Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Apocalypse redux…

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Redux = brought back, revived. We’re talking about the apocalypse again. Apocalypse is the event. While a dystopian society can cause it or be its aftermath, post-apocalyptic is reserved for the aftermath. There is a resurgence in these themes now. Everyone knows the reason: what’s happening in the U.S. right now as well as across the world has frightening parallels with 1930’s Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as with the darkest days of the Cold War. There’s nothing religious about this apocalypse.

Most dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic tales in the past were associated with the two world wars or the Communist threat. Brave New World was dystopian; Ape and Essence was post-apocalyptic. Even The Time Machine was post-apocalyptic. 1984 and Animal Farm were dystopian. Later sci-fi novels like Not This August were post-apocalyptic. Many classics can be found in these subgenres. Many soon-to-be classics like Wool are too. They all are warnings about what could happen. It’s common that interest in books and movies in these subgenres reflect troubled times in the world.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the world. As that hand on the Doomsday Clock inches toward midnight, these sci-fi subgenres become more popular. Some readers ignore them, burying their heads in the sand by reading schmaltzy romances and fluffy adventures that avoid most serious themes of any type. Which group is right? Beats me. I just tell stories. If one of them comes out apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, so be it. Almost all my stories have serious themes, though, but not all of them are in the aforementioned subgenres.

(more…)

Irish Stew #57…

Monday, December 19th, 2016

International

Let’s go to war! Cyber warfare, of course. Maybe Obama actually said to Putin, “We can do stuff to you,” but he’s been like a turtle swimming in molasses with his actions against the Russian despot. And it’s not just Putin’s hackers. We should declare cyber warfare against all hackers. The bozos who stole more than 1 billion plus users’ info from Yahoo (obviously not just U.S. users are represented) and are selling it on the dark web should be tracked down and thrown in jail. Edward Snowden should be kidnapped in Russia and brought back to a firing squad. X Manning (I don’t know what to call her/him, so I’ll use X) should join him.

Screwing around with idle threats, Mr. President, will not clean up the internet. Stop this now, or it will only get worse. If it comes to turning power plants off or creating run-away nuclear facilities or crashing multiple commercial planes, it’s too late. Let’s get NATO involved too, because this war is international and Europe is threatened, although they might be too complacent to realize it.

(more…)

Irish Stew #56…

Monday, December 12th, 2016

[It’s been awhile. I use this potpourri of news when I want to make a lot of mini-op-eds about current affairs—hence the name. Or, if you like, my Irish temper blows, and then I stew. Because I already had a political op-ed set for tomorrow about the healthcare crisis, I decided to pair this with “Monday Words of Wisdom” and clear my writing to-do list a wee bit. Let’s go to it…]

International

More Saudi duplicity. I’ve often railed against the duplicitous Saudis in this blog. Sometimes I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. Here’s yet another example of their duplicity: while we’ve been fighting the Taliban, among others, in Afghanistan for years, the Saudis have been playing both sides, but more in support of the Taliban! To quote a recent Times article: “Saudi Arabia is critical [in Afghanistan] because of its unique position in the Afghan conflict: It is on both sides.” Was Machiavelli a Saudi? They represent the primary source for destabilization in the Middle East and are indirectly (if not directly) responsible for countless tortures and murders of innocents. They are NOT our friends.

Taiwan calling. This is one case where government intervention was required—lots of it! During the election, Trump bloviated a lot about his loathing of the People’s Republic of China (like many communist naming inventions, it’s not a republic and certainly doesn’t belong to the people). He took a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese president. Big deal! Irony?  Obama can call a brutal and murdering dictator in Cuba and Trump is criticized for accepting a call from a democratically elected leader?

(more…)

Abdullah bin al-Hussein…

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

He’s King of Jordan and not a terrorist.  (I almost chose that name for a terrorist in one of my books.  What a mistake that would have been!)  I’m not into monarchs and dynasties, not even political ones, but he and his country represent the one shining star of sanity in a very troubled region.  Sixty Minutes, that venerable CBS news program, started its new season with him, and justifiably so.  In the interview he spoke candidly.  I came to admire this man whom I now consider a hero for not only his country but all the sane Muslims of the world (they’re in the majority) who want nothing to do with the torturers and murderers who call themselves jihadists.  It’s a wonder he’s still alive.  The region has a bad rep for killing anyone who speaks out sanely against terrorism and those who practice it.

I feel he’s a brother who understands the same things I do about how the West’s counterterrorism policies are ill-conceived at best and downright stupid most of the time—we’re riding a train into a dark tunnel with destruction waiting at the other end.  Radical Islam is NOT a geopolitical problem involving a few countries here and there.  We can’t chip at it here and there and hope to ever win.  As an example, the King pointed out that ISIS was (and is) losing ground in Syria and Iraq, so they moved into Libya and began exporting terrorists to Europe.  Everywhere a local economy in the Muslim world is failing (including Jordan’s because it’s receiving and/or taking care of thousands of refugees while besieged on all sides), angry, desperate young men take up arms against their scapegoat, the West, stirred up by psychotic leaders who don’t give a rat’s ass about those young men’s lives or anyone else’s.  ISIS and al Qaeda know these men are open to indoctrination and training and go about doing it.  At the same time, they do their best to create the economic conditions where hatred and intolerance can flourish.

(more…)

International headlines…

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

[When I can’t wait to comment…]

Empty threats from the Saudis. Obama and the Saudis aren’t happy with the congressional override of the President’s veto.  The U.S. Congress did their job for once; Obama put another nail in the coffin of his legacy.  And, of course, the duplicitous Saudis are making threats.  Let’s do a search-and-destroy mission of two major ones:

(1) The Saudis threaten to sell off all their U.S. holdings.  Ho-hum.  It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner in economics to understand that such an action would hurt them more than us.  First, in the short term, let’s be generous and say they get 70 cents on the dollar.  That’s still a huge loss!  Second, in the long term, why do they have these assets?  They’re hedging a downturn in the oil market!  That’s already occurring.  The U.S. doesn’t need Saudi oil.  We’re even exporting to Venezuela!  The Saudis’s U.S. investments and elsewhere represent a life insurance policy for their 6th century kingdom.

(2) The Saudis threaten to taper off on their counterterrorism efforts.  Huh?  That’s laughable.  The duplicitous Saudis foment terrorism and spawn terrorists.  Their religious schools, where they teach the murderous form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, are the prime tool for their pro-terrorism efforts.  15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists, and my interpretation of Saudi royals fleeing the U.S. after 9/11, and the many hints in those infamous 28 pages Obama tried to keep out of the news, are enough to tell me the kingdom is guilty of aiding and abetting the murder of almost 3000 people.  The Saudis could contribute to the world’s counterterrorism efforts by getting rid of these schools, for a start.  And we have no business beefing up their military so they can kill Yemenis and whoever else they consider threats to Wahhabism.  We’d be more effective beefing up Jordan because King Abdullah actually is carrying the fight to ISIS while the Saudi royals sit on their fat you-know-whats.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saudis were supporting them.  But maybe not—they already have their 6th century caliphate!

And what about Obama’s claim that Americans will suffer around the world. (1) Maybe they should, if they create mischief, mayhem, and murder. (Read Stephen Kinzer’s 2007 book Overthrow for background.) (2) The 9/11 is very specific.  No reasonable person can deny that.  The unreasonable ones, here or around the world, can go to hell!  Will they sue us when a Predator does the job the Saudis should be doing and takes out a known tourist.  Let them try!

Putin the Terrible. Tsar Ivan’s going to lose his nickname before long.  Tsar Putin is far more terrible, because he has a mighty police state and military machine behind him.  The SVR kills his regime’s enemies with impunity (watch for those umbrellas, folks!), the FSB makes the KGB and Stasi look like amateurs, and the Russia’s military-industrial complex feeds off unrest narcissist Voldya creates in the rest of the world.  Were you surprised when the Danes announced on Wednesday that Putin was responsible for the murder of 298 innocent souls on that Malaysian plane that dared to fly over Ukraine?  The case is iron-clad: the Russian-sponsored separatists asked for and got the deadly SA-11 antiaircraft system.  It was ferried in overnight and left the next day, and ever since Putin and Russia Inc. have been denying their complicity.  This, folks, is Putin the Terrible’s Lockerbie, and we can only hope that his fate will be the same as Qaddafi’s.

And so it goes…

A double standard for data collection…

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

I can’t believe it! A news item in one of my favorite progressive newsletters, Common Dreams, aligns it with the movement to pardon Snowden.  “’Pardon Snowden’ Campaign Takes Off as Sanders, Ellsberg, and Others Join” is an absurd article and this movement is ridiculous when you consider that Snoweden is as guilty of treason as Aldrich Ames, Jonathan Pollard, and Bradley Manning. Ames, a CIA analyst, spied for the Soviet Union. Pollard, a Naval intelligence analyst, spied for Israel. Manning, an Army analyst, and Snowden, an NSA analyst, were just spies who got their kicks from releasing classified information.  They’re all traitors who should be in jail for life (in such cases, I think that’s a more just punishment than a firing squad, but I’d go along with the latter). They’re all people who are indirectly responsible for many Americans’ deaths as well as the deaths of America’s supporters against our enemies.

Mr. Obama could put another nail in his legacy coffin (#1, a veto of that anti-Saudi bill, was considered last week): he could pardon Snowden. I doubt he will. In spite of his successes or failures in combatting terrorism (there are many in both categories), he probably likes the idea of electronic surveillance—actionable intelligence is the ubiquitous point of failure in our battle against terrorism, both foreign and domestic. But he might give a nod to all those faux-liberals in the land who support him and have put Snowden on a pedestal as the great American patriot and folk hero. You’d think the ex-NSA analyst could walk on water.  Maybe he can, using his inflated narcissism as a life raft?

(more…)

Obama has a few days left to pass test #1…

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Obama will add a new nail in the coffin of his legacy if he fails the following test: He only has to wait until September 23 to pass up vetoing the bill that would allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia. For once, Congress threw partisan bickering aside and passed this bill in the Senate and the House by a margin wide enough to override his veto…if they stick by their guns. Of course, it might just be a ploy by GOP members to make Obama look bad, so Congress will have their own test to pass if Obama keeps his promise to veto the bill—Congress should override in that case.

Obama’s legacy isn’t something candidate Clinton wants to hitch her wagon to by any means. His efforts to give affordable healthcare to more Americans were doomed from day one due to his Faustian bargain with the insurance companies and Big Pharma. Obamacare’s woes continues as a consequence (hence the Bernie Sanders quote in yesterday’s “Words of Wisdom”). I’d always argued for a single-payer system (not even Medicare is single-payer, by the way, despite Sanders’s pushing it for everyone), so all I can say is, “I told you so!” On the international front, his push for TPP is a slap in the face at all American workers. And he was in charge of cleaning up Bush’s mess in Iraq and blew it, not Clinton, because he left a vacuum there for ISIS to fill.  So, maybe his legacy is intact after all, one similar to Pete Rose’s—no Hall of Fame for Obama either: Lâche, infame, je te blame!

(more…)

Deserving damnation…

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

The use of children as suicide bombers is on the rise. Children are sold by human traffickers, or even their parents, to satisfy the appetites of sexual predators and porn movie makers. Girls are blown to kingdom come because they dare to go to school. They are also murdered because their parents want only sons. The persons who perform these and other atrocities against children deserve to be damned by society and every religion on the planet worth its salt. Most of all, governments should not condone these practices; they should lock away such people for a long, long time. Or, practice some good Old Testament-style revenge!

Many prehistoric tribes and cultures sacrificed children to their gods. We tend to excuse that hideous practice as ignorance, but today the atrocities enumerated aren’t ignorance—they’re unconscionable and monstrous perversions. Is an ISIS father who sends his two sons off to be suicide bombers simply ignorant? This happened recently. No, that father is evil incarnate. Whether you’re religious or not, that’s what it is, and that father deserves to be damned for eternity. There should be some street justice applied too.

Human trafficking for the exploitation of innocent children is a theme in The Collector. The reality, of course, is much worse than what’s depicted in my novel. Again, the traffickers, their clients, and their buyers in turn who sexually abuse these kids deserve damnation, no question about it. Greed has many ugly faces, but this is one of the ugliest.

For some strange reason, even conservative Muslims who aren’t terrorists think girls should not be in school. I say strange because cultures who practice this discrimination are doomed—they can never compete with the West if their women aren’t allowed to contribute. These same cultures treat women as property, of course, so they have no rights. The ones that kill female children because they only want male offspring are even more stupid—the limiting case of that suicidal nonsense is a culture without children, a dying culture.

The exploitation, torturing, maiming, and murder of children must stop. Those who practice it must pay, the ultimate price if necessary, because it is a disease that must be eradicated. Such people don’t deserve to be called human, and they deserve eternal damnation if we can believe that Satan even wants them. They are really lower than pond scum, so the world should have no regrets about sending them across Styx.

We cannot know whether an afterlife exists or not, of course, no matter what our religions say. We only have evidence for manmade heavens and hells here on Earth, not in the afterlife. All we can do in  this mortal existence is prosecute these people. And, by prosecute, I mean by any means possible, without remorse or compassion. Innocent children cannot protect themselves from these monsters, only we can.

But I’m frustrated. I don’t know what to do. I see this going on and curse the people who do it. I can rant about these practices here, but that doesn’t bring them to justice. That latter is an indictment of how ineffective and uncaring our institutions have become. I’m pointing the finger. The cries of suffering and dying children are their judges and juries. Maybe the people in those same institutions deserve damnation too. ‘Nough said.

***

On sale: The Golden Years of Virginia Morgan. Last two days! This sci-fi thriller will be on sale at Smashwords for $0.99, reduced from $2.99 (67% discount) from now until September 1. Use the coupon code FU54W. First question: what will the U.S. in the future do with retirees with Top Secret information? Second question: how do you prevent the assassination of a presidential candidate? Third question: is there room for romance in the life of an old agent? This fast-moving story’s main character is a woman who shows perseverance and strength to survive while unmasking a terrible conspiracy. Don’t miss the thrills!

And so it goes…

 

Should Turkey be in NATO?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Recent events justify this question. First, the coup attempt was evidence for a country in turmoil. Second, the crackdown after that attempt—let’s call it for what it was, a Stalin-like purge of most anyone who has spoken out against the current government, including university personnel—represent several kilometers more down that bloody brick road that leads to fascism. Third, pointing the finger at the U.S. as the cause of the coup because their scapegoat is self-exiled in the U.S. has no logic. Fourth, the current government’s rapprochement with Vladimir Putin means that Turkey isn’t to be trusted with any NATO secrets whatsoever.

Those are just the recent events. Let’s go back in time…way back. The Turks have long been in denial about the Armenian holocaust. Unlike the German’s angst about the Nazis’ final solution, Turks have never owned up to their version. Germany renounced fascism—we hope forever—the Turks never have and have practiced a concealed version since the days of the Ottoman Empire.

The Turks’ fight against ISIS is lackluster because Kurds are also fighting ISIS. The Kurds are personas non grata in Turkey and represent today’s Armenians. Turks attack the Kurds more than they do ISIS and will probably soon be helping Russia put down all of the Assad government’s enemies. Their duplicity in the Middle East is only second to Saudi Arabia’s. Some people might say that the military coup was fascism at work. I say Turkey is already a fascist state pretending to be friendly to the West, just like Saudi Arabia.  Both countries want to see a return to sixth century values.

(more…)

Irish Stew #55…

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

International

Saudi duplicity. The Kingdom has an agenda. They try to pretend they’re friends, but they push a 6th century version of Islam just as much as ISIS. Most of the al Qaeda murderers who plotted 9/11 were Saudi, and the Saudi government helped them, not to mention the training in the Saudi’s religious schools that teaches young men to hate the West. They are also trying to radicalize Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo and those in the old Islamic USSR countries. Their agenda is clear: time travel back to that 6th century caliphate. And you thought ISIS was the problem?

This last weekend, the government finally released the full 28 pages of the 9/11 report originally deemed TOP SECRET because they embarrassed our “Saudi friends” (with friends like that, who needs enemies?). I downloaded a copy and will peruse it in detail. At first glance, it seems nebulous and full of doublespeak, par for the course when it comes to national security. Here’s a quote from the Times article describing it: “Subsequent investigations…pursued the leads described…and found that many had no basis in fact.” Pox on the Times for bad reporting. What investigations? Do we have access? Many, but some did. Which ones? Really bad reporting. And people wonder why we have conspiracy theories! It’s only paranoia if it’s…you finish the phrase.

BREXIT and the new PM. Looks like the Brits have to live with their choices. I found it amusing the story about a town that had voted Labour for many decades voting to leave the EU in spite of that party’s pleas. Both Sanders and Trump here in the U.S. tapped into similar sentiments, but Hillary is still supporting TPP because Wall Street does.

I don’t expect the new PM to last long, although both Labour and Conservative parties should be walking the halls of Parliament like Lady Macbeth—they have blood on their hands, but Macbeth has already died. “Double, double, toil and trouble, pot boil and cauldron bubble….” British politics is more like a pressure cooker now.

(more…)