Michael's Dispatches Michael's Dispatches

A Simple Man scores a Major Win

22 February 2014

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(It has been a long day, and tomorrow comes early. I rush to write these words with a single pass and no edit. Please forgive me.)

We begin:

This is a difficult struggle to overthrow an enormously corrupt Thai government. The struggle is marked by a series of independent victories.

This afternoon I spent more than two hours with a well-known retired general discussing the matter, and then I spent more than three hours with farmers. All agree that Yingluck's days are growing shorter.

One farmer is Ravee Roongraung. Khun Ravee is a rice farmer from Petchaburi. Khun Ravee has risen to the occasion to lead farmers from seven provinces to demand payment for their stolen rice.

Read more: A Simple Man scores a Major Win

General Menard in Jail for "Gun Running"

30 January 2014

This is the Canadian Brigadier General that I wrote should be fired for incompetence in Afghanistan. This caused me no end of troubles but was worth it. My work directly resulted in Menard's firing and he departed the Army.

And now he is in jail in Afghanistan. Maybe he has been set up -- I have no idea. But I do hope that he is released from the Afghan jail and sent home in good sorts.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/01/29/former_canadian_brigadiergeneral_daniel_menard_in_afghan_jail.html

US Embassy Bangkok: US Soldier Running Rogue Operation?

img001CJ Grisham was arrested in Texas a second time this past November for criminal trespass.

18 December 2013

A troubled US Army Soldier claimed to be assigned to the US Embassy in Bangkok for an unknown purpose.

The active duty counterintelligence soldier, who has a Top Secret clearance, is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.  Until recently, when I alerted the Army of a possible rogue operation, the counterintelligence sergeant listed his duty station as the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.

The soldier has never been stationed in Thailand.  There is no evidence that he has ever visited Thailand.

Read more: US Embassy Bangkok: US Soldier Running Rogue Operation?

Not a Crosswalk

image001Aleppo, Syria

09 December 2013

The Syrian war is growing.  Growing in size and complexity.

Yet the more one learns about this conflict, the less accurate it becomes to call it “The Syrian War.”  Thousands of foreigners have flooded in.  Some are moving through southern Turkey today.  Just this weekend Jihadist hardliners seized yet another town on the Turkish border, ten minutes drive from a Turkish town.  Barbarians are at the gate, and the gate is wide open.

As these words are written, foreigners are fighting inside and creating international contacts that will transcend this place and time.

Read more: Not a Crosswalk

Afghanistan: Talking Points US Troops

08 December 2013

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Many of our Soldiers in Afghanistan are required to carry this paper in a pocket at all times.  Troops are expected to memorize the talking points and cough them up to any journalists coming through.

We decided to help headquarters spread their message.

Many complaints about poor morale are coming from Afghanistan.  Most troops are kept on base, where they undergo mindless inspections and even small ‘parades’, and of course rocket and mortar strikes.

Read more: Afghanistan: Talking Points US Troops

Thailand: Pause on Fighting for King's Birthday

04 December 2013

I am in Turkey to study the Syrian civil war.  Yet this is also a crucial moment in Thailand.  A few words on the Kingdom are due.

December 5 is His Majesty's birthday. As an American, I was raised since birth to reject all kings. That is our upbringing and what we are taught in school, and with good reason.

The King of Thailand is a rare exception.

Read more: Thailand: Pause on Fighting for King's Birthday

Al Qaeda in Syria: A Snapshot

1 December 2013

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Given by Kawa Khalil, annotated by Michael Yon

The Syrian rebel Kawa Khalil told me the recent story of the Holy Cross church.

Before the war, the church doubled as a school, attended by Muslims and Christians.  After the destruction of Syria began, classrooms became homes for refugees.

On 27 October, the Holy Cross Armenian Orthodox Church was burned in Tal Abyad, Raqqa, Syria.

Read more: Al Qaeda in Syria: A Snapshot

From the Hearts of Thai People

28 November 2013

Government opposition has grown in Thailand to historical proportions.  Millions of Thai people from all walks of life, and from across the political and economic spectrum, are uniting to overthrow the current government, which is corrupted to the core.

So far, the massive anti-government rally has been peaceful.  Many government buildings have been peacefully seized and are being occupied.

Read more: From the Hearts of Thai People

How you Got Hit

25 November 2013

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Some people love war.  For most others, the disease is difficult to live with.

Parents have it bad.  They are challenged to safeguard children while showing strength when schools close, food runs out, and fetching water can end with a sniper’s bullet.

An oft-repeated parental worry is that they will be killed and nobody will care for their children.  Some orphans fall into the safety net of a large family, while for others the loss of a father can leave the mother begging for a lifetime along the roadways, the children spread to the winds as prostitutes, beggars, thieves, or in rare cases, suicide bombers.

Read more: How you Got Hit

Guncotton in Syria

11 November 2013

image001Guncotton used to launch homemade artillery.

