Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Foreign Affairs

Spy Caught

They are caught dead to rights. Firing squad for traitors.

The FBI says the scheme began in April 2020 when Jonathan Toebbe sent a package of Navy documents to a foreign government and wrote that he was interested in selling to that country operations manuals, performance reports and other sensitive information.

 

Authorities say he also provided instructions for how to conduct the furtive relationship, with a letter that said: ‘I apologize for this poor translation into your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence agency. I believe this information will be of great value to your nation. This is not a hoax.’

 

That package, which had a return address in Pittsburgh, was obtained by the FBI last December through its legal attache office in the unspecified foreign country.

 

That led to a monthslong undercover operation in which an agent posing as a representative of the foreign government made contact with Toebbe and agreed to pay thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency for the information he was offering.

 

In June, the FBI says, the undercover agent sent $10,000 in cryptocurrency to Toebbe, describing it as a sign of good faith and trust.

 

Weeks later, federal agents watched as the Toebbes arrived at an agreed-upon location in West Virginia for the exchange, with Diana Toebbe appearing to serve as a lookout for her husband during a dead-drop operation for which the FBI paid $20,000, according to the complaint.

 

The FBI recovered a blue memory card wrapped in plastic and placed between two slices of bread on a peanut butter sandwich, court documents said.

 

The FBI provided the contents of the memory card to a Navy subject matter expert who determined that the records included design elements and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors, the Justice Department said.

International Shipping Infrastructure in Crisis

Our overreaction to COVID is causing far more devastation than the virus itself.

A coalition of unions that represent shipping workers around the world has warned of an imminent ‘global transport systems collapse’ due to lingering impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In an open letter on Wednesday, the workers groups warned that fragmented and inconsistent pandemic restrictions around the world have thrown global shipping into chaos.

 

The warning comes as supply-chain backlogs leave scores of cargo ships idling outside US ports, exacerbating shortages caused by a national truck driver shortage that threatens to derail the Christmas shopping season.

 

‘We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies,’ the shipping workers warned.

Haitians Invade Texas

We don’t really have a border anymore, and it is intentional.

DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — Haitian migrants seeking to escape poverty, hunger and a feeling of hopelessness in their home country said they will not be deterred by U.S. plans to speedily send them back, as thousands of people remained encamped on the Texas border Saturday after crossing from Mexico.

 

Scores of people waded back and forth across the Rio Grande on Saturday afternoon, re-entering Mexico to purchase water, food and diapers in Ciudad Acuña before returning to the Texas encampment under and near a bridge in the border city of Del Rio.

 

Junior Jean, a 32-year-old man from Haiti, watched as people cautiously carried cases of water or bags of food through the knee-high river water. Jean said he lived on the streets in Chile the past four years, resigned to searching for food in garbage cans.

 

“We are all looking for a better life,” he said.

I get that Haiti is a hellhole, but why is the U.S. responsible for it? If Haiti is that bad, what about Mexico? Cuba – that communist paradise? Venezuela? Canada? Belize? Jamaica? Heck… what about the other side of the island in the Dominican Republic?

Someone is paying for all of these Haitians to travel to Mexico to this focal point in Del Rio. Someone is opening ports and doors to get them there. This is intentional.

France’s Foreign Minister Compared Biden to Trump

Ooo… that’s gotta hurt in the halls of the White House. I wonder if anyone told Biden.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the announcement a “stab in the back”.

He called it a “brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision” that reminded him of former US President Donald Trump.

French diplomats in Washington cancelled a gala to celebrate ties between the US and France in retaliation.

Biden’s Deal Draws Ire of America’s Oldest Ally

Making friends

France is reacting with anger after being left out of an agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia to give Australia nuclear-powered submarines.

 

In a statement issued by French Minister Of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-yves Le Drian and Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, the country said the decision announced on Wednesday “is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political trust as well as on the development of a very high-level defence industrial and technological base in Australia.”

 

The statement went on to call the announcement “regrettable.”

UK Abandons Vaccine Passport Plans

Something like this should be unworkable in a free society. We’ll see how free Americans still are.

PLANS to introduce Covid vaccine passports have been SCRAPPED as Sajid Javid confirms people won’t need them to get into nightclubs and cinemas.

 

The Health Secretary revealed this morning that Covid jab passports won’t be introduced as a measure to fight the virus as we enter the winter months.

 

[…]

 

Previously, it was reported that Tory MPs were furious about the PM’s vaccine passport blueprint – with more than 50 poised to rebel against it in a Commons vote.

 

Steve Baker, deputy head of the Covid Research Group, said it’s “increasingly plain” the plan is about “coercing the young” into getting jabbed.

 

Rebel leader Mark Harper added that vaccine ID will be “pointless, damaging, and discriminatory”.

And earlier today, Mr Javid also confirmed that PRC tests for double-vaccinated Brit holidaymakers will be scrapped “as soon as possible.”

 

The Health Secretary revealed he’s already asked officials to get rid of travel testing rules, as they shouldn’t be in place for a second longer than “absolutely necessary.”

Denmark to Require Work for Welfare

Good for them. America could use some policies like this.

Some migrants in Denmark will now be required to work 37 hours a week in order to receive welfare benefits.

 

It will be a requirement for those who have been on benefits for three to four years, and who have not reached a certain level of proficiency in Danish.

[…]

 

The prime minister said that the rules were aimed at migrant women. The government says six out of 10 women from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey are not in work.

 

“It is basically a problem when we have such a strong economy, where the business community demands labour, that we then have a large group, primarily women with non-Western backgrounds, who are not part of the labour market,” she said.

Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard said the jobs could range from picking up cigarette butts on the beach to working in companies.

Taliban Appoints Taliban Government

Anybody who expected anything different was kidding themselves.

(CNN)The Taliban on Tuesday announced the formation of a hardline interim government for Afghanistan, filling top posts with veterans of the militant group who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.

No women or members from Afghanistan’s ousted leadership were selected for acting cabinet positions or named to advisory roles, in spite of the Taliban’s promises of an inclusive government and more moderate form of Islamic rule than when it was last in power, from 1996 to 2001.
The Taliban named Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a close aide of the Taliban’s late founder Mohammad Omar, as acting prime minister and Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the group’s co-founders, was appointed his deputy. Mohammed Yaqoob, a son of Omar, was appointed acting defense minister.
[…]
The lineup of senior positions, which includes former Guantanamo inmates, members of a US-designated terror group and subjects of an international sanctions lists, presents the first snapshot of how the Taliban’s leadership of Afghanistan will begin to take shape.
Like many in the Taliban’s incoming cabinet, interim Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund is under United Nations sanctions. A long-time Taliban member, he has been leader of the group’s Shura, or Leadership Council, for about two decades.
Some analysts had originally tipped Abdul Ghani Baradar for the top role. Baradar served in the Taliban’s political bureau in Doha, Qatar, and led the Taliban’s peace talks with the US. He recently arrived back in Afghanistan after a 20-year-exile and reportedly met with CIA chief William J. Burns.
Two senior members of the Haqqani network, a US-designated terror group aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda, will also be in the interim government. Both have been sanctioned by the UN and the US.

Taliban Breaks Up Women’s Rights March

Hats off to those brave women.

Taliban officials have broken up a demonstration by dozens of women in Kabul demanding rights following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

 

The group say the Taliban targeted them with tear gas and pepper spray as they tried to walk from a bridge to the presidential palace.

 

But the Taliban maintain the protest got out of control, according Afghan media outlet Tolo news.

 

It’s the latest of several protests by women in Kabul and Herat.

 

The women were calling for the right to work and to be included in the government. The Taliban say they will announce the make-up of their administration in the coming days.

 

The Taliban have said women can be involved in government, but not hold ministerial positions. linking.

Europe Sours on Biden

So does America

But in capitals across Europe, from London to Berlin, Afghanistan has soured the sweetness of Joe Biden’s honeymoon. It’s not the fact of the withdrawal itself that has rankled but the US’s lack of coordination with allies, particularly since the Nato mission at the time of the drawdown comprised troops from 36 countries, three-quarters of whom were non-American, leading to an international scramble to evacuate.

The German deployment in Afghanistan was its first major combat mission since World War II, so the frustration at how it ended runs deep. Armin Laschet, Germany’s conservative candidate for chancellor ahead of elections later this month, called the US withdrawal “the greatest debacle that Nato has experienced since its foundation”.

 

Czech President Milos Zeman labelled it “cowardice”, adding that “the Americans have lost the prestige of a global leader”.

“Expectations were very high when Joe Biden came in – probably too high, they were unrealistic,” Carl Bildt, Sweden’s former Prime Minister, told the BBC. “His ‘America is back’ suggested a golden age in our relations. But it didn’t happen and there’s been a shift in a fairly short period of time. The complete lack of consultations over the withdrawal has left a scar.”

Taliban Allies with China

I know… we’re all shocked. I guess we know now why Biden surrendered the country to a murderous gang and equipped their army with American equipment.

According to a Taliban spokesman, China will now be the group’s “main partner” and will help rebuild Afghanistan.

 

“China will be our main partner and represents a great opportunity for us because it is ready to invest in our country and support reconstruction efforts,” Zabihulah Mujahid said in an interview.

 

He said the Taliban values China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as the project will revive the ancient Silk Road. He also said China will help Afghanistan use its copper resources and give the country a path into global markets, per the Asia Today.

“Our 20 years of sacrifice worked”

It is unconscionable how we left behind so many people and so much equipment. Joe Biden turned a planned withdrawal into a defeat and armed a terrorist regime in the process. It’s a disgrace.

The Army released an image Monday of the last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan as the Pentagon announced the last American forces left Kabul airport 24 hours ahead of schedule.

 

The XVIII Airborne Corps, whose forces go by the Sky Dragons, were among the last to step off Afghan soil as the total withdrawal of U.S. forces concluded Monday ahead of the August 31 deadline.

 

[…]

 

And some 100 to 200 Americans and thousands of Afghan allies left behind must fend for themselves now that the airport no longer offers an escape route.

 

[…]

 

Footage emerged on social media of Taliban fighters apparently making their way through Kabul airport, examining Chinook helicopters left behind by U.S. troops.

 

‘The last five aircraft have left, it’s over,’ Hemad Sherzad, a Taliban fighter stationed at Kabul’s international airport, told the Associated Press.

 

‘I cannot express my happiness in words. … Our 20 years of sacrifice worked.’

It is our honor to welcome Afghan refugees

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

With the disastrous end to America’s involvement in Afghanistan, a flood of refugees is surging out of the country. It is America’s responsibility and privilege to welcome these refugees with open arms.

 

The final withdrawal from Afghanistan could not be going worse. The precipitous abandonment American positions at Bagram Air Base and elsewhere, the desertion of our NATO and Afghan allies, and the poorly planned extrication of American personnel has left Afghanistan strewn with American equipment and honor. It is a disgrace and shame that all Americans will bear for the disastrous actions of our president.

 

Out of this nightmare, all of the Afghans who helped America over the last 20 years to root out terrorism and protect American lives are trying to escape the inevitable slaughter at the hands of the Taliban. There are also tens of thousands of Afghans who believed America and our promises of liberty, individual rights, and freedom to practice their religion without interference from government overlords. This includes women and girls who know the fate that awaits them under Taliban rule. They bought into the concept of a western- style democracy and are staring down the barrel of another generation of brutal totalitarian butchery.

 

Not all of these Afghans are going to make it out. Right now, there are thousands of Afghans and Americans fighting and praying to get a seat on one of the precious airplanes still ferrying people out of the country. They know that those flights will end too soon because President Joe Biden has decided that the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and Afghans is a price worth paying to get America out of the country as quickly as possible. He factored the bloodshed into his decision. Of the refugees that make it out of Afghanistan, many of them are coming to Wisconsin. Fort McCoy is one of the places that will serve as a safe haven to house some of the refugees. We do not know how many yet, but that will likely depend on how many people our valiant military can evacuate before Biden or the Taliban ends the mission. Wisconsin should welcome these poor souls into our state with the kindness and generosity for which the people of Wisconsin are known. The refugees did not plan to be here. They believed America and thought they would spend their lives in a relatively free and stable Afghanistan. But in the face of certain oppression or death, they have fled everything they know with little more than the clothes on their backs.

 

There are issues that the Biden Administration must address. In the mad rush out of Afghanistan, many of the refugees are coming without paperwork to verify their identities. It is probable that the Taliban, ISIS, or other terror groups have sent some of their agents of terror through the loose sieve of refugee evacuation much like the drug cartels are moving people across our open southern border. Federal authorities must take the time to properly vet the refugees before relocating them into the interior of the nation.

 

Also, while some of the refugees have some exposure to American values and American standards, many of them do not. They are coming from a nation that has been in a state of war for as long as any of them can remember. We must make a concerted effort to educate them on America’s respect for individual rights, equality, representative government, the rule of law, and all of the other pillars of America.

 

Finally, while some of the refugees are educated, bilingual, and highly skilled, others are coming to America unprepared to be successful in the American economy. Thankfully, we are at a time in our history when jobs are plentiful in Wisconsin and elsewhere. To be successful in those jobs, the refugees need to be taught to speak and read English, job skills and employment norms, personal financial management, and skills with which to earn a living. This investment will also help protect the refugees from being exploited and ensure that they can become full participants in their new country.

 

President Biden has left some of our nation’s honor in the blood-caked mud of Afghanistan. We can reclaim some of that honor with how we treat the refugees who are able to make it to our shores.

Americans KIA. Biden MIA.

I can’t express how angry I am.

Ten US servicemembers were killed in a series of suicide bomb attacks on Kabul airport on Thursday, the first American lives to be lost since Biden’s disastrous evacuation effort began on August 14.

 

The President has not commented publicly on the deaths and he is not scheduled to make any kind of statement or speech on Thursday.

 

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby released a statement saying a ‘number’ had died, but he wouldn’t give any additional details. Other troops are feared to have been injured.

 

Biden’s meetings were canceled on Thursday immediately after the attack while he spoke with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

 

Neither the President or anyone in the administration has offered a plan for getting out the remaining troops and civilians before August 31, the Taliban’s deadline.

Norway, Poland, Holland and Canada have all stopped evacuating citizens. In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said the doors at the airport are ‘closed’.

 

The State Department is telling Americans stuck in Afghanistan to stay in their homes, while Britain has told its stranded citizens to make a run for the Pakistan border, along with thousands of Afghan refugees.

It is our honor to welcome Afghan refugees

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Perhaps the news out of Afghanistan today makes this even more pressing. Here’s a part:

With the disastrous end to America’s involvement in Afghanistan, a flood of refugees is surging out of the country. It is America’s responsibility and privilege to welcome these refugees with open arms.

 

The final withdrawal from Afghanistan could not be going worse. The precipitous abandonment American positions at Bagram Air Base and elsewhere, the desertion of our NATO and Afghan allies, and the poorly planned extrication of American personnel has left Afghanistan strewn with American equipment and honor. It is a disgrace and shame that all Americans will bear for the disastrous actions of our president.

 

Out of this nightmare, all of the Afghans who helped America over the last 20 years to root out terrorism and protect American lives are trying to escape the inevitable slaughter at the hands of the Taliban. There are also tens of thousands of Afghans who believed America and our promises of liberty, individual rights, and freedom to practice their religion without interference from government overlords. This includes women and girls who know the fate that awaits them under Taliban rule. They bought into the concept of a western- style democracy and are staring down the barrel of another generation of brutal totalitarian butchery.

 

Not all of these Afghans are going to make it out. Right now, there are thousands of Afghans and Americans fighting and praying to get a seat on one of the precious airplanes still ferrying people out of the country. They know that those flights will end too soon because President Joe Biden has decided that the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and Afghans is a price worth paying to get America out of the country as quickly as possible. He factored the bloodshed into his decision. Of the refugees that make it out of Afghanistan, many of them are coming to Wisconsin. Fort McCoy is one of the places that will serve as a safe haven to house some of the refugees. We do not know how many yet, but that will likely depend on how many people our valiant military can evacuate before Biden or the Taliban ends the mission. Wisconsin should welcome these poor souls into our state with the kindness and generosity for which the people of Wisconsin are known. The refugees did not plan to be here. They believed America and thought they would spend their lives in a relatively free and stable Afghanistan. But in the face of certain oppression or death, they have fled everything they know with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Afghan Refugees Begin Arriving in Wisconsin

They are here.

Afghan refugees have begun arriving at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin’s only active military installation, following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan last week, according to a news release from Brigadier General Chris Norrie, the Task Force McCoy Commander.

 

Those who have arrived at the base — which is located on 60,000 acres between Tomah and Sparta — are special immigrant visa applicants, their families and other individuals at risk.

 

“We expect these arrivals to continue throughout the day and the coming days,” the news release said.

 

Last week, Tonya Townsell, the spokesperson for Fort McCoy, said the base was preparing to receive refugees. As people enter the base, they will be housed in the barracks typically used for American military members, she said. Staff at Fort McCoy will also provide access to dining services and medical care.

Lost American Might

Biden claimed that this was all part of the plan… factored into the cost… so did he intentionally leave all of this firepower in the hands of brutal terrorists?

Billions of dollars of U.S. weapons are now in the hands of the Taliban following the quick collapse of Afghan security forces that were trained to use the military equipment.

 

Among the items seized by the Taliban are Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.

 

Photos have also circulated of Taliban fighters clutching U.S.-made M4 carbines and M16 rifles instead of their iconic AK-47s. And the militants have been spotted with U.S. Humvees and mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles.

Taliban is Purging Enemies

We have unleashed a level of brutality that few Americans can even comprehend.

But there are fears the Taliban have changed little since the brutal 1990s.

The warning the group were targeting “collaborators” came in a confidential document by the RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, which provides intelligence to the UN.

 

“There are a high number of individuals that are currently being targeted by the Taliban and the threat is crystal clear,” Christian Nellemann, who heads the group behind the report, told the BBC.

 

“It is in writing that, unless they give themselves in, the Taliban will arrest and prosecute, interrogate and punish family members on behalf of those individuals.”

He warned that anyone on the Taliban’s blacklist was in severe danger, and that there could be mass executions.

Afghan Refugees Head for Wisconsin

Welcome. This is an opportunity to defend America’s honor and fulfill our promise to take care of our allies and friends. Let’s welcome them with open arms and encourage them to adopt America as their new home with a full respect for individual rights and freedoms. Who’s in charge of integrating them?

Fort McCoy, a U.S. Army installation near Sparta, is preparing to accept an unknown number of refugees from Afghanistan who are fleeing in the wake of the collapse of the Afghanistan government to the Taliban.

As the United States ends its mission there, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other outlets have reported that Fort McCoy is preparing to accept special immigrant visa applicants, but few other details were available.

 

“We have been notified that we will be receiving these special immigrant visa applicants,” Fort McCoy spokesperson Tonya Townsell told the Journal Sentinel. “I don’t know when these guests of ours will be arriving exactly, but anytime it can turn.”

A McCoy spokesperson later declined a request for comment and referred the Wisconsin State Journal to the U.S. Department of Defense.

A DOD spokesperson confirmed that Fort McCoy is under consideration as a site to provide temporary housing for Afghan special immigration visa applicants and their families.

Afghanistan Falls

A strategic withdrawal in the face of the enemy is one of the most difficult maneuvers to pull off. We did not succeed.

The Taliban has said they will declare an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the Presidential Palace in Kabul as militants posed in the office and the country’s president fled for Tajikistan, with thousands of Afghan nationals now racing to Pakistan to escape Islamist rule.

 

Taliban fighters stormed the ancient palace on Sunday and demanded a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ as Kabul descended into chaos, with US helicopters evacuating diplomats from the embassy in scenes echoing the 1975 Fall of Saigon which followed the Vietnam War.

 

US-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country for Tajikistan, effectively ceding power to the Taliban in a move signaling the end of the 20-year Western intervention begun after the September 11 attacks, while thousands of Afghan nationals rushed to the Pakistan border.

I continue to think that ending the war in Afghanistan was the correct policy choice. I do think we could have maintained a force there for some time – like in South Korea or Germany – as a means of keeping active in a global hotspot for our own security. But the absolute debacle of this withdrawal and the speed at which the Taliban took power is the manifestation of bad policy and bad leadership. From the White House to the Chiefs of Staff, they blew it. Completely and utterly. And America bears the shame of a lost war and the sacrifice of our local allies. We will feel the reverberations of this for many, many years to come.

Archives

Categories

Pin It on Pinterest