GI Special:



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Army Times 5.16.05




National Day To Support GI Resisters-Chicago Solidarity


From: Erika Claich

Sent: May 10, 2005

Subject: [UICNoWarIraq] National Day to Support GI Resisters-Chicago Solidarity








Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes and Sgt. Kevin Benderman are on trial for taking a stand against the war


The US military is planning to bring sailor Pablo Paredes and soldier Kevin Benderman before military court martial tribunals for their opposition to the Iraq War. They face forfeiture of pay and benefits, and military jail time.


On December 6, 2004, Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes refused to board his ship as it left the San Diego Naval Station in support of the Iraq War and occupation. At the time of his refusal, Pablo said he hoped his protest might inspire other GI's to refuse to take part in the war.


On January 5, 2005, Kevin Benderman refused to deploy for a second tour of duty in Iraq with the Army's Third Infantry Division. At the same time seventeen other soldiers from his unit went AWOL, two tried to kill themselves and one had a relative shoot him in the leg to avoid deploying.


Both men applied for discharge from the US military as conscientious objectors. The military has wrongly rejected both claims.


It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of Pablo, Kevin and the thousands of other courageous men and women who have followed their conscience to uphold international law and to take a principled stand against the unjust, illegal war and occupation of Iraq. It's time we had their backs.


Please join us by organizing a public demonstration, vigil or rally of support. Every action, no matter how large or small is important.


* Send letters of support and donations to cover legal fees to Pablo and Kevin via their websites listed below.


* Write letters to the editor, and help educate your organization, church, union, school, co-workers and community.


We demand that military personnel retain their right to follow their conscience, publicly dissent and that their basic democratic rights be respected.


 * Monica Benderman - spouse of Kevin Benderman

* Victor Paredes - brother of Pablo Paredes

* Aimee Allison - Gulf War CO; Oakland City Council Candidate

* Medea Benjamin - CodePink, Co-Founder; Global Exchange, Founding Director

* Andrea Buffa - CodePink; Global Exchange, Peace Campaign

* Leslie Cagan - United for Peace and Justice, Nat'l Steering Cmte

* Stephen Funk - former Marine and first public Iraq War resister

* Susan Galleymore - MotherSpeak; military mother; Courage to Resist

* Lynn Gonzalez - San Diego Military Counseling Project

* Jack Heyman - Int'l Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, Exec Board

* George Johnson - Veterans for Peace, Nat'l Exec Board

* Ragina Johnson - College Not Combat

* Naomi Klein - activist; writer

* Sharon Lee Kufeldt - Veterans for Peace, Nat'l Exec Board VP

* Barbara Lubin - Middle East Children's Alliance, Director; ANSWER, Nat'l Steering


* Efia Nwangaza - Afrikan Am Institute for Policy Studies

* Siri Margerin - United for Peace and Justice, Nat'l Steering Cmte; Iraq Peace Panel


* Steve Morse - GI Rights Program Coor, Central Cmte for Conscientious Objectors

* Jeff Paterson - Not in Our Name; former Marine and 1991 Gulf War resister

* David Solnit - People Powered Strategy Project; Courage to Resist

* Vida Shahamat and Brain Barry - South Bay Mobilization Against the War

* Aryeh Shell - Courage to Resist; Popular Education and Action Collective

* Samina Faheem Sundas - American Muslim Voice

* Fernando Suarez del Solar - Gold Star Families for Peace, father of Marine Jesus

   Suarez killed in Iraq

* Fr. Louie Vitale, O.F.M., St Boniface Church; Korea War veteran

* Liat Weingart - Jewish Voice for Peace, Co-Director

* Bob Wing - War Times

* Howard Zinn - historian; author


Also endorsed by Campus Antiwar Network


(Organizations listed for identification purposes only)


For actions, leaflets, and more: http://www.CourageToResist.org


More info about Pablo Paredes: http://www.SwiftSmartVeterans.com

More info about Kevin Benderman: http://www.BendermanDefense.org


Call initiated by Courage to Resist, a new group of concerned community members, veterans and military families organizing support for military objectors to illegal war and occupation and the underlying policies of empire.


We have adopted a people power strategy to weaken the pillars that support the Iraq war and occupation by supporting GI resistance, which together with counter-recruitment and draft resistance work can remove the supply of obedient troops.




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.






Mississippi Marine Dies In Iraq, Family Says


May 11, 2005 Associated Press, MOOREVILLE, Miss.


A Marine from Mississippi has been killed in Iraq, his family confirmed Tuesday.


On Wednesday, the Department of Defense said Pfc. Stephen P. Baldwyn, 19, of Saltillo, was one of two Marines assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force who were killed this week during combat in Iraq.


Both Baldwyn and Lance Cpl. Taylor B. Prazynski, 20, of Fairfield, Ohio, died Monday.


Baldwyn graduated from Mooreville High School in 2004 and went to boot camp.


"He wanted to see the world," said his mother, Stephanie Baldwyn, a teacher at Mooreville High.  "He wanted adventure."


Prazynski's father said the military informed him Tuesday of his son's death.  John Prazynski said the family was told his son was taken to a Fallujah hospital and died of shrapnel wounds on Monday.


Prazynski and a close friend joined the Marines after graduating from high school in Ohio in 2003.  He had been deployed to Iraq at the beginning of the year.


Friends say he wanted to become a special education teacher and joined the Marines to earn money for college.



Soldier Killed


May 10, 2005 Glenn Austin, News 5


The war in Iraq has taken a direct hit on a family in Mobile.


Steven Givens, 26, was killed in action on Mothers Day.


Family members say that Givens grew up in Mobile and briefly moved away to North Carolina. He returned to graduate high school and joined the military in 1998.


He spent one tour of duty in Iraq and volunteered to return one more time.  Givens left three days after he was married.


Steven Givens leaves behind a wife and a two-year-old child.


Family members tell News 5 that Steven Givens body would be returned to Mobile by Friday, with a funeral to be planned for either Saturday or Sunday.



Two Helicopters Reported Down & Humvee Burned In Qaem


May 11 (KUNA) & Aljazeera


A booby-trapped car was driven into a military base in the border village of Qaem, whereby a fire broke out.


Village sources said that a US Humvee vehicle parked at a checkpoint near the Al-Rummana Bridge was damaged by the fire that broke out, adding that full assessment of damage is not yet possible.


An Iraqi official said two US helicopters have been shot down in northwest Iraq, near al-Qaim,


The director of communications for the Iraqi government in al-Qaim, Abdul-Khaliq al-Rawi, told Aljazeera that he confirmed two US helicopters were shot down in Qusaybah on Wednesday during fighting that has raged since Saturday.



Danish Troops Attacked


5/11/2005 Anatolia


COPENHAGEN- Danish soldiers engaged in a brief firefight with assailants who attacked them overnight in southern Iraq, the Danish army command said on Tuesday, adding that an Iraqi man was injured in the exchange. 


The Danes were patrolling the southern Iraqi town of Basra when they came under fire in the early hours of Tuesday, the statement said.


The ensuing exchange lasted around five minutes, and the Danish troops then returned to their base at Camp Danevang in Basra.



“They Came Here To Die”'

“The Ambush At Ubaydi Was A New Tactic, Carried Out Lethally”


The ambush at Ubaydi was a new tactic, carried out lethally, Marines said.


"No one's ever seen or heard of guys getting attacked from under a house," Hurley said Tuesday, as the exhausted young men under his command slept in other rooms of a house in Jarami.  "And just the idea of a machine gun being able to fire through concrete, to get to us," Hurley said, without finishing his sentence.


May 11, 2005 By Ellen Knickmeyer, Washington Post Foreign Service


[Thanks to John GIngerich, who sent this in.]


JARAMI, Iraq, May 10 -- Screaming "Allahu Akbar'' to the end, the fighters lay on their backs in a narrow crawl space under a house and blasted their machine guns up through the concrete floor with bullets designed to penetrate tanks.  They fired at U.S. Marines, driving back wave after wave as the Americans tried to retrieve a fallen comrade.


Through Sunday night and into Monday morning, they battled on, their screaming voices gradually fading to just one.  In the end, it took five Marine assaults, grenades, a tank firing bunker-busting artillery rounds, 500-pound bombs unleashed by an F/A-18 attack plane and a point-blank attack by a rocket launcher to quell them.


The Marines got their fallen man, suffering one more dead and at least five wounded in the process.


And according to survivors of the battle, the fighters near the Syrian border proved to be everything their reputation had suggested: fierce, determined and lethal to the last.


"They came here to die," said Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Hurley, commander of the team from the 1st Platoon, Lima Company, of the Marines' 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment, that battled the insurgents in the one-story house in Ubaydi, about 15 miles east of the Syrian border.


"They were willing to stay in place and die with no hope," Hurley said Tuesday.  "All they wanted was to take us with them.''


The fighting that began Sunday in Ubaydi was an unplanned opening phase of a massive Marine offensive in Iraq's far northwest against resistance fighters who U.S. and Iraqi commanders say are crossing the Syrian border to join the Iraqi insurgency.


At noon Sunday, Marines were waiting on the bank of the Euphrates for U.S. Army engineers to finish erecting a temporary bridge when insurgents opened fire from Ubaydi, less than a mile away. They fired AK-47 assault rifles at helicopter gunships overhead and pounded the waiting Marines with mortar rounds -- including one that landed yards from a Humvee carrying the operation's commanding officers.


The Marines pressed against the walls of a ruined home for protection and waited for the mortars to stop.  When they did, one officer said: "Let's go to Ubaydi."


Lima Company and a company from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Regiment, entered the town. Insurgents -- dozens of them, Marines said later -- met them with AK-47 fire and rocket-propelled grenades.  In the first hours, one Marine was killed and at least seven were wounded.


Lima Company battled its way through town, at one point exchanging fire with fighters on the roof of a mosque and forcing them down.  The mosque's loudspeakers screamed Arabic that the Marines could not understand, but they said that since it was past time for prayers, they assumed the loudspeakers were rallying forces for attack.


According to Hurley and others who recounted the fighting that followed, Lima Company's Marines searched each house they passed.  They turned up weapons cache after weapons cache: bombs made to be dropped from airplanes, a bicycle with a seat made of explosives and an antenna for remote-control triggering, a vest rigged with explosives, a car rigged with bombs, mortar tubes, rocket launchers with new backpacks full of rockets, artillery shells.


The Marines also found Soviet-designed PKM machine guns and belts of armor-piercing ammunition.  In contrast, Lima Company was armed with M-16 assault rifles and carried nothing comparable -- nothing that could penetrate walls and floors and still pack enough force to kill.


That was what awaited the Marines on the last block they cleared, at the last house.  The first Marine there found the gate in the high walls around the house open; the front door was locked.


"As soon as he kicks the door, the machine-gun fire cuts him down," said Hurley, a Dayton, Ohio, police officer serving in the Marine Reserves.  The Marine survived, but a second fell as well, fatally wounded.  From inside, a fighter fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the door.


At some point, the screamed prayers began: "Allahu Akbar" -- "God is great."


Marines fell, unable to tell the source of the screams or the shots.  They fired blindly, as machine-gun rounds cratered the walls and floors around them.


"Our rounds couldn't get through the walls," Hurley said.


Survivors crawled out of the house under fire, unable to take the fatally wounded Marine with them.  In the back of the house, Marines spotted two men running out.  They fired. The two died at the back door, still holding their weapons.


Thinking the barrage had come from the two men they had just killed, the Marines reentered the walled compound.  Sgt. Dennis Woullard, a Marine reservist on the Biloxi, Miss., police force, dragged out the first fallen Marine.


Farther inside, other Marines searched the house.  One reached for the door of a storage closet under a stairwell.  "As soon as he touches the door, the machine gun fires and cuts him down," Hurley said.


The Marines retreated, unable to bring their wounded colleague with them.  Another wave went in to try to retrieve him, not realizing he was already beyond help.  Machine-gun fire drove them out.


The Marines began to suspect that the insurgents were firing from a bunker somewhere in the house, Hurley said.  They called in a tank, as other armored vehicles ferried the wounded away for evacuation by helicopter.


The tank fired, one round hitting a propane tank inside the compound and engulfing part of the house in a ball of orange flame.  Tank cannon fired seven rounds in all, some of them meant to destroy bunkers.


The Marines went in a fourth time.  Bullets, and one chanting voice, met them.


"Nobody should have survived" the tank assault, Hurley later said in amazement.


"The whole scene, it was just pure evil inside the house," said Woullard, who came out of the first foray into the house with a frayed helmet and bruised temple from one machine-gun round and a pierced water bag on his back from another.


"I've never seen anything like this in my life," said Woullard, who fought at Nasiriyah in the first days of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.  "It was an all-out ambush."


The insurgents' armor-piercing bullets were penetrating the house's interior and external walls and the outer walls of the compound, some smacking into walls across the street.


Hurley and other Marines, still under fire, were able to get to the body of the second fallen Marine through the holes that the tank had blown in the house but could not pull it past steel reinforcing bars that jutted from the collapsed walls.


"Not a way I'd want to treat a Marine's body.  But I know (the second fallen Marine) well enough to know no way he'd want a Marine to die to get his body," Hurley said.


Reluctantly, Marines called in an F/A-18 attack plane, which dropped two bombs at midnight.  One failed to explode.  The second missed the house.


Still under fire, the Marines holed up for the night in Ubaydi.


At daylight Monday, a staff sergeant skilled in rocketry set up a launcher in the street across from the house.  Fired from a dozen or so yards, the rockets collapsed the walls over the fighters' hiding place -- a crawl space behind the door under the stairwell.


When the Marines entered a final time, the daylight finally showed them where the bullets had come from: the floor beneath their feet.  The insurgents had lain faceup on the ground below, with barely enough room to point their weapons upward, Marines said.  They simply blasted through the floor.


The Marines found the last fighters there, dead.  There were at least two, and it was unclear whether they had bled to death overnight or been killed in the morning's rocket volley, Hurley and other Marines said.


Suspecting explosives might be in the crawl space, the Marines didn't try to count the bodies closely or retrieve them, they said.  But they dropped a grenade into the crawl space, just to make sure.


The ambush at Ubaydi was a new tactic, carried out lethally, Marines said.


"No one's ever seen or heard of guys getting attacked from under a house," Hurley said Tuesday, as the exhausted young men under his command slept in other rooms of a house in Jarami.  "And just the idea of a machine gun being able to fire through concrete, to get to us," Hurley said, without finishing his sentence.



Al Qaim:

“Pretty Much Everything Went To Hell”


5.11.05 JAMES JANEGA, Chicago Tribune, AL QAIM, Iraq


For more than a day and much of the night, the M-1 Abrams tank sat disabled in the desert, hobbled by an anti-tank mine.  The main battle had pushed to the north, across the Euphrates River and west toward the Syrian border.


A handful of Marines and another Abrams had stayed behind with the wounded tank to wait for help, and now help was on the way.


But as the column of armored vehicles raced toward the scene early Tuesday, it took a wrong turn in the darkness and unfamiliar terrain and wound up in the cross hairs of an insurgent ambush.


The Marines sent to the rescue needed help themselves.


The tanks were rolling through the town of Karabilah on the Euphrates' south bank about 1 a.m. when Lance Cpl. James Sutton, a 20-year-old tank driver from Wyoming, Ill., spotted men lurking atop several buildings.  He said he could not pick out the details - his infrared scope, used to give him night vision, showed the men only as silhouettes against the sky.


But then his screen bloomed with black blotches signaling the heat of muzzle flashes.  Tiny black dots - bullets - streamed toward his tank and the armored Humvees ahead of him.


"It was a big mess," recalled Sutton as he and other Marines from Alpha Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion recounted what had happened on the mission upon their return to the main Marine base at Al Qaim.


Elsewhere in the column, Sgt. Jeremy Archila, 27, of Fremont, Calif., watched from the machine gun turret of his M88-A2 tank-recovery vehicle as the rifles erupted.  The buildings along the roadside looked as if sparklers were hanging from almost every window, he said.


"Pretty much everything went to hell," he said.


As the American vehicles screeched to a halt and hurriedly began U-turning in the road, the insurgents began firing rocket-propelled grenades - "big red streams that just shoot down and scream," Archila said.


And then out of nowhere, a suicide bomber in a white pickup truck sped into the column, exploding next to a Humvee in front of Archila.


The gunfire intensified and then almost miraculously slowed as Archila's crew ran to the burning Humvee and pulled out the four wounded Marines inside, he said.


Three of them wound up inside Archila's vehicle, along with the five regular crew members.  Eight men dressed in full combat gear now were packed into a space the size of a regular mini-van, but with far less head room.


Archila said he gave his seat to one of the wounded men.  With no where else to go, he opened his hatch and crouched behind the big .50-caliber machine gun, hoping it would give him some protection as the rifle fire from the rooftops started up again.


The column sped up, threading its way through narrow streets with only feet to spare on either side, the Marines recalled.


But as they turned down a side street, Archila's recovery vehicle ran over another anti-tank mine.


