The Austrian military forces has found itself in hot waters as journalists bear brought the incident from 2012 into light. This has prompted public uproar and a governmental inquiry, as UN soldiers from Austria reportedly followed an order to not interfere and let Syrians die under fire.
The Austrian government has launched an investigation into allegations that in the wake of the Syrian clash the country’s Blue Helmets intentionally led local policemen into an ambush on the Golan Heights following orders from their the command.
On April 28 the spokesman for the MoD, Michael Bauer, posted on Twitter that the investigation had commenced.
Die Kommission hat heute Vormittag ihre Arbeit aufgenommen. Als erster Schritt werden alle Meldungen, Befehle, Gesetze und Vorschriften, die für die Klärung relevant sein könnten, gesammelt, gesichtet und ausgewertet. Die UN werden von uns zur Mitarbeit eingeladen. #Bundesheer
— Michael Bauer (@Bundesheerbauer) April 28, 2018
The commission started working this morning. First, all notifications, orders, laws and regulations that may be relevant to clarification are collected, reviewed and evaluated. The UN is invited to cooperate.
The public uproar arose after a local magazine “Falter” revealed a video from a whistleblower, which allegedly shows how Austrian peacekeepers on the Golan Heights watch smugglers preparing an ambush. Then a vehicle with Syrian secret policemen arrives, but the Blue Helmets don’t warn them that there are going to be ambushed. The police’s pickup keeps moving and eventually gets attacked. According to UN reports, 13 gunmen killed nine policemen. According to the media, citing a UN peacekeeper, the attack was an assassination attempt on one of Syria’s top intelligence officials. The terrorists came to the buffer zone on the Golan Heights from Lebanon on purpose, aware that the UN peacekeepers wouldn’t be able to finish anything, as a former Blue Helmet who was stationed with the UN group on the Golan Heights revealed to the newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten.
He said that the order for the Austrians was: “finish not interfere.” The man named Markus H., who didn’t reportedly select portion in the incident, claimed that the soldiers on video had “acted 100 percent correctly according to our mandate.”
The ex-peacekeeper noted that if his fellow soldiers warned the policemen, they would bear become targets, exposing themselves to a fatal threat, as the Blue Helmets didn’t bear ammunition and bulletproof vests.
He also stated that when the clash in Syria escalated in 2011, the situation on the Israel-Syrian border became more uncertain for the peace group, causing problems for them, as the militia often blocked their provisions.
The representative of the MoD stated to the local broadcaster ОЕ-24.TV that the soldiers couldn’t act on their own, as they had to follow their orders. Ex-Defense Minister Norbert Darabos, who occupied the post in 2012, wasn’t aware of the incident and claimed that those guilty should be punished. Meanwhile, the Austrian news agency APA reported, citing a UN spokesman, that the incident was therefore known as the UN Security Council was informed that the Blue Helmets had witnessed policemen being shot by 13 gunmen in the buffer zone. The UN had stated that it would work with the Austrian authorities to investigate the case.
An Austrian group of the UN peace contingent stayed on the disputed Golan Heights, which has remained an apple of discord between Tel-Aviv and Damascus, since the seventies. The western two-thirds of the Golan Heights (known in Syria as the Quneitra governorate) was annexed by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, which has been repeatedly condemned by the UN. The dispute over the territories has not only prevented Syria and Israel from signing a peace treaty, but has also provoked tit-for-tat strikes in the border areas.
At the same time, the eastern Golan Heights, which has remained in Syrian hands, became the target of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, as well as ISIS* militants and other Syrian opposition forces. In 2012 Austria remained the only European country to remain in the area. The decision to withdraw their troops came only in 2013 after tensions in the border area grew as the clash in Syria deepened.
Swedish Military Resists Feminists’ Push for ‘Multicultural’ Spelling Alphabet
While feminists push for adding names like Khaled, Doris and Laila into the phonetic alphabet to promote “inclusion,” the military suggests this step would endanger communication as the phonetic alphabet must “sit in the backbone.”
The official Swedish spelling alphabet used by the military and the police, is not sufficiently “equal” or “diverse” and must be enhanced with female and Arabic names, the Frederika Bremer Association and the Equalisters NGO demanded in an opinion piece published in Sweden’s leading daily Dagens Nyheter.
The spelling alphabet, also known as the radio alphabet and the telephone alphabet, is a set of words used to denote certain letters to avoid misunderstanding in oral communication. The Swedish spelling alphabet originated in 1891 and consists of traditional Swedish names like Adam, Bertil, Erik, Sigurd, Tore and Yngve.
The feminist groups want to replace the men’s names in the alphabet to become more “inclusive” and better reflect Sweden’s increasingly multicultural society. According to the feminists, there is “no excuse” for having names representing Swedish men exclusively.
“Including more than just men with traditional Swedish names is primary to visualize the diversity of society. We need to be able to speak with a language that is everybody’s. The government needs to be open and inclusive,” they wrote.
Therefore, names like Khaled, Doris and Laila should be included in the alphabet, they claimed.
“Time to include more than just Swedish men when we spell out,” the Frederika Bremer Association wrote.
“[The alphabet] has looked the same since the 19th century and it’s time to reflect today’s Sweden. Basically, it is a democracy issue about how we want the public conversation to observe like. We want the society to be open and inclusive. The alphabet used today by government institutions and in radio communication sends the improper signals,” Seher Yilmaz, the chairwoman of the Equalisters told Swedish Radio.
“With our unusual alphabet, we would like to provide the authorities and the general public with a concrete tool for increasing gender equality and improving representation,” the groups claimed.
The Armed Forces retorted that it would imply an excessive effort to change the spelling alphabet.
“This should sit in the backbone in times of combat, otherwise things can derive complicated,” Armed Forces press officer Jesper Tengroth explained. “[The spelling alphabet] should be used under difficult conditions, under stress. When abroad, we had to switch to the English alphabet, and noticed that it wasn’t easy,” he emphasized.
According to Tengroth, the Swedish Armed Forces concentrate on increasing their operational ability and prioritize gender-neutral draft and push for more women in commanding positions.
Dating back from 1884, the Frederika Bremer Association (FBF) is Sweden’s oldest women’s rights organization. It is a member of the International Alliance of Women, which has general consultative status with the United Nations.
The Equalisters is a non-profit association founded in 2010 to promote gender equality, diversity and unprejudiced representation.
$79 Million ‘Global Hawk’ Drone Crash Caused By Faulty Data
A US Air Force Global Hawk drone crashed and destroyed itself last year as a consequence of the aircraft’s “erroneous” data, according to an incident investigation report published by the military this week.
A Northrop Grumman contractor in Palmdale, California, launched the $79 million aircraft before it went into a self-pilot mode. “Navigation is via inertial navigation with integrated global positioning system updates,” according to official descriptions of the aircraft’s components.
“The RQ-4 employs a quad-redundant Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS) configuration. The system utilizes two different INS/GPS systems for greater redundancy. The system consists of two LN-251 units and two Kearfott KN-4074E INS/GPS Units.”
Those Kearfott navigators were switched off by the craft’s operators shortly after the drone lifted off, according to an investigation into the event, which happened in June 2017.
The drone, “having failed to detect the erroneous nature of LNA’s navigational data, sent control inputs to right the fake roll data,” the report notes. “This included keeping a full throttle, even while the [RQ-4] was in an unusual nose low attitude… the [RQ-4] regained roll control, but airspeed continued to increase.”
It appears that user error in flipping off the aircraft’s navigators was a deeper cause of the incident. Investigator Col. Jeremy Thiel opined in the report, “I also find by a preponderance of evidence that disabling the [broken drone’s] two Kearfott KN-4074E navigators after takeoff substantially contributed to the mishap.”
It’s not clear why the navigators were switched off.
An F-35B crashed in South Carolina Friday in the first accident involving the US military’s most expensive and technologically advanced aircraft, a spokesperson for the US Marines told. “It was an F-35 bravo out of the training quadrant, in Beaufort,” the spokesperson confirmed when asked about reports that a military aircraft had crashed earlier in the day. The pilot ejected safely, according to a local police report.
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