"To this day, people in Chicago are still scared about being murdered for talking about Barack Obama being gay or about what goes on at Trinity United with the still-active "Down Low Club". Young, gay, black men are mentored into the club and are eventually paired up with often unattractive and difficult to deal with straight black women who never have boyfriends (since guys don't want to have anything to do with them). A friend of mine in the "Think Squad" of prominent black professionals I talk to regularly calls these women "heifers" and says it’s very common for "cake boys" to be paired up with "heifers" so that "dummies are fooled" into thinking they are straight."
McConnell claims that sometime after March 29, 2009 and before crash of Extortion 17 on August 6, 2011, Serco's National Security Adviser Maureen Baginski ordered her White House operatives to bypass Obama's Red Switch IST-2 telephone with non-secure Cisco 7975 and Lucent 8520 phones in the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room.
McConnell claims that Obama – through negligence, recklessness, wilfulness or fraud – allowed Serco's Red Switch operatives to override the orders of Lt. Col. Rickard in the deployment of Extortion 17 and Obama is therefore responsible for the wrongful deaths of the Navy SEALs and their colleagues and the 7 witting or unwitting Afghan commandos who had been substituted at the last minute (Quo Warranto?) without the knowledge or consent of the Extortion 17 victims.
McConnell recommends that Serco shares be suspended until Abel Danger has completed an investigation into the bypass of Obama's Red Switch Override privileges and helped the families to prepare a class action suit for damages in re the wrongful deaths of the Extortion 17 victims.
Prequel 1: #2136 Marine Links Extortion 17 Hits to Red Switch Serco Override, Heifer TF Warrior Hack
Lt. Col. Thomas S. Rickard, commander of 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Warrior, shows Afghan National Police Chief Abdul Ghafoor Aziz around Combat Outpost Tangi, Friday. Ghafoor, chief of police for Sayed Abad District, will take command of COP Tangi. (Photo by Sgt. Cooper Cash).
Not a cool phone? An IST-2 telephone on Obama's desk, March 29, 2009 (White House photo by Pete Souza)
The Cisco 7975 and the Lucent 8520 on Obama's desk, July 31, 2011 Also on the desk appears to be the iPad Obama got from Steve Jobs in May 2011 (White House photo by Pete Souza)
Joe Biden Exposes SEAL Team 6 families to al-Queda
"All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near."
Does Obama really lack cool phones?
"Extortion 17 Navy SEALs – Family Still Seeks Answers
Posted by / In Politics / July 17, 2013
The parents of Aaron Vaughn, one of the extraordinary men killed on 6 August, 2011 in Afghanistan, in the Op known as Extortion 17, appeared Tuesday night on Cowboy Logic Radio to speak about their continued search for answers in their son's death. Aaron, son of Billy and Karen Vaughn, a Navy SEAL from SEAL Team VI DEVGRU, along with 16 other SEALs and 29 other Americans, was killed in a fiery Chinook crash that night in the Tangi River Valley. Sent to assist a group of Rangers, the crew of 38 consisted of Navy SEALs, other US Spec Ops forces, one US military war dog, and 7 Afghan commandos. One of the great mysteries of that night in 2011 involved the Afghan commandos. At the last minute, the men previously named and documented to board, were substituted with other men. In fact, the change was so late, that the wrong families were informed their sons had died and had to be told that actually their sons were alive. To this day, even after receiving all 1,250 plus pages of documents from the redacted, now declassified CENTCOM report, and reading them thoroughly, as well as meeting with several high level military officials, Billy and Karen Vaughn still have no answer as to who the Afghan commandos were that were actually on board the Chinook, whether or not they were true allies or suicide bombers, or who exactly issued the order to remove them and substitute the 7 who really flew that night with their son and other US servicemen to their deaths."
"February 4, 2012
Does Obama really lack cool phones?
In April last year, US president Obama told some fundraisers that he was disappointed by the communications equipment he found in the White House:
"I always thought I was gonna have like really cool phones and stuff," he said during a Q&A session with contributors at a fund-raising meeting in Chicago on April 14, 2011.
"We can't get our phones to work." Acting out his exasperation, he said: "Come on, guys. I'm the president of the United States! Where's the fancy buttons and stuff and the big screen comes up? It doesn't happen."
Obama made these remarks after the press pool had left and may not have realized some reporters back at the White House could still hear his comments. The president was probably responding to a question about bottlenecks in technological innovation and he used his White House experience as an example.
A lot of people would probably like to believe these remarks of the president, symbolizing the outdated state of the federal government. But in fact, what Obama said, isn't quite true.
In 2006-2007 president George W. Bush had the White House Situation Room completely renovated, providing it with state-of-the-art communications facilities. Since then the real Situation Room has all the phones and videoscreens and other stuff, which was before only seen in movies.
Also, when Obama took over the office in January 2009, he found quite a cool phone on the presidential desk in the Oval Office: an Integrated Services Telephone 2, or IST-2. This is a so called red phone (I'll explain that term in a later blog post) capable of making both secure and non-secure calls from one single instrument:
Not a cool phone? An IST-2 telephone on Obama's desk, March 29, 2009 (White House photo by Pete Souza) The IST-2 was installed in the White House in 2007. It's a phone specially designed for the US Defense Red Switch Network (DRSN), which connects the president and the Pentagon with all major military command centers. These new phones were part of an upgrade of the communications system, which became necessary after some serious communication problems occurred during the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, the problems caused by outdated equipment should have been solved under president Bush. This would leave nothing to complain about for Obama anymore.
But there's an other interesting fact. Only a few weeks before Obama made his aforementioned remarks in April 2011, the rather rare IST-phone had just been replaced by two more ordinary sets:
The Cisco 7975 and the Lucent 8520 on Obama's desk, July 31, 2011
Also on the desk appears to be the iPad Obama got from Steve Jobs in May 2011 (White House photo by Pete Souza)
Now we see a Cisco 7975G Unified IP Phone (with expansion module 7916) behind a Avaya/Lucent 8520T on Obama's desk. This Lucent phone is from the most widely used business phone series worldwide, but is dating back to the mid-nineties. The Cisco 7975G is a VoIP (Voice over IP) telephone, and as such also one of the most widely used.
Both are high-end multiline models, with many functions and large displays, with the Cisco one even having a full colour touchscreen. This phone is also "cool", not because of having the military grade specifications or the exclusiveness like the IST-2, but because the phone (and its ringtone in particular) became an almost iconic item from the highly popular tv-series 24:
A Cisco 7970 IP Phone used in the CTU operations center in the tv-series 24 (screen cap by www.24tv.de)
This series, which was broadcasted between 2001 and 2010, shaped people's imagination of the presidency and was in many ways a forerunner of reality. For example there was a popular black president (David Palmer) years before Obama was elected, and much of the fancy communications equipment from the series, like video teleconferencing, was implemented in the real White House Situation Room in 2007. And now the real president also has the same cool Cisco phone as the heroes used in the tv-series.
So, as we have seen, Obama didn't really tell the truth. The story he told the fundraisers was true during the beginning of the Bush administration, but not during his. Obama actually has some quite cool phones at his disposal, but maybe the only thing is that he just doesn't realize that ;-)
- Report on CBS News: Obama laments lack of "cool phones" at the White House
- About the renovation of the White House Situation Room
- Pictures of more "Obama Phones" at Cryptome.org
- Dutch article about Obama's gadgets at ZDNet.nl
- Extensive German fanpage of the 24-series"
"A Handover Gone Wrong: How COP Tangi Was Lost
This is the tale of a transition gone wrong. It's the story of a combat outpost lost to the enemy. Most importantly, it is a stern warning to the coalition and the Afghans involved. If readiness, capacities and capabilities of the ANSF aren’t factored into the equation, if conditions on the ground are ignored due to strategic or political pressure and if the ANSF are left without without coordinated follow-up support by the coalition, the whole transition effort is put into jeopardy.
Based on a Washington Post article report and my own experiences, I recently provided some analysis and commentary on the situation in the Jalrez valley. As noted, the strategic importance of this region cannot be understated. It's not a coincidence that the last major offensive of the war, involving an entire U.S. combat brigade, is taking place just south of Wardak in Ghazni province. This influx of additional troops to the area, which was cast as a second-rate theater during the height of the troops surge, will enable the coalition to mount a number of large-scale clearing operations and solidify any gains in the process. However, once the deployment of those troops comes to an end, it if far from clear if the ANSF are ready to fill the gap.
In Wardak, U.S. troops levels are already thinning. As a consequence, the capacity of the coalition to provide material and operational follow-up support to the ANSF is reduced significantly. This, combined with the apparent lack of readiness on behalf of the ANSF to sustain themselves has already led to the loss of one combat outpost (COP) in the Tangi valley, almost immediately after it was handed over. This puts the capacity of the ANSF to hold other outposts in contested areas into doubt. In any case, it is worth taking a closer look at the surrounding circumstances of this handover gone wrong. Even though the transfer of COP Tangi was not part of the transition process that is led by the Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal Board (JANIB), the case perfectly illustrates the challenges that lie ahead.
Why does the case of COP Tangi matter? Shortly after COP Tangi was handed over, the ANP who were tasked with holding it abandoned the base. As a consequence, insurgents took over and continued to operate in the area more freely than ever. Coalition forces still patrolled in the valley, but they weren't able to make up for the lost ground and the inability of the ANSF to keep it. Insurgents controlled the area now.
In July 2011, three months after it was abandoned by the ANP, a CH-47 Chinook was shot down by insurgents at a distance of less than a mile from the outpost. 30 U.S. troops, among them several Navy SEALS, and 8 Afghans perished. Even though it’s pointless to speculate, it is entirely within the realm of possibilities that with COP Tangi still under U.S. or ANSF control, the mission to insert the SEALS and their Afghan counterparts wouldn't have been deemed necessary in the first place.
From U.S. to ANP to Taliban hands in a matter of days
The transfer of COP Tangi from U.S. military control to the ANSF and more specifically the ANP was scheduled to take place in April 2011. A glowing U.S. Army press release offered a few yet crucial details on the effort. It cited Lt. Col. Thomas S. Rickard, commander of TF Warrior, which was the battlespace owner at the time:
"As we lose U.S. personnel, we have to concentrate on the greater populations," said Rickard.
"U.S. forces will still patrol the area," said Rickard. "We are going to continue to hunt insurgents in Tangi and prevent them from having a safe haven."
ANSF will soon run COP Tangi, and TF Warrior will increase operations in Chak [district]. If this trend continues, within a few years, local residents in Chak will be able to look solely toward other Afghans for security and guidance, said Rickard. [...]
"The Afghan National Police have already demonstrated their resolve by placing permanent check points at each end of the valley." [...] “The MOD (Ministry of Defense) and the ANA (Afghan National Army) made the decision to move forces into Chak," said Rickard.
As it turned out, things didn't go according to plan. The Tangi Valley became exactly what it wasn’t supposed to be: A Taliban safe haven. The New York Times reported that Taliban seized ground around the COP almost as soon as it was transferred to the ANP:
Within days of the transition, the Taliban raised their flag near the outpost, said a NATO official familiar with the situation. Afghan security forces remained in the area but were no match for the Taliban, the official said.
Alam Gul, who was chief of the local council in Sayed Abad district at the time reported what happened next:
They [the U.S. military] took their expensive equipment, but left other items, like freezers, Gul said. The Taliban retrieved the items and had a yard sale, he said. Afghans from the surrounding area came to shop.
As the plan to readjust the focus on another district seems to have originated within the ranks of the ANA, it is unlikely that the ANP gave up the base due to a strategically motivated decision. After all, there were no plans to close down the base. It is likely they simply abandoned it out of fear or a lack of capacity. Ultimately, leaving responsibility for this outpost to the ANP without ensuring it would remain under their control is to be considered a failure. In any case, if a base is almost taken over just days after being transferred to the ANSF, then this warrants a closer look.
What went wrong with the handover of COP Tangi?
COP Tangi was set up to establish a presence in the valley with the goal of denying the insurgents terrain and to reach out to the local population. In retrospect, the establishment of COP Tangi was a sign of the times. It was set up when troop levels began to rise in 2010 and a population-centric COIN doctrine was being touted as the key to stability by General Stanley A. McChrystal, who had assumed the post of COMISAF in 2009. Three years later, transition or Afghanization are being touted as the way to the exit and steadily declining troops levels render the maintenance of a combat outpost in a sparsely populated yet highly hostile area unfeasible.
In 2011, after about three years of continuous fighting in the valley and against the backdrop of reduced force levels and a transition-process that was well underway, it became evident that in the long run, it wouldn’t be sustainable to keep COP Tangi any longer. Lt. Col. Rickard, the commander of TF Warrior clearly stated the rationale behind handing over the outpost – a desire to focus operations on a more populated district, as stipulated by population-centric COIN doctrine. He claims the decision to readjust the focus had originated somewhere within the ANA chain of command and the MoD in Kabul. While this decision was most likely born out of strategic necessity, it may also be seen as a subtle admission that efforts to reach out to the population and bring stability to the area hadn’t gone anywhere in the Tangi valley.
It is unlikely that in the run-up to the handover of COP Tangi, Lt. Col. Rickard wasn't fully aware of the composition, capability and determination of the insurgent forces in the area. After all, the Tangi valley had been an insurgent hub ever since troops from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division first entered and subsequently established a presence in the area in 2009 – 2010. For most of those who followed their footsteps, including Rickard's men, the deployment was a constant battle against a determined insurgent force. The enemy wasn’t the unknown factor in this equation. It was the ANSF.
