Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moncada family has questions regarding Raul's death

April 13th the US military announced: "A Coalition forces Soldier died of injuries sustained during an explosively formed projectile attack on a convoy five kilomenters south of Karbalah, Iraq April 13 at approximately 7:40 a.m. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the department of Defense. The incident is currently under investigtion." The Defense Dept has identified the fallen as Sgt. Raul Moncada from Madera, Calif who was 29-years-old. Jaegun Lee (Watertown Daily Times) lists the following military honors, "Sgt. Moncada's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with Combat Service, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" device and Combat Action Badge."

Preston Phillips (KSEE -- link has text and video) notes Raul Moncada was on a 15 month tour in Iraq and became the 1740th US service member killed in Iraq by an IED. During an earlier portion of his tour in Iraq, Raul, his sister Alex Young and Alex's husband were all serving in Iraq. Alex Young tells Phillips, "I couldn't believe it. Like now it's hard. It still hasn't sunk in. I -- I never thought it would happen. " Raul's brother Julio Moncada states, "I just can't describe it. Especially when I see my mom, you know, I see my mom suffer that's -- that's -- and his little girl. So that's pretty much, you know, just feel it like a gut feeling. " Raul Moncada leaves behind one daughter and he has another child on the way. Chris Collins (Fresno Bee) explains, "Army Sgt. Raul Moncada was the father of Priscila, a 6-year-old girl with a toothy grin and a dimple that looks exactly like her father's. Moncada was expecting a second daughter, whom he had named Mia. He planned to return from his second tour of Iraq before her birth in July, end his decade-long military career and settle down." There is also some confusion about his death. Collins explains:

Family members said another military representative told them that Moncada lost an arm and leg in the attack and died in a hospital.
"They don't know what happened," said Moncada's older brother, Ruben Moncada, expressing the family's frustration at hearing differing accounts of the attack.

KMPH (link has text and video) also covers
this aspect:

Norma Yuriar: Well guys he comes from a big family. Four brothers,three sisters and two loving parents who tonight are seeking answers in the death of their son. Inside their home in the Madera Ranchos, the Moncada family finds solace in each other after the death of Sgt. Raul Moncada leaves a huge void in their hearts.

Alex Young: It hit my mom the hardest.

Norma Yuriar: Alex Young says the toughest part is not knowing exactly how her brother was killed. In a statement to the public, the Department of Defense said the 29-year old died near Baghdad, of injuries he sustained when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle. But Alex says there are discrepancies in the explanation her family was given by a Casualty Advisor.

Alex Young: The first story we got was that he passed away instantly, which is a relief because he didn't suffer. Then when we got the second story, it was completely different.

Norma Yuriar: Alex says her brother's wife was told by a separate Casualty Advisor that Sgt. Moncada did suffer and that he died at the hospital and not at the scene.

Alex: So, that's why like we -- we don't know and that's what hurts.

At the end of her report, Norma Yuriar translates the father, Raul Moncada Sr., stating, "I don't want anyone else to go through what our family is going through, he says, we just want answers."

Meanwhile Matt Ehler's "Tears flow as soldiers prepare to depart for Iraq" (News & Observer) opens with:

Adults wiped their eyes solemnly during Tuesday's two-hour deployment ceremony for nearly 4,000 members of the N.C. National Guard headed to Iraq.
A woman sobbed while standing in line at a concession stand waiting to order a pizza. Babies wailed.
Spc. Matt Sears was leaving behind his only child, Aidyn, a daughter born April 9. His grandmother, Rosetta Allen of Goldsboro, said, "I feel like my heart's coming out."

In Iraq, Corinne Reilly and Ali Abbas offer "Kurdish-Arab tensions continue to grow in northern Iraq" (McClatchy Newspapers) which explores futher tensions between Kurds and Arabs and notes that "a Kurdish political coalition in one northern province is boycotting provincial council meetings until the main Arab party there cedes council leadership positions." They're reporting on Nineveh province. And it fits in with Liz Sly and Caesar Ahmed's "Establishment of Iraq provincial councils drags" (Los Angeles Times). Reilly and Abbas explain:

Kurds had been in the majority on the council until the January elections, but then the main Arab party, al Hadbaa, won slightly more than half the seats, and the Kurds fewer than a third. The Kurds vowed not to return until the Arabs hand over two of the council's top three leadership positions.
[. . .]
"The people of Sinjar demonstrated yesterday in protest against the exclusion of Kurds from the administration of (Nineveh)," Dekheel Qasim Hassoun, mayor of the mostly Kurdish city, said Monday. " . . . we have decided not to acknowledge or deal with the new governor."

We don't get any of the above from Democracy Now! today which has decided it's time to bore us all with a bad documentary, narrated by the monotoned Alice Walker. It's a factually challenged documentary. It's one thing to hear or see it once and say, "Well done." It's another thing for an alleged daily public affairs program to waste all of our time with such garbage. Garbage?

America doesn't need more ignorance. The left needs to demand better. They need to say "NO!" to lies and to faulty and fraudulent history. The alternative media movement did not begin in the US after the 1930s. It has a long, long history in the US -- a history that predates the creation of the US. And this refusal to learn and share history is why the left has to rebuild over and over.

Why are they playing this junk? Because Goody's damn worried about her money and her outlets. It's all an attempt to try to play 'brave' journalist and create a wave of protest ahead of what she sees as an end or, at least, slowing down of her gravy train.

Reality: They don't cover Iraq, they don't cover the bulk of the things that matter. As a result, they really don't have the time to waste another hour.

So many of this trash needs to be taken off the air. Not due to politics, but due to not doing their damn job. Your job is to go to work and work. If you can't do it, get the hell off the air and, as Ava noted two weekends ago, there is NO DAMN reason for those BAD AL LEWIS programs to still take up an hour of air time each Saturday afternoon on WBAI. The man died years ago. His slot should have been given to someone else long, long ago. It's that kind of garbage, that useless b.s. of offering canned programs of a dead man because he 'hung' with the 'right' people (cronyism) at WBAI that is ruining Pacifica Radio. It's past time trash was taken to the curb and if Amy Goodman's unable to broadcast an hour of programming each day -- NEW programming -- her tired ass needs to relinquish her death hold on Pacifica. (Doing so would free up millions -- more money is wasted on that program than on any other Pacifica program -- and, get this, Pacifica doesn't even own the program. They signed it over to Amy.) And someone needs to break it to Amy that she's carved out enough 'special days' (where she plays canned programming) and doesn't need to waste our time with any more.

Finally, independent journalist David Bacon, whose latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press), covers the Employee Free Choice Act in "Why workers need the Employee Free Choice Act" (San Francisco Chronicle):

Unions are good for workers. Today, median weekly pay for union members is $886, compared to $691 for nonunion workers. Moving cargo on the Oakland waterfront pays three times what stocking shelves does at Wal-Mart because longshore workers have had a union contract since 1934.
In 1936, Congress recognized the value of unions and passed the National Labor Relations Act, setting up a legal system in which private sector, nonfarm workers could join unions and bargain. The preamble declares the law's purpose: "encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and ... protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing."
Today, however, the law is virtually unable to fulfill its intended function. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, has proposed commonsense measures to restore its effectiveness in the Employee Free Choice Act. Employers are mounting a hysterical campaign against it, even calling it "bolshevism," and claiming to be protectors of their workers' rights. We need a reality check about what really happens when workers try to organize.

The e-mail address for this site is

liz sly