Abortion: One Land/Two Nations

The woman I have been living with full-time for the last 62 plus years is very opinioned. By that, I mean she has no trouble expressing her feelings and, if so inclined, will disembowel you with a winning smile. In the same vein, I had as my supervisor, the chair of the litigation department in a major law firm who could fire you and you felt you had gotten an early Christmas present. For the last decade, I have written this commentary without restraint– my objectives being the revealing and dissection of issues facing our national security and combating counterterrorism. It may seem, therefore, like an untenable stretch to segue from national security issues to the headlines whipping across every local and national paper and every radio /television network: the Supreme Court rewriting decades of history and sending Roe v. Wade to the “has been” category. My wife has been unbridled in her assertion that we are heading into a very dangerous post Roe period. Many decades ago, attacking a writing assignment from my newly anointed professor in the English Department of NYU, I wrote a very long, tedious poem called: xyz My professor, John F. Morgan, called it a very long tedious “propaganda piece”.

The essence of that monologue was my attempt to describe a series of links in a chain that made up the evolution of the human race and our humanity as individuals. At the end of the day, we are each judged, as I attempted to convey, as being a portion of one of those links or a link unto itself. The rest of us get washed away with the dust. In discarding the decades of Roe, we put our very fragile nation in jeopardy. Black v. White, Slavery v. Freedom, rich v. poor, desires v. disappointments. Will we be sliding into a national security crisis with widespread violence if Roe is overturned? I predict yes.

On the day FDR died my mother miscarried for the second time. An elderly friend of my father became the father of triplets at the age of 70. A woman dies in childbirth and others die without being able to ever conceive. I was conceived because my parents wanted a child. “Our” children were conceived when my wife and I jointly decided we wanted children. It was our decision if-and- when we would have children. Unlike China, where guidelines are set as to when and if you are to have a child, to the number of children you are required to “produce;” it was thought in the United States that those decisions, along with the ability to obtain an abortion, were left to the individuals involved. An important parallel issue is found in South Dakota, where lawmakers are engaged in an unrelenting attack on the rights and safety of transgender young people. Last week, that state House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it a felony for medical professionals to provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth.

The political and legal landscape is changing at an unprecedent speed, and it portends a serious backlash on both sides of the argument: who decides when and if you are going to have a child, the health of our children and the issues of abortion. As that discussion escalates, I fear that as we intensify the conversation, a national security issue involving violence on a national scale will evolve. This has been confirmed in an unclassified May 13 memo by DHS’ intelligence arm, warning that threats that followed the leak of the draft opinion — targeting Supreme Court Justices, lawmakers and other public officials, as well as clergy and health care providers — “are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling.” The memo continues that ‘the violence will come from both the left and right.” In essence, are we becoming two nations with more than ideological differences? It appears we are heading in that direction.

What is clear is that abortion providers and their employees are facing increased harassment and outright threats to their wellbeing, and much too often there has been actual violence. The statistics reveal that the intensity of the hostility has been increasing over the years. On New Year’s Eve an arson attack destroyed an abortion clinic in Tennessee. Three months ago, an Ohio man plead guilty to threating to murder an abortion client and bomb the clinic where she sought treatment. And the list goes on. These types of events will only increase in intensity as Roe v Wade is destroyed by our ultraconservative Supreme Court, and the ultra-right states are waiting to immediately fill the void with legislation that equates abortion with felony murder. Within days of posting this Commentary, Oklahoma passed legislation that will ban abortion from the moment of fertilization, and the attempt to codify Roe v Wade died in the Senate, as I finished this Commentary.

The National Abortion Federation’s on violence has reported: “disruption against abortion clinics found that in 2020 reports of assault and battery increased 125% compared to 2019. Death threats against abortion providers more than doubled. In 2019, clinics reported suspicious packages or hoax packages, while in 2020 they reported a whopping 27. Reports of arson, attempted bombing, vandalism, stalking, hate mail and harassing calls, as well as hate email and internet harassment, also rose.” This is a damming report and is setting out a road map with the coming demise of Roe. The enactment of restrictive anti-abortion laws by state legislatures reached a new high in the last year. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 44% of the state abortion restrictions enacted since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 were passed in the last decade. In 2021, states passed a record number of laws—over 100. The number of new laws in states like Arkansas and Oklahoma reached double digits. With the Supreme Court poised to uphold Mississippi’s blatantly unconstitutional 15-week abortion ban, other states, similar to Florida have followed suit and passed nearly identical provisions. Louisiana was on the cusp of adopting a measure that could have allowed a woman and her doctor, after obtaining an abortion, to be charged with murder. In Louisiana it was claimed that a woman who miscarries would be “afraid to seek treatment for fear that she and her doctor would be accused of taking abortion inducing drugs “ utilized in the process to protect the mother during medical treatment,” reports the WSJ. There about 22 states poised to ban or heavily restrict abortions.

As the political and cultural landscape is increasingly hostile to abortion – one need only look at Florida and Texas – and it appears that it is becoming acceptable to act out your objection to abortion. With that as a new backdrop to the curtailing and dismembering of abortion rights, the security issue becomes apparent. It is no longer a question of each state protecting those who support abortion rights. In some states, the state legislature is authorizing and encouraging its citizens to “snitch and turn in” their neighbors who they believe have had or have aided an abortion and receive a bounty in return. It reminds me of Nazi Germany and turning in those who you “believe” to be a “Jew.” A crime to drive one out one’s home state for an abortion; a crime to order an abortion pill from out of state? There is a call on the right for a national anti-abortion legislation. In one state, if you wish to order an out-of-state abortion remedy you must leave your home state to place the call.

At the outset, there is clear constitutional law stating the right of the individual to travel anywhere within the United States without regard to state borders. I have the right to travel between New York and New Jersey, and neither one has the right to prohibit or impede travel. That was decided by the Supreme Court back in the 30s when those affected by the dust bowl attempted to travel from the deep South to California and were stopped at the California boarder by state troopers. A series of issues emerges around the rights for those who believe in the right of a woman to control their own reproductive rights. Can a state prevent a woman by an injunction from traveling to a clinic in a supportive abortion state or nation? Can a state charge one who has obtained an abortion and any “accomplices” with a local state crime upon their return to their home state? What will be the response of the state sponsored bounty hunters? Will states like Texas and Florida protect those persons who seek an out of state abortion?

At the outset, what is needed immediately, is a national security law that makes it a federal crime to harass, intimidate, physically attack or imped those who seek or assist a in obtaining an abortion in a crime free abortion state or nation. In today’s charged political and social climate, with the willingness to engage in harassment and violence, nothing less is essential on a national level.

Richard Allan
The Editor

Beware the Chinese App

When Whoppie blew it big on national television it, seemed sensational, and the Washington Red Skins sucked it in after two years to become the Commanders and was then accused of shady financial dealings which I couldn’t care less about, and then we, humble beings, had begun to celebrate the Chinese’s new year – “Tiger,” which to me and a lot of other people symbolizes courage and bravery. It then slowly crept into the headline news that” the number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York increased by 24 percent last year to the highest level in decades, including a surge in the number of assaults,” – both criminal and noncriminal incidents targeting Jews, according to an annual report released by the Anti-Defamation League. Then every inch of news reporting was aimed at and continues to be the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Ukraine has become a symbol of courage and bravery. All this activity took place while under the radar the director of the FBI Wray testified to Congress that the scale of Chinese spying here in the United States “blew me away.” His comment caught me left-footed.

With Putin in Moscow thumbing his nose, as emissaries from western nations pleading with him to cease and desist his invasion, more (3000) U.S. troops were sent east by Biden along with a series of ever-increasing sanctions and millions in military hardware. I was aware (see my prior commentaries) of the Chinese aggressively flexing their military muscle in every inch of the Far-East. And today China announced it has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands that has obviously raised growing concerns among Australia and the United States about the ever-expanding Chinese influence in the South Pacific. Among the alarming concerns is the agreement would enable China to build a military base – its first in he Pacific less than 1300 miles from Australia. The Solomon Islands, the scene of deadly right last year, sits on a key shipping lane between the U.S. and Asia. And lest we forget, China is the world’s largest producer of small, off-the-shelf drones. I was mostly in the dark as to the extent it was ramping up its spying and bulling activities, not merely on United States’ academic campuses but within the high tech industries here at home. There is an aggressive, full court Chinese spying in the United States as I write this Commentary. We should be very concerned.

Although the FBI has acknowledged “some misstep,” the bureau’s focus, it is presently claimed, is on the Chinese efforts to steal from American companies, not academia. It has however moved unsuccessfully against Chinese individuals in U.S. academic research.

As the FBI director was “blown away” during his presentation, one thing not mentioned was China’s National Intelligence Law. It is breathtaking in its simplicity and requires that all Chinese companies support the government’s national intelligence work by requiring them to not only share the data it collects during the use of their product – wherever sold, but, even more compelling, to create vulnerabilities in their product to aid the Chinese Communist Party in stealing information, data, trade secrets and anything else of economic value. So, when you utilize that Chinese created app for your business, you can be well assured that China knows all your trade secrets.

