Sunday, April 29, 2012

some favourite quotes by Brendan Behan

“...Actually, I'm a drinker with writing problems.”

I saw a notice that said Drink Canada Dry
and I've just started.

(for any who may not know ´Canada Dry´ is
is a soft drink also known as Ginger Ale)

Ah, bless you, Sister, may all your sons be bishops.

"Other people have a nationality.
The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis."

"There is no such thing as bad publicity
except your own obituary."

"One drink is too many for me and a thousand
not enough." (or as we used to say One drink
is too many and a hundred not enough"´s
why I quit at 28).

I have never seen a situation so dismal that a
policeman couldn't make it worse.

The Bible was a consolation to a fellow
alone in the old cell. The lovely thin
paper with a bit of matress stuffing in
it, if you could get a match, was as good
a smoke as I ever tasted.

It is a good deed to forget a poor joke.

The big difference between sex for money
and sex for free is that sex for money
usually costs a lot less.

History of Ireland in 100 of my favs.

The letters section of the Irish Times
has an ongoing one that I like very much.

Once in a while a really good one comes out.
this one is by Brendan Behan an Irish poet,
novelist, playwright and short story teller.

History of Ireland in 100 insults

370. Critics are like eunuchs in a harem:
they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it
done every day, but they can’t do it themselves.
(Brendan Behan). – Yours, etc,

This is what happens in a Police State:´Active Duty Marine Shot 37 Times by Local Deputy´

This was amazing to me...surviving war he came
home and was shot 37 times!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wife of Active Duty Marine Shot 37 Times by Local Deputy and CHP Can Proceed to Trial


SAN DIEGO (CN) - A wrongful death suit against a San Diego deputy sheriff is proceeding to trial after the deputy along with a group of California Highway Patrol officers killed an active duty Marine who was a veteran of the Iraq war, by shooting him 37 times after pinning his car at the side of the freeway.

After an argument with his wife, Robert Medina led 18 officers and 13 police cars on a slow-speed chase down the I-5 through Oceanside, which is near Camp Pendleton, before he was eventually trapped and penned in near Encinitas a few miles south.

Medina was an active-duty, 22-year-old Marine who had recently returned from a tour in Iraq and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome, according to a federal court ruling. The syndrome often develops after a person experiences a violent personal attack or traumatic event, such as being in a war zone. Military personnel are especially at risk for developing PTSD, which includes symptoms like flashbacks, depression, and difficulty functioning in social situations.

In the early morning hours of November 16, 2006, Medina had a fight with his wife and left the house even though she asked him not to go.

He drove his truck onto the I-5 freeway, where CHP officers noticed him driving slowly and weaving in and out of his lane. Suspecting that Medina was drunk, the officers tried to pull him over. He did not, however, obey.

The officers tried several tactics to stop Medina, such as laying down spike strips and using special maneuvers to trap his car. When Medina swerved to avoid driving over a spike strip laid down by deputy sheriff Mark Ritchie, chasing officers thought he was trying to hit Richie, they said, so they radioed that he had attempted an "assault with a deadly weapon."

"This radio call caused other law enforcement officers to believe the decedent was a dangerous threat," according to a summary of the facts in the judge's ruling.

The CHP officers eventually forced Medina's truck into the dirt on the side of the freeway. Other officers followed suit, pinning Medina's truck in place with their patrol cars. Ritchie had also rammed the truck.

"By this time, over a dozen officers had converged on the scene and several officers and deputies had taken up positions around the decedent's truck and in close proximity to it," said the ruling.

"Ritchie told homicide investigators that he immediately went to the passenger side of the decedent's truck with his gun drawn," the ruling continued. "Ritchie stated that the passenger side window was partially down and he was able to make eye contact with the decedent and observe his hands on the steering wheel."

The deputy approached the truck with his gun drawn and ordered Medina to get out of the truck several times and fired shots into the truck's tires.

The officers claim Medina aimed the truck's wheels at Ritchie and tried to move his truck. So they filled him full of lead.

According to the ruling, Medina was pulled from the truck alive but died shortly afterwards, as a result of 37 rounds put into him.

In 2009, Medina's wife Jennifer filed her first amended complaint. U.S. District Judge John Houston granted motions to dismiss except those by Ritchie and the County of San Diego. Houston ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support Jennifer's claim that Ritchie had acted unreasonably by shooting her husband, and reasoned that the county could be held liable because the Ninth Circuit had found that sheriffs served as representatives of the county in matters of criminal investigation.

Mrs. Medina filed a second amended complaint in 2010, once again naming all the CHP officers involved in the shooting as defendants. After a year of both parties filing motions against each other, Medina's case was transferred from Judge Houston to U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia last year.

In his ruling, Judge Battaglia denied Ritchie's motion to dismiss, ruling that there is sufficient evidence to support a Fourth Amendment excessive force claim. He rejected the deputy's argument that he should be in the case because Jennifer did not accuse him specifically of killing her husband.

"Plaintiff's allegations in regards to Defendant Ritchie encompass the Defendant's conduct up to the actual killing of the decedent, and whether the Defendant's bullet killed the decedent is but one factor to be considered in reaching the merits of Plaintiff's claims," wrote the judge.

"Plaintiff's allegations that Defendant Ritchie's shooting of the decedent was unreasonably excessive under the circumstances and with intent to harm unrelated to a legitimate law enforcement purpose is plausible," the judge continued.

The judge also denied in part a motion to dismiss by CHP officer Leo Nava who took up a position behind Ritchie and also fired into Medina's car.

Mrs. Medina is represented by Dena Acosta of the North County Law Firm. Emails and calls for comment were not immediately returned.

a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." - Eleanor Roosevelt


For me...i´ve grown mostly through mistakes:-

Friday, April 27, 2012

´What War Is and Does to People:'The Girl I met on Christmas Day’ Dan Nang 1968´ originally posted Sat. 26 Dec. 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What War Is and Does to People:
'The Girl I met on Christmas Day’ Dan Nang 1968.

This was originally a letter sent to my
son, Kyle, and then, my daughter, Nora on
Dec. 26th, 2009. I've added to it since,
and am filling it out a bit now...for the
next week. It will be part of a novel.

I was trying to explain why I was not an
ordinary father with a 9-5 job, career etc...
much of the terror, trauma, and grief was and
had to be suppressed at the time...because I
had a bigger concern...just surviving that

It's only later when we return that it comes
over us. When I came home I was dead inside;
in PTSD terms it´s called ´emotional numbness.´
I didn´t know it, because I drank alot with
Tommy L. We went into Marine Corps boot camp
together. I was almost up to two cases a day.
On my 25th High School reunion one friend said
he was surprised that I was alive. He thought
for sure I would´ve been dead just from my hard
drinking...or accidents.

I drank as much as I could and used pot, or
mescaline if; anything I could to take during
my first 2 1/2 years home to shut out the
thoughts,memories, images, pain and hurt of

I didn´t like to be alone sober, and remember
listening to my brother, Michael´s 8-track tape
deck late at night. I felt as the saying went ´an
old man in a young man´s body.´ Tears would stream
down my face as I listened to certain songs...around
1972-73 Neil Young´s ´Old Man.´

Each Christmas is harder to survive in a way
because I landed in Da Nang, VietNam on Christmas
Day 1968 at about 2-3 am...and if you read far
enough below you will read of 'The Girl I met
on Christmas Day’ Dan Nang 1968.

What she did...without ever speaking a word was
to show me what war is and does to people. She
took this hard marine and ripped his heart out
and humanized him! I think of her, and have
never forgotten her.

I came to Vietnam with Marine Corps training that
taught me to hate. But, I left her feeling awful...
and feeling love for her and also, hurt, pain,
and the beginnings of a new awakening.

But, this year I started writing about it. I
felt so fucked up in pain that at some point
I took a pen into my hand. It was 40 years ago
that I survived terror and horror of sapper
attacks on FSB (fire support base) Cunningham
in the A Shau valley...the ´Valley of Death´
to Marines. Just being in the A Shau valley
was scary.

There were strange names for places in VietNam.
´Happy valley´ was anything but a happy place to
be. There was also Dodge City, Indian Country,
Arizona Territory, Hand Grenade Alley...

What War Is and Does to People:

Dear Kyle,

It was 40 years since I was in Vietnam as a
young boy of 18. I was a Marine Corps 'grunt'
(a rifleman). This Christmas will be 41 years.
The first time I was 18 and 4 months when I
was medivaced from a place of terror. I felt
guilty for leaving my platoon, and especially,
Chief, my team leader and a Seminole Indian
who had saved my life at least once.

I was walking point , but as I made it to the
top of the hill I stopped. I froze. I felt
uncomfortable with the layout. The hill was a
large area with chest high grass, and surrounded
by trees. I felt inside somewhere that this could
be it for me. I didn't think that I could turn
around and say I got a bad feeling about this...
can we go back to the fire base? No, I was there.
I was a FNG (fucking new guy) walking point.
New guys ´walking point´ get killed, and I felt
bad about where I was...a premonition as it were.

But, before I could take another step Chief,
(Paul Bowers), my team leader stopped me. I
really think that it was for Chief to take a
look for himself. If i fucked up and stepped
on a landmine it would not be just my life.
He saved many lives by stopping me.

He turned his back to the hill, and told me
if you see anything don't look directly at it,
or they may feel you´ve spotted them, and have
to open fire on us...or words to that effect.
I turned my head to my left away from the hill,
and laughed like he had said something funny.

Then I looked at him and he said not to look
at where he was talking about. But then he said
that there may be someone in the trees at the
back of the hill at 1 o'clock. His neck was 12

I turned my head to my left again away from the
hill, like I was laughing, but as my head came
back my right eye was looked over the spot, and
I had a sinking feeling in my heart or stomach...
and I nodded. I had to go forward.

I stood waiting for Chief to get back into his
spot before I took my next step when someone
behind me said 'freeze', and that Chief was
coming back up. When he came up he motioned
me to step back. I took a half step back. He
carefully went through the bushes, and vines
I’d been pushing through, then carefully put
what looked like a green vine between his
thumb and forefinger and showed me it with
raised eyebrows that told me everything. It
had been flat against my solar plexus. It
was a green plastic trip wire. My next
half-step and I’d been blown to bits by
two mines; an anti-tank mine on one side
of me and an anti-personnel mine on the
other side.

It would've taken 8-12 men dead and wounded.
My own death was one thing, but I would've felt
awful to have caused the death of others. If
we were ambushed as well, then much of the
platoon would be gone. That’s how sharp Chief
and aware of everything around him, and why
he was important to the platoon. He came up;
took a look, and remembered something that
wasn't right and came back. I and others are
alive as a result.

Bobby traps, particularly, the 'bouncing
betty' killed more US troops than anything

It was a special to see him laugh or smile,
or share good moments with him. He saved my
life, and I learned to watched for everything
in a way I hadn't before that. And, I had been
very alert and aware.

Weeks later, our platoon (about 45 men) were
used as bait for a battalion of NVA (North
Vietnamese Army regulars). We were put in a
small abandoned Marine fire base. Hall, a
state (high school) wrestling champion came
up to me and patted me on my right shoulder
and said, (I thought) 'Are you okay?' And I
said 'ya, i'm just getting my gear; i'm doing
the first watch.’

But, then Hall said 'your okay.' and patted
me on the shoulder. I looked at him, and he
tapped my radio, stood in front of me, and
said there were three on that(the radio)
before you. I was the platoon Sgt’s radioman).
Plus there was a guy from Vegas (I think)
who got shot up bad when he was the radioman...
then there were three in the 4-5 months he was
in the hospital, and

I had transferred from Fox 2/3 2cn Battalion
(Batt) 3rd Marines (regiment) because 2nd
Platoon golf 2/3 had 'lost' a radioman and
needed another.

Hall was just telling me you're okay and
you've been okay(and LUCKY-mine). I really
respected him. He had a good sense of humor,
was strong, and Always made people laugh and
was good even nice to this F-cking New Guy FNG.
It meant that there was some talk of me:-) I
couldn't have asked to be placed with a better
group of Marines, or fellas than those in the
second platoon of Golf Co.

Then, and this is what happens in war...a
terrible irony…he pointed to all the firing
pins (from hand grenades) scattered around
and told me not to touch them. He said they’re
dangerous. He said that it’s safe to pick them
up one side, he picked one up to show
me he said, but if you pick up the wrong side
your own body heat is enough to set off the
charge. And then, his hand opened up in front
of me from the explosion, and he was screaming
and screaming. It looked as if someone took a
knife and sliced his hand open.

With explosions or see the
results and then hear the noise. There was a
loud explosion after I was looking at his hand,
and blood flying both ways. He was in immense
pain, shock. I was in shock and have never
forgotten that night.

I've always felt bad that if he hadn't been
nice to me...

About a week or less from my being medivaced
(seizure and dysentery) to the USA we landed
on a ridge (Co Ca Va?) in the A Shau valley;
the ‘ Valley of Death ’. It was Fire Support
Base (FSB) Cunningham; the HQ for Operation
Dewey Canyon I.

Being a radioman is one of the most dangerous
jobs; (a snipers delight). They could ambush
a platoon, but if just one man survived he
could call in air strikes within 10 minutes.
So they go for the radio first, and the platoon
is a bit f-cked. Someone (Hall?) explained
this to me after I survived a month (as
radioman) and snipers.

When word got out that we were replacing
Mike Co., 3/9 (3rd Battalion 9th Marine
regiment) it had a chilling effect. 1/9
(1st Battalion 9th Marines was known as
'The Walking Dead'- a casualty rate over
90% dead, wounded, and missing...93.?%
of every 100 young boys like me...year
in and year out...every year of that war.
War is criminal. I had hoped to join them...
was I daft.

But, even 3/9 meant bad, bad shit was going
to happen. The Ninth 9th Marines meant only
one thing: 'heavy combat' and casualties like
not seen before. We missed the main attack
(below) 'Sapper Attack in the A Shau During
the Vietnam War' (link )

But we were replacing the men who had endured
that assault-to rub out the base, plus nightly
sapper attacks…night terror. Sappers were four
men teams with explosives in their backpacks,
and plenty of hand grenades to toss into other
holes. They were brave men trying to rid their
country of foreign the Vietnamese
people had for thousands of years.

Our first night we(Chief and I) were sent to a
share a bunker with some (grunts) from Mike 3/9;
they were leaving the next morning. After we had
made the introductions...some men started to cry;
and these were tough marines...who had been exposed
to too much night terror. They said the things
like...'we're all gonna be die'. They said they
get in every night.

I had no idea of what they were saying. Is he
talking about a ground attack? I had not even
thought, nor probably heard about 'sappers.'
They said sappers get in every night...we're
gonna die. Chief immediately grabbed one covered
his mouth and told them all to 'shut the fuck up'
etc. It was a powerful lesson for me.

As he did this all of a sudden we heard loud
screams from beyond the perimiter wire. They were
silenced immediately by a very loud explosion,
and then, there were no more screams. The other
men started to break down, and the first one said
'See, that's the fourth LP in a row. An LP is a
listening post, and on that ridge it was four
men. With that explosion the total went to 16.
4 men each night for four nights. North
Vietnamese Army Regular (NVA) sappers had
crawled up on the LP and one sapper
sacrificed his life to blow four Marines away.

The men started to sob again and Chief drew
his knife. I got in front of another Marine
and drew my K-Bar (combat knife) and stood
in front of the other Marine. He probably had
much more time in Vietnam than me, and it felt
strange to be doing this. They don't teach
these things in boot camp and infintry training.

Then, Chief took me away from that fortified
bunker and went pointed to two small three
foot deep holes forward of all the bunkers
with no sandbags or any protection, and right
out in the open. He got in front of me; our
faces were far apart, and as he pointed to
the bunker that we had just left he said 'We´ll
be okay. will watch each other each other's
back. We'll be okay, but we got to get away
from that(panicking-mine). He pointed toward
the bunker we had just left .' Chief said it
twice and looked into my eyes saying "we´ll
be okay." And we were okay. We survived a
scary night. I trusted Chief, and would have
followed him in any situation.

The next morning, Mike 3/9 were gone. That
night our company, Golf 2/3 were facing what
had terrorized the men from Mike 3/9. Of the
three platoons in the company, ours, the second
platoon, had to send out the first LP. Everyone
was nervous because by then we knew what had
happened to the other LP's/ It came down to
our squad and then, our four man fire team-
Chief’s. But, Chief had a plan to make sure
that we didn’t get blown away. I wasn't
surprised that Chief was chosen to take out
the first fire team!

I thought that Chief stood the best chance
in the whole company. I'm just glad that I
was with him. In 2010 he joked me that he
just thought that they (command) were trying
to get me killed

Chief's plan was simple, yet like everything
he did...he had put a lot of thought into it...
and that night, Chief wasn't exactly leading
the cream of the Corps (myself included--still
green;-) men he could have, but he made it work.

The plan was this: if we try to stay out all
night...we'll be dead. They'll-the NVA creep
up on us like they did the other LP's. We
were going to have to be faster, and sharper.
The others were blown away within an hour or two.

When we heard movement...even before they could
get within hand grenade of us...we would notify
our LT (Lieutenant) that we had contact and were
going to toss hand grenades to break contact,and
come back into the perimeter...this allows for...
when we think we hear contact? They were there,
but we're alive.

But, the brass didn't want us to come in. When
I called in-radio-to the CP they said we need
more information on how many they were, the
direction of attack know the types
of things that would get us blown to bits if
we stayed out all night like they wanted us
too. I whispered to the next man what was
said, and it was passed to Chief. Chief and
I leaned forward, and looked at each other.
Chief shook his head back N forth "NO!' a
few times, and made a sign with his hand
and that was good enough for me, and I went
to squelch on the radio. This meant that I
could not talk (make verbal transmissions...
as someone is to close:-) And, I could only
use (key) my handset.

We had tossed our frags (grenades) in front
of us, to give us time and cover to get back
into the perimeter. I was the the last one
out-position, I was 'Tail End Charlie. And
when I got up I realized that they were closer
than we thought. As I got up to run I heard
noise to my right and almost right rear and
saw someone in the darkness...where we hadn't
thrown frags.I was terrified that they had
gotten so close. I sprayed a burst emptying
my magazine. I was more than nervous...
'scared shitless' is the word.

I ran forward through the zig-zag like coils
of concertina wire, whilst looking behind me
for anyone who wasn't supposed to be there.
I was last. I was changing the magazine in
my rifle while listening for the sound of a
'frag'(hand grenade)dropping near me(theirs-
none). I was trying to catch up with the
others. As I came through the last twist
and turn of the wire all hell broke loose.
I thought that the NVA had opened fire on
the hill, or launched a ground attack, and
ours were returning fire.

As we came through the wire,someone set off
a trip flare, and we were visible to all.
We came the shortest way...across our kill
zone, and were almost cut to pieces by our
own machine guns, and every trigger happy grunt
(or as we say 'every swinging dick with a rifle.')
I had radioed in, but no one had told the fellas
we were on our way. We almost got torn to shreds;
the bullets were all around us and me.

I was the only standing target. ´Chief´, ´Rags´
and ´Florida´ were on the ground. I turned facing
the hill and went to drop, but a hail of bullets
went all aroud where I was to drop. I don´t know
how I wasn´t hit.

I turned a bit to me left-the direction of where
the others were on the ground and saw Chief look
at me like I must be crazy standing, but as I went
to fall bullets tore up the ground sent wood, rocks
and everything flying all around me on my left and...
I had tears and fear I turned back slightly the
first way facing the hill and fell to the ground.
Bullets were tearing up the ground just above
where my head was and down my right side. I was
terrified, and screamed into the radio. We
survived; Chief’s plan worked. God bless Chief.

When someone asks me how I survived I say I
know there is a God because I can't understand
the times I was almost been killed and Chief
wasn't there:-)

Secondly, Chief handled everything that God
was too busy for at the moment! And, that
was a lot!!

Third, my own instincts, and again, there
was Chief and my own good instincts…which
were constantly honed and corrected by Chief.

Finally, luck....if there is such a thing in war.

On night after Mike 3/9 was gone we had our own
sapper attacks; they must start about 2:30 am
because i'm always awake then and till later...
daylight. Chief and I had the bunker on the
extreme flank. One night the darkness was
pierced by the screams of the two men from
the next bunker. They came running towards
us screaming hysterically ‘The gooks are all
around us ...we’re gonna get killed.’

Chief and I each grabbed one,(I was following
Chief's lead from the first night)and covered
their mouths. I put the flat handle of my K-Bar
against the back of the neck of my man so he
couldn't move. Then I put my K-Bar to his throat.
In his eyes I saw sheer terror that I remember to
this day. I kept looking over my man's shoulder,
and all around me.

Chief whispered 'Shut the fuck up. Get back into
your hole. Keep your head down, and your eyes
and ears open.' And, for good measure, Chief
added 'and don't bring them over here.'

I had also run my knife down the man's throat
to his chest and I gave him a look that was
meant to scare him as much as what had just
terrorized him. I was scared too, but knew
that panic is deadly.

They ran back. We evacuated our bunker;
everyone knew it by then, and Chief said
something to the effect that we could only
use our knives and hand grenades from here
on in. The flash of a rifle would give our
position away.

After a few minutes a sapper made it into
their bunker and began knifing them to keep
them there until his satchel detonated. We
listened to them scream and scream in agony
and terror of their last seconds (6-7) of
their lives…They were fifty feet away…begging
and one cried aloud ‘Oh God’ just before the
explosion. It was awful.

I got over their deaths in a sense. A single tear
rolled down the right side of my face, and both
eyes were wet. But, I shut down every human
emotion and feeling. I was worried that the
sounds might mask someone approaching us. And,
I needed all my instincts unclouded. I was 110%
adrenalin. All they had to do was get within
hand grenade range.

Later that morning my platoon Sgt. said ‘we
got two new men coming in on the copter, and
we don’t want them seeing it (the bunker) like
that. I nodded and took the rags, and went in
to clean it up. My training hadn't taught me
how to clean up the exploded remains of marines...
it was all blood, bits of flesh, bone and whatever.
I almost cracked. It was horrible.

Most of all, God, I didn’t want another Marine
to see me crying…so I stuffed it. At one point
I said to myself 'You can't do this. You can't do
this(cry). So, I stuffed way down, but have cried
many times since leaving that hill.

I have since felt that on the Judgement Day even
if Allah-God himself, and those two men come over
to me and smile and say it's okay now...I feel like
I will always feel like shit for eternity for what
happened that night. I looked at my man so coldly...
as if there was no human emotion within me. And I
know that we had no other choice...and would do it
again in the same circumstances.

The rags were too small, and their blood and
whatever got on my hands, and I ran out of the
bunker and wiped my hands in the dirt. War can
make someone superstitious. Stuff got on my
clothes, hair, and then the rags were soaked...
that's when it got to me, plus it seemed like
I didn't know how to do it...and I just wanted
to be done.

The medivac copter that took me out set down
at another firebase for 10 minutes...and in an
'Irish mist' I sat there counting body bags
stacked like cordwood on the tarmac. I stopped
at 240.

The screams of those two men, and the terror
and pain are with me every day. It never leaves.

I am just giving you this so you know what I
experienced, and why I was not the ordinary
guy with a 9-5, and got down. War is horrible
and criminal. It scars deeply within as surely
as it does on the outside.

But my real purpose is also to tell you of an
incident that preceded all the terror and death
(even before I touched a rifle)...and humanized
my heart and soul. I am speaking of...

'The Girl I met on Christmas Day’ Dan Nang 1968
I landed in Da Nang early on Christmas morning...2-3am.
Later I would fly north to Dong Ha, and then by truck
to Quang Tri to join the 3rd Marines.

We were taken into Da Nang city briefly after being
warned that begging children might steal. We came
upon a group of 30-40 such children.. I had some
money to give and sweets.

At first it felt good to give to people in need,
but I felt bad that they had to beg...why? And
why aren't they being fed by the military (my
first awaking that things weren't right).

Almost all were under 10, but some had
amputations, shrapnel damage and more. Most
were okay, but this was what this hard marine
so eager for combat saw on his first day in
Viet Nam .

But, I felt someone's presence at the back of
the group. I knew she was looking at me, and
when I looked up I saw a lovely girl of between
11-13. She looked right into my eyes (softly)
for a bit, then lowered (bowed) her head. But,
by then she had torn my heart out.

She did not hold her hand out like the others.
I think she felt different...not as young as
the others)...and marred

She raised her head again, made eye contact...
kept it for a bit and lowered her head again.
I waded through the crowd till I stood in front
of her and she raised her head again and we
looked at each other. I took her hand and gave
her whatever money I could get, and disguised
it to seem like I was just giving her sweets.
I didn’t care if I had any money left after
giving to her.

We both nodded to each other, and I know I was
holding back tears. We shared a special and
poignant moment in space and time that I will
never forget.

You see this beautiful Vietnamese girl had no
right eye and, had minimal treatment because
she didn't wear an American uniform! But she
was a beautiful young girl. And, it is that
young girl, and her soulful look, and her
situation that has been with me ever since.

I know she appreciated whatever I gave her,
but it felt inadequate to me.

She was marred; not even a patch, but I could
see the whole her, and my heart ached(s) for
her. Ive' always wondered what became of her?
I would have food, water, medical care, but she?

It is those things-what happens to children,
old people, and especially (young girls and
women, homes, families, villes, cultures,
societies, and also, to other Marines blown
to bits, maimed, traumatized for a fucking
medal that hurts and causes pain most every
day of my life.

Those of us who survived had to fight our
own government for recognition that their
wounds/conditions merited treatment. But,
the children of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq
or any country America wages war upon...
have to fend for theirselves.

But she is 'The Girl I Met on Christmas Day 1968’ '
or 'The Christmas Girl' and she can make me cry
easy...when I think of her.

War is a criminal enterprise!Or, as Major-General
Smedley D. Butler said, 'War is a Racket'.

Vietnam is over there, but the war is truly still
inside, and will be all the days of my life. All
of the hurt you see or feel and suppress at the feel later when you are home...and

By Joe Glenton ´Why I refused to return to fight in Afghanistan's brutal occupation´ Wed. 25 April 2012

Meet Joe Glenton, the firsr British soldier to
refuse to be deployed to Afghanistan. It would
be his second tour.

He spent five months in a military brig for his
right to say no as a Conscientious objection. Such
people show the highest of moral courage.

This is from The Guardian, and the shortened link
is just below.

Why I refused to return to fight in Afghanistan's brutal occupation

The Taliban clearly has broad support from Afghan people. Conscientious objection is a right and obligation in a failed war

By Joe Glenton, Wednesday 25 April 2012 11.30 BST

Recent attacks in Kabul confirm the occupation is falling to pieces. Claims about "decisive years" and "turned corners" are little more than cant. Instead for all their lack of air power, drones and high-tech equipment, the Taliban are gaining ascendancy.

The ability to attack up to seven different locations, to hold one for 20 hours, and to attack the fortified compounds of the occupiers and local supporters cannot sensibly be read as a sign that the insurgency is losing ground. Fighting in Afghanistan is seasonal and the Kabul attacks were the season's opening game.

No insurgency can survive without broad support from the local population. The insurgent relies upon the people for intelligence, support, safety and more. The fact that insurgents now control great swaths of the country virtually unchallenged tells us the people have been lost, partially due to the occupiers' bumbling efforts. The argument that Afghans are rejecting the Taliban falls flat.

Let's not forget there is no mandate in law for aggression nor any mention of – or authority for – brutally occupying Afghanistan in the UN resolutions regarding it. Which is why I refused to serve a second tour in Afghanistan. I was sentenced to five months in military prison for it but other soldiers too have refused and are refusing to serve in Afghanistan – as is their right.

The Daily Mail published an excellent article about an anonymous British major's despair at being deployed into what he – and many soldiers I know – consider a lost cause. They are increasingly unwilling, as the officer said, to die for "a war of choice already lost halfway across the world" For all the clarity of the article, it ends in jingoism: dutifully, he will fight on, the writer asserts.

Yet conscientious objection is a legal and contractual right. In fact, it is more than that – it is a legal and moral obligation. This is why we must not accept the debate about serving in Afghanistan to be to narrowed down to an exchange about a soldier's heroism or cowardice. Instead, I would encourage servicemen to explore their right to refuse, be aware of it and to act upon their conscience. You will find you are not obliged to go; contracts, remember, bind multiple parties, not just one.

Naturally, the military and government will make it hard. Their oft-repeated fear is that if refusing to serve is allowed, "the floodgates will open". They are correct and that is all the more reason to inform servicemen and servicewomen of their rights.

At the same time as the Taliban attacks there has been a rise in atrocities. We have recently seen British soldiers arrested on suspicion of abusing children, as well as the stabbing by a squaddie of a 10-year-old Afghan boy. A multinational operation in all respects, the US has done its share; kill teams, SS flag-waving, photographing bodies, urinating on corpses and the Panjwai massacre carried out, according to the witnesses, by 15 to 20 US troops. When young men are shaped for war and sent to fight there are consequences – even in "just" wars. The training involves two-way dehumanisation – both of our soldiers and of the enemy – as Giles Fraser highlighted lately. These acts are coming thick and fast at the end of a long, dehumanising, failed war. Conscientious objection was a hard road for me, but while I was in military prison I received 200 letters a day, which helped. As did the support of my fellow soldiers.

Those sending our young men and women to die or be mutilated for nothing have no authority to say what is honourable, courageous, heroic, or cowardly. You can volunteer, and you can un-volunteer. It's in the contract. Then perhaps our cynical, diamante-poppy-wearing political class will stop using the last dead kid to justify the next dead kid – insisting we must fight on so they have not died in vain. By refusing, I clawed back some honour from an honourless war.

• This article was amended on 25 April 2012. It originally referred to soldiers recently having been convicted for raping children. This was incorrect, but two soldiers have recently been arrested on suspicion of abusing children. This has now been corrected

´Corkonians stay close to home´ and why not.It´s a great city

This appeared in the Irish Examiner (shortened
link below) on Friday, 27, April 2012.

Having lived in Cork for 10 years i´d give
Cork a 100% as a place to be. Galway was
always my favourite.

Corkonians stay close to home

By Conall Ó Fátharta
Friday, April 27, 2012
True to the stereotype, Cork people really do feel that a day living outside the Rebel County is a day wasted.

According to the Census 2011 results, almost 75% of people in Cork City were born in the county, making it the city with the highest percentage of residents born in the county in which they live. Cork had the lowest proportion of residents born outside the county, with 25%; 10.1% born in another county and 15% born abroad.

More Bad Apples? Wasted Drunk U.S. Marines Fighting! Video

The Marines were filmed by a corpsman...I believe.

They had been holed up on a ship, and finally given five hours to go into town (a small one) to do what Marines do as I did in Yokosuka, Japan...go to art museums, operas, plays and theatre performances. You know things to broaden their cultural horizons:-

See ( Mimi and Yokosuka 1969 )

No, not really. It was to get rip
roaring drunk and into fights...and
maybe ´get laid´, but on $400 monthly...
that didn´t go far, unless you met
someone steady...and then you better
not get caught if you tried to step out.

But, I was shocked by the brutality and
violence towards each other. Not that it
didn´t happen when I was a Marine...but
this is far different...?

More Bad Apples?
Wasted Drunk U.S. Marines Fighting!


Posted April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WAR IS A RACKET the cost of war...Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds.

Nobody told it like Smedley Butler, and I
think that this is the best...the cost to
the combatants, their families and a nation

by Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Major General Smedley D. Butler - USMC Retired

And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations

WAR IS A RACKET excerpts

by Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Major General Smedley D. Butler - USMC Retired

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?

Some quotes by Major General Smedley D. Butler on war being a Racket

"I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher- ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service." :

"I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher- ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service." : General Smedley Butler. USMC (Ret.)

A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame´ By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF 14 April 2012

This is an article by Nicholas D. Kristof,
an Op-Ed columnist of the New York Times.
It talks of a mother´s heartbreak from
seeing her son come back from war...hollowed
out as it were, and eventually taking his own life.

His brother stuggles as well.

Who kills these soldiers? The president and politicians,
and mostly the generals and admirals...the Pentagon brass
and military contractors who profit of of war!!

shortened link below

A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame

Published: April 14, 2012
HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

These unnoticed killing fields are places like New Middletown, Ohio, where Cheryl DeBow raised two sons, Michael and Ryan Yurchison, and saw them depart for Iraq. Michael, then 22, signed up soon after the 9/11 attacks.

“I can’t just sit back and do nothing,” he told his mom. Two years later, Ryan followed his beloved older brother to the Army.

When Michael was discharged, DeBow picked him up at the airport — and was staggered. “When he got off the plane and I picked him up, it was like he was an empty shell,” she told me. “His body was shaking.” Michael began drinking and abusing drugs, his mother says, and he terrified her by buying the same kind of gun he had carried in Iraq. “He said he slept with his gun over there, and he needed it here,” she recalls.
hen Ryan returned home in 2007, and he too began to show signs of severe strain. He couldn’t sleep, abused drugs and alcohol, and suffered extreme jitters.

“He was so anxious, he couldn’t stand to sit next to you and hear you breathe,” DeBow remembers. A talented filmmaker, Ryan turned the lens on himself to record heartbreaking video of his own sleeplessness, his own irrational behavior — even his own mock suicide.

One reason for veteran suicides (and crimes, which get far more attention) may be post-traumatic stress disorder, along with a related condition, traumatic brain injury. Ryan suffered a concussion in an explosion in Iraq, and Michael finally had traumatic brain injury diagnosed two months ago.

Estimates of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury vary widely, but a ballpark figure is that the problems afflict at least one in five veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. One study found that by their third or fourth tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, more than one-quarter of soldiers had such mental health problems.

Preliminary figures suggest that being a veteran now roughly doubles one’s risk of suicide. For young men ages 17 to 24, being a veteran almost quadruples the risk of suicide, according to a study in The American Journal of Public Health.

Michael and Ryan, like so many other veterans, sought help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Eric Shinseki, the secretary of veterans affairs, declined to speak to me, but the most common view among those I interviewed was that the V.A. has improved but still doesn’t do nearly enough about the suicide problem.

“It’s an epidemic that is not being addressed fully,” said Bob Filner, a Democratic congressman from San Diego and the senior Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “We could be doing so much more.”

To its credit, the V.A. has established a suicide hotline and appointed suicide-prevention coordinators. It is also chipping away at a warrior culture in which mental health concerns are considered sissy. Still, veterans routinely slip through the cracks. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals in San Francisco excoriated the V.A. for “unchecked incompetence” in dealing with veterans’ mental health.

Patrick Bellon, head of Veterans for Common Sense, which filed the suit in that case, says the V.A. has genuinely improved but is still struggling. “There are going to be one million new veterans in the next five years,” he said. “They’re already having trouble coping with the population they have now, so I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

Last month, the V.A.’s own inspector general reported on a 26-year-old veteran who was found wandering naked through traffic in California. The police tried to get care for him, but a V.A. hospital reportedly said it couldn’t accept him until morning. The young man didn’t go in, and after a series of other missed opportunities to get treatment, he stepped in front of a train and killed himself.

