Published: Wednesday, 02 May 2012 11:37
Afghan firing RPG in Urozgan
02 May 2012
On 19 April there was a suicide attack. Numerous Afghans were killed and others were dying.
The night was especially dark. The weather was bad, and there were no city lights bouncing off of the clouds. No stars. No nothing. Even if the skies had been clear, the moon phase would have revealed only a thin sliver at its brightest. The night was as black as the deep sea.
People living in or around a big city in America or Asia or Europe will never see a dark night like this one unless there is a blackout. In Western Europe, few people ever witness a truly black night unless there is heavy weather. The cultural lights are too bright. For darkness in Europe, there are a few special places, such as an edge near the sea in Scotland.
Read more: Shot in the Dark: Blackhawk Down
Published: Wednesday, 02 May 2012 02:32
02 May 2012
This image was made seven years ago today. There had been a great deal of combat. It’s been said that the “Deuce Four” was the most decorated unit in the Iraq war. I do not know if this is true, but if not, it is probably close.
There had been a suicide car bomb that attacked in a civilian neighborhood. The Soldiers did their best to help the people. Little Farah, seen here, cradled by Major Mark Bieger, would soon die of her wounds.
Read more: Little Girl Revisited
Published: Wednesday, 25 April 2012 15:35
US Army Master Sergeant and milblogger, CJ Grisham: known for spamming Wikipedia and other outlets with false information
(This dispatch is intended for investigative journalists who may be interested in military propaganda targeting US citizens. Much of the account is first person, the way that it unfolded.)
25 April 2012
USA TODAY journalists are experiencing something that I first began describing roughly two years ago. When a writer pens uncomfortable words about the military, the writer invites systematic defamation. This dispatch reveals fact-patterns and information that can reveal the tell-tale fingerprints of the propaganda machine.
USA TODAY reported last week:
"Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor"
WASHINGTON – A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites.
Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names.
The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY's reporting on the military's "information operations" program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan — campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored.
This also happened to me. After I wrote that two Generals should be sacked, certain milblogs began a military-sponsored attack against me. They alleged that I had PTSD and that I had been dis-embedded from US, UK and Canadian forces for security violations. They also claimed that my own service record was tattered. None of it was true. My time in the military was honorable, and in the wars as a writer, I had not embedded with Canadian forces, nor was I ever dis-embedded from other militaries for OPSEC violations.
Read more: Drunken Monkeys, Milkooks, Military, and the Media
Published: Monday, 23 April 2012 13:04
23 April 2012
Last week there was a suicide attack on a police checkpoint in Afghanistan. There were numerous fatalities and wounded. All Afghans.
MEDEVAC flights can be extremely dangerous for many reasons. Firstly, the fact that MEDEVAC is needed is often due to hostile action, and so the helicopters are being sent to contested territory. Often, they fly from contested territory, completely over enemy territory, to other contested territory, and then back over enemy territory to a hospital. The entire flight can be over dangerous ground.
Most of the CAT-A (very serious casualty) missions have no warning, and so the MEDEVAC crew has no chance to plan a route. Routes are difficult to plan in active war zones. Besides the inertia-laden obstacles such as mountains and antennas, and aerostat balloons tethered to the ground, there is typically a lot going on out there, such as artillery or airstrikes, or sudden missions that occur with little warning, which may involve low-flying aircraft. It's a mess for the pilots to sort through.
Read more: Dark Night
Published: Sunday, 22 April 2012 17:23
Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk in Afghanistan (photo credit DVIDS)
22 April 2012
A video is circulating of "Green Berets" in combat. The Soldiers are hammering away with a minigun and other weapons. An A-10 can be seen rolling in and shooting. Casualties are taken, and after the seven minute mark in the video, an apparent Special Forces Soldier can be seen directing that ammunition be brought in on a MEDEVAC bird.
Read more: Did Green Berets and MEDEVAC Violate Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan?
Published: Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:59
18 April 2012
Yesterday, about 171 girls and women were poisoned at a school in Afghanistan. Whereas the blame immediately went to the Taliban, Afghanistan is far too complex for reflexive answers. Further, there are many groups of "Taliban," and other associated enemies, making it impossible to affix responsibility to a monolithic enemy that does not exist. The attack might also be the work of a lone wolf.
The Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik recently slaughtered 77 people in Norway. That was terror by a Norwegian against Norwegians. Back in Afghanistan, at least one American Soldier is accused of recently killing 17 Afghans. Many victims were women and children. Back in America, years before the war, a former American soldier killed 168, including many very young children, in Oklahoma City. Nearly 700 were wounded in that Oklahoma terrorist attack.
That's about 260 people killed in three attacks, apparently by only three white guys, none of whom were Taliban or Muslims. Some people are just bad, and many act alone or nearly alone.
Read more: Taliban Denounce Poisoning of Girls
Published: Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:43
Photo Michael Yon
17 April 2012
Army Generals will have the public believe that the Red Cross is a morale booster for our troops. That load of bull is too heavy even for a Blackhawk helicopter sling load. During my about three years with combat troops downrange, I've never heard the slightest inkling of "morale boost" from troops who see a Red Cross.
The Red Cross boosts enemy morale. It alerts the Taliban that they have caused casualties.
Read more: RED CROSS: Symbol of Blood
Published: Friday, 13 April 2012 01:21
13 April 2012
Marine, Army and Air Force sources continue to provide information about MEDEVAC failures in Afghanistan. Top Army Generals say there are no complaints from the MEDEVAC/CASEVAC community in Afghanistan, but if this were so how is it that I end up with stacks of internal documents from dozens of sources? In fact, top Army Generals have spent their credibility with the MEDEVAC/CASEVAC community.
In March, an Army Dustoff source revealed that a Marine died from electrocution in Helmand subsequent a slow MEDEVAC dispatch. (There may have been two separate electrocutions on separate dates.) Another Dustoff source brought up another Marine who died in Helmand within the last couple of weeks after a double amputation. Sources say that slow dispatch occurred in both cases.
Read more: America’s Angry Troops: Message from a Marine
Published: Tuesday, 10 April 2012 11:50
10 April 2012
Over the months I have communicated with the Taliban about US prisoner Bowe Bergdahl. Numerous times I have asked the Taliban to allow me to visit Bowe. In each case, the Taliban has declined citing security issues.
It has been said that I am negotiating with the Taliban for Bowe's release. This is untrue. I have asked only to visit. Nothing more.
This morning, I received two emails from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, a high-level Taliban spokesman in regard to Bowe Bergdahl:
Read more: Bowe Bergdahl: Two messages from the Taliban
Published: Thursday, 05 April 2012 12:47
Scam Packing slip
05 April 2012
Monday I listed some camera gear for sale on Ebay. Starting bid was $7,000, but for $7,700 a buyer could take everything immediately. Soon after came a closing sale from the United Kingdom.
The "sale" "went through" immediately for $7,700, and the buyer took it upon himself or herself to tack on another $170 for immediate shipment to Lagos, Nigeria.
Read more: Attempted Fraud Using Ebay and PayPal names
Published: Monday, 02 April 2012 14:23
02 April 2012
The Army continues to insist that certain helicopters in Afghanistan must wear Red Crosses to abide by Geneva Conventions. This is untrue. There is no requirement to wear Red Crosses in combat. At cost of troops’ lives, the Army uses these Red Crosses as a tool in bureaucratic infighting about which generals control which helicopters. And so a power struggle between generals unfolds at cost of the blood of American sons and daughters. The above facts have been demonstrated beyond dispute.
Read more: MEDEVACmatters.org
Published: Sunday, 01 April 2012 13:44
Kopp-Etchells Effect during combat operations with British Forces. (Sangin, Afghanistan, 2009)
01 April 2012
The time has come for expensive upgrades. Canon has added the Mark III 5d and soon the Dx to the line.
I have two Canon 5d Mark II bodies for sale with accessories. The 5d Mark II bodies were incredibly popular with amateurs, full-pros, and with me in places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Thailand many other places.
Since mid-2005, I’ve used nothing but the very best camera gear for the job. These 5d bodies are by far my favorites. Great in low light, not heavy, and high quality full-frame sensor.
Read more: Camera Auction
Published: Thursday, 29 March 2012 11:34
29 March 2012
Several years ago, the Taliban captured a US Soldier named Bowe Bergdahl. Yesterday was Bergdahl’s third birthday in captivity.
I’ve asked the Taliban several times to see Bergdahl. They have declined in the past citing security reasons. I recently asked the Taliban again about Bergdahl’s condition.
A message came from key Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. More accurately, the email came from his account.
There is strong reason to believe that messages from this account are coming from from Zabihullah Mujahid, or someone deep within the “Big T” Taliban. (Upper leadership.)
In the past, this account has provided me with breaking information that could not have been derived from the news. For instance, Zabihullah, or whoever uses the account, messaged me last year just as the big hotel attack in Kabul unfolded. The account provided detailed information so early in the attack that the author must have had foreknowledge.
The actual messages might not be accurate, and they often exaggerate, but the account is real. This message came on 29 March 2012 in response to my inquiry about Bowe Bergdahl:
“He is healthy and with Taliban ,
we were in tuch with amerian to talk about exchange the prisoner but they not ecept this . and just wast the time .
I personly issure u that he will be released , How , When , this is secret .”
I have requested again to visit Bowe Bergdahl.
Published: Tuesday, 27 March 2012 11:27
27 March 2012
PTSD is a serious problem. Suicides by veterans happen many times per day, every day. At best, PTSD can degrade the quality of life of veterans and their families. At worst, unmanaged, the human toll is incalculable.
Other problems with “military PTSD:”
1) PTSD for profit: Disability payments. Profiteers learn the symptoms, mimic, and then get paid, often for life. Most symptoms are self-reported, in response to interview questions by military or Veterans Administration (VA) professionals. Chaplains also serve as a resource. The PTSD mockingbirds, the fakes, often sing to chaplains, to establish a precedent for later favorable diagnosis.
Read more: Sergeant Godsmack vs. Nazar
Published: Friday, 23 March 2012 11:29
For a larger view please click on image or one of the links below.
23 March 2012
This panorama was made in the general area where the Panjway 17 massacre unfolded. The view is over the Arghandab River Valley, a place that Canadian and many US forces know well. The Arghandab can be an interesting place to watch war; there are many vantage points such as this that allow you to witness much fighting. Sometimes you are in the middle. The area can be an interactive combat amphitheater.
Panjway Panorama Link: http://gigapan.org/gigapans/101311
I made the 27 photos in this pano in a handheld mode while tagging along with members of the Central Asia Development Group (CADG) who were implementing a water project. We were without troops. CADG operates freely in some of the most hostile areas of Afghanistan where troops would not go without significant force. This is one of those places.
Read more: Panjway, Afghanistan: Amphitheater of War
Published: Monday, 19 March 2012 12:37
19 March 2012
There are reports that alcohol was involved in the Panjway 16. There are also reports that alcohol was not involved.
Since 2005, I've only seen two Soldiers truly drunk on missions during about three years with combat troops. Both were in Iraq. One Soldier was enlisted, and the other was an officer not in the US military. Both were absolutely drunk.
The American Soldier—there was a raid and an IED that night—told me that his wife would ship Vodka in mouthwash bottles and she added food coloring as disguise. The officer was different; his military was allowed alcohol but not to get drunk.
Alcohol was readily available in Iraq through many sources. Christians in Iraq often had liquor stores. Muslims were not allowed to sell it, but many liked to drink, as did the Christians. Some Iraqis complained about Christians fleeing neighborhoods because their liquor stores closed.
Read more: Alcohol in Afghanistan
Published: Friday, 16 March 2012 14:26
16 March 2012
This has been secret until a few minutes ago. The Dutch Minister of Defense just knighted General (ret.) Petraeus in the Hague. I was invited to go but could not make it, unfortunately.
Published: Friday, 16 March 2012 14:17
16 March 2012
Info just coming out that a 22-year-old Marine was murdered on 01 Feb, about 6 weeks ago, in another insider attack. The military covered it up as if it were combat operations. Lance Cpl. Edward J. Dycus of Greenville, Mississippi was shot in the back of the head by an Afghan soldier. Our people immediately turned over the murderer to the Afghans.
That's a huge Red Flag on numerous levels. How many other "combat deaths" have been caused by insider attacks, and how often has our military covered it up? How many murderers have been turned over to Afghans? What happens when we turn over a killer to Afghans?
We've taken about 200 Coalition casualties that we know of from insider attacks. How many do we not know of? This cover-up is rotten from head to tail.
Published: Friday, 16 March 2012 13:43
16 March 2012
An experienced friend is currently in Tripoli and writes:
I’m telling you, you should get your butt over here to Libya - it’s a really interesting place. I know everyone’s mind is on Afghanistan these days, but there’s really no comparison. The two countries could not be more different – at least from what I can see here in Tripoli.
Read more: Libya Spot Report
Published: Friday, 16 March 2012 04:33
15 March 2012
The original posting of this article can be found on Defensetech at Military.com
"Here’s a battlefield safety issue that some people have been warning about –and others have been ignoring — for a while now; an enemy using social media and cellphone geotagging to identify the precise location of troops on a battlefield.
"When you take a photo with your cellphone, the gps coordinates of the location you took the picture is embedded into the image. When you upload said photo onto the internet for all to see, people can pull the location data from that picture. If you think this is just people being paranoid and that the Taliban would never do this in Afghanistan, think again. Insurgents figured out how to use this to their advantage in Iraq years ago. In 2007, a group of Iraqi insurgents used geotags to destroy several American AH-64 Apache choppers sitting on a flightline in Iraq.
From an Army press release warning of the dangers of geotags:
When a new fleet of helicopters arrived with an aviation unit at a base in Iraq, some Soldiers took pictures on the flightline, he said. From the photos that were uploaded to the Internet, the enemy was able to determine the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound and conduct a mortar attack, destroying four of the AH-64 Apaches.
"During Israel’s 2006 war in southern Lebanon with Iranian-backed militia (more like a full on army) Hezbollah, Iranian SIGINT professionals tracked signals coming from personal cell phones of Israeli soldiers to identify “assembly points of Israeli troops that may have telegraphed the points of offensive thrusts into Lebanon.”
"This is just one more example of low-end cyber warfare that can be as deadly as expensive software worms designed to infiltrate an enemy’s most heavily defended networks."