GI Special:



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“Pick Up A Gun And Join The Troops Or Pick Up A Sign And Call For The Troops To Come Home!” Soldier Says


By Phil Wilayto, The Richmond Observer, 3.05


He’s easily Richmond’s most famous war protester.


Larry Syverson, 51, is an environmental engineer with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.


And with four Sons who have served in the military, two of them in Iraq, he figures he’s got a right to protest.


Brandon, 33, now stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., spent a year in Iraq with the 4th Infantry. Bryce, 26, now in Baumholden, Germany, was in Baghdad for 15 months.


When both sons were rotated out, Syverson trimmed his vigil schedule to just Fridays. But he didn’t want to stop altogether, he said.


“Back in May, when President Bush said the war was over, people pretty much forgot about it,” he said.  “I don’t want to be one of those people who are only concerned when their sons are there, so I kept going on Fridays.  Now I do it for all the soldiers still over there.”


Those soldiers may soon once again include his own sons.  Last month, both Brandon and Bryce were told they would likely be returning to Iraq


“First I protested to keep my sons from going, then to get them home, and now I’m doing it to keep them from going back,” he said.


Standing with his sign at the same public spot at the same time for nearly two years has given Syverson a unique opportunity to gauge the evolving local sentiment about the war.


Making a point of making eye contact with each person who drives by, Syverson said there were always some who expressed support for his effort.


In the beginning, he said, the majority were African-Americans.


There were also plenty of opponents.  In fact, he said, at that time no one in an SUV or a minivan ever showed any support for him.  And no construction workers or people in cars displaying U.S. flags.


“I can’t count the number of people who honked and then gave me the finger,” Syverson said.


He came, up with a novel solution to that problem:


“I got a sign that said ‘Honk for Peace.’  That was the end of the honking.  People would get stuck in traffic, but no one would honk.”


The worst times, he said, were in May of 2003, when President Bush declared the war was over.


“People were yelling, ‘Go home the war is over!’ and ‘Get a job!’ and they’d give me the finger,” he said.  “I don’t know why they thought I didn’t have a job. I’ve been with the state for 15 years.”


Syverson said he’d call back, “So if the war is over, bring the troops home!”


Then, in November of 2003, two U.S. helicopters were shot down.  Things began to change.


“There was a shift against the war,” Syverson said.  “Soccer moms, seniors, construction workers in their 30s and 40s — so many people were honking their horns in support that finally one federal worker came out and said, ‘Look, I know you have the right to free speech, but could you just once in awhile go down to the middle of the block and give us a little break?”


Syverson hasn’t always been alone in his vigil.  Other Richmonders who oppose the war have joined him, he said.  But so far, none of them have had sons or daughters in Iraq.


So how do his sons feel about his antiwar activities?


“I’ve sent them the news articles and we talk about it,” he said.  “And they say that other soldiers and even superior officers come up to them and ask, was that your father?


“Brandon says he tells people that I have more right to speak out than anyone, with two sons in Iraq.


“And Bryce says, ‘You tell anyone who gives you a hard time that they should either pick up a gun and join the troops or pick up a sign and call for the troops to come home!”


If you’d like to invite Larry Syverson to speak to your organization or at your school; union or house of worship, you can call him at (804) 745-8279.


Or, just drop by the Federal Building at 10th and Main any Friday from noon to 1 p.m.


He’ll be there.


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.






Task Force Liberty Soldier Killed By IED


Jun. 05, 2005 American Forces Press Service


A Task Force Liberty soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near a vehicle patrol in Iraq's Kirkuk province at about 4 p.m. today, military officials in Baghdad reported.


The soldier was taken to a coalition medical facility, but died there, officials said.



Roadside Bomb Wounds 10 Oregon National Guards


June 5, 2005 The Associated Press


SALEM - Ten Oregon National Guard soldiers were wounded, two seriously, including one from Springfield, in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq, Oregon military officials said Saturday.


Two soldiers were evacuated to Germany for treatment, while the other eight were returned to duty, said Oregon National Guard spokesman Capt. Mike Braibish.


He said the incident happened at about 4:20 a.m. Friday Iraq time, when members of Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry were on a road-clearing mission near Kirkuk.


The first bomb disabled the first of three vehicles in the convoy.  When the others came to provide security, another bomb went off, Braibish said.


He identified those injured as Sgt. Johan ``Christian'' Bagge of Springfield, who suffered two broken legs, and 2nd Lt. Timothy Bomke of Portland, who suffered shrapnel wounds to both legs.


Both were evacuated to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.


“What's unique about this particular incident is that there were 10 soldiers wounded,'' said Braibish.  “There were two separate blasts. It's not an uncommon tactic for the insurgents to use - but it's one we haven't seen so commonly with our Oregon soldiers,'' he said.


The blasts, said Braibish, were violent enough to pick up the armored Humvees and throw them into the air.


Alpha Company is based in Ontario.  The Battalion is based in La Grande.


National Guard records available Saturday did not contain information about Bagge's age or occupation, spokeswoman Kay Fristad said.


The records indicate that Bagge is single and has no children.  His parents live in another state and he has one brother, Fristad said.


No other medical information was available Saturday; however, Fristad said that Bagge's injuries are "severe" and that he was undergoing surgery in Germany.



Command Sends Troops On Another  Silly Stupid Risky Snipe Hunt

U.S. Army soldiers south of Baghdad, Iraq where they believed a top leader of the insurgency and close associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was hiding, June 5, 2005.  The insurgent leader was not found.  (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)



Operation Lightning:

Theatre Of The Absurd;

Collaborator Troops Skilled At Search And Evade


June 5, 2005 (AP)


Hundreds of Iraqi and U.S. troops searched fields and farms yesterday for insurgents and their hideouts in an area south of Baghdad known for attacks.


While Iraqi forces were in the forefront of yesterday’s sweep though the semi-rural region, it was clear the U.S. military was still the driving force.


About two hours into the operation, for example, U.S. forces voiced concern that an area covered in tall grass had not been searched.


An Iraqi commander said he was reluctant to send his troops into the field out of fear of an insurgent attack.


"This is a dangerous area. We need helicopters and the American army," Iraqi Brig. Gen. Najim al-Ekabi said.


The U.S. soldiers, who had spent months training Iraqi soldiers, tried to persuade al-Ekabi to send his troops, saying it was likely that weapons were hidden in the fields and alongside an irrigation canal.


Army Capt. Jason Blindauer of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division told al-Ekabi the force had orders to search the area.


"No one is going to do it better than your group," Blindauer said.


Al-Ekabi asked for a private meeting with the Americans and departed shortly afterward in a large convoy, ostensibly to conduct the search.


Maj. Ronny Echelberger later went into the area with U.S. forces and searched a few homes, saying he was not been sure the Iraqi search had been sufficiently thorough.


The Iraqi army’s reliance on U.S. troops was evident in other ways.  Echelberger had to show an Iraqi brigade commander his location on a map shortly before Iraqi troops launched the operation, and a few minutes later Iraqi soldiers fired hundreds of rounds when they mistakenly thought they saw an insurgent.


There were also some claims that "soldiers took advantage and helped themselves to cash and other items. One doesn't rule it out. I think the army needs more disciplinary measures in these cases," Laith Kuba, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, said.


Operation Lightning is being watched closely as a bellwether of when Iraqis can take control of their own security, a key to the U.S. exit strategy more than two years after Saddam Hussein’s ouster.  [So much for that.]




“Operation Lightning” Fizzles


June 05, 2005 Juan Cole, Informed Comment & 6.6.05 WagNews


Lt. Col. Mazhar al-Mawla criticized Operation Lightning from another point of view.  He said that there was still poor coordination between the ministries of interior and defense.


He also confirmed that no foreign Arab fighters had so far been arrested in the sweep of select Baghdad neighborhoods.


He said the operation might be extended, since so far it has not produced the hoped-for results.  He said the major successes have been finding and destroying some workshops in Doura and elsewhere used for the construction of car bombs. (Since any garage can function as such a workshop, this achievement is a fleeting one.)


As soon as Lightning was announced in a blaze of publicity last week, there were doubts about whether 40,000 Iraqis could actually be mobilized.


Now media personnel who have toured Baghdad said they did not see a significant number of personnel or checkpoints.



Military “Intelligence” Strikes Again:

Only 21,784,952 Iraqis Left Unexamined

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Todd Sullivan, Brattleboro, Vermont inspects the hands of Iraqi men for tattoos that he thinks will identify insurgents.  [That “he thinks”?  Or that some idiot in command told him?  Give the Sgt. credit for having a brain!]  (AP Photo / Jacob Silberberg)








There's A 5 Minute Preview Of The Film Up At Www.Sirnosir.Com.  Scroll down to “enter site” to catch it.


From: David Zeiger

To: GI Special

Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2005 2:12 AM

Subject: Re: GI Special 3B50: Sir! No Sir!


One small correction (my fault)--the June 23 screening is at 5, not 5:50.


David Zeiger

Displaced Films

3421 Fernwood Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90039






Please Join Us For The World Premiere Of

Sir! No Sir!

At The Los Angeles Independent Film Festival

Sunday, June 19, 7 PM

Directors Guild Theater

7920 Sunset Blvd

Second Screening Thursday, June 23, 5:00 PM

Tickets At Http://Www.Lafilmfest.Com

Info At Http://Www.Sirnosir.Com



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)



Jane Fonda Says:

Help The GI Resistance Now;

“As Antiwar As Ever”


[Thanks to Lou Plummer & D, who both sent this in.  And so much for the bullshit about how Fonda wasn’t antiwar anymore.  T]


"By the way, it's happening today with the Iraq veterans," Fonda added.  "For example at the second invasion of Iraq, at Fort Bragg, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, there was the largest (antiwar) rally since 1970, which I was at.  This time, all the speeches were made by returned American veterans of the Iraq war, and families and parents.  It's an example of what's happening now within the military in Iraq.  They're not getting the kind of help that they need."


"I think this is the scariest time I've ever lived through.  It's a dying beast, and they're always the scariest and most dangerous.  Just below the crust of the surface there is a volcano ready to erupt.  It's our job to create critical mass and ignite it.”


June 4, 2005 By Ed Rampell, Alternet.org.  Ed Rampell is an L.A.-based film critic and freelancer.  His latest book, "Progressive Hollywood, A People's Film History of the United States," was published by DisInfo in May.


Jane Fonda, whose trips to north Vietnam during that war propelled her onto the world stage, has returned to public life with her autobiography, My Life So Far, and the release of Monster-in-Law, her first feature film in 15 years.


At a special Hollywood double feature of two suppressed documentaries, the feisty two-time Academy Award winner also showed herself to be as antiwar as ever.


The rare screening at the Directors Guild of America's theaters last month was only the third projection of the restored print of FTA (Fuck The Army). Fonda told the overflowing crowd: "I haven't seen FTA on the big screen in thirty-some years."


The 90-minute documentary, made in 1972, chronicles the tour of antiwar entertainers to venues near U.S. bases around the Pacific Rim, where they agitated against the Vietnam War and military policies.  The FTA troupe included Fonda, actor Donald Sutherland, singer Holly Near, comic Paul Mooney, Peter Boyle of TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond" and singer/songwriter Country Joe McDonald.


David O. Russell, director of Three Kings (1999) and Soldiers Pay, the other doc on the double bill, declared: "I was shocked by the intensity of FTA, and the fact that all these soldiers were going to this, and by the boldness.  It's about a very spirited pinnacle of the counterculture."


Vietnam veteran Oliver Stone, director of the '80s films Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, called FTA "The highest form of free _expression we've seen in America in a long, long time."


G.I. Resistance


FTA grew largely out of the G.I. resistance movement to the Vietnam war, as well as the classism, racism and sexism perpetrated by the military brass against soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen and women.  The shows consisted of songs and skits, often with a comic panache, always with an anti-militaristic thrust and sometimes with a feminist consciousness.  


A counterpoint to Bob Hope's pro-war USO tours, the FTA pro-peace troupers performed in Hawaii, the Philippines and Japan, but were refused entry to south Vietnam.  The overseas audiences for what Fonda called FTA's "political vaudeville" was composed mainly of 64,000 disaffected servicemen and women.


"There were great reviews of the film made from that tour," said Stone.  "And it played exactly for a week in the United States."  According to Stone, FTA's director, Francine Parker, said "calls were made from high up in Washington, possibly from the Nixon White House, and the film was just disappeared."


Following the screenings Stone moderated a panel discussion with Fonda, Parker and Russell.  


Commenting on FTA's removal from distribution, Fonda said, "I must say, looking at it now, it's no wonder.  Think of all the propaganda that those of us who opposed the war were 'anti-troops.'  When you see thousands of guys and women with their fists in the air who were active duty military personnel, it's a different slant.  Now, in the context of Iraq, it's very -- what's the word?  Subversive."


"By the way, it's happening today with the Iraq veterans," Fonda added.  "For example at the second invasion of Iraq, at Fort Bragg, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, there was the largest (antiwar) rally since 1970, which I was at.  


This time, all the speeches were made by returned American veterans of the Iraq war, and families and parents.  It's an example of what's happening now within the military in Iraq.  They're not getting the kind of help that they need."


Fonda denounced "the cutback of hundreds of millions of dollars to the VA administration the day after the troops were sent to Iraq to invade, just after the 'Support Our Troops' resolution.  Reach out to military families because they're living it, and give support to them," she encouraged the audience.


Stone asked: "Is it possible for what you call the Iraq protest movement in the military to ever get recognized publicly?"  Fonda replied to applause from the audience: "Well, we have to make sure that it is.  Yes, I think so.  The movement is definitely growing."


In today's military, Fonda said, "Classism is the biggie right now, because there's no draft, and that's not fair.  You're only getting the poor kids."  Perhaps in jest, the actress urged Russell to tour the country with Soldiers Pay, and Russell said he'd do it if she'd come.  Always game, Fonda responded, "I will!" and the audience applauded.


War Revisionism


Stone asked Fonda how America had changed since 1971.  "We never came to terms with the war," she replied.  "Revisionism set in and Americans were made to believe that we could have won the war, if it hadn't been for the antiwar movement and so-called 'liberal media.'  That was during the Reagan administration and it was very handy for the first Bush administration when we went into the Gulf War.


"Remember what happened? 'Oh, if you're against this war you're going to be a traitor like those people back in the sixties and seventies.'  People got scared because they didn't know what the truth was.  That's continuing today.  Of course, this administration is just totally brilliant at playing on our fears.  With the invasion of Iraq, it was raised to an art form. You know, 'you're either with us or against us.'  If you speak out against the war you're a terrorist," Fonda said.


On a more upbeat note she mused, "Today, Nixon and Reagan are looking mighty good.  I think this is the scariest time I've ever lived through.  It's a dying beast, and they're always the scariest and most dangerous.  Just below the crust of the surface there is a volcano ready to erupt.  It's our job to create critical mass and ignite it.


"It's a really confusing time; it's more complicated than Vietnam," she continued.  "There was no Saddam Hussein during Vietnam.  Everybody agreed Saddam had to go.  Did there need to be an invasion where 100,000 innocent civilians die in the process?  I don't think so.  People are waiting out there for leadership.  I was asked: 'What's happened to the Left?'  Progressivism is alive and well, but it's women who are going to have to rise up and lead it now."


"Jane is a great revolutionary," Stone said admiringly.  "We need that type.  'Storm the barricades.'"


Since the rights to FTA are owned by Fonda, Sutherland and director Parker, Stone suggesting re-releasing the film.  "You've got to get it out there, Jane.  You can do a lot with digital now.  Would you like to see it on the Internet?"


"We'd have to think very hard about who we would try to get the film distributed to," Fonda said.  "I'm not sure that our main audience isn't the military. Technology has made it possible for us to get stuff out there in such an easier, democratic and inexpensive way.


"I just spent five weeks traveling around the country, and except for one incident where a vet spit at me, what I'm seeing is that people are ready and hungry for statements like this.  They really are.  I'm talking in the heartland, in those red states."


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.


“I Have No Idea What We’re Doing Here, Mom”

“The Iraqis Don’t Want Us Here, They Want Us Out Of Here.”


May 18 2005 Interview with Nadia McCaffrey, member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee (Inge Van de Merlen)


September 12, 2001: Day 1 after the attacks on the WTC towers in the US. 34-year-old Patrick McCaffrey, husband and father of two, was upset enough to join the Californian National Guard. The National Guard is usually deployed in case of disasters or other emergency situations within the United States. A few days after 9/11 the Bush administration, without much warning, changed the regulations so that Guard units could be sent to Iraq. Patrick was killed on June 22, 2004 and in the record is registered as ‘casualty #848’. “My son never thought he’d find himself in the war zone,” his mother Nadia McCaffrey said. Since his death she has been traveling around the world to try to convince people of the insanity of the war in Iraq.


How did Patrick come to be deployed in Iraq?


Before my son was sent to Iraq, he was a manager of a California based company.  The 9/11 attacks shocked him so much that he decided the next day to join the National Guard, which is meant to operate in case of local disasters and emergencies.  Patrick enlisted as a weekend soldier in a National Guard unit with the principal task of providing engineering support to combat forces and in homeland crises like terrorist attacks or natural disasters.


He wanted to be able to help people in case a new disaster hit America.  But he never expected to be sent overseas to a war zone.  His unit hadn’t been deployed abroad since the Second World War.


Only a few days after 9/11, Bush, without much debate, changed the regulation.


So Patrick became the first soldier of the California National Guard’s 579th Engineer Battalion, to die in Iraq. In the record he’s now registered as “casualty #848”.


Only a very short time before he left he understood that the possibility of being sent to Iraq was very real.  Before that, he expected to be deployed in Utah to guard a nuclear power plant.


What was his reaction when he learnt that he was being sent to Iraq?


He became very somber.  Patrick was always a very happy person, very cheerful – actually, he was smiling all the time.  After he heard the news, his smile was gone.  He told me about his deployment when we were alone.  He said that he didn’t want to go, but he had no choice.  He had made a commitment.


Even though the law had been changed, he felt bound to do his duty.  In the time prior to his departure he expressed the hope that he could at least do something good in Iraq – something to help the people.  I asked him what he would do if, in self defense or to protect someone else, he had to take somebody else’s life. He could never answer that question.


Recently, we’ve received more details about the circumstances of how he died.  Although already wounded, Patrick tried to shield another soldier, who was killed with him. He didn’t have time to return fire like they thought at first.  The sound of an M-16 had been heard, and Patrick carried an M-16, but further investigation has shown that it was a third soldier, who survived the ambush, that fired in the air to call for help.


How did you react to the news of his deployment?


I had a very bad feeling within, you know, like a mother can have.  I was speechless. I really didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t want to hurt him.  I wanted to respect him. But I’ve been a pacifist all my life, and Patrick knew this.


He was standing up for his country, but he never supported the war itself.


What did Patrick tell you about the war in Iraq during his deployment?  What were his impressions?


He was disgusted about it.  It only took one week for him to understand what this war is about.  He called home every day when he was there and he told me: “I have no idea what we’re doing here, mom.  I don’t know why we’re here.  We’re not helping anyone – there’s no rebuilding.  The Iraqis don’t want us here, they want us out of here.”  Patrick understood very soon what the war was about.  He saw things the way they were.


How did he handle the situation?


It was very difficult for him.  Patrick wasn’t a military person – that wasn’t his character. He was always for helping the underdog, the weak and vulnerable.


After he recognized the true nature of the war, he wanted to use his presence there in the best way he could.  So he turned to the Iraqi children and tried to help them.  Patrick always loved children very much.  He regularly asked us to send packages with candies and toys for the children and he collected the extra food and water rations from the soldiers to distribute among the children.  Actually, it was forbidden for the soldiers to offer the children gifts, but Patrick did it anyway.


And he was a refuge to the other soldiers, kind of a father figure for the younger guys. When, for example one of them got a bad report, Patrick defended him.  So he was a protector for the other soldiers and for Iraqi children during his time in Iraq.  Everyone who knew him there understood that.  He knew how to deal gently with people, because he loved people.  Patrick knew he could make a difference.


Can you describe your feelings the moment that you learned about Patrick’s death?


When I heard he was killed my life came to a halt.  I stopped everything that I was occupied with before. I’m the founder of a non-profit organization, ‘Changing the Face of Life’. For twenty years I have been volunteering to bring a caring presence to the bedside of the terminally ill, and to give comfort and support to their families and friends. I have trained more than a thousand people in the San Francisco Bay area for this work.


When I heard about Patrick’s death, I immediately became an anti-war activist. Now I’m doing everything that lies within my power to stop this war.


The bloodshed must stop.  When Patrick’s coffin arrived in Sacramento, I invited the media.  The Bush administration had a ban on media presence at the arrival of fallen soldiers, but I invited them to witness his homecoming.  I became the mother who defied the Bush administration.


America can no longer ignore the war in Iraq and its consequences.  I also had a very strong desire to go to Iraq myself.  I wanted to stand in the place where Patrick died. I had this very strong feeling to do something.


Is there a message you want to address to the European people?  What, in your opinion, is most important in their struggle against the war?


The protests must grow much stronger and louder.  The American people need the Europeans.  Everyone should understand that our common future is at stake. It isn’t only about the Iraqis.  The war doesn’t stop in Iraq or in the Middle East. In the end it will touch all of us.



Stupid Liar Caught In Another Stupid Lie

The Secretary Of Defense sends a Memorial Day message to the troops.


04 June 2005 Lawrence Smallman , Aljazeera.net


US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has alleged that Aljazeera is encouraging armed Islamist groups by broadcasting beheadings of foreign hostages in Iraq.


Aljazeera's media spokesman, Jihad Ballout, said that Rumsfeld was mistaken. "Aljazeera has never ever shown a beheading of any hostage," Ballout said.


"While we work hard to give a comprehensive and balanced account of everything that goes on in Iraq - people clearly have a right to know what is happening on the ground - we have never broadcast images of a hostage being beheaded," Ballout said.


He pointed out that beheading videos were readily available on the internet and had made it on to other television networks.







Bunkers Reveal Well-Equipped, Sophisticated Resistance


"This shows the failure of the Marines.  It was close to their base and they could not see it," said the mufti, who formerly sat on the council that directed insurgents in Fallujah.  He spoke by phone Saturday evening on the condition of anonymity.


Jun. 04, 2005 By Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder Newspapers


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Marines in Iraq discovered a series of underground bunkers used by insurgents in western Iraq that show a sophisticated organization with a vast supply of weapons and enough confidence to operate near a major Marine base.


The well-equipped, air-conditioned bunkers, found Thursday, were just 16 miles from the city of Fallujah where hundreds of Marines are stationed.  


Measuring 558 feet by 902 feet, the underground system of rooms featured four fully furnished living spaces, showers and a kitchen with fresh food - suggesting insurgents had been present recently, according to the U.S. military.


The weapons and high-tech equipment found inside the bunker was impressive: mortars, rockets, machine guns, night-vision goggles, compasses, ski masks and cell phones.  Marines also found at least 59 surface-to-air missiles, some 29,000 AK-47 rounds, more than 350 pounds of plastic explosives and an unspecified amount of TNT in a five-mile area around the bunkers.


"There isn't any historical data here detailing whether this is the most elaborate facility ever found in Iraq or even (the) province," Marine spokesperson 1st Lt. Kate S. VandenBossche said via e-mail from a base in nearby Ramadi.  "I can tell you that it is the largest underground system discovered in at least the last year."


After retaking Fallujah from insurgents last November, Marine officials called the town the safest place in Iraq.


Last month Marines staged two large-scale offensives in the region aimed at rooting out insurgents from their safe haven in Anbar province, thought to be home to the core Sunni Muslim-led insurgency.


VandenBossche said the find was another indication of American success in the area.


But an Islamic mufti, or spiritual leader, living near Fallujah offered a different take: He said the bunkers were proof that the insurgency is unbowed.


"This shows the failure of the Marines.  It was close to their base and they could not see it," said the mufti, who formerly sat on the council that directed insurgents in Fallujah.  He spoke by phone Saturday evening on the condition of anonymity.  "The Americans think they know everything.  But when they came to Iraq they thought the people would receive them with flowers.  Instead of flowers they found these bunkers."


Haitham al-Dulaimi, who works at a garage in Ramadi, had a similar reaction.


"Are you sure they found it near Fallujah?" he asked, laughing.  "It shows you how much the Iraqi resistance has insulted the Americans."


It was not clear who built the bunkers.  The entrance to the underground system was discovered by a patrol of Marines and Iraqi army soldiers who were searching a house in the desert when they found a passageway beneath an electric freezer.  A rock quarry is adjacent to the site, and the space could be an abandoned mine facility.  Former dictator Saddam Hussein also kept underground bunkers throughout the country.


"The U.S. has so far been unable to find an effective way to fight and defeat the various insurgencies - I'd hesitate to characterize them in the singular - that have been raging," said Joost R. Hiltermann, the Amman-based Middle East project director of the International Crisis Group, a think tank.



Assorted Resistance Action


06/05/05 BBC & AFP & AP & Jun 4, By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer & (KUNA)


Ten Iraqi soldiers were injured in a blast in Baghdad on Sunday. 


According to a statement by Babylon's police spokesman Captain Abu Al-Harith to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the ten soldiers, members of a force protecting the green zone, were injured when a bomb exploded by a bus they were riding on their way to work in Al-Latifiyah south of Baghdad.


A car bomb killed two policemen and wounded at least seven others at a checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, police sources said


A soldier was killed and three wounded in an attack when a motorcycle strapped with explosives slammed into their convoy in northern Iraq, a military source said.


The attack occurred on a highway between Shorgat and Mosul, a predominantly Sunni city that is often the site of assaults on US and Iraqi forces.


In Buhruz, north of the capital, the local police chief said he had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt that killed one of his guards and wounded three, including two civilians.


"The convoy was ambushed by a pickup truck with armed men hiding under covers in the back who got up and started shooting at us," Mohammed al-Azzawi told AFP in nearby Baquba.


On Saturday, another police chief in Babil province escaped an attack that killed three guerrillas and wounded two policemen.


Colonel Salam al-Mamuri survived both a bomb attack near Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, and an ensuing gunbattle.  Six attackers were arrested.


A car bomber attacked a police patrol in western Baghdad's Amil neighborhood Saturday, seriously wounding two policemen and setting two vehicles ablaze, Capt. Talib Thamir said.


Two other police officers were injured after gunmen opened fire on their patrol in Baghdad's western Ghazaliya neighborhood.


Officials report that fighters in a speeding car opened fire on Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, killing a policewoman and injuring a policeman.


An Iraqi truck driver was killed in another drive-by attack elsewhere in the city.

