneling masters was Felipe de Jesus Corona-Verbera, who graduated from architecture school at the University of Guadalajara in 1980. Corona, who was close with Guzmán, was the driving force behind the cartel’s first major tunnel, which connected Agua Prieta in Mexico with Douglas, Arizona.

The Agua Prieta-Douglas tunnel allowed Guzmán to move so much cocaine so quickly that Colombians reportedly started calling him “El Rapido,” or “the quick one.”

“Corona made a f—— cool tunnel. Tell them to send all the drugs they can send,” Guzmán said, according to a former Sinaloa cartel member questioned by US prosecutors.

Read more about the Sinaloa cartel’s elaborate tunnels >>

narco tunnel image

But the breakup of the old Guadalajara cartel would not be amicable for long. Guzmán would soon lead his faction into bloody wars for control of Mexico’s drug-trafficking plazas, or territories.

The war for control of the lucrative Tijuana plaza kicked off in 1989, when the Arellano Felix clan killed one of Guzmán’s close friends and then declared Baja California, the state that’s home to Tijuana and abuts California, to be its exclusive territory.

“No one needed to be greedy,” former DEA agent Jack Robertson told David Epstein of ProPublica. “But the Arellanos were like, ‘No, this is ours. Come here, and we’ll kill you.’ That did not sit well with Chapo.”

An attempt by the Arellano Felix Organization, or AFO, to kill Guzmán at the Guadalajara airport in mid-1993 ended with the death of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, the second-highest official in Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church.

Arrest and first prison escape

el chapo prison 1993After the death of Posadas, Guzmán fled to Guatemala, but he was soon arrested and sent back to Mexico, where he was imprisoned at Puente Grande prison.

The AFO, which bribed its members’ way out of incarceration, flourished in Guzmán’s absence, but he didn’t exactly sweat out his time in prison.

According to Insight Crime, he was able to pass messages to his cohorts through his lawyers. Two of the Beltran Leyva brothers, a family allied with Guzmán, supplied him with cash to ensure that he could live lavishly behind bars (he had so many conjugal visits that he began taking Viagra), and Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno, aka “El Azul,” another Sinaloa cartel leader, got the cartel’s drugs to market.

In 2001, as authorities were putting together his extradition, Guzmán broke out of prison — either carted out in a laundry basket or let out by bribed officials — most likely with the help of Sinaloa cartel members who held high-level positions inside Mexico’s prison system.

Golden Triangle MexicoAfter that, Guzmán remained on the run, shutting himself off in the mountains of Sinaloa and Durango states, which, along with portions of Chihuahua state, make up the Golden Triangle, an area of high drug cultivation largely under the control of the Sinaloa cartel.

According to Insight Crime, he had an elaborate security system that insulated him for most of the 2000s.

Fighting resumed with the AFO after Guzmán’s breakout, and over the next decade the members of the Arellano Felix clan were arrested, extradited, or killed.

But Guzmán’s conflicts were not limited to the AFO.

Though the Sinaloa cartel allied with the Juarez cartel of Amado Carrillo Fuentes in 2002, by 2005 — after killings and retaliation killings of members of both families — the two sides were engulfed a bloody turf war that still reverberates in Mexico.

By 2012, Sinaloa would emerge victorious, wresting control of the vital trafficking corridor through Ciudad Juarez from the Juarez cartel. Ciudad Juarez, which for many years had the most homicides in the world, saw a reduction in violence after the Sinaloa cartel’s victory, but Guzmán’s incarceration appears to contributed to growing violence in and around the city, as traffickers jockey for control.

Amid his clash with the Juarez cartel, Guzmán became embroiled in another bloody fight with an erstwhile ally: the Beltran Leyva Organization.

The BLO, founded by brothers who grew up in the same area as Guzmán and were part of the Guadalajara cartel, formed the Blood Alliance with the Sinaloa cartel in the early 2000s and acted as enforcers during the Sinaloa cartel’s showdowns with the Juarez cartel, the Gulf cartel, and the Zetas.

The BLO also infiltrated the Mexican political and military spheres on behalf of Guzmán.

The arrest of a Beltran Leyva brother in 2008 and the subsequent release of Guzmán’s son from prison led the BLO to accuse the Sinaloa cartel of betrayal, and the close allies split into warring factions.

Despite an alliance with the Zetas, the BLO was eventually worn down by the fighting, and all the family’s brothers were killed or captured.

