Day: March 5, 2017

Terrorism Lessons: The High Price of Israel's Segregated Educational System


On Feb. 23, Israel’s Education Ministry, Jerusalem District Police and Shin Bet security agency closed down a Hamas-operated school in east Jerusalem for teaching a violent, anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli curriculum.

Which begs the question: How did a terrorist organization manage to infiltrate the Israeli school system?

Israel’s balkanized public education was created almost 65 years ago, with the passage of the National Education Law that allowed Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, Religious Zionist and secular Jews to maintain separate school systems. The result has been a farcical testament to the folly of multiculturalism, which only encourages minority groups to adopt hyphenated identities, play grievance games and submit spurious victimhood claims.

With regards to the education of Arabs living in Jerusalem, multiculturalism morphed into straight out indoctrination in 1995, when the Oslo Agreement mandated that the educational system in east Jerusalem be run by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). As a result, only eight of about 180 schools teach the Israeli curriculum and only two of those are public schools.

What’s the danger of having the P.A. teach Palestinian kids? In 2015, an exhaustive report published by Palestinian Media Watch revealed that Israel’s ostensible peace partner, the Palestinian Authority, is teaching its children to hate Israel and Israelis. The P.A.’s official educational system uses virulent anti-Semitic concepts and materials that are proving to be one of the greatest obstacles to peace.

And Israeli citizens are reaping the whirlwind of this strange exercise in segregated education. Most perpetrators of the ‘knife Intifada,’ a recent yearlong wave of Palestinian terror attacks, came from east Jerusalem.

Instead of teaching all Israeli students about the underpinnings of Israeli society—democracy, civil rights and national solidarity – Israeli education has veered into tribalism, ideological indoctrination and hatred of the “other.” As a result, the alienation between students of these parallel educational systems is growing at an alarming rate.

Moreover, the segregated nature of Jerusalem’s school system touches upon the festering issue of sovereignty. If Jerusalem is indeed the undivided capital of Israel, then there’s can’t be separate curricula for Jews and Arabs. More broadly, Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem means that “there are no separate laws for Israelis and for non-Israelis,” as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin recently said.

If the goal of public schools is to develop well-rounded citizens who can think critically, process information, make good decisions, support themselves and serve the needs of society, what can Israel do to reform its divisive educational system? 

One idea is to integrate public education in a manner that would both feature a morning core curriculum and include separate afternoon classes. Such a system would enable students from minority population groups to explore their distinct ideological values and religious teachings, while simultaneously obtaining a valuable all-around education.

Less grandiose but more realistic is the Education Ministry’s plan to offer extra funding to east Jerusalem schools that switch from the Palestinian to Israeli curriculum.

Schools that either partially or completely adopt the Israeli educational plan will receive additional resources, for such things as counseling, music and art classes, teacher’s continuing education and more.

Despite the incendiary rhetoric of autocratic, corrupt Palestinian leaders, most Arabs living in Israel quietly understand that the key to obtaining a higher education and entering the Israeli job market is to learn core subjects such as Hebrew, English, science and math.

But until an equal application of Israeli law is applied to all Jerusalem residents, regardless of national or religious background, the best bet for east Jerusalem schools is to choose real knowledge over incitement and accept the Education Ministry’s offer.

As things stand, young Arab men and women going to schools in east Jerusalem today, instead of being prepared to win at the race of life, are all too often being brainwashed to take up arms and fulfill the Jihadist mandate to destroy Israel.

 

On Feb. 23, Israel’s Education Ministry, Jerusalem District Police and Shin Bet security agency closed down a Hamas-operated school in east Jerusalem for teaching a violent, anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli curriculum.

Which begs the question: How did a terrorist organization manage to infiltrate the Israeli school system?

Israel’s balkanized public education was created almost 65 years ago, with the passage of the National Education Law that allowed Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, Religious Zionist and secular Jews to maintain separate school systems. The result has been a farcical testament to the folly of multiculturalism, which only encourages minority groups to adopt hyphenated identities, play grievance games and submit spurious victimhood claims.

With regards to the education of Arabs living in Jerusalem, multiculturalism morphed into straight out indoctrination in 1995, when the Oslo Agreement mandated that the educational system in east Jerusalem be run by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). As a result, only eight of about 180 schools teach the Israeli curriculum and only two of those are public schools.

What’s the danger of having the P.A. teach Palestinian kids? In 2015, an exhaustive report published by Palestinian Media Watch revealed that Israel’s ostensible peace partner, the Palestinian Authority, is teaching its children to hate Israel and Israelis. The P.A.’s official educational system uses virulent anti-Semitic concepts and materials that are proving to be one of the greatest obstacles to peace.

And Israeli citizens are reaping the whirlwind of this strange exercise in segregated education. Most perpetrators of the ‘knife Intifada,’ a recent yearlong wave of Palestinian terror attacks, came from east Jerusalem.

Instead of teaching all Israeli students about the underpinnings of Israeli society—democracy, civil rights and national solidarity – Israeli education has veered into tribalism, ideological indoctrination and hatred of the “other.” As a result, the alienation between students of these parallel educational systems is growing at an alarming rate.

Moreover, the segregated nature of Jerusalem’s school system touches upon the festering issue of sovereignty. If Jerusalem is indeed the undivided capital of Israel, then there’s can’t be separate curricula for Jews and Arabs. More broadly, Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem means that “there are no separate laws for Israelis and for non-Israelis,” as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin recently said.

If the goal of public schools is to develop well-rounded citizens who can think critically, process information, make good decisions, support themselves and serve the needs of society, what can Israel do to reform its divisive educational system? 

One idea is to integrate public education in a manner that would both feature a morning core curriculum and include separate afternoon classes. Such a system would enable students from minority population groups to explore their distinct ideological values and religious teachings, while simultaneously obtaining a valuable all-around education.

Less grandiose but more realistic is the Education Ministry’s plan to offer extra funding to east Jerusalem schools that switch from the Palestinian to Israeli curriculum.

Schools that either partially or completely adopt the Israeli educational plan will receive additional resources, for such things as counseling, music and art classes, teacher’s continuing education and more.

Despite the incendiary rhetoric of autocratic, corrupt Palestinian leaders, most Arabs living in Israel quietly understand that the key to obtaining a higher education and entering the Israeli job market is to learn core subjects such as Hebrew, English, science and math.

But until an equal application of Israeli law is applied to all Jerusalem residents, regardless of national or religious background, the best bet for east Jerusalem schools is to choose real knowledge over incitement and accept the Education Ministry’s offer.

As things stand, young Arab men and women going to schools in east Jerusalem today, instead of being prepared to win at the race of life, are all too often being brainwashed to take up arms and fulfill the Jihadist mandate to destroy Israel.

 



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The Shift: From Liberal-Conservative to Globalist-Nationalist


Last July, with Donald Trump on the verge of sealing up the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Ross Douthat authored a column in the New York Times about the new political battlefield.  “[P]erhaps we should speak no more of left and right, liberals and conservatives,” the token trad wrote.  “From now on the great political battles will be fought between nationalists and internationalists, nativists and globalists.”

Douthat’s sentiment was echoed at the recent CPAC gathering, where President Trump’s chief strategist, Steven Bannon, explained the difference between economic populists like himself and the jet-setting Davos crowd.  “[W]e’re a nation with an economy,” he preached to the crowd.  “Not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a reason for being.”

It’s true that we in the West are undergoing a political reorganization.  The past two years have seen an explosion of nationalist political parties and personalities.  The terms “liberal” and “conservative,” in the popular context, are beginning to lose relevance.  What’s replacing them isn’t so much party difference, but class.

The lines of separation between the elites and provincials has never been clearer.  On big, nation-defining issues – trade agreements, wars, transnational partnerships, necessary credentials for high office – the divide cuts evenly.  Those moneyed, cloistered, and comfortable welcome globalization and all its attendant benefits.  Those who aren’t so well off don’t.

But class separation doesn’t get to the heart of the difference between one end of the widening gulf and the other.  The nationalist-globalist frame stems from something different, something more epistemological.

Politics really comes down to a value judgement: how does society best organize its collective life?

For nationalists, love of country, its inhabitants, and its unique character guides law-making.  Government is formed solely for the benefit of citizens.  High-minded psalms to the brotherhood of man have little place in policy.

The globalists are devoted to the biggest community on Earth: worldwide humanity.  To the globally minded activist, there is no difference between the man next door and the man in a hut in Cambodia.  Each is due equal consideration when it comes to the law.

In his recent New York Times column, David Brooks hits on this difference by singing a dirge to the enlightened universalism he sees as the cornerstone of the West.  “The Enlightenment included thinkers like John Locke and Immanuel Kant who argued that people should stop deferring blindly to authority for how to live,” he explains.  But the anti-enlightenment movements of today “don’t think truth is to be found through skeptical inquiry and debate.”

Who are these intellect-eschewing dunderheads?  Donald Trump, of course.  But also Nigel Farage and Brexit backers, Marine Le Pen of France, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, and Viktor Orbán of Hungary.  Each has cultivated popular support by appealing not to passionless debate, but to deep love of country and, more pointedly, familiarity.

These decidedly anti-intellectual voters act based not on cool reasoning.  They go the polls not to impose their abstract philosophy on the world.  They protect what is theirs, what is close, what they identify with.

To contrast this limited view of life with the liberal is to compare soil with sky.  Wide open and infinite, the sky is spaceless.  It doesn’t shift and sift like dirt through your fingers.  It can’t be seen and felt like solid earth.

The nationalist is necessarily parochial, attached to his specific time and place.  The globalist takes the opposite approach.  Not starting from below but above, he takes an all-encompassing view of mankind and sets to reshape the world in its image.  The leftist global crusader is a firm believer in what Michael Brendan Dougherty calls “the idea of eternal human progress and moral arcs bending across the universe.”

The idea of unstoppable progression demands much from its acolytes.  Do national borders impede immigrants looking for a better life?  Then all barriers must be eliminated.  Do some people prefer those who share their faith, culture, skin color, and history to those who don’t?  Then they must be made to take a more universal view toward man and be shamed for their bigotry.  Does the preservation of national wealth deprive poorer countries of prosperity?  Then wealth must be redistributed, be it in the form of trade, military occupation, or direct financial transfer.

On and on the reduction goes until all human distinctions are replaced by the universal, homogeneous, and thus bland and uninteresting man.  When the liberal-globalist achieves this sterile paradise, he’ll be left with mannequins for men, able to recite facile tropes about joyful togetherness.  This “thin view of man,” to use the words of Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko, can be an anti-civilizing force if left unchecked.

What is the contra to thin humanity?  Thick, obviously.  And what does thick entail?  It means an acceptance of complexity, of the infinitudes of thought and emotion within every individual.  “Across a room,” writes Ted McAllister, “a conservative might spy a sack of rapidly degenerating amino acids, but rather than thinking of the elements that make up the body he sees, he wonders about this creature’s past, its network of relationships, its relationship with books.”

Here’s where the paradox sets in: while the nationalist-conservative takes a simple approach to living, his narrow vision accepts the inner complexity of the individual.  He doesn’t purport to have a theory for how all should be governed.  Rather, the good he sees is best for his family, his community, his country.  Going any farther impedes on the right of another nation-dweller to determine his future path.

The political clash before the West has its basis in distance.  How far a man is willing to go to impose his will usually determines his political allegiance.  For those who would stop at their country’s defined border, the influence is growing.  How far it grows will be determined by those who think of their persuasive power as limitless.

Last July, with Donald Trump on the verge of sealing up the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Ross Douthat authored a column in the New York Times about the new political battlefield.  “[P]erhaps we should speak no more of left and right, liberals and conservatives,” the token trad wrote.  “From now on the great political battles will be fought between nationalists and internationalists, nativists and globalists.”

Douthat’s sentiment was echoed at the recent CPAC gathering, where President Trump’s chief strategist, Steven Bannon, explained the difference between economic populists like himself and the jet-setting Davos crowd.  “[W]e’re a nation with an economy,” he preached to the crowd.  “Not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a reason for being.”

It’s true that we in the West are undergoing a political reorganization.  The past two years have seen an explosion of nationalist political parties and personalities.  The terms “liberal” and “conservative,” in the popular context, are beginning to lose relevance.  What’s replacing them isn’t so much party difference, but class.

The lines of separation between the elites and provincials has never been clearer.  On big, nation-defining issues – trade agreements, wars, transnational partnerships, necessary credentials for high office – the divide cuts evenly.  Those moneyed, cloistered, and comfortable welcome globalization and all its attendant benefits.  Those who aren’t so well off don’t.

But class separation doesn’t get to the heart of the difference between one end of the widening gulf and the other.  The nationalist-globalist frame stems from something different, something more epistemological.

Politics really comes down to a value judgement: how does society best organize its collective life?

For nationalists, love of country, its inhabitants, and its unique character guides law-making.  Government is formed solely for the benefit of citizens.  High-minded psalms to the brotherhood of man have little place in policy.

The globalists are devoted to the biggest community on Earth: worldwide humanity.  To the globally minded activist, there is no difference between the man next door and the man in a hut in Cambodia.  Each is due equal consideration when it comes to the law.

In his recent New York Times column, David Brooks hits on this difference by singing a dirge to the enlightened universalism he sees as the cornerstone of the West.  “The Enlightenment included thinkers like John Locke and Immanuel Kant who argued that people should stop deferring blindly to authority for how to live,” he explains.  But the anti-enlightenment movements of today “don’t think truth is to be found through skeptical inquiry and debate.”

Who are these intellect-eschewing dunderheads?  Donald Trump, of course.  But also Nigel Farage and Brexit backers, Marine Le Pen of France, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, and Viktor Orbán of Hungary.  Each has cultivated popular support by appealing not to passionless debate, but to deep love of country and, more pointedly, familiarity.

These decidedly anti-intellectual voters act based not on cool reasoning.  They go the polls not to impose their abstract philosophy on the world.  They protect what is theirs, what is close, what they identify with.

To contrast this limited view of life with the liberal is to compare soil with sky.  Wide open and infinite, the sky is spaceless.  It doesn’t shift and sift like dirt through your fingers.  It can’t be seen and felt like solid earth.

The nationalist is necessarily parochial, attached to his specific time and place.  The globalist takes the opposite approach.  Not starting from below but above, he takes an all-encompassing view of mankind and sets to reshape the world in its image.  The leftist global crusader is a firm believer in what Michael Brendan Dougherty calls “the idea of eternal human progress and moral arcs bending across the universe.”

The idea of unstoppable progression demands much from its acolytes.  Do national borders impede immigrants looking for a better life?  Then all barriers must be eliminated.  Do some people prefer those who share their faith, culture, skin color, and history to those who don’t?  Then they must be made to take a more universal view toward man and be shamed for their bigotry.  Does the preservation of national wealth deprive poorer countries of prosperity?  Then wealth must be redistributed, be it in the form of trade, military occupation, or direct financial transfer.

On and on the reduction goes until all human distinctions are replaced by the universal, homogeneous, and thus bland and uninteresting man.  When the liberal-globalist achieves this sterile paradise, he’ll be left with mannequins for men, able to recite facile tropes about joyful togetherness.  This “thin view of man,” to use the words of Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko, can be an anti-civilizing force if left unchecked.

What is the contra to thin humanity?  Thick, obviously.  And what does thick entail?  It means an acceptance of complexity, of the infinitudes of thought and emotion within every individual.  “Across a room,” writes Ted McAllister, “a conservative might spy a sack of rapidly degenerating amino acids, but rather than thinking of the elements that make up the body he sees, he wonders about this creature’s past, its network of relationships, its relationship with books.”

Here’s where the paradox sets in: while the nationalist-conservative takes a simple approach to living, his narrow vision accepts the inner complexity of the individual.  He doesn’t purport to have a theory for how all should be governed.  Rather, the good he sees is best for his family, his community, his country.  Going any farther impedes on the right of another nation-dweller to determine his future path.

The political clash before the West has its basis in distance.  How far a man is willing to go to impose his will usually determines his political allegiance.  For those who would stop at their country’s defined border, the influence is growing.  How far it grows will be determined by those who think of their persuasive power as limitless.



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How the Use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Saved Thousands of American Lives


The intelligence community unjustly suffered a black eye when its use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) was publicized by the media and used as a political issue by Democrats trying to discredit a Republican administration and undermine the post 9/11war effort.  In addition, CIA black site operations were unfairly tied to an isolated case of prisoner abuse by military police at Abu Ghraib, a U.S.-run Iraqi detention facility for terrorist detainees.  What was missing from the head-on attacks on the intelligence agency was the reality of how EIT thwarted terrorist plans and potentially saved thousands of American lives. 

A new book, Enhanced Interrogation:  Inside the Minds and Motives of Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America (Crown Forum, 2016) by psychologist and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Dr. James E. Mitchell, describes the author’s involvement in the development and implementation of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program from its inception in 2002 until it was shut down by Obama in 2009.

The book is an eye-opening account of how thoughtfully and judiciously enhanced interrogation techniques were developed, how they were applied, how much valuable intelligence was gleaned from their use and how effectively they thwarted potentially deadly attacks.

