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TODAY
Friday August 18th, 2017


"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf

Updated hrs

World & National 
"The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people."
-- Justice Hugo L. Black
(1886-1971) US Supreme Court Justice

SENIOR ADVISOR MOVING ON AFTER IMPRESSIVE RUN, THE DRUDGE REPORT HAS LEARNED...
POPULIST HERO MAY RETURN TO BREITBART...

Trump Tells Aides He Has Decided to Remove Stephen Bannon

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President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.




Capitol's Confederate cleansing poses difficult decisions for Democrats
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As Democratic leaders threw their support Thursday behind a proposal to take down any statue connected with the Confederacy, President Trump wondered where they would draw the line.

Sen. Cory A. Booker, the New Jersey Democrat who called for culling the Confederacy, did not say what should be done about Richard Stockton, a slave owner who is one of his state’s contributions to the Capitol Collection.

Nor did Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s office respond to a question about whether his office should be renamed from the Robert C. Byrd Rooms — as homage to one of his predecessors as the Democratic leader, who was at one time a KKK member.



Mattis Rebuts Bannon: NKorea Faces 'Strong Military Consequences'

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In what Politico billed as an apparent rebuttal of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, Defense Secretary James Mattis vowed "strong military consequences" for North Korea (DPRK) if the rogue nation, a burgeoning nuclear threat, strikes the United States or its allies.

"I just can assure you that, in close collaboration with our allies, there are strong military consequences if the DPRK initiates hostilities," Sec. Mattis said to conclude a bilateral security meeting Thursday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, and Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the State Department.

"Any initiation of hostilities will be met with an effective and overwhelming response," Mattis said in his initial statement.



Mainstream conservative groups alarmed to be found on 'hate map'

Brad Dacus was thousands of miles away in California last weekend when the Charlottesville protest erupted, so he was flabbergasted when CNN labeled his Pacific Justice Institute a “hate group.”

“Here are all the active hate groups where you live,” said the CNN wire story headline on Chicago’s WGN-TV website.

The article listed the 917 organizations on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s much-disputed “hate map,” which names racist groups like the Aryan Nation alongside mainstream conservative organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.

Mr. Dacus’ conservative Sacramento-based institute, which specializes in religious-liberty cases, was featured on the CNN list right below the Pacific Coast Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

“Why is the Southern Poverty Law Center doing this? It’s simple. They want to vilify and isolate anyone that doesn’t agree with their very extremist leftist policy and ideology,” said Mr. Dacus. “This isn’t about defending civil rights; this is about attacking civil rights.”



Judge in tea party case orders IRS to disclose employee names, reasons

                U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton laid out six questions that the IRS must answer, including the employees' names, why tea party groups were targeted for extra scrutiny and how the IRS has tried to prevent a repeat. (Associated Press/File)
A federal judge on Thursday ordered the IRS to name the specific employees the agency blames for targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and said the government must prove it has ceased the targeting.

Judge Reggie B. Walton also said the IRS must explain the reasons for the delays for 38 groups that are part of a lawsuit in the District of Columbia, where they are still looking for a full accounting of their treatment.

Judge Walton approved another round of limited discovery in the case and laid out six questions that the IRS must answer, including the employees’ names, why the groups were targeted and how the IRS has tried to prevent a repeat.



Rep. Peter King: Trump Should Fire Bannon

Rep. Peter King on Thursday became the first Republican in Congress to call for President Donald Trump to fire chief strategist Steve Bannon.

"It’s important for the president to fire Steve Bannon," the New York representative told WABC-TV. "He should go."

Bannon has been under fire for his alt-right ties — and President Trump gave him a tepid endorsement in a heated session with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan.


Pentagon eyes bitcoin blockchain technology as cybersecurity shield

Used by terrorists, drug dealers and money launderers, the shadowy online currency bitcoin may soon be drafted by the Pentagon as a way to shield U.S. military technology, communications and purchases.

Private analysts say that using blockchain, the technological backbone of bitcoin, could dramatically improve security across the U.S. military, preventing megahacks, tampering and cyberhijackings of vehicles, aircraft or satellites.

Particularly alarming to U.S. defense analysts are Chinese intelligence collection operations aimed at commercial transactions, which have been highlighted as a growing threat to U.S. national security with the American military personnel, national security decision-makers and critical infrastructure entities increasingly targeted.



Debbie Wasseerman Schultz's IT aide Imran Awan indicted on four counts

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s former IT aide Imran Awan was indicted Thursday on four counts including making false statements and conspiracy, Fox News reported.

Mr. Awan and other IT aides have been under suspicion by investigators for months after being accused of stealing equipment and sensitive information from House members’ computers. Many lawmakers had already terminated him from their service, but Ms. Schultz, Florida Democrat and a former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, kept him on the payroll until his arrest.

Mr. Awan was arrested last month at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia trying to board a plane to Pakistan where he allegedly sent the money to his family there.



'Stay Away' From Boston Common During Free Speech Rally?


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is urging people to stay away from a planned Free Speech Rally scheduled for Saturday on Boston Common.

Walsh made the comments Friday as he discussed security for the event alongside Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and Gov. Charlie Baker.

The mayor said he has spoken with the Southern Poverty Law Center for guidance on how to handle events involving white supremacists.



U.S. Cyber Command raised to full combatant status

President Trump said Friday he is elevating the U.S. Cyber Command to a full combatant command, and will likely split off cyber operations from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency.

Mr. Trump said the move, which had been expected, “will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our nation’s defense.”

“The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries,” the president said.



The Democrats search for another Lost Cause

To arms! The Confederates are coming! The Confederates are coming!

Union scouts have already discovered Robert E. Lee at the gates of the city, lining up the gallant Pelham’s artillery to fire the opening round, and Stonewall Jackson and Jeb Stuart are expected to arrive on a night train from the Shenandoah Valley.

Not since First Manassas, when the Yankees fled the battlefield in blind panic, after taking a licking in the first battle of the Cruel War of Northern Aggression, has the Capital quailed in such fear and trembling.



'Red-teaming' the diplomatic option in Korea?

Why a Trump meeting with Kim Jong-un might be a good idea

Should President Trump meet personally with Kim Jong-un? John Glover, a graduate student at George Mason University wrote an article advocating such a meeting and, frankly, I think that he’s on to something.

The frequent crisis situations that North Korea instigates with the West are exacerbated by the fact that the leaders have never talked. Unlike Nikita Khrushchev and Mao Zedong during the Cold War, no North Korean leader has ever met a U.S. president and the lack of face-to-face dialogue probably exacerbates the tensions exponentially. I do not think that the current crisis will result in war, but as North Korea increases its missile and nuclear capability exponentially, the chance of a miscalculation becomes greater and greater.

Over the years I have played the North Korean tactical commander in a number of war games. In getting into role, I’ve had to study what we know of North Korean doctrine, strategy and psychology. I have often tried to conceive of what would drive Pyongyang to start what would be a suicidal war.

"It is discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
-- Noel Coward
     (1899-1973) British playwright


Medal of Honor


Army Medal of Honor


The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.

Since then there have been:  • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
    • Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor. 

Citation

Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United States Army.



3/14/20017

We Have Met the Enemy…

      
Geoff Metcalf
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
              
--Benjamin Franklin
“The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security.”
              
--Louis Freeh
In the wake of the clamor over the most recent WikiLeaks data dump, ‘Vault 7’, ‘UMBRAGE’, et al, it should be noted this is not really anything new. What we are seeing here is simply the evolution of something that goes back to the late 50s (to the incomplete best knowledge I have).

It is kinda cool to finally see even the New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/opinion/the-truth-about-the-wikileaks-cia-cache.html?_r=0) acknowledging material I was writing about in 1998 (http://www.wnd.com/1998/04/6108/ ).

In April of 1998 I wrote “Privacy has become an anachronism.” I was commenting on “a massive system designed to intercept all your e-mail, fax traffic and more.” I was explaining ‘Echelon’, the illegitimate offspring of a UKUSA treaty (https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukusa/ ) signed by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Its purpose was, and is, to have a vast global intelligence monster, which allegedly shares common goals. The system was so “efficient” that reportedly National Security Agency folk from Fort Meade could work from Menwith Hill in England to intercept local communications without either nation having to burden themselves with the formality of seeking approval (a court order) or disclosing the operation. And this was all pre-9/11 and pre-the anti-constitutional ‘Patriot Act’.

It is illegal (without a Judge’s signed permission) for the United States to spy on its citizens … kinda. The laws have long been circumvented by a mutual pact among five nations. Under the terms of UKUSA agreement, Britain spies on Americans and America spies on British citizens, and then the two conspirators trade data. A classic technical finesse. It is legal, but the intent to evade the spirit is inescapable.

I often fictionalized the genesis of ‘Echelon’ as an informal meeting of a group of post war American and British intelligence types drinking in some remote rustic bar. An imagined CIA type complains to his MI6 buddy about the hassles of US laws preventing US intelligence from surveillance of bad guys, and the Brit echoes the same complaint.

“Hey wait a moment mate,” says Nigel, the make-believe MI6 guy, “I can spy on your guys and you can spy on our bad players…why don’t we just come up with a mechanism whereby we spy on your villains, you spy on our villains, and we just ‘share’ the intel?”

This system was called ECHELON, and has been kicking around in some form longer than most of you. The result of the UKUSA treaty signed by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was, and is, to have a vast global intelligence monster which allegedly shares common goals.

The London Telegraph reported in December of 1997 that the Civil liberties Committee of the European Parliament had officially confirmed the existence and purpose of ECHELON. “A global electronic spy network that can eavesdrop on every telephone, e-mail and telex communication around the world will be officially acknowledged for the first time in a European Commission report. …”

The report noted: “Within Europe all e-mail, telephone and fax communications are routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency, transferring all target information from the European mainland via the strategic hub of London, then by satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the crucial hub at Menwith Hill, in the North York moors in the UK.

“The ECHELON system forms part of the UKUSA system but unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, ECHELON was designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations and businesses in virtually every country.”

An interesting sidebar appeared in the International Herald Tribune under the headline, “Big Corporate Brother: It Knows More About You Than You Think.” The story details Acxiom Corp, which was a humongous information service hidden in the Ozark foothills. Twenty-four hours a day, Acxiom electronically gathered and sorts all kinds of data about 196 million Americans. Credit card transactions and magazine subscriptions, telephone numbers, real estate records, automotive data, hunting, business and fishing licenses, consumer surveys and demographic detail that would make a marketing department’s research manager salivate. This relatively new (legal) enterprise was known as “data warehousing” or “data-mining”, and it underscores the cruel reality that the fiction of personal privacy has become obsolete. Technology’s ability to collect and analyze data has made privacy a quaint albeit interesting dinosaur.

The Tribune reported that “Axciom can often determine whether an American owns a dog or cat, enjoys camping or gourmet cooking, reads the Bible or lots of other books. It can often pinpoint an American’s occupation, car and favorite vacations. By analyzing the equivalent of billions of pages of data, it often projects for its customers who should be offered a credit card or who is likely to buy a computer.”

Most of this information is from y 1998 piece.  Echelon has developed, matured, and morphed into a much more powerful hybrid. ‘Carnivore’ was software to help triage the cacophony of data. Vault 7 and ‘Umbrage’ are logical (some would argue “insidious”) growth.

    More to follow…




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