Tuesday, May 30, 2006

First We Maim Your Minds, Then We Dump You, Part Three: Haditha Massacre Version

Video photo: Bodies of Haditha massacre victims are loaded onto trucks (Hammurabi Human Rights Group)

Receive sub-standard care for PTSD

Via Raw Story/AP:
HANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Two Marines were severely traumatized when told to photograph the corpses of men, women and children after members of their unit allegedly killed as many as two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians, their families said Monday.

Lance Cpl. Andrew Wright, 20, and Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones, 21, both members of the Marine unit based at Camp Pendleton, photographed the scene in the western Iraqi city of Haditha with personal cameras they happened to be carrying the day of the attack.

Briones later had his camera confiscated by Navy investigators, his mother said, while Wright's parents said their son was cooperating with the Navy investigation, but declined to comment further.

"It was horrific. It was a terrible scene," Briones' mother, Susie, said in a tearful interview Monday with The Associated Press at her home in California's San Joaquin Valley.

She called the incident a "massacre" and said the military had done little to help her son, who goes by his middle name, deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I know Ryan is going through some major trauma right now," said Susie Briones, 40, an academic adviser at a community college. "It was very traumatic for all of the soldiers involved with this thing. . . ." Lance Cpl. Briones told his mother he saw the bodies of 23 dead Iraqis.

Susie Briones got a panicked call that day from her son, who said he did not see the shootings but was told by his supervisors to go into the houses and remove the bodies. He brought along a digital camera that his mother had given him before he left for Iraq. One of the bodies was a little girl who had been shot in the head, Susie Briones said. "He had to carry that little girl's body," she said, "and her head was blown off and her brain splattered on his boots."

Briones' best friend, Lance Cpl. Miguel "T.J." Terrazas, had been killed earlier that day by the roadside bomb. He was still grieving when he was sent in to clean up the bodies of the Iraqi civilians, his mother said.

Ryan Briones told the Los Angeles Times that he'd been interrogated twice by Navy investigators while in Iraq. He turned over his digital camera but did not know what happened to it after that.

"They wanted to know if the bodies had been moved or tampered with," said Briones, who has not been interviewed by Navy investigators since he returned from Iraq in April.

Susie Briones said her son has been seeing a private psychiatrist and been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder since his return. She criticized his military care, saying all his military doctors did was give him sleeping pills and antidepressants.

Wright also photographed the scene, according to his parents, Frederick and Patty Wright. They said their son was an innocent victim who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. . . Wright told his parents about the incident soon after it happened. He was distressed, and they reassured him the incident would be investigated and that it wasn't his fault.

The Wrights said Naval Criminal Investigative Service had "all his information," but did not give further details. They declined to say whether he witnessed the killings or what he thought of the allegations against other members of his unit.

He was under so much pressure because of the investigation that he had consulted with an attorney, they said. . .On Monday, both Marines were back at Camp Pendleton, near Oceanside, where base officials said several members of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division were being confined during the investigations. . .Nicholas Grey, a second lieutenant in the Marine Reserves based at Camp Pendleton, said the case will result in a loss of credibility for the Marines and increase Iraqi anger.

"It will make it a lot harder for the Marines," he said.

Yes, it will.

So, shrieky Bushists who disbelieve in alleviating human suffering, doesn't this story just warm the cockles of your heart? Isn't it rich? Isn't it interesting how quickly this version of the AP story disappeared from the internet? Are we getting ready to slag the so-called "trauma industry" again? Nothing to see here. Move along.

Original Time article here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day, 2006: Bush Screwing the Troops

Bubble Boy. Boy George. CoWard Bush. Preznit Toad-Exploder.

Whatever you call him, he's the real deal.

Sending suicidal troops back into battle, cutting Defense Department costs by cutting troops' services, armor, and treatment.

Here's some recent stories: Bush killing Vets by cutting back medical treatment; Bush cutting back mental health treatment for troops, failing to refer 80% of troops who screen positive for PTSD.

It's not just Bush, though: it's part of the whole Bushist fascist let-them-eat-cake thing.

We really deeply care about blastocysts--once you're born, you're on your own, into Darwin's jungle all the way.

We really deeply care about blastocysts, and we don't give a crap about actual suffering.
A recent report in USA TODAY noted that "only about one in five Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who screen positive for combat-related stress disorders are referred by the Pentagon for mental health treatment."
Full story here.

Veterans home sues Rumsfeld over substandard care

Sixteen residents of the U.S. Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington D.C. this week filed a class-action suit against the government and the facility, alleging budget cuts by the Defense Department have resulted in poor medical care.

More than 1,000 residents cannot get prescriptions and regular doctor checkups due to service cuts since the Defense Department installed new management, the suit claims. Because of the cuts, the number of deaths at the home increased from 59 in 2000 to 131 in 2003, according to the suit, which was filed on behalf of all residents.

Full story here.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

In Cold Blood: Dirty Bush's Little My Lai

From the Independent, UK:

The massacre and the Marines

US troops could face death penalty for what is seen as potentially the worst war crime since Iraqi invasion

US Marines could face the death penalty after one of their number took horrific photographs of a massacre in Iraq on his mobile phone, The Independent on Sunday has learned.

The photographs, seized by the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), show many victims shot at close range in the head and chest, execution-style, according to sources who have seen them. One image shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer. Both have been shot dead.

Similar photographs taken by a Marines intelligence team which arrived on the scene later show that soldiers "suffered a total breakdown in morality and leadership, with tragic results", according to a US official quoted by the Los Angeles Times yesterday.

The killing of more than 20 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha last November, first reported in the IoS two months ago, has become an international scandal after evidence from two official investigations was shown to Congressmen in the past 10 days. Democrat John Murtha, a former Marines colonel who has retained close links to the military despite his denunciation of the Iraq occupation, said Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood".

Eyewitness accounts by local people and a video shot by an Iraqi journalism student had already called into question the Marines' version of events in Haditha just over six months ago. But the photographs by American forces could prove the crucial piece of evidence in an investigation that is now expected to result in charges of murder, dereliction of duty and making false statements against up to a dozen Marines.

According to reports in the US, military prosecutors may seek the death penalty for those found guilty of murder. Three Marines officers have already been relieved of duty, and more may be disciplined in a separate investigation into whether there was a cover-up after the killings.

The official account of what happened in Haditha on 19 November has gradually unravelled since the initial claim that one Marine, 20-year-old Lance-Corporal Miguel Terrazas, and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed when a roadside bomb went off next to a convoy of Humvees passing through the town.

Gunmen "attacked the convoy with small-arms fire", a statement added, and the Marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one. It appears that the wounded man later died, bringing the number of Iraqis killed to 24. The Marines did not begin to change their story until an Iraqi human rights group obtained the journalism student's video, which showed that no Iraqis were killed in the bomb explosion. The houses where they died were bullet-riddled inside, but had no external marks, casting doubts on the soldiers' claims that there had been a firefight.

After Time magazine took up the story, an infantry colonel was sent to Haditha for an inquiry which concluded that the 15 civilians, including several women and six children, died as a result of the Marines' actions rather than the bombing. But at this stage the deaths were called "collateral damage".

As the IoS reported on 26 March, the Marines were still claiming then that the nine young men who died - five in a taxi close to the scene of the bombing, plus four brothers in a nearby house - were armed fighters. One military spokeswoman blamed them for the deaths of the other 15 Iraqis, because they "placed non-combatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves".

Details emerging from the official investigation since then have confirmed the IoS report that all the Iraqis killed were civilians, and that all the shooting that day was by the Marines. According to local people, the rampage lasted three to five hours, and one man shot by the Marines was allowed to bleed to death for hours while his pleas for help were ignored.

The Marines involved have since been rotated back to their home base of Camp Pendleton, California. The LA Times said yesterday that most of the fatal shots appeared to have been fired by only a few of the Marines, possibly a four-man "fire team" led by a sergeant, according to officials familiar with the investigation. The same sergeant was suspected of filing a false report, blaming the bomb explosion for most of the deaths and claiming that Marines entered the Iraqis' homes in search of gunmen firing at them.

The incident is now being described as potentially the worst war crime since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, comparable to the Abu Ghraib scandal and reminiscent of the massacre of several hundred Vietnamese villagers at My Lai in 1968. But peace campaigners say the findings raise the prospect that other incidents reported to have involved the killing of "insurgents" actually involved the death of civilians.

Andrew Murray, chair of the Stop the War Coalition, said: "It's clear that what happened in Haditha is a war crime. It would be idle to think this is the first war crime that has been committed in the last three years. It must be assumed that more of this is going on."
Hmm. Do you think that Lawless George's failure to follow US laws, his support for torture, his conflation of vengeance for 9/11 with toppling Saddam, his support for disappearing people and detaining them without trial might have helped create a morality-free atmosphere in which lawlessness became permissible, even desirable?

Full Independent UK story here
NBFH March coverage here
Original Time article here. Current story, here.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

When What Goes Around Comes Around

(hat tip to Emmaho)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Reprise: Lawless George's Little My Lai: Civilian Massacre at Haditha

Gee, how do you prepare a population for the knowledge that their troops have intentionally massacred civilians?

If you're the Vietnam swiftboat people, you just try to pretend that nothing bad ever happened, and you keep up shrieking that way for forty years.

Or, you could be more of a man, and just own up to it, could you not?

Our Haditha story, from March here.
Current story, here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Official No Blood for Hubris Mental Health Interlude

"This week President Bush made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. The president said he heard it was a good place for an embattled leader to disappear into the mountains." --Tina Fey

"The President will follow up his speech by going to the Arizona border, which is historic. It will be the first time he's actually ever shown up with a National Guard unit." --Jay Leno

"President Bush said catching a 7.5 pound fish was his best moment since becoming president. You know the sad thing, a lot of historians would agree with that." --Jay Leno
"No, he was fishing on his ranch. He has a manmade lake that is artificially stocked with fish, and let's not forget the scuba divers who are under there who actually put the fish on the hook for him. And then Cheney comes over and they literally shoot fish in a barrel. The part I love is that he says he caught a 7.5 pound perch, when the biggest perch on record is 4.3 pounds. Bush lied and a fish died, that's all I have to say. And Cheney went even further. He said when they pulled the fish out of the water it greeted them as liberators." --Bill Maher
"President Bush has picked FOX newsman Tony Snow to be his press secretary. Snow once said that President Bush was an embarrassment, a leader who has lost control of the federal budget, and the architect of a listless domestic policy. Good thing for Snow Bush doesn't read the newspapers." --Jay Leno
"It is astounding, is it not, that the president, who was always so incestuously linked to oil companies for years and years is suddenly shocked, shocked, at what's going on. But I'm not surprised that Bush has no recollection of how gas prices got so high. He has no recollection of doing cocaine and that was right under his nose" --Bill Maher

"June 1st is the start of the hurricane season. President Bush is already stockpiling excuses." --David Letterman
"I don't think President Bush fully understands this immigration thing. Like today, when they asked him about amnesty, he said it's horrible when anyone loses their memory." --Jay Leno

"Bush said today canceling [the ports deal] sends a bad message to the Arab world. You know, not like invading their countries, putting them on leashes, making them masturbate, but bad." --Bill Maher
"Did you hear about this? According to a recent poll, three out of five Americans believe George W. Bush should be impeached. And when he heard that, the president said, 'Cool, I love peaches.'" --David Letterman
"President Bush's childhood home was turned into a museum. ... After hearing about it, President Bush said, 'I hope they got rid of the scary thing under my bed.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Did you know former President Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other at the same time? That was Garfield. When President Bush heard about it, he said, 'We had a talking cat for president?'" --Jay Leno

"Bush's overall approval ratings have hit an all-time low ... If Bush's numbers don't improve, he could become the first president held back and forced to repeat his presidency." --Tina Fey
"President Bush met with the Prime Minister of Belgium and things got tense when the Prime Minister demanded the U.S. close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. President Bush quickly replied, 'The prison is closed. That's how we keep them in there.'" --Conan O'Brien

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Selfish, Sanctimonious, Narcissistic Rightwing Catholic Church -- Oh, and I did I mention selfish, selfish, selfish?

Where's Pope John the 23rd when you need him? Where's Thomas Merton? What has become of all the church's good guys?

Yes, I understand that the current Roman Catholic Church has a big-time cheap labor shortage problem, but -- hey, can't you guys keep that to yourselves?

Get this.

A Commencement Turns Ugly

When people cry at graduation, it’s supposed to be the happy kind of tears.

That wasn’t the case Saturday at the University of St. Thomas, when the student speaker at the Saint Paul, Minn., institution’s graduation ceremony used his address to denounce as "selfish" those women who use the birth control pill. St. Thomas has been divided this semester by a debate over whether the Roman Catholic institution was correct to ban unmarried employees traveling together with students from sharing a room, so issues of sexual morality have been front and center at the institution. The student speaker also denounced as selfish those unmarried couples covered by the policy who had wanted to share a room with a partner.

Students and family members were shocked by the speech — and some left their own graduation in tears. Others booed or shouted. Still others are angry that the university administrator who followed the student speaker appeared to many to endorse his views. The university denies that, and the St. Thomas president and the student speaker have apologized. While St. Thomas officials said that they hope the apologies will put the matter to rest, many students and faculty members doubt that can happen.

A portion of the controversial speech has been posted online at YouTube (be forewarned that several loud expletives from audience members are also audible). The speaker is Ben Kessler, who was elected by students and faculty members as "Tommie of the Year," earning the right to address his fellow graduates. Kessler was a 4.0 student and a star on the football team. He is moving to Rome to study for the priesthood.

In his speech, Kessler asked about the couples who traveled with St. Thomas students and who set off the debate over the travel policy. The issue gained the attention of St. Thomas administrators when a choir director who is lesbian wanted to take her partner and their son on a class trip to France, as married couples on university travel had done in the past. Not only was that trip barred, but the university started barring those traveling with students from sharing rooms with their partners if they were not married — whether the relationships were straight or gay. Kessler said that those wanting to share rooms were "selfish" . . . He then went on to call using birth control selfish, and specifically cited only one form of birth control: the pill.
Yes, sir, failing to bear children who will become abused and/or neglected is indeed the height of selfishness.

It is far better for the Church to be ordering more children brought into the world with all the forethought one might give to, say, ordering another glass of milk.

One may be sure that the compassionate Jesus would certainly agree, would He not?

Video here at YouTube.

[Update: here's the miscreant's apology. Will the Church's official apology be far behind? Yes, it will. Meanwhile, take a gander at a few of their canned propaganda messages supporting forced maternity, here. It's really awful.]

Read These (And Weep) -- Arthur Silber on Alice Miller

Noticed the sadism underlying the current administration's policies, have you? It's not an accident.

Noticed that funny stuff about James Dobson beating his dachshund to punish it for behaving like a dog? Noticed that stuff about Dobson recommending adult males to shower naked with little boys? Noticed that stuff about George Bush torturing animals in his youth? Noticed how Rummy doesn't know what torture is, and how Cheney knows, but doesn't care?

There's a theme happening. Please take time to read Arthur Silber's very important work.

Linkthrough here.

Instilling Obedience and Denial in Childhood: A review of two news stories that reveal our culture's preoccupation with the irrelevant and/or the trivial, a discussion of some of the reasons such stories are not deserving of any serious attention whatsoever -- and concluding with a horrifying news story that received almost no notice at all but most certainly should have, a story that serves as an introduction to the importance of Alice Miller's work about commonly accepted child-rearing practices and their consequences. . .

Mel Gibson, A Public Case Study in Obedience and Denial: A summary of Miller's major thesis, and an examination of Mel Gibson and fundamentalist religious belief more generally as one kind of example of the mechanisms that Miller discusses. . .

The Demand for Obedience: A review of the fundamentals of Miller's work, including her definitions of "poisonous pedagogy" and of a "helping witness," with some autobiographical details to make the latter concept clearer. I also examine the psychological dynamics underlying articles by David Brooks (condemning "narcissism" and calling for a return to "a creedal order") and Joseph Farah (condemning homosexuality, as he frequently does, specifically on the grounds that God has condemned it: "There is a reason most people frown on homosexuality. It is not prejudice. It is not bias. It is not irrational. It is because God has pronounced it wrong, immoral, abomination, sin."). . .

And many more essays. Well worth a look.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Feeding Scooter to the Sleen ("Scooter"? What kind of name is that for a grown man?)

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.


WASHINGTON - Two top CIA officials will bolster prosecutors' charge that Vice President Cheney's chief aide lied to them, court papers show.

Prosecutors say disgraced Cheney chief of staff Lewis (Scooter) Libby learned CIA spy Valerie Plame's identity from, among others, agency officials who will be called to testify at his trial for perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice.

The U.S. alleges he learned about Plame from one of the CIA officials when he went after dirt on her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson shattered a pillar of President Bush's rationale for war - that Iraq was seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

Both CIA officials - including a top architect of the 2003 Iraq invasion - discussed Plame with Libby a month before columnist Robert Novak blew her cover in July 2003, prosecutors charge.

Libby has said journalists told him about Plame - not Cheney or the six witnesses named so far by prosecutors.

Until recently, the CIA officials' identities were kept secret by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who did not name them in Libby's October indictment.

But subsequent documents allege Libby asked top CIA official Robert Grenier on June 11 why the agency sent Wilson to Niger to see if Iraq tried to buy uranium. Grenier replied that Plame was an agent and "believed responsible" for arranging her husband's trip.

The other official was Craig Schmall, a CIA briefer whom Libby complained to about the Wilson trip on June 14, court files allege.

Grenier, the CIA's station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, helped stage the successful U.S. attack on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. . . This year, as CIA Counterterrorist Center chief, Grenier oversaw the failed missile strike aimed at Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Shortly afterward, Grenier was demoted.

But Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, said Grenier lost his job over his "concerns about aggressive interrogations [of terrorist detainees] at secret sites."

Full story here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


KUWAIT - A Kuwaiti court on Sunday cleared five Kuwaitis of charges of belonging to Al Qaeda and ordered the former inmates of the US’s Guantanamo Bay prison freed immediately, judicial sources said.

They said the five, who returned to the Gulf Arab state in November, were also cleared of charges of fighting a friendly state, a reference to the United States. "The Criminal Court ruled today that the five detainees who were held at Guantanamo are innocent and it ordered that they be set free immediately," one judicial source said.

The prosecution plans to appeal the ruling, the sources added. Adel Al Zamel, Saad Al Azmi, Mohammad Al Daihani, Abdullah Al Ajmi and Abdulaziz Al Shimmari were among some 500 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay since the 2001 US-led war that ousted Afghanistan’s Taleban rulers following the September 11 attacks on the United States.

'This ruling underscores what we were sure of all along, that our sons are innocent," Khaled Al Odah, head of a detainees support committee, told Reuters after the verdict. 'They have been imprisoned unjustly for years at the American base and there’s a stark breach of international and humanitarian laws by the American administration," he added.
Via Khaleej Times.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Surprise! Hayden Feeds Rummy to the Sleen

Bush's choice for CIA chief blasts Rumsfeld

A SPECIAL intelligence unit set up by the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, before the invasion of Iraq selectively used intelligence to support the White House's claim of clear links between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda.

General Michael Hayden, President George Bush's choice to head the CIA, told the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday the Pentagon's controversial Office of Special Plans disregarded intelligence that suggested there was no real connection between the Iraqi leader and the terrorist organisation.

General Hayden's comment came during his confirmation hearing and was the first time a senior Bush Administration official has said intelligence was selectively used to support the view that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and close links with al-Qaeda.
More at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Likewise, I'm Sure (Plus More Fun Stuff)

(Photo via Rising Hegemon).

By Marc Ash
For the past few days, we have endured non-stop attacks on our credibility, and we have fought hard to defend our reputation. . . .I spoke personally yesterday with both Rove's spokesman Mark Corallo and Rove's attorney Robert Luskin. Both men categorically denied all key points of our recent reporting on this issue. . . .

We can now report, however, that we have additional, independent sources that refute those denials by Corallo and Luskin. While we had only our own sources to work with in the beginning, additional sources have now come forward and offered corroboration to us.

We have been contacted by at least three reporters from mainstream media - network level organizations - who shared with us off-the-record confirmation and moral support.

When we asked why they were not going public with this information, in each case they expressed frustration with superiors who would not allow it.
I love the media whore media. Do not you?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Meditation: Increases Brain Size -- (Shrinks Ego?)


People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don't. Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.

In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. That's intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.

"Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being," says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. "These findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated increased thickness of music areas in the brains of musicians, and visual and motor areas in the brains of jugglers. In other words, the structure of an adult brain can change in response to repeated practice."

The researchers compared brain scans of 20 experienced meditators with those of 15 nonmeditators. Four of the former taught meditation or yoga, but they were not monks living in seclusion. The rest worked in careers such as law, health care, and journalism. All the participants were white. During scanning, the meditators meditated; the others just relaxed and thought about whatever they wanted.
Hmm. Increases brain size -- perhaps by shrinking ego? Quick, someone throw a lifesaving zafu to Rummy, Big Dick, Turdblossom, Bubble Boy, and all the rest of them!

(Hat tip to DC Tom. More here.)>

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Cheney Now Needing Longer Naptimes As Shit Starts Hitting Fan

Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

THE US prosecutor in the CIA leak case has told a court his evidence will include a newspaper article with handwritten notes by the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, referring to Valerie Plame shortly before she was exposed as a CIA operative.

The special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said in the pre-trial filing on Friday that the notes showed Mr Cheney and his former chief-of-staff Lewis Libby were "acutely focused" on the July 6, 2003, article written by Ms Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, a Bush Administration critic and former US ambassador.

"Have they done this sort of thing before?" Mr Cheney wrote. "Send an amb[assador] to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"
Notes also prove that our sleepy, grumpy, dopey Big Dick is both sexist AND stupid: scribbling as if somehow wifey sending hubby on trippie would somehow disproves the arguments Wilson presented in the Op-Ed? Is Cheney insane?

As if "junketing" off to third-world Niger were like vacationing in Nice? As if vacationing in Nice or Niger had anything to do with undercutting Wilson's evidence?

Feh. God save us from these stupid, evil people.

More here

Preznit Toad-Exploder Sends Suicidal Troops into Battle

Sending the suicidal soldiers back to Iraq, where they can commit suicide by battle? Or commit suicide by, well, suicide! (What a money-saving concept. Thanks a lot, Bubble Boy! Glad your Mom didn't have to deal with you being exposed to combat, eh?)

Via the Hartford Courant:
Among the troops who plunged through the gaps in the mental health system was Army Spec. Jeffrey Henthorn, a young father and third-generation soldier, whose death last year is still being mourned by his native Choctaw, Okla.

What his hometown does not know is that Henthorn, 25, had been sent back to Iraq for a second tour, even though his superiors knew he was unstable and had threatened suicide at least twice, according to Army investigative reports and interviews. When he finally succeeded in killing himself on Feb. 8, 2005, at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, an Army report says, the work of the M-16 rifle was so thorough that fragments of his skull pierced the barracks ceiling.

In a case last July, a 20-year-old soldier who had written a suicide note to his mother was relieved of his gun and referred for a psychological evaluation, but then was accused of faking his mental problems and warned he could be disciplined, according to what he told his family. Three weeks later, after his gun had been handed back, Pfc. Jason Scheuerman, of Lynchburg, Va., used it to end his life.

Also kept in the war zone was Army Pfc. David L. Potter, 22, of Johnson City, Tenn., who was diagnosed with anxiety and depression while serving in Iraq in 2004. Potter remained with his unit in Baghdad despite a suicide attempt and a psychiatrist's recommendation that he be separated from the Army, records show. Ten days after the recommendation was signed, he slid a gun out from under another soldier's bed, climbed to the second floor of an abandoned building and shot himself through the mouth, the Army has concluded.

The spike in suicides among the all-volunteer force is a setback for military officials, who had pledged in late 2003 to improve mental health services, after expressing alarm that 11 soldiers and two Marines had killed themselves in Iraq in the first seven months of the war. When the number of suicides tumbled in 2004, top Army officials had credited their renewed prevention efforts.

But The Courant's review found that since 2003, the military has increasingly sent, kept and recycled troubled troops into combat - practices that undercut its assurances of improvements. Besides causing suicides, experts say, gaps in mental health care can cause violence between soldiers, accidents and critical mistakes in judgment during combat operations.

Military experts and advocates point to recruiting shortfalls and intense wartime pressure to maintain troop levels as reasons more service members with psychiatric problems are being deployed to the war zone and kept there.

"What you have is a military stretched so thin, they've resorted to keeping psychologically unfit soldiers at the front," said Stephen Robinson, the former longtime director of the National Gulf War Resource Center. "It's a policy that can do an awful lot of damage over time."
More here and here.

Previously at NBFH (list incomplete): No Veteran Not Left Behind
Dirty Bush to Vets: First We Maim Your Minds, Then We Dump You.
Dirty Bush to Vets: First We Maim Your Minds, Then We Dump You. It's Hard Work."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Fitzo de Mayo on Buddha's Birthday

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half a day Friday at the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm representing Karl Rove.

During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning.

Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, did not return a call for comment. Sources said Fitzgerald was in Washington, DC, Friday and met with Luskin for about 15 hours to go over the charges against Rove, which include perjury and lying to investigators about how and when Rove discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative and whether he shared that information with reporters, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said.

It was still unknown Saturday whether Fitzgerald charged Rove with a more serious obstruction of justice charge. Sources close to the case said Friday that it appeared very likely that an obstruction charge against Rove would be included with charges of perjury and lying to investigators.

Hmm. Karma for Karl?

Happy Birthday, Buddha!

More at truthout, here.

CoWard Bush Lets US Troops Go Hungry

Not enough armor for vehicles. Not enough body armor. Punishing troops who dare to buy themselves better body armor. Selling out army cooks in favor of food whipped up at high prices by well-connected conglomerates.

Not enough treatment for vets with PTSD. Trying to cut down on treatment for vets with PTSD. Nickle-and-diming the troops, is that what they call "supporting" them, in the Bushist fascist up-is-down-ist way?

Now, the incompetent Bushists let their men and women go hungry. Nice.

Via the Providence Journal:
The Iraq war has been the war fought on the cheap: not enough body armor, not enough armor on vehicles, not enough night vision equipment.

It has been the war in which packages from back home have had to fill some crucial needs.

Now, we have chow call at the Greenwood Credit Union in Warwick, R.I. It's the latest in home-front intervention. It's partially in response to the unthinkable image of U.S. Marines approaching Iraqi citizens and asking for food because they do not have enough. . . .

Nick Andoscia went to Iraq. And hunger soon followed. . . "He told [his mother that only] two meals [a day] just weren't cutting it. He said the Iraqi food was usually better. They were going to the Iraqis and basically saying, 'feed me.'"

. . . .The last thing [a soldier] should have to worry about is an empty stomach. The last thing he should have to do is approach Iraqis and ask for food.

You have to wonder what the gracious hosts must think when a fighting man from the richest country on earth comes to their door in search of something to eat.

Full story here.

Unwanted Babies, Si! Unwanted Aliens, No!

What's wrong with supporting child wantedness?

We've asked before, and we're asking again: is a wanted child likely to wind up with injuries like these?

Do we really want to fill America with millions of unwanted children, who grow up unloved and uncared-for, providing our society with criminals and drug addicts? Don't we have enough already?

When will our fetal sentimentalists (who weep over the failure of women to bear millions of unwanted children) be contacting America's illegal deportationists, those who feel somehow personally deprived by the presence of America's millions of unwanted illegal aliens? (My guess is that the millions of unwanted embryoes get a pass because they're "innocent", while the adult aliens are ipso facto "guilty". Still, it's an interesting notion, that millions in one overpopulating category are OK, while the other millions are not. Plus, what about original sin for all?).

I surfed a a forced-maternity website today, of the shrieky creepy misogynist-authoritarian kind, where the decision to bear a child is as trivial as picking up another carton of milk. Even, so I was quite surprised to see this:

Where have all the Down’s children gone?

Well, we know where, but we don’t want to talk about it. Very well-written, and chilling op-ed in the Washington Post by a Down’s Syndrome child’s mother. And, if you follow the blog links, predictably inhuman responses from the other side. Why is it that people appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to other innocent people’s lives when the other people are unable to speak for themselves?

We as a society are no different from ancient Rome. Not a bit.

How nice. Apparently there just aren't enough Downs' syndrome kids anymore, not enough to satisfy these odd people--they think it's so sad there aren't more of them like in the olden days, so sad, and so they sadly wonder, "Where have all the Downs syndrome babies gone? Please, sir--we want more! More!"

Yes, Virginia, they want more. More unwanted children. More suffering. More beaten babies to grow up to be Moussaouis.

(Previously: In Nightmares Begin Responsibilities; Embryo-centrist, anti-babyist misogynists can just shut up NOW); Creating unwanted children: the real cost.

Friday, May 12, 2006

El Sueno de la Razon Produce Monstruos

The sleep of reason creates monsters -- Goya

Here is Big Dick Cheney falling asleep at yet another meeting. All things considered, I guess we're all better off when he's unconscious.

PS. Up and running again, knock on wood. Thanks to all.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Preznit Toad-Exploder Behind Blair Dumping Jack Straw?

Some say that it's Bush who dumped Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, not Tony Blair. Some say Straw was dumped because he would not bend to the marr--um, to the nuking of Iran.

Hunh? Really? Yikes. Could be.

What I'm wondering is -- what does Bubble Boy have on Tony Blair as blackmail that's so bad Blair just has to keep being Bush's arse-licker?

Color videos of Tony and Cherie ritually flaying, slaying, marinating, grilling, and voraciously devouring a whole class of cuddly kindergartners?

What, O God, what?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Since There Is No Such Thing as Global Warming, Ancient Glaciers Now Melting In Tibet Are, Like, No Problem


Scientists warn of ecological catastrophe across Asia as glaciers melt and continent's great rivers dry up

Global warming is rapidly melting the ice-bound roof of the world, and turning it into desert, leading scientists have revealed.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences - the country's top scientific body - has announced that the glaciers of the Tibetan plateau are vanishing so fast that they will be reduced by 50 per cent every decade. Each year enough water permanently melts from them to fill the entire Yellow River.

They added that the vast environmental changes brought about by the process will increase droughts and sandstorms over the rest of the country, and devastate many of the world's greatest rivers, in what experts warn will be an "ecological catastrophe".

The plateau, says the academy, has a staggering 46,298 glaciers, covering almost 60,000 square miles. At an average height of 13,000 feet above sea level, they make up the largest area of ice outside the polar regions, nearly a sixth of the world's total.

The glaciers have been receding over the past four decades, as the world has gradually warmed up, but the process has now accelerated alarmingly. Average temperatures in Tibet have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 20 years, causing the glaciers to shrink by 7 per cent a year, which means that they will halve every 10 years.

Prof Dong Guangrong, speaking for the academy - after a study analysing data from 680 weather stations scattered across the country - said that the rising temperatures would thaw out the tundra of the plateau, turning it into desert.

He added: "The melting glaciers will ultimately trigger more droughts, expand desertification and increase sand storms." The water running off the plateau is increasing soil erosion and so allowing the deserts to spread.

Sandstorms, blowing in from the degraded land, are already plaguing the country. So far this year, 13 of them have hit northern China, including Beijing. Three weeks ago one storm swept across an eighth of the vast country and even reached Korea and Japan. On the way, it dumped a mind-boggling 336,000 tons of dust on the capital, causing dangerous air pollution.

The rising temperatures are also endangering the newly built world's highest railway, which is due to go into operation this summer. They threaten to melt the permafrost under the tracks of the £1.7bn Tibetan railway, constructed to link the area with China's northwestern Qinghai province.

Perhaps worst of all, the melting threatens to disrupt water supplies over much of Asia. Many of the continent's greatest rivers - including the Yangtze, the Indus, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Mekong and the Yellow River - rise on the plateau.

In China alone, 300 million people depend on water from the glaciers for their survival. Yet the plateau is drying up, threatening to escalate an already dire situation across the country. Already 400 cities are short of water; in 100 of them - including Beijing - the shortages are becoming critical.

Even hopes that the melting glaciers might provide a temporary respite, by increasing the amount of water flowing off the plateau - have been dashed. For most of the water is evaporating before it reaches the people that need it - again because of the rising temperatures brought by global warning.

Yao Tandong, head of the academy's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Research Institute, summed it up. "The full-scale glacier shrinkage in the plateau regions will eventually lead to an ecological catastrophe," he said.

Global warming is rapidly melting the ice-bound roof of the world, and turning it into desert, leading scientists have revealed.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences - the country's top scientific body - has announced that the glaciers of the Tibetan plateau are vanishing so fast that they will be reduced by 50 per cent every decade. Each year enough water permanently melts from them to fill the entire Yellow River.

They added that the vast environmental changes brought about by the process will increase droughts and sandstorms over the rest of the country, and devastate many of the world's greatest rivers, in what experts warn will be an "ecological catastrophe".

The plateau, says the academy, has a staggering 46,298 glaciers, covering almost 60,000 square miles. At an average height of 13,000 feet above sea level, they make up the largest area of ice outside the polar regions, nearly a sixth of the world's total.

The glaciers have been receding over the past four decades, as the world has gradually warmed up, but the process has now accelerated alarmingly. Average temperatures in Tibet have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 20 years, causing the glaciers to shrink by 7 per cent a year, which means that they will halve every 10 years.

"Scientists say"?

Pshaw. Clueless George don't need no stinkin' ee-leet smarty-pants scientists! There's no such thing as global warming. See that gubmint report? Can you find anything about global warming? No? See? We got wite-out, an' we got RID of it.

Full story here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Australia's Fastest-Growing Religion? Buddhism

Via The Sydney Morning Herald:
BUDDHISM is growing as a religion of choice for Australians seeking an antidote to a greedy, violent and stressed-out world.

Dr Cristina Rocha, a post-doctoral fellow with the University of Western Sydney Centre for Cultural Research, said increasing numbers of Australians were shying away from their religion of their birth and instead adopting spiritualities of choice.
From an interview with The Buddhist Channel:
"Buddhism is attractive because it provides a powerful antidote to the stress, greed and violence of today's world," says Dr Rocha.

"Buddhism is now the fastest growing religion in Australia, growing 80 per cent between the 1996 and 2001 census. Interestingly, this surge is not only due to migration, but also to large numbers of Australian's converting to Buddhism.

"People from Western cultures are drawn to Buddhism because it is . . . not tied to a particular church or central leader, and is associated with peace, love, happiness, justice and enlightenment. Westerners find it gives them tools to cope with the day-to-day, and helps them detach from the rampant consumerism and stresses of their busy lives."

She says Western society's eagerness to embrace Buddhism stands in stark contrast to its misunderstanding, distrust and fear of a religion like Islam, which is labelled by Western media as 'violent' and linked to terrorism.

"One of the reasons for this is the fact the Dalai Lama received a Nobel peace prize in 1989 for his peaceful resistance against the Chinese invasion of Tibet," says Dr Rocha.

Dr Rocha says Western society's flirtation with Buddhism was boosted in the 1960s, thanks to increased levels of migration and exposure to other cultures, and the flower-child generation's willingness to explore things spiritual and alternative.

"Western culture's exposure to Buddhism is so much greater now. Books by the Dalai Lama are bestsellers, and people flock to see and hear him speak as he travels the world. In recent years there have been many movies like 'The Little Buddha', 'Kundun', and 'Seven Years in Tibet', and non-Hollywood films like 'The Cup' and 'Samsara'," says Dr Rocha.

"Celebrities like Richard Gere and the Beastie Boys have used their status to bring attention to the plight of Tibet and its struggle against China; and actress Uma Thurman's father, Robert, who is now a professor at Columbia University, was the first Western Tibetan Buddhist monk and an interpreter for the Dalai Lama. . . .
Western followers regard meditation as the main practice of Buddhism," she says.

"Westerners see meditation as something you can do alone, any time, anywhere; as if there's no need for a temple, or a priest or monk. This enables an individual to embark on [his or her] own spiritual quest for enlightenment."

Rep. Kennedy Latest Ambien Zombie

Rep. Patrick Kennedy is checking into the Mayo Clinic to the usual howls from the media whore media, but they and he instead should be checking into the well-known side effects of sleep aid Ambien. Kennedy took Ambien at bedtime, prior to getting into his car, driving down to town, having an accident, and later telling cops at the scene that he was "late for a vote." None of these actions can Kennedy recall.


Reports of bizarre Ambien side effects begin to surface

MINNEAPOLIS - Some people taking a popular sleep aid are reporting they are waking up to a nightmare of weight gain or other bizarre activities.

Multiple cases of 'sleep-eating' have been reported by people taking the prescription sleep aid Ambien, which is made by Sanofi-Aventis.

Ambien users say they have no recollection of getting up and eating while using the drug, but wake to find empty food containers and other evidence of late-night snacking.

One woman claims she gained over 100 pounds from eating while using the drug, but initially could not figure out why she was gaining the weight.

She says she found crumbs in her bed and other evidence of late-night bingeing in her kitchen. Initially, she blamed her children, who replied that she was eating the food. She says she thought they were lying.

Doctors investigating incidents of sleep-eating say that victims would sometimes eat odd or even unsafe items, such as butter-covered cigarettes and raw meat.

They also said there were reports of people injuring themselves with knives and other kitchen appliances as they tried to prepare food while asleep.

Ambien's maker issued a statement saying the side effect is known but is rare, and that "when taken as prescribed, Ambien is a safe and effective treatment for insomnia."

They say the side effect is disclosed in the product's labeling material.

There have also been complaints that people were getting up and driving while using Ambien, and then having no recollection of their actions.

Incident reports showed that people driving while using Ambien were sometimes driving down the wrong side of the road or exhibiting bizarre behavior.

Another Ambien user said he took off his shirt and threatened other passengers during an airline flight. He says he woke up in a jail cell without a clue as to why he was there.

Ambien is the most popular prescription sleep aid in the United States, with over $2 billion in sales. They say that while some parts of the brain sleep, other parts are active. They say Ambien may be affecting brain activity while sleeping, leading to the unusual behaviors.
This morning's websearch finally has turned up the Ambien connection in the media whore media, to wit, in WaPo, here. One supposes one must retract one's earlier snark?

Friday, May 05, 2006

CIA Chief Suddenly Resigns

So charming, urbane CIA Chief Porter Goss, aka "The Terminator," himself has now been, well, terminated. Porter Goss must be in big, big, big trouble. The question is: what kind?

I'm thinking hooker scandal, or Watergate hooker scandal, or Watergate gay hooker scandal, plus lotsa inconvenient pix, that sorta thing. Oh, and I'm LOVING the media whore media sucking up the Bushista spin that oh yeah we've been workin' on this Goss resignation thing fer months now cuz I'm the decider, and yeah it's all some kind of time-delayed pissing contest between Goss and Negroponte. Nothing to see here move along always attracts my attention. How about you?