Friday, June 28, 2013

UK government shafts another Afghan 'Terp

I have written before of the despicable abandonment by coalition governments of the native interpreters who literally put their lives (and the lives of their families) in grave danger as  they work loyally alongside our Troops.

Today, comes this interview with one such 'terp; one of the many who have earned so much better from our governments:
British Forces News

Published on Jun 25, 2013
A former Afghan interpreter has told British Forces News he has considered killing himself because he feels deserted by the country he put his life on the line for.

Hashmat Nawabie worked for British forces from 2007 until 2012. He wants asylum in the UK but doesn't qualify under the government's new scheme for interpreters.

After three years working for British troops he claims he started getting death threats from the Taliban.

By 2012 the situation was so serious he was forced to quit his job and flee the country. With a fake passport he made it as far as Germany.

He has been living in a refugee camp in Frankfurt for the past five months and says he is unable to return home, get asylum in Germany or get to the UK.

His case has been taken up by Labour MP Thomas Docherty who's on the Commons Defence Select Committee. He is calling for a commons debate on the issue.

In a statement the Ministry of Defence said a generous redundancy scheme was offered to staff who were in post on 19 December 2012 - the date the Prime Minister announced the drawdown of UK forces: "It is important to stress that the redundancy package is in addition to and does not replace our pre-existing intimidation policy, which applies to ALL local employees who served with British forces at any time during the operation, for any duration. This offers a separate range of protection and handling measures depending on the seriousness of the threat, including in extreme cases the option of relocation to the UK."

"While it would not be appropriate to comment on any individual case, it should be noted that, outside of these specific policies, international law is clear that asylum seekers should seek asylum in the first safe country they enter."

Red Shirt Friday

Or any day of the week. Canada Geese supporting the Troops

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Hero

This post was suggested by Cindy

Theodore Harvey
Theodore Harvey 78 years old from Mescalero Apache Reservation, New Mexico
 U.S. Army Theodore Harvey was only 19 when he enlisted in the Army in 1954.
 He served with honor for 17 years when was discharged in 1971. Then one day, 41 years later, a social worker at Mr. Harvey's care center ask him what happened to his medals. "I never got them," he replied.
You can read more about Theodore Harvey here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look 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.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Expanded 9/11 Resources Under Zadroga Act

Outreach Campaign to Publicize Expanded 9/11 Resources Under Zadroga Act

For Immediate Release for Monday, June 24, 2013 
Contact:Raymond Rodriguez,, 646-200-5309 or Nick Moroni (Maloney),, 212-860-0606 or 646-831-1649 or Celine Mizrahi (Nadler),, 212-367-7350

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Jerrold Nadler Join NYCOSH, Labor & Community Advocates to Launch Outreach Campaign to Publicize Expanded 9/11 Resources Under Zadroga Act  

Tens of Thousands Eligible for Free Health Benefits and Screenings
100 Days to Deadline to Register Claims for Economic Losses with 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund; No Time Limit for Health Benefits

New York, NY -  Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), authors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, joined workers’ health advocates from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), and union and community members outside 7 World Trade Center today to announce a new outreach campaign to  raise awareness about health care benefits available through the Zadroga Act. The event also marked the 100 day countdown to the deadline for most survivors and responders to file claims for economic losses with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). While the VCF registration deadline for most responders and survivors is Oct. 3, 2013, there is no time limit on health benefits.

 “It is so important that we make sure that anyone who is eligible for health care coverage under the World Trade Center Health Program and economic compensation through the Victim Compensation Fund knows how to receive this aid. The deadline is fast approaching to register a claim with the Victim Compensation Fund, and if you do not submit your application, you will not receive the compensation you are entitled to. Responders and survivors need to know about these benefits before it is too late,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12).

“Passing the 9-11 Health and Compensation Act took over a decade of struggle and hard work from so many, and is one of my proudest accomplishments,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler (NY-10). “However, the success of the programs depends on making sure that it reaches all eligible responders and survivors.  Today’s event highlights the important work there is still to do in making sure that 9-11’s victims get the care and compensation they need and deserve.  As the clock runs down for the Victim Compensation Fund, I urge everyone eligible to register as soon as possible, and my thanks and congratulations go to NYCOSH and the other organizations and advocates leading this critical public health outreach effort. ”

Tens of thousands of people are eligible for free medical exams, treatment and medication under the World Trade Center Health Program created by the Zadroga Act. Those eligible include persons who lived and or worked in Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn for one year after the 9/11 attacks and those who were exposed to toxins at The World Trade Center, The Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA.  In the twelve years since the attacks, many who were exposed to toxins at or near these sites have been diagnosed with respiratory disease, cancer and other health complications.  There is no deadline to apply for health benefits. 

The New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is working with unions and community-based organizations to conduct an ambitious public outreach effort about the free health resources.  Funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which administers the WTC Health Program, the coordinated effort will pay considerable attention to culturally and linguistically diverse communities, which can be difficult to reach. The campaign will draw on the organizations’ well-established relationships within these communities to ensure that outreach is successful.  Efforts will include street outreach, visibility events and targeted online communications. For more information and to apply for the WTC Health Program, visit

“Our mission is to ensure that the tens of thousands of people who may be suffering from 9/11 related illnesses --- from survivors and first responders, to clean-up volunteers at the Staten Island infill and delivery workers in lower Manhattan in the year after --- know that there are free screenings, treatment and medication available to them” said Joel Shufro, Executive Director of NYCOSH.  [emphasis mine]

“Labor, community organizations, elected officials and advocates fought side by side for a decade and finally won essential services and programs for those whose lives were forever changed by 9/11, but that victory will be diminished if all who can benefit from the Zadroga Act fail to register and participate,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO.  “That’s why we are joining together once again to make sure first responders, workers, volunteers and residents are aware of their rights under the law, and to urge them to register for the Victims Compensation Fund before it’s too late.”

“We commend NYCOSH on their vigilance in ensuring that victims of 9/11, including immigrants, receive the health care that they deserve,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “After the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, many member groups of the New York Immigration Coalition provided services to hundreds of family members who worked in downtown Manhattan and were involved in the clean-up of workplaces and office buildings in the area surrounding ground zero. We know that those who participated in that effort became sick, and it’s clear that many people did not seek treatment because they were unaware of services and were concerned about their immigration status. Thanks to NYCOSH for continuing to address the health needs of our communities almost twelve years since 9/11.”

“It is urgent that all those affected by 9/11 and its clean up get the resources that we have obtained for them,” said Congressman José E. Serrano (NY-15). “Not only do they deserve it, in many cases it is of vital importance to keep these heroes healthy. I applaud all those involved in publicizing these resources, and vow to get the word out myself. We owe these heroes nothing less.”

While the Health Program can continue to take new applicants, the clock is ticking for injured 9/11 survivors and responders to register claims with theSeptember 11th Victim Compensation Fund(“VCF”) for economic losses due to their 9/11 injuries. Most injured responders and survivors must complete online registration at www.vcf.govby October 3rd, 2013, 100 days from this Wednesday. 

Members of the New York Congressional delegation are working in collaboration with 9/11 Health Watch to post countdown clocks on their websites, and will be asking all elected officials in the New York area to join them in spreading the word online and through their newsletters to make sure that no one injured in 9/11 misses the deadline to seek compensation for their economic losses.

“After years of fighting to make these programs a reality, it is important that responders and survivors understand what services are available to them. With only 100 days left to file a claim with the Victims Compensation Fund, I urge anyone who may be affected to register at,”said Congressman Peter King (NY-2)

“Our first responders, who bravely risked their lives on 9/11, as well as all of the victims of the September 11th attacks deserve access to this desperately needed health care. With the Victim Compensation Fund’s deadline fast approaching, we must make sure these individuals apply and get the medical coverage they need. That’s why, today, we are raising awareness about treatments covered for 9/11-related medical conditions and urging all to file a complaint with the Victim Compensation Fund. Thank you to my colleagues in Congress, NIOSH, 9/11 Health Watch, the FealGood Foundation, the State Federation of Labor and all those involved in this very important outreach effort,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY).

“The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 devastated every American, especially the people of New York City. Despite efforts to protect the survivors of these attacks and their families, almost twelve years later many are unaware that health care options are available. I stand in full support of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which provides critical assistance to the women and men who continue to suffer from injuries or related health problems. We must never forget the brave Americans from our community who risked their lives in our nation’s greatest moment of turmoil, exhibiting the true meaning of being a New Yorker, and most importantly, an American,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9)

“Standing up for those who stood up for us on 9/11 is America’s sacred obligation, and I urge anyone who is suffering as a result of their service at Ground Zero to sign up for the support and care you have earned,” said Congressman Tim Bishop (NY-1). “From the very beginning, Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Nadler have helped lead the fight for this necessary assistance for all the heroes of 9/11, and I applaud them for keeping the spotlight on this vitally important issue.”
“The Zadroga Act gives much-needed help to the thousands of people who are now suffering from health issues and economic losses as a result of their service to our nation on September 11th and the days following. With the deadline to register claims with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund fast approaching, I urge all 9/11 survivors and responders to complete the online registration as soon as possible. Our heroes need this assistance – they deserve this assistance – and I want to ensure that everyone who is eligible gets aid as soon as possible,” said Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14)

Congressman Eliot Engel(NY-16) said, “The law is designed to provide needed help to the thousands exposed to toxins at Ground Zero, including 16,000 first responders, and at least 2,700 local residents. I wasan original co-sponsor of the Zadroga Act and helpedshepherd it through theEnergy and Commerce Committee on its way to becoming law. I urge everyone affected by the toxins at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania to register their claims before time runs out in October.”

"Detective James Zadroga's legacy is one that reminds us of a belief that I hold dear – it is not enough to pat our first responders on the back and say 'thank you.' We must demonstrate our appreciation through our actions," said Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), a member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. "The brave men and women who risked their own lives to selflessly save the lives of others deserve to have the very best care our country can provide.  Twelve years later, we must ensure these very victims are taking advantage of the benefits they're entitled to.”

“Having been downtown on September 11, 2001, I witnessed the extraordinary courage and selflessness of thousands of Americans immediately following the attacks. Now, it is our turn to make sure those who risked their lives helping others have the assistance they need,” said Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4). “I encourage everyone who may be eligible to go online and sign up for the free exams and other services they earned through their self-sacrifice.”

“In the hours and days following the attacks of September 11, 2001, courageous first responders and volunteers from Connecticut were on the scene, putting their safety, their health, and their lives on the line to save others. As a nation, we have an obligation to help all of the brave responders, volunteers, and survivors whose health has suffered as a result of their heroic actions. With the October 3 registration deadline approaching for the Victim Compensation Fund, I join Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Nadler in urging 9/11 survivors and responders to register for the medical and the economic support they’re eligible to receive. I’m grateful to all of my colleagues, and everyone, who has fought so hard to ensure these brave men and women can receive the support and the health care they need,” said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5)

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was reopened in 2010 when Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Zadroga law provides health care for those exposed to toxins at the site of the attacks and nearby surrounding areas through the WTC Health Program, and reopens the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to provide economic relief to those injured by the attacks.


AFG: Taliban attack presidential palace and CIA station

From Jihad Watch:

"He told reporters on Monday that Washington was still trying to determine if the Taliban were ready for talks." Wow, that's a tough one! "Afghan forces put down attack on presidential palace: police," by Mirwais Harooni for Reuters, June 25 [...]:
(Reuters) - Afghan forces put down an early morning attack by Taliban insurgents on the presidential palace and nearby buildings in central Kabul on Tuesday, with police saying all the assailants had been killed after a 90-minute gunfight.

A Reuters reporter at the palace said the attack began soon after 6:30 a.m. (0200 GMT) when at least one man opened fire with an automatic rifle at a gate to the palace in the central Shash Darak district.

Karzai's whereabouts were not immediately known, though he had been due to attend a press event at the palace after 9 a.m. Reporters had been gathering at the palace and took cover when the firing broke out.

Kabul police chief, General Ayoub Salangi, told Reuters all the attackers had been killed. An Afghan official said five assailants had been killed along with two Afghan guards.
The defense ministry and the Ariana Hotel, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's Afghan station, were also targeted.

Afghan forces and U.S. servicemen returned fire and explosions resounded in the area. Schoolchildren walking to classes nearby were also caught in the exchanges. It was not immediately clear if any were hurt.

A thick plume of smoke was seen rising from Ariana Hotel at the height of the exchanges.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The assault was launched a day after the U.S. envoy appointed to help the Afghan government and the Taliban pursue peace, James Dobbins, arrived in Kabul and met Karzai. He had been due to hold a press roundtable with Afghan reporters.
He told reporters on Monday that Washington was still trying to determine if the Taliban were ready for talks....


NASA: Supermoon in Washington

Monday, June 24, 2013

Medical Examiner IDs 9/11 Remains

The city medical examiner's office has made a new identification in the remains recovered from ground zero

Friday, Jun 21, 2013  |
The New York City medical examiner's office says it has made a new identification in remains recovered from ground zero.

The office has identified the victim of the Sept. 11 attacks as a 43-year-old woman. It is not releasing the woman's name at the request of the family. 

The medical examiner's office has been retesting human remains recovered during the original recovery at ground zero, collected before May 2002. It has identified a total of 1,636 victims from the attack at World Trade Center. 

The last time a person was identified from the original remains recovered at the site was in October.
Recently authorities have been sifting through truckloads of debris unearthed by construction crews working on the World Trade Center rebuilding. Possible remains of more than 20 victims have been recovered since that process began in April.


Entrenched Complacency Ensures Enslavement of Americans

A VERY important column from War On Terror News:


Entrenched Complacency Ensures Enslavement of Americans

It does not surprise me that the most powerful politicians and their appointees feel impervious to the constraints of the Constitution.  Those that seek power, ferociously guard the power they've attained, while seeking more to obtain.  They'll do whatever they can get away with to obtain and retain power.  It's as a natural a characteristic as a lion eating a gazelle.  In recognition of that, the Founders constrained the government and politicians, and emplaced protections and rights for the People.
What astounds me is that the American People are not outraged by the abuses of power exposed in recent weeks and months.  It has been one scandal after another, each more comprehensive and abusive than the one before it.  It is more surprising that some of the media has condemned some of the scandals than that they've worked overtime to condone the scandals.  

This cycle began with Benghazi, and an obvious lie by the Administration that it was 'just a protest turned violent.'  It took months, but Congress was beginning to get to the heart of the matter, that the Administration wasn't just asleep at the wheel, but willfully turned the lights and phones off.  It ignored months' worth of pleas from diplomats for more security, including on the day of the attack.  It ordered re-inforcements to not assist.  Those who work for the State Department should have been upset.  Those with a military background are and were angry.

More recently, we learned that the IRS was targeting the  ruling party's opponents.  The IRS has become a tool and force to paralyze the effectiveness of groups that support the US Constitution, and call for smaller government.  Supporters of the party in power were less apt to be upset than those that were affected by the un-Constitutional targeting by an arm of the Government.

Then we learned that the Justice Department had seized the phone records of AP employees and a Fox news journalist.  The MSM was finally mad.  True Americans of every stripe condemned the seizures as unlawful, and against the 4th Amendment.

More recently, we learned that a Judge had ordered Verizon to provide the data of every single one of it's customers to the NSA.  The information collected is so enormous that the data is updated every single day.  Then we learned the NSA was also collecting information via Google, Facebook, and other web based programs, with a program called "Prism."  The internet giants deny they accepted their role in it, but that doesn't mean much.  The government may have worked with or without the permission of the corporations.  Nor can we reasonably expect honesty from those corporations, particularly since they are already snooping on their users.

The worst part about that is not that leaders of both parties knew about it, and defend it, but that so few Americans find anything wrong with it.  The Politician in Chief has confirmed that the programs exist, and defends the "necessity" of it.  The Speaker of the House defends the program.  The Senate Minority Leader condemns not the program, but the individual that leaked evidence of it.  There's no one truly denying that the government is spying on every single American, on either side of the aisle, and very few that say there's anything wrong with it.

Sure, there are a few Americans out there screaming bloody murder about the obvious and serious abuses of the Bill of Rights by the government, and they are the same ones that have been trying to wake up Americans for years.  At a time like this, those that have been noting the abuses for years, should be sitting back and thanking newcomers to reality.  The public outrage should be deafening.

So, why isn't it?...

MUCH MORE of this MUST READ column here.

Wake UP America!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Daniel Somers OIF Veteran: "I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This" - A Soldier's Last Words

"You will find that your world is better without me in it." 

 Heart-wrenching that ANY of our Warriors or Veterans would feel this way. Yes, we are ALL failing our most treasured resource. Really, that IS all I have to say...

READ every word here:

"I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This": A Soldier's Last Words

Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it

This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers

[Picture of Daniel and his wife courtesy of Phoenix New Times]

 Rest In Peace Daniel.  My heart and prayers are with all who love you....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday Hero

Spc. Ross McGinnis
Spc. Ross McGinnis 19 years old from Knox, Pennsylvania 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment June 14, 1987 - December 4, 2006 
U.S. Army 
 For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an M2 .50-caliber Machine Gunner, 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Adhamiyah, Northeast Baghdad, Iraq, on 4 December 2006. 
That afternoon his platoon was conducting combat control operations in an effort to reduce and control sectarian violence in the area. While Private McGinnis was manning the M2 .50-caliber Machine Gun, a fragmentation grenade thrown by an insurgent fell through the gunner's hatch into the vehicle. Reacting quickly, he yelled "grenade," allowing all four members of his crew to prepare for the grenade's blast. Then, rather than leaping from the gunner's hatch to safety, Private McGinnis made the courageous decision to protect his crew. In a selfless act of bravery, in which he was mortally wounded, Private McGinnis covered the live grenade, pinning it between his body and the vehicle and absorbing most of the explosion. 
 Private McGinnis' gallant action directly saved four men from certain serious injury or death. Private First Class McGinnis' extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
You can read more about Spc. McGinnis here These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look 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.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Lest We Forget: Falkland Islands

I have written many times here about the Falkland Islands - those islands which belong to England, MY England..  To access those columns, just put "Falkland Island"  in the search thingie ...

Today? On this day in 1982 a ceasefire was declared..

British Heroes honoured for their courage

From the Daily Express:

Queen marks courage of Afghanistan heroes

THE courage of Britain’s forces was honoured by the Queen yesterday at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Lance Corporal Lawrence Kayser said he was overwhelmed to receive the Military Cross

Lance Corporal Lawrence Kayser, 27, who single-handedly fought off enemy fighters in Afghanistan, said he was overwhelmed to receive the Military Cross and wanted to dedicate it to his whole battalion.

L/Cpl Kayser, of Mill Hill, north London, was one of four serving soldiers from The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment who were recognised for their bravery. A fifth award was made posthumously.

Corporal Alexander Guy, 37, was killed going to the aid of Afghan soldiers ambushed in Helmand province in June last year.

His wife Emma received the Military Cross on his behalf, accompanied by his parents Aileen and Andrew and an uncle, Alec Wilson.

“We are so proud of Alex today and we’ve had wonderful support from the regiment,” they said.

Cpl Guy, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, had been in the Army for 19 years, serving on eight tours of duty....

Go read more on the bravery of Fallen Hero Corporal Guy and his brothers in arms, here. 

Flag Day: Fly Your Flag, America

Interesting details on a site dedicated to Iwo Jimo. Did you know that this flag raised in the iconic picture was the second flag to be raised there? I did not, but I learned that - and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff - here. Go read, and learn. For a history of Flag Day go here.

(H/T Diane)

Because it IS Flag Day, what other video could I share, but this one, which is one of my favourite Johnny Cash.

FLY your flag, America!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday Hero

This Post Was Suggested By Michael

GySgt. John Basilone
GySgt. John Basilone 21 years old from Raritan, New Jersey Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division November 4, 1916 - February 19, 1945
 U.S. Marines For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. 
In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone's sections, with its gun crews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment.
 His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. GySgt. Basilone was killed helping to guide a tank to safety that was trapped in a mine field under heavy mortar and artillery barrages during the invasion of Iwo Jima.
You can read more about GySgt. Basilone and his amazing bravery here These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.  

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look 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.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TSA and knives on board

In case you missed this reversal, from the BBC comes this on passengers being allowed - once again -  to take knives on board US flights:

TSA cancels proposal to allow knives on planes

Undated picture of knives released by the TSA  
Knives have not been allowed in the cabin since 9/11 - and these types would have remained banned

The US transport safety authority has cancelled a plan to allow some small pocket knives aboard US flights for the first time since the 9/11 attacks.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) chief John Pistole said the move came in response to resistance from flight attendants and the public.

He had said the change would allow screeners to focus on other threats.

The 9/11 hijackers used small knives to attack crew members and gain control of the planes.
"After extensive engagement with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, law enforcement officials, passenger advocates, and other important stakeholders, TSA will continue to enforce the current prohibited items list," Mr Pistole said.

He initially proposed allowing passengers to bring blades shorter than 2.36in (6cm) and narrower than 0.5in into plane cabins.

Also under the proposed changes, billiard cues, ski poles, and lacrosse and hockey sticks would have been allowed in the flight cabins in carry-on luggage....

There is more here.

UPDATE on NYS World Trade Center Volunteer Fund

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, which administers the World Trade Center (WTC) Volunteer Fund, announced last week that it was moving to shift the management of the fund to a Third Party Administrator, the Triad Group, effective June 24.

According to the Workers Compensation Board, the Triad Group will assume responsibility for managing claims only after the Board determines the claimant is eligible for the Fund.  Per the Workers Compensation Board’s release, The Triad Group has designated a WTC administrator, Gretchen Finch, to address any issues that arise during the transition. She will serve as the claimants’ and providers’ first point of contact for all claim administration issues.  She can be reached via email at and/or by phone at 1-800-337-7419 extension 112.

The Volunteer Fund was created in 2002 with 50 million dollars in funding from the Federal Government to provide workers' compensation benefits (medical and lost time) for volunteers who assisted with World Trade Center (WTC) rescue, recovery and clean up. While unpaid volunteers are normally ineligible for workers' compensation benefits, the NY Workers' Compensation Law was amended to provide for volunteers who participated in WTC efforts.  It has provided 407 volunteers with benefits.

Of the original funding of 50 million dollars, over 18 million dollars remain.

For more information, go to the NYS Worker's Compensation Board website.

Ben Chevat
Executive Director
9/11 Health Watch

Monday, June 10, 2013

Petawawa SF Warriors honoured for bravery

From Ottawa Citizen:

Petawawa-based special forces soldiers recognized for bravery in Afghanistan


Members of the special forces regiment in Petawawa were recognized Friday for their bravery during an intense gun battle in Afghanistan in 2011.

Governor General David Johnston announced the awarding of Stars of Military Valour and a Medal of Military Valour to members of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

Johnston presented the medals in a closed door ceremony Friday. General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, was also in attendance. “The recipients were recognized for devotion to duty and acts of valour in the presence of the enemy and for military deeds performed in a highly professional manner,” the news release from Johnston’s office stated.


The Star of Military Valour is awarded for distinguished and valiant service in the presence of the enemy. It is considered in the Canadian system to be the second highest award for military valour. The Victoria Cross is the highest.

The Medal of Military Valour, considered the third highest honour, is awarded for an act of valour or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. The medals are linked to a May 7, 2011 firefight during a Taliban attack on Kandahar City....

There are  more details here.

[H/T Jeff]

Thursday, June 6, 2013

D-Day: "We will never surrender"

Winston Churchill speech in the House of Commons on D-Day:

[...] I have also to announce to the House that during the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place. In this case the liberating assault fell upon the coast of France. An immense armada of upwards of 4,000 ships, together with several thousand smaller craft, crossed the Channel. Massed airborne landings have been successfully effected behind the enemy lines, and landings on the beaches are proceeding at various points at the present time. The fire of the shore batteries has been largely quelled. The obstacles that were constructed in the sea have not proved so difficult as was apprehended. The Anglo-American Allies are sustained by about 11,000 firstline aircraft, which can be drawn upon as may be needed for the purposes of the battle. I cannot, of course, commit myself to any particular details. Reports are coming in in rapid succession. So far the Commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place. It involves tides, wind, waves, visibility, both from the air and the sea standpoint, and the combined employment of land, air and sea forces in the highest degree of intimacy and in contact with conditions which could not and cannot be fully foreseen....[...]

Much more here.

This WAS their finest hour

From the US Army there is content here on D-Day. Be sure and go read of a WWII veteran sharing his memories here. And from the Beeb here. Also LOTS of information about D Day from the BBC archives here.

Franklin Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer
June 6, 1944
My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.(read the rest here)

For Sgt Major MacKinder:
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,...

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

Always remembered. Always honoured. Always loved.

[Repost from 2012]

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wednesday Hero

This Post Was Suggested By Cindy
1st Lt.

 Nathan M.
1st Lt. Nathan M. Krissoff 25 years old from Reno, Nevada Headquarters and Service Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force December 9, 2006 U.S. Marines 
Nathan Krissoff enlisted in the Marine Corps. after the attacks on Sept. 11 out of a sense of duty to his country. 1st. Lt. Krissoff was killed in 2006 when his convoy was hit by an IED in al-Amariyah, Iraq. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart. On Memorial Day his family shared some of his letters that he wrote to them while deployed.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look 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.

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