« August 2011 | Main | October 2011 »

September 2011

Dead Tango dancing at the Jawa Report

I asked for Adam Gadahn to be dead along w/ Awlaki to make it an American al Aqeda twofer. Well it wasn't Gadahn, but it was another traitorous rat bastard, one who the intrepid Jawas have been jack slapping for a while, a weaselly little scumbag called Samir Khan.

Update by Rusty: Reports are still in flux. As of this moment it's hard to confirm whether or not Awlaki and Khan are both dead. US officials are confirming, off the record, that Awlaki is dead -- but Jane Novak, who has deep contacts in Yemen, says that a local news agency, nass press, is reporting that Awlaki survived the attack and was only injured. And as Ed reminds us, this wouldn't be the first time Awlaki was reported dead. But other tribal sources claim he's dead.

As you know, the Arab world is rife with rumor that passes as fact. We'll keep you posted, but given that US officials are confirming off the record that Awlaki is dead, then I'll have to treat the naysaying as rumors until we hear otherwise.

The really personal news here would be that Samir Khan is dead. As long time readers know, Samir and I have had personal disputes over the years. It was Samir, then blogging as Inshallahshaheed, who threatened to kill my family.

All in all an excellent day

Friday Dead Tango Dance- Awlaki edition

Oh please, please please be true, and if you could throw in the reprehensible loser Adam Gadahn to make it an American al Qaeda twofer, I would be eternally grateful.

SANAA, Yemen — Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric and one of the most influential al-Qaeda operatives wanted by the United States, was killed Friday in an airstrike in northern Yemen, authorities said, eliminating a prominent recruiter who inspired attacks on U.S. soil. If you don't recall why it is a good day for dancing, a quick reminder.

This guy is a perfect test case for the idea that being a terrorist rat bastard makes you a target no matter where you are, what you are doing and what the color of your passport. BOOM, you're dead!

Aulaqi, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents, has been implicated in helping to motivate several attacks on U.S. soil. He is said to have inspired an Army officer who allegedly killed 13 people in a November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Tex., as well as a Ni­ger­ian student accused of attempting to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner the following month and a Pakistani American man who tried to set off a car bomb in New York City in May 2010. Aulaqi has also been linked to an attempt in 2010 to send parcel bombs on cargo plans bound for the United States.

In April 2010, the Obama administration authorized his targeted killing. U.S. officials alleged that he is a top leader in al-Qaeda’s Yemeni wing, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

I have plenty of beefs with Obama and his team, but he has been actually leading from the front as far as killing terrorists. And it was a bold move to purposely target an American citizen who has joined the enemy, period. Yes it brings up some issues and we should talk about them. But the idea that just because one of these scum can check a block as a US citizen doesn't give him cover from the Reaper and the Hellfire it brings.

Do I trust our government? Well not any more than I absolutely have to. But if I have to pick one area where I am willing to cede some serious freedom of maneuver, it is in the whacking dead tangos arena. And yes, that includes those with blue passports. They didn't have to join a murderous, barbaric pack of medieval obscurantists. So payback is a medevac, or even better a return to their component molecules. So be it. Now back to the dancing.


Mullen says Pakistan runs insurgent groups

Well no kidding.

The sad thing is that he couldn't say the blisteringly obvious fact that Pakistan founded many of the Taliban and related insurgent groups that plague Afghanistan and they continue to fund and run them now. Politics and diplomacy prevented him from doing this previously, but he is retiring and apparently the blatant hypocrisy pushed him over the edge. Now the administration is trying to leak itself out of this bind.

Adm. Mike Mullen’s assertion last week that an anti-American insurgent group in Afghanistan is a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s spy service was overstated and contributed to overheated reactions in Pakistan and misperceptions in Washington, according to American officials involved in U.S. policy in the region.

It may contribute to overheated reactions in Pakistan, but that doesn't make it one ounce less true. I have been writing and speaking about this for years and it is probably the biggest problem we have in the region. We cannot neutralize, let alone defeat, an enemy that has safe havens and support in a neighboring country. This is made even worse when their sponsors are ostensibly our allies and we share intel with them. The bin Laden raid came as  surprise to them because if we had told them, he would have been long gone before anyone knocked on his door.

You go to war with the allies you have, not the allies you want. All we have are the Pakistanis, and they are a hardly a unified country. Elements within the government, military and intel services all play their own games and so we try yo guess who really is helping us. The answer is pretty much nobody, and that is another good reason to get the hell out of Dodge.

Re: This war can be won...

To build on "LongTabSigO's" earlier post featuring the New York Times story about how "This war can still be won":

I hesitate to go against an SF officer who has been to Afghanistan when I have not. And I am sure there are plenty of good soldiers in the Afghan Army. And I know that there are areas where the security situation has improved.

But the author is actually a visiting fellow for a think tank - the Center for New American Security - that has been peddling counterinsurgency for years. To me, that's different than if he was just a soldier talking about his experiences (and I am NOT saying that he is intentionally misleading us). Obama plans to pull out of Afghanistan shortly, and it is the New York Times after all. This seems more about providing cover for the Obama administration and the warfighting doctrine that CNAS has stood behind than it does an objective assessment of the campaign. And since our intent is to only downgrade our enemies, how does that translate into winning a war? Our military and drone strikes have killed a lot of Taliban and their associates, but I don't think that translates into "winning" anything. Especially when our enemies know that we are leaving soon.

I hope the author is right and we do "win" in Afghanistan (whatever that means), regardless of who is in the White House. But instead of reading the words of a fellow for a think tank with an agenda, in a publication that also has an agenda, I would rather hear from those who have been there and don't have an incentive to mislead the American public.

Feel free to share your perspective, especially if you have been there.

Releasing the photos of bin Laden

There is a court battle underway regarding the potential release of photos of Osama bin Laden after he was ventilated and returned to room temperature in the raid on his hooch in Pakistan. I am usually a 100% supporter of keeping secrets secret, but I have to question that strategy and the government's reasoning in this case.

Photos and videos of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden after he was killed in May in a U.S. military/Central Intelligence Agency raid in Pakistan should not be released publicly because they would reveal military and intelligence secrets and could lead to violence against U.S. personnel, the Obama administration argued in papers filed in federal court in Washington late Monday night.

In the same way that release of Abu Ghraib photos inflamed public opinion, these pics could do the same. Like it or not there are plenty of folks around the world who admired bin Laden and thought it was great that he was taking it to the Great Satan. So even though the fact that we killed him has been widely broadcast, visual images can generate a visceral response that words simply can't.

But there is considerable skepticism about the circumstances of his death. While I understand why we don't want to allow his carcass to become a fetishized point of worship, we also dumped his body in the ocean and just asked the world to take our word that we whacked him fairly and then fed him to the sharks. kind of a tough sell to large parts of the world where our credibility is a little slim. Those areas are the same ones where we fight the war of ideas about radical Islam v. freedom as the better way of life. Plus they are areas where the idea of the Strong Horse being the one to follow hold considerable sway, a concept bin Laden himself used against us regarding our cut and run from Lebanon in 1982 after Hezbollah killed hundreds of Marines.

So there are fair arguments for and against releasing the photos, but I think there is possibly an overriding one, that the pics make it look like bin Laden was executed. No pictures of someone shot in the head are going to be pretty. Once the life leaves a body, it turns weird looking and that alone gives people the creeps. But if the word I have heard about the photos is true and he was shot in the eye, that makes it even worse. Our eyes are our portal to the world, so we are even more disturbed about damage to them. Plus a shot that actually penetrated the eye could have caused a hydraulic wave that blew brain matter and other things back out the entrance wound.If they used frangible ammo (lead powder bullets) or some other specialty rounds there might not have even been an exit wound, or a smaller one than expected. This could make it appear that he was shot from behind and the eye was the exit wound. The execution theory is already floating around so if the photos support it, that could be a reason for holding on to them 

If the administration holds fast, then the courts should support the right to keep these things secret. Public interest is not a strong enough reason to overturn that vital precedent. But politically and in the media this will be an issue as long as the photos have not been seen.

This War CAN Be Won...an on-ground perspective...

**Corrected Title**  (I claim "blogging before breakfast!")

US Army Special Forces Major Fernando Lujan just returned from more than a year on the ground in Afghanistan and offers his views on his Afghan allies, and their will to win.


