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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Our Hero...


Natalia sends a couple of pictures of IWT's adopted Hero, Maxwell:
...a couple of pictures of Maxwell and I...Maxwell is a great man with a huge sense of humor, we have never ran out of conversation, always have something to talk about, he is really dedicated to me and the kids.

Today, he told me, he received the first letter from his angel, and was very happy, he also said, he will send you an email as soon as he has access to a computer.

Is this a great looking couple, or what?

Maxwell, would be great to hear from you, but not necessary if your internet time is limited - you can save those minutes for that beautiful family of yours. Make sure you keep your helmet on, and stay safe!

Want to help support our Hero? Details on how you can get involved here.

From Take Back the Memorial - They STILL Don't Get It

Almost one year to the day after her Wall Street Journal op-ed, The Great Ground Zero Heist, which began the fight that successfully ended the folly that was the International Freedom Center, Debra Burlingame once again calls us to action to ensure a fitting 9/11 Memorial AND Museum are built at ground zero.

Reprinted from the Opinion Journal

See bottom of email for Call to Action contact information.


Ground Zero
Where is the memorial?

Tuesday, June 6, 2006 9:00 a.m. EDT

I am an ironworker. I held you in my hands.

I did not know who you were and now I am showered clean . . . yet I still feel dirty. I don't know why, but I feel ashamed. WHO WERE YOU?

--Anonymous message, left at Ground Zero.

They came and would not leave, an army of ironworkers and heavy-equipment operators, stopping only when the scent-trained dogs barked out a signal. They cut and moved twisted steel and steaming concrete, clearing an astonishing 1.8 million tons in a continuous convoy of trucks and a 20,000-barge armada. The last steel beam, covered from top to bottom with handwritten prayers and messages of hope from those who worked the site, was hauled away in a solemn site-closing ceremony that left grown men weeping quietly. "The Pile" was cleared in eight-and-a-half months. Only then did they go home, different men. Who will tell their story?

The answer depends on whether we believe we have a stake in a future we will not live to see. Today, a handful of people are considering how the history of 9/11 will be preserved for future generations. Will it be scattered all over the globe, eroded by small museums, cannibalized by private collectors, or simply lost forever?

From the giant steel facades that broke but did not fall to the thousands of "Missing" flyers that speak of humanity as no granite monument can; from the harrowing digital footage to the oral histories that provide a mosaic of facts as detailed and compelling as a thousand handmade quilts; these are the pieces that make up our generation's "Day of Infamy." Preserving that history is both the mission and the moral imperative of the World Trade Center Memorial Museum--if we build it.

The decision lies in one man's hands: New York Gov. George E. Pataki. It is that simple. Advisory councils, stakeholder meetings and a public comment period notwithstanding, if Gov. Pataki agrees with 87% of the respondents in last year's Zogby poll, stating that 9/11 was "the most historic event of their lifetime" that "changed the way Americans live and view the world," then he will step up and mark that history--or answer to those same people. And he will have one tough time doing it.

The American people, watching the horrific scenes in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, voiced nary a peep of dissent when the federal government handed over $21 billion in disaster relief--$18 billion in rebuilding bonds and tax credits, and $2.8 billion in immediate cash grants--to the state and city of New York. The desire to raise buildings and bring back neighborhoods and businesses far from their own communities is powerful proof of the generosity of a people whose hearts were broken but whose resolve was not.

The public has heard plenty about the "empty pit of Ground Zero," but most do not know that the $2.8 billion allocated to Lower Manhattan in cash grants has virtually all been spent. It is difficult to trace where all the money went while being routed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and six different city and state entities. Now, after four-and-a-half years of press conferences, ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings (the Freedom Tower has had two), at which the lost 343 firefighters were invoked and the memorial and museum was touted as the "centerpiece" around which hundreds of millions of dollars in spending projects would turn, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have teamed up to tell the public that it's time to "rethink" the project where the history of those valiant firefighters will be secured. Not only does this undermine Daniel Libeskind's master plan, which always included a museum of "memory and hope," it also manifests a standard of fiscal responsibility that the governor and the mayor have refrained from imposing anywhere else at Ground Zero.

The Port Authority's massive new transportation hub, designed by superstar architect Santiago Calatrava, will cost an estimated $2.2 billion. Some $2 billion of that is federal money, which means that the entire country is supporting the "awe-inspiring" makeover of a terminal that will serve a mere 40,000 commuters (a number so embarrassing the Port Authority upped it to 80,000 by including round trips). The chief executive of a construction firm involved in the building illustrates the absurdity of what insiders call a "vanity project" by pointing out that $2.2 billion is enough to build a metropolitan airport.

The governor has also handed out hundreds of millions in relief money to corporate powerhouses, ostensibly to get them to relocate to Lower Manhattan or to prevent them from leaving. He signed off on $25 million worth of recovery funds for American Express, which expressly announced it hadn't intended to leave Lower Manhattan and posted doubled profits less than a year after 9/11. Goldman Sachs, which made $4.55 billion dollars in net profits in 2004, received a $2 billion "assistance" package consisting of triple-tax-free Liberty Bonds, tax credits and cash the following year.

Mr. Bloomberg talks about a "sensible" approach to Ground Zero rebuilding, but has declined to fully explain his allocation of $650 million dollars worth of Liberty Bonds to construct the Bank of America tower in midtown, an allocation that competes with downtown redevelopment; or why he awarded $114 million in Liberty Bonds to the Ratner office tower--in Brooklyn.

The mayor has suggested locating the World Trade Center Museum in the controversial Freedom Tower, declaring it "a good use of that lobby." To put the story of that day in another commercial office tower is an insult to the memory of the 3,000 who died and to the thousands who barely escaped. Would the Holocaust Museum be treated as an afterthought and crammed into such a space? Moreover, why would any commercial tenant be attracted to a building that will be the destination of as many as 20,000 to 30,000 tourists per day?

The mayor's proposal was promptly embraced by New York's cultural elite--the same folks who were despondent over the loss, last fall, of the International Freedom Center and its slavery exhibits. The New York Times editorial page went so far as to suggest that the 9/11 museum is not really necessary since "most of us remember that day very clearly." The same paper, in contrast, published six hyperventilating editorials last year, telling us that the Freedom Center must be built on sacred ground to provide the memorial with "historical context," albeit one that didn't include a word about terrorism.

Interestingly, the no-museum proponents have uniformly invoked the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington as an example of a simple and appropriate remembrance. While it eventually became accepted as a locus of healing, "The Wall" was controversial when it opened in 1982 in no small part because of its failure to tell the story of the war. Jan Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, recognizes that when the contemporaries of that war are gone, the 58,000 names carved in granite will not resonate with future generations. To remedy this, he sought and won congressional approval to build a museum that will tell the story of the war and those who fought it.

Ironically, the designer of the Vietnam memorial, Maya Lin, was a member of the World Trade Center Memorial jury and the most vocal advocate of the design that was eventually chosen, Michael Arad's "Reflecting Absence." Like Ms. Lin's Wall, Mr. Arad's design, consisting of reflecting pools and waterfalls with a random listing of 3,000 victims' names, says nothing about how they died or the historic event it is memorializing. Without the museum there will be nothing on the plaza, not even the iconic artifacts, to tell future visitors what actually happened on 9/11.

But let us not get too carried away with comparisons to other memorials. The Vietnam War did not take place on that grassy mall in Washington. Ground Zero is a historic battleground; and of the 2,755 who died there, 1,157 were vaporized without a trace.

The American people intuitively understand what the New York intelligentsia does not. They already stream to Ground Zero in the tens of thousands, signing up for tours to stand and look at the iron fence of St. Paul's Church across the street, now stripped of the faded flags, the personal tokens of remembrance and the hand-lettered messages of sympathy that poured in from all over the world. They shell out countless thousands of dollars for picture books and postcards bearing the images of the twin towers from the ragtag vendors who line the site's perimeter.

It is this humble assortment of Ground Zero entrepreneurs who have shown City Hall's economic development experts that it is possible to blend commerce and commemoration. And the Memorial Museum will help restore a standard of dignity, which will be more about providing a lasting remembrance than making a quick buck.

Yes, the $500 million price tag for the memorial and museum is steep, but the reality is that it was the terrorists who chose the most expensive building site in all the world for the location of their attack. That is where our people died and that is where we must build it--especially as the cost of not doing so is even higher.

This is an investment in the future that will allow visitors from all over the world the opportunity to see the contrast between those who died to take the lives of strangers, and those who gave their lives to save them. The millions who will make a pilgrimage to Ground Zero will surely enjoy the fine boulevards and piers that their own generosity provided, but the experience they most anticipate is not a frozen latte in Hudson River Park. They want to confront the reality of the day that changed their lives, and the world they once knew.

The World Trade Center Memorial and Museum will commemorate, educate and inspire. It will convey to future generations that we as a people are more than sleek neighborhoods and buildings. That is something our enemies did not understand and should be reflected in everything we do on that much-hallowed ground.

Governor, we're ready.

Ms. Burlingame, a director of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, is the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, the pilot of American Flight 77, which terrorists crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.


Make your voice heard - let the politicians in New York spending YOUR money how you feel about their plans for spending it - let them know how important the 9/11 memorial AND the 9/11 museum are to you: (NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg - (212) NEW-YORK) (NY Governor George Pataki - (518) 474-8390) (LMDC - (212) 962-2300)
(NY Assemblyman Sheldon Silver - (518) 455-3791 or (212) 312-1420) (Contact your Senator) (Contact your Representative)

Please take the time today to call or write these politicians and let them know how your expect your tax dollars to be spent - building a fitting memorial and museum at ground zero.

Shhhh! No talking in class…or about a 9/11 museum.

Norfolk, Va. (June 6, 2006) - Sailors man the rails as the amphibious transport dock USS Nashville (LPD 13), an element of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike roup (ESG), departs Naval Station Norfolk. The Iwo Jima ESG will deploy for six months to conduct maritime security operations in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Apprentice Matthew Bookwalter

Take atrocity claims with grains of salt


Something tragic and horrible may have happened in Haditha.

But do not accept at face value what you are hearing about the alleged November 2005 massacre of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines.

Every time you hear the reports, make sure you repeat to yourself the word "alleged." Questions about the incident - terribly serious questions - remain.

Here are four big reasons I question much of what I've heard so far:

First, I have served in peace and war with Lt. Col. Jeff Chessani, the commander of the battalion involved in the incident. Chessani, who was relieved in April in the wake of the ongoing investigation, is among the Marine Corps' best and brightest officers, a man I believe incapable of participating in or covering up such an atrocity...

Be Sure to Read the Rest from this Marine Corps Reserves Officer, at the New York Daily News

Related post (my thoughts) - Whoring Haditha

H/T to Seamus

CHECKPOINT WATCH — U.S. Army Sgt. David Burns, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, conducts a checkpoint assessment in Tal Afar, Iraq, on May 17, 2006. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey
Pfc. Matthew J. Mongiove, from the 10th Mountain Division, searches for insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border. Photo by Sgt. Andre Reynolds.

Radio Station Fires Pro-Troop Host - UPDATE


Last night I updated you on the decision by KFBK 1530 AM/Clear Channel to move away from their "conservative" reputation, including the firing of a pro-troop/pro-military talk show host, a man who has been a hero to our cause - Mark Williams.

We have several updates for you that you need to hear about.

1) KFBK has now posted online the biography of the man who has been hired to replace Mark Williams. His name is Mr. Bruce Maiman and he announced on the airwaves that he is a "liberal" who is also anti-war. He is also apparently a relative of one of the sales executives at KFBK, which might explain how he got his job.

You MUST read the biography KFBK has posted on this Mr. Maiman. It is insulting to see the kind of crass approach they have taken in their efforts to rebrand their station and shed their long-established conservative pedigree. This was the station that launched the "Rush Limbaugh Show," and now they dump a pro-troop advocate for a man with this as his bio:

2) The news media has begun covering the growing backlash as outraged listeners and sponsors have bombarded the station with phone calls and emails of protest. Read this report from the Sacramento Bee:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mark Williams fallout: The decision by KFBK (1530 AM) to oust conservative talk-show host Mark Williams in favor of moderate Bruce Maiman has angered many of Williams' fans.

Griffin & Reed Eye Care, which pays for on-air media endorsements (including Williams') for its lasik eye surgery, has pulled all advertisements from KFBK.
"Our relationship with the personalities that help us with our advertising is something we take very seriously," writes Brad Mitchell, Griffin & Reed's chief operating officer, in an e-mail. "... I'm sure the absence of our money on KFBK won't be felt too much, but hopefully the position will."

And a Granite Bay organization called Marine Moms & Military Families, which has held many events supporting the troops in Iraq and protesting Cindy Sheehan's opposition to the war, is banning KFBK from covering future events.

"We take (Williams' firing) as a personal attack and lack of support against our military men and women and their families," reads a letter sent to KFBK boss Jeff Holden by the group's leaders, Michelle Souza and Deborah Johns.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

>>> It's time for those of us who appreciated Mark Williams' unwavering commitment to our troops and their fight against terrorism to take action. We must speak out and let KFBK/Clear Channel know how much they've let us all down.

1) FIRST: Send an email to these people and let them know you are saddened by the news that Mark Williams has been fired and replaced with an anti-war liberal. I've also included the email addresses for 2 reporters covering this issue - include them on the same emails. We need them to hear our voices!

