Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PTSD, military deaths and more

The editorial board of the Delaware County Daily Times observes, "It is easy to sympathize and treat visible wounds, but the illness veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are reporting is difficult to diagnose, often discounted as an excuse by some, and tough to treat. Of the more than 2 million troops who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, it is estimated that one in five return with post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet, only 78,000 of the 150,000 troops diagnosed with PTSD have been awarded disability claims." The board notes the deaths of Matthew Magdzas, April Olse-Magdzas, their child Lila Magdzas and the family's three dogs -- all apparently dead at the hands of Matthew who was a 23-year-old Iraq War veteran. Mike Simonson (Wisconsin Public Radio) quotes City Council member and Iraq War and Afghanistan War veteran Greg Mertzig stating, "I know by being deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, it's a huge, hard adjustment. When I got back from my deployment . . . I had some difficulties finding a job. I found myself a little disgruntled and upset with how things were going."

In other violence news, there's an update to the 2007 murder of Lance Cpl Maria Lauterbach who was murdered while she was eight months pregnant. Amy Thorpe (News 14 -- link has text and video) reports Cesar Laurean was convicted of first degree murder yesterday: "Jurors sided with the state that the defendant wanted to salvage his military career after Lauterbach accused him of rape. Prosecutors said the defendant had a plan to make it seem she went AWOL by sending her to Mexico. An SBI pathologist testified and said Lauterbach's blood was in the Laurean's garage and on a crowbar the prosecution said killed her." His family is quoted worrying about him and expressing no remorse for his actions. For those who've forgotten, he murdered her, dug a hole/pit in his backyard and attempted to destroy her body that way. Maria's body was only discovered when his wife called the authorities to say he'd confessed to her that he'd killed Maria. Chris Brown and Andrew Doud (WNCT -- link has text and video) report that the verdict was returned in "less than 3 hours." In the video, Mary Lauterbach is shown explaining:

This case has begin a tragedy from beginning to end. It started with Maria's chain of command and the NCIS agents who would not listen to me. They cast Maria as a deserter without making any connection with her sexual assault allegation.

For those who've forgotten, Cesar eventually ended up in Mexico. How did that happen? The military refused to take anything seriously. He was the prime suspect. The police were moving in and the military -- despite the rape charge and the fact that Maria was missing -- didn't even bother to keep an eye on him. Emily Friedman (ABC News -- link has text and video) reports: "Sources familiar with the probe told ABC News at the time that Laurean boarded a bus in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and then rode to Houston. In Houston, he allegedly boarded another bus and then traveled to San Luis Potosi, a state in central Mexico. The massive three-month international manhunt eventually culminated in Lauren's capture in Mexico in April 2008. Mexican police on an anti-kidnapping operation reportedly spotted Laurean wandering the street and became suspicious when they realized he didn't speak Spanish very well."

World Can't Wait announces:

Five peace activists successfully blockaded six buses carrying Fort Hood Soldiers deploying to Iraq outside Fort Hood's Clarke gate this morning at around 4 a.m. While the activists took the width of Clarke Rd. and slowed the buses to a halt, police made no arrests, but instead beat the activists out of the streets using automatic weapons and police dogs so the deploying Soldiers could proceed.

Among those blockading were three veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and one military spouse. (See attached bios) The action, organized by a group calling themselves "Fort Hood Disobeys," was aimed at preventing the deployment of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Soldiers to what the veterans termed an illegal and immoral occupation.

While standing in the street, the activists held banners reading "Occupation is a Crime" and "Please Don't Make the Same Mistake We Did. RESIST NOW." From the TX HW-190 overpass, additional supporters attempted to hang larger banners that read, "Tell the Brass: ‘KISS MY ASS' Your family needs you more" "Sick of Fighting Your Wars" and "Col. Allen [3 ACR Commander]: Do not deploy wounded Soldiers."

This latest deployment comes less than two weeks after President Obama announced the second end to combat operations in Iraq. FHD organizers denounced this as a lie, and pointed to the deployment of the 3rd ACR, a combat regiment, to Iraq as clear proof. They have stated they will continue to organize direct action in the Fort Hood community to oppose the wars as long as troops continue to deploy.

The action organizers have established a website at forthooddisobeys.blogspot.com where they will be posting statements, photographs and video from the actions as they become available during the next 48 hours. As well, for the length of the day, FHD ran live webcasts updating their supporters and depicting portions of the direct action. All live broadcasts from the day are archived at http://bit.ly/b1WEyv.

Cindy Beringer (US Socialist Worker) reports:

Frustrated by their failure with repeated attempts to be heard within the military chain of command, four wives of soldiers in the 3rd ACR approached Cindy Thomas of Under the Hood Café, the antiwar, pro-soldier coffeehouse in Killeen. Thomas works tirelessly to get soldiers the rights that they were promised.
After a series of actions to publicize the plight of these soldiers, three were returned to Fort Hood and will not be redeployed. The soldiers have been promised help for the conditions suffered from previous deployments. The fourth soldier elected to get out of the Army.
Thomas thinks the Army relented in these cases to prevent a mushrooming movement.
When the protest was publicized, the Army sent out word that any active-duty service members attending would be arrested. An attorney who works with Under the Hood quickly reminded the Army that this was against Department of Defense regulations, which allow out-of-uniform, off-duty soldiers the right to protest. Several active-duty soldiers and former soldiers attended without incident.
Protesters carried signs that read "U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan," while a banner flapping in the Texas wind stated "Col. Allen, 3 ACR: Do not deploy wounded soldiers."

Sunday the US military announced another death: Sgt Brandon Edward Maggart. The Kirksville Daily Express reports of 24-year-old Maggart that he leaves behind a wife (Teresa Cooper) and a child (three-year-old Blake) and Beth and Teddy Maggaret, his parents. KTVO offers a photo essay and reports, "Maggart’s wife Teresa told us Monday afternoon, her husband was scheduled to return on leave in the middle of September and come home for good in January. She said she had just spoken with Brandon via Skype on Saturday morning."

The following community sites updated last night:

And we'll close with this from the Michigan Green Party:

John Anthony La Pietra for
Fairer, Better Elections
Secretary of State * Green Party
386 Boyer Court * Marshall, MI 49068

News Release: August 22, 2010

La Pietra Issues Three “Position Discussion Papers”
on Secretary of State Campaign Website
Offers Ideas on Protecting Election Rights, Withdrawing Petition
Signatures, and How to Make Elections Fairer and Better for Voters

John Anthony La Pietra, nominated by the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) as the party’s 2010 candidate for Secretary of State, has posted the first three “position discussion papers” on his campaign Website. The home page is at:


John wants these papers to do more than just present some ideas he has on the topics -- he wants to stimulate discussion and bring out more ideas from others. “Our state’s government needs all the good ideas it can get,” he says.

* In one of the papers, John discusses some different ways we have -- or could have -- of protecting our vital election rights: auditing elections, recounts, election challengers and poll-watchers, and so on.

* Another paper addresses the controversies surrounding the 2006 Michigan Civil Rights Initiative petition and this year’s petition to put The Tea Party on the ballot -- by looking at how some other states have tried to handle the thorny question of when and how voters should be able to withdraw their names from political petitions.

* And, going back to his campaign’s overarching theme, John has written up some ideas on how to make elections work fairer and better for all voters -- ways to encourage voters to participate, to let votes express more of what voters want, and to boost voter confidence in the fairness and impartiality of election administration.

The campaign currently has limited Webspace available, but John promises to do what he can to share responses he gets to these discussion papers -- and to some others he plans to write as the campaign continues. The first three also contain some invitations -- including one to Michigan voters to survey the voting equipment and conditions at precincts statewide, and another to his fellow SOS candidates to join him in making their race an example for a statistical audit or a full recount.

To contact John’s campaign for Secretary of State, please feel free to e-mail


or call 269-781-9478.

For more information on GPMI and its other candidates, contact

Green Party of Michigan
548 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104


The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends