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Quick Notes and Updates

19 June 2013

Due to time constraints, I must write this as an unedited stream of consciousness.  My apologies for the roughness.

Michael Hastings was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles.  The single car accident happened at about 0425.  He crashed into a tree and was burned beyond recognition.  He was 33. 

Mr. Hastings was the war correspondent whose Rolling Stone article led to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, who at the time was the top General in Afghanistan.

Although Hastings was widely read, no serious war correspondents took him seriously, or at least not the ones I know.  He did, however, accurately portray my words and context in his book “The Operators.” Hastings was like an undisciplined hitman with a pen and license to kill.  One of his gonzo articles damaged the career and reputation of Lieutenant General Bill Caldwell, for no cause.  My sense was that he picked fights with key people mostly to draw attention.  Though Hastings was not respected among war correspondents, it is sad to see a man die so young so horribly.  Just why he crashed into a tree at 0425 remains unknown.  No doubt the conspiracies will begin to fly.

Hastings’ bad traits were predominate at this age, but he had some very positive qualities and I hoped he would improve with age.  Unfortunately we will never know.

Another writer is in the bad news pond today, only this one is a minnow.  Master Sergeant CJ Grisham.  His methods of attention gathering are similar to those formerly employed by Hastings.  He creates scandal.  It pains me to mention Grisham’s name again, yet this is newsworthy. 

Grisham’s Top Secret security clearance has been suspended.  This person who accused me of being a security risk is now considered a security risk.  Grisham has been reprimanded by the Army and is facing more punishment in the form of an Article 15, which if it goes through, an insider tells me, Grisham’s security clearance will be completely revoked. 

Presently he is not allowed to take leave from Fort Hood.  This should have been done years ago after Grisham began publishing about having severe mental issues, financial problems, and that he has a Top Secret clearance and works in Counterintelligence.  His clearance should have been revoked immediately. 

Bradley Manning also published about his issues and we did nothing.  We will pay for that for years.  More recently, Edward Snowden has damaged our national security.  Whether Manning and Snowden are heroes, villains or simply traitors, is a separate debate.  What is not debated is that never in history have people with high clearances been able to damage us so badly simply because they have access to “the terminal.”  If Grisham ever goes completely overboard, his commanders who did nothing will be enshrined in history.  He clearly has published about his mental illness, his Top Secret Clearance, his job with counterintelligence, his money problems, and today he is facing a weapons related charge.  If the Army ignores that, they have no leg to stand on.  As with Bradley Manning, the commanders are more to blame than Grisham.

As for Grisham, he will never be promoted again but he still has TS clearance, though it is suspended.  He continues to publish hate-filled vitriol on his blog, openly identifying himself as a US soldier.  Grisham also is facing a weapons related civilian charge.  According to his military records, which I have, Grisham has not had a PT test since 2009, yet on the day he was arrested he claimed to be on a ten-mile hike with his son. 

A source informs me that the Army is waiting to see what happens with the civilian charge.  If Grisham is found guilty, the Army will finish him off.  Whether or not they will boot him out is unknown.  If the Army discharges Grisham, he will lose his pension after 18 years of service.  For more background of this fellow:

My new website is finally up and running as of today.  We were under constant attack, especially so after I would publish dispatches, and so my publishing remarkably slowed while we worked on the upgrade.  There will be some glitches. 

My webmaster says we have 199,000 incoming links and the links did successfully transfer, so that is good news.  After we publish this dispatch, we will see if the new site is hard enough to withstand the attacks.  Thank you immensely for those who contributed the funds we needed to upgrade. 

An American film company will fly into Chiang Mai, Thailand tonight to interview me in regard to my next book, “The Bomb Boys.”  I have put tremendous work into this book.  The manuscript is looking good, but we are far from finished.  I have high confidence that this book will save many lives over the years. 

When you finish reading “The Bomb Boys,” you will know everything needed to detect and interdict kids before they blow up themselves, your kids, or someone at school. 

Young children often are killed by bombs made by older kids.  A five-year-old was killed by a dry ice bomb he did not make.  An eight-year-old was badly injured the same way.  A 58-year-old man was killed when two kids rolled a dry ice bomb into a store.  These stories are common.  You might not see them, but I have been tracking this for years and see countless cases.  I know the many patterns as well as I know the streets in my hometown. 

The explosives situation is like the car crash involving Michael Hastings: if Hastings were not internationally famous, we never would have heard about it, though crashes happen every day.  A kid getting his hand blown off is only vaguely newsworthy and then only locally.  When it is reported, often it takes the flavor of “Child injures hand with firework.”  It gets a couple of sentences and few people realize that the “firework” was a pipe bomb and he had been making them for months or even years.

But there is a much larger and strategic issue.  People who use bombs as adults often made them as children.  At no time in history have more American kids been making more bombs and “fireworks.”  The explosives that many kids make today are far, far more powerful than anything we made as kids, though we made some big ones. 

Kids are learning from the Internet how to make explosives like TATP.  We never heard of TATP.   Some Islamic terrorists call it Mother of Satan.  I know a good teenaged boy who blew off his hand with TATP he made at home.

I predict a future of far more bombings in the United States, with far more powerful devices.  All that NSA over-snooping did not stop the Boston Marathon bombing, and did not catch them.  The killers used store-bought fireworks and pressure cookers.  Teenagers today can make such explosives as TATP and HMTD – no metal is needed for those explosives, and they are powerful.

Most kids make bombs for entertainment, while others obviously do so to kill.  I believe that if “The Bomb Boys” were in wide circulation before the Columbine high school attack, Klebold and Harris could have been stopped cold by only one person who read this book.  Their behavior patterns were typical of other bomb boys, other than the attack.

Another issue we face today is that kids are being charged with felonies for “bombs” that actually are little more than loud toys, though with some slight dangers.  Ruining a kid’s life with felony charges for a Drano bomb is over the top.  Most kids who make explosives are not budding terrorists.  The list of Bomb Boys is long and distinguished: Thomas Edison, and his son.  Samuel Colt.  Alfred Nobel.  Bernhard Schmidt, Elon Musk (founder of PayPal and SpaceX), and me.  My friends and I made loads of explosives when we were kids and one got hurt and is still hurt.

“The Bomb Boys” is one of a kind.  You have never seen anything like it, or at least I have not.  I must do an Indiegogo fundraiser to reach completion, at which time I will sell advance copies.  The Indiegogo should be up within a couple of weeks.

The film company that is flying in to interview me has been working on a documentary about fireworks around the world.  I found them through my own research.  They are getting great “stuff” in many countries.  I sense that they will have an excellent end product and so I agreed to the interview and am honored to be a part.

Regarding our new website, if you have improvement suggestions or see glitches, please post them in the comments or email to:

Again, a huge thank you for all who helped. 

And please do hit the donation button.  We need it.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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