Tag Archives: Navy

US Warship Headed To Yemen Waters To Block Iran Weapons

US Warship Headed To Yemen Waters To Block Iran Weapons

By  Lolita C. Baldor, AP

A helicopter takes off from a Jinggangshan warship to search the waters suspected to be the site of the missing Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.   STRINGER/CHINA/REUTERS
A helicopter takes off from a warship.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stepped-up response to Iranian backing of Shiite rebels in Yemen, the Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels.

The deployment comes after a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last week imposed an arms embargo on leaders of the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote with Russia abstaining.

Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. A massive ship that carries F/A-18 fighter jets, the Roosevelt is seen more of a deterrent and show of force in the region.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea in response to reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ship movement on the record.

Saudi Arabia and several of its allies, mainly Gulf Arab countries, have been trying to drive back the rebels, who seized the capital of Sanaa in September and have overrun many other northern provinces with the help of security forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The U.S. supports the Saudi campaign.

Western governments and Sunni Arab countries say the Houthis get their arms from Iran. Tehran and the rebels deny that, although the Islamic Republic has provided political and humanitarian support to the Shiite group.

The U.S. has been providing logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi coalition launching airstrikes against the Houthis. That air campaign is now in its fourth week, and the U.S. has also begun refueling coalition aircraft involved in the conflict.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not comment specifically on any Navy movements in Yemeni waters, but said the U.S. has concerns about Iran’s “continued support for the Houthis.

“We have seen evidence that the Iranians are supplying weapons and other armed support to the Houthis in Yemen. That support will only contribute to greater violence in that country. These are exactly the kind of destabilizing activities that we have in mind when we raise concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East.”

He said, “The Iranians are acutely aware of our concerns for their continued support of the Houthis by sending them large shipments of weapons.”

The expanded U.S. Navy activity in the region comes at a sensitive time, as the U.S. and six world powers have reached a framework deal with Iran to control its nuclear program. Since the preliminary deal with reached on April 2, Iran and the U.S. have been disputing the details of the deal. And on Monday, a lawyer for Tehran-based Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian said Tehran had charged Rezaian with espionage and three other crimes. The Obama administration dismisses the charges as “absurd.”

The U.S. Navy generally conducts consensual boardings of ships when needed, including to combat piracy around Africa and the region. So far, however, U.S. naval personnel have not boarded any Iranian vessels since the Yemen conflict began.

Officials said it’s too soon to speculate on what the Navy ships may do as the Iranian convoy approaches, including whether Iran would consent to a boarding request, and what actions the Navy would take if its request was refused.

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been pushed to the brink of collapse by ground fighting and the Saudi-led airstrikes in support of current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. Observers say the fighting in the strategic Mideast nation is taking on the appearance of a proxy war between Iran, the Shiite powerhouse backing the Houthis, and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.

Iranian aircraft buzzed Navy helicopter in Persian Gulf

Iranian aircraft buzzed Navy helicopter in Persian Gulf

Washington (CNN)An Iranian military observation aircraft flew within 50 yards of an armed U.S. Navy helicopter over the Persian Gulf this month, sparking concern that top Iranian commanders might not be in full control of local forces, CNN has learned.

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter approaches the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in November 2014.
An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter approaches the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in November 2014.

The incident, which has not been publicly disclosed, troubled U.S. military officials because the unsafe maneuver could have triggered a serious incident.

It also surprised U.S. commanders because in recent months Iranian forces have conducted exercises and operations in the region in a professional manner, one U.S. military official told CNN.

“We think this might have been locally ordered,” the official said.

The incident took place as the U.S. and other world powers meet with Iran in Switzerland to negotiate a deal limiting Tehran’s nuclear program. At the same time, Iran has been active in supporting proxies in several hotspots in the Persian Gulf and neighboring regions.

The Navy MH-60R armed helicopter was flying from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson on a routine patrol in international airspace, the official said.

An unarmed Iranian observation Y-12 aircraft approached. The Iranian aircraft made two passes at the helicopter, coming within 50 yards, before the helicopter moved off, according to the official.

The official said the helicopter deliberately broke off and flew away in a ‘predictable’ manner so the Iranians could not misinterpret any U.S. intentions.

The Navy helicopter was in radio contact with the ship during the encounter, but there was no contact between the two aircraft and no shots were fired.

The Navy crew took photos of the incident but the military is not releasing them.

The U.S. administration is considering a potential demarche protest against Iran, the official said.

CNN has reached out to Iranian officials but has not received a response.

This type of Iranian observation aircraft generally operates over the Gulf several times a month. But after the recent incident, U.S. naval intelligence did not see it again for two weeks, leading to the conclusion that the incident may have been ordered by a local commander who was then reprimanded by higher-ups.

READ: White House readies Iran nuclear deal sales pitch to skeptical Congress

The Pentagon has noted for the last several years that most encounters with the Iranian military at sea or in air are conducted professionally, but that some missions run by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps forces have been too aggressive against U.S. forces in the area.

The U.S. military’s concern has been that one of these incidents could escalate into a military encounter.

This incident “might have been buffoonery” the official said, but there is always a risk from such actions.

The incident comes as the Navy patrols the Gulf of Aden to watch for Iranian ships the U.S. believes are trying to bring weapons to resupply the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Navy would share such intelligence with Saudi Arabia, a second U.S. official told CNN.

READ: Iran destroys mock U.S. carrier

Russian Jets Run ‘Attack Scenarios’ on NATO Ships

Russian Jets Run ‘Attack Scenarios’ on NATO Ships

Russia continues to take bold actions in European territory, near

Su-30 / AP

BY:

Russian fighter jets have been using NATO ships in the Black Sea as target practice to run “attack scenarios,” a situation that NATO military officials say they are aware of and prepared to defend against if necessary.

In the latest sign of provocation against Western forces by Moscow, Russia is ordering its newest Su-30 multi-role fighter jets to track NATO forces and run mock attack drills to simulate penetrating NATO’s anti-air systems, according to Sputnik, a pro-Moscow news agency.

A NATO military officer said that regional forces are “closely monitoring” the Russian movements and are prepared to defend themselves if necessary.

The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), which is stationed in the Black Sea, “is closely monitoring Russian air and surface activity, and no interactions with Russian ships or aircraft have posed any threat to the safety of the group since the ships entered the Black Sea,” the military official said. “The group is very capable of defending itself and is well protected by a variety of state-of-the-art defensive systems.”

The military officer said that the SNMG2 group has made no secret of its presence in the region.

SNMG2 “is in the Black Sea conducting regularly-scheduled maneuvers and exercises with Allied national Naval forces,” the officer explained. “This activity is within international norms and will take place in Allied and international waters. All major NATO exercises are announced well in advance and information on our activities is routinely published on public websites.”

Russia appears to have used the public nature of the NATO exercises as an opportunity to test-run attack maneuvers with its advanced Su-30s, according to Sputnik.

Moscow has reportedly focused on two specific NATO ships, the USS Vicksburg missile cruiser and the Turkish TCG Turgutreis frigate, according to Sputnik. Both ships are said to be operating in the southwestern section of the Black Sea.

The Russian planes have also “conducted monitoring flights over these ships from the Novofedorovka air base,” the report claims.

One Russian official quoted by Moscow’s RIA Novosti publication said it is natural for the country to practice war drills on these ships.

“These ships’ crews are doubtlessly conducting exercises in repelling air attacks from our planes, which gives our pilots the opportunity to gain experience in maneuvering and conducting aerial reconnaissance both in the range of anti-air systems and outside their range,” the Russian military official was quoted as saying.

Anna Borshchevskaya, an adjunct fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), said Russia’s aggressive behavior highlights NATO’s waning influence in the region.

“This highlights the troubling exercise gap between NATO and Russia,” she said. “As Russia’s aggression in Ukraine continues—which threatens Europe beyond Ukraine, and as Russia is increasing its military spending, most NATO members are doing little about the decline in their own military spending.”

Russia has for some time taken increasingly bold military actions, both in Europe and near U.S. territory.

Russian strategic nuclear bombers entered some 16 northwestern U.S. air defense zones over a 10-day period in August 2014, the Free Beacon reported.

Russian bombers also have carried out drills near Alaska in the past year.

Two Russian bombers were identified in September as carrying out practice cruise missile strikes on the United States.

Top Navy Officer FIRED by Obama For Exposing Massive Chinese Threat to U

Top Navy Officer FIRED by Obama For Exposing Massive  Chinese Threat to US

Another patriot bites the dust for exposing Obama’s criminal actions. When will Americans wake up to the tyranny going on? 

President Barack Obama’s been on a roll when it comes to firing military officers — especially those who aren’t afraid to speak out against the administration and expose what’s really happening behind the scenes.

That seems to be the case with Capt. James Fanell, a senior Navy intelligence leader who wasrelieved from his position as the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s director of intelligence and information operations because he made public information about China that Obama didn’t want you to hear.

His comments, now being labeled “provocative,” revealed that after a recent Chinese amphibious exercise, naval intelligence officials assessed that China’s strategy was to be able to launch a “short, sharp war,” with Japan.

Fannell said the following about Chinese naval intentions: “(We believe) the (People’s Liberation Army) has been given the new task to be able to conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea following with what can only be expected (as) a seizure of the Senkakus or even southern Ryukyu (islands).”

Those actions could potentially lead to something along the lines of World War III.

Chinese China Obama

According to Pentagon brass, this information runs counter to their daily talking points about “building ties” with the Chinese Navy, a force which appears to be more assertive than ever before.

Adm. Harry Harris, in charge of PACFLT, relieved Fannel from his position as an intelligence director. According to Military Times, he was reassigned as an aid to Rear Adm. Randy Crites at PACFLT’s maritime headquarters — which is a long fall from his previous position.

In other words, he was punished for exposing a massive threat to the United States that Obama and his administration didn’t want you to know about.

You don’t say? A true Chicago thug taking out anyone who raises the alarm 

Fannell reportedly has plenty of support within the naval intelligence community for voicing his views on China’s growing aggression toward countries like Japan and even the United States.

As a 29-year naval intelligence officer, Fannell has more credibility and insider knowledge than most others in his branch of service.

We salute Capt. Fannell for having the bravery to expose the growing threat from China, regardless of the consequences.

Navy Vet, Retired Cop Was Having Trouble Sleeping, NY Labels Him “Mental Defective,” Seizes His Guns

Navy Vet, Retired Cop Was Having Trouble Sleeping, NY Labels Him “Mental Defective,” Seizes His Guns

By

NY-SAFE-ACT

A Navy veteran and retired police detective was judged a “mental defective” and had his firearms seized after he went to the hospital for insomnia.

Donald Montgomery, who lives on Long Island, is suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials for violating his Constitutional Rights. Officials were operating under the state’s draconian “SAFE Act,” signed two years ago by Cuomo, which allows New York to confiscate weapons of anybody it deems mentally “defective.”

Montgomery – who had four handguns and a state handgun owners’ permit from New York – first went to his doctor back in May complaining of insomnia, resulting from a move to the state to be closer to his family.

A few days after the first visit and still unable to sleep, he went to the emergency room at a hospital in Long Island. He was diagnosed with depression and insomnia, given prescription medication and sent home.

Several days later, he returned to the hospital, still unable to sleep and voluntarily checked in for a 48 hours stay. The notes from his visits give no indication that Montgomery was “defective.” On the contrary, the notes read:

“Patient has no thoughts of hurting himself. Patient has no thoughts of hurting others. Patient is not having suicidal thoughts. Patient is not having homicidal thoughts,” the notes read.

A psychological assessment labeled him “mildly depressed,” but otherwise determined “there is no evidence of any psychotic processes, mania, or OCD symptoms.”

“Insight, judgment, and impulse control are good,” the assessment reads.

Somehow, though, the hospital listed him as having been “involuntarily” committed – and that’s where the state came in.

Four days after leaving the hospital, New York State police sent a letter to the Suffolk County clerk’s office stating “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution” and that he was prohibited from possessing any firearms.

The next day, Montgomery received a call from an officer at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department informing him that his guns would have to be confiscated.

Montgomery says that on May 30, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department showed up to his house and confiscated his pistol license and four handguns — Colt .38 revolver, Derringer .38, Glock 26 9mm, Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380.

He is suing alleging violations of his Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

You can view the lawsuit here.

Dog Alerted Al Qaeda To Navy Seals Rescue of US Hostage in Yemen

Dog Alerted Al Qaeda To Navy Seals Rescue of US Hostage in Yemen

Seals hiked six miles and got within 100 yards of Yemen compound… before dog barked…
Luke Somers, journalist killed by terrorist in Yemen during failed US Navy Seals rescue attempt.
Luke Somers, journalist killed by terrorist in Yemen during failed US Navy Seals rescue attempt.
A British-born U.S. photojournalist and a South African aid worker held hostage in Yemen by al Qaeda militants have been ‘murdered’ in a failed rescue attempt.

American citizen Luke Somers had been held hostage since September 2013 in Yemen’s capital Sana’a having moved to the country two years earlier.

The 33-year-old was reportedly shot by his captors as Navy SEAL Team six, made up of around 40 men, carried out a dramatic rescue bid in the Wadi Abdan region of the southern Shabwa province late on Friday night.

It is the second attempted extraction by special forces in as many months.

Another hostage, South African aid worker Pierre Korkie, was also killed during the operation – a day before he was due to be released.

According to the Wall Street Journal the commandos hiked for six miles through a mountain range to reach the village where he was being held.

They were only 100 yards away from the compound when the terrorists reportedly heard a dog bark – prompting the militants to shoot the pair dead.

U.S. Navy Deploys Laser Weapon in Persian Gulf

U.S. Navy Deploys Laser Weapon in Persian Gulf

 

BY:

The U.S. Navy deployed its first laser weapon in the Persian Gulf, Bloomberg reports.

The amphibious transport ship USS Ponce has been patrolling with a prototype 30-kilowatt-classLaser Weapon System since late August, according to officials. The laser is mounted facing the bow, and can be fired in several modes — from a dazzling warning flash to a destructive beam — and can set a drone or small boat on fire.

US Navy ship shooting laser weapon military
Navy ship shooting laser weapon

The Ponce “provides a unique platform” to deploy the new capability “in an operationally relevant region,” Vice Admiral John Miller, the 5th Fleet commander, said in an e-mailed statement. The ship is the 5th Fleet’s primary command and control afloat staging base for operations

Since 2011, the Navy has boosted its presence in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s traded oil flows. Equipped with naval mines and small vessels that practice swarming tactics to attack larger warships, Iranian officials have periodically threatened to close the waterway.

The Navy laser wasn’t specifically designed or deployed to counter Iran’s arsenal of small armed vessels, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said in an interview earlier this year.

The laser can emit warning beams as well as stronger beams that can destroy targets. The system cost an estimated $40 million.

Navy SEAL thought ‘we’re going to die’ at bin Laden raid

Navy SEAL thought ‘we’re going to die’ at bin Laden raid

by William M. Welch, USA TODAY

A former Navy SEAL who contends he killed Osama bin Laden says he and other team members did not believe they would survive the raid on the terrorist’s compound.

In an interview aired Tuesday night on Fox News, Robert O’Neill, a former member of SEAL Team 6, says that as the team trained, they concluded “we’re going to die” or be captured.

“The more we trained on it, the more we realized…this is going to be a one-way mission,” O’Neill said.

“We’re going to go and we’re not going to come back. We’re going to die when the house blows up. We’re going to die when he blows up. Or we are going to be there too long and we’ll get arrested by the Pakistanis and we’re going to spend the rest of our short lives in Pakistan prison.”

O’Neill said officers told the team only bits of information about the raid beforehand, including “a few names that didn’t make sense.”

But he said team members figured out who the target was before they were told: “A few of us were talking a couple days later about this person, this person why would they be there. … It’s bin Laden. … They found him. … We’re going to go get him.”

O’Neill has claimed that he fired the shot to the forehead that killed bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks on the United States.

Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden
The former Navy SEAL who says he killed Osama Bin Laden delivered a speech in Tennessee on Thursday night. Robert O’Neill did not mention the report in the Washington Post where he says he fired the fatal shots at the al Qaida leader. (Nov. 7) AP

Despite their assessment of the risk, O’Neill said he and fellow team members were eager for the mission to take out bin Laden.

“This is a good way to go, and it’s worth it because we’re we’re going to kill him,” he said.

“We really wanted to do this,” he said. “We wanted it. Bad. This is why we’re here. We’re at war because of this guy, and now we’re going to go get him.”

Fox News was airing a two-part program with the interview, airing at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday and Wednesday, called “The man who killed Osama bin Laden.”

U.S. special operations leaders have been critical of O’Neill for making public comments about the raid and have asserted his remarks are an unseemly quest for attention that is damaging to the special forces program.

“They’re terribly frustrated,” Dick Couch, a Vietnam-era Navy SEAL, told USA TODAY last week, referring to special operations leaders. “It just makes us look like buffoons.”

O’Neill’s disclosures come nearly two years after Matt Bissonnette, another former SEAL Team 6 member, published details about the raid under a pen name in No Easy Day. Bissonnette didn’t submit the book for review prior to publication.

As a result of the publicity, leaders of the Naval Special Warfare Command issued a rare plea to remember the code they pledged to live by in the face of the revelations. A critical component of the SEAL ethos is to keep quiet.

“We will not abide willful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety and financial gain, which only diminishes otherwise honorable service, courage and sacrifice,” said the letter signed by Rear Adm. Brian Losey and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci on Oct. 31.

Navy Tells Lodges to Put Bibles Back in Rooms

Navy Tells Lodges to Put Bibles Back in Rooms

Stars and Stripes | 
Bible

WASHINGTON — Gideons Bibles are going back into Navy lodges.

The Navy on Thursday ordered the Bibles returned to rooms and said it is reviewing a decision by the Navy Exchange to remove them from its worldwide network of military hotels.

Atheists had cheered a victory after a complaint prompted the exchange to begin moving the Bibles to its lost-and-found bins this summer, but the Navy said the decision was made without consulting senior leadership.

See: Military Bars Troops From Attending Vacation Bible School

“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.”

Bibles donated by Gideons International are a common sight in Navy lodges and at hotels around the world.

The Navy Exchange sent a memorandum in June to all its lodge managers saying the Bibles and all religious materials left in rooms will be removed using “established procedures for lost-and-found property.”

In the meantime, managers were ordered to “refer all inquiries about placing religious materials including Bibles to the chaplain’s office for the military installation where the lodge is located,” according to the memo written by Bill Mayhue, the Navy lodge program regional manager. It was signed off on by the director of the Navy Exchange lodges program.

“This will allow the commanding officer to determine … whether the materials will be accepted and how they will be handled and distributed,” Mayhue wrote.

The memo was prompted by a complaint in March by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin atheist group that claims 21,000 members including hundreds of active-duty troops and veterans.

The group sent a letter claiming the Navy is showing an unconstitutional preference for Christianity. Staff attorney Sam Grover said a couple of members had served more than 20 years in the military and said they had never seen any other religious text in Navy lodging other than the Bible.

“That demonstrates the Navy’s preference for Christianity over all other religions and nonreligious sects,” he said.

Grover said the Freedom from Religion Foundation does not expect Bibles or other religious materials to disappear from lodges. Instead, chaplains could make the Bible available to those who request it or Navy lodges could supply a collection of religious and atheist texts at the front desk, he said.

The group suggested lodges offer patrons the Born Again Skeptics Guide to the Bible, which is sold through its website.

The brief removal of Bibles caused some outrage from religious groups.

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, which advocates for the free practice of religion in the military, called it an act of censorship and criticized the Navy for bending to the atheist complaint.

“It’s tiresome to see senior military leaders needlessly cave in to activist groups offended by anything Christian,” Ron Crews, a retired colonel and chaplain who is the executive director of the group, said in a released statement.