To tell or not to tell. President Obama decided to reveal a failed summer Delta Force try at rescuing Americans held captive by ISIS in Syria. And 2 unnamed Defense Department officials are highly irritated saying revealing the m.o. only makes another try far more dangerous. “This only makes our job harder. I’m very disappointed this was released.” The revelation comes as American journalist James Foley was executed this week by ISIS which is putting pressure on the president to break policy of never dealing cash for freedom of hostages as about 10 European nations have been paying hundreds of millions since 2010 to the terrorists in exchange for the release of their countries’ nationals. New information is now out there for ISIS to digest. The team of about 25 Delta Force commandos entered Syria early this summer to free Foley and others being held by Sunni militants about 25 miles from the Turkish border. There was a firefight near an oil refinery, but no hostages with the Americans lucky to escape. We knew they were there. “We are not sure why the hostages had been moved,” said a Defense Department official. ‘By the time we got there it was too late.” One of the commandos sustained slight wounds before managing to get back on the helicopter. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden blames the disclosure on the media, claiming journalists were about to release information about the raid. There’s no word on how many hostages the Defense Department were believed to have been at the location, only that they had been moved perhaps hours ahead of the summer raid. Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said of the joint force, “We put the best of the United States military in harm’s way to try and bring our citizens home.” One of those Americans was journalist James Foley who was beheaded Tuesday by ISIS executioner Abu Musah al-Zarqawi, known as the “Sheikh of the Slaughters.” The public beheadings are too much even for Al Qaeda with Ayman al-Zawahri suggesting instead death by a shooting.
While about 10 European nations have been paying ISIS to save the lives of hostages, the United States, Great Britain and Canada have refused to deal with the terrorists, knowing that one release would lead to another and another escalating the price each time. Canada was furious when a Canadian family jumped the “no deal” policy and paid the terrorists. Europe, particularly Germany, have been paying regularly to Al Qaeda and now ISIS an estimated 125-Million, half the amount the terrorists spent over the past 5 years. According to the family of the free-lance journalist for Global Post and Agence France-Presse James Foley, ISIS had demanded a hundred-Million dollars. Right now American specialists are working to find the location of where the execution video was taken. The video at first seems to show nothing but an unidentifiable desert background. Foley had been working a story on establishing Syria’s fall into the current civil war when he was captured 25 miles south of the Turkish border in northern Syria. The execution marks the first such death since another American journalist, Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal was decapitated in 2002. More than 50 foreigners since 2010 were freed after the abductors were paid off. Among those back home are 4 French and 3 Spanish freed this year. President Obama has reiterated the American policy of not paying terrorists for hostages as it’s a never-ending slippery slope. But ISIS appears determined to force the U.S. into joining those countries willing to pay for the release of their country’s citizens. The terror group reminds the U.S. to pay-up or ISIS would start killing 3 Americans, one by one.
There is nothing that can excuse the killing of Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown a week ago, but it could have been so easily avoided had either one used the slightest bit of restraint. I was brought up in the inner city of Rochester, New York where the trains ran 50 yards from my bedroom window over my grandfather’s grocery store. I had lots of toy guns–loved to play soldier and see if we could sneak around on private property of the rich living several blocks away. My father and grandfather did what every parent black and white did in my neighborhood and should do everywhere to this day: “Don’t ever, ever point a toy gun at a police officer.” I laughed but they didn’t stop telling me how important that was. It could mean my life they insisted. I was also told NEVER to run from a police officer. “You must be obedient to obey a “Stop” order from any police. Maybe you are right and he’s wrong, but work that out later. Just make sure you are alive to tell it later” Brown’s thoughts were extremely precarious that Saturday night, having stolen 49 dollars worth of Cigarillos from a liquor store. Pushing the clerk aside as we can see in the video. No one has revealed to my knowledge, Brown’s alcohol content. According to the police account, there was physical contact with the officer. Brown taunted officer Wilson and started walking away. Brown was hit at least 6 times, in the head, an arm and chest. A witness says Wilson had regained his weapon from Brown’s clutches. Officers are trained to use force ONLY to the necessary extent required to subdue an assailant. And that’s the tough part when the adrenaline takes over. In a seeming life and death situation, it’s awfully hard to stop shooting the instant you’ve regained control. All parents should talk the law to their children until they understand the seriousness of the lesson. Many, possibly most of these horrific cases could be avoided.
Seems President Obama’s declaration that the mission to free over a hundred-thousand Yazidis from Mount Sinjar was premature. A team of 18 Marines and Special Operations soldiers reported back on Wednesday that only a few thousand remained on the mountain. The conclusion was American airstrikes and humanitarian air drops of food and water had broken the siege for over a hundred-thousand of the religious sect that mixes Christiananity and the Moslem religion. But the American troops had only looked on the northern part of the 60-mile long mountain. A Yazidi leader, Vian Dakhil, injured in Tuesday’s helicopter crash, spoke from her hospital bed, saying the “American claims are NOT true. It’s better now , but it’s just not true that all of them are safe–they are not….the situation is still very terrible on the south side of the mountain. There are still people who are not getting any aid.” The member of parliament representing her religious minority group of 800-thousand estimated about 75-Thousand Yazidis remain trapped on the mountain. Backing Dakhil’s estimate is Kieran Dwyer, chief United Nations spokesperson, is claiming the situation remains grave. On this the 14th day of the siege immediate access is needed to free those thousands mired on the southern part of the mountain. President Obama in his remarks from Martha’s Vineyard, yesterday was claiming “mission accomplished.” “We do not expect there to be an additional operation to get people off the mountain. As commander in chief, I could not be prouder.” But the urgency to free the 75 Thousand Yazidis remains as the Sunni invaders have vowed to slaughter all Yazidis whom they consider heretics. However, there are reports some of the Sunni fanatics have raped and enslaved Yazidi women, forcing them into marriage.
The arrest of Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery indicts the Ferguson, Missouri police department as untrained. As a network news editor for many years let me assure you journalists on this level are thoroughly trained to know their constitutional rights. Reporters have rights to a staging area and chose a McDonald’s a few blocks from where 18 year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by an unnamed Ferguson police officer over the weekend. Lowry and other witnesses say many officers, some in battledress entered the short-order restaurant. Both Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and Lowry were asked for identification. “I was wearing my lanyard, but Ryan asked why he had to show his ID. They didn’t press the point, but one added that if one called 911 no one would answer. Then they walked away. Moments later police reemerged, telling us that we had to leave. I pulled my phone out and began recording video. An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.” I said, “Officer, do I have the right to record you?” He backed off but told me to hurry up so I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand. As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information. One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged blocking my path. “Go another way,” he said. As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.” Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands. “My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At one point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.” That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets. As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machibne, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door. I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said, “Ryan tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they are arresting me.” He didn’t have the opportunity, because he was arrested as well. The officers led us outside to a police van. Inside there was a large man sitting on the floor between the two benches. He began screaming. “I can’t breathe. Call a paramedic! Call a paramedic!” Ryan and I asked the officers if they intended to help the man. They said he was fine. The screaming went on for 10 or 15 minutes we stood outside the van. During the 3 minutes to the police station, we asked the officers for badge numbers. We asked to speak to a supervising officer. We asked why we were being detained. We were told trespassing in a McDonald’s. We asked to see the arrest report. No report, the officer told us, and no, they wouldn’t provide names. He came back with a case number and said a report would be available in a week or two.
President Obama should be more careful when he says “never again,” again. It’s understandable he never envisioned thousands of peace-loving Yazidis isolated on a mountaintop in northern Iraq and neither did anybody else. I know of no American who wasn’t proud of the Marines’ accomplishment this week. Nothing pleases a soldier of any sort more than safely liberating victims from the bad guy. That accomplished, the president is again cutting U.S. troop strength which will likely encourage ISIS, accepting his promise of total American withdrawal out of Iraq. As with all wars, Iraq was easy to invade and now is not so easy to leave. Will the president now sit back and possibly watch what he calls “potential genocide” by ISIS advances? I would hope not. This humanitarianism is what American troops want to do and do batter than any other military in the world. For once we are in Iraq for a correct reason. Unfortunately, we helped create the present predicament by setting up a corrupt government and then looked the other way while ostensibly a free and open democracy started jailing and torturing elected Sunnis as we departed. Well, they are back as ISIS troops and enjoying the payback. They know Obama’s word need not be taken seriously, remembering he warned immediate retaliation if Syria dared use poison gas. Mr. Obama is now most concerned about avoiding another “slippery slope,” where more and more U.S. troops would be sent back to Iraq to fight ISIS. But the White House, speaking for the vacationing president said Wednesday, “reintroducing forces into combat on the ground in Iraq, has been ruled out.” That leaves the door open for more humanitarian help, such as opening corridors from cornered religious groups before ISIS troops can conduct a slaughter. But the president should know advisors on the battlefield can be hit as well and once they defend themselves they are back in combat. That’s exactly how the U.S. got deeply into the war in Vietnam and the president should know it could happen in Iraq as well. In that case a “slippery slope” would be out of his control.
Germany is through trying to get the Russians to pull back on their aggressiveness against the European Common Market countries. It wasn’t an easy decision as the Russians have been threatening to hold back and/or raise the price of Germany’s much-needed energy supply of which 40% comes from Russia. Europe’s number one economic power warned the Russians it would come to this even if it hurt Germany’s economy. Surprisingly Chancellor Angela Merkel has the solid support of the German people who now seem willing to sacrifice, if necessary. Seventy percent of those Germans polled last week said yes, to stricter sanctions even if it meant a hit on the economy. That has to include lots of German businesses who will be losing the profits of their long-established Russian ties. The long and close relations with Russia, since the fall of the Soviet Union seem to be withering away at a rapid rate. The Infratest poll shows only 15 percent of those Germans interviewed were still considering Russia as a loyal partner. Now France, which has been hesitating, just today, announced it was sending the Kurds requested rifles in the fight against the invading ISIS rebels now controlling about 40 percent of Iraq. France has apparently given up on the Russians, too, agreeing that tougher sanctions would soon be coming Moscow’s way. Even the Eastern European Economic Relations Committee, whose job since 1952 has been to promote business with Russia has reluctantly agreed with Merkel that Russian President Vladimir Putin has gone too far this time. The Committee had been warning of the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs at 7-thousand German companies doing business with Russia. Gernot Erler, holder of the German government position for the promotion of German business with Moscow, is now highly critical of Putin for “destroying reserves of trust with breathtaking speed. Russia is not naming its goals and has suddenly become unpredictable.”
The Russian president pulls another surprise and puts US-backed Ukraine in a corner. He’s coming with gifts–260 truck loads for the people of eastern Ukraine, particularly those living in the besieged city of Luhansk. What a clever publicity stunt! Of course he’ll be “winning friends and influencing people,” in the region…showing up the Kiev government and its western allies who haven’t been winning any medals from the war-zone residents. Here comes Putin bearing needed gifts of food, fuel, water, clothing, and medicine by the thousands of tons. The Russian president puts the west in a “damned if you do; damned if you don’t,” quandary.” Ukraine’s leaders know Putin’s up to something, but they just don’t know what. They’re talking about baring the “gifts” at the border; turning the big trucks around upon Wednesday afternoon’s expected arrival at the border. But then those hungry Ukraines aren’t going to like their government very much if they can’t get to the goodies. To give the rouse some legitimacy the International Red Cross is partnering with the Russian president. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a Trojan horse, a gift with strings attached. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have concluded if it were an honest to goodness legit humanitarian mission, Russia would have invited other countries to join in. Rumors are flying, one fearing the trucks are carrying ammunition with the drivers putting on their uniforms upon arrival.