A U.S. Black Hawk chopper went down off the Yemen coast in a reported training accident on August 25.
Although five service members were rescued, one is still missing. The incident is being investigated by Central Command, under the leadership of General Joseph Votel. Votel reportedly visited the Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border just days before.
The U.S. military maintains a small special operations base near Yemen’s port of Mukalla to facilitate an ongoing campaign targeting al-Qaeda loyalists there. The Pentagon has conducted more than 80 airstrikes in Yemen this year, officials say.
Also, Stars and Stripes indicates this is the same Special Ops outfit that conducted the disastrous Yemen raid in January, leaving two Americans (usually cited as one because the Federal Government doesn’t want to emphasize we fatally shot Obama-executed Anwar al-Awlaki‘s eight-year old daughter in the neck), multiple civilian women and children, and an American MV-22 Osprey helicopter destroyed:
Stars and Stripes reports our Horn of Africa operations are primarily waged against al-Qaeda.
al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is reportedly the second-largest branch of al-Qaeda. According to Wikipedia, the branch is the most dangerous al-Qaeda arm currently, and emerged as central leadership of the terrorist organization weakened.
AQAP claimed responsibility for the fatal 2009 Little Rock, AR recruiting office shooting perpetrated by Abdulhakim Muhammad.
British terrorist Salman Abedi (below) detonated himself with a suicide vest following a concert by has-been U.S. pop star Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena, England on May 22.
Besides Abedi, 22 adults and children were killed, with hundreds injured.
Britain and France were sitting on information that Abedi had recently traveled to Syria and was linked to ISIS. He also stopped in Libya during the month prior to the attack. (Abedi’s parents apparently fled Gaddafi’s Libya in the 1990s.)
According to telegraph.co.uk,
Abedi’s sister, Jomana, suggested he carried out the attack for revenge on US air strikes in Syria.
“I think he saw children—Muslim children—dying everywhere, and wanted revenge,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge. Whether he got that is between him and God.”
Libyan authorities told BBC2 that Abedi’s younger brother Hashim, currently under investigation for ties to ISIS, had known Salman was planning an attack:
“[W]hen we arrested and we asked him, [Hashim] told us, ‘I have ideology with my brother. I know everything about my brother, what he was doing there in Manchester’.”
It was suggested that since Salman Abedi lived in Whalley Range, Manchester near “expert bomb-maker” Abd al-Baset Azzouz, 51, terrorist leader of a Libyan faction of ISIS’ rival group, al-Qaeda, Abedi’s bomb may have been manufactured locally.
This all hit closer stateside because British police briefly (for about one day) suspended intelligence sharing with U.S. security. Leaks, they said.
A diplomatic tiff broke out after the New York Times published photos on Wednesday appearing to show debris from the crime scene, including bloodstained fragments from the bomb.
The move outraged British police and government officials, and prompted Mr Trump to address the matter during a visit to Brussels.
Reuters also noted in wake of the Manchester attack:
With the official threat level raised to “critical”, meaning a further attack could be imminent, troops have been deployed to free up police, and armed officers patrolled trains for the first time in Britain.
Another Trump leak was noted by the Washington Post:
In a New York Times article, Trump is quoted as saying, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” Aside from the irony of the statement itself, it is appalling that an American president should be caught boasting about obstructing justice to the representative of a power that is so expert on the topic.
“I faced great pressure because of Russia,” Trump went on. “That’s taken off.” So the president is delusional as well as dishonorable.
And yet. How in God’s name did the reporter gain access to a discussion in the Oval Office? According to the article, the “memcon” — the memorandum of conversation — was “read to The New York Times by an American official” […] [This document] typically would not have even been given to the director of the CIA.
This post has been updated 5/7/17 at 8:00 AM, including its title. The previous title, “Fighting Death with More Death,” was inaccurate because there were reportedly no casualties at the airfield from some sources; Syrian officials reported 15 dead.
Time to play war! U.S. President Donald Trump, after what had to be at least 15 minutes of careful consideration, reacted to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad reportedly gassing citizens in Khan Shaykhun with sarin (this is poisonous) on April 4 by hitting the al-Shayrat airfield in Khan Shaykhun that we think was used to launch the sarin gas. Well, sort of hitting it. ABC of Australia reported at the time:
The base was where US officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off.
The Russian Defence Ministry said the attack destroyed six planes in repair hangers, but said only 23 of the rockets hit the target and it was not clear where the other 36 landed, according to Russian news agencies.
Sometimes we have to get shown up by Russia on an international stage because they will call out American failures to score political points. See later in this article.
In a statement, the office of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called the attack “reckless” and “irresponsible”, saying it showed Washington was “naively pulled behind a false propaganda campaign”.
According to CNN, Assad’s original sarin spray on a rebel-held town killed more than 80 people and injured more than 500, according to a Syrian Civil Defense report on the attacks.
[Of note, the August 2013 sarin gas attack on Ghouta, Syria civilians, believed to be perpetrated by Assad, killed 1,429 people […] including at least 426 children according to a preliminary U.S. intelligence report. That attack led to America and Russia removing Syria’s chemical weapons. Or did it? See later in this article.]
Regarding the U.S. actions this time around, Russia was pissed:
Russian President Vladimir Putin [said] the US strike broke international law and seriously hurt US-Russia relations.
News agencies citing Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he regarded the US action as “aggression against a sovereign nation” on a “made-up pretext” and as a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq.
Mr Peskov was quoted as saying Russia did not believe that Syria possessed chemical weapons and the US move would inevitably create a serious obstacle to creating an international coalition to fight terrorism, an idea Mr Putin has repeatedly pushed.
Russia said it would now suspend a deal with the US to help prevent mid-air collisions over Syria.
The deal meant Russia and the US would exchange information about their flights to avoid incidents in the crowded skies over Syria.
[Next time, we should just blindfold all our pilots voluntarily. Same danger, but Russia–our ally???–won’t be unnecessarily antagonized.]
Trump supporters were pissed:
In France, National Front leader [and presidential candidate] Marine Le Pen […] appeared to distance herself from Trump, saying on Twitter that she “strongly condemned” the “horrible” strike on the Syrian airbase.
Right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, who campaigned for Trump, wrote on Twitter: “Those who wanted us meddling in the Middle East voted for other candidates.” […] “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast,” she wrote. “Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV.”
And Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) called on Trump to consult on Congress. “While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked,” Paul said. “The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate.”
Fortunately, some of our allies with nukes appeared to take America’s side:
[Current] French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — with whom Trump has had particularly chilly relations — said that Syrian President Bashar al “Assad is entirely responsible for the development of the situation.”
Stateside, conservative leaders were split. Hugh Hewitt and Mark Levin, conservative radio hosts, applauded Trump’s decision, according to New York Times.
But Richard Spencer, a “far-right activist and white nationalist…who coined the term ‘alt-right'” condemned the attack.
In fact, the Times noted the most vocal in their outrage were leaders from the small but vocal white nationalist movement.
Brian Williams Babbles
Disgraced “journalist” Brian Williams, who endured a six-month suspension as lead anchor for NBC Nightly News in 2015 after making multiple on-air references to his daring jaunt in 2003 Iraq that turned out to be fabricated, called the American weapons launch “beautiful“:
“We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Williams Thursday night. “I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’”
CNN had some great excerpts of Hillary Clinton urging Trump from a New York City “Women in the World” summit in the hours before the strike to pursue that particular violent option.
“Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days. And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”
“I wish, obviously I wish that the international community writ large had been able to rein this in.”
[“writ large” is a fancy term for “I’m more rich and powerful than you little people, so I will make up a phrase.”]
She then talked about “the Comey letter,” “Wikileaks,” and “misogyny.” The full transcript was not available, but we assume she was reflecting on her election loss to Donald Trump.
Hillary also mentioned the Republicans had talked about “repeal and replace[ment]” of Obamacare for seven years, but “I don’t know that any of them had ever read the bill!”
On Friday April 7, as the legal community began to examine Trump’s unilateral decision to assault Syria, Hillary doubled down on her support of the strikes, this time with a more “it’s the world’s responsibility” tone and less of a “that’s somewhere I could have bombed as Secretary of State but I had to resign and run for president” admission.
“Look, Syria’s been a wicked problem for a very long time. And the images of innocent people, of parents and especially of children suffering in the aftermath of that most recent deadly gas attack were more appalling than I certainly can put into words. As I said yesterday afternoon, it is essential that the world does more to deter Assad from committing future murderous atrocities. But the action taken last night needs to be followed by a broader strategy to end Syria’s civil war and to eliminate ISIS strongholds on both sides of the border. So I hope this administration will move forward in a way that is both strategic and consistent with our values. And I also hope that they will recognize that we cannot in one breath speak of protecting Syrian babies and in the next close America’s doors to them.”
We do not have the most stellar record for slaughtering Syrians.
America dropped thousands of bombs in seven countries last year. Our executive branch has operated behind a 2001 Authorization of Military Force instead of declaring war on any country for the past 16 years.
The vast majority of the 26,171 American bombs detonated in 2016 were dropped in Iraq and Syria. Syria received 12,192. It’s okay because the candidates pandered to taxpayers during the campaign about our responsibility to shelter the refugees we helped create.
On September 17, 2016, America led 37 airstrikes in Deir al-Zour, Syria. While they were reportedly trying to hit ISIS, about 100 friendly Syrian army troops were killed instead. Oops. New York Times got this intelligence from Russia because the American military likes to sweep its utterly unconstitutional destruction sessions under the rug whenever possible.
New York Times:
The United States acknowledged on Saturday that its warplanes had carried out an airstrike in Syria that resulted in the deaths of Syrian government troops. American military officials said the pilots in the attack, in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, believed they were targeting the Islamic State.
A partial cease-fire that started on Monday continues to steadily unravel after it was declared with much fanfare by the United States and Russia.
We’re like that guy no one invited to the party who ends up accidentally burning down the bar.
At least we didn’t get put in our place by Russia, our global rival, right?
A statement by United States Central Command said that the planes stopped the attack after a warning from Russia that the strikes could be hitting Syrian troops.
A senior Obama administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the strike was still being investigated, said the United States had relayed its regrets to the Syrian government through the Russians for the “unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces” fighting the Islamic State.
Syria’s government labeled the disaster “a very serious and flagrant aggression” that aided the Islamic State and proved its long-held assertion that the United States supports the jihadist group as part of an effort to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
“These attacks confirmed that the U.S. clearly supports the terrorism of Daesh,” SAMA television, a state-run news outlet, said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The channel quoted a statement issued by the Syrian military’s general command, which said the attack exposed “false claims of fighting terrorism” by the United States.
[U.S.] Central Command, known as Centcom, denied it would carry out such an airstrike on purpose.
New York Times spoke with “a Centcom [U.S. Central Command] official who requested anonymity because the episode was still being investigated”:
The attack went on for about 20 minutes, with the planes destroying the vehicles and gunning down dozens of people in the open desert, the official said. Shortly after this, an urgent call came into the American military command center in Qatar, the outpost in the Persian Gulf that coordinates the aerial campaign in Syria and Iraq.
The call was from a Russian official who said that the American planes were bombing Syrian troops and that the strike should immediately be called off. The Centcom official said the attack was halted within minutes, but not until dozens had been killed.
NYT confirmed with the perpetrators:
“Coalition forces believed they were striking a Daesh fighting position that they had been tracking for a significant amount of time before the strike,” the Centcom statement said. “The coalition airstrike was halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military.”
Our bumbling UN ambassador at the time:
Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, accused Russia of pulling a “stunt” by calling for an emergency Security Council meeting over the episode.
But wait. So we killed some innocent people. The enemy [ISIS, we think] were not otherwise helped by hundreds of millions of dollars of unconstitutional American bombing accidentally hitting the wrong target. Were they?
The Syrian Army Command said that American warplanes had bombed an army base on Al-Tharda mountain at 5 p.m., allowing “a wide terrorist offensive” by the Islamic State that allowed it to seize the base.
Interestingly, hawk Hillary may have missed her chance to bomb Syria as she did Libya (total success, that operation) as she prepared to resign the Secretary position.
According to CNN:
The Obama administration asked Congress in August 2013 for authorization to launch a military strike on Syria [six months after Hillary resigned as Secretary of State]. That vote never happened after a preliminary agreement was struck to remove chemical weapons from Syria.
Of the chemical weapons removal America supervised at that time because we are the world’s security force, Hillary said,
“Who knows whether they hid some or they bought more. We don’t know. We just know the impact.”
All emphasis is ours.
It is unclear how many casualties resulted from Trump’s strike on the airfield. According to Wikipedia: zero. But just as only some of the missiles actually hit the airfield, the Syrian capabilities to launch sarin gas were reportedly only weakened. Guardian:
Observers had reported the base had been badly destroyed by the 1,000lb warheads and that several planes and a runway had been put out of service. However it is thought that an advance warning given by the US to Russia allowed Syria enough time to remove many of its aircraft before the raid.
“Although the strike will further weaken the overall air defense and ground attack capabilities of the (Syrian air force), it will not significantly diminish the ability of the Assad regime to conduct further chemical weapons attacks,” wrote analyst Reed Foster of the defense and intelligence publication Jane’s.
In addition to Assad’s possession of 20 additional airbases,
Syrian government officials said the [al-Shayrat] base has played an instrumental role in the fight against the Islamic State group, which until recently controlled the historic town of Palmyra in Homs province.
“This very airport that was attacked by the United States has been fighting against terrorists for the last six years,” Buthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Mr Assad, said.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, said the attacks had fatally undermined Moscow’s initial trust in the new US administration and brought the countries to the “the verge of a military clash.”
March 20: Business Insider reported that 1,100 American soldiers would deploy to Poland starting in April.
“This is a mission, not a cycle of training events,” U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Steven Gventer, who heads the battlegroup, told a news conference. “The purpose is to deter aggression in the Baltics and in Poland … We are fully ready to be lethal.”
The Americans are part of a NATO force of about 4,000, which will reportedly prevent, if necessary, Vladimir Putin from further invading Poland. Putin “annexed” the Crimea in 2014. The peninsula, according to Wikipedia, is currently run by Russia as Republic of Crimea and a separate “Russian federal city” of Sevastopol.
British, Canadian and German forces will be stationed alongside America.
Undeterred from his disastrous Yemen strike that killed one American Navy Seal, one American girl (age eight) and many innocent people (estimates vary; Politifact reports “dozens”), President Trump reportedly gave the CIA authority on March 20 to conduct drone strikes (beyond whatever they’re already doing covertly).
This seems unwise, given the CIA’s vast web of paramilitary activities in the name of America. And the fact that they personally have already droned at least one American (Warren Weinstein) by accident in January 2015. Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, a fellow hostage of al Qaeda (not ISIS…different terror group we’re bumbling to bomb indiscriminately with hordes of collateral damage) was also destroyed. President Obama said he was sorry.
In expanding the George W. Bush policy of killing from the air, Obama admitted to over 100 civilian casualties outside war zones, and doubled down on the necessity of drones.
Meanwhile on March 25, the United States admitted they were behind a March 17 assault on ISIS in Mosul that may or may not have destroyed 100 or so citizens accidentally. Oops.
Altaf Musani of the World Health Organization in Iraq said of the wounded referred to hospitals:
“When you take a better look at what those numbers mean, what is worrying for the WHO and aid actors is that roughly 30 percent of the total numbers are women. Roughly 30 percent of that large number are children under 15, and that is deeply concerning because of the capacities needed to treat those wounded coming out of the front lines.”
Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi was not pleased. According to Yahoo!, he described the incident as a “humanitarian catastrophe,” blaming the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and excessive use of force by militarized Federal Police forces. Al-Nujaifi put the number of civilians killed at “hundreds.” He called for an emergency parliament session and an immediate investigation into the incident.
NPR, who provided the above photo of the wreckage, noted that [United States] Central Command said that an initial review of strike data from March 16-23 indicates that “the Coalition struck ISIS fighters and equipment, March 17, in West Mosul at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties.”
Part of the difficulty inherent in policing the world (our prerogative because Americans and their military always know what is best for everyone) is that ISIS hides in residential areas, essentially using “human shields” to bait U.S. airstrikes that then kill innocent people, as we have previously reported.
The Department of Defense tried to spin recent operations as a success, reporting to Fox News that Qari Yasin was killed in a “counter-terrorism airstrike” on March 19.
Image from dailymail.co.uk.
“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” said Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
According to New York Times, Yasin planned the 2008 Islamabad, Pakistan hotel bombing that killed 50 people including two Americans:
More than 50 people were killed when a six-wheel dump truck carrying explosives blew up at the entrance of the hotel, which was a prominent meeting place for foreigners and leading Pakistanis. Among the dead were Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez of the United States Air Force and Matthew J. O’Bryant, a cryptologic technician and a third class petty officer in the Navy. More than 260 people were wounded.
Mr. Yasin was also linked to a 2009 attack in which gunmen using rifles, grenades and rockets assaulted a bus that was transporting the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Six Pakistani police officers and two civilians were killed, and half a dozen members of the cricket team were wounded, including a British coach. Since then, Pakistan has been forced to play most of its home matches in the United Arab Emirates.
UPDATE: March 27:
BuzzFeed reported the Pentagon was still combing through 700 videos of the bombing:
“We look through those videos initially” to determine if it achieved the mission, Air Force Col. John Thomas, a CENTCOM spokesman explained, and there was no indication internally that civilians may have died. The videos were taken over the 10-day period before and after the strike, whose exact date still has yet to be determined but took place sometime between March 17-23.
The American military-industrial complex, reigning from the sky, is in complete control and knows exactly what they’re doing. Except when exactly they did it. And what they actually did. Like a hungover frat boy rummaging through his GoPro footage the next morning. “Let’s see how many deaths I was able to cause with my hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.”
[R]eporters from Rudaw arrived at the strike site and alleged there more than 200 deaths had resulted from the attack [sic].
The US’s inability to determine the massive damage its strike caused during a key battle against ISIS is the latest example that, short of independent observers on the ground, there is no way to know how many civilians have died because of coalition strikes in the war against the militant group.
Local reports put the death toll Monday at 260, which if determined to be caused by a coalition strike, would be the deadliest civilian casualty incident in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003. It is also the third accusation US officials said they were investigating in the past 10 days. The Pentagon is also is trying to determine if civilians died in two strikes in Syria in the last two weeks — at a potential mosque in Jinah, Syria, targeting al Qaeda and a second strike at a school outside of Raqqa that local officials said was being used as a shelter for displaced civilians. In all, the strikes are alleged to have killed more than 350 people.
Never has the US been accused of killing so many in such a short period of time. According to Airwars.org, there have been 1,000 alleged civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria by coalition airstrikes in the month of March alone, a record high since the US-led coalition’s strikes began.
In addition to the growing accusations of civilian casualties, in recent weeks, the US military has been increasingly opaque about its effort in Iraq and Syria.Last month, the US military moved Marines into Syria as part of a staging effort for the upcoming battle for the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital. The move took place without a public announcement beforehand. On Monday, CENTCOM said it would no longer give figures for future troop deployments in Iraq and Syria, saying it will instead provide rough unit sizes.
“It’s about capabilities not numbers,” Thomas explained.
You just keep the checks flowing, taxpayers in whose name we shed unconstitutional blood. Don’t worry your pretty little heads over the details.
[T]he alleged deaths have not sparked any outrage in Washington or demands for clarity on how the US deals with civilians in the midst of dense urban spaces. There have been no questions from Capitol Hill about the strike, nor has the White House mentioned it. That may change Tuesday when Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee.
On March 29, the Pentagon began a “formal investigation” into the Mosul civilian deaths.
On April 30, the Pentagon announced American strikes in Syria and Iraq against ISIS have killed 352 civilians since 2014, including 45 between last November and March 2017.
But, Reuters notes:
The military’s official tally is far below those of other outside groups. Monitoring group Airwars said more than 3,000 civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes.
“We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives … and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan suffered at least 30 civilian deaths with 50 wounded when ISIS militants apparently infiltrated disguised as doctors and started shooting.
ISIS claimed responsibility through their propaganda news agency Aamaq.
According to Washington Post, SMDK hospital is close to the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan:
The assault Wednesday began when a vehicle bomb detonated outside the front gates […]
Almost immediately afterward, witnesses and officials said, gunmen already inside the hospital, wearing white medical coats, pulled out concealed assault rifles and began shooting. At least four attackers were involved, some of whom took cover on the second floor.
The Independent provided this image that ISIS propaganda claims to show one of their militants disguised as medical personnel.
This was not quite as efficient as the Afghan government reportedly deceiving the U.S. into razing a hospital from the air to get revenge on Taliban, but ISIS has much less military budget than the overgrown American military.
In other violent American control of the planet news, General Joseph Votel on March 9 assumed responsibility for Trump’s disastrous January Yemen raid that killed a Navy Seal, a young American girl and approximately 30 civilians:
“First and foremost I am responsible for this mission. I am the CENTCOM commander and I am responsible for what’s done in my region and what’s not done in my region. So I accept the responsibility for this. We lost a lot on this operation.”
Votel had said of the December 2015 Doctors Without Borders hospital massacre by the United States: “They were absolutely trying to do the right thing.”
Yahoo! News had some updates by Isabel Coles of Reuters and photos of the U.S.-led supported bombing campaign of Mosul, Iraq as politically-motivated public debates as to how many refugees would be granted American refugee privileges faded with the ashes of the 2016 election.
The pictures are unfortunately disabled from “copy and paste.”
Reportedly, belligerents include Islamic State, who have controlled Mosul since 2014, and the Iraqi forces supported by America and other allies.
According to The Telegraph, Iraq deployed 30,000 troops last October for the latest wave of the Battle for Mosul. This means they greatly outnumber the jihadis and represent the largest invasion force since over 100,000 Americans led Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 alongside Polish, British and Australian forces.
While the Iraqis reclaimed the airport and other areas of west Mosul, the city’s residential neighborhoods are now caught in crossfire. Reuters has the estimate at 750,000 civilians.
“It’s strange and terrifying,” said a young woman who was barely visible in the gloom of a basement under her house in the Josaq district, where she went into hiding after giving birth to a baby girl 72 days ago. “I rarely go upstairs.”
If they defeat Islamic State in Mosul that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Unlike Islamic State, the United States is operating with no declaration of war.
Students at Kellogg Community College in Michigan brought a lawsuit against the college, demanding attorney’s fees, damages and a jury trial. Three students were arrested and jailed last September for handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus.
[Watchdog says three students; Detroit News reports only two were jailed.]
KCC students Michelle Gregoire and Brandon Withers were distributing “pocket-sized” copies of the American Constitution for their chapter of [trigger warning] Young Americans for Liberty.
The “obstruction to education,” per KCC.
School officials ordered the obviously radical and dangerous behavior because Gregoire and Withers, apparently associated with the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, had no permit.
[Apparently Gregoire had difficulty establishing the YAL chapter at KCC to begin with because while administration demanded she have five members minimum, she was also obstructed from approaching students to garner interest. After reserving a Student Center table as instructed for this recruitment, she was still forbidden from approaching or calling out to students.]
The school’s solicitation policy requires students to obtain permission from the school before they engage in expressive activity on campus and only in one location, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the college claimed the subversives were “impeding students’ access to education, even though they were not blocking sidewalks, impeding access to buildings, or pursuing students who were not willing to converse.”
“Unfortunately, restricting free speech on public university campuses has become the new norm.”
–Cliff Maloney Jr., Executive Director of YAL.
KCC’s administrator who busted up the party allegedly told Gregoire and Withers “engaging [students] in conversation on their way to educational places” violated the Solicitation Policy because it was an “obstruction to their education” to ask them questions such as “Do you like freedom and liberty?”
This administrator also, according to the lawsuit, told the YAL members that students from “rural farm areas … might not feel like they have the choice to ignore the question.”
[…] [Administrator Drew Hutchinson, above] also allegedly told [Gregoire and Withers] that many students from Calhoun County “are growing up on a farm, or they don’t have Wi-Fi, they don’t have internet, you know it’s a very different situation, they were brought up in a very different manner.” In addition, he tried to suggest they reserve a table and continue their engagement in the Student Center, saying that “if somebody’s uncomfortable with what you guys are talking about, it’s not an impediment to their education,” according to the lawsuit.
