Showing posts with label Sinai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sinai. Show all posts

Monday, 2 November 2015

US Army Control of Sinai Airspace

Elephant in the Room : Russian A320 came down in highly restricted strip of ceded Egyptian airspace under the exclusive control of a US Army Colonel commanding a force of 715 Army Rangers/guardsmen, plus several hundred civilian Observer Corps personnel, all issued w. high-powered field binoculars.

"Why, who's so gross,
That seeth not this palpable device? 
Yet who's so blind, but says he sees it not?

Bad is the world; and all will come to nought,
When such bad dealings must be seen in thought."

- Richard III

"Why are those who emulate Bin Laden called terrorists and the people who kill children, rebels? Where is the logic?

Because certain political circles in the West want to weaken Russia just like the Romans wanted to destroy Carthage.

But we will not allow this scenario to come to pass."

- Vladimir Putin

Neither the Egyptian military, nor Police are allowed to enter Sinai Zone C, under the enforcement protocols of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, on the basis that it may provided a pretext or cover for a potential invasion - the entire area is patrolled by US Army Rangers, and all movement within the airspace is under the exclusive control of Canadian Military Air Traffic Controllers.

April 1986

The Australian contingent, consisting of staff officers and a helicopter squadron who were members of the initial deployment, withdrew in the course of their government's reduction of its peacekeeping commitments. They were replaced by the CCMFO Canadian Rotary Wing Aviation Unit, equipped with nine CH135 Twin Hueys, staff officers and flight following. The CCMFO was operational at El Gorah on March 31, 1986. Canadian tactical helicopter units rotated to El Gorah for six-month tours of duty. The primary units providing military personnel were 408, 427 and 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadrons and 403 Squadron Helicopter Operational Training Squadron.

"The MFO has its main headquarters in Rome, where it is headed by the Director-General. It also has two regional offices, in Tel Aviv and Cairo, while the Force itself is based in Zone C on the Sinai Peninsula, under the command of the Force Commander.

The Force Commander is responsible for the military elements of the MFO, which comprise:

Three infantry battalions (FIJIBATT, COLBATT and USBATT)
1st US Support Battalion (Formerly the Logistical Support Unit)
Coastal Patrol Unit (CPU)
Rotary Wing Aviation Unit (AVCO)
Fixed Wing Aviation Unit (FWAU)
Transport and Engineering Unit (TREU)
Military Police Unit (FMPU)
Flight Following (Air Traffic control) Unit

The Observer contingent of the MFO is made up entirely of US civilians. The observers are either seconded from the US State Department or retired US military personnel."

"So, what really happened that day? Let's just for a moment speculate, shall we? 

We have the epileptic seizure distracting the police and allowing the shooters to get into place. The epileptic later vanished, never checking into the hospital. 

The A-team goes to the sixth floor of the Depository. They were refurbishing the floors of the Depository that week allowing unknown workmen in the building. They move quickly into position, minutes before the shooting. 

The second spotter, talking by radio to the other teams, has the best overall view. The God spot. B-team, one rifleman and one spotter with access to the building moves into a low floor of the Dal-Tex building. 

The third team, C-team, moves in behind the fence above the grassy knoll where the shooter and the spotter are first seen by the late Lee Bowers. They have the best position of all. Kennedy is close and on a flat, low trajectory. 

Part of this team is a coordinator who flashed security credentials at people, chasing them from the area. 

Probably two to three more men are in the crowd on Elm. 

Ten to twelve men. Three teams. Three shooters. 

The triangulation of fire Clay Shaw and David Ferrie discussed two months before. 

They've walked the plaza. They know every inch. They've calibrated their sights. Practiced on moving targets. 

They're ready. "

Department of Defense Press Briefing by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook in the Pentagon Briefing Room

Press Operations

September 8, 2015

Q: All right. On a separate subject, the -- there were four U.S. military service members who were injured last week in an attack in the Sinai Peninsula. Can you update us on their condition?

And is there an ongoing review by DOD and the interagency about the status of maintaining U.S. military presence at (off-mic)?

MR. COOK: I don't have the exact characterization of their injuries at this point, whether the -- I know that there were -- let me double- check here -- in all, there were seven soldiers, not just U.S. forces, but that were evacuated by air to a nearby hospital. They were described with non-life-threatening injuries.

We continue to support the role being played by the multinational forced observers in supporting the treaty at peace between Israel and Egypt.

We are concerned over security conditions in that area of the northeastern Sinai, where Egyptian security forces, as well as civilian and military elements of the MFO, including U.S. military forces stationed at the MFO north camp, are exposed to potential risk.

And in light of the security situation there, we are, again, considering additional measures to bolster their protection going forward, taking steps to try and enhance their protection.

But in terms of any sort of change in outlook for the MFO overall, I've got nothing for you on that.

Q: Would that bolstering involve the -- the sending of additional forces?

MR. COOK: We're considering several steps to bolster force protection there, and -- and I can tell you, Louis, that this is something that's been in the works for several weeks now, not necessitated by what happened with this particular IED incident.

This is something that's been a concern for the secretary and others, bolstering force protection, and so it's going to be something that you're going to see some movement on in the -- in the short term and something that we'll continue to keep an eye on. 

Safety and security of American forces, top priority for this secretary and this department.

And with that everyone...


Q: Can you just clarify one point?

Phil's question about the 5,400 trained Syrian rebels by year's end, you said you may have to adjust that. But I'm just wondering...

MR. COOK: This is a constant review from the start.

Q: Just doing the math, I'm just wondering how you can possibly reach 5,400 by year's end, given that there's a second class now, maybe a third class, and, you know, there's, what, 54 on the ground now.

How do you -- how do you get there by year's end...


Q: ... six-to-eight-week class? How...

These are the -- these are the hard questions being asked, Tom, right now about this program, about ways to alter it, adjust it, enhance it.

Are there other means by which we can, again, support moderate Syrian forces on the ground in Syria? These are the questions being asked.

At the same time, this T&E program is going forward. It may not look exactly as it -- we first hoped when it was first initially unveiled, and part of that is lessons learned on our part. Hard lessons, to be honest.

Q: Is sending U.S. troops in one of those options being considered?

MR. COOK: Sending U.S. troops in right now is not one of the options being considered.

Q: But you're not ready to adjust that 5,400 figure yet, correct?

MR. COOK: I'm -- I'm not going to adjust what was the target initially. There are people above my pay grade making hard decisions, evaluating this program, and again, when we've got -- if there's a new target number, we'll provide that for you as well.

It was always a target. It was -- and, you know, this is a program that we'll have -- we're going to continue to -- to evaluate every single aspect of this program, from the finances to the training portion of it to the equipment and to who we're -- who we're talking to, who we're vetting and who we're not.

So with that, everyone, I -- I gotta go. I got another meeting. So thanks very much. We'll see you guys, those of you going on the trip, and otherwise be back here on Thursday.

Arrow Air May Be Tied To Iran-contra Mystery
November 12, 1989|By KEN CUMMINS, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- The Reagan White House called it a tragic accident four years ago when 248 soldiers, heading home for Christmas, died in the fiery crash of a plane chartered by Arrow Air of Fort Lauderdale.

Today, the air disaster is another of the many mysteries surrounding the Iran-Contra affair.

Recent evidence prompted U.S. Rep. Robin Tallon, D-S.C., to press to reopen the Arrow Air inquiry to determine whether the crash was a case of terrorist retaliation for a botched, secret U.S.-Iran arms deal. The House Crime Subcommittee opened an investigation last month and may hold hearings soon.

One hundred five House members, including Rep. Larry Smith, D-Hollywood, have signed a letter to President Bush asking for a full-fledged government investigation.

``We request that you initiate a formal United States investigation to explore all possible crash theories,`` the congressmen said in the letter. ``We feel it is the very least we can do for the brave soldiers of the Army`s 101st Airborne Division who perished.``

The crash -- the worst peacetime U.S. military accident -- is only one of many puzzling incidents fueling suspicions of a massive government cover-up to obscure what really happened in the wide-ranging Iran-Contra affair.

Mysterious deaths and strange occurrences surrounding the affair continue to dog Bush administration appointees, preoccupy members of Congress and haunt some citizens who think that they or their relatives are victims of the complex, secret deals.

Some of the unexplained incidents, recent developments and strange connections to Iran-Contra include:

-- A dissenting report by four of the nine members of the Canadian Aviation Safety Board that pointed to evidence in the Arrow Air crash suggesting terrorist sabotage by the Islamic Jihad in retaliation for a secret U.S. shipment of missiles that were not the kind requested.

-- The deaths of eight major figures and several lesser-known participants in the Iran-Contra affair since the secret arms-for-hostages deals and the clandestine Contra supply operation began unraveling in mid-1986.

-- Suspicions within Congress that the Bush administration appointed Iran-Contra figures to government posts as rewards for continued silence about high-level White House participation in the secret dealings.

-- Circumstantial evidence suggesting a secret deal between the Ayatollah Khomeini`s government and Ronald Reagan`s 1980 campaign staff to keep the 52 Americans taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy from being freed before that year`s presidential election.

-- Efforts by people around the country, including in Florida, to confirm strongly held beliefs that they or their relatives were caught in the web of Iran-Contra dealings and to find out why.

Invariably, those people, who are spending much of their time and money in search of answers, say their biggest obstacles are government officials and agencies that seem intent on shielding facts and events from public view.

Those sentiments run especially strong among about 120 families of Arrow Air crash victims who have formed Families for the Truth About Gander, led by Zona and James Douglas Phillips of St. Petersburg. They are pressing for a U.S. investigation of the Dec. 12, 1985, crash near Gander, Newfoundland.

Although the Arrow Air plane carrying U.S. soldiers home from the Middle East had been chartered by the Pentagon, investigation of the crash was left to the Canadian Aviation Safety Board, which sought input from some U.S. agencies.

``We`ve got 256 people dead (including the plane`s eight crew members) and no reason. And nobody seems to care why,`` said Zona Philips, whose stepson perished in the crash.

Supporters of the sabotage theory point to the dissenting report by members of the Canadian safety board and to statements by purported members of the Islamic Jihad shortly after the crash taking credit for the disaster. These theorists also point to memos by former national security aide Oliver North -- who was convicted for his role in the Iran-Contra affair -- warning of a possible retaliatory strike.

Those memos, uncovered in the Iran-Contra investigations by the Tower Board and by Congress, were written after Iranian officials became angry because 18 missiles shipped to them on Nov. 24, 1985, were ineffective for use in the Iraqi war. If another shipment was not made, North wrote in a Dec. 9, 1985, memo to then-Adm. John Poindexter, the ``U.S. reversal now in midstream could ignite Iranian fire.``

The subsequent congressional investigation of the Iran-Contra affair tied Arrow Air to the covert network shipping weapons to Iran.


The Gander families have run into similar obstacles.

``You can`t get into the government`s files,`` Zona Phillips said. ``They (government officials) send you an FBI report that is all blacked out.``

Others who think they were caught in the tangled web of the wide-ranging scandal report similar experiences.

When Orlando recreational-vehicle salesman Bob Fletcher wrote to the FBI recently requesting the bureau`s file on him, he got back a letter saying that all of his records had been classified for national security reasons.

Fletcher found the letter amusing because the FBI, along with the office of Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh and congressional committees, have shown little interest in pursuing his allegations.

``At the onset, they`re very cooperative,`` Fletcher said of federal and congressional investigators. ``Then it ends up where they say, `Well, the consensus of opinion is we can`t go after this.```

Tallon`s recent inquiries to the FBI, the Justice Department, the Defense Department and the Army requesting their files on the Arrow Air investigation have produced responses suggesting that he contact Canadian officials for those records.

The Gander families have run into similar obstacles.

``You can`t get into the government`s files,`` Zona Phillips said. ``They (government officials) send you an FBI report that is all blacked out.``

Others who think they were caught in the tangled web of the wide-ranging scandal report similar experiences.

When Orlando recreational-vehicle salesman Bob Fletcher wrote to the FBI recently requesting the bureau`s file on him, he got back a letter saying that all of his records had been classified for national security reasons.

Fletcher found the letter amusing because the FBI, along with the office of Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh and congressional committees, have shown little interest in pursuing his allegations.

``At the onset, they`re very cooperative,`` Fletcher said of federal and congressional investigators. ``Then it ends up where they say, `Well, the consensus of opinion is we can`t go after this.```

``It`s such a successful number of high-level people doing the cover-up that interested congressmen and senators are just screwed,`` Fletcher charged.

Fletcher suspects that his defunct Atlanta-area toy company somehow is connected to the ``toyco`` reference in Swiss bank account records detailing the diversion of funds from the Iranian arms sales to Nicaragua`s Contra rebels.

He said he sold his company in early 1985 to Gary Best, an import-export businessman who subsequently failed to make the promised payments. Instead of exporting toys, Fletcher said Best soon began using the toy company as a ``front`` to peruse arms deals to Iran and Central America and missions to Southeast Asia in search of soldiers missing in action from the Vietnam war.

Best has denied Fletcher`s allegations to federal investigators.

One of the most persistent suspicions about the Iran-Contra affair is that it began in October 1980, before Ronald Reagan was elected president and months before he took office. Former Reagan campaign aides, who later became top U.S. national security and intelligence officials, have denied vehemently that they made a secret deal to supply weapons to Iran in exchange for delaying the release of the 52 American hostages until after the 1980 presidential election.

But the issue will not go away. The allegations were reviewed most recently in the Nov. 3 broadcast of ABC-TV`s Nightline program, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the seizure of its staff.

Gary Sick, top national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter at the time, appeared on the program and pointed to evidence uncovered in the Iran-Contra investigations that secret U.S. weapons shipments to Iran began soon after Reagan took office in January 1981.

``The fact that the Reagan administration would come in and, as one of its first actions, approve really very substantial arms deliveries to Iran, apparently without asking any questions, strikes me as very strange,`` Sick said.

The controversy did not go away with the departure of the Reagan administration in January. Several members of the House and Senate foreign affairs committees and their aides have speculated that the Bush administration has handed appointments to Iran-Contra figures as rewards for their silence.

Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., voiced those suspicions on the Senate floor in September.


Some of the key figures in the Iran-Contra scandal who have died or been killed:

-- WILLIAM CASEY: The CIA director and key figure in the scandals. As the scandals were unfolding in December of 1986, Casey was hospitalized for an operation to remove a brain tumor. He died in May of 1987, as congressional hearings into the scandals were getting underway.

-- GUSTAVO ALVAREZ MARTINEZ: Honduran Armed Forces Chief who was a close ally of the Reagan White House in secret operations setting up and financing the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. Gen. Martinez, who was retired, was slain by a band of gunmen in January.

-- BARRY SEAL: A pilot for the Colombian cocaine cartel who became a government informant and reportedly knew about the trading of guns to the Contras for drugs bound for the United States. Seal was gunned down in a parking lot in Baton Rogue, La., in February of 1986.

-- AMIRAN NIR: A key Israeli middleman in the secret shipment of U.S. arms to Iran, died in a mysterious plane crash in Mexico last November.

-- DONALD FORTIER: Deputy national security affairs adviser to Reagan who administered the secret Swiss bank accounts into which money from the Iranian arms sales was deposited. Fortier, 39, died in August of 1986, just before the scandal became public. Liver cancer was listed as the cause of death.

-- GLENN SOUHAM: A French businessman with White House ties who was part of a scheme by Oliver North to steal Soviet weapons from Poland and give them to the Contras. Souham, 34, was gunned down outside his Paris apartment in September of 1986.

-- CYRUS HASHEMI: The Iranian weapons dealer who approached U.S. intelligence officials with the original proposal to swap arms for American hostages. Hashemi died of a rare cancer disease in the summer of 1986.

-- STEVEN CARR: A 27-year-old mercenary who was prepared to testify about secret weapons shipments out of Fort Lauderdale to the Contras. Carr, considered a key witness at the time, died of a suspicious drug overdose in December of 1986.