Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why a Travel Ban Would Make Ebola WORSE in the USA -

The GOP thinks we can "fix" Ebola without spending and with a travel ban? NUTS.
                                         Photo: Roberts International Airport, Monrovia, Liberia (W. Africa)

Put a travel ban on and what will happen is that they will go to a 3rd country and sneak in without being screened either there or here and suddenly we will have MORE cases popping up all over the U.S. Right now, they are identified and screened on BOTH sides. We have contact information, we can isolate people.
                                  Air routes connecting Liberia to Europe, India, South America, etc.
                                  Notice how many flights go to many parts of the world from Liberia
                                  Once a person is in any of those countries, they can then go to the USA
                                  undetected and un-monitored once they arrive

Institute a Travel Ban and all that goes out the window - we won't know WHO has it, WHO they touched and WHERE they are. It would be madness - the usual GOP solution sounds reasonable but is VOODOO and will make matters WORSE...

We MUST fix Africa or the whole world is in trouble if we can't contain it THERE.

Stay tuned on Updates here at Global American Values blog (click on the right to follow)...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tracking American ISIS - Not So Easy Even with Passports. Tourists vs Terrorists & NSA

A good question came up on my Facebook page about Americans who leave to join ISIS in Syria as Jihadists. How can we know if they return?

My clever nephew suggested in a comment that they be on a "no fly" list.  Would that "fix" it?

Good idea -- except for one thing - we don't know who is going to be a jihadist or going as a tourist or to visit family.  I have been in Syria and Turkey. Am I a possible terrorist? I didn't even need a visa to get into Turkey because I arrived on a cruise ship.

                                               No, This is NOT me. But YES, it is likely an
                                              American with a U.S. Passport. No need to
                                             "sneak" across Mexico border as some politicians
                                             claim (proof that they don't know what they are
                                             talking about.)

Besides, the jihadists aren't traveling direct to Syria because it would be too obvious and it is a hot war zone even in Damascus. Assad's people control the airport so they would be detained most likely - to keep them from joining ISIS which is fighting Assad (along with everyone else they hate.)
I was in Syria for legal negotiations for a Texas mom whose 12 year old daughter was 70 miles away in Lebanon (closed to Americans at the time, but open today.)  Last December I was in Turkey as a tourist on vacation. Does that make me a potential terrorist? Should that put me on a "watch" list or a "no fly" list?

                                                       Michael Fjetland, Damascus, Syria
                                                       Do I look like a terrorist?
                                                       How do you know? How does our
                                                       government  know?

What about the many people who are legal residents or citizens of the U.S. who have FAMILY in those countries. Should they be suspects because they want to see their family?

The Jihadists are going through neighboring countries like Turkey--which I myself went to last December as a tourist. Should that put ME on the no fly list? See how crazy it could get - not everyone is an international lawyer as I have been. Americans may not realize it but many hyphenated Americans (Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Latin Americans) travel back and forth to see family or do business ALL the time! 

Here is a map to give you an idea what a problem this is (Syria is next door - the jihadists are going to Turkey and crossing that LONG border into Syria).
 Notice how Turkey, Syria and Iraq come together  and the long border Turkey has with Syria

The only way to find out "who is who" is if we DO have a NSA checking people out. So that is the rock and the hard place. Do I want them reading my email or monitoring my phone calls? No.

Do I want them monitoring the email of someone being recruited on the Internet by ISIS? Yes.

How do they tell the difference without looking at our stuff or having the FBI show up at the door?

Either we don't investigate to see who is going out of the U.S. to become a terrorist and who is traveling internationally as a tourist, as millions of innocent people do each year.

We need to decide the best way to handle this because not knowing the difference between normal international travelers like myself (13 million of us in 2009 alone) and terrorists-in-training will eventually prove to be deadly at some point.  I say that with my terrorism analyst hat on. 

I have watched Turkey's leader allow thousands of these young jihadists cross the Turkish border. I have watched Erdogen's tanks sit silent on a hill overlooking ISIS attacking the Kurdish town in Syria below, killing thousands.  The Turks never fired a shot as they stood watching through binoculars the men in black run across the stark desert sand.
                                         Turkish tank (with flag) overlooking Kobane across
                                         border, under attack by ISIS. Turks never fired a shot

 Turkey's President Erdogen supports President Assad in Syria (who has killed over 200,000 of his own citizens in shellings.) Erdogen is a Muslim and hates the Kurds, who happen to be related to the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey. So why would he care about the Kurds in Kobane?   ISIS hates EVERYBODY.

The Kurds are our best allies in Iraq but they have no heavy weapons like ISIS. ISIS didn't have any either until they overran Mosul in Iraq and stole our tanks from the Iraqis. That was a fumble by Iraq's leader Maliki who had replaced competent commanders with kiss-ass loyalists. When they fled, the soldiers did too, leaving ISIS free to just walk in and take countless American built tanks and heavy weapons. Those weapons are now killing Kurds, minority Christians and even Muslims all across Syria and Iraq.

         Photo: American tank with ISIS black flag - one looted from Mosul, Iraq
                            We need to reclaim it by blowing it up before it kills more civilians

Can you see what kind of problem we have here? Stay is far from over.

To get a flavor of Syria I saw, details are in "Better Times Ahead April Fool"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why We Must Fight ELOBA There to Keep It Away from HERE!

Why We Must Fight ELOBA There to Keep It Away from HERE!

The thing about Ebola many people don’t realize is that we have to fight it in Africa to keep it from coming to America—ignoring it will result in more Americans being exposed.  Experts say that shutting down air flights would actually increase the potential of it coming to the U.S.  How is that?

Shutting off air travel would, for one, trap the doctors and aid going to Liberia and Sierra Leone  from being able to get out. The disease would explode beyond our ability to contain it. A major problem in war-ravaged Liberia is that the medical field is almost non-existent, many doctors and nurses have died or fled because they don’t have proper protection or tools.

Ebola cases double every three weeks. If we don’t speed up our actions, there could be over one million cases in Africa by December.  International response has been painfully slow. Even the U.S. Congress has had members sitting on appropriations needed to send medical supplies to Africa. That’s crazy.

Unless we contain Ebola in Africa, the chances of more travelers bringing it to the U.S. (Europe, etc.) increases significantly. It would become a pandemic on a scale not seen since the beginning of AIDS.

Many Americans don’t realize it but over 500,000 Liberians live in the United States following two civil wars in Liberia. Many are U.S. citizens. Denying the right to travel would keep them from doing what all Americans can freely do – travel the world to see family and friends. Some years ago I attended a church in Ft. Bend, Texas and one of the members was a nice lady from Liberia I will call “Grace.” It was common for her to travel back to Liberia to see family.

People in the United States are afraid of EBOLA, but should they be that worried? Ebola has killed only one person in the U.S. In 2010, over 53,000 people died from the FLU, also a virus.

Are we doing enough to contain Ebola? The GOP cut the President’s request for funding for CDC (Center for Disease Control) in half. They have refused to confirm his appointment for Surgeon General, leaving the U.S. without a chief medical doctor helping guide our response.  So we are making a bad situation worse by not acting soon enough or with enough resources.

If we can contain Ebola overseas, the threat remains there. Much more needs to be done. I encourage you to contact your Congress reps and let them now you want more action and less talk before this becomes a pandemic that spreads into the U.S.

For updates on Ebola, ISIS and other global events that impact Americans, follow the Global American Values blog at:

I have posted pictures I took of Syria before the civil war – and after.

Michael Fjetland
Global American Series
Author, Better Times Ahead April Fool

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Syria, Then and Now -

I came across some photos I took when I was in Syria in the late 90's on a child kidnapping case. Here is what Damascus looked like BEFORE the civil war and ISIS....

Here is what it looks like now:

Friday, October 3, 2014

If EBOLA is an Election Issue, GOP Gutting healthcare budgets looks STUPID

If EBOLA is an election issue, then here is what it means: The GOP has gutted budgets for healthcare, secret service, etc. -

They even drug their feet on Obama's sending medical services to West Africa, so it would keep the problem there. But once again, the GOP did the problem got worse. Even our own hospitals failed to follow health protocols on a known issue - you can't blame the President for hospitals not doing their jobs.

Now they blame the President. The blamers are the Congress that "works" only 100 days per year for big pay while they do NOTHING to fix it. 

You don't fix problems by not investing and spending money folks. Flats don't fix themselves, neither do cars - nor do the diseases that we have to control.

So WHO is the blame here?...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Asian Spring? First Challenge to Dictatorship in China Since Tiananmen

Are we seeing the beginning of an Asian Spring, in China? Or the prelude to another bloodshed like Tiananmen when students wanting democracy were crushed by tanks and guns.

Tomorrow is "National Day" in China. This photo is me, when I happened to be there on national day during a legal negotiation in 1982. I have stayed connected to China's evolution ever since.
 Above: Michael Fjetland, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China 1982
Above: Michael Fjetland, Hong Kong, 1982

Not since the Chinese Tiananmen Square incident in  Beijing in 1989 - when the government destroyed student protestors -- has China been confronted by protests on its streets.  A small gathering of students demanding FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY has grown dramatically.

This time the protests are in a unique area. It is not the northern capitol of Beijing, but in the southern province of Hong Kong, which was controlled for over a century by England. That all changed in 1997 when they cut a deal to return Hong Kong to China's control, based on promises by Beijing that Hong Kong would be "special" and allowed to elect its own leaders. Now they are changing the rules.

Hong Kong students have been joined by up to 300,000 citizens in their fight for the democracy.   In 2017 Hong Kong Chinese --unlike the 1 billion on the Mainland subject to one-party Communist rule - were to be allowed to vote for the chief executive of Hong Kong.

China wants to renege on the deal. They want to "select" the candidate the people could vote for. It's the same thing as one-party dictatorship, not democracy.

Stay tuned: Follow updates on Global American Values

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This is What I Saw in Syria - Ready for some Reality? Or Go Over There Yourself

America - I am seeing a lot of false information going around on Facebook and Social Media. Heads up!

The only people who really know what they are talking about regarding Syria and the Middle East are the few who have actually been there --especially if they have international legal experience.

I am one of those rare people. Have YOU been there? How about listening to someone with actual knowledge instead of someone forwarding misleading photos on Facebook?

 Michael Fjetland at Great Mosque, Damascus, Syria
 Michael at back of a Christian church in Maloula, Syria - this used to be the hidden entrance back when Christians were killed by Romans for their faith. Sound familiar?
 This photo is Maloula, the Christian town just north of Damascus. One of the men was our driver. His car was a small, white Mercedes.

I documented it in a book of my global experiences. I added photos of what it looks like today.  I made the book as cheap as Amazon and Barnes & Noble would allow--its not intended as a money maker but as a reference source for Americans wanting to know what is going on over there and what we can do about it.The final chapter "Agenda for American Greatness" offers SOLUTION to make America No. 1 again - its a free chapter at the website.

Americans need to know exactly what is going on in Syria (not to mention the rest of the world). We have a lot at stake whether we like it or not. Could ISIL/ISIS attack the U.S.? Will this drag us back into a place we don't want to go? Do we have a choice?

ISIS/ISIL has beheaded two American journalists and a British one, along with countless children, women and men in Syria and Iraq. They are even relentlessly killing other Muslims, which violates the Koran (which I am reading to find out more about what's in it.)  ISIS is as intolerant as Hitler. There is no negotiation with their absolute intolerance and their indifference to killing thousands of innocent people.

Until you read and consider what I experienced over there, you might as well ask plumbers to advise about Ebola. They are just guessing. Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and the rest are bullshiting you - none of them have been over there and seen what I have seen. Or done what I have done.

Here is my own example of why experience matters. I have been doing global negotiations for three decades - have practiced law in over 50 countries but I had never been to Norway. So I should already know it, right? Wrong.  I read up on it before a trip and thought I really knew all about Norway it. When I got there in 2011, I realized that I didn't know squat about Norway. A week on the ground and lots of debriefings later, I was an expert. But not before then.

For daily events, I recommend you follow my Global American Values blog. Otherwise, you are listening to amateurs who have no clue. Until you have actually been on the ground in Syria (or any country for that matter) you are CLUELESS.

I was in Syria as an international attorney negotiating a child kidnapping case. Know anyone who would do that?  The child was actually a few miles away in Lebanon. I was in Syria's capitol Damascus, one of the longest continuously inhabited cities on Earth. I document this story and what it looked like in my ebook "Better Times Ahead April Fool"