The families of some of the 17 SEAL Team 6 commandos who were killed in an ambush in Afghanistan during a helicopter flight to help Army Rangers pinned down by Taliban gunmen accused the Obama administration of deliberately endangering their loved ones for political ends.
Now a highly decorated, retired Air Force officer is coming forward, breaking her silence to speak out on what she witnessed in one of the deadliest attacks on Navy SEALs in U.S. history. Her testimony details how the government covered up evidence in the 2011 downing of a Chinook helicopter gunship that killed a total of 38 military personnel in Afghanistan and how the attack that took so many lives could have been prevented if it were not for the restrictions to the military’s rules of engagement instituted under the Obama administration.
On August 6, 2011, Air Force Capt. Joni Marquez was working along with her crew in the early morning hours before sunrise while aboard an AC-130 gunship when they were summoned to a mission in what she describes as “almost like a 9-1-1 type of a situation.”
The gunship received orders to fly close-in air support above Afghanistan’s dangerous Tangi Valley, in Wardak Province. They were to assist troops with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment who were under heavy fire by eight heavily armed Taliban insurgents. The Rangers had put in a call for assault helicopters to engage the enemy to draw them out of their hiding place in the rocky valley. They believed the insurgents were all killed after the air weapons team fired on the Taliban fighters. They were wrong.
Marquez states of the events that unfolded afterward – “I had the sensor operators immediately shift to the eight insurgents the helicopters had taken out. Two were still alive. We had seen two of them (insurgents) moving, crawling away from the area, as to not really make a whole lot of scene.”
She was the fire control officer aboard the AC-130 gunship and her job was to make sure the sensors and weapons aligned allowing the crew to hone in on targets for accuracy in firing. However, that night it did not matter because the gunship had not received permission to fire.
As she monitored the scene from above she detailed the scene to the ground force commander – “You have two enemy forces that are still alive. Permission to engage,” she asked. They were denied.
Marquez details in excruciating and painful detail how the ground commander’s refusal to grant her crew permission to engage the two enemy fighters sealed their fate. As a result, 38 people died in Extortion 17. She and her team could do little more than track the two enemy insurgents with the surveillance equipment. She and her team watched on helplessly as the two moved through an open field and made their way to a village for reinforcements.
Meanwhile, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, with the call sign Extortion 17, was called into lengthy firefight. Marquez explained – “If we would’ve been allowed to engage that night, we would’ve taken out those two men immediately. They continued to essentially gain more and more force behind them because they just kept knocking on doors and the two personnel that initially fled ended up becoming a group of 12 people.”
Instead, a Taliban fighter shot a grenade from a rocket launcher hitting the Chinook. It sent the helicopter in a downward spin where it eventually crashed and killed everyone on board. 38 people died including thirty Americans and eight Afghans. Of those 38 dead, 17 were Navy SEALs. The tragedy took some of the glow off SEAL Team 6’s grand achievement just three months earlier: A team penetrated Pakistan airspace, infiltrated a compound in Abbottabad and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – long considered to be the mastermind behind the September 11, 2011 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City.
Marquez believes that had her team been allowed to engage and return fire, those 38 deaths could have been prevented. Pleas and warnings from her crew to turn the Chinook back or cancel their mission went unheeded. She explained that by the time Extortion 17 came in confusion ruled the day, stating – “Whenever we reached out to the Joint Operations Center, they would essentially just push back with, ‘Find a, a good infill location. Find a good helicopter landing zone.’”
She explained that one of the hardest things she had to do in her entire military career was to be forced to simply watch from her infrared monitor as one of the SEALs was ejected from the burning Chinook helicopter and his heat signature faded from red to blue. She stated – “We had to sit and watch that, and I think that was one of the hardest things that I had to do. That man was, you know, dying on the ground.”
Marquez describes the pain of the aftermath of living with what happened and the toll it has taken. She is in active therapy as a result and has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. She tearfully explains – “If we would’ve been allowed to engage that night, we would’ve taken out those two men immediately. I mean, it’s just one of those things where you know that it could’ve all been prevented.”
Her retelling of the events as they unfolded that night is corroborated by a previously top-secret report compiled by the Defense Department inspector general. The report includes interviews with many of Marquez’s colleagues on the gunship, including the commander.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for Intelligence and was a commander in the Army’s super-secret “Delta Force,” denounced politicized rules of engagement as a “deliberate plot” within the American armed forces that he says puts political correctness above the safety of the troops. He stated – “We’ve allowed politics to become more important than the lives and safety of those men and women.”
The rules of engagement on the battlefield were tightened by Gen. Stanley McCrystal under former President Obama’s leadership in 2009. The official reason cited was an “overreliance on firepower and force protection” with the idea that this would reduce civilian casualties and win the cooperation of locals. Except according to Marquez it didn’t. The rules regarding when to engage the enemy were continuously changing depending on who was in charge and those rules prevented her crew from effectively doing what was necessary.
Marquez stated – “Ridiculous rules of engagement that basically state that you can’t shoot until being shot upon. A weapon has to be pointed, and essentially fired at you, in order for you to shoot and you have the proper clearance so that you don’t, you know, go to jail, that you’re charged with a war crime.”
Senior legal advocate for U.S. Special Forces Jeffery Addicott is considered an expert in rules of engagement with 20 years of experience describes Marquez’s story as one of the most tragic regarding U.S. troops under enemy fire. He explains that all these unrealistic rules do is tie the hands of military personnel and endanger lives.
Addicott states – “In Afghanistan, we had rules of engagement that became more restrictive the longer we stayed. Right now, the rules of engagement are absolutely bizarre. Law of war, if you do or you suspected that someone was an enemy combatant, they had a weapon, they were carrying it openly, you could kill them before they shot at you.”
He is now pushing for congressional oversight of the Department of Defense’s rules of engagement so as to prevent a repeat of this level of tragedy. He believes placating foreign governments at the expense of American lives became a death sentence some military personnel. Overly restrictive rules of engagement do nothing to help those fighting the war win. They are simply the work of bureaucrats enforced against military personnel under political pressure from host nations.
Examples of some of the unclassified rules of engagement for Afghanistan are as follows –
- No night or surprise searches
- Villagers warned prior to searches
- U.S. units on searches
- U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first
- Afghan National Army or Afghan National Police must accompany
- U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present
- Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch them placing an IED, but not if they’re walking away from placing an IED.
- Only engage an enemy fighter if you see a weapon, and they’ve fired first
Addicott states – “Under our current rules of engagement, you cannot shoot them until they shoot at you first. Now many people — of course people on the ground, the military soldiers — they know that this is a recipe for disaster and so, we basically have these rules that are made by the president.”
Marquez agrees with Addicott’s assessment and hopes her revelations of what actually occurred on the night Extortion 17 crashed will bring change that saves lives. She states – “I won’t rest until some kind of justice is served, in a manner of either, you know, the people that were responsible for that night, for making those calls, come forward and are honest about it. I know that’s kind of a lofty goal but, if that’s something that doesn’t happen, then obviously the ROE’s to change, for them to be realistic.”
Many family members of the fallen believe SEAL Team 6 had a target on its back and that persons inside the Afghan National Security Forces may have tipped off the Taliban about that fateful night in Tangi Valley. They wonder why a fighter just happened to be stationed in a turret within 150 yards of a landing zone that had never been used before. Yet the Defense Department special operations official continues to maintain there is no indication the mission was compromised by the Afghans.
Family members enlisted legal watchdog group, Freedom Watch led by attorney Larry Klayman in an effort to force new disclosures using the power of the FOIA process. Klayman speaks of how he has repeatedly been “stonewalled” by the Justice Department, the Defense Department, the CIA and the National Security Agency.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon signed an order requiring documents be released on a continual basis through the spring and summer. The Justice Department said at least 50 documents in the Pentagon have been identified as relevant, but only one has been turned over. The DOJ unilaterally set a new deadline for the release and then ignored their own deadline. Klayman also stated DOJ attorneys will not take his phone calls. He states – “They don’t even produce under their own self-imposed deadline. We’re pleading with the judge to do something, and he’s just sitting on it.”
GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy takes a shot at the special counsel probe while questioning FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “Whatever you got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart” https://t.co/QfDYDOYSKS
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 28, 2018
As has become abundantly clear during the last several years the U.S. government is spending a significant amount of time and resources covering up the truth on many things from the American people. Things like the current FISA abuses, spying, Benghazi, the NSA, and a vast number of other incidents. It seems that a FOIA request no longer accomplishes what it was set up to accomplish – there is no “freedom of information” any longer. The government purposely delays or conceals documents in an effort to give time to redact and to delete things they do not want the American public to become aware of.
One wonders if the end result will be the same with current fictional witchhunt into so-called Russian collusion. As Rep. Trey Gowdy said recently when questioning FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – “Whatever you got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart”
Ex-Ohio State Coach Busted For Lewd Pics He Took In The White House As Sick Scandal Erupts
The end result was not what he expected
The White House is known to have some controversy. However, the latest turmoil surrounding it has nothing to do with the people inside or the building itself. Instead, news outlets have been reporting on former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith who was caught taking lewd pictures while he visited the White House. The end result was not what he expected, and the hammer is about to come down.
Fox News reported,
“Former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith allegedly took lewd photos of himself in a bathroom at a White House, ordered thousands of dollars worth of sex toys sent to his office and had sex with a staffer on the college’s campus, according to a report. Documents and receipts obtained by sports outlet Stadium showed Smith ordered more than $2,200 in erotic toys, camera equipment and clothes. He allegedly had the items shipped to his office at the Ohio State Woody Hayes Athletic Center in 2015. It also reportedly obtained lewd photos of Smith while he was wearing a suit from April 20, 2015, the same day the football team was at the White House for a visit after the team, the Buckeyes, won the national title in 2014. Another photo allegedly showed Smith placing his genitalia next to a White House bathroom towel that had the Seal of the President of the United States.
Smith’s ex-wife Courtney Smith told Stadium that the former coach “took multiple photos of his penis inside the Ohio State coaches’ offices” and he “photographed himself in the coaches’ offices receiving oral sex and having sex with an OSU staffer.” Stadium reached out to Brad Koffel, Smith’s attorney, who said he had “no idea” about the lewd photographs and erotic toys. The lawyer accused the media outlet of “receiving stolen property.” “If anyone of this is published or referenced, we will refer to the county prosecutor,” Koffel told Stadium. “This is a felony.”
Smith was fired by Ohio State last month after a history of domestic violence allegations became public. His ex-wife Courtney Smith alleged Smith was abusive toward her multiple times and the college was aware of the incident. Smith has denied the allegations and the two divorced in 2016. Head Coach Urban Meyer was placed on paid leave as the school investigated if the coach properly handled domestic abuse allegations against Smith. Ohio State announced the probe would wrap up on Sunday and the findings would be given to the school board of trustees, USA Today reported.”
Watch Stadium reported,
“Documents and receipts Stadium has obtained show Zach Smith ordered more than $2,200 in sex toys, male apparel and photography equipment and had the items delivered to him at Ohio State’s Woody Hayes Athletic Center in 2015. The Woody Hayes Athletic Center houses all Buckeye football operations. All of the items were delivered to “Zach Smith, Woody Hayes Athletic Center, 535 Irving Schottenstein Drive, Columbus” between February and May 2015. Copies of some of those documents are listed below. Courtney Smith said Zach Smith took multiple photos of his penis inside the Ohio State coaches’ offices, inside the White House when the Buckeyes visited in 2015 and also photographed himself in the coaches’ offices receiving oral sex and having sex with a OSU staffer.
After winning the 2014 national title, the Buckeyes were honored at the White House on April 20, 2015. One photo of Smith’s penis, taken on April 20, 2015 according to a time stamp, shows Smith in his black suit he wore to the White House event. Another photo of Smith’s penis includes a White House bathroom towel featuring the Seal of the President of the United States. Stadium will not publish the penis photos or the photos of the Ohio State staffer, who is no longer working with the football program. Brad Koffel, Zach Smith’s attorney, said Friday that he had “no idea” about the photos and sex paraphernalia sent to Smith to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
After providing Koffel with copies of some of the sex orders and photos, I asked Koffel: What was the purpose of Zach Smith taking those photos in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and the White House, and why were the sex items delivered to him at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center? Did Urban Meyer have knowledge of this information? The following was the entire text exchange between Koffel and myself.
Koffel: Sounds like extortion. Thanks for the texts Brett. I’d get a lawyer if I were you.
McMurphy: Not extortion. I’m not asking for money nor have I received any money. I’m asking for your comment to my original question: what was the purpose of taking these photos and why were the items delivered to the Woody Hayes Center? And did Urban Meyer have knowledge of any of this?
McMurphy: As a courtesy, as you said you would extend, here are my questions: what was the purpose of taking these photos and why were the items delivered to the Woody Hayes Center? And did Urban Meyer have knowledge of any of this? Thx u
Koffel: You know these were accessed illegally. Another felony
McMurphy: I don’t know how they were accessed. Can you answer my questions please
Koffel: You absolutely know or should know these were obtained without my client’s consent. If not, you do know.
McMurphy: What are the answers to my questions?
Koffel: You have my answers & my advice. Tread very lightly.
McMurphy: You didn’t answer my questions? So you have nothing further?
Koffel: Not him except with his face. Gag gifts. The oral sex is not him.
McMurphy: Want to double check: White House picture with his tie and wedding ring that are visible from media photos of the event is not him?
McMurphy: Thx u
Koffel: This is receiving stolen property.
Koffel: If any one of this is published or referenced we will refer to the county prosecutor. This is a felony ORC 2913.04
Koffel: Also you are under RC 2913.05
The items that Smith had delivered to him between February and May 2015 included men’s spider enhancer triple c-ring, WildmanT ball lifter red, body wear CS2 metallic erotic c-strap gold and snakeskin, Candyman men’s jock suspenders, as well as PetitQ open slit bikini brief and studio pro product table-top poto lighting kit which arrived at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The products, while mostly from Amazon, also came from companies such as Gypsy B, Devil’s Wink, and Captain Camo to name a few. Just two days ago Toledo Blade announced that Smith had been arrested on the suspicion that he had been drinking and driving in February of 2013 however he plead guilty and got a lesser charge. Reporters were told by Koffell that Ohio State coach Urban Meter was not aware of the arrest from 2013 and that it has never been previously reported until Tuesday.
In July, Smith was fired after the reporters of unreported domestic violence allegations which included the 2009 arrest while he was a part of Meyer’s coaching staff in Florida. However, while Meyers was asked over nine times about Smith’s domestic violence incidents he denied knowledge of them every single time. Nonetheless, Ohio State University announced they would be starting an investigation. Shortly thereafter, Meyer admitted he had lied about not knowing of the incidents but maintained that followed proper protocol. The result of the investigation is still unknown, however, it will end at the end of the 14-day investigation whereby the OSU Board of Trustees and President Michael V. Drake will be notified first and then the media.
Trump Just Blindsided Muslims In Bold Move Overnight, He’s Done
The White House will be notifying lawmakers of the president’s decision
There are now several reports stating that President Donald Trump will be canceling the $200 million worth of foreign aid that was set aside to “stabilize” the war-torn nation of Syria.
The AP is reporting that officials with knowledge of the move have said that the White House will be notifying lawmakers of the president’s decision to withhold the funding and spend it elsewhere.
Here is more on this aid package via The Daily Caller:
“President Donald Trump’s administration will withdraw funding for aid programs in northwestern Syria, according to reports from administration officials.
The funding cuts are to the State Department’s “stabilization” programs in northwestern Syria, reported CBS News, citing administration officials. The programs include countering violent extremism, supporting independent media, as well as strengthening local civic and government institutions.
At Trump’s request, the State Department has been reviewing areas in Syria where the U.S. can scale back its financial commitments while focusing its efforts on areas liberated from the Islamic State. As the programs in northwestern Syria are phased out in the coming months, the money will be shifted to help support the counter-ISIS mission in northeast Syria.
The move to cut funding for northwestern Syria comes after Trump froze over $200 million in recovery aid for the entire country in late March. State Department officials said the latest cuts are “distinct from that amount.”
The State Department told CBS that “$200 million of stabilization assistance for Syria is currently under review at the request of the President.”
“Distinct from that amount, U.S. assistance for programs in northwest Syria are being freed up to provide potential increased support for priorities in northeast Syria, as will be determined by the outcome of the ongoing assistance review, including the D-ISIS campaign and stabilization efforts,” according to the report.
Because it has already been cleared of ISIS militants, northwestern Syria is not seen as a priority for the Trump administration, which has sought a narrower mission of fighting the remnants of ISIS in the country’s eastern half. The northwest is also an extraordinarily complex place, partially under Syrian government control but also home to Idlib, a rebel stronghold, and Afrin, where Turkish forces have been battling U.S.-backed Kurdish militia groups.
Washington has provided almost $900 million in non-lethal and stabilization aid to Syrian assistance since 2012, according to the State Department. Funding for humanitarian aid, which is distinct from the stabilization programs, will continue, administration officials said.
“We remain committed to countering ISIS and al-Qaida, in Syria and elsewhere,” a State Department official told Axios. “We will continue to provide life-saving, needs based, humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Syrians, including those in northwest Syria.”
The $200 million in recovery aid was originally pledged by the former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a February meeting of the US.-led coalition to defeat ISIS. But we are now starting to learn that only weeks later, the White House ordered the State Department to delay the funds pending the outcome of a spending review.
The Daily Caller reports:
“The cancellation of stabilization funding is in line with Trump’s inclination to avoid a leading role in the Syrian war. While he has stopped short of withdrawing the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops deployed to Syria, he has repeatedly signaled a desire to let other governments take the lead in post-war reconstruction.
The loss of U.S. funding will be more than offset by an additional $300 million pledged by coalition partners, including $100 million from Saudi Arabia, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.
“Many coalition partners have made pledges and contributions in recent months and the United States appreciates all partners who have stepped up to support this critical effort,” she told the AP.
The proper extent of U.S. involvement in Syria has been an open question in Washington for several years, but the debate has taken on new urgency as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad nears victory in the seven-year war. Backed by Russian and Iranian forces, Assad has regained control of most of central and southern Syria, leaving only pockets of rebel territory in the northwest and a U.S.-backed Kurdish autonomous region in the east.”
The cancellation of stabilization funding is just one more promise kept by the Trump White House. Where he pledged to avoid having the U.S. take a leading role in the Syrian war. Although he did not withdraw the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops deployed to Syria nor did he mention any withdrawal in the future, he has repeatedly said he his goal is to let other governments take the lead in the post-war reconstruction of a nation which is far from being stable.
Although the loss of these funds will be felt it will be offset by an additional $300 million which has already been pledged by coalition partners. One of which includes Saudi Arabia who has pledged $100 million.
The AP is reporting that in acknowledgment of the changing of power the White House plans to tap James Jeffrey as special envoy to Syria. Jeffrey is a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and a career foreign service officer. Jeffrey will hold the title of “special representative for Syrian engagement” and report directly to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or the President.
Ex-Ohio State Coach Busted For Lewd Pics He Took In The White House As Sick Scandal Erupts
The end result was not what he expected
Trump Just Blindsided Muslims In Bold Move Overnight, He’s Done
The White House will be notifying lawmakers of the president's decision
Federal Judge Drops Crushing Anvil On Mueller Investigation, Delivers Trump Victory
He was appointed by Ronald Reagan
Adios! New Mexico Sets Example For Border States, Begins Building Border Wall
Developments out West have changed the immigration game
Nathan’s Hot Dogs Under Massive Attack From Unhinged Leftists After Trump Connection Revealed
Since the left can't win in the arena of ideas, they once again have to resort to threats and bullying...