Gung Ho!

Main Entry: gung ho Pronunciation: 'g&[ng]-'hOFunction: adjective Etymology: Gung ho!, motto (interpreted as meaning "work together") adopted by certain U.S. marines, from Chinese (Beijing) gOnghé, short for ZhOngguó GOngyè Hézuò Shè Chinese Industrial Cooperative Society: extremely or overly zealous or enthusiastic

Gung Ho!
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Gung Ho!
And The Cost of War!

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Gung Ho!
And The Cost of War In Lives!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

US House toughens law on publicity, propaganda

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives approved a provision on Thursday designed to bar government agencies for one year from hiring journalists and public-relations firms to secretly tout policies as news.

Lawmakers agreed by voice vote to toughen the law on government publicity and propaganda after the Bush administration came under fire for paying media commentators like Armstrong Williams, who spoke out repeatedly in favor of the president's education policies.

Earlier this year Congress also required government agencies to clearly identify themselves on video news releases they make and distribute to broadcasters.

Karl can't get his message out now, hehehehe!

My last posting for the day. Light posting also for the next couple of days. 16+ names to post!

Semper Fi

Pentagon: 16 dead in Afghan crash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. forces have recovered the bodies of 16 American troops killed in this week's crash of a U.S. helicopter in eastern Afghanistan and other U.S. troops who had been at the scene were unaccounted for, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Conway, director of operations for the U.S. military's Joint Staff, told a Pentagon briefing that the U.S. military does not have "full accountability" for U.S. troops who were on the ground at the time the helicopter went down on Tuesday.

"At this point, we have recovered all 16 bodies of those servicemen who were on board the MH-47 helicopter that crashed on Tuesday. Positive identification and family notification are under way and expected to be completed soon," Conway said.

We now have some missing troops! Probably special forces types. As soon as all the dead have been identified, I'll post their names.

Semper Fi

Poll: 42 percent eye impeachment

No Bounce: Bush Job Approval Unchanged by War Speech; Question on Impeachment Shows Polarization of Nation; Americans Tired of Divisiveness in Congress—Want Bi-Partisan Solutions—New Zogby Poll

Now what Karl. You going to pull a rabbit out of you hat? All hat, no cattle!

Semper Fi

Revealed: Rumsfeld changed Iraq rules of engagement in 2002 to step up bombings

U.S. changed Iraq policy to begin airstrikes months before war

John Byrne

Did Bush lie to Congress about use of force?

The U.S. quietly shifted policy towards Iraq to allow for surgical, pre-emptive airstrikes months before any attempt to seek UN or Congressional approval for the use of force, RAW STORY can reveal.

The discovery, made by investigative blogger Ron Brynaert, raises questions of whether Britain and the United States violated a UN resolution to provide for the security of Iraqi citizenry in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War.

The change meant that the U.S. began systematically bombing air defense systems and other buildings, even beyond the No-Fly Zones established in the wake of the Gulf War. The U.S. justified these pre-emptive airstrikes under a 1991 UN Security Council resolution which says that Iraq must �remove the threat to international peace and security in the region.�

The resolution, however, never specifically called for the use of force. Nor did it authorize the no-fly zones, a joint venture of the British and U.S. governments.

Semper Fi

52 House members file FOIA request seeking documents related to Downing Street minutes


Conyers and 51 Members File FOIA Request on Downing Street Minutes; Members Formally Seek Hearings in House

Representative John Conyers, Jr., (D-MI) House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, along with 51 other Members today submitted a broad and comprehensive FOIA request to the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State seeking any and all documents and materials concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the lead up to the Iraq war, RAW STORY has learned.

What are you doing here? go read the whole story!

Semper Fi

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

DeLay inquiry set to move; GOP ethics chairman backs down

John Byrne

The Republican Chairman of the House Ethics Committee has retreated on a bid to have his chief of staff become co-director for the Committee, paving the way for ethics investigations of House members, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), RAW STORY has learned.

In a letter to members of Congress today, Ethics Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA)indicated he will retreat from a plan to have his personal chief of staff Ed Cassidy serve as co-director of the committee.

The move is a breakthrough for Democrats, who have demanded all aspects of the committee remain bipartisan. Once a chief counsel is selected, the committee can organize and begin investigations into House members, including Republican leader DeLay.

Semper Fi

The Heretik


Go read!

Semper Fi

National Guard and Reserve Mobilized as of June 29, 2005

This week, the Army and Navy announced an increase in the number of reservists on active duty in support of the partial mobilization, while the Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard numbers decreased. The net collective result is 329 fewer reservists mobilized than last week.

Semper Fi

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2nd Lt. Matthew S. Coutu, 23, of North Kingstown, R.I., died June 27 in Baghdad, Iraq, where enemy forces engaged his convoy with small arms fire.

Semper Fi my Soldier

Remains of U.S. airman returning from Vietnam War

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The remains of a U.S. Air Force pilot shot down and killed 39 years ago on a bombing raid in the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to the United States for burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Darel Leetun of Hettinger, North Dakota, will be buried with full military honors on July 8 at the cemetery in rolling hills near the Pentagon.

On Sept. 17, 1966, Leetun led a bombing raid over Lang Son Province, North Vietnam, where his F-105D 'Thunderchief' aircraft was hit by ground fire. Other pilots in the flight saw the jet crash, but did not receive emergency beeper signals or see a parachute.

Welcome home!

Semper Fi

The Stakeholder

Go read The Stakeholder and these three posts, Pelosi on Bush Speech, Speech, and finally Pelosi After the Speech.

Semper Fi

Seventeen aboard crashed US chopper in Afghanistan

By David Brunnstrom

KABUL (Reuters) - A U.S. military helicopter that crashed during an anti-guerrilla mission in eastern Afghanistan may have been shot down and the fate of 17 U.S. troops aboard is not immediately known, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.

Initial reports indicated Tuesday's crash in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, may have been caused by hostile fire in the operation against al Qaeda militants, the military said.

The twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook came down in remote and mountainous terrain west of Kunar's capital Asadabad, U.S. spokeswoman Lieutenant Cindy Moore said.

Kunar Governor Asadullah Wafa said it was hit by a rocket and a spokesman for the Taliban, Abdul Latif Hakimi, claimed the guerrillas shot down the aircraft in the village of Shorak using "a new type of weapon" he did not describe.

"Initial reports indicate the crash may have been caused by hostile fire, a U.S. statement said. "The status of the service members is unknown at this time."

It said U.S. and Afghan troops had sealed off the crash site to block any enemy movement toward or away from it and U.S. aircraft were flying overhead.

"This is a tragic event," U.S. Brig-Gen Greg Champion said in the statement. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families, loved ones and service members still fighting in the area."

Semper Fi

House Votes to Cut Administration Program

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dealing a blow to President Bush a week before the Group of Eight economic summit in Scotland, the House voted to slash money from the assistance program considered a cornerstone of his campaign to spread democracy around the world.

Money for the program, the Millennium Challenge Account, is included in the $20.3 billion foreign aid bill the House approved on a 393-32 vote Tuesday.

Semper Fi

Lawmaker Wants Probe on Immigrant Survey

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Republican congressman wants an investigation of whether the Bush administration tried to suppress a survey indicating U.S. policies spurred immigrants to illegally enter the country.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., said the U.S. Border Patrol's three-week survey was discontinued after initial results showed illegal immigrants believed they would be granted amnesty once in the United States.

Tancredo cited a report by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group, that included copies of an internal memo barring Homeland Security Department employees from publicly discussing the survey's results. The Border Patrol is a branch of the department.

"Given what we know already, there are many questions that must be answered about the survey, DHS and White House management, and the effects of the proposed amnesty plans," Tancredo wrote in a Tuesday letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

"It is crucial that the American people know that their government is not letting politics get in the way of national security," Tancredo wrote.

Semper Fi

AP: U.S. Blocked Release of CAFTA Reports

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department kept secret for more than a year government studies that supported Democratic opponents of the Bush administration's new Central American trade deal, internal documents show.

The studies, paid for by the department, concluded that several countries the administration wants to be granted free-trade status have poor working conditions and fail to protect workers' rights. The agency dismissed the conclusions as inaccurate and biased, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

"In practice, labor laws on the books in Central America are not sufficient to deter employers from violations, as actual sanctions for violations of the law are weak or nonexistent," the contractor, the International Labor Rights Fund, wrote in one of the reports.

