Saturday, January 09, 2010
First, the financial crisis itself is far from over. The latest International Monetary Fund estimates put the potential for worldwide writedowns of toxic assets at approximately $3.4 trillion; so far, realized markdowns have been only about half that amount. This points to further earnings impairments for financial institutions and concomitant restraints on their lending capacity.
Second, the breadth of this global recession was staggering. At its low point in March 2009, 75 percent of the world’s economies were contracting. Typically, the figure is closer to 50 percent. This means it will be much harder to turn around this recession-torn world.
Third, the demand side of the global economy is likely to be restrained by a protracted pullback of the over-extended American consumer. In the face of a massive labor market shock to jobs and wage earnings, together with the bursting of property and credit bubbles, the consumption share of the U.S. economy is likely to fall by five full percentage points of gross domestic product -- from its current record of 71.2 percent to the pre-bubble norm of 66 percent.
Weak U.S. Consumer
This should reduce trend growth of real consumption from the almost 4 percent pace of the pre-crisis decade to 1.5 percent to 2 percent over the next three to five years. No other consumer in the world is capable of filling this void.
Fourth, the supply side of the global economy suffers from massive imbalances, especially China-centric developing Asia. While, on the surface, post-crisis resilience of the Chinese economy has been impressive, it turns out that 95 percent of the 7.7 percent GDP growth realized in the first three quarters of 2009 was concentrated in the fixed investment sector, which already accounts for an unheard of 45 percent of GDP."...
In other words, I think the chances of unemployment being 10 percent next November are overwhelmingly high. But although voters are acutely sensitive to the rate of unemployment, they're also influenced by the direction employment is heading. If it looks like jobs are coming back, they may forgive a high absolute level of unemployment -- even one as high as 10 percent. But if it looks like jobs aren't coming back, that we may be stuck with a high level of joblessness for years, voters will take out even more of their anxieties on Democrats next November.
The irony, of course, is that Republicans want to cut spending and reduce the deficit. If they had their way, we'd have double-digit unemployment as far as the eye can see."
[bth: its about private sector jobs.]
“I feel devastated,” the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq 17 months ago said Friday from her home in Maryville, Tenn., four days after her daughter-in-law, Hotaru Ferschke, and her year-old grandson, Michael Ferschke III, departed for Okinawa because Hotaru Ferschke’s temporary visa was about to expire.
Hotaru Ferschke said it was her husband’s wish that the child be raised as an American, but the State Department refuses to recognize the couple’s July 2008 marriage because it was never consummated.
Michael Ferschke, 22, a team leader with the Okinawa-based 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, married his wife by telephone during a deployment to Iraq and was killed a month later while conducting house-to-house searches.
His wife and son moved from Okinawa in February to live with Ferschke’s family in Maryville. But without recognition of a legal marriage, they faced deportation when her one-year visa expired.
The Ferschke family had been holding out hope on two bills introduced in Congress last year.
Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., sponsored a House bill to give permanent residency status to Hotaru Ferschke. A similar bill was sponsored in the Senate by Jim Webb, D-Va., Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Mark Udall, D-Colo.
As of Friday, the bill was still in committee in both the House and Senate."...
[bth: hello! Mr. Obama. Mr. Biden. Anybody home?]
After huge spending growth on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said pressure was increasing for greater austerity at the Pentagon because of the country's economic woes.
High unemployment and a record $1.4 trillion deficit are among the toughest domestic challenges facing Obama and could dim the election prospects for his Democratic Party in congressional elections in November.
'We're in a time of real economic challenge,' Mullen told the U.S. Naval War College, citing data released on Friday showing the nation's unemployment rate stuck at 10 percent.
'And so what does that mean for the military?' Mullen asked. 'I don't anticipate that the money is going to go up. In fact, I anticipate it's probably going to go in the next couple of years in the other direction.'"...
[bth: no kidding Einstein. It is also no coincidence that the funding needs for Afghanistan will about equal the funding decrease in Iraq. The Pentagon understands the need to keep the funding up and they are manipulting the requirements in Afghanistan to achieve a level to growing funding need.]
[bth: holy shit. I just don't think the folk in Washington get it. We are in the midst of a senatorial election here to fill Sen. Kennedy's seat and its very depressing to see how it is being run. .... We need private sector job growth. That is only going to come from small businesses as has historically been the case. Private sector job growth is the only way that current transfer level is going to go down.]
In a video released to Al Jazeera on Saturday, Hammam Khalil al-Balawi is shown shooting a gun as he describes how the attack would target US and Jordanian intelligence agents.
Seven American CIA officers were among the dead when al-Balawi, a 'double agent' recruited by Jordanian intelligence services to inform on al-Qaeda, blew himself up at the base in Khost, a province bordering Pakistan.
'This is a message to the enemies of the Umma [nation], to the Jordanian intelligence and the CIA,' al-Balawi said in his video."...
Stop-loss is a policy that allows the Army to keep soldiers active beyond the end of their signed contracts. According to the Pentagon, more than 120,000 soldiers have been affected by stop-loss since 2001, and currently 13,000 soldiers are serving under stop-loss orders.
Hall, (aka hip hop artist Marc Watercus), who is in the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, was placed in Liberty County Jail for the song (click here to listen to 'Stop-Loss,' by Marc Watercus), in which he angrily denounces the continuing policy that has barred him from exiting the military."...
[bth: stupid to incarcerate him even before his trial.]
Friday, January 08, 2010
Defne Bayrak, the wife of bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, said in an interview with The Associated Press that his hatred of the United States had motivated her husband to sacrifice his life on Dec. 30 in what he regarded as a holy war against the U.S."...
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young made the commitment during his visit to the UAE in November to discuss bilateral defense issues as well as to support the landmark $20 billion deal, the source told The Korea Times.
Kim also offered to provide key arms technologies related to the homegrown Hyunmoo ballistic and cruise missiles to the UAE as part of efforts to expand defense cooperation between the two countries, he said on condition of anonymity."
Yet the Long War’s most ardent supporters found fault with Obama’s words and demeanor. The president had failed to convey the requisite enthusiasm for sending young Americans to fight and die on the far side of the world while simultaneously increasing by several hundred billion dollars the debt imposed on future generations here at home. “Has there ever been a call to arms more dispiriting, a trumpet more uncertain?” asked a querulous Charles Krauthammer. Obama ought to have demonstrated some of the old “bring ’em on” spirit that served the previous administration so well. “We cannot prevail without a commander in chief committed to success,” wrote Krauthammer."...
[bth: worth reading in full.]
Thursday, January 07, 2010
On December 30, the day of the attack on the CIA post, Afghan and international military forces seized several Taliban and Haqqani commanders near Khost, not far from Base Chapman, where the CIA officers planned to meet the Jordanian double agent. That led to initial speculation that the Haqqani network was behind the CIA attack, a view that some in American intelligence still hold. A Haqqani link would not exclude an ISI role in making the bomb. Jalaluddin Haqqani, Sirajuddin’s father, had extensive ties to Pakistani, U.S., and Saudi intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. intelligence analyst told The Daily Beast that the Haqqanis have worked with Pakistan’s ISI for more than 20 years."...
President Obama 'is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on,' Jones said in an interview Wednesday with USA TODAY."...
Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center since 2007, decided not to return to his agency's 'bat cave' nerve center in McLean, Va., until several days after Christmas, two U.S. officials said.
'People have been grumbling that he didn't let a little terrorism interrupt his vacation,' said one of the sources.
The NCTC, the post-9/11 clearinghouse for intelligence to detect terror plots against the U.S., is under intense scrutiny for failing to 'connect the dots' on Nigerian bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab."...
[bth: Mr Obama here is one candidate for firing. Please hold somebody to account.]
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
The officers who died took action to prevent far greater devastation at the traffic police station on the outskirts of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, where 150 officers were lined up outside for roll call at the time of the attack, city police chief Col. Shamil Guseinov said.
The bomber detonated the explosives at the station gate after police stopped him from driving through, Guseinov said. Those killed were at the gate, including three officers in a police jeep that blocked the attacker's path, he said."...
[bth: is there any reason to think the US will be spared this type of attack? When it happens will our delicate psyche be able to handle it?]
“Fourteen Taliban placing explosives into a minibus were killed yesterday evening when the bomb went off,” said Abdul Rizaq Yaqubi, police chief of northern Kunduz province. “The bomb exploded while they were working to build a car bomb,” he added. The incident happened near Kunduz city in northern Afghanistan where Taliban-linked violence has increased steadily, having expanded from the traditional heartland in the south. In 2009, Afghanistan’s insurgency reached an eight-year high. Kunduz Governor Mohammad Omar confirmed the incident and the number of casualties. afp"
'If the love of jihad entered a man's heart, it will not abandon him, even if he wanted so,' al-Balawi said in an interview published by the Ana Al-Muslim, or 'I, the Muslim,' Web site.
Jordanian intelligence was aware of these provocative statements when they arrested al-Balawi last March after he signed up for a humanitarian mission to the Gaza Strip with a Jordanian field hospital in the wake of Israel's offensive there, the counterterrorism officials said.
Al-Balawi was jailed for three days and shortly after that, he secretly left his native Jordan for Afghanistan, they said, suggesting he had agreed to take on the mission against al-Qaida.
Once in Afghanistan, al-Balawi provided valuable intelligence information that helped foil al-Qaida terror plots on Jordan, the officials said. His Jordanian recruiters then offered al-Balawi to their CIA allies as someone who would help them capture or kill al-Zawahri.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official said al-Balawi had provided high-quality intelligence that established his credibility with Jordanian and U.S. intelligence.
The former official said that information led to drone-launched missile strikes that led the CIA to kill a number of al-Qaida leaders. CBS News first reported al-Balawi's connection to the missile strikes."...
[bth: so he was coerced into spying for Jordan and the US.... So why wasn't he searched?]
Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's visa was one of several the agency has revoked since the Dec. 25 incident as the result of a review into security procedures ordered by President Barack Obama. Crowley would not say when the decision on Abdulmutallab's visa was made or how many others had been withdrawn.
The review was ordered to fix failures in the security process that allowed Abdulmutallab to board the plane with a valid U.S. visa. Abdulmutallab's visa had not been revoked despite the fact that his father warned U.S. officials in Nigeria in November that his son had fallen under the influence of extremists in Yemen.
[bth: so two weeks after he tries to blow up a plane we revoke his visa. Great going State Dept.]
“According to my personal information, he was released two days ago,” the official, Alaa al-Taei, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said Tuesday.
The suspect, Qais al-Khazali, is accused of being a leader of a militia, Asa’ib al-Haq, or the League of the Righteous. He was transferred from American military custody to Iraqi hands last week.
That transfer came hours before the militia released a British computer expert, Peter Moore, whom it had held for two and a half years.
The American military and the Iraqi government have denied that the transfer was part of a deal for Mr. Moore’s release. The remains of three of the four men kidnapped with him have been recovered; the Iraqi authorities said they were close to a deal for clarity on the fate of the last man.
Calls to the Iraqi government Tuesday night to confirm the release of Mr. Khazali were not immediately returned. Some people connected with Mr. Khazali contended Tuesday night that he had not yet been set free....
[bth: this guy's get out of jail card came down to assisting the Min. of Interior in Iraq to loot funds from the public coffer, some say in the billions, then kidnap Brits so you can get away with murdering 5 Americans while dressed as Iraqi soldiers. We say we don't deal with terrorists, but this is clearly what happened. A Mass. soldier's dad waited over a year while American soldiers hunted for him. His body was later recovered. ... We let his killer out of jail, out of the justice system and to go freely to Iran.]
The money will go to WPI's Center for Neuroprosthetics and BioMEMS, which is part of the WPI Bioengineering Institute. The center's efforts are laying the groundwork for prosthetic limbs that will be fully integrated with the body and nervous systems and look and function like natural limbs.
As part of the DOD's recently approved appropriations bill, the allocation was sponsored by U.S. Sen. John Kerry, U.S. Sen. Paul G. Kirk and U.S. Rep. James McGovern. The allocation will be directed by the U.S. Army.
At WPI, the allocation will fund work on neural control for the advance prosthetics.
Dennis Berkey, WPI's president and CEO, noted in a statement that the neuroprosthetics center was launched with government funding secured in part by former U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.
In all, 30 WPI researchers from several science and engineering disciplines are currently working on projects related to neuroprosthetics.
The work focuses on regenerating soft tissue for use around an implanted limb and using engineered micro-wires to support stem cells and the regeneration of nerves. By regenerating nerves, researchers say it may be possible to connect prosthetic limbs directly to the nervous system."
The mistakes made at the airport give new meaning to the term 'domino effect.' It was a cascading series of missteps that cry out for action.
The sign at the Transportation Security Administration screening post at Newark read: 'Premises Under Constant Video Surveillance.'
What is should add is: 'If We're Lucky.'
That's because CBS 2 has learned that when an unidentified man breached a secure area at Newark on Sunday night, delaying thousands of passengers for hours, the TSA cameras weren't working.
That's right – they weren't even recording, sources said, and needed a reboot, which the agency apparently didn't ask for. That set off a chain reaction of even more missteps that caused needless chaos and inconvenience for several thousand hapless passengers."...
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
The dire forecast was made by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an adjunct professor of international affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, in a periodic assessment of political and security issues he has conducted in the war zone since 2003.
“What I want to do is signal that this thing is going to be $5 billion to $10 billion a month and 300 to 500 killed and wounded a month by next summer. That’s what we probably should expect. And that’s light casualties,” said McCaffrey, who is also president of his own consulting firm in Arlington, Va., and has conducted numerous trips to the war zones to assess the political and military challenges at hand.
As of Dec. 20, there had been 305 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan in 2009, the large majority of those due to hostile action. The number of wounded as of the same date for 2009 was 2,102, with more than half of those unable to return to duty."...
[bth: the generals are setting the stage]
In a report issued by the Center for New American Security think tank, Major General Michael Flynn, deputy chief of staff for intelligence in Afghanistan for the U.S. military and its NATO allies, offered a bleak assessment of the intelligence community's role in the 8-year-old war.
He described U.S. intelligence officials there as 'ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced ... and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers.'
An operations officer was quoted in the report as calling the United States 'clueless' because of a lack of needed intelligence about the country."...
[bth: what is the major general trying to accomplish? I'd tend to agree with him except to state the obvious the US military with all of its vast resources should be able to assist in the intel world and also it bears mentioning that the US Army let OBL escape at Tora Bora despite pleas for resources when the CIA and rented Afghan allies had him cornered. Plus I'm not at all sure that the US military can do much in Pakistan whereas the CIA has greater operational latitude. So I wonder, what is this guy MG Flynn trying to accomplish by making such a public statement?]
Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a statement saying he was “personally appalled” by the group’s plan to march through the streets of Wootton Bassett, a town 70 miles west of London where townspeople have lined the sidewalks since April 2007 to mourn the passing corteges of British military casualties flown home to the nearby military airbase at Lyneham.
“Wootton Bassett has a special significance for us all at this time, as it has been the scene of the repatriation of many members of our armed forces who have tragically fallen,” Mr. Brown said. “Any attempt to use this location to cause further distress and suffering to those who have lost loved ones would be abhorrent and offensive.”
Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who is responsible for the police, said in a separate statement that he would support any request from the police or local government officials to ban the march. “I find it particularly offensive that the town, which has acted in such a moving and dignified way in paying tribute to our troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country should be targeted in this manner,” he said.
Plans for staging the march were laid out in a letter sent by Anjem Choudary, the leader of a group called Islam4UK, to the families of the 246 British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the toppling of the Taliban in 2001. The organization describes itself as a “platform” for promoting the views of an extremist Islamic group, Al Muhajiroun, which praised the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States as heroes, but disbanded in 2005 in response to a British government order banning it.
A statement on the organization’s Web site said the march would be held “not in memory of the occupying and merciless British military, but rather the real war dead who have been shunned by the Western media and general public as they were and continue to be horrifically murdered in the name of democracy and freedom, the innocent Muslim men, women and children.”
Mr. Choudary, a 42-year-old lawyer and the British-born son of a Pakistani immigrant, did not say when the march would take place, but in his letter to the families of the dead soldiers, he spelled out his reasons for proposing it....
[bth: the little pecker decided to send his letter to the dead soldiers' families! Comparing British soldier to Nazis because they volunteer for service! Unfucking believable.]
Monday, January 04, 2010
His handler was a senior intelligence official, identified in Jordanian press accounts as Sharif Ali bin Zeid.
But bin Zeid was not just a Jordanian intelligence officer; he was also a member of the Jordanian royal family and was a first cousin of the king and grandnephew of the first king Abdullah.' MSNBC
Yes. Captain Sharif Ali bin Zeid, was a relative of the Zeid bin Shakir whom I previously mentioned.
Well, folks, in spite of all the self-serving bilge from CIA historians and Mike Scheuer (it's all about us - really!) this is a major set-back, AND A COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY ONE. Who is the juvenile ass that was running this operation?
The CIA decided that the 'take' sounded so appealing that they would bring this foreign espionage agent, recruited by the Jordanians but not a Jordanian intelligence man, into the CIA's operating base near the Pakistan border for de-briefing? They did it because he wanted it that way? HELLO!! Anyone home here? Anyone? They drove him from Pakistan? From the Quetta area? Hello!!
First of all, if they could pick him up, then they could have taken him to another location in Afghanistan, the region, Jordan or ANYWHERE ELSE but the damned base where the field team was located. What were they going to do, stage a dinner in his honor at the base? Were they going to dress him up in some uniform (an old CIA trick) to make him feel good?
What would have been wrong with de-briefing him in some distant place with the team sitting in by VTR?
Heads should roll, those that are left among the people who had any part in these stupidities. pl"
[bth: this from Col. Lang. This is looking ike a botch up by CIA for letting this double agent in so close to key CIA targets without being searched.]
Initial reports said that the attack, which killed seven CIA officers, was carried out by a member of the Afghan National Army.
According to Western intelligence officials, the perpetrator was Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, 36, an al-Qaida sympathizer from Zarqa, which is also the hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant Islamist believed responsible for several devastating attacks in Iraq.
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Al-Balawi was arrested by Jordanian intelligence more than a year ago. He had moderated the main al-Qaida chat forum before his arrest and was known online as Abu Dujanah al-Khurasan"...
Brooks founded and formerly headed DHB Industries, a body armor company originally based in the Westbury area of New York but now headquartered in Florida under the name Point Blank Solutions Inc. Brooks left the company in 2006 after being charged with numerous counts of tax, accounting and securities fraud.
According to Newsday, Brooks earned $185 million in 2004 by knowingly making false claims about the company in an assumed effort to pump up the value of its stock. Brooks reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges and, according to Newsday, is currently under house arrest in his Manhattan apartment.
He is scheduled to go on trial for criminal charges in late January. Another court dated related to the case is set for January 15.
Last August, shareholders settled another class action lawsuit against the company and Brooks for $35 million. However, US District Judge Joanna Seybert made the order of payment against DHB Industries, not Brooks, the alleged perpetrator of the securities fraud. As a result, an appeal has been launched with the intent of holding Brooks liable for the $35 million settlement. A federal appeals court in Manhattan will hear the appeal prior to the start of Brooks' criminal trial.
A lawyer involved in the case told Newsday that the appeal would be a worthy test of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which dictates a higher accountability from company executives. DHB had indemnified Brooks from having to make the payment. Sarbanes-Oxley requires chief executives and chief financial officers to forgo their stock market profits earned during periods when certified financial statements have been falsified, as prosecutors allege.
In indemnifying Brooks, the company is accused of flouting the law.
DHB, now doing business as Point Blank Solutions, is the largest manufacturer of protective body armor in the US for troops currently stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[bth: Brooks made bad body armor, chiseled the quality assurance in 2003/04, drove up the stock price, dumped the stock before the military acted on the problem (even though they seem to have known about it) and made well over $100 million - perhaps $180 million personally. Ironically the government tags him on securities fraud. Its like getting Al Capone on tax evasion.]
'It will be difficult to have a robust recovery while housing and commercial real estate are depressed,' said Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University professor and former head of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Housing was at the heart of the nation's worst recession since the 1930s, with median home values falling over 30 percent from their 2005 peaks, and even more sharply in heavily affected states like California and Nevada."...
Sunday, January 03, 2010
The burnt-out shells of civilian lorries that line Route 611, the main north-south road through the upper Helmand valley, bear witness to the potency of Taliban tactics. Many of the wrecks are now booby trapped with improvised explosive devices, better known as IEDs.
To reach remote bases along the Helmand river, supply convoys are obliged to drive for days through Taliban-held territory, dodging IEDs, mortar fire and ambushes.
“Every time you step outside the wire everyone is a target,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Moore, commanding officer of 10 the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment. “We use helicopters but certain commodities just have to go by road.”"
Beyond the “green zone”, the lush valley that straddles Route 611, lies the Helmand desert, a mixture of wadis and sand banks broken by sharp mountain peaks.
Military convoys with up to 200 vehicles can stretch for six miles as they trundle along, kicking up dust and sand clouds. Afghan security companies often attach their lorries to British convoys for protection.
The convoys travel through a stretch of sand and shale that at times narrows to less than half a mile, allowing the Taliban to scatter mines across the route.
Last month I joined a convoy from Camp Bastion retracing the route of an October convoy to Sangin and its nearby forward operating bases that had become the most heavily fought over in recent times. The Taliban laid clusters of mines to block our progress but two strikes did little to hinder us and an ambush outside Sangin felt like a formality compared with the fighting in October.
Then 70 lorries — heavy equipment transporters, fuel tankers, lightly armoured Land Rovers and heavily armoured Mastiffs — had set off to resupply troops in Sangin with 400 tons of stores, rations and ammunition. The route, equivalent to driving from London to Brighton and back, took the Gurkhas eight days.
British commanders decided to attach 50 Afghan lorries carrying wheat seed to the convoy. The seed is vital to the counter-narcotics campaign in Helmand. At the last minute another 60 lorries, protected by Watan Risk Management, the Afghan security contractor, tagged onto the rear.
Travelling at night to avoid the risk of suicide bombers, the convoy first roared through Gereshk, a town that straddles Highway 1. Then, after a rendezvous with the civilian convoys, all 200 vehicles broke off into the desert.
A squadron of Viking armoured vehicles from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment pushed ahead to disrupt insurgents before they had time to lay ambushes and mines. Helicopters, drones and fighter jets prepared to attack Taliban positions.
However, it took six hours to navigate 2Å miles of desert as the Afghan lorries became stuck in the fine sand. As more vehicles got bogged down, the Taliban attacked the civilian lorries with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
“We don’t want to become decisively engaged with the enemy, it’s not what we’re equipped for,” said Major Patch Reehal, officer commanding 28 Squadron, as he described “one of the most gruelling logistic operations in modern military history”.
Taliban scouts on motorbikes shadowed the convoy, relaying messages to commanders as the lorries lumbered along.
As the Gurkhas approached the village of Hyderabad, the Taliban launched a second attack, firing 82mm mortar rounds. Some landed just 20 yards from the convoy. As evening fell the Afghan drivers refused to go any further, forcing the soldiers to pitch camp.
At first light the Gurkhas set off again. Almost immediately mines destroyed two civilian lorries. The convoy had driven into a freshly sown minefield. A bomb disposal team, led by Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who was killed weeks later, flew in from Sangin to clear the mines. It took most of the day and night to secure a route as the mortar fire continued.
Meanwhile, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, the Rifles who had spent days guarding the convoy’s route into Forward Operating Base Inkerman, north of Sangin, were under sustained attack. Reehal sent half his force protection team to relieve the pressure on them.
As the rest of the convoy entered the green zone, another mine smashed the front of a heavy transporter and a second struck a Mastiff sent to recover it. The patrol moved slowly along an unlit section of Route 611. The Taliban unleashed another ambush from the mud compounds lining the track. A rocket-propelled grenade flew over the head of Reehal as he manned the top gun. His forward air controller broke his collarbone as he dived for cover.
Bullets ricocheted off the side of the major’s armoured vehicle. The Gurkhas swung their machineguns towards the muzzle flashes, loosing off round after round as flares illuminated the night sky. It took 30 minutes for the convoy to reach the safety of Forward Operating Base Jackson.
“The wheat seed got through, so strategically the operation had been a success. The enemy had lost face so they wanted to harass us on the return leg,” said Reehal.
Taliban scouts watched the patrol as it moved back towards the safety of Camp Bastion.
The Watan company lost 21 lorries, 10 of its drivers were killed and four were missing. After one ambush with rockets and mines, Lieutenant Andy Thackway, a convoy protection commander, said: “That is the closest contact I’ve ever had with the enemy in all my time.
“This isn’t the unusual situation it would have been a few months ago — this is just kind of: oh well, we’re stuck in the middle of the desert — let’s get the Bombay mix out.”
[bth: Some facts from this article.- Approx distance 53 miles x 2 = 106 miles (London to Brighton x2)
- 13.25 miles per 24 hour period. Or 0.55 MPH assuming moving 24 hours/day, 1.1 MPH at 12 Hrs or 1.65 MPH at 8 Hrs. per day in motion.
- Slowest point was 2 miles in 6 hrs or 0.33 MPH
- Est. convoy spacing 158 ft. per vehicle
- Losses. 21 private sectory trucks or 1 vehicle every 5 miles.
- Lost 14 drives or 1 driver killed or missing every 7.6 miles.
- Lost 21 vehicles in the private convoy (not counting military) so at about $100K each excluding payloads means $2.1 million in lost trucks or $20K/miles in trucks lost alone excluding drivers or supplies.
- Question: Is this sustainable?]
[bth: worth reading in full. The Iranian govt. overreaction is about to occur. This will force a hardening of the opposition.]
Reports: Cartoonist Attacker Targeted Clinton - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - FOXNews.com
The Politiken newspaper reported Sunday that Danish intelligence knew the 28-year-old Somali man was held in Kenya in September for allegedly plotting an attack against U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said he was later released due to lack of evidence."...
[bth: part of our on going catch and release policy with terrorists. Jeez.]
Britain also closed its embassy, after threats from an al-Qaeda offshoot which claimed a failed bomb plot in the US.
There are mounting fears that Yemen is becoming a leading al-Qaeda haven.
Mr Brennan, the White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said the threat against Americans and Westerners would not ease until the Sanaa government did more to tackle militants inside the country.
'We are very concerned about al-Qaeda's continued growth there,' he said on Sunday, in remarks quoted by the the Associated Press news agency."...
[bth: we've got to be as geographically flexible and light footed as they are. That means no heavy troop presence. Instead, lots of CIA activity, air power and special ops soldiers.]