Monday, January 31, 2011

Channeling George Washington: First In Their Hearts

Historian and novelist Thomas Fleming wrote another interesting piece in his series Channeling George Washington at the History News Network.

You can read the piece via the below link:

The Dean Of Movie Music, James Bond Composer John Barry Dies Age 77

Reuters is reporting that composer and conductor John Barry died. He was 77.

Barry is best known for composing the music for the early James Bond films like Goldfinger, From Russia With Love and Dr No, as well as other films like Midnight Cowboy, The Lion in Winter and Born Free.

You can read the Reuters' piece via the below link:

Barry is seen in the photo above portraying a conductor in The Living Daylights, a James Bond film.

Below is a link to a video of John Barry conducting an orchestra performing the James Bond theme and music from Goldfinger:

Below is a link to an orchestra performing The Lion in Winter Suite:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Herman Melville, The Last Great Enigma Of American Literature

Robert McCrum wrote an interesting piece about Herman Melville and Jay Parini's The Passages of Herman Melville, a fictional account of the great author of Moby Dick in the British newspaper The Guardian:

You can read the piece via the below link:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Babylon Revisited: A Look Back At F. Scott Fitzgerald And One Of His Greatest Short Stories

The British newspaper The Telegraph published an interesting piece about American novelist and short story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and one of his greatest short stories, Babylon Revisited.

You can read the newspaper piece via the below link:

Note: I've always enjoyed Fitzgerald's short stories, including Babylon Revisited.

I'm a particular fan of a series of Fitzgerald's less known short stories, which were about a hack Hollywood screenwriter called Pat Hobby.

You can read Tom Nolan's piece in The Wall Street Journal on the Pat Hobby stories via the below link:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Former B-2 Stealth Bomber Engineer Sentenced To 32 Years In Prison For Selling Military Secrets to Communist China

The U.S. Justice Department announced that Noshir S. Gowadia, 66, of Maui, Hawaii, was sentenced to 32 years in prison for communicating classified national defense information to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), illegally exporting military technical data, as well as money laundering, filing false tax returns and other offenses.

The sentence, handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway in the District of Hawaii, was announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Florence T. Nakakuni, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii.

On Aug. 9, 2010, following six days of deliberation after a trial spanning nearly four months in Honolulu, a federal jury found Gowadia guilty of five criminal offenses relating to his design for the PRC of a low-signature cruise missile exhaust system capable of rendering a PRC cruise missile resistant to detection by infrared missiles.

The jury also convicted Gowadia in three counts of illegally communicating classified information regarding lock-on range for infrared missiles against the U.S. B-2 bomber to persons not authorized to receive such information. The B-2 bomber is one of America’s most critical defense assets, capable of utilizing its stealth characteristics to penetrate enemy airspace and deliver precision guided weapons on multiple targets.

Gowadia was also convicted of unlawfully exporting classified information about the B-2, illegally retaining information related to U.S. national defense at his home, money laundering and filing false tax returns for the years 2001 and 2002.

“Mr. Gowadia provided some of our country’s most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money. He is now being held accountable for his actions. This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation’s military secrets for profit. I commend the prosecutors, analysts and agents - including those from the FBI and the Air Force - who were responsible for this investigation and prosecution,” said Assistant Attorney General Kris.

“Justice is finally done in this lengthy and complex case where highly classified information and sensitive technology was unlawfully disclosed and transferred to the People’s Republic of China, and other persons and entities as well. Mr. Gowadia went beyond disclosing information to China, he performed defense work in that nation with the purpose of assisting them in their stealth weapons design programs. While the full damage of his activities may never be known, we are comforted that justice has been done, and that Mr. Gowadia will spend 32 years in federal prison, incapable of betraying the United States of America again. It must be remembered also that Mr. Gowadia’s sentence also addresses his creation of an international identity to hide his income and launder his ill gotten gains. I deeply appreciate the hard work of the FBI, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in assisting us in obtaining the espionage, arms export, tax and money laundering convictions in this important case,” said U.S. Attorney Nakakuni.

“Along with our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities, the FBI will continue to pursue anyone who attempts to sell America’s national security secrets for personal gain. The safety of the American people remains our highest priority, and we will use every tool at our disposal to find, stop, and prosecute anyone engaging in espionage,” said Frank Montoya, Special Agent in Charge of the Honolulu Division of the FBI.

“This case has set the example for interagency cooperation focused singularly to protect Americans from harm. The sentencing reflects the successful prosecution of Mr. Gowadia for espionage and other crimes and highlights the many contributions of AFOSI personnel and our partner organizations worldwide,” said Brigadier General Kevin Jacobsen, Commander, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).”

“This defendant betrayed us in at least two ways, said Marcus Williams, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of Hawaii. Not only did he sell out his country for personal gain, but he also cheated us all out of the tax owed on those ill-gotten gains. In short, his actions were despicable from beginning to end,” said Marcus Williams, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Special Agent in Charge of Hawaii.

Gowadia was first arrested in October 2005 on a criminal complaint alleging that he willfully communicated national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it. He was charged with additional violations in a 2005 indictment, a 2006 superseding indictment and a 2007 second superseding indictment.

According to information produced during the trial, Gowadia was an engineer with Northrop Grumman Corporation from approximately 1968 to 1986, during which time he contributed to the development of the unique propulsion system and low observable capabilities of the B-2 Spirit bomber, sometimes referred to as the “Stealth” bomber. Gowadia also continued to work on classified matters as a contractor with the with the U.S. government until 1997, when his security clearance was terminated.

Evidence at the trial revealed that from July 2003 to June 2005, Gowadia took six trips to the PRC to provide defense services in the form of design, test support and test data analysis of technologies for the purpose of assisting the PRC with a cruise missile system by developing a stealthy exhaust nozzle. At the time of his arrest, Gowadia had been paid at least $110,000 by the PRC. The jury convicted Gowadia of two specific transmissions of classified information: a PowerPoint presentation on the exhaust nozzle of a PRC cruise missile project and an evaluation of the effectiveness of a redesigned nozzle, and a computer file providing his signature prediction of a PRC cruise missile outfitted with his modified exhaust nozzle and associated predictions in relation to a U.S. air-to-air missile.

The prosecution also produced evidence that documented Gowadia’s use of three foreign entities he established and controlled, including a Liechtenstein charity purportedly for the benefit of children, to hide, launder and disguise the income he received from foreign countries. Gowadia admitted on cross examination at trial that he never donated money to any charity using the foundation, despite repeatedly representing that he did to the IRS and others. In addition to demonstrating that Gowadia under-reported his income and falsely denied having control over foreign bank accounts for the two tax years involved in his convictions, the evidence at trial revealed that Gowadia had not paid any income tax since from at least 1997 until 2005 when he was arrested. Trial evidence showed that during this time Gowadia built a luxurious ocean side home located on a cliff in Maui, Hawaii.

This case was investigated by FBI, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii and Senior Trial Attorney Robert E. Wallace Jr., of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

You can read my piece on Gowadia and the rise of Chinese espionage in the United States that appeared in Counterterrorism magazine via the below links:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Communist Chinese Insult To America: Anti-American Chinese War Anthem Played At Obama White House State Dinner Last Week

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Will Rahn at The Daily Caller reports that an anti-American war anthem was played at Obama's State Dinner for the Communist Chinese president. A song that glorified the killing of American soldiers in the Korean conflict.

You can read the piece via the below link:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mob Talk: Crime Reporters Discuss Federal Takedown of Northeast Mobsters And What May Be In Store for Philly Mob

George Anastasia, the veteran organized crime reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Fox 29's Dave Schratwieser discuss the big federal takedown of mobsters in New England, New York and North Jersey, and what this means to the Philly mob on

You can watch the news video via the below link:

You can also read my earlier posts of the mob takedown vai the below links:

Friday, January 21, 2011

U.S. Navy Tugboat At Work

The U.S. Navy released an interesting photo of a pilot from the U.S. Navy harbor tugboat Dekanawida (YTB 831) climbing up a ladder to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) to help guide the ship into port at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Jan. 19, 2011.

Gunston Hall is on deployment in support of Southern Partnership Station, an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leona Mynes, U.S. Navy/Released).

Working on a Navy tugboat is tough, dangerous work.

The photo reminds me of my own time serving on a Navy tugboat.

After serving two years on the aircraft carrier the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) during the Vietnam War, I served two years on the USS Saugus (YTB 780) at the nuclear submarine base in Holy Loch, Scotland in 1974 and 1975.

Below are some photos from my days on a Navy tugboat:

Another Case Of Chinese Espionage In The United States

In my last post, I reported on the U.S. Justice Department announcement that Glenn Duffie Shriver was sentenced to 48 months in prison for conspiring to spy for the Communist Chinese.

I wrote a piece on the rise of Chinese espionage in the United States for Counterterrorism magazine. You can read the piece via the below link:

Spy For Communist China Sentenced To 48 Months In Prison

In the wake of a White House state dinner for the Communist Chinese president, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Glenn Duffie Shriver, 28, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was sentenced to 48 months in prison for conspiring to provide national defense information to Chinese intelligence officers.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady.

On Oct. 22, 2010, Shriver pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to communicate national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it.

“Mr. Shriver sold out his country and repeatedly sought a position in our intelligence community so that he could provide classified information to the People’s Republic of China (PRC),"
said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Attempts to gain access to sensitive information are a serious threat to our national security. We are doing everything in our power to find and punish those who seek to betray our country.”

According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Shriver is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and lived in the PRC both as an undergraduate student and after graduation. While living in Shanghai in October 2004, Shriver developed a relationship with three individuals whom he came to learn were PRC intelligence officers.

At the request of these foreign agents, Shriver agreed to return to the United States and apply for positions in U.S. intelligence agencies or law enforcement organizations.

Shriver admitted in court that he knew that his ultimate objective was to obtain a position with a federal department or agency that would afford him access to classified national defense information, which he would then transmit to the PRC officers in return for cash payments.

From 2005 to 2010, Shriver attempted to gain employment as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State and as a clandestine service officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. Shriver admitted that, during this time, he maintained frequent contact with the PRC intelligence officers and received more than $70,000 in three separate cash payments for what the officers called his “friendship.”

In December 2009, Shriver received notice that he was to report to Washington, D.C., in May 2010 for employment processing activities with the CIA.

Shriver admitted that he communicated with a PRC intelligence officer that he was “making some progress” in obtaining a position with the CIA and that he would not be free to travel to PRC for another meeting because it could raise suspicion with federal agents conducting his background investigation.

Shriver admitted that he made false statements on the CIA questionnaire required for employment stating that he had not had any contact with a foreign government or its representative during the last seven years, when in fact he had met in person with one or more of the officers approximately 20 times since 2004.

He also deliberately omitted his travel to PRC in 2007 when he received a $40,000 cash payment from the PRC for applying to the CIA. In addition, Shriver made false statements during a series of screening interviews at the CIA, and he admitted he made each of the false statements to conceal his illicit relationship with the PRC intelligence officers.

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Campbell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Brandon L. Van Grack of the Counterespionage Section in the National Security Division are prosecuting the case.

More On Long-Lost Dashiell Hammett Story

It has been reported that a long-lost Dashiell Hammett short story will be published in The Strand Magazine.

The San Francisco Chronicle give a little background on how the late, great crime writer's story was found.

You can read the newspaper story via the below link:

Guess Hu's Coming To Dinner? Jay Leno On Obama's State Dinner for Chinese President

Jay Leno told some funny jokes about Obama's state dinner for the Chinese president on The Tonight Show.

You can read the jokes below:

The White House held a state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. President Obama wore a traditional Chinese-made garment: a pair of Nikes.

Obama and Hu had a private dinner the night before. When Obama tried to pick up the check, Hu said, “Your money is no good here.” Obama laughed, and Hu said, “No, really, your money is no good.”

President Hu’s advance team came a week earlier to make sure that wherever he’s staying has no Chinese drywall.

The state dinner went really well, until the after-dinner speeches were hosted by Ricky Gervais.

Pinched: Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, A Quiet Wiseguy Who Ruled With An Iron Fist

The Providence Journal wrote an interesting piece on Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, the longtime New England organized crime boss.

Manocchio was one of the more than 100 Cosa Nostra organized crime members who were rounded up yesterday by the FBI.

You can read the piece via the below post:

You can also read an earlier post that provides details on the mass mob arrests:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

91 Cosa Nostra Crime Family Members Charged With Racketeering, Murder And Extortion

The U.S. Justice Department announced today that the FBI mounted a major roundup of organized crime members.

WASHINGTON – Ninety-one members and associates of seven organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra (LCN), including the New England LCN family, all five New York-based families and the New Jersey-based Decavalcante family have been charged with federal crimes in 16 indictments returned in four judicial districts, announced Attorney General Eric Holder.

Another 36 defendants also have been charged for their roles in alleged associated criminal activity.

Joining in the announcement were Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Division; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch; U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara; U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul J. Fishman; U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island Peter F. Neronha; Acting Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor Daniel R. Petrole; and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

More than 110 of the 127 charged defendants have been arrested, and will appear in federal court in the districts in which they are charged. The charges relate to a wide range of alleged illegal activity, including murder, murder conspiracy, loansharking, arson, narcotics trafficking, extortion, robbery, illegal gambling and labor racketeering, in some cases occurring over decades.

The indictments charge leaders of these criminal enterprises, as well as mid-level managers, numerous soldiers and associates, and others alleged to be corrupt union officials.

"Today’s arrests and charges mark an important step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra’s illegal activities," said Attorney General Holder. "This largest single day operation against La Cosa Nostra sends the message that our fight against traditional organized crime is strong, and our commitment is unwavering. As we’ve seen for decades, mafia operations can negatively impact our economy – not only through a wide array of fraud schemes but also through the illegal imposition of mob "taxes" at our ports, in our construction industries, and on our small businesses. The violence outlined in these indictments, and perpetrated across decades, shows the lengths to which these individuals are willing to go to control their criminal enterprises and intimidate others. The Department of Justice and our partners are determined to eradicate these criminal enterprises once and for all, and to bring their members to justice."

"Some believe organized crime is a thing of the past; unfortunately, there are still people who extort, intimidate, and victimize innocent Americans. The costs legitimate businesses are forced to pay are ultimately borne by American consumers nationwide," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III.

"Today’s indictments represent a major milestone in the Office of Inspector General’s statutory responsibility to investigate labor racketeering and organized crime influence and control of unions, employee benefit plans and their workers," said Daniel R. Petrole, Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor. "Through the alleged domination of these unions, these investigations revealed that union officials and associates and members of La Cosa Nostra Organized Crime Families conspired to steal from and extort hard working union members. My office remains committed to continue working with our law enforcement partners to combat these types of crimes."

Among those charged are Luigi Manocchio, 83, the former boss of the New England LCN; Andrew Russo, 76, street boss of the Colombo family; Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, acting underboss of the Colombo family; Richard Fusco, 74, consigliere of the Colombo family; Joseph Corozzo, 69, consigliere of the Gambino family; and Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, a member of the Gambino family administration. In total, more than 30 official members of the LCN, or "made men," were charged in the indictments unsealed today.

According to the indictments, the LCN operates in numerous cities around the United States and routinely engages in violence and threatens violence to extort money from victims, eliminate rivals, settle vendettas and obstruct justice. In the New York City-area, five LCN families principally operate: the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Luchese families. The Decavalcante family operates principally in New Jersey, while the New England LCN family operates in areas including Providence and Boston. Each LCN family has a hierarchical structure, with an administration comprised of a boss, underboss and consigliere at the top overseeing crews of criminals led by captains, who in turn supervise organized crime soldiers and associates.

In Brooklyn, 12 indictments were unsealed today charging 85 defendants from all five New York-based families as well as defendants from the Decavalcante family. One indictment (United States v. Russo) charges 39 defendants, including the entire leadership of the Colombo family not currently in prison – street boss Andrew Russo, acting underboss Benjamin Castellazzo and consigliere Richard Fusco – as well as four of the crime family’s official captains and eight of its soldiers, with crimes including racketeering and racketeering conspiracy committed during an approximately 20-year period. Among other acts of violence, Colombo family acting captain Anthony Russo is charged with the 1993 murder of Colombo family underboss Joseph Scopo during an internecine war among family members. According to court documents, Scopo was shot in the passenger seat of a car outside of his residence in Ozone Park, Queens, N.Y. The Russo indictment also charges numerous crimes of extortion and fraud, including charges related to the Colombo crime family’s alleged long-standing control of Cement and Concrete Workers Union Local 6A, and its alleged defrauding of the City of New York in regard to an annually held feast, the Figli di Santa Rosalia. The indictment is based in part on hundreds of hours of recorded conversations of members and associates of the Colombo family, including meetings of the Colombo family administration.

Two of the indictments returned in Brooklyn (United States v. Vernace and United States v. Dragonetti) charge 13 members and associates of the Gambino family, including Bartolomeo Vernace, a member of the current Gambino family administration. The Vernace indictment includes, among others, charges against Vernace in regard to the 1981 double murder of Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese inside the Shamrock Bar in the Woodhaven neighborhood of Queens. D’Agnese died from a single gunshot to the face and Godkin died from a point-blank gunshot to his chest. The Dragonetti indictment charges numerous acts of extortion, including a conspiracy by the Gambino family to extort a New York City cement manufacturer, as well as various construction companies and sites outlined on the crime family’s so-called "Construction List."

In nine of the indictments charged in Brooklyn (United States v. Alesi, United States v. Balzano, United States v. Caramanica, United States v. Cicalese, United States v. Colandra, United States v. Gallo, United States v. Gioia, United States v. Messina and United States v. Samperi), members and associates of the Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Decavalcante families are charged variously with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, extortion, perjury, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling, receipt of stolen property and possession of contraband cigarettes. For example, in United States v. Messina, Bonanno family associate Neil Messina is charged with the murder of Joseph Pistone during a home invasion robbery in 1992. The Alesi indictment charges, among other things, a former member of the Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit with obstructing a state investigation of illegal gambling businesses by tipping off the business to upcoming law enforcement raids. The Cicalese indictment charges three members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) with committing perjury during testimony before a federal grand jury investigating organized crime’s infiltration of the waterfront and the ILA.

Another indictment (United States v. Depiro), being prosecuted jointly by the District of New Jersey and the Eastern District of New York, charges 15 defendants with various racketeering related crimes, including extortion of members of ILA Local Union 1235 and other New Jersey ILA locals, as well as for acts of illegal gambling through the management of a sports betting operation and a poker club, and extortionate collection of credit related to gambling debts. Certain defendants, who include numerous current and former officials in local ILA unions based in New Jersey, are alleged to be affiliated with the Genovese family.

According to court documents, the Gambino and Genovese families have engaged in a multi-decade conspiracy to influence and control the unions and businesses that work on the New York-area piers. According to court documents, Stephen Depiro managed the Genovese family’s illegal activities on the New Jersey piers, including the Genovese family’s long-standing conspiracy to extort ILA members each year during the Christmas period, when the longshoremen annually receive a portion of royalty payments paid by shipping companies using the ports of New York and New Jersey. Depiro and others allegedly conspired with his cousin, Nunzio LaGrasso, an associate of the Genovese family and the vice-president of ILA Local 1478 in Newark, to extort ILA members each year.

In Manhattan, 26 defendants, primarily from the Gambino family, have been charged in two indictments that include charges related to racketeering conspiracy, murder, narcotics trafficking, extortion, assault, arson, loansharking, illegal gambling, mail and wire fraud, and stolen property crimes. Among the defendants charged are Joseph Corrozo, 69, who has served at times as the Gambino family consigliere; Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, a member of the Gambino family administration, who is also charged in Brooklyn; Gambino family captains Alphonse Trucchio, 34, and Louis Mastrangelo, 66; and Gambino soldiers Michael Roccaforte, 34, Anthony Moscatiello, 40, and Vincenzo Frogiero, 43.

According to court documents filed in the Manhattan cases, the criminal conduct allegedly occurred for more than two decades, from the late 1980s to approximately 2010. Gambino associate Todd LaBarca, 39, is charged with the 2001 conspiracy to murder and murder of Gambino family associate Marty Bosshart. According to the indictment, Bosshart was murdered on Jan. 2, 2002, with a single gunshot to the back of his head, and his body was left on the side of the road in Queens. According to court documents, a cooperating witness consensually recorded more than 100 conversations with other members and associates of the Gambino family, including conversations with LaBarca about the murder. In addition, according to court documents, the cocaine and marijuana trafficking involved multiple thousands of kilograms of the illegal drugs.

Finally, an indictment unsealed in Providence charges two defendants - longtime boss of the New England LCN Luigi Manocchio, 83, and LCN associate Thomas Iafrate, 61, - with extortion and extortion conspiracy. The extortion conspiracy allegedly spans almost two decades of illegal activity and involves the extortion of local pornographic bookstores and nightclubs, including the Satin Doll and the Cadillac Lounge, both in Providence.

The charges carry a variety of maximum penalties, up to life in prison on certain charges.

The charges announced today are merely allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The defendants charged in each district will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys from each of the respective districts in which the cases were charged, including the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, the District of Rhode Island and the District of New Jersey. The case charged in Providence is also being prosecuted by trial attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.

The cases were variously investigated by the FBI’s New York and Newark Field Offices, and the Boston Division’s Providence Resident Agency; the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; the New York City Police Department; the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Secret Service; the Suffolk County Police Department; the Rhode Island State Police; and the Providence Police Department. The Drug Enforcement Administration; the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Marshals Service in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York; the Monmouth County, N.J., Prosecutor’s Office; the New York State Police; the New Jersey State Police; the New Jersey Department of Corrections; the U.S. Army-Ft. Hamilton; and the Italian National Police also provided assistance.

FBI Rounds Up 100 Cosa Nostra Mobsters In Biggest Organized Crime Bust In History

NBC News reports that the FBI rounded up 100 Cosa Nostra mobsters in what is being called the biggest organized crime bust in history.

You can read the NBC report via the below link:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Former CIA And Conviced Spy Harold James Nicholson Sentenced To Eight More Years For Conspiracy And For Acting As Russian Agent

The U.S. Justice Department in Portland, Oregon announced yesterday that former CIA officer and convicted spy Harold James Nicholson, 59 (seen in the above CIA photo), was sentenced to 96 months imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown following his guilty pleas to the crimes of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy to commit international money laundering.

This 8-year prison sentence will be served following the 283-month prison sentence the defendant is currently serving in connection with his 1997 espionage conviction in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Pursuant to the plea agreement both parties requested the court imposed the 8-year consecutive sentence. This case represents the first time a convicted spy has been convicted of new crimes involving a foreign country they spied for, while serving a sentence for espionage.

Harold J. Nicholson, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, is serving a 283-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, Ore., for a 1997 conviction of conspiracy to commit espionage.

At the plea hearing Nicholson admitted that from 2006 to December 2008, with the assistance of his son Nathaniel, he acted on behalf of the Russian Federation, passed information to the Russian Federation, and received cash proceeds for his past espionage activities.

Harold J. Nicholson admitted that during the course of the conspiracy he met with his son Nathaniel on several occasions at FCI Sheridan and provided Nathaniel information intended for the Russian Federation.

Defendant admitted that it was part of the conspiracy that Nathaniel would travel to several locations including San Francisco; Mexico City; Lima, Peru and Nicosia, Cyprus, to meet with agents of the Russian Federation. At these meetings, Nathaniel provided the Russian Federation information from the defendant and collected money for the defendant’s past espionage activities.

