Monday, August 31, 2015

UK: Former Defence Chief says "Cameron lacked balls to tackle ISIS"

From The Guardian

David Cameron lacked 'balls' to head off the rise of Isis, says former defence chief 

 UK prime minister rejected Syria strategy that would have squeezed out Islamic State, Lord Richards tells biographer Sir Anthony Seldon

Francis Perraudin30 August 2015

David Cameron in 2012 rejected a ‘coherent military strategy’ to take on the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, said Lord Richards. Photograph: Mindaugas Kulbis/AP

David Cameron lacked “the balls” to take the military action in Syria that could have prevented the rise of Islamic State, a former head of the armed forces has said.

In a scathing analysis of the UK prime minister’s approach, Gen Lord Richards of Herstmonceux said Cameron’s approach seemed “more about the Notting Hill liberal agenda rather than statecraft”.

Lord Richards reportedly told author Sir Anthony Seldon that the prime minister had in 2012 rejected a “coherent military strategy” to take on the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, which would in his view have seen the Islamic extremists “squeezed out of existence”.


Lord Richards, who was chief of the defence staff from October 2010 to July 2013, is quoted as saying: “If they had the balls they would have gone through with it ... if they’d done what I’d argued, they wouldn’t be where they are with Isis.

“In Ukraine, as in Syria and Libya, there is a clear lack of strategy and statecraft. The problem is the inability to think things through. Too often it seems to be more about the Notting Hill liberal agenda rather than statecraft.”...

There's a surprise - NOT! Go read more here.

Friday, August 28, 2015

ISIS uses Facebook to hunt down - and kill - gays

There's a surprise -  NOT!!

From Christian Today:

ISIS out to exterminate all homosexuals in Mideast, uses Facebook to hunt them down
Jonah Hicap27 August 2015

The jihadist Islamic State is out to exterminate all males perceived as homosexuals in Syria and Iraq, and it uses Facebook to track them down, the head of an international gay rights organisation to the United Nations on Monday.

During a UN Security Council meeting Monday, Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), said ISIS has already killed at least 30 people for sodomy, meaning those who it perceived to be gays.

"We can say that the minimum number of executions for sodomy for which ISIS has claimed responsibility is 30. ISIS-established courts have claimed to punish sodomy with stoning, firing squads, beheadings, and by pushing men from tall buildings," Stern said said.
He said ISIS militants "are professional when it comes to tracking gay people. They hunt them down one by one. When they capture people, they go through the person's phone and contacts and Facebook friends."

"They are trying to track down every gay man. And it's like dominoes. If one goes, the others will be taken down, too," he said..

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Warrenpoint: Always remembered


At least 18 soldiers have been killed in two booby-trap bomb attacks at Warrenpoint, South Down, close to the border with the Irish Republic. 

It is the highest death toll suffered by the British Army in a single incident since it arrived in Northern Ireland to restore order a decade ago.

The IRA are believed to be behind the attack.

It came only hours after the Queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was killed in an IRA bomb attack in Donegal Bay in the Irish Republic.

The day after the bombs went-off, Officers and men from 2 Para paraded at the scene of the blast to pay their respect to their fellow soldiers


Yes, I have written about Warrenpoint before. You can find more here, here and here.

Roll of Honour

"Utrinque paratus"


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Video: Afghans trying for 'normal life'

Found this on the BBC:
Published on Aug 26, 2015

Afghans clinging to a 'normal life' despite bloodshed

The Afghan capital Kabul has suffered a series of attacks this month that have left dozens of people dead.

The Taliban says it is behind most of the violence, and it is believed to be linked to the current splits within the group after the death of their leader Mullah Omar.

The violence has raised questions about the ability of Afghan security forces to stop such attacks after the majority of coalition forces withdrew last year.

The BBC's Shaimaa Khalil met the people affected by the recent bloodshed.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Zadroga Bill: government STILL playing politics with 9/11 survivors

911 Toxic Legacy: James Zadroga

James Zadroga  who died January 5, 2006 was a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer who died of a respiratory disease that has been attributed to his participation in rescue and recovery operations in the rubble of the World Trade Center  following the September 11th attacks.  Zadroga was the first NYPD officer whose death was attributed to exposure to his contact with toxic chemicals at the attack site.

Here we are,  all these years on, and STILL the government refuses to honor the sacrifice of so many 9/11survivors by enshrining legislation - in perpetuity - to care for those who continue to  live with the illnesses caused by their exposure to the effects of the worst terrorism on US soil.

Take a look at this video that puts a human face on just a few of our 9/11 survivors:


"They deserve to be treated for as long as they live"

Fact is:  These heroes should not have to keep negotiating for what they so honorably, selflessly earned, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

From Staten Island Advance:
Grateful nation owes sick 9/11 survivors lifelong medical help (editorial)
August 17, 2015

The ailing heroes of Sept. 11, a disproportionate number of them Staten Islanders, ought not to be left to worry about the future of their vitally needed official health benefits. Making sure these survivors have the security of knowing their health needs arising from their efforts at Ground Zero will always be met is the least a grateful nation can do.

Nevertheless, under the federal government's Zadroga Act, the World Trade Center Health Program for surviving first responders and other sick victims is due to expire in September, the latest in a sequence of expiration dates which Congress has had to extend.

These benefits and the financial support provided by the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund, which is due to end in October 2016, must be made permanent.

"Our first responders answered the call of duty when our nation was under attack, and deserve to be treated by Congress as the veterans they really are," New York's Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand pointed out. "We cannot abandon the men and women who now suffer as a result of their sacrifice."

This is perfectly clear on Staten Island, which lost more than its share of victims on 9/11 and has suffered similarly ever since as the medical toll mounts....

That this is needing to still being debated is America's shame.  

[Related:  Tale of the Walking Dead ]

***To find previous columns here on the Zadroga Bill, put 'Zadroga Bill' in the search bar at top left.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UK: Afghan 'Terps still fighting British government

The local Afghanistans who risked their lives working for British Troops, are still fighting the British government who promised those 'terps that they would be welcome to resettle out of harm's way in the UK.

For years, Afghans who worked alongside our Troops have continued to be hunted and  threatened by Taleban.


Today the UK Ministry of Defence issued this statement:

Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt on Afghan interpreters

19 August 2015

The UK Government will be forever grateful for the vital support that our locally employed Afghan civilians provided to the UK and NATO allied troops. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice, while on operations alongside our forces.

Their efforts were distinct and pivotal to Afghanistan’s efforts to form a more secure, stable and prosperous future.  These individuals were willing to commit to a more positive vision for their country, alongside thousands of their countrymen and women in the Afghan National Security Forces. I saw the same spirit of commitment to the future of Afghanistan when I visited in June and met the most recent graduates of the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, including the first female graduates.

All of these brave people deserve our deep respect.  Recognising our connection to Afghans who worked directly with the Ministry of Defence, we have put in place a package of legal and fair policies for the brave men and women who worked with us for a significant time, and who were made redundant due to the drawdown of British Forces in Afghanistan....

Sounds good, yes? But for anybody who has followed the history of how our interpreters in both Afghanistan and Iraq, it is just more empty politicalspeak.

Despite all the promises made to the locals by Coalition governments, the Afghans are still waiting for the promises made to them, to be kept:

Just ONE Afghan interpreter who helped British forces has been allowed to move to the UK despite hundreds of requests from staff who have been threatened by Taliban 

The Afghan Interpreters Facing Taliban Death Threats Are Taking Britain to Court

Afghan interpreters lose High Court battle over resettlement deal

All well and good for the politicians to say "All of these brave people deserve our deep respect."

Nobody can argue with that, BUT as our 'Terps remain on the run from local Talebans determined to kill our Terps, yet again talk is cheap.  Time is long overdue to quit talking about respect, and start DOING what we promised the brave Afghans who daily risk their lives..


Sunday, August 16, 2015

SGT Mike Stokely: Always remember...

...and honour.

SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

With respect, love and gratitude for ALL the Stokely family.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Brian Terry's killer escapes death sentence

N4T Investigators: Plea deal given to man indicted in murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry

From KVOA out of Tucson:


One of the men charged in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry pleaded guilty to one count of murder, Monday morning. Once a potential candidate for the death penalty after the murder of the agent, the drawn up plea deal now states that the U.S. and the defendant will ask for 360 months imprisonment, with credit for time served since his arrest in October 2012.

The Justice Department indicted Rosario Rafael Burboa Alvarez last summer in connection with the killing. Alvarez was identified as the recruiter for the rip-off crew that ran into Terry's elite BORTAC unit in the desert in December 2010. Terry was killed in the ensuing gunfight with the rip-off crew and later two AK-47 variants found at the crime scene were identified as part of the notorious Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gunwalking operation, Operation Fast and Furious. The scandalous operation was supposed to link guns bought at a Phoenix-area gunstore to cartel gunmen trafficking the weapons to Mexico. Instead, ATF lost more than 2,000 of those weapons. Resulting congressional investigations found that the men linked to the gun purchases were being monitored by different U.S. federal agencies like DEA, the FBI and ATF, but agents weren't sharing the information with the other agencies....

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Canada: National Peacekeepers Day

Established in Canada in 2008, National Peacekeepers' Day provides an opportunity for Canadians to express the pride and respect they have toward personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and provincial and municipal police forces, as well as Canadian diplomats and civilians who have worked in support of international peace and security operations.

More than 125 000 Canadian peacekeepers have participated in dozens of international efforts over the past six decades in countries all over the world. August 9 was selected as National Peacekeepers' Day to recognize the greatest single loss of Canadian lives on a peacekeeping mission, which occurred on that date in 1974.

Read more about ‪#‎NationalPeacekeepersDay‬ on the Veterans Affairs Canada's website:

[Photo: Warrant Officer Eric Dugas (bottom) and Sergeant Pierre-Alexandre Ruegsegger (top) from 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment observe their surroundings during a presence patrol in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during ‪#‎OpHAMLET‬on September 13, 2013. Credit: MCpl Marc-Andre Gaudreault, CF Combat Camera / Caméra de combat des FC]

Friday, August 7, 2015

US: Purple Heart Day - Honor them ALL

Washington creates the Purple Heart

On this day in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the “Badge for Military Merit,” a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action” and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree’s name and regiment were also to be inscribed in a “Book of Merit.”

Washington’s “Purple Heart” was awarded to only three known soldiers during the Revolutionary War: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. The “Book of Merit” was lost, and the decoration was largely forgotten until 1927, when General Charles P. Summerall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, sent an unsuccessful draft bill to Congress to “revive the Badge of Military Merit.” In 1931, Summerall’s successor, General Douglas MacArthur, took up the cause, hoping to reinstate the medal in time for the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth. On February 22, 1932, Washington’s 200th birthday, the U.S. War Department announced the creation of the “Order of the Purple Heart.”

In addition to aspects of Washington’s original design, the new Purple Heart also displays a bust of Washington and his coat of arms. The Order of the Purple Heart, the oldest American military decoration for military merit, is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action against an enemy. It is also awarded to soldiers who have suffered maltreatment as prisoners of war.

Check out this page for all about MOPH.

Honor them ALL.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

US: Extortion 17 remembered and honoured

On August 6, 2011, a tragedy shook the military community and Americans everywhere. In a single instance, America lost 30 military service members, many of whom were members of the Navy SEAL community—and one military K9– when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was downed in Afghanistan.

Those lost included:
- 15 U.S. Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group's Gold Squadron "Team 6"
- 7 Afghan National Army Commandos, part of Afghan National Army
- 5 U.S. Naval Special Warfare support personnel.
- 3 U.S. Army Reserve personnel from the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment
- 2 U.S. Navy SEALs from a west coast based SEAL team.
- 2 U.S. Army personnel from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, part of Colorado Army National Guard
- 2 U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron
- 1 U.S. Air Force Combat Controller from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron
- 1 Afghan civilian interpreter
- 1 U.S. Military Working Dog

The 30 American deaths represent the greatest loss of U.S. military lives in a single incident in the decade-long war in Afghanistan that began in 2001.

ALWAYS remembered. Always honoured.