Boston Police Department release shooting of Islamic Terrorist Usaamah Rahim.
Boston Police Department release shooting of Islamic Terrorist Usaamah Rahim.
Two news stories have suddenly brought attention to ISIS-inspired terrorism in Boston and vicinity. One involved ISIS –inspired suspects plotting to behead police officers resulting in one killed in a shooting incident and two others arrested by Boston area police. The second involves the death of an American citizen in an air attack in Iraq’s Anbar province who was technically educated and radicalized at Mosques in the Boston area. He fled the US to ultimately become one of the top leaders in ISIS running their highly effective social media propaganda arm.
Fox News reported the shooting death early Tuesday of 26 year old Usaama Rahim, an assailant, who threatened Boston Police officers with an 8 inch knife in an attempted beheading plot. It is believed to be ISIS-inspired terrorism. Rahim and two others were under surveillance by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI in Boston. Fox Newsreported that Rahim was hired in 2013 as a security guard at the Islamic Cultural Center of Boston (ISBCC) controlled by an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim American Society. The Cambridge Mosque affiliated with ISBCC was attended by convicted terrorism felons including Pakistani Al Qaeda bio warfare expert, Aafia Siddiqui, Tarek Mehanna and the Chechen refugee Tsarneav Brothers who perpetrated the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Fox News noted the other suspects involved in the plot to behead police officers:
Authorities arrested another suspect, David Wright, in connection with the case, police said.
“We believe the intent was to behead a police officer,” one official told The Boston Globe. “We knew the plot had to be stopped. They were planning to take action Tuesday.”
Rahim, Wright and an unidentified third person met Sunday on a Rhode Island beach to discuss plans, the affidavit, which was released Wednesday, said. Wright, who waived his Miranda rights, told the FBI the plans included an attack on a victim in another state, the court papers said. Hours prior to the shooting, Rahim told Wright he had changed plans and was going to “go after” the “boys in blue,” the court papers said.
“I’m going on vacation right here in Massachusetts. I’m just going to go after them, those boys in blue,” Rahim said in the phone conversation, according to the affidavit. Authorities believe the word “vacation” stood for violent jihad in their conversations. Wright encouraged him to delete any information on his cell phone or computers, the affidavit said. Wright is accused of conspiring with Rahim to impede the investigation and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
The affidavit said one of the officers outside the CVS instructed Rahim to drop his weapon and Rahim responded, “You drop yours.”
Tuesday, the Boston Herald reported the death in Iraq of a top ISIS social media expert on the FBI’s ten most wanted terrorist list, 33 year old Ahmad Abousamra, a dual Syrian/American citizen from Stoughton, Massachusetts. Abousamra wasoin the FBI’s Most Wanted Top Terrorist lists. He was killed in an air attack in Anbar province apparently along with another American national. According to the Boston Herald report:
Abousamra was raised in Stoughton and attended Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood but left to graduate from Stoughton High school in 1999.
He studied computer science for three semesters at Northeastern University between 1999 and 2001, a school spokeswoman said. Abousamra graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in computer science in December 2006, the school confirmed.
Abousamra, who was a co-defendant of convicted Sudbury terrorist Tarek Mehanna, had federal charges pending in Boston on conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to murder American soldiers abroad and making false statements to authorities.
Mehanna, 31, a former pharmacist, is serving a 17-year sentence at the federal penitentiary in Marion, Ill.
Watch this Boston Herald video on the FBI hunt for Abousamra:
Abousamra’s father Abdulbadi Abousamra (Abousamra Sr.) was an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who was actively engaged in establishing a network of Mosques in the Metropolitan Boston area that brought in a number of radical extremist Imams. A Truth Revolt report in 2014 by Ilya Feoktistov of Americans for Peace and Tolerance noted:
Abdulbadi Abousamra, Sr. served as a president or board member of several mosques, Islamic schools, and Muslim political organizations in Massachusetts from the mid-1990s. In fact, he is still the president of an Islamic elementary school in Sharon, MA. Abousamra Sr. had used his leadership position in multiple Boston Islamic institutions to import extremist and terrorist-affiliated imams to Boston. One of these imams, Hafiz Masood, appears to be the one who radicalized his son, Ahmad Abousamra (Abousamra Jr.).
Until 2007, when Abousamra Jr. was first questioned by the FBI over a plot to provide assistance to Al Qaeda in Iraq and massacre shoppers at the Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro, MA, his father, Abousamra Sr., was vice-president of the Boston branch of the Muslim American Society (MAS Boston). According to federal authorities, the Muslim American Society was created to be “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” MAS Boston operates the largest Islamic center in the Northeast, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC). The Boston Marathon bombers attended the ISBCC’s sister mosque in Cambridge. Both mosques have a long history of Islamic extremism and terrorism.
In 1994, Abousamra Sr. joined the Islamic Center of New England (ICNE), another Muslim organization that runs two mosques in the Boston suburbs of Quincy and Sharon. By 1998, he became its president. Abousamra Sr.’s passion lay with influencing the religious education of the Center’s youth. He personally founded two schools at the ICNE: the Islamic Academy of New England elementary school in 1999 and the Al Noor Academy secondary school in 2001 – the latter with $100,000 in seed money he received from the Islamic Society of Boston. Even though Abousamra Sr. left the country shortly after the FBI put a bounty on his son, he is still the president of the Islamic Academy of New England.
Enter the Radical Imam with connections to the 2008 Mumbai Massacre terrorist group:
In 1998, Abousamra Sr. hired Mohammed Hafiz Masood to be the new Imam at the Islamic Center of New England and a teacher at the Islamic Academy of New England. At that time, Masood was in the United States illegally.
Mohammed Hafiz Masood was deported for immigration violations. After his deportation, it turned out Masood was not an ordinary radical.
Masood is the brother of Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who founded and runs Lashkar-e-Taibah (LeT), one of the largest and most violent terrorist groups in Pakistan, and who has a $10 million FBI bounty on his head. Saeed’s terror group is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai massacre, which targeted India over the conflict in Kashmir and left 166 people dead.
After the Mumbai massacres, The Times of India reported that Masood was using his status as Imam at the Islamic Center of New England to raise funds and recruit local Massachusetts Muslims for Lashkar-e-Taibah. Now living in Pakistan, Masood has become the spokesman of his brother’s terror group.
The radical Imam’s son turned informant leading to the arrest of Abousamra and Tarek Mehanna:
Hafiz Masood’s son, Hassan Masood, allegedly conspired in terrorist plots with Abousamra Jr. He turned informant and testified against Abousamra Jr. and his captured co-conspirator, Tarek Mehanna. According to Muslim community members, Tarek Mehanna and Abousamra Jr. were “thick with Masood” and had been radicalized by his preaching.
The Tarek Mehanna/Abousamra Jr. partnership and Mehanna’s subsequent arrest has spawned a popular radical movement that lobbies, among other things, to free Tarek Mehanna from prison. It is called the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee – and it has a large presence in Boston. Many of its members are former students of Hafiz Masood.
Watch this NECN interview with Ilya Feoktistov of Americans for Peace and Tolerance on the Abousamra MAS radical connections in Boston:
This is a cautionary tale to show how sophisticated members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) immigrated to the US to create networks of mosques. Mosques controlled by MB affiliates to engage immigrant radical Imams to educate young American Muslims in Da’wa – the call to extremist Salafist Jihad ensnaring them into a life of Islamic Terrorism.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Dr. Abdulbadi Aboulsamra and son the late Ahmad Aboulsamra, an Islamic State top leader.
So don’t draw any Muhammad cartoons, people, and maybe they won’t hurt us.
Anyway, why are there potentially thousands of followers of the Islamic State in the U.S.? The FBI shows a remarkable lack of curiosity about that. Of course, Bureau policy is to ignore the ideology, motives and goals of the jihadis. Muslims are streaming into this Islamic group that the Obama Administration insists is not Islamic, and nary an Administration official stops even for a second to ponder how this strange phenomenon came to be.
“FBI Chief: Potentially ‘thousands’ of online ISIS followers in U.S.,” ABC News, May 7, 2015:
There may be as many as thousands of people inside the United States consuming online “poison” from ISIS alone, and, “I know there are other Elton Simpsons out there,” FBI director James Comey warned today, referring to one of the men who opened fire outside of an event in Texas earlier this week celebrating artists’ portrayals of the Prophet Mohammad.
“We have a very hard task” in trying to identify and stop anyone inspired to launch an attack inside the U.S. homeland, Comey told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas and a small group of reporters.
Such efforts have become particularly challenging because ISIS has reconfigured and redefined terrorist recruitment, according to Comey. In fact, while the FBI is trying to find that so-called needle in a haystack, “increasingly the needles are invisible to us,” he said.
As recently as two years ago, someone in the United States who wanted to consume “radical poisonous propaganda” would have to seek that out on the Internet, most likely on a jihadist web forum. So the FBI focused its investigative efforts on those jihadist web forums, Comey said.
But “that has changed dramatically, especially with [ISIS] and their use of social media,” where on phones in people’s pockets they ask Americans and other foreigners “to travel to the so-called caliphate to fight” but simultaneously say, “If you can’t travel, kill where you are,” according to Comey.
“It’s almost as if there is a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, ‘Kill, kill, kill, kill’ all day long,” he said. “[They are] recruiting and tasking at the same time. … In a way, the old paradigm between ‘inspired’ and ‘directed’ breaks down here.”…
Comey, meanwhile, warned that even when the FBI finds someone who has in fact connected with ISIS, keeping track of that person is becoming increasingly difficult.…
Especially since the FBI is bound as a matter of policy not to study or understand the motivating ideology of these people.
Is it possible Islamic terrorists have planted radioactive or biological bombs in cities across America? I think it is highly probable. Never before in the history of America have political leaders been so reluctant to fight our enemy (Islam and Muslim Terrorists).
Of course we do have a very weak leader as President and this has to factor into our passive reaction to Islamic terrorism. Although Obama is weak, there are still Islamic terrorists who would have an advantage in America if they could blackmail U.S. politicians.
It is not very difficult to hide bombs with enormous explosive energy inside a small place. It is not beyond the mindset of Muslim terrorists to plan ahead for mass casualties of their enemy. Remember the Boston Marathon bombing? A small yet very effective attack by Muslims.
Can Americans imagine what would happen if a dirty radioactive or biological bomb was planted in schools across the United States in shopping malls, or in major sports stadiums?
Attorney Tracy Rizzo was the recipient of one of 25 threatening letters claiming there are nuclear bombs hidden all over the country.
Attorney Tracy Rizzo was alarmed. A number of days ago, an envelope, with a Chicago postmark and a hand-written address to her private investigations firm, came in the mail.
The letter inside said, “The Al-Qaeda organization has planted 160 nuclear bombs throughout the U.S. in schools, stadiums, churches, stores, financial institutions and government buildings.” It also said, “This is a suicide mission for us.”
This theory is not a new concept or threat from Muslim terrorists. If bombs are already planted in America, this of course hinders our ability to effectively fight Islamic based terrorism.
Hopefully a trustworthy journalist from a trustworthy media network will investigate this theory in greater detail and report the results to the American public. The only hindrance is that America has few trustworthy journalists and even fewer trustworthy media outlets.
The FBI wants to search through your electronic life. You may think it’s a given that the government is in the business of collecting everyone’s personal data — Big Brother run amok in defiance of the Constitution. But under the limits of the Fourth Amendment, nothing it finds can be used to prosecute its targets. Now the FBI is taking steps to carry out broad searches and data collection under the color of authority, making all of us more vulnerable to “fishing expeditions.”
The investigative arm of the Department of Justice is attempting to short-circuit the legal checks of the Fourth Amendment by requesting a change in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. These procedural rules dictate how law enforcement agencies must conduct criminal prosecutions, from investigation to trial. Any deviations from the rules can have serious consequences, including dismissal of a case. The specific rule the FBI is targeting outlines the terms for obtaining a search warrant.
It’s called Federal Rule 41(b), and the requested change would allow law enforcement to obtain a warrant to search electronic data without providing any specific details as long as the target computer location has been hidden through a technical tool like Tor or a virtual private network. It would also allow nonspecific search warrants where computers have been intentionally damaged (such as through botnets, but also through common malware and viruses) and are in five or more separate federal judicial districts. Furthermore, the provision would allow investigators to seize electronically stored information regardless of whether that information is stored inside or outside the court’s jurisdiction.
The change may sound like a technical tweak, but it is a big leap from current procedure. As it stands, Rule 41(b) only allows (with few exceptions) a court to issue a warrant for people or property within that court’s district. The federal rules impose this location limitation — along with requirements that the agentspecifically identify the person and place to be searched, find probable cause, and meet other limiting factors — to reduce the impact an investigation could have on people’s right to privacy. Now the FBI is asking for the authority to hack into and search devices without identifying any of the essential whos, whats, wheres, or whys — giving the FBI the authority to search your computer, tablet, or smartphone even if you are in no way suspected of a crime.
All you have to do is cross the FBI’s virtual path. For instance, the proposed amendment would mean that agents could use tactics like creating online “watering holes” to attract their targets. Anyone who clicked on law enforcement’s false-front website would download the government malware and expose their electronic device to an agent’s search (and also expose the device to follow-on hackers). One obvious target for this strategy is any forum that attracts government skeptics and dissenters — FEE.org, for example. Such tactics could inadvertently impact thousands of people who aren’t investigation targets.
This sort of sweeping authority is in obvious conflict with the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment makes it clear that the government cannot legally search your house or your personal effects, including your electronic devices, without (1) probable cause of a suspected crime (2) defined in a legal document (generally, a search warrant issued by a judge) (3) that specifically identifies what is to be searched and what is to be seized.
The FBI is not the first government agency to find itself challenged by the plain language of the Fourth Amendment. Past overreach has required judges and Congress to clarify what constitutes a legal search and seizure in particular contexts. In the 1960s, when electronic eavesdropping (via wiretaps and bugs) came about, Congress established the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (the Wiretap Act). The law addressed concerns about these new surreptitious and invasive investigative tactics and provided several strictures on legal searches via wiretap or bug. Since covert investigative tools can be hard to detect, it was important to institute more rigorous standards to keep agents in line.
The same concerns that Congress addressed in the 1960s are present today, but they take on far greater significance. With our growing reliance on electronic devices to communicate with others, to transact business, to shop, travel, date, and store the details of our private lives, these devices are becoming our most important personal effects. The ability of government actors to enter our digital space and search our electronic data is a major privacy concern that must be checked by Fourth Amendment standards. As the Supreme Court recently pronounced in Riley v. California, the search of a modern electronic device such as a smartphone or computer is more intrusive to privacy than even “the most exhaustive search of a house.”
What seems most troubling, though, is that the FBI is attempting to override the Fourth Amendment, along with the body of law developed over the years to reign in surveillance powers, through a relatively obscure forum. Instead of seeking congressional authority or judicial clarification, it has sought a major power grab through a procedural rule tweak — a tweak that would do away with jurisdictional limitations and specificity requirements, among other important checks on law enforcement. The request seems objectively — and constitutionally — offensive.
