Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
What is your price? What do you think you are worth? What would you pay to retrieve your child who has been kidnapped? Hopefully you have never been in a position to have to bargain for human lives, but at this very moment there are thousands of hostages held by terrorist and criminal gangs in dangerous and degrading conditions in Central and South America, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. They are stuck in the middle while their families, employers, governments or specialist hostage negotiators haggle over their lives and 'value'. The longer negotiations continue the less likelihood there is of release and/or exchange, and the greater the chances of deliberate or even accidental death.
Hostages can only pray their skills, nationality, visibility, network of influence and family wealth will make them more valuable alive than dead. The timing, changing political landscapes and media focus all contribute to their chances of returning home. This week I write about three hostages. All were working in the humanitarian sectors of health and education in war zones. None were in the military. One from America, one from Australia and one from New Zealand. All countries which at some point in my life and my family life, we have called home.
The photos below are of two men kidnapped in Kabul and held prisoner by criminal/terrorist networks since August 7, 2016. They were on their way home from teaching at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). The younger man, Tim Weeks from Australia, had only just arrived two weeks before. The driver of the AUAF van got away. It was a policy of AUAF not to allow weapons or guards in transport. It was a dangerous drive from the apartment/villas provided to faculty down Darul Amman road to the university. A number of assassinations, roadside bombings, drive by bombings and shootings happened on that road.
The vans AUAF faculty were required to ride in were "thin skins" with no extra protection. I know because I used to be part of that faculty, I lived in the same lodgings and rode the same routes, and I knew the American hostage, Kevin King. The dramatic change in both men while in captivity is painful to see from the photos. Evidently they are/were imprisoned in dreadful conditions for at least the first two years. There are no public photos or videos of them since 2018. Since the first week of their abduction, reports circulated of both men being held by the notorious Haqqani network. The Haqqani network/criminal and terrorist organization extends into Pakistan. Pakistan media confirms the initial reports as stated below.
"The professors are believed to be under the captive authority of the Haqqani network, which works closely with the Taliban as a kidnapping moneymaking enterprise. Haqqani also held US soldier Bowe Bergdahl and the recently released hiker Caitlan Coleman and her family — who were located in Pakistan following a grueling five-year captivity. A senior Afghan intel source, connected to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), also affirmed that the professors were kidnapped by Haqqani militants with the help of “internal circles,” which function like criminal gangs in Kabul. They were held initially in the Arzo district of Logar province in the Speen Jomat area, just a few miles from the tribal area of Pakistan known as Parachinar, but were shifted deeper inside the Kurram district inside the bordering tribal areas. The NDS source also claimed that the Haqqani network continues to demand the release of one of their top commanders, Anas Haqqani, who was captured in 2014, and sentenced to death by Afghan officials. There are some Afghan officials pushing for this maneuver under the belief it may make foreign visitors safer. However, a well-placed US official told US Fox News that they are absolutely standing by their no-concession policy, and that there will be no such trades made." www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/11/07/haqqanis-holding-abducted-professors-pakistan-can-play-role-says-afghan-official/
Terrorists then launched a full scale attack on AUAF two weeks later, August 24, 2016. 14 people were killed including students, police guards and professors,45 people were wounded. No group officially claimed responsibility but students and American professors heard the terrorists while they hid for over ten hours during the attack. An eyewitness account by one of my former AUAF colleagues, an American survivor Dr. Raj Chandarlapaty, can be seen/heard in this interview: www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=316&v=41Lc9DFiAAQ
The official position of all three nations-the USA, Australia and New Zealand, is that "no ransom will be paid, no prisoner exchanges made with criminal and/or terrorist groups". However with the speed of social media and global reach over the last decade, it is well known - and in some cases officially celebrated as with the "exchange/return" made for Army deserter Bowe Berghdahl by former President Obama-that all three countries, at some time in the past have paid money or exchanged high value prisoners for their citizens. All three countries have violated their own "no concession" policy. Moreover, if kidnappers and their associates and supporters are not caught and punished nor publicly identified-they will continue to use these crimes as leverage any chance they can. Criminals and terrorists have no incentive to keep their promises. They do not follow 'rules of law' or 'rules of engagement' ROE. They will never "play nice and work well with others".
Unfortunately for New Zealand nurse/mid wife Lisa Akavi, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hasn't learned those lessons yet. There are many in the international humanitarian aid community, including the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, Lisa Akavi's employer, who believe that the enforced "secrecy" demanded by Prime Minister Ardern at a time when spotlighting Lisa and her plight would have been most beneficial, was a serious miscalculation in her hostage negotiation "policy". New Zealand had already planned using their special operations forces in Syria when intel pointed to a specific housing group where Lisa Akavi was sighted/reported to be working as a nurse in Daesh/ISIS compounds.
In April 2019, New Zealand finally revealed that there had been communications and the New Zealand military had responded with a unit to search in Syria for Lisa Akavi. “This has involved members of the NZDF (New Zealand defense force) drawn from the Special Operations Force, and personnel have visited Syria from time to time as required,” Winston Peters said. This non-combat team was specifically focused on locating Louisa and identifying opportunities to recover her." www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2019/04/15/new-zealand-special-forces-in-syria-search-for-nurse-held-by-islamic-state/ To date (August 20,2019) Lisa Akvai has not been found, rescued or exchanged and returned.
It is naive to think those who would even contemplate kidnapping and trading hostages for money/assets/leverage would not know how much they could demand from a government or family. There are online reports from countries who have had their citizens taken hostage and what they "paid" for their return. This includes France, Japan, Korea, Italy and Australia. Here is one article by correspondent and writer, James Dickey, himself party to hostage negotiations at various times in his life: www.thedailybeast.com/isiss-new-hostage-threat?ref=scroll
The dark net is where more specifics can be researched, depending on the nationality. You can probably guess which nationality is the "highest value" hostage, no matter what their profession. As long as one family, government, employer has paid-and numerous have over the years-the 'official policies' against negotiation are ineffectual and have certainly not proved to be a deterrent.
Remember, too-that children are kidnapped, held hostage, tortured, sexually abused, beaten, forced to do crimes, perversions and even murder-then they are often filmed and killed especially by Daesh/ISIS and criminal gangs. Below is just one photo of Kurdish children in Kobani who were finally rescued in Syria. There are thousands of other children still held hostage. Photo is courtesy of Human Rights Watch.
Finally, these three human beings Lisa Akavi, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks need any/all help and support you can muster. If you have any credible information about their whereabouts and if you can continue to make their plight known on platforms on the net-please do and keep them in your prayers. All these efforts can assist. These three ventured to do "good works" in the world, and provide benefit not harm. Hopefully they will be able to return to their homes....alive...soon.
Sending this song out to those courageous human beings who are heroic in enduring imprisonment, privations and worse. This song is especially for young innocents and for those who worked for others benefit, in foreign lands.
The song I include is sung by Mariah Carey who has a three octave reach and mastery of her voice for "Hero" www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=0IA3ZvCkRkQ Yes, we can also be "heroes" if only just for one day.
Until next week...carry on,
It may be easy to believe, that if your family and/or your community was attacked you would rush to defend, protect and counter attack those who were laying siege. You would volunteer to go, train and fight no matter who you are: female, male, professional, parent, student, laborer or veteran. You would be brave in the face of unspeakably violent acts, terrorizing brutality, daily hardship and in confronting death. But the truth is unless you have faced war, attacks and sieges-you truly do not know what you would do. History documents the statistics over time-most people flee when confronted by an advancing enemy army. The majority of people desperately seek any 'safe zone' within reach and will beg, borrow, bribe, steal, betray, beat, convert and pay to stay in their safe place. The will to live is so strong in most human beings they will turn against one another, even their own family members...to survive.
This week I recognize those who did not run from danger but who fought and who continue to fight courageously in spite of formidable odds against a ruthless enemy who is/was better equipped. The Peshmerga-(from Solani Kurdish) meaning-'those who confront/face death' must do so with dwindling support from nations who once relied on them to defeat the scourge of Daesh/ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, and who welcomed their support to defeat and capture Saddam Hussein. I write and speak of the lions/lionesses of the Middle East and Anatolia, who are still the ones who maintain vigilance against the terrorists regrouping and escaping from their purview...the Peshmerga, especially the YPJ-the all female units of their militias. Please watch this short clip entitled: "Kurdish women YPJ Fighting ISIS on the Frontline" to have an idea of these units, their conditions and their ranks. www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kkhrB9M7oY
No matter what the corporate news channels may present, unfortunately Daesh/ISIS has not been eradicated, and groups such as the more country specific Taliban, and even the more trans-national terror group Al Qaida, have in fact increased in size. "Al Qaeda's eventual goal is still the establishment of a caliphate from Jerusalem to Spain. It's a very similar goal to that of ISIS, partly because ISIS began as Al Qaeda in Iraq, before an ideological dispute saw it split from the group in 2013. The group's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said its focus is on attacking the US, which it calls "the head of the snake," and the "first enemy of Muslims around the globe." www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-31/al-qaeda-was-forgotten-but-the-terror-group-is-more-dangerous/1136523
Since the region the Peshmerga live and fight in includes the countries of Syria, Iraq and Turkey; most people assume the Peshmerga to be military units which only have Muslims serving, but this is not true. As pictured below, while the majority of Peshmerga are Sunni Muslims-Assyrian Christians, Shi'a and Sufi Muslim women and men, also serve. The Peshmerga are the most 'open minded' and 'tolerant' of in terms of military protocols, recruitment guidelines and access to training for a broad spectrum of the population in the Middle East/Asian and North African regions.
There are recent reports of Yezidi women joining the Peshmerga in spite of residual distrust on the part of many Yezidi. When Daesh/ISIS fighters were approaching their villages the Iraqi army soldiers and law enforcement abandoned their positions. The Yezidi were told by some Peshmerga units to stay in place in Mosul, Sinjar and other locations in Iraq and Syria. Then they reported that most Peshmerga retreated, leaving the Yezidi defenseless and unable to escape. Yezidi men and boys older than 12 or 13 were slaughtered. Women and children were taken as slaves and sex slaves by Daesh/ISIS, bought and sold like cattle. Thousands of Yezidis have not been rescued or accounted for by their families and communities. www.newstatesman.com/world/middle-east/2019/06/five-years-slave-islamic-state
However, there are also numerous reports from diverse interest groups and sources which point to the YPG and the YPJ (Peshmerga Protection Units and Female Peshmerga Protection Units) thekurdishproject.org/history-and-culture/kurdish-nationalism/peoples-protection-units-ypg/
fighting fiercely to rescue Syrian and Iraqi Yezidis and Christians from Daesh/ISIS control, making the whole picture very complicated in terms of alliances. Here is one reported example from Sinjar:
"The real heroes for the Mt. Sinjar Yazidis are not NATO [or US] military personnel, but Syrian Kurds. This is because groups of Syrian Kurdish fighters, upon learning of the fate of the people trapped on Mt. Sinjar, organized and battled through IS forces, militarily digging out a safe corridor by which to remove them from the mountain and give them safe passage into Syria or some other area." www.activistpost.com/2014/08/syrian-kurds-not-us-military-rescued.html
Some of you may remember the news from Syria when Turkish military along with "Syrian Rebels" killed and displayed the body of Kurdish YPJ soldier Barin Kobani in Afrin in February 2018. (see photo below)
There are Kurds who are Turkish, have been brought up in Turkey, speak Turkish and another dialect of Kurdish, but ultimately when joining the Peshmerga, identify as Kurdish. There has been tremendous tension for decades between the Turks and the Kurds. The Turkish government categorized Kurds as "Mountain Turks" until the 1980s. The words "Kurds", "Kurdistan", or "Kurdish" were officially banned by the Turkish government, similar to their policies/prohibitions against the Armenians. Many people who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned. The Kurds have been denied rights, property and acceptance in Turkish society although so far international pressure has prevented all Turkey from conducting further persecution.
However Turkey, announced on Sunday, August 11, they will launch an operation in northern Syria to remove Kurdish militia viewed as terrorists by Ankara-the YPG and YPJ are labeled as "terrorists" by President Erdogan of Turkey.
"Ankara says the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia is a “terrorist offshoot” of Kurdish militants waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984. But the US has worked closely with the YPG against ISIS." www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/article/turkey-to-launch-offensive-in-northern-syria/
The Kurdish and Kurdistani ethnicity overrides borders and countries where they live. The Kurdish communities co-existed peacefully with their Jewish neighbors for thousands of years in fact, although Kurdistani Jews fled Iraq and surrounding areas before 1972. Estimates of Kurdistani Jews in Israel now range from 250,000 to 400,000 depending on how "ancestry" is determined and what reports you read. www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/kurdish-jews-in-israel-back-independence-for-their-iraqi-compatriots-1.5453442
There are some analysts who believe the close relationship of Israeli Kurds, the support of Israel for the Kurds and their promotion of equal rights for women and tolerance of other religions besides Islam, has incensed the current president of Turkey who is an outspoken proponent of Islam and Sharia law. His reprehensible views on women and their duties, role in society and belief that women are not equal to men and contraception is treason-are well documented. www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkeys-president-erdogan-says-childless-women-are-deficient-and-incomplet-a7067126.html
Kurds are ultimately still fighting for what has been promised for centuries by more powerful nations and empires i.e. the right to their own country-an Independent Kurdistan. For a short time in November 2017, it seemed as if a part of that vision would be realized in northern Iraq but ironically it was the inability of the Kurdish groups themselves to support each other against the Iraqi government and army, which ended the possibility of a portion of land to be designated for them and recognized as 'Kurdistan'.
Though the Kurds could confront an enemy outside themselves and face death-they could not agree at the negotiating table among fellow Kurds, tribes and families. After the elections in Iraq in 2018, the Kurds lost more political leverage and the Shi'a parties and Iranian supported militia presence increased their power and influence in Iraq.
For over a year, Turkey has initiated attacks against various militias and communities of Kurds on their border and into Syria. The international community including the United States and the UK have proposed a "safe zone" of 30 kilometers along the Syrian/Turkish border. But the Turkish president Erdogan insists only Turkey should be in charge of the 'safe zone' and "removing all YPG/YPJ is part of their plan" for this corridor. 'The term “peace corridor”, besides sounding Orwellian, is identical to the type of rhetoric used by Erdogan – who calls the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria a “terror corridor”. www.rudaw.net/english/analysis/11082019
Local media report military vehicles and commando units assembling on the border (Agence France-Prese). Meantime no allies of the Kurds have put themselves forward.
The Kurdish people have a saying: "The Kurds have no friends but the mountains". Let's hope this time the USA can be counted on as a supporter and friend ensuring the 'safe zone' does not turn into a 'killing zone' as happened last century
with the Armenians.
This week I share a "Tribute to Kurdish Women Warriors" with Kurdish music and dance clips in the hopes you will keep them in your thoughts and prayers. It is hard to believe that about this time last year I was happily listening to live Kurdish music and watching energetic dances done by both men and women in a large hall outside of Erbil, Iraq.
This video will give you a glimpse of the joy as well as the hardship in Kurdish life .
Goodnight from here,
Why is "Lady Liberty" and the "Scales of Justice" portrayed with a woman, scales and often with a sword and blindfold? Western civilization from the Greek and Roman eras used their Goddesses (yes they had 'gender equity' in their god hierarchies even in ancient times) Themis-mother to the Fates and goddess of law, order and justice, and the Roman goddess Justitia-who carried the sword, scales and blindfold which symbolized the authority and power (sword) balance with evidence (scales) and impartiality of "blind justice without prejudice or passion" (blindfold). It is instructive to note that many countries still use these "pagan" icons in paintings, statues and monuments for their courts, councils, halls of government, legal institutions and law schools. Implicit in the posture, costume and expression on these art works is the presence of compassion and temperance, focus and fairness. These are indeed noble ideals. We often literally must look up to see the full statue or representation. When we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, the words we say include: "And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God with liberty and justice for all." Lofty, powerful words. But do the actions of the American "justice system" prove these to be true?
Certainly no justice system in any country is without flaw and corruption at some level, but the degree to which the rule of law is applied "equally" and justice meted out impartially is important to the overall working and integrity of a nation. This weekend my uncle Arthur Angelo Munisteri, an attorney who served the public in New York state as a Deputy Special Counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica (Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971), as a US District Attorney for the Southern District of New York for many years then as the Chief of the Civil Division Office of the Deputy Attorney General New York Department Medicaid Fraud Control; passed away. In addition to his public service Arthur Munisteri also practiced law in private firms and after retirement acted as a legal consultant. He had faith in the rule of law in the USA, even though he witnessed first hand numerous frustrations trying to have it applied equally.
Our cousin, Nick Mangieri, was also native New Yorker. A Navy veteran of WWII, Nick served as Chief of Police in Alaska, Deputy Sheriff in California and as a private Detective in New York. He was a Federal Agent with the Department of Labor attached to the Inspector General's Fraud Division assigned to South Florida and Washington, D.C. Nick wrote non-fiction books about government corruption, cover ups and abuses of power in the USA. www.police-writers.com/mangieri.html
Broken Badge: The Silencing of a Federal Agent and Frozen Shield: Alaska Cover-Up, are both published by Veracity Press and are non-fiction books by Nick Mangieri. In the late 1970s, as a special investigator in Broken Badge he discovered widespread sexual coercion, fraud and other illegal activities in the administration of Washington, DC's Mayor Marion Barry. Nick was slandered and called a "racist" as part of a campaign to discredit him so his investigations would be shelved...sound familiar?! The same smear tactics are used today.
Nick battled against cover-ups and obstruction of justice by his superiors. Frozen Shield is an expose of his experiences as an Alaskan police chief pursuing massive land fraud and corruption by local politicians and apathy by state and federal officials to these crimes. This book also recounts the reprisals Nick encountered. Still he continued as a investigator and did his work privately after he retired from government service. Nick believed no one should be "above the law". He passed away in 2009.
On both sides of my family (paternal and maternal) we have relatives in law enforcement as police officers, detectives and highway patrol as well as relatives who are attorneys, judges and paralegals. Most of these work in the greater New York area and three of my brothers work as attorneys in the private sector in Texas and California. At one time, two of my brothers worked at the local, state (Texas) and the Federal (in Washington, D.C.) levels of government.
I worked as a paralegal/writer for Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin, Kahn law firm over two summers during college; and then as an investigative researcher for Ralph Nader, Les Whitten and Jack Anderson on different projects when I was in my twenties, in Washington, D.C. My eyes were opened to the cover up with the Kennedy assassinations, the privilege of high power legal firms/clients/politicians and the manipulations by lobbyists and criminal networks. In addition I worked with earnest, crusading investigators on the staffs of all those men and their organizations, who showed me by their actions and restraint-that vigilance must never cease to keep the ideals of liberty and justice in America.
In 1999, I worked in a juvenile detention center in Texas as a teacher, but saw how the juvenile justice system did not work for boys who had no one to advocate for them and who became ciphers in the "child protection" and "juvenile justice" machines churning them and spitting them out. There is certainly a two tiered "justice system" for those who have money to afford competent legal representation and/or have connections to judges and law enforcement, and those who do not.
Our attention the past few weeks, when not being diverted by 'mass shooting events', has been summoned to follow the daily revelations about the failure of the United States justice system to investigate, arrest, charge and convict hundreds of high profile "players" in the political, legal, entertainment industry and intelligence communities. Their crimes from misdemeanors and felonies to treason - over decades - are finally coming to light for those who choose to "see" what is/has been happening within our country. The blindfolds are coming off.
The "top ten" of the high rolling 'white collar criminals' (including their family ties/connections/cults) continue with ongoing investigations into the Clinton family, the Biden family, NXIVM, George and Daisy Soros, The Richard Branson family and the UK Royal family. The nexus between all of these people are convicted sex offenders: Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein, the Podesta Group and recruiters/groomers Ghilaine Maxwell, Clare, Edgar and Sara Bronfman and convicted then "released" Laura Silsby, who has changed her name to Laura Gayler. These people are just the tip of the criminal monolithic iceberg but shedding light on their activities starts the meltdown we need to navigate and cleanse the polluted waters of our Republic. Unfortunately only one of these people is in jail...Jeffrey Epstein.
The Clinton Foundation, The Clinton Global Initiative, The William J. Clinton Foundation, The Clinton Health Access, The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) and the Ten Island Initiative, are all directly part of the Clinton empire holdings. All the above mentioned people are supporters and participants in these organizations.
Were they created to be: 1) be tax havens 2) cover for illegal activities including child trafficking, drug trafficking and organ trafficking 3) blackmail/leverage traps 4) off shore secure locations without legal accountability or surveillance...the evidence is piling up to document a resounding "Yes" to all these allegations.
Read the reports on this investigative site-with links and documents:
Follow on with these reports:
Dear Readers, Colleagues, Friends and Family I urge you to be courageous in the times ahead. Keep to a path of integrity in your personal lives and in your work places. Keep alert to the shams, scams, disinformation and biased reporting and seek out other media to triangulate the reports you will see on the "news". Human beings and human nature have not changed over millennia. The goddess icons of law and justice from Egyptian, Greek and Roman times still remind us today of how rigorous we must be to utilize authority, impartiality, balance and insight in order to maintain civility, democracy and our humanity.
Ending this week with a challenge for you to pull out the sword from Lady Liberty and stem the blood flowing from violence, terror, injustice, torture, lies and predation. Staunch the wounds of shame, dishonor, inaction and cowardice. Ask for the guidance of the divine light and protection of God-in whatever name you pray. We need a whole, united response to the darkness and evil attacking us from within and without. Come on out and join the fight.
Music from a man who knew many levels of pain, trouble and triumph...Johnny Cash. This music video displays criminals from all sectors of society over time. Powerful-I suggest you watch and listen more than once. Go on...you still have time:
"God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash
Cheerio from here,