NATO Seeking New Intelligence Service, Iran’s Nuclear Non-Compliance and France’s Call for Negotiations

Two weeks after we left Paris, with its protestors blocking the streets, France is faced, with streets that are not flooded with demonstrators but water. The photographs are horrific and the damage must be catastrophic.

If you only listen with one ear, you only hear half the story. I wish I could write that it was my grandmother who said that. I live on the computer. I read two newspapers each day. I live from one news source to another and in between read some political blogs and then go back to the news and commentary.

Two very important events are now in process. With regard to the first, we can only say it’s about time. As to the second, my thought was: nothing new.

First, NATO –the Western Alliance is finally moving toward the creation of what it describes as a powerful new intelligence post. Its aim is to improve how Europe and the United States share sensitive intelligence information on terrorism among other dangers. At the moment NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) depends heavily upon the U.S. intelligence facilities for support, and it believes it could improve its reliance with a new, but superior and senior, intelligence administrative position. Strangely, NATO does not have an official role in fighting ISIS, notwithstanding the brutal attacks in both Paris and Brussels. The proposal is the creation of a Secretary General for Intelligence to improve not only how the intelligence is shared but to expand its view how of analysis and information is shared. The plan is to include, among other issues, Russia’s military capabilities and activities along with other Middle Eastern terrorist base incidents on the Continent. All this seems like a non-brainer for the Europeans but it is not because of the following:

First: NATO has two important players that are not members of the EU: The United States and Turkey. Any alliance with them would make intelligence sharing more meaningful. Second: Too many European countries have legally placed strict legislative barriers between their intelligence and police departments. Information is not shared. Third: There is Interpol (headquartered in Lyon, where I spent a week years ago working on a project) who is the EU’s police agency and has its own counterterrorism center. This is complicated by NATO – it has no law-enforcement role. All describing a situation where turfs are protected and agencies are fearful of treading on the toes of others, while others look to protect their own turf. To bring everyone to the table with one director is not easy, and was not easy in the U.S. fifteen years ago after 9/11. The United States did just that with the creation of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. The Europeans can do the same, but can they in the wake of the UKs contentious vote this month to leave the EU; can they set aside their differences in light of the horrific migration problems that are showing divides in how that is managed; can they succeed dealing with the Greek financial crises?

The second important event has two distinct parts: The first is that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a U.N. nuclear watchdog issued it second report on Iran’s nuclear program and found that key information needed is lacking. Without that information we do not know if Iran is complying with its agreements. The report also makes clear that there is no reliable information of how many of Iran’s too many centrifuges are operating. And last, not in the report but in the national press, Iran’s leaders continue to spit their threats of annihilating the United States and Israel. Do we really think that they are complying with all aspects of their agreement? And why is the State Department not taking a more vigorous approach to enforcement procedures? Why are we so diplomatically docile with a country that hates us and would see us eradicated? Do we really think that by placating them they will move more toward the center of the diplomatic world? And the answer is: I think not.

We are losing precious time in stopping them in this dangerous nuclear world after depositing millions of dollars in their pockets. What can be the logic to our behavior knowing them to be the leading exporters of terrorism in the world? Last, and there is new marvelous demand by the Iranians that made me stop dead in my tracks: The Iranian Parliament now demands compensation from the United States for its involvement in the “spiritual and material damage” for the past 63 years. Please, close your checkbooks.

The second is there was a call for an international conference by the French to end the decades of Israeli “Occupation.” At the same moment the Palestinians have launched scores of deadly knife attack against Israelis since October. This is my “nothing new” in French behavior. At no point in the French PM’s call for a conference to end the “occupation” did he mention either the continued rocket attacks against Israel or the attacks by knife slashing of Israeli civilians. The idea in French thinking is that the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is somehow the root cause of the difficulties in the Middle East. This of course is nonsense. The one day conference ended with nothing accomplished.

Diplomacy, as I understand, is the attempt to find a balanced solution to a problem, local or otherwise, that does not ignore the deep seeded desires of the parties in conflict. At the same moment, one cannot be unconditionally wed to ancient history as the veil thru which we examine the present desires of the conflicting parties.

An atrocity committed a hundred years ago, a town annexed one hundred and fifty years ago cannot form the basis of working toward a conclusion to a dispute today. If so, the world would be in constant flux of demands, threats and violence. Unconditional surrender, as demanded by the Allies at the end of WWII, is not an option or pre- condition to dispute settlement today. Unrealistic demands accompanying an invitation to come to the table will keep the parties apart –period. Those who want or to pretend to want to be intermediators need to be impartial, forcefully even-handed and imaginative. They must also be sensitive that history is a powerful source that is always present but must not rule the negotiations.

Thus, with France not having the best of historical track records in dealing with anti-Semitic problems, it cannot blithely ignore the issues facing one of the parties while calling for a peace conference to move Palestinian-Israeli conflict toward a peaceful process of reconciliation. There is no negotiation between parties when the agenda is one sided. There is no negotiation when one party is predetermined “the guilty” one, and now let’s settle thru negotiations how we will deal with them. An imposed solution is bound to fail if parties are treated differently at the table. Syria is obsessively embroiled in violence, Yemen is failing, Egypt is in constant turmoil, Iraq is splintering into parts since 2003 and none of these issues provide a reliable backdrop in dealing with Israel/Palestine peace.

There can be only one factual precondition to any Palestinian –Israeli conference: Stop the violence, Stop the rockets, Stop the stabbings. There can be No historical preconditions in place. The only workable formula: Two nations willing to talk to each other, one neutral facilitator and time.

Richard Allan,

The Editor

Gutter Politics, Fear and National Security and more

Once in a while and more often than not it is a good idea to get out of your own apartment. It is also very healthy to get out one’s own country. We have done that and have just returned from a trip to London and Paris. The view from abroad was startling. To understand one owns country through the eyes of a foreign nation, to read the local press of another nation not tainted by the prejudices of home, to look at something at arm’s length provides a view neither varnished nor sanitized. It was at once unsettling and refreshing. I have waited a short while to write this blog to allow the events that transpired to settle into reality.

First London, where only a year before we were counselled not to go on to Paris because of the bombings, we found the hotels in London half empty, easy to obtain a restaurant reservation and theatres selling tickets at half price. The Americans (among others) were staying home. Our hotel tea room was filled with a group of women wearing burkas with mere slits so they could see. Men from Africa in overflowing bright floral-patterned shirts, their fingers encased in massive rings, doing business with their formal English counterparts, and English secretaries’ scurrying about with their I-pads taking notes. Security was on alert but nothing to compare with what we were to confront in Paris. And, as an aside, property rates in London are still rising with the influx of foreign money.

But, it was the local and national UK politics that held center stage with massive headlines in London. And by American standards, the language was not far behind the language used by Donald Trump. In the past I have written about the level of anti-Semitism in English academia, but it became clear that it was now more pervasive and intense, than I had seen in the past or anticipated. Shocking to me because this news had not even scratched the surface in the US press, then again, why should it.