The photo above comes from Hamas-linked CAIR-Florida’s “14th Annual Banquet Rooted in Faith” in Tampa yesterday, courtesy of an anonymous reader who was at the banquet. It is not the first time Hamas-linked CAIR, designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates, has discouraged Muslims from talking to the FBI. A few years ago a Hamas-linked CAIR chapter in California distributed this poster:
Sunspots? Salon has suddenly discovered that the Qur’an sanctions jihad, suicide attacks, beheadings, and sex slavery, and that Islamic law also allows for female genital mutilation, wife-beating, stoning, etc. — after having excoriated me for years as an “Islamophobe” and a “bigot” for saying just such things. To compound the heresy, they’re publishing this in the context of a takedown of media darling Reza Aslan, whose every pronouncement, no matter how ridiculous, is ordinarily greeted with breathless adulation from media types.
To be sure, the author of this piece, Jeffrey Tayler, makes it more palatable to his Leftist audience by claiming that Jewish and Christian Scriptures contain material that is just as hateful and violent as that which is in the Qur’an — and he doesn’t explain, of course, why we don’t see Jewish or Christian terrorists committing acts of violence and justifying them by reference to their Scriptures. But despite this thoughtless and baseless moral equivalence, casually stated as if it were axiomatic (and it is, in Salon’s circles), this article is still remarkable for what it admits: aspects of Islam that Salon has never, as far as I can recall, acknowledged before.
Has Bill Maher made it safe for Leftists to admit that there is a problem with how jihadis and supremacists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and oppression?
“Reza Aslan’s atheism problem: ‘Fundamentalist’ atheists aren’t the issue, apologists for religions are,” by Jeffrey Tayler, Salon, October 25, 2014:
Bill Maher’s recent monologue on “Real Time” about the failure of liberals to speak out about the routine atrocities and violations of human rights carried out in the name of religion in the Muslim world has unleashed a torrent of commentary, much of it from progressives advocating more, not less, tolerance of Islam.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who sided with Ben Affleck against Maher in a follow-up segment a few days later, calls ISIS rebels, in an op-ed, “barbarians” who “give all Islam a bad name,” and asks us to take into account the religion’s diversity, lest we slip into “Islamophobic bigotry.” Fareed Zakaria, in his Washington Post column, cautions us to recall that Islam, Christianity and Judaism once peacefully coexisted, but acknowledges that Islam suffers from a “cancer” – extremism that incites acts of terrorism. This he views, though, as a problem of “Islam today.” (He neglects to point out that in the Muslim-dominated countries where this peaceful coexistence occurred, Christians and Jews suffered humiliating second-rate dhimmi status, unequal legally or socially to Muslims.) Writing on Al Jazeera English, Lana Asfour lauds Affleck for calling out Maher’s “racism” and espies, in the comedian’s treatment of Islam, an “overriding agenda” aimed at justifying the “past, present, and future mistakes” of U.S. foreign policy.
One pundit in particular, though, has busied himself opining on Maher and nonbelievers in general — Reza Aslan, Islam’s most prominent apologist of late. Delivered via multiple media outlets, his remarks, brimming with condescension, tinged with arrogance and laden with implicit insults to thinking people, deserve special scrutiny for one main reason: among well-intentioned liberals who don’t know much about religion, his words carry weight.
In a New York Times editorial, Aslan accused Maher and other nonbelievers of “exhibiti[ing] an inability to understand religion outside of its absolutist connotations.” Such folk, in his telling, unjustly “scour holy texts for bits of savagery and point to extreme examples of religious bigotry, of which there are too many, to generalize about the causes of oppression throughout the world.” They fail to grasp, in his view, that “religion is often far more a matter of identity than it is a matter of beliefs and practices.”
Yet Aslan accuses the benighted critics of religion of a far more grievous misapprehension: the assumption that words mean what they actually mean. Here I’ll quote him at length.
“It is a fallacy to believe that people of faith derive their values primarily from their Scriptures. The opposite is true. People of faith insert their values into their scriptures, reading them through the lens of their own cultural, ethnic, nationalistic and even political perspectives. . . . After all, scripture is meaningless without interpretation. The abiding nature of scripture rests not so much in its truth claims as it does in its malleability, its ability to be molded and shaped into whatever form a worshiper requires. . . If you are a violent misogynist, you will find plenty in your scriptures to justify your beliefs. If you are a peaceful, democratic feminist, you will also find justification in the scriptures for your point of view.”
Now we have to stop and ponder what we are being sold here. Aslan is essentially taking a postmodernist, Derrida-esque scalpel to “scripture” and eviscerating it of objective content. This might pass muster in the college classroom these days, but what of all those ISIS warriors unschooled in French semiotic analysis who take their holy book’s admonition to do violence literally? As they rampage and behead their way through Syria and Iraq, ISIS fighters know they have the Koran on their side – a book they believe to be inerrant and immutable, the final Word of God, and not at all “malleable.” Their holy book backs up jihad, suicide attacks (“martyrdom”), beheadings, even taking captive women as sex slaves. This is not surprising; after all, the prophet Muhammad was a warrior who spread Islam by the sword in a dark, turbulent time in history. (Christianity’s propagation had, in contrast, much to do with the Roman emperor Constantine’s fourth-century conversion and subsequent decriminalization of the faith.)
Moreover, the razor-happy butchers of little girls’ clitorises and labia majora, the righteous wife-beaters, the stoners of adulterers, the shariah clerics denying women’s petitions for divorce from abusive husbands and awarding sons twice the inheritance allowed for daughters, all act with sanction from Islamic holy writ. It matters not a whit to the bloodied and battered victims of such savagery which lines from the Hadith or what verses from the Koran ordain the violence and injustice perpetrated against them, but one thing they do know: texts and belief in them have real-life consequences. And we should never forget that ISIS henchmen and executioners explicitly cite their faith in Islam as their motive. Tell that to Derrida – or Aslan….
I am not a gambler, but I would take odds with anyone about the outcome of the beheading in Oklahoma City, OK. I mean about the motive for the murder of an innocent woman in the name of Islam by Alton Alexander Nolen (a.k.a. Jah’Keem Yisrael) that the FBI is investigating.
James E. Finch, FBI Special Agent in Charge (SA), Oklahoma City office, will conclude the beheading had nothing to do with Islam and Sharia law. It will be labeled another workplace violence incident.
Why would Finch do this?
The FBI is no longer a politically independent agency conducting neutral investigations. The FBI is now a political machine working under the watchful eyes of outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama. The FBI conclusions on any national level, and media hyped, cases will be driven by the political agenda of Obama and Holder.
A first grader could call this case correctly. SA Finch, according to his resume, has the background to call it as he sees it. But will he? When any federal agent or investigative agency is no longer neutral and working for the best interest of a community or the country, they have become null and void.
The FBI has approximately 35,000 personnel, 13,000 federal agents, and a budget from U.S. taxpayers of over $8 billion annually. Perhaps it is time that the FBI be reduced in size, and the money saved be provided to local and state investigative agencies?
America no longer needs another political acronym (like the IRS and DOJ) fraudulently using tax dollars to further any political agenda.
The murder committed by Nolen may have been sparked by his firing, but the manner in which he carried it out, and most importantly the reason he turned into an Islamic terrorist is because of the Islamic ideology in it’s purest form. Islamic terrorists commit all types of violent acts in the name of Islam.
The mosques in Oklahoma City, OK, will never be adequately investigated by federal authorities. President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made it very clear that terrorism ‘never’ generates from a mosque or anything Islamic.
I have conducted firsthand counter-terrorism research in over 275 mosques in America. Over 75% of the mosques have very violent materials inside their facilities and the other 25% are very effective in hiding what they teach their worshipers.
If a Muslim practices peace in America, they are not being taught peace in the Islamic Centers and mosques. Murderers like Nolen do not have to use the internet, travel to Syria, or study under violent terrorists, they simply have to go to any one of the 2,300 mosques located throughout America (of which there are four listed in Oklahoma City).
I firmly believe that a professional independent research project for the Oklahoma City mosques is needed. My team and I can spend three days in the area and provide an accurate picture of what exactly is being taught. The results of our research will be provided to the American public, local and state authorities.
If you have the means to donate please do. If not I fully understand. Our economy and national security are at it’s lowest level since we became America.
RELATED VIDEO: Details From Beheader’s Oklahoma Mosque. An interview with Noor, who attended the same mosque as did Alton Nolen.
Jay Littlewolf, a 54-year-old man, said inadequate healthcare at the government clinic compounded his problems with a diabetic ulcer on his right foot. He said that at one point he was told the remedy was to cut off his toes. Instead, he sought private medical treatment in Billings, Montana. “I don’t like those comments when the podiatrist says he just wants to cut your toes off,” Littlewolf said. “I know there are alternatives. Common sense says that.” To date, Jay has spent $3,000 out of pocket and expects his total bill to exceed $20,000. He wants to be reimbursed—and pay the balance of the bill—but the government agency has refused.
“We are trained and born not to challenge the system,” he said. “I’m not trying to challenge the system. I just want my bills paid. I wanted to save my toes, my foot, my leg, my life. All I want to do is mow my darn lawn.”
Littlewolf’s story is reminiscent of the stories of neglect and incompetency at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency charged with caring for American veterans. Last April, news broke that the VA had serious problems. They came to light in its Phoenix facility, where more than 40 veterans died while waiting for care. An internal audit released June 9, 2014, revealed that more than 120,000 veterans nationwide were left waiting or never got care and that pressures were placed on schedulers to use unofficial lists or engage in inappropriate practices to make waiting times appear more favorable. On June 11, 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a criminal investigation of the VA.
Littlewolf, however, isn’t a veteran, and he was not dealing with the VA. Jay is a Native American and a member of the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana. He’s talking about the Indian Health Service (IHS), another federal government-operated healthcare system. When the scandal broke about the VA, the media, pundits, and politicians quickly concluded that the remedy for the VA’s ills was reform: more funding, regulation, and accountability. But the occurrence of the same problems at the IHS suggests that these sorts of problems may be endemic to government-run systems. Unfortunately, few are stepping up to recommend a more permanent fix than to enact reforms to the existing systems. What is needed is the privatization of healthcare services for those who suffer under government-controlled programs.
The IHS is familiar to me, as my grandfather was an IHS physician in Arizona. There are 22 tribes in my home state, and growing up there, I saw the issues facing Native Americans up close. The IHS has problems with long waits, inferior care, rationing, and lack of access—just as with the VA and with nationalized healthcare systems abroad. And, like the VA, when healthcare is under government control, it becomes inefficient and ineffective. Just ask Littlewolf.
In 2004, a report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights unsurprisingly blamed the substandard care in the IHS on the usual culprits: lack of funding, hiring the wrong people, retention and recruiting of qualified healthcare providers, and maintenance of aging facilities. As usual, the report didn’t point to the real problem: the program itself.
As with all government programs, inevitably most of the funding goes to pay bureaucrats and administrators, leaving little money for medical staff salaries and treatment. Low salaries contribute to unfilled vacancies, poor retention, and low morale among staff, causing waiting lists and inferior treatment for patients. The IHS has job vacancy rates for healthcare professionals ranging from 12 percent to 32 percent.
Bureaucrats cover up their mistakes with phony documents, like those found in the VA scandal, showing that patients are being promptly treated. Ultimately, supporters of government control lament that if only the right people could be found to run the program, everything would be fine.
In order to justify their salaries, government administrators promulgate endless regulations, bogging down the treatment process with red tape. Additionally, the IHS has a bloated bureaucracy, with over 14,000 employees, including eight assistant surgeon generals, 439 “Director Grade” bureaucrats, and 601 “Senior Grade” bureaucrats. Yet, in 2005, per capita federal spending on patients by the IHS was only $2,130—half the amount spent on federal prisoners’ care.
In a move in the right direction, in 2008, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), introduced an amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that would allow tribal members to choose from various healthcare coverage options, including the ability to purchase private health insurance. According to Senator Coburn, the IHS currently rations services on the basis of whether a particular service will save a “life or limb.” Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Coburn’s amendment was voted down, 28 to 67.
While Coburn’s attempt at reform was laudable—and would have, at a minimum, provided an option for Native Americans seeking better health care—it didn’t really address the root of the problem. The only lasting solution that would ensure improvements in care and health outcomes would be the privatization of services to Native American tribes. I’m not confident that such a change is likely in the near future—for the IHS or for the VA. And, unfortunately, the problems that have plagued the VA and the IHS are harbingers of a future under our increasingly socialized healthcare system.
Terree P. Summer is an economist and author specializing in healthcare and the federal budget. She is the author of What Has Government Done to Our Health Care? published by the Cato Institute (1992).
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.
The destruction of Malaysian Air Flight MH17 over the Ukraine by a Russian SA-11“Buk”air defense missile on July 17, 2014 took the lives of 298 passengers and crew on board from more than 11 countries. While the largest contingent was 154 Dutch nationals, there were significant numbers of Australian passengers and more than 98 participants in an international AIDS conference in Australia, among them leading researchers and a World Health Organization official. 80 children lost their lives. One Australian family lost relatives on both Flights MH17 and MH370. The Boeing 777-200ER was a sister aircraft to Flight MH370 that disappeared on March 8, 2014 under mysterious circumstances with the loss of 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 14 nations.
That act allegedly by Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine may have been a blunder by Russian President Putin that brought Western approbation at the UN Security Council debates on July 18th. The possible complicit involvement of Russia in the missile attack on MH17 is reminiscent of the shoot down by Russian fighters of Korean Air Line Flight 007 from New York to Seoul on September 1, 1983 with the 269 men, women and children on board. Also recall the accidental missile attack by the USS Vincennes guided missile cruiser that destroyed Iran Air 655 on July 3, 1988 during the Tanker War of 1984-1988 in the Persian Gulf, with the loss of 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew.
The alleged Russian SA-11 missile attack on MH17 raised the matter of airline security in an era with increased threats to international civil aviation from irredentist and terrorist forces. Those threats are not only in the Middle East and Eastern European conflict zones, but elsewhere, including the Western Hemisphere.
The Malaysian Air dispatcher and the flight captain could have judiciously altered the flight plan of MH17 to avoid the no-fly zone over the eastern Ukraine. They could have used more southerly routes followed by major air carriers to reach destinations in South Asia. Instead they chose to fly above the contested eastern Ukraine no-fly zone at an altitude of 33,000 feet. By doing so, they exposed the flight to a missile attack from a mobile SA-11 missile battery similar to one used to down a Ukrainian military transport and fighters. By foolishly opting to economize fuel consumption on a shorter and more dangerous flight plan, they may have inadvertently triggered the deadly attack. The two Malaysian Air disasters in 2014, MH370 in March and MH17 in July, have claimed the lives of 537 passengers and crew. Under the international Montreal convention, formerly the Warsaw convention of 1929 regarding aviation liability, surviving families may be entitled to $175,000 in compensation. That would translate to $94 million if Malaysian Air is found liable.
The result was, in the words of a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, the creation of “the world’s largest crime scene” 30 miles from the Russian border. The area patrolled by separatist militia with little respect for the remains of the deceased passengers has seriously complicated recovery and forensic investigations by NTSB and FBI agents. Standard recovery procedures have been severely compromised by looters, and the forensic operation has become chaotic. Ukraine’s government accused pro-Russian rebels of removing 38 bodies from the scene of the crash and of trying to destroy evidence. The Russian separatists have made it difficult for the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe monitors to even approach the massive debris field.
Finding the MH17 black box and data recorder may be difficult if it has been removed from the scene, and other means may have to be used to corroborate the SA-11 missile attack. Certain data from the INMARSAT system drawn from the ill-fated flight’s engines may at least confirm altitude and flight conditions at the time of missile impact.
The Malaysian Air Flight MH17 incident sends a wake-up call to the Montreal-based UN International Civil Aviation Organization, and major country airways safety groups. These include the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington.
The incident may also lead other airlines to consider the ground-breaking anti-missile defense systems that Israel’s airlines, El Al, Arkia, and Israir are now installing on the Jewish nation’s civil aviation fleet. The SkyShield/Commercial Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasures (C-MUSIC) laser system was certified for use in February 2014 and was announced by Elbit Systems, Ltd. (Elbit) of Haifa, the major Israeli defense contractor that developed it.
SkyShield/C-MUSIC has the ability to deflect the guidance systems of incoming man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), using advanced laser technology and thermal imaging to deflect incoming threats by means of jamming their guidance system, usually well before the pilot of the plane may even be aware a threat is on its way. It has the potential of also protecting the plane from high altitude surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) like the SA-11 and the more sophisticated Russian S-300 systems, which have been sold to both Syria and Iran.
Israel’s program to develop this civil aviation missile defense system was prompted by a close call in Mombasa, Kenya, when a terrorist fired a MANPAD at an Israeli Arkia Boeing 757 with 261 passengers aboard in November 2002. That led to an Israeli government-sponsored development program that chose Elbit to develop the Sky Shield system. We understand that, despite the Arab Boycott of Israel, that both Qatar Airways and Emirates Airways have reached out to Elbit seeking information on the Sky Shield system for protection of their air fleets.
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Israeli government ran a series of live-fire trials of the SkyShield missile protection system in February 2014. Brigadier General Eytan Eshel, head of research and development at the Defense Ministry was very satisfied with the experiment, saying, “SkyShield has been validated under the most complex and sophisticated testing conditions ever conducted in Israel and … included a wide variety of threats that the SkyShield system would have to tackle in order to protect passenger aircraft. It is now ready to protect Israeli airlines . . . . The capabilities are extraordinary.”
Watch this brief Elbit YouTube video on how the SkyShield System operates:
There are potentially multiple terrorist threats from MANPADS and mobile air defense missiles that could attack civilian airliners in commercial air lanes over international waters. A 2012 Defense News report pointed out more than 20,000 MANPADS went missing from the arsenals of the late Libyan dictator Gaddafi. Less than 5,000 of those have been recovered. Some of those have been interdicted in transit across Egypt, destined for Hamas in Gaza, and Salafist and al Qaeda affiliates in the Sinai. The Islamic State, formerly ISIS, may have picked up MANPADS and air defense missile systems during its blitz-like conquest of both Syria and Iraq. Not only is the region awash in weapons in the bazaar of weapons-trafficking that now exists in the Middle East, but IS has been systematically looting the stores of American weapons that had been left for the Iraqi military by the departing US forces.
An ex-CIA covert operations officer, who goes by the nom de guerre “Beowulf,” considers a MANPAD attack on vulnerable US and foreign airlines a plausible scenario in the near term. As co-author Freedman commented, “only Israel’s national airline EL AL has fully equipped its fleet” with pods capable of deflecting MANPADS. Freedman observes that Israel is particularly vulnerable to MANPAD attack, as Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s primary international airport, is only kilometers away from the disputed West Bank, from where many of the attacks against Israel emanate. Having participated in a number of MANPADS threat exercises with DHS, the Coast Guard, FBI, TSA and other national security agencies, she underscores the seriousness of the concern. “MANPADS are a largely under-rated threat here in the US. But the threat is as real here as it is in the Middle East. MANPADs are relatively easy to acquire, transport discretely, and deploy from almost anywhere.”
In a US Aviation and Space Technology Weekly article on February 2014, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld discussed the MANPAD threat. She pointed out that while the US has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on development of a counter-measure, Israeli defense systems company Elbit has successfully developed and installed the light weight Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure system (MUSIC) for both aircraft and helicopters. Israelis are well respected for the speed and efficiency with which they are able to develop cutting edge technology, outperforming most high tech development around the world, and developed this highly sophisticated system within three years.
Ehrenfeld was asked why the American commercial aviation industry has resisted adopting what Israel’s El Al has done to protect its air fleet and passengers:
Despite the alarming spread of MANPADS, U.S. aviation security experts argue that the threat to America’s civil aviation fleet posed by MANPADS is minimal. They say the cost of equipping passenger aircraft with MANPAD countermeasure devices–estimated at $43 billion–is prohibitive and unjustified. However, if a single missile found its way to Hezbollah operatives in Mexico, was then smuggled into the U.S. and fired at any of the 7,000 aircraft comprising the U.S. civilian fleet it would be devastated. Then, U.S. government officials and airline executives could not claim they were unaware of the threat. They could be held responsible for hundreds of deaths.
The downing of MH17 has brought the threat of attacks against commercial airliners to a new level. Because shoulder-fired MANPADS generally have a target detection range of about 6 miles, and an engagement range of 4 miles, aircraft flying above 20,000 feet are relatively safe from them. But the use of a sophisticated SA-11 missile by Ukrainian/Russian separatists has changed the game. MH17 was reported to be flying at 33,000 feet, and was brought down by a SAM. The Israeli SkyShield/C-MUSIC system was developed to defend against multiple threats posed by MANPADS. Three general types of MANPADS use command line of sight, laser guided, and infra-red seeking technology. Whether SkyShield/C-MUSIC can also effectively deflect the longer range SAMs, such as the SA-11 or the S-300, using radar technology to hone it on its target, is not currently known.
However, the technology is already in place and this new threat is not likely to go unnoticed by Israel’s defense industry. Following the downing of MH17, improvements to SkyShield/C-MUSIC will undoubtedly provide a new standard of security for the entire airplane industry.
EDITORS NOTE: This article originally appeared on The New English Review. The featured image is courtesy of the UK Daily Mail.
For the past two days there are have been a spate of articles triggered by Newsweek contributing editor, Jeff Stein, who wrote a Spy Talk column with accusations alleging that Israeli Intelligence are operating in the US is at “alarming levels,” “Israel won’t stop spying on the US”. Stein’s accusations:
U.S. intelligence officials are saying—albeit very quietly, behind closed doors on Capitol Hill—that our Israeli “friends” have gone too far with their spying operations here.
According to classified briefings on legislation that would lower visa restrictions on Israeli citizens, Jerusalem’s efforts to steal U.S. secrets under the cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts have “crossed red lines.”
This despite a long term valued collaboration by US defense intelligence agencies with Israel. Stein’s anonymous sources appear to paint all Israelis as potential spies.
Stein’s allegations were immediately slammed by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and an Israeli Embassy official in Washington. The Jewish Press noted:
First of all, these are malicious accusations. . . I would not agree to any spying on the United States, not in any form, directly or indirectly.
Israeli Embassy spokesperson Aaron Sagui also flatly denied the charges, telling Newsweek, “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period. We condemn the fact that such outrageous, false allegations are being directed against Israel.
The Stein accusations come amidst strains in the relations between the Administration and Israel over the collapse of the failed final status agreements with the Palestinian Authority. This was reflected in Ynet interviews with an unidentified “senior US official” many believe to be former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk. The Ynet reports suggested that the US might impose its own terms on both the PA newly unified with Hamas and Israel.
Moreover, tensions between Washington and Jerusalem have increased over the latter’s criticism of the P5+1 talks with Iran over curtailment of its nuclear program. That may be part of the agenda that National Security Advisor Susan Rice brought yesterday for discussions with the Netanyahu government. Those intelligence red line accusations may be behind the tightening of visas for visiting Israelis. This sudden swirl triggered by the Stein piece in Newsweek has led to an unidentified senior Israeli diplomatic official suggesting in a Ynet report that the accusation may have been “tainted by a whiff of anti-Semitism.” That is reflected in Stein’s Newsweek Spy Talk column interviews with former CIA officials resurrecting the rogue Israeli intelligence operation involving imprisoned American spy Jonathan Pollard.
Jeff Stein appears to be touting a line perpetrated by a former FBI intelligence director, David Szady, back in the middle part of the last decade that there was an Israeli mole or moles borrowing into our national security establishment based on the Pollard conviction for spying. Just recall the FBI sting operation against former Defense analyst Larry Franklin at DoD used against the two former AIPAC senior staffers. Rosen and Weissman were falsely accused. A Federal Judge dismissed the wrongful prosecution brought as a result of Szady’s false accusations. I wrote about this eight years ago in an Israpundit article: “Are we all Jonathan Pollards, now?”
An AFP article, based on Stein’s Newsweek column cites unidentified former Congressional aides in his report said:
. . . a congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony “very sobering … alarming … even terrifying”, and quoted another as saying the behavior was “damaging.”
“No other country close to the United States continues to cross the line on espionage like the Israelis do,” said a former congressional staffer who attended another classified briefing in late 2013, according to Newsweek.
It said that briefing was one of several in recent months given by the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the FBI and the National Counterintelligence Directorate.
The former congressional staffer said the intelligence agencies did not give specifics, but cited “industrial espionage—folks coming over here on trade missions or with Israeli companies working in collaboration with American companies, [or] intelligence operatives being run directly by the government, which I assume meant out of the [Israeli] Embassy.”
Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and go far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, Britain and Japan, counter-intelligence agents told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees,.
“I don’t think anyone was surprised by these revelations,” the former aide was quoted as saying.
“But when you step back and hear … that there are no other countries taking advantage of our security relationship the way the Israelis are for espionage purposes, it is quite shocking”.
A 2011 Los Angeles Times op-ed by Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe, “Israel: A True Ally in the Middle East” noted:
Counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation is deep and extensive, with the United States and Israel working to advance their common interest in defeating the terrorism of Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda and its affiliate groups, and preventing nuclear proliferation in the region. There are joint Special Forces training and exercises and collaboration on shared targets.
This intimate relationship reinforces overall U.S. intelligence efforts by providing Washington with access to Israel’s unique set of capabilities for information collection and assessments on key countries and issues in the region. Such was the case, for example, when Israel passed to the United States conclusive photographic evidence in 2007 that Syria, with North Korean assistance, had made enormous strides toward “going hot” with a plutonium-producing reactor.
Slocombe was Undersecretary for Defense Policy at the Pentagon during the Clinton era, while Blackwill served as a diplomat during several Republican Administrations. Their comments in the Los Angeles Times report was drawn from a paper published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. A Tablet article cited the authors’ views in the paper at the time on the extensive Israeli contributions to US national security:
The paper offers chapter and verse on Israeli contributions to the U.S. national interest. They include: Israeli counter-proliferation efforts, such as the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility and the 2007 attack on Syria’s secret nuclear facility at al-Kibar; joint military training exercises, as well as exchanges on military doctrine; Israeli technology, like unmanned aerial systems, armored vehicle protection, defense against short-range rocket threats, and robotics; missile defense cooperation; counterterrorism and intelligence cooperation; and cyber defense. Blackwill and Slocombe conclude that the alliance is in fact so central to U.S. national interests that U.S. policymakers should find ways to further enhance cooperation with Jerusalem.
Fast forward to 2014. Stein’s Spy Talk column indicates that something sinister is going on in the Washington intelligence community. That Israel, globally recognized as an acknowledged leader in high tech in both civilian and military applications, needed to spy on US industrial developments. Doesn’t square. Stein’s anonymous sources on Capitol Hill and in the FBI, CIA, State Department and Homeland Security may be reflecting the Administration’s pique at Israel’s asserting its sovereign right to defend the Jewish nation. A Jewish nation with Jihadist threats ranging on all of its borders seeking its destruction.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.
Yesterday, we received a call alerting us to the shooting at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom assisted living center complex in Overland Park, Kansas. I called a member of my small synagogue here in Pensacola, Florida, a native of St. Joseph Missouri, who I knew had a relative who lived at the Overland Park Village Shalom assisted living complex. When he returned my call he said he had spoken to his cousin who said he was secure in a lockdown of the assisted living complex. Like millions of Americans my friend’s cousin wanted more details on the innocent victims and the perpetrator of this heinous crime. All we knew at the time was that the perpetrator had been apprehended allegedly shouting “Heil Hitler”.
For some hours news media locally in Kansas City and nationally wouldn’t reveal anything about the identities of the perpetrator and his victims. Tragically, as the facts emerged, we learned that the alleged perpetrator was a known Supremacist and ex-KKK official, who in 2006 and 2010 had run on a white supremacist platform for both the US House Senate, 73 year old Frazier Glenn Miller of Aurora, Missouri.
Two of the victims were a well regarded Johnson County physician and his talented 14 year old grandson, Dr. William Lewis Corporon and Reat Griffen Underwood, a freshman at Blue Valley High School. They were at the JCC for a singing contest. Both Dr. Corporan and his grandson were members of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leewood. Dr. Corporon had moved to Kansas City from Oklahoma to be closer to his grandchildren.
The identity of the third murder victim, a Jewish woman shot in the parking lot of the assisted living center has yet to be identified. Similarly, the identity of the Jewish teenager being treated in a local hospital was shot several times and seriously wounded by Miller in the JCC parking lot Her identity has not been revealed.
Miller had allegedly stalked his victims with a question, “Are you Jewish”. His hatred was so febrile that without receiving an answer from Dr. Corporon and his grandson, Reat, he shot them simply because he presumed they were. Blind hatred knows no bounds; these Christian victims of yesterday’s mindless tragedy were simply in the way of his murderous anti-Semitic intent to kill Jews at the beginning of Holy Week. A period that celebrates the festival of Passover commemorating Freedom of Ancient Israelites from enslavement in Egypt and the resurrection of Christ on Good Friday, prelude to the Joy of Easter.
That imagery was evident in the remarks of Senior pastor at their Methodist church, Rev. Adam Hamilton, who said:
This is obviously a horrible, horrible thing that you wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through. They are really remarkable people. Being with them, what stood out was their strength of faith and confidence that this was not God’s will.
Reat’s mother, Mindy Corporon, speaking with amazing composure at an interfaith gathering at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Overland Park said:
I am the mother of the son, who was killed. I came upon the scene very, very quickly, before the police, before the ambulances. And I knew immediately that they were in heaven. I know they are in heaven together.
We were having life, and I want you to know that we are going to have more life.
Watch this Kansas City Star YouTube video of Mindy Corporon’s remarks at the interfaith gathering in Overland Park, Kansas:
Pastor Hamilton in his remarks noted the support network in the community and the imagery of a Good Friday memorial service:
They have a great network who want to be there and care for them. They said we have the utter confidence that our son and dad are together with God now; that brings them comfort. Their hope is that something good will come from this. This evil thing this person has done will not have the final word here.
Somehow it seems fitting that on Good Friday, when Christ’s own death was taking place and yet out of that horrible evil there was going to be something good that would come from it. And that’s really part of what we’re looking at here.
The Southern Poverty Law Center noted the long dossier of the perpetrator Miller:
Miller has been involved in the white supremacist movement for most of his life. He founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and was its “grand dragon” in the 1980s. The Army veteran and retired truck driver later founded another white supremacist group, the White Patriot Party, the center said.
Miller was the subject of a nationwide manhunt in 1987 for violating the terms of his bond while appealing a North Carolina conviction for operating a paramilitary camp. The search ended after federal agents found Miller and three other men in an Ozark mobile home, which was filled with hand grenades, automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Miller tried running for U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010, espousing a white power platform each time.
President Obama offered his condolences to the victims of this hate crime by Supremacist Miller amidst FBI investigations along with local law enforcement officials in Overland Park, Kansas. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback vowed to bring the perpetrators and others involved to Justice, saying:
My heart and prayers are with all those who were affected by today’s events. We will pursue justice aggressively for these victims and criminal charges against the perpetrator or perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, said in an email comment that “no community should have to face a moment such as this one.”
But sadly we must remember the tragic assault eight years ago in July 2006, by a Muslim supremacist at the offices of the Jewish Federation in Seattle when the assailant penetrated security, shot six and killed one member of the staff.
Blind hate in Seattle and blind hate yesterday in Overland Park, Kansas were both spurred by supremacist hatred of both Jews and Christians.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured painting is titled “Consumed” by artist Jennifer Hansen. Hansen writes:
Before I became a Christian, I was oblivious to sin and the authority of Christ. I could care less for religious things, and hated anything that had to do with Jesus. I failed to see my need for a Savior; Let alone seeing Jesus as being the only way. My series “Wasting Away” reveals the effects, and reality of sin, which is rebellion against God. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Romans 6:21. The work expresses human depravity, destructive desires, and suffering in desolate urban environments. It pictures the finiteness of people, and impending death. The absence of a single light source emphasizes the blindness of the individual against such conditions, and failure to discern the way out; which emphasizes the need for hope.
I work with graphite, charcoal, and oil on white gessoed canvas. My process includes many translucent layers of oil on top of dry media to show each layer and stage of the painting. This symbolizes the complexities of people and how we are each not yet completed; we are a “work in progress”. The viewer is meant to be able to “peer” through the window of the person, seeing ones vulnerability and exposing the deep recesses of the heart; which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9
Despite the dark tone of my work, the overall message is to magnify and communicate the hope of the Gospel: Jesus Christ died and rose again to save sinners according to the scriptures. Your sin is worthy of death before a holy and righteous God. But God being compassionate and merciful, sent His own Son, Jesus who was mocked, scourged, beaten, and crucified for our sin. He alone bore the penalty and satisfied the wrath of God, taking the punishment you deserve. Then, rising again from the dead, conquering sin and death, Christ is seated at the right hand of God ever living and reigning. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is already condemned, because He has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation: that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-19.”
News about this new report is circulating as an exoneration of the FBI, as it is referred to explicitly in the last paragraph of this New York Times report. However, it is not really an exoneration at all. It is an attempt to displace blame for the FBI’s dropping the ball on watching Tamerlan Tsarnaev before the Boston Marathon jihad bombing from the FBI to the Russians. The problem with this attempt, however, is that while the report says that the Russians refused to give the FBI further information, it acknowledges that they told the feds that Tamerlan Tsarnaev “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer” and that he “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”
Those “underground groups” could in this context only have been a reference to jihad groups. And so the Russians essentially told the FBI that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a jihadi, and that wasn’t enough for the FBI to keep him under close surveillance? They didn’t pursue watching him and his brother because they hadn’t “found anything substantive that ties them to a terrorist group.” The possibility that they could have pulled off a lone wolf jihad attack apparently didn’t occur to these intel experts.
The FBI clearly failed in this case and bears some responsibility for the Boston bombing, but ultimately the responsibility lies with Barack Obama and John Brennan, who made sure that agents would be abysmally ignorant of Islam and jihad when they scrubbed all mention of both from counterterror training — so how could the FBI properly evaluate what the Russians told them?
“Russia Didn’t Share All Details on Boston Bombing Suspect, Report Says,” by Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt for the New York Times, April 9:
WASHINGTON — The Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack, according to an inspector general’s report.
Russian officials had told the F.B.I. in 2011 that the suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer” and that Mr. Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”
But after an initial investigation by the F.B.I., the Russians declined several requests for additional information about Mr. Tsarnaev, according to the report, a review of how intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing.
At the time, American law enforcement officials believed that Mr. Tsarnaev posed a far greater threat to Russia.
The new inspector general’s report found that it was only after the bombing occurred last April that the Russians shared with the F.B.I. the additional intelligence, including information from a telephone conversation the Russian authorities had intercepted between Mr. Tsarnaev and his mother in which they discussed Islamic jihad.
“They found that the Russians did not provide all the information that they had on him back then, and based on everything that was available the F.B.I. did all that it could,” said a senior American official briefed on the review.
Mr. Tsarnaev, who was killed attempting to elude the police, and his brother, Dzhokhar, are believed to be the sole suspects in the attack, which killed three people and injured more than 200 near the marathon’s finish line. The Justice Department said in January that it would seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Federal authorities have uncovered little evidence tying the brothers to an international terrorist organization. F.B.I. agents who traveled to Dagestan, a region in Russia’s North Caucasus where Tamerlan Tsarnaev went in 2012 during a particularly violent period there, found nothing that showed he received training or encouragement from terrorists.
“At this point it looks like they were homegrown violent extremists,” the senior official said. “We certainly aren’t in a position to rule anything out, but at this point we haven’t found anything substantive that ties them to a terrorist group.”
The report was produced by the inspector general of the Intelligence Community, which has responsibility for 17 separate agencies, and the inspectors general from the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. It has not been made public, but members of Congress are scheduled to be briefed on it Thursday, and some of its findings are expected to be released before Tuesday, the first anniversary of the bombings.
Its contents were described by several senior American officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the report has not been publicly released.
The review is similar to an internal review the F.B.I. conducted after the bombing. In that review, the bureau found that its agents had been restrained from conducting a more extensive investigation because of federal laws and Justice Department guidelines that prevent them from using surveillance tools like wiretapping in investigations like those conducted on Mr. Tsarnaev before the bombings.
“Had they known what the Russians knew they probably would have been able to do more under our investigative guidelines, but would they have uncovered the plot? That’s very hard to say,” one senior official said.
While the review largely exonerates the F.B.I., it does say that agents in the Boston area who investigated the Russian intelligence in 2011 could have conducted a few more interviews when they first examined the information.
The report also recommends several steps it says the F.B.I. should take to more effectively share information with state and local authorities, the officials said. The F.B.I., which has worked with police chiefs from around the country over the past year on how it can better share information, has already adopted several of the recommendations, according to the officials.
When the F.B.I. disclosed shortly after the bombing that it had received information from the Russians, congressional Republicans and a few Democrats, including Representative William Keating of Massachusetts, criticized the bureau for not continuing to track him when he left to visit Dagestan and for not questioning him on his return in 2012.
“It’s people like this that you don’t want to let out of your sight, and this was a mistake,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “I don’t know if our laws were inefficient or if the F.B.I. failed, but we’re at war with radical Islamists, and we need to up our game.”
As part of its investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, F.B.I. agents examined his criminal and educational records and his Internet search history. They also interviewed him, his parents and people at his school. It was after those investigative efforts uncovered little that F.B.I. agents stationed in Moscow went back to the Russian authorities and requested any additional information they had on Mr. Tsarnaev, who immigrated to the United States from Dagestan a little more than a decade ago.
The exoneration of the F.B.I. stands in contrast to the findings of a similar investigation conducted after the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Tex., in which 13 people were killed. After the shooting, a former bureau director, William H. Webster, conducted a formal review of the investigation into the gunman, Nidal Malik Hasan, before and after the attack. That review said the F.B.I. had mishandled information garnered from intelligence, and it led to changes in the way the agency shares information.