Defendant followed the instructions of the Russian Federation and provided information requested by the Russians to Nathaniel to deliver to Russian agents at the overseas locations. Defendant directed Nathaniel on how to covertly travel with the funds from the Russian Federation and how to disperse the funds to family members.

“Today, former CIA official Harold Nicholson is being held accountable for once again violating his oath to protect America’s national security,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “While imprisoned for a prior espionage conviction, Nicholson dispatched his son around the globe to pass information to and receive cash payments from agents of the Russian Federation. The many agents, analysts and prosecutors who uncovered and put an end to this continued betrayal deserve our thanks.”

Dwight C. Holton, U.S. Attorney for Oregon, stated, “Harold Nicholson betrayed his country and he betrayed his family -- and stooped so low as to involve his son in his corrupt scheme to collect money for his spying. For his new crimes, Nicholson will spend an additional 8 years in prison. Law enforcement and the Bureau of Prisons should be commended for an outstanding investigation uncovering these serious crimes.”

“At a global level, this investigation shows that international espionage is a threat America still faces, decades after the end of the Cold War,” said Arthur Balizan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, “On a personal level, it shows the damage a father can do as he manipulates a son into a world of dishonor.”

The FBI and the Federal Bureau of Prisons investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pamala Holsinger and Ethan Knight of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon prosecuted this case. Trial Attorney Patrick Murphy of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division also assisted.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Philadelphia Inquirer Review Of Joseph Wambaugh's 'Hollywood Hills'

My review of Joseph Wambaugh's new novel Hollywood Hills appears in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

As I note in my review, no writer describes the cop world's twin masks of comedy and tragedy as well as Joseph Wambaugh.

You can read the review below:

You can also read my interview with Joseph Wambaugh from 2008 via the below link:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How To Write About Firearms

In light of the hysterical response from some commentators to the shooting in Arizona, Robert Verbruggen offers a public service to liberal writers who are ignorant about firearms but insist on writing about the subject.

His piece in National Review Online is a good primer on guns.

You can read his piece via the below link:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Howard Hawks, Hollywood's Finest Practitioner Of Everyday Chivalry

David Bromwich wrote an interesting piece in the British newspaper The Guardian about the great American film director Howard Hawks.

Hawks (seen in the above photo with John Wayne on the set of Rio Bravo), is one of my favorite film directors. Hawks was a versatile director and he made a good number of wonderful films, including His Girl Friday, The Big Sleep, Red River, Rio Bravo, and many, many more.

You can read the Guardian piece via the below link:

You can also read about Howard Hawks at the TCM web site via the below link:

Where Every Arrival And Departure Is Flight 007: Jamaican Airport Named After James Bond Creator Ian Fleming

David McFadden of the AP wrote a good piece in The Washington Examiner about the airport in Orcabessa, Jamaica that was named after the late, great British thriller writer Ian Fleming.

Fleming created his iconic character secret agent James Bond at his Jamaican villa Goldeneye, which is located near the airport. Fleming (seen in the above photo at Goldeneye) wrote all of the James Bond thrillers in Jamaica.

Back in 1986 my wife surprised me by arranged for us to spend a week at Goldeneye. For a life-long Fleming aficionado, Goldeneye (seen in the below photo) was a magical place. We loved the villa, Orcabessa and Jamaica.

You can read the AP piece via the below link:

You can read more about Ian Fleming and James Bond in my Crime Beat column via the link below:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Classic Crime Stories: Behind Black Mask Magazine

Jesse Chambers at The Birmingham Weekly wrote a good review of The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard).

This interesting and entertaining collection, edited by Otto Penzler, includes stories by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, John D. MacDonald and other classic crime writers.

You can read the piece via the below link:

You can also read about another collection of stories edited by Otto Penzler and read a profile of the publisher, editor and proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York, via the below link:

Below are links to two of my earlier posts about other fiction collections edited by Otto Penzler:

So I Shot Him: Dashiell Hammett Story To Be Published Fifty Years After His Death

The Washington Post reports that a previously unpublished story by the late, great crime writer Dashiell Hammett will finally be published in Strand magazine.

You can read the newspaper story via the below link:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Showdown At The North Pole: How The United States Can Win The Arctic War

I've long been interested in submarines, even before I served two years on a U.S. Navy tugboat that was attached to Submarine Squadron 14 at the nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland in the mid-1970s.

I have vivid memories of our rendezvous at sea with the big "boomer" nuclear missile submarines, and the smaller, faster and lethal "attack" submarines. Even though I previously served two years on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, I found the submarines to be quite impressive.

So it was with some interest that I read a piece at on how the United States would win an Arctic War if such a war were to happen.

Proponents of global climate change see a day when there will be ice-free Arctic summers, which, as David Axe notes, will allow shipping and oil and natural-gas extraction. Some fear the United States is not prepared to "secure our slice of the Arctic pie."

"The thing is, it’s not icebreakers and patches of wind-blasted tarmac that would really matter in some future North Pole showdown," Axe wrote. "In the Arctic, as in any sea battle, American nuclear attack submarines — quiet, versatile and lethal — would make all the difference. U.S. subs have been sneaking around under the Arctic ice and occasionally surfacing, for decades. Today, they even carry geologists and other scientists in order to help map Arctic mineral deposits."

“In addition to being more heavily armed than most foreign boats, U.S. submarines generally have superior quieting and combat systems, better-trained crewmen, and much more rigorous maintenance standards,” Bob Work wrote in 2008, before becoming Navy undersecretary. “As a result, the U.S. submarine force has generally been confident that it could defeat any potential undersea opponent, even if significantly outnumbered.”

You can read the piece via the below link:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Remembering Crime Writer Dashiell Hammett, Who Died 50 Years Ago Yesterday

Peter Rozovsky's interesting blog, Detectives Beyond Borders, offers a post on the memory of the late, great crime writer Dashiell Hammett, who died 50 years ago yesterday.

