GI SPECIAL 3A64:
BRING THEM HOME
Ft. Bragg Rally
March 2, 2005 By Allison Williams,
Staff writer, The Fayetteville (NC)
groups with military ties plan to hold national meetings here this
month. Another group of activists from across the South will gather
And about two weeks
from now, on the second anniversary of the war, thousands of
protesters will rally again in Fayetteville.
March 19 promises a showdown on a
subject that's particularly touchy in a military town. Activists are
using Fayetteville as a national stage for promoting peace in what
they call an effort to support the troops, yet much of their
audience here may not see it that way.
The largest anti-war coalition in the
nation, United for Peace and Justice, plugs the March 19 rally on
the front page of its Web site: ''Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg
- ground zero for the 82nd Airborne Division and many of the Army's
elite units. It is also home to a growing base of anti-war
activists and organizations: military folks, veterans, families of
active-duty soldiers and veterans, students, workers, housewives,
clergy, educators, all are part of a vibrant, and growing, statewide
The Web site for Military Families
Speak Out, a group with more than 2,000 members, is more blunt:
''Many from the 82nd Airborne Division and the Army Special Forces
Command realize that those who really support them are their
families and their community.
The appeal of the
empty slogans and the yellow ribbon magnets of the right-wing
pro-war zealots faded long ago. In 2005, real support for the
troops means Bring Them Home Now!''
It began with a small but vocal group
of people in Fayetteville, including Chuck Fager, director of the
Quaker House, and Lou Plummer, a computer technician with a son in
The two of them began talking to
people across the country about Fayetteville. They traveled to
national conventions and invited activists to attend a rally on the
first anniversary of the war in 2004. On March 20, hundreds of
anti-war protesters gathered at Rowan Park. A group of
counter-demonstrators set up across the street. More than 100 police
officers kept a watchful eye. Though demonstrators shouted at one
another and motorcyclists revved their engines to drown out speakers
in the park, both groups were peaceful.
[“Hundreds” my ass. It was a good
thousand. I know. I was there. T.]
This year, when other activist groups
foundered after the presidential election and the second anniversary
neared, Fager and Plummer were ready.
''We had a plan, a date and a track
record,'' Fager said.
Organizers soon had confirmation from
national groups such as Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans
Against the War and Gold Star Families for Peace. They lined up
well-known speakers, including Lila Lipscomb, the military mother
featured in the film ''Fahrenheit 9/11.''
And it seemed as if Fayetteville's
peace movement had arrived when Fager appeared last Wednesday night
on the ''The O'Reilly Factor,'' the Fox News Channel program.
Last year's one-day rally has grown
into a three-day event that with include a hip-hop concert March 18,
the rally on March 19 and the national meetings March 20.
Like last year, the Old North State
chapter of the national group Free Republic is planning a
counter-demonstration. The group will be joined by veterans,
military families and members of Carolina Troop Supporters, a group
of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lynn Huber is a
chairwoman of the Old North State chapter.
It hurts military families, she
said, when people rally to oppose the war.
''It hurts their feelings because they
are making tremendous sacrifices,'' Huber said.
''The anti-war people see them as
evil, yet they are not. They (support the war)
because they believe in the cause.'' [When Huber says the
movement sees military families and troops as evil, she lies in her
teeth. Unlike Huber, those opposed to the war don’t want to see
more dead and maimed troops in Iraq. If she thinks the war is so
great, let her buy a ticket to Baghdad and go fight it herself.
There are plenty of other non-military types over there. There is no
excuse for the kind of filth that spews out of her mouth. None. Or
for sitting safely at home letting others do the dying. That’s
behavior is simple cowardice.]
But Fager says the protest is about
supporting soldiers and military families. He believes Fayetteville
is reaching a threshold, a time when the city will begin to see more
soldiers speaking out against the war.
He isn't the only
one who thinks so. Nancy Lessin, co-founder of Military Families
Speak Out, says the idea for a national meeting in Fayetteville came
from Fort Bragg families.
where we're going to have our national presence,'' Lessin said.
''This is where we should all be. These are our loved ones; these
are our members.''
Military Families Speak Out is the
mother group to Gold Star Families for Peace. It was founded by
Cindy Sheehan in December after her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan,
was killed in Iraq.
''I really believe that his death in
this war was so needless, so senseless,'' she said. ''He died for
peace; he didn't die for violence.
''Our goal is to end the war before
any more families have to suffer the way we suffered.''
Veterans speak out:
Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families hold their national
meetings here, so will Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Mike Hoffman is a
co-founder of the group and a former Marine who now lives near
Philadelphia. When he got home from Iraq in 2003, people
congratulated him on a job well done.
''I didn't feel
like I did a great job,'' he said. ''I didn't know where to
He found support from Veterans for
Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. With the encouragement
of both groups, Hoffman and other Iraq war veterans formed their own
group last summer. Hoffman said Vietnam Veterans Against the War
inspired him and other Iraq war veterans.
''They were one of
the major forces in ending the Vietnam War,'' Hoffman said.
''That's what we all envision as the end game, when we are powerful
enough to mobilize in front of the White House and demand withdrawal
of the troops. We're not there yet, but Fayetteville is a huge
Iraq Veterans is
still small, but it has members all over the country, Hoffman said,
including soldiers from Fort Bragg. ''This war
affects Fayetteville more than most cities, probably more than any
other in the nation right now,'' he said.
More than 10,000 soldiers from Fort
Bragg are deployed in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since
early 2002, about 80 service members with ties to local military
installations or from the Cape Fear region have been killed.
Iraq Veterans still keeps a close
relationship with its parent group, Veterans for Peace. The group is
headquartered in St. Louis and is led by Michael McPhearson, who
grew up in Fayetteville and graduated from Seventy-First High
McPhearson said he attended last
year's rally and plans to come here again. ''It's not to come and
say: People of Fayetteville - which are my people - you're wrong,
you shouldn't be doing this. We - veterans, military families - we
stand in solidarity with you. We want you to understand where we're
coming from. Your children, our children, should not be there.''
McPhearson said he felt strange, at
first, returning to Fayetteville for the protest. ''It felt like a
homecoming, from my perspective, to talk to my people about the
truth as I see it," he said. ''Where did I get these ideals from? I
got them from my mom, yes, but I still got it from the soil of my
Plummer and Fager go to great pains to
tell people that the protesters who attend the March 19 rally will
not all be outsiders. Many of them are people with close military
Plummer cites himself as an example.
He grew up in Fayetteville. He graduated from Westover High School
and joined the National Guard in Raeford. His father served two
tours in Vietnam.
Plummer didn't set out to become a
peace activist, but he said the events after the terrorist attacks
on Sept. 11, 2001, propelled him to act. Plummer, Fager and others
say they oppose the war, not only because they believe it has done
more harm than good in Iraq, but also because they see the way
soldiers are stretched thin.
''This war in Iraq
is so horribly wrong, that it has mobilized people who wouldn't
ordinarily speak out'' Plummer said.
Do you have a
friend or relative in the service? Forward this E-MAIL along, or
send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.
Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra
important for your service friend, too often cut off from access
to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and
inside the armed services.
Send requests to address up top.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
FOUR MARINES KILLED
IN AL ANBAR PROVINCE
PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press
Friday, four U.S.
soldiers were killed west of the capital in sprawling Anbar
province, where American troops launched a massive
sweep two weeks ago to root out insurgents, the military said. The
soldiers were assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary
SOLDIER KILLED, ONE
INJURED IN VEHICLE ACCIDENT NEAR TIKRIT
March 4, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED
STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS RELEASE Number: 05-03-04C
TIKRIT, Iraq –
One Task Force Liberty Soldier was
killed and another injured in a vehicle accident near Tikrit at
about 10:00 p.m. March 4. The injured Soldier was taken
to a Coalition Forces medical treatment facility.
4 March 2005 Novinite Ltd
A Bulgarian soldier was killed near
the Iraqi town of Diwaniya when unknown militants attacked Bulgarian
patrol at 18.45, Bulgarian time, on Friday.
Hristov Gurdev, 20, a machine gunner on an armored vehicle, was
gravely injured in the attack which occurred on the Tampa road, some
40-45 km away from the Echo base, Defense Ministry announced in a
He was immediately rushed to hospital,
but doctors could not save him and Private Gurdev died before
reaching it, the statement also said.
Soldier From Colony Of Puerto Rico Dies In Iraq
Mar 3 (Prensa Latina)
Robles, aged 31, became early Tuesday morning the second Puerto
Rican military woman to die as a result of the US occupation of
Iraq, sources revealed Thursday.
death, when the US army truck on which she was traveling overturned
near Tikrit town, increased to 25 the number of dead Puerto Ricans
The number of
wounded soldiers from that Caribbean nation during the military
occupation of Iraq by the foreign troops is still unknown.
Robles´ corpse is expected to arrive
on the Island between Sunday and Monday, her relatives confirmed.
She was a resident of the northern
Vega Baja municipality, some 16 miles from San Juan.
Carlos Javier Gil, another Puerto
Rican sergeant who died February 18 in the Iraqi city of Humaniyuh
was buried Saturday in the military cemetery of Orlando, Florida.
Puerto Ricans, US
citizens by virtue of a law passed by Congress 88 years ago, have
participated in the armed conflicts in which Washington has taken
part since World War I. [But of course they can’t vote for
President of the United States, which is only right, since Puerto
Rico is an occupied colony, denied the right to self-determination
for over 100 years.]
Injured In Iraq Dies
March 4, 2005 By Erin Jordan, REGISTER
An Iowa National Guardsman injured
last weekend in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq died this morning.
Spc. Seth Garceau,
22, of Oelwein, lost an eye, had a crushed trachea and broke his leg
and jaw in the explosion early Sunday. He was at Landstuhl Regional
Medical Center in Germany when he was taken off life support at 5:15
a.m. today, his grand-father, Ron Garceau, said.
Seth Garceau died at 8:30 a.m.
“Our son, his ex-wife and daughter are
there now,” Ron Garceau said. “They kept him on life support until
they got there.”
“You See These Kids
With No Hands, No Legs.”
March 4, 2005 By JOSEPH AX, THE
GREENBURGH — Lance Cpl. Cesar Sanchez,
his eyes intently searching the side of the road through the scope
of his rifle, suddenly halted the company of fellow Marines
following him along the main highway between Baghdad and Fallujah
that crosses the desert of Iraq.
They were patrolling on foot Feb. 8,
looking for what the military calls IEDs — improvised explosive
devices — and Sanchez, a 20-year-old from Greenburgh, had spotted
one, half buried in the dirt.
The platoon set up a perimeter around
the bomb for four hours, until the sun had set and experts arrived
to defuse the device. Sanchez and the 20 to 30 Marines headed
toward their base, the infamous prison known as Abu Ghraib.
yards from the gate, the company was ordered to halt briefly and
turn around. As Sanchez turned his head, he saw a flash through his
night-vision goggles about two or three feet away and tried to twist
away instinctively — an effort that may have saved his life.
The explosion from the undetected IED
threw Sanchez to the ground, his leg in severe pain and blood
seeping from wounds to his head and left eye. After treatment in
Iraq, he was flown to a military base in Germany, where he learned
the extent of the injuries.
His skull was fractured, and the
nerves behind his left knee had been damaged. Shrapnel wounds
pockmarked his left leg.
The doctor in Germany told him he
would lose his left eye, hit by a piece of metal, but a second
doctor at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, where he went for the
first of two eye surgeries, told him he would eventually regain much
of his sight.
“I knew I was pretty badly hurt, but I
knew I was alive,” Sanchez said yesterday from his mother’s home in
Reykjavik, Iceland, where he will spend four weeks before returning
to the United States for a second eye surgery at the end of the
month. “I had pain, so pain kind of tells you you’re still alive.”
Sanchez’s eye, which is sensitive to
light and wind, stays mostly shut, he said.
“I can’t really see much out of it,”
he said. “I feel like I’m watching the world through a fogged-up
“He’s one of the luckiest ones,” his
49-year-old father, also named Cesar and a native of Peru, said in
an interview at his Greenburgh home Wednesday. Sanchez’s mother,
Iceland native Arna Arnarsdottir, and his father are divorced.
“What depressed me
most was the number of people injured in these hospitals,” the elder
Cesar Sanchez said. “You see these kids with no hands, no legs. Some
of them have no eyes. It really makes me sad.”
Endless daily media
reports provide the rising number of U.S. military personnel killed
in combat, but the number injured draws far less attention, Sanchez
Sanchez was the only member of his
platoon to suffer injuries from the blast
Two Mercenary Cops
Killed Near Ashraf
March 03. 2005 The Associated Press
Two former U.S. servicemen, including
one from North Carolina, were killed Thursday in an attack on a
convoy near Ashraf while working for a private security company
based in Nevada, a company spokesman said.
Jimmy A. Riddle,
53, of The Colony, Texas, and Brian J. Wagoner, 30, of Fayetteville,
N.C., were together in a vehicle escorting a convoy of contractors
to an ammunition storage point in Ashraf when an explosive device
was detonated, destroying the vehicle and killing both men,
spokesman Anthony Casas said in a statement.
They worked for
Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group Inc.,
or SOC-SMG, based in Minden, Casas said.
They were providing security to Tetra
Tech FW Inc., which is under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to destroy and capture enemy munitions in Iraq, he said.
The attack occurred about 7:20 a.m. Iraq time on Thursday, he said.
Riddle, who served
in the Marines, also had worked for the Texas Probation Department
and several law enforcement agencies before
SOC-SMG hired him in November 2003.
Wagoner served in
the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C. and had law enforcement experience,
Owners of SOC-SMG Inc. describe their
firm headquartered 45 miles south of Reno near the Douglas County
Airport as an “International Force Protection” security company.
U.S. Convoy Bombed
03/04/2005 AFP and Turkish Press
In Mosul, a car
bomb parked on the side of a freeway was detonated when a US
military convoy passed by at about noon, said
“I saw people come and park the car
and then they got into an Opel that was waiting and sped away,” said
Mohammed Jassim Abdullah, a guard at a nearby riverside park.
There was no
immediate comment from the US military on any casualties among its
The explosion left a big hole on the
road’s shoulder, and remains of the vehicle were strewn everywhere,
an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.
By US Fire:
"Another Victim Of
An Absurd War"
3/4/2005 AFP and Turkish Press & AFP &
PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press & Reuters & By ROLAND FLAMINI (UPI)
ROME - Freed Italian journalist
Giuliana Sgrena was wounded when US troops opened fire on a convoy
carrying her to safety, and an Italian negotiator who helped secure
her release was killed, her newspaper Il Manifesto said here Friday.
The intelligence agent was killed when
he threw himself over Sgrena to protect her from U.S. fire, Apcom
quoted Gabriele Polo, the editor of the leftist Italian newspaper Il
Manifesto, as saying. Sgrena works for Il Manifesto.
Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi confirmed that Sgrena had been wounded and an Italian
secret service agent killed by US troops at a coalition checkpoint
The journalist was taken to a US-run
hospital for treatment for wounds to her shoulder after her vehicle
was fired on by US troops at a coalition checkpoint, her newspaper
said, adding that the 54-year-old journalist’s life was not in
The negotiator, an Italian secret
service agent, was shot dead in the incident as he tried to protect
Sgrena, the paper said.
The ANSA news agency said two other
Italian secret service agents were wounded. It is not known if they
The incident occurred at Camp Victory,
the US military headquarters adjacent to Baghdad International
Gabriele Polo, the editor of Il
Manifesto newspaper, said Sgrena's car was fired on as it made its
way to Baghdad airport.
"This news which should have be a
moment of celebration, has been ruined by this fire fight," Polo
told Sky Italia television.
"An Italian agent
has been killed by an American bullet. A tragic demonstration
which we never wanted that everything that's happening in Iraq is
completely senseless and mad," he added, struggling to fight back
Only shortly before, the Italian
government had confirmed Sgrena's release, exactly a month after she
was kidnapped near a Baghdad mosque while on assignment in Iraq.
In Rome, the immense joy and relief at
the news of her release quickly turned to concern and anger.
Sgrena’s brother Ivan confirmed on
Italian state television RAI that she had been wounded.
"There’s little to
say. The Americans nearly killed her," Sgrena’s
companion Pier Scolari was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.
Sources at the newspaper said the US
troops had opened fire when the convoy in which Sgrena was
travelling reached a coalition road-block as it was speeding towards
The newspaper named the dead man as
Nicola Calipari, saying he was hit while trying to protect Sgrena.
Il Manifesto’s editor Gabriele Polo
paid tribute to the Italian agent, crediting him with Sgrena’s
"Nicola Calipari is
the person we must thank most for Giuliani’s release.
Unfortunately, he was killed by American bullets," said Polo.
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi said his government had summoned Washington's ambassador
to Rome to explain the wounding of Ms Sgrena and the killing of a
member of her Italian escort.
Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of the United States who has kept Italian
troops in Iraq despite public opposition at home, demanded an
explanation "for such a serious incident, for which someone must
take the responsibility."
Berlusconi said he had been
celebrating Sgrena's release with the editor of Il Manifesto, and
with Sgrena's boyfriend, Pier Scolari, when he took a phone call
from an agent who informed them of the shooting.
"It's a shame that the joy we all felt
was turned into tragedy," Berlusconi said.
The shooting came
as a blow to Berlusconi, who has kept 3,000 troops in Iraq despite
strong opposition in Italy.
The shooting was
likely to set off new protests in Italy, where tens of thousands
have regularly turned out on the streets to protest the Iraq war.
Sgrena's newspaper was a loud opponent of the war.
"Another victim of
an absurd war," Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, leader of the Green Party,
reported numerous incidents where confusion at U.S. checkpoints has
led to U.S. soldiers killing innocent civilians.
The shooting is
also likely to deepen anti-American sentiment in Italy: if President
Bush was not popular before, he is likely to be less so now.
Italian media quoted a military
spokesman in Baghdad, U.S. Army Sgt. Don Dees, as saying that the
car "was approaching a roadblock manned by coalition forces at high
speed" and the soldiers had opened fire from an armored vehicle.
"U.S. troops always
have the right to defend themselves when they feel threatened," Dees
said, according to the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera's
website. [If so, then true also for Iraqis “when they feel
threatened” by Bush’s occupation of their country. Works both
Marine Vet Reports
Recruiters Infesting NY City Subways
From: AR: (USMC
ret’d) & Iraq Veterans Against The War
To: GI Special
Sent: March 04, 2005
Subject: Desperate Recruiters Try
Hey T, how's it going?
I've got something for GI Special.
Seems like college
students’ info isn't safe from recruiters either.
I was recently
contacted (twice) by an army recruiter who had gotten my contact
info from my college.
I've heard of the 'No child left
behind act', but didn't think it applied to institutions of higher
Luckily, there is the Solomon
Amendment, which states military recruiters shall have:
(2) access by military recruiters for
purposes of military recruiting to the following information
pertaining to students (who are 17 years of age or older) enrolled
at that institution (or any subelement of that institution):
(A) Names, addresses, and
(B) Date and place of birth,
levels of education, academic majors, degrees received, and the most
recent educational institution enrolled in by the student.
And like the 'No child... act',
schools that do not comply have their federal funding revoked.
I also want to
point out that this recruiter was given my info, but had no idea
that I had served 4 years in the Marines and that I am an Iraq
If you would like to read this
amendment, here is the link:
Oh, and speaking of
desperate recruiting measures, a friend of mine saw recruiters going
through subway cars and talking to people about the Army.
Up to this point, I
only knew that they did this in subway stations.
Gee, I wonder why
nobody wants to join...
Keep up the good work. Ttyl.
[Check out Iraq
Veterans Against The War:
The IVAW Mission
Against the War (IVAW) is a group of veterans who have served since
September 11th, 2001 including Operation Enduring Freedom and
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
We are committed to saving lives
and ending the violence in Iraq by an immediate withdrawal of all
We also believe that the governments
that sponsored these wars are indebted to the men and women who were
forced to fight them and must give their Soldiers, Marines, Sailors,
and Airmen the benefits that are owed to them upon their return
We welcome all
active duty, national guard, reservists, and recent veterans into
NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK
OUT THE NEW TRAVELING SOLDIER
Telling the truth
- about the occupation or the criminals running the government in
Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we
want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the
resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or
inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to
become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed
services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help
you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what
you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a
network of active duty organizers.
And join with Iraq War
vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home
“What Are We Doing
“We Didn’t Train
March 4, 2005 Rory Carroll, The
The city was quiet
but the soldiers sitting and swaying inside the Stryker were
animated by their favorite debate: was it better to be five meters
or 20 meters from an explosion?
The front gunner belonged to the
20-meter school, figuring the greater distance reduced your chances
of losing limbs to the blast. The two rear gunners scoffed and said
that would increase the odds of being hit by shrapnel, which fanned
upwards and outwards.
Five months of patrolling Mosul had
furnished evidence for both views and the discussion was as
well-worn as the Stryker’s tires.
Phillips, 23, sighed and patted his flak jacket. “I just want to
stay alive and go home with all my body parts.” He spoke for
150,000 American soldiers in Iraq.
“I don’t tell my
mom or my wife that we drive up and down streets getting blown up
every day. They’d just worry all the time. I tell them we sit in the
base and do the odd mission,” said Sgt Nathan Purdy, who is 23.
A week embedded
with Bravo company, midway through a year-long stint in an
insurgent stronghold, showed a group of men with good morale and
determination to catch “bad guys” but divided over the war and
frustrated by an elusive enemy.
A tip about weapons caches this week
led to a midnight mission to dig up a lawn. It yielded nothing.
– what are we doing here?” asked one private. “And tomorrow we’re
giving out candy to kids again,” replied his friend. “We didn’t
train for this.”
Clear And Decisive
February 16 By Will Dunham (Reuters)
"I'd say the
insurgents' future is absolutely bleak.” -- Gen. Richard Myers,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Feb 25, 2005 (Reuters)
The insurgency in
Iraq is not likely to be put down in a year or even two since
history shows such uprisings can last a decade or more, the United
States' top military commander Gen. Richard Myers,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, said on Friday.
March 4, 2005 by Elizabeth
Weill-Greenberg. CommonDreams. Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg's work has
appeared in The Nation, Truth Out, In These Times, mtv.com and The
Amsterdam News. Her email address is
When Pablo Paredes,
then an 18-year old from the South Bronx, joined the Navy he was
only concerned with survival. Little did he know that a few years
later he would make national news when he refused to board a ship
ferrying soldiers to fight in Iraq.
"I came from that
survival nature where you're more worried about putting bread on the
table than you are about getting A's on your tests," Paredes said in
a telephone interview with the Amsterdam News. "If it paid for my
bills then it was important to me at that time."
On December 6, 2004 Paredes reported
to the 32nd Street Naval Station in San Diego and told reporters his
decision not to board, which could result in military prison time,
court martial and a dishonorable discharge.
"Here you are
carrying people to their death, and to criminal actions and to
murder," Paredes said of his orders that day. "I knew I wasn't
going to do it Rather than do it in a way that
compromises my integrity, I'd rather just be honest about it."
Paredes began preparing a
conscientious objector application and turned himself in to Naval
authorities on December 18th.
Like many anti-war soldiers who have
come before him, his opposition developed during his time in the
In 2000, Paredes
was working two jobs and attending college but he still couldn't
afford his tuition. He considered getting a third job but, on his
military recruiters' promises of educational opportunities, he opted
to join the Navy instead.
Two years later, he went to Japan
where he met people outside the military who spoke critically about
US military interventions. Paredes had not given much thought to
political issues before; the Navy was simply a job for him.
"It pushed me to get very educated as
far as political ramifications of the military, especially as a
Latino," Paredes said. "It was a birth of a different identity for
By the time he returned to the United
States in 2004, Paredes was wrestling with his participation in the
military and his moral opposition to all war. To avoid any
involvement with the Iraq war, he unsuccessfully tried to switch
jobs to work as a military police officer, checking Identifications
Paredes' new convictions were
eventually tested when he was ordered to board a ship that would
bring soldiers to Iraq.
"I don't want to be a part of a ship
that's taking 3,000 Marines over there, knowing a hundred or more of
them won't come back," he told reporters on December 6th.
"I can't sleep at night knowing that's what I do for a living."
Paredes and his brother, Victor, are
speaking out, telling Pablo's story wherever they can. Victor said
he hopes that New York politicians - from city council members to
senators - will issue statements of support for his brother.
Senator Hillary Clinton's office has expressed interest, he said.
Clinton's office was not available
Schumer and Congressman Jose E. Serrano did not return requests for
comment. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Adolfo
Carrion declined to comment.
Paredes is joining a growing number of
soldiers who are protesting the Iraq war, by refusing orders, going
AWOL, fleeing to Canada or speaking out. There are not as many
deserters and anti-war soldiers as during the peak of the
anti-Vietnam war movement. However, soldiers and their families are
organizing against this war earlier on then their counterparts
Against the War was founded in July 2004, a little over a year after
the war began. Vietnam Veterans Against the War was created in April
1967, about five years after the Vietnam war started.
And unlike the Vietnam war, military families have been at the
forefront of demonstrations against the Iraq war. More than 2000
families belong to Military Families Speak Out which was formed
before the US even attacked Iraq.
Some of the most outspoken anti-war
soldiers and military families are Latinos, Paredes said. One
resister who has attracted international attention is Camilo Mejia,
a 28-year old soldier who was recently released from military prison
for refusing to return to Iraq. Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son
was killed in Iraq, travels the world, talking about his opposition
to the war.
"I think it's by
no accident that some of the people who have come out more vocal
have been Latinos," said Paredes, who is Puerto Rican. "There's
this conflict inside of us just because of the history of what the
US military has done in our countries that makes us question
Despite soldiers' rising voices, many
in the defense department dismiss the notion that there is
significant resistance in the military, pointing to numbers which
show desertion rates dropping from about 8300 in 2001 to about 5100
Military data show desertion rates
decreasing but Steve Morse of the GI Rights Hotline says that the
calls they receive illustrate a different trend - from 17,000 in
2001 to more than 32,000 in 2004. Thirty percent are from service
members who are AWOL or are thinking about deserting, he said. One
website, www.tomjoad.org/WarHeroes.htm, lists (and applauds) the
names of soldiers who publicly refuse.
While Paredes says he's received
overwhelming support, there are some who call him a coward even
though his job on the ship was far removed from danger.
"You drop somebody
off to do dirty work and you sit around in the back in air
conditioning, online chatting, getting hero status," he said. "What
am I afraid of? A paper cut? It has nothing to do with fear."
How You Can Help
For contributions to Pablo's cause
kindly send check payable to: Victor Paredes/San Diego Military
Counseling Project Pablo Paredes Cause/P.O. Box 15307/San Diego, CA
Army Reserve Misses
February Recruitment Goals
March 4, 2005 By Lisa Burgess, Stars
The Army Reserve
missed its goals in February, for the second month in a row.
watching the news,” said Doug Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Army
Recruiting Command at Fort Knox in Kentucky. “They know the risks of
military service in today’s environment.”
In the Army Reserve, the recruiting
goal for the month was 1,320, but only 990 new reservists joined the
recruiting goal for the Army Reserve was also missed, marking the
first monthly shortfall for the component since September 2003,
For the Army and Army Reserve, the
February shortfalls leave both components short for the fiscal year,
The goal for the Army Reserve is
22,175. By the end of February, the component was supposed to have
recruited 5,587 of those soldiers. But the Army Reserve missed that
goal by 643 soldiers.
“We knew it was
going to be a difficult year,” Smith said.
“Foreign Armies Are
A Problem, Not A Solution.”
4 March, 2005 By Jim Muir, BBC News,
A spate of recent attacks in Iraq has
underlined the determination of the insurgents to regain the
One security analysis showed 727
insurgent attacks of one sort or another in February, with 627
people killed, including 42 members of the Multi-National Force, 213
Iraqi security personnel, and 329 civilians.
around is the wrong way to approach a disgruntled population,” said
one senior official.” “Foreign armies are a problem, not a
Police Chief Killed
03/04/2005 AFP and Turkish Press
BAGHDAD – A police chief was killed
near his home in south-central Iraq Friday, said the Polish
military, which is deployed in the region.
“Today in the
morning hours, Al-Budair police chief Colonel Ghaib Hadab Zarib was
killed,” a military statement said. “His body was found near his
house. The unknown attackers shot at him using an AK-rifle.”
Al-Budair is 35 miles east of
IF YOU DON’T LIKE
03/04/2005 AFP and Turkish Press &
In Baghdad, a
series of explosions that appeared to be a mortar attack rocked the
northern side of the city at around midday and the bridge connecting
the Sunni Adhamiyah district with Shiite Khadimiyah on the east bank
was blocked with rocks.
North of Samarra, a
police colonel was captured along the highway between Bayji and
Mosul, police said.
The People Back
Home Don't Know Shit
From: Mike Hastie,
U.S. Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71
To: GI Special
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 3:28
I read G.I. Special for March 1st.
The narrative for the Fallujah piece
was very powerful.
I must share that with some high
school kids. It would make John Wayne's dick look pretty tiny.
God, where do we get all of these
fools? All the paper tigers, where do they all come from?
I am going to leave
you with a little poem I wrote tonight after I read the Fallujah
piece. It is creative writing that came out of my collective memory
from so many people I have met, and have not met.
The People Back
Home Don't Know Shit
In war, sometimes
you kill everything, including the insects.
That's because you
have to kill your fear.
And when it's over,
and everything is dead,
you can then take a
The people back
home don't know shit.
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
“Tyrants” Who Love
The U.S. Empire Are Just Fine
Mar 3, 2005 By F William Engdahl, Asia
Times Online Ltd.
Washington has had no problem befriending some of the world's
all-time tyrants, as long as they were "pro-Washington" tyrants,
such as the military dictatorship of President
General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, a paragon of oppression.
We might name other befriended tyrants
- Ilham Aliyev's Azerbaijan, or Islam Karimov's Uzbekistan, or the
al-Sabahs' Kuwait, or Oman. Maybe Morocco, or Alvaro Uribe's
There is a long
list of pro-Washington tyrants.
reasons, Washington is unlikely to turn against its "friends". The
new anti-tyranny crusade would seem, then, to be directed against
US Prisons In
“Sovereign” Iraq Holding “More People Than Ever”
To Report Guards’ Complaints
March 5, 2005 By Edward Wong, The New
The U.S. military's major detention centers in Iraq have swelled to
capacity and are holding more people than ever, senior military
The military swept up many Iraqis
before the Jan. 30 elections in an attempt to curb violence and
halted all releases before the vote. Other detainees have been
captured in ambitious recent offensives across the Sunni Triangle,
from Samarrato to Falluja to the Euphrates River Valley south of
As of this week,
the military was holding at least 8,900 detainees in the three major
prisons, 1,000 more than in late January.
In Abu Ghraib, where eight U.S.
soldiers were charged last year with abusing detainees, 3,160 people
were being kept, considerably more than the 2,500 considered ideal,
said Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the detainee
system. [Wrong. “Zero” would be
ideal, and after the Iraqis win their war for independence from the
Bush Occupation dictatorship, that’s how it will be.]
The largest center, Camp Bucca in the
south, had at least 5,640 detainees.
One hundred so-called high-value
detainees, including Saddam Hussein and his aides, were being held
at Camp Cropper, near the Baghdad airport.
"We're very close
to capacity now," Johnson said.
The military must hire enough
effective interrogators and military intelligence officers to
process detainees quickly, said Bruce Hoffman, an analyst at the
RAND Corporation who has worked in Iraq with U.S. policymakers.
people languishing in the prisons, a fertile recruiting ground for
the insurgents, could take up arms when they were freed. [“Could?”]
On a recent morning at Abu Ghraib,
military policemen marched 50 handcuffed men from a convoy that had
just arrived from Tikrit, Saddam's hometown. Old and young, the
detainees wore thin shirts or robes.
A sign on a concrete blast wall read,
"No Parking: Detainee Drop Off Zone." Guards stood watch in towers
along walls laced with razor wire. The detainees huddled quietly
on the ground outside a squat building where they would be
processed. Soon they would be
asked to put on orange jumpsuits. [This
reporter really is a hack for the occupation. Check the wording:
“asked.” We’re supposed to think somebody politely inquires if the
prisoner would like a nice orange jump suit instead of his or her
At the main gate, minibuses took
families in for visits. Many of the visitors were solemn young
children and unsmiling women in black robes.
policemen complain of understaffing and of being overworked.
[“Some?” How many? What specific complaints? What did they say?
Maybe they hoped this reporter would get the truth out? They didn’t
know they were dealing with a shill for the Pentagon. So, of
course, there isn’t one lousy quote from the guards, is there? Oh
no, then the command wouldn’t love this reporter any more. Boo
A senior U.S. commander said there was
little danger of "serious overcrowding" in the system.
reporter arrived at Abu Ghraib on the military police convoy from
Tikrit, soldiers at the prison did not allow the reporter to look
inside any of the compounds. [Gee, why could that be? Well, nobody
trusts an ass-kisser.]
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
Bush Says Elections
Can’t Be Fair With Occupation Troops Present
[THANKS TO B WHO
E-MAILED THIS IN: B WRITES:
BUSH’S LATEST HYPOCRISY:
“I don’t think you can have fair elections with Syrian troops
SO SYRIAN TROOPS
HAVE TO LEAVE BEFORE ELECTIONS ARE FAIR BUT U.S. TROOPS HAVE TO STAY
BEFORE ELECTIONS ARE FAIR.]
Mar 4, WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
President Bush said in an interview published on Friday that Syria
should pull all of its troops out of Lebanon by May to clear the way
for fair elections.
“I don't think you
can have fair elections with Syrian troops there," the president
Donate Money To
March 04, 2005 Adrian Cornea, elkorg 3
A man arrives to the Ben Gurion
International Airport in Tel Aviv with two large bags.
The customs agent opens the first bag
and finds it full with money in different currencies.
The agent asks the passenger, "How did
you get this money?"
The man says, "You will not believe
it, but I traveled all over Europe, went into public restrooms, each
time I saw a man pee, I grabbed his penis and said, "donate money to
Israel or I will cut your balls off."
The customs agent said, "well... it's
very interesting story... what do you have in the other bag?"
The man said, "You would not believe
how many people in Europe do not support Israel"
[To check out what
life is like under a murderous military occupation by a foreign
www.rafahtoday.org The foreign army is Israeli; the occupied
nation is Palestine.]
CLASS WAR NEWS
Capitalism At Work:
Rip Off State Health Plan For Poor
03 March 2005 The Associated Press
Hartford, Conn. -
Retail giant Wal-Mart, Stop & Shop supermarkets and Dunkin' Donuts
top the list of Connecticut employers whose workers use the state's
health insurance program for poor children and some parents,
according to a new report.
Those three companies employ more than
2,600 adults who are parents or caretakers of children on the
state's HUSKY A program. Most of those adults are also receiving
state health coverage, the nonpartisan Office of Legislative
The news comes as state legislators
consider whether to continue providing coverage for the thousands of
parents and caregivers of children on the HUSKY program.
The coverage costs taxpayers $54 million to $72 million annually.
At least one top Democratic lawmaker
suggested Thursday that big employers such as Wal-Mart should pick
up more of that tab. House Majority Leader Christopher Donovan,
D-Meriden, said large and successful corporations should provide
health insurance coverage to more of their workers, or possibly pay
a special tax to the state.
"I was stunned to
see that we are subsidizing the health care of some of the richest
companies in the United States of America," he said. "These are
companies who can afford health care for their employees."
But As Long As The
Rich Are Happy, It’s Ok, Isn’t It?
02/03/05 by Michael Ventura "ICH"
The World Health
Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall
health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In the fairness of
health care, we're 54th.
"The irony is that the United
States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation
in the world" (The European
Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get lots, lots less.
"The U.S. and South
Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not
provide health care for all their citizens"
Lack of health insurance coverage
causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times
the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)
poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed
nations. Only Mexico scores lower"
The United States is 41st in the world
in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
Women are 70 percent more likely to
die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
"Of the 20 most developed countries in
the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total
compensation to its workforce in the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the
U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an
annual rate of about 0.1 percent" (The
European Dream, p.39). Yet
Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized
country, and get less vacation time.
Three million six
hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last
year; 1.8 million--one in five--unemployed workers
are jobless for more than six months (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).
The United States
is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12,
REPORTS 12-MONTH WAITING LIST:
Beats Out Harvard
Business School As Top CEO Destination
March 3, 2005 The Borowitz Report
Martha Stewart, who saw the value of her stock soar since she began
serving a five-month sentence at Alderson Federal Prison, has
apparently now worked her magic on Alderson itself, which today
reported a twelve-month waiting list of CEOs eager to do time there.
"Our phone has been ringing off the
hook, and a lot of these CEO's haven't even committed a crime yet,"
said Alderson spokesperson Lucinda Colwin. "I'm like, rob a liquor
store and then we'll talk."
Randall Trestman of the University of
Minnesota's Graduate School of Business said that Ms. Stewart's
stunning comeback has turned Alderson into "the place to be" for
America's top corporate leaders.
"What Harvard Business School was in
the eighties and the Internet sector was in the nineties, Alderson
is today," he said.
CEOs whose companies' stocks have
sagged in recent months may face increasing pressure from
shareholders to commit crimes in order to snag a precious one-way
ticket to Alderson, Mr. Trestman said.
convicted felon is no longer a stigma for CEOs," he said. "It's
their fiduciary responsibility."
Across the country, crimes involving
CEOs, from accounting fraud to car theft, have surged over nine
thousand percent in the past two months - a trend that does not
surprise Mr. Trestman.
"If, instead of buying Compaq
Computer, (former HP CEO) Carly Fiorina had stolen a Compaq computer
from a Circuit City store, she might still have her job today," he
A Call For
From: "kick och agneta leijnse"
To: GI Special
Sent: March 04, 2005 12:51 PM
Subject: NATO meeting
In our area in the
north of Sweden there will be hold a very big NATO meeting.
from about 50 countries will come to the meeting.
Condolleezza Rice, USA and Jack Straw UK.
We are preparing
for protest meetings and should be grateful for international
support in this important matter.
Please join us by mailing your
support and sending this mail to organizations in your country that
can be interested to oppose the aggressive military forces
represented by these countries.
If you want more
information about our actions please inform us.
Network for Global Peace and Democracy
by Kick Leijnse
Protest Against An International NATO Conference In Sweden
An international NATO
conference with all its members and its partners will be held in the
north of Sweden on May the 24-25. Among other participants we can
see the USA foreign minister Condoleezza Rice and UKs Jack Straw.
It will be held in the
part of the country where we act and we and a big number of
organisations in Sweden will cooperate to protest loudly against any
participation of Sweden in this partnership.
We are living in a
democratic country and can’t accept an organisation that is
oppressing such a big part of the world with its military force. We
know that we have a world opinion backing us up and we will hand a
list of opposing Swedish organisations as well as Swedish
individuals to our minister of foreign affairs, who will be the host
of this meeting.
strengthen our protest it should be of big help if we could leave
a list of protesting organisations from other countries, specially
those countries that will be represented at this meeting, about
your organisation will send us a mail that confirms your protest to
the oppressive politics represented by the NATO, and even send this
mail to organisations in your country that could do the same.
peace loving people in the world will thank you for your cooperation
. After the anti NATO demonstrations we will send you a report with
a list of the organisations that supported this protest.
hope to hear from you,
Network for Global Peace
Kick Leijnse tel nr +46
63 51 97 60
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