Schiff demands answers from Pentagon on monitoring domestic unrest

Schiff, a Democrat from California, wrote Joseph Kernan, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, asking about whether the Pentagon has been asked or was already supporting efforts to surveil the protests.

…In his letter, Schiff cited the “sudden and impulsive manner in which the Armed Forces and law enforcement components from across the federal government have been mobilized to date, and the lack of public transparency regarding their orders,” calling these recent actions “deeply troubling.”

…Attorney General William Barr has said he believes there may be foreign influence involved in the domestic protests, which if true could provide a legal authority to allow the DIA to assist with investigating those connections. However, so far no public evidence of a foreign connection has emerged in connection with the protests, which were sparked by the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, in police custody.

…Schiff asked Kernan for further confirmation that military agencies, including the DIA, are not being asked to support law enforcement responses to civil unrest, “including to monitor, assess, or otherwise track Americans who are taking to the streets or otherwise engaging in constitutionally protected activity within the United States.”

Schiff demands answers from Pentagon on monitoring domestic unrest

hmmmm

Some senators want to stop police getting military equipment or weapons

“It is clear that many police departments are being outfitted as if they are going to war, and it is not working in terms of maintaining the peace,” Schatz told the New York Times. “This is not the only thing we need to do, but as our country sees these images on television that remind us of some countries far, far away, it’s time to recalibrate this program. Just because the Department of Defense has excess weaponry doesn’t mean it will be put to good use.”

…While the 1033 program’s intent may have been to equip specialized units for extreme, dangerous situations, fighting al-Qaeda sleeper cells, or powerful drug cartels, the effect has been to incorporate SWAT-style raids into ordinary police operations. That includes, but is certainly not limited to, the serving of search warrants. This may partly be because the program requires that all equipment issued through the 1033 program be used within one year of the date it is granted. That means that if police departments want to keep their new gear, they can’t wait for a rare emergency like an active shooter or hostage situation in order to use it.

…Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) proposed a series of reforms, including a national police misconduct database, in response to the protests.

Some senators want to stop police getting military equipment or weapons – Vox

hmmmm

Former Green Beret takes responsibility for failed boat raid aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Goudreau said 60 of his men were still on the ground and calls were being activated inside Venezuela, some of them fighting under the command of Venezuelan National Guardsman Capt. Antonio Sequea, who participated in a barracks revolt against Maduro a year ago.

None of their claims of an ongoing operation could be independently verified. But Goudreau said he hoped to join the rebels soon and invited Venezuelans and Maduro’s troops to join the would-be insurgency although there was no sign of any fighting in the capital or elsewhere as night fell.

In an interview later with Miami-based journalist Patricia Poleo, he provided a contradictory account of his activities and the support he claims to have once had — and then lost — from Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by the U.S. and some 60 countries.

…The government’s claims that it had foiled a beach landing Sunday triggered a frenzy of confusing claims and counterclaims about the alleged plot. While Maduro’s allies said it had been backed by Guaidó, Colombia and the U.S., the opposition accused Maduro of fabricating the whole episode to distract attention from the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.

…The government’s claims that it had foiled a beach landing Sunday triggered a frenzy of confusing claims and counterclaims about the alleged plot. While Maduro’s allies said it had been backed by Guaidó, Colombia and the U.S., the opposition accused Maduro of fabricating the whole episode to distract attention from the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Former Green Beret takes responsibility for failed boat raid aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro – Chicago Tribune

Huh?

Maryland National Guard defending coronavirus tests at secret location

The Maryland governor said when the Korean Air jet carrying the 500,000 tests flew into Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, it was met by National Guard troops and state police.

…Hogan, who is a Republican, said he had heard reports from other states of the federal government confiscating supplies. He specifically pointed to an incident in Massachusetts.

After 3 million masks purchased for the state were confiscated in New York, state leaders in Massachusetts turned to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to help bring in coveted N95 masks from China on a private plane.

….The governor added that the test protection was ongoing, saying that “the National Guard and state police are both guarding these tests at an undisclosed location.”

Maryland National Guard defending coronavirus tests at secret location – Business Insider

hmmmm

Fired captain sent memo to fewer people than former Navy head alleged: report | TheHill

The email from Capt. Brett Crozier was sent to three admirals and copied to seven other captains, according to a copy obtained by the Post. Former acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly [lied when he asserted that]  it was sent to “20 or 30” people.

Fired captain sent memo to fewer people than former Navy head alleged: report | TheHill

mmhmm

Trump tweets order to ‘destroy’ Iranian boats. Pentagon calls it a warning.

Trump announced Wednesday that he had directed the Navy to “shoot down” Iranian gunboats that harass U.S. ships. Pentagon officials said they had received no new directives.

…“What he was emphasizing is all of our ships retain the right of self-defense, and people need to be very careful in their interactions to understand the inherent right of self-defense,” said Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist. [?????!]

“It was a very useful thing he put out,” Norquist added. [?????!]

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten said “the president’s message was crystal clear,” adding, “I like that the president warned an adversary.” [?!!!!]

Trump tweets order to ‘destroy’ Iranian boats. Pentagon calls it a warning.

For the love of….

U.S. probe unable to rule out White House influence on JEDI contract awarded to Microsoft, not Amazon

Several officials said their conversations were privileged “presidential communications.”

…“We could not definitively determine the full extent or nature of interactions that administration officials had, or may have had, with senior DoD officials regarding the JEDI Cloud procurement because of the assertion of a ‘presidential communications privilege,’” the report said, referring to the Department of Defense by its acronym.

…Amazon has said the Defense Department’s decision to give the contract to Microsoft was full of “egregious errors,” which were a result of “improper pressure from [Trump.]”

U.S. probe unable to rule out White House influence on JEDI contract awarded to Microsoft, not Amazon – Reuters

hmmmm

‘There Will Be Losses’: How a Captain’s Plea Exposed a Rift in the Military – The New York Times

The warship’s doctors estimated that more than 50 crew members would die, but Capt. Brett E. Crozier’s superiors were balking at what they considered his drastic request to evacuate nearly the entire ship.

…On March 30, after four days of rebuffs from his superiors, Captain Crozier sat down to compose an email. “Sailors don’t need to die,” he wrote to 20 other people, all Navy personnel in the Pacific, asking for help.

…He showed the email to a handful of the most senior officers on the ship. They told him they wanted to sign it, too. Captain Crozier, fearing for their careers, told them no.

…A Naval Academy graduate with nearly 30 years of military service, the captain knew the email would most likely end his career, his friends said in interviews.

…He hit “send” anyway.

…Captain Crozier’s letter ran headlong into the administration’s narrative that it had everything under control.

..,Mr. Modly boarded a Gulfstream business jet at an airfield in suburban Washington and made the 35-hour round-trip flight to Guam, at a cost of $243,116.65.

…He went to the Roosevelt and delivered a 15-minute diatribe over the ship’s loudspeakers berating the crew for cheering for its captain. He called Captain Crozier either “too naïve” or “too stupid” to command an aircraft carrier. He told the sailors they should never trust the media. He blamed China for the virus. Less than 30 minutes later, after taking no questions from the sailors, he was gone.

Within another 30 minutes of his visit, audio of his remarks was being shared broadly across social media, complete with crew reaction.

…Three other carriers — the Ronald Reagan, the Carl Vinson and the Nimitz — have had sailors test positive.

‘There Will Be Losses’: How a Captain’s Plea Exposed a Rift in the Military – The New York Times

Trump has killed our once proud military.

Trump’s Navy secretary debacle is about more than Modly’s mistakes or Crozier’s composure

Modly’s decision to relieve Crozier came despite the opposition of Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, and Gen. Mark Milley, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both recommended that the decision be left up to the military leadership. (Modly served in the Navy but retired from active duty in 1990 to attend business school.) Gilday and Milley further stressed that such a drastic step should not be taken until an investigation had been conducted.

But Modly refused to wait. It has also been reported that he confided to an aide that Trump wanted Crozier fired and apparently also feared stalling would appear indecisive to the impatient commander-in-chief. Though the president has denied any involvement, his administration has a record of firing anyone who appears disloyal.

….Equally concerning is the way the Trump administration has established new norms for the politicization of the military. These have included involving senior retired officers in political campaigns, urging troops to lobby Congress, deploying forces to the Mexican border to underscore a political statement, and using funds appropriated by the Congress for the military for pet projects.

…Sadly, this is not just the story of a political appointee who allowed his ambition to override his good judgment. Rather it is a warning about a growing threat to a foundation of American democracy.

Jeff McCausland: Trump’s Navy secretary debacle is about more than Modly’s mistakes or Crozier’s composure

Exclusive: Navy commander says virus-struck aircraft carrier crew ‘struggling’ after captain’s firing – CNNPolitics

Merz was able to verify Crozier’s immediate superior did not know he was sending the memo in which Crozier had urgently asked Navy leadership to evacuate sailors from the Roosevelt as the virus spread. Noting that, “I was not in his shoes,” Merz offered his own caveated assessment of Crozier’s actions pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.

“I certainly don’t question his motives. I think his motives were pure. He was looking out for his crew,”Merz said.

But Merz also noted all commanders have “a lot of tools available to be heard,” adding “I am not going to second guess him at this point.”

The investigation could be completed as soon as next week. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he isn’t ruling out the possibility that Crozier could be restored to command.

Exclusive: Navy commander says virus-struck aircraft carrier crew ‘struggling’ after captain’s firing – CNNPolitics

hmm

USS Theodore Roosevelt captain refused to let officers sign letter about COVID-19 outbreak

Senior officers aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier reeling from a coronavirus outbreak offered to sign a revealing letter about the dire situation, only to be denied by the ship’s commander, Capt. Brett Crozier.

Crozier, who has since been relieved of command for sending the four-page letter out to over 20 recipients, was asked by senior officers on the ship to sign the letter, according to a New York Times report published Sunday.

Crozier reportedly feared for their careers and denied their request.

USS Theodore Roosevelt captain refused to let officers sign letter about COVID-19 outbreak – Task & Purpose

mmmhmmm

New York Daily News: Salute a naval officer choosing sailor lives over career on a coronavirus-infected vessel

Publicly bucking those you’re supposed to salute is a surefire pink slip. Yet the Navy got the message and began evacuating the Roosevelt.

May the wind be at Brett Crozier’s back, whether he’s on land or sea.

Salute a naval officer choosing sailor lives over career on a coronavirus-infected vessel – New York Daily News

 

n/t

Full Transcript: Thomas Modly on Capt. Brett Crozier to Sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt

(INDISTINCT YELLING IN BACKGROUND)

….(LOW BACKGROUND YELLING: HE WAS ONLY TRYING TO HELP US) 

….”a chain of command which includes the media” [since when, dipshit?]

…..(INDISTINCT YELLING IN BACKGROUND)

…”What do I do to help the E2’s and E3’s that are on this ship? That’s your duty. Not to complain.

Everyone’s scared about this thing. But I tell you something, if this ship was in combat and there were hypersonic missiles coming at it, you’d be pretty (BLEEP) scared too. (BACKGROUND YELLING: WHOA)]

Thomas Modly transcript on Capt. Brett Crozier to USS Theodore Roosevelt – CNNPolitics

Never ever forget that this is how the Trump administration spoke to these sailors. Never forgive and never forget. Never. Ever. Forget.

Navy Secretary Modly’s aircraft carrier speech misfires badly

Secretary Modly addressed Crozier’s crew over the ship’s loudspeakers. Punctuated with profanity, his words provide a fascinating case study in speechmaking around sensitive topics.

…Modly’s address also included broad, blanket statements and he spoke in absolute terms, which should be avoided in such circumstances.

…Modly’s mention of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee by name made it virtually impossible to claim the speech was not political.

…Knowing your audience and speaking to them in terms that are likely to resonate with them is something most speakers at least attempt to do. Modly didn’t bother. He mocked the crew’s popular leader, who has tested positive for COVID-19, by sarcastically calling him “a martyr C.O. who wasn’t getting the help he needed.”

….Modly asserts incorrectly and definitively that “no one expected this pandemic.” A range of astute observers and global health professionals have been warning us about this very topic for years.

…“The only reason we are dealing with this right now is a big authoritative regime called China was not forthcoming about what was happening with this virus,” said Modly. But we know from extensive, highly sourced reporting that the president and his administration were being briefed on the situation developing in China as early as the first days of January.

Navy Secretary Modly’s aircraft carrier speech misfires badly | TheHill

Incompetence? Meet arrogance and malice.

In the years, decades, and centuries to come, teachers and students will point to the Trump administration as the definition of what not to do.

In fact, after this TrumpVirus crisis is over, Trump might just come to mean the opposite of not only what is right but the opposite of intelligent thinking and might become shorthand for “what not to do.”