The studies' conclusions contrast with the administration's arguments that Central American countries have made enough progress on such issues to warrant a free-trade deal with the United States.

More fo the Bushco hiding the truth!

Semper Fi

CIA Opposes 9-11 Panel's Recommendation

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director Porter Goss have told the White House they oppose a recommendation by the Sept. 11 commission to transfer the CIA's control of covert paramilitary operations to the Pentagon.

Semper Fi

Veteran of Iraq War Denied Trip Home to Cuba

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Cuban-American Carlos Lazo won a Bronze Star for caring for his wounded comrades in Iraq, but he can't get to Cuba to care for a sick son.

Lawmakers from both parties are urging the Bush administration to give Lazo, a sergeant in the Washington state National Guard, an exemption from the strict sanctions imposed on the Castro government limiting family visits to once every three years.

"Surely a hero of the Iraq war who wants to visit his ill teenage son in Cuba is deserving of special consideration," Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., wrote in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

"We trust him in Iraq, but we do not trust him to visit his own family in Cuba," echoed Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in a floor speech last week.

Dorgan's office said Lazo's case was being considered this week by senior officials at the State Department.

There is no reason he should not be allowed to go home to Cuba.

Semper Fi

Senate OKs Money to Start MLK Memorial

A good story to start the day with.

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate approved $10 million to help begin groundbreaking for a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall here - the first monument there to a person of color.

The $100 million memorial to King is to be built on a four-acre site next to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Construction is scheduled to begin in November 2006, provided sufficient fund-raising progress is made by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. The group has already raised almost $40 million in private funding for the memorial to the slain civil rights leader.

"I have come to appreciate how Martin Luther King Jr., sought to help our nation overcome racial barriers, bigotry, hatred, and injustice, and how he helped to inspire and guide a most important, most powerful, and most transforming social movement," said Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., the sponsor of the measure.

Semper Fi

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

US faces prison ship allegations

The United Nations says it has learned of serious allegations that the US is secretly detaining terrorism suspects, notably on American military ships.

The special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak said the accusations were rumours at this stage, but urged the US to co-operate in an investigation.

He said the UN wants lists of the places of detention and those held.

The comments come five days after the UN accused the US of stalling on their requests to visit Guantanamo Bay.

Semper Fi

House OKs shielding GIs from dubious sales offers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers about to ship out to war zones would get protection from sales pitches for high-cost low-benefit life insurance and other dubious financial products under legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The bill, approved 405-2, would allow military post commanders to ban from their bases unscrupulous sales agents who have been offering soldiers products such as mutual fund plans with 50 percent sales commissions, or expensive life insurance policies with very low death benefits.

Semper Fi

Senate GOP Plans Spending Boost for Vets

First let me say that the Dems asked for additional $1b funding on top of the $1.5b that we shorted the vets coming home. The repukes voted against it.

AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Struggling to prevent political damage, Senate Republicans intend to raise spending on veterans programs by $1.5 billion to make up for a shortage caused partly by the return of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

"I'm glad they have seen the light," said Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. He said majority Republicans had refused to provide the money when members of his party called for it earlier in the year.


The decision to approve the funds came in response to last week's disclosure that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs $1 billion more for veterans health care this year.

Republicans swiftly retreated on the issue in the Senate, but not in the House.

There, the GOP defeated a Democratic effort to provide an extra $1 billion for veterans health care. The 217-189 vote was along party lines.

"Veterans need to know that no veteran will be without his health care in 2005, nor will they be without their health care in 2006," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "There are solutions to this problem, and those solutions are being addressed."

Democrats said that wasn't good enough.

Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, accused the GOP of hiding behind procedural excuses - that the House was debating legislation unrelated to veterans. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said that either Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson misled Congress with his earlier statements or he himself had been kept in the dark by other administration officials.

Our veterans, returning home, need to know that they will be taken care!

Semper Fi

"Coalition Casualty Count News"


TIKRIT, Iraq – A Task Force Liberty Soldier was killed when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near a combat patrol west of Tikrit.

Semper Fi

Optimism fades, but war goes on

San Francisco Chronicle

TIKRIT, Iraq -- At Saddam Hussein's vast palace complex that is now the U.S. Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto contemplates the war American soldiers under his command are now waging.

"The enemy is intrinsic," said Taluto, who heads the 42nd Infantry Division and the Army units attached to it in Iraq. "They're infiltrating the Iraqi security forces as we speak. I don't know how big (the insurgency) is, but I think their capability is constantly replenished."


In conversations and interviews over the past month, U. S. soldiers under the command of the 42nd Infantry Division in Samarra and Tikrit came across as frustrated, sometimes disheartened, though still largely unbowed.

Some of them say that Iraqis will never accept the American presence. Others do not believe democracy can work here. The declining support in the United States for the war provokes anger. The mounting U.S. death and injury toll is depressing.

"I'm tired of going to my buddies' funerals," said Spc. Joshua Forman, from Sammamish, Wash., referring to memorial services the military holds for soldiers killed in Iraq.

What keeps them going in the 120-degree heat is a conviction that they must fight here to prevent future terrorist attacks on the United States. They also fight to honor the memories of comrades killed, while hoping that they can yet help build a better future for the Iraqis.

Semper Fi

State Guard forms anti-terrorism intelligence unit

Officials deny civil libertarian claims that the group will monitor American citizens, which is prohibited
San Jose Mercury News

SACRAMENTO - Three decades after aggressive military spying on Americans created a national furor, California's National Guard has quietly set up a special intelligence unit that has been given ''broad authority'' to monitor, analyze and distribute information on potential terrorist threats, the Mercury News has learned.


Although Guard officials said the new unit would not collect information on American citizens, top National Guard officials have already been involved in tracking at least one recent Mother's Day anti-war rally organized by families of slain American soldiers, according to e-mails obtained by the Mercury News.

Creation of California's intelligence unit is already raising concerns for civil libertarians who point to a string of abuses in the 1960s and 1970s when the military collected information on more than 100,000 Americans, infiltrated church youth groups, posed as reporters to interview activists, monitored peaceful protests and even attended an elementary school Halloween party in search of a ''dissident.''

''The National Guard doesn't need to do this,'' said Christopher Pyle, a former Army intelligence officer who first exposed the military's domestic spying operations in 1970. ''Its job is not to investigate individuals, but to clear streets, protect facilities and help first responders.''

Top Guard officers said that they have no intentions of breaking long-established rules barring the military from gathering information on Americans and that the evolving program is meant to help California and the nation thwart terrorist attacks.

Simply amazing.

Semper Fi

AP: U.S. Chinook helicopter crashes in Afghanistan

Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan � A U.S. CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter crashed today while ferrying reinforcements for counterterrorism operations in eastern Afghanistan, the military said. The Taliban claimed responsibility in a phone call to The Associated Press.


In Washington, a U.S defense official who asked not to be identified said initial reports indicated there were 15 to 20 troops on the helicopter. A Chinook can carry up to 33 passengers and has a crew of three.

Semper Fi

EPA Proposal Would Allow Human Tests Of Pesticides

Draft Rule Omits Some Recommended Safeguards

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer

Manufacturers would be allowed to test some pesticides on human volunteers when seeking government approval without applying all the ethical safeguards recommended last year by an expert panel, under proposed rules soon to be issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The regulations, a copy of which was obtained yesterday by The Washington Post, represent the latest step in an ongoing battle over whether the EPA should use data from human tests of toxic chemicals when deciding whether to approve new pesticide products. The rules would omit some provisions urged by the National Academy of Sciences last year that would have imposed more stringent limits on such studies.

This is just wrong!

Semper Fi

Snow says oil prices hurting economy-CNBC

By Kevin Plumberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow acknowledged on Tuesday that record high oil prices are beginning to take their toll on the U.S. economy, but not enough to derail the economy's strong recovery.

"Energy prices are way too high," Snow said on CNBC television. "Clearly, it's hurting."

After hitting a three-month low in May, U.S.-traded oil futures have risen around 32 percent to a record high of $60.95 a barrel on Monday. In early trading Tuesday, oil prices slipped to $59.25.

High energy prices often sap domestic spending, as consumers have to shell out more for gasoline and less for other goods. A consumer-led slowdown has the potential to dent U.S. economic growth, particularly since consumer spending makes up roughly two-thirds of the economy.

A common Brazilian monkey could have told you that!

Semper Fi

IOL: US yet to talk with insurgents, says general

By Will Dunham

Washington - United States forces have not held talks with insurgent leaders involved in attacks in Iraq but may do so soon, the US commander in Iraq said in remarks that appeared to differ from those of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday.

On Sunday Rumsfeld said meetings between US representatives and insurgent commanders "go on all the time".

Asked by a reporter whether US forces had met with "known leaders of the insurgency who have been involved directly in attacks against US and Iraqi forces", Army General George Casey said: "Not yet. Not, to the best of my knowledge, yet."

Rummy has some explaining to do. Doen't even knpw what's happening on this issue.

Semper Fi

Stars and Stripes: Injured Marines transferred from Germany to U.S.

Seven women hurt in Iraq moved from Landstuhl to Texas

By Scott Schonauer, Stars and Stripes

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Seven female Marines wounded in Thursday’s suicide bombing in Iraq stayed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center before being flown to the United States on Monday.

Medical evacuation crews flew the women to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, Landstuhl spokeswoman Marie Shaw said. She said she could not release the names of the wounded or their medical conditions. Brooke has a renowned burn center.

Semper Fi my Marines

Reuters: U.S. Marines launch major operation in west Iraq

BAGHDAD, June 28 (Reuters) - U.S. Marines launched a major operation in western Iraq on Tuesday, dispatching 1,000 troops against suspected insurgents in the western Euphrates river valley.

"Operation Saif (Sword) began early this morning to root out terrorists and foreign fighters living along the Euphrates River between the cities of Haditha and Hit," the Marines said in a statement.

Marine and army units were backed by a company of 100 Iraqi soldiers, it said.


The Euphrates valley has emerged as a strategic area in the counter-insurgency war, which has worsened since a Shi'ite- and Kurdish-led government took power two months ago.

Foreign militants responsible for a worsening campaign of suicide bombings are believed to enter the country near where the river crosses from Syria, and train in safe houses in towns along the valley.

Same area, where several of the 3/25 were killed, earlier this month.

Semper Fi



TIKRIT, Iraq –A Task Force Liberty Soldier was killed when a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near a Coalition Forces base near Balad.

And it continues!

Semper Fi

DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Petty Officer 1st Class Regina R. Clark, 43, of Centralia, Wash., died June 23 in a convoy that was attacked by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Fallujah. She was a culinary specialist deployed with Naval Construction Region Detachment 30, Port Hueneme, Calif., and was temporarily assigned to II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Semper Fi my Sailor :(

Monday, June 27, 2005

Remains of U.S. soldier returned from Korean War

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The remains of a U.S. soldier killed 55 years ago in the Korean War have been identified and are being returned to his family in Minnesota for burial this week, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Army Cpl. John Storm of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, was killed when his 8th Cavalry Regiment unit came under attack by Chinese forces near Unsan, North Korea, in November 1950.

More than 380 soldiers of the regiment were unaccounted for after several days of fighting. But in July and August 2002, a joint team of U.S. and North Korean specialists investigated a site near Unsan and found human remains and other evidence.

The team was also given Strom's military identification tag found by a villager. U.S. forensic experts in Hawaii later identified the remains as those of Strom, who will be buried in Fergus Falls on Wednesday.

More than 8,100 U.S. troops are still missing from the 1950-53 war, but the Pentagon last month suspended U.S. efforts inside North Korea to find remains of troops killed during the conflict, accusing Pyongyang of creating an atmosphere dangerous to U.S. workers.

Welcome home Soldier.

Semper Fi

Halliburton Iraq deals described as contract abuse

The use of contactors to do jobs the military did in the past, is a waste of tax payers money. And the cost in human life.

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top U.S. Army procurement official said on Monday Halliburton's deals in Iraq were the worst example of contract abuse she had seen as Pentagon auditors flagged over $1 billion of potential overcharges by the Texas-based firm.

Bunny Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers' top contracting official-turned whistle-blower, said in testimony at a hearing by Democrats on Capitol Hill that "every aspect" of Halliburton's oil contract in Iraq had been under the control of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

"I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR (Kellogg Brown and Root) represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career," said Greenhouse, a procurement veteran of more than 20 years.

Her blistering criticism came as the Democrats released a new report including Pentagon audits that identified more than $1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.

Halliburton's subsidiary KBR is the U.S. military's biggest contractor in Iraq and has been accused by Democrats of getting lucrative work there because of its ties to Vice President Dick Cheney who headed the company from 1995-2000.