A vicious campaign for the mayor of London was about to end with an election during our stay. In the headlights: The Conservative Party vs. the Labor Party. The Conservative Party candidate wild eyed and the Labor party headed by a Muslim. In proper London, bowler hats, rolled umbrellas and with a population no longer represented by Mary Poppins elected the Muslim candidate. A first, but not the end of the story: The Labor party was hit by a massive scandal that found dozens of its members drummed out of the party for extreme anti-Semitic remarks. This behavior was now street talk. The unsettling news shared the headlines in the London press in which the PLO announced, with the killing of an American, that “their” people “loved death more than life”.

While this played out each day, the ongoing slug fest was whether the UK should leave the EU: “Brexit”. The international invitation to join the conversation had words from the President of the United States and the Chancellor of Germany and all the rest around the world. Clearly, there are massive implications for not merely those who live and work in the UK but for treaties, deals, travels, security and life beyond the tiny island of the Kingdom. If the vote, to take place later in June, were to find the UK saying goodbye to the EU, it is more than an economic decision. Many think that the UK would be stronger economically, since it could deal with whomever it wishes on any terms it wishes. “Self-government works better than being part of an empire that doesn’t have our interests at heart”. A comment made in 1776 and now repeated with the question: will the Eurozone be in existence a decade from now? Others feel it would be a catastrophic. The person shopping in the UK does not trade locally in the Euro but the Pound, so there is no problem there. But it invades the lives of each person living in the UK whether they are citizens of the UK or not. From the simple decision to take a day trip by Chunnel train to France, to the cost of their daily purchases. Passport control will be reinstated, border controls will be erected, import duties will be imposed; a French person or Italian or German living in London might have to register as an alien. The legal issues will remain even after a proposed economic retreat. Investors are pulling out of Europe in anticipation of the vote. And while Britain provides more intelligence to the EU than it receives, the routing will be slower, more guarded, and thereby impacting security.

But more import and overarching: Since World War II the world has looked to a united European Continent: different languages, but one nation, one set of legal values and the civil rights of individuals. People of enormous political stature had given their entire adult lives to this political and social cause, and now it seems to be unravelling. And the big question is why and why now? And the not very simple answer is not economics. It is immigration and control of not merely ones own boarders, but of who can be allowed to enter “my” country by merely crossing an invisible line on a map. “My” country no longer looks like me; these people speak a different language; the food they cook smells funny; their clothes and manner of dress are not the same as mine; their religion is not mine. And they want things—the line is longer for health care; they want to build a mosque, they talk about imposing their own laws instead of our treasured national laws of governance. I am losing my country; it is no longer mine. So let’s turn back the clock to a time “before” the EU by voting for Brexit. But is that simple, and can you? Tension, but clearly not the type of tension we experienced in Paris.

In Paris, a most beautiful city that is changing: a narrow local street that I love, once occupied by a small butcher, a baker, a tobacconist, a florist and a small super market, now has cafes shoulder to shoulder. But it is the tension that runs through it all that is mounting and palpable. A department store now has a private security force at all its entrances, examining your purse, back pack, your attaché case and your shopping bag. Outside on the sidewalk are four to six young men—soldiers in full combat fatigues, wearing green berets with their helmets attached to their combat vests, carrying Famas assault weapons across their chest, at full ready with their fingers across the trigger guard. Their eyes darting and suddenly they will move to another street or another location. In a taxi cab rid–any ride if you pass by one of the areas hit by the terrorist attacks in January 2015, you are told how many died that night.

The driver will tell you how Charlie Hebdo has moved but not to where.

Then the Paris government, in the midst of our stay, announced a new austerity movement that will curtail labor and the protests started and continue to this day. Coming back to our hotel after dinner, night after night, we are diverted more than once because the protesters had taken over the streets. The protests then turn into riots and then the attack on the police and an American is accused of a violent attack on a police car. My wife has metal in her legs because of a series of breaks, it has been years since any airport security has stopped her and, in fact, we stopped carrying a doctor’s letter to that effect in our passport holder. At the airport in Paris, on the way home, she was not only patted down with utmost precision, but also subjected to the use of the wand in a slow and meticulous manner. Nothing left to chance. But that was Paris.

After our return home, I heard “horror” stories from seasoned travelers who are complaining that airport security is getting negligent to the point of non-existence. I had a friend who once said (and it has been said by others):”Just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean that someone is not trying to kill me.”

The political world – and I do not mean international foreign relations—is getting more vulgar with gutter politics looking to incite the lowest common dominator in the population. This is not unique to America. England has its share. There are pronouncements and statements aimed at our most irrational fears, looking for a scapegoat for our own failures, and not taking responsibility but blaming others for missteps is becoming the norm. This vile populist rhetoric attempts to create a mass movement in efforts to morph a nation into nationalistic isolation. This behavior, by its very nature, invites not merely verbal confrontation as in the discussion of the place of the individual Mexican in the US or the hostility toward the immigrant in the UK. It adds fire to a type of tension that gives rise to fascism and the ugly personal violence it usually accompanies. One need only look back a little more than seventy-five years ago in world history. It is all based upon the irrational, the stereotypical and innuendos to intentionally introduce instability. It jeopardizes not merely our political process but in the long run our national and international security, our individual security and individual rights. That is my fear, and it is not unfounded.

Richard Allan,
The Editor

Politics At Home and Chaos Abroad

We are living in the most unsettling and frightening times in my memory, and I am a senior-senior. Politics in the United States is much more disturbing than I remember, and I remember the McCarthy era all too well.

Today, politics and its vulgarity cut across an uglier path than our traditional concept prescribes. This blog focuses on security, terrorism and counter-terrorism, often brushing the shores of civil rights. The present political scene has a direct negative bearing on our security—national and international. And although I am loath to enter that mine-field, I must.

On the right , never before in my lifetime have I heard and read such vitriolic language to describe long standing economic and security partners, against friends and non-friends in the diplomatic world or more pathetically—each other. Clearly, you do not conduct foreign relations in this century behind a wall or encourage others to build nuclear bombs.

On the other side of the political spectrum we find Bernie Sanders—like Mr. Trump, hides his federal tax returns, decided he was a Democrat only 4 months ago, and his surrogates harass super-delegates. He seeks to be president and commander-in-chief while ignoring that at one time he filed as a “conscientious objector’. How that squares with our national security and control of the black box is beyond my comprehension. When or where does our national security (and frankly, I am thinking about my family’s security) come into play if the Senator believes in non-violence in a very violent world, and most surely he will be required from time-to-time to engage our military in violent confrontation if elected. As our present occupier of the White House, will he draw a line in the sand and then go on to ignore his own threats? How will he handle drones and their use against ISIS, it leaders and those who plot against our military? How does he criticize Israel’s response to Hamas’s attacks and blatantly ignore the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas including their use of civilians as shields? How does a conscientious objector morph into a Commander-in-Chief?

At home we fear ISIS and its allies. Not when but where will they strike. ISIS is losing ground on their home turf but is more than making up for that loss with their savagery abroad. Think Brussels and Paris.

The migrants and their wholescale deportation across the Turkey boarders have deleted the word “humanitarian” from our dictionary. Looking at the rest of the world I see only violent chaos, massive displacement of whole groups of people, killings as random as walking across the street. It appears to me that the world’s governments are paralyzed to stop this brutality although they talk in boasting terms.

In India, nearly 100,000 farmers have committed suicide in 2014. Why and why is India silent?

In Gaza, there is no news from whichever government pretends to be in control, the international press is silent as the Israeli government quietly announced it has expanded the Palestinian fishing zone from six to nine nautical miles. A spokesperson for the Palestinian fishing industry said this would increase their income by at least one hundred thousand dollars annually. President Abbas has been silent, and there have been no comment from London.

Nearly a week after recapturing Palmyra from ISIS, Syrian forces say they have uncovered horrendous evidence of the workings of the terrorist group. Mass graves, some holding 40 bodies—many were women and children, and some show signs of beheading and torture. As Iran remains a steadfast ally of those criminally minded people it has told the American government in a posting today that their missile power is a non-negotiable issue. Warning that they “don’t get permission from anybody” especially from the “imprudence” of the U.S. regarding their own security.

From Steve Emmerson’s group, we are asked to “imagine more of the African continent engulfed in Islamist savagery of Libya and Nigeria. Imagine Jordan and Saudi Arabia undergoing the same turmoil as Iraq and Syria. Imagine a Europe that begins to resemble Lebanon more than its American cousin.” These events could occur in the next few years, and NATO seems blind to this story.

A television clip released by MEMRI shows a Leader of Islamic Movement in Israel preaching: “This land (‘Palestine’) will vomit Israeli occupation like the sea vomits its filth”. I wonder if any person could preach that same gospel in Gaza about Hamas.

Turkey is awash in political upheaval. This once proud democratic nation has fallen victim to not some strong mana’s rule but a neo-Islamist dictator. His crushing of civil rights and the opposition press is not subtle but violent and public, and yet the people vote for him. All this internal power has provided him the upper hand internationally, as Greece with its dire financial conditions and swamping of migrants seeks help. In return for 6 billion euros and some vague promises of free travel, Turkey will take back anyone currently attempting to enter Greece. This week we saw the first boat load of migrants starting the painful route home. And as I write this blog, Turkey has been placed on high alert as our own government warms about credible threats and reports of controlled explosions conducted in Istanbul’s popular square.

And last on my agenda today is the South China Sea where international relations have becomes tenser and potentially moving beyond mere political hostility. Although the New York Times attempts to portray the Unite States as neutral in the area, it is just the opposite. America sails its warships close to the Chinese created military island and compound in defiance of China’s extension of its territorial and nautical rights in that part of the world. All, as the other nations of the area try to forge stronger political and military ties that we have not seen in decades.

I remember sitting in my office when JFK was assassinated, and I fearfully thought what was going to happen to the country. I thought of my very young family waiting for me at home. Obviously, the country has more than merely survived. But today’s political climate is more endemic. The hatreds long contained are being encouraged to be expressed and acted upon. The most base thoughts and actions are encouraged to be displayed and executed freely. Disregard for reality, one note songs repeated over and over in disregard of others; to dismiss what you don’t have merely because you do not possess it. I loathe placing Donald’s name in the same sentence with Bernie, but each in his very own distinct way have a blind eye to international reality and would make us a more isolationist nation. And that would damage our national and international security. Yesterday, a very close relative said to me: I am voting my brain not my heart. And I thought that is a good rule to follow when determining issues involving security.

Richard Allan,
The Editor

Hot Spots and Thoughts

The race to insanity, called the “primary races to the White House”, has left me catatonic, and so this blog has been silent too long. Sorry. And as I said: “Sorry”, ISIS struck with vengeance in Brussels killing scores. The attack was in retaliation for the arrest of one of the leaders of the November 13 bombings in Paris that left 130 people dead. Arrested in Belgium was one of the masterminds of the attack who had when captured, a cache of heavy weapons. The upsetting part of the story is that he was being protected by his relatives, friends and neighbors in Belgium, who then set off a neighborhood protest because of his arrest. The entire European continent has move into a shutdown mode. All the airlines have bypassed Brussels and local governments wait for more attacks. And they will come.

At the same moment, the rest of the world seems to be heating up and I do not mean climate change:

The migration caused by the chaos in Syria is frightening and beyond mere human understanding. The sitting German government is in trouble because of the large influx of migrants. Turkey, beginning to look more like a dictatorship, is certainly not helping ease the crises in Europe. What is becoming more evident as time evolves is that Turkey’s president evidences the zeal of a despot. He has within one week taken control of a majority of Turkey’s newspapers and TV stations. The issue becomes what is his next heavy handed attack on what was a thriving democracy turned dictatorship, the plight of the Kurds and the fate of the immigrants as he holds Europe hostage in the political chaos.

The president of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza is getting older and to keep hold of its population he formants more and more low level terrorism against individual in Israel. Abas turned down a new US peace imitative brought by Vice President Biden, although it gave the Palestinians practically all they asked for. At this moment 58% of Palestinians support the stabbings in Israel. As Hamas expands its tunnel network in Gaza, Israel and the United States are working on a network of secret tunnels to destroy Hamas handiwork with seismic sensors. Less than a mile away from where Biden spoke in Jaffa, a Palestinian attacker went on a stabbing binge that left one US tourist dead, who happened to be a graduate of West Point. The US, in the hope of moving Abas away from his myopia, has withheld 159 Million dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Notwithstanding ISI making headline news that is devastating (including the latest Brussels attack), in 2015 it lost about 40% of the area it held in Iraq as well as parts in northern Syria. While its cash deposits have been depleted, it still manages to use Turkey as a trading hub. Today’s Brussels attacks show that one should not count on ISIS filing for bankruptcy…not yet. The Associated Press has just reported that ISIS has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in what it describes as a series of deadly wave of attacks. ISIS is deploying interlocking terror cells similar to the ones that attacked Brussels and Paris.

What we learn from Steve Emmerson is that the five countries where the US has involved itself militarily—Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan—all failed states account for 55% of all death caused by radical Islamist terror in the world. ISIS filled the vacuum in Iraq and Syria created by a lack of effective governance, and Libya became a nest of extremism after NATO deposed its dictator. Saudi Arabia and Iran are currently fighting a deadly proxy war in Yemen. My thought is our eyes are wandering away from Jordan and a potential implosion from within.

Don’t blink when you attempt to follow the news of North Korea whose official name is The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or the DPRK. Its information agency has defined its government’s mandate as a “genuine workers’ state in which all the people are completely liberated from exploitation and oppression.” It goes on to claim that the United States and its puppet South Korea are “seized with extreme frenzy for invading the north.” And last, the DPRK will make a “preemptive nuclear strike of justice.” What all this boils down to is bluster with a very big “if”. Any miscalculation, a wrong button pushed, can escalate words and ballistic testing to something much more international and violent.

