Monday March 19th, 2018

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

World & National

Senators suspect Comey lied and plotted to double-cross Trump, seek second special counsel                 
                    James Comey (Associated Press) **FILE**

A plan of action for how a second special counsel can investigate the FBI and Justice Department is spelled out in a point-by-point letter submitted by two Republican senators.

They specifically want to know whether former FBI Director James B. Comey lied to them and had a plan to double-cross President Trump.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sent a letter last week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. They and two other Republicans want a special counsel with the powers of the Trump-Russia probe’s Robert Mueller to investigate suspected Justice Department corruption.

White House Says No Plan to Fire Mueller
                            "Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don't believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?" President Trump tweeted Sunday. (Associated Press)

The White House says President Donald Trump isn't thinking about or talking about firing special counsel Robert Mueller.

That's the late word from White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who released a statement late Sunday after a series of Trump tweets led members of Congress and others to speculate that the president may be considering orchestrating Mueller's firing.

Corsi: Trump Absolutely Right in Firing McCabe

Bestselling author Jerome Corsi defended the Trump administration's firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe — and derided sympathy for an ouster that'll deprive the veteran agent of his FBI benefits.

"His pension ought not to be his biggest problem," Corsi said in an interview with Newsmax. "Spending time in jail should be his biggest problem."
Corsi's new bestseller "Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump" details what the author says is a "cri

Trump Prepares for Visit by Saudi Prince Who Has Rocked the Kingdom

Image: Trump Prepares for Visit by Saudi Prince Who Has Rocked the Kingdom

Donald Trump will host Saudi Arabia's crown prince in Washington Tuesday, giving the president a receptive audience to denounce rival Iran and a chance to take stock of significant changes the prince is engineering in the kingdom.

Ten months after the last face-to-face meeting between Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Riyadh, the 71-year-old president and the 32-year-old strongman prince are expected to deepen an already warm and congenial relationship.

But they also are expected to take up major developments for Saudi Arabia, both internally and externally: the end of a ban on Saudi women driving, the unprecedented detention of dozens of people that was billed as a high-level anti-corruption purge, Saudi involvement in the war in Yemen, and the crisis with the Gulf state of Qatar.

Explosion in Austin; EMS confirms 2 injured

Austin first responders said Sunday night that the city had been hit by another suspicious explosion — the fourth such incident since the start of March — and that two people had been hurt.

According to the Twitter account of both the Austin-Travis County EMS, and the Austin Police, there was an explosion in the 4800 block of Dawn Song Drive, in the Texas state capital.
“Two male patients transported with unknown injuries,” the police department said.
Caused by tripwire; 'Different level of skill'...
Police Plea With Bomber: Call Us...
500 officers, 236 interviews, 435 leads...
Residents asked to stay inside...
City on edge...

Boston radio host plans to sneak DNA from Warren if she won't take test

Howie Carr says he tried it in 2012 with a pen cap

Sen. Elizabeth Warren may want to keep a firm grip on her soda cans for the foreseeable future.

Boston radio host Howie Carr revealed Friday that he attempted six years ago to obtain a DNA sample from a pen cap she removed with her teeth before she signed a book—and said he plans to try it again unless she agrees to take a test voluntarily.

Mr. Carr offered to send her overnight a DNA kit and challenged her to take the test with him “at the cheese shop of your choosing in Harvard Square” in order to resolve the dispute over her claims of Cherokee ancestry.

Orange County city may delcare itself a sanctuary from California's sanctuary law

The federal government may soon get an ally in its battle with California over its sanctuary laws.

According to a report in the Orange County Register, the city of Los Alamitos will vote Monday on a ordinance to exempt itself from SB54 (aka the California Values Act), which limits cooperation between law enforcement and immigration authorities.

The ordinance says the state’s sanctuary law violates the U.S. Constitution and thus the council “finds that it is impossible to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States” if the state law applies in the city.

EU agrees Brexit transition, UK renews Irish border vow

Britain agreed to a potentially unpalatable deal to avoid a “hard border” for Northern Ireland on Monday to win agreement from the European Union that it would retain most EU benefits for nearly two years after Brexit.

After a weekend of intensive talks under the shadow of Irish fears of “backsliding” by London on a “backstop” accord that Prime Minister Theresa May had rejected, the two sides issued a new, 129-page draft treaty that was awash with green highlighter denoting final agreement on large areas of the legal text.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, told a news conference with Brexit Secretary David Davis that none of this is legally binding until a whole treaty is ratified before Brexit a year from now. However, he described the agreements as a “decisive” moment for efforts to avoid Britain crashing out without a deal.

A mission quandary in Syria

Almost two weeks ago, after yet another incident of a chlorine gas attack by Syria’s Assad regime, Defense Secretary James Mattis warned both Syria and its Russian ally that using gas weapons against civilians or on the battlefield was very unwise. Last week, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was more blunt, warning that America is “prepared to act if we must” to stop indiscriminate bombings of civilians by the Assad regime.

Last April, President Trump ordered a cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base from which aircraft had carried out an earlier chemical weapons strike on civilians.

American troops, joined by our Kurdish allies, have been in Syria, fighting ISIS for more than a year. They have sustained casualties and inflicted enormous losses on our opponents, including the Russians.

Big Pharma and its battle lines

It may be hard to believe, but some conservatives are arguing that any conservative who supports a measure before Congress called the CREATES Act that would allow generic drug makers under certain circumstances to go to court to get their competitors to play by the rules are ideological sellouts too willing to jump into bed with liberals and greedy trial lawyers.

The issue is fairly obscure, but involves balancing the property interests of those who develop and bring modern drugs to the market against the public’s need for affordable health care.

Our patent laws provide protection for inventors and allow those who incur the risks and take the time to develop new drugs and other products to recover their costs and profit from their efforts; a major reason why men and women in our free society have invested their time and resources into making the United States the world leader in developing treatments for the diseases that have ravaged the planet for millennia.

"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. 


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.

From the Archives

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 ( acknowledging material I was writing about in 1998 ( ).

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 ( ) 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…