Thursday, June 23, 2016
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
To understand terrorism it is important to understand the difference between war and terrorism. It can be argued that war itself is a criminal act. That is a discussion for another time. Many people recognize the difference between war, terrorism and crime. Putting it into words can be difficult.
War is a conflict between nations. War is waged within the rules that have been established by treaties. These rules cover everything from how soldiers dress to how armies interact with civilian populations. War is a violent conflict, but it is controlled violence within bounds.
Terrorism is a method that uses violence to achieve societal change. The violence used is not constrained by the rules of War. The more horrible the act the more effective the result is the axiom of terrorism. It is important to remember no matter how noble the cause may seem, terrorism is not an accepted method of war.
When studying terrorism it is important to understand the history of terror as a weapon and why it is seen as an effective method. One of the earliest examples of terror as a method is found in the writings of Josephus (37-100 AD). It is important to note that Josephus, though a Jew, wrote for a Roman audience and sided with Rome. This article uses much of Josephus's The Jewish War and his observations of the conflict. There is a great deal of scholarly discussion concerning Josephus, but this article stays out of the political discussion and attempts to stay strictly on the methods used prior to, during, and the aftermath of the war.
The time period that this article is concerned with is from approximately 30 AD to 135 AD. During this time Rome was the only superpower controlling most of Europe and what is now known as the middle east.
At that time in what is now Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and part of Iraq the Romans referred to the area as Judea. Within Judea was a smaller region known as Galilee. The most important city within Galilee was Jerusalem.
Judea was a problem for the Romans. The Jewish population and Rome had very little in common. The Jews were monotheistic (one god) while the Romans were polytheistic (many gods). The methods of worship, and the degree of belief in one god was impossible for many Romans to understand. I will not delve into this issue. Suffice it to say, the Jews and Romans were bound to be at odds on everything.
Rome had developed a method of assimilation when it conquered a new area. Its first step was to subjugate the population. They did this by conducting a census. The census would include all properties owned and was used to tax the population. The idea of paying a tax to Rome was a form of slavery as far as the Jews were concerned. The census was the spark that ignited 200 years of revolt in Judea.
Following their formula of assimilation the Romans allowed the Jewish religious practices and its government to govern the people. The exception to this were any groups or individuals that the Romans felt were a threat to their control. The Romans left no doubt that even though the Jewish nobility could rule the Jewish population, the Romans were in control.
In response to the Roman census, and taxation a rebel group was formed to resist the Romans. Josephus refers to these rebels as the Zealots. The Zealots were violently opposed to everything Roman. It was due to their violent revolt that they came into conflict with the Rabbis. The Rabbis advocated peaceful treaties.
The Zealots operated as a guerrilla force at times, and other times they operated as larger military forces. This was most evident during the Jewish Roman war of 66-70 AD. The Zealots were not terrorists. They fought directly against Roman forces and sought to occupy territory like other armies. They did not target the general population.
A Study in the Strategy of Terrorism.
Judea was socially divided into three main classes. The Roman, Priests/Nobility, and the Poor classes. As discussed earlier the Romans used the Priests and Nobility as a buffer to deal with the Poor. However, within the Priests and Nobility there were still power plays at work, and this internal strife was used to manipulate the Roman rule. This is an environment ripe for terrorist strategies.
It had become known to the Romans that the High Priest Jonathon was conspiring against the Romans. To counter this the Romans hired Jewish assassins to kill Jonathon. These assassins would become known as the Sicarii.
Sicarii is the latin word for "dagger men". The term Sicarii was used in the same way as terrorist is used today. The Sicarii operated in a totally new way. They did not target the Romans. Instead the targeted the Jews. The assassination of Jonathon is an example of how they operated.
During one of the Jewish festivals Jonathon would be in attendance to give a blessing. As Jonathon pushed his way through the crowd a loud scream went up from the people closest to Jonathon. Men were screaming that the High Priest had been killed. The crowd saw many men covered in blood cradling the lifeless Jonathon. The men were crying and shouting for the people to find the assassins.
The people became frenzied in search of the mysterious murderers. Meanwhile the assassins joined the crowd in calling for the Romans to help. The call went unanswered.
This was the first recorded attack by the Sicarii. Over the next decade the Sicarii attacked Jewish nobility. They were experts at killing in plain sight, and slipping away as part of the crowd. These actions led to division among the Priest and Nobility class. Everyone was suspect.
Laws were passed by the Priests and Nobility that further burdened the poor. Of course this was used to by the Zealots to strengthen their forces. The Sicarii's actions also made it clear to the Priests and Nobility that the Romans were not able to protect them.
The Strategy of Terrorism is not for a terrorist to win in direct battle with an opponent. Terrorists attack the very fabric of a society. By creating an environment in which a society is unsure of its leaders ability to protect it, the society will be forced to change. Terrorism is a method that uses unbounded violence to achieve societal change.
At the end of the Jewish War, Rome maintained control of Judea. The Romans changed their tactic of gradual assimilation and took direct control of Judea. The renamed it to Syria/Palestine. They sent their most ruthless commanders to take control of the region. The outlawed many of the Jewish religious practices. The Sicarii eventually faded to a memory, but they proved the effectiveness to bring about social change. It may not have been the change the Sicarii wanted.
Terrorism is a method of violence to bring about social change. It is not bound by the rules of war and everyone is a valid target. This makes combating the strategy of terrorism a very difficult task. What would you do to combat terrorism, without affecting the social structure of America?
Sunday, April 3, 2016
Tracking the Money
Al-Rashid Trust (ART)
Founder: Mufti Mohammed Rashid
Narrative: Founded in 1996. ART describes itself as a charitable organization. It denounces the United States and Western countries support of Israel. They support the Taliban, and funded Osama Bin Laden. They were placed on the U.S. list of organizations that fund terrorism after 9/11.
Where do they get their money? They state that their money comes from donation, however, they also run a medical school in India under the name Al-Ameen Charitable Trust Fund. The School is almost completely Muslim, with the exception of Hindu students that they were required to enroll due to Indian government mandates. Operating as medical schools that are supported by local government is one way these groups collect money for use in radical Islamist organizations.
AKA: Al Amin Welfare Trust
AKA: Al Amin Trust
AKA: Al Ameen Trust
AKA: Al-Ameen Trust
AKA: Al Madina Trust
AKA: Al Amin Trust
AKA: Al Ameen Trust
AKA: Al-Ameen Trust
AKA: Al Madina Trust
AKA: Al-Madina Trust
A1-Akhtar Trust International
AKA: Pakistan Relief Foundation
AKA: Pakistani Relief Foundation
AKA: Azmat-e-Pakistan Trust
AKA: Azmat Pakistan Trust
AKA: Pakistan Relief Foundation
AKA: Pakistani Relief Foundation
AKA: Azmat-e-Pakistan Trust
AKA: Azmat Pakistan Trust
Thursday, March 31, 2016
The 1950's were an exciting and turbulent time in America. Things were changing and some of these changes would not be felt until the 1960's and beyond.
Elvis Presley was a superstar, this made him the heart throb of every girl and the bane of every parent. His sexually explicit performances and rebel persona was selling records. Then came the draft. In 1956 Elvis turned 21 making him eligible for the draft. On his 22nd birthday he was classified 1-A and would be drafted early in 1958. However, his movie contract with Paramount allowed him to defer his actual enlistment until late March 1958.
Elvis was offered the chance to serve in the Special Services. If he accepted he would have special housing, and his life would change very little. Col. Tom Parker, Elvis's manager had a better plan. He knew if Elvis performed for the Special Services he would not be paid, and all of his performances would be filmed and recorded, then sold all over the world. Col. Parker convinced Elvis that if he enlisted as a regular soldier he could gain the trust of the parents and end up a bigger star. And that is exactly what happened in 1958.
Orville and Wilbur Wright had proven that powered flight was possible in 1903. It was not until 1926 that the federal government created rules for flight under the Department of Commerce. In 1938 the Civil Aeronautics Authority was given the task of air safety, airports, and air traffic control. In 1940 president Roosevelt split the CAA into two parts. A new agency the Civil Aeronautics Board was tasked with accident investigation, and regulating the financial rules for airlines. This all changed in 1958.
After a series of mid-air collisions the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 created a single authority for all aspects of air travel. The Federal Aviation Agency was created in 1958.