When Gregoire […] and the others said they would not leave, KCC’s chief of public safety arrested them and charged them with trespassing.
Withers left, but Gregoire and two others were removed as criminals.
Harold West, the KCC “Public Safety Chief,” told Gregoire when she, Nathan Berning and Isaac Edikaukas [acronym attack] (VP of YAL at MSU down the road) were arrested that Gregoire was forbidden from returning to campus without West’s blessing.
The three reportedly spent seven hours in jail before they could post bond. Charges were dismissed by the county ten days later.
The United States dropped some bombs on ISIS, with whom we are not at war, at the cost of $8.8 million for a 34-hour run, according to Yahoo! News. Spirit of Pennsylvania and Spirit of Georgia were the B-2 bombers that carried out the attack.
Reuters reported that [m]ore than 80 Islamic State militants, some of whom were believed to be plotting attacks in Europe, died in U.S. air strikes on camps outside the group’s former North African stronghold of Sirte in Libya, the United States said on Thursday.
“These strikes were directed against some of ISIL’s external plotters.”
— outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who used the incorrect acronym “ISIL” for the ISIS, which Obama insists on using even though it is really ISIS.
Carter continued with the following well-reasoned justification for killing the North Africans:
“They certainly are people who … were actively plotting operations in Europe, and may also have been connected with some attacks that have already occurred in Europe.”
No evidence was provided.
The CIA unveiled “revised rules for collecting, analyzing and storing information on American citizens,” according to Reuters.
The guidelines were published two days before President elect-Donald Trump is sworn into office and may be changed by the new administration. Trump has said he favors stronger government surveillance powers, including the monitoring of “certain” mosques in the United States.
It is unclear how the NSA, which currently collects the phone records and emails of every American, every day, will respond to the rival intelligence agency’s move.
The rules can be found here (not a link…copy and paste):
According to Fox News, the expiring Obama administration eased Federal Agency collaboration to collect data on Americans.
On Jan. 3, outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch secretly signed an order directing the National Security Agency — America’s 60,000-person-strong domestic spying apparatus — to make available raw spying data to all other federal intelligence agencies, which then can pass it on to their counterparts in foreign countries and in the 50 states upon request. She did so, she claimed, for administrative convenience.
Now, because of the Lynch secret order, revealed by The New York Times late last week, the NSA may share any of its data with any other intelligence agency or law enforcement agency that has an intelligence arm based on — you guessed it — the non-standard of governmental need.
Los Angeles Times published video of the 2015 fatal shooting of James Hall, 47, by police in Fontana, CA…incidentally, near San Bernardino where Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik slaughtered 14 people, citing ISIS inspiration, in December 2015.
[The attack developed into an extensive debate on security versus privacy, in which the FBI deliberately tampered with an iPhone at the crime scene, attempted to blackmail Apple into creating software to compromise the security of all iPhones, emotionally manipulated the American people with a sappy “open letter” from James Comey, and eventually paid a hacker $1,000,000 to reopen the phone. Reportedly, nothing of any significance was found.]
Mr. Hall first appears playing with the automatic doors of a Chevron convenience store as Fontana police arrive on scene. Hall appears to knock some food off the shelves, then run to the soda fountain in the corner where he is gunned down.
Hall’s family is suing over the 11/22/15 killing, and their lawyers presented the video to the press.
According to the department’s initial account, police were called after the convenience store’s clerk reported a possible robbery in progress and indicated that the suspect was “armed with a knife.”
Officers arrived […] about 4:15 a.m. Police said Hall had a knife in one hand and a large rock in the other.
Authorities said police tried to coax Hall into surrendering but alleged that he advanced toward officers, prompting the police to shoot.
Hall was reportedly schizophrenic and legally blind.
And on January 20:
Retired Marine General James Mattis was confirmed to be President Trump’s Defense Secretary. According to CBS News, Mattis, 66, called out Russia as a “principal threat” and called for the military to develop an “integrated strategy” to defeat ISIS.
Multiple sources reported Senator Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) was the lone dissenting vote.
Business Insider reported that Obama’s eight-year presidency took the U.S. national debt from $10,699,805,000,000 to $19,970,000,000,000, an increase of 86%.
On the 15th, Obama declared on 60 Minutes that his was the first administration in history to be “scandal-free”:
The sentiment was echoed by the media:
The 60 Minutes host pointed out that Obama did not, as he promised in 2008, change Washington culture with his presidency. Obama asserted that “I changed the things in Washington that were in my direct control.”
From the CBS transcript, the precise (incomprehensible) quote, should they decide to remove the video:
“I changed those things that were in direct– my direct control. I mean, I– look, I’m proud of the fact that, with two weeks to go, we’re part of the first administration in modern history that hasn’t had a major scandal in the White House. In that sense, we changed some things.”