Semper Fi

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Cpl. Ramona M. Valdez, 20, of Bronx, N.Y., died June 23 while traveling in a convoy that was attacked by a suicide, vehicle-borne, improvised explosive device in Fallujah, Iraq.

Semper Fi my Marine

Protesters Disrupt Soldier's Funeral

This group just pisses me off! I believe in everyones right to free speach. But, take your protest and go else where!

A Marblehead soldier who was killed in Afghanistan was scheduled to be laid to rest Monday, but a church group from Kansas is expected to try to disrupt the services and police are on alert for any problems.

NewsCenter 5's Gail Huff reported that Staff Sgt. Christoper Piper, 43, served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and was awarded a bronze star for his combat service. The Green Beret died when his convoy was bombed June 3 in Afghanistan and a right-wing Protestant Christian church group from Topeka, Kansas is planning to demonstrate at Piper's funeral services at the Old North Church. They claim U.S. soldiers like Piper are dying because the country is being punished for its tolerance of what they see as immoral behavior, such as homosexuality.

The group, from the Westboro Baptist Church, protested several weeks ago in Dracut and Lexington, Mass., carrying signs depicting homosexual sex, with slogans such as "Pope In Hell" and "God Hates Fags," and "God Hates The U.S."

Semper Fi

Kerry, Byrd push for more Veteran's funds


Associated Press Writer

Senate Democrats say they will press for a vote as early as Tuesday to address a $1 billion shortfall in the budget for veterans' health care programs.

Semper Fi

Korea pulls U.S. right wing think tank funds

Korea Stops Funding for Neocon Think Tank
The Korea Foundation has ended its support for the American Enterprise Institute, a rightwing U.S. think tank credited with being the brains behind the war on Iraq, Foreign Minster Ban Ki-moon told the National Assembly's Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee on Monday. It reportedly did so at the ruling party’s request.

The AEI is the eading neoconservative think tank with close links to the Bush administration. Its brain children include the invasion of Iraq, tax cuts and planned redeployments of U.S. forces around the world. Vice President Dick Cheney, former Deputy Secretary of State John Bolton, and "Axis of Evil" speechwriter David Frum all have AEI backgrounds. Reviled by critics as a neocon bastion, President George W. Bush has called it a collection of America's best minds.


Semper Fi

United States Plans To Resume Making Plutonium

More scary stuff! What's bushco going to do with this plutonium?


The Bush administration's plan to produce plutonium 238 is stirring debate over the risks and benefits of the deadly material.The substance, valued as a power source, is so radioactive that a speck can cause cancer.


Project managers say that most if not all of the new plutonium is intended for secret missions and they declined to divulge any details. But in the past, it has powered espionage devices.

"The real reason we're starting production is for national security," Timothy A. Frazier, head of radioisotope power systems at the Energy Department, said in a recent interview.

He vigorously denied that any of the classified missions would involve nuclear arms, satellites or weapons in space.


"It's completely wrapped in the flag," said Mary Woollen-Mitchell, executive director of Keep Yellowstone Nuclear Free, a group based in Jackson Hole. "They absolutely won't let on" about the missions.


Plutonium 238 has no central role in nuclear arms. Instead, it is valued for its steady heat, which can be turned into electricity. Nuclear batteries made of it are best known for powering spacecraft that go where sunlight is too dim to energize solar cells. For instance, they now power the Cassini probe exploring Saturn and its moons.

Federal and private experts unconnected to the project said the new plutonium would probably power devices for conducting espionage on land and under the sea. Even if no formal plans now exist to use the plutonium in space for military purposes, these experts said that the material could be used by the military to power compact spy satellites that would be hard for adversaries to track, evade or destroy.


Early in the nuclear era, the government became fascinated by plutonium 238 and used it regularly to make nuclear batteries that worked for years or decades. Scores of them powered satellites, planetary probes and spy devices, at times with disastrous results.

In 1964, a rocket failure led to the destruction of a navigation satellite powered by plutonium 238, spreading radioactivity around the globe and starting a debate over the event's health effects

In 1965, high in the Himalayas, an intelligence team caught in a blizzard lost a plutonium-powered device meant to spy on China. And in 1968, an errant weather satellite crashed into the Pacific, but federal teams managed to recover its plutonium battery intact from the Santa Barbara Channel, off California.

