Tag Archives: Joseph Votel

Another Black Hawk Crash

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.

Five Missing Army Aviators Now Sought in “Recovery” rather than “Rescue”–Hawaii

According to the Post [our emphasis]:

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:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 29: Two Americans Killed

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.

Grandma Kerry Shakes Head in Regret for Terrorist He Released with Kind Intentions

And [our emphasis again],

For more than two years, Yemen’s Saudi-backed government forces—with U.S. support and munitions—have been pitted against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, leading to a devastating humanitarian crisis.

[…]

Also this month, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Australia. The Marine Corps announced Friday it had recovered the bodies of three Marines killed in that crash.

The Post has a more basic explanation of our “double death and destruction” presence in Yemen:

While the U.S. has remained focused on striking al-Qaeda, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia — and backed by the Pentagon — has waged a parallel war against Iranian-backed Houthi militants.

Don’t forget about al-Qaeda rival ISIS, who also wage guerrilla warfare in Yemen:

ISIS Bombings

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/08/26/american-service-member-missing-after-black-hawk-helicopter-crash-off-yemen/?utm_term=.862c992de377

https://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/soldier-missing-5-rescued-after-black-hawk-crash-off-yemen-coast-1.484567#.WaF_RCiGNPZ

March 8: ISIS Emulates American Strategy to Target Afghan Hospital

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:

WP:

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.

kabul-hospital-attack-3.jpg

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.

U.S. Bombs Hospital–UPDATE

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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:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 29: Two Americans Killed

 

“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.”

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/08/519199385/gunmen-disguised-as-doctors-mount-hours-long-assault-on-kabul-hospital?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170308

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/afghanistan-kabul-terror-attack-latest-isis-gunmen-sardar-mohammad-daud-khan-military-hospital-us-a7617281.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/suicide-bomber-gunmen-strike-military-hospital-in-kabul-killing-2/2017/03/08/de419912-03ca-11e7-b1e9-a05d3c21f7cf_story.html?utm_term=.e270458e1a31

http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/votel-yemen-raid-centcom

Not at War

Obama: Latest Drone Assassination “Milestone”

taliban

As CNN reports, Mullah Mansour of the Taliban was destroyed by an American killer drone in Pakistan early Saturday morning.

A second adult male traveling in Mansour’s vehicle was also likely killed, per CNN. There is no report from the White House as to whether that man was also on the president’s “kill list.”

“He’s an individual who has been in [the Taliban] for a long time. I’m glad he’s gone,” General Joseph Votel of U.S. Central Command told CNN.

President Obama remarked in Vietnam that the assassination without trial, which he personally ordered after his golf match Friday afternoon, was “an important milestone in our longstanding effort to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan,” even though Pakistan is a different country.

Obama also noted that despite thousands of American troops occupying Afghanistan, we are not at war with Afghanistan, and the recent execution did not mark a “shift in our approach.”

Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that Mansour had been “directly opposed to peace negotiations.”

It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together,” Kerry added.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook commented “Mansour has been an obstacle to peace and reconciliation” between Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Bob Corker applauded the president’s decision to take out Mansour and whoever the unfortunate bastard traveling with him happened to be.

Interestingly, CNN reports:

In announcing the strike, the Pentagon said the Taliban had targeted and continued to target U.S. and coalition forces. This is the first time U.S. officials have cited new, specific threats against U.S. personnel in the Afghan capital city.

This raises the question of whether the new precedent is to announce the supposed threats enemies with whom we are “not at war” pose only after their demise by killer drone.

Obama did not remark on how this particular milestone compared to the April 2015 drone strike on an al Qaeda compound that killed Ahmed Farouq, an American citizen and deputy emir of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, as well as innocent hostages American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto. Adam Gadahn, an American and senior al Qaeda member, was killed “likely in a separate” operation that same day, according to White House lapdog Josh Earnest.

Of the current strike, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “While further investigations are being carried out, Pakistan wishes to once again state that the drone attack was a violation of its sovereignty, an issue which has been raised with the United States in the past as well.”

Thanks to our sources at CNN.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/21/politics/u-s-conducted-airstrike-against-taliban-leader-mullah-mansour/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/23/politics/white-house-hostages-killed/

U.S. Bombs Hospital–UPDATE

Afghan Government May Have Tricked U.S. Into Bombing Doctors Without Borders Because They Healed Taliban

“That hospital is in the service of the Taliban. I swear to God, if they make it a hundred times, we’ll destroy it a hundred times.”–Colonel Abdullah Gard, head of Kunduz police “quick-reaction” force at the time of the DWB shelling (allied with American Special Forces)

Matthieu Aikins at New York Times Magazine has some potentially incriminating details on the October shelling of the Kunduz DWB hospital by an American gunship, which prompted military discipline (though no criminal charges) amidst a highly-redacted review of the incident last month, a horrific miscommunication in a war long “ended” that the U.S. media seem intent on bumping for a story on Donald Trump.

“They were absolutely trying to do the right thing,” General Joseph Votel, U.S. Central Command, said of the non-combat Special Forces who inadvertently razed the hospital instead of the nearby Taliban headquarters they meant to target.

U.S. Bombs Hospital–UPDATE

When Obama announced the end of the Afghan war in 2014, American forces remaining in the country were supposedly restricted to two “non-combat” missions: the NATO training initiative, Resolute Support, which advised the struggling Afghan forces in their continued battle with the Taliban; and Freedom’s Sentinel, a counter-terrorism effort that would exclusively target al Qaeda and ISIS. Both operations were headed by U.S. General John Campbell.

Josh Earnest, White House spinman, told reporters at the time: “The U.S. military will not be engaged in specific operations targeting members of the Taliban just because they’re members of the Taliban.”

87 Americans have been killed or wounded in the past 18 months of these nebulously-designated initiatives, many under the command of Major Michael Hutchinson, Ground Forces Commander.

Kunduz was captured by the Taliban on September 28, five days before the DWB hospital destruction. NYT reports this was the Taliban’s first regional capital acquisition in 14 years. On the 29th, Hutchinson commanded Special Forces including Green Berets to assist Afghan forces in repelling Taliban from the Kunduz airport: the same airport, apparently, that brought in supplies for the ill-fated DWB (M.S.F) hospital established there in 2011.

The lines between Resolute Support and Freedom’s Sentinel appear to have muddied as many Afghan soldiers reportedly fled Kunduz and those who remained were completely dependent on the American reinforcements. The Americans were supposed to leave after the first 24 hours of combat, but instead of a 500-strong Afghan relief force, they met up with “a few Afghan police and army personnel,” who were adamant they would leave if the U.S. troops headed out.

“I really thought that the Afghans would see that it wasn’t that big of a deal and they would all come back in. We all agreed it had to happen fast, and the only people who were willing to go in, unfortunately, were people who did not know the city of Kunduz.”–Hutchinson’s report

American forces appear to have therefore sustained assault for days without adequate classification of their mission as it pertained to Resolute Support (support Afghans against Taliban) or Freedom’s Sentinel (self-defense against al-Qaeda). Hutchinson had submitted a battle plan for the days of siege, “Kunduz Clearing Patrol,” using Resolute Support rules of engagement; it was approved as a Freedom’s Sentinel mission.

NYT: [I]n the first four days of fighting in Kunduz, 13 airstrikes were conducted under Resolute Support and nine under Freedom’s Sentinel. Before conducting strikes, aircrews would sometimes radio to ask under which mission they were about to shoot.

How was essentially invading a Taliban-occupied city permissible under the two operations which restrained the American Special Forces at the time? New York Times points out that because the Americans were so surrounded in Kunduz, the air strikes they called in were conducted in “self-defense.” The Afghan troops were marked Persons with Designated Special Status, which “allows American forces to consider temporarily defending certain partnered Afghan troops as part of their own self-­defense — essentially, self-­defense of someone else.” (NYT)

The investigation of the Kunduz incident determined Hutchinson exceeded the authority of the self-defense rules when he launched “offensive pre-assault fires.”

