Friday, January 31, 2014

Dambusters Final Flight

From the Royal Air Force:

Jan 30, 2014
Check out the view from the Tornado GR4 cockpit of a modern day Dambuster as they prepare for and fly their final mission in Afghanistan. Feel what it's like to fly with them as they protect coalition troops on the ground and help to build an enduring security and peace for Afghanistan. 30 Jan 2014. 

From the MoD:

An RAF squadron famous for carrying out one of the most daring raids of the Second World War has flown its final Afghanistan mission.

 A 617 Squadron Tornado aircraft on the runway at Kandahar Airfield

 More than 70 years after its creation, the RAF’s 617 Squadron, known as ‘The Dambusters’, has completed its last operational mission as a Tornado squadron with a flight in the skies over Afghanistan.

This last flight was a mission in support of coalition troops that involved providing protection and relaying information from above directly to commanders on the ground; a task that has now been handed over to No 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron from RAF Marham. 

617 Squadron is due to disband on 1 April, but will reform as the RAF’s first Lightning II squadron in 2018.

Now their mission in Afghanistan is over, Wing Commander David Arthurton will bring the Dambusters back home to RAF Lossiemouth. He said:

It is fitting that this milestone event occurred on operations, delivering decisive air power much as our forebears did in 1943. Back then the squadron was employed on offensive operations whereas today we’re trying to set the conditions for enduring security and peace.

I think there are many parallels – the team spirit that existed back then endures to this day and I think the focus on getting the job done is exactly the same...

Much more - with some GREAT pictures - here.

NSA hit with Class Action Suit

From Absio:

Senator Rand Paul hits NSA with Class Action Suit

Like him or not, Sen. Rand Paul is an interesting guy. His latest move is libertarian activism writ large. He is suing the NSA over its bulk data collection programs. Why do I get the feeling Gen. Keith Alexander is out shopping for a bass boat right about now? I cannot think of a more important job that is less fun to do in the current environment. Except, perhaps for a grunt in Afghanistan carrying 120 lbs up and down the Hindu Kush.

Sen. Paul’s suit against the NSA is a class action and it will not help anyone at Ft. Meade sleep better any time soon.

The vocal critic of the NSA told the State of the Net Conference on Tuesday that the complaint has already been written and predicted that the challenge would likely reach to the Supreme Court.

Paul has been working for months on the lawsuit against the NSA over its surveillance of Americans' phone and Internet records, which he plans to file as a private citizen. On Tuesday, he asked for the public to back the effort.

Paul is one of those pesky types who read the US Constitution and expect that it means what it actually says. And Amendment IV pretty clearly says that:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized....

There is much more here.

Red Shirt Friday

Thursday, January 30, 2014

DoJ: Boston Bomber WILL face death penalty

From Homeland Security News Wire:

30 January 2014

The U.S. Justice Department announced that the United States will seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 20-year-old accused of detonating two bombs the Boston Marathon last April, killing three people and injuring more than 200 others. The younger Tsarnaev faces thirty counts in the bombing, including use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and the bombing of a public place. Since 1964, the federal government has only executed three people, including Timothy Mc­Veigh who was convicted in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement that “After consideration of the relevant facts, the applicable regulations and the submissions made by the defendant’s counsel, I have determined that the United States will seek the death penalty in this matter. The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision.”


The younger Tsarnaev faces thirty counts in the bombing, including use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and the bombing of a public place....

Much more here.

NSA challenged in court - by 'alleged' terrorist

Really, you cannot make this stuff up!

From Homeland Security News Wire:

A first: Constitutionality of NSA warrantless surveillance challenged by terrorism suspect

 30 January 2014

Jamshid Muhtorov, a refugee from Uzbekistan now facing terrorism charges in Colorado, is the first criminal defendant who, as part of his lawyers’ defense strategy, is challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. Muhtorov filed a motion Wednesday in federal court in Denver to suppress any evidence obtained through the agency’s surveillance program on grounds that it was unlawful. In July 2013 the Justice Department reversed an earlier policy, and now informs defendants whether the case against them, in whole or in part, is based on information obtained through warrantless surveillance. To date, six months after the review process at Justice was launched, Muhtorov and Mohamed Mohamud, a Portland, Oregon teenager who had been convicted after an FBI sting operation of attempting to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, are the only defendants to receive such a disclosure.

“Mr. Muhtorov believes that the government’s surveillance of him was unlawful for the simple fact that it was carried out . . . under a statute that fails to comply with the Fourth Amendment’s most basic requirements” that the government obtain a warrant and that the monitoring be reasonable, his attorneys said in a 55-page document....

Yes, there is more here.   

In a related matter, another US Judge rules (and makes legal history) on a terrorist 'suspect's  application under FISA...  Go read that here..

Stay informed, folks.

1 Rifles Soldier promoted 'in the field' - makes history

From British Forces News:

First on-the-spot 'field promotion' in 60 years

First on-the-spot 'field promotion' in 60 years 
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A British soldier has been awarded the first promotion in the field in 60 years.

Rifleman Gigar Das received the first field promotion in the British Army since 1953 and can now boast the title lance corporal.

The chief of the general staff carried out the promotion during a visit to troops undertaking a training mission in Mali, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said.

Soldiers from 1 Rifles were delivering training to their Malian counterparts when General Sir Peter Wall, who was accompanied by the head of the French army, General Bertrand Ract-Madoux, when they saw Rifleman Gigar Das conducting a lesson in marksmanship principles.

They were "hugely impressed" with the 31-year-old and were "astounded" to learn of his rank, the spokeswoman said.

General Sir Peter decided to promote the solider "there and then", she added.

The soldier, from London, was presented with his lance corporal's stripe by the head of the French army.

Lance Corporal Das, who has served in the Army for eight years and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, said: "I wasn't expecting anything like this to happen today when I got out of bed this morning. It is extremely unexpected and I couldn't be more proud of this honour."...

GO here and watch the video, and read the rest of this report.

Thank YOU for your Service, LCpl Das.

Israel Intelligence Chief: 170,000 rockets, missiles threaten Israel

From Jerusalem Post:


Gen. Kochavi says conventional threats have not disappeared even if region is not interested in war, Israel is surrounded by active enemies.

Israel’s ability to deter enemies is strong, but on the other hand terror is still a challenge, Military Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said on Wednesday during remarks at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“We call this period in time the ‘era of fire’ in light of the amount of missiles and rockets we face as a constant threat,” Kochavi said. “There are about 170,000 rockets and missiles that threaten Israel.”

Kochavi added that the country was “surrounded 360 degrees with active enemies. The conventional threats have not disappeared.”


“The countries around us are busy with themselves, they have less funds to start a war,” he explained. “There is no question that there is a decrease in such threats but they have not given up.”
Regarding Egypt, Kochavi said that “any retreat of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region is significant for Israel.”

He also said that Syria had become a vacuum for the Islamic Jihad and that some of the al-Qaida militants going there to fight had bases in neighboring Turkey and could easily access Europe from the NATO member state. He stressed that very few countries in the region fully control all of their land and all of their borders.

Presenting a map of the Middle East marked with areas of al-Qaida presence, Kochavi told the conference that al-Qaida fighters from around the world enter Syria weekly “but they do not stay.”...

Calling John Kerry.  He, and you, should read the rest of this here. 

Also, go read what an Israeli Soldier's Mother has to say about this here.

UK: Jesus and Mo' cartoon - death threats follow

Of course!

From Jihad Watch:

UK: Muslim politician incites rage, death threats by posting “Jesus and Mo” cartoon on Twitter

Robert Spencer Jan 29, 2014

This controversy has been raging for over a week now. I had been inclined to let it pass by without comment, but what it reveals about the state of the freedom of speech in Britain, and the prospects for large-scale reform of Islam, can’t be ignored.

Maajid Nawaz is a politician in Britain and a leader of the Quilliam Foundation, an influential moderate Muslim organization. He shot to prominence recently by, in Quilliam’s own jihad-tinged words, “having facilitated the decapitation of the EDL” by inducing Tommy Robinson to quit that organization. By winning over Tommy, Nawaz won international renown as a Muslim reformer, and has only burnished those credentials in light of the recent controversy, which began when Nawaz tweeted out the above cartoon of Jesus saying “Hey” and Muhammad responding “How you doin’,” from the satirical Jesus and Mo comic strip. His point was that it didn’t offend him, and wasn’t offensive.

Other Muslims, however, disagreed. Nawaz, as he explains in this Guardian piece, has received death threats and calls for his removal as a Liberal Democratic parliamentary candidate. Muslims have denounced him for promoting “Islamophobia,” and the British media has responded with its usual craven capitulation, with Channel 4 News blacking out the “Mo” cartoon in a story about the controversy....

 None of us who have been paying attention are at all surprised by any of this. Go read the rest here.

There are some people who say there is no such thing as a "moderate muslim," and I have often said that the moderates need to speak up and be heard, to counter the raging, screaming thugs of the 'religion of peace' seen so often on the streets of  England. This is what happens when they do.

 This is a recording:  Pay attention.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BHO SOTU: I quit!

Just kidding!

The Empty suit?????  This:

 From the CBC:

The state of the union speech Barack Obama would never give

My fellow Americans, Neil Macdonald imagines a more unvarnished version of how things stand


"A month after I assumed office, in the midst of a financial crisis that terrified us all, I stood in this place and promised we would not just recover, but that we would emerge stronger.

"Well, five years later that hasn't happened for most of us. To quote a common jape, the economy's doing well, except for most of the people in it...


"A month after I assumed office, in the midst of a financial crisis that terrified us all, I stood in this place and promised we would not just recover, but that we would emerge stronger.

"Well, five years later that hasn't happened for most of us. To quote a common jape, the economy's doing well, except for most of the people in it....


"Our Federal Reserve has also printed trillions of dollars, which helped prevent collapse, although frankly, folks, no one has any idea how that's going to turn out now that the Fed's winding it up.

"I guess we'll see.


 "I can report, though, that our long foreign wars are over, even if Iraq appears to be sliding back into violent anarchy, and Afghanistan probably isn't far behind.

"To our many shattered warriors, and to those of you who lost sons and daughters in those countries, I wish I could say it was worthwhile. Perhaps it was. I just don't know. None of us does.

"Let me now say something about our health-care reform, what I've been proud to call Obamacare: It's a mess. A stew of regulations and unintended consequences.


"So I'm announcing tonight that I will use whatever powers I possess to act unilaterally. But really, it won't amount to much.

"Remember, my first promise, back in those hopeful days of 2009, was to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. You wouldn't even let me do that....

Go read the rest, remembering that this IS the CBC..

From Ted Cruz:

Allen West

God bless America....

Wednesday Hero

This post was suggested by Michael

Brigadier Gen. James H.

Brigadier Gen. James H. Howard81 years old from Bay Pines, Florida
356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group
April 13, 1913 - March 18, 1995
U.S. Air Force
General, then Colonel, James Howard, was the only fighter pilot to be awarded the Medal Of Honor in the European theater of WWII.

From his citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany, on 11 January 1944. On that day Col. Howard was the leader of a group of P-51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Col. Howard's group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Col. Howard, with his group, at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME. 110. As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces
You can read more about Gen. Howard here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

More than a million people died in Auschwitz

By Rob Broomby BBC News 
That picture is from a column I did in 2010, and it is a stark reminder to us all of the terrible price paid by millions of children during the Holocaust of WW2.   Go refresh your memory here 
Today, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu released this statement(on his FB page):

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Remarks on the Occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Day Marking the Struggle against Anti-Semitism:

"Even today, when there is broad agreement that the Holocaust should have been prevented, the world is not crying out in the face of a regime that calls for our destruction and even receives with open arms the man who represents it.

In the face of a state that openly calls for the destruction of the state of the Jews, everyone clears their throat in the face of the smiles. The attitude toward the State of Israel is not proportionate to the issues that are on the agenda. It also shows us that in the harassment of Jews there is thousands of years of continuity to the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.

Last week the Knesset witnessed one of the most important speeches that have ever been made within its walls. In this speech, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that the singling out of the State of Israel is extreme and disproportionate by any reasonable standard, that it also undermines the foundations of Western civilization which is supposed to fight for both our rights and those of others.

Against the attempt to deny the legitimacy of the state of the Jews, we must fight for and demand our rights."

I have written many times about the Holocaust, and you can find previous columns by putting "Holocaust" in the search engine on this site. 

