Monday, March 31, 2014

Egypt: Christians under attack

More on the 'religion of peace'.

From Clarion Project:

Christian Girls in Egypt Kidnapped, Raped, Converted

Video: US Army Family of Chaplains

A family of U.S. Army Chaplains at Fort Hood, Texas share their unique story of serving Soldiers and their Families through Army ministry.


[Related: Army Chaplain sisters support each other as they serve God and Country]

TSA: NOT as effective as intended?

There's a shocker....NOT!

In light of the ongoing search for the Malaysia airline that seems to have vanished in thin air, the international aviation community is looking at all aspects of airline security. 

From Homeland Security News Wire:

Growing questions about TSA’s behavioral detection program

27 March 2014 

TSA has spent roughly $1 billion training thousands of “behavior detection officers” as part of theScreening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program. The purpose of SPOT is to identify facial and body expressions that signals terrorist activity. The results have not been impressive: fewer than 1 percent of the more than 30,000 passengers a year who are identified as suspicious end up being arrested, and the offenses have not been linked to terrorism.

A November 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended that the TSA should reduce future funding for the agency’s behavioral detection program because there is little evidence of the program’s effectiveness. According to the GAO, “available evidence does not support whether behavioral indicators, which are used in the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program, can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security.”

The recommendation was supported by a survey in which psychologists Charles Bond and Bella DePaulo analyzed more than 200 studies in which participants correctly identified 47 percent of lies as deceptive and 61 percent of truths as nondeceptive, resulting in an average of 54 percent — only 4 percent better than chance. Accuracy rates were lower in experiments when judgment had to be made relying solely on body language....

You KNOW there is more here.

[Related: "TSA:  Eureka!  I found it!"  NOT!]


RIP: End of an Era???

Every week comes news of the loss of Heroes from WW2.  In the last few days, a Bletchley Park Code Breaker and a Tuskegee Airman have died.

From The Telegraph:

Bletchley Park code-breaker Jerry Roberts dies

One of the last surviving Bletchley Park codebreakers Raymond "Jerry" Roberts has died, aged 93, following a short illness 

 Captain Raymond "Jerry" Roberts as he received his Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal from Queen Elizabeth II during Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2013 Photo: PA

Captain Raymond “Jerry” Roberts, one of the last surviving Second World War codebreakers at Bletchley Park, has died at the age of 93 following a short illness. 
He was part of an elite team at the British listening post which helped crack the German Tunny system used by Hitler, Mussolini and other high ranking generals during the war. 
Capt Roberts joined the team of codebreakers in Buckinghamshire as a cryptographer and linguist in 1941, said a Bletchley Park spokeswoman. 

He was one of four founder members of the Testery, an elite unit named after the man leading it, Ralph Tester, which cracked the Tunny code making it possible to read Hitler's messages during the war. 
The team managed to reverse engineer the Tunny, which had 12 encryption wheels to the Enigma machine's three, described by Bletchley Park as "an incredible feat of dedication".


Describing Capt Roberts as "lovely" and "absolutely charming", she said: "He was passionate about what he and his colleagues achieved. 

"He did not want to blow his own trumpet but to have the work of his colleagues recognised." 

Reminiscing years after the war, when he was finally free to talk about his work, Capt Roberts said he had taken delight in reading Hitler's messages, sometimes even before the German leader....

Much more about the Captain - and insights into the work done by Bletchley Park -  here.

The Tuskegee Airmen are also an important part of history, as they contributed to the allied effort.

From Stars and Stripes: 

Original Tuskegee airman Walt Richardson dies at age 85

By Wendy Victora 
Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach (MCT)
 March 29, 2014 

When Walt Richardson and his wife, Helen, were blessed with eight children, he worked multiple jobs to support them.

When he was selected to be one of the first black men to integrate the Air Force, he rose above the racism that surrounded him.

“You don’t let these things make you bitter,” he taught his children. “You use them to make you better.”

Richardson was 85 when he died early Saturday morning at his home in Fort Walton Beach. Funeral arrangements are pending.

He was one of the original Tuskegee airmen, a gifted entertainer, a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and a deacon at St. Mary Catholic Church.

Despite the cancer that had spread through his body, he worked right up to the end of his life, with a March 21 fall at his house triggering a rapid decline.

“He said, ‘Let me go with my boots on,” said Pat Richardson, his second oldest son. “Don’t put me in a home. Let me take it to end.”...

Much more about Retired Master Sgt Walter Richardson here.

[Related: Tuskegee Airmen Observe 70-Year Legacy]

Thank you for your Service, gentlemen.  Rest In Peace.

UK Medics hit the waves

From British Army:
Army medics have raced each other on the beach and through the waves to find out who is the fittest in the unit.

Friday's contest saw some 100 men and women of 16 Medical Regiment put through their paces on a four-mile run and assault course in full battle rig along the shifting sands of Mersea Island in Essex.

Physical fitness is vital to the Colchester-based unit, with the troops trained to deploy by parachute or helicopter to provide medical support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s rapid reaction force.

Lieutenant Colonel Philip McNee, Commanding Officer of 16 Med Regt, said: “The beach run was a tough event but every member of the Regiment put in an outstanding effort, showing the strength of their spirit as much as their fitness.

“As troops within 16 Air Assault Brigade, physical fitness is one of our top priorities. On operations we’re expected to parachute or fly in to where we need to be and then be totally self-reliant, carrying all the equipment we need to both serve our role as medics and survive.”

First across the finishing line in a time of 28 minutes 47 seconds was Lance Corporal Chris McMillan, a Royal Engineers electrical engineer.

The 26-year-old from Weston-super-Mare said: “Running on sand is harder than it looks and, without being complacent, I’m very proud to have won this event. I’m a keen runner and put a lot of effort into training, both what we do as a unit and in my own time. If you’re not fit enough you can’t do the job we do, it’s as simple as that.”

Private Kimberley Preston, a combat medical technician from Stonehaven in Scotland, was the first female soldier to finish in 35 minutes 16 seconds.

The 20-year-old said: “Fitness is really important for us as a unit. We would deploy on operations alongside the Parachute Regiment and we have to match their high standards to be able to keep up with them on the ground.”

Find out more about 16 Medical Regiment 

[Medic Related: Soldier Awarded Commendation for Bravery] 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Welcome home, Vietnam Veterans

To all our Vietnam Vets, welcome home! Thank you for your service then and thank you for your service now as many of you are serving as mentors for those currently serving our great nation.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boston Fire Department Loses 2 Heroes

Boston firefighters Michael Kennedy (left) and Lt. Edward Walsh. (Photo courtesy of the Boston Fire Department)

March 27, 2014
Boston mourns death of 2 veteran firefighters

Lt. Edward J. Walsh had nearly 30 years on the job; Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy was a six-year veteran 

By Paige Sutherland
The Associated Press

BOSTON — Boston residents mourned the deaths of two firefighters who were killed when a fire driven by strong winds whipped through a brownstone and trapped them in the basement in a neighborhood just blocks from where nine city firefighters died in a 1972 hotel collapse.

Tributes poured in Wednesday for Lt. Edward J. Walsh, a 43-year-old father of three who had almost a decade of experience, and firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, a 33-year-old Marine Corps combat veteran who had been a firefighter for more than six years.

Thirteen other firefighters were injured in the blaze in the city's Back Bay district, and several police officers also were taken to hospitals. Some residents were rescued from the upper floors of the four-story apartment building, but none was hurt, city officials said.

"Today's a sad day for the city of Boston," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "We lost two heroes here today."


"In 30 years I've never seen a fire travel that fast, escalate that quickly and create such havoc in such a short period of time," [Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Fin] said.

Finn said Walsh and Kennedy had gone down inside stairs into the basement, and he assumed that a front window broke out and blew the fire back at them. They called a mayday within two or three minutes of entering the building.

Kennedy was found about 30 minutes later and was pulled from the building but was pronounced dead at a hospital. Walsh's body was recovered later and was removed in what fire department spokesman Steve MacDonald described as "a very solemn ceremony," in which he was carried on a stretcher out the back of the building through a line of saluting firefighters....

There is more here.

The Boston Globe has many more details and a video of various Fire Officials' responses..


On Wednesday, Walsh, a 43-year-old married father of three young children, and Kennedy, a 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran, had made their way down stairs to the basement when a front window broke, intensifying the blaze, authorities said. Just minutes after entering the building, they were trapped in the cellar, prompting a frantic mayday call.

“We’re in the basement,” one of the men said. “Please come and get us.”


“We lost two heroes here today,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said at the press conference. “These two heroes ran into a burning building and got people out.”

In a statement, the mayor said words “cannot do justice to the grief that we feel tonight.”

“Our hearts are heavy with the knowledge that these brave men gave their lives to protect the safety of our city and its people,” he said. “A day like today makes us all too aware of what they are risking in the course of doing their jobs. They are heroes simply by virtue of accepting this duty.”...

More here.

Related:  Their singular calling is ingrained for life

There is a fund set up to support the families. From the City of Boston official site:

Information regarding the Lieutenant Walsh - Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund 

For Immediate Release
March 27, 2014
Released By: Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office

BOSTON -- The Boston Firefighter's Credit Union has created a fund to help support the families of Lieutenant Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy.

"In difficult times like these, I am so proud to be mayor of a city that comes together to help our neighbors in need," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "Since yesterday's tragic events, we've experienced an outpouring of support from across the city, state, and country. So many people have expressed a willingness to help, in some way, as we grieve the loss of Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy."

"Although no donation can heal the wounds suffered by the Walsh and Kennedy families, we are grateful to the Boston Firefighter's Credit Union for helping us create a focal point for peoples’ generosity, and to the people of Boston, of Massachusetts, and of the United States, who have once again shown the power of a community to help healing process begin."

Donations to the Lieutenant Walsh - Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund can be made by visiting the website of the Boston Firefighter's Credit Union at Donations can also be made by mailing checks to the Fund, care of the Boston Firefighter's Credit Union, 60 Hallet Street, Dorchester, MA 02124.

As the Mayor said:
  “A day like today makes us all too aware of what they are risking in the course of doing their jobs. They are heroes simply by virtue of accepting this duty.”...

Indeed they are. My heart and my prayers of sorrow and gratitude are with their families and their Fire Department family across the land.

 Rest In Peace, Heroes. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Something old, something new, borrowed and blue

By contributor “Alec”: 

 Marriage; hold that thought I’ll return to that later.  I’d like to take you back to the 1st of March 2010, yes Brat,  I had to google that, the date didn't stick in my mind however the unfolding events did… 

Michael Yon began the day by blaming a certain Canadian General for the sad death of a U.S. Serviceman on the Tarnak Bridge, after a suicide bomber detonated the car he was travelling in, now I’m not going to recover the whole sorry story as, in my opinion, it’s much like watching the Towering Inferno movie for the umpteenth time on a wet bank holiday weekend. 

What I will say is this, it was the first time I was compelled to ‘batter a few words out’ on a keyboard in support of a General! I may have been heard to mutter one or two adjectives and expletives in my past when cornered to comment on Senior Officers… 

But I digress. This led me into the strange world of the U.S. Blogging community, the passionate and sometimes misguided families, friends, Klingons and Servicemen, but above all it lead me here to Brat.

 In the days following Tarnak, Mr Yon culled more of his followers, a number of which had got together with a gentleman called C.J. - himself subject to a ‘roasting’ by Mr Yon and some of his misguided but none the less passionate followers, a situation I felt I wasn't qualified to comment on being Johnny foreigner and new to this verbal situation of blue on blue I was witnessing. 

I was invited into the Facebook group supporting CJ where I met Brat amongst many other wonderful people I won’t name, as I've not asked their permission, who convinced me that not all Americans wore Cowboy hats, chewed baccy and said “gosh darn it” before blowing up everything they saw, Canadians really could deliver a punch whilst being nice and, I hope, I managed to convince them that not all Englishmen* spoke like Hugh Grant, drank warm beer, and say “awfully” a little too much whilst mincing our words... 

 The jury is still out on that last one I suspect. 

 I'm truly honoured, spelt correctly in the Queen’s English, to be asked by Brat to contribute to Assoluta Tranquillita, spelt wrong in Alec’s English, as it’s something I've read though rarely commented on for around four years and I feel something like a baby sitter, hoping I don’t drop the poor kid on her head.

 The narcissistic part... 

* I live in England therefore I’m English, ask any person born and living in Scotland or Wales and they will tell you they are Scottish or Welsh not British, so that’s that bit explained. 

 I'm a disabled retired UK Serviceman or Veteran and whilst my disabilities are work related, they are NOT combat related, I've no formal English qualification beyond school leavers certification obtained late in life, so if my grammar and spelling isn't quite up to scratch you know why. 

 I’m the something old doing something new on borrowed time and I swear, a lot; which just about covers the blue, but what of marriage? There are two people designed to be in a marriage but many in a family, I’ll never marry again, but I'm overwhelmed to be invited into your family. 


Justice: Abu Ghaith found GUILTY

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

 From CDN:  
Abu Ghaith guilty: May be a life-long guest of the West he despises 
By Jacquie Kubin 

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2014

 Sulaiman abu Ghaith may soon be a life-long guest of the country he despises. On their second day of deliberations, a jury at the United States District Court in Manhattan found Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law guilty on three counts: conspiring to kill Americans; conspiring to provide material support to terrorists; and providing material support to terrorists. The three counts have a possible sentence of life imprisonment.

Ghaith’s defense was that he was only a spokesperson for al Qaeda and his infamous father-in-law and that he did not know about the 9/11 attacks until after they were over. However, testimony during the trial showed that Ghaith was one of the first persons bin Laden called to his Afghanistan cave immediately following the 9/11 attacks.

 Abu Ghaith is the highest-ranking al Qaeda figure to be brought to trial in U.S. courts since 9/11. He was arrested in Turkey, where he had traveled to after living under house-arrest in Iran for the last decade. Abu Ghaith was seeking help from al Qaeda to move to another country; however, America’s CIA, working with Turkey’s MIT, was able to track his movements and arrest him in February, 2013. 

Abu Ghaith, married to bin Laden’s oldest daughter Fatima, was proven to be aware of further air attacks being planned against the U.S. 

 Abu Ghaith, a fiery orator, was videotaped delivering bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s message of hate. He himself thus provided the prosecution’s best testimony against him, even as his defense lawyer argued that no evidence proved that the former Kuwaiti teacher knew of the conspiracies....

Read the rest here.  

Stay tuned for what will inevitably be years of appeal.

One World Trade Centre open for terrorists?

1 World Trade Center is seen on the left. Security officials don't want to install a security system for the building because of extra costs, a report said. (John Munson/The Star-Ledger)

Recently, two separate incidents highlighted just how vulnerable the 1WTC is to terrorists.  A teenager managed to evade security last week, which prompted TIME: The daring climb raises questions about the security of America's tallest building.  Noooooo kidding..  In September last year, there was the case of three skydiving from the WTC....They were arrested this week.  Go and check out this report (with video) on USA Today.

Now, the New York Post tells us that yes, there is a security system for this building 'but it’s still sitting in its box in a back office because they didn’t want to pay extra for installation'......Really??????  Go read the rest on that.

From New

1 World Trade Center lacks security system because of hefty price tag, report says

March 24, 2014 


A "well-placed source" told the Post the $4,000 security system is still sitting in a back office because the Port Authority expressed frustration with paying extra for installation. A report from the Post found that there isn't a single working security camera inside the building.

"He (a Port Authority official) looked at me and my colleague and said, 'Why did I spend $4,000 on this equipment when you could have gone to Home Depot and gotten something cheaper?'" the source told The Post. The source is a veteran electrician who worked on the project for the vendor, Angel Electronics, the report said.

"I was kind of stunned, because that's a pretty bold statement to make considering we got the specs from them, and the Port Authority had it made to order," the source told the Post....

Read the rest here. 

"Kind of stunned"???????  Yes, me too. 

Oh and about those terrorists that Obama refuses to admit still pose a threat to us here?

Homeland Security News Wire:

9/11 terror network in U.S. was never fully dismantled, still a threat

26 March 2014

A joint inquiry co-chaired by a former senator has warned that the American network that supported and trained the 9/11 hijackers was never fully dismantled, and that it remains a threat, pending the release of a secret report from the era. Former Senator. Bob Graham (D-Florida) points out that a 28-page section from the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” was classified under President George W. Bush and remains so under President Barack Obama.

Graham points out that “Saudi support cells were set up in a number of U.S. cities, coast to coast — including Paterson, N.J., Delray Beach, Fla., Sarasota, Fla., Falls Church, Va., Alexandria, Va., Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix — but were never properly investigated.”...

There is much more here.

If that's not enough to concern you, last month I found this from Clarion Project:

Exclusive: Islamist Terror Enclave Discovered in Texas

By Ryan Mauro February 18, 2014 

A Clarion Project investigation has discovered a jihadist enclave in Texas where a deadly shooting took place in 2002.


The enclave belongs to the network of Muslims of the Americas, a radical group linked to a Pakistani militant group called Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Its members are devoted followers of Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, an extremist cleric in Pakistan.
Muslims of the Americas

The organization says it has a network of 22 “villages” around the U.S., with Islamberg as its main headquarters in New York. The Clarion Project obtained secret MOA footage showing female members receiving paramilitary training at Islamberg. It was featured on the Kelly File on FOX News Channel in October. A second MOA tape released by Clarion shows its spokesman declaring the U.S. to be a Muslim-majority country.

A 2007 FBI record states that MOA members have been involved in at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, one attempted firebombing, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing. It states:...

There is much more here.

My long time readers know I am no rabid conspiracy theorist, BUT given the two recent incidents linked to above; given the documented proof of what is coming across US borders every day, and claims of "22 villages around the US," it is beyond time for the current crop of politicians to get serious about the ever-present threat of terrorism in America. Anybody who pays any kind of attention to what is going on, has to know how deadly serious the terrorism threat remains - to all of us..

Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani nails it:

Rudy Giuliani discusses One World Trade Center security 

 I am on the record as saying I believe there WILL be another terrorist attack within our borders. The two most recent incidents tell me that we have learned nothing from 9/11. If we choose to ignore such glaring lacks of security as detailed above, we WILL live (if we are lucky) to regret that we refused to pay a really 'hefty' price.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. 

Related: Trespassers at 1WTC are a wake up call 

RAF trek to honour Great Escape

From News Letter:

RAF officers in 100-mile trek to mark Great Escape

26 March 2014

 A group of 50 British air force officers are marching from the site of the Nazi Stalag Luft III prisoner camp near Zagan, Poland to a British war cemetery in western Poland to mark 70 years since the Great Escape

A group of 50 Royal Air Force officers have set off to march from the site of a Nazi prisoner camp to a war cemetery in western Poland to mark 70 years since the Great Escape of Allied airmen.

The march is also honouring 50 of them who were caught and executed.

Marek Lazarz, director of the Stalag Luft III Museum near Zagan, said the British group started in pouring rain yesterday from a monument marking the place where 76 prisoners of war emerged, one by one, from a tunnel on March 24 and 25, 1944.

The 77th man was spotted by guards, who gave chase. The 1963 Hollywood movie The Great Escape tells 
the story...

Read the rest here.

The MoD also has an informative article: The Great Escape 70 years on

Lest We Forget. 

Wednesday Hero

This post was suggested by Michael

Lt. Milton Ricketts

Lt. Milton Ricketts28 years old from Baltimore, Maryland
USS Yorktown (CV-5)
August 5, 1913 - May 8, 1942
For extraordinary and distinguished gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of the Engineering Repair Party of the U.S.S. Yorktown in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. During the severe bombarding of the Yorktown by enemy Japanese forces, an aerial bomb passed through and exploded directly beneath the compartment in which Lt. Ricketts' battle station was located, killing, wounding or stunning all of his men and mortally wounding him. Despite his ebbing strength, Lt. Ricketts promptly opened the valve of a near-by fireplug, partially led out the fire hose and directed a heavy stream of water into the fire before dropping dead beside the hose. His courageous action, which undoubtedly prevented the rapid spread of fire to serious proportions, and his unflinching devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

You can read more here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

National Medal of Honor Day

The United States Congress has designated March 25th of each year as NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR DAY, a day dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients.  

(Public Law 101-564)  Conceived in the State of Washington, this holiday should be one of our most revered.  Unfortunately all too many Americans are not even aware of its existence.


The date of March 25th was chosen to highlight this special day because it was on March 25 (1863) that the first Medals of Honor were six members of Andrews' Raiders.

Medal of Honor recipients.

Jodi Rives Meier: Muslims are 'ill-prepared...with struggling academic skills'

Jodi Rives Meier is a Communications instructor at a US college, who recently gained her fifteen minutes of fame by categorising muslims as hard to teach because....well, they are uneducated, or something.  The predictable fatwa and threats of jihad ensued..

No, not really.  What she DID do was smear Military Veterans and moan about how Military Veterans who are students that are - in her words - "often desperate and [...] uninformed folks... Students with poor academic performance are almost universally encouraged to go into the military and, lord knows, their skills do not improve while in the service."  Go read more on her at This Aint Hell

She reminds me of John Kerry, who back in 2006 earned the righteous scorn of our Military and any of us civilians who know the truth about our 'uninformed' men and women who have Served.

 That bit of humour was in response to this:

Then Press Secretary Tony Snow had this to say about Kerry: 

Snow said the quote “fits a pattern” of negative remarks from Kerry about U.S. soldiers and suggested that whether Democratic candidates — particularly those running on their military service backgrounds — agree with their 2004 standard-bearer should be a campaign litmus test…
Snow said a lot of Americans have joined the military since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“As for the notion that you can say this sort of thing about the troops and say you support them, it’s interesting,” the press secretary said...

(Hot Air)

As part of her 15 minutes of infamy, Ms Meier whines that she  got 'ambushed' by a news reporter,
 where she proudly stood by her derogatory, ignorant comments.

I suppose if I was feeling generous I could say that Ms Meier is the one who is 'ill-prepared' and uneducated'.  However, I am not noted for my generosity.  I will just remind Meier that our men and women who sign up for the Military - and who become Veterans - probably outsmart her any day of the week.  The myth of our Servicemen and women as murderers, rapists, rambos on steroids, etc etc  was debunked long ago.  I will also remind Meier that statistics, you know, FACTS, prove that any classroom issue she has with Veteran students is obviously with HER, the 'teacher'...This Aint Hell has some of those facts here.

On that post, there is a statement from the college, which reads, in part: In spite of this, personal views, however offensive, expressed on personal social media sites are free speech...

That right to "Free speech"is something to be defended, as any of our Military knows.   I am guessing that Meier is also now learning that her right to free speech, also entitles the rest of us on social media to point out how ignorant SHE is. The college is also ignorant, and hypocritical.  We have all seen examples of what happens if anybody DARES to speak the truth - the actual proof, backed by documented facts - about a group that believes in fatwas, and jihads where they threaten to kill all the infidels.  Right.

It is obvious to me that this 'communications teacher' should avail herself of all the research and FACTS out there on the educational credentials of our Veterans, and then remove herself from her paid position as a communications instructor; that is, if she knows what actual rigorous academic research is!   From where I sit, she obviously is unfit to pretend to teach those who never have a 'failure to communicate'....

Our Veterans are some of the most literate, educated, smart (and funny!)  people I am blessed to know, and I am SURE they could teach Meier and her like a thing or two.

Ms Meier should go back to school - as a student -  so she can at the least learn the truth of the old cliche:

Better to be thought stupid, than to open your mouth and prove it.  

Always Remembered: SSG Donald May Jr

To learn much more about this Fallen Hero (25th March 2003) and his family, go here.

I have written about Don and his wife, Deborah a few times. Go here, here or here.

Always remembered. Always honoured.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where is Michael Dunahee?

[Bratnote:  NO apology from me for this repost....]

Michael's family still lives every parent's worst nightmare, yet they have not given up hope. See News1130 here.   Below is a repost of my original post on Michael, because I also hold out hope that one day, Michael WILL be found...and his family will find peace in some measure.

Twenty years ago, 4 year old Michael Dunahee was at a Victoria, BC park with his family. Within minutes, he disappeared without a trace.

From Lighting Their Way Home:

On March 24th, 1991, Crystal Dunahee fixed Michael’s jacket in the parking lot of Blanshard Park, an out of the way park in a tough Victorian neighborhood. Crystal and a friend went to play a softball game in a field north of the parking lot, while Micheal asked to play on a swing set just south of the lot. Bruce reminded his son not to wander away from the playground or leave with any other children. He then took the couples 16 month old daughter, Caitlin, to the side of the ball field, not 100 meters away from the playground. Bruce recalls that after about 5 minutes, he stood on a rocky outcropping to check on his son. The playground was empty and the police were immediately called. Two other witnesses, in addition to Michael’s parents, told the police that they did see Michael playing in the park that day. Family, friends and relatives of the Dunahee family were all very quickly ruled out as possibly being involved in his disappearance.
(More here)

Yesterday, Victoria Police Department held a news conference with Crystal and Bruce Dunahee:

(More from Victoria Police Dept here)

“His disappearance rocked the community and there are still no answers,” said Sgt. Grant Hamilton, a Victoria police spokesperson.

Since the 15th anniversary of Michael’s disappearance, Victoria police have received 500 tips. In any given month, multiple possible sightings are reported.

None were as promising as a recent sighting of Michael, who would now be 24, in Chase, B.C. Residents of the town were certain it was him.

When police investigated, they took a DNA sample, but it confirmed the man was not Michael Dunahee.

Crystal Dunahee’s eyes were red and filled with tears Wednesday as she spoke to reporters at the Victoria Police Department on the 20th anniversary of her son’s disappearance.

“(His memories) are still embedded in our lives and in our hearts,” she said. “We know someone is out there who knows what happened. We need to find closure so we can move forward.”

A $100,000 reward is in place for any tip that leads to information about Michael’s whereabouts. Tips can be called in to VicPD’s designated tip line, at 250-995-7444 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

A service for Michael’s memory was held yesterday at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Esquimalt.
I remember that day very well, and over the years have watched as his family has pleaded for answers. So far, there are none. As time has gone by, there have been image enhancements of what Michael, who would be 24 years old now, would look like.

From Find Missing Children comes this picture of what he may have looked like at 17 years old:

Michael's disappearance spawned one of the largest police investigations in Canadian history and to date, over 11,000 tips have been received by police. The case was a major story for many years, being reported across Canada and in the US. Despite the large number of tips, and a $100,000 reward, police do not have any solid leads in the case.

Michael's mother Crystal has become an advocate for missing children's issues in British Columbia, and currently serves as the president of Child Find British Columbia. In 2002, Crystal lent her voice to support the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in calls to introduce an Amber Alert system in BC, stating that she believes her son would have been found had such a program existed in 1991. The system has since been implemented in most regions of Canada.

The community of Esquimalt, part of the Greater Victoria metropolitan area, holds an annual charity event called the Michael Dunahee "Keep the Hope Alive" Fund Run to raise money for Child Find.

Michael's sister, Caitlin, who was a toddler at the time Michael disappeared, is a High School student now. She created a FaceBook page called "We Will Never Forget Michael Dunahee."

Crystal Dunahee speaks at a press conference at Victoria police headquarters regarding the disappearance of her son Michael. (March  22, 2011)

Crystal Dunahee speaks at a press conference at Victoria police headquarters regarding the disappearance of her son Michael. (March 22, 2011)

Photograph by: Darren Stone,

At yesterday's news conference, Crystal Dunahee said:

"Someone knows what happened to Michael and where he is today,"... "We are asking them to come forward and pass on that information to help us find some closure."

I agree, which is one of the reasons I am writing about Michael today. I believe that someone, somewhere has information that can tell what happened to Michael that day twenty years ago.

Through the power of the internet, I am hoping that credible information on Michael's whereabouts - what happened to him - will come to light.

Crystal, Bruce and Caitlin Dunahee deserve to know what happened to their precious 4 year old Michael.

[For a current look at methods used by law enforcement to resolve such cold cases, go to the CBC here.]

NJ muslims to appeal court ruling on surveillance

From the Guardian (out of UK):

New Jersey Muslims appeal federal ruling on NYPD surveillance

• Judge William Martini said NYPD activities were lawful
• Attorney: ruling sanctions 'targeted, religious discrimination'

Friday 21 March 2014

A group of Muslims from New Jersey is appealing a federal judge's ruling that determined that the New York City Police Department's surveillance of Muslims did not violate their civil rights.

Attorneys from the groups Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a notice of appeal on Friday in federal court in Newark, challenging the dismissal of a 2012 lawsuit brought by Muslim individuals and organisations who said the NYPD programs constituted unconstitutional surveillance based on religion, national origin and race. The suit had accused the department of spying on ordinary people at mosques, restaurants and schools in New Jersey since 2002.

US district judge William Martini, in dismissing the suit last month, said the NYPD's activities were part of a lawful effort to prevent terrorism...

UK: 10 WW1 Soldiers ID'ed

From the MoD:

MOD identifies 10 First World War soldiers

22 March 2014 

Ten soldiers killed during the First World War who were found in France during 2009 have now been identified.

Defence Minister Lord Astor has announced that the remains of the 10 soldiers, found during construction work near the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny, have been formally identified after their surviving relatives provided DNA samples.

All those identified served with 2nd Battalion The York and Lancaster Regiment and were killed in battle on 18 October 1914. The discovery will now allow the surviving relatives of the soldiers, who were informed this week, to see their forefathers laid to rest 100 years on from the outbreak of the war.

Lord Astor said:
Our thoughts remain with all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. Although these soldiers fell almost a century ago, the Ministry of Defence still takes its responsibility extremely seriously to identify any remains found, trace and inform surviving relatives, and to provide a fitting and dignified funeral so they rest in peace.
The soldiers will now be reburied with full military honours at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in October. The ceremony will be organised by 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment which can trace its history back to the York and Lancaster Regiment. Work to identify a further 5 sets of remains found at the same time is continuing....
 More here.  

Welcome Home.  Now Rest In Peace.

Russia/US: business as usual despite sanctions

Headlines are full of the tit for tat economic sanctions between Russia and the US following Russia's takeover of Crimea. Russia is not attending the upcoming summit in the Hague on 'nuclear terrorism'.

The Washington Post has an interesting article on the background and goals of this summit -  officially based around START -  in light of current events: World leaders gather for Hague nuclear summit

Obama and the EU tell the world that there are 'consequences' for Russia's Military aggression.  

Meanwhile, last week a group of Russians were in San Fransisco.  From Washington Post:
U.S.-Russia nuclear agenda unaffected by rising tensions over Ukraine crisis
Karen DeYoung 
 March 21, 2014

As President Obama announced sanctions against Russia on Monday, a group of Russian officials arrived in San Francisco for a surprise inspection of the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal.

The inspections, part of a process agreed to under the 2010 New START weapons reduction treaty, signaled business as usual in at least one area of bilateral cooperation.


So far, all of those efforts have been off-limits in the dispute over Ukraine that has sent U.S.-Russia relations into a steep, downward spiral, and have proceeded without interruption. 

Administration officials have been quick to emphasize that they would like to keep it that way and have repeatedly said they believe Russia feels the same way.

Russia is key to the nonproliferation agenda, which has been Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative. Asked Friday whether Moscow intends to remain cooperative, national security adviser Susan E. Rice said, “We haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary.”...

Quite apart from the fact that Susan Rice historically proved that she has issues with interpreting 'evidence', (Benghazi, anyone?) this is an interesting article with some good links on different aspects of the START treaty.  

Go read here.

Syrian Military jet shot down by Turkey

From Homeland Security News Wire:

(Turkish F-16s shot down a Syrian military aircraft // Source:

Turkey shoots down Syrian military jet
 24 March 2014

Turkish fighter jets on Sunday shot down a Syrian warplane after it violated Turkey’s airspace. The Syrian military confirmed the incident, saying the plane was downed in Syrian airspace while strafing rebel positions. Syrian state TV described the incident as a “blatant aggression,” and said the pilot safely ejected from the aircraft. In 2012 Turkey changed its rules of engagement after Syria shot down a Turkish military plane, saying that any Syrian military plane approaching the Turkish border would be treated as a legitimate target.


The Syrian military confirmed the incident, saying the plane was downed in Syrian airspace while strafing rebel positions. Syrian state TV described the incident as a “blatant aggression,” and said the pilot safely ejected from the aircraft. “A Syrian plane violated our airspace,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election rally of his supporters in northwest Turkey. “Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard.”...

Read the rest here.

UK: Sharia law is adopted by courts

Who couldn't have seen THIS coming?  From the Telegraph:

Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs

Solicitors told how to draw up Sharia-style wills penalising widows and non-believers 

22 Mar 2014

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills. 
Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether. 
The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs. 
Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes....

Oh yes, there is much more here.

Are YOU paying attention?

Egypt: About that Arab Spring

According to a story from the Jerusalem Post, it is not a good time to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood:
Egyptian court sentences 529 Muslim Brotherhood members to death, lawyer says

123 of the defendants were present at sentencing, others were either released, out on bail or on the run.

An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges including murder on Monday, a defense lawyer said, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement.

The ruling was the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt's modern history, lawyers said.

Turmoil has deepened since the army overthrew Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July. Security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood members in the streets, and arrested thousands.

Most of the defendants at Monday's hearing were detained during clashes which erupted in the southern province of Minya after the forced dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on August 14....

There is more here. 

No word yet from POTUS.