GI Special
Friday, March 3, 2006 8:45 AM

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“Most Of The Guys Here Are Antiwar”
“These Are Guys Who Have Had Injustices Committed Against Them, And They Understand That Soldiers Are Dealing With These Same Injustices”
Stanley Howard On Prisoners Against the War:

February 24, 2006 Socialist Worker

PRISONERS BEHIND bars in Illinois jails have formed a new antiwar group: Prisoners Against the War.

One of the leading organizers of the group is STANLEY HOWARD, a former death row prisoner in Illinois who was pardoned by former Gov. George Ryan in 2003. Though still incarcerated for another crime he was falsely convicted of, Stanley has become a leading voice in the struggle against the death penalty and the criminal injustice system.

Working with Tom Barton of the Military Project Organizing Committee, which publishes GI Special, a daily Internet newsletter that gathers news and information helpful to soldiers and military families, Stanley and the other members of the new antiwar group came together last year. GI Special has since published essays from several of them, and members of Prisoners Against the War have been writing letters to show their support for resisters within the military.

Here, Stanley talks to ALAN MAASS about the formation of Prisoners Against the War.


WHY DID you decide to form Prisoners Against the War?

I’VE BEEN writing to Tom Barton for two or three years now.

After Bush started his war, Tom was telling me about the Military Project, and I showed interest and wanted to join, even though I was incarcerated. They agreed and liked the idea of me participating in their committee, so I joined the Military Project somewhere back in June 2005.

After feeling real good about joining the Military Project and knowing that I was actually giving my voice to the antiwar movement, I was talking to a lot of the guys here in Statesville, and I discovered that 99 percent of them are also against the war.

And I was like: “Wait a minute. If every last one of the guys here are against the war, then why are we not using our First Amendment right to speak out against one of the most major social issues of our day?”

That’s when I decided to form a committee, and I asked a few guys to help me form Prisoners Against the War. And it’s still growing today.

CAN YOU talk about how you see your opposition to the war connected to your opposition to the injustices of the justice system?

THAT’S ONE of the reasons why a majority of the guys here are against the war.

They understand that the government is not to be trusted, and you can’t allow a few guys in these tobacco-filled rooms to make decisions that are going to affect the entire world. 

These are guys who have had injustices committed against them, and they understand that soldiers are dealing with these same injustices.

WHAT ARE the main issues for people to think about in understanding the opposition to the occupation?

I HAVE a million reasons as to why I’m against the war, but the most major one is that war causes nothing but destruction and grief on both sides. I just want the killing to stop. I don’t know what it’s like, but I can imagine what a grieving family is going through, that has lost a son or daughter, or a father or mother.

I’m also against the war because of the weapons of mass destruction that weren’t found.

And there’s also people who join the Army because they think this is the way to climb out of poverty and get ahead.

A lot of people who join today’s Army or military aren’t joining because they’re warmongers, like some of these political leaders. They join for the money and for an education, as a stepping-stone for getting ahead. They’re not really with this war.

I’m sure there are a lot of people in Iraq who didn’t like the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein, but they hate the American government more, and now they feel like they’re being oppressed even worse.

There’s also a religion factor, about non-Muslim people being on holy soil, like the U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. Muslims don’t want American people occupying their land.

So it’s not that Iraqis are resisting freedom or their rights or voting.

No, they are resisting, in my opinion, American occupation.

So I am agree that if that same thing was to happen here in America, of a foreign country occupying our country for any reason, the American people would take up arms also to try to drive them out.


“British Soldiers Near The Body Of Their Comrade”

British soldiers stand near the body of their comrade killed in Amara February 28, 2006. Two British soldiers were killed and a third was wounded in an attack on their patrol. REUTERS/Salah Thani

Multi National Force West Soldier Killed


CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq: A Soldier assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Multi-National Force-West died March 1 due to enemy action while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province.

101st Soldier Dies From Wound


A 101st Airborne Division infantryman from Oklahoma died Friday in Iraq of a noncombat-related gunshot wound, the Army confirmed yesterday.

Army Pfc. Joshua Francis Powers, 21, of Skiatook, died in southern Baghdad. His mother, Patricia Powers, said her son had been in the country about 2∏ weeks.

The Army said Powers enlisted in July and arrived at Fort Campbell in December. He was assigned to the A Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Vermonter Killed

Spc. Christopher Merchant, 32, of Hardwick, Vt., was killed Wednesday, March 1, 2006, in a coordinated attack on Iraqi police headquarters in Iraq, the National Guard said Thursday. (AP Photo/Vermont National Guard)

3.2.06 Associated Press, COLCHESTER, Vt.

Vermont National Guard specialist Christopher Merchant was killed in Iraq, the National Guard says.

Merchant was serving in the Ramadi area with Task Force Saber, Saffo said.

He was the 21st U.S. service member with Vermont ties to be killed in action in Iraq.  A 22nd soldier died of natural causes in Kuwait while waiting to enter Iraq.

Merchant was the sixth member of Task Force Saber to die since the unit arrived in Ramadi last July.

Merchant was a member of C Company of the 1st Battalion of the 172nd Armor Regiment based in Morrisville.

C Company was the only unit from the 1/172nd that was assigned to use tanks in Iraq.

A Soldier From Mastic And Two Comrades Are Killed By An Improvised Bomb In Iraq

Thomas J. Wilwerth

[Thanks to Alan S, who sent this in.]


Army Spc. Thomas J. Wilwerth, 21, of Mastic, was killed in Iraq last week with two other soldiers when an improvised bomb exploded near their Bradley armored vehicle, the Pentagon said yesterday.

The three soldiers had been on a mission to retrieve another Bradley that was disabled in an earlier bomb attack, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported last night.

Wilwerth became at least the 17th resident of Long Island and the 49th from Long Island and New York City combined to have been killed in uniform in Iraq since American troops were sent there in March 2003.

Five area GIs, including four from Long Island and one from New York City, have been killed in Afghanistan.

Thierry Wilwerth, who was his son’s crew chief in countless go-cart races that won the boy 16 trophies, said he was surprised that his son wasn’t protected in the armored vehicle.

“I thought for him being in a Bradley he would be safe,” he said. “I figured he would have been all right in the tank.”

Two N.H. Guard Members Wounded

March 2, 2006 The New York Times Company, CONCORD, N.H.

Two New Hampshire National Guard members have been wounded in Iraq.

Sgt. Jose Pequeno of Lisbon and Private Richard Ghent of Rochester were wounded Wednesday in an attack in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

Details are sketchy, but the guard says the two were serving with a Pennsylvania combat brigade.

Pequeno is the police chief in Sugar Hill and a part-time officer in neighboring Lisbon. Family members say Pequeno suffered a head wound and was flown to a military hospital in Germany.

Ghent’s mother, Nancy Williams of Rochester, said her son was wounded in the back and called to give her the news himself. She said he was being treated in a hospital in Baghdad.

Latest Casualty Illustrates Vehicle’s Vulnerability:
“They Are Getting Better At Countering Our Measures”


The soldier from Mastic who became the latest Long Island casualty of the war in Iraq was traveling in an armored vehicle that his family thought would keep him safe.  But more and more, insurgents are successfully targeting some of the Army’s toughest vehicles.

“I thought all this metal around him would protect him to a certain point,” said Thierry Wilwerth, whose son, Army Spc. Thomas J. Wilwerth, was killed last week when an IED, or improvised explosive device, exploded near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. “I always knew there was a chance.”

Defense analysts say insurgents also have become better at the grim task of tracking U.S. troop movements to identify vulnerable targets, and arranging roadway bombs so they will do the most damage.

Insurgents have often linked several artillery shells together to produce blasts strong enough to hurl 20-ton vehicles through the air.

“Three things are happening,” said Daniel Goure, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, in Arlington, Va. “They are getting better at hiding them, they are getting better at countering our measures to adapt and in some cases they are putting out bigger devices.”

In the past six months, 35 GIs have been killed by roadside bombs while riding in Bradleys, Abrams tanks or Stryker armored vehicles, compared to 23 GIs killed in the heavily armored vehicles during the prior 18 months.

Yesterday, the Pentagon announced that another soldier had died in an IED attack on an armored vehicle. Spc. Joshua M. Pearce, 21, of Guymon, Okla., was killed in Mosul Feb. 26 when an IED detonated near his Stryker military vehicle.

The vulnerability of armored vehicles has come as a shock to families who have lost soldiers to attacks against armored vehicles.

Lorraine Montefering, whose son, Staff Sgt. Jason Montefering, 27, was one of four men killed in July when a roadside bomb pierced the armor of the 22-ton Bradley he was traveling in and flipped it over, said, “I think it was the size of the bombs. They are getting so extremely big you know.”

“All I know is that they were all good men,” said Montefering, 65, of Parkston, S.D. “And they are all gone.”


U.S. soldiers in west Baghdad, Feb. 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)




KANDAHAR, Afghanistan: Seven Coalition service members were injured and one died after their vehicle rolled over in Kandahar Province today.

The service members, from the Coalition’s Multi-National Brigade South, were on a routine patrol in an armored vehicle west of Kandahar City .

Four service members were evacuated by air to the Coalition hospital at Kandahar Airfield. One service member died soon after arrival. Two are in critical condition and one is in stable condition there.

Four service members were evacuated by armored ambulance to the provincial reconstruction team site in Kandahar City, where they are in stable condition and also receiving medical treatment.


63 Per Cent Think The War On Iraq Not Worth The Loss Of American Life And Other Costs

March 2, 2006, (Angus Reid Global Scan)

Many adults in the United States regret their government’s decision to launch the coalition effort in Iraq, according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News. 63 per cent of respondents think the result of the war with Iraq was not worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq.

Injured Marine Returns To U.S.

Mar. 02, 2006 By Susanne Nadeau, Herald Staff Writer

The Grand Forks Marine injured in Iraq last week is being cared for at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., according to his father, former Grand Forks City Council member Duane Lunak.

Lance Cpl. Ben Lunak, 21, was injured when the Humvee he manned drove over a roadside bomb, according to his father.

Lunak traveled east Tuesday, hoping to meet his son at the hospital there.

Ben Lunak, who was in an induced coma, arrived just two hours before his father’s plane landed. Lunak suffers from multiple injuries, including a broken pelvic bone, compound fractures in his right leg and a stomach area that’s pretty tore up, according to his father.

But there is good news.

“He knows we’re here. That’s the important thing, he knows we’re here,” he said by phone Wednesday.

The family, including Lunak’s ex-wife, Cindy, and their 24-year-old daughter, initially was told that Ben’s right leg might have to be amputated from the knee down.

“They might be able to save his leg now,” Lunak said. He hasn’t been able to speak to his son.

Doctors said they will be able to remove Lunak’s son’s ventilator by Friday. Until then, Lunak expects his son will undergo several surgeries.

Lunak said his son had surgery to remove his spleen Wednesday.

It’s been an emotional roller-coaster.

“I don’t know how to describe it. It’s up one minute, down the next. I guess I am just trying to be strong for him,” Lunak said.

Naval Aviators Being Sent To Iraq To Look For IEDs:
“A Desperate Administration In A Desperate Situation”

But to take a Naval Aviator, teach him in a couple of months how to fire a rifle and command Army or Marine troops on the ground, and much less put him in some experimental platform to detect and disarm IED’s because the Army and Marine experts are tired and out of people?? That’s like asking a surgeon to become the coach of an NFL Football team!!

March 02, 2006 From C, Firebase chat


Quick disclaimer: this is all via the ‘rumour mill’…

Last Friday night some military friend(s) of mine got some news. For them its either good or bad news, depending on their point of view. 

A very few of them will see it as a chance to get closer to the “action”. But for most, and unfortunately, its a bit shocking. 

As for me it’s a little earth shattering, especially since one of them was my replacement when I left the Navy. 

Quick background… when I was in the military, I was an E-2C Hawkeye Naval Flight Officer. That means I flew around in a radar equipped plane and directed the air-war. That’s a VERY watered down description, but it covers the basics. 

My friends and others that got ‘the news’ are of varying but similar backgrounds. As with several occupations in the military, they have some extensive EW training (Electronic Warfare). Which sets the stage…

It seems that they all fall into a particular category at the moment – they’re all on shore duty (after being on sea-duty for several years… it’s called ‘payback’), and they all have at least one year left at their current duty-station. Life right now is supposed to be focused on family, training others to do what you’ve done already, and supporting those in the Navy that are currently at sea.

But on Friday night, some of them got a phone call, with a twist.

By and large, they’re being ordered to supplement the Army and Marines on the ground in Iraq.

That in itself isn’t that strange, since the current trend has been to try and give the forces that have been on multiple deployments a break by rotating Air Force and Navy personnel into positions that could be easily ‘substituted’. 

But… here’s the twist. They’re manning up a new unit – made up of a mix of personnel, to become field combat teams in charge of detecting IED’s. Improvised Explosive Devices. WTF???

I will pledge loyalty to my Navy brethren: they are capable of doing the tasks they are trained for, and then some. 

But to take a Naval Aviator, teach him in a couple of months how to fire a rifle and command Army or Marine troops on the ground, and much less put him in some experimental platform to detect and disarm IED’s because the Army and Marine experts are tired and out of people?? 

That’s like asking a surgeon to become the coach of an NFL Football team!!

In my book, that’s called a “Desperate Administration in a Desperate Situation”.

I wish I could prove it to you. I wish I had documentation. But I don’t. Not yet.

Somebody out there is going to say (like my naive friend at work – notice I still call him ‘friend’), “well they’re in the military it comes with the territory”. 

To those people I say: “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about”. The military is as specialized as a hospital – you don’t go throwing people into positions that they’re not trained or prepared for because the doctor is out to lunch.

I wish them luck, and wonder how long till people like me in the IRR get activated. I also wonder how long till people like YOU get drafted. You DO know that the maximum draft age is being changed to 40, don’t you??


The coffin containing the body of U.S. Army Cpl. Sergio Antonio Mercedes Saez who died recently in Iraq, at his funeral in San Pedro de Macoris, east of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Feb. 20, 2006. Sergio was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

“Stop Hiding Behind Flag Draped Hero Masks”

March 1, 2006 Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer,

One father of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq writes that his son’s death and other deaths “will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. 

“Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers, may be wasted as well.”

“I Would Question As To Whom Is At Most Risk, The British Troops In A War Zone Or Your Wife Driving Round London”

March 2, 2006 Audrey Gillan, The Guardian

The mother of a British sergeant killed in Iraq last October delivered an impassioned letter to Tony Blair yesterday calling for the removal of British troops from an occupation which “has not achieved anything positive”.

Pauline Hickey, mother of Sergeant Christian Hickey, 29, of the 1st Battalion, the Coldstream Guards, who died while on foot patrol in Basra, criticised the lack of armoured Land Rovers for her son’s regiment, pointing out that Cherie Blair travels in a government-provided bulletproof vehicle.

She wrote: “I would question as to whom is at most risk, the British troops in a war zone or your wife driving round London.”

As well as her own letter, Mrs Hickey was among parents who have lost family members in Iraq who delivered a joint letter to 10 Downing Street.

They called Mr Blair a “coward” for his refusal to meet them. He was at the House of Commons at the pre-arranged time for the delivery of their letters. The protest came as two soldiers who died while on patrol in Iraq on Tuesday were named yesterday as Private Lee Ellis, 23, and Captain Richard Holmes, 28, both of the Second Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

The joint letter, signed by the families of 18 servicemen killed in Iraq who are members of the Military Families Against the War group, said: “Some of us believed in the war at the outset; others not. All of us now, though, believe it was based on a series of lies: your lies. A meeting might give you pause for thought and to reconsider.”

Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon, 19, of the Royal Highland Fusiliers died in June 2004, revealed that she received a personally signed letter from Mr Blair two weeks ago which said: “I am afraid a meeting with you will not be possible.”

[Thanks to David Honish, Veterans For Peace, who sent this in.]

War Profiteers Schemed How To Give Iraq Troops Spoiled Food

March 02, 2006 By Rick Maze. Army Times staff writer [Excerpts]

Senate Democrats unveiled an anti-war profiteering plan Thursday they said is aimed at making sure troops and taxpayers get their due.

Among the complaints probed by Democrats are that contractors were paid for meals they never provided to troops and that spoiled food or food beyond its manufacturer’s expiration day were fed to troops. This included frozen chicken, beef, fish and ice cream.

A food production manager told Democrats that spoiled food was the result of poor refrigeration and long supply lines, and that there were times when food refused at one U.S. base was sent to another U.S. base in Iraq as long as the boxes and shipping records didn’t show why the food was rejected.


Assorted Resistance Action

02 March 2006 Aljazeera & IBN & Reuters & QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press

In the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit resistance fighters killed seven Iraqi soldiers and four policemen at a checkpoint early on Thursday.

The officer said that “the attack occurred at around 1.30am (2230 GMT on Wednesday) when the resistance group, travelling in four cars, attacked the checkpoint near al-Dawr”, 150km north of Baghdad.

The attackers also burnt some police cars at the checkpoint, the officer said.

A device went off as Interior Ministry commandos drove through the Sunni-dominated Amariyah neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing one of them and injuring three, police 1st Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq said.

Earlier, guerrillas attacked the joint checkpoint in al-Dour, about 90 miles north of Baghdad, killing six soldiers and four policemen, said police Lt. Qassim Mohammed. The attackers set fire to the bodies before fleeing the area, he said.

Al-Dour is the home town of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the deputy prime minister under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

In Mosul, guerrillas attacked an Iraqi police patrol around midday, killing four officers in the city’s al-Suker neighborhood.

In western Baghdad, an Iraqi police commando was killed and two other commandos wounded in a roadside bomb attack on their patrol in the al-Jihad neighborhood.

About 20 miles south of Baghdad, an oil pipeline was burning in al-Musayyib, following a rocket-propelled grenade attack by insurgents Wednesday night, a Hilla police spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, the pipeline runs from the al-Dora refinery in Baghdad to al-Musayyib power station.

Resistance fighters shot at firefighters as they rushed to the scene, wounding two of them. Police arrived a short time later and engaged the insurgents in an hourlong gun battle, the spokesman said. Police detained seven people, three who had been wounded in the shootout.

Local police said a roadside bomb killed one police commando and seriously wounded another in the town of Salman Pak, south east of Baghdad.

Insurgents killed police lieutenant Abbas Jaleel while he was travelling in his car in western Baquba, a police source said.

Two policemen were seriously wounded on Wednesday when they were ambushed by militants in Musayyib, police said. Supporting police force came to the scene and seized seven militants and 200 rockets, police added.
A convoy of Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi’s bodyguards was attacked in Baghdad, police said. Six bodyguards were rushed to Yarmouk Hospital, where one died of his injuries, said Dr. Muhanad Jawad.



“His Lawyers Promptly Subpoenaed His Entire Chain Of Command, Including The Top General Of Military Intelligence”

However, I must say I was rather surprised when some weeks later a couple of soldiers, Spec/4s Mike McDougal and Newkirk, both from the 527th Military Intelligence Batallion in Kaiserslautern, showed up and plunked transcripts of ten days of these non-existent taps from our home and office phones onto the table. They included conversations directly referring to the Johnson case, defense witnesses, details. “Publish this”, they said. Eventually we did, and much ensued (3).

