GI Special: email@example.com 1.3.08 Print it out: color best. Pass it on. GI SPECIAL 6A2: Crappy New Year: 13,000 Midwestern National Guard Troops Off To Bush‟s Imperial Slaughterhouse “When the brigade returned home, then-Adjutant General Don Morrow described the 39th‟s chances of being recalled to duty as „almost nil‟” Jan 2, 2008 By Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press LITTLE ROCK — About half of Arkansas‘ largest National Guard unit will ship out Saturday for about a month of training before returning to Iraq for a second tour, officials said Wednesday. Arkansas Air National Guard Maj. Keith Moore said six advance teams from the 39th Infantry Brigade will leave Thursday for Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Moore said about half of the 3,200 soldiers requested for the deployment will follow Saturday, leaving from 15 locations around the state. The remaining half will follow later. After trainers sign off, soldiers will head to Iraq for an estimated 10-month tour in a country they left in 2005 after an 18-month deployment there. In April, the 39th received word it could be called up to serve with brigades from Indiana, Ohio and Oklahoma to form a force of 13,000 troops to relieve battle-weary soldiers in Iraq. In the time since, the soldiers prepared for combat by qualifying with their weapons, practicing map reading and undergoing medical examinations. The Guard had said it would call 11 other company-level units to deploy along with the 39th. In total, officials estimated 57 communities from across Arkansas would be affected by the deployment. The units include the 87th Troop Command‘s 216th Military Police Company of North Little Rock and West Memphis; the 1123rd Transportation Company of Blytheville and North Little Rock; the 224th Maintenance Company of Mountain Home and Marshall; the 1038th Horizontal Construction Company of North Little Rock; and the 142nd Fires Brigade unit‘s 217th Brigade Support Battalion in Berryville, Booneville, Lincoln and Rogers. The 39th previously served in Iraq with the 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad‘s Green Zone and in Taji. When the brigade returned home, then-Adjutant General Don Morrow described the 39th‘s chances of being recalled to duty as ―almost nil.‖ Since the brigade‘s return, restocking its equipment became a concern. A military official previously said machine guns and night-vision scopes remain in short supply. Gov. Mike Beebe, who previously criticized the military for ―changing the rules‖ on the 39th by recalling them too quickly, plans to speak to soldiers before they leave. Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said that likely would come at Camp Shelby. MORE: “Largest Single Deployment Of Indiana National Guard Troops Since World War II” Jan 2, 2008 The Associated Press More than 20,000 people traveled to Indianapolis for a departure ceremony for more than 3,400 soldiers headed to Iraq. Many soldiers spent time in the stands with their families before the start of the ceremony, which marked the largest single deployment of Indiana National Guard troops since World War II. The soldiers planned to travel by bus later Wednesday to Fort Stewart, Ga., for additional training before joining U.S. forces involved in the war in March. They come from units from Columbus, Jasper, New Albany, Fort Wayne, Evansville, Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Greencastle and Remington. MORE: Biggest Call-Up Of Ohio National Guard For “More Than 60 Years” [Thanks to Sally Davison, The Military Project, who sent this in.] December 31, 2007 ASSOCIATED PRESS COLUMBUS - The U.S. military is giving the Ohio National Guard its biggest call-up since World War II this week, sending about 1,600 troops to Kuwait, with some of them going on to Iraq. The 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is spread throughout Ohio and includes another 1,100 soldiers from Michigan. It‘s more than 60 years since so many left as one unit, Guard spokesman Maj. Nicole Gabriel said. The unit will be based in Kuwait and will have some responsibility for security and convoy escorts in southern Iraq, said Col. Richard Curry, brigade commander. ACTION REPORTS 12.07 Action Report update: Re: ‗free‘ newspaper box by military airbase. Late 12.07: Today, I went to check on the box and someone had knocked it over backwards. I saw some tire tracks around the cement and it looks like, some dumb fuck, ran into it with an ATV. There was grass smudged on the front door. There were still issues of GI Special #9 in the box; I added 5 copies each of #10 & #11; bundled with the GI Specials were: the two documents from Military Project-If you‘re in the military, etc; George Bush: domestic enemy, etc; people need not be helpless, etc; the World Can‘t Wait Call; in place of the NION Pledge of Resistance, I included the WCW Iran Quiz. I enclosed a flyer for a WCW event we have coming up on January 6. 2008, Would appreciate a mention of the event in the GI Special if approved by you. [Will try to scan for future issue. T] Thanx. WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF? THE TRUTH? In solidarity Comrade Tribune - IRAQ WAR REPORTS UNREMITTING HELL ON EARTH; BRING THEM ALL HOME NOW U.S. army soldiers from Blackfoot Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, during a firefight on the outskirts of Muqdadiyah, in Diyala province, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad Dec. 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic) 2007: Record U.S. Combat Deaths Jan 2, 2008 The Associated Press The year was the deadliest for the U.S. military since the 2003 invasion, with 899 troops killed. The 899 deaths in 2007 surpassed the previously highest death toll in 2004, when 850 U.S. troops were killed. GI Dies From Burns Suffered In Dec. Bombing Jan 2, 2008 The Associated Press WOODBURN, Ky. — A soldier from south-central Kentucky who suffered severe burns when the Humvee he was riding in rolled over a bomb in Afghanistan has died, his father said Wednesday. Army Spc. Brian Gorham, 23, of Woodburn suffered second- and third-degree burns on his face, legs, and arms in the Dec. 13 explosion. He died Monday, 18 days after the blast. ―My son was a fighter,‖ said his father, Toney Gorham. ―He fought the whole time.‖ Gorham served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy, and had been in Afghanistan for six months. He was being treated in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Gorham was remembered as a likable man who was always willing to help his neighbors. ―If you were around Brian for very long you would like him,‖ Jack Wright, a Sunday school teacher at Woodburn Baptist Church, told the Bowling Green Daily News. ―I‘m proud to have known him.‖ Frances McKinney, who lived across the street from Gorham and his family, said Gorham was like a big brother to her daughter. ―When my dad was sick, Brian and his mother would come over and help him up and get around the house,‖ McKinney said. McKinney said when she first heard about Gorham being injured by the roadside bomb, ―I thought that it can‘t be hitting this close to home, but it was.‖ When the McKinneys moved into a house across from the Gorhams 15 years ago, the future soldier and his family helped welcome them to the community. McKinney‘s husband spent eight years in the Army, so when Gorham enlisted, he was able to talk to someone who had military experience. ―I remember him coming over and saying he was really excited about doing something meaningful,‖ McKinney said. Debbie Brown, a secretary at Woodburn Baptist Church, said Gorham would often arrive at Wednesday church services wearing his Army ROTC uniform. ―I remember that he looked very distinguished, and I‘m sure he was proud to wear that uniform,‖ Brown said. Gov. Steve Beshear directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff in Gorham‘s honor. Anbar Province Not Secured And U.S.- Backed Locals Unable To Maintain The Peace 1.2.08 North County Times Before there could be a substantial shift of Marines from Iraq to Afghanistan, the Anbar province must be fully secured with Iraqi security forces able to maintain the peace. TROOP NEWS Iraq Veterans Against The War Needs Some Support For The New Year IVAW relies on individual donors like you to make our work happen. In fact, over half of IVAW‘s budget comes from individuals. Please consider making a generous gift right now. $20 will pay for an IVAW care package for an active duty service member. $35 will cover the postage for 7 new member packets. $50 will cover the cost of 500 IVAW brochures. $100 will pay for a BBQ outreach event near a military base. $250 will fly an Iraq veteran to a speaking event $500 will pay for 2 months of hosting fees for IVAW‘s website. $5,000 will pay for gas and tolls for a 2-week IVAW bus tour. $20,000 will pay a yearly stipend for an Iraq veteran organizer. Send a check or money order made out to: "IVAW" PO Box 8296 Philadelphia, PA 19101. Donations to IVAW are tax-deductible Make an In-Kind Donation: IVAW is looking for new or barely used equipment for our national office. We currently need: a digital video camera and a digital photo camera. To donate one of these items, please contact Salih Watts, our Development Associate at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office: 215.241.7123. DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND OR RELATIVE IN THE SERVICE? Forward GI Special along, or send us the address if you wish and we‟ll send it regularly. Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, inside the armed services and at home. Send email requests to address up top or write to: The Military Project, Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 20 Year National Guard Veteran And His Family Repeatedly Tormented By Scum-Sucking Homeland Security Filth: Too Cowardly To Be In Iraq, The Shit- Eating Rats Trash His Car And Break His Kid‟s Stuff For Letter Criticizing Bush It took several such incidents, during which no explanations were offered, before he discovered that he was being stopped in part because of his name and in part because of a letter he wrote to the Toledo Blade criticizing Bush administration policies on Israel and Iraq. January 02, 2008 By Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch [Excerpts] "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Emma Lazarus, 1883 If you don‘t mind thinking about the Bush legacy a year early, there are worse places to begin than with the case of Erla Ósk Arnardóttir Lilliendahl. Admittedly, she isn‘t an ideal "tempest-tost" candidate for Emma Lazarus‘ famous lines engraved on a bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. After all, she flew to New York City with her girlfriends, first class, from her native Iceland, to partake of "the Christmas spirit." She was drinking white wine en route and, as she put it, "look forward to go shopping, eat good food, and enjoy life." On an earlier vacation trip, back in 1995, she had overstayed her visa by three weeks, a modest enough infraction, and had even returned the following year without incident. This time -- with the President‟s Global War on Terror in full swing -- she was pulled aside at passport control at JFK Airport, questioned about those extra three weeks 12 years ago, and soon found herself, as she put it, "handcuffed and chained, denied the chance to sleep… without food and drink and… confined to a place without anyone knowing my whereabouts, imprisoned." It was "the greatest humiliation to which I have ever been subjected." By her account, she was photographed, fingerprinted, asked rude questions -- "by men anxious to demonstrate their power. Small kings with megalomania" -- confined to a tiny room for hours, then chained, marched through the airport, and driven to a jail in New Jersey where, for another nine hours, she found herself "in a small, dirty cell." On being prepared for the return trip to JFK and deportation, approximately 24 hours after first debarking, she was, despite her pleas, despite her tears, again handcuffed and put in leg chains, all, as she put it, "because I had taken a longer vacation than allowed under the law." On returning to her country, she wrote a blog about her unnerving experience and the Icelandic Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir met with U.S. Ambassador Carol van Voorst to demand an apology. Just as when egregious American acts in Iraq or Afghanistan won‘t go away, the Department of Homeland Security announced an "investigation," a "review of its work procedures" and expressed "regrets." But an admission of error or an actual apology? Uh, what era do you imagine we‘re living in? Erla Ósk will undoubtedly think twice before taking another fun-filled holiday in the U.S., but her experience was no aberration among Icelanders visiting the U.S. In fact, it‘s a relatively humdrum one these days, especially if you appear to be of Middle Eastern background. Take, for instance, 20-year veteran of the National Guard Zakariya Muhammad Reed (born Edward Eugene Reed, Jr.), who, for the last 11 years, has worked as a firefighter in Toledo, Ohio. Regularly crossing the Canadian border to visit his wife‟s family, he has been stopped so many times -- "I was put up against the wall and thoroughly frisked, any more thoroughly and I would have asked for flowers…" -- that he is a connoisseur of detention. He‟s been stopped five times in the last seven months and now chooses his crossing place based on the size of the detention waiting room he knows he‟ll end up in. It took several such incidents, during which no explanations were offered, before he discovered that he was being stopped in part because of his name and in part because of a letter he wrote to the Toledo Blade criticizing Bush administration policies on Israel and Iraq. The first time, he was detained in a small room with two armed guards, while his wife and children were left in a larger common room. While he was grilled, she was denied permission to return to their car even to get a change of diapers for their youngest child. When finally released, Reed found his car had been "trashed." ("My son‟s portable DVD player was broken, and I have a decorative Koran on the dashboard that was thrown on the floor.") During another episode of detention, an interrogator evidently attempted to intimidate him by putting his pistol on the table at which they were seated. ("He takes the clip out of his weapon, looks at the ammunition, puts the clip back in, and puts it back in his holster.") His first four border-crossing detentions were well covered by Matthew Rothschild in a post at the Progressive Magazine‟s website. During his latest one, he was questioned about Rothschild‟s coverage of his case. The essence of his experience is perhaps caught best in a comment by Customs and Border Protection agent made in his presence: "We should treat them like we do in the desert. We should put a bag over their heads and zip tie their hands together." Or take Nabil Al Yousuf, not exactly a top-ten candidate for the "huddled masses" category; nor an obvious terror suspect (unless, of course, you believe yourself at war with Islam or the Arab world). According to the Washington Post‘s Ellen Knickmeyer, Yousuf, who is "a senior aide to the ruler of the Persian Gulf state of Dubai," always has the same "galling" experience on entering the country: "A U.S. airport immigration official typically takes Yousuf‘s passport, places it in a yellow envelope and beckons. Yousuf tells his oldest son and other family members not to worry. And Yousuf -- who goes by ‗Your Excellency‘ at home -- disappears inside a shabby back room. He waits alongside the likes of ‗a man who had forged his visa and a woman who had drugs in her tummy‘… He is questioned, fingerprinted and photographed." This is what "homeland security" means in the United States today. It means putting your country in full lockdown mode. It means the snarl at the border, the nasty comment in the waiting room, the dirty cell, the handcuffs, even the chains. It means being humiliated. It means a thorough lack of modulation or moderation. Arriving here now always threatens to be a "tempest-tost" experience whether you are a citizen, a semi-official visitor, or a foreign tourist. (After all, even Sen. Ted Kennedy found himself repeatedly on a no-fly list without adequate explanation.) This is the American welcome wagon of the twenty-first century. If you really want to catch the spirit of the Bush legacy one year early, try to imagine the poem an Emma Lazarus of this moment might write, something appropriate for a gigantic statue in New York harbor of a guard from Mohamed Bashmilah‟s living nightmare -- dressed all in black, a black mask covering his head and neck, tinted yellow plastic over the eyes, a man, hands sheathed in rubber gloves, holding up not a torch but a video camera and dragging chains. Read Between The Lines: While Thieving Bush Buddy War Profiteers Rake In Billions, Troops Have To Pay To Replace Underwear Ruined In Combat Jan 2, 2008 The Associated Press BECKLEY, W.Va. — Tammi Brown has found an unusual way to support her son Lance during his first overseas deployment to Iraq: Project Underwear. Brown says soldiers often throw away two or three pairs while on a mission because there‟s no way to wash. While the Army issues underwear, soldiers have to buy extras after using up their allocation. Brown and her husband were looking for a way to support her son and the rest of his unit, the West Virginia Army National Guard‘s 821st Engineering Group, when they came up with the underwear idea. ―This was a way to show our support and survive this Christmas without him,‖ Brown said. ―We could have just not had Christmas, but that wouldn‘t be healthy. We wanted to show our strength. That‘s why we did it.‖ Beginning on Christmas Eve, the Fenwick Mountain resident and her husband started soliciting donations of undergarments. The idea proved to be a hit. Brown says the initial party for family and friends on Christmas Eve netted enough men‘s underwear to fill 40 bags. ―(Donors) just couldn‘t wait to bring something for them,‖ Brown said. Brown plans to keep taking donations through the end of January. *********************************************************** Boeing Gets Cargo Plane Work [Washington Post, January 1, 2008, Pg. D2] Boeing won an Air Force contract worth up to $1.3 billion to enhance the C-17 cargo fleet. Lockheed Wins Pakistan Order [Washington Post, January 1, 2008, Pg. D2] Lockheed Martin won an order valued at $498.2 million to supply F-16s to Pakistan. Troops Invited: What do you think? Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome. Write to Box 126, 2576 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10025-5657 or send email email@example.com:. Name, I.D., withheld unless you request publication. Replies confidential. Same address to unsubscribe. “A Peace Symbol Imprinted On The U.S. And Spanish Military Base” [Thanks to Chris Capps-Schubert, Iraq Veterans Against The War Germany, who sent this in. He writes: I learned of this because one of the soldiers who went AWOL from Vicenza ended up turning himself here in Rota Spain this year (oops I mean 2007). ] March 20, 2006 By Jason Chudy, Stars and Stripes It‘s a tale of war and peace, but Leo Tolstoy has nothing to do with this one. Users of the computer program Google Earth who look at the satellite image of U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain, can‘t miss the few large C-5 Galaxy aircraft sitting at the base. Nor, does it seem, can they miss the even larger 240-foot diameter peace symbol carved in a field between the runway and five baseball/softball fields. The peace symbol, said base spokeswoman Lt. Allie Freeman, was created at least four years ago. But the only trace of it now is in the Google image. ―By looking at the lay of the land and dating construction around the base, it seems that the symbol was imprinted pre-fall 2002,‖ she said. ―Fleet Hospital Eight, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was constructed in the vicinity during the fall of 2002 and the symbol was not visible subsequent to that set-up. ―So, we can conclude that the symbol was only viewable for a short period of time,‖ she said. ―The site is now an air operations supply area.‖ Three people have put what are called ―placemarks‖ on the Google Earth image, which mark what they consider important or unique, with some noting the irony of a peace symbol imprinted on the U.S. and Spanish military base. Clicking on the Google Earth placemark allows users to access Google Earth Community Web pages, where a handful of people have commented on the sign. ―Makes one wonder if the base commander ever looked out the window when flying in to the base? And if ‗heads rolled?‘‖ wrote one user named Dave Mac from Florida. ―The peace sign disappeared long before the current commanding officer took command of … Rota, so he did not have the opportunity to see it in person,‖ Freeman said. Nor, she said, did anyone‘s ―head roll.‖ “The „artist‟ did not identify himself to anyone at the … command level, and in speaking with folks around the base, no one is aware of its authorship,” she said. IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP Resistance Action 01 Jan 2008 Reuters & By Hussein Kadhim, McClatchy Newspapers & Jan 2 By ELENA BECATOROS, Associated Press Writer & Multi-National Corps – Iraq Tuesday noon, guerrillas killed an Iraqi army soldier at Ragat Haji Suheil (7 km north Baquba) and during transferring the dead body to the morgue an IED targeted the police car which was carrying it injuring one policeman. Three Iraqi soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb blew up near their patrol vehicle in al-Zab, 35 km (20 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said. One policeman was killed and two others were wounded in clashes with insurgents near Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. A bombing Wednesday in the city of Baqouba killed members of a U.S.-backed armed volunteer group. The U.S. military said the bomber killed four and wounded six after jumping onto the hood of a car being driven by an Awakening Council member. In Baghdad‘s eastern Zayouna neighborhood a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded three police. A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device was detonated at a U.S. backed Concerned Local Citizen‘s checkpoint near Mushada, Iraq, Dec. 31, killing two CLCs and wounding two others. Two more are missing in action. A female bomber wearing an explosive vest struck a checkpoint of U.S. sponsored patrol in Baquba, capital of Diyala province, killing 10 people and wounding eight, police said. Police said most were mostly patrol volunteers, and many of the wounded were in serious condition. Guerrillas attacked a house and killed two brothers -- a soldier and a policeman -- overnight in a town near the city of Kut. MOSUL - The body of an Iraqi soldier was found on Tuesday in Mosul a day after he was captured. IF YOU DON‟T LIKE THE RESISTANCE END THE OCCUPATION FORWARD OBSERVATIONS “In Return For U.S. Support, Bhutto Had Promised To Crack Down On Pro-Taliban Elements In Pakistan Involved In The Resistance In Neighboring Afghanistan” “Real Democracy Was Not At Stake Before Bhutto‟s Assassination--And Isn‟t At Stake Now” “Bhutto‟s Presence In Pakistan Was The Result Of A U.S. Attempt, Over The Heads Of Ordinary Pakistanis, To Bolster Musharraf‟s Failing Strength” [Thanks to Phil G, who sent this in.] December 31, 2007 By David Whitehouse, Socialist Worker [Excerpts] CITIES AND towns across Pakistan erupted in anger over the assassination of the country‘s leading opposition political figure, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, on December 27--as a major crisis, not only for Pakistan but the U.S. ―war on terror‖ as well, continues to unfold. Bhutto was killed as she campaigned for elections--organized under U.S. pressure--that she was expected to win. The Bush administration calculated that Bhutto would return to the prime minister‟s office, providing democratic credentials for the military-controlled government of its ally, President Pervez Musharraf. In return for U.S. support, Bhutto had promised to crack down on pro-Taliban elements in Pakistan involved in the resistance in neighboring Afghanistan. Now, with a nuclear-armed Pakistan in turmoil, the U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan will find the going even more difficult. ―The murder of the 54-year-old former prime minister,‖ the Financial Times reported, ―deprives the U.S. of its best hope of providing a civilian façade to the unpopular rule‖ of Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 military coup. ―Washington now faces a dilemma over whether to continue with the planned transition to democracy, which would require Gen. Musharraf to find an alternative ally among the country‘s political parties, or to acquiesce to the continuation of a scarcely veiled form of military rule.‖ The Western media were virtually unanimous in blaming al-Qaeda for Bhutto‘s murder, but Pakistan‘s protesters generally blame Musharraf, with good reason. The other theme in U.S. press coverage was the depiction of Bhutto as a champion of democracy and political freedoms, cut down by the fanatical extremists she opposed. But here, too, the truth is quite different, given her history of corruption during two terms in office and her autocratic control of the Pakistan People‟s Party (PPP). The parliamentary elections, scheduled for January 8, are likely to be delayed, because of strikes, demonstrations and riots that would prevent open campaigning--and because the upheaval has destroyed some of the official machinery of the election, including ballots, ballot boxes and voter rolls. While Musharraf‘s popularity reached an all-time low in Pakistan, most U.S. politicians-- including George Bush and most of the leading presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican alike--refused to call for his resignation. They apparently see Musharraf as the key to stability in Pakistan‘s near future, even if they would prefer to dump him later on. Among the major presidential contenders, only Democrat Bill Richardson called for Musharraf‘s resignation and a cutoff of military aid to Pakistan. The others fear that withdrawing support from Musharraf would set up a power struggle within a military establishment that controls nuclear weapons and maintains close connections to Islamist radicals. The assassination has shifted the political climate in the U.S. by giving the ―war on terror‖ renewed prominence--with the presidential contenders rushing to show how tough they are on foreign policy. ********************* THOUGH SPECULATION in the West immediately focused on al-Qaeda, Musharraf‘s security forces were at the very least negligent in protecting Bhutto, who narrowly survived a suicide bomb attack on October 18 after returning from exile to campaign in the parliamentary elections. Video and still footage of the fatal December 27 attack showed Bhutto waving to a crowd from her limousine‘s sunroof--and the pistol-wielding assassin getting within 10 feet of her before firing. For weeks, Bhutto had been telling reporters she had requested heavier security--including police cars to flank her vehicle, and private guards like the ones the U.S. provides for Afghan President Hamid Karzai--but Pakistani officials refused. In addition to malign neglect at the top of Musharraf‘s regime, pro-Islamist elements in the security forces or army could have played a direct role in the murder plot--whether or not al-Qaeda operatives did pull the trigger and detonate the accompanying bomb. Speculation about who really killed Bhutto is not going to lessen. The possibility of direct complicity within the security establishment, something even Hillary Clinton acknowledged, highlights a basic conflict inside the military--and a contradiction in U.S. policy. In previous decades, the U.S. was content to support pro-Islamist elements within the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence Service (ISI). In the 1980s, the U.S. collaborated with Pakistan to support mujahideen fighters against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton tolerated Pakistan‘s sponsorship of the Taliban in the hopes that this would stabilize Afghanistan. In other words, for this period, the military and the ISI could be simultaneously pro-U.S. and pro-Islamist. Following the September 11 attacks, however, the Bush administration‘s message was that the military and the ISI would have to take sides. Musharraf‘s choice to join the ―war on terror‖ showed that the military brass and Pakistan‘s elite generally valued the U.S. connection--and U.S. aid--above all else. But Musharraf‘s reversal could never be complete. Some Islamists in the army and ISI resigned, and others were demoted or executed, but many remained. Musharraf still leaned on Islamist cadres, inside and outside the officer corps, as a battering ram against civilian parties, including Bhutto‘s PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) of Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister ousted by Musharraf. The persecution of opposition parties by the military and their Islamist partners led, in 2002, to unprecedented Islamist electoral victories in the provinces that border Afghanistan. Musharraf‘s double game--selectively fighting Islamists on behalf of the U.S. while aggressively promoting the ascendancy of political Islam--confirms the idea that Musharraf bears responsibility for Bhutto‘s murder, even if he didn‘t order it or even personally favor it. But if Musharraf bears at least some measure of blame for the assassination, he hasn‘t benefited from it. The protests following the killing had many targets--police stations, banks, trains and buses have been torched, and looting is widespread. “Thousands and thousands have raised slogans against the Musharraf regime and U.S. imperialism after the death of Benazir Bhutto,” wrote Farooq Tariq of the Labour Party Pakistan. “The anger was accumulated during the last eight years and was manifested after this unthinkable incident. This was a response of the masses to the strict implementation of the neoliberal agenda which has resulted in unprecedented price hikes, unemployment and poverty.” While symbols of wealth and privilege were attacked in the riots, the most consistent object of the crowds‘ anger was Musharraf‘s ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q). Images of Musharraf, along with PML(Q) campaign posters are gone, and party offices have been ransacked and burned. Officials of the ruling party initially went underground to escape the fury of Bhutto‘s sympathizers. No doubt this is why Bhutto‘s successors in the PPP are calling for elections to go ahead on January 8. Sympathy for their party is at a peak, so a vote could sweep them into office and deliver a sharp blow to both the PML(Q) and its Islamist allies. ******************************************* WESTERN EDITORIALISTS echoed George Bush‟s view that the assassination “was a cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan‟s democracy.” But Bhutto‟s presence in Pakistan was the result of a U.S. attempt, over the heads of ordinary Pakistanis, to bolster Musharraf‟s failing strength by putting a civilian face--Bhutto‟s--on the regime. A genuine democracy movement erupted in Pakistan last summer when 80,000 lawyers mobilized to protest Musharraf‘s removal of the Supreme Court chief justice who ruled against him on key issues and threatened to block his re-election as president on constitutional grounds. Thousands more left-wing activists, unionists and workers in liberal non-governmental organizations joined the protests as well, eventually forcing Musharraf to back down. But after Bhutto‘s return, Musharraf declared emergency rule to prevent the Supreme Court from invalidating his election. He used the opportunity to target pro-democracy activists, throwing about 10,000 people in jail and imposing strict censorship on the broadcast media. Bhutto then declared that the power-sharing deal was off, but never closed the door completely to reconciliation. She kept the PPP rank and file out of the pro-democracy movement as the U.S. tried to broker the deal between her and Musharraf. If the PPP won a majority in parliament with her as candidate for prime minister, Bhutto probably would have needed to rule in coalition with the PML(Q). In order to begin a third term as prime minister, Bhutto would have needed to amend the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority. And before that, she needed--and received--an amnesty from Musharraf for corruption charges of stealing billions during her first two terms. Her husband Asif Zardari was known as ―Mister 10 Percent‖ because of his demands for kickbacks on government contracts while Bhutto was prime minister. Bhutto‘s father Zulfiqar, founder of the PPP, was a populist with left pretensions. Much of Benazir‘s popularity came from nostalgia for the high hopes her father raised in the 1970s. But after he was hanged by an earlier military dictator, the PPP became, like other Pakistani parties, a non-democratic vehicle for the power of a prominent family. Benazir was declared ―chairperson for life.‖ And the passage of power in the party continues to be dynastic. Following her murder, she ―willed‖ the chairmanship to Zardari as if the party was her property--like her massive landholdings and multiple houses. Zardari promptly declared their 19-year-old son Bilawal as co-chair, and inserted ―Bhutto‖ as his middle name in order to maintain the family cachet. ―The Pakistan People‘s Party is being treated as a family heirloom, a property to be disposed of at the will of its leader,‖ wrote Tariq Ali, the Pakistani-British author and activist. Zardari, known as an affable but untrustworthy playboy, is mistrusted by much of the PPP, so he nominated longtime PPP official Makhdoom Amin Fahim to run for prime minister, rather than be a candidate himself. Fahim, like most major politicians in Pakistan, comes from a landholding family of feudal origin. His politics are so reliably pro-elite that Musharraf asked him in 2003 to serve as his prime minister. In fact, if the PPP does sweep the election, Fahim could still serve with Musharraf or some other president acceptable to the military, thus fulfilling the power-sharing scheme that the U.S. favored--minus Bhutto. The reason is that real democracy was not at stake before Bhutto‟s assassination- -and isn‟t at stake now. The real concern of Pakistani and U.S. elites alike has been the stability of the state itself--including its central institution, the army. With the army split between pro-U.S. and pro-Islamist forces, the Pakistani landholder-bourgeoisie have favored the U.S. connection. A disorderly rejection of Musharraf would threaten the pro-U.S. forces in the military. For this reason, Pakistanis can expect a continued heavy presence of the military in day-to- day governance, even if there is a civilian prime minister, and even if Musharraf is replaced. This authoritarian presence, backed by the U.S., will not be dislodged until a political force is organized to do it. The demonstrations going on now--like those earlier in the year for freedom of the press and independence of the judiciary--are encouraging signs, but they are not strong or independent enough to drive through an alternative. In the short run, the more likely scenario is that Pakistanis‟ hopes for democracy will be channeled into the election of the PPP--which will immediately call, as Bhutto often did, for “potentially disruptive” demonstrations to end. For this reason, the PPP may become the consensus choice of Pakistan‟s ruling class, since they are the best hope of demobilizing the forces that have been protested against Musharraf. But Bhutto‟s party does not represent a genuine hope for democracy and freedom in Pakistan. NEED SOME TRUTH? CHECK OUT TRAVELING SOLDIER Telling the truth - about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier. But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it‟s in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces. Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces. If you like what you‟ve read, we hope that you‟ll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers. http://www.traveling-soldier.org/ And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.org/) OCCUPATION REPORT Good News For The Iraqi Resistance!! U.S. Occupation Commands‟ Terror Tactics Recruit Even More Fighters To Kill U.S. Troops An Iraqi citizen is forced out of his car at gunpoint after being stopped by foreign occupation soldiers from the US soldiers in al-Kadhimiyah, northern Baghdad. (AFP/Ali Yuseef) [Fair is fair. Let‟s bring 150,000 Iraqi troops over here to the USA. They can kill people at checkpoints, bust into their houses with force and violence, butcher their families, overthrow the government, put a new one in office they like better and call it “sovereign,” and “detain” anybody who doesn‟t like it in some prison without any charges being filed against them, or any trial.] [Those Iraqis are sure a bunch of backward primitives. They actually resent this help, have the absurd notion that it‟s bad their country is occupied by a foreign military dictatorship, and consider it their patriotic duty to fight and kill the soldiers sent to grab their country. [What a bunch of silly people. How fortunate they are to live under a military dictatorship run by George Bush. Why, how could anybody not love that? You‟d want that in your home town, right?] “Saddam Was Executed One Year Ago Today” “I Wonder How Many People Who Condemned Him During His Rule Would Give Their Fingers To Go Back In Time” December 30, 2007 By Sahar IIS, [From Baghdad] Washingtonbureau.typepad.com/iraq Picking up the news paper I saw the strangest headline of all. "The Ministry of Electricity announces that the hours of lack of electricity will be increased as a result of scarcity of fuel and some technical issues." This is something I cannot understand. How less electricity?? How fuel scarcity?? We have one hour of electricity in every twelve - How can it be less? And how in any scenario could there be a scarcity of fuel in Iraq ? ! We have despaired of warm homes. We have despaired of hot water. We have forgotten how to sit relaxed in our homes. I walk into the living room looking for my son and couldn‘t find him. I looked for him in the other rooms, but he was nowhere to be seen. I called out for my daughter and asked her whether she knew where he was - but no luck. "WHERE ARE YOU ! !" In my room, the mound moves, and from under four blankets put there to go to the cleaners emerges a face with still-asleep eyes - IT IS HE ! ! "What are you doing there under those blankets? I went crazy with worry looking for you!", "Oh, mum, I just wanted to revise my computer skills exam in comfort, but I fell asleep." Getting up and pulling the blankets to one side, I saw that he had my laptop, a plate of nuts, a can of juice and his fresh-from-the-apple-store in LA-ipod with ear plugs still plugged in, underneath. Is this sweet?? Or is it really sooo sad? But more important - Why is it like this? Countries march forward - why have we been forced back into the pre-electricity age? And more important still - WHERE IS OUR OIL GOING? In five years, couldn‘t the government crawl back to square one? To zero? To what the tyrant used to give us? Saddam was executed one year ago today - I wonder how many people who condemned him during his rule would give their fingers to go back in time. And how many people who thought that a foreign