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GI Special 4F4: "That's Not A Terrorist" - June 6, 2006

Thomas F. Barton

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

6.6.06

Print it out: color best.  Pass it on.

GI SPECIAL 4F4:

“I Mean, That’s Not A Terrorist.  That’s The Man’s Home We Killed”

“Them Are Pissed-Off People, And They Have A Reason To Be Pissed Off”

June 2, 2006. Via Peter Laufer, AlterNet. 

The following text is an excerpt from Peter Laufer's new book, "Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq" (Chelsea Green, 2006)

"We was going along the Euphrates River," says Joshua Key, a 27-year-old former U.S. soldier from Oklahoma, detailing a recurring nightmare -- a scene he stumbled on shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.  "It's a road right in the city of Ramadi.  We turned a real sharp right and all I seen was decapitated bodies.  The heads laying over here and the bodies over here and U.S. troops in between them.  I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, what in the hell happened here?  What's caused this?  Why in the hell did this happen?' 

We get out and somebody was screaming, 'We fucking lost it here!'  I'm thinking, 'Oh, yes, somebody definitely lost it here.'"

Joshua says he was ordered to look around for evidence of a firefight, for something to rationalize the beheaded Iraqis. "I look around just for a few seconds and I don't see anything."  But then he noticed the sight that now triggers his nightmares.

"I see two soldiers kicking the heads around like a soccer ball. I just shut my mouth, walked back, got inside the tank, shut the door, and it was like, I can't be no part of this. This is crazy.  I came here to fight and be prepared for war but this is outrageous.  Why did it happen?  That's just my question: Why did that happen?"

Joshua rejects the U.S. government line that the Iraqis fighting the occupation are terrorists.  "I'm thinking: What the hell?  I mean, that's not a terrorist.  That's the man's home we killed.  That's his son, that's the father, that's the mother, that's the sister. Houses are destroyed.  Husbands are detained and wives don't even know where they're at.  I mean, them are pissed-off people, and they have a reason to be pissed off.  I would never wish this upon myself or my family, so why would I do it upon them?"

Deserting to Canada seemed the only viable alternative, Joshua says.  He did it, he insists, because he was lied to "by my president." Iraq, it was obvious to him, was no threat to the United States. 

He says he followed his orders while he was in Iraq, and so no one can call him a coward for deserting.  "I was not a piece of shit.  I always did everything I was told and I did it to the highest standards.  They can never say, 'Oh, he was a piece of shit soldier.' No bullshit."

Joshua doesn't mind telling his war stories again and again. He readily agrees to talk about the horrors he experienced in Iraq, his life AWOL and underground in the States, and his new life as a deserter in Canada.

Telling the stories helps him deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he says, and he apologizes in advance if his narrative is not linear or if he has trouble expressing himself.  In fact, his scattered approach to his timeline and his machine gun-like delivery set the scene for his troubled memories -- there is nothing smooth or simple or easy to understand here.

MORE:

Unstable Troops On The Edge Of Snapping Pushed Back Into Combat:

“The Pentagon Could Not Guarantee Soldiers Who Need Further Help Would Get It”

But Army psychiatrists say that as the war in Iraq drags into a fourth year, they see the effects of multiple deployments on soldiers.  “They come back here and there’s almost like a rekindling,” Bowler said. “They’ll have a couple of experiences here and suddenly all of the things are fresh like it happened yesterday.”

June 05, 2006 By Ryan Lenz, Associated Press [Excerpts]

Sleepless nights, angry outbursts and vivid memories that replay endlessly of horrific bombings make each day a challenge for soldiers showing signs of combat stress.  And the stress keep coming, with catastrophic roadside bombs vaporizing soldiers here nearly every week.

Sgt. Jason Redick, 27, of Lapeer, Mich., saw his friends torn apart in an explosion that struck an armored Humvee in his convoy last November.

“It’s still vivid, everything about that day,” Redick said this week, staring blankly into the sand.  “I can remember everything.”

“There are guys here suffering,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Davis, 31, Newton, Mass., an Army therapist at Mahmoudiyah who meets with soldiers at all hours.

Soldiers call these sandy flats Iraq’s “Triangle of Death” because of the number of roadside bombs in their sectors.  The consistent enemy contact has made seeking help for mental anxiety commonplace: more than 40 percent of the nearly 1,000 soldiers in Mahmoudiyah have been treated for mental or emotional anxiety.

But Army psychiatrists say that as the war in Iraq drags into a fourth year, they see the effects of multiple deployments on soldiers.

“They come back here and there’s almost like a rekindling,” Bowler said. “They’ll have a couple of experiences here and suddenly all of the things are fresh like it happened yesterday.”

Last month a government study found that less than one-quarter of the U.S. military’s Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who show signs of post-traumatic stress are referred for additional mental health treatment or evaluation.

The Government Accountability Office also found that the Pentagon could not guarantee soldiers who need further help would get it.

[Ishikawa and Kuroshima would understand: insert troops into a hell on earth and there's no way to prevent atrocities.  Yet the real fiends in their capital suites are never spattered with a single drop of blood.  Solidarity, Z]

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

New Hampshire Soldier Killed In Iraq Bombing

Daniel Gionet joined the Army in 2001.  Courtesy: Lowell Sun

Jun 5, 2006 (CBS4)

PELHAM, N.H.:  A soldier from New Hampshire was killed in Iraq early Monday morning.

24-year-old Daniel Gionet of Pelham died after an improvised explosive device hit his tank in Taji, Iraq, while he was on patrol with his Army unit.

Gionet’s grandmother told CBS4 he was born in Lowell and moved to Pelham with his mother when he was in sixth grade. He graduated from Pelham High School in 2001.  His father Daniel still lives in Lowell.

Gionet leaves behind a wife, Katrina. They were married last November.

According to the Lowell Sun, Gionet joined the Army in 2001 and re-enlisted in May 2004 to become a medic.

The paper said he was due to return home next month for a 15-day leave.

Coppell Grad Who Served In Iraq Dies

Spc. J. Adán "Adam" García

May 31, 2006 Denton Publishing Co.

The war in Iraq claimed the life of a soldier who graduated from Coppell High School.

Spc. J. Adán "Adam" García, 20, died Saturday as a result of wounds suffered this month during an attack in Iraq, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.

A rosary and celebration of life will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Coppell. Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the church, followed by a procession to the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Spc. García was part of a special battalion of the 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, N.Y. Spc. García's unit was returning from an ordnance and explosives sweep when it came under small-arms fire, according to the statement.

Details of the attack weren't available.

Spc. García is a graduate of Coppell High School, according to family friends.

Italian Soldier Killed Near Nassiriya;

Four Wounded

06/05/06 By Mohammed al-Ramahi and Ahmed Rasheed, Reuters

An Italian soldier was killed and four others were wounded when a bomb blew up the vehicle they were traveling in about 100 km (60 miles) from their base in Nassiriya in southern Iraq, the Italian army said.

REALLY BAD IDEA:

NO MISSION;

HOPELESS WAR:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW

A U.S. soldier at the scene where a car bomb killed two police officers and injured four people when it detonated next to an Iraqi police patrol in the southeastern Zafaraniya neighborhood of Baghdad May 22, 2006.  (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

So Much For That “Sovereignty” Bullshit:

U.S. Occupation Dictator Tells Top Afghan Judge To Fuck Off

June 01, 2006 By Edward Harris, Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan:  A top Afghan judge said Thursday that foreigners could be tried for crimes committed in Afghanistan, after parliament called for the prosecution of Americans involved in a road accident that sparked a deadly riot in Kabul.

But U.S. Ambassador Ronald Neumann said that American troops in Afghanistan can’t be punished under local law, exposing a difference of opinion that could cause friction with Afghans disenchanted over America’s powerful presence in the country.

“Afghanistan’s Patience Is Running Out”

[Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.]

June 1, 2006 Editorial, New York Times [Excerpt]

Afghans have long been renowned for their hostility toward foreign troops on their territory, as the 20th-century Russians and the 19th-century British learned the hard way.

Afghanistan's patience is running out.  America's military presence is seen as narrowly focused on Washington's own agenda of hunting down Al Qaeda fighters and indifferent to Afghan civilian casualties and Afghanistan's own security needs.

Silly Canadian Gov’t Says No War In Afghanistan:

Military Chaplin Says Yes There Is

May 31, 2006 CANADIAN PRESS

There has also been a tussle in the House of Commons over whether what Canada is involved in Afghanistan is a war.  The government says it is not.

That news must have missed Armed Forces Padre Dwayne Boss.

“Perhaps for some, her death overseas in this war we are fighting, has created many questions . . . about our involvement in Afghanistan.  Was her death worth the risk? Would I substitute myself for her?”

But he provided the answers to those questions, from a soldier’s point of view.

“We have to believe that there is a sense of purpose for us being there, or else we might as well take off our uniforms and go home.”

TROOP NEWS

THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW, ALIVE

The hearse carrying the body of Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Posivio III passes after Posivio's funeral at St. Paul's Evangelical Reformed Church in Welcome, Minn., June 3, 2006.  Posivio was killed May 23 in Iraq when a roadside bomb hit the Humvee in which he was riding.  (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

“Of 300 Marines Who Graduated From Boot Camp With Lance Cpl. Gary Rodriguez, He Estimates That 75 Have Been Killed In Battle”

May 24, 2006 By PRESTON McCONKIE, Staff Writer, Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc.

Out of 300 Marines who graduated from boot camp with Lance Cpl. Gary Rodriguez, he estimates that 75 have been killed in battle. 

That's only one reason it's amazing to learn that the 21-year-old Rodriguez, a 2003 graduate of Coolidge High School who grew up on the Gila River Indian Reservation, is going back to Iraq rather than quietly slipping back into civilian life.  Instead, one year and 364 days after a bomb burned and riddled the right side of his body, he shipped out to join an unnamed Marine battalion in Iraq.

"I got wounded on the 13th of May, 2004, and I've just been dealing with the medical (issues) and trying to get better again," Rodriguez said during a May 12 phone interview from Camp Pendleton, Calif.  "Now that I'm fit for duty I'm deploying again."

"Fit for duty" includes not being able to fully extend his right arm after four screws were used to put it back together, and a face that does not move on the right side due to nerves cut by shrapnel.

"I received shrapnel to the right side of my head," said Rodriguez, who during the last eight months has made repeated weekend visits home and visited with friends and former school teachers.  "It went through behind the ear and punctured the nerves to the right side of my face."

Rodriguez said the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that killed one Marine and injured three others, including himself, was made from three 155 mm artillery shells that were buried in the road and set off under his vehicle, the last in a convoy.

One shell was a rocket assisted projectile that had been packed with ball bearings, and two of the steel balls punched into Rodriguez' right lung.  His first sergeant survived but has only recently begun walking again.

A second shell was standard high-explosive, and a third was a horror weapon: white phosphorous.  Rodriguez was hit on the leg with some of the white phosphorous, which burned away flesh and required skin grafts to repair. The corpsman was splattered along his entire right side by the phosphorus, but according to Rodriguez he worked to treat all the wounded and the dead Marine while Rodriguez himself lay coughing up blood.

Although Rodriguez also had to have skin grafts to help rebuild his mangled right elbow, the soft- spoken Marine only says he is happy to still have the arm.  He says doctors at first thought it might have to be amputated, and he sums up the experience by saying, "I got pretty lucky."

Lucky to still have the arm, but even luckier to be alive at all.

"The piece of shrapnel that cut the nerve to the right side of my face stopped right against my jugular.  It's still there now; they can't do anything about it. It's an eighth of an inch away.

"An eighth of an inch more and I wouldn't be here.  So I'm pretty lucky."

No, he didn't have to go back; civilian life, a pension and plenty of college money were his for the asking, but first he's determined to finish a four-year hitch that doesn't end until June of 2007.  That means going back to Iraq for seven months with a unit that's due to rotate back to the U.S. at the end of the year.

Then, yes, he plans to get out and attend an Arizona university, with tentative plans to become a high school history instructor. First, though, he has to uphold the honor of the Marine Corps and finish a last tour dedicated to the memory of his late best friend, Cpl. Joshua Ware of Apache, Okla.

"I lost my best friend Nov. 16 last year in Operation Steel Curtain," Rodriguez said. "That's what inspired me to stay in - because he loved the Marine Corps a lot and I just felt like I could carry the torch for him."

Rodriguez said Ware died in Fallujah during a room-clearing.  As a squad leader he was the second man through a door and took the brunt of a grenade dropped from a higher floor by insurgents.  Rodriguez said Ware's comrades then eliminated 16 of the insurgents before the skirmish ended.

But it isn't just the wish to memorialize Ware or champion the Marine Corps tradition that motivates him.  Although he has days when he doubts if the war effort is worth it, Rodriguez said his concern and admiration for the Iraqi people plays into the decision.

"It's about fifty-fifty for my friend and helping the people in Iraq," Rodriguez said. "There are actually good people there."

He's not always optimistic about the war, though.

"It depends on what kind of mood I'm in.  Sometimes I think we should be over there, then there are times I hear about friends dying, and it just changes my whole outlook of what we're doing over there and if we should even be over there. It's a day to day thing. I try to stay positive."

It's not what he hears on television that discourages him - the commentators don't have anything to teach him about the war.  It's the news that spreads through the tightly-knit Corps: the names of the dead, all too many of whom he personally knows.

"It's just finding out friends who died who have gone to boot camp with one of us."

How many friends?

"Out of that class of 300, I'd say about 75."

That's a mortality rate that hasn't been seen in the United States military for decades, but a smaller-than-ever military defending a bigger-than-ever population highlights the startling difference in the reality of a home front that is paying less attention to the dying going on within its thin, red line of heroes.

Yet despite the weight of the war and the wounds that he carries, Rodriguez keeps referring to himself as lucky.  He's lucky to be alive; he's also lucky to have heroes, several of whom are from Coolidge and have gotten visits from him while he's been convalescing, particularly Col. Richard Lister and First Sgt. David Ramirez, instructors at the CHS Marine Junior ROTC.

"He's a great guy," Rodriguez said of Lister.  "He is awesome. He helped me go to Hawaii and travel all over. (ROTC) was definitely a good experience for me. He and first sergeant have been like fathers to me."

Lister said Rodriguez and his girlfriend were guests of honor at the Nov. 10, 2005 Marine Corps Ball, and the young veteran was the keynote speaker to a crowd of 140.  Lister was surprised to learn Rodriguez was beginning another combat tour, having assumed he would be medically discharged.

"He was one of my cadet commanders," Lister said. "We think very highly of him. The kids still remember him over here, too."

Another mentor he has returned to talk with periodically, elementary school instructor Brent Peterson, has a hard time not choking up when he talks of Rodriguez.

"He's a remarkable young man," Peterson says.  And can only say it again. "He's a remarkable young man."

200 Florida National Guards Off To Bush’s Imperial Slaughterhouse

June 4, 2006 News4Jax, JACKSONVILLE, Fla.

About 200 Florida National Guard soldiers received a rousing send off Sunday as they prepare to deploy for 18 months of duty, most of it in Iraq.

The 1st battalion of the 111th Aviation Regiment will depart Monday from Cecil Commerce Center, headed first for training in Fort Sill, Okla., along with National Guard troops from Arkansas and Puerto Rico. They will then ship out to Kuwait, and, ultimately, Iraq.

“The Deadliest Month For British Troops Since The 2003 Invasion”

[Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.]

01 June 2006 By Terri Judd in Basra, Independent (UK) & By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor, Independent (UK) & 31 May 2006 By Ian Herbert and Ben Russell, The Independent (UK)

The servicemen and women have become used to the violence which appears to come in often inexplicable waves.

Each death chips away at morale, and for some it brings searing grief.  "Everyone was so keen to come out here. They are not so keen now," said one Royal Anglian soldier, who lost a friend 18 days ago.

More than 100 people were killed in May, including nine British soldiers in the deadliest month for British troops since the 2003 invasion.

The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, has said the number of attacks against coalition forces in southern Iraq rose to 103 in April from 36 in January.

Yesterday's announcement of a state of emergency is the first in Iraq and a sign of how serious the unrest has become in the British-controlled southeastern region, which had previously been relatively calm compared with Sunni areas of the country. In other troubled areas, including Baghdad and Ramadi, a curfew is in force.

Doug Henderson, a former defence and foreign minister, called for an "orderly withdrawal" of British forces. "It is very difficult for our troops. There is no sense of the job being done," he said.

Peter Kilfoyle, a former armed forces minister, added: "A decision has to be made very shortly whether we are serving any useful purpose in Iraq any longer.  I don't believe that is the case."

Massacre In Ishaqi:

“What Kind Of A Verdict Could Be Reached In 24 Hours?”

[Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.]

Jun 6, 2006 By Sami Moubayed, Asia Times [Excerpt]

Then came new accusations against the US military, now blamed for another killing in Ishaqi village north of Baghdad.

The British Broadcasting Corp last week aired images of 11 Iraqi citizens killed by the Americans on March 15.  The bodies included four women and five children.  The oldest was 75 years old.  The youngest was six months.

The video was obtained from a Sunni resistance group opposed to the US occupation of Iraq.  The US story at the time said that four Iraqis (not 11) had died as US troops raided a building trying to catch Ahmad Abdullah Mohammad Na'is al-Utaybi, a member of al-Qaeda.

Iraqi police challenged the US tale, saying that the number was 11 (including five children and four women), deliberately killed by US troops, who also deliberately blew up the building once they had finished.

Surprising the world, after leaking that 12 marines would face charges for the event, the US military declared that they were innocent on Friday, 24 hours after the BBC film was broadcast. 

Angry Iraqis are asking: "What kind of a verdict could be reached in 24 hours?"

Two scandals in one week, however, for Bush were simply too much to tolerate.

This might explain why the Americans quickly wrapped up the Ishaqi affair, saying that all accusations of a massacre by US troops were "absolutely false".

MORE:

PENTAGON CALLS “OPERATION INSTANT EXONERATION” A SUCCESS:

Military Probe Of Ishaqi Sets New World Speed Record

June 4, 2006 The Borowitz Report

After the U.S. military said it had cleared of any wrongdoing a commander who led a raid on a home in the Iraqi town of Ishaqi, the Pentagon announced that its latest mission, dubbed Operation Instant Exoneration, had been a stunning success.

At a press briefing at the Pentagon today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld revealed that Operation Instant Exoneration, in which military officials charged with wrongdoing are exonerated more swiftly than ever before, was the culmination of months of meticulous planning.

"We have worked hard to make our military probes faster, lighter, and more cursory than ever before," Secretary Rumsfeld said.  "When it is time to exonerate military personnel who have been involved in raids or massacres, we believe we now have what it takes to hit the ground running."

Secretary Rumsfeld noted that the military's probe of the Ishaqi raid had set a new world speed record for exonerations, but added that the military would try to beat that record when it came time to probe the killings in the Iraqi town of Haditha.

"We exonerated the commander at Ishaqi pretty darn quickly, but a record like that is made to be broken," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

Acknowledging that some innocent civilians had perished in both incidents, Mr. Rumsfeld said that he would send out a memo to commanders to clear up apparent confusion about the war's actual objective: "Operation Iraqi Freedom does not mean making the country free of Iraqis."

Washington Governor Will Refuse To Order National Guard To Mexican Border

6.5.06 Seattle Times

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire said she will not compel any of the state's National Guard troops to serve on the Mexico border if they are asked.

The governors of four southwest states-California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas-signed agreements with the federal government last week to provide the first deployments starting this month. Federal officials have not begun talks with Washington leaders on a similar pact.

Activists, Police Face Off After Ship Arrives For Iraq Cargo:

“U.S. Troops Are Worth More Than $3.25 A Gallon”

Thurston County Sheriff’s officers stand between protesters and the Port of Olympia fence after a crowd tried to tear the fence down Monday evening following the arrival of a large military ship bound for Iraq.  Photo by Toni L. Bailey/The Olympian

[Thanks to Ron Jacobs, who sent this in.]

May 31, 2006 By Katherine Tam, The Olympian

OLYMPIA:  Law enforcement officials armed with pepper spray and dressed in riot gear guarded the gate at the Port of Olympia Monday night, where about 150 activists gathered to protest a military ship that arrived to take equipment to Iraq.

Protesters chanted “Out of Olympia, Out of Iraq” as they rocked the chain-link gate so hard that it looked like it might give way.  At least three people tried to use wooden boards to pry the gate open.

Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies used a loudspeaker to warn the group to back off repeatedly before they deployed pepper spray at least four times in a one-hour period around 9:30 p.m.  Dozens of people at the port plaza crouched over, dousing each other’s eyes with bottles of water and offering slices of onion to ease burning in the throat.

There were no arrests as of 11:30 p.m., said Capt. Brad Watkins of the Sheriff’s Office.

Paramedics were dispatched to the port to treat some of the protesters.

As word spread that deputies dressed in riot gear were coming, several protesters tried to block an entrance into the port plaza with a row of dumpsters and recycling bins. The deputies moved the items aside and took positions in front of the gate.

The confrontation calmed down after a half-hour standoff, and by 11:30 p.m., most of the protesters and police had dispersed.  About 20 protesters remained for a quiet vigil. Port officials reinforced the gate by putting a 50-ton piece of equipment up against it.

Convoys of Stryker vehicles and other equipment were routed through downtown last week, where protesters tried to stop them from reaching the port.  Police made 16 arrests for interference over three days last week.

The military ship pulled into the port at about 7:30 p.m. Monday. U.S. Coast Guard vessels with large guns secured the waterway.  

Activists lined the port plaza and the floating boat dock that juts into Budd Inlet, waving signs that read “No Iraq War” and “U.S. Troops are worth more than $3.25 a gallon.” One protester shouted “Get out of our waters” from a bullhorn.

A number of activists said they had rearranged their work schedules or skipped school last week to protest the use of the port for military shipments.  Caleb Hollatz missed three days of class at The Evergreen State College and said he probably would lose credits.  Nikki Miller, who also missed class at Evergreen, said she wasn’t sure what would happen.

“My personal life is nonexistent right now, but it’s all worth it,” Miller said.  “I oppose the war because it’s illegal.  We oppose the militarization of our port to send weapons to Iraq.  We don’t want our community to be complicit in crimes against humanity.”

Several acknowledged there was little they could do to halt the shipments now that the cargo was at the port and the military ship was here, but they said they were here to make it known that the activity isn’t welcome.

“I think Olympia can be an example for other community,” said Sandy Mayes of Olympia. “If multiple communities begin to emulate these kinds of actions, it might gum up the gears a little bit.”

“The message we’re trying to send is the Olympia community disagrees with this and we’re being ignored.  We’re trying to say this is not right,” said Hollatz, who held a sign reading “You Are Entering the Peace Port of Olympia; No Weapons Please.”

Public sentiment was not unanimous.  Several people who were strolling along Percival Landing and came upon the demonstration said they disagreed.  A family of six stopped to applaud and wave at the ship.

“We should support our troops,” said Valerie Smith, whose friend is in Iraq.  “They do remarkable things.  They’re in Iraq and they come to the U.S. and see this sort of stuff, what does that tell them?”  [It tells them people back home want them out of that evil Imperial war, and guess what: that’s what they want too.  Duh.]

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.

Anti-War Protester Is Defiant To The Last:

“You Wanted An Apology, You Wanted Remorse; Forget About It”

June 03, 2006 Damian G. Guevara, Plain Dealer Reporter

Political activist Carolyn Fisher stood before a Cuyahoga County judge and remained defiant even as she faced jail time for attacking two police officers.

Fisher told Common Pleas Judge Timothy J. McGinty that she was wrongfully arrested and accused McGinty of attempting to silence political dissent and intimidate her.

"Let's get real," McGinty said, pointing a pen at Fisher.  "You're here because you've been convicted. . . . I'm not here to listen to your political diatribe."

McGinty ended Friday's quarrelsome, two-part sentencing hearing by sending Fisher to County Jail for 60 days and putting her on probation for two years.  Adding to the tense atmosphere were more than 20 of Fisher's supporters, three of whom were kicked out of the courtroom for making political statements or exclamations.

A jury found Fisher, 54, of Cleveland, guilty in April of assaulting two Cleveland Heights patrolmen.  The confrontation occurred in January after the officers ordered Fisher to take down anti-Bush fliers she had placed on utility poles.  Posting fliers is against city ordinances.

McGinty warned Fisher then that she should be prepared to apologize to the officers at her sentencing, or "bring your toothbrush," indicating that she would be sent to prison.

The bespectacled, silver-haired woman's reply Friday: "You wanted an apology, you wanted remorse -- forget about it."

Friday's drama was the end of a contentious five months.  From the start, Fisher and her supporters claimed that police had political motivations for arresting her, and that the officers abused her.

Last month, McGinty sent Fisher to jail because she refused to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and did not show up for a hearing and probation interview.  McGinty freed her after she complied.

The tension continued Friday when McGinty angrily postponed a morning hearing because Fisher wore a T-shirt bearing a mock "wanted" poster that included the faces of President George W. Bush and members of his administration.  McGinty chastised Fisher and ordered her to come back in different attire.

"We are not here about her protest," McGinty said. "This is not about the war."

While Fisher's lawyer, Terry Gilbert, said he thought McGinty acted inappropriately when he demanded that Fisher change clothes, the court's presiding judge, Nancy McDonnell, said a judge can dictate what is worn in the courtroom to maintain decorum.

Fisher and several of her supporters returned for the afternoon hearing wearing the anti-Bush shirts, but McGinty did not make an issue of it.

Gilbert said Fisher plans to appeal the conviction.

John Amidon, Veteran USMC, Target of Illegal Spying

May 2006, By John Amidon, Targets Of Illegal Spying, American Civil Liberties Union

“On April 20, 2005 approximately 75 students and community members stood in front of the fountain at the SUNY Albany, Campus Center.  As a member of Veterans For Peace, I had been asked to speak about honesty in recruitment, and about discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans by the U.S. military.

“In December NBC News aired a story about groups being spied on by the government. The SUNY Albany event was one that had been watched. 

“When asked how I felt about being spied on, I couldn’t help but reflect on the breadth and scope of the U.S. intelligence community: the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, private contractors, informants, spies, the DEA, AFT, and secret units I have yet to learn about.

“On top of all this, I learn the military is spying on me.

“Maybe, just maybe if the leaders of the “Free” world stopped spying on Quakers and librarians and Veterans For Peace, they might actually protect rather than harm and threaten us.

“How do I feel?  I feel angry, depressed and disgusted.  I also feel strongly motivated to affirm and protect our inalienable rights and freedoms.

“I served honorably as a Corporal in the Marines during the Vietnam War.  I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the United States.  I still intend to honor that oath.

“I am not intimidated by the government spying on me.  I am empowered by it.  I am an average guy and I know the fate of our nation now rests in our hands.  There is a real urgency now to right the course of this nation and we need everyone to participate in restoring the rule of law to our lives and to our nation.”

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

“Can Anyone Blame Iraqis For Joining The Resistance Now?”

June 05, 2006 By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press

Hassan Bazaz, a Baghdad University political scientist and the head of an independent research center, said the strong interest now being shown by Western news media in the alleged U.S. misconduct is only catching up with views in Iraq.

“There is nothing new or surprising for Iraqis,” said Bazaz, who is from a prominent Sunni Arab family.  “The problem is that the outside world has been isolated from what happens on the ground in Iraq. 

“What the media says now is only a fraction of what happens every day.”

“Can anyone blame Iraqis for joining the resistance now?” said Mustafa al-Ani, an Iraqi analyst living in Dubai.

GET THE MESSAGE?

Iraqis carrying banners reading 'Down, down, U.S.A.' and 'Yes, Yes, Islam' demonstrate in the Shula district of Baghdad June 5, 2006 in protest against a raid by U.S. forces on one of Muqtada al-Sadr's offices in Baghdad, and demanding the release Iraqi citizens arrested by occupation troops.  (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Assorted Resistance Action

06/05/06 by Ammar Karim, AFP & Reuters & By Qais Al-Bashir, The Associated Press

In west Baghdad, an employee of the municipality was shot dead in the upscale Sunni neighborhood of Mansur.