The explosion knocked Archila into the armored cabin, and his mechanic tumbled into him.  The man's helmet and goggles had been blown from his head, but he staggered to his feet, stuck his torso out of his hatch and began to fire back with his M-16 rifle.


The inside of the armored vehicle reeked of leaking diesel fuel.  Someone asked if they should fire anti-tank rockets at the buildings.  Archila said no; any spark could ignite the diesel fumes.  Though the vehicle's right track was severely damaged, Archila shouted over the gunfire: "Floor it!"


Even though Lance Cpl. Adolfo Castro's infrared scope was blinded by smoke, he responded, pushing the damaged vehicle as fast as he could.


"When the smoke cleared, I found myself zigzagging in and out of telephone poles," recalled Castro, 20, from Kansas City, Kan.


Somehow, the men recalled, the crippled tank-recovery vehicle cleared the buildings. And then it ground to a halt.


Sutton's tank towed the damaged recovery vehicle to a safe zone - coincidentally near the damaged tank they had gone to recover long hours before.


Within minutes, Black Hawk helicopters evacuated the wounded Marines.  Soon after, undamaged tanks towed the broken M88 and Abrams back to the Marine base at Al Qaim, about five miles away.


While fellow Marines fought on the north side of the river, part of an ongoing offensive aimed at insurgents based in this rugged corner of Iraq's Jazirah Desert, the rescuers congratulated themselves on what Archila described as a successful mission.


"Everybody lived," he said.







The Horror Of Imperial War Comes Calling Twice


2005-05-01 After Army Pfc. Joel K. Brattain was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad a year ago, the painful task of notifying his family got underway thousands of miles from his hometown of Yorba Linda.David Zucchino, LA Times


After Army Pfc. Joel K. Brattain was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad a year ago, the painful task of notifying his family got underway thousands of miles from his hometown of Yorba Linda.


After Brattain died on March 13, 2004, two notification officers were required because his parents had divorced.


The private's wife, Andrea Brattain, 21, was living in Yorba Linda with his mother, Elaine Roach Clark.


The paratrooper had designated his wife as primary next of kin, so she had to be notified first.  Only then could his parents be told.


But Clark knew the instant she saw two soldiers in dress uniform on her doorstep that her son was dead.  When she was 8, in 1964, a soldier in dress uniform had come to her house with the news that her father, a Navy pilot, had died in Vietnam.



Widows Demand Full Receipt Of VA, Dod Survivor Benefits


May 09, 2005 By Rick Maze, Army Times staff writer


With Congress just weeks away from beginning to write the 2006 defense budget bill, a group of military widows spent two days meeting with lawmakers and staff trying to win support for improvements in benefits that directly affect the families of deceased service members.


Jennifer McCollum, whose husband, Marine Capt. Dan McCollum, was killed in a KC-130 crash in Pakistan three years ago, described the effort as “more of an education campaign than lobbying.”


“One of the worst things you can do to a surviving spouse is to say you are going to be there and not be there at all,” McCollum said in an interview as she described problems in getting benefits she and other survivors were promised.


For example, she has had trouble getting the VA’s $250 monthly benefit for surviving children because the law passed last year did not provide completely retroactive coverage. Instead of two years of payments, she was eligible for two months, she said.



Blast In Iraq Unites 2 Local Families In Grief




With the midday sun hanging hotly overhead, two U.S. Army captains approached a truck parked at a checkpoint in Diyarah, Iraq, on Friday. The driver remained behind the wheel.


As the soldiers lifted the trunk to search its contents, the driver detonated a bomb. All three men were instantly killed.


Hours later, halfway around the world, the parents of U.S. Army Capt. Ralph John Harting III stepped from their West Bloomfield home, headed 2 miles away to sit in the living room of strangers.


In Farmington Hills, the parents of U.S. Army Capt. Stephen Frank welcomed the Hartings.  And for the next 40 minutes, the heartbroken foursome shared stories of their sons, traded photos of their boys and wished that it were them who had died instead.


"We talked about how we wished it was us to go first," Sue Frank, Stephen Frank's mother, said Monday.  "We were glad that the boys were not alone when they died.  It was a comforting conversation, and we had an immediate bonding over the most tragic thing that could happen in your life.  It's good to know that the Hartings are only 2 miles away."



Resistance Hitting Exchange Service Supplies Hard;

Convoys And Airlifts Increased;

Shipment Sizes Limited


5.9.05 Army Times


Operating stores in a war zone is no piece of cake.  In fact, it’s a challenge just to get goods to the 31 Army and Air Force Exchange Service outlets in Iraq.


In 2004, more than $3.1 million worth of merchandise was ambushed or hijacked, and another $34.2 million in goods was spoiled or damaged on the way to camps where they were needed, said Army Maj. Gen. Kathryn G. Frost, commander of AAFES, in recent testimony before Congress just before her retirement.


To help reduce danger from insurgents, AAFES redesigned its transportation network to take advantage of military convoys and security protection.  AAFES aircraft are able to land at more airfields to reduce the volume of ground transportation, and the exchange service has limited the dollar amount of merchandise in each shipment to minimize loss.


Meanwhile, exchange service officials have asked for supplemental funding to help cover wartime costs, so the losses don’t have to come out of AAFES’ pocket — which could decrease the amount of dividends flowing into military morale, welfare and recreation programs.



How Far Will The Army Go?

Student-Led Sting Ensnarls Recruiters:

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Brodeur, Stupid Lair, Caught In Stupid Lie


Apr 28, 2005 ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)


Last month the U.S. Army failed to meet its goal of 6,800 new troops.


Aware of this trend, David McSwane, a local high school student, decided he wanted to find out to what extent some recruiters would go to sign up soldiers who were not up to grade.


McSwane, 17, is actually just the kind of teenager the military would like.  He's a high school journalist and honor student at Arvada West High School.  But McSwane decided he wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more solider."


McSwane contacted his local army recruiting office in Golden with a scenario he created. He told a recruiter that he was a dropout and didn't have a high school diploma.


"No problem," the recruiter explained.  He suggested that McSwane create a fake diploma from a non-existent school.


McSwane recorded the recruiter saying that on the phone.


"It can be like Faith Hill Baptist School or something -- whatever you choose," the recruiter said.


As instructed, McSwane went on the computer to a Web site and for $200 arranged to have a phony diploma created that certified him as a graduate of Faith Hill Baptist High School, the very name the recruiter suggested.  It came complete with a fake grade transcript.


"What was your reaction to them encouraging you to get a phony diploma?" CBS4's Rick Sallinger asked.


"I was shocked," McSwane said.  "I'm sitting there looking at a poster that says 'Integrity, Honor, Respect' and he is telling me to lie."


McSwane also pretended he had a drug problem when he spoke with the recruiter.


The Army does not accept enlistees with drug problems.


"I have a problem with drugs," McSwane said, referring to the conversation he had with the recruiter.  "I can't kick the habit ... just marijuana."


"(The recruiter) said 'Not a problem,' just take this detox ... he said he would pay half of it ... told me where to go."


Drug testers CBS4 contacted insist it doesn't work, but the recruiter claimed in another recorded phone conversation that taking "detoxification capsules and liquid" would help McSwane pass the required test.


"The two times I had the guys use it, it has worked both times," the recruiter said in the recorded conversation.  "We didn't have to worry about anything."


Then the original recruiter was transferred and another recruiter, Sgt. Tim Pickel, picked up the ball.


A friend of McSwane shot videotape as Pickel drove McSwane to a store where he purchased the so-called detox kit.


CBS4 then went to the Army recruiting office and confronted Sgt. Pickel.  CBS4 played him a conversation McSwane had with Pickel on the phone.  The transcript of that conversation follows:


Pickel: When you said about the one problem that you had, what does it consist of? McSwane: "Marijuana."  Pickel: Oh, OK so nothing major?  McSwane: Yeah, he said he would take me down to get that stuff, I mean I have no idea what it is, so you would have to show me. Is that a problem?  Pickel: No, not at all.


Pickel quickly referred CBS4 to his superiors.


CBS4 then played the tapes and showed the video to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Brodeur, who heads army recruiting for the region.


"Let me sum up all of this with one word: unacceptable, completely unacceptable," Brodeur said.


The army says it is conducting a full investigation.


Brodeur said there is no pressure or punishment for recruiters if quotas are not met. They are, however, rewarded when their goals are surpassed.  [B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T!  Another stupid liar caught: see next story.]



Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure To Bend Rules


New York Times, May 3, 2005


Army recruiters admit that they have been bending or breaking enlistment rules for months, trying to reach the recruitment goals assigned to them.




Recruiting Office Shot Up


Apr 28, 2005 ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4)


An Army and Marines recruitment center in Westminster was shot at eight times early Friday, an incident that police believe is related to the airing of CBS 4 News' report on alleged recruitment improprieties.


"The timeliness is too significant to ignore," said Westminster police investigator Tim Read.  "The report was at 10 p.m. (Thursday night) and by 7 this morning, the damage occurred.


No one was injured in the shooting, which shattered some glass at the front of the building at 7355 W. 88th Ave.


Debbie Cannon, with the Denver Army Recruiting Battalion, called the shooting an "isolated incident" and not the result of the broadcast.  [One more stupid, silly, transparent lie.  Why bother?  Oh, sorry, forget.  Lying is second nature for recruiters, and that’s what Cannon is.]


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.



VA Service Cuts Plan Has Vets Up In Arms


May 4th, 2005 Maki Becker, Daily News, L.P.


Angry war veterans packed a Brooklyn auditorium yesterday to blast plans to consolidate some services at the city's major VA hospitals.


Booing and jeering, the vets said bureaucrats were trying to balance their budget without considering the hardships the move would cause.


"It's absolutely disgusting that at a time of war they're thinking of downsizing hospitals," said Dave Buehrens, 31, of Staten Island, an 82nd Airborne Division vet who served in Kosovo.







Mortar Hits Iraq Oil Ministry


11 May 2005 Novinite Ltd


A mortar round struck the Iraqi Oil Ministry complex in Baghdad on Wednesday, media reported citing police officials.  There was no immediate word on casualties.  It was not clear whether any employees were in the ministry during the attack, which came after working hours.




Insurgency Appears To Be Gathering Pace


5.11.05 By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer & BBC


Insurgents are averaging about 70 attacks a day this month, up from 30-40 in February and March, said Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq.


Laith Kubba, an Iraqi government spokesman, told the BBC that rebels were lashing out wildly, knowing their "days are numbered".


But the insurgency appears to be gathering pace rather than running out of steam, the BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says.



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)



Assorted Resistance Action


May 11 (KUNA) & By Andrew Marshall (Reuters) & BBC & By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer


Laith Kubba, an Iraqi government spokesman, told the BBC that rebels were lashing out wildly, knowing their "days are numbered".


But the insurgency appears to be gathering pace rather than running out of steam, the BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says.


Two Iraqi soldiers were killed Wednesday in an attack carried out by insurgents on their patrol in the western part of the Iraqi capital, said a source of the Iraqi police.


The source told KUNA insurgents attacked an Iraqi military patrol killing two Iraqi soldiers and wounding three others.


Iraqi forces surrounded the place and mounted a search operation to capture insurgents who fled the scene in the car they used in the attack.


A car bomb attack on a police patrol in the Mansour district of Baghdad killed two policemen and a civilian, officials at the Interior Ministry said.


In Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, a car bomber blew up his vehicle among a crowd of mainly Shi'ite migrant labourers.  Police said at least 33 people were killed and 80 wounded in the attack,


Iraqi militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna claimed responsibility for the bombing in an Internet statement, saying the migrant labourers were working at nearby U.S. bases.  It said the workers were "apostates who sold their religion and became slaves and agents of the crusaders".


In Hawija, 150 miles north of Baghdad, at least 32 people were killed and dozens wounded soon afterwards, when a man with hidden explosives slipped past security guards protecting a police and army recruitment center on Wednesday and blew himself up just outside the building where some 150 applicants were lined up.


The bomber reportedly mingled with recruits before setting off his explosives, a tactic that has been used at least twice before in recent weeks, our correspondent says.


"I was standing near the centre and all of a sudden it turned into a scene of dead bodies and pools of blood," police Sgt Khalaf Abbas told the Associated Press news agency by telephone.


"Windows were blown out in nearby houses, leaving the street covered by glass."


Two people were killed and some 20 seriously wounded when an explosive device blew up on Wednesday at a chemical fertilizer factory in Umm Qasr south of Baghdad.


Witnesses told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the explosion took place at the intersection network of natural gas pipes used to supply the factory with fuel, saying that the pipe system was severely damaged in the fire that broke out because of the explosion.


No statements were issued by any of the officials on the site, and fire brigades were still trying to control the fire after the wounded were taken to the city hospital.









There Must Be Some Good News


May 08, 05 Anti-war.com


There must be some good news?






Welcome To Liberated Iraq:

Car Pool Or Else:

Death The Penalty For Driving Alone In Tikrit


11/05/2005 Kalshan Al Biati, Al Hayat


Tikrit - The province council of Tikrit, 180 km north of Baghdad, and its security authorities have taken measures, according to which they prohibited driving cars without the presence of a passenger or more with the driver to prevent the martyrs from exploding bombed cars in the city.


Yesterday, the police killed a car driver, who was driving his car by himself, while he was driving across a street in Tikrit, as he did not abide by these directions.


The police and National Guard, accompanied with American forces, have reinforced their security procedures by intercepting roads and side streets, limited the transportation flow in the city and arrested some citizens, who are suspected to be involved in terrorist operations.


The procedures also include the women who drive their cars, as a police detachment was witnessed when it stopped a woman driving her car and requested her to abide by the regulations of the presence of company.



So Much For That “Sovereignty” Bullshit:

CIA Refuses To Hand Over Control Of Iraq's Intelligence Service To Iraqi “Government”


5.10.05 The Independent (UK) & May 9.2005 By Hannah Allam and Warren P. Strobel, Knight Ridder Newspapers




The CIA has refused to hand over control of Iraq's intelligence service to the newly elected Iraqi government, in a turf war that exposes serious doubts the Bush administration has over the ability of Iraqi leaders to fight the insurgency.


Iraqi leaders complain that the arrangement violates their sovereignty.  [Wrong.  They have no sovereignty.  They have the U.S. occupation dictatorship.  Come on “Iraqi leaders,” grow up and quit whining.  You know who tells you to jump, and how high.  You have about has much to say about what goes on in Iraq as Donald Duck.] 


The US theoretically handed over sovereignty over Iraq to the government of Mr Allawi last June.


The director of Iraq's secret police, a general who took part in a failed coup attempt against Saddam Hussein, was handpicked and financed by the U.S. government, and he still reports directly to the CIA, Iraqi politicians and intelligence officials in Baghdad said last week.


The US has taken the national intelligence archives, the accumulated information gathered by the Mukhabarat over the past year, to the US headquarters in Baghdad in order to keep them off-limits to the new government.


Hadi al-Ameri, a member of the National Assembly and commander of the Badr Brigade, the military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, was quoted as saying: "I prefer to call it the American Intelligence of Iraq, not the Iraqi Intelligence Service."  He added: "It is not working for the Iraqi government - it's working for the CIA."


He said that if this went on the Iraqi government would have to create a new intelligence service answerable to itself.


Senior members of the Shia suspect the real reason behind U.S. reluctance to hand over the archives is that Americans don't want them to know the extent of U.S.-led spying on the Shiite politicians Iraqis risked their lives to vote into office.


The Interior Ministry's and the Defence Ministry's intelligence agencies are headed by Kurds - the one Iraqi community fully supporting the occupation.


The Mukhabarat is headed by Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, whose three sons were executed after a failed coup against Saddam Hussein in 1996. His deputy in charge of daily operations is also a Kurd.  Only 12 per cent of Mukhabarat officers are reportedly Shia.


Right after Saddam's ouster, the U.S.-led coalition took the top intelligence agents from each of the main opposition parties and trained them in how to turn raw intelligence into targets that could be used in operations, said an Iraqi intelligence expert who participated in the program.

The Iraqi official said the CIA recruited agents from SCIRI, Dawa, the two main Kurdish factions and two secular Arab parties: the Iraqi National Congress led by Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Accord led by Ayad Allawi, who later became the interim prime minister.



Welcome To Liberated, “Sovereign” Iraq!

U.S. Occupation Rushes Program To Build More Prisons:

“Prisons Were Filling Up Faster Than Cases Could Be Reviewed”


May 9 Bradley Graham, Washington Post Staff Writer


The number of prisoners held in U.S. military detention centers in Iraq has risen without interruption since autumn, filling the centers to capacity and prompting commanders to embark on an unanticipated prison expansion plan.


As U.S. and Iraqi forces battle an entrenched insurgency, the detainee population surpassed 11,350 last week, a nearly 20 percent jump since Iraq's Jan. 30 elections.


U.S. prisons now contain more than twice the number of people they did in early October, when aggressive raids began in a stepped-up effort to crush the insurgency before January's vote.  [U.S. prisons?  In sovereign Iraq?  How can such a thing be?]


Anticipating continued growth in the detainee population, U.S. commanders have decided to expand three existing facilities and open a fourth, at a total cost of about $50 million.


The steady influx of prisoners has also required additional U.S. military police officers to guard the detention centers.  Commanders had hoped to use the MPs to help train Iraqi police, but management of the detention centers has taken priority.


"We've got a normal capacity and a surge capacity," said Maj. Gen. William H. Brandenburg, who oversees U.S. military detention operations in Iraq.  "We're operating at surge capacity."


But Brandenburg acknowledged that the prisons were filling up faster than cases could be reviewed. "We're still getting more detainees in than we're getting rid of," he said.


To cope with the continuing influx, Brandenburg said Camp Bucca, which has eight compounds, is adding two, enough to accommodate about 1,400 additional prisoners.  Space for another 800 detainees is being built at Abu Ghraib.


Camp Cropper is also expanding, from a current capacity of about 120 prisoners to 2,000 by the end of this year.  U.S. authorities also plan to turn a Russian-built former Iraqi military barracks near the northern city of Sulaymaniyah into a prison for 2,000 inmates and call it Fort Suse.


After briefing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last month on the new construction plans, Brandenburg received word that the Pentagon had approved $12 million to finish the Camp Bucca expansion and $30 million to enlarge Camp Cropper.  Another $7.5 million had been authorized earlier to build Fort Suse  The additional capacity at Abu Ghraib will cost less than $1 million, Brandenburg said.






U.S. Seen As Unaccountable In Iraqi Civilian Deaths


[Thanks to JM, who sent this in.]


03 May 2005 By Alan Elsner, Reuters, Washington


Iraqi civilians who have suffered from U.S. military operations face steep obstacles in obtaining compensation for the deaths of their loved ones or material damage, human rights analysts say.


The United States allows Iraqis to seek compensation for material damage, death or injury, but claims must be due to a "non-combat situation" and prove wrongful action or negligence.


An investigation by the Dayton Daily News in October analyzed 4,611 civil claims in Iraq against the U.S. military and found that three out of four were denied.


The average payment for a civilian death was $4,421. In some cases, Iraqis received $2,500 sympathy payments without going through the claims procedure.


The claims process is "Kafkaesque" in complexity and designed to frustrate most Iraqis, said a joint report in early 2004 by Occupation Watch and the Defense of Human Rights in Iraq, two groups monitoring U.S. military operations.


The U.S. military's definition of a 'combat situation' is elastic and ephemeral, and because the rules of engagement are secret, it is difficult to understand what legal space exists for people to have their cases heard and receive compensation," the report said.







Uprising Against Occupation Shakes Jalalabad:

"Death To America"

"American Troops Don't Stay In Afghanistan Forever"


Protestors pelted a government office and the local television station with rocks and tore down posters of President Hamid Karzai.


May 11, 2005 by Stephen Graham & By MUSADEQ SADEQ, Associated Press, KABUL


Shouting "Death to America!" more than 1,000 demonstrators in Jalalabad rioted and threw stones at a U.S. military convoy Wednesday, as protests spread to four Afghan provinces over a report that interrogators desecrated Islam's holy book at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.


Many of the 520 inmates in Guantanamo are Pakistanis and Afghans captured after the Sept. 11 attacks.


Police fired on the protesters, many of them students, trying to stifle the biggest display of anti-American anger since the ouster of the ruling Taliban militia 3 1/2 years ago, killing four and injuring at least 71, including seven police officers.


Deputy provincial health chief Mohammed Ayub Shinwari said most of the injured were students.  He said two of the dead had been shot and many of the injured also had suffered bullet wounds.


Demonstrators smashed car and shop windows and attacked government offices, the Pakistani consulate and the offices of two U.N. agencies in Jalalabad.  Smoke billowed from the consulate and a U.N. building.  More than 50 foreign aid workers were reportedly evacuated.


Associated Press Television News footage showed Afghan troops firing dangerously low.


The U.S. troops fired into the air before quickly leaving the area in Jalalabad, near the Pakistan border, provincial intelligence chief Sardar Shah told The Associated Press.  It was the biggest outpouring of anti-American sentiment since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.


No foreigners were reported hurt and witnesses said police and government troops had restored order by early afternoon.


"There is a lot of damage to the city, they have burned a lot of things," Shah said.  


U.S. spokeswoman Lt. Cindy Moore said American forces in the area were ordered back to their camps, but she had no information on whether any of them were caught up in the unrest.


Four people were killed and 71 injured, according to the Interior Ministry.  It didn't give more details.


An Associated Press Television News cameraman said the crowds grew larger and wilder after the firing and the streets were deserted of traffic.


Protestors pelted a government office and the local television station with rocks and tore down posters of President Hamid Karzai.


Demonstrations began Tuesday, when protesters burned an effigy of President Bush over a report in Newsweek magazine that interrogators at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, placed Qurans on toilets to rattle suspects, and in at least one case "flushed a holy book down the toilet."


U.S. Charge d'Affaires Richard Christenson said the embassy was "deeply concerned" at the violence and said "disrespect toward the holy book of any religion is unacceptable."


The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, one of the largest aid [translation: occupation] organizations in the country, said staff at its Jalalabad office took refuge on the roof Wednesday as people stole, smashed or burned their equipment and torched two of their cars.


Murat Khan, Pakistan's deputy counselor, said the consulate building as well as his boss' residence were in flames.


People broke into two U.N. compounds and burned two cars, a U.N. spokeswoman said.


Deputy provincial health chief Mohammed Ayub Shinwari said most of the injured were students, adding that many of the injured also suffered gunshot wounds.


University and high school students held similar but peaceful protests in cities in neighboring Laghman province and Khost, and Wardak, further to the south.


Witnesses said students also demanded the release of all prisoners from Guantanamo, and that "American troops don't stay in Afghanistan forever," tricky issues likely to be discussed when Karzai meets Bush in Washington later this month.


The government of neighboring Pakistan - like Afghanistan, a conservative Muslim nation and close ally in Washington's war on terrorism - said Saturday it was "deeply dismayed" over the magazine report and called for an inquiry.


A coalition of hard-line Islamic parties in Pakistan said it will hold nationwide protests on Friday, the traditional day of prayer for Muslims.


An Afghan opposition leader claimed the demonstration reflected frustration at the role of the United States and Karzai's plans for military ties, which could include long-term U.S. bases.


"From the beginning, people have disagreed with these things, but when the government makes one announcement after another, people lose patience and explode," said former presidential candidate Mohammed Mohaqeq.


Afghan leaders have long complained of heavy-handed search operations and the deaths of civilians in U.S. operations.  They have also called for the release of those still held at Guantanamo, the naval base on Cuba where the United States is detaining more than 500 prisoners from its war on terror.


Some men who have been released from Guantanamo have accused their American jailers of defacing Qurans as part of the alleged psychological and physical abuse they endured during interrogation.


"They did everything to us - they tortured our bodies, they tortured our minds, they tortured our ideas and our religion," former prisoner Mohamed Khan told The Associated Press a year ago when he was among two dozen Afghans sent home.


Growing urban unrest could pose another security challenge for the U.S.-backed Afghan government, which is already battling a reinvigorated Taliban insurgency. About 18,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, fighting rebels and searching for Taliban and al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden.


President Hamid Karzai, who travels to Washington this month for talks with President Bush, played down the violence.


"It is not the anti-American sentiment, it is a protest over news of the desecration of the holy Quran," Karzai told reporters after talks with NATO officials in Brussels, Belgium.  [Gee, it’s good to know that “Death To America” and calls for the U.S. occupation troops to get out aren’t “anti-American sentiment.  Karzai is such a silly pathetic clown.]


Karzai said. "It also shows that Afghanistan's institutions, the police, the army, are not yet ready to handle protests and demonstrations."


Last weekend, Pakistan's government said it was "deeply dismayed" about the report and registered its disapproval to Washington. Many Afghans read Pakistani papers and understand Pakistani broadcasts; access to satellite TV has mushroomed since U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001.


"They take things like that (reported abuse of the Quran) and link it to the U.S. presence here," said Phil Halton of the Afghan NGO Security Organization.  "It's a familiar theme."  [Maybe that’s because it’s a familiar Imperial occupation.  The Afghans destroyed Russia’s attempt to occupy their country, and the Bush occupation will end the same way.  This uprising is only the beginning, but an important shift in the balance of forces.]


The unrest in Jalalabad began Tuesday, when protesters burned an effigy of Bush. It flared again Wednesday, when more than 1,000 university and high school students marched through the city and stoned a convoy of U.S. military vehicles.



U.S. Government Funding Afghan Resistance Movement:

“The Taliban Problem Is Back To Square One.”


In giving money to people like Rocketi and Mansoor, it is a sure bet that some of it made its way to the Taliban.  Similarly, by allowing warlords to grow poppy, some of their profits would filter through to the Taliban.


The logical result is the re-emergence of the Taliban - more monied, more resourceful and better organized.


[Thanks to Phil G. who sent this in.]


May 5, 2005 Asia Times Online, By Syed Saleem Shahzad, KARACHI


The US, content in the belief that all support systems for the Taliban had been withdrawn and their financial lifelines completely dried up - and with moderate Taliban being drawn into the mainstream political fold in Afghanistan - has been shocked by a new phase of fierce Taliban resistance this spring.


The visits of Lieutenant-General David Barno, commander of US troops in Afghanistan, and chief of US Central Command, General John Abizaid, to Islamabad and their insistence that Pakistan restart a powerful campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban is the result of a new realization that the Taliban problem is back to square one.


Not only are the Taliban primed in the latest techniques in guerrilla warfare, they have also got their hands on fresh resources - both in terms of personnel and supplies - which the US had believed were choked off.


Up until 2003, the US was appreciative of Pakistan's role in hunting down al-Qaeda, but dissatisfied with its efforts against the Taliban, complaining that Islamabad still sided with them.


However, when the US agreed to cultivate a Taliban force - on strong Pakistani recommendations and assistance - to support Hamid Karzai in the runup to last year's presidential elections, the US was satisfied that Pakistan had stopped supporting the Taliban, and hoped that the resistance would die a natural death in the absence of material support and safe sanctuaries.


And the US continued to broaden its base of influential former pro-Taliban commanders. A great success was Mullah Abdus Salam Rocketi, a powerful warlord who supported the Taliban during their rule, who sided with Karzai.  Rocketi was provided with huge funds to distribute among tribal chiefs in Zabul and Kandahar to buy their support to block Taliban activities in their areas during the presidential elections.


A similar deal was struck with veteran pro-Taliban commander Saifullah Mansoor (son of a legendary commander of the Afghan resistance against the Soviets, Nasrullah Mansoor).  He had previously carried out deadly actions against US troops in Shahikot, in which 18 US soldiers were killed, in early 2002.  Saifullah was paid a huge bribe to ensure that he would not interrupt the election process in Zarmat and Gardez.


At the same time, to gain support among Afghan warlords, the US and the Kabul administration turned a blind eye to the huge number of poppy fields in Afghanistan, from which the majority of the world's heroin is now produced.


However, in doing all of this, a major factor was ignored: the powerful tribal bonds of Afghan society.


In giving money to people like Rocketi and Mansoor, it is a sure bet that some of it made its way to the Taliban.  Similarly, by allowing warlords to grow poppy, some of their profits would filter through to the Taliban.


The logical result is the re-emergence of the Taliban - more monied, more resourceful and better organized.


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