power would be the answer - regret that too. 24,000 Iraqi War Dead In 2007 1/2/2008 AFP WASHINGTON - Violence in Iraq, including actions by US-led coalition and paramilitary forces, was responsible for some 24,000 civilian deaths in 2007, according to an independent group monitoring casualties in the war-ravaged country. The Iraq Body Count (IBC) whose figures are tallied from media reports, morgues, hospitals, non-governmental groups and other sources, said in a report released Tuesday that there were between 22,586 and 24,159 violent civilian deaths in Iraq during the past year. Two “Elderly” Iraqis Liberated 1.1.08 Reuters MOSUL - The U.S. military said it killed two Iraqis when they failed to stop their vehicle despite warning shots in the northern city of Mosul on Monday. Police in the city had said U.S. forces killed an elderly couple in a car after a roadside bomb exploded near the military vehicles. OCCUPATION PALESTINE “Many Israeli Soldiers Actually View Palestinians Very Much Like The Nazi Gestapo And SS Viewed Jews, As Sub-Humans, Scum, Vermin And Dirty Animals That Ought To Be Exterminated” “These Unprotected Palestinians Are Being Viewed As Children Of A Lesser God, Whose Lives Count Less And Whose Blood Is Too Cheap” Carlos Latuff 02/01/2008 Comment by Khalid Amayreh in occupied E. Jerusalem, palestine-info.co.uk [Excerpts] The current Israeli government seems to be living on staple diet consisting of murder, lying and theft. I am saying this because hardly a day passes without this wicked, racist regime indulging in these vices. Two days ago, Israeli soldiers manning the Beit Hanun border-crossing, otherwise known as the Erez Checkpoint, at the northern edge of the Gaza Strip, opened fire on exhausted Palestinian pilgrims returning from Makka. One woman was instantly killed, and five other pilgrims were injured, one seriously. Following the incident, the Israeli army issued four concocted narratives of what happened. At first, the army spokesman said ―The IDF has no knowledge of the incident, but we are investigating.‖ Then two hours later, another spokesperson said ―it was very likely that the woman was shot and killed by Palestinian, not Israeli, fire.‖ The third narrative didn‘t wait long as the Israeli army Radio, Galletsahal quoted a military spokesman as saying that ―the Gazans were shot during an exchange of fire between our forces and Palestinian militants.‖ Then, finally, toward the evening, the dosage of lies was culminated with a new narrative, claiming that the soldiers felt threatened and had to open fire at the Palestinian crowd. In truth, there was no Palestinian shooting whatsoever, and no exchange of fire between Israeli and Palestinian troops took place in that area at that time, and, indeed, the soldiers who opened fire did not really feel threatened. Many people in the West don‘t really understand what makes soldiers open fire on innocent and helpless civilians passing through a border-crossing. After all, such a cold- blooded murder defies all logic and flies in the face of basic human nature. This is why many westerners, long-time consumers of Zionist propaganda, would more or less accept Israeli accounts of such murderous ―incidents‖ because they can‘t imagine that, of all people, Israeli Jews, the former victims of Nazism, could stoop to the level of thugs and common criminals. I have been searching in vain for a logical explanation for such manifestly nefarious behavior, but to no avail. Eventually, I reached the inescapable conclusion that many or probably most Israeli soldiers operating in the occupied territories are actually indoctrinated in deep psychological hatred of Palestinians, occasionally reaching the point of believing that the Palestinians, not the Nazis, carried out the holocaust. This means that every Palestinian man, woman and child becomes at least a vicarious Nazi that must be killed, maimed, tormented or humiliated. It is a kind of a reversed anti-Semitism syndrome whereby Jewish soldiers seek, at least subconsciously, to emulate their former tormentors, employing a similarly morbid mindset that combines deep hatred with racist contempt for the ―other,‖ the Palestinian. Many Israeli soldiers actually view Palestinians very much like the Nazi Gestapo and SS viewed Jews, as sub-humans, scum, vermin and dirty animals that ought to be exterminated. Yes, there are differences but these have mainly to do with style, not with substance. Of course, western audiences are unlikely to hear Israeli soldiers and politicians saying openly that Palestinians are scum and vermin and dirty animals that ought to be exterminated. That would be a public relations disaster and Israeli soldiers and officers uttering such words would probably be rebuked or punished for besmirching Israel‘s and the Jews‘ image. Non the less, every honest observer of Israeli treatment of Palestinians knows deep in his or her heart that the intensive racist indoctrination Israeli Jews in general are exposed to from cradle to grave eventually leads to a profound dehumanization of Palestinians in Israelis‘ perceptions, a collective psychosis that makes Israeli soldiers murder Palestinians with stunning ease and feel no guilt for the murder. As I said, such demonic crimes against a helpless and nearly-decimated people are routine. Last week, Israeli soldiers patrolling a Ramallah suburb opened fire on a group of Palestinians who were on mid-afternoon picnic. A bullet hit one of the picnickers in his stomach causing him a massive internal bleeding. He died five hours later in the Ramallah Government hospital, leaving a young wife and two small daughters, aged two and eight respectively. In a terse statement, the Israeli army blamed the Palestinians, saying that “they were acting suspiciously” and “holding in their hands suspicious objects,” an apparent reference to cans of soft drinks. You see, under this nefarious military occupation, even holding a can of Pepsi Cola could cost you your life if you are a Palestinian and on a picnic and Israeli soldiers happen to be in your vicinity. I don‘t know if Israeli and pro-Israeli hasbara agents in North America pay any attention to such vile crimes when they seek to incite the largely misinformed north American Christians against Palestinians …who, we are told, teach their children to hate Jewsl!! Well, are bereaved kids supposed to love their fathers‟ killers? Are these two daughters who will live fatherless for the rest of their lives supposed to give their killers the benefit of the doubt? Are they supposed to take at face value the mendacious Israeli army account that the their father, uncle and their friends, were acting suspiciously and that they brought this upon themselves? It may be futile to even evoke such questions since entire generations of Israelis have grown up believing that the best Palestinian is one that is dead and that Israelis should kill Palestinians first and ask questions later. Aren‘t these the unholy commandments of Zionism‘s Gospel of Satan. Israeli apologists and propagandists, especially in Europe and North America, seek always to spread the myth that Israel is democratic western country where the rule of law is supreme. However, in truth, this is a obscene lie amounting to a kind of fornication with language. It is a cardinal mendacity because truly democratic and civilized states don‟t murder innocent people in cold blood and then claim that they were killed because they were behaving suspiciously. And Israel has not done it just once, or twice or a hundred times. Israel has been doing it from the very inception of its misbegotten birth. Had the Ramallah man and the Gaza woman, whose children and grandchildren were awaiting her return just a few hundred meters away, been British or American citizens, an outcry would have been made and a serious investigation would have been ordered. However, it is obvious that these unprotected Palestinians are being viewed as children of a lesser God, whose lives count less and whose blood is too cheap…very much like the Jews of Europe were viewed by the Third Reich more than sixty years ago. Yes, Israel may not be a Jewish Third Reich. However, the moral distance between 1938-Germany and 2007-Israel is definitely shorter, much shorter, than many people think. [To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation by foreign terrorists, go to: www.rafahtoday.org The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”] DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK Imperial DemoRat Leadership For Killing U.S. Troops In Pakistan And Afghanistan Instead Of Iraq [Thanks to Dennis Serdel, Vietnam Veteran, who sent this in.] December 29, 2007 WASHINGTON (AP) Democrats say the U.S. should redeploy troops from Iraq so they can fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the party‘s weekly radio address, New York Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand says placing troops in the two countries would better serve the battle against terror. She says it would also create stability in the Middle East. Edwards Promises To Keep On Killing U.S. Troops And Iraqis Until At Least October 2008 1.2.08 New York Times Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said if elected he would keep U.S. troops in Iraq for at least 10 months after his inauguration. Received: “Suggestion--For What It‟s Worth From: June V To: GI Special Sent: January 01, 2008 Subject: Re: suggestion--for what it‘s worth I was reading (in Monde Diplo) about the Pakistan military and its multifold investments. All armies, except early revolutionary ones I guess, have investments but this article was putting Pakistan‟s army in a similar category to "the Chinese or Indonesian model", in some instances Turkish. For example, Turkey‘s military foundation is called Oyak and runs hundreds of little businesses using pension funds for capital. Pakistan‘s military seems to be on a larger scale, building new roads and bridges (badly, hence collapsible), running businesses selling cement, fertilizer, medicines, and, like Turkey, thousands of smaller concerns from service stations to beauty salons. My tie-in to the U.S. military (article does not deal with western armies): we all assume that officers in all branches of the service may have shares in Hallburton and other big corporations if they have the money. Also assume that GI‘s do not because they do not have the money. And that some take the class difference for granted; Hallburton may be considered out of reach as the normal state of things. However, if the US military is owning and running restaurants and dry goods stores all over America, in their home states, why shouldn‘t they, as members of the military, be able to invest in civilian enterprises as well? Accrued benefits from their military service are, accord. to ex. in GI Special, lamentable: hospital and psychiatric care, bonuses for extending--okay, I‘ll spare you what you know. Certainly the soldiers, sailors, and marines can not leave little nest eggs in a profitable chain of good stores to their family as a financial cushion. But if there were a GI financial collective that also could own shares in these enterprises, now reserved for the (rich) officers, it would certainly be appear feasible to the average GI. I won‘t get in too deep here, but I hope you see my point. That the guys are getting screwed by the war is clear to them--"but we‘ll go anyway." And why not? What do they get out of staying home? But the fact that they go, and then do not even have the financial options open to their officers, is obviously unfair, and yet another way to show up what happens to the non-rich in USA today. (Were the residents of New Orleans offered preferential shares in the construction of the rebuilt stadium--you see what I mean?). In the years when I taught the military for Maryland, one favorite theme in Speech 100 was "how to invest your money". Mutual Funds was a big favorite, plus buying financial magazines, keeping track of the market, you name it. So here are all these possibilities open to the military, backed up by the billions of military money that is among other things not spending money on sufficient bullet proof vests or night goggles, and the GI in the street cannot invest in them because no system exists to include the small investor. Shall I go on? I‘ll spare you. All these paternalistic generals and colonels and majors who are not patrolling the streets of Baghdad, are not willing to set up something where at least the families of the active soldiers can become financially better off? All this built on my assumption that the US military brass cannot be that different from their counterparts in Pakistan, China, and Turkey. Actually the system in Pakistan allocates public land to generals, retired and otherwise. Chases out the farmer/peasants who are working it. I began to wonder if many of the houses on the market in the US, due to the increase of interest rates, may not go to some retired military member with connections. How do you launder a house? Enough. Let‟s hope the world gets through to the end of 2008. GI Special Looks Even Better Printed Out GI Special issues are archived at website http://www.militaryproject.org . 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