Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Republicans boo soldier serving in Iraq and Frothy Mix calls for reinstatement of DADT

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Rick Santorum, continues to show that he is nothing but a frothy mix of Theocrat and lunatic calls the abolition of DADT a “social experiment”. He states that gays and lesbians serving in the military are getting special treatment.

I have no idea why all of the Republican field were not given that question. Each and every one should have been given their opportunity to side with bigotry or with gay men and women serving their Country. I know where they would have stood.


Protest in peace, Brian Haw. May you always be remembered.

Peace campaigner Brian Haw has died after “a long hard fight” against lung cancer, his family has announced.

In June 2001 Brian Haw set up Parliament Square to protest against UK and US foreign policy towards Iraq.

Initially, the protest was against the sanctions against Iraq. His vigil started after seeing the images and information produced by the Mariam Appeal, an anti-sanctions campaign. Haw justified his campaign on a need to improve his children’s future. He only left his makeshift campsite in order to attend court hearings, surviving on food brought by supporters and well-wishers.

He later extended the protest to include opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The protest became part of the scenery of London, despite numerous attempts to remove him and the posters. Among the artwork displayed was a Banksy stencil of two soldiers painting a peace sign and Leon Kuhn’s anti-war political caricature 3 Guilty Men. It was a symbol of protest for a decade.

Westminster City Council attempted to prosecute Haw for causing an obstruction to the pavement in October 2002 but the case failed as Haw’s banners did not impede movement. The continuous use of a megaphone by Haw led to objections by Members of Parliament who have offices close to his protest. The House of Commons Procedure Committee in 2003 heard evidence that claimed permanent protests in Parliament Square could be used by terrorists to disguise explosive devices, and resulted in a recommendation that the law be changed to prohibit them.

The Labour Government passed a provision banning all unlicensed protests, permanent or otherwise, in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (sections 132 to 138); however, because Brian Haw’s protest was started before the Act was passed his protest a judicial review ruled that his protest could not be banned on a retroactive basis.

The Government appealed to the Court of Appeal, which decided “that Parliament intended that those sections of the Act should apply to a demonstration in the designated area, whether it started before or after they came into force. Any other conclusion would be wholly irrational and could fairly be described as manifestly absurd”.

While the Government was appealing the decision, Haw made his protest compliant with the Serious and Organised Crime act by applying for permission to protest. The police granted the application but only on condition that his display of placards was no more than 3 m wide.

Brian Haw's anti war protest

In the early hours of 23 May 2006, 78 police arrived and removed all but one of Haw’s placards citing continual breached conditions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 as their reason for doing so. This police operation against one man cost over £27,000.

The police prosecuted for his breach of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Brian refused to enter a plea. The Court entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

Haw was acquitted on the grounds that the conditions he was accused of breaching were not sufficiently clear, and that they should have been imposed by a police officer of higher rank. District Judge Purdy ruled: “I find the conditions, drafted as they are, lack clarity and are not workable in their current form.”

The placards were returned.

In January 2008, seven people were arrested, outside the Downing Street gates, including Brian Haw because they were protesting the Serious and Organised Crime Act.

He was injured, while “filming the students lying down in the road when one officer stepped forward, as I was walking back, and pushed the camera with his hand. It struck my face.” He added that he was “dragged” by police into a police van, who pushed “my head close to the ground with my arms handcuffed high above my back”.

In May 2010, Mr Haw was charged with obstructing police during searches of tents on the green. Speaking after a court appearance, he set out his intention to remain in the square for the rest of his life.

The Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, won a possession order to evict Mr Haw and other campaigners from Parliament Square Gardens, which is owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA). He moved the protest on to the pavement, which is owned by Westminster City Council.

The driving force of his protest was his love of his own family. He said the children of Iraq and other countries were “every bit as valuable and worthy of love as my precious wife and children”.

“I want to go back to my own kids and look them in the face again, knowing that I’ve done all I can to try and save the children of Iraq and other countries who are dying because of my government’s unjust, amoral, fear – and money-driven policies,”

The whole of the British government, from the Mayor of London to Parliament and the Courts could not silence that message. He will be missed and never forgotten.

Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?

Clay Hunt I can’t tell this story any better than the AP – besides, I don’t have the heart right now. Rest in peace, brother. See ya on the other side. (The post title is a line I took from a celtic song, The Green Fields of France.)
By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press Fri Apr 15, 3:47 am ET

WASHINGTON – Handsome and friendly, Clay Hunt so epitomized a vibrant Iraq veteran that he was chosen for a public service announcement reminding veterans that they aren’t alone. The 28-year-old former Marine corporal earned a Purple Heart after taking a sniper’s bullet in his left wrist. He returned to combat in Afghanistan. Upon his return home, he lobbied for veterans on Capitol Hill, road-biked with wounded veterans and performed humanitarian work in Haiti and Chile. Then, on March 31, Hunt bolted himself in his Houston apartment and shot himself. Friends and family say he was wracked with survivor’s guilt, depression and other emotional struggles after combat. Hunt’s death has shaken many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who knew him wonder why someone who seemed to be doing all the right things to deal with combat-related issues is now dead. “We know we have a problem with vets’ suicide, but this was really a slap in the face,” said Matthew Pelak, 32, an Iraq veteran who worked with Hunt in Haiti as part of the nonprofit group Team Rubicon. After news of Hunt’s death spread, workers from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors met with veterans visiting Washington for the annual lobbying effort by the nonprofit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, or IAVA. A year earlier, Hunt had been with other veterans in dark suits calling on Congress to improve the disability claims process. Snapshots posted on Facebook reflect a mostly grinning Hunt. In one, he has a beard and is surrounded by Haitian kids. A second shows him on the Capitol steps with fellow veterans. There’s a shot of him from the back on a bike using his right arm to help push another bicyclist who is helping to guide an amputee in a specially modified bike. Friends and family say Hunt suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. But with his boundless energy and countless friends, he came across as an example of how to live life after combat. But some knew he was grieving over several close friends in the Marines who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He was very despondent about why he was alive and so many people he served with directly were not alive,” said John Wordin, 48, the founder of Ride 2 Recovery, a program that uses bicycling to help veterans heal physically and mentally. In 2007, while in Iraq with the Marine’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment, Hunt heard over the radio that his 20-year-old bunkmate had died in a roadside bombing. Hunt later wrote online about sleeping in his bunkmate’s bed. “I just wanted to be closer to him, I guess. But I couldn’t — he was gone.” A month later, Hunt was pinned by enemy fire in his truck as a fellow Marine, shot in the throat by a sniper, lay nearby. Hunt wrote that seeing his friend placed in a helicopter, where he died, is “a scene that plays on repeat in my head nearly every day, and most nights as well.” Three days later, a sniper’s bullet missed Hunt’s head by inches and hit his wrist. He didn’t immediately leave Iraq. His parents say Hunt asked to fly to a military hospital in Germany a day later so he could accompany a fellow Marine who was shot in both legs. Hunt’s mother, Susan Selke, said after Hunt was wounded, she’d hoped her son would get out of the military. Instead, he went to school to be a scout-sniper and went to Afghanistan. He seemed to do well. He was honorably discharged in 2009, married and enrolled at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He was frustrated by the Veterans Affairs Department’s handling of his disability claim. He also piled up thousands of dollars in credit card debt as he waited for his GI Bill payments. Hunt found an outlet to help improve the system by doing work with IAVA. He helped build bikes for Ride 2 Recovery and participated in long rides.

“He really was looking for someone to tell him what it was he went over to do and why those sacrifices were made.”

Using his military training, he went to Haiti several times and Chile once to help with the countries’ earthquake relief efforts. He proudly told his parents of splinting an infant’s leg, and after meeting a young orphaned boy in Haiti named D’James, tried to persuade his family to adopt him. “If I had one thing to say to my fellow veterans, it would be this: Continue to serve, even though we have taken off our uniforms,” Hunt wrote in an online testimonial for Team Rubicon. “No matter how great or small your service is, it is desired and needed by the world we live in today.” Hunt’s friends say he was an idealist and voiced frustration that he couldn’t make changes overnight. He also questioned why troops were still dying. “He really was looking for someone to tell him what it was he went over to do and why those sacrifices were made,” Wood said. Last year, Hunt’s life took a downward spiral. His marriage ended, he dropped out of school and he began to have suicidal thoughts, his mother said. She said Hunt sought counseling from the VA and moved in temporarily with Wordin in California. Things seemed to improve for Hunt in recent months after he returned to his hometown of Houston to be near family. He got a construction job, leased an apartment, bought a truck and began dating. He called friends to discuss the possibility of re-enlisting. In the days before he died, he hung out with friends, and he had plans the following weekend to do a Ride 2 Recovery bike ride. He even told Garza he couldn’t wait to see him at a Fourth of July reunion with other Marines. Then he was dead. “Clay was always a fighter,” Wordin said. “He was always a guy to stick things out and he basically quit life, and I was mad that he felt he had to do that at that particular time.” Hunt’s friends and family count him a casualty of war — just like his buddies who died in the battlefield.

Civilian Ways” I hold the cold steel of my rifle as I dream of foreign lands And I promise myself I will cherish every moment I can But there’s ghosts that follow me around Everywhere I am When I say goodbye I try to be strong Now I’m going back to the U.S. where I belong

I ain’t never alone The war seems to follow me home No longer an active soldier When I walk down the street I’m shaking hands with everyone that I meet And I watch everyone wondering what they see

Civilian ways are now what’s foreign to me I came off a long tour I left this place in two o three May we never forget the sacrifices My friends made for me

I live in Marysville out on the county line And my Brother and my Mother both visit me all the time And visions of you are always running right through my mind We always talk about what we’re gonna do when the war is won We’re gonna fix up them old cars and ride them into the sun When I heard you’re no longer with us Man I was done

Civilian ways are now what’s foreign to me I came off a long tour I left this place in two o three

May we never forget the sacrifices My friends made for me.

More Tea Party Terrorists. North Carolina Candidate allegedly murdered 2 Iraqis in cold blood.

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Yet another disgraceful example of terrorism from North Carolina.

Ilario Pantano, who is running for North Carolina’s 7th congressional district as a Republican Party Candidate, the Politcal Wing of the Tea Party Terrorists, was charged with the premeditated murder of two Iraqi civilians in 2005 while serving as a second lieutenant with the US Marines.

In April of 2004, Pantano and his platoon stopped and detained two Iraqi men in a car near Falluja. He and two others ordered the detained Iraqis to search their own car for weapons and then allegedly unloaded two full magazines of his M16A4 rifle into them.

The Politial Representative of the Tea Party told the New York magazine “I believed that by firing the number of rounds that I did, I was sending a message”

The New York Magazine reported

Pantano, who earlier had the Iraqis put in plastic handcuffs, now had Doc Gobles cut the cuffs off, which he did with his trauma shears. Then Gobles marched the two prisoners to their vehicle, placed one in the open door of the front seat, the other in the open door of the rear seat. Pantano motioned to the prisoners to search the car. He ordered Gobles to post security at the front of the car; Sergeant Coburn at the rear. Both men turned their backs on Pantano and the Iraqis.

A short time later, the shots started. Gobles and Coburn spun around. Pantano, ten feet from the Iraqis, emptied his M-16’s magazine, reloaded, emptied another. Later, Coburn recalled wondering “when the lieutenant was going to stop, because it was obvious that they were dead.” Photos, souvenirs taken by a Marine, would show one Iraqi nearly embracing the backseat of the car. The other lolled on his side, his head on the floorboard.

Hazel Blears – Labour was “wicked and malicious”

October 2, 2010 1 comment

Theresa May took a lot of flack for calling the British Conservative Party, the “nasty party“. She was right and it took a lot for Conservatives to at least appear to have shifted from that image.

Eight years later Hazel Blears makes a similar assessment of the Labour government. She called the last Labour government wicked and malicious at a fringe meeting of the 2010 Labour Party Conference. A well deserved description. Within hours she denies ever using that phrase and if she did she claimed it was directed at “Tory cuts”.

Within a day she is caught out as being nothing but a wicked and malicious liar.

She is banged to rights and caught on tape.

A fierce advocate for gay rights.

September 20, 2010 10 comments

Now what’s not to like about Lady Gaga?

The repeal of DADT is currently being filibustered by Republicans, as it is part of a military funding bill, if Republicans succeed in filibustering it they remove funding from Soldiers while the US is involved in a war in Afghanistan and military action in Iraq. So much for supporting the troops. Lady Gaga is going to Maine, the State that sends that rare beast, moderate Republicans, to break that filibuster.

American Soldiers Killed Afghan Civilians for Sport

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

A report in The Guardian provides details of 12 US soldiers who formed a “kill team” that blew up random Afghan civilians and collected their fingers as trophies.

The ”kill team” was exposed as a result of an investigation in to bullying. A Soldier just out of basic training reported the use of stolen hashish and illegally smuggled alcohol. He was badly beaten two days afterwards.

The soldier reported the beating and provided information about the “kill team”.

According to the Guardian report, investigators and legal documents reveal that discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November.

Soldiers told the US Army’s criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to “toss a grenade at someone and kill them”.

Investigators said Gibbs, 25, hatched a plan with another soldier, Jeremy Morlock, 22, and other members of the unit to form a “kill team”.

Allegedly, at least three civilians were murdered by the “Kill Team”.

The first target was Gul Mudin, who was killed “by means of throwing a fragmentary grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle”.

Morlock and another soldier, Andrew Holmes, were on guard at the edge of a poppy field when Mudin emerged and stopped on the other side of a wall from the soldiers. Gibbs allegedly handed Morlock a grenade who armed it and dropped it over the wall next to the Afghan and dived for cover. Holmes, 19, then allegedly fired over the wall.

Later in the day, Morlock is alleged to have told Holmes that the killing was for fun and threatened him if he told anyone.

The second victim, Marach Agha, was shot and killed the following month. Gibbs is alleged to have shot him and placed a Kalashnikov next to the body in an attempt to justify the killing.

In May Mullah Adadhdad was killed after being shot and attacked with a grenade.

According to reports at least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and some of the others posed for photographs with the corpses of the victims.

Soldiers Gibbs, Morlock, Holmes, Michael Wagnon and Adam Winfield are accused of murder and aggravated assault among other charges. All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.