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Reporter's Notebook: Aboard the USS Dwight D Eisenhower in the Red Sea: 'Constant self-defense'

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Reporter's Notebook: Aboard the USS Dwight D Eisenhower in the Red Sea: 'Constant self-defense'

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It’s the dark of night, the middle of the Red Sea, but it’s not quiet. The whine of several F-18 super hornet fighter jets produce an ear-splitting sound on the deck of the USS Dwight D Eisenhower. 

In bright primary-colored shirts, sailors on the flight deck tend to their specific jobs. The munitions officers, in red shirts, flip a switch that engages the sidewinder missiles on the outside of the fighter jet’s wings. It’s like taking the safety off your gun. The missiles are now ready to be fired. The pilot inches his jet forward so catapult officers can hook the tow-bar on his front wheel to the shuttle which runs down a steaming slot to the end of the flight deck.  

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Through a series of hand signals, a deck officer with yellow flashlights tells the pilot it’s time. He throttles the jet engines to full power and everyone’s rib cages shake on deck. An officer with the title shooter triggers the catapult and with a mighty roar the super hornet is launched into combat over the Red Sea.

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: EMBEDDED WITH THE IDF DEEP INSIDE HAMAS TUNNELS UNDER UNRWA HQ

Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea (Fox News)

Each takeoff is a launch into combat. Everything happens in the “weapons engagement zone,” close enough to Houthi controlled Yemen that they are in range of hostile fire.  

“We are in constant self-defense out here when it comes to threats that can be shot at us,’ says Rear Admiral Marc Miguez, commander of the strike group. 

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Self-defense does not mean they don’t go on the offensive. Often times, the F-18s launch with a planned target. Captain Marvin Scott, commander of the air wing on the carrier says his pilots have already degraded the ability of the Houthis to fire at cargo ships and warships crossing the Red Sea. “By targeting their ability to see us, their surveillance radars, and now we’re primarily focused on their military capabilities,” he says.

USS Dwight Eisenhower

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea (Fox News)

Many of the targets are “dynamic targets”, something that presents itself after the F-18 is in the air. U.S. Central Command says on Thursday U.S. forces struck four drones and two anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to launch. On Friday, they shot down three drones near commercial ships in the Red Sea.  

US, COALITION FORCES DESTROY 6 HOUTHI ONE-WAY ATTACK DRONES

Oil tanker on fire

In this photo provided by the Indian Navy on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, a view of  the oil tanker Marlin Luanda on fire after an attack, in the Gulf of Aden. The crew aboard a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker hit by a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels is battling a fire onboard the stricken vessel sparked by the strike. (Indian Navy via AP)

The threats are constant and while the sailors have proven to be effective at shooting missiles out of the sky, it’s not an easy task and failure is not an option. “We have to be right 100% of the time and they only have to be right once,” says Miguez.

The USS Eisenhower is one of six ships in strike group two. One of them is a cruiser, the USS Philippine Sea. It serves as a sentinel for the strike group, with layers of sailors who monitor high-tech electronics that detect incoming threats. In a matter of seconds, the “watchstanders” determine the nature of the threat and how to respond. 

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“It just depends what the threat is and what’s coming at us,” Says Captain Steve Liberty who defined what his ship is ready for, “Anything they can throw our way,” he says.

 

USS Dwight D Eisenhower

Sailors on the flight deck of the USS Dwight D Eisenhower. (Fox News)

In the end, their mission is as old as the Navy itself. Protecting safe maritime trade is the reason the Navy was created in the first place. “Freedom of Navigation,” Says Captain Chris Hill, Commander of the Dwight D Eisenhower, “It’s something we’ve been doing since 1775, and it’s something we’re really good at.”

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Israel indicts sister of Hamas leader Haniyeh on terrorism incitement

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Israel indicts sister of Hamas leader Haniyeh on terrorism incitement
Israel’s State Attorney on Sunday indicted the sister of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on charges of incitement and showing solidarity with a terror group, after she allegedly praised Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that sparked the six-month old war in Gaza.
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Conservative Brazilians laud Elon Musk at rally in support of Bolsonaro

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Conservative Brazilians laud Elon Musk at rally in support of Bolsonaro

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Conservative Brazilians heaped praise Sunday on Elon Musk at a rally in support of former President Jair Bolsonaro, whose legal troubles are mounting in tandem with the billionaire entrepreneur’s feud with the South American nation’s Supreme Court.

“Brazil Thanks Elon Musk,” read one giant sign in English at the rally alongside Copacabana beach in the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro. Thousands of die-hard supporters of Bolsonaro attended.

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ELON MUSK TO FUND NEW FIRST AMENDMENT CAMPAIGN TO COMBAT ‘RELENTLESS ATTACKS ON FREE SPEECH’

Musk, a self-declared free speech absolutist, is a target in an ongoing investigation over the dissemination of fake news by supporters of Bolsonaro. Musk said the social platform X wouldn’t comply with a high court justice’s order to remove certain accounts accused of spreading disinformation.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX who took over Twitter — now X — in late 2022, accused Justice Alexandre de Moraes of suppressing free speech and violating Brazil’s constitution. He noted on X that users could seek to bypass any shutdown of the social media platform by using VPNs, or virtual private networks.

AMERICA FIRST FOREIGN POLICY ‘PROFOUNDLY DANGEROUS,’ INVITES MULTI-FRONT WAR, EMINENT HISTORIAN WARNS

That prompted de Moraes to include Musk in an ongoing investigation into so-called digital militias and open a new investigation into obstruction, incitement and criminal conspiracy.

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Alexandre de Moraes, justice of Brazil's Supreme Federal Court

Alexandre de Moraes, justice of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court, left, speaks during a session at the Supreme Court building in Brasilia, Brazil, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Elon Musk’s X social media platform will comply with all orders from Brazil’s Supreme Court, a week following top Justice Moraes’s decision to open an investigation into Musk and the billionaire saying he would defy the court. (Ton Molina/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Several speakers lauded Musk at Sunday’s rally.

CHINESE HACKERS PREPARING TO ‘PHYSICALLY WREAK HAVOC’ ON US CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: FBI DIRECTOR

“What you see here are people who love liberty, who will not give up and will not kneel down to dictators, people who are willing to give their lives for freedom,” said Gustavo Gayer, a pro-Bolsonaro congressman.

Jair Bolsonaro

For his part, the former president lauded Musk for demonstrating “courage” in the face of what he called censorship by de Moraes.

“He is the man who really preserves true freedom for all of us,” said Bolsonaro, who is himself under investigation for a plethora of crimes ranging from aiding an effort to overturn the 2022 election results and plotting a coup against his leftist successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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Brazil is an important market for social media companies. About 40 million Brazilians, or about 18% of the population, access X at least once per month, according to the market research group Emarketer.

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Biden condemns ‘blatant’ anti-Semitism at Columbia pro-Palestine protests

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Biden condemns ‘blatant’ anti-Semitism at Columbia pro-Palestine protests

Biden’s remarks come after footage emerges appearing to show Jewish students being harassed and intimidated.

United States President Joe Biden has condemned pro-Palestinian activists for acts of “blatant” anti-Semitism during protests at Columbia University.

In a statement to commemorate the Jewish holiday of Passover on Sunday, Biden said it was necessary to speak out against “the alarming surge of antisemitism – in our schools, communities, and online”.

“Silence is complicity. Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews,” Biden said.

“This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous – and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.”

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Biden’s comments came after reports emerged over the weekend of harassment and threats against Jewish students on the campus of Columbia University in New York.

Footage shared on social media appeared to show activists telling students to “go back to Poland” and that October 7 is “going to be every day for you” – referring to Hamas’s attacks on Israel in which 1,139 people were killed.

Chabad at Columbia University, a chapter of an international Orthodox Jewish movement, said in a statement that protesters had also told Jewish students, “You have no culture”, “All you do is colonise” and to “Go back to Europe”.

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In a statement on Sunday, a group of student activists representing the protesters distanced themselves from “inflammatory individuals” and said they reject “any form of hate or bigotry”.

“We are frustrated by media distractions focusing on inflammatory individuals who do not represent us. At universities across the nation, our movement is united in valuing every human life,” the statement said.

“Our members have been misidentified by a politically-motivated mob. We have been doxxed in the press, arrested by the NYPD [New York Police Department], and locked out of our homes by the university. We have knowingly put ourselves in danger because we can no longer be complicit in Columbia funnelling our tuition dollars and grant funding into companies that profit from death.”

Biden made his remarks hours after a statement by the White House calling out “physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community”.

“While every American has the right to peaceful protect, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous – they have absolutely no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States of America,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said.

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“And echoing the rhetoric of terrorist organisations, especially in the wake of the worst massacre committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, is despicable.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York State Governor Kathy Hochul have also condemned reports of harassment and intimidation at the protests.

Columbia, one of the most prestigious universities in the US, has emerged as a hotbed of student activism since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza following the October 7 attacks.

On Thursday, the New York Police Department arrested more than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters after its officers swarmed the campus and cleared an encampment set up by students.

Some students involved in the protests said they had been suspended from Columbia and its associate institution, Barnard College, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

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