Such accidents cooled enthusiasm for the batteries. But federal agencies continued to use them for a more limited range of missions, including those involving deep-space probes and top-secret devices for tapping undersea cables.

Then what is it for?

Semper Fi


Larisa Alexandrovna and John Byrne

A U.S. general who commanded the U.S. allied air forces in Iraq has confirmed that the U.S. and Britain conducted a massive secret bombing campaign before the U.S. actually declared war on Iraq.

The quote, passed from RAW STORY to the London Sunday Times last week, raises troubling questions of whether President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair engaged in an illegal war before seeking a UN resolution or congressional approval.

I wonder what sites we bomb? Hmmmmmmmm! Was it military sites in the "no fly zones", or military infrastructure in Bagdad?

Semper Fi

Fire put out at Florida nuke plant

This is always scary.

A fire at the Turkey Point power plant was extinguished Monday with no damage to the plant's two nuclear units, according to Florida Power and Light.

No injuries were reported, officials at Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue said. The plant's sprinkler system put out the fire.

The blaze started about 3:15 a.m. in a transformer in the plant's number four unit, an area that was not near the nuclear facilities, FPL spokesman Bill Swank said.

Semper Fi

Oil nears $61 on demand and Iran worries

By Richard Mably

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose a dollar to a new record near $61 Monday, driven by the resilience of world energy demand in the face of high fuel costs and worries about oil policy under Iran's new hardline president.

U.S. crude for August by 1700 GMT traded at a new high of $60.95 a barrel, up $1.11. U.S. crude is above $60 for every month to October 2006 with December 2005 setting a peak $62.35 a barrel.

London Brent set a record $59.59 a barrel, up $1.23.

"The market is testing higher to see what price levels this demand can endure," said Naohiro Niimura, vice president at the derivative products division of Japan's Mizuho Corporate Bank.

While high prices are eroding some strength from the world economy, the overall growth picture remains solid, central bankers meeting in Switzerland said at the weekend.

Nasdaq closed down because of high oil prices, but Oil stocks close higher on record crude price. Go figure!

Semper Fi

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Pfc. Veashna Muy, 20, of Los Angeles, Calif.

Cpl. Chad W. Powell, 22, of West Monroe, La.

Both Marines died June 23 while traveling in a convoy that was attacked by a suicide, vehicle-borne, improvised explosive device in Fallujah, Iraq.

Semper Fi my Marines

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. Charles A. Kaufman, 20, of Fairchild, Wis., died June 26 in Baghdad, Iraq, where a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV.

Semper Fi my Soldier

BBC: Apache helicopter crashes in Iraq

A US helicopter has crashed north of Baghdad, the US military has announced. It is not clear if there are survivors.

The Apache attack helicopter went down in a field and burst into flames, the Associated Press reports.

The military said it would investigate the crash of the helicopter, which normally carries a crew of two.

The crash came on Monday morning, a day after US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned it may be years before the insurgency in Iraq is defeated.

The Apache is one of the main US attack helicopters

Semper Fi

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Take it to Karl

Saw this blog on AMERICAblog.

American Service Men and Women Mad at Karl Rove.

Go read them!

U.S. Reasserts Control in Afghanistan

Associated Press Writer

KHAKERAN VALLEY, Afghanistan (AP) -- Skimming low over the desert in helicopters with guns at the ready, American troops advanced Sunday into southern Afghanistan, seeking to reassert control after a spate of attacks raised fears of an Iraqi-style insurgency here.

The troops hopped from village to village in Khakeran Valley, searching mud huts and wheat fields, meeting village elders and detaining at least two men.

Up to 300 insurgents are believed to be holed up in the valley, about 130 miles northeast of the main southern city of Kandahar, said Lt. Luke Langer, a platoon leader in the 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.

"The enemy has been using the Khakeran Valley as a sanctuary," he said. "Without question, I know the Taliban are in the area and I'm sure we will make contact. From talking to local people, we know the enemy are very angry with us being here."

About 465 suspected insurgents have been reported killed since the start of a major upsurge in March, when snows melted on mountain tracks used by the militants. In the same period, 29 U.S. troops, 38 Afghan troops and 125 civilians have been killed.

If we (US military) are not careful, Afghanistan will turn into an Iraq mess. Just with fewer US troops involved.

Semper Fi

ADN: 172nd to be largest Alaska deployment since Vietnam

Fort Rich's 4th Battalion enjoys calm before storm

Anchorage Daily News

Hundreds of war-bound soldiers gathered in formation at Fort Richardson early Friday for an easy, five-mile run with their commander, who afterward released them on two weeks vacation -- their last big break before shipping out to a place where people like them sometimes die.

The 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, about 3,800 soldiers total, is slated to leave for Iraq in August in the biggest Army deployment out of Alaska since Vietnam.

Roughly 700 soldiers from the Fort Richardson-based battalion of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team build morale with a five-mile run on base early Friday. After the run, they were released for a two-week break, their last block leave before deployment to Iraq. The 3,800-strong brigade is also based at Fort Wainwright.

Semper Fi 172nd

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher W. Phelps, 39, of Louisville, Ky., died June 23 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV.

Semper Fi my Soldier

Blair's son to intern with U.S. Republicans

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair's eldest son Euan will work as an intern with Republican staff in the U.S. House of Representatives, the prime minister's office said on Sunday.

Euan, 21, will spend three months working with a committee which determines how U.S. legislation is considered in the lower chamber of Congress.

"Euan Blair has been given the opportunity to take up a short, unpaid internship with the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives," said a spokesman at the prime minister's Downing Street office.

Despite Blair's close relationship with President Bush, the news raised eyebrows among some Democrats who see Blair's Labour party as natural allies, reported the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"It is extremely surprising that the son of a Labour prime minister would intern with the Republican majority staff on the committee," the paper quoted Eric Burns, communications director for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, the committee's leading Democrat, as saying.

The newspaper said Euan would be mentored by David Dreier, a Californian representative to the Republican leadership in the House, during his internship.

The Downing Street spokesman said Euan was also hoping for an internship with the Democrats.

Semper Fi

AP: U.S. asks Japan to keep troops in Iraq

TOKYO - The United States has asked Japan to extend its troop deployment in Iraq beyond the scheduled expiration of the current mandate in December, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.

The U.S. State Department asked Japan's Foreign Ministry earlier this month to consider extending Japan's current mission, which is set to expire in December, the nationwide daily Asahi Shimbun reported.

Is this a sign that we are in need of ground troops in Iraq?

Semper Fi

AP: Suicide bombs kill at least 31 in Iraq (update)

Suicide bombs kill at least 31 in Iraq

Associated Press

MOSUL, Iraq - Two suicide bombers killed at least 31 people in two separate attacks on a police station and outside an Iraqi military base in northern Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. military said.

The first attack happened at a police headquarters in Mosul, killing 13 policemen and two civilians and wounding six more, said U.S. Army Capt. Mark Walter, a spokesman in Mosul. Earlier reports put the death toll at six.

Less than two hours later, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a parking lot outside an Iraqi army base, killing 16 and wounding seven more, Walter said. Almost all the victims were civilian workers arriving at the site, he said.

Mission not accomplished!

Semper Fi

TheGuardian: War of the mosques is shattering Iraq's hopes

Peter Beaumont reports from Baghdad that the gunmen are finally succeeding in pushing the sectarian tension between Shia and Sunni towards the final abyss of all-out civil war

Sunday June 26, 2005
The Observer

When they killed Abdul Sattar Saffar al-Khazraji, he was waiting for the minibus that would take him to his work as a laboratory supervisor at Nahrain University.

At 8am, as the 30-year-old stood with other workers commuting from the Harriya district of Baghdad, two Opel cars sped up and blocked the road either side of him.

Two men on a motorbike roared into the gap left by the cars. The passenger fired at Abdul Sattar with a pistol as they approached, wounding him in the shoulder. As he collapsed in pain, the gunman delivered the coup de grce, putting a bullet into his head.

In a city where assassination is commonplace, one more killing goes unremarked. Yet Abdul Sattar's death is a reminder of Iraq's most critical question: whether, after two years of insurgency, the bombers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and their allies are succeeding in a central aim - pushing a bruised population towards civil conflict.

For the significance of Abdul Sattar was his religion. He was a Sunni. His crime, friends say, was that he was pious and visible, a community leader well known for his involvement in charity and other religious works.

Go read the entire story!

Semper Fi