GI SPECIAL 3A97:
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Guardsmen Injured In Car Bombing
April 12, 2005 The Tribune-Review
National Guard soldiers serving in Iraq with a unit based in
Connellsville were seriously injured, including a Fayette County man
who had a leg amputated, when their armored vehicle was struck by a
Military officials could not be
reached for comment last night, but according to a memo sent to
families and obtained by the Tribune-Review, at least three soldiers
with Company B, 1st Battalion, 103rd Armor, were evacuated to
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, for treatment
immediately after the April 7 attack.
The Connellsville unit is one of five
Pennsylvania Army National Guard units mobilized last summer for
deployment to Iraq. Approximately 63 of the soldiers are based in
According to the Army memo, the
injured soldiers were part of a convoy of five armored Humvees that
was returning to base after a nighttime patrol near Ash Sharqat,
Iraq, when they were attacked. As the convoy moved toward the base
gate, one of the Humvees was hit by a car bomb.
Four soldiers trapped inside the
burning Humvee were pulled to safety by others in the unit,
according to the memo, saving their lives. All four were evacuated
to an Army Combat Support Hospital in Mosul for treatment, with
three later transferred to Germany.
One of the injured soldiers was
identified last night by a family friend as Tim Boots. Boots is the
son of Wes Boots, of Uniontown, and Sheila Boots, of Connellsville.
Melissa Farrell, a teacher in the
Southmoreland School District, learned of Tim Boots' injuries from
the soldier's mother, who also teaches at Southmoreland.
Farrell, Sheila Boots indicated her son had his right leg amputated
just below the knee. He also suffered a fractured left leg, broken
ribs and punctured liver, and his spleen was removed.
Family members of
other soldiers in the Connellsville unit confirmed an incident had
occurred, but they said the Army had ordered them not to discuss it.
Josephine Halfhill, of Lemont Furnace,
has a son, Shaun, serving in the unit. She said she learned through
an e-mail that her son was not among those injured.
Spc. Dale Smith, of Fairchance, said
family members were notified of the attack during a Family Readiness
Group meeting held shortly after the incident.
Four U.S. Troops
Wounded In Samarra
4.11.05 Chicago Tribune
A Samarra bombing
targeted a U.S. military convoy as it patrolled a crowded market. At
least three people were killed and more than 20 were wounded,
including four U.S. soldiers, officials told The
Lancaster County Wounded
April 11, 2005 WGAL, WEST HEMPFIELD
Staff Sgt. Jason
Leisey, of West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, was in
critical condition Monday night after an explosion outside his base
Leisey was almost
back at his base Thursday when a suicide bomber aimed his at the
soldier's convoy, officials said.
Leisey suffered third-degree burns on
his left arm and the left side of his face and hand.
Anyone wishing to can mail donations
to Staff Sgt. Jason Leisey, in care of the Hempfield Area School
District, 200 Church Street, Landisville, PA, 17538.
Apr. 12, 2005 By Ellen Knickmeyer,
contractor believed to be working on an aid project was reported
kidnapped in the Baghdad area, the U.S. Embassy said.
Authorities released no other information, but soldiers
stepped up searches of vehicles entering Baghdad's heavily fortified
Bush Too Fucking
Dumb To Know What This Means
Apr 12, 2005 By NEDRA PICKLER,
Associated Press Writer
Texas President Bush visited
soldiers at the largest U.S. military base Tuesday,
marking the two-year anniversary of the end of Saddam Hussein's
regime by saying it will be remembered along with the fall of the
Berlin Wall as one of history's greatest moments.
Bush thanked the soldiers at Fort Hood
who have recently returned from Iraq or are heading there this fall,
but said it isn't time to start bringing U.S. forces home.
The crowd remained
somber and silent for much of the speech as Bush
talked about the plight of Iraqis and soldiers who have aided them.
They let out occasional whoops as Bush mentioned various base
contingents who have contributed.
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- 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
Poland To Withdraw
Troops From Iraq By End Of 2005
Poland will pull back its troops from Iraq by the end of 2005,
Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski announced, as cited by
“When the UN mandate in Iraq expires,
the Polish stability mission in the country should also be
terminated”, Szmajdzinski said after a conference of the government
For Shortage Of Critical War Supplies
[GovExec.com, April 11, 2005]
Accountability Office blames DoD’s poor planning, lagging funding
and an ineffective distribution system for causing delays in getting
supplies to troops in Iraq.
THIS IS HOW BUSH
BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
BRING THEM ALL HOME
William and Beatrice Sherrill with the
flag that covered the casket of their son, Kentucky National Guard
Sgt. James A. Sherrill, at his burial site April 12, 2005, near
Ekron, Ky. Sherrill, 27, was killed April 3, 2005, in Iraq.
Senate Votes Down
Money For Hurt Iraq Vets
April 12, 2005 By Rick Maze, Army
Times staff writer
By two 54-46 votes,
the Senate blocked efforts Tuesday to add money for veterans’ health
care to the 2005 supplemental appropriations bill.
Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and
Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, both members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs
Committee, sought to add $1.9 billion to the $80.6 billion wartime
emergency supplemental appropriations bill to cover costs of
treating returning combat veterans for war-related injuries and to
cover shortfalls in funding for VA programs.
would have provided $1.975 billion to the VA, with $525 million
earmarked for mental health programs, $610 million provided
specifically for the treatment of veterans wounded in Operations
Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and $840 million evenly divided
between VA regions.
The amendment was blocked by a
parliamentary motion from Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Senate
Appropriations Committee chairman, who said the funding is not
really an emergency need.
has not asked for these funds,” Cochran said in explaining the
rejection of the amendment.
Polluting Bay But Pentagon Refusing To Help Pay For Cleanup
April 11, 2005 Associated Press
Records show three Maryland military bases have spilled about 20
million gallons of sewage into Chesapeake Bay tributaries in 10
years, raising questions about the military’s refusal to pay the
state’s “flush tax,” which was designed to clean up the bay.
“Whenever you have
sewage spills totaling in the many millions of gallons, that is
significant, and this shows (the bases) are definitely a significant
source of pollution to the bay and a threat to public health,” said
Kim Coble, Maryland executive director of the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation. “This clearly speaks to the point
that the military has a role to play in bay cleanup and protection.”
Last year, the General Assembly
enacted legislation proposed by Gov. Robert Ehrlich that imposes a
surcharge on public water bills to raise money to pay for
improvements to sewage-treatment plants. The fee was expected to
raise $65 million a year to fix up plants, which are a major source
of bay pollution.
The Department of
Defense has been saying since January that its agencies won’t pay.
If the military
paid into the fund, it could use some of the money to improve its
sewage treatment plants and help clean up the bay, Nancy W. Young,
assistant state attorney general, wrote to the Navy in a Feb. 28
“It is appropriate that the Navy pay
the fee,” Young wrote. “Because all streams draining to the
Chesapeake Bay discharge pollutants to it, all wastewater treatment
plants discharging ... to such streams are responsible for the
HAVING A BAD DAY?
To: GI Special; April 12
Call On U.S. Forces To Leave:
“We Consider The
Americans Our Enemy, Not Our Savior From The Hussein Regime."
An Iraqi Police
officer points his rifle at another during a demonstration against
the U.S. military presence and the detainment of Iraqis in Samarra,
April 12, 2005. (AP Photo/Hameed Rasheed)
Apr 12, 2005 By TRACI CARL, Associated
Press Writer, BAGHDAD, Iraq
increasingly calling on U.S. forces to leave their troubled nation,
emboldened by a newly elected parliament and the growing presence of
their blue-uniformed police forces — even though the new Iraqi
leaders say it's too early to talk about a U.S. pullout.
The calls gained momentum when Shiite
and Sunni religious clerics called for protests to mark the two-year
anniversary of Baghdad's fall, prompting four days of demonstrations
across the country.
Tens of thousands of mostly Shiite
protesters, largely followers of militant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr,
filled central Baghdad's streets Saturday, holding the largest
anti-American protest since the invasion.
continued, all echoing the same demand: It's time for U.S. troops to
protesters shouted anti-American slogans in Duluiyah, 45 miles north
of the capital. A day later, a similar demonstration was held in
Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.
On Tuesday, in the
troubled city of Samarra, tribal, city and religious leaders
gathered along with students in the shadow of a spiral minaret,
throwing rocks at U.S. tanks and shouting for the Americans to
"The Iraqis will
fight until they force (the Americans) to leave and let us live in
peace and security," Hassan Neama, 33, said Tuesday in Baghdad.
"They are the source of all of Iraq's problems. We consider the
Americans our enemy, not our savior from the Hussein regime."
troops should leave our country because there is an elected
government in Iraq now. If they stay longer, things won't get any
better," said Abdul Rahman Hatam, a 21-year-old cook in Baghdad.
"We, as Arabs, don't accept any foreigner controlling our country."
Demonstrations In Baquaba Continuing
4.12.05 AFP, BAQUBA, Iraq:
university students burnt the US flag in a demonstration against the
US military presence in Iraq yesterday two days after a massive
anti-US protest in Baghdad.
The students from Diyala University
marched from their campus to the provincial government building in
the centre of the restive city of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad,
chanting "No occupation, Yes independence!"
"No, no occupier, Iraqis will never be dishonoured" and "Baghdad
will be victorious," as they set fire to the US flag.
handed local officials a list of demands that included the release
of all students detained by Iraqi and US forces, compensation for
those subjected to US raids, withdrawal of US forces from inside
BRING ALL THE
TROOPS HOME NOW!
12 April 2005 Aljazeera & DـNYA &
Late on Monday,
armed men opened fire on a police patrol in the northeastern Iraq
city of Kirkuk, injuring two members of the security service,
police Brigadier Sarhat Kadier said.
officials announced yesterday that another Turkish driver, Cevat
Bahtiyar, had lost his life in a blast in northern Baghdad.
Interior Undersecretary Major General
Tareq Al-Badawi on Tuesday escaped a bid on his life in the western
sector of the Iraqi capital, police said.
motorcade was sprayed with a hail of gunfire from gunmen in two
speeding cars in Al-Adl district, killing a policeman and wounding
four others, the police added.
"We Have Emerged
From The Jails Of
Saddam, Only To
Enter The Jails Of The Americans"
Iraqi Shi'ites l
re-enact a torture scene from the Abu Ghraib prison during a protest
rally in Baghdad April 9, 2005. The rally was called on the second
anniversary of the fall of Baghdad with protesters demanding an end
to the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
"We have emerged
from the jails of Saddam, only to enter the jails of the
Americans," said Muayad al-Khazraji, a cleric,
as protesters wearing US-style camouflage and orange jumpsuits
acted out skits depicting the abuse of prisoners in US- supervised
detention facilities. 4.10.05 By Steve Negus, London Financial
US Appears To Have
Fought War For Oil And Lost It
April 11 2005 From Dr Ian Rutledge,
Sir, Your recent report that oil
prices have reached an all-time nominal high and that Goldman Sachs
has suggested the possibility of a "super spike" in prices to as
high as $105 per barrel ("Crude at all-time high despite Opec's
efforts", April 5) should be of no surprise to anyone who has
studied the informed opinions of US energy experts in the period
leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Nor, for that matter, to anyone
who has seen my own observations on future world oil prices in my
recent book Addicted to Oil.
In a crucial report to President
George W. Bush by the US Council on Foreign Relations in April 2001,
the president was warned that: "As the 21st century opens, the
energy sector is in a critical condition. A crisis could erupt at
any time . . . The world is currently close to utilising all of its
available global oil production capacity, raising the chances of an
oil supply crisis with more substantial consequences than seen in
With US oil
consumption in 2001 at an all-time high (19.7m b/d), import
penetration at 53 per cent, and dependence on Arabian Gulf oil also
at an all-time record (14.1 per cent of total US domestic and
foreign supplies), the council stated that it was absolutely
imperative that "political factors do not block the development of
new oil fields in the Gulf" and that "the Department of State,
together with the National Security Council" should "develop a
strategic plan to encourage reopening to foreign investment in the
important states of the Middle East".
But while the council argued that
"there is no question that this investment is vitally important to
US interests" it also acknowledged that "there is strong opposition
to any such opening among key segments of the Saudi and Kuwaiti
However, there was
an alternative. In the words of ESA Inc (Boston), the US's leading
energy security analysts: "One of the best things for our supply
security would be liberate Iraq"; words echoed by William Kristol,
the Republican party ideologist, in testimony to the House
Subcommittee on the Middle East on May 22 2002 that as far as oil
was concerned, "Iraq is more important than Saudi Arabia".
according to the former head of ExxonMobil's Gulf operations,
"Iraqi exiles approached us saying, you can have our oil if we can
get back in there", the Bush administration decided to use its
overwhelming military might to create a pliant - and dependable -
oil protectorate in the Middle East and achieve that essential
"opening" of the Gulf oilfields.
But in the words of another US oil
company executive, "it all turned out a lot more complicated than
anyone had expected".
Instead of the
anticipated post-invasion rapid expansion of Iraqi production (an
expectation of an additional 2m b/d entering the world market by
now), the continuing violence of the insurgency has prevented Iraqi
exports from even recovering to pre-invasion levels.
In short, the US
appears to have fought a war for oil in the Middle East, and lost
it. The consequences of that defeat are now plain for all to see.
Chesterfield S40 4TR
American Forces In
Trouble Throughout Iraq
In reality, large
parts of Iraq are outside American or Iraqi government control.
This includes the vital frontier zone with Syria, west of the
northern capital of Mosul. Here, the insurgents have largely
taken over since US troops departed some months ago.
12 April 2005 Patrick Cockburn,
Seven hundred Iraqi and US troops
swept through central Baghdad yesterday, arresting 65 suspected
But despite this
show of force, American forces are on the retreat throughout Iraq.
Slowly, the great American adventure
in the country, which started with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein
in 2003, is coming to an end.
In reality, large
parts of Iraq are outside American or Iraqi government control.
This includes the vital frontier zone with Syria, west of the
northern capital of Mosul. Here, the insurgents have largely
taken over since US troops departed some months ago.
"Ten days ago our
forces tried to set up a new post on the border and were fired on,
losing two men killed," a well-informed Iraqi official told The
Independent. "When they pursued their attackers, the insurgents
fled to a police station and we had to fight the police." He added
that Mosul, with a population of 1.5 million, was "a time bomb which
might explode at any moment".
The US military has
not been defeated by the insurgents, but it has been unable to
suppress them. In April 2003, US tanks captured
Baghdad airport and roared triumphantly in to the capital. But two
years later, US forces have still been unable to secure the airport
The US long denounced the insurgents
as remnants of the old regime of Saddam or foreign fighters.
Military commanders now try to quantify them as numbering 15,000 to
But, in fact, most
of the Sunni Muslim regions of Iraq, with a population of four or
five million, are in more or less open revolt.
The position of the US militarily in
Iraq remains very unstable.
It can contain but not defeat the
But if the Shias,
60 per cent of the population, also turned against the US, then the
military occupation would end immediately.
do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans,
are especially welcome. Send to email@example.com.
Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
Idea...Karruthers, Where Do You Get Them?”
[The boldface comments on the article are from Ahmed Al-Habbabi, The
Anti-Allawi Group, 4.5.05]
U.S. Forces In Iraq
Are “Too Heavy-Handed” – UK Panel
English have been known for their understatements!]
U.S. forces in Iraq
are provoking civilians and hindering reconstruction efforts by
using extensive force, a British parliamentary committee said in a
"Excessive use by the U.S. forces of
overwhelming firepower has also been counterproductive, provoking
antagonism toward the coalition among ordinary Iraqis," the House of
Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said in its report, reiterating
the concerns of several British officials.
So that's what it's called...]
Many British officials have privately
complained that U.S. troops are too heavy-handed in Iraq, compared
with UK troops, whom they say often patrol on foot and in berets
instead of helmets in an attempt to win the trust of Iraqi
[Not much different
when it comes to torture...]
The committee, representing three
parties, also said that the heavy-handed policy has led to the slow
pace of reconstruction which had strengthened the Iraqi resistance.
It also suggested that Iraq had replaced Afghanistan as a training
ground for international fighters who play a leading and deadly role
in the war-torn country.
However, it said that most fighters
are local Iraqis who “have been dispossessed by policies adopted by
the coalition since the war, such as de-Baathification and the
disbanding of the Iraqi security forces,''
It added that the occupation forces
had clearly failed to curb the violence and said that the new Iraqi
government should try to negotiate with the fighters.
"We conclude that to date the
counter-insurgency strategy has not succeeded.
[You don't say,
This may reflect an overriding focus
on a military approach to the detriment of political engagement ...
"While negotiations with al-Qaeda and
foreign fighters are out of the question, it might be possible to
address some of the Iraqi insurgents' grievances through political
negotiations," the report said.
[And we all know
why they're out of the question...]
[And what about the
non-insurgent grievances? Each of a few million have some...]
The findings are similar to those of
other parliamentary reports that have criticized the poor post-war
planning in Iraq.
yeh, I know what you mean... and similar where it ends up too.]
The committee, which investigates
Britain’s foreign policy, also criticized the British government. It
said that ministers had clearly failed to say whether or not Britain
had used intelligence obtained under torture from suspects detained
in other countries.
"We find it surprising and unsettling
that the government has twice failed to answer our specific question
on whether or not the United Kingdom receives or acts upon
information extracted under torture by a third country," said the
The panel also said that the ministers
should do something about the illegal detentions in Guantanamo Bay
and other U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, where there was a
"lack of due process and oppressive conditions."
idea...Karruthers, where do you get them?]
Article: 4/5/2005 Al Jazeera
Welcome To Hell:
A Tour Of
"I am getting out
of here, getting out soon," one network correspondent told me.
When I asked why - for American foreign correspondents Iraq is,
after all, the most important story going - he shrugged: "It's no
longer honest work."
08 April 2005 By Mark Danner,
Just past dawn on January 30, Iraq's
Election Day - the fourth of the US occupation's "turning points,"
after the fall of Baghdad, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and the
"handover of sovereignty" - I stood at the muddy gates of Muthana
Air Base outside Baghdad watching the sun rise, pink and full, into
a white-streaked sky; then, feeling a sudden tremor beneath my feet,
I started abruptly: the explosion was loud and, judging by the
vibrations, not far off.
I turned to the US
Army captain who had been waiting with me next to Muthana's inner
watchtower, and saw his lazy smile. He had been watching me.
"No, sir," Captain
Vic Schairstein said. "That would be an IED" - an improvised
explosive device. "That's the low pitch. We've taken so many
mortar rounds by now you can tell by the pitch whether they're 60s,
82s, whatever. It's like an outfielder judging a pop fly by the
sound of the bat."
My face, puffy from a sleepless night
spent on a makeshift canvas cot tracking incessant small-arms fire
and intermittent explosions, must have betrayed concern, for here
the captain's smile broadened. "Don't worry, sir, it's early," he
said. "They haven't had time to go to the mosque to get all jihaded
Then, as my ride appeared - two
armored BMWs rumbling slowly up the muddy track toward blast walls
and barbed wire - and the captain helped me gather up my flak jacket
and my helmet, he offered a final word for the day ahead. "Those
VBIEDs" - vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, military-speak
for car bombs - "have you ever noticed how they all tend to be
white? I guess that's for purity. Anyway, you might keep that in
The sun was turning orange now, the
sky pale gray, and the gathering light on Baghdad's streets revealed
no cars, pure white or otherwise. Driving slowly through the
monumental avenues and great squares we saw... nothing: no cars, no
people, no dogs. Nothing moved. It was as if every living thing had
been felled by a sudden and lethal plague.
Until we noticed, wrapped about a
distant bridge, a glittering necklace of barbed wire; within it a
clutter of tan American armor and, among the humvees and blast
barriers and tank traps, a sudden burst of movement. What was
We slowed and
squinted, and in a moment realized with a start that we were
happening: the soldiers had seen us -four or five assault rifles
were leveled at us and the big gun of one of the humvees was
swinging to. Arms flailed in the air; mouths opened and closed;
they were shouting, though we could hear no words. A soldier
sprinting forward, rifle pointed at us in his right hand, held up a
clear signal with his left: we were not to move.
Three or four
minutes passed; we were scrutinized through binoculars, telescopic
sights. We kept our eyes forward and our hands visible and waited.
Up ahead now, at the bridge checkpoint, I saw the soldier motion
with his rifle: come forward - but slowly, slowly. We crept forward
and then about two hundred yards from the checkpoint we were halted
once more and with his rifle the soldier motioned the driver from
Our Iraqi driver,
who worked for The New York Times, glanced back at me. He was to
have collected me at Muthana the night before but, in the gathering
darkness and the imminent curfew, American soldiers had stopped
him. "When I started to get out of the car they fired over my
head," he told me. "The soldier ordered me to kneel on the ground
and then to walk to him on my knees with my hands on my head. Then
he rested his gun barrel here"-he touched his temple-"and said,
'They're going to search the car. If anything happens, the first
thing I do is shoot you.'"
Slowly, carefully, our driver opened
the door and stepped out; hands on head, he advanced slowly toward
the bridge, a sleepwalker in the suddenly bright morning. Several
guns were trained on him but most remained fixed on us.
No one spoke.
When he reached the
soldiers he was roughly seized, his shirt pulled up, torso searched,
credentials checked; then a full body search. Finally, guns raised,
they motioned us out. Arms up, we inched forward; at last we in turn
were seized, frisked, credentials checked; led finally into a small
barbed-wire enclosure: wait here. The driver was sent back to the
car, ordered to bring the vehicle forward-but slowly, slowly. We
stood watching as the soldiers encircled the car, opened the hood,
trunk, passed a mirror under the chassis, began dismantling the
panels in the trunk...
Onto the dusty tan city that was
Baghdad, dotted with Saddam's grandiloquent Babylonian modernism -
the minatory office towers, the ceremonial gates and looming
monuments - had been superimposed, in the two years of occupation,
an entirely new architecture, a harsh gray city of a distinctive
Oceans of concrete
had flowed into Baghdad, miles of barbed wire had been unwound
around and through it, mountains of sand had been poured over it,
and everywhere these most basic of elements had been gathered and
shaped into the distinctive forms I saw before me. Lining the
bridge, Berliners: twelve- or fifteen-foot-high blast barriers of
rough concrete named for the Berlin Wall that now marched by the
hundreds and thousands along Baghdad's main streets and avenues,
masking vast parts of the city from public view.
Blocking the bridge
and surrounding the American armor were Jersey barriers: concrete
half-walls that, arranged in the form of "chicanes," or tight
S-curve-shaped obstacles, force vehicles to slow and stop.
Tank traps: massive
iron bars welded together in crisscross forms so that they resemble
the jacks a giant child might play with, typically draped, as here,
in flamboyant swirls of barbed wire. Hesco barriers: huge square
canvas bags reinforced with steel and filled with dirt or
cinderblocks, the giant's version of a sandbag, stacked in their
scores and hundreds.
bunkers. Steel watchtowers. Iron blast doors. X-ray machines.
Magnetometers. Sniffer dogs. And the ubiquitous squads of men,
some uniformed but more often not, armed with 9 mms and AK-47s and
the clear willingness to fire first and ask questions afterward.
A year before the concrete elements of
this new architecture had encircled the ministries, the public
buildings, the military bases, and of course the hotels.
Now, under the
pressure of hundreds of suicide bombings and kidnappings, they had
metastasized, acquiring extra layers and additional cordons, and
moved in force into residential neighborhoods, surrounding the homes
of government workers and politicians and businessmen and finally
doctors and lawyers and anyone of any means or power, anyone who
might conceivably, for reasons political or financial, be targeted
for assassination or kidnapping.
So pervasively had this new rough
concrete and steel world imposed itself that one evening in the
well-to-do district of Mansour, my driver, bewildered by the
proliferating roadblocks and checkpoints and chicanes, found himself
unable to find a way out of a neighborhood he had known well for
decades but that had now become something alien and unfamiliar, a
kind of gray mirror-maze of security.
As suicide bombers and kidnappers
created the new concrete city, they have driven reporters off the
streets, away from the restaurants and shops, away from "ordinary
Iraqis," forcing them to sheath themselves in flak jackets and
helmets, move in armored cars, and finally take refuge behind blast
walls and barbed wire and armed guards in fortress-like hotels.
Television reporters, politically the most important journalists on
the ground- for they supply information, and above all images, to by
far the largest number of people - are in practical terms the most
vulnerable; their large "footprint" - the cameras and other
equipment they carry, the crews they bring to carry it - makes them
most conspicuous, and thus most restricted.
you watch signing off his nightly report from the war zone with his
name, network, and dateline "Baghdad" is usually speaking from the
grounds or the roof of a fully guarded, barricaded hotel - a virtual
high-rise bunker - and may not have ventured out of that hotel all
day, having spent his time telephoning, reading the wires, and
scrutinizing footage from Iraqi "stringers" who have been out on the
When he does leave
the hotel it will be in an armored car, surrounded by armed security
guards, and very likely the destination will be a news conference or
briefing or arranged interview in the vast American-ruled bunker
known as "the Green Zone."
Sorties beyond Baghdad, or even to
"hot" neighborhoods within the capital, can usually be undertaken
only by "embedding" with American troops.
It is a bizarre, dispiriting way to
work, this practice of "hotel journalism," producing not only a
highly constrained picture of the country and its politics but, on
the part of the journalist, constant fear, anxiety, and ultimately
"I am getting out
of here, getting out soon," one network correspondent told me. When
I asked why - for American foreign correspondents Iraq is, after
all, the most important story going - he shrugged: "It's no longer
NY City Cops Caught
Faking Evidence And Telling Stupid Lies:
Protesters Not Guilty Of Anything
April 12, 2005 By JIM DWYER, New York
Dennis Kyne put up
such a fight at a political protest last summer, the arresting
officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him down the
steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue.
"We picked him up and we carried him
while he squirmed and screamed," the officer, Matthew Wohl,
testified in December. "I had one of his legs because he was kicking
and refusing to walk on his own."
Accused of inciting a riot and
resisting arrest, Mr. Kyne was the first of the 1,806 people
arrested in New York last summer during the Republican National
Convention to take his case to a jury.
But one day after
Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single
witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges.
During a recess,
the defense had brought new information to the prosecutor. A
videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne agitated
but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps,
contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere
to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part
in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he
The Manhattan district attorney's
office is reviewing the testimony of Officer Wohl at the request of
Lewis B. Oliver Jr., the lawyer who represented Mr. Kyne in his
arrest at the library.
For Mr. Kyne and
400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence
that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them
could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors.
Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who
said he was arrested while going to pick up sushi.
Last week, he
discovered that there were two versions of the same police tape:
the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had been
edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop
behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more
complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop's lawyer,
prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a
technician had cut the material by mistake.
Seven months after
the convention at Madison Square Garden, criminal charges have
fallen against all but a handful of people arrested that week.
Of the 1,670 cases
that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges
dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial.
Many were dropped without any finding
of wrongdoing, but also without any serious inquiry into the
circumstances of the arrests, with the Manhattan district attorney's
office agreeing that the cases should be "adjourned in contemplation
So far, 162 defendants have either
pleaded guilty or were convicted after trial, and videotapes that
bolstered the prosecution's case played a role in at least some of
those cases, although prosecutors could not provide details.
Besides offering little support or
actually undercutting the prosecution of most of the people
arrested, the videotapes also highlight another substantial piece of
the historical record: the Police Department's tactics in
controlling the demonstrations, parades and rallies of hundreds of
thousands of people were largely free of explicit violence.
Throughout the convention week and
afterward, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that the police issued
clear warnings about blocking streets or sidewalks, and that
officers moved to arrest only those who defied them.
In the view of many
activists - and of many people who maintain that they were
passers-by and were swept into dragnets indiscriminately thrown over
large groups - the police strategy appeared to be designed to sweep
them off the streets on technical grounds as a show of force.
learned that his tape had been altered only after Ms. Clancy found
another version of the same tape. Mr. Dunlop had been accused of
pushing his bicycle into a line of police officers on the Lower
East Side and of resisting arrest, but the deleted parts of the
tape show him calmly approaching the police line, and later
submitting to arrest without apparent incident.
In what appeared to be the most
violent incident at the convention protests, video shot by news
reporters captured the beating of a man on a motorcycle - a police
officer in plainclothes - and led to the arrest of one of those
involved, Jamal Holiday. After eight months in jail, he pleaded
guilty last month to attempted assault, a low-level felony that will
be further reduced if he completes probation. His lawyer, Elsie
Chandler of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, said that
videos had led to his arrest, but also provided support for his
claim that he did not realize the man on the motorcycle was a police
officer, reducing the severity of the offense.
In the bulk of the
400 cases that were dismissed based on videotapes, most involved
arrests at three places - 16th Street near Union Square, 17th Street
near Union Square and on Fulton Street - where police officers and
civilians taped the gatherings, said Martin R. Stolar, the president
of the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Those
tapes showed that the demonstrators had followed the instructions of
senior officers to walk down those streets, only to have another
official order their arrests.
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.
BY IRAQIS CHANTING 'YOU GO, AMERICA!'
April 11, 2005 The Borowitz Report
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
said today that he was encouraged by massive demonstrations in
Baghdad over the weekend marking the second anniversary of the fall
of Saddam Hussein, telling reporters that he was particularly
heartened by the Iraqis' chant of "You go, America!"
"I have not seen so much excitement
since the Army-Navy game," a beaming Rumsfeld told reporters at a
Pentagon press briefing. "You could tell that they were awfully
worked up about something."
While conceding that he did not know
"a lick of Arabic," Mr. Rumsfeld said, "You don't need to know the
language to see how excited those folks were - they were hooting and
hollering up a storm."
The Defense Secretary took particular
pride in pointing out that the Iraqis had "gone to the trouble" of
building a life-like effigy of President George W. Bush.
"They were jumping up and down,
passing that darned thing back and forth," he said. "You could feel
But Tariq Rasouli, professor of Arabic
language studies at the University of Minnesota, cautioned against
what he called Mr. Rumsfeld's "overly optimistic" appraisal of the
demonstrations: "He's right that they were chanting 'You go,
America!' but he left out the part where they chanted
For his part, the
Defense Secretary refused to announce a timetable for a U.S.
withdrawal from Iraq: "How can I talk about leaving them when they
remembered our anniversary?"
Two U.S. Troops
Wounded In Gardez 6 Hour Battle
April 12, 2005 By Amir Shah,
— At least 12 suspected Taliban rebels were killed and two American
soldiers wounded in a battle that began with a botched rebel attack
on an Afghan army commander, officials said Tuesday.
Militants fired two rockets at Gen.
Khial Baz’s car as he traveled over a mountain pass toward Gardez,
about 60 miles south of Kabul, early Monday, said police chief Gul
Suleyman Khel. Both rockets missed and the general was unhurt.
In response, U.S. helicopters ferried
dozens of Afghan soldiers and police to the area and they engaged a
group of suspected militants with small arms, Khel said. Other
American helicopters and A-10 aircraft attacked from the sky. The
battle lasted six hours. Khel put the number of rebel
casualties at 12.
spokeswoman Lt. Cindy Moore said U.S. ground forces were also
involved in the fighting and that two American soldiers were
injured. The pair, who weren’t identified, were in stable
condition, she said.
ABOUT BLUE ON BLUE RE: DOWNED HERCULES
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 6:11 AM
I'm a journalist working for Channel 4
News in the UK and wondered if you or anybody you're in contact with
might be able to find out any information on an investigation I'm
conducting. You might remember on January 30th an RAF Hercules
crashed between Baghdad and Balad killing all on board.
The investigation into just why the
helicopter crashed is not yet complete but the enquiry has ruled out
just about everything but a missile hit but is suggesting it was an
I have been told by
people at RAF Lyneham, the airbase the Hercules was based at, that
many believe the crash was a result of blue on blue, a direct hit
from a patriot missile fired from Balad airbase. I've also been
told that there were US personnel, possibly special forces, on board
the stricken Hercules.
If this is the case
both the US and the British Defence Departments are covering up the
fact it was friendly fire. We are in the run up to a general
election in the UK and I suspect the government won't want this to
come out before polling day.
Any information on the following would
be very helpful:
Does the airbase in Balad have patriot
Does anybody have contact with
servicemen and women who have served or are still serving in Balad?
Has anybody heard anything about the
Channel 4 News
44 7785 228257
44 207 430 4114
ANTI-IMPERIALIST, SOLDIER RIGHTS!
To: GI Special
From the Debs Tendency - Socialist
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2005 12:38 AM
A Statement on War, Militarism And
Imperialism on The Second Anniversary of the Beginning Of The Iraq
We are facing the second anniversary
of the beginning of the criminal Iraq war, March 19th, 2003. A war
that has killed over 1500 American soldiers, tens of thousands of
Iraqis, and horribly wounded hundreds of thousands more --- life and
soul destroying wounds.
The war was justified by the United
States government on the basis of the Iraqi government supposedly
possessing "weapons of mass destruction" and "probably" having
something to do with the attacks of September 11th, 2001. All this
has been proven to be a pack of lies, pure and simple.
The truth is that 9/11 became a
convenient excuse for the US rulers to do exactly what they wanted
to do anyway - -- intimidate and dominate the world, politically,
militarily and economically if possible. 9/11 made George Bush's
day, and there have been many questions raised, even in bourgeois
circles, about just how easily the "terrorists" of 9/11 got through
US security and intelligence networks.
The corporate ruling class tells us
that "we" are under threat from a massive worldwide "terrorist"
network, and they claim that we must destroy it or be destroyed in
order to make us "safe". They insist that the United States must
act in a pre-emptive, first strike way to defeat, control and shape
other nations and peoples who are "different" from "us". In
reality, we are not safe from THEM. When we believe what the
corporate ruling class tells us, we are not safe from ourselves.
The so-called "international terrorist
threat" is the bogeyman of today, just as the "international
communist conspiracy" was up until 14 years ago or so. Imperialism
desperately needs monsters, quasi real or totally imagined, to
justify its aggressive actions and make them seem "heroic".
The fact is that many of the
"terrorists" and "rogue regimes" of today (Bin Laden, the Taliban,
Saddam Hussein, etc.) were the US allies, servants and henchmen of
yesterday. They were trained and given strength and sometimes put
into political power by the US military and the CIA. Saddam was
their boy until he got too big for his britches and developed his
own agenda, just like Dr. Frankenstein's creature. He and the rest
of them were, ironically, armed to the teeth with weapons given to
them initially by the United States, including chemical weapons for
Hussein. Everything that some of them did on September 11th, or at
least the ability to arrive at such violent plans, they learned from
the CIA and the special forces of the US military.
These terrorists/former servants are a
problem for the US rulers today because they eventually came to hate
the US and now, we are told, threaten to butcher Americans instead
of peasants and workers in other lands for US corporate power.
Still others around the world are falsely called "terrorists" simply
because they dare to take up arms to overthrow oppressive regimes,
regimes that are the current allies and proxies of the US ruling
class. The same is true for the current puppet regime in Iraq.
It is a creation of US imperial interests, pure and simple. The
Iraqi people have a right to resist this occupation regime, staged
election or no staged election, and no amount of calling resistance
fighters "terrorists" will change the truth.
It is all about money, of course. The
countries now being attacked and threatened by US imperialism either
directly possess or can provide access to vast resources, mostly
oil; or they just refuse to roll over and play dead and allow
multi-national corporations to exploit and oppress their people
(Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, etc.). This is a terrible sin to
the imperial corporate elite!
The US is currently the central
imperialist power in the world, and the only super-power. With a
combination of economic bullying and many military interventions and
threats of same, the United States has become the major player and
decision maker of 21st century capitalist imperialism. Its military
dwarfs all other national militaries combined, and its direct
pressure covers the globe. Under the guise of defending and
extending "democracy" and "freedom" the United States uses its
military might to expand its aggressive hold on humanity and to
force open all doors that lead to more power and wealth for the US
imperial ruling class. "Freedom" to them means the freedom of
capital investment to rape and rob the resources and labor power of
Vast quantities of wealth and
resources are funneled into the US military (over 400 billion
dollars a year, with tens of billions more for ongoing wars!) while
social programs and cities suffer. A system of high unemployment,
low minimum wage, high college tuition and expensive health care
cause too many American youths to join the military. Yet some say
that it is "un-American" to criticize this system and to talk to
American youth about not going in, or to suggest that the United
States is an empire Hell bent on conquest.
The Unites States ruling class does
not have the right to impose its greed centered, power hungry will
on the rest of the human race ! It does not have the right to use
the American people to carry out its plunder! The Earth and the
Earth's resources are not for the US elite to exploit and control!
We pledge to continue to build the
international anti-war movement and to fight to make it and keep it
independent of capitalist political domination or influence! We
will push within the movement for a continuing orientation toward
mass organizing and mobilization and against any attempt to
intimidate it or influence it toward capitalist parties or watered
down demands like "Negotiations" or "US out, UN in". We call upon
and urge all other principled anti- war and working class,
revolutionary, radical, genuinely progressive forces to do the
same. Bring All The Troops Home Now must be the central and
In addition, the Debs Tendency of the
Socialist Party USA also demands:
A binding vote of the people on all
questions of war or military intervention.
The complete, immediate, and
unconditional withdrawal of all US troops from all foreign lands,
and the closing of all US military bases overseas.
Bring the troops
home now !
The dismantling of all US intelligence
The end of the "School of the
The end of the ROTC program.
A ban on all military recruitment
activities at all US schools, colleges and universities, or anywhere
No draft, no way!
A ban on US companies selling weapons
to foreign countries, and 100% confiscation of the profits of
weapons manufacturers and dealers.
The dismantling of the US nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons stockpile.
A ban on the use of landmines and a
comprehensive program to find all landmines planted.
A comprehensive program, created and
implemented by co-operating and unified working class organizations
from all countries (working with their brothers and sisters in
Russia), to locate all nuclear weapons decommissioned by the former
Soviet Union. No faith in "the powers that be" to carry out such a
A full independent
investigation into the effects of Depleted Uranium and the immediate
end to the creation and use of DU weapons.
quality lifelong health care for all US military veterans. A decent
living wage, guaranteed employment, and full benefits for all
End all extensions
of duty and stop loss orders.
rights and union rights for all soldiers, including the right to
form representative councils, to elect and recall all commissioned
and non-commissioned officers, and to refuse murderous, torturous,
and suicidal orders. For the right of soldiers to arrest officers
or civilian defense officials who issue such orders, directly or
An immediate 50% cut in military
spending with more cuts over time until military spending is reduced
to 10% of current levels, or less.
Use the money from
military spending cuts to pay a living wage to soldiers, provide
full benefits and good housing for soldiers, compensate and allow a
smooth transition for towns and cities which have become
economically dependent on military personnel and bases, and to
provide housing, employment, education, rebuilt cities, health care,
and other social benefits and programs for soldiers and all the
Any military, intelligence and
security forces that are needed by a truly democratic socialist
society and a workers' republic must be organized on a fully
democratic, rank and file/community/society controlled basis and be
used to defend democratic and civil rights, fight reactionary
violence, and to end exploitation and oppression of the working
class and super-oppressed sectors of the people.
Always fight for organize for and
educate for a revolutionary socialist transformation of the US and
Only the implementation of these kinds
of measures will end the specter of US military dominance and
oppression in the world!
Debs Tendency, Socialist party USA
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