Also in the eastern part of the city a civil servant with the industry ministry was shot on his way to work.

In nearby Mosul, armed men on a motorcycle opened fire on a gathering of police, killing one and wounding another four.

Militants shot dead the bodyguard of a local official and the bodyguard's father and brother in the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad.

Guerrillas shot dead Ghalib Ali Abdulla, the head of the local municipal council in Baghdad's western district of Mansour, and his driver.

Militants in two cars killed Kadim Falhi Hussein al-Saedi, a member of the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, near his home in western Baghdad, police said.

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

GUESS WHICH SIDE HE’S ON:

6.5.06: An Iraqi police man salutes demonstrators in the Shula district of Baghdad June 5, 2006 in protest against a raid by U.S. forces on one of Muqtada al-Sadr's offices in Baghdad, and demanding the release Iraqi citizens arrested by occupation troops.  (AFP/Ali Al Saadi)

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

The Soldiers In Revolt:

“We Don’t Want Other People To Take Our Land Away From Us.  Neither Will We Fight To Take Other People’s Land Away From Them”

[Thanks to PB, who sent this in.]

[After a revolution in February 1917 got rid of the Russian Czar and his nobility, the new government tried to continue the war for Empire.  This describes the mood among the soldiers as they realized they had been betrayed.  In October 1917, the soldiers joined the urban workers in a second revolution to set up their own government, made up of elected councils of soldiers and workers.  Their new revolutionary government got Russia out of the war, immediately.  T]

Albert Rhys Williams. Through the Russian Revolution. 1921 [Excerpt]

In thousands the soldiers were throwing down their guns and streaming from the front.

Like plagues of locusts they came, clogging railways, highways and waterways.  They swarmed down on trains, packing roofs and platforms, clinging to car-steps like clusters of grapes, sometimes evicting passengers from their berths.  A Y.M.C.A. man swears he saw this sign: “Tovarish Soldiers: Please do not throw passengers out of the window after the train is in motion.”  Perhaps an exaggeration.  Put they did throw our suitcases out of the window.

It happened on a trip I made to Moscow with Alex Gumberg.  Our compartment was crowded, and the Russians, having almost hermetically sealed door and window against the night air, went blissfully to sleep. The place, soon steaming like a Turkish bath, became unbearable.  To let in a breath of air, I slid the door open, then joined the sleepers.  In the morning I woke to a harsh surprise.  Our suitcases were gone.

“Some tovarish robbers in uniform threw them out of the window and then jumped off the train,” explained the old conductor.  His consolation for our grief was that they had likewise stolen the baggage of an officer in the next compartment.  We grieved not so much for the loss of our clothes as for the invaluable passports, notebooks and letters of introduction our bags contained.

Two weeks later we got another surprise: a summons from the station-master in Moscow.  There was one of our suitcases forwarded to us by the robbers.  It contained none of our clothes but all our documents and the officers’ papers; not a single one was missing.

After all, considering the plight of the hordes of deserting soldiers that swept across the land, one wonders not at the number of thefts and excesses they committed but at the fewness of them.  And if the tales of awful conditions in the trenches were true, the wonder is not that so many soldiers deserted but that so many still remained at the front.

I wanted to see conditions for myself.  Many times I tried to get a pass to the front.  At last in September I succeeded. With John Reed and Boris Reinstein, I started for the Riga Sector.

With us was a Russian priest, a big bearded fellow, gentle and amiable, but with a terrible thirst for tea and conversation.  On the door of our compartment the guard slapped up a sign that said: “American Mission.  “Under this aegis we slept and ate as the train crept thru the autumn drizzle and the priest talked endlessly on about his soldiers.

“In the old text of the church prayers,” he said, “God is called Czar of Heaven and the Virgin, Czarina.  We’ve had to leave that out, The people won’t have God insulted, they say. The priest prays for peace to all nations.  Whereupon the soldiers cry out, ‘Add “without annexations and indemnities”.  

“Then we pray for travellers, for the sick and the suffering.  And the soldiers cry ‘Pray also for the deserters’.  

“The Revolution has made havoc with the Faith, yet the masses of soldiers are religious.  Much can still be done in the name of the cross.

“But the Imperialists tried to do too much with it.  ‘On with the war!’ they cried, ‘On with the war, until we plant the cross glittering over the dome of Saint Sophia’s in Constantinople.’

“And the soldiers replied:

“‘Yes!  But before we plant the cross on Saint Sophia’s, thousands of crosses will be planted on our graves.  We don’t want Constantinople.  We want to go home.  We don’t want other people to take our land away from us.  Neither will we fight to take other people’s land away from them.”

But even if they had the will to fight, what could they fight with?  

At Wenden, the old city of the Teutonic Knights, we were set down in the midst of an army in ruins.  Out of a gray sky the rain poured down, turning roads into rivers, and the soldiers’ hearts into lead.  Out of the trenches gaunt skeletons rose up to stare at us.  

We saw famine-stricken men falling on fields of turnips to devour them raw.  We saw men walking barefoot in the stubbled fields, summer uniforms arriving at the beginning of winter, horses dropping dead in mud up to their bellies.  Above the lines brazenly hovered the armored planes of the enemy watching every move.  There were no air-craft guns, no food, no clothes.  

And to crown all, no faith in their superiors.

Because their officers and government would or could do nothing for them the soldiers were doing things for themselves.  On all sides, even in trenches and gun-positions, new soldiers’ councils were springing up. Here in Wenden there were three: (Is-ko-sol, Is-ko-lat, Is-ko-strel).

We were guests of the last, the Soviet of Lettish Sharp-Shooters, the most literate, the most valiant, the most revolutionary of all.

For protection against the German planes, they convened in a tree-screened valley, ten thousand brown uniforms blending with the autumn tinted leaves.  Even with the threat above them, every mention of Kerensky’s name drew gales of laughter, every mention of peace thunders of applause.

“We are not cowards or traitors,” declared the spokesmen.

“But we refuse to fight until we know what we are fighting for.  We are told this is a war for democracy.  We do not believe it.  We believe the Allies are land-grabbers like the Germans.  Let them show that they are not.  Let them declare their peace terms.  Let them publish the secret-treaties.  Let the Provisional Government show it is not hand in glove with the Imperialists.  Then we will lay down our lives in battle to the last man.”

This was the root of the debacle of the great Russian armies.  Not primarily that they had nothing to fight with but that they felt they had nothing to fight for.

Backed by the workingmen the soldiers were determined that the war should stop.

“They Feel The Hot Breath Of A Powerful Mass Movement On The Back Of Their Neck”

May 6, 2006 By John Bell, Socialist Worker (Canada) [Excerpt]

But almost unfailingly, when a bureaucrat or legislator does “something good,” for the environment or any other social justice issue, it is because they feel the hot breath of a powerful mass movement on the back of their neck.

Finally, let no one misunderstand what I’m saying: I am not saying the fight for reforms …… is a waste of time.  On the contrary, it is essential.

But equally essential is acknowledging the power source that created those reforms: not the power of individuals at the “top” of government or corporations, but the power of mass movements organized from the workplace, community and classroom up.

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.

OCCUPATION REPORT

“May God Take Revenge On The Americans And Those Who Brought Them Here”

Pregnant Woman And Cousin Butchered

June 01, 2006 By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press & 31 May 2006 By Christine Hauser, The New York Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq: The shooting death of a pregnant Iraqi, apparently by U.S. troops, as she was rushing to a hospital threw an intense spotlight on the troubling issue of Iraqi civilian deaths.

Iraqi police and witnesses said the troops gunned down the woman and her cousin in their car.

[O]n Tuesday, Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, a 35-year-old pregnant woman, and her cousin Saliha Mohammed Hassan, 57, became the latest victims of what many Iraqis think is the American troops’ disregard for life.

Jassim’s brother, Khalid Nisaif Jassim, said he was speeding to get to a maternity hospital in Samarra when shots were fired at his car. He said the shooting happened on a side road that the U.S. military closed two weeks ago. 

"I was driving my car at full speed because I did not see any sign or warning from the Americans."

News of the closure, he said, was slow to reach the rural area just outside Samarra where his family lives.

The cousins’ bodies were taken to Samarra General Hospital, where relatives said doctors struggled to save Jassim’s baby but failed.

Nabiha Nisaif Jassim is survived by a husband, 36-year-old Hussein Tawfeeq, and two children, Hashimayah, 2, and Ali, 1. Tawfeeq was waiting at the hospital for his wife when she was shot.

“May God take revenge on the Americans and those who brought them here,” Jassim’s brother told the AP.

“People are shocked and fed up with the Americans. People in Samarra are very angry with the Americans not only because of Haditha case but because the Americans kill people randomly, especially recently.”

“The loss of life is regrettable and coalition forces go to great lengths to prevent them,” the military said of the Samarra shooting.

But many Iraqis say they are fed up.

Iraqis consistently speak of random shootings and arbitrary arrests.

Some U.S. troops are now on their third deployment in Iraq, and the stress of combat in a country where almost anyone is a potential enemy can be immense.  The Marine unit involved in the alleged Haditha killings was on its third tour in Iraq.

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

Notes >From A Lost War:

“Life” In The Quagmire

"It is better to keep away from the Americans," says Aarif al-Bazzi, a 47-year-old shopkeeper.  "It's unjustifiable for anyone to go to them or talk to them about any local problem."

May 19, 2006 By PHILIP SHISHKIN, Wall St. Journal.  Salih Mehdi contributed to this article.  [Excerpts]

SAMARRA, Iraq:  A few days after insurgents killed two of his bodyguards, Asaad Ali Yaseen sat in his living room with a pistol beside him and pondered the challenges of running this city.  As if on cue, a U.S. soldier burst in to announce that a sniper's bullet had just struck a military vehicle parked outside.  Mr. Yaseen and his guest, U.S. Army Maj. Steven Delvaux, barely stirred. "It would be good if you had a deputy," Maj. Delvaux volunteered.

"I already have two deputies, but they stay at home with their women," replied Mr. Yaseen, who is president of Samarra's city council, which rarely meets.

"There must be somebody in the city who can help you," the major continued.

"I haven't found anyone yet," Mr. Yaseen said.

Reliance on one man for running so much of the city has caused concern.  "You are setting up one guy, you are not setting up a system," says Sgt. Rob Nevarez, who spent 10 months working in Samarra before returning to the U.S. 

The U.S. military, well aware that the current appointed council lacks legitimacy, is pushing for new city elections and meeting with local officials in charge of electricity, health and education.

The challenges are huge.  Along Samarra's unpaved avenues, wind blows rags and plastic bags onto coils of razor wire, where they hang resembling bizarre Christmas decorations.  By night, a city that was once the capital of an early Muslim empire is devoid of street life.  Roadside bombings, sniper fire and mortar attacks targeting U.S. troops occur almost daily, and anti-American graffiti frequently appear on walls.

Once appointed president of the city council, Mr. Yaseen sprung into action from his sprawling house with sand-bagged battle positions on the roof.  He made regular trips to Tikrit, the provincial capital, to patch up fraught relations with the provincial government and lobby for rebuilding funds.

"Building takes more time than destroying, and unfortunately there are many destroyers in the city and few builders," says Faieq al-Samarraie, son of the Darraji tribal leader. Samarra is awaiting a $25 million grant from the central government.

Mr. Yaseen's family is also involved in financial dealings with the U.S. military.  A company recommended by Mr. Yaseen's son is carting away mountains of grain from old silos on the site now occupied by the U.S. base here.  The company is free to sell the grain, though a bulk of the profits will be turned over to the city's depleted budget, according to U.S. officials and Mr. Yaseen's son Bakir, who runs his father's businesses in Baghdad.  The project "will not make us rich," says Bakir.

To accelerate the city's rebuilding efforts, U.S. officers in Samarra say they are considering an unusual arrangement in which the U.S. would buy Mr. Yaseen's compound -- his mansion and two adjacent buildings -- and convert it into a police station and possibly a courthouse. 

The U.S. has already spent $700,000 attempting to build a police station they have estimated would cost $4.5 million in total.

But that project has been bogged down since insurgents struck it several times, blowing a huge hole through one of the walls.

Mr. Yaseen is asking $2.5 million for his complex. That would be cheaper than building from scratch and would provide a better quality structure, according to U.S. military officials.  No final decision has been made on the plan or on a price. U.S. officers in Samarra would need permission from their superiors to proceed with the purchase.

If the deal does go through, Mr. Yaseen would take up residence inside a heavily guarded area where he already has an office.

Simply working so closely with the U.S. military is enough to tarnish his standing in the eyes of many city residents. 

"It is better to keep away from the Americans," says Aarif al-Bazzi, a 47-year-old shopkeeper.  "It's unjustifiable for anyone to go to them or talk to them about any local problem."

Mr. Yaseen says he wants the Americans to stay until Iraqi police are able to take charge of security.  But for now, he's relying on his own private army for protection. 

The local police force now has some 700 cops, about a third of whom show up for work on an average day. In the outskirts of Samarra, Col. Ahmed Yousef Bellal has only two squad cars for 49 cops, who often have to buy their own fuel.  Behind him stands a bombed-out hull of an old police station.  A few months ago, insurgents attacked it and killed a dozen cops.

Mr. Yaseen feels equally besieged.  Days before two guards were murdered in late April, a car bomb killed another guard and narrowly missed his children.  The president sent his family to Syria.  His wife asked him to leave too, he says, but he decided to stay behind.  "If I'd left with my family I would have lost my dignity," he says. "I'm not going to give up; I'm going to fight them to death."

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

Bush Buddies Lose In Somalia:

Warlords Defeated In Battle And Running Away

[Thanks to PB, who sent this in.  He writes: This is definitely a turning point. Now it's Washington's move.]

Many analysts view the violence as a proxy war between the United States and Islamic militants.  Many Somalis have moved to the Islamic side because of Washington's perceived support for the warlords, residents say.

6.5.06 By Mohamed Ali Bile, Reuters Limited & BBC News

Islamic militia appeared to control Mogadishu on Monday after winning a bloody three-month battle against warlords who have run the Somali capital for 15 years.

Many of the warlords, widely believed to be covertly backed by Washington, were fleeing to other parts of Somalia or neighbouring Kenya.

"The era of warlords in Somalia is over," resident Mohamed Asser said.  "This morning Mogadishu is under only one hand, the Islamic courts."

Many analysts view the violence as a proxy war between the United States and Islamic militants.  Many Somalis have moved to the Islamic side because of Washington's perceived support for the warlords, residents say.

The sharia courts have also gained popularity by restoring a semblance of order to parts of the chaotic capital.

"The Islamic courts announced they are in control of Mogadishu.  They said they would work with residents to improve security in the capital," resident Ali Abdikadir told Reuters by telephone after attending a public meeting.

"This is good news for us because the warlords were always engaged in battles, we are looking forward to a life without fighting," he added.

Ali Nur, a warlord coalition militiaman, said members of the alliance were now fleeing. "We have no immediate plans.  Most of our leaders have fled Mogadishu to Jowhar," he said.

After the latest battle on Sunday, in which 18 people died, the Islamic militia took control of the strategic town of Balad, 30 km (20 miles) from Mogadishu.

The town controls the supply route from the warlord stronghold of Jowhar further north.

The Islamic fighters followed up on Monday by taking Dayniile, the last warlord stronghold in the capital.

Residents said Dayniile was taken without a fight.  The area was a stronghold of top warlord Mohamed Qanyare, who left two days ago after local elders ordered him out to stop battles with mortars, rockets and anti-aircraft artillery that have caused heavy civilian casualties.

"The city is calm and we hope it will stay that way," 19-year old resident Samira Jama said.

Washington has not commented on persistent reports that it is covertly funnelling large sums of money to the warlords.

John Prendergast, who monitors Somalia for the think-tank International Crisis Group, said he had learned from warlord alliance members in Somalia that the CIA was financing them with cash payments of $100,000 to $150,000 per month.

The head of the BBC's Somali service described the rise of the Islamic Courts group as a popular uprising.

President Abdullahi Yusuf had urged the US to channel its campaign against Somalia's Islamists through his government, rather than the warlords and came under heavy pressure from some MPs to sack the warlords because of the fighting in Mogadishu.

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.  http://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)

GI Special distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  We believe this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being distributed without charge or profit for educational purposes to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for educational purposes, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  GI Special has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor is GI Special endorsed or sponsored by the originators.  This attributed work is provided a non-profit basis to facilitate understanding, research, education, and the advancement of human rights and social justice Go to: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml for more information.  If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

If printed out, this newsletter is your personal property and cannot legally be confiscated from you.  “Possession of unauthorized material may not be prohibited.”  DoD Directive 1325.6 Section 3.5.1.2.





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