Monday, May 28, 2012

Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff Reminds Americans To Remember Meaning Of Memorial Day

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2012 - In a round of Memorial Day television interviews today, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged Americans to reflect on the meaning of this national holiday, a message underscored by the on-going mission in Afghanistan as well as fresh reminders of the military's obligation to be ready to respond if called upon.

"I would ask people to take a solemn moment at some point during the day to remember exactly what we are celebrating and that is we're celebrating our freedom," Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told NBC's "Today" show in an appearance from the Pentagon. "The freedom that was purchased by more than two million men and women throughout the course of our history and, of course, more than 64-hundred or so in the past 10 years alone."

On multiple morning news programs, questioning quickly turned to the war in Afghanistan, with Dempsey saying he defines progress there as having Afghans able to provide for their own security and governance.

"Success in Afghanistan will be when the Afghan Security Forces are capable of maintaining stability inside their own country and the central government of Afghanistan is able to provide governance. I think that has always been the definition of success both in Iraq and Afghanistan," he told CNN's "Starting Point" program. "I think we are moving positively toward those objectives."

Dempsey dismissed concerns about a possible resurgence of the Taliban, which Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta called 'resilient' on ABC's "This Week" program yesterday.

"I will say the Strategic Partnership Agreement that we entered with Afghanistan should give pause to the Taliban that they simply cannot wait us out," he said on CNN. That agreement, signed by President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul May 2, establishes the basis for cooperation between both countries over the next decade, after the end of the NATO mission. The agreement includes cooperation on counterterrorism and the continued training of the Afghan National Security Forces.

Dempsey's interviews coincided with reports of a massacre of more than 100 civilians in Syria, in apparent violation of a ceasefire between the government of President Bashar al-Asad and his opponents. On "Fox and Friends," the general called reports of the deaths "atrocious," and would not rule out a possible military option if such atrocities continue.

"My job as senior military leader is to provide the president options when a political decision is taken ...and I frankly believe the pressure has to be mounting on Asad and should continue to mount on Asad and if asked for those options at some point, I'll be prepared to provide them," he said.

But Dempsey's central message, as he told CNN, was the day itself, and he continued to return to what it means, including the daily reminder he receives of the nation's sacrifice every morning as he arrives at the Pentagon.

"I drive to work every day past Arlington Cemetery, and there are 260-thousand small American flags planted at each of these gravesites, so I just want to make sure that they know that we will never forget."

Actor Tom Selleck And Defense Department Leaders Recall Vietnam Veteran's Valor, Sacrifice

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2012 - The Defense Department's most senior leaders today honored Vietnam War veterans, including their own friends and mentors, in a commemoration at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall here they said was long overdue.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and actor Tom Selleck all mentioned friends and mentors whose names are among the 58,282 etched into the black granite panels. They joined President Barack Obama in a ceremony marking the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the war.

The Vietnam War ended in April 1975 when North Vietnamese troops took the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. While the end date is a certainty, it is a mirror of the war and the divisions it caused that Americans still disagree on when U.S. involvement in the country began.

American advisors were dying with their South Vietnamese soldiers in the mid-1950s. But historians – and the Defense Department – are commemorating the 50th anniversary of U.S. involvement in Vietnam now.

"At this hour, and at this hallowed memorial, we mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War – a war that occupies a central place in the American story," Panetta said. "Millions of Americans were sent across the Pacific to a little known place to fight in the service of the country they loved."

Participating in the service was especially moving to Panetta, he said, because he went through ROTC and served in the Army with some of those killed in Vietnam. "No memorial better reflects the pain of the sacrifices that were made (than this one)," he said.

Millions of American served in Vietnam and, at one point, well over 500,000 U.S. service members were deployed there. They returned, Panetta said, to a country that "failed to fully acknowledge their service, their sacrifice and failed to give them the honor they so justly deserved."

The Vietnam generation "is graying now," Panetta said. But it is not too late for the commemoration of Vietnam to right the wrongs of the past, he said.

The secretary spoke of his recent participation in a ceremony presenting the Medal of Honor to the widow of Army Spec. 4 Les Sabo. Sabo, a member of the famed 101st Airborne Division, died saving his platoon in 1970. The award recommendation was lost for years before another Screaming Eagle found it and revived the process.

"The story of Les, in many ways, is the story of the Vietnam War: We forgot and now we finally remember," Panetta said.

Dempsey noted that some people called the war – and the wall – a scar. "But history's temperance allows us to see success where some only saw failure, to see hope where some only saw loss, and to see valor where some simply refused to look," he said.

The war's 50th anniversary gives Americans the opportunity to look, the chairman said.

Dempsey recalled being a 16-year-old in upstate New York and watching Army Capt. John Graham come back from the war, motivating him to want to be a soldier himself. "I remember the day in 1971 when Captain John Graham was buried at West Point," Dempsey said. "He died during his second tour advising the South Vietnamese Army. His son is now on West Point's faculty."

The chairman also spoke of Army Warrant Officer Roy Thomas, a gunship pilot with the 25th Infantry Division. "He died in battle when his son was four months old," the chairman said. "His son is an Air Force officer on my staff."

Those men are just two examples that echo thousands more who share a martial bond with their forbearers, Dempsey said.

"Whether they served in Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan, whether they returned home or we still await their homecoming, there is no difference in their courage and sense of duty," he said. "There is no difference when it comes to fear and suffering, on the front line and on the home front. There is no difference in the love and longing of their families.

"And, there is no difference in the wounds that remain both seen and unseen."

Their example calls for Americans to resolve to "never again allow our veterans and their families to be left alone, left to feel outside, left to fend for themselves," Dempsey said. "And let us resolve today to not just say 'welcome home,' but to truly welcome our troops home with the respect and care that they and their families have earned."

Happy 104th Birthday, Ian Fleming

The web site HMSS Weblog notes that today is the late great thriller writer Ian Fleming's birthday.

Today is what would have been Ian Fleming’s 104th birthday. Fleming created James Bond as he composed the first draft of the Casino Royale novel in Jamaica six decades ago. A decade later, after a number of false starts and aborted projects, the first film based on a Bond novels was filmed and released.

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

You can also read my piece on Ian Fleming's World War II service in British naval intelligence and his creation of a naval commando group called 30 Assault Unit, which appeared in Counterterrorism magazine, via the below link:

Maintain Peace By Staying Strong: President Ronald Reagan On Memorial Day

The Washington Times is offering excerpts from President Reagan's Memorial Day speech from 1986.

Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It’s a day to be with the family and remember.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans: A Look Back At The Vietnam War

Robert F. Turner at the Washington Times notes that on Monday afternoon the Pentagon will host a "Welcome Home" ceremony for Vietnam veterans at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall in Washington D.C.

In his piece Turner looks back at the Vietnam War and addresses some of the myths that have come out of the war.

You can read the piece via the below link:

You can also read my piece on the history of the Vietnam War that appeared in Counterterrorism magazine a while back via the below links:

Note: My older brother served in the U.S. Army in South Vietnam at Chu Lai and I served in the U.S. Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Oldest Italian Restaurant In America Is Now Ralph's In South Philadelphia

Hadas Kuznits at Philly's Local CBS News reports that with the closing of a restaurant in San Francisco, Ralph's Italian Restaurant in South Philadelphia becomes the oldest Italian restaurant in America.

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

My Q & A With Joseph C. Goulden, The Author of 'The Dictionary Of Espionage' And 'The Death Merchant'

My Q&A with Joseph C. Goulden, the veteran journalist and author of The Dictionary of Espionage and The Death Merchant, appears in the current issue of Counterterrorism magazine.

You can read the interview via the below magazine pages or the below text:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

The IACSP Q&A With Joseph C. Goulden 

By Paul Davis

Joseph C. Goulden (pronounced “Golden”) has enjoyed varied careers as a prize-winning newsman, a best-selling author of non-fiction books, a media critic, and as a consultant and commentator on intelligence, national security and public affairs. 

Before he became a writer, Goulden worked as an underground minor and in military counterintelligence. A native Texan, Goulden worked as a reporter for the Dallas Morning News and later the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was the newspaper’s chief of the Washington bureau. 

As a newsman, Goulden said he played softball with Fidel Castro and dodged bullets from Castroist guerillas in Guatemala. He has written 18 books, including two highly regarded books on intelligence – “Truth Is The First Casualty” on the Gulf of Tonkin incident; and “The Death Merchant” on rogue intelligence officer Edwin P.Wilson. 

Goulden’s updated “The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak Into English” was recently published by Dover Publications. Peter Earnest, a retired CIA officer and now the executive director of the International Spy Museum, wrote the forward to the updated “Dictionary of Espionage.” 

Joseph C. Goulden was interviewed by Paul Davis, an online columnist (Threatcon) and a contributing editor to the Journal. 

IACSP: Your updated “The Dictionary of Espionage” was recently published. Why did you write the book originally and why update it? 

Goulden:Well, I’ve always read spy nonfiction and I’m a chronic note taker. I started a file of these terms way back, 30, 40 years ago. And suddenly I said to myself there might be a little book here. At the time there was no good dictionary of these terms. The terms were thrown around and made familiar by the Church Committee, and anybody who goes to a James Bond movie knows about them. So I thought I’d check out where these words came from and how they are used and give some anecdotes. It did quite well. 

IACSP: Who is your target audience? 

Goulden:First of all, people in the intelligence community who want some of these things available in a nonclassified form. The CIA, the FBI and other government agencies put out their internal glossaries, but usually those are classified at least Confidential. Secondly, the book is for anybody who is just interested in espionage. That’s a lot of people. 

IACSP: That includes me. 

