May 2008


 Image made from television on Nov. 13, 2005, Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi opens her jacket and shows an explosive belt as she confesses on Jordanian state-run television to her failed bid to set off an explosives belt inside one of the three Amman hotels targeted by al-Qaida. Women Muslim have posted Internet messages in recent weeks expressing frustration with the al-Qaida No. 2 leader’s refusal to give them a larger role in terror attacks

CAIRO, Egypt—Muslim extremist women are challenging al-Qaida’s refusal to include—or at least acknowledge—women in its ranks, in an emotional debate that gives rare insight into the gender conflicts lurking beneath one of the strictest strains of Islam.

In response to a female questioner, al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman Al-Zawahri said in April that the terrorist group does not have women. A woman’s role, he said on the Internet audio recording, is limited to caring for the homes and children of al-Qaida fighters.

His remarks have since prompted an outcry from fundamentalist women, who are fighting or pleading for the right to be terrorists. The statements have also created some confusion, because in fact suicide bombings by women seem to be on the rise, at least within the Iraq branch of al-Qaida.

A’eeda Dahsheh is a Palestinian mother of four in Lebanon who said she supports al-Zawahri and has chosen to raise children at home as her form of jihad. However, she said, she also supports any woman who chooses instead to take part in terror attacks.

Another woman signed a more than 2,000-word essay of protest online as Rabeebat al-Silah, Arabic for "Companion of Weapons."

"How many times have I wished I were a man … When Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri said there are no women in al-Qaida, he saddened and hurt me," wrote "Companion of Weapons," who said she listened to the speech 10 times. "I felt that my heart was about to explode in my chest…I am powerless."

Such postings have appeared anonymously on discussion forums of Web sites that host videos from top al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. While the most popular site requires names and passwords, many people use only nicknames, making their identities and locations impossible to verify.

However, groups that monitor such sites say the postings appear credible because of the knowledge and passion they betray. Many appear to represent computer-literate women arguing in the most modern of venues—the Internet—for rights within a feudal version of Islam.

"Women were very disappointed because what al-Zawahri said is not what’s happening today in the Middle East, especially in Iraq or in Palestinian groups," said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors militant Web sites. "Suicide operations are being carried out by women, who play an important role in jihad."

It’s not clear how far women play a role in al-Qaida because of the group’s amorphous nature.

Terrorism experts believe there are no women in the core leadership ranks around bin Laden and al-Zawahri. But beyond that core, al-Qaida is really a movement with loosely linked offshoots in various countries and sympathizers who may not play a direct role. Women are clearly among these sympathizers, and some are part of the offshoot groups.

In the Iraq branch, for example, women have carried out or attempted at least 20 suicide bombings since 2003. Al-Qaida members suspected of training women to use suicide belts were captured in Iraq at least three times last year, the U.S. military has said.

Hamas, another militant group, is open about using women fighters and disagrees with al-Qaida’s stated stance. At least 11 Palestinian women have launched suicide attacks in recent years.

"A lot of the girls I speak to … want to carry weapons. They live with this great frustration and oppression," said Huda Naim, a prominent women’s leader, Hamas member and Palestinian lawmaker in Gaza. "We don’t have a special militant wing for women … but that doesn’t mean that we strip women of the right to go to jihad."

Al-Zawahri’s remarks show the fine line al-Qaida walks in terms of public relations. In a modern Arab world where women work even in some conservative countries, al-Qaida’s attitude could hurt its efforts to win over the public at large. On the other hand, noted SITE director Katz, al-Zawahri has to consider that many al-Qaida supporters, such as the Taliban, do not believe women should play a military role in jihad.

Al-Zawahri’s comments came in a two-hour audio recording posted on an Islamic militant Web site, where he answered hundreds of questions sent in by al-Qaida sympathizers. He praised the wives of mujahedeen, or holy warriors. He also said a Muslim woman should "be ready for any service the mujahedeen need from her," but advised against traveling to a war front like Afghanistan without a male guardian.

Al-Zawahri’s stance might stem from personal history, as well as religious beliefs. His first wife and at least two of their six children were killed in a U.S. airstrike in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar in 2001. He later accused the U.S. of intentionally targeting women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I say to you … (I have) tasted the bitterness of American brutality: my favorite wife’s chest was crushed by a concrete ceiling," he wrote in a 2005 letter.

Al-Zawahri’s question-and-answer campaign is one sign of al-Qaida’s sophistication in using the Web to keep in touch with its popular base, even while its leaders remain in hiding. However, the Internet has also given those disenfranchised by al-Qaida—in this case, women—a voice they never had before.

The Internet is the only "breathing space" for women who are often shrouded in black veils and confined to their homes, "Ossama2001" wrote. She said al-Zawahri’s words "opened old wounds" and pleaded with God to liberate women so they can participate in holy war.

Another woman, Umm Farouq, or mother of Farouq, wrote: "I use my pen and words, my honest emotions … Jihad is not exclusive to men."

Such women are al-Qaida sympathizers who would not feel comfortable expressing themselves with men or others outside their circles, said Dia’a Rashwan, an expert on terrorism and Islamic movements at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.

"The Internet gives them the ideal place to write their ideas, while they’re hidden far from the world," he said.

Men have also responded to al-Zawahri’s remarks. One male Internet poster named Hassan al-Saif asked: "Does our sheik mean that there is no need to use women in our current jihad? Why can we not use them?"

He was in the minority. Dozens of postings were signed by men who agreed with al-Zawahri that women should stick to supporting men and raising children according to militant Islam.

Women bent on becoming militants have at least one place to turn to. A niche magazine called "al-Khansaa"—named for a female poet in pre-Islamic Arabia who wrote lamentations for two brothers killed in battle—has popped up online. The magazine is published by a group that calls itself the "women’s information office in the Arab peninsula," and its contents include articles on women’s terrorist training camps, according to SITE.

Its first issue, with a hot pink cover and gold embossed lettering, appeared in August 2004 with the lead article "Biography of the Female Mujahedeen."

The article read:

"We will stand, covered by our veils and wrapped in our robes, weapons in hand, our children in our laps, with the Quran and the Sunna (sayings) of the Prophet of Allah directing and guiding us."

Source

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Eduardo Raul Morales-Soriano

A Howard County Circuit Court judge this week sentenced a 27-year-old illegal immigrant to 10 years in prison for his role in an auto collision that killed an Iraq war veteran and his date on Thanksgiving in 2006.

On May 28, Eduardo Raul Morales-Soriano, 27, formerly of Laurel, pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent manslaughter by automobile.

Judge Louis Becker found Morales-Soriano guilty of the two counts and sentenced him to 10 years on each, suspending the term on one of the counts.

Morales-Soriano agreed to plead guilty to two counts of negligent manslaughter by automobile last September in return for Howard prosecutors asking for a sentence of no more than eight years in prison. Circuit Court Judge Lenore Gelfman, however, ruled the deal inadequate at Morales-Soriano’s sentencing hearing in January and ordered him to stand trial.

The May 28 sentencing, which also came out of a plea bargain, was the result of that order.

Thanksgiving crash

The collision occurred at about 10:20 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2006 — Thanksgiving night — when Morales-Soriano crashed his Nissan Sentra into a Toyota Corolla that was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Route 175 and Route 108, in east Columbia, Howard County police said.

The occupants of the Corolla, Marine Cpl. Brian Mathews, 21, of Columbia, and Jennifer Bower, 24, of Montgomery County, later died as a result of the collision.

Mathews was home on leave at the time. He had served in Iraq from September 2004 to April 2005.

Morales-Soriano registered a blood alcohol level four times greater than the legal limit of .08, according to police. The native of Mexico was in the country illegally at the time, said Wayne Kirwan, a spokesman for Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino.

On May 14, Howard prosecutor Danielle Duclaux and Bradley Goldbloom, Morales-Soriano’s attorney, agreed to a plea deal that would allow Becker more latitude in sentencing Morales-Soriano than did the September 2007 deal, Duclaux said.

At Morales-Soriano’s sentencing May 28, Duclaux asked Becker to sentence Morales-Soriano to 20 years in prison, noting the defendant’s high blood-alcohol level at the time of the collision.

Goldbloom asked Becker to consider a sentence of no more than eight years, stating that his client had a high tolerance for alcohol and that the case had been unfairly characterized in media reports as "the illegal immigrant vs. the American hero."

In handing down his sentence, Becker said that Morales-Soriano’s high blood-alcohol content and the fact that he was in the country illegally were relevant.

"This court cannot ignore that the defendant has violated the law by his unauthorized presence," Becker said.

Following the sentencing, William Mathews, Brian Mathews’ father, called Becker’s suspension of the second 10 year-sentence "farcical," adding that he did not feel the verdict represented justice for his son.

"There is no winning here," he said.

Morales-Soriano’s family declined comment.

Goldbloom said he was disappointed in the sentence but that he expected it, adding that his client continued to feel remorse for the collision.

Broccolino said he was not pleased with the verdict, but that no verdict would represent justice in the case.

"You can’t resurrect somebody," Broccolino said. "That would be justice,"

Source

"Goldbloom asked Becker to consider a sentence of no more than eight years, stating that his client had a high tolerance for alcohol and that the case had been unfairly characterized in media reports as "the illegal immigrant vs. the American hero."

What in the fuck is it going to take before we U.S. Nationalists say Enough!

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Skip Rollins

CORNISH, N.H. — The father of a soldier killed in Iraq said a group in Cornish disrespected his son’s memory when it used his son’s name in a public display.

The group Cornish Women for Peace labeled about two dozen pairs of boots with the names of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan and displayed them in town. One of the boots bore the name of Justin Rollins, 22, who died in Iraq last year. "These boots are a disgrace to the uniform that he wore while he served his country," said his father, Skip Rollins. The boots were initially set up in town offices. Group members said they didn’t mean any disrespect. "There’s no intent at all of making it anything political," said Ginny Wood of Cornish Women for Peace. "It was all to honor those who died." Some town selectmen said they also felt that it shouldnot be political. "People should be cognizant of families’ losses and of the nation’s loss," Selectwoman Merilynn Bourne said. When Skip Rollins learned that boots with his son’s name would be placed at the town’s Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, he spoke up. "I should not have to ask these antiwar people to have my son’s name removed from the boots each and every time they have a display going out there," he said. The board of selectmen on Friday decided not to bring the boots to the ceremony. "If the boots were going to become a political tool for one side or the other, we decided it was in the best interest of the town, our children and the people we’re memorializing to leave the boots out of it," Bourne said. Skip Rollins said he removed the label that bore his son’s name and six other labels other New Hampshire families he said felt the same way.

One of the women in the group said she realizes the memorial might make some people upset, but she said the group is thinking about family members and the soldiers.

Source

 By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD — Last week, Iraq experienced the lowest level of “security incidents” since March 2004, a reduction that military officials attribute in part to improvements in Iraqi security forces.

“The collective efforts … to increase the capacity of the Iraqi security forces is a key part of the reason why we saw last week the lowest level of security incidents in Iraq the past four years,” Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said May 28 during a news conference in Baghdad.

“It is also why we are seeing Iraqi citizens increasingly supporting their security forces by calling in tips on criminal activity and illegal weapons,” Bergner continued. “And it is why we are seeing the Iraqi security forces conducting effective operations in Basra, Mosul and Baghdad to enforce the rule of law.”

Army Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, said he and other officials tasked with building and training the national security forces in Iraq are seeing continued progress.

“The last 12 months have witnessed a marked decrease in violence, along with a corresponding increase in the capability, professionalism and effectiveness of the Iraqi security forces,” he told reporters during the news conference.

The media have devoted much attention to the temporary 33,000-troop surge announced last year, which military officials have praised for helping tamp down violence in Iraq, Dubik said. But equally important, he added, is the complementary surge in the numbers and overall quality of the Iraqi forces.

Since June 2007, the Iraqi army has added 52,000 soldiers, the air force has expanded by 21 aircraft, and Iraq’s special operations forces have increased by 1,400 personnel. At the same time, the nation’s armed forces have dramatically increased their ability to sustain and replenish themselves, Dubik said.

“Last year at this time, the Iraqi army had only about 2,500 up-armored Humvees; right now it’s almost 3,200, and by the end of this year, there will be over 6,200 up-armored Humvees in the army alone,” he said, adding that the Iraqi air force increased its number of sorties over the same time from 30 weekly missions to 225.

Since this time last year, Iraqi security forces have grown by about 46,000 Iraqi police members and 15,000 Iraqi national police, Dubik said. As the forces swell, the Interior Ministry has made a “concerted effort” to ensure the members are trained to comport themselves professionally at the national and provincial levels.

“This has contributed greatly to an increase in confidence in the people that the police are to serve and protect,” he added. “I’m very proud to be a partner in this endeavor.”

 

Baitullah.jpg

Baitullah Mehsud from a recent Taliban video

By

Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban and the commander in South Waziristan, spends more money on yearly operations than al Qaeda spent year prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province.

"He is spending between Rs 2.5 – 3 billion [about $45 million] yearly on procuring weapons, equipment, vehicles, treating wounded militants and keeping families of killed militants fed," Governor Owais Ahmed Ghan told Daily Times. Ghan said the money could not have come from donations alone; the opium trade in Afghanistan is filling Baitullah’s coffers.

Most of the money is spent on "the means of communication — vehicles, fuel and equipment — and then on treatment of wounded fighters, and lastly on keeping the killed comrades’ families fed," Zulfiqar Mehsud, an aide to Baitullah, told Daily Times last March. "We have to change vehicles after we use them for a year. Every vehicle at our disposal must be in top condition because we have very rough and tough roads and hilly areas and cannot afford to keep vehicles that are not as fit as our job requires."

Baitullah is thought to operate a force of more than 20,000 fighters, some of whom are professionally trained. His forces beat back Pakistani Army assaults in 2007 and 2008, and overran two military outposts in South Waziristan. His fighters also captured an entire Pakistani Army company without firing a shot.

The operating costs for Baitullah’s forces in South Waziristan exceed that of al Qaeda, according to numbers compiled by the 9-11 Commission and terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna. The 9-11 Commission report says al Qaeda central spent an estimated $30 million for yearly operations, which included salaries for members, the operation of training camps, weapons, vehicles, and the development of training manuals.

Al Qaeda also spent an estimated $10 million–$20 million per year to receive a safe haven from the Taliban in Afghanistan. "Bin Laden also may have used money to create alliances with other terrorist organizations, although it is unlikely that al Qaeda was funding an overall jihad program," the 9-11 Commission Report states. "Rather, Bin Laden selectively provided startup funds to new groups or money for specific terrorist operations."

Gunaratna’s numbers are similar. He estimates al Qaeda spent $36 million a year on operations in Afghanistan, and another $14 million for global operations, putting the yearly budget at about $50 million. Gunaratna’s estimate of al Qaeda’s funding of the Taliban and allied terrorist movements is much higher than the 9-11 Commission Report’s estimate.

"To buy loyalty, Al Qaeda also funded individuals in various Islamist groups, including the Taliban, to the tune of $100 million," Gunaratna said, citing US intelligence sources.

Baitullah is but one Taliban commander

While Baitullah is arguably the most important and capable Taliban leader in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in the Northwest Frontier Province, he is not the only one. The $45 million cited does not extend to leaders such as Faqir Mohammed in Bajaur, Mullah Fazlullah in Swat, the Haqqanis in North Waziristan, Mangal Bagh Afridi in Khyber, Omar Khalid in Mohmand, and others in the region.

And Baitullah may not be receiving the largest funding in Pakistan, a senior US military intelligence source familiar with the Taliban in Pakistan told The Long War Journal. Bajaur’s Faqir Mohammed may be receiving more money than Baitullah, the source said.

Faqir has close links to al Qaeda (he is believed to have sheltered Ayman al Zawahiri several times) and Bajaur serves as an al Qaeda command and control center for operations into eastern Afghanistan. His safe houses and training camps have been the target of several US airstrikes since 2006.

By Cliff Kincaid

Publisher Peter Osnos, who admits to personally working with former Bush White House press secretary Scott McClellan on his new book, What Happened, began his career as an assistant to I.F. Stone, the pro-communist "journalist" named as a Soviet agent of influence who was the uncle of Weather Underground communist terrorist Kathy Boudin.

But the connections don’t end there. Boudin’s son Chesa was raised by Barack Obama associates Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who were Boudin’s comrades in the communist terrorist group, after Kathy Boudin went to prison for her involvement in an armed robbery and assault that took the lives of two policemen and a security guard. Dohrn later served jail time for refusing to cooperate in an official investigation of the crime.

Obama stands to benefit from the McClellan book because it was obviously crafted, under the guidance of Osnos, to inflict maximum damage on President Bush and, by extension, fellow Republican and Iraq War supporter Senator John McCain. None of this can be called an accident.

One question that has been raised by critics is whether McClellan is in it for the money. But that’s less important than the fact that the network that has made this book into a reality incorporates many elements of the far left. Some of these links have been commented on already. For example, the Osnos firm, PublicAffairs Books, has also published books by George Soros, John Kerry, and Vladimir Putin. But Osnos’s ties to I.F. Stone and the media constitute the story behind the story.

The network that included Stone, who died in 1989, was the subject of Susan Braudy’s 2003 book, Family Circle, about the Boudin family’s communist and socialist ties. Page 185 shows Kathy Boudin and Bernardine Dohrn together, "after Bernardine’s return from Cuba," where she had "a warm meeting with members of the Viet Cong." That was before she and Ayers finished their bombing campaign, which included a blast that killed a San Francisco policeman, and helped launch Barack Obama’s political career.

None of this background, of course, is being mentioned by those anxious and eager to interview McClellan, even though virtually all of his former friends say that what he is writing and saying now doesn’t sound like him at all. The obvious explanation is that, for whatever reason or motivation, he is reading from a script prepared by Osnos & Company and the far left.

The ploy is working. So far, according to the firm’s website, McClellan’s interviews are scheduled to include:

  • NBC-TV "Today" – 5/29
  • CNN "The Situation Room" – 5/30
  • CNN "American Morning" – 6/2
  • Comedy Central "Daily Show" – 6/2
  • NPR "Fresh Air" – 6/3
  • NPR "Talk of the Nation" (LIVE from the Newseum in DC) – 6/11

Favorable stories about the book have already appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, and USA Today.

This is quite impressive until you realize that Osnos says that every book he publishes includes a dedication to Benjamin C. Bradlee, I.F.Stone and Robert Bernstein, former head of Random House. The first two are worth mentioning. Bradlee was the executive editor of the Washington Post, famous for once remarking that, during coverage of the Iran-Contra affair under President Reagan, he was having "the most fun since Watergate." Bradlee was hoping to bring down Reagan, as they had brought down President Nixon in the paper’s coverage of the Watergate scandal.

Nixon had developed a national reputation as a Congressman and had laid the basis for his runs for national office by helping expose Soviet spy Alger Hiss in the State Department and a communist network inside the U.S. Government. Interestingly, one of Bradlee’s reporters on the Watergate story was Carl Bernstein, whose parents were members of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party.

Iran-Contra did not bring down Reagan, but the far-left apparently hopes the McClellan book will help bring down or further damage President George W. Bush. It can also, in their view, do some collateral damage to McCain.

It is a tactic that has been employed time and time again. Pegging their coverage to a book, the media create the appearance of a "scandal," this time with a former "insider," and try to inflict political damage that benefits the Democrats. The problem for McClellan is that he appears transparently foolish, reciting charges about the Iraq War and so forth that have mostly been raised before by the President’s political enemies. McClellan, who never objected to the policies when he promoted and defended them, is acting like a puppet.

Osnos is the key to understanding the network that is working behind-the-scenes. A former national news editor of the Post, Osnos was an assistant to I.F. Stone in the 1960s. Stone postured as an independent radical writer but was exposed as a Soviet agent in the transcripts of Soviet messages known as the Venona intercepts and by other sources.

Former Soviet KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin had identified Stone as a Soviet agent, but under pressure from Stone’s friends in the media later backed away from that precise description. However, in his book, The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West, Kalugin still identified Stone as a "fellow traveler" of the Soviet Union who "made no secret of his admiration for the Soviet system" over a period of many years and had regular contacts and lunches with him.

Osnos is still one among many far-left journalists who do not want to accept the terrible facts about their hero and icon. But as AIM founder Reed Irvine told the New York Times back in 1992, "The charge that I.F. Stone was a Soviet agent does not surprise those who knew that as a fellow traveler, if not a [Communist] party member, Stone remained a faithful Stalinist through the purges, the Hitler-Stalin pact and the absorption of Eastern Europe…"

Braudy’s book about the Boudins, Family Circle, has a lot to say about Kathy Boudin and her uncle, I.F. Stone, also known as Izzy. Before turning to a life of crime as a communist terrorist, she had wanted to work for her uncle’s newsletter, which is also where Osnos worked. On page 72 of the book, which tends to avoid harsh judgments, she tells us that Stone tried to organize opposition to U.S. involvement in the Korean War, in order to make South Korea safe for communism, and that he would later work to remove U.S. forces from South Vietnam, in order to pave the way for a communist military victory there. Stone and his comrades were successful in the case of Vietnam. His pro-communist record was clear for all to see, except to Osnos and his ilk.

According to Braudy, Stone had "achieved fame in the 1950s for fighting for the rights of people who were accused of having been members of the American Communist Party."

But none of this apparently bothered Osnos, who went to work for Stone in the 1960s. And Osnos’s tie to Stone didn’t bother the Post. "After working for I.F. Stone, Peter Osnos became a correspondent around the world for The Washington Post and the newspaper’s foreign and national editor," the official I.F. Stone website proclaims.

I first came across Osnos back in 1980, just a year or so after coming to Washington, D.C., when he was guest-lecturing at the pro-Marxist Institute for Policy Studies (IPS.) I signed up and covered the Karen DeYoung class on "foreign reporting."

DeYoung, then a foreign reporter for the Post, is now an associate editor at the paper. The IPS class was being held during a time when the old Soviet Union and its surrogate, Communist Cuba, were destabilizing Central America and hoping to install a series of communist governments. Reagan had stopped the Soviet takeover at a critical juncture when he ordered the military liberation of communist-controlled Grenada. However, Reagan was also supporting the democratic government of El Salvador, which faced a communist terrorist movement, and freedom fighters in Nicaragua. It was the latter that led to the "Iran-Contra affair" when National Security Council staffer Oliver North arranged for unofficial assistance to the Nicaraguan resistance when the liberal Congress was attempting to cut off their aid.

To Karen DeYoung, as she told the class, "most journalists now, most Western journalists at least, are very eager to seek out guerrilla groups, leftist groups, because you assume they must be the good guys." This betrayed the left-wing media bias that continues to this day and is reflected in the publication of the McClellan book. Any Republican president who dares to take on America’s enemies is targeted for destruction.

For his part, as I noted in an April 1983 Human Events article, "The IPS and the Media: Unholy Alliance," Osnos exhibited a strange view of communism. He claimed not to know why the Soviets behaved as they did. But he had visited Cuba, where he found no evidence of Soviet control, and came away convinced that there was "’apparently genuine rapport" between Castro and the Cuban people.

On March 12, 2008, as he was preparing publication of McClellan’s book, Osnos found enough time to pay tribute to I.F. Stone on the anniversary of Stone’s birthday. Others paying tribute were Robert Kaiser, associate editor and former managing editor of the Washington Post, and Myra MacPherson, author of a book about Stone and former reporter for the Washington Post.

This is the milieu that has spawned the McClellan book. Whatever you may think of Bush, McCain or the Iraq War, there can be no doubt that Bush’s former press secretary has fulfilled the function of "useful idiot."

Once again, the media are having their fun.

 

Spc. Richard Raymond Medina Torres was released Friday at the Stanton Styreet international bridge in Downtown El Paso

Via The Mexican Times;

Army Spc. Raymond Medina Torres, 25, was released Friday from the Cereso prison in Juárez after Mexican authorities dismissed weapons charges against him.

"He was transferred this Friday to the National Institute of Migration after federal judicial authorities revoked the formal arrest order against him and ordered he be set free immediately," Cereso spokesman Mauricio Rodriguez said.

"Before he left the facility, he was given a medical exam, and doctors who examined him reported that he was in excellent health."

Rodriguez said the soldier, a U.S. citizen, was taken to the border to be turned over to U.S. authorities.

The soldier was detained April 21 in Juárez after Mexican customs officers found an AR-15 rifle, a .45 caliber handgun and numerous round of ammunition and knives in his vehicle.

Medina Torres claimed he took a wrong turn and crossed the border into Mexico with the weapons by mistake. He said the weapons were part of his personal collection.

U.S. officials also investigated him and found no indication of arms-trafficking.

He was on his way from Fort Hood, Texas, to visit his mother in California.

——

 

I don’t know what it is, but something stinks about this soldier and his story.

President Bush presents Army Sgt. 1st Class William Tomlin III with the Silver Star. (Contributed photo)

About 9:30 a.m., with the temperature already climbing toward 120 degrees, Army Sgt. 1st Class William Tomlin III heard the sharp crack of incoming fire. Nearly 300 "bad guys" were closing in on the 45 soldiers and forward air controllers under his command.

It was April 9, 2007, another day in the war in Afghanistan and the third straight day of fighting for Tomlin’s platoon. A native of Barkhamsted, Tomlin, 31, would on this day display gallantry under fire that this month made him the recipient of the Silver Star, the third highest decoration that can be awarded to a member of the armed forces.

The six-hour battle began with machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades raining down on a small team of snipers Tomlin had ordered forward to scout for the incoming enemy.

Tomlin rushed to the rescue.

"I grabbed three or four guys with me and we moved into a position where we could suppress the bad guys," Tomlin recalled in a telephone interview from his North Carolina home on Thursday. His voice was calm and steady as he recalled the events that led to the medal, presented to him by President Bush on May 22.

It was the first of several actions taken with "complete disregard for his personal well-being" which led to the decoration. The battle culminated with more than 50 enemy fighters killed and not a single American loss. Tomlin led the effort throughout, spotting trouble shortly after the opening shots when the enemy attempted to flank and overrun his position.

"They got to about 15 meters from us," Tomlin recalled. "It was really a kind of a battle to see who could throw more grenades. We won that one."

The enemy came again.

"They got within 60 or 70 meters, which in machine gun language is pretty close," Tomlin said.

According to the Army, Tomlin saved lives on that scorching day, organizing his own unit and three reinforcing platoons into a cohesive combat team which stood its ground until the ammunition nearly ran out.

By early afternoon, after being told the next batch of ammunition was 24 hours away, Tomlin decided that it was time to move out. He led his men east into the desert, then south on a 24-kilometer journey to relative safety.

Tomlin has survived four deployments, two each to Iraq and Afghanistan, since transferring from the Army National Guard to the 82nd Airborne shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I kind of wanted to get in the fight," he said.

His parents, William and Deborah Tomlin of Barkhamsted, said they heard only scant details of what their son was up to and knew nothing of the April fight.

"I knew he saw a lot of battles," said William Tomlin Jr. "He would say there was a ‘rough one,’ and that’s about it,"

"In my heart, I knew already," Deborah Tomlin said of the surprise that came with the May 22 ceremony when the president read the detail of her son’s actions.

"He’s very humble," Deborah Tomlin said. "He said it was no big deal."

Two months ago, Tomlin came home to his wife, Sarah, and their two dogs at Fort Bragg. They soon will pack up and move to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where Tomlin will advise a new generation of officers on the finer points of combat tactics.

"I pretty much knew that the only way he would get injured was doing something heroic like he did," Sarah Tomlin said, referring to another battle on May 30, 2007, during which her husband suffered a severe concussion when his vehicle was blown up in an ambush on the way to rescue a downed helicopter crew.

For that, Tomlin received a Purple Heart, presented personally by Maj. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, on May 21. Tomlin is a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

"A bunch of my soldiers received valor awards for that one," Tomlin said.

His was the only Silver Star awarded following the April 9 action.

As the president pinned the medal on Tomlin’s chest, he spoke words that will echo in the sergeant’s memory.

"’I’m glad you made it home. Thanks for what you’ve done,’" Tomlin recalled hearing from his commander in chief. "Nobody’s ever said that, aside from certain people very close to me."

DENVER — State Sen. Jennifer Veiga said Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is using "scare tactics" in condemning the signing of a bill she sponsored that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and public accommodations.

The Denver Democrat was responding Thursday to a statement by Dobson, who said the bill would allow men to go into women’s bathrooms, putting them and their children in danger.

Dobson said the bill signaled the end of gender-specific restrooms.

"Henceforth, every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence," Dobson said in a written statement.

Veiga called Dobson’s comments offensive and said she was frustrated with his "scare tactics." "There’s absolutely nothing in the bill that would allow sexual predators to thrive," she said.

Veiga’s bill, signed by Gov. Bill Ritter Thursday, expands the ban on discrimination against homosexual, bisexual and transgender people to 23 areas, including housing, employment, education, health care and public accommodations, which includes bathrooms.

Last year, Veiga sponsored a bill signed by Ritter that prohibited employers from firing people solely because they are gay.

Veiga said Dobson used a similar argument to attack her bill last year, with no proof that people who are not gay were taking advantage of the legislation.

"They can point to absolutely no example that this happened in Colorado or other states," said Veiga, adding that about 16 other states have implemented similar laws.

Dobson’s statement also criticized the Legislature, saying, "This is your government in action." This month, the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family and Colorado Family Action aired radio ads urging listeners to tell Gov. Bill Ritter to not sign the bill.

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A number of U.S. congressmen and their families — including former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert — have personally profited from congressional earmarks they slipped into federal legislation, a FOX News documentary reveals.

The documentary, “Porked: Earmarks for Profit,” hosted by Chris Wallace, premieres Sat., May 31, at 8 p.m. EDT on FOX News Channel.

Budget earmarks became a national scandal — and a national joke — after some wasteful schemes made headlines recently: a $223 million “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, a $500,000 teapot museum in North Carolina, a $10 million extension to Coconut Road in Florida.

Many lawmakers earmark taxpayer money for projects supported by contributors to their campaigns.

But the FOX News investigation exposes a far more disturbing practice: federal lawmakers earmarking taxpayer dollars on projects that offer them not just political advantage, but personal financial gain.

The FOX documentary focuses on three current and former congressmen — two Republicans and one Democrat.

The most recognizable name is Illinois Republican Dennis Hastert, who stepped down as Speaker of the House in 2007.

In February 2004, Hastert, with partners and through a trust that did not bear his name, bought up 69 acres of land that adjoined his farm some 60 miles outside Chicago. The price was $340,000. In May 2005, Hastert transferred an additional 69 acres from his farm into the trust.

Two months later, Congress passed a spending bill into which Hastert inserted a $207 million earmark to fund the “Prairie Parkway” which, when completed, would run just a few miles from the 138 acres owned by Hastert’s trust.

After President Bush flew to Hastert’s district in August 2005 to sign the bill, Hastert and his partners flipped the land for what appeared to be a multi-million dollar profit.

Hastert declined repeated interview requests from FOX News, but on Thursday, after FOX began to promote the program, Hastert’s lawyer emailed the documentary unit producer Jason Kopp.

“As you might imagine we are very sensitive to even a suggestion, innuendo, or inference that Speaker Hastert’s work on the Prairie Parkway was improper or illegal,” attorney J. Randy Evans wrote.

Click here to see the e-mail from Hastert’s attorney.

“The purpose of this communication is to be clear with you that any suggestion, direct or indirect, that there was any connection between Speaker Hastert’s longstanding support (which pre-dates his service in Congress) for the Praire Parkway project and his purchase of property adjoining his home (indeed, his residence) would be false and improper.”

Click here to see correspondence between FOX News and Haster’s attorney.

“Speaker Hastert has denied that the facts that you have stated are accurate,” Congressman Joe Bonner, R-AL, a member of the House Ethics and Appropriations Committees, tells FOX News’ Greg Jarrett, who did most of the field reporting for the documentary.

But Bonner added that if the allegations are true, what Hastert did was “wrong, and it would be indefensible.”

The FOX News documentary team also investigated the case of Pennsylvania Democratic congressman Paul Kanjorski, who earmarked millions of taxpayer dollars for a company run by his family.

In a startling interview, Joe Yudichak, who ran the non-profit Regional Equipment Center in Kanjorski’s district, says the congressman initially tried to bully him into helping Kanjorski direct the money to Kanjorski’s family members.

In the documentary, Yudichak recounts his conversation with Kanjorski:

“He said, ‘You’re telling me I can’t take care of my family?’ He said, ‘Well, I’m telling you, it’s gonna be done. And it’s gonna be done with you or without you.’ And he said, ‘I’ll bury you. I’ll destroy you.’”

Kanjorski later earmarked more than $10 million directly to the company run by his family. The money was supposed to fund the development of new technologies to help turn around desperate coal towns and make them prosperous.

The company, Cornerstone Technologies, went bankrupt.

Harold Shobert, head of Pennsylvania State University’s Energy Institute, and a leading expert on anthracite coal, worked with Cornerstone on one project.

“It was clear that these guys were clueless as to how to do research and development,” Shobert told FOX News. “It was sort of like trying to collaborate with the cast of Looney Tunes.”

Kanjorski and his family declined repeated interview requests by FOX. But on Thursday his office also sent FOX News a statement.

“These six year old allegations have already been dismissed as false. I remain committed to the job of standing up for the middle class people of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I am proud of our efforts to bring high-tech, high-wage jobs to the area, as well as our efforts to stand up to those who want to privatize Social Security and those who oppose increasing the minimum wage. The idea that I have done anything in office to benefit myself is ludicrous on its face. My wife Nancy and I have lived in the same modest home for more than 25 years and anyone who visits us knows that we live by the same middle class values that we always have.”

Kanjorski closed by claiming, “This is a political attack by the Republican machine and nothing more.”

Click here to see the e-mail from Kanjorski’s office.

Brian Gaffney, executive producer of the FOX News Documentary Unit, dismissed the charge.

“Two of the three congressmen examined in the program are Republicans,” Gaffney said. “Our producers and reporters are top-flight journalists who follow the truth wherever it leads.”

Representative Bonner of the House Ethics and Appropriations Committees declined to talk about Kanjorski’s case.

“If a member of Congress is personally benefiting, or his or her family is personally benefiting, then that may involve the Department of Justice,” Bonner tells Jarrett in the documentary. “In which case I can’t comment on it.”

The third case investigated by FOX involves Congressman Ken Calvert, R-CA, who has earmarked millions in taxpayer dollars to build roads and a transportation hub near commercial real estate properties he personally owns.

Calvert also refused to sit down with FOX News for an interview, although his staffers did call FOX producers, stating that Calvert pushed the earmarks at the request of local government authorities, and that the House Ethics Committee ruled, in effect, that it was ethical for a congressman to earmark money for a project that he’d personally benefit from — so long as others were making money, too.

That is true, but several experts told FOX that the ruling illustrates how problematic the practice is.

The ruling certainly does not sit well with Rep. Ken Flake, an Arizona Republican, one of the most tireless opponents of earmark abuse in Congress.

“I was completely floored when I heard that,” Flake tells Jarrett of the Ethics Committee’s decision. “I hope that nobody takes comfort in that ruling, because I don’t think that the Department of Justice sees it that way.”

GOP leaders, including President Bush, have told FOX News they think earmark abuse was a big reason the Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006.

Earmarks have also become an issue on the presidential campaign.

Arizona senator John McCain has attacked New York senator Hillary Clinton’s proposed $1 million earmark for a museum commemorating the 1969 rock concert at Woodstock.

“My friends, I wasn’t there,” the presumptive GOP nominee said during an October Republican primary debate sponsored by FOX News. “I’m sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time.”

In August of 1969 Senator McCain was being held captive in the notorious Hanoi Hilton, a prisoner of war camp in the North Vietnamese capital.

“Porked: Earmarks for Profit” was produced by Ed Barnes and Jason Kopp.

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