From: Max Watts
To: GI Special
Sent: March 02, 2006
Subject: Munich

We Media people often worry greatly about Big Brother, how the States, their various Agencies, Police Forces, spy on us. Pass new Patriot Acts in the USA, Howard’s new “Anti-Subversive”, “Anti-Terrorist” Laws (with, of course, Beazley’s full Me Too approval) in Oz [Australia], same, or similar, laws in Britain.

How “they” look over our shoulders, breathe down our necks. Yeah. Of course. We should. Worry.  

But before we terrify ourselves into utter passivity and conformism, we should remember that every thesis produces, perhaps with delays, sometimes indirectly, its contrary. Its opposite. An Anti-thesis.

I thought about this again when I watched Spielberg’s Film: Munich. No, I won’t write a(nother) film review, I’ll leave that to the buffs. But some memories came up about how these, the real Munich, events, indirectly impinged on my personal, and journalistic, life..

In 1973 I was working as a journalist in Heidelberg, also for the Overseas Weekly, a rather feisty paper often dubbed the “Oversexed Weekly”. 

Most of our readers were rank and file GI’s from the 7th US Army stationed in West Germany. We were not very popular with the Command. 

I had recently covered the court martial of one Pfc Larry Johnson, a Black GI who had “gone on strike” to protest US Army support for the Portuguese colonial war against Mozambique (4).

In mid-trial the military prosecutor came out with information, incorrect information at that, which he had most probably obtained from tapping our telephone lines. The Judge, one Captain Green, asked the trial counsel (prosecutor) if there had been any such taps. The Prosecutor replied indignantly: “Of course not!” As a historic figure, British Call Girl Mandy Rice, commented in a similar situation: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”

We then published a rather sarcastic story about the illegal American taps on our (German, civilian) telephone lines, their alleged non-existence. GI’s read it, and laughed. 

However, I must say I was rather surprised when some weeks later a couple of soldiers, Spec/4s Mike McDougal and Newkirk, both from the 527th Military Intelligence Batallion in Kaiserslautern, showed up and plunked transcripts of ten days of these non-existent taps from our home and office phones onto the table. They included conversations directly referring to the Johnson case, defense witnesses, details. “Publish this”, they said. Eventually we did, and much ensued (3).

Why had they decided to go public, take a certain risk ?    

The GI’s gave separate, sometimes quite divergent, reasons. One brought us back to events at the 1972 Olympics, commemorated by the Spielberg Film: “Munich”. To a, perhaps not so minor, detail, not mentioned in the film.


A Palestinian “commando” (now we should say “Terrorists”) had taken Israeli athletes captive and had killed several of them.   

The U.S. army’s Military Intelligence units, part of the anti-Palestinian team, found to their dismay that although their electronic wizardry would pick up conversations hundreds of meters away, no one understood what was being said. The “terrorists” were speaking in Arabic. It was most mortifying, particularly since Munich was the home of the 66th MI group, Military Intelligence Headquarters in Europe. 

(I asked McDougal if the (very confused) Germans had no Arab linguists. He replied that they did, but the MI documents were all marked: NOFORN: no Foreigners were allowed to see them. Of course Germans in Munich are, as far as the US Army is concerned, Foreigners).

McDougal, and others, told us then and later that in fact “Munich” had been a total cock-up, snafu. Situation normal, all Fucked Up. 

Not only on the part of American Military Intelligence, their own organisation, for which they showed most utter contempt: “But” (so they and others later) “the Germans were even worse.”  

Apparently the post-mortems showed that nine of the 11 Israeli athletes were killed by the bullets of the pathetically untrained German policemen. (2).

Closing the door after the horse had gone in, Arabic specialists were now sent to each of the three Military Intelligence Battalions in Germany. McDougal, whom the US Army had trained in Texas as an Arab language specialist, got the 527th in K-town, Kaiserslautern.  

As there was a dearth of Arabs to spy on, they wound up keeping tabs on “dissidents”. Anti-Vietnam war Resister “RITA” GI’s, lawyers, journalists, the American Democrats abroad, German religious missions, priests… American and German anti-war students..

McDougal, and others, made the point: “Military Intelligence is an Oxymoron, a nonsense. You can’t be intelligent in this outfit. The regulars, “Lifers”, start dumb, stay dumb, stay drunk, put in their 20 years and get out. When they recruited new people who started thinking about what we are doing, well.. in my case because of Munich, Arabists, (but there were no more Palestinians) “I soon found I was spying on people just like me. And I got tired of being a pig.”

Within hours of our first stories hitting the American mainstream media (1) Military Intelligence Headquarters Munich launched a fullscale investigation to identify and “seal” the leaks. A special team was dispatched to the 527th MI Batallion in Kaiserslautern, McDougal, to his amusement, was appointed to drive and lead them around the unit. 

As we had warned him, it would only be a matter of time before he was identified, but he, though not all of the other soldiers who were now, sometimes anonymously, revealing MI misdeeds around Germany, had counted on that from the beginning. Hours before the investigators, proceeding down the ranks through the Batallion, queried him, he had given a “full face” interview to CBS national television in an offbase hotel.  

