Michael's Dispatches Michael's Dispatches

Man-tracking Success in Australia


17 August 2012

This is an interesting account of tracking and counter-tracking after an ugly murder in Australia.  It was sent to me by The Scott Donelan Tracking School.  It is very difficult to evade a skilled tracking team -- something I learned at the British tracking school in Brunei, on Borneo Island.  The man they were tracking was using shrewd counter-tracking but they still got him.

Great job:


Jonathon Stenberg is suspected of killing 54-year-old Edward "Ned" Kelly at his home in Broadwater, a small town on the NSW north coast, in what is believed to be a neighbourhood dispute.  It is believed that this occurred on the 21st of June 2012.

Kelly's headless corpse was found in his kitchen, with a hat placed on top of his body. His head has not been found.

Detectives conducted inquiries and identified Stenberg as a suspect in the murder.  Inquiries later suggested that Stenberg had travelled by vehicle into the Northern Territory (NT) and the NT Police were subsequently notified.

On the 26th of June Stenberg was observed by an off-duty Police officer driving his vehicle in the Berry Springs area South of Darwin, NT.  Stenberg drove his vehicle from the main road and onto a dirt track where he made an attempt to camouflage his car.

Members of the NT Tactical Response Group (TRG) arrived at the area a short time later in an armoured Bearcat and located Stenberg’s abandoned vehicle.  A search of the area was conducted which including the use of a tracking dog however Stenberg was unable to be located.  The vehicle was removed from the area and items located within it included a bolt action rifle, solar panels and food supplies.

Further searches were conducted over the following days utilising aircraft and ground searches.  Road blocks were maintained around the 45sq km search area.

Read more: Man-tracking Success in Australia

Soldiers’ Angels Responds


15 August 2012

I asked board members of Soldiers’ Angels who owns the Soldiers’ Angels warehouse in San Antonio.   A Soldiers' Angel said I should ask a board member, and during due diligence I asked Board Member Mark Seavey.

Mr. Seavey just replied:

“Do your own damn research, it's not like a property search wouldn't come up with it.  The easy thing to do would be just to tell you and let you realize for yourself that your barking up yet another misbeggotten tree, but since you claim to have sources so close to SA you must already know.  Keen job on that scoop about the T-shirts though, I was particularly impressed with how you saw through our subterfuge of claiming it on IRS forms.  Any chances of you getting civil answers from me went out the window when you decided to classlessly scare the shit out of my wife with dire predictions of legs being blown off during my embed, which you then said didn't happen, despite it being on the cover of the 24th largest magazine in the US (2.2 million copies.)

“Still waiting on the legal expert who agrees with your assertion that flying over the Taliban constitutes a violation of the GC [Geneva Conventions].  When I get that, I'll send you the landlord's name and number.”

It is telling that Mr. Seavey admits in the second paragraph to his involvement in the MEDEVAC issue.  Soldiers’ Angels previously made a statement that they were not involved, and yet this board member comes out again showing that the opposite is true.

The constant aggressiveness from the Soldiers' Angels leadership is astounding.  Where are the angels and the love?

Please see my Facebook.

Naked Angels: Busted



14 August 2012

The multi-million dollar charity Soldiers' Angels has funneled donations to a company owned in part by a son of the founder.

The son's name is Brandon Varn.

Mr. Varn and his partner, Brian Harman, founded a t-shirt company in Nevada.  According to public records, their company, "Boodam and the Beav, Inc.," was established in 2008 in Las Vegas.

Read more: Naked Angels: Busted

10 Police Killed: An Update


14 August 2012

Last week it was reported that ten police were killed in Nimroz Province, Afghanistan.  In total, eleven were reported killed, including the assailant.  I got an interesting, single-source report from Afghanistan on this.  Details are a bit shaky but are interesting enough to mention:

It appears that an enemy of some sort, who was from Khashrood, was in negotiations for several days about surrendering after some fighting.  Apparently the negotiations were going by phone.  Eventually the guy turned himself in.  The Afghan Highway Police apparently were too trusting.  The assailant was related to the AHP commander.  He was let into the checkpoint, where there were AKs, PKM machineguns, and grenades.  I was told that he was “untied” and that they trusted him.  He started killing everyone, including his relative, the AHP commander, also from Khashrood.

Mehrab Shot and Killed



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


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:


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."


"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:



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



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



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



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:


Soldiers' Angels is Dying



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?

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