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TODAY
Monday August 21st, 2017


"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf

Updated hrs

World & National 
"The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people."
-- Justice Hugo L. Black
(1886-1971) US Supreme Court Justice

Rise of antifa after Charlottesville alarms free-speech adovcates
Radical left-wing protesters aren’t fans of the First Amendment
                A masked group of demonstrators join in a protest against racism in the Venice beach area of Los Angeles on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The peace and unity gathering was held Saturday morning at the beach south of Los Angeles in response to the deadly events at a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Even those who despise neo-Nazis are worried about the rise of the “antifa,” the masked protesters whose stock rose after they took on white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The antifa, which stands for “anti-fascists,” may be the sworn enemies of Nazism and racism, but the radical left-wing protesters also aren’t fans of the First Amendment, having shut down scheduled speeches by conservatives Milo Yiannapoulos and Ann Coulter earlier this year in Berkeley, California.



Americans stake out prime viewing spots to watch eclipse

                    

Americans with telescopes, cameras and protective glasses staked out viewing spots along a narrow corridor from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the midday sun for a magical couple of minutes Monday in what promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history.

Sky-watchers everywhere — and millions were expected to peer into the sun — set out lawn chairs and blankets and awaited the first total solar eclipse to sweep coast-to-coast across the U.S. in practically a century. Astronomers were giddy with excitement.



Ten sailors missing, five injured after USS John S. McCain collides with merchant ship

                       Source: U.S. 7th Fleet

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, according to officials with U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs.
There are ten sailors missing and five injured, officials say.

The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.

The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port.
Admiral to order operational pause in Navy after warship, merchant ship collide
Ten missing in Singapore waters
Collision in some of world's busiest waters


North Korea warns of 'merciless strike' ahead of US-South Korea drills


Joint US-South Korean military drills are underway Monday despite warnings from North Korea a day earlier that they could lead to a "uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war."

The 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises are conducted annually and touted by South Korea and the United States as defensive in nature.

But North Korea sees them as provocative and hostile, perhaps even preparation for an invasion. 82117triage



University of Texas takes down  four Confederatee statues overnight


The University of Texas removed four Confederate statues from its Austin campus early Monday morning, amid growing pressure to take down such monuments in the wake of racist violence in Charlottesville.

University president Gregory L. Fenves announced the decision late Sunday night, saying the “horrific displays of hatred” in Virginia had made it clear that Confederate statues had become “symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.” Demonstrations by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville on Aug. 12 turned deadly after a neo-Nazi plowed a car into a crowd, killing one counterprotester and injuring at least 19 other people.

Fenves said he had considered the historical and cultural significance of four Confederate statues on campus — depicting Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and former Texas governor James Stephen Hogg — but concluded they were “severely compromised by what they symbolize.”



TrumpSettles on Afghan Strategy Expected to Raise Troop Levels


President Trump, who has been accused by lawmakers of dragging his feet on Afghanistan, has settled on a new strategy to carry on the nearly 16-year-old conflict there, administration officials said Sunday. The move, following a detailed review, is likely to open the door to the deployment of several thousand troops.

“The president has made a decision,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on an overnight flight that arrived in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday. “I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous.”
Mr. Mattis declined to say what steps the president had ordered, including on troop levels, saying that the president wanted to outline the new approach himself.



A rare glimpse at America's super nukes
'Hell and fury' that can reach North Korea in 30  minutes

BURIED deep beneath the Montana soil in America’s northwest are 150 giant Minuteman III nuclear missiles — locked, loaded and ready to go.

They are 20 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and can reach any target on the planet in half an hour.

They stand ready to be deployed at any moment of the day, on the order of US President Donald Trump, who this month promised North Korea a “fire and fury like the world has never seen”.

“I think this is a very dangerous time — perhaps the most dangerous threat that we’ve faced since the Cuban missile crisis,” former US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said.



Bergdahl Chooses to Have Trial Heard by Judge and Not Jury

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is choosing be tried by a judge — not a military jury — on charges that he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl's lawyers told the court in a filing last week that he's choosing to have a trial by judge alone, rather than a panel of military members.

He faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy at his trial scheduled for late October.



Secret Service direct cleans up comments on Trump travel demands


The head of the U.S. Secret Service appeared to engage in some damage control on Monday, clarifying in a statement that the stresses placed on the agency by the travel habits and large size of President Donald Trump’s family are nothing new.

In an interview with USA Today published earlier Monday, Director Randolph "Tex" Alles had said Trump and his family's travel had stretched the Secret Service’s budget so thin that the agency would not be able to pay some agents for work already completed.



Conservatives concerned for Trump's populist agenda after Bannon departure


With Stephen K. Bannon ousted from his White House role as the intellectual core of the Trump movement, conservatives worry whether the president can find a new adviser capable of filling the void to guide Mr. Trump’s populist views into action.

Mr. Bannon’s ouster on Friday as White House chief strategist was “extremely disappointing” to conservatives, said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government.

“I don’t think there’s anybody else who has the same touchstone with the president’s core values as Steve Bannon did,” Mr. Manning said. “That’s why it’s particularly distressing that Bannon’s not going to be there anymore.”



Replacing the Republican Party
America needs a virile alternative to the present mess

Having refused to repeal Obamacare, the Republican Party is dead, as was the Whig Party in 1854 after it colluded in the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act which opened these territories to slavery.

Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress as well as control of legislatures and governorships in 26 states veil the fact that, in 2017, there are no longer reasons to vote Republican any more than there were to vote Whig after 1854.

The Republican Party’s successes in recent electoral cycles were due to the American people’s desire not to be governed by a ruling class, headed by the Democratic Party, which is restricting, insulting and impoverishing the country. Republican voters were hopeful but doubtful. In the 2016 Republican primaries the overwhelming majority of votes went to candidates least tied to the party establishment.



Putin's strategy and the U.S. response

Russian chess moves are directly related to an Obama foreign policy that relied on withdrawal

At the end of the Cold War, Russia was a facsimile of itself. Shorn of empire, the Russians appeared to be a weak regional power, if that.

Should one examine it through domestic considerations, its economy was weak relying entirely on extractive industries. A contagion of alcoholism raged through the society. HIV cases represented an epidemic. And life expectancy was declining. These conditions still prevail, but President Vladimir Putin has gone global in order to conceal the weakness and failure that exists at home.

Moscow has found numerous openings for exploitation in the West. Its agenda is transparent: Assert Russian influence at the expense of Washington and the liberal institutions that offered international stability since the end of World War II.

"It is discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
-- Noel Coward
     (1899-1973) British playwright


Medal of Honor


Army Medal of Honor


The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.

Since then there have been:  • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
    • Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor. 

Citation

Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United States Army.



3/14/20017

We Have Met the Enemy…

      
Geoff Metcalf
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
              
--Benjamin Franklin
“The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security.”
              
--Louis Freeh
In the wake of the clamor over the most recent WikiLeaks data dump, ‘Vault 7’, ‘UMBRAGE’, et al, it should be noted this is not really anything new. What we are seeing here is simply the evolution of something that goes back to the late 50s (to the incomplete best knowledge I have).

It is kinda cool to finally see even the New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2017/03/09/opinion/the-truth-about-the-wikileaks-cia-cache.html?_r=0) acknowledging material I was writing about in 1998 (http://www.wnd.com/1998/04/6108/ ).

In April of 1998 I wrote “Privacy has become an anachronism.” I was commenting on “a massive system designed to intercept all your e-mail, fax traffic and more.” I was explaining ‘Echelon’, the illegitimate offspring of a UKUSA treaty (https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukusa/ ) signed by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Its purpose was, and is, to have a vast global intelligence monster, which allegedly shares common goals. The system was so “efficient” that reportedly National Security Agency folk from Fort Meade could work from Menwith Hill in England to intercept local communications without either nation having to burden themselves with the formality of seeking approval (a court order) or disclosing the operation. And this was all pre-9/11 and pre-the anti-constitutional ‘Patriot Act’.

It is illegal (without a Judge’s signed permission) for the United States to spy on its citizens … kinda. The laws have long been circumvented by a mutual pact among five nations. Under the terms of UKUSA agreement, Britain spies on Americans and America spies on British citizens, and then the two conspirators trade data. A classic technical finesse. It is legal, but the intent to evade the spirit is inescapable.

I often fictionalized the genesis of ‘Echelon’ as an informal meeting of a group of post war American and British intelligence types drinking in some remote rustic bar. An imagined CIA type complains to his MI6 buddy about the hassles of US laws preventing US intelligence from surveillance of bad guys, and the Brit echoes the same complaint.

“Hey wait a moment mate,” says Nigel, the make-believe MI6 guy, “I can spy on your guys and you can spy on our bad players…why don’t we just come up with a mechanism whereby we spy on your villains, you spy on our villains, and we just ‘share’ the intel?”

This system was called ECHELON, and has been kicking around in some form longer than most of you. The result of the UKUSA treaty signed by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was, and is, to have a vast global intelligence monster which allegedly shares common goals.

The London Telegraph reported in December of 1997 that the Civil liberties Committee of the European Parliament had officially confirmed the existence and purpose of ECHELON. “A global electronic spy network that can eavesdrop on every telephone, e-mail and telex communication around the world will be officially acknowledged for the first time in a European Commission report. …”

The report noted: “Within Europe all e-mail, telephone and fax communications are routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency, transferring all target information from the European mainland via the strategic hub of London, then by satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the crucial hub at Menwith Hill, in the North York moors in the UK.

“The ECHELON system forms part of the UKUSA system but unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, ECHELON was designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations and businesses in virtually every country.”

An interesting sidebar appeared in the International Herald Tribune under the headline, “Big Corporate Brother: It Knows More About You Than You Think.” The story details Acxiom Corp, which was a humongous information service hidden in the Ozark foothills. Twenty-four hours a day, Acxiom electronically gathered and sorts all kinds of data about 196 million Americans. Credit card transactions and magazine subscriptions, telephone numbers, real estate records, automotive data, hunting, business and fishing licenses, consumer surveys and demographic detail that would make a marketing department’s research manager salivate. This relatively new (legal) enterprise was known as “data warehousing” or “data-mining”, and it underscores the cruel reality that the fiction of personal privacy has become obsolete. Technology’s ability to collect and analyze data has made privacy a quaint albeit interesting dinosaur.

The Tribune reported that “Axciom can often determine whether an American owns a dog or cat, enjoys camping or gourmet cooking, reads the Bible or lots of other books. It can often pinpoint an American’s occupation, car and favorite vacations. By analyzing the equivalent of billions of pages of data, it often projects for its customers who should be offered a credit card or who is likely to buy a computer.”

Most of this information is from y 1998 piece.  Echelon has developed, matured, and morphed into a much more powerful hybrid. ‘Carnivore’ was software to help triage the cacophony of data. Vault 7 and ‘Umbrage’ are logical (some would argue “insidious”) growth.

    More to follow…




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