Today it appears that the progressive socialist Democrats at Sixty Minutes want to assist in the alteration of the United States policy on paying ransom to terrorists …
Should the U.S. government pay ransom money?
Lesley Stahl speaks to a counterterrorism adviser who admits U.S. failures in dealing with hostages, and to the parents of Steven Sotloff, a journalist who was kidnapped and killed by ISIS
In the long, bloody history of terrorism, few acts of violence have been more savage or shocking than those carried out by ISIS, including the beheadings of young American hostages in 2014. The videos went viral and catapulted ISIS onto the world stage.
For the parents of one of those Americans, Art And Shirley Sotloff, the murder of their 31-year-old son Steven was shattering, because of the brutality of his execution, and because they think he could've been saved if not for what even the White House now admits was its own ineffectiveness in dealing with the crisis. But, as we reported in January, what really sealed their son's fate, the Sotloffs believe, is the government's policy against paying ransom.
Lisa Monaco: Well, what's, the, the policy is the United States Government will not pay ransoms or make concessions to terrorist hostage takers.
That policy is based in part on a presumption that paying ransom invites more hostage taking. But that is refuted by a new study that examined the case of every known Western hostage taken since 911. It was co-authored by Peter Bergen, a counterterrorism expert, for the non-partisan New America Foundation.
Peter Bergen: They don't know necessarily you're American when they take you. It's sort of a target of opportunity. So some countries are known to pay ransom – the French, the Germans, the Spanish.
Lesley Stahl: Even though, they don't admit it.
Peter Bergen: They don't admit it, but they do. Their citizens have much better outcomes than Americans. Americans are huge outliers here. You're twice as likely to have a negative outcome compared to every other Western hostage.
Lesley Stahl: You say negative outcome. You mean murdered.
Peter Bergen: Murdered, die in captivity or just remain in captivity.
Fourteen of the European hostages held with Steven made it home. Those from countries that don't pay ransom didn't: four Americans and two Brits died.
Watch the episode or read the transcript at Should the U.S. government pay ransom money? - CBS News.
A few observations …
One, even though the consequences to individuals and their families is devastating, I am displeased that Sixty Minutes, a progressively-biased media organization would attempt to subvert America’s hostage policy.
Two, an academic, reputedly a counterterrorism expert for the “non-partisan” New American Foundation, refutes the idea that paying ransom invites more hostage taking. This appears to be counterintuitive because ransom is part of the terrorist’s business model since they are denied access to conventional funding sources. And, human nature dictates you get more of what is successful and less of what is injurious to yourself and your organization.
Three, Sixty Minutes was intellectually dishonest in presenting the piece without noting the then President Barack Obama released five high-value Taliban leaders plus an undetermined amount of money to secure the release of deserter Bowe Bergdahl; noting that Bergdahl’s life was being threatened and exigent circumstances demanded fast action. II t is widely believed that a cash ransom was also part of the transaction – even though a previous attempt to pay the ransom went awry; if you can believe news sources. Additionally, President Obama was complicit in paying ransom to the Iranians who were holding American hostages.
Pentagon got duped, made ransom payment for Bowe Bergdahl to con man
The Pentagon is under fire for making a ransom payment to an Afghan earlier this year as part of a failed bid to win the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to U.S. officials.
Sgt. Bergdahl was released in May after nearly five years in captivity as part of a controversial exchange for five terrorists held at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The ransom payment was first disclosed by Rep. Duncan Hunter in a Nov. 5 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Mr. Hunter stated in the letter that Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the payment covertly as part of a release deal. But the money was stolen by the Afghan intermediary claiming to represent the Haqqani terrorist network.
“Given the significance of this matter, as well as the fact that Pentagon officials have denied that a payment was even considered — and you also said you were unaware of any such attempt — I ask you to immediately inquire with JSOC to determine the specific order of events,” said Mr. Hunter, California Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee.
In a speech in September, David S. Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the Islamic State made $20 million this year in ransoming hostages. <Source>
Even worse, was their omission of the ransom authorized by President Obama to secure the release of hostages held by Iran. Made doubly troubling because it was delivered in an unmarked aircraft carrying pallets of U.S. and foreign currency while the hostages watched the unloading nearby.
State Dept. confirms $400 million Iran payment conditioned on prisoner release
At a Thursday news briefing, State Department spokesman John Kirby addressed questions about a Wall Street Journal report by explaining that the U.S. held onto the $400 million cash payment until American prisoners were on a plane and safely away from Iran to “retain maximum leverage. <Source>
So why these ransom events and not others?
It is believed that the White House masterminds of the Bergdahl deal were trying to create a feel-good moment for the American people and apparently were the only ones not to know that Bergdahl was a deserter. President Obama hosted Bergdahl’s family in the Rose Garden where Bergdahl’s father, sporting a Taliban-like beard, spoke directly to the hostage takers in their native language.
And, as for the Iran deal, Obama’s overarching interest was paving the way for his legacy, the Iran nuclear arms deal.
Four, the United States refuses to use the Roman method – destroy anyone and everything associated with a hostage taking. A method that ensured the relative safety of Roman citizens in foreign lands. It should be noted that a group of terrorists once kidnapped Russians – a practice that came to a screeching halt when the Russians retaliated in kind.
KGB Reportedly Gave Arab Terrorists a Taste of Brutality to Free Diplomats
The KGB has adopted novel, brutal and apparently effective methods of dealing with terrorists who attack Soviet interests in the Middle East, an Israeli newspaper reported Monday. The Jerusalem Post said the Soviet secret police last year secured the release of three kidnaped Soviet diplomats in Beirut by castrating a relative of a radical Lebanese Shia Muslim leader, sending him the severed organs and then shooting the relative in the head.
The incident began when four Soviet diplomats were kidnaped last September by Muslim extremists who demanded that Moscow pressure the Syrian government to stop pro-Syrian militiamen from shelling rival Muslim positions in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. The militiamen, the Jerusalem paper said, did not cease their attacks, and the body of one of the Soviet diplomats, Arkady Katkov, was found a few days later in a field in Beirut.
The KGB then apparently kidnaped and killed a relative of an unnamed leader of the Shias' Hezbollah (Party of God) group, a radical, pro-Iranian group that has been suspected of various terrorist activities against Western targets in Lebanon. Parts of the man's body, the paper said, were then sent to the Hezbollah leader with a warning that he would lose other relatives in a similar fashion if the three remaining Soviet diplomats were not immediately released. They were quickly freed. The newspaper quoted "observers in Jerusalem" as saying: "This is the way the Soviets operate. They do things--they don't talk. And this is the language Hezbollah understands." <Source: LA Times>
Bottom line …
It appears that the progressive socialist democrats are not big on national defense and certainly not willing to protect American citizens, both here and abroad. In fact, they view self-defense as an anathema, rather you die pleading for your life that killing your attacker with a handgun.
It is time that we start doing whatever it takes to keep Americans safe. If this means killing terrorists, so be it. If it means allowing pigs to eat the remains of suicide bombers, so be it. And if it means burying terrorists in drums of pig waste, so be it. It is time that the sensitivities of the progressive socialist democrats give way to the safety and security of Americans.
We are so screwed when the progressives look at waterboarding as torture when our enemies are using power drills, electricity, hot irons, and other instruments of torture on their enemies.
War is not a criminal act to be prosecuted in a criminal court with foreign non-citizen defendants having the rights of American citizens. A country at war should act like they are at war.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius