Wednesday, June 16, 2010

US Army confirms 11 suicides

For the month of April, the US Army announced yesterday, they can confirm 4 suicides among active-duty service memberrs with six still being investigated and there are nine ongoing investigations into May deaths. For the reserves, the US Army said there 7 suicides in April and 2 in May with ten more still being investigated. From the press release:

The Army has identified additional crisis intervention resources available to the Army community. Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance are strongly encouraged to contact Military OneSource or the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach Center (DCoE). Trained consultants are available from both organizations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The Military OneSource toll-free number for those residing in the continental United States is 1-800-342-9647, the Military One Source Web site can be found at . Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource Web site for dialing instructions for their specific location

The Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, and at

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For more information see: .

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention site is, and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is .

Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at .

The Army's most current suicide prevention information is located at .

The Army's comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at .

Suicide prevention training resources for Army families can be accessed at (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials) .

If you read, see or hear reports, pay attention because two this morning have already bungled the figures (in terms of how many suicides were in April and May -- they 'found' a lower number not in the press release) and a third was proclaiming a "huge success in preventing suicides" by using the numbers through May and contrasting them with all the 2009 suicides. Yes, some people are so stupid that they actually think you can compare a 12 month total to a five month one and claim the five month one proves "success." Equally scary, you can be that uninformed and spread it across the airwaves.

Today the Guardian offers a US soldier ("Michael Dean" is not his real name) sharing what it's like to be stationed in Iraq to the paper's Nicole Baker:

I am new to war. This is my first deployment and I haven't been gone long. Unlike many units, mine lives in a sector at small battle positions. We do not drive from a mega-base on the outskirts of Baghdad into our area of responsibility. We live and interact with the people in our community every day.
I interact with people every day in our village and the surrounding villages. We give them medicine, search their houses, share chai with them. Over the course of just a few weeks I recognise many faces and am starting to get to know them. The idea is that the more we work with the people, the less they will work with the insurgents.

Meanwhile Frank Lombardi and Adam Lisberg (New York Daily News) report that Iraq War veteran Lt Dan Choi took part in the New York City Council's LGBT Pride celebration yesterday and will be the grand marshal in NYC's Pride March. The article seems to say the march is Sunday. Maybe I'm misunderstanding it? But the march is not this Sunday, it's June 27th. Here's a press release on that:

PRIDE WEEK: JUNE 19 – 27, 2010
(New York - Tuesday, February 09, 2010) NYC Pride is honored to announce Lt. Dan Choi as one of its Grand Marshals for the 41st Annual LGBT Pride March, which will occur on June 27th, 2010. When first approached about the request to be the NYC Grand Marshal, Lt. Choi responded with resounding excitement and a sense of honor for all who have struggled under this policy. Lt. Choi's selection and acceptance of the honor of NYC LGBT Pride Grand Marshal marks the first time in U.S. history that an openly gay male on active service with the U.S. Armed Forces will be an LGBT pride march Grand Marshal.
Lt. Dan Choi graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 2003 with a degree in Arabic and Environmental Engineering. He served as an infantry officer and served an extended combat tour in Iraq (2006-2007). His fluency in Arabic and West Point degree became very useful to the Army's mission in Iraq as he did not need to use an interpreter.
He served as a combat leader, government liaison, and reconstruction officer, rehabilitating water infrastructure. When he returned home he began his first love relationship with his current boyfriend, despite the ban on gay military service. He decided he could not lie about love and so left active duty in 2008. He continued to serve in the Army National Guard.
As a founder of "Knights Out", the West Point LGBT Alumni, he has been at the forefront of the repeal of the discriminatory Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and reminds all soldiers that they are not alone, and they should never be ashamed of being honest with themselves and others. He declared his sexual orientation publicly on national television, which resulted in a notification of discharge despite his desire to continue serving. However, as of February 5th, it was
announced that Lt. Choi was placed back on active service with Army National Guard.
Lt. Choi's selection as the NYC Pride Grand Marshal speaks volumes to struggle for equality among the LGBT community. His presence as Grand Marshal for 2010 NYC Pride March will serve as a reminder that the struggle for equality continues. Michael Owen, an NYC Pride member, stated that "Lt. Choi's presence as our Grand Marshal will send a strong message to Washington that the time has come to end the discrimination of "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" and create an environment where our service men and women can serve their country in an honorable manner without having to hide who they are".
New York City’s annual Pride March began in 1970 as a commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The March has since grown to become the oldest and one of the world’s largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) events.
This year's Pride March will begin at 12:00 noon on Sunday June 27th. Step-off for more than 350 groups and 500,000 participants will take place on 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The March then follows the Lavender Line to its conclusion at the intersection of Christopher Street and Greenwich Street. Longer than St. Patrick’s green line by many blocks, the Line
is an identifying symbol of New York City’s Pride March and will mark all four miles of the March's route. The route moves south on Fifth Avenue and turns right (west) on 8th Street and proceeds to the top of Christopher Street by the Jefferson Market Library. From here, the March will pass down Stonewall Place and the Stonewall Inn, site of the riots in June of 1969.
For further media inquiries please contact the March Director at or the Media Director at For further information regarding NYC Pride and Pride Week 2010 events, please visit our website at
For further analysis regarding Lt. Choi's acceptance of the Grand Marshal role, please see the published article titled "Lt. Dan Choi to Serve as 2010 NYC Pride Grand Marshal" at

Constance Mc Millen is a grand marshall as is Judy Shepard. Judy is Matthew Shepard's mother and she's also going to be involved in several events this month and next. In Houston, they'll be performing The Laramie Project and Judy will be present for the July 10th performance. She'll be there July 3rd with her new book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie and a World Transformed.

The following community sites -- plus -- updated last night:

And if you had to suffer through Barack's speech last night -- sounding like a stoner insisting he'd just discovered the meaning of 'it all' (last night, he stressed a plan, or the need for one, he'll come up with a plan, he's planning to do a plan, and in a few months, he'll have one to announce) -- treat yourself to Hillary is 44's "Exclusive: Obama First Draft Of Speech Leaked."

Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Philip Shenon (Daily Beast) reported Friday that the US government is attempting to track down WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. Mike Gogulski has started a website entitled Help Bradley Manning. This is from Patrick Martin's "Hands off WikiLeaks!" (WSWS):

Manning is reportedly being held at a military facility in Kuwait. Several computer hard drives taken from him arrived in Washington Thursday and are now being analyzed by government computer experts to determine what documents Manning downloaded and what he did with them.
Manning enlisted in the Army in 2007 and held a Top Secret/SCI clearance. He reportedly told Lamo that he had been looking through military and government networks for more than a year and found “incredible things, awful things… that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC.”
Besides the video which became “Collateral Murder,” Manning said he supplied WikiLeaks with a second video showing a May 2009 US air strike near the village of Garani in Afghanistan, in which more than 100 people were killed, including many children.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends