GI Special:



Print it out (color best).  Pass it on.






ArchAngel Update


Spc. Barron



ArchAngel is reporting an update on Spc. Barron's case.


Currently, Spc. Barron is in Iraq with the 2/142 Infantry out of Fort Hood.  He was forced into Iraq despite being medically unfit for service, and that is according to many doctors, and also, after doing some research, the Army's own qualifications for the MOS that Barron possess which is 11B.  He is still going to sick call for pain, but is told that there is nothing they can do for him and is sent away.


Why do they say this, when they know there is something they can do and that is send him back home.


The letter below is written by Spc. Barron's wife, Mrs. Kim Barron.


She is a member of ArchAngel, and has been working hard for her husband's rights as a Soldier.


Mrs. Barron got a letter from the AG (Adjutant General) telling her the biggest load of lies.  The letter was in response to a letter that she wrote to Senator Cornyn of Texas and CENT-COM for help.


After reading the lies that were given, fuel was added to the fire to fight for her husband's return.


Below is the letter she received, after that, is the rebuttal response by Mrs. Barron.


This rebuttal is going to be sent out to the President, Vice President, Congressmen, Senators, CENT-COM, and to the command of the 2/142 Infantry.


If you would like to help fight for Spc. Barron, please email ArchAngel at ArchAngel1BL@aol.com, ArchAngel1BL@hotmail.com , or ArchAngel2KB@hotmail.com, or, if you like, you can contact Mrs. Barron personally from the information at the end of the letter.


Also, you can write your local Rep. and ask why are medically unfit Soldier's being forced into Iraq.


If there is someone you know, that is like Spc. Barron, and needs help, please feel free to contact us.



AG Letter:



Joint Forces Headquarters

Adjutant General's Department

Post Office Box 5218

Austin, Texas 78763-5218



January 25, 2005


36th Infantry Division


Office of Senator John Cornyn

United States Senate

Attention: Ms. Marissa Johannes

5005 LBJ Freeway, Ste. 1150

Dallas, Texas 75244-6199


Dear Senator Cornyn:


This is in response to your letter on behalf of your constituent Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Barron exemption from deployment.


As the constituents' correspondence states, Mr. Barron has been seen by Orthopedic Physicians at Fort Hood.  He has been given a temporary profile and he is currently performing within that profile.  Mr. Barron is assigned as a unit clerk and he is performing the mission quite well.  Mr. Barron's assigned duties are well within his physical profile and he is fully capable of deploying and continuing to perform his duties.


Mr. Barron is frustrated, because he received multiple medical opinions regarding the appropriate treatment for his degenerative problem.  Most recently, here in Kuwait, he received a steroid injection from Robin DeLeon, MD (Physical Medicine Specialist) which seems to be having a positive effect (according to Mr. Barron).  Dr. DeLeon did indicate that he has a long term issue that will never resolve completely.  Mr. Barron is personally satisfied wit the efforts of his command to obtain medical care for him.


Mr. Barron's letter indicates that he carries an infantry military occupation specialty.  Actually, he carries a reconnaissance scout specialty.  Dr. DeLeon has consulted with the Battalion commander that Mr. Barron should not execute the physical duties often associated with the specialty and he concurs and commits that Mr. Barron will need to be reevaluated for future ability to do that job.  However, please feel confident that we are not assigning him these type roles.  Mr. Barron will be committed to maintaining access to high quality medical treatment and he will be living on a large Air Force base in theater with quality physicians - over and above the high quality medical personnel in his own unit.


Is this the biggest load of crap or what????



Mrs. Barron's Response:




Mr. President, Vice President

Congressmen/women, Senators,

CENT-COM, Col. Breor, J. of the 2/142 Infantry


Dear Sirs/Madams


After receiving a letter of response to the inquiry on my husband, SPC Patrick G Barron, I felt that I too, must respond in kind, to challenge the points made in said letter, dated 25 Jan 05, from the Texas Military Force, Military Headquarters.


My husband has been seen by several Orthopedic Physicians at Fort Hood TX, and has had SEVERAL temporary profiles, it is my understanding that a soldier with a profile at 3 or higher is not to be deployed.


While he is performing within one of the profiles, I must ask which one?


As there have been several, at last count I believe the number to be 6.


What is the guarantee that he will not be asked to do something outside of these profiles?  For instance in the case of an attack?  This is what I don’t understand.  I don’t believe that his capability is in question, I do question whether or not he should have been deployed to begin with.


He has had several diagnosis given, his personal physician in San Antonio, diagnosed him with Chondromalcia Patellar.  Six doctors at both Camp Bullis and Ft Hood concurred with that diagnosis.  Doctor Jeff Wright D.O. saw my husband on 28 DEC 04 and checked my husband, and without benefit of any diagnostic tests, concluded the all previous diagnosis’ were wrong and that my husband was suffering from ITB, or runners knee.


This is the diagnosis that sent my husband to Iraq.


Upon arriving in country he was checked by Robin DeLeon MD, and the previous diagnosis of Chondromalcia was reinstated.


Dr, Deleon also stated that my husband should have been given a permanent profile of 3 on the PULHES Performance Profile, and should have never been deployed to Iraq.


Dr Deleon also stated the he could get my husband through this deployment, but could not guarantee the he would not be crippled afterwards.


I, myself did some research on Cortisone Steroid Injections and found that last statement to be more than true.  The injection that my husband was given was the first in a series, he had no effect at all from it, other than his knee being numbed for a period of 24 hours.  The side effects of this injection are scary, they include: Weight gain, High Blood Pressure, Cataracts , Osteoporosis, Reduced Immunity and Increased Risk of Infection, Long Term Joint and Tendon Damage, and Ulcers.


Does this sound like something you would like to take?


Quite frankly it scares me, to think that the Army would knowingly administer something with so many side effects.  It is my personal feeling that the Army doesn’t care about the long term as long as they get what they need now.


As for the issue of my husband being satisfied with the efforts of his command to obtain medical care for him.  While it is true, that he can go to sick call when he feels he needs to, once there he is told that there is nothing that they can do for him, he is told to “take it easy” and sent on his way.


Does that strike you as quality medical treatment and care?


Nothing, he gets nothing as far as treatment goes. 


He feels that this is because they are waiting to give him another Steroid injection.  But I have cautioned him against it as it could affect him in his life’s career, after the Army is done with him.


As far as feeling confident that my husband is being properly treated and is not being asked to do anything that would harm him permanently?


No, neither I nor my husband have any confidence in that.


Why should we, they have twisted his words, and made untrue statements to us as well as you.


He feels he is only being used to the benefit of the Army and that his best interests are not being looked out for.


I am now waiting for the statements that will back up these allegations, and I will forward then on to you as soon as I receive them.


Thank you in advance for your attention on this matter,


Kimberly A. Barron

PO Box 57

La Pryor TX 78872

Fax 830-365-4668


Last update from Spc. Barron as of 02-04-05, was that his command has lost his medical records.  Man, does this sound familiar or what?????



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)






Ga. Marine Seriously Injured


2/7/2005 WXIA-TV


A Marine from Powder Springs is fighting for his life after being injured in Iraq.


Lance Cpl. David Payton, 21, suffered second and third-degree burns to his body when his unit was hit by a bomb on January 30th.


He also suffered chemical burns to his lungs and esophagus and is currently on life support.


Payton is a graduate of McEachern High School.


Lance Cpl. David Payton







“Torture Places Our Own Military Personnel - They Who Are Already In Grave Danger - At Even Greater Risk.”


If we are going to hold those at the lowest levels accountable, it is only fair to hold those at the highest levels accountable as well.


02 February 2005 By Senator Richard J. Durbin. Statement of Senator Richard J. Durbin on the nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales to serve as Attorney General of the United States.


Blaming Abu Ghraib completely on night shift soldiers ignores critical decisions on torture policy made at the highest levels of our Government, decisions that Mr. Gonzales played a major role in making.  If we are going to hold those at the lowest levels accountable, it is only fair to hold those at the highest levels accountable as well.


The prohibition against torture and cruel treatment is also codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.


If conscience is not reason enough to prohibit torture anywhere, for any reason, there are practical reasons to do so as well.


To begin with, torture is futile.  Don't take my word for it. Refer to the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation. It states: "Use of torture and other illegal methods is a poor technique that yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say what he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."


Torture places our own military personnel - they who are already in grave danger - at even greater risk.  Rejecting the use of torture, on the other hand, protects our troops.


Let me tell you about former Congressman Pete Peterson, who spent 6 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.  Pete is my friend.  The moments when we sat down and discussed his experiences as a POW in Vietnam are moments that I will never forget.


Here is what he wrote in a letter in support of my anti-torture amendment: "From my years of captivity in Vietnam, I know what life in a foreign prison is like.  To a large degree, I credit the Geneva Conventions for my survival.  This is one reason the United States has led the world in upholding treaties governing the status and care of enemy prisoners: because these standards also protect us.  We need absolute clarity that America will continue to set the gold standard in the treatment of prisoners in wartime."


These are the words of Pete Peterson, a man who gave 6 years of his life as a prisoner of war, telling us not to forget the Geneva Conventions that protected him, as they should protect everyone.


As the great American patriot Thomas Paine said: "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression."


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.



Survivor Benefits “An Insult”


[New York Daily News, February 7, 2005]

Survivors of those killed in combat undergo tremendous upheavals in their lives.  The pittance that they have received to compensate for a fallen husband or father is an insult.  Increasing the payment made to survivors is overdue and Congress needs to fix the problem now.




Military Fatalities: By Month

























































































































































































[This careful work, with a lot more not shown here, like wounded #s, is from Iraq Coalition Casualties, at http://icasualties.org/oif/   Please consider sending a few bucks to keep it going.]



One Mother's War;

“He Said We Had No Business In Iraq And Should Not Be There.”


Nadia McCaffrey

(Robert Durell / LAT)


January 30, 2005 By Jeff Nachtigal, Special to the L.A. Times


TRACY, Calif. — On the day her son Patrick McCaffrey died on a blacktop farm road in northern Iraq, Nadia McCaffrey's war began.


Her first act was to invite the press to the Sacramento Airport when her 34-year-old son's flag draped-coffin was brought home at the end of June 2004.


"Patrick was not a private person.  All his life he loved people," Nadia McCaffrey explained.  "Why should I hide him when he comes home?  He would not have wanted that."


At a time when the Pentagon was attempting to keep photographs of the returning coffins out of the American press, the Sacramento Airport scene attracted international attention.


From the first interviews with newspaper obituary writers, Nadia was outspoken about her own opposition to the war as well as her son's growing reservations at the time he was killed.


"Patrick was overwhelmed by the hatred there for Americans and Europeans," Nadia told a reporter for The Times.  "He was so ashamed by the prisoner abuse scandal.  He even sent me an e-mail to tell me that not all the soldiers were like that.  He said we had no business in Iraq and should not be there.  Even so, he wanted to be a good soldier."


Since her son's June death in an ambush outside the big American military base at Balad, Nadia McCaffrey has appeared at dozens of peace rallies, anti-war vigils and ceremonies for other soldiers killed in action.  Along with a handful of other parents whose sons and daughters have died in Iraq, McCaffrey dedicated herself to the anti-war movement.


