www.albasrah.net

 

GI Special:

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

6.9.05

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

 

GI SPECIAL 3B54:

 

 

THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:

BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW!

5.24.05 Ikhadduri’s Photostream

 

 

Mercenaries Fire On Marines;

Then Whine About Mistreatment:

“They Treated Us Like Insurgents”

 

"How does it feel to be a big, rich contractor now?" one of the marines is alleged to have shouted at the men, in an apparent reference to the large sums of money private contractors can make in Iraq. 

 

Zapata Engineering Security Convoy (CorpWatch)

 

[Thanks to John Gingerich, Veterans For Peace, who sent this is.]

 

June 9, 2005 Jamie Wilson in Washington, The Guardian & CNN & June 7th, 2005 David Phinney, Special to CorpWatch

 

Late one Saturday afternoon in May, a group of armed American private security guards in white Ford trucks and an Excursion sports utility vehicle barreled through the battle-scarred streets of Fallujah, Iraq.

 

The group of American security guards in Iraq have alleged they were beaten, stripped and threatened with a snarling dog by US marines when they were detained after an alleged shooting incident outside Falluja last month.

 

"I never in my career have treated anybody so inhumane," one of the contractors, Rick Blanchard, a former Florida state trooper, wrote in an email quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

 

"They treated us like insurgents, roughed us up, took photos, hazed us, called us names."  [So, the mercenaries let slip they believe this is how insurgents are to be treated.  Oops.  To bad they escaped with their fucking lives.]

 

The dispute began May 28 when Marines in the city in Anbar province said they were shot at by men in trucks and SUVs, according to the military statement.

 

The Marines said the men were also firing "at and near civilian cars."

 

Three hours later, another Marine post said it took fire from a convoy matching the description from the first incident.

 

Marines used spike strips to stop the trucks and the 19 men were taken to Camp Falluja, just outside the city.

 

The Marines said the men were held for three days before being taken to their compound in Baghdad, where they were released without their weapons and vehicles.

 

The Americans are employees of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Zapata Engineering, which has been hired to destroy weapons caches found in Iraq, said Mary Richards, Zapata's senior vice president for operations.

 

The group that was detained was part of a security convoy, she said.

 

This is believed to be the first time that private military contractors have been detained in Iraq by the US military, and it has reignited debate about their status and accountability.

 

Mark Schopper, a lawyer for two of the contractors, told the newspaper that his clients, both former marines, were subjected to "physical and psychological abuse".  [Excellent!]  He said they had told him that marines had "slammed around" several con tractors, stripped them to their underwear and placed a loaded weapon near their heads.  [Better and better!!]

 

Taunts were made about the large salaries of private security contractors, which are often more than $100,000 a year -- sometimes more than $200,000, he said.  "How does it feel to be a big, rich contractor now?" one of the marines is alleged to have shouted at the men, in an apparent reference to the large sums of money private contractors can make in Iraq.

 

Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, who did not respond to emails from the Guardian, said in an email to the LA Times: "The Americans were segregated from the rest of the detainee population and, like all security detainees, were treated humanely and respectfully."  "The contract personnel were treated professionally and appropriately the entire time they were in the custody of military personnel."

 

The American contractors were arrested on May 18.  All have since left Zapata Engineering, which is based in North Carolina, and have returned to the US. 

 

They also complained they were made to wear orange prison uniforms and fed the same "bad food" as Iraqi prisoners and were forced to urinate in bottles in their cells.  [After firing on Marines, these disgusting cry-babies ought to be glad they didn’t have to eat shit and piss in their shoes.]

 

According to some of the contractors and their wives, the Marines also roughed up the security contractors before taking them to jail.  They say they slammed the contractors down on the concrete one by one, bruising some pretty badly.

 

One man said a Marine put a knee to his neck and applied his full body weight as another cut his boots off and stripped him of his wedding ring and religious ornaments.

 

Twenty or 30 other Marines watched and laughed, he added, as a uniformed woman with a military dog snapped photographs.

 

According to Peter Singer, a Brookings Institute scholar and author of the book Corporate Warriors, private military contractors in Iraq are operating in a black hole as they do not fall within the military chain of command.

 

"The decisions that contractors make on their own, often make the military's job harder.  That tension is now bubbling to the surface."

 

But he said the incident also raised the question of what happens to contractors if they are caught doing something wrong, such as firing on civilians, as their legal status is not defined.

 

"If the marines think (the contractors) did do something illegal there is no process they can go through.  Who are they going to hand them over to?" Mr Singer said.  [How about handing them over to the resistance?  Do a prisoner exchange?]

 

"There have been more than 20,000 on the ground in Iraq for more than two years and not one has been prosecuted for anything."

 

Lawrence Peter, the director of the Private Security Company Association of Iraq, says that if a private security company is not registered, then it operates illegally.

 

"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that there is no company named Zapata that is a licensed Private Security Company under the terms of CPA Memorandum 17," he said.

 

"I do not know under what legal authority those men thought they were operating, but it was not in keeping with the law of Iraq nor consistent with what professional, responsible and law-abiding private security companies are doing here."

 

Journalist and author, Robert Young Pelton, who has spent months with private military contractors in Iraq and who is writing a book on the use of contractors in the war on terror, says that the military's choice to detain the Zapata group strikes him as the "first blatant example of contractors being treated as criminals."

 

"Animosity seems to be building between Bush's contractors and Bush's war," he observed.

 

MORE:

 

Now The Assholes Want Heavy Weapons;

[Hard To Kill Marines Without Them]

 

Washington Times, June 6, 2005

 

Private security firms operating in Iraq want permission to arm themselves with heavy military-style weapons.  The companies’ operatives have become prime targets.  [If they want heavy weapons, they can go to the nearest recruiting station.  Of course, that might put a dent in the $100,000+ a year they pocket, while the real troops don’t get shit.]

 

 

 

IRAQ WAR REPORTS

 

 

Mother Mourns Marine Killed In Iraq

 

June 7, 2005 By Kathianne Boniello, Poughkeepsie Journal, LAGRANGEVILLE

 

Whenever she closed her tear-filled eyes Monday evening, Paula Zwillinger saw her eldest son's face.

 

They were the images of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Bob Mininger's smiling face, beaming brightly from beneath mounds of protective gear from the deserts of Iraq.

 

"Deep down under all that equipment, I see him smiling," the LaGrangeville woman said, just hours after she learned her son had been killed Monday by shrapnel from an improvised explosive device in or near Fallujah, Iraq.

 

Mininger, 21, hailed from Sellersville, Pa.

 

Mininger deployed to Iraq in January.  His tour was expected to end in August.

 

Zwillinger received the news of her son's death just as hundreds of other American families have — she came home to find two uniformed officers in her driveway.

 

"I started saying 'no, no, no' to Larry out in the driveway," Zwillinger said, "I said 'I know what they're here for and it's not true.' "

 

She weathered the first few hours with her husband and friends by her side.  Later, she recalled how helpful the officers had been.

 

"I tried to keep conversation with them because I didn't want them to go, but I knew they had to go," she said.  "Not that it's going to bring Bob back."

 

"He always told me he wanted a military wedding," she said, talking to Semper Fi members who filled her home Monday.  "He said, 'Wouldn't that be neat Mom, if I had a military wedding, where you walk under swords?' "

 

She smiled, recalling the vacation plans she discussed with Mininger for a trip they'd take when he came home from Iraq.

 

"He said, 'I just want peace and quiet ... I'll go hiking.  Don't give me the sand, for God's sake,' " Zwillinger said, laughing.  "I was going to take him to Cancun."

 

At times, the men and women in her living room asked questions.  Sometimes they offered answers, comfort or help.  Sometimes they jotted down notes to follow up on tasks Zwillinger had planned for Semper Fi Parents.

 

"He told me his Hummer just got upgraded, he had the best armor," she said, her voice choking.  "I felt better. I felt comfortable — if you could have a comfort feeling — he was in the best vehicle.

 

"Then how did this happen?  How did he get hurt?" she said, weeping.  "I don't understand if he had all the equipment ... He told me before his truck was hit seven times and it got through it — so why was this time different?"

 

Later, Zwillinger spoke of all the poems and inspirational essays from Marine parents she'd read online.  She said she never thought she'd need them for her son's funeral.

 

Mininger is expected to be buried in Pennsylvania, where he grew up, and where his father and brother live.  A local memorial service also is planned.

 

His mother mentioned the need to be strong.  "There is no other option," Larry Zwillinger said softly, going to his wife.

 

Paula Zwillinger nodded.  "There's no other option than to be strong," she said, crying in his arms.

 

 

INDIRECT FIRE KILLS TWO 42ND INFANTRY DIVISION SOLDIERS IN TIKRIT

 

June 8, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-09C & AFP

 

TIKRIT, Iraq – Two 42nd Infantry Division Soldiers were killed during an indirect fire attack on a Coalition Forces base in Tikrit at about 10 p.m., on June 7.

 

Indirect fire is a military catchall term for mortar and rocket attacks.

 

Leaflets signed by the shadowy Islamic Army were plastered on shop fronts and walls in Tikrit claiming responsibility for the attack on the base.

 

"The knights of the Ali bin Abi Taleb Brigade fired a barrage of mortars and rockets last night at the citadel of infidels in the centre of Tikrit," said the leaflet.

 

The US military did not specify whether the base targeted was the one located in Saddam's former sprawling palace on the edge of the city.

 

 

SOLDIER KILLED BY IED NORTH OF BAGHDAD

 

June 8, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-08C & AFP

 

LSA ANACONDA, BALAD, Iraq -- One 1st Corps Support Command Soldier died when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle the Soldier was traveling in during a combat logistics patrol in the area around Balad, north of Baghdad at approximately 10:30 p.m. June 7.

 

The Soldier was evacuated to a military medical facility where the Soldier was pronounced dead.

 

 

TASK FORCE LIBERTY SOLDIER KILLED BY IED IN AD DWAR

 

June 8, 2005 HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND NEWS Release Number: 05-06-10C & CNN

 

TIKRIT, Iraq – A Task Force Liberty Soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near a vehicle patrol.

 

The explosion happened near Ad Dwar in Salah Ad Din Province at about 12:00 p.m. on June 8.  Ad Dawr, where Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. troops in 2003, is about 90 miles (144 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad.

 

 

Cullman Man Dies In Roadside Bombing

 

Jun. 08, 2005 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A 22-year-old Alabama Marine was killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near Fallujah, family members said Tuesday.

 

Lance Cpl. Jonathan Smith, of Cullman, died Monday, said his father, Gary Smith.  He said military officials notified the family of his son's death on Monday afternoon.

 

 

Local Solider Killed In His Sleep

 

June 08, 2005 By John Sullivan, Times Herald-Record

 

A Milford, Pa., soldier with roots in Orange County is reported to have been killed in Iraq.

 

Lou Allen, whose family comes from Chester, was reported to have been killed when his unit came under attack during their sleep.

 

llen, an employee of the Tuxedo School District, has four sons.  He was said to have been deployed for service in early May and to have been in Iraq for less than two weeks.

 

Ron Valure, owner of Viking Realty in Goshen, where Allen's wife, Barbara, works, conveyed the news of Lou Allen's death.  Valure said a relative confirmed that representatives of the military contacted the family early this morning to deliver the news.

 

 

3 Fort Carson Soldiers Die

 

06/08/2005 By Jim Kirksey, Denver Post

 

A young staff sergeant from Colorado's Arkansas Valley was among three soldiers stationed at Fort Carson who died Sunday while on patrol south of Baghdad, Iraq.

 

Staff Sgt. Justin L. Vasquez, 26, of Manzanola; Spec. Eric J. Poelman, 21, of Racine, Wis.; and Pfc. Brian S. Ulbrich, 23, of Chapmanville, W.Va., were reported by the Department of Defense to have been killed when a homemade bomb detonated near their vehicle.

 

The three were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, according to the Defense Department.

 

Born in Manzanola, a town of about 400 residents northwest of La Junta, Vasquez was described by his father as a "happy- go-lucky kid" and by his mother as someone "who could make light out of any bad situation."

 

"I can tell you from the minute he was conceived, he never stopped moving," said his mother, Vicki Bosley.  "My uterus was a jungle gym.  He continued that until his last day."

 

Vasquez was on his second tour in Iraq after re-enlisting during his first tour.

 

He was a "master rappeller" in the Army, his mother said.  He worked at a commercial gym in Colorado Springs during his off-duty hours teaching children to rock climb, she said.

 

It was at the gym that he met his wife, Riley, who lives in Colorado Springs. He has a 4-year- old son, Justin, from a previous marriage who lives with his mother in Louisiana.

 

On Sunday afternoon, Tino Vasquez said, he got a call that a couple of men wanted to talk to him.  Soon, they pulled up to the driveway, and a chaplain and another soldier got out.

 

"I'll never forget it," he said.  "They walked up the driveway, and I met them halfway. "

 

Ulbrich served as a lookout for bombs and insurgents ahead of his unit, said his mother, Barbara Ulbrich.

 

For Poelman, it was his second tour of duty in Iraq.  He spent five months in Iraq in 2003 and was redeployed in March, said his father, Matt Poelman.

 

Poelman joined the Army in January 2003 to get more experience operating heavy equipment such as bulldozers and cranes after being home schooled in high school, his father said.

 

The soldiers' vehicle was stopped by an improvised explosive device, and the three were killed by a second explosive device when they got out of the vehicle to secure the area, Vasquez's parents said.

 

Vasquez also is survived by two sisters and a nephew.

 

"He went the first go-round, and with all the prayers, he made it back safely," Tino Vasquez said.  "But, apparently God had other plans for him."  [Wrong.  George W. Bush had other plans for him.  Don’t blame God.]

 

 

Terrance Crowe Killed

 

June 8, 2005 WIVB

 

Lt. Col. Terrance Crowe, a member of the 98th Division who mobilized to Iraq last October, was killed by hostile fire Tuesday while part of offensive operations in Tal Afar, Iraq.

 

In his civilian career, he was a carpenter with Arida Construction, based in North Tonawanda.

 

Lt. Col. Crowe is survived by his parents and two children.  He was 44 years old.

 

 

Two Area Soldiers Injured:

"Just When I Think It's Getting Better, It Gets Worse"

 

The insurgent bombs are taking a toll.  "Just when I think it's getting better, it gets worse," Donna Sayer quoted her son.

 

6.8.05 By Dale Killingbeck, Cadillac News

 

Insurgents drew blood in recent days from two Cadillac-area soldiers serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

Spc. Joshua Grabow, 24, of LeRoy was injured May 28 when a roadside bomb hit the Humvee he and three other soldiers rode in on patrol.

 

On June 3, Lt. Brian Sayer, a Missouri resident with a Louisiana National Guard unit and a 1985 Cadillac graduate, was injured when insurgents set off a bomb as he led a work detail near Camp St. Michael in Al Mahmudlyah, Iraq.  It was the fourth time he's been hit by an improvised explosive device.

 

Grabow, a sniper attached to Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, was on patrol riding in a gunner position when the incident occurred, his father Terry Grabow said.  He had been stationed somewhere south of Baghdad.

 

"A roadside bomb exploded and some kind of projectile came through the windshield," Terry Grabow said.  "He was in the top of the Humvee kind of in a gunner position.  The projectile hit his squad leader in the right hand and glanced upward and caught Josh in his left hand and left leg."

 

The shrapnel caused severe damage to his left hand.

 

"I guess he lost the end of his little finger," Terry Grabow said.  "His little finger and ring finger were quite severely damaged with bone breaks.  They are pinned together ... They question he will have use of them anymore."

 

Joshua Grabow went through two surgeries in Baghdad and then was sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where he underwent a third surgery, his father said.  He was flown to Washington, D.C. late last week and then to a military hospital near Tacoma, Wash.

