Monday, June 18, 2018

Groups Such As ISIS Cannot Be Allowed To Exist, Defense Secretary Mattis Says

Terri Moon Cronk at the DoD News offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2018 — While Iraq has liberated all of its territory once captured and held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the U.S.-led military campaign against the rogue organization continues in Syria, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said at a meeting of the defeat-ISIS coalition at NATO headquarters in Brussels today.

Mattis attended a conference of the alliance’s defense ministers this week.

“A little over 100 hours ago, our [Syrian] partner forces began the first of several offensives to diminish ISIS’ physical caliphate,” the secretary said. “As operations ultimately draw to a close, we must avoid leaving a vacuum in Syria that can be exploited by the [Syrian President Bashar Assad] regime or its supporters.”

Despite the successes of the last year, the enduring defeat of ISIS is not over, Mattis said, noting that NATO approved a training mission yesterday and called it a step in the right direction. “We look forward to working with the new government of Iraq on this as we assist a key partner in denying our common terrorist enemy any chance to recover,” he said.

“Every battlefield is also a humanitarian field, even after the fighting stops. To ensure a lasting defeat and prevent an ISIS 2.0 requires all elements of our collective national power,” the secretary said. “Initiating and maintaining stabilization activities are essential, as citizens cannot return to normal life in communities cleared of explosives and debris, and those conditions that initially allowed ISIS to take root return.”

While coalition members have contributed generously, short-term shortfalls remain, and continued support on an urgent basis will augment local security in liberated areas, Mattis said.

Foreign-Fighter Detainees

“Each of us also has an urgent responsibility to address the foreign-fighter detainee problem,” he added. “We all must ensure captured terrorists remain off the battlefield and off our streets by taking custody of detainees from our countries or quickly coming up with suitable options.”

The United States faces the same problem and is working diligently to find a way to solve it, Mattis emphasized. “Abrogating this responsibility is not an option, as it plants the seeds for the next round of violence against innocents,” he said.

As the U.S.-led coalition has repeatedly demonstrated, its greatest weapon against the enemy and the coalition’s greatest strength remains unity, he said.

It is critical that the strong spirit of collaboration fostered by the 75-member coalition be preserved as the coalition transitions from combat to stabilization operations, so other locations do not suffer the consequences witnessed in Iraq, Syria, the Philippines and elsewhere, the secretary said.

Guiding Principles

In the guiding principles of the defeat-ISIS coalition, it is noted that “’ISIS remains a serious threat to the stability of the region and to our common security,’” Mattis said, noting that the guiding principles provide a vision for the coalition’s future and reinforce the whole-of-government approach. “Today, we plan to follow these guiding principles with a joint statement highlighting our commitment to coordinate efforts to confront ISIS globally,” he said.

While the coalition is nearing the defeat of ISIS’ so-called physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria, terrorist operations elsewhere have increased, Mattis said, adding he’s seeking insight to further discussions.

“The [United States] remains committed to the conditions-based approach, underpinned by our shared investment in shared security, and the approach is reinforced by, with and through assistance from local partners to help consolidate our hard-earned military gains,” the secretary said. “Groups like ISIS cannot be allowed to exist. Today’s meeting provides an opportunity to recommit ourselves to this mission.” 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day To My Late Father, Edward Miller Davis, WWII UDT Navy Veteran And Member Of The Greatest Generation

Happy Father’s Day to my late father, Edward Miller Davis (seen in the above photo).

My father was a lineman, electrician and a proud World War II Navy veteran.

He was a tough old Navy Chief who served as one of the first members of the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) frogmen in WWII, the forerunners of today’s Navy SEALs. 

He fought in the Pacific battles on Tinian, Saipan and the Philippines and was wounded in action.

My father ran our house like a Navy command and he instilled in his children a sense of duty, honor and respect for the military and our country. I enlisted in the Navy at 17 in 1970 due to my father's influence and my life-long interest in the military stems directly from him.

Below is a photo of my father (in the center) with his team, UDT 5, as well as photo of him with my late mother, Claire Ann Wardino Davis. 

He died in 1976 at the age of 57. He is remembered and missed. 

I mentioned my late father in a piece on the WWII UDT frogmen in Counterterrorism magazine.

You can read the piece via the below link:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

"I'd Rather Wake Up Next To A Severed Horse's Head Than Ever Watch 'Gotti': Again: New York Post Pans John Travolta's Mob Movie

Johnny Oleksinski at the New York Post pans the John Travolta John Gotti.

