Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 06, 2014

A Reckless U.S. Rescue Attempt Kills Nearly Free Hostage

Updated below:

On November 26 U.S. special forces attempted a hostage rescue in Yemen. The circumstances remained murky with some reports claiming that besides some other people a U.S. soldier nabbed a bit earlier was freed.

After the November event AlQaeda in Yemen, a mixture of tribal groups and some Jihadis, said that it would kill its hostages should another such rescue attempt be made.

Yesterday another special force operation was launched. Supported by Apache helicopters ground troops attacked a compound in southern Yemen. But the operation went wrong. Hostages were killed as were allegedly AlQaeda members. Yemeni sources claim that some Yemeni civilians were also killed.

President Obama released a statement blaming AlQaeda for "the barbaric murder of Luke Somers", a U.S. freelance photographer and hostage killed in the event. But Obama does not, not even with one word, mentions the other hostage, Pierre Korkie a South African teacher working for the charity Gift of the Givers, who was also killed. As the charity explains:

The psychological and emotional devastation to Yolande and her family will be compounded by the knowledge that Pierre was to be released by Al Qaeda tomorrow. A team of Abyan leaders met in Aden this morning and were preparing the final security and logistical arrangements, related to hostage release mechanisms, to bring Pierre to safety and freedom. It is even more tragic that the words we used in a conversation with Yolande at 5.59 this morning was "the wait is almost over". Three days ago we told her "Pierre will be home for Christmas". We certainly did not mean it in the manner it has unfolded. All logistical arrangements were in place to safely fly Pierre out of Yemen under diplomatic cover, then to meet with family members in a "safe" country, fly to South Africa, and directly to hospital for total medical evaluation and appropriate intervention.

If the U.S. knew that Pierre Korkie was about to be released the hostage rescue attempt was utterly reckless. Why not wait a day for him to be freed without any additional risks?

If the U.S. did not know that Pierre Korkie was to be released tomorrow this can only be called a major failure in intelligence and coordination.

Either way I find it unexplainable that Obama in his statement has not even have one word on Pierre Korkie. A person that would likely not have died without the interference of U.S. forces.

With such obfuscation, like in the earlier rescue attempt, one wonders who really committed the "barbaric murder" of the hostage.


The U.S. military has now given AP its first spin version of the raid. (Remember that at least three versions were given for the Bin Laden raid so do not expect the current story to be nothing but the truth.)

About 40 U.S. special operations forces were part of the mission, according to the U.S. officials. The rescuers, backed by Yemeni ground forces, got within 100 meters of the compound in southern Shabwa province when they were spotted by the militants, and the skirmish ensued.
The operation began before dawn Saturday in a province that is a stronghold of al-Qaida's branch in Yemen. U.S. drones struck first the Wadi Abdan area first, followed by strafing runs by jets before Yemeni ground forces moved in, a Yemeni security official said. Helicopters flew in more forces to raid the house where the two men were held, he said.

At least nine al-Qaida militants were killed in an initial drone strike, another security official said.

Drones, jets, helicopters - that all sounds like a very noisy arrival.

But the real question to me is this. The charity folks were certain that they would get their South African guy out save by tomorrow. But waiting for that could have possible jeopardized the life of the U.S. journalist. Proceeding with the raid would endanger both lives plus the lives of the operators and "collateral" persons. Was there a decision made to prefer the rescue of the U.S. citizen over the life and freedom of the South African citizen? Who made that decision?

Posted by b on December 6, 2014 at 14:32 UTC | Permalink


I know my tin-foil-hat might be on to tight but maybe that's why he died. It wouldn't be the first time in Amerika history to kill the messenger.

Posted by: jo6pac | Dec 6 2014 15:28 utc | 1

The lack of any any conscience by the powerful is astounding, scandalous and worse, a reflection of those they represent.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 6 2014 15:46 utc | 2

@1 Perhaps, but much of the U.S. government exists to beget itself. If the NSA spying program had major successes, they would be the subject of competing movies, and it's likely the planners of an operation wanted a success on their resume.

The American people don't have an appetite for more defense spending, and the Senators are making noises about moving the spending in the Washington metro area. The result is everyone's career is at risk.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Dec 6 2014 16:17 utc | 3

The US likely picked up communications related to the negotiations to release Luke Somers. We know the U.S. doesn't support negotiating with terrorists but why not pick up sigint when other people do!

On an unrelated note, check out this video of Jen Psaki discussing the shameful results of Mubarak's trial. Right at the end of the video when the press conference is over you can actually hear her remark how ridiculus her own talking points are, it's hilarious.

Posted by: WG | Dec 6 2014 17:18 utc | 4

Sometimes US uses hostage negotiations as stalking horses to locate and mount missions to free hostages. In Colombia, FARC leader Paul Reyes was killed in Ecuador as US & Colombia tracked satellite phones of European negotiators who were on their way to his encampment and were also on the verge of obtaining the freedom of Ingrid Betancourt "within days". Betancourt herself was probably also freed by utilizing information provided by FARC turncoats who were communicating w/ US & Colombian authorities and thought they were making a deal. In Colombia, neither US nor Uribe were interested in giving FARC the political and material victory of releasing the hostages in a negotiated settlement. Maybe in the Yemen case, it was the US government's unwillingness to negotiate hostage releases that made them decide to try to exploit the intel they had acquired related to the Korkie negotiations in order to "do something clever". Please forgive the self-advertisement but my lengthy and globally unread piece on the Betancourt case is pretty bitchin'.

Posted by: China Hand | Dec 6 2014 17:26 utc | 5

The aid organization Gift of the Givers had contacted Korkie's wife, Yolande, on Saturday morning: "The wait is almost over."

Pierre Korkie sterf: Obama gee glo opdrag vir reddingspoging

Posted by: Oui | Dec 6 2014 17:32 utc | 6

The following is about Syria so it's off topic but I thought you'd like to know that your friend Bashar Assad did an interview with a Western news outlet a couple of days ago. Here's an item in the interview:

Journalist's question: "From a military perspective, do you have the means which enable you to win this war?"

President Assad's answer: ".... It’s going to be a long and difficult war.... The Syrian Army doesn’t have a presence everywhere, and it’s impossible for it to be everywhere.... The Syrian Army is winning in many places. On the other hand, no one can say how this war will end or when. But the major war for them [the enemy side] in the beginning was how to win the hearts of the Syrians; and they have lost this war. The communities which embraced terrorists have become very small, and that is the reason why the army is winning. So, we have to look at this war militarily, socially, and politically...." ,

I interpret those words as having implicit agreement with my own view that the Syrian army has been operationally disappointing and ineffective. The Syrian army does have the support of a large majority of the population, and the Syrian State has compulsory military conscription, and the Syrian army has got superior artillery weapons, and is the only side with air power. From my information set, it is clear it's a long and difficult war, but it not clear WHY the war is so difficult for the Syrian army and why the army cannot be more effective militarily.

As an addition related to the above, here's from Bashar Assad in an interview last year, on 25 Sep 2013:

Journalist's Question: "How do you see the balance of power on the ground in Syria now?"

Bashar Assad answers: "There is no doubt that there are a large number of armed men fighting and carrying out terrorist acts in Syria, the majority of which are foreigners. The army kills thousands of them, only for them to be replaced by another thousand coming from outside Syria. Consequently, the number of foreign fighters is much higher than the number from within Syria. But neither this imbalance nor the absolute number of fighters is the most important issue [regarding power on the ground]. The most important issue is popular support. If the Syrian people, or Syrian society, support the terrorists, then the terrorists are stronger. But if the Syrian society supports the army, then the army is more powerful. That’s why, and in answer to your question about the balance of power, I can say that the situation now favours the army and hence it has been able to make significant progress during the past few months. A large majority of the Syrian people – from different political factions – now support the army."

Posted by: Ghubar Shabih | Dec 6 2014 17:55 utc | 7

thanks b

maybe the us likes killing innocent people? it sure looks like it. i can't say that they are trying to hide knowledge or info from the other side, but it is baffling why they have done this.. bottom line - there is never any accountability, so don't expect any type of apology..

@7 gs - thanks.

Posted by: james | Dec 6 2014 18:11 utc | 8

The hostage takers said that they would kill the American by today (Saturday). In contrast, the South African was about to be released. So I wouldn't call this rescue attempt reckless: it was well thought out and deliberate. The reason it was ordered was to preclude that AQAP killed an American at about the same time it released a non-American hostage. That would undermine the narrative of US omnipotence. Obama said, "I also authorized the rescue of any other hostages held in the same location as Luke." I'm sure the US knew who the other hostage was, especially given that the South African had been kidnapped along with his wife, who was later released.

The reason that Obama didn't "even have one word on Pierre Korkie" was that it appears that the purpose of the op was to prevent the release of Korkie, following the assumption that the hostage takers would hold to their threat to kill Somers.

Posted by: Demian | Dec 6 2014 19:40 utc | 9

@7 - Is this Parivazyi? You trimmed the part which answers your own question for whatever reason:

Paris Match: From a military perspective, do you have the means which enable you to win this war?

President Assad: Now we are fighting states, not only gangs. Billions of dollars are spent on those gangs. They receive arms from different countries, including Turkey. So, it is not an easy war from a military perspective.

Its not easy to win a war where your northern border (which is a NATO member no less, so theres no way to respond militarily) is open to terrorists which are funded by an enormously wealthy and entirely unaccountable oil monarchy or three.

It's a testament to the Syrian people's desire to see their country not in the hands of these insane terrorists that they've survived. They facing down an attack by the entire West, neighboring Turkey and Israel, and every last Gulf Monarchy. They're survival is a miracle and a testament to the popularity of the government.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 6 2014 20:17 utc | 10

It is a heart felt interview as always. Bashar Assad - a man who never expected to be the President of the country and could have easily chosen to flee and live a happy life in France or some other country - chose to stay because he saw exactly the plans the West and the foul and necrotic Gulf Monarchies had for Syria.

Like every country that chooses, with bright eyes, the "Western Way" - Syria would have become a hellhole. Make no mistake - It would have become a place far, far worse, even, than the horrific scenes occurring now. You just have to look at Libya, for instance, to see the possibilities - though likely, because of Syria's ethnic make up, the scenes would be far, far worse than even what we see in Libya. Scenes of even more intense refugee flows. Scenes of even worse brutality and ethnic cleansing. The scene of the 21st centuries latest genocide.

The West enticed the remaining socialist countries like Libya and Syria into neo-liberalism - the carrot (as always) was great wealth (and corruption) for the elites there, and the stick was the Global War on Terror. But the West being the West and capitalists being capitalists - it just wasn't enough.

The Arab Spring was concocted and unleashed (magically, avoiding all US regional allies "somehow"). Like every other American scheme, plan "A" was a quick and painless transition of these countries into western puppets, and plan "B" was their utter destruction and ruin. The West, being too craven and stupid and careless to ever carry off their plan "A", poured money into plan "B" almost immediately.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 6 2014 20:54 utc | 11

As if to show just how much of a sham Western concern for "the Arab Spring" was and is - Britain is re-opening its colonial-era naval base in Bahrain, of course the scene of one of the Arab Spring's most brutal counter-revolutions.

Hypocrisy is in high-gear for this one. Imagine that. Will the western papers denounce David Cameron as "a friend of Middle Eastern dictators" for this move?

The Arab Spring, like ISIS, is a complete phony. A cat's paw for the western re-invasion of the region. Of course ISIS is being taken care of by the Iraqis, the Syrians, Hezbollah, and Iran - but the UK (the broke UK that can't even pay its bills to the EU) will still tell you they need a navy base some 500 miles from the fighting: "because of ISIS".

ISIS is a joke militarily. It is a dangerous gang to be sure, well-deserving of being destroyed and every last member of it killed or imprisoned. But it is not a threat to anyone outside of those countries most determined to destroy it - those on whose territory it operates. ISIS is a funny sort of thing - it is a guerrilla army without a people. To turn Mao's phrase on its head - ISIS is the fish, and its sea is western political support, Gulf Arab money, and Turkish/Israeli logistics. And of course, it would be flopping on dry land, starved of breath were the west serious for one minute about removing any one of thes pillars of their support.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 6 2014 21:13 utc | 12

The US government will have been aware of the South African hostage being released. This incident proves their total disregard for foreign nationals safety and confirms that the US (closely followed by Israel) are the really accomplished terrorists on this planet. The only reason why they 'care' about American victims of kidnap abroad is the chance of a good photo opportunity and perhaps a little triumphalism. However, operations such as these rarely result in any kind of victory. The best they can do is catch an old man with renal failure, even though it's unlikely he could have ever survived so long with his condition.

Posted by: Andy | Dec 6 2014 21:15 utc | 13


Yes, clearly 'successful negotiations' flies in the face of IslamoFascism™ R US, necessary marketing strategy, along with I$I$ and Ebola, to increase the annual budget request for America Global Police State ... which worked perfectly again.

Congress approved higher $585B NDAA, even $10sBs squandered for Operation Orion! 2/3rd of all Federal contracts go to Defense and that's climbing towards 3/4ths, with many IDIQNBs, and with calls from Congress for ANY contract to be NO BID!

So now you see the true stakes: potentially $100sBs in NO BID Defense/Security contracts by playing on branded fear and terror, Deimos and Phobos. Pure PSYOP. Deep Government would slit your mother's and my mother's throats for that lucre, what's some South African aid volunteer's life?

But it goes WAY deeper than Deep Government.

Which then begs the question, as a humanitarian mission aide myself, why would anyone volunteer at this point? We were held for ransom in AF, only rescued by sheer luck, then afterwards both ourselves and country officials with us at the hostage attempt were laughing with relief, but a few hours later, faces turned hard, and minds were made up, never to do that 'volunteer mission' sh*t again.

We were pawns in a $100Ms OEF-A-USAID money-soliciting and transfer scheme!

Who wants to be the last person to die for a 'humanitarian' mission in support of 'rice tents' and 'charity landlords', anyway? Medicines Sans Frontiers doesn't fly into combat zones for just that reason, nor does the Red Cross. But there are 100s, perhaps 1000s of private missionary charities, out dodging bullets. Why?

Then that begs the question, who are these 501(c)3 income tax-dodge 'Missions for Charity', and are they using unwitting puppets to line their own pockets? We did a mission along the militarized border with Cambodia, where the mission agent was using donations to build his own private retirement shangrai-la! He hadn't paid any of his refugee staff, and was using their distress to spin how he needed more donations, and more volunteers to help build his 'outreach mission' for the poor! We were building his retirement plantation, complete with female sex slaves!

Caveat pro bono publico!

But it goes WAY deeper than just a few 'Bad Apples'.

See “Volunteerism: An Old Concept, A New Business Model for Scaling Microfinance and Technology-for-Development Initiatives,” from Grameen Foundation (2010) about its work with Bankers Without Borders.

The Grameen Foundation allows its in-country local 'micro-financing' BankstersWBs to charge 30% interest to indigent peoples! We applied to be a local bank. We got all their paperwork. They'll let you charge even more than 30% with 'permission'.

This isn't 'charity'. This is globally-organized 501(c)3 tax-dodge Extreme Usury!

When you're sitting in the airport afterwards, shaking with relief having slipped a hostage attempt, or shaking with rage that you volunteered for a tax dodge, is it worth it to get 'rescued' by the Pony Soldiers, and die in a hail of bullets, so Yunus and Grameen can give their little TED 'happy up' and become $1M-aires?

Volunteer at your local soup kitchen after the Global Ponzi Scheme collapses.

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Dec 6 2014 22:23 utc | 14

@ guest77: Yes it is Parviziyi and I'm flattered that you recognized me under my new nom de plume. I agree with you when you say: "ISIS is not a threat to anyone outside of those countries most determined to destroy it - those on whose territory it operates. ISIS is a... guerrilla army without a people" -- or without much of a people. Besides its slim popular support, this guerrilla army hasn't been well equipped until this past summer. As you know, ISIS got weapons in northern Iraq this past summer and took these to the fight in Syria. But even with those new weapons ISIS was and still is disadvantaged against the Syrian army in weaponry. In the ensuing fight, ISIS attacked fortified army bases in eastern Syria. The army, as the defender of fortified bases, had the advantage of those fortifications to protect itself. ISIS had no such protection and was also exposed to attack from the air in the fight outside the bases. ISIS emerged victorious in more than half of those fights (most prominently at the Al-Tabaqa base in August, and the bases of the Syrian army's Brigade 93 and Regiment 121 in July). The Syrian army was able to hold those bases for the previous 20 months, but when ISIS obtained the improved arms, the army crumbled. That shouldn't be.

Likewise but more devastatingly, in the summer of 2012 an influx of AK-47s arrived in Syria together with an influx of cash for the rebels, financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and it caused the Syrian army to crumble in many parts of Syria, most prominently in Aleppo city in August 2012, despite the Syrian army having better weapons and far more soldiers at the time. The Syrian army punches way below its weight. It is a much weaker army in practice than it is on paper. The Syrians themselves hate to face up to this fact. As part of their earnest efforts to deceive themselves into believing they don't have a shitty army, they deceive themselves into believing exaggerated estimates of the strengths of the rebels. The scale and power of foreign fighters, and foreign financings, is repeatedly exaggerated by pro-government Syrians, and from there it passes as claptrap to pro-government commentators who are not Syrians. Guest77, your comment at #10 is in this category.

Posted by: Ghubar Shabih | Dec 6 2014 23:16 utc | 15

Returning to MoA's original post about the attempt to "rescue" Pierre Korkie, which attempt resulted in his death along with the deaths of several other hostages as well as Al Qa'ida, to me this "rescue" is reminiscent of a past attempt in Iraq to "rescue" two Italian journalists, one of whom died. I doubt very much that the failed rescue attempt was intended to succeed and that in fact the attack on and killing of the Al Qa'ida hostage-takers was the primary goal. The hostages' fate was of no consequence. A more pessimistic conclusion might be that the hostages were to be killed as well. Does this not sound like Israeli Defense Force policy when one of its own is taken hostage by Palestinian fighters, Hezbollah or others deemed to be Israeli foes?

Posted by: Jen | Dec 7 2014 0:23 utc | 16

@5 Nice piece, I didn't read know you read MoA.

Posted by: Crest | Dec 7 2014 0:46 utc | 17


Excellent post on a subject not addressed often enough ... ever?

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 7 2014 0:54 utc | 18


' To turn Mao's phrase on its head - ISIS is the fish, and its sea is western political support ... '

Great observation, its truth overshadows even its cleverness.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 7 2014 0:56 utc | 19


' Does this not sound like Israeli Defense Force policy when one of its own is taken hostage by Palestinian fighters ... ? '

Resonates strongly with the fate of the 'lambs' @14.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 7 2014 1:00 utc | 20


As the 'Arab Spring' is PSYOP COIN 'Trotskyism for the UberMenschen', so the American 'Tea Party' is a 'cat's paw' for a Corporates United All-In RINO-RINO Congress of 1000 Years. Which they just got, thanks to their Tea Party drones.

Gorbechev himself remarked years ago on the similarity between the breakup of the USSR and the breakup of the USA. Gorbechev tried NeoLiberalism after withdrawing from Afghanistan, but the Global Chosen Banksters deliberately castrated the USSR economy, before the Plutarchical Right Wing literally shelled Gorbechev out of office.

Obama embraced NeoLiberalism by installed Clinton, as he attempted to withdrawn from Afghanistan, but the Global Chosen Banksters deliberately castrated the USA economy, before the Corporates United Right Wing voted Obama's regime out of office.

Ahh, the Grand Clinton-Blair 'Third Way'. Where's Tony now? Consulting in Dubai?

There are significant differences, though. Obama installed a CIA Asset/World Bank Asset as Co-Leaders in Afghanistan, and is fully investing in Perpetual War, with a now $585 BILLION Platinum Card. The Ruble was never a comparable world currency to the US$, so the Soviet Plutarchs disintegrated and looted the public treasury and national resources, in a kind of 'Wilder West' that we can only imagine.

We shouldn't be lulled by those differences, however. The same Plutarchs have looted the USA public treasury into an -$18 TRILLION interest-only perpetual beshbarmak mare's-milk fountain, are even now are looting public lands with resource riders hidden in NCAA, e.g., grifting the Tonto National Forest to Rio Tinto mining company as a private land transfer, and they have their eye on the Zion National Forest for fracking privatization as well, while the countdown of mere weeks continues towards the All Corporate Congress of Much Death Many Kill.

So I wouldn't be so sure the USA will escape the same fate as the USSR, although it will be much better sanitized, opticitized, propagandized as 'good for the people', 'job creation' and 'increased national security' etc psy-sobriquets.

The only thing the Global Plutarchs need is a Republican Guard, and they've found a way to keep the corpse of USA on life-support, while they massively inflate to now well over $1 TRILLION a year a Defense (sic)/ National Security gendarmery.
It's Pay to Play, 365x24. The World as One Gynormous Plutarchical Mafia Casino.

Then you have to ask yourself, what's the point of blogging about every flip of the cards? Political commentary is only a form of idle astrology, of necromancy. QueeQueg on the deck of the Pequod, rattling chicken bones.

Support you local soup kitchen when the NeoLiberal pachinko machine explodes.

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Dec 7 2014 1:30 utc | 21

Maybe, the US is copying the Israeli playbook?

Anyone heard of the 'Hannibal Directive'?

Maybe, the goal of the rescue operation is not to rescue, but to remove the difficult problem of hostage by any way possible?

The order, drawn up in 1986 by a group of top Israeli officers, states that at the time of a capture the main mission becomes forcing the release of the captured soldiers from their captors, even if that means injury to Israeli soldiers.[3] It allows commanders to take whatever action is necessary, including endangering the life of a captured soldier, to foil the capture.
Thus, the 'Hannibal Directive' - named after the Carthaginian general who killed himself with poison rather than be captured by the Romans - is based around the belief that a soldier is better dead than in captivity, a view elucidated by Shaul Mofaz, former IDF Chief of Staff.
"In certain senses, with all the pain that saying this entails, an abducted soldier, in contrast to a soldier who has been killed, is a national problem," he told Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Posted by: Puppet Master | Dec 7 2014 1:39 utc | 22

it seems like executive fecklessness represented by an unsuccessful foreign policy will energize the ultra right that now sort of control both houses of congress via republican majorities

Posted by: Jay M | Dec 7 2014 2:19 utc | 23

Yes, well Parviziyi - it was fairly clear. Since I have been reading MoA, the gist of your every post seems mostly to be: "why do young Syrian conscripts seem to die when shot by hardened, western trained terrorists?!". And I call it an argument generously - I've never seen you do much more than try and claim that the Syrian Army should be more successful.... because?

You should just come out with it I think - are you one of these who wants to say that the Syrian government is somehow "allowing ISIL to win" so he can claim to be fighting terrorists? Because lets face it - a country which is set upon by a few hundred thousand foreign fanatics videoing themselves beheading and eating their opponents doesn't really need to be "pretending" anything. So what are you getting at with all this "well, the Syrian Army looks better on paper" stuff?

It strikes me as a very funny thing, Parviziyi, for a man to come and question why an army is not more successful in defending itself against the terrorists who attack it relentlessly with outside support and assistance. It is bizarre that, Instead of denouncing the terrorists brutal and gruesome attacks, you comes to blame the Syrian Army conscripts for - what - their eagerness to be killed?

There are a great many people with an interest in making ISIL seem like a much more potent force than they actually are: the Saudis and Qataris, eager to gin up more contributions and more "volunteers". The Western politicians and generals who seek more excuses to insert themselves into a region in which they are reviled and hated. The Israelis who will eventually declare they need to invade Syria to defend themselves from ISIL. And they'll find plenty of people willing to do their work - people like WayWackedOut or Parviziyi whose motives are as unclear as their bizarre arguments (why are these Syrians so willing to be killed by the terrorists?! Its the Iranians who are responsible for ISIS!), down to the gents at VICE Magazine who will declare to the world how genteel and kindly ISIL rules over Mosul.

The mental effort you all put into rationalizing these western lies have twisted your minds into such bizarre forms. The leaps in logic you all must make have left you sounding like members of some cult (true believers still) attempting to explain away why the "inter-galactic spaceship" didn't come take you away on the night your prophet promised it would.

You're sounding more bizarre by the day.

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 7 2014 3:16 utc | 24

Posted by: guest77 | Dec 6, 2014 9:35:03 PM | 25

Shooting yourself in the foot (while it's in your mouth) doesn't make you look any "smarter" than a tormenter with a reliable list of your hot buttons.
Silence is more golden than advertising the fact that a barb scored a bullseye and your vanity took a hit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 7 2014 4:05 utc | 25


The USA is now firmly in the hands of the BattleHymnoftheRepublic, Corporates United, All-In Southern Bible Belt, Whoo-Ahh Congress: Dems' final insult: Landrieu crushed at

You may think you've seen some pretty strange nutjobs on CNN this year, like McCain meeting with Al Nusra and The Caliph in secret 'arm and fund' mission to Syria through Israel, but you ain't seen nutjobs like you're gonna see come January, with an All Republican Congress.

White squalls? white whale, shirr! shirr! Oh, thou big white God aloft there somewhere in yon darkness, have mercy on this small black boy down here; preserve him from all white men that have no bowels to feel fear!

On to Damascus! On to Tehran!

Posted by: ChipNikh | Dec 7 2014 4:09 utc | 26

Posted by: Demian | Dec 6, 2014 2:40:35 PM | 9

Beautiful and brief. I agree with every word.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 7 2014 4:25 utc | 27

Deleted some comments by "lol"

When that troll comes back DO NOT FEED IT

U.S. hostage rescue freed AL Qaeda fighters!

Reuters: Yemen rescue failed as captors alerted to approaching U.S. commandos: officials

As they approached, they “lost the element of surprise,” the official said.

A fierce gunfight erupted.

"The enemy started firing erratically and then our guys returned fire," one U.S. official said.

The commandos were less than 100 meters (330 ft) from the compound at that point.

They shot and killed about 10 people, including al Qaeda guards and some civilians, said Ali al-Ahmadi, Chief of Yemen National Security Bureau. The Pentagon said it was unaware of any civilian casualties.
The raid was the third failed rescue attempt of an American hostage in five months and followed a Nov. 25 mission that was unsuccessful because Somers had been moved before U.S. commandos arrived.

In that raid, U.S. commandos and Yemeni troops swooped before dawn into a cave in the eastern province of Hadramout and freed eight people.

Seven of the eight turned out to be al Qaeda members who had been held captive by the militants on suspicion of being government spies, two senior Yemeni officials told Reuters. The eighth was a Yemeni computer specialist, they said.

Al-Ahmadi, Chief of Yemen National Security Bureau, said after the seven were freed they told Yemen authorities they were members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the militant network’s arm in the country, and that they had been accused by their own organization of spying for the government.

Thet were detained by AQAP “not as hostages but as suspects,” a senior Yemini security official said.

Posted by: b | Dec 7 2014 10:04 utc | 28

@7 "From my information set, it is clear it's a long and difficult war, but it not clear WHY the war is so difficult for the Syrian army and why the army cannot be more effective militarily."

Well, I guess that's what happens when foreign fighters have the advantage of and inexhaustible supply of money, weapons and more foreign cannon-fodder from Just Across The Border.

Such a foreign force don't need to win "the support of a large majority of the population", precisely because the local population isn't sustaining them in the field.

Honestly, this is all new to you, is it?

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 7 2014 12:04 utc | 29

Richard Silverstein has an article "Israel Establishes Syrian Rebel Base in Israel, Treats Radical Islamist Wounded"

"Israel has accepted wounded rebel fighters for medical treatment inside Israel, it is accepting them from those who are the most radical Islamists among them: the al-Nusra Front:"

Fortunately Israel is neutral in the Syrian conflict, so this is clearly a purely humanitarian gesture. </sarc>

Posted by: Yonatan | Dec 7 2014 15:15 utc | 30

Top Story at the Guardian: South African hostage 'was hours from release'
US may not have known Pierre Korkie was being held with Luke Somers when it launched ill-fated rescue operation in Yemen
Rescue bid ends in tragedy
Obama condemns ‘brutal murder’

Yesterdays, NYT had, iirc, someone claiming that they had no information about imminent release, but -- really scary -- that story has been re-written with that closing paragraph now gone and paragraphs about the release now added.

They used to only do such things rarely -- such as rewriting to deny American responsibility for that first 2009 drone strike -- when something "serious" needed to be concealed, not another all too common "intelligence failure" ... after that fucked up attempted rescue last week (which no one seems to be mentioning) it sounds like we still haven't perfected our "raid on entebbe" skilz

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 7 2014 15:50 utc | 31

"The psychological and emotional devastation to Yolande and her family will be compounded by the knowledge that Pierre was to be released by Al Qaeda tomorrow. "

To suggest any alternative to combat operation, negotiation and diplomacy is possible or even MORE EFFECTIVE than combat operations is not a "message" the imperialist US apparatus of state can tolerate. They actually FEARED that there would be a successful hostage release.

Posted by: nomas | Dec 7 2014 22:35 utc | 32

Yes, if it turns out that the hostages were hit by "friendly fire" do you think they'll tell us?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 7 2014 23:47 utc | 33

"" Seven of the eight turned out to be al Qaeda members who had been held captive by the militants on suspicion of being government spies, two senior Yemeni officials told Reuters. The eighth was a Yemeni computer specialist, they said."" -- clusterfuck city...

Rather bad sign: "" Barack Obama condemns ‘brutal murder’ of American photojournalist""
no mention of Pierre Korkie, whom they claim they didn't know was being held there ....

South Africa sounded rather pissed off ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Dec 8 2014 0:38 utc | 34

South Africa is a member of BRICS, which invites speculation that this "accident" was arranged to 'send a message' to SA.
It's so un-cute to hear cowardly dumbass Yankees describing panic-stricken frenzy fire as Friendly Fire.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 8 2014 2:48 utc | 35

13 Killed in Second Failed US Hostage Rescue in Yemen

It is now reported that he and another hostage, South African teacher Pierre Korkie, were killed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) during the raid.

They weren’t the only ones, as the overnight raid left a total of 13 people dead, and while one of them was reportedly a local AQAP leader, the slain also included women and children.

This was the second raid attempting to free Somers in the past 10 days, after a previous raid similarly failed and led AQAP to announce their intention to execute him by week’s end if they weren’t paid a ransom.

Now, acknowledge the death of Pierre Korkie - killed by the other guys, of course - but also this was the second shot.

And, oh yeah, the usual majority of those killed were women and children.

Posted by: john francis lee | Dec 8 2014 4:19 utc | 36

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