Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SOS open letter to Congress to create a Select Committee for Benghazi under H. Res. 36

(Reposted from the Special Operations Speaks website.  The names of the signatories are omitted due to space constraint.)
To:  Members of The U.S. House of Representatives

Subject: The Benghazi attacks on 9/11/ 2012

The undersigned are a representative group of some 700 retired Military Special Operations professionals who spent the majority of their careers preparing for and executing myriad operations to rescue or recover detained or threatened fellow Americans. In fact, many of us participated in both the Vietnam era POW rescue effort, The Son Tay Raid, as well as Operation Eagle Claw, the failed rescue attempt in April of 1980 in Iran, so we have been at this for many years and have a deep passion for seeking the truth about what happened during the national tragedy in Benghazi.

The purpose of this letter is to encourage all members of the US House of Representatives to support H.Res. 36, which will create a House Select Committee on the Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. It is essential that a full accounting of the events of September 11, 2012, be provided and that the American public be fully informed regarding this egregious terrorist attack on US diplomatic personnel and facilities. We owe that truth to the American people and the families of the fallen.

It appears that many of the facts and details surrounding the terrorist attack which resulted in four American deaths and an undetermined number of American casualties have not yet been ascertained by previous hearings and inquiries. Additional information is now slowly surfacing in the media, which makes a comprehensive bipartisan inquiry an imperative. Many questions have not been answered thus far. The House Select Committee should address, at a minimum, the following questions:

1. Why was there no military response to the events in Benghazi?

a. Were military assets in the region available? If not, why not?

b. If so, were they alerted?

c. Were assets deployed to any location in preparation for a rescue or recovery attempt?

d. Was military assistance requested by the Department of State? If so, what type?

e. Were any US Army/Naval/USMC assets available to support the US diplomats in Benghazi during the attack?

f. What, if any, recommendations for military action were made by DOD and the US Africa Command?

2. What, if any, non-military assistance was provided during the attack?

3. How many US personnel were injured in Benghazi?

4. Why have the survivors of the attack not been questioned?

5. Where are the survivors?

6. Who was in the White House Situation Room (WHSR) during the entire 8-hour period of the attacks, and was a senior US military officer present?

7. Where were Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey during the crisis, and what inputs and recommendations did they make?

8. Where were Tom Donilon, the National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough, his deputy, Valerie Jarrett and John Brennan during the attacks, and what (if any) recommendations or decisions did any of them make?

9. Why were F-16 fighter aircraft based in Aviano, Italy (less than two hours away) never considered a viable option for disruption (if not dispersal) of the attackers until “boots on the ground” (troop support--General Dempsey’s words) arrived?

10. Were any strike aircraft (such as an AC-130 gunship) in the area or possibly overhead that would cause former SEAL Tyrone Woods to laser-designate his attacker’s position and call for gunship fire support, thereby revealing his own location that led to his death?

11. Who gave the order to “STAND DOWN” that was heard repeatedly during the attacks?

12. What threat warnings existed before the attack, and what were the DOD and DOS responses to those warnings? What data (which will reveal exact timelines and command decisions) is contained within the various SITREPS, records, logs, videos and recordings maintained by the myriad of DOD, Intelligence Community and State Department Command Centers that were monitoring the events in Benghazi as they unfolded?

13. Why did the Commander-in Chief and Secretary of State never once check in during the night to find out the status of the crisis situation in Benghazi?

14. What was the nature of Ambassador Stevens’ business in Benghazi at the time of the attack?

15. What guidance has been provided to survivors and family members since the time of the attack, and who issued that guidance?

16. Why are so many agencies now requiring their personnel that were involved in or have access to information regarding the events that took place in Benghazi sign Non-Disclosure Agreements?

This was the most severe attack on American diplomatic facilities and personnel since the attacks on the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.  Thus far, it appears that there has been no serious effort to determine critical details of this attack. This is inexcusable and demands immediate attention by the Congress. Congress must show some leadership and provide answers to the public as to what actually occurred in Benghazi. Americans have a right to demand a full accounting on this issue.

A longstanding American ethos was breached during the terrorist attack in Benghazi. America failed to provide adequate security to personnel deployed into harm’s way and then failed to respond when they were viciously attacked. Clearly, this is unacceptable and requires accountability. America has always held to the notion that no American will be left behind and that every effort will be made to respond when US personnel are threatened. Given our backgrounds, we are concerned that this sends a very negative message to future military and diplomatic personnel who may be deployed into dangerous environments.  That message is that they will be left to their own devices when attacked.  That is an unacceptable message.

The House Select Committee should focus on getting a detailed account of the events in Benghazi as soon as possible. H. Res. 36 will provide a structure for the conduct of a thorough inquiry of Benghazi and should be convened immediately.

We ask that you fulfill your responsibilities to the American people and take appropriate action regarding Benghazi. With over sixty members of the US House of Representatives calling for this Select Committee already, it seems that the time is right to take appropriate action on Benghazi.

 - See more at: http://specialoperationsspeaks.com/#sthash.M0gRRdnj.dpuf

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Resurgence of the Black Bear that is USSR

(Statues of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minster Mikhail Gorbachev
at the Reagan Presidential Library)

     The West left the Black Bear for dead twenty-three years ago, wounded and battered on the side of the road.  Her ferocious growl faded into a whimper and her vicious claws no longer feared by those around her.  For some time, she laid on the ground abandoned, her body broken and her spirit crushed. 
     The once mighty Black Bear that ruled her dominion with an iron fist had become an ordinary onlooker from the backwoods while nursing a bruised ego. 

     The disintegration of the Black Bear in 1991 has resulted to the formation of the Russian Federation (composed of 83 federal subjects, 22 of them are republics with the recent addition of Crimea) and the creation of independent countries in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. 
     Eight new countries in Central Asia emerged, such as Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.  Six were in Eastern Europe, and they are Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine.

     The fall of the Black Bear ended control of its eight satellite-countries, and these are East Germany, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Romania.
     Six years ago, the Black Bear came out from her long recuperation, fully recovered and eager to regain control of her old empire, and with Vladimir Putin riding on her shoulders. 
     She tested the ground by attacking Georgia in 2008, and the West, particularly United States, shrugged the invasion nonchalantly. 

     Last month she took Crimea by force, and all she got was a slap on the hand and a light warning to stop her bullying behaviors.  The United States responded by blacklisting Bank Rossiya and several Russian politicians and entrepreneurs.  It was a sanction directed not against Russia’s economy, but on Putin’s close political allies and wealthy friends.
     The Black Bear observed the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries’ reaction to the invasion of Crimea region.  The light response she received was an indicator that her old-time nemeses don’t have the political and military will to stop her rampaging acts.  And that bolster her spirit even more to pursue her plan to revive her glory years, knowing she can get away with her exploits without dire consequences to her actions.

     One Western official commented, “"We are in new territory . . .  realistically there is little the West can do to prevent Putin invading Ukraine or other non-NATO former Soviet states except for applying diplomatic and economic pressure.  The priority now is to deter any aggression against NATO."
     The Black Bear is now poised to get Kiev, and if the West still sits idly on its bottom, her conquering exploits wouldn’t stop in Ukraine, but it would go as far as Lithuania to the East and Kyrgyzstan to the West until she fulfills her grand design of restoring the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. 

     Georgia is the first on the list.  Ukraine is second and halfway through completion phase.  Which former USSR country is next on the Black Bear’s list?