Monthly Archives: December 2016

Joaquin Murrieta – Patriot or Desperado?….


Depending on a California pioneer’s point of view in the mid 19th century, Joaquin Murrieta was described by some as a Mexican Patriot, while others would say he was nothing but a vicious desperado.

 

Thought to have been born in either Alamos, Sonora, Mexico or Quillota, Chile in 1829; Joaquin traveled with his older brother, Carlos and his wife, Rosita, toCalifornia in 1850 to seek his fortune in the gold fields of California. The three immigrants soon set up a small farm and the brothers began to work a claim near Hangtown. However, in the same year as their arrival, a Foreign Miners Tax was imposed in California and their Anglo-Saxon neighbors tried to run them off by telling them that it was illegal for Mexicans to hold a claim. Reportedly, the Murrieta brothers tried to ignore the threats as long as they could until they were finally forced off their claim. Angry and unable to find work, Joaquin turned to a life of crime, along with other disposed foreign miners, who began to prey upon those who had forced them from their claims. 

 

Joaquin Murrieta, California bandit

Joaquin Murrieta

 
Murrieta soon became one of the leaders of a band of ruffians called The Five Joaquins, who were said to have been responsible for cattle rustling, robberies, and murders that occurred in the gold rush area of the Sierra Nevadas between 1850 and 1863. Comprised of Joaquin Botellier, Joaquin Carrillo, Joaquin Ocomorenia, and Joaquin Valenzuela, and Murrieta’s right hand man Manual Garcia, known as “Three-Fingered Jack,” the tales of their crime spree included stealing over 100 horses, making off with more than $100,000 in gold, and killing 19 men.

 

With posses trailing after them, the bandits were able to avoid the law for several years, killing three lawmen in the process. When travel through the goldfields was made nearly impossible by the Five Joaquins, a bounty was placed on Murrieta’s head for $5,000. Finally having had enough of the Five Joaquins as well as the rest of the lawlessness in California, its Governor, John Bigler, created the “California Rangers” in May, 1853. Lead by former Texas Ranger, Harry Love, their first assignment was to arrest the Five Joaquins.

 

On July 25, 1853, the rangers encountered a group of Mexican males near Panoche Pass in San Benito County. In the inevitable gunfight that ensued, two of the Mexicans were killed, one of whom was thought to have been Murrieta, and the other — his right-hand man, Manual Garcia.

 

As evidence of the outlaws’ deaths, they cut of Garcia’s hand and Murrieta’s head and preserved them in a jar of brandy. Seventeen people, including a priest, signed affidavits identifying the head as Murrieta’s and the Rangers involved received the $5,000 reward.

 

Murrieta’s grisly remains then began to travel throughout California, displayed in Stockton, San Francisco and the mining camps of Mariposa County, to curious spectators willing to pay $1.00 to see the “sight” of the dead bandit’s head.

 

But not long after he was killed, speculation began to arise that it had not been Murrieta who had been killed, especially when a young woman, who claimed to be his sister, viewed the head and said that it did not have a characteristic scar that her brother had. Others began to make reports that Marietta was seen in various places in California after his alleged death.

 

If his legend wasn’t enough during his short life time, it would soon grow larger when in 1854, the first “fictionalized” account of his life appeared in a San Francisco newspaper and a book by John Rollin Ridge. In The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murrieta.

 

Ridge portrayed Murrieta as a folk hero who had only turned to a life of crime after a mob of American miners had beaten him severely and left him for dead, hanged his brother, and raped and killed his wife. According to Ridge’s account, Joaquin was a dashing, romantic figure that swearing to avenge the atrocities committed upon his family, committed his many crimes only in an effort to “right” the many injustices against the Mexicans.

 

According to the tale, Murrieta fled from his claim only to set up a saloon in nearby Hangtown, where miners began to go missing. One by one, the dead bodies of the miners, all who were said to have been part of the killings at the Murrieta claim, turned up with their ears cut off.

 

Joaquin Murreita's Head Advertising

After Joaquin’s supposed death, advertising posters were displayed where the head could be viewed, 1853.

After fourteen miners had been found dead or missing, a Hangtown settler identified Murrieta who fled once again. Before long, he had gathered up his outlaw gang and began to take out his vendetta against the white settlers through robbery and mayhem.  However, to his Mexican compatriots he was generous and kind, giving much of his ill gotten gains to the poor, who in turn helped to shelter him from the law.

 

There is no evidence that Ridge’s version of the tale is accurate; however, similar atrocities were committed on both Mexicans and Chinese who were living in California at the time.

 

Over the years, the telling of the tale continued to grow until the dead Mexican outlaw began to be called the Robin Hood of El Dorado and take on a symbolized resistance of the Mexicans to the Anglo-American domination of California. And all throughout Gold Country, tales were told of how the outlaw had stayed at this or that hotel, drank in various saloons, and those who claimed to have actually met or was robbed by the man.

 

As to what happened to Joaquin’s head, it was finally placed behind the bar of the Golden Nugget Saloon in San Francisco, until the building was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake.

 

The head itself would become yet a part of another legend – the ghost of Joaquin. Even today, the tales continue of Joaquin’s headless ghost riding through the old gold fields, crying like a banshee – “Give me back my head.”

http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ca-murieta.html

Categories: California, gold, Myths, Outlaws, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Life and Death of Wasil, the Taliban-Hunting Child Warrior….


When his father was murdered, Wasil Ahmad vowed revenge. He was barely old enough to hoist a rifle, but still he trained to fight the Taliban. Finally, when the insurgents returned, Wasil found his chance. What he did next made him a legend. And then it made him a target.

All wars breed heroes, but some come in unexpected form. Wasil Ahmad was one of the unlikeliest. He was only 8 years old when the war in Afghanistan, already a family affair, set him on a path for vengeance.

One morning, about an hour’s walk from the family compound where Wasil slept, his father and three uncles stood guard at a newly built police checkpoint. For years, as the Taliban and the Afghan government had traded control of this stretch of southern Afghanistan, Wasil’s family seesawed between both sides. Now, with the Americans pulling out, the men in Wasil’s family glimpsed new opportunity—and new jobs—as leaders of a U.S.-backed police force. They pledged to fight the Taliban, to defend their valley from the insurgents.

They girded themselves for battle, which came that morning in the summer of 2012, as the Taliban swept down from the hills of the Uruzgan province and attacked the new checkpoint of the Afghan Local Police. Soon, the crack and pop of gunfire rattled through the valley of Nawa Sultan Mohammad, and the fighting spilled into the surrounding fields. The police, commanded by Wasil’s uncle Samad, fought the insurgents throughout the afternoon and into the evening, managing to kill ten Taliban fighters before the attackers were subdued. But three of their own had been gunned down, too—including Wasil’s father, Hamidullah.

That night, as darkness enveloped the family’s three-story mud-brick compound, Wasil’s uncles shuffled Hamidullah’s bloodied corpse inside. The boy drew close, his cheeks wet with tears. In the low light, he could see the blood that stained his father’s clothes. He was a child, yes, but he knew enough of his world to realize, without even asking, who had killed his father. And he knew what it meant for him.

In the weeks that followed, Wasil’s anger hardened into a grim and brutal ambition—one that would launch him toward fame and then toward tragedy. “Teach me how to shoot,” Wasil said to his uncle Samad when he had resolved himself to retribution. “I want to kill my father’s killer.”


At first, Wasil’s family managed to steer the boy away from his quest for revenge. “We convinced him to keep going to school,” Merwais Ahmad, one of Wasil’s other uncles, told me. But as he grew, Wasil refused to forget. Like very few things in Afghanistan, the boy’s hatred for the Taliban was simple. It was also unwavering—which was another rarity in a part of the country where the Taliban aren’t always the enemy.

His family’s own complicated relationship with the Taliban went back years, to the days before 9/11, when the group first came to power and Wasil’s uncle Samad became an eager climber in the local power structure. It wasn’t religious devotion that drove Samad but, rather, expediency. Like many, he wanted what the Taliban could offer. “At that time, I didn’t know what was good or what was bad,” Samad told me. “Everybody likes to have vehicles, a little power, to be on the government’s side. The Taliban provided us with fuel, with a better life.”

When the Americans arrived, three years before Wasil was born, Samad fought to repel them. He had battled invaders before—fighting the Soviets as a mujahideen warrior in the 1980s. Now, toiling for the Taliban, Samad buried IEDs in roads and under bridges and fashioned explosive vests for suicide attacks. Samad was a Taliban commander when Wasil was born—and as the boy grew, he became entranced with his uncle’s stories of courage and valor.

But by the time Wasil was 8, Samad was having doubts. In early 2012, as American and Afghan authorities were working hard to win the loyalties of fighters like him—offering them jobs and other incentives—Samad broke ranks with the Taliban. Along with 13 of his men, he pledged allegiance to the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

Whether or not Wasil could grasp the complexities of shifting allegiances, his family’s fortunes were changing. Samad, now a sworn enemy of the Taliban, was promptly appointed to run a unit of the Afghan Local Police, the region’s lone security force. He hired Wasil’s father, Hamidullah, a farmer and taxi driver, and his two other brothers—along with 30 ex-Taliban fighters and 40 other locals. They set up five fortified checkpoints and began keeping watch.

It was only a matter of time before the Taliban, eager to repay Samad and his men for their defection, roared down from the highland one morning and put a newly fatherless child on a mission for retribution.

In the months that followed, Wasil pleaded to join his uncle’s police unit. And by the time he turned 10, his nagging became too much. As Merwais told me, Samad finally relented. “He had to keep him happy. He was saying, ‘Okay, this is a pistol. Just shoot it like this.’ And he started teaching him.”

Thus began the training of a uniquely gifted child soldier.


When Wasil wasn’t at school, he and his uncle—sometimes accompanied by other policemen from the unit—would grab guns and hike into the hills. “We started with pistols, and then I gave him an AK-47,” Samad recalled. “He became very good at hitting targets a great distance.”

Samad’s men were impressed—the boy was a natural marksman, and as he graduated to more powerful weapons, he seemed surprisingly unaffected by the recoil of the guns. Before long, Wasil was firing rocket-propelled grenade launchers. “That got him excited,” Samad said. “He was shouting, laughing, and having fun.” Then came mortars, shot from a three-legged stand. Wasil asked his mother to stitch him a police uniform, which he proudly wore nearly everywhere. “He was not on a salary, he was not a legal policeman, but he trained with us,” Samad said.

In some ways, Wasil wasn’t unusual. In Afghanistan, a stew of factors—the intractable poverty, the primacy of family honor, and the high desertion and casualty rates within fighting forces—conspire to press children into war in large numbers, especially as foreign forces have pulled out. Last year, half the police checkpoints surveyed in Uruzgan were staffed by officers under 18, according to researchers from the organization Child Soldiers International.

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COURTESY OF FAMILY

The Taliban, which have stormed back to power in recent years all over the country, have been using child soldiers in even larger numbers than the government. In the north, in the Kunduz province, where the Taliban briefly captured the capital last year, insurgents used the schools to train children to fight on the front lines—instructing them in making and planting IEDs and detonating suicide vests at checkpoints. “The Taliban’s apparent strategy to throw increasing numbers of children into battle is as cynical and cruel as it is unlawful,” said Patricia Gossman, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Between September 2010 and December 2014, suicide attacks were carried out by 20 boys under the age of 18, according to a report from the U.N. In one incident, an IED was attached to a bicycle that a boy was made to push toward an Afghan National Army vehicle. The blast killed eight civilians as well as the child.

Still, as he joined the growing army of kids being called to fight, Wasil was different. Deeply committed and poised beyond his years, he was eager to fight. And unlike the rest of the child soldiers of the war, Wasil would soon be asked to lead.


By early 2015, Samad had a new reason to let his young nephew inch his way toward the fight: He needed the men. Across Afghanistan, the resurgent Taliban were a gathering threat. It hadn’t helped Samad that some of his own policemen—newly powerful and suddenly unruly—were making the prospect of a return to Taliban rule a bit more enticing to the locals in the valley. Several of his men had been implicated in assaults and robberies. And in a bid to amp up security, his cops increasingly resorted to harsh tactics: They rounded up elders and cut their beards to punish them for cooperating with the Taliban; they ordered the villagers to leave their doors open at night, in case the police wanted to search their homes.

Just 20 miles from the family compound, a force of roughly 2,000 newly emboldened insurgents had ventured from the mountains to besiege the Afghan Local Police’s district headquarters in Khas Uruzgan. From here, the Taliban set their sights on Samad’s unit and the valley from which he’d evicted them three years earlier.

By late May, the Taliban had begun their assault, targeting police checkpoints and forcing Samad’s fighters to withdraw farther and farther. In July, the police gathered their loved ones and planned one last retreat: They’d fall back to Samad’s three-story compound, where Wasil and his family were already ensconced. From there, they’d wait for rescue—or make their final stand.

Primed for what could come, Wasil was wearing the tiny gray police uniform his mother had stitched. He was 11 years old. He’d gotten pretty good with a rifle, but he had never fired a shot in battle, had never experienced the adrenaline rush and the terror of combat. But this was what he’d been training for.

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As the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, police units—like Wasil’s—took up the fight against the Taliban.


As the police and the families made their way to the compound, Taliban snipers opened fire on them—killing two policemen and cutting down Samad, who took a pair of bullets, one in the leg.

From the roof of the compound, Wasil could see beyond the walls to where his uncle lay in the dirt, possibly dying; the Taliban were bearing down. Wasil’s uncle Merwais remembers vividly what happened next. He watched Wasil, crouching behind sandbags, take careful aim with a Russian-made machine gun. The boy squeezed the trigger and began working to pin the Taliban in place, buying enough time for the men inside the compound to reach the dead and injured and to haul them in.

A wounded Samad was hustled to a second-floor bedroom, where he named his nephew the surrogate commander. The police unit contained 26 men at that point—and putting a boy in charge as the battle began, Samad told me, made perfect sense. “He was intelligent, brave, and calm under fire, and well trained.”

“You guys are not men,” Wasil screamed over the radio. “Just give us time to take the children out.”

The child leapt to duty, now commanding a makeshift fortress of last resort. Outside, the Taliban soon had the place surrounded, hundreds of them firing from the mountains above and the valley below. Day and night—across what would eventually become a three-week siege—Wasil kept watch from the roof, pointing out Taliban positions to his fellow marksmen. “Wasil was telling the soldiers to go to this position, that position, and giving them ammunition, and shooting the heavy machine gun,” said Merwais. He may have been only a boy, but Wasil cut the figure of the military leader he had now become.

In early August, as Wasil worked from the rooftop, a Taliban gunner sent a rocket-propelled grenade into the thick mud-brick wall on the compound’s second floor. From a corner bedroom rose the smoke and flames of burning mattresses and wooden furniture, as two terrified children trapped inside cried out for help. Throughout the compound, there was confusion, but Wasil was calm. He grabbed a radio receiver and shouted to a Taliban officer on the other end.

“We want a cease-fire,” he screamed, his voice high-pitched and crackling over the radio. “There are two kids in that room, and we need to get them out.”

More shots rang out.

“You guys are not men,” Wasil screamed over the radio. “Just give us time to take the children out.” There was something about Wasil’s insistent tone, his confidence in the face of danger, that the Taliban commander admired. He gave the order that silenced the Taliban’s guns. Wasil had the children pulled from the burning room.

But the truce was short-lived. The hardships stacked up. Food ran low, and Wasil’s men were reduced to eating grass boiled into a kind of porridge. Throughout August, as the siege dragged on, Wasil and Samad pleaded with army commanders and government officials to get them out. But the Taliban held the roads.

Unbeknownst to those trapped in the compound, Taliban engineers had been digging a tunnel toward them. And on August 21, they used it to place about 3.3 tons of explosives beneath the rampart. A deafening explosion blew a hole in one of the mud walls, killing two of the policemen. Amid the confusion, Wasil got on the radio to the chief of police in Tirin Kot. “They’ve broken down the wall. They’re coming to get us. We need a helicopter rescue,” he begged.

Twenty-four hours later, four Russian Mi-17 helicopters filled with Afghan special forces flew out of Tirin Kot toward the compound. A U.S. gunship accompanied them, raining fire on the Taliban and sending them scurrying for cover. The four Mi-17’s touched down in front of the mud fortress, and Afghan soldiers raced inside. Samad, Merwais, 15 more fighters, Samad’s two wives, Wasil, his three brothers, three cousins, and his mother dashed out, ducking low beneath the swirling rotor blades and rising dust, and climbed aboard. A short time afterward, according to the district governor, the Taliban swarmed the compound and burned it to the ground.

“They’re coming to get us. We need a helicopter rescue,” Wasil begged.

The Taliban had taken the compound and the entirety of the valley, but stories were already spreading, tales that would captivate the country. Reports of how Wasil had fired 120 mortar rounds in a single day’s fighting; how he’d manned a Kalashnikov long enough and well enough to take out six Taliban fighters, how he’d coordinated food and ammo drops that saved his soldiers’ lives. Stories spread of how he had negotiated the rescue of those children—and of how, finally, he had arranged that daring evacuation by helicopter. “He fought with the courage of 100 men,” the district governor would say. He was hailed as a “lion”; even the Taliban would speak of him with a measure of respect. But it was too soon to know what that growing fame would eventually inspire.


Wasil stared out of the helicopter as it sailed over green valleys, barreling toward Tirin Kot. “We’re out of danger, we can relax now,” he told his 9-year-old brother, Rabbani. Then, having comforted the boy, he turned back to the disbelieving men who’d just rescued him, the troops from the Afghan special forces who wanted to know how this boy had defended the compound for three harrowing weeks.

Just beyond the gates of Tirin Kot, the chopper zipped over the blast walls of the heavily fortified Afghan National Army base and came to rest on the ground. Rahimullah Khan, then the deputy police chief of the Uruzgan province, was waiting for them at the airfield. The boy, his uniform covered in dust, a sidearm on his waist, shook Khan’s hand and then jumped into the front seat of a police car. “He was tired, and happy to be out of the war,” Khan told me.

Tirin Kot, a sprawl of mud-walled houses, was, then as now, a city under siege. The Afghan government’s control extended for just a few miles beyond the walls. Checkpoints and sandbagged posts ringed the city of 70,000, but Taliban infiltrators had still managed to slip into town and strike periodically, planting IEDs on the streets.

To help ease Wasil back toward normalcy, deputy police chief Khan put the family up in his guarded guesthouse, gave them a monthly stipend, and arranged for Wasil to attend a nearby school. Khan also removed the boy’s sidearm. “The pistol is our enemy,” he told me. “When you have a pistol, you are a target, you are in the fight.”

It wasn’t easy for Wasil to accept that his fight was over. Family members and others who had survived the siege treated him like a legendary warrior. Samad, in particular, was proud of his nephew’s celebrity and wanted to honor him as a hero. He resented anyone who downplayed the boy’s achievements. “We fought with the Taliban for many, many days, fighting 500 people,” he said. “They should have given us medals.”

This sort of hagiography worried Khan, who was stunned to see Wasil’s family play up his heroic exploits on social media. “They said, ‘Wasil did this.’ ‘Wasil did that,’ bragging about the kid, how he killed this person and that person,” he told me. The deputy police chief urged the family to lower the boy’s profile. He was afraid that Wasil’s growing status as a folk hero was likely to put him in the Taliban’s sights. He pleaded with Samad to protect his nephew. But Samad, always ambitious, brushed off the warnings. “The family didn’t accept my help,” Khan told me. “They went the wrong way.”


After a couple of months, Wasil’s family moved out of Khan’s guesthouse, saying that they needed more space. Samad was eager to keep stoking the mythology growing around his nephew and cultivated in the boy a sense that he wasn’t beholden to the same rules that governed other people: He allowed the 11-year-old to drive around town in a police-issue Ford Ranger pickup truck. Khan thought the truck was a bad idea: Giving a boy a police vehicle was hardly going to encourage him to behave like a kid. “I was trying to get Wasil into a school in Kabul to get him more educated,” Khan told me. “But his mind was being changed again.”

Wasil was being pulled in conflicting directions. “He played soccer and cricket, but he was not like a child,” a schoolmate told the press. “He was more like a grown man—always serious.”

Most mornings, after breakfast, Wasil, along with his brothers and cousins, worked for three hours with a tutor who taught English, Persian, and chemistry. And by all accounts, Wasil was making progress—despite a frequent preoccupation with his past life as a soldier. “He was an intelligent guy, with an open mind; he was grasping things quickly,” Wasil’s teacher, Mahmoud Khan, told me. “But he was thinking about guns, he was talking about guns. I told him, ‘You should leave these things behind. You should focus on learning.’ ”

In early February 2016, six months after the siege, Wasil and two of his cousins finished their midday prayers and strolled outside their compound, hoping to buy some fruit. Normally, the family discouraged them from venturing into the streets without police guards, but there was a fruit-and-vegetable stall just across the wide road, a 30-second walk away.

Wasil crossed the road while his two cousins peeled off and headed for another shop. As he inspected the oranges, bananas, and apples and chatted with the grocer, two men on a motorbike pulled up behind Wasil.

Then two pistol shots rang out, and Wasil staggered back. “After the first shot, he was just saying, ‘I’ve been hit.’ Then the second bullet hit him in the head, and he fell,” a witness recounted. “The apples he bought were covered in blood.” The assailants raced off on their bike and disappeared.

“If some kids are seeing this, what will they think? They will just leave the school and tell themselves, ‘I am going to become a hero.’”

At home, Samad had been napping but was roused suddenly by his shouting nephews. “Wasil’s been shot,” they cried. Wasil’s uncle ran outside and saw the boy lying in a pool of blood, unconscious. An ambulance rushed Wasil to the local hospital, and then he was airlifted to Kandahar. Wasil died en route.

The next day, Wasil’s family wrapped his body in a white cloth shroud and bore him in his Ford Ranger to the cemetery. Six hundred people attended his burial. The sight of the small boy’s body moved many to tears. “This was a small child,” the journalist Najeed Lattif, who attended the funeral, told me. Samad was also crying. “He was saying, ‘They killed my right-hand man,’” Lattif said.


Six weeks after Wasil’s assassination, I joined his younger brother Rabbani and his uncle Merwais on a visit to Wasil’s grave. (Samad had relocated to Khas Uruzgan to begin a three-month trial as the district police chief. “He is a good fighter,” Uruzgan’s new governor, Wazeer Khararoti, told me. “He knows how to fight the Taliban, but you have to rein him in like a horse and not let him go so far.”)

We crammed into an armored four-by-four and joined a convoy between a black Land Cruiser and a Humvee filled with a dozen policemen. We reached a barren hillside covered with grave markers—spindly branches strung with decorative flags. The police took up positions, and I followed the uncle and brother to Wasil’s grave, crudely marked with stones, chunks of cement, and two willow branches adorned with colored cloths. It was only temporary, Merwais told me. “We will take him home,” he said, “as soon as Nawa Sultan Mohammed is no longer in the Taliban’s hands.”

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After news spread of Wasil’s feats in battle, his family was urged to downplay the heroics—lest the growing mythology inspire the Taliban to kill the boy.

In the days just after Wasil was shot, as paeans to his bravery flooded social media, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination, according to The Independent. But when I reached the insurgents’ spokesman on the phone, he backed off, saying only that it “was possible” that the Taliban had killed him. He rebuked the Afghan police for encouraging the boy to fight and for then celebrating him as a hero.

That sentiment—that the breathless tales of Wasil’s exploits had contributed to his death—is shared by the region’s governor, Wazeer Khararoti. “He was a child, and we don’t have a right to make him a hero,” he told me. “If some kids are seeing this, what will they think? They will just leave the school and tell themselves, ‘I am going to become a hero.’”

But among the hard men who fight and die in Afghanistan’s violent backcountry, the governor’s perspective is not widely shared. There’s a grudging acceptance of the grim cycles that war perpetuates.

When I was in Kabul, I met with an old mujahideen fighter—a loyal friend of Samad’s—who now serves in parliament. His name is Haji Obaidullah Barakzai, and five years ago a Taliban fighter assassinated his 27-year-old son, as his son—Barakzai’s grandson—watched from a nearby car. The incident was eerily similar to the one that had put Wasil on his path for revenge, and it inspired in this boy the same response. He’s 8 now, and he’s been consumed by one thought. “I want to kill the Taliban who killed my father,” he told me shyly.

Barakzai hadn’t yet taken him to the firing range, but that day, he said, was not far off. “I’m buying plastic guns for the boy,” he told me, “so that he will be ready.”

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child-warrior-0117-gq-mocw02-01

Joshua Hammer wrote about the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the March 2016 issue of GQ.

This piece originally appeared in the January 2017 issue, with the title “The Improbable Life and Stunning Death of a Child Warrior.”

Categories: Middle East, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Days Before Leaving Office, Obama Gets News that Could INVALIDATE His Entire Presidency…..


President Barack Obama’s legacy might soon be tarnished beyond repair. The long-awaited results from an in-depth investigation into Obama’s past have just been revealed.

Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fake… a complete forgery, and now evidence to prove it is headed to Congress. Arizona Sheriff Joe Apraio’s investigation into Obama’s birth certificate found multiple “inconsistencies,” which could allow Congress to impeach the 44th president of the United States even after he leaves office, WND reports.

The forensic investigation into Obama’s birth certificate reportedly proves the “birthers” were right all along! Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., a WND senior staff writer, is credited with forcing the Obama administration to release the document in the first place.

Corsi’s book, Where’s The Birth Certificate?, first brought the Obama birth certificate issue to the public’s attention. The Constitution requires a presidential candidate to be a “natural-born citizen” but does not really define exactly what the entails – meaning even though Obama was born to an American woman, he still might not have qualified to run for the highest office in the land.

“I was raised as an Indonesian child and a Hawaiian child and as a black child and as a white child,” Obama once said, according to a report by the Miller Center. Obama spent four years of his childhood living in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather.

Sheriff Joe Apraio’s forensic investigation into Obama’s birth certificate revealed the document presented to the public appears to be identical to and copied from another birth certificate issued in Hawaii just several days after he was born. The exceedingly similar birth certificate reportedly belongs to Johanna Ah’nee.

The items on the supposed Obama birth certificate, which appear to have been copied from the Johanna Ah’nee birth certificate, include the word “Honolulu,” the word “Oahu” twice, two time stamps, and three different Xs. The identical appearance of the Xs was reportedly of particular interest to forensic investigators.

The Xs would have been placed on the original birth certificate documents by moving a typewriter carriage and rolling over the certificate at the same time. Investigators reportedly found it interesting that the stamp made by Alvin Onaka and the April 25th stamp might have been lifted from another document.

One of the expert forensic investigators who participated in the review of the Obama birth certificate was Reed Hayes. He is a court-qualified document examiner and handwriting examiner.

Reed Hayes also operates a business in Hawaii. He has been on the board of Scientific Association of Forensic Examiners for almost four decades. Forlabs, an Italian company which specializes in extracting details and information from multimedia files, produced the results of the Obama birth certificate forensic investigation.

“We had two experts from two countries in separate disciplines of forensics that came to one conclusion: Barack Obama’s long form birth certificate it not authentic,” the report said.

Mike Zullo, the lead forensic investigator involved with the report, quoted details from the investigation by Hayes: “The (nail in the coffin) that proves that Certificate of Live Birth is inauthentic is the exact lineup of numerous entries on both [certificates].” Zullo added the experts likened the evidence they found to prove the Obama birth certificate is a forgery to being as reliable as a fingerprint.unnamed

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BREAKING: 10 Electors Make Shock Announcement… Refuse to Vote Until They Receive Security Briefing…


In the latest bit of fun, senseless drama to hit the Electoral College since Donald Trump became the president-elect, a group of 10 electors says that they will not cast their ballots until they are given an intelligence briefing on foreign intervention in the 2016 presidential election.

The movement of 10 electors — nine of whom were pledged to Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton — has drawn the support of Clinton’s campaign.

The open letter was posted to Medium by elector Christine Pelosi — yes, daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — demanding that they receive information about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 campaign.

“The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta came out and said that he supported the demand.

“The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security,” Podesta said in a Monday statement. “Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed.”

“Each day in October, our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump,” the statement continued. “Despite our protestations, this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in the campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.”

You may perhaps remember Podesta as the man who fell for the phishing scam that led to some of the document hacking. If he had been slightly smarter, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.

Of course, the idea that this “did not receive the attention it deserved by the media” tells me that Podesta wasn’t watching much TV during the campaign months. I understand that the man was busy, but the fact that he’s overlooking the breathless manner in which the media tried — and is still trying — to tie Donald Trump and his campaign to the Kremlin shows that Podesta is either completely clueless or believes that Hillary Clinton and everything she claims deserves to be judged by the media in more or less the way she herself judges it. In fact, I’m not terribly sure those two are mutually exclusive.

Russia is the latest scapegoat in a blame game in which Clinton and her surrogates have lain her failure to capture the presidency at the feet of everyone but the candidate herself. It was fake news last week, James Comey the week before. Next week, who knows?

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Political Correctness is the new Titanic…


What has come to be called “political correctness” used to be known as “good manners” and was considered part of being a decent human being. The term is now employed to write off any speech that is uncomfortably socially conscious, culturally sensitive or just plain left-wing. The term is employed, too often, to shut down free speech in the name of protecting speech.
The political correctness movement has gone way too far. While the original intent of political correctness may have been good (to encourage tact and sensitivity to others’ feelings around issues of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities, and such), the effect of political correctness has been to make everyone avoid these topics altogether — thereby hindering our ability to get comfortable in living and working with those who are different from us. It’s gone so far that political correctness has become a bigger problem than the problem it was intended to address!
It doesn’t really matter whether the PC Police come from the Right or the Left; the result is the same. These days everyone is so afraid of being called “sexist” or “racist” or “anti-Semitic” or some other career-killing label, that we all tiptoe carefully around diversity issues, and avoid them altogether if we possibly can.

But the question is: How are we ever going to be able to live and work together more comfortably if there’s a whole herd of elephants in the room? If we can’t talk about our feelings, fears, aspirations, anxieties, assumptions, hopes, worries, dreams, and concerns, how can we ever build trust with those who are different from us? If we can’t talk about differences that puzzle us, or things we’re curious about, without fear of giving offense, then how can we ever overcome our ignorance about cultures and races — or even the opposite sex?

If we must constantly self-censor any conversation pertaining to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical ability, then we are doomed to perpetuate the very barriers we say we want to overcome.

To those who serve in today’s PC Police, I understand that your intentions are good. But there is often a big gap between intent and impact. I would invite you to consider the impact of your censorship and finger-wagging, as well as your inclination to self-righteous, moral indignation. You don’t realize it, but you’re effectively throwing a wet blanket over public (and private) discussions of vitally important issues. You’ve gone too far in your efforts to protect everyone’s feelings. You’re essentially imposing a gag order on the whole of American society, and in so doing, you’re hindering our progress in getting to know one another and to understand others’ different perspectives, viewpoints, feelings, and life experiences.

Lighten up, please. Resign from the PC Police. Give us all a break.

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Hacking Through Partisanship in the U.S. Electoral Scandal……


DECEMBER 13, 2016 | 03:54 GMT

More than a month after the U.S. presidential election, the tumult shows no sign of dying down. In fact, the noise around the roles of hacking and cyber intrusions in the vote rose several decibels Monday, following a weekend of charges that Russia put its thumb on the scales in November’s election. But the resulting political debate, fueled by accusations that President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters and potential Cabinet members were complicit in the hacks or, alternatively, that the Democrats are sore losers trying to undermine the incoming administration, is obscuring the larger geopolitical issues at play. What’s more, it overlooks the fact that cyber intrusions are only the latest tool in a time-honored tradition of electoral meddling.

At issue in the current maelstrom is not the sanctity of the voting process itself, but rather the manipulation of voter sentiment by foreign powers. America’s voting method varies from state to state, or even county to county, and uses hundreds of systems to track millions of paper and digital ballots cast by different means at different times. By inadvertent virtue of this arcane system, U.S. ballot boxes are more resistant to direct hacking than perhaps any other voting platform in the world. But the American electorate is not tamper proof.

The U.S. electoral process, flawed though some claim it is, remains the backbone of the country’s political system. The system is designed to be resilient in its complexity, to avoid (or at least deter) the over-concentration of power, and to enable each to express his or her opinion. At the same time, it is also designed to ensure a level of continuity and stability. Trust in the political process, even when the results are dissatisfactory, is essential to preserving national unity and preempting extra-constitutional attempts to alter the political landscape. If the process is seen as faulty or manipulated, national cohesion and the perceived legitimacy of political power will suffer. Consequently, foreign manipulation of U.S. elections is a serious issue.

It is not unprecedented, however. Foreign powers have long used information campaigns, propaganda and political messaging to try to create doubt around one candidate or another and to shape the narrative ahead of elections. The Iranians may well have delayed the release of hostages in part to create an environment conducive to President Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, hoping for a better deal. In 1996, Chinese fundraising scandals surrounded the re-election of President Bill Clinton (who later paved the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization) and Democratic congressional candidates. In fact, there may even be precedent for a president’s complicity in electoral manipulation; Richard Nixon’s campaign tried to influence the collapse of Vietnamese peace talks to facilitate his own election. Russian disinformation campaigns have also been around for years, from rumors of U.S. chemical and biological weapons during the Korean War to stories, allegedly planted by Moscow, of the FBI’s role in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. One could even argue that European leaders, or at least media and interest groups, fetted Barack Obama during his first run for the presidency, highlighting his differences with his predecessor, with the clear intention of reshaping U.S. policy direction.

Furthermore, the United States is not always the victim of these tactics. Washington has frequently been accused of interfering, more and less overtly, in other countries’ elections, most recently after the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines made critical remarks about Rodrigo Duterte during his bid for office. From Radio Free Europe to the National Endowment for Democracy, America has an array of “soft power” tools at its disposal to shape not just foreign elections, but foreign political systems as well. Attempts to interfere in, or at least influence, elections are the norm in international politics rather than the exception. Though no one wants to admit that his or her victory may have been shaped in part by foreign powers, the world always seems to have its vote, particularly in U.S. elections.

In addition to trying to influence elections directly, foreign powers are always looking for internal information on candidates and parties that they can use to anticipate shifts in U.S. policy or adjust their language and behavior to shape policies. Compared with older techniques such as wiretapping, bugging, breaking into offices or devising ruses to ply information from insiders, cyber tools are far more expedient and less risky. They are also harder to trace, further adding to the confusion.

Despite the outcry over Russia’s hacking activities, we are not on the cusp of a new Cold War. In many ways, however, the world is far more complex than it was during the Cold War — though, on the plus side, the threat of thermonuclear war no longer looms quite as large. The United States and Russia are once again at odds with each other, divided along an array of geopolitical lines, and the former Soviet periphery is once again the scene of heavy competition between the two. But the ideological, political, economic and security dichotomy of the Cold War has since given way to a more diverse global landscape. Today, power is more diffuse, the lines between friend and foe are blurred, and economic integration often coexists with strategic competition. Each nation still has its own interests, but the global framework of “West” and “East” no longer provides an easy rubric.

There is little doubt that Russia, among other countries, tried to craft information campaigns with the intent to shape the U.S. presidential elections. Moscow may even be said to have actively interfered in the race if it did, in fact, selectively release emails. Still, it is hard to argue that its activities were enough to tip the balance, even in a close race. By politicizing the latest instance of foreign electoral meddling to the point where each side of the political spectrum is reduced to solely accusing the other of lying, we risk misplacing the focus on partisan instead of strategic issues.

Perhaps a more productive way to assess the accusations is to ask a few different questions: Is hacking significantly different from a disgruntled staff member’s leak, from loose talk at a bar, or from stolen or misplaced documents? Is a campaign or political party staff member’s email a national security issue or a matter of basic information management? Is U.S. government information better protected than private information? How quickly and effectively is the U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence community adapting to the changing information landscape? How does one balance privacy, freedom and security (a perennial question in the United States)?

And, maybe most important, are U.S. elections at significant risk of true foreign manipulation, or are they simply vulnerable to attempts at information-shaping? The latter we know how to deal with. The former is a fundamental threat that merits dispassionate investigation.

Categories: CIA, Congress, Democrats, Government Secrets, Law suit, Middle East, Obama, One Government, Saudi Arabia, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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