Saturday, April 02, 2011

A widow wins a victory against the Army

June 7, 2005, Louis Allen and Philip Esposito were murdered while serving in Iraq. The military had an agreement with Alberto B. Martinez but decided to set the plea aside and go to court. Where they lost. Leaving Allen's widow, Babara Allen, to cry out after the verdict was announced, as reported by the Fayettevill Observer, "He slaughtered our husbands, and that's it. You murdred my husband." Having bungled the prosecution, the military has since attempted to keep the court transcripts from Siobhan Esposito. This despite the fact that trial was open to the public (this is the US) and despite the fact that it was well covered by the press. She's had to sue the Army in an attempt to get court transcripts. Hema Easley (Lower Hudson Journal News) reports the military has absorbed how ridiculous they look and have "agreed to provide her an unredacted transcript of the court-martial". Easley reports:

The Army eventually agreed to settle with Esposito after the judge refused the the Army's request that the case be dismissed. On Monday Esposito picked up the documents she had been fighting for for two years.
"The turnaround on the Army's part is stunning," said Esposito, who now lives in Virginia with her daughter. "It took my bringing the Army to court for them to stop their attempt at obstructing the law."

Robert Gavin (Albany Times Union) adds:

On Monday, a settlement was reached between her attorney, Eugene R. Fidell, and the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., which represented the Army, and signed by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates. She picked up the documents on Friday.
"I think they realized they had a weak position. They realized they had no basis under the law," Esposito, 36, of Virginia, the mother of the captain's 7-year-old daughter, Madeline, told the Times Union Friday. "It wasn't legal denying me the records."

Meanwhile WGHP reports that a send-off ceremony was held in Greensboro, North Carolina today for eighty members of the state's National Guard who are deploying to Iraq where they "will fly Blackhawk helicopters as part of an air assault squadron once they arrive." "Assault squadron"? What an interesting term when Barack declared "combat operations" over on August 31st. Mike Shuster (Weekend Edition, NPR) reports on the Iraqi air force and, no surprise, there's been no hasty miracle schedule. They will not be ready at the end of the year to take over their duties without US assistance, we are told.
Apparently the air force was the day's junket in Iraq as UPI also reports on it with copy strangely similar to Shuster's. That's been the case since 2007 -- check the archives -- we've repeatedly noted the Iraqi Air Force wouldn't be ready by the end of 2011. From the June 14, 2007 snapshot:

The Pentagon report has many sections and one of interest considering one of the 2007 developments may be this: "There are currently more than 900 personnel in the Iraqi Air Force. . . . The fielding of rotary-wing aircraft continued with the delivery to Taji of five modified UH II (Iroquois) helicopters, bringing the total delivered to ten. The final six are scheduled to arrive in June. Aircrews are currently conducting initial qualifications and tactics training. The Iroquois fleet is expected to reach initial operation capability by the end of June 2007." By the end of June 2007? One of the developments of 2007 was the (admission of) helicopter crashes. US helicopters. British helicopters. Some may find comfort in the fact that evacuations and mobility will be handled by Iraqis . . . whenever they are fully staffed and trained. Four years plus to deliver the equipment, training should be done in ten or twenty years, right?

In July 2009, Elisabeth Bumiller wrote a major article on this subject "Iraq Can't Defend Its Skies by Pullout Date, U.S. Says" (New York Times):

The Iraqis will be unable to handle their own air defenses after all American troops withdraw from the country by the end of 2011, the top commander of American forces in Iraq said Tuesday.

And Gareth Porter (Dissident Voice) covered new ground with his scoop last year detailing how the White House has actively been working to decieve the US voters into believing the Iraq War would end when, in fact, it would not. NSC-er Puneet Talwar was dispatched to offer Iraq 15,000 US troops after the end of 2011 'withdrawal' and to explain that the would simply shove these 15,000 under the US Embassy to hide the remainders. From the article:

Talwar's remarks suggest the Obama administration was planning to adopt a ruse to keep combat troops in Iraq after the expiration of the U.S.-Iraq troop withdrawal agreement on December 31, 2011, while assuring the U.S. public that all U.S. troops had been pulled out by the deadline.

[. . .]

When the Iraqi participants in the September 23 meeting asked how many troops might be left in Iraq, Talwar said preferably one brigade but that it could be two brigades. When asked how many soldiers that would mean per brigade, however, the NSC official said the number could be open-ended.
An Iraqi military official told Talwar the military understood the minimum number of troops needed for a self- contained U.S. combat force was 15,000 to 28,000. They asked Talwar whether the U.S. could keep at least 15,000 in the country, and Talwar answered that it was possible.
Each U.S. combat brigade team has 3,500 to 4,000 troops. Thus the 15,000 regular combat troops discussed as a possible post-2011 troop presence would represent between three and four brigades.

The following community sites -- plus and Military Families Speak Out -- updated last night:

Reminder: If you served in the US military and you were stop-lossed, you are owed additional money. That money needs to be claimed. DoD announces the date to file for that additional payment has been extended:

The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to April 8, 2011, allowing personnel more time to apply for the benefits they've earned under the program guidelines.
The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Obama Friday, providing funding for federal government operations through April 8, 2011.
Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay was established to compensate for the hardships military members encountered when their service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss Authority between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries may submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.
When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible for this benefit. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in extensive and persistent outreach efforts to reach them and remind them to apply. Outreach efforts including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue through April 8, 2011.
To apply for more information, or to gather more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends