Sunday, December 20, 2015

Insidious ISIS


This is what ISIS stands for.  Beheading anyone that does not accept its crazed form of Islamic religion or live the life of a working caliphate in the middle east.

To achieve their warped goals, ISIS sends terrorists world-wide to kill and wreck havoc upon innocent people in the name of Allah.  They are a world-wide poison and so far the world has not found an antidote.

They recruit new missionaries daily and at such a rate that the world cannot keep up with them.

Their poison has entered our political presidential run, and kidnapped rational candidates and the Republican electorate by instilling stark fear in the hearts and minds of Americans. We behaved more rationally after 9/11 than we are now.

What can we do to eliminate this poison from our world?

President Obama recently admitted that he underestimated the fear Americans have against ISIS and the fact that they don't understand his position for fighting ISIS.

He is against sending more troops to Syria and Iraq and "putting boots on the ground," for which the Republicans are calling.

His answer is to send special forces over to work with the Iraqis and Kurds and bomb the ISIS strongholds as long as it does not kill innocent bystanders.  He cites the chaos that descended on the middle east by our muddled attempt to bring "regime change to Iraq", and which opened a vacuum for ISIS to fill.  On that he has a strong point.

However,he seems flummoxed that ISIS has an encryption code used on the Internet that "hides" their most potent messages and recruitment.  ISIS fighters are smart and savvy and beat us at every turn, creating more insidious ways to attack us and recruit the young Muslims living in our country.

Again, we can turn to history as a guide when it comes to breaking an encryption code.

Bletchy Park, Buckinghamshire, England

During WWII, Bletchy Park, located in Buckinghamshire, England, became the central site for Britain's code breakers.  The best and the brightest gathered here to break the secret communications of the Axis powers and most importantly the German Enigma Lorenz ciphers.  It is said that the ultra-intelligence done here shortened the war by two to four years.

Granted, the German encryption codes were not splashed on the Internet, but were private, but the same thing can be done today to fight ISIS codes and recruitment tools.

Why is our government not gathering the best and the brightest computer technologists to break the encryption code ISIS uses on the Internet?  Why is this not a major focus in the war on ISIS?

It is on the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter where ISIS thrives and reaches a mass audience.  So we need to stop ISIS  here as well as in the middle east.  We need warriors on both fronts of this war.

I don't understand our country's reticence in this.  If we can oversee and hunt the social media and Internet to catch pornographers and pedophiles, how can we not do the same with ISIS?

Why aren't we using every method possible to stop ISIS in its tracks?  We might not catch all ISIS terrorists, but we can do better a catching more.

Freedom of speech is cited as to why there is hesitation to go after ISIS on the Internet, yet our Supreme Court has said freedom of speech does not allow someone to yell FIRE in a crowded theater.

Therefore, freedom of speech does not allow terrorists to recruit, to plot against us or to post threatening messages on Twitter and Facebook.

If we don't take these measures pretty quickly, the war of terror and ISIS will continue for years to come.  As in the medieval Crusades, it could last hundreds of years.

Let's remember the past and take measures in the present to rid the world of the insidious ISIS poison.

Copyright 2015  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Trump - definitely a concern

Japanese interment camp during WWII in the U.S.

As time marches on and we get closer and closer to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump is flourishing as the Republican front runner in those states and across the nation.

What everyone said, that he was a flash in the pan, he has shown us he is not, and he has a following of Americans that like and support his candidacy.  

The Silent Majority are in Trump's hands right now.  And how many of the Silent Majority are out there?   We don't know because some are remaining Silent.

Trump trumps himself with more outrageous comments each day that paint a dark future for America based on fear, zealotry, racism, and bigotry.  His brush with fascism is truly frightening.

His latest promise, that under his presidency all Muslims, with no exceptions, would be barred from  from entering the U.S.,and he included even those Muslim American citizens traveling outside the country will be barred as well is beyond the pale.

He has walked back his statement by saying he wants to bar Muslims only temporarily (how long is 'temporary' and how will it be determined?) and not any that are citizens of the United States.   Until we find out "what is going on" there will be no admittance of Muslims. No safe haven here for refugees fleeing the ISIS caliphate.

He previously said he wants to round up all undocumented workers and send them back to their countries of origin.  Eleven million of them.  Where will they be housed until they are processed to leave?  Detention camps?  

International leaders have publicly denounced Trump and shake their heads in sadness that this is what is happening in the U.S.

Many news pundits are claiming Trump will not be be president let alone the Republican presidential candidate.  I am not so sure about that.  We all thought Trump would have crashed and burned by now, but he is flying high at the moment.  Each outlandish comment he makes causes more supporters to flock to his cause.

Pundits are also saying that Trump could never bar Muslims from the U.S. because it would be unconstitutional.  But, just look back to WWII after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and see what was done to contain Japanese-Americans legally and constitutionally.

Through Executive Order 9066, President Franklin Roosevelt declared all Japanese and Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were to be rounded up and sent to interment camps where they were to remain until the end of the war.

Relocation, evacuation, and evacuees were some of the euphemisms used at the time to explain to the rest of the country what was happening to them.

The truth is, through Roosevelt's executive order, approximately 110,000 Japanese and Japanese-American men, women and children were robbed of their rights, property, and due process of law in the name of "national security."  Japanese immigrants were denied American citizenship.

Do you really think Trump would not do the same to the Muslims?   In the name of national security, he could do the same as Roosevelt.  He certainly could ban them from the U.S. through an executive order as Roosevelt did.  

As French President Francois Holland has claimed, we are at war with ISIS.  Trump has said the same thing.

The Japanese were 'relocated' to barbed wire compounds and hastily constructed prison barracks throughout the nation.

If it could happen then, it could happen now.

So deep was the persecution and prejudice against the Japanese and Japanese-Americans that newspaper columnist Henry McLemore said,  

          "I am for the immediate removal of every Japanese on the West Coast to 
          deep in the interior . . . Herd 'em up, pack 'em off, and give 'em the inside
          room in the badlands . . . Personally, I hate the Japanese.  And that goes
          for all of them."

Fortunately, I have not heard any news people express those sentiments about Muslims so far and I don't think they will.  But, I have heard some Americans voice those sentiments about Muslims.   Americans are nervous and frightened right now and so they blame a whole people rather than just the few who are radicalized.  Some have even issued death threats to mosques and Muslim leaders throughout America.

There was so much fear of the Japanese in America that entire libraries of Japanese literature were destroyed to erase the Japanese community's literary history.  Remind you of the book burning of Jewish books and literature during the Nazi days of Germany?

All of this through Roosevelt's executive orders.  Is this really the type of nation we want to become today?   Trump would do this in heartbeat.

The Japanese and Japanese-Americans, however, kept their literature alive as poetry clubs flourished in the interment camps.  Somehow they found a way not to let their dignity and humanity die along with their American rights.

Two examples of haiku, from the camp poetry clubs, that were written during Japanese interment:

                                               Autumn foliage
                                               California has now become
                                               a far country.

                                               ~ Yajin Nakao

                                               Frosty night
                                               listening to rumbling train
                                               we have come a long way.

                                               ~ Senbinski Takaoka

Do we really want to return to these dark days in American history?  By supporting and voting for Donald Trump, who plays on American's fears, those days may nearer in our future that we think.

Copyright  2015  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Trump's ban on Muslims - there is precedent

Jewish on the USS St Louis trying to emigrate from Germany in 1939.   No one would take them in.
So much has been said about and Donald Trump has been reviled because of his statements made about banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., with no exceptions, in the face of the San Bernardino murders and shootings by radicalized Islamists.  The Republican field of presidential candidates, thankfully, have denounced Trump and his ban.  Many others throughout the nation have denounced him also.

What is so dangerous and eerie about what is happening today is it rings true about another time in our history when fear gripped our nation.

I have heard many pundits on the news programs claim that there is absolutely no precedent to Trump's proposed ban of Muslims here in the U.S.

But, sadly, there are precedents to what he wants to do about the Muslims in America and Muslims and others trying to come to America.

We have to go all the way back to 1939, but precedent does exist.

On May 13, 1939 the ship, the USS St. Louis, left northern Germany filled with nine hundred Jewish people who were fleeing Germany because of Hitler's persecution against the them.  They were the last Jewish people to leave Germany before Hitler closed Germany's borders.

They hoped to reach Cuba and from there travel to the U.S.  When they arrived at Havana, Cuba they were turned away and denied entrance and forced to return to Europe.  The captain then steered the St. Louis towards the Florida coast.  They were refugees and asked for safe haven and entrance into the U.S.  Despite, several direct appeals to President Franklin Roosevelt, U.S. authorities refused them the right to dock at U.S. ports and enter the country.

 Roosevelt's reasoning for keeping them out was he was too worried about the potential flood of immigrants.  Sound familiar?   We have Syrian refugees and middle easterners today seeking entrance and safe haven in the U.S..

So, the USS St. Louis was forced to return to Germany.  More than 250 of the Jewish on the St. Louis were killed by Germany's Nazis.  This would not have happened had the U.S. taken them in.

Is this what we want the U.S., a country founded on freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to deny Muslims entrance to the U.S. based on their religious affiliation and their countries of origin?  Do we really want to go all the way back to 1939 and repeat what President  Franklin did?  Aren't we better than that today? 

Memoir by Monica Itoi Sone

Another shameful precedent is what President Roosevelt did through executive order to the Japanese and Japanese-Americans living on the west coast of the U.S. after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

This is painfully revealed by Monica Itoi Sone's memoir, Nisei Daughter, that tells the story of her life growing up Japanese-American in the U.S. before and during WWII.

Monica was born on American soil to Japanese immigrant parents, called Issei in Japanese. Monica was known as Nisei or second generation Japanese-American citizen in Japanese. 
During the tim1e leading up to WWII and long after there were strict laws preventing Issei from becoming American citizens.  This happened even though their children born on American soil were American citizens and even though their sons fought in the U.S. Army against Japan.

Such discrimination is what we are talking about today and which Donald Trump is proposing. 

Sone's memoir goes on to tell how it was difficult for her, as a Nisei, to fully assimilate into the American mainstream because of widespread fear and prejudice toward the Japanese during the first half of the 20th century.

It foreshadows what the Muslim immigrants are going through today in the U.S.  With Americans so nervous and frightened about Islamic terrorist attacks, there is widespread fear and prejudice toward Muslims especially those who practice Islam.  Trump says it's okay to profile them.  He encourages, and so does the U.S. government to a degree, for Americans to report on Muslims if they have any suspicions of radicalization.  Again, so similar to WWII and what Hitler encouraged Germans to do against the Jewish population.  Hitler's Youth program even encouraged children to report on their parents.

As WWII aproached, Sone, in her memoir, tells of the harsh persecution Japanese and Japanese-Americans faced who lived on the West Coast.  Sone was a Nisei living in Seattle, Washington when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.  The memoir records the loss of her rights as an American citizen as her family was forced to relocate to an interment camp in Idaho.

While teaching in Canton, Ohio, I had the privilege of meeting Monica Sone in person.  We read her memoir, Nisei Daughter, in our 8th grade Language Arts classes.  She came to speak to students and teachers about her experiences and writing her memoir.  

Monica Itoi Sone
Sone is a lovey, soft spoken woman who, amazingly, is not bitter about her experiences of dealing with prejudice and persecution against her and her family and their eventual relocation to an interment camp.  She has focused on her family's resiliency in a time of adversity and their willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of the country (U.S.) they love.

When she spoke to us it was in hope to educate, especially the students, so that what she experienced would never happen again in the U.S. or anywhere for that matter.  It was to show students how to deal with adversity of the most horrid kind.

However, here we are just at the same crossroads we were at more than fifty years ago.  Will we react the same way as we did in the 20th century or have are we become more enlightened now that we are in the 21st century?

Remember, those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.

Monday, December 7, 2015

"We will overcome it." President Obama 12/6/15

President Obama speaking to the nation about ISIS. (12/6/15)
Source:  www.

I was not particularly inspired by Obama's speech last night.  I was hoping for tougher talk and tougher measures taken to vanquish ISIS.  What I heard was more of the same and talk of staying the course.  

President Obama reiterated the strategy we have been using in the U.S. against ISIS: airstrikes, special forces, and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country.  He believes this "will gain a more sustainable victory."

In the meantime that does not help with the nervousness Americans feel after the San Bernardino shootings and murders.  Despite the strategy we are using against ISIS, it is clear that extremist Islamic terrorist attacks are happening in the U.S. now.  It is clear that so far this strategy is not working.  

How do we know San Bernardino will not happen again?  We don't. How do we know more Americans will not be murdered while Obama plays his long game in the middle east?  We don't.

I hope his strategy works, but I have my doubts.  ISIS seems to be three steps ahead of the western nations and we all seem to be behind the eight ball.

There is so much confusion and chaos in Iraq and Syria that millions of its citizens are leaving as refugees rather than stay and fight ISIS.  They are frightened of retaliation from ISIS if they do fight and I can't say I blame them.   

He spoke of establishing a time line to pursue a cease-fire and a political resolution to the Syrian war.  Apparently Secretary of State John Kerry is setting this up in the middle east in hopes of getting those countries on our side to fight.  Good luck with that.

Obama wants the Muslim communities world wide to root out hate in Muslim communities and said Muslims must address this globally. I don't think enough of that has been happening.  Good luck with that.  

Saudi Arabia, supposedly our ally in the middle east, practices a branch of Sunni Islam called Wahhabism.  It began as a reform movement and is very strict and ultraconservative. Saudi Arabian women have little rights and cannot drive cars or go anywhere without a male escort. Our ally is not exactly the best example of the Islamic religion.

He also wants stronger screening of those who come to America without visas.  He wants national security to take a hard look at whether they have traveled to war zones.  What will he do with those he finds who have?

Can we create educational programs and job creation for Muslim adolescents and young people.  Can we do this before young Muslims become radicalized?   We need to offer them more than what they will find with ISIS.  We must find programs that will empower them instead of ignoring them.

Can we oversee social media and counter ISIS' recruiting by having recruiting of our own? Again, something more to offer these young people than a death cult and suicide bombings?  We must take concrete steps in this area.

There were some good points to his speech and those I do agree with.  We can't blame all Muslims for what ISIS is doing.  I agree that we must remember to treat all with human dignity as we are all equal in God's eyes.

Obama said we cannot abandon our values as an American nation and give into fear.  I agree with that.  Americans of every faith must reject discrimination and we cannot turn against one another.

He said he wants authorization from Congress to go after ISIS to show America's unity and resolve.  Good luck with that too.  

Congress does need to step up and do its part in this fight against ISIS as well.   But we are in a presidential campaign.  Will politicians do what is right, good, and safe for America or just be concerned with their own individual situations?  Good luck with that.

Again, Obama called on Congress to enact gun laws so that potential terrorists on FBI lists cannot purchase guns here in the U.S.  I would think so.

But, how do we stop the garden variety of terrorists like Malik and Farook who lived under the radar here in San Bernardino while all the time cunningly planning a terrorist attack.

If it can happen in San Bernardino it can happen anywhere.  That is why Americans are so nervous.

Copyright  2015  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Jihadist Snake

Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook

We now have two more faces to add to our growing list of radicalized Islamic terrorists. Two more who hated America and Americans.  Two more who murdered and died for what they believed was the 'right and only' religion for the world.

When will this stop?  As long as we continue what we are doing it will not stop.

The San Bernardino Shootings

Malik and Farook by all means, at first glance, were a normal American couple with a six month old child.  They worked hard, were good parents, were good neighbors and seemed to fit in well with their San Bernardino neighbors.  In fact, neighbors say they were just like the rest of those in the neighborhood.

There is no evidence the couple were members of a militant group or a radicalized Islamic group.  Malik, however, had destroyed the hard drive of her computer before the attacks. ISIS has not taken credit for this attack, but has applauded it.

We now know them to be radicalized Islamic terrorists after a search of their home.  A home where Farook's mother lived with them and their child.  A search of the home found 4,500 bullets and twelve pipe bombs and more equipment to build more bombs.  They did this surreptitiously, apparently under the nose of the mother.  How the mother did not know about all this is difficult to believe.

FBI investigators have concluded that both of them had planned this attack for a while because of the arsenal they found in the home.

The family has said they are as shocked as the rest of us and the bother-in-law of Farook said the family had no knowledge of them being so violent and wanting to kill.  He said he was in as much shock over this as the rest of the nation.  He described Malik was a "caring and soft spoken" woman.

The brother-in-law of Syed Farook.

So, what went wrong?  Malik and Farook seemed to be living the American dream.  Was there really animosity at work or did Farook set up an incident to give a cursory reason for the bloody attack?  Why bring a child into the world if terrorism was their goal or was the child just a prop to make them look like the normal San Bernardino couple?

The people carrying out these terrorist attacks are intelligent, cunning and sophisticated people. They know how to travel, how to appear normal, how to enter the country and how to stay under the radar so they are not suspected before making their attacks. 

So how do we stop these types of terrorists and other terrorists under the command of ISIS?

No amount of background checks are going to stop them all as is the case here. When Malik and Farook came into this country, background checks were made but there were no red flags so they were admitted.

We have to stop ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  Until we make the fight there and vanquish them there, until we cut off the head of the snake, the rest of the world will be bedeviled by ISIS, Al Queda and other terrorist organizations with no respite.  Until we cut off the head of the snake it will continue to produce and produce more and more terrorists.

We need a world-wide coalition of armies and NATO to stop ISIS in its tracks.  No one wants war, but that is why the western world has armies - to protect us in times of attack. We are being attacked by guerrilla warfare, but we are still under attack.   


And, our armies stand by.  We send 'advisers and trainers' to the armies in Syria and Iraq but it is certainly not enough. The Syrian rebels and Iraqi army are not able to stop ISIS or they would already have done so.   If the western world does not do more than air strikes and bombs, the terrorists will NOT stop.  They will not stop until WE stop them.

In the meantime we have fourteen more Americans dead and twenty-one more Americans wounded.

It is just as important to keep Americans safe from terrorist guerrilla warfare as it was to keep America safe during WWII.  We were attacked then; we are being attacked now. There were less American casualties after the bombing of Pearl Harbor than there were after the bombing of the Twin Towers.

The western world is forever catching up to ISIS rather than being in the lead and beheading the snake once and for all.

Copyright 2015  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved

Saturday, December 5, 2015

"Just Another Day in the U.S." - BBC - San Bernardino


"Just another day in the U.S." - the BBC's headline in the UK to report the mass killings and shootings in San Bernardino, CA on December 2.  Is not anyone else embarrassed by this headline?  I am.

Yes, just another mass killing here in the land of the free and the brave.  We are becoming numb and desensitized to this news in which three to four mass killing attacks have happened in the U.S. in roughly a two week period.

There are so many mass killings happening that the news organizations can't keep up covering them all.

Where is the justice for the victims of mass shootings in the U.S.? 

Where is the justice for the families who are forever changed by the loss of their loved ones?

Why are we letting those who are killed in mass shootings die in vain?

Have we become so callous that we have allowed the NRA to dictate our gun access and types of guns sold in this country?

As we continue to send "our thought and prayers" to the families who have lost loved ones, do we as a nation do any thing to stop the sale of more assault weapons in the U.S.?

Our access to guns in this country is ridiculous.  As the two, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were able to legally purchase two assault weapons, two semi-automatic pistols, and all the ammunition they could get their hands on with no problem.

Yes, we have the right to bear arms in this country and so the U.S. has become a gun culture (and through that a culture of violence and death)    Not only can anyone in the U.S. have a right to a gun, but they can own multiple guns and multiple types of guns. This is outrageous!

It is estimated that Americans throughout our country own approximately a total of 300 million guns.  That's on average five guns per person in the U.S.   So, those of us that don't own guns leaves those that do own guns with many more than five guns on average. Why on earth would a single person need five guns or more?  That is why it makes it so easy for someone who wants to commit a mass murder to do so. 

We don't have serious background checks for those purchasing guns and those not able to purchase guns (convicted felons) can easily purchase them on the black market from criminal gangs and/or groups.  And those that sell guns privately do not have to do background checks at all.

The NRA (National Rifle Association) has a strangle hold on our country and on our congressmen and women.  How did they get so much power that on the day after these San Bernardino mass killings every Republican except for Senator Mark Kirk (Ill) voted against legislation to prevent people on the FBI's consolidated terrorist watch list from purchasing guns or explosives?

The Government Accountability Office, since 2007, has documented that over the years of congressional blockage of any gun control, hundreds of suspected terrorists on the watch list bought guns.  

Potential terrorists in this country, who the FBI are watching, can legally buy guns in the U.S?  Are we nuts or what?  

Are we so scared of the NRA that we would allow potential terrorists access to guns while in this country?  Then, we deserve any terrorist attack we get.

Then, we deserve what happened in San Bernardino.  Granted, Farook and Malik were not being watched by the FBI or on any potential terrorist lists, but they were legally able to buy two assault rifles and two semi-automatic pistols.  

This is why we need gun control laws. Why does anyone in this country have the right to an assault weapon? They are being used to assault us.  Why are those on the FBI terrorist control lists in the U.S. able to purchase assault weapons?  This is insane.

This is not possible in other countries, especially in Europe.  The terrorists who attacked Paris obtained their guns illegally.  France does not hand out guns to potential terrorists. Access to buy guns in European countries is not easy.  They have rigorous background checks and Europeans are not permitted to buy automatic guns of any type.

But, in the U.S., anyone is permitted to buy any type of gun.  And, we are killing ourselves with them.

Why have our police become militarized?  Because we have assault weapons on the street, and they have to be able to protect themselves and the rest of us.  Look at the firefight the police had with these two mass killers.  Do you think they would be dead today if the police had not been militarized and able to fight back?


It doesn't really matter whether the San Bernardino killings are seen as domestic mass killings or, as we now have learned, as Islamic terrorist killings which are part of a Federal terrorism investigation;  the fact is, Farook and Malik were able to buy the assault and semi-automatic guns legally right here in the U.S.  

What is frightening is that anyone with a grudge or anyone who is a follower of radicalized Islam who wants to kill in the name of Allah can get hold of not just one assault weapon but as many as they can buy.  When is anyone or any organization or any political party going to have the guts to tell the NRA, ENOUGH!!!

When are we going to have the guts to pass some responsible gun laws in this country?

Copyright  2015  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved