Perspective

Once we have a name for something, we sort of consider it solved. Such is the case with PTSD…

Min Minute Military logo

This evening my son and I, with his Mom and another young war veteran, were sharing stories. Daniel related how the unit to which he had been assigned the 1-325th Red Falcons of the 82nd Airborne had recently been deployed to the Middle East. A young lieutenant that Daniel had gotten to know a little before he retired from the unit was killed by an IED. He shared how another soldier with whom he had gone through boot camp had been assigned to the Old Guard, the troops whose mission is to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and provide honor guards at the Arlington National Cemetery. That young soldier had just committed suicide because of the bullying and hazing he had endured in the unit.

So often, once we have a name for something, we sort of consider it solved. Such is the case with PTSD, Post-Truamatic Stress Disorder. There, you see, we named it and now we know it so we don’t need to do any more with it. We can kind of tuck it away in the corner of our sub-conscious until we hear of the next young soldier’s death due to hazing and bulllying and we nod our heads knowingly. If so and so had just gotten some help for his PTSD maybe his suicide would not have happened, we say. That makes for an easy perspective when it isn’t your son, your husband, your father. Now my son owns two wrist bands, silver and shiny. Etched in them are the names of his battle buddy and of his Lieutenant.  It made me recall the POW/MIA bracelets of the late 60’s and early 70’s. I wonder whatever happened to mine? I began to wonder whatever became of my MIA… perspective.

The young veteran with whom we were talking shared how he hoped that when the tatoo he was in the process of getting down his arm is finished there will be a worn American flag there. Underneath the  flag will be the words, “Lest We Forget”… perspective.

Very recently, I attended a memorial service for a young firefighter, killed senselessly in a one car traffic crash. His 8-year-old son. who was also in the truck. was treated and released. I watched that young boy stand strong and true at the service, as I’m sure hie believed would make his daddy proud. I wondered about where he wouled be in ten years… perspective.

Quite some time ago I began work on my certification for trauma counseling for frist respoonders and for veterans and military personnel. But, I got busy. There was no deadline so I pushed it aside. Then, after awhile it made its way to my side table and then my bookshelf. It’s back on my desk again and that is the result of perspective.

Every 58

Each year, at the time of the National Police Memorial Day, May 15th, first designated by President Kennedy; I attempt to write a short article to encourage those who are part of the ‘thin blue line’ and to perhaps educate or challenge those who are not.

Police officers being killed in the line of duty has a history as deep as the profession itself. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the first law enforcement officer killed in the United States was Sheriff Cornelius Hogeboom of Hudson, New York. He was shot as he attempted to serve a writ of ejectment; becoming the first known United States law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty.

On May 15th 126 new names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. Of those 126 officers killed in 2014, three of the fallen officers were female. The average age of a fallen officer was 41, with an average of 12 years of service. Each officer left behind two children on average.
A recent headline read that law enforcement officer  deaths “spiked” in 2014 compared to 2013. There is always a bit of difficulty when looking at facts over a short time frame without the context. The chart below gives a much clearer picture of the number of officers killed recently compared to the history dating back to when President Kennedy inaugurated Police Memorial Day. The early 1970’s were a very difficult time for police and handgun related shootings of officers was very high.Today’s headlines also seem to focus on the number of handgun or firearm related murders of police officers perhaps fueled by the anti-gun lobby. Of course, the bumper-sticker wisdom of “outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns” can be applied to that type of reasoning.Officers KIA
There are approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. About every 58 hours, one of them dies protecting the citizens they serve. A concerning fact is that in 2014 ambush murders of police was the most deadly form of attack. In many cases the officers had no opportunity to respond or react to their attackers. Every 58 hours or so, a department loses an officer; a husband or wife loses a spouse; a parent loses a child; children lose a mommy or daddy.
Just last week came the news of two officers killed by two ‘career criminals’ in a small town in Mississippi. Killed were  Benjamin Deen, 34, a former “Officer of the Year” in Hattiesburg and Liquori Tate, 25, who grew up in Starkville, 150 miles north of Hattiesburg. Tate was a 2014 graduate of the law enforcement academy. He was known to his friends as “CoCo,” said his stepfather, B. Lonnie Ross of Jackson, adding that Tate was 12 when they met and already wanted to be an officer.’ This young rookie gave everything he had to his calling. May their memories be honored.
This years Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day on May 15 has a special meaning to me and my family. On May 16th my son, Daniel who is 21 will graduate from the police academy and will then be sworn in as an officer for the department from which I retired as the chief several years back. I have the honor of leading the newly graduated officers in a ceremonial reading of “A Police Officers Prayer”, I will share it with you here:
“When I start my tour of duty, God, wherever crime may be; as I walk the darkened streets alone, let me be close to Thee. Please give me understanding with both the young and old. Let me listen with attention until their story’s told. Never let me make a judgment in a rash or callous way. But let me hold my patience, let each man have his say. Lord if some dark, dreary night, I must give my life; Lord with your everlasting love, protect my family and those in my life.” (Anonymous)

BOMBING at BUDAPEST BANK BEGS ANSWERS

Here at SCI we do not work by way of body counts but we focus on areas where our teammates and clients may be working or their families shopping and enjoying life – unaware of the Damoclean threat hanging over them.

MID-DAY Monday 13 January 2014 – Downtown Budapest, Hungary

An unlikely ‘random’ bomb was apparently thrown in front of a Magyar National Bank (CIB) by a rider on a motorcycle who fled the scene at a high speed. No initial reports of injuries. Questions remain.

This report will examine the implications of the following scenarios for the investigation: the intricate web of Hungarian national government control of banking; Hungary versus the EU in banking regulation conflicts; national banks competing with foreign banks for dominance in Magyar markets and the possibility of a random bomber attempting simply to create mayhem in the city center with the complicated bank issues and investigations as a carefully chosen ruse.

For nationals and those living or visiting Budapest in the short-term, this report offers a new reality based on the introduction of a threat requires personal vigilance and mental preparation.

Should bombings continue – Avoid high risk areas as future events identify those locations.

1.    Maintain a watchful eye whenever in a public place

2.    Particularly watch for the M.O. of a person on a motorcycle carrying a satchel ready to throw

3.    Watch your children and be ready to seek cover if needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE INVESTIGATION

Why? And why CIB? Two primary questions that require context. It follows:

The recent violence in downtown Budapest is so much an anomaly that it would be easy to bypass the mention of it. International media outlets, if they carried the bombing at all, had just a very short blurb between the sports scores and the weather. The major intelligence sources noted it, but in a simple chronology of ‘what’s happening around the world.’ Unfortunately, the news of terrorist attacks in the world has become common place. The media assigns priority to stories based on body counts and when violence, as in Budapest, comes away with no one dead, it goes to the bottom of the news headlines list. Here at SCI we do not work by way of body counts but we focus on areas where our teammates and clients may be working or their families shopping and enjoying life – unaware of the Damoclean threat hanging over them. Such was the case Monday when a suspect, seen fleeing the scene on a motorcycle drove past the CIB bank building in downtown Budapest. SCI sources are working on providing more details on the location of the branch office. (See map)

Map of CIB sites in Budapest
Map of CIB sites in Budapest

 

 

As recently as February 2012, Hungarian Central Bank was involved in complex political maneuvering regarding the inter-connectedness between the national government and the operation of the bank. The prime minister held the power to dismiss the head of the Data Protection Agency, Judges and to vacate laws that made CIB an ex-officio part of the national government. Government officials wanted, at that time, to require that bank officers take oaths of office and acquiesce to salary caps determined by the government. The appearance of impropriety and the allegations of corruption for some time has led Hungarians to be concerned about the CIB interconnectedness with the national government.

The 2012 political drama was followed by intercession from European officials who saw the Hungarian government’s controlling power over the CIB as a major hurdle for the nation to receive full membership in the EU. In April of 2012, European officials were notified that the Hungarian Economy Ministry had drafted legislation that amended previous laws which the EU believed limited the independence of the CIB to operate within the EU trade markets. Two immediate changes were to eliminate the requirement for a member of the national government to be present for meetings of the bank’s business. The law also eliminated the requirement that minutes of all meetings be copied to a member of the national government. Perhaps the most extensive and politically challenging issue was that the agency was pressed to drop its move for a constitutional amendment that would have permanently  merge the bank with the country’s financial regulator, making the bank an official arm of the national government. These changes were submitted to the European Commission and are under review to determine to what degree these changes will enhance the country’s bid for full membership in the EU.

That returns the discussion back to the two questions: Why? Why CIB? The second question is perhaps the easier of the two to answer. The CIB may have been singled out for the terrorist bombing simply because of its relationship to Hungary’s national government. No other bank in Hungary is entangled with the government as deeply as CIB. International banks and financial institutions of all kinds flocked to Hungary after the Cold War but now operate throughout the city center and beyond with ever-increasing difficulty and financial losses. Many of the international banks and financial institutions are looking for ways out of the financial messes they have encountered while in Hungary. (More on that to follow.)

MNB What does the Hungarian government say about their relationship with the Magyar Nemzeti Bank?  ‘The primary objective of the MNB shall be to achieve and maintain price stability. Without prejudice to its primary objective, the MNB shall support the economic policy of the Government using the monetary policy instruments at its disposal.’ (Stratfor)

“The Magyar Nemzeti Bank” is the Hungary National Bank which is also known as the CIB.

 CIB logo

According to the Act CXXXIX of 2013 on behalf of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) which went into effect 1 October 2013: The Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority and the MNB are integrated into one institution. Understanding that, the MNB reports that the European Supervisory and Market Authority has begun work on a reports on market abuse which may take into consideration the intra-relationship between the HFSA and the MNB (CIB).

Some background on the ESMA reveals that: ESMA is an independent EU Authority that was established on 1 January 2011 and works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). Its mission is to enhance the protection of investors and promote stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union (EU). As an independent institution, ESMA achieves this aim by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application across the EU. In this current investigation for it s report on abuses, among other issues the ESMA is focused on:

• Indicators and signals of market manipulation;

    • Criteria to establish Accepted Market Practices;

    • Arrangement, systems and procedures to put in place for the purpose of suspicious  transactions and order reporting as well as its content and format;

     • Issues relating to public disclosure of inside information and the conditions for delay;

In a SITREP just issued today, intelligence sources in the United States report that Hungary is trying to gain more control over its banking sector. On Jan. 5, Hungarian media reported that Szechenyi Bank, which is partly controlled by the Hungarian government, has made a bid for the Hungarian branch of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank. Unconfirmed rumors also suggest that another Austrian bank, Erste Bank AG, could receive a bid from the state. The rumors come as Gyorgy Matolcsy, the head of the Hungarian central bank announced that four major foreign banks could leave Hungary in the next year and a half.

In the coming months, Budapest will continue its efforts to put more foreign-operated banks in Hungarian hands. Rather than expropriating banks directly, the government is more likely to execute its strategy incrementally, pressuring banks to deleverage their assets so that Budapest and local companies can buy them out relatively cheaply. Mostly it will do so with the help of domestic businessmen closely tied to the government. This strategy is just one aspect of a broader evolution in Hungary’s foreign and domestic policies, which increasingly deviate from those of the European Union

Foreign banks account for roughly two-thirds of the Hungarian market, and with the exception of the country’s largest lender in terms of assets – OTP, most of the major banks are foreign-owned.


The European crisis changed this dynamic. From a purely financial perspective, the devaluation of the Hungarian forint created serious problems for foreign banks operating in Hungary. Most of these institutions used to offer loans — most notably, mortgages — denominated in euros or Swiss francs. As people became increasingly incapable of repaying their loans, the Hungarian government passed two series of measures (in 2011 and 2013) that converted some of those loans to forints at a lower exchange rate. Brussels criticized Hungary, but it did not actually punish the government for converting the loans.

Could there be a link between the European based ownership of the majority of Hungarian banks, the expected hostile appropriation of these banks by both the Hungarian government and business resources inside Hungary loyal to the government and the terrorist attack on 13 January 2014?

Is it possible that a non-aligned actor, driven by the mortgage crisis be responsible?

Could it be not financially motivated at all but rather simply a random act of violence which either used the bank/government political crisis as a ruse or it was simply a coincidence that it was in front of CIB?

 

As of this report, no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

 

Additional Information

percent of total assets

 

Hungarian Bank

(Note: Intelligence and analysis supplied in part by STRATFOR)

BOSTON BOMBERS’ PLAN INTERCEPTED BY MOSCOW

As difficult as it may be for many Americans to understand the mindset that allows a mother to push her two children to commit mass murder and suicide for the sake of a “religion of peace,” even more daunting questions must be brought forward. If in fact, Russia has had these tapes of the conversations for two years, why do they just show up now?

FSB logomoscowKgb logo

TODAY Reuters and Voice of Russia Reported that  Tapes Including the Boston Bombers and their Mother Talking Plans of JIHAD!

News source, that spoke on the condition of anonymity, announced today that intercepted telephone conversations between the Boston Bombers and their mother as they spoke of planning jihad action against Boston and against New York’s Times Square were turned over to the FBI. The first conversation was recorded between one of the brothers and their mother as early as 2011. It was reported by sources earlier this week that the boys’ mother, Zubeydat Tsarnaev, had pushed at least the eldest son toward Islamic Jihad. With three dead and over 200 gravely wounded, it is not certain the veracity of reports that they were planning on completing their bombing campaign with attacks in Times Square. Authorities have not responded to direct inquiries regarding the further plans of the two that could have included suicide by cop as an attempt at martyrdom. The elder brother, Tamerlan, did just that on April 19th succombing to his multiple gunshot wounds at a Boston hospital shortly after a shoot-out with police.. The second brother, Dzhokhar, was arrested on April 20th after a storied chase and search for him by police. The way in which he fought to get away and hide even when cornered indicates he must not have been quite ready for martyrdom.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, proud mother of Boston bombers  Photo: Reuters – Will she receive a lifetime financial benefit from AQAP as reward for pushing her sons to commit mass murder? At what point does a mothers’ heart do such a thing? How much money does it take? Could it really be such a devotion for a religion that practices barbaric forced sterilization on women, binds them in centuries of oppressive tradition and allows children to set a bomb at the feet of an 8 year old boy? This is all from the Allah they worship, the same who will arbitrarily decide whether to send a believer to his hell regardless of how pious a life has been led…  color us confused, and saddened, very saddened.

In a related post on the network between Chechnyan Muslims and AQAP (Al Qaeda on the Arabian Penninsula), Dr. Ross Riggs of Security Consulting Investigations, wrote that “It is within this context that Americans must now understand  their risk matrix is expanded by the probability of further attacks  against the U.S. by members of these Chechnyan groups that may well be  underwritten by some faction of Al Qaeda. A likely scenario is that the  AQAP (Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula) is the state sponsor of this  recent series of events in Massachusetts. An official situation report  states that the Boston attacks had “…unmistakable parallels with the  smaller scale terrorist attacks that radical Islamist groups based in  Yemen and Pakistan have attempted in the United States since 2001.” The situation report quoted here agrees with the analysis of the GCIS and  its Executive Council that groups such as AQAP and others have moved  toward smaller attacks that can be perpetrated by small cells operating  virtually independent of the team.”

As difficult as it may be for many Americans to understand the mindset that allows a mother to push her two children to commit mass murder and suicide for the sake of a “religion of peace,” even more daunting questions must be brought forward. If in fact, Russia has had these tapes of the conversations for two years, why do they just show up now? Why, if the FBI was notified by the FSB (former KGB) three years ago of intelligence on the two brothers and perhaps the parents, why were they not located then by the FBI and fully investigated and deported or charged? Reports to the media suggest they were never truly investigated. How is that possible? There is talk that at least one of the family, perhaps the mother, was on a no-fly list? And the father, returned to Chechnya; but the family continues here? The sons are here attending prestigious prep and high schools and then the extremely expensive universities that most American teens could never dream of  getting a scholarship to or even be considered in the first place. Were the Tsarnaeva brothers really that smart? Their escape “planning” doesn’t seem to verify that…. or were they backed by money from elsewhere and a complicit university system perhaps closes its eyes when funding comes from a person, place, entitiy or government that is known to be on the US Terrorist Watch List? When dad left to go back to Chechnya, was that a connection for furthering training, obtaining weapons and explosives or was he getting out of the country in preparation for the attacks? So many questions.

There are certainly, it seems, more questions than answers at this point. As additional revelations come out regarding the information that should have been known by authorities in the U.S. under this Administration’s watch, where is the public outcry, so incredibly silent since Benghazi? How many more little fellas need to lose their lives? How many more U.S. Ambassadors must be killed and shamefully dragged through the streets? Counterterrorism officers, federal agents, U.S. military and law enforcement officers work night and day trying to hold back the flood gates but their are too many holes in the dyke to be plugged, too few fingers to do the plugging. When will the American people get angry?Americans should be angry at the enemies of this nation who attack us and then take our “humanitarian aide” and angry at our President and Congress for sitting on their hands. When will Americans agree to  STAND UP WITH our friends, such as Israel and tell our enemies, like Iran and North Korea to SIT DOWN!… if they will not sit, then we shall knock them down?!

PC should be an electronic marvel that sits on my desk in my study – it should NOT be what drives our country’s foreign affiars, our military planning, our police officers’ responses, our immigration policy, and our safety as Americans.

In the iconic movie of the 1960’s,Green Beret, John Wayne plays Col. Kirby a strong leader in a tough war. At one point he tells his troops, “Remember, the word is alert!” It should not be necessary for SCI and others under our flag to remind the citizens that we are at war, but sometimes in the push of life, that happens. Our cops, firefighters, first responders, federal agents and military are all acutely aware of it. Maybe its time that someone tells the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and those at Capitol Hill the news.

When Numbers Count

 

Dr. Ross L. Riggs                    www.docriggs.com

The Police Blotter   www.homelandsecuritynet.com

Numbers are a part of daily life. From the time you awake in the morning with the time, temperature, DOW and NASAQ, numbers are assailing your mind. It is easy to turn them off. Yesterday was Memorial Day for the Nation of Israel, mourning their war dead. The number that was reported was of soldiers killed in action, just soldiers, not civilians. A common misperception of a country’s number of fallen heroes is directly impacted when the war is taking place on your home soil.

There was the number. It was easy to read right past it, kindly note it, allow the thought of it to pause a moment and then continue reading. This time, something caused me to stop on that number and try to put it in perspective. I first thought about it being a counting of just soldiers and how many more there would be listed if it included civilians slain for the cause of a Jewish homeland. That helped, but only for a moment, as well. Then I thought about all of the families and friends whose lives are forever changed by such a loss. That was cause for reflection, but still it was not hitting for me in the heart like I expected. It was still just a number.

Then, it came to me. Until something is personal, particularly a number or statistic, it is just that, a number. So I made it personal. I grew up in Wayne County, Ohio. Wayne County is probably typical of every small mid-western county in the U.S. Lots of farm families, some factory workers and an overwhelming importance on fall high school football! Town hall meetings were as a much a part of the life as Sunday church with afternoon’s at Grandma’s for Sunday dinner. At that is when it came to me, the numbers connection. A fairly representative analogy for the number of soldiers killing fighting for the freedom of Israel would be about equal to the concept of every man and woman, father, mother, every adult between the ages of 18 and 65 in Wayne County Ohio stepping up to die for the cause of keeping Ohio free. Now I can see it. Now I can feel it. The empty streets. The empty homes. The lost children and the panicked elderly. Gone, all of them sacrificing their lives to be sure and certain that Ohio remains, as the logo says, The Heart of It All. The rest continue on, owing a huge debt of gratitude to those who gave it all and respect and honor must go to the survivors whose lives are forever changed by their absences.

Shalom