Day: November 5, 2018

BREXIT DEADLINE LOOMS…



BREXIT DEADLINE LOOMS...

(Third column, 19th story, link)


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Air Force falcon expected to recover from 'life-threatening' injuries after West Point prank…


The Army’s military academy issued an apology Sunday for an apparent prank in which a live Air Force mascot falcon was abducted and injured ahead of the weekend’s Army-Air Force football game in West Point, N.Y.

“The U.S. Military Academy sincerely apologizes for an incident involving USMA cadets and the Air Force Academy falcons, which occurred Saturday,” said the post on West Point’s Facebook page. “We are taking this situation very seriously, and this occurrence does not reflect the Army or USMA core values of dignity and respect.

“An apology was given to the U.S. Air Force Academy for this unfortunate incident.”

Aurora, the 22-year-old white gyrfalcon that had accompanied the team for the game against Air Force’s service rival, is expected to make a full recovery, the academy tweeted Sunday evening, after she was examined by a master falconer and veterinarians at Fort Carson.

After bringing her home Saturday, academy officials were encouraged that the injuries weren’t as severe as they first appeared because she was able to fly around in her pen.

“It’s an extremely good sign that she’s flying,” said Troy Garnhart, associate athletic director for communications.

The injuries to the bird’s wings initially had been described as life-threatening given her advanced age. Gyrfalcons’ life expectancy in captivity is around 25 years, according to tetonraptorcenter.org.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support for Aurora and are optimistic for her recovery,” Garnhart said.

Aurora was being kept in the home of a volunteer sponsor, an Army colonel, as is customary whenever the Air Force team is on the road, Garnhart said.

No details about when the mascot was abducted, by whom and how she was injured have been released by either academy.

But the New York Times reported Sunday that Aurora and Oblio, a peregrine falcon about seven years younger, were taken by two West Point cadets on Friday night.

The cadets threw sweaters over the birds, and later stuffed them into dog crates, Sam Dollar, the Air Force Academy’s falconry team adviser, told the newspaper. When the cadets returned the birds Saturday morning, Aurora had blood on her wings from abrasions likely caused by thrashing around in the crate, Dollar said.

“I think they had them for a couple hours and then they realized it was a bad mistake,” the Times quoted Dollar. “When Aurora started thrashing around in the crate, they decided that wasn’t a good thing.”

Aurora’s injuries have risen to the highest level at the military schools.

AFA spokeswoman Lt. Col. Tracy Bunko said AFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria has been in contact with his counterpart at West Point, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams.

Aurora was the grand dame of the school’s heralded falconry program, which includes a half-dozen birds managed by a dozen cadets.

Animal abuse, specifically to an animal on the government’s payroll, is a crime in the military. The crime of “abuse of a public animal” has been on the military’s books since the Army was founded, and has been used primarily to charge those who abused pack animals, such as mules and horses.

While Aurora is a mascot, the statute could apply, with a conviction potentially resulting in up to a year behind bars and a dishonorable discharge.

The Gazette’s Tom Roeder contributed to this report.



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Candidate: 'Demanding apology culture' not healthy…


On Sunday, TMZ caught up with Dan Crenshaw, a Republican candidate for Congress in Texas who lost his eye in Afghanistan and found himself the butt of a tasteless Saturday Night Live joke.

SNL’s Pete Davidson made light of Crenshaw’s war injury during the most recent live show, saying: “I’m sorry. I know he lost his eye in war or whatever … Whatever.”

That jab prompted calls for an apology — and even a CNN panel slamming the attempt at a joke — but Crenshaw doesn’t think an apology is needed.

In fact, he said that the culture of apology-demanding is just not healthy for America.

“I want us to get away from this culture where we demand an apology every time someone misspeaks,” Crenshaw said.

He added: “I think that would be very healthy for our nation to go in that direction. We don’t need to be outwardly outraged. I don’t need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want, you know. They are feeling the heat from around the country right now and that’s fine.”

He then stressed that he would like Davidson and SNL to recognize that “veterans across the country probably don’t feel as though their wounds [that] they received in battle should be the subject of a bad punch line.”

Finally, the veteran and candidate said the “real atrocity” was Davidson’s attempt at a joke wasn’t even funny but “just mean-spirited.”

Watch above, via TMZ

[image via screengrab]

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FEDS: El Chapo's sons now running his drug empire…


Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman “El Chapo” Loera may be going on trial tomorrow in Brooklyn federal court, but the billion dollar cartel he founded is still flourishing under the direction of his two favorite sons.

“… The defendant’s sons remain in charge of his vast drug trafficking empire,” reads a recent letter from the US Attorneys preparing to try Guzman’s case.

The Oct. 28 communication to Federal Judge Brian Cogan goes on to deliver a dire warning regarding the safety of any witnesses. who testify against the drug lord at the trial: “There is no doubt that the defendant and his cartel have the capability, the resources and the will to harm cooperating witnesses and their families, even after they have been relocated.”

Brothers Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar have been running their father’s drug empire with an iron hand while he has been in hiding and in prison in Mexico and after his extradition last year to the US.

“The brothers have engaged in significant violence,” said a former Drug Enforcement Administration source. “They have ambushed military people and they still have the resources to affect witnesses.”

Ivan and Alfredo are said to be the drug lord’s favorite sons, the ones he personally groomed to take over the family business. They were born to his first wife María Alejandrina Salazar Hernández, whom Guzman married in 1977 in a small ceremony in a rural town in the state of Sinaloa, in northwestern Mexico. The couple had three children, but another son, Cesar, was killed six years ago.