2) SECOND: Place a telephone call to Jeff Holden, the KFBK Program Director who FIRED Mark Williams, and politely and calmly state that you are calling to have your name added to those who are disappointed with the decision by KFBK to fire pro-military talk show host, Mark Williams.

The number to call: (916) 576-2223

We need for them to be besieged with phone calls. So, please, if the line is busy when you call, try back a few minutes later.

3) THIRD: Please also send a FAX and let the management at KFBK know how thoroughly displeased you are to see this station switch from being a proud sponsor of our troops and their mission, and becoming a mouthpiece for an anti-war, left-wing agenda.

The FAX number is: (916) 921-5555

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

...Every night the Mark Williams Show was broadcast over the Internet to units in Iraq and Afghanistan - where Mark had a lot of admirers. Many nights, Mark would sign off for the evening by sending out a message of support - complete with music and voices of Americans expressing their love for our troops - as a morale boost to all those who were listening over the Internet and serving in the war for freedom.

These troops have now lost their voice in Sacramento, and they've lost a radio program that they could count on to be there for them when the other media outlets had them feeling so down and discouraged.

If you have a pro-troop email list or website - could you please pass on this information?

Thank you!

Melanie Morgan
Chairman, Move America Forward

In Today's News - Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Disillusionment, poverty and hopelessness
are the breeding grounds for violence.
While there may be a small core of zealots
who will never give up their violent ways,
basic services and economic opportunity
will isolate these extremist few
from the majority of the population
who merely seek a better life
for themselves and their families."

-- Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli,
commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Prisoners Freed in Iraq
CBS' Dozier Returns to U.S.

Operation Enduring Freedom
Taliban battered ahead of NATO talks on Afghanistan - Video
Official: 250 Afghans arrested after riot
2 U.S., 3 Afghan troops killed in bombing

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Canada Terror Suspects Planned to Behead PM
House passes $32 bln domestic security bill
UK terrorism suspect linked to Canadian arrests: BBC

Troops on Trial
Haditha case puts "strained" Marines in spotlight
Killing of Iraqi Planned by Marines
Senate to Hold Hearings on Iraq Massacre

Other Military News
Vets Affairs Revises ID Theft Numbers to 2.2 Million

Report: Romania, Poland Secret CIA Flights Stopped
Europe colluded in CIA prisoner "spider's web"

Worldwide Wackos
Report: Concessions Offered To Iran Over Nuke Plans
Iran offer is negotiable if enrichment stops-Merkel
Diplomats: Package gives Iran some leeway
Oil prices drop on Iran's response
Abbas renews Hamas deadline - Video

Politics / Government
'Back to Washington'?
GOP keeps Cunningham seat
Video: You Decide 2006
Gay marriage ban headed for certain defeat

Hell shines in its apocalyptic moment in the sun
Officials faulted for not singing karaoke

Other News of Note
Google's Brin: Company Caved to Chinese Demands
Cops Arrest Bikini Strangler Suspect
Sex offender nabbed during traffic stop
Video: Suspect Waives Extradition

Fox News
Diamondback Home Searched In Federal Steroids Probe
Flat Tire Leads to W.Va. Shootings Arrest
Futures Point to Higher Start On Wall Street
Stocks to Watch: H&R Block
Prosecutors Want Death Penalty in Ind. Slay Case
Chuck Yeager Sues Kids In Pension Fund Fight
Space Center
Video Gaming Center

Reuters: Top News
NJ biologists fight to save rare bird from extinction
Toilets aim to flush away Beijing drought
PC makers bet on super-sized laptops
LCDs move to the head of tech class in new devices
States plot how to handle pandemic flu threat
NJ biologists fight to save rare bird from extinction
Indonesia starts major quake survivor immunization
Black women prone to deadlier breast cancer: study
Magazine launches action over leaked Jolie pics
"Idol" runner-up signs record deal
Bernanke's tough talk seen as credibility bid
Apple files second lawsuit against Creative
Energy tension to dominate G8 meeting in Russia
Hynix creditors to sell shares, bonds in July-KEB
Novartis to buy superbug firm NeuTec for $569 mln
France Telecom considers PagesJaunes stake sale
Stocks open slightly higher - Video
Google rises on Inet
L-3 board to plan next step after death of CEO Frank Lanza
Dow Chemical falls 1.8 pct on Inet
GEO Group prices offering at $35.46 a share
Alcoa CFO sees no sign economy slowing
Goldcorp CEO sees $500 gold price floor
Comment: Hedging volatility
On the radar: Omnicom Group

AP World News
Stocks creep higher following losses
Lewis to direct 'Nutty Professor' musical
S.D. couple wins Powerball lottery
Nadal advances to French Open semifinals
Oilers goalee is out for rest of playoffs
Singer-songwriter Billy Preston dies at 59
Schmidt strikes out 16 in Giants win
Clemens sharp in minor league debut
Army Still Mulling FCS Weight, Design
Army Adopts Single, Blue Service Uniform

CENTCOM: News Releases






Department of Defense
Pace: Partnerships Vital in War on Terror - Story
Wounded Warriors Can Continue to Serve - Story

Soldiers, Marines Drive on Through Adversity - Story - On Assignment
Technology Links Military Journalists, Media - Story
Iraqis' Mortar Know-How to Improve Security - Story
Soldiers Reflect on Second Iraq Deployment - Story
U.S. Governors Visit Troops in Afghanistan - Story
New Clinic, Schools Open in Ethiopian Villages - Story - Photos

Marines Prepare for Emergency Rescues in Province
U.S. Troops Restore Abandoned Vehicles for Iraqis

‘Lava Dogs’ Hand Off Ops to ‘Chosin Few’

Enterprise Group Begins Ops in Persian Gulf
32 Enterprise Sailors Reenlist

Soldier Helps Feed Troops in Iraq - Story

Horse Runs for Wounded, Families - Story

Casey: Decisions Reflect Values
Forces Kill, Capture Terrorists
Investigation Clears Forces
Allegations Don't Reflect Majority
U.S. Soldier Killed
Accident Kills Civilians
Iraqi Scouts Raid Car Bomb Cell
Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (PDF)
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Iraq Reconstruction

Tripartite Commission Meets
3 Coalition Soldiers Killed
Afghan Troop Graduates
Suicide Bomber Strikes in Kandahar
Bomb Maker Captured
Insurgents Bomb Yaqubi Bazaar
Symposium Topic: IEDs
Afghanistan Update

Pace: World Recognizes Threat
Nordic Ambassadors Visit EUCOM
Rumsfeld Thanks Sailors for Service
Rumsfeld: Cooperation 'Critical'
Midshipmen Affirm Commitment
Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Officials Identify Army Casualty - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
1654 - Louis XIV is crowned King of France.
1769 - Daniel Boone begins exploring Kentucky.
1775 - The United Colonies change their name to the United States.
1776 - Richard Lee (VA) moves that the Declaration of Independence be adopted by the Continental Congress
1863 - French troops capture Mexico City.
1864 - Abe Lincoln is renominated for President by the Republican party.
1912 - The U.S. Army tests the first plane-mounted machine gun.
1938 - The Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat is first flown by Eddie Allen.
1939 - George VI and Elizabeth become the first British King and Queen to visit the U.S.
1942 - The USS Yorktown sinks near Midway Island.
1955 - Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the first U.S. President to appear on color TV.
1962 - NASA civilian test pilot Joseph A. Walker takes the X-15 to 31,580 meters.
1965 - Gemini 4 completes 62 orbits of Earth.
1967 - Israel captures East Jerusalem's Wailing Wall.
1968 - Sirhan Sirhan indicted for the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
1971 - The Soviet Soyuz 11 crew completes the first transfer to the orbiting Salyut.
1981 - Israel destroys an alleged Iraqi plutonium production facility.
1982 - President Ronald Reagan meets Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth.

1770 - Earl of Liverpool, British PM
1896 - Robert Mulliken, chemist / physicist, Nobel Prize winner
1909 - Peter Rodino (Rep-NJ), chaired Watergate congressional council

1329 - Robert the Bruce, leader of the Scots
1631 - Mumtax Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan of India - the Taj Mahal was built for her
1862 - William Mumford, first American citizen hanged for treason

Reported Missing in Action
Greer, Robert L., USMC (CA); disappeared in Da Nang while off duty - remains identified in 1991

Schreckengost, Fred T. USMC (OH); disappeared in Da Nang while off duty - remains identified March, 1991

Franco, Charles Stephen, USAF (NY); A1E crashed, remains recovered January, 1967

Jacobs, John Charles, USAF (IN); A1E crashed, remains recovered January, 1967

Sandner, Robert Louis, USAF (FL); A1E crashed, remains recovered April, 1995 - ID'd March, 1996

Owens, Joy L., USAF (WA); RF4C shot down

Sale, Harold R., USAF (SC); R4FC shot down

Spencer, Dean C. III, US Army (WV); KIA, body not recovered

Alloway, Clyde Douglas, USAF (NH); AC119K crashed, KIA, body not recovered

Wilbrecht, Kurt Michael; USMC (MN); F4B crashed, KIA, body not recovered

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