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Military Resistance 9E16
Court Finds V.A. Guilty Of “Unchecked Incompetence”
“No More Veterans Should Be Compelled To Agonize Or Perish While The Government Fails To Perform Its Obligations”
“V.A. Had No Plan For Any New Patients And Claims”
“V.A. Still Has No Plan”
[Here it is again. Same old story. Used up, thrown away, and the politicians couldn’t care less. To repeat for the 3,556th time, there is no enemy in Iraq or
Afghanistan. Their citizens and U.S. troops have a common enemy. That common enemy owns and operates the Imperial government in Washington DC for their own profit. That common enemy started these wars of conquest on a platform of lies, because they couldn’t tell the truth: U.S. Imperial wars are about making money for them, and nothing else. Payback is overdue. T] [Thanks to Clancy Sigal, who sent this in.] 11 May 2011 By James Dao, New York Times & By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times & The Associated Press in 5.23.11 Army Times [Excerpts] In a sweeping decision released Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that “unchecked incompetence” by the Department of Veterans Affairs had led to poor mental health care and slow processing of disability claims for veterans. A federal appeals court, noting that an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day, has ordered the Veterans Affairs Department to dramatically overhaul its mental health care system. Treatment delays for PTSD and other combat-related mental illnesses are so “egregious” that they violate veterans’ constitutional rights and contribute to the despair behind many of the 6,500 suicides among veterans each year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in its 2-1 ruling. The Obama administration and its secretary of veterans affairs, Eric Shinseki, a former Army chief of staff, took office pledging to reduce both suicide rates among veterans and returning troops and shorten the backlog of disability applications. “There comes a time when the political branches have so completely and chronically failed to respect the People’s constitutional rights that the courts must be willing to enforce them. ‘We have reached that unfortunate point with respect to veterans who are suffering from the hidden, or not hidden, wounds of war,” said the ruling written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt and joined by Senior Judge Procter Hug Jr., both appointees of President Carter. In the strongly worded ruling, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it takes VA an average of four years to fully provide the mental health benefits owed veterans. The court also said it often takes weeks for a suicidal vet to get a first appointment. The “unchecked incompetence” in handling the flood of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health claims is unconstitutional, the court said. “No more veterans should be compelled to agonize or perish while the government fails to perform its obligations,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the three-judge panel.
The court said one of every three troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan was treated by VA for mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2008 Rand Corp. study found that 18.5 percent of troops returning from those countries were diagnosed with PTSD, and the study concluded that more than 300,000 veterans of the current wars suffer from PTSD or major depression. On disability claims, he noted that initial processing usually took longer than the 120-day goal set by the department itself. If the department approves a claim, it gives the veteran a disability “rating” that determines the size of the monthly disability check the veteran will receive. Those checks can range up to more than $2,600 a month depending on the severity of the disability and the size of a veteran’s family. When a veteran disputes the disability rating, the appeals process can be particularly slow, the court said. Regional offices often take more than a year to certify appeals, “a merely ministerial act,” Judge Reinhardt wrote. A special appeals board can typically take almost a year to issue a decision in those cases, the court also noted. No official with the Veterans Department “was able to provide the court with a sufficient justification for the delays,” Judge Reinhardt said. The 9th Circuit ruling overturned a 2008 verdict by U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti. Conti said he was powerless to act because Congress narrowly limited the authority of the courts to review VA benefit decisions. The appeals court, however, said there is ample evidence that VA is failing in its duty to provide timely mental health care for the nation’s veterans, despite increases in its health care budget in recent years. “The delays have worsened … as the influx of injured troops returning from deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq has placed an unprecedented strain on VA,” overwhelming the system, Rein-hardt wrote. “These extensive waiting times can have devastating results for individuals with serious mental illnesses,” Reinhardt wrote. The appeals court sent the case back to Conti in the trial court and ordered him to work with VA and the veterans groups toward a new mental health care plan that implements a speedier process to appeal denied benefits, provides timely mental health treatment and ensures suicidal vets are seen immediately. If VA fails to come up with an acceptable plan, the appeals court told Conti to fashion his own plan. He has scheduled a court hearing for May 27. The lawsuit originally was filed by Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth. The veterans groups asserted that the department was unprepared for the flood of psychologically troubled or physically injured troops returning from the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, had inadequate services at veterans clinics and had allowed a huge backlog of compensation applications to grow. In a statement released after the ruling, Veterans for Common Sense said that recent war veterans had filed more than 550,000 disability claims. “V.A. had no plan for any new patients and claims,” Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, said in the statement. “V.A. still has no plan. Tragically, the Appeals Court noted veterans died while waiting for V.A. to provide healthcare and benefits.” During the two-week trial without a jury in April 2008, lawyers for the groups showed the judge emails between high-ranking VA officials confirming high suicide rates among veterans and a desire to keep quiet the number of vets under its care who attempt suicide. “Shhh!” began a Feb. 13, 2008, email from Dr. Ira Katz, a VA deputy chief. “Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities. Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?” In another email, Katz wrote that suicides among veterans average 18 per day. After the trial, another email surfaced that was written by VA psychologist Norma Perez suggesting that counselors in Texas make a point to diagnose fewer PTSD cases. The veterans’ lawyers argued that email underscored VA’s unwillingness to properly treat mental health issues.
DoD, VA Condemned For Failure To Track Severely Wounded Troops
May 23, 2011, Army Times [Excerpts] Ten years into war, there is no database in the Defense or Veterans Affairs departments that defines “severely wounded,” or keeps track of such troops, the Government Accountability Office’s director of health care told lawmakers recently. “Are you kidding me? Is this true?” asked an incredulous Rep. Paul Gosar, RAriz. “Not to have documentation on severely wounded people that are coming back here? “That’s a minimum standard, folks. ...
“What you’re giving us is unacceptable results,” he told DoD and VA officials. This should be the simplest of tasks, he said, and the gap points to a lack of “interagency discipline to have something that both agencies can agree on.” GAO’s Randall Williamson said DoD and VA officials need to do a better job of identifying troops who are severely wounded, because it’s not clear whether all those who could benefit are being enrolled in the Federal Recovery Coordination Program. That program helps coordinate all clinical and nonclinical services to make sure those who are most severely injured, ill and wounded get the care they need.
A System Designed To Get Wounded Troops Out Of The Military And On Disability Compensation More Quickly Is “Delaying Service Members’ Release Sometimes More Than A Year”
“Under The New System, It Takes On Average Nearly 400 Days To Process A Claim”
May 18, 2011 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON (AP) — A system designed to get wounded troops out of the military and on disability compensation more quickly has failed recently to meet its efficiency goals, delaying service members’ release sometimes more than a year, documents show. The lag has caused some of the troops to turn down job offers or postpone college because they don’t know when they will be discharged from the military. The system is called the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. It works by consolidating the required medical exams and ratings, so that a service member doesn’t have to go through the disability claims process first in the military and then in the VA. Congress pushed the system following the 2007 scandal over poor living conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which highlighted the complexities of the disabilities claims system.
Some wounded veterans were left in dire financial conditions as they waited for compensation from the VA. The new program’s goal is to get troops through the system in a little more than nine months on average. But March figures show it only met that goal about 15 percent of the time for active-duty troops, 28 percent for those in the Reserves and 40 percent for the Guard, according to documents obtained by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and shared with The Associated Press. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the committee, said in a statement that under the new system, it takes on average nearly 400 days to process a claim. “All too often this time spent idle results in our men and women in uniform falling through the cracks of the system,” said Murray, who is expected to question defense and VA officials about the delays at a hearing before the committee on Wednesday. Thirteen troops going through the new system have committed suicide or died from drug overdoses, according to the records.
IRAQ WAR REPORTS
Funeral Services For Robert Friese – Saturday, May 14, In Harrison
Robert Friese’s funeral set for Saturday, May 14 May 11, 2011 By Cindy M. Cranmer, The Clare Sentinel
Special to The Clare Sentinel HARRISON — Funeral services for Robert Friese will take place on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 10:00 am located at St. Athanasius Catholic Church, Harrison with Father Noel Rudy officiating. Visitation will be held from 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm on Friday, May 13, 2011 at Stocking Funeral Home, Harrison. Friese will be arriving at Midland, Bay City Airport on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 9:31 a.m. The processional will take place from US 10 to Harrison as the final destination. The procession will be exiting at the first Clare exit, Continuing past the Clare VA clinic, taking a right at The Doherty Hotel, proceeding North on McEwan, to Old business 27, past Mid MI Community College into Harrison through downtown to Fairlane and left on Westlawn to M-61 proceeding to Stocking Funeral Home. We are asking the public to please line the sidewalks in support of this soldier as he makes his final trip home. Estimated time of arrival in Clare-11:00 and 11:20 a.m. Estimated time of arrival in Harrison-11:30-11:45 a.m. ******************************** By Cindy M. Cranmer, The Clare Sentinel HARRISON – A fallen soldier who ultimately sacrificed his life for his country is remembered by those who knew him as kind, intelligent, friendly and giving. Robert Friese, who served as a private first class in the United States Army, died during an insurgent attack on his unit in Iraq on Friday, April 29. After the Pentagon announced his death on Sunday, May 1, memorials honoring Friese along with national media coverage circulated over the Internet. Friese, a 21-year-old Chesterfield Township resident, lived in Harrison until moving to Macomb County. He graduated from Harrison High School in 2007. He continues to have family and friends in his hometown of Clare County, all of whom remember him warmly and want to honor the soldier. “He was an outstanding young man and a great citizen,” said Tom House, who was the high school principal at the time Friese attended Harrison Community Schools. “He was very respectful.” “I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful of a young man he was. He was just a very, very fine citizen,” said House, who is now superintendent in Harrison. “He was a very quiet, intelligent boy,” said Clare County Sheriff John Wilson. “He was a model teenager. He was never in trouble. He was very friendly.” Friese died from injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with a rocketpropelled grenade, according to the Defense Department.
The incident happened in Al Qadisiyah province. According to the Pentagon, Friese was a recipient of several honors and awards including the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon. Friese was deployed to Iraq in September 2010 in support of Operation New Dawn. The Obama administration gave the war in Iraq a new name starting in September 2010 – Operation New Dawn – which was to reflect the reduced role the troops would play in securing the country. The war was known as Operation Iraqi Freedom from when United States forces crossed the Kuwaiti border toward Baghdad in 2003 until the name change in September 2010, according to official information. Friese was preparing to serve his country as early as high school when he was in the Junior ROTC of Harrison. “He was an extremely nice young man – giving, polite and well disciplined,” said Master Sgt. Mark Carlstrom of the Junior ROTC. “He was a really nice kid.” “Harrison High School and the Junior ROTC would like to send a message to the friends and family of Private First Class Robert Friese, former cadet, thanking him for his sacrifice. We’ll never forget him,” Carlstrom said. A sentiment echoed by many in the community who want to recognize the fallen soldier for his sacrifice. The community is lowering flags to half staff and ribbons are being hung in his honor. Wilson said plans also are being made to line the streets when he returns home. Funeral arrangements are still being made as his family left the state to pick up his body. “On behalf of myself, the Harrison Board of Education and all the staff at Harrison Community Schools, we would like to offer our condolences to his family and sincere gratitude for his service to our country and for his time in Iraq,” House said. “I had Robert the whole time as his principal,” House said. “He is the type of kid you remember as he was just such an outstanding young man.” “I remember him being quiet in school and a very nice young man,” said Marsha Henry, Harrison Community High School attendance clerk. “He was very nice and giving.” According to a prepared statement from the military, Friese was assigned in September 2009 to Troop 1, 3rd Squadron of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, which was based at Fort Hood in Texas. He is the son of Cindy Friese, who formerly ran the Budd Lake Bar in Harrison, and Doug Friese. Both of his parents were unavailable for comment as they were traveling to pick up his body.
POLITICIANS CAN’T BE COUNTED ON TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WARS Resistance Action
May 20 (Reuters) & May 21 (Reuters) KIRKUK - An off-duty policeman and his brother were killed when insurgents stormed his house in northern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. KIRKUK - A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol, killed two soldiers and wounded two others in the southwest of Kirkuk on Friday, police said. MOSUL - Two policemen were killed and eight others wounded when two successive roadside bombs went off in central Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad on Friday, police said. The second bomb exploded when security forces gathered at the scene. MOSUL - Insurgents opening fire at a police checkpoint killed one policeman in western Mosul late on Friday, police said. KIRKUK - Insurgents opened fire at the house of an off-duty policeman, wounding him in southern Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. BAGHDAD - Insurgents equipped with silenced weapons shot dead Col. Nameer Khazaal, an officer working for the local forensics office in Baghdad’s southwestern district of Bayaa, an Interior Ministry source said. BAGHDAD - Insurgents using silenced weapons shot dead two employees working at the Iraqi intelligence facility in western Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE END THE OCCUPATIONS
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Colorado Soldier Killed In Kandahar
U.S. Army Cpl. Brandon Michael Kirton, 25, a 101st Airborne Division Soldier from Centennial, Colo., died May 18 after being struck by insurgent small arms fire and mortar rounds in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)
Resistance Bombs Afghan Military Hospital Complex In Kabul:
“What Kind Of Government Is This, That Can’t Even Protect Itself?”
“Fears About Insurgents’ Ability To Infiltrate Sensitive Government And Military Installations”
May 21, 2011 By Laura King, Los Angeles Times & ABC Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan— The medical trainees were just settling in for lunch when the bomber struck. The attack at the well-guarded Afghan Charsad Bestar military hospital complex in the center of the capital Saturday killed at least six people, injured about two dozen others
and revived persistent fears about insurgents’ ability to infiltrate sensitive government and military installations. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The thunderous blast, which echoed across much of the city, marked the first major assault inside Kabul since Taliban fighters announced the start of their “spring offensive” at the beginning of May. The noontime explosion, on the first day of the Afghan workweek, took place in a part of the sprawling 400-bed hospital compound mainly devoted to medical training, Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi told reporters. The blast tore through a crowded tent used as a staff canteen. The facility remained under lockdown while security personnel searched for a second bomber, but none was found. Emergency vehicles, sirens wailing, rushed to the scene, and police and soldiers blocked off nearby streets. As word of the attack spread, frantic family members of patients and workers clustered outside, denied entry by security forces guarding the hospital compound. “My brother is an army officer and works inside,” said Ahmad Shah, a shopkeeper. “I’ve been calling and calling his cellphone, but it’s not answering, and they won’t let me in. What kind of government is this, that can’t even protect itself?”
Fuel Supplies For Foreign Troops Blown Up As Usual
Oil tankers for foreign troops in Afghanistan burn after a bomb attack by militants in Landi Kotal town in the northwestern tribal region of Khyber, Pakistan. (AFP)
Afghans Condemn Killing Of Civilians By Foreign Troops In Taloqan
Afghans condemn U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan during a demonstration in Taloqan, Takhar province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 19, 2011. Protesters again returned to the streets of Taloqan on Thursday to protest a nighttime raid by foreign troops in the area that left four dead. Afghan officials said they were civilians. (AP Photo/Ezatullah Pamir)
Protesters burn police motor cycles at a police headquarter compound in Taloqan, Takhar province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan May 19, 2011, to protest a nighttime raid by foreign troops in the area that left four dead. Afghan officials said they were civilians. (AP Photo/Ezatullah Pamir)
REALLY BAD PLACE TO BE: ALL HOME NOW
U.S. Marines run through dust kicked up by a Black Hawk helicopter from Task Force Lift ‘Dust Off’, Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment as they rush a colleague wounded in an IED strike for evacuation near Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, May 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
United States Marines rush a wounded colleague, who was shot during an exchange of fire with insurgents, to a waiting medevac helicopter from the US Army’s Task Force Lift ‘Dust Off’, Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment at a ‘hot’ landing zone north of Sangin, Helmand Province Afghanistan, May 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
NOT ANOTHER DAY NOT ANOTHER DOLLAR NOT ANOTHER LIFE
Sgt. Jose Castaneda kisses his daughter Makyla as he returns from Afghanistan, March 28, 2011, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Members of the 1 Marine Expeditionary Force Command Element based in Camp Pendleton returned Monday, after operations in Southern Afghanistan since April 2010. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
“A Rally Against The U.S. Drone Strikes In Pakistani Tribal Areas”
Pakistanis burn an effigy of Obama during a rally against the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistani tribal areas, May 21, 2011 in Multan, Pakistan. Pakistani government and people demand an end to U.S. missile strikes. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
“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
Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on youYe are many — they are few -- Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819, on the occasion of a mass murder of British workers by the Imperial government at Peterloo.
A revolution is always distinguished by impoliteness, probably because the ruling classes did not take the trouble in good season to teach the people fine manners. -- Leon Trotsky, History Of The Russian Revolution
TO: Brother Jeff’s Vietnam GI Colleagues & Others Who’ve Helped On The Memoir Project
From: Sharlet, Robert
Jeff Sharlet: Creator and Editor, Vietnam GI Comment: T
The blogspot and the mini-Web site linked just below are full of previously unknown and rich history of Vietnam days’ resistance to the war from inside the military, spearheaded by Vietnam GI newspaper. The graphic design of both ought to win international awards: a lesson on how to do graphics. The content magnificent. The photos are amazing too. BLOG: http://jeffsharletandvietnamgi.blogspot.com) WEBSITE: http://jeffsharlet-and-vietnamgi.com.yolasite.com
****************************************************************************** From: Sharlet, Robert Sent: May 19, 2011 Subject: Jeff Sharlet -- An Online Trifecta TO: Brother Jeff’s Vietnam GI colleagues & others who’ve helped on the memoir project Since last spring’s update on the Jeff Sharlet memoir project, we’ve completed an online ‘trifecta’, adding a blog, “Searching for Jeff” (http://jeffsharletandvietnamgi.blogspot.com), and a mini-Web site (http://jeffsharlet-andvietnamgi.com.yolasite.com) to the Wiki still at http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sharlet_and_Vietnam_GI. The blog with a new post weekly on the back story, the search itself, has attracted readership around the world, while we created the Web site with the hope of finding people ‘out there’ we haven’t been able to locate. Periodically updated, the Wiki has garnered nearly 10,000 hits since it went up. **************************************************************
An annual “Jeff Sharlet Literary Prize” has been established at the University of Iowa, the premier program for aspiring writers. Competition will be open to military veterans as well as active-duty writers from any of America’s wars, with the genre rotating triennially between fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Jeff’s prep school honored him with its first posthumous Distinguished Alumni Award for his work in the Vietnam GI antiwar movement of the ‘60s. Finally, Jeff the namesake, my son and co-author, published his most recent book last fall, C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, completed his national book tour, and is now back on the memoir with me. Since I last wrote, he joined the faculty at Dartmouth College not too far from here, the Capital District of New York. As always, thanks for your interest and support, Bob Sharlet [email protected]
VGI’s Door Gunner Distributor:
“Everyone Humping Out There Was Against The War”
[Excerpt from “Searching for Jeff”] [http://jeffsharletandvietnamgi.blogspot.com]
A blog about reconstructing the short but interesting life and times of Jeff Sharlet (1942-1969), a leader of the GI antiwar movement during the Vietnam War; founder
and editor of Vietnam GI, the first antiwar underground paper written by and for GI’s. A memoir is in progress. New post every Wednesday. ****************************************************** The primary objective of Jeff Sharlet and fellow editors of Vietnam GI (VGI) was to get the paper into the hands of GIs in Vietnam, the guys fighting the war. In addition to the friendly antiwar unit mail clerks who would surreptitiously ‘distribute’ VGI to sympathetic troops in the Headquarters Company under the nose of the commanding officer (CO), Jeff relied on some 200 individual GIs scattered up and down South Vietnam who had volunteered as covert distributors. VGI would hear from the volunteers when they sent in the blank for a free subscription and offered to pass around extra copies as well. One such volunteer distributor was Terry DeMott of the Americal Division. Arriving at the main base near Chu Lai in March ‘68, he spent the first half of his tour on the ground in the 5th battalion, 46th infantry regiment of the division’s 198th brigade, but for the last half of his 12-month tour Terry transferred to the aviation wing of the 198th – serving as a door gunner in an observation chopper. Wounded near the end of his tour, he left Vietnam on a stretcher in February ‘69, just days before his 12 months were up.
Door gunner in flight, © Mark Jury From Terry’s perspective on the war, he and his buddies were being used as ‘bait’ to draw out and pinpoint the enemy for destruction by US military technology.
As he saw it as an infantry grunt, his patrols were designed to draw fire from the VC so planes and artillery could open up on them. Even when he transferred to choppers, Terry and his buddies were still being dangled as bait, flying in formations of three up to Danang where Marine artillery was on alert at Red Beach. The mission was to fly around just west of Danang in order to draw and mark ground fire to which Marine batteries would then respond. He remembered first coming upon a copy of VGI on his return from patrol to base camp at Landing Zone (LZ) Gator. Terry vaguely recalled just finding the paper in his squad tent, reading it front to back, and almost immediately filling out the subscription blank which he mailed to Chicago with a note offering to distribute VGI if additional copies were sent. His letter was read by Bob Brown*, one of the sub-editors who promptly wrote back, enclosing five copies of the latest issue. Bob added that the number of GIs in Nam circulating the paper had increased from 75 in July ‘68 to 200 by September. Terry carried the copies in his backpack on combat patrol, and, as he put it, “One night on a laager (night defensive position) and everybody in my squad had read them.” On return to base camp, the copies would then be passed to other squads. Once VGI made the rounds in Terry’s platoon, the papers would be handed over to other units. He was circumspect in his distribution efforts, but not too worried since they had a cool top sergeant and anyway, “everyone humping out there was against the war.” In response to the question, Ok, but what if you did get caught distributing Vietnam GI, Terry replied: “Paranoia was a way of life out there. You were constantly worrying about your life so (getting caught distributing) seemed small potatoes. The worst they could do was pull me out of the field, send me someplace and court-martial me. And (then) I’d be safe anyway.” * http://jeffsharlet-and-vietnamgi.com.yolasite.com/
[From Vietnam GI]
August 1969 Many good men never came back from Nam. Some came back disabled in mind. Jeff Sharlet came back a pretty together cat--and he came back angry. Jeff started VGI, and for almost two years poured his life into it, in an endless succession of 18-hour days trying to organize men to fight for their own rights. On Monday, June 16th, at 2:45 pm, Jeff died in the Miami VA Hospital. He died of a sudden heart failure, brought on by the uncontrollable growth of the cancer that had earlier destroyed his kidney. There was no way to save him. He was only 27 years old. Rather than wait for the draft, like so many others Jeff went RA. With dreams of seeing Europe, he applied for “translator-interpreter”, and found himself at the US Army Language School at Monterey, California. But instead of French, Czech or German, he was assigned a strange language called “Vietnamese”--. spoken in a country he couldn’t even find on the map. For eleven months in 1962 he was drilled in Vietnamese. In 1963 he was assigned to Army Security Agency, and left for his first tour in Nam. Stationed in Saigon awhile, Jeff witnessed the ARVN coup that overthrew Saigon dictator Ngo Diem. On his second tour his ASA unit was stationed near Phu Bai. Engaged in top-secret work monitoring, decoding and translating North Vietnamese radio messages, they wore AF uniforms and worked at a small air base. But every time they went into the bars, every bargirl could reel off all the facts about their mission. Speaking the language well, Jeff could talk to many Vietnamese about what was happening to their country. He spent long hours questioning ex-Foreign Legion men, who’d settled in Vietnam after the French left, peasants, ARVN officers, students, and even suspected VC agents. By the time he ETSed in July, 1964 he’d put a lot of pieces together. Jeff went back to school, and got his college degree (with honors) from Indiana University in 1967. During his “GI Bill years” he joined the peace movement, and became chairman of his local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. But he had become increasingly disillusioned about the student movement, and felt that its shallowness and snotty attitude towards other people made it ineffective. That summer he went to New York City to work with Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and it was there that he decided to try to organize other GIs to fight the brass. Jeff had won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for graduate study at the University of Chicago.
He enrolled and” picked up his check. From then on all his time and money were sunk into starting a newspaper for servicemen. After two years of endless traveling, fund-raising and writing, Jeff’s drive started to fade. That restless energy that had brought him countless miles to base after base wasn’t there. After his last trip to Ft. Hood in the Fall of 1968, Jeff complained that he was really beat, burnt out. We all agreed that he should go “on leave” and take a rest. It was while visiting friends in Boston that the first really severe pains started. Jeff flew home to Florida, and entered the hospital. From there it was steadily downhill all the way. The removal of his left kidney, massive radiation treatments, drugs--nothing stopped the growth of his cancer. At the end he was weak and emaciated, without enough breath in his lungs to speak for more than a few sentences. He said that he had many new ideas for our fight, but was just too exhausted to talk about them. Jeff was a truly rare man. He was our friend and comrade, and those of us who came together in this fight will never forget him. VGI, the paper that so many readers called “the truth paper,” will go on fighting.
Vietnam GI: Reprints Available
Vietnam: They Stopped An Imperial War
Edited by Vietnam Veteran Jeff Sharlet from 1968 until his death, this newspaper rocked the world, attracting attention even from Time Magazine, and extremely hostile attention from the chain of command. The pages and pages of letters in the paper from troops in Vietnam condemning the war are lost to history, but you can find them here. Military Resistance has copied complete sets of Vietnam GI. The originals were a bit rough, but every page is there. Over 100 pages, full 11x17 size. Free on request to active duty members of the armed forces. Cost for others: $15 if picked up in New York City. For mailing inside USA add $5 for bubble bag and postage. For outside USA, include extra for mailing 2.5 pounds to wherever you are. Checks, money orders payable to: The Military Project Orders to: Military Resistance Box 126 2576 Broadway New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 All proceeds are used for projects giving aid and comfort to members of the armed forces organizing to resist today’s Imperial wars.
“The single largest failure of the anti-war movement at this point is the lack of outreach to the troops.” Tim Goodrich, Iraq Veterans Against The War
For Many Of Those Who Protested — And Died — On Israel’s Border With Lebanon This May 15, It Was Their First Sighting Of Their Ancestral Home
Palestinians going home.
They reach the border where Zionists wait to kill them.
The sounds from the protesters grew, then roared, as the Israeli gunfire started, then stopped: silence from the Israeli side, then a few bullets. Every few minutes the pattern repeated. But it wasn’t random firing: all the bullets reached a target. After a while, I understood. If I heard three bullets, three people had been hit. 17 May, by Sabah Haider Le Monde diplomatique I was standing in Maroun al-Ras, Lebanon, on 15 May, in solidarity with thousands of Palestinians, Lebanese and other pro-Palestinian protestors, and I saw Israelis use live ammunition against protesters throwing rocks over the barbed-wire fence at the border. Many young men were shot: 10 people died and 115 were wounded, the largest number of casualties at any of the day’s border protests in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. There were reports that the Israelis used rubber bullets, but rubber bullets don’t kill. Hundreds of buses from all over the country brought thousands to Maroun al-Ras, a village in southern Lebanon, that morning — the day was the 63rd anniversary of the Naqba, when so many Palestinians were displaced from their homeland at the creation of the state of Israel. I don’t think anyone paid for their journey. I wanted to pay the bus organiser, but he wouldn’t take it. “It’s been paid for,” he said with a smile. Thousands of people walked together for miles through the slippery, rocky hills to the plateau of Maroun al-Ras that overlooks Palestine. There were no speeches, no dances. Commemoration of Naqba day was, this year, about direct protests at the nearest border. Most people stayed on the top or side of the hill and watched as, below, a few hundred protesters threw rocks across the border with Israel. A dozen or so Israeli soldiers behind bushes sporadically fired at them on the other side of the fence. The sounds from the protesters grew, then roared, as the Israeli gunfire started, then stopped: silence from the Israeli side, then a few bullets. Every few minutes the pattern repeated. But it wasn’t random firing: all the bullets reached a target. After a while, I understood. If I heard three bullets, three people had been hit. I started counting makeshift stretchers made of kuffiyahs tied to flagpoles to avoid watching people fall. Every time the firing started, we all ducked. Crouched on the ground, I started counting rocks with blood on them. Then I counted the legs of men hovering above piles of rocks and dirt — landmines. Volunteers, mostly teenage boys, encircled mines demarcated with sticks and stones to ensure no one set them off. According to some reports, the Lebanese army went into the field before the protest and identified the mines to mark a safe path to the fence. I was about 15 metres from the fence, but couldn’t make myself go any closer, even though I
wanted to look at the Israeli soldiers faces and see their expressions before they fired at the protestors. A narrow dirt road, with a few Lebanese army vehicles parked along it, divided the protesters near the fence from those on the hill or coming from Maroun al-Ras. Soldiers along the road directed people and ambulances, which waited for the next casualties. When the Israeli firing intensified, the Lebanese army formed a line to stop more protesters from coming, yelling “the Israelis are firing”. On my way back, a group of young men and women asked me for my kuffiyah to use for the wounded. I also gave them some juice and water from my bag, which Hizbullah had handed out. The protest ended with the Lebanese army firing into the air and using tear gas to force the crowds to leave. In the weeks before, factions in Palestinian camps had encouraged everyone to go down to Maroun al-Ras on Naqba day, but cautioned them not to do anything to provoke the Israelis. One warned: “We want Palestine but we shouldn’t fight with the enemy from Lebanon, because we are guests here. If anything happens, the Lebanese will blame us.” The Lebanese army did not prevent people, including many children under 18, from approaching the fence until long after the Israelis had started firing. Hizbullah’s presence was more cordial. Buses and cars arriving were greeted by Hizbullah banners “From Hijair, the valley of honour, we salute those who are passing.” (Hijair is the valley in South Lebanon where Hizbullah destroyed 21 tanks in the 2006 war with Israel.) Hizbullah also made every vehicle pass through a makeshift checkpoint where they counted each passenger so they could how many people attended. Party members gave everyone water and snacks. Hizbullah also had a visible presence; smiling members clad in their signature brightyellow t-shirts, baseball caps and sneakers gave elderly ladies and mothers yellow chairs to sit on. No weapons were on display. The US may call them a terrorist organisation, but they were extremely polite and I was happy to be hydrated by them. Before the shooting started, the place was filled with smiling Palestinian refugees from all over Lebanon, excited to go and “see” Palestine: though most of them were born and raised in Lebanon, they don’t have permission from the Lebanese army to go as far south as the border. Despite living within a two-hour drive from their familial towns and villages of origin in Palestine, most had never even seen their country. The family of my friend Ahmed, who was ducking bullets next to me, fled from Acre to Lebanon in 1948. There was a very old man from Pakistan with a henna-stained beard. He stood beside the rest of the (mostly Palestinian) protesters at the fence, in the line of fire, in solidarity. A tear streamed down his wrinkled cheek as he crouched nearby and gathered rocks.
When the firing paused, he got up and walked back towards the fence. He could have been one of the many South Asians who fought with the fedayeen in the 70s and 80s and stayed on after, marrying Palestinian women. (Last year I heard of a Bangladeshi kid in the UAE, named Yasser Arafat, whose father had been one of the fedayeen.) I wanted to ask the old man his story, but the shooting started again. When Ahmed and I first descended down the steep hill covered in wild thyme, from Maroun al-Ras towards the border fence that afternoon, the views of Palestine were breathtaking: ancient trees, hills, lush green fields. It looks just like Lebanon, except it’s not, it’s Palestine. [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.”]
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Pedophiles ‘R Us:
Twisted Freaks Grope Little Kids And Call It “Security”
10th May 2011 By Paul Bentley, Daily Mail [Excerpts] A disturbing photograph which shows a baby being subjected to a full body search by airport security has caused outrage after it was posted online.
The picture, which was uploaded to a social networking site, appears to show two TSA agents at Kansas City International Airport laughing as they pat down the child, who is being held in the air by his mother. Perhaps concerned that the toddler might be smuggling weapons in his diaper, the burly security guard and his female assistant focus their attention on the lower half of the child’s body.
A baby being searched by TSA Agents at Kansas City airport The shocking photograph comes just a month after the TSA were widely condemned after footage emerged of a six-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy being subjected to the searches in separate incidents at airports across America. The TSA has now said it will review its screening policies so as not to waste resources by subjecting children to over-zealous security methods. The image of the baby being touched down by agents was taken yesterday by fellow passenger Jacob Jester, as proof of what he thought was an ‘extreme’ measure. TSA agents insisted on frisking the baby after his stroller beeped when it went through security. Jester uploaded the photograph onto Twitter and wrote: ‘Just saw #tsa agents patting down a little baby at @KCIAirport. Pretty sure that’s extreme.’ Those who then viewed the picture were shocked at what appears to show a ridiculously over-zealous approach to airport security. Chris Lopez responded to the photograph: ‘What’s even more terrible is the TSA agent is smiling!’ Deb Wilker added; ‘Doesn’t get much more sickening, appalling, oppressive and unlawful than this... Frightening, disturbing, disgusting,’
Last month, pictures emerged of an eight-year-old boy being full body searched by TSA agents at airport security.
Spencer Sheahan, 8, was patted down on the way to Disneyland Spencer Sheahan was pulled aside and patted down by a burly TSA agent at Portland International airport as his family made their way to Disneyland. Appalled at the treatment, his mother, Heather, took out her camera and photographed the invasive search of her little boy. That incident came just days after a video showing a six-year-old girl being searched in New Orleans airport also caused outrage after it was posted on-line.
Threat? Anna Drexel, 6, was subject to a full body search by a TSA agent
Selena and Todd Drexel, from Kentucky, demanded a change to the way TSA officials screens children after their daughter Anna was subject to an invasive body search. The video shows a gloved guard feeling all over the child’s body, poking her fingers down the child’s trousers before running her hands around the waist band. As the female guard touches the child’s bottom she says: ‘I am touching your sensitive area with the back of my hand.’ She also runs her hands over the child’s legs, arms, chest and groin areas. The couple, who also have a nine-year-old daughter, Grace and a two-year-old daughter Caroline, said everyone bar Caroline had to go through the airport scanner, but it was little Anna who was selected for a pat down. A spokesman said: ‘TSA has reviewed the screening of this family and determined that the officers involved followed proper current screening procedures.
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