 

"The doctor gave him a convalescent leave and he will be flying home this week," Terry Grabow said.  He said another son, Dan Grabow, who also is serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, tried to see his brother at the Baghdad facility but was unable to.  He has since gotten a two-week leave and joined his brother in Washington state.

 

Terry Grabow said his son seems to be in good spirits.

 

"He's pretty positive.  He's in a lot of pain," Terry Grabow said.  "He's looking forward to going back to school.  He most likely will be discharged."

 

Joshua Grabow had spent two years at Northern Michigan University and a semester at Grand Valley University before joining the Army.

 

Meanwhile, Sayer's mother, Donna Sayer of Cadillac, said he called her last weekend and told her his unit was helping Iraqis construct a checkpoint when a roadside bomb was set off.

 

"It blew him back about 10 feet," she said.  "He got peppered with shrapnel this time."

 

Sayer already had his ear drum burst in a roadside bomb incident in November, was injured by a blast that struck his patrol on Christmas Day in 2004 and again a couple of weeks later in another roadside bombing.

 

This time the blast put shrapnel in his shoulder that required stitches and a big piece hit him in the chest.  He was wearing an armored vest.

 

That night he started spitting up blood, Donna Sayer said.  He was sent to Camp Liberty near Baghdad for further tests.  The family has heard nothing more. 

 

"No news is good news," Donna Sayer said. She said he is supposed to rotate home for leave this summer.

 

"He's due home in July," Donna Sayer said. "We're going to Missouri when he gets home."

 

She said he is waiting until all the men in his engineering unit get their leave before taking his own.  After his leave, he will have to return to Iraq in September.

 

Donna Sayer said her son believes the Iraqi security forces are improving and he looks forward to coming home. 

 

The insurgent bombs are taking a toll.  "Just when I think it's getting better, it gets worse," Donna Sayer quoted her son.

 

 

Tucson Mother Reveals Troops Only Got New Vests In Mid-May 2005!!!

 

June 8, 2005 KOLD

 

It's seems everyday we're reporting on troops getting hurt or killed in Iraq.

 

As of today, the Department of Defense says almost 13-thousand troops have been injured while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and more than 16-hundred have been killed.

 

June 2nd, 30-year old Julio Durant from Tucson was fighting insurgents between Mosul and Tikrit when a car bomb exploded sending shrapnel into his arm.

 

Julio was on the operating table for 6-hours.  Instead of amputating, doctors were able to save his arm and he'll have about 50-percent use of it.

 

Julio went to Mountain View High School and Pima Community College.

 

His mother says there are 2-reasons why her son is alive today, the Lord and Senator John Mccain.

 

Maria Durant says Mccain made sure her son's platoon received new vests.  Julio received his couple weeks before his injuries.  [Meaning mid-May.  Meaning that they had old vests until mid-May!]

 

 

Terrorist Zarkawi-Clone Insane Religious-Fanatic Baby-Eating Monsters And Enemies Of Democracy And Freedom Adopt Fiendish Tactic:

They All Have The Same Name

 

June 06, 2005, AFP

 

AJIL SHARKIA, Iraq: Beneath a starlit sky, 60 members of the Iraqi and US special forces aboard four helicopters speed towards a village southwest of Baghdad suspected of harboring insurgent fighters.

 

"One minute ... 30 seconds ... go!"

 

Soldiers equipped with night vision equipment jump into the muddy fields and take cover by a wall as the helicopters disappear into the night.

 

"Snipers, go," a US captain whispers to troops near him who spread out to take up positions in houses identified several days earlier on satellite images.

 

Explosive charges blow in doors and set off cries that are quickly covered by the sounds of dogs barking and donkeys braying.

 

In one house, Iraqi soldiers gather a dozen women in one room and begin searching, throwing mattresses and blankets on the ground.

 

Sitting on a carpet with their heads covered by veils, mothers hold the youngest children, their dark, scared eyes following every move the troops make.

 

"Where are the men?" a young officer asks sharply.

 

"My two sons and my husband left three hours ago," the oldest woman replies.

 

She swears she does not know where they went, while another woman recites verses from Islam's holy book, the Koran, and rocks her son on her lap.

 

In another room, its walls covered with wrinkled images of Islamic holy sites, an Iraqi soldier tries to get information from a haggard boy lying on a bed.

 

"I don't know where my father is. I'm sick,'" he repeats after each question.

 

"When they heard the choppers coming they ran like rabbits," says the Iraqi commander, posted on a rooftop to coordinate the raid.

 

"We know that this village, which represents one large family, helps insurgents," he said. "Foreigners from Saudi Arabia pass through here on their way to fighting in Fallujah or Ramadi," two rebel hotspots nearby.  [Well, well.  So Fallujah is still a “hotspot?”  How can such a thing be?]

 

With a radio at his ear and a long list in hand, the officer tries to verify the identity of people picked up in other homes.

 

"They all have the same name; it's impossible," a US soldier tells him.

 

Outside, 15 men dressed in traditional white dishdasha robes, their hands tied behind their backs, emerge from a house and are lined up on the ground in front of a wall, bowed heads on their knees.

 

"Now we can identify them," the Iraqi commander says with a smile.

 

One by one they are brought before two cars that have their headlights turned on.

 

In the vehicles, two Iraqi intelligence agents who work for the army and who have infiltrated the town are tasked with the identifications.

 

"Bad guy, bad guy, bad guy," a US soldier repeats, following advice from the agents.

 

Of 15 taken into custody there, five are later released.

 

Suspects have numbers and two large Xs written on their foreheads and backs before being loaded into a pick-up truck that takes them to helicopters for transport back to Baghdad.

 

The Iraqi officer doesn't worry about cases of mistaken identity.

 

"Intelligence is not my job," he said.  "My mission is to come and arrest terrorists.

 

"Their IDs will be confirmed in Baghdad."

 

[Leave.  Now.  Game over.  Time to come home.  When sufficiently pissed, Iraqis have a tradition of rising up against their tormentors in huge numbers, simultaneously.  Consider a possible day when several millions have had enough of this lame shit.  Consider the odds.]

 

 

Laugh Or Cry Dept.

 

Time, June 13, 2005

 

The U.S. Special Operations Command, which has the lead role against international terrorism, has been dispatching two to four-person teams of psychological warriors to the Pentagon’s overseas commands.

 

They are armed with plans for pro-U.S. advertising campaigns to counter enemy propaganda, including that prepared by Islamic extremists.

 

 

 

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

 

 

The Most Ignorant News Story Of 2005, So Far

 

[According to DoD, the death rate for U.S. troops in Afghanistan is higher than the death rate in Iraq.  Now read what some stupid fool wrote, and some equally stupid editor approved.  T.]

 

GIs In Afghanistan Wage ‘Forgotten’ War

Troops battle tedium, but peril still lurks

Chicago Tribune, June 5, 2005

 

Little happens for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  Iraq is a war.  Afghanistan is like summer camp, but not really.  American soldiers do die in roadside bombings, but not nearly as frequently as in Iraq.

 

NEED SOME TRUTH?  CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER

Telling the truth - about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier.  But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces.  Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces.  If you like what you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)

 

 

TROOP NEWS

 

 

May Army Recruiting Drops:

Officers’ Divorce Rate Rises

 

June 8 (Reuters)

 

In fresh signs of the strain the Iraq war has put on the U.S. military, the Army missed its fourth straight monthly recruiting goal in May, while divorce rates for officers have surged, officials said on Wednesday.

 

The regular Army, in a previously undisclosed move, lowered its recruiting target for May, but still came up about 25 percent short of the easier goal, officials said. Had it not lowered its target from 8,050 to 6,700 recruits for May, the Army would have missed its original goal by about 37 percent.

 

Meanwhile, the divorce rate more than tripled among Army officers from 2002 to last year, Pentagon figures showed.

 

The Army, which also missed recruiting goals in February, March and April, has not lowered its goal of getting 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005, which ends Sept. 30.  The Army last missed an annual recruiting goal in 1999.

 

"We haven't thrown in the towel yet," Col. Joe Curtin, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said.

 

In fiscal 2002, which ended on Sept. 30 of that year, 1.9 percent of 54,542 married Army officers got divorced, along with 3.1 percent of 193,638 married enlisted soldiers.

 

In fiscal 2003, which included the first six months of the Iraq war, 3.3 percent of 56,078 married officers and 2.8 percent of 198,230 married enlisted soldiers got divorced. In fiscal 2004, 6 percent of 55,550 married officers and 3.5 percent of 202,134 married enlisted soldiers got divorced.

 

The 6 percent divorce rate for Army officers was far higher than the figure for officers in other military services in 2004 -- 1.5 percent for the Air Force, 1.7 percent for the Marines and 2.5 percent for the Navy.

 

 

Wounded Soldier Eager To Re-Enlist:

“It Would Just Be Good If All Of Them Could Come Home," Grandma Says

 

June 7, 2005 ABC

 

He survived a bombing in Iraq and lost his leg. But a local soldier says he wants to re-enlist. Sergeant Jerrod Fields from south Chicago returned home Tuesday from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

 

Fields' grandmother does not agree with the war in Iraq.

 

"There's so many getting injured and killed over there, it would just be good if all of them could come home," said Flora Turnbo, grandmother.

 

Fields says his amputation will not stop him from pursuing other dreams. He also wants to one day be a physical therapist for the Army.

 

"I have my family and everybody to support me so my spirits are high," Fields said.

 

 

Corpse Mutilation May Be A Problem

 

June 6, 2005 TIM WHITMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

A Marine commander at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune cleared 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano of charges in the death of two Iraqi civilians on May 26.

 

Pantano acknowledged shooting his victims more than 60 times [In the back.  When they were unarmed.] and hanging a sign over their corpses as a warning. 

 

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a private defense policy group, was among several observers who expressed surprise that he wasn't punished at all.

 

"We don't send people out there to mutilate enemy corpses," he said.  "I don't think that it's going to play very well in Iraq."

 

 

“Soldiers’ Stories You Won’t See On CNN”

 

[Thanks to PB for this item.]

June 2005 Maxim Magazine

 

BROKEN DREAMS

 

As 2003 kicked off, everything seemed to be on track.  I had a house and a secure job at a bank, and I’d been accepted to law school.  Best of all, I was very much in love with my live-in girlfriend.

 

In fact, I allowed myself to believe she was the one, honest and faithful, unlike all others.

 

Then my unit was activated as part of Bush the Deserter’s lust for war.

 

When I returned home, I discovered that my girl had been sharing my house and bed with another ”man,” if you call the sniveling, pencil- neck coward who would do such a thing while I was overseas serving my country, ostensibly protecting his freedom, a man.

 

Needless to say, I didn’t take it very well.  I took it so poorly, in fact, that I threatened them both with a firearm.  For this I am now serving two and a half to six years in prison for assault.  So much for law school.

 

Sean R Duross,

Mid-Michigan Correctional Facility

 

 

LIEUTENANT DUMB-ASS

 

As a combat medic, I was pulling morning perimeter security with two of my soldiers in Mosul.

 

At 0445 our brand-new 22-year-old, dumb-ass platoon leader started running beyond the perimeter and screaming,” l see enemy activity in that building!”

 

The building was 200 meters away, and as he began running toward it, without a helmet or flak vest, I said to him, “Sir, don’t go out there.”  He told me,” Staff Sergeant, don’t tell me what to do.”

 

He got about 30 meters and then he took a round in the neck.  I called out to my soldiers, who were each in their own foxholes, ”Watch my lane.  I’m going to get dumb-ass.”

 

After I stopped the bleeding with a pressure dressing, I got shot in the stomach through my flak vest.  When I returned to the world, his parents wrote me a letter thanking me for saving their son.  I wrote them back, asking them why they let their dumb-ass son join the army and told them he was going to get himself or someone else killed.

 

Now I have a hole and a tube in my stomach.  Just doing my job.

 

Staff Sergeant J. D.

 

THE OTHER WAR

 

L am currently in Afghanistan attached to an infantry platoon.  This place isn’t bad, if you like killing people and blowing shit up, which is what I do.  I’m a combat engineer.  I mess with land mines.  I get to do all the infantry shit, but basically I’m here to blowup shit.

 

U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve a lot more pay than what we get.  I’ve been shot at, rocketed, mortared, and lad’s.  This place is no joke.  But every year you get some lame-ass that sits on his ass and votes against a pay raise for the military. 

 

I’ve done everything the military has asked me to. I’ve been to Bosnia (1997—98), Korea (2001—02), and now here.

 

Another thing I’m pissed about is that pretty much the whole world has forgotten about us.  Some Americans don’t even know that there are still troops in Afghanistan.  It’s bullshit.

 

Sgt Todd McGuire

 

 

MADE FOR TV

 

A big mission came down that was hush-hush.  It was so secret that we had to make sure all the Iraqis we employed were off the camp by 1500.

 

At 1700 we were eating dinner, watching the news on TV.  We were talking about the night’s mission when, lo and behold, right there on CNN, a reporter was talking about it. We all looked at each other stunned.  We’d only found out about our orders two hours prior, and now it was all over the news.  That pissed us off, to say the least, because just about every Iraqi home has satellite TV.

 

Cut to the mission:  Our company is searching homes for weapons and bad guys.  We enter a house, and the woman who lives there greets us with tea and sodas.  She asks US, in very good English, “What happened?  We saw the news and thought you guys were going to becoming last night.”

 

Big shock, we didn’t find any weapons or bad guys.

 

I love the news media, but I ask one favor: Can they at least hold onto the story until after we hit our targets?

 

A grunt

 

 

PALACE GUARDS

 

My home in Iraq is a run-down, burned out building with broken windows, no electricity, and no plumbing.  As far as family, that consists of my fellow soldiers or ”battle buddies.”    

 

Most of the time we are stressed out because we are a group of hardworking men who come from different backgrounds to fight for the same cause.

 

Our chain-of-command lives the life of luxury in one of Saddam’s palaces, while my buddies and I fight the battle not only outside the wire, but in our living quarters as well.  We fight a continuous battle against scorpions, sand fleas, and mosquitoes in hopes that one of us doesn’t’ get seriously ill.

 

As for the platoon leader, Lieutenant ”Butter Bar,” all he does is think about himself.

 

He could care less about his troops as long as he gets a bed to sleep in and a shower to clean himself.

 

For the past six months, he has squashed all our morale and is stubborn to all ideas.

 

Spc. GIG. Joe

 

 

BEER GOGGLES

 

Contrary to popular belief, life in Baghdad isn’t all bad.  We have air conditioning, cable TV, beautiful women.., but not for the touching, unfortunately.

 

I really get mad when the chow hall runs out of chocolate syrup for my ice cream!  I mean how hard is it to keep that in stock?  We had a ”sports bar,” where we watched sporting events, but that burned down last week.

 

You can get a massage for two dollars.

 

It is so horrible here I can’t begin to tell you.  The only thing l am really deprived of—besides sex, convenience stores, half-naked women on hot days, and good food—is alcohol.

 

We are scheduled to rotate back to the States soon.  It will be a crazy drunkest then. 

 

They should really think about that rule: no alcohol in country.  It’s going to be like letting the hungry lion out of his cage to get the steak after looking at it for a year.

 

Not good.

 

Spc. Brant Gilmore

 

 

U.S. Military Sells Off New Gear As Surplus, GAO Says

 

Bloomberg.com, June 6, 2005

 

The Pentagon is wasting million of dollars by selling useable military gear, some of it new, as surplus, according to a General Accountability Office report.

 

 

 

IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP

 

 

The Good News:

Northern Oil Exports Resume

The Bad News: Report Is Wrong:

The Good News:

Exports To Resume In 10 Days

 

06/08/05 Reuters

 

Iraq's oil exports through its northern pipeline to Turkey remain halted and repairs following a large blast last week are expected to last about 10 more days, an Iraqi oil official said yesterday.

 

"There was a large blast on Friday and they are still repairing the pipeline," the official told Reuters.

 

A shipping source said earlier that exports from the Cayman oil terminal at the Turkish end of Iraq's export pipeline, which currently holds 3.6 million barrels in storage tanks, had resumed on Tuesday after a four-day halt.

 

MORE:

 

The Bad News:

Export Pipeline Closed By Resistance Attacks Friday Attacked By Resistance Today To Keep It Closed

 

6.8.05 Aljazeera.Net & Reuters & CBS Worldwide Inc. & June 7, 2005 Andy Mosher and Nasser Nourish, Washington Post Foreign Service

 

 

A new sabotage blast hit Iraq's northern oil pipeline to Turkey, setting back efforts to resume crude exports officials had predicted would restart in about 10 days, an Iraqi oil official said.

 

A main export pipeline just north of the refining town of Beiji was blown up early on Wednesday.

 

A Reuter’s correspondent at the scene saw smoke pouring from the site and firefighters in attendance.

 

Officials had expected flows to resume in about 10 days after repairs from a blast on Friday were completed.

 

It was not immediately clear how much further the new explosion would delay a resumption of exports but the oil official said the attack caused substantial damage.

 

An official at the Northern Oil company said the line affected was used to export oil to Turkey from Iraq's vast northern oil fields around Kirkuk.

 

The company official said there had been no exports at the time because of repeated attacks.

 

"This isn't the first time. They've targeted oil for a long time even when there is no exporting," he said on condition of anonymity.

 

In Kirkuk early Monday, unidentified gunmen shot and killed an Iraqi man, Mohammed Ghazi, who neighbors said had worked closely with U.S. forces in the city.

 

Resistance fighters killed two industry ministry officials in a drive-by shooting in the capital's New Baghdad neighborhood.

 

One police officer was killed and six injured in clashes between Iraqi police and fighters in northwest Baghdad after guerrillas attacked a police car.

 

In Mosul, police Col. Nash wan Hade was killed in a drive-by-shooting near his home.  The attackers then fired a rocket at his house, injuring five people — including two children.

 

An officer was shot and killed in eastern Mosul.

 

 

U.S. Supply Convoy Attacked:

Resistance Keeps The Field

A masked insurgent walks by a truck destroyed in attack in Habanera, located between Fallujah and Ramadi, June 6, 2005.

 

Convoy carrying supplies to a U.S. military base in Habanera when it was attacked by insurgent. (AP Photo/Abdul Nadir Saudi)

 

 

Assorted Resistance Action

 

June 08 2005 Independent Online & Aljazeera.Net & CNN

 

Ramadi – Guerrillas have captured 22 Iraqi [occupation] soldiers shortly after they left their base in western Iraq, a police official said on Wednesday.

 

The soldiers were captured on Tuesday on the road from Aim, near the Syrian border, to the town of Raw, said Shaker Sale, chief of police of Anbar province.

 

He said the soldiers were Shias from southern Iraq.

 

Security officials said two carloads of armed men fired on a vehicle carrying Industry Ministry officials Sake Jawed and Muhammad Hider, killing both.

 

Fighters also killed Mustafa Ashram, a translator working for US troops, as he was driving between the towns of Khakis and Baquaba, 60km northeast of Baghdad.

 

Resistance fighters in the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad killed Iraqi National Assembly member Fereydoun Abdul Qader and two of his security guards on Wednesday.

 

Qader, who represents the Kurdish National Assembly, was killed outside of his home.

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE

END THE OCCUPATION

 

Four Arrested In Netherlands Over Attacks In Iraq

 

08/06/2005 THE HAGUE (AFP)

 

Three Iraqis and a Dutch man of Iraqi origin have been arrested by authorities in the Netherlands in a probe into attacks against US military vehicles in Iraq, the Dutch prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

 

In a statement, it said the 32-year-old Dutch man was arrested at his home in the central town of Amersfoort and figured in an October 2003 video showing insurgents planning an attack on a US convoy near the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Fallujah in Iraq.

 

Police found videos, photographic films, weapons, ammunition and computer records containing amateur footage of suicide attacks, the prosecutor's office added.

 

Dutch authorities opened their investigation in 2004 following information from Dutch military intelligence.

 

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.

 

 

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

 

 

[Thanks to David Honish, Veterans For Peace]

 

 

What Does “Forever” Mean?

 

June 5, 2005 Tribune Editorial

 

More than two years after the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled, former Scottsdale Police Chief Michael Heidingsfield, speaking from the center of the desert storm, is not the voice of sunny optimism.

 

Heidingsfield, on leave from the Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission (he served as Scottsdale chief from 1991-98), is contingent commander of the State Department’s civilian police advisory mission.

 

He described the insurgency as alive and well, expressed the frustration he feels when he hears overly optimistic views of the situation, and at one point said, "It could go on like this forever."

 

But what does "forever" mean? This is the kind of legitimate question that a healthy democracy is not afraid to discuss.

 

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.

 

 

OCCUPATION REPORT

 

 

Returnees Came Back Looking For Freedom, Democracy:

“What We Found Was Just Misery And Displacement"

 

BASRA, 7 June (IRIN)

 

The initial euphoria of returning to their homeland has turned into frustration for many Iraqi refugees who are still struggling to eek out a living in the midst of deteriorating social conditions.

 

"We left Iraq because of the injustice of Saddam and we came back to find ourselves homeless.  My sons are jobless and we don't have money to buy a house, so we decided to live in the old naval academy," 60-year-old Um Hassan told IRIN.

 

Thirty-five-year-old Basri Hannon, who originally fled to Iran in 1992, says he expected to find at least a job to support his family when he returned to Iraq. Now he's not sure he did the right thing when he came home.

 

"We came back to Iraq believing that we were going to find a country with democracy and freedom but what we found was just misery and displacement," Hannon said.

 

"We went to the DoDM and they asked us about our displacement documents. We didn't have and so they refused to help us.  We have suffered a lot from the last regime and it's time for the new government to facilitate our lives and not make it more complicated," returnee Mohsen Jabbar, commented.

 

 

U.S. Gulag In Iraq Holds 6,000 Prisoners Convicted Of Nothing At All

 

09.06.2005 (Reuters)

 

Thousands of people are detained in Iraq without due process in apparent violation of international law, the United Nations said on Wednesday, adding that 6,000 of the country's 10,000 prisoners were in the hands of the U.S. military.

 

In Iraq, "one of the major human rights challenges remains the detention of thousands of persons without due process," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report to the 15-nation U.N. Security Council.

 

"Despite the release of some detainees, their number continues to grow.  Prolonged detention without access to lawyers and courts is prohibited under international law including during states of emergency," his report said.

 

A Security Council resolution adopted a year ago ending the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq let the U.S. military keep taking and holding prisoners even after the June 2004 handover of power to Iraqis, in apparent contradiction of the Geneva conventions.

 

The United States at the time of the handover held more than 8,000 "security and criminal detainees" in U.S.-controlled centers including the now-infamous Abu Ghraib detention center, where photographs of prisoners taken by U.S. soldiers documented a variety of gruesome human rights abuses.

 

The Fourth Geneva Convention, while allowing occupying forces to detain individuals, has no provision for internment by outside forces after an occupation has ended.  [Obviously, there has been no end of the occupation.  So what’s the UN whining about?]

 

OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

 

 

Welcome To Falluja:

“Huge Amounts Of Money But Nothing Is Done”

 

June 6, 2005 Thair al-Asaad, Azzaman, Watching America.com

 

A local Iraqi reporter went to look at the condition of Falluja's school buildings.

 

June 6, 2005

 

Six months after the U.S. war on Falluja, many residents still live in refugee camps and students attend classes in tents.

 

It is still hard to enter the city, as visitors must pass through U.S. checkpoints that utilize high-tech equipment to try and scrutinize anyone entering or leaving.

 

I was standing in a long queue at the al-Jisir Entrance. Many students were waiting to enter the city.  “Everyday we wait here for at least one hour.  The city is under a curfew which ends at 8:00 a.m. U.S. troops are not nice.  They try to humiliate us,” said Kahlil al-Talib, a high school student.

 

Another, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S. troops subject everyone to “intensive scrutiny” before allowing people to pass. “We are insulted and humiliated by them (U.S. troops). You can be checked several times before entering the city,” he said.

 

Kareem Abdulhussein, head of the city’s teachers union, denied reports that the city was being rebuilt with U.S. money.  “There are no serious efforts taking place to reconstruct the city and its schools.  Contractors receive huge amounts of money but nothing is done,” he said.

 

In addition, very little has been done to repair the 8,500 businesses, 60 mosques and 20 government offices that were damaged.

 

“The situation is extremely bad,” said Abdulla Saleh, a senior education official in the city.

 

He said that the few schools that survived the fighting were still occupied by either U.S. or Iraqi forces.

 

 

Insecurity “Has Increased Every Day In The Country”

 

BAGHDAD, 6 Jun 2005 (IRIN)

 

Ongoing insecurity in Iraq is hampering the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), forcing international organisations to leave the country or halt operations, experts told IRIN.

 

"The work in Iraq has become restricted for UN staff due to insecurity, which has increased every day in the country.  We have been depending on private companies to support us, which have been doing great and efficient work in the south of Iraq," Salomon Schreuder, cluster manager of mine clearance for the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) told IRIN from the Jordanian capital, Amman.

 

Some of the NGOs that have stopped clearing mines are Danish Church Aid (DCA), Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA), Handicap International (HI) from France and InterSOS from Italy.

 

 

Pirates Raid Tanker At Iraq's Basra Oil Terminal

 

June 8 (Reuters)

 

Pirates armed with AK-47 assault rifles attacked the crew of a large oil tanker waiting to load crude at Iraq's Basra oil terminal before making off with cash, an ocean crime watchdog said on Wednesday.  The raid happened at night on May 31 some 10 nautical miles from Iraq's deep water oil terminal where most of its crude oil is exported.

 

"They tried to enter the bridge claiming to be policemen. The master denied them entry and the pirates became violent...they assaulted the master causing him injuries and demanded money," the IMB said in a report.

 

A coalition warship arrived to assist following a mayday signal.

 

Jayant Abhyankar, deputy director of the IMB, told Reuters the incident raised questions about security at the oil terminal, Iraq's main outlet for the oil exports which provide nearly all of its income.

 

 

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