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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, May 06, 2011

This is not a racist cop story. This is a dumb chick story.

Hines Ward held at gunpoint by cops in not-a-stolen-car mix-up

The "Dancing With the Stars" contestant was a passenger in a car with the woman who reported it stolen last month. She neglected to call off the cops when it was found.
- Los Angeles Times

Now we know why goat-rapists are into that whole polygamy thing.

From Fox News/NY Post:

Bin Laden acted 'cowardly,' confused in final moments

Cowardly? No way! Aren't non-moderate mohammedans widely known for their courage? At least that's what Bill "Plastic Surgery Disaster" Maher told me.

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan -- A panic-stricken Osama bin Laden shoved his wife toward the Navy SEAL who ultimately shot him dead, sources involved in the dramatic operation told FOX News Channel Thursday.

You see, kiddies, he had plenty of wives to spare.

The terror chief was said to have been "scared" and "completely confused" in the moments before he was gunned down inside his Pakistan compound.

A source confirmed to FOX that the SEALs first took aim when bin Laden poked his head around the door of his bedroom -- but the bullet whistled past the al Qaeda chief.

After darting back into the room, bin Laden shoved one his wives toward an advancing SEAL in an apparent attempt to save himself. He was quickly dispatched with shots to the chest and forehead.

The terrorist leader was apparently within reach of two guns when he died during Sunday's raid. A senior US official confirmed that bin Laden was near the door along with the two weapons -- an AK-47 and a Makarov hand gun -- which are now in US custody.

The SEALs tasked with taking out the al Qaeda leader had faced chaotic scenes as they stormed bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, sources said Thursday, with barricades -- and women -- barring their way.

The first enemy combatant encountered at the fortified three-story hideout "immediately opened fire" but was quickly killed by SEALs. Bin Laden's son Khaled died moments later as he rushed down from the third floor to confront the elite troops, who had practiced for the precision raid by storming a mock-up version of the compound.

None of the other four people killed in the 40-minute operation were armed. However, another US official said Thursday there were "at least a half-dozen weapons" on the premises.

Anticipating that bin Laden would be wearing a suicide vest and that the house was rigged with explosives, the SEALs took no chances, one official told FOX.

"When the SEALs reached the third floor, after resistance and physical barricades, Osama bin Laden did not immediately surrender," the official said. "When someone like OBL who has said he wants to kill as many Americans as possible, doesn't 150 percent surrender, you have to assess [that] as a threat."

Though bin Laden himself was unarmed when he was shot dead, FOX reported earlier in the week that he appeared to be reaching for a weapon.

A US official gave a further description Wednesday of how bin Laden "moved aggressively" toward the SEALs, while his wife, who was shot in the leg during the raid, "ran aggressively toward" them.

Initial suggestions from White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan that bin Laden was "engaged in a firefight" with SEALs turned out to be wide of the mark.

But officials explained to FOX Thursday that early accounts of the raid were confused because a full de-briefing could only begin once the team arrived back on US soil Wednesday.

A senior defense official also said the military was actively "working on recovering" the wrecked helicopter tail section that was left behind in the aftermath of Sunday's raid.

To read more, go to FoxNews.com.

The smart money says Emperor Haile Unlikely will screw this up too.

If The Jug-Eared One doesn't smack the Pakistanis around hard enough to make them hand over our chopper [Don't hold your breath, kiddies.] the Slave Chinese will have our stalth technology soon thereafter.

Of course, if he really was a military genius who walked those SEAL fellas through the capping of bin Laden's ass, he would have had the Air Force planes flying cover for the operation level the goat rapist paradise and incinerate the entire chopper after Our Boys left. Of course, Dumbo the Presiphant probably thought that would inflame the goat-raping street...

From rediff.com:

Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near the compound after US Navy SEAL commandos killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad

An elite Army unit called the Task Force 160 is being credited with effectively flying in and flying out the Navy Seals team 6 that was involved in the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

In particular, one Black Hawk helicopter pilot may have been the difference between success and failure, CBS News reports.

Coverage: US hunts down Osama bin Laden

The Seals were about to fast rope into the courtyard in front of bin Laden's house when the Black Hawk lost lift. Imagine what would have happened if it had crashed into the courtyard with all Seals still aboard.

An ex-soldier Chris Marvin has said the pilot had the talent and skill to land the aircraft safely and let everybody off without injuries.

The pilot nudged the Blackhawk forward into a controlled crash, but sheered off its tail section. The Seals were able to continue with their mission and, before they left, blew up as much of the Blackhawk as they could but had to leave the tail section intact.

Click on NEXT to read more SHORT TAKES surrounding the daring raid...

Image: Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near the compound after US Navy SEAL commandos killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad
Photographs: Reuters

Skygazing Update.

From Space.com via Yahoo! News:

Meteor shower rains bits of Halley's Comet on Earth

Bits and pieces of the famous Halley's Comet will light up the overnight sky in a promising meteor shower, weather permitting, skywatching experts say.

The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak early tomorrow morning (May 6) and is expected to put on a dazzling display of "shooting stars" for skywatchers graced with good weather and clear skies. That's because the moon, which is currently in its unlit new phase, won't interfere with the meteor light show as it did with last month's Lyrid shower.

The Eta Aquarids are meteors created by bits of left over material from Halley's Comet as it travels through the solar system on its 76 year orbit. This year, the display runs from April 28 through May 21, but May 6 should mark its peak, according to the American Meteor Society. [Video: Meteors from Halley's Comet]

"Under ideal conditions (a dark, moonless sky) about 30 to 60 of these very swift meteors can be seen per hour," advises SPACE.com skywatching columnist Joe Rao. "And with a new moon on May 3 this is one of those years when observing conditions will be perfect."

This sky map of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower shows where the meteors will appear to originate from during their display. The best time to see them will be early Friday morning before 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Local Time.

The Earth passes through the comet Halley's debris trails twice a year – once in May, and again in October – offering an appetizer for the comet's next trip through the inner solar system in 2061. Halley's comet last swung by in 1986. [Photos of Halley's Comet Through History]

NASA scientists say that the combination of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower and lack of moonlight should offer a rare chance for avid meteor-hunting skywatchers.

"This is your one chance this year to see meteors blaze across the sky without glaring moonlight dimming them," said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke, a member of the Space Environments team at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., in a statement.

Here's how to see the Eta Aquarid meteor shower created by Halley's Comet, according to NASA:

The Eta Aquarid meteors appear to radiate out of the east-southeastern sky in the constellation Aquarius. But according to Cooke, you don't have stare in the constellation's direction to see the meteors.

"Meteors can appear in any part of the sky," Cooke explained. "In fact their trails will tend to point back toward the radiant, so if you look that way the meteor may appear somewhat stubby. They'll appear much longer going by you than coming at you."

If you have a dark, wide view of the night sky, you should be able to see some meteors by just lying down and gazing upwards. A good blanket or a comfortable outdoor chair is useful for long skywatching vigils.

"Eta Aquarids are fast, moving at 66 km/s (148,000 mph), and often trace long paths across the sky, sometimes leaving glowing, persistent trains," Cooke said. "In the Northern Hemisphere, depending on your latitude [the closer to the equator the better], you should see from 10 to 40 meteors just before dawn."

Cleaning up after a dead goat rapist.

From Yahoo! News:

Mystery dog at bin Laden raid ignites buzz

Personally, I don't care if he does eat his own feces.

Americans are fascinated by the anonymous U.S. Navy SEALs who daringly raided Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan compound this week, but one canine commando is attracting especially fervent interest.

According to the New York Times and the British tabloid The Sun, a military dog (not pictured) was strapped onto one of the assault team members as he was lowered out of a Black Hawk helicopter and began the operation that killed the notorious terrorist on Monday. But who is this canine hero?

Sadly, we know very little, and the Pentagon hasn't confirmed that a dog was even on the mission, much less release information about the canine's name or breed.

"Little is known about what may be the nation's most courageous dog," the Times' Gardner Harris writes. He speculates that the dog was most likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, since those are the breeds most often found in the military's 2,700-strong military dog program. (A new breed, however, is becoming popular with the troops. Labrador retrievers have begun to "wander off-leash 100 yards or more in front of patrols to ensure the safety of the route.")

The Pentagon and White House are keeping tight-lipped about the details of the operation, but that, of course, hasn't prevented commentators from speculating on the dog's role based on the functions of other war dogs in combat. "It's possible that the commandos brought a specialized search dog, which would have been sent in ahead of the humans to find explosives or people hidden inside the building," Slate's Brian Palmer writes. Or the dog could have been a "combat tracker"--canines who are specially trained to sniff out individuals and then follow their trail. Saddam Hussein was found in a hole under a hut--the assault team could have decided that they needed a good tracking dog in case bin Laden had a similar idea.

Dogs are increasingly important in America's combat operations abroad, and some have been outfitted with special (and adorable) "doggles" to protect their eyes, oxygen masks to protect their lungs as they parachute out with soldiers at high altitudes, and even waterproof vests that contain infrared cameras that transmit video back to servicemen watching a monitor yards behind them. Check out Foreign Policy's beautiful photo essay on military dogs here.

Luckily for this courageous and anonymous furry creature, there is some precedent for war dogs receiving military honors. The Navy awarded a Silver Star in 2009 to a dog named Remco who gave his life charging "an insurgent's hide-out in Afghanistan," Harris writes. According to Foreign Policy, another dog named Eli fiercely guarded his Marine, Private First Class Colton Rusk, after he was shot by Taliban sniper fire in Afghanistan. Rusk's bomb-sniffing dog would not even let fellow Marines approach the wounded Rusk, who did not survive the attack. Eli now lives with Rusk's family.

Al-Qaida confirms bin Laden's death

President Barack Obama explained his decision not to release photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse this week by citing the risk jihadi militants would use the gruesome images as a propaganda tool. What's more, Obama noted, such risks far outweighed the value of producing evidence of bin Laden's death to win skeptics over. "There is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden," Obama told "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft.

And one notable group won't be counted in the skeptic's camp: al Qaeda. The terrorist group's general command sent a defiant statement to jihadi on-line forums Tuesday--the same day Obama announced his decision not to release the photos--confirming that bin Laden is dead, and calling for its supporters to take revenge.

Bin Laden's blood "will be a curse that will chase the Americans and their agents, a curse that will pursue them inside and outside their country, and soon--with God's help--we pray that their happiness turns into sorrow and may their bloods mix with their tears," the group vows.

The statement was released and translated from the Arabic by the SITE intelligence group, which monitors online radical forums. The AP has posted a video on the statement to YouTube:

Train plot discovered

WASHINGTON – Some of the first information gleaned from Osama bin Laden's compound indicates al-Qaida considered attacking U.S. trains on the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. But counterterrorism officials say they believe the planning never got beyond the initial phase and have no recent intelligence pointing to an active plot for such an attack.

As of February 2010, the terror organization was considering plans to attack the U.S. on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. One idea outlined in handwritten notes was to tamper with an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall off the track at a valley or a bridge, according to a joint FBI and Homeland Security bulletin sent to law enforcement officials around the country Thursday. The al-Qaida planners noted that if they attacked a train by tilting it, the plan would only succeed once because the tilting would be spotted the next time.

Say Hey! Willie's 80!

Happy Birthday, Willie Mays

The iconic San Francisco Giants ballplayer turns 80 Friday
- Contra Costa Times

Steelers Update.

From a Catholic perspective, only God knows the condition of a man's soul, so it is obviously hyperbole when I type [as I did recently] that bin Laden is rotting in Hell now. I am reasonably confident he is, but I don't know for sure. [Same for Hitler, by the way.]

If Mr. Mendenhall was tweeting about his Christian beliefs, I can cut him some slack on judging that old dead goat rapist. That being said, he comes across as profoundly ignorant about the rest of it.

From Shutdown Corner via Yahoo! Sports:

Apparel company dumps Mendenhall over bin Laden tweets

The backlash to Rashard Mendenhall's Osama bin Laden tweets has gotten a little more real.

Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers running back and guy who probably doesn't like Twitter anymore, has been let go as a spokesman for Champion. Here's the statement released by the company:

Champion is a strong supporter of the government's efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall(notes), who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed. In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers. While we respect Mr. Mendenhall's right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best.

Mr. or Mrs. Champion, or whoever is in charge of the company, has a right to employ whoever they want as a celebrity endorser, and since Mendenhall's words run pretty contrary to public opinion, it's probably best for their bottom line to cut and run. I don't blame them.