America was stupid. Well at least according to the government. In 1958 the National Defense Education Act was passed. Its goal was to increase education in technological fields to counter the growing threat posed by the Soviet Unions launching of Sputnik. By issuing student loans and other aid to schools at all levels the government hoped to increase the brain power of America.
Of course that leads us to the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was to have a civilian vs military leaning. NASA was intended to create a peaceful application of science and space exploration. Space, in 1958.
The Soviet Union ended its occupation of Romania in 1958. Having occupied Romania since 1944, the Romanians had gone through extensive “reeducation” and its political fate was tied to the Soviet Bloc.
In July 1958, Lebanon was threatened by a civil war between Maronite Christians and Muslims. Much of the crisis had to do with the Christians wanting to remain pro-western, and the Muslims wanting to join the United Arab Republic that had been formed by Egypt and Syria. U.S. Marines and Lebanese Army forces maintained control of the port and airport of Beirut. When the president of Lebanon completed his term the crisis ended.
It all happened in 1958.
Monday, March 14, 2016
An open letter to Government.
I am writing you to illustrate an issue that you have created for us. By us I mean “We the people”. You may have heard of us? I know that for the most part you only think of us during election cycles, but we suffer at the hands of your political wrangling every day.
Today an issue crossed my desk that I can not ignore. It appears you are considering increasing the salary of the Veterans Administration's administrators. As a retired USAF veteran this is not only appalling, but an insult to every veteran in this nation.
I am lucky. I do not have to use the VA for my healthcare, but many of my fellow veterans do. I have friends caught up in the system just to get the healthcare. Others, are caught up in the system receiving sub-standard healthcare. This is an issue that I personally find a failure of Government. And you, our elected representative are Government.
Let me illustrate something you may not be aware of. In the military we are a team. We give everything we have both physically and mentally to completing our responsibility to the team and this country.
If we fall down and get hurt, we get up and continue to push ourselves to reach the objective. Whether it is war time or not is not the issue. Military members are hurt and killed everyday, even in the politically defined era of peace. Only in those cases where we have been hurt so badly we can no longer reach the objective to we seek medical help. That is what we are expected to do.
Yet, when we finish our terms of service, we are expected to prove our injuries are related to military service. Why are you requiring this? If I had gone to the hospital for every boo boo that might cause me issues in the future, I would have not been very effective. This is the problem of Government, I am expected to do my best, and rewarded with the least.
Oh I have medals, and shiny ribbons. Even letters that say really nice things about me. Ever tried putting those things on a wound? They don't do much. Yet my fellow veterans must prove to you that they have injuries that apply to their military service. News Flash, everything that is wrong with me today is related to my military service. And there are no records of them, because as a kid I had no idea they would be required.
So I will be as gentle as I can with my recommendations. I am only gentle because I am aware most of you never served in the military.
Lets make it so the VA has to prove that our present issues are NOT related to military service. Lets stop pretending to worry about fraud, waste and abuse, and start holding the VA administrators responsible for perpetrating fraud, waste, and abuse. For a VA official to claim they were not aware is an admission of their incompetence. FIRE THEM. If I had told any of my commanders that I was not aware of my troops screwing up, they would have taken my stripes and sent me packing.
As our representatives I hold you personally responsible for this issue. I consider the issues with the VA to be an indicator of your ability to other parts of your job. Don't waste my time telling me what you are Going to Do, Do it.
Friday, March 11, 2016
As I hurtle towards the Florida Primary I have been reflecting on the primary race. The Democrats have made it easy for me...they are both nuts. So, you won't see them in this article. Now the Republicans on the other hand have had so many candidates I don't remember who most of them were. Thankfully most of them eventually dropped out. Its not that all these candidates were bad. In fact, I would have voted for most of them.
At first I was concerned that Jeb Bush would march to a coronation. Its not that Jeb is a bad guy, or would make a bad president, but Jeb vs Hillary just didn't sound like a winner. Of course Scott Walker, who really had me at first, either saw the light, or just made a show. Then there was the 300 pound ego in the room, and I don't mean Chris Christie.
I know, some of my friends like Trump. So I suggest you stop reading this right here. For those of you that are left, lets talk about Trump. Since he started his campaign he has said...nothing. Listening to his speeches are a lesson in bad scripts. Do you want a used car salesman as president? He's yuge. A big ol' stupid Yankee.
That really only leaves us with Ted, Marco, and that Kasich guy. I'll get Kasich out of the way first.
Kasich is so moderate he could have been Al Gore. We had Al Gore...and he burned out (I hope you get the reference). I'm in shock that I can even spell the guys name. No disrespect intended.
Now it comes down to who can beat Hillary? Which brings up an important point...and Trump reenters the conversation. Hang on to your reading goggles this is going to be a wild one.
In 2008, a large number (yuge) stayed home because Ron Paul didn't make the nomination. In 2012, a large number stayed home because Ron Paul didn't make the nomination. In both cases, if Ron Paul had gotten the Nomination, Obama would have beat him. So, the results would not have changed.
Today things have gotten really freaky. If Trump wins a large portion of the Ted and Marco crowd will stay home. If Ted wins, the Trump and Marco crowd stays home. If Marco wins (the only one that CAN beat Hillary), the Ted and Trump crowd stays home. So, in the end...Hillary wins.
So, in short, the people that took their ball and went home in 2008 and 2012, have now infected everyone. Thanks for that. You have given America a huge case of COOTIES.
STOP...you are just about to say but what if....
Hillary gets indicted? Ain't gonna happen.
But my guy can convince the others to join with us. Lord have mercy you are dense to believe that.
Trump can make it happen. Ok Jethro, Jed and Granny want their idiot back.
So you...you are the one that makes the decision. Will you vote for your enemy to beat an evil, or will you make my words come true?
I used to hear, “I want my country back?” It sounded like a bunch of children crying for more ice cream. YOU are the one that can take this country back. Expecting a politician to do it for you is not only lazy, but just plain un-American. Now go take that country back.
Stay tuned for more on what you can do to take your country back.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Home Security Basics
Home security is where you can begin to protect yourself. The following are inexpensive ways to enhance your home security.
Call your local police department's crime prevention unit. For no cost they will do a security assessment of your home and property. The assessment is a great way to have someone with experience give you tricks and tips you can put into practice right away. Best of all it is free.
Evaluate your home by looking at it from the outside.
What can you see from the street? Many times we love letting the sun in, but what can others see from the street?
Don't stop at the street. Move in closer to determine how close someone needs to get to check out your home.
Think like a criminal. How would a criminal sneak up on your home? Where could they hide to ambush you? Your local police can really help in this area.
Do these checks for both day and night.
Did you know you can buy and install window treatments that will let light in, allow you to see out, but stops someone outside from seeing in?
Clean it up.
Bushes, flags, banners, and walls are all great for their beauty, but the also hide what an intruder is up to.
Lock it up.
What type of locks do you have on your doors and windows? How can someone defeat these locks? The police assessment will address these issues. If the officer doesn't ask him. Intruders can be stopped or at least delayed if these locks are not easily defeated. Did you know that many homes can be entered by just using a knife?
Look before you go.
A quick look out windows can give you an idea if someone is there. There are many peep holes you can buy for doors that will allow you a wide range of view. You can even buy and install cameras for under $200 that will give you both day and night vision in those areas you can't see.
You do not need to purchase a service to protect your home. There are many alarm systems you can buy that will emit loud alarms that will scare off many intruders, and alert you and your neighbors. Most can be installed by you.
If you decide to buy a firearm, spend some extra on how to use it effectively and keep it safely in your home. If you decide to skip a firearm purchase pepper spray, or other non-lethal devices.
Talk to your family.
Discuss with your family what to do if they suspect an intruder. Come up with a safe word that every family member knows. This will keep them from accidentally shooting, or spraying you. Discuss every scenario you can think of and come up with plans. Make it fun, and test these from time to time.
Security by Obscurity.
Don't tell anyone what you are doing in terms of security. Loose lips sink ships. Be aware of who you let into your house. Those of you with kids this will be difficult, but many break ins and home invasions are committed by people who have actually visited the home.
These are just a few of the things you can actively do to add to your protection. The police are an excellent source of information, so do not hesitate to call them to help you.