GI SPECIAL 4J18: 18/10/06
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IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Two From Indiana Marines Unit Killed In Anbar
A marine reservist from Indiana has been killed in Iraq. Forty-year-old Sergeant Brock Babb of Evansville was killed when his humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device in Anbar Province, west of Baghdad.
Another solider from Babb’s Terre Haute-based reserve unit was also killed. He’s identified as 26-year-old Lance Corporal Joshua Hines of Olney, Illinois. A 29-year-old soldier from Greenfield, Indiana, was seriously injured in the attack, but is expected to survive. He’s identified as Lance Corporal Joshua Bleill.
They were among a group of 64 members of the 3rd battalion, 24th Marines, which has been in Iraq for about two weeks.
Babb was a volunteer wrestling coach at Evansville Reitz High School and was active in youth football programs.
Soldier Killed In Iraq Tried To “Whitewash” His Peril, Family Says
October 11, 2006 By Julie Scharper and Laura McCandlish, Sun reporters
Marie Moudry was about to eat dinner on a Sunday afternoon when her son, Staff Sgt. Christopher O. Moudry, called from Iraq. He sounded more upbeat than he had in recent conversations, and he shared a piece of news that he had just heard: The Ravens had won.
Four days later, two soldiers arrived at Marie Moudry’s Harford County home to tell her that her son had been killed in an attack in Iraq.
Sergeant Moudry, 31, was among four soldiers from a Texas-based unit killed by small-arms fire Oct. 4. in Taji, according to the Department of Defense. A 1993 graduate of Perry Hall High School, he had most recently lived in Killeen, Texas, with his girlfriend and infant son, his mother said.
Sergeant Moudry, who enlisted in the Army in 1995, would have ended his second tour of duty in Iraq in a few more weeks. He had been scheduled to return home Nov. 9, his mother said. A cavalry scout, he had been in Iraq since December.
He never described details of his missions, his mother said.
“He whitewashed everything for us,” she said. “He wouldn’t tell us anything. Everything was fine. We were made to think he lived in a little safe world, when everybody else was in trouble.”
But her son often sounded tired when he called from Iraq, she said. In their last phone conversation, he said that he looked forward to spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family.
He also told his mother that he was set to start a master gunner training program that would have given him a break from his daily routine.
“He was looking forward to three squares and the chance to use the phone anytime he liked,” his mother said.
On a memorial Web site on myspace.com, photos of Sergeant Moudry with his family flash as country music plays. Childhood photos show him at an Orioles game and at Ocean City with his two sisters, Jennifer Corbin of Overlea and Sharon Roof of Abingdon.
Other photos show him holding stepdaughter Kaila Warfield, 11, and son, Chase Moudry, 9. They now live in Goodyear, Ariz., with Sergeant Moudry’s former wife, Karie Warfield.
Sergeant Moudry and his girlfriend, Nikki Vandennicker of Texas, have an 18-month-old son named Ashton Moudry, his mother said.
Growing up in Perry Hall, Sergeant Moudry participated in the Boy Scouts, his mother said. She keeps stacks of the comic books that he read as a boy.
At Perry Hall High School, he ran track and cross country, and enjoyed archery. He ran the hurdles, said his father, James Moudry.
Marie Moudry said she was surprised when her son enlisted in the Army. “I kept telling him to get a job, and one day he said, ‘Guess what, Mom, I got a job. I joined the Army,’” she said. “I never allowed him to get a gun. That was my big mistake, I guess.”
In August 2005, he was assigned to 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas, said Army spokeswoman, Nancy A. Bourget. Sergeant Moudry’s awards and decorations include the Army Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, she said.
His parents, who moved to Abingdon about a year ago, said that they don’t know all the details of their son’s death. “We do have a lot of questions, and not a lot of answers to give,” his mother said.
Viewings will be held tomorrow and Friday at Kaczorowski Funeral Home, 1201 Dundalk Ave. The funeral is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s Fullerton Roman Catholic Church, 8420 Belair Road.
Versailles Man Killed In Iraq
October 11, 2006 By Lake Sun staff
MORGAN COUNTY: A soldier who grew up in Versailles and whose family recently moved to Lebanon has died from injuries suffered during battle in Iraq, according to information provided by the Missouri Army National Guard.
Missouri Army National Guard Sgt. Lawrence Lee Roy Parrish, 36, died from injuries suffered when he encountered an improvised explosive device on Oct. 7 in Iraq.
Jamie Morrow, co-owner of Scrivner-Morrow Funeral Home in Versailles, said Wednesday afternoon that a relative of Parrish recently notified the funeral home of his death and said she has made plans to meet with family members at a later date to make arrangements for funeral services.
