GI SPECIAL 3B35:
Knowingly Issued Defective Body Armor To Marines In Combat
PB who sent this in.]
with the imminent publication of this story, the result
of an eight-month investigation by Marine Corps Times,
the Marine Corps on May 4 issued a Corpswide message
recalling 5,277 Interceptor vests from 11 lots that
failed government ballistic performance tests — slightly
more than half the total vests issued to Marines from
May 09, 2005 By Christian
Lowe, Army Times staff writer
Corps issued to nearly 10,000 troops body armor that
government experts urged the Corps to reject after tests
revealed critical, life-threatening flaws in the vests.
In all, the
Marine Corps accepted about 19,000 Interceptor outer
tactical vests from Point Blank Body Armor Inc. that failed
government tests due to “multiple complete penetrations” of
9mm pistol rounds, failing scores on other ballistic or
quality-assurance tests, or a combination of the two.
these are lifesaving pieces of equipment and are being used
in support of the Iraq war, I urge immediate action since
this technical office has little confidence in the
performance of the items to provide the contracted levels of
protection as defined in the performance specification,”
wrote ballistics expert James MacKiewicz in a memorandum
rejecting two lots of vests on July 19, 2004.
MacKiewicz is responsible for
verifying that each production lot of Marine vests meets
protective requirements and other quality standards. He
works at the Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass.,
and has 18 years of experience with ballistics and armor
A second government agency,
the Defense Contract Management Agency, backed his
conclusion and also recommended against the waivers.
according to documents obtained through the Freedom of
Information Act and interviews with officials at Natick, the
Marine Corps and Point Blank, the service rejected that
advice. Instead, the Marine program manager responsible for
fielding the vests, Lt. Col. Gabriel Patricio, and Point
Blank’s chief operating officer, Sandra Hatfield signed
waivers that allowed the Corps to buy and distribute vests
that failed to meet the Corps’ minimum standards and
with the imminent publication of this story, the result
of an eight-month investigation by Marine Corps Times,
the Marine Corps on May 4 issued a Corpswide message
recalling 5,277 Interceptor vests from 11 lots that
failed government ballistic performance tests — slightly
more than half the total vests issued to Marines from
has not said what it intends to do with the more than 4,000
other vests the testers urged to be rejected that are now
being worn by Marines. Nor has it said
what it will do with the remaining 10,000 that it accepted
over the objections of the test labs but which haven’t been
While each vest has a unique serial number on it, Point
Blank would not provide a list of serial numbers from the
lots Natick said should be rejected. Point Blank said that
information was “proprietary.”
Corps officials initially would not provide lot or serial
number data to Marine Corps Times; when Patricio was asked
in the May 3 interview if he could locate the vests and
recall them if ordered to do so, a Corps spokesman abruptly
ended the interview and hung up.
But a day later, the Marine Corps listed the serial numbers
that correspond to the 11 production lots in a Corpswide
message the service is calling a “precautionary recall.”
did not state how Marines could determine whether their vest
belongs to one of the nine other production lots that didn’t
pass muster at Natick.
faces serious challenges in even locating the vests it plans
to pull back. Because lot numbers, serial numbers and other
manufacturing data are handwritten on body armor labels, the
writing is sometimes smeared, faded or otherwise illegible.
The commander of Marine Corps
Systems Command, Brig. Gen. William Catto, refused to be
interviewed. But in a written statement, he acknowledged
that problem, saying “every effort will be made to locate
the waived vests, with the understanding that some may not
be detectable due to normal wear and tear or other reasons
associated with deployed conditions.”
also buys body armor from Point Blank, but service officials
said they have bought several versions of the Point Blank
vest and that they never accepted vests from lots that
Facing two upcoming
seven-month rotations of about 25,000 leathernecks to Iraq
and ongoing deployments to Afghanistan, field commanders
urged Systems Command to supply their units with vests,
command officials said.
“At this critical moment, are
we sure these are bad lots? Are these lots that we’re sure
we do not want to put into the fight? … That’s a judgment
call,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Reinwald, director of combat
equipment and support systems for Systems Command. Reinwald
was Patricio’s boss briefly after joining Systems Command in
“Had we had a lot of schedule
to play with, we might have slowed down. … The schedule was
bearing down on us.”
All vests stand some chance of
failing, but the vests issued to Marines from waivered lots
have a greater chance of being penetrated than vests that
met Natick’s test criteria, experts there said.
an increased risk of ballistic incident — statistically”
with these vests, said Bob Kinney,
director of the individual protection office at Natick.
Kinney has worked on individual protection equipment such as
chemical and biological defense suits and body armor at
Natick for more than two decades.
The ballistics experts at
Natick recommended against fielding any vests until they
could identify and resolve the larger issue behind the
vests’ declining quality.
“Based on ballistic test data
and previously identified quality assurance failures, I do
not recommend acceptance of these lots and do not recommend
acceptance of future lots until this issue is resolved,”
MacKiewicz wrote in an August 24, 2004, memo failing two
The memo is
one of many that MacKiewicz drafted from as early as January
2003, warning of poor ballistic test results and
recommending the Marine Corps solve the problem before
shipping any more vests to its troops.
It is unclear whether any
Marine casualties in Iraq have resulted from shrapnel or
bullets that have penetrated vests distributed from the lots
in question. A data sample from the Navy/Marine Corps
Combat Trauma Registry provided by the Marine Corps shows
that of 692 Marines wounded in Iraq between March 2004 and
January 2005, eight were struck on the vest, and only two
were penetrated: a fragment from a rocket-propelled grenade
and shrapnel from a roadside bomb.
One beneficiary of that
increased production: Point Blank Body Armor, a subsidiary
of New York-based DHB Industries, which has expanded
dramatically to meet the demand. In less than three months
in early 2004, the company opened two new manufacturing
plants in Florida, expanding its operations to meet the Army
and Marines’ demand for more than 1 million vests.
vest failures had come to light in mid-January 2003, as
officials with Point Blank notified Marine contract officers
of problems at their Oakland Park, Fla., test facility.
told Marine Corps Times the failures stemmed from improper
testing equipment at their ballistic lab. [Life in prison
for this lying piece of shit.]
Over the next year, Natick
officials assumed responsibility for testing vests from
Point Blank as they investigated why the original failures
2003, contract officers and testers discovered that multiple
vests from two other lots failed ballistic tests, this time
at the Aberdeen facility.
from lots 69-9 and 69-12 suffered multiple penetrations
of 9mm bullets at speeds below 1,525 feet per second.
When gauging performance of a vest against that contract
benchmark, testers expect that rounds will penetrate
half of the time.
Those penetrations were of
particular concern because previous tests yielded passing
results at an average velocity of 1,620 feet per second,
well above the contract benchmark, according to a document
written by Mike Codega, a technical representative at Natick
who worked with MacKiewicz on the Marine vest program.
Also a point of concern was the complete penetration of a
vest from lot 69-12. This one was below 1,450 feet per
second, a speed at which no vest penetration should occur.
“I recommended we do more
testing to validate or to confirm or to find out what
happened,” MacKiewicz said in an April 8 interview at
“And as I
continued to test, I got more failures … it continued, it
didn’t stop. Which is strange because we had had about four
years of experience where we had no problem whatsoever.”
further tests of lots 69-9 and 69-12, as well as four
additional lots, MacKiewicz and his colleagues noticed a
continued decline in the Point Blank armor’s ballistic
strength. Some of the vests were also showing deep
indentations — though not penetrations — at speeds that,
taken together with the full penetrations in earlier
lots and the fact that the indentations were deeper than
they should have been, prompted testers to raise a red
shouldn’t have happened … because it was a known system
for four years and the results were very high” during
previous tests on earlier lots, MacKiewicz said. “To get
results that low was very concerning — it was odd to
with the Point Blank vest design used by the Marine Corps
keep cropping up.
example, as part of the competition for an Army vest
contract late last year, that same model of Point Blank’s
Interceptor vest failed ballistic tests that simulate
shrapnel hits, according to Karl Masters, the lead engineer
for the Army’s Interceptor body armor program. That test — a
lower standard than for 9mm rounds — was conducted by H.P.
When asked in an interview
whether he suspected any material or manufacturing flaw in
the vests might be to blame for the rejections by government
testers, Patricio said only that “we had the manufacturers
involved in the process to the extent that the parties
communicated with each other and attempted to work through
the process” of addressing the failures.
[Double talk. Send this
asshole to Ramadi in one of his own bad vests. He might
find that an illuminating experience, assuming he doesn’t
get fragged first.]
official government waiver forms she signed asking for the
ballistic specifications to be reduced to meet the declining
test results, Point Blank’s Hatfield said she never
considered the problem to be one that stemmed from a
manufacturing or material flaw.
noted in a memo dated Feb. 2, 2004, that the urgent need for
body armor in the war zone and the time it would take to
find out for sure why the vests were failing outweighed his
concerns with the vests.
therefore would issue a “temporary waiver providing Marines
with OTVs of questionable performance,” promising that “if,
at a later date, the performance is shown to conclusively
not meet the government’s performance specification, then
the issue will be addressed at that time.”
waiver turned out to be anything but temporary. Over
the next year, Patricio went on to issue waivers for at
least 20 lots representing nearly 19,000 vests.
in the stated lots do not fully comply with the current
Marine Corps performance specification for the OTV and do
not meet existing contractual requirements,” Patricio wrote
in one waiver, accepting a shipment of nine lots — about
4,500 vests — that testers at Aberdeen rejected.
“The OTVs are needed by
deploying units that must receive them prior to deployment
in the very near future. I understand and accept the
increased risk posed by accepting the reduced protection
against the 9mm threat,” he wrote Nov. 24, 2004.
[He “accepts the increased
risk”? This murdering bureaucrat sits safely in DC. What
“risk” does he have, except not getting a fat job with a war
profiteer after he retires? The enemy isn’t in Iraq. This
is the enemy.]
Natick officials said they pleaded with Point Blank to
properly document and track the materials and manufacture of
the vests so they might pinpoint the problem. But they said
Point Blank could not deliver the information they needed.
The Marine Corps contract
included a premium of about $50 extra per vest to cover
additional quality assurance procedures at Point Blank,
MacKiewicz said. [So,
the war profiteer fucks up the vests, and gets paid extra
for doing it!!]
In a series of memos written
over the summer of 2004, in which MacKiewicz explained his
reasoning for rejecting certain lots delivered by Point
Blank, the testing expert detailed his concerns.
recommending the rejection of lot 71-12 on July 19,
MacKiewicz warned of “major quality assurance deficiencies”
at the company. He recommended “disciplinary action against
the contractor to resolve the issue.” [What a silly man.
Doesn’t he know if you manufacture shit that kills Marines,
you get a bonus?]
In a July 21 memorandum to
Patricio recommending the rejection of two more lots, 69-84
and 71-9, MacKiewicz wrote: “One of the significant factors,
which ultimately led to award a contract to Point Blank, was
their proposed quality assurance procedures for eliminating
defects and tracking materials. …
Point Blank is not compliant
with their manufacturing quality control proposal and their
contractual obligation for providing consistent product
performance and reliability.”
Hatfield said she was
forthcoming with whatever data contract officials requested,
but firmly rejected government officials’ claims that her
vests had any kind of material problem, putting the blame
squarely on the tests at Aberdeen.
[Right. Blame the tests.]
The Marine Corps fielded vests
from the failed lots through the end of 2004, documents and
interviews show, but stopped taking delivery of Point Blank
manufactured vests in early 2005. By then, the contract had
not been exhausted — at least 9,000 vests could still have
Neither the Marine Corps nor
the company would explain why more vests hadn’t been
purchased. But in late December 2004, the Army signed a
$190 million contract with Point Blank to purchase 360,000
vests through 2006. Point Blank was chosen over 11 other
bidders for the contract, the Pentagon said.
which equips its troops with different versions of the
Interceptor body armor system, has never accepted vests that
failed ballistic standards, and the service says it stands
by the manufacturer despite the Corps’ vest failures.
Army officials in charge of equipping soldiers
with body armor said in an interview that the service has
never issued a waiver for ballistic performance and not one
of the more than 680,000 vests fielded since 1998 is from a
failed production lot.
versions of the Point Blank vest, dubbed Pathfinder and
Pathfinder Plus, differ from the Marine Corps’ “Alpha”
package in the weight and number of Kevlar sheets that make
up the armor. To date, the Army has accepted nearly 500,000
vests from the company.
Nonetheless, Point Blank’s
stock has dropped precipitously this year. In early
January, the stock was riding at $17.86 before dropping
about 61 percent over the first four months of the year.
On May 3, the day before the
Corps announced its body armor recall, Point Blank parent
company DHB Industries announced it had named a new
The company tapped retired
Army Gen. Larry Ellis, who joined the company as a board
member last year after retiring from the service. He led
Army Forces Command in Atlanta, Ga., before retiring in
His appointment follows the
hiring of another former Army officer, retired Col. Ishmon
Burks, to be DHB’s executive vice president for investor and
The appointments could help to
address DHB’s flagging stock value and reputation.
TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER
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.
with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and
bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)
SOLDIERS KILLED IN BAGHDAD DRIVE-BY SHOOTING
May 19, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-05-23C
BAGHDAD, Iraq -
Two Task Force Baghdad
Soldiers died May 19 at approximately 5:40 p.m. from wounds
suffered when their convoy was fired upon in central
BAGHDAD SOLDIER KILLED IN IED ATTACK
May 19, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-05-22C
BAGHDAD, Iraq –
A Task Force Baghdad Soldier died May 19 at approximately
11:45 a.m. from wounds suffered when his convoy struck a
roadside bomb in southeast Baghdad.
The Soldier died en route to a
SOLDIER KILLED IN RAMADI
May 19, 2005 HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-05-24C
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq –
A Soldier assigned to the
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine
Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed May 18 during an
indirect fire attack on Forward Operating Base Ramadi.
The 2nd BCT is a U.S. Army
unit assigned to II MEF (Fwd)
Servicemen Injured After Explosion Of A Mine
19 May 2005 FOCUS News Agency,
servicemen were injured after explosion of a mine, set aside
the road, which connects Iraqi capital
Baghdad and the town of Hillah, announced RIA Novosti,
citing an announcement of the spokesman of the Polish
Defense Ministry Zdislav Gnatovskyy.
The mine exploded at the
passing of a vehicle of the Polish contingent. The two
injured servicemen were transported to the nearest hospital
with no danger for their lives.
May 19, 2005 By RYAN KARP, T-R
Miller, 37, of Dundee became a civilian casualty of the
insurgency in Iraq on May 12.
truck driver for KBR Services of Houston, Texas, died of
injuries from an explosion in Iraq, where
he had been working since February.
making an extra delivery that evening when he drove his
truck over a land mine that exploded, said his
brother-in-law, James Mullet of Sugarcreek.
There were several trucks in
Miller’s convoy, but his was the only vehicle that was hit.
sweepers that would sweep the road for mines, but
occasionally (insurgents) would go behind the sweepers and
plant them again,” Mullet said.
Miller’s family members said
they did not know where in Iraq he was working.
leaving for Iraq, Miller had been a long-distance truck
Co-workers of Miller will
leave Iraq to attend his funeral in Sugarcreek on Saturday.
And Resistance Troops Help Each Other Kill 10 Collaborators’
terrorists were firing at me. Why did the Americans
start doing this too?"
May 19, 2005 Associated Press,
lawmaker said 10 of his private guards were killed here on
Thursday during a 1-1/2 hour-long battle with insurgents and
Apache helicopter-backed U.S. forces, who he accused of
killing several of his aides.
National Assembly member Fawaz
al-Jarba, a Sunni, said a group of insurgents started
shooting at his house in the Falahi neighborhood eastern
Mosul around midday.
Al-Jarba told The Associated
Press that his personal security men returned fire, sparking
a clash that raised the attention of U.S. soldiers in the
"The firing was coming from
all directions and the Apaches were bombing," said al-Jarba,
a senior member of the Shammar tribe, one of the largest
tribes in the Gulf region.
terrorists were firing at me. Why did the Americans start
doing this too?" [Maybe because nobody likes traitors?]
recent candidate for parliament speaker, said several Apache
helicopters were flying over his home and one fired at it,
leaving a large hole in his ceiling.
Eight of his bodyguards were
killed during the initial battle and two died from their
wounds later Thursday in hospital, he said.
Hopes Marine Mends After Explosion
May 19, 2005 BY MICHELLE
BRADFORD, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.
Lance Cpl. Aaron P. Mankin
inhaled flames and debris when a land mine exploded in Iraq,
leaving his lungs permanently damaged. But the Rogers
Marine’s hearing and eyesight were spared during the May 11
blast, and his family has hope.
is on a ventilator in a military hospital alongside other
troops who’ve been burned in Iraq. He faces a long and
painful recovery, said Mankin’s father. "It will probably
take a year," said his father, Steve Mankin of Rogers.
"Aaron’s right-handed, and there’s a lot of damage to that
hand. We’re not sure if he’ll be able to keep it."
Aaron Mankin in serious but stable condition at
Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San
Mankin and 13 other Marines
were hurt when their armored vehicle hit a land mine in
northern Iraq. Two Marines died. Steve Mankin said his son
was part of Operation Matador, a week-long offensive to
track down insurgents near the Syrian border.
A military official asked for
Aaron Mankin on the mission because of his work as a combat
correspondent, his father said. Aaron Mankin is a
photographer and writer for the public affairs office at
Camp Fallujah. He’s assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary
The day of
the explosion, Marines in wider vehicles successfully
crossed a buried stack of land mines, Steve Mankin said.
The vehicle carrying Aaron Mankin’s group was too slim to
He was flown to Brooke Army
Medical Center from Germany on Friday. Steve and Tonya
Mankin flew to San Antonio this weekend.
Aaron Mankin has third-degree
burns on 15 percent of his body, primarily his face, hands
and arms. He’s undergone skin grafts. Damage is deep on
his forehead and cheeks, Steve Mankin said. His tongue and
the inside of his mouth are burned.
morning, doctors remove debris from his lungs. The threat
of pneumonia is high. "The doctor says his lungs are
damaged for life," Steve Mankin said. "We won’t know for a
while just how badly."
Mankins were in San Antonio, a Marine with lung burns died
at Brooke Medical Center. "His injuries were similar to
Aaron’s," Steve Mankin said.
Welcomes Injured Soldier:
Wish They Could All Come Home”
(May 19) By Jeff Inglis,
Editor, VillageSoup, SCARBOROUGH
month after being injured in a roadside explosion in Iraq,
Army Cpl. Jack Howland returned to Maine to spend two weeks
recuperating at home.
Howland, whose family is
almost entirely in Scarborough but whose parents live in
Porter, was the guest of honor Saturday at a surprise party
at the Clambake Restaurant on Pine Point Road in
More than 50 friends,
neighbors and relatives attended the gathering, including
Howland’s three living grandparents, Philip and Sue Bayley
and Gladys Howland.
There were four generations of
each side of the family to welcome Jack home, just 24 hours
after his delayed flight had landed in Portland.
Traveling with him was his
girlfriend, Teena Sphar of Midway, Ga., and Teena’s
daughter, Taylor. They had expected to arrive far earlier
in the day, but bad weather and airline schedules delayed
them for hours.
When the trio finally came
through the gate, family members were there with a banner,
and a crowd of strangers waiting for other loved ones let
out a huge cheer.
Howland, 23, had been in an
Army Humvee, protecting a convoy near Baghdad, when a
roadside bomb exploded, burning his eyes and lungs and
injuring another soldier in his vehicle.
He had spent four and a half
months in Iraq, and found himself airlifted to a U.S.
military hospital in Germany and then back to the States for
Howland’s eyes are now fine,
and his lungs have healed to about 60 percent of their
normal function. They are continuing to heal, and Howland
will return to Georgia for more medical treatment in a
uncle Dana Howland is the manager at the Clambake, and Jack
worked at the restaurant for seven years before entering the
Army three years ago. He is a member of the 94th
Maintenance Company, 87 Corps Support Battalion, stationed
at Fort Stewart, Ga., where he met Sphar.
The party grew as Jack’s
arrival neared, and when he walked into the room he was
totally surprised by the crowd.
“It’s a totally joyous
celebration for us. It could have been totally different,”
his mother said.
“I had no idea,” Jack said
with a grin, amid shaking hands and hugging friends and
grandmother Sue Bayley was glad to see her grandson – and
several other grandchildren who came to celebrate – but
still had her mind on Jack’s comrades in Iraq. “I just wish
they could all come home,” she said
Asshole Recruiters Tormenting Kids:
Leave Me Alone"
05/19/05 By Justin R. Kalmes,
Daily Telegram Staff Writer
17-year-old Adrian seniors
Spencer Allen and Amanda Kintner said they have both
encountered pushy recruiters.
They said recruiters have
remained persistent even after they expressed no interest in
try to get you to think about the Army" even if you tell
them you have other plans, Allen said.
leave me alone," Kintner said, noting she gets repeated
phone calls from recruiters even after she tells them she's
Anticipating Counter-Recruitment Protest, Seattle Recruiters
To Close Saturday
[Thanks to D, who sent this
May 19, 2005 By Joseph R.
Chenelly, Army Times staff writer
in metropolitan Seattle plan to close up shop Saturday in
anticipation of a protest march bound for their station.
The rare closing on a Saturday
will come a day after the nationwide stand-down ordered by
Army Recruiting Command in response to accusations that
recruiters cheated in order to enlist otherwise ineligible
individuals into the Army.
organizations across the country, including Youth Against
War and Racism (in Seattle), have made the call for actions
on May 20-21 to say ‘one day is not enough,’” a flier
promoting the protest reads.
Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery Due
said recruiting efforts will likely be ongoing elsewhere in
the city Saturday but not at the office.
And this is not the first time
protestors in Seattle have disrupted recruiting efforts.
In January, Due and Sgt. 1st
Class Douglas Washington were bombarded with water bottles
and other objects hurled by protestors with Students Against
War Group. The soldiers had to be escorted off the campus
of Seattle Central Community College.
spokesman told Army Times on Jan. 26 that the college
president was demanding an apology from the student group.
But the only time the recruiters heard from the group was
when they showed upon local television saying that they
Holds National ‘Stand Down’, NY City Activists ‘Stand Up’
WHEN: 5 —7
p.m. Friday, May 20th, 2005
Times Square Recruiting Center, 43rd & Broadway
Pink Camouflage, Images of War Casualties
May 20, 2005, NEW YORK
As the U.S.
Army Recruiting Command holds a nationwide "Army Values
Stand Down Day" on May 20, activists around the country will
protest military recruitment, what they see as abusive
recruiting tactics, and the occupation of Iraq.
York, antiwar and veterans’ groups will gather outside the
Times Square recruiting center, the largest walk-in military
recruiting center in the nation.
The "stand down" follows a
rash of complaints that recruiters are resorting to
unscrupulous tactics to enlist new soldiers, in particular a
Houston Army recruiter's threat to arrest a young man if he
didn't immediately report to the local Army recruiting
station, as reported by Houston's 11 News Defenders. The
Army says it will use the day to retrain its recruiters in
ethics and legal recruiting tactics.
But activists argue that no
amount of retraining can remove what they say is mounting
pressure on recruiters to find recruits at all costs, in the
face of the Army’s failure to meet its recruiting goals for
the third month in a row in April.
Dugan, a former Marine recruiter, now a student at Hunter
College and member of the Campus Antiwar Network, charges,
"The Army wants to retrain its recruiters not so that they
don't use adverse methods of recruiting, but so that the
recruiter is better at hiding the lies they tell."
Sponsors of the protest in New
York include the Campus Antiwar Network, Code Pink New York,
International Socialist Organization, Iraq Veterans Against
the War, No Draft No Way, Not in Our Name, NYC Chapter 034
Veterans for Peace, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
are also planned in other cities across the U.S. in what the
Campus Antiwar Network, Code Pink, American Friends Service
Committee, and other groups have called a "national day of
Elizabeth Wrigley-Field /
Campus Antiwar Network / firstname.lastname@example.org / (646)
Courtney Lee Adams / Code Pink
New York / email@example.com / 212. 920. 1344
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
Send requests to address up top.
New Recruiting Pitch:
ARMY AND GET RAPED;
PENTAGON DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT
11 May 2005 From: The Miles
The Pentagon released a report
last week which noted a twenty-five percent increase in the
number of sexual assault cases reported to military criminal
investigators between 2003 and 2004. Military criminal
organizations received 1,700 reports of sexual assault
including rape, nonconsensual sodomy, indecent assault and
attempts to commit sexual assault.
reported cases with service member victims rose 25 percent
over the number in 2003 and 41 percent over the number in
2002. In addition, 425 cases in which civilian victims were
assaulted by service members were noted for the first time.
The escalating numbers cannot
be explained by larger numbers of women serving in the US
Armed Forces, larger numbers of women being mobilized into
combat, or more victims coming forward to report to
authorities, or any combination of the above.
The Pentagon was mandated by
Congress within the Defense Authorization Act for 2005 to
develop policy directives relative to privacy and
confidentiality for victims, services for victims, training
and education among first responders and military personnel,
review of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and command
The Pentagon announced during
press conferences conducted in January and March the
development of directive type memorandums including a
Commander's Checklist, Reporting and Nonreporting Options
for Victims, Victim Services, Collateral Misconduct,
Training, and Administrative Separation.
directives have not addressed privacy and confidentiality
for victims who are not uniformed military personnel;
victims of domestic violence or stalking; and victim
advocates, civilian and military, who have been subpeonaed
and threatened with arrest while safeguarding the privacy
and confidentiality of clients.
Pentagon has not implemented a myriad of recommendations
developed by advocacy groups and task forces over the last
Some have suggested the
development of a task force or commission to review
implementation of the various policy directives and
recommendations from past commissions, panels and task
forces. To date, twenty- three commissions, reports,
reviews, and panels have been conducted on the issues
relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual
harassment over the last several decades.
note the task forces, panels and commissions have routinely
excluded survivors associated with the US Armed Forces.
the Department of Defense has failed to implement the Office
of the Victims' Advocate as appropriated by Congress in
2004. Congress authorized the
establishment of the Office as an independent entity at the
Secretary of Defense level in order to ensure timely and
appropriate victim services, networking among civilian and
military entities, and oversight and protections for victim
advocates within the military departments.
Strike Against Occupation In Ramadi:
21 May 2005 by Simon Assaf,
Issue 1952, socialistworker.co.uk
the city of Ramadi and neighbouring towns held a general
strike last weekend in a protest against a blockade by US
Sheikh Majeed al-Gaood, of the
Duleim tribe from Ramadi, spoke to Socialist Worker by
telephone from the Jordanian capital, Amman. He said that
on Friday 7 May, after US troops surrounded the city, “a
call came from the mosques for a general strike in Ramadi
and neighbouring towns. Schools, markets and offices shut
down in protest at the blockade”.
civilian and military resistance distributed leaflets
calling for the two-day strike,” he added.
Sheikh Majeed spoke on behalf
of the Patriotic Forces Rejecting the Occupation (Wahaj
The Sunni city of Ramadi, 70
miles west of Baghdad, is on a key junction along Highway
Ten, which links the Iraqi capital with Syria and Jordan.
Reports from the Iraqi
resistance say the US blockade started after an attack on US
troops patrolling the southern edges of Ramadi. Soldiers
imposed a curfew and launched raids arresting dozens of
to a report in the Iraqi daily al-Zamman, US soldiers drove
through Ramadi with loudspeakers urging people to break the
strike. But they were ignored.
no peace in Iraq,” the sheikh said. “The two-day strike is a
blow to those who claim that ordinary people do not support
military claims the town is a stronghold of “Baathist
remnants” and Al Qaida. But, according to Sheikh Majeed,
the resistance is local and organised by tribes and the
from being a centre of support for the Baathists, Ramadi
saw huge demonstrations against the Iraqi government in
1995. Over 2,000 locals were arrested and held without
trial by Saddam Hussein’s regime.
The city has continued its
tradition of resistance by opposing the US-led occupation.
In June 2003 residents demanded that US troops hand back the
mayor’s office which they had taken over.
The protest turned into a
full-scale revolt and the occupation forces have been
battling to regain control ever since.
Hospital employees at Ramadi
general hospital demonstrated after an overnight raid by US
troops on 27 April. The doctors said that troops blocked
access to the hospital and searched it for weapons after
clashes between them and resistance fighters.
banners read “Down with America” and “America — accept our
demand for freedom”.
Samir al-Obeidi, an
administrator at the hospital, told the Times that soldiers
“came after the curfew without prior notice. They started
searching all the wards, for men and women. Lots of people
were horrified. They didn’t know what was happening. They
kicked in any of the doors in the staff accommodation that
Sheikh Majeed al-Gaood told
Socialist Worker that the US broke an agreement with the
resistance not to raid hospitals.
The agreement, brokered by
religious leaders in the area, specified that neither the US
troops nor the resistance would set up positions in or near
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
Launches “Step On An Oppressors Flag” Campaign
19 May 2005 Francis Curta,
al-Sadr called on Muslims to paint US and Israeli flags at
the entrance to mosques for worshippers to step on in
protest at the alleged desecration of the Qur'an at the US
detention camp in Guantلnamo.
Several Shi'ite mosques in
Baghdad and the holy city of Najaf, where al-Sadr lives,
started painting the flags on Thursday, news agency AFP's
May 19, 2005
Associated Press & CNN & Reuters
Two Iraqi police officers were killed by a roadside bomb in
the town of Baqouba,
northeast of Baghdad.
oil Ministry employee Ali Hamid Alwan al-Dulaimy, 31, walked
out of his house toward his car when three men firing
pistols from a minivan killed him, his
brother, Ahmed Hamid Alwan al-Dulaimy, said in a telephone
shootings by gunmen in minivans with sliding doors have
become prevalent in Baghdad in recent weeks.
60 miles north of Baghdad, gunmen assassinated policeman
Omar Majeed Shakir al-Dosh and his father on Thursday,
said police Lt. Qassem Mohammed.
on Thursday, two Iraqi police were killed and two others
wounded -- a police officer and a civilian --
when a roadside bomb detonated near a police convoy in
front of the Diyala University Medicine School, police said.
soldier was killed and another nine were wounded in an
attack by a car-bomb in the Southern part of Baghdad.
The attack was performed against a patrol checkpoint of the
Iraqi police. A passerby was also wounded in the attack.
four Iraqi soldiers were captured.
northern town of Baiji, four soldiers from the Iraqi army
were captured at dawn.
Iskandariya, just south of Baghdad, another roadside bomb
attacked killed a policeman and wounded three,
DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
accept that the US Government intentionally lied about
weapons of mass destruction to take this nation to war in
Iraq, then you must accept that the US Government, by the
commission of that act, is no longer a legal government of
the people, but an illegal occupation serving private
The majority of Americans now
know that the US Government is criminal. They know that the
US Government has lied to start wars of conquest, and that
it has knowingly tortured innocent people because the lie
required it. The majority of Americans now know that the US
Government, unless stopped, will continue to do more of the
Great people know that freedom
is impossible under a government that lies because lies are
tools of enslavement, and that chains built of false beliefs
hold slaves tighter than chains made of steel.
cower before a government they know lies to them, bless the
face that lies to them, and ask for more. And now the world
watches to see if Americans are a great people, or just
slaves living under the delusion they are a free people.
Free men or
slaves. Time to choose. The whole world is watching.
Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of
That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to
abolish it, and to institute new Government.
What do you think?
Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are
especially welcome. Send to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Name, I.D., withheld on
request. Replies confidential.
“Eventually, It's Going To Bare Its Teeth And Bite”
May 07, 2005 Ed Naha,
Okay, granted, the public's
outrage over Bush's policies is only on "simmer," but it's
clear that the Republican Party is oblivious to it all.
is: you can smile every time you wallop your dog, giving it
mixed signals. But, eventually, the dog is going to ignore
the smile and just concentrate on the wallop. Eventually,
it's going to bare its teeth and bite.
So, to all
those in the bubble known as D.C..
Time for a
reality check, please.
dog known as “the people” ignores the smile and bites you on
Galloway Goes to Washington
American Soldiers Sent To Their Deaths On A Pack Of Lies”
look at the $800 million you gave to American military
commanders to hand out around the country without even
counting it or weighing it.
05/17/05 By John Nichols, The
Coleman is a fool.
ideological nut case, not a partisan whack, not even a
useful idiot -- just a plain old-fashioned, drool-on-his-tie
The Minnesota Republican
senator who took Paul Wellstone's seat after one of the most
disreputable campaigns in American political history has
been trying over the past year to make a name for himself by
blowing the controversy surrounding the United Nations
Oil-for-Food program into something more than the chronicle
of corporate abuse that it is.
The US media, which thrives on
official sound bites, was more than willing to lend credence
to Coleman's overblown claims about wrongdoing in the UN
program set up in 1996 to permit Iraq -- which was then
under strict international sanctions -- to buy food,
medicine and humanitarian supplies with the revenues from
regulated oil sales.
Coleman's claims became more and more fantastic, he faced
few challenges from the cowering Democrats in Congress.
But when Coleman started
slandering foreign politicians, he exposed the dramatic
vulnerability of his claims that the supposed scandal was
much more than a blatant example of US corporations taking
advantage of their powerful connections in Washington to
undermine official US policy, harm the national interest and
profit off the suffering of the poor.
investigation that Coleman sought regarding the Oil for Food
program has already revealed that the Bush Administration
failed to crack down on widespread abuse of the Oil for Food
program by US energy companies, and that US oil purchases
accounted for the majority of the kickbacks paid to Saddam
Hussein's regime in return for sales of inexpensive oil.
Indeed, the report concludes,
"The United States (government) was not only aware of Iraqi
oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk
of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from
circumventing UN sanctions. On occasion, the United States
actually facilitated the illicit oil sales."
forcing the President, his aides and the executives of
Bayoil, the Texas oil company that the report shows paid "at
least $37 million in illegal surcharges to the Hussein
regime" -- money that helped the Iraqi dictator solidify his
grip on power -- Coleman started to make wild charges about
European officials such as British parliamentarian George
The problem for Coleman is
that Galloway is not a standard-issue American politician --
the kind who has nothing to say and says it poorly. He is a
veteran of the rough-and-tumble politics of Glasgow and the
equally rough-and-tumble politics of the British Parliament.
Galloway called Coleman's
bluff and flew to Washington for a remarkable appearance
before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
"I am determined now that I am here, to be not the accused
but the accuser," Galloway announced as he stood outside the
Capitol Tuesday. "These people are involved in the mother of
The member of Parliament tore
through Coleman's flimsy "evidence," issuing an unequivocal
denial that began, "Mr. Chairman, I am not now, nor have I
ever been an oil trader, and neither has anyone been on my
behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought
one, sold one, and neither has anybody on my behalf." He
accused Coleman of being "remarkably cavalier with any idea
of justice" and pointed out error after error in the report
the senator had brandished against him.
instance, Galloway noted that he had met Saddam twice -- not
the "many" times alleged by the report. "As a matter of fact
I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times
that Donald Rumsfeld met him," said the recently re-elected
British parliamentarian. "The difference is that Donald
Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns."
For good measure, Galloway
used the forum Coleman had foolishly provided to deliver a
blistering condemnation of Coleman's war.
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart
and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my
political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of
Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million
Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they
even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other
reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune
to born at that time.
“I gave my
heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you
did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your
case for the war was a pack of lies," Galloway informed the
fool on Capitol Hill.
"I told the world that Iraq,
contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass
destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims,
that Iraq had no connection to Al Qaeda. I told the world,
contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the
atrocity on 9/11, 2001.
“I told the
world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would
resist a British and American invasion of their country and
that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the
end but merely the end of the beginning.
in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right
and you turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people paid with
their lives; 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their
deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of
them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
"If the world had listened to
Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had
listened to President Chirac, who you want to paint as some
kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and
the antiwar movement in Britain, we would not be in the
disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother
of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention
from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of
billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth," argued Galloway.
Brit turned the tables on Coleman and steered the
committee's attention toward "the real Oil for Food
look at the fourteen months you were in charge of Baghdad,
the first fourteen months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth
went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and
other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money
but the money of the American taxpayer," Galloway said.
"Have a look at the oil that
you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the
country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows
look at the $800 million you gave to American military
commanders to hand out around the country without even
counting it or weighing it.
“Have a look at the real
scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the
earlier testimony in this committee. “That the biggest
sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or
French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own
companies with the connivance of your own Government."
Indeed. They Saved Our Lives”
There is an aspect to the
infamous "kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein's regime in
return for sales of inexpensive oil" that so few seem to
click to at all.
You see, "Saddam Hussein's
regime", for better or worse, happened to be the then
current government of Iraq.
The people of Iraq needed the
government, as any people in a civilized society today do,
to provide the services that governments and only
governments can, i.e. security, civic services, public
transport, education, ...etc. You name it.
How can the people continue to
live under those unprecedented sanctions and strictest
embargo for 13 years if the government cannot get some
income to import and supply some of the basic requirements
for the said services and for its own machinery to keep
ticking over at a minimum?
If the government could not
get some income on the side, the food ration distribution
system would have collapsed. Local agriculture that
supplied a major portion of the peoples' food needs could
not have survived without government subsidized fertilizers,
agri-chemicals, and machinery. Famine would have been
leave Saddam aside for a moment. Iraq is not Saddam. Iraq
is a country. There are millions in that country who wanted
The sanctions, whatever the
causes and justifications, were designed to cripple the
country in every respect, and in actual fact, to make the
invasion and occupation eventually possible.
Iraqi people, whether in official capacities or privately,
naturally did all they could to circumvent the evil
sanctions. Everyone did what he could if he could. It was
the call of the day. Saddam is simply a distraction here.
He's not the issue.
sanctions led to deaths of people, exceeding a million
in fact. That's a much higher figure than anything
alleged against Saddam. So let's be fair here. Who was
the greater criminal by far?
A million plus is the scale of
deaths attributable to the sanctions, not to count other
deprivations and deteriorations of the quality of life for
those that remained somehow living.
calamity of this scale did not happen during the era of
Satan Hussein before the sanctions, then there is every
reason to presume that if more "kickbacks" were achieved,
more Iraqis would have been actually saved.
It's simply sickening.
Who had the
welfare of the Iraqis in mind?
devised the sanctions and followed their execution with the
the criminals, not those who paid, or even those who got
paid. All those involved in "kickbacks" for whatever
personal reasons, shady or altruistic, actually averted
genocide and saved a people from impending extinction.
indeed. They saved our lives.
Reporters Spew Puke
May 10, 2005 By Ted Rall
YORK--If you read newspapers, listen to the radio or watch
television, you know that the media has assigned Muqtada
al-Sadr a peculiar job title: radical cleric.
"Gunmen fired on supporters of
the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Friday,"
reports the Associated Press wire service. National Public
Radio routinely refers to "radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr."
"The protesters were largely supporters of radical Shiite
cleric Muqtada al-Sadr," says CNN. Even Agence France-Press
refers to him the same way: "Followers of a radical Shiite
cleric marched in Baghdad."
Does he answer his phone with a chipper "Muqtada al-Sadr,
radical cleric!"? Does it say "radical cleric" on his
It's a safe
bet that neither al-Sadr nor his Iraqi supporters considers
him particularly "radical."
And, if you
stop to think about it, there's nothing inherently extreme
about wanting foreign troops to leave your country.
Radical is a highly subjective
word that gets thrown around without much reflection.
radical, invading another nation without a good excuse or
trying to stop someone from doing so? But that's the
problem: the media has become so accustomed to absorbing and
regurgitating official government propaganda that they never
stop to think.
Google News search of the terms "Muqtada al-Sadr" and
"radical cleric" brought up 616 news and opinion
stories, the latter derived from the former.
the prime minister's obvious status as an
American-appointed puppet, "Iyad Allawi" and
"collaborationist" yielded zero results.
The message is clear: al-Sadr,
and by extension Iraqis who oppose the U.S. occupation, are
marginal wackos. Those who support it are referred to by
questionable legitimatizing honorifics--prime minister, in
Allawi's case--because the U.S. government called a press
conference to announce him as such.
Repetition is key to
successful advertising. The American media uses repeated
arbitrary labeling in its supposedly impartial coverage in a
deliberate campaign to alter public perception.
were meant to feel less sympathy for an kidnapped Italian
woman shot by U.S. soldiers manning a checkpoint in Iraq
after the talking heads repeatedly referred to her as a
A Fox News
reporter in the same story would never have been dubbed a
"neofascist journalist." John McCain (R-AZ) might become
president someday but "maverick senator John McCain"
Labeling bias works to
marginalize political outsiders while powerful elites
receive their full honorifics. Howard Dean was antiwar
firebrand Howard Dean but George W. Bush was never referred
to as pro-war crusader George W. Bush.
calls the founder of the Moral Majority "the Reverend Jerry
Falwell," not "radical cleric Jerry Falwell."
Even the word "cleric" implies foreignness to a
xenophobic public; American religious leaders are the more
familiar "ministers" rather than clerics.
Instead of telling readers and
viewers what to think with cheesy labels, why not let public
figures' quotes and actions speak for themselves? Besides,
well-known players like al-Sadr and Falwell don't require an
Loaded labels are commonly
used to influence the public's feelings about groups of
people as well as individuals. Under Ronald Reagan the
Afghan mujahedeen, who received CIA funding and weapons that
they used to fight Soviet occupation forces, were called
"freedom fighters." Iraqis who take up arms against U.S.
occupation troops, on the other hand, are called
"insurgents," a word that implies rebellion for its own
the same term used by the New York Times and other
mainstream media to refer to anti-U.S. fighters in Vietnam
during the 1960s. Only later, when the Vietnam War became
unpopular, did American newspapers begin calling the former
"insurgents" members of an infinitely more
home hits hardest. I too have been victimized by the
idiotic practice of repeat labeling. "Controversial
cartoonist Ted Rall" garners no fewer than 58 hits on
Google. Care to guess the results for "patriotic cartoonist
one. Ramadi, Samarra, etc. are always “restive Ramadi,”
“restive Samarra,” blahblah, as if a whole city could toss,
turn and wiggle around. Another idiocy is the constant
reference to resistance fighters as “gunmen,” as if there
were no women fighting back with arms against the
occupation. But then “gunpersons” would just illustrate how
silly the term is to begin with.
news: every day we’re a bit closer to reporting on “U.S.
Imperial die-hards” and “remnants” being rounded up in
Washington DC. Our troops will help with that. A whole lot
of doors there badly need kicking in. T]
Z, who sent this in.]
5/19/05 The Capital,
of Right Thought of the Department of Homeland Security has
issued today the following revision of the Ten Commandments,
to be effective immediately:
I. Thou shalt worship the
wealthy and the powerful for they are thy Lord and Savior.
II. Thou shalt not think for
thyself nor permit such a deadly sin in another.
III. Thou shalt not agitate
against the System for it is Supreme, benevolent, and
IV. Remember to work
faithfully and humbly 24/7 to multiply thy Masters’ profits.
V. Honor thy Father who reigns
in and for the Capital.
VI. Thou shalt kill and die
only at the command of thy Masters.
VII. Thou shalt not question
thy Masters’ ethics for they are made in Heaven.
VIII. Thou shalt joyfully
permit thy Masters to appropriate the fruit of thy labor.
IX. Thou shalt believe
official pronouncements for they are the Holy Writ.
X. Thou shalt happily
sacrifice thyself to fructify thy Masters’ noble global
Warning: Anyone violating the
new Commandments is liable to be clamped into irons,
transported to Devil’s Island (popularly known as Gitmo,
Cuba), and flushed into oblivion.
Capitalism At Work:
at it another way, the Center on Budget and Policy
Priorities, another often written-off liberal think
tank, published a report last month that in the last
three years, the share of US national income that goes
toward corporate profits is at its highest levels since
World War II, while the share of national income that
goes to wages and salaries is at a record low.
May 18, 2005 By Derrick Z.
Jackson, Boston Globe
STUNNING to see the Wall Street Journal and The New York
Times simultaneously devote a series to the American class
reported last Friday, ''Despite the widespread belief that
the US remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists
and sociologists say that in recent decades the typical
child starting out in poverty in continental Europe or in
Canada has had a better chance at prosperity."
In an echo, the Times wrote
virtually the same thing, adding that in America, a child's
economic background is a better predictor of school
performance than in Denmark, the Netherlands, or France.
that could be said was that class mobility in the United
States is ''not as low as in developing countries like
Brazil, where escape from poverty is so difficult that the
lower class is all but frozen in place."
This is what we have come to? Comparisons to developing
Another odd thing about the
series is that the mainstays of the mainstream press are
making a big deal out of the divide after years in which
many economists warned that our policies were plunging us
straight toward Brazil. For years, groups like the
Boston-based United for a Fair Economy and the Institute for
Policy Studies sent up smoke signals that should have been a
the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 43 to 1. By 1992, it
was 145 to 1. By 1997, it was 326 to 1.
By 2000, it
hit a sky-high 531 to 1.
it another way, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
another often written-off liberal think tank, published a
report last month that in the last three years, the share of
US national income that goes toward corporate profits is at
its highest levels since World War II, while the share of
national income that goes to wages and salaries is at a
This completes a perfect storm
over the last quarter century of corporate welfare for those
with the most among us and vilification for those with the
It is obvious that Americans
believed that none of the inequalities long endured by the
poor (because it's all their fault, right?) would seep into
our lives. We were wrong. With suburban schools slashing
their budgets, healthcare costs rising, retirement funds in
doubt, and the next generation facing a drop in their life
span from obesity and diabetes, the nation is sliding into a
A quarter century of a ''mine,
all mine" ethos continues to work for CEOs and the upper
class. The rest of America finds the ladder taller and
steepening. Much of the nation is now one catastrophic
injury away from falling into poverty.
It is no
wonder why politicians who protect the wealthy scream
''class warfare" every time someone talks about inequity.
It is a diversion to keep those who vote against their own
interests from realizing they are victims of friendly fire.
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