BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Last MONDAY in September

Interesting article on Pat Tillman today:

FAMILY DEMANDS THE TRUTH

"New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman’s death"

You might remember that the former Arizona Cardinal star signed up with the Army Rangers right after 9/11 and was killed during a gun-battle in Afghanistan.

Turns out that wasn't the case: Pat was killed by "friendly fire."
The battle between a grieving family and the U.S. military justice system is on display in thousands of pages of documents strewn across Mary Tillman’s dining room table in suburban San Jose.

As she pores through testimony from three previous Army investigations into the killing of her son, former football star Pat Tillman, by his fellow Army Rangers last year in Afghanistan, she hopes that a new inquiry launched in August by the Pentagon’s inspector general finally will answer the family’s questions:

Were witnesses allowed to change their testimony on key details, as alleged by one investigator? Why did internal documents on the case, such as the initial casualty report, include false information? When did top Pentagon officials know that Tillman’s death was caused by friendly fire, and why did they delay for five weeks before informing his family?

“There have been so many discrepancies so far that it’s hard to know what to believe,” Mary Tillman said. “There are too many murky details.” The files the family received from the Army in March are heavily censored, with nearly every page containing blacked-out sections; most names have been deleted. (Names for this story were provided by sources close to the investigation.) At least one volume was withheld altogether from the family, and even an Army press release given to the media has deletions. On her copies, Mary Tillman has added competing marks and scrawls — countless color-coded tabs and angry notes such as “Contradiction!” “Wrong!” and “????
Read the entire piece for more details.

But the weirdest detail from the article?
Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist NOAM CHOMSKY, a favorite author.
An Army Ranger...who reads Chomsky?!
(Yet ) other Tillman family members are less reluctant to show Tillman’s unique character, which was more complex than the public image of a gung-ho patriotic warrior.

He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.)

Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with CHOMSKY, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan — a meeting prevented by his death.
Hmm.

I'm sure Pat would've had some interesting info for Prof. Chomsky.

Bet there was some interesting stuff in his diary, too.
She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, “PAT WAS VERY CRITICAL OF THE WHOLE IRAQ WAR.”

Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.

“I can see it like a movie screen,” Baer said. “We were outside of (a city in southern IRAQ watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, THIS WAR IS SO F---ING ILLEGAL.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was."

"HE WAS TOTALLY AGAINST BUSH.”
Wow.

Not the same guy that the Bushies tried to USE - I mean portray - after his death.
The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.”

His killing was widely reported by the media, including conservative commentators such as ANN COULTER, who called him “an American original — virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.”
Wonder what Coulter would say now...given the fact that Pat read Chomsky.

"He's...he's...he's a commie...who...who...who...deserved to die."

But, Ann, you said that he was 'virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.' WTF?

"But that was before I heard that he...that he...that...he..."

BLAM.

Oh, drag. The Coulter robot exploded.

Again, read the whole piece.

*
More news from Saturday's march in downtown Los Angeles --

Awesome but uneventful. A handful of punk rock teens yelling, "Fuck the pigs!" A lotta people - I'd say over 20,000 - easy.

Much bigger than the "Get Clinton Out of Office!" march that went down in '99.

Oh. Wait a minute. THAT MARCH NEVER HAPPENED.

Still, a big crowd for L.A. - no matter the event - unless we're talking about a Galaxy v Mexico game at the Coliseum - or Morrissey at the Rose Bowl.

And - the crowd was incredibly DIVERSE. White, brown, yellow, red, Green Party, purple, young, old, and punk-rock.

If there had been a "Get Clinton Out of Office" march, that march would have been 100% White, annoying, and overwhelmingly Brooks Brothers.

No counter protest...except for one typical downtown crazy...who walked along Broadway...with a WRENCH...screaming, "You're all stupid!"

Dude would've done that yesterday...anyway. March or no march.

Probably doing it today.

"You're all stupid."

Chant of the day: "No mas gasolina!"

Memo to Sheen: Love ya, but please drop the "as the President of the United States" line from future speeches. Your private service is outstanding - but it's too easy to make fun of you when you bust out the "West Wing" schtick.

*

THE article of the day:

Blackwater Down

It's Jeremy "Democracy Now" Scahill's piece on MERCS in NoLa:
Others have been hired by the wealthy elite, like F. Patrick Quinn III, who brought in private security to guard his $3 million private estate and his luxury hotels, which are under consideration for a lucrative federal contract to house FEMA workers.

A possibly deadly incident involving Quinn's hired guns underscores the dangers of private forces policing American streets. On his second night in New Orleans, Quinn's security chief, Michael Montgomery, who said he worked for an Alabama company called Bodyguard and Tactical Security (BATS), was with a heavily armed security detail en route to pick up one of Quinn's associates and escort him through the chaotic city.

Montgomery told me they came under fire from "black gangbangers" on an overpass near the poor Ninth Ward neighborhood. "At the time, I was on the phone with my business partner," he recalls. "I dropped the phone and returned fire."

Montgomery says he and his men were armed with AR-15s and Glocks and that they unleashed a barrage of bullets in the general direction of the alleged shooters on the overpass. "After that, all I heard was moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped. That was it. Enough said."

Then, Montgomery says, "the Army showed up, yelling at us and thinking we were the enemy. We explained to them that we were security. I told them what had happened and they didn't even care. They just left." Five minutes later, Montgomery says, Louisiana state troopers arrived on the scene, inquired about the incident and then asked him for directions on "how they could get out of the city." Montgomery says that no one ever asked him for any details of the incident and no report was ever made. "One thing about security," Montgomery says, "is that we all coordinate with each other--one family." That co-ordination doesn't include the offices of the Secretaries of State in Louisiana and Alabama, which have no record of a BATS company.
Mercenary (n) 1. a professional soldier paid to fight for an army other than that of his or her country 2. somebody who works or serves only for personal profit.

*

Back on 9/19, we found out that the White House was thinking about removing "regulatory barriers to awarding federal funds to RELIGIOUS GROUPS housing hurricane (Katrina) victims."

Church and state, Katrina relief, tax money, blah blah blah.

On that day, I wrote:
Quick memo to the Church of Scientology: I need you people in NoLa.

NOW.

I'm dead serious. Get down there and start building "assist" centers and housing for Katrina victims.

Please. I'm begging you.

The White House is about to give away tons of $ to other "churches," and I'd like you guys to get in on the action.

I'm not kidding. Seriously. Let's see how the WH is gonna play this.

If the Bushies try to shut you out -- let us know.
Well, it's 9/23 and I'm happy to report that...they made it.

Here's the opening from Naomi Klein's brilliant article Purging the Poor:
Outside the 2,000-bed temporary shelter in Baton Rouge's River Center, a Church of Scientology BAND is performing a version of Bill Withers's classic "Use Me"--a refreshingly honest choice.
No. Not Beck. Not Chick Corea. Not Isaac Hayes.

Just a band.
"If it feels this good getting used," the Scientology singer belts out, "just keep on using me until you use me up."

Ten-year-old Nyler, lying face down on a MASSAGE TABLE, has pretty much the same attitude.
Nyler is about to get an "assist."

That same "massage table" is available on the set of "Mission Impossible 3." Fact.
She is not quite sure why the nice lady in the yellow SCIENTOLOGY VOLUNTEER MINISTER T-shirt wants to rub her back, but "it feels so good," she tells me, so who really cares? I ask Nyler if this is her first massage.

"ASSIST!" hisses the volunteer minister, correcting my Scientology lingo.
God. Sorry. Calm down.
Nyler shakes her head no; since fleeing New Orleans after a tree fell on her house, she has visited this tent many times, becoming something of an assist-aholic. "I have nerves," she explains in a blissed-out massage voice. "I have what you call nervousness."
Good times. Good times. Good times.

News from the set of MI3 is that...an "assist" is a just really lousy massage. If you keep coming back, though, your assist-er will tell you that you might have some deeper problems....problems need special attention.

Meaning...you need "Dianetics." And Sci-ti.

That's all I'm gonna say.

I'm really glad they're down there. I really am.

Seriously.

Not sure if the poorer residents of NoLa can afford Sci-ti, but hey, what the fuck do I know?

I'm sure they'll work it out.

Maybe we'll see some Katrina victims working at the Celebrity Center (or the Psychiatry Kills Museum) in the near future.

Wink wink.

BTW: If I just lost everything I had (which ain't much), I'd definitely FAIL my personality test.

Capice?

Please read the rest of the article. Klein deals with the land grab that's about to take place in New Orleans.
Listening to Drennen enthuse about the OPPORTUNITIES opened up by the storm, I was struck by his reference to African-Americans in New Orleans as "the minority community."

At 67 percent of the population, they are in fact the clear majority, while whites like Drennen make up just 27 percent. It was no doubt a simple verbal slip, but I couldn't help feeling that it was also a glimpse into the desired demographics of the new-and-improved city being imagined by its white elite, one that won't have much room for Nyler or her neighbors who know how to fix houses.

"I honestly don't know and I don't think anyone knows how they are going to fit in," Drennen said of the city's unemployed.
"They" won't.

Peace out...

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