Yearly Archives: 2015

The Speech I Want To Hear

July 4, 2016

From the Mall in Washington DC, The president of the United States.

“My fellow Americans, and our friends around the world. Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago this great nation was born. It was released from tyranny by men and women that understood the fight for freedom was worth any effort and any price paid. Some of the leaders at the time wanted to capitulate to the oppressors. The arguments between the nation’s leaders back in those days were legendary. Eventually, those leaders came to the conclusion that the need to be free of the oppression and tyranny that had been thrust upon them, was worth far more than the desire to achieve the individual goals some of those leaders had. From that moment on, a great wave overtook the colonies from New Hampshire to South Carolina. America’s leaders had the courage to fight back against those who would have held them captives, and the people came together and stood shoulder to shoulder to beat back that oppression. This great land was born on the backs of their fight for that freedom.

The people of the colonies gave their money, their livelihood, their sweat, and even their blood for the universal right to walk as free men and women and to have their lives directed solely by their own hand. They were willing to die to obtain that freedom, and many paid that sacrifice for it. Yet despite the many losses they had to endure, they won their fight, because their fight was just and right. The current leaders of the United States stand here today in these memorial grounds which will stand for all time as a testament to their bravery and to their victory. But we have not come here to just create a political backdrop for this speech. We do so now out of reverence to their willingness to fight for our right to stand here. We also do so to remind every one of us of their sacrifice and to use it as a motivation to live up to their great legacy.

There have always been those who have desired to defeat us because of these freedoms that were granted to us by those brave men and women who came before us. In the last thirteen years, we have been increasingly targeted by groups that are directly threatened by that very freedom and the prosperity it provides us. Some, as we know, have lain in wait from countries all around the world looking for a chance to strike. We have fought two visible wars, and numerous invisible wars, to try and beat back their hate. And yes, we too have paid a heavy price for that righteous goal of a free America.

We have made progress against many of these enemies, but recently a new head-of-the-snake has arisen and it has directed its venom against us. This new snake does not move or strike like the others we have fought. It’s much more elusive and its venom has proven to be far more deadly. Where the other snakes have gone after our ankles, this snake has set its aim for our hearts. This serpent has proven to possess unique capabilities that has made it much more difficult to keep in check, and it has clearly declared that it will not stop its pursuit until the very freedom that this country stands for is dead.

Like the early patriots, the group that stands before you now has bickered mightily in the days and years past. We have temporarily lost sight of the greatness and the sacrifices those original Americans put forth on our behalf. We have been enjoying the fruits of what they had provided us, but we lost sight of the sacrifice we should all be putting forth to keep it. Today, we are now standing here before you to declare loud and clear for all to hear around the globe that we have all decided to put on the cloak of responsibility that our forefathers require of us, and which you asked of us on election-day. We stand before you today as one body, ready to give up the fight for self in order to live up to our responsibility to protect America’s heart.

Just three days ago, I stood before you and said that I wanted you to trust me. I told you then that this group before you now would be talking in private, and with our allies around the world, and that when the plan was concluded, I would then explain what steps we would be taking to eliminate those behind the attacks against us and our global partners. Today, I am here to tell you in simple straight talk how we are going to be fighting back. I am here to tell you, and the entire world, that the evil elements who have challenged us have drastically underestimated our resolve and our might. I am here to tell you now that we ARE going to be killing the snake and all its siblings.

After the attacks perpetrated on us on 9/11, my predecessor told you how the people responsible for that act would be held accountable, and how those found harboring the people behind the attacks would be held equally responsible. We have made great strides in catching and bringing to justice the individuals and accomplices that were behind that attack. What we have not yet done is follow through on the second part of that promise. Starting today, we will begin to ensure that countries harboring our enemies feel the sting of that promise.

We all well know that there are still countries that are providing a safe haven to those that have vowed to do us harm. There are still countries that through their own corruption and duplicitous intent have allowed our enemies to rebuild and rearm, even after we eliminated many of the individuals and groups behind these evil deeds. Various terrorist groups have been allowed to run free and preach their doctrine of hate against us openly. Schools of hatred, thinly veiled as religious organizations, have not only been tolerated but have been encouraged by these countries. Even the world’s most wanted man was found safely ensconced in the bosom of a country that vowed to us that all efforts were being conducted to help us find him.

These countries have continually promised us that they would end these practices and reform themselves. They have taken our goodwill and vast amounts of resources from us after we have accepted their promise that they would be making those reforms. Unfortunately, they have not retreated one step from their duplicitous acts. We have continually rested our hopes for redemption on the words of the leaders from these countries, and we have not held them accountable for their actions. That practice stops today.

This morning, a wide range of legislation has been drafted that will soon be unanimously adopted, and which will allow for a sweeping change in the way we deal with both our allies and enemies. The full range of options this legislation provides for will allow the United States and its allies to directly respond to any country we find hiding, or aiding the people who have perpetrated the recent attacks against us. The range of options at our disposal, which we will employ against these false partners, will include elements of our political, financial, strategic, and military capabilities. Please note, you did not hear me say that we will be bringing empty UN sanctions or paper rebukes against these enemies. No, these countries will quickly discover that, this time, the consequences for their choices are real and tangible.

Let me outline some of the political steps we have undertaken to make sure our friends are who and what they say they are. Starting tomorrow morning, the US will be dramatically expanding our involvement in NATO. We will be investing heavily in building up both its humanitarian and military capabilities. Through this new organization, we will be coordinating with our allies to create a completely new method of providing financial, political, and strategic aid to the countries around the world that wish to work with us; and we will be enabling a dramatic new type of response for those that don’t.

The United States and our allies have always provided financial and logistical assistance to countries, regardless of ideology, when natural or humanitarian disasters have struck. This humanitarian aid will continue to all unabated. When the people need our support, the US will be there to provide it. However, we have continually fallen into the trap of providing funds or support to countries that have ultimately proven to be aligned against us in the misguided hopes that we can buy their loyalty. We are no longer under that illusion.

Therefore, as of this very moment, all financial, strategic, and political aid that is currently provided by the Unites States or its NATO allies to countries that are not a member of the expanded NATO alliance are being discontinued. Additionally, all assets held by these countries that are in US control have been frozen. We will no longer be sending bribe money to countries that hate us in a futile attempt to curry their favor.

An aid reinstatement team has been created that will be providing a path for all non-NATO countries to reapply for new aid packages. Countries that have already proven that they value their relations with the West, and who have actively helped us ferret out the terrorists among them, will find that reinstatement will come quickly and they will be able to continue to receive our aid in all the various forms it takes.

Countries that have shown by their actions that they do not value a relationship with us, will be given a one-year moratorium for any new aid package. Thirty days prior to the end of their one year moratorium, these countries will be eligible to reapply to NATO for one of the available aid packages. If they have sufficiently proven over the moratorium time period to the reinstatement committee that they truly wish to help the world find and destroy the snakes in their midst, our aid to them may be reinstated. However, if they choose to remain on the side of those who would oppose us, their declaration of that alliance will be unmasked and their intentions will be revealed to the world.

No country will be coerced to join the NATO alliance. No member-country within the alliance will be required to conform to any political, religious or public norms whatsoever. The only stipulation to receive an aid package, is that the country making the request do not allow themselves to become a breeding ground of hatred and that they help us ferret out those that previously used their borders for protection from us.

However, from this moment forward, any country found to be intentionally fostering those that wish to do us harm, will be considered as enemy combatants, and equally responsible for the deeds of those they are harboring. These countries will soon discover that NATO’s expanded military strength will be overwhelming, and the response to the threat that now faces us all will come swiftly. The days of endless resolutions and diplomats arguing over the language of agreements have ended. Starting today, resolutions for problem nations will come in the form of defining actions, not endless rhetoric.

In the last few days, we have borne witness to how fragile we have become with our commerce and our very financial security. Therefore, we have instituted a set of sweeping changes to protect our financial system and restore the public confidence in it and our ability to protect it. Over the last few years the ingenuity of America’s scientists has provided us with new methods to access and extract the massive amounts of oil and gas reserves right here in the US. By utilizing fracking and high pressure gas emulsion techniques, we have been able to build up our internal energy resources to the point where we will no longer need to purchase these resources from those that wish to do us harm.

Thanks to these tremendous breakthroughs, I am now able to announce to you the new expanded version of the NATO Strategic Oil and Gas Alliance. Through this alliance we will be sharing our technical expertise and the techniques employed in these oil recovery capabilities to all member nations that have their own reserves, but not the ability to access them. Additionally, we have now received firm commitments from all of the NATO member states to expand the distribution of oil resources with the affiliated countries that do not have their own reserves.

The NATO Strategic Oil and Gas Alliance will be the exclusive purchaser and distributor of oil from all producing countries that have chosen to not become a partner with the NATO Alliance. Prices will be set by NATO and all refinement and distribution will take place through NATO designated facilities. Petroleum purchases from the countries on our “no buy” list will cease on August 1st.
In addition to this energy initiative, we have received a pledge from all NATO member countries to agree to a full and complete arms embargo and a cessation of all military assistance to the non-member countries. If future military action becomes necessary against non-member countries, we will no longer be facing the same arms we produced. Very few of the countries expected to be aligned against us have the ability to create advanced weaponry on their own. As their oil revenues start to become drastically reduced, they will no longer possess the ability to purchase those weapons. Those countries will rapidly find themselves falling even farther behind in their ability to threaten us with force.”

As this latest direct challenge to us has demonstrated, with every technological advancement comes the opportunity for corruption. We have all seen this first-hand with the internet and its associated technologies. While its very openness and global reach provided a source of great advancement in the sharing of knowledge and the speed of transacting business, that same openness has provided people with evil intent a great opening to do us harm.

We have recognized the possibility of such an attack for some time now. Over the last year we have been assembling a team of experts from 17 countries that representing some of the finest minds in the field. Their goal was to work on a solution to the endless hacking attacks against us. In the last few weeks, they have been putting the finishing touches on a new system called SPY, which will create a vastly more secure environment for government and business entities to work in. While nothing is infallible, this new system will drastically reduce the vulnerabilities enabled by our existing infrastructure. The system details and technical assistance for moving from the internet to this new system will be provided free of charge to all member countries and the business that reside in them.”

All of the steps I have just outlined are designed to prevent or limit those countries that wish to do the free people of the world harm. They are a way to help persuade them that friendship with the United States and its allies means more than just providing political lip service. We will no longer be sending bags of cash to leaders of countries that prove by their actions to not support our goals. We will no longer provide military support to leaders only because they are the lesser-of-two-evil options.

Instead, we will require that they first prove they are willing to help us rid the world of the snakes out there by stopping to tolerate the practices that create and promote these individuals in the first place.
And when the individuals with evil intent do arise, as there will always be those that will choose to follow the path of evil, these countries must prove they are ready and willing to root them out and eliminate the threat they present.

But what of those countries that have already proven to present themselves like a lamb in speech but continually hide the serpents in their wool and have no intention of changing their ways? What about those that have perpetually viewed our generosity and our restraint from acting out against their evil acts as a weakness on our part? We have seen how they have continually slapped us in the face, and each time we have turned the other cheek. If they give a close examination to my earlier statements today, they should now be starting to understand that the limit of our generosity with them has now run out.”

In fact, by the time this speech has been concluded they will have begun to gain an understanding of what happens when we reach the exhaustion of our restraint.

My fellow Americans. Look around at this hallowed ground where we stand before you today. Many Americans who have come before us have given everything they had in order for this very place to exist.
This ground now stands as a testament to the strength and resolve of all Americans. Many fortunes were lost by those before us so that we could live in a land where new fortunes could be made. Many backs were broken under the weight of the great effort it took to allow us today to live in a land where the weight of oppression has been lifted from us. And many people that previously walked this land have given their very lives in the fight for the freedom we have which allows us to gather like this and declare ourselves free forevermore.

One thing I have come to learn firsthand after my years as President of this great land, is that the strength and resolve it took to create America was not restricted to just the people who forged this great country. That same strength and resolve also lives within the people who walk upon the land today. That’s why the snakes of the world can never defeat us. We all contain within us the strength that freedom and truth provide. God bless you all, and God bless this now UNITED States of
America.”

Symbol or Little Boy

boy

My name is Aylan Kurdi. My picture was on the front page of every newspaper in the world this week. Apparently I have become a symbol of the suffering we Syrian refugees have been enduring. I don’t know why. I have a mother and a brother who also died this week. For some reason they are not symbols.

At only three years old I certainly do not have much experience with the world but this is what I know.

Where I lived it is very hot. All of us children would complain about the heat. I discovered that it did not get any cooler no matter how many tears I shed. Father says I have to be a tough little man. I am three. There is a very big house at the end of the block and it has some very noisy boxes on the windows. My father calls these air conditioners and said that they make the house cooler inside. I asked father why we didn’t have these on our house and he explained that the man who owned that house worked for something called the Mukhabarat. Apparently this made him a very special man. When I told father that he was also a special man, he gave me a big hug and smiled. But we still didn’t get these air conditioners.

My brother Galip has much more worldly experience than I do since he is five. On very hot days Galip often would sneak out and go to the fish market. He had discovered that the market kept their fish in a freezer in the back of the store and that this freezer had a hole in its case. Sometimes, the ice would protrude out from this hole and Galip would chip it off and bring it back home. If the ice was large enough we could savior it for hours. Galip always shared his secrete bounty with the family. He is a good brother.

One night while we were sleeping, a very large noise came from outside. My mother grabbed me from bed, and my whole family crawled into the basement. Over and over these very large noises occurred. I was very scared. It was like the monsoon rain storms when thunder came from the sky, but when this thunder happened the whole house shook. I tried to be brave like father said, but eventually I could not hold back the tears. The next day, all of the homes two blocks away had become a pile of stones. Father said this happened because the people on that block did not give allegiance to Assad. I don’t know what that means.

I think it has something to do with the same reason why I cannot play in certain areas anymore. There is a super fun playground that father would take Galip and me that had swings and monkey bars and vendors selling ice treats. About a year ago, when I was little, we would go there every week. But then one day, a man got into an argument with father at the park and we never went back. Galip tried to sneak back there once and father spanked him for the trouble. Apparently this fun place was owned by someone called Alawites, and we are no longer welcome.

Another destination that we can no longer go is this great big building way out in the desert all by itself. This building had a hall in the middle bigger than any I have seen. It also had a sign on the door in many languages that said everyone was welcome inside. It was the only building I ever saw that had a metal cross on the roof. People at that place dressed in funny looking long robes. It was strange that even on very hot days, they still had on these robes. Unlike many of the old men in my country, the men in the robes were nice to us children. I asked why and one of them said to me that everyone in the building were as children in Gods eyes. I liked that idea, but when we got home father said that the men in the robes do not believe what we believe so we can never go back. I guess I am too young to understand such things.

Just a few weeks ago my parents became very excited. They started collecting our belongings from around the house and told Galip and me to stay inside. People I had not seen in a very long time started coming to our house. Some hugged and cried with my parents. Some came to make agreements with them. Our neighbor, Bassel, got into a loud argument with father which I could hear all the way in my room. Bassel kept saying that what we were doing would end in calamity. Father said we needed a chance at a better life. Father and Bassel had been friends since they were children like me. Now they don’t speak to each other.

When father picked me up and sat me in the boat with my mother and Galip, it felt like the biggest adventure of my life. Soon, the wind was splashing the waves over the sides of the boat and into my face and the oppressive heat of the day was gone. That cool splash was way better than ice chips.

Before I knew what had happened, the boat made a loud noise and then I was in the water. People were splashing the water all around me. I looked for father, mother, and Galip but I could not find them. I watched as the people all around me struggled. There did not seem to be a reason for it all.

Now, they say I am a symbol, but I just want to be a little boy again.

Lone Wolf

Hi.

My Name is Bassel. I am fourteen years old and I live in Kentucky USA. My mother and father came here from Syria twenty-two years ago. I have an older brother Farid, and a younger sister, Rima. Until yesterday I thought I was just a normal boy. Now, everyone keeps asking me why Farid did it, what changed him, or why we didn’t stop him. I just want to hide.

When we were younger, Farid and I would wrestle in the back yard. Farid always won. He was the oldest, but he also had a look in his eye that was different. A look that said he was not going to lose. He never said a word about it, but I knew it was there. Once in a while that look scared me, but I thought it was like that for all older brothers. Was that the sign they are asking about?

When I was younger and our family would go to the mosque for prayers, my mother would always keep me tight to her side. Somehow Farid was always able to sneak off to spend time with the older boys. They would spend hours plotting and planning ways to skip prayers or to find ways to meet with girls in the back hall. All the while I sat with my mom wishing I was with Farid. To my knowledge their plans never worked out, but they kept trying anyway. Could that be where the evil took root?

About six months ago, Farid started spending many hours in his room at night playing with his computer. He was always spending time alone and we never wrestled after that. That’s also when Farid started arguing my father. Soon they were arguing every day. Despite Farid having never seen our homeland, and after all his time hiding out at the mosque, Farid started acting as if he knew more about our religion than anyone else. Even my uncle, who is a scholar in Aleppo, could not convince him that his internet information was based on lies. We were all very frustrated, but what could we do? Should I have said something then?

My parents always taught us children that if we keep our mouths shut, and our problems to ourselves, we will be rewarded. They instructed us that our troubles would be handled by the family, not outsiders. This seemed to be good advice. I saw my friend’s families complaining and bickering in public all the time and it was very embarrassing. It seemed as if the original problem they had was less important to them than the public argument it inspired. For example, when a friend received a bad grade his parents went to the school and berated the teacher instead correcting the problem at home. When I got a bad grade, my parents would scold me behind closed doors. Sometimes the belt my father keeps on the wall was ready to correct the problem. Now everyone we know is asking us why we never told anyone about Farid. Do they really not understand us?

Religion is a funny thing. My neighbors put up decorations and have feasts with family at certain times of the year. They sometimes wear strange clothes, and alcohol is always the center of attention at their celebrations. Their holidays are all about gifts, gluttony, and drinking. Our holidays are more reserved, and my father says they should be about inner reflection and humility. Farid once told me that our reward comes in the after-life. I just don’t get why we can’t enjoy life now. My friend’s family celebrations do seem to be more fun. Should we celebrate our life now, or demonstrate restraint and piety and hope for the real life in the future? I wish I knew.

Yesterday morning started like every other day. I had planned to go swim at the community pool with a friend. As I exited the front door, the first of the news van drove up. Before I could speak, cameras were pointed at me and people I never saw before were asking me strange questions about Farid. Before I could make sense of it my father yelled at me to come back in the house. Everything I thought I knew had just changed. And just like everyone else I keep asking why?

Several years ago in school I had an argument with another boy over a backpack. In the heat of the moment, he called me a rag-headed terrorist. I didn’t even understand what he meant by that, but I was furious. Today, I still don’t feel like a terrorist, but maybe he was right.

What IF – ISIS is Right?

Well sort of, although with a very nasty plot twist in the end.

Why would a group, any group, decide to wage a war against the entire world? What could be their rational? They can’t possibly hope to outgun the opposition. They don’t have the logistical resources, nor do they have the money to purchase a war machine capable of winning. So what could be their end-game? Do they simply hope to die in some forsaken desert, some kind of bizarre death by cop strategy? In a word – yes.

ISIS members do not envision the world the way most sentient, logical beings do. While most humans believe their own actions create a direct cause and effect, they believe their actions are only the catalyst for a miraculous redemption by a higher power. By declaring to be the creators of an Islamic Caliphate, they believe that they have become the spearhead for the coming Islamic redemption. To us, our lives matter. To them, their deaths entice global rebirth.

To entice this supernatural redemption to occur, they believe they need to antagonize the rest of the world into retribution against them. Much like the carjacker will wave his arms in the air and dare the cop to shoot, ISIS will push and poke the West with every form of depravity it can muster in an effort to cause a retaliation. Their goal is to find a trigger point that causes the West to retaliate with all its resources. In that very day, when the Western world unleashes its wrath, they will have reached their goal of martyrdom for the cause. But more importantly, they believe that their martyrdom will unleash a Divine final retribution against the West’s transgressors and that the Caliphate will then rise in all its glory.

How could it be possible for their actions, no matter how savage or depraved, to incite the world to respond with such an unabashed war against the Caliphate? If cutting off the heads of innocents, you-tubing mass executions, and doing unspeakable things to women cannot provoke such a response from the West, what possibly could?

Well, what if ISIS becomes a catalysts for a Sunni Shia conflagration? What if it was possible for them to exacerbate the increasingly cracking fault lines between these two basic regimes? Could it be possible for them to fan the flames of division to the point where an all-out war between the regions big players, Iran and Saudi Arabia were to take place? When one Jordanian pilot was desecrated on video, it enraged the Jordanians and they unleashed its Air Force. Could some act generate a similar reprisal by the Saudi’s or Iranians? The Saudis already feel pressure by Iran’s new influence and nuclear aspirations. The Iranians have new resolve to expand their influence even more as the west increasingly lifts its sanctions. With just a little push at the right time and place, ISIS could indeed help unleash a Middle East war unlike nothing ever seen in the modern era.

How could a comparatively small group such as ISIS, no matter how depraved, create a Sunni Shia divide of such proportions? One method at their disposal is their increasingly capable use of the internet and social media to spread hate and distrust. The tools exists that allow a few of them to illicit a response from millions if the message hits the right note. A well-constructed propaganda campaign, coupled with the demolition of a few well-chosen Islamic symbols of faith, could potentially generate a societal rift unlike nothing the world has seen. Such an act would draw swift and sure retribution. Which would then trigger an even wider response of retaliation. Martyrdom may indeed unleash social change.

But could such a war between Shia and Sunni draw in the western countries? Oil in the deserts is like a honeysuckle to the bee. Naturally, we would claim our participation was to protect our allies and to preserve the stability of the region. Likewise of course, the only reason we need them stable, or as allies in the first place, is to keep their oil fields flowing the sweet nectar from underground those deserts. Be involved we would. But how would we even fight such a war and who would our allies truly be. In a Sunni Shia war, a war with no geographical borders or political sides, the bombs will have no targets. Who are our allies in Syria today and who are our enemies?

And what of the wild card in such a situation. Would we expect our more traditional enemies to also not be involved? Would not Russia and China use the situation to attempt to gain more influence in the region and in doing so up the stakes exponentially? For example, what if Russia were to agree to supply Iran with the latest ground to air defenses in exchange for oil rights. What if China stirred the pot by supplying IRAN with advanced nuclear techniques in exchange for future considerations? What if we supplied the Saudis with advanced missiles threatening everyone? A circling of the drain for all involved could begin in very short order.

ISIS may be right about its ability to generate a conflagration in the Middle East?

But could that actually elicit a supernatural response? One that could potentially end mankind’s dominion over the earth and remove the wicked beast from among us. Would in fact the meek then inherit the earth as promised? This all sounds reminiscent of a place I read about called Megiddo and the wrath unleashed on humans during Armageddon. How ironic would it be if the Divine intervention that ISIS is so diligently striving for to bless the Caliphate, instead ushers in a redemption of the innocent and the removal of the wicked?

2015 – The Year Terror goes Viral

aISIS

In 2014, the scope of a terror attack was measured in blocks. In 2015, the scope will be measured across cities and states. In 2014, the tally of a terror attack was calculated by individual casualties. In 2015, the results will be calculated by macro-economic swings. In 2014, a terrorist act was a bomb in a subway. In 2015, a terrorist act will be the shutdown of a city’s transportation system. In 2014, the image of a terrorist was a Middle Eastern man firing a gun in the air in some far off desert. In 2015 the image of a terrorist will be a grey haired bio-chemist or computer security expert in a lab coat. What has changed to allow for this paradigm change?

In 2015, terrorists will begin to fully utilize the tools that today’s technology and mass media provides them. Soon they will master the ability to:
1) Evangelize to the world’s masses the message of the impending Caliphate, and offer to them the option to join the glory it will hold.
2) Utilize these platforms to spread the fear of impending acts, rather than to retroactively discuss past events.
3) Spread propaganda faster than the West can denounce it.

With the technologies now available to the worlds Jihadists, they have the ability to cast a world-wide net. They can now reach countless millions with slick video and printed material. Most will view the messages they send as what they are. But some of the world’s lost souls and those seeking a new way in their life will be attracted to them. More disturbingly, a very small minority of those attracted by this message will not be disaffected youth but be computer experts, engineers, and even biochemists.

Yes the attraction of an impending Caliphate will resonate in those from every socioeconomic sector. Everyone dissatisfied with their life who have a desire to join something they see as bigger than themselves are a target. This year, the skilled and the educated joining the ranks of those that want to shoot guns in the desert will increase dramatically. With that influx of talent, the capabilities of the Jihadi groups will exponentially increase. 2015 year will become known as the year of the intelligent Jihadi.

The technology to allow for this paradigm change is already in place. Most of the world’s inhabitants now have access to some form of social media, and the terror groups are increasingly savvy on its use. News outlets are easily be manipulated to spread impending doom messages to every person on earth at warp speed. The intelligent Jihadi will increasingly utilize the reach of the world’s news communication system to manipulate the masses.

These groups will eventually come to understand group psychology, and will have at their fingertips the technical ability to manipulate the masses. If you can convince a city that an attack is imminent, and you have the tools to spread the message of fear, millions can be controlled.

In 2015, terrorism capabilities will enter phase 3, the ability to terrorize from behind a keyboard. Why kill 20 people on a bus if you can disrupt the transportation system of tens of thousands? Why martyr yourself in the village square and disrupt the economics of dozens when you can alter the value of a multinational company. Why bring down an airliner when you can shut down the entire cruise ship industry?

Yes, the level of capability in the control of the terrorist in 2015 is about to become dramatically elevated. Are we prepared for the Elevated Threat that the terrorists will present us in 2015?

Are we really?

Cast A Wide Net

Majd grew up wbiohazardhere the sand was seemingly everywhere, and the sun baking down on his skin was relentless. However Majd never saw his families’ open fields or their date farms in Syria. No, Majd grew up on the mean streets of Tucson Arizona. As a boy, the closest he ever came to the relentless middle-east conflict was when his father and Uncle would sit on the porch at night and speak about the homeland in their native Arabic. Majd did not even speak Arabic, but the passion in the two older men’s voices when talking about the Sunni-Shia rift was unmistakable and left an impression. Never-the-less, in those days Majd was more interested in his x-box.

Despite his family living on the outskirts of a modern Arizona city, Majd’s elders tried to follow their Sunni Islamic religious requirements as best they could. It was quite a drive to Tucson’s Islamic Center Mosque in the center of town, yet as the only established Sunni mosque in Tucson, the trip was made frequently. Just like most young boys at any mosque, or church, or synagogue around the world, Majd spent most of his time at the Islamic Center talking to friends or simply imagining being anyplace else.

Somehow he survived his youth and all the trappings of society that sidetrack many young boys and Majd graduated in 2013 with a biochemistry degree from the University of Arizona. His family was so proud to have their first college educated family member that they sat in the front row at his commencement ceremony and wept throughout. They were so proud of their first born son. He would assuredly carry on the family name proudly.

Despite his degree, and his significant effort to land employment worthy of his skills, Majd was only offered part time work as a field biology technician, and once as a fill in for a histotechnician position at a local hospital. While some of his friends from school had moved on to proper science positions in other cities, Majd was determined to stay close to his family in Tucson. That decision, unfortunately, meant very limited employment opportunities.

As the months after his graduation wore on, Majd become more despondent about his lack of work. Living at home was causing him increasing anxiety, and his parent’s expectations of him were becoming more of a burden than an influence. With too much idle time, Majd began to spend an increasing amount of it at the Mosque. Soon a small group of young men began to meet there every Thursday and discuss their mutual concerns of the future. Before long, Majd’s anxiety turned into depression and anger. The more he talked to his friends, the more he was certain that his lack of employment was because of his new-found faith. Everything was starting to become so clear. He was obviously being oppressed by those without faith.

His father was proud of his Majd’s new affection for his Sunni Muslim adherence, and he was certain it would help calm his fears. But his father was unaware of the websites Majd was now spending hours of his free time reading. The websites that bend and twist the truth in such an insidious way that those seeking something to influence their life can find a path to achieve it. At just the right point in time, and under just the right personal circumstances and weakness of spirit, even an educated young man like Majd can be persuaded that his life has a deeper meaning. That he too can become a part of something much bigger than himself. Before long, the hook had become deeply implanted in Majd’s gullet.

Like most websites that seek to attract the week and disaffected to a cause, the people behind the sites Majd visited knew that if they cast a wide enough net, a few percent of readers would take the bait. Some of these newly attracted followers would send money, some would work at home to help propagate the message, and some would be so bold as to leave their home to physically join the fight. But the real goal of these websites, yes the crowning achievement, would be to reach that very small percent with special skills. These few fish caught in the ever expanding nets would be biochemists, computer engineers, airline pilots, and even nuclear scientists. These few that would become ensnared would have a special capability. A capability that those who fire guns in the air in the deserts around the world will never possess. Majd was just such a special catch and those behind the creation of the message knew it.

Majd’s skill at manipulating bio organisms, and his particular specialty of gene manipulation of various types of E-Coli would come in very handy indeed to those hidden Jihadists behind the screen. They assured Majd that his name would be known throughout the earth, and that he would be hailed for all time as a great Martyr to his people.

 While the people of Tucson went about their daily lives, Majd started fulfilling his calling.

Lost Innocence

Raqqa, Syria

Addar’s gift on his fourteenth birthday was a portable music player. With the earbuds firmly in place and the music turned up, Addar was finally able to tune out all the chaos that swirled constantly around his home. With his four younger sisters and two uncles all living in his family’s small apartment, the noise level never abated. With the war raging outside his home, and the constant chatter inside, his music player turned out to be just the escape Addar had long needed. It was the first thing the men waving the black flags took from him when they discovered him walking home from the market. Who knew that music was from the Devil, certainly not Addar.

It was only two days later that those same men showed up at Addar’s family apartment and demanded that he go with them for training. Addar’s father was not home, and neither of his uncles were prepared to say no to the men with the AK-47’s slung over their shoulders. Addar sat quietly and just looked out the window of the old Toyota during the ride to the rebel side of town, an area of Raqqa Addar had never seen before.

The first week at the camp was strangely easy to dismiss. Addar wasn’t even missing his home that much. To him, the noise and chatter at home had just been replaced by a new type of noise and chatter. Each day he would be put into a room with other boys and one of the men under the black flag would drone on for hours. Some days the talk would be on religious studies, some days it would be about politics, some days it would be historical blather. Addar would stare straight ahead and replay the music from his memory and tune it all out.

On the seventeenth day of the camp, everything changed. This time, the other boys in the room were all older than Addar. Several men came in the room and placed a cantaloupe and a Janbiya in front of each boy. Addar at first thought that this was an offering for his good work at the school. He started salivating at the thought, as he had not had fresh fruit since before the war started. None of the other boys in the room had started eating, so Addar decided to wait before devouring this delicious treat. Even in this strange place the manners his mother taught him were remembered.

A very tall man with horribly disfigured teeth went to the front of the room and started a discourse of the same type Addar had heard now heard for days. Addar stared down at the fruit, the sugary flavor of it so close to his lips. Was this some kind of test? Before he could make sense of it all, a very muscular man started a projector in the back of the room and a film started to play that forever destroyed what childhood Addar had left.

In the film, Syrian soldiers were on their knees, hands bound behind their backs, and their heads hung on their chests. A young man, not much older than Addar, stood behind each soldier. When a man, not in sight of the camera, yelled “Allahu Akbar”, each of the young men brandished a Janbiya from behind their backs and proceeded to slide it across the necks of the soldiers. Addar closed his eyes as soon as the reality of what was happening in the film was apparent.

 …

It wasn’t the whipping from the tall man that stung Addar the most. It was the derision from the older boys in the room. They were all laughing at Addar’s tears. He was not tough like them, he could not protect his homeland like them, and he could not follow orders like them. Addar wanted to be strong, but such a sight could not be viewed without emotion, how could it?

The muscular man picked Addar up by the shirt collar and sat him down in the front of the room facing the other boys. The cantaloupe was set on the floor directly in front of him with the Janbiya to its right side. Addar was ordered to place his left hand firmly on top of the cantaloupe and to pick up the Janbiya with his right. The curved side of the blade was facing toward the cantaloupe. The muscular man placed his hand on top of Addar’s hand holding the knife and directed the pointy side of the knife inward to pierce the skin of the fruit. With a strong pull, he slid the knife across the front of the cantaloupe. The cantaloupe slid out from under Addar’s left hand and skidded across the room. All the boys in the room laughed at the sight.

Addar shook with fear as the muscular man raised him from the floor with one hand. A second cantaloupe was retrieved from a basket and placed on the floor where Addar now stood. With both men loudly yelling Arabic swear words at him, and all the boys in the room deriding his feeble attempt to slice the fruit, Addar suddenly just wanted to be at home once again. His knees shook and his back bowed as he was roughly sat back down by the muscular man.

This time, when Addar put his left hand on the cantaloupe he gripped it with a new resolve. Addar briefly closed his eyes and music began to play in his mind. When he reopened his eyes, the actions of his hands became secondary to the music only he could hear. This time, the cantaloupe sliced cleanly into two parts when the knife was pulled. The muscular man walked away and the other boys in the room quieted down and began to take their turns with their own  fruit.

The music in Addar’s mind had chased away his innocence.