What does this murky mission have to do with the DWB hospital? The (shaky) “self-defense” justification for the arguably offensive warfare the Americans were conducting meant an airstrike on a building could be approved on the ground, rather than run up the chain of command to General Campbell in Kabul.

The Afghan National Directorate of Security building, believed to be occupied by the Taliban (a faction even the most liberal use of the Special Forces’ objectives did not permit them to engage) is the target the AC-130 gunship believed it fired on when it actually annihilated the hospital, as we reported previously. Hutchinson radioed the gunship–circling in poor visibility, with at least one communication channel knocked out hours before in takeoff–to perform a “defensive scan,” which was justified if, as reported, the Afghan commandos (who the U.S. were supporting) were indeed about to storm the NDS building.

Hutchinson repeated for investigators the building description the Afghans gave him to relay to the gunship: “a long T-­shaped building with a small offshoot. I can’t remember the word I would have used for it. It’s a walled-­in compound with multiple outbuildings, and there was a gate facing to the north with an arch.”

NYT notes this description matches not the NDS building, but the now-leveled hospital.

Major General William Hickman, the head investigator of the Kunduz incident, maintained in the military report that Hutchinson’s intel from the the Afghans was “an ambiguous physical description” that “appeared to match the M.S.F. trauma center.” NYT contends the description is, rather, exactly that of the hospital.

NDS is “a trapezoidal compound with a south-­facing gate and two main rectangular buildings facing each other across a cramped courtyard,” per the NYT.

Military investigators concluded: [Gen. Hutchinson’s] “version of events surrounding his decision to authorize the strike is internally inconsistent, implausible and contradicted by other available sources of credible information.”

Hutchinson received a reprimand and relief of Afghan command. NYT reports his new assignment is executive officer of his battalion. General Campbell has retired.

A DWB/MSF employee reported Taliban boss Janat Gul and deputy Abdul Salam (“shadow governor” of Taliban in Kunduz) visited the hospital September 29; DWB confirmed the latter was onsite, denying he entered the health care facility.

On July 1, 2015, a similar circumstance with a Taliban operative occurred at this hospital. Afghan forces wounded Abu Huzaifa, and believed he was taken to the DWB facility, which helped everyone regardless of affiliation until America wiped it off the map. The pursuing Afghan commandos–trained by U.S. forces through the NATO operation–entered the hospital violently, assaulting staff and firing their weapons. The hospital had to close off new admissions for five days to get back under control.

Huzaifa had disappeared. Although an American drone would destroy him seven weeks later (must have been on Obama’s “kill list”), the Afghan forces in Kunduz were irate. As Col. Gard, the NYT source, put it: “They hid him. The people who work [at the hospital] are traitors, all of them.”

Thanks to our source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/magazine/doctors-with-enemies-did-afghan-forces-target-the-msf-hospital.html?_r=0

War Crimes

Military Times: Internal Discipline, No Criminal Charges for U.S. Personnel Responsible for Bombing Doctors Without Borders Hospital Last Year

AFGHANISTAN-UNREST-US-MSF

Photo by AFP via Getty Images on Military Times page. The DWB hospital on 10/13/15, ten days after the American shelling that killed 42.

Consequences have been handed down for the destruction of a Doctors Without Borders hospital and the volunteers and patients within by the United States military in Kunduz, Afghanistan last October, a tragedy a top U.S. general blamed on “human errors, process errors and equipment failures,” the Military Times reported Friday.

U.S. Central Command head General Joseph Votel told MT that while the hospital was on a “no strike” list, the gunship that butchered 42 innocents below “didn’t have access to the list.”

Sixteen American military members were disciplined for the attack, including a two-star general yet to be named publicly. No one faced court-martial, and no criminal charges will be filed. However, as MT notes, such internal reprimands or “letters” in one’s file can “effectively end a military career.”

Associated Press reported last month about a dozen punishments were handed down, and they were “largely administrative.”

Afghan officials claim the blackened shell of the hospital has been claimed by the Taliban, in the aftermath of those DWB volunteers who were not killed in the American bombardment withdrawing from Kunduz.

However, as MT notes, no evidence of Taliban occupation has been presented. This is ironic, because there was no evidence of enemy activity in or around the hospital when the American AC-130 gunship fired 211 shells in 29 minutes at that structure instead of the Taliban command center thought to be 450 yards away.

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are not expected to weigh in on what seems a slap on the wrist for the crew of an operation that ended 42 innocent lives.

As of December 9, as the conservative news outlet Daily Caller notes, not a single country had yet supported DWB’s pleas for an independent investigation of the massacre.

At that time, over half a million petitions were signed for the White House to investigate the attack. The White House Office of Public Engagement (read: descending to talk to the little people), under direction of Valerie Jarrett, refused to schedule an audience with DWB, according to the latter group’s U.S. Executive Director Jason Cone. When the White House would not acknowledge the petitions for investigation, DWB staged a public protest in Lafayette Square, across the street from the presidential mansion.

President Obama did make a personal phone call to Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International, the better-known acronym for Doctors Without Borders.

Per the Daily Caller:

President Obama agreed to financially compensate the families, and the Pentagon has pledged to help rebuild the 140-bed hospital in the provincial capital of Kunduz. Cone described the payments as “reparations.”

IN OTHER HOSPITAL BOMBINGS

Despite the lack of public chagrin to the Kunduz disaster, Secretary of International Shaming Kerry found a bony finger to wag for the shelling of a pediatric hospital in Syria by a yet-unidentified fighter jet Wednesday: “We are outraged by yesterday’s airstrikes in Aleppo on the al Quds hospital supported by both Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which killed dozens of people, including children, patients and medical personnel. It appears to have been a deliberate strike on a known medical facility and follows the Assad regime’s appalling record of striking such facilities and first responders. These strikes have killed hundreds of innocent Syrians.”

Kerry did not mention whether this bombardment counted as Assad crossing the “red line” Obama proclaimed years ago, before Assad resumed using chemical weapons against civilians.

At least 50 people were killed, including one of the last known pediatricians in Aleppo, Syria, according to Cone. 148 Syrians have died in hostilities since Saturday. This has led international spectators to worry the “cease-fire” of the Syrian civil war is crumbling.

Al Quds Hospital was also associated with MSF/Doctors Without Borders. CNN reports that MSF’s despair as they offer their humanitarian efforts continues to grow:

MSF’s head of mission for Syria, Muskilda Zancada, said the organization condemned the “outrageous targeting of yet another medical facility” in the country.
“This devastating attack has destroyed a vital hospital in Aleppo, and the main referral center for pediatric care in the area. Where is the outrage among those with the power and obligation to stop this carnage?” she said in a statement.

Marianne Gasser, head of the Syrian mission for International Committee of the Red Cross, was more blunt about the apathy of more privileged nations: “The recent attack on the ICRC-supported Quds hospital is unacceptable and sadly this is not the first time the lifesaving medical services have been hit.”

SANA, the Syrian state-run news network, denied responsibility for the attack. However, a MSF official told CNN that the hospital was besieged by barrel bombs, and “is the Syrian government that has been usually using these barrel bombs in the past.”

CNN had an unofficial statement from the U.S. military:

A U.S. military official told CNN that U.S. forces were not operating in the area of the hospital, and their closest strike had been 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) to the north.

According to the United Nations, over 250,000 have died so far in the 5-year Syrian civil war.

See our original post on the story here

See Washington Post’s original post on the atrocity here

Thanks to Military Times and CNN for today’s update: http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2016/04/29/punishments-but-no-criminal-charges-us-attack-afghanistan-hospital/83700436/;http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/28/middleeast/syria-aleppo-hospital-airstrike/.
Read more on the original Daily Caller piece: http://dailycaller.com/2015/12/09/medical-aid-group-rebuffed-on-war-crimes-tribunal-for-hospital-attack/#ixzz47G5JyYER