Last month, Alfredo, 32, who is also known by his underworld monikers “Alfredillo” and “Jags” was added to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 10 Most Wanted List. Alfredo was indicted for drug trafficking in Illinois in 2009. The reward for information leading to his capture was recently increased to $5 million.

“Why haven’t the sons been whacked yet?” said a federal law enforcement source who did not want to be identified. “It means they are very much in control. “But unlike their father, who believed in keeping a low profile, they are not in hiding and they love to show off.”

In fact, like their young stepmother and Guzman’s third wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, Alfredo and his older brother Ivan lead a flashy, entitled lifestyle in Mexico. Social media accounts linked to Guzman’s current wife, Coronel Aispuro, 29, recently showed her posing at a lavish Barbie-themed birthday party for her twin daughters in Sinaloa. Other photos show her toting expensive designer handbags and posing in skimpy bikinis on the beach.

“The whole family still controls a significant criminal network and has access to huge funds,” a former DEA agent told The Post.

In addition to Hernandez and Coronel Aispuro, Guzman was also married to Griselda Lopez Perez. He wed her in the 1980s and the couple had four children — Edgar, Joaquin, Ovidio and Griselda Guadalupe. In addition to his wives, Guzman has had several girlfriends, including Estela Pena, who initially rejected him. He later kidnapped her and forced her into a relationship.

Another woman, Zulema Hernandez, was his lover at the Puente Grande maximum security prison in Guadalajara. She was eventually killed by Guzman’s rivals, Los Zetas. Her remains were found in the trunk of a car, the letter “Z” carved into her breasts and back.

Guzman, who is believed to be 61 years old, has 15 children, according to published reports.

“At least 15 kids,” said the federal source. “There may be more.”

Mexico's top drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted after his extradition from Mexico.
Mexico’s top drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted after his extradition from Mexico.REUTERS

Mexican authorities have yet to confiscate Guzman’s assets, and the family has access to hundreds of millions in the proceeds of drug smuggling, the federal source told The Post.

For their part, Ivan and Alfredo make no secret of the cash they control, and regularly show up at the hottest bars and high-end shopping centers in Guadalajara, the federal source told The Post.

Until recently, they have also maintained social media accounts on Instagram and Twitter that show them flaunting their vast wealth. Photos show stacks of US dollars, Gucci wallets, expensive Swiss watches, pet tigers, and a gold-plated AK-47 propped against the dashboard of a Ferrari. There are also photos of them partying with leggy women in bikinis and driving souped-up Audi Spyders that retail for more than $220,000.

“The inventory is millions of dollars — Lamborghinis, Maseratis, multiple BMWs, Mercedes … Porsches,” said Patrick Curran, a DEA special agent who testified at a 2016 trial of one of the cartel’s associates.

‘The whole family still controls a significant criminal network and has access to huge funds.’

“They travel in armored cars but they don’t have an entourage of bodyguards,” the federal source told The Post. “They seem unafraid.”

This despite the murderous battles for underworld dominance among Mexican cartels, especially since Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes — known as El Mencho — and his Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion or Jalisco New Generation began gaining ground as the leading drug trafficking force since Guzman’s extradition to the US.

A former cop, who once shot down an army helicopter and brought Mexico to an armed standstill, El Mencho is currently the world’s most wanted drug trafficker. A bounty, financed by the US and Mexico, promises more than $6.5 million for information leading to his capture.

In addition to Cesar, another of Guzman’s sons, Édgar Guzmán López, 22, was killed in a gunfight in the parking lot of a shopping center in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state. After the killing, police found more than 500 bullet casings from AK-47 rifles in the parking lot.

Two years ago, gunmen associated with the Jalisco cartel kidnapped Aflredo and five Sinaloa cartel associates at a tony beach resort restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. He was held for about a week, and then released, ostensibly on orders from Guzman who threatened from his Mexican jail cell to go after the families of the leaders of the Jalisco Nueva Generacion, the federal source told The Post.

Since the kidnapping, the brothers increasingly like to travel by private plane, the source said. At one time, they assembled a fleet of airplanes for the Sinaloa cartel to rival AeroMexico, court papers say. The planes were also used to transport drugs.

“It was a huge enterprise,” said the federal source. “They had something like 30 pilots and 30 airplane mechanics on their payroll.”

From 2006 to 2015, Mexican authorities seized a total of 599 planes from the Sinaloa cartel that flew among a network of nearly 5,000 clandestine airstrips, according to the daily El Universal.

“Typically, a cartel or a drug-trafficking organization would employ small aircraft … to facilitate the movement of their product … or themselves,” said Curran during the 2016 trial of Sinaloa cartel middleman Jorge Martin Torres, who pled guilty to money-laundering. “High-level cartel members are typically fugitives. They can’t travel via commercial aircraft like you or I could, or by other legitimate means.”

According to Mexican authorities, Alfredo, who they described as “one of the main leaders of the Sinaloa cartel,” was in charge of buying the aircraft, mainly in midwestern US states through an American associate in order to avoid suspicion. Only Americans or permanent residents are allowed to buy aircraft in this country, according to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Alfredo has also been in charge of the cartel’s vast real estate holdings in Mexico, and oversees most of the cartel’s shipments of drugs to the US.

“Alfredo and Ivan remain valid and real threats, and they will be watching this trial closely to see who rats out their dad,” said the former DEA agent.



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