Asked for his motives, McDougal replied: “When I joined the Army swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. Many of the things we do here; spying on lawyers defending anti-war soldiers, on the (American) Democratic Party branch in Berlin, on religious (nb: Christian!) brotherhoods, were obviously unconstitutional. I complained, tried to go through “channels”, my superior officers. They told me to shut up, that while this, yes, was unconstitutional in America, here, overseas, in Germany, we could do what we liked. Even against other Americans …  

The interview went out over CBS national evening news (5).

McDougal refused to answer any question without his lawyer. He was a little roughed up, but “could take that”. His security clearance was immediately cancelled, he was barred from the “company area” and put to painting the outside fence (where he was better able to give further media interviews).  

A military trial procedure with any number of charges was initiated against him. 

His lawyers promptly subpoenaed his entire chain of command, including the top general of Military Intelligence in Europe, citing the need to reveal the underlying causes for McDougal’s “offenses” at the up-coming courtmartial.  

After some days of hesitation, during which the German media queried the use of Germany’s nationalised telephone system, some of its employees, for American spying on German citizens, politicians, institutions, wise heads in Heidelberg (US Army Headquarters, Europe) and, probably, Washington, intervened. All charges against McDougal were dropped, his court martial “never happened”.  

McDougal was transferred to an Infantry Unit. Some initial harassment stopped when he filed complaints against the command. 

He finished his remaining year in the Army, although he never received the once-promised promotion to Spec/5, left with an Honorable Discharge, and worked as an Arab Interpreter for American Media in Cairo before resuming his studies in Texas.

His, and many other “Military Intelligence” leaks, provided bases for a lengthy law suit by a score of individuals, some organisations, in US Federal Courts, financed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (6).   

The Army attempted denials and, when these proved ridiculous in the face of mounting evidence, delays. In 1980 they admitted their wrong-doings, settled with a US $ 150,000 payment, delivery of,, apparently, half a million documents to some 23 plaintiffs, and a promise never to do such things again.

Unfortunately, it seems that the present American, Bush, administration, has not read this 1980 judgement.

It continues to ignore the Constitution.


(1) New York Times 28.7.1973, p1 ff; CBS (Jack Sheanhan/Walter Cronkite 28.7.73 and several stories in August 1973); Spiegel 6.8.73; Stern 8.8.73, et. al.

(2) The post-mortem reports are kept secret until this very day, both in Israel and Germany. But Spielberg, who does not discuss this in his film, should know about them. Uri Avnery, The Other Israel, 4.2.06

(3) Our stories ran in the New York Times (28 July 1973) and on CBS Prime Time News; the German Spiegel, Stern, etc., See also: Cortright, David and Watts, Max: Left Face: Soldier Unions and Resistance movements in Modern Armies, Greenwood, NY, 1991. A copy of this, unfortunately now very expensive book, is in the Fisher Library, Sydney University.

(4) The Larry Johnson/Mozambique case received considerable publicity in the “GI Press” in West Germany.  

That the cocky PFC got away with an only one month stockade sentence (he initially faced a more likely 6 months) was considered a major victory by other Black/and White Soldiers.   

Two years later the Non-Intervention by the US Army, which had promised to support the South African Invasion of Angola, is seen by some as one indirect result of this “Mozambique” affair. 

Johnson’s sentence and discharge were annulled when the phone taps and other irregularities in his prosecution became public. Seven years later he received a US $ 15,000 payment from the Army for his one month imprisonment.  

He said: “I’d do it again, even for $ 14,500"!


For more history of anti-war and other resistance movements among troops, see:  LEFT FACE, Soldier Unions and Resistance Movements in Modern Armies, By DAVID CORTRIGHT AND MAX WATTS; Contributions in Military Studies, Number 107; GREENWOOD PRESS, New York • Westport, Connecticut • London


Fast Forward:
Neglecting The Troops Who Oppose The War

From: Max Watts
To: GI Special
Sent: March 02, 2006 9:14 PM



Iraq: The Wages Of Chaos
Israel: Nonsense

Such an argument, however, betrays a serious misunderstanding of the US-Israeli relationship and, more important, of US goals in Iraq and the Middle East more broadly. It assumes that Israel and its supporters in the United States actually have the power to shape US policies in ways that are not in the interests of the US policymaking establishment. But this is nonsense.

As a senior intelligence aid to former Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L Paul Bremer explained to a colleague of mine when asked about why US forces failed to rebuild in years what it took Saddam Hussein to do in months after the first Gulf War in 1981, “There’s an old Arab proverb: If you starve a dog he’ll follow you anywhere.”

2.28.06 By Mark LeVine, Asia [Excerpts]

As Iraq spirals deeper into chaos and perhaps civil war in the wake of the attack on the Golden Mosque, critics of the US-led invasion and occupation will no doubt refocus attention on the role of Israel in the march to warrant the conduct of the occupation.

The Israeli role in Iraq has in fact been one of the open secrets of the US presence in Iraq, but the anger that details surrounding it would generate has made it very hard to determine its scope and extent.

This has led many Iraqis to imagine Israel as an omnipotent force pulling the strings of the United States to ensure that Iraq, previously one of Israel’s most dangerous enemies, can never regain its former military and economic power. 

Even some experienced journalists have taken to blaming Israel for much that goes wrong in the country.

Some things are not in dispute, however. It is clear that US Special Forces trained in Israel to prepare for the kind of “Arab urban warfare” that Israel has extensive experience waging in the Occupied Territories. And evidence from Abu Ghraib and other detention centers reveals that the US has used many of the same coercive interrogation techniques deployed by Israel on Palestinian prisoners, much to the dismay of Israeli, Palestinian and international human-rights organizations.

More controversial than evidence of shared military and interrogation tactics has been the argument, widespread among critics of the invasion, that a coterie of neo-conservatives at the heart of the US administration planned the invasion in consultation with the Israeli government, and with the express goal of strengthening the position of the Israel vis--vis the Palestinians and its remaining Arab antagonists.

Dubbed the “Likudization” of US foreign policy by several commentators, this line of argument claims that the power of the White House has, in essence, been hijacked by the Israeli government to further its parochial ends in the region.

Such an argument, however, betrays a serious misunderstanding of the US-Israeli relationship and, more important, of US goals in Iraq and the Middle East more broadly. It assumes that Israel and its supporters in the United States actually have the power to shape US policies in ways that are not in the interests of the US policymaking establishment.

But this is nonsense.

The United States supports Israel not because of “shared values” and “democracy”, but rather because for four decades Israel’s actions, particularly those that ostensibly harm the chances for peace, have served US goals in the Middle East.

Specifically, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and the larger regional tensions it helps perpetuate are the linchpin of a regional system characterized by continual but manageable levels of conflict, the moderately high oil prices and disproportionate levels of defense spending such hostilities generate (and the unprecedented profits to US oil and defense companies these involve), and a host of authoritarian and corrupt regimes whose grip on power depends on the very system President George W Bush has pledged, but for good reason done little, to transform.

Understanding this dynamic is vital to appreciating the rationales behind a set of US policies in Iraq that at almost every turn have seemed to be characterized by strategic shortsightedness and sometimes outright incompetence. Such criticisms make sense only if we assume that the US has actually sought to create a vibrant, democratic Iraq.

If we assume that its true goals have been less philanthropic; for example, securing a long-term if reduced military presence in the country and a strong degree of influence in the disposition of its oil resources, then the chaos, corruption and violence that have plagued the country for the past three years make more sense.

As a senior intelligence aid to former Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L Paul Bremer explained to a colleague of mine when asked about why US forces failed to rebuild in years what it took Saddam Hussein to do in months after the first Gulf War in 1981, “There’s an old Arab proverb: If you starve a dog he’ll follow you anywhere.”

In other words, why bother fixing a country when your strategy is to break the will of its people so they accept a post-occupation system, tailored to US interests, that they would otherwise not tolerate?

Indeed, with Bush on record saying that the United States would leave Iraq if asked to do so, a primary consideration of US strategy has had to be making sure that the Shi’ites and Kurds never felt comfortable enough to pop the question.

And it is here that the close relationship between the US and Israel comes back into play.

The US is not doing Israel’s bidding in Iraq, but it has clearly followed Israel’s strategy for quelling the latest Palestinian uprising in managing its occupation. 

And so when my colleague responded to the intelligence official’s proverb by suggesting that the policy he described mirrored Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, he answered, “Of course,” as if the Israeli paradigm of rule in the Occupied Territories was a natural model for the US occupation of Iraq.

What is this paradigm exactly?

As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained in a recent New Yorker interview with Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit, it involves bringing the Palestinians to the point of political chaos and then luring them into a deal that would “give them only the minimum necessary”, while ensuring continued Israeli military and economic control over the West Bank.

For almost three years, the Israeli-inspired US strategy for managing its occupation of Iraq has, albeit at a high price, allowed the Bush administration to imagine that Iraqis would gradually be worn down from the violence, corruption and lack of development and accept a long-term US presence in their country.

Indeed, in late February a military intelligence analyst about to return to the country confidently assured this correspondent that Sunni leaders were no longer demanding a complete US withdrawal as a precondition for ending the insurgency.

But Hamas’ landslide electoral victory in January should have warned him of the power of the “law of unintended consequences” when it comes to Middle Eastern politics.  This law has now come home to roost in Iraq, in spades.

If the US thought that by generating enough chaos in Iraq it could dig itself in so deeply that Iraqis would eventually stop trying to push it out, the attack on the Golden Mosque reminds us that the wages of chaos are steep indeed. The Bush administration’s Israeli-inspired application of chaos theory in Iraq could well wind up spelling the end not just of a united Iraq, but of the Bush administration’s imperial ambitions as well.

Unless, of course, splitting up Iraq has been the long-range goal all along, as some administration critics have argued since the buildup to the invasion.

Perhaps the most frightening idea is that Iraq is going exactly as Vice-President Dick Cheney, former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the hardcore neo-real politicians hoped it would.

While such a scenario is indeed hard to imagine, one thing is for sure: the worse things get, the more money the oil, defense and heavy-industry companies, whose profits have soared thanks to the violence, will grow.

Iraq might take down Bush, but in the process it will make ExxonMobil, Halliburton and others richer than ever.

Mark LeVine is professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic studies, University of California-Irvine, and author of Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil (Oneworld, 2005).

[To say that Israel controls U.S. foreign policy is to say that American Imperial politicians are in fact victims, and not responsible for what they do. And to say that is to serve them, and the Empire, and nothing less. Bush’s servants would like nothing better than to deflect responsibility away from themselves. T]

What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.


Democrats Vow Not To Give Up Hopelessness

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reaffirms the Democratic Party’s promise to remain marginalized

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

February 27, 2006 Issue 42•09, The Onion

WASHINGTON, DC: In a press conference on the steps of the Capitol Monday, Congressional Democrats announced that, despite the scandals plaguing the Republican Party and widespread calls for change in Washington, their party will remain true to its hopeless direction.

“We are entirely capable of bungling this opportunity to regain control of the House and Senate and the trust of the American people,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said to scattered applause.  ”It will take some doing, but we’re in this for the long and pointless haul.”

“We can lose this,” Reid added. “All it takes is a little lack of backbone.”

Despite plummeting poll numbers for the G.O.P. nationwide and an upcoming election in which all House seats and 33 Senate seats are up for contention, Democrats pledged to maintain their party’s sheepish resignation.

“In times like these, when the American public is palpably dismayed with the political status quo, it is crucial that Democrats remain unfocused and defer to the larger, smarter, and better equipped Republican machine,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said.  ”If we play our cards right, we will be intimidated to the point of total paralysis.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) cited the Bush Administration’s bungled response to Hurricane Katrina as a model for Democrats.

“Grandmothers drowning in nursing homes, families losing everything, communities torn apart, and the ruling party just sat and watched,” Lieberman said.  ”I’m here to promise that we Democrats will find a way to let you down just like that.”

According to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Democrats are not willing to sacrifice their core values, indecision, incoherence, and disorganization, for the sake of short-term electoral gain.

“Don’t lose faithlessness, Democrats,” Kennedy said.  ”The next election is ours to lose. To those who say we can’t, I say: Remember Michael Dukakis.  Remember Al Gore. Remember John Kerry.”

Democratic Party faithful cheer on their leaders’ resolutely defeatist agenda.

Kennedy said that, even if the Democrats were to regain the upper hand in the midterm elections, they would still need to agree on a platform and chart a legislative agenda; an obstacle he called “insurmountable.”

“Universal health care, the war in Iraq, civil liberties, a living wage, gun control: we’re not even close to a consensus within our own ranks,” Kennedy said.  ”And even if we were, we wouldn’t know how to implement that consensus.”

“Some rising stars with leadership potential like (Sen. Barack) Obama (D-IL) and (New York State Attorney General Eliot) Spitzer have emerged, but don’t worry:  We’ve still got some infight left in us,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said. “Over the last decade, we’ve found a reliably losing formula, and we’re sticking with it.”

Dean reminded Democratic candidates to “stay on our unclear message, maintain a defensive, reactive posture, and keep an elitist distance from voters.” Political consultant and Democratic operative James Carville said that, if properly disseminated, the message of hopelessness could be the Democrats’ most effective in more than a decade.

“For the first time in a long time, we’re really connecting with the American people, who are also feeling hopeless,” Carville said. “If we can harness that and run on it in ‘06, I believe we can finish a strong second.”


The Cost Of 7 Months War In Iraq Could Provide 3 Billion People With Food, Health Care, Education, Safe Water And Sanitation

March 1, 2006 Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation & March 1, 2006 & Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer [Excerpts]

Upon approval of the supplemental funding bill, total spending on the war and occupation in Iraq will exceed $315 billion.

Check out these vivid examples: for the same $315 billion, over 71 million people could have received comprehensive health care (36 million are currently uninsured); 61 million students could receive university scholarships; nearly 5 million workers could be employed as port container inspectors (only 6 percent of the 9 million containers arriving annually are currently inspected); or every child in the world could be given basic immunizations for the next 80 years…

Worldwide nearly 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day and according to the United Nations developing countries could achieve and maintain “universal access to basic education for all, basic health care for all, reproductive health care for all women, adequate food for all and safe water and sanitation for all” at a cost of approximately 40 billion additional dollars a year. 

“This is less than 4 percent of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people in the world.” 

It is also less than the cost of 7 months of war in Iraq.


Indian protesters rally against U.S. President George W. Bush in New Delhi Wednesday, March 1, 2006. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Indian protesters rally against U.S. President George W. Bush in the eastern Indian City of Kolkata March 1, 2006. Tens of thousands took to the streets across India on Wednesday, protesting against the visit of U.S. President George W. Bush, hours before his arrival.  REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw

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.



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.  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now!

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