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> Marines Execute Woman and Children in Iraq


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Posted: May 28 2006, 07:58 PM
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As we sow, so shall we reap.

QUOTE
Revealed: how US marines massacred 24
Sarah Baxter, Washington
Hala Jaber and Ali Rifat, Baghdad
The Sunday Times May 28, 2006 
QUOTE
PHOTOGRAPHS taken by American military intelligence have provided crucial evidence that up to 24 Iraqis were massacred by marines in Haditha, an insurgent stronghold on the banks of the Euphrates.

One portrays an Iraqi mother and young child, kneeling on the floor, as if in prayer. They have been shot dead at close range.

The pictures show other victims, shot execution-style in the head and chest in their homes. An American government official said they revealed that the marines involved had “suffered a total breakdown in morality and leadership”.

The killings are emerging as the worst known American atrocity of the Iraq war. At least seven women and three children were among those killed. Witness accounts obtained by The Sunday Times suggest the toll of children may be as high as six. “This one is ugly,” a US military official said.

In Britain, the chief of the defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, said yesterday that the “appalling” reports of the massacre could undermine British support for the war. “This sort of accusation does make that harder to achieve,” he said.

The pictures of the dead, which are being closely guarded by the US naval criminal investigation service, were taken by a military photographer who is believed to have arrived on the scene moments after the shootings.

Many American forces are accompanied by photographers to gather intelligence and to shield soldiers from false accusations of torture, intimidation and violence. In this case, the evidence points fatefully to a murder spree by marines.

The stain on the American military could prove harder to erase than the photographs of sadistic prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Comparisons are being made to the My Lai massacre in 1968 in Vietnam, in which American soldiers slaughtered up to 500 villagers.

Up to a dozen marines may face criminal charges including murder, which carries the death penalty, dereliction of duty and filing a false report. Three marine commanders were suspended last month.

The naval inquiry is focusing on the actions of a sergeant who may have been the leader of a four-man “fire team”.

Miguel Terrazas, 20, a lance-corporal from El Paso, Texas, was travelling in a convoy of four Humvees in Haditha just after 7am on November 19 last year when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle, killing him and wounding two others.

The events that followed are the subject of two military inquiries due to report soon: one into the facts, the other into a cover-up.

One witness, Aws Fahmi, heard his neighbour, Yunis Salim Khafif, plead for his life in English, shouting: “I am a friend, I am good.”

“But they killed him, his wife and daughters,” Fahmi said.

It is clear the marines lied by blaming the deaths of 15 civilians on the roadside bomb and alleging that a further eight Iraqis were insurgents who died in a gun battle.
Asked last week how many Iraqis were killed by the roadside bomb, a Pentagon official said: “Zero.” The marines never came under hostile fire, a spokesman added.



Investigators have established that the killings unfolded over three to five hours. “This was not a burst of fire, but a sustained operation,” a Pentagon official said.

The Sunday Times has reconstructed the events with the help of Abdul Rahman al-Mashandani, of the Hammourabi human rights group in Iraq. It appears the first killings took place when a taxi carrying four students pulled up at a checkpoint set up by the marines.

Abu Makram, 50, had been awakened by the roadside bomb and watched from his window as the terror unfolded. The car’s occupants were all ordered out and shot.

The marines then stormed three nearby houses. “They blew open the front door of the first house,” Makram recalled, “Once they were inside, we heard another explosion followed by a hail of gunfire.”

It was the home of 76-year-old Abdul Hameed Ali Hassan, whose leg had been amputated because of diabetes. “He was a blind old man in a wheelchair,” Makram said.

Hassan’s granddaughter, Iman Waleed, 10, was in her nightclothes. “About 10 marines entered the house,” she said. “They threw hand grenades and began firing in all directions. Grandpa was sitting close to the hall and they shot him dead.”

In a nearby room, her father was reading the Koran. “The American soldiers went into the room and killed him too,” Iman said. “They gathered all of us into one room — my grandma, my mama, my brothers and my uncles. They threw in two handgrenades and started shooting at us.”

The adults tried to protect the children with their bodies, but were slain. When Iman dared to look, she saw that “everyone was dead around me except for my brother and my uncle”.

Both were injured and Iman was hurt in the leg. The rest of the family, including her brother, Abdullah, 4, died.

Iman fled next-door, where her other grandfather Yunis lived, only to find everybody there appeared to have been killed too. There was in fact one survivor, Safa Yunis Salim, 12.

“My daddy tried to open the door to let the Americans in, but he was immediately shot in the head and body,” Safa said.

“I managed to hide under the body of my brother Mohammed. His blood covered me and protected me as I pretended to be dead.” They also killed her four sisters including Aysha, 4, and Zainab, 2.

Five hours passed before Safa managed to escape. “I was the only one who survived. I watched them kill my entire family. I am all alone now,” she said, crying.

When the marines stormed the third house they changed tactics. The men were separated from the women and stuffed into a large cupboard, according to Yussef Ayed Ahmad, the brother of the dead men, who lived next-door.
“They placed my four brothers into the wardrobe and proceeded to shoot them as they were inside,” he said. “My mother and sister told me later how they died.”



The marines found an AK 47 in the house — the only gun found in all three homes — but there is no evidence it was fired.

The marines’ cover story quickly began to unravel. In March, Time magazine revealed the existence of a video shot the day after the attack by an Iraqi student journalist. It showed the victims still in their nightclothes, a trail of blood and shrapnel and bullet marks on the walls.

At the local morgue Waleed al Obeidi, who received the corpses 24 hours after the killings, also disputed the marines’ account. “Two bodies were completely charred,” he said. “The others, including women and children, had all been shot at close range.”

According to some reports, American warplanes dropped 500lb bombs on the houses.

The marines paid $2,500 (£1,350) in compensation for each of the 15 victims who were shot in their homes. They refused to pay for the four brothers and five occupants of the taxi, claiming they were insurgents. Officials now say those men were innocent.

General Michael Hagee, the US Marine Corps commander, flew to Baghdad last week to prepare his troops for the grim findings of the investigation. Many marines had witnessed the deaths of friends, he said. “The effects of these events can be numbing. There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonour upon ourselves.”

The conclusions are likely to provoke widespread revulsion.

President George W Bush said last week that the abuse at Abu Ghraib was one of his greatest regrets about the Iraq war. If the photographs from Haditha surface, they could provide a set of images that would be every bit as shocking.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2200170,00.html




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Posted: May 29 2006, 02:11 PM
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Things like this happen far more often than the public knows. Many are not discovered, many are covered up and many are censored by spindoctoring the facts.

When the rule of law is removed by war, the true personalities of the individuals are revealed. Many people have no backbone or morals.




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Posted: May 31 2006, 09:03 AM
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You are quite correct uggliozzi.

QUOTE
Countless US My Lai Massacres in Iraq
By Dahr Jamail
5-30-6
QUOTE
The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004.


Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces had not stopped either.

Earlier this month, I received a news release from Iraq, which read, "On Saturday, May 13th, 2006, at 10:00 p.m., US Forces accompanied by the Iraqi National Guard attacked the houses of Iraqi people in the Al-Latifya district south of Baghdad by an intensive helicopter shelling. This led the families to flee to the Al-Mazar and water canals to protect themselves from the fierce shelling. Then seven helicopters landed to pursue the families who fled and killed them. The number of victims amounted to more than 25 martyrs. US forces detained another six persons including two women named Israa Ahmed Hasan and Widad Ahmed Hasan, and a child named Huda Hitham Mohammed Hasan, whose father was killed during the shelling."

The report from the Iraqi NGO called The Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) continued, "The forces didn't stop at this limit. They held an attack on May 15th, 2006, supported also by the Iraqi National Guards. They also attacked the families' houses, and arrested a number of them while others fled. US snipers then used the homes to target more Iraqis. The reason for this crime was due to the downing of a helicopter in an area close to where the forces held their attack."

The US military preferred to report the incident as an offensive where they killed 41 "insurgents," a line effectively parroted by much of the media.

On that same day, MHRI also reported that in the Yarmouk district of Baghdad, US forces raided the home of Essam Fitian al-Rawi. Al-Rawi was killed along with his son Ahmed; then the soldiers reportedly removed the two bodies along with Al-Rawi's nephew, who was detained.

Similarly, in the city of Samara on May 5, MHRI reported, "American soldiers entered the house of Mr. Zidan Khalif Al-Heed after an attack upon American soldiers was launched nearby the house. American soldiers entered this home and killed the family, including the father, mother and daughter who is in the 6th grade, along with their son, who was suffering from mental and physical disabilities."

This same group, MHRI, also estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the November 2004 US assault on Fallujah. Numbers which make those from the Haditha massacre pale in comparison.

Instead of reporting incidents such as these, mainstream outlets are referring to the Haditha slaughter as one of a few cases that "present the most serious challenge to US handling of the Iraq war since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal."

Marc Garlasco, of Human Rights Watch, told reporters recently, "What happened at Haditha appears to be outright murder. The Haditha massacre will go down as Iraq's My Lai."

Then there is the daily reality of sectarian and ethnic cleansing in Iraq, which is being carried out by US-backed Iraqi "security" forces. A recent example of this was provided by a representative of the Voice of Freedom Association for Human Rights, another Iraqi NGO which logs ongoing atrocities resulting from the US occupation.

"The representative visited Fursan Village (Bani Zaid) with the Iraqi Red Crescent Al-Madayin Branch. The village of 60 houses, inhabited by Sunni families, was attacked on February 27, 2006, by groups of men wearing black clothes and driving cars from the Ministry of Interior. Most of the villagers escaped, but eight were caught and immediately executed. One of them was the Imam of the village mosque, Abu Aisha, and another was a 10-year-old boy, Adnan Madab. They were executed inside the room where they were hiding. Many animals (sheep, cows and dogs) were shot by the armed men also. The village mosque and most of the houses were destroyed and burnt."

The representative had obtained the information when four men who had fled the scene of the massacre returned to provide the details. The other survivors had all left to seek refuge in Baghdad. "The survivors who returned to give the details guided the representative and the Red Crescent personnel to where the bodies had been buried. They [the bodies] were of men, women and one of the village babies."

The director of MHRI, Muhamad T. Al-Deraji, said of this incident, "This situation is a simple part of a larger problem that is orchestrated by the government the delay in protecting more villagers from this will only increase the number of tragedies."

Arun Gupta, an investigative journalist and editor with the New York Indypendent newspaper of the New York Independent Media Center, has written extensively about US-backed militias and death squads in Iraq. He is also the former editor at the Guardian weekly in New York and writes frequently for Z Magazine and Left Turn.

"The fact is, while I think the militias have, to a degree, spiraled out of US control, it's the US who trains, arms, funds, and supplies all the police and military forces, and gives them critical logistical support," he told me this week. "For instance, there were reports at the beginning of the year that a US army unit caught a "death squad" operating inside the Iraqi Highway Patrol. There were the usual claims that the US has nothing to do with them. It's all a big lie. The American reporters are lazy. If they did just a little digging, there is loads of material out there showing how the US set up the highway patrol, established a special training academy just for them, equipped them, armed them, built all their bases, etc. It's all in government documents, so it's irrefutable. But then they tell the media we have nothing to do with them and they don't even fact check it. In any case, I think the story is significant only insofar as it shows how the US tries to cover up its involvement."

Once again, like Abu Ghraib, a few US soldiers are being investigated about what occurred in Haditha. The "few bad apples" scenario is being repeated in order to obscure the fact that Iraqis are being slaughtered every single day. The "shoot first ask questions later" policy, which has been in effect from nearly the beginning in Iraq, creates trigger-happy American soldiers and US-backed Iraqi death squads who have no respect for the lives of the Iraqi people. Yet, rather than high-ranking members of the Bush administration who give the orders, including Bush himself, being tried for the war crimes they are most certainly guilty of, we have the ceremonial "public hanging" of a few lowly soldiers for their crimes committed on the ground.

In an interview with CNN on May 29th concerning the Haditha massacre, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace commented, "It's going to be a couple more weeks before those investigations are complete, and we should not prejudge the outcome. But we should, in fact, as leaders take on the responsibility to get out and talk to our troops and make sure that they understand that what 99.9 percent of them are doing, which is fighting with honor and courage, is exactly what we expect of them."

This is the same Peter Pace who when asked how things were going in Iraq by Tim Russert on Meet the Press this past March 5th said, "I'd say they're going well. I wouldn't put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they're going very, very well from everything you look at "

Things are not "going very, very well" in Iraq. There have been countless My Lai massacres, and we cannot blame 0.1% of the soldiers on the ground in Iraq for killing as many as a quarter of a million Iraqis, when it is the policies of the Bush administration that generated the failed occupation to begin with.

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who spent over 8 months reporting from occupied Iraq. He presented evidence of US war crimes in Iraq at the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York City in January 2006. He writes regularly for TruthOut, Inter Press Service, Asia Times and TomDispatch, and maintains his own web site, dahrjamailiraq.com.

http://rense.com/general71/sere.htm


This post has been edited by PuPP on May 31 2006, 09:03 PM


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Posted: May 31 2006, 10:21 PM
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The family of Miguel Terrazas was interviewed on National Public Radio, and they described a lovely young man.

The family was, however, beside themselves about the killings they were hearing about, and they were emphatic that their son would never, in an eternity of time, want his death avenged by the slaughter of the innocents!!!!!!!

i myself, cannot imagine what it would be like if someone decided to murder to avenge the death of my loved one(s).......to kill whole families in cold blood.

Human nature, there depraved, sin has made them all a slave.
In the vanity of sinners, there are no winners, all are guilty, and only Jesus can save!!!!!!!


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Posted: May 31 2006, 10:58 PM
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Opinionoid:
Before the colonial invaders arrived to liberate the Iraqi children of their arms and legs, I don't recall hearing of any terrorism bombings in Iraq.

Does anyone really believe that Iraqis are suddenly blowing each other up and destroying their Mosques and their nation with professional BIG TIME explosives?

Can you see where this destruction comes from?

Opinionoid:
We (USA), Israel, the UK and ALL supporters (Coalition of the stupid) of this unjustified occupation and destruction are not the good guys.




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~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
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Posted: Jun 4 2006, 01:47 PM
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Unfortunately, it sounds like the norm this time around.

QUOTE
When AWOL Is the Only Way Out

By Peter Laufer, AlterNet. Posted June 2, 2006.

The following text is an excerpt from Peter Laufer's new book, "Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq" (Chelsea Green, 2006).

"We was going along the Euphrates River," says Joshua Key, a 27-year-old former U.S. soldier from Oklahoma, detailing a recurring nightmare -- a scene he stumbled on shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. "It's a road right in the city of Ramadi. We turned a real sharp right and all I seen was decapitated bodies. The heads laying over here and the bodies over here and U.S. troops in between them. I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, what in the hell happened here? What's caused this? Why in the hell did this happen?' We get out and somebody was screaming, 'We fucking lost it here!' I'm thinking, 'Oh, yes, somebody definitely lost it here.'"

Joshua says he was ordered to look around for evidence of a firefight, for something to rationalize the beheaded Iraqis. "I look around just for a few seconds and I don't see anything." But then he noticed the sight that now triggers his nightmares. "I see two soldiers kicking the heads around like a soccer ball. I just shut my mouth, walked back, got inside the tank, shut the door, and it was like, I can't be no part of this. This is crazy. I came here to fight and be prepared for war but this is outrageous. Why did it happen? That's just my question: Why did that happen?"

He's convinced there was no firefight that led to the beheading orgy -- there were no spent shells to indicate a battle. "A lot of my friends stayed on the ground, looking to see if there was any shells. There was never no shells, except for what we shot. I'm thinking, Okay, so they just did that because they wanted to do it. They got trigger happy and they did it. That's what made me mad in Iraq. You can take human lives at a fast rate and all you have to say is, say, 'Oh, I thought they threw a grenade. I thought I seen this, I thought I seen that.' You could mow down 20 people each time and nobody's going to ask you, 'Are you sure?' They're going to give you a high five and tell you that you was doing a good job."

He still cannot get the scene out of his head. "You just see heads everywhere," he says. "You wake up, you'll just be sitting there, like you're in a foxhole. I can still see Iraq just as clearly as it was the day I was there. You'll just be on the side of a little river running through the city, trash piled up, filled with dead. Heads and stuff like that. I don't sleep that much, you might say. I don't sleep that much."

His wife, Brandi, nods in agreement and says he cries in his sleep.

We're sitting in the waning summer light on the back porch of the Toronto house where Joshua and his wife and their four little children have been living in exile since Joshua deserted to Canada. They've settled in a rent-free basement apartment, courtesy of a landlord sympathetic to their plight. Joshua smokes cigarettes and drinks coffee while we talk. He's wearing a T-shirt promoting a 2002 peace rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. There's a scraggly beard on his still-boyish face; his eyes look weary.

Sleep deprivation while on duty, first in Kuwait and then in Iraq, was routine, Joshua says, and he thinks exhaustion was generated intentionally by his commanders. "You'll do whatever the hell they say just to get that sleep. That's the way they controlled us. You ain't had no sleep and you got shitty food all the time. I got to call my wife once every month, maybe once every two weeks if I was lucky. Mail, shitty, if it even came." Food and water were inadequate, he says.

"When we first got to Kuwait we were rationed to two bottles of water a day and one MRE [meals ready to eat]. In the middle of the desert, you're supposed to have six bottles of water a day and three MREs. They tell us they don't have it. I'm thinking 'How in the hell can the most powerfullest nation, the most powerfullest military in the world, be in the middle of a damn desert and they don't even have no food to feed us?'"

Joshua rejects the U.S. government line that the Iraqis fighting the occupation are terrorists. "I'm thinking: What the hell? I mean, that's not a terrorist. That's the man's home we killed. That's his son, that's the father, that's the mother, that's the sister. Houses are destroyed. Husbands are detained and wives don't even know where they're at. I mean, them are pissed-off people, and they have a reason to be pissed off. I would never wish this upon myself or my family, so why would I do it upon them?"

Pulling security duty in the Iraqi streets, Joshua found himself talking to the locals. He was surprised by how many spoke English, and he was frustrated by the military regulations that forbade his accepting dinner invitations to join Iraqis for social evenings in their homes. "I'm not your perfect killing machine," he admits. "That's where I broke the rules. I broke the rules by having a conscience."

And the conscience developed further the more time he spent in Iraq. "I was trained to be a total killer. I was trained in booby-traps, explosives, landmines, and how to counterresolve everything." He pauses. "Hell, if you want to get technical about it, I was made to be an American terrorist. I was trained in everything a terrorist is trained to do." In case I might have missed his point, he says it again. "I mean terrorist."

Deserting to Canada seemed the only viable alternative, Joshua says. He did it, he insists, because he was lied to "by my president." Iraq -- it was obvious to him -- was no threat to the United States. He says he followed his orders while he was in Iraq, and so no one can call him a coward for deserting. "I was not a piece of shit. I always did everything I was told and I did it to the highest standards. They can never say, 'Oh, he was a piece of shit soldier.' No bullshit."

Joshua doesn't mind telling his war stories again and again. He readily agrees to talk about the horrors he experienced in Iraq, his life AWOL and underground in the States, and his new life as a deserter in Canada.

Telling the stories helps him deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he says, and he apologizes in advance if his narrative is not linear or if he has trouble expressing himself. In fact, his scattered approach to his timeline and his machine gun-like delivery set the scene for his troubled memories -- there is nothing smooth or simple or easy to understand here.

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/36899/


Did you catch who he is refering to as the terrorists?


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Posted: Jun 4 2006, 02:09 PM
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Hi NOS,

Yes I did...
QUOTE
" He pauses. "Hell, if you want to get technical about it, I was made to be an American terrorist. I was trained in everything a terrorist is trained to do." In case I might have missed his point, he says it again. "I mean terrorist."


I've been saying this since my awakening from my entertainment induced fantasy world slumber.

The real terrorists are in Wash D.C., London, Tel Aviv and Moscow.

Those 4 nations cities harbor the most true terrorists and they wear monkeysuits, get fat paychecks, fat pensions for life and free health care and dental care for LIFE.


Facts:

Iraq DID NOTHING TO us.

NOTHING!!!

We invaded Iraq over LIES!

Iraq was NO IMMEDIATE THREAT to the USA or the UK!



Why did we invade Iraq?

If you ask me, here's what I'd say...

My country invaded Iraq and slaughtered thousands for Israel (colonizers), Oil and Ancient priceless artifacts.




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~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Jun 4 2006, 02:23 PM
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The atrocities in Iraq are continuance of behaviour which was common-place in Vietnam.

I'm sorry to point it out US friends but your troops cannot be trusted to behave with honour. They are not alone in their lack of moral fibre but there are many nations who have armed forces who will behave with respect for other people.

What I don't understand is that most of the US armed forces are from low socio-economic families, but instead of feeling sympatico for the poor of other countries they get stuck into the rape, murder and destruction with gusto.

The only thing I can think of is that it is a deep-seated racism stemming from a lifetime of entertainment based propaganda and insitutionalised brain-washing.

Here's an interesting statistic - in the world's wealthiest nation, only 6% ever go out of country. This means that 94% of all americans get their view of the world solely from television and news media.




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Posted: Jun 4 2006, 02:41 PM
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I forgot to mention...

We have thousands and thousands of terrorists in our cities right here in America.

They sell crack and other addicting drugs and they are armed to the teeth.

We call them Gang Bangers.


uggliozzi, were you aware that our US military has accepted many current gang members into their ranks and those gang members have been blessing Iraq with their gangs grafitti.




