US police say 11 children rescued from ‘extremists’ at ‘filthy’ hideout

This Aug. 3, 2018, aerial photo released by Taos County Sheriff's Office shows a rural compound during an unsuccessful search for a missing 3-year-old boy in Amalia, N.M. (AP)
Updated 06 August 2018
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US police say 11 children rescued from ‘extremists’ at ‘filthy’ hideout

  • The FBI had provided information and surveillance on the spot but “didn’t feel there was enough probable cause to get on the property

LOS ANGELES: Police say 11 children ages one to 15 were rescued in the US state of New Mexico after officers raided a makeshift compound occupied by armed “extremists.”
Two men were arrested after police found them and the children in what one officer called “the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen,” as part of the operation connected to a months-long search for an abducted three-year-old, according to New Mexico’s Taos County sheriff’s office.
The investigation kicked off late last year on the opposite side of the country in Jonesboro, Georgia, where 39-year-old Siraj WahHajj of the state’s Clayton County was accused of kidnapping his toddler — who was ultimately not found.
The boy’s mother told police her child, who she said suffered from seizures along with development and cognitive delays, went to the park with his father WahHajj last December and never returned.
On August 2, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe of Taos County in New Mexico issued a search warrant describing “a makeshift compound surrounded by tires and an earthen berm” in a subdivision, where WahHajj along with adult Lucas Morten were thought to be.
The FBI had provided information and surveillance on the spot but “didn’t feel there was enough probable cause to get on the property,” Hogrefe said.
“That all changed for me when a message was forwarded to us from a Georgia Detective that we reasonably believed came from someone at the compound — the message sent to a third party simply said in part ‘we are starving and need food and water,’” the sheriff said in a statement.
“I absolutely knew that we couldn’t wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible.”
The sheriff described planning “a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”
On the morning of August 3, a dozen officers kicked off the “all day” operation, discovering the two men with an AR-15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines and four loaded pistols, including one in WahHajj’s pocket.
The men at first refused to follow verbal direction, police said, who added the raid went without major incident or injuries.
Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive and WahHajj was booked without bond on his Georgia warrant for child abduction.
Three women thought to be parents of the children now in protective custody were also detained for questioning, and were released pending further investigation.


From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

US President Donald Trump during a working luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, front, at the United Nations in New York Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 26 September 2018
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From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

  • Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy

NEW YORK: The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Espinosa, introduced the concept of “minga” to the packed audience at the organization’s HQ on East 44th Street in New York; but an hour later President Donald Trump had reasserted his own view of the world, under the “Maga” banner.
Opening the first day of the UN general debate — the centerpiece of the organization’s annual get together — Espinosa, from Ecuador, explained that minga was a principle by which the people of the Andes lived their lives. Its main tenet was the principle of living and working together in harmony for the betterment of all — an idea sure to win approval at the UN.
With minga the world could solve the big issues it faces, from gender inequality through the environment down to peace and security.
Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy. Instead, he saw the world through the prism of “strong independent nations” which together would advance the state of mankind.
And, as he made clear, the US was the leader of this band of nation, so his oft-declared amibition of “making America great again” (Maga) would bring the rest of the world along with it to greatness.
“Inside everyone listening here today is the heart of a patriot, filled with the passion that inspired reform and revolutions, economic good, technological progress and works of art. Sovereign independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom, democracy and peace have been enhanced. So we have to protect them,” the president explained.
Not everyone in the audience agreed with Trump’s unilateral view of the world, nor with America’s perceived role in it.
Before he had taken the podium — in presidential dark grey suit, white shirt and long red tie — the two previous speakers had stressed the traditional UN values of collectivism and multilateralism, and received warm applause from the delegates for doing so.
Two South American leaders, President Michel Timer of Brazil and President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador, both talked about the challenges of multilateralism, and obliquely criticized the US over its long-running embargo of Cuba, as well as what they said was the role of American banks in dominating their economies, to the detriment of their people.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that multilateralism was “under fire exactly when we need it the most, and, in contrast to Trump’s later comments about trade deficits, explained that what the world was really suffering from was a “trust deficit”, which could sink the international order in a bloody quagmire similar to the First World War.
President Trump made light of such dire warnings. In fact, he was adamant that the future was good, with a booming US economy, strong stock markets, full employment, tax reform and increased see spending on the US military.
“In the two years of my presidency, we have seen more progress that almost any other administration in the history of this country,” he said. The delegates murmured in response.