Immortal Alaskan

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 0:05 | Posted in corruption, crime, Election, Politics, USA | 2 Comments
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Regardless of corruption charges, of which Sen. Ted Stevens has been found quilty, USA must be the only country in the World where an 84 year old can seriously make a bid for a six year term in the Senate. The man would be 90 by the end of his term. Do Alaskans have a secret formula for eternal life?

Saddam scam

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 19:15 | Posted in crime, e-mail, internet | 4 Comments
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All of us have received Nigerian scam e-mails, i.e. scam letters camouflaged as a request to assist in a shady transfer of a large sum of money. The legends of those letters usually tell a heart breaking story of a daughter or widow of a prominent oppositional politician in a country that the intended scam victim is unlikely to ever have heard of. I received another one of those scam letters today.

Normally I would not have bothered to read the letter before deleting it and reporting as spam. This one caught my eye, though. It looked somewhat different. The sender appeared to be one sergeant Frank Steve.

This scam is obviously intended to hit the US market. “Sgt. Steve” is playing with the patriotic feelings of Americans. According to the legend he serves in the 3rd Infantery Division of the US army, which does indeed have troops posted in Iraq. The bait is, as usual, a share of the imaginary sum of 25 million US$. The origin of the money sounds fun:

SOURCE OF MONEY: SOME MONEY IN VARIOUS CURRENCIES WERE DISCOVERED IN BARRELS AT A FARMHOUSE NEAR ONE OF SADDAM’S OLD PALACES IN TIKRIT-IRAQ DURING A RESCUE OPERATION, AND IT WAS AGREED BY STAFF SGT RICHARD BUFF AND I THAT SOME PART OF THIS MONEY BE SHARED AMONG BOTH OF US BEFORE INFORMING ANYBODY ABOUT IT SINCE BOTH OF US SAW THE MONEY FIRST.

So the international accountants chasing Saddam’s hidden assets should not bother to look for off shore bank accounts. All they need to do is to scan all farm houses around Saddam’s various retreats in Iraq. I would never have imagined that old Saddam used to rely on barrels for his banking.

Just in case the scam victims should have any doubts, the good “sergeant” admits that the transaction is not quite legal but what the heck, we are all patriots, aren’t we:

THIS WAS QUITE AN ILLEGAL THING TO DO, BUT I TELL YOU WHAT? NO COMPENSATION CAN MAKE UP FOR THE RISK WE HAVE TAKEN WITH OUR LIVES IN THIS HELL HOLE. OF WHICH MY BROTHER IN-LAW WAS KILLED BY A ROAD SIDE BOMB LAST TIME.

Some risk, sure! Somebody might even take the trouble of routing back the scam letter just to detect that it originates far from Iraq. The police might be knocking on the door. But do not worry, “serg”, I’ll just delete the letter. But somebody else might be shameless enough to dig deeper.

Oh yes, this is a cutie. To increase the credibility of the scam, a link to a Washington Post news story is provided. Unfortunately though, the Post news desk seems to have deleted the story:

Bad luck! It would have been so nice to catch Washington Post reporting about money that never existed.

Gazprom and the Russian mob

Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 5:21 | Posted in crime, russia | 1 Comment
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I spotted (via Marko Mihkelson, MP in Estonia) an extremely interesting testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Roman Kupchinsky. Mr Kupchinsky testified before the committee just a couple of days ago, on 12th June 2008. He used to be the director of the Ukrainian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from 1989-2002. He is currently a partner in the risk analysis firm AZEast Group. He immigrated to Brooklyn, NY in 1949 from a refugee camp in Austria; served in the US Army as a rifle platoon leader in Vietnam in 1968 and has a BA in political science from Long Island University.

As Mr. Kupchinsky testified, World’s largest gas company Gazprom, owned by the Russian state, is connected to the organized crime in Russia through a large number of middle man companies. Gazprom currently supplies about 25 % of Europe’s gas. The current Russian president Dmitri Medvedev was Gazprom’s board chairman prior to being elected as the President of Russia. Former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin must have been informed of Gazprom’s dubious connections.

Here is a quote of Mr. Kupchinsky’s testimony:

Some American experts downplay the lack of transparency and the dubious methods used by Russian state-owned companies to conduct business by saying “Companies in the US and Europe also do crooked things” and point to the Enron affair and recent accusations of wide scale bribery by the German company Siemens. The argument is that American “Russophobe’s” are holding Russia to a higher standard.

The difference however, is that the U.S. and Germany arrests and prosecutes criminal behavior while in Russia the crooks not only go scot free – they are awarded state medals for their actions, while individuals like Mikhail Khordokovsky, who opted to run a clean shop and refused to bow to Putin’s will, wind up prison.

One gas trading intermediary company, RosUkrEnergo, based in Zug, Switzerland, is owned 50 percent by Gazprom and 50 percent by two Ukrainian businessmen who hid their identities for years and who are alleged to be linked to Russian organized crime. This is a classic case study of how the Kremlin and Gazprom conspired to protect what was believed to be a criminal enterprise.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, was directly involved in creating this company along with former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in July 2004, and has publically defended RosUkrEnergo on a number of occasions saying: “Believe me; we don’t know the identities of the hidden Ukrainian owners [of RosUkrEnergo].”
Putin’s statement raises an important issue. Is it common practice for Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, to sign multi-billion dollar contracts with individuals whose names they do not know? How can this state-owned company possibly conduct due diligence?

To make matters worse, Gazprom vehemently denied allegations in the world press that its partners, whose names they claimed not to know, were in league with Russian organized crime figures. Later when the public evidence became overwhelming, Gazprom and Putin accused the Ukrainian government of “forcing” the Russian side to accept the Swiss-registered company into the Ukrainian-Russian gas contract signed in 2006.

Who can believe that Ukraine can force Russia to do whatever it wants!

All of the testimony as a four page pdf-file is available here.

The current and former president of Russia connected to organized crime through World’s largest gas company? Well, that is what I certainly suspected but this is the first time I am able to point at so prominent evidence to confirm it.

Keep your shell shut!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 1:35 | Posted in crime | Leave a comment
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If you plan to make a fake insurance claim on a stolen cell phone, just be sure to switch the phone off before you go to a police station to file a complaint. That is what this dude in Pretoria, South Africa, described by police spokesman Eugene Opperman as “the dumbest criminal” this year, forgot to do:

The man walked into a station to report that he had been held up at gunpoint by a gang who had stolen his mobile phone.

But when the detective phoned the number of the phone reportedly stolen, it rang in the complainant’s pocket.

BBC

There are hundreds of good reasons for not having a cell phone switched on in public but this one takes the prize.

Pot growing boom in Britain

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 at 9:46 | Posted in crime, great britain | 2 Comments
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Diane Abbott writes in a column in the Jamaica Observer that commercial cannabis production in Britain has rapidly increased. The domestic pot industry is believed to fill in a supply gap caused by a cannabis eradication programme in Morocco. Some police sources suggest that Britain may even have become a net exporter of cannabis.

The pot business in Britain is largely controlled by Vietnamese immigrants. A connection with illegal immigration is believed to exist. Nobody knows exactly why the Vietnamese managed to gain control over the business.

Busting the pot factories is a low police priority because it consumes a lot of their resource badly needed to combat more serious crime. Given that smoking cannabis is less damaging than drinking alcohol, one might ask what point there is to prohibit pot. A legalizing would be a serious blow for organized crime, not to mention the tax revenue it would bring in.

Phising through print media

Saturday, December 22, 2007 at 17:07 | Posted in Canada, crime, data security | Leave a comment
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fake job ad

A phising scam through print media has been detected in Canada, the CBC reports. A fake Canada Post job ad has appeared at least in the Vancouver Sun, the Calgary Sun, the Halifax Daily News and the Kamloops Daily News. Applicants calling for the job have been faxed a fake application form. Canada Post spokesperson Lillian Au:

“Unsuspecting individuals are asked to complete the form and provide personal banking information,” Au told CBC News on Tuesday.

My humble opinion is that this one is far too obvious. Since when have postal officials anywhere in the World shown any interest in evaluating their customer service?

Trigger happy police

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 7:33 | Posted in crime | Leave a comment
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A film team of Angolan director Radical Ribeiro was shooting a crime movie in a rough neighborhood in Luanda as police entered the location and started shooting. The team were filming a robbery scene and they had all necessary permits. Unfortyunately, though, nobody apparently told the police.

The police shot dead two actors who were carrying unloaded guns for the scene. Having understood their mistake, the police just shrugged their shoukders and left the scene. No comment from Angolan officials is available.

Source: BBC

Criminal record for YouTube libel

Friday, August 24, 2007 at 20:47 | Posted in crime, Finland, Legal, youtube | Leave a comment

As I noted for a while ago, a 15 year old school kid in eastern Finland was charged for libel after his teacher refused to accept his apology and insisted on criminal charges be brought up against the kid. The boy had posted a video in YouTube featuring the teacher singing at a school party. The video was entitled “Karaoke at the mental hospital” whereby the teacher’s name appeared with insinuation that the performer was a mental patient.

A court in Nurmes has now found the teenager guilty of libel. He was sentenced to a fine of 90 €. He is additionally to pay a damage compensation of 800 € to the teacher and pay 2000 € of legal expenses.

So the kid is to pay 2890 € of which the 90 € fine is critical for his future. The court could have opted to find him guilty and impose the compensations be paid but leave him unpunished. Apparently the court did not think that repent, an apology, a public trial and compensations of 2800 € were a punishment enough. They chose to add up the 90 € fine just to make sure that the kid gets a criminal record.

via Janne Saarikko

Update (5th September): Helsingin Sanomat writes that the boy’s lawyer has filed an appeal on the court verdict. He is asking the higher court to reject the criminal verdict and overturn the damage compensation of 800 €. As a secondary motion, the lawyer is asking that his client, if found guilty, be left without a punishment.

Do-it-yourself crime investigation

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 3:09 | Posted in Alcohol, crime, social, Sweden | 1 Comment

The mother of a 14 year old in Southern Sweden was furious as her son came home heavily intoxicated, Dagens Nyhter writes. I guess every mother would be angry but not everybody would do what this mom did. She had her son call the person who had provided the booze and order another delivery. As the man arrived with the delivery, police officers entered from behind the corner and busted the dealer for illegal sales of alcoholic beverages.

The police in Lund say this was not a case of entrapment to commit a crime which is illegal in Sweden. The police deny any knowledge of the incident before the mother contacted them and say that the patrol was acting to stop a crime in progress. A senior officer described the mother’s action as a contribution by a “citizen investigator”.

This sort of citizen initiative is not uncommon in many places elsewhere but it is almost unprecedented in Sweden. Swedes are not eager to interfere if they witness a crime being committed and they also expect much of parenting to be performed by the society. I wonder if this do-it-yourself crime investigation is an isolated incident or a sign of a new attitude developing among Swedes.

Crooks and bloggers

Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 5:46 | Posted in crime, USA | Leave a comment

Did you know what all of the following persons have in common?

Head, Fat Boy, Boo Boo, Meatball, Money Cash, Big Stupid, Butter, P-Funk, Dirt, Ed Lover, Gotti, Godfather and Corleone

All of them appear in the nick name data base of the DC police. They could best be described as street gangsters and they are commonly known by those nicks. Informants would often not be in a position to tell the police their real names which makes the data base the only way the cops could possibly trace these bad guys.

Does this ring a bell? It sure does to me. Sounds like villains have at least something in common with bloggers.

Robin Hood defence

Monday, August 13, 2007 at 3:08 | Posted in crime, odd | Leave a comment
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The notorious Spanish bank robber Jaime Jimenez Arbe a.k.a The Loner, who was arrested in Portugal while heavily armed, is apparently trying to deliver some sort of a Robin Hood defence, according to Reuters:

Spain’s most wanted thief, “The Loner,” saw himself as a Robin Hood-style figure and said he robbed banks only because they stole from the public, his lawyer said Thursday.

Jimenez also says he is not a killer, he just had to shoot at law enforcing officers because he did not want to get caught. Well, who would?

The Loner only lived up to the Robin Hood legend half heartedly: he stole from the rich but he never gave the money to the poor. Instead, he deposited it in several bank accounts. I guess that would be partly in the spirit of Robin. If banks steal from the public, he did at least not mind being stolen the money he stole.

Convicted for wanking

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 19:22 | Posted in crime, odd, USA | 14 Comments

Terry Lee Alexander, 20, of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, is serving a ten year sentence for armed robbery in Broward County, Florida. He got his sentence topped up with another 60 days as a court of law found him guilty of the horrible crime of wanking in his cell, the Guardian writes.

The incident was reported by sherrif’s office deputy Coryus Veal who seems to have a crunch on wanking inmates. She has reported seven cases of wanking inmates earlier.

Ms Veal, who has charged seven other inmates with the same offence, said she was not against masturbation, but she objected to Alexander performing it so blatantly. She told the court that most inmates masturbated in bed, under the blankets.

The deputy said it was the third time she had caught Alexander masturbating, and she had had enough.

Maybe that was the problem. In the old days when wanking was considered as a dreadful sin kids were told to keep their hands on the blanket and under no circumstances let them glide under it. The jury did not buy defense lawyer Kathleen McHugh’s arguments that a cell is a private area and there is nothing wrong in wanking.

“Did other inmates start masturbating because of Mr Alexander?” Ms McHugh asked Ms Veal. “Did you call a Swat team?”

“I wish I had,” the deputy replied.

Commenting the case after the verdict, a member of the jury, David Sherman, said the case was “straight forward”:

Mr Sherman said jurors determined that a prison cell, which was owned and operated by the government, was neither public nor private but was a “limited access public place’.’

It is the official view of this blog that masturbating is a human right. Inmates in custody should be provided opportunities to exercise their their right to wank without surveillance of prison personnel who have a record of being trigger happy to bust wankers.

via Genese

Veryangel.cn steels from bloggers

Friday, July 20, 2007 at 18:42 | Posted in Blogosphere, crime, internet, WordPress | 3 Comments
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I just noticed another incident of blog contents theft. This blog post I wrote in December 2006 has been copied and pasted into http://www.veryangel.cn/1034/use-the-freeking-condom-more-shameless-remarks-by-larko. No permission asked, not even a reference to the source. All of the “blog” seems to be stolen contents pepped up with Google ads, of course.

A WHOIS inquiry shows that the domain was registered just a few days ago and they are already busy steeling food from bloggers’ tables. The registrant organisation looks something like this 上海澳凯信息技术有限公司 and the registrant name is 徐光寅. I guess that would make it somewhat difficult to sue them.

My constructive suggestion (i.e. freedbacking) to the WordPress.com team is to block these contents thieves from access to WordPress.com blogs. My constructive suggestion to 徐光寅 would be to stop steeling my contents at once. Also, send me all your money and an I owe you where I can fill in the numbers.

Swedish sports clubs cracked

Monday, July 9, 2007 at 7:01 | Posted in crime, internet, Sweden | Leave a comment
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According to Aftonbladet, a number of Swedish sports clubs and sports related web sites have been cracked during the weekend. Sites related to ice-hockey and football have been inserted the official looking warning by the criminal police saying that the site you are about to enter is suspected for spreading child pornography. The affected sites have nothing to do with child pornography.

Sites of Swedish ice-hockey clubs Hammarby and MoDo were attacked on Saturday. The warning was also posted on the site of Hammarby’s football division and the football portal Fotbolldirekt.com. The latter seems to be down as I type.

“This does not look very good for us either”, criminal police spokes person Linda Vidmark says to Aftonbladet. “We need to think out how to get about it”, Vidmark goes on to say.

via Saftblandaren

Danish judge upheld privacy

Friday, June 15, 2007 at 3:15 | Posted in crime, Denmark, internet, Legal | Leave a comment
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A Danish judge through out evidence obtained by the police by hacking in to a password protected web forum, Berlingske Tidende writes. The police and prosecutor have not much above the banned evidence to back their charges against nine alleged football hooligans. They are charged for having planned a fight in Enghave S-train station in Copenhagen.

A group of FC København supporters calling themselves Copenhagen Casuals have a password protected forum. The police admitted having obtained a password through a security hole in the system. They then followed the forum discussions and used the contents of the site as evidence.

The judge said that peeking in to the site was equal to other intrusions of privacy, such as telephone ease-dropping. Hence, the police needed a court order which they did not seek. The judge also pointed out that a court would not have allowed the hack because the crime was not serious enough to justify intrusion of privacy according to Danish law.

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