Friday, September 23, 2011

Illinois Launches Asian Carp Anti - Hunger Program

"Let them eat trash fish;" local chefs join propaganda campaign to feed people garbage - next up on menu:  mud cakes ala Haiti

Associated Press
By Sophia Tareen


Asian carp may be a plankton-gobbling nuisance threatening the Great Lakes, but Illinois officials on Thursday expressed hope in changing that perception one bite at a time.

    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources held a public tasting event starring a Louisiana chef turned advocate to start a campaign that may lead to feeding the invasive species to the growing number of people facing hunger.

   "Fish translates to one thing: food," said Chef Philippe Parola. "It's one of the greatest natural resources we have."

    He sauteed fillets and deep fried fish cakes for a menu that included sweet potatoes, green beans and banana pudding. The fillets — fried in butter with salt, pepper and sprinkle of Creole spices — had a very mild taste, like tilapia. But several big bones were scattered among the flaky flesh.

Trash fish:  invasive species Asian carp
The fish cakes, served with a cheese and cream sauce, were savory and moist, and compared favorably with a restaurant-quality appetizer.

Dozens attended the community dinner in Chicago to learn more about the fish that's better known for its ability to grow to 100 pounds, sail out of the water when startled and a voracious appetite that could devastate the Great Lakes.

   "There was so much negativity about this fish," said Sharon Hendrix, 67. "It's good. It's so light and delicate, not what I was expecting."

    That sentiment was shared by Hendrix's 73-year-old friend, Alice White.

    "It's very good, flavorful," she said.

    Even young taste testers — many unaware they were eating Asian carp — gave it two thumbs up.

    Bakia Johnson, 15, compared it to salmon, which she says she loves.

    "I think it was excellent, well-seasoned," she said.

Mmm...looks tasty.  Lots of calcium from thousands of bones
The idea to exploit Asian carp's nutritional value — nutritionists say it's a good protein source, low in mercury and high in Omega 3 fatty acids — has major obstacles in Illinois. While it's eaten in China and high-end restaurants, among other places, there's no infrastructure yet for netting the fish in mass quantities, cleaning and distributing it to the masses. Officials also recognize they face an even more intangible challenge: the fish has a bad public image.

    Parola said people just need to be exposed to it.

    "This fish is not any uglier than any other fish," he noted.

    Getting carp to soup kitchens and food pantries is months off, said Tracy Smith, a director for Feeding Illinois, which supplies food banks and is helping on the project. Illinois officials don't know the most feasible way to dole out the carp: minced, boneless fillets or some type of pre-cooked product.

    Also, at least when it comes to soup kitchens and food pantries, Illinois officials appear to have their work cut out for them. Recent visitors to Our Lady of Grace Food Pantry in Chicago were skeptical. The pantry puts canned goods, meat and bread in the plastic food bags it gives out. If carp were to make its way there, workers would include it with the meat, leaving people to figure out how to cook the fish on their own.

    "I wouldn't eat it," Vincent Williams, 49, an unemployed former bank worker, said with a look of disgust on his face.

Coward Americans try to save face:  say garbage tastes great
Asian carp were imported from China in the early 1970s to cleanse algae from Southern fish farms and sewage treatment plants. They escaped into the Mississippi River and have spread across dozens of waterways, with bighead carp in dozens of states and silver carp — the other Asian species near the Great Lakes — in more than a dozen. The bighead reaches up to 4 feet long and 100 pounds, while silver carp are famous for leaping from the water, at times slamming into boaters with bone-shattering force.

    If Asian carp ever reached the Great Lakes — breaching electric fish barriers near Chicago — they could decimate food supplies and starve out native species, disrupting a $7 billion fishing industry.

   Anti-hunger advocates in Illinois are praising the idea of serving the carp, especially with increasing demand for food stamps. An average 1.8 million people rely on the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program each month, according to figures from earlier this year. That's up from 1.2 million people monthly in 2006.

    "It's a crisis" Smith with Feeding Illinois said. "Creative partnerships are going to be critical to getting through this."

    Illinois officials aren't the first to float a humanitarian approach with carp. Late last year, Louisiana State University officials partnered with a nonprofit to make canned carp to send to Haiti, where the diet is already fish-rich and protein is scarce.

    They came up with a product in a spicy tomato sauce with the consistency of canned salmon. The test batches in Haiti were a hit, said Julie Anderson, a professor with the university's agriculture center. The project is stalled, because of funding and other reasons, but Anderson hopes it's revived.

    She said there were rave reviews after the canned carp was served on crackers at an office Christmas party.

   "You hear about it so much on the news as a nuisance, a problem," Anderson said. "People don't associate nuisances with a good dinner."

    Sophia Tareen can be reached at

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FBI probes Arabic markings on Southewest Airlines planes

CIA did crappy job of painting over fake markings and numbers

Agence France-Presse


Southwest Airlines said Thursday it called in federal investigators to probe mysterious markings found on the fuselage of some of its planes.

    The markings are being treated as vandalism, and do not appear linked to "any known group or activity," it said in a statement, after reports that the markings appeared to be Arabic or Arabic-like.

    "Beginning in February, we began to receive reports of vandalism on our aircraft. These markings appear on the exterior of the aircraft and vary in appearance," the airline said.

CIA needs to hire union journeyman painters
"Upon discovery, we immediately contacted federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which all concluded that these markings have no affiliation to any known group or activity," it added.

A spokesman declined to go into any further detail, but Arizona-based television channel ABC15 cited multiple sources as saying that the markings appear to be Arabic words.

    The airline however appeared skeptical about that, saying: "These markings are considered vandalism, and Southwest is conducting an internal investigation to determine who is responsible."

    "Southwest takes this behavior very seriously, and we will continue to involve local and Federal law enforcement agencies as needed until the situation is resolved."

    A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which media reports said had been called in to help probe the markings, did not immediately respond to a request for more details.

    Security across the United States has been tightened in recent weeks due to the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

    Southwest added: "We want to reassure customers and employees that safety is always our primary consideration, and the safety of our aircraft is in no way impacted by this act of vandalism."

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Bystander sues Pittsburgh over sonic device at G20

It didn't take long for this infernal machine to be deployed in U.S. after being "field tested" in Fallujah - to make it's debut in America and used against Americans

Associated Press
By Joe Mandak

A university professor suffered permanent damage to her hearing when Pittsburgh police used a giant speaker to disperse protesters during the Group of 20 economic summit two years ago, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

    The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Karen Piper, then a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who contends she was a bystander when protests occurred in the city on Sept. 24, 2009. Piper's hearing was damaged by the speaker, called a Long Range Acoustic Device, which the suit said "emits harmful, pain-inducing sounds over long distances."

Weapon destroyed hearing of hundreds of Iraqis
The lawsuit targets the city and five unidentified police officials, three who operated the device, a supervisor, and a "policy-making official" who directed the device be used that day. City police officials directed questions to the Pittsburgh Law Department, where solicitor Dan Regan said he couldn't comment.

The device concentrates voice commands and a piercing, car alarm-like sound in a 30- or 60-degree cone that can be heard nearly two miles away. The volume measures 140-150 decibels three feet away -- louder than a jet engine -- but dissipates with distance. Robert Putnam, spokesman for the manufacturer, San Diego-based American Technology Corp., described the device to The Associated Press then as creating "a big spotlight of sound that you can shine on people."

    Among other things, the device has been used by cargo ships to deter pirates and those who may wrongfully approach U.S. war ships.

    "The intensity of being hit at close range by a high-pitched sound blast designed to deter pirate boats and terrorists at least a quarter mile away is indescribable," Piper, now an English professor at the University of Missouri, said in an ACLU news release.

This weapon was always intended to be used on Americans
The sound vibrates through you and causes pain throughout your body, not only in the ears. I thought I might die," said Piper who added she was shocked the "device was being promoted for use on American citizens and the general public."

   The devices have been used against protesters overseas, and police in New York threatened to use one during demonstrations near the Republican National Convention in 2004. Putnam said San Diego uses the devices to broadcast clear instructions for people to leave large sections of beach after festivals, and said the device has also been used in SWAT operations.

    Piper was working on a book about the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and researching whether protesters have any impact on those institutions when she rode her bicycle to observe a protest during the G20. She was about 100 feet away when the device blasted noises and commands to disperse at the protesters, according to her lawsuit.

    Piper "suffered immediate pain in her ears, and she became nauseous and dizzy. She developed a severe headache. She was forced to sit down and was unable to walk," the lawsuit said. Piper contends she suffered "permanent nerve hearing loss" and related symptoms and her constitutional rights were violated by use of the device.

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Nearly 1 in 4 young children now live in poverty in U.S.

While kids eat dog food U.S. Attorney General "The Prince" Eric Holder and his royal entourage eat $16.00 muffins and quaff $8.00 a cup coffee - on the taxpayer dime

By Eric W. Dolan

The number of children living in poverty in the United States increased by 2.6 million since the recession began in 2007, bringing the total to an estimated 15.7 million poor children in 2010, according to researchers from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

The researchers estimate that nearly 1 in 4 children under the age of 6 now live in poverty.

Big cities and rural areas have the highest rates of poverty among young children. Thirty-one percent of children under age 6 in America’s cities and 30 percent of young children in rural areas are poor.

     In contrast, 19 percent of young children living in the suburbs are poor.

    "It is important to understand young child poverty specifically, as children who are poor before age 6 have been shown to experience educational deficits, and health problems, with effects that span the life course," the researchers said.

    The report was based on the U.S. Census Bureau annual report on poverty, which outlined the dramatic decline in income and employment in the U.S. The definition of poverty was an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for a single person in 2010.

Getty Images/John Moore
The census data showed the median annual household income falling 2.3 percent to $49,445. The 46.2 million Americans living in poverty is the highest amount since the Census began recording the statistic 52 years ago.

    Researchers found that the number of children living in poverty increased from 14.7 million in 2009 to 15.7 million in 2010.

    The South has the highest rates of child poverty at an estimated 24.2 percent, and the Northeast has the lowest rates at an estimated 17.8 percent.

    Mississippi has the highest percentage of children living in poverty at 32.5 percent and New Hampshire has the lowest percentage of children living in poverty at 10 percent.

    "That child poverty is continuing to rise in the aftermath of the recession highlights the necessity of policies that can support vulnerable children and families," the researchers said. "Congressional concerns over the federal debt have already resulted in an agreement that will force significant cuts to domestic spending, including many programs that serve children and families."

    "Though budget cuts are unavoidable, policy makers should carefully consider how cuts are distributed, keeping America’s most vulnerable families in mind as the effects of the recession reverberate, as demonstrated by high child poverty rates."

   The research was conducted by Jessica Bean, Beth Mattingly and Andrew Schaefer. The full report is available here (PDF).

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Finally: 2 police officers charged in death of homeless man

Thomas, a schizophrenic, was beaten so badly he was unrecognizable; tasering and beating lasted 9 minutes 40 seconds

OC Weekly
Matt Coker

Kelly Thomas was beaten senseless by Fullerton Police officers on July 5, and he was taken off life support five days later.

    With the district attorney's announcement Wednesday of a felony murder charge against one cop, Thomas can now be officially added to the Weekly's 2011 homicide count.

    He is victim No. 43.
    Based on the DA's account:

   Around 8:23 p.m. on July 5, Fullerton Police dispatch received a report of a homeless man looking in car windows and pulling on vehicle handles in the Fullerton Transportation Center parking lot near East Santa Fe and South Pomona avenues.

Beaten to death by cops:  Kelly Thomas
Dispatch sent Officer Joseph Wolfe and a second officer in a separate patrol vehicle to the scene at 8:34 p.m. The second cop was pulled off the call after Officer Manuel Ramos radioed in to say he was already in the area and would take the lead. Wolfe and Ramos arrived in separate police vehicles at 8:37 p.m.
Ramos and Wolfe confronted Thomas at the center's north bus entrance lane, detaining but not arresting him. Fullerton officers had past contact with the homeless man with mental issues. He was not viewed as a threat before, and on this night he was shirtless, wearing pants with no bulges and carrying a backpack. The officers did not pat him down for weapons.

    The cops instructed Thomas to sit on the curb and asked to check his backpack. At 8:42 p.m., Thomas gave the backpack to Wolfe, who stepped to the rear of his patrol vehicle to review the contents while Ramos stayed with Thomas. 

    Wolfe determined some mail in backpack belonged to someone other than Thomas. Meanwhile, Ramos, who was about two feet away from Thomas, ordered him to put his legs out straight and place his hands on his knees, instructions Thomas, who was bipolar and schizophrenic, had difficulty following the orders.

     Ramos' instructions became increasingly aggressive. He stepped away from Thomas for a moment, walked over to Wolfe 15 feet away, said something to his colleague, and then returned to the homeless man, making a showing of putting on Latex gloves. With a hostile tone, he again ordered Thomas to sit with his hands on his knees and legs outstretched. Thomas would comply with the orders at first but then eventually move his arms behind him to lean on them.

Murdering cop:  Ramos
As Wolfe twice called more officers to the scene--a total of six uniformed police ultimately surrounded Thomas--Ramos and Thomas engaged in the following exchange:

Ramos: Put your hands on your fucking knees.

Thomas temporarily complied and then switched positions to be seated upright with his knees bent and his feet flat on the floor. Ramos again barked at Thomas to put his legs out straight and place his hands on his knees.

Thomas: Which is it, dude?
Ramos: Both!
Thomas: I can't do both.
Ramos: Well, you're going to have to learn real quick.
    Thomas again tried to comply, but Ramos moved to the homeless man's left side, leaned over in a menacing manner and made two fists with his gloved hands, making a point of showing them to Thomas.

Ramos: Now, see my fists?
Thomas: Yeah. What about them?
Ramos: They are getting ready to fuck you up.
Thomas: Start punching, dude.
Ramos: If you don't fucking start listening.
Thomas: That sucks.
Ramos: Yeah.

    Ramos stood back upright until Thomas put his hands behind him on the ground. Ramos then leaned over.

Ramos: Put your fucking hands on your knees.
Thomas: Which is it?

    It was at that time, 8:52 p.m., that things would turn ugly. Thomas would take a beating and tasering that would last nine minutes and 40 seconds--until he was handcuffed, ankle retrained and motionless on the ground with six cops using their combined weight to pin him to the ground.

   Before Thomas lost consciounsess, he struggled, yelled, and pleaded, "I can't breathe," "I'm sorry, dude," "Please," "Okay, okay," "Dad, dad," and "Dad, help me." He was scared shitless and severely bleeding, but the cops did not back off.
    Here's how it went down:  Ramos grabbed Thomas' left arm. Thomas pulled his shoulder back to release Ramos' grip. Ramos reached Thomas' arm, but Thomas swept the officer's hand away with his own and stood up so that he was facing Ramos. The officer removed his baton and Thomas lifted his hands to chest-height, with his palms open in a defensive stance to block Ramos. Thomas began to back away but in no way assaulted Ramos
    Wolfe then ran over, drew his baton and continued to approach Thomas as the homeless man backed away. Wolfe struck Thomas' left leg with his baton, and Ramos took a swing with his to the homeless man's left thigh, although it may not have hit.

     Thomas turned and ran in front of one of the parked patrol vehicles. As Ramos chased directly after him, Wolfe ran the opposite direction around the back of the patrol vehicle and met Thomas and Ramos on the other side. A physical altercation began. Both officers tackled Thomas. Wolfe kneed and punched Thomas lying on the ground. Ramos punched Thomas several times in the left ribs, using his hands to hold Thomas' neck, and partially lying on Thomas to use his own body weight to pin the victim to the ground. The other officers then arrived.

    Among the first was Fullerton Police Corporal Jay Cicinelli, at 8:54 p.m. With his two colleagues on top of Thomas, and Ramos' arm entangled with the homeless man's, Cicinelli kneed Thomas twice in the head. He tasered Thomas four times, three of these being "drive stuns" that last about five seconds and are directly applied to the skin. The fourth was a dart deployment where two darts connected to wires are ejected from the Taser to skin or clothing, and giving a 12-second jolt. Thomas screamed and yelled in pain.

A real winner:  Cop Jay Cicinelli
Cicinelli also used the front end of his Taser to hit Thomas in the head and facial area eight times. Thomas made no audible sound while being hit with the Taser. The last hit from the Taser was the last strike to Thomas.

Officer Kenton Hampton arrived just after Cicinelli. While the other cops were struggling with Thomas, Hampton placed a handcuff around the homeless man's left wrist and assisted with putting hobbling ankle restraints on him. Hampton then used his bare hands to hold Thomas' legs down while the beating and tasering continued.

   Two minutes after Cicinelli and Hampton's arrival, Fullerton Police Sergeant Kevin Craig rolled up. He would add his knee to Thomas' shoulder and back area to further minimize the homeless man's movement.

    The sixth and final Fullerton Police officer, Corporal James Blatney, arrived at 8:57 p.m. He helped Hampton apply the ankle restraints and hold down Thomas' legs.

   At 9 p.m., an ambulance and Fullerton Fire Department paramedics arrived. Thomas, who was having trouble breathing, arrived at St. Jude Hospital at 9:19 p.m. He was immediately transferred to UCI Medical Center, arriving there at 10:05 p.m.

    He never regained consciousness. Suffering from brain injuries, facial fractures, rib fractures, and extensive bruising and abrasions--and with the agreement of his grief-stricken family--Thomas was taken off life support. He died at UCI Medical Center at 2 p.m. on July 10.

   The death certificate from the county coroner lists the manner of death as homicide and the cause of death to be "anoxic encephalopathy with acute bronchopneumonia," (asphyxia) caused by "mechanical chest compression with blunt cranial-facial injuries sustained during physical altercation with law enforcement." The toxicology report shows that Thomas had no illicit drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the incident.

    The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) took over the Fullerton Police Department investigation of Thomas' beating three days before the homeless man died. On Wednesday, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced Ramos, 37 and a 10-year veteran of the Fullerton Police Department, has been charged with felony second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Currently held at Orange County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, Ramos faces a maximum state prison sentence of 15 years to life.

   The district attorney also announced that Cicinelli, 39 and a 12-year FPD veteran, has been charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. He's out of custody on $25,000 bail and faces four years in state prison if convicted.

    Rackauckas said the evidence so far does not support criminal charges against: Wolfe, 36, and a 12-year FPD veteran; Hampton, 41, and a 5-year FPD veteran; Craig, 44, and a 15-year FPD veteran; and Blatney, 42, and an 18-year FPD veteran.

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James Napoli: Politics is ass warfare

Forget class warfare, politics is ass warfare

Huffington Post
By James Napoli

Shut up, Republicans. What's the big deal about taxing people who can afford it? And don't think you're off the hook, Democrats. Half the reason you caused such a ruckus was because you've let the Tea Party control the national agenda for so long that a bold move reads like a fluke. If there is a conclusion to be drawn from 
Congress' lowest approval rating in history, it is this:
    Forget class warfare. Politics is ass warfare.

James Napoli
It's one set of self-serving asses going head-to-head (or is it butt-to-butt?) with another set of self-serving asses. These asses have let special interest partisan politics prevent them from transcending their ass status by continuing to be the type of asses who put their personal-ass needs above the needs of the people their asses represent. The fact that these asses don't seem to care that their unmitigated assiness has led to a record number of voters who would like to kick their asses out of their stupid-ass seats only makes their asshat behaviors even more of a pain in the ass. Even within their own-ass parties, these asses can't overcome their ass-like nature. Half of voting Republicans disapprove of their own dumb-ass representatives' asses and 43 percent of Democrats think the asses they elected are as assy as ass can be.

    Even worse, these asses can't reach any compromises between the opinion of one ass and the viewpoint of the other ass because, being asses, they don't know how to not be ass enough to engage in a little ass-free discourse that might benefit the asses of the constituents the overpaid asses claim to stand for. And then, in an asinine fashion only achievable by true asses, the asses appear in the ass-laden media, in the hopes that some lame-ass sound bite will nullify what asses they are and make everyone forget that the people whose asses are really in a sling are the working people who are getting more and more of their services taken away because of asses like these asses.

    So take your concept of "warfare" and shove it up your class.

    James Napoli is an author and humorist. More of his comedy content for the web can be found here.

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U.S. markets extend losses, Dow down 4%

Global governments' scam to hide theft of wealth from The People collapsing; riots already resuming; Wall Street occupation continues

Agence France-Presse


U.S. stocks extended a brutal sell-off Thursday, plunging more than four percent in the final hours of trade, fueled by the Federal Reserve's stark warning about the health of the US economy.

Protesters continue Wall Street occupation
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 478.47 points (4.30 percent) to 10,646.37 at 1800 GMT.
The broader S&P 500 was down 48.03 points (4.12 percent) to 1,118.73, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slumped 108.25 points (4.26 percent) to 2,429.94.

    The drops were part of a global sell-off.

   Earlier, stocks in Europe and Asia sank after the Fed warned of "significant downside risks to the economic outlook" in the United States amid high unemployment, slow growth and a depressed housing market.

From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) -

Stocks skidded 3 percent on Thursday, extending losses for a fourth day as a gloomy outlook from the Federal Reserve and weak data from China heightened fears of a global recession.

    FedEx Corp shares fell 9.4 percent to $65.63 after the world's No. 2 package delivery company, an economic bellwether, pared its outlook for the full year in part because of the uncertain global outlook.

    The market's dramatic selloff marked the worst performance in more than month on the heels of the previous session's drop after the Fed said the economy faced "significant downside risks" as it took another stab at boosting growth.

   Market sentiment has turned decidedly negative since the Fed statement on Wednesday. Though the central bank detailed additional stimulus measures to help push down long-term rates, investors worried the latest plan would have little effect on lending and that there appeared to be few solutions to sluggish worldwide demand.

    "The Fed scared the daylights out of people with the term 'significant,'" said Jack de Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

    "I was surprised ... they're very careful about the adjectives that they pick and that was a very, very strong one."

   The Dow Jones industrial average slid 421.93 points, or 3.79 percent, at 10,702.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index or 3.22 percent, at 2,456.40 took off 40.29 points, or 3.45 percent, at 1,126.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 81.79 points, or 3.22 percent, at 2,456.40.

    The CBOE Volatility Index, considered Wall Street's fear gage, was up more than 10 percent.

    Banks were among the top decliners. The Fed's plan to lower long-term rates will compress margins for banks that borrow at short-term rates and lend at longer-term rates. The declines also came a day after Moody's cut debt ratings for big lenders.
   Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley fell to 52-week lows in early trade before recovering slightly. Citigroup was down more than 4 percent to $24.39 and Morgan Stanley slid 8.4 percent to $12.66.

    The Select Sector Financial Sector SPDR funds was off more than 3 percent, also touching a 52-week low.

    Data from China showed once-booming manufacturing contracted for a third consecutive month, while the euro zone's dominant service sector shrank in September for the first in two years, intensifying anxiety about another global setback.

    In other company news, United Technologies Corp tumbled 8 percent to $68.65 after the diversified U.S. manufacturer agreed to pay $16.5 billion for aircraft components maker Goodrich Corp. Goodrich soared 10 percent to $120.54.

    In the latest domestic data, Americans filed fewer new claims for jobless benefits last week, but the decline was not enough to dispel worries about the economy.

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STRATFOR: Cutting through the lone wolf hype

American administrations throughout years twist reality to fit their agenda/cover up assassinations

By Scott Stewart
September 22, 2011 | 0856 GMT

Lone wolf. The mere mention of the phrase invokes a sense of fear and dread. It conjures up images of an unknown, malicious plotter working alone and silently to perpetrate an unpredictable, undetectable and unstoppable act of terror. This one phrase combines the persistent fear of terrorism in modern society with the primal fear of the unknown.

The phrase has been used a lot lately. Anyone who has been paying attention to the American press over the past few weeks has been bombarded with a steady stream of statements regarding lone-wolf militants. While many of these statements, such as those from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, were made in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, they did not stop when the threats surrounding the anniversary proved to be unfounded and the date passed without incident. Indeed, on Sept. 14, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, told CNN that one of the things that concerned him most was “finding that next lone-wolf terrorist before he strikes.”

    Now, the focus on lone operatives and small independent cells is well founded. We have seen the jihadist threat devolve from one based primarily on the hierarchical al Qaeda core organization to a threat emanating from a broader array of grassroots actors operating alone or in small groups. Indeed, at present, there is a far greater likelihood of a successful jihadist attack being conducted in the West by a lone-wolf attacker or small cell inspired by al Qaeda than by a member of the al Qaeda core or one of the franchise groups. But the lone-wolf threat can be generated by a broad array of ideologies, not just jihadism. A recent reminder of this was the July 22 attack in Oslo, Norway, conducted by lone wolf Anders Breivik.
Anders Breivik
The lone-wolf threat is nothing new, but it has received a great deal of press coverage in recent months, and with that press coverage has come a certain degree of hype based on the threat’s mystique. However, when one looks closely at the history of solitary terrorists, it becomes apparent that there is a significant gap between lone-wolf theory and lone-wolf practice. An examination of this gap is very helpful in placing the lone-wolf threat in the proper context.

The Shift Toward Leaderless Resistance

    While the threat of lone wolves conducting terrorist attacks is real, the first step in putting the threat into context is understanding how long it has existed. To say it is nothing new really means that it is an inherent part of human conflict, a way for a weaker entity — even a solitary one — to inflict pain upon and destabilize a much larger entity. Modern lone-wolf terrorism is widely considered to have emerged in the 1800s, when fanatical individuals bent on effecting political change demonstrated that a solitary actor could impact history. Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who assassinated U.S. President William McKinley in 1901, was one such lone wolf.

Leon Czolgosz
The 1970s brought lone wolf terrorists like Joseph Paul Franklin and Ted Kaczynski, both of whom were able to operate for years without being identified and apprehended. Based on the success of these lone wolves and following the 1988 Fort Smith Sedition Trial, in which the U.S. government’s penetration of white hate groups was clearly revealed, some of the leaders of these penetrated groups began to advocate “leaderless resistance” as a way to avoid government pressure. 

    They did not invent the concept, which is really quite old, but they readily embraced it and used their status in the white supremacist movement to advocate it.

     In 1989, William Pierce, the leader of a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance and one of the Fort Smith defendants, published a fictional book under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald titled “Hunter,” which dealt with the exploits of a fictional lone wolf named Oscar Yeager. Pierce dedicated the book to Joseph Paul Franklin and he clearly intended it to serve as an inspiration and model for lone-wolf operatives. Pierce’s earlier book, “The Turner Diaries,” was based on a militant operational theory involving a clandestine organization, and “Hunter” represented a distinct break from that approach.

    In 1990, Richard Kelly Hoskins, an influential “Christian Identity” ideologue, published a book titled “Vigilantes of Christendom” in which he introduced the concept of the “Phineas Priest.” According to Hoskins, a Phineas Priest is a lone-wolf militant chosen by God and set apart to be God’s “agent of vengeance” upon the earth. Phineas Priests also believe their attacks will serve to ignite a wider “racial holy war” that will ultimately lead to the salvation of the white race.

Lee Harvey Oswald
In 1992, another of the Fort Smith defendants, former Ku Klux Klan Leader Louis Beam, published an essay in his magazine “The Seditionist” that provided a detailed roadmap for moving the white hate movement toward the leaderless resistance model. This roadmap called for lone wolves and small “phantom” cells to engage in violent action to protect themselves from detection.

In the white-supremacist realm, the shift toward leaderless resistance — taken because of the government’s success in penetrating and disrupting group operations — was an admission of failure on the part of leaders like Pierce, Hoskins and Beam. It is important to note that in the two decades that have passed since the leaderless-resistance model rose to prominence in the white-supremacist movement there have been only a handful of successful lone-wolf attacks. The army of lone wolves envisioned by the proponents of leaderless resistance never materialized.

    But the leaderless resistance model was advocated not only by the far right. Influenced by their anarchist roots, left-wing extremists also moved in that direction, and movements such as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front actually adopted operational models that were very similar to the leaderless-resistance doctrine prescribed by Beam.

Robert Kennedy assassinated by Sirhan-Sirhan
More recently, and for similar reasons, the jihadists have also come to adopt the leaderless-resistance theory. Perhaps the first to promote the concept in the jihadist realm was jihadist military theoretician Abu Musab al-Suri. Upon seeing the success the United States and its allies were having against the al Qaeda core and its wider network following 9/11, al-Suri began to promote the concept of individual jihad — leaderless resistance. As if to prove his own point about the dangers of belonging to a group, al-Suri was reportedly captured in November 2005 in Pakistan.

    Al-Suri’s concept of leaderless resistance was embraced by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the al Qaeda franchise group in Yemen, in 2009. AQAP called for this type of strategy in both its Arabic-language media and its English language magazine, “Inspire,” which published long excerpts of al-Suri’s material on individual jihad. In 2010, the al Qaeda core also embraced the idea, with U.S.-born spokesman Adam Gadahn echoing AQAP’s calls for Muslims to adopt the leaderless resistance model.

    However, in the jihadist realm, as in the white-supremacist realm before it, the shift to leaderless resistance was an admission of weakness rather than a sign of strength. Jihadists recognized that they have been extremely limited in their ability to successfully attack the West, and while jihadist groups welcomed recruits in the past, they are now telling them it is too dangerous because of the steps taken by the United States and its allies to combat the transnational terrorist threat.

Busting the Mystique


    Having established that when a group promotes leaderless resistance as an operational model it is a sign of failure rather than strength, let’s take a look at how the theory translates into practice.

    On its face, as described by strategists such as Beam and al-Suri, the leaderless-resistance theory is tactically sound. By operating as lone wolves or small, insulated cells, operatives can increase their operational security and make it more difficult for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify them. As seen by examples such as Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan and Roshonara Choudhry, who stabbed British lawmaker Stephen Timms with a kitchen knife in May 2010, such attacks can create a significant impact with very little cost.

Nidal Hassan
Lone wolves and small cells often do indeed present unique challenges, but history has shown that it is very difficult to put the lone-wolf theory into practice. For every Eric Rudolph,   Nidal Hasan and Anders Breivik there are scores of half-baked lone-wolf wannabes who either botch their operations or are otherwise uncovered before they can launch an attack.

    It is a rare individual who possesses the requisite combination of will, discipline, adaptability, resourcefulness and technical skill to make the leap from theory to practice and become a successful lone wolf. Immaturity, impatience and incompetence are frequently the bane of failed lone-wolf operators, who also frequently lack a realistic assessment of their capabilities and tend to attempt attacks that are far too complex. When they try to do something spectacular they frequently achieve little or nothing. By definition and operational necessity, lone-wolf operatives do not have the luxury of attending training camps where they can be taught effective terrorist tradecraft. Nasir al-Wahayshi has recognized this and has urged jihadist lone wolves to focus on simple, easily accomplished attacks that can be conducted with readily available items and that do not require advanced tradecraft to succeed.

Jared Loughner shot a sitting Congresswoman
It must also be recognized that attacks, even those conducted by lone wolves, do not simply materialize out of a vacuum. Lone wolf attacks must follow the same planning process as an attack conducted by a small cell or hierarchical group. This means that lone wolves are also vulnerable to detection during their planning and preparation for an attack — even more so, since a lone wolf must conduct each step of the process alone and therefore must expose himself to detection on multiple occasions rather than delegate risky tasks such as surveillance to someone else in order to reduce the risk of detection. A lone wolf must conduct all the preoperational surveillance, acquire all the weapons, assemble and test all the components of the improvised explosive device (if one is to be used) and then deploy those required for the attack before launching it.

    Certainly, there is far more effort in a truck bomb attack than a simple attack with a knife, and the planning process is shorter for the latter, but the lone wolf still must follow and complete all the steps. While this operational model offers security advantages regarding communications and makes it impossible for the authorities to plant an informant in a group, it also increases operational security risks by exposing the lone operator at multiple points of the planning process.

    Operating alone also takes more time, does not allow the lone attacker to leverage the skills of others and requires that the lone attacker provide all the necessary resources for the attack. When we consider all the traits required for someone to bridge the gap between lone-wolf theory and practice, from will and discipline to self-sufficiency and tactical ability, there simply are not many people who have both the ability and the intent to conduct such attacks. This is why we have not seen more lone-wolf attacks despite the fact that the theory does offer some tactical advantages and has been around for so long.

The limits of working alone also mean that, for the most part, lone-wolf attacks tend to be smaller and less damaging than attacks conducted by independent cells or hierarchical organizations. Breivik’s attack in Norway and Hasan’s attack at Fort Hood are rare exceptions and not the rule.

When we set aside the mystique of the lone wolf and look at the reality of the phenomenon, we can see that the threat is often far less daunting in fact than in theory. One of the most vocal proponents of the theory in the white supremacist movement in the late 1990s was a young California neo-Nazi named Alex Curtis. After Curtis was arrested in 2000 and convicted of harassing Jewish figures in Southern California, it was said that when he made the jump from “keyboard commando” to conducting operations in the physical world he proved to be more of a “stray mutt” than a lone wolf.

    Lone wolves — or stray mutts — do pose a threat, but that threat must be neither overstated nor ignored. Lone attackers are not mythical creatures that come out of nowhere to inflict harm. They follow a process and are vulnerable to detection at certain times during that process. Cutting through the hype is an important step in dispelling the mystique and addressing the problems posed by such individuals in a realistic and practical way.

Cutting Through the Lone Wolf Hype is published with permission and thanks from The 5th Estate.



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