Sunday, August 19, 2018

Bui Tin, Prominent North Vietnamese Communist Defector, Dies

Luke Hunt, the Southeast Asian correspondent for The Diplomat and author of Punji Trap – Pham Xuan An: The Spy Who Didn’t Love Us, offers a piece on the death of Bui Tin (seen in the above photo on the right).

Colonel Bui Tin, a prominent North Vietnamese communist, journalist, and defector who accepted the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam in April 1975 has died in a Paris suburb, aged 90. His death was ignored in Hanoi.

As a journalist and propagandist — in an era that predated concepts of fake news – Col. Tin was masterful, making history when tanks stormed into the Presidential Palace in Saigon and he confronted General Duong Van “Big” Minh, the appointed leader as his country fell.

Gen. Minh told Col. Tin he had been waiting since early morning to transfer power. Tin then delivered his famous reply: “There is no question of your transferring power. Your power has crumbled. You can not give up what you do not have.”

… Following the communist victory, Col. Tin forged close ties with Pham Xuan An, the star reporter who worked in the Western media, winning the trust of Time magazine and Reuters, from his base in Saigon as a cover for his secret espionage work for Hanoi.

An also held the rank of colonel and would later be promoted to Brigadier General.

But both men had become disenfranchised with the new regime and its brand of communism that had, and still does, held little tolerance for free speech and was widely viewed by southerners as arrogant, ignorant, iron-fisted, and corrupt.

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

Friday, August 17, 2018

Indictment Reveals GRU Role in Election Meddling: Two Russian Military Spy Units Conducted Hack, Covertly Disseminated Hacked Documents

Veteran national security reporter Bill Gertz offers a piece at the Washington Free Beacon on the Russian GRU unit involved in the 2016 American election operation.

A team of Russian GRU military intelligence officers specializing in covert influence operations played the key role in the 2016 election meddling operation while working out of an office building on 22 Kirova Street in Moscow called "The Tower" by GRU spies.

Beginning in April 2016, the GRU team known as Unit 74455 and headed by Col. Aleksandr V. Osadchuk was the key player in the major Russian influence operation aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential election through covertly disseminating hacked documents on the internet.

"Unit 74455 assisted in the release of stolen documents through the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas, the promotion of those releases, and the publication of anti-Clinton content on social media accounts operated by the GRU," the federal grand jury indictment filed July 13 in Washington says.

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

Don’t Be Misled By False Medicare Or Social Security Ads

Jim Borland, the Social Security Administration’s acting deputy commissioner for communications offers the below information:

Online and otherwise, there’s a lot of information out there, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell what sources are credible. With millions of people relying on Social Security, scammers target audiences who are looking for program and benefit information.

The law that addresses misleading Social Security and Medicare advertising prohibits people or non-government businesses from using words or emblems that mislead others. Their advertising can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare).

People are often misled by advertisers who use the terms “Social Security” or “Medicare.” Often, these companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from Social Security free of charge. These services include getting:

A corrected Social Security card showing a person’s married name;

§  A Social Security card to replace a lost card; 

§  A Social Security Statement; and§   

§  A Social Security number for a child.

If you receive misleading information about Social Security, send the complete ad, including the envelope, to:
Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline
Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235

You can learn more about how we combat fraudulent advertisers by reading our publication What You Need to Know About Misleading Advertising

Thursday, August 16, 2018

FBI: Prescription For Prison Time - Fraudsters Scammed Government, Private Insurance Companies Out Of $100 Million

The FBI released the below information:

A group of Florida scammers who set up pharmacies to bilk the government and insurance companies ended up writing themselves a prescription for prison time.

The eight men owned and/or operated several pharmacies and related businesses—known by names such as A to Z Pharmacy and Havana Pharmacy—whose sole purpose was to help these criminals line their own pockets. Initially, the men bribed medical providers to write unnecessary prescriptions for compounded drugs like pain or scar creams, then billed the patients’ insurance companies large sums for the drugs. And in the making of the prescriptions, they often used unusual ingredients, such as horse tranquilizers, that were not medically necessary for the particular patients.

A compounding pharmacy creates tailored drugs for individual patients who cannot be treated with traditional drugs due to allergies or other special needs. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve compounded drugs. While investigators found no evidence that any of the patients who received compounded drugs in this case suffered any dangerous side effects from them, the FDA warns that unnecessary use of compounded drugs can pose risks for patients.

As the scam evolved, the conspirators bought lists of information on patients with generous private insurance, Medicare, or TRICARE. They then sent their creams and other drugs to those patients with or without the patients’ knowledge or consent and without consulting their physicians.

“The main thing is there was never any patient necessity here,” said Special Agent Kurt McKenzie, who worked the case out of the FBI’s Miami Division. “The patients never asked for it; they didn’t need it. In many cases, the patients would send the creams back and say ‘I never asked for this.’”

The scheme went on for about four years, with the participants using various tactics to avoid detection, including purchasing additional pharmacies to use once an insurance company stopped paying for prescriptions at ones they were already using. The profits were significant—more than $100 million. Nicholas Borgesano, Jr., one of the ringleaders, made an estimated $80 million of that himself. Yet thanks to the investigative work of the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the fraudsters were discovered and brought to justice. Traditional investigative techniques like following a complex money trail helped bring down the fraud ring.

All eight men involved in the scheme pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In April, Borgesano was sentenced to 15 years in prison. His seven co-conspirators have been sentenced to between one and six years.

“Every paycheck you earn, there is money coming out to fund Medicare and your own health insurance, and the American people are losing cents on the dollar to these fraudsters,” McKenzie said. “They are just reaching out and taking it, so it’s important for the FBI and our partners to target and stop this activity.”  

Borgesano used his millions to buy 16 properties and numerous boats and high-end vehicles that were forfeited as part of his plea. The victims—the insurance plan sponsors and the government—will be able to recoup a small amount of their losses through the asset forfeiture process.

“We can’t let the bad guys keep their ill-gotten gains,” said Special Agent Rolf Gjertsen of the FBI’s Tampa Division, who also worked the case. “It’s probably a drop in the bucket compared to what they lost, but it’s important for the public to know we use the asset forfeiture process to try to make victims whole to the extent we can.”

Special Agent Jennifer McGrath, who also worked on the investigative team out of the Miami Division, said the crime was certainly not a victimless one, in particular for military families.

“TRICARE is the primary insurer for military families,” McGrath explained. “They stole $100 million from TRICARE and other insurers and used it to buy boats and fancy cars. It’s taking that money away from military families and others who use the victim insurance providers.”

McGrath said anyone who suspects insurance fraud—such as unexpectedly receiving medications or equipment not prescribed by your doctor or not being charged a normally required co-payment—should report it to their insurance provider’s fraud prevention department. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Pentagon Is Rethinking Its Relationship With US Defense Contractors Adding Security To Combat Espionage And Sabotage In The Supply Chain

Stars and Stripes offers a piece on the Defense Department's new security strategy to combat espionage and sabotage in the military procurement system. 
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has a new goal aimed at protecting its $100 billion supply chain from foreign theft and sabotage: To base its weapons contract awards on security assessments — not just cost and performance — a move that would mark a fundamental shift in department culture.

The goal, based on a strategy called Deliver Uncompromised, comes as American defense firms are increasingly vulnerable to data breaches, a risk highlighted earlier this year by China's alleged theft of sensitive information related to undersea warfare, and the Pentagon's decision last year to ban software made by the Russian firm Kaspersky Lab.
"The department is examining ways to designate security as a metric within the acquisition process," Maj. Audricia Harris, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement. "Determinations [currently] are based on cost, schedule, and performance. The department's goal is to elevate security to be on par with cost, schedule, and performance."

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

The Kissing Sailor On V-J Day: On This Day In History The Japanese Surrendered

As notes, on this day in history the Japanese surrendered and World War II ended.

You can read about the surrender via the below link:

In the above iconic Alfred Eisenstaedt photo, a sailor kissed a nurse in Times Square when the surrender was announced.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Art Of War By Sun Tzu: A New Translated By Peter Harris

Gary Anderson, a retired Marine colonel, offers a review in the Washington Times of a new translation of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

Military theory comes in two forms. The first is an attempt to understand the nature of war and its relation to politics. Clausewitz and Machiavelli represent the best of this school.

The second and more prevalent form falls into the “how to do it” category. Most such works in this type of venue are written by former successful practitioners of the art and science of war. Most military professionals would agree that Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” remains at the top of the former list. Peter Harris has given us a new translation, and perhaps a new twist, on this timeless classic.

Chinese in either its Mandarin or Cantonese versions, is a notoriously hard language to translate into English. As in Arabic, some characters have multiple meaning depending on the context in which they are used. Most former military officers of the Vietnam era were raised on Marine Brig. Gen. Samuel Griffith’s 1963 translation. 

Griffith’s translation became popular during the Vietnam War because North Vietnam’s brilliant Gen. Giap was known to be a Sun Tzu student, as was Chairman Mao, who was then considered to be the primary sponsor of the North’s cause.

Before 1963, Western interest in Sun Tzu was spotty at best. It is highly unlikely that Erwin Rommel or George Washington had ever read Sun Tzu, but both made excellent use of deception, feigned retreats, reconnaissance and surprise to win their most notable victories in ways recommended in “The Art of War.” 

Critics of Sun Tzu have complained that he depends too much on the non-military aspects of war fighting rather than the mere act of trying to kill more of the enemy than he kills of you.

Washington used campfires to cloak his disengagement from a superior enemy in several situations. Rommel won many battles by withdrawing his smaller tank force through a line of the superb 88-millimeter anti-tank guns allowing those weapons to break the momentum of the pursuing British allowing his tanks to counterattack on more favorable terms. Sun Tzu would have approved in both cases.

Mr. Harris tends more than Griffith to emphasize the non-military aspects of national power — economic, information, diplomatic means.

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