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Jun 4 2006, 06:42 PM
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PuPP,
I was not aware of the gang involvement. The US will never generate respect from foreign lands without displaying respect for the people and customs of the countries with which it interacts. Gang grafitti would be interpreted as an insult - an act of conquest. What are these guys thinking? How can we ever have peace until people start to offer equality to the disadvantaged?

I am in real despair now. We have a wonderful planet and a species capable of so much good and so much elevated thought but there are just so many imbeciles to screw up what could be a paradise. The imbeciles are not confined to the US; there are idiots everywhere -- every continent, every race, every religion, every city, town, village. What is wrong with humans? Sometimes I just want to nuke the whole species and start again.

This post has been edited by uggliozzi on Jun 4 2006, 06:43 PM




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Posted: Jun 5 2006, 06:04 AM
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QUOTE
What is wrong with humans? Sometimes I just want to nuke the whole species and start again.


Word!

There does seem to be a definite destructive pathology being nurtured in human society. For what reason, and to what ends? Well, the word culling comes to mind. Their history books will tell future generations of serfs, all they think we need to know, about the whys and wherefores...that is, if after all is said and done, they still allow literacy among their chattels.


PuPP, I had noticed that grafitti on news casts and in the papers and never put it together with gang bangers. That was an eye opener...good catch.


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Posted: Jun 5 2006, 09:38 AM
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Hi no one special,

Here's a report from the Sun Times on the gangs now in Iraq...

I cannot seem to view any of the images... if anyone who reads this can provide an image of the graffiti, please post a link here or email an image to me.

Thank you, Mark

EDIT: Images were sent in.
Thank you!


QUOTE
Barfield said gangs are encouraging their members to join the military to learn urban warfare techniques they can teach when they go back to their neighborhoods.



QUOTE
Gangs claim their turf in Iraq
BY FRANK MAIN
Crime Reporter
May 1, 2006
QUOTE
The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq.

Jeffrey Stoleson, an Army Reserve sergeant in Iraq, is seen in front of a barricade tagged with gang graffiti in March in Iraq.
user posted image

Stoleson, who has been in Iraq for almost a year, says he has taken hundreds of photos of gang graffiti there.

Armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls all have served as canvasses for their spray-painted gang art. At Camp Cedar II, about 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, a guard shack was recently defaced with "GDN" for Gangster Disciple Nation, along with the gang's six-pointed star and the word "Chitown," a soldier who photographed it said.

The graffiti, captured on film by an Army Reservist and provided to the Chicago Sun-Times, highlights increasing gang activity in the Army in the United States and overseas, some experts say.

Military and civilian police investigators familiar with three major Army bases in the United States -- Fort Lewis, Fort Hood and Fort Bragg -- said they have been focusing recently on soldiers with gang affiliations. These bases ship out many of the soldiers fighting in Iraq.

"I have identified 320 soldiers as gang members from April 2002 to present," said Scott Barfield, a Defense Department gang detective at Fort Lewis in Washington state. "I think that's the tip of the iceberg."

Of paramount concern is whether gang-affiliated soldiers' training will make them deadly urban warriors when they return to civilian life and if some are using their access to military equipment to supply gangs at home, said Barfield and other experts.

'They don't try to hide it'

Jeffrey Stoleson, an Army Reserve sergeant in Iraq for almost a year, said he has taken hundreds of photos of gang graffiti there.

In a storage yard in Taji, about 18 miles north of Baghdad, dozens of tanks were vandalized with painted gang symbols, Stoleson said in a phone interview from Iraq. He said he also took pictures of graffiti at Camp Scania, about 108 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Camp Anaconda, about 40 miles north of Baghdad. Much of the graffiti was by Chicago-based gangs, he said.

In civilian life, Stoleson is a correctional officer and co-founder of the gang interdiction team at a Wisconsin maximum-security prison. Now he is a truck commander for security escorts in Iraq. He said he watched two fellow soldiers in the Wisconsin Army National Guard 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, die Sept. 26 when a roadside bomb exploded. Five of Stoleson's friends have been wounded.

Because of the extreme danger of his mission in Iraq, Stoleson said he does not relish the idea of working alongside gang members, whom he does not trust. Stoleson said he once reported to a supervisor that he suspected a company of soldiers in Iraq was rife with gang members.

"My E-8 [supervising sergeant] told me not to ruffle their feathers because they were doing a good job," he said.

Stoleson said he has spotted soldiers in Iraq with tattoos signifying their allegiance to the Vice Lords and the Simon City Royals, another street gang spawned in Chicago.

"They don't try to hide it," Stoleson said.

Army doesn't see significant trend

Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, did not deny the existence of gang members in the military, but he disputed that the problem is rampant -- or even significant.

In the last year, the Criminal Investigation Command has looked into 10 cases in which there was credible evidence of gang-related criminal activity in the Army, Grey said. He would not discuss specific cases.

"We recently conducted an Army-wide study, and we don't see a significant trend in this kind of activity, especially when you compare this with a million-man Army," Grey said.

'Lowering our standards'

"Sometimes there is a definition issue here on what constitutes gang activity. If someone wears baggy pants and a scarf, that does not make them a gang member unless there is evidence to show that person is involved in violent or criminal activity," Grey said.

Barfield said Army recruiters eager to meet their goals have been overlooking applicants' gang tattoos and getting waivers for criminal backgrounds.

"We're lowering our standards," Barfield said.

"A friend of mine is a recruiter," he said. "They are being told less than five tattoos is not an issue. More than five, you do a waiver saying it's not gang-related. You'll see soldiers with a six-pointed star with GD [Gangster Disciples] on the right forearm."

Fort Lewis offers free tattoo removal, but few if any soldiers with gang tattoos have taken advantage of the service, Barfield said.

In interviews with the almost 320 soldiers who admitted they were gang members, only two said they wanted out of gangs, Barfield said.

None has been arrested for a gang-related felony on the base, Barfield said. But some are suspected of criminal activity off base, he said.

"They're not here for the red, white and blue. They're here for the black and gold," he said, referring to the gang colors of the Latin Kings.

Barfield said most of the gang members he has identified are black and Latino. He has linked white soldiers to racist groups such as the Aryan Nations.

Barfield acknowledged that the soldiers he pegged as gang members represent a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of soldiers based at Fort Lewis in the period he reviewed. But he stressed that he only investigates a fraction of the soldiers on base.

Barfield said he normally identifies gang members during barracks inspections requested by unit commanders. He interviews them about possible gang affiliation when he sees gang graffiti in their rooms, photos of a soldier flashing gang hand signals or a soldier with gang tattoos.

Learning urban warfare

"I know there is a lot more going on here," he said. "I don't inspect off-base housing or married soldiers' housing."

The Gangster Disciples are the most worrisome street gang at Fort Lewis because they are the most organized, Barfield said.

Barfield said gangs are encouraging their members to join the military to learn urban warfare techniques they can teach when they go back to their neighborhoods.

"Gang members are telling us in the interviews that their gang is putting them in," he said.

Joe Sparks, a retired Chicago Police gang specialist and the Midwest adviser to the International Latino Gang Investigators Association, said he is concerned about the military know-how that gang-affiliated soldiers might bring back to the streets here.

"Even though they are 'bangers, they are still fighting for America, so I have to give them that," Sparks said. "The sound of enemy gunfire is nothing new to them. I'm sure in battle it's a truce -- GDs and P Stones are fighting a common enemy. But when they get home, forget about it."

Barfield said he knows of an Army private who fought valiantly in Iraq but still maintained his gang affiliation when he returned home.

The private, a Florencia 13 gang member from Southern California, spoke to Barfield of battling a 38th Street Gang member when they were civilians.

Then the 38th Street Gang member became a sergeant in the Army and the Florencia 13 member became a private. They served in Iraq together, Barfield said.

"They had exchanged blows in Inglewood [a city near Los Angeles], but in the Army, they did get the mission done," he said. "The private is a decorated war veteran with a Purple Heart."

The private still has his gang tattoos and identifies himself as a Florencia 13, Barfield said.

Marine killed cop in California

Barfield said a big concern is what such gang members trained in urban warfare will do when they return home.

He pointed to Marine Lance Cpl. Andres Raya, a suspected Norteno gang member who shot two officers with a rifle outside a liquor store in Ceres, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2005, before police returned fire and killed him. One officer died, and the other was wounded by the 19-year-old Raya, who was high on cocaine. Raya had spent seven months in Iraq before returning to Camp Pendleton near San Diego.

Photos of Raya wearing the gang's red colors and making gang hand signs were reportedly found in a safe in his room.

Hunter Glass, a Fayetteville, N.C., police detective, said he has seen an increase in gang activity involving soldiers from nearby Fort Bragg. A Fort Bragg soldier -- a member of the Insane Gangster Crips -- is charged with a gang-related robbery in Fayetteville that ended in the slaying of a Korean store owner in November, said Glass, a veteran of the elite 82nd Airborne based at Fort Bragg.

He estimated that hundreds of gang members are stationed at the base as soldiers.

"I have talked to guys who say 'I'm a SUR 13 [gang member], but I am a soldier,' " Glass said. "Although I see the [gang] problem as a threat, I do believe the majority of the military are good people and that many of those [military officials] that I have made aware of the situation have expressed concern in dealing with it. It is safe to say that I am less worried about a gang war in the sand box [Iraq] but more about the one on our streets upon its end."

Glass has given presentations to military leaders in Washington, D.C., about gang members in the military.

Sending flak jackets home

A law enforcement source in Chicago said police see some evidence of soldiers working with gangs here. Police recently stopped a vehicle and found 10 military flak jackets inside. A gang member in the vehicle told investigators his brother was a Marine and sent the jackets home, the source said.

Barfield said he knows of civilian gang members in the Seattle area who also have been caught with flak jackets that he suspects were stolen from Fort Lewis.

Barfield said he has documented gang-affiliated soldiers' involvement in drug dealing, gunrunning and other criminal activity off base. More than a year ago, a soldier tied to a white supremacy group was caught trying to ship an assault rifle from Iraq to the United States in pieces, he said.

In Texas, the FBI is bracing for the transfer of gang-connected soldiers from Fort Hood in central Texas to Fort Bliss near El Paso as part of the nation's base realignments. FBI Special Agent Andrea Simmons said gang-affiliated soldiers from Fort Hood could clash with civilian gang members in El Paso.

"We understand that [some] soldiers and dependents at Fort Hood tend to be under the Folk Nation umbrella, including the Gangster Disciples and Crips," Simmons said. "In El Paso, the predominant gang, without much competition, is the Barrio Azteca. We could see some kind of turf war between the Barrio Aztecas and the Folk Nation."

FBI agents have visited Fort Hood to learn about the gang activity on the base, Simmons said.

"We found most of the police departments say they do see gang activity due to the military -- soldiers and dependents," she said. "Our agents also have been in contact with Fort Bliss to discuss the issue."

Simmons said investigators may conduct background checks on soldiers relocating from Fort Hood to Fort Bliss to assess the level of the potential gang problem.

Barfield said he welcomes the FBI's scrutiny of gang members in the Army.

"Investigators as a whole across the military aren't getting the support to remove gang members from the ranks," he said.

But Grey, the spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Command, said the unit is open to any tips about gang activity in the Army.

"If anyone has any information, we strongly recommend they bring it to our attention," he said.

fmain@suntimes.com

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-gangs01.html


This post has been edited by PuPP on Jun 5 2006, 02:17 PM




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QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Jun 5 2006, 02:20 PM
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Here's 4 more images of the graffiti in Iraq that were sent in.

Thank you!

From the Sun Times
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-gangs01.html

user posted image



user posted image



user posted image



user posted image




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Master Of His Domain
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Posted: Jun 5 2006, 02:53 PM
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Here are 2 reports I have archived at the forum.

QUOTE
US Troops Kill Father & Mother In Front Of Their Kids

Posted: Jan 22 2005

Disturbing Photos at link below

http://www.puppstheories.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=4021


QUOTE
US Military Murders Eleven Members of an Iraqi Family
Five Children, Four Women and Two Men

Posted: Mar 16 2006

http://www.puppstheories.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=6427




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Jun 5 2006, 07:39 PM
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It is interesting to note the language used by the US military when talking about these murders. They always use the term coalition when referring to perpetrators even though soldiers from other nations are not committing these atrocities.

It was the same in the second world war in the Pacific. MacArthur wrote most of the items published by the civilian press. When there was an American victory, it was labelled an American victory but when there was an Australian victory, he called it an Allied victory.

A reconnaissance patrol of Aussie SAS were involved in a fire fight with two villages in Iraq because they would not kill the innocent child herding goats who accidentally discovered them. Real men do not make war on children, ever.

After Vietnam, Aussie soliders (who did not commit atrocities) were spat on in the streets and reviled as "baby killers" and "murderers" by the ill-informed civilian population. Lord help any Aussie who commits an atrocity in Iraq, Afghanistan or Timor.




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