Category: Military

U.N. Court’s Muslim Prosecutor Threatens to Go After U.S. Troops

Fatou Bensouda

In a Twilight Zone-esque move, the Hague-based International Criminal Court, which holds no jurisdiction over America, nonetheless issued a not-so-veiled threat via its chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, to go after U.S. troops for perceived improper treatment of detainees in Afghanistan during military missions between May 2003 and December 2014.

Bensouda, a Muslim lawyer from Gambia, wrote in a letter, reported by the New American, that “members of U.S. armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity on the territory of Afghanistan.”

The New American goes on:

“The kangaroo court’s ‘chief prosecutor’ also claimed that operatives with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency might have subjected more than two dozen detainees to ‘torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and/or rape’ between December 2002 and March 2008. The alleged crimes took place in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, and Lithuania, according to the report. Echoing previous rhetoric, ICC ‘prosecutors’ said they would ‘imminently’ decide whether to try and press forward with a full-scale investigation and possible war-crimes charges against U.S. military and intelligence personnel. The court also claims jurisdiction over vague ‘crimes of aggression.’”

“Whether the baseless threat to illegally prosecute U.S. forces was an effort to stem the exodus of members from the troubled and widely ridiculed court was not immediately clear. But while the ICC has in the past issued illegitimate threats to prosecute Americans over supposed crimes in places such as Libya, the threats have generally been ignored, because the court has no jurisdiction over Americans. By claiming that the alleged crimes by U.S. troops took place in nations where authorities have signed on to the Rome Statute, which created the court, the ICC now claims it may be able to investigate and prosecute Americans without constitutional protections.”

America ought to respond with a simple toss of head and say: What does the ICC matter to the United States?

President Obama, speaking at a session of the General Assenbly. Now the U.N. court, the ICC, wants to prosecute U.S. soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

But President Obama is not the man for that job.

Multiple U.S. Active Duty Soldiers Arrested In Illegal Alien Smuggling Ring.

Multiple U.S. Active Duty Soldiers Arrested In Illegal Alien Smuggling Ring…

Sharyl Attkisson writes a gobsmacking investigative article outlining how soldiers in Fort Bliss were running an active human smuggling ring bringing Mexican nationals across the border.  It looks like there’s a large number of active duty military engaged in this.  (make sure to read the entire article)…

(Via Sharyl Attkisson) U.S. authorities are investigating an illegal immigrant smuggling operation allegedly run by active duty military soldiers out of the Ft. Bliss U.S. Army post in El Paso, Texas. Ft. Bliss is headquarters for El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), a federal tactical operational intelligence center.

According to sources and documents, two U.S. soldiers, Marco Antonio Nava, Jr. and Joseph Cleveland, were arrested last Saturday by border patrol officers at Falfurias, Texas Border Patrol Station Checkpoint attempting to smuggle two Mexican citizens into the U.S. The Mexicans were riding in the back seat of the car.

Upon their arrest, the soldiers, who were not in uniform at the time, informed Border Patrol agents they are part of the 377 TC Company at Ft. Bliss.

Nava told investigators it was the second time that he and Cleveland had smuggled in illegal immigrants for pay and, during a debriefing, described a smuggling ring allegedly involving other Ft. Bliss soldiers. Nava identified a leader of the group as a Private First Class, as well as other participants. He said he wasn’t sure how long the ring had been operating.  (read more)

Source: Multiple U.S. Active Duty Soldiers Arrested In Illegal Alien Smuggling Ring…

ARRA News Service: Why We Celebrate Veterans Day

 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2016

Why We Celebrate Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. We celebrate Veterans Day on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, the day the guns fell silent in Europe following the armistice that ended World War I. For some, it’s a day off from school or work, but for the majority of Americans, it means so much more.

Veterans Day is the chance to thank and honor those who have selflessly served their country. Support for veterans has been mixed through our nation’s history. But today, through the efforts of great Americans, respect and assistance for veterans has never been stronger.

In increasing numbers, veterans are returning that support by continuing their service to their communities and country.

The term “veteran” comes from the Latin, vetus meaning “old.” In America and elsewhere, we use the word to describe those who have served in the military. But you don’t need to be old to be considered a veteran.

A veteran is a person who has served honorably in the U.S. military. He or she can be a citizen who served for four years and leaves the service at the ripe old age of 24.

U.S. veterans today enjoy a much different relationship with the populace—their government and the American people—than veterans have over the span of our history.

Revolutionary Beginnings
In the Revolutionary War, America relied on volunteers, although some state militias used conscription. Pay was the responsibility of the states and was sporadic or nonexistent. Many soldiers were promised cattle when their term of service ended. There was no system for pensions, death benefits, or disability payments. This led to unrest and dissatisfaction among those who had served so faithfully.

In 1830, years after the end of the war, Sgt. Joseph Plumb Martin, a Connecticut soldier who served for seven years in the Continental Army, summed up these feelings when wondered in his memoirs why he and his fellow soldiers were “turned adrift like worn-out horses.”

The number of people who served in the Revolutionary War never exceeded 30,000, and they were relatively ineffective in mustering any public opinion to better support veterans.

This national disinterest toward veterans continued with relatively minor reforms until the Civil War, where heretofore unprecedented numbers of Americans were killed or wounded.

Sensing a growing national obligation toward veterans, President Abraham Lincoln explicitly mentioned supporting them after the war. Post-Civil War reforms resulted in the establishment of a better system of pensions and payments, but most still remained meager.

Fast forward to World War I. Large groups of veterans returned from overseas; some with major needs. But the largest change in America’s treatment of its veterans came after World War II, which was pivotal in improving the relationship between veterans and their government.

The G.I. Bill of Rights
Congress passed the G.I. Bill of Rights, which included easy access to education, mortgages, and provisions for health care. Many have said that the World War II G.I. bill, which is estimated to have cost around $70 billion dollars, was the best investment America ever made.

It’s one thing for the government to provide for veterans returning from war. The G.I. bill and today’s 9/11 G.I. bill are tangible signs of that support.

But there is another dynamic, and one that has a psychological impact on veterans and the country as a whole. This is the phenomenon we experienced with Vietnam and Korea—two unpopular wars with the American people.

Veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars were largely ignored or worse by average Americans and they struggled immensely upon their discharge.

That was an unfortunate period in our nation’s history, because those men and women had served their country during a time of war and deserved to be treated with respect when they returned home.

Fortunately, today things are markedly different. Veterans, no matter when and where their service took place, are deeply appreciated by the American people.

You can witness this appreciation with standing ovations when “honor flights” of veterans arrive at airports, to the presence of over 180 United Service Organization centers manned by patriotic volunteers across the country.

I was at Ronald Reagan airport recently when an Honor Flight arrived from St. Louis. There wasn’t a dry eye in the terminal as the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans came off the plane, most in wheelchairs, to thunderous clapping.

Over 40,000 nonprofit organizations now exist to support the military or veterans.

Make no mistake, America’s support to its veterans and those serving, both tangible and intangible, is absolutely crucial to our ability to field a strong fighting force now and in the future. The value of this support manifests itself not just in successful recruiting, but in unmatched performance on the battlefield.

American service members go into combat today secure in the knowledge that if they are killed or wounded, they and their families will be taken care of. And so they willingly put their lives on the line.

Contrast that with service members of other nations where they must live with the knowledge that if they are hurt or killed, their families may become destitute. That weighs on them, and undoubtedly colors their battlefield behavior.

So although America has had a mixed history in the support to its veterans, today it seems that we have arrived at about the right place. The programs, systems, and appreciation that veterans deserve and need are generally in place.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely, but the American people and Congress will continue to strive to achieve the best solutions for our veterans. And where the Congress and the administration don’t act, civil society does. Dedicated nonprofit organizations have moved in to provide crucial services that the government either cannot, or should not, provide.

Veterans Return to the Community
Thankfully, after having served their nation in uniform, many veterans continue serving their nation in other ways.

They bring a myriad of talents and perspectives to that service; most have traveled to other parts of the world, have had the advantage of seeing other governments, witnessed oppression, poverty, and authoritarianism, and have received intensive training in leadership and organizational skills. They know both discipline and self-sacrifice.

One of the best examples of post-military continued service can be found in the life of Gen. George C. Marshall. Marshall retired from the Army in 1945, having served 43 years in uniform, his entire adult life.

The last six years had been grueling and unrelenting as he guided the nation’s immense war efforts. He and his wife had earned a welcome rest. But President Harry Truman asked Marshall to continue to serve and sent him to China in an unsuccessful effort to negotiate a coalition government between the Nationalists and Communists. He was unsuccessful but spent two years trying.

America wasn’t close to being done with Marshall. Truman asked Marshall to serve as secretary of state. In that capacity, Marshall received credit for Europe’s post-war rebuilding, for which he received the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize.

After resigning as secretary of state, Marshall served as secretary of defense for a year at the start of the Korean War, and then chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission and president of the American National Red Cross. His career remains one of the greatest examples of post-military service in our history.

And research suggests that veterans today continue to follow Marshall’s path. Today’s veterans are among our most community-oriented citizens. Studies show that they volunteer an average of 160 hours annually, 25 percent more than nonveterans.

