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Military Resistance 11D3
From: Dennis Serdel To: Military Resistance Newsletter Sent: April 04, 2013 Subject: Hype Written by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade; United Auto Workers GM Retiree **************************************************************** Hype “He was such a good boy & loved the Army” A friend at the funeral said, “He was always a happy jokester & recently he said that he would probably be dead, but then he said April Fools Day & all of us laughed our heads off.” His Mother Gloria said “that he always wanted to be in the Army. He enrolled
in ROTC in Highschool & said that he had found his calling, just like if some boy said he wanted to be a Priest.” His Father said that “They could use the Death Money to buy a new Camper they wanted & then said April Fools after that, Yes he was a lot like me in many ways, but he died serving his Country & God.” The local newspaper wrote it all down & had a picture of him on the lower front page. “He was always so funny his best friend said, one time he had his pistol with one bullet in it. He would spin it & then point it at his head, & every time it would just go click, we thought it was another one of his tricks. So we asked him to show us the bullet & sure enough there was one bullet in it. He said that was what he loved in the Army, one click away from being dead. He said the adrenalin rush was the highest he had ever been.” Another X-Highschool buddy added, “That he loved licking his combat boots until they shined & he would shine all his brass on the back of his ass.” Another said “He liked it when his Sarge would bark out orders & treat him like a dog.” Some said they couldn’t stop laughing at his funeral because they knew he would rise up and shout “April Fools Day.” One serious X-Highschooler said, “It was like when Sartre said when you’re dead you are dead, you don’t exist anymore.” Shock Poetry written by Dennis Serdel for Military Resistance
By Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade; United Auto Workers GM Retiree From Peace Speaks From The Mirror, Dennis Serdel *********************************************** It’s cold in the morning and he shivers,
he kicks up the furnace he turns down at night these heating bills are killer he puts some coffee on trying to remember who he buries today these Michigan winters freeze the ground on down he needs some gas in the truck and the digger too it’s a hell of a way to make a living but it’s steady pay After a cup and a half of coffee and three cigarettes it dawns on him who’s grave he has to dig today it’s Mary and John’s son from across the tracks the paper had his picture he was just a boy played football at the old high school a stand out star joined the Army after that cause all the jobs are gone.
New Zealand Withdraws Its Troops From Afghanistan:
“The Withdrawal Came About Five Months Earlier Than Initially Planned”
April 4 The Washington Post BAMIYAN, Afghanistan — New Zealand has withdrawn its small contingent of troops from Afghanistan. The South Pacific nation had stationed about 145 soldiers in central Bamiyan province since 2003. Ten of its soldiers died during the conflict. The withdrawal came about five months earlier than initially planned.
In a ceremony Thursday, New Zealand lowered its flag and opened a memorial to commemorate both the New Zealand troops and Afghan security forces who died in the province. About 95 Afghan interpreters and their family members who worked with the Kiwis will this month move to New Zealand, where they have been granted residency. New Zealand will continue to station 27 planning and intelligence personnel in Kabul.
DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND OR RELATIVE IN THE MILITARY?
Forward Military Resistance along, or send us the email address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly with your best wishes. Whether in Afghanistan or at 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 injustices, inside the armed services and at home. Send email requests to address up top or write to: Military Resistance, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657.
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Three Foreign Occupation “Servicemembers” Killed Somewhere Or Other In Afghanistan: Nationality Not Announced
April 6, 2013 Reuters Three foreign servicemembers died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today.
Fighter Jet Crashes In Afghanistan; Pilot Killed
April 4, 2013 By Heath Druzin, Stars and Stripes KABUL — A U.S. fighter pilot was killed when his F-16 jet crashed late Wednesday near Bagram Air Field in eastern Afghanistan, military officials said. The plane was on its final approach to land after a routine air support mission around 11 p.m. when it lost contact with its wingman and the control tower, Air Force Central Command spokesperson Capt. Natassia Cherne said. It crashed 10 miles south of the runway. Cherne said preparations for an investigation were underway. The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing has appointed an interim safety investigation board president, and Air Combat Command has stood up a safety investigation board and an accident investigation board, she said. The body of the pilot, the lone crewmember, has been recovered, according to a NATO release. Authorities did not release the victim’s identity pending notification of family members. Coalition officials say there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash. “Obviously, the worst part of the situation is that we lost an airman today,” Cherne said. While insurgents have been effective at downing helicopters, crashes of combat jets have been rare in Afghanistan.