Parrish is survived by his wife, Sarah, and five children, Katheryn, Constance, Jacqueline, Hayden and Gracelynn, of Lebanon.
Parrish, posthumously promoted to staff sergeant, was a member of the 110th Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Kansas City. Also killed in the same attack was Spc. John Edward Wood, of Humboldt, Kan., a Kansas Army National Guard member.
Parrish had been mobilized since August 2005, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. His unit went overseas last November and had been providing convoy security and working to remove improvised explosive devices along the Iraqi roadways.
Parrish joined the Missouri Army National Guard in 1988 with the 1139th Military Police Company, in Harrisonville, Mo. He later joined the U.S. Army and served in Bosnia from March through October 1999; served in Qatar, Kuwait, from December 2001 to January 2002; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from July 2003 through January 2004. Parrish reenlisted in February 2006.
In his 12 years of military service, Parrish received a number of awards, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, and the Army Forces Reserve Medal with the M Device.
For his deployed service, Parrish was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge and Missouri Expeditionary Medal.
Parrish was a graduate of basic training, advanced individual training, the primary leader development course, and the basic non-commissioned officer course.
Roadside Bomb Kills Area Soldier
[Thanks to Anna Bradley, who sent this in.]
October 17, 2006 Staff writer, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
A Rochester-area soldier who joined the military in response to Sept. 11, 2001, died in Iraq over the weekend.
Former Newark resident Jonathan Lootens, 25, died in Iraq Sunday after the humvee he was traveling in encountered a roadside bomb, according to family members. It was not known where in Iraq the incident occurred.
Lootens – known as Jon by family and friends – was a sergeant in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division and was based in Hawaii. He had been in Iraq since August, for his second tour of duty, Ralyea said. He previously served in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004.
“My brother was a patriot and died doing what he loved,” said his sister Andrea Ralyea, 26, of Victor, Ontario County. “He loved his family and his country. He also loved freedom – for Americans and for everyone else in the world.”
Lootens was raised in Newark, Wayne County, and attended Newark High School, Ralyea said. She said the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, impacted her brother and he enlisted in the Army to do his share to help.
“I told him he was crazy,” she recalled. But Ralyea said she soon realized what the mission meant to her younger brother and how joining the military changed his life.
“I’m sure people who remember my brother know he was a troublemaker, but he grew up to be a wonderful young man,” Ralyea said. “His greatest accomplishment was turning his life around.”
In his spare time, Lootens spent time with his family, went fishing and hunting and worked on his classic car – a blue 1964 Ford Falcon Futura. And he was known as a jokester with a wicked sense of humor.
His father, Bob Lootens of Phelps, Ontario County, described his son as “an amazing young man who had so much courage.”
“I know he didn’t like it in Iraq, but he loved the Army, his country and his job,” Bob Lootens said.
“He did his job to the best of his ability, whether he liked it or not.”
Though Lootens was trained as a chemical operations specialist, he served as a machine gunner in the lead humvee jeep in Iraq, a job that placed him on a perch in the open, his father said.
After his first tour of duty, Lootens’ received a commendation medal from the Army – for saving another soldier’s life while under fire, Bob Lootens said.
“That’s the way he was, his soldier brothers and friends meant so much to him,” Bob Lootens said. “To him, their safety was more important than his own.”
Bob Lootens said his son was planning to come to Phelps next month to visit on a three-week leave that included Thanksgiving. The two talked regularly on the phone and spent much time together fishing and hunting, he said.
“He was the light of my life; he was my boy,” he said. “He’ll always be with me.”
Jonathan Lootens was not married and did not have any children. He is survived by his parents – Bob Lootens and Deborah Qualtieri of Norwalk, Conn., and his sister Andrea Ralyea.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but Ralyea said family members plan to honor Lootens at a service in western New York, because “he always considered Newark to be his home.”
Gardnerville Man Killed In Iraq
October 11, 2006 by Kurt Hildebrand, The Record Courier
A Gardnerville soldier was killed Monday in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries suffered from enemy contact during combat operations.
Pfc. Phillip Brandon Williams, 21, was serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky.
Williams’ friend Gardnerville Ranchos resident Jake Cervantes said he has known the soldier since the eighth grade. “We’ve been best friends for about seven years,” he said. “We felt like brothers.”
Cervantes said he last saw Williams in August when he was in the Valley for his sister’s birthday.
“We talked about the usual stuff, stories he had in mind, memories of stuff we did,” Cervantes said. “He was always looking to the future. He was always concerned about his friends and never thought of himself at all. He always wanted the best for his family and friends, and he considered us his family.”
Cervantes said Williams played the guitar very well and was part of a circle of artists and creative people.
He said Williams was scheduled to return home in November.
According to the Department of Defense, Williams was assigned to the 4th Brigade Troop Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 101st.
He is the son of 19-year South Lake Tahoe Police veteran Brad Williams. His uncle also works at the police department and another uncle is a correctional officer for the California Department of Corrections.
The date for funeral services are pending, but are expected to occur at Eastside Memorial Park in Gardnerville.
Williams was a graduate of Douglas High School.
Greenfield Marine Loses Legs In Iraq Bombing
Oct. 17, 2006 Associated Press
GREENFIELD, Ind.: A Marine from central Indiana who survived a roadside bombing in Iraq that killed two members of his Terre Haute-based reserve unit lost both his legs in the attack, his parents said.
Lance Cpl. Joshua Bleill, 29, of Greenfield, was one of three Marines in a Humvee when it was struck by an improvised explosive device Sunday during operations in Anbar province, west of Baghdad.
Those killed during the Sunday attack were Sgt. Brock Babb, 40, of Evansville and Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Hines, 26, of Olney, Ill.
Virg and Myra Bleill said Marine Corps officials told them their son was in stable condition in a military hospital in Balad, Iraq. They said he apparently was in the machine gun turret atop the Humvee when the bomb went off.
Bleill, a 1995 graduate of Greenfield-Central High School in the city about 20 miles east of Indianapolis, joined the Marine Reserves two years ago out of a sense of duty, his mother said Tuesday. His father was a Marine aviator, and his grandfather was wounded in Africa during World War II.
“He just felt like it was the right thing to do,” said Myra Bleill, who is president of the Hancock Regional Hospital Foundation.
He last visited with his family in August before being deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines. The unit has been in Iraq for about two weeks.
Webster Marine Injured In Iraq
10/6/2006 Lia Lando, WROC-TV
A Webster Marine is returning home after he was wounded in the line of duty.
Corporal Patrick LaJuett’s arm was shattered by a bullet from a sniper narrowly missing the rest of his body. His mom Gloria LaJuett got the news this week.
“I got a call on Monday I’d been worried all weekend long that something might have happened,” she said.
Gloria LaJuett says her son Patrick calls home every two weeks but when she didn’t hear from him she knew something was wrong. She finally got a call from her son. He told her he had been shot by a sniper in the arm.
“It had gone through his, hit his arm and shattered the bone it looks like something seven cracks or fractures and then it went through the fleshy part of his back and got caught on his vest and burned his back. You dread that call, you don’t know if someone is going to show up at your house or your door I was very thankful that it was Patrick that called us.” LaJuett said.
The 24 year old Webster native had been fighting in Iraq since August.
He will be met by his wife, daughter and parents when he returns home this week.
After Troops Sent To Baghdad,
October 17, 2006 Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press
U.S. troops on Tuesday joined Iraqi forces and police in patrolling a city north of Baghdad where a surge in sectarian fighting had killed at least 91 people.
The U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division handed over responsibility for security in Balad and surrounding Salahuddin province to Iraq’s 4th Army Division last month, possibly explaining what appeared to be a delayed response to the fighting despite the presence next door of sprawling Camp Anaconda.
The handover helped facilitate a redeployment of U.S. forces to Baghdad to boost security in the capital, where deadly bombings and shootings continue to be a daily occurrence.
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Is That All?
10.15.06 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Despite more than $4.3 billion in U.S. reconstruction aid, efforts to make the kinds of tangible improvements in Afghanistan that are deemed crucial to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people are hampered by cultural barriers, corruption, red tape, shoddy work and deteriorating security.
“It Sounds To Me That The Taliban Is Everywhere”
[Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.]
October 13, 2006 Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy In Focus [Excerpts]
The U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai has little credibility within the country. Afghans routinely refer to him as “the mayor of Kabul,” since his authority doesn’t extend much beyond the capital city, or more derisively as the “assistant to the American ambassador,” given his lack of real authority relative to U.S. occupation forces.
After meeting with senior U.S. military officials in southern Afghanistan, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist observed, “It sounds to me that the Taliban is everywhere.”
German Court Says Major Right To Refuse Iraq War Duty:
October 17, 2006 George Monbiot, The Guardian [Excerpt]
This summer, the German federal administrative court threw out the charge of insubordination against a major in the German army. He had refused to obey an order which, he believed, would implicate him in the invasion of Iraq.
The judges determined that the UN charter permits a state to go to war in only two circumstances: in self-defence, and when it has been authorised to do so by the UN security council. The states attacking Iraq, they ruled, had no such licence. Resolution 1441, which was used by the British and US governments to justify the invasion, contained no authorisation.
The war could be considered an act of aggression.
THIS IS HOW BUSH BRINGS THE TROOPS HOME:
Alan “Al” Reilly Died;
October 15, 2006, David Cline, Veterans For Peace
Yesterday, Saturday October 14, at about 10 AM, while riding the PATH train to NYC (to buy a new pair of jungle boots), Al Reilly suffered a massive heart attack and died.
He was a 54 year old Vietnam vet and long time activist with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the Jersey City Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee as well as an active member of Veterans For Peace NJ 021.
[H]is funeral will be held in Cranford, NJ once the family is able to reclaim the body and make the arrangements. As soon as I have more information I will send it out.
Al was a very good friend of mine and will be greatly missed by many people.
We just lost a good fighter for peace and justice.
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Please be advised that services for brother Alan Reilly will be held on Thursday at 11am at The Dooley Funeral Home, 218 North Ave. Cranford, N.J..
Friends may visit on Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm and Thursday at 10:30 am.
Burial will take place in Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, N.J..
Donations may be made in his memory to Garretson Forge and Farm Restoration Inc., 4092 River Road, Fair Lawn, N.J. 07410
Kenneth A. Dalton
SILLY GENERAL STATEMENT #6,347
From: Don Bacon; email@example.com
GENERAL JONES TALKS BIG ABOUT AFGHANISTAN:
“NATO Chief Eyes Afghan Success Despite Surge In Violence”
October 16, 2006, AFP)
Speaking at the opening of a new intelligence-gathering centre [intelligence?] on Monday, General James Jones notably expressed concern about the porous Afghan-Pakistan border across which Taliban fighters enter and leave violence-wracked Afghanistan.
“We all feel the stress and strain of ongoing operations,” he said [stress in Brussels?], but added: “Everybody’s working very hard to make sure that we have the right amount of forces at the right place at the time [This is a military strategy after five years of war?].”
He pointed out that in Afghanistan there were 37 nations “dedicated to a very important mission, one that I personally believe has all of the ingredients for a success [what ingredients?]. I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to make sure that success comes about just as quickly as possible so we can get our troops home,” he added.
On the fifth [THE FIFTH!!!] anniversary of the launch of the U.S.-led war against Afghanistan, the Taliban is on the offensive, much of the countryside is in the hands of warlords and opium magnates, U.S. casualties are mounting, and many, if not most, Afghans are actually worse off now than they were before the U.S. invasion. (October 13, 2006, Foreign Policy in Focus)
Military Lawyer And Paralegal Ordered Silenced After Complaining Of Beatings Of Guantanamo Prisoners
[Thanks to Pham Binh, Traveling Soldier and Mark Shapiro, who sent this in.]
Oct 15 By MIRANDA LEITSINGER, Associated Press Writer
A paralegal and a military lawyer who brought forward allegations about prisoner abuse at the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been ordered not to speak with the press, lawyers and a military spokeswoman said Saturday.
Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, who represents a detainee at the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba, filed a complaint with the Pentagon last week alleging that abuse was ongoing at the prison.
He attached a sworn statement from his paralegal, Sgt. Heather Cerveny, in which she said several Guantanamo guards bragged in a bar about beating detainees, describing it as common practice.
Muneer Ahmad, a civilian defense lawyer for Omar Khadr, a Canadian detainee whose military counsel is Vokey, said that Vokey and Cerveny were ordered Friday by the U.S. Marines not to speak with the press.
Reached by telephone, Vokey declined to comment, saying, “I can’t even talk about it.” When asked if he was going to abide by the order for the time being, he said, “Yes.”
Cerveny, reached by telephone late Saturday, said she disagreed with the order but also would abide it. She declined to comment further.
Ahmad said Vokey was also barred from talking to the media about anything related to the military commissions; tribunals set up to try detainees. He said he did not know how the order was issued and that Vokey previously had the military’s authorization to speak with the media.
“I think he is very concerned about his ability to perform his job as a lawyer,” Ahmad said. “It’s really quite troubling … at this point I’m not sure what our next steps will be.”
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
Assorted Resistance Action
10.17.06 Associated Press & by Ammar Karim (AFP) & (KUNA)
In Karmah, west of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed five Iraqi soldiers as their convoy passed through the town, police Lt. Ahmed Ali said.
A senior Iraqi army officer was assassinated by insurgents in Mosul city, north Iraq, said a security source on Tuesday. The source added that officer died in Al-Thawra neighborhood east of the city.
In Kirkuk, a road-side bomb exploded near a Multi-National Force (MNF) vehicle in Tiseen neighborhood which but caused minor damages to the patrol car.
Insurgents detonated a car bomb in the southern Baghdad suburb of Saidiyah, killing two national police commandos
A mortar shell crashed into Wathiq Square in Baghdad’s middle class Karrada neighborhood, killing three people including a policeman and wounding three policemen.
Two policemen in a patrol car were killed by insurgents in a passing car in the western city of Fallujah, police said.
Guerrillas attacked an electrical facility in the town of Hillah, south of Baghdad, killing a technician.
A car bomber targeting police commandos killed two police and wounded nine, including four civilians, in Baghdad’s southern Saidiya district, an Interior Ministry source said.
Insurgents wounded a policeman when they attacked the house of the brother of Mosul’s governor, police said.
A car bomber targeted an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing a soldier and wounding two others in the town of Shirqat, 300 km (180 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
THAT NEW BORDER FENCE HAS A GATE IN IT FOR CANNON FODDER
October 17, 2006, By Don Bacon; firstname.lastname@example.org
“Soldiers Take Citizenship Oath Before Deploying To Iraq”
October 13, 2006, Associated Press
EL PASO: An international group of U.S. Army troops took an oath to become American citizens just in time for some of them to deploy to Iraq.
Forty soldiers from 20 countries participated in a citizenship ceremony Thursday at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss. U.S. District Judge Philip R. Martinez gave the soldiers the oath of allegiance and signed the court order making them U.S. citizens.
“We ask that you bring your traditions and bring your culture so it will continue to enrich us,” Martinez said.
Of the 40 soldiers, 27 will take their new citizenship with them to Iraq later this month as members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team.
BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICA, THE NEW COLOSSUS?
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
“From her beacon-hand
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
Crisco Left At The Wall
From: Mike Hastie
I have taken many grief images, but the Crisco can tells
It cuts through all the bull shit
The entire Vietnam War was a fucking lie!!
The U.S. Government fucked every soldier who served in Vietnam,
Betrayal was the ultimate wound that was inflicted on every Vietnam Veteran,
We were used like pawns in a chess game, and discarded
When I left Vietnam, guys were burning their uniforms, and writing hateful
That is what we brought home to America, and thousands of
The Crisco can says it all.
The veteran who left that truth at the “ Wall,” validated me to the max.
It forced me to see all the anger I was still hiding.
It was a powerful moment in my life.
It helped me to see I wasn’t crazy.
I did not serve in Vietnam for the cause of freedom,
Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty.
Photo from the I-R-A-Q (I Remember Another Quagmire) portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71. (For more of his outstanding work, contact at: (email@example.com) T)
What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657. Name, I.D., withheld on request. Replies confidential.
“I Refuse To Kill! I Refuse To Oppress! I Refuse To Occupy!”
October 16, 2006 Via David McReynolds
Occupation refuser Omri Evron was sentenced Sunday, Oct 15, 2006, to 14 days in military prison after he announced his refusal to enlist for regular mandatory service in the IDF. Omri was put in solitary confinement having refused to wear uniform and obey orders.
Dozens of supporters demonstrated in support of Omri at the gate of the National Conscription Center.
In his letter of refusal Omri wrote:
“My refusal to enlist is in protest against the longstanding military occupation of the Palestinian people, an occupation that deepens and entrenches the hatred and terror between peoples… “I refuse to serve an ideology that does not recognize the right of all nations to independence and a peaceful coexistence.
“In no way am I prepared to contribute to the systematic oppression of a civilian population and the deprivation of their rights – as it is being carried out by the apartheid regime and the Israeli military in the occupied territories.
“I am outraged by the starvation and incarceration of millions of people behind walls and checkpoints…
“I refuse to serve the arms industries, mega corporations, greedy contractors, preachers of racism and cynical leaders whose business is the advancement of suffering and who rob people of their basic human rights..
“I refuse to kill! I refuse to oppress! I refuse to occupy!”
[To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by foreign terrorists, go to: www.rafahtoday.org The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”]
Do you have a friend or relative in the service? Forward GI Special 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 or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
Bush Signs Law Authorizing “Harsh Interrogation”
[Thanks to David Honish, Veteran, who sent this in. He writes: I hope that war criminals are subjected to “harsh interrogation methods” too.]
Oct 17 By Steve Holland, (Reuters)
President George W. Bush signed a law on Tuesday allowing tough CIA interrogation and military trials for terrorism suspects, triggering bitter election-year denunciations from Democrats.
Human rights groups charge that the measure, likely to face legal challenges that go up as far as the Supreme Court, would allow harsh techniques bordering on torture, such as sleep deprivation and induced hypothermia.
