Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Somalia SEALed Shut

That would eliminate the shadows....

"Navy SEAL who died in Somalia was alongside, not behind, local forces" by Helene Cooper New York Times  May 10, 2017

LILONGWE, Malawi — The member of the Navy SEALs who was killed last week in Somalia was moving alongside — not behind, as the Pentagon initially said — Somali security forces approaching a complex inhabited by al-Shabab militants when the insurgents opened fire, US military officials said Tuesday. 

Does the Pentagon ever "initially" tell the truth about anything? Just got over the Carl Vinson and now this!!

Kyle Milliken of Falmouth, Maine, a 38-year-old senior chief petty officer, died Friday during the mission in support of Somali army forces fighting al-Shabab. Two other Americans, including a Somali-American interpreter, were wounded when they came under fire during the mission about 40 miles west of Mogadishu, the capital.

Navy SEALs were in Somalia for “an advise, assist and accompany mission,” and Defense Department officials said that Somali forces were to have led the operation, with US forces hanging back.

After the death of Milliken, a member of SEAL Team 6, Pentagon officials had first said that US advisers had stayed behind while Somalis carried out the raid.

But Brigadier General David Furness, commander of the military’s task force for the Horn of Africa, offered a different account Tuesday, saying that US and Somali forces were traveling together in a single group when they came under fire. No Somali forces were hit....



I hate to say it, but it looks like it could have been an assassination. They did it to Tillman, and Seal Team 6 is the infamous group that allegedly "killed" bin Laden back in 2011. They have been or are being systematically eliminated by a series of accidents, crashes, and combat deaths. Dead men tell no tales.

At least the locals always get the initial story right, right?

"Police commissioner, DA say there’s no rift" by Jan Ransom Globe Staff  May 10, 2017

Just three hours after Boston police found two people brutally murdered in a South Boston penthouse and had shot and arrested the suspect, Police Commissioner William B. Evans addressed the reporters at the scene.

The suspect, later identified as Bampumim Teixeira, 30, and the victims — doctors Lina Bolaños, 38, and Richard Field, 50 — knew each other, Evans told reporters. He also said that Teixeira had opened fire on officers who then returned fire, striking him three times.

But three days later, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley held his own press conference, dismissing portions of Evans’s account. Teixeira had not shot at police, Conley said, and the victims had not known the suspect. Evans was not in attendance.

The press conferences left observers wondering if there might be a rift between the city’s highest ranking law enforcement officials and also illustrates the balancing act of informing the public while also preserving the integrity of an investigation.

(Blog editor just shakes his head at the excuse for lying)

“As a police commissioner you’re trapped between a desire to get it right and recognition that the community needs to know that something is happening so they can prepare for that,” said former Boston police commissioner Edward Davis. “Sometimes accurate information is difficult to find out. It takes time.”

So put out something in accurate as long as it serves.... what?

On Friday, when speaking to reporters outside the Macallen building, the site of the slayings, Evans said, “we believe clearly that the victims and the individual — the suspect — knew each other.”

He also said Teixeira fired a single shot at police and that “our officers had to use deadly force when they were confronted by deadly force.”

Knee jerk from the cops when they shoot someone? 

He did had a knife, obviously.

But in an interview Tuesday, Evans said his statements were “based on the information we had from the suspect, the scene, and the totality of the circumstances.”

“We got to assume he had some knowledge of them, or they might have known each other,” Evans said. “It was never a definite. I never said they knew each other in a personal way.”

On Tuesday, a company that once provided security for the Macallen building confirmed that Teixeira had “worked at the Macallen property for approximately three weeks, more than one year ago.”

Evans said the information he provided to reporters on Friday was preliminary and he had wanted to give the public some sense of what was happening.

“The public is concerned and I like to always ensure them that we have things under control,” Evans said.

Even if you have to lie to them.

Conley said he simply wanted to set the record straight.

At his Monday news conference, Conley also said there was no evidence that there was a relationship or personal connection between the suspect and the victims.

On Tuesday, Conley said his office interviewed the involved officers on Sunday, listened to recordings, and analyzed evidence. Shell casings came only from firearms belonging to Boston police, he said.

“In the interest of transparency and accuracy it was pretty important to get it out there,” Conley said, adding that the officers had believed they were being shot at.

That's a pretty low bar for blam blam.

Criminal justice experts say the inaccurate information provided at the chaotic scene was likely unavoidable.

WhyTF am I reading this then?

“Commissioner Evans has been very thoughtful in his approach and admittedly likes to get out in front of issues and take control,” said Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel to the Massachusetts Bar Association. “The public appreciates his style.

“I am sure it was one instance where someone in law enforcement got ahead of what was occurring,’’ he said. “A lot occurs in the heat of the moment.”

OMG, Marathon.

Conley said he was “very upset” about details of the crime scene reported in the media and that “leaks” can damage an investigation, though he did not say that any of the reported details were incorrect. Some of the commissioner’s statements, he said, became “painful to members of the doctors’ circle.”

The families of the victims “had the right to hear from us what happened,” Conley said, referring to the “leaks.’’ “The information was graphic, troubling, and hurtful. I felt it was shameful to read about this in the paper.”


Yeah, he was talking to you, Globe!


"The alleged killer, Bampumim Teixeira, was arraigned Monday in his room at Tufts Medical Center. Teixeira was ordered held without bail and pleaded not guilty to murder charges. The 30-year-old Chelsea man worked for a company that once provided security service at the condo complex where Field and Bolaños lived. Prosecutors have said he had apparently filled a backpack with jewelry before he was shot...." 

The sports guys on the radio this morning said he was a jailed illegal who was to be deported after having tried to robbed a bank, but the judge and prosecutors agreed to reduce the sentence so he could stay. Globe and other Bo$ton press isn't getting anywhere near it.

Related: Foam fire trucks aim to quell small blazes, reduce cancer risk

Those guys aren't being paid enough.

Btw, whatever happened to Baby Jane?

"US digs for evidence of Haiti immigrant crimes" by Alicia A. Caldwell Associated Press  May 09, 2017

WASHINGTON — As the Trump administration considers extending humanitarian protections for thousands of Haitian immigrants, officials are digging for information: How many have been convicted of crimes.

Internal e-mails obtained by the Associated Press show a top immigration official wanted not only crime data on Haitians who are protected from deportation under the Temporary Protected Status program but also how many were receiving public benefits. Such immigrants aren’t eligible for welfare benefits.

Roughly 50,000 Haitians have been allowed to live in the United States under the program in the aftermath of a 2010 earthquake, and the questions about misdeeds among them comes at a critical moment. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly must decide soon whether to continue protecting the group from deportation.

Normally the decision depends on whether conditions in the immigrants’ home country have improved. But e-mails suggest Kelly is looking at other criteria as well.

He has to; Haiti is still in rubble.

Policy chief Kathy Nuebel Kovarik wrote on April 27: ‘‘We’ll have to figure out a way to squeeze more data out of our systems.’’

The request for criminal data for an entire ethnic community is unorthodox. Federal law doesn’t specify it should be a consideration for Temporary Protected Status, and the government has never said it would use a community’s behavior in deciding if a country’s citizens should be allowed to stay.

But the request fits in with President Trump’s tough-on-immigration focus. He has enhanced efforts to arrest people living illegally in the United States and has sought, unsuccessfully so far, to suspend refugee arrivals and temporarily block visitors from countries.

It is unclear if the agency is asking such questions about other recipients of the temporary protection, including immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador.

Temporary Protected Status is intended to be just that, temporary. The Obama administration included Haiti in the program shortly after the January 2010 earthquake killed as many as 300,000 people, destroyed much of the capital, and caused widespread damage elsewhere. Since then, Haitians have been eligible to stay regardless of how they entered the United States — legally or illegally — as long as they were residing here before Jan. 12, 2011.

Trump courted the votes of Haitian-American citizens in the critical state of Florida. Campaigning in Miami’s Little Haiti in September, he said, ‘‘The Haitian-American community adds so much to our country: dedication to family, perseverance, entrepreneurship . . . creativity, faith.’’

Haitian radio host Salusa Basquin, a legal permanent resident applying for US citizenship, couldn’t vote for Trump, but he encouraged Palm Beach County listeners of his Creole program to support the businessman. In recent weeks, Basquin has been organizing rallies supporting the extension of Temporary Protected Status benefits for Haitians.

‘‘I can’t say we don’t have crimes in our community, but when it comes to those with TPS, I think it’s going to be hard to find anything worse than someone driving without a license because people with TPS are people new to the country and just trying to get by,’’ Basquin said. ‘‘As far as abusing the system goes, most of them don’t even know how to utilize the system.’’

The acting director of the citizens and immigration service has recommended letting the program expire, but giving the Haitians until January to leave. If they don’t depart by then, they could be deported. A decision is due by May 23 so the government can provide 60 days’ notice.

The e-mails inquiring about misdeeds were sent from April 7 to May 1.

In her first week on the job, Kovarik asked officials how often Haitians with temporary status have been convicted of ‘‘crimes of any kind,’’ and how many have taken advantage of public benefits. She also asked how much money Haitians have sent home and how often they’ve traveled back to Haiti. Frequent travel could suggest improved conditions.

‘‘Please dig for any stories (successful or otherwise) that would show how things are in Haiti — i.e. rebuilding stories, work of nonprofits, how the US is helping certain industries,’’ Kovarik wrote on April 28. ‘‘We should also find any reports of criminal activity by any individual with TPS. Even though it’s only a snapshot and not representative of the entire situation, we need more than ‘Haiti is really poor’ stories.’’

The e-mails were largely directed to non-political employees. They responded by saying much of the data was not available or was difficult to find in government record systems....


"Accused of rebellion, Venezuelans are hauled into secret court" by Fabiola Zerpa Bloomberg  May 10, 2017

Hundreds of Venezuelans arrested in the past week have been tried in secretive military courts, a new maneuver by the government of President Nicolas Maduro as he fights to retain his grip on power in the face of escalating opposition and massive street protests.

Not like the U.S. can really complain or criticize.

Those taken into custody were charged with ‘‘rebellion’’ and ‘‘insulting authorities,’’ and some were sentenced within hours. Thousands have been detained across the country in recent months, with authorities rounding up people who made complaints police officers decided were out of line.

‘‘These are times of dictatorship,’’ said Henrique Capriles, a Maduro foe and the governor of Miranda state.

As many as 780 people were arrested last week for looting in Valencia and other cities in the state of Carabobo, according to the local government. Of those, 251 were processed in military courts. Capriles said the trials took place at 11 p.m. on May 6, a Saturday. He said similar trials of civilians have also occurred in the states of Zulia and Falcon.

The military procedures are closed to the public, and the national government has released no information about convictions. But Foro Penal, which tracks detentions and provides legal assistance, has charted an increase.

‘‘The number of cases of civilians put in front of these tribunals for political reasons is surging,’’ said Alonso Medina, the group’s director. There has also been a rise in arrests for ‘‘betraying the fatherland’’ and other treason charges. ‘‘We’re extremely worried about how carelessly they’re being levied against civilians,’’ Medina said.


The regime is about to fall.

Time to return to Africa:

"New rebel group threatens to intensify South Sudan’s war" by Nizar Manek Bloomberg News  May 10, 2017

A former general in South Sudan’s army said he commands a new rebel movement of at least 30,000 fighters that will seek to overthrow President Salva Kiir, threatening to deepen the three-year civil war in Africa’s newest nation.

Like in The International?

Thomas Cirillo, a former lieutenant general, resigned as deputy chief for logistics in South Sudan’s army in February, accusing Kiir of waging a ‘‘tribally engineered war’’ and turning the military into a force dominated by the Dinka, the president’s ethnic group.

Now Cirillo says his National Salvation Front includes four rebel groups and is prepared to challenge his one-time colleagues. That could mean more bloodshed for a conflict that has already claimed tens of thousands of lives.

‘‘We are sure that with few armaments, the light armaments that we have, with revolutionary spirit and zeal, we’ll be able to defeat Kiir’s forces,’’ Cirillo said in an interview in Addis Ababa, the capital of neighboring Ethiopia. South Sudan’s presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, dismissed the threat.

South Sudan’s war began in December 2013 after Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting his overthrow. The army fractured, and civilians in Machar’s Nuer community were massacred in the capital, Juba. It was the first of multiple atrocities by both sides in which specific ethnic groups, including Dinkas, have been targeted. While the main rebel organization, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition, coalesced around Machar, many other groups have since taken up arms.

Famine was declared in two northern counties of South Sudan in February. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a US-backed monitoring group, has warned starvation could spread to another county in the July to September lean season.

There was a push about a month ago to get them some food, but that seems to have stalled.

South Sudan has seen its oil production decline by at least a third to less than 130,000 barrels a day since the war began.


You will have to scroll through Sudan for the latest.

"Mugabe’s party said to plan disrupting Zimbabwe opposition" Bloomberg News  May 10, 2017

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party is discussing using a press clampdown and intimidation in rural areas to thwart a newly united opposition’s challenge to its three-decade rule in elections next year, according to three senior officials with knowledge of the matter.

Officials of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front are increasingly concerned that the health of Mugabe, 93, may undermine his campaign, and that alternative candidates would struggle to beat a coalition of parties united behind opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, according to the members of the party’s politburo who asked not to be identified because the discussions haven’t been made public.

Among the methods being discussed are police clampdowns on opposition rallies and using state-controlled media to target opposition figures for alleged misbehavior in their private lives and alleged meetings with western diplomats, the officials said.

Looks like Russian interference to me.

‘‘I’m skeptical,” said Alex Magaisa, a UK-based law lecturer and one of the architects of Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution. “They know these tactics rob them of legitimacy and peer approval. They are more likely to use the subtle but effective use of the machinery of fear and intimidation.’’


Related: The Queen of Zimbabwe 

What do they need an election for then?

UPDATE: When mercy is repaid with mercilessness

Who forced the Globe's hand?