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Military Resistance 11G10
Insurgents Launching Deadlier IED Attacks Using Bigger Improvised Bombs:
“Insurgents Are Able To Invest More Time In Preparing And Staging An Attack”
“When We See An Effective Attack, It Tends To Be More Lethal To Our Forces”
“Taliban Fighters ‘Are Coming To Us And Attacking Us On Our Bases’”
Jul. 25, 2013 By Robert Burns, The Associated Press WASHINGTON — The shrinking U.S. combat role in Afghanistan has given insurgents an opening to devise and carry out deadlier attacks using bigger improvised bombs against U.S. and coalition military vehicles and bases, American officials say. With fewer U.S. forces patrolling road networks beyond their bases — and with the grounding of eye-in-the-sky surveillance balloons known as aerostats — Taliban fighters are adapting their tactics, according to officials at a Pentagon agency that tracks attacks that use improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. “Insurgents are able to invest more time in preparing and staging an attack, and when we see an effective attack, it tends to be more lethal to our forces,” said Al Sweetser, chief of the operations analysis division at the Joint IED Defeat Organization, which has its own team of analysts on the ground in Afghanistan. So while the number of IED attacks against U.S. and coalition troops — as well as the total casualties they cause — has declined, certain attacks can be more elaborately planned, precisely targeted and more lethal because the insurgents have time and room to prepare, Sweetser and other American officials said. The evolving struggle began a decade ago in Iraq with insurgent groups countering hightech U.S. weapons with relatively cheap and surprisingly effective methods of killing and maiming. A hallmark of the insurgents’ use of IEDs in Afghanistan has been their ability to adapt to changing circumstances. A recent IED strike near the southern provincial capital of Kandahar killed five American soldiers in an armored vehicle in one of the more deadly examples of how the Taliban have taken advantage of a changing military landscape. Insurgents took the time and effort to tunnel underground and place an unusually large improvised explosive well below the surface, said David Small, spokesman for the counter-IED agency. They also had time to plan where to position themselves to remotely detonate the bomb, Small said.
Hel said other details about the attack are classified, but it is believed the insurgents had learned through observation that reduced coalition patrolling gave them more time to plan this attack. ■ An IED attack on a coalition base in Zabul province in April killed three soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, and wounded three others. Another attack in April killed three British soldiers. ■ Five soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division were killed when an IED hit their Stryker vehicle in Kandahar province in May. Three other members of the same brigade were among four soldiers killed in a separate attack later that month, also in Kandahar. ■ In June a bomber driving a truck loaded with explosives attacked an isolated NATO base in Helmand province, killing seven Georgian soldiers and wounding nine. That was the deadliest single attack of 2013. “These are precision attacks employing suicide, vehicle-borne and command-wire IEDs, all of which require longer planning and preparation than the more common IEDs encountered,” Small said. Deaths from IEDs alone from April through June represented 9 percent of all coalition casualties, including those wounded in action, Sweetser said. That compared to 7 percent in the same period in 2012. Because U.S. and coalition troops are not as active beyond their bases as they had been previously, prior to the Afghans taking the lead combat role across the country, Taliban fighters “are coming to us and attacking us on our bases,” Sweetser said. U.S. officials also are now grappling with a time lag in learning details about IED attacks, since the Afghans are in the combat lead and use more rudimentary means of reporting up their chain of command, Sweetser said. He said it now can take many weeks, rather than several hours, to learn details of IED attacks. There are now about 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from 87,000 a year ago.
