Monday, October 31, 2022
Sunday, October 30, 2022
I’ve been listening to jazz great Nina Simone sing her classic jazz song, My Baby Just Cares For Me, on youtube.com.
The song, originally sung by Eddie Cantor in the 1930 film, Whoopee!, was written by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn. Nina Simone recorded the song in 1958.
You can listen to the song via the below link:
Saturday, October 29, 2022
The U.S. Justice Department released the below information.
NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach naval officer pleaded guilty today to his role in a $2.7 million procurement fraud scheme, and to lying on his federal income tax return.
Friday, October 28, 2022
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia released the below information:
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Samir Ahmad, 29, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged by Criminal Complaint with firearms trafficking and selling firearms to a person unlawfully in the United States, arising from his sale of two semi-automatic pistols to a confidential informant while he was employed as a Deputy Sheriff with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office.
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Jennifer Harper at the Washington Times, where my On Crime column appears, offers a look at the toast to America that was delivered by former CIA officer and former NYPD deputy commissioner David Cohen.
Let’s take a moment to consider this toast
delivered at a recent gathering hosted by the OSS Society — which honors the
mighty and innovative Office of Strategic Services, the World War II-era
predecessor to the CIA.
The much-appreciated toast
was delivered to the 600-member audience by David Cohen, a 35- year veteran of
the CIA and former deputy commissioner for intelligence for the New
York City Police Department who now serves as senior adviser to Starr Holdings.
“This is to you, America,”
Mr. Cohen called out. “You were birthed in the heat of revolution, from the
Battle of Bunker Hill to the bitter winter quarters of Valley Forge — and finally
victorious at Yorktown. You became a nation on battlefields from Shiloh to
Vicksburg to Gettysburg, and showed amazing grace at Appomattox Court House,”
Mr. Cohen said.
“You matured in World War
I, leaving behind on the battlefields of Belleau Wood, Flanders Fields and
others nearly 120,000 Americans — who would otherwise be farmers, haberdashers
or factory workers. Your blood flowed at Normandy and Bastogne, in the air and
at sea, at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. You opened the gates of Nazi
extermination camps, then uplifted your former enemies with your treasures and
values,” Mr. Cohen continued.
“You gained victory
against the insatiable Soviet evil empire in a nearly 50-year war, with titanic
battles stretching from Korea’s frigid Chosin Reservoir to the steamy jungles
of Vietnam — through the Berlin airlift and the Cuban missile crisis. And you
closed the Fulda Gap with your troops and tanks,” he said.
“You freed Kuwait, saw
bravery in Fallujah and shed blood yet again in Khost and Afghanistan — and you
brought justice to Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Iran’s Qassim Soleimani,
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and now Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
And while achieving all of this, America — along the way, lest we forget — you found the cure for polio, put a man on the moon, invented baseball — and of course, rock ’n’ roll. America:
Never, never become weary,
because your greatest achievements are yet to be witnessed,” Mr. Cohen
concluded. “Now please stand and raise your glass in toast to America,” he told
And they did.
Note: The above photo is of Jasper Johns' painting, Three Flags.
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
The Actor Who Should be Bond: Watch Aidan Turner Do A Sort Of James Bond Audition In 'And Then There Was None'
As I've noted here before, I think the best actor to portray James Bond is Aidan Turner.
Not only was he quite good as Captain Poldark in that fine series, he was also quite good as the killer Philip Lombard in the latest TV version of Agatha Christies' And Then There Were None.
His portrayal of the tux-wearing Lombard was sort of an audition for James Bond. And Turner nailed it, in my view.
Emily Johnson compiled Turner's scenes as Lombard on youtube.com.
You can watch the scenes (and think of James Bond) via the below link:
Note: Charles Dance, who was also very good in And Then There Were None, as well as Game of Thrones, and also good as Ian Fleming, Bond's creator, in Goldeneye, would make a good Bond villain.