Hayward Green Beret Dies Of Afghanistan Injuries
James Grissom March 24, 2013 KTVU.com WASHINGTON — A Hayward soldier has reportedly died this week from injuries he sustained while in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense. The Special Forces soldier has been identified as Sgt. 1st Class James F. Grissom, 31. He died March 21 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany from wounds sustained from small arms fire March 18 in Paktika province. The province is in remote southeast Afghanistan bordering Pakistan. Grissom was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group. He was based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. This was Grissom’s first deployment in support of Operation Enduring FreedomAfghanistan and he had previously deployed in Iraq, according to the Army. Grissom graduated from Mt. Eden High School in Hayward back in 1999. Grissom is survived by his wife, parents and sister. Members of Grissom’s extended family declined to comment Sunday.
U.S. Air Strike In Ghazni Kills Afghanistan Police
4 April 2013 BBC & AP
A U.S. air strike in Afghanistan has killed four policemen and a civilian, officials say. The air strike took place in the eastern Ghazni province, where U.S. planes had been called in for support. A spokesman for the provincial governor told the BBC the policemen were in civilian clothes and may have been mistaken for Taliban fighters. U.S. command is investigating the incident. The death of civilians in air strikes has become a highly sensitive issue. The latest incident happened after a Taliban attack on a local police post before dawn. U.S. planes were called in to help the local police, the AFP news agency quoted local officials as saying. “They (Afghan Local Police ) were in civilian clothes - there were four of them, and they were towing a vehicle when the air strike hit them,” said Fazul Sabawoon, a spokesman for Ghazni’s governor. “They could have been mistaken for Taliban.”
POLITICIANS REFUSE TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR
Many Dead As Insurgents Wearing Military-Style Uniforms Storm Courthouse In Farah:
“An Eight-Hour Gunbattle That Left Buildings Pockmarked From Bullets And Rocket-Propelled Grenades”
Apr. 4, 2013 By Amir Shah and Kim Gamel, The Associated Press [Excerpts]
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials released harrowing new details on Thursday about an attack in a western province where assailants shot everyone in their path, sending terrified people jumping from windows trying to escape the assailants who killed at least 46 civilians and security forces. Two judges, six prosecutors, administration officers and cleaners working at the site were among the dead, the U.N. said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Farah, the capital of the province of the same name near the border with Iran. The hospital in Farah was so overwhelmed with casualties that helicopters had to ferry some of the wounded to other hospitals in nearby areas. Provincial Gov. Akram Akhpelwak said two more people had died from the attack, raising the death toll to 55 — 36 civilians, 10 Afghan security forces and nine attackers. More than 100 people also were wounded, he said. One of the province’s members of parliament, Humaira Ayobi, said one elderly man was found hiding in a bathroom, afraid to come out. “Farah is a city of sadness,” she said in a telephone call after attending a funeral for some of the victims. “The stores are closed. There’s no traffic in the streets.” The attack began when two bombers detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near the courthouse, shattering windows and devastating several buildings. Seven others jumped out of the pickup and ran toward the courthouse and attorney general’s office, prompting an eight-hour gunbattle that left many buildings pockmarked from bullets and rocket-propelled grenades. Ayobi said the attackers went from room to room shooting people, including nearly two dozen people who had taken refuge in a basement. She also said two judges were singled out to be killed in a separate room, and that their bodies were burned. The attackers were wearing military-style uniforms easily bought in Afghan markets and had painted a pickup in camouflage to disguise it as an Afghan National Army vehicle so it could bypass checkpoints, she said. An Associated Press photo shows a group of soldiers standing over the body of one of the slain attackers who was lying in a pool of blood and wearing a uniform nearly identical to theirs.
Donkey Bomb Kills Afghan Policeman
04/04/2013 The Associated Press,
KABUL, Afghanistan—An official says a bomb attached to a donkey has exploded, killing a policeman and wounded three civilians. Local government spokesman Sarhadi Zwak says the donkey blew up in front a police security post in the Alingar district of Laghman province. He says Taliban militants carried out Friday’s attack.
More Resistance Action
06 Apr 2013 By Ghanizada, Khaama Press According to reports, a heavy explosion rocked southern Zabul province of Afghanistan on Saturday after a bomber detonated his explosives in central city of Qalat. Eyewitnesses in the area are saying that a bomber targeted a team of the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in this province In the meantime provincial police chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Rooghlawanay said the bomber was looking to target the convoy of provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasery’s vehicle. Mr. Rooghlawanay further added that the provincial governor escaped the attack unhurt but a doctor was killed and three bodygurads of Mr. Nasery were injured following the blast.
As U.S. Troops Die, It’s Thieving As Usual For Corrupt Filth Who Run Afghanistan:
“‘Gen. Kohi, He’s Actually Bothering Us Quite A Lot,’ Said Mr. Zhian, Who Runs Day-To-Day Operations”
What He’s Looking For Is A Bribe, That We Should Pay Him Some Amount Of Money”
“U.S. Officials, For Their Part, Say They Are Frustrated By Afghanistan’s Corrupt Business Culture, Where Little Can Be Achieved, They Say, Without Bribing Officials”
April 3, 2013 By NATHAN HODGE, Wall Street Journal [Excerpts]. Ziaulhaq Sultani and Habib Khan Totakhil contributed to this article. BAGRAM, Afghanistan—The Aria Water Plant, built in 2006 north of Kabul, is a state-ofthe-art facility that can produce 100,000 cases of purified drinking water per week — an unusual success story from the decadelong American enterprise in Afghanistan. But with U.S. military involvement in the nation winding down, Aria, like other Afghan companies that sprang up to serve the foreigners, is struggling to survive an uncertain time. “Should I stay in Afghanistan and carry on with my business, or should I sell the company and say, ‘Hasta la vista, Afghanistan?’” wonders Abdul Majeed Zhian, chief of staff of AZ Corp., Aria’s parent company, which invested $17 million in the plant. Aria’s troubles are coming to a head as U.S.-Afghan relations are deteriorating.
U.S. officials, for their part, say they are frustrated by Afghanistan’s corrupt business culture, where little can be achieved, they say, without bribing officials. Mr. Karzai has blamed foreigners and their contractors for the endemic corruption. The Aria Water Plant now finds itself in a classic Catch-22. Managers say the company might have to shut down because of what they describe as extortion demands from an Afghan general whose forces control a checkpoint on the access road and regularly block traffic to the plant, located just outside Bagram Air Field, one of the largest U.S. bases in Afghanistan. But if Aria knuckles under and pays a bribe, it could lose the business of the U.S. government, its main customer so far. As a condition of doing business with the U.S., it cannot make illicit payments. Aria already operates under a stringent trusteeship agreement following previous management’s convictions on a corruption charge brought by U.S. authorities. According to a recent survey on corruption trends by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Afghanistan’s High Office for Oversight and Anticorruption, Afghan citizens paid about $3.9 billion in bribes in 2012—double the country’s domestic tax revenue.
One out of every two Afghans pays bribes when requesting a public service, the report said. The water plant’s troubles show how precarious it can be to do business in Afghanistan, and how fragile the country’s post-2001 economic boom, fueled by American tax dollars, has been.
The capital city of Kabul is an hour’s drive from the plant, and the company hopes it can ship water to embassies, hotels or high-end grocery stores there. But what used to be the plant’s primary advantage — its location right outside the fortified perimeter of Bagram Air Field on land owned by the Afghan Ministry of Defense — has turned into a curse. Aria must truck its supplies and products through a checkpoint manned by the U.S.funded Afghan National Army. That puts the company at the mercy of Afghan officers, who periodically shut down the road to the factory, causing costly production stoppages and cutting off Aria’s access to new business. The company says the problems began in June 2011 when Gen. Mohammad Asif Kohi, an Afghan commander who oversees government installations, paid an unexpected visit to the plant. Ezelle Santillan, the general manager from the Philippines who supervises the facility, sent an urgent message to company management. “The general asked for anyone from main office to talk or having a meeting with him to settle issues, issues I don’t understand,” she wrote, according to email correspondence reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The general then showed up at AZ Corp.’s main office in Kabul, making remarks about “building a friendship” with him, according to company officials who say they interpreted that as a request for a bribe. After Aria didn’t act on the hint, these officials say, the general’s forces began to shut down the access road to the factory, causing costly production stoppages. The shutdowns continued periodically through 2011 and 2012, according to company correspondence reviewed by the Journal. “Gen. Kohi, he’s actually bothering us quite a lot,” said Mr. Zhian, who runs dayto-day operations. “What he’s looking for is a bribe, that we should pay him some amount of money.” Mr. Zhian said a weeklong stoppage at the beginning of the year had cost Aria about $1 million because it couldn’t fill a purchase order to supply water to the U.S. military’s primary food supplier. In a brief telephone conversation with the Journal, Gen. Kohi denied he had sought a bribe and said the company is at fault. AZ Corp., he said, doesn’t have the right to operate on government property. He declined to provide documents from the Afghan Ministry of Defense that he said would support his assertion that the company is operating illegally. During a subsequent phone call, Gen. Kohi yelled at a Journal reporter who tried to verify his name and position: “This is your last time calling me. If you call me again, you will see what happens.” The trustee overseeing AZ Corp., Doug O’Dell, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, said a memorandum of agreement between the U.S. Army and AZ Corp. granted the
company use of the ground on which the water plant sits — as a sublease of the master lease between the U.S. government and the Afghan Ministry of Defense for the use of Bagram. Dawlat Waziri, an Afghan Ministry of Defense spokesman, said he is unaware of problems at the facility. He said that if Gen. Kohi was attempting to extort from the factory, the company should have made a formal complaint against him. “This isn’t the way to talk about such issues — going to the media rather than filing a complaint,” Mr. Waziri said. Mr. O’Dell said AZ Corp. hasn’t submitted an official complaint to the ministry because there doesn’t appear to be a formal way to address such grievances. Informal appeals to the deputy Afghan minister of defense have so far succeeded in temporarily reopening the access road whenever it was shut down by Gen. Kohi, Mr. O’Dell said. Other companies are facing different predicaments related to the planned troop withdrawals. Ghulam Rasoul Tarshi, general manager of Kabul-based United Infrastructure Projects, saw his construction business boom during the U.S. military surge. At the height of the war, his company was managing up to $300 million worth of U.S.-funded road-building projects per year, part of a military strategy to connect Afghan communities with the central government. Now, Mr. Tarshi’s asphalt plants, gravel crushers, bulldozers and concrete mixers stand idle. “There are no projects to bid,” he complained. The cash-strapped Afghan government hasn’t provided new orders—and even if it had, he said, requests for bribes and an impenetrable bureaucracy would have made such work unprofitable. “Working with the Afghan government, for us, it’s very difficult,” he said. AZ Corp. was founded by Assad John Ramin, an Afghan immigrant who came to the U.S. as a teenager during the Soviet occupation. At first, the company trucked supplies to the U.S. military, built fortified watchtowers and converted steel shipping containers into showers and latrines at new American bases. The water plant was its signature accomplishment. The facility is modern, and AZ Corp. took out substantial bank loans to import modern bottling equipment to meet the stringent hygiene standards of the U.S. military. The water project enjoyed support from the highest levels of the U.S. military. The groundbreaking ceremony at Bagram was attended by the top-ranking military officers in Afghanistan at the time, including Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, then commanding general for U.S. and coalition forces. In 2008, Mr. Ramin and his brother, Tahir Ramin, received an invitation from the U.S. government to attend a conference in Columbus, Ohio. They were told they would be recognized for their service in Afghanistan.
It was a ruse. Tahir Ramin and two other Afghan businessmen traveling to the conference were arrested when they entered the country at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The Ramin brothers were indicted in federal court in Chicago in connection with alleged contracting fraud at Bagram. That indictment and a separate federal indictment in Hawaii alleged that Illinois and Hawaii National Guardsmen supervising base operations while deployed to Bagram arranged to award contracts for bunkers and barriers and asphalt-paving services in exchange for bribes. Prosecutors also alleged that contracting officials at Bagram received bribes to facilitate the award of a trucking contract to AZ Corp. The Ramin brothers pleaded guilty in 2011 to a single count of paying an unlawful $50,000 gratuity to retired Army Sgt. Charles Finch, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to bribery and conspiracy charges for his role in accepting money for the award of a trucking contract in Afghanistan. Another defendant, Sgt. Maj. Gary Canteen, pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and to defraud the U.S. According to court documents, the bribe was paid through a Honolulu T-shirt and souvenir shop owned by Sgt. Maj. Canteen. The two brothers were incarcerated in a minimum-security prison in the U.S. The case ruined the Ramins financially and nearly drove the AZ Corp. into bankruptcy. The company was suspended from contracting with the U.S. government. Before the 2008 indictment, AZ Corp. had annual revenue of $30 million and employed approximately 1,500 people. By early 2011, company officials say, it was on life support and the water plant was essentially dormant. Ms. Santillan, the Filipino general manager, stayed on at the plant, firing up the machinery once a week to keep everything in working order. The plant produced 10 or 15 pallets of bottled water a week. Following the convictions, the U.S. Army threw the company a lifeline. U.S. officials involved in the suspension and debarment allowed AZ Corp. to resume contracting for the government—provided a trustee was appointed who would install new management independent of the imprisoned owners. The company would have to operate under stringent ethical guidelines. Mr. O’Dell, who became AZ Corp.’s trustee, said the company had been successful enough to pay off all the Ramins’ legal debts and a number of personal debts connected with their legal expenses. “We’ve turned it around, and I’ve had the time of my life doing it,” said Mr. O’Dell, who lives in the U.S. and travels occasionally to the region. “I’m as energized as I was as a 30-year-old company commander leading young Marines.” The turnaround, however, led to the recent troubles with Gen. Kohi. Trying to solve its checkpoint problem, Aria has engaged a U.S. lawyer and proposed expanding the perimeter of Bagram Air Field to include the adjacent water plant.
The U.S. is in negotiations with the Afghan government about a small, post-2014 presence, and Bagram is a candidate for one of the handful of bases that may remain. “We would be willing to void the lease with the U.S. government and enter into a lease directly with the Ministry of Defense. But we can get nowhere in the labyrinth of Afghan government,” Mr. O’Dell said. At the same time, the company is trying to diversify its customer base to be less dependent on the military. The U.S. military, focused on withdrawing troops and equipment ahead of next year’s deadline, appears to be uninterested in getting involved in Aria’s dispute. “We are aware that Aria is currently in discussion with MoD and [the government of Afghanistan] about their concerns, which is the proper course of action to resolve their own issues,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, a spokesman for the coalition’s Bagram-based Regional Command-East. While the water plant abuts the Bagram base, he said, it is in a separate compound that is managed and secured by Afghan security forces, which are also responsible for securing the roads in the area. “After all, such roads are theirs,” he said. The bottling company’s woes, Lt. Col. Haverstick explained, didn’t pose a military problem. “Aria is one of several water-distribution companies that provide bottled water to us,” he said. “Rest assured we are well hydrated.”
Comments, arguments, articles, and letters from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Write to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or email [email protected]
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NOT ANOTHER DAY NOT ANOTHER DOLLAR NOT ANOTHER LIFE
A military honor guard carries the casket containing the body of US Army SSgt. Rex L. Schad to a hearse in Edmond March 21, 2013. Schad was killed earlier this month while conducting a patrol brief with the Afghanistan National Police. He is a 2005 graduate of Edmond Memorial High School. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman 3.22.13
Syrian Rebel Soldiers Overrun Army Garrison That Defends The Country’s Main Southern Border Crossing Into Jordan.
05 Apr 2013 Al Jazeera And Agencies Syrian rebels say they have overrun an army garrison that defends the main southern border crossing with Jordan on Friday and vowed to press on to take control of the major transit route. Fighters from the Free Syrian Army said on Friday that they captured the Um alMayathen post on the main Damascus-Jordan highway in heavy fighting overnight that ended a more than week-long siege. Dozens died in the clashes, they added.
“It is a major defence and now we will lay siege to the border crossing and cut their (the government’s) supply lines,” Abu Omar, commander of the Lions of the Sunna Brigade, told the Reuters news agency by phone. Confirming the development, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said: “Rebel fighters took control of the Um al-Mayathen military checkpoint ... in Deraa province in clashes with regime forces. “Two fighters were killed and others wounded.” The army post is several miles from Syria’s Nasib border crossing which, before the twoyear-old civil war broke out, handled billions of dollars of trade between Gulf countries, Turkey and Europe.
Banished Veterans “Deported For Any Of A Litany Of Relatively Minor Offenses”
“The Category Includes Misdemeanors, Nonviolent Felonies, And Crimes That Occurred 20 Or 30 Years Ago And Triggers Mandatory Deportation”‘
“Judges Are Prohibited From Considering Whether An Individual Has Been Rehabilitated Since The Crime Occurred, And Whether He Is A Threat To Public Safety”
“Deportation Orders For These Crimes Are Permanent, Providing No Hope Of Ever Returning To The United States”
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who chaired the hearing, expressed concern that “longtime legal permanent residents with a U.S. family, a history of steady employment, those even who’ve served honorably in our armed forces can be, and in some cases have been, deported for any of a litany of relatively minor offenses that qualify only under the immigration code as aggravated felonies.” April 4, 2013 By Beth Caldwell, San Diego Union-Tribune. Caldwell is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Fabian Rebolledo – a veteran of the U.S. Army – lives right across the border in Mexico. He can see downtown San Diego’s skyline down the coast, but he may never enter the United States again. Rebolledo is one of at least 16 veterans of the American armed forces currently living in the Tijuana-Rosarito area who have been permanently deported from the United States. They call themselves Banished Veterans. Headquartered in Rosarito, Mexico, Banished Veterans provides support and advocacy for displaced veterans and their family members. They’ve been in touch with over 100 deported veterans, and they estimate there are between 8,000 and 40,000 deported American veterans worldwide. ICE reports it does not track how many veterans it deports, so these numbers are impossible to confirm. Legal permanent residents may enlist in the military, but they face deportation if they are convicted of a criminal offense. Rebolledo served in the Kosovo conflict in 1998. He was honorably discharged in 2000 and later became a contractor. In 2007, he was charged with check fraud for cashing a fraudulent check in the amount of $750. According to Rebolledo, the check was given to him as payment for a contracting job; he had no idea it was a bad check. Like many criminal defendants, he accepted a plea bargain to avoid the risk of a longer sentence. He didn’t realize he would subsequently be deported. Rebolledo’s offense is categorized as a crime warranting the most serious immigration consequences under federal law. Legislative reforms in 1996 made deportation mandatory if an individual has been convicted of one of a long list of offenses ranging from failure to appear in court to drug charges to murder.
Rebolledo is now separated from his 12-year-old American son, who continues to live in Los Angeles. They have not seen each other since Rebolledo’s deportation almost a year ago. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently considered this issue in a hearing entitled “Building an Immigration System Worthy of American Values.” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who chaired the hearing, expressed concern that “longtime legal permanent residents with a U.S. family, a history of steady employment, those even who’ve served honorably in our armed forces can be, and in some cases have been, deported for any of a litany of relatively minor offenses that qualify only under the immigration code as aggravated felonies.” The term “aggravated felonies” is misleading. The category includes misdemeanors, nonviolent felonies, and crimes that occurred 20 or 30 years ago and triggers mandatory deportation. Judges are prohibited from considering whether an individual has been rehabilitated since the crime occurred, and whether he is a threat to public safety. The law also requires detention while the removal case is pending. Deportation orders for these crimes are permanent, providing no hope of ever returning to the United States. Some of the most vocal opponents of the law are immigration judges. Retired Judge Paul Grussendorf testified at the Judiciary Committee hearing and urged Congress to “restore judicial review and afford judges greater latitude in their deliberations especially on issues of detention.” Local immigration Judge Zsa Zsa DePaolo echoed this sentiment last week in her comments on a panel addressing immigration reform at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Immigration judges used to have more discretion, but now their hands are tied. Judge DePaolo explained that she often has to tell people who appear before her, “If I had the authority to do that, I would. But I don’t. … The law doesn’t give me any other option.” The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found in 2010 that U.S. deportation laws violate fundamental human rights by ignoring the impacts on families and by prohibiting courts from considering the best interests of children. The commission recommended a balancing test – similar to that used by European countries – where judges would consider individual cases to determine whether a noncitizen presents a risk to public safety that outweighs the damage deportation would cause to her family. Nearly a quarter of those deported from July 2010 to September 2012 have American citizen children.
Thousands of children of deported parents languish in the American foster care system. Those who remain in the U.S. often suffer from mental health problems due to their separation from the deported parent. As it considers comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has the opportunity to create an immigration system that is consistent with American values and international human rights principles, and promotes family unity. I hope it will choose to do so.
Defying Direct Orders And Funding From Congress, DoD Fails To Restart Troops’ Tuition Assistance Program
Apr. 4, 2013 By Rick Maze, Staff writer; Army Times [Excerpts] The two senators who led the charge to save tuition assistance from budget cuts want to know what’s taking the Defense Department so long to restart the benefits pipeline. In a Thursday letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., said they expect “immediate action” to “restore this valuable program.” Inhofe is ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Hagan also serves on the committee, and is chairwoman of its emerging threats panel. The two teamed up in a bipartisan effort that resulted in both the House and Senate agreeing to prevent tuition assistance from being terminated. Their letter reminds Hagel that the 2013 government funding bill signed by President Obama on March 27 requires the services to keep providing tuition assistance benefits through the end of September. Defense and service officials have said they are trying to assess how much money is available and how best to spend it before the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps restart their tuition assistance programs. The Navy never stopped its program. In 2012, tuition assistance paid for 870,000 classes for service members leading to 50,500 degrees, diplomas or certificates, Inhofe and Hagan said. The “impressive” results included 33,300 two-year degrees, 9,600 four-year degrees, 5,800 master’s degrees and 1,800 certificates or licenses, the letter says. “These are truly extraordinary numbers, which are even more striking since these accomplishments were achieved during a service member’s limited free time,” the letter says.
Given the problems veterans face in finding post-service employment, the senators said they believe tuition assistance “is critical” in transitioning to civilian life.
“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852
The past year – every single day of it – has had its consequences. In the obscure depths of society, an imperceptible molecular process has been occurring irreversibly, like the flow of time, a process of accumulating discontent, bitterness, and revolutionary energy. -- Leon Trotsky, “Up To The Ninth Of January”
The My Lai Massacre and Martin Luther King Jr.
Photograph by Mike Hastie From: Mike Hastie To: Military Resistance Newsletter Sent: April 04, 2013 Subject: The My Lai Massacre and Martin Luther King Jr. The My Lai Massacre and Martin Luther King Jr. On March 16, 1968, 105 American soldiers of Charlie Company, a unit of the Americal Division’s 11th Infantry Brigade, went into a hamlet of My Lai, and over the course of three hours, they murdered 504 innocent Vietnamese civilians. 50 of those murdered, were 3 and under. 69 of those murdered were between the ages of 4 and 7. Profound mutilation of bodies and rape also happened. In one ditch, over 150 civilians were murdered with automatic weapons. In March 1994, I went back to Vietnam and stood next to that ditch. The picture included in this piece, was taken on that day.
About 50 Vietnamese, who arrived by bus while I was there, gathered at the base of the statue that is at the site. My greatest day of shame transported me to another time. On April 4, 1968, 20 days after The My Lai Massacre, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee. Today is April 4, 2013, 45 years after that tragic day. On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at Riverside Church in New York City. A large portion of that speech was about the war in Vietnam. In that speech, he made two statements that sealed his fate. First Statement: “ A nation that year after year spends more money on military defense than it does on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Second Statement: “ The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.” Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 1967. He was a prophet. He told the absolute truth. It is April 4, 2013 today. Absolutely nothing has changed. Since the end of World War II, The United States of America has bombed 28 countries. We are the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today. If this continues, we will die a spiritual death. A couple of years ago, I gave a lecture on the subject of the Vietnam War. I spoke in three classes, they were all Juniors in college. Out of over 100 students, not one person ever heard of The My Lai Massacre. History of the Vietnam War. It’s gone from the American consciousness. That is why Empire History always repeats itself. Mike Hastie Army Medic Vietnam April 4, 2013 He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell Photo and caption from the portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71. (For more of his outstanding work, contact at: ([email protected]
) T) One day while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over my head. The person who fired that weapon was not a terrorist, a rebel, an extremist, or a so-called insurgent. The Vietnamese individual who tried to kill me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his country. This truth escapes millions.
Mike Hastie U.S. Army Medic Vietnam 1970-71 December 13, 2004
US Army To Cut Ribbons, Medals By 50 Percent In Cost-Cutting Measure
1 April 2013 by Dirk Diggler, The Duffel Blog THE PENTAGON — With the Defense Department reeling from the far-reaching effects of sequester budget cuts, Army brass has proposed cutting the number of medals and ribbons awarded to soldiers — with officials claiming the move will save billions in taxpayer dollars. Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, the Army G-1, explained, “the amount of money spent on ribbons and medals has increased exponentially over the decades.” As proof, Bromberg pointed to a picture of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general, who was bedecked with only three ribbons. “Today, we’d look at a private with only three ribbons as if he were some sort of dirtbag,” said Bromberg. Although no final list had been decided upon, one Army spokesperson said that several ribbons were all but certain to be canned. “The Army Service Ribbon? What the hell?,” asked the spokesman. “The fact that you’re in an Army uniform is proof of your army service. Why should I give you a damn ribbon?” Army officials would neither confirm nor deny the fate of the National Defense Medal.
One simply said, “So you were drinking beer in Germany, while the entire U.S. military was fighting Desert Storm? Remind us, again, why you deserve a medal?” The Army indicated they would be cutting medals incrementally, starting with “I have a pulse”-tier awards, followed by “Thanks for showing up” awards, and finally, “I did an okay job” awards. Altogether, the program is expected to save $37 billion over the next decade. But not everyone is so enthusiastic. “My impact Army Commendation Medal really means something,” 2nd. Lt. Bob Carmichael, a battalion chemical officer, told The Duffel Blog. “It represents sacrifice.” Chemical NCO Staff Sgt. Mike Richards disagreed. “Sir, you turn in the battalion’s USR (Unit Status Report), and you have more medals than Carl von Clausewitz. That just ain’t right.”
April 6, 1712: Honorable Anniversary: Courageous Slaves Rise Up Against Their Masters;
“Death Was Preferable To Life In Bondage”
Carl Bunin Peace History April 6-12 Slavenorth.com &Pbs.org [Excerpts] In 1712, some slaves in New York City rose up in a crude rebellion that could have been much more deadly, had it been better planned. As it was, it was among the most serious slave resistances in American history, and sparked a vicious backlash by the authorities. The stage was set for an uprising. First, the city had a large population of black slaves -- the result of many years of trade with the West Indies. Secondly, communication and meeting among enslaved persons was relatively easy, since the New York City’s inhabitants lived in a small area on the southern tip of Manhattan.
Thirdly, living in such a densely populated area also meant that slaves worked in close proximity to free men, a far cry from the situation on the plantations to the south. The revolt was led by African-born slaves, who decided death was preferable to life in bondage. They managed to collect a cache of muskets and other weapons and hide it in an orchard on the edge of town. On the night of April 6, twenty-four of the conspirators gathered, armed themselves, and set fire to a nearby building. They then hid among trees, and when white citizens rushed up to put out the blaze, the slaves opened fire on them, killing five and wounding six. The surviving citizens sounded the alarm. Every able-bodied man was pressed into service, and appeals were made to governors of surrounding colonies. The militia pinned down the rebels in the woods of northern Manhattan. The leaders of the uprising committed suicide, and the rest, starving, surrendered. The death toll in the 1712 uprising doesn’t seem high, but in a New York county that, at that time probably numbered some 4,800 whites, it was shocking. In considering the psychological impact on the survivors, imagine some sort of attack on modern New York, with its 8 million people, that would leave casualties of 10,000 dead. A special court convened by the governor made short work of the rebels. Of the twentyseven slaves brought to trial for complicity in the plot, twenty-one were convicted and put to death. Since the law authorized any degree of punishment in such cases, some unlucky slaves were executed with all the refinements of calculated barbarity. New Yorkers were treated to a round of grisly spectacles as Negroes were burned alive, racked and broken on the wheel, and gibbeted alive in chains. In his report of the affair to England, Governor Hunter praised the judges for inventing ‘the most exemplary punishments that could be possibly thought of.’ “[ White New Yorkers had been apprehensive before the revolt of April 6; now they were spurred into action. Strict laws were soon enacted, and more would come, over the next thirty years. No longer could more than three black slaves meet. A master could punish his slaves as he saw fit (even for no reason at all), as long as the slave did not lose his or her life or limb. Any slave handling a firearm would receive twenty lashes. Anyone caught gambling would be whipped in public. Involvement in a conspiracy to kill would result in execution, as would a rape. There was even a law that discouraged masters from freeing a slave:
The master could free a slave, but only after posting a bond of 200 (pounds). This money would be paid to the freed slave if that slave couldn’t support himself or herself. These laws would, in the end, prove to be futile. In 1741, New York would see another uprising.
April 6, 1968: Anniversary Of A Murder By Cowards In Blue
Bobby Hutton Carl Bunin Peace History April 6-12 Bobby Hutton, the 17-year-old first member of the Black Panther Party was gunned down by officers of the Oakland Police Department. Police opened fire on a car of Black Panthers returning from a meeting. The Panthers escaped their vehicle and ran into a house. Police attacked the house with tear gas and gunfire. After the building was on fire, the Panthers tried to surrender. Hutton came out of the house with his hands in the air. But a police officer shouted, “He’s got a gun.” This prompted further police gunfire that left Hutton dead and Panthers co-founder Eldridge Cleaver wounded. Police later admitted that Hutton was unarmed.
4,500 Prisoners In Occupied Palestine Refuse Food, Launch 3-Day Hunger Strike
03 April 2013 Palestine News Network On Wednesday 3rd April, around 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails sent back their food this morning as part of a protest launched following the death of their fellow prisoner, Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, who suffered from cancer. Palestinian prisoners also launched a three-day hunger strike following the death of 64year-old Abu Hamdiyeh, who was serving a life term in Israeli prison. An autopsy of Abu Hamdiyeh’s body was scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir in Tel Aviv in the presence of a Palestinian observer. The body will then be transferred to the Palestinian Authority for burial. Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral was scheduled to take place Thursday in his hometown of Hebron. Protests immediately erupted in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and in Israeli prisons on Tuesday over his death. More protests are expected to break out at his funeral in Hebron on Thursday. Protestors and the Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed on Israel for medical negligence and say Israeli authorities bear the full responsibility for Abu Hamdiyeh’s death. Abu Hamdiyeh was claimed a hero and a martyr. [To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded by foreign terrorists, go to: www.rafahtoday.org The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”]
Assad Regime Kills 16 More Palestinian Refugees, Including Six Children
01/04/2013 PIC DAMASCUS -- A barrage of Grad rockets and mortar shells showered the Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus killing and wounding dozens of refugees. A statement by the action group for Palestinians in Syria on Monday said that 16 Palestinians were killed over the past 24 hours due to the Syrian regular army’s extensive shelling and sniper fire targeting refugee camps.
It said that the bombardment targeted main streets and suburbs in Yarmouk refugee camp, adding that 30 Palestinians were also wounded in the attack including seven in serious condition. The group said that hospitals in the camp declared a state of alert and appealed for blood donations, and asked doctors nearby to rush to aid in the emergency rooms in view of the shortage in medical supplies and manpower in those hospitals. It said that a Palestinian woman and her four children were wounded in Syrian bombing of Al-Husseiniya refugee camp.
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
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