Hisham al-Hashimi

Hisham al-Hashimi was an expert on armed groups in Iraq. He advised governments and spoke in the media.  He was assassinated near his home Baghdad.  He had death threats against him from Hezbollah and ISIS.

Four men on motorcycles surrounded his car when he pulled up to his house. One of the men approached his vehicle and started shooting. There is CCTV footage of the shooting. The gunman got back on his motorcycle and drove off.

Hisham was an expert but he appears to have done what countless others have done under the same circumstances.  He didn’t turn his vehicle into a weapon and run over the man with the gun approaching his vehicle.  There is a book on detail driving that includes an analysis of many incidents and something that happens repeatedly is drivers fail to get out of the kill zone.

The bad guys knew where Hisham lived. They knew when he would be coming home. They had surveillance data on him. 

Consider taking a driving course that would teach you how to react in such an unfortunate event.  They silenced Hisham, but the people of Iraq will continue working towards a stable society – they have been at this far longer than most other people on the planet. 

back by the grace of God

Recently read a report from a seasoned missionary who worked in the rural, northern part of Ghana. The report detailed some of the travails he faced getting back to the United States in June because of COVID-19.  I asked him if we could share some of that experience here and we thank him for saying yes.

He was two months overdue coming home by June and had a great attitude about the situation.  He was enduring and them became gravely ill with a high fever – never a good sign in sub-Saharan Africa.  After a couple of days of this, he made the 90-mile trek to a regional hospital where he spent three days getting pumped full of antibiotics by IV. Maybe it was bacterial meningitis, a serious inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord.  Meningitis can be caused by bacteria which spreads from person to person or can be spread through food.  Meningococcal vaccines can protect against some the form of bacterial meningitis caused by N. meningitidis. The vaccines are not 100% effective. The highest incidence of N. meningitidis is found in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa which is where our friend was working. He was wise to get to the regional health center, because meningococcal disease can be fatal. It should always be viewed as a medical emergency. CDC recommends that travelers to this Meningitis belt be vaccinated with MenACWY before traveling. Bacterial meningitis can be caused by other organisms, including Listeria monocytogenesincase it generally comes from contaminated food. After being discharged from the hospital and making the 90-mile trek north to his in-country residence, our friend relapsed into a high fever again.  The Africans carrying for him kept his fever from reaching a deadly level by covering him with wet cloths repeatedly throughout the night until his fever broke.  A fever of up to 105 °F or 40.55 °C causes exhaustion and weakness, but it is the immune systems way of killing pathogens. Scientists recently learned that a fever aids immune system cells in getting out of the blood stream and to the invading pathogens. Once a fever gets over 105° F it is getting to the dangerous level and a fever of 108° F can itself be deadly.

Imagine this, friend in the story had been waiting two months to get home to the US. He got news that an Ethiopia Airline plane was departing the capital (hundreds of miles away) on just a couple of days after being released from the hospital.  The ticket had to be purchased in the capital with dollars rather than local currency. The airline company was willing to create a ticket for a day but would not take a credit card number over the phone. The next day, there were not tickets.  Our friend who lived through these woes himself arrived in the capital on Wednesday, five days after being released from the hospital to stand outside in a cue of 70 or 80 other people trying to get information about the flight or tickets on it. Weak from his bout of illness and no longer able to sit outside, our friend went to the place where he was staying.  He decided he would just go to the airport on Friday, the day the plane was scheduled to fly to the US. Although he arrived three hours before the flight, there were 20 people ahead of him in line and another 30 behind him. By the time our friend arrived with his e-ticket, the flight was boarding and the agent sent him to the sales desk. Standing in line, he began to pray the agent would have empathy.  Because of the e-ticket, the agent called the main office and was authorize to sell our friend a ticket – but his credit card would not go.  Fortunately, he had just enough cash to pay for a ticket.  He got the last seat on the plane, middle seat, last row.  Because there were to connecting flights to take him home after he arrived on the east coast, his wife drove half way across the country to pick him up.  He is still recovering.

We share this story with his permission because it is a cautionary tale of traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

they are back

Deliberate acts of violence against healthcare facilities, including hospitals and related personnel, are violate international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.

That didn’t stop the attack on a maternity hospital in a Shiite neighborhood in Kabuul. ISIS militants have been attacking the Shiite minority in Afghanistan repeatedly over the past few years. Twenty-four people died in that attack.

ISIS is also suspected of three attacks in April in Iraq, in Kirkuk and Diyala provinces.


Definition of newspeak

The term “newspeak” was coined by George Orwell in his 1949 anti-utopian novel 1984. In Orwell’s fictional totalitarian state, Newspeak was a language favored by the minions of Big Brother and, in Orwell’s words, “designed to diminish the range of thought.” Newspeak was characterized by the elimination or alteration of certain words, the substitution of one word for another, the interchangeability of parts of speech, and the creation of words for political purposes. The word has caught on in general use to refer to confusing or deceptive bureaucratic jargon.  (this from the Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Definition of martyr

1a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion
2a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle, for example a martyr to the cause of freedom

Nancy is engaged in newspeak

Nancy is engaged in newspeak when she calls George Floyd a martyr.
Only if George Floyd volunteered to sacrifice his life to bring about
change can he be rightfully be called a martyr.  He didn’t die for his faith. He did not sacrifice his life for the sake of a principle dear to his heart.  Mr. Floyd was murdered, the victim of a terrible injustice.   
Stephen, Peter, James, and Polycarp were martyrs.  The Christians murdered by ISIS, these people died for a faith they would not renounce.  Nancy is an intelligent woman, so this is no accident.  It was carefully choosen newspeak.

Martyr Making 101

One of the strategies used to bring down a regime is to make martyrs out of civilians and turn the citizens against law enforcement.  We mentioned that in an earlier blog and now we have an example in Martin Gugino.

Martin was an activist and vocal about his beliefs. He has a YouTube channel and a Twitter handle #TooFarLeft.  On June 4, he wrote, “Protests are exempt from curfews because Congress (and mayors) may make no laws that abridge the right of the people peaceably to assemble and complain to the government. The government should receive the complaint with thanks, not arrest the people or beat them.”  Gugino tweeted “f*ck the police.” He retweeted “US police forces are the terrorist organization, not Antifa.”

Now take a close look at the entire incident between Martin and the police officers in Buffalo and what transpired both before and after he went down.  The police were charged to enforce a curfew. Martin has decided he is above the law rather than withdraw from the officers, he approaches them – cellphone in phone in hand, apparently videotaping.  What is Martin’s purpose?

In the extended version of the video, Martin approaches two young officers, cell phone in outstretched hand. Terrorists use cell phones to detonate explosives, and maybe the young officer was wondering about that possibility. Maybe he was just worried that Martin was capturing his name and sending it to someone who would pay his home a visit while he was on duty.

The video clip or still you might have seen was disturbing, the more so because it was snipped out of context. The chief executive officer of the state of New York said, “You see that video and it disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity.”  The local head of the ACLU was even more eloquent, “The casual cruelty demonstrated by Buffalo police officers tonight is gut-wrenching and unacceptable.” A still from a video clip made Martin into a martyr, even the governor thinks so. If you watch the longer video, you find it took 20 seconds for National Guard medic to reach Mr. Gugino and render aid. Had Gugino been younger, he might not have lost his balance when pushed backwards by the officers.

After the two officers directly involved in the incident with Martin were suspended, 57 other members of the Buffalo Police Emergency Response Team resigned from their roles on that team. These officers were charged with clearing the square. Was it cruel of them to use force as necessary to do so?  Isn’t that why they are called law enforcement?  The protestors who wished to comply with the curfew had already gone home.

Mr. Martin Gugino was in the square to challenge the curfew and confront the officers, because in his published opinion, protestors are  exempt from curfews.

Recall the curfews came about because rioters and looters found cover for their nightly activities among peaceful protestors.  The curfew asked those who wanted to peacefully assembly to do so in the light of day, so the police could deal with the looters who come out in the dark.

Does Martin get a pass on obeying the curfew because he is an old white guy?  I know some of my readers are just that, old white guys. What do you think?

What happens if many more law enforcement officers across the land decide they won’t work on emergency response teams, won’t try and stop looters or control riots.  Where will that leave the country?

Exactly were we don’t want to be. If the local police are not allowed to maintain law and order, the military shows up. This is the playbook for creating a police state folks.  You think Martin doesn’t know this?  He is old, not senile.

Emergency Supplies

This is list from Homeland Security.  Maybe you are 100 percent ready to shelter in place and don’t need this list. That is great!  But you might want to use it to check.

water – one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation.  Empty bleach bottles make excellent storage containers for water, just be sure the bleach had no additives.  The trace amount of bleach in the empty bottle will serve to keep the water for a good long time. Label the bottles H2O and line the back of seldom used closets with them.  Three days is a minimum by the way.

food – at least a three day supply of non-perishables. You should easily be able to keep this much food on hand by rotating your normal pantry and having extra nut butters, granola bars, etc.

battery-powered and/or crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries.   If you can, get a radio that can use radio, has a solar charger, and lets you hand crank it that also has a place for charging a phone.  Don’t store the batteries in your emergency radio – you don’t want to find them corroded  inside it.  The NOAA Weather Radio ought to be a part of daily life.

flashlight and extra batteries at minimum.  If you want to be really prepared for the power going out and staying off for a period of time, there are special bulbs that fit in regular fixtures that use batteries when the grid goes down.  One could strategically replace a few bulbs around the house with these for emergencies.  There are lanterns that work off batteries too worth considering.  We suggest that each person ought to have their own flashlight.  For the long haul, you might want a couple of lamps that use lamp oil and/or study how folks used to make lamps that used oil for light

first aid kit – how extensive you want this to be is partly a function of your own skill set.  If, by chance, you have taking emergency medical training, we suggest you put together an extensive first aid kit to enable you to help others in a disaster.

whistle  to signal for help, because people get tired of yelling – for the same reason, a hand mirror is useful to signal to a plane

dust mask – to filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place. When you can once again purchase N95 masks, you might want to get a box, along with a roll of plastic sheeting and lots of duct tape. The this I would add contractor bags which can be turned into sleeping bags or tents or porta potties (see below).

moist wipes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation.  It is possible to turn a conventional toilet into one that can be used during an emergency.  When it is empty of water in the bowl and tank (the water in the tank can be used for washing clothing – don’t discard it), line the bowl with a heavy plastic bag.  If you have cat litter (you don’t need to own a cat to purchase litter) it can be added after each use to control odors.  Daily, tie up the bag and dispose of it outside where you are sheltering.

wrench or pliers to turn off utilities  – which of course means you have some idea of where the turn off valve for your water supply is located and it still works.  If not, you might want to go to the effort to get that fixed.

can openers – for the food you have stored in cans (and I would add to this a way to heat the foot, whether a little camp stove or a fireplace and cast iron pots)

local maps – which will be worthless unless the folks using the maps can read a map

additional items you might need

prescription medicaton and glasses

infant formula and diapers (even if you don’t have an infant, having this might make you a blessing for someone else)

important family documents such as insurance policies, identification, bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

cash and change

emergency reference material such as a first aid book

complete change of clothing, including long sleeved shirt, long sleeved pants and comfortable hiking shoes, if you live in a cold weather climate be prepared

household chlorine bleach and a dropper – 9:1 makes a disinfectant while 16 drops per gallon of water will make it drinkable

fire exinguisher

matches in a water proof container

feminine supplies

mess kits, paper cups, plates, plastic utensils and paper towels

paper, pens and pencils

books, games, and activites for children







the playbook

A democratic representative Virginia said this in a tweet, “As a former CIA officer, I know this playbook.” Abigail Spanberger joined the agency in 2006 and worked gathering intelligence on terrorism.

What playbook is she making references to?  Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, a manual written for the agency for the contras comes to mind. The book focuses on how armed propaganda teams can build support for the contras by deceit, intimidation and violence. The book and its lesson plans were based on an earlier works like Armed Psyop: Implicit and Explicit Terror and Handbook on Aggressor Insurgent War.  The translator objected to two sections of the book, one on hiring professional criminals for special jobs and killing people on one’s own side to make martyrs for the cause.

One part of the book includes the following advice;

[lead] demonstrators into clashes with the authorities, to provoke riots or shootings, which lead to the killing of one or more persons, who will be seen as the martyrs; this situation should be taken advantage of immediately against the Government to create even bigger conflicts.

Maybe the congresswoman had another book in mind, the War of the Flea. Its author analyzed patterns he found in conflict including Cuba, Greece, Israel and Palestine, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The work explains the nature of asymmetrical conflict. A small insurgent group cannot hope to face and defeat a might military power, but it is able to create a ‘climate of collapse.’

The goal is the insurgent group is not to win, but goad the stronger might to respond with a show of force that produces casualties among the innocent.  This of course has the effect of turning the population against the ever more authoritarian state.

The term playbook is used in the history of special operations, The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare.  According to the Perfect Soldier the “playbook” was “used by all post World War II communist guerilla wars.” That book is On Guerrilla Warfare by Mao Zedong.

Will the commander and chief send regular troops into US cities?  Here is exactly what the President said, “I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights. …We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now. If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said, referring to himself as “your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters.”

The President’s words ran under this headline, “Trump says he will deploy military if state officials can’t contain protest violence.” Protest violence sounds like PsyOp terminology.  Immediately after the President finished his speech on the matter, the news commentator called the looting, burning and rioting “unrest.”

People are dying in this “unrest.” How many are hard to say.  In Indianapolis five people were shot in a single night, three of whom died. That was one city on one night. Now the body count is up to something like a dozen.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

                                                                                                      II Timothy 3:1-4

What can we do?  take a lesson out of His playbook

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.                                                                 Philippians 1:9-11

executed humanitarian workers

Eight aid workers were taken from a health facility run by a local NGO in Somalia and executed.  According to the government of Somalia, they were “very young.”  Different sources give different numbers of the slain – we are using what Zamzam Foundation reported.

The facility was operated by the Zamzam Foundation.   In a statement the foundation said the eight were taken by armed gunman on Wednesday and their bodies were found on Thursday dumped along a highway. This happened near the capital city of Mogadishu.

Thus far, no one has claimed responsibility.




here’s a switch

In Mexican border cities people are concerned about folks from the United States bringing the novel corona virus to them. San Diego has three times the number of COVID-19 cases as Tijuana. The state of California has about 10 times more people than Baja to its south but 20 times the number of cases.

The  US extended its border restrictions for a month this week and Mexico has imposed similar restrictions on nonessential traffic from the United States.  But the border is still open to commercial traffic and people from the US are likely taking the virus to Mexico.




getting arrested for doing good

A group was gathered to put together relief supplies for a local nomadic community  They had gotten permission for the project for the head of Kakrahia village. Arrested were three sons of the homeowner where the packaging was underway and their cousin who are not members of a church. They were arrested along with four members of a local church.

The police accused the group of violating social distancing and beat the local pastor who organized the project.  The group, some of whom were beaten, were arrested for crimes of “negligent acts likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life” and “disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.”

The officers interrogating the pastor wanted him to confess where the funds had come from for the project. Police asked him questions like “Where does the money come from to lure people to convert?” and “From which country do you get foreign funds?” The police persisted with the allegations that the church received funds from abroad that were used to convert people away from Hinduism by paying them  huge monetary sums.  The funds came from a special collection taken up by the local church to help during the corona virus lockup.

The local news outlet reported the event as a group of a dozen people gathered in a room to pray.

Militant Hindu nationalism tends to ignore freedom of religion making India one of the worst places on earth for some faiths.  Many Christians and other non-Hindus in India are being denied government-issued food rations amid the coronavirus pandemic.