The unfair discrediting of EIT began when California Senator Diane Feinstein, a Senate Select Intelligence Committee member, cherrypicked information from CIA documents and alleged that corrupt CIA officials mercilessly tortured detainees and failed to produce a scintilla of useful intelligence in the process. Yet, her dubious claims were far from the truth.  Feinstein was poised for a witch-hunt against the Bush administration and the CIA.  The Senate Intelligence Committee failed to produce a balanced, bipartisan investigation and even refused to interview any of the CIA operatives and contractors involved in the EIT operation.

In his book, Mitchell defends the CIA program as well run, effective, conducted fully within the bounds of the law and a source of valuable counterterrorism intelligence.  Further, the same Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committees that condemned the program were fully briefed ahead of time and supported it before it became politically useful to denounce it.

In Enhanced Interrogation, Mitchell laments that traditional rapport-building techniques typically used by law enforcement did not work with Islamic terrorist detainees who were trained to resist using various methods laid out in the Manchester Manual.  The manual was a computer file found by Manchester Metropolitan Police in 2000 in the home of Abu Anas al-Libi, a Libyan under indictment in the U.S. for his part in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.  Al-Libi worked as a computer specialist for Al Qaeda. The 180-page document on how to wage war included instructions on how to withstand interrogation methods and falsely claim torture.

Faced with detainees trained to resist traditional interrogation techniques, U.S. officials, after much analysis and soul-searching at the CIA, decided to use Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape or SERE techniques.  These interrogation methods had been used for decades without significant injuries to train the U.S. military in resistance techniques when in enemy captivity.  One of the techniques was waterboarding, which the author and another psychologist lobbied to eliminate from training because they felt it was too effective and would undermine the confidence of soldiers in their ability to withstand interrogation and protect military secrets.  Ultimately, CIA head, George Tenet, the DOJ, White House lawyers, then national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, VP Cheney and President Bush, all approved use of these techniques.

One of the first Islamic terrorist detainees waterboarded was Abu Zubaydah, an operational planner for Al Qaeda prior to 9/11, who was believed to have much valuable intelligence to share with U.S. authorities.  At one critical point after 9/11, Zubaydah had shut down and was unresponsive to questioning.  Prior to waterboarding, he was intensely observed and subjected to a variety of interrogation methods.  In addition, medical doctors, religious leaders and psychologists were consulted to determine if he would experience any long-term medical, psychological or cultural impact from the procedure.

In the end, the waterboarding operation proved to be enormously useful. Zubaydah provided critical information necessary to capture terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and to break up plans for future attacks.

Zubaydah revealed the roles of others, including Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an accomplice to 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Adnan el-Shukrijuman, a senior Al Qaeda operative; and dirty bomber, Jose Padilla.  Zubaydah also admitted that, before he was captured, he had been planning to start his own Al Qaeda-like jihadist group to kill Jews in Israel.  Interestingly, he advised his interrogators to use harsh techniques on other detainees to lessen their guilt and sense of betrayal of Islamic ideals when they yielded after a significant amount of pressure.

Continued waterboarding as time went on resulted in, not a useless torture operation, as later claimed, but the uncovering of a treasure trove of information about terrorists and their plans to launch horrific attacks that could now be thwarted.

When Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen who was the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing and other maritime terrorist attacks was captured in the United Arab Emirates, he endured EIT at a CIA black site before being transferred to GITMO.  Al-Nashiri had much valuable intelligence to impart, having been Osama bin Laden’s go-to guy on sea attacks.  Also, Abu Zubaydah because of his position in Al Qaeda provided a check on the veracity of the information gleaned from the Al-Nashiri interrogations.

Bin Al-Shibh, one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ‘s operatives, headed a cell whose plans to crash a hijacked plane into Heathrow and into buildings in London’s financial district were disrupted in 2003.  He had previously moved to Germany in the mid-1990s and joined the Hamburg cell that planned the 9/11 attacks.  Bin al-Shibh, often identified as the “20th hijacker,” was the only one of the group who failed to obtain a U.S. visa.  He was accused of aiding the hijackers by wiring money and passing on information from key Al Qaeda leaders.  Further, Bin al-Shibh’s capture was crucial for locating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, himself a rich source of information, whose main priorities were to protect Osama bin Laden and withhold information about planned attacks.

When Sheikh Mohammed was in custody, the use of EIT led to disruption of post 9/11 attacks, which included the West Coast attack on the Library Tower, the Plaza Bank in Washington State, the Sears Tower in Chicago and possibly other locations.  It also led to the capture of Hambali, a Jemaah Islamiya leader with close ties to Al Qaeda and the mastermind of the 2002 Bali attack who Sheikh Mohammed enlisted to execute the so-called “second wave.”

In the aftermath of waterboarding, Sheikh Mohammed provided information on Al Qaeda operative, Iyman Faris, who was working on a plot to cut the Brooklyn Bridge suspension cables and cause a rush-hour collapse. Sheikh Mohammed also gave up information on Jose Padilla, who was plotting a radiologic dirty bomb attack inside the U.S.  Further, Sheikh Mohammed identified two other Al Qaeda terrorists: Uzair Paracha, who was charged with smuggling explosive devices into the country to blow up gas stations along the East Coast, and Adnan Shukrijumah, who surveilled nuclear power plants, the homes of past presidents, historic landmarks, subways and bridges and proved a critical link to locating Osama bin Laden.  

The author learned a great deal in the thousands of hours he spent with Sheikh Mohammed, particularly about Islamic jihadist ideology and logistics.  Sheikh Mohammed described how the failed Bojinka plot launched in the Philippines to simultaneously bomb a dozen U.S. commercial planes and crash them into the ocean was the genesis for the 9/11 attacks.  The terrorist expressed surprise that the U.S. did not respond to the African embassy attacks, the U.S.S. Cole bombing and the Beirut Marine barracks hit.  Mohammed declared that large-scale attacks would not defeat America, which would be destroyed by massive immigration and the outbreeding of non-Muslims.  Mohammed explained that Islamists would use the welfare system to support themselves while they spread jihad and employed America’s laws and rights to protect themselves and their activities.

Another little-discussed side benefit of EIT was that terrorist detainees were conditioned to cooperate in interrogations when they expected that harsh techniques might be used, even when they weren’t going to be used.  Mitchell explains that this type of Pavlovian anticipation meant that EIT could be tapered off after an average of 72 hours.

Enhanced Interrogation makes clear that a significant amount of critical intelligence was acquired through EIT techniques that helped the U.S. capture terrorists, disrupt plots, save lives and better understand the enemy.  The CIA’s interrogation program was a success and provided much information about terrorist organizational structure, leadership financing and planning.  Without EIT, according to Mitchell, the United States would never have killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

When it comes to using EIT, Americans must ask what they value most:  the so-called rights of terrorists intent on destroying America or the safety and security of the American people.  Should U.S. authorities stop people who see themselves as being at war with us and our way of life by employing a pre-emptive, war-focused intelligence gathering approach or do we use an ex post facto law enforcement or criminal approach of convicting terrorists in a court of law?  Surely, the former pro-active perspective offers the best chance for keeping Americans safe.

In Enhanced Interrogation, we see how the limited use of approved non-life threatening enhanced interrogation techniques can be instrumental in gleaning much critical information to thwart terrorist plots and potentially saved thousands of lives.

The intelligence community unjustly suffered a black eye when its use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) was publicized by the media and used as a political issue by Democrats trying to discredit a Republican administration and undermine the post 9/11war effort.  In addition, CIA black site operations were unfairly tied to an isolated case of prisoner abuse by military police at Abu Ghraib, a U.S.-run Iraqi detention facility for terrorist detainees.  What was missing from the head-on attacks on the intelligence agency was the reality of how EIT thwarted terrorist plans and potentially saved thousands of American lives. 

A new book, Enhanced Interrogation:  Inside the Minds and Motives of Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America (Crown Forum, 2016) by psychologist and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Dr. James E. Mitchell, describes the author’s involvement in the development and implementation of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program from its inception in 2002 until it was shut down by Obama in 2009.

The book is an eye-opening account of how thoughtfully and judiciously enhanced interrogation techniques were developed, how they were applied, how much valuable intelligence was gleaned from their use and how effectively they thwarted potentially deadly attacks.

The unfair discrediting of EIT began when California Senator Diane Feinstein, a Senate Select Intelligence Committee member, cherrypicked information from CIA documents and alleged that corrupt CIA officials mercilessly tortured detainees and failed to produce a scintilla of useful intelligence in the process. Yet, her dubious claims were far from the truth.  Feinstein was poised for a witch-hunt against the Bush administration and the CIA.  The Senate Intelligence Committee failed to produce a balanced, bipartisan investigation and even refused to interview any of the CIA operatives and contractors involved in the EIT operation.

