Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raymond Chandler To Get A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Carolyn Kellog at the Los Angeles Times offers a piece on the late great crime novelist Raymond Chandler, who will receive his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

One of Los Angeles' greatest noir writers will be getting a permanent place in the sun: on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Raymond Chandler is one of 30 people who will get such stars in 2015.

Most of the stars on the Walk of Fame honor people we see on the screen; others in the class of 2015 include Will Ferrell, Julianna Margulies and Daniel Radcliffe. There are also many stage actors, radio stars and film directors. When it comes to writers, there are few.

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

You can also read my interview with Chandler biographer Tom Williams via the below link:

And you can read my Crime Beat column on Raymond Chandler's influence on crime novels and films via the below link:

Friday, June 27, 2014

From Sex In The City To Crime In The City: Sarah Jessica Parker To Star As Philly Crime Reporter

Molly Eichel at the Philadelphia Daily News offers the below piece:
Busted, the memoir from the Daily News' own Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, based on their Pulitzer Prize-wining series, "Tainted Justice," has been optioned for a television series from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, with Sarah Jessica Parker starring. The show will be co-producted by Anonymous Content, the company behind the much-buzzed-about "True Crime."  
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also read my Washington Times review of Busted via the below link:
And you can read my interview with Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker via the below link:

Locked Down And Locked On

I've not posted anything in a while as I've been once again crippled and bedridden with great arthritis pain in my back and feet. The first few days were awful. I could not read, talk on the telephone, work on my Dell Notebook or watch TV.

I felt like a prisoner in my own bedroom.

Thankfully the medicine kicked in the first few days so I could at least read and listen to music. And thankfully I had on hand a paperback copy of Tom Clancy's Locked On.

Written with Mark Greaney, Locked On is a perfect thriller to make one forget his or her own pain.

The book has a great story, an amazing plot and a wild cast of characters, including one of my favorite's, John Clark, the former U.S. Navy SEAL and CIA officer.

Even though Tom Clancy, who recently died, sold enormous amounts of books over the years and made enormous amounts of money, he believed that he did not receive the critical acclaim he rightly deserved.

Of course, he had a very loyal fan base and they - and I - loved his books and will miss him.

Tom Clancy was a great storyteller and a great patriot and I'd like to thank him for helping me get through my week of being ill and "locked down" in my bedroom.

You can read an earlier post on Tom Clancy via the below link:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The President's Most Blunt Instrument: Can Admiral McRaven's Special Ops Team Save Iraq?

Marc Ambinder at offers a piece on Admiral McRaven and Iraq.

Attempting to confront the sudden ripening threat of a transnational terrorist haven in Iraq, President Obama has once again turning to his most blunt instrument, the special operations forces commanded by Adm. William H. McRaven, to restore order.
No air strikes (yet). No new invasion. No headlines. Just a tiny contingent of America’s best, placed once again in harm’s way and tasked with singlehandedly defending the national interest.

Three hundred special operators will deploy, bringing with them efficient, advanced insurgent tracking technology and tactics that McRaven’s forces use in more than 70 countries today. Don’t let the “training” description of the mission fool you. These forces are intelligence enablers. They are, in the parlance of the military, effects multipliers.

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Great Day At Sea: Life Aboard An Aircraft Carrier

Having served aboard the aircraft carrier the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, I was interested in what a Brit writer thinks of life aboard an American aircraft carrier.

Geoff Dyer wrote a book called Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush about you can read an excerpt from the book in the Air & Space magazine.

I spent my time on the USS George H.W. Bush ducking and diving or, more exactly, ducking and stooping. I walked the walkways and stoop-ducked through hatches, always focused on a single ambition: not to smash my head even though there was an opportunity to do so every couple of seconds. It was like staying in a cottage in Wales that had been epically extended and converted to nuclear power.

Asked, nine months earlier, if there were “somewhere unusual and interesting” I’d like to be writer-in-residence, I didn’t hesitate: Sir, an American aircraft carrier, sir!

It had to be American: circumstantially, because these days we—the British—don’t even have a carrier; personally, because of the accents, the audible symptoms of the top-to-bottom, toff-to-prole hierarchy that is so clearly manifest in the British military. To have locked myself away on a British aircraft carrier—if one had existed—would have been to have condemned myself to being on a shrunken version of our island kingdom. Sitting in on a U.S. ship, on the other hand, would be like staying in a small town in America (albeit one organized along unusually clear hierarchical lines), surrounded by American voices, American friendliness, American politeness, American Americans.

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

Public Corruption Update: FBI Continues Efforts to Root Out Crooked Officials

The FBI web site offers the below piece:

The vast majority of public servants who work at the local, state, and federal levels of government are honest and dedicated folks who strive every day to do the right thing for their constituents, their communities, and their country.

Unfortunately, there is a small subgroup of public servants who, whether elected, appointed, or contracted, are only concerned about a very specific constituency—themselves. And because this type of corruption strikes at the heart of government, eroding public confidence and undermining the strength of our democracy, the investigation of public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal priority.

Currently the Bureau is working more than 4,000 public corruption cases around the nation with the help of our partners. Our investigative efforts pay off year after year—fiscal year 2013 alone saw approximately 1,200 federal indictments and informations against corrupt officials.

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

You can also read my Crime Beat column on the bug in the mayor's office and public corruption in Philadelphia via the below link: 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Seventy-Two Linked to Broadway Crips Criminal Street Gang Charged in Federal Racketeering Indictment That Alleges Murders, Robberies, and Drug Sales in South Los Angeles

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California, released the below information yesterday:

LOS ANGELES—More than 1,300 FBI agents and LAPD officers this morning arrested 50 people associated with the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips, a street gang that claims control of a South Los Angeles neighborhood and drug sales in an area just west of the Skid Row district of Los Angeles. Those taken into custody are among 72 defendants named in a 213-page racketeering indictment that outlines two decades of criminal conduct, including murders, robberies, extortion, witness intimidation, and narcotics trafficking.

