- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Arms dealer pleads guilty to smuggling

MOBILE | A Belgian arms dealer has pleaded guilty to illegally exporting airplane engines and parts from the U.S. to Iran for use in aging F-5 fighter jets sold to the Islamic nation before its 1979 revolution.

Jacques Monsieur, along with Iranian national Dara Fotouhi, was charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy, money laundering and smuggling. Mr. Fotouhi, who previously lived in France, remains at large.

Monsieur, 56, who entered the plea Monday, was arrested by federal agents in August when he arrived in New York. Charges were filed in Alabama because the men are said to have wired money to a financial institution in Mobile for the purchase of fighter jet parts.


Former publisher to sell historic envelope

HONOLULU | A New York gallery will auction off what is thought to be one of three known surviving historic envelopes postmarked on the first day of the Pony Express.

The envelope postmarked April 3, 1860, is valued at $300,000. It is among 63 items owned by Thurston Twigg-Smith, 88, that will be sold Dec. 5 by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York. Mr. Twigg-Smith is the former publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser in Hawaii. It estimates the collection’s value is $2.5 million or more.


Club owners get prison in stampede

CHICAGO | Two owners of a Chicago nightclub where 21 people were killed in a stampede down a stairwell six years ago must go to prison, a judge said.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Gillespie sentenced Dwain Kyles and Calvin Hollins on Tuesday to two years each.

The men were convicted in September of indirect criminal contempt for disobeying a court order to close the second floor of their E2 night club. They claimed they didn’t understand.

But city prosecutors say Kyles and Hollins were motivated by pure greed in packing the nightclub with too many people.

Many victims were trapped and crushed after patrons rushed into the stairwell early Feb. 17, 2003, after someone used pepper spray to break up a fight inside the club.


Captain in ‘05 crash faces federal charges

NEWARK | The captain of a charter jet that crashed on takeoff at a New Jersey airport in 2005 has been indicted on charges of fraud and lying to investigators.

An indictment released Tuesday accuses John Kimberling of being part of a conspiracy with the owners of Platinum Jet Management to operate the charter service without proper certification. Company officials have been charged with falsifying paperwork to show the planes carried less weight than they actually did.

Prosecutors said the overloading of fuel contributed to the February 2005 crash at Teterboro Airport.


$5 million offered for bomb maker

NEW YORK | The State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for a Palestinian bomb maker suspected of targeting commercial airliners and aiding the Iraq insurgency.

Abu Ibrahim was indicted in the 1982 bombing of Pan Am Flight 830. It killed a 16-year-old boy and wounded more than a dozen other passengers as the plane headed to Honolulu from Tokyo.

Ibrahim’s real name is Husayn Muhammed al-Umari. He is also accused of a spate of bombings in the 1980s. He was born in Jaffa, in what was then Palestine.

The FBI has been trying to catch Ibrahim for decades.


U.S. accuses 10 of aiding Hezbollah

PHILADELPHIA | Federal prosecutors on Tuesday accused 10 people of having supported the Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah with weapons, fake passports, counterfeit money, stolen laptops and game consoles. It was the second set of such charges to be brought in Philadelphia in as many days.

Four of the men were indicted Tuesday - three from Lebanon and a fourth, Moussa Ali Hamdan, from New York - on charges of “conspiring to provide material support to Hezbollah.” Six others were charged with related crimes.


Abuse victims criticize bishop

PROVIDENCE | Clergy sex-abuse victims and their supporters have protested outside the offices of a Roman Catholic bishop in Rhode Island, saying he isn’t doing enough to protect children even as he’s taken on Democratic Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy for his stance on abortion rights.

They gathered outside Bishop Thomas Tobin’s Providence office Tuesday, two days after news broke that Bishop Tobin has asked Mr. Kennedy not to take Holy Communion.

They called on Bishop Tobin to do more to use his “moral leadership” to make public the names of priests credibly accused of molesting children by posting their names online.

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