“The Few Hundred People Of Kala Khel, A Village In Southern Afghanistan, On Thursday Got
Some Of The Best News They Had Heard All Year”
“The Entire Afghan Local Police Unit Posted To The Hamlet Had Disappeared The Night Before”
“Betrayed By Two Of Their Own And Abducted By The Taliban”
July 25, 2013 By MATTHEW ROSENBERG and TAIMOOR SHAH, NY Times [Excerpts] KABUL, Afghanistan — The few hundred people of Kala Khel, a village in southern Afghanistan, on Thursday got some of the best news they had heard all year: the entire Afghan Local Police unit posted to the hamlet had disappeared the night before, apparently betrayed by two of their own and abducted by the Taliban. The police, villagers said, had been beating people and stealing from them nearly every day since they arrived five months ago, and few in Kala Khel seemed sorry to see them gone. “People are happy they have been kidnapped,” said Mahmadullah, a villager who uses a single name. The abduction, and the villagers’ apparent indifference to the fate of the men, is another stormy chapter for the Afghan Local Police. The militia force has found itself the target of frequent Taliban attacks, as well as criticism from human rights advocates and ordinary Afghans, who say some of the militias are made up of nothing more than common criminals, village toughs and sometimes even Taliban sympathizers. The American-led military coalition began raising the militias three years ago to protect remote villages and, it was hoped, give Afghans a stake in fighting the Taliban. Elsewhere, though, the local police have earned a thuggish reputation. That appears to have been the case in Kala Khel, where the local 14-man unit was sent to protect a stretch of unpaved road that bisects the village, in Zabul Province. The officers arrived five months ago and quickly began to take what they wanted, bloodying anyone who got in their way, villagers said.
“They were not good — they are illiterate and morally corrupt people,” said Hajji Asham, one of a handful of Kala Khel residents reached by phone on Thursday. The abuse worsened after the Taliban began attacking the post, apparently using the village as a staging ground and for cover. Villagers said no one in Kala Khel aided the Taliban. But the local police, perhaps not without reason, appear to believe villagers did support the insurgents. “Anytime they were attacked from anywhere within the village, they would go there and beat people and confiscate their belongings, especially motorcycles,” Mahmadullah said. The latest beating was meted out on Wednesday, he said. The victim was a farmer whose tractor accidentally collided with a motorcycle ridden by a local policeman. After being beaten, Mahmadullah said, the farmer was fined $30, a vast sum for most Afghans. One of the problems seems to have been that the local police unit was made up of people from different areas of Zabul and other provinces. In general, the most successful local police units have often been drawn directly from the villages they patrol. Villagers said two policemen spiked the food of their 12 colleagues with crushed sleeping pills. The Taliban then came in and took away the near-comatose men along with a pair of police pickup trucks and all the weapons in the post. The sleeping-pill ploy is often cited by Afghans in cases of infiltration or betrayal, though hard evidence backing it up is rarely produced. The Taliban, for their part, claimed responsibility for the abduction, which they said was aided by two infiltrators. Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said the original plan was to kill the policemen outright. But “the cowards did not resist,” he said, so the Taliban “blindfolded them and led them away to a safe location.” He said the men would be tried under Islamic law and then the Taliban would “punish them.” He did not elaborate.
Town Holds Vigil For Stewart Soldier Wounded By Bomber
Jul. 26, 2013 The Associated Press MILL CITY, ORE. — Friends and family of a soldier wounded in Afghanistan held a candlelight vigil Thursday on the Santiam High School football field.
Nick Welch is a 2005 graduate of the Mill City school and a football player. The Statesman Journal reports that he was critically injured Tuesday when a bomber rode up to his unit on a donkey and detonated a bomb. Three other soldiers from the Fort Stewart, Ga.-based unit were killed in the attack. Welch is in a hospital in Germany.
POLITICIANS REFUSE TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR
HOW MANY MORE FOR OBAMA’S WAR?
The remains of Sgt. Stefan M. Smith on July 25 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Defense Department, Smith, 24, of Glennville, Ga., died July 23 when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device. Steve Ruark / AP
In Closing Argument, Prosecutor Casts Pfc. Manning As “Anarchist” “Aiding The Enemy”
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning being escorted out of the courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Thursday. Associated Press July 25, 2013 By CHARLIE SAVAGE, New York Times FORT MEADE, Md. — A military prosecutor portrayed Pfc. Bradley Manning on Thursday as an “anarchist” who, seeking to “make a splash,” betrayed the United States’ trust when he leaked vast archives of secret documents to WikiLeaks, lifting a veil on American diplomatic and military activities. As closing arguments began in the high profile court-martial trial, the prosecutor, Maj. Ashden Fein, focused squarely on the most contentious charge that Private Manning is facing: that by giving the information to WikiLeaks for publication on a Web site that the world could see, he is guilty of “aiding the enemy.” That charge has never been brought in a leak case, and the theory behind it could establish a precedent with implications for investigative journalism in the Internet era.
But Major Fein said it was justified in Private Manning’s case. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence. “Pfc. Manning was not a humanist; he was a hacker,” Major Fein said, adding: “He was not a whistle-blower. He was a traitor, a traitor who understood the value of compromised information in the hands of the enemy and took deliberate steps to ensure that they, along with the world, received it.” Private Manning’s defense lawyer, David E. Coombs, has portrayed him as a wellintentioned and principled, if naïve, protester who was motivated by a desire to help society better understand the world, who wanted to prompt a national debate and who was selective about which databases he released to avoid causing harm. Mr. Coombs is set to deliver his closing arguments on Friday. While Major Fein made his arguments, reporters watched the trial on a closed-circuit feed at the media center. Two military police officers in camouflage fatigues and armed with holstered handguns paced behind each row there, looking over the journalists’ shoulders, which had not happened during the trial. No explanation was given. Major Fein spoke from late morning until nearly 6 p.m., going over each batch of documents in detail and repeatedly returning to the theme of what he said was Private Manning’s recklessness and betrayal. He argued that Private Manning’s “wholesale and indiscriminate compromise of hundreds of thousands of classified documents” for release in bulk by the WikiLeaks staff, whom he called “essentially information anarchists,” should not be portrayed as an ordinary journalistic leak but as a bid for “notoriety, although in a clandestine form.” Leaking to “established journalistic enterprises like The New York Times and The Washington Post would be a crime,” Major Fein said, but “that is not what happened in this case and under these facts.” He added, “WikiLeaks was merely the platform which Pfc. Manning used to ensure that all of the information was available to the world, including the enemies of the United States.” Some of the files given to WikiLeaks by Private Manning, he emphasized, were found in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and showed up in a Qaeda propaganda video. Private Manning has already pleaded guilty to a lesser version of the charges he is facing. He has also confessed to providing WikiLeaks with two videos of airstrikes in which civilians and journalists were killed; files about detainees’ being held without trial at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; hundreds of thousands of incident reports from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and about 250,000 diplomatic cables. Given the volume of the documents Private Manning released, Major Fein said, “there is no way he even knew what he was giving WikiLeaks.”
Major Fein focused on Private Manning’s training, when he was warned to avoid posting secret information on the Internet, and zeroed in on one of the few factual disputes in the case: the date Private Manning downloaded and leaked an encrypted video of a botched airstrike in Afghanistan that killed 100 to 150 civilians, many of them women and children. Private Manning contends he did so in the spring of 2010. Major Fein argued that a variety of circumstantial evidence indicated that Private Manning instead downloaded it in late November 2009, less than two weeks after he arrived in Iraq. The timing is important because it speaks to the dueling portrayals of Private Manning. The prosecution wants to show that he immediately seized upon his opportunity to release classified information through WikiLeaks, but the defense has argued that he only gradually decided to do so after seeing things that troubled him. Similarly, Major Fein pointed to evidence that he said showed that Private Manning was also responsible for stealing a rare file he has denied downloading, a list of 74,000 names and e-mail addresses of soldiers and civilians deployed in Iraq. That dispute is important because the accusation could undercut Private Manning’s portrayal of himself as selecting only information that could inspire socially valuable debate. Major Fein also focused on Private Manning’s chats with Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, based on logs recovered from his computer that have not been made public. At one point, he said, Mr. Assange offered to get Private Manning an encrypted cellphone to use in Iraq. At another, Private Manning sought Mr. Assange’s help in cracking an encrypted password for an anonymous account on his classified computer, but the joint effort failed, Major Fein said.
Defense Lawyer Cites Manning’s Sense Of Duty:
“Fears That A Conviction Would Establish A Precedent That Providing Information To A News Organization Is Legally Equal To Giving It To U.S. Enemies”
“A Conviction On Aiding The Enemy Would Have The Effect Of ‘Putting A
Hammer Down’ On Future Whistleblowers”
www.bradleymanning Depending on the outcome, the trial could hold telling implications for Mr. Snowden, who is wanted by the U.S. on espionage charges. A recent poll revealed that a majority of U.S. voters see Mr. Snowden as a whistleblower, as opposed to a traitor. July 26, 2013 By ANDREW AYLWARD, Wall Street Journal [Excerpts] FORT MEADE, Md.—Lawyers defending Pfc. Bradley Manning said his sense of duty toward all people and a desire to spark reform motivated the former intelligence analyst to disclose classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. In a closing argument that centered on defeating the government’s charge that Pfc. Manning aided U.S. enemies, defense attorney David Coombs said Friday his client had hoped to work through news organizations to address what he saw as problems with the U.S. war effort. “Is Pfc. Manning somebody who is a traitor, has no loyalty to this country, or the flag, and wanted to systematically harvest and download as much information as possible for his true employer, WikiLeaks? Is that what the evidence shows?” Mr. Coombs asked. “Or is he a young, naïve, good-intentioned soldier…whose sole focus was to maybe, ‘I just can make a difference, maybe make a change?’“ Mr. Coombs sought in his presentation to rebut a prosecution closing statement that over more than five hours on Thursday painted Pfc. Manning as having intent to deliberately harm the U.S.
Pfc. Manning waived his right to a jury trial and the presiding judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, is expected to rule as early as next week before beginning a new phase of the proceeding to determine sentencing. Mr. Coombs began his closing argument by showing leaked video footage of a U.S. Army Apache helicopter inadvertently killing two journalists and firing on a van that was picking up the wounded. The video was widely circulated after it was leaked by Pfc. Manning to WikiLeaks in 2010. Mr. Coombs asked the judge to view the video through the eyes of “a young man concerned with life,” adding that Pfc. Manning was deployed to Iraq for the first time when he was only 21 years old. Mr. Coombs, countering prosecution arguments that Pfc. Manning’s leaks damaged U.S. security, said his client exercised discretion by choosing not to disclose documents that would result in grave harm to the U.S. if released, such as human intelligence reports detailing sources of U.S. intelligence. He also argued that despite U.S. claims of harm from the leaks, there was no major revision in Army practices to show that Pfc. Manning’s actions forced changes. The Manning case has stirred passion and controversy world-wide, both because it has dealt with the U.S. war in Iraq and because it unfolded at the center of a global debate over U.S. secrecy and surveillance and the propriety of classified leaks. The Obama administration’s use of the 1917 Espionage Act to charge Pfc. Manning with aiding the enemy stoked fears that a conviction would establish a precedent that providing information to a news organization is legally equal to giving it to U.S. enemies. The civil-liberties and secrecy concerns spiked when Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who fled to Hong Kong and then Russia, released stacks of U.S. secrets that exposed global American surveillance programs. Depending on the outcome, the trial could hold telling implications for Mr. Snowden, who is wanted by the U.S. on espionage charges. A recent poll revealed that a majority of U.S. voters see Mr. Snowden as a whistleblower, as opposed to a traitor. Prosecutors have argued that Pfc. Manning’s training as an intelligence analyst afforded him actual knowledge—required for a conviction—that al Qaeda would receive classified documents once WikiLeaks published them. The reputation of WikiLeaks itself became an issue in the trial. Defense lawyers sought to cast the website as a reliable source of information and therefore as unlikely to play a role in aiding the enemy as any traditional news organization. But prosecutors used WikiLeaks’ Twitter messages, in which it requested classified information, to show the website was seeking solely to divulge government secrets and that Pfc. Manning knew it would put material in the hands of enemies.
Defense attorneys relied heavily on testimony from Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler about WikiLeaks’ legitimate stature in a new age of networked journalism. Mr. Benkler praised the site as a high point in journalism’s history. Mr. Coombs used Mr. Benkler’s testimony to argue that WikiLeaks is no different from any other news organization and said a conviction on aiding the enemy would have the effect of “putting a hammer down” on future whistleblowers. Col. Lind ruled on Thursday against defense motions to dismiss five charges dealing with theft of government property from a military computer. All told, Pfc. Manning faces 21 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries the life sentence. The 20 lesser charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 154 years in prison. Earlier this year, Pfc. Manning pleaded guilty to 10 lesser offenses related to funneling troves of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Those charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. Col. Lind is expected to render a verdict within days and to start the trial’s sentencing phase Wednesday, when defense attorneys will call witnesses in hopes of mitigating his sentence.
“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852
Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz. -- Benito Juárez
“The Syrian Revolution Is A Baby – It Needs Nourishment”
Ewa Jasiewicz Reports First Hand On The Plight Of The Relief Efforts In Syria
18 July 2013 By Ewa Jasiewicz, New Statesman We’re in Ma’arrat al Numan, a front-line liberated town in Idlib province, Syria. Once home to 120,000, the population is now between 4-10,000. Families who couldn’t afford to flee live in ruins, makeshift shelters and even caves. Destruction is everywhere; piles of rubble daunt the streets between bomb-axed minarets and burnt out shops. Part-collapsed apartment blocks reveal gaping living rooms. Shelling echoes daily from the Wadi Deif regime military base close by. It’s mostly local Free Army fighters holding the line, along with Ahrar al Sham, and Jabhat al Nusra playing a smaller role. The scant weaponry ranges from regime-raided machine and hand guns to the “Cannon of Hell” – a launcher made out of a tractor, with cooking gas canisters for missiles. The city’s sub-station, water plants and pipes have all been destroyed. Repairing the pipes is impossible due to their proximity to Wadi Deif. The injured are ferried by fighters or medical volunteers to a “hospital in hiding” – far back from the frontline, where operations are carried out in a basement with a lamp made out of a satellite dish with half a dozen light bulbs stuck in it. The service runs on a drip-feed of aid sourced in Turkey and round-the-clock volunteer hours spread
between a few dozen exhausted doctors and nurses. Ma’arrat al Numan is still a city at war. We’re in the gloomy garden of widow and mother of six Om Abid. Ahmad*, an activist and volunteer with Basmat Amal (Smile of Hope), a home-grown relief organisation, has brought us here. He’s doling out cash donations of 500 Syrian pounds sent from a wealthy Syrian woman living in Saudi Arabia. It’s a drop in the ocean. Cooking gas costs £S3,000 per canister up from £S1,000 two years ago, bread is £S25. water needs to be delivered by truck and costs £S500 a week and a box of thirty candles, which once cost 70, is now hitting £S300. The dark takes over at night. Relief doesn’t feel revolutionary but keeping it coming is a means to stay put and keep up the front. Basmet Amal are one of four local aid organisations feeding into a relief co-ordination committee that feeds into a broader council including military-security, social affairs, and media-comms committees. Basmat Amal recognise the role aid can play in buying loyalties according to a donor’s agenda, and how depoliticising desperation can be. Self-sufficiency is key. By opening the first primary schools in Ma’arra since the revolution began, a low priced products supermarket, cash for widows and a soap and shampoo factory in the pipeline, they hope to create autonomy and strength for the community. They still see themselves as part of a revolution that began with unarmed demonstrations, but was met with bullets, then bombs, and then warplanes, until street-protest-as suicide was no longer an option. According to Basmet Amal, 850 people have been killed, and 2,000 houses, 20 schools and 15 mosques destroyed since November 2011. ‘We are fighting for our dignity’ we hear again and again. But what is the scope for people – especially women - to participate in their own relief? Can people come together and make collective decisions? “Everyone is locked in their own homes,” starts Ahmed. “Everyone just cares about their own problems”. “But there are always shared problems, no?” we suggest. “I suppose so, but just to get people together in one place, to feel safe, is a struggle.” Shelling and gunfire rattles in the distance as he speaks. Neither landlines or mobiles work in Ma’arra, but there is internet if you have a satellite and generator. Otherwise comms are face to face, and door to door. Kinship and neighbourhood networks have been fractured by the town hemorrhaging so many residents. Who will look after your children? Who will drive you home, when fuel and cars are in such short supply? And even if you put together a group, with 90 per cent of your town in exile, who are you representing?
It’s an ongoing conversation throughout our trip, “How to build participation?” If Basmet Amal have 30 volunteers now, how can they reach 100 and more? Particularly under the lengthening shadow of militarisation and sectarianism, and external regional and global interests “all wanting to eat from Syria”. How do you keep up a revolution which you keep being told is a civil war, that it’s gone, it belongs to ‘warlords’ eating the hearts of their opponents and shooting children in the face, that is going to break Palestine, and will be Iraq mark two, is something you should never have started. This is not your revolution is the message. For many of us in the West it’s the same, that it’s too complicated, leave it to the big boys, you can’t relate to this, there’s nothing you can do, this is not your revolution. Isolation and dispossession creeps and the work of creating spaces of resistance and reclamation is eclipsed by a what-bleeds-leads agenda. It’s a burning hot afternoon and we’re in the languid garden of the Kafranbel media centre talking solidarity with local organisers. The centre is famous for its’ viral banners. For UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s visit, locals raised: “BRAHIMI: ‘NEVER MIND BURNING THE WORLD WILLINGLY THAN HAVING ASSAD FOR ONE DAY MORE’ GO FUCK YOURSELF.” And “USA – YOU LIVED SEPTEMBER 11TH ONCE, WE LIVE IT EVERY DAY.” “We never get visits from activists, only journalists,” says local fixer Amer.* “We want to show them our demonstrations but they just say, ‘Take us to the fighters’.” It’s a common obsession. This May Al Jazeera reported from Raqqa, central Syria but focused squarely on Al Qaeda chopping three peoples heads off and not demonstrations by public sector workers demanding wages from money looted from the central bank or protests against Sharia courts. We discuss the idea of a joint news-behind-the-news project that can profile struggles that mainstream media ignore. Mona* a local feminist activist working on a children’s support project called Karama Bus (Dignity Bus) is lukewarm. ‘Everyone in Syria knows what is going on. It’s a good idea but we do not have the capacity. We literally do not have the people on the ground. Too many Syrian activists are outside in Turkey or Lebanon. They need to be here’. We talk about skills-sharing on facilitating meetings and organising but stress unequivocally that this is dangerous territory for foreign activists because it reproduces colonial dynamics of white Westerners telling Arabs what to do and how to organise; the NGOised “facilitator” that conducts, regulates and wields power over locals. But co-training with Syrian and Arabic speaking activists, is agreed, could be useful... The thread continues back in Ma’arra.
We eat breakfast with a young medic who treats fighters on the Front. “You were in Kafranbel? They have three functioning hospitals there, we only have one and we are on the Front! I don’t understand why they don’t help us,” he says. Emergencies take up energy. “Our revolution is a baby,” he explains. “It needs milk, it needs nourishment, it needs to grow. Of course we want people to be organising their own representation, but that’s walking, that’s further down the line. For now, we need to survive.” As if on cue a war plane tears through the sky above us. He starts to utter prayers. His wife, an organiser, but still unable to go to the internet café without a male relative, begins to breathe shallow and fan herself. It passes over. We sip our tea in silence until we can find our words to talk again. *Names changed to protect identity
Army Expands PT Belt Regulations to Cover Spouses, Wildlife
July 27, 2013 by Dick Scuttlebutt, The Duffel Blog FORT BRAGG, NC — U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) released its Fiscal Year 2014 guidance Friday on the proper wear of safety clothing and gear, to include the oft-derided “PT belt” of reflective fabric. Standards were broadened to enhance safety across a greater swath of service life, even touching on family members, pets and wild animals. Proponents of the policy change insist that though the new rules require some extra effort, they will result in improved safety. But not everyone is convinced.
“I mean, I appreciate their good intentions,” complained Jessica Sweat, wife of an 82d Airborne Soldier, standing on the porch of her Fort Bragg house. “But does the Army ever step back and think what impact their rules have on peoples’ lives? It’s a huge pain having to put on a PT belt, helmet, closed-toed shoes, and clear safety goggles, all just so I can go get the mail from the box on the corner.” She points at the mailbox with her plastic safety flashlight, the plastic cone glowing faintly orange. “Look. The mailbox is literally right there. If you were standing over there I wouldn’t even have to raise my voice to talk to you.” “Christ,” she adds. Menlo “Bronze” Park, deputy director of Range Control Division at Fort Bragg, and a retired battalion commander himself, hesitantly agreed. “Look, far be it from me to make a fuss,” he said, frowning. “I’m no rabble rouser. But how the heck am I supposed to tell my staff that they have to go out and put reflective belts on trees and bushes and ant hills? First of all, we simply don’t have the manpower, especially with the budget shortfalls leading to all overtime being cut. But more than that, a lot of these objects we’re supposed to cover in glint tape and flashing lights are deep in impact areas. It’s a huge hassle. I don’t know how we’re supposed to make it work.” In spite of the general misgivings, some leaders are already leaning forward and embracing the new standard early. Command Sgt. Maj. Mantis Toboggan, driving his diesel Ford F-550 pickup truck through his battalion area, is one of those leaders. “You there!” he shrieks out the open driver’s window, a stream of brown tobacco juice streaming down his chin. “Why the fuck aren’t you wearing your PT belts? All of you get over here! Who the fuck is your commander! What is your—hey! Come back here!” but the small group of deer has already bounded away into the treeline. Toboggan sits back, disgusted. “That right there is a failure of small-unit leadership. We’ll need more stringent guidance. Maybe make all the NCOs come in on Saturday so I can address them. Yeah, that’s the way you really drive a point home. Make them hurt until they can get it right.” When asked if it’s really practical to try and mandate the behavior and dress of animals and outdoor nature in general, Toboggan said, “that’s not the Warrior-Leader mindset! With the proper risk assessment and Military Decision Making Process, you can lead anything. Nature isn’t cooperating? I say you haven’t found a way to properly train, motivate and mentor Nature!” At press time, Nature could not be reached for comment.
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They’re At It Again, As Usual
July 23, 2013 Ma’an BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Settlers set fire to over 400 olive trees in a village southwest of Bethlehem on Sunday, locals said. More than 12 acres of trees were set alight by settlers from nearby Bat Ayin settlement, witnesses said. The land belongs to Haj Abdul-Rahman Hamdan. Since 1967, Israeli forces have confiscated over 2,500 acres of land from al-Jaba village, leaving only 750 acres to Palestinian residents
[To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded by foreign terrorists, go to: www.rafahtoday.org The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”]
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CLASS WAR REPORTS
“A General Strike Took Tunis To Near Standstill” As Tunisia Mourns Slain Opposition Head
July 26, 2013 Agence France-Presse Tunisia marked a day of mourning on Friday after gunmen killed a leading opposition figure, sparking fresh political turmoil, protests and a general strike which took Tunis to near standstill. National airline Tunisair and European airlines cancelled flights, with more street protests expected amid allegations of government connivance in Thursday’s killing. MP Mohamed Brahmi, 58, of the leftist and nationalist Popular Movement, was assassinated outside his home in Ariana, near Tunis, witnesses said. The state prosecutor’s office said an autopsy found that Brahmi, whose family and political colleagues said would be buried as a “martyr” on Saturday in a Tunis cemetery, had been mowed down by a hail of 14 bullets. Balkis Brahmi, 19, one of his five children, said her father was killed by two men in black on a motorbike. “At around midday, we heard gunfire and my father crying with pain. We rushed out -my brother, mother and I -- to find his body riddled with bullets at the wheel of his car parked in front of the house,” she told AFP.
“He lived as a man of principle and has left us a martyr,” she said, red-eyed and fighting back tears. As news of the killing spread, thousands of angry protesters took to the streets Thursday in central Tunis and in Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of the Arab Spring and Brahmi’s hometown. Police in Tunis fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who tried to set up a tent for a sit-in calling for the fall of the regime after the second such killing of a critic of the country’s Islamist leadership. The assassination was the work of a member of the radical Sunni Muslim Salafist movement, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said on Friday. “The first elements of the investigation show the implication of Boubaker Hakim, a Salafist extremist,” he told a press briefing. He also said Brahmi was killed with the same weapon used to murder another opposition figure, Chokri Belaid, in February. On Wednesday, a minister and senior adviser to the premier said six people believed to have orchestrated Belaid’s killing have been identified. Noureddin B’Hiri said the details would “soon” be revealed. Tunisian newspapers forecast a breakdown of stability, with La Presse warning of “a slide into hell”. “Rather than isolated acts, violence is being turned into a system. By whom? By people determined to seize power or to stay in power,” Le Quotidien said, pointing the finger of blame at the government led by the moderate Islamist movement Ennahda. Beji Caid Essebsi, head of the main opposition party Nidaa Tounes, said Ennahda was to blame because it had failed to identify Belaid’s killers. “There has not been any serious judicial action,” he told AFP. The General Union of Tunisian Labour (UGTT), which says it has half a million members, called Friday’s general strike in protest at “terrorism, violence and murders”. UGTT deputy secretary general Sami Tahri reported that all sectors nationwide were observing the strike, singling out banks, health services and most public transport.
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NSA Says It Can’t Search Its Own Emails
“This Is An Agency That’s Charged With Monitoring Millions Of Communications Globally And They Can’t Even Track Their Own Internal Communications In Response To A FOIA Request”
July 23, 2013 by Justin Elliott, ProPublica The NSA is a “supercomputing powerhouse” with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency turns its giant machine brains to the task of sifting through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture. But ask the NSA, as part of a freedom of information request, to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees’ email? The agency says it doesn’t have the technology. “There’s no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately,” NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker told me last week. The system is “a little antiquated and archaic,” she added. I filed a request last week for emails between NSA employees and employees of the National Geographic Channel over a specific time period. The TV station had aired a friendly documentary on the NSA and I want to better understand the agency’s public-relations efforts. A few days after filing the request, Blacker called, asking me to narrow my request since the FOIA office can search emails only “person by person,” rather than in bulk. The NSA has more than 30,000 employees.
I reached out to the NSA press office seeking more information but got no response. It’s actually common for large corporations to do bulk searches of their employees email as part of internal investigations or legal discovery. “It’s just baffling,” says Mark Caramanica of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This is an agency that’s charged with monitoring millions of communications globally and they can’t even track their own internal communications in response to a FOIA request.” Federal agencies’ public records offices are often underfunded, according to Lucy Dalglish, dean of the journalism school at University of Maryland and a longtime observer of FOIA issues. But, Daglish says, “If anybody is going to have the money to engage in evaluation of digital information, it’s the NSA for heaven’s sake.”
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