On the 16th, Noor Salman, wife of ISIS-inspired Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen, was picked up in San Francisco by the FBI.
Prosecutors reportedly claimed “[Salman] knew [Mateen] was going to conduct the attack.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office claims Salman aided and abetted her husband’s “provision of material support” to the terror group ISIL, also known as ISIS.
She also faces charges of misleading federal agents and Fort Pierce, Florida, police officers.
A conviction on the “material support” charge could lead to up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The obstruction of justice could result in up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
No bond was allowed.
Salman’s attorney was initially public defender John Paul Richmond. However,
Salman’s lawyer, Linda Moreno, who was not in court today, said in a statement to ABC News Monday, “Noor Salman had no foreknowledge, nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night. Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person.”
Salman will be extradited to Florida.
UPDATE: As of March 2, after Oakland, CA magistrate Judge Donna Ryu ruled Salman, 31, could be released on bail, U.S. District Judge Paul Byron of Orlando said “uh-uh,” according to New York Daily News.
On the 17th, Obama commuted the remaining jail sentence of Chelsea Manning, The Hill reported.
When pressed to justify pardoning Manning while refusing the same to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as anything more than throwing a bone to the transgender community on his way out the door, Obama’s water boy Josh Earnest sneered:
“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing.
“Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
Manning was originally sentenced to 35 years for violating the Espionage Act, the same charge the Federal Government has leveled against Snowden. The former NSA contractor Snowden leaked to the British press that the United States collects all phone records and emails of its citizens (as well as tapping the phone calls of prominent world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel) without any legal justification.
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, may enter the picture:
“If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case,” WikiLeaks tweeted last week.
Mr. Amri was killed December 23 according to Independent.
Post below lags behind true sequence of events and is updated for most recent information:
Anis Amri, 24, of Tunisia, is still being sought four days after his truck was widely reported to kill 12 and injure 48 at Breitsheidplatz Christmas Market in Berlin on December 19.
In the passenger seat was the still-smoldering corpse of truck driver Lukasz Urban of Poland, shot in the head.
(Like guns, trucks also kill people.)
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but they have claimed false credit for killings in the past to further their cause.
A reward of 100,000 euros was offered for his capture, but he is considered armed and dangerous.
CNN has provided the following “latest developments” two days ago:
(this was possible because Amri reportedly left his wallet in the truck. oops)
• Amri is 1.78 meters (5 feet 10 inches) tall and weighs about 75 kilograms (165 pounds).
[That’s a BMI of 23.7, which is very healthy!]
• The suspect was arrested in August with forged documents en route to Italy, but a judge released him, an official says.
Don’t worry about it! Enjoy your vacation! Italiano!
• The suspect arrived in Germany in 2015 and was known to be in touch with radical Islamist groups, a state minister says.
Let’s not jump to conclusions.
• The suspect’s asylum request was refused this year and deportation was attempted, state minister says.
Ok maybe we should have kept an eye on Mr. Amri.
According to Karen Müller, spokeswoman for the Berlin prosecutor, Amri had also been under police surveillance for several months until September of this year, because he was suspected of planning a burglary in Berlin to finance the purchase of weapons. The suspicion wasn’t confirmed. He was, she said, found only to be a small-time drug dealer.
[A]uthorities knew that Amri had “interacted” with Abu Walaa, a 32-year-old of Iraqi descent arrested in November on charges of recruiting and sending fighters from Germany to the Islamic State. Key evidence in Walaa’s case came from an Islamic State defector who had returned to Germany and accused Walaa of helping to recruit him and arrange his travel to Syria.
“Authorities say Anis Amri arrived in Germany in mid-2015. The 24-year-old Tunisian has six different aliases with three nationalities. Police technicians found a Germany residency card with one of those aliases in the tractor-trailer used in the attack.
“Germany had ordered Amri deported last July after intelligence agencies deemed him a threat because of his ties to Islamists in northwestern Germany. Authorities also suspected he was planning a break-in to finance a terrorist attack.
“But Tunisia refused to take him back and Amri went into hiding. He is now considered the prime suspect in Monday’s attack, although authorities say they haven’t ruled out that he had accomplices.”
Mr. Amri was reported dead in a shootout with police early this morning in Milan. The Independent:
Investigations by counter-terror police in Milan showed the .22 calibre pistol Amri used to shoot officers was the same gun that killed the driver of the lorry that ploughed into the German Christmas market.
While actual contact with ISIS has yet to be confirmed, Independent has this as of 25 minutes ago:
[Isis] acknowledged [Amri’s] death with a statement praising “another attack” on Italian police, in an attempt to spin the shooting to their advantage.
Isis also released a video of Amri pledging allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Arabic and claiming he wanted to avenge Muslims killed in Western air strikes, to “punish pig-eaters” and become a “martyr”.
Updated 11/30/16 at 12:00 PM with “Twitter” statement by Trump
President-elect Donald Trump used Twitter to broadcast an admonition of Mr. Artan this morning, stating the Somali refugee–who spent years in Pakistan prior to his Ohio State car-and-knife rampage Monday–should never have been let into America.
Original post continues below:
This may become a DEVELOPING STORY
Abdul Razak Ali Artan, Ohio State University student (above) made news Monday morning when he attacked at least eleven people on campus before being killed by campus police.
Artan, 18, used his car (reportedly pictured below) to mow down some pedestrians. After crashing from running into some police interference, he pulled out a knife and stabbed some people.
Below, the police secure the area in a Winnebago-converted-to-mobile-police-command-center
Apparently, an “active shooter on campus” message was circulated by university-wide text message. Mr. Artan reportedly had no gun, though according to several conservative media sites, Democratic lawmakers and bloggers were out for metaphorical blood:
University-wide text alert:
“Buckeye Alert: Active Shooter on campus. Run Hide Fight. Watts Hall. 19th and College.”
VP nominee Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) on Twitter:
“Deeply saddened by the senseless act of gun violence at Ohio State this morning. Praying for the injured and the entire Buckeye community”
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom:
“My thoughts are w/Ohio State this AM. We cannot let an average of 1 school shooting/wk be the normal in America. Too many lives are at stake”
Far-left blog “Vox” was out with the following Monday at 5:01 PM:
Ohio State University on Monday morning sent outmultiple alerts to students and staff to “Run Hide Fight” and take shelter to avoid an attacker on campus. Police and school officials confirmed that there had been a car-and-knife attack — not a shooting — at the university, which has nearly 60,000 students.
The story is quickly developing, so some details may be wrong and may change. Here’s what we know and what we don’t.
The guy on the right was apparently lucid enough in the aftermath to listen to his iPod.
Students text family and friends after securing the doorway.
Artan was a Somali-born permanent resident of the U.S. and arrived in 2014 after a cup of coffee in Pakistan. He was featured in the campus newspaper in August and reportedly gave the following quote:
“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen.”
Some other interesting details from CNN:
A community member who spoke to the attacker’s family described them as shocked. The community member described Artan as a good kid. She confirmed Artan had just finished community college before starting this semester at Ohio State.
Neighbor Stephanie Leper told CNN Artan’s family occupies four units. Law enforcement vehicles arrived at the town homes sometime after 10 a.m. and took people away in “paddy wagons,” she said.
It is unclear if Artan was inspired by the Bastille Day Massacre in Nice, France, in which Mohamed Salmene Lahouaiej-Bouhlel used a semi truck to run over a crowded pier on July 14 in the name of ISIS. He had a much larger kill total with 86 (and 434 injured).
Alan Horujko, 28 (above) of OSU police, fatally shot Artan
A “Facebook” post, reproduced in part below, is attributed to Artan by multiple media outlets.
The post, which we could not recover, reportedly also mentions Anwar al-Awlaki.
Unlike Mr. Artan, al-Awlaki (above) was an American citizen. He was executed by drone strike in Yemen at age 40 after President Obama personally signed off on his death. al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki, was also executed by President Obama at the age of 16.
“I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE … I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries … [if] you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks.”
ABC News reports that the post is being investigated by the FBI and was reportedly associated with a profile under the name Abdul Artan. However, that individual listed their age as 20, and has not been confirmed as the 18-year-old Artan shot in Columbus Monday.
On Tuesday, the ISIS news agency AMAQ praised the attack, according to Huffington Post:
The Islamic State news agency AMAQ posted a photo of Abdul Razak Ali Artan wearing a blue shirt and sitting with greenery in the background. It described him as a soldier of the group.
“Brother Abdul Razak Ali Artan, God accept him, implementer of the Ohio attack, a student in his third year in university,” the caption read.
Members of Columbus’ Somali community have denounced the attack.
AMAQ has claimed credit for domestic and Asian terror attacks in the name of ISIS before. Although Artan reportedly lived in Pakistan about seven years after escaping Somali as a refugee and may well have been radicalized, ISIS has inflated its worldwide image in the past by falsely claiming coordination with so-called “lone wolf” terrorists.
In other news, Associated Press reported last week via Sun Herald that police in the very same Columbus, OH have cashed in on a Department of Homeland Security grant for better crowd control of the little people [our emphasis]:
Police in Columbus have used a $40,000 Homeland Security grant to purchase high-tech audio equipment that will help control rowdy crowds in Ohio’s capital city.
Division of Police officials on Monday held a demonstration for its newest tool — a long-range acoustic device mounted atop an armored vehicle.
The LRAD can send an ear-splitting directional blast of sound that acts like a water canon to break up crowds. It also has the ability to clearly broadcast messages within a range of 1.8 miles.
Lt. Paul Ohl, the head of Columbus police’s SWAT unit, says the purchase was made after residents who have been subjected to tear gas in crowds complained that they never heard warnings to disperse.
Police declined to provide technical specifics such as the LRAD’s exact decibel level.