Thursday August 17th, 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

Suspected terror attack in Barcelona
                      A police officer cordon off a street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city's historic Las Ramblas district, injuring several people. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

A white van jumped the sidewalk in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district on Thursday, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said.

Spain’s El Pais newspaper, citing police sources, says perpetrators of van incident in Barcelona holed up in a bar.

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled.
Van hits crowd in Barcelona; 4 DEAD, dozens hurt...
HORROR SCENE...
Video shows bodies, blood strewn across ground...
Armed men entrenched in bar...
OUTSIDE KOSHER RESTAURANT...
Dozens hurt... MORE...
TERROR ATTACK...
SKY NEWS: LIVE...


Joint Chiefs take unprecedented step to condemn racism in wake of Charlottesville

                         From left: Army Gen. Mark Milley, Navy Adm. John Richardson, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller and Air Force Gen. David Goldfein acknowledged to the Senate Arms Services Committee that they had not discussed the readiness crisis with their commander in chief. Donald Trump said generals under President Obama have been "reduced to rubble." (Associated Press)

The top officers in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force presented a united front against the bigotry and racism fueling recent clashes between white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, ending with one dead and 19 wounded.

The multiple statements by the defense chiefs Tuesday night and Wednesday morning did not mention President Trump or who was at fault in Charlottesville, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes it illegal for a commissioned officer to say anything that can be interpreted as a direct criticism of the president.

But the messages appeared to draw a clear line between the president’s mixed reaction to the confrontation and the clear line they were setting for soldiers, sailors and Marines.



Trump disbands two economic advisory councils after mass resignations


President Trump disbanded two of his economic advisory councils Wednesday, faced with the embarrassing resignations of numerous business leaders amid rising condemnation over his comments about violence at a white nationalist rally and a liberal pressure campaign.

Mr. Trump abruptly announced that he was shuttering the business groups just after news broke that one of them, the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum chaired by Blackstone CEO and Trump confidante Stephen Schwarzman, intended to disband on its own.



Sessions praises Miami-Dade progress, challenges crime-ridden Chicago to end 'sanctuary' policy

                               Attorney General Jeff Sessions, flanked by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (left) and Tom Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, hailed the Florida county as a place that reversed its "sanctuary" policies for illegal immigrants and lowered its rate of violent crime. (Associated Press)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a direct challenge to Chicago on Wednesday, saying the high number of homicides is no coincidence for a city that refuses to cooperate with federal deportation authorities, while Miami is cooperating — and reaping the benefits of public safety.

Traveling on Wednesday to Miami-Dade County, one of two jurisdictions that the Justice Department recently cleared of having “sanctuary” policies that defy federal immigration laws, Mr. Sessions said working with federal authorities means safer communities.

“Miami-Dade is an example of what is possible through hard work, professional policing and a dedication to the rule of law,” said Mr. Sessions, citing the city’s progress in reducing violent crime and homicides since the 1980s.



Gen. Dunford: Peace With North Korea a 'Possibility'

                            Image: Gen. Dunford: Peace With North Korea a 'Possibility'

Peace with North Korea is a "possibility", America's most senior uniformed officer said Thursday, but warned the US has "credible, viable military options" for dealing with the errant regime.

General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, also told reporters during his visit to Beijing that the US has no plans to "dial back" military exercises with South Korea, which have angered both China and North Korea.

Dunford made the remarks on the last day of a trip to China that included a visit on Wednesday to a northern military zone near China's border with North Korea.



Steve Bannon Unrepentant, Dismisses Far Right as 'Clowns'
                         Steve Bannon Dismisses Far Right as 'Clowns'

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon dismissed the far right as irrelevant to President Donald Trump's base — "a collection of clowns" — and said the Democrats could be "crushed" if they're busy talking about "race and identity" politics.

"These guys are a collection of clowns," Bannon said of the far right to Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect in an interview published Wednesday.

"Ethno-nationalism — it's losers," Bannon added. "It's a fringe element.



North Korea shows Capitol Building being obliterated by red missiles in new series of anti-West propaganda posters
Posters show North Korean missiles falling on Washington DC and the U.S.

North Korea's latest propaganda posters shows the country bombing the United States as their 'answer' to the latest UN sanctions against the country.

The illustrations sees Pyongyang warheads destroying the Capitol Building in Washington DC, and dozens of bombs falling over a burning map of the U.S.

Proclaiming that the 'entire region of the state [U.S.] is now within range of our missiles!', the posters is the latest escalation in threats of nuclear war by North Korea.



 U.S. Hiding Key Details of  Mystery Attacks on American Diplomats in Cuba
Number of those affected by illness greater than government acknowledged

The number of U.S. government personnel targeted by a mysterious illness in Cuba last year is greater than the Trump administration has publicly acknowledged, according to multiple U.S. officials who told the Washington Free Beacon the Obama administration may have misled Congress about the full scope and nature of the attack.

U.S. officials disclosed earlier this month that six Americans were struck by a mystery illness believed to be caused by a covert sonic device in what many think was a clandestine operation targeting U.S. personnel stationed in the communist country.

The number of Americans impacted is greater than previously disclosed, according to multiple U.S. officials who told the Free Beacon that those suffering from symptoms of sonic damage appears to be more than 10.



Immigration reform for a more prosperous America

Favoring well-educated applicants would diminish social tensions

America’s immigration policy sorely needs modernization. By endorsing reforms offered by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, President Trump offers Congress an opportunity to better consider how new arrivals can contribute to national prosperity.

The United States has about 45 million immigrants and annually welcomes 1.5 million. About one-quarter are illegal and that has hardly changed in recent years — declining birth rates abroad and tougher border enforcement have slowed the inflow.

Canada and Australia face challenges similar to ours — falling birth rates, skill shortages and societies defined by waves of immigrants from Europe and Asia — and both place priority on employment needs.



Charlottesville and the loss of America's sanity

President Donald Trump, bombarded in a speech on infrastructure with repetitive and aggressive questions about Charlottesville, made clear — again — that violence, bigotry and racism in all its many forms, in all its various shapes, were not to be tolerated.

He dared to defend his initial Charlottesville comments, the ones where he neglected to specifically condemn white supremacists and the KKK, and for that, the mainstream media has determined, he must die.
Just about, anyway.

Let the feeding frenzy of media sharks begin. It’s as Rahm Emanuel, former White House top dog and current mayor of Chicago says: Never let a crisis go to waste. My, how that principle is playing here.
America, bluntly, has lost her sanity over Charlottesville. It’s like the words “white supremacist” came in the room, and critical thinking scurried.

"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. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/15/donald-trump-on-charlottesville-danged-if-he-does-/

“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…