WAR ZONE

…we live in a war zone. There will be casualties

I have written in past days about my first experiences in Bosnia Herzegovina not very long after the cessation of open war. I use the term open war because the hatred and the racial and societal issues still divide the country and corruption stops any real forward progress in defeating the enemy.

It is difficult to describe a war zone. The buildings that once were homes, businesses, churches are just bombed out shells, with no life save the foraging insects and vermin that root among the remains looking for what else they can devour.

A hand painted sign reading welcome to Sarajevo covered in shrapnel caused pock-marks
Iconic Sarajevo sign 1995

Where people still reside, apartment buildings have shell holes that allow in the winter wind and the outside is pock-marked, the results of shrapnel tearing apart at the structure trying to weaken it.

There is a stark analogy between the physical war zone I witnessed in Sarajevo and remote areas of the countryside and the spiritual battles we face today. In Bosnia, no place was left untouched. Specific places had horrific stories of hate-driven carnage and we see the same in the battles Satan wages upon our world. I have felt the darkness of Satan’s demonic power more in Bosnia than anywhere else I have traveled but, it is only because there the mask of civilization was ripped away, and Satan’s plans were open for anyone to see. In the rest of our world, often, we keep the mask of civility and Satan’s attacks are, perhaps, not unseen, but unnoticed  by an uncaring society too wrapped in their own pain and secular drives to respond.

In the Bible we read, Satan is a roaring lion, prowling around seeing whom he may devour, just like the vermin crawling among the carnage of Bosnia’s war. Paul tells us our war is not against flesh and blood but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)

A fierce looking lion crouched as if to pounce surrounded by a black background with the words Our Adversary the Devil

God has permitted Satan to have dominion over the world until the time He finishes it and brings Satan to destruction and all who believe in Christ are His forever in peace. God waits, not because He is cruel but because He is patient and loving. Peter explains it, writing that God is “not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”(2 Peter 3:9)

Until then, as one writer put it, “Satan’s attack means that we all are vulnerable to sickness, betrayal, financial meltdown, relational loss, emotional despair and other hardships… bad things happen to good people… we live in a war zone. There will be casualties.” (Rooted, Mariners Church 2011 p 85)

In our spiritual battles, there will be homes empty, just shells remaining where once there were families. There will be businesses and churches gone, only the few, scattered remains from a bombing by sin and failure. Where people still reside, there will be shell holes letting in the cold winter wind, chilling the soul and hardening the heart; the explosive remains of  damaged relationships, lost trust and horrific sin. The lives of those struggling to survive are pock-marked by the shrapnel of sin which has left its mark upon them.

There is hope.

The damage of war can be overcome and what was once uninhabitable shells of homes and broken down lives can come to life again like spring after a hard winter. The refreshing breeze of peace and love that comes only from Jesus Christ through His victory over death and sin.  When it coms to spiritual battles, as the ‘Rooted’ book spells out, “And (the Lord) wins. Every. Single. Time.” (p 85)

Someone once wrote how, in the darkest of places, a single candle burns brightest. I saw such a candle in Bosnia. It came in the form of a simple, unpretentious man who loved His Lord and loved every single person God sent his way in a very dark place. The flame of his candle lit many small candles which will burn for generations when the Spirit moves to set those candles within His lampstand.

A completely dark black frame with one bright flame from a candle visible in the darkness

John writes, “We know that we are children of God and that the world is under the control of the evil one.” That is disconcerting to say the least. But in context, we find hope. The verse just before this one reads, “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God (that’s Jesus)keeps him (that’s you if you truly believe)and the evil one (that’s Satan) does not touch him. Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world, but the Good News is that Jesus has overcome the world! He said so! Jesus doesn’t lie. Satan’s attacks will be all around us, but as believers, saved by grace through faith, even if we die because of a sinful world’s sickness, we are safe, secure, in heaven forever with Him.   

We live in a war zone. Live under the banner of the victor. Take heed to what He teaches about daily survival and keep a long-view, looking toward the completion of all things under Christ.

Novochok Nerve Agent Threatens More

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Amesbury, England Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess were found in their home apparently poisoned by the same nerve agent that nearly killed Russian Intelligence Officer Sergei Scripal and his wife Yulia in March. Sergei was accused of spying for Britain. They survived the poisoning but are now in protective seclusion following the narrow escape. The nerve toxin, Novochok an A-234 nerve agent is nicknamed by the Russians as newbie – and consists of a series of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union and Russia between 1971 and 1993. The symptoms of the drug’s ingestion is a headache, unconsciousness, convulsions and foaming at the mouth. Both Rowley and Sturgess are in critical condition. Reports indicate that they were at Salisbury’s Queen Elizabeth Gardens prior to becoming poisoned which is not far from where the Skripals had been found.

Photos of the  Skripals have been redacted for security concerns.

On the heels of the intel of the arrest of a person was arrested in Germany with large amounts of the drug Ricin and terrorist plans to contaminate the water system. It is apparent that the proper amount of vigilance on the part of international, national, local and civilian intelligence and security persons is warranted.

Amesbury

British police have categorized this as a Major Incident and, with over officers from forty departments involved in the last poisoning may be recalled to the newest incident.

The two most recent targets of the attack are being treated at the Porton Down Defense Research Facility just 18 minutes by car from the Salisbury District Hospital.

porton down defenseSCI’s intelligence agents and our network will continue to follow this and other leads as these cases progress.

The full story on where the gas came from is known: https://youtu.be/fXX4znMsHFk

Reflections in the Dark

In the Balkans they have a name for beings that are the offspring from a human and vampire union, it is dhampir

According to lore, vampires do not cast a shadow nor do they present a reflection. Because of their ‘undead’ status, when photographed, no image appears. You can see examples of this in the opening scenes of the children’s comedy Hotel Transylvania 2. They can, also according to lore, turn into bats as Bela Lugosi proved to us time and again as Count Dracula.

I had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time in the Balkans and visited the castle of Vlad the Impaler, the medieval psychotic sociopath from whom the Count Dracula’s legend is formed. He defended his castle and lands by impaling those who trespassed on long stakes and left them for others to see as a warning for all who might venture into his wooded lands.

Vlad

In the Balkans they have a name for beings that are the offspring from a human and vampire union, it is dhampir. According to ‘The Great Archives’ if I were to become a vampire through being bitten and eventually undead, I would be Lucas Montgomerie, also known as the Father of the Thirsty. The Archives claim that I would be, or was… depending on how you believe, “strangely cheerful for monsters and a prankster of the night.”

Before you pass this off as the senseless ravings of simple, superstitious and backward people; think again.  Consider some basic points… ‘Father of the Thirsty’ – for anyone who has gotten between me and a pitcher of sweet tea, you KNOW the results! ‘Strangely cheerful’ – believe it or not, in high school I was voted, out of all the males in our senior class as ‘happiest’. As for the ‘strangely’ part – anyone who knows me also can vouch for that! Then comes the ‘prankster of the night’.  For most of all my police career, I was on midnight shift. That is where I belonged, even now I am writing to you during the still hours of the late night. As far as ‘prankster’ – until the statute of limitations runs out; you are not getting any confessions from me!

On the doubting Thomas side of the ledger, once I learned the name I would or did have, I immediately looked for the Facebook page with the same name and YES, there is a Lucas Montgomerie but … there are two reasons to doubt. First his picture was there (which it should not be, remember?) And secondly, he didn’t look anything like me!

Now, before you begin to think that my cork is not all the way down in the bottle, let me explain to you my point. The legends and folklore of the Middle Centuries did come from a great deal of superstition and fear. They were called the Dark Ages for a very good reason. Men like Vlad were not the exception. There were many more evil, dark, demented people living out lives which were very likely demon driven. Demon possession has been a historic fact for millennia. I venture to say that as we get closer to the End of Time, the darkness will once again attempt to envelope our world.  Jesus dealt with many people who were possessed by demons.

On one occasion, Jesus had just finished teaching folks along the Sea of Galilee and that night He and His disciples got in a boat to cross to the other side of the sea. During the night a vicious storm erupted while Jesus slept. Awakened by His frightened followers, Jesus calmed the sea and they soon arrived in the Gadarenes. Mark chapter 5 tells us, “immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.” (NKJV)

You have heard, no doubt, of the numbers of young people now being called, ‘cutters’ because of their urgent need to cut themselves. Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. The ‘Gothic’ craze of recent decades, the continued  infatuation with demons and dark spirits, cult practices and things that go bump in the night is not unexpected.

The Dark Ages from 456 to 1000 was a time when most people were illiterate. Poverty and disease was rampant. Only the most educated had access to books and no one but the priests, if there were any in a region had the ability to read the Latin text of the Bible and it was only they who could speak on God’s behalf.

Our own century has seen a great many diseases cured or annihilated. Still cancers rage and disrupt families each and every day. We have more ‘knowledge ‘ available at our fingertips than ever in history. Just ask Google, it will tell you. The search, though, for true knowledge, understanding of the great classic works sorely lacking. A bogus claim that Albert Einstein said, “The day that technology overlaps our humanity we will have a generation of idiots.” There is no evidence that he ever said that but the logic of it does make sense. That we are becoming a generation that could be more susceptible to demonic influence is not at all out of the realm of reasoned thought.

The Book of Mark relates that when the demon possessed man saw Jesus, he ran after Him and worshipped Him.  When Jesus asked him his name, the demon replied, “Legion, for we are many.” (NKJV) James, the half-brother of Christ and author of the book bearing his name in the New Testament writes, “You believe that God is one. You do well, the demons also believe and shudder.” (NASB) There are still parts of the world where people are unable to read the Bible in their own language. Here, in the United States, Bibles can be found just about anywhere and many are free. For Americans, particularly those who claim the name of Christ, to not be familiar with God’s Word but to take a face value what a pastor, priest or the Internet claims to be truth is an open doorway to the same superstition and ignorance of the first Dark Ages. What will be your first step toward preparing your children or others of the next generation to live lives in the Light of God’s Word? Just something worth some reflection!

 

Union of the State

There is a place for debate and even open criticism under the First Amendment. However, unruly crowds that destroy property and create a public menace does more to aide and abet our nation’s enemies than it does to strengthen the power of the republic to represent all the people.

While traveling through the Southern USA, in an area a comedian once dubbed as  (imitating a televangelist voice) The Gold Buckle of the Bible Belt, I stopped for lunch at a small specialty shop. The town was the site of the meeting of the First Provincial Congress  August 25-27, 1774 (1) for discussion of what steps to take next afirst-provincial-congressgainst the oppression by the English. It is also a place that was important to the efforts of George Washington’s Continental Army and vital to General Burnside’s Union advance. Today it is  a unique tourist destination.(1)

The proprietor of this small establishment was, to my pleasant surprise, a Bosnian; a fact which opened the door to continuing our conversation because of this director’s long relationship with many dear young men and some others in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was the day after President Trump’s interview with Bill O’Reilly when the President affirmed that he would work with Russian President Putin to defeat ISIS. The gentleman asked me if I felt President Trump’s statement was appropriate. When oreilly-trump-interviewconfronted with O’Reilly’s retort that Putin is a killer, the President said “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers … You think our country’s so innocent?”(1)  This business owner, a naturalized citizen, felt it was absolutely inappropriate for the President of the United States to say such a thing.

A short time later, a person with years of counter-terrorism experience asked me the exact same question. The attitude, it seems, on both sides of the aisle, is incredulity at the President’s remarks. Once again, I think that we will find that the President is crazy like a fox.  Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, is often attributed to the following statement which is more accurately  credited to Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo (2) that expresses well what the President’s strategy may entail:  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  Make no mistake, he has a strategy. michael-corleoneIf he pushes back against Putin, then the term Cold War will be newly named after the Disney movie featuring Anna, Elsa and Olaf… Frozen.  Information on what Russia is planning would become much more difficult to get than it will be as pseudo-allies. President Trump knows that what information he gets will be filtered and sanitized… even manipulated; but, it won’t be locked down completely. Not so dissimilar to President Roosevelt’s take on Josef Stalin.

It is true that, in many respects, such a strategy carries an ends justifies the means qualifier. It is not unlike the U.S. working closely with Saudi Arabia whose regime is a lessor degree of diabolical than Putin. Is it an issue of ethics versus political reality? When does a national leader have the option to compromise national ethics (if such a thing exists)? If national ethics do exist and if it is possible; then, is the use of that option a matter of presidential authority or is it his right to do so? The difference being that, the first can be reviewed and over-ridden by Congress. The latter is sacrosanct. Of course, then, if such a national code of ethics does exist, the question becomes “Who defines it?”. For now, we’ll leave those questions for another discussion. The question now before us is: “To what degree do we, the people, have a duty to support our president?”

As Director and President of Security Consulting Investigations, LLC,  I am stating unequivocally that, even though we certainly will disagree with our President on tactics for terrorist interdiction and strategies for developing and maintaining necessary intelligence information, SCI will support and defend the Office of the President of the United States of America and we will do everything within our capabilities to support our President. We do believe that any Secret Service agent who openly proclaims that he or she will defy the requirements of their job and refuse to protect the president with their life should be immediately dismissed and lose all opportunities for work within the federal government. Also, any other agency, state, local or private shall have the right to, and be encouraged to, refuse to consider that person for employment for their flagrant disregard of their job responsibilities.

Security Consulting Investigations, LLC is proud to be a private  business registered in Ohio. We are licensed through the Ohio Department of Public Safety/Homeland Security with offices also in Los Angeles, California and Washington, D.C. We are thankful for the international work we have had to build security protocols and to learn from others who have survived decades of combating terrorism on their home front. From those diverse sources, Dr. Riggs wrote his most recent work, ‘Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in a Time of Heightened Threat, due out form Motivational Press soon!

We are thankful for being in a country where we can explain to prospective clients that we are a faith-based business and everything we do is bathed in prayer. Our country is an exceptional place to live, work and raise a family. SCI has many international resources but even so, we are Americans and proud of it. Even as Security Consulting Investigations, LLC supports the Office of President of the United States of America and the person who occupies that office, we do not blindly follow; but we do respect and give deference to both the office and the person.  If a change of the person who sits in the Oval Office is necessary, the place to do so is at the ballot box every four years, unless Congress takes action to impeach.  It is true that, as President Thomas Jefferson declared, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”(4)tree-of-liberty Jefferson was correct; but, he was not declaring the right to remove a president by assassination or violent overthrow when there are peaceful and effective means available. There is a place for debate and even open criticism under the First Amendment. However, unruly crowds that destroy property and create a public menace does more to aide and abet our nation’s enemies than it does to strengthen the power of the republic to represent all the people.

Those who want to chant that Mr. Trump is not their president are as free to leave this country as are all the Hollywood loud-mouths that declared that, if he won they would renounce their citizenship and leave the United States. As far as SCI is aware, not one single U-Haul has been backed up to any of the multi-million dollar homes in Beverly Hills and elsewhere to help those fulfill their promise to relocate. We encourage those who have no true plan or methodology to improve the conditions for which they demand a response, other than to scream vile slogans and disrupt the public peace, to grow-up, accept the legal transition of power, and get involved with your congressman to work to improve conditions for which you have a heart. Then, if you remain dissatisfied, help to seek a qualified candidate for the 2020 election. Until then, respect the Office of the President and pray for President Trump. He has one of the most difficult jobs in the world and he needs our prayerful support.

May God bless America and may America bless God.

*********

Endnotes

(1)         http://www.carolana.com/NC/Revolution/nc_revolution_government_1775.html(2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/02/07/bill-oreilly-seems-fine-with-trumps-excusing-putin/?utm_term=.1801a0930799                            (3)         Character Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II (1974)                                          (4)          http://tjrs.monticello.org/letter/100

SCI Intelligence Briefing: RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR’s MURDER and the CONSEQUENCES for the U.S.

“Those who live next6 door to an internationally known Muslim cleric who is an enemy of…president of Turkey and… President of Russia, may want to take an extended vacation in Florida this winter.”

sci-intel-briefing-russian-ambassador-killedrussian-ambassador-assassinated-by-turkish-security-team-member

Gentle Ravings

When someone is an enemy of America because they hold to an ideology that calls for the killing of our soldiers, our cops, our citizens then that person is our enemy and we have every right to call them on it,

Unpinned 2

A very short time ago, I prepared a new post for the Security Consulting Investigations, LLC Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SecCon1 and its sister page First Defense which is at www.facebook.com/DEFcon360 using a tool for passing along bits of information to help citizens better understand our world. It plays off my company’s initials and logo and is titled: InSCIghts. This particular one is about a 20-year-old young man from West Chester, Ohio a suburb of Cincinnati which lays along the I75 corridor that runs all kinds of illicit traffic from Miami to Detroit and back whether it be drugs or children or adults. The Cincinnati news video that is linked in my post uses the information that the young man’s mom had hoped he would go to work for the local Proctor & Gamble but instead he chose ISIS. And choose it, he did. The twenty-month federal investigation gathered evidence that Munir Abdulkader purchased an AK-47, a Russian designed semi-auto and automatic rifle that shoots 7.62x39mm shells. The gun is affectionately called the Kalash after its designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov. ak-47It has been an effective weapon used by many nations since its 1947 advent. I want you to understand something specific here. A teenager in America may often own, as a gift from family, a 410 shotgun or even a 20 or 12 gauge shotgun for rabbit or deer hunting; perhaps even a .22 caliber rifle or handgun for plinking targets. A teen or a 20-year-old does not buy, for fun, an AK-47, particularly one modified to fully automatic. I do not know if Abdulkader’s was so modified, even so, he cannot legally purchase one and I doubt his mother gave it to him as a gift.

Testimony indicated that Abdulkader planned to find, locally, an American soldier, cut his head off and film himself doing so. He then planned to ambush Cincinnati police when they responded to the incident. His life goal was to support ISIS and wage his own form of jihad in his own country, the United States of America.

There are two very critical points here. First, if this can happen in West Chester, Ohio; it can happen wherever you live.

The second point derives from two comments. One made about Abdulkader was that ‘social media encouraged Abdulkader’s radicalization and it facilitated it.’ That may well be true… however, go back to the news story title: “He chose ISIS” – No one on any social media site forced him to plan what he planned; that needs to be clear. This was his choice.

The second comment that feeds into my second point came not from this story but a response someone made to a story of mine earlier this week about the intelligence gathering process and information that came through to be accurate about ISIS wanting people to take a motor vehicle and, as was done in Europe, use it to drive into crowds of people around the Thanksgiving Day celebrations in the U.S. One such ISIS fanatic did that at The Ohio State University on their first day back to school after Thanksgiving break and the OSU win over Michigan. An OSU police officer shot and killed the would-be killer. The comment that was forth-coming was that we must not see religion, race etc. as the enemy. The inference being that, if, while doing intelligence gathering when looking for someone who might plot a terrorist attack against the United States; the analysts pay attention to those of Islamic background and/or Middle East roots since that is where the threats are from and since the  majority of the terrorists attacks against the United States in the last two decades have been by persons fitting those descriptions, then the analyst is somehow wrong because he is driven by his prejudice!

There is an old saying that: if it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck and if it quacks like a duck… it’s a duck. Many in America and elsewhere work very hard at making our society the one to be at fault. That somehow, all of us regular American citizens going about our everyday lives, are somehow creating the social atmosphere that pushes individuals like this 20-year-old to lash out at us. That, if we criticize a religion that openly calls for attacks against the U.S., we say well, it is only some of them who say that or sure, maybe that is what their tradition teaches but, it is not what they really mean…

Now before you go off and say what an Islamophobe I am or how prejudice, you best take care to look into my background, my work over the last fifteen years, and learn about the love I have for some young men who are, all but one, Muslim. (The other is Serbian) These folks I know and love are just human beings trying to get through another day. They do not practice the strict tenets that is espoused by the Imams in the mosque in their neighborhood. Still, that violence is central to what is taught as Allah’s will. Since when can we not look at an ideology and call it what it is: the tools of our enemy? When someone decides to sit under that type of teaching and then decides to act on what he has been taught, it is his responsibility and it is his actions that make him our enemy; not our feelings about his religion. That stuff is right off the stable floor. The incident in London is an example:british-terror-attack-clever

Did we go to war against all of Germany in WWII? Yes. Were the real culprits in the war the Nazis? Yes, again. If someone held to the Nazi ideology did we label that person an enemy of America? The answer is Yes. If it walks like a storm-trooper… We weren’t concerned about disrespecting his beliefs!

When people who mean well delude themselves into thinking that somehow its our fault that these evil people act the way they do then the logic of that argument lays the fault of the Holocaust at the feet of the German Jews. When someone is an enemy of America because they hold to an ideology that calls for the killing of our soldiers, our cops, our citizens then that person is our enemy and we have every right to call them on it, to watch them, to track them, to catch them before they kill. To blame society is to make it possible that no one is responsible and to try to handcuff the cops, the intelligence analysts, the covert operatives, the military by saying… Okay, you have to do whatever you can to make sure we all stay safe but we don’t want you taking a second look at these people because of their background and you can’t consider these people suspicious because they frequent these places or these websites and chat rooms… then, when some of those same folks are entering your store with a machete headed for the young soldier sitting at the counter, you may as well be holding the soldier down for them’ because that is what such placating, politically correct, pontificating is doing.

It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green

The initial video training is just enough information to be dangerous, at least in this author’s opinion.

kermit-3 In about 1972, Jim Raposo wrote a song made popular by Jim Henson singing as Kermit the Frog, ‘It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green’ and such words were never more true than in the world today for some who consult with international organizations and are painting whole countries green! Kermit, apparently has begun to understand the dangerous times in which we live. It is a shame that some of these consultants are not as kermit-2well aware. When I say it’s a shame, I mean shame in the most Asian culture seriousness of the word. Perhaps an allusion to another time in our country when being green was a euphemism for being a novice, inexperienced and in capable of functioning on their own, particularly in dangerous situations, is the best way to understand the color.  

I enjoy allusions to cinema and when those illustrations also include John Wayne, so much the better! In El Dorado, John Wayne plays Cole Thornton, a gun hand who refuses to go against his old friend who is the sheriff in the middle of a range war. Instead, he comes to his aid. The sheriff, J.P. Harrah, gets very irritated at a new friend of Wayne’s character, named Mississippi (James Caan) and turns toward him, gun drawn. Thornton (Wayne) says, “Now wait a minute J.P., he’s a little green…” el-dorado-1

Like an unripe fruit, he was not ready. In this case, he was not ready to be on his own in a dangerous situation.    

What does this have to do with this consultant advising this international agency on security and using the color green? The plan, apparently, was to review the security needs of every country in the international organization’s wheel house. They would then color code them as to the level of security training necessary. There were four categories, red being the highest risk and requiring the most training, orange, yellow and then green. Thirty-four out of sixty-five areas of responsibility worldwide, 52.3% were rated as GREEN and were considered LOW RISK. The most heinous part is that the LOW RISK countries required NO TRAINING. Some extremely basic 3 hour introductory videos are shown to everyone but beyond that – No Training!

Low risk countries included all of Europe; including Germany, France, and Spain and we all know how safe those places are today. Ukraine, recently invaded by Russia with war still prevalent in the eastern cities only rates a YELLOW – two days of training!

Although Eastern and Western Mindanao were considered separately, the Philippines was listed as GREEN, no training needed. Western Mindanao is RED and Eastern Mindanao is only YELLOW – requiring just 2 days of training! I could continue; but, you can imagine that if over 50 percent of an organization’s countries, or areas of responsibility, require no supplemental training at all, what is the level of situational awareness of the people working in those countries?

Let’s take a further look at Mindanao. The company divides it into Western and Eastern as we described earlier. Those were the names used before the emancipation. The correct name for Western Mindanao is the Zamboanga Peninsula. Remember, it is shown as RED and the remainder of Mindanao or what was labeled as Eastern is YELLOW – requiring only two  days of training so near to one of the most hateful bunch of Al Qaeda factions out there. Now, realize that all of Mindanao is only 37, 654 square miles. That is less than the State of Ohio which is 44, 825 and can be traversed easily in a few hours. The Zamboanga Peninsula is only 572.74 square miles, which is comparable in size to New York CITY which is 468.90 without its suburbs! So, here I am in Ohio saying that in NE Ohio I’m okay, only a yellow; but, if I travel a few hours to near Cincinnati, bang- I’m in red territory.

Let’s jump off the island of Mindanao and consider the rest of the Philippines which is GREEN – no additional training needed. Manila, the capital city is about as far away from Mindanao as you can get and still be on the archipelago.  By air it is only 561 miles to Manila from Mindanao and 1040 miles by land and boat. Forty two hours travel in the latter and only 59 minutes in the former. Plus, the airfare currently is only $91 one way. Employees of this company living in Manila are GREEN and require no additional training while they are only $91 and 59 minutes from some of the worst Al Qaeda terrorists in the world.

The United States is listed as GREEN yet shootings, stabbings, kidnappings are on the news almost every night. Should not every American have some understanding of how to be situationally aware enough to protect themselves? Apparently the employees of this organization do not require it. The initial video training is just enough information to be dangerous, at least in this author’s opinion.

No doubt, those involved in this organization went about their task in good faith and put a great deal of stock into what they were being told. I would really like to know what kind of a grid was used to determine the levels of risk.  I would also like to know how, any group responsible for the lives of their employees, and, due to their diverse spread across the world, their employees’ spouses and their children, can consider any of them to not require any real training.

Sadly, if I were to hazard a guess… a deciding factor was cost. To the organization’s credit, they weren’t specifically trying to save themselves money because the brunt of the cost of the training would be born by the employees themselves. That is the way this company is structured. You could say, that a company that was bearing its responsibility correctly, (or  I believe the argument could be made to carry their responsibility morally), should be providing the training at no cost to the employee; but that is not the way it is currently for most of these contract-type employees. 

Over fifty percent of this organization’s area (and probably an even much higher percentage of their actual employees and families) are living in GREEN areas. Very seldom in writing is there an opportunity to use this word, so here goes, I am flabbergasted!

If you could see me right now you might think you were intoxicated or had a head injury because you might just see two of me… because I am simply beside myself on this one!

I truly believe that the organization involved here is attempting to do their very best; but, internally they have almost no expertise by which to filter what they are being told by outside consultants. I have no idea the credentialing of these consultants. Maybe, in many areas they are considered experts. However, it is this one person’s seasoned opinion that they are very wrong in the way they are directing this organization.  I urge any group that decides to depend solely on the opinions of someone or some group from outside their own agency on how best to protect their own people to use the very utmost of caution.

One last movie analogy, in the Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade, the malefactor must decide which chalice he believes to be the cup of Christ. If he picks the right one, he receives immortality, the wrong one brings death. As the Nazis villain decays into a pile of dust, the ancient crusader left to guard the cup says very simply, “He chose poorly.”crusader