The post offers some good quotes about Hammett from other crime writers. I'd like to add Raymond Chandler's view of Hammett:

“Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not hand-wrought dueling pistols, curare and tropical fish,” Raymond Chandler wrote of his fellow Black Mask contributor.

"He put these people down on paper as they were, and he made them talk and think in the language they customarily used for these purposes. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.”

You can read the Detectives Beyond Borders post via the below link:

You can also read my earlier post on Hammett, "the Bull of Baltimore," via the below link:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Peter Yates, Director Of The Iconic Crime Film Bullitt, Died Yesterday

Peter Yates, the British director of the classic crime film Bullitt, died yesterday. He was 81.

Yates, seen above on the right in a photo with actor Steve McQueen, also directed another great American crime film, The Friends of Eddie Coyle (not Eddy Coyle, as the British newspaper, The Telegraph, stated).

You can read more about Yates and his life and career via the below link:

And, as the HMSS Weblog informs us, Peter Yates also directed one of my favorite TV programs from the 1960s, Secret Agent (known as Danger Man in the United Kingdom).

The clever spy series stared the late, great Patrick McGoohan (seen in the below photo).

You can read more about Yates and the TV program and watch a short video via the below link:

Richard Winters, WWII's Band Of Brothers Company Commander, Has Died At Age 92

Richard "Dick" Winters, the U.S. Army Easy Company commander in World War II made famous by the book and TV miniseries, Band of Brothers, has died. He was 92.

You can read about Winters' life via the below link:

Why The Civil War Happened

Historian and novelist Thomas Fleming explains why the Civil War happened in an interesting piece for George Mason University's History News Network.

"As we approach the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Civil War, various people are rushing into print to declare that the real cause of the war was slavery," Fleming writes in the piece. "Their triumphant tone indicates they think they are scoring points against Southerners who maintain the real reason was states rights. They are both wrong."

You can read the piece via the below link:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Total Bull (In The Good Sense): Boxing Champ Jake LaMotta On the Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro Film About His Life, "Raging Bull"

Boxing champion Jake LaMotta reminisces about the Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro film of his life and boxing career, Raging Bull, in The New York Post. The classic film was originally released on December 19, 1980.

As a former amateur boxer, a life-long fight fan and a film buff, I think Raging Bull is the best film made about the fight game.

You can read the Post story via the link below:

Above is a photo of LaMotta in his prime and below is Raging Bull poster:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Light Out, Huck, They Still Want To Sivilize You

Michiko Kakutani at The New York Times weights in against the idea of changing Mark Twain's great classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Kakutani writes:

Haven’t we learned by now that removing books from the curriculum just deprives children of exposure to classic works of literature? Worse, it relieves teachers of the fundamental responsibility of putting such books in context — of helping students understand that “Huckleberry Finn” actually stands as a powerful indictment of slavery (with Nigger Jim its most noble character), of using its contested language as an opportunity to explore the painful complexities of race relations in this country. To censor or redact books on school reading lists is a form of denial: shutting the door on harsh historical realities — whitewashing them or pretending they do not exist.

Mr. Gribben’s effort to update “Huckleberry Finn” (published in an edition with “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by NewSouth Books), like Mr. Foley’s assertion that it’s an old book and “we’re ready for new,” ratifies the narcissistic contemporary belief that art should be inoffensive and accessible; that books, plays and poetry from other times and places should somehow be made to conform to today’s democratic ideals. It’s like the politically correct efforts in the ’80s to exile great authors like Conrad and Melville from the canon because their work does not feature enough women or projects colonialist attitudes.

You can read his piece via the link below:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Don't Rewrite Mark Twain

I agree with Rich Lowry, no one should rewrite Mark Twain.
Lowry, a syndicated columnist and editor of National Review, wrote a column about Twain and the new edition of Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that replaced the "offensive" words from the text.
You can read Lowry's column via the link below:

The Duke's Best Westerns

AMC will broadcast an all-day marathon of John Wayne movies tomorrow on Saturday, January 8th.

At AMC's blog, Robert Silva offers his view of John Wayne's best westerns. You can read the piece via the below link:

Like Silva, I would list The Searchers and True Grit in the top five, but I would move up The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Fort Apache, as well as The Shootist, Wayne's final great film.

It should be noted that the late, great John Ford directed Wayne in The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Fort Apache. Henry Hathaway directed True Grit and Don Siegel directed The Shootist.

My On Crime & Security Column: Mailroom Security Tips to Screen Suspicious Mail Packages At Home and Work

In light of the incendiary devices sent to various Maryland government offices, I though I would reprint one of my On Crime & Security columns on mail security.

The column originally appeared in the online small business magazine

You can read the column below:

Mailroom Security Procedures Needed to Screen Suspicious Mail & Packages

By Paul Davis

A poisonous powder was discovered in the mailroom of the Palm Beach County, Florida Courthouse on January 11th.

The powder, determined to be Tellurium, was discovered in two envelopes. The five people who touched the envelopes were processed through a decontamination tent set up outside of the courthouse. They removed their clothing and were sprayed with decontamination chemicals, then showered and put on paper suits. The investigation is ongoing.

The incident brings to mind the anthrax sent to a newspaper editor in nearby Boca Raton in 2001. The editor died after being exposed to the anthrax, which was mailed in a letter from an anonymous sender. That case is still open.

This incident also brings to mind the idea that we all need to practice good mailroom security -- even if the mailroom is just a table in the back room, your kitchen table or your desk in your home office.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, few aspects of our society are as safe as the U.S. Mail. The postal inspectors say they have investigated an average of 16 mail bombs over the past few years while the postal service has processed 170 billion pieces of mail.

That said, the postal inspectors have teamed up with three other federal law enforcement agencies -- the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) - to promote mailroom security and increase public awareness of the threat of receiving deadly material in the mail.

The four agencies have produced a poster, "Suspicious Mail or Packages, which can be downloaded at

"By providing a single, uniform message from the federal agencies that most often assist with suspicious mail or packages, we can help increase awareness and preparedness among all mailers, businesses and employees," said Chief Postal Inspector Lee R. Heath.

"Although the odds of receiving dangerous mail are extremely unlikely, this poster belongs in every mailroom in the country," Heath added.

The FBI tends to get most of the publicity, but the Postal Inspection Service is the primary law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service and has the responsibility to investigate crimes associated with the mail.

The Postal Inspection Service is in fact one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in America, having been founded by Ben Franklin in 1772.

The postal inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. They investigate a variety of crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S. Mail and postal system.

Over the years, I've covered the Postal Inspection Service, as well as the FBI and other federal and local law enforcement agencies, and I've come to know several inspectors. I've found them to be competent and hard-working law enforcement officers. The inspectors have investigated the anthrax case, the Unabomber case and many other cases involving chemicals and explosives.
With this vast experience, the postal inspectors point out that although the appearance of mail bombs may vary greatly, they have common characteristics:

Mail bombs may have excessive postage. Mail bombers generally don't want to deal face-to face with a postal clerk behind a counter, so they slap on extra postage.

The return address may be fictitious or non-existent.

The postmark may show a different location than the return address.

Mail Bombs may bear restricted endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Private." This is particularly important when the addressee does not usually receive personal mail at the office.
Mail bombs may display distorted handwriting, or the name and address may be prepared with homemade labels or cut-and-paste lettering.

Parcel bombs may be unprofessionally wrapped with several combinations of tape used to secure the package, and may be endorsed "Fragile -- Handle With Care," or "Rush -- Do Not Delay."

Letter bombs may feel rigid, or appear uneven or lopsided.

Package bombs may have an irregular shape, soft spots or bulges.

Mail bombs may have protruding wires, aluminum foil, or oil stains, and may emit a peculiar odor.

The postal inspectors advise you to immediately call 911 if you encounter a suspicious letter or package. Don't open the article, they say. Isolate the suspect parcel and evacuate the immediate area.

Don't put the letter or package in water or a confined space, such as a desk drawer or cabinet. Don't open, smell or taste the contents.

If possible, open windows in the immediate area to assist in venting potentially explosive gases.

Lastly, the postal inspectors advise you not to be concerned if the item turns out to be innocent. Better safe than sorry, as the saying goes.

Cold War II? U.S. Naval Intelligence Director Discusses China's Military Advances

By Karen Parrish, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 - Though China has demonstrated its ability to field advanced military prototypes speedily, how soon it can put those capabilities to use remains a key question, the Navy's intelligence chief said yesterday.

Vice Adm. David J. "Jack" Dorsett, director of naval intelligence and deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, spoke to defense writers about China's emerging military capabilities.

"They've entered operational capability quicker than we frequently project," Dorsett said.

"We've been on the mark on an awful lot of our assessments," he added, "but there have been a handful of things we've underestimated."

Dorsett's remarks were delivered on the same day that Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan e-mailed reporters about the Defense Department's annual report to Congress on "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China."

The report, Lapan wrote, states China "continues to make investments to support a comprehensive military modernization program which includes advanced aircraft."

Specifically, Lapan noted, the China report references the Quadrennial Defense Review report.

"China is developing and fielding large numbers of advanced medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, new attack submarines equipped with advanced weapons, increasingly capable long-range air defense systems, electronic warfare and computer network attack capabilities, advanced fighter aircraft and counter-space systems," he wrote.

The latest Chinese military technology has been widely reported in recent weeks. In December, high-resolution photos surfaced of a Chinese aircraft that appears to be a large stealth fighter.

The previous week, Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, was quoted in a Japanese newspaper as saying a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile, the Dong Feng 21D or DF-21D, has been extensively tested and now is considered to be at initial operational capability.

Amid growing global attention to China's growing military inventory, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will travel to China on Jan. 9 for long-planned meetings, the first between the two nations' defense leaders since China suspended military-to-military contact early last year.

During his meeting with reporters, Dorsett said Chinese advances should be viewed in perspective. Their stealth fighter, he said, will not be fully operationally capable for years, and the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile system has been test-fired over land, but is not believed to have been tested over water against maneuvering targets.

But recent developments in ballistic-missile technology has increased the probability that China could hit a maneuvering target -- such as an aircraft carrier -- with a missile salvo, Dorsett said. "How proficient they are, or what that level of probability is, we don't know," he said. "And frankly, I'm guessing that they don't know."

China's stealth aircraft, he said, likely is in early development. Based on pictures he has seen of the Chinese so-called J-20 stealth aircraft, Dorsett said, it's not clear when it will be fully tested and operational.

"Over the years, the Chinese military doctrine was 'hide and bide' –- hide your resources and bide your time," Dorsett said. "They now appear to have shifted into an era where they're willing to show their resources and capabilities."

While China is providing more insight, Dorsett said, "Still, the lack of transparency into what they're doing, the lack of openness, remains a concern for us."

Another concern is China's ability to become operationally proficient in a joint, sophisticated combat environment, he said.

"I don't see China [with] those capabilities right now. I see them delivering individual components, individual weapons systems," Dorsett said. "So one of the areas that I focus on is how good are they at developing their operational proficiency to manage across the spectrum of warfare.

"That's one [area] where I don't want to get the assessment wrong," he continued. "I want to get it pretty right on about when we think they're going to become operationally proficient."

It's clear the Chinese are modernizing across a broad array of weapons systems, Dorsett said.

"Their economy is such that they can invest, and have been able to invest this decade, quite heavily in a military buildup," he added.

China's advances in procuring modern military equipment should not be a surprise, Dorsett said, but the speed of their progress has been.

"I am intrigued by the developments. I am quite interested in the quantities and different types of technology that have been developed that we either didn't expect or we underestimated," he said.

Still, Dorsett said, fielding a prototype is just the first step toward integrating it into routine military operations.

"For example, while they're developing technology and capabilities, it has just been [during] the last year and a half, two years, that we've seen the Chinese navy deploy out of area for any period of time," he said.

"In ... late 2008, when they deployed a three-ship task group to the Gulf of Aden to conduct counterpiracy operations, that was a big step for them," Dorsett added. "Three ships to the Gulf of Aden, compared to what the U.S. Navy does on a daily basis, ... you can't contrast the two, because the difference is so great."

China lacks some basic components of advanced military power, Dorsett said: integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability, anti-submarine warfare capability, a level of sophistication in joint warfighting, and mature operational proficiency across the board.
"So what would be dangerous for us is to overestimate them today but underestimate [the] timeline of trying to synchronize these various elements together," he said.

The Chinese "game plan" is to gradually build to global power, Dorsett said, offering their planned aircraft carrier capability development as an example.

"They've got a used, very old Russian carrier that they're going to probably start conducting sea trials with later this year," he said. "They are planning on building indigenous aircraft carriers that will come into their order of battle later on, over the next decade."

But by 2020, Chinese aircraft carrier proficiency and capability will still be very limited, Dorsett said, because integrating flying aircraft into not just flight deck operations but battle group operations "takes a fair amount of time."

"The U.S. Navy has had ... 100 years of flight activity. So it's going to take time for them to build that capability," he said. "They're pragmatic; they've got a game plan that deals in decades."
Dorsett said in his view, China is trying to build a navy that becomes a near-term regional power, with long-term significant global implications in support of their nation.

"They want a naval force that can be deployed to protect their resource flow or their vital national interests, such as the anti-piracy operations," he said.

While the Chinese plan to build a massive military infrastructure is long-range, their pursuit of technological capability is much quicker, Dorsett said, noting that over the last 10 years, China has developed a "competent capability" in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems and over-the-horizon radars.

"Ten years from now, we expect a much greater increase in the number of satellites they have in orbit and their capability to fuse information," he said.

The Chinese are maturing in their use of capabilities, Dorsett said. "But have you seen them deploy large groups of naval forces?" he added. "No. Have we seen large, joint, sophisticated exercises? No. Do they have any combat proficiency? No. That's what I'm saying –- they are at the front end of developing that military capability."

While developments in Chinese maritime, ballistic missile and stealth fighter capability deserve attention, Dorsett said, "The area and the technology that I'm most concerned about is China's focus and attention on trying to develop capabilities to dominate in the electro-magnetic spectrum, to conduct counter-space capabilities, and clearly to conduct cyber activities."

The Chinese write about what they call joint informationalized operations and attempting to dominate the electromagnetic environment, Dorsett said.

"In fact, you see throughout their training, their exercises, they attempt to employ a wide range of electronic warfare and electromagnetic control mechanisms," he said. "They try to really use space –- so all of these things that are nonkinetic are pretty crucial to warfare for China. But guess what? In the Information Age, they need to be critical elements for all nations."

Nonkinetic and information warfare and dominating the electromagnetic spectrum are key components of warfighting for the future, Dorsett said. "We really shouldn't focus excessively on China," he added. "We should focus on information capabilities and how nations might employ those in the future."

Dorsett said the United States and China are focused on a new area of warfare that other nations also are looking at and developing.

"We're going through a transformation, if not a revolution, in military capabilities these days -- and it's more toward the information, the nonkinetic, the cyber side of the house," he said.
The United States military is in the midst of that paradigm shift, Dorsett said.

"We don't want to shoot behind the target," he said. "We don't want to prepare for the last war. We don't want to prepare for ground activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a relatively benign environment in terms of sophistication of warfare."

Roadside bombs and insurgents on the ground pose a great threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Dorsett said, but the present war shouldn't prevent defense experts from planning for future conflicts.

"I do think [in future conflicts] we'll use advanced technologies, advanced capabilities, and [be] much more nonkinetic than we've ever seen in the past," he said. "So [the Defense Department] is, in fact, preparing for that."

The U.S. military must also maintain its combat capability and proficiency in irregular warfare, such as the fight in Afghanistan, he said.

"We really need to commit the right resources to win in Afghanistan, to be successful there, but at the same time, ... we are looking at other elements of warfighting, especially on the information side, where we need to make improvements," Dorsett said. "It's not either-or. It's both, and at the same time, we're going through a significant transition."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mark Twain: Still A Colossus

"Well, there he stands - a bit concealed, a bit false, but still a colossus," H. L. Mencken wrote upon a reading a biography of Mark Twain.

James E. Person Jr. opens his Washington Times review of The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 with the above Mencken quote.

You can read the review via the link below:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where's Whitey? James "Whitey" Bulger,The Boston Gangster On The FBI's Most Wanted List, Has Been On The Lam For Sixteen Years

The Boston Globe reports that on the 16th anniversary of his being on the lam, the FBI is still hunting Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
You can read the piece and watch a video about Bulger via the below link:
You can also read my earlier post on Bulger, actor Robert Mitchum, writer George V. Higgins and the making of The Friends of Eddie Coyle via the below link:

Pardon Me? Israeli Prime Minister Requests (Again) A Pardon for Imprisoned Spy Jonathan Jay Pollard

Bill Gertz and Eli Lake at The Washington Times report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested (again) a pardon for imprisoned spy Jonathan Jay Pollard.

Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was convicted of spying for the Israelis.

You can read the report via the below link:

You can also read my earlier post, which links to my interview with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent who investigated Pollard. (He is against a pardon).

Interview With Thriller Writer Stephen Hunter, Author Of Dead Zero

John J. Miller at National Review Online inteviewed thriller writer Stephen Hunter, the author of the new Bob Lee Swagger thriller Dead Zero (Simon and Schuster).

You can listen to the audio interview via the below link:

I've enjoyed Stephen Hunter's previous thrillers about Bob Lee Swagger, the former Marine Vietnam-era sniper, and I look forward to reading Dead Zero.
You can read my Philadelphia Inquirer review of Hunter's last thriller via the link below: