Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fox News Lands First Interview With Bin Laden Shooter

The Hollywood Reporter offers a piece on Fox News' announcement that the cable news channel will be the first to interview the U.S. Navy SEAL who killed the man responsible for the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Fox News has landed the first interview with the man who killed Osama bin Laden, which will be part of a two-night documentary airing on Nov. 11 and 12.

In the special, titled The Man Who Killed Usama Bin Laden, the Navy SEAL who says he fired the shots that killed Bin Laden, also known as "The Shooter," will reveal his identity and speak out publicly for the first time.

 The shooter will describe the events leading up to and during the raid that took place in May 2011, including his elite training and involvement in Operation Neptune Spear, the mission that killed bin Laden. He'll also offer his first-hand account of what happened during the SEAL Team 6 raid. Fox News promises that the documentary will include never-before-shared details.

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

Patrick McGoohan's Secret Agent (AKA Danger Man): The Complete Series DVD To Be Released On December 9th

Spy thrillers were the big thing in the 1960s when I was a teenager.

I was watching Sean Connery as Ian Fleming's iconic character James Bond at the movies and on TV I was watching Patrick McGoohan as John Drake in Secret Agent.

For those of you from my generation who may wish to recapture their youth by watching John Drake in action again, or for younger viewers who have never seen Patrick McGoohan's classic TV spy drama, Shout Factory announced that they will be releasing Secret Agent: The Complete Series on DVD on December 9th.

Shout Factory offers the below synopsis:

“Every government has its secret service branch. America, CIA; France,Deuxième Bureau; England, MI5. NATO also has its own. A messy job? Well that's when they usually call on me or someone like me. Oh yes, my name is Drake, John Drake.”

Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) stars as John Drake in Secret Agent, the popular television series from the Golden Age of Spy Thrillers, the 1960s. Travelling the world to capture international criminals, John Drake rarely solved problems with a gun, preferring to use charm and wit over violence to bring in the bad guys.

Encompassing all 86 episodes from its successful broadcast run, Secret Agent (known in the United Kingdom as Danger Man) is an essential addition to the collection of any fan of the spy game.      

I purchased a Secret Agent DVD set last year and over the course of the year I watched all of the Secret Agent episodes.

Patrick McGoohan is terrific as the cool and resourceful British agent. Secret Agent is an intelligent and clever show that holds up very well after all these years.

Note: You can read Patrick McGoohan's obituary in the Los Angeles Times via the below link:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Today In Media History: In 1954, A Former Journalist Named Ernest Hemingway Received The Nobel Prize For Literature

David Shedden at the journalism web site offers a look back at author and journalist Ernest Hemingway, who received the Nobel Prize for literature on October 28, 1954.

Ernest Hemingway was a reporter for the Kansas City Star from October 1917 to April 1918.

In 1999, the newspaper’s website created a special section in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth. This included old stories, various links, anecdotes, and a story titled, “Of ‘Star Style’ and a reporter named Hemingway.”

“And into the midst of The Star staff, in late 1917, came a youth who, when he could get away with it, wore a red and black checkered hunting shirt to work. Old timers frowned on such dress. But the young reporter worked outside the office most of the time. His name was Ernest Hemingway.

….Ernest Hemingway came to The Star as a big, round-faced boy of 18 with limitless energy, and a desire to be in the thick of the action whether a shooting scrape or chasing ambulances. Hemingway worked at the paper for seven months. In late April 1918, he and Ted Brumback, another Star reporter, joined an ambulance unit in Italy.”

“After returning from World War I, Ernest Hemingway moved to Toronto and began writing for the Toronto Star. He worked there from 1920 to 1924 and some 70 of his articles have been archived online in an attractive new website, the Hemingway Papers. At first Hemingway was a stringer and later he wrote as a staff writer, under the byline Ernest M. Hemingway.

….He went on to write for the Star about boxing and trout fishing and organized crime in Chicago. By 1922 Hemingway had moved to Paris with his wife and sent dispatches that anticipated the themes of the novels that would make him famous.”
You can read the rest of the piece, hear Hemingway's Nobel Prize acceptence speech and watch videos about Hemingway via the below link:

Federal Jury Convicts Friend Of Suspected Boston Marathon Bomber

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

Following an eight-day trial, the jury convicted a college friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, for making false statements to investigators assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The jury found Robel Phillipos, 21, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, guilty of making false statements during the terrorism investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 20, 2013, and April 25, 2013.  U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Jan. 29, 2015.

“In the wake of one of the most significant events in this City’s modern history – an event which left two young women and a child dead, and many more injured – thousands of ordinary citizens assisted law enforcement in identifying and locating the perpetrators,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts.  “Today, a federal jury concluded that Robel Phillipos did just the opposite.  He lied to agents when he could have helped.  He concealed when he could have assisted.  It is a crime to lie to law enforcement agents, and that is why Robel Phillipos was charged and why the jury found him guilty today.  But this case also reminds us that our public safety network relies on every citizen in the Commonwealth.  We look to all of our citizens – our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, even strangers whom we have never met before – to assist law enforcement in detecting, preventing, and solving crimes.  Mr. Phillipos made a choice: a choice to lie instead of tell the truth.  With its verdict today, the jury got it exactly right.”

In August 2014, Dias Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges related to the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.  Kadyrbayev admitted to removing evidence from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and discarding Tsarnaev’s backpack with fireworks, some of which appeared to have been emptied of their explosive powder, in a garbage dumpster.  In July 2014, Azamat Tazhayakov was found guilty by a federal jury in Boston of obstruction of justice charges for his role in impeding the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.  His conduct was related to the same conduct as charged against Kadyrbayev that occurred in Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013.  

At the Phillipos trial, the government proved that Phillipos lied about his knowledge and activities on the evening of April 18, 2013.  Specifically, Phillipos repeatedly lied to investigators when he denied that, on the evening of April 18, 2013, he entered Tsarnaev’s dormitory room and saw Kadyrbayev remove a backpack containing fireworks.

According to evidence presented at trial, at 7:00 p.m. on April 18, 2013, Phillipos saw the images released by the FBI of the two suspected bombers and immediately recognized one of them as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. 

At 10:00 p.m., Phillipos went with Tazhayakov to Tsarnaev’s dormitory room where he and Tazhayakov watched, as Kadyrbayev searched through Tsarnaev’s belongings and found a backpack containing fireworks.  When Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov and Phillipos left Tsarnaev’s room at 10:30 p.m., Kadyrbayev removed Tsarnaev’s backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and Tsarnaev’s laptop computer. 

Later that night while Tazhayakov and Phillipos were monitoring the manhunt for the Tsarnaevs on television, Kadyrbayev discussed getting rid of the backpack containing the fireworks with them.  Tazhayakov agreed with Kadyrbayev that they should get rid of it.  After this conversation, Kadrybayev placed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s backpack in a garbage bag and placed it in a dumpster outside their New Bedford apartment.  The FBI recovered the backpack a week later, after 30 agents spent two days searching a landfill in New Bedford.

Between April 19, 2013 and April 26, 2013, Phillipos was interviewed five times by investigators conducting the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and during each of those interviews Phillipos lied.  At the conclusion of the fifth interview, Phillipos finally admitted that he did go into Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013 and that he saw Kadyrbayev remove evidence from Tsarnaev’s room.  After he confessed, Phillipos indicated he regretted his decisions.  In his signed statement, Phillipos stated: “In retrospect, I should have notified the Police once I knew Jahar was the bomber.  Further, I should have turned over the backpack to the authorities.”

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than eight years in prison for each of the two false statement counts, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 for each charge.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The sentencing hearing for Kadyrbayev is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2014, and Tazhayakov’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 19, 2014.  

U.S. Attorney Ortiz and Special Agent in Charge Vincent B. Lisi of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Division made the announcement today.  This investigation was conducted by the FBI's Boston Division and member agencies of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) which is comprised of more than 30 federal, state and local enforcement agencies.  Essex County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, Massachusetts State Police, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Department of Public Safety, New Bedford Police Department, Dartmouth Police Department, U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and Homeland Security Investigations in Boston provided assistance to this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of U.S. Attorney Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.

Happy Birthday To British Novelist Evelyn Waugh

Happy birthday to the late British novelist Evelyn Waugh.

In an interview with the online publication The Daily Beast (which takes the name from Waugh's novel Scoop), the conservative humorist P.J. O'Rourke explained why he was calling his Daily Beast column Up To a Point.

The most famous book among all foreign correspondents is Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop. The newspaper in Scoop is, of course, The Daily Beast, which is owned by the moronic Lord Copper and run by the obsequious Mr. Salter. There’s a brief passage which I think all reporters know. “Whenever Lord Copper was right, Mr. Salter would say, ‘Definitely, Lord Copper,’ and whenever Lord Copper was wrong, Mr. Salter would way, ‘Up to a point, Lord Copper.’” Then follows a little snatch of dialogue where Lord Copper says, “Hong Kong—belongs to us, doesn’t it?” “Definitely, Lord Copper.” “Yokohama—capital of Japan, isn’t it?” “Up to a point, Lord Copper.”

Great stuff.

I discovered Waugh in my early 20′s in the mid-1970s when I was stationed on a Navy tugboat at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland.

I was an aspiring writer at the time and I planned to major in journalism when I left the Navy, so I purchased a Penguin paperback of his brilliant satire of journalism, Scoop. I thought it was a great satirical novel, and I’ve reread it again and again over the years.

I later discovered that much of Scoop was based on Waugh's true experiences as a newspaper correspondent in Ethiopia. That made the novel even more funny and powerful to me.

I went on to read Waugh's other satirical novels, such as Black Mischief and Decline and Fall, as well as his great World War II Sword of Honour trilogy: Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender. I also read his classic novel, Brideshead Revisited, the rest of his novels, his diary and several books about him.

A decade later, my wife and I enjoyed watching the weekly television installments of Brideshead Revisited on PBS.

By all accounts and his own admission, Waugh was not a pleasant man, but he was a brilliant writer. And he was funny.

He even satirized himself in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. 

Waugh told a great story of how he had to endure sitting next to a man on a long train ride who was reading one of his satirical novels. Waugh said he was compelled to watch the man turn each page as he read, not laughing or smiling, even for an instant.

Had Waugh sat next to me on a train while I was reading one of his novels, he would have seen me smiling and even laughing out loud.

If you have not read Waugh, I suggest you start with Scoop and then read all of his works.

The Truth About the Vietnam War In A Six-Minute Video Lesson

I played a minor role in the Vietnam War, as I wrote in one of the below linked pieces, but I like to think of the Vietnam War as my war.

I was only a teenage sailor on an aircraft carrier, but I've made a great study of the Vietnam War over the years. I've read countless books on the war and I've interviewed a good number of Vietnam veterans, including soldiers, Marines, airmen, blue water sailors, small boat sailors, pilots, Navy SEALs, Green Berets and CIA officers.
So it was with some interest that I viewed Bruce Herschensohn's six-minute video lesson on the Vietnam War.

This is not how the history of the Vietnam War is taught in most schools, as most of the older teachers ducked the war, and went on to teach students their anti-war views. And some of those students went on to become anti-war teachers themselves.      
Ricky Price from Kentucky, a former sailor who served on a Navy tugboat with me at the nuclear submarine base in Holy Loch Scotland in 1975, and who previously, like me, served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, sent the link to the Vietnam War lesson to me. Thanks, shipmate. 
You can watch the video via the below link:
You can also read two of my pieces on the Vietnam War via the below links:

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Speech: Ronald Reagan's Famous Speech Turns 50 Today

John Fund at the National Review looks back at President Ronald Reagan's great 1964 speech that launched his political career. The speech is applicable today. 

Today marks the 50th anniversary of what has become known as simply “The Speech.”

The actual title Ronald Reagan gave to the address with which he electrified a nation during a 30-minute broadcast for the failing Goldwater campaign was “A Time for Choosing.” Goldwater lost a week later to Lyndon Johnson, but conservative presidential politics had a North Star in Reagan after that. “It defined conservatism for 50 years,” Reagan biographer Craig Shirley concluded.

Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote that the night of Reagan’s address represented “the most successful political debut since William Jennings Bryan” and his “Cross of Gold” speech in 1896. “I didn’t know it then,” Reagan wrote in his 1991 autobiography, “but that speech was one of the most important milestones of my life.”

... In the middle of the Cold War Reagan forthrightly said liberals refused to acknowledge that “There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace — and you can have it in the next second — surrender.”

You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video of the great speech via the below link: