www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

5.3.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3B18:

 

 

 

“15,257 Attacks Against Coalition Forces”

“The U.S. Considers All Of Iraq A Combat Zone”

 

5.1.05 Information Clearing House.org.  From Giuliana Sgrena Killing: The uncensored U.S. report

 

B. (U) Local Security Situation

 

1. (U) Iraq. From July 2004 to late March 2005, there were 15,257 attacks against Coalition Forces throughout Iraq.  The U.S. considers all of Iraq a combat zone. (Annex 8E).

 

S//NF) From 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 there were a total of 3306 attacks in the Baghdad area.  Of these, 2400 were directed against Coalition Forces. (Annex 8E)

 

3. (U) Route Irish. Route Irish is an East-West road along south Baghdad.  It is approximately 12 kilometers long and runs from the International Zone in downtown Baghdad to BIAP.  The highway is a four-lane road with a 50 meter wide median. (Annexes 8E, 144K).

 

(S//NF) Between 1 November 2004 and 12 March 2005, there were 135 attacks or hostile incidents that occurred along Route Irish.  These included 9 complex attacks (i.e., a combination of more than one type of attack, e.g., an IED followed by small arms fire or mortars), 19 explosive devices found, 3 hand grenades, 7 indirect fire attacks, 19 roadside explosions, 14 rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), 15 vehicle borne explosive devices, and 4 other types of attacks. (Annexes 1E, 8E).

 

(S//NF) The attack density for the period 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 is 11.25 attacks per mile, or a minimum of one attack per day along Route Irish since November. (Annex 8E).

 

4. (U) Effectiveness of Attacks

 

(U) The number of IED detonations from 15 June 2003 through 4 March 2005 (the date of the incident), has steadily increased.  Although the effectiveness of those detonations has decreased over that timeframe, the overall average number of casualties during that period is nearly one per IED detonation. (Annex 4E).

 

(S//NF) The week of the incident saw 166 IED incidents, with 131 detonations and 35 IEDs rendered safe.  There were 82 casualties from those incidents. (Annex 4E).

 

(U) The number of VBIED detonations from 15 June 2003 through 4 March 2005 has also seen a relatively steady increase.  Similar to the decrease in the effectiveness of IEDs, the effectiveness of VBIEDs has also decreased over that period, but there have been spikes for particular VBIED events that have produced large numbers of casualties. (Annex 4E).

 

(S//NF) There were 17 VBIEDs detonated during the week of the incident with five rendered safe.  The average casualty per VBIED detonation that week was 23 due to the large number of casualties that resulted from a VBIED detonation in Al Hillah. The Al Hillah attack was widely publicized and caused all Coalition Forces concern as they patrolled Baghdad and its environs.  Any intelligence gained on potential VBIEDs was passed in the form of a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) message to units on patrol via FM radio. (Annex 4E).

 

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.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

Redding Man Killed

 

5.2.05 Associated Press, SACRAMENTO, Calif.

 

A soldier who grew up in the Bay Area has become the latest casualty of the war in Iraq.

 

Army Sergeant Timothy Craig Kiser was killed Thursday near the city of Kirkuk.

 

According to his brother, Kiser died after a bomb buried beneath the roadway exploded under his Humvee.

 

Kiser grew up in Fremont, and made his home in Redding.

 

His wife, Rhonda, says he was deployed to Iraq in January, where he served as an explosives engineer. He was just promoted to sergeant last week.

 

Besides his wife, Kiser leaves two teenage sons from a previous marriage.

 

 

Two U.S. F-18s Reportedly Collide Over Iraq:

Search Under Way For Crews

 

May 2, 2005 NBC News

 

Navy officials said Monday that two U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets apparently were involved in an "air-to-air collision" over southern Iraq.  There was no immediate word on the fate of the crew members.

 

The fighter jets, based on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, were reported missing at 10:10 p.m. local time.

 

A statement by the military in Iraq said search efforts were under way and that the status of the crew members was unknown.

 

 

British Soldier Killed In Al Amarah:

"You Should Not Have Sent The Troops Over" Widow Says

Anthony Wakefield's wife has said she blames Tony Blair for his death

 

2nd May 2005 MOD & BBC

 

Guardsman Anthony John Wakefield, a married father of three from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, died as a result of wounds sustained 2 May 2005 during a routine patrol in Al Amarah, Iraq.

 

He was 24.

 

Guardsman Wakefield's wife, Ann Toward, said she blamed Prime Minister Tony Blair for her husband's death.

 

She told ITV her husband had been "a very brave man" who was "outgoing" and "funny" and a great father.

 

Ms Toward - who last spoke to her husband at Easter - said she would like to tell Mr Blair: "You should not have sent the troops over, you should not have done that."

 

If it was not for Mr Blair's actions, she said, her children "would still have their father today, and I really do blame him for that".

 

Another soldier from the same unit was injured in the attack on the patrol, made up of two armoured Land Rovers.

 

An MoD spokesman said the second soldier's injuries were not serious.

 

His Company of the 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards is currently serving alongside 1 Staffords (Staffordshire Regt.) in Maysan Province, Iraq.

 

The guardsman was part of 12 Mechanised Brigade deployed in Iraq since March when it began a six-month tour of duty, replacing the 4 Armoured Brigade.

 

"He was acting as the top cover sentry in the second of a two vehicle patrol when what appears to have been an Improvised Explosive Device detonated – disabling the vehicle and injuring another soldier.

 

"Despite receiving first aid at the scene and in the helicopter that evacuated him, he sadly died of wounds shortly after being attended by the doctor at the Battlegroup’s base just outside the town.

 

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme that the soldier's death "demonstrates the continuing threat to our forces in Iraq".

 

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.

 

 

Stop Loss Soldier Wounded:

“It's Bad Out There"

 

May 2, 2005 By ANDY HILL, Globe Associate Editor, BESSEMER

 

An A.D. Johnston High School graduate has been wounded in combat in Iraq.

 

Family members said Sgt. Stewart Moran, of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, was wounded by a grenade Sunday.

 

Officials at Ft. Drum, N.Y., said soldiers from the 10th are working in concert with the Third Infantry Division.

 

"He suffered wounds to the leg," said his stepfather, George Wydetic. "I received notice Tuesday morning."

 

An explosive device went off and Moran was injured by shrapnel and knocked unconscious, said his sister, Caroline Sayles, of Bruce Crossing.

 

Wydetic said he believed his stepson is still in Iraq.

 

Moran is a 1994 graduate of A.D. Johnston and a 1999 graduate of Mount Senario College, Ladysmith.  He was an outstanding football player.

 

Moran's mother, Carole, resides in Florida.

 

He enlisted in 2001, and this is his second tour of duty in Iraq.

 

"He was over there for a year, before, and now he's been there since January," said Wydetic.

 

Moran communicates with family members here by e-mail and telephone.

 

"I had spoke to him a couple of Mondays ago, and he said quite a few guys in his company had been killed, and it's bad out there," said Sayles.  "Insurgents are hiding bombs in anything. You don't know what could be hiding something that could kill you."

 

Family members said Moran was retained in the army through the Stop Loss Program. He earlier served a tour of duty in Bosnia.

 

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

“When We Got There, There Were Only Two Tanks Working”

“They Were Hand-Me-Down Tanks"

 

"Right when we got there, there were only two tanks working.  They were hand-me-down tanks," Farris said.  "It was terrible.  The platoon sergeant's tank was sitting for three months before we even got there.  They told us it was unfixable."

 

May 2, 2005 By Mike DuPre', Gazette Staff

 

Lance Cpl. Derrick Farris' first mission was his worst.

 

Farris, a graduate of Janesville Parker High School, drives an M1A1 Abrams tank for the Marine Corps.

 

His platoon of four tanks and 22 men was stationed in Husaybah, one of four cities grouped on the Euphrates River right next to the Syrian border.

 

From Sept. 20 to April 3, "we were the only tank platoon in the area we were at.  It was huge," Farris said.

 

He and his comrades, the only tankers in the area, escorted convoys for the first three months of their tour in Iraq.

 

"On my first mission, I was attacked.  We got there one day; the next day we had a mission," Farris said.

 

His and another tank were leading a convoy of 27 vehicles during the day.

 

"It was a brand new route.  It was open desert mostly."

 

The convoy skirted two cities and was approaching its destination, a camp in Husaybah.

 

"They call it the Intersection of Death," he said.

 

The lead tank crew stopped to reconnoiter and got slammed by an anti-tank rocket.

 

"It hit the tank commander's hatch and detonated in the hatch. The explosion in the hatch created shrapnel," Farris said

 

The shrapnel shredded the tank's loader whose hatch is forward and a little left of the tank commander's.  Besides killing the loader, the blast shattered the tank commander's arm and badly burned his face and one hand.

 

"The skin on his hand was gone so they sewed his hand to his stomach in Germany to skin-graft it. … I had to clean out the tank," Farris said.  "It was horrible.  It seemed like there were gallons of blood.  It was terrible."

 

Of another harrowing experience, Farris said: "You don't even feel it, don't even hear it when you hit a mine. I saw it, a flash. You see dirt fly 20 feet in the air.

 

"It knocked a track off. We got towed back."

 

Mechanical problems kept more tanks out of action than Iraqi insurgents.

 

"Right when we got there, there were only two tanks working.  They were hand-me-down tanks," Farris said.  "It was terrible.  The platoon sergeant's tank was sitting for three months before we even got there.  They told us it was unfixable."

 

That was until Farris' platoon got there.

 

"We had some really good mechanics," he said.

 

 

"We're Going To Bring Him Home"

Campbell Soldier Wounded;

His Humvee Was Hit By Car Bomb:

Spc. Carl Workman Jr.

 

05/02/05 Daily American Press

 

A 22-year-old Campbell High School graduate was injured in Iraq early Sunday morning when a car bomber attacked his patrol.

 

Spc. Carl Workman Jr., of the 10th Mountain Division stationed out of Fort Drum, N.Y., suffered a broken bone from shrapnel wounds to his shoulder when his humvee was hit.

 

Workman called his parents, Anna and Carl Workman Sr., of Campbell, at 10 a.m. Sunday from Baghdad to tell them he was wounded.

 

"It was scary," Anna said, "I was still in bed and my husband came in and Carl was on the phone.  I was crying, we were all upset.  This is something that is hard to deal with."

 

Workman is still in Baghdad, Anna said, and is awaiting transport to Germany.

 

He has been in Iraq about a year, Workman's mother said.  He joined the Army in 2002, after graduating from Campbell High School, and was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division after completing his basic training in Oklahoma.

 

Workman's family is waiting for more news about his injuries and are making arrangements to travel either to Germany or to Washington, D.C.

 

"If Carl stays in Germany for a week or longer, the Army will send his father and I there," Anna said, "Otherwise we'll go to D.C. when they transfer him to Walter Reed."

 

If the Workmans do not travel to Germany, the Army will arrange for their transportation to Washington, D.C., only if their son is still on the serious injury list.

 

The Workmans plan to go to Washington, D.C., whether or not the arrangements are handled by the Army.

 

"We're going to bring him home," Anna said, "We're just waiting to hear what's going on. Right now, we don't even know how serious his injuries are."

 

The Workmans are making plans now for Brandy, their 11-year-old daughter, to stay with family or friends while they are gone.

 

Everyone has been very supportive, Anna said.

 

"My husband said people have already been asking about him at the school," Anna said, "Everyone loves Carl.  He is just a fun, loving, outgoing person."

 

The Workmans last saw their son at Thanksgiving when he was home for a two-week leave.  They have kept in touch over the computer while he has been in Iraq.

 

 

Iraq War Trashing Equipment Faster Than It Can Be Replaced:

“It Is A Problem Right Now” General Says

 

May 02, 2005 By Rick Maze, Army Times staff writer

 

Readiness of deployed units is adequate today, but there are troubling signs for the future, senior combatant commanders told a Senate subcommittee.

 

The problem, senior combatant commanders told the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee, is simply that the pace of operations is causing equipment to wear out faster than it can be fixed or replaced.

 

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Sattler, commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force, said “It is a problem right now. We do not have the necessary equipment if you were to send us to war tomorrow.”

 

Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, commander of III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas said one year of deployment appears to put the equivalent of four to five years of normal use on wheeled and tracked vehicles.

 

The 1st Cavalry Division’s assessment of the wear and tear on its gear shows an even starker ratio — the equivalent of 10 to 15 years of use for every year of deployment.

 

Such heavy use makes it almost impossible for units to have their equipment repaired so they are ready to redeploy in 180 days, the Army’s goal, Metz said.

 

In the short term, the services are finding equipment for deployed units and their next-in-line replacements, but at some point, equipment, vehicles and gear will have to be replaced because they can only be repaired so many times, officials said.

 

 

EXTREMELY BAD PLACE TO BE:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW.

US Army soldier Cpt. Denis Stitt, 116 engineers, from Coeur D'alene Idaho, inspects oil pipelines near Beiji, Iraq, May 1. 2005. (APF/Karim Sahib)

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

Lone Survivor Of Humvee Attack In Iraq Returns Home:

Burned All Over His Body

 

May 2, 2005 NewsNet5

 

The 28-year-old is the only survivor of an attack last year.

 

"I felt guilty that I was the only one that survived and the rest of the guys didn't," Watson said.

 

Watson said his two friends were killed instantly when a bomb struck their Humvee.

 

The soldier driving the vehicle died several months later.

 

The attack left Watson with burns all over his body, extensive internal injuries and crushed legs and ankles.

 

He returned in a wheelchair to Cleveland from a medical center in Texas.

 

Watsons' family and friends gathered anxiously Sunday at Hopkins International Airport to welcome him home.

 

The soldier is optimistic that he will have a full recovery.

 

He said he's just taking it day by day, and he prays for the safe return of the other men and women still serving in Iraq.

 

 

Traumatic Brain Injuries In Soldiers Often Go Undetected

 

Too often, she says, soldiers who complain of irritability or changes in concentration are treated for psychiatric problems, rather than neurological issues. Ideally, she says, she'd like to see the U.S. military screen all combat soldiers for signs of brain trauma before they return to civilian life.

 

02 May 2005 By Jason Margolis, Palo Alto, California

 

In today's warfare, the silver lining, if there can be one, is that new body armor and better emergency medical techniques are keeping more soldiers alive. But one area that can't entirely be protected is the face and parts of the skull.

 

That's where Erik Castillo was wounded. "They say I got injured by four mortar rounds landed nearby, close to me, and exploded and the shrapnel hit my head," he explains. The 21-year-old Army Specialist was injured in July in Baghdad.

 

The right side of his forehead was shattered, and now sinks sharply inward. His right eye droops and can't align with the left. Speaking from his hospital bed, he repeatedly strokes the hair above his injury.

 

He has physical injuries, too.  "My left side of the body doesn't work so well," he says. "So I can't move my arm or my leg like normal.  So that means I can't do regular stuff. Like I used to walk, grab things with my left arm."  Doctors say his symptoms resemble those of a very severe stroke.  He works daily with occupational and physical therapists.

 

Most patients take 18 to 24 months to recover from a traumatic brain injury.  The severity of the injury determines how much function can be regained.  It's a slow process because brain cells are unique.

 

In other parts of the body, healing is done by replacement cells.  For example, if you cut yourself, a few days later there's new skin being formed underneath the scab.  But Harriet Zeiner, a clinical neuro-psychologist at the Palo Alto hospital, says the brain heals differently.  "It's designed to," she explains, "because it's a repository for all the information you're ever going to have.  And so if it got replacement cells, one of the main problems is, they'd be dumb, they wouldn't have access to all the information you've acquired over a lifetime."

 

Over the past three years, 440 U.S. troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated for traumatic brain injuries; However, Dr. Zeiner believes many veterans with less severe brain damage are not getting the medical attention they need.

 

The gaping hole in Erik Castillo's skull left no doubt about the severity of his injury. But for others, the diagnosis is not so obvious.  

 

Dr. Zeiner says just being near a blast can rattle someone's brain.  And since there are no outward signs of injury, the soldiers are often unaware that their brain has suffered physical trauma.

 

"The individual looks perfectly okay," she says.  "They sound the same, they look the same, there's no injury.  They simply think more slowly, they have memory lapses, they don't read the emotional signs from their partners very well.  They appear to have changes in empathy."

 

Too often, she says, soldiers who complain of irritability or changes in concentration are treated for psychiatric problems, rather than neurological issues. Ideally, she says, she'd like to see the U.S. military screen all combat soldiers for signs of brain trauma before they return to civilian life.

 

 

Up To $100,000 Proposed For Traumatic Injuries:

“A Soldier Shouldn’t Have To Worry If You’re Going To (Be Able To) Keep The Car Another Day”

 

May 02, 2005 By Rick Maze, Army Times staff writer

 

Responding to pleas for financial help from troops recovering from severe combat wounds, Congress and the Bush administration are rushing to approve a new insurance benefit for active-duty members who suffer life-changing injuries.

 

Under the proposal, which the Senate attached to the 2005 wartime supplemental spending bill, personnel enrolled in the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance program also would be covered by a new “traumatic injury policy” that would pay $25,000 to $100,000 in a lump sum for those with severe injuries such as burns or the loss of limbs or eyesight.

 

Army Staff Sgt. Heath Calhoun, who lost both legs in Iraq and is now part of the effort to get the insurance plan approved, said his situation is a good example of why such a benefit is needed.

 

His wife had to leave her job in Tennessee to be with him at Walter Reed during his recovery, adding stress at a time when he needed to be thinking about other things.

 

“A soldier shouldn’t have to worry if you’re going to (be able to) keep the car another day,” he said.

 

 

War Nurse

 

April 28, 2005 By DAVID McLEMORE / The Dallas Morning News

 

SAN ANTONIO – The first thing Maj. Dawn Garcia noticed when she came back from Iraq was the quiet.

 

Gone was the throbbing drone of the medevac helicopters in Baghdad that signaled the round-the-clock arrival of more dying and wounded.

 

"At first, it was weird not to hear the choppers. I'd wake up and it would be silent," says the Army nurse of 15 years.

 

Then she knew she was home.

 

Like the approximately 2,000 Army nurses who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, Maj. Garcia has found that the transition from a war zone to stateside normalcy is a complicated thing.

 

Maj. Garcia says it was not uncommon for her to pause and wash the blood of others from her arms.

 

She remembers a young soldier brought in one night, his body shredded in the explosion of a roadside bomb.  The nurses had to turn him every 15 minutes so he could breathe.  His wounds looked like a shark had ravaged him.

 

Medical teams worked on him feverishly.  They replaced his blood volume twice.  They performed surgery right on the intensive-care unit.

 

"Then, his heart stopped. And we couldn't get him back," Maj. Garcia says.

 

"Everyone cried.  And then we went back to work."

 

 

Families Also Stretched Thin:

Give Troops Same Child Care Tax Benefit Civilians Get

 

 

5.2.05 Army Times

 

WHAT’S UP: The National Military Family Association is urging Congress to provide more support for family programs such as child care.

 

Families need more than access to care — they also need help paying for it, said Joyce Raezer, an NMFA official.

 

She recently urged Congress to set up flexible spending plans so military families could pay for child-care expenses with pretax dollars, similar to what many private-sector employers offer their workers.

 

Raezer says such support is needed because the pace of operational missions is taking a toll not only on troops but also families. “Longer and more frequent deployments are indications that the force is stretched thin; military families are also stretched thin,” she told the House Armed Services Committee.

 

Congress will consider her child care idea and other proposals as it prepares the 2006 defense budget this year.

 

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

 

 

Deadly Diseases Threaten Mideast Troops

 

April 28, 2005 A Freedom Communications Newspaper & Reuters

 

Since prehistoric times, wars have killed combatants and civilians — by weapons but also by infections.  In addition to creating crowded, unsanitary conditions, wars expose people to bacteria and viruses to which they have no immunity.

 

On April 10 in Century City, at the 15th annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Maj. Kimberly Moran, M.D., spoke about infections in military personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

Moran works at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

 

One of these diseases is leishmaniasis, nicknamed "Baghdad boil."

 

According to the Deployment Health Medical Research Library, maintained by the Department of Defense, leishmaniasis, which is found in 88 countries worldwide, is in fact three types of disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania:

 

• cutaneous leishmaniasis, which affects the skin;

 

• mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, which affects the skin and mucous membranes; and

 

• visceral leishmaniasis, which affects organs in the abdomen.

 

The bite of a number of species of sandflies transmits the protozoa to humans.

 

Cutaneous leishmaniasis, the more common form of the disease, is not fatal.

 

But the visceral form can kill if it affects the liver, spleen or bone marrow, especially in immunocompromised patients (e.g., those with late-stage HIV).

 

According to John Halpern, director of the department of emergency medicine at the Coral Springs Medical Center in Florida, skin lesions can heal spontaneously within two to 10 months, but the mortality rate for untreated cases of visceral leishmaniasis ranges from 75 percent to 95 percent.

 

The parasite attacks the lymph nodes and the bone marrow and the infection leads to the enlargement of the liver and spleen and to jaundice. 

 

Without treatment, the patient dies within a few months, but with treatment, cure is certain in virtually 100 percent of affected individuals.

 

In cases of mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, death typically results from secondary infection.

 

Since the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. forces have seen 827 cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis and five cases of visceral leishmaniasis.

 

"It peaked in the summer and fall of 2003," Moran said, "but has decreased since then because of education regarding protective measures, such as netting."

 

Although cutaneous leishmaniasis is self-curing, the Army Medical Corps treats cases when there are more than five lesions; when lesions are in such cosmetically important areas as the face, ears and backs of the hands; and when there is a risk that scarring would impair action of the joints or toes.

 

At Walter Reed, Moran said, patients are treated with Pentostam, a medicine licensed for use in the United Kingdom but not yet approved by our own Food and Drug Association.

 

Moran stressed that leishmaniasis is not transmitted by simple contact: "It requires a sandfly reservoir.

 

"But because of the potential for transmission through blood, anyone who served in Iraq, Kuwait or Afghanistan is deferred from donating blood for one year after their return to the States.

 

"Anyone who has suffered either cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis is deferred for life."

 

Another sickness vexing the Army Medical Corps is acute eosinophilic pneumonia (AEP), defined in a study published by Dr. Andrew F. Shorr in the Dec. 22/29, 2004, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association as a rare disease of unknown etiology (cause) "characterized by respiratory failure and eosinophilic infiltration of the lung."

 

Eosinophils, which constitute between 1 percent and 3 percent of the total white blood-cell count, play a major role in allergic reactions and can cause constriction of the air passages.

 

Although AEP is rare, Moran said the Army saw a marked increase in cases after the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, with the majority of cases occurring in the summer of 2003.

 

From March 2003 through March 2004, Shorr and his fellow researchers identified 18 cases of AEP among the 183,000 military personnel then deployed in or near Iraq.

 

Of those cases, 16 were male, two were female. Their median age was 22.

 

The majority recovered after treatment with corticosteroids, but two of the patients died.

 

According to Moran, the cause of the disease remains a mystery.

 

None of the 18 had been exposed to any agent known to cause AEP, and Shorr's study discovered "no evidence of a common source exposure, temporal or geographic clustering, or person-to-person transmission."

 

However, Shorr found that all but one person reported "significant exposure to fine airborne sand or dust." In addition, all 18 patients used tobacco, and 14 had just recently taken up the habit.

 

Moran said that more than 60 percent of active-duty personnel smoke tobacco.

 

Then why have so relatively few contracted AEP (only 18 out of an estimated 109,800 smokers)?  In a telephone interview, Moran said, "There may be cofactors: smoking plus something. For example, dust."

 

In fact, there must be at least a third factor, since many thousands of all those smokers must also have been exposed to airborne sand or dust.

 

The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology warns, "AEP may be mistaken for other diseases, particularly community-acquired pneumonia, resulting in delayed or missed diagnosis."

 

The third infection discussed by Moran, Acinetobacter baumannii, sounds like the scariest.

 

An opportunistic pathogen, A. baumannii is very difficult to treat, as it is resistant to many antibiotics.

 

"Two days after the war began in Iraq, we started seeing cases at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany," Moran said.

 

"From seeing maybe one or two cases a year, we were seeing more than 20 a year.

 

"When we first noticed an increase, there was concern that A. baumannii, which is found in soil and water, was being traumatically implanted into soldiers when they were injured."

 

So far, A. baumannii has caused no fatalities in soldiers at Walter Reed, but there have been four deaths among immunocompromised civilians (not all patients at Walter Reed are active-duty soldiers).

 

A. baumannii is spread by contact, not by the respiratory route.

 

Moran mentioned the conflict between sequestering patients, in order to contain a bacterium, and their rehabilitative need for interaction.

 

At Walter Reed, therefore, hand washing is strictly enforced, patients with A. baumannii are kept in one wing of the orthopedic ward, and they must "gown-and-glove" when visiting friends in their unit.

 

"Cohorting — keeping affected patients together — is a mainstay of the effort to control the spread," Moran said.

 

"We also try to prevent health-care providers from working with other patients after having worked with patients with A. baumannii.

 

"But that is hard to do logistically.  Not only is there a nursing shortage, but nurses must go on breaks."

 

 

Travel Cards:

“The Whole System Is Broken”

“Doesn’t DFAS Have A Responsibility To The Soldiers?”

 

Letters To The Editor

Army Times

May 02, 2005

 

As a commander of a Reserve unit, I find it unbelievable how discouraging it is to deal with travel pay.

 

My higher headquarters constantly sends out reminders to use our Bank of America government travel card, yet when the bills come in, it is the soldiers’ responsibility to pay them in full whether they have been reimbursed or not.

 

How can I expect an E-4 traveling for annual training or to a two-week school to pay his bill when he is unsure when he will be reimbursed? 

 

I can’t even give him an estimate because it varies from 60 to 120 days.

 

The whole system is broken.

 

With the number of reservists and National Guard soldiers mobilized, why doesn’t the Defense Finance and Accounting Service mobilize more finance soldiers?

 

Why can’t DFAS identify the soldiers who did not receive travel settlements within 30 days?  If Bank of America can send out a notice on the 45th day of late payment notification, why can’t DFAS just get the report from it?

 

What about reimbursing late fee charges?

 

Again, if Bank of America is tracking this, why can’t DFAS just ask for assistance?

 

My Regional Readiness Command sends me a monthly report of anyone who is 30, 60 and 90 days late, information from Bank of America.

 

We are constantly reminding our soldiers about responsibility, integrity and values, but doesn’t DFAS have a responsibility to the soldiers?

 

Doesn’t the soldier deserve to be reimbursed in a timely manner?

 

Capt. Michelle Ross

Las Vegas

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

Number Of Dead Collaborators Up Sharply

 

May 2 Bloomberg L.P.

 

The interior ministry put the April death toll for police and other ministry officials at 98, including 21 officers, compared with 79 in March, AFP said.

 

The defense ministry said its own death toll was 41 in April, up from 39 in March, AFP reported.

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

5.2.05 By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, AP & BBC & Reuters & ANTONIO CASTANEDA, AP & AlJazeera & 5.1.05 Balaji Reddy, India Daily

 

In Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, a roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol wounded two soldiers, the U.S. military said.

 

Sunday a car bomb exploded in Tal Afar, 90 miles east of the Syrian border, killing 25 and wounding more than 50 people gathered for the funeral Wahab, a Kurdish Democratic Party official, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. 

 

Wahab, who belonged to Masud al-Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was killed by anti-government fighters three days ago, according to Abd al-Ghani Yihya, a Kurdish official in Mosul.

 

Deputy provincial governor and Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman Khisru Goran said a car plowed into the funeral tent and exploded, but the U.S. military said it was not a suicide attack.

 

U.S. troops, Iraqi police and ambulances raced to the carnage, but unidentified gunmen blocked the road and fighting broke out, Goran said.

 

U.S. and Iraqi forces imposed a curfew in Tal Afar on Monday and were preventing vehicles from entering or leaving the city, Goran said.

 

In eastern Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near a passport office, killing three Iraqis, including two policemen, and wounding six, said police Lt. Col. Hassan Chalob said.

 

Monday's first bomb in Baghdad was detonated near a convoy including the car of Maj Gen Rashid Feleih, who heads an interior ministry police force.

 

Rasheed and three of his bodyguards were wounded, and were taken to hospital.

 

In the western Jihad neighborhood, militants in three parked cars fired on a police patrol with handguns, wounding four policemen.  U.S. Army Lt. Col. Clifford Kent said that a suicide bomber attacked a water pump station in southeastern Baghdad.

 

Unidentified armed men opened fire on an Iraqi police patrol in the Ghazaliya district, also in Baghdad's west, Abd al-Karim added.

 

One of the police officers was wounded and the assailants escaped after the attack, he said.

 

Late on Sunday in the Yarmuk district in the west of Baghdad, a roadside bomb attack wounded two Iraqi policemen, who were evacuated to a nearby hospital, Major Musa Abd al-Karim said.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

 

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

 

 

Bomb

 

5.2.05 Wall St. Journal

 

An Afghan official said a bomb killed three antidrug officers.

 

 

 

CLASS WAR REPORTS

 

 

U.S. Killer Cops Using Torture Weapon To Murder Disarmed Suspects & Prisoners

 

[While you’ve been off “liberating” Iraq, this is what’s going on right here in the USA.  We need you all back here to put a stop to these sadistic murderers though the employment of the only method of communication they understand: armed force.  Please come home and defend us.  They are killing us.  T]

 

April 2005 Jenny Brown, The Gainesville (Florida) Iguana

 

In March, Orange County police used a taser electrical shock gun on an 18 year old Orlando man who was tied to a hospital bed.  The reason given was that the man refused to give a urine sample.

 

What does a taser feel like?  Police officers who underwent 1.5 second jolts as part of their training said, "Anyone who has experienced it will remember it forever... You don't want to do this." (The Olympian, October 14, 2002).

 

But 1.5 seconds is a fraction of the normal taser, which lasts for 5 seconds, unless the trigger is held down, in which case it lasts as long as the battery holds out.  With the jolt, the victim's central nervous system is incapacitated, the victim's muscles contract painfully and if they are standing, they fall to the ground.  Often the jolt causes the victim to lose bladder and bowel control.

 

"They call it the longest five seconds of their life... it's extreme pain, there's no question about it.  No one would want to get hit by it a second time." (County Sheriff, quoted in The Kalamazoo Gazette, Michigan, 7 March 2004)

 

"It is the most profound pain I have ever felt.  You get total compliance because they don't want that pain again," a firearms consultant told the Associated Press. (12 August 2003.)

 

According to an exhaustively documented November 30, 2004 report by Amnesty International on taser use in the U.S. and Canada, electro-shock weapons are now used by police departments to enforce compliance with police orders, to retaliate against handcuffed suspects who are talking back or refusing to follow police instructions, and as punishment in prisons.

 

Amnesty has also identified over 70 deaths associated with tasers, and called for a complete suspension of their use until objective studies of their effects have been done.

 

Five thousand police departments in the U.S., and 60 in Canada, use tasers.  Their use is rapidly growing.  The Duval County police recently considered buying tasers for all the police who work in the Jacksonville schools.  Residents and parents protested. 

 

Tasers are classed as "non-lethal" weapons.  But so were the rack, thumbscrews and the iron maiden "non-lethal."  They, too, were used to extract compliance and repentance.

 

The difference is that the taser is a ready-to-hand street torture method.

 

Before the taser, the police used pain compliance holds, batons, dogs, electric cattle prods, and more recently pepper and other chemical sprays.  The difference, as Amnesty points out, is that the taser is much more painful and leaves nearly no evidence. "Portable and easy to use, with the capacity to inflict severe pain at the push of a button without leaving substantial marks, electro-shock weapons are particularly open to abuse."

 

Amnesty's report details case after case in which taser electrical shocks are used against suspects and prisoners who are doing nothing more than refusing to go with police, failing to follow police orders, arguing, or running away.

 

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Washington woman shows how quickly tasers have become the weapons of choice for any situation.  An officer with the Washougal, Washington police department went to the house of Russian immigrant Olga Rybak with a dog citation because her dog had allegedly bitten another officer the day before. Amnesty reports on the lawsuit:

 

Rybak, who spoke little English, at first refused to sign (the citation), asking for a translator.  While attempting to arrest her, the officer shocked her at least 12 times in 91 seconds in front of her two young sons - first using the weapon as a stun gun, then stepping back to insert a cartridge and twice firing darts at Rybak who was writhing around on the front porch.  When the boys (aged 11 and 12) tried to help their mother, the officer reportedly threatened to taser them as well.  Rybak's attorney has informed Amnesty International that the boys have been receiving psychiatric treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the incident.

 

The officer was the Taser Training officer for the department.

 

And the Amnesty report cites this incident, in which a suspect in custody and in handcuffs was tasered repeatedly: "I asked Borden to lift up his foot to remove the shorts, but he was being combative and refused. I dry stunned Borden in the lower abdominal area We got Borden into the booking area.  Borden was still combative and uncooperative.  I dried (sic) stunned Borden in the buttocks area"

 

After the final shock, the officer "noticed that Borden was no longer responsive and his face was discolored." (Extract from officer's statement on James Borden, a mentally disturbed man being booked into an Indiana jail.)

 

Borden was dead.

 

Are these uses the exception to the rule?  In fact, police departments across the country have guidelines which recommend taser use in these instances.

 

The vast majority of taser uses are against people who are unarmed or already restrained with handcuffs.

 

According to a report by the manufacturer, in 80% of cases, the taser victim was unarmed.  "An analysis of the 'suspect force level' in which a taser was deployed gave the most common category (37% of cases) as 'verbal non-compliance.'  This was followed by 'active aggression' in 32.6% of cases; 'defensive resistance' in 27.7% of cases and 'deadly assault' in only 2.7% of cases."  So in 65% of cases, not only was the victim unarmed, they were not threatening, even with their bare hands.  And that's from a report by the manufacturer, based on police claims.

 

Amnesty also notes the use and threatened use of tasers in jails and prisons.

 

In a lawsuit filed against Greene County Jail in Missouri, the following incidents are alleged:

 

* An African American woman was asked to remove her jewelry on being booked into the jail in June 2003.  She removed everything except an eyebrow ring, which was difficult to remove.  When she asked for a mirror she was allegedly sprayed in the face with pepper spray and, when she put her hands up to protect her face, was shot with a taser, causing her to fall to the ground and lose control of her bladder.  While on the ground, a male officer forcibly removed her eyebrow ring with pliers.  She was left in her urine for several hours without being given anything to clean herself with.

 

* A man being taken to the "drunk tank" was slammed to the ground face-first.  As he lay on the ground bleeding, a guard allegedly fired a taser gun at him, causing acute pain, although he was not moving or struggling.  He was taken to hospital where he had stitches to his mouth.  On return to the jail, when told he had failed to shampoo his hair satisfactorily, an officer threatened him with a taser gun, saying "you don't want this again".  On his release, the jail tried to get him to sign "reprimand papers" stating that he was shocked with a taser because he had attempted to run to the jail entrance; according to the lawsuit, he refused to sign the papers because the facts in them were not true.

 

* A man who said he might be allergic to soap in the shower was threatened with a taser gun and told to use the soap provided.

 

* A man booked into the jail on an outstanding traffic warrant was allegedly assaulted and subjected to an "overly invasive bodily search" and repeatedly called a "faggot."  He was allegedly tasered while he was prostrate and in handcuffs.

 

* A woman booked into the jail in March 2003 was placed in a cell by herself in a distraught condition . A jail employee said he would taser her if she did not be quiet and calm herself.  It is alleged that, while she was attempting to calm down, two guards entered her cell and one attached two taser clips to her shirt in the chest region; the other guard then activated the taser gun.  According to the lawsuit, she suffered "severe burns and permanent scars to her chest and stomach" as a result of being tasered.

 

The U.S. military is also a customer of Taser International.  Among the units that are outfitted with tasers is the 800th Military Police Brigade, which was found responsible for torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

 

Amnesty reports this instance:

 

William Lomax, aged 26, died in Las Vegas, Nevada in February 2004, after allegedly fighting with police and security guards at a housing complex.  At an inquest in the case, the security guards testified that they had approached Lomax because he appeared to be overdosing on drugs, "dazed and confused", walking in circles, lifting his shirt and sweating.

 

A struggle followed, during which a Las Vegas police officer jolted Lomax seven times with an X26 taser in stun gun mode.  Some of the jolts were applied as he was pinned face-down on the ground by four security guards who were trying to handcuff him and again when he was face-down on a gurney (stretcher).

 

According to inquest testimony, at least three of the jolts were applied to the side of his neck, a procedure authorized during police training.  When asked if the Las Vegas Police Department placed a limit to the number of shocks which could be applied, a taser training officer said: "What we tell and train our officers is, you can use this as many times as it's going to take to get compliance."

 

"While many departments authorize tasers at the level of 'active physical resistance,' according to a number of policies Amnesty International has seen, this can be in the form of 'bracing or tensing' or 'attempts to push or pull away.'"

 

Amnesty notes that in many cases, tasers are used instead of pepper or chemical sprays, which the organization says are also often misused.  "Rather than substituting electro-shock weapons for pepper spray or other force options, better training and restraint in the use of force would be a more appropriate strategy in many situations."

 

They use the example of the San Jose, California Police Department, which, after undergoing specialized training in dealing with disturbed individuals, was able to decrease the number of police shootings to zero in 1999.  After tasers were introduced in 2004, however, the number of shootings rose again.

 

On March 11, 2005 a Lake City man was tasered repeatedly when police showed up at his house with a court order for a psychiatric examination.  Milton Woolfolk was tasered after the police said they made repeated attempts to calm him down.  "I'm not sure the number of times (he was tasered)" Sheriff Bill Goatee was reported as saying in the Gainesville Sun (March 12). "I think it was several."  Woolfolk died shortly thereafter.

 

"From all indications that were given to me, it appears (deputies) were doing exactly as they were trained to do," Goatee said of the incident.

 

Reading the whole Amnesty report, which runs 80 pages, is traumatizing in itself.  The number of unprovoked or unnecessary taser uses, and the brutality employed, defy imagination, let alone summation.

 

Among the cases in which the victim died after being tasered:

 

"Glenn Richard Leyba, aged 37, died in Glendale, Colorado in September 2003. According to a report on the case by the District Attorney's office, paramedics arrived at Leyba's apartment after his landlady called for an ambulance, and found him "laying face-down, rolling from side to side making moaning and whimpering sounds".

 

A police officer twice used her taser on him as a stun-gun when he failed to respond to attempts to roll him over and became "physically resistant".  The police report is cited as stating that the second stun mode discharge "increased his level of agitation."

 

The same officer then fired a taser dart into Leyba's back, resulting in Leyba "moaning, screaming and 'flailing' his legs and in an increase in his level of physical agitation.  It did not, however, gain Mr Leyba's compliance".

 

Altogether, Leyba was electro-shocked in stun or dart mode at least five times, after which he "stopped all physical resistance" and was handcuffed behind his back.  The report states that "while being wheeled to the ambulance, the paramedics noticed that Mr Leyba's skin color was grayish, that he had stopped breathing, and that he had no pulse".  Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead in hospital. ...

 

"Roman Gallius Pierson, aged 40, died in October 2003 in Yorba Linda, California. Police had responded to reports that a disturbed man had been running in and out of traffic.  According to press reports, Pierson had run into a gas station forecourt and was rubbing ice onto his face, complaining of being hot and thirsty, when the police arrived; he was shot with a taser when he ignored an order to lie down on the pavement; while on the ground, he was tasered again when he began "grappling with police," according to a police spokesman. ...

 

"Gordon Randall Jones, aged 37, died in Orange County Florida, in July 2002, after reportedly being jolted at least 12 times with a taser.  According to media reports, the taser was used after Jones became disruptive outside a hotel and "refused to leave and pulled away from deputies."  He walked with deputies to an ambulance but died on the way to hospital. ..."

 

Pain has long been the power structure's compliance method of choice, whether it was the heretic's fork or the rack of Europe, or the dogs and electric cattle prods of the Jim Crow south.

 

It's time to draw the line and ban tasers.

 

Demonstrators, like those who went to Miami to protest the Free Trade Area of the Americas, can have no doubt that these more perfect pain weapons--like the pepper spray and plastic-coated bullets they faced for expressing their views--are meant for dissenters of all kinds, individuals and groups, whether their outrage is personal or political.

 

The development, sale and use of these weapons is not inevitable.  Seventy countries have banned the use of tear gas and pepper spray.  Only a few use tasers today. In England, taser use by police is strictly regulated and only where guns might be otherwise be used.

 

In the U.S., tasers should be banned immediately.

 

They are not only another symptom of a police and prison culture based on bullying, they are a tool that enables worse bullying to occur.

 

 

Thousands Demonstrate Against King

 

5.2.05 Wall St. Journal

 

Thousands of protestors marched through Nepal’s capital and called for democracy’s restoration, three months after King Gyanendra grabbed power.

 

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