Veterans belong to civic groups and attend neighborhood meetings, often assuming leadership roles. Furthermore, 48 percent of them vote in elections regularly, 16 percent more than nonveterans.

Veterans are now more than four times as likely as nonveterans to work for the federal government and 10 percent more likely than nonveterans to work for state and local governments. Although preferential treatment for veterans is certainly a factor, many former military members see government employment as a means of continuing to serve the nation.

And to support them, numerous nonprofit organizations help veterans to apply their energy to community and societal issues—The Mission Continues, Teach For America, Got Your Six, and others.

So while America certainly has obligations to its veterans, it seems as though veterans—without anyone telling or ordering them to do so—have gravitated toward continued service to their country, or community.

I’d like to mention in particular one type of community service that veterans are happy to provide to their country, and that’s the outreach and support to fellow veterans. Veterans have a special place in their heart for fellow vets and are also usually more effective in veteran support since they have walked in those boots. Nothing could be more important.

Veterans Day is a special day where we pause to celebrate those who have served, and in many cases continue to serve, our great country. For me, I’ll be thinking about those who raised their right hands and took the oath of allegiance to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” with oftentimes little knowledge of what that entailed.
——————-
Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Spoehr, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a director for the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.

Source: ARRA News Service: Why We Celebrate Veterans Day

A First: U.S. Special Ops On-Ground in Libya 

For the first time, elite U.S. Special Operations troops are directly helping fighters combat against ISIS in Libya with on-site support, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing U.S. and Libyan officials.

A small group of U.S. Special Operations forces are operating together with UK troops in Sirte, a city on the Libyan coast and ISIS’ de facto capital in North Africa. The role of the U.S. troops is limited to backing forces loyal to Libya’s unity Government of National Accord (GNA), The Post noted, quoting U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Last week, the U.S. launched precision air strikes against targets of ISIS in its stronghold Sirte in order to back the efforts of GNA-affiliated troops to defeat ISIS in the city.

The U.S. strikes have hit nearly 30 militant targets so far, according to The Post.

While Western forces step up their support for fighters against ISIS in Libya, the country continues to be torn by militant attacks at or close to oil infrastructure. In the latest incident, gunmen from the Benghazi Defense Brigades attacked on Tuesday members of the Libyan National Army (LNA) who were guarding the Naga oilfield, local media reported. The insurgents were forced to withdraw after six hours of clashes in which six militants and two army members were killed. In May, the LNA took over the oilfield which is not currently active.

Just last week, another Libyan militia, Operation Dignity, attacked the Zueitina oil terminal near Benghazi. The attack was repelled by Petroleum Facilities Guard forces, which are another militia operating in the country. Depending on sources, the Operation Dignity move was seen either as an attack on oil facilities or as an attempt to secure their reopening as agreed by one of the chiefs of the PFG, Ibrahim Jahdran, and the Presidential Council. The agreement followed years of PFG-led blockades of Libya’s four major oil export terminals, which have a combined capacity of 860,000 bpd.

All that militant activity, however, indicates that the likelihood of Libya’s oil output rising by 600,000 bpd, as Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said last week, is still far from a certainty.

Military court claims power to decide ‘importance’ of religion

REALLY?  CLEARLY, there are many people in this country who need a basic history course explaining how and why this country was founded…  Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling, our prayers are with you.

 

In a stunning ruling that likely will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, a military court has decided it can determine whether or not a certain religious practice is “important” enough to be protected.

“This is absolutely outrageous,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, after the decision in the case against a Marine who posted a Bible verse at her work station.

“A few judges decided they could strip a Marine of her constitutional rights just because they didn’t think her beliefs were important enough to be protected,” he said. “If they can court-martial a Marine over a Bible verse, what’s to stop them from punishing service members for reading the Bible, [talking] about their faith, or praying?”

“The Liberty Amendments” is the blueprint on how to fix our broken government by Mark Levin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Liberty and Tyranny” and “Ameritopia.” Order it today at WND’s Superstore.

WND reported at the end of 2015 when a lower military court delivered the judgment against Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling, who, at three places in her work space, posted a phrase from Isaiah 54:17, “No weapons formed against me shall prosper.”

According to the brief, her supervisor said, “I don’t like the tone” and told her to remove the verses.

“When Sterling declined, her supervisor took them down at the end of the duty day. Sterling reprinted and re-posted the messages, but she found them in the trash the next morning. She was then court-martialed,” according to the complaint.

“No one in our military who goes to work every day to defend our freedoms should then be court-martialed for exercising those very freedoms,” said Daniel Briggs, a former Air Force JAG officer now with the Alliance Defending Freedom, at the time.

“This case is about Monifa, but it is also about every American who puts on the uniform in service to this country. The question is whether they will be allowed to exercise their faith in the military, or whether they will be denied the same constitutionally protected freedoms they have volunteered to defend and are willing to die for.”

