Navy SEAL

U.S. Navy SEAL Team Raids Somalia Town In Nairobi Attack Response

Read the story behind this amazing photo on Business Week

I don’t think I’m compromising my anti-war values when I say Go Navy Seals!  What happened in Nairobi was vicious and unimaginable in a any society…

The Huffington Post

A U.S. Navy SEAL team is believed to have killed a senior leader of the al Shabaab militant group in a raid on his seaside villa in Somalia on Saturday in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall last month, the New York Times reported.

The unidentified target was believed to have been killed in a predawn firefight after the SEAL team landed in the Somali town of Barawe by sea, but the commandos were forced to withdraw before that could be confirmed, a report on the newspaper’s website quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.

It said U.S. officials initially reported that the commandos had seized the Shabaab leader, but later backed off that account.

“The Barawe raid was planned a week and a half ago,” the paper quoted an unnamed U.S. security official as saying.

“It was prompted by the Westgate attack,” he added, referring to a militant assault on a Nairobi shopping mall two weeks ago in which at least 67 people were killed.

The Times quoted witnesses as saying that the firefight lasted more than an hour, with helicopters called in for air support.

The Times report quoted a spokesman for al Shabaab as saying that one of its fighters had been killed in an exchange of gunfire but that the group had beaten back the assault.

The U.S. officials said it was unclear whether the SEAL team’s target was taken alive or killed.

The paper said a senior Somali government official confirmed the raid, saying, “The attack was carried out by the American forces and the Somali government was pre-informed about the attack.”

Earlier, al Shabaab militants said British and Turkish special forces had raided the coastal town overnight, killing a rebel fighter, but that a British officer had also been killed and others wounded.

Britain’s Defence Ministry said it was not aware of any such British involvement. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official also denied any Turkish part in such an action.

A Somali intelligence official said the target of the raid at Barawe was a Chechen commander, who had been wounded and his guard killed. Police said a total of seven people were killed.

What Everyone Should Know About The Secretive Group Trying To Swift Boat Barack Obama

Joel Arends, Director of the Veterans for a Strong America

Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in its veins. ~ Edward M. Kennedy

Think Progress

A secretive right-wing group, Veterans For A Strong America, is attempting to do to President Obama what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to Sen. John Kerry. And they aren’t shy about it. The group’s leader and sole employee, Joel Arends, told Mother Jones, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”

Arends said his goal is to take “what’s percieved to be [Obama's] greatest strength” — the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound — and make it “his greatest weekend.” The effort started this week with a web video attacking Obama for taking too much credit.

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Arends refused to discuss any information regarding how the group was financed or its leadership. Arends also declined to provide legal forms he claims to have filed with the IRS. A representative from the IRS told ThinkProgress that the agency does not have any forms from Arends’ group on file.

Here’s what we do know about Arends and Veterans For A Strong America:

1. In four days, the first ad by Veterans For A Strong America garnered almost 1 million view on Youtube. It has also been played frequently on TV News. [YouTube, 5/1/12]

2. Veterans For A Strong America is seeking to recruit Navy SEALS to attack Obama. “In the wake of a warm conservative reception for a web video trashing the president for ‘spiking the football’ on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, the conservative group Veterans for a Strong America plans to gather Navy SEALs and Special Forces operators to criticize the White House during the 2012 campaign.” [BuzzFeed, 5/3/12]

3. Arends also tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008. Arends, under the auspices of a similar group called “Vets for Freedom,” ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois. [NPR, 7/5/08]

4. Arends worked as a consultant for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Properity. “Though he doesn’t list it on his public resume, around 2006 Arends went to work for Craig Dewey, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy outfit that’s Astroturfed everything from the tea party and the Wisconsin union fight to public-school segregation.” The Koch Brothers and their allies have pledged to spend $100 million to defeat Obama. [Mother Jones, 5/4/12; HuffingtonPost, 2/3/12]

5. In 2008, Arends — posing as a “journalist” — organized and participated in a taxpayer subsidized propaganda trip to Iraq. “American taxpayers are paying for politically slanted, pro-McCain, anti-Obama ‘reporters’ embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. Vets for Freedom – a pro-war organization that buys attack ads against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama – assembled a team of eight military veterans with dubious journalistic credentials to report ‘objectively’ on what is occurring in Iraq…Joel Arends, another “reporter,” is VFF’s executive director and was on McCain’s campaign payroll between March 2007 and February 2008.” [Charleston Gazette, 8/28/08]

6. Arends is coordinating with key Islamophobic figures on the far-right. He regularly appears at events with anti-Islam conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, who has been condemned by mainstream conservatives for his intolerant views. He is also alligned with William “Jerry” Boykin, who was found to have violated Pentagon rules by expressing his anti-Muslim views in an official capacity. [ThinkProgress, 2/12/12For The Common Defense; New York Times,3/4/05]

7. Arends helped promote a documentary advocating war with Iran. Arends appeared on a panel in South Dakoa promoting the documentary Iranium, which strongly suggests beginning a war with Iran, in March 2011. [Flier; ThinkProgress, 11/3/11]

8. Veterans for A Strong American is fully endorsed by Karl Rove. The man known as “Bush’s Brain” tweeted his support of their first web ad. [Twitter,5/3/12]

Veterans For A Strong America is already succeeding in influencing the political discussion. It’s web ad was aired nationally, for free, on ABC’s This Week. Many members of the political round-table then echoed Arends talking points on Obama and Bin Laden.