It’s not a new phenomenon. For 20 years, the FBI and federal prosecutors in the Big Apple have led the charge against international terrorism. That’s why it was a squad of FBI agents from New York who were dispatched last month to Kenya to probe the al Shabab attack on the Westgate mall. And it’s why a grand jury in New York is the one that indicted al Qaeda leader al-Libi for his role in bombing the buildings in Kenya and Tanzania 15 years ago. Jihadists Threaten Revenge for US Libya Snatch Operation “When we started doing al Qaeda cases we needed to give it to an FBI field office and the New York field office was the first one to have a real counterterrorism squad because they investigated the first World Trade Center bombing,” said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterror czar. After the 1993 WTC bombing, a foreshadowing event that killed six, feds in New York were assigned a host of international terror cases. They went after those behind the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, and they charged fundamentalist Egyptian cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri with inspiring attacks against Westerners. It was the New York FBI office that dispatched agents to work in concert with the CIA’s “Alec Station,” dedicated to hunting Osama bin Laden before 9/11. And early this year, the feds brought bin Laden’s nephew, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, to Manhattan, where he now faces terror charges that could see him imprisoned for life. Much of the expertise was developed by the feds during the embassy bombing investigation that focused on al-Libi and his henchmen. Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration moved away from holding terror trials in New York in favor of the then-new facility at the naval base made famous by the movie “A Few Good Men,” at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Trial of Madoff employees in New York begins with jury selection
CDT, October 8, 2013 NEW YORK (Reuters) – An exhibit of paintings by the artist Marc Chagall explores a neglected period in Chagall’s career in Paris during the rise of fascism in the 1930s and while he was in exile in New York during the 1940s. “Chagall: Love, War and Exile,” which runs through February 2 at the Jewish Museum, includes 31 paintings and 22 works on paper, and selected letters, poems and photographs. The works in the exhibit, divided into four galleries, show how Chagall used the image of Christ on the cross to depict the suffering of Jews. “Chagall approached this subject in a very personal way. In certain works the image of the Jewish Jesus conveyed his personal angst while in others he equated the martyrdom of Jesus on the cross with the persecution of the Jewish people,” said Susan Tumarkin Goodman, the curator of the exhibit. The artist, who was born in 1887 in Vitebsk in Belarus to a religious family, created a simple line drawing of the Crucifixion as early as 1908, but it did not become a prevalent image in his work for another three decades. After the Russian Revolution, Chagall moved to Paris with his wife and daughter. Goodman said living away from his homeland inspired work based on memories of his childhood. Chagall drew on symbols meaningful to both Jews and Christians. A 1933 painting, “Solitude,” shows a Jew wrapped in a prayer shawl, holding a Torah scroll as an angel flies skyward. “‘Solitude’ was done in direct response to Hitler’s election as chancellor of Germany and the onset of the Nazi regime,” said Goodman.
Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid By Bernard Vaughan NEW YORK | Tue Oct 8, 2013 4:06pm EDT NEW YORK (Reuters) – The trial of five former employees of imprisoned swindler Bernard Madoff began on Tuesday with questions for dozens of potential jurors, including whether they were familiar with some of the most famous victims of the multibillion-dollar fraud. About 200 juror candidates filled the ceremonial courtroom in federal court in Manhattan, the judge asking each defendant, their lawyers and the prosecutors to stand and turn slowly as she introduced them. Prosecutors accuse the defendants of helping Madoff, once a respected investment manager, operate a fraud over decades that caused more than $17 billion in losses. Madoff, 75, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in March 2009 in a case that shook public confidence in regulators. The prosecution said the five created false records and fabricated exotic-sounding transactions to fool investors and regulators. All have pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges, including securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud Madoff’s clients. Some have indicated in court filings that they were unaware of the fraud, or that Madoff fooled them. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain asked the potential jurors if they were familiar with famous reported victims of Madoff’s swindle, including actors Kevin Bacon and Zsa Zsa Gabor, movie mogul Steven Spielberg and New York Mets Major League Baseball team owner Fred Wilpon. While Madoff, who was arrested in December 2008, said he acted alone, prosecutors have charged 15 of his associates. Of them, nine have pleaded guilty and six, including the five on trial, have pleaded not guilty. The defendants on trial are Daniel Bonventre, the director of operations for the firm’s back office, who started working for Madoff around 1968; Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi, who managed clients’ investment accounts; and computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez. All except Bonventre previously declined plea offers from prosecutors, their lawyers told Swain at a hearing on Tuesday morning before jury selection began. ‘TWO AND A HALF MEN’ Selecting 12 suitable jurors and six alternates for what is expected to be a five month trial could take days.