Daily Archives: August 3, 2017

What’s Happening: August 4, 2017 – Verde Independent

Posted: August 3, 2017 at 11:59 pm

Stephen Scott of Underwood Gardens to speak Aug. 8

On August 8 come hear Stephen Scott of Underwood Gardens in Chino Valley, explain how sowing a cover crop in the late summer/early fall will help build your garden soil. Stephen reports that theyve seen tremendous results with bindweed and morning glory both with their raised beds and with customers reports, so this should be valuable info! Meeting is at 6 pm at Pine Shadows Clubhouse, 2050 W. SR 89A, Cottonwood. Bring a friend and well see you on Tuesday, August 8. Questions? Call Janice Montgomery, 634-7172.

Reminder: The Verde Valley Seed Library, sponsored by the Verde Thumbs Gardeners, will open every other Saturday from 11 1 at the Cottonwood Library beginning August 19. There are lots of free veggie, herbs and flower seeds for you to check out.

Solar Viewing at the Library

The first total solar eclipse since 1979 to be seen over the North American Continent will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. Although totality will not be seen from Arizona, the Moon will cover up nearly sixty-eight percent of the sun for those in the Verde Valley. Join J.D. Maddy of the Astronomers of Verde Valley for a presentation all about the Sun.

Those attending will have a chance to see the Sun safely with special telescopes designed to view the Sun in different wavelengths of light. Come out and learn about the Sun and how to view it safely. The presentation will be on Wednesday, August 9 in Library Meeting Room B. It will begin at 12 p.m. and the solar viewing will begin outside the library at 1 p.m. Free solar viewing glasses will be given out to all who attend. This event is free and open to the public. The library is located at 100 S 6th St in Cottonwood.

The Seed Library returns to Cottonwood Public Library

The Cottonwood Public Library is once again partnering with the Verde Thumbs Gardening Club and offering a seed lending program for the fall growing season. The Seed Library is a collection of free, open-pollinated seeds and a community of gardeners coming together to celebrate their hobby. With a seed library you can check out seeds and grow the plants. From those plants you can save some seeds and then return them to the Seed Library for the next growing season. Eventually these seeds become adapted to our soil and climate and are more productive.

The Seed Library will reopen on Saturday, August 19 and free seeds will be available to be checked out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot lobby. Volunteers will be available to answer questions and help with seed selection. The Seed Library will be open every other Saturday, starting August 19 through October 14. The library is located at 100 S 6th St in Cottonwood.

Come Back Buddy ready to rock at Clarkdale Concert in the Park

On Saturday, August 12th, Clarkdale Community Services is proud to present Come Back Buddy. They will perform 7-9 p.m. at the Clarkdale Town Park gazebo. This concert is FREE to the public.

COME BACK BUDDY is a 4-piece rock-n-roll band inspired by the legendary Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The trios repertoire includes the music of many artists from the 50s era including Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson, and of course, Buddy Holly. Mike Randall provides Come Back Buddys lead vocals and guitar. Accompanied by Janine Randall on bass and Don Rinehart, Austin Case, or Tim Kimbro on drums. Dean Randall on Tenor Sax joins Come Back Buddy on stage at select performances. The band has a strong foundation and a strong following! The bands purpose is to add a fun and musical atmosphere to any event. For some, Come Back Buddy is an education in nostalgia, while for others its a walk down memory lane. So, if youre looking to turn back the clock, or simply want to hear some great music and hits from the 50s, Come Back Buddy is the band for you! Visit: http://www.comebackbuddy.com for the latest news, performance schedule, and music samples.

The park is located in the center of the towns historic district on Main Street, between 10th and 11th Street. There is a 50/50 raffle which all proceeds benefit the Concerts in the Park. Remember to bring your own seating and that alcohol is not permitted in the park.

Vending spaces are available and can be arranged by contacting Community Services at (928) 639-2460. For more information please visit: http://www.clarkdale.az.gov/concerts_in_the_park.htm or contact Clarkdale Community Services at (928)639-2460; email: community.services@clarkdale.az.gov. For up to the minute updates on the status of scheduled concerts visit the Clarkdale Parks & Recreation/Clark Memorial Library Facebook page or call the Concert Hotline: (928)639-2492.

Toys for Tots Golf Tournament set for Oct. 7

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the 12th annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament will take place at Verde Santa Fe Golf Course in Cornville.

The entry of $85 includes scramble format, green fees, cart, range balls, lunch, promotional item, individual and team cash prizes. ($75 for uniformed services–military, police and fire)

$65 for Verde Santa Fe members. Limited to 80 paid players. Raffles (before golf) and silent auction (after). 8:00 sign in and shotgun start at 9:00. Beverage cart will be available.

Larry Green Chevrolet will provide a new car for a hole-in-one on a designated hole. Bring an unwrapped toy over $15 value and receive a raffle ticket. More raffle tickets will be on sale as you check in. Register 1-4 players, ladies and/or men.

Forms available at the golf course or contact Krys (928) 649-3747 email krysvogler@gmail.com for registration or questions. Early entries help us with planning.

Flight of Obscurity XII on display at Yavapai College Aug. 22

Nationally renowned installation artist, Nathaniel Foley is the featured artist for a solo exhibition titled Flight of Obscurity XII at the Verde Art Gallery on the Yavapai College Campus, 601 Black Hills Drive Bldg. F-105.

Flight of Obscurity XII features sculptures consisting of cones integrated with spires held together under tension, supported by utilitarian containers. This fragile relationship of forms exposes the delicate balance between grace and imminent danger, like the fleeting ballet of courting birds or hostile dogfight between foes. Referring to aeronautical form, the sculptures communicate tension and dance in direct opposition to fundamental forces.

Flight of Obscurity XII will be available to the public at the Verde Art Gallery at Yavapai College 601 S. Black Hills Drive, Bldg. F-105 Clarkdale, AZ, from August 22 through September 15, 2017. The new gallery hours are Tuesday -Friday 10-AM to 3PM. A Special Preview with the artist will be held on August 3, from 5 7pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Camp Verde Quilters Group holding meetings

The Camp Verde Quilters Group meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 8:30 A.M., at the Dennys restaurant located at 1630 W. Highway 260, Camp Verde, Arizona. Please join us to discuss quilts and quilting. We meet monthly to share ideas and plans for the Bi-Annual Quilt Show which is held during the Fort Verde Days Celebration in October. The next Quilt Show will be in 2018. Ongoing plans for the show include a Country Store with fabrics, books, vintage quilts, textiles and even sewing machines. Proceeds will benefit the quilt show and charitable organizations. We also share quilt projects we are working on or have completed. All quilters are welcome! Our next meeting is on Monday, August 14.

Sherman Andrus in Concert

The Verde Valley Church of the Nazarene invites everyone to come and enjoy Sherman Andrus sing during the morning service on Sunday, Aug. 6 at 10:45 a.m. Be sure to bring your friends and family as you will enjoy hearing him Praise the Lord.

Sherman Andrus is an American gospel singer, who was the lead singer with the mainstream Christian music group, the Imperials. He has been a very prolific artist who has been involved in one way or another with thirty gospel albums to date.

*With pic

Sunset Yoga & Wine at Yavapai College

Sunset Yoga & Wine. Enjoy an expansive yoga class on the patios of Yavapai Colleges Southwest Wine Center, followed by a delightful glass of their local, student made wine. This relaxing, Friday evening class is led by yoga instructor, Roxanne W~. 4:30pm, 601 Black Hills Drive, Clarkdale. $11 with wine or $6 for the yoga class only. For more info contact the Southwest Wine Center at (928) 634-6566.

August events calendar at Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot

August will be filled with a lot of fun and educational special programs at both Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments! Here are some of our featured events:

How Did Montezuma Castle Get Its Name?

Montezuma Castle, Friday, August 4th 9:00am-11:00am

Joint presentation with Fort Verde State Historic Park, to be repeated from 2:00pm-4:00pm at Fort Verde.

Ancient TechnologyArrow making

Tuzigoot, Saturday, August 19th 10:00am-12:00pm

Monthly demonstrations by Zack Curcija of Echoes from the Past School of Ancient Technology, every third Saturday of the month through the end of the year.

Founders Day Fee Free

Friday, August 25thAll National Parks will be fee free in honor of the National Park Services 101st birthday.

Bat Blitz! (rescheduled)

Tuzigoot, Friday, August 25thJoin us for the free event onFriday, Aug 25thfrom6:30pm to 9:00pmfor a peek inside the life of the only flying mammal in the world. The evening will begin at6:30pmwith a ranger talk all about bats. Attendees can learn about the mysteries and misconceptions that surround these amazing night creatures.

Sacred Scarlets Macaw Program

Montezuma Castle, Friday, August 25th 10:00am 11:00am

Tuzigoot, Sunday, August 27th 10:00am 11:00am

Sacred Scarlets presents lectures and demonstrations featuring a young, beautiful captive-bred Scarlet Macaw. These lectures and demonstrations address conservation as well as the Scarlet Macaws fascinating history in American Southwest culture.

Montezuma Castle National Monument is located at 2800 Montezuma Castle Highway, Camp Verde, AZ 86322. Tuzigoot National Monument is located at 25 Tuzigoot Road, Clarkdale, AZ. For additional information, call 928-567-3322 or visit http://www.nps.gov/tuzi and http://www.nps.gov/moca and select the calendar icon.

For the latest updates on events and programs, find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @TuzigootNPS and @MontezumaNPS

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for Americas 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

Know your numbers, choose your lifestyle

Camp Verde Community Library offers FREEHealth Screenings FridayAugust 4th,between9 am and 3 pm. These non-fasting screenings for cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure are sponsored by Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) and Verde Valley Medical Centers.

During the 20 minute non-fasting Biometric screening you will not only get your Numbers but a healthcare professional will go over your results with you to help you understand the connection between your numbers and healthy lifestyle habits.

Camp Verde Community Library is located at 130 Black Bridge Road. For more information call NAH at 928-853-0879 or contact the Library at 928-554-8391.

Using essential oils to beat the heat

Thursday, August 17 1-3 p.m., FREE CLASS at the Camp Verde Community Library. Summer heat got you down? Essential oils can help — quickly and naturally!

Learn about the intricate and reliable interaction between essential oils and your body and mind, and you will have a powerful and scientifically proven tool for keeping your cool and protecting your health and well-being. Many oils are also appropriate for our four-legged friends!

Pre-registration is advised due to space considerations.

Call or text Honey Rubin 404-626-5535 or Sarah Jensen 928-451-4847.

Forum on education in Arizona

The Sedona/Verde Valley United Education Team is inviting the public to attend an informative presentation: Education: Whats Happening in Arizona and How Will the Proposed Federal Budget Affect Education. The presentation will be held at the Cottonwood Public Library in Library Meeting Room A at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 5th. The library is located at 100 S 6th St in Cottonwood.

Job Fair at Cottonwood Library

Presented by Goodwill Industries, a Hiring Fest will be held at the Cottonwood Public Library on Wednesday, August 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Multiple employers from around the Verde Valley will be on hand with job opportunities for a variety of different career paths. The Hiring Fest will take place in Library Meeting Room B. The library is located at 100 S 6th St in Cottonwood.

Free nutrition workshop

Join Doctor Sandra Bonhomme as she presents a free workshop called Healthier Nutrition Habits for Life. Those attending will have a better understanding of the evolution and global causes of obesity in America, gluten sensitivity, dairies and processed foods. Bonhomme has a PhD in Nutrition from the Paris Descartes University in France, as well as a specialized degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a passion for helping people appreciate nutrition as a crucial discipline for health and prevention. Bonhomme also graduated from a French Pastry School in Paris and has developed gluten-free, dairy-free and healthy traditional French pastries. This workshop will take place in Library Meeting Room B at the Cottonwood Public Library on Saturday, August 12 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Library is located at 100 S 6th St in Cottonwood.

Author visit with Carol Rifon

Author Carol Rifon has over 30 years of successful training for individuals, businesses, colleges and the United States Navy. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology and Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) professional certification. Her book Rethinking Fear: A simple, unique approach to reprogram old patterns for a happier, more confident life is an award winning finalist of the 2017 International Book Awards. Rethinking Fear is a self-help book that is unconventional in its use of a multi-dimensional approach to stimulate cognitive, emotional and neurotransmitter functions to help individuals override fearful life patterns. Rifon will be visiting the Cottonwood Public Library on Saturday, August 12 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Living Your Life in a Turbulent World

Paula and Alana Green are a mother-and-daughter team who, in 2014, found themselves paring down their possessions and beginning a journey that they later described as a Soul-Journ. Paula was 55 at the time and Alana 15.

After living a year in Australia, New Zealand and Bali, they have recently returned to the Verde Valley where Alana was born and they lived for 15 years.

We had an idea and a couple of intentions with our adventure but really no clue how it would unfold or who and what circumstances we would encounter says Paula, but as we kept following our hunches and trusting our gut instincts, we began to see a pattern unfolding as to where we were being led.

Many people told them during their travels, how significant it was for them to hear about a mother and daughter taking this endeavor together. They were invited to a 3-part radio interview in Melbourne, Australia that you may hear at their Soul-Journ page on Facebook.

After re-entering the American culture in November of 2016, a time of great upheaval, they felt a commitment to share and host conversations around many of the insights they discovered about community, family, young people, parent/child relationships, Indigenous, environment and consciousness.

Alana, today at 18 years: When I was a little girl, I dreamed of a community and future where people helped each other. Everything was interconnected. At the time, I was too scared to share that dream because I was afraid that it would never come true. However, since I have had that dream, I have seen evolution take turns like a river flowing ever more upward. And with each resolution, and revolution, the process goes faster and faster. I think the maturity we have reached compared to twenty years ago is astounding. The only question now is, what do we do with the gained information and maturity?

Join Paula and Alana at the Cottonwood Public Library on Saturday, August 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Library Meeting Room B. Some of the topics to be discussed include coping with disaster, tragedy and the unknown, how to incorporate conscious evolution and action, the differences between consciousness and action-oriented people, how thought translates into action and the changing environments around us. All members of the public are invited to join in the discussion. The Library is located at 100 S 6th St in Cottonwood.

2017 Chamber Golf Tournament and Sponsorship Opportunities

Its tee time! Planning for the 15th Annual Cottonwood Cooler Golf Challenge is well underway. Committee members are inviting area businesses to join as major sponsors.

Sponsorships available: Gold $750-includes one foursome with company name on a Tee or Green, exposure on all marketing promotions, opportunity to hang advertising banner and place a table to promote your business at the event and two flyer inserts in the Chamber Newsletter. Silver $400-includes one twosome with company name on a Tee or Green, exposure on all marketing promotions, opportunity to place a table to promote your business at the event and one flyer insert in the Chamber Newsletter.

There are opportunities for non-golfers as well. The Community Partner Sponsorship $250-includes exposure on all marketing promotions, opportunity to place a table to promote your business at the event and one flyer insert in the Chamber Newsletter. Tee or Green Sponsor $100-sign placed with your logo and company name on a Tee or Green the day of the event! In addition to sponsorship opportunities, Chamber volunteers will be calling community businesses for donations for the raffle & silent auction. Business are also invited to include promotional items or coupons in the golfer goodie bags at no cost.

We would like to thank our Current Sponsors: Northern AZ Rehab, Crazy Tonys Cornville Market, Lawler Construction, Unisource Energy, LaserLyte, SpeedConnect, Big-O Tires, Butler Leavitt Insurance, Colonial General Insurance, SpectrUm Healthcare, Coldwell Banker/Mabery, Edward Jones/Amy Brown, PacWest Insurance, Galpin Ford, Yavapai Title, Meadowbrook Insurance, Stanley Steel Structures.

We hope that area businesses will see this as an excellent marketing opportunity, explains committee Co-Chair Lori Mabery. In addition to the application, prospective golfers will be sent a list of other things to see and do in the Verde Valley. We hope theyll be encouraged to make a family weekend out of it.

Verde Santa Fe Golf Pro, Mike Wright, is once again offering new and exciting changes for this years tournament that were sure you will enjoy. Last year, we donated $1000 to support Junior Golf in the Verde Valley through the CMS Junior Golf Program.

The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, August 5, 2017 at Verde Santa Fe Golf Course. If history is any indication, the tournament is expected to sell out all 112 spots so get your team registered now. For fourteen consecutive years the outpouring of generosity from the business community has been incredible, allowing nearly every participant to go home with a raffle or silent auction prize. For more information about the tournament, to participate as a sponsor, to donate raffle and silent auction items or to include your item in the golfer goodie bag contact Christian at the Cottonwood Chamber office at 928-634-7593. Register on-line at http://www.cottonwoodchamberaz.org.

Opioid Overdose Training: What does it look like and how to respond

MATFORCE is hosting Opioid Overdose trainings on Monday, August 7 in Cottonwood and Tuesday, August 15 in Prescott Valley. The public is invited to attend.

Ivan Anderson, Firefighter/Paramedic with the Verde Valley Fire District and Member of the MATFORCE Speakers Bureau, will present information on opioid overdose, what it looks like and how to respond. Ivan will also discuss details about Arizonas naloxone law, overdose prevention and how to use naloxone to rescue overdose victims. Free Naloxone will be made available for eligible participants.

Arizona lost 790 people to opioid overdoses in 2016, a 74% increase in opioid overdose deaths in four years. On June 5, 2017 Governor Ducey declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. The declaration seeks to expand the distribution of the overdose reversal drug Naloxone, the development of new guidelines for health care providers on responsible prescribing and the expansion of access to drug treatment options.

The training Monday, August 7 will take place at the Verde Valley Medical Center, 269 S. Candy Lane, Conference Rooms A and B. The training Tuesday, August 15 will take place at the Step One Building, 6719 E. 2nd Street in Prescott Valley. The trainings will take place from 12 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be served.

To register for the training email MATFORCE at matforce@cableone.net or call 928 708 0100.

Bring books to concert to help launch re-opening of Clark Memorial Library

Beginning with July 29s Missouri Opry Country Legends, Friends of Clark Memorial Library will have a booth at the free Concerts In The Park where CML supporters can drop off books for the librarys Grand Reopening Book Sale. Book donors will also find the Friends on August 12 (Come Back Buddy), August 26 (Shri Blues Band), and September 9 (Matchbox Twenty Too).

Concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m. Friends from 6:15 or so. Come early and hear the latest installment of the Clark Memorial Library saga.

Also, watch this space for more book, time, and cash donation opportunities around Clarkdale. For more info, contact Jimmy Salmon, or drop a card to Friends of Clark Memorial Library, P.O. Box 301, Clarkdale, AZ 86324.

Mingus on the Hill class reunion

If you attended Mingus on the Hill in Jerome classes 1959 to 1975, you are invited to our multiyear class reunion at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds on September 23, 2017. Cost is $20.00 per person if paid and registered by September 1st. For info, contact Detta @ 949-290-2872 or Becky @ 928-451-6937

Vendor space available for artists, arts & crafts vendors, local businesses, non-profits

Clarktoberfest2017 is not really like Oktoberfest although there is beer involved. Its Clarkdales unique event, a fall festival that is a street fair/concert/beer garden and a fun time for all and of course live music! This year we are merging Howl-o-ween, the Clarkdale dog event, with Clarktoberfest. There will be lots of fun for dogs, kids and adults with both events in one place and time. More information at our website:http://clarktoberfestaz.com/

Vendor space is available! Vendors will be provided a 10×10 space on the street you will bring your own tent, tables, chairs, etc. The cost of the booth space will be $25 with your business license or $30 for those without a business license. If you are interested in a booth space you can go to http://clarktoberfestaz.com/ and CLICK on Participants Forms to complete our online application then mail a check to us or email us at madeinclarkdale2012@gmail.com and we will email back to you a vendor application. If you have any questions, also email us at madeinclarkdale2012@gmail.com.

Alzheimers Association support group

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What’s Happening: August 4, 2017 – Verde Independent

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NASA decided to take a snap of ‘nothing’ and THIS is what they saw… – Express.co.uk

Posted: at 11:57 pm

GETTY

Telescope time is so expensive that astronomers usually know exactly what star or planet they are investigating.

But as an experiment NASA pointed its Hubble Telescope at a void in space which changed and provided one of the most iconic images of the cosmos.

At the time, NASA was struggling with the Hubble Telescope which was deemed a failure as it had only provided blurry images for its first five years due to a flaw in one of the mirrors the mirrors are used to take extremely long distance pictures.

However, astronauts spent three days on the satellite orbiting Earth to rectify the problem, and when they did, NASA had something to prove.

R. Williams (STScI), the HDF-S Team, and NASA/ESA

To test the new equipment, Robert Williams, former director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, decided to point the telescope at nothing.

However, what came back was a stunning image which gave the world an unprecedented view into the entire history of the universe.

In an interview with Vox, Mr Williams said: What we were doing was trying to find sort of an indiscriminate area of the sky where no observation had been made before.

AFP/Getty Images

1 of 15

Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7653, which is an emission nebula located 11 000 light-years away

The image is now known as the Hubble Deep Field and is more than 12 billion lightyears deep.

A lightyear is measured by how long it takes for light to travel in a year moving at 186,000 miles per second.

So what the Hubble Deep Field image shows in the distance is how the universe looked 12 billion years ago.

GETTY

In the forefront of the image, minus a few stars which were in view, there are the galaxies which have formed over billions of years.

But in the background are irregularly shaped infant galaxies which are just beginning to take shape, so close to the dawn of time 13.8 billion years ago.

Mr Williams added: “We didnt know what was there, and that was the whole purpose of the observation, basically to get a core sample of the universe.

“You do the same thing if you’re trying to understand the geology of the Earth: Pick some typical spot to drill down to try to understand exactly what the various layers of the Earth are and what they mean in terms of its geologic history.”

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NASA decided to take a snap of ‘nothing’ and THIS is what they saw… – Express.co.uk

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One soldier killed, several wounded in latest attack on NATO troops in Afghanistan – Washington Post

Posted: at 11:57 pm

A NATO soldier was killed andsixothers, including a translator, were wounded when a suicide bomber attacked their patrol Thursday in eastern Afghanistan, marking the second incidentin just as many days when insurgent attacks have killed Western troops.

The U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan provided few details about the attack and did not release the nationality of the dead soldier. Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in an email that the bombing occurredin Kabul provinces Qarabagh district and that the casualtiesnationalities will be confirmed once we complete our notification procedures.

News reports indicated that the ambushed convoy belonged to the U.S. military and it was hit by a Taliban suicide bomber.Qarabagh district isjust south of Bagram airfield, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan. American and NATO troops frequently patrol around the sprawling facilityto ensure its perimeter and flight approaches are secure. In December 2015, six Americans were killed by a suicide bomber outside of Bagram during one such mission.

[Two U.S. troops killed in attack on NATO convoy in Afghanistan]

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber attacked a convoy in Kandahar province, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding four others, bringing the total of Americans killed by hostile fire to nine for 2017. In 2016, 10 U.S. troops died from enemy fire. And since the United States invaded in 2001, more than 2,000 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan.

The recent attacks come as President Trump weighs sending an additional 4,000 U.S. troops into the country. The majority of the attacks, however, are aimed at Afghan security forces. Last week, 40 Afghan soldiers died in a single insurgent operation in Kandahar. More than 2,000 Afghan soldiers have died and upward of 4,000 have been wounded since the beginning of the year.

There are about 8,500 U.S. troops split between advising the Afghan military and conducting counterterrorism missions against such groups as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. There are also approximately 5,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan who are supporting the struggling Afghan forces.

On Wednesday, NBC news reportedthat Trump said last month that the United States was losing in Afghanistan and that he was considering firing his top commander there, Army Gen.John W. Nicholson.

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan also recently broke with decades of precedent when it decided that it would not release casualty notifications until after the families of the dead had been informed. Over the past 15 years of war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military gave an initial notification of an American casualty within hours of an incidentbefore releasing the name or names of the dead about a day or so later.

That policy changed, officials said, because of the relatively small number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the likelihoodthat even minimal casualty releases could give away certain unit locations. In Iraq and Syria, where the United States has even fewer troops, commanders still follow the normal casualty notification process.

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One soldier killed, several wounded in latest attack on NATO troops in Afghanistan – Washington Post

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Column: Pence trip underscores importance of NATO and current threats – Chicago Tribune

Posted: at 11:57 pm

“We are with you, we stand with you on behalf of freedom.” Vice President Mike Pence spoke those words on July 30 in Estonia, the first stop on trip that includes Georgia and Montenegro.

Given political turmoil and uncertainty in Washington, as well as Russia’s military assertiveness, the visit of Karen and Mike Pence to Eastern Europe is extremely important as well as timely.

The Baltic States of Latvia and Lithuania as well as Estonia were forcibly occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. Exile groups from the Baltics became influential in the United States, and elsewhere. All three nations became NATO members in March 2004.

Montenegro became NATO’s newest member in June 2017. The tiny Balkan state had been campaigning for alliance membership for over a decade.

The rapid weakening and then collapse of the Soviet Union and communist regimes in Eastern Europe ended the Cold War, but also the relative stability of that era. President Vladimir Putin emphasizes nationalism, and has made military moves to expand Russia’s territorial control.

In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed the territory of Crimea. The overt invasion of Ukraine by Russia’s army, after months of covert aid to rebel forces, generated the most serious crisis in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s and perhaps since World War II.

In 2008, Russian troops invaded a portion of Georgia, following an attack by Georgian troops on South Ossetia. This territory as well as Abkhazia had declared independence from Georgia. Russia encouraged and supported these breakaway efforts, though the international community has clearly rejected them.

The end of the Cold War was a great victory for the policy of restraint and deterrence, termed “Containment,” supported by every United States president from Harry Truman when the Cold War commenced to George H.W. Bush when the conflict ended.

NATO endures, for good reasons. Bureaucracies naturally seek self-perpetuation, but strategic realities provide persuasive justification. General war in Europe was avoided for a century between the final defeat of Napoleon and the outbreak of World War I. A Concert of European nations, brokered by Great Britain, helped keep the general peace.

NATO today arguably represents an approximate counterpart to the uncertain but generally effective Concert. The alliance has operated well beyond the nations of the North Atlantic region, including not only on the margins of Europe but in distant territory, including notably Afghanistan.

Article 5 of the NATO treaty states that an attack on one member amounts to an attack on all. The al Qaeda strikes on New York and Washington D.C. and in the sky over Pennsylvania triggered this clause for the first time.

Today’s alliance leaders in Europe are articulate and effective, including in particular German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Chancellor Merkel is spearheading expansion of Germany’s roles in international humanitarian relief. She has also provided arms to Kurds fighting Islamic extremists in Iraq.

Another outstanding leader is David Cameron, Britain’s Prime Minister from 2010 to 2016. He termed Russia’s aggression “unacceptable and unjustified,” and bluntly stated that any efforts to appease Putin would be a repetition of the same mistakes made by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in accommodating Adolf Hitler in 1938. Britain and Germany have highly effective militaries.

Since 2002, NATO has renewed practical efforts to develop rapid reaction military capabilities. The credibility of the alliance is essential. The Pences’ highly visible visit is a diplomatic complement to such efforts.

Arthur I. Cyr is Clausen Distinguished Professor at Carthage College and author of “After the Cold War.”

acyr@carthage.edu

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Column: Pence trip underscores importance of NATO and current threats – Chicago Tribune

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Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison confirmed as NATO … – Texas Tribune

Posted: at 11:57 pm

WASHINGTON Members of the U.S. Senate confirmed a former colleague, Kay Bailey Hutchison, as its new ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In this role, Hutchison will represent the United States at NATO headquarters in Belgium.

Kay has always been known for tireless advocacy on behalf of Texans and her ability to work across the aisle to get things done, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement.She has the experience, determination, and poise to strengthen our relationships on the world stage, and Im confident shell make Texas and our country proud.

NATO was created after World War II to counter Soviet influence in Europe. Hutchison will assume this position at an increasingly tense period in the United States’ relationship with Russia.

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Just last week, Congress passed sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 election.President Donald Trump, who appointed Hutchison, signed the sanctions bill but had he not, he likely would have faced a veto override. Trump has actively cultivated a friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a special counsel is investigating whether members of his campaign colluded with Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.

Hutchison, whorepresented Texas in the U.S. Senate from 1993 until 2013, reassured senatorsin her confirmation hearing that she would counter Russian aggression in this new role.

In other business, the Senate confirmed Dallas businessman Ray Washburne, a longtime GOP fundraiser, to serve as president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a government agency that directs private capital into the developing world.

The Senate moved these nominations as the final votes of the summer as members were heading home for the August recess.

Disclosure: The author of this article briefly worked for Kay Bailey Hutchison more than a decade ago.

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Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas told a panel of Senate lawmakerson Thursday that she will take a hard line on Russia if she is confirmed as ambassador to NATO. She appears to beon track for confirmation. [link]

President Trump has nominated former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to be the nation’s new NATO ambassador. [link]

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison,under consideration for the NATO ambassadorship, played a key role in shepherding U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson through hisSenate confirmation. [link]

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Nato says Russia ties most ‘difficult’ since Cold War – The Straits Times

Posted: at 11:57 pm

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday (Aug 3) that ties between the alliance and Moscow were at their most difficult phase since the Cold War, blaming Russia for its role in the Ukraine conflict.

Speaking after United States President Donald Trump said relations between Washington and Moscow had hit an all-time low, the alliance’s chief said Russia’s “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine had helped scupper hopes of a diplomatic reset.

“I think (it) is correct to say that Nato’s relationship with Russia is more difficult than it has been any time since the end of the Cold War,” Stoltenberg told CNN.

“At the end of the Cold War, we hoped to develop a close partnership with Russia.

“But especially after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the continued Russian destabilisation of eastern Ukraine, the relationship between Nato and Russia has deteriorated considerably.”

Stoltenberg said that Nato was committed to avoiding a further spike in tensions and was pursuing a twin-track approach of “defense deterrence and dialogue.”

“As long as we are strong, as long as we are predictable, we can also engage in political dialogue with Russia to try to avoid escalation and avoid a new Cold War,” he said.

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Call for ‘military Schengen’ to get troops moving – POLITICO.eu

Posted: at 11:57 pm

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (L) and Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert | Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Push to ease movement of military personnel and equipment across EU and NATO borders is supported by the Netherlands and top US Army general in Europe.

By David M. Herszenhorn

8/4/17, 4:07 AM CET

PAPA AIR BASE, Hungary Hold that convoy right there, general. Can we see your passport, please?

European leaders have made a priority of greater military cooperation, yet the ability of NATO forces to operate in Europe is still hindered by border restrictions and mismatched infrastructure, according to uniformed commanders and EU defense ministers.

While NATO has made substantial progress in surmounting legal hurdles to cross-border operations, lingering bureaucratic requirements such as passport checks at some border crossings and infrastructure problems, like roads and bridges that cant accommodate large military vehicles could slow or even cripple any allied response to an emerging threat, officials warned.

To lift the roadblocks, and speed coordinated military action, the Dutch defense minister, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, called on EU officials to create a so-called military Schengen zone. The idea, loosely modeled on the open-border travel zone that has covered most of Europe since 1996, has also been a long-time goal of the senior United States Army commander in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.

We must be able to move quickly to any place where there is a threat Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert

We must be able to move quickly to any place where there is a threat, Hennis-Plasschaertsaid in a statement announcing her proposal at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in June.

NATO leaders insist they have addressed the most problematic obstacles to cross-border operations, but nonetheless welcomed the Dutch proposal as a way to raise political pressure and create a sense of urgency around further improving the interoperability of allied countries.

Officials say the obstacles are only apparent during peacetime exercises and planning, and that during a real military emergency, NATOs supreme allied commander for Europe based in Mons, Belgium would simply warn allies and deploy as needed.

But officials also said NATOs deterrence mission requires the alliance to constantly demonstrate its capabilities in peacetime and those capabilities are still encumbered. Moving U.S. forces to Poland from Germany, for example, requires a five-day notice period, American officials said.

And then there are infrastructure challenges: roads and bridges that potentially cannot bear the weight of heavy equipment; tunnels that are not tall enough; air strips that cannot accommodate all aircraft.

EU leadersat their June summitformally approved a plan for greater military cooperationbut the first concrete proposals will not be announced until European Commission President Jean-Claude Junckers State of the Union speech in September.

According to some officials, the military Schengen zone would be an ideal first step because there is little financial cost or basis for political disagreement.

One historic challenge is that while NATO has greater responsibility for multilateral military cooperation, the EU and its national governments retain authority over border regulations.

Hennis-Plasschaert, in putting forward her proposal, urged NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the EUs foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to work together to overcome such barriers.

In June, Stoltenberg said much had already been done.

Last autumn, we looked at a map of Europe which showed how difficult it was to move troops from one country to another at short notice, he said during the meeting of defense ministers. We used a traffic-light analogy and we saw that large parts of the map were red.We have worked very hard since then, and made significant progress. NATO allies have cut red tape, and updated complex procedures, with the support of ministries and parliaments.

Still, he said, there was more work ahead. We are now looking at what more needs to be done, for instance regarding railways, airfields and seaports.

A NATO official said that the alliance supported the Dutch proposal, especially if it prompted the EU to take similar steps.

Overall, we are in a healthy position in terms of rapid deployment in peacetime, the official said. Efforts in the European Union to improve the cross-border movement of forces and equipment in Europe could also benefit NATO, provided that they are inclusive and complementary to NATOs work.

The Dutch proposal called on EU and NATO officials to work out the details, but its clear that copying Schengen in a literal sense is not the goal, given that not all EU countries are NATO members and not all Schengen countries belong to the EU or the alliance.

It is important to coordinate military transport in Europe, to ensure that units and equipment are in the right place at the right time, regardless of whether they are deployed in an EU or NATO context, Hennis-Plasschaert said.

A spokesman for the European Defense Agency, which helps coordinate military cooperation among EU countries, said a new joint effort with the European Commission to smooth military transport was expected to begin next month.

Hodges, a three-star general who is due to complete his tour in September, knows the limitations on military movement firsthand.

Last month, he sat in his jet on the tarmac of Papa Air base in Hungary, engines screaming in the 40-degree heat, as an aide collected the passports of the general and his entourage, including a German military attach and this reporter, and brought them to be checked by Hungarian border guards waiting in a nearby car, so that the entourage could fly on to a base in Bulgaria.

Actually, I wish that we could move across Europe as quickly as migrants do United States Army commander in Europe Lieutenant General Ben Hodges

Elsewhere on the base, 452 U.S.-led paratroopers were readying their gear to simulate an airborne operation aimed at repelling an enemy force that had occupied the territory of a NATO ally. Hours later, Hodges watched through binoculars as the paratroopers carried out their drill in Bulgaria.

At another point, during related exercises, Hodgeswas told that his Black Hawk helicopter would have to divert from its intended route in order to clear customs in Romania. Ultimately, Hodges was able to avoid the stop.

While such passport and customs checks are typically routine and not hugely time-consuming, for Hodges they symbolize a tangle of bureaucracy that poses a risk to military speed and efficiency. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbn has put up fences to block the flow of migrants, but Hodges said that across much of Europe travel is easier for migrants than for allied military.

Actually, I wish that we could move across Europe as quickly as migrants do, Hodges said.

Of course, we should have to meet all the EU road laws, respect sovereignty, but it is a surprisingly cumbersome process in several countries to get permissions to move troops, weapons, ammunition, even just regular convoys, Hodges said.

I was nave, the general said, I just assumed, well, these are all EU countries, or NATO countries, it should be like going from Florida to Virginia on I-95. And its absolutely not the case. So theres just a variety of reasons in terms of diplomatic clearances, regulatory procedures, infrastructure.

Hodges said that investments in military transport and infrastructure also provide a convenient way for NATO allies such as Germany to meet their pledge to increase defense spending in ways that would indisputably benefit the alliance as a whole.

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Columbus State Awarded NSA Grant to Develop Cybersecurity Tool – Government Technology

Posted: at 11:57 pm

(TNS) — Further cementing its ambitions as a national powerhouse in cybersecurity education, Columbus State University announced Tuesday that it received a $174,000 grant from the National Security Agency to develop a new tool for rapid cybersecurity training and curriculum development.

The award makes CSU one of the top universities in the nation in providing technologies for cybersecurity workforce development to universities, government and private sector across the nation, said Shuangbao Wang, a professor in CSUs TSYS School of Computer Science in a press release.

The tool will be internet-based, allowing it to be accessed anywhere in the world. Wang expects it will eventually be used by global Department of Defense installations and other private and public organizations.

A key part of the tool will be the use of visual mapping, a technology developed by researchers at the university to assist in military decision making.

We are building a tool that people across the nation can use to develop cybersecurity training, which guarantees compliance with government and industry standards for cybersecurity workforce development, said Wang.

The grant is the latest in a string of awards the university has received for developing cybersecurity programs. Earlier this month, CSU announced that it had partnered with the Muscogee County School District to develop a yearlong cybersecurity course at Rothschild Leadership Academy with the help of a $50,000 grant from the NSA.

The university also hosted a weeklong cybersecurity summer camp in June with another NSA grant, this one for $28,000.

The investments may well pay off, with worldwide spending on cybersecurity estimated to reach more than $100 billion by 2020, according to research by the International Data Corporation. That spending is butting against an expected shortage of about two million jobs by 2019.

National cybersecurity workforce development is one of the key areas of this action plan, Wang said. Upon completion, universities, government, and private sector across the nation can use the tool to quickly develop training and curriculum that otherwise would not be possible due to lack of experts, knowledge and skills.

2017 the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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The Curious Case Of Ex-NSA Inspector General George Ellard – Cato Institute (blog)

Posted: at 11:57 pm

On August 3, The American Conservative ran a lengthy piece of mine dealing with the whistleblower protection nightmare that is the Department of Defense. One of the subjects of that piece is now former NSA IG George Ellard, and because I had even more on his case than I could fit into the TAC piece, I wanted to share the rest of what I knowand dont knowabout the allegations against Ellard, the final disposition of the case, why the Obama administrations whistleblower retaliation fix is itself broken, and what might be done to actually provide meaningful protections for would-be national security whistleblowers in the Pentagon and elsewhere in the national security establishment.

Regarding what little we know about the specifics of Ellards case, I had this to say in the TAC piece:

As the Project on Government Oversight firstreportedin December 2016, a three-member interagency Inspector General External Review Panel concluded in May 2016 that the then-Inspector General of the National Security Agency (NSA), George Ellard, had, according to POGO, himself had previously retaliated against an NSA whistleblower[.] This apparently occurred during the very same period that Ellard hadclaimedthatSnowden could have come to me. The panel that reviewed Ellards case recommended he be fired, a decision affirmed by NSA Director Mike Rogers.

But there was a catch: the Secretary of Defense had the final word on Ellards fate. Outgoing Obama administration Defense Secretary Ash Carter, apparently indifferent to the magnitude of the Ellard case, left office without making a decision.

In the months after Donald Trump became president, rumors swirled inside Washington that Ellard had, in fact, escaped termination. One source, who requested anonymity, reported that Ellard had been seen recently on the NSA campus at Ft. Meade, Maryland. That report, it turns out, was accurate.

On July 21, in response to the authors inquiry, the Pentagon public affairs office provided the following statement:

NSA followed the appropriate procedures following a whistleblower retaliation claim against former NSA Inspector General George Ellard. Following thorough adjudication procedures, Mr. Ellard continues to be employed by NSA.

After Id finished the TAC piece, Ellards attorney, Terrence ODonnell of the Washington mega law firm of Williams & Connolly, sent me the following statement about his client, George Ellard:

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) examined and rejected an allegation that former NSA Inspector General, George Ellard, had retaliated against an NSA employee by not selecting that employee to fill a vacancy in the OIGs Office of Investigations.

In a lengthy, detailed, and well-reasoned memorandum, the ASD concluded that Dr. Ellard had not played a role in that personnel decision or, in the terms of the applicable laws and regulations the ASD cited, Dr. Ellard did not take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take any action associated with the personnel decision.

This judgment echoes the conclusion reached by the Department of Defenses Office of the Inspector General. An External Review Panel (ERP) later came to the opposite conclusion, leading to the ASD review. The ASD concluded that the evidence cited in the ERP report as reflective of [Dr. Ellards] alleged retaliatory animus toward Complainant is of a character so circumstantial and speculative that it lacks probity.

In assessing Dr. Ellards credibility and in rendering its decision, the ASD also considered Dr. Ellards distinguished career of public service, spanning more than 21 years of service across the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, culminating in almost 10 years of service as the NSA IG. Dr. Ellard, the ASD noted, has been entrusted to address some of our nations most challenging national security issues; successive NSA Directors have consistently rated Dr. Ellards performance as Exceptional Results and Outstanding; and he has been commended by well-respected senior officials with whom [he has] worked closely over the years for [his] ability and integrity.

Dr. Ellard is serving as the NSA Chair on the faculty of the National War College, a position he held prior to the ERP review.

Quite a bit to unpack in that statement. Lets start with the ASDs decision to overrule the External Review Panel (ERP), a key component of the Obama-era PPD-19, the directive designed to prevent in all government departments or agencies the very kind of thing Ellard allegedly did. Here are the key paragraphs of PPD-19 with respect to ERP recommendations:

If the External Review Panel determines that the individual was the subject of a Personnel Action prohibited by Section A while an employee of a Covered Agency or an action affecting his or her Eligibility for Access to Classified Information prohibited by Section B, the panel may recommend that the agency head take corrective action to return the employee, as nearly aspracticable and reasonable, to the position such employee would have held had the reprisal not occurred and that the agency head reconsider the employees Eligibility for Access to Classified Information consistent with the national security and with Executive Order 12968. (emphasis added)

An agency head shall carefully consider the recommendation of the External Review Panel pursuant to the above paragraph and within 90 days, inform the panel and the DNI of what action he or she has taken. If the head of any agency fails to so inform the DNI, the DNI shall notify the President. (emphasis added)

Taking the ERPs recommendations is strictly optional.

Whats so significant about the ERP recommendation in Ellards case was that the ERP not only apparently believed that the whistleblower in question should be given a fair chance at getting the position he or she originally applied for within the IG itself, but that Ellards actions werein the view of three non-DoD IGs who examined the caseso severe that they recommended he be terminated.

ODonnell quoted from a Pentagon memo clearing Ellard that is not public. The ERPs findings, along with their record of investigation, are not public. Nor do we know how thoroughor cursorythe ASDs review of the Ellard case was prior to the decision to clear Ellard. Given all of that, who are we to believe?

There are some key facts we do know that lead me to believe that the ERPs recommendations were not only likely soundly based, but that the whistleblower retaliation problem inside the Pentagon is deeply entrenched.

ODonnells statement also claimed that the ASDs decision to reverse the ERP and clear Ellard of wrongdoing echoes the conclusion reached by the Department of Defenses Office of the Inspector General. But its the DoD IG itself, as an institution, that is also under a major cloud because of other whistleblower retaliation claims coming from former NSA or DoD IG employeesspecifically former NSA senior executive service member Thomas Drake and for DoD Assistant Inspector General John Crane. As Ive noted previously, the independent Office of Special Counsel found adequate evidence of whistleblower retaliation and document destruction to refer the matter to the Justice Departments own IG; Cranes case is getting a look from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congresss own executive branch watchdog.

The DoD and NSA IGs have clear conflicts of interest when employees from within their own ranks are implicated in potential criminal wrongdoing. PPD-19 was supposed to be the answer to such conflicts of interest, but its lack of teeth from an enforcement standpoint renders it a badly flawed remedy for an extremely serious integrity problem.

And what about Congress? PPD-19 speaks to that as well:

On an annual basis, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community shall report the determinations and recommendations and department and agency head responses to the DNI and, as appropriate, to the relevant congressional committees.

But Congress doesnt need to wait for the IC IG to tell it what is already publicly known about the Ellard, Drake, and Crane cases. It has ample cause to not only investigate these cases, but to take action to replace PPD-19 with a whistleblower protection system that actually protects those reporting waste, fraud, abuse, or criminal conduct and punishes those who attempt to block such reporting. Two options that deserve consideration are 1) empowering OSC to examine these kinds of cases and issue unreviewable summary judgments itself or 2) revive the expired Independent Counsel statute, rewritten with a focus on whistleblower reprisal case investigations.

One thing is beyond dispute. The PPD-19 process is not the answer for protecting whistleblower and punishing those who retaliate against them. We need a credible system that will do both. The only question now is whether anybody in the House or Senate will step up to the task of building a new one.

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Judge sides with prosecution in NSA leak case – The Augusta Chronicle

Posted: at 11:57 pm

A federal judge has sided with prosecutors in the case against former Fort Gordon contractor Reality Winner, finding that her defense team should be muzzled from speaking about any information deemed classified by the government, even if it has been widely reported in local, national and international media publications.

Winner has pleaded not guilty to a single count of violating a provision of the espionage act. She is accused of leaking a classified document to online media news publication, The Intercept.

That document was extensively reported on by The Intercept and numerous other news media organizations in stories on Winner, who is accused of leaking a national security document she allegedly obtained through her job with a NSA contractor on Fort Gordon.

The document is an analysis of the extent of Russias efforts to hack into state election boards. Russian meddling is the subject of U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees investigations and a special prosecutor who is looking into possible collusion between Trump supporters and the Russians during last years presidential campaign.

In his order released Thursday, Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps wrote that determining what is classified information is a function of the executive branch of government, not the judicial branch.

Just because the defense team has expressed concern of accidentally mishandling classified information is no reason to relax the strict procedures required, Epps wrote. The defense is not prohibited in using classified information in Winners defense, but it must follow the strict procedures, he wrote.

Both sides have until Aug. 16 to weigh in on Epps proposed protective order that describes the closely guarded handling of materials in the case. A classified information security officer is in charge of ensuring such information is handled only by those on the defense team who have obtained security clearance, and only in a secured location.

The defense is to have free access to that location during regular business hours, although other times may be allotted with proper notice and consultation with the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the order.

Any notes or other papers the defense may create using classified information is not allowed outside of the security location. Any document filed with the court that contains or might contain classified information must be filed under seal. Only those portions deemed not classified by the classified information security officer will be unsealed for public review.

At the end of the case any such defense-prepared material will be destroyed by the classified information security officer. The confines of the protective order are a lifetime commitment and any violation is punishable not only by a finding of contempt but criminal prosecution.

The publication of any classified information does not change the classified status unless a member of the executive branch of government with the proper authorization declares the information to be declassified.

Winners trial is tentatively set to begin in October.

Reach Sandy Hodson at sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com or (706) 823-3226

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