Posts Tagged ‘Esquire’

Needed in the Russia investigation: More skepticism of Manafort and the media (Lynch Mob Doesn’t Need a Rope, At Least Not Yet)

January 11, 2019

Don’t fall for the media “bombshells,” and never count Manafort as a friend.

The Russia-collusion story manages to be at once frenetic and humdrum. Apparent bombshell revelations arise but without advancing the public’s knowledge beyond a couple of truths we all knew back in 2016: First, when it comes to President Trump, the media can’t control itself. Second, Paul Manafort is no friend.

In perhaps the 1,000th “ bombshell” report on the Russia investigation, the New York Times reported earlier this week that Manafort, as Trump’s campaign chairman, had sent internal polling data to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is “close to the Kremlin.”

Washington Examiner
Editorial

This revelation perturbed us. Seeing how close Manafort and Michael Flynn were to both Russia and Trump, we have kept an open mind about the investigation into collusion. We don’t know all the facts, and so we try to process all new information on its merits.

Oleg Deripaska — Credit Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

Yet while many media outlets — see Esquire, Talking Points Memo, and others — took the Times report as conclusive proof of collusion, we held our fire. Why? Because while we have tried to keep cool about this investigation, the largest media outlets have not. We recall ABC reporting that Flynn met with the Kremlin during the campaign. That was a “bombshell” of the first order. Except that it turned out to be false.

And so it was with the latest Times report. Manafort was sending the polling data to Ukranians, it turns out, not to Russians as the Times claimed.

Former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn leaves after the delay in his sentencing hearing at US District Court in Washington, DC, December 18, 2018. - President Donald Trump's former national security chief Michael Flynn received a postponement of his sentencing after an angry judge threatened to give him a stiff sentence. Russia collusion investigation head Robert Mueller had proposed Flynn receive no jail time for lying to investigators about his Moscow ties. But Judge Emmet Sullivan said Flynn had behaved in a "traitorous" manner and gave the former three-star general the option of receiving a potentially tough prison sentence now -- or wait until Mueller's investigation was closer to being completed to better demonstrate his cooperation with investigators. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP or licensors

Mike Flynn outside the courthouse

This incident confirmed both of our general operating assumptions on the Russia investigation: Don’t fall for the media “bombshells,” and never count Manafort as a friend.

Manafort went to work for the Trump campaign in the spring of 2016. Trump wasn’t paying Manafort, which should have been a clear warning sign. Manafort was free to Trump for the same reason Facebook is free to you: You are not the customer; you’re the product. Manafort was working for Ukrainian oligarchs and other shady foreign clients, and part of the value he was delivering was proximity to the Republican presidential nominee and the information, such as internal polling, that proximity allowed him.

We have repeatedly warned Trump about this. “Manafort is not your friend,” we wrote in an editorial addressed to the president. “Manafort is a shady foreign agent who tried to exploit you. And if he had never been involved in the Trump campaign, there may not be a Russia investigation at all.”

Image result for donald Trump, Trump campaign, photos

There’s some worry that Trump has considered pardoning Manafort. At the very least, we’ve seen Trump praise Manafort. This praise is unwarranted.

Trump should turn his back on this double-dealer who has caused him so much trouble. And we all should show more skepticism of the media “bombshells” that have caused commentators and other reporters so much trouble.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/needed-in-the-russia-investigation-more-skepticism-of-manafort-and-the-media

Advertisements

SEAL who shot bin Laden speaks out

February 11, 2013

The Situation Room of the White House on May 1, 2011, during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. (Pete Souza/White House)

By | The Lookout

The U.S. Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden is speaking out for the first time since the May 1, 2011, raid on the al-Qaida leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

In an interview with Esquire, the former SEAL—identified as “The Shooter” due to what the magazine described as “safety” reasons—said he’s been largely abandoned by the U.S. government since leaving the military last fall.

He told Esquire he decided to speak out to both correct the record of the bin Laden mission and to put a spotlight on how some of the U.S. military’s highly trained and accomplished soldiers are treated by the government once they return to civilian life.

Despite killing the world’s most-wanted terrorist, he said, he was not given a pension, health care or protection for himself or his family.

“[SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee,” he told Esquire.

Plus, he said, “my health care for me and my family stopped. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You’re out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your 16 years. Go f— yourself.”

The problem seems to be that “The Shooter” left the military well before the 20-year requirement for retirement benefits.

According to the magazine, the government provides 180 days of transitional health care benefits, but the Shooter was ineligible because he did not agree to remain on active duty in a support role or become a “reservist.” Instead, the magazine noted, he will “have to wait at least eight months to have his disability claims adjudicated.”

The SEAL also gave his account of the historic raid, including the moment he pulled the trigger and shot bin Laden.

“In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead,” he told Esquire. “Bap! Bap! The second time as he’s going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed. He was dead. I watched him take his last breaths. And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I’ve ever done, or the worst thing I’ve ever done?

“I’m not religious,” he added. “But I always felt I was put on the earth to do something specific. After that mission, I knew what it was.”

He also recalled watching CNN’s coverage of the first anniversary of bin Laden’s death.

“They were saying, ‘So now we’re taking viewer e-mails. Do you remember where you were when you found out Osama bin Laden was dead?’ And I was thinking: Of course I remember. I was in his bedroom looking down at his body.”

In September 2012, fellow former SEAL Team 6 member Matt Bissonnette published a controversial book, “No Easy Day,” under a pen name about the raid, drawing the ire of both his fellow SEALs and the Pentagon.

A spokeswoman for Esquire told Yahoo News that the magazine did not pay the SEAL for the interview.

**************************

From the Daily Mail

  • ‘The Shooter’ speaks for first time about the ’15 seconds’ that changed the course of history
  • Describes in gruesome detail how bin Laden’s brains spilled out of his head after he was shot
  • The moment he realized bin Laden’s young son witnessed the whole thing
  • He also talks extensively about the way the U.S. government has neglected him and the other veterans leaving him with no pension, medical care or protection
  • His job led to the breakdown of his marriage though he still lives with his wife and kids to save money
  • Taught his kids to hide in the bathtub and showed his wife how to use a gun in case there would be retaliation
 

By Rachel Quigley

Death: A federal appeals court will decide whether photographs of the body of former al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden should be made public.
.
Death: A federal appeals court will decide whether photographs of the body of former al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden should be made public

The Navy SEAL who claims he killed Osama bin Laden has spoken for the first time about the moment he shot the world’s most wanted man three times in the head and watched him take his last breath.

In an interview to appear in the March edition of Esquire magazine, The Shooter describes in extraordinary detail the heart-stopping two minutes that changed the course of history.

The Team Six member – who is referred to only as ‘The Shooter’ for the safety of his family – reveals how the unit prepared for the daring mission, the moment he came face to face with the al-Qaeda leader and the fallout from the successful raid.

In the Esquire interview The Shooter reveals that once they were given their mission, the female CIA agent – portrayed by Jessica Chastain’s Maya in Zero Dark Thirty – told the team that bin Laden was ‘100 per cent on the third floor’ of his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

‘We got him,’ she told us. ‘This is him. This is my life’s work. I’m positive.’

Once he locked eyes on his target, the SEAL remembers being surprised at his appearance. Bin Laden was much taller than he expected him to be – taller than any of their guys, and skinny with a short beard and shaved head.

He was holding his wife Amal in front of him as a shield and though The Shooter could see exactly what was going on through night vision goggles, bin Laden was in total darkness and could hear but not see.

‘And he’s moving forward. I don’t know if she’s got a vest and she’s being pushed to martyr them both,’ he recalls. ‘He’s got a gun within reach. He’s a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won’t have a chance to clack himself off [blow himself up].

‘He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath.

‘And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I’ve ever done, or the worst thing I’ve ever done?’

‘In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he’s going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! Same place.

‘That time I used my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath.

‘And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I’ve ever done, or the worst thing I’ve ever done? This is real and that’s him. Holy sh**.

‘His forehead was gruesome. It was split open in the shape of a V. I could see his brains spilling out over his face.’

The Shooter, a father-of-two, then describes the moments after the shooting and how the al Qaeda leader’s wife Amal launched herself at him screaming.

After zip tying her to the bed, he then realized bin Laden’s youngest son, who was about two or three years old at the time, had also witnessed his father being shot.

‘He was standing there on the other side of the bed. I didn’t want to hurt him, because I’m not a savage. There was a lot of screaming, he was crying, just in shock.

‘I didn’t like that he was scared. I picked him up and put him next to his mother.’

He said the third-floor action lasted for about 15 seconds. Afterwards, he remembered that he had a bottle of urine in his pocket the whole time, after having to relieve himself on the helicopter ride on the way in.

The Shooter’s interview in Esquire describes how the job led to the breakdown of his marriage, and claims the U.S. government largely neglect their veterans after they retire.

Scroll down for video

Crucial seconds: The Shooter describes the raid on bin Laden's compound in Afghanistan and how he was able to see his target through night vision goggles but that bin Laden 'could only hear but not see'.
.
Crucial seconds: The Shooter describes the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Afghanistan and how he was able to see his target through night vision goggles but that bin Laden ‘could only hear but not see’
On TV: Bin Laden is shown watching himself on television in this video frame grab released by the U.S. Pentagon May 7, 2011, six days after his death.
.
On TV: Bin Laden is shown watching himself on television in this video frame grab released by the U.S. Pentagon May 7, 2011, six days after his death
Bin Laden compound
Bin Laden compound

Safe house destroyed: Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound is pictured in May 2011, left, and as it was demolished in January, right

Viewing the raid: President Obama and his key staffers watch the Navy SEAL mission at Osama bin Laden's compound in this White House photo.
.
Viewing the raid: President Obama and his key staffers watch the Navy SEAL mission at Osama bin Laden’s compound in this White House photo

Journalist Phil Bronstein, Executive Chair of the Center for Investigative Reporting, spent a year with The Shooter, earning his trust and carefully constructing his story for the 15,000-word piece for Esquire.

As well as never-before-heard details of the raid, the piece offers a sobering portrait of life after the military and makes the case that the government largely abandons its most elite and highly-trained soldiers after their service is over.

He told Bronstein: ‘I left SEALs on Friday. My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no.

‘You’re out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years. Go f*** yourself.’

He reveals that, in the aftermath of the May 2011 raid, his marriage with his wife ended yet they have been forced to live together to save money.

Because the U.S. government have given him nothing – no pension, no health care, no protection for his wife, children or him – he has had to teach them what to do if an attack should be made on their home.

He told his children in hide in their bathtub, as it is the safest, most fortified place in their house and trained his wife how to use their shotgun, with a ‘backup’ knife on the dresser.

Then there is the ‘bolt bag’ of clothes, food, and other provisions for the family meant to last them two weeks in hiding.

Under fire: Zero Dark Thirty, starring Jessica Chastain in the lead role (pictured), has been widely criticized for suggesting that torture played a major part in the hunt for Osama bin Laden .
.
Under fire: New film Zero Dark Thirty, starring Jessica Chastain in the lead role (pictured), has been widely criticized for suggesting that torture played a major part in the hunt for Osama bin Laden

Last month, it was revealed that gruesome images of Bin Laden’s body could be made public if a court rules in favor of their release.

The autopsy and burial photos of the former al-Qaeda leader have been classified since he was shot dead during the dramatic May 2011 raid on his compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

A lower court has already upheld the government’s argument that the photos should remain secret in the interest of national security, according to Westwingreports.com.

But a federal appeals court is now considering whether the 52 pictures should be released following a lawsuit filed by the conservative-leaning legal watchdog, Judicial Watch.

The group says it is not seeking any information about equipment or techniques used in the raid.

President Barack Obama said the photos’ release could provoke violence against US citizens.

During an appearance on the ’60 Minutes’ show on CBS he said it was important to ensure that ‘very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool.’

After bin Laden was killed the Obama administration said his body was buried at sea off the USS Carl Vinson – in accordance with Islamic tradition.

President Obama himself said in the White House Situation Room watching events unfold, ‘We got him.’

Before the U.S Navy SEALS left the compound they destroyed one of the two top secret stealth helicopters that had delivered them to the house after it encountered difficulties on landing and therefore could not take off again.

Intelligence recovered from the home made public in the aftermath of his death showed Osama bin Laden wrapped up from the cold watching news coverage of himself.

And it was later reported from Pakistan that one of bin Laden’s wives told the Pakistani authorities that they had lived there for five years without detection.

In February 2012, Pakistani security agencies demolished the building to stop it becoming a shrine to the deceased al-Qaeda supremo.

Following an outcry from lawmakers over the portrayal of torture in a new thriller called Zero Dark Thirty and its role in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a Senate panel has launched an investigation to determine whether CIA officials intentionally misled the filmmakers.

The Senate Intelligence Committee will examine records detailing meetings and conversations between intelligence officials, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.

The goal of the probe is to determine whether the agency gave the filmmakers ‘inappropriate’ access to classified material, and whether CIA personnel fed Bigelow and Boal false information to convince them that harsh interrogation techniques were effective in producing information that led to Bin Laden.

Since the film hit the big screen in limited release last month, it has drawn high praise and sharp criticism in equal measure, the latter mainly for suggesting that waterboarding and similar techniques were important, if not key, to finding bin Laden.

With video:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276
972/Navy-SEAL-describes-moment-shot-
Osama-bin-Laden-3-times-head.html