You can read my earlier post on Turner as Bond via the below link:
Friday, October 21, 2022
The U.S. Justice Department released the below information this past Tuesday:
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) was created by Presidential Order four decades ago. On Oct. 14, 1982, in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice building, President Ronald Reagan announced a new coordinated federal government effort bringing together prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to attack the command and control elements of the drug trafficking organizations responsible for moving massive quantities of illicit narcotics into the country.
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Justice Department Announces Charges and Arrests in Two Cases Involving Export Violation Schemes to Aid Russian Military
The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
In separate charges unsealed today in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Eastern District of New York and the District of Connecticut, and with the support of the Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, the Justice Department has charged nearly a dozen individuals and several corporate entities with participating in unlawful schemes to export powerful, civil-military, dual-use technologies to Russia – some of which have been recovered on battlefields in Ukraine while another nuclear proliferation technology was intercepted before reaching Russian soil.
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
The Babylon Bee offers a clever satirical piece that cigar smokers, like me, will enjoy:
COLUMBIA, SC — Local man Alex McIlvaine stumbled upon the brilliant idea today of adding a little sign to his cigar humidor that reads "Smokeable essential oils."
Sunday, October 16, 2022
You can read the interview via the below pages or the below text:
In addition to writing thrillers, Brad Thor has appeared on television to discuss terrorism and how closely his novels of international
I read “Rising Tiger” and I enjoyed the novel. You describe your thrillers as “Faction.” For example, I understand the brutal battle between Indian and Chinese troops on their border, and the Indian organized crime “Soda Pop War,” are two true events you include in “Rising Tiger.” Can you tell us what you mean by “faction”, and can you describe the two true events?
I call what I do ‘faction’, where you don’t know where the facts end, and the fiction begins. And this year with “Rising Tiger,” my goal was to put the action in the ‘faction’. When I write my books, I like to choose a geopolitical set piece as the backdrop. Preferably something people aren’t seeing much of in the media. When I read this true story about Chinese troops crossing the line of actual control in the disputed border region with India two summers ago high in the Himalayas and attacking with the Indians with all these home-made weapons, because there are no guns or explosives allowed in that area, I was riveted by this. I said, why am I not reading and hearing more about this in the media? I realized there are a lot of reasons for the United States to be more of a formal ally with India, not the least of which is that the United States is the world’s oldest democracy, and India is the world’s largest. We learned during COVID about the supply chain, and how much is made in China. China is not a good partner for the United States to be dependent on, from cholesterol medication to whatever you find at your local Walmart. I like India on many levels, but I didn’t know much about it. So how do I set a thriller in India? None of my contemporaries have done it. India is a fascinating place for espionage, and what if we took this association called the “Quad,” that exists in the real world. That’s India, the United States, Japan and Australia. What if the United States wanted to create an Asian version of NATO, and they sent a kind of shadow diplomat over to India to begin talks, but the Chinese caught wind of it and decided to assassinate the diplomat? What kind of firestorm would that kick off? That’s the basis for the book. It starts with the horrible six-hour hand-to-hand medieval-style melee in the Himalayas, and the next chapter is the assassination of the diplomat and it just rolls on from there.
Can you describe the Soda Pop War? An unusual name for an organized crime gang war.
Growing up in Chicago and having friends in New York and New Jersey, I thought we had some colorful mafia wars. But some of the organized stuff that is happening in India is fascinating. I didn’t realize the links between organized crime and terrorism in India, and how much hand-in-glove it goes. The Soda Pop War happened to deal with a particular Indian crime syndicate that were using pop bottles as weapons. It was very much like a Sharks and Jets kind of thing, except instead of switchblades, they were using soda pop glass bottles. This very aggressive faction was willing to take it right up to the edge with what they did with the soda bottles. They were so brutal. A nasty bunch.
My problem with this book was not what to include about India, but what to leave out. It’s a spy thriller, and I want you to take it to the beach and keep flipping the pages, but I was riveted by the research.
How would you describe your series’ protagonist, Scot Harvath, and how has he evolved over the twenty years you have been writing about him?
I have a couple of things to say about Harvath. First, he’s my alter ego, in the same way I’m sure James Bond was for Ian Fleming and Jack Ryan was for Tom Clancy. I like to joke that Scot Harvath gets to do the things my wife won’t let me do. I wanted to create a character where if the enemy isn’t going to abide by the Geneva Convention, or the Marquis of Queensberry Rules, I wanted the United States to have somebody who wasn’t expected to meet the enemy on the battlefield and have one arm and one leg tied behind his back. I wanted the United States to say we have established a way to do this with plausible deniability. We will let you go and do what it takes to achieve the mission. It is kind of based loosely on the idea of achieving the mission at all costs from “Wild Bill” Donovan and the OSS, the precursor of the CIA, and Donovan’s maxim was “If you fall, fall forward in service of the mission.” If you are going to send out somebody to do some of the nation’s most dangerous business, you are going to send them out unrestrained – no rules. You need somebody with a good, solid moral compass. You cannot send out a sadist. You want somebody who will break the rules only if it is absolutely necessary. People have joked that Harvath is kind of a Boy Scout, and he is to a certain degree, in that he has a code. At the base of everything is his belief, which is my belief, that you cannot have the American Dream without those men and women willing to protect it. Without them we have nothing. My wife can’t go the grocery store and my children can’t go to school safely if we don’t have those brave men and women, whether it is in the intelligence community, the military, or law enforcement. They are all critical to us enjoying peace, stability and prosperity.
As George Orwell reportedly said, “We sleep soundly in our beds, because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on those who would harm us.”
So I send Harvath into the world to do dangerous things and he doesn’t have any rules, but he wrestles with it, which is the right thing to do. How do I achieve this, because for him, coming out of the Navy SEAL community, success is the only option, and the only easy day was yesterday. As Harvath has developed, I think he has given voice to a lot of people in the law enforcement, military and intelligence community who are out there risking everything every single day.
Is Harvath based on a particular Navy SEAL or someone you’ve met?
Harvath is kind of a slew of people that I know in different places, even down to his name. I know somebody in the judicial branch with the last name Harvath. His first name Scot was taken from my brother, but he is really a makeup of several people that I know in various communities that are working hard to keep America free form attack. I spent a lot of time with these people. I rely on them to help me do my books.
Do your friends in the various communities act as your sources? Do you run things by them and ask them to authenticate things?
All the time. The national security advisor in the Trump administration, Robert O’Brien, was a neighbor of mine in college. That Chinese attack in the beginning of “Rising Tiger” happened during the Trump administration, so I was able to talk to Robert and without reveling classified information, which he would never do, he told me some very interesting details.
Do you think an alliance between America and India is a counterbalance from the threats from Communist China?
TI do. I also think a stronger relationship is an excellent bulwark against Russia. I think now we have such an opportunity to deepen that relationship within and so much benefit can come from it, such as manufacturing. I was stunned during COVID to realize how dependent we were on China. It is crazy to depend on an adversary. Two democracies bracing arms is a good thing, particularly in that region.
I Do you think China is going to invade Taiwan in the near future? And if so, what do you think the U.S. should do?
Taiwan is an important player in the semiconductor industry, and we would not like to lose our supply of semiconductors. You see what our support has done for Ukraine against Russia, but Russia has turned out to be a paper tiger. You get peace through strength and superior firepower, and we need to let China know that making a move on Taiwan is not a good option.
What do you think of the killing of al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan? Is al-Qaeda still a threat to the U.S.?
I think al-Qaeda is always going to be a threat. I was thrilled that they got al- Zawahiri. I think it was a fantastic piece of intelligence work that they were able to track him down and locate him. It was a good, clean hit. We’ve been after that son of a bitch forever, so I’m glad we got him.
I read that you were a member of Homeland Security’s “Red Cell Unit.” Can you describe what the unit does and what your role was?
: I did Red Cell stuff for the Pentagon, and I also did it for Homeland Security. Everybody knew that 9/11 was a failure of imagination. Too often we expect what is coming down the road will look like what is in the rearview mirror. Our government said we want to be six or seven steps ahead of the bad guys. What they did was invite creative thinkers from outside the Beltway, like me and Michael Bey, the director. They had us come in and help them wargame different scenarios. I can talk about one scenario that was published, but other than that I can’t talk about it or put it in my books. They wanted me to do for them what I do for my books, which is to come up with these very thoughtful, real-life scenarios that are based in fact, which will help them think creatively. I think it was one of the most forward thinking and aggressive programs the federal government ever put together. As the son of a United States Marine, it was an incredible honor for me to be asked to serve my country, not by picking up a rifle, but by using the gray matter between my ears.
Another thing in your background that I find interesting is that you shadowed a special operations group in Afghanistan. Can you talk about that?
I was invited to go over there as these guys were fans of the books. It was unofficial and I went over and spent a couple of weeks with them in Afghanistan. They said they didn’t know how I would react, so they reserved a hotel room for me in Kabul. They said if I got off the plane and was frozen and was not going to be able to handle moving around the country, they were going to park me in the hotel for a couple of weeks and grab me when they were done with what they had to do. It was fascinating. I learned a lot about the “Pashtunwali,” their code of honor. We would not go to a village where we had not been invited by the elders. If you were invited in, they would fight to the death to protect you. I was also fascinated with my guys moved around with a ton of Viagra. Because some of the elders have three, four wives and some married younger girls and they are considerably older, and erectile dysfunction is an issue. And they can’t get the little blue pill over there. It was interesting to learn about some of these Afghans who had no choice but align themselves with the Taliban, because it was the only way to survive. But they didn’t believe in what the Taliban were doing, and they didn’t want that for their children. It was also interesting to see the way they look at things. It is family, village, tribe. It is an interesting country and so sad that they have backslided so much since our departure a year ago.
Can you say what unit you went out with?
No. I promised I would not say.
I read you were threatened by Islamic terrorists over something you wrote in your books. Can you tell us about that?
I had a thriller called “The Last Patriot,” and the concept was that there was a chapter missing from the Koran. There was a lot of real-life evidence that suggests that there was kind of a deadline put on the followers of Mohamad. They keep showing up with little scraps that Mohamad said this and that, and then the person in charge of compiling the Koran said, alright, on Friday at five o’clock we are closed for submission. No more entries. Several years ago, while during work on the Grand Mosque in Yemen, all of these old parchments were found. A team of German archaeologists and specialists were invited in by the Yemen government to examine and date all of this stuff. They said this is stuff from the time the Koran was compiled. The Yemen government shut that down right away, because in the Muslim faith, the Koran is a perfect copy of a perfect book in Heaven, so there can’t be things that didn’t make it into the Koran. What is interesting is that over the course of his lifetime, Mohamad contradicted himself. And his followers said you said this fifteen years ago, and it put him in a tough spot. And he came up with abrogation and said to his followers was, “If the Angel Gabriel revealed something to me today and it conflicts with something I said in the past, what I say today takes precedent and abrogates what came before.” So I had an idea for a thriller in which is a missing chapter of the Koran is discovered and if the chapter could be authenticated, it would completely abrogate everything that came before and absolutely change the Muslim faith, cutting the legs out from under the hard-core radical the Islamists.
I I take it those hard-core radical Islamists were not thrilled with your idea?