I’d rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch “Gotti” again.

The worst movie of the year so far, the long-awaited biopic about the Gambino crime boss’ rise from made man to top dog took four directors, 44 producers and eight years to make.

It shows. The finished product belongs in a cement bucket at the bottom of the river.

Keeping this mafioso mess alive throughout all the turmoil has been John Travolta, playing John Gotti. Travolta, who’s made a career out of Italian stereotypes, obviously thought the Dapper Don would be his Don Corleone. It’s his Chef Boy­ardee.

In one scene, he yells “whatsamattayou?!” and slaps one of his minions. In another, after John “Junior” Gotti starts a bar fight where a guy winds up dead, Travolta screams, “You c–ksucker! This is gonna ruin your life!” and again slaps him in the face.

His performance is a leather-faced freak show. And the plot is nonsensical.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: The HBO film Gotti with Armand Assante as John Gotti was a fairly good film. Armand Assante received an Emmy Award for best lead actor. 

... John Travolta defended "flattering" portrait of the man via the below link: 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Five Ways To Fight Elder Abuse, Neglect, And Financial Exploitation

Lance Robertson (seen in the above photo), the Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator, Administration for Community Living in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), offers the below information:

As Americans, we believe that people of all ages and abilities deserve to be treated fairly and equally and to live free from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. Tomorrow, on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we join the world in recognizing the importance of elders to our communities and standing up for their rights. Here are five ways you can join this fight.

1. Break Down Isolation

We cannot talk about elder abuse without talking about social isolation. Elders without strong social networks face a greater risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. It is up to all of us to ensure that our communities are supporting and engaging older adults. One simple way to do this is by staying in touch with the older adults in your community. So go ahead and knock on your neighbor’s door just to say “hi” or start an intergenerational book club or movie night. You can also support community efforts to empower elders and fight isolation; act by volunteering to deliver meals or serve as a long-term care ombudsman.

2. Learn to Spot “Red Flags”

There are a number of “red flags” that could suggest the presence of elder abuse. Examples include:

Isolation (especially by a caregiver);
Unpaid bills or utilities that have been turned off;
Unusual or quick changes in a will or other financial documents;
Missing medications; and
Bruises or welts (especially on the face).
Even if you are not certain abuse is taking place, you can report any suspicions of abuse so a professional can investigate.

3. Connect With Resources in Your Community

There are a variety of local resources in your community that help address elder abuse and social isolation. Adult Protective Services agencies investigate, and can respond to, suspected abuse. Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs advocate for residents of care facilities. Area Agency on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers can offer meals, health and wellness programs, and caregiver support programs, and Older Americans Act Legal Services Providers can offer legal help. The Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116) can connect you to all of these programs.

4. Watch Out for Scams and Fraud

Whether it is a foreign prince or a mystery caller with an exclusive “investment opportunity,” scammers steal billions of dollars from seniors every year. Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself:

Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry online or call 888-382-1222 to reduce telemarketing calls.
If you suspect Social Security fraud, report it online or call 800-269-0271.
Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
Check with a lawyer or trusted family member before signing any document you do not completely understand.

5. Talk About It

Many older adults who face abuse, neglect, or exploitation feel guilty or ashamed about their experience. One study found that for every reported case of elder abuse, 23 cases go unreported. We must become more comfortable talking about abuse in a way that makes clear that everyone, no matter what their age, is worthy of dignity and respect. Victims should never feel embarrassed or feel that they are responsible for the abuse they experienced.

The abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults goes against everything we stand for as a country. Tomorrow, as we recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and throughout the year, let’s take a stand for justice. You can find more resources at the National Center on Elder Abuse, an Administration for Community Living resource center. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flag Day: What Is It And Why Do We Celebrate It?

Zoe Szathmary at explains Flag Day history and what Flag Day means.

You can watch a video clip and read the piece via the below link:

Note: Our family so loves the Flag and is so patriotic that our daughter Brittany was born on Flag Day. 

Robert De Niro's Anti-Trump Tonys Speech Slammed As 'Disgusting' By Actor, Writer Robert Davi offers the reaction of actor Robert Davi to actor Robert De Niro’s crude act towards President Trump at the Tonys Award show.

Robert Davi had a few choice words for fellow actor Robert De Niro after the "Raging Bull" star launched a profanity-laced tirade about President Trump during Sunday's politically charged Tony Awards.

An impassioned Davi told TMZ De Niro's profanity-laced speech was "disgusting."

"It was disgusting. He shouldn’t have done it. It’s art, art unites people, it doesn’t separate people," Davi told the gossip site. "No matter how you feel about a president … or a candidate … you know, this is still America, and we should at least have respect and a certain decorum."

In Sunday night's speech, De Niro as he clenched his two fists in the air, "I'm gonna say one thing: F--- Trump!" He left panic-stricken broadcast censors trying bleep out the remarks. "It's no longer down with Trump, it's f--- Trump!"

… "I didn’t agree with President Obama, but I respected him," the "Die Hard" actor explained. "I met him, we shook hands. All right? You don’t do that, you don’t … alienate people like that."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Note: Robert Davi is a good actor, a good writer and a good man.

I loved him as a Bond villain in Licence To Kill and as a mob guy in the TV series Wiseguy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Operation WireWire: International Business E-Mail Compromise Takedown

The FBI released the below information:

Federal authorities—including the Department of Justice and the FBI—announced a major coordinated law enforcement effort to disrupt international business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes that are designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals.

Operation WireWire—which also included the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service—involved a six-month sweep that culminated in over two weeks of intensified law enforcement activity resulting in 74 arrests in the U.S. and overseas, including 42 in the U.S., 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius, and Poland. The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.

A number of cases charged in this operation involved international criminal organizations that defrauded small- to large-sized businesses, while others involved individual victims who transferred high-dollar amounts or sensitive records in the course of business. The devastating impacts these cases have on victims and victim companies affect not only the individual business but also the global economy. Since the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) began formally keeping track of BEC and its variant, e-mail account compromise (EAC), there has been a loss of over $3.7 billion reported to the IC3.

BEC, also known as cyber-enabled financial fraud, is a sophisticated scam that often targets employees with access to company finances and trick them—using a variety of methods like social engineering and computer intrusions—into making wire transfers to bank accounts thought to belong to trusted partners but instead belong to accounts controlled by the criminals themselves. And these same criminal organizations that perpetrate BEC schemes also exploit individual victims—often real estate purchasers, the elderly, and others—by convincing them to make wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by the criminals.

Foreign citizens perpetrate many of these schemes, which originated in Nigeria but have spread throughout the world.

During Operation WireWire, U.S. law enforcement agents executed more than 51 domestic actions, including search warrants, asset seizure warrants, and money mule warning letters. And local and state law enforcement partners on FBI task forces across the country, with the assistance of multiple district attorney's offices, charged 15 alleged money mules for their roles in defrauding victims.

The role of money mules, witting or unwitting, in BEC schemes is very important—they are used to receive the stolen money and then transfer the funds as directed by the fraudsters. The mules usually keep a fraction of the money for their trouble.

Today’s announcement highlighting this recent surge in law enforcement resources targeting BEC schemes “demonstrates the FBI's commitment to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises that target American citizens and their businesses,” according to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

And he added, “We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners around the world to end these fraud schemes and protect the hard-earned assets of our citizens. The public we serve deserves nothing less.”

Awareness of BEC Schemes Can Safeguard Your Business

BEC schemes continue to evolve as criminals come up with new and inventive ways to scam businesses.

Here are the most current and frequent BEC scenarios identified by the FBI:

Business Executive: Criminals spoof or compromise e-mail accounts of high-level business executives, including chief information officers and chief financial officers, which result in the processing of a wire transfer to a fraudulent account

Real Estate Transactions: Criminal impersonate sellers, realtors, title companies, or law firms during a real estate transaction to ask the home buyer for funds to be sent to a fraudulent account

Data and W-2 Theft: Criminals, using a compromised business executive’s e-mail account, send fraudulent requests for W-2 information or other personally identifiable information to an entity in an organization that routinely maintains that sort of information

Supply Chain: Criminals send fraudulent requests to redirect funds during a pending business deal, transaction, or invoice payment to an account controlled by a money mule or bad actor

Law Firms: Criminals find out about trust accounts or litigation and impersonate a law firm client to change the recipient bank information to a fraudulent account.

If you think you may have been victimized in a BEC scheme, please file a complaint with the IC3. The more information law enforcement has on these scams, the better equipped we’ll be to combat them.

And to further educate yourself on BEC schemes to help protect your business, read more about how BEC schemes work and how you can avoid being victimized. You can also take a look at this IC3 public service announcement on BEC schemes.