Obviously, those of us who reside within the continental United States need not worry about any Chinese aggressive use of armed forces striking our backyard vegetable gardens or the local Chrysler car plant, as north Korea boasts of that capacity. What should command our attention is an article written by Pete Williams, and what caught my eye in my follow-up research. We, in the United States, are by and large, an open and welcoming society, with what appears to be in a post pandemic world an unquenchable thirst and quest for labor at all levels of need. Nursing homes are closing their door to new patients for lack of staff, airlines are cancelling flights for lack of personal.

The Chinese forces that should draw our intense domestic scrutiny are those aimed at stealing our patents, scientific and economic knowledge at the “job” level or thru hacking. I recall many years ago, in the early years of teaching Entertainment Law, and discussing the Chinese theft of not yet released domestically, potentially bestselling novels. The Chinese would steal or hack from a U.S. publisher’s printing house copies of new novels before actual printing, flown overnight to China, mass printed in record time on cheap paper and binding and flown back before or at the very release of the authorized edition, as they hit the U.S. bookseller’s market. The legal publications where often overwhelmed before they were placed in the bookstore window for sale.

Pete William’s tells us that Chinese spying within the U.S. is so rampart and widespread that the FBI is launching at least two counterintelligence probes each day — with in excess of two thousand cases under investigation as I write this Commentary. This is a full court press by the FBI to meet what could be labeled a” tsunami of spying” by the Chinese each day in this Country. Although it has been well documented that other countries, including North Korea, Russia and Iran, have carried out sustained attacks on American computer networks, Wray said China stands in a class by itself — “(T)here’s just no other country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation, and economic security than China.”

Three years ago, the NYPD announced the procurement of 14 drones that were manufactured by a China-based company called Da Jiang Innovations (known as DJI Systems). In July of last year. the US Department of Defense released a memo stating that the DJI poses “potential threats to national security — “the company’s devices were indeed dangerous to the country and its citizens.”

When asked about the vulnerability of those devices that are potentially still in use by the NYPD, a spokesperson said: “we do not conduct activities that would be of national security value.” Surreptitiously, mapping of this particular City with its worldwide commercial activities, revealing its vulnerabilities is a national security issue.

“We don’t investigate based on race, or ethnicity, or constitutionally protected activity,” Wray said. “In fact, in many cases, Chinese Americans are some of the people most victimized by the Chinese government’s tactics that we’re describing.” My thought: if, as I have noted — “There’s just no other country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, innovation and economic security than China” then it behooves us to aggressively press forward not merely in the intensive investigation of economic/industrial sealing but also in the academic research arena. It is there where ideas are born, nurtured and then placed into corporate development and delivery. Clearly, we are presently at ever rising risk from aggressive Chinese expansion on all levels of international relations. It may be too late, if we limit our assault merely aimed at Chinese corporate spying.

Richard Allan
The Editor

White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi Send a Telegram

Commentary—White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi Send a Telegram

When I was a child, the word “Telegram” had a chilling effect. Western Union was a company that delivered messages ( called the” telegram”) by hand. They were printed on strips of paper which were then pasted on small yellow paper and placed in a sealed envelope. Delivered, night and day, by a boy on a bicycle. During WWII, more often than not, it was to notify a parent that their child had died in combat. In the 40s it rarely brought good news—“Uncle Loui is dying. Come Quick.” Later, it was used to say: Happy Birthday or to get money sent to someone in immediate need. There were 24 hour Western Union “telegram” stores in almost every community. Today, the word “telegram” has a different meaning and use. It is an internet platform and the favorite tool of the neo-Nazi, the white-supremacist, ISIS, the anti-vaxes and the rest of the haters. Matthew G. Olsen, the head of Justice’s National Security Division, in his opening remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee this month, noted that the number of FBI investigations of suspected domestic violent extremists had more than doubled since spring 2020.

A Telegram internet platform is a cloud-based chat and group messaging app. A “Telegram Channel is quite similar to WhatsApp’s Broadcast feature to send one-way broadcast messages to the members, commonly known as subscribers. Only the admins can send messages in Telegram Channels. Other people cannot reply or send messages on the Channel. “The…Telegram Group is like any other chat group where people can send messages and interact. That said, the group admins get permissions to restrict messages from members, make the group public or private, make other members as Admins….”
The idea of a “telegram” platform was initially developed by two Russian brothers –pro democracy activists who were forced to operate beyond the borders of their mother country and its control of the usual social platforms and to permit them to aim their direct attacks and harassment at the authoritarian regime in Moscow. As the use of the Internet increased—social platforms in the United States were employed as an attack weapon. The language employed by its users became, to some, unacceptable in tone and content. In time, the rules regulating the use of inflammatory speech on the customary internet platforms became so lax as to be non-existent. Very slowly, as social and political pressures built, platforms, such as Facebook, were forced to reverse their non-interference in the matter of content and to purge the extremist content. It was almost the end of January of this new year, that YouTube finally deactivated channels linked to the Oath Keepers—that had 45,000 subscribers–a militia group whose members have been charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol riot. The usual mainstream social media platforms that had been utilized to plan or promote the January 6th attack have reacted with varying degrees of responsiveness and speed in cancelling the terrorist/rioters accounts that were involved. But these deactivations, it is alleged, had another effect—it created the opportunity for another and clearly more dangerous type of platform—the Telegram to be created. The new “concept” by necessity became the ideal location sought by the extreme right who had been purged from the mainstream platforms.
The new platforms also became the perfect vehicle to dox (or doxx or doxing) someone. When one “doxs” –the short form for “dropping dox,” there is an online attack in which one digs up personal or confidential information and documents — hence, the “dox” part of “dropping dox” —or to expose the real identities of those hoping to remain anonymous. But very often the goal is to harass and identify those persons whom you wish to harm. Simply by publishing private information or documents it is their intent to injure their targets standing or reputation, getting revenge or even inviting physical attack. For example–On November 16, a neo-Nazi Telegram channel posted what it claimed to be the home or work addresses of members of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and the alleged home address of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky and the alleged address of her synagogue. All with the very obvious intent they become targets of attack and harassment. Steve Bannon despite his purge from YouTube, Spotify and other mainstream platforms found a place in the alternative universe.

Telegram has been transformed into a central command center for far-right sympathizers and potential terrorists, where content is more often shared widely within this volatile and hostile environment. Their posts typically revel and celebrate Hitler, ISIS, anti LGBT, defaming Jews, Israel and people of color, spread far-right philosophy and violence; they have become a mecca for anti-vaxers and the “agents of terror attacks” motivated by racial hatred.
The ADL first sounded Telegram’s extremism issues in 2015, when a number of ISIS-related channels and groups were found on the platform. Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, which my wife and I just missed, the ADL subsequently uncovered that the attackers had used a “Telegram” channel to communicate their intent and plans.
The Counter Extremism Project has reported that Telegram currently hosts in excess of 200,000 channels and groups. Although many channels are freely accessible, there are channels and groups (within the channels) that require a “digital key” (a link) to gain access and admission. Some have alleged that the majority of Telegram’s 200 million-plus users have nothing to do with extremists of any types. I doubt that conclusion. What is clear is there is a large cadre of far-right Republican conspirators and white separatists that have found Telegram to be a welcoming and safe haven to meet and plan online. The Anti-Holocaust channel describes itself as “A sequel based on the original folk tale.” On a Telegram channel for the white supremacist group, the Vorherrschaft Division, it promotes the murder of Blacks, gay people, Jews and others. Multiple white supremacist and neo-Nazi Telegram channels have alleged that Covid vaccines kill the recipients, most especially children, and view the vaccines as part of an anti-white plot perpetrated by Jews. The RapeWaffen Division channel is a white supremacist channel that openly promotes rape and murder as part of their mission in any race war. The infamous Rittenhouse murder dismissal was celebrated on the supremacists channel Keithworth, with 23,500 followers. The Texas synagogue hostage event that occurred this month brought a slew of comments on Telegram: On Poast, a forum popular with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, a user wrote during the hostage situation: “Good luck to the hero under siege in a Texas synagogue.” On one Telegram site the following: “Closest live stream of the Jew hostage situation…cheer on the hostage taker.” In a Gab Group, a user wrote: “Looks like a Kike synagogue has been taken hostage!!! Apparently, this is still going on as I type. DEATH TO THE KIKES, AND LETS ALL HOPE THEY GET BLOWN TO FUCK!!” Again, as reported in MEMRI: “Neo-Nazis and white supremacists expressed their displeasure with the successful release of the four Jewish hostages. On January 15, a user of a Telegram channel chat group expressed their disappointment with the event’s conclusion and wrote: “All Kikes released. Camelfucker is dead. Waste.”’ All this is happening now in the United States: “How many dead kikes?”

Most agree that the tracking of extremist’s channels employing Telegram have just uncovered the tip of the iceberg. It is very clear that law enforcement and those who assist in tracking and exposing the ills of this platform have much to learn, not merely in exposing them and their members but to attempt to force the termination of those channels by Telegram.
There is a neo-Nazi, white-supremacist network that describes itself as an “international survivalist and self-defense network”, training its members for an oncoming race war. The presence of these types of network also reach outside of the United States, and in recent months, it has been claimed by some analysists, have sought to both energies and to swell their ranks while holding survivalist training camps throughout the United States.

While researching for this commentary, a thought from past years came to mind. When my second grandson, then in his very early teens was and is now a computer/internet designer and creator, told me: “Papa I don’t want you to try to gain entrance to the ‘Dark Web’.” When I tried to get him to tell me more–what the Dark Web was all about– all he would reveal to me, in very broad terms, was that it was a very dangerous place full of “criminal activity”. I would think he would tell me something very different now if I were to ask him about “The Telegram”. A place something much more dangerous and insidious and not merely for those who wish to wander on the internet. The Telegram channels and its participants, beyond those who are allegedly learning how to knit or build a model airplane, are a direct danger not merely to the culture of our society but its very fabric, the foundations upon which this nation survives.

The Dark Web looks inward; the terrorist channels of Telegram look outward to instigate and conduct race wars and the murder of those “they” find unacceptable. Telegram is not merely a platform for venting anger but a dangerous, proactive invitation to join in violence based, not merely upon a general violent philosophy, but aimed at the very essence of how you and I chose to live.
Richard Allan
The Editor

What Falls After Afghanistan?

The morning after a hurricane hit the East Coast and a flash flood killed 21 people in Tennessee, the headlines in the NYT, Washington Post and the WSJ described the upheaval in Afghanistan — the U.S.  pulled out, expanding the safe zones around the perimeter of Kabul airport, as the US Secretary of Defense announced that: “We cannot afford to either not defend that airfield, or not have an airfield that secure, where we have hundreds or thousands of civilians that can access the airfield at will and put our forces at risk.” And then, terrorists killed American soldiers and civilians, the airlift is over, and some Americans are still stranded, as that country faces a possible new civil war and financial disaster as the opium trade increases.

NATO’s foreign ministers had warned the Taliban that they would not tolerate Afghanistan to once again, as it did twenty years before to become a safe haven and breeding ground for terrorism. The foreign ministers noted that it had denied the terrorists a staging area for terrorists’ attacks, and it was prepared to once again invest in its vital role. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not rule out the use of military strikes to support their position. “We have the capabilities to strike terrorist groups…” within Afghanistan. Then the bombings and deaths come at the hands of ISIS. And the killing of civilians moved to a new high rate. Is a civil war brewing?  More than likely that and more, when the Taliban and the tribes that roam the Country come to the inevitable realization that the Taliban do not have the basic “tools” to govern the country, notwithstanding the influx of funds with the increase opium trade. That said, two days after Thanksgiving, the Washington Post affirmed what I had written one week before, that the Taliban attacks against the terrorist group have expanded its “shadowy war” against the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan. The Talban have deployed an additional thousands more fighters to its eastern province in an increasingly violent area. The operation becomes a critical test of the government’s ability to govern after what was a clearly botched U.S. troop withdrawal. And the answer is that it is not. Notwithstanding its perceived success in the ongoing action against ISIS, the government’s ability to feed its population and sustain a working economy is failing. Afghanistan’s economy and social services are further collapsing as I write this sentence, with Afghans throughout the country already suffering acute malnutrition. The fear is that children will die in the coming months as winter sets in, and a call has reached the international community for aid.

Then, as I paused waiting further developments, other areas have become increasingly volatile and a danger both directly and indirectly to our national security. In the midst of this, and not totally unrelated, the Iranian Ayatollah Alireza Ebadi announced that: The Jews Are the Biggest Problem for Islam and Humanity – They Control The World. How will that threat play out with their growing rush toward being an international nuclear weapon player? Turkey, a strategically located country, and as I have written in the past with its President Erdogan’s moving closer to military ties with the Kremlin, saw the country sliding into economic turmoil. The current crises have its population seeking bread and meat subsidies and fleeing for what would be a better life in Europe.

The claims of territorial rights have escalated in intensity and have become dangerous flashpoints: Hong Kong is lost. The small businesses I know there are holding onto their international trade with their fingertips and their voices are becoming dimmer.

Taiwan’s independence and those nation-states that depend upon and claim territorial and navigation rights to the South China Sea and adjacent seaways for international and local commercial transportation, mineral rights exploration and fishing hold our attention. Add India vs China and India vs Pakistan. On October 12th India and China announced that a high level military meeting between the two sides failed to ease the standoff to their boarder dispute that has left 20 Indian and Chinese troops dead.

The United States, notwithstanding strongly claiming that vast areas of the South China sea and adjacent significant maritime areas as international water has, in the past decades, made a series of tactical and strategic – military decisions that have placed us second to China who now possesses the world’s largest navy. And by any measurement – size does matter and raises significant questions of the nature of future hostilities.

Could China invade Taiwan now? As China bangs the drums of war, and although it sent in excess of 56 fighter jets over Taiwan’s beleaguered air defense systems, the answer is clear: at this moment their naval advantage is not sufficient to risk that aggressive move. In any invasion of that magnitude it would severely disrupt China’s present economic growth at home and its dependence on world opinion to support that growth. China and China watchers think in terms of 5-6 years for hostilities (however that word is defined) to commence, but were rattled when it was announced that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile 3 months ago that circled the earth and landed close to its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability. Parenthetically, Putin had already boasted of achieving hypersonic missile capability, but without the Beijing’s range.

Will there be a hostile “reunification” of the wayward province–Taiwan–or as some believe, a peaceful absorption by Beijing. Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen has confirmed that U.S. military personnel are currently on the island as part of a “military exchange,” as she announced that the country’s 23 million residents would never “bow to pressure” in the face of the growing military threat from China. All the while, China practices amphibious troop landings, and Russian and Chinese warships conducted their first joint naval operations in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. The armada consisted of ten warships that sailed thru the Tsugaru straits that separate Japan’s major islands, rattling that country’s sense of security.

History is important: more than 70 years ago, during a civil war in China between the Nationalists and Communists, the Nationalists, after defeat on the battle field, retreated to Taiwan. It is important to understand on the international diplomatic level, Taiwan is not a nation-state, it has no seat at the United Nations and is recognized by 15 very small nations. At times in the past, life did flourish between the mainland and the democratic island. Today, the relationship is at its lowest level. China’s president announced that before the end of his tenure, he will see the return of the wayward “province” to the embrace of Beijing’s authority. And America’s president announced that we have an obligation to defend a democratic Taiwan.

Pakistan and India have a long feud regarding claims to territory in the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent since the partition of that area in 1947. Until the mid-19th century,  “Kashmir” denoted only a valley between two mountain ranges. Today, the term encompasses a larger area that includes Indian-administered territories, Pakistani-administered territories, and, as I’ve just learned, Chinese-administered territories. Today, India and Pakistan both claim the region in full. The Indian side of the region has been the scene of constant clashes between government forces and armed groups seeking Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan. At the same time, India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the frontier, to launch attacks. Naturally, Pakistan rejects the accusation, as it is accused of providing a safety zone for those jihadists who stage attacks in India.

Indian authorities have moved to shut down the internet as a “precautionary measure”, and have placed restrictions in Kashmir Valley. Police had ordered the civilians to refrain from walking on the streets.

India and Pakistan have fought four wars since their partition in 1947, three of them over Kashmir. China has remained silent. What makes this hotspot more volatile is that the United States and India have taken a major step in signing an agreement to develop an air-launched unmanned aerial vehicle, thereby deepening the defense technology between the two nations. India playing both sides of the street will welcome Russia’s Putin for a summit as Moscow begins the delivery of air defense missile systems to India. That could spur U.S. sanctions.

While the tensions run high in the India and Pakistan, they are unlikely to produce any significant, imminent fighting, other than cross-border sniping. Pakistan has long been a sinking pit for the American infusion of tens of billions of dollars in aid, most of it unaccounted for by its corrupt government. Although it has long been thought, in a positive way, as our partner in our “war” against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Without our financial aid, its government must totally rely upon its drug trade, which will undoubtedly be encouraged by the new Taliban chiefs in Afghanistan. One of those Afghan Taliban leaders, it has been frequently been reported in the press, is a protégé of the Pakistan military. All this must be viewed against a background that a corrupt Pakistan government holds the keys to a nuclear arsenal.

It appears that India, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, along with other smaller nation states in the South China Sea are trying to downplay the anxiety each feels (and attempts to shroud) when scrutinizing their individual relationship with the U.S.  Our present standing in the international community, after four years of the Trump Administration and our botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, has put these countries on edge. Are they each safe from any and all types of China incursion?  “The world has witnessed how the US evacuated its diplomats by helicopter while Taliban soldiers crowded into the presidential palace in Kabul,” the official and hawkish Beijing Chinese-English language newspaper wrote shortly after the Afghan Governments collapse. “This has dealt a heavy blow to the credibility and reliability of the U.S.”, the Chinese-English paper’s editorial continued. True or false – is it China propaganda (which they appear to be very good at), or are we in a world racked by an uncontrollable virus, shifting world political alliances and domestic political upheaval, causing confusion as we attempt to refocus our international priorities?

Two very different American Presidents planned to carry out our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Two very different American Presidents view this nation’s already contentious and hostile future with China; where we have no hotline as with Russia. The increasing, dangerous threats and aggressive activities from China necessitate the United States to shift its national security focus from the Mid-East and focus on China and the Indo-Pacific arena. The Chinese will learn that they will have to refocus and consider a more robust, offensive United States to its East, and to the west the Uighurs, whose plight is more and more being examined by the international press. They are a predominantly Muslim group of Turkic ethnicity and who live in China’s North-Western Xinjiang Province. China appears to view them as a national security threat to Beijing’s hard rule, and has subjected them to internationally condemned severe treatment.

Then the day after Thanksgiving, what started as a sunless cold day, the Global financial market plunged on the opening bell following the discovery of a new viral variant in southern Africa that top advisors warned was the “most worrying we’ve seen.”  I thought: is there no place to hide?

The Editor

War Over An Island

War Over An Island?

The experts are placing the odds where WWIII will explode and the consensus is that it is Taiwan. This unsettling prediction comes at a time when the world’s super powers are straining and, in some cases, failing to move politically toward some degree of bipartisanship in their own domestic governing. The United States is torn politically in half, and that affects not only the ability to govern both nationally and locally, but our health is at stake with our inability to confront a killing virus. Fact: Half the country won’t take the vaccine, and that places the rest of us in danger. In France, neither the French president nor his party have strong local support, nor does the right-wing National Rally party. We have cancelled a trip to England. Cruise ships are basically sitting in port. And as I write this, the United States and its allies condemn China for hacking the Microsoft Exchange email server that affected tens of thousands not merely in the United States but around the world. All this as it unveiled the world’s fastest train– a maglev train capable of a top speed of 372mph.

Although Taiwan is the focus of this Commentary, I feel it would be remiss not to pause to consider the state of Hong Kong. China, contrary to its agreement with the UK, has begun to squeeze the last vestiges of a democratic form of governance from the former UK colony. Four federal agencies have warned U.S. companies in mid-July that operating in Hong Kong puts both their employees and businesses at the mercy of an increasingly hostile Chinese government.  The potential impact is huge: U.S. direct investment in Hong Kong totaled $82 billion in just one year. On a personal level, I fear for an Indian Muslim whose family has lived for generations in Hong Kong and who I have known for years. He operates a small, international family custom clothing business in the former colony. He and his family’s business have a bleak future with no guarantee of survival both financially and privately.

In the past, I have written about China’s aggressive stance and its hostile advances in the South China Sea. At lightning speed, Beijing built military installations on artificial islands and small, coral reefs and now aggressively confronts their small neighboring nations in their own territorial waters. China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

More than once, our naval or air force has had dangerously close encounters with the Chinese that have placed the U.S. on high alert, causing serious concerns around the world. India and China keep sending fresh troops to their common border where sporadic, small arms firing have taken place. We are moving far past these types of unsettling, aggressive markers, in the escalation toward a much greater and dangerous conflict with a belligerent and powerful nation.

There is no question that “China poses the greatest long-term challenge to the United States’. Strengthening deterrence against China will require the Department of Defense to work in concert with other instruments of national power,” this by the Pentagon’s 2022 Defense Budget Overview. There has been a marked escalation in the tone and posture of the confrontation between China and United States. And it is palpable.

To emphasize the importance of the Pentagon statement: it requested in excess of 715 billion dollars for its military budget for the year 2022. With an additional 38 billion dollars sought for the design and production of a nuclear arsenal. As one commentator called the move: “The U.S. is preparing for a high-intensity” war to “out run” and overwhelm China. There is a small bipartisan group of lawmakers who seek additional sums in order to provide “billions” in aid to our “Asian allies” looking toward what will inevitably be an ever increasingly hostile technological race with China.

At dinner with my wife, I was discussing my thoughts regarding this Commentary. She was unaware of the history of Taiwan, an island along with some smaller islands, off the coast of mainland China. After the end of WWII, fighting continued to rage in China but now, after the defeat of Japan, a brutal Chinese revolution. The fighting between the Nationalist Party (headed by Chiang Kai-shek also known famously as Generalissimo, who served as head of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1949) and those who allegiance was to the Chinese Communists Party. The Generalissimo, after being defeated on the battle ground and forced from power, he (with his iron fisted wife who was as popular as he) were exiled by the Chinese Communists to Taiwan where 1.2 million Chinese followed, and where he serve as president of the Republic of China on Taiwan. There are over 23 million Chinese presently living in Taiwan. As the decades past, the tensions between China and Taiwan built, as the Taiwanese leaders slowly but steadily moved the “Island” from a dependent political status to claiming to be a fully independent nation. Labeled as a defector nation or, as Beijing considered the island — a renegade province.

The island’s political status posed a serious bone of contention in the United States’ relation with China, which has only continued to escalate over decades. In the late 70s, the two countries entered into an agreement that any move by Beijing to attempt to change Taiwan’s status by force, would be considered by the U.S. a “threat to the peace and security of…and of grave concern, to the United States.” As analyzed, the wording in the agreement neither guarantees our intervention in the event of armed attack against the island, nor does it rule it out. There are those in Congress today who believe, because of the level of increased tension between the two nations, that it is time to change the ambiguity in the U.S. commitment to ”strategic clarity”: that we will come to the defense of Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

In July of this year, the Global Times Editorial page published a striking opinion: The Chinese Ministry of National Defense issued a warning that the U.S. stop playing “with fire in its relationship with Taiwan”.  “The U.S. and the island of Taiwan have felt heavy pressure from the increasing strength of the mainland and its preparation for potential military struggle.” The Taiwan government not only continues to reject the idea of reunification, but holds on to the idea of being internationally accepted as an independent nation before the UN. Also, the Global Times editor notes that the “U.S. also has the intention of containing China’s rise” as an international power.  It is interesting to note that every year China celebrates a victory over the United States. We know it as the Korean War; the Chinese call it the “War to Resist American Aggression and Aid to Korea”. China does not let the world forget America’s loss.

When Mao Zedong’s “People’s Volunteer Army” turned back the U.S. Eighth Army in December 1950, it inflicted what is still known today as the longest retreat in American military history. Clearly, China has unquestioned strategic dominance in the Taiwan Straits. It also has the capacity to deploy overwhelming military forces in the South China Sea. It is building its navy at great-neck speed, but with less fire power than the U.S. navy. The Express.co.uk reported that the Chinese threat—that the U.S. will be defeated in any military confrontation with China, was in response to the largest joint military drills that were being carried out by the U.S. The U.S. joint drills with Japan, Australia and France in “one of the most complex deployments (the U.S.) has ever organized” and was clearly intended as a show of force aimed at Beijing.

China’s leader had described the U.S. led military exercises in southern Japan, involving troops and hardware from the four nations, as” a waste of fuel”, adding that the drill had “no impact” on China and that there will be a reunification with the wayward province.

While China continues to claim authority over virtually the entire South China Sea and, as noted above, it has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. It also claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a functioning democracy of 24 million people, despite the fact that the two “nations” have been governed separately in excess of seven decades. It is almost certain that the China-U.S. confrontation will only escalate. The question is: will it plateau without a shot being fired and both sides claiming victory.

Something to think about—we all know what a spy is. We’ve seen enough movies and read enough John Le Carre books. You steal a top secret file, microfilm it, and hide in a hollowed out pen that you place behind a rock in Central Park and walk away. On the other hand, a mole is one who arrives in the United States and disappears and melds seamlessly into a nondescript community and waits, and waits and waits. Months, maybe years, waiting for the order from the mother country to do an act that will severely injure the host nation.
In reading the following, do not make any comparisons to our unconscionable actions toward the Japanese-American population on the West Coast at the beginning of WWII. Unlike with China today, there were not decades upon decades of open hostility between Japan and the United States prior to December 7th. How many “Chinatowns” are there in the United States? There are fifty– located mainly in major cities. New York City has 4 or 5 such major enclaves within its five boroughs. How many “Americantowns” are there in China? First, the Chinese do not allow an immigrant to remain too long within the country, and, two, there are too few Americans in China to form a town. So the answer is: none. If war were to erupt between the two nations think about this.

               Richard Allan

                       The Editor

A Clear and Present Danger—NOW and What’s Missing.

The UK mounted a multi-nation naval exercise to sail the Black Sea, as international tension rose a Russian destroyer shot across the bow of one of the UK’s warships; U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots after a close encounter with Iranian vessels; Hezbollah’s German presence grows despite terrorist designation; The Russians enlarge their Artic military presence; US-UK Warn of new worldwide Russian cyberespionage; Biden has leveled meaningful sanctions against Russia and is drafting and considering more; An attack by drones on Iran’s centrifuge production facility in Karaj caused major damage, and with all this upon us, American’s in huge numbers, clutching their vaccination passports, began the rush to airports. The nation, as of late June and early July, started to stare at a map of the world, trying to anticipate who would “hit” us next? As noted below, I have been writing about terrorism since 1990, and for almost the entire time I reached out to the international community to discern their secrets and understand their thinking’s. Today, this tact is the Wrong Direction to Look and More.

Just prior to 1990, I sought a sabbatical from my law school, as I became interested in what I then considered mundane questions concerning the act of terrorism. All to the dismay of Dean David Trager, the then Dean of Brooklyn Law School: “Who studies that craziness?” At that time those interested in terrorism were a handful of academics studying the history of political and religious violence. There was little if any writing, let alone analysis as to the then current state of terrorism, its structure and impact. For the next four decades my focus has been just that: terrorism/counterterrorism/national security as it has arrived at our door step all seemingly from abroad. In the 90s, I spent time at INTERPOL (did a study for them) in Lyon, France, then worked with the head of their Counter-terrorism division, a seconded FBI agent, and spent time in Jerusalem with the counter-terrorism advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel. Time has changed all that focus.

Our greatest danger of a terrorist attack, at this very moment comes from within our boarders by our “fellow-Americans”. Those people who live down the block. The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, by Timothy McVeigh, who detonated a truck bomb outside a federal building, killing 168 people with scores of children, remains the deadliest homegrown terrorist attack in American history. But it was an aberration at that time.

In early spring of this year, DHS reported that the US intelligence community has increased its “development, production, and sharing of intelligence and other actionable information central to countering domestic terrorism, which now poses the most significant and immediate terrorism-related threat to the United State.” Then in mid-May the DHS reported: “Today’s terrorism-related threat landscape is more complex, more dynamic, and more diversified than it was several years ago. “ Then it posted: “Violent extremists may seek to exploit the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions across the United States to conduct attacks against a broader range of targets after previous public capacity limits reduced opportunities for lethal attacks.” It then went on to state: “Historically, mass-casualty Domestic Violent Extremist (DVE) attacks linked to racially- or ethnically-motivated violent extremists have targeted houses of worship and crowded commercial facilities or gatherings” . Some terrorist advocates, via social media and online platforms, have outlined their plans for a race war with the premise that civil disorder would rip thru local communities, one after the other, to provide them the opportunities to engage in extended violence and to further their ideological and social objectives.

When combining these prior statements, the overall message can be no more clearly stated—or frightening—domestic terrorism, here, now. This is what our nation faces. At the outset let’s be clear; ransomware attacks, like Colonial Pipeline or a massive meat processor, are not terrorist’s attacks. Nor am I thinking about the overused term “Militias”—those created by some self-appointed civilian group, who like the sound of the word, whose definition is neither clear nor precise nor created by a legitimate act of a governmental agency. I am not referring to II Amendment of our Constitution which permits a well-regulated “Militias” that are governmentally created or those that are established and sanctioned by a state.

Not coincidental, almost simultaneously with the warnings from our own intelligence community, London’s Metropolitan Police have said that as the COVID risk dwindles in Europe, warnings should be issued across Europe of renewed terrorist threats as they witnessed an increase movement of extremism and of ISIS or as some refer to as “Daesh”. With all this, we appear to watching the rebirth and growing influence of the defeated Islamic State, as they fester in their refugee camps. They have, within the last few weeks, have attached LEDs to buses that pass thru crowded districts.

As the data reveals, terrorism events in the U.S. are now soring to new heights. The vast majority executed by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim groups and those few who label themselves as “just anti-government-grievance” driven. The number of all domestic terrorism attacks peaked last year, with most coming at the hands of those who overtly support the white supremacy ideology and those influenced by foreign terrorist and political groups of the far right. Their victims are, as my former colleague Dick Farrell would say, “non- discriminational” –Blacks, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ, Asians and anybody else who “looks different” from the attacker or is a member of a different religious institution. Kenneth Robinson, pastor of Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte — one of several Black churches that has been attacked— said some his members remain apprehensive—“Trauma is a way of life…” The data reveals that over the past six years, 16 mosques and 13 synagogues were attacked or threatened by extremists on the far right .The bold headlines during late May underline the spike in antisemitism connected with hate speech and violence. Asian women are openly attacked on the street. The scope of today’s terrorism threat and the scope of the new battlefield is more complex, fluid, more diversified, more jarring in its tone then it was not too many years ago. It feels closer to home and more dangerous.

In general terms, the international terrorist threat to U.S. interests, as noted by some commentators can be divided into three categories: the radical international jihad movement, the formalized terrorist organizations, and state sponsors of international terrorism. Each of these categories represents a threat to U.S. interests abroad, but, more importantly, and today in the United States. The most serious international terrorist threat to U.S. interest’s today stems from Sunni Islamic extremists, such as Usama Bin Laden and individuals affiliated with his Al-Qaeda organization And we have statutes that address those issues. But today the focus must be on the domestic threat, whether it be the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers or Three Percenters or the hundreds, yes hundreds of other domestic violence groups. The domestic terrorist is our present day greatest threat. That fact that since Jan 6th, the far-right groups are beset by internal leadership turmoil and financial stress should not be relied upon to minimize either our understanding or appreciation of their potential for extreme violence.

The January 6 insurrection at the Capital could be viewed as a raucous national convention of terrorists groups and the wanna-be terrorist, each trying to outdo the other in the volume of insults they could hurdle and violence they could inflict. People died. Police were permanently injured. And incredibly, there are people who deny the reality of the event. Equally, or maybe more important was the clear failure of intelligence to warn the appropriate authorities prior to the Jan 6 insurrection. The FBI director has failed to answer for that failure. But the failure goes beyond the FBI.

Looking to see who are the most aggressive actors—one need only look to the CSIS database as one of the best public sources of information about domestic terrorism incidents. What is particularly troublesome is that more involvement in far-right attacks and plots are by military service members, veterans and current and former police officers, some of whom participated in the riot at the Capitol. FBI Director Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 2. “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.” As far back in April 2009, Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment held–“Right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda”. Biden’s homeland security adviser, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall , believes that most terrorists are lone actor: “there is no top-down “ leadership.” I do not believe that is totally accurate and misleading. There are groups of persons loosely connected with the same aim or target of their hatred and vitriol that coalesce for a terrorist strike without a formally appointed or agreed upon leader who would organize and put a plan into formal operation. They are as dangerous, and in some cases more dangerous, as the more formalized groups.

This month the President issued a 32 page memo that sought to coordinate efforts across the government in law enforcement. He called for new spending at the Justice Department and FBI to hire analysts, investigators and prosecutors; greater information-sharing between the federal government and state and local enforcement partners, as well as with tech companies. What it didn’t do is to suggest or propose what has been lacking for years: a national criminal terrorist statute. We have no federal terrorist statute, even as the FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told Congress that the bureau had made “close to 500 arrests” in connection with the Capitol insurrection attack. Wray has said that the total number of domestic terrorism investigations increased to 2,000 from 1,400 at the end of last year.

It is incomprehensible that at this stage in our history, with the dramatic rise of domestic terrorism we have no federal criminal statute to charge the domestic terrorist. Law enforcement is forced to fall back on other laws and statues not initially designed to address the violence of the domestic terrorist. Why?

Richard Allan,
The Editor

“I Spy” — Not the TV Series

I was hooked on a spy novel set in England and France, prior to and just after, the D-Day invasion of Europe. Much of the story is based upon now verifiable facts. A good portion of the novel reinforces the depth of our understanding of French complicity with their invaders, after being occupied by German forces. Over the decades since 1945, no matter how much the various governing forces in Paris might try to sugar coat their so-called WWII resistance, the truth shines thru and it is more than shameful. In particular, most evil were the French police who directed and operated the first of “round-ups” under occupation that occurred on July 16-17(immediately after Bastille Day in 1942) so not to upset the general population). Unaided by the occupying German army, the French police began its first rounded up– 13,000 Jewish men, women and children, and sent them to their ultimate extermination. Those sent in the cattle cars to their death didn’t encounter one German soldier until they arrived at the infamous death camp. Obviously, our information gathering technique – spying–has moved light years in its sophistication since WWII or the “hot & cold wars” that followed. Today, after decades of ferreting out Russian spies and holding congressional investigations—some infamous, our eyes-on-spies have turned west to China. And rightfully so.

It has been noted by some commentators, that after gunpowder and the ongoing development of nuclear weapons, the “third revolution” in the art of warfare is artificial intelligence (AI). I respectfully disagree. Before the first rock was hurled, before we migrated out of Africa, across continents and open sea, after the dinosaurs ended their reign, we spied upon our enemy– that other creature also hobbling on its two hind legs, or that animal we required for the warmth of its skin and food. And today, as I research and write this Commentary, I am forced by necessity with all the noise surrounding me to ask: “What’s all this Tik Tok business?” So off I went in search of what all “young people” are craving and raving about. I had seen headlines in the financial columns of last year, of Trump getting involved (why is that?), and the Chinese government flexing its muscle every time Tik Tok is mentioned. Now I learned that you can get it free. What could be better? And from a country whose exports last year rose to their highest level notwithstanding the pandemic, and while the rest of the world faced economic downturn. Then I read that Tic Tok, known as Douyan in China, is a “free social application for creating, editing ad sharing videos” all developed in China by ByteDance initially for the Chinese market. While it steadily gained in worldwide popularity, the Americans became involved. This all sounds perfectly innocent to me — a place for all that unspent young energy creating and editing while sharing your videos for all that music and dancing. There are 14 million TikTokkers in the U.S. alone. It now embraces sports and the NFL with all their celebrities.

When I was a kid, there were bars all over the city that had right next to the open front door –opposite the bar — a food table with steaming slabs of meat. A sign in the window said: “Free Lunch!” Staring at it one day with the corn beef smell wafting across the sidewalk, my father looked at the sign, the gleam in my eyes and said: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” It was one of the most important lessons of my life.

Let’s work backwards for a moment.

It is now 70 years since Beijing was fully engaged with us in Korean War, and in acknowledging that anniversary, the Chinese announced that they are, although always willing to negotiate with Washington, they prepare for war on a moment’s notice. They have just announced that they are seeking thru genetic manipulation, the ability to create a “super” soldier for combat. China is reported to be among the biggest traders, funders and infrastructure builders, along with being the preferred lenders to Africa, Central and Southeast Asia. And moving to consolidate its political and military reach, it is crushing Hong Kong’s democracy. The absorbing of Twain into its control would be its next logical target, along with it hostile grabbing of assets in the vast seas spreading out from mainland China. In very rare instances does China succumb to international criticism. And it has signaled that it doesn’t intend to stand down in the current crises in the China Sea.

To carry out its influence in activities abroad, the Chinese government employs two units , the first—the United Front Work —directs “overseas Chinese work,” which seeks to co-opt ethnic Chinese individuals and communities living outside China, while another unit of the government’s strategy seeks to influence targeting foreign actors and states.

Beijing “is engaged in a highly sophisticated malign foreign influence campaign,” FBI director Chris Wray ( who will stay on in the Biden Administration) said in a July 2020 speech: these efforts involve “subversive, undeclared, criminal, or coercive attempts to sway our government’s policies, distort our country’s public discourse, and undermine confidence in our democratic processes and values,” One year later Avril D. Haines, President Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence, took questions from senators (1/19/21), during his confirmation hearing, and revealed that in espionage as in other aspects of our relationship, China is clearly an aggressive and dangerous adversary. The intelligence community, he testified, has to work to counter “their aggressive and unfair actions, in including the glaring problem that we do not having enough Mandarin-speaking analysts.” Haines said she recognized that “China is focused on a very long-term horizon, where the United States frequently is not.” There are presently 25,000 Chinese intelligence agents embedded in the United States. Not including about 15,000 recruited agents. This is not hyperbole. It is more than disturbing. Starting in 2010, the CIA began to lose its imbedded agents in China. Keep this in mind as we learn that China has launched more satellites than any other country this year. This puts China on track to win the space launch race three years in a row.

All this in light of the economic relationship between China and the United States– two overt adversaries: the U.S. national debt has grown during the covid attack, and so today it is around 25-26 trillion dollars with most of it owned by United States players—of that amount, China owns around 1.1 trillion dollars. But its fingers, in our financial wellbeing, must also take into account that Hong Kong ( now under China’s thumb) is the fifth largest holder of our financial debt and that China buys U.S. Treasury securities thru custodial accounts in Belgium (the 10th largest holder of U.S. debt) ,among other nations. China, while actively seeking inroads in our security, holds a heavy hammer on our financial wellbeing.

It is claimed, in multiple law suits that when you log onto Tic Toc, not the only “company” employed by China to make headlines ( i.e., Huawei, China National Offshore Oil Corp) as they intentionally worm their way into our security systems, you are opening your device to a complete invasion of your cyber-system. Read the terms of your acceptance of Tic Toc -–but first I suggest you go to law school so that you can begin to understand their overwhelming claim of rights. Then set aside a day to be able to read the entire document. In one class action it is claimed: “TikToc clandestinely has vacuumed up and transferred to servers in China vast quantities of private and personally-identifiable user data that can be employed to identify, profile, and track the location and activities of users in the United States now and in the future,”

With the new Administration, sanctions will be imposed; there will no longer be unrecorded conversations with Putin and Moscow. The Biden Administration will aggressively investigate Russian hacking and election interference as part of its elevation of cybersecurity issues in U.S. national security policy. There will be a greater show of force and “push back” by the United States to reign in China’s overt and covert hostile moves. And there will be a more concerted effort to stop and roll back China’s spy network in the United States and in cyberspace.

Richard Allan,

The Editor

Who “Owns” The United States

My grandmother was my love, my protector and one of the reasons I was tubby. She was also a master of negotiations with the innate skill of protecting ones’ turf and a keen sense of when to strike when her feelings of what was right were violated. She also knew when she had blundered by immediately saying: “I didn’t said it “which foreclosed any further discussion of her mistake. No one owned her, not even the cancer that killed her.

My feelings today, as I peek under the veneer that distorts reality, is that we as a nation are owned , manipulated , and at times being told to bug off by nations that take our billions in aid. The first to come to mind is Turkey who with a slight-of-hand movement pokes a finger in our eye. The U.S. is investigating whether Turkey violated agreements with Washington about the use of U.S.-provided weapons and equipment, including whether Ankara knowingly and improperly transferred those weapons to its proxies in Syria, groups that U.S. officials say may have committed war crimes and ethnic cleaning .Why won’t I be surprised by its findings. And while Congress moves to sanction Turkey, the President nevertheless invites its leader to the White House as Turkey announces it will not remove its troops from Syria, threatens to further inflame tensions between the two nations by indicating its purchasing of Russian military fighter jets, and once again attacks the Kurds. Former national security adviser John Bolton suggested during a private speech in Miami last week that the president’s approach to U.S. policy on Turkey is motivated by his personal and financial interests in that country.

When we talk about our national debt (which keeps rising under Trump, notwithstanding his promise to reduce it) we must frame what may seem like a strange question — who owns America – who owns our U.S. released treasury bills, notes and bonds? The answer is startling — China owns 27% of our world’s value. They have a big key to our pantry.

Under Putin, the Russian economy is based solely upon how much gas, oil and minerals it can extract from the ground. In all senses, the former Soviet Union has little if any resemblance to the economic diversity necessary for a strong national economy. Putin, thus strong arms weaker and smaller nations to bend to his needs to shore up Russia’s economic deficiency, while his paranoia has encouraged the successor to the KGB, the FSB (a strong arm group he wholly supports) to be “enforcers” so that so-called “vital” scientific material and knowledge (as determined by him) may not be sold abroad without proper (his) authorization. In other words keep everything at home in the hope of developing a monopoly to benefit his cronies. His latest method is to have major Russian scientific institutions raided and scientists (some recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize) detained for long periods of questing. People’s lives have been put on indefinite hold. None of this has upset the leader of the United States to help him achieve his goal to make Russia great again (MRGA). Putin, not only the master of a vast nation seeking to drain the will and resources of those who dare cross his line in the sand, has mastered the mechanics of a mystical cloak that has just produced what bombs and thugs could not. He winked twice with his right eye and “The “ President of the United States handed over control of the Syrian “crisis” and its complex fault lines throughout that area to the Russians. Trump pulled out our troops (with no consultation with those with any understanding of consequences), the Kurds were swept into a dust bin and the Israelis were further surrounded by their emboldened enemies. The rocket launching toward Israel started once again this week after a long interval of quiet.

Muhammad Hussein Al-Momani, on the board of directors of Jordan’s Al-Ghad daily and Jordan’s former government spokesman and state minister for media affairs, “slammed the U.S. for its decision to withdraw its forces from northeastern Syria”.

Al-Momani warned that this “hasty, miscalculated and uncoordinated” step would harm America’s interests in Syria as well as the interests of its allies. Russia becomes the clear winner in the area since the withdrawal only reinforces its standing as the major decision-maker in Syria and Iran. That position will be the launching pad for it to be able to expand its regional influence with little or no resistance. All to our detriment.

“The mutual hostilities in northern Syria go far beyond Turkey, the U.S. and Russia. The events there have placed all the countries in the region in a state of doubt and uncertainty, causing complete chaos and granting Russia and Iran an opportunity to fill the strategic vacuum created by America’s hasty, uncalculated and uncoordinated unilateral withdrawal.”

President Trump has created a dangerous strategic quagmire by the withdrawal, ignoring the interests of our supporting allies and clearly upsetting what regional stability there is. What happens to our interests in combating terror and preventing the reemergence of ISIS, at the same moment curbing Iran’s influence in Syria? His precipitous withdrawal has threatened not merely the region’s stability but our own interests in the area. We have, by throwing the Kurds to the wolves, not only diminished their ability and will to fight ISIS in northern Syria but created the obvious strategic vacuum that will be filled by Iran. Our growing aggressive nuclear enemy!

As noted, Mr. Putin and Russia will benefit most from these developments. They will have greater credibility, undermining whatever standing we may have had in the region and opens the way for Iran to expand and increase it influence politically. Boldly, Iran announced this week that it is increasing its nuclear capabilities and advancing it timetable for nuclear development.

But the unsettling story doesn’t end there, on the other side of the world– Trump has caved to China giving them a major trade victory. In an article by Brian Klaas,: “Early in his presidency, President Trump scrapped the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade bloc that would have put the United States at the center of a trade zone that represented about a third of the global economy. Now, 2½ years later, China is putting itself at the center of an alternative trade zone that represents about a third of the global economy.” Trump’s animosity toward China is governed by his personal, unwieldy political desires instead of our national interests. His rational is blindsiding our involvement in a $49 trillion dollar trade bloc that might embrace half the world’s population. As Mr. Klass noted: “And China couldn’t be happier.”

And it doesn’t end there! lost in the back pages of any decent newspaper is the story that in mid-January, Kevin Moley, the senior State Department official responsible for overseeing U.S. relations with the United Nations and other international organizations, “issued a stern command to a gathering of visiting U.S. diplomats in Washington: China was on the rise, and America’s diplomatic corps needed to do everything in its power to thwart Beijing’s ambitions. It doesn’t seem like much of an important event, but the news illustrates China’s bid to place itself ahead of the U.S. on all fronts.” As I have written in the past China’s aggressiveness started last year with it militarization of uninhabited rocks in the South China Sea into military installations.

China’s move to place one of its own top officials at the head of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which helps direct agricultural and food security policies worldwide, is a perfect example of China’s international efforts in achieving world dominance. Defeating China would become a key U.S. foreign-policy goal. Five months later, the race ended in a harsh rout for the United States. Beijing’s candidate, the vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs won. U.S. diplomats initially anticipated their favored candidate, a former Georgian agriculture minister, receiving at least 60 votes. He ended up getting 12.

While the nation is focused on impeachment, and the President is attempting to change the subject of the daily news by lashing out in all directions we, as nation, are fast losing our international importance, status and moral compass—our leadership. In other words –our international clout. And even if Trump is defeated in 2020, his failures, his lack of self-discipline and the damage he has inflicted on this nation to enhance and defend his purse and unhealthy ego will last far beyond the end of his presidency. It will take years to right the wrongs he has created.

Richard Allan,  Editor

Turkey’s Politics — Should We Care?

A number of years ago we began moving our travel destinations further and further from home. Three of our grandchildren are the most adventurous in demanding the freedom to travel alone and as far afield as they desire. On the one hand I am thrilled and, yet, I closely follow their movements on a world-wide terrorist alert site. As I write this commentary, I realize that if there is a push-the-envelope travel gene imbedded in their psyche, in all probability they inherited it from me. At age 16, I couldn’t understand why I could not get a job working on international cargo ships. Forget that I looked like I was 12, had never been away from home and blamed by parents for my lack of success. In the mid-1950s, I and 3 other Americans “escaped “ from the violent chaos in Haiti as the only passengers on what turned out, for a long while, to be the last Pan Am flight out of Port a Prince, as rioting and political upheaval made the Island far too dangerous for us to remain. To complicate our trip, we were only able to fly as far as Kingston, Jamaica. Aside from the pandemic that is unsettling and complicating world, travel, there are parts of the world that I have happily visited and wished to have stayed, but in today’s world I would not return.

India is racked with the virus and in a volatile and violent boarder dispute with China during which lives have been lost. There is nothing like a Pitu – Cachaca as you get closer to Brazil but South America is…..

There is nothing like the sunset along the California coast, but aside from the fact that the coronavirus can provide an 89 percent jump in hospitalizations next month, the fires that are burning with a strange, dirty orange sky that are consuming the oxygen that our lungs thrive upon. And as I started writing this Commentary, there was an epic attempt to save the observatory on top of Mt. Wilson.

And then there is Turkey. When we landed in Istanbul 15 years ago, our flight having been delayed, I had lost the opportunity to speak at length with a dear friend, Joe Serio, who had attended an international conference on national security and terrorism. This would have been an important briefing for me. His parting comments to me were: “I think things might change here.” How perceptive of today’s Turkey. At that moment, there was nothing to dampen our excitement for the coming holiday, as we moved toward our first stop: checking into a marvelous hotel that had once been a prison, quickly unpacking and walking the streets. The smells, sounds and color that flew past us immediately told us that we were going to have a marvelous holiday. We did and we still speak of certain events with nostalgia. Today, I think: not. Today, Turkey is on the opposite end of a very long national strategic fence of international partners–NATO. The history of Turkey has turned increasingly and dramatically ugly within the last decade.

Some political history is necessary to understand the upheaval in Turkish political life and, in some instances, the overriding importance of its international aggressiveness:

Its president is directly elected by the citizens for up to two five-year terms, but is eligible to run for a third term if the parliament calls for early elections. Strong man President Erdogan began his rise and tightened the reigns of his political position in the Turkish government within his time as prime minister and his aggressive move toward the presidency in 2014. A constitutional referendum passed in 2017, during the time of an aborted coup while the State was under emergency control, and he manipulated the political system and created a new presidential hierarchy. It expanded his role and effectively consolidated the president’s position and power. Then in an early election in June 2018, at Erdogan’s request to allegedly implement the new presidential system, the prime minister’s role was abolished, leaving him with full control over the government. He is eligible for a third term, and could hold office through 2028, if he is, as expected, be reelected again.

Erdogan’s ruling political party, the AKP, has asserted control over the judiciary, the police and the media, and has aggressively manipulated national agencies either to eliminate or weaken his political opposition. The world has witnessed the Erdogan government arrest opposition leaders, educators, military personal and journalists, accusing them of crimes from terrorism to “insulting” the president. Non-Muslim religious groups are under tight government restraints regarding most of their activities. What was once a full secular state no longer exists. The separation of church and state, which was one of the historic foundations of what had become a vibrant modern Turkey, has been all but eradicated by Erdogan. Symbolically, this past July, in his attempt to reverse Turkish history, he began the process of converting the beautiful Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine church and then a popular secular museum, back into a mosque .
Internationally, Erdogan’s actions mirror one who has long been attempting to put Turkey, and thus him, at the controlling center of a geo-political sphere of influence reaching as far as Greece, Italy, infuriating France and supporting those who threaten Israel, as he also backs the Muslim Brotherhood in their conflict with the President of Egypt. Erdogan’s government early condemned the Syrian regime, attacked its leaders and supported the country’s rebels with arms and tactical advice. He also supports Hamas and their aggression against Israel. Presently, we witness Turkey’s growing aggression toward Greece and others in a contentious fight for control and domination in the Mediterranean Sea. In July of this year, Dr. Ilan Fuchs wrote in a long analysis that Turkey’s Erdogan is trying to replicate a “neo-Ottoman” sphere of influence, or as he notes a “Pan-Turkism and Pan-Islamism empire”. Any of the labels one might choose is immaterial, with an increasingly presence of blinking red lights– the results are clearly evident on the ground in Turkey and to the east and west and to the United States, half-way around the globe. We are all involved. Turkey is aggressively placing itself squarely in the critical conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in what is evolving into a full-blown out-and-out war. Mercenaries from various countries are pouring into the conflict. Erdogan has dispatched Jihadists in the Caucasus to aid Azerbaijan. European nations, practically France, who has long since had a voice in that region have let it been known to Turkey in a stern warning from its President that “France will play its role. Azerbaijan and Armenia then agreed to a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the conflict one week after a prior pause in fighting fell apart.
Most Americans learned in grade school that Turkey is unique in that it is a country that geography has one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, and your mother wished she had a rug woven in that Country. What most Americans are not aware of is that the United States Air Force has a major airbase in Incirlik. It is a mere 500 miles from the capital Istanbul, This air base is rated high in our military/strategic importance not only because of its proximity to Russia and other strategic capitals of the Mideast, but its unequal importance as a storage facility for our regional nuclear weapons.
Presently, the Turkish economy has been, as in all other countries decimated by the covid-19 virus pandemic, with spiraling double-digit inflation, soaring unemployment and a deep financial deficit. You might remember the uproar when Turkey announced that it would purchase its S-400 air defense system from Russia and not, as a NATO member, a NATO compatible system. The swords were rattled further after Erdogan announced: “The issue of the Aegean and the Mediterranean is one that Turkey will never take a step back from. We will resolutely continue to protect and defend our rights and interests at all times and under all circumstances.” In other words, notwithstanding his membership in NATO and our military presence in Turkey, he was moving toward a Russian partnership. Then at the beginning of this month, angering Greece, the Turkish government announced it is preparing live-fire exercises of the Russian tracking system in the Aegean Sea and has transported its Russian-made S-400 air defense system to international waters in the Black Sea.

This past August, it has been widely reported (again in the back pages of the international news) that as Tukey planned for testing both its offensive and defensiveness of its Russian tracking system, it programed its surface-to air-missile launcher system to track U.S. made, Greek F-16 fighter planes.

What I find amazing is how long it has taken for a bi-partisan group of United States’ Senators to speak out and address the issues of Turkey’s move not only toward a full dictatorship but their embrace of the Russian dictatorship as they seek the imposition of U.S. sanctions. Silence was the answer from the White House aside from the Secretary of State visiting Greece. The city he should have visited with a clear message was Istanbul not Athens.

One can only wonder could the delay or stalling by the present Administration’s response to Erdogan internal and international power grab be that the President openly admires dictatorial leaders: Kim Jon, Putin, and the Philippine’s Duterte. Or could it be that unlike dealing with a world power like China, where to the person in the street, the issues are fairly clear cut– financial and political world dominance. Turkey‘s unique position– political and geographical –in the international community requires, as a member of NATO, a more delicate touch and nuanced skills that are presently lacking in the Trump Administration. There is not much time left on the clock before Turkey is lost, and that would be catastrophic.

Richard Allan
The Editor

Sadly It’s Just A Date

It was a sunny morning, and I had arrived at my law school early and happy to do so. I had developed a blister where my new loafers were rubbing the back of my heel, and I knew that I had bandages somewhere buried in my desk. I never sit when I lectured — but pace and step on and off the lecture platform. No bandages found. My thought as I grabbed my lecture notes was: This I don’t need. The date was 9/11.

As I walked into the classroom a bit before 9 AM, one of my law students, a highly decorated army officer, waved me over to his seat, in our amphitheater type classrooms, and pointed to the screen of his army issues laptop. What I saw was startling. “What’s happened?” he asked. I told him: “We’ve been attacked.”
That happened 19 years ago and killed 2,976 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Arlington, Va. Although there are no percolating headlines today, that event still occupies the time and close attention of many people. A trial of the captured, suspected masterminds of the attack has yet to take place, and an overwhelming portion of the population has long since forgotten about these defendants. We mark the date of the event and move on. In France, they marked the date of the horrific attack on a satirical magazine and kosher supermarket that roiled Paris and the Country in 2015 by going to trial.

On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, some two dozen relatives of those who had died in the attack attended a solemn meeting with President Trump in the formal Blue Room of the White House. After each family had a hushed individual moment with the President and the First Lady, the families pointedly asked the President to release sealed documents, tightly held within the possession of the F.B.I., of their very comprehensive investigation into attack. Significantly, the Justice Department has continually refused to reveal that information under the last two presidents—one a Republican and one a Democrat. This time, the request was embraced and articulated as a desperate “need for closure”…they had “waited long enough”. They needed to know the truth. Some of the relatives reminded Trump that Presidents Bush and Obama blocked them from seeing the files, as did some of the F.B.I. bureaucrats Trump so reviled and openly detested. The visitors did not mention, and was reported by those covering the event, that they hoped to use the documents in a current federal lawsuit that accuses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — an American ally that has grown suspiciously closer under Trump — of complicity in the attacks. The President, it was reported and recorded said: “It’s done.” The families were later informed that the President had directed the attorney general to release the name of a Saudi diplomat who was linked to the 9/11 plot. Justice Department attorneys revealed the Saudi official’s name in a protected court filing that could be read only by lawyers for the plaintiffs. Unfortunately, as was reported in the back pages of the press, the AG toppled the families’ hopes: in a statement to the court, the AG insisted that other documents that might be relevant to the case had to be protected as state secrets. Their disclosure, he wrote, risked “significant harm to the national security.” An overused and abused “legal phase” employed by the Government to hide so-called important and relevant information.
A little over a year ago, and for the first time, a U.S. military court judge in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, set a trial date for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four men charged with plotting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Judge W. Shane Cohen, an Air Force colonel, said the trial should begin on Jan. 11, 2021, though a number of other procedural deadlines would need to be met for the long-awaited trial to attempt to lurch forward.

Beginning in May of 2012, with any new military criminal charges, new laws were adopted. War crimes defendants were to be provided the same protections offered in national security trials in federal court. Due process now requires that the government turn over all evidence normally required to criminal defense attorneys. Lawyers for the 9/11 five terrorist defendants say prosecutors have not been totally forthcoming. That claim is not uncommon.

Many trial experts have suggested that the scheduled trial date is unrealistic, and they say Guantánamo isn’t physically ready or convenient for a trial of that scale or magnitude. Prosecutors, it’s claimed, have been asking for a trial date for several years and say that finally scheduling one will motivate all parties. At this writing there is a hearing scheduled for this month at a date that has not been released, at which time it has been signaled that the defense attorneys will argue that the confessions obtained by the government are tainted and inadmissible because of the harsh interrogations conducted by the CIA during the early stages of detention. The stakes in the upcoming trail are obviously high for the defendants. The defendants are charged with war crimes that are punishable by death, for their alleged role in helping the airline hijackers in executing the attack.

Fascinating, and I had no idea until I started to research this topic, that the alleged mastermind defendant in this case, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had also has been linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, and the 2003 Jakarta Marriott bombing, as well as other attacks by the al-Qaida network. This man is not new to his profession.

You might remember, if you lived in New York City, the uproar during the opening days of the Obama Administration, when he announced that he will fulfill his promise that he would close the infamous Guantanamo base and suspend military trials. The AG then decided to move the trial of these defendants to federal court house in Foley Square in Manhattan. The public and local government reaction was nothing less than a firestorm of protests. The trial would “put a terrorist target on New York City”, and there would not be any vehicular traffic because it would all come to a halt in downtown Manhattan. The headlines were relentless until that idea was quietly abandoned.

Some important background to why this case has taken so long to come to trial and has complicated the prosecutions difficulty in mounting its case: the defendants, after their captures in Pakistan in 2002 and 2003 were held out of the States and of reach by the courts for years in the belief (hope) that they might, if pressured sufficiently (tortured?), have information that could stop another attack and help interrupt the work of the Qaeda terrorist network. To accomplish that, they were sent to secret networks of prisons run overseas by the C.I.A. Some claim, in their reporting that the C.I.A’s intent was to never to bring them to trial, but to forestall and disrupt any further terrorists attacks. Obviously, that was a strategy that never was going to work, and only increased the demands for a trial that would reveal, in the normal course of events, the C.I.A’s illegal methods of interrogation. It took five years for President George W. Bush to order that the defendants be transferred to Guantanamo for trial. During that time the defendants were held incommunicado. Mohammed was water boarded 183 times. It was alleged that the five defendants were “brutalized, isolated and kept incommunicado.” For years into their custody, the defendants were denied contact with any attorneys, and it took five years after their capture to formally charge the defendants in a death penalty case. In the interim, there have been a revolving number of military judges and defenses counselors, each being subject to in-depth security clearance.
Two important points come to mind: Because of the years spent in custody without benefit of council, aside from the claim of “torture”, the admissibility of the evidence the C.I.A collected is placed in serious jeopardy. Second, and unlike the “traditional” criminal trial in state and federal courts, a military judge in a national security case cannot direct the government to disclose information requested by the defendants. The only option, if the government refuses to divulge the information demanded, is to suspend the trial until such time the government complies or in the alternative dismiss the case. In the first instance to place the trial on hold waiting for the government to respond is useless, and the stonewalling could go on indefinitely. Second, if the military court were to dismiss all charges because of the government’s rejection of an information demand, there would be a national outcry that could not be contained.

Each year the names of those who were killed on 9/11 are read aloud. Each year I remember where I was; I remember a person– a friend of a friend who died; I remember a person who took the wrong train to work, arrived late and ran as the buildings came down around her. Will these trials, if they ever take place, change anything in the lives of the persons in the street? You and me. I doubt that very much. The date will be remembered. And that’s about all. To the legal historian, the review of these events might make a good case history or maybe a seminar course at a law school. I still look up in the sky when a plane flies close over the city. To most: it’s just a date.

Richard Allan
The Editor.