In late December, she went to the Middle East, traveling to Jordan with a humanitarian aid delegation sponsored by the San Francisco organization, Global Exchange.


The group distributed $600,000 in humanitarian aid for victims of American military actions in Fallouja. 


In Jordan, Nadia met with five Iraqi mothers who had lost children in the fighting.


"My dream," she said, "was to be able to find at least one Iraqi mother, who like me suffered a loss, and be able to have an exchange without hatred or anger about the way we feel.  Talk about what to do to start working for peace.  And do it mother to mother, with no governments."


Before leaving Jordan, Nadia had already decided to return in 2005 to set up a non-profit safe house for women and children.  And she still wants to see the farm road where her son fell.


Born in France just after World War II to a Serbian father and French mother, Nadia has long been a pacifist.


"I grew up in the aftermath of war," she told an audience at a Unitarian church in Davis in December.  "I remember Dien Bien Phu (the 1954 French colonial defeat in the Indochina War).  Then we had Algeria."


At the Davis church, homemade cookies were spread out on card tables and a youth chorale sang carols.  Yellow helium balloons drew attention to a donation box for the upcoming Middle East trip, and to a signboard displaying a picture of Patrick in dress uniform, his face a study in seriousness.


"The basic meaning of the mission is peace," McCaffrey told the small audience in a speech that was part plaintive mother's grief and sharply worded call to action.  "It's a first step, and I hope that other people will follow."


A man in the audience stood slowly and asked: What about your safety?


"I am not afraid," Nadia said in a strong, clear voice. "I am not afraid of dying."


Despite her long-held opposition to war, when Patrick came home after signing with the National Guard just a month past 9/11, explaining that he had to "do something," she accepted her son's decision.  But as Patrick increasingly expressed his doubts about the American mission and what it was accomplishing, her concern grew, then erupted into full-blown anger when the news of his death arrived.


So she channels her anger and grief by connecting with people and helping them deal with the sorrow of loss.


In many ways Nadia is uniquely qualified for this role.


Building on her own history of near-death experience, Nadia has worked for years as a hospice caregiver, comforting the dying.  She communicates by e-mail with an international network of people who are involved in hospice care. Now this group calls and e-mails to give her emotional support.


Don Murdoch thinks people naturally gravitate to Nadia because she is so focused and has no "phoniness or agendas."  "People are drawn to her, her ring of truth. She believes what she's doing," said Murdoch, who met Nadia seven years ago when he began doing hospice care.



College Students Take Aim:

Recruiters Become Targets Of Campus Anti-War Action


February 07, 2005 By Joseph R. Chenelly, Army Times staff writer & February 4, 2005, By Jake Ellison, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER


Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Due’s primary job is to knock enemy missiles out of the sky with Patriot missiles.  But when he left his battery two years ago for recruiting duty, he didn’t expect to have to worry about incoming projectiles for a while.


That changed on Inauguration Day.  When he and a fellow recruiter were on a college campus in downtown Seattle, they were targeted with water bottles and other objects hurled by an angry mob of students.


Due and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Washington were manning a table at Seattle Central Community College when they faced hostilities similar to what recruiters have reported at college campuses across the country in recent months.


Hundreds of students at the Seattle campus stormed out of classes at midday to protest President Bush’s inauguration.  They marched through the campus, pounding on doors and encouraging others to leave.  Then they came upon the recruiters.


One of the recruiters involved in the confrontation, Sgt. Jeffrey Due, said he was stunned how quickly things got out of hand. "I was in outright shock that they were protesting me," he said.


Due had been warned about the student walk-out demonstration, but said he didn't expect that kind of trouble.  "They were all going by making off-hand comments and saying 'no war.'  We just waved at them," Due said. "Five minutes later, there was just a mob of 500 people surrounding the table."


Due said he was hit in the head with newspapers, and water bottles whizzed by, pounding the vending machine and wall behind him.


“They swarmed us, grabbing our stuff and ripping it apart,” Due told Army Times. “They yelled at us to leave, but I told them we were staying. We belonged there.”


That’s when protesters began pelting the soldiers with whatever they could grab, including the recruiting materials they had snatched from the table.


“My first instinct was to take a table leg off and start swinging,” Due said. “But I chose to exercise restraint to protect the Army’s reputation and my family’s reputation.  I had to swallow my pride in front of everyone there in order to do the right thing.”


The crowd wouldn’t relent, and the two sides were locked in a standoff for 10 tense minutes before city police and college security arrived.  Due said the police asked the soldiers to help end the situation by leaving.  They agreed and were escorted off campus.


The Army’s Recruiting Command did not respond to a request for information about campus hostilities, but recruiters said they’ve experienced a recent increase in aggression aimed at them.


Staff Sgt. Amedeo Trotta, who has been on recruiting duty for more than five years, said he has seen anti-military actions increase since the beginnings of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He works in college towns throughout upstate New York.  Although his campus visits have generally gone well, he has still endured attacks when dealing with students.


Once, when he was walking in uniform with two students near Ithaca College in New York, a man wielding a 2-by-4 confronted him. Ithaca is home to several universities.  The man began yelling at the students, Trotta said, threatening them. The man asked the students why they were consorting with a soldier when there were others overseas “killing for oil.”


“Never until [Jan. 20] did I feel like I needed to watch my back,” Due said.  “I cannot imagine what recruiters faced in the Vietnam era. I wouldn’t want to face this on a regular basis.”


[Sgt 1st Class Lawrence] Kagawa, who used to spend a lot of time recruiting at colleges in Reno, Nev., during a past assignment, recommends having an escape plan for every event.


Campus attitudes toward the military recently have become all the more important because the Army has shifted much of its recruiting focus from high school graduates to college students, who tend to be more mature and less likely to wash out of training.


However, recruiters on campus have been the subject of recent controversy, especially against the backdrop of the war in Iraq.  Many college administrators require military representatives to go through more hoops to get on campus than they do corporate recruiters.


Recruiting on college campuses may get even more difficult now that an appellate court recently overturned the Solomon Amendment, which required educational institutions receiving federal aid to grant access to military recruiters. After the ruling was issued, Harvard Law School was quick to change its policy to one that bars military recruiters from campus.


Due said he plans to continue recruiting at Seattle Central Community College, where he has enlisted about five soldiers in the past five years.


“I know these kids were just that — kids — kids caught up in a mob mentality, caving in to peer pressure,” Due said. “I have a job to do, though, and I’m sure there are still some good potential soldiers there. I’m going to find them.”    [What breathtaking condescending bullshit.  He’s saying they didn’t know what they were doing, just being childish.  Bullshit.  They knew exactly what they were doing, and they are already soldiers, and good soldiers at that, with plenty of fighting spirit, in the war against Imperial conquest.  And there are plenty of serving troops ready to join them in that war, right now.]



Bush Doubles Prescription Charges For Veterans, Adds $250 Year Fee For VA Service!


[New York Times, February 7, 2005, Pg. 1]

President Bush’s budget plan would more than double the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require that some pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using government health care.


Richard B. Fuller, legislative director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, said: that the budget would force veterans hospitals and clinics to limit services. "We are already seeing an increase in waiting lists, even for some Iraq veterans."


In Michigan, thousands of veterans are on waiting lists for medical services, and some reservists returning from Iraq say they have been unable to obtain the care they were promised.  A veterans clinic in Pontiac, Mich., put a limit on new enrollment. Cutbacks at a veterans hospital in Altoona, Pa., are forcing some veterans to seek treatment elsewhere.



So Who Do You Believe?


A.) Guardsmen, Reservists Recruiting “In A Hole”


[USA Today, February 7, 2005, Pg. 1]

The strain of extended tours in Iraq and Afghanistan has put National Guard and Reserve recruitment in a hole.



B.) Rumsfeld Says Strain On Troops Will Be Eased By Recruiting


[Houston Chronicle, February 7, 2005]

Secretary Rumsfeld acknowledged that U.S. forces are stretched thin because of the war in Iraq, but he insisted that a heavy emphasis on recruiting and retention will eventually ease the problem.



White House Wants Gay-Policy Suit Tossed


Feb 07, 2005 AP


WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Monday asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Pentagon's 11-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy.


The government said last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling that overturned state laws making gay sex a crime does not undercut the military's policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve as long as they abstain from homosexual activity and don't reveal their sexual orientation.


Twelve gays expelled from the military because of their sexual orientation filed the legal challenge in December, citing the Supreme Court ruling that state laws making homosexual sex a crime were unconstitutional.  That decision overturned an earlier Supreme Court ruling that had upheld sodomy laws.







“We Hate You, Motherfucker.”


When a leader of the Algerian resistance was asked why they often bombed cafes and killed civilians, he replied: 'Give us planes and helicopters and then we will only target French troops.'


February 7, 2005 By TARIQ ALI, Counterpunch


Contrary to the bulk of reports in the western press, this resistance is NOT dominated by Zarqawwi or his tiny band.  If it were it would have been crushed long ago.


There is a popular resistance in Iraq, both armed and non-violent.


The bulk of the armed resistance consists of demobilised soldiers and officers, many of whom were disgusted by Saddam's corruption and cruelty and his failure to defend the country.  To these one must add both secular nationalist and religious groups who hate the occupation.  The left is weak in Iraq because the Iraqi Communist Part backed the occupation and served in the puppet government.


The size and scale of the Iraqi resistance (and, incidentally, it exists also in the Shia south and resistance cells are numerous in Basra) took the world by surprise.


The Iraqis were like lightning, compared to the European resistance against the Third Reich.  


In France, the Vichy regime was popular with a large majority.  Not so in Iraq.  In occupied Holland the resistance was tiny and very dependent on British support.  Not so in Iraq where the resistance receives nil support from its Arab neighbours.  In Vietnam, the nationalist resistance to the French, Japanese and American Empires was led by the Communist Party.  In Iraq it is completely decentralized. In all the above cases there were collaborators who worked closely with the occupying power. Here Iraq is no different.


Is it a perfect resistance?  No.  


How could a resistance be pretty when the occupation is so brutal and ugly.


The senseless violence inflicted upon the Iraqi people by the occupation results in a violent response.  It was no different when the Algerians fought the French to a standstill in the early Sixties of the last century.  When a leader of the Algerian resistance was asked why they often bombed cafes and killed civilians, he replied: 'Give us planes and helicopters and then we will only target French troops.'


During an early stage of the occupation, US papers reported young kids in Baghdad shaking hands with the Marines.  What these newspapers did not report (because the journalists did not speak Arabic) was what the kids with a smile said to the marines; 'We hate you, motherfucker.'  These photographs stopped a long time ago.






“Crucial” Oil Pipeline Ablaze After Fresh Attack


KIRKUK, Iraq, Feb 7 (AFP)


A pipeline carrying crude oil from Iraq's northern Kirkuk hub to the key refinery of Baiji was attacked Monday, an official from the North Oil Company said.


"Preliminary reports indicate that a rocket was fired at a cluster of pipelines near Al-Fatha, just on the edge of the Tigris river," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.


"This 16-inch pipeline was already sabotaged three weeks ago and is crucial in providing the oil needed for the Baiji refinery," itself key to much of Baghdad's power supply, the source said.



Mosul Bomber Kills 12 Occupation Cops


Feb 7, 2005 By MARIAM FAM, Associated Press Writer & By Gideon Long, (Reuters)


Mosul A bomber blew himself up inside a hospital compound in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Monday, killing 12 policemen and injuring seven others, hospital officials said.


In the attack at Mosul's Jumhouri Teaching Hospital, a suicide bomber set off explosives outside the hospital building among a group of Iraqi policemen, hospital director Tahseen Ali Mahmoud al-Obeidi said.  Witnesses said the bomber called the police officers over to him and then blew up among the crowd.


“I heard an explosion. When I went to check, I saw bodies everywhere,” Mr. al-Obeidi said.


Al-Ubaidi, the hospital director, said that there were no casualties among civilians and patients as the explosion took place in the backyard of the hospital, where only policemen were present.


A large crater was blown in the road and at least five cars were destroyed.  Most, if not all, of the victims were thought to be police officers waiting to collect their salaries.


Also Monday, insurgents shelled a police station in Mosul with more than a dozen mortar rounds.


A separate mortar attack on the city hall building in Mosul killed one person and wounded three.


In Ramadi, an insurgent center west of Baghdad, the body of an Iraqi National Guardsman was found on a city street. Witnesses said he has been shot.



Baqouba Police HQ Attacked;

15 Dead


Feb 7, 2005 Associated Press & By Gideon Long, (Reuters) & Aljazeera


A car bomb exploded outside the gates of a provincial police headquarters in the city of Baqouba, killing 15 people and wounding 17, police Colonel Mudhahar al-Jubouri said.


All the casualties were probably police volunteers as civilians have no access to that area, according to al-Mujamai.


Husain al-Mujamai, an Iraqi journalist, told Aljazeera that the targeted building was under tight security.


"However, the driver of the booby-trapped car managed to reach the volunteers near one of the building's gates," he said.



Militant Group Kills Occupation Translator


07 Feb 2005 DUBAI, Feb 7 (Reuters)


Iraqi militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna said it had shot dead an Iraqi translator working for U.S. forces and posted an Internet video of the killing on Monday.







“People Need Not Be Helpless Before The Power Of Illegitimate Authority”


From: SOLDIERS IN REVOLT: DAVID CORTRIGHT, Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1975


In the final analysis the stationing of American forces abroad serves not the national interest but the class interest of the corporate and political elite.


The maintenance of a massive, interventionist-oriented military establishment is based not on the nation’s legitimate defense requirements but on the need to protect multinational investment and preserve regimes friendly to American capital.


Imperialism is at the heart of the national-security system and is the force fundamentally responsible for the counterrevolutionary, repressive aims of U.S. policy.


Only if we confront this reality and challenge it throughout society and within the ranks can we restore democratic control of the military.


Of course nothing can be accomplished without citizen involvement aid active political struggle.


During the Vietnam era enlisted servicemen created massive pressures for change, despite severe repression, and significantly altered the course of the war and subsequent military policy.


To sustain and strengthen this challenge we must continue to build political opposition to interventionism and support those who defy military service.


To this end the patriots who resisted the Indochina war should be granted universal and unconditional amnesty, as a sign of our agreement with their acts and as the first step toward restructuring the military and legitimatizing resistance to illegal war.


The central lesson of the GI movement—and, I hope, of this book—is that people need not be helpless before the power of illegitimate authority, that by getting together and acting upon their convictions people can change society and, in effect, make their own history.


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.



Saving The Heathens


February 7, 2005 By Bill Bonner, Daily Reckoning


When the Romans took Ctesphion, near modern Baghdad, the venture seemed a great success.  Thousands of prisoners were taken, who were sold into slavery.  The proceeds went back to Rome.


When the Christians took Jerusalem, again, the captives were sold into slavery.  That, combined with stealing everything that could be carried off, seemed to make the venture - if not profitable, at least plausible.


America has found no similar way to profit from its Eastern campaign.  A few defense contractors, and a handful of Texas oilmen, have made money on the deal.  But for the United States as a whole, the project has been a colossal financial drain...with about price tag of about $4,000 per American family so far.


But it would be a mean-spirited Ebeneezer who would count the cost of such an uplifting campaign.


This is a Holy Crusade, after all.  Fourteen hundred U.S. dead...thousands more Iraqis...$200 billion...is any price too high for the benefits of the ballot box?


Our defenders of the faith - George II and Tony I - have launched a crusade of sanctimonious idolatry worthy of the Borgia popes.


The Sodoms of anti-democratic infidelity along the Tigris and Euphrates have been attacked...and largely destroyed.  "Insurgents," are regarded as a cross between cannibals and the devil himself.  They are "evil," says Brooks in The New York Times, no less.  Had he lived in an earlier era he might accuse them of sorcery.


Like any crusade, the War in Iraq, has its rituals, its saints, its sacraments, its relics, its holy writs and its holy martyrs.


Last Sunday, Iraqis stood in line to take the sacrament.


Instead of marking their foreheads with ashes, as Christians will do next Wednesday, they dipped their fingers in blue ink - as proof that they had come to the holy place and been sanctified.


Whatever sins they had committed in that benighted era before the U.S. invasion were cast out. Now they were democrats, solemnly marking their sacred ballots with the sign of the cross.


Thus, the Mesopotamian tribes have been delivered from evil...at least for now.


And now, the orthodoxy of modern democratic faith has been delivered to the Iraqis.  The heathens have been converted.  They may now save their souls any time they want - simply by dipping their fingers in blue ink and voting.


The holy sacraments have been given.


Saecula saeculorum.







U.S. Iraq Commanders Took $800 Million;

Wholesale Bribery Reported


February 8, 2005 George Monbiot, The Guardian


Last week a British adviser to the Iraqi Governing Council told the BBC's File on Four programme that officials in the CPA were demanding bribes of up to $300,000 in return for awarding contracts. Iraqi money seized by US forces simply disappeared.


Some $800m was handed out to US commanders without being counted or even weighed.


A further $1.4bn was flown from Baghdad to the Kurdish regional government in the town of Irbil, and has not been seen since.


What makes all this so serious is that more than half the money the CPA was giving away did not belong to the US government but to the people of Iraq.  Most of it was generated by the coalition's sales of oil.  


If you think the UN's oil-for-food programme was leaky, take a look at the CPA's oil-for-reconstruction scheme.  Throughout the entire period of CPA rule, there was no metering of the oil passing through Iraq's pipelines, which means that there was no way of telling how much of the country's wealth the authority was extracting, or whether it was paying a fair price for it.








Protester Is "Threat To The President"


Then, they jailed him and fined him because he refused to be bullied into submission to the Imperial President.


Jan 28th, 2005 by Thinking Republican, via Vietnam Veterans Against the War


Brett Bursey, a long-time political activist, has been found guilty of violating a little-used federal statute that Congress passed in 1971 to protect the president's personal safety.


Bursey's "crime" was holding a sign that said, "No More War for Oil" at a presidential campaign venue - without an invitation from the Republican National Committee.


Several commentators have suggested that Bursey's case, involving a federal statute, will be used by the Bush Administration to quash any visible protests against the president in his future appearances throughout the county.


Bursey had refused to move away from President George W. Bush  during a visit to Columbia, South Carolina .


During his trial, Bursey and his witnesses said he was standing amid a number of Bush supporters who were not asked to leave.


He also says he was told "sir, it's the content of your sign that's the problem" by the police officer who asked him to move.


Bursey contends that he was asked to move to a non-existent "free speech zone" established by the Secret Service.  "The problem was, the restricted area kept moving. It was wherever I happened to be standing," Bursey said.


Bursey was some 200 yards from the president when he was arrested and both sides agree that he posed no threat to the president's safety at any time.


Originally, Bursey had been charged under the South Carolina trespassing statute, but that charge was thrown out by a county judge because the airport where Bursey was charged is public property.


The Justice Department, however, filed its own charges against Busey using the seldom enforced federal statute that is intended to safeguard the president's safety in restricted areas.  That statute carries a fine of up to $5,000 and six months imprisonment.  Those charges were brought by Strom Thurmond, Jr., the US Attorney who is the son of the late senator.


Bursey had contended that the purportedly "restricted" area was not bound by any barriers or visible cordons and that the "restricted area" was wherever he happened to be standing.


In his ruling, the federal magistrate hearing the case said that, although there were several Bush supporters in the "restricted" area, and the event was held in a public place, Bursey was in violation of the statute because he had not been provided a ticket by the organizers of the president's appearance.


During his trial, Bursey had sought to subpoena the Justice Department, the Secret Service, and White House Counselor Karl Rove in an attempt to determine how the decision to prosecute Mr. Bursey under the little-used law was reached.  Federal magistrate Bristow Marchant, however, refused to enforce the subpoenas, so none of the requested witnesses was called to appear.


A reading of the statute, however, makes it abundantly clear that Mr. Bursey did none of the things that would have put him in violation of the statute because he did not impede the conduct of governmental business; did not impede or obstruct the president's or any other person's movement at the venue; and, did not engage in any physical violence.


They arrested him up because he embarrassed the president.


Then, they jailed him and fined him because he refused to be bullied into submission to the Imperial President.


Freedom?  Make me laugh...








The Pitiful, Helpless Giant:

Dying Of Imperial Overreach


A national economy that cannot itself produce the things it needs and invests instead in military "security" will eventually find itself in a position in which it has to use its military constantly to take, or threaten to take, from others what it cannot provide for itself, which in turn leads to what Yale historian Paul Kennedy has described as "imperial overstretch"


That descent into imperial overstretch explains how in the early 1940s a United States much weaker in absolute terms, fighting more evenly matched opponents, could nonetheless prevail against its enemies more quickly than a state with an $11 trillion GDP and a defense budget approaching $500 billion (without even adding in the $80 billion budgetary supplement for Iraq and Afghanistan that the Bush administration is reputedly preparing for the current fiscal year) fighting perhaps 10,000-20,000 ill-armed insurgents in a state with a prewar GDP that represents less than the turnover of a large corporation.


The US today is a nation with a hollowed-out industrial base and an increasing incapacity to finance a military adventurism propelled by the very forces responsible for that hollowing out.


Jan 25, 2005 By Marshall Auerback, Asia Times


In his 1849 novel Les Guepes, Alphonse Karr penned the classic line: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."  In the case of the United States in 2005, however, the opposite might be true: The more things stay the same, the more they are likely to change ... for the worse.


In that regard, compiling a list of potential threats to the US this year has a strangely deja-vu-all-over-again feeling.  After all, such a list would represent nothing more than a longstanding catalogue of economic policymaking run amok.  Virtually the same list could have been drawn up in 2004, or 2003, or previous years.


Such threats would include: a persistent and increasing resort to debt-financed growth and a concomitant, growing imbalance in the trade deficit, leading the US ever further into financial dependency and so leaving it dangerously indebted to rival nations, which could (at least theoretically) pull the plug at any time.


This, in turn, is occurring against the backdrop of an increasingly problematic, Vietnam-style quagmire in Iraq, against imperial overstretch, and against a related ongoing crisis in energy prices, itself spurring an ever more frantic competition for energy security, which will surely intensify existing global and regional rivalries.


Just as a haystack soaked in kerosene will appear relatively benign until somebody strikes a match, so too, although America's long-standing economic problems have not yet led to financial Armageddon, this in no way invalidates the threat ultimately posed.


For economy watchers in 2005, the key, of course, is to imagine which event (or combination of them) might represent the match that could set this "haystack" alight - if there is indeed one "event" which has the capability of precipitating the bursting of a historically unprecedented credit bubble.


The odd thing about credit bubbles is that they have no determined resolution, nor is there anything about such a dynamic that specifies the path by which it will be reversed; nor is there some specific level of financial excess guaranteed to eventually put an end to it.  The beginning of that end could potentially be set off at any level at any time. Nevertheless, it is possible to sketch out several scenarios that could conceivably, in the 11 months left to 2005, trigger such a reversal or even something approaching economic collapse.


Debt: A policy on steroids

The Achilles' heel of the US economy is certainly debt.  It is generally assumed that increases in credit stimulate consumer demand.  In the short run that is true, but the long run is another matter altogether.  When debt levels are as high as those the United States is carrying today, further increases in debt created by credit expansion can come to act as a burden on demand.  Signs of this are already in the air - or rather in what has been, by historic standards, only feeble economic growth in the US economy over President George W Bush's first term in office.


Think of the present mountain of national debt as the policy equivalent of steroids.


It has so far managed to create a reasonably flattering picture of economic prosperity, much as steroid use in baseball has flattered the batting averages of some of the game's stars over the past decade.  But unlike major-league baseball, forced to act by scandal and Senate threats, America's monetary and financial officials still refuse to implement policies designed to curb the growth of a steroidal debt burden.  If anything, addiction has set in and policy has increasingly appeared designed to encourage ever larger doses of indebtedness.


Each bailout or promise of a government safety net has only led to more of the same: the Penn Central crisis; the Chrysler and Lockheed bailouts; the rescue of much of the savings-and-loan as well as commercial-banking system in the early 1990s; the 1998 bailout of the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management; and the persistent reluctance of US officials to regulate the country's increasingly speculative financial system, which not only has led to fiascoes like Enron - the 21st-century poster child for what ails the US economy - but speaks to the dangers of excessive debt, corrupt financial practices, highly dubious accounting, and endless conflicts of interest.


The result of this reluctance to confront the consequences of America's credit excesses - a federal-government debt level that is now at US$7.5 trillion.  Of this, $1 trillion is ancient history; the other $6.5 trillion has built up over the past three decades; the last $2 trillion in the past eight years; and the last $1 trillion in the past two years alone.


This rising level of indebtedness will become a huge deflationary weight on economic activity if debt growth should seriously slow - which is the economic equivalent of a Catch-22.


The 'Blanche Dubois' economy

The situation of the US economy becomes yet more precarious when you consider that the country's major creditors are foreigners.  Today, the US economy is being kept afloat by enormous levels of foreign lending, which allow American consumers to continue to buy more imports, which only increase the already bloated trade deficits.  In essence, this could be characterized in Streetcar Named Desire terms as a "Blanche Dubois economy", heavily dependent as it is on "the kindness of strangers" in order to sustain its prosperity.


This is also a distinctly lopsided arrangement that would end, probably with a bang, if those foreign creditors - major trading partners such as Japan, China and Europe - simply decided, for whatever reasons, to reduce the lending substantially.


China, Japan and other major foreign creditors are believed willing to sustain the status quo because their own industrial output and employment levels are thought to be worth more to them than risking the implosion of their most important consumer market, but that, of course, assumes levels of rationality not necessarily found in any global system in a moment of crisis.


If, for example, a banking crisis developed in China (which has its own "bubble" worries), Beijing might well feel it had no choice but to begin selling off parts of its US bond holdings in order to use the capital at home to stabilize its financial system or assuage political unrest among its unemployed masses.  Then think for a moment: global house of cards.


Already China has given indications of its long-term intentions on this matter: roughly 50% of China's growth in foreign exchange since 2001 has been placed into US dollars. Last year, however, while China saw its reserves grow by $112 billion, the dollar portion of that was only 25% or $25 billion, according to the always well-informed Montreal-based financial-consultancy firm Bank Credit Analyst.


Beijing has already made it clear that it will spread its reserves and put less emphasis on the dollar.  If such foreign capital increasingly moves elsewhere and easy credit disappears for consumers, US interest rates could rise sharply.  As a result, many Americans would likely experience a major decline in their living standards - a gradual grinding-down process that could continue for years, as has occurred in Japan since the collapse of its credit bubble in the early 1990s.


Even if China, Japan and other East Asian nations continue to accommodate US financial profligacy, a major economic "adjustment" in the United States could still be triggered simply by the sheer financial exhaustion of its overextended consumers. After all, the country already has a recession-sized fiscal deficit and zero household savings. That's a combination that's never been seen before.  In the early 1980s, when the federal deficit was this size, the household savings rate was 9%.  This base of savings enabled the government to finance its vast deficits for a time through a huge one-time fall in net savings, the scale of which was historically unprecedented and not repeatable today in a savings-less United States.


At the edge: Imperial overstretch

A restoration of national savings is fundamentally incompatible with continued economic growth, all other things being equal.


And the United States can ill-afford even lagging economic growth, given the magnitude of its burgeoning - and expensive - overseas military commitments, especially in an Iraq that is beginning to look like Vietnam redux.


President Bush likes to compare his combination of economic, military and diplomatic strategies with president Ronald Reagan's blend of tax cuts, military assertiveness and massive borrowing in the 1980s. Bush's economic advisers, especially Vice President Dick ("deficits don't matter") Cheney, appear to believe that the present huge trade and fiscal deficits will prove no more disruptive in the next decade than they were in the Reagan years.


But if we turn to the Vietnam parallel, we find a less comforting historical precedent: the decision, first by president Lyndon Johnson and then by president Richard Nixon, to finance that unpopular conflict through borrowing and inflation, rather than higher taxes. The ultimate result of their cumulative Vietnam decisions was not just a military humiliation but also a series of economic crises that first caught up with the US in the late 1960s and continued periodically until 1982.


In a sense, the dollar's continuing fall last year (especially against the euro), in spite of significant interventions by central banks in the global foreign-exchange markets, reflects a similar loss of respect for US policymaking - and especially for the linking of the dollar and the Pentagon through an endless series of foreign adventures.


In addition, a national economy that cannot itself produce the things it needs and invests instead in military "security" will eventually find itself in a position in which it has to use its military constantly to take, or threaten to take, from others what it cannot provide for itself, which in turn leads to what Yale historian Paul Kennedy has described as "imperial overstretch":


That is to say, decision-makers in Washington must face the awkward and enduring fact that the sum total of the United States' global interests and obligations is nowadays far larger than the country's power to defend them all simultaneously.


That descent into imperial overstretch explains how in the early 1940s a United States much weaker in absolute terms, fighting more evenly matched opponents, could nonetheless prevail against its enemies more quickly than a state with an $11 trillion GDP and a defense budget approaching $500 billion (without even adding in the $80 billion budgetary supplement for Iraq and Afghanistan that the Bush administration is reputedly preparing for the current fiscal year) fighting perhaps 10,000-20,000 ill-armed insurgents in a state with a prewar GDP that represents less than the turnover of a large corporation.


The US today is a nation with a hollowed-out industrial base and an increasing incapacity to finance a military adventurism propelled by the very forces responsible for that hollowing out.



The dividing line of the new Cold War And then there is the problem of crude oil, which, despite predictions from ever-optimistic financial analysts, has once again begun to approach $50 a barrel.  The one thing Mr Bush has never mentioned in relation to his Iraq war policy is oil, but back in 2001 former secretary of state James Baker presciently wrote an essay in a Council on Foreign Relations study of world energy problems that oil could never lurk far from the forefront of US policy considerations:


Strong economic growth across the globe and new global demands for more energy have meant the end of sustained surplus capacity in hydrocarbon fuels and the beginning of capacity limitations.  In fact, the world is currently precariously close to utilizing all of its available global oil-production capacity, raising the chances of an oil-supply crisis with more substantial consequences than seen in three decades.


These choices will affect other US policy objectives: US policy toward the Middle East; US policy toward the former Soviet Union and China; the fight against international terrorism. The CFR report made another salient point clear: "Oil-price spikes since the 1940s have always been followed by recession."


The most recent spike in the price of oil was not simply a reflection of rising political uncertainty and conflict in the Middle East.  There are other reasons to expect higher energy-price levels over the next two to three decades - the most notable among them being strong demand from emerging economies, especially those of China and India.


The drive for resources is occurring in a world where alliances are shifting among major oil-producing and consuming nations.  A kind of post-Cold War global lineup against perceived US hegemony seems to be in the earliest stages of formation, possibly including Brazil, China, India, Iran, Russia and Venezuela.


Russian President Vladimir Putin's riposte to a US strategy of building up its military presence in some of the former SSRs of the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has been to ally the Russian and Iranian oil industries, organize large-scale joint war games with the Chinese military, and work toward the goal of opening up the shortest, cheapest, and potentially most lucrative new oil route of all, southward out of the Caspian Sea area to Iran.  In the meantime, the European Union is now negotiating to drop its ban on arms shipments to China (much to the publicly expressed chagrin of the Pentagon).


Russia has also offered a stake in its recently nationalized Yukos (a leading, pro-Western Russian oil company forced into bankruptcy by the Putin government) to China.


In a one-superpower world, this is pretty brazen behavior by all concerned, but it is symptomatic of a growing perception of the United States as a declining, overstretched giant, albeit one with the capacity to strike out lethally if wounded.


US military and economic dominance may still be the central fact of world affairs, but the limits of this primacy are becoming ever more evident - something reflected in the dollar's precipitous descent on foreign-exchange markets.


It all makes for a very challenging backdrop to the rest of 2005.  Keep an eye out. Perhaps this will indeed be the year when long-standing problems for the United States finally do boil over, but don't expect Washington to accept the dispersal of its economic and military power lightly.


Marshall Auerback is an international strategist with David W Tice & Associates, LLC, a US Virgin Islands-based money-management firm.  He is also a contributor to the Japan Policy Research Institute. His weekly work can be viewed at prudentbear.com. This article appeared on Tomdispatch.com and is used here by permission.



Russian Rich Live In Fear:

“When You Go To Work One Day, The Neighbors Will Come And Burn Your Lovely Dacha Down.”


By Craig Mellow, January 2005 Smithsonian


The average price for a house in a cottage village has already dropped to $500,000, broker Tsyvin says, as “people realize that (7,500 square feet) is really a bit large for a family of four or five.”


How many Muscovites can afford a country retreat at that price in a nation without mortgage financing?  Statistics are unreliable with declared income still a novelty, but brokers say the number is surely in the hundreds of thousands.


All the same, only at their peril do the dacha elite forget that they take their ease atop a volcano known as Russia…..


Beyond the lights of Moscow many families do live on the official per capita income of $200 a month and are inclined to see even a mini-fortune of $200,000 as having been stolen from their common socialist pot during the rigged bidding of early capitalism.


No one on the Rublyevka expects that rage to erupt in a new 1917.  But almost everyone knows it is out there.  [“No one?”  Well, not quite.]


“People stick to the Rublvevka and other luxury districts not only for prestige but for safety” says Gary Onanov.


“You could buy all the land you want (60 miles) from Moscow.  But then when you go to work one day, the neighbors will come and burn your lovely dacha down.”



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