• Hostages freed from Hawija recount gruesome torture, mock executions

    ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Some of the 69 hostages rescued in a joint US-Kurdish operation from a prison near Hawija in Iraq last week recounted tales of torture and mock executions at the hands of the Islamic State group (ISIS), saying they faced imminent death had they not be freed. In interviews with the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) several of the freed hostages – all of them Arabs – said they were blindfolded, tortured with electrical cables and daily heard gunshots from people being executed. – Rudaw

  • 20 years ago, chaos at Fort Bragg’s Towle Stadium

    Fog hung over Fort Bragg’s Towle Stadium in the early morning of Oct. 27, 1995. Retired Col. John Scroggins remembers it clearly: the fog, the stadium lights shining on 1,300 paratroopers and the eerie, pre-dawn calm – shattered by the sound of gunfire. The gunshots came from somewhere in the dark, around the stadium’s oval track. Twenty years ago, a lone gunman opened fire on a brigade of 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers, killing one and wounding 18 others. – The Fayetteville Observer

  • Dept of Justice left in the dark about OBL raid until the very last moment

    WASHINGTON — Weeks before President Obama ordered the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011, four administration lawyers developed rationales intended to overcome any legal obstacles — and made it all but inevitable that Navy SEALs would kill the fugitive Qaeda leader, not capture him. Stretching sparse precedents, the lawyers worked in intense secrecy. Fearing leaks, the White House would not let them consult aides or even the administration’s top lawyer, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. They did their own research, wrote memos on highly secure laptops and traded drafts hand-delivered by trusted couriers. – The New York Times

  • The end of Pax Americana

    The Obama administration has clearly pulled back from the United States’ recent interventionism in the Middle East, notwithstanding the rise of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and the U.S.-led air war against it. Critics pin the change on the administration’s aversion to U.S. activism in the region, its unwillingness to engage in major combat operations, or President Barack Obama’s alleged ideological preference for diminished global engagement. But the reality is that Washington’s post-9/11 interventions in the region—especially the one in Iraq—were anomalous and shaped false perceptions of a “new normal” of American intervention, both at home and in the region. The administration’s unwillingness to… – Foreign Affairs

  • NORAD blimp escapes!

    (CNN)A blimp associated with NORAD’s surveillance of the East Coast that became untethered from its mooring in Maryland is now on the ground and authorities have it secured, Pennsylvania State Police told CNN. According to NORAD, the blimp “is mostly deflated and located in the vicinity of Moreland Township, Pennsylvania. Local authorities are securing the area and there is a military recovery team en route.” The loose JLENS blimp had been in the air over Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and caused power outages before it came down, Columbia County Department of Public Safety Director Fred Hunsinger said. – CNN Politics

[Featured image: Rudaw]