An interesting aspect of this story is the fact that the ANP and not the ANA were chosen to take over responsibility for COP Tangi. Usually, the ANP are equipped with light to medium firearms and weapons such as AK variants, RPKs, PK machine guns, RPGs and occasionally, a truck-mounted DShK machine gun. Generally, they don’t have any armored vehicles. After all, they are a police force, tasked with regular police work, at least on paper. Fighting battle-hardened and determined insurgent forces isn’t their purpose, though even more often than not, this is exactly what they do.
It makes sense to put the ANP in charge of checkpoints or police stations within territory that is controlled by the ANA and coalition forces, thus enabling those forces to maneuver on the enemy. In the case of COP Tangi, it is puzzling the ANP were placed in charge of an outpost that lay in the center of heavily contested territory. One possibility is the lack of ANA troops to hold the outpost – after all, they were scheduled to deploy to a neighboring district. Another possibility is that the ANA chain of command was seeking a convenient way not to do what they were supposed to: To shoulder security responsibility for this particular stretch of land. Placing the ANP in charge would be an easy way out. It is noteworthy that there have been long-standing tensions in Wardak between the ANA, the ANP and the NDS due to their overlapping mandates and tasks, but more importantly due to their different political affiliations. Of course, while entirely conceivable, this possibility can't be corroborated and thus remains in the realm of speculation.
Different possibilities, same outcome: The ANP lose COP Tangi
Regarding the botched handover, there are several distinct possibilities. First, Lt. Col Rickard and his staff knew the ANP weren't up for the task of holding COP Tangi, either due to a lack of capacity or will. In that case, he most likely would have raised the issue with his chain of command, who in turn would have alarmed the Afghans at some point with the intent to get them to reconsider moving their troops elsewhere. However, it was still decided the ANP would take over responsibility. As his statements above indicate, it was clear to Rickard that a prolonged presence in the valley was no longer feasible. Leaving the outpost to the ANP was a risk he was either forced or willing to take. Engaging in a photo-op while touring the base with the individual who would shortly after cede it to the Taliban might either be interpreted as a brazen move or as an indicator of his cluelessness that trouble was afoot. In either case, the issue leaves Rickard in a bad light.
The second possibility is equally unsettling. Lt. Col. Rickard and his staff actually thought the ANP were able to hold the outpost. This sounds odd at first, but it is a real possibility. U.S. Army commanders use the Commanders Unit Assessment Tool or CUAT to rate the individual ANSF units they're mentoring or partnering with. Basically, it is a document that features different quantitative and qualitative metrics to rate an individual military unit or security force. It replaced the overly qualitative and inaccurate Capability Milestone (CM) rating system. While it has a higher potential that the CM rating system, it still has its flaws.
Most importantly, the CUAT doesn't amount to an unbiased and independent assessment tool. Essentially, it reflects the performance of the ANSF as perceived by their U.S. counterparts. Any CUAT may very well be tweaked to reflect more positive results than reality would actually merit. The context is that U.S. military field grade officers are under a lot of pressure to report positive news to the higher-ups in the chain of command if they are to advance their career. The temptation to put a spin on virtually every aspect that is reported to superiors or the press is omnipresent. The overly positive tone in the press release as cited above may serve as such an example. This tendency, coupled with a sense of detachment from reality on the ground can lead to flawed assessments and ultimately, to mistakes. The bottom line is: Whatever rating system was used to assess the ANP at COP Tangi, there is a real possibility this assessment was flawed, thus leading to the very real belief among U.S. commanders the ANP would be able to hold out.
To make one thing abundantly clear: I am not implying any wrongdoing on behalf of Lt. Col. Rickart and his subordinates. There is absolutely no evidence Lt. Col. Rickard and his staff have engaged in any deceitful activities. I am merely pointing out facts and possibilities that are based on my knowledge and my experiences as a reporter who has spent a significant amount of time with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. And there is a third and rather unflattering possibility. Lt. Col Rickart may have been hoodwinked by Abdul Ghafoor Aziz, the ANP district police chief. Sayed Abad district is fraught with countless land and water rights conflicts that pit different clans and tribes in this area against each other. Consequently, the post of district police chief is akin to navigating mine fields on a daily basis. According to this grotesquely glossy press release, Abdul Ghafoor Aziz has held this position sine 2010, which is enough time to figure out if the forces he commands can prevail against the Taliban.
It can be assumed Col. Ghafoor knew what lay ahead once he was left with responsibility for COP Tangi. If he abandoned the post on his own or with the knowledge of his chain of command remains unclear.
ANP abandoned a mission it shouldn't have been given in the first place
One dynamic that can be observed here as well as elsewhere is that as soon as insurgent pressure reaches a certain threshold, the ANSF tend to cave in and cede ground. The bottom line is, once ground is ceded, insurgents almost immediately filter back in and take control, rendering any venture into the territory a dangerous mission for the ANSF and coalition forces. No matter how smoothly the transition process may be going – if the end state is to have the ANSF in control of territory, then it is already evident this goal will not be attained in all of Afghanistan.
Was there anything that could have been done to keep COP Tangi? Technically, the answer is yes. With a sustained coalition presence, the outpost would have never been lost in the first place. Due to the strategic realignment as initiated by the ANA chain of command and the drawdown of coalition forces, this was never really an option. Consequently, the ANP lost the outpost. If their readiness to assume responsibility was either misjudged or of secondary concern remains unclear. In any case, the capacities and capabilities of the ANSF should be the primary concern before additional security responsibility is handed over.
There is a chance that with proper coordination and sustained follow-up support, the ANP would have considered holding COP Tangi. As it turned out, the rather vague promise of future coalition patrols wasn’t enough to make the ANP keep its end of the bargain. An embedded coalition adviser team could have made a difference here, providing access to communications, surveillance, close air support and coalition backup should things heat up. As it seems, the ANP at COP Tangi were left high and dry. Coalition forces who hand over security responsibilities are well-advised to ensure material and operational follow-up support is provided or they risk the ANSF losing ground to the enemy.
In the end, holding COP Tangi against all odds – the prowess of the insurgents in the valley was well known to both the U.S. military and the ANSF – was a task the ANP should have never shouldered. Most likely, it was a task it never wanted. They knew they wouldn’t be able to hold out very long, so they bailed. In the end, the failure to hold this outpost enabled the insurgents to establish control over the area. The consequences became brutally clear three months later. 38 made the ultimate sacrifice; less than a mile from outpost away. Share this stuff. 2 clicks required to protect your privacy."
"C4I for the Warrior is the linchpin for promoting immediate joint coalition C4I interoperability worldwide. This program provides focus and visibility into resolving C4I interoperability issues and provides organizing principles, policy and doctrine for information superiority as directed by JV2010.
C4IFTW stresses interoperability and leverages the rapid pace of C4I technology advancements. This program is based on three subprograms: 1) Advanced Concepts, 2) Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstrations (JWID), and 3) Standardized Tactical Entry Point (STEP). As the C4IFTW concepts evolve and mature, they will spawn new approaches to providing the joint warfighter with a fused near-real-time, true representation of the battlespace. It is a unifying concept that brings the warrior an accurate and complete picture of the battlespace, timely and detailed mission objectives, and the clearest view of the targets. The Advanced Concepts initiative is intended to leverage commercial technologies and government-funded developments to provide high priority technologies to the warfighter in the shortest period of time. The current focus of Advanced Concepts, the Network Warfare Simulation (NETWARS) model, addresses communications burden issues. The NETWARS model will assess the effects of full operational combat traffic loading on current and future tactical communications; conduct quick-turn communications planning for small regional conflicts or peacekeeping scenarios; and evaluate new communication systems and technologies. JWIDs are Joint Staff-sponsored C4I demonstrations of existing, off-the-shelf, new and evolving C4I technologies. The demonstrations, which are jointly screened to determine ability to satisfy warfighting requirements, enable warfighters to operate these capabilities and assess their ability to enhance their operational missions. The STEP program will establish a standard set of C4I services at selected Defense Satellite Communications Systems (DSCS) gateways and STEP sites to support a commander joint task force (CJTF) and its component forces worldwide. STEP essentially extends the Defense Information System Network (DISN) to the tactical forces; specifically, services from the Defense Switched Network (DSN), Defense Red Switch Network (DRSN), Unclassified, but sensitive, and SECRET Internet Protocol Router Networks (NIPRNET/SIPRNET) video teleconference (VTC), and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS). (STEP has no RDT&E funds - it uses O&M and procurement funds only; also, STEP transferred from the Joint Staff to DISA in FY 1999)"
Field McConnell, United States Naval Academy, 1971; Forensic Economist; 30 year airline and 22 year military pilot; 23,000 hours of safety; Tel: 715 307 8222
David Hawkins Tel: 604 542-0891 Forensic Economist; former leader of oil-well blow-out teams; now sponsors Grand Juries in CSI Crime and Safety Investigation