January 31, 2006, - 3:59 pm
Illegal Aliens? Fuhgedaboutit: ICE Agents Now NFL’s Superbowl Trademark Police – Abu Moskowitz Update
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
If you’re a terrorist laundering money to Hezbollah or smuggling illegal aliens over the border, this is the week to do it. At least, in Michigan–the heart of Islamic America. Just make sure you and the aliens aren’t wearing NFL or Superbowl t-shirts.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz a/k/a “Abu Moskowitz” is taking ICE agents all over Michigan off the job of protecting us . . . so that they can help NFL billionaires.
In July, we wrote about Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend and how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents were busy keeping you safe from the dangerous t-shirts.
Now, the weather is colder and the game is football. Different season and sport, same story. Abu Moskowitz is busy trying to get his picture in the paper and in sports media outlets far and wide.
We appreciate Lilliput native Abu Moskowitz’s desire to engage in the proverbial jock-sniffing (and maybe a swanky Superbowl party invite from R. Kelly and Diddy) that comes with being an ineffective immigration law enforcer and terrorism money-laundering stopper in the vicinity of the premier televised sports event. But not all his agents appreciate being National Football League Properties’ auxiliary trademark enforcement police. Can you blame them?
They are taking their orders not from Homeland Security or even the inept, ineffective new ICE Princess, Julie L. Myers. Nope. They are being commandeered by the NFL and NFL lawyers, like Paula Gibault, who described the new-found immigration law enforcement “activities” thusly:
“There will be a much bigger team of Detroit police and Customs officials that will be out with the NFL” than there were at previous Super Bowls, Guibault said.
“There’s the potential to catch a lot more counterfeiters,” she said, particularly since Detroit is a border crossing. All agencies involved assign more officers every year to the effort.
Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Detroit Police Department and the National Football League are gearing up for Operation Gridiron, a law enforcement initiative around Metro Detroit looking for sales of unlicensed Super Bowl and NFL merchandise.
Federal officials and NFL officials plan to announce the counterfeit crackdown at a press conference in Detroit on Feb. 2.
We, taxpayers, pay for Abu Moskowitz and his agents to protect us from the illegal alien invasion and terrorism money-laundering and smuggling. But Abu M–the proud Donna Summers “Bad Girl” to the most extremist Muslims in town (including “former” terrorist and FBI award revokee Imad Hamad)–has failed miserably at both those tasks in his heart-of-Islamic-America jurisdiction. And most of the press he’s gotten on these topics has been on this site and others excerpting and reprinting from it.
So, Abu M figures he can please his glad-handing enablers at ICE Headquarters by working for the billionaire NFL owners and getting some positive press in places like ESPN.com. Problem is, the person who pays Abu M’s and his agents’ salaries is Joe Taxpayer, not Joseph Billionaire NFL Owner III.
While Abu Moskowitz is telling any press who will listen and pander–like his buddy, Detroit News fabricator David Shepardson–that he is having his agents enforce laws against counterfeiting by investigating those who produce counterfeit items and finding “terror links” (as he claimed to ESPN), his agents say otherwise.
In fact, according to Abu M’s agents, all persons at baseball’s All-Star festivities caught by ICE agents selling counterfeit items were released on the spot, in exchange for relinquishing the t-shirts and hats they were selling. And none of their information was even taken by the agents. How there could then be an investigation is a question only Einstein (or perhaps, lesser light, Abu Moskowitz, could answer–but the pandering reporter didn’t bother to ask).
Still Abu Moskowitz lied to Shepardson (who, as usual, never bothers to fact-check) and The Detroit News, fertilizing richly:
Operation Gridiron is similar to efforts to find and deter fraud during last summer’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Detroit, said Brian Moskowitz, the special agent in charge of ICE.
During the baseball sweeps, authorities confiscated about 16,000 illegal hats worth about $250,000, he said. The investigation is ongoing with an eye toward tracing the merchandise back to its maker.
“What you’re looking at is a $250 billion loss to U.S. industry,” Moskowitz said of general trademark theft. “This represents organized crime and potential threats to the safety of the public. This is not a victimless crime.”
Hmmm . . . . organized crime and threats to the safety of the public–and Abu Moskowitz had his agents release the suspects without even identifying them?! Not very swift . . . assuming this is really a big threat. And it isn’t. Unless you are a member of the Rooney or Allen families . . . or any of the other select, elite NFL billionaires sharing in the pot. We’re all for capitalism, but let them pay for their own trademark police.
We once wrote that ICE–because it’s too cheap to spend money on oil changes for agent’s “G” cars, but spends thousands on important law enforcement activities like re-decorating Abu Moskowitz’s office–should be called the “Anti-Pimp My Ride.” But we were wrong. It’s now the “Pimp My Law Enforcement.”
Here’s what Abu M told ESPN back in July:
“A lot of people ask ‘What the heck are you guys in Homeland Security doing with counterfeiters?'” said Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE in Michigan and Ohio. “First and foremost, we’re looking for vulnerabilities in our trade system; vulnerabilities that criminals — and by proxy, terrorists — could exploit.”
The cost of the raid may be staggering, but Moskowitz sees it as important work.
“Our focus is not the individual vendor,” Moskowitz said. “It’s the criminal organizations behind the vendors.
“But it’s something more than someone buying a hat at a cheap price. It’s fueling activity that might be worse than the counterfeiting. At the end of the day, this stops if people don’t buy.”
Again, “terrorists”, “criminal organizations”, and “activity . . . worse than the counterfeiting.” Yet, Abu Moskowitz is releasing them without even a modicum of investigation.
Well, at least he’s consistent on that year-round. We just hope we don’t see him at any Superbowl parties.
We won’t feel any safer with him around . . . unless Mohammed is wearing a phony Matt Hasselbeck jersey.
***UPDATE, 02/01/06: Here is what a high-ranking ICE Agent, who worked on this issue for his entire career, said. It confirms everything we wrote above publicity-hungry, law-enforcement-empty Abu Moskowitz’s Super Bowl “efforts” and makes us wonder just what we are paying for in the billion-busting ICE budget. Hmmm, maybe if his quest to become ICE Director of National Security doesn’t work out, maybe we will see Abu M at the Park Avenue offices of the League:
The reason ICE has jumped on the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) bandwagon with the NFL (in addition to the reasons you have already cited) is as follows:
ICE shares responsibility on IPR enforcement with the FBI. ICE management’s worst nightmare would be for the FBI to generate a big dollar, high publicity case involving NFL merchandise. They (ICE management) would engage in any high publicity stunt to reduce the chances of that happening.
IPR cases are fairly easy to work from an Agents standpoint, low in complexity, high in return and statistical value. These cases don’t, for the most part, involve your sophisticated drugs-and-guns-for-t-shirt cartels, but rather energetic entrepreneurs who want to make a quick buck and are willing to take a chance and openly sell Super Bowl merchandise, believing that they will not get caught, and if they do, nothing will really happen to them. They’re not trying to finance terrorism. I am unaware of any IPR case worked by ICE (or US Customs) that was directly connected to financing a known terrorist organization.
It is all about the continuation of an illusion and creating the perception that ICE is on the front lines of preventing terrorism, which is the stated mission of DHS and ICE. This type of operation does not and will not stop, hinder, reduce, redirect, or intercept terrorism in any way. But it will give the public the IMPRESSION that those goals have been achieved when, after the Super Bowl, ICE management can release statistics that state ” $x-million” dollars worth of merchandise have been seized and x-numbers of people have been arrested. The fact is, unless there are other circumstances involved (guns, violence, drugs, etc.), the vast majority of these cases will NOT be prosecuted in Federal court.
Some ICE employees, particularly highly visible management, will love working this because it ingratiates them to the NFL, who could be a potential employer after retirement. In addition, the NFL is likely to reward those involved with this operation in some innocuous way like NFL trinkets, photo ops, player autographs, access to behind the scenes activities, access to NFL functions and parties, and thus, more
and better personal contacts.
I am not at all opposed to the creation of a “task force” of sorts comprised of people from all the agencies (Federal, state, and local) to combat, detect, and eradicate counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise. All IPRs (not just NFL’s) are subject to protection and there are real violations of law taking place. But this needs to be balanced within the total mission and priorities of ICE. This should not be approached as an opportunity for an infomercial for ICE. Dedicating an entire SAC [Special Agent in Charge] office staff to this is erroneous and counterproductive, and simply put: bogus!
IPR cases used to be good training cases for new Agents just out of the Academy–they were simple, fun, and introduced new Agents to a variety of law enforcement techniques and processes on a very basic level. They are not, and never have been, connected with terrorism. And if they were, who do you think would instantly take over the case from ICE in accordance with the ICE/FBI memo of understanding? The FBI!
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