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Archive for January, 2009

So Much for No Preconditions

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 31, 2009

President Hugo Chavez on Sunday welcomed a U.S. offer to improve diplomatic relations across the world — but said the United States needs to make the first move. In a column published in 28 Venezuelan newspapers, Chavez said that his and other nations will reach toward the U.S. “full of fraternity”.

Representing a government that has murdered and repressed its people, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ranged into delirium with a list of “I’m rubber, your glue” accusations. “Those who speak of change must apologize to the Iranian people and try to repair their past crimes,” he said.

Obamas declaration that he will negotiate with “no preconditions” applies only to him. He will get the negotiations he desires after he capitulates to all demands made my the enemies of this country. That’s what you deserve when you display weakness.

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Iran Meddles in South America

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 31, 2009

Demonstrating a total disconnect, Iran has called for US withdrawal from the world and for America to “stop interfering in other people’s affairs”. The usual demands made by megalomaniacs who desire to kill their own people and dominate their neighbors.

Recently US Defense Secretary Robert Gates pointed out that Iran is engaging in “subversive activity” in Latin America. “I’m concerned about the level of frankly subversive activity that the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places in Latin America particularly South America and Central America,” Gates said. “They’re opening a lot of offices and a lot of fronts behind which they interfere in what is going on in some of these countries.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s lambasting of Venezuela and Bolivia over their decision to sever diplomatic relations with Israel, called the move “inflammatory and offensive.” The decision also sends the message that the countries leaders side with the Hamas terrorist organization. The cash flow from Iran is likely to draw a crowd amongst the crack pot dictators in Latin America.

The recent political decision’s aimed at Israel proves the mental disorder endemic in leftist dictators. Coupled with approval of and support for Hamas and its Iranian backers are they represent dangerous signals that they stand with those who systematically engage in hatred of the Jewish people.

Venezuela earlier this month expelled Israel’s ambassador in Caracas to placate their Iranian pay masters. Both Chavez of Venezuela and Morales of Bolivia have fallen in lock step with the leftist hatred for Israel and pandering for cash.

Iran will loan more than 200 million US dollars to Ecuador. Ecuador, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia have established closer political and trade links with Iran. This means that Iran will have a free hand in these countries to meddle in local affairs and infiltrate terrorists into the Americas.

Add all this together and the Iranians are talking out both sides of their faces.

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Stennis Heads To OPS With Changed Deck Load

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 31, 2009

The John C. Stennis (CVN-74) Carrier Strike Group left Jan. 17, with a deck load that features two MH-60 Seahawk helicopter squadrons, rather than one.

The carrier has embarked two squadrons for a total of about 19 aircraft. These helicopters are heavily armed and will take on missions in anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare. They are essential to supporting SEALs and special operations missions.

When the Stennis group reaches the Indian Ocean AOR it will be looking for a terrorists in speedboats while monitoring local shipping traffic. The rotary wing aircraft will provide close in recon of suspect craft and delivery of Special Operation teams.

The Navy is replacing its older models with the MH60R and MH60S. This deployment will be the first time a Romeo and a Sierra squadron are deployed together. MH60R’s carry intelligence equipment and the MH60S’s armed for combat operations with armored floors, a .50-caliber gun and eight Hellfire missiles.

The MH60R and MH60S are the best assets the navy has to ID pirates and sink them where they are. With the new rules of engagement approved by the UN and local governments taking a greater role, piracy in the I.O. is sure to take a hit.

“The helicopter force has never been more relevant,” said Capt. Donald Williamson, commodore of the Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing in San Diego. “I think we will find that helicopters will be a force multiplier for the [carrier strike group] in ways that people have never thought about.”

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Iran Demands An Apology

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 30, 2009

It is appropriate that as a representative of the democrat party and a communist that Obama apologize to the Iranian people. The failures of the democrat Carter led to the years of terror and suffering endured by the people of Iran. Compounding this problem Obama’s communist cohorts in the fifty’s threatened to seize the county and turn over their oil riches to the USSR’s evil ends and provide the expansionist nation a warm water port in the I.O.

Representing a government that has murdered and repressed its people, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ranged into delirium with a list of “I’m rubber, your glue” accusations. “Those who speak of change must apologize to the Iranian people and try to repair their past crimes,” he said.

The US has constantly expressed concern for the Iranian people as opposed to “stood against” them as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during an address in the western region of Khermenshah. President Obama’s offer to extend a hand if Iran “unclenched its fist”, met the response expected from a mad man.

President Barack Obama has discussed the possibility of a softening of US policy towards Iran and talks “with out preconditions” and has received his response.

Contrary to the Mad Man In A Dinner Jacket’s desire, “God willing, he [George W Bush] has gone to hell”, George Bush was last reported in Texas, not Tehran.

The Iranian president welcomed the possibility of US change, but said it should be “fundamental and effective” rather than just a change of tactics.

Our correspondent says we may see twists and turns out of Iran as its leaders work out whether Mr Obama is offering real change and what they may offer in return.

Ahmadinejad congratulated Mr Obama after his election but he was playing to the crowd ahead of Iran’s presidential election in June. His attack on US support for Israel and his blind eye toward his country’s murder of Allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, complete the picture of man in need of a lesson in American power.

Demonstrating a total disconnect, He called for US withdrawal from the world and for America to “stop interfering in other people’s affairs”. The usual demands made by megalomaniacs who desire to kill their own people and dominate their neighbors.

In the fashion of Neville Chamberlain, the new US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said on Monday that she was looking forward to “vigorous diplomacy that includes direct diplomacy with Iran”. I am sure that she will receive from Tehran all the “signed” papers that any diplomat could choke down.

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Iraq Elections

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 30, 2009

Brief On Coming Elections
By Scott Flenner
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Jan. 28, 2009 – Soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team and embedded provincial reconstruction team members traveled yesterday to schools in the Adhamiyah, Istaqlal and Sadr City districts here to observe preparations for Iraqi provincial elections scheduled for Jan. 31.

Iraqi National Police officers discuss provincial election preparations with U.S. soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team during a visit to the Bilal al-Habashi School in northeastern Baghdad’s Istaqlal neighborhood, Jan. 27, 2009.

The provincial elections — the first elections held in Iraq since 2005 — will mark the first elections in which the Iraqi government and security forces are in the lead in providing security.

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With Iraqis in control, the U.S. solders and PRT members traveled to schools –that will serve as polling places to get a sense of how things were going.

“I saw a lot of positives,” Army Lt. Col. Troy Otto, commander of the 3rd Special Troops Battalion, said. “I was actually impressed that all the personnel on site have been going through elections training. They were very excited to show us. They were very thrilled about the process.”

At every school the soldiers and PRT members visited, they were welcomed with open arms. Headmasters and Iraqi election volunteers were excited to explain in detail how they were going to handle the large crowds of expected voters.

“I think they understood that this is a historic moment in Iraq, and they were taking this as an opportunity to showcase how far Iraq has come,” Otto said. “They see it as an opportunity and they are going to take full advantage of it to make Iraq a better place.”

The upcoming provincial elections are to be followed by local elections during the summer and national elections near the end of the year.

In anticipation of tomorrow’s nationwide provincial elections, Iraq’s Center for Military Values, Principles and Leadership Development hosted a conference here Jan. 27 for senior military leaders on the role of the military in a democracy.

The center’s staff develops ethics-training doctrine for the Iraqi army and provides ethics training for the country’s soldiers.

The seminar covered the Iraqi government’s constitutional structure and the lawful functions of the armed forces. Like the United States, Iraq has three branches of federal government: executive, legislative and judicial. Each provides checks and balances to the power of the others. Iraq also has a provincial and local government, and representatives from each will be chosen in tomorrow’s election.

Iraqi Staff Brig. Gen. Jehad, the center’s deputy director, opened the conference with a video of the most recent election.

“This is a video of your people, the people of Iraq,” he told the group. “They are going to polling stations to vote for their representatives in the past general election. Democracy is the rule of the people. The people are ruling themselves when they choose representatives.”

Jehad stressed the importance of the Iraqi army helping every citizen vote and not interfering with the voting process.

“We should not put pressure on the citizen when he comes to vote,” he said. “We should be impartial. He will choose the representative who convinces him. The army will be impartial.”

Iraqi security forces from the Defense and Interior ministries had the opportunity to vote early Jan. 28 because they’ll be busy tomorrow providing for security for the election.

“You have the right to vote,” Jehad told the officers in attendance. “You cannot be nominated or elected to provincial council, but you can vote.”

During a question-and-answer session, some asked whether soldiers could, or should, be forced to vote. The answer was a resounding ‘No.’

“If someone wants to not vote, this is his freedom,” said Lt. Gen. Hussain, deputy chief of staff for training for the Iraqi Joint Headquarters. “If you go and give a blank paper, this is your business. It is good to go and use your rights legally, but you have the right to go or not go. You are a free person.”

Hussain reminded the group that although they’ve been focusing on the election, their daily work for five years has been serving democracy. “Every one of us should review for himself what duties he has done to serve democracy,” he said.

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Navy Task Force, Partner Nations Deter Pirate Attacks

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 30, 2009

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2009 – The presence of partner nations and the newly formed task force to reduce the number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden seem to be working, the commander of Combined Task Force 151 said.

“I think the combination of the coalition working together [with] the maritime community has decreased the pirate activity over the last couple of months,” Navy Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, also the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2, told bloggers and online journalists during a Defense Department bloggers roundtable yesterday.

The task force was formed earlier this month and comprises three ships — USS San Antonio, USS Mahan and HMS Portland — that are collaborating with other nations to deter future pirate attacks.

While a number of factors — even the weather — can impact the number of attacks, McKnight gave credit to the European Union and the nations involved in anti-piracy operations, as well as the task force, with helping to decrease attacks since early December.

“Some things have changed that have helped us in this case to combat piracy,” McKnight said. “The United Nations has come out with several resolutions … that give us more authority to combat piracy.”

U.N. Resolution 1846, approved by the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 2, authorizes states and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali transitional government to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to combat piracy. Two weeks later, U.N. Resolution 1851 was approved, and calls for those states and organizations to “actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes.”

The other recent change that has assisted in combating piracy is the maritime community itself, McKnight said.

“We have tried very hard to say to the maritime community, there are just not enough Navy ships out there to cover 1.1 million square miles,” he said.

McKnight added that creating a safe corridor allows the nations involved in combating piracy to offer protection to the maritime vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden.

In standing up Combined Task Force 151, McKnight said, he hopes to “make it unpleasant to be in the pirate business.”

“Right now, we have about 14 nations out here with about 20 ships,” he said. “We’ve had some encouraging signs from other ships and other nations to join the task force. I expect that by the spring we will have quite a few ships joining.”

McKnight said these and other nations involved and those interested in participating in the future all share the same goal of “free commerce.”

“We have to make sure that we have free commerce throughout the open seas and throughout the world,” McKnight said.

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Coalition Forces Disrupt Kandahar Bomb Network

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 30, 2009

American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 30, 2009 – Coalition forces in Afghanistan killed four militants and detained eight suspects during operations yesterday to disrupt Taliban bomb makers and militants in Kandahar.

In Arghandab district, just outside the city, the operation targeted a Taliban operator known to have employed roadside bombs aimed against Afghan National Police and coalition forces.

When coalition forces reached the compound where the Taliban member was located, armed militants engaged them with small-arms fire. Militants barricaded themselves in a building, endangering the women and children on the compound. Coalition forces precisely engaged the barricaded militants after they refused to surrender, while safeguarding the women and children.

Other suspected militants on the compound followed instructions to surrender, and they were detained without incident.

Because a building damaged by the militants was deemed unsafe for occupants, coalition forces destroyed it after removing women and children to a safe distance.

During the operation, the force found AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and blasting caps.

Nine women and 17 children present on the compound were unharmed during the operation due to the precise actions of coalition forces, officials said.

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Face of Defense

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 30, 2009

Soldier Finds Freedom in U.S., Fights for Freedom in Iraq
By Army Sgt. Rodney Foliente
Special to American Forces Press Service

CONVOY SUPPORT CENTER SCANIA, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2009 – A 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, maintenance technician deployed here found his freedom in the United States and now fights so that Iraqis may enjoy what he has come to cherish.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose Orellana of the 4th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team was born the son of a successful politician in El Salvador. Life was good, he said, as he went to good schools, dressed well, ate well and strove to excel in his studies for the sake of his father’s pride. But his privileged lifestyle was taken from him at a painful price.

“Life changed for me very quickly in 1983,” he said. “I was 13. One day my father came in and told us to pack our stuff, because his political party had lost the elections. Next thing, we’re running away from the house, and my father got abducted for about 15 days.”

Orellana explained that the political climate in El Salvador at the time was dangerously volatile, and members of the fallen political party often had to flee for their lives after elections.

After anxiously waiting, the Orellana family received an anonymous call early one morning telling them where his father was. They found him dead after having been brutally tortured. Young Orellana’s world, which had begun to topple, was now shattered.

“My priorities in life changed,” he said. “I was into revenge: getting back at the bad guys who did that to my dad and split up my family when everybody fled. The main thing after graduating high school at 16 years old was to join the [Salvadoran] military so I could pay them back. It was purely rage and hate motivated.

“It’s funny, because you have plans in life to be this or that,” he continued. “My father never wanted me to be a soldier. He wanted me to be an intellectual.”

A few years after joining the military, Orellana was wounded.

“I got shot in one of the operations,” he said. “I was paralyzed for a time. The doctors believed it actually hit my spinal cord. I got hit in the pelvis, and the bullet bounced up about an inch off my spinal cord. Thank God he saved me from that one. It was an experience.”

After he recovered, he said, he turned his eyes back to re-entering the Army to continue his quest for vengeance. It was 1989, and his mother had a business in Florida. She convinced Orellana to go to the United States, at least for a time, to think about his options rather than going back to into the Salvadoran army.

“She was right,” he said. “I came to the states and started going to school and started learning about history. The more I read, the more admiration I had for the United States. I started thinking that if I am willing to put my life on the line for a country that can’t get straight because [it] keeps on changing power, how much can I do for a country that endorses the freedom that any good human being in the world is craving? I got intoxicated with freedom. I made the States my country. All the freedoms that we have are just amazing.”

Orellana joined the U.S. Army in 1992 as a fuel and electric repair specialist, and after working his way up to the rank of sergeant first class, he became a maintenance warrant officer in 2004.

He said the differences in the two armies in which he’s served have amazed him.

“This Army doesn’t [focus] on how weak you were before,” he said. “It is focused on what you can do now and later.” He said the American Army is strong because it lets its soldiers be strong and improve for their own sake as well as the Army’s. “It’s a wonderful Army. It respects human rights [and] opinions,” he said.

From the start of his time in America, Orellana said, he began changing rapidly, letting his old hatred and drive for revenge begin to fade.

In America, he also found his faith in God, and started his own family with his wife, Julie. They have two daughters, Theresa, 7, and Isobel, 3. They now call Killeen, Texas, home but currently live in Fountain, Colo.

Orellana deployed in 2003 with the push into Iraq and operated in Fallujah. In 2005 he was sent to Najaf and Kalsu. This is his third deployment to Iraq.

Orellana spends time almost every day speaking with the Iraqis from around the area. He drinks chai tea and eats with them often, sharing talk about topics that span from their families to the development of Iraq.

“When you see the progress, it helps you feel good,” he said. “These people have suffered so much, and for them to get more freedom, it’s worth it.”

Being a soldier is not just a job, he said.

“It’s a commitment,” he said. “If you don’t see it as a commitment, you’re not going to be good at it. It’s up to you what kind of impact you want to make.”

He expressed confidence in his hope that after coalition forces leave Iraq the Iraqis will live in peace and their freedoms will blossom.

“When you hear them tell you it’s better now for the Iraqis, for the kids, and there is more freedom, it makes it better,” he said. “You kind of get choked up a little bit, because you start thinking: I’m part of it. I’m helping to bring freedom. And that is priceless.”

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US Navy Daily News Update – Haditha Local Business Owner

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 29, 2009

Marines help Haditha business owner

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Working to Prevent Humanitarian Disaster in Iraq

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 29, 2009

From the memory Jar
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2003 – While there has been no decision to go to war with Saddam Hussein, the U.S. military has been working to avert a humanitarian crisis in the country should conflict become inevitable.

The Defense Department has been working with international aid organizations, nongovernmental organizations and other federal agencies to ensure that humanitarian aid flows quickly to those who need it, said Joseph J. Collins, deputy assistant defense secretary for stability operations, during a Pentagon press conference today.

DoD’s goals are to minimize the displacement of the Iraqi people, limit damage to infrastructure and avoid the disruption of services wherever possible, he said.

Collins said DoD would support humanitarian relief efforts during a conflict and reconstruction efforts after one. Defense officials have been meeting for more than five months with State Department and Agency for International Development experts in humanitarian relief and reconstruction.

Since the Gulf War, the economy of Iraq has suffered. Hussein’s refusal to disarm, his continued diversion of funds from food to palaces and his attempts at ethnic cleansing have served to keep U.N. sanctions in place. As a result, Iraq’s per capita gross domestic product has dropped from a pre-Gulf War $4,714 per year to $2,475 in 2001. Life expectancy has dropped from 62 years to 56. The infant mortality rate has climbed from 72 deaths per thousand live births to 92 per thousand. Daily caloric intake dropped from 2,932 to 2,232.

Other statistics show Iraq already has a humanitarian crisis of note. U.N. officials estimate 800,000 Iraqis are displaced within the country while another 740,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

There are many uncertainties in fashioning the international community’s response to the need for humanitarian assistance. First, would Hussein employ chemical and biological weapons in the event of war? Collins said combat forces would have to deal with that aftermath and a vastly complicated humanitarian picture.

Iraqi forces set fire to Kuwaiti oil wells as they retreated in the Gulf War. Would they do that to their own wells? What other Iraqi infrastructure might Hussein target?

U.N. personnel who monitor the Oil-for-Food program would be pulled out in the event of war. How do you rebuild a distribution infrastructure?

“In the event of a conflict, the U.S. will devote unprecedented attention to humanitarian relief and the prevention of excessive damage to infrastructure and to unnecessary casualties,” Collins said.

“We will do this by three methods,” he continued. “The Department of Defense is engaged in careful targeting to ensure the minimum amount of damage. Second, we are engaged in what we call ‘humanitarian mapping’ to ensure that our combat forces know where the enemy is and where (nongovernmental) and international facilities that have a humanitarian impact are. Thirdly, we are engaged in detailed cooperation with international organizations and NGOs.”

DoD will not lead a humanitarian effort in Iraq, but rather work with civilian relief agencies that do run them. “They have the expertise,” Collins said. “We will help them where we can, but they are the organizations that do the ‘heavy lifting.'”

DoD’s main push, therefore, is to get the United Nations, international relief agencies and other nongovernmental agencies back in place as soon as possible, he said.

The Agency for International Development’s Disaster Assistance Response Teams will work closely with Civil- Military Operations Centers to ensure that basic human needs are met once combat troops leave an area.

DoD has stockpiled 3 million Humanitarian Daily Rations in undisclosed nearby areas. It also has given grants to the U.N. World Food Program so it can begin to ready other supplies.

Collins said the department will continue to meet with other governmental, international and humanitarian organizations, but the department will follow the lead of the State Department in this important aspect.

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