Saturday, May 27, 2006 11:17 AM
GI SPECIAL 4B6: 7/2/06
firstname.lastname@example.org Print it out: color best. Pass it on.
THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
Robson de Lima Barbosa of Brazil with his son, Corporal Felipe Carvalho Barbosa, at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point, North Carolina February 6, 2006. Felipe Carvalho Barbosa, a Brazilian native who recently became a U.S. citizen, was serving as an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment of the U.S. Marine Corps when he was killed in Iraq on January 28, 2006. REUTERS/Ellen Ozier
“Upon His Death My Brother’s Body Was Left To Rot Like A Dead Animal On The Side Of The Road”
[Regardless of what you think of the war, this is inexcusable cruelty. Thanks to D for sending in. T]
“This site was last updated 01/05/06 www.soldiersplea.com/
First and foremost, we absolutely support our troops fighting for our country. The purpose of this web site is to request signatures for a petition and to urge people to write their congress representative to establish proper mortuary services in Iraq for our fallen soldiers.
Our fallen family hero, 21 year old Sgt. Paul Saylor, died in Iraq on August 15th, 2005, and was returned to our family in an unnecessary state of decomposition so severe that viewing was impossible only 3 days after his death.
Our family feels that the viewing would have provided closure and given us a chance to say our final goodbye to our hero.
According to the Army Mortuary Services in Dover, Delaware, the current military procedures are to pack fallen soldiers in ice and then transport them to the United States Dover Air Force Base for a three step process:
1) Identification, which includes DNA, dental and fingerprinting
Paul was not even refrigerated.
If a proper mortuary facility was in place in Iraq, we would have been able to say our final goodbyes. We don’t want this to happen to another soldier’s family!
All fallen soldiers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and establishing proper mortuary services in Iraq will ensure no future family members are denied their final goodbye to their American hero who died for our country.
Please help us fight for those who fight for us by placing your name on the online petition on this website, and by going to the link www.congress.org, finding your government representative’s address, and letting them know that you will not stand for this disrespect to be done to one more American hero.
On August 15th, 2005, my brother, Sgt. Paul A. Saylor of the 48th Brigade, 108th Scout Division lost his life while fighting for our country in Iraq.
A HUMVEE he was in accidentally rolled off the road and fell down an embankment into a canal. He was knocked unconscious and drowned. Paul was 21. He was, is, and always will be a hero like every other soldier fighting for America.
Upon his return home my family was told that my brother’s body would not be viewable. We were told he was non-viewable due to injuries sustained from the accident.
This was not true. We asked our funeral director to open Paul’s casket and see if there was any way we could view him to say our last goodbyes.
He notified us that there was no way he could repair or cover the damage done to Paul due to neglect and no refrigeration.
Paul was non-viewable not because of injuries he sustained, but because our United States Army failed to care for his body.
There have been recent instances in which the Army has failed to give our fallen heroes the honor they deserve in arriving at their final resting place, such as not having proper military escorts at airports, but this goes much deeper.
In truth, upon his death my brother’s body was left to rot like a dead animal on the side of the road.
My family has talked and met with Army officials many times. At the formal investigation meetings, despite the fact that our questions on the treatment of Paul’s body were made known prior to each meeting, the Army representatives failed to even acknowledge the question as to why a fallen hero’s body would come back in such stages of decomposition as to be unrecognizable after such a short period of time (3 days).
The Army continues to investigate why my brother returned home in such deplorable condition. My brother, a hero, was neglected by the very institution he served.
Has the Army failed to give any more of our now over 2,200 fallen soldiers a proper, much less heroic, homecoming?
This must stop.
The funeral home director who helped us has received bodies from Vietnam and WW II and said they were received in much better shape than my brother and their families were able to say their final goodbyes.
He believes this is the first conflict in which our fallen soldiers have not been prepared (embalmed) while overseas.
On September 20th we met with Army representatives, one of which is from the brand new 30 million dollar mortuary facility in Dover. When we questioned the reason a proper mortuary facility was not in place in Iraq we were told it was debated and the decision was made to bring the fallen to Dover for preparation.
While the facility is state of the art, safe in the United States complete with an indoor reflection pool, it doesn’t do much good to the fallen heroes who are decomposing in Iraq due to the lack of proper facilities there (such as refrigeration).
There is talk of how much care is taken by the Army in such courtesies as the placing of uniforms on top of those who have fallen while in action, but what good is this if the bodies under those uniforms are left to rot?
Before presenting my brother’s uniform to my mother, the funeral director had to remove the uniform and have it dry cleaned due to the smell and seepage because of the “care” he was given prior to his arrival home.
Many times we as Americans lightly and loosely use words like freedom and patriot, but now is a chance for you to help our most patriotic in making sure that the Army policies for the handling of our fallen soldier’s remains are changed for the better. The Army should have proper mortuary facilities in Iraq to prepare our fallen loved ones.
When we asked why there are no proper facilities in Iraq, we were told by an army representative the following reasons: it would hurt troop morale; there is not enough manpower; and cost. [”And cost.” There it is. “Hey, they’re dead, let’s save some money.” You don’t think the true enemies of every member of the armed services are in Washington DC? Think again.]
How would troop morale be if they found out how their Brothers and Sisters in Arms were being treated after their deaths?
There are certified funeral directors and morticians eager to volunteer to help our troops. There may even be some in our Army’s brand new 30 million dollar complex that want to “volunteer” to help their Brothers in Arms.
Finally, an embalming machine cost is between 2,000-2,500 dollars. This cost is much less than letting one more of our troops be disgraced by their own.
No other soldier should be done like this, and no other family should have to go through this.
Please help, by placing your name on the online petition on this website, and by going to the link www.congress.org, finding your government representative’s address, and letting them know that you will not stand for this disrespect to be done to one more American hero.
Please help. Our fallen heroes deserve better!
What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to email@example.com. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Kentucky Soldier Killed
Bomb Kills Local Marine
1/31/2006 By Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer LA HABRA
Before he left for Iraq in September, Marine Lance Cpl. Hugo Lopezlopez told his mother he would buy her a new house when he returned.
The former La Habra High School football player never got the chance to fulfill the promise.
He died Friday at a Texas military hospital, where his mother, Maria, had maintained a vigil at his bedside ever since the 20-year-old Marine was critically wounded by a homemade bomb in November.
“We were all devastated to hear the news,” said City Councilman James Gomez of La Habra, where officials ordered flags flown at half-staff at City Hall and the local community center through Friday.
“We had been hoping and praying for a miracle because he is one of our own,” Gomez added.
Lopezlopez attended Washington Middle School in La Habra, then La Habra High, where he played football on the school’s 2003 CIF championship team. He enlisted in the Marines after graduating in 2004.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Marine officials said. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
On Nov. 20, while covering combat operations against enemy forces in Rawah, Iraq, the decorated Marine was critically injured by an improvised explosive device, military officials said.
On Tuesday, his family said the young Marine suffered burns over most of his body. He underwent burn surgery but died Friday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Throughout his hospital stay, his mother was at his side, family members said.
Before he left for Iraq, Lopezlopez had celebrated his 20th birthday at his family’s La Habra home with his mother, his father Fidencio, his 12-year-old brother Oscar, his 6-year-old sister Valerie and several friends, his relatives said.
Today, students and faculty at La Habra High will hold a moment of silence in his honor, said John Diaz, the school’s guidance technician.
A memorial service will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday at the La Habra Community Center, followed by a rosary service at 7:30 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Angela Merici Church in Brea. He will be buried at Memory Garden Memorial Park in Brea, his family said.
During his military career, had earned the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal, military officials said.
A fund has been established to help his family with funeral expenses. Contributions can be made through Wells Fargo Bank. Refer to the Hugo Fund, #6426539364.
Three other young men who grew up in the Whittier area have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
N.C. Marine Killed In Humvee Accident
Jan. 30, 2006 Associated Press, HIGH POINT, N.C.
A Marine from North Carolina who became a U.S. citizen less than a year ago was killed in Iraq when the Humvee in which he was a passenger overturned, family members said.
The accident occurred Friday in the Anbar province.
The body of Cpl. Felipe Barbosa, 21, of High Point has been returned to Dover, Del., but plans for the funeral service haven’t been announced. He was an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.
Family members, including his wife, Christina, 19, gathered Monday in High Point to remember Barbosa, who was born in Brazil. She had last spoken with her husband Jan. 23 by cell phone.
“We just talked a minute; they were having a sandstorm and the phone was breaking up. He said he was doing fine. He had told me not to worry about him; he was going to come back home; he wasn’t going to die,” said Christina Barbosa, who was married to her husband for 18 months.
Barbosa, who became a U.S. citizen in February 2005, had joined the Marines on Dec. 31, 2002. His interest in the Marines dated to his years in Brazil, where his father and grandfather had served in the military, said his mother, Iraci Dunbar of Greensboro. The family moved here in 1994.
He hoped to go to college and work as a foreign missionary when he finished his military service, his wife said.
Slain Midstate Soldier Had Soft Spot For Mother:
01/31/06 By LEON ALLIGOOD, Staff Writer, The Tennessean
MANCHESTER, Tenn.: Pfc. Brian J. Schoff was a bruiser of a young man, a hard-muscled soldier big enough to handle just about any kind of trouble that came his way, but he had one soft spot in life: his mama.
Yesterday, a teary-eyed Cathy Odle remembered her military son, age 22, who died Saturday in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries received from a roadside bomb while his 101st Airborne Division unit was on a convoy mission.
She will miss his voice and his smile, but, in particular, the mourning mother said she would miss those times when he bear-hugged her, leaned into her ear and said, “I love you, Mama.”
“He didn’t care who knew it,” she said proudly.
Odle regretted she will not feel her only child’s embrace again, but she does not regret how he was raised, or how he behaved, or how he answered his country’s call to a war that is questioned by many.
“I supported him. I’m proud of him, but I do wish they all could come home,” the mother said.
She sat at the dining room table of her home. Within easy reach were photographs of her late son, “B.J.,” as he was called. There was B.J. in his football uniform at Coffee County Central High School. He was No. 79, a defensive end.
“I could always remember his number because it was the year I graduated from high school, 1979,’’ she said.
On a nearby table there was photo of B.J. as a tyke, dressed in Superman pajamas and offering a superhero pose.
“He loved Superman. They called him that because he had a Superman tattoo on his left chest, right above his heart,’’ she said.
There was a photo of B.J. in uniform.
“How could you not like that smile? He had a beautiful smile.”
Pfc. Schoff (pronounced with a long “o,” so that that the name rhymes with “loaf”) joined the Army in 2003, a year after he graduated from high school. In part, he joined the military to fulfill a promise to a friend who had joined the Army the previous year.
“He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. He thought the military was the best job and it was a way he could do something for his country,’’ the mother said.
She said her son, a hunter and outdoorsman, thrived in the rough-and-tumble world of the infantry. He was a mortarman. He completed the rigorous Air Assault School at Fort Campbell.
Odle said her son liked being in the military. “He made a lot of friends,’’ she said.
The Odle home — the mother and Pfc. Schoff’s father, Brian L. Schoff of Michigan City, Ind., divorced when B.J. was a boy — is a tan-colored modular affair situated at the end of Jones Village Road, a lane of white gravel.
It was the crunch of the gravel that told her trouble was afoot on Sunday. Then she saw two men in uniform, a captain and a chaplain, walk toward the front stoop.
“You know, I knew before they even got to the door,’’ she said.
Odle, who remarried after her divorce, saw her son for the last time in November, just before the 4th Brigade Combat Team left for Iraq. She had talked to him on the phone several times since then. The last time was two days before he was killed.
“We had a long talk. We talked for quite awhile,’’ she said.
The memory of that final phone conversation has provided solace. Odle, who said her son would be buried in Coffee County, recognized that many grieving parents never had such an opportunity. “It has made this easier. I’m grateful to God for that,’’ she said.
Danish Troops Attacked Twice By Iraqis Angry About Mohammed Caricatures
06.02.2006 CPHPOST.DK ApS & PRAVDA.Ru
Anger over newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s caricatures of Muslim prophet Mohammed resulted in two incidents on Sunday in which Danish forces in Iraq were attacked by angry crowds, according to the Army Operative Command. No one was injured in either incident.
In the first incident, Danish troops attempting to help at the scene of an accident in the city of al-Qurnah, where a group of children had been hit by a lorry, were shot at by an angry crowd. “The locals could have thought that the Danish soldiers caused the accident, sparking the anger,” Defense Minister Soeren Gade said on Danish television.
The troops fired warning shots to disperse the crowd as they retreated from the area to take several children to a nearby hospital.
In another incident, a crowd threw stones at patrolling Danish forces.
10,500 IED Attacks In 2005:
February 6, 2006 By ERIC SCHMITT, New York Times Company
[T]he number of attacks with makeshift bombs against allied and Iraqi forces and Iraqi civilians nearly doubled in the last year, to 10,593 in 2005 from 5,607 in 2004.
The military says it is able to discover and defuse only about 40 percent of the bombs, and the result is deadly: 407 of the 846 Americans killed last year in Iraq were killed by the bombs, which are called improvised explosive devices.
The American military adviser team to Iraqi special police forces in Salman Pak, 12 miles southeast of Baghdad, said it had been seeing more sophisticated shaped-charge explosions since last spring.
A senior Army intelligence officer said the charges were being used mostly by Shiite militia groups, but added, “Our fear is that the technology will migrate to Sunni insurgent groups.”
REALLY BAD PLACE TO BE:
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
U.S. SERVICE MEMBER KILLED IN EASTERN AFGHANISTAN
2/6/2006 AFGHANISTAN COALITION PRESS INFORMATION CENTER. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN Release Number: 06-02-06C
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan: One U.S. service member was killed today when enemy forces northwest of Methar Lam in Laghman Province opened fire on a U.S. patrol.
The patrol quickly pursued the enemy, returning fire and requesting close-air support. The enemy fled the area. No battle-damage assessment was available.
In a separate incident south of Khost, Afghan and U.S. forces engaged two enemy fighters near a boarder control point killing one and wounding the other. Two border policemen also were wounded in the incident.
Ferriday Marine Dead After Being Wounded
January 31, 2006 By Tom Bonnette, The News-Star
Lance Cpl. Billy D. Brixey Jr., 21, of Ferriday, died Friday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany from wounds received in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense announced Monday that Brixey was wounded by an improvised explosive device while traveling in a convoy in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Brixey’s grandfather, Joe Brixey, said the Marine was riding in a military vehicle as a passenger when the explosion happened.
“They were on patrol in a convoy when they were hit by what they told me was a roadside bomb. It wounded him pretty bad,” Joe Brixey said.
The family learned of the Marine’s death Saturday when military personal arrived at the home of Brixey’s father, Billy D. Brixey Sr., of Vidalia, the grandfather said.
Collaborator Government Kills Afghans Protesting Muhammad Drawings At U.S. Occupation Base
06 February 2006 By Amir Shah, The Associated Press
Afghan troops shot and killed four protesters, some as they tried to storm a U.S. military base outside Bagram, the first time a protest over the issue has targeted the United States.
The worst of the violence in Afghanistan was outside Bagram, the main U.S. base, with Afghan police firing on some 2,000 protesters as they tried to break into the heavily guarded facility, said Kabir Ahmed, the local government chief.
13 people, including eight police, were wounded, he said.
Afghan police also fired on protesters in the central city of Mihtarlam after a man in the crowd shot at them and others threw stones and knives, Interior Ministry spokesman Dad Mohammed Rasa said.
Two protesters were killed and three people were wounded, including two police, officials said.
About 200 protesters also tried to break down the gate of the Danish government’s diplomatic mission office in the capital, Kabul, but failed, said police who were guarding the building.
The protesters then threw stones at the mission and beat some officers guarding it, as well as some guards at a nearby house used by Belgian diplomats.
Police wielding batons and rifle butts dispersed demonstrators walking toward the presidential palace. An Associated Press reporter saw at least three protesters bleeding from injuries, and at least seven more who were arrested and driven away in a police vehicle.
“Long live Islam! We are Muslims! We don’t let anyone insult our prophet!” chanted the demonstrators, many of whom appeared to be teenagers.
They also chanted, “Down with America!” and slogans against the Afghan and US presidents.
Some protesters moved toward the main American base in city and threw stones that smashed windows of a guard house. Police watched but did not intervene.
US soldiers later arrested two photographers outside the base and checked the memory discs of an AP photographer, but did not arrest him.
Thousands of other Afghans demonstrated peacefully in at least five other cities.
Attack In Kandahar
2.6.06 Wall St. Journal
A mine killed six Afghan policemen and wounded five others in Kandahar.
Endless Billions For War Profiteers While Pentagon Politicians Plan Smallest Pay Raise For Troops In 14 Years
February 06, 2006 By Gordon Trowbridge, Army Times staff writer
The smallest pay raise for troops in more than a decade and billions of dollars for expensive weapons programs highlight the proposed 2007 defense budget unveiled Monday by the Bush administration.
It includes a 2.2-percent military pay increase, a boost in special operations forces for the Army and Marine Corps, more than $10 billion for new F-22 and F/A-18 fighter jets, $11 billion for new ships for the Navy and $10 billion for the administration’s controversial ballistic missile defense program.
The 2.2 percent raise, tied to a government index of private-sector wage growth, would be the smallest since 1994, and is likely to meet with opposition from some on Capitol Hill.
The Iraq War And The Politics Of Memoir
Wed. February 22
February 06, 2006
As many of you know I have been involved with the organization Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Well one of our own, Camilo Mejia, will be here in NYC discussing his forthcoming book with two other Iraq vets, moderated by Christian Parenti (see below for more details).
I will definitely be there with my IVAW t-shirt on and I hope you can join me to support the troops! We’ll also have IVAW merchandise available for purchase. Help us build the local chapter and the national organization!
We want to help pack the house if possible.
The Nation correspondent Christian Parenti speaks with three young veterans of the Iraq war about the politics and aesthetics of writing memoirs.
Participants will include:
John Crawford, author of The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq;
Camilo Mejia, author of The Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff
Kayla Williams, author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army.
Christian Parenti is the author of, among other works, The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq
February 5, 2006 BRIAN BRADY, Scotland on Sunday, UK
Brigadier Ed Butler, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, said his troops were “apprehensive”, but well trained, equipped and prepared for the task ahead of them, and he was confident that they had the capability to “operate freely” in Helmand province.
More Chiseling Assholes At Work:
February 5, 2006 Paul Hutcheon, Scottish Political Editor
Tony Blair has declined to meet the mother of a teenage soldier killed during the Iraq war, provoking an angry reaction and condemnation from other politicians.
Blair’s refusal came in a letter to Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon died in a roadside explosion in Basra in 2004.
He also said the government would not backdate new compensation payments to include Gentle and defended the position of denying the dead soldier a pension.
Rose Gentle, an anti-war demonstrator, wrote to the Labour leader in November and asked for a meeting to discuss the conflict. The Prime Minister responded 10 days ago with a personal letter to the grieving mother.
He noted her request for a meeting but declined the invitation and offered no reason for the rebuff. “I am afraid a meeting will not be possible but I will try to answer the points you have raised as fully as I can,” he wrote.
He then addressed Gentle’s complaint that her son was not entitled to either a pension or the new compensation deal recently introduced.
Ministers changed the rules on compensation last year, after it was revealed British soldiers killed in Iraq got a maximum of £27,500 while relatives of Americans received up to £270,000.
The Government increased the payments but did not make the new deal retrospective meaning only applied to soldiers killed on or after April 1, 2005, a date that excluded Gentle and a number of others.
The Prime Minister defended the cutoff point in his letter: “This is because whatever particular conflict or date was decided, there would always be a group of families who would consider the new arrangements should have included them as well.” [Right. One can just imagine all those families demanding compensation for their soldier sons and daughters killed in the war in Iraq before the war in Iraq started. What a pack of stupid bullshit.]
He added that a cut-off point did not mean he valued Gordon Gentle’s life any less than the soldiers who died after him: “I am sorry that I cannot give you the answer that you were seeking on this point.
Rose Gentle last night described the letter as “patronising and insulting” and reiterated her call for a meeting.
“This letter makes me very angry. He’s the one who says our sons are fighting for their country and he is proud of them, so I think he should have a bit of dignity and meet with the mums. He was almost saying ‘bugger off’.”
SNP leader Alex Salmond said: “The Prime Minister should hang his head in shame.
“One aspect of the responsibility for sending people to war is you have to be able to face the relatives of those people who have fallen as casualties. The Prime Minister is going to be judged by his actions.”
How About “Where’s The Oil?”
Thanks to David Honish, Veterans For Peace, who sent this in.
Reminds me of the guy I met in 1977 at National Guard annual training at Ft. Hood.
Having just completed two years of Russian Linguist training for the Army, his new skills were well used in the motor pool of the 2nd Armor Division to which he was assigned.
He tried to teach me what he said was the most important phrase in Russian for a US soldier. “Don’t shoot! I know secrets!”
Feb 5 By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER, Associated Press Writer
Three men, battle-seasoned Army officers but dressed in civilian clothes, watch as their tutor writes Arabic script across the board.
“You want to say ‘Turn left,’” says Phillip Herlein. All three men reply: “Liff yasaar. Liff yasaar. Liff yasaar.”
The officers, on track to lead troops again, most likely in the Middle East, are part of a pilot program that is sending 21 Army officers to graduate school to learn about foreign cultures, business practices and languages, such as Arabic.
The Army wants its leaders armed with solid skills to help them navigate road signs, engineering plans and simple conversations.
“We’re trying to develop officers to be strategic thinkers and creative managers … who are culturally aware and have some language capability,” says Col. Mark Patterson, who’s in charge of policy for developing the Army officer corps.
Only In The Army:
[Thanks to Mark Shapiro, who sent this in.]
Feb 4 By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer
They are the Pentagon’s new “rules of engagement,” the diamond ring kind. U.S. Army chaplains are trying to teach troops how to pick the right spouse, through a program called “How To Avoid Marrying a Jerk.”
The “no jerks” program is also called “P.I.C.K. a Partner,” for Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge.
It advises the marriage-bound to study a partner’s F.A.C.E.S. – family background, attitudes, compatibility, experiences in previous relationships and skills they’d bring to the union.
It teaches the lovestruck to pace themselves with a R.A.M. chart: the Relationship Attachment Model, which basically says don’t let your sexual involvement exceed your level of commitment or level of knowledge about the other person.
Maj. John Kegley, a chaplain who teaches the program in Monterey, Calif., throws in the “no jerk salute” for fun. One hand at the heart, two-fingers at the brow mean use your heart and brain when choosing. [Isn’t that the Cub Scout salute?]
Comment >From David Honish, Veterans For Peace:
Gee, they do so well on career counseling, I can see why they might want to branch out into marriage counseling?
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
“Iraq Has Its Men, Its Honorable Resistance, And We Will Drive Out The Americans And Liberate Our Country Ourselves”
Feb 06, 2006 By Charles Levinson, The Christian Science Monitor [Excerpt]
BAGHDAD: Sheikh Osama al-Jadaan, head of the influential Karabila tribe in Sunni Arab-dominated western Iraq, is more politician than traditional sheikh these days. He’s given up his dishdasha and Arab headdress for a pinstripe suit with a silk handkerchief in his breast pocket.
He’s also turned away from supporting Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi and other foreign fighters in Iraq. “We realized that these foreign terrorists were hiding behind the veil of the noble Iraqi resistance,” says Mr. Jadaan. “They claim to be striking at the US occupation, but the reality is they are killing innocent Iraqis in the markets, in mosques, in churches, and in our schools.”
Still, many Sunni Arab hard-liners remain defiant, and downplay the apparent rifts between foreign elements and local insurgents.
“These are just a few sheikhs who want to get political power by claiming to be fighting the terrorists, and to be speaking for the resistance,” says Sheikh Abdel Salaam al-Qubaysi, a leading member of the Muslim Scholars Association, a hard-line Sunni group that draws much of its support from Anbar.
“They are slaves in the pockets of the occupation. They have no weight in the streets.”
Mr. Qubaysi scoffs at suggestions that Anbar’s tribes are starting to turn against the resistance.
Last month’s suicide attack on Sunni Arabs in Ramadi was not the work of the “noble Arab resistance,” he says. “We know that 40,000 militants from Iran have to come to Iraq,” he says. “ I don’t rule out that they did this to prevent Sunni Arabs from joining the Iraqi Army.”
And even if Zarqawi and his ilk can be defeated in Iraq, this is no guarantee that the rest will be smooth sailing for the US. The same poll that showed Iraqi disapproval of attacks on fellow Iraqis, also reported that 88 percent of Sunni Arabs and 41 percent of Shiites approved of attacks on US forces.
It’s a statistic that Jedaan, the tribal sheikh, is well aware of. “Iraq has its men, its honorable resistance, and we will drive out the Americans and liberate our country ourselves.”
Oil Pipeline Blown up in Southern Baghdad
Saboteurs blew up a main oil pipeline in southern Baghdad on Monday, a police source said.
“A huge fire flared shortly before 10:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) after saboteurs blew up a bomb under the oil pipeline that feed the al-Doura oil refinery with crude,” Captain Ahmed Abdullah, from Baghdad police, told Xinhua.
Firefighters and Iraq security forces reached the area, where black and thick smoke could be seen pouring into the sky, he said.
There was no report of human casualties, he added.
Basra Airport Closed:
February 6, 2006 ABBAS FAYADH (AP)
Iraq’s transport minister has called for the closure of southern Iraq’s Basra International Airport, a move the British military said Monday threatens the economic recovery of this southern city.
The dispute has led to the cancellation of three flights that were due to land Monday in Basra, 550 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, and adds to increasing tensions between local Shiite leaders and British forces based in the region.
Transport Minister Salam al-Maliki, a top Shiite legislator, told reporters that the airport’s closure has been ordered due to “complex” problems with British forces providing security at Basra airport.
Al-Maliki claimed British security measures were delaying airport employees being able to enter the airport by up to four hours.
“They claim they are security measures but there is a deliberate effort to delay the operation of the airport and create a problem for the ministry,” al-Maliki said.
He did not say when he ordered the airport closed, but strike action by employees began Sunday, according to the British military.
Flights on Monday by Royal Jordanian Airlines, East West Marine Aviation and Iraqi Airways were cancelled as a result of al-Maliki’s call, said British military spokesman Maj. Peter Cripps.
A Royal Jordanian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to make press statements, said the airline had been informed that the airport will remain closed until further notice.
“We have no information whatsoever when it’ll reopen, but we will keep communicating with airport authorities there to see when our flights could resume,” she said.
Assorted Resistance Action
Feb. 06, 2006 Associated Press & (BNA) & Deutsche Presse-Agentur & Reuters
Drive-by guerrillas killed two policemen and wounded two others in northern Iraq on Monday.
The slain and wounded policemen, both brothers, were attacked by armed men firing from a speeding car in the northern city of Kirkuk at 9:15 a.m., said police Capt. Firhad Talabani.
The source said that Hussein Ali Lazem was shot dead in the neighborhood of Sayf Saad when he was on his way to work.
In a separate incident, an Iraqi police checkpoint tower was damaged today by an explosion in al-Mafraq without any casualties.
However, a separate explosion in al-Hadid left four Iraqi soldiers wounded after the blast targeted their patrol late Sunday.
At Latifiya, 40 kilometres south of Baghdad, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and another four wounded when insurgents lobbed a mortar on their guard checkpoint, an Iraqi army source said. The source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that all victims were taken to hospital.
An Iraqi policeman was killed when an armed group opened fire on his house in Baquba, 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, police said adding that Hussein Ali Lazem was shot dead in the neighborhood of Sayf Saad when he was on his way to work.
The body of an Iraqi contractor working with U.S. forces was found on Sunday near Dujail, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
Resistance fighters killed an Iraqi policeman on Sunday near the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad.
Guerrillas also killed an Iraqi working as an interpreter for British troops based in Basra, police said.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
Good News For The Iraqi Resistance!
“In the States, if police burst into your house, kicking down doors and swearing at you, you would call your lawyer and file a lawsuit,” said Wood, 42, from Iowa, who did not accompany Halladay’s Charlie Company, from his battalion, on Thursday’s raid. “Here, there are no lawyers. Their resources are limited, so they plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices) instead.”
“A Cowboy On His Steel Horse Shot At Me”
February 5, 2006 A Citizen Of Mosul, Uruknet.info [Excerpt]
This Happened to Me
The four days of the Eid al-Adha holiday were calm and peaceful: no explosions, no roadside bombs, no clashes in the streets. But all that changed on Saturday, January 14th, the first day after the holiday.
I was driving home from my clinic around 5:15 p.m., the time I usually return home, because it’s not safe to be out past sunset. I was 50 meters away from my house, which is located on a service road parallel to a main street. The street and the service road are separated by a curb two meters wide.
While I was driving slowly on the service road, an American patrol, which consisted of three armored-car Strykers, passed by on the main street, moving in the same direction as I was.
When the first Stryker passed me, a soldier riding on top fired two shots in my direction. One bullet came in through the half-opened driver’s window and hit the window of the opposite door, smashing it to pieces. Thank God, somehow it missed me.
I stopped the car and got out, thinking that the soldiers might stop and explain why they had shot at me. But they didn’t. They kept on driving.
There were no other people in the vicinity, except a neighbor at a shop nearby, who saw the whole thing. The next morning I went to replace the broken window. Nearly every person I met in the repair shop had a similar tale to tell.
I wonder now, if the shot had had killed me, how would the troops have explained it?
Would I have become a terrorist killed while trying to explode himself near an American patrol?
Or perhaps I would only be collateral damage, killed while soldiers chased a terrorist?
Or maybe a terrorist had killed me, and the Americans chased him, though he managed to escape.
I will leave you to decide.
In the chaos of this occupation, innocents are killed by all sides.
But don’t we have the right to hate the people who are now occupying our country.
Shall we celebrate the freedom and democracy brought to us by the occupation in spite of the perils our citizens face?
Questions need answers.
Who will answer them?
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
BUSH CALLS SUPER BOWL A VICTORY IN WAR ON TERROR
February 5, 2006 The Borowitz Report
Moments after the Pittsburgh Steelers sealed their 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, President George W. Bush appeared on national television to call the Steelers’ win “a great victory in the war on terror.”
Mr. Bush said that the victory was a serious blow to Islamic terrorism because there was “credible intelligence” linking the Seahawks’ quarterback to al-Qaeda.
The President said that a series of warrantless wiretaps conducted by the National Security Agency had revealed “troubling information” about Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Additionally, during the game itself the NSA intercepted several radio communications between the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator and Hasselbeck’s helmet.
“We were able to identify Matt Hasselbeck as the number three man in al-Qaeda,” Mr. Bush said. “And now he has been destroyed.”
Reached in the Seahawks locker room after the game, Mr. Hasselback commented, “Well, I’m a little down, yeah, but I wouldn’t say I was destroyed.”
In Washington, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del) expressed skepticism about Mr. Bush’s claim that the Steelers’ Super Bowl win represented a major victory in the war on terror.
“I know the President is looking high and low for a shred of good news these days, but even for him this seems like kind of a reach,” Mr. Biden said.
Asked to react to Mr. Biden’s comments, Mr. Bush said he was “not surprised,” adding, “That’s just the kind of thing I’d expect to hear from the number five man in al-Qaeda.”
CLASS WAR REPORTS
Bush Cutting Civilian Benefits To Pay For War
[Thanks to David Honish, Veterans For Peace, who sent this in. He writes: The difficulties of waging an illegal war and cutting taxes for millionaires at the same time?]
Feb 6 By Caren Bohan and Andrea Hopkins, Reuters
President George W. Bush on Monday proposed a $2.77 trillion budget that cuts programs from Medicare to education, prompting Democratic criticism that the elderly and working Americans were bearing the brunt of his fiscal mismanagement.
Bush proposed a record $439.3 billion defense budget aimed at fighting unconventional terrorism and major conflicts with other nations if necessary. On top of that, the White House will seek new financing for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[Thanks to NL, who sent this in.]
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.
OCCUPATION ISN’T LIBERATION
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. 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
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