A Secret Service laptop containing sensitive information about Trump Tower, details about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and other national security secrets was swiped from an agent’s motorcycle in Brooklyn, police sources said Friday.
The computer was taken Thursday morning from the driveway of agent Marie Argentieri’s Bath Beach home, the sources said.
The thief drove up to Argentieri’s home around 8:40 a.m., walked right up to her Bajaj motorcycle and took the items. He was then caught on video fleeing the scene on foot, sources said.
Argentieri told investigators that the laptop held sensitive information about national security, the floor plans for Trump Tower, evacuation protocols and details about the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server.
While none of the info pertains to White House officials or foreign leaders, she said it could ultimately compromise national security. Sources told The Post that the laptop cannot be remotely erased or traced.
A black bag with the Secret Service insignia on it was also taken — along with an access keycard, several lapel pins that Secret Service agents are required to wear when protecting the president and other sensitive documents, sources said.
An agency-issued radio, used for closed-circuit communications between agents, was also among the stolen items, according to Politico.
“The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that an employee was the victim of a criminal act in which our Agency issued laptop computer was stolen,” the agency said in a statement Friday.
“Secret Service issued laptops contain multiple layers of security including full disk encryption and are not permitted to contain classified information. An investigation is ongoing and the Secret Service is withholding additional comment until the facts are gathered.”
The NYPD is assisting the agency in their investigation. It is unclear if the theft was targeted or simply a random act.
The black bag and some other items were later discovered at nearby Poly Prep HS by the head of security, Carol Bongnan, and returned to Argentieri.
But the laptop and lapel pins were still missing as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, sources said.
Sources said somebody had brought left it at the school.
Thursday’s heist is just the latest in a long line of public embarrassments for the Secret Service in recent years.
A Congressional investigation in 2015 found that it had transformed into an “agency in crisis” — entrenched in low morale, heavy boozing and dimwitted security decisions.
In Sept. 2014, President Barack Obama’s Secret Service detail allowed a security guard with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery into an elevator with him for a photo.
Two years after that, a pair of agents allegedly got drunk and interfered in a bomb investigation outside the building.
In 2014, a man was able to bypass Obama’s security detail and speak to him by pretending to be a congressman.
Most recently, two agents came under investigation after snapping selfies with President Trump’s 8-year-old grandson, Donald III, last weekend.
THE NATURAL PARANOIA OF THE POLICE – YOU’RE NOT GETTING THE TAILLIGHT OR THE WAY THE STOP WENT DOWN
I don’t suspect that either “side” (of the political argument anyway) is getting the taillight or the stop. So let me explain something that probably most of you aren’t understanding then. At least not a lot of you.
Yes, it’s possible the woman made up the story of the taillight, but equally possible, if not far more so, that is simply the reason the officer gave for the stop. That, if the kid was a suspect, you give a fake reason for stopping them in order to throw the guy off his guard and not arouse suspicion.
Rarely would you stop a guy, especially if you spot that there is a woman and a kid in the car, and say to them, “Excuse me sir, but you fit the profile and so does this vehicle involved in a recently committed crime. Mind if I talk to you for a minute so we can see if you are the actual perp?”
Game is over at that point. You can likely expect trouble. I mean who the hell does that? Yes, the black humorist in me would like to see it tried sometime but not around anyone else.
And yeah, the cop lied to you in a semi-believable way or a way he can fake later, “Yeah, well, from what I saw the light wasn’t functioning.” Big deal, he’s trying to defuse or cover or prevent a far more dangerous or even potentially deadly situation. Which I’ll get to in a minute.
What I would have said and done, had I been the officer, was this,
“Excuse me, sir or madam (whoever is driving, I’d have to rewatch the video but notice he approached the boy in either case) and I don’t know if you are aware of this or not but your license tag is missing. It’s possible it either fell off or was stolen. No, don’t get out of your car. I just want to know, do you know your license tag number or can you recite it for me?”
I’ve used that ploy myself to great effect and it confuses people and distracts them. Setting their mind to a task that occupies them. But then again I’m fifty something years old and this cop was apparently a rather young guy with 3 or 4 years on the force and his partner about the same. You can’t blame a man for being inexperienced. That alone is not a crime. Though sometimes it can be a disaster.
But in either case the cop likely used the broken taillight as a ploy for the stop. Then everything else went down.
I have no problem with the stop. Or the ploy, if that’s what the cop did and I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that’s what he did. That’s not my complaint with this entire incident.
My complaint is with everything that follows.
Some of you are gonna think I’m anti-cop and some of you are gonna think I’m racist and so the hell what?
I’m not interested in either, I’m not either, and I don’t give a fuck what you think. None of that is germane. I am interested in solutions.
Let me tell you how I would have likely handled this and how most old timers would have handled this and without a shot being fired (unless the kid pulled a gun and started shooting, which you cannot control).
I would have told them both, “Your license tag is missing.” To occupy them. Then I would have filmed them all good with my body cam (an advantage of modern technology). If the guy informed me he had a gun and a permit I would have said, “Good, just wait on that please. No hurry.”
Seeing there was a kid (in case I hadn’t before) and a woman I’d have likely said, “You have a child in the car, you don’t want anything to happen to that child or to be stopped again. Do you?”
“No, of course not. No one wants to endanger a child.”
“Do you two live together?”
Yes, or no.
“What are your addresses? Do you live nearby?” Get them without arousing suspicion and knowing they might or might not be true. But remember you still have the licenses and you still have the tags. Even if they don’t know that.
“Okay, go straight home and get this car and your child (even if it ain’t his kid you want him thinking that way about the kid) off the road. Someone else could pull you over.” (Remember you could be aware that there is a call out for the vehicle or the suspect, but they don’t necessarily know that.) “I’m gonna give you a warning ticket about the tag and if another officer pulls you over between here and home then show it to them. That will clear you, but go straight home, okay? Will you promise me that until we can recover your tag?”
Then I would have all I need for alter advantageous action and I’d send them on their way. I might even shadow them home but more than likely I’d just call it in and let everyone know what I did and for someone else to pick them up along the way or near their home(s). Once I could be sure the boy was safely separated from the child and woman then I could isolate and interrogate him and either verify or disprove he was the actual suspect.
Will they check their license tag on getting home? Maybe. If the boy does and he knows he’s a suspect then he might take off. Likely alone. Which is what you want. (Not necessarily policy wise, but practically and realistically.) If he has been properly shadowed or picked up he won’t get far and you won’t have to wait for long to pick him up at an advantage to you, and at a disadvantage to him. If he’s not the real suspect then you’ll just confuse him and the girl. No harm done. And again you can wait, observe, and possibly eliminate him as a suspect.
Either way your real effort is to get them separated. If he’s a suspect and isolated then the danger to everyone else is eliminated, if he is not a suspect then you either make up a story “It really looked like your tag was gone,” or you level with the guy. And apologize. And let him know why, “you fit a suspect description and so did your vehicle, but we’ve either been able to clear you or we caught the real suspect. I wanted you to know that because this could have gotten dangerous for you. And for us. I’m very glad it didn’t and hope this never happens again to you.” Then shake his hand.
Most of the time that satisfies most people. Even endears you to a few. Sometimes someone will file a complaint. But, and I don’t wanna sound syndical here but you know exactly what I mean, that beats the hell out of the paperwork and complaints you’ll receive for a shooting or for getting shot.
Point is, you don’t have to solve every possible criminal problem or engage every criminal suspect at first encounter unless of course you or someone else has found them in the commission of a crime. Or the suspect suddenly draws his own weapon and starts firing. Things you can’t control anyway.
Danger is not your real job as a police officer, it’s a perk (black humor again), and shooting and getting shot is not your real job as a cop, avoiding or deescalating danger and avoiding shooting and getting shot, and thereby resolving crime as peacefully as possible – that’s your real job. (Is that always possible, no, sadly, you understand real people too, but that is your aim and most of the time it can be done if you are craftier than the criminal or the public, and you should be craftier than both. Oh few people will say that out loud, because of modern political pussification, but it’s true. You want to be far smarter than either the criminals or the public to both defeat and destroy crime and to guard society, sometimes even from itself, without endangering the innocent.)
Now a lot of people will say by way of objection, “Well, our resources are already stretched too thin and we can’t afford to wait and to isolate.”
Of course you can.Don’t be absurd. Waiting and isolating is a hell of a lot cheaper and safer for everyone, including you (in the vast majority of cases) than facing lawsuits and riots and potshots at your fellow officers and mass murders attacks (I am not saying any of these things are actually justified, I am saying you likely will face them, and you know that if you are really honest with yourselves) and possibly getting civilians involved in a shooting. Shooting is the very last thing you want to do if you can possibly help it, but nowadays if an old woman with a knife is running around screaming, you just shoot her.
For God’s sake, think on that and think on how your grandfathers would have handled that.
You don’t, returning to the subject matter at hand, escalate a potentially dangerous situation around a woman and child. Even assuming you have a right to fire (and being a suspect does not make a man guilty and having a firearm – unless you are a convicted felon – is legal for everyone else or should be under our Constitution) bullets can hit bones or metal or other material and spin away and hit the woman or kid, or in a rush you can just plain miss.
And suspicion does not give you a right to fire.
And after you do fire and have severely injured a guy you immediately disarm him, clear the child and woman, and render assistance. You do not stand there with your weapon continually aimed at the guy as he bleeds out and dies.
There are lots of ways this could have been handled. Most all would have ended safely for everyone.
Now was this stop racism? Very, very unlikely that most any situation like this is racism. That’s ridiculous. It’s paranoia, is what it actually is. If it was racism or “systemic racism” then cops would be shooting sixty year old back guys and black women and little black kids, or whatever. They aren’t. They tend to shoot young black males because that is who is usually proven dangerous. After all young black males kill far more young black males than most cops ever will. (And you gotta be honest about that too.) But cops are paranoid of young black males precisely because, primarily in big city/heavily urban areas, they kill each other so often. Add that, to a cop’s already natural sense of paranoia and danger, not only abides for all, it multiplies and thrives.
And that’s fine and I get that, paranoia has on more than one occasion saved my ass. But paranoia and inexperience and the idea that you must be in a rush to resolve every dangerous or potentially dangerous situation has a bad side as well.
If you ask me, by studying this situation carefully, you can see how modern police training is going badly awry. Your training is all fucked up. Especially big city training. Well, most big city training anyway.
You gotta start being honest about that. Primarily, urban police officers, I mean.
You gotta start acting beyond your training and incorporating your own experience to your actions and reactions and listening to what your older officers and old timers do/did in tough situations, and listen to their stories.
You gotta stop being in such a rush and yeah, I know, if your superiors second guess you and think you have fucked up by letting a suspect walk (for the moment) they will give you hell and maybe even screw with your career. I know all of that shit. Your job sucks.
And yeah, I know you’re not racist, you’re paranoid. You’re stuck in a system, and an environment (just like most young decent blacks kids are) where the usual suspect and the usual perp of violent crime (and the usual victim) is a young black boy. That’s just Reality. So if you’re a cop, especially in certain areas, and you’re not paranoid, then you’re a fool.
But don’t let paranoia rule you (easier said than done, I know), don’t be in a rush, rely upon your training but don’t be hamstrung by it, add to it your experience and the experience of those around you, and remember a lot of problems, even those that seem immediately dangerous aren’t really if they are handled right. And given some time, thought, and pre-calculation.
(It sure as hell wouldn’t hurt for you to write down all of the tricks you’ve employed over time that worked out well, and all of the things you’ve done that haven’t worked and review those with yourself and your fellow officers from time to time. Screw policy when necessary, write down and think about and review what actually works. Lessons Learned. Keep your own records and notes on your own best techniques and the best techniques of those who do best.)
And remember that if you see a woman and a kid, assuming your suspect hasn’t already pulled a gun then he’s just a suspect and a lot of things can wait until the situation is to your advantage, and to the woman and kid’s advantage, not the suspect’s advantage.
And you owe people who are not criminals (especially when they are in or around potentially dangerous situations) respect even when they give you a hard time, and many will for reasons that have nothing to do with you. Most people are driven by their emotions at least some of the time. Everyone is from time to time. You know that better than most. You see it constantly.
And so for God’s sake be careful out there. I mean that in all of these potential senses, careful for yourself, careful of others, and careful for others. All are equally important but not all have to be serviced immediately and sometimes it is just plain better to wait, to observe, to qualify, and to understand before acting.
And for you civilians out there, especially you middle class blacks (and whites and others) who have lived basically sheltered lives but for whom the police may still be paranoid of you, they are paranoid by nature and as a result of the job (keeps them alive), not racist.
(At least not racist in the way you think at all. They are practical racists, if that is the real term or expresses the real idea. I know no one wants to hear that, even cops because they are not racists or bear ill-will against a race-group but they have “attached danger to the idea of young black males” primarily young black urban males because they have seen so many dangerous young black urban males. To that one group they are, rightfully or wrongly, extra-paranoid. You can call that racism if you like, I don’t, it should have its own term, and maybe I should devise one, but it’s not race-hatred, it’s an extra-heightened sense of danger and paranoia around a particular group of young black males born of experience, particularly those who live in certain areas.)
Nevertheless, and all of that being true, a police officer cannot rely upon suspicion and paranoia as a tool of interaction in working with the public. A police officer owes you respect especially if you are not engaged in crime or have no record. But cops have a heightened sense of suspicion and danger. Often to them suspect = convict or dangerous individual because they have seen it so much.
I wish there was a way I could magically wave a wand and resolve these situations for everyone involved or make everyone understand the other better.
But I can’t.
But I can say this, we can all do lot better. Cops, civilians, society, black, white, you name it. And we should all do lot better.
And criminals, for God’s sake, stop doing the shit you do.
There’s no future in it for you or anyone else. Without you being idiots and fools most of this shit would never happen. That’s the real answer to the vast majority of this mess.
Criminals, find and pursue a better way. You’re the real and by far the most prominent and dangerous problem.
Do I actually expect that?For criminals to suddenly grow a conscience and to change?
What the hell am I? Some kind of naïve modern man?
Not likely. But still, it’s what ought to be done.
Castile can be seen slumped between the front seats, his white t-shirt soaked with blood, his breathing slowing between cries of pain.
“I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off it,” the St. Anthony police officer can be heard saying to Reynolds.
Following the arrival of more officers, Reynolds’ confronting footage continues, with her being forced to drop to the ground at one point.
The shooting of Castile comes following the death of Alton Sterling, another African American man shot dead by police in Baton Rouge on Tuesday.
Diamond Reynolds speaking to press following the shooting. Source: Youtube.
“Please don’t tell me this, Lord. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone,” she said. “Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir,” Reynolds says frantically. “He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”
Later, as Reynolds and her daughter are being loaded into a police vehicle, she again cries, “Please Jesus, no. Please no. Please no, don’t let him be gone.”
From out of shot, Reynolds daughter can be heard saying, “it’s okay, I’m right here with you.”
Castile was pronounced dead at at Hennepin County Medical Center. He had no criminal record and was said to be well respected by co-workers and friends.
Yeah, I had him pegged early on as either ex-military or former SWAT. So I was right on that part too. Guy knew exactly what he was doing. The attack was too well executed and planned and staged and possibly even coordinated. His defensive positioning and site preparation must have been impressive to employ the robot with an explosive. It probably wasn’t just to kill him but to trigger potential IEDS, prepared bombs, booby traps, and excess ammo as well. Plus until the actually got into his nest they could not have known/verified he was actually alone.
Then the robot could also do a post explosion assessment/sweep for traps and additional suspects prior to human penetration.
Yeah, that makes a lot more sense now. The robot and the explosives. Bad all the way around, but I get the logic. Especially if they had prior Intel from the negotiations or profile/personnel/background research.
By Tim Madigan, William Wan and Mark Berman July 8 at 2:53 PM
Here’s what we know so far about the Dallas shooting Play Video1:57
DALLAS — Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded Thursday night when sniper fire turned a peaceful protest over recent police shootings into a scene of chaos and terror.
The gunfire was followed by a standoff that lasted for hours with a suspect who told authorities “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The gunman was killed when police detonated a bomb-equipped robot.
After the bloodshed — the deadliest single day for law enforcement officers since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — authorities said one attacker was dead, three potential suspects were in custody and police were still investigating who may have been involved in the attack.
Dallas shooting updates
News and analysis on the deadliest day for police since 9/11.
“We are heartbroken,” Brown said during a news conference Friday. “There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”
The eruption of violence at around 9 p.m. occurred during a calm protest over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, with similar demonstrations occurring in cities across the country. As a barrage of gunfire ripped through the air, demonstrators and police officers alike scrambled. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CBS News that in addition to the police officers, two other people were wounded by gunfire, though their conditions were not immediately known.
[What we know about the attack on police in Dallas]
‘Somebody’s armed to the teeth’: Social videos show shooting in Dallas Play Video2:37
Police have not officially released the identity of the attacker who said he was upset by police shootings, but a senior U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the probe identified him as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who is believed to be from the Dallas area. Johnson did not appear to have any ties to international terrorism, the official said.
Johnson deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army from November 2013 through July 2014 and was in the Army Reserve from 2009 until last year. Army records show that Johnson, whose home was listed as Mesquite, Tex., had served with an engineering brigade before he was sent to Afghanistan. He did not have a combat job and was listed as a carpentry and masonry specialist.
There are no immediate indications that the attack was related to terrorism, international or domestic, according to a second federal law enforcement official, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing probe.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said Friday that federal officials including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were working with local law enforcement to help investigate the attack.
“This has been a week of profound grief and heartbreak and loss,” Lynch said. Noting that the attack in Dallas happened during a protest sparked by police shootings, she added: “After the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, uncertainty and fear … but the answer must not be violence.”
[Man falsely connected to the shooting by Dallas police is now getting ‘thousands’ of death threats]
The slain police included four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer. While police said they were killed by “snipers” perched atop “elevated positions” and initially said there were two snipers, it was unclear Friday how many attackers were involved.
For hours after the assault, police were locked in a standoff with Johnson after he was cornered on the second floor of a building downtown. Police exchanged gunfire with him and negotiated with him, but those discussions broke down, Brown said.
In those conversations, Brown said the suspect told police that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter” and angered by the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that dominated national news this week after officers in both places fatally shot black men. He also said he was not involved with any groups and acted alone, the police chief said.
Authorities currently believe that he was the lone shooter, although have not completely ruled out the involvement of others, said Philip Kingston, a Dallas City Councilman who represents the downtown district. “The shooter’s own statement apparently was that he had acted alone,” Kingston said around midday on Friday.
During the standoff, Johnson also told authorities that “the end is coming” and spoke about bombs being placed downtown, though no explosives had been found by Friday.
[Dallas police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partner and brother to violence]
Ultimately, Brown said police had no other option but to place an explosive device on their bomb robot and send it to the suspect, who was killed when the bomb detonated.
During remarks at a prayer vigil on Friday afternoon, Brown said that “this was a well-planned, well-thought-out evil tragedy by these suspects,” adding: “And we won’t rest until we bring everyone involved to justice.”
Names of the slain officers began to emerge Friday, beginning with Brent Thompson, a 43-year-old transit police officer and Patrick Zamarripa, a 32-year-old police officer who served three tours in Iraq with the U.S. military.
The Dallas transit agency identified three of its officers who were injured but are expected to survive.
“As you can imagine, our hearts are broken,” the agency said in a statement. “We are grateful to report the three other DART police officers shot during the protest are expected to recover from their injuries.”
These three officers were named as Omar Cannon, 44; Misty McBride, 32; and Jesus Retana, 39. Tela Strickland, McBride’s 14-year-old cousin, reacted with “shock” to news that her relative was shot in the stomach and shoulder.
“I am so tired of seeing shootings in the news,” she told The Post. “When you see your own family in the news, it’s heartbreaking.”
DART grieving the loss of Ofc Brent Thompson, 43, killed during Thurs protest. First DART officer killed in line of duty. Joined DART 2009.
3:00 AM – 8 Jul 2016
1,924 1,924 Retweets 1,296 1,296 likes
Even as people were still trying to hide or shelter in place after the gunfire, videos began to circulate on social media showing some of the bloodshed.
One video showed a person with an assault-style rifle shoot a police officer in the back at point-blank range. In the footage, a gunman is seen running up behind an officer moving behind a pillar and firing at his back. The officer is seen falling to the ground. It is unclear if the officer survived.
Eyewitness video: Dallas gunman shoots police officer Play Video1:47
Brown had said during one briefing that he was not sure if there were more suspects at large. On Friday, Brown said he would not go into any detail on other suspects until authorities get further into their investigation.
“We’re not expanding on who and how many,” he said. “We’re going to keep these suspects guessing.”
[Killings and racial tensions commingle with divided and divisive politics]
At one point, Brown had said he believed four suspects were “working together with rifles triangulated at elevated positions at different points in the downtown area” where the march was taking place.
“Suspects like this just have to be right once … to snipe at officers from elevated position and ambush them from secret positions,” Brown said Friday. He added that despite the danger, officers “with no chance to protect themselves … put themselves in harm’s way to make sure citizens can get to a safe place.”
Two possible suspects were seen climbing into a black Mercedes with a camouflage bag before speeding off, police said. They were apprehended in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. A third possible suspect, a woman, was taken into custody near a garage where the attacker who exchanged gunfire with police wound up.
Brown said it was unclear if any of the suspects were somehow connected to the protest. He added that detectives were investigating that possibility.
“All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” he said.
[Police nationwide order officers to ride in pairs after Dallas police ambush]
On Friday, Rawlings, the mayor, said that he believed the country had to honestly confront racial discrimination.
“We will not shy away from the very real fact that we as city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues,” he said during a prayer vigil.
After the shooting in Dallas, police officers and agencies across the country offered their condolences and took steps to protect their officers.
Police chiefs in Washington, Los Angeles County, Boston, Nassau County and St. Louis also had instructed their patrol officers to pair up, as did officials in Las Vegas, where two officers were gunned down in an ambush while eating lunch in 2014, and New York, where two officers were killed in another ambush that same year.
Terry Cunningham, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass., said Friday, that officers nationwide “really are going to have to have vigilance. Any traffic stop, at any time, can be deadly. I don’t know what this means. I don’t know if this means more violence perpetrated toward law enforcement as a result of this.”
Officials in Tennessee said Friday that they believed a man who opened fire on a parkway there before exchanging gunshots with police may have been prompted by concerns over encounters involving police and black Americans.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that Lakeem Keon Scott, 37, the suspected shooter in that case, had killed one woman driving in her car, wounded two other people and shot a Bristol, Tenn., police officer in the leg before officers shot and wounded him.
“Preliminarily, the investigation reveals Scott may have targeted individuals and officers after being troubled by recent incidents involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country,” the agency said in a statement. They added that there was no current safety threat to the area and that the investigation suggested that Scott had worked alone.
[Minn. governor says race played role in fatal police shooting during traffic stop]
The mass shooting in Dallas comes amid intense scrutiny of police officers and how they use deadly force, an issue that returned to prominence in the news this week after videos circulated of a fatal shooting in Baton Rouge, La., and the aftermath of another in Minnesota. On Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge; less than 48 hours later, Philando Castile was fatally shot by an officer in Minnesota.
President Obama, who after arriving in Warsaw discussed how troubling the events in Minnesota and Louisiana were, spoke about the Dallas attack and said there was “no possible justification” for the shooting in the city.
“I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events,” Obama said.
He called on Americans to “profess our profound gratitude to the men and women in blue” and to remember the victims in particular.
“Today, our focus is on the victims and their families,” Obama said. “They are heartbroken, and the entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core.”
Officials across the country expressed their grief for those killed in Dallas.
“I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families [and] all who serve with them,” Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, wrote in a message on Twitter. Her likely Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, called the shooting “a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe.”
Amidst protests, police heroics
Stories of heroism emerged along with tales of horror. Several people said officers helped save them, including one man who said an officer pushed him out of the way as shooting began. Bystanders captured footage of cops dragging fallen comrades out of the line of fire. Cameras also captured police officers choking back tears for their fallen colleagues. One officer appeared to brace himself against his SUV as grief overcame him.
“So many stories of great courage,” Brown said.
Dallas Police respond after shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Dallas protestors rallied in the aftermath of the killing of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile, who was killed by police less than 48 hours later in Minnesota. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)
Rawlings said it was “a heartbreaking morning” and called for unity.
“We as a city, we as a country, must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds we all feel,” he said.
As in other cities across the country, protesters gathered in downtown Dallas just before 7 p.m. for a march from Belo Garden Park to the Old Red Courthouse.
For nearly two hours, hundreds of demonstrators had marched through Dallas, at one point passing near a memorial plaza marking the site of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination in the city.
[Dallas witness: ‘Everybody seemed happy. And then, all of a sudden — the shots rang out.’]
Stanley Brown, 19, was near El Centro, a community college in downtown, when the shooting began.
“You could hear the bullets whizzing by our car and hitting the buildings. A bullet missed our car by six feet,” he said. “We pulled into a garage and got out of our car, and the bullets started hitting the walls of the garage.”
Brown ran around the corner of a building to take cover, only to see a gunman running up the street.
“He was ducking and dodging, and when police approached, he ducked into El Centro,” he said.
He saw a SWAT team rush the college building, enabling five people to escape.
“An officer looked back at us and yelled that it was a terrorist attack,” he said.
Lynn Mays said he was standing on Lamar Street when the shooting began.
“All of a sudden we started hearing gunshots out of nowhere,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “At first we couldn’t identify it because we weren’t expecting it, then we started hearing more, rapid fire. One police officer who was standing there pushed me out the way because it was coming our direction…. Next thing you know we heard ‘officer down.’”
Undercover and uniformed police officers started running around the corner and “froze,” Mays said. “Police officers started shooting in one direction, and whoever was shooting started shooting back.
“And that’s where the war began.”
Wan and Berman reported from Washington. Greg Jaffe in Warsaw and Michael E. Miller, Travis M. Andrews, Adam Goldman, Katie Mettler, Ben Guarino, Mary Hui, Tom Jackman, Peter Hermann and Thomas Gibbons-Neff in Washington contributed to this report.
Two years after Ferguson, fatal shootings by police are up
The Post’s database of fatal police shootings
The Dallas sniper attack was the deadliest event for police since 9/11
First thing I noticed this morning upon waking… asked the wife if she understood what this meant? Not sure she did. Not sure many do. Or will. Not at first anyway.
The irony is that I’ve been following events surrounding the Dallas PD for a few weeks now including the supposed mass resignations. A couple of articles said over money, but a few hinted at other things, like failure to issue equipment because of an emphasis on community policing. (Which I’m not against, it’s just some beats are far more dangerous than others and trying to patrol all beats in the same way is ridiculous.)
Now assuming the reports I’ve read are true and some of the resignations are because of an insistence up top that all beats be equipped and patrolled as if they are all waterfront garden districts and certain equipment and tactics were discouraged, then you use a robot to explode a perp (which again I’m not against as a last ditch resort to save lives), then the precedent here could at least conceivably lead down some very dark corridors.
You discourage vest and body armor and possibly trigger mass resignations but then employ robots not to just shoot and overwhelm a suspect but to explode them?
If you can’t see the irony…
But I’d like to make a suggestion in this arena iffin I may. If you’re gonna go down this road then at least properly prepare. Develop police combat robots which can gas, stun, immobilize, track, overwhelm, immobilize, incapacitate, and apprehend suspects rather than just merely shoot and blow them up. Sure, I’m not a great fan of robots replacing people in such situations but at least be ready with real Policing Bots and not just shoot and kill bots.
Because in cases where ya got a guy dead to rights, and he’s already shooting or blowing up the joint, that’s one thing. But in cases involving other suspects who you don’t really know their real disposition just blowing em up will lead to very bad things.
Or worse lead to a third world, Robocop, mere liberal Utopian big-government, big-brother democracy of the best equipped rather than to a thriving Republic of Free Men.
Assuming we have a Republic anymore, which ain’t likely…
Bomb Squad Robot Drives Up Ramp
J.p. Lawrence, via DVIDS
Bomb Squad Robot Drives Up Ramp
From New York National Guard: “A bomb disposal robot drives up a ramp piloted by New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Adam Russ of the New York Army National Guard’s 501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Battalion, during training at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany New York, May 18”
In the wake of post-protest shootings that left five police officers dead and seven others wounded, along with two civilians, police traded gunfire last night with a suspect inside a downtown Dallas parking garage. Eventually, law enforcement sent a “bomb robot” (most likely shorthand for a remotely controlled bomb disposal robot) armed with an explosive, to the suspect’s location, then detonated the explosive, killing the suspect.
“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was…other options would have exposed our officers to great danger,” said Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown. “The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb.”
Repurposing a robot that was created to prevent death by explosion clearly contrasts with the way these machines are normally used. Bomb disposal robots are routinely used to minimize the potential of harm to officers and civilians when disarming or clearing potential explosives from an area. They are often equipped with their own explosive charges and other tools, not to kill, but detonate other potential bombs in the area.
Dallas police used a bomb disposal robot in another major news story last year, when the Dallas Police headquarters were attacked by a gunman who planted explosives. That assailant was shot by police, not killed by the bomb robot.
Records show that the Dallas County Sheriff Department and neighboring Duncanville Police Department each own a MARCbot, another commonly-used bomb disposal robot.
However, in previous images seen of the Dallas Police department using bomb disposal robots, they appear to actually use a Northrop Grumman Remotec Andros F6A or F6B, a standard model for police and military use. It’s highly customizable, and can look very different depending on which configuration of arm and sensors are configured. The closest known Andros resides in Comal County, Texas, 250 miles away.
The police’s use of this machine to kill raises questions about how robots will be used in the future. This may be the first example of a robot being used by American police to kill a suspect, notes University of California Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh:
Popular Science contributing editor Peter W. Singer tweets that similar tactics have been used before, although in a military situation, when a surveillance robot was used to kill an insurgent with a Claymore explosive.
It’s unclear how police controlled the robot, but wireless protocols can be easily intercepted or altered by skilled hackers. Security researcher Matt Blaze points out that the security of a machine like this becomes more important once it’s shown the capacity to be used as a weapon.
In other images found of Dallas a bomb disposal robot in action, the robot appears to be controlled wirelessly. The Andros robot can be operated wirelessly or with a wired tether, according to the Northrop Grumman website, but it’s unclear which mode Dallas Police used in this incident.
Updated: This post has been updated to reflect new information concerning the potential bomb disposal robot used.
If it was indeed two snipers though it was not just random violence (is there ever really such a thing?) aimed at police but a well calculated and well planned operation. It could be a local gang, possibly, but I am dubious. Not many gangs or thugs are good shots, much less highly accurate sniper shots.
No, this was in the works for awhile I suspect especially given their accuracy and positioning. It was well scouted and to have escaped as they did that also makes me dubious that this is what it initially appears.
Given what is reported thus far I suspect someone like Mexican drug lords, or perhaps even terrorists. It could be a lone wolf or a pair of them but whoever did this did so in a methodical way and when everything else went down with the kid who was shot in his car they stepped in (or stepped up their already planned operation) and exploited the hole they had to have already been aware of.
Like I said anything is possible nowadays but I suspect this was something already well panned, not just a one or two day patchwork effort. It was well planned and well executed and well plotted. Someone knew exactly what to hit and when and where.
They should go where the evidence leads but I would disregard no one at this point. Including drug gangs hiring out or even terrorists.
There is one other possibility too, which might sound crazy but I’ve seen crazier.
The man whose picture has been circulated by the Dallas Police Department has turned himself in, the department tweeted. Police initially called the man a suspect, but now refer to him as a person of interest. Another alleged suspect is in custody, the tweet said. A suspicious package was discovered near that suspect’s location. The package is being secured by a bomb squad, the tweet said.
[Breaking news update 12:19 a.m. ET]
A fourth officer has died following a protest in Dallas over shootings by police of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, Dallas police tweeted.
[Breaking news update 12:13 a.m. ET]
The Dallas Police Department tweeted an image of a man they said was one of the suspects and asked the public for help in finding him. The photo is of an African-American man wearing a camouflage T-shirt and carrying what appears to be a rifle. Texas is an open carry state, which means it is legal for those with permits to openly carry weapons.
[Breaking news update 12:08 a.m. ET]
Eleven police officers have been shot in Dallas, according to city police Chief David Brown. Three officers have died: one DART officer and two Dallas police officers, Brown said.
[Breaking news update 12:05 a.m. ET]
Police have cornered a suspect in a commercial garage after the shootings of 11 police officers near the end of a protest in Dallas over shootings by police of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, police Chief David Brown told reporters. The chief said at least two snipers in elevated positions fired “ambush style” on the officers. “Some (were) shot in the back.” There also is a search for a possible bomb in the area, Brown said. “This is a very emotional time for our department and the law enforcement community across the country,” Brown said. Officials asked the public’s help in identifying suspects.
[Previous story posted at 11:58 p.m. ET]
Multiple police officers have been killed during a protest in Dallas over shootings by police of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Three Dallas police officers were killed and eight others were wounded, Dallas Police Chief David Brown and the City of Dallas said in separate statements.
One Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer was fatally shot, the agency tweeted.
It’s not clear if Brown included the DART officers in his tally.
Brown said two snipers shot the 10 from elevated positions during a protest. Two officers are in surgery and three are in critical condition. No suspects were in custody.
Three other DART officers were also shot. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, DART said.
‘Everyone was screaming’
The shooting happened as protests were underway about two blocks from Dealey Plaza. Video showed the crowd suddenly sprinting away.
CNN affiliate KTVT reported that two Dallas officers were shot. CNN could not immediately confirm that information and it’s not clear if they were referring to the DART officers.
Witness Clarissa Myles said she was eating at McDonalds when the chaos began.
“Everyone was screaming, people were running,” she said. “I saw at least probably 30 shots go off.”
“I was walking next to the officer who was helping with the protest, all of a sudden I saw six to eight shots,” one witness told the station. “It looked like two officers went down.”
Another witness who was at the protest told the station he heard multiple gunshots.
“Whoever was shooting had an assault rifle — and I know guns. The shots were in rapid succession,” the witness said.
Video showed numerous police officers crouching behind vehicles. Others approached a location holding protective shields.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas law enforcement community and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officers killed and injured this evening,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement following the shooting. “In times like this we must remember — and emphasize — the importance of uniting as Americans.”
My opinion on this, and it has been my opinion for a long time, is that this is bad police training. That, especially in big city police forces, officers are being trained as if for war, instead of policing. You cannot train a police force as if they are soldiers or to see every young guy or black guy as a lethal threat. Or every move they make as a lethal threat.
Young men, young black men (anyone really), have a right to just be Citizens. They have a right to carry guns. And although I have always told my children and wife (and I practice this principle myself), make no sudden move around police, this does not mean police have the legal right to pull a gun and shoot you simply because you do something they do not immediately understand. Police are trained to react properly, the citizen is not the party who has been professionally trained. Proper training and superior (not inferior) reactions are the responsibilities of being trained as a police officer. It is what should be expected. the standard, the norm.
Also after shooting the guy the officer did not render assistance, he did not clear the car, he did not secure the child, he just stood there yelling orders at the woman. No cop I grew up with or around as a kid would have acted in that way. This is the stance and behavior of a solider in a war zone, not a police officer. No old timer would have behaved in this way.
If you are going to train for war then you will kill innocent and helpless citizens. Or just as bad leave them to die after you have over-reacted.
This is war training, and you are not at war. And this will continue more or less routinely, at least in heavily urban areas (you rarely see this in rural areas and I hope it stays that way) until the training shifts back to police work.
Nevertheless I have come to understand that this is like so much else that is fucked up about my nation. Authority and law supersedes what is right and wrong, training supersedes common sense, reactions supersede thought and observation, the system overrules and tyrannizes the individual, the individual is terrified and will not Revolt against it all, and no one is concerned at all with fixing the actual problems. Be they police over-reactions or unchecked ghetto criminal activity and gang murders or corrupt governments or bad laws or lack of self-discipline, or whatever the case may be. And the actual problems would be so easy to fix if modern men just had the balls to be honest, and to act.
But my nation is determined to tear itself apart, to Balkanize itself, and to avoid problem solving. The pussy in us is deep, and we are all equally guilty.
And if we don’t get our shit straightened out and start being honest and show more courage then we will all burn together.
Not because we have to, but because we’re too big a set of pussies to do otherwise.
And that is what bothers me most of all. Not that we are condemned to rip each other apart and follow our own worst instincts, but that we are so fucking satisfied to do so.
by PHIL HELSEL, SHAMAR WALTERS and ALASTAIR JAMIESON
PlayMinneapolis shooting: Philando Castile’s death sparks outrage Facebook Twitter Google Plus Embed
Minneapolis shooting: Philando Castile’s death sparks outrage 2:57
Protests erupted in Minnesota overnight after a man was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop in front of his girlfriend and a child.
The aftermath of Philando Castile’s shooting in Falcon Heights was apparently captured in graphic detail on Facebook video.
Angry crowds gathered outside the governor’s mansion as news spread about the death. Castile, 32, was a kitchen supervisor for the St. Paul school district.
His was the second officer-involved shooting of a black man to spark protests in just two days, following the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The St. Anthony Police Department confirmed a man was fatally shot during a traffic stop Wednesday night, saying that a handgun was recovered from the scene and that the officer involved has been placed on paid administrative leave.
The department added that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will lead an investigation.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum, whose district covers Falcon Heights, also called for a federal investigation into the shooting to “provide all Minnesotans with a clear understanding of the facts surrounding this incident and ensure accountability appropriate to those facts.”
The Justice Department said Thursday that it was aware of the incident and was “assessing the situation.”
A woman and her young child were in the car at the time but were unharmed, the department told NBC affiliate KARE11. Police did not identify the victim but his family named him as Philando Castile.
In a Facebook video that appears to show the aftermath of the shooting, a man is seen in a blood-soaked white T-shirt slumped in the driver’s seat of a car. The form of what appears to be an officer is at the window, pointing a gun inside.
“Oh my god, please don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him,” the panicked woman, who identified herself as Castile’s girlfriend, can be heard saying.
“He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out of his pocket and he let the officer know that he was — he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet,” the woman tells the camera.
Related: ‘Full of Joy’: Family Mourns Alton Sterling
Speaking to the bleeding man, the woman says: “Stay with me! We got pulled over for a busted tail-light in the back, and the police just … he’s covered. They killed my boyfriend.”
The officer is heard saying “I told him not to reach for it!” to which the woman replies: “You told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license.”
“Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead,” the woman says as the wounded man slumps motionless in the seat.
“My daughter just witnessed this,” the woman says.
The child is later seen in the video and tries to comfort her crying mother.
The contents of the video have not been independently confirmed by NBC News.
Interim St. Anthony police chief Sgt. Jon Mangseth said he did not have details on what prompted the traffic stop, telling a press conference that he was aware of the livestream but hadn’t seen the video. The officer involved has been with the police department for around five years, he added.
His police department serves Falcon Heights. a city of around 5,300 people between Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Castile had a concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm, his uncle Clarence Castile told NBC News.
“My nephew, he wasn’t trying to pull a weapon on those police,” Clarence Castile said. “He was reaching for ID.”
He said his nephew was one more victim in a string of “young black men being murdered” by police.
PlayVideo of Police Shooting Death of Alton Sterling Stirs Outrage Facebook Twitter Google Plus Embed
Video of Police Shooting Death of Alton Sterling Stirs Outrage 2:52
“My nephew was executed,” Clarence Castile said. “They are going to try and make my nephew out to be a bad guy and get away with murdering another young black man.”
“My nephew was nowhere near being a bum, he was a good young man,” he added. “He was a good kid who loved life.”
Castile’s mother, Valerie, told CNN that he died before she could reach the hospital where he was taken. “They didn’t let me see my son’s body at all,” she said early Thursday. “I have not identified my son’s body because they didn’t let me.”
She added that she had previously spoken to her son about what to do in situations where he’s confronted by police — and it was always to comply.
“‘Whatever they ask you to do, do it. Don’t say nothing,'” she advised him, adding, “So what’s the difference in complying and you get killed anyway?”
PlayPhilando Castile Shooting Sparks Angry Protests Facebook Twitter Google Plus Embed
Philando Castile Shooting Sparks Angry Protests 0:28
Protesters gathered overnight near the scene of the shooting chanting “No Justice, No Peace” and “Prosecute the Police.”
A noisy crowd also formed outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, where police confirmed to KARE11 that Gov. Mark Dayton was in residence. Car horns honked constantly and protesters covered the railings in police tape.
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Tony Webster @webster
The rain is not keeping people away. Minnesota Governor’s mansion at 4:30am. #FalconHeightsShooting
5:56 AM – 7 Jul 2016 · St Paul, MN, United States
111 111 Retweets 92 92 likes
Among the crowd was Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Pounds, who called on Gov. Dayton to “wake up and make a statement” about the shooting. “This is completely unacceptable,” she told the crowd. “Enough is enough!”
She earlier told reporters that Castile was “an upstanding citizen according to all the reports we’ve heard,” adding: “We just have a number of questions about how something like this could happen once again.”
To obtain a hard copy of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®), the most popular personality test in the world, one must first spend $1,695 on a week-long certification program run by the Myers & Briggs Foundation of Gainesville, Florida.
This year alone, there have been close to 100 certification sessions in cities ranging from New York to Pasadena, Minneapolis, Portland, Houston, and the Foundation’s hometown of Gainesville, where participants get a $200 discount for making their way south to the belly of the beast. It is not unusual for sessions to sell out months in advance. People come from all over the world to get certified.
In New York last April, there were twenty-five aspiring MBTI practitioners in attendance. There was a British oil executive who lived for the half the year under martial law in Equatorial Guinea. There was a pretty blonde astrologist from Australia, determined to invest in herself now that her US work visa was about to expire. There was a Department of Defense administrator, a gruff woman who wore flowing skirts and rainbow rimmed glasses, and a portly IBM manager turned high school basketball coach. There were three college counselors, five HR reps, and a half-dozen “executive talent managers” from Fortune 500 companies. Finally, there was me.
I was in an unusual position that week: Attending the certification program had not been my idea. Rather, I had been told that MBTI certification was a prerequisite to accessing the personal papers of Isabel Briggs Myers, a woman about whom very little is known except that she designed the type indicator in the final days of World War II. Part of our collective ignorance about Myers stems from how profoundly her personal history has been eclipsed by her creation, in much the same way that the name “Frankenstein” has come to stand in for the monster and not his creator.
Flip through the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, and you will find the indicator used to debate what makes an employee a good “fit” for her job, or to determine the leadership styles of presidential candidates. Open a browser, and you will find the indicator adapted for addictive pop psychology quizzes by BuzzFeed and Thought Catalog. Enroll in college, work an office job, enlist in the military, join the clergy, fill out an online dating profile, and you will encounter the type indicator in one guise or another — to match a person to her ideal office job or to her ideal romantic partner.
Yet though her creation is everywhere, Myers and the details of her life’s work are curiously absent from the public record. Not a single independent biography is in print today. Not one article details how Myers, an award-winning mystery writer who possessed no formal training in psychology or sociology, concocted a test routinely deployed by 89 of the Fortune 100 companies, the US government, hundreds of universities, and online dating sites like Perfect Match, Project Evolove and Type Tango. And not one expert in the field of psychometric testing, a $500 million industry with over 2,500 different tests on offer in the US alone, can explain why Myers-Briggs has so thoroughly surpassed its competition, emerging as a household name on par with the Atkins Diet or The Secret.
Less obvious at first, and then wholly undeniable, is how hard the present-day guardians of the type indicator work to shield Myers’s personal and professional history from critical scrutiny. For the foundation, as well as for its for-profit-research-arm, the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), this means keeping journalists far away from Myers’s notebooks, correspondences and research materials, which are stored in the Special Collections division of the University of Florida library. Although they are technically the property of the university — thus open to the public — Myers’s papers require permission from CAPT to access; permission that has not been granted to anyone1 in the decade since the papers were donated to the university by Myers’s granddaughter, Katharine Hughes. Twice I was warned by the university librarian, a kind and rueful man, that CAPT was “very invested in protecting Isabel’s image.” Why her image should need protection, I did not yet understand.
When I wrote to CAPT in August 2014, I received an enthusiastically officious email from their Director of Research Operations, requesting additional details about my interest in type indicator and a book I was planning to write on personality testing. “Will there be descriptions and historical background about other personality tests in addition to the MBTI instrument?” she wrote. “If so, we would like to be informed.” So began nine months of correspondence with the staff of CAPT, which culminated this April in their request that I become a certified administrator of the MBTI instrument. Certification was a necessary precursor to giving me access to the papers, the director told me over the phone. CAPT would even be willing to consider “possibilities for funding the training.”
This is how I found myself in the company of the oil man, the astrologist, the Department of Defense administrator and twenty other people at the certification workshop, located on the sixth floor conference room of the United Jewish Appeal Federation building on East 59th Street. We sat at tables of five or six, our backs pressed against a smoked-glass wall decorated with etchings of Seder plates, unfurling braids of challah, and half lit menorahs. Each of us wore a name tag with our first name, last name, and our four letter type printed on it in big block letters. It was not unusual for people to lead with their type when they introduced themselves.
I said hello to the woman sitting next to me. Her name tag said “Laurie — ENFJ.”
Laurie2 checked me out and sighed, relieved. “We’re both E’s,” she said. “We’ll get along great.”
The most important part of becoming MBTI certified is learning to speak type,” declares Barbara, our instructor for the next week and a self-proclaimed “clear ENTJ.” Dressed in black, with prominent red toenails and a commanding nasal tone, Barb, as she insists we call her, will teach us how to “speak type fluently.”
“This is only the beginning!” Barb says. “Just think of this as a language immersion program.”
The comparison is an apt one. There are sixteen types, each made up of a combination of four different letters. Each letter represents one of two poles in a strict dichotomy of human behavior. From the pre-training test I took earlier in the week, I learn that, like Barb, I too am an “ENTJ.” I prefer extraversion (E) to introversion (I), intuition (N) to sensing (S), thinking (T) to feeling (F), and judging (J) to perception (P). It is strange, this tidy division of myself into these alien categories. Initially, I have trouble keeping the letters straight. Strange too is the ease with which people around me speak their types, as if declaring oneself a “clear ENTJ” or a “borderline ISFP” were the most natural thing in the world.
Of course, speaking type is anything but natural. Still Barb’s job is to convince us that this simple system of thought can account for the messiness of many of our personal and interpersonal relationships, regardless of gender, race, class, age, language, education, or any of the other intricacies of human existence. Type is intensely democratizing in its vision of the world, weird and wonderful in its commitment to flattening the material differences between people only to construct new and imaginary borders around the self. Its populism is most clearly demonstrated by MBTI’s astonishing geographic reach: Last year, two million people took the test, in seventy different countries, and in 21 languages. “As long as you have a seventh grade reading level and you’re a ‘normal’ person” — by which Barb means, you are not mentally ill or blithely psychopathic — “you can learn to speak type.”
Across all languages and continents, however, the first rule of speaking type remains the same. You do not, under any circumstances, refer to MBTI as a “test.” It is a “self-reporting instrument” or, more succinctly, an “indicator.” “People use the word ‘test’ all the time,” Barb complains. “But what you’re taking is an indicator. It’s indicating based on what you told the test.”
Although her statement sounds tautological, Barb assures us that it is not. Unlike a standardized test, like the SAT, which asks the test taker to choose between objectively right and wrong answers, the MBTI instrument has no right or wrong answers, only competing preferences. Take, for instance, two questions from the test I took last April: “In reading for pleasure, do you: (A) Enjoy odd or original ways of saying things; or; (B) Like writers to say exactly what they mean.” And: “If you were a teacher, would you rather teach: (A) Fact courses, or; (B) Courses involving theory?” And unlike the SAT, in which a higher score is always more desirable than a lower one, there are no better or worse types. All types, Barb announces rapturously, are created equal.
The indicator’s sole measure of success, then, is how well the test aligns with your perception of your self: Do you agree with your designated type? If you don’t, the problem lies not with the indicator, but with you. Maybe you were in a “work mindset when you answered the questions,” Barb suggests. Or you had become unusually adept at “veiling your preferences” to suit the wants and needs of your husband or wife, your co-workers, your children. Whatever the case may be, somehow you were inhibited from answering the questions as your “shoes off self” — Isabel Briggs Myers’s term for the authentic you.
More cynically, what this seems to mean is that the indicator can never be wrong. No matter how forcefully one may protest their type, the indicator’s only claim is that it holds a mirror up to your psyche. Behind all the pseudo-scientific talk of “instruments” and “indicators” is a simple, but subtle, truth: the test reflects whatever version of your self you want it to reflect. If what you want is to see yourself as odd or original or factual and direct, it only requires a little bit of imagination to nudge the test in the right direction, to rig the outcome ahead of time. I do not mean this in any overtly manipulative sense. Most people do not lie outright, for to do so would be to shatter the illusion of self-discovery that the test projects. I mean, quite simply, that to succeed, a personality test must introduce the test taker to the preferred version of her self — a far cry, in many cases, from the “shoes off,” authentic you.
But Barb doesn’t pause to meditate on the language lesson she has started to give us. Instead she projects onto a large screen behind her a photograph of a pale and bespectacled man in a neat cravat. Peering over us is Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist whose 654-page study Psychological Types(1923) inspired Myers’s development of the indicator. Jung was “all about Freud, the couch, neurosis!” Barb laughs. For the purposes of our training, the relationship between his theory of psychological types and Myers’s commodification of it is a matter of good branding strategy. “Jung is a very respected name, a big name,” Barb says. “Even if you don’t know who he was, know his name. His name gives the test validity.”
Validity is crucial to selling the test, even if it doesn’t mean exactly what Barb seems to think it does. After the certification session is over, the participants will return to work with a 5-by-7 diploma, a brass “MBTI” pin, and a stack of promotional materials that they are encouraged to use to persuade their clients or colleagues to take an MBTI assessment. Each test costs $49.95 per person, more if you want a full breakdown of your type, and even more if you want an MBTI-certified consultant to debrief your type with you. No one questions the sheer ingenuity of this sales scheme. We are paying $1,695 to attend a course that authorizes us to recruit others to buy a product — a product which tells us nothing more than what we already know about ourselves.
Although Barb invokes Jung’s name with pride and a touch of awe, Jung would likely be greatly displeased, if not embarrassed, by his long-standing association with the indicator. The history of his involvement with Myers begins not with Isabel, but with her mother Katharine Cook Briggs, whom Barb mentions only in passing. After the photograph of Jung, Barb projects onto the screen a photograph of Katharine, unsmiling and broad necked and severely coiffed. “I usually don’t get into this,” she says, gesturing at Katharine’s solemn face. “People have already bought into the instrument.”
Yet Katharine is an interesting woman, a woman who might have interested Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem or any second-wave feminist eager to dismantle the opposition between “the happy modern housewife” and the “unhappy careerist.” A stay-at-home mother and wife who had once studied horticulture at Michigan Agricultural College, Katharine was determined to approach motherhood like an elaborate plant growth experiment: a controlled study in which she could trace how a series of environmental conditions would affect the personality traits her children expressed. In 1897, Isabel emerged — her mother’s first subject. From the day of her birth until the child’s thirteenth birthday, Katharine kept a leather-bound diary of Isabel’s developments, which she pseudonymously titled The Life of Suzanne. In it, she painstakingly recorded the influence that different levels of feeding, cuddling, cooing, playing, reading, and spanking had on Isabel’s “life and character.”
Today we might think of Katharine as the original helicopter parent: hawkish and over-present in her maternal ministrations. But in 1909, Katharine’s objectification of her daughter answered feminist Ellen Key’s resounding call for a new and more scientific approach to “the vocation of motherhood.” More progressive still was how Katharine marshaled the data she had collected on Isabel to write a series of thirty-three articles in The Ladies Home Journal on the science of childrearing. These articles, which were intended to help other mothers systematize their childcare routines, boasted such single-minded titles as “Why I Believe the Home Is the Best School” and “Why I Find Children Slow in Their School Work.” Each appeared under the genteel nom de plume “Elizabeth Childe.”
It is not surprising that Jung’s work should pique the interest of “Elizabeth Childe,” an aspiring pedagogue who perceived the maturation of her child’s personality as nothing less than an experimental form to be cultivated, even perfected, over the years. Indeed, Katharine first encountered an English translation of Jung’s Psychological Types in 1923, when she was editing The Life of Suzanne to submit to publishers. She found Psychological Types an unwieldy text, part clinical assessment, part romantic meditation on the nature of the human soul, which emphasized the “creative fantasy” required for psychological thought. Katharine took this as an invitation to start thinking of her children’s personalities as divided into three oppositional axes: extraverted versus introverted, intuitive versus sensory, thinking versus feeling. In 1927, she wrote to Jung to express her feverish admiration for his work — her “Bible,” she called it — and her desire to bring a more practical approach to his densely theoretical observations, which her “children … had been greatly helped by.”
“How wasteful children are, even with their own precious, irreplaceable lives!” Jung once wrote to Freud, a letter that might have doubled as his irritated response to Katharine and her request to collaborate. From the outset, it seems that Jung was impressed by Katharine’s brilliance and flattered by her enthusiasm, but skeptical of her eagerness to bring his typology to the science of childrearing. When Katharine wrote to him for advice about a neighborhood child, a young girl in great emotional distress who she believed she could cure through Jungian type analysis, Jung rebuked her for overstepping her bounds as a dispassionate observer. “You overdid it,” he wrote. “You wanted to help, which is an encroachment upon the will of others. Your attitude ought to be that of one who offers an opportunity that can be taken or rejected. Otherwise you are most likely to get in trouble. It is so because man is not fundamentally good, almost half of him is a devil.”
Despite Jung’s unwillingness to help Katharine see beyond the devil in man, some of the more practical applications of his typology appeared in a 1926 article that Katharine published in The New Republic, winningly titled “Meet Yourself: How to Use the Personality Paint Box.” In it, she would present Jung’s dichotomies as an elegant paint-by-numbers exercise, in which E/I, N/S, and T/F were the “primary character colors” that each individual could “combine and blend” to form “his own personality portrait.” Even babies, those “little bundles of psychic energy,” had types, and the sooner a mother identified her child’s type, the better it was for his mental maturity. “One need not be a psychologist in order to collect and identify types any more than one needs to be a botanist to collect and identify plants,” Katharine assured her fellow mothers. There was no need to doubt one’s ability to type one’s child.
“Meet Yourself” enjoyed quiet acclaim among parents when it was first published, but ultimately, Katharine’s desire to spread Jung’s gospel to a broader audience would inspire a shift in genre. She would abandon The Life of Suzanne as a parenting guide and turn instead to fiction, which she believed would help her reach a larger and more dedicated audience. Her longest work, written toward the end of her life, was a romance novel inspired by Psychological Types called The Guesser, the story of a love affair between two incompatible Jungian types. It was summarily rejected by ten publishers and two film producers for dwelling too much on Jung, whom no one other than Katharine was interested in, and not enough on love.
Like her mother, Isabel also began her adult life as a wife and mother. She graduated from Swarthmore in June of 1918 — Phi Beta Kappa, an aspiring fiction writer, and a moderately disillusioned newlywed, who had followed her husband first to Memphis, where he was training as a bomber pilot, and then to Philadelphia, where he enrolled in law school. In each city, she made a list of her future goals in a notebook which she titled Diary of an Introvert Determined to Extrovert, Write, & Have a Lot of Children.
Keep complete job list and do one every day.
Housekeep till 10 A.M.
Two hours writing.
One hour outdoors.
One hour self-development—music, study, friends.
Wash face with soap every night.
Never wear anything soiled.
But despite her clear goals and clean clothes, Isabel struggled to find a job. After an unfulfilling stint at a temp agency, she wrote to Katharine to complain about the difficulties of finding meaning in one’s work, particularly as a married woman who was expected to do nothing more than to have children. “I think under the spur of necessity a woman can do a man’s work as well as he can, provided she is as capable for a woman as he is for a man,” she wrote. “But I’m perfectly sure that it takes more out of her. And it’s a waste of life to spend yourself on work that someone else can do at less cost. I’m sure men and women are made differently, with different gifts and different kids of strengths.” In a perfect world, she concluded, there would exist “some highly intelligent division of labor that can be worked out, so everybody works, but not at the wrong things.”
Isabel’s “instinctive answer” to the question of what to do with herself was to be “my man’s helpmeet.” And for nearly a decade she was. Until 1928, she did housework, gave birth to two children, and at night, when the house was in order and the children were asleep, she continued to wonder what was missing from her life. Although a husband and children and a “beloved little ivy-covered colonial house” in the suburbs were “everything in the world that I wanted,” Isabel wrote, “I knew I wanted something else.” That something else was the time and energy to pursue a career as a successful fiction writer, something her mother had never been able to realize. “In the evenings, between nine and three, stretched six heavenly, uninterrupted hours — if I could stay awake to use them,” she mused.
Working at night, but most often with one fitful child or another in her lap, Isabel started and finished a detective novel, which she promptly submitted to a mystery contest at New McClure’s magazine. The winner was to receive a $7,500 cash prize (over $100,000 today) and a book contract with a prominent New York publisher. Katharine, apparently jealous that her daughter was trying to succeed where she had once failed, had little encouragement for her daughter, only what Isabel lamented as some “cool criticisms” of the “novel’s style.” Much to her mother’s surprise, Isabel’s novel,Murder Yet to Come, took first place, surpassing the writing team behind the Ellery Queen novels, among the many other seasoned pulp writers who had vied for the prize.
Yet there was plenty of reason for Katharine, ever the devoted scholar of Jung, to appreciate how she had inculcated her daughter into speaking — or, in this case, writing — type. Unlike other detective stories of the time, which often pair a brilliantly imaginative sleuth with a more literal minded sidekick, Murder Yet to Come features a team of three amateur detectives: an effeminate playwright, his dutiful assistant, and a brawny Army sergeant. Unburdened by crying children or any other domestic responsibilities, they set out to solve a gruesome murder. Each member of the team possesses what Isabel, in her letter to her mother, described as “different gifts and different kinds of strengths.” The playwright has the “quickness of insight” to uncover the murderer’s identity, the sergeant takes “smashingly, effective action” to apprehend him, while the assistant makes “slow, solid decisions” that protect the family of the victim from scandal. None of the detectives “works at the wrong things.” Like today’s slick police procedurals, in which there are the people who investigate the crime and those who prosecute the offenders, every character in Murder Yet to Come is designed to maximize the efficiency of the team.
As a mystery story, Murder Yet to Come is decidedly second-rate; the villain predictable, his motive commonplace, the detectives flat and uncharismatic. But as a testing ground for the Myers-Briggs type indicator, the novel is a remarkably direct receptacle for Isabel’s ideas about work, right down to its crude division of gender roles between the feminized playwright and the hyper-masculine military man. Strengths and weaknesses are distributed in a zero-sum fashion; the character who possesses a keen eye for sensory details reverts to a slow, stuttering imbecile when asked to abstract larger patterns from his observations. Friendships and working relationships are always invigorated by personality differences, never strained by them. And for death-defying detectives, the characters are all unusually self-aware, each happy to accept his personal limitations and cede authority to others when necessary, like cogs in a well-oiled machine. Reprinted by CAPT in 1995, Murder Yet to Come showcases characters who are “beautifully consistent with type portraits,” according to the forward to the new edition. “Those readers who know type will enjoy ‘typing them’ as the mystery progresses.”
CAPT’s website, where I purchased Murder Yet to Come for $15.00, claims that the novel was Isabel’s “only sojourn into fiction” before she shifted her attention to the type indicator. This is incorrect. The company has not reprinted Isabel’s second novel, Give Me Death (1934), which revisits the same trio of detectives half a decade later. Perhaps this is due to the novel’s virulently racist plot: One by one, members of a land-owning Southern family begin committing suicide when they are led to believe that “there is in [our] veins a strain of Negro blood.” Despite their differences, the detectives agree that it is “better for [the family] to be dead” than for them to be alive, heedlessly reproducing with white people.
Give Me Death is more explicitly about the preservation of the family, but saddled with a far more sinister understanding of type: Type as racially determined. There is talk of eugenics. There is much hand wringing about the preservation of Southern family dynasties, about “honor” and “esteem.” That the novel was written in the years when laws forbidding interracial marriage were increasingly the target of ACLU and NAACP protests makes it all the more reactionary, and thus all the more unsuitable, from an image management perspective, for reissue today. One would hardly enjoy “typing” these characters.
If Isabel had started her life as her mother’s experiment, she had quickly grown into Katharine’s student, her apostle, and even her competition. Fiction had presented one way for her to unite her mother’s talk of type with the intelligent division of labor, ordering imaginary characters into a rational system with a profitable end: bringing criminals to justice. After World War II, the emergent industry of personality testing would give Isabel the opportunity to organize — and experiment on — real people.
The second rule of speaking type is: Personality is an innate characteristic, something fixed since birth and immutable, like eye color or right-handedness. “You have to buy into the idea that type never changes,” Barb says, speaking slowly and emphasizing each word so that we may remember and repeat this mantra — “Type Never Changes” — to our future clients. “We will brand this into your brain,” she vows. “The theory behind the instrument supports the fact that you are born with a four letter preference. If you hear someone say, ‘My type changed,’ they are not correct.”
Of all the questionable assumptions that prop up the Myers-Briggs indicator, this one strikes me as the shakiest: that you are “born with a four letter preference,” a reductive blueprint for how to move through life’s infinite and varied challenges. Many other personality indicators, ranging in complexity from zodiac signs to online dating questionnaires to Harry Potter’s sorting hat, share the assumption that personality is fixed in one form or another. And yet the belief of a singular and essential self has always seemed to me an irresistibly attractive fiction: One that insists on seeing each of us as a coherent human being, inclined to behave in predictable ways no matter what circumstances surround us. There is, after all, a certain narcissistic beauty to the idea that we are whole. “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald of his greatest creation, Jay Gatsby, in the same year that Katharine fell under the sway ofPsychological Types. Learning to speak type means learning to link the quotidian gestures of life into an easily digestible story, one capable of communicating to perfect strangers some sense of who you are and why you do what you do.
Yet the impulse to treat personality as innate is, in no small part, a convenient way of putting these gorgeously complete people in their rightful places. Just as each one of Isabel’s three detectives serves a unique purpose in her novels, a way of moving the plot forward that follows from his innate “gifts,” so too does the indicator imagine that each person will fall into their designated niche in a high-functioning and productive social order. This is another fiction — to my mind, a dystopian fiction — that most personality tests trade in: The fantasy of rational organization, and, in particular, the rational organization of labor. “The MBTI will put your personality to work!” promises a career assessment flier from Arizona State University, a promise that is echoed by thousands of leadership guides, self-help books, LinkedIn profiles, and job listings, the promise that underwrites such darkly futuristic films as Divergent or Blade Runner. To live under an economic system that is not organized by personality, thinks the heroine of Divergent, is “not just to live in poverty and discomfort; it is to live divorced from society, separated from the most important thing in life: community.”
Or as a trainee belts out in the middle of an exercise, “Team work makes the dream work!”
One of scores of intelligence analysts working at his computer at the headquarters of the security firm iSight in Chantilly, Va. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
CHANTILLY, Va. — On a recent Wednesday morning, 100 intelligence analysts crammed into a nondescript conference room here and dialed into a group call with 100 counterparts in Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, India, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Taiwan and Ukraine.
As they worked their way around the room, the analysts briefed one another on the latest developments in the “dark web.”
A security firm in Pakistan was doing a little moonlighting, selling its espionage tools for as little as $500. Several American utility companies were under attack. A group of criminals were up to old tricks, infecting victims with a new form of “ransomware,” which encrypts PCs until victims pay a ransom.
The analysts, employees of iSight Partners, a company that provides intelligence about threats to computer security in much the same way military scouts provide intelligence about enemy troops, were careful not to name names or clients, in case someone, somewhere, was listening on the open line.
John Watters, iSight’s chief, evokes military jargon to talk about his company’s focus. Credit Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times
For the last eight years, iSight has been quietly assembling what may be the largest private team of experts in a nascent business called threat intelligence. Of the company’s 311 employees, 243 are so-called cyberintelligence professionals, a statistic that executives there say would rank iSight, if it were a government-run cyberintelligence agency, among the 10 largest in the world, though that statistic is impossible to verify given the secretive nature of these operations.
ISight analysts spend their days digging around the underground web, piecing together hackers’ intentions, targets and techniques to provide their clients with information like warnings of imminent attacks and the latest tools and techniques being used to break into computer networks.
The company’s focus is what John P. Watters, iSight’s chief executive, calls “left of boom,” which is military jargon for the moment before an explosive device detonates. Mr. Watters, a tall, 51-year-old Texan whose standard uniform consists of Hawaiian shirts and custom cowboy boots, frequently invokes war analogies when talking about online threats.
“When we went into Iraq, the biggest loss of life wasn’t from snipers,” he said. It was from concealed explosive devices. “We didn’t get ahead of the threat until we started asking ourselves, ‘Who’s making the bombs? How are they getting their materials? How are they detonating them? And how do we get into that cycle before the bombs are ever placed there?’”
“Our business,” Mr. Watters continued, “is tracking the arms merchants and bomb makers so we can be left of boom and avoid the impact altogether.”
ISight’s investors, who have put $60 million into the company so far, believe that its services fill a critical gap in the battle to get ahead of threats. Most security companies, like FireEye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Intel’s security unit, focus on blocking or detecting intrusions as they occur or responding to attacks after the fact.
ISight goes straight to the enemy. Its analysts — many of them fluent in Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese or 21 other languages — infiltrate the underground, where they watch criminals putting their schemes together and selling their tools.
The analysts’ reports help clients — including 280 government agencies, as well as banks and credit-card, health care, retail and oil and gas companies — prioritize the most imminent and possibly destructive threats.
Security experts say the need for such intelligence has never been greater. For the last three years, businesses have been investing in “big data” analytic tools that sound alarms anytime someone does something unusual, like gain access to a server in China, set up a private connection or siphon unusually large amounts of data from a corporate network.
The result is near constant and confusing noise. “Except for the most mature organizations, most businesses are drowning in alerts,” said Jason Clark, the chief security officer at Optiv, a security firm.
The average organization receives 16,937 alerts a week. Only 19 percent of them are deemed “reliable,” and only 4 percent are investigated, according to a study released in January by the Ponemon Institute, which tracks data breaches. By the time criminals make enough noise to merit a full investigation, it can take financial services companies more than three months, on average, to discover them, and retailers more than six months.
“Just generating more alerts is wasting billions of dollars of venture capital,” said David Cowan, an iSight investor and a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. The last thing an executive in charge of network security needs is more alerts, he said: “They don’t have time. They need human, actionable threat intelligence.”
Mr. Cowan and others point to what happened to Target in 2013, when the retailer ignored an alert that ultimately could have stopped criminals from stealing 40 million customers’ payment details from its network.
A year earlier, iSight warned its clients that criminals were compiling and selling malware that was specifically designed to scrape payment data off cash registers. Had Target received that warning, the blip on its network might not have gone unnoticed.
“Target faced the same problem every retailer does every day,” Mr. Watters said. “They are awash in a sea of critical alerts every day. Without threat intelligence, they had roulette odds of picking the right one.”
Gartner, the research firm, estimates that the market for threat intelligence like iSight’s could grow to $1 billion in two years from $255 million in 2013. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 60 percent of businesses will incorporate threat intelligence into their defensive security strategy.
ISight, which plans to file for an initial public offering of stock next year, hopes to capitalize, as do the dozens of other cyberthreat intelligence outfits now flooding the market, each with a slightly different approach.
That proliferation of start-ups has led to a new complaint from computer security chiefs: overlapping information — sometimes as much as 40 percent — in the reports they receive, none of which is cheap. ISight charges customers based on size, and while it does not disclose pricing, some customers say they pay $500,000 or more annually for the company’s services, as much as five times what low-end services charge.
ISight makes 90 percent of its revenue from subscriptions to its six intelligence streams, each focused on a particular threat, including cyberespionage and cybercrime.
The company’s most recent competition comes from its oldest clients, particularly banks, which have been hiring former intelligence analysts to start internal operations. One former client, which declined to be named because of concerns that doing so could violate a nondisclosure agreement, said it had been able to build its own intelligence program at half the cost of its canceled iSight subscriptions.
But most businesses do not have the same resources as, say, a company like Bank of America, whose chief executive recently said there was no cap on the bank’s cybersecurity budget.
Many of those businesses remain paralyzed by the drumbeat of alarms that expensive security technologies are sounding on their networks.
At iSight’s threat center, the company’s approach is perhaps best summed up by a logo emblazoned on a T-shirt worn by one of its top analysts: “Someone should do something.”
Our Ancient and Medieval ancestors were much, much more ingenious that most modern people give them credit for. Someone should create/produce an app/algorithm to scour ancient and medieval medicinal texts (and other kinds of texts) to see what other advantages could be gleaned.
Rather than doing this kind of work (and this is hardly the first example I’ve seen of such historical re-creation) by piecemeal examination and experimentation.
By the way I not long ago finished another set of brilliant lectures by Mike Drought of Wheaton College.
Take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together… take wine and bullocks gall, mix with the leek… let it stand nine days in the brass vessel…
So goes a thousand-year-old Anglo Saxon recipe to vanquish a stye, an infected eyelash follicle.
The medieval medics might have been on to something. A modern-day recreation of this remedy seems to alleviate infections caused by the bacteria that are usually responsible for styes. The work might ultimately help create drugs for hard-to-treat skin infections.
The project was born when a microbiologist at the University of Nottingham, UK, got talking to an Anglo Saxon scholar. They decided to test a recipe from an Old English medical compendium called Bald’s Leechbook, housed in the British Library.
Some of the ingredients, such as copper from the brass vessel, kill bacteria grown in a dish – but it was unknown if they would work on a real infection or how they would combine.
Sourcing authentic ingredients was a major challenge, says Freya Harrison, the microbiologist. They had to hope for the best with the leeks and garlic because modern crop varieties are likely to be quite different to ancient ones – even those branded as heritage. For the wine they used an organic vintage from a historic English vineyard.
As “brass vessels” would be hard to sterilise – and expensive – they used glass bottles with squares of brass sheet immersed in the mixture. Bullocks gall was easy, though, as cow’s bile salts are sold as a supplement for people who have had their gall bladders removed.
After nine days of stewing, the potion had killed all the soil bacteria introduced by the leek and garlic. “It was self-sterilising,” says Harrison. “That was the first inkling that this crazy idea just might have some use.”
A side effect was that it made the lab smell of garlic. “It was not unpleasant,” says Harrison. “It’s all edible stuff. Everyone thought we were making lunch.”
The potion was tested on scraps of skin taken from mice infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This is an antibiotic-resistant version of the bacteria that causes styes, more commonly known as the hospital superbug MRSA. The potion killed 90 per cent of the bacteria. Vancomycin, the antibiotic generally used for MRSA, killed about the same proportion when it was added to the skin scraps.
A loathsome slime
Unexpectedly, the ingredients had little effect unless they were all brought together. “The big challenge is trying to find out why that combination works,” says Steve Diggle, another of the researchers. Do the components work in synergy or do they trigger the formation of new potent compounds?
Using exactly the right method also seems to be crucial, says Harrison, as another group tried to recreate the remedy in 2005 and found that their potion failed to kill bacteria grown in a dish. “With the nine-day waiting period, the preparation turned into a kind of loathsome, odorous slime,” says Michael Drout of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.
If the 9th Century recipe does lead to new drugs, they might be useful against MRSA skin infections such as those that cause foot ulcers in people with diabetes. “These are usually antibiotic-resistant,” says Diggle. However, he doesn’t recommend people try this at home.
Two people tried to ram the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade
One was shot dead, and another was wounded, an official tells CNN
(CNN)Two people tried to ram the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on Monday, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. An NSA police officer shot one of the people dead dead and seriously injured the second.
A law enforcement official had previously reported that both of the people involved were men. Aerial shots show two vehicles at an intersection that appear to be damaged.
The FBI said Monday morning that it was conducting an investigation with NSA police and other law enforcement agencies, and interviewing witnesses on the scene. The incident took place near one of the gates to the complex, far from the main buildings. The FBI said they did not think terrorism was related to the incident.
“We are working with the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted,” the FBI said in a statement.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the incident this morning.
This is the second security incident this month involving the NSA. At the beginning of March, a former state correctional officer was arrested, accused in a string of Maryland shootings, including one at Fort Meade. Gunshots struck a building near the NSA office, according to a police report.
Officers stopped Hong Young, 35, of Beltsville, Maryland, and recognized his vehicle as matching authorities’ description of a car seen in surveillance footage near some of the other shootings. A gun in the car matched evidence found at the shootings, and Young was arrested, authorities said.
Police said earlier this month that there were no links to terrorism in the case, and no motive has been determined. No one was killed in the five shooting incidents.
In addition to the headquarters of the NSA, Fort Meade is home to 95 units from all branches of the armed forces and offices that report to several Defense Department agencies, according to the U.S. Army, which operates the base.
About 11,000 military employees and 29,000 civilians work there, according to the Army.
Some 6,000 people also live on the base, which began operations in 1917 as a garrison for World War I draftees, the Army said.
CNN’s Michael Pearson and John Newsome contributed to this report.
Jerusalem has been revered as a holy city for millennia—with pilgrims a staple feature in its bustling streets. Egeria’s Travels and the journals of the Bordeaux Pilgrim and the Piacenza Pilgrim demonstrate that this was as true in the Byzantine period as it is today.In the September/October 2014 issue of BAR, “After Hadrian’s Banishment: Jews in Christian Jerusalem” examines the diverse population of Byzantine Jerusalem. Despite being banned from living in Jerusalem after the Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132–135 A.D.), Jews were once again living in the city by the Byzantine period.
The Roman emperor Hadrian, who was responsible for expelling the Jews from Jerusalem, renamed the city Aelia Capitolina in the second century and left it to an overwhelmingly pagan population—Roman soldiers and citizens and the Hellenized residents of Palestine. When Constantine made Christianity a lawful religion in 325 A.D., Jerusalem became a Christian city. However, far from being transformed overnight, the population of Byzantine Jerusalem remained diverse with minorities, such as Jews, living in the city.
An interesting facet of this population was pilgrims—both Christian and Jewish. Traveling from distant lands, pilgrims came to worship in the Holy Land. Their accounts—from Egeria’s Travels and the journals of the Bordeaux Pilgrim and the Piacenza Pilgrim to the better-known writings about Helena, mother of Constantine, and Eudocia, wife of Theodosius II—offer valuable insight into life in Byzantine Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Egeria’s Travels even included a map.
While some pilgrims are known to us by name, such as Egeria the nun (author of Egeria’s Travels), others remain anonymous, like the Bordeaux Pilgrim and the Piacenza Pilgrim.
The Bordeaux Pilgrim is the earliest known Christian pilgrim who left an account of his journey to the Holy Land. Chronicling his travels in 333–334, the pilgrim began in Burdigala—modern-day Bordeaux in France, hence the name the Bordeaux Pilgrim—and passed through northern Italy, the Danube Valley, Constantinople, Asia Minor and Syria on his way to Byzantine Jerusalem. The journal kept by the Bordeaux Pilgrim is known as the Itinerarium Burdigalense. While the original copy of his journal is lost, the Itinerarium Burdigalense was transmitted over several centuries and survived in four early manuscripts written between the eighth and tenth centuries.
In his journal, the Bordeaux Pilgrim describes how Jews visited the Temple Mount and mourned upon “a pierced stone” (lapis pertusus).Egeria was a pious woman from Galicia, Spain, who traveled around the Holy Land in the years 381 to 384 A.D. Writing in Latin, she chronicled her travels in a devout letter—the Itinerarium Egeriae or Egeria’s Travels. Many believe that she was a nun because she addressed her letter to her “beloved sisters.”
Only fragments of Egeria’s Travels have survived, the original letter long since lost. The middle section of Egeria’s Travels, documenting about four months of her pilgrimage, was preserved in the 11th-century manuscript Codex Aretinus. This medieval manuscript also went missing for several centuries, but it was rediscovered in 1884 at the monastic library in S. Maria in Arezzo, Italy, by Italian scholar Gian Francesco Gamurrini.Egeria described holy sites in Byzantine Jerusalem, detailing religious processions and rituals among Christians. Her account provides useful information about liturgical worship in the fourth century, when the church calendar was still developing. For instance, Egeria visited Byzantine Jerusalem before December 25 was fixed and recognized as Jesus’ birthday. However, at this time she documented that there was already a procession from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to Mount Zion that took place on the Sunday of Pentecost.
The anonymous Piacenza Pilgrim journeyed to the Holy Land in the 570s from the city of Piacenza in northern Italy. Itinerarium Antonini Placentini, his journal, overflows with wondrous tales from his travels. It recounts traditions about holy sites and relics and includes interesting anecdotes—some which seem nothing short of miraculous. When witnessing a baptism in the Jordan River on the Feast of Epiphany, the pilgrim describes how the waters stood still: “At dawn … the priest goes down to the river. The moment he starts blessing the water the Jordan turns back on itself with a roar, and the water stays still till the baptism is finished.”1 By the time the Piacenza Pilgrim visited Byzantine Jerusalem, Christmas was celebrated on December 25.
Perhaps the most famous Byzantine pilgrim was Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, who came to Jerusalem in 326–327 when she was 80 years old. Eusebius of Caesarea notes that she contributed to the construction of both the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives.
Helena is best-known for discovering Jesus’ tomb and the True Cross. Appended to his translation of Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, Tyrannius Rufinus relates the legend of how the empress found the True Cross: Three crosses were uncovered at a site that Helena had begun excavating, and a test was performed to determine which cross had been used to crucify Jesus. A very sick woman was brought to the crosses. Nothing happened when she touched the first two. Upon touching the third cross, however, she was miraculously healed. This proved to everyone present that Helena had found the True Cross, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built over the site of discovery.More than a hundred years after Helena, another empress took a pilgrimage to Byzantine Jerusalem. Eudocia, wife of Theodosius II, journeyed to the holy city in 439. Later, after separating from her husband the emperor, Eudocia made Jerusalem her home. The empress funded numerous construction projects, including the building of St. Stephen’s Church and monastery and the rebuilding of the wall around Mount Zion and the Siloam Pool. A skilled poet, she also wrote literature, including the epic poem Martyrdom of St. Cyprian.
Pilgrims visiting Byzantine Jerusalem—both royal and common—often purchased eulogia, implements thought to ward off evil. One type of eulogia manufactured in Byzantine Jerusalem were ampullae, hexagonal glass bottles likely used to hold holy water or oil. Ampullae with both Christian and Jewish symbols have been unearthed. These artifacts demonstrate that there were enough Christian and Jewish pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem to warrant the making of eulogia for them.
A wheel purportedly from a US drone shot down in Syria Syrian state media carried footage of what they said was debris from drone being taken away
The Syrian military says it has shot down a US drone near the city of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad in north-west Syria.
US officials have said they lost contact with a drone but that it is unclear if it was shot down.
If confirmed it would be the first time Syrian forces have attacked a US aircraft since the start of coalition strikes against Islamic State (IS).
Syria has not been participating in the raids on IS.
The country’s state-run Sana news agency described the unmanned surveillance plane as “hostile”, without giving further details. The Pentagon said it was looking into the incident.
An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft – it is not clear what model has been shot down The Pentagon said they lost contact with an MQ-1 Predator drone over north-west Syria
In a BBC interview last month, President Assad said “general messages” were provided to the Syrians about the coalition strikes via a third party.
A Jordanian jet involved in the coalition strikes crashed in northern Syria last year. IS captured the pilot and later burned him alive.
Meanwhile, Syrian activists have accused government forces of using chlorine in an attack in the north-western province of Idlib late on Monday.
Two groups reported that three children were among six people killed when aircraft dropped barrel bombs filled with the toxic chemical on Sarmin.
The Syrian military has denied the claim, describing it as propaganda.
A Syrian man stands next to the remains of a barrel bomb that activists say was dropped on the town of Sarmin on the night of 16 March 2015 A local activist said barrel bombs were dropped on two locations in Sarmin
Chlorine is a common industrial chemical, but its use as a weapon is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Syria signed the treaty after the nerve agent sarin was used in an August 2013 attack on several suburbs of Damascus that killed hundreds of people. Western powers said only the government could have carried out the attack, but it blamed the rebels.
In January, international investigators concluded that chlorine gas had been used in air raids on three villages that were blamed on the government.
Earlier this month, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that condemned the use of toxic chemicals such as chlorine in Syria, and threatened military action in case of further violations.
A map showing Latakia and Sarmin in Syria
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War in Syria
In keeping with the theme of the post immediately before this one something else that occurred to me this morning. My wife was talking about how bitterly cold it has been around here lately (in the past week and how cold it will be in the upcoming week, especially for South Carolina) when I blurted out, “yeah, it’s colder than a Siberian witches’ tit.”
Then I thought about why he used to say that. My father used to say this all of the time when it was really, really cold, it was his go-to phrase to express “absolute coldness.”
Now I have studied folklore since I was a teenager, and one bit of folklore that has fascinated me since I was a kid were the tales of Baba Yaga.
Baba Yaga is not Russian, she’s actually Slavic (probably) in origin (at least as Baba Yaga), and her tales are spread throughout the Slavic lands but over time they became increasingly associated with Russia (as either her true origin point), the place where she fed upon (she was a cannibal, especially of children) many of her victims (as in some incarnations she was the Forest Crone and Witch), or as being associated with her more evil deeds.
But I think that behind her may lay far older tales out of the East, and specifically the Frozen North and East, that is to say the huge and yet alien landscape of complete and unbroken frozenness and fear, in other words, Siberia.
My father was not a student of folklore but at that time, in the South, it was very common to be brought up with at least a passing knowledge of folklore, much of which got mixed around together with the various people groups inhabiting/settling the South (Irish, Scots-Irish, German, Black, Indian, etc, etc.).
I was, as a young child, cared for by an old Appalachian mountain woman who taught me folk-medicine and had an especially rich store of folk tales she would tell me as a kid. Later on, as I got older and started studying folklore I realized just how broad her range of folktales were, moving way beyond what you would normally associate with as being Appalachian in origin or from the people groups that tended to make up the Appalachian peoples. She had apparently absorbed a lotta tales from a lot of different sources and changed them around in retelling.
My suspicion is that as these various groups intermingled one tale or story influenced another and Siberia became not only the vaguely distant/rumored origin of alien frozen wastes and the metaphor for the land of extreme cold and desolation, but also the homeland associated with the most fearsome and cold of all witches, namely, Baba Yaga.
Over time though, in the retellings, her name was lost, or became unimportant and all that was left was the prototypical “frozen, cold, deathly and deadly super-witch, the Siberian Witch” – whose teats froze little children – so that she could abduct them and cook them later for eating – rather than sustained them with life.
Hence to eat from the Siberian Witches tit was a trap, just as Baba Yaga was a baiting pedophile witch (in the sense that she stole children and ate them), and if you did so it really meant Death.
So, colder than a Siberian Witches tit didn’t just mean the bitterly cold and alien and bleak landscape of Siberia, it meant the cold and bleak Siberian landscape was the home of the Siberian Witch, the Baba Yaga (or whoever Baba Yaga was first derived from), and that this witch, this Baba Yaga was really the absolute coldness of Death.
So although her name disappeared from the saying, her origins never disappeared, and so the saying didn’t just imply, “Boy it’s really cold” it actually and really is a metaphor meaning exactly this; “It’s colder than a Siberian witches’ tit,” or put another way, “It’s as cold as, or maybe even colder than, Death.”
And you know, now that I’ve thought on these things awhile this morning I believe I’ll incorporate some of these elements of Baba Yaga into the song I’m writing about her for my new album Locus Eater.
You know though, from a fictional and gaming point of view, and not just an historical one, finding more than one person in a great tomb is a Godsend of a story idea.
Everything from mistaken identity, to multiple burials over time, to different kinds of burials and relics and remains, to different types of animals and creatures (maybe extinct ones), to even ancient enemies being buried in the same tomb.
Media reports and the blogosphere are fueling speculation that the remains of a woman found in a massive tomb in northern Greece may belong to Alexander the Great’s mother, Olympias, who was executed when she was about 60 years old.
The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports reported last week that the remains of five individuals have been found in the burial chamber of the elaborate tomb beneath what is known as Kasta Hill in the ancient city of Amphipolis. Archaeologists excavating the site have dated the tomb to the final quarter of the fourth century B.C., around the time of Alexander the Great’s death in 323 B.C. (See “Behind Tomb Connected to Alexander the Great, Intrigue Worthy of ‘Game of Thrones.’”)
“We have so far an elaborate monument that’s partially damaged and vandalized,” points out Frank L. Holt, a University of Houston professor who has written several books on Alexander the Great. “It contained bones and cremains of persons unknown who may have nothing to do with the original structure or with each other.
“The chronology remains uncertain,” he says. “The royal status of the bodies, and of the building, cannot yet be verified. Why the headlong rush to judgment?’
Women and Men, Old and Young, Buried and Burned
From the 550 pieces of human bone recovered from the burial chamber, researchers have so far identified a woman over 60 years old, two men between the ages of 35 and 45, a newborn infant of unknown gender, and a very small set of cremated remains that most likely belonged to an adult of unknown age and gender.
About a quarter (157) of the remains are intact enough to allow researchers to eventually identify the gender, age, and height of the individuals, while the rest are fragments of vertebrae and other skeletal remains. An unknown number of animal remains, including bones of horses or donkeys, were also found in the chamber.
Complicating interpretation of the remains is the fact that none of the bodies were found in their original burial places, and no significant burial objects have been reported found.
Over the past four to five days I have discovered (both through experimentation and by healing animal patients) some very important medical principles which make the successful treatment of certain kinds of injuries and diseases much easier and much more effective. Also these principles make it far less likely that any form of treatment will in any way promote infection, interfere with the healing process, produce malignant counter or side effects, cause relapse, slow recovery, or prevent full recovery. Methods of the application of these principles vary according to the specific conditions surrounding the patient (age, general state of health, weight, etc.) and the individual nature of the case itself but the principles are valid in and of themselves.
I say discover, actually I have rediscovered (for I knew most of these principles already but either did not practice them fully or in the necessary manner or did not until recently realize their true import) or refined the principles I’m going to name, and I’m also sure the ancients and many medieval doctors knew them as well.
Additionally I should add the caveat that some of these principals are really for medical applications devoid of access to modern medical facilities and sometimes due to the fact of the lack of proper medicines – either because the patient and doctor/medic are isolated and cannot reach such facilities, because such facilities are not available in a given area, or because the patient lies on the borderline between being able to treat themselves or at home and needing to be hospitalized, but the injury or illness has not quite yet progressed to the point of an emergency hospitalization.
All of these Principles are going into my Book of Medicine as currently defined below, however as I improve upon my techniques and make further discoveries I will refine these definitions as necessary. Also I have a couple of ideas regarding inventions to best apply some of these principles but I’ll discuss those inventions at a later date after I’ve had a chance to work upon them. 1 THE PRINCIPLE OF HIBERNATION– The patient should be encouraged to or force himself to go into a state of self-induced hibernation or a coma-like state (even if this state must persist for many hours or even days or weeks) until the patent has reached the state that a sufficient point of verifiable recovery has been achieved or there are definite signs of self-sustaining improvement. The only treatment that should be administered or self-administered during this hibernation state should be small amounts of water with nutrients and electrolytes (liquid metaergogenics).
2 THE PRINCIPLE OF REVERSE APPLICATION – If the patient is unable or unwilling to eat then all necessary and beneficial nutrients and electrolytes should be introduced through liquids and via liquid consumption. If the patient is unwilling to drink then all necessary and beneficial nutrients and electrolytes should be introduced through whatever food is consumed and the food should be soaked in beneficial liquids and water and moisturized or reduced to a semi-liquid paste. These two principles are especially good and useful in cases where it is not possible to administer an IV .
3 THE PRINCIPLE OF APPLIED STASIS OR NON-INTERFERENCE – There are times when a patient has received a severe, traumatic, or at least serious injury or illness, and aside from keeping the patient warm and clean no attempt should be made to treat the patient at all other than the periodic administering of small amounts of food and/or drink (see principle of Reverse Application and the principle of Fasting) and instead they should encouraged to rest and to sleep (see principle of Hibernation). Only after a patient shows signs of the recovery of strength and of a tendency to recover should the patient be treated in a more normal manner to speed recovery.
4 THE PRINCIPLE OF FASTING– In certain situations the patient should not be fed at all but should undergo a period of fasting to best facilitate healing. Break the fast when signs of recovery become obvious or if the patient shows signs of weakness or harmful weight loss. Liquid intake should be maintained as normal or increased as necessary.
5. THE PRINCIPLE OF WOUND HOMEOSTASIS– Sometimes a wound (or even a state of illness) is too moist and must be drained, dried, and caused to remain dry (in a general sense, all biological health depends to some degree upon moisture) so as the suppress or prevent serious forms of infection (gangrene, etc.). Sometimes a wound (or even a state of illness) is too dry and requires the introduction of sterile yet beneficial forms of moisture and nutrients introduced through the medium of that moisture. Each particular case will vary according to the circumstances but if there are indications that the injury, wound, or disease state is too moist, then drying methods must be employed, and if there are indications that the injury, wound, or disease state is too dry then moisture must be applied. Then intent is to reach a state of patient homeostasis in which the patient can achieve and remain in an ongoing condition of optimal healing and recovery.
6. THE PRINCIPLE OF SHADOW (OR UNFELT OR UNKNOWN) TREATMENT APPLICATION – I will discuss this principle later after I have had more time to experiment. Initial indications show it to be very effective but the initial methods of application could be much improved I think. This is a new principle to me.
Brown University evolutionary biologist Sohini Ramachandran has joined with colleagues in publishing a sweeping analysis of genetic and linguistic patterns across the world’s populations. Among the findings is that geographic distance predicts differentiation in both language and genes.
Producing new insights into the evolution and development of human populations around the globe is no easy task, but scientists can draw on multiple sources of data to do it. In a new study, Sohini Ramachandran and colleagues at Stanford University and University of Manitoba analyzed troves of data on genetics and distinct sounds in language—phonemes—to discern important patterns.
Among the findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is that genes and languages both vary more as geographic distance increases. The analysis showed there are distinct geographic patterns, or axes, of the greatest differences. The data also reflect how languages and genes evolve differently, for instance among isolated populations.
Ramachandran, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, discussed these and other insights with writer David Orenstein.
Why are language and genes sometimes combined in studies of populations?
Fields that study the human past, especially ancient human history, have to draw on multiple disciplines and lines of evidence in order to confirm and calibrate observed signatures in data, since we can’t truly know all events in human history. Because language is inherited ‘vertically’ [from parents to children] like genes, and also changes ‘horizontally’ based on contact among populations, many researchers in genetics interpret analyses of DNA from different populations in the context of the languages the study populations speak.
This kind of interdisciplinary work is what initially drew me to studying human evolution.
In this study what did you find was similar between languages and genes and what was different?
We saw that axes of differentiation in both our linguistic and genetic dataset corresponded, meaning that differences in both datasets of very different types of markers were geographically distributed quite similarly.
One very interesting contrast we saw between languages and genes had to do with isolated populations: an isolated population loses genetic diversity rapidly, as individuals marry within the population; in contrast, we saw a range of variation in linguistic markers for languages that are geographically isolated (have few neighboring languages). Some languages that are isolated lose complexity and others gain complexity and innovate new sounds. This makes me wonder whether contact among populations homogenizes their languages in some way so people can understand each other.
We found that linguistic markers do not hold signatures of the human expansion out of Africa, which is not surprising due to the rate at which languages changes and can be influenced by neighboring languages.
Tell us more about that difference between what genes and languages showed regarding human origins in Africa?
To be precise, genes tell us that the people living today with the most genetic diversity currently live in Southern Africa (like the San bushmen) and that modern humans emerged in Africa, but we don’t know where the geographic origin of our species was precisely based on genetic data. The language analysis did not reveal this African origin because language changes in a complex way, much differently from genes where we have a good sense of the mutation process. In my conversations with different linguists, including those at Brown who generously listened to me present our ideas multiple times, the rate at which language mutates, and which linguistic markers are more likely to change than others, seems to be an open question.
You found geographic axes, or directions, of difference in language and genetics. What might they tell us about human evolution and history?
These axes, which look for directions along which a dataset is most differentiated, tell us about axes along which humans likely did not migrate a great deal. For example, migration north/south in Africa would mean moving across climate regimes; we also know populations are quite different across latitudes in Europe and we see that for both our language datasets and genetic datasets.
What do your findings tell us about how we can use genes and language, either together or separately, for population studies?
We learn more from using both data types together and analyzing them using similar methods than we would have learned from either type alone. One signal we saw loud and clear in this study is how much geographic distance affected our ancestors’ genes and languages; geographic distance predicts differentiation in both data types, underscoring that there are still deep signatures of ancient migrations in our genomes and cultures today.
Published: 19:34 EST, 14 January 2015 | Updated: 13:11 EST, 15 January 2015
The destruction wreaked by Islamist militants in Nigeria when they slaughtered an estimated 2,500 people including a woman while she was in labour has been revealed in shocking new satellite images.
Terror group Boko Haram outraged the world last week when they indiscriminately murdered innocent men, women and children as they attacked the towns of Baga and Doron Baga.
Now, new images obtained by Amnesty International show how the towns were devastated by the assault – with more than 3,700 structures including houses and schools completely destroyed.
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Before: Infra-red images show the densely populated village of Doron Baga on January 2 – before the attack
After: This image taken on January 7, following Boko Haram’s assault, shows the village transformed by death and destruction
Destruction: It’s estimated that 2,500 people were killed and more than 3,000 buildings were razed to the ground
In the pictures taken beforehand, the areas in red show buildings and trees in the densely packed towns in the north of the country.
But in the pictures taken after the massacre, they have been decimated and the infra-red satellite images instead reveal grey areas where the militants savagely razed the towns.
The destruction shown in these images matches the horrific stories from eyewitnesses revealing how Boko Haram militants shot hundreds of civilians in cold blood.
One witness described how the ruthless terror group were shooting indiscriminately, killing even small children and a woman who was in labour.
He added: ‘Half of the baby boy is out and she died like this.’
Ibrahim Gambo, a 25-year-old truck driver, survived the relentless attack in Baga but he still doesn’t know if his wife and daughter are safe.
He said: ‘As we were running for our lives, we came across many corpses, both men and women, and even children.
‘Some had gunshot wounds in the head and some had their legs bound and hands tied behind their backs.’
Yahaya Takakumi, a 55-year-old farmer, revealed to Nigeria’s Premium Times how he managed to flee Baga with one of his wives – but does not know if his four children, his second wife or his elder brother managed to escape.
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He said: ‘We saw dead bodies especially, on the islands of Lake Chad where fishermen had settled. Several persons were killed there like insects.’
Mr Takakumi said the Islamic extremists opened fire on vessels carrying fleeing residents across the lake.
Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, said this was the ‘largest and most destructive’ Boko Haram assault his organisation has ever analysed.
He added: ‘These detailed images show devastation of catastrophic proportions in two towns, one of which was almost wiped off the map in the space of four days.
‘It represents a deliberate attack on civilians whose homes, clinics and schools are now burnt out ruins.
GRAPHIC WARNING: Horrific video shows Boko Haram massacre
Turmoil: map showing Nigeria and the location of Baga which was devastated by brutal Boko Haram fanatics
Wave of terror: The yellow dots in this satellite image, taken after Boko Haram’s onslaught on Baga, show around 620 structures damaged in the attack
Razed: A similar image shows the compete destruction of the neighbouring village of Doron Baga – also known as Doro Gowon
Eyewitness to Boko Haram attack in Nigeria recounts his escape
‘Up until now, the isolation of the Baga, combined with the fact that Boko Haram remains in control of the area, has meant that it has been very difficult to verify what happened there.
‘Residents have not been able to return to bury the dead, let alone count their number. But through these satellite images combined with graphic testimonies a picture of what is likely to be Boko Haram’s deadliest attack ever is becoming clearer.’
BOKO HAREM’S TRAIL OF MURDER AND MAYHEM ACROSS NIGERIA
February 2014: The Jihadist group raided the Nigerian village of Izghe in the north of the country and murdered dozens – before going door-to-door and killing anyone they came across.
April 2014: Nearly 300 schoolgirls are abducted from the town of Chibok, which Boko Haram burned to the ground.
August 2014: The terror group kidnapped at least 97 people during raids on villages in Borno State. They killed 28 boys and men.
November 2014: 120 people killed in a bomb attack on a central Mosque in Kano – the principal city of northern Nigeria.
January 4, 2015: Boko Haram kidnaps 40 boys and young men, believed to be aged ten to 23, from a village in the Nigerian state of Borno.
Experts have estimated the brutal assault killed more than 2,000 people with reports of locals running over dead bodies to escape the carnage.
Another survivor – a man in his fifties – told Amnesty: ‘They killed so many people. I saw maybe around 100 killed at that time in Baga. I ran to the bush. As we were running, they were shooting and killing.’
He hid in the bush and was later discovered by Boko Haram fighters, who detained him in Doron Baga for four days.
Those who fled describe seeing many more corpses in the surrounding bush area, and one woman said: ‘I don’t know how many, but there were bodies everywhere we looked.’
In Baga, a densely populated town less than two square kilometres in size, approximately 620 structures were damaged or completely destroyed by fire.
And in Doron Baga, more than 3,100 structures were damaged or destroyed by fire that ravaged most of the four square kilometre town.
Mr Eyre added: ‘This week, Nigeria’s Director of Defence Information stated that the number of people killed in Baga, including Boko Haram fighters, ‘has so far not exceeded about 150’.
‘These images, together with the stories of those who survived the attack, suggest that the final death toll could be much higher than this figure.’
Boko Haram fighters have repeatedly targeted communities for their perceived collaboration with the security forces.
Thousands of people have fled the violence across the border to Chad and to other parts of Nigeria.
Many of the wooden fishing boats along the shoreline, visible in the images taken on January 2, are no longer present in January 7 images – tallying with eye witnesses’ testimony that desperate residents fled by boat across Lake Chad.
Amnesty are calling on Boko Haram to stop killing civilians. They insist the deliberate slaughter of of civilians and destruction of their property by Boko Haram are war crimes and crimes against humanity and must be duly investigated.
They are calling for the Nigerian government should take all possible legal steps to restore security in the north-east and ensure protections of civilians.
Boko Haram drew international condemnation when its fighters kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a boarding school in north-east Chibok last year. Dozens escaped, but 219 remain missing.
THE ‘MAD’ BOKO HAREM JIHADI LEADER WHO’S OVERSEEN THE SLAUGHTER OF 16,000
The man orchestrating the deadly Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria is a boastful lunatic who revels in slaughter and chaos and is a ‘master of disguise’.
Bloodthirsty Abubakar Shekau is one of the world’s most wanted men, with American authorities putting a $7million bounty on his head.
Master of disguise: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau points at the camera as he delivers one of his regular fanatical rants to the world
Shekau – said to be to fluent in four languages – also operates under a variety of different names which has only increased the mystery surrounding his true identity.
The elusive Islamist fanatic has led his brutal Boko Haram militants since 2009 into war in Africa, killing more than an estimated 16,225 people in that time.
The latest outrage he has led was the massacre of an estimated 2,500 people in northern Nigeria when his thugs razed two towns.
Last week, the terror group shocked the world when they are believed to have used girls as young as 10 as suicide bombers in two deadly attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least 19 people.
Experts claim psychotic Shekau rarely communicates directly with members of the terror group and instead deals only with a handful of confidantes – much like former Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden.
Files on the US State Department of Justice claim he variously operates under identities that include Darul Tawheed, Abu Bakr Skikwa, Imam Abu Bakr Shiku, Abu Muhammad Abu Bakr Bin Muhammad Al Shakwi Al Muslimi Bishku and Abubakar Shakkau.
The four languages he speaks are listed as Arabic, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri. Even his age remains unknown, with predictions between 38 and 49 believed to be most accurate.
Shekau is believed to have a wife and three children, although their whereabouts also remain unknown.
The Nigerian military has claimed several times to have killed the fanatic – only for him to appear in new videos proving he is still alive.
After one recent claim, he appeared in video to taunt the military’s claims and laughed: ‘Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.’
Boko Haram – which means ‘Western education is forbidden’ in Arabic – have shocked the world with their merciless slaughter of innocent men, woman and children across the north of Nigeria.
Shekau claimed leadership of the terror group in 2010, and was seen last week in a video praising the jihadists who murdered 17 people in the Paris attacks.
He has been variously described as ‘fearless’, a ‘gangster’ and a ‘loner’, which security sources believe give him an air of invincibility which makes him extremely dangerous.
The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium has described Shekau as a ‘religious intellectual, yet also a gangster and vigilante as well as a mad leader’.
Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram has continually targeted young children. In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped close to 300 girls from their school in northern Nigeria.
Innocent victims: Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this image taken from a video released by Boko Haram. The girls went missing in April 2014.
Support: Michelle Obama supported the #bringbackourgirls campaign after the kidnap
In a video message released three weeks later, Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, calling the girls slaves and threatening to sell them.
Their disappearance prompted a social media campaign with #bringbackourgirls, which was supported by Michelle Obama, First Lady of the USA.
Rumours also abound that Shekau escaped from the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri during the 1990s.
The fanatic regularly appears in videos to taunt the Nigerian military over their failings to prevent his group’s killings.
In one of Shekau’s first videos, believed to have appeared online in 2012, the insurgent leader boasted of his bloodlust and said: ‘I enjoy killing…the way I enjoy slaughtering chickens and rams.’
It is believed the terrorist was born in Shekau village that borders Niger to poor farmer parents. They are then thought to have migrated south into northeast Nigeria.
A religious young man, he studied basic Islamic theology, before focusing on more hardline Sunni ideology and becoming a preacher.
In a 2012 interview, Grema Kawudima said Shekau was remembered as ‘an easy-going fellow who would exchange banter with people in the neighbourhood. He was popular…a local theology student’.
After his religious studies, he is then understood to have attended Borno State College of Legal and Islamic Studies for higher studies on Islam.
He became increasingly radicalised and seized control of Boko Harem after founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed in a security crackdown on the terror group in 2009.
Since then, Shekau has pursued a relentless campaign of terror as the group has strengthened its deadly grip in Nigeria.
History of violence: In December 2014, two female suicide bombers – allegedly under the instruction of Boko Haram – killed at least four people in a busy market in Nigeria’s busiest city, Kano (pictured)
There is a show I very much enjoy watching when I can. It’s called Faith in History. Yes, the guy who conducts the show has a very pronounced sort of stumbling delivery when he speaks, but despite that, which often makes it difficult to follow him, I very much like the guy and the show is superb.
Today at lunch my youngest daughter and I sat down to watch the latest recorded episode because it was about George Washington Carver (and lately she had requested that she be allowed to study African history, which I’ll get back to in a moment) and although Carver is as American as peanut butter he was black and he was in my opinion the second greatest native inventor this nation ever produced (shy of Edison), and the very greatest bio-chemist (bar none) and one of the very greatest scientists this nation ever produced.
(Being particularly partial and interested in the biological, chemical, and genetic sciences myself I really like Carver and his work. He was brilliant, and well ahead of his time.)
Plus, I very much agree with his approach to invention, which I’ll recount later, as it is the closest parallel to my own method of invention that I have ever encountered in history.
Anyway it was an extremely good episode on Carver, dwelling upon both his scientific achievements and his personal life and faith.
My daughter seemed to enjoy the episode quite a bit, and as we watched it we would stop the show at various points and discuss science, God, technology, history, invention, writing, politics, and so forth. As is our wont when watching or discussing anything educational.
As for Carver’s methods of discovery, experimentation, inspiration, and invention they closely parallel my own, as he described in numerous letters, and in this speech:
“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.
Locking the door to his laboratory, Dr. Carver confided:
Only alone can I draw close enough to God to discover His secrets.”
The closest other two parallels I can name are found in the methods of Newton and Archimedes, both of whom I also seek to emulate when it comes to scientific discovery and invention. Archimedes in particular, and perhaps one day soon I will discuss the Agapoloid techniques I employ, which are derived to a large extent from Archimedes’ internal and mental mathematical and geometric laboratory.
After that and as we were cleaning up from lunch my daughter asked me if she could begin two independent courses of study.
My oldest child began her independent courses of study (that is to say she would choose two out of six curriculum areas to study in a self-directed fashion) at the age of 17 but my youngest wants to start now, at age 15.
Knowing now what I do about how advanced my children are and having loosened up a good deal over time with my second child I agreed and asked her to make me a list of what she most wanted to study.
Independent Areas of study are, of course, courses of study she chooses for herself, based upon her own interests, and in which she will do detailed research and work at the college level. Of course she’s been at college level in all her subject areas for a while now, but I mean detailed enough to write a collegiate term paper.
Her list was as follows:
1. Germany (pre-Nazi war era – my oldest daughter is a WWII history nut, as I was at her age, but my younger daughter seems to prefer much earlier time periods. Ancient, Classical, and Medieval.)
2. Africa (I am going to suggest to her that she begins her in-depth studies of Africa with either Egypt, or with Cush or Nubia or Ethiopia, as I have already done my own in detailed archaeological and historical studies of these ancient areas and kingdoms/realms as research for my novels. So I am already familiar with some excellent research materials. Plus those kingdoms were either advanced or relatively advanced. I’m also going to suggest she make an entirely separate study of ancient Alexandria. But in the end it will be up to her, those are just my suggestions.)
3. African Wildlife, Biology, and Geography
4. English Grammar (yes, being a writer this pleases me, but the girl actually loves grammar, English and Latin – I love language and primarily vocabulary and philology, but she loves grammar)
5. Italy (I’ve yet to ask her if she means ancient Italy, such as Etruscan/Roman eras, of if she means Medieval or Modern Italy, prior to World War II. If it’s ancient Rome that’s good though she just finished the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and if Medieval Italy I’ll suggest studying Florence and Naples and Venice as city-states, and as commerce hubs. As a matter of fact just last year I finished a superb set of lectures on Florence, her naval power, and her trade that she should really enjoy.)
Lastly now that my older daughter is working and preparing for college my youngest daughter and I spend much more time together. The other night we were watching Agent Carter together and I was commenting on how much more clever the general level of conversation, formal or colloquial, was back then (in the Forties to early Fifties – language started declining in the mid-Fifties). That the language was snappier and more ironic than it is today, the level of conversation was far more clever, plus it was filled with universal cultural references and idioms.
“But,” I said, “I don’t care much for the décor or architecture of that time period. And I could have never walked around all day in a monkey suit.”
“Dad,” she said, “you must be crazy! I love the décor, the architecture, the clothes, and especially the cars and airplanes from that time period. I love almost everything about the Forties and I’d love to go back and live in that time period, minus, you know, the whole segregation and suppression of women things.”
“Yeah, I guess there is always that,” I said.
“But otherwise the Forties are for me!”
She’s a throwback to my Old Man. He grew up in that time period and always loved it too.
Posted: 01/05/2015 2:53 pm EST Updated: 4 hours ago
JERUSALEM (RNS) The site where Jesus may have been tried, prior to his crucifixion, is now open to the public for the very first time.
Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the spot is within easy walking distance of the Christian Quarter and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where tradition holds Jesus was buried.
Entrance to Kishle excavation following renovations.
Discovered under an abandoned prison building that is part of the Tower of David Museum grounds, the trial site is one piece of a vast excavation undertaken by archaeologists from 1999 to 2000 but sealed off for the past 14 years largely due to lack of funding.
The excavations include what may be the foundations of the palace of King Herod. It was here, many scholars and archaeologists believe, that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate put Jesus on trial.
View of the middle of three walls that are part of the foundations of King Herod’s Palace.
Archaeologist Amit Re’em of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the palace was built at the end of the first century B.C., according to Josephus, the Jewish historian and Roman citizen of the era.
“It was enormous, with a lot of gold and silver and running water and guest quarters,” he said.
The ruins uncovered by the Antiquities Authority were discovered in the area described by Josephus and included a complex sewage system.
While there is as yet no concrete evidence that the trial took place in the palace, Re’em noted that “from early Christianity until Crusader times the Via Dolorosa” — the route Jesus took on the way to his crucifixion — “passed by Herod’s palace. Only since medieval times did the route change.”