Likewise, neither Michael nor Ryan received much help from V.A. hospitals. In early 2010, Ryan began to talk more about suicide, and DeBow rushed him to emergency rooms and pleaded with the V.A. for help. She says she was told that an inpatient treatment program had a six-month waiting list. (The V.A. says it has no record of a request for hospitalization for Ryan.)

“Ryan was hurting, saying he was going to end it all, stuff like that,” recalls his best friend, Steve Schaeffer, who served with him in Iraq and says he has likewise struggled with the V.A. to get mental health services. “Getting an appointment is like pulling teeth,” he said. “You get an appointment in six weeks when you need it today.”

While Ryan was waiting for a spot in the addiction program, in May 2010, he died of a drug overdose. It was listed as an accidental death, but family and friends are convinced it was suicide.

The heartbreak of Ryan’s death added to his brother’s despair, but DeBow says Michael is now making slow progress. “He is able to get out of bed most mornings,” she told me. “That is a huge improvement.” Michael asked not to be interviewed: he wants to look forward, not back.

As for DeBow, every day is a struggle. She sent two strong, healthy men to serve her country, and now her family has been hollowed in ways that aren’t as tidy, as honored, or as easy to explain as when the battle wounds are physical. I wanted to make sure that her family would be comfortable with the spotlight this article would bring, so I asked her why she was speaking out.

“When Ryan joined the Army, he was willing to sacrifice his life for his country,” she said. “And he did, just in a different way, without the glory. He would want it this way.”

“My home has been a nightmare,” DeBow added through tears, recounting how three of Ryan’s friends in the military have killed themselves since their return. “You hear my story, but it’s happening everywhere.”

We refurbish tanks after time in combat, but don’t much help men and women exorcise the demons of war. Presidents commit troops to distant battlefields, but don’t commit enough dollars to veterans’ services afterward. We enlist soldiers to protect us, but when they come home we don’t protect them.

Things need to change,” DeBow said, and her voice broke as she added: “These are guys who went through so much. If anybody deserves help, it’s them.”

I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook and Google+, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

US veterans want to deal with Vietnam War aftermath

This is the full article from It´s about
Vietnam veterans wanting to help with the effects of the

I would love to visit Cam Lo and do something positive...
for I was there for two months +. It feels important
to me to help repair.

Last update 19/04/2012 02:04:51 PM (GMT+7)

US veterans want to deal with Vietnam War aftermath

Last update 19/04/2012 02:04:51 PM (GMT+7)

US veterans want to deal with Vietnam War aftermath

VietNamNet Bridge – A 15-member delegation of the Veterans for Peace (VFP) led by chairman of its chapter 160, Suel D.Jone, is visiting Vietnam from April 17 to May 1.

At a meeting in Hanoi on April 18, Vice chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), Nguyen Van Kien expressed his hope that the VFP will further cooperate with the VUFO and the Vietnam-US Association in promoting the friendship between the two countries and dealing with humanitarian and other post-war issues.

Suel said the visit provided a good chance for VFP members to return to Vietnam to see drastic changes in the country.

Some war veterans said they are very happy and willing to contribute to dealing with issues related to Agent Orange (AO) and unexplored ordnance victims.

During their stay in Vietnam, the delegation will work with the Associations for Victims of AO/dioxin in Hanoi, Danang, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces and meet with Vietnam war veterans in Ho Chi Minh City.

VietNamNet Bridge – A 15-member delegation of the Veterans for Peace (VFP) led by chairman of its chapter 160, Suel D.Jone, is visiting Vietnam from April 17 to May 1.

At a meeting in Hanoi on April 18, Vice chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), Nguyen Van Kien expressed his hope that the VFP will further cooperate with the VUFO and the Vietnam-US Association in promoting the friendship between the two countries and dealing with humanitarian and other post-war issues.

Suel said the visit provided a good chance for VFP members to return to Vietnam to see drastic changes in the country.

Some war veterans said they are very happy and willing to contribute to dealing with issues related to Agent Orange (AO) and unexplored ordnance victims.

During their stay in Vietnam, the delegation will work with the Associations for Victims of AO/dioxin in Hanoi, Danang, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces and meet with Vietnam war veterans in Ho Chi Minh City.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

´The Killers All Around Us´ By Dave Lindorff April 10, 2012

Message flagged Tuesday, 10 April 2012, 23:42:50

The Killers All Around Us

By Dave Lindorff
April 10, 2012 "Information Clearing House" --- I've often wondered why so many innocent people who are shot by police end up dead.

Granted that police officers spend a fair amount of time training with their service revolvers, and are thus likely to be better shots with a pistol than your average gun-owner. But even so, in so many cases where some unarmed person is shot by police, the result is death, and it makes you wonder how cops, often in the dark and on the run, manage with their notoriously hard-to-aim pistols to hit a vital organ with such depressing regularity.

The answer, I've learned, is that police in most jurisdictions these days routinely use hollow-point bullets, which are designed to do maximum damage to soft tissue targets. Because the tip of the projectile is composed of hollowed-out lead, it flattens on impact and spreads out, vastly enlarging the hole made upon entry into a body, causing catastrophic damage to vital organs, internal bleeding and wounds that are hard to repair even in an emergency room.

Just recently, as reported below, we learned that the Department of Homeland Security, a super-agency established by Congress and the Bush-Cheney administration in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, had ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow-point ammo, which will reportedly be used at a rate of 90 million shells a year over the five-year life of the contract. (That represents one bullet for every American citizen over the course of the next four years!)

The Department of Homeland Security told TCBH! that it has 135,000 personnel who are licensed to carry a weapon. That means the DHS is buying 667 bullets a year for every one of those people. Let's say that each of those people runs through three gross of shells in annual training at a shooting range, which would represent a fair amount of target practice. That would still leave them with 235 deadly shells left to account for -- and remember -- this being the government, most of those licensed fire-arm carrying people are working desk jobs where most of their shooting involves their mouths or balled up paper fired at wastebaskets.

The justification given by the DHS and also by local police departments like the Philadelphia Police and the New York City Police for issuing law-enforcement personnel deadly hollow-point ammo is that it is "less likely" to cause collateral damage. That is, a hollow-point bullet, because it expends its energy by expanding and ripping its way through a body, is less likely to pass through an intended target and, perhaps, wound an innocent bystander. The less-discussed purpose, though, is that police want to do the maximum damage to a perp when they decide they need to shoot. Arguably that makes sense. Police are not supposed to shoot people unless they feel personally at risk or think others are in danger, and then the goal is to shoot to kill, not to wound.

The trouble, of course, is that police aren't all that great at knowing when a fleeing person is guilty of a crime, or even armed, or even whether the target might be a kid with a toy gun, and when a hollow-point bullet hits an innocent target, as was the case with the bullet fired by an off-duty Chicago cop into the head of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old woman standing in a group of men the cop thought were being too noisy, she didn't have a chance of survival. His hollow-point shell, fired wildly, instantly destroyed her brain.

There's a reason that the US military is banned from using hollow-point bullets in war. Hollow-point bullets do incredible damage, cause more pain and suffering, and make it far less likely that a person who is wounded will survive, much less recover. This ban was put in place in the Hague Convention of 1899, making it one of the first rules of war aimed at limiting the atrocities of combat. (Ironically, the US military does allow hollow point bullets to be used by military police, just not for shooting at enemy combatants.)

This huge order by the Department of Homeland Security raises a number of questions that should be getting asked, but so far are not.

First of all, why does the DHS need so much deadly ammo? Are they anticipating a mass surge over the Mexican or Canadian border that would require ICE agents to slaughter the masses "yearning to breathe free"? Are there so many terror cells in America that they feel they need to be ready for a mass extermination campaign? Or are they worried that eventually the quiescent and submissive US population will finally decide it's had it with the crooked banks and insurance companies, and are going to start taking the law into their own hands, so that the government will have to institute martial law and start gunning down masses of citizens?

If not any of the above, it seems to me that the order for 450 million rounds of ammunition, hollow-point or not, is pretty wildly excessive.

But secondly, I'd suggest we need to rethink this domestic obsession with killing. In the U.K., police are not routinely issued hollow-point rounds. Many other foreign police agencies also do not use them. Here in the US though, they are standard-issue for cops on the beat.

We need to have a national discussion about this American obsession with officially sanctioned killing. Sure cops need to defend themselves against criminals who would try and injure or kill them, but given both the potential for killing the wrong person or someone who is being falsely pursued -- for example someone who thinks a plainclothes officer is actually a criminal -- and the near certainty that the target of a police shooter will be horribly injured if he or she doesn't die -- do we really want to have police using bullets that soldiers are barred from using in combat?

Finally, when it comes to Homeland Security, the situation is really different. Most of the gun-toting officers working for Homeland Security are not in the business of chasing down vicious killers. They are ICE officers who are going after border crossers, TSA personnel who are patting down air travelers, and the Federal Protective Service, who are really glorified building guards tasked with protecting federal property.

The work these armed personnel do can on occasion be dangerous, I'll grant, but for the most part their work does not require killing people or dodging bullets. Do we really want them shooting to kill with hollow-point bullets?

The question about hollow-point bullet use by police, and especially federal agents, becomes more critical as we see the nation becoming increasingly brutal totalitarian in its handling of dissent and protest. As University of Alabama law professor Ronald J. Krotosznski Jr. wrote in an op-ed article in the New York times yesterday, police and federal authorities are making plans to essentially crush protests planned for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this summer. Inevitably, of course, there will be protesters who will not take such repression lightly, and who will resist -- perhaps with some degree of violence (fists, kicks, tossing back of tear-gas canisters, and perhaps even rocks, though on the basis of past evidence, probably not guns or other deadly weapons). Do we want such justifiably outraged citizens, who are simply reacting appropriately to the shredding of their First Amendment right to protest and to petition for redress, to be blown away by police firing hollow-point bullets?

Those who answer Yes! have basically abandoned their country and handed it over to the fascists and crypto -fascists who have been gradually dismantling the Constitution. Those who answer No!need to demand that this obsession with up-arming the nation's police be halted in its tracks.

David Plimpton Lindorff, an occasional contributor to

Protecting Face-to-Face Protest By RONALD J. KROTOSZYNSKI JR.

Yet if democracy is to function properly, the ability
of ordinary citizens to petition their government — directly
and in person, if they choose — is essential.

This is an excellent article that talks about´the Right of Petition
going back to the time when citizens met their leader--the King of
England on his throne and presented their petitions for redress.

Also the chilling effect that the warding off of demonstrators
from presenting their petitions would´ve had on the Civil Rights
Movement. Now greater police forces are being brought to bear
under the name of "Security" to bar the right of the people to
exercise their First Admendment rights.

Op-Ed Contributor

Protecting Face-to-Face Protest

Published: April 8, 2012

Tuscaloosa, Ala.EVERY four years, we witness the spectacle of the presidential nominating conventions. And every four years, host cities, party leaders and police officials devise ever more creative ways of distancing protesters from the politicians, delegates and journalists attending these stage-managed affairs.

The goal is to trivialize and isolate dissenting speech without actually banning protest outright. One result is something of a Potemkin village: government proclaims its full commitment to respecting the First Amendment without actually permitting any observable dissent to take place near the convention.

Tampa, Fla. , which will host the Republicans from Aug. 27 to 30, and Charlotte , N.C. , which will host the Democrats from Sept. 3 to 7, are already following the trend. Charlotte has adopted an ordinance that expands the power of the local police to detain, search and arrest persons in its downtown core. (The Charlotte ordinance also bans camping on city-owned property, a clear response to the Occupy movement.) Tampa is also considering new municipal laws to limit, and in some instances flatly prohibit, downtown protest activity.

Citizens generally have a right to use public streets, sidewalks and parks for expressive activity — unless the government has a substantial reason for requiring expressive activity to take place somewhere else or at another time. Because the rights of speech, assembly and association do not include a right to communicate a particular message to a particular audience, the government’s willingness to let would-be protesters speak somewhere else, some other time, has usually been seen by courts as satisfying the First Amendment.

No reasonable person could argue that local officials or federal courts should ignore the genuine imperatives of security. In the post-9/11 world, and only a year after a gunman killed six people and critically wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona during an outdoor public meeting in Tucson , it might seem naïve to suggest that ordinary members of the public should have a right to communicate directly with elected government officials. Yet if democracy is to function properly, the ability of ordinary citizens to petition their government — directly and in person, if they choose — is essential.

Although virtually ignored today, a right to petition is part of the First Amendment, and the Constitution does not leave it to the government to decide who should have access to it.

The historical model of petitioning, going back to medieval England , literally involved laying a petition at the foot of the throne — while the king was sitting on it. The presentation of petitions has deep roots in American political culture. Quaker abolitionists used mass petitioning campaigns to advocate an end to the slave trade in the 1790s and the American Anti-Slavery Society renewed such efforts with similar campaigns in the 1830s and ’40s. Female suffragists embraced petitioning — as did Native Americans and veterans in later decades.

The 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery , organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, included a petition seeking protection of political and civil rights for Alabama ’s black citizens. It was to be delivered to Gov. George C. Wallace after a rally at the State Capitol. (Although Mr. Wallace declined to receive the petition then, he did so about a week later, after meeting with a delegation of S.C.L.C. representatives.)

What would have happened if Alabama , invoking “security concerns,” had banished the Selma march and rally to a fairgrounds miles away from downtown Montgomery ? The answer should be obvious.

The images of the conclusion of the march, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s renowned “How Long?” address, provoked a national debate that helped ensure passage of the Voting Rights Act. This demonstrates the potential power of petitioning speech. The juxtaposition of petitioners confronting government and its officers — through the media — helps to facilitate a dialogue that engages the entire political community.

In the post-9/11 era, security has too often been an empty pretext for placing dissent out of eyesight and earshot. The manual for advance teams used during George W. Bush’s presidency designated protesters as a potential “security threat” if they were within the sight or hearing of the president — or the journalists covering his event. The manual instructed that demonstrators were to be relocated to a designated protest area not visible to journalists. (“If it is determined that the media will not see or hear them and that they pose no potential disruption to the event, they can be ignored,” the manual stated.)

Surely whatever bona fide security risk exists when people stand near a presidential motorcade route or outside a place where the president will speak is not a function of what their message is. (To be clear, policies seeking to marginalize dissent do not have a partisan cast. Under the Obama administration, would-be protesters in Manhattan and Austin , Tex. , have been prevented — on pain of arrest — from demonstrating near presidential events.)

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has not accorded the Petition Clause much legal significance. When litigants have pressed Petition Clause claims, the justices have noted that all First Amendment rights are “cut from the same cloth” and thus “are inseparable.” However, in Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri, a Petition Clause case decided last year, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that there could be cases “where the special concerns of the Petition Clause would provide a sound basis for a distinct analysis” and where the rights of petition and free speech “might differ in emphasis and formulation.”

This suggests that the court could be sympathetic to carefully devised arguments focused on the right to petition. Officials in Charlotte and Tampa should not reflexively equate dissent with criminality (or domestic terrorism), nor should they have to be sued to do the right thing.

By adopting more narrowly tailored regulations, law enforcement officials could better reconcile security concerns with the right to petition. In exchange for giving protesters proximity to politicians, for example, city officials might require airport-style screening of would-be protesters, or limits on the total number of demonstrators permitted within a secured zone. They should facilitate, rather than inhibit, media coverage of protests.

Although the Petition Clause does not guarantee unconditional access to the government and its officers, it should secure a right of reasonable access.

Ronald J. Krotoszynski Jr., a professor of law at the University of Alabama, is the author of “Reclaiming the Petition Clause: Seditious Libel, ‘Offensive’ Protest, and the Right to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

U.S. military sales to foreign nations doubles´ Dayton Business Journal by Joe Cogliano Sat. 28 Jan. 2012

I guess you could say "We´re No. 1"

U.S. military sales to foreign nations doubles

Dayton Business Journal by Joe Cogliano, Senior Reporter

Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012,

Sales of military weapons to foreign countries have risen dramatically in the most recent four-year period, with sales to top 10 buyers more than doubling from the previous period.

The 10 contries that bought the most U.S. military goods and services from 2007 to 2010 placed combined orders of $66.3 billion, up from $29.4 billion in the 2003 to 2006 periods, according to data from the Congressional Research Service.

While the total sales are increasing, the mix of countries buying the most from the U.S. also is changing, with long-time allies Poland, Japan and Israel being replaced on the Top 10 list by a slew of Middle East nations. Countries from the Middle East now make up the largest chunk of the top buyers, and includes Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey.

During roughly the same period, the U.S. was the top exporter of arms, selling almost a third of the military hardware that changed hands across the world.

Click here for slideshow of Top 10 foreign buyers of U.S. weapons.

Click here for slideshow of Top 20 global arms exporters.

The surge in arms sales to the Middle East comes amid the backdrop of failed negotiations aimed at stopping Iran from continuing its nuclear program. Most western nations believe Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, whereas officials in Tehran have insisted their nuclear program is for domestic energy and medical research purposes only.

The overall growth in foreign military sales comes at a good time for domestic defense companies as U.S. military cuts are looming.

"It allows the continuation of production capability and advancement of technology that, in many ways to a degree, insulates the defense industry from ups and downs," said Joe Zeis, vice president and chief strategist for the Dayton Development Coalition Dayton Development Coalition Latest from The Business Journals Photos: Dayton's 20 By 20 Internship FairDBJ selects 2012 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame honoreesDBJ names 2012 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame honorees Follow this company . "That's important for our national industrial infrastructure."

At the end of December, the U.S. confirmed it would sell 84 Boeing F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia for $30 billion. The White House said the deal would support more than 50,000 U.S. jobs. While it is unclear as to how many of those jobs are located in the Dayton area, Boeing has a big impact in the Dayton region, where it has 23 different suppliers based on its 2010 annual report. The aerospace giant has roughly 500 suppliers in Ohio and spent more than $4.7 billion in purchases from Ohio companies in 2010, supporting an estimated 150,000 jobs in the state. Boeing, which has an office in Dayton, has 600 employees in Ohio and more than 6,600 retirees.

In late 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it had notified Congress of the multi-year deal to sell more than $60 billion in aircraft and weapons systems to Saudi Arabia. The sale to Saudi Arabia's government would include 84 F-15SA aircraft, a variety of helicopters, engines, missiles, bombs, radar and other systems.

And reports say tensions with Iran have sparked other foreign military sales such as a recent $3.5 billion advanced antimissile interception system to the United Arab Emirates and a $1.7 billion deal to upgrade Saudi Arabia's Patriot antimissile missiles. Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. Raytheon Co. Latest from The Business Journals Raytheon gets 7M missile contractUnmanned aircraft test site could land in ArizonaDreamliner design also will add life to 737s, other Boeing planes Follow this company are involved on providing the components for those deals, according to Reuters. Lockheed also has deals worth more than $1.4 billion to sell F-16 fighter jets to Oman and Iraq, and Boeing makes the new bunker-busting bombs the U.S. is selling to the United Arab Emirates.

Reuters also reports that Israel is going to be the first nation to buy the modern F-35 Joint Strike Fighter developed by Lockheed, Northrop Grumman Corp. Northrop Grumman Corp. Latest from The Business Journals Decline in government spending offers opportunities for mid-size contractorsWashington Capitals score charity pointsUnmanned aircraft test site could land in Arizona Follow this company and BAE Systems, all three of which have operations in the Dayton region.

Many of the sales of jet aircraft will have a direct impact on Dayton through GE Aviation's facilities in the region that make parts for jet engines. GE Aviation, a unit of General Electic, has roughly 3,500 employees in the Dayton region and southwest Ohio, including a manufacturing plant in Beavercreek that employs more than 300 workers and makes tubes, ducts and manifolds for jet engines.

The Top 25 largest defense contractors account for 4,200 Dayton-area employees and more than $900 million in combined local DoD contract awards in the most recent year, according to the Dayton Business Journal's Book of Lists.

As more nations line up to buy high-tech weapons from the U.S., it also provides a boost to operations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Latest from The Business Journals Follow this company in Dayton. Wright-Patt is host to the Air Force Security Assistance Center, or AFSAC, which employs more than 500 to facilitate aircraft sales to allied countries.

Here's how AFSAC works:

An allied country submits a request for an aircraft to a diplomat, the White House, directly to the U.S. Air Force or by other avenues and that request eventually ends up at AFSAC. The Air Force decides if it wants comply with the aircraft request and then figures out where to get it.

AFSAC then works to determine a cost, whether excess aircraft exist or if a purchase order will be made with a manufacturer, such as Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. From there, the center's officials contact the country and work out a purchase plan. Following the deal, AFSAC also can manage maintenance and parts supply for the aircraft.

The center also makes sure everyone is playing by the rules, such as following the Arms Export Control Act, which requires weapons from the United States be used only for legitimate self-defense. Officials say the entire operation works with allied security in mind and the U.S. does not profit from the venture.

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Obama administration approved $40billion in private arms sales to countries including Libya and Egypt

This is from the Daily Mail (UK) 12 March 2011.
I´m researching U.S. arms sales.
The only part of the US economy that´s booming

Obama administration approved $40billion in private arms sales to countries including Libya and Egypt

America's hottest export: Weapons - Full version

Links below to weapon we don´t hear much about
By Mina Kimes, writerFebruary 24, 2011: 3:02 PM ET

America's hottest export: Weapons - Full version

Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb, which is used to target surface threats and is used by 26 countries