In his book, Mitchell defends the CIA program as well run, effective, conducted fully within the bounds of the law and a source of valuable counterterrorism intelligence.  Further, the same Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committees that condemned the program were fully briefed ahead of time and supported it before it became politically useful to denounce it.

In Enhanced Interrogation, Mitchell laments that traditional rapport-building techniques typically used by law enforcement did not work with Islamic terrorist detainees who were trained to resist using various methods laid out in the Manchester Manual.  The manual was a computer file found by Manchester Metropolitan Police in 2000 in the home of Abu Anas al-Libi, a Libyan under indictment in the U.S. for his part in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.  Al-Libi worked as a computer specialist for Al Qaeda. The 180-page document on how to wage war included instructions on how to withstand interrogation methods and falsely claim torture.

Faced with detainees trained to resist traditional interrogation techniques, U.S. officials, after much analysis and soul-searching at the CIA, decided to use Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape or SERE techniques.  These interrogation methods had been used for decades without significant injuries to train the U.S. military in resistance techniques when in enemy captivity.  One of the techniques was waterboarding, which the author and another psychologist lobbied to eliminate from training because they felt it was too effective and would undermine the confidence of soldiers in their ability to withstand interrogation and protect military secrets.  Ultimately, CIA head, George Tenet, the DOJ, White House lawyers, then national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, VP Cheney and President Bush, all approved use of these techniques.

One of the first Islamic terrorist detainees waterboarded was Abu Zubaydah, an operational planner for Al Qaeda prior to 9/11, who was believed to have much valuable intelligence to share with U.S. authorities.  At one critical point after 9/11, Zubaydah had shut down and was unresponsive to questioning.  Prior to waterboarding, he was intensely observed and subjected to a variety of interrogation methods.  In addition, medical doctors, religious leaders and psychologists were consulted to determine if he would experience any long-term medical, psychological or cultural impact from the procedure.

In the end, the waterboarding operation proved to be enormously useful. Zubaydah provided critical information necessary to capture terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and to break up plans for future attacks.

Zubaydah revealed the roles of others, including Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an accomplice to 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Adnan el-Shukrijuman, a senior Al Qaeda operative; and dirty bomber, Jose Padilla.  Zubaydah also admitted that, before he was captured, he had been planning to start his own Al Qaeda-like jihadist group to kill Jews in Israel.  Interestingly, he advised his interrogators to use harsh techniques on other detainees to lessen their guilt and sense of betrayal of Islamic ideals when they yielded after a significant amount of pressure.

Continued waterboarding as time went on resulted in, not a useless torture operation, as later claimed, but the uncovering of a treasure trove of information about terrorists and their plans to launch horrific attacks that could now be thwarted.

When Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen who was the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing and other maritime terrorist attacks was captured in the United Arab Emirates, he endured EIT at a CIA black site before being transferred to GITMO.  Al-Nashiri had much valuable intelligence to impart, having been Osama bin Laden’s go-to guy on sea attacks.  Also, Abu Zubaydah because of his position in Al Qaeda provided a check on the veracity of the information gleaned from the Al-Nashiri interrogations.

Bin Al-Shibh, one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ‘s operatives, headed a cell whose plans to crash a hijacked plane into Heathrow and into buildings in London’s financial district were disrupted in 2003.  He had previously moved to Germany in the mid-1990s and joined the Hamburg cell that planned the 9/11 attacks.  Bin al-Shibh, often identified as the “20th hijacker,” was the only one of the group who failed to obtain a U.S. visa.  He was accused of aiding the hijackers by wiring money and passing on information from key Al Qaeda leaders.  Further, Bin al-Shibh’s capture was crucial for locating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, himself a rich source of information, whose main priorities were to protect Osama bin Laden and withhold information about planned attacks.

When Sheikh Mohammed was in custody, the use of EIT led to disruption of post 9/11 attacks, which included the West Coast attack on the Library Tower, the Plaza Bank in Washington State, the Sears Tower in Chicago and possibly other locations.  It also led to the capture of Hambali, a Jemaah Islamiya leader with close ties to Al Qaeda and the mastermind of the 2002 Bali attack who Sheikh Mohammed enlisted to execute the so-called “second wave.”

In the aftermath of waterboarding, Sheikh Mohammed provided information on Al Qaeda operative, Iyman Faris, who was working on a plot to cut the Brooklyn Bridge suspension cables and cause a rush-hour collapse. Sheikh Mohammed also gave up information on Jose Padilla, who was plotting a radiologic dirty bomb attack inside the U.S.  Further, Sheikh Mohammed identified two other Al Qaeda terrorists: Uzair Paracha, who was charged with smuggling explosive devices into the country to blow up gas stations along the East Coast, and Adnan Shukrijumah, who surveilled nuclear power plants, the homes of past presidents, historic landmarks, subways and bridges and proved a critical link to locating Osama bin Laden.  

The author learned a great deal in the thousands of hours he spent with Sheikh Mohammed, particularly about Islamic jihadist ideology and logistics.  Sheikh Mohammed described how the failed Bojinka plot launched in the Philippines to simultaneously bomb a dozen U.S. commercial planes and crash them into the ocean was the genesis for the 9/11 attacks.  The terrorist expressed surprise that the U.S. did not respond to the African embassy attacks, the U.S.S. Cole bombing and the Beirut Marine barracks hit.  Mohammed declared that large-scale attacks would not defeat America, which would be destroyed by massive immigration and the outbreeding of non-Muslims.  Mohammed explained that Islamists would use the welfare system to support themselves while they spread jihad and employed America’s laws and rights to protect themselves and their activities.

Another little-discussed side benefit of EIT was that terrorist detainees were conditioned to cooperate in interrogations when they expected that harsh techniques might be used, even when they weren’t going to be used.  Mitchell explains that this type of Pavlovian anticipation meant that EIT could be tapered off after an average of 72 hours.

Enhanced Interrogation makes clear that a significant amount of critical intelligence was acquired through EIT techniques that helped the U.S. capture terrorists, disrupt plots, save lives and better understand the enemy.  The CIA’s interrogation program was a success and provided much information about terrorist organizational structure, leadership financing and planning.  Without EIT, according to Mitchell, the United States would never have killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

When it comes to using EIT, Americans must ask what they value most:  the so-called rights of terrorists intent on destroying America or the safety and security of the American people.  Should U.S. authorities stop people who see themselves as being at war with us and our way of life by employing a pre-emptive, war-focused intelligence gathering approach or do we use an ex post facto law enforcement or criminal approach of convicting terrorists in a court of law?  Surely, the former pro-active perspective offers the best chance for keeping Americans safe.

In Enhanced Interrogation, we see how the limited use of approved non-life threatening enhanced interrogation techniques can be instrumental in gleaning much critical information to thwart terrorist plots and potentially saved thousands of lives.



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Kid vandals, ages 7 to 11, raid day care, cause extensive damage


Four boys and a girl, ages 7 to 11, have been arrested after trashing a day care center in Southern California and causing $25,000 worth of damage.

The trail of destruction by the pre-teen vandals shuttered the San Pedro Child Development Center for a week, Fox 11 Los Angles reported Saturday. A Haz-Mat team participated in the clean-up.

The youngsters were arrested and the case turned over to the Juvenile Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the station reported.

“They did some really serious damage and, unfortunately, we found out that they’re very young assailants which just brings another level of heartbreak to this whole thing,” said Julie Huerta, president of the Harbor Area YWCA which runs the day care center. The children served by the center range in age from 6 week to 4 years old.

Authorities weren’t saying how they found out who the vandals were. 

The Torrance Daily Breeze reported that one of the kids may have had a key to the facility. The break-in occured Sunday Feb. 26.

Fox 11 reported that tables were overturned, chairs flipped over, obscenities scrawled on walls and ink toner and dry baby formula thrown everywhere.

Workers had to discard large quantities of toys, diapers, formula, food and other supplies.

Parents scrambled to make other arrangements for 63 preschoolers last week when the day care was closed.

It is expected to reopen Monday.

Click for more from Fox 11 Los Angeles.



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Iran in Crisis


The recent dust storms that wreaked havoc in southwest Iran signaled only one of the many crises the mullahs are facing less than three months before critical elections. Tehran has been hit with severe blows during the Munich Security Conference, contrasting interests with Russia, the recent escalating row with Turkey, and most importantly, a new U.S. administration in Washington.

These crises have crippling effects on the mullahs’ apparatus, especially at a time when Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sees his regime facing a changing balance of power in the international community, and is faced with a major decision of selecting the regime’s so-called president.

Iran and Ahvaz

The dust storms crisis in Ahwaz, resulting from the mullahs’ own destructive desertification policies, caused severe disruptions in water and power services and people pouring into the streets in major protests.

The regime, and especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has for decades pursued a desertification policy of constructing dams, drying lagoons, digging deep oil wells beneath underground water sources with resulting catastrophic environmental disasters. Various estimates indicate the continuation of such a trend will literally transform two-thirds of Iran into desert lands in the next decade. This will place 14 to 15 million people at the mercy not only dust storms but also salt storms.

Iran and the Munich Security Conference

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended this conference with a series of objectives in mind, only to face a completely unexpected scene. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence described Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the mullahs are the source of threats and instability throughout the Middle East. Turkey went one step further and said Tehran is the heart of sectarianism and spreads such plots across the region, and all traces in Syria lead to Iran’s terrorism and sectarian measures.

This resembles a vast international coalition against Tehran, inflicting yet another blow to the mullahs following a new administration taking control of the White House. These developments are very costly for Khamenei and the entire regime.

In comparison to the early 2000s when the U.S. launched wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran was the main benefactor. The current balance of power now is quite different, as seen in Munich. While there is talk of an Arab NATO, any coalition formed now in the Middle East will be completely against Iran’s interests.

Iran and Russia

Following a disastrous joint campaign in Syria, for the first time Russia is reportedly supporting a safe zone in Syria. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said contacts have been made with the Syrian regime to establish safe zones in Syria. These are the first remarks made by any Russian official on the issue of safe zones in Syria.

Moscow’s increasing contrast in interest with Iran over Syria has the potential of playing a major role in regional relations. Russia certainly doesn’t consider Bashar Assad remaining in power as a red line, a viewpoint far different from that of Iran. Moscow is also ready to sacrifice its interests in Syria in a larger and more suitable bargain with the Trump administration over far more important global interests.

Iran and Turkey

Yes, Ankara and Tehran enjoy a vast economic partnership. However, recent shifts in geopolitical realities have led to significant tensions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the mullahs of resorting to “Persian nationalism” in an effort to split Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Iran of seeking to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as part of Tehran’s “sectarian policy.” Cavusoglu used his speech in Munich to say, “Iran is trying to create two Shia states in Syria and Iraq. This is very dangerous. It must be stopped.”

Tehran considers Ankara’s soldiers in Iraq and Syria as a major obstacle in its effort to expand its regional influence.

U.S. president Donald Trump’s strong approach vis-à-vis Iran and the possibility of him supporting the establishment of a Turkish-administered northern Syria safe zone may have also played a major part in fuming bilateral tensions between these two Middle East powers.

Erdogan has obviously realized completely the new White House in Washington intends to adopt a much more aggressive stance against Tehran. This is another sign of changing tides brewing troubles for Iran’s mullahs.

Iran and Presidential Elections

With new reports about his ailing health, Khamenei is extremely concerned about his predecessor. One such signal is the candidacy of Ibrahim Reisi, current head of the colossal Astan Quds Razavi political empire and a staunch loyalist to Khamenei’s faction, for the presidency. With former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani out of the picture, Khamenei may seek to seal his legacy by placing Reisi against Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the upcoming May elections.

This is literally Khamenei playing with fire, as Reisi is considered a hardline figure and such an appointment may spark 2009-like protests across the country, as the country has become a scene of massive social challenges. Rouhani himself doesn’t enjoy any social base support, especially after four years of lies and nearly 3,000 executions.

Final Thoughts

This places the entire regime in a very fragile situation. From the internal crises of Ahwaz, the upcoming elections and the formation of a significant international front threatening the Iranian regime’s strategic interests.

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.

The recent dust storms that wreaked havoc in southwest Iran signaled only one of the many crises the mullahs are facing less than three months before critical elections. Tehran has been hit with severe blows during the Munich Security Conference, contrasting interests with Russia, the recent escalating row with Turkey, and most importantly, a new U.S. administration in Washington.

These crises have crippling effects on the mullahs’ apparatus, especially at a time when Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sees his regime facing a changing balance of power in the international community, and is faced with a major decision of selecting the regime’s so-called president.

Iran and Ahvaz

The dust storms crisis in Ahwaz, resulting from the mullahs’ own destructive desertification policies, caused severe disruptions in water and power services and people pouring into the streets in major protests.

The regime, and especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has for decades pursued a desertification policy of constructing dams, drying lagoons, digging deep oil wells beneath underground water sources with resulting catastrophic environmental disasters. Various estimates indicate the continuation of such a trend will literally transform two-thirds of Iran into desert lands in the next decade. This will place 14 to 15 million people at the mercy not only dust storms but also salt storms.

Iran and the Munich Security Conference

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended this conference with a series of objectives in mind, only to face a completely unexpected scene. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence described Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the mullahs are the source of threats and instability throughout the Middle East. Turkey went one step further and said Tehran is the heart of sectarianism and spreads such plots across the region, and all traces in Syria lead to Iran’s terrorism and sectarian measures.

This resembles a vast international coalition against Tehran, inflicting yet another blow to the mullahs following a new administration taking control of the White House. These developments are very costly for Khamenei and the entire regime.

In comparison to the early 2000s when the U.S. launched wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran was the main benefactor. The current balance of power now is quite different, as seen in Munich. While there is talk of an Arab NATO, any coalition formed now in the Middle East will be completely against Iran’s interests.

Iran and Russia

Following a disastrous joint campaign in Syria, for the first time Russia is reportedly supporting a safe zone in Syria. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said contacts have been made with the Syrian regime to establish safe zones in Syria. These are the first remarks made by any Russian official on the issue of safe zones in Syria.

Moscow’s increasing contrast in interest with Iran over Syria has the potential of playing a major role in regional relations. Russia certainly doesn’t consider Bashar Assad remaining in power as a red line, a viewpoint far different from that of Iran. Moscow is also ready to sacrifice its interests in Syria in a larger and more suitable bargain with the Trump administration over far more important global interests.

Iran and Turkey

Yes, Ankara and Tehran enjoy a vast economic partnership. However, recent shifts in geopolitical realities have led to significant tensions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the mullahs of resorting to “Persian nationalism” in an effort to split Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Iran of seeking to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as part of Tehran’s “sectarian policy.” Cavusoglu used his speech in Munich to say, “Iran is trying to create two Shia states in Syria and Iraq. This is very dangerous. It must be stopped.”

Tehran considers Ankara’s soldiers in Iraq and Syria as a major obstacle in its effort to expand its regional influence.

U.S. president Donald Trump’s strong approach vis-à-vis Iran and the possibility of him supporting the establishment of a Turkish-administered northern Syria safe zone may have also played a major part in fuming bilateral tensions between these two Middle East powers.

Erdogan has obviously realized completely the new White House in Washington intends to adopt a much more aggressive stance against Tehran. This is another sign of changing tides brewing troubles for Iran’s mullahs.

Iran and Presidential Elections

With new reports about his ailing health, Khamenei is extremely concerned about his predecessor. One such signal is the candidacy of Ibrahim Reisi, current head of the colossal Astan Quds Razavi political empire and a staunch loyalist to Khamenei’s faction, for the presidency. With former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani out of the picture, Khamenei may seek to seal his legacy by placing Reisi against Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the upcoming May elections.

This is literally Khamenei playing with fire, as Reisi is considered a hardline figure and such an appointment may spark 2009-like protests across the country, as the country has become a scene of massive social challenges. Rouhani himself doesn’t enjoy any social base support, especially after four years of lies and nearly 3,000 executions.

Final Thoughts

This places the entire regime in a very fragile situation. From the internal crises of Ahwaz, the upcoming elections and the formation of a significant international front threatening the Iranian regime’s strategic interests.

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.



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'IT'S JUST ALL SAD' Arrests made after 'March 4 Trump' rallies turn violent


Arrests were made in some spots across the U.S. as hundreds of people railed in support President Trump Saturday.

Demonstrators from Colorado’s state capitol to Trump Tower in New York and the Washington Monument were seen carrying life-size cardboard cutouts of Trump as well as waving “Deplorables for Trump” signs.

However, not every rally went off without a hitch.

Police in Berkeley, Calif. said 10 people were arrested after Trump supporters and counter-protesters clashed during a rally that turned violent and left seven injured. None of the injured was hospitalized.

Meanwhile, six people protesting the rally in St. Paul, Minn. were arrested on felony riot charges after they lit fireworks inside the Minnesota State Capitol and fled, police said. About 400 people attended the event, and about 50 people showed up to protest it.

In Nashville, two people were arrested as protesters clashed with Trump supporters at the Tennessee Capitol. In Olympia, Wash., state police said four demonstrators were arrested at a support of Trump rally, KOMO-TV reported. The station reported that the demonstrators are accused of assaulting a police officer.

THE WEEK IN PICTURES

Near Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach Post reported that people on both sides exchanged profanity. Trump’s motorcade briefly stopped so he could wave at supporters.

In Ohio, Trump supporter Margaret Howe, 57, of Pataskala, said she increasingly fears civil war.

“We did not want to have something like this happen,” she said, adding, “We came out today because Trump deserves to see he still has people for him. It’s just all sad.”

A group of counter protesters gathered nearby, separated from the rally by police tape. They chanted “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA” and held signs with messages like “Your vote was a hate crime.”

In other parts of the country, rallies were relatively peaceful.

In northwestern Pennsylvania, the Erie Times-News reported that about 100 people gathered at a square in downtown Erie for a similar demonstration. “We’ve got to get the whole country united behind this man,” said Richard Brozell, 75, who along with his wife braved the mid-20s temperatures and stiff wind chill to attend

In Augusta, Maine, more than 100 people turned out for the event that was supposed to last three hours, but ended early because of freezing temperatures.

In Miami, supporters continued a rally while sipping espressos outside a Cuban restaurant, the Miami Herald reported.

At a North Carolina rally, speakers said the dishonest media and left wing politicians were bordering on sedition in their opposition to the Republican president. Some men were seen walking through the Raleigh crowd carrying a Trump flag as well as a Confederate flag. Gathered just behind the rally was a handful of protesters, some of whom blew air horns in an attempt to disrupt the event.

In Indianapolis, about 30 Trump supporters rallied at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis to denounce what they see as unfair treatment of the Republican. A local organizer, 61-year-old Patty Collins, of Indianapolis, said Trump’s critics “aren’t giving him a chance.”

Trump supporters turned out Saturday in Phoenix. Media outlets reported that several hundred people participated in the Phoenix event held on a lawn at the State Capitol.

In Texas, Austin police say about 300 people rallied in support of Trump in a gathering outside the Capitol during rain. Organizer Jennifer Drabbant said there have been so many protests against Trump that she and others wanted to show there are people who support him.

Scores of people have rallied in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in a show of support for Trump. The Virginian-Pilot reports around 200 Trump backers showed up Saturday for the event at a park. Some held American flags and others wore “Make America Great Again” hats and Trump T-shirts.

In Lansing, Michigan, about 200 Trump supporters rallied on one side of the state Capitol while 100 critics gathered on another side.

“Agree with President Trump or not, he is our president, and I think what I see happening in D.C. and with the Democrats — it can’t stand,” said Gary Taylor, 60.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Arrest made in cold case rape, murder of 16-year-old Utah girl 39 years ago


The cold case rape and murder of a 16-year-girl in Utah more than 39 years ago has been solved through DNA linking a Florida man to the brutal crime, police said.

Sharon Schollmeyers was found dead in a bathtub on Dec. 5, 1977 by her mother who was let into the apartment in Salt Lake City by the man who is now charged with the killing.

“What kind of guts he had,” Sally Kadleck told the Deseret News Thursday in a story reporting the arrest of 59-year-old Patrick McCabe for her daughter’s murder. “I mean, really he knew what he had done and yet he went ahead and let me in.”

McCabe was a building manager and Sharon was one of his tenants.

Police said her body was found the day after McCabe killed her.

The Gephardt Daily reported that McCabe told cops he used his key to get into Sharon’s apartment as she slept. He then said he raped the girl at knifepoint, took her to the bathtub, strangled her and held her head underwater.

McCabe was being held in jail in Florida awaiting extradition to Utah, the paper reported. He was arrested in Bell, Florida, where he was living. He was charged Friday with first degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Fox 13 Utah reported that McCabe’s DNA was found on a halter top used to gag Sharon.

Florida officials entered his DNA into an FBI database after his conviction for sexual offense against a minor in 1999, the station reported.

The DNA yielded a match on Dec. 6, 2016, the station reported.

Kadleck went to check on her daughter when she failed to show up for work.

Salt Lake City police told Fox 13 that as she searched the apartment McCabe stayed in the living room.

Kadleck told the Deseret News she is grateful McCabe has been arrested.

“I thought, ‘How am I ever going to live my life not knowing how or why, or who or anything?’” she said. “I’m glad it’s happening.”



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Why the Democrats Sit on Their Hands


President Donald Trump has spoken to Congress and the nation.  He did what Democrats and some Republicans said he could not.  He provided Americans with a positive vision and offered realistic solutions, with an overriding theme to bring people together to make America great again.

It was a bravura performance.  He admitted that he hadn’t been communicating well. So he stepped up and made the speech of a lifetime.

Even many of his severest critics admitted that they saw someone different take charge in the midst of a world full of problems.

But President Trump’s triumph was far more than P.R.  If only that, he would have just done an Obama.  Toss out some sound bites.  Preen for the cameras.  Rely on the loyal commentariat to sing your praises.

President Trump can never rely on the latter, however.  The media did everything it could to prevent him from being elected.  And they went all out to destroy his presidency before he even got started.

What made President Trump’s address so powerful was that it was substantive.  The first Republican president in eight years, who enjoys a GOP-controlled Congress, which George W. Bush lost, provided an optimistic blueprint for governing.

The president began by urging his listeners to uphold the values that make America special.  The “torch of truth, liberty, and justice” has been passed.  The desecration of Jewish cemeteries and other disgraceful discriminatory acts remind us of the need to stand “united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

What isn’t to applaud in those sentiments?

Next, he made the case for “Renewal of the American Spirit.”  His vision places America first.  But not in a negative, selfish way.  “America is once against ready to lead,” he said.

However, we must first take care of members of our national family.  That doesn’t mean we don’t care about anyone else.  But our greatest responsibility is to those in our own community.

As the president explained, we’ve sent money and jobs to other nations.  “We’ve financed and built one global project after another,” but we’ve ignored the fate of our own people in cities across America.  “We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open.”  The consequences have been large-scale illegal immigration, mass drug smuggling, and an increased risk of terrorism.

That has begun to change.  Trump has filled his short time as president with action.  More American companies are investing at home.  Lobbying by former government officials has been restricted.

The massive regulatory burden on American business is being lifted.  Violent crime is being confronted.  Immigration laws and rules are being enforced.  The Islamic State is being more effectively targeted.  And a Supreme Court justice has been nominated who believes that the courts are to interpret, not make the law.

You don’t have to like every policy to realize that this is a serious president with a serious agenda.  And there’s more to come.

He promised to improve America’s infrastructure, relying on private as well as public funds.  He urged Congress to “replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time provide better health care.”  That’s what should have been done at the start.

The president cited the importance of affordable and accessible child care.  He pointed to the need for faster development of cheaper drugs.  He called education “the civil rights issue of our time.”  Said President Trump: “Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job.”  You’d think the Democrats at least would applaud that!  The military also needs to be strengthened, so that it can perform its most important role: defending the country.

The president closed with a rousing call for Americans to work together for a better future.  “Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people,” he observed.

He urged members of Congress to “join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country.”  As for the people, he told them to “believe in yourselves.  Believe in your future.  And believe, once more, in America.”

A large majority told pollsters that President Trump had the right priorities and that they felt more optimistic about the country’s direction.  So much for the president’s supposed inability to lead.

Before a joint session of Congress, we saw the president the Democrats demanded: serious, positive, thoughtful, practical, uplifting.  But his opponents still sat on their hands.  They want him to fail, even if that means America fails.

But that’s not going to happen.

President Trump has issued a call to arms.  We the people must turn that into a reality.

Ken Blackwell is a member of the policy board of the American Civil Rights Union.  He serves on the boards of directors of the Club For Growth and the NRA.  He was a domestic policy adviser to the Trump Presidential Transition Team.

President Donald Trump has spoken to Congress and the nation.  He did what Democrats and some Republicans said he could not.  He provided Americans with a positive vision and offered realistic solutions, with an overriding theme to bring people together to make America great again.

It was a bravura performance.  He admitted that he hadn’t been communicating well. So he stepped up and made the speech of a lifetime.

Even many of his severest critics admitted that they saw someone different take charge in the midst of a world full of problems.

But President Trump’s triumph was far more than P.R.  If only that, he would have just done an Obama.  Toss out some sound bites.  Preen for the cameras.  Rely on the loyal commentariat to sing your praises.

President Trump can never rely on the latter, however.  The media did everything it could to prevent him from being elected.  And they went all out to destroy his presidency before he even got started.

What made President Trump’s address so powerful was that it was substantive.  The first Republican president in eight years, who enjoys a GOP-controlled Congress, which George W. Bush lost, provided an optimistic blueprint for governing.

The president began by urging his listeners to uphold the values that make America special.  The “torch of truth, liberty, and justice” has been passed.  The desecration of Jewish cemeteries and other disgraceful discriminatory acts remind us of the need to stand “united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

What isn’t to applaud in those sentiments?

Next, he made the case for “Renewal of the American Spirit.”  His vision places America first.  But not in a negative, selfish way.  “America is once against ready to lead,” he said.

However, we must first take care of members of our national family.  That doesn’t mean we don’t care about anyone else.  But our greatest responsibility is to those in our own community.

As the president explained, we’ve sent money and jobs to other nations.  “We’ve financed and built one global project after another,” but we’ve ignored the fate of our own people in cities across America.  “We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open.”  The consequences have been large-scale illegal immigration, mass drug smuggling, and an increased risk of terrorism.

That has begun to change.  Trump has filled his short time as president with action.  More American companies are investing at home.  Lobbying by former government officials has been restricted.

The massive regulatory burden on American business is being lifted.  Violent crime is being confronted.  Immigration laws and rules are being enforced.  The Islamic State is being more effectively targeted.  And a Supreme Court justice has been nominated who believes that the courts are to interpret, not make the law.

You don’t have to like every policy to realize that this is a serious president with a serious agenda.  And there’s more to come.

He promised to improve America’s infrastructure, relying on private as well as public funds.  He urged Congress to “replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time provide better health care.”  That’s what should have been done at the start.

The president cited the importance of affordable and accessible child care.  He pointed to the need for faster development of cheaper drugs.  He called education “the civil rights issue of our time.”  Said President Trump: “Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job.”  You’d think the Democrats at least would applaud that!  The military also needs to be strengthened, so that it can perform its most important role: defending the country.

The president closed with a rousing call for Americans to work together for a better future.  “Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people,” he observed.

He urged members of Congress to “join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country.”  As for the people, he told them to “believe in yourselves.  Believe in your future.  And believe, once more, in America.”

A large majority told pollsters that President Trump had the right priorities and that they felt more optimistic about the country’s direction.  So much for the president’s supposed inability to lead.

Before a joint session of Congress, we saw the president the Democrats demanded: serious, positive, thoughtful, practical, uplifting.  But his opponents still sat on their hands.  They want him to fail, even if that means America fails.

But that’s not going to happen.

President Trump has issued a call to arms.  We the people must turn that into a reality.

Ken Blackwell is a member of the policy board of the American Civil Rights Union.  He serves on the boards of directors of the Club For Growth and the NRA.  He was a domestic policy adviser to the Trump Presidential Transition Team.



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The Trump Administration's Disruptive Reform of Political Communication


While traditional political labels- liberal, conservative, moderate- simply won’t adhere to the Trump Administration, it is clear that Trump is an effective disruptive reformer. The Trump Administration increasingly employs actions and policies designed to disrupt the establishment and render useless the traditional tools used to keep and maintain the establishment.

What is Disruptive Reform?

Disruptive Reform is change that removes the competitive advantage of incumbent or establishment institutions and tools, thereby permitting competing insurgents or reform an opportunity to survive. “Disruptive” does not imply violence or even unlawful or illicit behavior. Disruptive means that reform is accomplished by replacing the traditional tools and institutions that normally support and sustain the establishment with those that challenge, change, and ultimately replace or reform the establishment.

The concept is perhaps Progressive, but the tools developed by Progressives are increasingly being appropriated by others. Others have noticed that it seems to be the Right, and not the Left, that is making effective use of disruptive reform. See, e.g, “Innovation Nation: The Indian Right’s Real Idea Is Disruptive Innovation.”

The effectiveness of disruptive reform is increasingly demonstrated in a rapidly changing technological world, that is less cohesive and more personal. Disruptive reform has revolutionized the computer, telecommunications, and automotive industries. Disruptive reform is the driving force behind recent rapid changes in the use of social media and to secondary education. Disruptive reform has repeatedly been suggested as necessary to reform the health care industry. See, for example, “The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care.” It is natural for someone like Donald Trump, whose experience is in the business sector, to reject the traditional tools of politicians in favor of effective tools from the business sector.

Trump’s Disruptive Reform of Political Communication

There are many examples of the Trump Administration engaging in disruptive reform. In my previous article, ‘The real significance of the ‘Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,’ for example, I discussed how Trump Administration immigration policy implementation intends to bypass traditional media information sources, and generate effective alternate narratives thereby  threatening establishment immigration policy values. But it is political communication that is the most potent example of Trump Administration disruptive reform.

Traditional establishment politics values finely tuned, disciplined, discreet messages designed to find the greatest support and least opposition possible (whether or not true or accurate, by the way). Traditional political communication reinforces the establishment, and discourages reform by relying upon scripted talking points suggesting broad and enduring consensus, whether or not these exist, and threatening catastrophic consequences with alternatives, whether or not these consequences are true or likely. Traditional political communication values the use of surrogates to initiate communication, and values highly repetitive recitation of messages across a variety of media to reinforce the message thereby suggesting consensus. Traditional political communication values trial balloons and nuance that allows politicians and institutions to distance themselves from positions or ideas that later prove controversial or unpopular. Discourse leading to reform is rendered difficult, if not  impossible, as those upholding the traditional establishment reject real debate or discussion as threatening established consensus and enduring underlying values.

Disruptive reform rejects and abandons these restraints on discourse as tools of the establishment, and so only utilizes the tool of traditional political communication to engage opponents and achieve discreet objectives. The Trump Administration’s reliance upon “direct to citizenry” communication while decried by the establishment as “dangerous,” “unprofessional,” and “inexperienced,” continues to reinforce Trump’s affiliation with those “outside” the establishment. Direct to citizenry content bypassses the establishment filters that would render the message less volatile, and less effective at challenging establishment ideas and institutions. Whatever the content, by communicating in an anti-establishment manner, any suggestion that Trump is co-opted by the establishment is likely to ring false.

Disruptive communication, unlike traditional political communication, can encourage and value vehement opposition, particularly where the opposition reveals opponents, bias, and weakness, or expends energy or resources that otherwise might be marshaled to actually frustrate reform. Opposition can invite consideration, and generate publicity.  Opposition communication and discourse under a campaign of disruptive reform reveals in time that the establishment threats of adverse consequences are untrue or unlikely, thereby blunting the effectiveness of reform opponents. It undermines trust and confidence in establishment values, institutions, and structures, replacing traditional communication mechanisms that support the establishment with those that threaten the establishment. In this way, reform communication replaces the establishment emphasis and reliance upon the status quo.

The Trump Administration’s mistrust of traditional media outlets is not new; its unrelenting full-throated attack, coupled with non-traditional means of communicating narratives is new. The ability of the establishment to reject by monolithic opposition and by repetition through various media outlets is muted as consumers of information find effective, inexpensive, and convenient alternatives.

Moreover, once confronted, the establishment predictably threatens extreme, outrageous, and unthinkable consequence. The establishment attack becomes unbelievable and increasingly lacking credibility as people realize that reform is not dangerous – Trump is not Hitler, is not rounding up homosexuals, and is working to parse the difficult immigration issues such as the protection of families, for example. As the establishment becomes more desperate, its agents and operatives become “useful idiots,” unwittingly revealing the true face of the establishment, and the need for reform.The establishment opposing the Trump Administration is increasingly revealed as less concerned with the lives of real people, and more with keeping and maintaining power and influence. It will be interesting to see whether establishment Republicans accept or reject these changes, and whether, if they side with the establishment against the Trump Administration, there will be a political cost that, in a traditional binary Republican-Democrat establishment, enhances or diminishes the Trump Administration’s authority.

While traditional political labels- liberal, conservative, moderate- simply won’t adhere to the Trump Administration, it is clear that Trump is an effective disruptive reformer. The Trump Administration increasingly employs actions and policies designed to disrupt the establishment and render useless the traditional tools used to keep and maintain the establishment.

What is Disruptive Reform?

Disruptive Reform is change that removes the competitive advantage of incumbent or establishment institutions and tools, thereby permitting competing insurgents or reform an opportunity to survive. “Disruptive” does not imply violence or even unlawful or illicit behavior. Disruptive means that reform is accomplished by replacing the traditional tools and institutions that normally support and sustain the establishment with those that challenge, change, and ultimately replace or reform the establishment.

The concept is perhaps Progressive, but the tools developed by Progressives are increasingly being appropriated by others. Others have noticed that it seems to be the Right, and not the Left, that is making effective use of disruptive reform. See, e.g, “Innovation Nation: The Indian Right’s Real Idea Is Disruptive Innovation.”

The effectiveness of disruptive reform is increasingly demonstrated in a rapidly changing technological world, that is less cohesive and more personal. Disruptive reform has revolutionized the computer, telecommunications, and automotive industries. Disruptive reform is the driving force behind recent rapid changes in the use of social media and to secondary education. Disruptive reform has repeatedly been suggested as necessary to reform the health care industry. See, for example, “The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care.” It is natural for someone like Donald Trump, whose experience is in the business sector, to reject the traditional tools of politicians in favor of effective tools from the business sector.

Trump’s Disruptive Reform of Political Communication

There are many examples of the Trump Administration engaging in disruptive reform. In my previous article, ‘The real significance of the ‘Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,’ for example, I discussed how Trump Administration immigration policy implementation intends to bypass traditional media information sources, and generate effective alternate narratives thereby  threatening establishment immigration policy values. But it is political communication that is the most potent example of Trump Administration disruptive reform.

Traditional establishment politics values finely tuned, disciplined, discreet messages designed to find the greatest support and least opposition possible (whether or not true or accurate, by the way). Traditional political communication reinforces the establishment, and discourages reform by relying upon scripted talking points suggesting broad and enduring consensus, whether or not these exist, and threatening catastrophic consequences with alternatives, whether or not these consequences are true or likely. Traditional political communication values the use of surrogates to initiate communication, and values highly repetitive recitation of messages across a variety of media to reinforce the message thereby suggesting consensus. Traditional political communication values trial balloons and nuance that allows politicians and institutions to distance themselves from positions or ideas that later prove controversial or unpopular. Discourse leading to reform is rendered difficult, if not  impossible, as those upholding the traditional establishment reject real debate or discussion as threatening established consensus and enduring underlying values.

Disruptive reform rejects and abandons these restraints on discourse as tools of the establishment, and so only utilizes the tool of traditional political communication to engage opponents and achieve discreet objectives. The Trump Administration’s reliance upon “direct to citizenry” communication while decried by the establishment as “dangerous,” “unprofessional,” and “inexperienced,” continues to reinforce Trump’s affiliation with those “outside” the establishment. Direct to citizenry content bypassses the establishment filters that would render the message less volatile, and less effective at challenging establishment ideas and institutions. Whatever the content, by communicating in an anti-establishment manner, any suggestion that Trump is co-opted by the establishment is likely to ring false.

Disruptive communication, unlike traditional political communication, can encourage and value vehement opposition, particularly where the opposition reveals opponents, bias, and weakness, or expends energy or resources that otherwise might be marshaled to actually frustrate reform. Opposition can invite consideration, and generate publicity.  Opposition communication and discourse under a campaign of disruptive reform reveals in time that the establishment threats of adverse consequences are untrue or unlikely, thereby blunting the effectiveness of reform opponents. It undermines trust and confidence in establishment values, institutions, and structures, replacing traditional communication mechanisms that support the establishment with those that threaten the establishment. In this way, reform communication replaces the establishment emphasis and reliance upon the status quo.

The Trump Administration’s mistrust of traditional media outlets is not new; its unrelenting full-throated attack, coupled with non-traditional means of communicating narratives is new. The ability of the establishment to reject by monolithic opposition and by repetition through various media outlets is muted as consumers of information find effective, inexpensive, and convenient alternatives.

Moreover, once confronted, the establishment predictably threatens extreme, outrageous, and unthinkable consequence. The establishment attack becomes unbelievable and increasingly lacking credibility as people realize that reform is not dangerous – Trump is not Hitler, is not rounding up homosexuals, and is working to parse the difficult immigration issues such as the protection of families, for example. As the establishment becomes more desperate, its agents and operatives become “useful idiots,” unwittingly revealing the true face of the establishment, and the need for reform.The establishment opposing the Trump Administration is increasingly revealed as less concerned with the lives of real people, and more with keeping and maintaining power and influence. It will be interesting to see whether establishment Republicans accept or reject these changes, and whether, if they side with the establishment against the Trump Administration, there will be a political cost that, in a traditional binary Republican-Democrat establishment, enhances or diminishes the Trump Administration’s authority.



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Fraud alleged in Minnesota homecare provider union


Two Minnesota homecare providers alleged Saturday that their signatures were forged by their union so it could automatically deduct membership dues from the subsidy checks they got under a state program. The providers alleged that they didn’t even the know the money was being taken out of their checks until months afterwards.

Patricia Johansen, a provider from Fergus Falls, Minn., who helps take care of two special needs grandkids, said she never signed a card authorizing the union, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, to make the deductions. Yet it made the deductions for four months before she caught on. When she complained to an SEIU official, she was told that they had her signature on file.

“The signature did not look anything like mine. I’m left-handed,” Johnansen told the Washington Examiner. Whoever had signed her name was apparently right-handed. The union later told her that they had dismissed the signature gatherer that had turned in the fake authorization card. It told her that this situation had happened with this person “only a couple of times.”

Another homecare provider, Holly, who asked that her last name not be used, said she turned away an SEIU Healthcare Minnesota official when she was approached at the home of the woman she took care of. Holly didn’t believe that it could improve her working conditions. Two months later she realized that money was being taken out of her checks anyway. “I never signed anything,” she said.

Repeated efforts to get the union to stop the deductions failed. “Eventually I had to forward the emails I was sending to the union to my employer and tell them to stop making the deductions,” Holly said.

A spokesperson for SEIU Healthcare Minnesota could not be reached for comment.

The homecare providers made the allegations at an event hosted by MNPCA, a group attempting to decertify SEIU Healthcare Minnesota as the providers’ union. The event was co-hosted by the Center for the American Experiment, a free market Minnesota think tank, and the Center for Worker Freedom, an arm of the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform.

Other providers at the event said that the union tried everything from hard-sell tactics to outright misrepresentations to get them to agree to having dues deducted. “The SEIU hasn’t done anything for me except come between me and my daughter,” said Kris Greene, a Minneapolis provider.

The homecare providers were unionized in 2014 after the then-Democrat-led state legislature passed a law declaring that the homecare providers, who are subsidized through a combination of state and federal funds, were public employees that could be unionized. This was despite the fact that most providers take care of invalid family members at their home. The providers were not made public employees in terms of qualifying for pensions, healthcare or other state programs.

Gov. Scott Walker thanks Trump for calling to check in on his mother at the hospital

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He also thanked VP Mike Pence and his wife.

03/04/17 8:19 PM

This change came after a long lobbying effort by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The union then won a mail-ballot election to be the providers’ official representative. Of the 27,000 providers in the subsidy program, only 3,500 — about 13 percent — voted in favor of a union. However, since that was the majority of the 5,800 who did vote, the union won.

The 2014 Supreme Court case Harris v. Quinn found that state homecare providers cannot be forced to support a union because they are not truly public sector employees. However the justices’ decision did allow the workers to voluntarily join unions. The workers at the Saturday event argued that the union has exploited that loophole by trying to trick providers into signing dues-deduction cards.

If a Minnesota worker signs a dues-deduction card, that legally entitles the union to up to 3 percent of their subsidy, up to a maximum of just under $1,000 annually. This is supposedly to recompense the union for collective bargaining on the providers’ behalf. Providers are only allowed to opt-out of paying the dues during a single two-week period once a year. If they miss that their membership is automatically re-upped for another year.

“If not for the Harris v. Quinn case I would be paying union dues higher than the dues my (public school) teacher friends pay to their union. That is highly suspicious to me,” said Catherine Hunter, a Burnsville, Minn., provider and former teacher.

While Hunter doesn’t pay the union anything now she still wants it decertified because she fears it will disrupt the program she and her son depend on. She notes, for example, that the union is now requesting that funds be diverted into new training programs that she believes are just a pretext for handing the money over to the union.

Minneapolis protester uses pepper spray against Trump fans

Also from the Washington Examiner

About 400 Trump supporters turned out for the event.

03/04/17 7:44 PM

“They still represent me before the state so everything they do affects me,” Hunter said.

NCPA attorney Doug Seaton noted that the union claimed prior to the election to have turned in to the state 9,000 signed cards from workers claiming that they wanted union. The signed cards were required to force the mail-in election. “We have very good reason to believe that many of those cards were forged,” said Seaton, pointing to the fact that 9,000 were supposedly signed by homecare providers but only 5,800 actually bothered to vote.

Seaton said his group has requested the list of state homecare providers in order to contact them and pursue the decertification effort but the state has been only minimally cooperative. While it has provided lists, it has provided seven versions to date, each supposed updated and different from the previous one.


“This is like being in a football game where they change the rules each quarter,” Seaton said.



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