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TODAY
Thursday August 21st, 2014

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metcalf

Updated 1154 PDT                               
                                                                                                                                                              
World & National

Extreme violence lies in ISIS DNA
             An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Baghdadi, who on June 29 proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq, purportedly ordered all Muslims to obey him in the video released on social media

It is just over 10 years since Nicholas Berg, an American businessman working in Iraq, was brutally decapitated on video by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the thuggish leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

With the murder of the American journalist, James Foley, on Tuesday, the US and its Western allies were vividly reminded of the worst excesses of the Iraqi insurgency in the wake of the 2003 invasion.

But it is not just in the manner of its bloodlust that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) and AQI share a gruesome symmetry.

The two organisations also share a lineage. The threadbare remnants of AQI – all but crushed by the US troop surge in Iraq of 2007 and the “sons of Iraq” movement to turn Sunni tribes against the jihadis – morphed into the earliest version of Isis.

NEW MAP OF MIDDLE EAST...

http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article9681939.ece/ALTERNATES/w1024/web-iraq-graphic.jpg

Russia targets McDonalds

Russia said on Thursday it was investigating dozens of McDonald's restaurants, in what many businessmen said was retaliation for Western sanctions over Ukraine they fear could spread to other symbols of Western capitalism.

Russia's food safety watchdog said it was looking at possible breaches of sanitary rules at McDonald's, but many in the business community said it was a reflection of the deterioration in relations between Russia and the West over Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country are fighting against government forces.



'British' jihadist who beheaded journalist is Londer called John
An IS militant with a man purported to be US journalist Steven Sotloff, in a still from the group's video

The jihadist who beheaded the American journalist James Foley is believed to be British born militant from London who calls himself John, it can be revealed.

Intelligence agents in the UK and United States are urgently looking into reports that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) fighter, whose brutal actions shocked the world, is the ringleader of group of British jihadists who have specialised in hostage taking.



Ex-CIA Agent: 'Silly, Juvenile' to Reveal Foley Resccue Attempt

It was "silly" and "juvenile" for the administration of President Barack Obama to reveal the United States failed in an effort to rescue American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by ISIS terrorists, said Michael Scheuer, a former CIA agent who for 10 years led the agency's unit hunting Osama bin Laden.

Scheuer told "Fox & Friends" it was also unwise for the White House to "advertise a defeat" or alert the terrorists that the U.S. knew "where they're holding their prisoners, or we think they know where they're holding their prisoners."




Docs Declare Ebola Patients Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol No Risk to Public


Declaring his cure a miracle, a doctor infected with the Ebola virus while working to save patients in West Africa walked out of an Atlanta hospital on Thursday. Hospital officials said they released a colleague quietly on Tuesday at her request.

"Today is a miraculous day. I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family," Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, of Christian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, told a news conference.



Israeli airstrikes kill 32 top Hamas commanders

Israeli airstrikes killed three top Hamas commanders in Gaza on Thursday, marking the most significant blow to the leadership of the Palestinian group’s armed wing in six weeks of fighting in the battle-scarred enclave.

Hamas spokesmen confirmed that Israel killed the three men, whose bodies were pulled from a demolished building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.



Enemy of My Enemy: Are airstrikes against ISIS putting US on same side as Assad?

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with a German newspaper in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA, June 17, 2013.Reuters

A year after his "red line" was crossed in the deadly chemical attack against Syrian rebels and civilians -- including hundreds of children -- allegedly by Syrian government forces, President Obama finds himself in the awkward position of being on the same side as the Assad regime in the fight to keep Islamic State militants from gaining more ground in Iraq.

Since Aug. 8, U.S. drones and fighter jets have launched 90 strikes across Iraq, most recently hitting additional targets in the area of the vital Mosul Dam. The administration continues to describe the strikes as part of a limited mission -- but it's a mission, some analysts say, that has the U.S. government finding a common enemy with the Assad regime, which is fighting Islamic State militants on their side of the border.



Record Bank of American Settlement Latest in Government Crusade

Bank Agrees to Pay $16.65 Billion in Cash and Consumer Aid

Bank of America Corp. BAC +3.29% will pay $16.65 billion to settle the government's accusations it sold flawed mortgage securities in the run up to the financial crisis, the largest settlement ever reached between the U.S. and a single company.

The settlement is an attempt by the U.S. government to put an exclamation point on a string of crisis-era enforcement actions and lawsuits that's cost U.S. banks more than $125 billion. The Bank of America settlement requires the Charlotte, N.C. lender to pay $9.65 billion in cash to the Justice Department, six states, and other government agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bank will also provide $7 billion worth of aid for struggling consumers, through actions such as modifying mortgages for borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth, or demolishing derelict properties.



Slain Journalist on the Power of Prayer During Captivity

Here is James Foley's letter to his alma mater, Marquette, about his previous imprisonment in Libya:

Marquette University has always been a friend to me. The kind who challenges you to do more and be better and ultimately shapes who you become.

With Marquette, I went on some volunteer trips to South Dakota and Mississippi and learned I was a sheltered kid and the world had real problems. I came to know young people who wanted to give their hearts for others. Later I volunteered in a Milwaukee junior high school up the street from the university and was inspired to become an inner-city teacher. But Marquette was perhaps never a bigger friend to me than when I was imprisoned as a journalist.

Myself and two colleagues had been captured and were being held in a military detention center in Tripoli. Each day brought increasing worry that our moms would begin to panic. My colleague, Clare, was supposed to call her mom on her birthday, which was the day after we were captured. I had still not fully admitted to myself that my mom knew what had happened. But I kept telling Clare my mom had a strong faith.



Will Obama Do What it Takes to Defeat ISIS?

President Barack Obama's condemnation of the beheading of American journalist James Foley was passionate, but leaves the world wondering just he plans to do about the murder, The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial.

Further, the paper said that Obama can't blame the current problems on former President George W. Bush, as the spread of the Islamic State, or ISIS, is occurring on his watch.

"Obama must get over his political fixation on ending Mr. Bush's wars and admit that his country must fight again in Iraq," the Journal's editorial board said. "America already is at war again fighting ISIS in Iraq. Mr. President, we share your disgust for James Foley's killers. What we need to know is whether you are willing to do what it takes to defeat these enemies of America and a civilized world."



Fanning the flames of racial unrest


Violence following the recent fatal shooting of an unarmed robbery suspect in Ferguson, Mo., has tragically followed a predictable script.

On average, more than 6,000 blacks are killed by gun violence each year. That startling figure is nearly equal to all of the U.S. combat fatalities incurred in both Afghanistan and Iraq over some 13 years. Blacks are the victims in about half of the homicides in America each year despite the fact that blacks represent only about 13 percent of the U.S. population.



Random observations for summer 2014

I don’t know why we are spending our hard-earned money paying taxes to support a criminal justice system when issues of guilt and innocence are being determined on television — and even punishment is being meted out by CNN’s showing the home and address of the policeman accused in the Ferguson, Mo., shooting.

One of the big differences between Democrats and Republicans is that we at least know what the Democrats stand for, whether we agree with it or not. For Republicans, though, we have to guess.



Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.

Since then there have been:  • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
    • Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.
CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE Photo

CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE
Rank: Lance Corporal
U.S. Marine Corps
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.



From the Archives

American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM

American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of prejudice.

Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a good thing.

However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.

Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly) blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the problem.

Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.

However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is just plain dumb.

Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of innocents.

Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion, and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.

“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida figures," the officials said.

But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.

Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against the United States.

In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing," Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."

Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.

The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that indirectly resulted in mayhem.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door after the horse got out, he is right.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.

When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of information.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in the military and at risk to their lives.

“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10 percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk analysis perspective.


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