My sincere thanks to all who have sent their prayers and best wishes.
My sincere thanks to all who have sent their prayers and best wishes.
One Old Vet was admitted to a local hospital today. Posting of new articles are temporarily suspended until he returns.
POLIZETTE — Although it may be impossible to know for certain if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lax handling of sensitive information played a role in the recent execution of an Iranian scientist, security experts said Tuesday it again highlights her recklessness.
Iran recently announced the execution of Shahram Amiri, an expert in radioactive isotopes at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, for “revealing the country’s top secrets to the enemy … the Great Satan.” An email forwarded to Clinton in July 2010 discussed Amiri, referred to as “our friend,” according to WikiLeaks.
“We’re never going to know whether they learned about him from the emails or not, but there were discussions about him in a classified email,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA official who now serves as senior vice president for policy and programs at the Center for Security Policy. “This sort of proves what the leaks might have caused.”
Amiri’s execution has resurrected concerns about the private email server that Clinton had set up in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York. FBI Director James Comey determined that Clinton’s conduct did not rise to the level of a criminal violation, but called her behavior “careless.”
Amiri reportedly provided crucial information to the United States and defected in 2009. But in summer 2010, he went to the Iranian Interests section of the Pakistani embassy in Washington and asked to be returned home. Initially treated as a hero by the Iranian government, he later mysteriously disappeared.
DAILY CALLER — Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly defended an embattled banker during an official visit to Bangladesh while Clinton Foundation officials tried to steer money from an Abu Dhabi oil company into the banker’s coffers.
A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation traced the convoluted payment by TAQA — formally known as the the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company — to Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank. Yunus is a long-time friend and Clinton Foundation donor.
The oil company deal eventually put as much as $500,000 into President Bill Clinton’s pockets via a speaking fee he got in Scotland.
The complicated set of international transactions is contained in a cryptic May 7, 2012, email chain between Cheryl Mills, then Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, and Amitabh Desai, the Clinton Foundation’s foreign policy director. The email chain was obtained by Citizens United, the conservative activist group that is the lead plaintiff in multiple federal Freedom of Information Act court cases.
TAQA is a huge oil and gas company 74 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government that operates in 11 countries, including Canada and the United States. The firm in 2010 won the first of three “blanket agreements” with the Obama administration to import billions of cubic feet of natural gas from Canada into the United States.
The Mills-Desai email exchange was not unique. The Department of State estimates the number of emails between Hillary’s top State Department staff and Clinton Foundation officials includes more than 12,000 separate communications.
NY POST — Another 296 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails were released Tuesday — exposing key Clinton aides doing favors for billionaires and, on one occasion, leaving the then-secretary of state’s daily schedule in an unlocked hotel room.
The documents were released by Judicial Watch, which is suing to recover Clinton’s emails under Freedom of Information Act laws.
In an April 2009 email to Clinton’s State Department aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, President Clinton’s former body man, Doug Band, the founder of corporate consultant Teneo, urgently asked them to set up a meeting with an ambassador for a major donor to the Clinton Foundation.
“We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re lebanon. As you know, he’s key guy there and to us and is loved in lebanon.”
“Its jeff feltman,” Abedin wrote back, referring to Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, America’s former top diplomat to Lebanon. “I’m sure he knows him[.] Ill talk to jeff.”
Less than 20 minutes later, Band replied, “Better if you call him. Now preferrable. This is very important.”
Chagoury is a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and a Clinton Foundation donor, giving somewhere between $1 million and $5 million.
The construction magnate has financial interests around the world and was convicted in Switzerland in 2000 for money laundering. He paid $66 million in a plea deal.
The emails also show Clinton’s closest aide, Abedin, left her boss’s daily schedule in an unlocked hotel room in Trinidad and Tobago, where the secretary of state was attending a conference.
“Hi Huma,” aide Melissa Lan wrote in an email to Abedin. “Would it be possible to get one of the Secretary’s day book binders back for tomorrow’s product?”
Abedin replied, “Yes its [sic] on the bed in my room. U can take it. My door is open. I’m in lobby. Thx.”
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement: “No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress. … They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”
POLIZETTE — Despite years of significant health-related incidents, from possible seizures and strokes to difficulty walking or speaking through coughing fits, the mainstream media has yet to ask Hillary Clinton for reasonable disclosures about her physical fitness to serve in office.
And now, after February photos taken by Getty of Hillary Clinton apparently stumbling up a flight of stairs resurfaced across the internet Sunday, the liberal media powerhouse is actually defending its champion from being asked to answer to her health.
The pictures, which showed Clinton’s aides holding onto her arms above the elbows and steadying her up the moderate flight of stairs, re-circulated on Sunday. After the Drudge Report picked up the piece and the images were spread all across the internet and social media, the Left concocted elaborate responses Monday, blaming right-wing conspiracies and blatantly ignoring the possibility Clinton may have actual health issues.
“From the looks of Matt Drudge’s home page, Hillary Clinton is so sick, she needs help getting up a flight of stairs,” wrote Brian Stelter for CNN Money. “But looks can be deceiving. The Drudge Report, one of the most widely read sites on the web, is misleading visitors by taking a six-month-old photo out of context.”
VICE NEWS — Two secret letters the FBI sent to the State Department have revealed for the first time that the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and the classified emails sent through it, stemmed from a so-called “Section 811” referral from the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General (ICIG). The ICIG determined that classified, national security information in Clinton’s emails may have been “compromised” and shared with “a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.”
Section 811 of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 “is the statutory authority that governs the coordination of counterespionage investigations between Executive Branch departments or agencies and the FBI.” A Section 811 referral is a report to the FBI about any unauthorized information that may have been disclosed to a foreign power.
A Section 811 referral “arises whenever there is a compromise of classified information — for whatever reason,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “It could include espionage, but it could also include negligence, inadvertence, or something else…. Section 811 does not assert a violation of criminal law.”
FBI Director James Comey, in an extraordinary public statement last month announcing that the FBI had closed its investigation, said it was possible that “hostile actors gained access” to Clinton’s emails because she used her personal email “extensively” while traveling abroad. However, the FBI did not uncover “direct evidence” that Clinton’s email server “was successfully hacked.”
AP — WASHINGTON — The State Department has turned over 44 previously-unreleased Hillary Clinton email exchanges that the Democratic presidential nominee failed to include among the 30,000 private messages she turned over to the government last year. They show her interacting with lobbyists, political and Clinton Foundation donors and business interests as secretary of state.
The conservative legal group Judicial Watch obtained the emails as part of its lawsuit against the State Department. They cover Clinton’s first three months as secretary of state in early 2009, a period for which Clinton did not turn over any emails to the State Department last year. The government found the newly disclosed messages during a search of agency computer files from longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
In one instance, Clinton exchanged messages with a senior Morgan Stanley investment executive whom she met with later that year at her office in Washington. They were among 246 pages of Abedin messages turned over to Judicial Watch.
Clinton campaign officials did not immediately answer questions about the issue.
WASHINGTON TIMES — Messages involving the then-chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and a top Clinton Foundation official and donor are among the dozens of new email exchanges from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state released on Tuesday by a watchdog group.
One message from Stephen Roach, then-chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, to Mrs. Clinton provides upcoming testimony on the U.S.-China economic relationship he was to deliver before Congress in early 2009.
Mrs. Clinton thanked Mr. Roach for sending it along and said she would ask her staff about possibly connecting in Beijing, later asking top aide Huma Abedin about that possibility.
Sen. Bernard Sanders had made Mrs. Clinton’s relationships with top Wall Street firms one of his more prominent criticisms during the Democratic presidential primary contest.
The messages were released by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that has fought for the release of her messages. The group said the new ones appear to contradict Mrs. Clinton’s statements that she turned over all her work-related emails to the State Department after her time there.
• MORE THAN INCOMPETENCE IN BENGHAZI — WASHINGTON TIMES
• SURVIVORS REACT TO FATHER OF PULSE SHOOTER AT CLINTON KISSIMMEE RALLY — CLICK ORLANDO
CAPS — Years ago, I was speaking with my friend Terry Anderson, who hosted a popular Los Angeles-based, Sunday night radio show that dealt exclusively with illegal immigration. “If you ain’t mad, you ain’t paying attention” was his tagline. Watch Terry’s two-part interview with CAPS here and here.
Toward the end of our conversation, Terry said: “It’s over for us.” What Terry meant was that California’s illegal immigrant population had grown so fast that the best interests of black Americans like him had, in the political scheme of things, become secondary to those of illegal immigrants.
In South Central, where Terry lived, evidence of illegal immigrants’ ever-growing presence – he called it the “vast influx” – was painfully obvious. As more illegal immigrants moved into the greater Los Angeles area, congressional districts that had elected black officials became Hispanic-dominated. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ South Central 43rd Congressional District, for example, includes the Hispanic-majority cities of Gardena, Inglewood and Hawthorne. To get re-elected, Waters and others in Congress facing the same shifting demographic electorate prioritized Hispanic issues. Waters is good at getting re-elected; she’s been in the House for 25 years!
Terry died in 2010, a few years before Los Angeles County had more Latino residents than any other county nationwide. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of Terry fondly, and remember his valiant efforts to raise the awareness of his national audience about illegal immigration’s scourge. I miss Terry, but am comforted by knowing that at least he didn’t live long enough to have read last week’s scandalous story that the University of California Merced now has enrolled more illegal alien students than blacks. According to a Daily Wire headline story, during the spring of 2016, UC Merced provided 303 illegal immigrants with financial aid, teaching jobs and legal services. Black enrollment is 272. The story also notes that 48.5 percent of UC Merced’s student body is Hispanic.
The University of California is a land-grant college built to make higher education more widely available and more affordable for instate students, and has been funded by generations of California’s taxpayers that include Terry and his family. Illegal immigrants should not receive benefits from UC Merced or any other U.S. university unless similar benefits are provided to citizen students. From 8 U.S. Code § 1623, “an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State… for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit.”
In Terry’s memory, let me make clear that I’ve been paying attention and that I am mad. To help spread what Terry called the “popular rage,” join the CAPS Action Alert team here to send free messages to the White House and Congress to insist that American interests must come first.
CIS — A friend sent me the online version of Police Magazine containing an article about Nicholas Young, the District of Columbia Metro Transit police officer recently arrested by the FBI and charged with material support of a terrorist organization (Islamic State).
I had seen an earlier report on the arrest from a different media source, and had also heard journalists on National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm show mention that this is the first time a U.S. law enforcement officer has been charged with such an offense.
It may be the first time for U.S. law enforcement, but it has happened before with the military: readers will certain recall the horrific murders committed by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood. Hasan is not the only active duty or discharged military veteran who has become involved with terrorist organizations. Before him, there was Ali Mohamed, an al Qaeda double agent.
Still, the idea of the police, who are our first responders in the event of an attack, potentially being suborned into becoming the human weapons for an attack is a sobering one. It has happened with shocking regularity in Afghanistan and Iraq, where jihadists have routinely infiltrated the ranks and then turned on their fellow police officers – or, just as frequently, their ostensible American or other NATO allies. In Afghanistan, it has become such a regular occurrence that observers refer to them as “green on blue attacks“.
Though the Metro police officer arrested last week is native-born, his case got me pondering what this country would do if would-be jihadists start taking the more strategic path of infiltrating our law enforcement agencies, instead of choosing the ill-planned, quick-and-dirty forms of attack by gun or knife.
FOX NEWS — A U.S. immigration official accused in a federal report of hindering law enforcement agents seeking a suspect in the San Bernardino terror attack and then lying about it has been nominated for a prestigious award – for telling her employees to stay calm and fetching one who was eating lunch in his car.
FoxNews.com reported in June that Irene Martin, who heads the San Bernardino U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, had been nominated for the Department of Homeland Security “Award for Valor.” But the department refused to say what Martin had done to earn consideration for an award previously given to government employees who saved people from sinking ships and burning cars and confronted gun-wielding criminals.
The answer was only revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request. As the Dec. 2, 2015, attack unfolded a mile and a half away, Martin “warned [her] employees to be very careful and to be vigil (sic) about their surroundings,” according to the nominating petition.
Irene Martin, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services field boss who clashed with federal law enforcement agents, is shown here in file photo greeting Spc. Brent Kiley, of the US Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. ( Sgt. Giancarlo Casem/Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System)
When Martin learned that one member of her staff was sitting in his car after returning from lunch, a security guard refused to go and get him, saying the office was under lockdown.
ASIA TIMES — Kun Shan Chun, who has been working with the FBI as an electronics technician for over 19 years, probably supplied Chinese intelligence with valuable counter-surveillance information that would assist the large numbers of Chinese agents operating in the United States in avoiding detection. The case is the latest black eye for the FBI.
A Chinese penetration agent operated secretly within the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and passed valuable intelligence to Beijing for at least 10 years without being detected.
Kun Shan Chun, an FBI employee who pleaded guilty in federal court to having acted as an agent of the Chinese government, is pictured in New York City
The case of Kun Shan Chun was disclosed by the Justice Department Aug. 1 as part of a plea agreement involving Chun admitting he acted illegally as a Chinese government agent.
Chun, a Chinese-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested in March although authorities kept the case secret until the plea bargain was announced last week.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin said Chun exploited his position as an FBI technician who had access to Top-Secret information by providing “restricted and sensitive FBI information to the Chinese Government.”
No details of the information supplied by Chun to China were provided by court papers made public in the case.
However, as an electronic technician, Chun likely supplied Chinese intelligence with valuable counter-surveillance information that would assist the large numbers of Chinese agents operating in the United States in avoiding detection.
FOX NEWS — SUNLAND PARK, N.M. – Amid a debate over erecting a new border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the U.S. Border Patrol said it is finishing an 18-foot-tall steel fence in the last stretch of unwalled, urban borderline in New Mexico.
Officials said the new fencing will run a mile from the bottom of a mesa to the base of tourist attraction of Mount Cristo Rey, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Currently, a run-down, 10-foot-high chain-link fence sits in the area and border patrol agents say it can be easily climbed and offers little protection in the city of Sunland Park. The city sits just west of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The new fence will be made of rust-colored steel columns and is part of an $11 million project authorized by the Bush Administration, the Secure Fence Act of 2006. It will supplant the chain link fencing erected in the 1980s. The new barrier will be reinforced 5 feet underground with steel panels to prevent smugglers from building underground tunnels.
“It’s a fence that is replacing another fence,” Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero said. “It doesn’t hold anymore.”
WASHINGTON TIMES — Richard Reid was already a two-time felon when authorities searched his Delaware apartment and found marijuana, crack cocaine divided into sales-size plastic bags, powder cocaine, a scale — and a loaded .32 caliber handgun, an unloaded .25 caliber pistol and ammunition for two other types of weapons.
Last week, President Obama commuted Reid’s 25-year sentence and made him one of the hundreds of drug users and dealers who the White House says have done enough time.
But at the same time, Mr. Obama forgave scores of gun crimes convictions for the offenders, raising thorny questions about whether the White House is serious about keeping guns out of “the wrong hands” — a refrain of the Obama administration in the wake of mass shootings.
Mr. Obama forgave six of Reid’s gun crimes, in addition to the drug trafficking and possession offenses for which he was convicted in 2007.
He is one of 107 federal inmates who have had gun crimes convictions pardoned or sentences commuted during this administration, including a number who used firearms while dealing drugs or who carried them despite having felonies on their records. Still others were caught lying to gun dealers or carrying weapons with the registration numbers filed off — suggesting an even deeper level of gun crime.
• THESE GUN OWNERS ARE LEAST LIKELY CRIMINALS, REPORT FINDS — DAILY SIGNAL
BREITBART — A Mexican woman living in Texas has been convicted of labor trafficking two women she brought illegally to the United States from Mexico and forcing them to work for her, without pay, for about 14 years.
According to the Justice Department, late Friday a federal jury convicted Olga Sandra Murra aka “Olga Sandra Capon-Meneses”— a 64 year-old woman who immigrated to the U.S from Mexico in 1997 — on two counts of forced labor and two counts of harboring an illegal alien.
Prosecutors explained how Murra illegally brought “V.R.” — a Mexican woman in her 30s — with her when she first moved to the U.S. and a year later, in 1998, arranged for another Mexican woman, “I.G.” to be illegally brought to the U.S. as well.
Murra kept the women from 1997 and 1998 to April 2011 — holding one or both of them and their identification documents — in El Paso and Fort Worth, where she used V.R. and I.G. as employees in her housecleaning business.
The Justice Department said that Murra forced the women to clean three to four houses a day. When they received pay for the work, Murra confiscated it. V.R. and I.G. were also required to clean Murra’s personal residence and prepare her meals.
In holding them, Murra sought to convince I.G. and V.R. that she was a voice of God, requiring the pair to listen to recordings of her reading and explaining the meaning different Bible verses as they worked.
INSIGHT CRIME — An American drug lord who operated in Mexico reportedly made a deal with US authorities to secure a shorter sentence, an anticipated outcome that is sure to add to the mounting evidence that extradited capos are providing on Mexico’s underworld.
Edgar Valdez Villareal, a former leader of Mexico’s Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO), and four of his accomplices agreed to supply US authorities with information on his and rival drug cartels in exchange for a reduced prison sentence, reported El Universal.
Known as “La Barbie,” a nickname his high school football coach in Texas reportedly gave him for his blond hair and fair skin, Valdez Villareal was arrested by Mexican authorities in August 2010. He was extradited to the United States in September 2015 after spending the intervening years in maximum security prison. La Barbie initially pleaded innocent to US drug trafficking charges, but switched his plea to guilty in January 2016.
US prosecutors allege La Barbie was responsible for sending multiple tons of cocaine into the eastern United States while working for the BLO.
WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — Affiliates of the Islamic State terror organization are already residing in the United States, though exact numbers are unclear due to the Obama administration’s efforts to downplay and hide information about this threat from the American public, the former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency told the Washington Free Beacon in a wide-ranging interview.
Gen. Michael Flynn, an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who served as a top intelligence official under the Obama administration, warned that “they are here” when asked by the Free Beacon to characterize the threat posed to Americans by undercover ISIS adherents.
“They are here,” Flynn said, disclosing that he is aware of roughly 1,000 instances in which ISIS members have been caught plotting in the United States.
“The director of the FBI has said it,” Flynn explained. “There are dozens and dozens and dozens, and I think the number I’ve heard is 1,000, but I don’t know the exact numbers. But I do know there are a lot of cases against members inspired or directed by the Islamic State in this country.”
Information about these individuals is not well known to the American public due to efforts by the administration to downplay and suppress news relating to these terror plots.
FOX — College professors in Texas could face disciplinary measures if they prohibit handguns to be brought into their classrooms, state Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday.
Paxton filed a motion this week to dismiss a federal lawsuit brought last month by three professors at the University of Texas at Austin seeking to block the campus carry law, which took effect Aug.1.
Texas has allowed licensed concealed handguns in public since 1995 but had previously made college buildings off limits.
“Faculty members are aware that state law provides that guns can be carried on campus, and that the president has not made a rule excluding them from classrooms,” attorneys representing the university and Paxton wrote in the legal brief. “As a result, any individual professor who attempts to establish such prohibition is subject to discipline.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, the three professors – Mia Carter, Jennifer Glass and Lisa Moore – are asking a judge to put the law on hold arguing that the law is too vague for them to know if and how they might be punished if armed students are kept out of their classrooms.
The professors are asking a judge to halt the law for at least one semester in order to hold a public trial on whether the campus carry law violates their constitution rights to free speech and equal protection.
Paxton’s lawyers contend that the law is clear and gives the universities’ presidents the ability to designate each school’s limited gun-free zones. The lawyers go on to say that If classrooms aren’t expressly included in their campuses policy to prohibit handguns, then firearms must be allowed in the rooms.
FOX — AUSTIN – The death of an infant born with the birth defect microcephaly in the Houston area has been linked to the Zika virus, with the baby becoming infected in the womb while the mother traveled to Latin America, Texas health officials said on Tuesday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said the infant died in Harris County shortly after birth and had microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies. U.S. health officials have concluded that Zika infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly.
It was the first Zika-related death reported in Texas, the department said.
“The mother and baby are classified as travel-related cases, and there is no additional associated risk in Texas,” the department said in a statement.
The department said the infant died recently, but did not say precisely when. It also did not identify the country to which the mother had traveled, the name of the mother or the baby’s gender.
The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to a spike in microcephaly in Brazil. The Zika outbreak first came to light last fall in Brazil and has spread rapidly in the Americas.
Texas has reported 97 cases of Zika infection, including the two infants with microcephaly, the department said, adding there have been no reported cases of Zika transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas.
Florida is the only U.S. state where people have has been infected locally by a mosquito bite.
• CLINTON TAKES UP ZIKA AS MOSQUITO-BORNE POLITICAL WEAPON — WASHINGTON TIMES
TOWNHALL — Coach Joe Kennedy, you may remember, is the bold high school football coach in Bremerton, Washington who refused to give up his prayer time with his team, despite enormous pressure from the school district. Kennedy bowed his head to praise God after every game for seven years. After some time, the Bremerton superintendent said his prayers violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and told him to cease the practice immediately. His decision to continue the practice got him fired.
Now, Kennedy is fighting back with a lawsuit against the school district. He is not seeking monetary compensation; he just wants his job back.
“Bremerton School District’s actions violate Coach Kennedy’s First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise, as well as his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion,” said Kennedy’s attorneys in the complaint.
You can read the entire lawsuit here.
AP — QINGDAO, China — The visit of the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Benfold to the northern Chinese port of Qingdao this week is the latest development in a long-term effort to build trust between the countries’ militaries amid tensions and a rivalry for dominance in Asia.
Though China resents the highly visible presence of the U.S. armed forces in Asia, especially the South China Sea, it has gradually overcome its reluctance and shown a willingness to engage that the sides hope will help avoid conflicts. Below is a look at the Benfold’s visit and some of the steps the sides have taken to build their relationship:
What’s the significance of the visit?
The Benfold’s visit is the first to China by an American warship since Beijing responded furiously to a Hague-based international arbitration tribunal’s ruling that its expansive South China Sea maritime claims had no basis in law. The fact the visit went ahead appears to show that Beijing now values the military-to-military relationship too much to allow it to be derailed by other events as was once the case. Qingdao is the base of China’s northern fleet and is thus less sensitive than ports to the south closer to hotspots, such as Taiwan and the South China Sea.
• VIETNAM ‘MOVES NEW ROCKET LAUNCHERS’ INTO SOUTH CHINA SEA — ASIA TIMES
THIS WWII MARINE WAS KILLED IN THE PACIFIC THEATER. NOW, 72 YEARS LATER, ‘OUR BOY IS COMING HOME’ — S&S — Dale Geddes was killed in World War II during the Battle of Tarawa.
It was November 1943. He was 21 years old.
For more than 70 years, Geddes’s remains were buried on the island of Betio, where he was killed. As time passed, it looked as though they might never be found and returned to his family, according to a local newspaper report.
But in 2015, a group told authorities that it had discovered a burial site on that island in the Pacific, according to a news release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
The remains of several U.S. Marines were recovered at that site. And DNA testing has determined that Geddes was one of them.
“Dale is finally coming home,” Linda Elliott, a grandniece of Geddes, told the Grand Island Independent. “He is coming home to his parents. I know that I speak for the family to say that we are all very happy, very privileged, to witness the wishes of Dale’s parents and Dale’s siblings. Our boy is coming home.”
Staff sergeant Kristen Duus of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency told The Post in a phone interview that Geddes’s remains were identified through DNA analysis.
“We used mitochondrial DNA, which traces the maternal line,” she said. “So that matched a niece of his.”
THE INVISIBLE WOUNDS OF WAR — WASHINGTON TIMES — On National Purple Heart Day, observed on Aug. 7, the nation paused to honor the decorated men and women wounded in combat while serving our country. But as we reflect on these noble sacrifices, Americans should remember to also recognize the veterans grappling with the invisible wounds of war who are ineligible for the Purple Heart and often overlooked or forgotten.
I should know: I was humbled to earn the Purple Heart for the bullet wounds I sustained in direct combat, while proudly serving as a U.S. Marine Corps captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom. But while these physical injuries eventually healed, my other wounds — the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — continued to haunt me.
Coming home as a civilian with PTSD was challenging and confusing. I experienced crippling depression, anxiety, night terrors and debilitating flashbacks. I grew increasingly isolated, spending day and night alone in my dark basement, self-medicating and contemplating suicide. At my lowest point, I was taking 32 medications — including a dozen narcotics — and drinking three six-packs a night to fall asleep. I had no external wounds, but inside, I felt broken.
Unfortunately, stories like mine are all too common. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that up to 20 percent of my fellow Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans have PTSD. Some mental health experts suggest the percentage is much higher, citing the reluctance to seek out treatment as well as a lack of awareness about the condition, as reasons why PTSD frequently remains undiagnosed in veterans.
ILLINOIS DEDICATES MONUMENT TO PURPLE HEART RECIPIENTS — AP — SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois is honoring those who were wounded in combat with a monument in Springfield.
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says it has dedicated a monument at the Springfield cemetery where Abraham Lincoln is buried to Purple Heart medal recipients.
Agency director Heidi Brown-McCreery says the agency hopes the memorial at Oak Ridge Cemetery that was opened Sunday will serve as reminder of the “tremendous sacrifices made by military personnel in all conflicts.”
The Purple Heart is the nation’s oldest military award. It traces its roots back to medals authorized by General George Washington in 1782 and has been awarded to nearly two million people since World War I.
The monument joins state-operated monuments honoring men and women who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
5 NEBRASKA FAMILIES RECEIVE FLAGS HONORING FALLEN SERVICEMEN — AP — OMAHA, Neb. — Five Nebraska families have received Gold Star flags honoring their loved ones who died while serving in the U.S. military.
The Omaha World-Herald reported that the Nebraska chapter of the Honor and Remember organization presented Gold Star flags to the families of Army Spc. Dustin Workman, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Keith Hanson, Army 1st Lt. Mark Noziska, and Army 1st Lt. James Moore and his brother Navy Petty Officer Gene Moore.
About 120 people attended the flag presentations, which were held in a Papillion event venue. Family members were also honored at Werner Park before an Omaha Storm Chasers baseball game.
People who have had a family member die while in the military or from an illness contracted while in service can request to receive a Gold Star flag.
“The pain is something that never goes away,” said, Kelly Hanson, Keith Hanson’s brother, who also served in the Navy. “A friend who went through the same thing told me that time doesn’t take away the pain, it just makes it less jagged.”
Kelly Hanson praised the commitment of the state’s Honor and Remember group, which has paid tribune to more than 100 families since 2012 and aims to honor 25 families this year.
COMBAT VETS NOW FIGHTING A NEW WAR: PAIN PILL ADDICTION — NJ.COM — The wars fought by this generation are different from the previous ones, and have left a different kind of disabled veteran: Lots of concussive brain injuries from homemade bombs, along with lots of Post Tramautic Stress Disorder from unpredictable combat conditions.
The combination has produced a new crop of veterans in chronic pain, while PTSD has lowered their thresholds for pain.
The result is a group of people especially vulnerable to pain pill addiction, said David Shulkin, the undersecretary of health for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Shulkin – who moved to the VA from his earlier post as the head of Morristown Medical Center – returned to the state Monday to join the U.S. Surgeon General and both New Jersey senators to talk about the crisis of opioid addiction.
How bad is the problem?
PROPOSAL WOULD BUILD TINY HOMES COMMUNITY FOR VETERANS — LAS CRUCES SUN-NEWS — LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces City Council gave an informal thumbs-up to a proposal to create a veterans’ eco-village in the city.
The proposed development for retired military veterans could eventually include as many as 200 tiny homes, which average 186 square feet, comply with U.S. Housing and Urban Development requirements, and cost from $23,000 to $33,000 each.
Supporters presented the idea during a council work session Monday at City Hall.
Shannon Reynolds, an eco-village committee member, said in addition to housing, the community could also create micro-enterprises, such as machine shops, carpentry, organic farming, or construction of additional tiny homes, which could provide employment for previously homeless veterans.
Three potential locations were proposed by supporters.
Two of the three are on land owned by New Mexico State University: one on 50.2 acres west of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, off of Dripping Springs Road, and the other on 29.81 acres south of Cholla Road, in the Arrowhead Research Park. Reynolds said the city and NMSU could work together to establish an eco-village if either of those locations were selected.
PURPLE HEART HOMES, STATE CREDIT UNION LEAGUES, AND CREDIT UNIONS JOIN FORCES TO HELP MILITARY VETERANS WITH HOME RENOVATIONS — PR NEWSWIRE — STATESVILLE, N.C. — Purple Heart Homes, a national public charity based in Statesville, NC, announces the kick-off of its inaugural campaign, Operation Veteran Home Renovation. The campaign is designed to engage and recruit the credit union movement to help spruce up homes that mostly older veterans own.
Credit unions have had a close relationship with all branches of the military and support veterans who sacrificed so much for the freedom we value today. So to help make life a little easier for older veterans and their caregivers, Purple Heart Homes has joined forces with the Cornerstone Credit Union League, serving approximately 500 credit unions in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas; Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, serving 121 member credit unions; and the Southeastern Credit Union League, serving 298 credit unions in Florida and Alabama.
FILLING GAPS IN CARE FOR VETS — HEALTH NEWS DIGEST — Rush University Medical Center’s Road Home Program is providing veterans of the United States military with an innovative option for treating post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions related to their service. The program fills gaps in government-provided mental health care for veterans whose trauma-induced mental health issues might otherwise go untreated.
“There are unique challenges that the veteran population faces in seeking and obtaining mental health care,” says Michael B. Brennan, PsyD, ABPP, the Road Home Program’s associate clinical director and a captain in the Army Reserve. “When a veteran needs additional therapeutic intervention that is more than once a week and less than inpatient, 24-hour monitoring, a residential intensive outpatient program can help fill that gap in order to address the clinical needs of the veteran. The Road Home Program’s intensive outpatient program helps fill that gap.”
Brennan recently completed five years of active duty that included several months counseling soldiers hours after they were in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He knows that for many combat veterans, psychological and emotional wounds can linger for years. Many are able to receive care at Veterans Affairs hospitals, but thousands do not.
CON JOB: USA TODAY BLOWS COVERAGE OF VA OIG WAIT TIME INVESTIGATION — DISABLED VETERANS — A recent VA OIG con job, inaccurately called an “investigation” by USA Today, found no wrongdoing when VA executives misrepresented wait times to Congress.
Congress called for an investigation to address misrepresentations made by VA executive Skye McDougall, a VA executive in charge of numerous southern California VA healthcare facilities, now head of VISN 16 (yes, she got promoted).
Her misrepresentations were later spun by Secretary Bob McDonald. Secretary Bob’s spin made the deception worse when he provided erroneous information. The series of misrepresentations prompted a CNN investigation.
OIG was apparently asked to investigate. It instead limited its investigation only to Secretary Bob McDonald to spin the scandal and to shame CNN for reporting on it.
OIG head Michael Missal orchestrated the deception in classic Richard Griffin style.
Bravo. And USA Today ate it up, hook, line and sinker.
SERVICEMEMBERS’ PUSHUPS RAISE AWARENESS OF VETERAN SUICIDE, PTSD — S&S — Servicemembers worldwide are cranking out millions of pushups and posting videos of their efforts online to raise awareness about military suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, a campaign that has crossed over into the civilian community.
Texas-based veterans organization 22Kill is asking people to video themselves doing 22 pushups a day for 22 days and nominate others to do the same. The goal is to reach 22 million pushups in honor of the 22 U.S. veterans who commit suicide each day, says the organization’s website.
22Kill Director Jacob Schick, a Marine who suffered from PTSD after losing a leg to an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2004, said the challenge started as a fundraising effort in 2013 and went viral after a video was posted by country music star Brantley Gilbert.
Other celebrities and civilians have jumped onboard, and the challenge has spread overseas, where veterans of foreign militaries are grappling with some of the same issues as their American allies.
VA PAYS $197 MILLION IN FRAUDULENT CONTRACTOR SCHEME — DISABLED VETERANS — Three companies located in Milwaukee created a shell company scheme that fraudulently received $197 million in set-aside contracts according to federal investigators. Overall, the companies swindled $268 million in contracts between SBA and VA.
The construction contracts were intended for veteran-owned businesses and service disabled veteran-owned businesses. The fraudulent scheme basically involved placing veterans in positions of authority who were not actually present on the job site.
The companies had their VA contracts suspended once the agency became suspicious that the man running one of the companies was not the true owner. After flubbing investigators at the time, in 2012, VA reinstated the firm’s contracting privileges.
The present investigation is an example of how deserving veterans are scammed out of contract offerings by sharks willing to lie, cheat and steal. It is an old problem that VA has yet to sort out.
The shell companies were basically run by the same crew who moved a veteran in an out of the business to take advantage of contract deals they were not otherwise entitled to receive.
WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON WITH VETERAN EMPLOYMENT? — T&P — Veteran unemployment is on the decline, but it’s still difficult to know how veterans are doing in the economy long term.
After 15 years of war, there are big questions over how well the men and women who serve the country are faring after military service. The Center for a New American Security is launching a survey of veterans, HR professionals, and supervisors to figure out what’s affecting veterans’ performance in the workplace. By taking a better look at the challenges that exist for vets, we hope to find better ways to help them as they leave the military.
In response to a surge of unemployment for post-9/11 veterans, many groups launched fantastic efforts to address the problem. From the Veterans Jobs Mission to the Joining Forces initiative at the White House, both the public and private sector stepped up to the plate, seeing a moral obligation to help and that hiring veterans is smart business.
After several years of these efforts, veteran unemployment is on the decline, but it’s still difficult to know how veterans are doing in the economy long term. We don’t know if veterans are succeeding in building careers over time, the impact of how long they stay in their first job, and what the challenges are in transitioning from the military into a new company culture. The CNAS survey attempts to gather more information about veteran economic performance, to use it to shape programs aimed at recruiting veterans and keeping them employed.
VA LEVERAGES IT TO FIX SCHEDULING DEFICIENCIES — HEALTH DATA — A survey conducted by The Joint Commission finds that the Department of Veterans Affairs is making progress in improving access to healthcare for veterans, including the use of emerging technology such as a new smartphone app and enhanced website, according to the VA.
“The Joint Commission is one of the most widely respected healthcare organizations in the industry,” said David Shulkin, MD, the VA’s Under Secretary for Health. “Their analysis shows that VA as national healthcare leader is making progress in improving the care we provide to our veterans. This affirms our commitment to providing both excellent healthcare and an exceptional experience of care to all veterans served.”
According to Shulkin, the VA is modernizing its culture, processes and technological capabilities through the MyVA initiative to “put veterans first.” Earlier this year, the VA’s Veterans Health Administration established and launched MyVA Access to ensure that veterans gain more control of how they receive healthcare.
NAVY VET ADMITS HE FAKED DEATH, AGREES TO PAY FOR COAST GUARD SEARCH — SUN-SENTINEL — A Boca Raton financial adviser who faked his death last year, setting off an expensive and pointless U.S. Coast Guard rescue mission, pleaded guilty on Monday to communicating a false distress message.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Richard Winsor Ohrn, 46, has agreed he owes $1 million in restitution for the cost of the search.
He is under court order to sell his Estuary Drive home and reveal details of all his assets to the government before he is sentenced in October. The home currently has an assessed value of $550,000, according to the county property appraiser, but has a significantly greater market value.
The maximum penalty for the offense is six years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine but Ohrn may be sentenced to probation, records show. Ohrn has been free on $1 million bond since shortly after he was charged in February.
VITALITY FOR VETERANS: SPORTS CAMP CHALLENGES, CHANGES THEM — AP — PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Marine veteran Joyce Ralph sometimes stays at home in Massachusetts instead of going for a bike ride or doing other things she likes to do. She feels too anxious because of her post-traumatic stress disorder.
Army veteran Paul Miosek sometimes feels isolated at his home in New York. No one else he knows is in a wheelchair.
The two were among a group of about 50 veterans who took part in July in the Veterans Affairs New England Summer Sports Clinic in Rhode Island. For a week, they kayaked, water skied, cycled and sailed — activities designed to get them and other veterans thinking more about what they can than can’t do.
“This gives me a chance, with my anxiety, to push myself a little further, to realize there are safe places in the world,” said Ralph, 52, of Halifax, Massachusetts.
The veterans ranged in age from their 20s to 80s. The rehabilitation clinic is open to veterans with spinal cord injuries, amputations, vision loss, mental health problems and other disabilities.
VA HOSPITAL BOUGHT $300,000 WORTH OF TVS, THEN STORED THEM — DAILY CALLER — Detroit’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital spent $311,000 on TVs that were never used and remain in storage.
The federal agency’s facility ordered the 300 TVs “because they had funds available,” which “may have violated the bona fide needs rule,” according to a new report from the department’s inspector general (IG).
Now, the TVs have sat “in storage for about 2 1/2 years. Further, warranties for the TVs expired.”
Officials were going to use the TVs for a new patient area that had not been built. In May, 2013, they met with the contractor who was planning the future stalls and agreed they would have Ethernet hookups instead of cable. A month later, VA ordered cable-powered TVs instead of Ethernet-powered sets.
“This information was not shared with the … contractor and the compatibility issue with the TVs was not discovered until November 2013 when the facility received the first shipment of TVs,” the IG said.
At that time, they decided to pay the contractor more to install cable rather than return the TVs.
But the new patient area still hasn’t been constructed.