‘A complete savage’

shorty el chapo guzman drug cartelWhile Guzmán has gotten a reputation for deft business dealings, eschewing violence, his numerous wars belie that characterization.

“He is a complete savage,” Tom Fuentes, the assistant director at the FBI from 2004 to 2008, told CNN after Guzmán escaped last year.

“What they do, and how they do business, is based on complete terror,” Fuentes continued.

“They kill journalists, politicians, police officers, corrections officers. And then not just that person, but every member of their family.”

He has coupled this brutality with an expansive network of bribery, corruption, and double-dealing.

Mexico’s center-right Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ran the country basically as a one-party state from the 1930s until 2000, has been accused of complicity in the drug trade, with its crackdowns over the decades centralizing power in what would eventually become Guzmán’s organization.

The conservative National Action Party, or PAN, has also been accused of favoring the Sinaloa cartel, with PAN Presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon launching numerous offensives against Sinaloa enemies.

The perception has been so strong, Insight Crime notes, that PAN leadership put out press releases and videos denying any connection.

mexico blood bless it

Calderon, president from 2006 to 2012, deployed Mexican troops to address growing drug-related violence soon after he took office. They were initially deployed to Michoacan in southwest Mexico but were soon stationed throughout the country and contributed significantly to the violence that has racked the country since.

Guzmán’s associates have been able to thoroughly penetrate the Mexican security apparatus as well. The BLO, while it was still allied with Sinaloa, not only allegedly had numerous top members of Mexico’s federal investigative agency on the payroll but was also paying the country’s drug czar $450,000 a month.

“Agents I talked to tell me that Sinaloa has people in every branch of the government, more law enforcement than elsewhere,” Epstein, author of a ProPublica piece on the decline of the AFO, told Business Insider in early 2016.

These allegations are not limited to Mexican law enforcement.

In 2014 an investigation by a Mexican newspaper alleged that the Sinaloa cartel and the DEA had an arrangement in which cartel members provided information on their rivals to the US government and, in turn, were allowed to continue operating. Elements of account were corroborated by Vicente Niebla Zambada, “El Mayo” Zambada’s son, who was convicted of drug trafficking in Chicago in 2013.

While links between the DEA and the Sinaloa cartel are unclear, experts have said contact with traffickers wouldn’t be out of place in an antinarcotics operation. And any links to the DEA may not have been as important as the Sinaloa’s connections in Mexico.

“The Sinaloa cartel, I think remained unscathed because they had more politicians,” Vigil, the former DEA agent, told Business Insider. “They were much more established, and they quickly grew because they had tremendous experts that helped Chapo Guzmán and Mayo Zambada grow that network.”

Recapture and 2nd prison escape

el chapo guzmanEven though Guzmán’s political connections were no doubt extensive, they do not seem to have been enough to keep him free forever.

In February 2014, after one near miss, Mexican marines surrounded the Sinaloa kingpin at an oceanside condo in Mazatlan, a city in southwest Sinaloa state.

The arrest, after Guzmán spent 13 years on the run, came as a surprise and led some experts to suggest that President Enrique Peña Nieto, a member of the PRI elected in 2012, saw Guzmán’s apprehension as a political imperative.

Guzmán, now locked away at the Altiplano prison in central Mexico, became something of a feather in the Mexican government’s cap.

el chapo jail

While extradition proceedings did get underway, the attorney general at the time said Guzmán would be sent north only after he had served his time in Mexico — in “300-400 years.”

The Sinaloa cartel chief had no intention of waiting around.

Acting on escape plans that were most likely initiated soon after his capture (and which reportedly involved engineers trained in Germany and may have even relied on technology smuggled into the kingpin’s cell), Guzmán slipped through the hole in his cell shower’s floor on a July evening in 2015.

el chapo shower

Guzmán then used a motorcycle specially designed to operate in the tunnel, traveling a mile to a partially constructed house, where he was whisked by van to an airport north of Mexico City, and then on to a hideout in the mountains of Durango.

Walk through ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s prison-escape route »

el chapo jail

Beginning of the end

A massive manhunt was soon underway.

Even as Guzmán exchanged flirty text messages with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo (who arranged Guzmán’s October meeting with Penn somewhere in the Golden Triangle), marines and other law-enforcement agencies were scouring the area.

Mexican navy helicopters were accused of shooting up homes in western Sinaloa, displacing hundreds, yet Guzmán remained free.

