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GI Special 4H13: " Well, What Are We Doing Here?" - August 13, 2006

Thomas F. Barton

www.albasrah.net
 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

8.13.06

Print it out: color best.  Pass it on.

 

GI SPECIAL 4H13:

 

 

[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, who sent this in.]

 

 

Refusing to Fight:

"Still In Touch With His Unit, Snyder Says They Fully Support What He’s Doing And Now Confide In Him"

"From The People That I Know Morale Is Like, 'Well, What Are We Doing Here For The Fourth Time?’"

An interview with Resister Kyle Snyder

 

August 9, 2006 By Karen Button, uruknet.info?p=25612 [Excerpts]

 

"I joined the military when I was 19 years old from a government program called Job Corps, in Clearfield, Utah," Snyder begins.  "I wasn't a good kid.  I didn’t have a good background.  I was in foster homes from thirteen to seventeen, then when I was seventeen,  I went through a government program called Job Corps. So, from thirteen all the way up, I didn’t have parental figures in my life really.

 

"My parents divorced; my father was really abusive towards my mother and he was abusive toward me. I’ve still got scars on my back. I was put in Social Services when I was thirteen. I was an easy target for recruiters, plain and simple.

 

"The minute I graduated in 2003, Staff Sgt. Williamson came to me and he mentioned all the benefits military programs had to offer.  And, for the first time in my life, I saw that I could become something more.  I saw a man in a professional uniform, clean-cut, a very professional man coming up to me, wanting me, saying I could look just like him. I wanted that. I don’t know any other 19 year old that wouldn’t want that.

 

"I joined the military for materialistic benefits. A $5,000 bonus seemed really really nice being 19 years old. Maybe I could put a down payment on a car or something. I wanted to go to college. I wanted to provide for a family; I wanted to have a family. I wanted all the benefits that the military had to offer."

 

I asked Snyder if he thought about the invasion of Iraq when he joined the military.  He said yes, but "more than anything I wanted to reconstruct the civilization of Iraq.  I wanted to help liberate the people of Iraq, just like the American president was saying.

 

"So, I signed up to be a heavy construction equipment operator, part of the 94th Corps of Engineers. I figured if I was an engineer in the United States Army I could build foundations for the Iraqi people to form their new government, to form a civilization after the bombings of 2003."

 

Snyder did his basic training in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, which he described as "a simple military process that…breaks you down, breaks down all of (your) values into believing that killing another human being is ok, and that you can make money off of killing another life, taking another human being’s soul."

 

While at basic training, Snyder’s grandfather died.  He was denied leave to attend the funeral.  

 

Two weeks later he was allowed to go home, and it was then that his fiancée became pregnant.

 

After graduation, Snyder was sent to Germany where he became part of the 94th Engineers Combat Battalion Heavy. "That’s where I met my new friends, my new brothers that I would fight with.  This was my family."

 

It was there, Snyder says, he found out that his "child was dying inside of my fiancée’s…womb.  I brought it up to medical sergeants, medical commanders.  They told me that they couldn’t provide any medical attention for my child because we were not legally married.  The military took my child!  And nobody could say that I wasn’t trying to become a good father because I was in the military."

 

Bitter and angry at the military now, it was the loss of Snyder’s child that planted those first seeds.  Depressed and in shock, Snyder requested an exit from the military.  "I tried for six months while the deployment orders were still in effect for my unit."  He was refused.  

 

"I became very depressed. I just went numb inside. I was put on medication, Lorazipam and Paxyl.  I later refused to take the medication because I felt that it was numbing me. I decided that was something I needed to heal from myself.  And I believe it’s still something I need to heal from.

 

"I felt that the only reason I was getting (the anti-depressants) was because they wanted me…to be a soldier.

 

"I learned all the different weapon system that the military could offer in a combat situation. 50 cal are used with depleted uranium rounds; I found that out when coming to Canada.  I was never told that while I was in Iraq."

 

Though Snyder had just lost his child, was depressed, and was about to be deployed to the violence that is now Iraq, for the month prior his superiors assigned him to "Fallen Soldier Detail," where, Snyder says matter-of-factly, "I would salute the dead bodies that were put into caskets as they were returning to Germany before we shipped them off to the United States."

 

I ask him if that affected him, to see the dead coming back from where he was about to go. Surprisingly, he shakes his head…"nah, not really."  

 

Snyder says he didn’t expect to see combat anyway.  "Going to Iraq meant I was going to reconstruct a city, not kill people.  That’s what I believed I was going to do."

 

When Snyder arrived, however, he says he saw no reconstruction of Iraq.

 

"The only reconstruction I saw was building army bases.

 

"I was in Mosul. I was in Baghdad. I was in Stryker. I was in Scania.  I was in Tikrit… Iraq is the size of Texas, it’s a small country.  People need to realise that.  

 

There were reconstructions of forward operating bases and military bases, but no city work being done. I mean, none of that. So, why are the engineers there?" he asks rhetorically, shaking his head.

 

Instead of doing the job he signed up for, says Snyder, "I was sent into what we called The Force Protection Program; it was a separate entity from my unit. We escorted everything up to a general.

 

"I don’t know what is worse, telling your friends you can’t fight with them because you’re escorting a general who doesn’t want to see combat, or actually being a part of the combat."

 

Snyder’s first mission further demoralised him. "Capt. John G. Chung left me during my first mission. He left me and 8 personnel and 4 vehicles behind in Baghdad. He went to Forward Operating Base Scania, which was an hour north of Baghdad. My platoon sergeant, Staff Sgt Perkins went up to him and asked him why he had left.

 

"He didn’t answer us for about two months, until we confronted him and set a meeting up asking him why he had left us during the mission. 'That’s not any of my concern, because I’m just a Private.  He has different orders.  I don't care what his orders are.’ How would he explain to my mother if I had died, that he was missing during that mission?"

 

Though in Iraq only four and half months, Snyder says he conducted over 38 documented missions.  "Most men don’t even do two in a year.  The chances of me surviving a firefight were 30 percent…because I was a gunner. I was lucky because I wasn’t in too much combat.  But I did see my friends come back injured and I did see men from other units killed."

 

"Three months into Iraq, my friend, a man that I drank beer with, a man that I had even gone to college with for awhile, shot an innocent civilian who was raking rocks along the side of the road.  I remember having to go back to Forward Operating Base Marez, and reporting to my commanding officer what I just seen.  I remember writing a mission statement.  I remember requesting an investigation be done and I remember it being refused.

 

"’I can’t take this anymore!’  That’s what I thought to myself.  This is not what I signed up for and it’s not what’s being shown to the American public.  So, why the hell should I fight?

 

Because what that commanding officer was telling me by refusing that investigation, was that I could pick up my M-16 or my M-4 or my M-2 and go and kill 50 Iraqi civilians because I was angry and get away with it because it’s war!"

 

Snyder angrily declares, "The American president was saying that we were liberating and we were reconstructing.  Well, I expect to be doing that! I mean, who’s in the wrong here?  I was given false orders.  I was given false information.  I did expect to go and help reconstruct a society.

 

"You know, if they want to help people in Iraq….imagine a15 year-old kid, for the last 5 years all he’s seen is military personnel with weapons going through his city.  How is that child supposed to believe that that man, in that uniform is helping him?  Now, if that child saw a convoy of logs being brought to his city, or a convoy of water being brought to his city, still guarded, it would be a completely different situation.

 

That’s where the American military messed up.  Because they forgot about the perception of civilisation.  They forgot about the perception of the Iraqi people."

 

Snyder began documenting his missions. "I wanted to find out…you know it might have been because I was already angry with the United States Army…but it doesn’t matter. When they took my soul that way… you want them to be accountable for what they have done. Right?  So, for me, documenting and taking pictures and doing all of that, that was my way of saying 'look, you know what? You guys are the ones that are fucking up.’

 

He is now using the documentation as evidence in his refugee claim.  His defense?  "That this war is illegal and I should be able to make moral decisions as a soldier; I’m using international law and this is an international war, it’s not a civil war so they need to take into consideration international law."

 

"I left the military because the situation is now that it is not conducting itself as a professional unit.  Altogether the US military, in my eyes, is scrambled to the point that nobody knows what they’re doing, except the generals.

 

I think the generals are making bad decisions and giving bad orders to people like me.

 

So, I refuse to work in an organisation that is not professional.  I refuse to work in an organisation that commits war crimes.  It would be like if I worked for 7-11 and I found out my boss was laundering money.  I wouldn’t want to work for them, would I?  Nobody would question me then, if I quit that job.  I mean, that’s the reality of it.

 

"I thought about turning myself back in about four months ago.  I thought hard about this, to just get it over with.  But, you know what?  More and more, I think they have to catch me first.  I’m not hiding.  I’m right here.  But how bad would that look if Americans came over to Canada to arrest me?"

 

Still in touch with his unit, Snyder says they fully support what he’s doing and now confide in him.

 

"From the people that I know morale is like, 'well, what are we doing here for the fourth time?’

 

"They’re upset because they’ve been there for the third or fourth time and they’re married…a lot of them are.  

 

"So, if you’ve see your wife two months out of three years, how are you supposed to maintain a stable relationship?  And that’s part of the reason that a lot of them joined the military in the first place!  A lot of family men join, so nobody wants to fight a war they don’t have to."

 

I ask Snyder about soldiers committing atrocities, like those in Haditha where 24 civilians were intentionally killed, or the rape of a teenager and subsequent murder of her and her family in Mahmoudiya.

 

Snyder says he and most other soldiers are horrified by these events.

 

But, he says, it’s also important to remember the situation in which they’ve been placed. "You've got people who just don’t care!  It’s probably their third or fourth deployment and they blame the Iraqis because who are they going to blame?"

 

There have been accusations that some soldiers have been using drugs and I ask what Snyder thinks.

 

Snyder says he personally didn’t see drug use, but, says, "there is prostitution.

 

"The US military brings Iraqi women on the bases, five to six at a time.  They were probably in their mid-twenties…it was right across the street at Camp Diamond, in a massage parlor.  I was appalled the U.S. would be funding this!  It’s sickening. U.S. taxpayer’s money is going toward prostitution rings on U.S. bases.  I’m willing to sit in front of a court and say these same things."

 

When I ask how he knows the U.S. is funding this, he fires back, "You tell me where the money is coming from?  I hold the Bush Administration responsible."  Someone, he says, has approved it, otherwise they would not be on the bases.  "They owe an explanation why that kind of shit is going on."

 

"I love my country.  And that’s why I’m in Canada right now.  That’s it.  Plain and simple. …and any soldier that refuses to fight in this war has my respect."

 

Snyder’s schedule is full with speaking engagements, interviews, letter-writing, and organising. "Right now I’m working on getting a house in Surrey than any resister can come to."

 

Though emotionally exhausted, Snyder says he keeps going on the support he’s received. "It’s what fuels me, what gives me strength, just knowing that people all over the world support me."

 

I ask Snyder what he wants for the future. "I want to go back to college. I want the government to leave me alone and give me time to think and to process everything.  I want 21 back.  I want this war to stop.  That’s what I want.

 

"I want my friends home, and I want to know that Iraq is being reconstructed.  And that can still happen.  Economically, we owe the Iraqi people billions of dollars if you add up every single home and every single life that’s been taken.  America owes at least that."

 

For more information about the War Resisters Support Campaign go to www.resisters.ca.

 

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

New York City Soldier Killed Near Ramadi:

"He Didn’t Want To Go Back," The Mother Said

Spc. Hai Ming Hsia’s funeral service at Long Island National cemetery, Aug. 11, 2006 in Farmingdale, N.Y.  Spc. Hsia died Aug. 1, 2006 during combat operations in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He is survived by his wife Yanisse Oliveras, son Brandon Alexander Hsia, 3, and parents Ting Fang, and Nelida Hsia.  He was a member of 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

 

August 3, 2006 Kerry Burke and Leo Standora, Daily News

 

A New York soldier who joined the Army at age 33 to help support his newborn son was killed in Iraq Tuesday when a roadside bomb cut him in half, his family said yesterday.

Spec. Hai Ming Hsia, 37, was riding in a combat convoy near Ar Ramadi when the explosion tore his vehicle apart, they said.

 

"President Bush took away my son, my only child," Hsia's grieving mother, Nelida, 66, said last night.  "Now I have none."

 

Sitting in the living room of her Chinatown apartment, the mother explained that her son joined the Army in 2002 because his son, Brendon, 3, was on the way and his job as a security guard couldn't support a family.

 

She said he spent three years in Iraq only to have his hitch extended. He came home on leave earlier in the summer but returned to Iraq a month ago.

 

"He didn't want to go back," the mother said.  "He already missed out on so much with his son and his life, especially with his son.  They were inseparable.  He took him everywhere when he was home.  He was his life."

 

Hsia's father, Ting Fang, 78, a retired chef, said quietly and sadly, "He was my only baby, so I have a pain in my heart."

 

 

U.S. Command Frightened Of Reporting Extent Of Resistance Attacks On Green Zone

 

August 12, 2006 By EDWARD WONG, The New York Times Company [Excerpts]

 

Western security advisers confirmed Friday that there had been a recent spate of mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone, known to some as the International Zone.  It is unclear whether anyone was wounded or killed by the strikes.

 

A spokesman for the American military, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, declined to give details.  "We aren’t interested in discussing attacks on the International Zone, their effectiveness or who may be responsible," he said in an e-mail message.

 

 

FUTILE EXERCISE:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW!

U.S. soldiers at the site of a car bomb attack outside a court house in Kirkuk, July 23, 2006.  (Slahaldeen Rasheed/Reuters)

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

August 16

Bring the Troops Home NOW!

Vigil/Car Caravan/Press Conference

 

[Thanks to Elaine B, who sent this in.]

 

Wednesday, August 16, 2006, will mark the 1st anniversary of the weekly Bring the Troops Home NOW vigil in Teaneck, NJ. 

 

It will mark the "debut" of the newest Support our Troops. Bring them home. NOW! billboard in Hackensack.

 

Unfortunately it will also mark the death of more than 2600 US troops.

 

Here are special events planned for that day:

 

Vigil:

Support the troops.  Bring them home NOW!  Take care of them when they get here. Never, never send our loved ones to wars based on lies.

 

4:30 – 5:45 pm

National Guard Armory

Teaneck Road and Liberty Road, Teaneck, NJ (Please don't park at Foster Village.)

 

Car Caravan: 5:45 pm –

A caravan of cars/trucks will go from the vigil in Teaneck to the Hackensack Memorial Park. The new billboard is right across from the park, above 687 Main Street . (Go down Teaneck Road.  Turn right onto Cedar Lane. Cedar Lane will become Anderson in Hackensack. At Sears, turn right onto Main Street.  Go .6 miles to the intersection of Main/Johnson/Temple. You can park at the Memorial Park, on Fairmont Avenue, or at Target.)

 

Press Conference:

6:15 pm - Hackensack Memorial Park, at the intersection of Main Street, Johnson, and Temple Avenues.  

 

The Coalition to Bring the Troops Home NJ will unveil the latest of 16 billboards in four counties in Northern New Jersey.

 

The billboard will say, "SUPPORT THE TROOPS, BRING THEM HOME.  NOW!"

 

The new billboard will be at this location for 4 weeks.

 

Speakers:

John Fenton (whose son, Matthew, was killed in Iraq)

Amanda Schroeder (whose brother, Augie, was killed in Iraq)

Al Zappala, Gold Star Families Speak Out (His son, Sherwood, was killed looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.)

Military Families Speak Out -Bergen County - members whose sons are in Iraq and Afghanistan

State Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, District 37

State Assemblywoman Valorie Huddle, District 37

Teaneck Peace and Justice Coalition representative

Ken Dalton, Veterans For Peace, Chapter 21, NJ

Tom Urgo, Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Waheed Khalid, American Muslim Union

 

Event sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, MFSO - Bergen County chapter (bergencountyMFSO@hotmail.com. www.mfso.org.) and the Teaneck Peace and Justice Coalition, TPJC (www.Teaneckpeace.org). The press conference is co-sponsored by MFSO, TPJC, The Coalition to Bring Troops Home NOW (www.BringTroopsHomeNJ.org.), and the Bergen Peace and Justice Coalition (www.bergenjustice.net.)

 

Call 201 836-5834 for information and rides.

 

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

"The Antiwar Movement During The Vietnam Period, Within The Military Itself And On The Front Lines"

 

John Sunier, 8.04 Audiophile Audition

 

Another powerful documentary, and how fortunate it is that at this difficult time in our nation's history documentary films are suddenly being made available and shown successfully in general theatrical distribution!

 

The subject is a historical one but has strong repercussions for the present day.  It concerns the antiwar movement during the Vietnam Period, but within the military itself and on the front lines, rather than the civilian demonstrations carried out in the U.S. 

 

The media briefly covered a small portion of what was going on, such as the 1972 Winter Soldier event, but in general most viewers of this film will be amazed at how strong the movement was within the armed forces, and how it contributed to the final winding-down of the conflict.

 

The 1968 Tet Offensive is shown as the watershed event that gave the movement impetus.  It demonstrated that the resistance the U.S. had been meeting on the battlefield had the general support of the Vietnamese people. 

 

Thousands of soldiers began going AWOL and many of them congregated in San Francisco.  Many who were being sent to Vietnam for the first time simply refused to go, and became acquainted painfully with the SF Presidio's stockade.  Some 300 antiwar magazines and newsletters were published on bases in the U.S. and around the world.

 

A courageous DJ operated a pirate radio station in Saigon providing dissenters with an alternative information source.

 

The Free Theater Alternative (FTA) put on antiwar shows for servicemen; Jane Fonda was among those who participated, and she speaks about the experience.  Other subjects touched on are discrimination and the black power struggle, the public outcry attempting to prevent a Navy carrier from leaving San Diego for Vietnam, the antiwar coffee shops that sprang up everywhere and a murder trial where a black soldier was found not guilty of "fragging" an officer - though the fragging incidents showed how low troop morale had sunk.

 

The deliberate bombing of populated areas of Vietnam challenged the dignity of Airforce pilots.  When Kissinger made the decision to heavily bomb North Vietnam the opposition expanded.

 

Some pilots simply refused to fly to the North and those on the ground securing the communications information and other data necessary to the sorties just stopped providing the information, halting many of the flights.

 

Many revealing comments from vets are part of the film. The photography and editing is serviceable and the transfer looks good, but it is frustrating to access the film since there are no chapters whatever. 

 

A few extras would seem to be have been appropriate as well.  But this is undoubtedly a powerful documentary that deserves to bring the story of the GI resisters to a wide audience.

 

Sir! No Sir!:

At A Theatre Near You!

To find it: http://www.sirnosir.com/

 

The Sir! No Sir! DVD is on sale now, exclusively at www.sirnosir.com.

 

Also available will be a Soundtrack CD (which includes the entire song from the FTA Show, "Soldier We Love You"), theatrical posters, tee shirts, and the DVD of "A Night of Ferocious Joy," a film by me about the first hip-hop antiwar concert against the "War on Terror."

 

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.

 

 

 

MAMA?

 

From: Dennis Serdel

To: GI Special

Sent: August 11, 2006

Subject: MAMA by Dennis Serdel

 

Written by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan

 

**********************************************************

 

MAMA?

 

Doc had no division between Vietnam and the USA,

when he "came home," the dreams came, the pain came

and would not go away,

he did not feel "safe now."

 

Some former friends stopped by

but many of the faces

Doc could not recognize

treating them as hostile.

 

There were the weapons

a .45 on the kitchen table,

the 12 gauge pump leaning in the corner.

Doc smoking pot, drinking heavily,

giving himself shots.

 

The sockets round his eyes were charcoal

from lack of sleep, he didn't shave or brush

his teeth, word got around

that he was dangerous.

 

Doc's pain was migraine pain, bloody limbs

and split back skin, booby traps

and blown up men.  The pain that works itself

through all the medications pain.

The blown off legs and a young man's face

that asked, Mama?" just before he dies pain.

 

One day Doc picked up the .45 and shot himself

in the temple, but nobody knows if the pain went away.

At the graveyard, a 21 gun smoky salute.

His parents were given a red white and blue

triangle.

 

People mumbled something about peace now,

but they didn't know if the pain went away.

Life didn't stop the pain, why should death

stop the pain, maybe nothing stops the pain.

 

 

 

OCCUPATION PALESTINE/LEBANON

 

 

Zionist Filth Green Light UN Relief Convoy;

Then They Attack And Kill

 

[Thanks to JM, who sent this in.  She writes: Israel seems to be killing a lot of the Lebanon security force.  Originally they were going to fight if Israel launched a ground invasion. They are still not fighting to defend either the country, or themselves, presumably because the Lebanese government wants them deployed in the south to control the border. Hezbollah has agreed to stop firing rockets if the Israelis withdraw and let this happen.]

 

RASHAYA, Lebanon, Aug 11, 2006 (AFP) & By Evelyn Leopold and Irwin Arieff, Reuters & 12 August 2006 IMEMC & Agencies

 

Israeli warplanes struck a convoy Friday carrying Lebanese security forces and civilians that had been escorted out of Marjayun in south Lebanon by UN forces who were no longer with them, killing at least four and wounding 16, police said.

 

A group of Lebanese civilians attempting to follow the Israeli instructions to evacuate southern Lebanon had formed a convoy of 600 civilian vehicles, accompanied by 350 Lebanese soldiers and police. 

 

Witnesses and rescue workers said at least six people were killed and 30 wounded when an Israeli drone fired rockets at a convoy of hundreds of vehicles that had left the town of Marjayoun, seized by Israel on Thursday.  Around 3,000 civilians and 350 Lebanese security men were in the convoy.

 

Reuters reporter Karamallah Daher, who was in the convoy, said explosions erupted near the front of the column of vehicles, causing panic as drivers tried to escape the attack. Some crashed into ditches and drivers fled to nearby villages.

 

The convoy was attempting to make its way north from the Christian city of Marjayoun Friday night when an Israeli war plane dropped a missile on the group.

 

This is not the first time that Israeli forces have struck a convoy heading north for safety - practically every convoy has taken casualties -- leading many of the estimated 80,000 Lebanese civilians remaining in southern Lebanon to decide they'd rather not risk it.

 

Lutfallah Daher, the Associated Press photographer who was travelling with the convoy, said that there was a second attack on Red Cross and civil defense vehicles rushing the aid of the stricken convoy. It was not known, he said, if any rescuers were hurt.

 

Jib Jannin is 35 kilometres (22 miles) northeast of Marjayun, and Kefraya is seven kilometres (four miles) northwest of Jib Jannin.

 

Hundreds of Lebanese army soldiers and hundreds of civilians fleeing the Israeli bombardments were in the convoy, which several hours previously had left Marjayun escorted by two United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) armoured vehicles.

 

The UN escorted the convoy as far as the Druze village of Hasbaya, 13 kilometres (eight miles) from Marjayun.

 

"UNIFIL left the convoy at that place," spokesman Milos Strugar said, adding that "the Israeli forces had been told in advance of the convoy's passage, and had given it the green light"

 

Security officials in the Bekaa said at least nine rockets had been fired on the convoy. Hospital officials in the town of Job Jannine said they had received 25 casualties from the attack, although it was not immediately clear how many were fatalities.

 

 

Either Israeli Military Are The World’s Stupidest Liars,

Or 800 Resistance Fighters Are Still Holding Off The Whole Israeli Army

 

August 11th, 2006 By Uri Avnery, Palestine Chronicle [Excerpt]

 

Today, the war entered its fifth week. Hard to believe: our mighty army has now been fighting for 29 days against a "gang" and "terrorist organization", as the military commanders like to describe them, and the battle has still not been decided.

 

Yesterday, military sources in Israel announced that 400 of the 1200 Hizbullah "terrorists" have been killed.  [Leaving 800.  Duh.]

 

That's to say, a mere 1200 fighters have been standing against the tens of thousands of our soldiers, who are equipped with the most advanced weapons on earth, and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens are still under rocket fire while our soldiers continue to be killed.

 

MORE:

 

Here’s Your Answer:

The Worlds’ Stupidest Liars,

Bar None

 

By Azmi Bishara, Al-Ahram Weekly 8/10/2006

 

It is symptomatic of Western racism that Israel and its sympathisers are blind to what it is ordinary Arabs find admirable in Hizbullah

 

Journalist: How will the deaths of Israeli soldiers today affect your plans?

 

Israeli Army Spokesman: You saw that massacre of 12 Israelis .. it will ...

 

Journalist:  Massacre you said?  But those were soldiers and this is war.

 

Spokesman:  No, it was a massacre because the people who fired the missiles weren't targeting soldiers.  They were targeting Israeli civilians but killed the soldiers by accident.

 

Journalist: But you also committed massacres in Qana and elsewhere.

 

Spokesman:  No, there was no massacre in Qana.  Hizbullah fighters were the targets of the bombardment but civilians were hit by accident.

 

This nightmarish gibberish, which would make any journalist quit his job, a spectator smash his TV screen and a dialogue participant abandon his faith in dialogue, is not from Alice in Wonderland. It is an excerpt taken verbatim from an interview on an Arab satellite station with a young spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces.

 

Now, when Israeli soldiers die it's a massacre, whereas the wiping out of entire families in the course of the aerial bombardment of their homes and villages doesn't rate the term.

 

That's not a massacre but an "accident" or, in the euphemistic jargon of the science of the war against terrorism, collateral damage.

 

 

11 Zionist Soldiers Killed Saturday In South Lebanon

 

13/08/2006 By Amos Harel, Yoav Stern and Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies, Haaretz

 

Nineteen Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and another 11 seriously wounded in heavy clashes Saturday with Hezbollah forces in south Lebanon, after Israel dramatically expanded its ground operation in the area.

 

In a separate incident, an Israel Air Force helicopter was shot down by Hezbollah fire on Saturday night. Hezbollah claimed the helicopter was struck by an anti-tank missile. IDF sources confirmed a helicopter had gone down. The sources said there were no combat soldiers aboard, but added that there had been casualties.

 

Under cover of intense artillery fire, IDF forces reached the Litani River, which is some 20 to 30 kilometers inside Lebanon, military officials said Saturday evening.

 

Dozens of soldiers were hurt during the fighting in Lebanon on Saturday.  At least 23 of them were taken to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for treatment.

 

None of the soldiers killed on Saturday were reservists.

 

An IDF spokeswoman said an IDF officer and two soldiers were killed when Hezbollah fighters fired an anti-tank missile at their tank.

 

She said another soldier died when Hezbollah launched a similar attack on a structure in the area where he and other troops had taken position.

 

Two soldiers from the Golani Brigade were killed in an accident that occured when an IDF tank accidentally ran them over in the village of Shakif-al-Amal in the East. Two other soldiers were wounded in the accident, one seriously and the other lightly.

 

In the eastern section, one soldier was killed when an anti-tank missile hit his tank close to the village of Kanatra. Another soldier was killed when troops exchanged fire near the village of Hadata on the eastern section.

 

Three other soldiers were seriously wounded in separate attacks on tanks and an armored vehicle near the villages of Tyre and Dir Sirin.

 

 

The Master Race Sets A New Record For Most Lebanese Exterminated In One Building:

Here’s The Really Good News!

One-Third Were Children Who Hadn’t Started To Breed Yet!!

 

August 12, 2006 Clancy Chassay, The Guardian [Excerpts]

 

Thirteen-year-old Hassan al-Rai lies on a bed in Beirut's Hayat hospital, his eyelids heavy, dark red wounds covering his face and torso.

 

"I was sitting with my cousins and my brothers, we were listening to music, hanging out. Then there was fire and smoke.  I looked down and I saw blood all over me. My brother and cousins were hurt; my brother had blood coming from his head.  I don't know what has happened to him." Hassan doesn't yet know that his brother is dead.

 

He was killed on Monday night in an Israeli missile strike on a residential building in the Shiyyah district of southern Beirut.  Yesterday morning rescue workers were still searching for bodies among the rubble.

 

The attack, which claimed the lives of at least 61 people, has become the single greatest loss of life since the conflict began.  The Lebanese health minister, Mohammed Khalifa, said a third of those killed were children under 13.

 

Mr Khalifa said 50 bodies had been recovered.  Eleven more people are known to have been in the building when it was hit.  He said the final figure of those killed could be much higher. "There is no way to know for certain how many were killed.  There were many displaced people in the building who are still unaccounted for."

 

The attack came just before 8pm in the mixed neighbourhood of Christians and Muslims on the edge of Beirut, which lies along the green line separating the east of the city from the west.  Many of those killed were refugees who had fled the bombing of their villages in south Lebanon believing they would be safe in Shiyyah.

 

Some residents reported hearing gunshots moments before the bombing, which destroyed several neighbouring buildings. Israel still has not offered an official explanation for the attack.

 

Four days later, the narrow street is still blocked with rubble. Cars, crumpled and flipped on their side, lie 100 metres from the blast site.  The remnants of homes litter the streets as three diggers plough through the dust, scooping and clearing.

 

The smell of rotting flesh hangs in the air as rescue workers labour to find those bodies still buried.

 

"We don't know how many are still buried, perhaps it is only pieces of bodies now," said Ali, a resident of the building who survived the attack and is now helping to recover the bodies.

 

"I was thrown from one side of the building to the other. Many of my friends were crushed by the rubble."  Staring blankly he described how his family, who were in the neighbouring building, survived, but his closest friend was killed.  "He wasn't from my family but he had always been my brother, from when we used to play in these streets together."

 

Watching as the diggers clawed through the remains of his home, Ali's friend, 22-year-old Mohammed, described how a young boy was thrown from a neighbouring building into the balcony of a building opposite by the blast.  "We saw the blood of children in the street. Fire came from the building.  There was a terrible smell and smoke everywhere. One child cried out from under a car.  I ran to him and saw there was another child under him but when I picked them up they were both dead."

 

Nineteen-year-old Mohammed Hamade was in the building opposite when the blast threw him to the ground  "Hot air pushed me off my chair and I was lying on the ground. Everything was shaking and there was smoke everywhere. I thought our building had been hit, I thought I was dead."

 

Mohammed Kassem, a doctor at the Hayat hospital, had had little sleep since the bombing. "It was like a football stadium here," he said. "Many people came in with bone and skull fractures as well as some very deep wounds."

 

As families of the victims gathered to bury their dead, shells fired from an Israeli naval vessel landed nearby shaking the neighbourhood and causing the mourners to scatter.

 

"Many bodies are still in the morgue.  People cannot find a safe time to bury their dead," said Mr Khalifa.

 

 

12 Official Guidelines For The Israeli Spokesman In Time Of War:

"We Never Behave Like The Nazis"

"We Never Schlep Innocent Arabs In Trains"

"We Bring The Death Directly To Them, We Kill Them In Their Homes"

 

July 31, 2006 The document was compiled by Israeli Air Force reserve Lt. Col. Israel Israeli.

 

Gilad Atzmon, Peace Palestine Blog via Ukurnet.info

 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry urges the Israeli lobbyists around the world as well as its representatives to spread the message below. 

 

This war is all about our survival unlike all the other wars that were all about our survival.  We must to stand up firmly and tell the world that:

 

Our army is the most humanist army in the world.

 

Our army always informs the helpless victims before we drop tonnes of bombs on their heads.

 

Is there any other army in the world that spreads leaflets before it commits genocide?

 

As if this isn’t enough, we always 'deeply regret’ after we’ve committed atrocities.

 

Didn’t we 'sincerely apologise’ after smoking four UN peacekeepers?

 

Unlike, the Hamas and the Hezbollah, we never kill indiscriminately.  We always kill very discriminately. 

 

We kill Arabs whether they are Arab women, Arab elders, Arab children, Arab refugees, Arab disabled hiding in a Red Cross shelter in Kafar Quana.  We are after Arabs and to speak about us as if we are bombing and killing indiscriminately is an utter anti-Semitic lie.

 

Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora must be very happy with our brutal assault against his people.  Let’s face it, we are doing his job, we are killing the baddies.  We are cleaning his streets.  Indeed we start with the Hezbollah, but we will then take the war to Syria and Iran. 

 

We have it all planned with our friends in the Pentagon.  We can’t really understand why PM Siniora is making such a fuss insisting on ceasefire.  Indeed, a third of the Lebanese civilians are now displaced, but as you all know, in war shit happens (especially in the Israeli wars).

 

We the Israelis are at the forefront of the fight for democracy and humanism.  You European and Westerners should support us.  We are engaged in a dirty war you fail to fight.

 

Is it a coincidence that Tony, George and Condy gave us a green light to bring Lebanon back to the Stone Age?  Is it a coincidence that the Andrea’le Merkel sent us 3 Submarines as soon as she settled in office?  Let’s face it, you all love us, and you better admit it, you love us strong and murderous.  You all give us the green light to paint the region in red.  And let me tell you, we love painting in red, moreover, we are really good at it.

 

And don’t you ever forget, we are the only democracy in the Middle East, when we engage in one war crime or another, when we breach the Geneva Convention, when we violate any possible humanist call, we always express our people’s democratic choice.

 

We always do it in the name of our people.  Don’t you forget, this war was launched by an Israeli national unity centrist coalition.  

 

This war is the call of the moderate peace-seeking Jewish voice.

 

Unlike the Hezbollah, a tiny group of a paramilitary militias, our terror is nothing but state terrorism in its making.  Our state terrorism is our democratic choice and it is supported by the world’s leading democrats: Bush and Blair.

 

Unlike the cowards Hamas and Hezbollah who hide behind women and children, we are brave, heroic and technologically superior; we successfully target the women, the elders and the children who may or may not serve the Islamic terrorists as human shields.

 

We smoke them and them alone.  We obviously believe in focused assassination.

 

Although we clearly punish the Arabs for the crimes committed against us by the Nazis, we are humanists, we never behave like the Nazis, we never schlep innocent Arabs in trains, we never ship them to death camps, we never gas them, instead, with the support of our American Brother, we bring the death directly to them, we kill them in their homes, in their beds sometime just before dawn when they are still in pyjamas.

 

In short, not only we are humanists, we are the nation of humanism.  To doubt it is nothing but pure and crude anti-Semitism.

 

This message must be repeated time after time even if it doesn’t make much sense.

 

It is a message that must be circulated regardless of its truth value.

 

This war is not about truth, it is about the right of the Jewish people to exist in peace.

 

The Knesset Meets To Approve Measures For Defense Against Lebanese Aggression

 

 

"They Are Not Afraid To Die, Which Makes Deterrence Very Difficult"

 

August 11, 2006 Conal Urquhart in Metulla, The Guardian [Excerpts]

 

Israeli forces have been astonished at the discovery of networks of bunkers and computerised weapons in Hizbullah positions, according to officials.

 

Troops have found air-conditioned bunkers 40 metres (125ft) below the ground and anti-tank weapons that originate in France, the US and Russia in southern Lebanon.

 

Many of the tactics and weapons employed by Hizbullah have neutralised Israel's military superiority and made a complete victory difficult to achieve. 

 

The revelations have increased since Israeli ground forces invaded southern Lebanon. "The main threat is the use of sophisticated anti-tank weapons against our armoured vehicles.  One of the most effective is the Kornet which was supplied by Russia to Iran and then to Hizbullah," said Lieutenant Colonel Olivier Rafowicz.

 

"We have been very surprised by the quantity of weapons and the building that has been carried out in the last six years.  We knew they were preparing for war but we did not realise to what extent."

 

Soldiers have discovered bunkers with listening and observation devices working in tandem with computers.

 

The bunkers meant that Hizbullah fighters could shelter from Israeli air and artillery bombardment and then surprise advancing Israeli forces.  Often the bunkers were so well hidden that fighters could wait until the soldiers had passed and then attack them from behind.

 

Israel has so far lost more than 80 soldiers in combat.  Its highly mobile armour and air support is less effective against guerilla fighters, and its armour has been neutralised by Hizbullah's acquisition of state of the art weapons.

 

Hizbullah's older anti-tank weapons have been effective against armoured personnel carriers and buildings used by soldiers for shelters.  Its newer weapons such as the Russian Kornet and US TOW missiles have been highly effective succeeded in piercing the armour of Israel's main battle tank, the Merkava, reputedly one of the best-defended tanks in the world.

 

One member of an Israeli tank crew who had just left Lebanon told the Guardian: "It's terrible.  You do not fight anti-tank teams with tanks.  You use infantry supported by artillery and helicopters.  Wide valleys without shelter are the wrong place to use tanks."

 

Although he said Hizbullah's weapons had been supplied by Iran, Lt Col Rafowicz admitted the militants' prowess also stemmed from its morale and organisation.  They are very keen to engage our forces.  They are not wearing suicide bomb belts but they are not afraid to die, which makes deterrence very difficult."

 

Gen Nehushtan said: "We have to recognise that we will be dealing with new definitions of victory.  There will be no white flags being raised on this battlefield," he said.

 

 

[To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by foreign terrorists, go to: www.rafahtoday.org  The occupied nation is Palestine.  The foreign terrorists call themselves "Israeli."]

 

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)

 

 

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

 

 

[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, who sent this in.]

 

 

Bush Seeks Exit Strategy At Mapquest

 

August 10, 2006 The Borowitz Report

 

Hoping to reassure voters before the midterm elections that he is actively looking for a way to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, President George W. Bush said today that he has been looking for an exit strategy at the popular Internet site, Mapquest.com.

 

By announcing that he was relying on Mapquest to navigate the United States' exit from an apparent quagmire in Iraq, the president was running the risk of making his Administration appear as if it had run out of ideas of its own.

 

But in a White House press briefing this morning, Mr. Bush defended his use of what he called "the Internets," adding that he was also hoping to find an international peacekeeping force for Lebanon at Craig's List.

 

The president said that he began his search at Mapquest by typing in "Iraq" as the starting location and "United States of America" as the ending location.

 

He acknowledged that the process of finding an exit strategy at the Mapquest site was complicated by the fact that many of the streets that Mapquest displays for Iraq have not existed since the U.S. began bombing the country in 2003.

 

Ultimately, Mr. Bush said his search for an exit strategy at Mapquest yielded mixed results:

 

"The good news is that I found the most direct route from Iraq to the U.S.  The bad news is that the estimated travel time is twenty years."

 

 

 

CLASS WAR REPORTS

 

 

Oaxaca Popular Assembly Blocks City Government Buildings And Repels Another Police Attack:

"The Entire State Is Involved In Open Warfare Where The Goal Is Throwing Out The Remaining PRI Bosses, And Establishing A More Just Order"

 

August 9, 2006 By Nancy Davies, Narconews.com [Excerpts]

 

A blockade of the Oaxaca [Mexico] City Hall was carried out at 10:00 AM on August 7. 

 

In the name of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials), 500 teachers from Ocotlلn prepared an encampment in the recently "renovated" Plaza de la Danza which abuts the entrance to the municipal building of the capital city of Oaxaca state.  Ocotlلn has a total enrollment of 1,000 in Section 22 of the national teachers’ union (SNTE).

 

In the effort by APPO to totally block all the state government functions, up until Monday the city government was ignored.  Although Mayor Jesْs ءngel Dيaz Ortega is heartily disliked and disparagingly referred to as "Chuchubolas," he has generally been regarded as a puppet of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz ("URO").  Therefore, when various parts of the city were violated to obtain the renovation funds diverted to Madrazo’s doomed campaign, people were quick to blame Ruiz and never mentioned Chuchubolas.

 

All efforts were focused on the state government functions which were halted, and when citizens spot the "ex-governor" with any of his cabinet trying to meet in a restaurant or hotel there’s an immediate crowd to block the doors.

 

While the movement maintained for the tenth consecutive day the blockade to the state Government House, the State Congress and the Oaxaca Superior Tribunal of Justice, as well as the Department of Finances, the General Attorney’s office, the penal tribunals, and other facilities, 300 officers of the Federal Preventive Police arrived in the city on Monday night.

 

By my own informal count, 40 municipalities and towns around the state have decided to make changes (sufficiently important to be mentioned in newspapers and/or on the radio), including the occupation of 20 municipal town halls, seven with physical aid from the teachers of Section 22 of the SNTE.  Nineteen municipalities have affiliated formally with APPO, meaning they will send people as aids to the struggle.

 

The movement has also captured 60 buses and 18 official vehicles, among them two patrol cars. Rogelio Pensamiento Mesinas, member of the Provisional Coordination of APPO, said that in the collection of vehicles they prioritized those belonging to mobile brigades of the government under the state Department of Traffic and the municipal police, as well as of the Preventive Police. The vehicles are white, and highly visible.

 

They only passed over vehicles of the Municipal Police, the Fire Department and aid ambulances.

 

He explained that the vehicles will be concentrated in the Historical Center or in the parking areas of captured public buildings.  

