R.I.P. SGT Craig, SSG Jeffries, SPC Marshall, PFC Meyer, PVT Young

January 30, 2008

DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of five soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died from wounds suffered when their unit encountered an improvised explosive device during convoy operations Jan. 28 in Mosul, Iraq. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Killed were:
Sgt. James E. Craig, 26, of Hollywood, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Gary W. Jeffries, 37, of Roscoe, Texas.
Spc. Evan A. Marshall, 21, of Athens, Ga.
Pfc. Brandon A. Meyer, 20, of Orange, Calif.
Pvt. Joshua A. R. Young, 21, of Riddle, Ore.

FYI about Terrorism

General Information About Terrorism

Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion, or ransom.

Terrorists often use threats to:

  • Create fear among the public.
  • Try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism.
  • Get immediate publicity for their causes.

Acts of terrorism include threats of terrorism; assassinations; kidnappings; hijackings; bomb scares and bombings; cyber attacks (computer-based); and the use of chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons.

High-risk targets for acts of terrorism include military and civilian government facilities, international airports, large cities, and high-profile landmarks. Terrorists might also target large public gatherings, water and food supplies, utilities, and corporate centers. Further, terrorists are capable of spreading fear by sending explosives or chemical and biological agents through the mail.

Within the immediate area of a terrorist event, you would need to rely on police, fire, and other officials for instructions. However, you can prepare in much the same way you would prepare for other crisis events.

General Safety Guidelines:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Move or leave if you feel uncomfortable or if something does not seem right.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended. You should promptly report unusual behavior, suspicious or unattended packages, and strange devices to the police or security personnel.
  • Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
  • Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on—electricity, telephone, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATMs, and Internet transactions.
  • Work with building owners to ensure the following items are located on each floor of the building:
    • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
    • Several flashlights and extra batteries.
    • First aid kit and manual.
    • Hard hats and dust masks.
    • Fluorescent tape to rope off dangerous areas.

For more information click the logo below:

About Marine CPL Cesar Laurean

 Mexico issues warrant for Laurean a week after sighting

The FBI has released this picture of fugitive Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean with a tattoo on his left arm

MEXICO CITY, Mexico  — Six days after Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean was tracked to a town in Mexico, a Mexican court issued an arrest warrant Monday for the alleged killer, the U.S. Embassy said.

The provisional warrant authorizes Mexican police to follow leads and to arrest the 21-year-old Laurean — who’s accused of killing pregnant Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and burying her in the back yard of his North Carolina home.

Authorities believe Laurean fled to his native Mexico to avoid prosecution in the case and on Monday the United States asked for help in finding him from Interpol, the international police organization.

CNN correspondent Harris Whitbeck tracked Laurean last Tuesday to the Mexican town of Zapopan, where liquor store owner Juan Antonio Ramos Ramirez identified himself as Laurean’s cousin.

Ramos said he had seen Laurean a week earlier and the Marine told him he was traveling “with some buddies for a few days.”

The Interpol-United States National Central Bureau, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, said Monday it had requested that Interpol publish a “Red Notice” — Interpol’s formal wanted notice — on Laurean.

Once published, data on Laurean will be accessible by Interpol’s 186 member countries, and published in four official languages — English, Spanish, Arabic and French. Interpol had not published the Red Notice on Laurean by Monday night.

Onslow County, North Carolina, District Attorney Dewey Hudson confirmed information from a law enforcement source that Laurean had traveled by bus to Mexico. The source said he boarded a bus for Houston, Texas, on January 11, arriving the following afternoon.

In Houston, the source said, the Marine bought a bus ticket to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, probably arriving January 13 in Guadalajara — not far from Zapopan.

Hudson started the process on Friday that led to Monday’s provisional arrest warrant in Mexico.

Laurean was indicted in North Carolina last week on charges of murder, ATM card theft, attempted card theft, fraud and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The indictments allege that Laurean forcibly stole money from Lauterbach’s bank account, killed her on December 14 and then used her card on December 24 in Onslow County.

Lauterbach was reported missing on December 19, and the charred remains of her body were found in Laurean’s back yard on January 11. Police found the remains after Laurean’s wife produced a note her husband had written. In the note, Laurean said Lauterbach slit her own throat during an argument.

An autopsy, however, indicated she died from a blow to the head.

Mexico does not allow capital punishment and has a long-standing record of refusing to extradite to the United States suspected murderers who face possible death penalties after conviction.

Hudson has said he has “no other option” but to take the death penalty off the table if Laurean is found in Mexico.

Anniversary of Hitler’s rise

Date of Hitler’s elevation to chancellor remains indelible

BERLIN, Germany  — The 75th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s elevation to German chancellor on Wednesday is one the country would prefer to forget, but the ignominious event that ultimately led to the deaths of millions remains part of the nation’s weighted history.

Hitler’s accession to the post gave the Nazi party its “in” to eventually consolidate absolute control over the country in the months soon after, setting it on the path to World War II and the Holocaust.

The Holocaust remains “for us Germans an indelible part of our history,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday, as the country marked the 63rd year since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in annual Holocaust remembrance ceremonies.

“The memory of the genocide committed by the Germans serves to keep us alert and fight anti-Semitism and racial hatred around the world,” he said.

Few public events are planned to mark Wednesday’s anniversary, although many schools received letters from state governments asking them to hold special sessions in class.

German students spend at least half a school year learning about Hitler’s rise to power and the Third Reich, part of a concerted effort on the part of modern Germany to prevent history from repeating itself.

“It is a very important day in German history, but of course it’s not as easily remembered as, for example, Kristallnacht on November 9, because nobody was hurt on January 30,” said Frank Rudolph, 44, a history teacher at a Berlin high school.

The rise of Hitler, and the Nazis, is viewed with a national shame and horror, but its reasons for happening were complex, said Hans Ottomeyer, director of Berlin’s German Historical Museum.

Ottomeyer cited World War I, the rampant inflation in the postwar years, the world economic collapse of 1929 and the country’s massive unemployment as factors that led people to vote for extremist parties.

“The general fear of social and economic decline was stirred from both the left and the right,” he said. “They all tried to consolidate their positions with violence, and that opened the flank to this seizure of power.”

About a month after being appointed chancellor, Hitler used the torching of the Reichstag parliament building — blamed on a Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe — to strengthen his grip on power, suspending civil liberties and cracking down on opposition parties.

Van der Lubbe, a bricklayer, was convicted of arson and high treason in December 1933 and executed on January 10, 1934.

In a move earlier this month — evidence that Germany’s rehabilitation is still going on 75 years later — German prosecutors formally overturned van der Lubbe’s conviction.

Prosecutors said his death sentence resulted from measures introduced under the Nazis “that were created to implement the National Socialist regime and enabled breaches of basic conceptions of justice.”

At the same time, other prosecutors are still trying to track down Nazis believed to be hiding out in other corners of the world and bring them to justice.

A spokesman of the federal ministry of justice confirmed Tuesday the existence of an informal request for extradition regarding war criminal Aribert Heim, believed to be in Brazil. A court in the southwestern city of Baden-Baden has had a case open on Heim for several decades.

In accepting responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, in which 6 million people, primarily Jews, were killed, Germany has established scores of memorials and museums across the country.

Two new memorials are planned for the capital near the Reichstag building: one commemorating Roma and Sinti, or Gypsy, victims of the Nazis and another remembering homosexual victims.

The Reichstag building — which again became the seat of the lower house of parliament after reunification — already hosts a memorial to political victims of the Nazis. The much bigger Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe — 2,711 concrete slabs in undulating rows that opened in 2005 — sits nearby on the other side of the landmark Brandenburg Gate.

“The important thing is to never forget, to never erase the memory of the Holocaust — not to punish future generations of Germans, but to serve as a warning to us all,” said Rabbi Burt Schuman, an American who leads Poland’s Reform Jewish community. “I can’t think of a society that Hitler would have hated more than the Germany of Angela Merkel or most of her predecessors.”

Earthquake rattles East Timor

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of East Timor on Wednesday, prompting authorities to briefly issue a tsunami alert — but no large waves hit the tiny nation’s coast.

The 6.2 magnitude tremor struck 160 miles northeast of the capital, Dili, in Indonesia’s Banda Sea at a depth of 6 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Residents in the capital did not feel any shaking and there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Indonesia’s Meteorological and Geophysics agency issued a tsunami alert, saying the quake had been powerful enough to generate giant waves. The warning was later retracted.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony that became Asia’s youngest country after breaking from Indonesia in 1999, sits along a series of faultlines and volcanos known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Indonesia’s Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, including 160,000 people in Indonesia’s westernmost province of Aceh

Mad mood

Ok, I’m a little bit pissed or should I stay more friendly and say: I’m mad??? Anyway, today I was supposed to see my buddy Travis. Even after we already fixed the appointment he canceled it about 10 minutes before I wanted to drive up to his place. And now his stupid excuse: He didn’t know that his “so-called” girl finished her school thingy earlier than 5pm and he has to go pick her up because she’s taking the damn train.

Seriously, I was looking forward in seeing him today, because last time was in October 2006. 15 months ago, because he was deployed to Iraq. Now, I’m sitting here and I’m really disappointed. I thought we are friends, like brother & sister and all of a sudden “his so-called/almost girl” is more important? And if I get it right he saw her during the last couple days since he’s back from his deployment. I also asked him if she cannot just wait a day and see him tomorrow? I guess he realized that I’m mad.

How else should I feel? The next time I’ll be able to make time for him will be in 8 days and than he’ll be on his freaking Block Leave (in the States). I mean, hey I can’t change my schedule just for him. That’s not possible. And since last week Thursday we both knew we will meet today, my only day off this week. But no, he doesn’t care about me and just makes plans with his girl. F*** it!!!

US envoy: ‘Ethnic cleansing’ in Kenya

A U.S. envoy said Wednesday that the violence in Kenya’s Rift Valley was “clear ethnic cleansing,” aimed at chasing out President Mwai Kibaki’s Kikuyu people amid the turmoil over the recent disputed presidential election.

Jendayi Frazer, the leading U.S. diplomat for Africa, also said the United States is reviewing all its aid to Kenya, expected to amount to more than $540 million this year.

Frazer, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an African Union summit, said she did not consider the eruption of ethnic clashes that has characterized the violence in Kenya a genocide.

The violence she saw during a visit earlier this month to the country’s western region, where the fighting has pitted Kalenjin people against Kikuyu, “was clear ethnic cleansing,” Frazer said.

“The aim originally was not to kill, it was to cleanse, it was to push them out of the region,” she said. “It is clear ethnic cleansing in the Rift Valley.”

Since the Dec. 27 election more than 800 people have been killed.

Kikuyus were the major victims of the first explosion of violence after the announcement that Kibaki had won, which the international community and election monitors agree was rigged. Hundreds of Kikuyus have been killed, and members of the group account for more than half of the 255,000 chased from their homes, most in the Rift Valley.

The valley is the traditional home of the Kalenjin and Masai. British colonizers seized large tracts of land to cultivate fertile farms there. When much of that land was redistributed after independence in 1963, President Jomo Kenyatta flooded it with his Kikuyu people, instead of returning it to the Kalenjin and Masai.

Kikuyus, who are Kenya’s largest ethnic group, are also resented for their domination of politics and the economy.

Frazer said neither Kibaki nor opposition leader Raila Odinga, who says he won the election, have done enough to halt the violence. In fact, she said, speeches made by both had proved counterproductive.

“I think both sides have spent quite a lot of time, and unhelpful time, in the public,” she said.

Frazer said the United States was reviewing all its aid to Kenya, even though most goes to the people not to the government. She acknowledged that most U.S. funds in Kenya are used to fight AIDS and malaria and go to non-governmental organizations.

“It will be a counterproductive of us to stop the HIV aid support when the population is in crisis,” she said.

Nevertheless, “we are in a process where we are looking at all of our aid to Kenya,” Frazer said, reiterating that the U.S. is “putting on the table all of our activities in Kenya to review.”

The United States previously had said it would not threaten deep aid cuts.

The European Union and other countries, including Canada, have already warned that they will cut aid if the rival sides do not make progress in resolving the crisis.

Australia added to the pressure Wednesday, with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith saying his country would restrict diplomatic activities with the Kenyan government and continue to review its aid program, which amounted to $6.4 million in 2006-07.

“In this current situation, it cannot be business-as-usual between Kenya’s leaders and the international community,” Smith said.

Kibaki’s government has said it will not be blackmailed over foreign aid and can survive without it. Foreign aid accounts for only 6 percent of the country’s budget.