Goulden: The way this new edition came about was the acquisition editor for Dover Books, which specializes in out of print books, was in Washington last summer and he went by the International Spy Museum and talked to Peter Earnest, who is the executive director, and by coincidence, a good friend of mine. He asked him what book he would like to see back in print. And the way Peter tells me, he turned around and pulled the “The Dictionary of Espionage” off the shelf and said they could sell this book by the hundreds. So this gave me a chance to do an update on it, correct some errors, flesh it out a bit and put in some spy trivia. This is a book where you can sit down and pick any page and find something, I hope, of interest. 

IACSP: Peter Earnest notes in his forward to the book that you’ve known more spies and more about clandestine operations than many of the real spies he writes about. As a journalist you’ve written a good bit about espionage and the intelligence world, am I right? 

Goulden: My main exposure came about in the 1960s. I had an Alicia Patterson fellowship in Guatemala and Mexico. There was a strong insurgency going on in Guatemala supported by the Cubans. I wrote quite a bit about that and I got to know quite a few of the CIA and special ops people on the ground. By the time I got to Washington for the Philadelphia Inquirer, I wrote excessively about the Pueblo, the U.S. Navy spy ship taken in by the North Koreans. And for the last 20 years, I’ve reviewed books on intelligence and espionage for the Washington Times. 

IACSP: Can you tell us a bit more about your background? 

Goulden: I had three ambitions as a kid. I wanted to be a reporter for a big city paper, I wanted to have the Washington bureau for a big paper and I wanted to work aboard. And by the time I was 34 years old, I’d done it all. I had written a couple of books on the side when I was with the Philadelphia Inquirer and I had a little money saved and I had some comp time coming from the Inquirer, so I thought I could make it. If I didn’t I could always go back into newspapering. My book “The Superlawyers” was published in 1972 and the second week out it was on the New York Times best-seller list and it stayed there for 23 weeks, getting up to number three. That gave me the cushion and the courage I needed to keep on doing it full time. 

IACSP: As a Navy veteran who served on an aircraft carrier in the Tonkin Gulf on “Yankee Station” during the Vietnam War, I thought your book on the Tonkin Gulf incident that started the war was interesting. Can you tell us a bit about that book? 

Goulden: The basic story is President Johnson wanted a pretext to go to war in Vietnam and he seized upon the pretext even when the Navy said hold off, let us figure out exactly what happened out there. We’re still trying to do an after action report. The skipper of the USS Maddux told me that he was still sending flash messages off to Washington, trying to get them to slow down, when he looked up and saw jets going overhead to Haiphong. 

IACSP: Is there any one espionage story in particular that you’ve covered over the years that most interest you, even today? 

Goulden: The Alger Hiss case, which I’ve made a long study of. My interest goes back to when Nixon ran for governor of California. He was beaten and ABC News put out a so-called documentary called “The Political Death of Richard Nixon.” Included in the people interviewed was Alger Hiss. Now by happenstance my publisher at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Walter Annenberg, was a director of ABC and owned the ABC outlet in Philadelphia. He raised hell at corporate management and refused to let the outlet air the documentary. There was a great hubbub about censorship and Walter called me up to his office and said OK, it is obvious by some of the mail we’ve been getting that these people don’t have any idea who Alger Hiss was and why this was an important case. I want you to go back and write me a long piece and if it runs two pages of type, that’s OK with me. The Philadelphia Inquirer library had copies of transcripts of both of his trials, which was one hell of a lot of paper. I holed up in an office and I read that stuff nonstop for two weeks and took notes. I wrote an exhaustive study of the Hiss case, which ended with his being found guilty by a federal court jury and sent to prison. We made a big splash out of that piece and I got a very nice note from none other than Richard Nixon. The Nation magazine wrote that Hiss was framed and I wrote several long rebuttal pieces. The Nation later got some Russian general to look at the KGB files during the period the Russians were opening up some of their files. The general reports back that the KGB had nothing about Alger Hiss in their files, therefore he is innocent. 

IACSP: That’s because Hiss was a spy for the GRU, Soviet military intelligence. 

Goulden: That’s the whole thing! By happenstance, this general was working on POW issues and he was in Washington testifying. I was there with another old red-baiter, a guy named Herb Romerstein, and we looked across from one another and as soon as the testimony ended he was coming out and we hit him - one on one side, one on the other. Here are two former PFCs in the U.S. Army cross-examining a three-star general in the Red Army, with a four-star U.S. general acting as an interpreter. We told him Hiss didn’t work for the KGB he worked for the GRU and the Comintern. Did you check their records? No, he didn’t, as he was asked to check the KGB. He went back to Moscow and said the GRU was not releasing information on Hiss. And he retracted what he said about Hiss. Now the New York Times had run the thing on the front page when they said Hiss was innocent. The retraction? What do you think? Way inside. 

IACSP: I believe there are intercepts that absolutely prove that Hiss was a Soviet spy, am I right? 

Goulden: Yes, the Venona intercepts. But the GRU has still not released anything on him. 

IACSP: But it is beyond doubt that Hiss was in fact a Soviet spy. 

Goulden: Case closed. 

IACSP: I’d like to ask about your book “The Death Merchant.” I believe it was the first book of yours I read. In light of the death of Kaddafi in Libya, please tell us about how you came to write the book about Edwin Wilson, the illegal arms dealer? 

Goulden: Edwin Wilson was working as a contract officer for a naval intelligence task force that did reporting on foreign ship movements and such. Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, then the director of naval intelligence, told me that he was down at some senator’s office and there was a weird guy there, a big, strapping fella, and he came over to Bobby and said, you know I work for you. Bobby said, yeah, tell me more. They went to lunch and this guy said, look I know the Navy needs some influence with senators and I can certainly handle that for you. Bobby didn’t say much, just said thanks, I’ll think about it. He went back to the office and checked him out and sure enough he had these Navy contracts. So Bobby burned him on the spot. He kicked him out. Wilson then gets contracts with Kaddafi and he wants Special Forces, DoD men and others to come to Libya to work for him. First thing, the Libyans took their passports. There are three ways to get out of the country; you leave legitimately on a passport, you swim out, or you walk across the desert. Hell, they were trapped. The Libyans start doing all sorts of nefarious things and they could not do a damn thing about it. The irony is, Wilson was making millions of dollars on legitimate military contracts, uniforms and boots and things like that, but he couldn’t resist the dirty part. Things started rolling up on him and people who worked for him went before Grand Juries, and they talked to the FBI, the CIA and all that. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. had a whole platoon of those guys. The U.S. Attorney allowed me to talk to these guys after they were debriefed. They had a lot they wanted to get off their chest and it was fascinating to listen to them. One person I tried to get to was Wilson, but he ignored me. So he finally gets out of jail and calls me and raises hell for my not getting his side of the story. I said I asked you for an interview and you had a chance to testify, but didn’t. What am I supposed to do, make up your side of it? He called me a dirty name and hung up. 

IACSP: Well, he may not have liked the book, but we did. 

Thanks for talking to us. 

Paul Davis is a contributing editor to the Journal. He can be reached at  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Officials Helped Makers Of Osama Bin Laden Film, Documents Show

Kim Geiger at the Los Angeles Times reports on the story that politically-connected film makers working on a film about the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden that may aid President Obama's reelection, received help from the Pentagon and the CIA.

In the months after the U.S. military mission that killed Osama bin Laden, Pentagon officials met with Hollywood filmmakers and gave them special access in an effort to influence the creation of a film about the operation, newly released documents show.

Emails and meeting transcripts obtained from the Pentagon and CIA through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch suggest that officials went out of their way to assist the filmmakers, while trying to keep their cooperation from becoming public.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Philly Mob Scene

George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter, offers two Philadelphia organized crime updates on his Mob Scene videos on

The first video, Split Loyalties, is linked below:

The second video, Dead Man Walking, is linked below:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chasing The Drugs, Guns And Violence: My Night Out With The Philadelphia Police Narcotics Field Unit South

My piece on my night out with the Philadelphia Police Narcotics Field Unit South appears in the latest issue of Counterterrorism magazine. 

You can read the piece above or the below text:

“We have two search warrants set up for today,” Philadelphia Police Officer Theresa Weaver told her passenger, a writer along for the ride to Southwest Philadelphia to observe the actions of the Philadelphia Police Narcotics Field Unit South. “We will be attempting to make buys with a confidential informant. And if those buys are successful, we’ll be executing the two search warrants on the properties.” 

Weaver explains that they generally have confidential informants (CIs) make two or three narcotics buys before they execute a warrant. 

“These are independent, street level drug dealers,” her partner, Officer Greg Barber explained. 

Barber, who grew up in West and Southwest Philadelphia, said that crack cocaine and heroin were the popular drugs being sold on the street. 

“Most of your crime is associated with drugs. The stealing and the shootings, the robberies and the home invasions are committed by people trying to get money for drugs,” Barber said. “Drugs lead to confrontations between different neighborhoods and that’s when the shootings come about.” 

There are ten officers in the squad, and they met in the 19th Police District to plan for the first raid on a drug house. The officers are dressed mostly in Dickies work clothing, which allows them to blend in on the street. 

The officers were given assignments and positions. One officer was equipped with a hand-held battering ram to take down the door and another officer was issued a shotgun. Two uniform officers were assigned to accompany the undercover narcotics officers. 

“Because of the way we execute the warrants, we don’t give them an opportunity to fight,” Weaver said. “Planning is everything,” 

Barber added. The squad parked their unmarked cars in the vicinity of the drug house and waited for the call on their radio that said the confidential informant (CI) made the buy. The buy was made and the officers rushed to the house and quickly placed several young men down on the porch and placed them in handcuffs. 

A couple of young men ran and some of the officers chased them down the street. The remaining officers searched the house for drugs and guns. The officers found crack and marijuana and they found two guns hidden in the ceiling. 

Lt Robert Otto, the unit’s commander, explained that the narcotics unit requires a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice from the officers, aside from the fact that they are putting their lives on the line. 

“Crack and heroin are the most addictive drugs I’ve seen in my career and with that I see a lot of violence,” Otto said. “Recently, there has also been a surge in the abuse and sale of prescription pills.” 

Otto said that close to 50% of their investigations now deal with prescription drugs, which are extremely addictive. 

“We also get involved with chasing the violence,” Otto explained. “A lot of violent crime happens as a result of narcotics.” 

Sgt Berle “Chico” Brereton, a 24-year narcotics veteran and the son of a retired narcotics officer, explained that the squad attacks the mid-level to lower-level drug traffickers on the street. 

“We’ve hit this house before and we’ve gotten guns and drugs out of this house before. This is one of the problem houses in the district. They had a homicide here last year,” Brereton said. 

Brereton said they put in a call to have the city “seal” the house so the drug dealers can’t return to operate there. “We’ll shut this nuisance down, get the guns off the street and maybe no one will get shot here.” 

Brereton said the people who are buying drugs at this level are users who break into cars, break into people’s houses, and rob people on the street to get money to buy drugs. 

“There are decent people here who can’t move. We’re the only people who are going to help them,” Brereton said. “We’re proactive. We come out here every day and lock people up. We call the Southwest detectives and they come and debrief the people we locked up and then follow up on shootings, homicides and crimes like that. “My squad is predominantly black,” Brereton said. “We try to preach to the young black kids involved with drugs.” 

Otto said that one of the main objectives was to get into a house like this and remove the guns that normally go with drugs and violence. He said that the two recovered guns might be responsible for countless murders. “I tell my guys all of the time; you’re never going to know until you meet your Maker just how many people you have saved by getting these guns off the street,” Otto said.

Everybody Loves Lt. Dan - Gary Sinise

Roger L. Vance at Vietnam magazine reports on actor and musican Gary Sinise's long interest in Vietnam veterans led to his support of veterans.

The actor who portrayed disabled Vietnam veteran Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump has gone on to perform at many USO shows for the troops and he has a foundation that supports veterans. You can check out his foundation at

You can read the magazine story on Gary Sinise via the below link:  

13 Alleged Mob Members Arrested For Running New Jersey Online Gambling Ring

George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's veteran organized crime reporter reports on the fed's roundup of reputed organized crime members suspected of running an online gambling ring.

While New Jersey’s political leaders tussle over whether to legalize Internet gambling in Atlantic City’s casinos, another group of prominent Garden State residents is apparently taking full advantage of the profits available through online wagering.

A federal racketeering case unveiled today in Newark and a state case pending for more than two years in Morris County make it clear: The mob has discovered the Internet.

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Skyfall: New James Bond Film Offers Teaser

Kimberly Dadds at the British newspaper the Daily Mail offers a piece on the upcoming James Bond film Skyfall's new teaser.

It's one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year.

And with just a week away before filming is finally wrapped up on the new James Bond film Skyfall, have now released the first teaser trailer of the movie.

It conincides with the 50th anniversary of the iconic franchise so producers have ensured excitement reaches fever pitch as Daniel Craig returns to take on the super spy role.

You can read the rest of the story and watch the teaser via the below link:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

'Hemingway & Gellhorn': How The HBO Movie Came To Be Made

Scott Timberg at the Los Angeles Times offers a piece on how the director Phil Kaufman and the actors Nicole Kidman and Clive Owens came to be involved in the HBO movie about writer Ernest Hemingway and his wife Martha Gellhorn.

Inspired by what he called "a stormin' script," Owen threw himself into the role of Papa Hemingway in a way he never had before. "At first it's daunting. God, I'm English, playing an iconic American writer. But I immersed myself in everything Hemingway. I took months and months, read everything he wrote, read everything about him. Had endless talks with Phil about him."

Owen visited places Hemingway had been — Cuba, Spain, France — struck by the adulation and fondness he seemed to leave behind him and spent days with recordings of Hemingway's voice ringing in his ears. He also put on weight to play this man of enormous appetites. But Owen does not speak with the portentous tone of the Hemingway character played by
Corey Stoll in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris."

"I think he's an absolutely amazing writer," says Owen, who had known Hemingway's work only slightly. "A bit out of fashion at the moment, because of the whole macho thing, the bullfighting and safaris. The feminist movement buried him a bit. But I would argue that a lot of the writing is hugely sensitive. He was the beginning of the economy of language: The discipline, the way he extracted the fat and honed and honed."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:,0,3035397.story   

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Duncan Jones To Direct Action Thriller Based On Ian Fleming's Fascinating Life

Stuart Kemp at the Hollywood Reporter reports that Duncan Jones is set to direct a film about Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, based on Andrew Lycett's Ian Fleming, The Man Behind James Bond.

Before becoming the best-selling author of the Bond books, Fleming traveled the globe and masterminded real-life top-secret operations, helping supply inspiration for this famous creation, before and during World War II as a naval intelligence officer.

... Jones said: "Fleming lived through one of the most perilous periods in world history, in a position that allowed him a unique vantage point of all the players, all the stakes. He witnesses true heroism first-hand. And he saw the evil men could do. Then, when the war ended, he went off to write fiction. The essential question for me is where did Ian Fleming end and Bond begin?"

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

You can also read my column on Ian Fleming and James Bond via the below link:

Defense Secretary Praises Troops On Armed Forces Day

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2012 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today thanked troops and their families for their service in an Armed Forces Day message, in which he also noted the importance of the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago.

"Let me take this opportunity to wish all our troops and their families the very best on this Armed Forces Day," Panetta said in the message. "I hope you know that all Americans join me in gratitude for everything you do to keep us safe.

Panetta said the efforts of troops are noted and appreciated.

"Wherever and however you serve, you are an inspiration to me and to millions of your fellow Americans," he said.

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their service in support of the nation. On Aug. 31, 1949, Defense Secretary Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the armed forces under the Department of Defense.

The secretary said former President Truman was "right to recognize this day," and Panetta quoted the former president, saying "'it's not enough to yearn for peace. We must work, and if necessary, fight for it.'"

The service and sacrifices of men and women in uniform allow Americans to lead peaceful lives, he said.

"You fight for peace so that others don't need to," he said. "You work for peace, at home and abroad, so that others may know a better life. Your families share in that labor and in that sacrifice, so that other families need not endure the pains of separation and of strife. There is, perhaps, no more admirable calling."

Panetta pointed to the upcoming NATO Summit as an opportunity for heads of state to show the same commitment to reaching the international community's goals in Afghanistan.

"In keeping with that same spirit of service and leadership, heads of state from across the world are joining together at the NATO Summit in Chicago to affirm our shared commitment to work and to fight to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan," he said.

"Our goal is clear – to ensure that Afghanistan will never again serve as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against our homeland," Panetta said. "To do that, we have to build an Afghanistan that can secure and govern itself."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Which Literary Character Has Been Portrayed A Record-Breaking 254 Times On TV And Film? It's Elementary... Sherlock Holmes

Mario Ledwith and Nick Enoch at the British newspaper the Daily Mail wrote an interesting piece on the many TV and film portrayals of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic fictional character Sherlock Holmes.

Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr, Tom Baker... the full list of actors who have taken on the role of Sherlock Holmes is so long that the super sleuth himself might struggle to remember all the names.

And now, Holmes has broken the record for having more film and Tv portrayals than any other literary character.

The consulting detective has been depicted on the big and small screen a total of 254 times.

Sir Arhtur Conan Doyle's creation beats the next most popular character, Hamlet, by a total of 48 appearences.

You can read the rest of the story and see photos of many of the actors who portrayed Holmes, included Jeremy Brett (seen in the above photo), my favorite Sherlock holmes, via the below link:

Narco Terrorists, Drug Lords And Death Merchants: My Piece On The DEA And Their Fight Against The Deadly Drug Trade

My piece on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) appears in the latest issue of Counterterrorism magazine.

You can read the piece above and below:

Note: You can click on the above and enlarge.

The Agency Goes To War: A Review Of Former CIA Officer Henry A. Crumpton's 'The Art of Intelligence'

Sue Mi Terry at the Wall Street Journal offers a review of a new book by a legendary former CIA officer.

At the heart of Mr. Crumpton's memoir, "The Art of Intelligence," is an engrossing tale of how a seasoned CIA officer spearheaded the first campaign in America's war on terror.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What If: An Interview With One-Time James Bond Actor George Lazenby

In an earlier post, I linked to a piece about Ian Fleming's desire to have director Alfred Hitchcock direct the first James Bond film. Now that would have been an interesting film.

Another what if to ponder is what would the Bond films been like in the 1970s had George Lazenby continued in the role after 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service?

I believe George Lazenby would have grown in the role and we would have done without Roger Moore's lighthearted and comedic approach to the role.

Of course my generation will always think of Sean Connery as the one and only Bond, but I believe Lazenby did fine considering he had never acted before. I'm very fond of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and I watch it every Christmas season.

Below is a video interview of George Lazenby sometime after On Her Majesty Secret Service was released.

You can also visit an earlier post on Her Majesty's Secret Service via the below link:

Vegas: A Look At The New CBS Crime Series

Geoff Berkshire at offers a look at CBS' new crime series Vegas.   

Dennis Quaid is a cowboy sheriff who fights crime by riding a horse through 1960s Las Vegas.

Do you really need to know anything more about the new CBS drama "Vegas"? Personally, I'm already sold.

But it doesn't hurt that Michael Chiklis (Vic Mackey forever!) is also on board as a "ruthless Chicago gangster," Carrie-Anne Moss has the plum role of an "ambitious assistant district attorney" and potential love interest for Quaid, and Jason O'Mara rebounds from "Terra Nova" as Quaid's brother and deputy.

The series comes from "Goodfellas" and "Casino" writer Nicholas Pileggi and the pilot is directed by filmmaker James Mangold ("Walk the Line," "3:10 to Yuma"). It looks bold and expansive and possibly a lot more serialized than the CBS standard.

You can read the rest of the story and view a trailer of the crime series via the below link: 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Elementary: Sherlock Holmes Is Back In A Big Way

Bruce Chadwick at the History News Network reports on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic fictional character Sherlock Holmes' past and how he is back in a big way.

English fictional detective Sherlock Holmes solved his first case in 1887. He became a literary sensation in Great Britain and then, accompanied by his inveterate sidekick, Dr. John Watson, a superstar in the United States. Now, 125 years later, the nineteenth-century detective is not only back, he's bigger than ever. He's returned to theater, film and television, the world’s greatest sleuth once again, trudging through the fog filled streets of London, deerstalker cap comfortable on his head, pipe in the corner of his mouth and his trusty violin tucked under his arm. 

He's back in different theaters in numerous plays. He's back on the silver screen in two movies starring Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). And he's back on television in another season of the BBC's Sherlock, which just began last weekend in America.

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

Anthony Hopkins And Andy Garcia To Film 'Hemingway & Fuentes'

The Hollywood Reporter informs us that Cuban-American actor-writer-producer Andy Garica will finally begin work on his film about author Ernest Hemingway and his Cuban boat captain.

Andy Garcia’s passion project centering on author Ernest Hemingway is finally a go.    

Financing has been set on Hemingway & Fuentes, with filming scheduled to begin in January 2013.

Anthony Hopkins and Annette Bening are attached to star in the project with Garcia, who is directing. Garcia also co-wrote the screenplay with Hilary Hemingway, Hemingway’s

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

You can also read an earlier post on film projects about Hemingway via the below link:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Revealed: The Secret Telegram That Shows Ian Fleming Wanted Alfred Hitchcock To Direct The First James Bond Film

Imagine a James Bond film directed by Alfred Hitchcock with Cary Grant portraying James Bond.

Graham Smith at the British newspaper the Daily Mail reports on a telegram Ian Fleming sent his friend and fellow thriller writer Eric Ambler about the first James Bond film.

James Bond creator wanted Alfred Hitchock to direct the first 007 movie, it has emerged.

A telegram sent in 1959 has revealed one of the biggest "what ifs" in British cinema history and will James Bond fans shaken and stirred. Fleming sent the communique in which he asked Hitchcock to take the helm of the first Bond film through a mutual friend.

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

Note: Although not mentioned in the story, both Fleming and film producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli thought Hitchcock favorite Cary Grant would make a fine James Bond. Grant, who was Broccoli's best man at his wedding, agreed to portray Bond in one film only. As the producers hoped to produce a series of Bond films, they opted to hire Sean Connery to portray Bond and Terence Young to serve as the director. And the rest is cinema history.

The above photo shows the James Bond film team: From left to right is producer Cubby Broccoli, actor Sean Connery, writer Ian Fleming and producer Harry Saltzman.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Life Of A Spy: Legendary CIA Officer Interviewed On 60 Minutes

Lara Logan interviewed former CIA officer Henry A. Crumpton (seen in the above photo) on CBS' 60 Minutes.

Crumpton has written a book called The Art of Intelligence: Lessons From A Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service (Penguin Press).

There are more foreign spies on U.S. soil now than at the peak of the Cold War, according to Hank Crumpton, former head of the CIA's National Resources Division, a highly sensitive operation charged with collecting foreign intelligence here in the U.S. Crumpton also led the covert response to 9/11 in Afghanistan, where the CIA helped topple the Taliban. Lara Logan interviews Crumpton about his 24 years as a legendary spy.

You can read a transcript of the interview and/or watch the video via the below link:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Most Wanted: How Notorious Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Evaded Police For 50 Years

Emily Ann Stein at the British newspaper the Daily Mail reports on how Boston mobster Whitey Bulger was able to evade arrest for 50 years.

One of  America's most notorious and ruthless gangsters escaped capture by donning disguises, living off hidden safety deposit boxes of cash and serving as a secret informant to the FBI - despite being on top of the their most wanted list. 

Massachusetts State Police officer Thomas Foley chronicled his decades long hunt for James "Whitey" Bulger in his new book 'Most Wanted,' telling untold stories of Bulger's life on the lam and how it all began in Boston's Southie neighborhood.

"Whitey Bulger has to be the most cold-blooded killer in Boston's history," Mr Foley writes/ "If he isn't, I wouldn't want to know the guy who is."

You can read the story, view photos and watch a video of police surveillence on Bulger via the below link:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Too Tough To Fuggedabout: Notable Mafia Nicknames offers an AP piece on some of the more notable organized crime nicknames, such as Philadelphia's Philip "Chicken Man" Testa, seen in the above photo.

You can read the piece via the below link:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Former New England Organized Crime Leader And Associate Sentenced For Racketeering And Extortion Activities

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information today:
WASHINGTON – Luigi “Louie” Manocchio, an admitted former boss and underboss of the New England La Cosa Nostra (NELCN), was sentenced today to 66 months in federal prison for his leadership of and participation in a racketeering and extortion conspiracy that demanded and received between $800,000 and $1.5 million in “protection” payments from several Rhode Island adult entertainment businesses from 1995-2009.
Raymond R. “Scarface” Jenkins, an admitted associate of the NELCN, was also sentenced today to 37 months in prison for his admitted participation in a conspiracy to extort $25,000 from a Rhode Island individual and his wife by using implied threats of violence, including a visit to the individual’s residence.
The sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Peter F. Neronha, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Providence, R.I., Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare.
Manocchio and Jenkins were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith in the District of Rhode Island. Manocchio, 84, was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Jenkins, 47, was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.
Manocchio pleaded guilty on Feb. 22, 2012, to one count of racketeering conspiracy and Jenkins pleaded guilty on Feb. 23, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to violate the Hobbs Act by participating in extortion.
Manocchio and Jenkins are among eight Rhode Island men charged in a second superseding indictment returned on Sept. 22, 2011, for crimes involving racketeering and extortion. Edward “Eddy” Lato, an NELCN leader; NELCN member Alfred “Chippy” Scivola; and NELCN associates Albino “Albie” Folcarelli, Thomas Iafrate and Richard Bonafiglia pleaded guilty to participating in racketeering and extortion activities. Iafrate was sentenced on Dec. 12, 2011, to 30 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The remaining defendants are awaiting sentencing.
An eighth defendant named in the second superseding indictment, Theodore Cardillo, pleaded not guilty to three counts of racketeering conspiracy and three counts of extortion conspiracy. He is awaiting trial.
A third superseding indictment was returned in this matter on April 24, 2012, which charges Anthony L. Dinunzio, 53, of East Boston, Mass., the alleged acting leader of the NELCN, with one count each of racketeering and extortion, and five counts of travel in aid of racketeering. He entered a plea of not guilty on April 25, 2012, and was ordered detained while awaiting trial.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland for the District of Rhode Island and Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The matter was investigated by the FBI, Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.

Double Agent Who Helped CIA Foil New Al Qaeda Underpants Bomb Plot Was British National

Anthony Bond at the British newspaper the Daily Mail reports that the double agent who aided the CIA in the underpants bomb plot was a Brit.

You can read this interesting story via the below link: 

Russia's 'Merchant Of Death' Set For Move To Supermaximum Security Prison In Colorado

The New York Post reports that Viktor Bout (seen in the above photo when he was brought to the United States by the DEA), is scheduled to be transfered to a supermaximum security prison.

Viktor Bout, the convicted Russian arms dealer known as the "Merchant of Death," is to be transferred from his New York jail to a supermaximum security prison in Colorado, his defense lawyer said Friday.

Bout, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell weapons to a Colombian terror group targeting Americans, is to move from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to the Florence Federal Correctional Facility in Colorado, his lawyer Andrei Garkusha told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

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

You can also read about Viktor Bout's arrest and conviction via the below link:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Spectre Of The Lone Gunman

Jon Kelly at the BBC News Magazine looks at the history of threats from people like Lee Harvey Oswald (seen in the above photo).

Two hundred years ago, an assassin gunned down Prime Minister Spencer Perceval in the House of Commons. His death ushered in a threat that security services have struggled to deal with ever since - the lone gunman.

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Would-Be Al Qaeda Bomber Was CIA Informant, Officials Say reports that the would-be bomber with explosives in his shorts was actually a CIA asset.

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

Toronto Star Publishes Digital Archive Of Ernest Hemingway Columns: Young 'Papa' Wrote Of Bootleggers & Bullfighters

Alexander Nazaryan at the New York Post writes about a new digital archive of young Ernest Hemingway's writings at the Toronto Star.

In a handsome new website called The Hemingway Papers, the Toronto Star has collected the columns that Ernest Hemingway wrote for that newspaper. In doing so, it sheds much-needed light on a little-known aspect of the great writer's career, and does so in a sleek, inviting and easy-to-navigate format.

As the Star's editor-in-chief Michael Cooke writes in a note to readers:

"Unbelievably, there was a time when the Toronto Star thought Ernest Hemingway “too big for his britches.”

Hemingway had arrived at the paper to freelance at age 20, became its European correspondent at 22 and returned to local staff at 24.

He'd already traveled the world. Seen a thing or two.

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

Note: Thanks to all of you who wrote and asked about my lack of posting this past week. I was laid up due to my spine and nerve damage since last Sunday. I'm feeling better today.