"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Check Your Six - Tony Carr Will Use Your Service Against You


Tony Carr recently thanked the hero who subdued the attacker on the train in Europe, for ignoring efforts by the Air Force to train him into being a "coward."  Tony wrote:

A1C Spencer Stone:

Thank you for ignoring the training you were given, which taught you to be a coward. Instead, you ran toward the danger. If the bastards try to punish you for breaking the rules, give me a call ... and wear their disdain as a richly deserved badge of pride.
Signed,
John Q.

I find it curious how Tony came to the conclusion that this courageous airman might want to call a retired cargo pilot after such a traumatic event.  I imagine Tony thinks checking boxes and pleasing bosses and going to cute little schools and getting the nod to become a cargo squadron commander is a measure of courage, but of course, it's not.  Tony's career certainly isn't an example of "breaking the rules."  That's just not how promotion works.  But setting all that aside, the conversation that ensued on his JQP Facebook page was classic Tony Carr.

Tony drew some criticism and in response to it, he 1) threatened to ban the commentators, 2) claimed to have engaged one commentator's chain-of-command, and 3) justified his free-speech-censoring actions in the name of defending "free speech."

Tony has made the chain-of-command threats with me, as well, it's a staple of his inventory.  He's also threatened to take me to court for my speech responding to him.  Tony trumpets on his page the power he wields in contacting the leadership of those who disagree with him online.

Tony Carr is not interested in dialogue or ideas or making the Air Force or the nation better.  He is interested purely in power, and he wants to use his growing (perhaps plateauing) audience toward that end.  Tony Carr is madly in love with power.  He thirsts for it.  Agree or disagree, I advise active duty service members to check their six when dealing with him.

Tony Carr is not your friend, he is not your advocate.  And he will pick up the phone and engage the machinery of government to punish you, if you do not drink the Tony-Carr-Kool-Aid.

Caveat emptor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Air Force Officer Takes Border Patrol Row To High Court


By Matthew Bultman

Law360, New York (August 17, 2015, 1:38 PM ET) -- A U.S. Air Force officer detained at a traffic checkpoint near the Mexican border has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case, claiming Border Patrol agents violated his constitutional rights by unnecessarily prolonging their investigation.

Richard Rynearson filed a petition with the high court earlier this month, asking justices to consider whether agents violated his Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures during the 34-minute encounter in 2010.

He wants the Supreme Court to reverse a split Fifth Circuit decision that found in... 

Read more of the article from Law360.Com

For those interested in the LexisNexis summary of the lawsuit written by Daniel M. Kowalski, please click here.

For those interested in a compilation of the video of the thirty-four minute checkpoint detention, audio of the oral argument before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and video of Fox News discussing these checkpoints please view the video below entitled, "Clearly Established: The Importance of Filming to Establish Truth of Events."

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tony Carr Thinks #BlackLivesMatter is a Source of Humor?


The shirt above stating that "#BLACK AIRCRAFT MATTER" was posted over at Tony Carr's JQP Facebook page.  I found it interesting that Tony chose to publicly like that photo.  I found Tony's endorsement of the shirt, through his "John Q. Public" handle, to be somewhat troubling.

I'm puzzled why anybody would like that shirt.  The only reason that comes to mind, is that some people find the shirt to be humorous.  But why?  What's funny about it?

Without a doubt there is a play on words, which can be a source of humor.  #BlackLivesMatter references an outcry from some in our nation in response to growing instances of government agents murdering innocent black Americans, and the movement behind the hashtag emphasizes that black Americans should have the same human rights and protection of the law as others in America to include the right not to be murdered by armed government agents.  In other words, the word "black" in that hash tag references the skin color of a group of Americans disproportionally locked in cages and killed by our so-called public servants.

In the shirt above, however, black refers to tools of government agents that are secretive and hidden from the public.  In this t-shirt, black refers to government action that is funded by, but not made known to, the average American citizen to include aircraft that fly over populations and collect data on them and monitor their activity.

In other words, in one "black" means a group of individuals disproportionally beaten and murdered by their government, and in the other it means tools used by government that are kept secret from citizens.

So, again I ask, how is that funny?

I don't know why Tony Carr endorses that clothing, or whether he does so because he thinks it is humorous or if he likes it for some other reason.

I have seen other venues, however, make light of #BlackLivesMatter in a clearly racist fashion, like one group on Facebook sharing a #BlackAngusLivesMatter meme and following it up with some of the most racist commentary and pictures I've ever read.

I personally don't find the shirt funny, just as I wouldn't find humorous a shirt showing a tent and camping gear inside a barb-wire-fenced in area with guard towers, along with the text "Concentration Camping!"  I mean, I get the play on words, but why those words?

Maybe I'm just being overly sensitive about watching oath sworn government personnel violate the rights of Americans of color in the most violent and permanent way.  Maybe this is much to do about nothing.  I do know, however, that Tony does not believe Americans have the inviolate Fifth Amendment right to not have their lives taken without due process, whether their life is taken by being shot with their hands up or whether taken by being choked to death Eric-Garner-style.

I know this because Tony publicly announced that we have "no inviolate rights" in our Constitution and voiced his opinion that government can rightfully violate our constitutional rights, without passing an amendment, so long as it believes it is acting in accordance with the will of a majority of Americans.

Put another way, Tony Carr believes that a majority can violate the rights of a minority in our nation.  He thinks that it is okay for a larger more powerful group to ignore the rights of a smaller less powerful group of people and thinks there are no constitutional rights that should restrain a larger group of people against a smaller group of individuals.  Right to life, liberty and property, or the right to free speech or to worship or protest the government, or the right to a jury trial -- none of these rights are inviolate in Tony's opinion, if a majority wants to strip them from a minority.

I most certainly do not agree with Tony's anti-American view, as I meant my oath of office when I took it, and because his view is contrary to our supreme law of the land.  At any rate, maybe I'm just being overly sensitive and should lighten up and find the humor in the misery of the most vulnerable among us who have their rights frequently violated.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Public Service Requires a Brave New Approach to an Old Oath


"Under the relentless thrust of accelerating over-population and increasing over-organization, and by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old formselections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the restwill remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorialbut Democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit."

– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (1958)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spectre Knows Chain of Command


A gunship buddy of mine took this photo at the 16th Special Operations Squadron.  What an outstanding display, and airmen in other squadrons would do well to heed the example of these Ghostriders.

We all in public service, but most importantly those of us who wield lethality, should be reminded where the ultimate authority comes from in our system of government that we the people created and commissioned.  It's vitally important that we get it right.

Well done brothers-and-sisters in arms, thanks for the reminder.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Cert Petition Before the Supreme Court of the United States




Numerically speaking, it's always a long shot to be granted cert and have the Supreme Court hear a case (some in the biz say only a 2-4% chance of the court hearing a case).  Still, I am comfortable knowing that whether the high court hears my case or not, I did everything I could possibly do to defend the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans, in accordance with the oath of office I took as a military officer.

I installed cameras to capture the routine violations I experienced at the checkpoint.  I spent years navigating our legal system and paid an enormous amount of money in that process.  I endured negative ramifications in my military employment.  And I secured some incredibly talented lawyers to work on my suit, people who gave far more than myself and who ensured that the case was presented to the judiciary with clarity along with the truth of events captured on film.

Whatever happens from here, I was faithful to my oath of office to support and defend the Constitution against domestic enemies, and to bear true faith and allegiance to it without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

I was a faithful public servant who did everything that I could to protect the blood-earned rights of Americans to be free from unreasonable government seizure within their own nation.  I did what I could.

My case concerns a 34 minute detention and seizure at an interior suspicionless checkpoint where agents had no reasonable suspicion that I had committed any crime, and where I answered 17 of 18 questions posed to me and provided four forms of ID including personal and official passports to prove I was in my own country legally. 

The Border Patrol agents are legally required to make these suspicionless detentions brief and to limit them to the programmatic purpose of the stop (determining immigration status).  They didn't even come remotely close to doing this and this civil suit resulted.

What my litigation has demonstrated, however, is that the court mandated principal protection of the Fourth Amendment at these stops is not a practical reality in the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit.  Ironically in that circuit, innocent Americans have lesser fourth amendment protections than Americans who commit crimes, or who are suspected of criminal activity.

My cert petition before the high court can be read here.


More information on my lawsuit up to this point can be found at the following links:

Reason Magazine

John Stossel - Fox News

The Air Force Times

The Newspaper.Com

Slate Magazine

CheckpointUSA.Org

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Interesting Article About Colonel Lindsey Graham (ret)



My comments here will be understandably short.  I'll just say I think this article from the Washington Post is well worth the read and that I find it puzzling that Senator Graham would have the adulterous-classified-information-leaking General Petraeus at his retirement ceremony, after making these remarks about Edward Snowden.

Interesting stuff.


The Ramblings of Brandon Bryant


I've previously mentioned Brandon Bryant, former drone operator, and given him encouragement for furthering an important discussion.  I've been careful to point out that we have many differences of opinion, but this latest contribution of his, given on foreign soil, indicates that perhaps he has ceased to provide anything meaningful to the topic.

Brandon served as an RPA sensor operator, engaged the enemy on four occasions over eight years in the military, completed his enlistment, and then got out of active duty.  After his separation from the military, he began to hit media airwaves to talk about his experiences.  His "message" wasn't quite unified or necessarily coherent, and seemed to mostly be that the United States military uses military equipment to carry out military missions.

Not exactly earth shattering news, but at least it was part of an important discussion.  I'm not sure, however, that his contributions are helping that discussion anymore.  The video above starts off bad and then gets much worse before it descends into a rambling stream-of-consciousness pile of incoherent contradictions and blathering.

From the painful-to-watch video above, Brandon opens up with:

I'd also like to thank the Free Chelsea Manning Foundation for representing Chelsea and Edward Snowden for doing what they have done. I'd like to thank all the journalists and stuff that have supported me and allowed me to have this platform where I would never have had this opportunity to talk to you otherwise. And I think it's really important that we recognize these people are just as important as, as I guess, sometimes, people think about me and people like me.

Apparently Brandon has the delusion that his post military departure message, that the U.S. military conducts military operations, somehow makes him a whistle blower and puts him in the same company as Edward Snowden.  If Ed Snowden were known for completing his contract with Booz Allen Hamilton and then, after leaving, set out to tell the world that the NSA simply did surveillance, then I might get this comparison.  But the fact that the military uses force and the fact that the NSA conducts surveillance is not new information.

Those two individuals are not similar.  Ed Snowden pointed out that the NSA engaged in unlawful activity.  That was extremely useful information and the public needed to know this, because they did not know their government was violating their rights and violating the law.  Brandon's overarching message is quite different in that it merely points out that the military engages in warfare.  That is not noteworthy information and is not whistle blowing and does not take courage.

In the video Brandon mentions his created Project Red Hand, which he says is mostly an idea that he and others (including a conscientious objector Marine officer) are working on.  He mentions they are trying "to figure out the base reason, what we're contributing towards."  This idea of gathering people without knowing the base reason to contribute toward seems to be a hallmark of Brandon's contributions in the drone discussion, as well.  His message is almost baseless and doesn't appear to have a developed point.

He mentions the GQ article he was a part of, and how the title "Confessions of a Drone Warrior" offended him.  He mentions growing up wanting to be a hero.  He says he felt like a coward for using technology to kill people where he had no skin in the game and he calls that technology "wrong" because it doesn't give "respect" to those being engaged.  He says "war is not a game."

He then tells the foreign audience, that what they need to understand is what that violence does to drone operators, those who are employing the violence.  He states that he "kind of kicked everyone in the balls" when he claimed his experiences gave him PTSD.  While he calls RPA warfare the most cowardly form of warfare to ever exist because drone operators are far from the battlefield, he claims great psychological damage and hardship from being a drone operator.

He claims that he was committing murder, because he killed "indiscriminately" because he didn't have all the information on those he was ordered to engage.  He says he wanted to be a hero, but his country made him a murderer.

He says he didn't feel like a warrior because he has studied "warriorship," and warriors understand the nature of violence and the nature of war and have codes of honor and codes of conduct, and they prevent war and go out of their way so that war doesn't affect the average person.  Brandon then goes on to admit that war always gets out of hand and there is no way to contain it.  


Brandon then offers a solution.  Pretending.  He says:

We can always pretend to follow codes of conduct, and these things, in order to make it seem more civilized.

He then briefly mentions that the enemy are not "sand demons" and that they come from a different culture and that we "need to reach out to them."

He then tells the audience, "we all know the issue.  We all know that violence sucks" and does damage to those that wield it and those that receive it and asks, "how do we come up with a solution?"  He goes on to mention that finding a solution is the goal of his Project Red Hand (the organization that does not have a base reason for existing and doesn't know what it is working toward).  He then pivots to drone technology and asks how we can create techno-warriors that leverage RPA technology.  While he decries drone operators as cowardly murderers, for some reason he asks his foreign audience how we can create more of them.

Brandon's talk then becomes a rambling collection of phrases and words.

He shifts into a discussion of hackers who can be scum, but who also can do great things and mentions honor among hackers.  He then mentions RPA, throws out an undigested reference to 1984 and cameras on the ground and people staying inside because they have fear.

He starts talking about his "fragile soul" and thoughts that he would meet those he killed in the afterlife and then talks about trying to become a survival instructor before getting "long story short" injured and not making it through the program.

The talk then becomes babbling, combining charged words and psycho babble strung together with half platitudes until it gets to a question and answer session.

The main themes I pull from the video seem to be:

1.  Violence is bad but warriors are good.

2.  Brandon has a strong desire to be a hero with honor and a code of conduct.

3.  Brandon has a desire to organize people to do something, but isn't sure what.

4.  Brandon suffers.

5.  Brandon has a message the world needs to hear.

The common theme appears to sum up to one topic:  Brandon Bryant. 

I hope that he overcomes any suffering he has endured from watching television screens tens of thousands of miles away in a profession that has no skin in the game.  As for the larger discussion, at this point it is clear to me that Brandon has nothing worthwhile to offer on the subject of drone operations.  After the several years he has been separated from the military, his "message" is simply not useful.  His message appears to be a ploy to promote himself by saying any number of nonsensical and contradictory things.  And toward that end, Brandon is not furthering an important discussion on drone technology, but rather he is confusing it.


The video above makes this painfully clear.