Jeffrey Roman from Data Breach Today reported on the 2012 cyber attack against the Sheriff of Lake County, Florida computers. Roman wrote, “Hacktivists associated with Anonymous have reportedly released sensitive information from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. According to WKMG Local 6, hackers who came from an Internet server in Russia posted 16,000 files online, which include 911 calls, witness and victim statements, names of young crime victims, and names of Central Florida SWAT team members and their personal phone numbers, as well as the SWAT unit’s operating guide, the number of team members and number of snipers.”
“The hacking group LulzKnightz, which associates itself with AntiSec and Anonymous, has claimed responsibility, and took to a Pastebin page to post the data online, which equals 4.7 gigabytes of information,” notes Roman.
In a statement posted to that page, LulzKnightz explained its justification for the attack, saying, “More evidence that the illegitimate justice system protects their own, who get away with rampant corruption and theft, while the police apply unconstitutional profiling and pressure in their efforts to raise their arrest quotas and keep homeland security money rolling in.”
But is this attack about exposing an “illegitimate justice system”, “rampant corruption and theft” or something else?
Who was really behind this attack on a Florida sheriff’s computers and why? The who: The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service – Служба Внешней Разведки. The why: International espionage.
The Lake County Sheriff’s computers were targeted, as are tens of thousands of other law enforcement computers, by a foreign government – Russia. The purpose is to gather intelligence. Russia monitors groups like LulzKnighz, AntiSec and Anonymous. In some cases, Russia embeds its own people into these and other hacker organizations to gather needed intelligence. These groups become a cover for Russian intelligence operations. As one expert in cyber warfare put it, “Some of these hackers may be ignorant of the fact they are being used, but they are not innocent.”
In this particular case the data traveled to an Adidas server in Romania and then to servers in Moscow. Foreign intelligence services monitor hacker groups daily and when they detect a breach, such as what happened in the Lake County Sheriff case, they tag along and take what they really want. Who gets the blame? Not the Russians, of course, but Anonymous who is more than happy to take the credit. The consequences of these attacks have a direct impact on US national security.
The Russians wanted the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) usernames and passwords on the Lake County Sheriff’s computers. Why? Because many of the members of the JTTF use the same username and password for their own department computers. This gives Russia access to a variety of federal computer systems like that of the FBI.
Anonymous is being used by Russian intelligence. Some members of Anonymous, and other groups, are actually plants. Others do it as proxies, a.k.a. spies, being paid by the Russians in Bitcoins for their work. Some just do it for the fun of exposing an “illegitimate justice system” and unknowingly are aiding and abetting treason against the United States.
Perhaps Anonymous needs to vett who their members really are? Some of them are part of Russia’s “illegitimate justice system”.
EDITORS NOTE: The feature photo is of members of the ‘Anonymous’ group travel on the London Underground system between Scientology’s Queen Victoria Street and Tottenham Court Road offices. The masks are those of everyman ‘V’ from the film ‘V for Vendetta’. It is courtesy of James Harrison.
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Most of my adult life I lived and worked in the ever changing world of law enforcement. I feel I put in my time and have the right to provide my analysis on law enforcement in America, and their effectiveness in fighting Islamic based terrorism and their lack of support of the American Patriots who love our country and Constitution.
I will break the various categories of U.S. law enforcement down into four groups:
Group 1: Local and County law enforcement officers
Group 2: State law enforcement officers
Group 3: The dozens of 1811 federal law enforcement officers excluding the FBI.
Group 4: The FBI
Group 5: U.S. Military
Our country has always needed law enforcement officers at all levels of government to enforce the laws of our land in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. For the most part they have been effective … up until the sad day on 11 September 2001.
On 911 I was an active (1811) U.S. Federal Agent. I fell into Group 3. It is my honor to say I did not fall into Group 4. On 911 I saw our country change, and not for the better. This is the day I saw the early stages of a wide separation of the Group 1 officers and the FBI (Group 4).
Group 1: Group 1 officers have always been the backbone of our country. Over our young history they have always been the ones with their eyes on the ground and an inner loving and respect for America. They handled law enforcement matters for the most part with a firm, heavy hand when needed, but knew when to back off when required. Their training normally consisted of ‘on the job training’. They were the American citizens best friend, the true defenders of our U.S. Constitution, and a menace to lawbreakers.. They were not always right, but their intentions normally were. They are often the lowest paid and hardest worked. These officers have a Police Chief, Sheriff, but more often than not there were only a couple of officers assigned to a small town area. In other words their management oversight was low. They worked together as one unit protecting America.
Groups 2 and 3: These officers were normally trained to a higher level and their pay was higher. These two groups had more oversight than group 1 officers. Their organizations were often led by people who were career managers and not law enforcement officers. Politics and pleasing politicians were an every day occurrence. Before 911 these officers worked hard days and nights and did their best to stay out of the media and politicians line of view. These officers put the U.S. Constitution ahead of politics, but often their higher management became politician ‘pleasers’ instead of supporting their street level officers.
Group 4: The FBI. Since it’s founding in 1935 it has always been managed by non elected politicians. The first duty of FBI management has always been to fight for the attention from the media, and to do their best to please their masters (Senior U.S. Government politicians all the way up to the White House). FBI Agent were taught directly from the academy that they were America’s super investigators. They had the money allocated to them that was always in excess of what they truly needed. The egos of most FBI Agents is way higher than their true value to America. Many great street level Agents, but they are taught to be glory hounds. The FBI routinely take over local, county, and state investigations when there is even a hint of nationwide media attention. 1811 Federal Agents who fall into Group 3 attend the same academy and receive the same training, but with the help of the media and politicians (through continuous butt kissing) they are portrayed as a more clever investigator. In actuality they are not. They just have more government money to look pretty. The FBI often get involved in military cases and overseas investigations, although they have no authority to do so.
Group 5: The U.S. military. This group of several hundred thousand are not supposed to be involved in U.S. law enforcement activities. Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 Prior to 911 they seldom were. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 was intended to prevent U.S. military from enforcing U.S. civilian law. The role of the military was to defend our country from outside forces. For 200 plus years they have been very honorable.
AFTER 11 September 2001: Prior to 911, the dividing lines between each of the five groups has always been well laid out. Each of the groups knew their roles and duties in enforcing civilian law in America. I noticed a major change after 911. All of the groups have seen an increase in department funding, primarily due to counter-terrorism money granted by the federal government.
Their lines now overlap one another. Even small police departments have been provided money they never knew existed. They now have the money to buy military style uniforms, military style weapons, and many now have the egos of FBI Agents (both undeserved). Their goals are no longer to protect the citizens in their communities, they now have the media, politicians, and federal money dispatchers to please. Group 1 now want to look like highly trained combat military soldiers. Their departments have new patrol cars, expensive SWAT gear, RV’s for HQ operations, and they are now 10 times more likely to be seen giving news conferences on trivial matters.
Nice equipment, authoritative combat gear, tanks, drones, and other costly equipment does not make any of the groups any better in handling Islamic based terrorism events if they do not have the proper training. Current none of the groups (1 -5) are being properly trained to defend our country against Islamic based terrorist groups. Few are ever taught Arabic or can even use the term Islam in their investigations.
Our former leaders never intended for our local, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers to be U.S. military personnel. The lines were drawn over 200 years ago and for a reason. Our forefathers have always known that the closer law enforcement are to senior government officials their mindset changes. We do not need our local law enforcement who police a community of 500 to have the type of equipment our U.S. military have. Why? Because the higher you get to the top of the federal government, the more corrupt people become.
As the non commissioned officers are the backbone of our military (ask any commissioned officer), the backbone of defending America from within as the first-line defenders are the local and county law enforcement officers. The more political and ego driven they become, the less prepared they are to fight Islamic based terrorism.
Another lesson: We could help resolve our country’s high debt ceiling if we were to abolish the FBI. This agency costs billions a year to fund, and the vast majority of cases could be handled by Groups 1, 2, 3, and 5.