 

The movement will try to harm the vehicles as little as possible, "because they belong to the people whose taxes paid for them." Two small Volkswagens are now being used to block access to the zocalo.

 

Monday, the morning of these events, blockades of the main state highways were also carried out, in accordance with the conditions of each municipality, intermittently or continuously.

 

So it was on to the next goal: further cripple the area with ungovernability by taking the Oaxaca City Hall, or Municipal Palace.  In all the action, few noticed what was happening.

 

Two days before, some agents of the Oaxaca Municipal Police abandoned their general barracks and were quartered in the barracks located in the municipality of Santa Cruz Xoxocotlلn, (now also in rebellion).  That’s apparently where they were to be met by the Federal Preventive Police (PFP).

 

On Monday morning a red alert was broadcast.  Both the teachers’ station, Radio Plantَn using 96.8 FM, and the students’ station Radio Universidad 1400 AM went on the air to broadcast the alarm.

 

The previous night, August 6, about 300 Federal Preventative Police (PFP) arrived in Oaxaca.  Monday at 10:00 AM an attack by about thirty police who arrived in five pickup cars, some in civilian clothes and some wearing ski masks, took place in the Colonia Reforma neighborhood, where APPO people were blocking the office of the Department of Finance.

 

Radio Universidad reported as shots were fired and tear gas was used.  After the APPO people fought back with stones and sticks the police were repelled, leaving several APPO members injured by blows but only one woman by gunfire, in the leg.

 

This woman may have been hit by the Coordinator of Public Security, Aristeo Lَpez Martinez, the Oaxaca head of special police operations, who was using an AR-15 rifle, according to La Jornada.  

 

The newspaper reported that when the APPO men gave chase, Lَpez Martinez began to shoot for the body, not in the air. The pursuers hit the ground, and all the police escaped, Lَpez Martinez on a black BMW motorcycle.

 

The wounded woman later went to the radio station to speak, so I assume she was not badly hurt.  In the attack three municipal policemen were wounded in the head by stones and a teacher was injured on his spine by a sharp blow.

 

It is not legal for police to be dressed in plain clothes, nor for them to be arriving in private cars, nor for them to attack a peaceful civil protest.

 

And that was just the morning.

 

All day various alarms were sounded, but none of them proved to be an attack by the 300 PFP.  However, it was broadcast that a man identified as Catarino Torres Pereda was picked up by three men in a car and vanished.  Eventually, after much time lapsed while APPO assumed he was "disappeared," the Secretary of Civil Protection revealed that Torres Pereda, director of the Citizen Defense Committee (Codeci) had been arrested in Tuxtepec, and was jailed in the city of Matيas Romero before being transported to the state of Mexico.  His name is added to the list of political prisoners.

 

When the morning attack at the Finance Building interrupted normal broadcast I was passing a vendor’s radio, and I also happened to be passing the Plaza de la Danza. Surprise!  I could see the usual outline of an encampment –blue and yellow tarpaulins strung with ropes from high points against the rain.  Women settling in the shade, men on the stadium seats lounging while one sharpened his machete on the stone.

 

The entrance was blocked by teachers sitting on the new smooth cement, beneath an Ocotlلn banner strung up on the municipal building.  The teachers looked to me like their main weapons of defense would be the yellow plastic chairs arriving at that precise moment.

 

By the time I arrived home, various reports were flying.  Then there were periods of calm, and then more alarms.  A roller-coaster day, reaching a climax of anxiety when APPO broadcast a summons for everybody to come who could.  

 

People poured in from the Central Valley in which Oaxaca City is situated.  At 9:30 at night Channel 9, the captured state TV station, introduced by name and town twelve good men who represent the people’s force, one of them by his looks a boy of about eleven, one a senior citizen.

 

Rumors flew that the big attack would be at 11:00 PM.  Lَpez Martيnez confirmed that the state and municipal governments were preparing to dislodge people from the APPO encampment in the Historic Center of Oaxaca.  That should have been a clue that no such thing was going to happen.

 

This morning – no big attack having taken place– we learned that one man was murdered.  He was a teacher at the Benito Juلrez Autonomous University of Oaxaca,

 

He was identified as 35–year-old Marcos Garcيa Tapia from the Dental School. The reports say he was killed by two men on a motorcycle, driving at night outside the zocalo’s guarded perimeter.

 

I went down to Plaza de la Danza, and from there to the zocalo.  Both places were calm. The newly arrived campesinos in the zocalo were armed with sticks and iron rods, and were accompanied by women and children.

 

So, in my opinion (as always, a subjective view), what we have now is a low-intensity dirty war.  Several opportunities to kill people have been bypassed.  I believe the game plan is to exhaust people by fear and high tension levels, supplemented by a few deaths in which there is no risk that URO can be accused of anything – indeed, today there are denials that he ordered the police to attack at the Finance Building.

 

He can deny he even asked for the PFP to be sent here, or that once sent, they had been involved, since they seem to be doing much of their dirty work in civilian clothing.

 

But the movement is also capable of psychologically exhausting URO, who is followed everywhere.  In the style of a good revolution, he is continuously mocked and called bad names, along with his former secretary of civil protection José Franco Vargas (currently carrying on in an unofficial capacity) who is now referred to as "Chuckie II," in honor of the American horror movie.

 

Furthermore, the people most stalwart in their denial must now, as Channel 9 repeatedly says, open their eyes.

 

The television station not only shows every march and every instance of repression, but videos of other repressions, including one on the 1968 attack on students in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco Square, and another on the oppression in Palestine by the Israelis.

 

It’s an educational project which is playing on radio, television broadcasts, and public screens in the zocalo.

 

The entire state is involved in open warfare where the goal is throwing out the remaining Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) bosses, and establishing a more just order.

 

A "mano dura" ("hard hand") policy now would involve military invasion, the setting up of a Oaxaca counterpart to the militarized state of Chiapas.

 

What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to contact@militaryproject.org.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.

 

 

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. 

 

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