Bayard & Holmes
Sean Serantos and Clark the dog . . .
Henry Ossian Flipper was the first African-American West Point graduate—not in 1970, or 1950, or even in 1930, but in the Class of 1877.
Henry was born a slave in Georgia in 1856. After the Civil War, he attended Atlanta University, and during his first year, he received an appointment to West Point from US Congressman James C Freeman.
Henry was not the first African-American to attend West Point, but he was the first to graduate.
Life at West Point has never been easy for any cadet, but black cadets suffered the extra stress of racial hatred from some of the senior white cadets. Yet, Flipper survived the rough treatment and graduated.
After receiving a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army, Flipper was assigned to the US 10th Cavalry Regiment in the Oklahoma Indian Territory, a regiment of black soldiers traditionally led by white officers.
However, the 10th Cavalry moved to Texas before Flipper arrived. Flipper spent three months in Oklahoma supervising engineering projects, including road building and telegraph line construction, before he received orders in October to travel to Texas to join the 10th.
Lieutenant Flipper reported to Captain Nicholas Nolan, and Nolan assigned him to command A Troop of the 10th Cavalry. Nolan treated Flipper as he would any new lieutenant, which engendered hostility from some of the white officers at the fort. Flipper would at times eat at captain Nolan’s dinner table with Nolan’s family. When some of the officers complained, Nolan explained that Flipper was an officer and a gentleman like any other officer at the post.
When the 10th Cavalry was sent to Fort Elliot in Texas, Captain Nolan became the fort commander. He appointed Flipper as his adjutant.
Flipper earned the jealousy of those officers with racist tendencies, and, according to Flipper’s writings, not all of his critics hid their anger. When Captain Nolan’s sister-in-law, Mollie Dwyer, visited Fort Elliot, she and Flipper became friends and would go riding together. Although Captain Nolan and his wife were happy that Mollie was in the company of a trustworthy officer, not everyone at the fort was willing to tolerate a white woman being escorted by a black officer. The disgruntled soldiers began a smear campaign against Flipper. Apparently, officers further up the chain of command accepted Captain Nolan’s opinion of him, and the allegations of impropriety were ignored.
In late 1879, Fort Elliot became involved in a murky plot of sorts.
One night, a federal marshal, Marshal Norton, arrived at the fort and turned over a local judge and some of his supporters for imprisonment. Captain Nolan was required by law to act as jailer for any prisoners turned over by US marshals, but he was suspicious of Norton and his cohorts. The telegraph line at the fort went dead, confirming his suspicions.
Nolan had Flipper and two troopers leave the fort in the middle of the night with the prisoners and escort them to another fort. Marshal Norton and his posse became aware of the midnight prisoner shuffle. They tracked down Flipper’s party and arrested them. One of Flipper’s troopers escaped pursuit and managed to warn Captain Nolan. Captain Nolan lead out a patrol, and they were able to catch up with the marshal.
Now pay attention. This gets tricky.
When the captives, their escort, the captors of the escorts of the captives, and the captors of the captors of the escort of the captives ended up in front of a federal judge, Marshal Norton charged Nolan and Flipper with interfering with justice. The federal judge quickly declared them guilty and fined them each $1,000. As soon as Marshal Norton disappeared into the sunset, though, the judge suspended his own ruling and sent the soldiers happily on their way.
In 1879, Flipper was assigned to G Troop of the 10th Cavalry. During the 10th Cavalry’s participation in the ongoing Apache Wars, he served with distinction.
In late 1880, Flipper was assigned to Fort Davis and appointed as the fort’s quartermaster officer. In March of 1881, Colonel William Shafter took command of Fort Davisand relieved Lieutenant Flipper of his responsibility as quartermaster officer without any explanation. Shafter was outspoken about his dislike of having black officers in the Army.
When money went unaccounted for in the commissary records, Shafter blamed Flipper. He was court marshaled for embezzlement and “conduct unbecoming an officer.” The court found Flipper innocent of the embezzlement charges, but guilty of the catch-all charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. He was dismissed from the Army. I have been unable to locate any evidence of any serious wrongdoing to support his dismissal.
After leaving the Army, Flipper pursued a successful engineering career in Texas, Mexico, and Venezuela. He volunteered for service in the Spanish-American war of 1892, but his petition for reinstatement never received review.
In 1921, Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall appointed Flipper as his assistant.
Henry Ossian Flipper passed away in Atlanta Georgia in 1940. In 1976, Flipper’s descendants petitioned the Army to review his case.
The Army no longer had authority to overturn the century-old court-martial conviction, but it found that the conviction was unjust, and it was able to issue a posthumous honorable discharge.
In 1997, a law firm applied for a full pardon for Flipper.
Applications for executive pardons for courts-martial are almost always dismissed as a matter of policy. Fortunately, President Clinton took time to actually review the application, and he issued a full pardon of Henry Flipper in 1999. The pardon came 59 years too late for Flipper to enjoy the moment of vindication, but at least the record has been set straight for his family.
Henry Flipper’s history is important because it shows that as early as 1873, when Flipper entered West Point, some of the US Army’s leadership recognized the simple truth of human equality.
This was long before African-Americans were even able to vote in many districts throughout the nation. When we juxtapose Flipper’s 1877 graduation from West Point with Rosa Park’s 1955 refusal to surrender her bus seat to a white rider, it forms something of a kaleidoscopic image of the irregular and somewhat jagged process of social change in America.
Often, civilians view the US Army as being ruled by medieval-minded WASPs who are doing their best to protect their Army from the dangers of progressive thinking. But in the case of Henry Flipper, the West Point establishment was one of the more progressive segments of society in 1877. It was an imperfect Army, and in the end Flipper did, indeed, fall victim to racism. But Flipper got further there than he could have in most national institutions in 1877.
When Barack Obama became the first African-American elected President in 2008, Hollywood and TV media outlets were quick to point out that they had been “ahead of the curve” because they had portrayed African-American presidents on the screen. My, oh, my! How generous those Hollywood folks are.
Actor and self-appointed social justice guardian George Clooney has explained that Hollywood leads America in progressive thinking and creates progressive trends. Georgie apparently fails to recognize that, while the US has an African-American president, and the US military had an African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff appointed by President Bush in 1989, no major Hollywood studio has had a black CEO. The supposedly socially and politically liberal Screen Actors Guild also has yet to have an African-American president.
I wonder when the Hollywood Guardians of Progressive Thinking and their cousins in TV World will catch up to the 1877 West Point staff or the modern American voters. It will be a great day for America if it ever happens.
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Since Fahd ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Sa’ūd ascended to the throne of Saudi Arabia in 1982, relations between the West and Saudi Arabia have been fairly stable, if somewhat complicated.
The Saudi government has remained consistently willing to maintain close diplomatic, business, and military ties with the US and other Western nations. At the same time, it has supported Wahhabi religious leaders in maintaining extremely conservative Sunni religious dominance over Saudi citizens. While the West enabled technological and business modernizations in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government to a great extent allowed the Wahhabi religious leaders to define culture in their country.
Saudi Arabia’s dichotomy of petroleum-fueled modernization versus conservative Wahhabi cultural control has been somewhat baffling to Westerners from democratic nations.
In spite of these constantly conflicting forces, King Fahd managed to maintain a stable balance. From the US point of view, the Saudi Arabian government was one of two allies in the region, Israel being the other. Yet while relations between Riyadh and Washington remained warm, not all Saudis felt that warmth toward the US or the West. In fact, Saudi Arabia, thanks to Wahhabi influence, remained a breeding ground for violent jihadism.
Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 attackers hailed from Saudi Arabia, and wealthy Saudi Arabians have consistently been a leading source for terrorist funding. Yet the oil flowed to the West while Western cash fueled the extended Royal family’s lavish lifestyle. That oil wealth also fueled vast social programs and a bloated civil government that makes our US government seem almost efficient by comparison.
In 1993, King Fahd sent shockwaves through Saudi society when he instituted a sixty person consultative council.
All the members of the council were picked by him. It was nothing like “elected representation,” but by Saudi standards, but it was a huge step forward for Saudi society. Two years later, twenty women were allowed to attend the consultative council. To Westerners, it might seem like a miniscule token step toward liberalization, but to the Wahhabi religious leaders, it was wild heresy.
King Fahd suffered a major stroke in 1995. His brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, acted as his regent and unofficial prime minister. When Fahd died in 2005, Abdullah ascended the throne and continued the balancing act.
Like his predecessors, Abdullah was willing to use the Wahhabi establishment to maintain order and enforce their version of Sharia law in his Kingdom, but like every Saudi King, he was leery of their power. He continued to use oil wealth to further drive modernization and hold up vast social welfare programs while simultaneously struggling with the domestic terror issues caused by the radical Wahhabi influence.
Gradually, King Abdullah implemented small steps toward liberalizing Saudi society.
In 2007, he banned the infamous religious police from making arrests and began to institute major judicial reforms. Two years later, Abdullah pushed ahead with reforms and fired most of the senior judges and leaders of the religious police system.
In 2011 the Arab Spring swept across North Africa and the Mid-East. When it reached Saudi Arabia, it was quickly stifled by police action.
To outsiders, it may have appeared to be simple oppression, but inside the kingdom, there was genuine fear that Al Qaeda and their many clones would hijack any Arab Spring. There was also concern that Iranian-backed Shia minorities in Saudi Arabia would agitate on behalf of the Iranian Ayatollahs. King Abdullah responded by announcing increases in social welfare programs in the hope of appeasing many of the potential “Springers.”
In September of 2011, King Abdullah announced that women would be allowed to vote in municipal elections and run for office. While Saudi women were quietly celebrating their newfound empowerment, the Saudi courts sentenced a woman to ten lashes for driving a car. King Abdullah overturned the verdict.
In 2013, while Saudi Arabia continued to struggle to control domestic terrorism by homegrown jihadists, King Abdullah appointed thirty women to the consultative council.
The following year, fearful of Iranian-backed insurgents in Yemen and the simmering unrest of the Shia-backed majority in Bahrain, King Abdullah did an about face in policy and introduced strict anti-terror laws.
The new laws give the police the power to arrest anyone that protests against or speaks against the Saudi government or the Wahhabi religious establishment. The law even prohibits “thoughts” against the government or Wahhabi Islam.
When King Abdullah died in January of 2015, his brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, ascended the throne.
Though Salman had supported King Abdullah’s reforms he was already eighty years old and in declining health. Instead of appointing one of his aging brothers as his acting regent, he appointed his thirty year old son, Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, as deputy crown prince and defense minister. The choice may prove to be an exceptionally bad one.
Unlike his father and uncles, Mohammed bin Salman was educated in Saudi Arabia rather than in the US, and he is not well travelled. He has a reputation for arrogance and ruthlessness.
Salman and his son face the same challenges that King Abdullah faced, but they lack one important resource that King Abdullah and his predecessors always relied on . . . They lack the cash. Oil prices have been down for the last couple of years, and that has forced the Saudi government to reduce the allowances of the extended royal family and to reverse the increases in social welfare programs that helped calm the attempted Saudi Arabian Spring.
The fear in the house of Saud is showing.
The new anti-terrorism laws are being rigorously enforced. Executions are at a two-decade high. There were 150 public beheadings in 2015. In the first week of 2016 alone, there were 47 executions by beheading or firing squad.
In addition, popular blogger, Raif Badawi, who urged Saudi society to be more liberal and secular, was imprisoned in 2013 and sentenced to 10 years and 1000 lashes. His lawyer, Wahleed Abu al-Khair, was imprisoned in 2014. Now, Samar Badawi – Raif Badawi’s sister and al-Khair’s former wife – was arrested on January 12, 2016, along with her 2-year-old daughter. A long time human rights advocate, Samar Badawi’s crime was running a Twitter account to raise awareness of al-Khair’s situation. At this rate, the Saudis might have to use any money left over from their campaign in Yemen and their weapons acquisitions to fund new prison construction.
On top of the domestic strain, on January 2, 2016, the Saudi execution of a prominent Shiite cleric led to an Iranian mob storming the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Iran and Saudi Arabia then severed diplomatic ties.
The current generation of Saudi leaders is under pressure, and it shows.
The growing influence of Iran in the new Shia government in Iraq, the Iranian-backed rebellion in Yemen, the rise of ISIL in Syria, the increased Russian military presence in Syria, all combine to present what the young Saudis likely perceive to be a menace to their rule and their physical survival. When they add to that the American and Western “accord” with Iran, they may see themselves as being isolated while facing unrest at home and increasing threats by Iran.
So where will the young Royals take Saudi Arabia?
Mohammed bin Salman is planning major economic reforms. He will have to implement those reforms while dealing with Saudi Arabia’s expensive support for Sunni (non-ISIL) rebels in Yemen, the war in Yemen, and the brewing opposition at home.
In 1928, King Ibn Saud came to power on the back of a fierce Wahhabi tiger. The house of Saud has never been able to completely dismount from that tiger. Since 1928, governing in Saudi Arabia has required an acrobatic balance of Wahhabi interests versus Saudi national interests. The future of Saudi Arabia depends on how well Mohammed bin Salman can ride that tiger.
When the crucible of reality proves political ideals to be harmful to the people, political leaders have two choices: they can own up to the issues, or they can suppress evidence in a bid to maintain their power. When leaders choose the latter, the dysfunction inevitably seeps through the cracks of the propaganda containment efforts, and when it does, the political leaders need someone to throw under the bus. In Germany, that “someone” is the German people.
German Chancellor Merkel’s willkommenskultur open door policy resulted in 1.1 million North African and Arab refugees flooding into Germany in 2015 – over five times the number anticipated.
Overall, 72% of the migrants are men, 13% are women, and 15% are children. Germany admits it has already lost track of half of these refugees, and that many of them are not Syrian at all. This flood of humanity is not receding with the turn of the calendar year, and the Gatestone Institute predicts that, with family reunifications, the number of migrants in Germany could swell to as many as 7 million.
When we consider the fact that European countries haven’t even integrated with each other over the past thousand years, it’s no surprise that Germany and the rest of Europe are now in the grip of a culture clash. One of the nastiest elements of that culture clash is the spike in crime in the German refugee camps and surrounding areas, particularly in sexual assault rates.
While German officials and media have made frantic efforts to hide this crack in the practical applicability of their ideals, the dark truth came to a head on New Year’s Eve.
Organized groups of predatory “North African and Arab” men surrounded German women and men in New Year’s Eve crowds and sexually assaulted them in a practice known as “taḥarrush gamāʿī,” or taharrush gamea. This “sex game” is an Arab phenomenon first given a name in Egypt in 2004, and it is similar to what is known in the West as a gang rape.
While police recorded refugee-perpetrated sexual assaults and robberies throughout German cities on New Year’s Eve, 1,049 of those reports came from the city of Cologne. (For full police list see Revealed: Full List of 1,049 Victims, Crimes Committed During Cologne New Year’s Sex Assaults.) Over 359 women reported being sexually assaulted in every way from groping, to hands up their skirts and down their pants, to fingers shoved inside them, to all out rape.
The following has been the official response of the German government to the sexual attacks:
And from other quarters . . .
The New Year’s Eve attacks are not the first indication that Merkel’s open door policy is creating unforeseen trauma for the German public.
Rather than face the fact that the overnight influx of 1.1 million North Africans and Arabs has created severe social problems for Germany, German officials are continuing their narrative that the refugees are no different from Germans, and that suggesting they are is both “racist” and “counter to European values.” By insisting that it is inappropriate to imply that diverse African and Middle Eastern cultures might actually be diverse, having different values, mores, and norms from Europeans that would potentially make them incompatible, German officials are missing a few points.
Germany is not alone in excusing and covering evidence of crimes committed by North African and Arab migrants.*
Taharrush gamea attacks were first reported in Sweden at the 2014 We Are Sthlm music festival. At that time, Stockholm police were instructed not to reveal the ethnicity or nationality of the attackers for fear of being seen as “racists.” It’s worth noting that Sweden has now changed its open door policy for refugees as of November of 2015, reverting to EU minimum requirements.
Government suppression of evidence of the clash between European and migrant cultural practices and norms not only fails to address the needs of the migrants, but risks creating a severe backlash from citizens of the host countries.
The only hope the West has of successfully assimilating this massive flow of North African and Arab refugees is to demand that the migrants accede to their host countries’ customs and laws without exception. Migrants that break the laws of the host countries must be dealt with swiftly and unapologetically with the protection of citizens being the utmost priority. Social contract demands this from those who govern, but that is only possible when those who govern are willing to be flexible and resourceful enough in modifying their ideals to meet the demands of reality.
Unless Germany develops an open door policy for reality, either the people will turn on the migrants, turn on those whom they elected to provide common security, or both.
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*The practice of taharrush gamea reached Finland in 2015 after that country took in a record 32,000 refugees, giving Finland the fourth highest number of refugees per capita in the EU.
According to the deputy chief of police in Helsinki, Ilkka Koskimaki, sexual assault was unknown in Finland prior to the influx of immigrants, making the 14 sexual assaults in 2015 a record year. In response, unarmed groups calling themselves the “Sons of Odin” now patrol the streets in many towns where refugees are housed.
This past New Year’s Eve, staff at the asylum reception centers tipped off police about planned taharrush gamea attacks. In spite of the “massive” police presence sent to control approximately 1000 Iraqi refugees who had gathered in the tunnels around the central railway, security personnel reported unprecedented widespread sexual harassment. Thus far, Finland, unlike many European governments, does not appear to be attempting to cover up the ethnicities or nationalities of the perpetrators.
A Few of Our Sources:
1. “Germany Registers Record 1.1 Million Asylum Seekers in 2015” http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/6/refugees-germany-more-than-1million.html
2. “Germany: Migrant Crime Wave, Police Capitulate” http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6668/germany-migrant-crime-wave
3. “Taharrush gamea” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taharrush_gamea
4. “Revealed: Full List of 1,049 Victims, Crimes Committed During Cologne New Year’s Sex Assaults” http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/21/revealed-full-list-of-1049-victims-crimes-committed-during-cologne-new-years-eve-sex-assaults/
5. “Cologne Mayor: Women Should Be More Careful After Migrant Mass Rapes, Promises ‘Guidance” So They Can “Prepare'” http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/05/cologne-mayor-women-careful-migrant-mass-rapes-promises-guidance-can-prepare/
6. “Germans Battle Refugee Sex Assaults with Signs, Cartoons” http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/01/22/germans-battle-refugee-sex-assaults-with-signs-cartoons.html
7. “Cologne Assault: Cultural Difference Is No Excuse for Rape” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/12087780/Cologne-assault-Cultural-difference-is-no-excuse-for-rape.html
8. “Cologne Sexual Assault Victim Called a Rapist and Harassed After Identifying Her Attackers” http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/13/2770829/
9. “Muslim Cleric Says Cologne Sex Attacks Were the Victims’ Fault Because They Wore Perfume” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3408033/Muslim-cleric-says-Cologne-sex-attacks-victims-fault-wore-PERFUME.html
10. “Migrant Crisis: Women Sold for Sex for €10 in German Refugee Camps” http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/migrant-crisis-women-sold-sex-10-german-refugee-camps-1524515
11. “Inside the ‘Refugee Centers:’ A Worker Speaks” http://newobserveronline.com/inside-the-refugee-centers-a-worker-speaks/
12. “Horror as Christian Migrant ‘Brutally Beaten with Baton in Refugee Camp'” http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/613479/Migrant-Refugee-Germany-Camp-Attack-Afghan-Iranian-Christianity-Koran-Syrian-Hamburg
13. “A Refugee Riot Puts a German Town on Edge” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-refugee-riot-puts-a-german-town-on-edge/2015/10/01/fa9075bc-65f5-11e5-bdb6-6861f4521205_story.html
14. “Hamburg to Seize Empty Commercial Properties for Migrant Housing” http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/10/02/hamburg-to-seize-empty-commercial-properties-for-migrant-housing/
15. “Empathy and Angst in a German City Transformed by Refugees” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/12/world/europe/empathy-and-angst-in-a-german-city-transformed-by-migrants.html?_r=1
16. “Child Refugee Brides as Young as Twelve Ordered to Stay with Men They Were Forced to Marry” http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/614083/Fatema-Alkasem-Child-Refugee-Brides-Netherlands-Paedophilia-EU-European-Union
17. “Fears Rise Over Child Bride Epidemic as Young Girls Go Missing in Europe” http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/10/22/syrian-child-brides-seeking-asylum-open-new-front-european-migrant-crisis/
18. “Germans Stock Up on Weapons for Self Defense” http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7088/germany-weapons
19. “Refugee Crime Driving Germans to Buy Guns” http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/refugee-crime-driving-germans-to-buy-guns-huge-influx-of-foreigners-has-frightened-many-people_12212015
20. “Case Study on Middle East & North Africa. Women’s Property Rights in the MENA Region” http://internationalpropertyrightsindex.org/MENA
21. “It’s Not Only Germany that Covers Up Mass Sex Attacks by Men…Sweden’s Record is Shameful” http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/01/its-not-only-germany-that-covers-up-mass-sex-attacks-by-migrant-men-swedens-record-is-shameful/
22. “Sweden Slams Shut Its Open Door Policy Toward Refugees” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/24/sweden-asylum-seekers-refugees-policy-reversal
23. “Unprecedented Sex Harassment in Helsinki at New Year, Finnish Police Report” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/finland/12088332/Unprecedented-sex-harassment-in-Helsinki-at-New-Year-Finnish-police-report.html
1. “Germany: Migrants’ Rape Epidemic” http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6527/migrants-rape-germany
2. “Suspects in Cologne Sex Attacks ‘Claimed to be Syrian Refugees'” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/12086473/Suspects-in-Cologne-sex-attacks-claimed-to-be-Syrian-refugees.html
3. “Germany Shuts Its Open Door to Refugees” http://observer.com/2015/11/germany-shuts-its-open-door-to-refugees/
4. “Is the Refugee Crisis Creating a European Rape Crisis?” http://www.dailywire.com/news/1120/refugee-crisis-creating-european-rape-crisis-aaron-bandler
Video Wednesday features cool videos that Piper finds in her travels around the web.