The investigation into the Broadway Crips was called Operation Gremlin Riderz, because authorities focused on a particularly violent clique—or subset of the gang—called the Gremlin Riderz.

According to the 112-count indictment that was unsealed this morning, the Broadway Crips, which has an estimated 200 members, operated as a criminal enterprise that used violence and intimidation to control an area centering on the intersection of 52nd Street and South Broadway in South Los Angeles. The gang was formed in the 1970s to confront other African-American street gangs,
according to the indictment, which alleges that the enterprise has grown into a violent and criminal enterprise that conducts annual meetings and enforces a strict set of rules.

“Criminal street gangs make their livelihood by ruthlessly preying on the innocent people that live in the neighborhoods they claim as territory,” said United States Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte, Jr. “What makes the conduct of this gang particularly insidious is not only the violent crimes alleged but also the exploitation of Skid Row drug users who are already living in difficult circumstances.”

The defendants named in the federal indictment face various charges, including conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity in violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; violent crimes in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to interfere with commerce by conducting a series of robberies that targeted bank customers; weapons offenses; and various drug trafficking activities involving crack cocaine, cocaine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), Ecstasy, marijuana, and codeine.

The indictment specifically alleges that members of the gang:
  • committed four murders, dating back to 1987, that include fatal shootings of unarmed men with no gang affiliations in 2003 and 2012;
  • threatened a surviving victim of the 2003 shooting, which followed a concert at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip;
  • conspired to murder a fellow gang member who had provided a statement to law enforcement in relation to the 2012 murder incident in which a total of four people with no gang ties were shot, including a 10-year-old girl on a bicycle;
  • fired shots at California Highway Patrol Officers who were pursuing gang members two years ago;
  • engaged in a series of violent, “follow-home” robberies that targeted customers of South Bay banks; and
  • participated in numerous narcotics sales near schools and playgrounds.
In addition to committing crimes in its claimed territory east of the Harbor Freeway, the indictment alleges that the Broadway Crips sell drugs near the Skid Row section of downtown Los Angeles.

“This area is desirable to the gang because it is close to Skid Row, where there is a large and vulnerable customer base of drug addicts and mentally ill persons,” according to the indictment.

Out of 72 defendants named in the federal indictment, 48 were arrested this morning. Two more people were arrested on local charges, meaning that a total of 50 were arrested today. Seventeen defendants named in the grand jury indictment were already in custody on unrelated charges.

Authorities are continuing to search for eight defendants, including one who faces local charges.
All 72 defendants named in the racketeering indictment face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in federal prison if they are convicted. Many of the defendants face potential sentences of life without parole.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

The investigation into the Broadway Crips was conducted by agents and officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department. Considerable assistance was provided during this investigation by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Torrance Police Department, the Buena Park Police Department, the El Segundo Police
Department, the San Bernardino Police Department, and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

Additionally, several agencies provided substantial assistance during this morning’s takedown, including the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Hawthorne Police Department, the Pasadena Police Department, the Inglewood Police Department, and the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Operation Gremlin Riderz is a result of a partnership between the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department under the auspices of the FBI’s Task Force on Violent Crime in the city of Los Angeles.
This task force is one of dozens of such partnerships throughout the United States, known as Safe Streets Task Forces, funded for the purpose of assisting local police in identifying and addressing violent crime in America.

Libyan National Charged with Federal Offenses in 2012 Attack on U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi

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

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, aka Ahmed Mukatalah, a Libyan national approximately 43 years of age, has been charged for his alleged participation in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

“Our nation’s memory is long, and our reach is far,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.  “The arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah represents a significant milestone in our efforts to ensure justice is served for the heinous and cowardly attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi.  Since that attack – which caused the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty – we have conducted a thorough, unrelenting investigation, across continents, to find the perpetrators. 

The arrest of Khatallah proves that the U.S. government will expend any effort necessary to pursue terrorists who harm our citizens.  Khatallah currently faces criminal charges on three counts, and we retain the option of adding additional charges in the coming days.  Even as we begin the process of putting Khatallah on trial and seeking his conviction before a jury, our investigation will remain ongoing as we work to identify and arrest any co-conspirators.  This is our pledge; we owe the victims of the Benghazi attack and their loved ones nothing less.”

“The terrorist attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Benghazi were an affront to our nation and heartbreaking for the families of the four courageous Americans who perished that day,” said John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.  “Capturing Ahmed Abu Khatallah was a critical step toward bringing him to justice, and we will not rest in our pursuit of the others who attacked our facilities and killed our citizens.”

“In July 2013, Ahmed Abu Khatallah was charged in a sealed criminal complaint in the District of Columbia for his alleged role in the attacks that resulted in the murders of four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for the District of Columbia. “Khatallah will now face justice in an American courtroom.  We remain committed to holding accountable all of those responsible for the murders of those brave U.S. citizens who were serving our country in Libya.”

 The charges were announced upon the unsealing of a three-count criminal complaint. The lead count in the complaint is a death-eligible offense.  The complaint, which was filed under seal on July 15, 2013, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, charges Khatallah with:

-- Killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving the use of a firearm and dangerous weapon and attempting and conspiring to do the same.

-- Providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death.

-- Discharging, brandishing, using, carrying and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. 

 Khatallah is in U.S. custody, and upon his arrival to the U.S. he will be promptly presented before a federal judge in Washington, D.C., and appointed counsel.

Charges contained in criminal complaints are merely allegations that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

 The case is being investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office with substantial assistance from various other government agencies.  The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the National Security Division of the U.S.  Department of Justice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

FirstPlus Financial Racketeering Fraud Trial Heading To Jury

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the FirstPlus trial for

After nearly six months of testimony and more than a week of detailed and grueling closing arguments, jury deliberations are set to being in the FirstPlus Financial racketeering fraud trial of mobster Nicodemo S. Scarfo and six co-defendants.

Donald Manno, Scarfo's former criminal defense attorney and a co-defendant in the case, is expected to complete his closing arguments this morning. Manno, who is representing himself, will be the final defense attorney to address the anonymously chosen jury panel.

A rebuttal closing argument this afternoon from the prosecution will complete the argument phase of the trial, setting the stage for the start of deliberations either late today or tomorrow.

Manno was detailed and highly effective yesterday afternoon when he spoke to the jury for about an hour. The one-time federal prosecutor, who referred to himself in the third person, told the jury to consider the facts and not the "diversions, distortions and false circumstantial evidence" around which the prosecution has built its case.

"Don Manno was not involved in any conspiracy," he told the jury.
But he made it clear that he couldn't say the same thing for some of his co-defendants. In particular, he singled out Salvatore Pelullo and Scarfo, both of whom, he said, rejected his advice and lied to him. Manno argued that he was kept in the dark about many of the financial dealings involving FirstPlus, a troubled Texas-based mortgage company that authorities allege Pelullo and Scarfo secretly took control of in 2007.

Pelullo, described as the "key figure" in the fraud by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D'Aguanno, used bogus consulting contracts and phony business transactions to siphon $12 million out of the company, the government alleges. Much of the money was used to finance a luxurious lifestyle that included the purchase of a $850,000 yacht, a $207,000 Bentley and a home near Atlantic City for $715,000 for Scarfo and his new wife, Lisa.

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

Pentagon Announces Capture of Key Figure in Benghazi Attacks

The American Forces Press Service offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 - In cooperation with law enforcement personnel June 15, the U.S. military captured a key figure in the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

In a statement, Kirby said Ahmed Abu Khatallah is in U.S. custody in a secure location outside of Libya.

There were no civilian casualties related to this operation, and all U.S. personnel involved in the operation have safely left Libya, Kirby added.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel later released a statement commending everyone involved in the operation.

"I want to commend all the service members who were involved in the planning and execution of the operation to capture Ahmed Abu Khatallah," he said. "Their tireless efforts may only be known to a few, but are felt by all Americans who are proud of what they do every day to defend this nation. This successful counterterrorism operation is another example of the extraordinary capabilities of the United States military and our unrelenting commitment to hold accountable those who harm American citizens."

Note: The above Defense Department photo shows Admiral Kirby at the Pentagon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cybercom Chief: Cyberspace Operations Key to Future Warfare

Cheryl Pellerin at the American Forces Press Service offers the below link:
WASHINGTON, June 16, 2014 - In the cyber domain of 2025, the ability of military formations to operate offensively and defensively will be a core mission set, and commanders will maneuver the capability much as they maneuver ground forces today, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command said recently.

Cybercom Commander Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who also is director of the National Security Agency, was the keynote speaker at a June 12 meeting here at a cyber seminar hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army's Institute of Land Warfare.

The theme was Army Networks and Cybersecurity in 2025. "In the world of 2025, I believe the ability of Army formations to operate within the cyber domain, offensively and defensively, will be a core mission set for the U.S. Army and its operational forces," Rogers told the audience.

The Cybercom commander said that by 2025 the military services will have ingrained into their culture the reality that networks and cyber are a commander's business. The admiral, who most recently served as commander of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and the U.S. 10th Fleet, said this has been a major cultural challenge in the Navy. "In the year 2025, I believe ... Army commanders will maneuver offensive and defensive capability much today as they maneuver ground forces," Rogers said, adding that command and control, key terrain, commander's intent, synchronization with the broader commander's intent, and a broader commander's operational concept of operations will be cornerstones of Army cyber operations by then.

"In 2025," he said, "the ability to integrate cyber into a broader operational concept is going to be key. Treating cyber as something so specialized, ... so unique -- something that resides outside the broader operational framework -- I think that is a very flawed concept." Between now and 2025, Rogers said, a primary challenge will be integrating cyber and its defensive and offensive capabilities into a broader operational construct that enables commanders to apply another broader set of tools in achieving their operational missions.

When he thinks about how Cybercom and the services will get to 2025, Rogers said, he tries to keep three points in mind. The first, he said, is that cyber is operations. Commanders must own the cyber mission set, the admiral said, integrating it into the operational vision and becoming knowledgeable about the broad capabilities of a unit, formation or organization and its potential vulnerabilities.

"I think it's going to be foundational to the warfighting construct of the future," Rogers said, adding that the challenge is as much cultural as technical. "To make this work, in the end, it's about our ability to synchronize the capabilities of a team," he added, "from our junior-most individuals to our senior-most individuals, from capabilities resident within [the services] and as a department, to the [external] partnerships we're going to have to form."

The second point Rogers said he keeps in mind is that requirements of the future include a joint network backbone for all of the Defense Department. "I never understood why Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and, arguably, our Coast Guard teammates ... were spending a lot of time and money [to independently] create, maintain, build and operate a global communications backbone," Rogers said.

Instead, he added, "make the services responsible for the last tactical mile of [a DOD-wide backbone that spans the globe], down to mobile and tactical users, whether they're in a garrison scenario or whether they're out maneuvering in the field, on an aircraft, on a ship or in a squadron."

The third point, Rogers said, is that people and partnerships are key. "Don't ever forget that, in the end, [operationalizing cyberspace by 2025] is all about people and partnerships," the admiral said.

"It's about our ability to create a workforce that understands the vision, has the tools and capabilities they need to execute this vision, and is integrated into the broader effort." The partnership piece is a key area, he added, "because we, the Department of Defense, are not the cutting edge when it comes to networks, [communications] or information technology." "We are a user of technology that is largely generated by individuals and organizations that reside outside the DOD. ... I don't see that trend changing between now and 2025," he added.

As Cybercom commander and operational commander for the cyberspace mission set, the admiral said, focusing on five Cyber Command priorities will help military commanders build the joint force for 2025. The priorities are: -- Building a trained and ready operational cyber force; --

Building a joint defensible network whose architecture has core design characteristics of defensibility, redundancy and resilience; -- Creating shared situational awareness in cyberspace; -- Creating command and control and operational concepts for use in cyberspace; and -- Being mindful of policy and administrative changes needed to operate in cyberspace.

Addressing the department's ability to compete on the open market for exceptional cyber talent, Rogers said, cyber is no different from any other DOD mission in terms of going after talented individuals. "If the view is that pay is the primary criteria to get people with cyber expertise to join the department, I don't think that's going to work for us," he added. "We'll compete because of what makes us different. We will appeal to men and women who have an ethos of service [and] who believe in the idea of being part of something bigger than themselves."

"We're going to compete for the same people because, quite frankly, we're going to give them the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a way that you can't legally do on the outside," he added, prompting chuckles from the audience. "I think we're going to do well," the admiral said. "[Over the past 10 years], we have exceeded my wildest expectations in terms of our abilities to recruit and retain a high-end cyber workforce, because we've been able to focus on why they want to be with us as opposed to why they don't want to be with us."

Iraq Crisis: Did Obama's Foreign Policy Blunders Sow Seeds Of Disaster?

Columnist Cal Thomas at looks at the seeds of the crisis in Iraq.

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain...” (The Gettysburg Address)

No life is more wasted than one lost in vain.
After the U.S. military battled heroically to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and to eliminate the possibility that it might become a staging area for terrorist attacks, the Obama administration has created a vacuum now being filled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda affiliate, which has overrun Mosul and Fallujah, cities liberated by American soldiers. ISIS now threatens Baghdad.
The administration’s non-policy policy proclaiming the war over, has given ISIS a green light to establish another terrorist state in the Middle East. Following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, al-Qaida will likely have two states from which it can plan and execute new assaults on America, Israel, Britain and other “infidel” nations. Having declared the war(s) over and al-Qaida “on the run,”
President Obama responds with empty rhetoric about his national security team studying what to do, then leaves for a trip that will end on a golf course in Palm Springs.

 Vice President Biden once called Iraq one of the president’s “great achievements.”
On Friday, the president announced the U.S. would not send military forces back to Iraq unless the Iraqi government finds a way to bridge sectarian differences. Even then, he suggested, military power alone won’t bring stability to the country. Basically, the president said, “Iraq, you’re on your own.”

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

Army Appoints General to Lead Probe Into Bergdahl's Capture

The American Forces Press Service released the below:

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2014 - The Army has appointed a general officer with Afghanistan combat experience to lead its investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance and capture of Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Afghanistan's Paktika province on or about June 30, 2009.

In a statement released today, Army officials said Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl will lead the investigation.

The primary function of this investigation, as in any other investigation, officials said, is to ascertain facts and report them to the appointing authority, officials said in the statement.

"These types of investigations are not uncommon and serve to establish the facts on the ground following an incident. The investigating officer will have access to previously gathered documentary evidence, including the 2009 investigation," officials added.

The statement emphasized that the Army's top priority remains Bergdahl's health and reintegration.

"We ask that everyone respect the time and privacy necessary to accomplish the objectives of the last phase of reintegration," the statement said. No timeline has been established for the investigation, officials said, noting that he investigating officer will not interview Bergdahl until the reintegration team clears such interaction.

Hemingway's Tropical Retreats Reflect His Adventures

Patricia Sheridan at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers a piece on Ernest Hemingway's tropical homes in Key West, Florida and Cuba.

KEY WEST, Fla. / HAVANA, Cuba — Ernest Hemingway spent a lifetime cultivating a masculine image and personas. War correspondent, cigar lover, big game hunter, deep sea fisherman, boxer, liberal with liquor, minimalist with words -- all done to maximum effect. Predictably, evidence of his adventures fills the writer’s two tropical homes in Key West and Havana. Hunting and fishing trophies stare down from the walls in nearly every room, as well as photos of his exploits and famous friends. He was a legend in his own time, and movie posters from his books such as “A Farewell to Arms” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls” that were made into films adorn the walls. But it’s the spirit of the other kind of trophy he collected, his wives, that helps to distinguish his island retreats.

You can read the rest of the piece and view photos of the Hemingway homes via the below link:

Note: I've visited the Hemingway home in Key West and I hope to visit Hemingway's Cuban home once the Castro brothers are dead and the Cuban people are free of communism.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Fathers Day To My Late Father

On this Fathers Day I'm thinking of my late father, Edward M. Davis, who died in 1976.

My father was a proud UDT frogman during World War Two (the old chief appears in the center of the above photo).

Wounded and medically discharged after the war, he became a lineman and an electrician. He was a good father.

Happy Fathers Day to my late father and all dads.

Note I wrote briefly about my father in a piece on the UDT orgins of Navy SEALs for Counterterrorism magazine. You can read the piece via the below link:

Send In A Carrier: The Aircraft Carrier USS George H.W. Bush Sent Into Persian Gulf

The American Forces Press Service offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2014 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to move today from the North Arabian Sea into the Arabian Gulf, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement, Kirby said the order will provide President Barack Obama additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq.

The Bush will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun. The ships are expected to complete their transit into the Gulf later this evening, Kirby said.

The USS George H.W. Bush left its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, in February and is operating in the Middle East region as part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations, he added. "American naval presence in the Arabian Gulf continues to support our longstanding commitments to the security and stability of the region," Kirby said.

Note: The above U.S. Navy photo shows the USS George H.W. Bush at sea/

Extortion, Bank Robbery Fuel ISIS Bloody Drive To Establish Sharia Caliphate offers a piece on the terrorist group ISIS in Iraq.

Long before it looted the Iraqi central bank in Mosul of $429 million, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIS) was well-funded in its quest to establish a Shariah caliphate, thanks to a raging criminal enterprise of extortion, bank robbery and petty theft, as well as donations from well-heeled sponsors throughout the Arab world, according to experts. 

The latest payday — gained when the jihadist group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi overran Iraq's second largest city and emptied the vaults of cash and gold bullion — swelled already healthy coffers and made ISIS, by some estimations, the world's richest terrorist organization. The group also seized U.S.-made tanks, Blackhawk helicopters, cargo planes and an unknown quantity of guns, all part of a $14 billion arsenal the U.S. sold or donated to the beleaguered Iraqi security forces.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Grandson Of Naval Historian Charged With Stealing Historical Records Relating To His Grandfather

The U.S. Attorney District of Maryland released the below information last week:

Baltimore, Maryland - A criminal complaint was filed late yesterday under seal charging Samuel L. Morison, age 69, of Crofton, Maryland, with theft of government property, specifically, historical records related to his grandfather, Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison. Morison was arrested today.

The complaint was unsealed at his initial appearance held earlier today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Morison was released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services. One of the conditions of his release is that he is prohibited from visiting libraries and archives without prior court approval.

The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Rocco Pierri of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Washington Field Office; and Acting Inspector General James Springs of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) - Office of Inspector General.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on April 12, 2014, Morison allegedly offered to sell records relating to Rear Admiral (RADM) Morison’s work during World War II to the owner of a bookstore, who subsequently agreed to take possession of the records, place them on consignment through his shop and sell them using eBay.

 On May 12, 2014, special agents assigned to the Archival Recovery Team (ART) with the National Archives and Records Administration reviewed the historical records being offered for sale through eBay. The records were determined to belong to the Naval History and Heritage Command, Operation Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center (Navy Archives), and to be the property of the U.S. government.

The affidavit alleges that on May 21, 2014, a search warrant was executed at Morison’s residence and approximately 34 boxes of government records and property stolen from the Navy Archives were seized. The investigation revealed that Morison was a part-time researcher at the Navy Archives from March 19, 2010, and had access to the records, known as the “Office Files of RADM Morison Papers.”

 Morison was never given authority to remove the records from the Navy Archives.

Morison faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for theft of government property.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised NCIS and NARA Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney James G. Warwick, who is prosecuting the case.

Note: You can read an earlier post on Morison via the below link:

Flag Day: U.S. Flag Has Been Powerful Symbol, Rallying Point

Today is Flag Day and below is a piece offered by the American Forces Press Service:

WASHINGTON – It wasn't all that long ago that everyone seemed to be flying an American flag.

In the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, American flags sprouted from everywhere.  

At the World Trade Center site, New York firemen hoisted an American flag amid the rubble. At the Pentagon, workers paused and saluted as a huge garrison flag was draped next to the impact point.

Flags sprouted on mini-vans and motorcycles. People raised flags on new flagpoles on front lawns and atop apartment buildings. It seemed that every overpass on interstate highways had a flag. And this doesn't count the millions of decals, rub-ons and bumper stickers that featured the flag.  

That was the latest manifestation of the flag of the United States of America as a symbol for all that the country stands for.  

It seems in time of crisis, the flag is a rallying point.  

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the U.S. flag and detailed the composition.  Originally, it was literally a rallying point for the troops of the Continental Army.

In battle, the unit flag was the center of mass, and from the area around the flag commanders gave orders and rallied troops.  

The flag as a symbol of America grew out of the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry on Sept. 12, 1814, that he wrote "The Star Spangled Banner."  

"And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there."   These words inspire Americans today, and when U.S. citizens see the flag they are reminded that America is still "the land of the free, and the home of the brave."  

The American flag has become more than just a red, white and blue design. It has become a symbol of what we stand for as a country. America reunited under the flag following the Civil War. The American flag flew at the Marne in World War I and at Iwo Jima during World War II.  

The American flag flew at Porkchop Hill in Korea and Hamburger Hill in Vietnam. It has flown over Grenada, Kuwait, Kabul and Baghdad. It covers the caskets of the fallen as they come home. And just last week, we saw it adorn the coffin of President Ronald Reagan, who in life created new respect for the stars and stripes.  

The United States is more than just land fortunately located in North America. The United States is a republic, and Americans do not swear fealty to royalty or land or nobility.

Rather, Americans swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and the American flag is a symbol of that oath.  

On Flag Day, remember that oath and those who have died for the freedom the American flag represents.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Conficts End When The Enemy Is Defeated: Senator McCain Calls For Obama To Fire National Security Team

Evan McMurry at offers a piece on Senator John McCain:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) took to the floor of his chamber Thursday morning and called upon President Barack Obama to replace his entire national security staff in the wake of Islamic militant victories in several large Iraqi cities.

“I say to the President of the United States, get a new national security team in place,” McCain said. “You have been ill-served by the national security team you have in place now, and the decisions you have made. Have that new national security team come up with a strategy to do whatever we can to prevent this direct threat to the national security of this nation.”

McCain blamed the deterioration of the Iraq situation on Obama’s “withdrawal without victory,” and warned the same thing could now occur in Afghanistan without a change of policy.

“Because the President of the United States declares a conflict over does mean that in the eyes of the enemy it is over,” McCain said. “Conflicts end when the enemy is defeated.”

You can watch the video of Senator McCain via the below link:

Owner Of Defense Contracting Company Charged With Wire Fraud Conspiracy For Providing Nonconforming Parts To Government

The U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey released the below information:

TRENTON, N.J. – The former president of a Burlington, N.J.,-based defense contracting business was arrested and charged today with allegedly stealing $3 million through fraudulent contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Richard Melton, 44, of Moorestown, N.J., was charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for receiving $3 million from 2008 to 2009 as a result of allegedly fraudulent contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Melton is scheduled to make his initial court appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Melton was the founder, owner, and president of Partz Network LLC (Partz Network), a company located in Burlington. Melton owned and operated Partz Network from April 2003 to December 2009. Partz Network contracted with the government to supply the DoD with parts on small-dollar contracts. The majority of the contracts were for replacement parts for military rolling stock: trucks, trailers, and engineering equipment. The majority of Partz Network’s DoD contracts required that the items provided be manufactured by DoD-recognized qualified manufacturers. 

Melton and his conspirators allegedly lied on Partz Network’s bids for DoD contracts, stating that they would be providing the “exact product” sought by the DoD, meaning that the product was manufactured by a DoD-recognized qualified manufacturer. In fact, Partz Network was allegedly providing parts made by unapproved, and oftentimes unknown, sources.

In 2007, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a DoD contracting agency, became aware of reports of nonconforming parts being received from Partz Network. As a result, DLA required Partz Network to provide “traceability documents” to confirm that the items it was supplying were actually being manufactured by DoD recognized qualified manufacturers. Partz Network provided traceability documents and invoices to DLA regarding items provided under the DoD contracts.  When DLA researched the traceability documents supplied by Partz Network, DLA learned that the documents were either altered or completely fictitious.

 For example, on Nov. 15, 2007, Partz Network submitted a bid electronically through the DoD’s internet bid system to supply the DoD with 1,400 oil pans for $53.85 per item. Partz Network represented that the company was providing the exact product manufactured by one of the two DoD-recognized qualified manufacturers. Partz Network was subsequently awarded the contract for 1,400 oil pans for a total contract price of $75,390. Both the request for quotation (RFQ) and the final contract included the language that the exact product was required. The items ultimately provided by Partz Network were not the exact products required under the contract because the items were not manufactured by a qualified manufacturer. In fact, on Nov. 10, 2007, five days prior to Partz Network submitting its bid for the contract, Melton sent an e-mail to a Partz Network employee with a link to the DoD RFQ that stated the following: “Bid these (1400) HMMWW oil pans at $53.85 and I will have them made overseas by [a company located in the People’s Republic of China] or another overseas firm, 200-day lead time.” Based on Partz Network documents related to that contract, Partz Network purchased the oil pans that were provided to the DoD from a company located in India in January 2008.

On Aug. 27, 2009, Partz Network was awarded a contract to supply the DoD with 887 bearing half sets for a total contract price of $16,010.35. Partz Network certified that the items would be the exact product required under the contract. The items ultimately provided by Partz Network under the contract were not the exact products required because the items were not manufactured by the qualified manufacturer. DoD ultimately inspected the items and determined that the items were manufactured by an unapproved source. 

The wire fraud conspiracy count with which Melton is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. 
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Defense, Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Director James Burch; special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Fabiana Pierre-Louis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton and Evan Weitz of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit in Newark.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Do Something! Obama's Iraq

A New York Post editorial covers the situation in Iraq.

When in 2011 President Obama announced, against the advice of his commanders, the complete withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq, he grandly declared “the tide of war is receding.”

Two days later, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, answered critics such as John McCain, who said the president’s announcement was a victory for Iran.

Said Mrs. Clinton: “No one, most particularly Iran, should miscalculate about our continuing commitment to and with the Iraqis going forward.”

This week these promises have been rendered hollow by the humanitarian and strategic crisis unfolding in Iraq. There, key northern cities have been falling to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an offshoot of al Qaeda.

The horrors we are seeing fulfill some of the worst fears of critics who had warned that leaving Iraq without a new status of forces agreement imperiled the gains bought with American blood and treasure. 

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

Note: The above map of Iraq is from the CIA.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review Of Jack Devine's CIA Memoir "Good Hunting"

Philip Mudd, a retired CIA officer, reviewed Jack Devine's CIA memoir Good Hunting for The Nation.

Nearly two decades into Jack Devine’s career at the CIA, he was tasked with what was then the agency’s largest-ever covert program: the effort to aid the ‘mujahedeen’ fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Should the agency take a huge risk by providing the Afghan fighters with sophisticated shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles? Mr Devine and his colleagues decided that the answer was yes.

He remembers walking into the CIA director’s office in 1986 with a report on the controversial introduction of hundreds of these Stingers. “Mr Director,” he recalls saying, “we had a tremendous breakthrough yesterday. We deployed the Stinger and we shot down three helicopters.” Director William Casey, a passionate Cold Warrior, responded: “Jack, this changes it all, doesn’t it?”

“Good Hunting,” Mr Devine’s memoir, is a refresher course on the breadth of America’s covert campaigns against the spread of Soviet influence and ideology, and Mr Devine’s 32-year career is a microcosm of the secret thrust and counterthrust that defined those years.

The son of a blue-collar, Irish-Catholic family from Philadelphia, Mr Devine began at the CIA in the 1960s after reading a book about the agency and sending in a handwritten request for employment. He rose through the ranks, ultimately overseeing the entirety of the agency’s clandestine operations in the mid-1990s.   

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

I interviewed Philip Mudd, who was the former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, for Counterterrorism magazine. You can read the interview via the below link:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Convicted Of Espionage & Theft Of Government Property And Then Pardoned By Clinton, Samuel Morison Is Now Accused of Stealing U.S. Navy Files of Famed Historian Grandfather

Ian Duncan at the Baltimore Sun reports on the arrest of Samuel L. Morison (seen in the above photo from his Facebook page) for the theft of U.S. Navy historical records.

A grandson of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Samuel Eliot Morison has been charged with stealing nearly three boxes of documents that his grandfather used to write a 15-volume history of World War II commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Authorities found some of the documents when they raided the Crofton home of Samuel L. Morison in May, according to federal charges unsealed Tuesday. Others had been put up for sale. They had been missing for more than a year.

Morison, 69, appeared briefly in court following his arrest Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Morison's lawyer said the case is only in its very beginning stages.

... Morison was convicted in the 1980s on charges that he leaked classified satellite images of a Soviet aircraft carrier then under construction to a British magazine. He was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001.

... Both Morison and his late grandfather served in the Navy. The younger Morison served in Vietnam. The elder Morison, a professor of history at Harvard and author of the two-volume "Oxford History of the United States," at the outbreak of World War II pitched the idea of writing a history of the conflict to Roosevelt, was commissioned a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve and sent to fight.

Samuel Eliot Morison was eventually promoted to rear admiral. He published his history of the war at sea between 1947 and 1962.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:,0,751933.story

You can read more about Samuel L. Morison in my Crime Beat column on the U.S. Navy's Cold War traitors and spies via the below link:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Operation Bodyguard: FBI Recognizes WWII Counterintelligence Landmark in New York

The FBI web site offers the below piece:

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the FBI last weekend celebrated a landmark that was home to one of the Bureau’s intelligence successes during World War II. At a ceremony in recognition of the effort of FBI employees during World War II, the Society of Former Special Agents, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the Suffolk County Historical Society, and the FBI’s New York Division placed a plaque at a quaint building known as Benson House in Wading River, New York, overlooking Long Island Sound.

It was there, from January 1942 until the end of the war in Europe in 1945, that FBI agents and radio technicians lived and worked undercover, secretly transmitting coded messages that the Nazis believed came from their own spies operating in New York. The Nazis believed their operatives were funneling significant details about U.S. forces, munitions, and war preparations. But in fact, the transmissions were controlled by the FBI—the Nazi spies were FBI double agents. The Bureau’s work - known as Operation Ostrich - was central to our counterintelligence operations throughout the war and was part of a larger effort by Allied Forces to deceive the enemy called Operation Bodyguard.

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

Dumbest Mob Hit In Philadelphia History? A Juror's View Of The Nicodemo South Philly Murder Trial

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the Nicodemo murder trial for

She listened to two days of testimony in the Anthony Nicodemo murder trial last month and said she wasn't buying the defense argument that Nicodemo was carjacked and became an unwitting getaway driver in the murder of Gino DiPietro.

"The story about the carjacking was absurd," the former Common Pleas Court panelist wrote in one of several e-mail exchanges with She also said she surmised the shooting was a mob hit even though the judge had barred any mention of organized crime. And she correctly assumed that Nicodemo was being held without bail and that he was able to afford a high priced defense attorney.

The juror agreed to share her insights from the two days she heard testimony, but asked to remain anonymous. She was the first of three jurors dismissed during the case which ended in a mistrial on May 20. Lawyers for the defense and prosecution are to meet with Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart Thursday for a status conference during which a new trial date could be set.
Nicodemo, 42, has been held without bail since his arrest on the day of the shooting, December 12, 2012.

... DiPietro, 50, was a convicted drug dealer who, according to some underworld and law enforcement sources, was cooperating with authorities at the time he was killed. His murder was described by one investigator as the "dumbest" mob hit in the history of Philadelphia.

No one, the investigator said, uses their own vehicle as the getaway car. And any experienced hitman knows that the first order of business after a shooting is to dispose of the murder weapon. The shooting occurred as mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six co-defendants were being tried in a racketeering case in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. A shooting during a mob trial is also considered bad underworld form.

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

International Paratroopers Land In Normandy France On The 70th Anniversary Of D-Day

In the above Defense Department released photo a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft drops U.S. and international paratroopers to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France on June 8, 2014. More than 700 paratroopers from the United States, France, Germany, England and the Netherlands re-enacted the historic airdrop over the town of Chef-du-Pont, France.
In the above Defense Department released photo thousands of people photograph U.S. and international paratroopers as they land in the Normandy region of France on June 8, 2014.

Note: Since June 6th, the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I've been watching Band of Brothers on HBO On Demand. I saw the series when it originally aired in 2001 and I'm enjoying watching it again.

Note: You can click on the above photos to enlarge.

"Busted" Is A Philadelphia Classic

Joel Mathis at offers his take on Busted, the true crime book written by two Philadelphia Daily News reporters about their Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper series on police corruption.

Over the weekend, I finally got around to reading Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love, the March book by the Daily News Pulitzer-winning team of Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker. What a great book.

It’s an easy, breezy read — Philly Mag’s review called it a “captivating story” — but that’s not to say it’s insubstantial. Indeed, the narrative of how the two reported their “Tainted Justice” series of articles on police corruption for the paper deserves to take its place among the great works that have come to define Philadelphia in the popular mind — everything from Rocky to A Prayer for the City.

Three reasons you should read this book if you love Philadelphia:
• It’s gritty: In pursuit of their story, Laker and Ruderman chat up pimps, stroll brazenly into drug houses, and basically make themselves at home in some of the hardest-hit, dirtiest parts of the city, spending time among criminals, immigrants and the rest of the city’s dispossessed in order to get at the truth of a rogue drug unit. It’s a great example of the hard work and rewards that can go into shoe-leather journalism during an era in which many reporters can be hard-pressed to do much more than make a phone call from their desks. (Or home office.)     

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

Note: I reviewed Busted for the Washington Times and I interviewed Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker. You can read my review and the interview via the below links:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dick Couch, Author and Former U.S. Navy SEAL And CIA Officer, Offers New Web Site

Dick Couch, the author of nonfiction books and novels, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and CIA officer, is now offering a new web site at

A 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Dick Couch served as a Surface Warfare Officer and a Special Warfare Officer. While a platoon leader with SEAL Team One in 1970, he led one of the only successful POW rescue operations of the Vietnam War. On release from active duty in 1972, he entered the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served as a Maritime Operations Case Officer. Dick retired from the Naval Reserve in 1997 with the rank of captain and currently serves as an advisor on military and tactical ethics for the component commands of the US Special Operations Command.

Dick Couch began his writing career in 1990 and has authored nine novels and nine works of nonfiction that focus on Military Special Operations, Special Operations Training, and Tactical Ethics.

I interviewed Dick Couch about his nonfiction book The Sheriff of Ramadi for Counterterrorism magazine. You can read the interview via the below links:

I also interviewed Dick Couch for a piece I wrote on the selling of the Navy SEALs for  Counterterrorism magazine. You can read the piece via the below link:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mafia Smoke, No Fire in Fraud Case, Pelullo's Lawyer Says

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the Pelullo and Scarfo federal fraud case for

He wasn't a gangster. He was a turnaround expert.

And if the government had just left him alone, Salvatore Pelullo would have turned FirstPlus Financial, a struggling Texas mortgage company, into a profitable business enterprise.

Do the math!

That was the message, accompanied by nearly 100 slides and a heavy mixture of passion and sarcasm, that Pelullo's lawyer, Michael Farrell delivered to a federal jury today in a highly charged summation that offered a decidedly different view of the testimony and evidence from the one presented by the prosecution during the five-month trial.

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

CIA Veteran: Defectors Like Snowden "Tend To Be Lazy"

Belinda Luscombe at speaks to former CIA officer Jack Devine, author of Good Hunting, about his view of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Jack Devine, who served for 32 years in the CIA, much of it undercover, did some of his training with Aldrich Ames, whom the CIA considers one of the worst traitors in its history. He was also Ames’ boss. One of Devine’s jobs was to find people in hostile foreign nations who would betray their country for money, which he details in his new book Good Hunting, a spirited defense of the work ( and funding) of the CIA. So the dude has some experience with defectors.

Devine says that turncoat agents always have some story, but when it comes don to it, they’re basically dissatisfied with the level they have reached in the CIA. “They’re usually well-read, and they think they’re smarter than everyone else, and they’re just not,” he says. He feels the same is true of Snowden. “I don’t think he was an agent of the Russians,” he notes. “But I would say today that you don’t stay in Russia for free.”     

You can watch the video via the below link:

Friday, June 6, 2014

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Pays Tribute to Sacrifices Made at D-Day

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall at the American Forces Press Service offers the below piece:

CARENTAN, France, June 5, 2014 - The sacrifice made by World War II veterans is reflected in the legacy of freedom they left following their success in the "greatest endeavor ever undertaken in the name of liberty," NATO'S Supreme Allied Commander Europe said.

Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, also commander of U.S. European Command, traveled here to participate in a series of French-hosted commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II. Breedlove saluted the veterans for their courage in liberating Europe.

"The French said 'thank you' today as they gave [veterans] the [French] Legion of Honor," Breedlove told American Forces Network yesterday. "Well, you just can't buy this," he said, referring to French gratitude for what the allies did by liberating France and Europe as part of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. "You can't put it in a bottle. To see the nations -- all of them -- represented around this town, this country, this host nation, coming out like this in the hundreds and thousands to thank our soldiers and thank our veterans -- it's amazing. It's a great feeling."

Breedlove added, "You don't know what it's like until you watch these little kids and their parents, and their grandparents waving American flags, waving French flags, waving [British] flags, all the nations represented." The French citizens' emotions illustrate "what it means to these people [regarding] the sacrifices that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines made for this country," he added.

Breedlove reflected on the hard choices Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower -- the D-Day invasion commander -- had to make in order to carry out the operation. "Can you imagine what he was thinking as he sent so many of our nation's sons ashore knowing what was waiting for them?"

Eisenhower knew what was going to be required to achieve success, Breedlove said, and he knew the sacrifice that would have to be made. "It's probably the most incredible decision of our military," the general said. "And he stood up to it and sent these forces ashore, and they accomplished their mission."

Breedlove said he learned, from talking to veterans, that none of them made the decision to fight based on what was in front of them. "They made decisions about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow soldiers, sailors and airmen. "Shoulder-to-shoulder with those who cared. And their mission was to get the job done and take care of each other."

It was the cohesion, camaraderie and esprit de corps, Breedlove said, that got them through some pretty tough times. "They all gave so much. But what we owe all veterans is our freedom." Speaking about freedom as the legacy of those who fought in World War II, Breedlove referred to a speech from a young French woman during an earlier ceremony where veterans received the French Legion of Honor.

"She wrote about that freedom that was purchased by the bravery and the sacrifice of our soldiers," he said. "So all we can do is just say, 'We thank you and we're lucky that you were there to stand for us.'"

Walking down Carentan's streets, the general also lauded veterans serving in today's formations, and the families who support them. "I say thank you to the families," Breedlove said, "and to those veterans who are marching right in front of them who also served in multiple wars and multiple places around the world.

"We have lots of veterans that we owe dearly," he continued. "Thank you to all of them."

Note: In the above U.S. Army photo by Sgt. A.M. LaVey, 73rd Brigade Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, along with allied troops from multiple countries, participate in a parade through the streets of Carentan, France, June 4, 2014. The Town is hosting several events commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day operations conducted during World War II. Public Affairs.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The 5 Best Goddamn John Wayne Movies

John Wayne is one of my favorite actors and he made so many fine, entertaining and memorable films that picking five of his best is hard to do.

But Calum Marsch at did just that.

You can read his piece and view video clips of his picks via the below link:

These are good choices, as I too am a great fan of The Searchers, They Were Expendable, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I've watched these films again and again over the years.  

But I would substitute Fort Apache for Flying Leathernecks and The Shootist for Rio Bravo.      

Layers Of An Onion Define Multi-Million Dollar FirstPlus Fraud

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the organized crime business takeover fraud case in New Jersey for

A federal prosecutor used mobster Nicodemo S. Scarfo's own words today to describe the alleged  takeover and looting of a Texas-based mortgage company that is at the heart of what authorities charge was a $12 million scam orchestrated by Scarfo and his business partner Salvatore Pelullo.

"Layers upon layers, like an onion," Scarfo, 48, said in a secretly recorded telephone conversation with Pelullo, 46, that was picked up on an FBI wiretap back in 2007 as authorities contend the takeover of FirstPlus Financial was unfolding.

For nearly three hours today, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D'Aguanno, the lead prosecutor, detailed the allegations in the racketeering conspiracy case against Scarfo, Pelullo and five co-defendants. D'Aguanno said underneath those layers of the onion -- false SEC filings, phony stockholder reports, bogus consulting contracts and fraudulent business purchases and expenses -- was the financial scam that poured millions into the pockets of the two lead defendants.

"They're joined at the hip, from their criminal activities to their alleged business activities," D'Aguanno said of Scarfo and Pelullo, who frequently referred to each other as cousins even though there was no blood relationship.

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Before Snowden: A Look Back At NSA Spy Robert Lipka - My Q & A With Former FBI Special Agent John W. Whiteside III

The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International published my interview with former FBI Special Agent John W. Whiteside III (seen in the bottom photo), the author of Fool's Mate: A True Story of Espionage at the National Security Agency.

John Whiteside wrote about the investigation, arrest and conviction of NSA spy Robert Lipka (seen in the below photo), who looked (and acted) like the creepy Newman character on the TV show Seinfeld.    

You can read my interview below links:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.