The latest development, this week, was an affirmation by the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces’ punishment of Sterling.

The next step will be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, her legal team said.

“This is a real-life example of why judges shouldn’t play theologians,” said Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel of the Becket Fund, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Sterling.

“Here, a few judges concluded that keeping scripture nearby isn’t ‘important,’ even though more than half of the world’s population belong to religions that teach the exact opposite. Avoiding obvious errors like this is why RFRA protects all religious beliefs, not just beliefs that government officials deem ‘important.’”

The organization pointed out that Sterling’s co-workers were permitted to keep nonreligious messages on their desks. And it argued her actions were protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

One judge on the military panel disagreed with the punishment, noting that federal law “does not empower judges to curtail various manifestations of sincere religious belief simply by arbitrarily deciding that a certain act was not ‘important’ to the believer’s exercise of religion.”

The Becket Fund’s brief was on behalf of religious faiths, including Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Muslim, Presbyterian, Sikh and Southern Baptist.

“Last I checked, Marines weren’t afraid of anything – and they certainly don’t need to be afraid of religious liberty,” said Blomberg. “In fact, it was the military itself that taught our young country how protecting religious liberty is good for our nation, good for mission accomplishment.”

Mike Berry, director of military affairs for First Liberty, pointed out: “Gen. Patton famously prayed on the eve of battle. According to the majority [court] opinion, if Gen. Patton couldn’t prove how important praying was to him, he could be court-martialed for his prayer.”

Shackelford took up the argument.

“This is shameful, it’s wrong, and it sets a terrible precedent, jeopardizing the constitutional rights of every single man and woman in military service. We will appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. This cannot be allowed to stand.”

The court’s dissenting minority pointed out the failings of the majority’s logic.

“At trial, LCpl Sterling adequately demonstrated that the actions for which she was being court-martialed constituted ‘religious’ conduct. [She] testified that both the substance and placement of her signs were inspired by her Christian faith. The slips of paper that LCpl Sterling placed on her workspace were organized in the form of the ‘trinity,’ an unmistakable Christian motif, and on them was printed a biblically inspired quotation: ‘No sword formed against me shall prosper.’

“There is no doubt that LCpl Sterling’s conduct required further analysis under the provisions of RFRA.”

The dissent warned: “It has long been recognized that courts are particularly ill equipped to govern what does or does not constitute ‘religion.’ … The majority opinion ventures beyond that which is necessary to decide the issue before us. In the course of doing so, the court not only fails to ensure the proper application of RFRA to LCpl Sterling’s specific case, it more generally imposes a legal framework that unnecessarily curtails the religious freedom of our nation’s servicemen.”

Before the decision was announced, Ron Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religion Liberty, commented, “Congress and the courts have made it clear that religious freedom is truly our first freedom; it must not be watered down and should be burdened only in the most extreme circumstances.

“This is just as true in the military. Though it is a unique institution with a mission that must be accomplished, service members cannot be forced to check their faith when they put on the uniform. Their religious freedom is more precious than ever before and must be strongly defended. Those who are willing to give all deserve nothing less.”

“The Liberty Amendments” is the blueprint on how to fix our broken government by Mark Levin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Liberty and Tyranny” and “Ameritopia.” Order it today at WND’s Superstore.

 

Source: Military court claims power to decide ‘importance’ of religion

Pentagon Announces Worldwide Expansion of US Military Bases | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

The US Defense Department (DOD) is preparing to expand its global network of military bases by establishing a new “string” of bases in countries stretching from Africa to East Asia, unnamed Pentagon officials told the New York Times Wednesday.

The enlarged US basing arrangements will include at least four new large-scale bases or “hubs,” including new facilities in East Africa and West Africa and Afghanistan, along with a greater number of smaller camps or “spokes,” sources told the Times .

The new bases, which the Pentagon describes as “enduring” bases, will host forces ranging from dozens of commandos up to 5,000 soldiers at the largest hubs, the unnamed military officials said.

West Africa is a main focus of the expanded basing plans, and will host one of the larger hubs. The West African countries of Niger and Cameroon are the only countries set to host smaller “spoke” bases listed by the Times report.

The Pentagon plans to build a large “hub” near Erbil in northern Iraq, where US special forces have already been conducting combat operations for months. US Special Forces commandos affiliated with the “expeditionary targeting force” announced last week by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter are already setting up operations in the same area, according to reports.

The new bases are only the latest development in the metastatic growth of Washington’s global military apparatus. According to the official list of US overseas bases, US forces are stationed in Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Bulgaria, Cuba, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Romania, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.

Source: Pentagon Announces Worldwide Expansion of US Military Bases | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization