AWESOME! Meet The Afghanistan War Vet Who’s Turning Her Sights On A Different Kind Of Killer

Image Credit: KING-TV

She’s an Army combat veteran who served four years in the military as a weapons instructor and mechanic, a stint that included a tour in Afghanistan.

Now, Kinessa Johnson has taken on a new fight for a cause she passionately supports — combating poachers in East Africa who kill protected wildlife.

Johnson — whose striking photos showing her handling formidable weapons are circulated widely on the web — joined a group called VETPAW, Veterans Empowered To Protect African Wildlife.

Image Credit: KING-TV

Image Credit: KING-TV

According to a report by a Seattle TV station not far from Johnson’s hometown of Yelm, Wash., “VETPAW is a nonprofit organization that works to help end the African wildlife poaching crisis by utilizing the skills of U.S. veterans to train park rangers and support their communities.”

In an interview with the station, Johnson said that, despite her military training and her depiction as a gun-toting war-fighter, the mission of VETPAW is not to hurt anyone, but to help those trying to stop the poachers.

Image Credit: KING-TV

Image Credit: KING-TV

Image Credit: KING-TV

Image Credit: KING-TV

The VETPAW website notes that “nearly 100 elephants are slaughtered every day for their tusks. Without action, this iconic species, and others, will be gone from the wild within a decade.”

Says Johnson of her work protecting elephants and other endangered animals: “Our intention is not to harm anyone; we’re here to train park rangers so they can track and detain poachers and ultimately prevent poaching.”

An article on Johnson’s Africa mission by Liberty Cannon Media notes that Johnson is the only female currently deployed on the VETPAW team.

While some are making her out to be some hardcore war mongering death dealer, when you talk to her about her mission it’s a totally different story.

Behind that heavily tattoo’d bad-girl exterior is a heart made of gold and a sincere love and passion for her team, her job and the animals she is protecting.

If you’re interested in Kinessa Johnson’s work with VETPAW, you can follow her mission in East Africa through her regular posts on her Facebook page.

Image Credit: KING-TV

Image Credit: KING-TV

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Calls For Obama’s Impeachment Could Well Grow Louder With Army’s Decision To Charge Bergdahl

Images Credit: Twitter

When President Obama agreed in mid-2014 to exchange five top Taliban leaders in U.S. custody for an American soldier held by a terror group in Afghanistan, prominent critics of the deal charged that the commander-in-chief had committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” and should be impeached.

At the heart of those early calls for impeachment were claims that Obama had broken federal law against supporting terrorists. A June 2014 post on WND quoted Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano:

“’We have a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization. It could be money, maps, professional services, any asset whatsoever, include human assets,’ [Napolitano] said.”

Colonel Allen West, a former member of Congress, called on Capitol Hill lawmakers “to draft articles of impeachment as no one is above the law in America.”

Joining in the stinging criticism of Obama’s questionable “Taliban Five” trade deal was the former assistant U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted Islamic radicals behind the first bombing of the World Trade Center.

Andrew McCarthy argued that “transferring the five terrorists to Qatar in exchange for the release of Bergdahl ‘violates the law against material support to terrorism.’”

Commentator Matt Barber (whose columns frequently appear on Western Journalism) added his voice to the chorus calling for impeachment. Via CNS News:

Whether Obama is intentionally trying to overthrow his own government is open for debate. But that he is, ‘adhering to [America’s] Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort,’ is without question.

Those calls for Obama’s impeachment came after controversial details of the deal were made public last summer, but long before the Army’s investigation of the Bergdahl case was complete…and longer still before today’s announcement that the military is charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion.

When President Obama formally and proudly announced Bergdahl’s release after five years in captivity, there was a high-profile Rose Garden celebration of sorts featuring Bergdahl’s parents. Fox News reminds us:

“Bob Bergdahl, who had studied Islam during his son’s captivity appeared with a full beard and read a Muslim prayer, while Bergdahl’s mother Jani embraced the president.”

Then the administration set about trumpeting its triumphant accomplishment in the media.

Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice — known for her adamant assertion that the Benghazi attack was caused by an Internet video — went so far as to praise Bergdahl on national television, hailing the newly freed soldier as having “served the United States with honor and distinction.”

Rice’s declaration that the release of this “honorable” soldier marked a “joyous day” seems all the more removed from reality now that the Army has determined to prosecute Bergdahl for willfully leaving his post in Afghanistan.

Appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” close to two months ago, retired Army officer, Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, claimed the Pentagon had determined to charge Bergdahl; but the White House was desperately trying to keep that fact from going public because it would embarrass Obama.

Some of Bergdahl’s platoon-mates in recent months have been outspoken in their claims that Bowe Bergdahl voluntarily walked away from his unit and put his fellow soldiers lives at risk when they conducted dangerous missions to try to locate him.

At a Wednesday afternoon briefing about the Bergdahl case, an Army spokesman said there are two charges being lodged: “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and “misbevaior before the enemy” that endangered his fellow soldiers.

The next step in the case is for the Army to hold a preliminary hearing at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. If taken to a court martial and found guilty, Bowe Bergdahl could face life in prison.

The consequences for Barack Obama, beyond potential embarrassment and renewed political grief, are yet to be determined.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Breaking: What Obama Just Did Shatters A Major Campaign Promise On This Key War Strategy

Images Credit: USA Today

When he was hot on the trail to re-election in 2012 and tossing out all sorts of campaign promises, Barack Obama said the following at a stop in Boulder, Colorado:

We are bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. And I’ve set a timetable. We will have them all out of there by 2014.

Politico writer Josh Gerstein reminds us that a short time before, in Sioux City, Iowa, the president had boasted:

I put forward a specific plan to bring our troops home from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. And when I say I’m going to bring them home, you know they’re going to come home.

Well, as with so many of Obama’s other pledges to the American people — promises that helped him to defeat Mitt Romney — that “you know they’re going to come home” vow has turned out not to be fulfilled. In fact, far from it.

And now, as USA Today has just reported, the White House says the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces still in Afghanistan will be delayed, thus dramatically changing the latest timetable Obama had assured us would be followed in bringing the troops home.

The article notes that the Pentagon, under Obama’s direction, will maintain a force of some 9,800 U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan at least through the end of 2015.

That revised number, while indicating yet another substantial shift in Obama’s military strategy, is not altogether unwelcome to U.S. commanders or to the relatively new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Both feared the too-rapid drawdown would jeopardize Afghanistan’s security and allow the Taliban a greater chance to make substantial inroads.

“The Obama administration has planned to reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan from some 9,800 to about 5,500 by the end of this year; Ghani has said he wants more U.S. troops to stay longer as Afghanistan seeks to build up its own military.”

In its coverage of the president’s decision on a higher troop presence in Afghanistan through the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal notes that this move could cast into doubt another of Obama’s promises to bring to a close America’s longest-running war.

“Left unclear is how the new drawdown plan will affect Mr. Obama’s promise to fully end the Afghanistan war, now approaching its 14th year, by the time he leaves office.”

Since he first began campaigning in 2008 for America to put him in the White House, Barack Obama has been promising to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But as so often happens with this commander-in-chief, those commitments have turned out to be little more than dust scattered on the winds of political expediency.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

CIA Cash Helped Fund Al Qaeda

Photo credit: Nathan Gibbs (Flickr)

The Afghan government handed over one million American dollars to Al Qaeda to help pay the ransom for the release of one of its diplomats.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the Afghan government made the ransom payment, totaling $5 million in 2010 for the release of Abdul Khaliq Farahi, who had been kidnapped in 2008. Farahi was serving as Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan at the time of his capture by Al Qaeda and had close personal ties to then-President Hamid Karzai.

The Afghan government used $1 million from a secret fund, bankrolled by the CIA with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul. Other countries, including Pakistan and Iran, provided the remaining $4 million.

The payment of American cash for Farahi came to light due to the cache of computers and documents seized by Navy SEALs during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Within the treasure trove of information was correspondence between Bin Laden and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a high ranking Al Qaeda leader.

Rahman wrote Bin Laden that, “God blessed us with a good amount of money this month.” He wrote also that he intended to use it to buy more arms and other operational needs, and to support the families of those being held in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden wrote back to be careful with the American money. “There is a possibility — not a very strong one — that the Americans are aware of the money delivery” and might use aerial surveillance to track it. He also encouraged Rahman to exchange the money at banks at least twice to get it to the desired currency. “The reason for doing that is to be on the safe side in case harmful substances or radiation is put on paper money,” Bin Laden wrote.

The correspondence between Rahman and Bin Laden became declassified when offered as evidence in the trial of Al Qaeda operative Abid Naseer, who was convicted this month in a Brooklyn court of supporting terrorism. Rahman was killed in a drone strike in 2011.

Payments to the Afghan government of between a few hundred thousand to over $1 million per month continued to be dropped off at the presidential palace until Karzai left office last September. He used the cash to help fund the vast patronage that kept him in power.

An Afghan official said the American CIA cash flow has slowed, but continues to trickle in.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

ISIS Eyes Nuclear-armed Pakistan

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Pakistan’s use of Islamic militancy as an instrument of its foreign policy, including knowingly playing host to Osama bin Laden, may now pose a looming threat to its own national security.

According to Pakistani sources, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is gaining strength in Pakistan. Altaf Hussain, the founder and leader of Muttahida Quami Movement, a Pakistani political party representing the Urdu-speaking community, said the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al-Qaeda are merging with ISIS and may challenge Pakistan’s integrity and stability.

Six prominent members of the Pakistan Taliban have turned their allegiance away from Afghan Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Five regional Taliban commanders also affirmed their support for al-Baghdadi, who, in June, declared himself the Caliph of the Muslim world and ordered all Muslims to pledge their allegiance to him. Al-Baghdadi’s success has been largely attributed to his ability to consolidate disparate militant factions into a single fighting force.

The October 23, 2014 killing of eight Shia Muslims in the southwestern city of Quetta suggests that ISIS may be having an influence on indigenous Sunni militants in Pakistan. Abdul Khaliq Hazara, leader of the Shia Hazara Muslim community, said: “There are indications of ISIS seeking to expand its presence in Baluchistan. I suppose ISIS are [sic] looking to build up a support base here along the border with Iran, to add pressure on Iran from its eastern border [along Pakistan].”

Pakistan remains a central node in global terrorism. For forty years, Pakistan has been backing Islamic extremist groups as part of its expansionist foreign policy in Afghanistan and Central Asia and its efforts to maintain equilibrium with India. As early as the 1950s, Pakistan began inserting Islamists associated with a Pakistan-based Jamaat-e-Islami into Afghanistan.

Strategically, Pakistan may present the greatest threat to Afghan independence and the success of American policy in the region. Pakistan views Afghanistan as a client state, a security buffer against what they consider potential Indian encirclement and as a springboard to extend their own influence into the resource-rich area of Central Asia. In 1974, then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto set up a cell within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to begin managing dissident Islamists in Afghanistan. Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq (1977-1988) told one of his generals: “Afghanistan must be made to boil at the right temperature.”

After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, Pakistan backed Pashtun Islamist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who struggled with his main rival (Ahmad Shah Massoud, an ethnic Tajik from the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan, later assassinated by al-Qaeda two days before the 9/11 attacks.)

In 1994, under Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan shifted its support from Hekmatyar to the Taliban, who by 1998 had consolidated their power over most of Afghanistan and provided a safe haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Without doubt, Pakistan and its intelligence service have more influence over the Taliban than any other country. It provides critical safe haven and sanctuary to the groups’ leadership, advice on military and diplomatic issues, and assistance with fundraising. In 1999, Bhutto’s Minister of Interior, Nasrullah Babar, admitted it quite explicitly, pronouncing, “We created the Taliban.”

Pakistan has been playing a double game with the US appeasement on the outside, whilst covertly funding, arming, and training the Taliban in the hope that after a coalition defeat and withdrawal, they could once again be the dominant power in Afghanistan.

It is important to note that Turkey’s current situation resembles the early years of Pakistan’s sponsorship of the Taliban. ISIS is recruiting militants in Turkey. Failure to clean its own house now could lead Turkey down the path of “Pakistanization,” whereby a resident jihadist infrastructure causes Sunni extremism to ingrain itself deeply within the fabric of society. Like Pakistan, Turkey’s dilemma may be far graver than its leaders realize.

The conclusion is clear. Unless ISIS is defeated now in Syria and Iraq, it will present a far greater threat to US national security as it grows in strength, geographic presence, and access to weapons of mass destruction.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom