Monday, August 31, 2009

Lt. Col. Chessani: The outrage continues

Enough already! Would somebody PLEASE stop the madness being waged against this amazing man? Read on:
Government Pursuit of LtCol Chessani Continues; Ordered to Face Administrative Board of Inquiry

I am truly at a loss for words. This is beyond shocking that we as Americans allow this to even get this far. What country do we live in that treats our warriors/protectors of our country and constitution like this? I am ashamed, very ashamed of the direction our country is heading.

ANN ARBOR, MI – Nearly four years after the so-called “Haditha Massacre,” an investigation conducted by over 65 NCIS agents (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) ─ the largest investigation in that agency’s history ─ with the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars, and prosecution losses at every stage of the criminal process, the government has decided to give up on the criminal prosecution against Marine LtCol Jeffrey Chessani. Nonetheless, the battle for this loyal Marine officer continues.

On Friday, August 28, 2009, the new general in charge of LtCol Chessani’s case, Marine LtGen George Flynn, Commanding General of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, VA, decided that criminal charges were not warranted. Instead, he ordered LtCol Chessani to face an administrative procedure called a “Board of Inquiry.” [General - PDF Linkssee order here]

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, reacted, “The government’s persecution of this loyal Marine officer continues because he refused to throw his men under the bus to appease some anti-war politicians and press, and the Iraqi government. Any punishment of LtCol Chessani handed down by a Board of Inquiry would be a miscarriage of justice because he did nothing wrong, and our lawyers will mount the same vigorous defense in this administrative proceeding as they did in the criminal.”...

Humbled Infidel has much more on this latest travesty against Lt. Col. Chessani. Go here.

Another day, another scam

From the brat inbox, your Monday morning giggle :

United Nations Assisted Program
Directorate of International Payment
United Nations Liaison Office - Africa

Dear Fund Beneficiary,

We are pleased to inform you that we the United Nations Debt Reconciliation Committee newly set up by The United Nations African Liaison office based on series of petitions we received from International Bodies such as Co-operate Bodies and Non-Governmental Organizations(NGO) on the inability of some Government of different countries in the World especially from Africa, Commercial banks and World Lottery Organization to settle their clients Contract debt, Inheritance Fund and Winning prize.

This email is to notify you about the release of your outstanding payment. The United Nations African Liaison office in conjunction with the African Union scheduled a time frame to settle all foreign debts which includes Contract/Inheritance / Lottery etc.News had it that over the past, numerous individual(s) who happen to be impostors (claiming to be individuals, banks and organizations) are claiming to release numerous sums of fund via numerous ways.

It may interest you to know that during our investigation, we uncovered an outstanding unpaid/unclaimed sum of money in your name the total sum of US$3.2 million and a mandate has been given to our committee the United Nations Debt Reconciliation Committee of which the Chairman is Sir, Arnold Parrish to contact you for the payment of your funds with the Issued Enquiry Notification Code: UNO/1102/US-08ZZ/09.

Few days ago we receive a letter from a lawyer named Joel A. Goodman Ohio Hawaii USA who contacted us and also presented to us all the necessary documents personally signed by him claiming to be your true representative and requested that the funds be released to him as your legal representative.

Please, do reconfirm to this office, as a matter of urgency if this man is from you so that this committee will not be held responsible for paying to the wrong person. However, we shall proceed to issue all payments details to the said Mr. Joel A. Goodman, if we do not hear from you within the next seven working days.

Mr. William Rubino
Secretary United Nations Debt Reconciliation Committee

Ooooooh boy!~ Who knew? Another day, another dollar (or $3.2m.....Is that in BO dollars??)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Be still my soul

My friend Mrs Hooah has a beautiful post up. Mrs Hooah - for those who don't know - was one of my Girl[s] Behind the Man Behind the Gun on Tanker Bros way back when her son was on his first deployment. Read on:

Be still my soul

By Claire

tuesdays resize

I wrote this and posted it on Christian Military Wives. I wanted to share it here since that is a private site. I wrote it the other night when I started feel anxious about my son’s upcoming deployment. Things are getting close — and it’s never fun.

Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Claire writes so eloquently about the life lessons inherent in sending a beloved son off to war - again! Go read it here.

War reporting then and now

I am working on a couple (or more) original columns, but in the meantime came across two items that speak to my interest in how wars are reported. During the current Global War on Terror, (yes, I still call it that, ) there have been a number of first person accounts from military personnel in the sandbox. If you really want to know what is going on, pick up one of the great books available. Of course, we also have the blogs written by boots on the ground. These warrior/writers give us immediate first hand accounts that you will not find in the msm. Because of modern technology, our troops can share what they see, and do, almost as it happens. Wasn't always so. Back in the previous world wars, it would often take weeks for a single handwritten letter from the trenches to reach waiting families on the homefront. Those letters were usually full of blacked out sections, too. Today, we also have independent journalists like Michael Yon sending up-to-the-minute reports which provide insights not found elsewhere. You DO read Michael Yon, don't you?

Over D-Day celebrations recently, the BBC ran an interesting article on a technological breakthrough. Read on:

D-Day: A breakthrough for war reporting

By Vincent Dowd
BBC World Service

'Midget' recording device (copyright: Chris Owen)
The 'midget' recording device was revolutionary for the time

Saturday marks the 65th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of occupied Europe on June 6 1944.

Unlike earlier in the war, it was the first time that BBC radio was able to broadcast news back to the UK from the beaches and battlefields of Europe.

Hidden away in a BBC storeroom in central London is a remarkable bit of broadcasting history. It looks rather like a 1950s Dansette record player, redesigned by the British army.

In fact it's a so-called 'midget' recording device made by the BBC for use by correspondents in the field during and after the D-Day invasions.

The BBC's Charles Commander, who guards this priceless bit of broadcasting heritage, pulls it out from under a pile of boxes. "What the BBC considered 'portable' in 1944 is remarkable. But compared to what came before, it did give the reporter freedom to move.

The idea was they could take it through the sand-dunes and round the back roads in Normandy. And it worked: we still have the recordings to prove it."..

Go learn more here.

Today, veterans of the GWOT are also writing books about their experiences. Because of the articulate warrior/writers we have in our midst, there has been a whole new genree of war books released. House to House by David Bellavia is one; The Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell is another. Both well worth reading.

Came across a review of another book yesterday. It appears on a blog I found quite recently. Between the Sandhills and the Sea is another homefront blog, written by a Soldiers' Angel who has a personal connection to the GWOT. The book review?:

"War Reporting for Cowards"

When the destruction was finally over, everyone in the Humvee was shouting. This, I thought, is what the will to live sounds like.'YEAH! YEAH! Oh, YEAH!' we all howled in union like the animals we were. 'Targets destroyed,'said the monotone on the radio.

Book of the week is War Reporting for Cowards by Chris Ayers. I don't usually enjoy Iraq war books by reporters. Most of them take themselves a little too seriously. Ayers, self-deprecating throughout, does not have this problem.

Ayers describes himself as an accidental war reporter. Writing for The Times of London, he makes his name as a business/financial reporter more familiar with stock prices than NBC gear. His first taste of war came when he had the misfortune of living in New York and covering Wall Street at the time of the September 11th attacks. He also was in the right place-if you will- to cover the anthrax attacks when they befell his office building. Hoping to move towards a life of more glamour and less terror, he makes a move to LA to cover the celebrity beat for The Times.

It is from the Hollywood scene this young reporter is picked to cover the war in Iraq. You follow Chris, a man who had never even been camping, to the mud and dust of the Iraqi desert....

There is much more, and you can find that here. Check it out, and yes, bookmark that blog, or connect to the "following" thingamajig...(tech term.)

There is NO excuse for anyone to be uninformed these days; well, unless you choose to stay uninformed, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Every Day Hero

First Lieutenant Travis L. Manion

Meet 1st Sgt Donnie Brazeal:

It's hard to imagine a man jumping on top of parapets to draw enemy rocket, grenade, and machine gun fire away from his buddies. But Marine 1stSgt Donnie Brazeal did just that in April, 2005 during what many say was one of the largest fire fights of the Iraq War.

Brazeal, now retired after serving 23 years in the Marine Corps, served four back-to-back deployments. One of his last deployments was to Iraq from January to September of 2005.

While the attacks were endless, one stands out from all the rest; insurgents hit Brazeal’s company, stationed at a combat outpost, on the morning of April 11, 2005. Brazeal said his reason for risking life and limb on that day was simple.

"Those are my sons," he said, pointing to a group of sergeants and corporals who attended his award ceremony at the Naval Academy on January 27, 2007. "I was bringing young Marines home. We fought every day, and they (young sergeants and corporals from his unit) are the real heroes."

"My father taught me never to run away from a fight, and my mother taught me to help my fellow man," said Brazeal, who was raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa...

There IS more, and you can read it all here.

Thank you for your service, Sir!

I carry your heart with me

Long ago and far away, I fancied myself a poet. Yes, it's true! Then, I was blessed enough to be given the opportunity to study some of the great poets throughout history, and I let go of the arrogance of my youth.

The list of my favourite poets is looooooooong and varied - and would probably surprise most of you - and usually ee cummings is not one that springs immediately to mind. However, over the past few weeks, this following poem has been repeating itself over and over in my heart. So, call this a Poetry Sunday contribution:

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

Music and Me

"Simply the best.." version of one of my favourite Tina songs that I found!

Thank YOU, Ellie Greenwich!

"...No Ill never let you down
Cause it goes on and on like a river flows
And it gets bigger baby and heaven knows
And it gets sweeter baby as it grows

Do I love you my oh my
River deep, mountain high
If I lost you would I cry
Oh how I love you baby, baby, baby, baaaaaaaaaaaby"

Gooooooooooooo, Tina.

[Bratnote: You just haven't lived until you have seen my impression of Tina Turner. Yep, fishnets and all... Never miiiiiiiiind! lol Sing it with me...]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Discovery is launched

Image above: Space shuttle Discovery lifts off into the night sky on a mission to the International Space Station. Launch was on-time at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA TV

Discovery in Orbit, Chasing Space Station

Fri, 28 Aug 2009 09:18:13 PM PDT

With seven astronauts and a host of experiments and equipment on board, space shuttle Discovery completed a flawless ascent into orbit Friday night to begin a two-day chase of the International Space Station. With Commander Rick "C.J. " Sturckow at the controls, the shuttle lifted off on-time at 11:59 p.m. EDT from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew will rendezvous and dock with the station Sunday and the crew will begin transferring equipment to the outpost during the 13-day mission.

After flying up on Discovery, Nicole Stott will trade places with station resident Tim Kopra, who went into space last month aboard Endeavour. Equipment and science racks for the orbiting laboratory are riding inside the Leonardo cargo module, which is secured tightly inside Discovery's payload bay. The module will be lifted out of Discovery and locked onto the station so the crew can transfer the gear efficiently. The treadmill named for comedian Stephen Colbert also is aboard Discovery and destined for the station.


Discovery Readies for Station Resupply Flight
Space shuttle Discovery will carry the Leonardo supply module to the International Space Station during STS-128, along with a new crew member for the station, Nicole Stott.

Commanded by veteran astronaut Rick "C.J." Sturckow, the STS-128 mission crew will deliver refrigerator-sized racks full of equipment, including the COLBERT treadmill, an exercise device named after comedian Stephen Colbert.

Stott will take the place of Tim Kopra, who moved into the station during STS-127. Pilot Kevin Ford and Mission Specialists Patrick Forrester, Jose Hernandez, John "Danny" Olivas and Sweden's Christer Fuglesang round out the crew.

All info from NASA here.

For me, the thrill never goes away! LOVE IT.

Police Officer: "It ain't[ America] no more"

Came across the following:

And there you have it. No editorialising needed from me.

[Update: Found the following comment on Flopping Aces here

I have responded to this outrage by e-mail to the Reston police dept. Also you can phone 703-478-0904 and voice your complaint to Capt. Deborah L Burnett. The e-mail address is

You know what to do!]

[Update on the

More info (unverified) about Officer “this ain’t America no more” Cheeks: Wesley Cheeks Jr. is not an employee of any police department. He is a security of the School district and the number to call is: (571) 423-1000 S…ecurity phone number is (703) 658-3763 and email for Fred Ellis, Director of safety and security is

the superintendant’s office:

Jack D. Dale
Division Superintendant… Read More

Richard Moniuszko
Deputy Division Superintendent

Christine Donohue
Chief of Staff
8115 Gatehouse Rd.,

Falls Church, VA 22042
(571) 423-1010

(571) 423-1007 (Fax)

B*N*S*N: Gilad is 23 today

Today, I am focusing on Gilad Shalit as my only B*N*S*N story. This is NOT a good news story - yet - but it is about a soldier serving his country. Gilad's story is one that you probably haven't seen in the msm. I have also moved up the post about Tweeting for Gilad, which is now directly below this post.

The B*N*S*N series was started as my small contribution to sharing the stories you won't find in the msm. As time has gone on, we have all seen the msm focus almost entirely either on the bad news - or just quoting statistics. Good News Friday, which I renamed as B*N*S*N in this corner of Bratville, was designated as the one day a week when a group of bloggers would focus on the good news out of Iraq and Afghanistan, to prove that our troops are doing far more than we usually see in the headlines.

Today is Gilad's 23rd birthday, and even though the msm won't be highlighting this day, some of us have not forgotten.

Israeli Soldier's Mother is a source I go to constantly for updates. Earlier this week, I told of the Tweet for Gilad campaign.

Israeli Soldier's Mother said (in part) :

Happy birthday, Gilad - may the next one find you home, healthy and safe with your family. May you know, wherever you are today, that we love you and think of you often. Our hearts break for you today, for your parents, Noam and Aviva, and for your sister, Hadas. You probably don't know this, but today, she enters the Israeli army to begin her service...the same service you have yet to end.

Happy birthday, Gilad - you are forever in our hearts.

She says more, and you can find the rest of that here.

Today, keep Gilad and his family in your thoughts, and pray that next year he celebrates his birthday at home, where he belongs.

#Tweet4Shalit Campaign - August 26th

From Israeli Soldier's Mother:

A few months ago, on the anniversary of Gilad's 3rd year of captivity, I and some other "tweeple" began a campaign to get Gilad Shalit to the top of trend tracking. Our goal was to make more people aware of Gilad, the unfair and illegal conditions under which he is held and, ultimately, to do whatever we could to get Gilad home.

A new campaign, started by the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF), has been launched and scheduled to run on August 26th, just two days before Gilad's 23rd birthday. Here's what JIDF writes about their upcoming campaign:

To get the scoop, and find out how YOU can get involved, go over to Israeli Soldier's Mother here.

Monkey in the Middle has something to say on this, also:

Happy Birthday Gilad Shalit!

Friday is Gilad Shalit's 23rd birthday. He should be spending it with friends and family, instead he is imprisoned by barbarians who flaunt the rule of International Law in Gaza.

It is time that Gilad is returned to Israel safe, unharmed and alive!

It is time that the International Red Cross fulfill their mandate given to them under the Geneva Conventions of War and demand that they get immediate access to him!

And I ask you to get involved. I ask you to sign the petition to the International Red Cross to do the job they are suppose to do. You can find the petition here....

Go read all of it here. Thank you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Warrenpoint: Never forget

(video found here. Thanks to "Jimmy" )

Always remembered and honoured. They matter.

Warrenpoint: Remember these names

(source: Palace Barracks Memorial Garden here.)

Parachute Regiment Badge

Roll of Honour

MacLEOD - Lance Corporal Victor - 27th August 1979 - Aged 24 - Queen's own Highlanders

BLAIR - Lieutenant Colonel David - 27th August 1979 - Aged 40 - Queen's own Highlanders - Married with two children

ANDREWS - Corporal Nicholas J. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 24 (2 Para) Married

BARNES - Private Gary I. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 18 (2 Para) Single

DUNN - Private Raymond - 27th August 1979 - Aged 20 (2 Para) Single

WOOD - Private Anthony G. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 19 (2 Para) Single

WOODS - Private Michael - 27th August 1979 - Aged 18 (2 Para) Single

GILES - Corporal John C. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 22 (2 Para) Married

ROGERS - Sergeant Ian A. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 31 (2 Para) Married

BEARD - Warrant Officer Walter - 27th August 1979 - Aged 31 (2 Para)

VANCE - Private Thomas R. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 23 (2 Para)

ENGLAND - Private Robert N. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 23 (2 Para) Married with one child

JONES - Private Jeffrey A. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 18 (2 Para)

JONES - Corporal Leonard - 27th August 1979 - Aged 26 (2 Para) Married with one child 18 month old daughter

JONES - Private Robert D.V. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 18 (Para) Single

IRELAND - Lance Corporal Chris G. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 25 (2 Para) Married with one child

FURSMAN - Officer Peter - 27th August 1979 - Aged 35 (Para)

BLAIR - Private Donald F. - 27th August 1979 - Aged 23 (2 Para)

A picture showing the Warrenpoint Narrow Water Castle

Narrow Water Castle, a medieval tower

The Collect of the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces

May the defence of the Most High be above
and beneath, around and within us, in our
going out and in our coming in, in our rising
up and in our going down, through all our
days and all our nights, until the dawn when
the Sun of righteousness shall arise with
healing in his wings
for the peoples of the world.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord

A scenic view of Carlingford Lough  from where the bombs where detonated by the IRA


The day after the bombs went-off, Officers and men from 2 Para paraded at the scene of the blast to pay their respect to their fellow soldiers

This plaque is on the Warrenpoint bench in Aldershot Military cemetery.

"The scene was truly something from a nightmare. Severed limbs, decapitations, human remains everywhere. Most of these were very close friends and associates. Taff Jones, the medic, did a sterling job in very difficult circumstances. ..."

In August, 2007, I wrote a column on Tanker Bros, about Warrenpoint. That column was written to mark the withdrawal from Northern Ireland of most of the British troops after 38 years.

I began that column with one of the pictures I have begun today's column with, and I wrote:

A few days ago, I shared with a friend here in North America how an article on the BBC site really brought back a whole myriad of emotions for me. I am happy, and yet I am so sad because I am really aware of the high, high price paid to bring peace to Northern Ireland. That first picture above is of the brave men - paras - who were killed by the IRA terrorists in Narrow Waters, Warrenpoint on August 27, 1979. Of twenty men there, only two survived to tell the tale, to relive the nightmare over and over. That day saw the largest number of British troops murdered in a single incident. ('Incident' is the official word still used in news items.) And my intimate connection to that first picture? Regular readers here may remember a dedication I did on the Rolling Victory Fast a while back. Of the two men that survived Warrenpoint, I have been blessed to have one as a dear friend. I call him "my Yorkshire pud," (an inside joke that a Brit would readily understand!) This veteran of the British paras is the most amazing man....

You can read that whole original column here at Tanker Bros.

From the BBC that day:

At least 18 soldiers have been killed in two booby-trap bomb attacks at Warrenpoint, South Down, close to the border with the Irish Republic.

It is the highest death toll suffered by the British Army in a single incident since it arrived in Northern Ireland to restore order a decade ago.

The IRA are believed to be behind the attack.

It came only hours after the Queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was killed in an IRA bomb attack in Donegal Bay in the Irish Republic.

The dead at Warrenpoint included the most senior Army officer killed in Northern Ireland to date, the commanding Officer of the Queen's Own Highlanders, Lieutenant-Colonel David Blair.


The ambush had been carefully planned. The first bomb, weighing half-a-ton, was planted under some hay on a flat-bed lorry beside a dual carriageway 44 miles (71km) from Belfast on the Irish border.

It exploded killing six soldiers of the Second Battalion Parachute Regiment as they travelled past in a four-ton lorry at the back of a three-vehicle army convoy.

The surviving troops in the other two vehicles were immediately deployed to cordon off the area and call for reinforcements.

Members of the Queen's Own Highlanders, who flew to the scene by helicopter, arrived from Bessbrook base in County Armagh.

Twenty minutes after the first explosion, as the helicopter took off carrying some of the injured, the second device was detonated.

Twelve more soldiers - two Highlanders and ten Paras - who had been taking cover in a nearby gate house were killed as the second device exploded close to them.

At least one witness reported hearing heavy automatic fire from across the narrow canal, which formed part of the border, after the second explosion. The soldiers returned the fire. A civilian was later found dead nearby....

and then this:

The IRA admitted carrying out the attacks the following day. They had also admitted carrying out the bomb attack in which Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed.

The Parachute Regiment went straight back out on patrol. Any suggestion their 18-month tour of duty would be curtailed was swiftly rejected.

A memorial service was held for the dead at the Royal Garrison Church in Aldershot on 26 September.

Among the dead was a civilian, the 28-year-old son of one of the Queen's coachmen. Michael Hudson was caught in the crossfire.

The deaths of Lord Mountbatten and the 18 British soldiers were followed by a series of killings of Catholic civilians by Loyalist paramilitaries. (you can find both of these pieces here.)

Peter Stubbs

Plain bloody murder

The former para (far left) left the army after 22 years and is now working in Iraq, providing security to the companies helping to rebuild the country. But Warrenpoint is still a vivid memory: "I can still see it, smell it and taste it, even after all these years. Plain bloody murder."

Today, as I was researching more info on the Warrenpoint murders, I came across a site called IRA Atrocities. An article there talks about the desecration of a memorial to mark the 25th anniversary of that day. Just as in America, some lowlife cowards can't stand to see the honour paid to our fallen heroes so, too, in Britain, it seems cowards do their 'work' in darkness:

"The Massacre at Warrenpoint"
27th August 1979 - 18 people dead
also known as the 'Narrow Water Bombing'

Republicans attack and destroy the 25th Anniversary Memorial less than too days after the anniversary

The destruction of the Narrow Water memorial and a nearby Orange Hall in Co Down has left unionists "sickened and appalled". The 25th anniversary of the Narrow Water atrocity was marked at the site, near Warren-point, by wreath-laying ceremonies on Friday. But less than two days later, the wreaths and crosses were scattered early yesterday morning and the nearby Commons Orange Hall was all but destroyedRepublicans defaced and destroy a memorial to the soldiers murder in mass bombs by the IRA by an arson attack discovered at Sam on Saturday. Newry and Mourne UUP councillor Danny Kennedy MLA said the attacks left the unionist community "sickened and appalled". "Even after 10 years of ceasefire it seems there are still those in the republican community who are not prepared to give unionists any space in this area," he said. "People are almost at a state of despair learning of this disgraceful attack coming straight after the destruction of Commons Orange Hall" Willie Frazer of Markethill based victims' group FAIR said: "This attack shows the mindset of these people - they can't leave the dead alone and they want us to believe that they are going to leave the living alone. "Each time this memorial is attacked, we'll be putting up another," he added.
Narrow Water was the largest Single loss of life for the Army since World War Two, with 18 soldiers and one civilian killed by two IRA bombs. News Letter 30th August 2004

Soldier returns to honour comrades on the 25th anniversary of the atrocity

A Paratrooper who survived the Narrow Water Massacre said he 'felt compelled' to attend yesterday's remembrance service. The Englishman made the lone journey back to the bomb scene near Warrenpoint on the 25th Anniversary of the atrocity. 'I had come, I was only ever going to do this once,' he said. 'The reason I am here is to remember my friends and colleagues. I had to do it.' He also took time to spell out how much the swift response of the ambulance drivers, firemen and RUC officers to the bombings meant to all those caught up in the two IRA bombs at Narrow Water Castle. The explosions were so violent they were heard across the Mourne Mountains over ten miles away in Kilkeel. Sixteen members of the Parachute Regiment and two members of the Queen's Own Highlanders were killed in what is thought to be the Army's single biggest peacetime loss of life since World War Two. The former member of the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment said he was still in touch with many survivors of the atrocity and that they On the 25th Anniversary old comrades pay their respects to colleagues murder in the Warrenpoint Massacrewere grateful to those that helped them. 'The one thing that survivors of the atrocity would like to say is a special thank you to all the emergency services and the local people who also came out to help us right after the bombing.' He said he and many of the other survivors have quite a professional and stoic outlook on the massacre. 'Twenty five years ago you expected attacks, you were trained and prepared for those things, but nobody expected losses on that day,' he added. 'As we get older, we just want to remember our friends, we are not interested in anything political. 'The average age of the survivors is 48 or 50, they are all married now with families and we all have our own memories.' Several other surviving Paras attended the morning remembrance ceremony and one of them gave the roll call of the deceased....(please go read the rest of this column here.)

There has been so much written about Warrenpoint, that I could write a book length post here today. I will not - choosing instead to list - and honour - the names of those lost on that day. Yes, Lord Mountbatten was also murdered along with members of his family, in a separate incident that same day. Look that up. Today, and every day, my focus is always on the young men serving their country.

I found the following, written in 2004 by the son of one of these heroes.

The day my dad was killed by the Provos

By Alexandra Blair

Saturday August 28 2004

"David's dead." The words were barely audible, but moments later I heard my mother sobbing in the next room. Numb with shock and disbelief, I carried on watching 'The Great Escape' with Andrew, my eight-year-old brother. Then my grandfather came to us. He, too, was in tears.

That was exactly 25 years ago, the evening of August 27, 1979, and I was 10 years old. My father, Lieutenant-Colonel David Blair, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, The Queen's Own Highlanders, had been killed by the IRA at Warrenpoint, along with Lance Corporal Victor Macleod and 16 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

It was the British Army's worst single peacetime loss since the Second World War.

Nobody has been arrested or prosecuted for the killings...

My father had been my hero. Dark-haired, 6ft tall, with green eyes, he was fit, strong and handsome, and always with a ready smile. My father treated me as an adult, encouraged me to explore and learn. The last words I remember him telling me before he left our home in Redford barracks in Edinburgh, where we lived with the rest of the regiment, were: "Look after Mummy and Andrew."...

Truly, this is a must read, as much for this son's memories of his hero father, as well as a firefighter's actions that day. It is gut-wrenching in its details, here.

My friend sent me an email earlier this week. It said, in part:

... for the young men who were murdered and for others who to this day still carrying the mental and physical scars of that day, that haunts us. please! when the news is marking the 30th anniversary of poor lord louis mountbatten's murder on sligo bay, say a prayer or just think for the 16 paratroopers, some were my platoon and the others muckers! and the 2 jocks who were murdered!! it means a lot!

I wrote him back, reminding him that he, and they, are always in my thoughts and prayers. And yes, to my American and other international readers, these heroes are yet another major reason I do what I do. Just as our American (and Canadian et al) wounded heroes live with the physical and psychological wounds forever, so too does my friend live with the aftermath of Warrenpoint every single day, thirty years on, for the rest of his life. For him, please take the time to read the list of names, look at those pictures, and honour them, as I do.

I read that there will be a service at Aldershot tomorrow:

The 27th August marks the 30th Anniversary of the bombings at Warrenpoint in which 16 soldiers from 2 PARA and 2 from Queens Own Highlanders were Murdered. A number of survivors and close friends will be meeting in the Aldershot Military Cemetery at 1600 hrs to pay their respects to fallen friends and comrades. If anyone wishes to join us then please feel free to do so. (Found that here, and this is a great site to spend some time and read more about these heroes.)

I cannot be there physically, but I WILL be there in spirit.

To my "pud" friend: I made a promise, and I will ALWAYS keep it. For you.

Always remembered and honoured.

"Utrinque paratus"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Hero

Sgt. 1st Class Donald Johnson
Sgt. 1st Class Donald Johnson
U.S. Army

Sgt. 1st Class Donald Johnson, the electronic warfare officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, talks with local Iraqi kids while on a patrol.

Photo courtesy of United States Army
Taken by Pfc. Evan Loyd

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From the msm front pages. or maybe not

IDF Bombs Rafiah Tunnel after Attack South of Ashkelon

That's the headline, but the reasons why the IDF took this action won't be in any front pages anytime soon.

IDF Bombs Rafiah Tunnel after Attack South of Ashkelon
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu


Israeli Air Force planes bombed a smuggling tunnel along the Egyptian border at Rafiah early Tuesday morning as the government continued tit-for-tat retaliation against Arab terrorist attacks on southern Israel. Unconfirmed reports from Arab sources said three tunnel workers and smugglers were killed and six others wounded.

Terrorists, for the first time in a month, struck south of Ashkelon Monday night and wounded one soldier with a mortar shell. The retaliation was the first aerial operation in two weeks.

Monday night’s attack followed a steady escalation in the past few days of sniper fire and mortar and rocket attacks from Gaza....

Read the rest here, and then wait for the spin to begin, as *certain* 'leaders' announce themselves "deeply concerned."

A Pastor's view

Pastor Ed sent this to me, and I knew I had to share it with you:

OP-ED: Are They Fooling Anyone!?!?!?

So now, the White House admits to paying a Minnesota firm to send out those "Sinister Conspiracy Theory" emails. And I'm wondering if there is anything to the fact that this new admission of guilt was done so that the story breaks on a Saturday?

The company, Govdelivery, describes itself as the world's leading provider of government-to-citizen communication solutions and says its e-mail service provides a fully-automated on-demand public communication system.

It is still unknown how much taxpayer money the White House provides to Govdelivery for its services.

Click here to view Govdelivery's Web site

Was there ever any doubt that Obama or his cronies were behind what was going on here? I mean really, are they fooling anyone. When the White House attempted to throw a "third-party group" under the bus by blaming them for the problem, everyone should have taken that as code-speak for - we are knee deep in this mess but there is conveniently someone else to blame....

There is more, and you can read that here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hamas training camps for kids

But do NOT tell the UN:

Hamas children in summer camp "demonstration"

Hamas Woos Gaza Kids from UN Camps to Join 'Fun with Terror'

by Yehudah Lev Kay

( Hamas has embarked on a massive campaign this summer to woo Gazan children away from UNWRA (United Nations Works and Relief Association) summer camps to its own camps. At Hamas summer camps, kids learned to wage war against Israel and were indoctrinated with Islamic ideology.

Hamas has run 700 summer camps throughout Gaza in 2009 at a budget of $2 million, which were attended by 100,000 children. according to a research report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. In contrast, UNRWA ran camps that wereattended by between 200,000 to 250,000 kids. Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and other Islamic groups also run Gaza summer camps.

Leading up to the summer, Hamas embarked on a massive advertising campaign which included a designated website designed to encourage parents to send their children to Hamas camps instead of the UNWRA camps.

Hamas council member Younis al-Astel repeatedly lambasted the UNWRA camps for being coeducational, and claimed that campers there used drugs, learned how to dance, and worst of all, were taught about reconciliation between Gaza and Israel.

“[There is a] barbaric attack on our children at the inferior summer camps whose objective is to corrupt their morals with drugs and other things,” as-Astel said at a Hamas camp ceremony. The religious leadership in Gaza generally took the side of Hamas and encouraged parents to send children to its camps, which combine intense study of Islam and the Koran as well....

I have written more than a few times about these poor Hamas who are soooooo hard done by. I have also shared videos of their children (some as young as 3 years old) being indoctrinated into hating the Jews.

You can find the rest of this latest story here. But don't tell the UN...shhhhhhhhhhhh!

Camp Bastion - the fifth-busiest UK airport

From the DoD:
Camp Bastion - the fifth-busiest UK airport

An Estate and Environment news article

24 Aug 09

Set up three years ago by two RAF personnel on a gravel dirt track, Camp Bastion airfield in Afghanistan has now become the fifth-busiest UK-operated airport, new movements figures show.

Soldiers line up to board a Hercules C-130 aircraft

Soldiers line up to board a Hercules C-130 aircraft at Camp Bastion
[Picture: Sergeant Anthony Boocock RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

Camp Bastion is the main base for British forces deployed to Helmand province. Its airfield was initially designed to handle no more than three aircraft movements per week but the facility has grown to such an extent that it now handles more traffic than Luton, Edinburgh or Birmingham airports, and is busier than the Leeds-Bradford and Coventry airports put together.

It was set up in April 2006 when a two-man control team from the RAF Tactical Air Traffic Control Unit activated the dirt track landing strip, and 90 minutes later the first aeroplane landed. What they didn't realise was that it was to be the first of hundreds of thousands of aircraft movements to come.

Today, combat operations, medical evacuations and logistics sustainment flights all operate from what has become a vital military hub, and the air traffic controllers based at Camp Bastion are integral to the support of the Army's operations in southern Afghanistan....

Who knew? There is more on this one, and you can find it here.

VA employees striking it rich

Following last week's story about land that belongs to US Veterans being grabbed by political and financial shenanigans, comes word of more disrespectful treatment of our veterans:
As Vets Await Checks, VA Workers Get Bonuses
Friday, August 21, 2009

Outside the Veterans Affairs Department, severely wounded veterans have faced financial hardship waiting for their first disability payment. Inside, money has been flowing in the form of $24 million in bonuses.

In scathing reports this week, the VA's inspector general said thousands of technology office employees at the VA received the bonuses over a two-year period, some under questionable circumstances. It also detailed abuses ranging from nepotism to an inappropriate relationship between two VA employees.

The inspector general accused one recently retired VA official of acting "as if she was given a blank checkbook" as awards and bonuses were distributed to employees of the Office of Information and Technology in 2007 and 2008. In some cases the justification for the bonuses was inadequate or questionable, the IG said.

The official, Jennifer S. Duncan, also engaged in nepotism and got $60,000 in bonuses herself, the IG said. In addition, managers improperly authorized college tuition payments for VA employees, some of whom were Duncan's family members and friends. That cost taxpayers nearly $140,000.

Separately, a technology office employee became involved in an "inappropriate personal relationship" with a high-level VA official. The technology office employee flew 22 times from Florida to Washington, where the VA official lived. That travel cost $37,000.

The details on the alleged improprieties were in two IG reports issued this week. VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said the agency was extremely concerned about the IG's findings and would pursue a thorough review.

"VA does not condone misconduct by its employees and will take the appropriate correction action for those who violate VA policy," Roberts said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

On Friday, Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said if the allegations are found to be true, individuals involved should lose their jobs, and legal action should be taken.

"America's veterans served their nation honorably and with no expectations of reward," Davis said in an e-mail. "It should not be too much to ask for that same level of commitment from government employees, too."...

There is more, much more, and you can read that here.

Nobody has to look very far to hear stories of our veterans being put through the bureaucratic wringer that passes for the Veterans Administration. From this article alone, and the stories I have heard firsthand, seems to me that it is long beyond time for a house cleaning throughout all of this government agency.

It is not good enough for these employees to rake in such big bucks, while our veterans have to fight for every cent. Our veterans have more than earned such meagre token as the pension they receive. To see things like this fraud going on is a disgrace. If the VA was as vigilant about their employee "bonuses" as they are when they scrimp for our veterans, there just might be a larger portion of VA funds for our veterans.

Our veterans deserve better. NOW!

H/T Dean

Semper Fi: Marine David Hedrick

At a Town Hall meeting last week, Marine David Hedrick gave Senator Baird a little history lesson. The silent majority - members of the "angry mob" audience - loved him for it. Take a look:

And the text next to this at YouTube?

I, David William Hedrick, a member of the silent majority, decided that I was not going to be silent anymore. So, I let U.S. Congressman Brian Baird have it. I was one questioner out of 38, that was called at random from an audience that started at 3,000 earlier in the evening. Not expecting to be called on, I quickly scratched what I wanted to say on a borrowed piece of paper and with a pen that I borrowed from someone else in the audience minutes before I spoke. So much for the planned talking points of the right wing conspiracy.

Ya done good, Marine. Semper Fi!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Virtual March on Washington for Veterans

On Sept. 15, we are going to make history with the first-ever virtual march for disabled veterans. And we hope you will take part.

You won’t need to travel to participate. You won’t need to spend any money to have your voice heard. You don’t even have to be online the day of the march, so no need to check your calendar. The DAV is working to ensure this will be the easiest and most convenient way ever to stand up for veterans.

With this march, you will support those who came back from war missing a limb, paralyzed, unable to see, terribly sick or otherwise disabled. They put their country – our country – before themselves. They gave so much, and now they need you to stand up for them.

There are many issues facing veterans today. The march will highlight those issues and what needs to be done to better the lives of veterans and their families. Together, we will generate greater public awareness and support for strengthening federal policies that provide health care assistance to disabled veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those from prior eras and conflicts.

Please take a moment to show your support for disabled veterans by joining the march today. Simply enter your e-mail address at the top of this page. We will also need your ZIP code so we can let lawmakers know which regions have constituents who care about the plight of veterans and their families. We will not share your email address with or sell it to anyone, nor will we use it to solict donations.

On the day of the march, there will be video messages from veterans, family members, veterans’ advocates, lawmakers and a few surprises. There will be opportunities to chat with those leading efforts to better the lives of veterans. And there will be easy-to-use tools for you to directly contact your representatives in Washington, D.C. If you cannot visit the site the day of the march, don’t worry; it will all remain online.

Lastly, after you sign up, please help encourage others to do the same. Post links on your social networks, send e-mails, blog about it, and tell everyone you know. We need to stand up together as a nation and let our voices be heard loud and in unison.

Those who have put their lives on the line for freedom are depending on you.

The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families.

Please check this out here - sign up, and pass this on. Thank YOU!

Every Day Hero

Meet Navy HM2 Joshua Simson:

HM2 Joshua Simson

In 2007, Navy HM2 Joshua Simson was embedded with a joint U.S. military and Afghan National Army patrol to conduct key leader engagements in the village of Saret Kholet. Simson was serving as an advisor on how to be a medical first responder.

On July 27, Simson demonstrated what committed first responders do when he repeatedly placed himself in the line of fire from machine guns, AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades to single-handedly provide aid to more than a dozen wounded U.S. and Afghan National Army soldiers during an attack.

“After talking with the elders, we pushed further east to establish an observation post to watch a certain river crossing. A squad of Afghan National Army had pushed across the river to clear two houses and spotted bad guys,” Simson explained. “The Afghans fired at them, causing the Anti-Afghan Forces to initiate their ambush prematurely.”

“We were in the kill zone, but since we hadn’t pushed as far down the road as we had intended, we weren’t entirely surrounded,” said Simson, who joined the Navy in September 2005 out of a sense of obligation and ‘to pay back a small part of the debt towards the cost of freedom.’

“I knew about the heritage of corpsmen before I joined and the job appealed to me…taking care of my brothers on the battlefield,” Simson stated.

The ambush led to a seven-and-a-half hour battle. At one point, Simson pulled a wounded soldier into a nearby bunker to provide cover. Immediately after entering the bunker, it suffered a direct hit. Dazed, but undeterred, Simson finished treating the Afghan soldier.

“We were caught in a very deadly crossfire. We took a lot more casualties during this phase of the movement.”...

There IS more, of course, and you can find that here.

Thank YOU for your service, Sir!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Music and Me

Listen, liiiiiisten! Can you hear me singing? Of course you can! Smiles...

Afghanistan votes

As we all wait - with bated breath? - to hear the final vote tally in Afghanistan's election day yesterday, I particularly think of the women. Yes, there are pictures all over of women going to the polls, despite Taliban bully boys throwing temper tantrums and blowing things up. Usual tactics of intimidation were the order of the day, as some Afghanis did bravely vote for their country's future.

For us in the west, election day typically gives us clearly defined choices; yes, even including the last US presidential elections. Last week came across the following piece, and it was a stark reminder of the daily struggle for women in those far off lands:
Row over Afghan wife-starving law
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC News

Female supporter of Hamid Karzai shows his picture at an election gathering in Kandahar on 16 August 2009
Critics accuse President Hamid Karzai of betraying Afghan women

An Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and become law.

The original bill caused outrage earlier this year, forcing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to withdraw it.

But critics say the amended version of the law remains highly repressive.

They accuse Mr Karzai of selling out Afghan women for the sake of conservative Shia support at next week's presidential election.

The law governs family life for Afghanistan's Shia minority.

Sexual demands

The original version obliged Shia women to have sex with their husbands every four days at a minimum, and it effectively condoned rape by removing the need for consent to sex within marriage.


There is more, and you can find that on the BBC here.

The west has a huge investment - in many ways - in seeing countries like Afghanistan leap forward into the twenty first century. However, unless and until women's voices are respected and heard; until and unless women are accepted as the equal of men in contributions into ANY society, not much will change. As long as the rule of law is allowed to keep women entrenched in the dark ages, there is no hope of real progress towards national peace.

And so it is in Afghanistan.


Some Background
The core groups behind the Tax Day Tea Party, joined by a plethora of liberty movement minded organizations, coalitions and grassroots groups, are once again working together in a unified effort for freedom.

The initial project, as most Americans know, helped organize the April 15th, Tax Day Tea Party effort that resulted in a day of rallies in more than 835 cities across all 50 states. The website witnessed more than 1.7 MILLION unique visits in less than six weeks.

This success was only possible because of a coalition of groups and Americans working towards the same goal in a collaborative and unified effort....

The current administration and congress has intensified the attacks on the foundation of America. First it was the wildly irresponsible “Stimulus Package” that only “stimulated” the pockets of special interest groups… all at the expense of the taxpayers.

Then came the constant nationalizing of the private industry and the declaration of war against the free-market system and private business.

The final blow appears to be in the form of fully socialized healthcare. If passed, we believe this legislation will create problems that are virtually impossible to fix. We also believe that if this legislation is passed, the private industry and small businesses of America will face certain death in the very near future.

This is unacceptable....(my emphasis)

If all of what is happening in America today is unacceptable to you, go to the Recess Rally website, and see what is going on in YOUR state.

NOW is the time for all Americans to stand up and be counted. Go HERE.

God Bless America.

Veterans' land grab UPDATE

A week ago, I told you about a disgraceful land grab. Refresh your memories here.

Now this update from Veterans Today:


Veterans Administration




By Gordon Duff and Robert Rosebrock

A week ago, uniformed troops from the 311th COSCOM, a reserve non combat logistical command in Los Angeles assaulted protesting disabled veterans.

This command, whose leaders may have financial ties to the local land seizure group, is claiming "official" US Army backing for Rep. Waxman's actions now being protested by veterans groups.

Henry Waxman, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee heads the "land grab" movement. Chief of Staff for Major General Bruce Casella, is Colonel Steven D. Patrick, attorney representing California's power utilities. This land seizure partnership between an Army officer working for power utilities and Waxman, whose committee oversees the same utilities is a frightening coincidence. Add violence to the mix and coincidence becomes something much worse.

The idea of an Army unit that has joined with the controversial VP Conservancy group to steal veterans land is an abomination. That this units members, uniformed and on duty, would leave their post and assault disabled veterans to aid this same club of millionaire profiteers is worse. Even further, we are told the 311th COSCOM is aiding in the illegal surveillance activities "outed" weeks ago by letting unsanctioned DVA spy operatives use military facilities and equipment.

Conflict of interest is the understatement of all time....

No kidding. You KNOW there is more. Go here to read the rest of this latest 'development', and PAY ATTENTION!