He reportedly celebrated Christmas with his family, and then rang in the new year with an alleged mistress — all this just a few months after he briefly traveled to Tijuana for male-enhancement surgery.

el chapo kate del castillo sean penn

His escape came to an end on January 8, when Mexican marines raided a home in Los Mochis, a city outside Sinaloa territory in northwest Sinaloa state. He fled the raid through sewer tunnels, emerging to steal a car for a short-lived getaway.

Police tracked him down, stopping his vehicle and holding him in a seedy motel, where the kingpin’s hopes of escaping yet again were dashed.

Step inside ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s secret hideout »

El Chapo arrest

Guzmán was transferred back to Altiplano after his recapture, and his legal team has filed numerous motions to halt an extradition process that the Mexican government seems dead set on finishing. (“The cataract of resources presented by Guzmán Loera can delay the process, but not stop it,” a government source told El País.)

Guzmán’s current wife also joined the fray, decrying his treatment in prison to the media.

The specter of his two escapes remains, however. After his July escape, dozens of officials and officers were arrested in connection with the breakout. The rot was so deep that the few months between his jailbreak and rearrest were probably not enough to root it out.

El Chapo Joaquin Guzman“Let’s be clear — he will also use the very, very common instrument of corruption and intimidation, and he could very well subvert the conditions” in prison, Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope said a few weeks after Guzmán’s capture.

“It should be remembered, and some of the structural weaknesses of the Mexican prison system are still there … one of the persons that is being prosecuted for his escape was the head of the federal prison system,” Hope added. “This was not just El Altiplano. This was systemic.”

These concerns go straight to the top of the Mexican government.

After a power outage at Altiplano in May, Peña Nieto and Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong decided to transfer Guzmán under the cover of darkness to a prison outside Ciudad Juarez, an area ostensibly in the control of Guzmán’s cartel.

Inside Cefereso No. 9, Guzmán was at one point guarded by 75 agents, while outside, 600 more soldiers and police officers patrolled the perimeter. (One soldier assigned to guard the prison was found dead in June 2016, though it wasn’t clear whether it was linked to Guzmán’s imprisonment.)

Guzmán — a man whose ill-gotten wealth earned him a place on Forbes’ billionaires list and whose cartel once supplied “80% of the heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine — with a street value of $3 billion — that floods the Chicago region each year” — passed his days in solitude, reading “Don Quixote” and “The Purpose Driven Life.”

He spoke little; guards and other officials kept their distance, wary of a criminal mastermind who had corrupted, cajoled, and eliminated nearly all the rivals he encountered.

In Sinaloa, his home turf, once forgotten enemies seem to reemerged, emboldened by Guzmán’s absence. Factions of the BLO reportedly led a deadly raid on Guzmán’s hometown, forcing his mother, who lives there in a mansion he built for her, to flee.

Consuelo Loera el chapo mom

In the month since his capture, reports have emerged of clashes in Sinaloa state, where Aureliano Guzmán Loera, “El Chapo” Guzmán’s brother, and two of “El Chapo” Guzmán’s three sons are purportedly engaged in a power struggle, fighting to assume control of a drug-trafficking organization that is thought to stretch from Argentina to the US, and from Asia to Africa and the Middle East.

External threats have developed as well. The ascendant Jalisco New Generation cartel, formed by what once was a faction of the Sinaloa cartel, has spread its tentacles throughout Mexico over the last few years, challenging the Sinaloa cartel’s primacy in Tijuana, a major drug transshipment point, and reportedly in Quintana Roo, home to the crown jewels of Mexico’s tourism industry.

The Jalisco cartel, along with the Sinaloa cartel’s former allies in the Beltran Leyva Organization, even orchestrated the kidnapping of two of “El Chapo” Guzmán’s sons from a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta in August 2016. The sons were released unharmed, but the tension among Mexico’s most powerful cartel’s doesn’t seem to have eased.

For the time being, Sinaloa remains atop Mexico’s narco food chain, but the ambitions of the Jalisco New Generation cartel and numerous other criminal organizations of varying sizes and scopes will likely only be emboldened by Guzmán’s removal from Mexico’s cartel scene.

If reports of conflict within the Sinaloa cartel are true, then those factions will have to settle their differences without Guzmán’s influence, and members of the Sinaloa cartel, rival organizations, and figures in the Mexican government involved in the drug trade are now to wonder what details, if any, the erstwhile Sinaloa cartel chief will divulge to his new, permanent captors.

SEE ALSO: Mexico has extradited Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán after months of legal battles

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