It pissed off a lot of followers of that faith. We can make fun of other faiths, but Islam expects a protected face in the public square. And that is just too bad. I said I have the right to write whatever I want. You don’t have to read my book. I got a lot of death threats, so we ended up moving our house and we learned very quickly how to dial our security way, way up. I had a very excellent Muslim FBI character in the book, and it was balanced and not unfair to Islam, but there are some people in that faith that don’t want anyone saying anything.
Are there plans to film any of your books.
We are now at a big studio in Hollywood, and we have the director that I wanted, and the producers are fantastic. I am sworn to secrecy because the studio gets to break the news once they get the writer.
Good luck with the film and your book and thanks for talking to us.
Putin's Implacable Enemy: My Counterterrorism Magazine Piece On Senator John McCain And Vladimir Putin
Counterterrorism magazine published my piece on the late John McCain and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. You can read the pages below or the below text:
Putin’s Implacable Enemy: Senator John McCain Looked Into Vladimir Putin’s Eyes And Saw Three Letter: a K, a G, and a B
By Paul Davis
With the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been vilified by nearly the entire world.
This has not always been so, as many within and without Russia once believed that Putin was a welcomed change from the inept previous Russian leader, Boris Yeltsin. In the February 2000 Republican presidential debate, Texas Governor George W. Bush stated the jury was still out on Putin, noting that not enough was known about the Russian leader.
Senator John S. McCain (R-Az) disagreed.
“We know that he was an apparatchik. We know that he was a member of the KGB,” McCain countered. “We know that he came to power because of the military brutality in Chechnya. I’m very concerned about Mr. Putin.”
Senator McCain would go on to become Putin’s most persistent American critic.
Valdimire Putin was a Lieutenant Colonel in the KGB and served in Communist East Germany during the Cold War. He resigned from the KGB in 1991 and entered politics in Saint Petersburg. Russian journalist Masha Gessen states in her book on Putin, “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin,” that Putin remained a reserve KGB officer and was probably a covert operator for the Soviet intelligence agency. He was later promoted to colonel in the KGB.
Putin moved to Moscow and became an assistant to Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996. He went on to serve as the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, and in 1999 became the prime minister under Yeltsin. He became the acting president after Yeltsin resigned and was elected to be president in 2000.
Putin’s critics have accused him of using GRU (military intelligence) “wet work” murder squads to kill and critically injury Russian critics residing in the West via radiation poisoning. His critics also accuse the Russian leader of leading institutional corruption in Russia and amassing a personal illicit fortune worth billions.
Putin critics believe that Putin wants to restore Russia to the country’s former “glory” as a world power. Putin once described the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,”
President Bush met Putin in 2001 and famously said, “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”
In the presidential debate in October of 2008, while debating his Democratic opponent, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, McCain mentioned President Bush’s statement about Putin. He then added, “I looked into his eyes and saw three letters: a K, a G and a B.”
McCain went on to say that Putin had repressed liberties in Georgia and issued a warning about Ukraine. He said Ukraine was in Putin’s sights.
McCain lost the election to Obama and the new president and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, declared a “reset” in dealing with Russia. That effort ended with Putin’s annexation of Crimea and his first attack of Ukraine in 2014.
The son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals, John S. McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and entered flight training in 1958. An A-4 Skyhawk pilot, McCain flew combat sorties against North Vietnam in 1967. On July 29, 1967, stray voltage from a mobile engine starter triggered a Zuni rocket to launch from an F-4 waiting for takeoff on the deck of the USS Forrestal. The rocket struck the belly fuel tank of McCain’s aircraft, killing Airman Thomas D. Ott. McCain jumped out of his cockpit and into a fire. A bomb exploded, which sent him flying about ten feet and killed a number of sailors. McCain suffered from burns and shrapnel wounds
It took the ship’s damage control teams 24 hours to contain the fire, which killed 134 Sailors, injured 161, and destroyed 21 aircraft. As the Forrestal headed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for repairs, McCain and other pilots from his squadron volunteered to transfer to VA-163 on the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany.
According to the Naval History & Heritage Command, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam on 26 October 1967, but the shootdown was not the result of poor airmanship.
“Rather, it resulted from a willingness of McCain to take a calculated risk to destroy an important target: the Hanoi thermal power plant,” the Navy history command wrote. “The day before, he pleaded with the squadron operations officer to put him on the roster for the large Alpha strike scheduled the next day. Four Navy squadrons participated in the raid. It was McCain’s twenty-third mission and his first attack on Hanoi. The strike force was tracked by North Vietnamese radars as it went feet dry, and soon McCain could see smoke plumes from SA-2 launches. At the time of his shootdown, McCain’s aircraft was at 3,500 feet. He had received a good warning tone, indicating that a missile was tracking him, but he felt he had time to drop his bombs on the target next to a small lake and then outmaneuver the missile. He managed to release his bomb load just before the missile impacted.
“The missile shattered one of the wings of McCain’s A-4, forcing him to bailout upside down at high speed. The force of the ejection broke his right leg, his right arm in three places, his left arm, tore his helmet off, and knocked him unconscious. He nearly died when he descended into a lake in the middle of Hanoi. He made it to the surface and was bayoneted by an angry mob of North Vietnamese. He was sent to Hoa Lo prison (the Hanoi Hilton). He was interrogated for four days before his captors brought him to a hospital after learning that his father was a four-star admiral and the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Command.”
McCain was 31 years old when he became a prisoner. Tortured and often kept in solitary confinement, McCain was a Prisoner of War from 26 October 1967–14 March 1973:
Following his release, McCain spent five months recuperating and receiving medical treatment. He then attended the National War College and became the commanding officer of VA-174, In 1979, he served as the Navy’s Office of Legislative Liaison in the Senate. Captain McCain retired from the Navy in 1981. His decorations include the Silver Star Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat ‘V’ and one gold star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat ‘V’ and two gold stars, and the Purple Heart Medal with one gold star.
McCain was elected to the House in 1983 and the Senate in 1987. He ran unsuccessfully for President in 2008.
In 2011, Vladimir Putin spoke for four and a half hours on Russian TV and took calls from viewers. He was asked about McCain.
“He has a lot of blood of peaceful civilians on his hands,” Putin said of McCain, referring to McCain’s background as a combat pilot and prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. “Mr. McCain was captured in Vietnam, and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years. Anyone would go nuts.”
McCain responded to Putin calling him “nuts” with a tweet: “Dear Vlad, is it something I said?”
In 2014, Putin ordered sanctions against the U.S. Senator.
“He sanctioned me, which means no spring break in Siberia,” McCain joked to a TV talk show host. “Russia is a gas station run by a mafia that is masquerading as a country.”
In 2015, returning from a visit to Ukraine, McCain said, “Russia is kleptocracy. It’s corruption. It’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy, and so economic sanctions are important.”
Senator McCain passed away on 25 August 2018 from glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Russian media reported McCain’s death as the passing of “an implacable enemy of Russia.”
The late senator was certainly an implacable enemy of Vladimir Putin.
“John McCain was right: Vladimir Putin is a thug. He saw KGB in Putin’s eyes, and that’s exactly what the rest of the world is seeing now,” the McCain Institute at Arizona State University noted in a released statement. “Putin’s actions demonstrate the grave dangers of authoritarianism and underscore the need for free nations to stand firm in defense of democracy.
“Flexing unchecked power, Putin’s belligerence toward Ukraine is proving the case we’ve been making for so long – that democracy is the best way to unify society, secure peace and create broad prosperity. Accordingly, Western nations are uniting in a reaffirmation of their commitment to democratic principles, a goal that has eluded presidents since the end of the Cold War. Ultimately, the weight of authoritarianism is its biggest flaw. It crushes opportunity and forces people into bondage. Putin’s power grab in Ukraine represents a watershed moment in shifting the global balance of power away from authoritarianism and toward freedom.”