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October 2007

Patrick Leahy needs to STFU

Maybe this is going to have to be a regular feature from me. I have an extremely low tolerance for traitors, unpatriotic behavior and treasonous acts.  Senator Patrick Leahy is 3-0 on all of those.

I saw an article today from the AP Wire (yeah I know, hard to trust, but they seem to be everywhere) and they had some news on the Blackwater USA shooting that took place in Baghdad.  And as Senate Judiciary Chairman, Senator Leahy that it wise to open his yap and say the following:

"In this administration, accountability goes by the boards," said Leahy. "That goes equally for misconduct and for incompetence. If you get caught, they will get you immunity. If you get convicted, they will commute your sentence."

Patrick Leahy needs to STFU, now.  If I was a US Attorney, I would make it my mission in life before I retired from Federal service to see him doing the perp-walk in an orange jumpsuit.  I wouldn't elect this ass-hat to be dog-catcher.

Among his notable accomplishments while in office:

  • Opposed U.S. military support for the Contras in their fight against the Marxist Sandinistas
  • Opposed the 1991 Persian Gulf War
  • Voted against funding the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Voted against protecting U.S. military personnel from the International Criminal Court
    Calls Guantanamo Bay detention center
    "an international embarrassment to our nation, to our ideals and it remains a festering threat to our security. . . . We're the country that tells people that we adhere to the rule of law. We want other countries to adhere to the rule of law. And in Guantanamo, we are not."
  • And as it is noted in DiscoverTheNetworks.org

    According to a 1987 San Diego Union-Tribune report, in a 1985 television appearance Leahy disclosed classified information that one of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's telephone conversations had been intercepted. The information that Leahy revealed had been used in the operation to capture the Arab terrorists who had hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship and killed American citizens, and the Union-Tribune claimed that Leahy's indiscretion may have cost the life of at least one of the Egyptian operatives involved in that operation. 

    As well as...

    In 1987, The Washington Times reported that Leahy had also leaked secret information about a 1986 covert operation planned by the Reagan administration to overthrow Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Leahy allegedly had said, "I thought [the operation] was probably the most ridiculous thing I had seen, and also the most irresponsible," and had threatened to expose the operation to CIA Director William Casey. A few weeks later, details of the plan appeared in The Washington Post, and the operation was canceled.

    I could just go on, and on.... And I will...

    Continue reading "Patrick Leahy needs to STFU" »

    J.R. Salzman on ESPN tonight!

    For those of you who don't know JR Salzman, here are some background links:

    JR Salzman (and his wonderful wife, Josie) will be the focus of an ESPN's "E:60" tonight at 7PM Easter/6PM Central:


    J.R. Salzman is a household name in the close-knit world of logrolling, a sport where he has won five world titles.  But in 2003, still shaken by the events of 9/11, Salzman made a life-altering choice, joining the National Guard.  His unit deployed to Iraq in March 2006. That December, as the unit patrolled in Humvees outside Baghdad, J.R. was struck by an improvised explosive device.  He lost his right arm and would ultimately undergo five surgeries.  E:60 correspondent Rachel Nichols follows J.R. through his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and back to his home state of Wisconsin, where he attempts to restore normalcy to his life and return to the sport that is his first love.


    About E:60

    E:60 is ESPN’s first multi-subject, prime-time newsmagazine program offering a combination of investigative features, profiles of intriguing sports personalities, and cutting-edge stories on innovation in the sports world, including emerging sports and new technology. The series focuses on life stories that relate or have a basis in sports, melding its stories with a glimpse of the reporters’ experiences – discussing the story idea with producers, creating storylines and shooting the interviews. The show is produced and aired in high definition, a first for the newsmagazine genre. By turning the camera on the reporters, the program gives the viewer a unique behind-the-scenes look at television storytelling.

    This week's broadcast of "E:60" will also focus on "the Lost Boys" (of the Sudan) and Mixed Martial Arts competitions.

    Project Valour-IT: An Offer

    [Contributed for Valour-IT by the most excellent Cox and Forkum]

      "At that time I had no use of either hand. I know how humbling it is, how humiliating it feels. And I know how much better I felt, how amazingly more functional I felt, after Soldiers' Angels provided me with a laptop and a loyal reader provided me with the software. I can't wait to do the same, to give that feeling to another soldier at Walter Reed." - Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss at TC Override (wounded in Iraq)

    A short time ago, on my way back from Iraq, I had the honor and privilege of being with Soldier's Angels at LRMC and at WRAMC.  My thoughts on that are yet to come; and, to be honest, it is one area where I am still processing the events and emotions.  Words can't convey how I felt to watch our wounded arrive in Germany, to witness those who refused to enter on a gurney or litter but rather insisted on walking in, and to spend time with those who are now further along the road of treatment.  To talk with those who face more surgeries with humor and determination, or those who -- despite their wounds -- are willing to go back to Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever the front may be. 

    It was most humbling to be asked to be a part of something special one night, and to help present Valour-IT laptops to those who paid quite a price to receive them.  I said then, and repeat now, my offer.  For every recipient who writes in and shares what those laptops mean or have allowed them to do, I will make a donation to the fund.  The amount will depend on how many write in. 

    I would also like to ask our readers what you would like to get to donate even more?  Would you like to have me shave my head, have some form of auction for a photograph, or is there something else that I can provide that would get you to give more?  Make a suggestion, and those that are reasonable (not to mention anatomically possible) will be considered.  I am willing to put some item(s) of personal property and/or what little is left of my dignity up for donations to Team Army. 

    The main thing is:  Give. 


    Previous Blackfive Valour-IT 07 Posts:
    It's time...

    See (more) BS and Scott Pelley

    No one likes to kill people who don't need killing.  It causes heartache and pain among the warriors and the population.  In order to help the Taliban (and this is the only help they are going to receive from me)I have a helpful tip for them and their foreign fighter buddies that they have invited to the dance.


    If you already live in Afghanistan, and you think being part of the Taliban, or supporting the Taliban is for you, I suggest that you follow the rule of the dog; Do not take a dump where you eat.

    The fact that Scott Pelley and his report (h/t Newsbusters) imply that we are as bad as the Taliban just sends me to the moon.  The following exchange sent me from there to f'ing Jupiter:

    UNKNOWN MAN ( Translated ): During the Russian invasion, we haven't heard of ten members of one family being killed by Russians in one incident. But the Americans did that.

    PELLEY: These Afghans, like many others, are trying to decide whether to support the U.S. backed government. We expected anger, but we didn't expect this. You can't be saying that the Soviets were kinder to your people than the Americans have been.

    UNKNOWN MAN B( Translated ): We used to hate the Russians much more than Americans. But now when we see all this happening, I am telling you Russians behaved much better than the Americans.

    PELLEY: Really, there's no comparison. The Soviets killed something like a million Afghans over ten years. But it's the kind of thing that Afghans are saying.  So far this year, 17 air strikes have killed more than 270 civilians, according to the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch. It leaves Afghan President Hamid KARZAI explaining to his people why they're being killed by his allies. Why are so many Afghan civilians being killed by U.S. forces?

    I will tell you why Scott, the terrorists are hiding behind civilians hoping that they will not be struck by the Fist of God.  They launch 107mm Rockets at us and they run and hide like little girls in a water balloon fight.  They are cowards who rarely stand and fight.  I have been rocketed more than a few times, and it is un-nerving as hell.  If the crew is good, they set them on timers and are drinking tea in their mud hut hours afterward, acting as if nothing ever happened.  If the crew is very good, they are able to adjust them some and hit what they aim at, but that requires them to actually be there

    That was how we killed The Rocketeers outside our FOB one night last year....

    Continue reading "See (more) BS and Scott Pelley" »

    Kitchen Errata & Down with TNR's Foer

    A little Monday radio with Allman and Crane 97.1 KFTK St. Louis, fun as always, the intro explains the title. Funny the audio doesn't have the bit at the very end when Allman asked me about Halloween. I thought we were at break and it was just him and me, nope. All of St. Louis was treated to my letting him know I had a video up with shots of "All the hot chick's a**es". Oops. I was informed that all was well and it was funny so. I did shoot them walking toward as well as away, but the theme was unmistakable. I did pitch Valour IT even if I got all the team leaders wrong, mostly.

    Bob Owens is kicking the last rib of the dead horse that used to be The New Republic. They have resisted all efforts to offer them a chance to come clean and they have failed to take them. I disagree with contacting the advertisers until we see that Can West which owns TNR will not fire Foer. So go read Bob's beat down and then contact the owners

    Canwest MediaWorks, the Canadian company that owns The New Republic, does not have an obligation to decide the editorial policies of The New Republic, but it does have an obligation to discipline all editors who have refused to act ethically, who have misled readers, and who have attacked the military for defending itself from proven falsehoods and gross exaggerations (email Canwest Global CFO John McGuire at [email protected], and be polite but firm)

    Debbie Lee was on BlogTalkRadio recently which you can hear here.

    1LT Fishman presents the weekly Surge Wrap

    Violence in Iraq drops sharply: Ministry of Interior

    Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:01pm EDT By Aseel Kami BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops to stabilize the war-torn country, the Interior Ministry said on Monday. The ministry released the new figures as bomb blasts in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul killed five people and six gunmen died in clashes with police in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala south of the Iraqi capital.

    Continue reading "Kitchen Errata & Down with TNR's Foer" »

    Feasting upon the grapes of wrath

    The wrathful gods of combat are smiling on the US Army Special Forces these days.


    KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Special Operations Soldiers, assigned to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan, arrive in a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicle at a staging area on an undisclosed forward operating base in Helmand Province as two CH47 Chinook helicopters fly overhead April 9. Coalition and ANA forces have killed more than 100 Taliban fighters over the past week.  (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Daniel Love)

    Victory, thy name is Musa Qala

    This is hot off the AP wire.  I know that we have not spoken much of Musa Qala in this forum, but it bears some discussion here.

    But a string of recent battles around Musa Qala, won overwhelmingly by American Special Forces, signal a renewed U.S. focus on the symbolic Taliban stronghold.

    Musa Qala is the Anbar of Afghanistan.  For LLP and Mr. Sparkle, that means it is the traditional center of gravity of the Taliban, much like Hollyweird is for the libtards.  It is also a farming area that is rich in the proper soils, suns, and water to grow many things.  The Taliban wanted the farmers to grow poppies, cuz the decadent west and it's smack addicts will pay for their own destruction right?  And well, it keeps the farmer alive by appeasing the Taliban, and the foreign fighters who will kill them and their families if they don't.

    Well, some fuzzy headed thinking went into creating the situation whereby we were able to score such a lopsided victory.

    In late September 2006, a secret truce was allegedly made with the Taliban under which British troops would quietly move out of Musa Qala in return for the Taliban not attacking the region. The truce had the sanction of Mohammad Daud, the governor of Helmand province, and most tribal elders, who felt they could now exercise control over the Taliban themselves. It was also seen as a move to help integrate the Pashtuns on the side of the US-allied government.

    Which led to the following successes in Musa Qala a little later....

    On February 1, 2007, about a hundred (possibly two hundred) Taliban forces under Mullah Ghafoor captured the town, overran the district center and raised their trademark white flag. All tribal leaders who had arranged the truce with the British forces were jailed.  Some sources report the Taliban force numbered "several hundred".

    This happened on the day that General David Richards was being relieved by Gen Dan McNeill from America.  General McNeill felt much differently about how to deal with the Taliban in Helmand Province and specifically, Musa Qala than General Richards did.

    "come spring, an ISAF offensive, not a Taliban offensive, will set the conditions to defeat the insurgents again."

    In fact, on the 4th of February, we responded with an air-strike, killing Mullah Abdul Ghafour in a truck with a bomb, which is not without a touch of irony.

    Of course, Eurasianet found out that the victory without war lobby was right on top of this.

    Officials in several European countries have quietly expressed concern about placing an American general in charge of the NATO force. Richards tried to create a less harsh, more economic-development-oriented identity for NATO in Afghanistan, as compared to the ‘‘kicking-down-doors’’ image that US forces have. Many local analysts expect NATO forces to embrace a more aggressive stance under McNeill, who is believed to oppose the type of local peace arrangements that Richards promoted. The danger at this point is that an overly aggressive NATO force in Afghanistan could alienate Afghans, and thus cause the Taliban’s support base to grow."

    Continue reading "Feasting upon the grapes of wrath" »

    Marines Helicopters Fighting California Fires

    B-roll of Marines in a MH-60S Seahawk dropping water on wildfires in San Diego County, California. Scenes include aerial footage of the wildfires, water being dropped over the fires and refilling the water at a nearby lake.


    In an effort to control and contain the fires on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., a CH-53 helicopter, stationed out of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, fills a large water bowl at Lake Oneil, MCB Camp Pendleton. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo/Staff Sgt. Wayne Bitselle)

    It's Time to Give Back to Our Wounded - Valour-IT Kick Off 2007!

    [Contributed for Valour-IT by the most excellent Cox and Forkum]

      "At that time I had no use of either hand. I know how humbling it is, how humiliating it feels. And I know how much better I felt, how amazingly more functional I felt, after Soldiers' Angels provided me with a laptop and a loyal reader provided me with the software. I can't wait to do the same, to give that feeling to another soldier at Walter Reed." - Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss at TC Override (wounded in Iraq)

    Want to be part of something big?

    Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss' father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.

    Valour-IT's online fundraising competition begins today! Let's see who can raise the most money to help reconnect our wounded warriors with the world!

    WHAT: Friendly fundraising competition for Valour-IT.
    WHEN: October 29th through Veterans Day, November 11th .
    WHERE: Based in the blogosphere, spreading everywhere else.
    WHY: Because giving wounded warriors with hand and arm injuries access to a computer supports their healing and puts them back in touch with the world.
    HOW: Blogger teams will be divided along military branches, with civilians "up for grabs."

    The lines are drawn by service rivalry:

    Non-military bloggers should choose a branch the Army to support (they are called the Army's sister services for a reason).

    Now, normally, I don't take part in the brutal gentle inter-service rivalry, especially during war.  But this is for a very important charity.  So, civilian bloggers, choose your branch.  Choose wisely...

    Sign up for the Army team by enlisting at the Project Valour-IT site and click (under Army) "Join". We'll generate links, buzz, and get these heroes some Commo support!

    What Valour-IT Needs From You:

    • Blog and email regularly about Valour-IT and the competition
    • Tell your friends, family and neighbors about Valour-IT
    • We'll have flyers ready soon.

    So all you bloggers sign up with your choice of service and get the word out.  Donate NOW!!!

    It's a tax-deductible donation and eligible for matching funds from companies who do that sort of thing (see: IRS INFO for proof for the cautious).

    The snail mail address for those who'd rather donate that way (be sure to put ARMY in big letters on the check):

    Soldiers' Angels
    Project Valour-IT Fund -
    1792 E. Washington Blvd
    Pasadena, Ca 91104

    Let's be a part of something big.

    Update:  You can see how the competition is shaping up with funds raised and which bloggers have joined each team.  (I noticed MoveOn.org joined the Navy/Coastie Team)...

    On the virtues of waterboarding & secret prisons

    UPDATE: Malcolm Nance former Chief of Training at the Navy SERE school disconcurs with me and says Waterboarding is torture, period.

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- On Sept. 6, 2006, President Bush announced that the CIA's overseas secret prisons had been temporarily emptied and 14 al-Qaeda leaders taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But since then, there has been no official accounting of what happened to about 30 other "ghost prisoners" who spent extended time in the custody of the CIA.

    Some have been secretly transferred to their home countries, where they remain in detention and out of public view, according to interviews in Pakistan and Europe with government officials, human rights groups and lawyers for the detainees. Others have disappeared without a trace and may or may not still be under CIA control.

    I find it comical that these folks toss out numbers like they have the faintest idea how many prisoners the CIA may have and where they are. They detail the paths of some people who may or may not have been detained or shuffled around by the CIA but in reality they are shining a flashlight in a dark cave and claiming they have diagrammed it's interior. But the fact that light is shining at all is wrong.

    The CIA is supposed to be scarfing up bad guys and then asking them questions about their plans and who they hang out with. They are even supposed to make them very uncomfortable and fearful for their lives as this makes them more likely to tell us things. Sadly this is not an area of US policy that should ever get much if any oversight. No show trials in the Senate where Hillary and Obama can posture and trade our security for political points and no visits from the Red Cross or Human Rights Watch.

    The people who get to experience this Rendition Express are evil and dangerous. We would be well and truly justified to simply shoot them and feed the bodies to sharks. But if there is any possibility we can learn something that will prevent future violence against innocent then we are duty bound to do so. The fact that unpleasant techniques must be used is the fault of the unpleasant people and is mitigated by the value of the lives saved. These operations and the facilities at Gitmo that house unrepentant jihadis are quite simply necessary and proper tools in a war against a global conspiracy to kill innocents. If we close Gitmo, where would the left have us put the avowed jihadis who say they will fight to kill infidels until they draw their last breath? Maybe a work release program in Manhattan?

    The activities of those operating on the dark side are undertaken in the dark for two reasons. First so no one can see what is happening, and second no one can see what is happening. The reason that character is so important in choosing a President is that the Commander in Chief powers are almost unchecked. If our national security depends on it the President can do pretty much whatever he deems necessary. This must be so and it we need to know our leader is capable of taking the often harsh actions needed to keep us safe.

    Anyone who advocates closing CIA's rendition and "ghost" prisoner operations is too naive to serve as Commander in Chief even if they can get elected President.