US ‘Osama bin Laden’ team rescue aid workers in daring Somalia raid

Filed Under (Africa, Announcements, North American Theatre, Somalia, United States) by Kevin on 26-01-2012

We can only hope that the world governments will begin to crack down on kidnappers and pirates. Somalia should not be a haven for outlaws.

From Belfast Telegraph:

US ‘Osama bin Laden’ team rescue aid workers in daring Somalia raid

By Daniel Howden
Thursday, 26 January 2012

As Barack Obama walked out to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday night he stopped to congratulate his Defence Secretary on a “good job tonight”.

Unknown to his audience, just hours earlier the commando unit that killed Osama bin Laden last year had carried out another daring raid, this time in Somalia.

When the address got under way in Washington, US Navy Seals were flying through the darkness of the early hours in the Horn of Africa, along with two aid workers rescued from a gang of Somali kidnappers, nine of whom were killed in the operation.

Even though Mr Obama didn’t mention the mission, which was still under way, he did pay warm tribute to the team that killed al-Qa’ida’s leader. By yesterday morning, the choreography was striking. In his speech to Congress, Mr Obama said one of his “proudest possessions” was the flag the US commando team, Seal Team 6, had taken with them on the Bin Laden mission.

Hours later, a statement on the Somalia raid said: “As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission.”

An American aid worker, Jessica Buchanan, 32, and her Danish colleague Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, who were captured while working on a demining project in central Somalia three months ago, were yesterday “on their way to be reunited with their families”, according to their employers, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

The rescue marked an increased willingness by the US to send troops into Somalia, a lawless and dangerous country that, after 21 years without a central government, is beset by pirate gangs, rival clan militias and a powerful Islamist insurgency. US engagement with Somalia is haunted by the deaths of 19 troops in a botched mission in Mogadishu in 1993, immortalised in the film Black Hawk Down. But more recently the Pentagon has been willing to use Special Forces for assassination missions and drone strikes against suspected terrorists in the country.

Witnesses in Galkayo, a town near where the kidnappers were believed to be, reported seeing helicopters after 2am yesterday and gunfire was heard a bit later.

US officials said that Seal Team 6 – the same unit used in the Bin Laden raid in Pakistan last May but not necessarily the same commandos – parachuted to a site about a mile from where the aid workers were being held and approached on foot.

The raiders found the gang asleep after an evening of chewing the narcotic khat, a Somali man named Bile Hussein, who knew the gang but was not there at the time, told the Associated Press. He said three Somalis had been taken by the US rescue team. By dawn, the bodies of another nine gang members had been brought to Galkayo and some reports suggested as many as six gang members had been captured.

There have been kidnappings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya after hijackings at sea were made more difficult by the presence of foreign navies off the coast. The DRC pair – among the very few Western aid workers prepared to work inside Somalia – were seized by two trucks of gunmen in October. The Copenhagen-based group had tried without success to negotiate their release with the help of Somali elders in the area.

Al-Shabaab, the Islamist militia that controls parts of Somalia, has been blamed for some of the kidnappings, but the group has denied involvement.

The waiting game: Somalia’s remaining hostages

Judith Tebbutt

Somali pirates are believed to have kidnapped 56-year-old British tourist Judith Tebbutt from a remote beach resort near Lamu in Kenya in September last year. Her husband was shot dead in the attack. Her whereabouts remain unknown.

Michael Scott Moore

Freelance writer and dual US-German citizen Michael Scott Moore was kidnapped on 21 January this year by armed militia in central Somalia.

Blanca Thiebaut and Montserrat Serra

The Médecins Sans Frontières aid workers were abducted from Dadaab refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border in October 2011. They remain in central Somalia.

Denis Allex and Marc Aubrière

The French security advisers were kidnapped in Mogadishu in July 2009. Mr Aubrière escaped but al-Shabaab released a video of Mr Allex in June 2010, and made political demands in exchange for his release.

Filipino crews

It is estimated that more than 470 Filipino commercial sailors were kidnapped by Somali pirates between 2006 and 2011. As of January 2011, at least 74 Filipinos were being held aboard six ships.

