Michael's Dispatches Michael's Dispatches

Mehrab Shot and Killed

Merhab-1000

12 August 2012

A sad message came from Afghanistan.  Mehrab, who is known to some readers of my website, has been shot and killed.  I and many others greatly liked Mehrab.  He took good care of us in Jalalabad.  Every time I want to forget about Afghanistan, the names and faces of the good Afghans flood in, and Mehrab was one of them.  Mehrab will be missed by people in many countries.  Rest in peace from Thailand.

This is the sad note:

Ladies and Gentleman,

It is with great regret that I have to report to you some very sad news. This morning I was informed from Jalalabad that the Mehrab (Dr Mehrabudding Sirajuddin) the manager of the Taj was shot and killed by AGE yesterday. It seems it happened just a few hundred meters from his house in Najm-ul-Jihad close to [Jalalabad] city. His funeral is this morning at 0930 and I have passed on our condolences.

As you are all aware Mehrab was pivotal in the Taj and looked after us for a number of years and also went back along way with the UNICA compound in [Jalalabad].

Please pass to anyone who may have known him as he serves as part of our great memories and times in the Taj Jalalabad

MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE

GREEN on BLUE: Insider Attacks Rising

12 August 2012

It will be difficult to keep even a small Special Forces footprint in Afghanistan with these increasingly effective insider attacks.  And we do not hear a word of apology from Karzai.   This whole affair is sad.  Time to bring home our main  battle force:

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Three United States Marines have been shot dead by an Afghan worker on a military base in southern Afghanistan, in a deadly 24 hours for Nato-led forces during which six American soldiers were killed in rogue attacks.

The shooting took place on Friday night in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, where three US special forces soldiers were killed by an Afghan policeman and comrades earlier in the day.

Read more: GREEN on BLUE: Insider Attacks Rising

Accused Scammers: Another Large Veteran's Charity

11 August 2012

Government and private watchdogs are on the heels of another large charity.  The charity Help Hospitalized Veterans is accused of scamming millions.  One of those watchdogs, Charity Navigator, similarly outed Soldiers' Angels with a 1-star financial rating in 2012.

Many reports and statements are unfolding in the media, such as:

"At the same time, it has ranked for more than a decade at the bottom of lists by watchdog groups that rate nonprofit organizations based on their financial management and abilities to use most of their donations toward their causes. CharityWatch says about 35 percent of Help Hospitalized Veterans' funds go toward programs to aid veterans. The recommended standard is about 65 percent."

And...

"According to Charity Navigator, a third of the 50 military veterans charities it evaluates rate poorly and 20 percent either got a zero for their financial management or a "donor advisory" tag, which indicates the organizations are being investigated by authorities.

"That compares to 2 percent for other kinds of charities, said Ken Berger, the president of the Washington-based group that evaluates 5,500 charities."

See more:

http://www.mercurynews.com/

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Another Bad Week in Afghanistan

10 August 2012

Approximately 13 Coalition members have been killed over the period of a week.  In fact, this sad reality is normal.  There is another report today that three Special Forces Soldiers were murdered by Afghan Security Forces.

Earlier in the week was also a massive suicide bomb.  It could have been much worse.  One source in Afghanistan sent me a photo from just as the attack unfolded.  The mushroom cloud was huge.  Another source mentioned that some of our KIA were leaving Camp Fiaz in Asadabad.  They were heading toward a meeting at the governor’s office and were hit at a choke point that was a bridge.

Read more: Another Bad Week in Afghanistan

Fraud Allegations against Publisher Richard Vigilante

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My previous publisher (I fired him) has been accused of fraud for not delivering large numbers of "Iraq: Inside the Inferno" that customers paid for. We are still having major problems with Vigilante. My apologies. This has been a tragedy for the book. If you paid for a book and did not receive it, please send proof of purchase to Karen Kraft at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copy to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Vigilante might sue me for saying this. If so, we will make a long series of stories about the case and how it unfolded, and how it unfolds. Should make for an interesting series.

Curiosity Did Not Land on Mars

09 August 2012

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Curiosity did not land on Mars, but in the Dasht-i-Margo (Desert of Death) Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.  This looks amazingly like Afghanistan, including two small IED craters on the left-front.

Soldiers' Ducks

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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.

Read more: Soldiers' Ducks

TALIBAN STATEMENT Today

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:

Read more: TALIBAN STATEMENT Today

Soldiers' Angels is Dying

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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.

Read more: Soldiers' Angels is Dying

Military Professionals Discussing the MEDEVAC Dilemma: Armed or Escorted?

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.

Read more: Military Professionals Discussing the MEDEVAC Dilemma: Armed or Escorted?

Veterans Bashing Veterans who are Helping Veterans

image001-1000Paul Rieckhoff, founder of IAVA, attacked by wild milbloggers

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.

Read more: Veterans Bashing Veterans who are Helping Veterans

We Are Still #1 (somehow)

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:

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