About That Intel 'Treasure Trove' From Trump's Botched Yemen Raid
February 5, 2017
Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & Idrees Ali / Reuters
The initial triumphalist reporting Donald Trump's Yemen raid gave way to a darker reality: US military cover had been blown before the attack, the mission was poorly planned, an American was killed, at least a dozen innocent women and children were killed, millions of dollars in US military equipment destroyed, and the great "treasure trove" of intelligence seized at the compound turn out to be "old news.
About That Intel 'Treasure Trove'
From Trump's Yemen Raid . . .
Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com
(February 3, 2017) -- Shortly after the President Trump-authorized commando raid on Yemen, Fox News led the mainstream media in reporting on the great "treasure trove" of intelligence that was seized at the compound. With the claimed killing of a senior al-Qaeda official, the mission was proclaimed a success.
Soon the initial triumphalist reporting on the raid gave way to a much darker reality: an American was killed, millions of dollars in US military equipment destroyed, at least a dozen innocent women and children were killed, US military cover had been blown before the attack, the mission was poorly planned, the mission had been turned down twice by President Obama only to be dusted off by President Trump, and so on.
Worse, the raid was probably not on a hardened al-Qaeda compound, as Centcom claimed, but, as the Telegraph writes, on a ramshackle, impoverished village:
But information from US military officials speaking on condition of anonymity, human rights groups and sources on the ground build a different, contradictory, picture, in which massive fire power was brought to bear on a ramshackle village against targets of limited importance in the so called 'war on terror.'
By this account, the reinforced al-Qaeda 'headquarters' was a two-room residence crammed in among other houses in the village; the 'determined enemies.' which the Pentagon said included women in 'prepared fighting positions' were scared residents firing weapons into the night in panic; and the value of the intelligence gathered is still being assessed.
And what about that treasure trove of intelligence? Facing increasing pressure over the botched raid, the Pentagon earlier today released a video titled "Courses for Destroying The Cross," to prove just how important was the cache that had been seized.
But the botched part of the botched raid kept botching. It turns out that, as the Telegraph put it, the "video released by Pentagon to prove Donald Trump's deadly Yemen raid was successful is a decade old and available online."
So this valuable information could have been been retrieved by a guy with a laptop on YouTube and tens of millions of dollars as well as scores of innocent lives spared. That is why US interventionism is a bad idea. It produces bad results.
We can only hope that the young Trump Administration will learn from this black eye and very quickly retreat from its increasingly aggressive positioning in the Middle East. A president elected on the promise that he would start no new wars is swaggering us into something his panting advisors cannot, in their blind enthusiasm, even imagine.
Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.
US Military Releases, Withdraws
Old Islamist Video from Yemen Raid
Idrees Ali / Reuters
WASHINGTON (February 3, 2017) -- In an awkward reversal, the US military promptly withdrew an old video by Islamist militants it had released on Friday as evidence that a fatal raid in Yemen by American special forces this week was a counter terrorism success.
An expert in radical Islamist media said the footage by unknown militants appeared to be part of videos first released by jihadists online some 10 years ago, undermining the Pentagon's explanation about its value.
A US Central Command spokesman confirmed that the video was removed from the website because the contents were old.
"We didn't want it to appear that we were trying to pass off an old video as a new video," spokesman Colonel John Thomas said.
It is the latest controversy surrounding the raid on a branch of al Qaeda in Yemen, the first such operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief.
The military said the video was found on Sunday in the operation in al-Bayda province in which a US Navy SEAL, militants and civilians were killed.
A US Central Command spokesman had said on Friday the clip of a ski-masked man encouraging people to build bombs, was "one example of the volumes of sensitive al-Qa'eda terror-planning information recovered during the operation."
The Department of Defense posted the video on its web site on Friday but pulled it off within several hours when questions began to arise about its age.
The footage appeared to be similar to that in other videos that surfaced online in 2007.
"The video clip that was posted and abruptly taken down was one of 25 videos that appeared (published) in 2007,” said Adam Raisman, a senior analyst at SITE group which monitors extremists online. He added that the only difference was that the Pentagon video had English subtitles added.
Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the video was still of worth, even if it may have been created earlier.
"It does not matter when the video was made, that they had it is still illustrative of who they are and what their intentions are," Davis said.
US Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed in the raid, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants. Medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, also died.
US military officials told Reuters this week that the operation went ahead without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.
As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.
But Central Command said earlier this week that it only asks for operations it believes have a good chance of success based on its planning. Pentagon spokesman Davis has said the element of surprise had not been lost in the raid.
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