War has shattered Syria.  Heavily armed government forces will stop at nothing to destroy opposition to retain power.  The government uses airstrikes, artillery barrages, and tanks against its own people.

Assad’s army is literally scorching the earth under the feet of women and children.  If Assad’s Air Force has a single rule of engagement, the rule seems to be never to waste a bomb.  This abject cruelty has led to a brutal war that eclipses Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

While the Syrian government uses heavy weapons, many opposition fighters scramble for ammunition and to invent homemade cannons, large catapults, and giant slingshots that launch grapefruit-sized grenades.

Read more: Guncotton in Syria

Syria Coverage

Published: 09 November 2013

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have died already in the Syrian Civil War with no end in sight.

Myriad outsiders have become involved with foreign fighters from around the world, including from the United States and Europe. More recently, President Obama threatened to go to war with Syria.

image001-1000US Patriot Missiles at Gazianthep, Turkey. (US Army photo.)

Estimates of refugees vary from 2.5 million to 9 million.  Many have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Africa, and to Europe.

Though I publicly opposed US military intervention for various reasons, the refugee issue cannot be ignored forever.

Read more: Syria Coverage

Warning to Judge and Jurors in Grisham Trial

20 October 2013

image001Mouse mutilated and published by US soldier on trial: CJ Grisham

This week, the trial of CJ Grisham ended in a hung jury.  A source in the courtroom told me that the jury was 5:1 in favor of conviction.

A retrial has been set for 18 November 2013.

The judge and jury are warned: Grisham is not to be trifled with.  Jurors should ask to shield their personal information if possible.  After the trial, if Grisham is found guilty, jurors likely will meet the fate of others who have dared to cross CJ Grisham.  This person is a professional victim and victimizer.

Read more: Warning to Judge and Jurors in Grisham Trial

Afghanistan: A Bigger Monster

10 October 2013

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Just months ago Pentagon officials dismissed the idea of a total pullout from Afghanistan.  Today we are on the verge of ending negotiations on our future there, leading to the “zero option.”  Total withdrawal.

If we execute a zero option, this is my basic worst-case prediction, which is not far from my most likely scenario prediction:

President Karzai and his government seem to believe we need Afghanistan and will not abandon him, or that we will cave to ridiculous demands.  We will not.  Remember Iraq.  Look at our own current shutdown.  The US is in serial crisis mode and Afghanistan is overplaying its hand.

Read more: Afghanistan: A Bigger Monster

Marine Statement on Bastion Attack

01 October 2013

Commandant Announces Decision in Afghanistan Attack Investigation

HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, Washington, D.C. - The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen James F. Amos, has concluded that  two high-ranking Marine commanders must be held accountable for the consequences of last year's insurgent attack on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

After reviewing the findings of a four-month investigation conducted by U.S. Central Command at the Commandant's request, Gen Amos agreed that MajGen Charles M. Gurganus and MajGen Gregg A. Sturdevant "did not take adequate force protection measures within the range of responses proportionate to the threat."

Read more: Marine Statement on Bastion Attack

Army Times: Fort Hood soldiers can face UCMJ if they won't show ID to cops

24 September 2013

According to the Army Times and many other publications, soldiers from Fort Hood are turning many Texans against them.  The base commander has finally put his boot down as a direct result of one Master Sergeant CJ Grisham who has been staging armed confrontations with police.

Please recall that this same person also staged confrontations with me -- I never met him -- and a school board in Alabama in 2009, whose members he so frightened that they nearly got a restraining order.  In 2013, he was arrested and promptly raised more than $50,000 for a legal defense for a weapons related charge.   He does not need the $50,000 because he is being represented free of charge.  His first lawyer mysteriously quit without a word just before the trial, which remains pending.

Read more: Army Times: Fort Hood soldiers can face UCMJ if they won't show ID to cops

Syria: Outrage is Not a Strategy

02 September 2013

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Never Go to War without the Support of Your People

In 2006, the talking points from London and Washington insisted we had won the war in Afghanistan, and Iraq was not in civil war.  To say otherwise was apostasy.

In 2006, British Defense Secretary John Reid was famously quoted on Afghanistan:

"We are in the south to help and protect the Afghan people construct their own democracy.

"We would be perfectly happy to leave in three years and without firing one shot because our job is to protect the reconstruction."

Adversaries made Mr. Reid’s comment more infamous by misquoting him that British forces would leave "without a single shot being fired."

By 2008, the British alone had fired 4 million shots.  They were just getting warmed up.  Nor was this the first British intervention in Afghanistan. Coalition Casualties from 2009-2012 eclipsed those from the first eight years by more than two-fold.  Today the casualties continue.  For what?

Read more: Syria: Outrage is Not a Strategy

Afghanistan to Syria

30 August 2013

Before reading my Monday dispatch on Syria, please read this previous dispatch from Afghanistan. British Member of Parliament Adam Holloway is a prominent figure in both.

There be Dragons.

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