Military Resistance 12A6 Trash

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The U.S. paid $5.4 million for two never-used trash incinerators at Forward Operating Base Sharana in eastern Afghanistan, potentially exposing troops to hazardous fumes from open-air burn pits used to dispose of waste instead.In a report released Monday, John Spoko, the Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accepted the facility built by a Denver-based contractor in December 2012 — more than two years after it was supposed to be finished — withoutconducting any safety inspections.The contractor who would have operated the incinerators found they had $1 million worth of electrical safety issues that posed a hazard to workers...

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Military Resistance 12A6

New Trash Incinerators In Afghanistan Never Used By U.S. “Exposing Troops To Hazardous Fumes From OpenAir Burn Pits”
Army Corps Of Engineers Accepted The Facility “Without Conducting Any Safety Inspections”

“Afghans Have Dismantled The Incinerators, ‘Presumably For Scrap’”
“Long-Term Health Risks Including Reduced Lung Function And Exacerbated Chronic Diseases” Because Base Operators Have Disposed Of Trash In Large Open Air Burn Pits

Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan, which close din October, continued to operate open-air burn pits in violation of U.S. Central Command policy, even while new, cleaner incinerators at the base went unused. (Courtesy of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) Hundreds of troops have reported medical problems they believe are related to living and working near the pits, from rare pulmonary diseases and unexplained rashes to cancer. U.S. Central Command issued a policy in 2011 requiring that incinerators — or another trash-disposal method — be operational at bases of more than 100 troops.

Dec. 16, 2013 By Patricia Kime, Staff writer; Army Times [Excerpts The U.S. paid $5.4 million for two never-used trash incinerators at Forward Operating Base Sharana in eastern Afghanistan, potentially exposing troops to hazardous fumes from open-air burn pits used to dispose of waste instead. In a report released Monday, John Spoko, the Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accepted the facility built by a Denver-based contractor in December 2012 — more than two years after it was supposed to be finished — without conducting any safety inspections. The contractor who would have operated the incinerators found they had $1 million worth of electrical safety issues that posed a hazard to workers. “FOB Sharana officials told us they decided not to operate the incinerators because of the high cost to repair the electrical deficiencies,” Sopko wrote. SIGAR also found that the two 40-ton incinerators could never have been used to full capacity because they were built in an area too narrow to allow large trash haulers to properly load the waste. FOB Sharana closed in October. U.S. Forces Afghanistan officials told SIGAR that the Afghans have dismantled the incinerators, “presumably for scrap.” In April, the inspector general found that two large trash incinerators at Forward Operating Base Salerno were unused and rusting, at a cost of $5.4 million to the taxpayer. The units were never operational because of construction deficiencies and a dispute over maintenance. In July, SIGAR reported that four trash incinerators at Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, were being underused or not used at all. The camp’s smallest incinerators, two 12-ton units, were not being used to full capacity and the largest, two 24-ton incinerators, weren’t operational because a contract for running them had not been awarded. Sopko warned that underutilization of the incinerator units “increases the longterm health risks for camp personnel, including reduced lung function and exacerbated chronic diseases” because in lieu of incinerators, base operators have disposed of trash in large open air burn pits. Troops and contractors have used burn pits to dispose of everything from plastic bottles and paper trash to human and medical waste. Hundreds of troops have reported medical problems they believe are related to living and working near the pits, from rare pulmonary diseases and unexplained rashes to cancer. U.S. Central Command issued a policy in 2011 requiring that incinerators — or another trash-disposal method — be operational at bases of more than 100 troops.

The Veterans Affairs Department is establishing a registry of affected troops to study the extent of the health consequences of open-air burn pits. In its most recent report, SIGAR questioned the Army Corps of Engineers’ ability to hold contractors accountable. The office recommended ACE conduct an investigation into the acceptance of the facility and payment to contractor International Home Finance & Development. “Because of the delays and eventual acceptance of an unusable incinerator facility, base personnel faced continued exposure to potentially hazardous emissions and $5.4 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars could have been put to better use,” the report stated.

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

Spokane Marine, Jacob Hess, 22, Killed In Afghanistan

Marine Sgt. Jacob Hess died January 1, 2014 in Afghanistan. Jan 03, 2014 by Dylan Wohlenhaus, KHQ Local News Reporter SPOKANE, Wash- 24 hours after Hess was killed on New Year’s day the Department of Defense says Hess was killed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Little details were given on just exactly how Hess was killed. Hess was a 2009 graduate of North Central High School in Spokane. Hess was enrolled in the running start program and taking college courses while at North Central. On Wednesday Steve Fisk, principal at North Central spoke to KHQ’s Dylan Wohlenhaus about Hess. Fisk says “He was very easy going. He got along well with all the kids.” “He was just real close to his family.”

Hess was a standout soccer player for North Central in 2009. According to Fisk Hess was “very sure of his direction in life” referring to Hess’ desire to enlist in the military at a young age. Sgt. Hess was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC. The Inland NW Red Cross tells KHQ that Sgt. Hess is the son of Keirsten Lyons (formerly Hess) who is the Regional Service To The Armed Forces Director. According to the Department Of Defense Hess was deployed with the Marine Air Logistics Squadron 40 when he was killed. Hess enlisted in the Marines in October 2010, not long after graduating from North Central High School. Sgt. Hess earned several awards during his service including, The Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, The Good Conduct Medal, The Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Knox Soldier Killed In RPG Attack In Afghanistan
Jan. 6, 2014 The Associated Press FORT KNOX, KY. — A soldier from the Florida Panhandle died when his unit was attacked by rocket propelled grenades in Afghanistan. The U.S. Department of Defense says Sgt. First Class William K. Lacey of Laurel Hill died Saturday in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Lacey was on his fifth deployment and was scheduled to come home in less than two weeks. He was assigned to the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Fort Knox, Ky. His father, John Lacey, told the Northwest Florida Daily News he was incredibly proud of his son. “He was brave beyond brave,” John Lacey said. “He was out there in the middle of nowhere, in hell, and he kept doing it over and over and over ... I’m just so proud of him. John Lacey and his wife, Karla, were at their Laurel Hill home when the Army officials arrived with the news. “The worst thing you can possibly see when you have a child in a war zone is gentlemen walking up in uniform,” Lacey’s stepmother said Sunday. “It’s devastating.” William Lacey joined the Army in 2003 and severed three tours in Iraq and was on his second in Afghanistan. He came from a military family. His father retired from the Air Force and his brother served in the Army.

Karla Lacey said William was proud of his father’s service and his goal was to make it to the same rank, which he did a few months ago. He leaves a wife, Ashley Lacey, a 4-year-old daughter, three step-daughters and mother Pam Joiner. “He loved his family — all of them,” Karla Lacey said. “He was a wonderful son, a wonderful father, a wonderful husband and a wonderful brother.”

POLITICIANS REFUSE TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR

Resistance Action
Jan 06 2014 Khaama Press At least three Afghan Local Police (ALP) officers were killed and two policemen were injured following an attack in south-eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan on Monday. Deputy provincial governor, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, said the incident took place late Monday evening in Andar district. Mr. Ahmadi further added that the bomber targeted a security check post of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces in Sardar Qala area, leaving three ALP officers dead and eight others injured In the meantime, Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban group, said 27 policemen were killed following the suicide attack which was carried out by a Taliban fighter. Ghazni is among the volatile provinces in south-eastern Afghanistan, where Taliban militants are openly operating in a number of its districts. The head of the public uprising forces against the Taliban militants, commander Shaheen was killed following a suicide attack in this province on Saturday

“Long-Term Patients At The Rehabilitation Hospital Told Al Jazeera That Kabul’s Only Government-Run Facility For The Disabled Treats Them With Indifference”
“Flesh-Eating Mice Are Merely One Example Of Their Neglect”
“The Hospital Water Began To Exude A Strange Odor”
“Until Last Year, It Had A Urine Smell To It”
04 Jan 2014 by Obaid Ali, Al Jazeera [Excerpts] Obaid Ali is a researcher at the Afghanistan Analysts Network, where he has written extensively about the disabled. ***************************************************** Kabul, Afghanistan – When Gholam Muhammad first heard faint rustling sounds under his hospital bed he passed it off as a dream. As the night went on, the noises seemed to be getting closer, and when he opened his eyes before dawn, he could not believe what he saw. “The bedsheets were stained red. When I removed the blanket I saw a mouse chewing at one of my legs,” the paralysed war veteran said. For residents at Kabul’s Disabled Rehabilitation Hospital, Gholam Muhammad’s wounds serve as one of the most extreme examples of neglect patients say they face in the hospital.

His case was not an isolated incident. At least one other patient had also complained of having his body gnawed at by mice. That patient later died of kidney failure. Though official statistics on disability in Afghanistan are non-existent, there are an estimated 400,000 to 655,930 disabled people, according to World Bank and Handicap International reports, many with wounds sustained during three decades of conflict. Eighteen long-term patients at the rehabilitation hospital told Al Jazeera that Kabul’s only government-run facility for the disabled treats them with indifference. Flesh-eating mice are merely one example of their neglect. Patients point to bottles of drinking water stored under their beds since the hospital water began to exude a strange odor. “Until last year, it had a urine smell to it. This year, the odor has lessened, but the taste is still the same,” said Mohammad Amin, one of the long-term patients. For a hospital that has had at least three patients die of kidney complications in a fouryear span, the questionable water quickly set off alarm bells. Lab results in 2012 showed that the hospital’s water supply had been contaminated by the nearby Kabul River, a dried-up waterway that has become an urban dumping ground. “They are only doing what is best for their pockets, not the nation,” said Mohammad Amin, who serves as an intermediary between patients and hospital officials. In a small, cramped room where exposed electrical wires run along the white-and-yellow dirt-stained walls, Mohammad Amin said all of the patients feel uncared for. In a hospital where the still under-construction bathrooms are also used for trash storage, patients claim their meals have created further medical complications for the bedridden and paralysed. Several patients speaking to Al Jazeera complained about the hospital’s unappetising menu, which has remained unchanged for more than four years. The daily ritual of chickpeas and boiled eggs have caused “kidney problems for the paralysed, who are unable to do any physical activities”, they said. Gholam Muhammad, who hails from the southwestern province of Helmand, said he fears the combination of discomforting food and unsanitary water may have already left a lasting impact on his body. “One of my kidneys has already stopped functioning and the other one seems less active,” he said weeks after seeing a fellow patient die from kidney complications. When he approached hospital directors to demand better food, Mohammad Amin was told that budget constraints made the request impossible to fulfill. Currently,

the Ministry of Public Health provides the hospital with 70 afghanis ($1.24) for each patient’s daily meal allowance. But Amin said hospital officials are not doing enough to make the most of the budget, pointing out that the hospital pays 9 afghanis ($0.16) for each egg when the market value is just 6 afghanis ($0.11) - a result he claims stems from a corrupt bidding process. “They gather three or four invoices from different merchants, but the bidding process is in their hands. If it was a real bidding process, why would they pay more than market value?” A request for comment from the Ministry of Public Health was not answered by publication time. With only 1 percent of next year’s national budget allocated to healthcare, Mohammad Amin places little faith in the hospital’s promise that in 2014 the daily allowance will increase to 150 afghanis ($2.68) per patient. Because 64 percent of the national budget comes from foreign aid, patients say they fear the uncertain fate of a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States - the largest foreign aid contributor - could see further reductions in government assistance to the disabled in subsequent years. Din Mohammad Darwesh, the hospital’s director, called Afghanistan’s disabled veterans “the pride of our nation” for the role they played in the war against the Soviet Union’s occupation from 1979-88. Darwesh agreed the government is not doing enough for the disabled. “The government makes repeated promises on paper, but fails to deliver on them,” he told Al Jazeera. Hospital officials told Al Jazeera they maintain a ratio of one doctor for every four beds. At night, 18 doctors, nurses and pharmacists are on shift. But Mohammad Amin said that even with these staff levels, problems remain. “The staff come here like it’s a guest house. Every night there is a list of 10 or 12 doctors and nurses on duty, but you won’t see more than two or three in person. It’s all on paper and nothing more,” he claimed.

MILITARY NEWS

War Profiteer Daltron Overcharged Millions For Afghan Radio Parts:
“The Biggest Supplier Of Combat Radios For Afghan Security Forces Overcharged The U.S. Army For Parts Such As Transceivers And Battery Chargers”
Dec 16, 2013 By Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg L.P The biggest supplier of combat radios for Afghan security forces overcharged the U.S. Army for parts such as transceivers and battery chargers because the service didn’t challenge the pricing, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general. Personnel with the Army Contracting Command didn’t “perform sufficient analysis” to ensure “fair and reasonable prices” for equipment bought from closely held Datron World Communications Inc., assistant inspector general Jacqueline Wicecarver said in an audit marked “For Official Use Only.” This is the 10th time since 2008 that the Pentagon inspector general has criticized negotiations over “fair and reasonable prices” for military parts and equipment, according to the report. Three previous audits involved pricing by Boeing Co. (BA) and two others concerned the Sikorsky Aircraft unit of United Technologies Corp. Based on a sample of 127 items purchased over the past several years from Datron, the command “potentially overpaid up to $3.3 million” for the communications equipment, according to the audit dated Dec. 5. It recommended that the Army seek a refund from Datron and use the money to buy additional equipment. The Datron purchases were ordered under a six-year contract that runs through March. The company has delivered about 55,700 radios to Afghanistan for use by the Afghan National Army. Army personnel failed to challenge the price of a PRC-1060-MK radio “module kit” that soared almost eightfold to $2,111.36 in 2012 from $279.65 in 2010, according to the audit. Nor did personnel perform an independent analysis to identify the reason for an increase in the price for “radio spare parts” kits that grew to $1,215 each in 2010 from $356 a year earlier.

The largest potential overcharge was $614,259 for the purchase of 16,829 PRC1077 VHF radio transceivers. The Army overpaid $36.50 for each transceiver, or about 1.3 percent, the audit found. The command “will continue to overpay on future Datron procurements if contracting officers do not perform sufficient analysis to verify prices are fair and reasonable and consistent with prices authorized under the Most Favored Customer clause” that’s supposed ensure that the Pentagon gets the best deal offered, according to the report.

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

“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

But out of this complicated web of material and psychic forces one conclusion emerges with irrefutable clarity: the more the soldiers in their mass are convinced that the rebels are really rebelling – that this is not a demonstration after which they will have to go back to the barracks and report, that this is a struggle to the death, that the people may win if they join them, and that this winning will not only guarantee impunity, but alleviate the lot of all – the more they realize this, the more willing they are to turn aside their bayonets, or go over with them to the people. And the highest determination never can, or will, remain unarmed. -- Leon Trotsky; The History of the Russian Revolution

Tell Me Again, Why Did My Friends Die In Iraq?
“For All The Blood Spilled — Of 4,488 Military Men And Women To Be Precise — There’s No Good Reason Why”
“The Iraq War Is The Largest Strategic Blunder In U.S. History”

Lance Cpl. Franklin Sweger Jan. 3, 2014 by Paul Szoldra, Business Insider, Inc. It was probably chilly that December day in Fallujah back in 2004.

A man you probably never heard of, Lance Corporal Franklin Sweger — along with thousands of Marines and soldiers — was engaged in some of the worst combat since Vietnam. “Everything’s OK mom, don’t worry about me,” he told his mother two weeks before. “I think I’m going to make it.” In less than ten days, the city would be for the most part, secure. Its residents would need years to rebuild after the destruction, and its children would see an astronomical rise in birth defects and other abnormalities. But for Sweger, Dec. 16 would be the last day to fight. “He was the one who was kicking in the doors and going in first,” his father Frank Sweger told MySanAntonio. Along with his infantry platoon from 1st Battalion 3rd Marines, he was going house-tohouse, kicking in doors as he had likely done since the battle had started on Nov. 7. But as he entered one room, friends told me later, he was shot and killed by an insurgent lying in wait. He was on his last deployment and would’ve gone on to college. He was funny, a good person, and just 24 years old. Why did he die? *** The battle that took the life of Lance Corporal Franklin Sweger was the second assault that year on the then-lawless city of Fallujah. Called Operation Phantom Fury (Operation Al Fajr in Arabic, or The Dawn), it was a fullscale attack on a city teeming with insurgents who had months to prepare defenses, booby traps, and explosives throughout the city. When it was all over, American and friendly forces suffered more than 100 killed and more than 600 wounded. The Red Cross estimated 800 Iraqi civilian deaths. Insurgent deaths were much greater than both but impossible to count. Why did they die? *** The invasion of Iraq was predicated on the notion of ridding the Hussein regime of “weapons of mass destruction” of course. But in 2004, the game was changed to counterinsurgency — ridding the world of “the terrorists.” And we sure were successful. Until the U.S. pulled out, American soldiers and Marines certainly killed their fair share of terrorists, insurgents, bad guys, and the like. They in turn, killed plenty of us.

Yet for all the blood spilled — of 4,488 military men and women to be precise — there’s no good reason why. The proof of how pointless the entire endeavour was — if you even needed more — came Friday morning, with a report from Liz Sly in the Washington Post. “At the moment, there is no presence of the Iraqi state in Fallujah,” a local journalist who asked not to be named because he fears for his safety told Sly. “The police and the army have abandoned the city, al-Qaeda has taken down all the Iraqi flags and burned them, and it has raised its own flag on all the buildings.” Fallujah has fallen, and the same scenario is about to happen in the even-larger city of Ramadi. It shouldn’t be such a surprise the place my friends fought for is falling back into civil war. I shouldn’t be surprised when the same thing happens in Afghanistan. But it still is, because I don’t want it to happen. Now looking back on his “Last Letter” written Mar. 18, 2013, Tomas Young, a veteran of Iraq who was shot and paralyzed just five days into his deployment, predicted this moment: “The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history,” he wrote. “It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure.” I’ll never know why they died. It wasn’t to stop the “mushroom cloud” or to defend the nation after 9/11. It sure wasn’t for freedom, democracy, apple pie, or mom and dad back home. The only reason they died was for the man or woman beside them. They died for their friends. I’m just not satisfied with that.

TROOPS INVITED:
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]: Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication. Same address to unsubscribe.

The Syrian Revolution – A Reminder:
“The Syrian Revolution Is Not Complicated, It Is A People Against A Genocidal Dictator, Freedom Versus Tyranny, Right Versus Wrong”
“A Heroic People Battling Against Overwhelming Odds To Overthrow A Tyrant And A Regime Which Has Oppressed And Continues To Oppress Their Nation For Over Half A Century”

1.6.14 From Ruth Numpty of “Radio Free Syria,” www.facebook.com/RadioFreeSyria

A favorite ploy of Western media and pro-regime activists is to write about the Assad regime and the Syrian people demanding and fighting for freedom as two roughly equal sides, both receiving backing from foreign allies. Media references to offensives and counter-offensives, to ‘attacks on rebel-held areas’ (a.k.a. densely populated residential neighbourhoods full of civilian men, women and children) make it sound as though the regime and those opposing it are two equally equipped military machines facing off about some fairly abstract, complex political debate. The Assad regime has consistently misrepresented the revolution as an extremist Islamist uprising against its ‘secular government,’ making constant smears about the revolution supposedly standing for Al Qaeda and Islamist extremism from the start in the knowledge that these would play well with a credulous Western public drip-fed Islamophobia for the past decade. Bearing this in mind, here are three points to remember: 1. The Assad regime is a hereditary totalitarian dictatorship which has ruled by ‘1984’-style absolute repression of all dissent for half a century. As is seen from the regime’s daily aerial and heavy artillery carpet bombardment and deliberate mass starvation of millions of men, women and children across Syria, Assad and his supporters and allies regard the Syrian people’s lives as worthless ‘collateral damage’, viewing their only useful purpose being to serve the regime’s interests. The people of Syria opposing the regime rose up at first to demand reform, simply wanting the freedom, dignity and human rights that are every human being’s birthright, which had been denied to them for half a century by the Assads. Incidentally one of the targets of regime bombardment during these first months of peaceful demonstrations was the Ramel al Ghanoubi Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, which was bombed by regime tanks in retaliation for peaceful protests by residents demanding reform, yet again disproving the regime’s always spurious claims to represent support for Palestinians. Only after months of peaceful protests were met with regime bombardment, detention, torture and killings of demonstrators, including women and children, was the Free Syrian Army formed by regime military defectors disgusted at the regime’s grotesque slaughter, who realised that so long as Assad remained in power there would be no reform and no freedom. 2. The regime’s arsenal provided by its allies includes warplanes, helicopter gunships, ballistic missiles, surface-to-surface missiles, cluster bombs, white phosphorous bombs, large amounts of explosives with which to manufacture TNT-filled barrel bombs, mortars, rocket launchers, heavy artillery of every description, . The opposition’s ‘arsenal’ (sic) provided by its allies consists of guns, binoculars, body armour and fewer than ten jeeps.

The other weapons in the opposition forces’ possession are largely locally manufactured, augmented by some RPGs, mortars and rockets seized from captured regime weapons arsenals. 3. Despite exploiting sectarianism throughout its half century in power, the Assad regime failed to turn the Syrian people against each other, with free Syrians’ demands from the first being for freedom and justice for all Syrians, regardless of faith or sect; Syrians have had more than enough of sectarian divide-and-rule tactics from the Assad regime itself to wish for any more. While there are a minority of foreign fighters fighting alongside the opposition (and in the case of the ISIL being driven out by the opposition), around 95 percent of the Syrian opposition forces are Syrian. This contrasts with the conscripted regime military, which is so dependent on Iranian proxy militias that one senior Hezbollah official said last November that without Hezbollah’s assistance Assad would fall in two weeks. Free Syrians’ continuing opposition to extremism is shown in opposition forces’ ongoing battle against Al Qaeda affiliates attempting to exploit the revolution, primarily the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS -or ‘Da’ash’). These extremist groups, which share the Assad regime’s loathing for Syrian or any other freedom and its taste for killing Syrian civilians, have unsurprisingly been notable for following the same tactics as the regime, targeting, abducting and regularly killing revolution activists and doing their utmost to silence revolution media. These extremist militias’ clearly marked headquarters buildings have also been conspicuously left untouched by Assad’s forces, while adjacent civilian areas are carpet bombed by regime warplanes and heavy artillery. With Assad’s backers in Tehran, a totalitarian Shiite theocracy, intent on creating a Shiite ‘statelet’ within Syria to both divide the nation and to provide a geographic link between its proxies in Iraq and Lebanon, it is in fact the Assad regime which is once again wholly reliant on fomenting sectarianism, once again as a divide and rule tactic. The nominally Islamic Republic of Iran has provided Assad not only with its own fanatically sectarian Iranian Revolutionary Guards, but with mercenaries from its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah (the supposed ‘Party of God’), and from around 15 hardline Iraqi Shiite militias, as well as others from Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Of course, anyone actually following what’s been going on in Syria for the past three years (or the past 50-plus) is fully aware of all the above; many, however, are either wilfully blind and indifferent to Assad’s Nakba or remain ignorant due to being fed a constant stream of disinformation by ‘alternative’ or mainstream media, which have been largely indistinguishable in their coverage of Syria. While the former group can’t be helped by anything but divine intercession in the form of developing a conscience or being gifted miraculously and belatedly with a working brain, we all need to remind the latter group that this is not a ‘fight among equals’ or a ‘complex civil war,’ but a heroic people battling against overwhelming odds to overthrow a tyrant and a regime which has oppressed and continues to oppress their nation for over half a century.

The Syrian revolution is not complicated, it is a people against a genocidal dictator, freedom versus tyranny, right versus wrong.

ANNIVERSARIES

Jan. 8, 1811:
Magnificent Anniversary:
The Largest Slave Revolt In U.S. History:
“There Were People Willing To Make The Ultimate Sacrifices To Better Not Just Themselves But Other People”

Art by renowned River Parishes artist Lorraine Gendron depicts the revolt by enslaved people in 1811 in St. John and St. Charles parishes that reverberated around the country. The art hangs in the Destrehan Plantation exhibit commemorating the 200-year anniversary of the revolt. David Grunfeld, The Times-Picayune

January 03, 2011 By Littice Bacon-Blood, The Times-Picayune [Excerpts] More than a century before the first modern-day civil rights march, there was Charles Deslondes and his make-do army of more than 200 enslaved men battling with hoes, axes and cane knives for that most basic human right: freedom. They spoke different languages, came from various parts of the United States, Africa and Haiti, and lived miles apart on plantations along the German Coast of Louisiana. Yet after years of planning at clandestine meetings under the constant threat of immediate death, they staged a revolt on Jan. 8, 1811, that historians say is the largest uprising of enslaved people in this country. “Slavery was very harsh and cruel, but the slaves themselves were not mindless chattel with no aspirations and no basis for humanity,’’ said John Hankins, executive director of the New Orleans African American Museum. “This revolt demonstrates that there were people willing to make the ultimate sacrifices to better not just themselves but other people.” To mark the 200 year anniversary of that revolt, Destrehan Plantation, in conjunction with Tulane University and the African American Museum, located in Treme, is organizing a yearlong look at the uprising that reverberated around the fledgling nation because of the large number of enslaved people involved, its military strategy and oddly enough, because it demonstrated that all was not well among those held in bondage. “I don’t think the United States as a whole understood that the enslaved black population were as unhappy as they were,’’ said Hazel Taylor, the special project coordinator at Destrehan Plantation. “Slave owners had a tendency to say that (slaves) were happy. What this did was put awareness on the people who were being oppressed.” The revolt, which started in St. John the Baptist Parish about 30 miles west of New Orleans, also raised awareness of the harshness of the slave system and fueled the abolitionist movement, Taylor said.