Police say he was transporting concrete walls for the U-S military.


Also today, a translator for coalition forces in the northern city of Kirkuk was gunned down on his way home.









“The War In Vietnam Is Going Well”


From “Vietnam, Vietnam,” by Felix Greene, Fulton Publishing Co., Palo Alto, Ca. 1966.  [Thanks to Michael Letwin for making available.]


To the frustration of the U.S. military theorists, immense superiority in equipment and advanced military expertise have so far not brought about the expected suppression of the liberation forces.


Nothing is more revealing than the number of optimistic expectations voiced at the highest levels of the military command which have subsequently been disproved by events.


On February 18, 1964, for example, Secretary of Defense McNamara told members of Congress that the U.S. “still hopes to withdraw most of its troops from South Vietnam before the end of 1965.”


(At the end of 1965 he said in Saigon that “We have stopped losing the war.”)


On innumerable occasions the U S leaders have told the American people that all was going well in South Vietnam—only to be confronted almost immediately with further setbacks.


The inability of the military mind to grasp the nature and the power of a liberation movement is a recurring feature of history.  The French, in their attempts to defeat the liberation forces in Vietnam, were just as stubbornly, and wrongly, optimistic as the U.S. Government has shown itself to be today.


In fact, some of Johnson’s and McNamara’s statements could have been written by the French.


Some months before the total defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu, Deputy René Kuehn was telling the French Parliament:


“Victory is possible, certain, and almost immediate if, right away . . . Vietnamese officials will resolutely launch into the necessary political and social reforms and correct their mistakes.”  Journal Officiel, October 27, 1953


The men in Washington have not only shown themselves to be as poor prophets as the French, but they have attempted to convince the American people that the revolutionary movement enjoys little support among the Vietnamese people.


“There is little evidence,” said Mr Dean Rusk on April 23rd 1965 “that the Vietcong has any significant popular following in South Vietnam.”


The stupendous audacity of such a statement is breathtaking.


Rusk asks us to believe that 250,000 U.S. troops, plus 60,000 members of the Seventh Fleet, plus 600,000 troops of the south Vietnamese army, paid for and equipped by the United States, plus the U S Air Force and the support of the huge bombing forces stationed in Guam—that this unimaginably vast array of military power is being deployed against an insurgent force of guerrillas who have no real backing of the people!


“After 48 hours in South Vietnam Mr. McNamara  was tremendously encouraged by developments... ‘I found nothing but progress and hope for the future’ he said.” N.Y. Times, May 12, 1962


“The war in Vietnam is going well . . .”

McNamara, January 1963


“The major part of the u.s. military task can be completed by the end of 1965.’”

McNamara October 1963



“In The 1960s It Was Vietnam.  Today It Is Iraq”

“President Bush And Those Around Him Lied”


[Nothing here you haven’t heard before.  But this is the Editorial Board of a leading newspaper in Middle American speaking.  And that is important.]


2005-05-30 Minneapolis Star-Tribune Editorial Board, Minneapolis Star-Tribune


Nothing young Americans can do in life is more honorable than offering themselves for the defense of their nation.  It requires great selflessness and sacrifice, and quite possibly the forfeiture of life itself.  On Memorial Day 2005, we gather to remember all those who gave us that ultimate gift.  Because they are so fresh in our minds, those who have died in Iraq make a special claim on our thoughts and our prayers.


In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country.


In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. 


President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them.  Harsh?  Yes.  True?  Also yes.  Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power.  But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.


The "smoking gun," as some call it, surfaced on May 1 in the London Times.  It is a highly classified document containing the minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting at 10 Downing Street in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair on talks he'd just held in Washington.  His mission was to determine the Bush administration's intentions toward Iraq.


At a time when the White House was saying it had "no plans" for an invasion, the British document says Dearlove reported that there had been "a perceptible shift in attitude" in Washington.  "Military action was now seen as inevitable.  Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.  But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.  The (National Security Council) had no patience with the U.N. route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record.  There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."


Also comes word, from the May 19 New York Times, that senior U.S. military leaders are not encouraged about prospects in Iraq.  Yes, they think the United States can prevail, but as one said, it may take "many years."


As this bloody month of car bombs and American deaths -- the most since January -- comes to a close, as we gather in groups small and large to honor our war dead, let us all sing of their bravery and sacrifice.


But let us also ask their forgiveness for sending them to a war that should never have happened.  In the 1960s it was Vietnam.  Today it is Iraq.  Let us resolve to never, ever make this mistake again.  Our young people are simply too precious.






Heavenly Fragging?

Hack Readies Claymores For Senior Command


Earlier today, I attended the funeral and burial of one of America's real military heroes at Arlington cemetery.  Colonel David Hackworth would not have sat silent, as our current senior military leadership sits, while "wreck it and run" civilian management drove America's armed forces into the ground.  It would not surprise me if when the current crowd finds itself approaching the Pearly Gates, Hack has a few claymores waiting for them.


[Thanks to t eto who sent this in.]


June 1, 2005 By WILLIAM S. LIND, Counterpunch


Among the many unhappy developments in American industry in recent decades has been the advent of "wreck it and run" management.  A small coterie of senior managers takes over a company and makes a brilliant show of short-term profits while actually driving the business into the ground.  They bail out just before it crashes, cashing in their stock options as they go, and leave the employees, ordinary stockholders and customers holding an empty bag.


It is increasingly clear that under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. armed forces have also been taken over by "wreck it and run" management.


When Rumsfeld leaves office, what will his successor inherit?


A volunteer military without volunteers.  The Army missed its active-duty recruiting goal in April by almost half.  Guard and Reserve recruiting are collapsing.  Retention will do the same as "stop loss" orders are lifted.  The reason, obviously, is the war in Iraq. Parents don't want to be the first one on their block to have their kid come home in a box.


The world's largest pile of wrecked and worn-out military equipment (maybe second-largest if we remember the old Soviet Navy):


I'm talking about basic stuff here: trucks, Humvees, personnel carriers, crew-served weapons, etc.  This is gear the Rumsfeld Pentagon hates to spend money on, because it does not represent "transformation" to the hi-tech, video-game warfare it wrongly sees as the future.


So far, deploying units have made up their deficiencies by robbing units that are not deploying, often National Guard outfits.  But that stock has about run out, and some of the stripped units are now facing deployment themselves, minus their gear.


A military tied down in a strategically meaningless backwater, Iraq, to the point where it can't do much else:  A perceptive reader of these columns recently wrote to me that "China has the luxury of the U.S. inflicting grievous wounds, economic and military, on itself from our commitment to spread 'democracy' . . .


Although the Iraqi insurgents may have the limited purpose of ending an occupation, other global actors can sit back and watch us bleed ourselves slowly to, at least, a weakened state.  From that point of view, the last thing these other actors wish to see is either a victory or a quick defeat.  Instead, events are proceeding nicely as they are." Exactly correct, and those other actors include al Qaeda.


Commitments to hundreds of billions of dollars worth of future weapons programs that are militarily as useful as Zeppelins but less fun to watch:  If the Army had its Future Combat System, a semi-portable Maginot Line that will cost more than any Navy or Air Force program of equal uselessness, in Iraq or Afghanistan today, would it make any difference?  No.  Maybe FCS really stands for Funnels Cash System.


A world wary of U.S. intentions and skeptical of any American claims about anything:  In business, good will is considered a tangible asset. In true "wreck it and run" fashion, Rumsfeld & Co. have reduced the value of that asset to near zero.  A recent survey of the German public found Russia was considered a better friend than the United States.


Finally, the equivalent of an unfavorable ruling by a bankruptcy judge in the form of a lost war:  We will be lucky if we can get out of Iraq with anything less than a total loss.


Earlier today, I attended the funeral and burial of one of America's real military heroes at Arlington cemetery.  Colonel David Hackworth would not have sat silent, as our current senior military leadership sits, while "wreck it and run" civilian management drove America's armed forces into the ground.


Rumsfeld & Co. will bear primary responsibility for the disaster, which will no doubt disturb them greatly as they enjoy their luxurious retirements.


But our senior generals and admirals are the equivalent of the board of directors, and they would have some difficulty convincing Hack that they were just the piano players in the whorehouse. 


It would not surprise me if when the current crowd finds itself approaching the Pearly Gates, Hack has a few claymores waiting for them.





From: Max Watts

To: GI Special

Sent: June 05, 2005

















Evangelical College Bites Bush;

“Unjustified War” Denounced


23 May 2005 By Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times


Washington - It's that time of year again when President Bush turns up around the country in sumptuous commencement robes, assures thousands of college graduates that a C average does not preclude the presidency and urges them to go forth and do good.


Calvin College, a small evangelical school in the strategic Republican stronghold of Grand Rapids, Mich., seemed a perfect stop on Saturday for the president's message. Or so thought Karl Rove, the White House political chief, who two months ago effectively bumped Calvin's scheduled commencement speaker when he asked that Mr. Bush be invited instead.


But events at Calvin did not happen as smoothly as Mr. Rove might have liked.  A number of students, faculty members and alumni objected so strongly to the president's visit that by last Friday nearly 800 of them had signed a letter of protest that appeared as a full-page advertisement in The Grand Rapids Press.


The letter said, in part, "Your deeds, Mr. President - neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment and misleading the country into war - do not exemplify the faith we live by."


The next day, Mr. Bush was greeted by another letter in The Press signed by some 100 of 300 faculty members that objected to "an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq" and policies "that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor."



[Thanks to Mark S. who sent this in.]



D.C. Airspace Protection A Hopeless Clusterfuck


USA Today, May 25, 2005


Three-and-a-half years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, recent incursions into restricted airspace over the White House and Capitol reveal a system struggling to protect against another assault by air:


Helicopters unable to shoot down rogue planes.  Military jets flying so fast they sometimes can't communicate with small aircraft.  Laser-beam warning systems that work only on sunny days.  And radios easily knocked out by a bolt of lightning.







Capitalism At Work:

Workers Pay Down 11% Since 1973:

CEO Pay Up 54% Last Year Alone


May 12, 2005 by Holly Sklar, Dissident Voice & May 19 2005, Jonathan Scott, Black Commentator, Issue 139


How would you like a 54 percent pay raise?  That's how much pay jumped last year for the chief executives of the 500 largest U.S. companies, reports Forbes magazine.


CEO pay averaged $10.2 million in 2004, counting salary, bonus and other compensation such as exercised stock options and vested stock grants.


Full-time worker pay averaged just $32,594.  That's 11 percent less than 1973's average worker pay of $36,629, adjusting for inflation, although worker productivity rose 78 percent between 1973 and 2004.


In 1973, CEOs made 45 times as much as workers, according to pay expert Graef Crystal.


In 1991, when Crystal said the imperial CEO "is paid so much more than ordinary workers that he hasn't got the slightest clue as to how the rest of the country lives," CEOs made 140 times as much as workers.  Last year, CEOs made more than 300 times as much.


While workers are having a tougher time making ends meet, CEOs are getting perks worth more than worker paychecks. CEO freeloaders expect perks such as lifetime use of company jets, chauffeured cars, company apartments, club memberships, sports tickets, financial planning, personal assistants and more.


In CEO World, the more money you make, the less you should have to pay for.


The U.S. middle class is the smallest among the wealthiest nations of the world. Italy and Spain have more middle class people than does the U.S.


Forty percent of the U.S. population lives in poverty, and the vast majority goes from paycheck to paycheck.


The average American hasnšt seen an increase in their real wages for the past twenty years and owes $12,000 in credit card debt.


The number of long-term unemployed who are college graduates has tripled since 2000. According to the Los Angeles Times, one in five of the long-term jobless are college graduates.


In 2001, the top 1% of Americans ranked by net worth controlled 33% of all personal assets.  Robert Frank, Wall St. Journal, 5.20.05





UK Military Families Organize Against War


From: Judy Linehan

To: GI Special

Sent: June 05, 2005


Cheers to you Peace Warriors & your relentless Truth Telling!


I am a Military Families Speak Out member working in London with our counterpart group here, Military Families Against the War, while studying in the country.  We seek to launch a legal campaign to bring Tony Blair to account for his part in the Blair/Bush Iraq War misadventure. Public outcry and pressure will be a critical factor to achieve this end---as well as the ever present reality of the funds, of course.


The info is contained in the attached file; please distribute widely. The momentum being generated by John Conyers petition in the states along with this one in Britain has tremendous potential to bring justice & accountability to our world leaders relying on war as a foreign policy through our global outcry.


Many thanks & in appreciation for all you do---in Peace & Solidarity,   ~Judy Linehan, mother of Iraq War vet


A plea from Military Families Against the War in Britain to friends in America:


Families of fallen British soldiers presented a demand for a “public inquiry into the decision to go to war in Iraq” to Tony Blair on 3 May 2005. He has now responded to them with an insulting letter containing such preposterous statements as, “The decision to take military action in Iraq was in no sense the immediate and direct operative cause of the deaths of the claimants’ relatives.” The Prime Minister’s stance of not answering the question continues without shame, & indeed a full reading of the text (to be viewed at http://www.mfaw.org.uk/) implies there is actually no question at all. The chronicles of the families’ endeavors are also available on the site.


Seventeen families stand firm in their resolve to pursue a full and open investigation into the execution of the Iraq war, to seek truth against all resistance; Military Families Against the War in America (MFSO) solidly supports them and asks for an international response on their behalf. We urgently and immediately need your help to proceed to the next stage. The families are taking their Prime Minister to the High Court in London. Legal action is always expensive and this case will be no exception. MFAW is determined that the families will be spared the court costs and have therefore undertaken to raise $75,000 over the next six months. Please help us help the families. Contributions can be made via mastercard/visa and paypal.


Your help will make all the difference. By bringing Blair to account, ˝ of the unholy alliance of Bush and Blair, justice and accountability will also surely come around to knock at the door of the White House.


Public support is crucial to move the case forward; please sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/mfaw/petition.html. We thank you most heartily for the serious deliberation you give to this cause, and for your contribution to it. Please forward the message far and wide to all Peace & Justice lovers among your acquaintances.


In Peace and Solidarity,

Judy Linehan, MFSO member


Open Letter to the People of Britain


Our loved ones gave their lives in the service of this country. They all died in the Iraq war. When they went to that war they believed they were being sent to defend our country. They were told it was their duty to disarm the Saddam regime of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD). When enlisting, servicemen and women sign an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty's government. All they ask in return is that their government acts in an honourable, truthful and responsible manner, and only deploys troops into the theatre of war to risk their lives when absolutely necessary.


We now believe that our Prime Minister, Tony Blair, misled the people of this country as to the true reasons for the war in Iraq. We believe that there was no serious evidence for WMD. We also believe that the assurances given by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, as to the legality of the war are highly questionable.


This is why we are calling for a full, independent and effective public inquiry into the decision to go to war in Iraq.


We ask you to support our call.  We must restore accountability to public life.  Our loved ones deserve justice, and the people of this country deserve the truth.


Reg and Sally Keys                            Parents of Lance Corporal Thomas Keys

Rose and George Gentle                    Parents of Fusilier Gordon Gentle

John and Marilyn Miller                      Parents of Corporal Simon Miller

Tony Hamilton-Jewell             Brother of Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell

Peter Brierley                                      Father of Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley

Anna Aston                                         Wife of Corporal Russell Aston

George and Ann Lawrence                Parents of Lieutenant Marc Lawrence

Tracey Pritchard                                 Wife of Corporal Dewi Pritchard

Patricia Long                                       Mother of Corporal Paul Long

Sharon Hehir                                       Wife of Sergeant Les Hehir

Lianne Seymour                                 Wife of Operator Mechanic 2nd Class Ian Seymour

Debbie Allbutt                                      Wife of Corporal Stephen Allbutt

Theresa Evans                                                Mother of Lance Bombardier Llywelyn Karl Evans

Roy and Eileen Shearer                     Parents of Lance Corporal Karl Shearer

Richard and Karen Green                  Parents of Lieutenant Philip Green

Beverley Clarke                                  Mother of Trooper David Clarke

James and Rae Craw                         Parents of Corporal Andrew Craw



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