Oct 202017
 

White House Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, and Gold Star Father, appeared at the White House briefing room podium on Thursday, October 19, 2017 to give an emotional speech on what used to be sacred in America – a fallen soldier and our government’s and president’s call to a grieving widow, parent and next-of-kin, while defending President Donald J. Trump’s phone call to the widow of a fallen soldier, in response to politically motivated criticism from Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), while American troops are facing increasing aggression out in the battlefield, as the War on Terrorism expands into Africa. 

White House Chief of Staff General Kelly’s statements at the White House press briefing room podium Thursday were very respectful and very sympathetic to the fallen soldiers, and along with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, “that was what President Trump intended and said during his personal calls to fallen soldiers’ next-of-kin.”

Ms. Sanders, when asked later to respond further said, “It’s appalling the congresswoman continues to make the death of an American hero about herself instead of honoring the fallen who selflessly gave their lives for all of us,” Ms. Sanders said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The White House press secretary, added that General Kelly “absolutely” stands by his Thursday remarks.

In an interview on Friday morning, October 20, 2017 with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, President Trump said he found Florida Congresswoman Wilson’s criticism of General Kelly “sickening.” The president called his chief of staff “a very elegant man,” and added that General Kelly “is a tough, strong four-star Marine.”

General Kelly, President Trump said, was offended that Florida Congresswoman Wilson publicized what the president said was a “very nice” call to the widow of a soldier killed in action in Niger.

In response to the four fallen U.S. soldiers, who were killed during an ambush in Niger on October 4, 2017 (shown above, Clockwise from top left, Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Sergeant La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29), President Trump “called four people the other day to express his condolences in the best way that he could,” Kelly said. “And President Trump said to me, ‘What do I say?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, there is nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.'”

Kelly continued, recalling what he was told by General Joseph Dunford, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after his own son died in battle defending our country. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly spoke further adding that he was “stunned” and “broken-hearted” by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s role in conveying the details of the call to the media, CNN reports.

“In his way,” Kelly said of Trump, he “tried to express that opinion — that (Johnson) is a brave man, a fallen hero. He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist, he enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.”

On Friday, October 20, 2017, “Natasha De Alencar, the widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, released video of her conversation with President Trump.” Source: CNN, “Gold Star widow’s full phone call with Trump

Below are the video and complete transcription of White House Chief of Staff General Kelly’s remarks in the White House briefing room on Thursday, as prepared by the White House.

__________

 

JOHN F. KELLY, White House chief of staff: “Well, thanks a lot. And it is a more serious note, so I just wanted to perhaps make more of a statement than an — give more of an explanation in what amounts to be a traditional press interaction.

Most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose one of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, our Coast Guardsmen in combat. So let me tell you what happens:

Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud, puts them on a helicopter as a routine, and sends them home. Their first stop along the way is when they’re packed in ice, typically at the airhead. And then they’re flown to, usually, Europe where they’re then packed in ice again and flown to Dover Air Force Base, where Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the medals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service, and then puts them on another airplane linked up with a casualty officer escort that takes them home.

A very, very good movie to watch, if you haven’t ever seen it, is “Taking Chance,” where this is done in a movie — HBO setting. Chance Phelps was killed under my command right next to me, and it’s worth seeing that if you’ve never seen it.

So that’s the process. While that’s happening, a casualty officer typically goes to the home very early in the morning and waits for the first lights to come on. And then he knocks on the door; typically a mom and dad will answer, a wife. And if there is a wife, this is happening in two different places; if the parents are divorced, three different places. And the casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member and stays with that family until — well, for a long, long time, even after the internment. So that’s what happens.

Who are these young men and women? They are the best 1 percent this country produces. Most of you, as Americans, don’t know them. Many of you don’t know anyone who knows any one of them. But they are the very best this country produces, and they volunteer to protect our country when there’s nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest that selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate, but required. But that’s all right.

Who writes letters to the families? Typically, the company commander — in my case, as a Marine — the company commander, battalion commander, regimental commander, division commander, Secretary of Defense, typically the service chief, commandant of the Marine Corps, and the President typically writes a letter.

Typically, the only phone calls a family receives are the most important phone calls they could imagine, and that is from their buddies. In my case, hours after my son was killed, his friends were calling us from Afghanistan, telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phone calls that really mattered.

And yeah, the letters count, to a degree, but there’s not much that really can take the edge off what a family member is going through.

So some Presidents have elected to call. All Presidents, I believe, have elected to send letters. If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine. There’s no perfect way to make that phone call.

When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it, because it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to. It’s nice to do, in my opinion, in any event.

He asked me about previous Presidents, and I said, I can tell you that President Obama, who was my Commander-in-Chief when I was on active duty, did not call my family. That was not a criticism. That was just to simply say, I don’t believe President Obama called. That’s not a negative thing. I don’t believe President Bush called in all cases. I don’t believe any President, particularly when the casualty rates are very, very high — that Presidents call. But I believe they all write.

So when I gave that explanation to our President three days ago, he elected to make phone calls in the cases of four young men, who we lost in Niger at the earlier part of this month. But then he said, how do you make these calls? If you’re not in the family, if you’ve never worn the uniform, if you’ve never been in combat, you can’t even imagine how to make that call. I think he very bravely does make those calls.

The call in question that he made yesterday — or day before yesterday now — were to four family members, the four fallen. And remember, there’s a next-of-kin designated by the individual. If he’s married, that’s typically the spouse. If he’s not married, that’s typically the parents unless the parents are divorced, and then he selects one of them. If he didn’t get along with his parents, he’ll select a sibling. But the point is, the phone call is made to the next-of-kin only if the next-of-kin agrees to take the phone call. Sometimes they don’t.

So a pre-call is made: The President of the United States or the commandant of the Marine Corps, or someone would like to call, will you accept the call? And typically, they all accept the call.

So he called four people the other day and expressed his condolences in the best way that he could. And he said to me, what do I say? I said to him, sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families.

Shown above are the four fallen U.S. soldiers, who were killed during an ambush in Niger on October 4, 2017 (from left to right) Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Sergeant La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29).

Well, let me tell you what I told him. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me — because he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died, in the four cases we’re talking about, Niger, and my son’s case in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth: his friends.

That’s what the President tried to say to four families the other day. I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the President of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion — that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero, he knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist; he enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.

That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.

Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.

And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying, and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this Earth. And you can always find them because they’re in Arlington National Cemetery. I went over there for an hour-and-a-half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.

I’ll end with this: In October — April, rather, of 2015, I was still on active duty, and I went to the dedication of the new FBI field office in Miami. And it was dedicated to two men who were killed in a firefight in Miami against drug traffickers in 1986 — a guy by the name of Grogan and Duke. Grogan almost retired, 53 years old; Duke, I think less than a year on the job. (Editor’s note: The F.B.I. agent for which the building is named was named Jerry L. Dove, not Duke.)

Anyways, they got in a gunfight and they were killed. Three other FBI agents were there, were wounded, and now retired. So we go down — Jim Comey gave an absolutely brilliant memorial speech to those fallen men and to all of the men and women of the FBI who serve our country so well, and law enforcement so well.

There were family members there. Some of the children that were there were three or four years old when their dads were killed on that street in Miami-Dade. Three of the men that survived the fight were there, and gave a rendition of how brave those men were and how they gave their lives.

And a congresswoman stood up, and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents, because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call he gave the money — the $20 million — to build the building. And, she sat down, and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.

But, you know, none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, O.K., fine.

So, I still hope, as you write your stories, and I appeal to America, that let’s not let this maybe last thing that’s held sacred in our society — a young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country — let’s try to somehow keep that sacred. But, it eroded a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress.

So I’m willing to take a question or two on this topic. Let me ask you this: Is anyone here a Gold Star parent or sibling? Does anyone here know a Gold Star parent or sibling?

O.K., you get the question.

Q Well, thank you, General Kelly. First of all, we have a great deal of respect — Semper Fi — for everything that you’ve ever done. But if we could take this a bit further. Why were they in Niger? We were told they weren’t in armored vehicles and there was no air cover. So what are the specifics about this particular incident? And why were we there? And why are we there?

GENERAL KELLY: Well, I would start by saying there is an investigation. Let me back up and say, the fact of the matter is, young men and women that wear our uniform are deployed around the world and there are tens of thousands, near the DMZ in North Korea [sic], in Okinawa, waiting to go — in South Korea — in Okinawa, ready to go. All over the United States, training, ready to go. They’re all over Latin America. Down there, they do mostly drug and addiction, working with our partners — our great partners — the Colombians, the Central Americans, the Mexicans.

You know, there’s thousands. My own son, right now, back in the fight for his fifth tour against ISIS. There’s thousands of them in Europe acting as a deterrent. And they’re throughout Africa. And they’re doing the nation’s work there, and not making a lot of money, by the way, doing it. They love what they do.

So why were they there? They’re there working with partners, local — all across Africa — in this case, Niger — working with partners, teaching them how to be better soldiers; teaching them how to respect human rights; teaching them how to fight ISIS so that we don’t have to send our soldiers and Marines there in their thousands. That’s what they were doing there.

Now, there is an investigation. There’s always an — unless it’s a very, very conventional death in a conventional war, there’s always an investigation. Of course, that operation is conducted by AFRICOM that, of course, works directly for the Secretary of Defense.

There is a — and I talked to Jim Mattis this morning. I think he made statements this afternoon. There’s an investigation ongoing. An investigation doesn’t mean anything was wrong. An investigation doesn’t mean people’s heads are going to roll. The fact is they need to find out what happened and why it happened.

But at the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, you have to understand that these young people — sometimes old guys — put on the uniform, go to where we send them to protect our country. Sometimes they go in large numbers to invade Iraq and invade Afghanistan. Sometimes they’re working in small units, working with our partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, helping them be better.

But at the end of the day, they’re helping those partners be better at fighting ISIS in North Africa to protect our country so that we don’t have to send large numbers of troops.

Any other — someone who knows a Gold Star fallen person.

John?

Q General, thank you for being here today and thank you for your service and for your family’s sacrifice. There has been some talk about the timetable of the release of the statement about the — I think at that point it was three soldiers who were killed in Niger. Can you walk us through the timetable of the release of that information? And what part did the fact that a beacon was pinging during that time have to do with the release of the statement? And were you concerned that divulging information early might jeopardize the soldiers’ attempt to be (inaudible)?

GENERAL KELLY: First of all, that’s a — you know, we are at the highest level of the U.S. government. The people that will answer those questions will be the people at the other end of the military pyramid.

I’m sure the Special Forces group is conducting it. I know they’re conducting an investigation. That investigation, of course, under the auspices of AFRICOM, ultimately will go to the Pentagon. I’ve read the same stories you have. I actually know a lot more than I’m letting on, but I’m not going to tell you.

There is an investigation being done. But as I say, the men and women of our country that are serving all around the world — I mean, what the hell is my son doing back in the fight? He’s back in the fight because — working with Iraqi soldiers who are infinitely better than they were a few years ago to take ISIS on directly so that we don’t have to do it. Small numbers of Marines where he is working alongside those guys. That’s why they’re out there, whether it’s Niger, Iraq, or whatever. We don’t want to send tens of thousands of American soldiers and Marines, in particular, to go fight.

I’ll take one more, but it’s got to be from someone who knows — all right.

Q General, when you talk about Niger, sir, what does your intelligence tell you about the Russian connection with them? And the stories that are coming out now, they’re —

GENERAL KELLY: I have no knowledge of any Russian connection, but I was not, in my position, to know that. That’s a question for NORTHCOM or for — not NORTHCOM — for AFRICOM or DOD.

Thanks very much, everybody.

As I walk off the stage, understand there’s tens of thousands of American kids, mostly, doing their nation’s bidding all around the world. They don’t have to be in uniform. You know, when I was a kid, every man in my life was a veteran — World War II, Korea, and there was the draft. These young people today, they don’t do it for any other reason than their selfless — sense of selfless devotion to this great nation.

We don’t look down upon those of you who that haven’t served. In fact, in a way we’re a little bit sorry because you’ll have never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kinds of things our service men and women do — not for any other reason than they love this country. So just think of that.

And I do appreciate your time. Take care.”

__________

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Aug 212017
 
  
 
The US president’s approval ratings hit a new low as he is criticised by his fellow Republicans.
 
 
There has not been a dull moment in the White House since US President Donald Trump took office. In the past eight months there’s been a series of executive orders and a string of high profile departures. Yet the president insists there is “no chaos” in his administration.
 
But the polls tell a different story.
 
His approval ratings have plummeted and members of his own Republican party are questioning his capability as president, with some calling the White House a “sinking ship’.
 
Trump has become increasingly isolated in recent months, shunned by major business leaders and at odds with his party’s congressional leadership. And his comments after the violence in Charlottesville estranged him from more than half the nation.
 
Many are now beginning to wonder how long he will last as president.”
 
Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra
 
Guests:
 
Oliver McGee – Former White House Science Office Senior Policy Advisor, Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy
 
David A Love – Executive Editor of Black Commentator dot com.
 
Jeanne Zaino – Professor of political science and international studies at Iona College.
 
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Dec 232016
 

#Barcelona #Charlottesville #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice, #911 Terror Attacks Signal Rise in Use of Transportation Systems as Weapons of Mass Destruction

#BREAKING #BarcelonaAttack (August 17, 2017): A white van slammed into pedestrians on the famous promenade in the city center of Barcelona, Spain on Thursday, August 17, 2017. The transportation vehicle “plowed  through crowds on the renowned Las Ramblas avenue, a popular tourist section of Barcelona (shown above and below). Authorities said of the 80 people taken to hospitals, 15 were seriously hurt,” CNN reports. “The Barcelona attack was one of the most deadly in Spain, since more than 190 people were killed in a March 2004 attack against commuter trains … It was the latest in a series of attacks in Europe in which vehicles have been used to mow down pedestrians in public spaces. More than 100 people have died in similar attacks in Berlin, London and Nice.”

According to numerous reports breaking at the moment, “at least 13 people are reported dead and more than 100 are injured after a terrorist in a van ploughed into pedestrians in a famous street packed with tourists and locals in central Barcelona. Spanish media cited unnamed police sources who said at least 13 people were killed. Local officials confirmed at least 90 people were hurt, 10 seriously.”

“I want to also express my solidarity with all of Spain to the city of Barcelona, today hit by jihadi terrorism, like other cities have been in the world,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in offering his condolences to the Barcelona Attack victims’ families.

Daily Mirror (U.K.) reports: “The van zigzagged as it slammed into victims on tree-lined Las Ramblas promenade before the armed attacker ditched the vehicle and took hostages in a Turkish restaurant nearby.”

Police released a photograph of a man called Maghrebi Driss Oukabir, who is suspected of renting the van which was used to crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas.

#BREAKING (August 22, 2017): “Court official: Terror suspect reveals the Islamist cell wanted to strike Barcelona monuments, imam planned to self-immolate.” (AP)

The #BarcelonaAttack is the latest in a wave of transportation-related truck (lorry) and automobile pedestrian plowings in #Charlottesville (Virginia, United States), #Jerusalem (Israeli), #Berlin (Germany) and #Nice (France) in recent years (including 9-11 airplane attacks on the World Trade Center (New York), Pentagon (Washington DC) and Pennsylvania (adverting an intentional 9-11 attack on the White House)). 

This attack in Spain’s largest city on August 17, 2017 has caused panic on the streets of Barcelona, Spain. Remarkably, these attacks, which were foretold and warned by terrorists in their intended use of the international transportation system as weapons of mass destruction, has now drew widespread condemnation from world leaders.

“ISIS claims responsibility,” The Telegragh (U.K.) reports, as follows:

“Soldiers” of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carried out the deadly van attack, the jihadist organisation’s propaganda outlet Amaq said.

“The executors of the Barcelona attack were soldiers of the Islamic State,” Amaq said on its Telegram messenger account, without naming those it claimed were behind the attack.

Amaq said they had launched the attack in response to calls to target states taking part in the United States-led coalition battling the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said “the attack was “jihadist terrorism” which required a global response”

“Today the fight against terrorism is the principal priority for free and open societies like ours. It is a global threat and the response has to be global,” Rajoy told a news conference in Barcelona.

“ISIS which once controlled a self-declared “caliphate” across large parts of Iraq and Syria, has suffered major losses in recent months. Coalition-backed Iraqi forces recaptured its Iraqi stronghold Mosul in July.”

“The Costa Brava, Costa Blanca and Costa Del Sol have been highlighted as key threat areas with fears of a Tunisia-style atrocity being repeated in Spain.”

The Daily Star Online revealed back on July 11, 2015 “how UK tourists are being labeled as “high value” targets by ISIS extremists.”

Rising threats of domestic terrorism using our transport technology

“Europe, the United Kingdom, and Russia have witnessed terror attacks or attempted attacks every nine days in 2017 on average,” analysis of security incidents has revealed.

As the map below reveals (via Breitbart), attacks and attempted attacks have taken place in Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Turkey, India, Sweden, Norway, and Germany.

For instances, “Security services in Britain — population 65 million — believe there to be around 23,000 potential terror suspects or persons posing a threat,” as reported in Breitbart. “Meanwhile Belgium, with its population of just 12 million, is officially tracking around 18,000 potential jihadists, though this number has not been updated in some time. According to the British secret service MI6, there are in Germany about 7.000 terror suspects.”

#BREAKING #Charlottesville Attack (August 12, 2017): .@OliverMcGee #VIDEO LIVE #FoxHappeningNow 11:30a ET (8-16-17) .@POTUS .@realDonaldTrump #Charlottesville Attack remarks .@WhiteHouse

Remarkably, there is a “clear and present danger” of increasing use of our international transportation system as domestic weapons of mass destruction. #Barcelona,  #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice, #911 #TerrorAttacks Signal A Rise in the Use of Transportation Systems as Weapons of Mass Destruction!

Have you once again noticed (in a disturbing video of a horrific motorist plowing over people in a #Charlottesville protest) how the international transportation system is the common thread being threaded between the #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice and #911 terror attacks, first by Al-Qaeda, now morphed into #ISIS?

Witnesses at the horrible scenes in #Barcelona, #Jerusalem (and allegedly in an analogous manner in the #Charlottesville getaway “hit and run” incident) say the attacker(s) drove his truck (car) “back and forward” over the victims as they lay on the ground underneath the lorry (car).

Remarkably, air and surface transportation systems and vehicles are increasingly becoming employed as domestic weapons of mass destruction!

God help us, if such ongoing and continuing terrorism weaponry rehearsals using the international transportation system expand further into incorporating devastatingly catastrophic nuclear, biological and chemical (N.B.C.) warfare on domestic and international “soft targets.”

In Charlottesville the alleged American domestic terrorism suspect is now identified as James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man (shown in the photo below). He employed his automobile to mow down people in a public protest in #Charlottesville (shown in the photo(s) above after Fields was caught up to in a “hit and run” getaway in the panicked aftermath of people running for their lives), killing a 32-year old woman and injuring 19 others. Horrifically, Fields allegedly and theoretically used his automobile as a domestic weapon of mass destruction. 

TMZ reports, “He’s facing a second-degree murder charge, along with three counts of malicious wounding and one count of failing to stop at an accident that resulted in death … according to the superintendent of the Albemarle Regional Jail.”

In disturbing video of the crash … “the suspect Fields appears to deliberately drive his Dodge Challenger into a group of counter-protesters walking down the street, then floors it in reverse in an attempt to flee. He was captured shortly after … as a 32-year-old woman was killed in the incident.” Charlottesville police chief said “at least 35 people were injured during the Saturday, August 12, 2017 violence between white nationalist rallygoers and counter-protesters.”

On Sunday, January 8, 2017, another alleged act of terrorism involved a lorry (tracker-trailer truck) deliberately driven at high speed into soldiers pedestrians in an Israeli neighborhood of Armon Hannaiv outside of south Jerusalem, killing at least four victims – three young men in their twenties alongside one young woman also in her twenties – and injuring over fifteen people at the horrific crime scene.

Have you noticed I repeat how the international transportation system is the common thread being threaded between the #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice and #911 terror attacks, first by Al-Qaeda, now morphed into #ISIS?

Witnesses at the horrible scene in #Jersalem (shown above) say the attacker drove his truck “back and forward” over the victims as they lay on the ground underneath the lorry.

“It is a terrorist attack, a ramming attack,” a police spokeswoman said on Israel Radio, which reported that bodies were “strewn on the street.”

“A group of soldiers was standing with their bags near the bus. I had just let them off. The truck drove into the group of soldiers, ran over them and kept going. The soldiers shot at the driver. He reversed and ran over them again,” Moshe Aharon, the driver of the bus told Army Radio, the Times of Israel reports (via The Independent (U.K.)).

Police have said the truck driver was “neutralized” – when soldiers at the scene shot him dead.

Remarkably and horrifically, I must say again, air and surface transportation systems and vehicles are increasingly becoming employed as weapons of mass destruction! 

Remember also, when I described above on Aljazeera English, about another domestic transportation-related security breach on January 9, 2017 inside a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (United States) baggage claim area that was morphed into a “kill-zone,” as a gunman open fired upon commercial airline passengers gathering their baggage inside the Florida airport claim area!

Are we noticing a clear and dangerous pattern taking place all around us in the last 6-12 months? Do we see a noticeable safety and security breach happening on our lives? We need to be ever so visionary and vigilant about our scientific and technological security, our transportation security, our homeland security, and our international security now more than ever in our global history.

I must repeat, God help us, if such ongoing and continuing terrorism weaponry rehearsals using the international transportation system expand further into incorporating devastatingly catastrophic nuclear, biological and chemical (N.B.C.) warfare on domestic and international “soft targets.”

On January 8, 2017 as soldiers departed a nearby Israeli bus in Jerusalem, and on December 19, 2016 at a public Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, as well as, on July 14, 2016 at a public holiday gathering on #BastilleDay (French National Independence Day) in Nice, France, three multi-ton tractor-trailer surface transportation vehicles (instead of four multi-ton commercial passenger aircraft seized and hijacked in the “911 attacks”) were used as weapons of mass destruction on “soft-targets” in what the terrorists are now celebrating on social media as, once again, a double “#Nice attack” (given the recent #Barcelona, #Jerusalem and #Berlin attacks), which is horrendous.

On Friday, December 23, 2016, near Milan, Italy, Anis Amri, the Tunisian man (shown in the photos above), allegedly suspected of the multi-ton tractor-trailer truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany on Monday, December 19, 2016, killing 12 people and injuring 50 others, was killed in a police shootout at Sesto San Giovanni, near Milan, on Friday, Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said.

Anis Amri was identified by anti-terrorism Digos police by chance on the spot based on his “appearance and fingerprints,” anti-terrorism sources in Milan, Italy said.

As reported in Ansa English: The Berlin attack suspect, Anis Amri, “arrived in Italy from France, according to anti-terrorism Digos police. He went from Chambery to Turin (French Alps), and then, took a high-speed rail train arriving in a suburban station in Milan, Italy. Amri later went from Milan’s Stazione Centrale to Sesto San Giovanni. He immediately ran into two police officers by chance and was killed in a shootout, as the anti-terrorism Digos police officers attempted to conduct a routine stop-check, when suddenly Amri pulled out a .22 caliber gun and started shooting at the anti-terrorism Digos police officers, sources said. 

The Tunisian man, Anis Amri, was killed by a trainee police officer, Luca Scatà, 29, said sources at the horrific scene. The other policeman, Christian Movio, 36, was hospitalized in Monza, Italy, after being injured during the anti-terrorism Digos police shootout, confirmed those immediately at the Milan suburban train station.”

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been informed, adding that the anti-terrorism Digos police shooting incident in Milan, Italy on December 23, 2016 “showed that the Italian State was doing its bit to protect the public from terrorism.”

“The level of attention remains maximum, the threats should not be underestimated, but what happened overnight shows the citizens that Italy is present, the State is present,” Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said.

What are the science and technology policy grand-challenges?

International and domestic safety and security has now been integrally united with international transportation safety and security through trains, planes, trucks and automobiles being employed as weapons of mass destruction. 

Now more than ever, we desperately need to observe 24-7 our integrated, interdependent, intermodal, international transportation system in this grand-challenge age of integrated infrastructure and cyber-communications, incorporating smarter information technologies, sophisticated biotechnologies, miniaturized wireless devices, advanced microtechologies, nanotechnology of everything, and accessible elder technologies and mobility – moving people and things safely and securely in extreme circumstances and conditions of disaster and terrorism mitigation, controls and recovery.

Above all of this, we are perhaps even talking about a whole new way of looking at “black-boxes in the cloud,” tracking integrated autonomous planes, trains and automobiles, now working amongst our crowded international urban centers in the dawn of the 21st Century.

The United States National Academy of Engineering at the request of the United States National Science Foundation convened a diverse committee of science and technology experts (including visionary sessions involving over 50 subject-matter experts from around the world and receiving inputs across the general public) to proposed 14 grand challenges achievable and sustainable to help people and the planet thrive in the post-911 age of demography shift and heighten engagements. Since the NAE’s report’s release, these 14 grand challenges have inspired numerous events (including Global Grand Challenges in London, Beijing, and most recently in late July 2017, George Washington University in Washington, DC) and educational initiatives at all levels (such as the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program), which the public can learn more about at www.engineeringchallenges.org).

Of the 14 grand challenges of NAE, nine are the most relevant to mitigating circumstances of transportation-related attacks on European, Russian, and American cities and associated man-made disaster recovery: 

#5 Provide access to clean water;

#6 Restore and improve urban infrastructure;

#7 Advance health informatics;

#8 Engineer better medicines;

#9 Reverse-engineer the brain (to better understand the psychology of extreme threats on the social fabric);

#10 Prevent nuclear terror (including smaller delivery mechanism of nuclear, biological and chemical (N.B.C.) warfare devices as weapons of mass destruction);

#11 Secure cyberspace;

#12 Enhance virtual reality (for simulations of extreme urban center threats and man-made disaster recovery);

#13 Advance personalized learning (for raising the public’ understanding of science and technology and its tools for people to use when we see something, so we can know best how to say something, or so we can know better how to do something).

Are our geopolitical leaders being blind-sided?

Remarkably, United States, French, German, and NATO intelligence briefs were blindsided by the December 19, 2016 premeditated Lorry attack in #Berlin, by the July 14, 2016 premeditated Lorry attack in #Nice, and by the recent Sunday, January 8, 2017 horrific Lorry attack on soldiers in #Jerusalem, altogether designed as transportation-related weapons of mass destruction to maximized casualties. There were no prior immediate indicators, warnings or online patterns for international intelligence to intervene, counsel and advise local public safety and security authorities on the vulnerabilities of such #Nice and/or #Berlin and #Barcelona “soft-targets.”

Many of us personally feel it is so important that free people internationally are aware of what is already upon us now, and that was remarkably right in front of our face back in October 2010 (seven years ago and nine years after the 911 attacks on the United States). 

Ironically, the Nice, France, Berlin, Germany and Barcelona, Spain attacks were remarkably spelled out online back in October 2010 inside a chilling terrorist communication provided here in the Appendix C via “The Week,” in an individual radicalism of indefensible “lone-wolf” terrorism (aka, Harvard’s Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” actualization of online social media gorilla warfare).

Detailed in the Appendix C are terrorist’s specifics of potential transportation-related terrorism attacks that can disrupt public safety and security internationally and domestically.

Akin to “Run, Hide, Fight” active-shooter online educational tools of public safety and security, this revealing piece in the Appendix serves as an analogous terrorism online educational tool of public safety and security message of “If we know it, we can see it, and then, we can report it and beat it.”

And, “if we see something, then we need to say something” or “if we see something, then we need to do something.”

What was once called “neighborhood watches” now must be called “city watches” and “boarder watches” in the post-911 age of demography shift and heightened engagement amongst terrorists across Europe, Russia, Turkey and America.

What’s going on with Transportation and Threats of Terrorism?

As the French, Germans, Spainards and Americans are left reeling, yet again, by the needless loss of human life, while people are freely participating in holiday celebrations or even protests assemblages (as in Charlottesville, Virginia), the most compelling question and geopolitical issue raised nowadays is what’s going wrong with international intelligence on transportation-related terrorism and international border security across the western world.

“Europe’s open borders are putting Britain’s security at risk, former police chiefs have warned after it emerged that the terrorist behind the Berlin Christmas market attack travelled unhindered through three countries before being killed in Italy,” reports The Telegragh (UK) on December 24, 2016.

Photo Credit: The Sun (UK):“The Berlin truck killer is said to have travelled unchallenged on Europe’s (high-speed) rail network for 72 hours despite his picture being flashed to national police forces and a European Arrest Warrant being issued.”

The Telegragh (UK) adds: “Anis Amri, the most wanted man in Europe, travelled from Berlin to the French Alps and then onto Italy without being stopped at any point on his 1,000 mile journey.”

“Police believe that in the wake of the terror attack Amri travelled from Germany to Chambery in the French Alps (Turin) before taking a high-speed train to Milan.”

Photo Credit: The Sun (UK)

Seismic Geo-political Fallouts in 2016 were shaken by domestic immigration and international border controls 

Nonetheless, the upset #Brexit vote on Thursday, June 23, 2016, and the upset United States election fallout on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, clearly said “enough is enough.” 

An autumn American Election 2016 win for President Donald Trump, rests squarely on the issue of domestic immigration and international broader controls, following a summer shocker victory for #Brexit, stunned the public and the pollsters after most predicted these seismic geo-political forces dead wrong, as Arthur Schlesinger “Cycles of American History” took ahold of geo-political events.

Indeed, these geo-political upsets and fallouts caught U.K. and U.S. officials wrong-footed on public concerns about immigration policies, as well as, international economic and trade policies, ironically as international transportation-related terrorism incidents heat up and death tolls rise.

As these transportation-related terror attacks proceed, ongoing and continuing, future U.S. and International Transport Secretaries and Ministers and future U.S. and International Science and Technology Policy Makers and Ministers will be integrally united to future U.S. and International Security Advisers and future U.S. and International Homeland Security Secretaries and Ministers in ongoing terrorism policy mitigation and abatement along with future man-made disaster recovery.

Appendix A

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Statement on #Berlin Christmas Terror Attack

German chancellor, Angela Markel, under increasing pressure of ‘exposing Germany to the risk of terrorism’ with her ‘too liberal’ approach to accepting refugees, delivered a statement at a Berlin press conference in which she said it would be “difficult for us to learn” that the attacker was a refugee welcomed into the country, following reports the Berlin attacker suspect came to Germany from Afghanistan nearly a year ago.

The German chancellor said on Tuesday, December 20, 2016:

“Twelve people that were amongst us yesterday, who were looking forward to Christmas and had plans for the festive season are no longer amongst us.

It is a terrible deed which one cannot understand. It took their lives. Many people are injured, are fighting for their lives and fighting for their health.

We don’t have any thing for certain but we must assume it was a terrorist attack. It would be very difficult for us to learn that a human being committed this deed who came to Germany to ask for refuge and asylum.

It would be terrible for all of the Germans who are very active, day by day in helping asylum seekers and refugees. It would be repugnant for them, for those that are helping people that have come to this country and asking for our help.”

Appendix B

Transportation-related Causation Linkage Between #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin, #Nice and 911 Terror Attacks.

We all are so stunned and sorrowful for the 13 lives lost and more than 50 people injured in Barcelona, Spain on August 17, 2017, as well as, the 12 lives lost and 50 people injured in Berlin, Germany on December 19, 2016 by a multi-ton tractor-trailer truck purposely plowed into a crowded Christmas market, as described above.

This traumatic transportation-related event comes upon us 6-12 months after 84 lives lost and the dozens of injuries in Nice, France on July 14, 2016. 

Shockingly thereat, like in Berlin, Germany on December 19, 2016, a multi-ton tractor-trailer truck pulling up slowly, suddenly slammed at an accelerated high-speed into a very large crowd of panicking people. Hundreds of people were suddenly caught off-guard and shocked by this transportation-related terror attack, while celebrating #BastilleDay (France’s National Independence Day), and watching spectacular fireworks at #Nice, the fifth most populated city in southeastern France on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea at Promenade des Angelais and French Riviera.

At about 10:40 pm (Nice, France local time), a 31-year-old man, acting as a crazed “lone-wolf” truck driver (who was a Nice, French native of Tunisian ethnicity, known to local police for petty theft and mildly violent crimes but not terrorism), deliberately shot people, as the armed “lone wolf” driver zig-zagged a rented multi-ton tractor-trailer (alledgedly carrying toy guns and inactivated grenades) as a weapon of mass destruction through thousands of people for nearly 2 kilometers (about a mile).

Photo Credit: Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, (via, The Telegragh (U.K.), MatrixPictures.co.uk)

NBC News confirmed the #Nice attacker has been identified by Nice’s mayoral office as Mohamed Lagouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian-born French man. He rented the large tractor trailer a week ago to perform his premeditated act of sheer terror on France’s 14th of July.

Mohamed Lagouaiej Bouhlel, the perpetrator of France’s 14th of July rampage, reportedly was not on any terrorist watch list, as French terrorism investigators continue to establish his motives.

However, most traumatizing transportation-related terror attack in United States history resulted in 2,996 (2,977 victims, 19 hijackers) lives lost and over 6,000 people injured on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 between 8:46 a.m. – 10:28 a.m. ET inside the World Trade Center in New York City (as American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 was deliberately crashed into the upper 30 floors of both 110-story twin-skyscraper towers). Moments later, the Pentagon in (Arlington County) Washington, DC was simultaneously destroyed, killing and injuring hundreds of people, as American Airlines Flight 77 was purposely crashed into the United States military complex. Remarkably at the same time, all lives were lost aboard United Airlines Flight 93 as it was heroically crash in (Stony-brook Township) near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as brave passengers aboard thwarted terrorists attempts to crash the large commercial passenger airliner, as a weapon of mass destruction, into the White House or the United States Capitol. 

For the first time in history, this was a series of four air transportation-related coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaeda, on the United States, employing the national airspace and air transportation security systems on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

“At 9:42 am, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all civilian aircraft within the continental U.S., and civilian aircraft already in flight were told to land immediately. All international civilian aircraft were either turned back or redirected to airports in Canada or Mexico, and were banned from landing on United States territory for three days,” accounts Wikipedia.

Immediately afterwards, the United States Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence, were the federal government’s organizational response to the transportation-related 911-attacks on the United States.

Appendix C
 

We have been warned of the #Barcelona, #Charlottesville, #Jerusalem, #Berlin and #Nice Lorry Weapons of Mass Destruction Terror Attacks back in October 2010.

 
CAUTION: The following exerpt language is a blunt education and a steadfast warning and heightened safety and security awareness of what we all across the western world are now facing once again in Barcelona, Spain, in Charlottesville, Virgina USA, in Jerusalem, Israel, in Berlin, Germany and in Nice, France. Our collective sorrows and prayers worldwide goes out to the families, friends and loved ones of the hundreds of victims of the #Barcelona market attack on August 17, 2017,  the #Berlin Christmas market attack on December 19, 2016, the #Nice #BastilleDay attack on July 14, 2016, and the #Jerusalem attack on Sunday, January 8, 2017 (as shown in the photo below taken at the scene), and the most recent #Charlottesville attack (shown below) on American domestic soil on Saturday, August 12, 2017. 
 

These horrific surface transportation-related terrorism acts hit us all hardest straight in our guts.
 
 

“[The second issue of Inspire (2010), an English-language magazine produced by al Qaeda’s Yemen branch, has just hit virtual newsstands. Like its July (2010) predecessor, Inspire’s October (2010) edition offers “chilling tips” on how to kill Americans, though the Associated Press notes a shift from encouraging “easier-to-stop spectacular attacks” to “one-man operations, using everyday objects.”

Here’s a look at five of the most notable stories in this “how-to magazine” for jihadis:

1. How to create “the Ultimate Mowing Machine”

In a section on “Tips for our brothers in the U.S.,” Inspire (October 2010) offers a guide to creating “the ultimate mowing machine” — “not to mow grass, but mow down the enemies of Allah.” Would-be jihadis are instructed to modify a four-wheel-drive pickup truck (“the stronger the better”) by mounting steel blades on the grill, then driving on a crowded sidewalk. “To achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can, while still retaining good control.” The magazine notes: “This method has not been used before.”

(Until August 17,  2017 at a public square in Barcelona, Spain, until August 12, 2017 at a public protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, until January 8, 2017 at a public facility in Jerusalem, until July 14, 2016 on #BastilleDay in Nice, France, and recently until December 19, 2016 at a public Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, where two multi-ton tractor trailer trucks, several surface transportation vehicles (instead of four multi-ton aircraft used in the “911 attacks”) were used as weapons of mass destruction in what the terrorists are now celebrating on social media as a “#Nice attack”, which is horrendous. International and domestic safety and security has now been integrally united with international transportation safety and security.)

2. Feature: “I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America”

The man, who apparently produces the magazine, 24-year-old U.S. citizen Samir Khan, tells his story of leaving North Carolina to join Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in this provocatively titled essay. Khan recounts how he “happily became a traitor to America,” mocks the FBI for letting him escape (“it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I was al Qaeda to the core”), and says he is now “actively aware that body parts have to be torn apart, skulls have to be crushed, and blood has to be spilled” in this holy war. It’s worth noting, says Georgetown University terrorism expert, Paul Pillar, that “Inspire” is probably aimed more at Western media than would-be jihadis.

3. Tip: Shoot up D.C. restaurants at lunchtime

A writer called Yahya Ibrahim urges insurgents who want to use conventional firearms to “choose the best location” for their attacks. “A random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington, D.C., at lunch hour might end up knocking out a few government employees,” Ibrahim says. “Targeting such employees is paramount and the location would also give the operation additional media attention.” How the mighty have fallen, says Spencer Ackerman in Wired. “Nine years ago, al-Qaeda crashed a plane into the Pentagon and came dangerously close to taking out the White House. Now, it wants to hit places, like Cosí and Potbelly, during the lunch rush.”

4. Advice to U.S. jihadis: Stay home, stay “clean

The “big takeaway” from the magazine, says Christopher Boucek at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is its message of encouragement to lone-wolf jihadis: “You can do it — you can participate in this.” Yahya Ibrahim, in another article, explicitly encourages “our brothers to fight jihad on U.S. soil,” rather than traveling “overseas to join the mujahideen.” He adds: “If you are clean, stay clean … Avoid contact with any jihadi-minded individuals. Do not visit jihadi websites.” So, al-Qaeda is so “desperate to pull something off inside the United States,” says Ackerman in Firedoglake, that instead of offering training, it is urging “the next-generation of terrorists to act like … criminals.”

5. Things aren’t all rosy in al-Qaeda-land

The magazine “seems to confirm that al-Qaeda operations are being hampered by better intelligence and drone attacks on its bases in Pakistan and Yemen,” says Richard Spencer in The Daily Telegraph (UK). One article says “it is no longer possible to operate by the methods of the old model,” since after 911 and “the onset of the American campaigns … the great majority of the existing secret organizations were destroyed.” Actually, “Inspire” and other recent messaging shows AQAP “is still active, that they’re still able to function,” says Boucek. Function, yes, says Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy. But even if it successfully foments one of its “small beer” attacks in the U.S., “al-Qaeda is now following the narrative arc of VH1’s ‘Behind the Music’ franchise.” Let’s just hope there’s no “comeback hit.”]”

__________

Oliver G. McGee III is a teacher, a researcher, an administrator, and an advisor to government, corporations and philanthropy. He is professor and chair of the department of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech University. He was formerly professor of mechanical engineering and former Vice President for Research and Compliance at Howard University. Dr. McGee was former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Inc. He was Professor and former Chair (2001-2005) of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Geodetic Science at Ohio State University. 

He is the first African-American to hold a professorship and a departmental chair leadership in the century-and-a-quarter history of Ohio State University’s engineering college, and in the near centennial history of Texas Tech University’s Edward Whitacre Jr. engineering college. Dr. McGee has also held several professorships and research positions at Georgia Tech and MIT.

McGee is the former United States (U.S.) Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy (1999-2001) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and former Senior Policy Advisor (1997-1999) in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a NASDAQ certified graduate of UCLA John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management’s 2013 Director Education and Certification Program, and NYSE Governance Services Guide to Corporate Board Education’s 2003 Directors’ Consortium (on corporate board governance).

McGee is trained at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, possessing two Executive Program Certificates in Public Management (1999):

1. Program for Senior Managers in Government (SMG); 2. Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security (NISM).

McGee is a 2012-13 American Council on Education Fellow at UCLA Office of the Chancellor Gene Block. He is a 2013 University of California Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education (BIHE) graduate. He is also an Executive Leadership Academy Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley Center of Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), Inc. McGee is an American Association of State Colleges & Universities’ (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Fellow – educational leadership and management development programs for prospective university chancellors and presidents.

Education Background: Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Masters of Science (M.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering Mechanics, Aerospace Engineering (Minor), The University of Chicago, Booth School, Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Certificate of Professional Development (C.P.D.), Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy – Certificate of Fund Raising Management (C.F.R.M.).

Partnership Possibilities for America – Invested in STEEP Giving Forward, founded by McGee in 2010, is based in Washington, DC.

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