They get some headlines out of the deal, too (like this one, for example), and they also get to release a tidy little statement in which they mention their company's name seven times in six sentences.

I'm pretty sure this won't be the case, but I hope this is where the punishment ends for Mendenhall.

At the end of the day, this is just a guy who tweeted something unpopular. He did not punch anyone in the face. He did not get picked up for driving drunk. He was not arrested for domestic abuse. He did not have a gun in a night club, father 47 children by 39 women, obstruct justice, fight dogs, commit sexual assault or send anyone unwanted pictures of his genitals.

No, what he did was question the celebration of death and wonder if maybe the government wasn't telling the people the truth (others have also done this recently). Is that so bad?

I'm not defending what Mendenhall said. You don't have to like it. I personally don't happen to agree with him, but that doesn't mean I'm going to permanently label him as an evil dipstick, either. It's okay with me that not everyone is going to be John Cena about this.

Even if Mendenhall is wrong -- really, really wrong -- it doesn't make him a bad guy. In fact, at the core of what he said, there's a seed of love and compassion. He spoke against hate and judgment.

He believes some unpopular things. That's it. I know that I cheer everyday for athletes with whom I would not agree on political or ethical issues, and you probably do the same. In fact, if you're a sports fan at all, it's overwhelmingly likely that you have cheered for guys who have broken actual laws and hurt actual people.

Mendenhall lost an endorsement, and he probably should have expected that. If he loses any more than that, though -- for example, the good will of the fans for the rest of his career -- it would be a shame. This is not a bad person.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Oh, yeah. He also defeated communism.

From Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal:

Make John Paul II a Saint

One of the greatest moments in the history of faith was also one of the greatest moments in modern political history. It happened in June 1979.

Just eight months before, after dusk on Oct. 16, 1978, a cardinal had stepped out onto the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica to say those towering, august words, "Habemus papem"—"We have a pope." The cardinal pronounced the new pontiff's name in Latin. Not everyone understood or could hear him, and the name sounded odd. For 456 years the church had been electing Italian popes. This didn't sound Italian. The crowd was perplexed.

Then the new pope came out—burly, light-haired, broad cheekbones. He looked Slavic. He looked like a Pole! It was Karol Wojtyla, the cardinal from Krakow. It was a breakthrough choice—so unexpected and unprecedented—and you knew as you watched that a whole new world was beginning. This was a former manual laborer who wore brown scruffy shoes, who was young (58) and vibrant (a hiker and kayaker). He was a writer, an intellectual who'd come up during the heroic era of the European priesthood, when to be a priest in a communist-controlled nation was to put not only your freedom at risk but your life.

Poland went wild with joy; Krakow took to the streets. The reaction was world-wide. They had vigils in the Polish neighborhoods of Chicago, and block parties in Boston.

And here is the great moment of faith that became a great moment of history. John Paul II, naturally, wanted to return as pope to visit his homeland. This put the communist government in Warsaw in a bind. If they didn't invite him, they'd look defensive and weak. If they did, he might spark an uprising that would trigger a Soviet invasion.

They invited John Paul to come on a "religious pilgrimage." On June 2, 1979, he arrived at an airport outside Warsaw, walked down the steps of the plane, and kissed the tarmac. The government feared tens of thousands would line the streets for the motorcade into town.

More than a million came.

In a Mass in the Old City, John Paul gave a great sermon. Why, he asked, had God lifted a Pole to the papacy? Why had Poland suffered for centuries under political oppression? Perhaps because Poland is "the land of a particularly responsible witness." The Poles had been chosen to give witness, with humility, to the cross and the Resurrection. He asked the crowd if they accepted such an obligation.

"We want God," they roared. "We want God!" This from a nation occupied by an atheist state.

John Paul said the great work of God is man, and the great redeemer of man is Christ. Therefore, "Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude. . . . The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man!"

It was brilliant. He wasn't asking for a revolution or an uprising, he wasn't directly challenging the government. He just pointed out that God himself sees one unity in Europe, not an East and a West divided but one continent. And so must we all.

But it was what happened a week later, at the Blonie field outside Krakow, that led directly to 1989, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. That was the event that made political history.

It was June 10, near the end of the trip. Everyone was tired. There was to be a last outdoor Mass. The government had not allowed it to be publicized. But word spread, and two million people came, maybe three million. It was the biggest gathering in Polish history. Here John Paul took on communism more directly. He exhorted the crowd to receive the Holy Spirit. "I speak . . . for St. Paul: Do not quench the Spirit. . . . I speak again for St. Paul: Do not grieve the Spirit of God!"

"You must be strong, my brothers and sisters. You must be strong with the strength that faith gives. . . . You need this strength today more than any other period in our history. . . . You must be strong with love, which is stronger than death. . . . Never lose your spiritual freedom."

The Mass was stirring, with crowds saying, again, "We want God!" But here is the thing. Everyone at that Mass went home and put on state-controlled television to see the coverage of the great event. They knew millions had been there, they knew what was said, they knew everyone there was part of a spiritual uprising. But state-run TV had nothing. State-run TV had a few people in the mud and a picture of the pope.

Everyone looked at the propaganda of the state, at its lack of truthfulness and its disrespect for reality, and they thought: It's all lies. Everything the government says is a lie. The government itself is a lie.

The Solidarity movement took on new power. The Communist Party lost authority; the Polish government in time tottered, and by 1989 the Soviet Union itself was tottering.

Twenty-three years later, in an interview, the Solidarity leader Lech Walessa told me of how John Paul galvanized the movement for freedom: "We knew . . . communism could not be reformed. But we knew the minute he touched the foundations of communism, it would collapse."

John Paul went on to a fruitful papacy of historic length, 26 years. He traveled more than a million miles to 149 countries. He didn't bring the world to the church, he brought the church to the world. He was shot and almost killed in 1981, survived and went to Rome's Rebibbia Prison to make sure his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, understood he'd been forgiven. And at the end, sick with Parkinson's, he did what statesmen don't do: He made his suffering public, as if to say, "We who are imperfect, who are not beautiful, who are in pain—we too are part of the human race, and worthy of God's love." He insisted on the humanity of the weak, the wounded, the unborn.

And when he died, there was the miracle of the crowds. John Paul had been old and dying for a long time, and the Vatican knew he'd been forgotten. They didn't plan for crowds.

But when he died, people came running. They dropped what they were doing and filled the streets of Rome, they got on trains and plans and Rome was engulfed.

Four million people came.

They traveled from every country in Europe and beyond, they had nowhere to sleep, they filled the streets carrying candles.

There had never been anything like it. Old Rome had seen its popes come and go, but the crowds came and wouldn't leave until he was buried. And when his coffin was carried out and shown to them, they roared.

"Santo Subito!" they said. Make him a saint.

And now this weekend he will be beatified, a step toward sainthood. He will become Blessed John Paul the Second, and nobody will misunderstand his name.

Some will speak of mistakes and sins in his papacy, and they are right. But saints are first of all human, and their lives are always flawed, full of contradictions, and marked by stark failures. Yet they are individuals of heroic virtue. As he was.

Santo Subito. Make him a saint. And by the way, expect crowds.

Imagine what would happen if we had a real man in the White House...

I see nothing wrong with people rejoicing at the death of an enemy during wartime. [If only we would declare it! Imagine people crying at Tojo and Hitler getting whacked!] For all those wringing their hands at these spontaneous celebrations, I say my only sadness with regard to Osama bin Laden is that he chose a life dedicated to evil and the murder of thousands of innocents. The USA did not condemn this false prophet to Hell. He did it to himself.

Even the execrable Philly sports fans got it right...

Monday, May 02, 2011

In celebration of the killing of another goat rapist, Fyodor presents Sila Sahin.

From the pages of The King Abdullah Gazette:

Sila is a German actress of Turkish extraction and reputedly a mohammedan. (If true, the smart money is on her being a moderate one.)

She recently fell for one of Big Pornography's biggest lies: Take off your clothes and we'll make you a star. Dorothy Stratten and I beg to differ.

The German edition of Playboy published "tasteful" (Back in the day, they called it "no beaver shots".) nude photos of her and now goat rapists around the world are threatening to kill her. Golly, you'd think she had become a Christian.

If you really want to see the nude shots, they are out there in cyberspace. I have found some more appropriate images of the lovely Sila.






















Just another dead goat rapist. (Part Two)

Let's see...

1) I have one regret: We didn't wrap his perforated corpse in a pigskin, parade it around the world for a couple of years, and then put it on permanent display in a Las Vegas casino.

2) Dumbo the presiphant (An Asian presiphant, of course. An African presiphant would be racist.) gets no extra credit from me. He's supposed to have our enemies killed. In the immortal words of Chris Rock: "What do ya want? A cookie?"

3) I hope this draws more of the cockroaches into the light, so we can send them to Hell too.

4) If the Pakistanis are smart, they will stop hiding these walking corpses and save time, money, and lives.

5) Mad props to CuriousGeorge BushMonkey for torturing KSM's flea-ridden carcass and therefore making all this possible. [This program subsequently halted by Beniti Insane Okhrana.]

6) Many thanks to the governments of Poland and Romania for allowing us to torture our enemies in secret CIA prisons on their soil. [This
program subsequently halted by Beniti Insane Okhrana.]

Osama bin Laden is Dead

News with a Twist: News with a View What a great day to be an American. Finally, Osama Bin Laden is dead. And America is alive. Alive and kicking.
ABC 26 New Orleans

Here is a link to a helpful timeline and excerpts from it:

Osama Bin Laden dead: 'Buried at sea'
US President Barack Obama has announced that Osama Bin Laden is dead.
- Adelaide Now

1.38am More on the burial at sea. Muslim clerics have said the disposal of bin Laden's body at sea is a violation of Islamic law and could lead to retribution attacks on America.

They stated burials at sea were permitted, but only in special cases where the death occurred at sea.

Sky News are reporting a US Defence official says bin Laden was given a religious funeral before he was buried at sea.

1.17am Officials are debating whether to release pictures of bin Laden's corpse, ABC news reported.

“There’s no doubt it’s him” - a US official who has seen the pictures is quoted as saying

The report acknowledges a failure to release the pictures would fuel skepticism about the claims authenticity but said the pictures are gruesome.

He has a massive head wound above his left eye where he took bullet, with brains and blood visible.

1.09am AP news agency has reported Obama officials have stated DNA evidence has proven that Bin Laden is dead with "99.9% confidence".

Just another dead goat rapist. (Part One)

Our Boys prove there is still a price to be paid for fucking with us.

Spotlight on 'Team Six'

By Marc Ambinder
National Journal

From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.

After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap -- boom, boom -- to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back. One had experienced mechanical failure and was destroyed by U.S. forces, military and White House officials tell National Journal.

Were it not for this high-value target, it might have been a routine mission for the specially trained and highly mythologized SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru.

This HVT was special, and the raids required practice, so they replicated the one-acre compound at Camp Alpha, a segregated section of Bagram Air Base. Trial runs were held in early April.

DevGru belongs to the Joint Special Operations Command, an extraordinary and unusual collection of classified standing task forces and special-missions units. They report to the president and operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified presidential directives. Though the general public knows about the special SEALs and their brothers in Delta Force, most JSOC missions never leak. We only hear about JSOC when something goes bad (a British aid worker is accidentally killed) or when something really big happens (a merchant marine captain is rescued at sea), and even then, the military remains especially sensitive about their existence. Several dozen JSOC operatives have died in Pakistan over the past several years. Their names are released by the Defense Department in the usual manner, but with a cover story -- generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That's the code.

(Analysis: Bin Laden's death a triumph for Obama)

How did the helicopters elude the Pakistani air defense network? Did they spoof transponder codes? Were they painted and tricked out with Pakistan Air Force equipment? If so -- and we may never know -- two other JSOC units, the Technical Application Programs Office and the Aviation Technology Evaluation Group, were responsible. These truly are the silent squirrels -- never getting public credit and not caring one whit. Since 9/11, the JSOC units and their task forces have become the U.S. government's most effective and lethal weapon against terrorists and their networks, drawing plenty of unwanted, and occasionally unflattering, attention to themselves in the process.

JSOC costs the country more than $1 billion annually. The command has its critics, but it has escaped significant congressional scrutiny and has operated largely with impunity since 9/11. Some of its interrogators and operators were involved in torture and rendition, and the line between its intelligence-gathering activities and the CIA's has been blurred.

But Sunday's operation provides strong evidence that the CIA and JSOC work well together. Sometimes intelligence needs to be developed rapidly, to get inside the enemy's operational loop. And sometimes it needs to be cultivated, grown as if it were delicate bacteria in a petri dish.

In an interview at CIA headquarters two weeks ago, a senior intelligence official said the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been "deconflicted and basically integrated" -- finally -- 10 years after 9/11. Indeed, according to accounts given to journalists by five senior administration officials Sunday night, the CIA gathered the intelligence that led to bin Laden's location. A memo from CIA Director Leon Panetta sent Sunday night provides some hints of how the information was collected and analyzed. In it, he thanked the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for their help. NSA figured out, somehow, that there was no telephone or Internet service in the compound. How it did this without Pakistan's knowledge is a secret. The NGIA makes the military's maps but also develops their pattern recognition software -- no doubt used to help establish, by February of this year, that the CIA could say with "high probability" that bin Laden and his family were living there.

(Step-by-step: How the U.S. killed bin Laden)

Recently, JSOC built a new Targeting and Analysis Center in Rosslyn, Va. Where the NationalCounterterrorism Center tends to focus on threats to the homeland, TAAC, whose existence was first disclosed by the Associated Press, focuses outward, on active "kinetic" -- or lethal -- counterterrorism-missions abroad. Its creation surprised the NCTC's director, Michael Leiter, who was suspicious about its intent until he visited.

That the center could be stood up under the nose of some of the nation's most senior intelligence officials without their full knowledge testifies to the power and reach of JSOC, whose size has tripled since 9/11. The command now includes more than 4,000 soldiers and civilians. It has its own intelligence division, which may or may not have been involved in last night's effort, and has gobbled up a number of free-floating Defense Department entities that allowed it to rapidly acquire, test, and field new technologies.

Under a variety of standing orders, JSOC is involved in more than 50 current operations spanning a dozen countries, and its units, supported by so-called "white," or acknowledged, special operations entities like Rangers, Special Forces battalions, SEAL teams, and Air Force special ops units from the larger Special Operations Command, are responsible for most of the "kinetic" action in Afghanistan.

Pentagon officials are conscious of the enormous stress that 10 years of war have placed on the command. JSOC resources are heavily taxed by the operational tempo in Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials have said. The current commander, Vice Adm. William McRaven, and Maj. Gen. Joseph Votel, McRaven's nominated replacement, have been pushing to add people and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance technology to areas outside the war theater where al-Qaida and its affiliates continue to thrive.

(What does it mean for al-Qaida?)

Earlier this year, it seemed that the elite units would face the same budget pressures that the entire military was experiencing. Not anymore. The military found a way, largely by reducing contracting staff and borrowing others from the Special Operations Command, to add 50 positions to JSOC. And Votel wants to add several squadrons to the "Tier One" units -- Delta and the SEALs.

When Gen. Stanley McChrystal became JSOC's commanding general in 2004, he and his intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, set about transforming the way the subordinate units analyze and act on intelligence. Insurgents in Iraq were exploiting the slow decision loop that coalition commanders used, and enhanced interrogation techniques were frowned upon after the Abu Ghraib scandal. But the hunger for actionable tactical intelligence on insurgents was palpable.

The way JSOC solved this problem remains a carefully guarded secret, but people familiar with the unit suggest that McChrystal and Flynn introduced hardened commandos to basic criminal forensic techniques and then used highly advanced and still-classified technology to transform bits of information into actionable intelligence. One way they did this was to create forward-deployed fusion cells, where JSOC units were paired with intelligence analysts from the NSA and the NGA. Such analysis helped the CIA to establish, with a high degree of probability, that Osama bin Laden and his family were hiding in that particular compound.

These technicians could "exploit and analyze" data obtained from the battlefield instantly, using their access to the government's various biometric, facial-recognition, and voice-print databases. These cells also used highly advanced surveillance technology and computer-based pattern analysis to layer predictive models of insurgent behavior onto real-time observations.

The military has begun to incorporate these techniques across the services. And Flynn will soon be promoted to a job within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where he'll be tasked with transforming the way intelligence is gathered, analyzed, and utilized.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


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