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Unsealed indictment, reward -- Brian Terry murder case PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 09 July 2012 13:57
Monday, July 9, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, made the comment below about the announcement made today by the Department of Justice regarding the indictment and reward for information regarding the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The congressional investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-walking program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), began with Senator Grassley’s inquiry into whistleblower allegations that the government had allowed the transfer of illegally purchased weapons found at the scene of the murder of Agent Terry.  The Department of Justice denied the allegations to Senator Grassley for 10 months before being forced to withdraw its denial in face of evidence to the contrary.  Senator Grassley’s effort for transparency and accountability from the federal agency continues.

Grassley comment:

“Unsealing the indictment and offering a reward in this case is an important step in the right direction.  I hope the additional press attention will prompt someone with information to come forward and help the FBI find those who are guilty of Agent Terry’s murder and bring them to justice.  In May, following a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I asked FBI Director Mueller in a written question why the names of these people were not on a most-wanted list, so it’s good to finally see action today.”

 

Department of Justice announcement:

______________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        AG

MONDAY, JULY 9, 2012                           CONTACT: DEBRA HARTMAN

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV (619) 557-5610

FIVE INDIVIDUALS CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH DEATH OF A

CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION BORDER PATROL AGENT,

$1 MILLION FBI REWARD ANNOUNCED

Individuals Charged Are Allegedly Responsible for Death of Agent Brian Terry

TUCSON, Ariz. – An indictment charging five individuals involved in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was unsealed today in Tucson, and a reward of up to $1 million from the FBI for information leading to the arrest of four fugitives, was announced by Department of Justice officials.

According to the indictment, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza are charged with crimes including first degree murder, second degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, use and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.  A sixth defendant, Rito Osorio-Arellanes, is charged only with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.

The 11-count third superseding indictment, which was handed up by a federal grand jury in the District of Arizona on Nov. 7, 2011, alleges that on Dec. 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza)  engaged in a firefight with Border Patrol agents.  During the exchange of gunfire, Agent Terry was shot and killed.  The indictment alleges that the defendants had illegally entered the United States from Mexico for the purpose of robbing drug traffickers of their contraband.  In addition to the murder of Agent Terry, the indictment also alleges that the five defendants assaulted Border Patrol Agents William Castano, Gabriel Fragoza and Timothy Keller, who were with Agent Terry during the firefight.

“Agent Terry served his country honorably and made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect it from harm, and we will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for his murder to justice,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “This investigation has previously resulted in one defendant being charged with Agent Terry’s murder and taken into custody, and today’s announcement reflects the department’s unrelenting commitment to finding and arresting the other individuals responsible for this horrific tragedy so that Agent Terry’s family, friends and fellow law enforcement agents receive the justice they deserve.”

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy said, “Agent Terry died in the line of duty while protecting his country.  But he was more than a federal agent – he was a son, a brother, a co-worker and a friend to many.  The indictment unsealed today reflects the progress our dedicated law enforcement team has made piecing together this complex murder case.  But there is more work to be done and we will not rest until we bring justice to the family of Brian Terry.”

“U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry made the ultimate sacrifice in December of 2010, while protecting our border,” stated James L. Turgal Jr., FBI Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Division.  “Today’s announcement is an important step forward in the pursuit of justice for Border Patrol Agent Terry and his family.  It is our hope that the publicity surrounding this case will lead to information concerning the whereabouts of the remaining four fugitives.  The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue those individuals responsible for the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”

Manuel Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since his arrest the night of the shooting.  Rito Osorio-Arellanes has been in custody since Dec. 12, 2010, when he was arrested by Border Patrol agents on immigration charges.  The indictment is being unsealed today in order to seek the public’s assistance in locating the fugitive defendants.

This case is being prosecuted in federal court in Tucson by attorneys from the Southern District of California, Special Attorneys Todd W. Robinson, David D. Leshner, and Fred A. Sheppard.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is recused.  This case is being investigated by the FBI.

An indictment is a formal charging document and defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of the fugitives should contact the FBI's Phoenix field office at (623) 466-1999. You may also contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

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IG investigating concerns about ATF whistleblower retaliation PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 09 July 2012 13:50

Grassley, Issa concerns about whistleblower retaliation under investigation

Inspector General reviewing ATF placement of Fast and Furious whistleblowers

WASHINGTON –The Inspector General for the Department of Justice has initiated an investigation into the situation described in a June 29 letter from Senator Chuck Grassley and Chairman Darrell Issa about two whistleblowers who testified before Congress about the Fast and Furious matter under the supervision of an individual who allegedly threatened to retaliate against them.

In a letter to Grassley and Issa, Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said, “This Office takes seriously any situation where a whistleblower may face possible retaliation, and it is important that the Department ensure that whistleblowers do not suffer retaliation.  We have carefully reviewed the materials you provided, and we have initiated an investigation into this matter.”

In a letter sent last month to Horowitz, Grassley and Issa detailed inflammatory comments made last year about these two high profile whistleblowers, according to a direct eyewitness account.  Grassley and Issa sent the letter after learning the whistleblowers had been placed under the supervision of the ATF official who reportedly made the comments, Scot Thomasson.

Grassley and Issa said the alleged comments by Thomasson had been in public documents since May, and they asked the Inspector General to investigate how the ATF official has been admonished, how the ATF official was elevated and given such supervisory duties, and what steps are being taken to protect the whistleblowers from the campaign of retaliation the ATF official expressed a desire to conduct in his comments.

“It’s stunning that the ATF would allow placement of whistleblowers under the supervision of an individual who made the derisive and hostile comments reportedly made in this case,” Grassley said.  “The Inspector General’s immediate review and response is very necessary and appreciated.”

“Congress and the IG must continue to stand up for these individuals, who acted bravely when they saw wrongdoing at the ATF,” Issa said.  “In doing so, they exposed the reckless tactics that led to the death of a federal agent.  Protecting whistleblowers is absolutely critical -- it is the right thing to do.  It also ensures that others will have the courage to come forward when they, too, see wrongdoing in federal agencies.”

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Governor Quinn Issues Executive Order to Strengthen Protections of Adults with Disabilities Around Illinois PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 09 July 2012 12:12

Governor's Action to Ensure Safety of Adults with Disabilities in Domestic Settings

CHICAGO - July 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued an executive order to strengthen protections for adults who have disabilities. The Governor’s action today will ensure that potential cases of abuse and neglect of adults with disabilities who live in domestic settings will be investigated and referred to the appropriate authorities.

“In Illinois we believe that every life deserves respect and dignity,” Governor Quinn said. “My action today will strengthen the protection of adults with disabilities and ensure the necessary steps are taken if abuse or neglect takes place.”

Under Governor Quinn’s executive order, the state will strengthen protections for adults with disabilities who are suspected victims of abuse and neglect. The order will ensure referrals to the appropriate authorities are made and follow-up occurs after any death of an adult with disabilities who is the subject of a pending complaint investigation by the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), regardless of the circumstances.

Starting immediately, such cases will be reported, in writing, to local law enforcement and local coroners or medical examiners, and referrals will be documented. The OIG will follow-up on the cases to determine and document what actions have been taken and what determinations have been made by the law enforcement agency. In the past, the Office of the Inspector General referred many of these cases to local law enforcement and/or the medical examiner/coroner. In some cases, contact was made but not documented by OIG staff or the receiving entity, which is unacceptable. The OIG has also swiftly taken steps to strengthen policies and procedures to ensure referrals/notifications are properly documented.

The EO also calls for a review of all deaths of an adult with disabilities who was the subject of a pending investigation by the OIG since 2003.  In such cases where documented referrals were made to law enforcement agencies, the OIG will follow up on the outcome.  For all other cases, the OIG will undertake a detailed review of each file to determine whether further DHS OIG action or referral is required.

In the future, all cases, regardless of allegations, will be referred to local law enforcement.

“We recognize the deficiencies within the program and are committed to improving it,” said DHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler. “We support the Governor’s swift action, and we will work with the OIG to immediately implement the reforms outlined in his Executive Order.”

Full text of Governor Quinn’s executive order follows.

 

Executive Order Strengthening Reporting Requirements and  

Protective Services for Adults with Disabilities

WHEREAS, the State has an obligation to protect its most vulnerable citizens from abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and

WHEREAS, adults with disabilities living in domestic settings throughout Illinois communities must be protected from being the victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation by others; and

WHEREAS, in addition to being “created to investigate and report upon allegations of the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of individuals receiving services within mental health facilities, developmental disabilities facilities, and community agencies operated, licensed, funded or certified by the Department of Human Services,” the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Human Services (DHS OIG) is also charged with investigating “alleged or suspected cases of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of adults with disabilities living in domestic settings in the community under the Abuse of Adults with Disabilities Intervention Act (AADIA), 20 ILCS 2435; and

WHEREAS, the DHS OIG must immediately report the death of an adult with disabilities to the coroner or medical examiner and cooperate fully with any subsequent investigation when it “has reason to believe that the death of the adult with disabilities may be the result of abuse, neglect, or exploitation;” and

WHEREAS, as part of the statutory Adults with Disabilities Abuse Project, if the DHS OIG “has reason to believe that a crime has been committed, the incident shall be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency;” and

WHEREAS, immediate improvements must be made in the DHS OIG’s referral of, documentation of, and follow-up on the deaths of adults with disabilities that may be the result of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; and

WHEREAS, the effort to provide protective services to adults with disabilities living in domestic settings requires an integrated network of resources from the DHS OIG and community service providers;

THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, pursuant to the supreme executive authority vested in me by Article V, Section 8 of the Illinois Constitution, do hereby order as follows:

I. Reporting of Deaths of Adults with Disabilities by the DHS OIG

In addition to its already-existing statutory obligations under the Abuse of Adults with Disabilities Intervention Act, the DHS OIG shall: 

A.    For any death of an adult with disabilities who is the subject of a pending complaint investigation by the DHS OIG, regardless of the circumstances, immediately report the matter to both the appropriate (1) law enforcement agency and (2) coroner or medical examiner.

Such reports shall be in writing and, at a minimum, shall contain information regarding (a) the incident(s), victim(s), and subject(s), (b) the reporting of the incident to the DHS OIG, (c) the DHS OIG personnel involved, and (d) as available and applicable, case numbers for the DHS OIG, law enforcement, and the coroner or medical examiner.  The DHS OIG shall also maintain a copy of the report and shall document subsequent action, if any, by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

B.    Between 30 and 45 days after reporting the death of an adult with disabilities who is the subject of a pending complaint investigation by the DHS OIG to the appropriate law enforcement agency, contact that law enforcement agency to determine whether any further action was taken.  If no further action was taken at the end of 45 days following the DHS OIG’s report, the DHS OIG shall notify the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, in writing.

C.    In evaluating past cases, contact the applicable law enforcement agency to follow up on all death referrals made by the DHS OIG to a law enforcement agency under the AADIA since 2003.  For all other deaths of an adult with disabilities who was the subject of a pending complaint investigation by the DHS OIG since 2003, the DHS OIG shall undertake a detailed review of each file to determine whether further DHS OIG action is required.

  1. Enhancing Protective Services for Adults with Disabilities

A. Developing an Integrated State and Local Network for Adults with Disabilities

To supplement the current investigatory work of the DHS OIG under the Abuse of Adults with Disabilities Intervention Act and to ensure enhanced protective services through an integrated State and local network, the DHS OIG shall utilize and develop relationships with and, as necessary, contract with, regional and local provider agencies to provide (a) regional and local intake, outreach, and investigatory resources to the DHS OIG and (b) additional regional and local options for protective services for adults with disabilities in domestic settings.

B. Leveraging the Already Existing Network and Resources

The DHS OIG shall consult with and, to the extent practicable, use the Department on Aging’s Protective Services for Seniors Unit as a model.  Likewise, to the extent permitted by law, in order to build an integrated State and local protective services network, the DHS OIG may initially utilize the existing contracts that the Department on Aging has with regional and local providers.

  1. Savings Clause
    Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to contravene any state or federal law.
  1. Severability
    If any provision of this Executive Order is found invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
  1. Effective Date
    This Executive Order shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.
###

 
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on the Codex Alimentarius Commission's Adoption of Standards for the Veterinary Drug Ractopamine PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:45
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on the Codex Alimentarius Commission's Adoption of Standards for the Veterinary Drug Ractopamine

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2012-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today regarding the Codex Alimentarius Commission's adoption of standards for ractopamine on July 5th:

"After five years of hard work by the Codex Commission, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our federal agency partners, the United States welcomes the Commission's adoption of standards for the veterinary drug ractopamine. This action by Codex affirms the pre-eminent role of science in setting international standards for food safety.

"Currently, American producers face trade restrictions due to unjustified bans on the use of ractopamine, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and used safely in the United States for 12 years as well as 25 other countries. These standards provide clear guidance to countries about safe use of ractopamine, which promotes lean meat production.

"Codex is an inter-governmental body created by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization of the United Nations, and is recognized as the international standards setting body for food safety by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Establishment of international standards for veterinary drugs like ractopamine are important since many countries rely on science-based food standards to ensure that the food they are importing is safe. U.S. agricultural exporters benefit and consumers worldwide benefit when countries adopt international standards.

"Consumers can rest assured that their food is safe, and exporters have greater certainty about the criteria they must meet in the international marketplace."

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).


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Understanding Immigration PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:22
Fact-Based Tale of 1700s Virginia Mirrors Contemporary Immigration Challenges
Debut Novelist Says History Remains the Greatest Teacher

Understanding America’s earliest immigration conflicts -- the collision of Native Americans and European explorers and settlers – is an excellent tool for examining some of the immigration challenges and perceptions facing us today.

The two groups, neither with the barest understanding of the other, traded, bartered, bargained and fought over land. By 1700, the settlers’ movement west was at a standstill. Their vulnerability to dangers of the wilderness and the unprotected western frontier made settlement west of the great river plantations too risky.

In researching Dangerous Differences (www.quailhigh.com), a fact-based novel of the time period, author Mac Laird of Williamsburg, VA., began to understand how the two groups both collaborated and sought to protect themselves. In some instances, their efforts were fruitful. In others, they failed miserably.

The cast of fictional characters in the book live through the dangerous differences:  the notion of profit, so dear to one and unknown to the other; and the concepts of private property, fences, and the accumulation of wealth, unknown and unneeded by the tribes, yet fundamental to the settlers. A strong work ethic, honored by the settlers, stood in puzzling contrast to the hunter and warrior fixation of the tribesmen. The English devotion to one all-powerful God faced a similar devotion by the tribes to their various deities.

There seemed to be no end to the differences defying peaceful coexistence. Raids, massacres and outright war inevitably became the solution for both sides until the overpowering numbers and relentless waves of new settlers forced most of the declining tribes and individuals into submission.

Laird illustrates the impact of these troublesome times on both settlers and tribesmen. In just a few years and like most of the Virginia tribes, the Saponi had lost half of their people. Unsure of how to meet these challenges, Laird’s fictional Chief Custoga sends his 13-year old son, Kadomico, to the grammar school at the new College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, to learn the way of the English. The Virginia and North Carolina tribes are facing the loss of their hunting grounds, vicious raids and captivity by the mighty Iroquois and other strong northern tribes desperately trying to keep their own numbers strong.

“As always with history, understanding the perspectives of both the existing population and those seeking opportunity can be enlightening as Americans debate contemporary challenges,” Laird says.

About Mac Laird

After a career in telecommunications with the U.S. Navy, Mac Laird found his niche in America’s South Eastern Woodlands and began to build with the natural materials from the land in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In time, he started writing about that land and the people. His first book, Quail High Above the Shenandoah (2007) gives a vivid account of building with logs. Dangerous Differences leads the reader through the wonders of the mountains, rivers, and forests of Virginia and North Carolina and introduces the troubling differences between the frontier Indians and settlers of the new world. The author and his wife, Johnnie, now live in Williamsburg, VA.

 
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