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GI Special 4C14 - All Out For Ft. Bragg - March 14, 2006

Thomas F. Barton

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 9:10 AM

GI SPECIAL 4C14: 14/3/06


thomasfbarton@earthlink.net Print it out: color best. Pass it on.


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Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services. Send requests to address up top.

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

US Marine Killed In Western Iraq

March 13 (Xinhuanet) & HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 06-03-01C

A Marine was assigned to the 2-28 Brigade Combat Team was killed on Sunday by "enemy combat action" in Iraq’s volatile western Anbar province, the U.S. military said in a brief statement on Monday.

Army Soldier Assigned To APG Killed

 
Staff Sgt. Kevin P. Jessen

March 7, 2006 By Daniel Connolly, The Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK: Trained in destroying explosives, a soldier from a small northeastern Arkansas town was killed in an explosion in Iraq, authorities announced today.

Staff Sgt. Kevin P. Jessen, 28, died Sunday in Rawah, the Army said. He was on a post-blast investigation when another explosion killed him, Army spokeswoman Maj. Elizabeth Robbins said.

Jessen was assigned to the 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort) of the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

He grew up in Oak Grove Heights, also known as Oak Grove, where the family had moved from Iowa before Jessen was born, his sister Tracy Miller said. Their father was a welder and had a small farm.

The youngest child in the family, Jessen had an early interest in explosives, which eventually led to his military career, his sister said.

"He liked to play with fire and explosives and just see what he could mix together to make a little bomb or whatever, his own little thing," she said. "And he ended up getting into that as a specialty, which was kind of ironic, but cool."

She recalled that as a boy, her brother enjoyed tying his G.I. Joe toys to bottle rockets and firing them off. He also had a strong interest in history.

"He could name every war and when it took place and all that stuff," she said.

She said her brother had been in Junior ROTC as well as the National Guard before joining the Army.

"I guess it was just his calling," she said. "Couldn’t see him doing anything else."

Miller also described her brother as dedicated to his family. He leaves a wife, Carrie Jessen, and a 2-year-old son, Cameron Jessen. Jessen and his family had just recently been stationed in Maryland.

His current tour in Iraq was his third overseas deployment. He had traveled to the Mideast in the mid-1990s to help dispose of explosives left over from the first Gulf War, his sister said.

He was sent to Iraq again in 2004 and returned after six months.

Last year his father, Elmer Jessen, was sick with cancer while Kevin Jessen was undergoing further Army training. Miller said her terminally ill father told her brother not to return home when he passed. She said her father didn’t want to interrupt her brother’s training.

"And so he didn’t," she said. "That was very hard for him."

But her brother had visited in June when his father was sick and came back to visit the family at Christmas, after his father had died. It was the last time his sister saw him.

Miller said her brother had deployed to Iraq for the third time just a few weeks ago and tended to downplay the danger in occasional calls home.

"He acted like there wasn’t near the threat over there that there used to be," she said.

Family members recently sent him two packages filled with his favorite snacks: pepperoni sticks, pistachios and almonds.

"We had just sent that to him a couple of weeks ago," she said. "Hopefully, he got to enjoy at least part of it."

Sunday night, the family was informed that Jessen had been killed.

"They got called on an incident, the chaplain said when he came that night," Miller said. "And it just went wrong."

The Army didn’t inform Jessen’s wife right away because she was staying with her mother in New York state and the Army didn’t have her address, Miller said. The family in Oak Grove provided the address to the Army.

"They showed up at her door at 6 o’clock Monday morning," Miller said. "And I know it’s just horrible for her, she’s got that baby and everything. But luckily she’s with her mother."

Funeral arrangements were pending.

Jessen is the 30th Arkansan to die, according to the AP.

Baghdad IED Kills One U.S. Soldier

3.13.05 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release 06-03-01CP

BAGHDAD, Iraq: A Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldier died of wounds suffered in a roadside bomb attack that occurred at approximately 9:40 a.m. in Eastern Baghdad March 13.

Walnut Creek Soldier Wounded In Iraq

Mar. 12, 2006 By Scott Marshall, CONTRA COSTA TIMES

A Walnut Creek native has been seriously wounded in Iraq, his father said today.

Army 1st Sgt. Will Harlan, 36, assigned to the Army’s 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Mosul in northern Iraq, was wounded in an explosion that ejected him from a Stryker armored vehicle and seriously injured his legs, said his father William Harlan.

The elder Harlan first heard his son had been wounded when a liaison officer, called him at 7 a.m. Saturday, and then his son’s battalion surgeon called him from Iraq to report on his son’s injuries.

The soldier was evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he underwent surgery

Injured Soldier Has Ties to Chippewa Valley

Mar 12, 2006 WQOW

A soldier injured in Thursday’s roadside bombing in Iraq went to high school in Cadott.

Staff Sargeant Brent Stelzer was one of three U.S. soldiers hurt while on a security mission last week. Stelzer graduated from Cadott High School and now lives with his wife near Plover. Stelzer underwent his latest surgery Sunday. He is currently at an Iraqi hospital having shrapnel removed from his hands and legs.

His wife Shannon says he lost part of his left ring finger in the bombing. She put a ring on it just one week before he went to war. Shannon says the toughest part is feeling helpless. "My husband is laying in a hospital somewhere, having stuff removed from his legs and hands and I’m at home," says Shannon.

Shannon says as soon as Brent is transported, she will fly to him immediately. Two other Wisconsin soldiers were hurt in the same bombing: Kevin Roland of Onalaska and Ruben Macias of Menasha.

Danish Troops Attacked Near Al Hartha

March 13 (Xinhuanet)

Danish troops in southern Iraq were attacked by anti-tank rockets and no casualties were reported, the Danish military said Monday.

Anti-tank rockets, along with shots from handguns, were fired on the Danish troops who were on patrol near Al Hartha outside Basra.

The Danish soldiers struck back the unknown assailants. There were no reports of any Iraqi casualties.

There are 530-strong contingent in the Iraqi port city of Basra, 400 km southeast of Baghdad.

Mercenaries Attack Each Other

March 13 JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, NY Times

Across town in a busy shopping area in western Baghdad, a 15-minute gunfight broke out between security contractors, more evidence of the authority vacuum.

According to an Iraqi interior ministry spokesman who declined to give his name, armed guards for a cellphone company killed two guards for an Iraqi politician after a roadside "misunderstanding."

Mercenaries SUV Blown Up

 
A damaged armored SUV of an unidentified security convoy after the explosion of a car bomb, near the Green Zone, in March 13, 2006. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Notes From A Lost War:
IEDs:
"They Adapt More Quickly Than We Procure Technology"

"There’s a road we called IED Alley that the ordnance disposal guys would clear regularly," Lewis, 47, of Carrollton, Ga., said at his current post in western Iraq. "But no sooner would they reach the end of that stretch," eight miles, "than the insurgents would be planting IEDs again at the beginning."

March 13, 2006 Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press

"As we’ve improved our armor, the enemy’s improved his IEDs. They’re bigger, and with better detonating mechanisms," said Maj. Randall Simmons, whose Georgia National Guard unit escorts convoys in western Iraq that are regularly rocked, damaged and delayed by roadside blasts.

Lt. Col. Bill Adamson, operations chief for the anti-IED campaign, was realistic about the challenge in a Pentagon interview.

"They adapt more quickly than we procure technology," he said of the insurgents.

Better armor and tactics lowered the casualty rate per IED attack last year, but the fast-growing number of attacks meant the U.S. death toll still rose.

Since mid-2005, an average of about 40 Americans a month have been killed by improvised explosives, twice the rate of the previous 12 months.

In one initiative showing how seriously it takes the threat, the Defense Department proposes spending $167 million to build new supply roads in Iraq that bypass urban centers where convoys are exposed to IEDs. [Well, just fucking brilliant. Everybody knows there is not the slightest risk of getting turned into hamburger outside "urban centers." What, some highway building war-profiteer got a buddy at the Pentagon? On no, of course not. "Hey Ahmed, where did all those military supply convoys go?" "I don’t have a clue, they’ve just mysteriously disappeared. No doubt the enemy has invented a means of cloaking their presence. Curses, the war is lost!" For reality, check the last paragraph below.]

"The enemy’s very smart," said Capt. Peter Weld, Sisk’s commander. [And imagine this: they’ve even figured out ways to blow up Humvees, Bradleys, Armored trucks, oil tankers, and Abrams tanks outside "urban centers." Duh.]

"They plant a harmless device that soldiers find and gather around, and then they hit them with a real device nearby."

"Shaped charges" are also proliferating; killer explosives that direct armor-piercing projectiles into U.S. vehicles.

The U.S. command claims significant success, saying it has captured or killed 41 bomb makers since November. But soldiers still face the bombs at seemingly the same rate. [Maybe that’s because 1,000 minus 41 equals 959. Not including new recruits being trained daily.]

The Georgia Guard’s Sgt. Robert Lewis couldn’t help being impressed while on duty in central Iraq.

"There’s a road we called IED Alley that the ordnance disposal guys would clear regularly," Lewis, 47, of Carrollton, Ga., said at his current post in western Iraq. "But no sooner would they reach the end of that stretch," eight miles, "than the insurgents would be planting IEDs again at the beginning."

NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER
Telling the truth – about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington – is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance – whether it’s in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you’ve read, we hope that you’ll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers. www.traveling-soldier.org/ And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)

NOT GOOD:
BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW!

 
A US soldier stands behind his jeep and takes aim following a car bomb on Kindi street, in a western Baghdad neighborhood. (AFP/Marwan Naamani)

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

U.S. SERVICE MEMBER KILLED IN TORKHAM VEHICLE ACCIDENT

March 13 (Xinhuanet) & HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 06-03-01CP

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan: One U.S. service member died today from injuries sustained when the humvee in which he was riding rolled over during offensive operations in Torkham District, Nangarhar Province .

"National Resistance Is Growing"

March 12, 2006 Eric Margolis, Islam Online.org

Afghan tribes are taking up arms against their foreign occupiers. I saw this happen during the 1980s, when growing hatred of Soviet occupation forces ignited a national uprising.

Today, in the eyes of many Afghans, the U.S. has merely replaced the Soviets. All past occupiers, starting with Alexander the Great, were driven out by the fierce Afghan tribes.

National resistance is growing. The U.S.-installed Karzai regime in Kabul would not last a day without foreign bayonets.

TROOP NEWS

General Says U.S. Troops To Stay In Iraq Forever

March 13, 2006 By Jim Krane, Associated Press

Brig. Gen. Douglas Raaberg echoed statements made last week by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who told Congress he didn’t believe Iraq would descend into all-out civil war but that if it did, the nation’s own security forces would be responsible for dealing with the turmoil.

Raaberg echoed Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid and other military leaders who have said a drawdown of U.S. troops can’t be done until Iraqi soldiers display enough mettle to take on insurgents, as well as loyalty to a civilian government that represents Iraq’s major groups: Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds.

[And since Iraqis will never stop fighting for their national liberation from Bush’s Imperial occupation, that means forever. This idiot doesn’t get it. Every poll in Iraq shows people support the military attacks on the foreign occupation forces. And the U.S. troops will definitely not choose to stay forever, whatever the commanders and politicians think.]

THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE

 
The casket containing the remains of Army National Guard Sgt. Joshua V. Youmans in Flushing, Michigan March 11, 2006. Youmans died Wednesday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio were he was being treated for burns he received when the Humvee he was riding in Iraq hit a landmine last year. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

400 Oklahoma National Guard Troops Called Up For Bush’s Imperial Slaughterhouse

3.13.06 Army Times

About 400 soldiers of a Durant-based Oklahoma National Guard unit will be deployed to Afghanistan later this year, The Associated Press reported.

The 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade, will deploy along with the Oregon National Guard’s 41st Infantry Brigade. The units will help train and mentor soldiers in the new Afghan army.

Members of the 180th were scheduled to leave March 4 to train at Camp Shelby, Miss., Lt. Geoff Legler said. They will deploy to Afghanistan in May or June and stay a year.

"I Got Out Of The Army Before Iraq But I Still Feel That As A U.S. Citizen, I’m An Accomplice"

[Thanks to PG who sent this in.]

February 26, 2006 By Sally Kalson, PG Publishing Co.,

Pittsburghers were captivated this week by the 7-year-old Iraqi boy who arrived here for reconstructive facial surgery at Children’s Hospital, having been badly disfigured in an American bombing raid in 2004.

On a shoestring budget, the American group No More Victims arranged for his medical care, got visas for the child and his father, paid their expenses in Jordan until the documents came through, and is still trying to raise the cash to cover the travel. A Massachusetts philanthropist kicked in $50,000 for the hospital bill. A single mom in Banksville has taken father and son into her home during their stay.

It’s a story that bores right through peoples’ defenses without regard to politics, position on the war, religious beliefs or lack thereof (the family is Muslim; the U.S. Army veteran who spent six weeks in Jordan working on their visas is an atheist; the host family is Catholic; the philanthropist is Jewish).

No one with a beating heart could look at Abdul Hakim Ismael’s scarred face and the happy, excited, nervous child behind it, and not be moved. No one could look at the many people who’ve stepped up to help and not be inspired.

But this story does not begin and end with an injured little boy, or the other wounded children that the group is helping.

It begins with the Bush administration’s prosecution of the Iraq war, and the thousands of innocent civilians it is willing to sacrifice in pursuit of its unintelligible goals. Where it ends, no one knows.

This is not to say the Pentagon is intentionally creating such victims. It is to say that despite its best efforts to minimize the damage, a bomb dropped on a child does the same damage accidentally as it does on purpose, and that, by definition, hundreds of bombs dropped on hundreds of villages have created countless Abdul Hakims already and are going to keep creating more.

Yes, war is hell, and that’s true for American soldiers as well as the Iraqis. The question for the American public is how much more hell we are willing to inflict in the name of this particular war.

There’s only one honest way to answer this question, and that is with the human results of U.S. policy right before our eyes. Americans need to see these shattered kids and families up close. Likewise, the U.S. veterans coming home maimed, traumatized or dead. Only then can citizens make an informed decision as to whether this war is worth its weight in carnage, not to mention $200 billion-plus.

U.S. Army Capt. Chad Hetman, 34, doesn’t think it is. He is the aforementioned veteran who stayed with Abdul Hakim and his dad in Jordan and brought them to Pittsburgh.

The New Jersey native entered the Army through the ROTC program at Rutgers University in 1993. He served in the National Guard, was a 2nd lieutenant in the infantry, served in Korea and trained other soldiers in counter-guerilla warfare. Disenchanted with the military, he left active duty as a captain in 2002 and still holds that rank in the Individual Ready Reserves. Since then he’s been an activist with Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and other organizations.

Cole Miller, co-founder of No More Victims, said it’s critical for Americans to show the world they care about the human suffering caused by the war. And, he added, it’s no coincidence that so many Americans never saw a badly injured Iraqi child until one arrived in their midst, or that the administration has blacked out coverage of flag-draped coffins arriving home.

"That’s a tactical decision," he said. "They know that if the American people see what’s really going on, they won’t support it and might even try to stop it."

That’s the lesson the Pentagon learned from Vietnam, he said, when searing images like that of the 9-year-old girl running naked and crying after a napalm attack on her village helped turn Americans against the war.

"When Gen. Tommy Franks said we don’t count Iraqi casualties, the message is that Iraqis don’t count.

"I believe they do count, and so do many other Americans. The response to Abdul Hakim and the others proves it. Given the chance to step up, people will do amazing things.

But the fact of his presence has done more to inform the citizenry than a thousand presidential speeches. From this point on, we can’t say we didn’t know.

British War Profiteers Made Over 1 Billion In Iraq, So Far

[Thanks to PB and JM, who sent this in.]

13 March 2006 Independent (UK)

British business has made 1.1 billion pounds of profit in Iraq.

British businesses have profited by at least £1.1bn since coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein three years ago, the first comprehensive investigation into UK corporate investment in Iraq has found.

The company roll-call of post-war profiteers includes some of the best known names in Britain’s boardrooms as well many who would prefer to remain anonymous. They come from private security services, banks, PR consultancies, urban planning consortiums, oil companies, architects offices and energy advisory bodies.

The evidence of massive investments and the promise of more multimillion-pound profits to come was discovered in a joint investigation by Corporate Watch, an independent watchdog, and The Independent.

The findings show how much is stake if Britain were to withdraw military protection from Iraq. British company involvement at the top of Iraq’s new political and economic structures means Iraq will be forced to rely on British business for many years to come.

A total of 61 British companies are identified as benefiting from at least £1.1bn of contracts and investment in the new Iraq. But that figure is just the tip of the iceberg; Corporate Watch believes it could be as much as five times higher, because many companies prefer to keep their relationship secret.

The waters are further muddied by the Government’s refusal to release the names of companies it has helped to win contracts in Iraq.

Many of the companies enjoy long-standing relationships with Labour and now have a financial stake in the reconstruction of Iraq in Britain’s image.

Of the total profits published in the report, the British taxpayer has had to meet a bill for £78m while the US taxpayer’s contribution to UK corporate earnings in Iraq is nearly nine times that. Iraqis themselves have paid British company directors £150m.

The report acknowledges that British business still lags behind the huge profits paid to American companies.

Idiocy In Command

Letters To The Editor
3.13.06 Army Times

It is absolutely ridiculous that peacetime accountability rules are still being applied to equipment lost under war conditions.

During World War II, Korea and Vietnam, equipment losses were written off and equipment was replaced.

What is the military thinking when all these soldiers who are being medically separated are being held accountable for gear that has been misplaced, lost or destroyed in a combat zone?

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker needs to tell them to use war time accountability in the war zones.

Sgt. Alan Griggs (ret.)
Buckeye, Ariz.

"Thank God For Dead Soldiers"
Anti-Gay Bigots Harass Families Of US Troops Killed In Iraq

 
Margie Phelps, 49, a member of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, waves signs at a funeral for a soldier who was killed in Iraq. Flushing, Michigan 11 March. AFP)

Mar 12 BREITBART.COM, INC. Excerpts]

Five women sang and danced as they held up signs saying "thank God for dead soldiers" at the funeral of an army sergeant who was killed by an Iraqi bomb.

For them, it was the perfect way to spread God’s word: America was being punished for tolerating homosexuality.

The Westboro Baptist Church first gained national notoriety when they picked the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming student who was murdered in 1998 for being gay.

Phelps said he and his congregants are targeting the funerals because God’s way of punishing an "evil nation" of "fags and fag enablers" is to "pick off its children."

"I don’t have any sympathy for these parents. They’re all going to hell," Phelps said. "The family’s in pain because they haven’t obeyed the Lord God."

Phelps’ virulence and frequently graphic condemnations of anal sex could mask a deeper issue than a radically literal interpretation of the Bible, Potok speculated.

"This man probably thinks more about gay sex than any other person in the United States of America and one can only guess at what that means," he said. "Many of the most homophobic people are deeply afraid that they might be gay."

Gay British Soldiers Get Married

3.13.06 Army Times

There’s nothing unusual about two army privates marrying each other, except for the fact that these two are lesbians.

Numerous British newspapers report 19-year-old Sonya Gould and 18-year-old Vanessa Haydock became the first gay members of the British military to wed.

Both members of the Royal Logistics Corps, they met and fell in love during training. For the wedding, the pair wore black suits; Gould’s with white edging and Haydock’s with pink.

The army has been mostly accepting of their relationship, although they were punished after being caught in bed together by a senior officer during training.

A defense spokesman told the newspaper: "We’re pleased personnel registered in a same-sex relationship now have equal rights to married couples."

Haydock left service a few weeks after the couple’s Jan. 23 marriage and applied for a job as a civilian Ministry of Defence employee. Gould is staying in uniform for now.

"I love her to bits and I can’t wait to go and live with her," Haydock said of Gould.

Students Across America Protest On Third Anniversary Of The War
3/13/06-3/18/06

March 13, 2006 Contact: Wesley Hannah rwh29@cornell.edu

From March 13th to March 18th, students across the nation will join together in coordinated demonstrations in protest of the Iraq war.

As an action called for by the Campus Anti-war Network (CAN), dozens of high schools and colleges in all regions of the country will spend the next week in local demonstrations, discussions, marches, and rallies.

Three years after the invasion of Iraq, students continue to actively fight for immediate withdrawal from the Middle East and for money to be spent on education, not occupation.

The week culminates in the Global Days of Protest, March 18th-19th, where American students join millions around the world in solidarity in a call to end illegal invasion and continued occupation.

From Bennington, VT to Georgia State to San Francisco State, and everywhere in between, students are on the frontline along with other peace activists in calling for an immediate withdrawal and cessation of foreign wars of aggression. Those schools on break for the week will join their peers in solidarity with actions on the following Monday, March 20th.

Cornell University student Bryn Roshong, ’08, an active participant in Cornell for Peace and Justice, a CAN affiliate, expressed frustration with the deception of the American people that "Bush claims we’re needed there, but the vast majority of Iraqis want us out! Meanwhile, we are building permanent bases there for our troops and spending more money on fortifications than on the supposed rebuilding of a land the war has destroyed."

As now a majority of Americans call for withdrawal from Iraq, these protests signal rising resentment within the nation for an unjustified war that has killed of over 2,300 Americans and well over 100,000 Iraqi citizens, and destroyed homes and lives of countless more.

Additionally, as President Bush diverts billions of dollars to war, Americans are seeing funding for education and social services drying up as the national deficit is skyrocketing. Abroad, foreign nations nearly unanimously call for withdrawal as the situation in Iraq spins out of control for US troops.

The Campus Anti-War Network began before the invasion of Iraq as a democratic grassroots network of students opposed to foreign wars of aggression and the presence of the military in US schools.

It works to aid students in developing anti-war movements and to exchange ideas in order to create a vast national movement. Recently, the coalition has succeeded in barring military recruiters from Seattle Central Community College, City College of New York, San Francisco State University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Illinois in Chicago, and others.

Endorsers of this week of action include AfterDowningStreet, Bay Area United Against War, Gold Star Families for Peace, Not In Our Name, Progressive Democrats of America, San Juan Peace Network, Stop the War Coalition (U.K.), Texans for Peace, The (California) Peace and Freedom Party, The Peace Majority Report, Traprock Peace Center, and the Washington Peace Center of Washington DC, as well as author Anthony Arnove, war resister Camilo Mejia, peace activist Cindy Sheehan, Kathy Kelly, author Howard Zinn, and Todd Chretien, candidate for US Senate from California

Full list of public endorsements: www.campusantiwar.net/

"There’s A Very Unco-Operative Staff Sergeant Here"

13/03/06 ROD MICKLEBURGH, Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc

VANCOUVER: The peaceniks and draft resisters who flooded into Canada during the Vietnam War grew up long ago. Now they are aging, their hair grey. Many are grandfathers.

But the long arm of justice in the United States is forever vigilant.

Late last week, U.S. authorities nabbed a quiet, 56-year-old retired Canadian as he headed into Idaho from his home in B.C. They quickly hauled him off to prison.

Allen Abney’s crime? Thirty-eight years ago, while still a teenager, he deserted from the U.S. Marines as he was about to be sent to Vietnam and took refuge in Canada.

Today, he is being held in a military prison at a large Marine base in San Diego, where he faces the possibility of a court-martial.

When they took him into custody, U.S. authorities confiscated his shoes, his suspenders, his reading glasses and his false teeth, said his distraught daughter, Jessica Abney.

To make matters worse, Mr. Abney’s brother, Gerry, died Saturday in hospital, and by late yesterday afternoon, his family had still not been allowed to tell Mr. Abney.

The official who answered the phone at the prison told them to contact the American Red Cross.

"This is a nightmare out of nowhere," Ms. Abney said. "My mom can’t eat or sleep. They’ve never been separated this long before."

His last words to his wife were: "They’re putting me in jail."

Lynn Gonzalez, a volunteer with the GI Rights Hotline in San Diego, had a brief visit with Mr. Abney on Saturday.

"He seems very sweet. He tried to let on that he wasn’t afraid, but I think he is," she said. "This is heartbreaking. It’s heart wrenching. Right now, we’re trying to get him some reading glasses and a phone call to his wife.

"But there’s a very unco-operative staff sergeant here."

Ms. Abney criticized Canadian officials for doing little to help. She said her mother was told they could tell her nothing about Mr. Abney’s situation or what they might be doing on his behalf because of "privacy rules."

"That’s so ridiculous. Nobody is closer to him than my mom. I want the country I live in to really step it up. Show us that you care. We’re not seeing that."

Japanese Vote Against U.S. Base:
43,000 To 5,000:
"This Is The Voice Of The People"

 
People protest against the plans for the US base

[Thanks to JM, who sent this in.]

13 March 2006 Aljazeera

Japan still wants to seal a deal with the US on reorganising American forces in the country even after locals rejected a plan to expand a nearby base.

Voters in the southwest city of Iwakuni, home to a US marine base, voted 8-1 on Sunday against bringing more aircraft and troops to the facility. The expansion is part of an agreement already reached between Tokyo and Washington.

Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister, said Tokyo would aim to meet the end-of-March deadline, but acknowledged that the plan faced stiff opposition from local communities.

"If a referendum were held, the result would be a 'No’ vote anywhere. That is the difficulty with issues related to national security," he said.

More than 43,000 residents voted to reject the plan while about 5000 were in favour, according to officials in Iwakuni, 1000km (600 miles) west of Tokyo.

Katsusuke Ihara, the mayor of Iwakuni, who called the referendum, said residents had the right to be heard.

"This is the voice of the people," Ihara told a private Japanese TV broadcaster late on Sunday.

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

Assorted Resistance Action

Mar 13, 2006 By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, AP & (Reuters) & CNN

In the worst attack Monday, a roadside bomb exploded as police responded to a false report of bodies inside a store in Tikrit. Five policemen were killed and 15 injured in the blast, police Capt. Hakim al-Azawi said. A civilian bystander was also killed.

Later, provincial Governor Hamad Mahmoud al-Qaisi escaped assassination when a car bomb ripped through his convoy in the city 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Five bodyguards were injured in the blast.

Two police officers have been killed and four wounded in two separate car bomb attacks targeting police patrols in Kurdish areas of Kirkuk, police say.

Four police were wounded by the first car bomb.

The second car bomb killed two policemen as their patrol passed. About 15 minutes separated the blasts.

Four policemen and six civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb hit a police patrol in central Baghdad, police said.

The violence continued in central Baghdad Monday afternoon when members of a security company fired on a vehicle, killing two guards for Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi.

Four Iraqi police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb near an Iraqi police patrol in southern Baghdad, police said.

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
END THE OCCUPATION

OCCUPATION REPORT

U.S. OCCUPATION RECRUITING DRIVE IN HIGH GEAR;
RECRUITING FOR THE ARMED RESISTANCE THAT IS

 
Iraqi citizens next to the destroyed wall of their home, after a raid by occupation forces in Baghdad, March 11, 2006. (AP Photo/hadi Mizban)

[Fair is fair. Let’s bring 150,000 Iraqis over here to the USA. They can kill people at checkpoints, bust into their houses with force and violence, overthrow the government, put a new one in office they like better and call it "sovereign," and "detain" anybody who doesn’t like it in some prison without any charges being filed against them, or any trial.]

[Those Iraqis are sure a bunch of backward primitives. They actually resent this help, have the absurd notion that it’s bad their country is occupied by a foreign military dictatorship, and consider it their patriotic duty to fight and kill the soldiers sent to grab their country. What a bunch of silly people. How fortunate they are to live under a military dictatorship run by George Bush. Why, how could anybody not love that? You’d want that in your home town, right?]

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

[THIS IS NOT A SATIRE]
Iraqi Collaborator Politician Says U.S. Invaded For Oil:
Says U.S. Interfering In Iraq’s Domestic Affairs [!]

March 11, 2006 By Paul McGeough Chief Herald Correspondent in Baghdad, The Sydney Morning Herald

AMID rising American frustration with the political deadlock in Iraq, the National Security Minister, Abdul Karim al-Enzy, has rebuked Washington for interfering in Iraq’s domestic affairs.

In a remarkable broadside against the US, Mr Enzy charged that it was deliberately slowing Iraq’s redevelopment because of a self-serving agenda that included oil and the "war on terror".

The attack came as the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, told a Senate inquiry in Washington that Iraq’s political leaders needed "to recognise the seriousness of the situation and form a government of national unity that will govern from the centre, and to do it in a reasonably prompt manner".

To that end, US diplomats have demanded a more generous sharing of key portfolios among Iraq’s religious and ethnic populations than the dominant Shiite religious parties are willing to concede.

In particular, they are urging the dismissal of the hardline Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr.

But in an interview with the Herald, Mr Enzy snapped: "The last time I checked, Bayan Jabr was Interior Minister of Iraq, not of the US or the UN. He is one of our best and this is interference in our business."

"The truth is the Americans don’t want us to reach the levels of courage and competence needed to deal with the insurgency because they want to stay here.

"They came for their own strategic interests. A lot of the world’s oil is in this region and they want to use Iraq as a battlefield in the war on terror because they believe they can contain the terrorism in Iraq."

The minister’s spiel was symptomatic of a rising anti-American sentiment among Iraq’s Shiite majority.

Mr Enzy said many Iraqis believed the US wanted civil war in the hope it would break the power of the religious parties still struggling to form a government.

What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to thomasfbarton@earthlink.net. Name, I.D., address withheld unless publication requested. Replies confidential.

The Great Iraqi Troops Training Fiasco Rolls On:
"See, No Money," The Banker Said.
"We’re Calling An Abort To This Mission," Madziarczyk Said

 
U.S. Army Maj. Greg Wolpoff, left, waits as a bank manager calls for information about a money truck due to arrive at the Rafidian Bank in Baghdad. Andrew Tilghman, S&S

March 10, 2006 By Andrew Tilghman, Stars and Stripes

BAGHDAD: Outside the Rafidian Bank branch building, security was tight one recent morning on the usually busy downtown street.

About 50 rifle-toting Iraqi soldiers had sealed off the entire block. An Iraqi sniper team on the ledge of a four-story rooftop kept watch. And an inner perimeter of U.S. troops stood guard outside the bank’s large, brick edifice.

Inside, U.S. Marine Maj. Scott Madziarczyk was trying to conduct business.

"Open the vault," Madziarczyk demanded, wearing full body armor and waving a dull black semiautomatic shotgun.

Madziarczyk was not trying to rob the bank, he was simply trying to cash a check, an Iraqi Ministry of Defense check for 1.1 billion Iraqi dinars, or about $800,000.

The U.S. troops planned to walk out with the money stuffed in five large sacks, providing a much-needed infusion of money to pay a brigade of about 2,000 Iraqi army soldiers fighting insurgents in Anbar province.

It was a routine errand for the troops from the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, which oversees the transfer of power to Iraqi troops and retains many administrative duties, including aspects of the payroll process.

But the transaction failed when a diminutive Iraqi banker in a navy suit unlocked the large metal door and revealed an empty cement-walled room, completely devoid of cash.

"See, no money," the banker said.

The U.S. troops initially suspected that the banker did not want to do business with Americans and was lying about his cash supply.

The bank manager told U.S. troops that on the previous day a truck carrying a load of fresh money was attacked, and several of the carriers were injured. Fear of further attacks made it difficult for the bank to find a new driver willing to transport the cash.

Basic and essential tasks such as paying Iraqi soldiers their roughly $300 monthly salary is a significant challenge in Iraq, where security is a constant concern and the country’s financial infrastructure remains fragile and ineffective.

"This is the reality of the currency situation at an unstable time," said U.S. Army Maj. Greg Wolpoff, who works in the finance office for the MNSTCI, where among his main responsibilities is helping Iraqi soldiers get paid.

It was the second time in five trips that Wolpoff found an empty bank vault, forcing soldiers to pack up and go home, planning to try again another day, he said.

"Right now, we are a big target," said Madziarczyk, operations officer for the MNSTCI finance office.

U.S. troops carefully selected the Rafidian Bank just across the river from the International Zone, which they say is one of the most secure and convenient banks in Baghdad. It is one of several banks troops use for big transactions.

The challenges are magnified by the Iraqi army’s antiquated payroll process, an entirely cash-based system, tracked with paper records and requiring each Iraqi soldier to sign for receipt of his salary.

"It’s a very manual system right now," Wolpoff said.

Most Iraqi soldiers do not have bank accounts and have to personally transport their money home to their families.

"We’re putting together an Iraqi system for auditing," Wolpoff said. "It’s the same thing we do in our Army: Making sure no one is stealing money from the government." [No, this is not a satire.]

In the case of this week’s bank run, U.S. troops waited for more than 30 minutes, believing that a truck with cash was en route to the bank. But further conversation with the Iraqi bank manager revealed they were still looking for a driver and it was unclear when to expect the delivery.

"We’re calling an abort to this mission," Madziarczyk said into his radio. "We’re not sitting in this ambush zone."

"We decided it’s just not worth it," he explained to a reporter. "We’ll regroup and try again later.

"Just another fine day in Iraq," he said as he turned to walk back to his truck.

"They Are Sorry And Every Thing Is Settled, No Problems, As Far As The Victim Is An Iraqi"
"GO HOME AMERICANS, WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE"

My uncle, the only living one from my mother side, is about 80 years old, a healthy, handsome and well looking gentleman. He was in his way to bring his wife home; she was in visit to her parents, when he shot by American soldiers, he was alone in his car, no eye witness, several bullets penetrate his car, three of them penetrate his body, he died immediately.

March 09, 2006 A Citizen Of Mosul, moslawi.blogspot.com

I wrote a post about what happened to me when an American soldier shot at me. That post bring a lot of comments from many Americans, some regret for that action, other tried to find an excuse or to justify it.

But what happened yesterday, (Thursday) afternoon, about 5:00 PM is beyond justification.

My uncle, the only living one from my mother side, is about 80 years old, a healthy, handsome and well looking gentleman.

He was in his way to bring his wife home; she was in visit to her parents, when he shot by American soldiers, he was alone in his car, no eye witness, several bullets penetrate his car, three of them penetrate his body, he died immediately.

Iraqi police were there, they found his ID, and his mobile, with phone list, they called my cousin, a university Prof. who went to the postmortem unit at the main hospital to receive the body, the American officer there told him "we are sorry."

It is as simple as this, they are sorry and every thing is settled, no problems, as far as the victim is an Iraqi.

There is another similar accident when the American Soldiers shot a family consist of a man, his wife and his daughter and killed them all.(this happened this week at Alhadba district in Mosul)

At the funeral, I heard many similar stories, all of them contain the same subjects but different details, innocent Iraqi civilians killed at the hand of American soldiers for no obvious reasons.

Or just because a scared boy holding a gun hiding behind his Stryker and protected from the law, this what changed him from a human to a monster.

GO HOME AMERICANS, WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE

So Much For That "Sovereignty" Bullshit:
U.S. Officer Interviews Applicants For Iraqi Police

12 Mar 06, First Lt. Lee Kelley, NY Times Dispatches from U.S. soldiers on Iraq frontlines.blogs.nytimes.com/?cat=2 [Excerpt]

I was working down at the factory the morning before the suicide bomber attacked, sitting at a table next to an Iraqi interpreter. We were in a dingy room with poor lighting that was being used as makeshift interviewing site.

Through the interpreter, I was required to ask the men a series of questions regarding their employment history, nationality, military experience, and what kinds of weapon systems they were familiar with.

One of the questions I asked was, "If you or your family is threatened, will you continue to be a police officer in Al Anbar?" They all said yes.

Some pounded their hands on the table when they said it.

It was very compelling work, and I’m glad I was asked to help out that morning.

OCCUPATION HAITI

Occupation Rats And Collaborators Trying To Un-Elect New Haitian President

The State Department line is that Haiti is a "failed state," a basket case unable to take care of its own business. Most Haitians, however, think they were doing better with Lavalas, and that’s why they voted once again for their vision of the future and not that of France, Canada, or the United States.

From: Charlie Hinton by way of Tom Condit tomcondit@igc.org
Sent: March 12, 2006
Subject: The Elections in Haiti

By Charlie Hinton, Haiti Action Committee. Written for the Planted by the Waters newsletter of the Ecumenical Peace Institute.

For the fourth time since 1990, Haitians voted massively on February 7 to support the Lavalas movement founded by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, this time led by René Preval, under the banner of the Lespwa (Hope) Party.

Now that they have lost, the Haitian elites and the "international community" have started once again to undercut the victory, seeking at the negotiation table what they could not win at the polls.

The foothold for the negotiation comes over an impasse whether Mr. Preval won the absolute majority necessary to avoid a runoff election or not. Although early official results and unofficial polls showed him comfortably above 50%, after 5 days of counting, his official results dropped to 48.7%.

Two members of the electoral commission declared fraud was taking place. Preval’s outraged supporters demonstrated and blocked intersections. They marched to the site of the vote count, Haiti’s most exclusive hotel, and demanded the vote of the majority be respected.

The next day garbage pickers found tens of thousands of burning Preval ballots in a dump.

No longer able to cover up the fraud, the powers that be ruled Preval the winner. The sore losers have challenged the results, although the second place candidate got less than 12% of the vote.

As of March 10, the commission has still not announced a final count, the results of the parliamentary elections held at the same time, or set a date for the next round of parliamentary elections.

Yet they’ve postponed Preval’s inauguration until there is a seated parliament. They’re using every possible tactic to cast a doubt on the election results, challenge Preval’s mandate, and most of all, prevent Aristide’s return.

Haiti’s pro-Lavalas majority outsmarted and out-organized those who are still trying to prevent them from playing a role in Haiti’s future.

The State Department line is that Haiti is a "failed state," a basket case unable to take care of its own business. Most Haitians, however, think they were doing better with Lavalas, and that’s why they voted once again for their vision of the future and not that of France, Canada, or the United States.

Haiti has much to offer the world. It has a rich cultural heritage and an incredible fighting spirit that has resisted enslavement and colonialism for 250 years.

If we confront Haiti honestly, we must confront our own history of colonialism, racism, slavery, and class privilege.

Poor Haitians are eating dirt baked with salt, because they have no other food, and because they refuse to be enslaved again.

Can the world do the right thing for once and listen to what the people of Haiti are saying? Can we gain the humility to realize that we might actually be able to learn something from Haitians, even follow their example?

Maybe the next time the Bush family tries to steal an election here, we’ll stand up like Haitians and demand that our votes be counted too.

That fear of a good example terrifies the Haitian and U.S. elites. It’s why they hate President Aristide, and why they will do everything possible to prevent democracy in Haiti.

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK


Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services. Send requests to address up top.

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER

Telling the truth – about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington – is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance – whether it’s in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you’ve read, we hope that you’ll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! www.ivaw.net

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:: Article nr. 21568 sent on 15-mar-2006 07:13 ECT

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