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"It's Not Good Enough That We Do Our Best;
Sometimes We Have To Do What's Required."
Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month - Peace celebrating the end of World War I, the War to end all wars. Tomorrow, we mark the 82nd Anniversary of Armistice Day, now known as Veterans Day. On this Veterans Day, as U.S. forces are, once again, deployed to defend our freedoms, take a moment to thank our Veterans and active duty military.
We honor all who served, those who serve today, and those who will serve tomorrow. This Veterans Day, we say Thank You to our Veterans, our active duty Service Personnel, our Reservists, and National Guard.
We hate to think where we'd be without you.
Another Shake Up In The Intelligence Community - from Reuters, Nov. 8th - Washington - "A high-level presidential commission plans to recommend putting the Pentagon's three largest intelligence-collection agencies under the control of the CIA, the Washington Post reported on Thursday."
"The move, which would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. intelligence community in decades, is aimed at consolidating programs and reducing rivalries within a massive bureaucracy that currently involves 12 separate agencies, the newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the panel's findings."
"The three agencies that would be transferred to the director of central intelligence, according to the Post report, are the National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on communications worldwide; the National Reconnaissance Office, which manages intelligence satellites; and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which handles imagery intelligence systems and mapping."
"The commission, created by President Bush in May and chaired by former White House national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, plans to submit its report to the president later this month, the Post said. The panel's conclusions have taken on added significance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, which exposed serious shortcomings in the country's intelligence operations, the newspaper said."
"The Post said the House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees are expected to support the Scowcroft panel's recommendations, as these bodies have been pushing for greater authority for the CIA director over intelligence collection."
"But it said the Pentagon is expected to strongly oppose the moves, which would take away its oversight of the multibillion-dollar bureaucracies. The agencies, whose budgets are classified, account for nearly half the $30 billion spent by the government on intelligence each year and dwarf the CIA's $3.5 billion budget, the Post
said, citing congressional intelligence sources."
Before CIA Gets Jurisdiction Over These Intelligence Offices - there needs to be a complete investigation into the CIA's failure to detect any evidence on events leading up to September 11th. Events of that day represents a total failure of the intelligence community. Those failures need to be addressed before CIA becomes responsible for the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
Update on the Hungarian POW - from the Los Angeles Times, October 28th, 2001, by George Jahn - Nyiregyhaza, Hungary -- "A placid Hungarian country garden and a desolate Russian mental ward: Two disparate worlds struggle for dominance in the mind of the world's longest-serving prisoner of war."
"Andras Toma seems a changed man a year after leaving behind more than 55 years of Russian detention and returning to his native Hungary. Frail then, his frame is fleshed out, and formerly haunted eyes meet a visitor's gaze without flinching."
"But although he is physically anchored in the present of his half-sister's sun-drenched peasant house, Toma's mind roams darker corridors inhabited by memories of war, of sleeping atop dead comrades, of abuse and neglect during decades of Soviet detention. His muttered comments frequently reflect this mental battle."
"Gazing from his wheelchair over a burgeoning garden of gladioli and trumpet creepers, he proclaims contempt for Hitler and Miklos Horthy, the Nazi dictator's Hungarian ally, in one breath--and his hunger in the next. "Not worth a pipeful of tobacco," he says of the two wartime leaders, expelling a disdainful gob of spit toward the courtyard flower patch. "Bring on the pancakes! It's 12 noon already!"
"Toma's preoccupation with the past comes as no surprise. His sufferings were lengthy. Now 76, he was captured by Soviet soldiers in 1944 near the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Poland as German and Hungarian troops retreated toward Germany."
"Toma was transported to a Soviet POW camp--and then to another, a horrifying 21-day odyssey in a boxcar stuffed with human cargo. Many of his comrades died in transit. Toma slept on their bodies. "It appears that this experience contributed to his mental breakdown," says Col. Laszlo Erdei, who helped piece together Toma's past and reestablish his identity."
"Toma ended up at Kotenich, more than 600 miles east of Moscow, in 1947. No information came with him on where and when he was born. One of the few pieces of documentation from that time diagnosed him as suffering from "psycho- neurosis." His mumbled Hungarian was mistaken for gibberish, and Toma was left to vegetate
in a spartan mental clinic, forgotten until 1997, when he was discovered by a Hungarian-speaking Soviet citizen. He was flown home on Aug.11, 2000, frail, frightened, a leg amputated."
"Anna Gabulya remembers the newscast showing her half-brother's arrival at Budapest airport, his terrified eyes blinking in the glare of TV lights. "It was like a bolt of lightning coursing through me," she said. "His ears, the
back of his neck--exactly like my [late] father." Weeks went by, and she agonized. Should she list herself as a potential relative? Her husband, also named Andras, said no."
"Do you want to end up making a fool of yourself?" she recalls him saying. "Six hundred families are claiming him as their own, and he's going to end up being your brother?" But Gabulya's instincts were right. Weeks of piecing together Toma's mumbled responses coupled with other research traced him to the village of Sulyanbokor, just west of her home in Nyiregyhaza. DNA tests confirmed her link to Toma. She and her husband took him in."
"Difficult days followed.... 'He'd eat breakfast silently and then say, 'Let's go.' I said: 'Go? There is nowhere to go. This is your home.' I cried and cried and said, 'My God, what's going to be the end of this?' " Then, a few weeks later, a breakthrough."
"Gabulya says Toma fashioned a new handle out of a juniper branch. "Then he broke his near silence. He said, 'Give me your bad tools and I will fix them.' We've had no problems since. He'll work as long as three days on an individual tool, getting it just right."
"Other tasks followed. Toma now is responsible for watering the flowers and for cleaning and peeling vegetables for the Gabulya family of five--himself included. Conversations are now long and easy with friends, relatives and even strangers he accepts as trustworthy. Gabulya says he recently wrote his full name, the first time he ever acknowledged being Andras Toma...."
Again, We Ask The Same Question - Why Not Americans? If Andras Toma, and countless Japanese POWs survived Soviet captivity, Why Not Americans?
Where Did He Go - Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs, Robert L. Jones was appointed National Executive Director of AMVETS (American Veterans). Previously, he held this position from 1989 to 1993.
Nominee As Ambassador To Vietnam Testifies Before Senate Committee on Foreign Relations - from the Statement of Raymond F. Burghardt, Nov. 6th, 2001 - "...I began my Foreign Service career in Vietnam during the war years, over thirty years ago. After several months of working with USAID to assist refugees, I served for two years in our Embassy in Saigon. One of my main jobs was to be the Embassy's liaison with religious groups including the Catholics, Cao Dai, and Hoa Hao. Six years later, when I was at our Consulate in Hong Kong, I worked to assist the Vietnamese boat people who were arriving there in great numbers. I then worked as Deputy Director of the Department's Office for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In March 1982, I accompanied Richard Armitage, then a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, on the first official visit to Vietnam to negotiate resolution of the POW/MIA issue...."
"...If confirmed as U.S. Ambassador, my primary mandate will be to protect American citizens and promote U.S. interests, while fostering and developing a relationship with the leadership and the people of Vietnam that will benefit both countries. I will work diligently to gain continued cooperation from Vietnam on our efforts to achieve the fullest possible accounting of our missing personnel from the Vietnam War. Achieving the fullest possible accounting remains one of our highest priorities in our bilateral relationship with Vietnam...."
National Security or Personal Embarrassment - Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy, November 6, 2001 - Bush Order Impedes Release of Presidential Records - "A new executive order could make it substantially more difficult for the public to gain access to historically valuable presidential records by requiring the consent of both the incumbent President and the former President whose Administration generated the records."
"Earlier this year, the White House had blocked release of records from the Reagan Administration that were supposed to have become public under the Presidential Records Act. Now the new executive order 13233, signed November 1, will significantly increase the obstacles to disclosure of such records, since it allows either the current President or the former President -- or even the former President's family after his death -- to veto disclosure."
"The new order replaces the 1989 executive order 12667, which also permitted a former President to request that records be withheld, but reserved to the incumbent President the right to decide whether or not to honor that request."
"It should be noted that the new restrictions will apply only to unclassified information, since classified records are exempt from disclosure anyway, as are a myriad of other categories of information that are protected by statute. Since classified, privacy, proprietary and other forms of information are already off the table, the new executive order invites the suspicion that it is intended to shield embarrassing information, a category for which an explicit exemption does not exist."
"But the actual import of the new order will not be fully clear until it is applied in the months to come to the Reagan records which still await processing."
Bush Defends Decision on Papers - from the Associated Press by Deb Riechmann - Washington - "President Bush said Friday a new executive order balances the public's right to see the records of past presidents with a need to protect national security. ``A disaster for history,'' one historian calls it."
"At a brief question-and-answer session in the Rose Garden, Bush said, ``It's a process that I think will enable historians to do their jobs and at the same time'' protect state secrets. "
"Advocates for the release of government documents say the executive order violates the spirit of the 1978 Presidential Records Act and will usher in a new era of secrecy for papers left behind by America's chief executives."
"The White House says the order simply sets up a procedure for implementing the act and gives former presidents more authority to claim executive privilege to withhold certain papers. Absent ``compelling'' circumstances, the incumbent president will agree with a former president's decision to disclose or withhold documents, the White House says."
"Bruce Craig, director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, contends the order is ``blatantly unlawful top to bottom.'' He predicted a quick legal challenge to the order, which probably will come up at a House hearing Tuesday."
"Craig said that under the order, if a former president says certain papers are privileged, they will remain secret even if the sitting president disagrees. Conversely, if a sitting president says certain papers from a past
administration are privileged, they will remain under wraps even if the former president disagrees...."
"...The act affects the presidential papers of Clinton, Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. It also applies to vice presidential papers, including those of former President Bush."
"Reagan's papers are the first governed by the Presidential Records Act, which followed Watergate and Richard Nixon's attempts to hold on to his papers and tape recordings. The act made presidential records the property of government, not ex-presidents."
"Some 68,000 pages of Reagan's White House records, including vice presidential papers from the elder Bush, were supposed to have been opened under the law in January, 12 years after Reagan left office. The White House delayed the release three times to review constitutional and legal questions, and Thursday's executive order resulted...."
"...White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the order provides a ``safety valve'' for a current administration. A former president, out of office for 12 years, might not recognize national security implications of releasing certain documents, he said...."
"....Some historians, including American University historian Anna Nelson, have suspected the Bush White House is worried about what the Reagan papers might reveal about officials now working for President Bush who also worked for Reagan. Among them are Secretary of State Colin Powell, Budget Director Mitch Daniels Jr. and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card...."
National Security or Personal Embarrassment ????????????
Identity of World War II Pilot Confirmed - from the Associated Press, Nov. 5th, - Neosho, Mo. - "A World War II pilot whose remains were found earlier this year in France will be laid to rest Friday near his home in southwest Missouri. Lt. William Wyatt Patton Jr. was a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot when his plane disappeared in heavy fog over northern France in January 1945. French drainage workers discovered plane wreckage and a pilot's bones in February. Rep. Roy Blunt announced Sunday that DNA tests confirmed the bones were Patton's...."
Remains Recovered In North Korea - from the Department of Defense, Nov. 9th - "Remains believed to be those of eight American soldiers, missing in action from the Korean War, will be repatriated in formal ceremonies Saturday, Korea time. This repatriation marks the end of this year's operations."
"The remains will be flown on a U.S. Air Force aircraft from Pyongyang, North Korea, under escort of a uniformed U.S. honor guard to Yokota Air Base, Japan, where a United Nations Command repatriation ceremony will be held."
"Operating near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, a joint team recovered five remains believed to be those of U.S. Army soldiers from the 7th Infantry Division who fought against Chinese forces Nov.-Dec. 1950. Approximately 1,000 MIAs are estimated to have been lost in battles of the Chosin campaign."
"Additionally, a second team recovered three sets of remains in Unsan and Kujang counties and along the Chong Chon River, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. The area was the site of battles between Communist forces and the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division, and 2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions in November 1950. The Defense Department's POW/Missing Personnel Office negotiated an agreement with the North Koreans last year that led to the scheduling of this year's operations...."
Vietnam Servicemen Accounted For - The following seven servicemen are now considered identified - Navy CDR John A. Feldhaus of Tn., Air Force Reservists Capt Fred C. Cutrer, Jr, of Ms. and 1Lt. Leonard L. Kaster of Ma, Army WO1 Barry F. Fivelson of Il, Spec 4 Willis C. Crear of Al, Spec 4 Donald E. Crone of Ca and Spec 4 John L. Powers of Id.
The Vote - In the June 30th edition of Bits N Pieces, we ask you to cast your votes on the 2001 POW/MIA Recognition Day Poster. The question was "Is this an appropriate poster for POW/MIA Recognition Day?" With summer vacation and events of the past two months, we didn't get a chance to post the results till now. Here they are. By an overwhelming margin of 152 to 21 our voters declared the 2001 POW/MIA Recognition Day Poster was not appropriate.
We even got a few comments. One reader wrote "NO.... I don't think this does it. There should be either a backdrop of the POW/MIA flag or it should be significantly shown somewhere on the poster. A good
majority of the public recognize the POW/MIA flag and know what it means, but if you can't see that in the poster, what good is the poster? It should look more like a poster for National POW/MIA Recognition Day and not just a poster honoring service men and women."
Our very favorite comment came from a POW/MIA family member who wrote "Viewed the poster. Nice color Blue! What's the occasion? Who designed it, Johnnie Webb? Obviously I vote NO."
That Reminds Us - Why Does Johnnie Webb Still Have A Job??????????
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