CLASS WAR REPORTS
Rebellion In Oaxaca, Mexico
APPO protesters commandeered four city buses on October 11 and drove throughout the city in “mobile brigades” to take over more state government offices and cover walls, buildings, road signs, other buses, and pretty much any available surface with graffiti calling for Governor’s ousting.
October 15, 2006 by John Gibler, ZNet
In the past week, gunmen have killed one and wounded four protesters from the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO). The recent killings heightened tensions as the conflict again enters into a critical moment with the Minister of the Interior threatening to withdraw the federal government’s settlement offer if teachers do not end their strike by Monday, October 16.
Meanwhile, the Mexican Senate is poised to make a definitive decision this Tuesday, October 17, on the APPO’s central demand that the state government be dissolved.
The teachers union, Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers, stated that they will not return to classes on Monday, but will wait for the Senate’s decision the following day.
The conflict in Oaxaca began as a teachers’ strike five months ago, but exploded into a massive, statewide civil disobedience up-rising after a failed attempt to violently lift the striking teachers’ protest camp during the pre-dawn hours of June 14.
Since then the teachers union and the APPO, which formed in response to the failed police raid and groups together hundreds of local organizations, have held onto their occupation of Oaxaca’s historic central plaza; blocked state government office buildings; painted most of the city with graffiti calling for Governor Ulises Ruiz’s ousting; led a march of several thousand people over 250 miles from Oaxaca to Mexico City; taken over television and radio stations; and built thousands of barricades throughout the city.
Since August gunmen and civilian-clad police have shot at protesters in marches and at their camps, killing six people and wounding fifteen.
Paramilitaries have also abducted movement leaders and participants and held them incommunicado for days before being taken to jail or released. Those abducted testified to having been tortured—with visible scars still covering their faces and bodies. (See ‘Pistol Policy’ ZNet, August 16, 2006)
The recent shootings began on October 11, the day that a “sub-commission” of three senators from the Senate Committee on the Interior was scheduled to arrive in Oaxaca City to analyze whether or not the state government has ceased to function. Since June 14, Section 22 and the APPO have conditioned all their demands upon the renunciation or ousting of the Governor. Ruiz has refused to resign, and the only legal mechanism for the protesters to force his ousting is to request that the Senate declare that the state government has already, in effect, disappeared, a process known as the “desaparicion de poderes” in Spanish.
Hence the APPO’s strategy has been to “create ungovernability” by blocking government buildings and shutting off highways and roads.
In anticipation of the sub-commission’s visit, APPO protesters commandeered four city buses on October 11 and drove throughout the city in “mobile brigades” to take over more state government offices and cover walls, buildings, road signs, other buses, and pretty much any available surface with graffiti calling for Governor’s ousting.
The protesters had nearly concluded their mobile brigade when, shortly after 4 in the afternoon, outside a police station, un-uniformed police and gunmen shot into a crowd of protesters who were preparing to get back on their bus and move on.
The gunmen fired for several minutes, wounding four people, who were taken to the hospital and released later that evening.
A photographer for the local newspaper, Noticias, and the national newspaper, Excelsior, captured clear images of one of the gunmen firing into the crowd. Gunmen fired over 60 rounds, forcing the protesters to seek shelter under fire. Three hours later a caravan of police trucks arrived to “rescue” the gunmen, allowing them to escape without being apprehended by the APPO protesters. As a result of the violence, the sub-commission suspended their visit until the following day.
The senators’ visit was an exercise in contradictions. Inside the empty state legislature, surrounded by a few hundred protesters, state legislators told the federal sub-commission that they had not stopped working and had passed four laws in the past five months of the conflict.
The Governor, accompanied by his entire cabinet, testified that he had continued to work “as normal,” and presented the sub-commission with box-loads of documents to support his claim.
Most poignant however, was the location of the Governor’s meeting with the sub-commission: a gated and guarded hangar at the Oaxaca City airport a few miles out of town. Ulises Ruiz has not been able to walk freely in the capital city since the June 14 raid.
During a four-hour meeting with organizations from the APPO, people gave testimony about the police raid and paramilitary violence.
Instead of handing over boxes of documents, the protesters submitted bullet shells, exploded gas grenades, and police batons and helmets that they have gathered during the months of conflict as proof of the impunity with which the state government and paramilitaries beaten, shot, and killed protesters.
The senators repeated in the meetings with state government officials and protesters that they would not be “deciding” to dissolve the state government, but merely reporting their findings as to whether the government had already lost control or not. The sub-commission will turn their report into the Senate Committee on the Interior on Monday, October 16. The full Senate will vote on the matter on Tuesday, October 17.
In this context, the Minister or the Interior threatened to withdraw the offer to increase teachers’ payments and open the way for institutional reforms in Oaxaca if the Section 22 does not return to classes by October 16. The teachers responded that they would wait for the Senate vote. The Minister or the Interior’s ultimatum once again fueled rumors that a federal crackdown is imminent.
Then, at about 2:30 in the morning on Saturday, October 14, soldiers in civilian clothes who tried to make their way through a barricade on the outskirts of the center of town, opened fire on APPO protesters guarding the barricade. One soldier, 22 year-old Johnatan Ríos Vázquez, dropped his wallet before fleeing, thus leading to his identification and later apprehension by local police.
Ríos Vázquez fired upon the protesters with a 22-caliber pistol, hitting Alejandro García Hernández twice in the head. García Hernández, a nearby resident who nightly took coffee to the APPO protesters guarding the barricades, was serving coffee with his wife and son when the soldiers opened fire.
“My father was bleeding from the head. I held him and they kept shooting, but now at me,” his son Johnatan Halil told a reporter from the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada. “A compañero (Joaquín Benítez) jumped in the way to protect me. That is why they shot him in the shoulder.”
García Hernández languished in the hospital for over 8 hours without receiving medical attention. When the surgeons finally attempted to aid him, he had already gone brain dead. He died a few hours later. García Hernández was the sixth person to die in paramilitary shootings against protesters in Oaxaca.
This number does not include one teacher who opposed the strike, Jaime Rene Calva Aragon, who was hacked to death with ice axes two weeks ago.
His colleagues immediately blamed the Section 22 and the APPO, while these organizations denied the accusations, in turn blaming Ulises Ruiz for trying to create the conditions necessary for a federal intervention.
While APPO protesters have beaten people caught stealing in the city center and, on one occasion, a local journalist, there have been no cases of premeditated or targeted violence against strike opponents.
The coming days will be decisive for the conflict in Oaxaca, with the federal government withdrawing their settlement offer with one hand and voting on the dissolution of the state government with the other.
The APPO has called for national strikes and marches in solidarity with the Oaxaca movement. On Sunday, October 15, some 40 members of the APPO will begin a hunger strike to be carried out until Ulises Ruiz leaves office. The hunger strikers will join a protest camp in front of the Senate in Mexico City where several thousand teachers arrived on foot from Oaxaca this past Monday, October 9.
“The Popular Assembly Of The Peoples Of Oaxaca Has Been Reproduced In At Least Eleven States”
October 17, 2006 By Nancy Davies, Narconews.com [Excerpts]
Let’s look at ten recent developments here:
1. Oaxaca’s interior secretary issued another ultimatum for the teachers to return to classrooms today or face the consequences. This is the fourth such ultimatum. Each one has carried a threat – either for loss of contract pay for the school year, loss of future pay offers (including rescinding an increase in base wages for Oaxacan workers, which the teachers had fought for and which would benefit all salaried workers), the firing of every teacher who doesn’t show up, or the use of armed forces.
2. Over the weekend in the capital city of Oaxaca, during a forty-eight hour period, ten different marches took place. They followed a public funeral in the zocalo’s central pavilion for Alejandro García, who died from a gunshot wound to the head while he was at the barricade in Colonia Alemán, bringing coffee to the night team.
A car with four military men in civilian clothes, recently seen leaving a local cantina, tried to beak the barricade. During the ensuing scuffle two members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials) were shot, the second victim in the arm.
3. The federal senators who visited Oaxaca to check on the state government’s “loss of powers” opined that there seems to be increased rancor in Oaxaca. According to Noticias of October 16, the senators, Alejandro González Alcocer (PAN), Tomás Torres Mercado (PRD) and Ramiro Hernández García (PRI), though not drawing conclusions about ungovernability, nevertheless reached that astonishing conclusion.
As I understand it, the Mexican constitution says that the Senate can declare the state “ungovernable” by observing that the three branches of government are no longer functioning. In other words, with state powers having disappeared, the Senate sees that basic functions are no longer being carried out.
This is not the same as declaring that powers which exist should be nullified. Hence why Ulises Ruiz Ortega showed up with boxes of papers that he claims prove state functions are continuing.
4. The state director of the National Action Party (PAN in its Spanish initials), Jorge Valencia Arroyo, opined that the governor should consider resigning or taking a leave of absence, because if the National Senate decrees that there is an absence of powers, the shit will eventually hit the fan for him. No, he didn’t say that. Excuse me. What he said was, that once there is an effort to call on people to be accountable for their crimes, there are crimes aplenty to go around – including the really nasty ones like assassination and torture ordered by the governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (”URO”).
The crimes of the APPO consist of delinquencies such as damaging the cultural patrimony with spray paint and blocking the free transit of citizens. They have been trying to maintain a peaceful movement and, with some exceptions (like beating up firemen who tried to destroy a barricade over the weekend of October 13), they have succeeded.
5. The Alliance of Business Owners and Civil Society states that they are not with URO, that violence is not the right solution to a problem that reflects 70 years of authoritarianism and abandonment. Thus, URO’s presumed base is coming out against him.
6. The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca has been reproduced in at least eleven states, among them Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacan, Veracruz, Jalisco, Puebla and Quintana Roo. Each assembly has its own name, but more or less the same social problems. Twenty-three states signed on to send people in defense of Oaxaca should there be a federal intervention. Four assemblies have formed in the United States: in Chicago, New York, Texas and California.
7. An indigenous Nahuátl and Mazatec community radio station, Nandia, was attacked and destroyed by government agents. The women who ran the station belong to an organization of Mazatec indigenous women.
After the attack they tried to leave the small northern town of Mazatlán Villa de Flores to travel to the capital, hoping to make known their outrage (non-licensed indigenous radio stations are presumably guaranteed in the Oaxaca state constitution), but the only road out of town was blocked by people identified only as Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) loyalists.
The Mazatec women were planning a hunger strike in the atrium of the Cathedral in Oaxaca. La Jornada of October 7 indicates that the attack was called for by the state interior secretary and was carried out by the local PRI. Now the women are calling on international support for the community.
8. In other areas of the state, rumors and threats abound, not only in small towns but also in the larger cities such as Tuxtepec, Matías Romero and Miahuatlán, as reported in an October 16 article written by Carlos Beas Torres, the leader of The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI).
In Matías Romero, PRI loyalists burned the radio station La Consentida. In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, operators of the indigenous radio stations have been held hostage and have received death threats, along with their families. Radio Huave, the most powerful community radio in the Isthmus, was first to be threatened, followed by the coordinator of Radio Ayuuk, and now the mayor of San Dionisio del Mar has threatened the directors of Radio Umalalang. This is the communication war, Beas Torres says, which has attacked the newspaper Noticias and reporters. The “dirty war” also encourages groups like PRI members and police in civilian clothes to open schools by force on the Isthmus.
The mainstream media, Beas Torres observes, place their emphasis on the big events such as the helicopters flyover and the massing of marines at Salina Cruz and Huatulco.
In Oaxaca there are two wars; one has the aspect of military invasion, and the other is carried out by local political bosses (known as caciques) and local government officials who are desperate to hold on to their seventy-seven-year-old privileged role.
9. In order for the Oaxacan people, authorities, and indigenous organizations to come together for discussions, the APPO and other various sponsors held the Dialogue for Peace on Friday October 13 in Oaxaca City. The importance of that meeting is that the former bishop of Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz, once again showed up and spoke for five minutes.
This indicates that Ruiz – who has come three times that I know of – has put his whole moral weight behind the Oaxaca movement, most likely because of the movement’s importance for indigenous peoples.
The inauguration was celebrated with a band and several speeches, including the brief address by Bishop Ruiz, who said, “Oaxaca is like the body of all the nation, where something new is being born. We are celebrating with happiness, music and singing because we understand that a new world is coming; not only for the state of Oaxaca but for the very nation… In this new stage of our history we are beginning by having respect for our differences; the world is watching our peaceful construction of a new participatory government and dialogue.”
In addition to the well known public personages, the event was attended by sociologists, academics, campesinos, women, men, children, and representatives of national and international civil organizations, as well as statewide indigenous authorities and the Triqui women, who are always so visible in their red beribboned overdresses. More than 1,000 people signed up as participants.
The opening hour unified the crowd with symbols, such as blowing conch shells to summon the people, wafting incense over the plaza and offering prayers in several languages. The leader of the religious ceremony told the people, “we align ourselves with nature, from which we take our dual representation of god and goddess, of heaven and earth, male and female. We call the forces of the universe to aid and support our road.” As the woman lead the prayer, the audience turned to salute each of the four cardinal directions. Directly in front of me stood three older women who expressed their private prayers in a low undertone. Then began the drumming – a spontaneous light tapping that rippled across the entire audience. The women near me had taken out small plastic compacts and were tapping a steady rhythm with their fingernails.
After the ceremonies the meeting broke apart to several tables where serious discussion took place. Just how serious we don’t yet know because they will not report until later this week. The best hope is that whatever they decide will be included in the November constitutive meetings to establish a State Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (a new, permanent state government based on the APPO model) .
10. Stress, fatalities and tension abound. Neither the APPO, nor the teachers who belong to the APPO, are backing down. The departure of URO is not negotiable. The indigenous communities are organizing, as well as the nation. We’re all drumming with our fingernails.
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