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Kim Jong-il, North Korean Leader, Dies

Filed Under (Announcements) by Kevin on 19-12-2011

What does this mean for regional security? Join the chat at


Kim Jong-il, North Korean Leader, Dies

Published: December 18, 2011

SEOUL, South Korea — Kim Jong-il, the reclusive North Korean leader who has been battling ill health following a reported stroke in 2008, has died, the North’s official news media reported on Monday.

“Our great leader Comrade Kim Jong-il passed away at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 17,” Korean Central TV reported.

Mr. Kim was 69 years old. Since he reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008, he has been grooming his third son, Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, to be his successor, as his country struggled to fight widespread food shortages and international sanctions imposed for its nuclear weapons development.

Happy 50th Birthday, U.S.S. Enterprise!

Filed Under (Announcements) by Kevin on 25-11-2011

The US Navy is celebrating the 50th anniversary of nuclear power and of Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise.

Feel free to join the celebration and share this wallpaper:

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enteprise

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enteprise

In Remembrance of the 10th Anniversary of September 11th

Filed Under (Announcements) by Kevin on 11-09-2011

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, attacks that resulted in an attack on the Pentagon, the downing of Flight 93, and the collapsoe of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center.  It is an event similar to the events at Pearl Harbor, but more horrific in that the events were directed at non-combatants, ordinary citizens who were unaware a war had been declared upon them.  A war that was unleashed in response by the angry citizens of a country in grief, a war on terror.  And the victims were not solely Americans, but were of many faiths, races, and nationalities.

But if we are to property remember the victims lost on that day, we must remember that the lesson is not necessarily that we need only declare war on enemies abroad, but also the enemy within ourselves.  Because the events of 9/11 were the result of ignorance, the ignorance of men and women who believed they were serving a greater purpose for their god through killing.

And in recognizing that, we must never allow ourselves to walk that same path, to allow ignorance to blind us and guide us in our actions and/or through violence to hurt others, physically or verbally, because of their beliefs or because they are different.  It is often forgotten that the other innocent victims of 9/11 are the American Muslims (and in many cases, Sikhs in the Indian American communities, who were targeted because of their turbans), who suffered through 9/11 as the targets of anger for crimes committed by those who dishonored their religion.

In the end, many of them have demonstrated their loyalty and love for this country through military service abroad fighting our enemies, helping to dig out survivors at Ground Zero, and who have remained supportive of our mission to combat terrorism.  Many have died in support of our war on terror.  And we must not forget those who serve with American soldiers abroad, as guides, interpreters, and do so under the threat of death towards themselves and their families, because they also abhor the actions of the terrorists.

To all who have lost someone, know someone who has lost someone, or were witness to the horrific tragedy of 9/11, may we never forget those events, and live in remembrance of the victims, and the brave policemen, firefighters, and ordinary citizens who sacrificed themselves unselfishly in the effort to rescue them.

In recognition of those lost, those who survive and continue to grief, and those who continue to fight the wars against those who perpetuated this violence, I offer this quote from Abraham Lincoln, which he delivered in his second inaugural speech, which truly sums up the strength and resolve of the greatest nation on earth:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Osama Bin Laden Dead… Or Is He?

Filed Under (Announcements) by Kevin on 02-05-2011

With the leader of al Qaeda confirmed dead only a few minutes ago, many conspiracy theories are flying around about whether or not Osama Bin Laden is actually dead.  The official US government position is that he is dead, and they are planning to release photos to prove that he is dead, but it isn’t hard to doctor a photo to prove he is dead.  This begs the question, why would you kill Bin Laden rather than try to capture him?  While the government will claim it was impossible to do  so, it is known the government will go to extraordinary means to secure something if they believe it is worthwhile, even if it costs lives and monetary resources.

What is the greatest benefit of capturing Bin Laden?  He is likely a wealth of information of al Qaeda’s activites worldwide.  Getting him to sing like a canary would allow the US to shut down entire swaths of terrorist networks much quickly, and prevent them from sprouting up again when you can take out the entire network, leaving no one experienced behind to restart it.  Of course it would likely be costly.  Terrorist groups worldwide would begin attacks and taking hostages in order to secure his release.  The amount of terrorist activity could be staggering if he was alive.

What are some of the benefits of killing Bin Laden over capturing him?   You avoid a large scale response of terrorist incidents worldwide trying to secure his release.  It’s inevitable you will still get retaliation, but it would not be as wide spread since there would be no hope of securing the release of a dead man.  Not to mention, someone officially “declared” dead would be easier to dispose of without a trial and executed, than someone alive who would require interrogation, a trial, and massive security forces to protect the location where he was being held, and protecting his tranport to and from trial.

The most likely scenario is that he was captured, and his death faked to avoid the worldwide terrorist response of seeking his release, and avoiding having to provide a trial.  It is far more likely the US government is seeking to use him for information, after they manage to break him, which is inevitable, since no one can withstand continuous torture indefinitely.  Not to mention, a “dead” man can be tortured, because there will be no need to ensure his bruises and brutality was not visible during trial.

Regardless of whether he is alive or not, the news that his DNA is virtually confirmed, and whether he is dead or tucked away in the deepest hole in the planet, his capture is a victory for the free world.  Below is the article from Fox News regarding the DNA testing to identify Bin Laden.


DNA Proves Usama Bin Laden’s Death, Obama Officials Say

Two Obama administration officials say DNA evidence has proven that Usama bin Laden is dead, with 99.9 percent confidence.

The officials did not immediately say where or how the testing was done, but the test explains why President Obama was confident to announce bin Laden’s death to the world Sunday night.

A senior U.S. official told Fox News that a Navy SEAL from Team Six, a top military counterterrorism unit, identified Bin Laden by his face. The official said the Al Qaeda leader did not appear to be ravaged or starved from his years in hiding, saying it appeared Bin Laden had been living well. 

The official also said the SEALs used “facial recognition pulls” to confirm Bin Laden’s identity on site by comparing his height, ears, nose and mouth to known photos of him. 

The official said the White House is still deciding on when and how to released the photo of Bin Laden to avoid any conspiracy theories about his death. The official said it is believed that only the U.S. is in possession of the photo.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report 

US Military Open To Gay Soldiers?

Filed Under (Announcements) by Kevin on 03-12-2010

It didn’t seem so long ago that a court ruled that gay marriages be allowed.  It was in August to be exact.   The presiding judge wrote on simple sentence that will hopefully someday have profound impact upon America.

“The evidence presented at trial and the position of representatives of the state of California show that an injunction against enforcement of Proposition 8 is in the public’s interest.”

In many ways, it is a reminder of a line from the January 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation address by President Abraham Lincoln:

“And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.”

The gay community is no longer an unknown or a mystery, with many well known celebrities that have shown their pride, including Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, and Rosie O’Donnell.  They are human beings like us, and do not deserve to be treated as second class citizens, much like minorities were treated in the ’60s.

It seems fitting that the line from the Emancipation Proclamation refers to a military necessity for the proclamation.  The military of today faces a crisis in terms of meeting recruitment quotas to fill the needs of the military, with more young men and women disillusioned by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Others have become aware that enjoying a free education while serving in the National Guard requires payment, the price being active duty service as needed.

With a need to fill recruitment goals, why are a segment of the population being turned away, on the basis of sexual orientation.  Men and women in the military are about as likely, if not more likely, to be assaulted sexual by the opposite sex than they are to be assaulted by someone of the opposite sex.

Ultimately, gay soldiers are not going to climb into your bunk or foxhole and rape you.  Can it happen?  Of course, it has happened to heterosexuals. Does that mean we need to ban heterosexual men and women from the service?  When people, irrespective of their sexual orientation or race, are willing to put their lives at risk to defense our country, what right have we to take that privilege away from them?

It reminds me of a quote from Glory, where Denzel Washington’s character, a soldier in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment , states “A black soldier can stop a bullet as good as a white soldier…”  The same truth goes for a gay soldier.  Soldiering is not for the faint of heart, and if a gay soldier has the courage and fortitude to risk life and limb to protect a country that won’t accept them, they deserve our respect.

Main Image

A recent study conducted by the Pentagon found that most in the military do not mind gays serving amonst them, and that they do not feel threatened.

The Pentagon unveiled a study on Tuesday that predicted little impact if the U.S. military ended its ban on gays, bolstering President Barack Obama’s push to get Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by year-end….At least 13,000 men and women have been expelled from the military since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which allows gays to serve in the armed forces as long as they keep their sexual orientation private, came into force in 1993….The study dismissed as exaggerated notions that ending the ban would lead to overt promiscuity, widespread “effeminacy” among men and “unwelcome advances.” It also opposed separate living quarters or bathrooms for gay or lesbian troops, a possibility raised in the past by some in the U.S. military.

 The Pentagon report continued discussing concerns and implications of repealing the ban, and citing concerns:

(Reuters) – A majority of the U.S. military does not object to lifting the ban on gays serving openly in uniform, except for predominantly male combat units which show greater resistance to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a Pentagon study said Tuesday.

It could have a significant impact on President Barack Obama’s push for Congress to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy by year-end.  The policy, adopted in 1993, bars gays from openly serving in the military, but allows them to serve as long as they keep their sexual orientation private.  Following are some of the report’s key recommendations:

Service members expressed concerns about conduct such as public displays of affection, dress, appearance, and violence, harassment, or disrespect between homosexual and heterosexual members.
“We do recommend … that the Department of Defense issue generalized guidance to the Services that all standards of personal and professional conduct must apply uniformly without regard to sexual orientation.”

A large number of service members raised religious and moral objections to homosexuality and some of the “most intense and sharpest divergence of views” were among the roughly 3,000 military chaplains.
The report concluded that Service members already co-exist, work and fight together, despite sharply different religious convictions and values such as on abortion.

“We recommend modification to the prohibition on sodomy in Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and a corresponding change to the Manual for Courts-Martial (which implements the UCMJ and provides rules, policies, and procedures for UCMJ prosecutions).”
“Article 125 of the UCMJ treats all acts of sodomy, heterosexual, homosexual, consensual, or otherwise, as punishable conduct.”

A number of Service members were uncomfortable about sharing bathroom facilities or living quarters with someone known to be gay or lesbian.

 A copy of the s can be found here in PDF format, Report on the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

A poll of the American public also found greater tolerence in their willingness to accept gays in the mliitary.

 Most Americans favor allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the U.S. military, a poll released on Monday by the Pew Research Center showed.   The poll findings are the latest to indicate public support for a repeal of the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gays from openly serving in the U.S. military and come a day before a long-awaited Pentagon report on the matter.

Of course, some in the government are not so eager to embrace a change that is long due.  Even Arizona Senator John McCain advocated caution, that the military may not be ready for this change.

A top Republican warned on Thursday it might be too soon to end the U.S. military’s ban on gays, as the party geared up to block President Barack Obama’s bid to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this year.  “I am not saying this law should never change. I am simply saying that it may be premature to make such a change at this time, and in this manner,” said Senator John McCain, addressing the U.S. defense secretary and top military officer as they appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  McCain and some fellow Republicans on the committee also caste doubt on the conclusions and methodology of a Pentagon study released two days ago that predicted little impact if the 17-year-old policy were ended.

Is this true?  Are we truly not ready to show tolerence for those who are different?  After all, isn’t this country founded on the principle of tolerence?  Then again, the United States was virtually last in freeing slaves.  It should come as no surprise that other nations openly embrace gay soldiers amongst their ranks.   Some of the nations that allow gays to serve are Taiwan, Philippines, and South Korea, to name a few.

NEFF: The Defence Department working group report which was just released on Tuesday here, showed as well the republic of Korea, that South Korea was among the nations that also allowed openly gay service, and this is the Defence Department’s report on foreign military that it used to provide input to members of Congress about the way forward for the US.

LAM: What about Japan? I understand Japan has no rules applying to gay personnel, is that right?

NEFF: Japan and Singapore also fell into sort of an indeterminate or undetermined category for the Defence Department’s review and I think they are seeking further clarification there.

 Only time will tell if society and the military have reached a point where we can now accept gays equally within the Armed Forces. 

This article was simultaneously published with permission on both and, as the topic is relevant to both websites.

Military-Discussion Has A New Look

Filed Under (Announcements) by Kevin on 25-11-2010

At, we are happy to announce that the website has gotten a much needed facelift.

With an increase in membership, and visits (we recently passed the 120,000 visitors mark),  we wanted to have the website be more functional.  As a result, we have set up the site to be more interactive, and to offer more to our loyal followers and contributors.

If you have any suggestions to help us improve our website and offerings, please feel free to let us know.