Another great resource is the United States Holocaust Remembrance Museum:

 International Holocaust Remembrance Day
The UN has designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as an annual day of Holocaust remembrance. The Museum offers several ways to participate in this year’s commemoration.
 For more background, go to Holocaust Remembrance Day.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated worldwide on 27 January in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  

On 27 January 1945, the advancing Red Army entered the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp complex, liberating more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were for the most part ill or dying.
Days earlier, the SS had forced nearly 60,000 prisoners to evacuate the camp and embark on the infamous 'Death Marches,' in which many thousands lost their lives.

The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 to designate 27 January as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the day upon which every year the world would mark and remember the Holocaust and its victims. 67 years on from the liberation of Auschwitz, it is more important than ever to remind ourselves of the universal lessons of the Holocaust and to foster a shared culture of remembrance.

In 2014, the International Day of Commemoration will be marked by a number of national and international events.  The following overview of commemoration events is based on information and links provided by IHRA member countries, observer countries, and permanent observer organizations, as well as information compiled by the Permanent Office....

Go read about all the member countries here. 

From the Beeb:  Cellist Remembers Auschwitz

.We all need to educate ourselves, remain vigilant,  and actually live the words:  NEVER AGAIN.

Ghurka and Royal Marine earn Military Cross

From British Forces News:

Military Cross awarded for acts of bravery 
Friday, January 24, 2014

A Gurkha who took on an Afghan insurgent in hand to hand combat has been presented with his Military Cross at Buckingham Palace.

His was just one of two remarkable stories of bravery heard at the palace.
How blessed we are that such Heroes walk among us.  Thank YOU for your Service, Gentlemen.

Canadian Military failing our Troops

Yet more on the dismal lack of support for our fine men and women in the Military.  From the Ottawa Citizen:

Military has failed to meet mental-health staffing promises

By Chris Cobb, 
January 23, 2014
OTTAWA — Canadian armed forces’ mental health facilities across the country are chronically short of skilled professionals and aren’t close to the staffing levels promised in 2012 by then defence minister Peter MacKay, the Citizen has learned.

In what was billed as an “important announcement” MacKay held a media event at Canadian Forces Base Halifax in the fall of 2012 amid early waves of criticism about the military’s handling of its increasing number of mentally injured Afghanistan veterans.

Among other initiatives, he vowed to provide funding “to enhance the Canadian Forces’ extensive mental health care system, particularly by targeting wait times through innovative recruitment campaigns and treatment approaches.

“Our government is committed to supporting our men and women in uniform,” he said.


But according to figures updated just last month, current mental health staffing levels are even short — by 62 — of the military’s own staffing target set for 2009.

The figures reveal that the system is short of four psychiatrists, seven psychologists, 23 social workers, 18 mental health nurses, six administrative support staff, three addictions specialists and one manager....

Much more here which clearly demonstrates - again - that the government's constant media events where they pledge continuing 'support' for our Military is all more of the same: empty rhetoric,   more failed promises.


From ClarksvilleNow:

4th Brigade welcomes home 105 soldiers

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – The 4th Brigade Combat Team (BCT) welcomed 105 Soldiers home to Fort Campbell on Sunday, January 26 at Campbell Army Airfield. It was a very special welcome home ceremony since it was the last group of “Currahee” Soldiers returning from their deployment to Afghanistan.

The ceremony was also historic because it wrapped up the last mission for the 4th BCT before the brigade’s inactivation scheduled for later this spring. The returning Soldiers include Easy Company from the HBO Mini-series “Band of Brothers”.

The dark and the cold of the early morning didn’t diminish the spirits of the family and friends of the Soldiers as they returned. There were the usual cheers as the plane landed and shouts of welcome home as the doors to the aircraft opened and the Soldiers walked toward the hangar....

More, and lots of pictures, here.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our Man in Tehran - Canadian view of Argo

When I saw the movie "Argo" win Oscars last year, I must admit I laughed.  Yes, I had seen the movie, but yes, I also remember the events depicted in the movie very clearly.

Now, comes a documentary "Our Man In Tehran."

Reveals new information about the true story of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor and the CIA, the secret dealings between the US and Canadian governments to rescue six fugitive American diplomats, and the covert planning of the military rescue "Operation Eagle Claw" during the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979.

 From a review of the documentary: 
When Canada was helping six American hostages escape from Iran as part of the famous Canadian Caper — a designation that is recaptured in the documentary Our Man in Tehran — the RCMP forged Canadian passports for the Americans.

The documents were then sent to Washington for fake visas. When the passports arrived in Tehran, a member of the Canadian consulate noticed that the American officials, apparently confused by the Iranian calendar, had put the wrong dates on the visas.

It was a mistake that could have resulted in death for the hostages as they left the country under the cover of phoney Canadian citizenship. The passports were returned to the U.S. for corrections, and the rest is history.

It was history American-style in the Oscar-winning film Argo, which glorified an American plan to spirit the hostages out of Iran by pretending to be a Canadian movie crew making a Hollywood blockbuster.

Argo was itself a Hollywood blockbuster, downplaying the role of Canadians in the operation and adding a lot of drama — such as a fictional race to the airport and a hair’s-breadth escape — to make it exciting enough....

Read more on this review.

Music and Me - You Raise Me Up

UK gun laws need changing

No, that is not just me mouthing off!  From Press TV:

UKIP leader calls for UK gun laws to be relaxed

The leader of Britain’s Eurosceptic right-wing political party, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), says the UK government should lift a ban on handguns that has been in place for almost two decades, calling the current ban on handguns “ludicrous.”

“I think proper gun licensing is something we've done in this country responsibly and well for a long time, and I think the kneejerk legislation that Blair brought in that meant that the British Olympic pistol team have to go to France to even practice was just crackers,” Nigel Farage said during a radio interview on Friday.

He added, "If you criminalize handguns then only the criminals carry the guns. It's really interesting that since Blair brought that piece of law in, gun crime doubled in the next five years in this country."

"I think that we need a proper gun licensing system, which to a large extent I think we already have, and I think the ban on handguns is ludicrous," Farage commented....

Yes, there is more, including from detractors, HERE.

Christians under attack - in NJ

I have written many times of Christians being slaughtered around the world. I have also noted attacks against Christians taking place regularly within the US.  These attacks, and murders, are happening today, not in some far distant past.

Here's another, from CBS:

Religious Statues Vandalized At 2 Churches In Vineland

VINELAND, NJ (CBS) — Police in Vineland are searching for the suspects who vandalized statues outside two churches overnight.

According to the Vineland Police Department, officers were dispatched to the Sacred Heart Church at 922 E Landis Avenue for reported criminal mischief. An investigation revealed that sometime during the night, the suspects had vandalized several religious statues on church property.

The vandals hacked off the head of a statue of the Virgin Mary. In addition, the vandals also chopped a statue of Joseph in half.

A few hours later, officers were dispatched to St. Francis of Assisi Church at 23 W Chestnut Avenue for the same incident. A subsequent investigation revealed statues at this church had been damaged in the same manner as the ones at Sacred Heart.

At the St. Francis of Assisi Church, the vandals hammered in the faces of Jesus, Mary and Joseph on a statue.

“They are not just statues, but pictures and images of people that should be remembered,” parishioner Jose Rodriguez said.

For the faithful, it is an emotional attack.

“I cannot imagine what is going through the mind of a person that would deliberately go deface statues that are dedicated to our savior,” Deacon Richard Sampson of Christ the Good Shepherd said....

There are pictures, and a video of this disgusting desecration HERE.

Apparently not everybody in America respects 'freedom of religion.' Are YOU paying attention?

Gold Star PSA for Super Bowl

 I am always surprised when I encounter people who have no idea what the Gold Star symbolises.  Go here for an article from 2011 that explains the Gold Stars: A symbol of Sacrifice.

Now it is announced that during the upcoming Super Bowl, there will be a PSA ad.

From PR NewsWire:

Aperture Films Public Service Announcement About U.S. Army Gold Star Pin Program & Survivor Outreach Services To Debut At NFL Super Bowl 2014

 LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- During the 2014 Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2014, Orange-County based production company, Aperture Films, will debut their first Public Service Announcement (PSA) advertisement to build awareness about the Army's Gold Star Pin Program & Survivor Outreach Services. Aperture Films produced three spots, which include over 40 Army survivors from across the country that came to Southern California to participate in the PSA film shoot.

Although established by an Act of Congress in 1967, the Gold Star Pins are still widely unrecognized. The Gold Star Pin is composed of a gold star on a purple background and is issued to immediate family members of service members killed in combat. The Next of Kin pin is composed of a gold star on a gold background and signifies a service-related death or suicide during active duty other than combat.

The filming took place at multiple locations in Orange County, as well as at the National Cemetery in Los Angeles. The three spots consist of a combination of documentary-style interviews and narrative stories featuring real survivors.

"Many people just don't know what Gold Star Pins are even though their history dates to World War I. We've been working for almost year to bring these extraordinary real stories of sacrifice to the American public," said Joshua Colover, Director and CEO at Aperture Films.

Aperture Films is honored to help tell the important story of the Gold Star Pins and the family members who wear them.


About Survivor Outreach Services
Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) is an Army-wide program that provides dedicated and comprehensive support services to survivors of deceased Soldiers. Established in October, 2008 its mission is to build a unified support program that embraces and reassures survivors that they are linked to the Army family for as long as they desire.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Senator Tom Coburn leaving politics - who will watch the waste now?

Tom Coburn Leaves a Lonely Place Lonelier

Jan 17, 2014

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today released his annual oversight report “Wastebook 2013” highlighting 100 examples of wasteful and low-priority spending totaling nearly $30 billion.

“While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress,” said Dr. Coburn.

“Had Congress, in particular, been focused on doing its job of setting priorities and cutting the kind of wasteful spending outlined in this report, we could have avoided both a government shutdown and a flawed budget deal that was designed to avert a shutdown.  The nearly $30 billion in questionable and lower-priority spending in Wastebook 2013 is a small fraction of the more than $200 billion we throw away every year through fraud, waste, duplication and mismanagement.   There is more than enough stupidity and incompetence in government to allow us to live well below the budget caps.  What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible spending bills – possible,” said Dr. Coburn.

“This report speaks volumes about why confidence in government is at an all-time low.  The hard truth is we’d much rather borrow than cut.  The American people are right to expect more,” said Dr. Coburn.

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2013” include:
    Uncle Sam Looking for Romance on the Web – (NEH) $914,000 
     To read the details of just this first entry - and many, many more go over here.
     It should be obvious to anybody, that the current administration has NO idea how to manage Americans' money (hard-earned dollars collected by the IRS by the way.)  Now that Senator Coburn has announced his intention to leave, we need other voices raised to keep  attention on the pigs at the trough. 

Wounded Warrior plans to "pay it forward"

From DoD:

Face of Defense: Wounded Soldier Hopes to ‘Pay It Forward’

By Elaine Sanchez

Brooke Army Medical Center

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Jan. 22, 2014 – It took a devastating loss in Afghanistan for an Army officer to find his new calling.

 Army Maj. Will Lyles walks on a treadmill at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Jan. 15, 2014. Lyles, who was injured in Afghanistan in 2010, is hoping to “pay it forward” as a doctor. U.S. Army photo by Robert Shields  

Maj. Will Lyles, a bilateral amputee, is preparing night and day so he can ace the entry exams for medical school and become a doctor. It’s a path this athlete and Special Forces soldier never would have dreamed of just a few years earlier.

“I feel like being a doctor would allow me to continue to serve in the best possible way,” said Lyles, who had just stepped off a treadmill at the Center for the Intrepid here. “It’s my way of paying it forward after countless nurses, doctors and case managers [from Brooke Army Medical Center] worked so tirelessly to help me.”

From an early age, Lyles said, he aspired to be a professional baseball player. He secured a baseball scholarship to Virginia Military Institute, but a shoulder injury put a swift end to that dream. After college, Lyles decided a military career would put him on the right track. He joined the Army in 2003, and deployed twice to Iraq as an infantry officer.

Always striving for excellence, Lyles was accepted into the Special Forces Qualification Course in March 2009. “I wanted to work with the best of the best -- the 1 percent of the 1 percent,” he said.

After graduation in April 2010, Lyles was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., and soon deployed to Afghanistan. That summer, Lyles and his unit were en route to a key leader engagement in an Afghan village when they came under heavy insurgent fire on the outskirts of town. Lyles headed up a hill to assess the situation. It wasn’t until he was moving back down that he stepped on an improvised explosive device....

As for what happened, and his amazing journey since - go here.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Brits abandon AFG 'Terps - still

Since the Global War On Terror began, our Troops deploying to the sandbox have relied on local interpreters.  It has been well documented that our various governments have abandoned those 'terps as our Troops return home.  Over the years, stories have surfaced of our Troops working tirelessly to ensure that the 'terps who worked alongside them - always at great personal risk to themselves and their families - are allowed to immigrate into the countries they have worked for.  Governments continue to drag their feet, and many 'terps are left in peril.

Today, from British Forces News comes this:

Call for UK asylum for all Afghan interpreters 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Three former Afghan Interpreters are urging the MOD to change the rules so that all those who worked with British forces in Helmand province can be eligible for asylum.

One of them, Mohammed, has told us that many fear for their lives but can’t leave because they don’t meet the current criteria.

They are taking legal action to try to force the MOD’s hand.

The interview with this 'terp can be seen here.  GO watch it, and learn a thing or two.

Florida teen faces bioterrorism charges

Do you know what your teenager is doing?

From Homeland Security News Wire:

Florida teenager faces bioterrorism charges

24 January 2014

Jesse Korff, 19, of Labelle, Florida is facing federal charges in New Jersey for selling poison through a black marketplace on the underground Internet. Law enforcement says from November 2013 through 15 January this year, Korff produced, stockpiled, and sold abrin for use as a weapon. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers abrin, which is extracted from the seeds of the rosary pea plant, a subset of biological agents and toxins posing a threat to public health and safety. Small doses of abrin are potentially lethal to humans if ingested, inhaled, or injected.

“The criminal complaint alleges Jesse Korff was willing to sell a potentially deadly toxin to a stranger over the Internet,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement. “He allegedly peddled the poison on a virtual black market of illegal and dangerous goods, hidden in the shadow of a secretive computer network favored by cybercriminals.”

“We’re talking basically a biohazard type situation,” Special Agent Dave Couvertier, with the FBI’s Tampa office, said. “Potentially a weapon of mass destruction, depending on how you utilize it.”...

There is more here.

Thank you for your Service: Now go find a job

As our Troops are welcomed home, the Military in at least three of our countries continues to  ruthlessly slash Defence (and Defense) budgets.  Men and women who have served us honorably are now being told:  "Thanks, now go away."

Found this on the British Army site (and if you think this is "only in Britain" you are NOT paying attention. Read on:

Final tranche of Army redundancies

23 January 2014

Details of the fourth and final set of armed forces redundancies have been announced by the Defence Secretary.

The restructuring of the armed forces is a step closer today, with the size and scope of the fourth and final set of armed forces redundancies having been set out by the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

These redundancies are not new and are the last tranche of the armed forces redundancy programme that was announced in the strategic defence and security review in October 2010.

They also mark the end of the uncertainty our personnel have faced over the past few years.

All three services have worked hard to limit the numbers of personnel involved throughout the armed forces redundancy programme which has meant that this final tranche will only consist of up to 1,505 personnel.

'Support they need'

This will include a maximum of 1,425 soldiers, 10 medical officers from the Royal Navy and 70 medical personnel from the RAF.

MOD has also ensured that there is a robust resettlement process and a generous tax-free payment in place for all those who are selected for redundancy to help make their transition to civilian life as smooth as possible.

This package has been further enhanced this year and personnel selected for redundancy this June will be able to get a loan as an advance of their redundancy payment to help them buy their own home.

Mr Hammond said:

"Tough decisions had to be made to balance the defence budget and this included restructuring the armed forces to create a more sustainable military....

You KNOW there is more, HERE.



Yes, my favourite stories!

From the British Army:

Pictured: 1 RHA, escorted by the Royal Artillery Band march through the streets of Doncaster.

Crowds of people lined the streets of Doncaster today to welcome home the soldiers of the 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, following their recent tour of Afghanistan.

An Artillery gun used by the regiment in Afghanistan was fired over the city to signal the start of the parade that also marked the end of a decade on military operations.

Accompanied by the Band of the Royal Artillery, the 250 soldiers led by 22 horses from the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery paraded outside the Civic Hall where 22 troops were presented with their Afghanistan operational medals.

Images by Cpl Si Longworth; Crown copyright

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NASA: Center Renamed in Honor of Neil A. Armstrong

From NASA:

This photograph shows Neil Armstrong next to the X-15 rocket-powered aircraft after a research flight. President Barack Obama has signed HR 667, the congressional resolution that redesignates NASA's Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, into law. The resolution also names Dryden's Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Both Hugh Dryden and Neil Armstrong are aerospace pioneers whose contributions are historic to NASA and the nation as a whole. NASA is developing a timeline to implement the name change.

Neil A. Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue University and a master's in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He was a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952. During the Korean War he flew 78 combat missions. In 1955 he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA's predecessor, as a research pilot at Lewis Laboratory in Cleveland.

Armstrong later transferred to NACA's High Speed Flight Research Station at Edwards AFB, Calif., later named NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. As a research project test pilot over the course of seven years at the center from 1955 through 1962, he was in the forefront of the development of many high-speed aircraft. He was one of only 12 pilots to fly the hypersonic X-15 as well as the first of 12 men to later walk on the moon. In all, he flew more than 200 different types of aircraft.
Image Credit: NASA

US Husband and wife Marines deploy together to AFG

From British Forces News:

Published on Jan 21, 2014
When troops deploy to Afghanistan, it normally means leaving their loved ones behind and spending months apart.

But two US Marines, who have been married for three years, have just begun a year-long tour at Camp Leatherneck together, the first time they have deployed together.

Sergeant Andrew Johnson has already completed two tours of Iraq as a canine handler, searching for IEDs with his dog. But for Sergeant Frances Johnson this is her first deployment.

While Andrew and Frances are in Afghanistan together, there is one key member of the family who is far away. Their two year-old son Noah, who is being cared for by grandparents back home in Colorado.

Noah's parents could be deployed for up to a year. But Andrew and Frances want to make sure they are still part of their son's life even though they are thousands of miles apart.

British Forces News spoke to them in Camp Leatherneck.

GO HERE for video (they won't allow pun intended!)

Syria: Al Qaeda Training Western Citizens for Terror Abroad

From Israel National News
 by Tova Dvorin 

Al-Qaeda has been using the influx of foreign nationals to Syria to train potential terrorists to begin cells abroad, specifically in the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU), Britain's The Telegraph reported Monday

A defector from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and Western security sources confirmed to the British news agency what UK and other intelligence officials have long suspected: that at least some foreign nationals who leave to fight in the Syrian civil war plan to use their experience and training there to attack their native countries upon their return. 

The defector, speaking from the Turkish border - a route commonly taken by foreign Islamist fighters into Syria - said that Al Qaeda has been training recruits from Europe, the UK and the US how to make and detonate car bombs and suicide vests in anticipation of being sent home to start new terror cells.

“They talked often about terrorist attacks," the defector, who would only give the name of Murad, stated to the British daily. "The foreigners were proud of 9/11 and the London bombings. The British, French and American mujahideen [holy warriors] in the room started talking about places that they wanted to bomb or explode themselves in Europe and the United States. Everyone named a target. The American said he dreamed of blowing up the White House.”

In December, reports surfaced that the UK had revoked the citizenship of several nationals fighting in the Syrian Civil War. The goal, ostensibly, was to prevent its nationals from returning home and bringing fundamentalist Islam with them. 

Syrian Foreign Minister Feisal Mekdad stated to BBC last week that Western officials have reached out to the Syrian regime over the jihadists, in light of the news that hundreds of foreign nationals were involved in terror there. 

And earlier this month, a Lebanese TV channel exposed how British Islamists led by notorious preacher Anjem Choudary were actively recruiting Muslims to fight in Syria.

This report presents the first official confirmation from a Syrian rebel source that Western fighters are being trained to perpetuate terror abroad. The Telegraph estimates that at least 500 British citizens have joined the fighting in the war-torn country - and that the situation is only getting worse. 

The Syrian Civil War has been the ground zero for an all-out holy war between Sunni and Shia Muslims, in the wake of an uprising by the Syrian people against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who identifies with the Alawite sect, which is an offshoot of Shia islam.

Foreign nationals have poured into Syria to fight on both sides of the conflict, raising concerns that the increasingly sectarian conflict could spill over into not only neighboring countries (as has already occurred in Lebanon and Iraq), but even further afield, as Islamist fighters from across the globe receive ideological instruction and battlefield experience which they could potentially take back home with them.

The foreign national problem is not a new one. Canadian, American, and European fighters have made jihad videos from Syria; British Muslims, in particular, have been flocking to the war from all sectors of society. 

Al Qaeda officials have been suspected of reaching out specifically to British university graduates, according a Daily Mail report last month. Some British Muslim women have also been joining the rebel forces, marrying Islamists "in the name of a global Jihad".

   Pay attention.