After Team 6 Support in Arabian Sea, USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group Gets 4-Day Port Call in the Philippines

We don’t know exactly where the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters took off for their mission inside Pakistan. But they got in and they got out with Bin Laden’s body.  The American Forces Press Service reported that Bin Laden received a Muslim ceremony as he was buried at sea, citing a senior defense official in Washington, D.C., May 2.

The religious rites were performed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the North Arabian Sea and occurred within 24 hours of the terrorist leader’s death, said the official.

“Preparations for at-sea [burial] began at 1:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and were completed at 2 a.m.,” said the official.

The Carrier Strike Group which includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) , and its escorts guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52),  Destroyer Squadron 1 guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 104) and guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), has just concluded 95 days supporting maritime theater security operations for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn, including 52 consecutive days at sea.

The Carrier Strike Group is now in Manila for a four-day port call and goodwill visit. Sailors from the Vinson and their counterparts from the Philippine Navy are also participating in community relations activities in Metro Manila during the visit.

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, some members of his cabinet and U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr., were given a special tour of the USS Carl Vinson while she was out at sea on May 14. You’d think that there’ll be more photos; unfortunately, the US Embassy in Manila has only managed to snag five photos of the entire event (does not even include the US ambassador), so below is a five-photo 1 second slideshow of the ship visit. 

A video of the presidential ship visit is here.  More photos of the visit here from the USS Vinson FB page (thanks for the tip M):

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Photos from US Embassy Manila/Flickr

“We are so honored that President Aquino was able to visit the carrier today,” said Ambassador Thomas. “The crew was just thrilled to be able to meet him and the other distinguished visitors who joined us,” he added.

In addition to touring the aircraft carrier, the officials met with the sailors aboard the ship.Apparently about 15 percent of its 6,000 crew are Filipino-Americans.

The Philippine Inquirer reported that Capt. Bruce Lindsey, the skipper of the visiting US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, evaded all Osama bin Laden-related questions raised by Filipino journalists who joined Sunday’s tour of the nuclear-powered warship upon the invitation of the US Embassy in Manila.

When interviewed, some Filipino-American crew members of the aircraft carrier also declined comment on the issue. “It’s not permitted … We’re not supposed to discuss it even with our family members,” said one of them.


Wanna be diplomat in New York sent to jail for 21 months; another one claims diplomatic immunity in Utah

The title of Diplomatic ImmunityImage via WikipediaRemember Vincent Leibell who asked the court that he be allowed to skip jail and serve at a PRT in wherever it is we’re doing nation building projects these days?  Here’s what he actually told  U.S. District Judge Warren Eginton in a letter:

“I have spoken with people in the court system and told them of my great willingness to serve during the current difficulties our nation is experiencing. … While I recognize that I am somewhat older and not fluent in those languages, I would nonetheless be honored to serve on one of our civilian nation-building teams.”

The judge thankfully was not convinced.

Reuters has an update on the former New York state senator who has now been sentenced  to 21 months in prison after admitting to tax evasion and attempting to influence a grand jury.

Vincent Leibell, 64, pleaded guilty in December to failing to report $43,000 in income between 2003 and 2006. The money came in the form of fees for outside legal work and kickbacks from lawyers at a non-profit organization controlled by Leibell. He also admitted to trying to influence a grand jury during a corruption probe.

Leibell, a Republican, represented an area north of New York City for 28 years. He was elected Putnam County executive in November, but resigned from the post before taking office. In February, he wrote to the court and asked that instead of prison, he be required to serve as a diplomat in the Middle East. Prosecutors called the request absurd.

In related news in the wannabe diplomatic front —

The United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Utah released the following statement:

An indictment unsealed Thursday in federal court in Salt Lake City charges Harvey Douglas Goff, age 53, of Ogden, with violations of federal law in connection with alleged schemes to obstruct justice, impede internal revenue laws, pass fictitious documents purporting to be actual financial instruments, assert diplomatic immunity, and defraud others through the use of a fraudulent lien scheme.

Goff was arrested Thursday morning in Ogden. He had an initial appearance Thursday before Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba. Goff refused to stand when ordered to, which led to U. S. Marshal intervention; refused the appointment of counsel; would not state his name or acknowledge his identity; and claimed he had been kidnapped from his home even though the Court made findings in his presence that federal agents had served a duly authorized search warrant. A mental health evaluation was ordered.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and IRS Criminal Investigation.  The 14-count indictment charges Goff with obstruction of justice, impeding internal revenue laws, fictitious obligations, attempt to commit mail fraud, and mailings in furtherance of a scheme and artifice to defraud.

Read the whole thing here.

Not sure which country Mr. Goff claimed to represent in asserting diplomatic immunity.  It’s not like Utah is a hub for diplomatic relations.  Currently, there is one foreign mission in Utah, that of the Consulate of Mexico.