- Published: Wednesday, 08 August 2012 03:01
02 August 2012
29 July 2012
A wise old Soldier offered some words of wisdom. He said, "Michael, if they can fight you with facts, they will stick with the facts. If the facts are not on their side, they will use the law. If the law is not on their side, they will shoot the messenger." He was referring to Soldiers' Angels.
The facts are not on their side, and there are no legal issues between us. And so they are left with shooting a messenger who shoots back.
Earlier this month, Soldiers' Angels received a 1-star financial rating—the lowest—from Charity Navigator. I have no connection to Charity Navigator. Shortly after the 1-star rating was issued, the Executive Director of Soldiers' Angels resigned or was fired. Toby Nunn had zero experience with non-profits before his appointment as Executive Director. Whatever happened, he is gone now and is promoting cage-fighting events.
Published: 24 July 2012
The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid spontaneously emailed a statement to me today. It looks like the Taliban are on defense after the recent murder of a woman. The video of her execution went viral. The Taliban claims no part in the execution. I sent the Taliban statement to an Afghan friend who just translated and characterized the Taliban statement. His translation is not meant to be precise, but my friend provides the essence and some personal opinions. (I made minor edits for clarity.)
First the translation and opinion from my Afghan friend, and below that is the original Taliban statement:
We have more than 50,000 folks subscribed to my Facebook. Please follow the conversations on Facebook. Some are great, some are good, and some totally flop, but all are interesting.
22 July 2012
On 17 July 2012, Soldiers' Angels announced that Executive Director Toby Nunn was leaving the organization. Rumors of impropriety have surrounded Nunn. Plenty of those landed in my inbox and in my ears. I warned SA leadership and the public.
Moreover, a roadkill stench follows the Soldiers' Angels Trustees Matthew Burden and Mark Seavey. Both use their perches in various high-profile organizations to advance political agendas and personal vendettas, while consolidating influence. Yet today, their reputations are sinking.
Seavey recently tried to bolster his flagging image by doing a short embed in Afghanistan as a journalist. Seavey, a lawyer, in addition to being a Trustee at Soldiers' Angels, holds a leadership position as the new media director for the American Legion.
19 July 2012
18 July 2012
Increasing numbers of high-ranking military officers and veterans agree that the time has come for change. Support from lawmakers continues to grow. Army helicopter medical evacuation (Dustoff) polices are outdated and costing lives. Our current polices even violate the Geneva Conventions. The Dustoff Association is seeing this for what it is, and has featured the matter in their latest "The DUSTOFFer” newsletter.
Note: The military recently completed its investigation into the loss of Chazray Clark in Afghanistan last September. The Pentagon now admits that it took 69 minutes from time of injury until Chazray was delivered to the hospital. With better policies, that evacuation could have been completed in about 24 minutes. We lost Chazray. Let’s stop this now.
16 July 2012
Paul Rieckhoff is a veteran of the Iraq war.
After his return from Iraq, Mr. Rieckhoff founded the organization IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America).
IAVA is widely respected. As a result, Mr. Rieckhoff wields considerable influence and likewise has a considerable number of enemies who wish to see him fall. Some of those self-declared enemies operate a website called "This Ain't Hell." These people are trying to destroy Mr. Rieckhoff.
They have accused Mr. Rieckhoff of unauthorized wearing of both a low-rated award (bronze star for meritorious service) and a unit patch. The specific allegations, along with a statement that I just received from Mr. Rieckhoff, are at the end of this dispatch.
12 July 2012
A recent video surfaced in Afghanistan showing an unarmed woman being murdered by gunfire. There has been much speculation about why the murder occurred, and who is responsible.
I asked the Taliban for a statement: "Does the Taliban agree with the execution that was on the recent famous video?"
11 July 2012
Thank you for the tremendous support through the years. We are just getting warmed up, though I am in a transition stage while completing a book. I remain serious about potentially transitioning over to US/Mexico focused work.
Meanwhile, this military blog rank came across the radar. Although my work is not milblogging (because it covers so much other), it is good to see that through your support and my labors we are at the top. The math behind these stats is a mystery. If we were #2, there would be room for dispute about methodologies and rectitude. But we are #1, so this can be accepted as objective fact:
10 July 2012
These wars have left us with thousands of troops and civilians who may have sustained brain damage from explosions. Recently, my friend Carl Prine, a military combat veteran of Iraq, terminated his writing on Line of Departure due to apparent brain damage. Carl believes that an IED blast may have contributed to the problem. It is terrible to see anyone suffer brain damage. That it happened to such a gifted military writer is double damage, and saddening for me. Carl’s writing will be missed. He was truly gifted. We communicated today. His condition is bad.
A cousin who is a Marine officer sent a bomb video today. This looks like Iraq. The date stamp shows 2007. My cousin the Marine asked me to pass this video along so that more people will understand what our young veterans are facing. My cousin’s note said:
26 June 2012
Yesterday the Army delivered its sham investigation into the loss of Chazray Clark in September 2011. The attack that took Chazray’s life is described in RED AIR.
Through the months, I and others have been in contact with Chazray’s mother and wife. They strongly wish that we continue this fight. They are not satisfied by the investigation.
21 June 2012
Reports come in daily from the military in Afghanistan. Many have good news, but subsequent the MEDEVAC deceptions from the Army, I do not trust the current bunch and so do not bother publishing. Yesterday, I asked Shem Klimiuk, an old Afghan hand from Australia (now in Kabul), if there is any truth to these reports. Mr. Klimiuk responds using data from Indicium Consulting:
(Note: Today I asked Marine Lieutenant Colonel in Helmand Province if he believes Indicium to be accurate on this. "Yes.")
Despite signs that the Taliban’s influence is spreading throughout Afghanistan, international military efforts over the last 12 months have not been fruitless, as changes on the battlefield are becoming visible. This can mainly be attributed to prolonged ISAF/ANSF operations against the Taliban’s (and other anti-government elements) logistic chains and, more importantly, their mid-level commanders. These commanders, with their years of tactical experience, are crucial to the Taliban’s battlefield strategies, and their loss has significantly affected the Taliban's ability to continue the same level of intensity and effectiveness that characterized their campaigns from 2009-2011.
19 June 2012
Through the years there has been a constant barrage of people misquoting me. They might say, “Last week on CNN you said…” And I was in some war zone at the time and nowhere near a television interview. But then it gets picked up, and bloggers do the he-said, she-said, and soon it becomes an erroneous article of faith that I said or wrote something.
Most times, these incidents appear to be honest mistakes. On other occasions, people have set up fake websites pretending to be me. Just this week, Facebook was alerted to a page using my photo and my name, and the imposter posted as though he were me. A fake Skype account exists using my name, and it is very similar to my genuine account. One can only speculate about how much mayhem has been attempted with masquerading email accounts.
Consider this recent message:
17 June 2012
The US Navy has named an F/A-18C Hornet after Specialist Chazray Clark, who was killed in action last September in Afghanistan. The jet bearing Chazray’s name is now flying combat operations over Afghanistan and may well be fighting as you read this.
Much of the air support in Afghanistan comes from the Navy. F/A-18 Hornets launch from aircraft carriers, and they make their way over Pakistan to landlocked Afghanistan where they provide air support for troops below. The days and flights are long. After launching from the pitching deck in the Arabian Sea, they fly over to Afghanistan and conduct multiple midair refueling cycles from American and NATO tanker aircraft to provide troops with airborne artillery on call. When the call does come, they drop their bombs with pinpoint accuracy and shoot their cannons, even during the night with Night Vision Goggles. Many times, they don’t fire a shot during a mission but provide reassurance to the Soldiers and Marines that if they need to call, the Hornets are only minutes away. After the mission is complete or they are “Winchester” they make the long trip back to the carrier, never having touched down in Afghanistan.
13 June 2012
Recent cannibal attacks have pushed the media into a swirl. Since I have known more real cannibals than any non-cannibal I know, a few words are in order.
In 2002, during travels through Asia, I stumbled across some Aghori cannibals in India. I had never heard of them and they sounded dangerous. I picked up the trail. The journey and the pursuit lasted two years, and took me six times around the world. I have sat by the fire at midnight on the full moon, surrounded by Aghoris, me alone, as they drank whiskey from human skulls.
I have tracked them through India, Nepal, Thailand, Italy, Germany, France, Hawaii and California. I have read everything on Aghoris that was available in libraries and bookstores in India, The Royal Library, and the Library of Congress. If you can find it, I have probably read it. I broadened that study to include cults, black magic, and cannibalism worldwide.