As you might have seen, the United States conducted one of the deadliest airstrikes that I can recall in recent memory. It has been confirmed that the airstrike relied on multiple manned and unmanned aircraft against large groups of militant camps that posed an imminent threat to the US and African Union forces in Somalia

As China moves ahead with its man-made island expansion, the US navigates its ships within its island’s corridors and the Australian navy shows its might. The Australian Navy announced that its ships patrolling near Oman intercepted a fishing vessel carrying almost two thousand AK-47 assault rifles and 100 rocket propelled grenades. The weapons had been sent from Iran to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Hitler said:” I could have killed all the Jews, but I kept some alive so the world would understand why I killed them.” He also wrote: “The Jews are like parasitic plants that burden the nations and compete with them for their source of income.” In February news began to trickle out in greater and greater volume regarding the degree of Anti-Semitism in England. A country awashed in Muslim terrorism. Among the left leaning population there is a new term: Zio. It is a term used by the KKK, an expression of solidarity with Hamas and a short cut expression for an “imperialist-colonialist state of Israel”. England already has a high level of anti-Semitism among academics and is spreading to other portions of a country that one would expect would be more tolerant.

But then I pause and remind myself, that they have a cast system and its starts with the royal family and the House of Lords. A very dear friend of mine from Scotland once said to me: listen to the accents of the people you are engaged with in England and you will immediately identify the various classes —clearly defined. I am saddened by that thought, because it would seem to me that the people of England (and they are an educated society) should embrace Israel not denigrate it. Israel protects and secures the only democracy in the Mid-East. There are open and free elections. There are Palestinians sitting in their Parliament. No other nation in that area is democratic—only failed states or demagogue governments or governments about to implode. If Israel were to disappear or be destroyed, that would only vitalize and embolden the Jihadist Muslims living and plotting in London at this very moment to blow up more of their buses, more underground train stations , more pubs and what next. At the same moment Israel’s Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software is helping the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters. And now, after Brussels, the world looks to Israel to understand airport security. All that in the long run will benefit the anti-Semites of England and the free world. There are no Jewish jihadist in London.

It boggles the mind to consider the failure of logic and might I say bigotry of the highest order among people of England who should know better, who have themselves suffered the pangs of horrific terrorist attack and not by the people of the Jewish faith. Shame on them.

Richard Allan

The Editor

No Carpet Bombs and No Walls: Security & Elections

I am fast approaching my 85 birthday, and this election cycle has left me with an uncomfortable taste never before experienced.

On the Republican side it’s leading contender, Donald j, has used the type of profanity best left to the gutter and not for the ears of our children. What sort of presidential model could he be?  His marriages and extramarital bragging do not promote any sort of values, and his bashing of everything from women to immigrants is from some other time — and whose values have long been interred, and not among our more cherished memories. Those with a rational thought in his party are killing each other.

Hillary, has been with us for a long time, and is a known entity – with all her warts–from her days in the White House, seeking what is today our healthcare heritage and traveling to China and announcing that women’s rights are human rights. What you see is what you get and you’ve seen her a long time.

Hillary became New York State’s Senator and then Secretary of State using, it seems, the same laptop as Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. So much for state secrets and violations limited only to Democrats.

Then we have Bernie.

If elected he will be the oldest president to ever hold that office, and at 75 years of age he has a life expectancy of less than 10 years. Who will be his V.P.? Cause that’s who will finish out his two terms in office, if he lasts that long. Sitting in the US Senate is like not standing in the Oval Office. Just look to what has happened to Obama. He looks worn and very gray.

Bernie until 2015 (that’s just last year) touted he was an independent and identified himself, when he first entered the race, as a socialist. He is the junior ( can that be at age 75) senator from his state with not one (!) piece of legislation introduced by him and adopted in all the years he keep this senate seat warm. Stellar performance —-can you see the Republican nominee handle that along with his self-proclaimed socialism–in the general election.

Bernie thinks that Bill Clinton’s behavior (the sex) is unacceptable! But he is “not throwing stones”. First, Bill Clinton is not running for president and Bernie should not throw stones. His own marital (or maybe not so marital) conjugal relations have had divorces, children born (it is uncertain if in or out of marriages) along with a partner overlapping his escapades.

And although, he alleges, he is not in bed with the banks –that’s true, but in bed he is. In recent years, Sanders has been billed as one of the hosts for a Senatorial Campaign Committee’s retreats for the “Majority Trust” — an elite group of top donors who give more than $30,000 per year — at Martha’s Vineyard in the summer and Palm Beach, Florida, in the winter. One major network obtained invitations that listed Sanders as a host for at least one Majority Trust event in each year since 2011.

In the same breath we can say has absolutely no foreign policy experience. Zippo. Period.  He also came not merely tardy but very late to the VA crises.

But there are two additional considerations somehow held below the radar: His present wife, it is alleged,  used her position as the wife of a sitting US Senator to get a fraudulent loan that nearly bankrupt a small college in his very own state of Vermont. She was its president, and then—follow this– she walked away while under investigation with a very sizable severance package.  And Bernie wants Hillary to release the receipts for her speaking engagements? It was alleged the Bernie’s wife is to have committed a pretty sophisticated crime in the process, but walked away with lots of money in her pocket by quietly departing from the college campus and its presidency. I am sure they share pockets and household expenses, how else can a small town mayor cum senator amass a 1.2-1.5 million dollar bank account.

Second, Bernie obviously has forgotten that there are two other branches of government.  One of them is called “The” Judiciary. That’s the Supreme Court. And there is congress. Oops, forgot — right now both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans. Now how does Bernie give us all that he promises –while they are all giving him the finger? He can’t and he doesn’t even know how to talk to “them “;   which is evident by his legislative record.

In addition, again, forget about how he is going to pay for all he promises with his magic equations and tax hikes.

Last, and probably the most important point in my slow process of thought is, how do you elect a candidate—Bernie–who doesn’t even own a comb? Please. Someone help him. And help the American Electorate clear the air of its political pollution.

Most important: In November, you must vote. But you cannot write-in “Donald Duck”. Trust me, I check that out.

Richard Allan,
The Editor

Deceit and Fact

Much of life depends upon which end of the binoculars you view the world; which talking heads provide you with your bible lessons; and which news print you wrap your fish. In other words, what is it that forms your perception of anything? A dear friend once said to me, in half-jest, that he reads only one newspaper so that he doesn’t get confused by the facts. I have one relative who gets his news by listening to talk radio, and hasn’t read a newspaper in years. His reason he gets his news at no cost.

And then there are those of us who surf the web for whatever options are available. Some of us are more additive to surfing than others. And in surfing I ran across a news items posted by the Dailey Alert, a site I often glance at. It wrote of a “High Level Military Group” (HLMG) report that triggered no memory. So I googled HLMG and that in turn led to other sites and to a widely different perception of Israel’s 2014 Gaza campaign. Again, it is which end of the binoculars you employ to view events. And it is disturbing.

Three bench marks then came into clear focus for me in reviewing the responses to the 2014 Gaza campaign: “perception”, “how” you view an “event”, and “facts”. The first two are easily manipulated; it’s the third factor that gives one pause.

As a former litigator and Assistant District Attorney, and then professor of law, I am only too aware of how facts can be viewed, presented and interpreted to fit one’s own agenda. In other words: how facts can be distorted; what facts you include and what facts you exclude to create your own narrative.

Part of the overall problem in reading a report or analysis is having some understanding of the background of the authors of a study, or “findings of fact”. The first thing that must be done is to target the author, his or her experience, training and most important his agenda. I am not inferring that we are all inherently liars, but we do slice and paste to fit the world to the mold we want to create.

And so we return to the international flurry over the 2014 Israeli Gaza campaign and the uproar and bias created. It all began shortly before the UN’s Human Rights Council began their inquiry into the actions of both Hamas and Israel during that conflict and immediately thereafter. The United Nation’s Human Rights Council immediately appointed their three hearing commissioners. What is incomprehensible is that the United Nation’s HRC appointed as their Chair, to conduct this type of highly sensitive inquiry into the conduct of these two fierce advisories, a person who had publically declared, well before the inquire ever began to hear any evidence, that it was his personal desire to see the prime minister of Israel in the criminal docket at the International Court of Justice. He also admitted that he, William Schabas, had been on the payroll of the Palestinian liberation Organization!

That is perfect justice through the wrong end of the telescope. Unbiased? Due process? Let’s all forget about “the facts” and get right to the guilty verdict, and, also, let’s save some time and garden some headlines in the process. We know “they” are guilty—it’s Israel. Obscene!

This gives you some idea of why the United States refused, for so many years, to be a member of the United Nations Council on Human Rights. The Gatestone Institute described the council’s work most apply: “Expecting the UNHRC to carry out a fair, balanced or accurate investigation of anything involving the State of Israel is rather like expecting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to carry out investigations into persecution of Christians in Muslim countries. “ And, indeed, one need not wonder why the Human Rights Council’s work is so suspect. And, conversely, it is why so many people in the Mid-East laud their work and distort their own work to fit their agenda and passion.

The 200-plus page report of the Council was ultimately submitted to the United Nations, through their two remaining commissioners. It held they could not find clear evidence of why Israel targeted residential buildings in Gaza late at night, risking mass civilian casualties. By the way, no evidence was provided by the Israeli government to this inquiry. Where then did they get their information/facts? Obviously, it was from Palestinian sources.

Before moving on to the work of the High Level Military Group, I would like to focus for one short moment on a popular voice of the British press.

The UK Media Watch has reported that the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent was not only interviewed at great length on his biased reporting on the war from Jerusalem, but on the in-depth analysis of his articles which were even more disturbing.

In his writing from the area during the Gaza conflict (some twenty reports and many thousands of words back to his London readers) he detailed in horrific detail the death of Gaza citizens, but not once did he comment, analyze or criticize Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields. To be clear, and this is uncontroverted, the use of human shields is not merely morally reprehensible; it is a war crime punishable under international law.

Let us turn to a less publicized report, and less publicized for obvious reasons: It does not fit the agenda of The Guardian and UN Council on Human Rights and persons of that “persuasion.”

The High Level Military Group was formed in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict. It consisted of retired generals and defense officials from Germany, Colombia, India, Spain, Australia, the U.S., France, the UK and Italy. NATO and beyond. This panel consists of nine very different countries, nine different cultures, and nine different national historical pasts, five different parts of the world. The very first critic of its report complained that it was made up of all white males and no humanitarians. What an absurd complaint . When determining whether or not a conflict/war was conducted in a “legally prescribed manner”, one looks to the accredited, accepted and adopted International Rules of War and not to the further musing of a humanitarian.

If we have accepted the Rules of War, and they have been processed, created and accepted by all the enlighten nations of the entire world for more than mere decades. It is not the “humanities” of war we look at (they have been incorporated into the treaties, conventions that comprises the Rules of War). We certainly would not seek the humanitarians on the payroll of Hamas to determine if a participant of hostilities is guilty or not of its violations. Second, these particular generals and defense officials, from nine very different countries, are not the political voice of one of the combatants as attempted by the UN’s HRC. And third, and possibly the most important, the High Level Military Group observations were made with the combined experience and wisdom of many years of war from nine very different perspectives, cultures and political positions—and most important, they viewed evidence produced from both sides of the conflict.

The HLMG found:

  • That Israel not only abided by the laws of armed conflict, but far surpassed their requirements.
  • Armies of the world would be rendered far less effective if they were forced to operate under the same restrictions as the IDF during Israel’s 2014 Gaza campaign.
  • The report found that the UN accepted Hamas’ figures for combatant vs. civilian casualties, while the HLMG found Hamas’ numbers to be widespread with contradictions and flaws. For example: the insertion of identical names, incorrect ages, combat-related deaths caused by Hamas itself or its associated groups, the case of misfired rockets, and deaths not related to the hostilities but classified as such.
  • And last, and extremely important when civilian casualties are high– The HLMG laid the blame for a majority of civilian casualties as the direct result of Hamas’ measured policy of having the military embedded within civilian compounds and areas in order to increase the chances of greater civilian casualties as another method of conducting its highly successful international war of propaganda.
  • Not to be ignored was the Israeli use of “banging on roofs”. A short-hand term of advanced warning to civilians before a military strike was to occur giving them ample time to evacuate before hostilities began.

I understand hypocrisy, I understand being passionate about ones beliefs. I understand loyalty. I understand going the extra mile for the Gipper. On the world stage, I cannot accept deceit or an excuse for deceit. Take the consequences for your misstep, and move on. No one, nobody is innocent from birth to death for something done at one time in our lives. In the Mid-East, to continue the lie to any and all mistakes- and let me emphasize this is true on both sides of the equation — puts more rather than less lives into the nameless trenches of the dead.

We cannot carpet bomb or lie our way to success; we can no longer bring the Atomic bomb to the table; my rifle stays at home when we meet; to negotiate, to bargain for, to discuss is not a matter of –all or nothing.

Facts are facts. It is totally untrue, and clearly unacceptable, that one person’s hero is another’s terrorist. A protagonist does not kill innocent people; a “soldier” knows his enemy is and who is not. A freedom fighter does not firebomb a bus with civilians. Civilians are not combatants. A child and its mother is never, ever the enemy –no matter through which end of the binoculars you view the world.

Richard Allan,
The Editor

Appeasement – It Never Works

Two events, not seemingly connected, suddenly brought clarity in the heated discussion that followed the horrendous attacks in Paris. I shall try to keep it simple.

The ISIS attack earlier this year in January targeted individuals associated with a political magazine and people shopping in a Jewish supermarket. The targets were symbols unmistakably identified: Those who were anti-Islam and those who were Jews. The attacks this month were far more treacherous and repugnant: at the heart of the citizens of France. Ordinary people, not symbols; people who were indiscriminately chosen to die merely because they were congregating in large numbers, in one place and so easily murdered.

When a person enlists or is drafted into an army during a war, there is the “possibility” they will be killed if they go into a conflict area. When a person enlists into the ranks of ISIS, there is the “likelihood” that they will be ordered to wrap a bomb around their bodies and die. There is an enormous difference in the mentality and focus of each of these warriors. One is a soldier, the other is a terrorist. ISIS is many times larger and stronger than al Qaida and its focus is more vast and horrific. They are barbaric.

To understand the political climate of appeasement in Europe today, and not often discussed, one need only exam EU (European Union). Founded in 1948, in the aftermath of World War II, it has as its mission the guarantee of peace, stability and economic cooperation in Europe. Today, the EU membership has risen to include 28 European countries. The EU does not recognize the annexations of territories by several world governments. And although it’s  barely been heard in the discussions in the aftershock of the Paris attacks, its members choose to demand special labeling of products produced from only one region in the world—products from the Golan Heights and the West Bank—Israeli products.

The reason is clear: it is the EU’s hope that the world would boycott products from Israel. All in the aim of forcing the State of Israel to choose between facing an economic boycott and a possible financial crises or bending to the will of the Islamic world. A somewhat round about way of saying: look what we’re doing for you so please keep your terrorist at home. Appeasement did not work to stop WWII and will not stop ISIS.

The EU’s act is so clearly overt that it reminded me of Hitler directing that we should identify the Jews to isolate them from the rest of the German community and then the world by wearing the Star of David on their clothing. The EU order is no different. Label a person, label a product–to discriminate.

In addition, if one were to look at the internal social structure–the voices of the people in England, France and Germany, one identifies the rising violent voice of anti-Semitism –anti Israel. Yet being anti-Israel has not helped the following nations from attack: Academia in England is as anti-Israel as one can get, and still they haven’t secured a safety net from the Islamic terrorist. Hate crimes against London’s Jewish minority have surged over the last 12 months with an increase of 93.4%, according to figures from the Metropolitan police. In the 12 months from July 2014, police recorded 499 anti-Semitic crimes in London compared with 258 in the same period the preceding year.

In Germany Scrawling swastikas on synagogues, Jew-baiting during demonstrations, desecration: Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, hatred against Jews is taking place openly in Germany, even in schools. The number of crimes linked to anti-Semitism in Germany increased dramatically over the past year. While 788 cases were registered in 2013, there were 864 cases registered in 2014 a 10 percent increase. The most famous department store in Germany announced its agreement to labeling products produced from Israel.

In Rome, more than 70 disturbing hate messages were scrawled with black and red paint on Jewish businesses and throughout the so-called Jewish Ghetto around the city’s main synagogue. Phrases like “Anne Frank Was A Liar,” “Dirty Jews,” “Jews your end is near,” and “Israel executioner” were written in spray paint.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister came out strongly in support of the EU’s boycott attempting to link the issues in Israel with the ISIS attack in France. And in the United States, the American Anthropological Society (an academic institution), in what can only be described as an infamous vote, resoundingly approved a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions by a vote of 1040-136. We can only wonder how we are to define the word “academic” in the future?

Given the nature of ISIS, there is no method to reach a system of negotiations nor to employ appeasement strategy. ISIS is a cancer that has metastasized, and the mere snipping at its surface does not impede its growth. Isis is an amorphous enemy state, not a terrorist cell. It has enormous capability and controls large swaths of territory.  It has supreme success in recruitment among the young, and therein lays a great deal of its strength. And yet in France, with the strictest security apparatus in place, which would make the ACLU cringe in despair, its attack was not prevented.

To be Anti-sematic/anti-Israel is not sufficient to fend off an ISIS attack and hatred. To attempt to financially cripple Israel is not sufficient to appease ISIS. There is no appeasement and, therefore, we cannot mince words in describing, without political correctness, those who support the idea that the world would be better off without those—whomever “those” might be who do not follow the ISIS dogma.

In the past few days, at a soccer stadium in Turkey, as the announcer asked for a moment of silence for those who had died in the Paris assault, there were those who booed and chanted “Allahu Akbar” –an Islamic phrase meaning “God is Great”, the very words chanted by those who attacked the innocent people of Paris with their guns and vest bombs. In addition, politeness is no longer an acceptable method in dealing with those who passively support this reign of terror.

One last thought: On the world stage, the more the United States waffles, hesitates and ignores its own “lines drawn in the sand”, the weaker we become and not only endanger our own security but lose the moral leadership in the world. We need straight talk and affirmative action. We can no longer afford to do anything less.

Appeasement, in whatever form, to whoever offered, invites greater violence not peace.

Richard Allan

The Editor

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[1] The Kashmir region is defined by the international community as a disputed territory. Tibet was occupied by the Chinese army in 1958 and unilaterally annexed by Beijing.  Morocco invaded the Western Sahara region and unilaterally annexed it. The Turkish army invaded Northern Cyprus, expelled hundreds of thousands of Greek speakers, and established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula

Enough is Enough with Iran

My normal morning ritual allows me to take the next step in my daily routine. I read two print newspapers, and one of them is not the New York Post. The headlines and front page articles claim Bush is Toast, earth quakes are ravaging counties, Greenland is melting, and more and more of any meaningful discussion of the issue at stake in our presidential election.

When I turned to read the opinion page of the second newspaper, I realized that it has been over a week since an important pronouncement trickled out of Iran that would have been lost but for the outstanding work of Yigal Carmon and his institute, MEMRI.  The ignoring of this proclamation and its non-dissemination to the American public via the national press is shameful.

On October 21, 2015, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader published a letter, for the world to read. It was a “guideline” (read that word as you wish) to Iranian President Hassan Rohani, regarding the execution and implementation of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)). Not unnoticed is that the letter’s publication corresponded with the celebration of a central religious and national holiday of immense importance in Iran. In other words, his letter is meant to underline Iran’s determination and dedication against “the forces of evil”. This is no “guideline.” And it is directed at us.

Ali Khamenei, after the world had sanctioned the Iranian Nuclear deal, — bequeathed Iran millions of dollars instead of an armed attack, continues his excessive tirade against the United States. He asserts that the US government has and is pursuing an approach of hostility and disruption to his country and its interests. It is unlikely, he rages, that it will otherwise in the future.  That Obama‘s real intention is to subvert Iran with open threats of military and nuclear strike. That the United States is a nation with a “never-ending hostility” toward Iran and its people.  In total, “…the US regime’s enmity against the Islamic Republic is inevitable and this enmity will continue.”

Mr. Khamenei has clearly identified us as his country’s mortal enemy and concludes that the agreement that we all thought had been concluded is not yet “a done deal”. He wants more. Much more. Enough is not enough.

His first demand: that the U.S. and Europe lift the sanctions, not suspend them, and in addition demands “solid and sufficient” guarantees in advance that this will be done. These conditions constitute a total change of the JCPOA.

Second demand: Any sanctions against Iran “at every level and on every pretext,” (note the word pretext), including the claim of terrorism and human rights violations, by any one of the countries participating and a party to the Nuclear agreement, will “constitute a violation of the JCPOA” and a reason for Iran to stop executing its obligations pursuant to the Agreement. Obviously, he is looking for an excuse to cancel the Agreement after reaping the millions of dollars in rewards.

The Third demand seeks to change the Agreement’s timetable, so that Iran will not take action as stipulated in the JCPOA, and, therefore, will not meet its obligations before the sanctions are eased. Instead it commands that the sanctions must first be eliminated totally, and only then will Iran meet its obligations under the agreement.

His fourth demand: Iran’s fulfillment of its obligations regarding the purpose of Arak reactor, as stipulated by the JCPOA, will be postponed until some undetermined future date.

The fifth demand: The date for Iran to ship out its enriched uranium, as stipulated by the Nuclear Agreement, is postponed again until some unknown future date. In addition, he is now demanding that Iran receive in exchange for the enriched uranium he is releasing — not the raw uranium as agreed upon, but uranium that has been enriched but to a lower level.

The last pronouncement for our purposes is that notwithstanding the declared goals of the JCPOA agreement, he directs that Iran is to immediately expand its ability to enrich uranium with a 15-year long term objective for its centrifuges.

A thought suddenly occurred to me: On 30th September 1938, the Prime Minister of the British Empire returned from a meeting with Adolph Hitler, where he signed the Munich Agreement conceding part of the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia, to Germany.  In effect, the free world buckled under Hitler’s demands. But the British Prime Minister announced to the troubled world with great fanfare as he arrived back in London: “I have returned with peace in our time.”  Less than a year later, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland.

Lessons not learned haunt you in the future.

I have written in the past about the loopholes and side deals that we find in the Agreements with Iran, which bodes trouble of an immense magnitude in the future. This latest move by the supreme leader of Iran is a clear signal that he does not believe in the sanctity of an agreement and despises the west. Contracts I teaches us an agreement is only as good as the integrity of the signing parties. He has no integrity, that’s more than evident, and will not honor either the letter or spirit of the agreement. He has said so. Nothing is clearer. The question then becomes why are we playing his game and not our own? Why are we dealing with a person who seeks our destruction? We, in colloquial terms, have all the cards, why aren’t we playing them?

As I finish writing this commentary (10.29.15), a breaking news report is issued by MEMRI—Rafsanjani, it reports, has told the Iranian Supreme Leader to get out of the way of fully executing the Nuclear Agreement. In other words, I will not follow your guidelines. The two most powerful men in Iran, in facing off in one arena, might have caused their own implosion.  The outcome is not clearly predictable.

One thing is clear; the nations who conducted and agreed to the JCPOA have given much more away in their desire to reach an accommodation than was prudent, necessary or safe for the United States and its allies.

Enough is enough.

Richard Allan,
The Editor

My Fear and My Right—Gun Control

When our first child was very young, my parents offered us a weekend away. We grabbed it and ran. During a long walk, somewhere in the Catskill Mountains, near our hotel, we heard guns being discharged. Nearby, we learned there was a skeet shooting school and range. That is when I held a gun for the first time and loved it.

Years later, when we had purchased a large tract of land in the middle of nowhere, and my now grown son suggested we needed to get a gun in case there were wild animals on or near where we were to build our country home. The two of us ended up at a gun range in, of all places, lower Manhattan in the basement of some industrial building. This time we used handguns. I loved it. Not as much fun as shooting skeets and more difficult to get the center of the target, which in this underground shooting facility was a silhouette of a human being. And some years ago at the invitation of the Defense Department, I was invited to view and handle advanced weapons at the army’s Fort Dix.

We never built on that land, but I was informed very early on by my wife and daughter that we would never have a gun in our home…country or otherwise. That has held true to this day.

Do I fear violence in the streets today? Yes. Have I felt violence in years gone by? Yes. We once drove across the United States, some four decades ago, and there were some strange towns along the way that had me wishing that I had some sort of gun in the car. The couple who raised my wife and traveled in their rig, crossing the United States for many years, always had a shotgun in their traveling home.

For many years I have written on this blog and other sites about security, violence and terrorism and I live in Manhattan. Do I need a gun for protection? Clearly not. If I lived in Ridgefield, Conn (picking that town as the first name that came into my mind) would I own a gun? No.

Would I love to go skeet shooting? Yes. Would it be better if I owned my own gun, fitted to my physical needs? Yes. Do I NEED a gun in my home? No.  Why should I have a gun in my home, as potentially dangerous as it is, to worry about its safekeeping and the outside possibility that it might be used in anger or stupidly, or an unwise manner without the intention of harming a person?  Lingering fear or, as some would plead my Second Amendment right. To both: Nonsense.

Taking my grandson to school across town, shouldn’t I be armed if some person decides that his school, for whatever reason, needs to be punished and has come armed as I walk him thru its front door? So I have done some skeet shooting, so I am trained in the use of my gun, but has my psyche been trained or does it have the capacity for this type of confrontation? Absolutely not. You have no idea how you will react until you have, in fact, been confronted by this type of violent conduct. A long time ago, when I decided with a neighbor to learn karate in a  four story walk up in Chinatown, the instructor in a  thick accent said to me: I can make you black belt here (pointing to his own head), but  I don’t know if I can make you black belt there (pointing to my heart). How very true.

After every senseless, retched, horrendous killing there are too many who continue to say: This is not the time to talk about gun control, this is a time to mourn. Ok, we have mourned over and over but the talking has neither started nor been reciprocal on this issue.  One side talks and the other side points to the Second Amendment. That is not a discussion under any circumstances. That is stalling! Reckless stalling.

I have a colleague at my law school that has a special spin on most everything. Let’s look at the Second Amendment, he would say: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment has most recently been interpreted to grant the right of gun ownership to individuals for purposes that include “self-defense”.

If I construe the Constitution in its strict form, as would Justice Scalia, then according to my colleague you would look at the intentions of the framers back at the time of adoption of the Amendment. I have no problem with that, I then give the Tea Party and NRA—muskets not assault rifles or high density bullet magazines.

There are those who keep saying that guns do not kill people, it’s “the mentally ill”, — the mentally ill out there that are causing all “the problems.” Those ‘excusers’ are people living in an echo chamber of the own voice, repeating over and over their self-serving mantras while others are dying. They don’t see the dying and they don’t hear the cries of desperation. Death from a bullet in the United States causes the loss of more lives than other top causes of death: Alcoholism, Leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and hypertension. There are more guns owned in the United States than any other country and we beat out Yemen where there is an insurrection.

Guns are used in homicides in this country more than any other country in the entire world. Guns are Americans choice of weapon. What more do you need to say? What more hard information is necessary?

We are not going to change, modify or rid ourselves of the Second Amendment. It is here to stay. And if attempted it would take years to modify. As my wife would say: “deal with it”.

Gun control does not violate the Second Amendment. We can say: who can own a gun and not violate the Constitution. We can say that some guns and bullet capacity go beyond your proven right to defend yourself. You have an obligation, in some jurisdictions, to prove you need a gun for “self-defense,” not that you merely “want” a gun in your home or pickup truck. If there is no need to protect yourself from whatever is out there or some identified person, why do you need a gun? Simple answer is:  I want to hunt. Fine reason, but you don’t need an assault rifle or a magazine full of bullets to hunt a deer or rabbit.

Ben Carson commenting on the mass murders said: ‘I Would Not Just Stand There and Let Him Shoot Me’ “I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him.’” Ok Doctor, you first! Trump suggested overturning gun-free zones and said civilians with guns could have stopped the mass shooting at a community college in Oregon. I am well aware that Mr. Trump cannot see too far from the top of Trump Tower, but hasn’t he learned that we ride in cars and not stagecoaches? We are not a nation of gunslingers and mud streets. We demand voter ID law to deter fraud. We demand a driver’s license before you are permitted to get behind the wheel of an automobile. We check your ID before we sell you a pack of cigarettes or pour your drink at your local bar, and you also need a prescription from a doctor before the druggist will give you that controlled substance prescription. Why not the same demands from the owner of a gun? The mother of the troubled son–-and she knew he had problems–who went on the shooting carnage at a community college in Oregon, said: “I keep two mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags. No one will be dropping by my house uninvited without acknowledgement.” And took jabs at “lame states” that imposed limits on keeping loaded firearms in the home. There were 14 firearms and spare ammunition magazines in her home as her son, the murder, had at least six guns with him when he entered the classroom shooting. Whom was she expecting “uninvited,” an entire gang of local thugs to steel her brownie mix? How many guns can she shoot at one time and reload?

Enough! What if the head of the NRA was shot with an assault rifle by a parent of one of those children who was murdered in their classroom? What if those members of Congress who are most vocal about the freedom of owning a gun were shot as they left Capitol Hill by a person who disliked politicians? You would hear howls for the need, not for more guns for our so-called mass “defense”, but against the flooding of the gun markets to those who have had no training with guns or should not for a multiple reasons have guns in their possession. For that we need a national gun registry. Until the pig is stabbed you don’t hear it squeal.

I had a friend who was extremely liberal in her political and social policies and who thought we should all share what we owned—“we” being “you” with some wealth—more than hers. But when it came to her own possessions she voted against that incumbent, who after being elected, then reached into her pocketbook.

Richard Allan,

The Editor

“Day of Anger”– A Different Focus

I am concerned that the domestic security of the United States is being undermined. This is the result of  the increased intensity of the vitriolic nature of the racial war of words and activities being thrown-about, stemming from the anger arising from the killing of unarmed black men.

If we undermine, in the process of venting our anger, the necessary foundation of our faith in those who are sworn to protect us, will the “police” (whatever they may called in your city, county and state) hesitate, stop, reconsider their actions, as a means of  self-protection,  to maintain their job security and their lives? Do less while on duty in order to avoid your (and mine) constant supervision of their performance.

Somehow, it seems to me that we expect law enforcement to have emotional instincts that are better tuned, advanced and a natural part of their special DNA than the average person. In a sense that is true, it’s part of the job description.  On the other hand, you and I don’t know how we will behave in a crisis situation until we find ourselves in its midst. So if we tell law enforcement that if they can’t do the job, as we describe it, and as we will be monitoring on a daily basis, they shouldn’t be in the job. Who among us is willing or able to line up to take that spot on the street? A positon (at no great salary) that carries with it potential danger each day while walking the beat?  I would not want that job. I like my life and love my family.

A dreaded though of mine as I write this blog, is what if law enforcement holds back, in the light of all the emotion in the streets “demanding  justice”.  What if, when the police walk the streets, the new tendency will be to look the other way; what if the potential defendant is of a different color, does law enforcement turn away and walk in a different direction; can an officer, when reporting a suspicious person as one of color (so that those joining the chase know whom they seek to arrest) being racist?  And please, give them the ability, the intellect, the emotional stability, and the sharpened instinct to make that decision in a split second or two.

Saturday, December 13, has been proclaimed a “Day of Anger”.  May I suggest that we all should be angry at the amount of killing in this country– period.

There is racism in the country; but the statistics indicate that the murder rate is color blind.

In the television series, Dragnet, the leading character keeps repeating to each of the witnesses to a particular crime: “Just the facts mam, just the facts.”

The 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of annual crime statistics, shows the following FACTS:

83 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders (not law enforcement);

90 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders (not law enforcement);

14 percent of white victims were killed by black offenders (not law enforcement);

7.6 percent of black victims were killed by white offenders (not law enforcement).

  1. The rate of black homicide victims and offenders (not law enforcement) were disproportionately represented, compared to the general population the 2011 Bureau Justice Statistics report found.
  2. The black victimization rate (27.8 per 100,000) was six times higher than the white victimization rate (4.5 per 100,000).
  3.  Black offending rate (34.4 per 100,000) was almost eight times higher than whites’ (4.5 per 100,000), according to the report.
  4. In 2012, it was reported, 386 whites and 140 blacks were killed by police, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data on causes of death.
  5. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of black officers who kill black felons is 32 per 100,000 black officers, which is more than twice the rate of white officers who kill black felons – 14 per 100,000 white officers.
  6. Although blacks account for disproportionately more violent crimes, the rate of black felons being killed by police (of whatever race) has actually declined.
  7. From 1980 to 1998, young black males made up about 1% of the national population.  BUT 21% of those young black males killed a police officer. Young white males made up about 8% of the population but 20% of them murdered a police officer: So 1% of young black men killed 21% while 8% young white men killed 20%, which averages out that young black men murder a police office at a rate almost 6 times that of young white male.

A growing percentage of people killed by police are white, and a declining percentage of those killed are black. With all this background, and as I will repeat, I do not support the status quo. Change must come but it must be balanced and rational.

For example: Let me propose, while we were marching on our Day of Anger, let us also carry a banner for Dillon Taylor. Who you ask? I haven’t heard about him. True, his name is never mentioned at any of the rallies or on sensational cable news reports. His mother is not among those who appear with their attorneys on CNN.  Only last night, on a major cable news outlet, eight or ten black mothers appeared as a group to speak about their murdered children. Mrs. Taylor was not among them, nor was she mentioned.  Nor was Dillon’s picture shown on my television screen with the other young men who had been killed by a police officer.  Senseless killings. There is a reason.

I learned of Dillon by coincidence. Buried  after the last page of news reporting and therefore unseen by you and me, the police in Salt Lake City have concluded their probe into an Aug. 11 shooting outside a 7-Eleven convenience store, when a black police officer, whom local media strangely referred to as “not white,” shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old Dillon Taylor.  Dillon was shot once in the stomach and once in the chest.  This 20 year old was both white and unarmed at the time, but he didn’t put his hands up fast enough for the officer. The police officer is still on the job and no warrant or bill will be issued. Case closed; no national protest; no cable coverage. His family does not get to march in the Day of Anger.

Oh yes, when each of the young, unarmed black men were killed by a white police office, it was argued by their protestors that each man’s  social activities and physiological make-up were immaterial to the investigation into the validity of the shooting by the police. Not so with Dillon, a white unarmed kid shot by a black policeman. His life was dissected publicly.

First and foremost, as I have written: I don’t advocate the status quo. It undermines the very nature of our democracy.  Democracy evolves, it does not remain stagnant.

Second: Please let’s do march! Please let us end the vicious cycle of all manner of discrimination in this country. This is too long overdue in this country.

And please let us hire law enforcement officers with something more than a rudimentary education and certainly with emotional maturity.  These traits are easily identified. And most important in the discussion — Let us focus on the facts—all the facts– and not just the ones you like or of those persons with a suspected agenda.

Richard Allan,
The Editor