Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Martin Luther King, Jr. Niece: ‘Moral Bankruptcy’ Ruling Washington D.C. Under Obama

October 20, 2014



There is a “moral bankruptcy” that’s settled into leadership of America in the White House and throughout Washington, D.C., Dr. Alveda King—the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.—said in an interview Friday morning.

“All of our leaders—or many of our leaders—are just morally bankrupt right now,” King said when asked if President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have helped or hurt the black community in America. “They’re not calling on God. We still stay ‘In God We Trust’ and ‘One Nation Under God’ but we’re not practicing that. We need to call on God. There’s a moral bankruptcy in this country and we really need to come back to God.”

Dr. King is part of an effort that will be announced publicly early next week by various conservative black, Hispanic and Tea Party leaders to reach out to the black community and get them engaged in an effort to help urban centers reject big government in favor of smaller, limited government. The project, called “Restore The Dream 2014,” includes other black leaders like’s Niger Innis, FreedomWorks’ the Rev. C.L. Bryant, radio host Wayne Dupree, Conservative Campaign Committee chairman Lloyd Marcus, Conservative Review president Deneen Borelli, columnist Star Parker, former U.N. Commission on Civil Rights ambassador Ken Blackwell, and others.

Dr. Alveda King

In an interview, Innis—whose father Roy Innis has led the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of the major organizations behind the Civil Rights movement, since 1968—said that progressive and big government policies have created a “welfare state that has largely not only destroyed the black and increasingly so Latino—and American family generally—they have killed the types of incentives that had led people to achieve and build a better life for themselves.”

“You can have opportunity right in front of your door but you’re terrified to open it because you’re a victim,” Innis said. “So those two realities that you have now since a leviathan of the federal government that is trying to fashion itself as a cradle-to-grave big daddy government—going to take care of you from cradle to grave and give you all sorts of disincentives to climbing that economic ladder, and by the way if you do climb that economic ladder they’re going to punish you punitively with taxes that are going to undermine you.”

“If you dare want to open up a business, they’re going to cripple you with regulations and taxes and they’re going to make it easier for you to be a rational human being and just get government benefits rather than being a liberated individual who can climb that economic ladder,” he continued. “So you have that real but not concrete phenomenon of big government mentality crippling you and then you have on a parallel track victimization syndrome overriding it that says—you pick the minority—‘you are a victim and you are the underdog so you can never achieve.’ That is a dangerous recipe and it is a recipe that has dominated urban centers for more than 50 years and what we’re trying to do is liberate them.”

King said that economic indicators show that during Obama’s presidency, things have gotten dramatically worse for black Americans.

The data is going to indicate black people lost out in every single leading economic category during the Obama years,” King told Breitbart News, noting that liberal commentator Tavis Smiley agrees with her and that they’re not trying to “demonize” or “cast aspersions” on Obama, but the truth needs to be told. “That’s terrible. There’s nothing that’s been done to enhance our lives but there’s all sorts of things that were done to [give us stuff] like free access to abortion, free birth control in a healthcare clinic. But that’s nothing that’s going to help us economically, intellectually, physically health-wise and otherwise—there’s nothing being done for us. Black home ownership is 31 percent less than the rest of the country. Poverty rates have increased from 12 percent to 16.1 percent. Income for blacks is $20,000 less than the national average. Thirty-five percent of young blacks are out of work.”

That’s just the beginning of the black community’s woes under Obama, she said. Education, immigration, and health concerns are abound too.

“I’m not so locked into a political party—Republican, Democrat, independent—it doesn’t matter to me what your party affiliation happens to be,” King said. “We just need to vote and have common sense and good morals when we elect our people. We need hope. We need for the lights to come back on. We need to shine the light of the Lord and the love of the Lord back onto the country. We need a restoration, and that’s how we can restore the dream.”

King pointed Breitbart News to her uncle’s famous “Give Us The Ballot” speech, which he delivered in May 1957 in Washington, D.C., and discussed how he the black community could effectuate change by voting. “Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights,” Martin Luther King, Jr., said in that speech. “Give us the ballot, and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law; we will by the power of our vote write the law on the statute books of the South and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence. Give us the ballot, and we will transform the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens.”

King said that the black community needs to do the same today to use the ballot to change the liberal policies that are hurting them.

“We have to now in this century understand what my uncle and father talked about, which is that we are part of an equal community where everyone has an equal place in society,” King said. “Giving people government handouts without dignity, that’s not working. Giving people HHS mandate healthcare with free contraceptives and free abortions, that’s not going to help people. So we want to do more. We want our children better educated. We want better education, more jobs, opportunity, so people can contribute to society—so those are our goals.”

King also said she agrees with her aunt Coretta Scott King, MLK’s wife, who in 1991 wrote a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) asking him to actually enforce immigration laws so that illegal aliens wouldn’t have a “devastating impact” on blacks by taking jobs away from them.

“I did go down to the border with Glenn Beck because actually I was concerned about the children,” King said. “I do not agree with open borders and you’ve got people who take these little children, cut them up and fill them with drugs then sew them back up and send them over here. I did want the children to be fed, I wanted them to have a warm meal and try to get them back home. I do not support open borders and I certainly agree with my aunt on that.”

The group plans to gather at the MLK memorial in Washington, D.C., on Monday, and then will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, and then onto Ferguson, Missouri—the site of the shooting death of Michael Brown earlier this year, something that has sparked controversy in the black community nationwide.


President Obama and Premier Narendra Modi at Martin Luther King Jr. memorial

ISIS, Ukraine, the South China Sea and the End of the Era of American Power

October 20, 2014

By David Paul
Huffington Post

A colleague called me during the run-up to the Iraq war in March 2003. It is going to be unlike anything the world has ever seen. Shock and Awe. The war will be over before it starts. An inside player in the Bush administration, he was in a position to know what was in store.

Shock and Awe is a the military doctrine that “focuses on the psychological destruction of the enemy’s will to fight rather than the physical destruction of its military forces.” To the Bush administration, Shock and Awe was the name for the onslaught of missiles and bombing that was to initiate the U.S. invasion and would intimidate Saddam, quickly bringing his regime into submission.

Little did we know that the opening days of the second Iraq war marked the end of the era of America as the world’s dominant military power. It is not that America’s military power declined, but rather the salience of that power. Since the invention of the atomic bomb, the United States has had to choose in any given military or proto-military engagement which weapons were appropriate to use and which were deemed inappropriate or disproportionate to a given conflict. While some envisioned the invention of the atomic bomb as a weapon that would make war itself unimaginable, the invention of increasingly powerful weapons has only complicated the nature of warfare for the dominant power.

In the first days of the Iraq war, the massive missile strikes were delayed in favor of a decapitation strike that failed due to faulty intelligence. Shock and awe never unfolded as the tour de force of the administration’s imagination and the war that was to spark an Arab spring, with Iraqis seizing the opportunity to embrace their Jeffersonian future, was an abject failure. It plodded on for a decade until the American public had had enough. Looking back, it is apparent that the opening days of the Iraq war marked a seminal moment in American military power and foreign policy reality, but one that we have yet to discuss, to debate and to learn from as a nation.

This became vividly apparent when ISIS beheaded its first victim, an act to which many had the same immediate and visceral reaction: We should nuke them. A decade earlier, I watched the utterly barbaric video of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi beheading Nicholas Berg, and now, as then, a video of a beheading garners a response unlike any other form of intentional brutality.

Nuke them. Using nuclear weapons would of course be inconceivable. But the visceral response to the ISIS acts encapsulated the larger problem that we now face: We are unwilling to use the military capabilities that we have, and our adversaries understand this. And worse, in not using the capability at our command, we are rendered impotent, unable to respond with means at our command to those who show no such restraint.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have been challenged by what it means to be the dominant superpower in the world. We have deployed military assets around the world, with a specific focus on key regions. We have surrounded the Russian landmass with military assets and a coordinated defense alliance through NATO. We have built a network of bases along China’s coastline from the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea. We have a network of military assets surrounding Iran. We have a network of bases in place to defend our interests in the Middle East. And we have aircraft carrier battle groups deployable across the world.

The doctrine of shock and awe–a metaphor for our ability to subdue conflicts through intimidation before they turn into full fledged wars that has been essential to our notion of military power in the world–died in Iraq. Perhaps the limits to what we were willing to do in war were first manifest in Vietnam. And perhaps it was what Ronald Reagan realized when he considered his choices in the aftermath of the bombing of the military barracks in Beirut in 1983 and chose to pull out.

But in the wake of Iraq, Americans now know instinctively that, whether for moral, financial or practical reasons, we are not willing to use the military capability that we have so carefully built for so many years. We are no longer interested in pursuing military action as a solution to each new conflict that the world turns to us to solve, but having built our credibility around our military power, we have neither the capability nor the respect for alternative paths to conflict resolution. While for domestic political reasons we have been unable to have a serious national discussion about this new underlying reality, our increasing disinclination to use the military capability that constitutes so much of our identity in the world has become inherently destabilizing.

Vladimir Putin understands this. He understands that he has great latitude to pursue Russia’s strategic interests in Ukraine before he will risk seeing any American military response. Xi Jingping understands this as well. He understands that China has great latitude to impose its will and territorial ambitions in the South China Sea before America will consider any serious military response.

And Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s protege, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, understands that if the world is going to wait for a committed American response to the ISIS threat in the Middle East, the world is going to have to wait a while. Baghdadi, like Putin and Xi, understands that shock and awe is only a meaningful doctrine if it is backed up by the commitment to use military force–real force, even disproportionate force, the force that makes one a superpower–on the ground.

If war is politics by other means, and we have effectively taken the use of our full military capacity off the table, it is time that we have a real discussion about the implications of this for our foreign policy and how we engage in the world. So far, Congress has been willing to seriously engage the question of where we go from here, which the Senate made clear when it refused to hold a debate on launching military strikes against ISIS.

The cornerstone of American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War has been the deployment and implicit threat of disproportionate military capacity. But now the veil has been lifted and the world knows that the days of shock and awe are behind us. In our political discourse we continue to posture as though nothing has changed. But we are only fooling ourselves, our adversaries have already figured it out.

David Paul is the President of the Fiscal Strategies Group

Obama will bypass Congress on Iran sanctions if nuclear deal is within reach

October 20, 2014

‘Suspension’ is good enough for Tehran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani listens during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. (AP Photo/Jewel Samad, Pool)

By Victor Morton
The Washington Times

In another example of the White House bypassing Congress to avoid a vote it would lose, the Obama administration will not to seek congressional approval to suspend sanctions against Iran if a deal on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program can be reached, The New York Times reported Sunday night.

According to the report by David Sanger, citing American and Iranian officials, Iran has agreed in principle that a “suspension” of sanctions would be enough for them to take away from the negotiating table.

“But Mr. Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Mr. Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote,” The Times wrote.

The difference between a temporary suspension and an outright revocation can keep attorneys up at nights, but there is no immediate-term difference and the Obama administration plans to use that to its advantage.

“We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” one senior official told The New York Times.

A deal with Iran probably would not be a formal treaty and thus would not constitutionally require the Senate’s approval, but lawmakers of both parties say that doesn’t matter — they don’t want the administration undermining sanctions Congress has duly passed.

Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99-0 vote,” said Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican.

Indeed, Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has sponsored legislation that would impose further sanctions on Iran if a nuclear deal isn’t inked by the Nov. 24 deadline set by the negotiating countries — Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, representing the European Union.

“If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state,” he told The Times over the weekend.

The talks are still haggling over such issues as the scope of international inspections and details of the nuclear-related facilities Iran will continue to have.

Iran also wants broader relief from United Nations sanctions that, for example, bar it from importing dual-use equipment.

Read more:
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Don’t Make a Bad Deal With Iran


The New York Times

JERUSALEM — Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The talks are moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.

Although Iran has modified its tone recently, there have hardly been any changes of substance since the soft-spoken president, Hassan Rouhani, took over the reins from his aggressive predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Neither administration has budged from the insistence that Iran should retain most of the 9,400 operational centrifuges it deploys to enrich uranium, as well as its nearly completed nuclear reactor in Arak, which could produce plutonium in the future.

Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues but we must not be duped by these gestures. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.


U.S. Expresses Concern To China On Treatment of Pro-Democracy Protesters in Hong Kong

October 19, 2014


John Kerry and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi

US Secretary of State John Kerry has discussed the ongoing protests in Hong Kong with a top Chinese official, ignoring Beijing’s strong warnings over its internal affairs.

Kerry talked about the controversial issue in a meeting with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi in Boston on Saturday.

An unnamed US State Department official said Kerry “raised both the basic universal principles at stake and very specific cases -– the situation in Hong Kong.”

The US has stepped up interference in China’s affairs with Washington saying it is “deeply concerned” by clashes between protesters and Hong Kong police.

Chinese Foreign Ministry reacted to calls by the US for a probe into the issue of Hong Kong protests and said that no country or individual has the right to “make indiscreet remarks or criticisms on this issue.”

The protests were triggered after China refused to allow open nominations for Hong Kong’s next chief executive in 2017, forcing voters to choose from a list of two or three candidates selected by a nominating committee.

The two officials also discussed human rights, cyberspying and disputes in the South China Sea.

The top US diplomat said Beijing and Washington are working hard together to manage their differences.

“There are many issues that China and the United States are cooperating on, even as we have some differences that we try to manage effectively,” Kerry said.

The Chinese official also said that the ties between the two countries should be based on “mutual respect.”

President Obama will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Beijing in November. He is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines.



US, China vow to manage rifts ahead of Obama visit

October 18, 2014

By Matthew lee

BOSTON (AP) — The U.S. and China pledged Saturday to overcome mistrust, manage their differences and cooperate on key issues like combatting terrorism and the spread of the Ebola virus as President Barack Obama prepares to travel to the Chinese capital next month.

Meeting in Boston, Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi said the relationship between the two countries is mature enough to discuss disagreements while building on areas of shared interest.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, talks with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi prior to a meeting in Boston, Saturday Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

“There are many issues that China and the United States are cooperating on, even as we have some differences that we try to manage effectively,” Kerry told reporters as he began a second day of talks with Yang.

Yang, noting that Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping had made improved relations a priority, agreed.

“We believe that we should continue to work together to deepen our mutual trust and to put our efforts to major areas of cooperation while, on the basis of mutual respect, we can properly handle many kinds of difference between us,” he said.

Washington and Beijing have recently clashed over matters including territorial disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. At the same time, the two countries are working together on efforts to rein in nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea and have a common goal in curbing Islamist extremism, climate change and Ebola.

China is among several countries the Obama administration has implored to step up efforts to fight the Ebola virus by contributing more to the international campaign to stop its spread from the source in West Africa.

Kerry is hosting Yang in his hometown for two days of discussions ahead of Obama’s trip to Beijing for a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in November. On Friday, Kerry opened his home in Boston’s tony Beacon Hill neighborhood for a dinner.

The meetings follow talks in Washington earlier this month between Kerry and China’s foreign minister during which they aired differences over Hong Kong.

After his meetings with Yang on Saturday, Kerry will travel to Indonesia for the inauguration on Monday of its new president, Joko Widodo, who won a July election.

On Tuesday, Kerry will go to Berlin to meet with Germany’s foreign minister before returning to Washington.

Obama’s “Ebola Czar” is “Longtime Democratic Operative Ron Klain” — Washington Post

October 18, 2014

The Washington Post

President Obama on Friday tapped longtime Democratic operative Ron Klain to coordinate the federal government’s response to the threat of widespread infection from the Ebola virus. The move came as the president and his administration faced mounting criticism about its handling of the disease.The appointmentofKlain, an experienced Washington lawyer who served as chief of staff to both Vice President Biden and former vice president Al Gore, signaled the administration’s recognition that an Ebola outbreak in the United States could overwhelm its management capacity.InKlain, 53, Obama has enlisted a legal expert and Democratic strategist with a reputation for handling complex projects such as the administration’s economic stimulus package during Obama’s first term and the Democratic effort to challenge the 2000 presidential election results.

Attorney Ron Klain was named 'Ebola czar' by President Obama on Friday.

Ron Klain via Facebook — Attorney Ron Klain was named ‘Ebola czar’ by President Obama on Friday.

Despite repeated reassurances from the White House and federal public health officials that the chances of widespread infection remain small, the public anxiety about the disease continued to build, and it is increasingly becoming a political issue as Election Day draws near.

A growing chorus of Democrats — several of whom are embroiled in tight reelection contests — are calling for increased travel restrictions on passengers from West Africa, even though the administration and public health experts warn such a move would be counterproductive.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama, who spoke to Klain by phone Friday morning, had chosen him because he “recognized that the response would benefit from having someone who could devote a hundred percent of their time to this specific task — that is, coordinating the response — and somebody like Mr. Klain, who has a strong management track record both inside government and in the private sector, is the right person for the job.”

While the president’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, has been coordinating the domestic side of the inter-agency response to the outbreak since March, a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the administration began reassessing that approach after the issue “exploded on her agenda.” This week, the official added, the White House started seriously contemplating the idea of bringing in outside help.

Earnest noted that Monaco, who also helps direct the administration’s strategy to confront the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, “has significant responsibilities when it comes to other national security priorities as well.”

Klain will report to Monaco and Susan E. Rice, the president’s national security adviser. In another move to ramp up the White House response Friday, Obama decided to designate senior personnel on the ground in Dallas, including an experienced Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinator and a White House liaison.

Klain is tasked with coordinating domestic preparedness efforts and the U.S. military operation to help control the virus’s spread in West Africa. His appointment drew plaudits from Democrats but little praise from Republicans. Most GOP lawmakers questioned why the president chose someone with a political and management pedigree rather than someone with public health or infectious disease credentials. And some faulted Obama for not taking more aggressive action to halt the flow of people from Ebola-affected countries into the United States.

“We don’t need another so-called ‘czar’; we need presidential leadership. This is a public health crisis, and the answer isn’t another White House political operative,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in a statement. “The answer is a commander in chief who stands up and leads, banning flights from Ebola-afflicted nations and acting decisively to secure our southern border.”

Even Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who had endorsed the idea of empowering a single person to oversee the federal response, tweeted that Klain was “not what I had in mind” and he preferred a Cabinet member “accountable to Congress.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) questioned Klain’s lack of medical credentials, saying in a statement it was “right” to install someone in the post, “But I have to ask, why the president didn’t pick an individual with a noteworthy infectious disease or public health background?”

“The fact of the matter is this is much broader than just a medical response,” Earnest said Friday. “What we were looking for is not an Ebola expert but rather an implementation expert, and that’s exactly what Ron Klain is.”

Klain emerged from the Al Gore 2000 and John F. Kerry 2004 presidential campaigns with a reputation as one of the Democrats’ most able strategists.

“I wouldn’t call him a policy wonk by any means, but he was someone who got [that] you couldn’t formulate good strategy without understanding the policy,” said Chris Jennings, who served as a top White House health policy adviser under former president Bill Clinton and Obama.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Klain clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White before rising through the staff ranks in the Senate to secure the job of Gore’s chief of staff in his early 30s. Klain became close with Biden while serving as a staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee when Biden served as chairman and helped advise Biden during the 2008 campaign.

During Obama’s pre-inaugural transition, the newly elected president wanted to find a role for Klain in the West Wing, and his name was mentioned as a potential White House communications director, according to a person familiar with the internal deliberations. But Biden also wanted him and convinced Klain to join the vice president’s office as chief of staff. More recently, Klain was a serious contender for the post of White House counsel — though W. Neil Eggleston ultimately took the job.

Mark Gitenstein, a former Obama administration ambassador to Romania, said Klain developed a strong relationship with Obama while helping prepare the then-senator from Illinois for the presidential debates against Republican nominee John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. Klain had served in a similar role for Kerry’s 2004 campaign.

Known for firing off e-mails at odd hours because he runs on little sleep, Klain is an enthusiastic Facebook user who frequently posts about his family. He is married to Monica Medina, who served as a top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official during Obama’s first term and is the National Geographic Society’s senior director for international ocean policy.

Gitenstein said he believed that Klain’s management of the economic stimulus push in the first year of the Obama administration helped him prepare for the challenges that he’ll face managing the Ebola response. “It was a very difficult job — a management problem and a problem of getting the money to the right places, which required coordination with other Cabinet secretaries. . . . Ron really got his arms around the problem as fast as anyone I’ve seen.

Klain is taking a leave of absence as president of Case Holdings, the holding company for the business and philanthropic interests of former AOL chairman Steve Case, and general counsel of Case’s venture capital firm Revolution LLC. No start date has been set for his new White House job, but Earnest said Klain would start “soon” and is expected to work for roughly five to six months on the Ebola initiative.

The Klain announcement came as Ebola fears continued to reverberate across the country. Friday brought news that a health-care worker from the Dallas hospital that has been the epicenter of Ebola in the United States had been isolated on a cruise ship that left Texas on Sunday.

This health-care worker had no direct contact with Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who was diagnosed with Ebola and later died after flying to Texas last month. But, according to Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the State Department, the person “may have had contact with” fluid samples from Duncan during his treatment. Mexican authorities did not allow the cruise ship to make a scheduled visit to Cozumel on Friday, according to Carnival Cruise Lines. It is scheduled to return to Galveston, Tex., Sunday morning.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Thursday that another large group of people had to be contacted and screened. The CDC had said it was reaching out to anyone who was on the Frontier Airlines flight taken by Amber Vinson, the second Dallas nurse to contract Ebola, when she traveled from Cleveland to Texas on Monday. However, the CDC says it is reaching out to passengers on the Frontier flight she had taken to Ohio on Oct. 10 to see whether they are deemed to be at potential risk.

David Nakamura, Mark Berman and Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
The New York Times
The [Ebola] response has been criticized as sloppy, with two intensive care nurses in a Dallas hospital falling ill after treating a Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan, who eventually died from the virus. One of the nurses had been allowed to take a commercial flight despite telling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that she had a slight fever.


Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama Is Said to Seethe
The New York Times

President Obama Names “Political Operative” as “Ebola Czar”

October 17, 2014


Responding to growing calls to appoint an “Ebola czar” to lead America’s battle against the deadly virus, sources confirm to Fox News that President Obama plans to name Ron Klain, a longtime political hand with no apparent medical or health care background.

He did, however, serve as chief of staff to Al Gore and later Vice President Biden.

In making the appointment, Obama will effectively bypass another official, Dr. Nicole Lurie, who has served as assistant secretary for preparedness and response (ASPR) at the Department of Health and Human Services since July 2009.

Congress, nearly a decade ago, created that post, which would seem to fit the bill for Ebola coordinator — at least on paper.

Yet, as Obama prepares to name Klain, the senior official currently filling that health job has been virtually absent from the public eye. She’s on the team, the Obama administration insists — just not in the lead.

A spokesman with HHS told Fox News that in addition to roles played by other agencies, “Dr. Lurie and her team in ASPR are dealing primarily with advance development of countermeasures, [Public Health Service] deployment, and hospital outreach.”

In other words, Lurie is part of the cast but by no means a central character.

At least one lawmaker, though, pinpointed her post as the one that should be in charge of the whole operation.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., remembered that Congress had created such a point person in 2006 with the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act.

When asked in an Oct. 13 interview on MSNBC if he thought the administration needed an Ebola “czar,” Casey said, “I don’t, because under the bill we have such a person in HHS already.”

The mission of the assistant secretary, according to the HHS website, “is to lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters, ranging from hurricanes to bioterrorism.” Within their authority, the assistant secretary also “develops and procures needed [medical countermeasures], including vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and non-pharmaceutical countermeasures, against a broad array of public health threats, whether natural or intentional in origin.”

In one profile, Lurie was called the “highest-ranking federal official in charge of preparing the nation to face such health crises as earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and pandemic influenza.”

In the interview for Penn Medicine, Lurie is described as dealing intimately with major health issues and disasters, including the Boston Marathon bombing and Hurricane Sandy.

But little has been published about her work during the current Ebola crisis, despite it being presumably within the purview of her mission. The ASPR website homepage makes no mention of the Ebola virus.

In an interview with The Washington Post in September, Lurie touched on her role over Ebola, saying her agency is partnering with others to ensure health care workers have the “information they need to be prepared to identify and treat Ebola infections” and is working with others to accelerate vaccine testing.

Regarding the Klain appointment, a White House official said Friday that he comes to the job with “strong management credentials, extensive federal government experience overseeing complex operations and good working relationships with leading members of Congress, as well as senior Obama administration officials, including the president.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called him an “excellent choice.”

Lurie comes with some baggage.

In 2011, she was cited in a congressional investigation of a controversial no-bid contract given to New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., to develop a small pox vaccine some experts at the time felt was unnecessary. The senior stakeholder of Siga, which received $443 million to develop the drug, was Ronald O. Perelman, a billionaire and longtime political donor.

The investigation at one point focused on a favorable letter that Lurie, who had overseen the bid process, had written to Siga’s chief executive. She later said the bid was awarded strictly on merit.

Ironically, some of the calls for an Ebola “czar” came from Republicans that previously hammered the administration over its many centralized-power positions that informally carried that name.

During Obama’s first term in office, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., joined a host of Republicans in criticizing the president’s appointment of numerous so-called “czars,” some of which do not require Senate approval. “Obama has more czars than the Romanovs,” McCain snarked in a 2009 tweet, referring to the pre-revolutionary Russian dynasty.

But in an interview on Sunday, McCain called for one to handle the Ebola crisis. “I’d like to know who’s in charge,” McCain said on CNN.

Earlier this month, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said he hated the term, but a “czar” is in order to “lead” and “unify” the prevailing government efforts. Meanwhile, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has said a “central coordinator,” is necessary. He joined Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who wrote to the president asking for a single “senior advisor” in charge. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., also said it was “critical” for the government to have one point person for Ebola.

While previously pushing back on calls for a “czar,” the White House had assured there are “clear lines of authority” among HHS, the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense, departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services and other agencies, all working here and in West Africa to coordinate security and health efforts.

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest touted the role of White House adviser Lisa Monaco. He has never mentioned Dr. Lurie specifically in the White House briefings.

In the meantime, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Tom Frieden of the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and CDC respectively, have been the two most consistent public faces before the cameras since the first Ebola patients were treated in the United States this summer.

A rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, Lurie has served in both the private and public sector, at both the federal and state levels, including a stint as medical adviser to the commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health, and as a professor in the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.

No matter how “integrated” the efforts, however, the approach was not impressing lawmakers who wanted one clear voice among what they say is a growing din. “The White House has done little over the past few weeks to inspire the confidence of Texans,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, referring to the second nurse diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas this week, “and the time for the administration to act is now.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Microbiologist: Ebola’s faster than us

October 17, 2014
By Jason Miks
updated 1:31 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
(CNN) — The current Ebola outbreak is “running much faster” than the international response to it, the co-discoverer of the virus said Thursday.

“This is the first Ebola epidemic where entire nations are involved, where big cities are affected,” Peter Piot, a microbiologist and a former undersecretary general of the United Nations, told Global Public Square host Fareed Zakaria. “And I continue to be worried that the response to the epidemic is really running behind the virus.”

According to the World Health Organization’s latest update, there have been almost 9,000 confirmed and suspected cases, with almost 4,500 deaths. However, the WHO warned there could be as many as 10,000 new cases per week in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of this year.

Piot, a member of the team that discovered the virus in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, made headlines earlier this month when he told The Guardian newspaper he feared an “unimaginable catastrophe” if the virus became lodged in a mega-city such as Lagos.

“The three countries that are affected are being totally destabilized, not only in terms of people who are killed by Ebola — their families, the orphans that now are coming up because the parents died — but the economy has come to a standstill,” Piot said Thursday, speaking from Oxford.

“People are massively dying from other diseases that are normally treatable, like malaria, or women die while giving birth because hospitals are abandoned or are full with Ebola patients. So that’s a very, very destabilizing factor,” he said, adding that the impact of its spread is “beyond Ebola.”

Piot said that it is impossible to predict the number of cases. Asked about the WHO projections, he said: “10,000 per week, or 1,000, we don’t really know.”

“At the moment, there are about 1,000,” he said. “It’s still expanding, that’s for sure. And it probably will continue to grow until all the measures have been put in place in a more efficient way.”

Piot’s comments came on the same day as Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Services, apologized over mistakes he says were made in the care of Thomas Duncan, a Liberian national who became the first person in the United States to die from the virus. Duncan was sent home despite saying he had a fever and that he had visited West Africa.

“Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes,” Varga testified to Congress. “We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry.”

Writing for CNN earlier this month, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Tom Frieden said one way for the United States to prevent the disease spreading in the United States is to tackle it at the source, in West Africa.

“After all is said and done here, that is the only way to truly and completely protect the health security of America — and the world,” Frieden wrote.

Watch the full interview on “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

This view was echoed by Piot, who added that there were some encouraging signs from two of the countries in the region that have been worst affected.

“As long as there is a major epidemic in West Africa, the rest of the world is also at risk. That is an additional reason for providing assistance to stop the epidemic. And because there will be people who will show up — be it in Europe, in the U.S. or in China,” he said.

“The good news is that both Nigeria and Senegal have been able to contain a number of important cases,” Piot said. “In Senegal, there was never even any secondary case. In Nigeria, there were a number of people who were infected and died, but it has not given rise to an outbreak in Lagos, after all, a city of more than 20 million people.”

“That shows that if you act decisively and early enough … it can be controlled.”

Asked by Zakaria what steps he would like to see taken to try to halt the spread of the virus, Piot suggested that it is particularly important to focus on protecting health workers.

“Something that we’ve learned through Doctors Without Borders is how to treat patients, to care for them and isolate them so that they don’t infect others. But also to reduce, more or less, mortality,” he said. “We need to protect health care workers. We’ve seen it in the U.S. We’ve seen it in Europe. But above all, in Africa, where over 200 nurses and doctors and lab workers have died from Ebola. And that can be done by protective care.”

But he added that the biggest challenge in slowing the spread of Ebola is changing the kinds of behaviors that allow it to spread.

“Stopping the transmission in the community around funerals — that is still going on. And so we have to change people’s behaviors and beliefs and also what to do with all the patients who are still at home, who can infect people while they’re being transported to hospital units.”

“So that’s going to be a massive undertaking of behavior change. And it will have to come from within, where their beliefs are influenced and where safe behaviors have to be introduced. And that can come from traditional chiefs, from the opinion leaders in each community.”

Asked whether he believed the United States was overreacting to the potential spread of Ebola, Piot said he hoped the extensive media coverage of the virus would ensure that people are more aware of how to protect themselves. But he said he also believed it was possible to get the current outbreak under control.

“I’m not worried about an epidemic in the larger population,” he said. “There will be cases. I think we should not be naive about that. But I think it can be contained.”

Obama administration’s Ebola evasions reveal its disdain for the American people

October 17, 2014

The Obama administration’s response to Ebola: To call it childish would be unfair to children

Wall Street Journal


The administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis continues to be marked by double talk, runaround and gobbledygook. And its logic is worse than its language. In many of its actions, especially its public pronouncements, the government is functioning not as a soother of public anxiety but the cause of it.

An example this week came in the dialogue between Megyn Kelly of Fox News and Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control.

Their conversation focused largely on the government’s refusal to stop travel into the United States by citizens of plague nations. “Why not put a travel ban in place,” Ms. Kelly asked, while we shore up the U.S. public-health system?

Dr. Frieden replied that we now have screening at airports, and “we’ve already recommended that all nonessential travel to these countries be stopped for Americans.” He added: “We’re always looking at ways that we can better protect Americans.”

“But this is one,” Ms. Kelly responded.

Dr. Frieden implied a travel ban would be harmful: “If we do things that are going to make it harder to stop the epidemic there, it’s going to spread to other parts of—”

Ms. Kelly interjected, asking how keeping citizens from the affected regions out of America would make it harder to stop Ebola in Africa.

“Because you can’t get people in and out.”

“Why can’t we have charter flights?”

“You know, charter flights don’t do the same thing commercial airliners do.”

“What do you mean? They fly in and fly out.”

Dr. Frieden replied that limiting travel between African nations would slow relief efforts. “If we isolate these countries, what’s not going to happen is disease staying there. It’s going to spread more all over Africa and we’ll be at higher risk.”

Later in the interview, Ms. Kelly noted that we still have airplanes coming into the U.S. from Liberia, with passengers expected to self-report Ebola exposure.

Dr. Frieden responded: “Ultimately the only way—and you may not like this—but the only way we will get our risk to zero here is to stop the outbreak in Africa.”

Ms. Kelly said yes, that’s why we’re sending troops. But why can’t we do that and have a travel ban?

“If it spreads more in Africa, it’s going to be more of a risk to us here. Our only goal is protecting Americans—that’s our mission. We do that by protecting people here and by stopping threats abroad. That protects Americans.”

Dr. Frieden’s logic was a bit of a heart-stopper. In fact his responses were more non sequiturs than answers. We cannot ban people at high risk of Ebola from entering the U.S. because people in West Africa have Ebola, and we don’t want it to spread. Huh?

In testimony before Congress Thursday, Dr. Frieden was not much more straightforward. His answers often sound like filibusters: long, rolling paragraphs of benign assertion, advertising slogans—“We know how to stop Ebola,” “Our focus is protecting people”—occasionally extraneous data, and testimony to the excellence of our health-care professionals.

It is my impression that everyone who speaks for the government on this issue has been instructed to imagine his audience as anxious children. It feels like how the pediatrician talks to the child, not the parents. It’s as if they’ve been told: “Talk, talk, talk, but don’t say anything. Clarity is the enemy.”

The language of government now is word-spew.

Dr. Frieden did not explain his or the government’s thinking on the reasons for opposition to a travel ban. On the other hand, he noted that the government will consider all options in stopping the virus from spreading here, so perhaps that marks the beginning of a possible concession.

It is one thing that Dr. Frieden, and those who are presumably making the big decisions, have been so far incapable of making a believable and compelling case for not instituting a ban. A separate issue is how poor a decision it is. To call it childish would be unfair to children. In fact, if you had a group of 11-year-olds, they would surely have a superior answer to the question: “Sick people are coming through the door of the house, and we are not sure how to make them well. Meanwhile they are starting to make us sick, too. What is the first thing to do?”

The children would reply: “Close the door.” One would add: “Just for a while, while you figure out how to treat everyone getting sick.” Another might say: “And keep going outside the door in protective clothing with medical help.” Eleven-year-olds would get this one right without a lot of struggle.

If we don’t momentarily close the door to citizens of the affected nations, it is certain that more cases will come into the U.S. It is hard to see how that helps anyone. Closing the door would be no guarantee of safety—nothing is guaranteed, and the world is porous. But it would reduce risk and likelihood, which itself is worthwhile.

Africa, by the way, seems to understand this. The Associated Press on Thursday reported the continent’s health-care officials had limited the threat to only five countries with the help of border controls, travel restrictions, and aggressive and sophisticated tracking.

All of which returns me to my thoughts the past few weeks. Back then I’d hear the official wordage that doesn’t amount to a logical thought, and the unspoken air of “We don’t want to panic you savages,” and I’d look at various public officials and muse: “Who do you think you are?”

Now I think, “Who do they think we are?”

Does the government think if America is made to feel safer, she will forget the needs of the Ebola nations? But Americans, more than anyone else, are the volunteers, altruists and in a few cases saints who go to the Ebola nations to help. And they were doing it long before the Western media was talking about the disease, and long before America was experiencing it.

At the Ebola hearings Thursday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) said, I guess to the American people: “Don’t panic.” No one’s panicking—except perhaps the administration, which might explain its decisions.

Is it always the most frightened people who run around telling others to calm down?

This week the president canceled a fundraiser and returned to the White House to deal with the crisis. He made a statement and came across as about three days behind the story—“rapid response teams” and so forth. It reminded some people of the statement in July, during another crisis, of the president’s communications director, who said that when a president rushes back to Washington, it “can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people.” Yes, we’re such sissies. Actually, when Mr. Obama eschews a fundraiser to go to his office to deal with a public problem we are not scared, only surprised.

But again, who do they think we are? You gather they see us as poor, panic-stricken people who want a travel ban because we’re beside ourselves with fear and loathing. Instead of practical, realistic people who are way ahead of our government.



Jeff Hulbert from Annapolis, Maryland, dressed in a protective suit and mask holds a poster demanding for a halt of all flights from West Africa,as he protests outside the White House in Washington, DC on October 16, 2014. Top US health officials faced a grilling Thursday by lawmakers infuriated over the nation’s fumbling response to the Ebola outbreak, as the Obama administration scrambles to contain the disease’s spread. US authorities began screening for Ebola on Thursday at the Washington area Dulles airport, Chicago’s O’Hare, Newark and Atlanta airports, after New York’s JFK began screening last week.Together, the airports receive 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected countries. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

War Against Islamic State: Turkey Calls U.S. Led Airstrikes “PR” Campaign

October 17, 2014

US-led air strikes on Kobane are ‘PR’ campaign, Turkey claims …. Turkey’s prime ministerial adviser claims Kobane is a distraction from the need for a wider settlement to end the war in Syria, including the defeat of Islamic State

Smoke rises after an apparent US-led coalition airstrike on Minaze village near Kobane, Syria.

Smoke rises after an apparent US-led coalition airstrike on Minaze village near Kobane, Syria. Photo: EPA

American-led attacks on jihadists in Kobane are a “public relations” campaign that is doing little to defeat them or resolve the conflict in Syria, Turkey’s prime ministerial adviser has told The Telegraph.

The battle for Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town on the Turkish border, has become the central focus of the international coalition’s war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in recent weeks.

But in an interview, Cemal Hasimi, adviser to the Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said Kobane was a distraction from the need for a wider settlement to end the war in Syria, including the defeat of Isil.

“While we are concerned about the tragedy in Kobane, we believe that fighting this terrorism there has somehow turned into a PR campaign,” Mr Hasimi said. “Honestly we are tired of all this ‘raising of awareness’ at certain moments – dropping a couple of bombs is not enough.

“Air strikes are necessary but if you don’t have a political perspective on the future of Syria, aerial bombardment is not enough and Kobane is not going to be the last town which will be attacked in this way.”

Since it cut diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime in 2011, Ankara has consistently called for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power. Until the international community addresses “Syria’s top terrorist” – as one diplomat referred to President Assad – they will be treating symptoms and not the cause, Mr Hasimi said.

Making the Assad regime a target as well as Isil is a key demand by Turkey in response to pressure from President Barack Obama to join the international alliance.

US officials have been meeting with members of the Turkish government this week in a bid to reconcile some of the differences in priorities over Syria, which have manifested in the press in increasingly snide tit-for-tat remarks.

Western countries have been pushing for Turkey, a Nato member, to join President Obama’s anti-Isil coalition.

Mr Hasimi vehemently rejected such phrasing, arguing that just because Turkey was not part of the campaign, it remains an ally in the fight against Isil.

As well as providing intelligence on Isil and other actors, Turkey has so far spent $4.5 billion (£2.8 billion) on accommodating 1.6 million refugees.


Turkish Lt. Gen. Erdal Ozturk, second from left, and others listen as President Obama speaks during a meeting with more than 20 foreign defense ministers Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Instead of joining the bombing campaign or allowing the US and its allies to use the military bases and airfields in its country as launch pads, Turkey has repeatedly called for a no-fly zone.

The no-fly zone would support a “buffer zone” carved out of Syrian territory of the Turkish border, which would likely be enforced by an international coalition of troops.

The territory would protect Turkey from the immediate threat of having Isil on its border, provide territory on which Nato countries could train rebels to fight Isil and Assad, and accommodate the mass numbers of Syrians who have fled their homes.

These demands have fallen on deaf ears in some parts of the US government, including in the White House.

Instead, Mr Hasimi said, the gruesome images circulating on YouTube showing beheadings and mass killings, both of Syrians and foreign hostages by Isil extremists, have whipped up the international community into a state of hysterical hyperbole.

The United Nations envoy to Syria, Stefan Di Mistura, went so far this week as to claim Kobane could become “another Srebrenica”, referring to the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995.

The statement was viewed with some puzzlement by locals on the ground, who said there were at most only a few hundred civilians were left in Kobane, with the majority having fled to Turkey or close to the Turkish border.

Mr Hasimi dismissed the claims as “politicisation”, designed to raise international support for military strikes against Isil.

“The situation is quite terrible in Kobane, but we have seen similar tragedies in Syria. Let’s not fool ourselves,” said Mr Hasimi.

“Singling out Kobane and taking it out of context, and discussing it as if it were the only turning point in Syria is not a fair reading,” he said. “It is not fair to the city of Aleppo, it is not fair to other cities which have been destroyed by the regime or by Isil.

“This rhetoric is amazing as you are talking about a country that has lost almost 300,000 people.”

Whilst Mr Hasimi and other Turkish officials sought to play down the importance of Kobane in wider strategic anti-Isil framework, the battles in the border town have sparked intense domestic unrest in Turkey.

Kobane is being largely defended by the YPG, a Syrian affiliate of the PKK, the Kurdish guerrilla group that has been fighting a long war with Ankara for greater autonomy and which, by the US’ own prescription, is listed as a terrorist group.

More than 40,000 people have died in the bitter war between PKK factions and the Turkish government.

Mr Hasimi and another Turkish official regarded calls to allow weapons to flow across the borders to the YPG defence forces as preposterous.

The Turkish official said: “If we arm the YPG, those weapons will find their way to the PKK.”

But not aiding the PKK has come at a cost for Ankara. Last week at least 35 people were killed as Kurdish protests in solidarity with Kobane turned violent, with Diyarbakir, the Kurdish capital in Turkey, at the centre of the bloodletting.

With the Turkish population including up to 15 million Kurds, many of whom have taken sides in the war, the antagonism caused by crises in Kobane is threatening to derail the entire peace process, one European diplomat said.

As he spoke of the YPG in Kobane Mr Hasimi could barely disguise the intensity in his voice: “Instead of international community calling this non state actor a terrorist organisation, as it has been official designated by the US, they rely on them [to fight Isil]. It’s incredible!”

The result of this strategy, Mr Hasimi said, is a failure to resolve the crises in Syria, and the implications of that are “negative for Turkey, for region, for the EU and for global stability; we are talking about a normalisation of radicalism”.


Kurds sit in formation to form the initials of the People's Protection Unit, or YPG, the main Kurdish militia in Syria, on a hilltop overlooking Kobani just over the border, in support of Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS, on Wednesday. Turkey believes the People's Protection Unit have ties to a Kurdish group in Turkey that is the Turkish government considers a terrorist organization.

Kurds sit in formation to form the initials of the People’s Protection Unit, or YPG, the main Kurdish militia in Syria, on a hilltop overlooking Kobani just over the border, in support of Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS, on Wednesday. Turkey believes the People’s Protection Unit have ties to a Kurdish group in Turkey that is the Turkish government considers a terrorist organization. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Syrian defenders of the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani say an increase in coalition airstrikes — and better coordination with the air support — have helped them hold off the more heavily armed fighters from the so-called Islamic State.

Each day, cars and vans carrying Kobani residents, Turkish Kurds and journalists climb over the rock-strewn paths on the edge of plowed fields, avoiding Turkish military roadblocks to reach the hills overlooking the Syrian border and the town of Kobani.

With only a few units from the Free Syrian Army joining Kobani’s Kurdish defenders on the ground, Syrian Kurds say Turkey should open a corridor and let fighters and weapons in. Instead, they say, Turkish authorities are detaining young Kurdish men on suspicion of terrorism.

Mustafa Ali has a relative among the fighters still in Kobani. The 38-year-old Ali came to Turkey about a week ago, after being stuck for three days at the border while ISIS shells landed not far away. He doesn’t think Turkey will overcome its suspicion of all Kurds and intervene to save Kobani — unless it gets a push from outside.

“If the international community forces Turkey to support Kobani, it will,” Ali says. “But without pressure from the Americans and the Europeans they won’t, because Turkey thinks both sides in this fight are terrorists.”

Turkish Suspicion

Adding to the pain of watching their town be destroyed a little more each day is the clear knowledge that those fleeing Kobani aren’t welcome in Turkey. Ali says that Kurdish men, especially younger ones, routinely are stopped at the border, and that many then are taken by Turkish authorities to detention centers, where they’re not charged with anything but are investigated on suspicion of terrorism.

“I know some of the guys who have been detained. They are political guys from Kobani, members of various Kurdish political parties, and the Turks caught them and held them,” Ali says. “I was told there were as many as 200 of them, but some chose to go back to Syria.”

In one of the newest refugee camps for Kobani residents to spring up, in the border town of Suruc, Turkish hosts are digging trenches between the neat rows of family-sized gray tents to lay electric cables. Kobani families appreciate the shelter they’ve been given, but 34-year-old Mohammed Sheikh al-Muslim says the way the Turks are treating the detained Kurdish men is unjust.

He calls one of them, Walid Yasser, 25, who says he was detained 11 days ago.

“They gave us three choices — Jazeera, Qameshli or Afrin,” he says, meaning they could pick one of three Kurdish enclaves in northern Syria to which they would be returned.

Yasser says it’s because the Turks think they’re with the People’s Protection Units, the Syrian Kurds linked to Turkey’s own Kurdish militants, known as the PKK. He says he has nothing to do with any of that, but the Turks don’t believe him.

On the hill overlooking the border, Kurdish men who fled Kobani have arranged themselves in columns and chant support for the defenders of their town.

They say they’re ready to fight ISIS with stones, if necessary, but while the display may look impressive on television, these men know that they won’t be crossing any borders tonight — and that they’ll have to come back again the next day to watch their homes take another pounding.




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