It is a compact piece that realistically lays out the good and the bad, but the conclusion is that Afghans of all stripes are starting to realize that it is THEY ultimately who will decide how things turn out, and there is cause for cautious optimism for freedom-loving people with regard to the future of Afghanistan.



Michael Yon goes full batshit crazy

I have been watching safe from my hooch here in America as the Greatest Combat Correspondent in His Own Mind, Michael Yon has completely lost it. He has taken to publicly attacking soldiers serving in a war zone......again. Yes, this is not a first for him. Matter of fact, you could say it is his modus operandi. Yon seems to run into trouble with somebody nearly every time he heads out. Invariably he ends up writing an angry diatribe about how they are out to get him. He calls them names like crazy monkeys, declares that Gen. McChrystal is a liar and needs to be watched, and uses sources who are dead or liars themselves. He causes some unwarranted trouble and then gets shown to the door kicking, screaming and throwing a tantrum like a four-year-old being given a time out.

He recently made some wonderfully deranged statements about a fellow milblogger currently deployed to Afghanistan, CJ Grisham. This paranoid screed would give a psychiatric professional fodder for a whole series of books. Mikey even stoops to using MAJ Hasan as an insinuated comparison in a sorry attempt to inflame his readers FFS. 

Here is part of Mikey's whinge:

This soldier concerns me as a lethal threat to my person.  Most recently, in another angry tirade, Grisham wrote, “I want to rip his head off and piss down his windpipe!”  In my world, there is no television and people die all the time.  All bullets are live.  All threats are real.

CJ answered him quite well on his own blog, but allow me to make a bone-ass simple explanation any rational human being would understand. First of all Porko, CJ and the rest of the US military are very aware of the fact that bullets are real and can kill people. Hell, he got a valor award for clearing a trench full of bad guys in Iraq all of whom would have loved to kill him. But you see Mikey, you pissed him, and pretty much everyone else other than your sycophants, off because you published a piece describing the dying moments of a US soldier in grossly, gratuitously, graphic language. That was fucked up like polio Mike. You shouldn't have done that since his family will end up reading your war pr0n and they deserve better than that. But since you are more concerned with tittilating those who fill your tip jar, you pissed on his family and published it thus violating all that is humane and decent.

That is why CJ sent a hyperbolic bit of rhetoric onto the internets. You know it wasn't a threat, but you used it to paint yourself as a victim and garner some sympathy funding for your long overdue return to the ladyboys of Soi Cowboy in Bangkok. Oh and Mikey, is "your world" one where a punkass (I'm talking about you) who failed miserably in the Special Forces community and left with his tail between his legs (still talking about you buddy) with zero real accomplishments (undistinguishedly you) reinvents himself as a picture-making (blurry), truth-to-power talking (in your paranoid style), loud-mouthed annoyance (bloviatingly obvious) trying to possum a ride on the backs of those wearing the uniform proudly and well?

Mikey is now in full on fear for his life mode and they are all out to get him. He is currently concocting a tale of woe to cover his extra-wide ass as he is apparently being bounced from yet another embed.

Unfortunately --

One of the soldiers aligned with CJ Grisham is right here at 4-4 Cav. His name is Sergeant First Class Coleman. Looks like for my own safety, I'll have to call an end to this embed. He has made no threats but the threats within his group are enough. The unprofessionalism among some of the senior NCOs is incredible.

 Michael Yon

Captain Carbone just walked into my tent and assaulted me. He brought a witness, so this may be tough. In any case, time to go.

Yon's mental and emotional decline has been underway for several years. Any reason to take him seriously has evaporated along with his credibility. Given that we here at BLACKFIVE had a huge impact in launching his career, it has not been something I have enjoyed. He once served as a voice for the troops in a sea of misinformation. He now serves as the voice of malignant narcissism serving only his own vastly over-inflated ego. The only thing that matches his ego for size is his even-more-inflated waistline. He is a magnificent jelly-doughnut-scarfing fatbody. The thing that amazes me is that he can find enough chow to maintain that gargantuan bulk in theater. Maybe he is dipping into Fat Bastard's stash of tasty babies.

What, you want proof? OK here is the pic he uses to advertise himself:


But wait a minute, no one would recognize this as the Michael Yon currently sassing his betters while they fight in Afghanistan. Here is the jumpsuit-seam-busting, self-obsessed wanking device on his now rapidly-disintegrating embed.


You can't really blame him for using the first pic, the not quite so mammoth Mikey, from many moons & moon pies ago. You can blame him for defaming US troops in a combat zone who simply pointed out what a complete douchebag he is.

Go away and leave the real soldiers to do their jobs Mikey.


Jump Master

Army Staff Sgt. Scott Shepro instructs paratroopers during a static jump for a joint operational exercise on Pope Army Airfield, N.C., Sept. 9, 2011. Shepro, a jump master, is a platoon sergeant assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division's Company C, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The one-week exercise prepares the Air Force and Army to respond to worldwide crises and contingencies. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quinton Russ

Security Expert: U.S. 'Leading Force' Behind Stuxnet

I found the following story on the NPR iPhone App interesting: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/26/140789306/security-expert-u-s-leading-force-behind-stuxnet?sc=17&f=1001Security Expert: U.S. 'Leading Force' Behind Stuxnet
by Tom Gjelten
- September 26, 2011One year ago, German cybersecurity expert Ralph Langner announced that he had found a computer worm designed to sabotage a nuclear facility in Iran. It's called Stuxnet, and it was the most sophisticated worm Langner had ever seen.In the year since, Stuxnet has been analyzed as a cyber-superweapon, one so dangerous it might even harm those who created it.In the summer of 2010, Langner and his partners went to work analyzing a malicious software program that was turning up in some equipment. Langner Communications is a small firm in Hamburg, Germany, but Langner and the two engineers with whom he works know a lot about industrial control systems. What they found in Stuxnet left them flabbergasted."I'm in this business for 20 years, and what we saw in the lab when analyzing Stuxnet was far beyond everything we had ever imagined," Langner says.It was a worm that could burrow its way into an industrial control system, the kind of system used in power plants, refineries and nuclear stations. Amazingly, it ignored everything it found except the one piece of equipment it was seeking; when the worm reached its target, it would destroy it.Langner says that the more his team analyzed the Stuxnet worm, the more they knew they were onto something big."We were pretty much working around the clock," he says, "because after we had the first impression of the magnitude of this, we were just like on speed or something like that. It was just impossible to go back to sleep."Langner also realized after analyzing the Stuxnet code that it was designed to disable a particular nuclear facility in Iran. That's serious business, he figured. Some Iranian nuclear scientists, he remembered, had been mysteriously killed. Langner published his findings anyway."I wasn't actually scared, but this was just something I was thinking about," he says. "You know, this stuff must involve intelligence services who do some dirty work every now and then, and you can't just block that away from your personal situation when you are the guy who is the first to publish [that] this is a directed attack against the Iranian nuclear program. So there have been some frightening moments."U.S. The Culprit?Langner says as they dug deeper into the Stuxnet code, each new discovery left them more impressed and wondering what was coming next. He says he couldn't imagine who could have created the worm, and the level of expertise seemed almost alien. But that would be science fiction, and Stuxnet was a reality."Thinking about it for another minute, if it's not aliens, it's got to be the United States," he says.The sophistication of the worm, plus the fact that the designer had inside intelligence on the Iranian facility, led Langner to conclude that the United States had developed Stuxnet, possibly with the help of Israeli intelligence.Langner isn't shy about naming the U.S. as the Stuxnet culprit, as he stated in a recent speech at the Brookings Institution. In that speech, he also made the bigger point that having developed Stuxnet as a computer weapon, the United States has in effect introduced it into the world's cyber-arsenal."Cyberweapons proliferate by use, as we see in the case of Stuxnet," he said. "Several months or weeks or a year later, the code is available on the Internet for dissection by anyone who has the motivation or money to do so."It would have to be revised, Langner says, in order to target some other industrial control system besides the one in Iran, a U.S. power plant, for example. But it could be done, and he warns that U.S. utility companies are not yet prepared to deal with the threat Stuxnet represents.The CIA declined to comment on Langner's charge that the U.S. was "the leading force" behind Stuxnet. Homeland Security officials insist measures are being taken to defend U.S. infrastructure against cyberattack. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]