Biggest under-reported story of the week has to be the compound discovered in New Mexico where five adults were starving and abusing 11 underage children with the intent of developing them into school shooters. Hm. Abused children, remote compound, school shooter training…shouldn’t this be clickbait for every eyeball-starved news organization? Well the adults were, ahem, Muslim. In fact the children of a Brooklyn-based imam. Not just any imam. An unindicted co-conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Look, reasonable people can agree that Trump is a goon. But can reasonable people also not agree that when the media buries or obfuscates stories like this to fit their own narratives, they don’t do themselves any favors?
The hangover from Helsinki continued this week, meaning most people who were outraged in the first 24 hours after Trump met Putin have now moved on to Tweeting about Justin Bieber’s engagement and Instagramming from the beach to calm their nerves. It’s a pity, because this week was awash in eye-popping stories that didn’t make A1 in the dailies.
Count me as one of those who thought that Trump would, if nothing else, be tough on China. But, in one of the biggest stories of the week, Trump manages to only give Chinese company (and Chinese intelligence enabler) ZTE a slap on the wrist. I was, then, one of those who counted on the bipartisan outrage about his decision resulting in tougher treatment for ZTE. Nope — after heavy lobbying, Congress thought better of that too. So you can expect to see Chinese tech with histories of backdoors, viruses and a direct line to Chinese intelligence in our market soon. This is hardly the only significant Chinese offense being discussed this week. China has been using exit bans for leverage over US citizens (usually of Chinese heritage). The Chinese can and, apparently do, force the ex-pats to cooperate in investigations or coerce their Chinese family members to return to China. This should be a huge story — and, after Congress’ towering feat of cowardice with ZTE, it may have to be for China to be held at all accountable. Don’t bank on it seeing too much daylight, however. The Daily Beast’s Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian explains that both “the Chinese government and Chinese companies, often with close state ties, have retained lobbying and public-relations firms in the Beltway, in some cases hiring former U.S. officials as personal lobbyists.” Want names? How about former House speaker John Boehner, former U.S. ambassador to China Clark Randt, and former CIA Beijing station chief Randall Phillips?
The story of Russian influence in our government is significant (here is this week’s reminder that it doesn’t begin with Trump). But Chinese influence is even more significant…
The following is the war journal of Pedro Evasco, Chief Warrant Officer 2, 3rd Special Forces Group, US Army. This is part two of twelve. It is fiction. But not totally.
Fucking amazing sleep. Our compound overlooks Lake Victoria — did I mention that? Slept naked and solo in my room. Fucking wind felt amazing all night. My sinuses are cleared out, man, feel much fucking better. Katie and the kids are like 8,000 miles and six months away. No use getting burned up over what happened yet.
They assigned us a fleet of cars with drivers. At about 0500, I could hear all the drivers pull up and start to gab. They didn’t give a fuck. I eyed my shoe for a minute and thought about throwing it out the window at them, but let it go. That fucking air, man. All you want to do is sleep, fuck and eat.
I bought a new suit before we left Fayetteville. They haven’t found me an office yet. Didn’t matter too much since I was making time with the Old Man, a bunch of staff guys and going from briefing to briefing.
The following is the war journal of Pedro Evasco, Chief Warrant Officer 2, 3rd Special Forces Group, US Army. This is part one of twelve. It is fiction. But not totally.
24 June, 2016
I’m guilty. I’m so fucking guilty. I’m know what Katie would say. I can see that broken look on her face. I can hear her fucking sisters comforting her and promising to rush over right now to wrap their arms around her.
Goddamn. Goddamn. I knew better. I fucking knew better. I don’t wanna do this right now. So I’m gonna pussy out and just tell you everything else.