Trump sent private contractors to do the military’s job when 4 US troops died in Niger

By Oliver Willis   | October 19, 2017

The growing scandal of Trump’s deadly botched mission in Niger is raising very disturbing questions the White House is refusing to answer.

Donald Trump sent in a private aviation contractor — instead of the U.S. military — to evacuate four soldiers killed in action in Niger, according to a troubling new report.

Even more disturbing, the body of Sgt. La David Johnson was reportedly left behind when the bodies of the three other soldiers were retrieved from the scene. His remains were recovered two days after the extraction by Nigerien troops.

Four Americans were killed in the surprise attack by forces believed to be connected to ISIS. Long after their deaths were revealed, Trump refused to speak about them in public. He has continued to boast that ISIS is giving up in the months since he became president, yet the terrorist group was freely able to launch its bloody mission.

Meanwhile, the story about what really happened has continued to change. Originally, it was not disclosed that as commander in chief, Trump had given the green light to outsource the job of retrieving the bodies to private contractors instead of the military.

U.S. Africa Command spokesperson Robyn Mack said Texas-based Berry Aviation was “on alert during the incident and conducted casualty evacuation and transport for US and partner forces.”

A growing number of congressional members  are demanding to know the details of the botched military mission conducted on Trump’s orders. Republican Sen. John McCain say the Pentagon has kept them in the dark on the mission and the apparent cover-up of the fallout.

 

The use of a private contractor is in line with Trump’s approach to military affairs, as espoused by his adviser Erik Prince. Prince was the head of Blackwater, the infamous mercenary group that George W. Bush handed $1 billion to for proving “private security” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater was also accused of abusing Iraqis and engaging in torture.

Prince is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and has had Trump’s ear on military planning, pushing for the increased privatization of American military operations — actions that have often blown back on Americans in the past.

Private groups operate at a profit in war zones, and when they break international law and abuse local civilians, Americans are blamed. When retaliation is initiated, all Americans become a target.

Questions continue to swirl around the failed mission, including why Trump authorized it, why it was so underpowered, why the soldiers lacked air cover in the field, and on and on.

When Johnson’s body finally did make it home, his grieving family was then subjected to Trump refusing to acknowledge his sacrifice for days on end while golfing. When he finally did call the family, he insulted Johnson’s pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, and told her he “knew what he signed up for.”

The entire operation — from Trump’s authorization to the ongoing deception, cover-up, and insults that have colored the aftermath — has become a black eye for America.

126 total views, no views today

Fox’s smear campaign backfires, exposes Gold Star widow’s congresswoman as champion for vets

By Matthew Chapman   | October 19, 2017

After a Florida congresswoman exposed Trump’s disgusting treatment of a bereaved military wife, Fox News tried to smear her record on supporting veterans. It failed.

Rep. Frederica Wilson
MSNBC

Ever since Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson released the details of Donald Trump’s callous, insulting phone call in which he told bereaved, pregnant Army wife Myeshia Johnson that her husband “signed up” to die, she has become a target for Trump and his right-wing allies, even receiving death threats.

Fox News in particular has savaged Wilson. Tomi Lahren dismissed her as “crazy,” despite the fact that Johnson’s mother backed up Wilson’s account of Trump’s call. Sean Hannity, meanwhile, called Wilson “vicious” and “sick.”

Fox’s most absurd attack, however, came from a written article on their website by reporter Lukas Mikelionis, claiming Wilson is “no friend of veterans.”

“Wilson’s voting record on veterans issues may call into question the sincerity of her recent defense of U.S. service members and their families,” Mikelionis writes.

However, if you actually follow his link, you find a laughably cherry-picked list of bills.

For one, Mikelionis is counting several bills that would have exempted funding for veterans’ benefits from government shutdowns or threatened shutdowns — which were all perpetrated by Republicans. Those bills would not have been necessary if Republican lawmakers had not refused to fund the government on schedule.

Also on the list are several iterations of Republican “VA whistleblower” bills that would have completely eliminated civil service protections, and a bill that would have allowed veterans deemed mentally incompetent to buy firearms.

By contrast, Mikelionis overlooks all the bills to actually help veterans that Wilson supported. She voted for the bill to reform the VA at the height of the waiting list scandal. She also cosponsored dozens of bills from both parties to improve veterans’ health care, pensions, housing, employment, and education.

Among the bills she cosponsored were the Voices for Veterans Act, the Reducing Barriers for Veterans Education Act, the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act, the Help Hire our Heroes Act, the GI Education Benefit Fairness Act, the Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act, the Shelter Our Servicemembers Act, the Veterans Pension Protections Act, and the Military Family Leave Act.

The idea that attacking Wilson on her legislative support for veterans would in any way exuse Trump’s behavior to military families is ridiculous. But Fox News could not even do its homework on Wilson’s record while attempting to make that case.

153 total views, no views today

OHIO AFL-CIO Endorses Sherrod Brown For Re-Election To Senate

Home / News / OHIO AFL-CIO Endorses Sherrod Brown For Re-Election To Senate
18 Oct by Jason Perlman in News
Burga cites Brown’s firm stances on trade, freedoms for working people as impetus for unanimous vote.
The executive board of the Ohio AFL-CIO announced today that it has unanimously voted to endorse Senator Sherrod Brown as he seeks re-election in 2018.

“Sherrod Brown has always been on the right side of issues that matter most to working people in Ohio,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga.  “Sherrod has consistently opposed bad trade deals that he knew would hurt our economy and cost us jobs,” he said.  “Now that NAFTA is being renegotiated, we need him to stand up for the workers in Ohio that have everything at stake—and we know that he will be there for us,” said Burga.

“Sherrod has never been afraid to stand up to corporate interests that seek to take away our freedom to join together and negotiate for a fair return on our work,” said Burga.  “He is co-sponsoring a bill in the Senate that puts a ban on so called right to work laws which lower wages and rig the rules to take away our freedom to join together in union,” he said.   “This is exactly what working people deserve in a senator, and with Sherrod Brown, we get that and more,” Burga said.

“This was not a difficult decision to make, but it is an important one nonetheless,” said Burga.  “Working Ohioans need Sherrod Brown in the Senate because he is an independent voice that we can always rely on to speak out for our families,” he said.

The Ohio AFL-CIO represents over 500,000 union workers from 40 affiliated international unions in the public, private and federal sectors of employment.

147 total views, no views today