It occurred just a year before Louisiana gained statehood and 50 years before Louisiana and 10 other southern states voted to secede from the union in favor of forming the Confederacy. While historians may differ on whether there was one specific catalyst for the uprising, the historical accounts of the events that unfolded on Jan. 8 are generally uniform. It started in LaPlace on the Woodland Plantation, led by Charles Deslondes, the son of an enslaved black woman and her white owner. Deslondes, along with more than 200 others known mainly by first names, were headed to New Orleans in the hopes of joining with other revolution-minded free and enslaved black people. Historian Daniel Rasmussen spent two years researching the revolt as part of his senior thesis at Harvard University and has expanded his initial work into a recently published book, called “American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt.” According to Rasmussen, the revolt had been planned for years and was “highly organized.” “There were 11 separate leaders of the revolt, representing various different ethnic groups. In my book, I profile a few of these leaders, mainly Charles Deslondes, Kook, and Quamana. Kook and Quamana were Asante warriors brought over from Africa a mere five years before,” Rasmussen said. “Charles Deslondes was the half-white son of a planter who had risen to the rank of driver, but was, actually, the ultimate sleeper cell, plotting revolt. These leaders took advantage of clandestine meetings in the cane fields and taverns of the German Coast, the slave dances in New Orleans, and the vast network of slave communications that extended throughout the Caribbean.” Rasmussen and other historians say the revolt was inspired by the 1791 events in Haiti where the enslaved population took over that island nation and abolished slavery. These revolutionists had similar dreams as they marched to the beat of drums and under waving banners toward New Orleans. “These three men, each with different insights and abilities, had planned their insurrection and spread word of the uprising through small insurrectionary cells distributed up and down the coast, especially at James Brown’s plantation, the Meuillion plantation, and the Kenner and Henderson plantation,” Rasmussen writes in his book. Along the way they burned plantations and crops and collected weapons and ammunition. Two white planters were killed; their wives and children were spared. “I realized that the revolt had been much larger -- and come much closer to succeeding - than the planters and American officials let on. Contrary to their letters, which are the basis for most accounts of the revolt, the slave army posed an existential threat to white control over the city of New Orleans,” he said. “My biggest surprise as I dug into the

sources was . . . . just how close they came to conquering New Orleans and establishing a black Republic on the shores of the Mississippi.” But their dreams of freedom were not to be realized. On Jan. 10 at Jacques Fortier’s plantation near present-day River Town in Kenner, the makeshift army was forced to turn back after encountering a detachment of military troops, but found their retreat blocked by a group of local militia organized by planters. The number of insurgents killed when they were forced back to an area close to present day Norco varies: Some say 40 to 66, but the end result was that the uprising was stopped in Kenner. Historians say some survivors were able to escape into the swamps, while others were returned to bondage. On January 13, 1811 a tribunal convened at Destrehan Plantation and after three days of hearings, 45 men were either sentenced to death or sent on to New Orleans for further trials. Those sentenced to death, among them Charles Deslondes, Kook and Quamaan, were executed by a firing squad and beheaded. Their heads were stuck on poles and placed along the river levee from New Orleans to LaPlace in an attempt to discourage similar rebellions. ““It was really brutally put down,” said Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, a New Orleans author and historian who is now an adjunct history professor at Michigan State University. “It was incredibly bloodthirsty in the way the elite put it down, cutting people into little pieces, displaying body parts.” “There’s been a historical amnesia about anything that showed a really bitter exploitation and violence directed on the slave and former slave population,’’ Hall said. “A lot of historians didn’t want to talk about it and a lot of the public didn’t want to hear about it. But that’s evidently changing and I’m glad I lived long enough to see it.”

CLASS WAR REPORTS

Angry Workers Use Tires To Barricade Bosses Inside Goodyear Factory In France
[Thanks to Alan Atolzer, Military Resistance Organization, who sent this in.] Jan 6, 2014 By Alexander Smith, NBC News contributor

Disgruntled workers at a Goodyear factory in northern France detained two of their bosses Monday by barricading a meeting room door with a large tire, their union said. The incident is the latest in a series of flare-ups since the Ohio-based tire giant said last year that it planned to close the 1,250-worker plant in Amiens by the end of 2014. So-called “boss-napping” became rampant in France in 2009 at the height of the economic meltdown, although the practice has since tapered off. Workers would not let the manager and a human resources chief leave a room after a meeting turned sour, the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) union told The Associated Press. The plant, 60 miles north of the French capital, Paris, is one of many to suffer from Europe’s shrinking auto industry. Armel Drane, who said he was an ex-worker at the plant and had friends who were present inside the room, tweeted a picture of the tires blocking the door. Goodyear representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the AP the two managers were being held against their will. The company was not available to provide an official comment. In March 2013 angry workers protested outside the plant in what was described at the time as a last-ditch attempt to save their jobs. They clashed with riot police and burned tires.

More Than 10,000 Demonstrate In Haiti To Protest Poverty And Demand The Resignation Of President Michel Martelly:
“As Always, The Exploited Can Count Only On Themselves, And Not On The Politicians Who Serve The Rich”
[Late Report]
Dec 9, 2013 The Spark Issue no. 953

More than 10,000 people demonstrated in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, on November 18, to protest poverty and to demand the resignation of President Michel Martelly. Martelly protects his own personal interests, those of the wealthy, and has shown himself just as corrupt as his predecessors. The past several weeks has seen a wave of protests both in the capital and in other cities, where thousands of people from the poorest neighborhoods have taken to the streets. They also confront police repression, as noted in the journal of comrades in the French West Indies, from which the following is translated: Throughout the month of October, there were a number of demonstrations against the government of President Martelly. On October 23, the young people of the neighborhoods and some students took to the streets of Port-au-Prince. They were responding to the call for protests of the lawyer André Michel, who has launched a legal complaint against the Martelly family for corruption. When the demonstrators reached the National Palace, they demanded the resignation of the government. They were dispersed by the police using tear gas. Some students responded to the teargas by throwing a hail of rocks. In another protest, on Oct. 8, hundreds of residents of Fort-Liberté, a city in the north, took to the streets to demand that the mayor keep his promise to build a bridge. The police responded with tear gas and bullets, killing one man. Angry demonstrators set fire to a nearby police station. A number of demonstrations have demanded the government take action to improve the living conditions of the population. (Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth.) Politicians opposed to Martelly have participated in these protests in hopes of pleasing voters for their political parties. So the Famni Lavalas called for the Oct. 17 demonstration in Port-au-Prince. Thousands of demonstrators protested the high price of school tuition, the rising cost of living, the need for new housing, as well as demanding the resignation of President Martelly. Opposition politicians marched at the head of the demonstration, some holding signs with the portrait of former President Aristide. These politicians conveniently forget that Aristide, before he was ousted, also served the “big eaters” (the rich), just like Martelly does. For the moment, the discontent of the population is most often expressed in demonstrations orchestrated by politicians.

Not only do these opponents of Martelly not defend the interests of the workers and the poor, but also they plan how to use the population for their own political purposes. These demonstrations, these mobilizations in the streets, are the voice of the future for the workers and the poor of Haiti. They show an example of combativity to the workers and poor of the West Indies and of the United States. As always, the exploited can count only on themselves, and not on the politicians who serve the rich.

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U.S. soldier in Beijia village Iraq, Feb. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

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DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

Iraqi Dictatorship Fails To Put Down Anbar Rebellion:
“Government’s Efforts To Retake Falluja Were Set Back By The Apparent Defection Of Some Tribal Militias, Who Are Now Siding With Militants”

Some Armed Tribesmen “Have Now Apparently Decided That The Government Is Their Greater Enemy”
Militants Hold Government Military Base At Karma
January 5, 2014 By YASIR GHAZI and TIM ARANGO, The New York Times Company & USA Today [Excerpts] [I]nsurgents appeared to maintain control of much of Falluja, another important city in Anbar Province, and had the upper hand in fighting on its outskirts. The government’s efforts to retake Falluja were set back by the apparent defection of some tribal militias, who are now siding with the militants, according to officials. The fight in Falluja is complicated by the widespread disenchantment of Sunnis in Iraq toward the policies of the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal alMaliki. Some armed tribesmen with little sympathy for Al Qaeda and its desire to set up a Sunni Islamic state in Iraq have now apparently decided that the government is their greater enemy. Shifting and unclear alliances among the fighting groups in Falluja have made the situation there more uncertain at a moment when security officials in Baghdad have promised a decisive campaign to clear the province of insurgents. The Iraqi military mounted several airstrikes on Sunday, including one against a military base occupied by militants in Karma, a town between Ramadi and Falluja. In Ramadi on Sunday, Iraqi officials told the AP that fighting between the army and alQaeda militants killed 22 soldiers and 12 civilians, along with an unknown number of militants. Fifty-eight people were wounded in the battle. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

MORE:

Government Soldiers Killed As Fighting Spreads To Abu Graib And Balad
January 6, 2014 NINA

In an armed attack on Monday, Jan. 6, in Abu Ghraib, western Baghdad, 5 soldiers killed and wounded. Police source told NINA that insurgents opened fire from a moving car at a military checkpoint in central Abu Ghraib district, western Baghdad, killing 2 soldiers and wounding 3 others. A soldier killed on Monday evening, Jan. 6, with a sniper’s fire, south of Tikrit, Salaheddin province. Security source told NINA that a sniper opened fire at a soldier, manning a military observation post in Balad district, south of Tikrit, killing the soldier.

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