Friday, November 18, 2011


11-18-2011 11:08 am - Dr. Laurie Roth PhD -

A recent study by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy revealed that between January 2009 and April 2011 60% of those arrested for terrorist events in America were American citizens. Islamic jihad is growing in America.

American converts to Islam are everywhere, especially in our prisons. Doug Hagmann exposed that 1 in 3 African Americans in prison have converted to Islam. They are converting to the Wahhabi and Salafi sect, imported from Saudi Arabia. 

Hillel Fendel in Israel national news states that in 2003 12-20% were Muslim in prison, now 80% of prisoners who ‘find faith’ convert to Islam. Hillel and Hagmann both point out that long ago this focus on converts was planned out and pushed hard by radical Muslim groups.

The indoctrination of the prison population to radical Islam is well documented in Al Kae Da training manuals. This growth and focus is by design.

Disenfranchisement in prison is prime pickings for radical Islam to grow their Jihad population. Fendel documents the dramatic increase in Islamic, Wahhabi chaplains and growth in un reviewed Islamic reading materials.

The way thing are going, the least we will have to worry about when prisoners finally are out of prison is another bank robbery or rape. Instead, we will have to worry about airplanes being shot out of the skies, Malls being blown up and schools being attacked.

Honor killings are also growing. One Muslim Father who murdered his 3 daughters, 13-17 and 19, said in the London Daily Mail, that he would do it again. He described his girls as whores and treacherous. It was an honor killing you know. He had to do it and Sharia law approved.

In America, according to Atlas Shruggs, many authorities count these honor killings as ‘suicides’ so they won’t insult Islamics. Murdering your daughter or son is a suicide? Murder is murder and suicide is suicide, regardless of who is involved.

One miraculous encounter was with Fatima Abdallah who police said was accidentally killed when she threw herself again and again against the edge of a coffee table, giving herself a fatal brain hemorrhage. The only witness there at the scene waited 2 ½ hours to call 911. He has since gone back to Pakistan. Can you say honor murder?

Jihad Watch highlighted another Father who slit the throats of his 3 daughters and raped his wife, then hit her with a hammer. This also had something to do with ‘honor’ in his Islamic world.

Islam and Sharia law have major issues. Honor killings and Wahhabi Islam is growing in Prisons. Just as planned, the cultivation of Jihad is exploding.

PC bull rot has got to stop. Islamic chaplains and materials in prisons should be closely monitored and all reading materials reviewed closely. All ‘honor’ killings should simply be called ‘cold blooded murders’ and be a capital offense. Who cares what Islamic groups think. It is what it is. I have always said this…..I would rather be rude and alive then polite and dead. Speak your mind at and join me on my show

© 2011 Dr. Laurie Roth - All Rights Reserved

Dr. Laurie Roth earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In the late 90's, Laurie hosted and produced a successful PBS television show called "CD Highway" that aired nationally on 130 TV stations.

Tune in to The Roth Show, Weeknights from 7:00 to 10:00 pm PAC and find out for yourself! You can listen live on cable radio network (live on the internet) channel 6 or visit The Roth Show web site and click on "where to listen" Call the Roth Show at: 1-866-388-9093 1-866-388-9093



First American to die in War on Terror buried at Arlington

  Mike Spann's flag-draped casket is borne by Marine Honor Guards to 
  final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, December 11, 2001.
Johnny Spann, father of Mike, holds his son's tiny infant Jake, as he 
shares the unbearable with daughter-in-law Shannon and wife Gail.

By Verne Strickland / November 18, 2011

Micheal Spann, first American combatant to die in War on Terror, was killed November 25, 2001, in a dusty and chaotic prison courtyard in Afghanistan. He went down fighting, fending off a horde of enraged Muslim jihadists before he was overwhelmed.

Wielding an AK-47 and a Glock pistol, Mike killed the closest attackers as they surrounded him, pummeling him to the ground. At close range, they shot him in the head, apparently killing him instantly. A former combat Marine officer who transitioned into an elite CIA intelligence unit, Mike yielded no ground, asked for no mercy. His fierce killers gave no quarter. The handsome 32-year-old Alabama native died valiantly, but not in vain. Not in vain.

Half a world away, on December 11, 2001, Johnny Micheal Spann was interred in a stirring but dignified ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. A true hero had died in line of duty. Remarks in his honor were delivered personally at graveside by the Honorable George Tenet, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sixteen days had elapsed since the young, idealistic American patriot was gunned down in Qala-I-Jangi prison in Afghanistan. Sixteen days.

At the time, Mike's grieving father, Johnny Spann, having just experienced the numbing, emotionally-charged service at Arlington, did not know how little he knew about his son's death. It was to be another ten years before he discovered the answers.

A lesser man would not have persevered with such intensity and devotion. Johnny Spann had a sense that something was amiss, given the limited information he was getting about Mike's CIA mission -- how and why it ended with his son being sacrificed -- executed -- in a prison riot in strife-torn Afghanistan. 

Back home in Alabama, Johnny Spann was at first puzzled, then suspicious, then angered. He set out to get the answers, and knew he could not quit until he had them. This is the epic story of his improbable quest that going forward would consume his every waking moment. It is best told by Johnny Spann himself -- who lived it.


I am talking by telephone with Johnny Spann . He has gone out to his car in the parking lot of his office to talk on his cell phone, affording him privacy as these intimate topics are discussed.

The last time I got to talk to Mike was on Thanksgiving Day of 2001. He had called on the SAT phone, and wanted to know how his children were doing. I was in Virginia taking care of his kids. And he said, ‘Dad, if I need to come on home now, I will, because his ex-wife, the mother of his two daughters, was extremely ill. Mike told me if he need to come on and get out of there he would do it. I told him no everything’s in control here.

Then he said to me I guess you saw the news where we took Mazar E Shiref (where Mike was killed November 25, the next day) and to attend a meeting. He said we’ve got a whole bunch of prisoners who have surrendered, and we’re going to bring some of them down to this area over the week-end, and I need to go and see if I can get some information off them. A lot of different nationalities and types of people are going to be there.
I was led to believe Mike really thought he was going to get some good information from them maybe on where bin Laden was and that was going to be his job to go over there and interview those prisoners. This was Thursday. He said as soon as I complete that and get my stuff done, I am coming back to the states and stay for the month of December. Then I’ll return in January he told me. I never talked to Mike again.

That’s when I heard reports on TV on Sunday about 11am our time, U.S. networks started breaking news that there had been a prison uprising in what they called Mazar E Shiref at Qala-I- Jangiwhich is outside of lazarsharif. And it was reported that there were two Americans there – the two CIA people – but they didn’t know if they were dead or alive but they didn’t know if they were Army or CIA or what.

So we looked at the TV the rest of the afternoon, and just before five o’clock, it was already dark here, and I got a knock on the door. The man told me who he was, and he said I’ve got some news to give you. I think you probably know what I’m going to say. And I said yeah I’m afraid I do. Because prior to that about five minutes before he knocked on my door, I had gotten a call from Mike’s wife, he second wife. He had remarried. She had just gotten a call, and had been trying to contact the CIA office all afternoon and wasn’t able to. 

She called me and was crying and she said she had reached the CIA and was that they had some folks coming to my Dad’s house in California. And I said yeah Shannon I think it is. And I hung up, and I just hit the floor and lost it. I just couldn’t stand it. And I was crying and pretty much out of control, so I was on the floor in the dark when the doorbell rang. They said the last time Mike was seen, he was alive, and that he was fighting. And he said that’s all we know. And we didn’t know anything different until Tuesday night at eleven o’clock, which was Wednesday morning in Afghanistan. They were actually able to get inside and get Mike’s body.

But on Monday they called C130 bombers in and I knew they were doing that, and in talking with the people who were at my house, and two times Wes Tenant (CIA Director) had called me and my question to him was why can’t we get somebody in there to see if Mike is dead or alive? Why are we dropping all these bombs, and why are we doing all this stuff and we don’t know where he’s at? And he said well the military is in charge and blah blah blah.

Later, maybe four or five months after we had buried Mike and I was back in Winfield Alabama, I got a call from a man, and he was back in the states and he wanted to talk to me and that he was a part of the fight that went on there, and he was actually a functions operator in one of the C130s. He said the first plane went in but had some malfunctions and had to pull off, and he said then he took his plane in toward the target. 

We came in and I fired a hundred rounds, and he gave me a shell casing the size that they were firing, and I still have it because I went to visit him to see the information he had. We talked for awhile and he told me what he saw, and of course he was around 18,000 feet up in the air. We talked and talked and the next night he called me or I called him and I asked if he knew who was at the prison when he started firing? He said no, that he didn’t know until four or five days afterwards. And I said so you didn’t know that Mike Spann was inside – that there was an American inside kalijangi that was not accounted for, and might have been dead or alive and you were shooting anything that moved? And he said yes, those were my orders.

 Hello, Verne, you still there? Yes I am. I’m speechless.

So that was upsetting to me. And I went through a period of time where I contacted some of the generals and different people to try to get some answers as to why they did that, and of course I got a couple of lies – one of the admirals told me that didn’t happen. That we didn’t drop any bombs, but we knew that was nnot true.

Multiple people began to surface. I was able to contact one of the men, an American who was assigned to a British team in Afghanistan, and they had been there at a Turkish schoolhouse that was six miles from the old prison, and he was sitting there with a team to assess the situation to see if they could get Mike out, or whoever the American was, because of course they didn’t know the American's identity. I was able to locate him in Germany and talk with him by overseas phone.

Then later soon as he gets back to the states I finally got the authorization after being warned a couple of times -- I was told by some of his superiors that I needed to let him alone, that I didn’t need to be talking to him. My answer to them was well you know he’s not going to be in the service forever, and I’m going to be here until I do get to talk to him.

I don’t know if the pressure got to them or what, but I got a call from one of the captains who told me if I wanted to talk to him, that I could but I’d have to come up to Virginia Beach. So I got an airplane ticket and went to Virginia Beach. I was able to meet him, and I talked to him with a JAG officer there to debrief him like they did me.

The man I had come to see said he manned a submachine gun when the prison riot broke out. He was trying to cover Mike so he could get close enough to see if Mike was dead or alive. They almost court-martialed him because he disobeyed orders by going in to do that. But I was grateful to him.

You’re going to see a movie here in not too long – well maybe it will take another year or so to get it out. It’s about the whole thing. The things I’m telling you. Of course in a 90-minute movie we can’t feature all the things I’ve told you. It’s going to be titled “House of War”. That’s what Qala-I-Jangi actually means. 

I could talk for days about all that has happened, but to get back to the nuts and bolts, we’re at the tenth anniversary, and all the things I’ve found out from people I’ve tracked down and talked about, I do want to mention the video. A few days after Mike was killed, we were in D.C. two or three days before we buried Mike. I was told that there was a video shot just before Mike died. I determined that I would find it, no matter what I had to do to get it. 


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gun Free and Defenseless. How sweet it is?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / November 18, 2011

By | Posted in Public Safety |
In these harsh economic times, many individuals have decided to resort to crime as a means of personal income.  Often disadvantaged, these people tend to disregard the property rights of others and view burglary and robbery as more acceptable.

In doing so, they make an economic evaluation of the likelihood of success and potential income versus the potential costs of committing a crime.  Thus, it is only rational they decided that college campuses are perfect areas to commit crimes since most potential victims are young, inexperienced, and do not have immediate means to defend themselves.

The following examples, among many others, illustrate the ineffectiveness of campus police in preventing crime.

On Friday, Oct. 28, I had the “exciting” experience of having my class interrupted as NC State’s emergency alert system blared that students should go inside.  This emergency was called presumably because an armed bank robber had fled to NC State’s campus… and was arrested right outside my classroom in Winston Hall.

I shudder to think what could have happened had the robber jumped inside the building before the police caught him.  He was less than a 10 second sprint from holding my entire class hostage.

Now it later turned out that the robber had only a toy gun.  But even then, most students do not know enough about firearms to tell the difference and most certainly would not want to risk their lives calling the robber’s bluff.  Had that robber, in panic and desperation, ducked into Winston Hall to hold any classroom hostage, we all would have been defenseless—reduced to bargaining chips of the robber to trade in hopes for freedom.

Then there was the gunman at the Elizabeth City State University who was shot by police.  Campus officials praise the reaction time of the officers who were able to dispatch this AK-47 (a gun that a student would be highly unlikely to own legally) wielding graduate, but it was only luck that other people were not harmed by this gunman.

In all the reports, when police arrived many people had already seen the gunman and were running away from him.  Had he decided to do so, he could have easily opened fire on these fleeing students—potentially injuring or killing them.

In a free society such as ours, we live in a Lockean state of nature where any man can place himself in a state of war with society, where we must defend ourselves as police cannot maintain constant vigilance over everyone.  By depriving law abiding citizens of the right to defend themselves against aggressors, we violate their natural rights.

Ultimately, the reasons for crimes around campuses lie in the inconsequential costs associated with a defenseless student body which cannot carry weapons to defend themselves.  The vast majority of proponents of campus carry are not asking for completely unrestricted access to firearms on campus.

College campuses are emotional hotbeds and some students are not prepared for the responsibility of firearms.  They only ask for those who have gone through the additional training and certification process of earning a concealed handgun permit be allowed to carry on campus.

Many of such individuals are students and professors who are mature and capable of carrying firearms on and around college campuses in a safe and responsible manner.  Indeed, permit holders tend to be significantly less prone to crime than the public.

By allowing permit holders to carry, it drastically increases the safety of other students on campus by increasing the risk factor to criminals exponentially.  The reason that colleges and areas around them become rife with crime is that the victims are highly unlikely to be able to defend themselves against an armed robbery.

By allowing campus carry, it increases the cost of committing a potential crime, reducing the incentive to commit a crime in the first place.  John Lott explains this reasoning well in his book, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

Mike Spann -- the first American killed in the War on Terror -- died ten years ago this month. Gone, but not forgotten.

By Verne Strickland / November17, 2011

I am a writer. At this moment I am at the mercy of a story capable of vacuuming the soul. It is bigger than I am. I need help. "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be alway acceptable in Thy sight -- O Lord my Strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Johnny Spann is on the phone with me from his real estate office in Winfield, Alabama. It's a routine day for him, except that November 25 is nearing. This is the date of his son's death at the hands of enraged Taliban fighters in a prison in Afghanistan -- ten years ago. This searing memory, he tells me, will always be fresh. Johnny has gone out to his car in the parking lot to use his cell phone, assuring privacy as we talk.
Mike at 32 prior to his passing

"Will you honor Mike in any special way on the tenth anniversary of his death?" I ask.

"I remember Mike everyday and we commemorate his death everyday, and more importantly, his life," Johnny responds. "His two daughters of course live here. I don’t want them to ever forget their father, and I know they won’t. Emily was only four years old when Mike died. Alison was old enough that she remembers her dad really well. We’re not going to have any kind of special memorial anywhere. The tenth year doesn’t mean anything more to me than the first year."

He pauses, "No, the tenth anniversary is not special at all."

Mike's death in 2001 set off an improbable quest by the intrepid Alabama native to find out how his son died and why. It's a heartbreaking -- and heroic -- tale of a father's fierce love for a son who put his life on the line for America's freedom, and paid the ultimate price.

Mike's youth -- and his promise
Johnny Micheal Spann grew up in Winfield, Alabama, a town of about 4,500 people. His family remembers Michael to be a very ambitious, patriotic, young man who loved his family very much. Mike, always interested in history, spent a lot of time reading history books and encyclopedias. He was always challenging himself to do more.

At age 17 he earned his Private Pilots Licenses and later became a certified rescue diver and parachutists. Micheal prided himself in being a very disciplined person. Family and Friends remembered Micheal saying he would gladly give his life for his family, friends, or even his country.

Michael’s sisters, Tonya Ingram and Tammy Dunavant, say he was very protective of them, and they remember all the fun they enjoyed growing up with him in their home in Winfield. Tonya and Tammy explained, “We always knew he was there for us, even till his death.”

Others Remember
Micheal was not big when he was in high school, standing about 5 ‘10” and weighing in at 160 pounds. As a wide receiver and a running back he was muscular and tough.

“He was always giving 120 percent of everything he had, “said his coach, Joe Hubert. "Part of that spirit came from the teachings he had at home. His father and mother encouraged and nurtured Mike and his two younger sisters to be all they could be."

Early Ambition
Life in Winfield, Alabama revolved around family, church, duty, working at the family business, and school activities, and Mike Spann embraced them all. A favorite childhood picture shows him sitting on the barrel of a tank.

Playing soldier wasn’t the only thing on Mike’s mind as a young boy. He prayed every Sunday with his family at the Church of Christ and enjoyed the things that all young American boys enjoy. At 16 he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He would be a marine and then serve in the FBI or the CIA.

“Mike was probably the only 16-year-old boy in Winfield, Alabama who knew exactly what he was going to do, “said Dale Weeks, a school friend who said that he did not place a lot of faith in the talk of most teenagers. “But with Mike, you knew, you just knew,” he continued.

Heading for his future
After graduating from Winfield High School, Mike headed for college at Auburn University. While at Auburn he joined the Marine Corps Reserve in December of 1991. After earning a degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement in 1992 he enrolled in Officers Training School in Quantico, Virginia. He soon became an artillery expert with a specializing in how to direct air and naval firepower toward the enemy on the ground. By 1996, he was a Captain in command of 25 or more Marines.

“He was a tough guy among tough guys, “ said Major Tray J. Ardese, who served with him at Camp Lejune.
“He didn’t slack off, ever,” said Christopher T. Graves, another fellow Marine.

Reaching his goals
By 1999 Mike was ready to try something new. He loved the Marines but he had never seen action, and he felt the endless training should not be an end in itself.

Mike considered a number of options but settled on the CIA, which had a paramilitary unit within its Directorate of Operations. The CIA application asked each applicant to describe themselves. Mike wrote the following: (Excerpts)

I describe myself as an ordinary person, with a few God-given talents and ample self-confidence that has endeavored to accomplish extraordinary things. I am a dreamer with lofty goals, taking an optimistic outlook on any situation. 

I have an insatiable drive to do the best I can, looking for a challenge in everything, and working to meet that challenge. I am always determined and positive in my approach to anything in life. I believe in God and have hope in all things, even when it is as bad as it gets. 

I believe in my country and am very patriotic in my views and think it is important for my family to feel the same. I believe in the meaning of honor and integrity, constantly pursuing them personally and professionally.

My family is extremely important to me and I work to be a good father that looks out for my children’s well being and future, developing in them strong Christian values, and positive self-image.

I am a well-rounded military officer having acquired professional experience in areas such as combined arms operations, logistics, and communications through several assignments throughout the world. As a combat arms officer, I have maintained knowledge and proficiency of several types of weapon systems through hand of training and formal schools. Possessing above average proficiency as a writer, I have served as a public affairs officer and have written numerous education documents.

In conclusion, I am a person with a strong set of values that works at living my life according to a strong moral code. I know myself completely and have every confidence in my abilities to successfully accomplish anything I pursue in life.

Mission in Afghanistan
Shortly before he left for Afghanistan only a few short days before he died, Johnny Micheal Spann sent an Email to his parents and sisters in reproach to a liberal article that was forwarded to him.

“What everyone needs to understand is these people hate you,“ wrote Mike, “they hate you because you are an American. Everyone out there spewing the left wing liberal rhetoric claiming we brought it all on ourselves because of our policy on the middle east." Here's Mike’s personal favorite liberal quote, "Retaliation will only bring more attacks."

He continued: "Should we sit in the corner and be quiet? We were attacked last week by a foreign power. We are at war. Many Americans need to wake up and realize the fact. Somebody wants to destroy what we have and we have to defend against that.

"Who cares what other countries are saying, they’re not even democratic governments. We must respond to this or run the risk of ceasing to be the world’s only superpower. Write your representative and let them know that the U.S. doesn’t need permission from other nations or the UN to respond to the attack of last week.

"Our constitution gives us that power. The U.S. can and will deal with this trash. Just support your government, and our military especially, when the bodies start coming home.

"The U.S. lost the war in Vietnam because of lack of support at home. When you fight wars, people get killed. Our way of life is at stake here, and we must fight for it. Americans should keep flying their flags, supporting their government and writing their Congressmen. God Bless America “.

A precious life given in a noble cause
Mike Spann, 32, was the first American killed by the enemy. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery where he has loved to walk among the headstones of the fallen heroes.

What Mike was doing in the moments before he died is crystal clear although accounts of how he actually died vary. On November 25, 2001, Johnny Micheal Spann, who worked in a little known paramilitary unit of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service, was interrogating Taliban prisoners at Qala-I-Jangi. Unbeknownst to Mike one of them was a fellow American; John Walker Lhind who converted to Islam and took up the Taliban cause.

A few short moments after questions posed to Mr. Lhind elicited only silence, Mike Spann was killed in a chaotic prison uprising. Walker-Lhind, who was wounded, hid and was captured seven days later.

It is their encounter, a videotaped face-off between countrymen and enemies, a secret soldier from the small-town and a self-proclaimed seeker of “a true Islamic state” that has Mike Spann’s family and other Americans fixated on a particularly painful moment in the war. It was an unthinkable confrontation between two young American men, one fighting for his country, the other against it.

“It was a quest for right that Mike, at his country’s call, went to Afghanistan, “ said George J.Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence, adding. “To that place of terror and danger, he sought to bring justice and freedom.” Mr. Tenet described Mr. Spann, 32 as “an American patriot who knew that information saved lives, and that his collection is a risk worth taking.”

“Michael would have given his life getting Walker out of that place if only Walker had told him he was an American and what was going to happen,” said Mike’s father, Johnny Spann.

Mr. Spann was the 79th employee of the spy agency killed in the line of duty. Like the 78 agents who died before him Mr. Spann will be honored with the placing of a star in the CIA Headquarters lobby. Roughly half of the stars remain nameless for security reasons, but the CIA officials said that given widespread publicity about Mr. Spann’s death, it made little sense to keep his identity secret.

On the 28th day of November 2001 George J. Tenet made these statements the Director of Central Intelligence on the Death of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan:

"It is my sad duty to announce that one of our officers at the Central Intelligence Agency has died in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Johnny Micheal “Mike" Spann, who worked in the Directorate of Operations, was where he wanted to be: on the front lines serving his country. Given the nature of the CIA’s mission, I can publicly discuss his activities and the circumstances surrounding hid death only in broad terms.

"Mike was in the Qala-I-Jangi prison , where the Taliban prisoners were being held and questioned. Although these captives had given themselves up, their pledge of surrender - like so many other pledges from the vicious group they represent - proved worthless.

"Their prison uprising, which had murder as its goal, claimed many lives, among them that of a very brave American, whose body was recovered just hours ago.

"Mike joined CIA in June 1999. A young man, only 32 years old, he was no stranger to challenge or daring. He came to us from the United States Marine Corps, whose traditions he loved and whose values of courage and commitment he carried with him till the end.

"Quiet, serious and absolutely unflappable, Mike’s stoicism concealed a dry sense of humor and a heart of gold. His brand of leadership was founded not on words, but on deeds, deeds performed in conditions of hazards and hardship.

"His was a career of promise in a life of energy and achievement. A precious life given in a noble cause. Mike fell bringing freedom to a distant people while defending freedom for all of us here at home. His CIA family, too, is in mourning.

"But just as we grieve together, we work together to continue the mission that Mike Spann held sacred. And so we will continue our battle against evil, with renewed strength and spirit.

"We owe that to Mike and to every man and woman who dreams of the future free of the menace of terrorism.”

UPDATE per Johnny Spann 11/18/11

Verne, There are a couple of corrections.
Mostly all Al Queda prisonors were there. It is my understanding
that (Afghan general) Dostum had agree to let the afghan Taliban 
fighters give up their arms and go home at Kundus. Their were a 
few Taliban there that did not acknowledge they were Afghan. 
This is  according to info. I was given. So Mike was killed by
Al Queda fighters. John Walker Lhind was Al Queda, not Taliban. 
Can't remember if I explained this to you before. It is an 
important point.

This historic material is used courtesy of Johnny Spann and family in honor of Fallen Warrior Michael Spann.

Funeral at Arlington -- Homage to a Fallen Warrior.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh, you just kill me! Confessions of a Chinese executioner (It's easy. Just pull the trigger)

By Martin Barillas / Speroforum Editor     November 17, 2011

“The work is not as difficult as it seems from the outside. We point, squeeze the trigger and that is that,” reportedly said one of China’s executioners in reference to his deathly work. He added, “We all use rifles and stand about 15 feet away from the condemned prisoner from whom we are separated by 3 foot tall barrier.” 

Chinese media recorded an interview with an executioner named Hu Xiao, who has participated in the official killings for some two decades.  In the Beijing Evening News it was also recorded that prisoners, kneeling before their executioners, frequently collapse in fright before sentence is carried out.

Executioner Hu recalled that in one case, a soldier who had been convicted of murder rose up and ran towards the firing squad and afforded them the opportunity to kill a moving target. China is one of 23 countries, including the United States, where capital punishment is still observed.

Ninety-six countries have officially abolished the death penalty. China executes more people than any other country in the world.

The veteran executioner justified his actions, saying “All of the condemned get what they deserve for their crimes,” and added that the executions have become a routine for him. He recalled, however, that the second time that he carried out a death sentence he was a little nervous, but not because he was afraid. Said Hu, “I was afraid that I would not hit the mark and so be ridiculed by my comrades.”  To prepare him for the bloody task, veteran executioners had Hu witness two executions and then also inspect the victims for any signs of life.

Amnesty International has recorded 527 official executions in 2010 in 23 countries, representing an increase of 4 countries over the previous year. However, the butcher’s bill in 2009 was higher: 714 sentences carried out.
 But these figures do not include the People’s Republic of China. In 2004, Comrade Deputy Chen Zonglin admitted that some 10,000 people met their fate at the hands of executioners in the worker’s paradise. Even so, it is alleged that China has decreased the number of capital sentences.

In some cases, the Supreme Tribunal of China has thrown out convictions that used evidence secured by torture and threats.  With a move to further humanize the project, China may soon start carrying out the death penalty by lethal injection, much as is the case in the U.S.

The majority of the cases of capital punishment come from convictions for murder or robbery, but the sentence is also carried out in cases of drug trafficking and corruption. For instance, Zhang Yujun, a former dairyman, and Geng Jinping were executed in November 2009 for their role in adulterating milk used for infant formulas that killed children in China. Chinese judges can impose the death penalty for 68 distinct crimes, 44 of which are non-violent.
In February 2011, Chinese officialdom made the announcement that it would abolish the death penalty for 13 so-called 'economic crimes.'  It also dropped the penalty for offenders aged 75 and old, ostensibly to rein in abuses in the Communist legal system. Among the 'economic crimes' are the forging and selling invoices to avoid taxes and smuggling cultural relics and precious metals such as gold out of the country.

Speroforum editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Barack's Watergate -- Solyndra scandal. Big. Deep. Ugly. Beautiful?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / Nov. 16, 2011

By Tom Cohen, CNN
updated 8:32 PM EST, Tue November 15, 2011
  • NEW: The White House challenges part of the Republican memorandum
  • House Republicans release details of Solyndra investigation before a hearing Thursday
  • Memo: The Department of Energy asked Solyndra to delay layoffs until after the 2010 vote
  • Solyndra went bankrupt after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees
Washington (CNN) -- The Department of Energy last year urged struggling solar energy company Solyndra to delay announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 elections, according to information made public Tuesday by Republican congressional investigators.

Solyndra, which had received $535 million in federal loan guarantees in 2009, later declared bankruptcy.
House Republicans are spearheading an investigation of whether Solyndra received preferential treatment because a key investor was a major fundraiser for President Barack Obama.

The White House says the loan guarantee under a Department of Energy program started during the Bush administration was approved by energy officials based on the merits of the plan to manufacture solar panels.

The House Energy Committee will hold a hearing on Solyndra on Thursday to question Energy Secretary Steven Chu about the issue.

A memorandum Tuesday by the Repubilcan staff of the panel's oversight and investigations subcommittee said Solyndra faced financial troubles and was seeking more government help in 2010, after Obama had visited the company to tout its benefits.

It said Solyndra Chief Executive Officer Brian Harrison e-mailed the Department of Energy on October 25, 2010, that the company had received inquiries from the media and potential investors about rumors of financial problems.

Harrison stated he wanted to proceed with a planned internal announcement of layoffs on October 28, the memorandum said, adding that Harrison's e-mail was forwarded to Jonathan Silver, the executive director of the energy department's loan programs office, as well as Chu's chief of staff.

The memorandum said Silver forwarded the e-mail to Carol Browner and Ron Klain, who were top advisers to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, and another White House staff member in Browner's office.

However, a White House official disputed that assertion, saying the e-mail went from Silver to others, and it was someone else who then forwarded it to Browner, Klain and another official. A spokesperson for the subcommittee staff later confirmed that the memorandum misstated the e-mail chain as pointed out by the White House.

According to the memorandum, Department of Energy officials discussed the situation on October 30, 2010, with advisers for Argonaut Private Equity -- a major Solyndra investor founded by Obama fundraiser George Kaiser.

The Argonaut advisers said the energy officials "did push very hard for us to hold our announcement of the consolidation to employees and vendors to November 3," the memorandum stated.

"Oddly, they didn't give a reason for that date," the Argonaut advisers added, according to the memorandum.
The mid-term congressional elections took place on November 2, and the next day, Solyndra announced it was shutting down some operations and laying off workers.

A Department of Energy spokesman, Damien LaVera, said memorandum "cites internal e-mail from Argonaut about the timing of a press release."

"But as the 180,000 pages of documents that the Department of Energy turned over to the Committee indicate, the Department's decisions about this loan were made on the merits, based on extensive review by the experts in the loan program -- and nothing in this Republican Committee memo changes that," LaVera said.

It was the second time in a week that the House Energy Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee released information that the White House labeled misleading.

In a November 11 letter to the Republican chairs of the energy committee and the oversight subcommittee, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler cited what she called the selective release of some e-mails and other documents last week intended to create a false impression that political contributors influenced the Solyndra loan decision.

"Your allegation is unfounded," Ruemmler wrote, adding that the way the documents were released presented a misleading and inaccurate account to the public. Democrats on the committee also criticized last week's release of information by Republicans.

In an interview with National Public Radio made public Tuesday, Chu denied that any political influence by campaign contributors played a role in the Solyndra loan process.

"Certainly no decision we made in the loan program had anything to do with who was investing in the company," Chu said, according to an NPR report on the interview.

Monday, November 14, 2011

USA DOT COM SPECIAL SERIES: Mike Spann -- What he lived for, and what he died for

Mike Spann, Semper Fi
Mike Spann, Semper Fi

By Verne Strickland  / November 14, 2011

On this website for the past few years, we have reported and commented on heroes and villains, gutter politics, wars, tragedies, personal stories of valor and of treachery, of extraordinary Americans who daily put their lives on the line to prevent our various deadly enemies from snuffing out the flame of freedom. 

But now we encounter a clash of wills, philosophies, and beliefs so totally opposed as to make the eruption of war inevitable, after Islamic radicals drew first blood.

We have never before had the opportunity to report on a story with more gripping personal impact, relevance and drama than this one -- the story of CIA agent and former Marine officer Michael Spann of  Alabama -- the first American to die fighting in the War on Terror in Afghanistan.

This is an epic saga of courage and sacrifice which brings together idealism and bravery, from the quiet and innocence of small town Alabama, to the chaos and dire peril of war in a hostile foreign land.

Though it has the intrigue of a movie script, this is not fiction, but a true-to-life depiction of idealism, danger and betrayal, of commitment to duty on the part of one special American who enters the lair of jihadists in Afghanistan on a quest to pick up the trail of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden.

At the time of this mission, young Michael Spann was a CIA Special Ops agent who joined the agency to invest all his initiative, skill and bravery in the War on Terror, currently the the greatest threat to freedom in the world.

It was through my friend Ilario Pantano that I was made aware of this story. He directed me to Johnny Spann, Mike's father, who graciously made himself available for lengthy personal talks by phone, detailing this compelling chronicle of a father's search for facts in the death of his beloved son -- a war hero by any measure.

While those interviews with me were doubtless very painful for Mr. Spann, they surfaced intricate personal revelations of his effort to unravel a twisted plot that led finally to a crowded, seething prison in Afghanistan.  He shared facts which he said he has discussed to only a limited degree prior to this.

This has been a deep personal experience for me, and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to relate the facts of Michael Spann's personal search for bin Laden, and Johnny Spann's quest for documented evidence about how his son died -- overwhelmed in an intense fire fight at close range with a hoard of captured jihadists who wanted to kill him -- and did.

Honorary Marine Guards escort Mike's casket into Arlington National Cemetery on December 10, 2001. 
A full military funeral ensued. The CIA hero died ten years ago -- November 25, 2001

There are many instances in this rawboned narrative revealing the courage of this resilient American family -- a father's refusal to be denied the truth about his son's last moments in a prison compound, later pouring over grainy photos he had recovered of the postmortem of Mike's body at a medical center in Germany, and  the finality of a military funeral with full honors in Arlington. Through it all, grieving father Johnny Spann bore up with dignity and composure.

Johnny Spann's  tortuous journey to the truth is at times quite difficult to absorb, as he tells of examining the lifeless body of his son in a casket, tracking down a film depicting his son minutes before he was killed, and interviewing the men who personally witnessed Mike's death in a uprising by desperate prisoners. To me this amazing American father is no less a hero than the son he mourns.

Havinjg these desperate events related to me by a man who has endured so much to honor his son has rocked me to the core. It surely will have the same effect on you. It will make you feel blessed to realize how our military and defense systems hold the Islamic hoards at bay, keeping us safe and secure. It will also make you proud of those who stand watch, fight our fights and sacrifice life and limb for the sake of freedom.

In addition to recording the heartfelt personal comments shared by Johnny Spann, we consulted dozens of specialized military and intelligence websites which, I feel obligated to say, yielded no classified information while yielding facts which were previously unknown.

This story will be related in several installments to give it adequate space for delivery of key information and documentation. Watch for it in the next few days.This is not foremost a story of loss or defeat It is first of all a story of love and victory. This is the truth about what Mike Spann lived for -- and what he died for.

After following this tumultuous account, you will better understand the price of freedom.

Semper Fidelis.